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Disciples in Disguise: How Does Jesus See….Week 2: Ministering to the Jehovah’s Witness

Disciples in Disguise: Week 2:  Ministering to the Jehovah’s Witness

Before I begin teaching how to witness to the Jehovah’s Witness (JW), I feel it is necessary to take a look at the history of this organization and how it was founded to its present day status.  There is so much information to cover and still fit within a blog format that I will highlight the most important facts and give you the resources used in my research so that you can continue to study about the JW. 

I grew up in a family steeped in the beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  This was all I knew, growing up hearing about Jehovah but not much at all about Jesus and never the Holy Spirit.  I had a deep love for my “creator”, as my Nana would affectionately call Jehovah, but the praise began and ended there—with Jehovah.  Though Jehovah is greatly to be praised!

It is important to note, the people who call themselves the Jehovah’s Witnesses are loving and warm- hearted people.  However, something so crucial to their secured eternity in a future paradise is missing.  These kind-hearted people have believed what they have been told for years and have accepted this as fact–their truth–that Jesus is really the Archangel Michael come to earth in flesh and they do not recognize Him—Jesus–as Deity.  They do not recognize the Holy Spirit as Deity and not even in the slightest do they recognize the Trinity.  This major missing piece of their theology is the stumbling block that will seal their eternity forever separated from Christ in paradise. 

It is my hope that believers and non-believers will read this blog and soak this truth into their hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to bring revelation to them.  It is also my hope that a Jehovah’s Witness who may read this–perhaps given to you by a friend–will allow your eyes to opened and the veil of deception fall from you so that you can meet Jesus Christ, the one who was sent by the Father, Jehovah God, to earth to pay the ransom for our sins.  Not Michael but Jesus. This payment for the penalty of our sin–once acknowledged as truth and accepted in your heart–is a free gift and will allow you access to the Kingdom of God as a Son or Daughter of Christ, adopted by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Let us look deeper.   

Charles Taze Russell was born February 16, 1852.  He grew up under parents who would speak of hellfire and damnation.  Russell couldn’t come to terms with the teaching of a loving God of mercy who would “send” His creation to hell.  He developed his own personal theology that didn’t include hell.  He began to hold Bible studies and teach others his theology.  This theology quickly spread and before long he had developed a group of followers he called the “Russellites”, later named “Millennial Dawnists”.  This launched into the modern day Jehovah’s Witnesses.  The head organization is called the Watchtower, located in New York.  The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society publish the Watchtower and Awake! magazines that the witnesses hand out from door to door.  The JW have their own Bible translation called the New World Translation or the NWT, and require their members to use Bible teaching booklets that give their explanation of the “true meaning of the Bible.”

Here are a few beliefs of the Jehovah Witness that I will mention. Again I will include all resources so that you may investigate further. 

  1. There is one true “religion”: Jehovah’s Witness.
  2. The NWT is the most accurate translation of the Bible that exists…this is their translation. And ONLY they have the true knowledge and its meaning.
  3. They believe that Jesus has already returned and has been here since 1914.  Also that satan was cast out of heaven down to earth at that time.
  4. Jesus was the Archangel Michael and was never a Deity with God.
  5. The Witnesses believe that they alone are the true saved organization and if you do not belong to their organization, you are lost, will not be resurrected at the time of the new world and will remain in the ground–body and soul–for eternity.
  6. They do not believe Jesus died on the cross but on a stake. 

A quote from the Watchtower in May 1989:

“The Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible.  For this reason, the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah’s visible organization in mind”. 

The problem is this.  The organization they are referring to is not the Bride of Christ or the Church, but the Watchtower organization.  The word of God has been written for all mankind.  All mankind—and the Holy Spirit will give us understanding to the meaning of scripture and how to apply it to our life.  It is also full of the understanding of whom our Lord is….who created us, how we were created and why.  It tells us how He loves us and so much so that, “For God so loved the World that, He gave His only begotten son that WHOSOEVER BELIEVES in Him should not perish but have EVERLASTING LIFE.  John 3:16 (KJV)

Beloved, the Apostle Paul warned us about the spirit of the antichrist and how it was already at work in the world even then. “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.”  1 John 2:18 (NKJV)

“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”  2 Corinthians 11:3 (NASB)

“You seem to believe whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach about a different Jesus then the one we preach, or a different Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.”  2 Corinthians 11:4 (NASB)

“But what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting.  For such a man are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even satan disguised himself as an angel of light.  Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” 2 Corinthians 11:12-15(NASB)

