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Christian Living and Character Transformation

Transformation is the essence of the Christian life. Knowledge, service, worship, and praise are only tools to be used to this end.

The process of transformation of character is an individual matter. As no two parts of the human body are exactly alike, and as no two stones for Solomon’s Temple were chiseled as duplicates of each other, so each member of the body of Christ, each member of the spiritual temple, is prepared by the Lord for a unique future role.

While there have been hundreds of books written on how to live the Christian life, none of these can serve as a universal “how to” guide. Even the Law which God gave to Moses did not cover every detail of life. Its principles had to be interpreted and applied on an individual basis. The best that can be said is that writings on how to be transformed are only an examination of the principles that each individual needs to adapt to his own life.

It is with this understanding that THE HERALD undertakes this current issue on the theme of Christian Living. Each author probes one or another aspect of the application of the Bible to personal experiences.

Love finds its expression, not so much in great deeds of sacrifice, but in little daily manifestations of one’s feeling of affection for another. The opening article, That Which Is Least, examines the attributes of love listed by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, showing how these can be applied in the small and mundane matters of life.

Of all the characteristics which God desires in his people, perhaps the most important is unquestioning obedience. “To obey is better than sacrifice” were God’s words through Samuel to Saul, the first king of Israel (1 Samuel 15:22). In Obedience and Sacrifice, the author harmonizes these two requirements for those who would be acceptable to God.

The article entitled Prayer looks at the various aspects of how a Christian communicates with God and the advantages received from developing a regular, full, and deep life of prayer and worship. Few symbols of prayer are more recognizable than Albrecht Dürer’s famous etching The Praying Hands. The story behind this etching follows the article on prayer.

While the development of character is the prime responsibility, it does not diminish the desire of God for his servants to be active in a life of service as well. Acceptable Servicegives a number of suggestions of how we can employ our time and talents in spreading the news of our Creator and his glorious plan to those around us.

For a Christian’s day to go well, it must start well. If the earliest thoughts of the morning hour are spent in getting our hearts into a spiritual frame of mind, the experiences of the day will be interpreted in line with such morning devotions. A Quiet Time With Godsuggests a seven-minute spiritual warm-up for each day of our lives.

Few chapters in Holy Writ are more specific to the application of Christian principles to daily life than the twelfth chapter of the book of Romans. Our verse-by-verse Bible study feature entitled The Sanctified Life examines all the verses of this chapter.

Those who have preceded us into death often have left behind valuable lessons from their Christian lives. Our “Echoes from the Past” feature entitled Doing God’s Will is taken from notes of Benjamin Barton, a faithful saint who died in 1916.

While there are hundreds of other topics of importance in the process of spiritual transformation, space limits us to just these few. We trust that this admittedly small sampling of the Bible’s principles for transforming our lives may encourage us to put them into practice. In the words of David, after all had been provided for building the temple, “Who then is willing toconsecrate his service this day unto the LORD?” (1 Chronicles 29:5).

Read more this issue on Christian living by clicking here:

15 comments to Christian Living and Character Transformation

  • Raj

    Thanks sister Jacqueline for recognize me. I am wondering how quick you are giving replies and taking care other people concerns with spiritual knowledge.

    • Jacqueline

      Raj, this has been a busy week. A Nazarene church wanted to help me heal when I was coming out of the witnesses and my family was acting insane as if I left God. Well the friend and her family had a severe tragedy while I was attending the convention. Her son and their grandson died, the result of a car versus motorcycle. I spent hours Sunday comforting the mother, Monday I visited the site and there were young people there that needed to know if he was looking on. So it has been a busy week.
      This weekend I will be in our Bible Student booth at the Indianapolis State Fair so I will miss the 1914 weekend study and possibly the Poland International convention as it will air on adobeconnect at night. Hopefully you can attend the weekend adobeconnect on 1914. It will be posted here on this site.http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/2014/08/04/listen-live-to-a-bible-student-convention-topic-1914-and-the-times-of-the-gentiles-august-9-10-2014/

