MIRACLES - do they really happen?

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34567 august 1 2012 miracles do they really happen?

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34567 6 printing each issue 42,182,000 in 195 l anguages august 1 2012 the purpose of this magazine the watchtower is to honor jehovah god the supreme ruler of the universe just as watchtowers in ancient times enabled a person to observe developments from afar so this magazine shows us the significance of world events in the light of bible prophecies it comforts people with the good news that god s kingdom which is a real government in heaven will soon bring an end to all wickedness and transform the earth into a paradise it promotes faith in jesus christ who died so that we might gain everlasting life and who is now ruling as king of god s kingdom this magazine has been published by jehovah s witnesses continuously since 1879 and is nonpolitical it adheres to the bible as its authority this publication is not for sale it is provided as part of a worldwide bible educational work supported by voluntary donations unless otherwise indicated scripture quotations are from the modern-language new world translation of the holy scriptures with references from our cover 3 why be interested in miracles 4 are miracles really possible three common objections 7 can you believe the miracles recorded in the bible 8 miracles that are about to happen regular features 11 15 the bible changes lives our readers ask does it really matter to god whether i use tobacco learn from god s word when did jesus become king my bible lessons did you know draw close to god jehovah hates injustice 16 24 26 27 also in this issue 18 21 28 life in bible times the fisherman a conversation with a neighbor do all good people go to heaven champions of the truth

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why be interes ted in miracles miracles by definition violate the principles of science richard dawkins former professor for public understanding of science belief in miracles is entirely rational far from being an embarrassment to religious faith they are signs of god s love for and continuing involvement in creation robert a larmer professor of philosophy d o you believe in miracles as shown by the above quotations opinions vary drastically but how would you answer that question you may be hesitant to answer yes i believe perhaps you feel that to do so might indicate that you are somewhat superstitious or uneducated many feel that same way on the other hand you may be convinced that miracles really do happen you might believe in the miracles recorded in the bible such as moses parting of the red sea you may also believe that mirawhat is a cles occur in our time in fact a report miracle recently issued revealed that a signifit is an event that icant proportion of the population of surpasses all known the western world for example around human and natural three-quarters of those in the united powers and is usually states and 38 per cent in britain continattributed to some ue to believe in miracles the camsort of supernatural bridge companion to miracles edited by power graham h twelftree moreover belief in miracles is not limited just to christians according to the britannica encyclopedia of world religions belief in miraculous events is a feature of practically all religions or you may belong to a third group who would answer i don t know and i don t care miracles don t happen in my life really why should you be interested in miracles the watchtower augus t 1 2012 3

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consider this scenario imagine that you have an incurable disease if you were to read a report in a reputable medical journal about a new medicine that might cure your sickness would it not be worthwhile to expend at least a little time and energy to investigate the facts similarly the bible promises that soon some amazing miracles will occur they will affect the lives of every living creature on this planet would it not be worth some of your time and energy to find out whether that promise is reliable however before we examine what those promised miracles are let us answer three common objections concerning miracles are miracles really possible three common o bjections objection 1 miracles are impossible because they violate the laws of nature our understanding of the laws of nature is based on what scientists have observed happening in the natural world around us however those laws are similar to the grammar rules for a language there may be some exceptions to the rule our understanding of these rules may in fact be very limited job 38:4 a dedicated scientist may have spent a lifetime studying a certain law of nature but all it takes is one exception for him to have to reevaluate his understanding of that law as the saying goes just one black swan undoes the theory that all swans are white a humorous story illustrates how easy it is to base an opinion on incomplete facts john locke 1632-1704 related this story about the dutch ambassador and the king of siam while describing his country holland to the king the ambassador mentioned that at times it was possible for an elephant to walk on water the king rejected the idea and felt that the ambassador was lying to him however the ambassador was merely describing something that was beyond the king s personal experience the king did not realize that when water freezes and becomes ice it can support the weight of an elephant this seemed impossible to the king because he did not have all the facts consider some modern accomplishments that may have been considered impossible just a few decades ago an airplane can transport more than 800 passengers nonstop from new york to singapore traveling at a cruising speed of 560 miles per hour 900 km/h 34567 6 would you welcome more information or a free home bible study please send your request to jehovah s witnesses using one of these addresses for a complete list of addresses see www.watchtower.org/address 4 america united states of 25 columbia heights brooklyn ny 11201-2483 australia po box 280 ingleburn nsw 1890 britain the ridgeway london nw7 1rn canada po box 4100 georgetown on l7g 4y4 germany 65617 selters guam 143 jehovah st barrigada gu 96913 jamaica po box 103 old harbour st catherine japan 4-7-1 nakashinden ebina city kanagawapref 243-0496 puerto rico po box 3980 guaynabo pr 00970 south africa private bag x2067 krugersdorp 1740 trinidad and tobago lower rapsey street laxmi lane curepe vol 133 no 15 the watchtower issn 0043-1087 is published semimonthly by watchtower bible and tract society of new york inc l weaver jr president g f simonis secretary-treasurer 25 columbia heights brooklyn ny 11201-2483 and by watch tower bible and tract society of canada po box 4100 georgetown on l7g 4y4 periodicals postage paid at brooklyn ny and at additional mailing offices postmaster send address changes to watchtower 1000 red mills road wallkill ny 125893299 5 2012 watch tower bible and tract society of pennsylvania all rights reserved printed in canada english semimonthly