These are but a few scriptures that warn us concerning this trap of the antichrist.  It is so important to mention to you that speaking to a JW in hostility or arrogance in your own true belief will not bring a desire in him to know more about the Jesus who changed you.  However, the greatest way to introduce him/her–if and when they come to your door–is to share your testimony of the love of Christ.  This cannot be disputed.  And your personal testimony cannot be refuted!!  Be sincere.  Offer them a hot drink on a cold day and a cool drink on a hot day.  But be careful to read 2 John: 10 & 11.  Pray about this and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading.  SHOW the JW who Jesus is and that He lives within you.  Words are a dime a dozen but living your belief in Jesus Christ is the defense of your faith. The enemy will make this hard to do sometimes…..when that happens give your thoughts over to God and stand.

Love–my friend–never fails.

 

Resources:

-Personal narrative from interviews of former Jehovah’s Witnesses.

-Bible translations are mentioned within the body of the study.

www.JWTruth.org

-Jehovah’s Witness resources mentioned within the body of the study.

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Same Love……..Same God………

Week 2 Disciples in Disguise Study

“Wake Up Oh Sleeper” What Does It Mean To Be A Christian?

After teaching this class last night at church it has occurred to me that perhaps Mondays would be the perfect day to post the lessons.  After all, this way I could determine what components are most helpful.

At this point you should have the self-analysis completed.  Remember to put it in a place where you can retrieve it again later in the weeks ahead.  So let us get started.

Christianity is defined by the Holman Bible Dictionary as: One who becomes an adherent of Christ, whose daily life and behavior facing adversity is like Christ.  Once a person becomes a Christian, the thought process of that person begins to change.  This change is a process and one that is easily visible through the works of the Holy Spirit in the person.  This is why the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 2:20 (NIV), “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  As you grow in your love and knowledge of Christ, you will become more like Him.  You will begin to think more like Him and your behavior will be more like Him.  This will not be an “act”–this will be a genuine change.  “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8 NKJV). 

You have heard of the “Fruits of the Spirit”?  There are 9 of these and over time this will be the evidence of your life in Christ Jesus.  I remember praying for these to be manifested in my life and was frustrated that I didn’t have them all at one time.  That showed a lack of patience perhaps? After 22 years of prayer, meditation, Bible study and desire for these, I begin to see changes in how I handled adversity.  Oh I had several of the fruits but I had a passionate desire to obtain them all.  I didn’t realize I possessed them until adversity came my way!!  This is a test for the Christian.

Over time a Christian will also begin to desire the things of Christ versus the carnal desires to satisfy the flesh.  Galatians 5:16-18 (NKJV) states, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  The flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do the things that you wish.”    Loved one, the LAW, binds you this but not grace….not grace!!!  Not grace by which you find in JESUS.  If you walk according to the Sprit, He will fulfill every longing and empty place within you that you have.  That feeling you get when you know you are about to do something you shouldn’t or you did do it and feel bad about it.  In both of these instances, the Holy Spirit is speaking directly to you.  He loves you and wants what is good for you.  That is why He tells us in Jeramiah 29:11(NIV),” For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord.  “Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  Loved one, don’t settle for less than JESUS best for YOU.  Don’t settle for who “keeps you warm”, or what appears to be “light” when it is actually darkness in disguise.  The word of the Lord was written thousands of years ago, YES, and it is still the word of the same Lord with the same authority and with the very “same love”.  He IS STIII GOD AND HE IS STILL ALIVE!! He wants to bring this love to you.   If only you believe…….

The biggest proof of the gospel is the evidence of a changed life, as we were speaking about earlier.  A person’s testimony will prove the word of God. We are told that His word doesn’t come back void.  That is why you can see transformation.  What is spoken into a person’s life by His word is manifested in them by their Spirit.  Not overnight necessarily.  This is an excellent way of defending our faith.  “I was ——but now I ———.”

An excellent resource to read is Jude Chapter 4 and the entire book of James.  It is a quick read that gives a depth of information and confidence to the believer. 

Next week we will review Jehovah’s Witnesses.  I am a former Jehovah’s Witness who found love, truth and grace in the loving arms of my Savior Jesus Christ.  If you do not know Him, He is ready to receive you in those same arms.  Call upon Him, He will listen. 

 

In His Steps,

Michelle Hawkins

michelle.hawkins2003@gmail.com

Humbling Myself….

“Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:10

Humility, as defined in the Holman Bible Dictionary is, “the personal quality of being free from arrogance and pride and having an accurate estimate of one’s worth.”  One’s worth. Humility will allow one to review themselves and their work.  This is true in the secular world as much as it is in the spiritual.  However, the spiritual is and should be the main and absolute most important area of examining our worth. 