  • Daz

    Hi Jacqueline, hope you are well & enjoyed the covention, thankyou for your reply, as usual you make alot of sense, good point regarding Jesus’ birth & Job’s son.
    My wife & I have always felt sad for not celebrating our sons birthdays. Maybe it’s time to break the chains regarding non celebration of birthdays & start celebrating them again. I am all for celebrating Jesus’ birth but not sure that celebrating it at Christmas time is right, just my own feeling on it. I find Christmas in most respects quite false & many people in the world sadly don’t really bother relating it to Jesus at all. Materialism has taken over & self indulgence. For me Christmas time has been a time when see most of my family get drunk & fight. Many people see it as even more of an excuse to get totally smashed by drinking alcohol in excess.

  • Daz

    Hi everyone, hope you are all well!
    I have been thinking, it says at 1:John-2:15 it tells us not to be part of the world or love anything in it. Isn’t celebrating Christmas, birthdays & man made traditions part of loving what’s in the world or part of the world? This has been bothering me as we made the decision a few years ago not to celebrate Christmas, birthdays, valentines, Mother’s day, Father’s day etc. This is due to what we learned whilst studying with Jw’s for many years. I do agree that we shouldn’t celebrate certain traditional things that the majority of the world do celebrate. I have researched a few things & they do seem to be pegan related somewhere down the line, so should we not stay away from these celebrations??

    Warm & loving regards,
    Daz

    • Jacqueline

      Hi Daz, I am sure others will answer but Job’s sons celebrated their day. The greatest birthday celebration I know about is Jesus’ birthday. Shepherds went and Angels singed. WOW! And precious gifts were brought to see them on their way to Egypt. Also guided to his son months after the birth. The Jews were in expectations and looking for the birth of this baby.
      The GB controls and all have birthdays. It makes you stand out as different but for the wrong reasons. It control began with little children and by the time they are teenagers they are in subjection to additional rules added to the bible. Man didn’t make birthdays nor make followers turn their attention to Jesus whether it is Dec or Jan 6th. Just my take and BTW SOME JW have always celebrated birthdays in every cong. Just frowned on but no biblical prohibition exist. It is a smokescreen so you won’t dig into whether scripture application and explanation makes sense. Just my take on it.

      • Daz

        Hi Jacqueline, just getting back to the birthday subject, you quoted the account of Job’s son celebrating his day but looking into job it seems Job himself didn’t attend these celebrations which involved drinking wine & feasting. The day after these celebrations Job would offer a sacrifice to Jehovah & ask for forgiveness for his son as he was affraid that he son may have sinned. This kinda gave me the impression that Job himself didn’t really agree with the celebration.

        Warm & loving regards,
        Daz

        • Jacqueline

          Daz, the celebration isn’t the subject in all the birthday celebrations. Jehovah is really talking about something else in every occasion I think. For instance a person might say at the kingdom hall this person did this. At another kingdom hall an elder did something. At a kingdom hall in Africa an elder or someone did something. It is not the Kingdom Hall but what was done. If gangs are fighting on Buses or in high school is it the high school or the bus or is it the fighting of the gangs. Would buses be banned? would high schools be banned. You notice Jesus said nothing about the birthday in John’s instance. It seems with those familiar with the JW we would tend to look at the event but no one else would. We are conditioned when really Br. Rutherford was just trying to control individuals.
          Don’t get me wrong if a person doesn’t want to celebrate birthdays for whatever reason it should be their personal conviction and no one should judge them because Jehovah doesn’t mention it.
          The GB says the leanings of Jehovah is what we see in the birthday scriptures. But he normally says what he means. I probably could find some things Jehovah said and the leanings of what he might have meant would be absurd. Some persons not JW don’t celebrate xmas as they are Muslim or some other religion and some Christians don’t and may celebrate only milestone birthdays.
          In the large picture to me it doesn’t matter as God never specifically forbid it and it being put out as an identifying mark of what a Christian is not what Jesus said. Love among yourselves identifies.
          I noticed quite early in my journey that the GB focuses on minor personal issues but don’t go deep into scripture or put Jesus in the right place.
          I hope you understand my thoughts on this, if it was an identifying mark surely he would be clearer on the wedding ring, blood transfusion (liquid organ transplant) annual wedding anniversaries, cremation was forbidden, organ transplants at one time but none of this has anything to do with the Divine Plan it just controls individuals and conditions them not to think for themselves. My take on it. Jacqueline