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only decades ago many would have thought it impossible for people to fly at hundreds of miles an hour video conferences can enable people on different continents to engage in face-to-face conversations thousands of songs can be stored on a device smaller than a box of matches surgeons can transplant hearts and other body parts what logical conclusion can we draw from such facts this if humans can accomplish feats that just a few years ago seemed impossible then surely the god who created the universe and all that is in it can perform amazing acts that we do not yet fully understand or cannot presently replicate.1 genesis 18:14 matthew 19:26 1 if you question the existence of god please see the brochures does god really care about us and was life created or ask the person who gave you this magazine for more information objection 2 the bible relies on miracles to make people believe the bible does not tell us to believe all miracles in fact the opposite is true the bible warns us to be very careful when it comes to trusting miracles and powerful signs notice this clear warning the coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles signs and wonders and in every sort of evil that deceives 2 thessalonians 2:9 10 new international version jesus christ also warned that many would claim to follow him but would not be his genuine followers some would even say to him lord lord did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles matthew 7 22 niv but jesus said that he would not now published in 195 languages acholi afrikaans albanian amharic arabic armenian armenian west aymara,7 azerbaijani azerbaijani cyrillic ´ baoule bengali bicol bislama bulgarian cambodian catalan cebuano chichewa chinese simplified chinese traditional7 audio mandarin only chitonga chitumbuka chuukese cibemba croatian czech,7 danish,7 dutch,67 efik english,267 estonian ewe fijian finnish,7 french,687 ga garifuna georgian german,267 greek greenlandic guarani,68 gujarati gun haitian creole hausa hebrew hiligaynon hindi hiri motu hungarian,67 icelandic igbo iloko indonesian isoko italian,67 japanese,67 kannada kazakh kikaonde kikongo kikuyu kiluba kimbundu kinyarwanda kirghiz kiribati kirundi kongo korean,67 kwangali kwanyama latvian lingala lithuanian luganda lunda luo luvale macedonian macua malagasy malayalam maltese marathi marshallese mauritian creole maya mixe mizo mongolian moore myanmar nahuatl northern puebla ndebele ndonga nepali ngabere niuean norwegian,7 nyaneka nzema oromo otetela palauan pangasinan papiamento aruba papiamento curacao persian polish,67 ponapean portuguese,2687 ¸ punjabi quechua ancash quechua ayacucho quechua bolivia 7 quechua cuzco quichua rarotongan romanian russian,67 samoan sango sepedi serbian serbian roman sesotho seychelles creole shona silozi sinhala slovak slovenian solomon islands pidgin spanish,267 sranantongo swahili swati swedish,7 tagalog,7 tahitian tamil tatar telugu tetum thai tigrinya tiv tok pisin tongan totonac tshiluba tshwa tsonga tswana turkish tuvaluan twi tzotzil ukrainian umbundu urdu uruund venda vietnamese wallisian waray-waray wolaita xhosa yapese yoruba zande zapotec isthmus zulu 2 6 8 7 braille also available cd also available mp3 cd-rom also available audio recordings also available at www.jw.org.