The Psalmist David asked the Lord God to search him.  Search his heart and his ways and his thoughts.  David knew his worth to God and the love of His Father for him.  All the many mistakes David had made and the Lord loved him deeply.  David’s love was ridiculous for his God in return, so much so that he danced in the streets nearly naked before his Lord to honor and praise HIM.  He didn’t care what his wife or others thought about his act of worship.  He chose to worship.  Like a madman who was thought to be drunk! I desire that type of worship for my Lord. To be willing to worship with abandon and be ridiculous in the sight of others if my worship is pleasing to my Jesus.  That’s my hearts’ desire. 

Yesterday was a humbling experience for me.  It was placed on my heart to sing a song which demonstrated the power of Jesus name.  You see it is easier for me to sing without music.  If I forget words or miss a note then I can pause and resume without the music running ahead of me.  For years I had chose to not sing in public because fear and pride would strike me.  I allowed the yoke of the enemy to weigh me down with “what if” fear.  What if I sing off key?  What if I forget the words?  I made so many excuses to not sing for my Lord, other than in the privacy of my bathroom or in the car.  I would even stop singing in front of my husband for fear of ridicule.  Fear trapped my thoughts and works.  Fear is from pride.  Pride produces fear.  So when the Lord liberated me from so many things this past March, I chose to use my gift to sing in public again.  For HIM.  To worship HIM.  To encourage other believers in song.   I refuse to let the rocks cry out in worship ahead of me!!! 

So I had a couple of days to listen to the song on youtube and practice.  I couldn’t get through the song without tears flowing, snot running and falling on my face in worship to Jesus.  I wasn’t certain if I could get the song out at church without all three happening.  If it does then it does, I thought.  So yesterday I took my cell phone up to the podium and had my words pulled up as back-up.  Asked the Lord to accept my gift of praise through song to Him and began.  I forgot some of the words and sang off key at some points.  I had to stop and get back on track with a word to finish on the correct note.  Fear.  It hit. I was being tested.  “Try me and know my anxious ways.” Oh boy did He try me.  Was I going to continue in the song or quit because it wasn’t perfect….NO!  Am I going to allow fear to yoke me again from worshipping Him in public through song?   NO Way!!  Thankful my knees were not knocking this time while singing so I could walk–straight –back to my seat.  I sat down, patted my sweating forehead with a Kleenex and prayed.  Silently I prayed….”Lord, I pray that the imperfect attempt at this song will be perfected in your sight…..In Jesus name, Amen.”

I left as quickly as I could from the auditorium after an awesome message from the Pastor.  I didn’t want to be told, “Good Job”, or even worse, “Beautiful Song”, because I was humbled already in front of the congregation.  I tried not to think about it anymore, hoping they would forget I had messed it up.  It was meant for my Lord anyway……though I really wanted it to sound good.  Then something amazing happened.  A praise team member thanked me!! Then an honest gift from the heart of a lady in Sunday School class said it was a beautiful song. Then after I got in the car a text came from another dear sister in Christ that said, “amazing song.” What was happening? My Father’s hand telling me He allowed hearts to hear how majestic HE is through the message…..not the bloopers?  He took my act of worship and created praise for Him.  Elohim.  The yoke has been broken Satan…..the yoke has been broken. 

Dear brothers and sister in Christ.  If you have been given a talent or gift from the Creator, don’t hide it.  Even if it isn’t perfected….give it to the masterpiece maker. “For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10  Give your praise to Him Christians……He perfects the gifts of the heart.  Thank you Jesus for humbling me so that you could show me your strength through my many weaknesses.

 

Grace, Grace, God’s Grace…..

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow….” (Isaiah 1:16-18 NKJV)

I had an idea of what I thought my two school age boys would be wearing for Easter service.  All white including shirt and pants.  I cleaned them up, dressed them, and then commanded them to wait for me as I got ready myself.  I specifically said, “DO NOT GET DIRTY”.  After a few minutes of hearing them whine–because I made them sit still on the couch until I called for them–I decided to send them out to the car to wait for me there.

As I polished myself up with last finishing touches, my oldest son brought his little brother in d-i-r-t-y!!  “I told him not get on his bike but he didn’t listen to me”, he stated in exasperation.  The youngest was crying and ran to me grabbing a hold of my legs.  “Nathan!  I told you to not get dirty.  We don’t have time to clean you up and change your clothes.  We are going to be late and won’t ever find a seat!”  I said in my fury.