          • Daz

            Hi Jacqueline, I hope you are well. I really hope I didn’t offend you in any way by questioning the Job reference & if I did then I sincerely apologise as it wasn’t my intention to do so. My wife & I had a discussion about this & both she & myself just want to make sure we are doing the right thing, we just want to do our best to please Jehovah & Jesus.
            When Jesus said that we should not be any part of the world did he mean not to follow man made traditions as part of that command? I am just trying to seek answers, I hope you understand & I appreciated your reply & understood your view so thankyou kindly.

            Warm & loving regards,
            Daz

            • Jacqueline

              Daz, don’t ever think I am offended at anything you say, we are brothers and Christians in Christ. I know where you are coming from having been a witness myself for 61yrs. My role on the site is to bring it from a witness standpoint as Bible Students can’t really fully understand such an experience. They have always had freedom and liberty in Christ and have made decisions on all personal matters. I was visiting after the convention this week with a BS and a couple came over. They can’t imagine or conceive wondering if you should do this or that. The male is the head of the home but we as witnesses had a bunch of other men over our husbands. Notice the bible doesn’t say that, you and your wife should make your decision. Some witnesses and my relatives have celebrated in a small way birthdays but my relative didn’t invite witness children it was the kids at the school only. So you see the problem with this? Also some witnesses with one relative not a witness have always had a Christmas tree even and celebrated birthdays and all holidays. I have always cooked a turkey and the trimmings on Thanksgivings and everyone else almost at our KH as it was time for family to get together. My children with family come home on the holidays. I went home when my mom was alive.
              It is about control not really an issue only in the eyes of a witness.
              What the truth is about Armaggeddon should be an issue, what the truth is about the great crowd should be an issue, what the truth is about the heavenly calling should be an issue. THE TRUTH ABOUT JESUS AND THE RANSOM should be a BIG issue but instead a witness focuses on birthdays.
              I speak to sort of get you to understand what is happening. Being organized is fine but having an organization with bylaws and additional laws to the bible causes you to get away from God.
              The Pharisees and Sanhedrin had done this same thing when Jesus came the first time. He had been there for thirty years and only a few people knew he had come already until the last three years.
              With me being a witness for so long and my family we don’t have an issue celebrating birthdays but most of us acknowledge certain milestone dates like 10, 16 you get to drive etc.
              In fact if witnesses would tell the truth we do observe birthdays just not to the extent as other people. I don’t think it has anything to do with being a part or not of the world this is family. The GB always seem to do things that divide families, witness versus non witness family shouldn’t have divisions by us but only on issues of wrong.
              I know the struggle you and your wife are having, I have been there but THANKS TO THE MERCY OF GOD, I have dealt with these issues and no longer have the witness mindset, but I understand your mental inside struggle. It is your decision and if your children don’t care it to me isn’t necessary to do it. But YOU and your WIFE are the head of your household.
              You feel free to talk freely with me and any on this site as we are here to work this thing through with our GOD and CHRIST and the word in mind in all our doings.
              I am a therapist and I talk, that is what I do for a living. LOL You could never offend me, no matter what you say, I have heard a lot and most are not as gracious as yourself. They spit it out. LOL

              PS: I wanted to add, that remember we are not talking about anything Jehovah specifically condemns (ie Jesus said nothing at John’s death, a great time to teach) but rather religious preference by the organization and it’s body. It makes JW stand out for the wrong reason in my opinion but maybe not everyone’s.

              • Daz

                Hi Jacqueline, thankyou so much for kindly replying, it really helped me see it from another angle regarding what you said. I so please I did not offend you in any way,
                God bless!