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accept those people as his followers matthew 7:23 obviously then jesus did not teach that all miracles are from god god does not tell his worshippers to base their faith simply on miracles rather their faith should be firmly established on facts hebrews 11:1 let us consider for example one of the well-known miracles recorded in the bible the resurrection of jesus christ years after that event some christians in corinth started to question whether jesus had been resurrected how did the apostle paul help those christians did he simply say have more faith no notice how he reminded them of established facts he stated that jesus was buried yes he has been raised up the third day according to the scriptures and that he appeared to cephas then to the twelve after that he appeared to upward of five hundred brothers at one time the most of whom remain to the present 1 corinthians 15:4-8 did it matter whether those christians believed in that miracle paul goes on to say if christ has not been raised up our preaching is certainly in vain and our faith is in vain 1 corinthians 15:14 paul did not take the matter lightly either the miracle of the resurrection of jesus was true or it was not and paul knew that it was true because of the hundreds of eyewitness accounts of people who were still living at that time in fact those eyewitnesses were willing to die rather than deny what they had seen 1 corinthians 15:17-19 objection 3 miracles are just natural phenomena that are misunderstood by uneducated people some scholars try to explain the miracles in the bible as merely natural events that occurred without divine intervention they feel that this makes the biblical accounts more believable while it is true 6 the watchtower augus t 1 2012 that natural phenomena may have been associated with some miracles such things as earthquakes plagues and landslides these explanations have one thing in common they disregard the timing of the miracle as explained in the scriptures for example some have argued that the first plague brought upon egypt the turning of the nile river into blood was actually the result of red soil that had been washed down the nile along with reddish organisms called flagellates however the bible account says that the river was turned into blood not red mud a careful reading of exodus 7:14-21 shows that this miracle occurred at the time that aaron at moses direction struck the nile river with his rod even if the transformation of the river were caused by a natural occurrence the timing of aaron s striking the river was in itself miraculous as another example of the importance of the timing of a miracle consider what happened when the nation of israel was poised to enter the promised land their way was blocked by the jordan river at flood stage the bible account tells us what happened next at the instant that the carriers of the ark came as far as the jordan and the feet of the priests carrying the ark were dipped in the edge of the waters then the waters descending from above began to stand still they rose up as one dam very far away at adam joshua 3:15 16 was this the result of an earthquake or a landslide the account does not say but the timing of this event was miraculous it occurred exactly at the time jehovah had said that it would joshua 3:7 8 13 so then are there such things as miracles the bible says that there are according to what it tells us these are not just natural phenomena really then is it logical to say that it is impossible for them to happen just because they do not occur every day?

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c a n yo u believe the miracles events occurred but we can determine if the bible s story is credible if it has the ring of truth how here are some factors that add credibility to bible accounts of miracles many miracles were performed in public places at times they were seen by thousands if not millions of observers exodus 14:21-31 19:16-19 they were not performed in secret away from the eyes of the public the miracles were marked by simplicity there were no special props or flashy displays and there was no trick lighting for the most part the miracles recorded in the bible occurred in response to chance encounters and requests from individuals mark 5:2529 luke 7:11-16 in such cases the events could not have been staged by the one performing the miracle the motive of those performing the miracles was not to gain fame glory and riches for themselves rather it was to bring glory to god john 11:1-4 15 40 any effort by individuals to gain wealth from such miraculous powers was condemned 2 kings 5:15 16 20 25-27 acts 8:18-23 the variety of miracles recorded in the bible indicates that they could not be merely the works of men for instance the sea and the wind were calmed water was changed into wine rain was stopped and started sick people were cured and sight was restored to the blind all those miracles and many more show that a superhuman power that can exercise influence over all forms of matter must have been behind such miracles 1 kings 17:1-7 18:41-45 matthew 8:24-27 luke 17:11-19 john 2:1-11 9:1-7 opposers who observed the miracles did not question that they had occurred when jesus resurrected his friend lazarus jesus religious enemies did not question that lazarus had been dead how could they lazarus jesus opposers did not question that lazarus had been dead recorded in the bible i f you were told an amazing story would not the credibility of the person telling the story affect whether you believe that story or not such credibility would involve not only the way the person told the story but also his personal record of truthfulness after all if over the years he had always told you the truth and had never deliberately lied to you you would have good reason to believe what he now told you the same is true of miracles recorded in the bible none of us were alive when those

