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Thomas Walker

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Thomas Walker last won the day on February 22

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About Thomas Walker

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    Matt
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    Australia
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  1. ...But still hasn't fixed the Favorites problem. Every time I send a backup of my Personal Study notes from my device to my Computer, I lose all my favorites. (The computer doesn't have all the media stored locally.)
  2. It was a White Supremacy attack. We know, because it was livestreamed to Facebook and YouTube. (They have since taken it down). The man who planned the Attack was apparently Australian, so there's another investigation going on over here. If he planned this in my country, he might have confederates. Four have been arrested, three men, and one woman. The body count is now over 40. It's the biggest shooting in NZ for thirty years. Christchurch is still trying to rebuild from the earthquake that levelled the place; so this is really kicking them when they're down. Brothers and Sisters in NZ, please know that your cousins here in Oz are thinking of you. I know we're all neutral on this forum, but the 'Spirit of the Anzacs' does extend somewhat to everyone in Australia.
  3. There are many variables in this story. To me, the three most important ones are: 1) Is any of it true? Torture has never been an effective means at gaining information. You tell your interrogators what they want to hear. That's why it's worse than illegal, and immoral: It's stupid, too. If our brother decided to tell them whatever they wanted to hear, then who knows what the facts actually were. It makes no practical difference to other JW's in Russia. They're ignoring their own laws as it suits them. If they decide to go after a random citizen they think is a JW, they don't need evidence or 'just cause'. They haven't had any evidence, or needed any. Not so far. They're under no obligation to tell the truth to their own people. And if they beat the words they wanted to hear out of an innocent civilian, it's only more evidence of where they stand in this debate. It's far more illuminating about them, than it could ever be about where our brother puts his faith. 2) Standing Firm. We had our Circuit Assembly this weekend, and the Baptism talk was on the topic of 'We are not the sort that shrink back'. He made the point that 'chickening out' in the face of a bad day, or an intimidating environment, doesn't mean we're 'shrinking back'. When we tell stories about the brothers in the Camps during WW2, we're all proud of how 'a'most none' of us signed on the dotted line to go free. But that 'Almost' is still relevant. I remember reading at least one experience of a sister who signed away her faith, regretted it, and took it back afterward; rededicating herself totally in regret to the one moments she couldn't hold out. I know this is the part we're all concerned about. We always say 'God won't let us be pushed beyond our limits'. So when we hear a story like this, we wonder about ourselves. There are numerous cases of the Giants of our faith being near-suicidal over bad days. But when Elijah cried for death, the Angel was right there at his elbow instantly. When Jonah thought he was going to be lynched, God's voice was the next sound he heard. If a parent tells their child a lie, and then hits that little kid until they say it's truth; that doesn't make the parent right. It doesn't even mean the kid has changed his mind. God knows the difference, and certainly the Brothers do. Most of us won't experience this kind of outright opposition until the End of this story. And speaking for myself, that's the scary part: That if it happens to us, and we can't hold out? Will we still be able to make it right again, with that little time to go? To that, I say this: Satan challenged Jesus. Why would he bother? Because when Satan made his tempting offers, Jesus was human, and hungry, and alone. Satan was gambling that there's a difference between being faithful to God when at his right hand in heaven, and being faithful while strung up on a stake. When Tribulation breaks out, the Weight of the World will be dialled up a few degrees harder than anything else before. But so will God's counter-moves. And we do know which side has a history of winning. Which brings us to: 3) God's still got this. There are numerous examples of our brothers going into hiding, and having that moment where the soldiers are looking directly at them, but see nothing. Nowhere in the bible did god have a perfect plan, that one of his own people messed up in a moment of weakness when under major trial. It's odd to think it, but the Congregation has larger rifts and struggles when there's arguments and gossip than when it's under direct attack. We can't imagine what this brother is going through right now, and having these reports going international as a result isn't going to make it any easier for him. There's a difference between being broken and being defeated. But God has a special knack for fixing broken things; and a special love for broken people. Now, more than ever, this man is in God's keeping.
  4. Thanks for the kind words, Brother. And of course you can share this with anyone you feel could use it. That's rather the point of the Forum; and the Brotherhood in general.
  5. I always liked the idea that God would do something nice and let my cat live forever with me. Something that occurred to me was that Animals, and all of Nature is part of Jehovah's creation. Wonders, and beauty, and creativity, and cooperation, and sustainability. We dwell a lot on how Satan seeks to devour us, but if his hatred extends to everything that God loves, then cruelty to animals is part of Satan's war against the Beloved Creation of Jehovah. 60% of all living species have been wiped out in the last 50 years. Satan's Last Days is devouring everything. Millions of animals never see the sky or feel the ground. Ask around a animal shelter sometime. A lot of pets never leave their cages. Ever. To animals, we're angels. Answering their prayers, providing shelter, nourishment, and affection. I always liked the idea that God would do something nice and let my cat live forever with me. Something that occurred to me was that Animals, and all of Nature is part of Jehovah's creation. Wonders, and beauty, and creativity, and cooperation, and sustainability. We dwell a lot on how Satan seeks to devour us, but if his hatred extends to everything that God loves, then cruelty to animals is part of Satan's war against the Beloved Creation of Jehovah. 60% of all living species have been wiped out in the last 50 years. Satan's Last Days is devouring everything. Millions of animals never see the sky or feel the ground. Ask around a animal shelter sometime. A lot of pets never leave their cages. Ever. To animals, we're angels. Answering their prayers, providing shelter, nourishment, and affection.
