Archives for posts with tag: love

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The Bible clearly tells us what Jehovah and his Son, Jesus Christ, will do about the suffering caused by Satan the Devil. “For this purpose the Son of God [Jesus] was made manifest,” declares the Bible, “to break up the works of the Devil.” (1 John 3:8) The present system of things based on greed, hatred, and wicked deeds will be broken up. As for “the ruler of this world”—Satan the Devil—Jesus promises that he “will be cast out.” (John 12:31) Without Satan’s influence, a righteous new world will be established, and this earth will become a peaceful place.—2 Peter 3:13.

What about those who stubbornly refuse to change their ways and who insist on doing bad things? Reflect on this straightforward promise: “Only the upright will reside in the earth, and the blameless will remain in it. As for the wicked, they will be cut off from the earth, and the treacherous will be torn away from it.” (Proverbs 2:21, 22) Gone will be the influence of wicked humans. Under such peaceful conditions, obedient humans will gradually be set free from inherited imperfection.—Romans 6:17, 18; 8:21.

In that new world, how will God eliminate badness? Not by nullifying the gift of free will and making humans robots. Rather, he will teach obedient humans his ways, helping them to turn around from harmful thoughts and actions.

God will remove all causes of suffering

What will God do about unforeseen calamities? He has promised that his Kingdom governmentwill shortly take control of the earth. The God-appointed King of that Kingdom is Jesus Christ, who has the power to cure the sick. (Matthew 14:14) Jesus also has the power to control the forces of nature. (Mark 4:35-41) Hence, gone will be the suffering caused by “time and unexpected events.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11) Under Christ’s rulership, no calamity will befall mankind.—Proverbs 1:33.

What about the millions of innocent people who have suffered tragic deaths? Shortly before bringing his friend Lazarus back to life, Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) Yes, Jesus has the power to resurrect, or bring back to life, those who have died!

If the idea of living in a world where bad things will not happen to good people appeals to you, why not make it your aim to learn more about the true God and his purpose by studying the Bible? Jehovah’s Witnesses in your area will be happy to help you to gain that knowledge. You have our warm invitation to contact them locally or to write to the publishers of this magazine.

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Memorial of Jesus’ Death

You are warmly invited to meet with us to observe the anniversary of Jesus’ death. Find a meeting location near you.

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You Are Invited

On the night before he died, Jesus instructed his disciples to commemorate the sacrifice that he was about to make. He told them: “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”—Luke 22:19.

In 2014, the anniversary of Jesus’ death falls on Monday, April 14, after sundown. Jehovah’s Witnesses invite you, your family, and your friends to come on that date to listen to a brief talk explaining why Jesus’ death is so important.

This free event will take place at a location near you.


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THE BIBLE CHANGES LIVES

The Promise of a Paradise Earth Changed My Life!

As told by Ivars Vigulis

  • YEAR BORN: 1974
  • COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: LATVIA
  • HISTORY: RISK-TAKING MOTORBIKE RACER
Ivars Vigulis as a motorcycle racer

MY PAST:

I was born in Riga, the capital of Latvia. My sister and I were raised by our mother. Although Mother is a Catholic, we only went to church on the religious holidays. I have always believed in a higher power, but as a youth, I was distracted by many other interests.

As I grew up, my mother noticed that I had a flair for taking things apart and putting them back together again. With so many things in the house that could be taken apart, she was always worried about leaving me home alone. So she gave me a metal construction kit, which I loved to put together and then tear apart. That interest went hand in hand with another passion of mine—motorbiking. My mother enrolled me in a motorbike race called Zelta Mopēds (The Golden Moped). I started racing with mopeds and, later, with motorcycles.

I was a quick learner and soon became very successful in this fast and dangerous sport. Three times I won the Latvian championship for several motorcycle-racing classes, and twice I won the Baltic States Championship.

HOW THE BIBLE CHANGED MY LIFE:

At the peak of my career, my girlfriend Evija (who later became my wife) came in contact with Jehovah’s Witnesses. She had found some of their literature, which contained a coupon for requesting a Bible study. She filled out the coupon and mailed it in. Soon, two Witnesses visited her, and she began to study the Bible with them. That was fine with me, but at the time, I didn’t have any great interest in spiritual things.