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had been buried for four days john 11 45-48 12:9-11 even centuries after jesus death the writers of the jewish talmud continued to acknowledge that jesus had miraculous powers they simply questioned the source of those powers similarly when jesus disciples were brought before a jewish court the question they were asked was not did you perform a miracle but they were asked by what power or in whose name did you do this acts 4:1-13 so can you believe what the bible tells us about miracles from what we have just considered it is clear that bible accounts about miracles have the earmarks of credibility there are other reasons for trusting these bible accounts for example when the bible relates an event it often gives us the time the place and the names of the people involved even critics of the bible have been amazed by the accuracy of the historical details found in the bible hundreds of bible prophecies have been fulfilled even in the smallest of details in addition the bible contains much advice about how to make human relationships happy advice that has helped people of all ages and walks of life when it comes to human relationships the advice found in the bible has proved to be without equal if you have not yet gained full confidence in the bible why not take the time to examine it more carefully the more you get to know it the more you will grow to trust it john 17:17 you will realize that you can trust what it tells you about the miracles that occurred in the past once you believe those accounts you will have a good basis for trusting what the bible says will happen in the near future 8 the watchtower augus t 1 2012 miracles that are about to happen i f a surgeon was scheduled to perform a complicated procedure on you how would you feel if you found out that he had never performed this type of surgery no doubt you would be concerned but what if on the other hand you found out that this doctor was the leading surgeon in his field and that he had performed hundreds of successful operations like the one you were about to have would you not have much more confidence that he could help you the sick world in which we find ourselves today needs drastic surgery through his word the bible jehovah god has promised that he will restore paradise to this earth 2 peter 3:13 but for that to happen wickedness will first have to be removed completely cut away psalm 37:9-11 proverbs 2:21 22 all the woeful conditions that we see around us must be eradicated before a paradise can be reestablished it will literally take a miracle for that to happen revelation 21:4 5 jehovah s witnesses believe that those massive changes will soon occur why because the miracles jehovah god has already performed prove that he has the power to fulfill his promises compare just six of the miracles recorded in the bible with the promises it makes for the future.

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miracle jesus fed thousands with a few loaves and fishes matthew 14:13-21 mark 8:1-9 john 6:1-14 p ro mise the earth itself will certainly give its produce god our god will bless us psalm 67:6 me aning f o r us no one will ever again suffer from hunger miracle jesus restored sight to the blind matthew 9:27-31 mark 8:22-26 p ro mise the eyes of the blind ones will be opened isaiah 35:5 me aning f o r us all blind people will receive sight miracle jesus cured the disabled matthew 11:5 6 john 5:3-9 p ro mise the lame one will climb up just as a stag does isaiah 35:6 me aning f o r us all physical disabilities will be cured miracle jesus cured a variety of sicknesses mark 1:32-34 luke 4:40 p ro mise no resident will say `i am sick isaiah 33:24 me aning f o r us all debilitating sicknesses will be removed we will enjoy perfect health.

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miracle jesus controlled the elements matthew 8:23-27 luke 8:22-25 p ro mise they will certainly build houses and have occupancy and they will certainly plant vineyards and eat their fruitage they will not toil for nothing isaiah 65:21 23 you will be far away from oppression for you will fear none and from anything terrifying for it will not come near you isaiah 54:14 me aning f o r us natural disasters will be no more miracle jesus raised the dead matthew 9:18-26 luke 7:11-17 p ro mise all those in the memorial tombs will come out john 5:28 29 the sea gave up those dead in it and death and hades gave up those dead in them revelation 20:13 me aning f o r us our dead loved ones will be resurrected may you continue to learn about the bible s promises for our future as your faith grows so will your hope a hope to live at a time when you will personally benefit from the miracles that jehovah performs 10

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the bible changes lives why did a man who was raised in a staunch catholic family and who had a successful career in law enforcement become one of jehovah s witnesses what moved a terrorist to give up violence and become a minister of religion read what these people have to say i gained a deeper understanding of right and wrong sebastiao alves junqueira year born 1946 country of origin brazil history judge my past my family lived in the country some four miles 6 km from the town of piquete my parents had a small farm and the land provided our basic needs the school i attended was in piquete so i eventually bought an old bicycle which made traveling to town easier the people in our area were poor but the town was clean and had a relatively low crime rate most of the men in town worked in a factory that made weapons for the military i was studious and managed to enter the aeronautical military school in a nearby city where in 1966 i graduated as a sergeant i then went to law school and got my law degree later i applied for the position of police chief in 1976 i passed a government test and was chosen for the job sometimes my work included being an administrator at the jail during this time jehovah s witnesses would often come and ask permission to preach to the prisoners they always shared a bible message with me too i had a lot of respect for god i was impressed to learn that god has a name jehovah and that we can develop a friendship with him gradually i worked my way up the judicial ladder in 1981 i passed another government exam and was made a state judge then in 2005 i was appointed as a court of appeals judge in the court of sao paulo how the bible changed my life soon after i graduated from law school i started reading the bible an act that brought about quite a change in my thinking i was a staunch catholic we had priests and a bishop in the family and i assisted the priest during mass before he gave a sermon i read assigned parts of the prayer book it wasn t the norm in catholic households to read the bible my mother was terribly upset when she learned that i was reading the bible she tried to discourage me saying i risked losing my mind even so i went on reading i could see no harm in it the watchtower augus t 1 2012 11