As Nathan looked up at me with tears in his eyes, the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me in His loving wisdom. “Daughter, this is exactly how I do you, the Lord whispered.”  I get you all cleaned up, sparkling white and then send you out into the world.   Then you come back to me crying and dirty.”  That was all it took.  My whole demeanor changed from fury to humility.  I kissed Nathan’s face then wiped away his tears.  I changed his clothes then left for Easter morning service.  (Josh, however, was waiting and hoping that his little brother would get a spanking.)

The Lord taught me so much from that moment.  I learned the meaning of grace.  Our Lord is preparing our eternal home for us and instead of staying clean and waiting on Him in patience and obedience; we get very anxious and do our own thing, getting dirty in the process.  Never has my Heavenly Father turned me away with tears in my eyes.  He has always loved me, dirt and all.  He has never told me how bad I was but sent me back on my way in His loving mercy that is new every morning.

I am so grateful for the lessons my Jesus has taught me and continues to teach me.  I don’t remember what the bike looked like.  I don’t even remember if we were late for church but what I do remember is the lesson of Grace the Savior taught me through dirty clothes and the failing of a little boy to be obedient.  By the way, his older brother still thinks he should have gotten a spanking.

Dear Lord, teach me to see circumstances with my children as a daily reminder of the grace you show to me, Amen.

Contact Information for Michelle Hawkins:

michelle.hawkins2003@gmail.com

I reply to each response on the blog website.  I appreciate all comments and I appreciate you for taking the time to read my blog.

The “Fitting” Lesson 3

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”  (1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV)

Standing strong with our feet firmly planted to “The Rock”, even if we get a little rocky, so to speak, we will not fall.  The enemy will try to push us over.  He will do whatever he thinks will knock us off course.  BUT, we have the assurance that when our feet are shod, or “equipped”, with the preparation of the gospel, we will overcome.  In fact the verse in part reads like this; “And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace….” (Ephesians 6:15 NASB).

If we don’t prepare by soaking our minds with the knowledge of the word and take time to pray, pray and pray some more, then how could we EVER be prepared? Scholars, philosophers and professors will tell you that preparation is the key to success.  Learning, reading and absorbing knowledge will prepare you for exams, debates or discussions of any kind.  I am no scholar, philosopher or professor. I am a child of the King and I know in order to combat the enemy–in the form of those who do not know Jesus, try to debate the word of God or twist its meaning to fit their lifestyle–WE MUST BE PREPARED.

The Lord tells us in Luke 21:15 that the Lord will give us the words and wisdom that none of our adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.  We don’t have to prepare a “speech”, which brings anxiety, but HE will gives us the words to say.  We can do nothing apart from Him.  So don’t try.  You will find defeat.  I know this because in my growth as a Christian too many times my flesh would be the one talking.  This will not glorify the Lord, nor is it a “gift” acceptable to the King.  Just bring Jesus.

Tomorrow we will discuss the shield of faith.  You will find this in verse 16 of Ephesians 6.

Disclaimer: My precious and loving editor, my husband Steve, hasn’t been able to edit these posts within this bible study because he is at work before I get them written.  So just focus on the content and not the errors.  It is my hope that Jesus will “cover” this too.  After all, He is the message giver….I just type it in obedience to Him. 🙂

In His Love,

Michelle Hawkins

While praising our Lord during worship service this morning at the Church of the Cove in the Smokies, my thoughts were drawn to an image of a glass container.  Not just any glass container, but one that had been freshly washed.  The outside of the glass was “spotless” but the inside had not been fully cleaned.  Sediment from dirt particles still lined the inside bottom of the container…the hardest place to get to while washing it.   Perhaps one of those tall drinking glasses you might use to serve a guest a glass of chilled lemonade or tea on a humid Kentucky day?  Some of those tall glasses wont let you dig down deep to clean them and my dishwasher, only a few years old, doesn’t get the glasses truly clean, sometimes leaving deposits of sediment inside.

Thinking about this vessel, I knew the Holy Spirit was telling me to use this as a message in the blog today.  Just as much of a message for the writer as for the reader.

Our lives are much like this container. Though useable just like it is, it still requires cleansing and preparation to make it effective for use.  Otherwise serving up lemonade or tea to a friend in dirty glass would not only give cause to be ashamed but give the one consuming it more than they asked for or needed.  If at first the sediment didn’t break loose and float to the surface, before long it would and one would then be chewing on it.  Not pleasing in thought.