Later on, the Witnesses invited me to sit in on Evija’s Bible study and listen. I accepted the offer, and I liked what I heard. One thing that especially touched my heart was the Bible’s promise of a paradise earth. For example, I  was shown the passage at Psalm 37:10, 11, which says: “Just a little while longer, and the wicked will be no more; you will look at where they were, and they will not be there. But the meek will possess the earth, and they will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” That promise really appealed to me.

My spiritual interest continued to grow. I began to realize how many religious lies there are. In contrast, Bible teachings struck me as being refreshingly logical and clear.

As I continued to study the Bible, I learned how highly Jehovah values life and how precious it is to him. (Psalm 36:9) That had an impact on my racing—I no longer wanted to risk my life. Instead, I wanted to use my life to give glory to Jehovah. Therefore, the fame, the glory, and the thrill of motorcycle racing were no longer important to me.

I came to understand that I have a responsibility to the Giver of life

In 1996, I attended an international convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Tallinn, Estonia, not far away from the motor stadium where I had raced often. At the convention, I saw people from many different countries meeting together in harmony and peace. For example, when one of the Witnesses lost her purse, I assumed that she would never see it again. Before long, though, a Witness found the purse and returned it with nothing missing. I was in a state of shock! I now understood that the Witnesses really live by the high standards of the Bible. Evija and I continued to progress in our studies, and in 1997 we were baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Ivars Vigulis helps repair cars at the branch office

HOW I HAVE BENEFITED:

Some of my friends have died because of their wild, fast lives on motorcycles. From studying the Bible, I came to understand that I have a responsibility to the Giver of life, Jehovah. That understanding has probably saved my life.

For four years, Evija and I had the privilege of serving as full-time ministers at the branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Riga. Now we find joy in raising our daughter, Alise, and helping her grow to love Jehovah. I also have the privilege of spending a day each week at the translation office, repairing cars and other things that are broken. It makes me really happy to put the skills that I learned as a child to good use! Yes, I am still tearing things apart and then putting them back together again.

I highly value the privilege of witnessing about the only true God together with my family, all thanks to what I learned from the Bible. Indeed, the promise of a paradise earth changed my life!


 

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COVER SUBJECT

The War That Changed the World

A century ago, millions of young men left the security of their homes and went off to war. They went eagerly, swept along by a wave of patriotism. “I am happy and full of excitement over the wonderful days ahead,” wrote an American volunteer in 1914.

Soon, though, their enthusiasm turned to bitterness. No one foresaw the way those huge armies would get bogged down for years in the mud of Belgium and France. At the time, people termed it the “Great War.” Today, we know it as the first world war.

The first world war was decidedly great in terms of casualties. By some estimates, it left about 10 million dead and 20 million mutilated. It was also the result of great blunders. European statesmen were unable to stop international tensions from escalating into a global conflict. More important, perhaps, is the fact that the “Great War” left great scars. It changed the world in ways that still affect us today.

 MISTAKES THAT DESTROYED TRUST

The first world war broke out because of miscalculations. European leaders acted like a “generation of sleepwalkers that stumbled unawares over the ledge of doom during that halcyon summer of 1914,” explains the work The Fall of the Dynasties—The Collapse of the Old Order 1905-1922.

Within weeks, the assassination of an Austrian archduke plunged all the major European powers into a war that they did not want. “How did it all happen?” the German chancellor was asked a few days after hostilities began. “Ah, if only one knew,” he sadly replied.

The leaders who made the fateful decisions that led up to the war had no inkling of the consequences. But reality soon dawned on the soldiers in the trenches. They discovered that their statesmen had failed them, their clergy had deceived them, and their generals had betrayed them. How so?

A statesman, a clergyman, a general, and a globe

Their statesmen had failed them, their clergy had deceived them, and their generals had betrayed them

The statesmen promised that the war would open the way to a new and better world. The German chancellor proclaimed: “We are fighting for the fruits of our peaceful industry, for the inheritance of a great past, and for our future.” American President Woodrow Wilson helped to coin a reassuring popular slogan that the war would “make the world safe for democracy.” And in Britain, people thought it would be “a war to end war.” They were all mistaken.

The clergy supported the war enthusiastically. “The guardians of God’s word led the martial chorus. Total war came to mean total hatred,” states The Columbia History of the World. And clerics fanned rather than quenched the flames of hatred. “Clergymen were unable, and for the most part unwilling, to place Christian faith before nationality,” observes A History of Christianity. “Most took the easy way out and equated Christianity with patriotism. Christian soldiers of all denominations were exhorted to kill each other in the name of their Saviour.”