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i suppose that my curiosity spurred me on in my bible reading i wanted to know more about priests and their role in the church i also started reading about the liberation theology movement but the reasoning and logic used by its proponents was so flawed that i couldn t make any sense of it at the same time my dentist who was a buddhist offered me a book that had been given to him the title of the book was did man get here by evolution or by creation?1 i accepted the book thinking that it would be interesting to read it along with the origin of species by charles darwin the arguments in did man get here by evolution or by creation were forceful logical and convincing there was no doubt in my mind that the evolution theory was unfounded my mother was terribly upset when she learned that i was reading the bible reading the book on the topic of creation heightened my curiosity i wanted to get hold of more books published by jehovah s witnesses i was told that a mechanic in the aeronautics school was one of jehovah s witnesses i talked to him and he gave me some books to read at the time i didn t accept the offer to study the bible with the witnesses i thought i could study it on my own when i started reading the bible i decided that since i was now married it would be wise to read it with my family too we had a family study every week and read the bible together as catholics my family s world revolved around the priests and bishops so what i read at john 14:6 grabbed my attention je1 published by jehovah s witnesses but now out of print sus said to him [the disciple thomas `i am the way and the truth and the life no one comes to the father except through me after extensively investigating the subject i was convinced that our salvation comes from jehovah through jesus we had been led to believe that our salvation came from the priests two other bible passages changed my attitude toward the catholic church and its teachings one is at proverbs 1:7 which says the fear of jehovah is the beginning of knowledge wisdom and discipline are what mere fools have despised and the other is at james 1:5 which states if any one of you is lacking in wisdom let him keep on asking god for he gives generously to all and without reproaching and it will be given him i had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and wisdom which was not being satisfied by going to church so i stopped attending in 1980 my wife started studying the bible with the witnesses whenever i was at home i would sit in on the study in time i accepted a bible study however we took a long time before we decided to get baptized as jehovah s witnesses my wife was baptized in 1994 and i in 1998 how i have benefited my four children have benefited by being brought up to live by jehovah s standards ephesians 6:4 i have two sons both of whom work hard to care for the spiritual needs of other witnesses in the congregation where they attend my two daughters are very zealous in preaching to others my wife spends many hours each month helping people learn about the bible and i enjoy serving as an elder in the local congregation when i became one of jehovah s witnesses i gained a deeper understanding of right and wrong as a judge i try to put jehovah s way of dealing with different issues into practice in court taking into consideration 12 the watchtower augus t 1 2012

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all the circumstances being reasonable and being compassionate when there are mitigating circumstances i have dealt with many cases of violence crime and child abuse as well as other serious criminal offenses even so i haven t be come desensitized as i watch the news i am disgusted with the rampant moral decay and depravity in this world i m grateful to jehovah that i ve come to understand the reason behind the increase in crime as well as the hope that we have of better days prison didn t rehabilitate me keith woods year born 1961 country of origin northern ireland history terrorist my past i was born in 1961 in portadown a busy town in northern ireland i came from a protestant background and i grew up in a housing estate with a mixture of catholic and protestant neighbors most families were relatively poor there wasn t a lot of money about and we all lived in and out of one another s houses i had a lifestyle that i m not proud of in 1974 i got involved in the troubles that then existed in northern ireland about that time things got worse in our communities for example one night my father who was a manager of the ulster carpet factory was at work training two young catholic lads who lived next door to us in our housing estate meanwhile someone hurled a bomb through the living room window of the home where the catholic boys lived killing their father mother and brother problems escalated and open war broke out protestants were burned out of catholic areas and catholics were harassed in protestant communities our estate became mainly protestant it wasn t long before i was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison for my involvement in bombing activity while in jail i became good friends with a prisoner who was a well-known figure in the loyalist community we were like brothers and later i was his best man at his wedding prison didn t rehabilitate me or him when we were released we went straight back to our political activities only this time in a bigger way as a result my friend again found himself in prison while there he was murdered i also became a target and on one occasion my car was blown up but those events only made my determination to be active in the campaign for god and ulster more firm the watchtower augus t 1 2012 13