Comparing our spiritual lives to the container, we must acknowledge that we require preparation as well.  How can one determine if a container is clean?  If we look only on the outside we may be fooled because the container could look clean after taking it out of the dishwasher.  Sparkling in fact.  So clean we use it before closely examining an important aspect of the container….deep down inside.  We unknowingly hand the dirty glass to our friend.  They drink because they are parched and want to be refreshed, desiring their thirst quenched.  Then they notice the sediment floating to the surface upon being used without proper preparation….hence the part about being ashamed by serving a drink in a unclean glass.   (Once I served molded cake to a dear friend and didn’t notice it was molded because it was a mint chocolate cake…yes I was ashamed by that).

In the same way we must study to make ourselves approved:  2 Timothy 2:15  tells us to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.  (NASB)”

You see we are all unclean containers, or vessels when we come to our Jesus.  We can wash and rewash our outside and hide the dirt on the inside for a very long time.  So much so that we even can fool ourselves for awhile.  For when we first come to the master “washer” we become very very clean…..spotless in His sight, without blemish or fault.  But after a little while we begin to have dirt re-deposited within.  Though that doesn’t mean we become unusable, it does mean we will become ineffective in service for Him.  A dirty glass that doesn’t show its spots is still dirty.  We wont be thrown away but the glass ( if it were in my household)  would be put back on the shelf to be found by someone else or put back in the dishwasher.  The Savior however wants to wash us tenderly and lovingly by His hands.  He knows just how to dig into those hard-to-reach places that we can’t get to…sometimes because we want to forget they are there.  To keep from remembering we may refrain from seeking God through the daily reading of His word.  Or return to a mediocre prayer life. Because if we don’t listen for His voice we wont hear Him woo us into bringing those hard-to-reach places to Him for sanctification. Jesus loves our container so much that He desires to make us very clean and keep us clean to be deemed effective for His service.  We have to open the cupboard door of our heart first.  The process of His preparation may be painful but as the sediment comes to the surface He will free you from a lifetime of sitting in the cupboard waiting-collecting dust.

“Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.  Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart”. (2 Timothy 2:21-22 NASB)

Fire or Ice?

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish you were either cold or hot.” ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16 NASB)

Running.  The first mile or so is a warm up.  A stretching of the legs of sorts.  After a few miles the body begins to get into a rhythm.  You begin to know how far in miles you have gone without looking at the watch.  For me, I know because I am tired and I am ready for a walk break.  Ready for a big ol’ gulp of ice cold water.  The device I use keeps my water pretty cold for a little while but after several miles, once the sun mixes with the warmth of my hand, it becomes lukewarm.  I remember taking a swig and grimacing.  Because I wanted to have enough fluid to finish out the run I didn’t spit it out.  But the taste of lukewarm water was not satisfying to me.  It just wasn’t what I was looking for. Not effective in quenching my thirst.  Lukewarm Gatorade is even worse.  It gets foamy….yuck.

Just for the sake of this message I decided to look up the definition of lukewarm in the Holman Bible Dictionary.  This is what it said.

Lukewarm: Tepid: neither hot nor cold. 

Not much wordage but a massive amount of meaning.  Jesus used this to describe His church in Laodicea.  The group of believers there were complacent.  Did very little and mostly served themselves and their desires.  They just had lost their fire.  Isnt that what comomly happens to believers? Maybe not all but many, right?  It happened to me and I taught within the church I was attending.  I sang with the praise team, too.  Often we go through the motions of a church-going believer, but our actions seldom match what we say we believe.  Who we want to be.  So who are we? Chosen.  Loved.  Bought with the very precious blood of Christ.  Redeemed and atoned through His sacrificial death over 2000 years ago.  Rescued from what we deserve without Him.  Bought.  With blood.  Why does this not keep us excited once we ask Jesus to live in us?

This is a question we must ask ourselves and pray over.  Ask the one who loves you most what has stolen your joy.  Your fire.  He will reveal it to you.  For me it was a self-seeking desire to fulfill my needs.  That desire became stronger to me than the desire my Jesus wanted for me.  But He will call you to His side.  He will answer the heart’s cry for understanding when you choose to seek him.  He promises us this in the book of James.  “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”. (James 4:8 NKJV)

Laodicea wasn’t pleasing to the Master and He said He would spit them out of His mouth.  They were not effective for the Kingdom of God.  Desire to be hot.  Desire to show others your fire.  After all, we know what fire does…it heats things up.  Cleanses and purifies.  Makes ready to be used for something very good and tasty.  Ooooh…like a cup of hot pumpkin flavored coffee!!!