The generals promised a quick and easy victory, but it was not to be. Before long, the opposing armies came to a grueling stalemate. Thereafter, millions of soldiers faced what one historian described as “perhaps the cruelest large-scale ordeal that the flesh and spirit of man have endured.” Despite appalling losses, generals kept throwing their men against barricades of barbed wire and barrages of machine-gun fire. Not surprisingly, widespread mutinies broke out.

How did the first world war affect society? One historical work quotes a veteran as saying: “The war . . . scorched the minds and character of a generation.” Indeed, in the wake of that war, entire empires disappeared. That tragic conflict proved to be the prelude to the bloodiest century mankind has ever known. Revolutions and strikes came to seem almost commonplace.

Why did the war turn the world upside down? Was it really just a colossal accident? Do the answers reveal anything about our future?


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INTERVIEW | FENG-LING YANG

A Microbiologist Explains Her Faith

Feng-Ling Yang is a senior research assistant at the central research academy in Taipei, Taiwan. Her work has been published in scientific journals. She used to believe in the theory of evolution. But then she changed her mind. Awake! asked her about her science and her faith.

Tell us about your background.

My parents were very poor, and my mother never learned to read. We raised pigs and grew vegetables in a flood-prone area near the city of Taipei. My parents taught me the value of hard work, and they also taught me to help other people.

Was your family religious?

My family practiced Taoism. We made sacrifices to the “Heaven God,” but we didn’t know anything about him. I used to wonder: ‘Why do people suffer? Why are people selfish?’ I read books about Taoism and Buddhism and about Eastern and Western history. I even went to a couple of churches. But I couldn’t find answers to my questions.

Why did you study science?

I liked mathematics and was fascinated by the way physical and chemical laws govern the structure of things. Everything, from the immense universe to tiny microbes, has a structure that is controlled by rules. And I wanted to understand those rules.

Why did you believe the theory of evolution to be a fact?

I was taught nothing to the contrary. From junior high school through university, evolution was the only explanation I heard. And then because of being a researcher in a life science, I was expected to accept evolution.

Because I was a researcher in a life science, I was expected to accept evolution

What made you start reading the Bible?

I went to live in Germany in 1996 to start my postgraduate studies. The following year  I met a lady named Simone. She was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and she offered to show me the Bible’s answers to my questions. When she told me that the Bible explains the purpose of life, I was intrigued. I began getting up at half past four each morning to read the Bible for an hour. Then I would go for a walk to meditate. During the next year, I read the whole Bible. I was impressed by the accuracy of its prophecies. Gradually, I became convinced that the Bible is from God.

What were your thoughts about the origin of life?

Well, when I began giving this serious thought in the late 1990’s, molecular biologists were beginning to realize that the chemistry of life is much more elaborate than anyone had previously thought. Of course, scientists had long known that the proteins in living cells are the most chemically sophisticated molecules in existence. But now, they were discovering how whole assemblies of proteins are organized to form elegant machines with moving parts. A molecular machine might be composed of over 50 proteins. And even the simplest cell needs a collection of different machines—for example, to generate power, to duplicate information, and to control access across membranes.

What did you conclude?

Well, I asked myself, ‘How did those protein machines become so well engineered?’ At the time, the unexpected complexity of cell chemistry made a number of scientists ask the same question. A professor of biochemistry in the United States published a book arguing that the molecular machines in living cells are so complex that they could not have originated randomly. I agreed. I felt that life must have been created.

I asked myself, ‘How did those protein machines become so well engineered?’

Why did you become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses?

I was impressed that although Simone had health problems, she traveled some 35 miles (56 km) each week to teach me the Bible. I learned that during Germany’s Nazi era, some Witnesses were imprisoned in concentration camps for their political neutrality. Their courage deeply impressed me. The Witnesses’ love for God made me want to be like them.

Has believing in God benefited you?

My colleagues say that I’m happier now. I used to feel inferior because of my poor background, so I never told anyone where I grew up and never mentioned my parents. But I’ve learned from the Bible that God is not interested in social status. In fact, Jesus was raised in a family that was probably as poor as mine. Now I care for my parents and enjoy introducing them to my friends.


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Bible Questions Answered

What sort of person is God?

God is an invisible spirit person. He created the heavens, the earth, and all living things. No one created God—he had no beginning. (Psalm 90:2) God wants people to seek him and to know the truth about him.—Read Acts 17:24-27.