                Warm & loving regards,
                Daz

                • Jacqueline

                  Daz notice the article I posted, isn’t it something that birthdays etc are mentioned also. It shows that is a good conditioning and controlling tool as everybody has one. There is no need opposing anything that only a few people practice, like wedding rings, anniversaries etc. They are too old to condition them by then. The men that Br. Rutherford surrounded himself with was ones from the army that was to help him get all joining their structure to walk and behave as one like the army. You read the formation of the org or hear the stories of the now deceased one and it helps you understand.
                  Now if you stand back at a distance without fear of retribution and you will see that being organized is not a problem but having an organization that calls itself religion also is the problem.
                  Jehovah and Jesus are religion, the organization is an usurping of their Divine arrangement. You are on a walk that a lot of us are traveling, but these experiences makes us somehow more fit to help Jesus as he will shortly bring all things into subjection to him. Offending me, you might be one of the first. I have been trained and conditioned to not let anything a client says be personal, no matter, for we are all captives on this spaceship earth together and on this site we have been captives to a concept of an earthly establishment of the Kingdom of God now. One run not by Jesus but a self proclaimed governing body. And that is what we are trying to level out from. As a male with other males over your wife children and family, there will be conflict. Many JW males however have given up their right as Esau did, letting others run the intimate details of their family. Take Care Daz and Tell your wife hello for us. Jacqueline

                  PS: A lot of this is my personal opinion and the way I see it, it does not reflect the thoughts of others but mine only.

                  • Raj

                    Hi Sister Jacqueline, some times I felt your answers are replica of my true feelings. Even though you are giving answers to individuals those are helping to others to make their own decisions.

                    • Jacqueline

                      Raj it is so true that we all seem to have the same thoughts and experiences. That let’s us know it is not our imagination.
                      We are so glad you commented on the site. Our long talk was so uplifting. The brothers commenting on this site will understand what you say if you share here. I know it is more difficult to write another language than it is to read and speak it but all will understand.
                      Your experience is extraordinary. We would love for you to tell it but I will tell some as I know it is difficult and takes time for you to write.
                      Raj is baptized witness since 1959 his mother in law is a witness, his wife is Lutheran and his father is baptist. (correct if some is wrong Raj).
                      Raj is on his spiritual journey to think for himself and look at the Bible with his eyes and the aid of the Helper that Jesus promised. He realizes the truth of the Bride of Christ but have to prove to himself about the Great Crowd whether earthly or heavenly.
                      Having a unique circumstance of different religions in his household has not made it hard because his relatives are believers in Christ Jesus also. That is a blessing for him.
                      I am sure the brothers will welcome you and greet you here as you need encouragement and to talk with persons that have had a witness experience. We have such ones commenting here now.
                      You take Care my brother and enjoy the association here. In Christ Jacqueline

    • Peter K. (admin)

      Daz,

      1 Cor 10 and Romans 14 show that we should not behave in a way that stumbles our brother to violates his conscience. Paul says that it is okay to eat meat offered to idols. It is just meat. However, if it stumbles our brother, we should refrain.

      Now isn’t meat offered to idols related to pagan worship? And yet Paul says it is okay to eat it.

      Probably we are buying products from companies that support immortal views.

      The point is that if we are not engaging in pagan worship or immortal acts, etc. then we are okay. So on the Sunday after the Memorial, if you want to discuss Jesus’ resurrectuon, this is not the same as pagan worship of Easter. You are celebrating Jesus, not a pagan goddess.

      However, if it bothers your conscience then do not participate.

      Here are some Bible verses to think about.

      Colossians 2:16 ASV
      Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a sabbath day:

      Romans 14:4-5 ASV
      Who art thou that judgest the servant of another? to his own lord he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be made to stand; for the Lord hath power to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let each man be fully assured in his own mind.

      Romans 14:13-14 ASV
      Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge ye this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock in his brother’s way, or an occasion of falling. I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself: save that to him who accounteth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

      • Daz

        Hi Peter, thankyou for your reply also, much appreciated. You made some very valid points & some great scriptual references so thanks again for that. I guess like you said, it’s a matter of one’s conscience.

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