  6. It won't make much change to the way things stand in the Church. What it will do is embolden the victims. Pell is the Number Three Man in the Vatican. If they can get him, they can get the Number Four Man. And the Number Five. And the Number Six. All those survivors who think the one who attacked them is 'too big' to bring down just got some fair-compelling evidence that it's worth speaking up.
  7. Can't believe I'm writing this post, but in light of events in Russia, and an expectation of things to come, I think it's prudent to prepare ourselves mentally for what may come. Here are a few tricks that have been used before: (Note: The examples are based on experiences I remember, with some changes made to fit the point I'm making) 1) The Prisoners Dilemma. They know we hold onto each other, so it's not uncommon to split us up; and even claim that the other guy has turned on us. Cops use it all the time to trick a confession out of a criminal with accomplices. Example: "It's okay, you can salute the flag. We talked to your parents, and they say it's alright to do that." Protection: Have set in your mind where you stand. Remember that they can't split you off from God. Bothers put in solitary confinement say that it's easier because it gives them time to pray, and protection from other prisoners. 2) "You Make Me Do This." Our brothers in Russia are being tormented for things like names, and phone keycodes. Every time they say 'no', they get asked the question again, rougher. If someone ever tries to put the blame on you, just remember that it's the same reasoning every abusive husband has used on a battered wife. "This is your own fault." Example: During WW2, a Gestapo man approached a, imprisoned JW with a gun, and then presents him with his wife and kid. Gestapo man orders the Brother to pick which one will get shot. Our brother refuses. The G Man says "Pick, or I shoot both." Our brother stays cool as ice and says "Double Homicide is your choice. Refusing to take the blame for the gun in your hand is my choice." Protection: Remember that by trying to assign blame to us, they are also trying to absolve themselves. Remember that we don't sit in judgement on anyone; that's God's job. We aren't Judge or Jury; we're Witnesses. 3) "You've Been Brainwashed." They can quote a hundred scriptures, and twist anything you say, to poke a hole in your beliefs. Example: When on trial in Russia, the NWT was banned for not conforming to the state sponsored religion, despite the fact that it was a bible, just like the ones the Russian Orthodox Church uses. Protection: Remember, that even in countries where we're not being persecuted yet, we're being reminded not to bother with 'lukewarm' interest. If they're persecuting us outright, I think it's safe to say they aren't genuinely interested in debating the finer points of bible teaching. If they're putting the question to you in a prison cell, it's not a debate; nor is it a study. You don't have to defend yourself to them. Remember, Jesus Christ himself was silent before his accusers when he knew there was nothing worth saying. 4) "You're Going To Die In Here." Rule Number One in a high stress situation: Time is a weapon. If you're the one being held prisoner, they will use it against you. It takes less than 21 days to break a habit, or grow accustomed to new surroundings. I was once in hospital for a few months, and by the three week mark, I couldn't remember what my bedroom back home looked like. Example: Too many to count. How long did Joseph spend in jail? Or Paul? Or any of the Apostles? How much of the bible was penned in a prison cell? Protection: Persecution is bad. Death is bad. It's also temporary. Something the other side can't say. In some places, being in jail is safer than being on the streets. (And during GT, the world will be coming apart) Speaking for myself, the country I live in is unlikely to launch full scale persecution until GT; but seeing the Tribulation unfold will conquer any lingering doubts or uncertainties about the Truth that I could ever have. They can threaten us with a 30 year prison sentence after the Cry of Peace and Security, and then wonder why we're all laughing at them. Our brothers in the Camps didn't know when the war would end, or how; but if they had known at the time, it'd be a source of terrific endurance to know that they were likely to outlive their jailers by many years. Other Important Points: "Worthy to be Dishonored." Several brothers have stated that in some ways, it was easier to stay faithful under trial, because the choice was black and white. We've lost more people to the lure of Big Screen TV's than we ever did to the Nazis. "Keep your eye simple." Don't be intimidated by numbers, or by the scale of what's coming. Military parades, national propaganda, even the design of cities is designed to humble opposition and intimidate us. But as overwhelming as the odds may be, the whole world put together is nothing compared to Jehovah. When Gideon marched with his army, God told him to trim down his army to 300 men. Going against thousands and thousands. At the last talk of the District last year, one speaker at my convention said: "JW's are outnumbered 850 to one by worldly people. Brothers, those are the kind of odds Jehovah can work with." "God won't let you be tested beyond what you can bear." If you can't take it, you won't have to. Everything that happens to us happens at God's sufferance; down to, and including the amount of pain we feel. There have been multiple reports of that kind of protection. "Cross The Red Sea." This is a showdown between the world, and heaven. It has very little to do with us and our actions. We don't have to win anything, because the winner was decided long