fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

Christmas Through My Eyes

I introduced my friend Sharon Leasure earlier this month with her story of how unconditional love was displayed to her one Christmas when her father took the time to find the lost eye glasses of her beloved Mrs. Beasley doll. He had to dig through several garbage bags to find the glasses. This past year, Sharon’s heavenly Father began helping her unpack the bags of garbage in which she’d lost pieces of herself. For 30 years Sharon read the New World Translation of the Bible published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, but did not know her Savior. Now that she has been away from the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses for one year and her eyes have been unveiled as a precious, new born baby in Christ , she invites us to see Christmas through her eyes…

Christmas Through My Eyes by Sharon Leasure

In June of 1980 as I studied the bible with my Jehovah’s Witness aunt I began to learn the evils of Christmas and why it should be a holiday to avoid. Unlike all the other holidays this was the hardest of all to give up. I knew I wanted to live on a Paradise earth for all eternity and would do what I had to so I could achieve this goal. I was convinced that because Jesus was not born in Christmas thru new eyesDecember it would be dishonoring Him to recognize His birth on that day. However it never entered my mind to ask why we don’t celebrate it in October. I was taught to believe that the three wise men were men hated by Jehovah. Also Jesus was around two years old when they came, not an infant in a manger. So the whole nativity scene was wrong and to be a part of it would to be a part of a lie. Who is the father of the lie? Satan, so it would be Satan that we would be worshiping. Christmas is being celebrated on the same day as the Sun God thus being connected to pagan worship. I had so many reasons now to avoid this holiday and look down on those that did. I began pitting them for their lack of knowledge, if they only knew the truth. What a horrible holiday!

Soon I became a mother of two and wanted to raise them so that they too would please Jehovah in all they do. Deep inside I struggled and cried in silence as the holidays came. I really wanted to give Christmas to my children, but the consequences were much too high to pay. So I convinced myself that I was doing what was right in Jehovah’s eyes. As the boys entered school I struggled with this secretly in my heart, praying that Jehovah would forgive me for such feelings. When the season approached each year my stomach would get butterflies, I became embarrassed at the response I had to give to: Are you ready for Christmas? I felt like I had to give a response even if I didn’t want to because if I didn’t I would be proving I was embarrassed about being a servant of Jehovah. As the Christmas carols filled the stores with joy and cheer I couldn’t help but wonder how much of Satan’s world am I taking in, after all he is an angel of light. I believed what I had to believe to get by, thus I believed Jesus was Michael the Arch Angel.

One day the truth about Jesus was reveled. Oh what a glorious King He is! King of Kings, Lord of Lords, mighty God, my strength, my Rock, Prince of Peace and my Redeemer!! He is this and so much more, His love is everlasting no conditions. I don’t have to keep working at doing things so as not to fall out of favor with Him. When all else fails He is there for me, He will never leave me stranded, nor neglect me, He will never let me fall. I have come to know the most wonderful person in the universe. I never saw before the majestic power He has and how He uses it guide us along this weary path called life. When I hate myself He loves me still, when I cry He holds each tear because each tear has meaning and value, it belongs to Him. He is gentle with me when I am not. When I am not deserving of Grace, He pours it out on me like refreshing rain on a hot summer day. He is so new and fresh to me, I am tasting Him for the very first time. I can feel His loving arms wrap around my beaten down body. I never before knew the God that I served as a God of compassion and mercy. Who is this one called Jesus and why should He care for me? To know the REAL Jesus is like the river that flows through my veins and brings blood to my heart and life to my soul. I am so overwhelmed by His unconditional love for me. Just to think I have been redeemed is a reality so hard to grasp, yet He gives it without any reservations. For years I have worked so hard and it was never good enough I was never going to have salvation, I would eventually tire out and fade away being left a failure. No more condemnation is the gift that has been given me. If I were the only one on earth Jesus would have still come down and died for me.

So this Christmas season I no longer listen to the lies that I have heard for so long. I now listen to the voice of truth. I am starting my life fresh and new I am starting to live a life that is led by my Savior, my King and my Redeemer.

This is why I choose to celebrate Christmas, to bring glory and honor to the one who is deserving of such praise.

By Sharon Leasure 12/13/13

December 19, 2013 Posted by | Expressions, Watchtower Society | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Christmas Through My Eyes

Lost and Found

Lost and Found by Julie McAllen

As 2013 comes to a close, I am reflecting on the highlights of the year. One that stands out was my trip to Pennsylvania to attend the 35th annual Witnesses Now For Jesus Conference. You are welcome to read about that adventure here: http://4witness.org/put-me-on-a-trip-the-35th-annual-witnesses-now-for-jesus-conference/

Luke 15:10 tells us there is JOY in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents, and that is why going to this conference for FORMER Jehovah’s Witnesses is the highlight of my year. To hear the testimonies of those whom God calls out of darkness and into the light of His kingdom is pure joy.