God is a person whom we can know by name. We can discern some of his qualities by contemplating the things he has made. (Romans 1:20) But to know God well, we need to study his Word, the Bible. It acquaints us with God’s loving personality.—ReadPsalm 103:7-10.

How does God feel about injustice?

Our Creator, Jehovah, hates injustice. And he created humans in his image. (Deuteronomy 25:16) That is why most of us hate injustice. The injustice around us is not God’s doing. God granted man free will. Sadly, many people misuse their free will and practice injustice. Jehovah’s heart is saddened.—Read Genesis 6:5, 6; Deuteronomy 32:4, 5.

Jehovah loves justice, and he will not forever tolerate injustice. (Psalm 37:28, 29) The Bible promises that soon God will bring all injustice to an end.—Read 2 Peter 3:7-9, 13.

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The Bible promises that God will soon provide justice for all

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Do you believe in the Bible’s promise of a resurrection? * The prospect of being reunited with our loved ones who have died is appealing, to say the least. But is it realistic to nourish such a hope? To help answer that, we do well to consider the example of the apostles of Jesus Christ.

The apostles firmly believed in the resurrection of the dead. Why? For at least two reasons. First, their hope was primarily based on this fact: Jesus himself had been raised from the dead. The apostles—and “more than 500 brothers at one time”—saw the resurrected Jesus. (1 Corinthians 15:6) Additionally, Jesus’ resurrection was widely attested to and accepted, as the four Gospels show.—Matthew 27:62–28:20; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-53; John 20:1–21:25.

Second, the apostles had witnessed Jesus carry out at least three resurrections—first at Nain, then at Capernaum, and finally at Bethany. (Luke 7:11-17; 8:49-56; John 11:1-44) The last of those resurrections, described earlier in this issue, involved a family especially close to Jesus. Let us look further at what happened.

“I AM THE RESURRECTION”

“Your brother will rise.” Jesus spoke those words to Martha, whose brother, Lazarus, had been dead for four days. Martha did not at first understand the meaning of Jesus’ words. “I know he will rise,” she responded, but she thought that it would be at some time in the future. Imagine her surprise when after hearing Jesus say, “I am the resurrection and the life,” she saw Jesus raise her brother from the dead!—John 11:23-25.

Where was Lazarus during the four days after his death? Lazarus said nothing to suggest that he had been alive somewhere else during those four days. No, Lazarus did not have an immortal soul that had gone to heaven. By resurrecting Lazarus, Jesus did not bring him back down to earth, dragging him away from enjoying heavenly bliss in a place near to God. So where was Lazarus during those four days? He was, in fact, asleep in the grave.—Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10.

Remember, Jesus compared death to a sleep from which one is awakened by resurrection. The account reads: “‘Lazarus our friend has fallen asleep, but I am traveling there to awaken  him.’ The disciples then said to him: ‘Lord, if he is sleeping, he will get well.’ Jesus, however, had spoken about his death. But they imagined he was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly: ‘Lazarus has died.’” (John 11:11-14) By resurrecting Lazarus, Jesus gave him back his life and reunited him with his family. What a marvelous gift Jesus gave to that family!

The resurrections Jesus performed when on earth were a foregleam of what he will do in the future as King of God’s Kingdom. * During his rule over the earth, the heavenly Jesus will bring back to life those humans who are asleep in mankind’s common grave. That is why he said: “I am the resurrection.” Think of the happiness you will feel when you see your loved ones again! Think, too, of the joy that resurrected ones will experience!—Luke 8:56.

Think of the happiness you will feel when you see your loved ones again!

FAITH FOR EVERLASTING LIFE

Jesus said to Martha: “The one who exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; and everyone who is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all.” (John 11:25, 26) Those whom Jesus resurrects during his thousand-year reign will have the prospect of living forever—as long as they truly put faith in him.

“The one who exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life.”—John 11:25

After making those remarkable statements about the resurrection, Jesus asked Martha a soul-searching question: “‘Do you believe this?’ She said to him: ‘Yes, Lord, I have believed that you are the Christ, the Son of God.’” (John 11:26, 27) What about you—would you like to develop the kind of faith in the resurrection hope that Martha had? A first step is to take in knowledge of God’s purpose for humankind. (John 17:3; 1 Timothy 2:4) Such knowledge can lead to faith. Why not ask Jehovah’s Witnesses to show you what the Bible teaches about this subject? They will be happy to discuss with you the marvelous hope of the resurrection.