before we came onto the scene. Every world power in Daniel's prophecy has come against God at some point, and none of them have prevailed. We aren't expected to fight back, to outsmart anyone, or to get the last word. We tell ourselves that we could never be like Moses. We don't have to be. A million Hebrews crossed the Red Sea, and that's all we need for ourselves. "Fear No Evil." The GB has, quite correctly, made the point that a hundred Russian brothers are in detention. That leaves over a hundred thousand that are not. Sometimes it's scarier to be chased than to be caught. A black car parked outside your house can be more intimidating than a large cell with two dozen of your fellow brothers locked up alongside you. Remember that when facing trials and tests, you're never on your own. All you have to do is trust God to fix the problem, and in the interim we only have to say 'No, I won't' one time more than they say 'Yes, you will'. "Nor will ever occur again." The brothers in the camps during WW2 were all free by 1946. They didn't know when the war would end. They couldn't be sure who would win. And they didn't know what would be left for them to go back to once the dust settled. The duration of their endurance was a lot longer than their persecution. Our generation has the unique privileged of knowing that once the dust settles from our trial, it'll be a thousand years before we ever have to face anything remotely like it again. Imagine being in those Camps in WW2, and being the only person who knows exactly when the war will end, and what will become of the guards beating you. What a source of endurance that would be. "Eyes on the Prize." This one seems obvious, but remember that 'Enduring to the End' has a double meaning for us; because what's ending in our case isn't a war, or a government, or a prison term. it's so much bigger than that. Because once it's over, nobody in the world will ever be persecuted again. There won't be anyone left to try their hand at Totalitarianism or Fascism or Slavery. Not ever again. We are, quite literally, the last people who will ever have to endure persecution.
  8. https://themoscowtimes.com/news/russia-convicts-danish-jehovahs-witness-6-years-for-extremism-reports-64417
  9. It's not an overuse. Until about three years ago, storms/quakes/floods/bushfires this bad only came once a century. Natural disasters were literally measured by how often one of such magnitude came along; and they only happened once a century. Now they come once a month. The AM talks about disaster relief and the sudden climb in recovery costs. It's not coming from nowhere. Anyone on the Forum from the Townsville area? We'r getting the news day and night, but I haven't heard about our people yet.
  10. A portable music player is no longer prohibitively expensive, has no moving parts; and use either USB or SD cards; both of which can store as much/more as a DVD and be a fraction of the size.
  11. Sure The Study edition of the Watchtowers are usually written months, or even years in advance. A special segment on JWB can be put out in a day or two if there's a rush. They did it for Russia in less than a week. Child Abuse in religious organisations is a boiling hot-topic right now; and one that has already been aimed at us. Since the Royal Commission happened in Australia, I was expecting something in response from the Governing Body, or the FDS. As the WT is our primary source of teaching material in the Cong, it is also the most widespread way to reach all JW's. JWB would have been faster, but the Watchtower is more authoritative. It can just take a while longer.
  12. When the Royal Commission in Australia happened; there was a story on the news here. Geoffrey Jackson was the one called to testify. The clip they put on the news: Interviewer: What would you tell a member of your church who believed there was child abuse going on? Jackson: Call the police. I was glad that was the point that made it on the air; at least for my local news. Our Elders aren't legal authorities of any kind. Their job is to handle all the things that the Law doesn't consider a problem. But when that point made it on the news; I had expected that the topic would come up at some point. I had hoped it would be a special announcement on JW Broadcasting; but the Watchtower is pretty close. more widespread and authoritative, if not as immediate.
  13. You wouldn't need multiple people. Just have a young voice play older. I admit, I'd like to see it; but I couldn't afford to set it up. If anyone out there wants a family study night project; having a Role Play of Paradise has to be worth a few ideas. Anyway, on to new business. After a lot of work; a few stupid and time consuming mistakes; and most of all, waiting for things to ship... The Undecided, Book 3 of the New Earth Series, is now available in paperback from Amazon. It'll take a day or two to show up on the Author Page, but the Link is good. Thank you all for your patience!
  14. Not a bible story exactly, but how about this? When we were studying the "Life- How Did It Get Here?' book, many years ago. (I was a kid at the time) we got the the description of the physical universe, and how ordered it was; with things such as motion and gravity. The scriptural reference for that point was 2 Kings 9:30-37. (The death of Jezebel). The conductor had us read that passage. It was a study about physics, so we were all quite confused. Nobody had a clue, so I remembered the moment. Some years later, I realised. The notation was referencing Gravity. Jezebel fell out the window. (Let's be honest, guys. God having a sense of humor explains so very much.)
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JWTalk 19.3.22 by Robert Angle (changelog)