Why do I rejoice with those angels over each sinner who repents? Because a new creation is now set free to do the work prepared in advance for them (Ephesians 2:8-10). Like a parent of a newborn baby anticipating what that child might become, I love to watch what gifts will be revealed in each new creation of God. The Watchtower has not just lost another slave, the world has gained another gift from above in every newborn child of God. I am thankful for that. 

It was at that conference where I met Sharon, a former member of the Watchtower Society now set free by God’s grace. I liked her right away. I came to know her sense of humor and was thankful there was another kook in the crowd who could appreciate lost dentures and doggie doo doo, but I didn’t know she had the heart of a writer until recently when I read her Christmas memory posted on Facebook. I suggested she get a blog and she replied “what’s a blog?”  Oh dear, she’s been lost selling someone else’s magazines too long, but now she’s found.

With her permission, and my great joy, may I introduce to you my friend and first time blogger, Sharon Maguire Leasure.

Lost by Sharon Maguire Leasure

It was the Christmas of 1967, I was eight years old. I was a huge fan of “Family Affair” where there was a single father raising three chilldren, twins, Buffy and Jody along with their older sister nicknamed Sissy. They had a tough exterior male maid named Mr. French who adored the children even when his patience was running thin. Buffy had a doll who was a grandmother type, with gray hair and granny glasses. Her name was Mrs. Beasley, oh how I wanted that doll! This was the Christmas I got my very own Mrs. Beasley doll. I was so excited it was all that I wanted. By the time all the presents were opened and the wrapping paper was stuffed in trash bags I let out a shrieking scream that only an eight year old girl could make. My dad came running into the room to see me clutching my doll and crying non-stop. I looked up at him and cried, “Mrs. Beasley’s glasses are gone!” BeasleyWell my dad being the loving and caring father that he was immediately took to looking for them. He looks around the room to no avail. Then he glanced over to the six bags of trash, took a deep sigh and then dug in. He took every piece of paper out of the bag and flattened it to make sure those small glasses where not hiding. No glasses. He went on to the next bag and the next until he emptied the sixth bag and there were my dolls glasses. My dad became my hero that day. His actions showed just what a fathers love really means. He didn’t brush it off or scold me; instead he showed patience and grace to a broken hearted little girl that he cherished so very much. Now I am all grown up and as a Christian I look to my heavenly Father who also shows patience and grace to me now. I showed up lost and crying, I brought with me my bags of trash. I brought to Him the bag of insecurities, a bag of doubt, and a bag of worthlessness. I even brought Him a bag of hate and distrust. I had a bag with all these tiny pieces in it that once made up my heart. I gave it to Him, “here you go take it and see what you can find. I know I am in there but I am so lost I may never be found.” Oh what a loving Father. He took each of the bags I gave Him and went through each one as if it were so very fragile. He lifted each piece inside the bag with gentleness as if every piece had value. Then something wonderful happened. Amongst all that trash that He so lovingly took care of was a tiny little bag, it was hidden from sight as if it was never meant to be bothered with. On the bag was a label that read, MY CHILD. Inside the bag was me, He picked me up like a porcelain doll and placed me in the palm of His hands. He said “For there is no one in heaven or on earth that will snatch you from the palm of my hand. You will never again be lost.” John 10:28-29 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.

Thank you to Sharon Maguire Leasure for permission to share this. Thank you to our readers for your encouragement throughout 2013. Thank you and praise to Jesus Christ our reigning Lord, Savior and King who sets hearts free!

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

December 9, 2013 Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions, Uncategorized, Watchtower Society | , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Woman Ought To Know Her Place

A Woman Ought To Know Her Place by Julie McAllen

When you think of those whom God called to deliver His people, who comes to mind? Perhaps Moses or prophets such as Jeremiah or Isaiah? Have you ever considered that even during old covenant days, Jehovah had raised up a WOMAN to deliver His people?

When the man Haman was appointed to a noble position during the reign of king Ahasuerus in Persia, he persuaded the king to agree to his scheme of killing the Jews, and it was a woman, Queen Esther, who’d been put in position to say something about it.

Female warriorBoth Haman and Esther were considered to have some authority in the Persian kingdom over which Ahasuerus ruled. Haman had been promoted by man to his position and thus sought the glory from man, but Esther had been appointed by God for the glory of God. When king Ahasuerus commanded all subjects to bow to Haman and Mordecai refused to fall at his feet, Haman decided to do away with the Jews because he knew it was their dedication to Jehovah God that prohibited Mordecai from rendering worship to man (Ps 146:3). Haman, thus became known as “the enemy of the Jews” at that time (Est 3:10). But Esther had been promoted by God to have influence in the kingdom for “such a time as this” when she learned through her uncle Mordecai that her people were in danger.

“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Est 4:13)

Like Haman, Esther had great privileges within the kingdom and her royal position as Queen. What would she do? Would she protect her privileged position and seek the glory of men or recognize her calling for the glory of God?

The reaction of these two people placed in authority over a worldly kingdom teaches us about our own position in the kingdoms over which we’ve been appointed.

Haman, knowing his favored position expected all in the kingdom to bow to him. He was not concerned with any other will than his own. And every time he saw that Jew Mordecai subjecting himself to God by the action of not bowing down to a man, it aggravated him to no end. He had it all, but the one thing he didn’t have was Mordecai’s act of worship. How did he respond to this?

9 Haman went out that day happy and in high spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home.
Calling together his friends and Zeresh, his wife, 11 Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials. 12 “And that’s not all,” Haman added. “I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow.
(Est 5:9-12)

This reminded me of oppressive rulers who seek glory for themselves and not God. When anyone doubts or questions their authority, they are compelled to promote themselves more and God less in an effort to protect their own empire like Haman who was appointed by man to receive honor by men. But not all bow to them when they say “kneel.”

13 But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.” (Est 5:13)

So what is their course? In the case of the religion I was once under, the Watchtower Society, it is to haul those who disagree with them into a judicial hearing, and if they refuse to obey them as the ultimate authority, they remove them from fellowship. And they don’t stop there, they also instill a fear of former members by calling them “mentally diseased” (7/15/11 Watchtower magazine) and feed the remaining enslaved flock with messages designed to keep them fearful and to “beware of apostates.” They are much like Haman who so desired the worship of Mordecai to be shifted from the true God Jehovah to himself that he would rather see an opponent dead than not bowing to him. Nothing delights a man more than that his enemies be put to death.

14 His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Have a pole set up, reaching to a height of fifty cubits, and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai impaled on it. Then go with the king to the banquet and enjoy yourself.” This suggestion delighted Haman, and he had the pole set up. (Est 5:14)

How different the Spirit of God is from this, for He does not seek to kill those who do not bow to Him, rather He lays down His own life for them (Ro 5:6-11). This is how you can tell who is operating under the authority given by man or who has been promoted by God to a position of authority. God’s Spirit moved Esther to use her royal position in a different manner than Haman. When Mordecai sent word to Esther about the danger of God’s people, she did not protect her cushy position by remaining silent and allow her people to perish. She knew her time had come and therefore relied upon her God for strength in the dangerous assignment of confronting the worldly king knowing it could lead to her own death. Her first resource to be sought was prayer.

15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (Est 4:15-16)

The faithful and discreet among them fasted and prayed trusting that a deliverer was being raised up while the followers of man supported the killing of God’s people. I thought about those among Jehovah’s Witnesses sitting in Kingdom Halls and Assemblies today who by their silence agree with policies that support unnecessary and harmful separation from friends and family and even death by not allowing blood in obedience to the Watchtower’s command. They do not trust the God they claim to follow enough to protect them in any confrontation with those they know to be wrong. They remain in a comfort zone thinking they are securing their place in the kingdom. In contrast, the followers of Jesus Christ are to be salt and light not hidden and trampled on by men. God’s people are called out to be as Mordecai who openly defied men who demanded worship for themselves (Matt 5:12-16).

The men of oppressive rule love it when their members tremble in fear before them, but neither Mordecai or Esther gave concern for their own lives in the face of ungodly worship directed at men. Though some who’ve been hurt by  the religion of the Watchtower Society may have silently faded away, that’s not what bothers the leaders there. It’s the one’s who in plain view worship the God of the universe and proclaim His reign instead of giving such an organization the praise that they are targeting. The men at the top of the Watchtower have trained their trembling and obedient flock to not only hate and fear such vocal apostates, but also to condemn and curse the spirit-born church who have been worshiping Jesus since He first made Himself known–which was long before any Bible students or Watchtower Bible and Tract Society appeared. While the Watchtower continues to brag up themselves to draw men to their religion, Christians lift up Jesus Christ to draw men to HIM (John 12:32) for He was the one who in humility gave up His royal position and laid down His life to become our Great Deliverer. Esther displayed this same Spirit in stepping out of her royal robes on behalf of her people. If we’ve been so privileged to be clothed in the royal garment of Christ, then we ought to know our place and proclaim by word and demonstration that we will not bow to oppressive, man-made religions either, for who knows, we may have attained royalty for such a time as this!

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

June 29, 2013 Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions, Uncategorized, Watchtower Society | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Woman Ought To Know Her Place

   

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