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during this time i was involved in a documentary regarding the troubles which aired on british tv the documentary created additional problems for me for instance one night i went home and discovered that my wife had left me shortly afterward as a result of the tv program my son was taken from me i recall looking into a mirror and saying if there is a god out there help me the following saturday i met an acquaintance of mine named paul who had become one of jehovah s witnesses he started talking to me about the bible two days later paul sent me a copy of the watchtower an article in that magazine quoted jesus words recorded at john 18:36 he said my kingdom is no part of this world if my kingdom were part of this world my attendants would have fought that i should not be delivered up to the jews but as it is my kingdom is not from this source those words made a big impression on me that was the day my life began to change how the bible changed my life paul started to study the bible with me later on bill another witness continued the study i know that i was a difficult student i had so many questions i also brought many religious ministers to my home to prove bill wrong but the truth of god s word shone through i recall on one occasion telling bill not to come to my house for the study because there were roadblocks around the estate and his car would surely be confiscated and burned however bill came for the study as usual he left his car at home and rode his bicycle who would want to confiscate that on another occasion bill and i were sitting in my home having a bible study when the police and the army came to arrest me as they carted me away bill called out and told 14 the watchtower augus t 1 2012 me to trust in jehovah those occasions made a big impression on me the first time that i attended a meeting of jehovah s witnesses at the kingdom hall must have been a shock for some of them i had long hair and an earring and i wore a trademark leather jacket however i couldn t believe how well the witnesses treated me their kindness really impressed me even though i was studying the bible i was still involved with my old associates eventually however the truths i learned from the bible began to sink deeper into my heart i realized that if i wanted to serve jehovah i had to change my political viewpoints and associations that wasn t easy to do but as i learned more about the bible and drew strength from jehovah i was able to make changes i cut my hair removed my earring and bought a suit what i was learning also started to improve my attitude toward other people how i have benefited i had lived a life of crime and terrorism my face was wellknown by the law-enforcement groups in the community now things are different for example when i attended my first convention of jehovah s witnesses which was held in the town of navan the law-enforcement authorities escorted me all the way through ireland and northern ireland now though i travel to conventions without an escort i also now share freely with my fellow witnesses paul and bill and the rest of the congregation in the preaching work as my life changed for the better i settled into the congregation there i met a witness named louise and we were married in addition my son and i were reunited when i look back on my life i regret having caused hurt and harm to others but i can confirm that the bible really does enable people like me to change from a life of misguided actions to one of purpose and hope.

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our readers ask does it really matter to god whether i use tobacco a sincere person may ask that question since no law in the bible mentions tobacco products does that fact mean that god s thinking on the matter is difficult to discern no not at all the bible says that all scripture is inspired of god 2 timothy 3:16 the scriptures contain clear principles and statements that reveal how god wants us to care for our health first let us review what researchers have discovered about the impact that tobacco use has on human health then we will consider how bible principles relate to those findings tobacco damages a user s health and is a leading cause of preventable death in the united states tobacco use is to blame for 1 out of every 5 deaths in that country it kills more people each year than alcohol illegal drug use homicide suicide car accidents and aids combined states a report from the national institute on drug abuse those who smoke tobacco harm others there is no safe amount of exposure to cigarette smoke nonsmokers who inhale secondhand smoke increase the risk of developing lung cancer and heart disease by up to 30 percent in recent years doctors have identified another danger that they call third-hand smoke this term refers to the chemical residues left on clothes carpets and other surfaces that linger long after the visible smoke dissipates those poisonous chemicals especially harm the health of children and can retard their ability to learn tobacco is addictive it makes the user a slave to the damaging habit in fact researchers believe that addiction to nicotine a key chemical in tobacco is one of the most difficult addictions to break how do bible principles relate to those facts note the following god wants us to respect life in the law which god gave to the nation of israel he indicated that those who want to please him must respect human life deuteronomy 5:17 israelites had to build a parapet or low wall around the edge of the roof of their houses why the roofs were flat and were used as a living space the wall prevented the family and others from falling and being injured or killed deuteronomy 22:8 in addition the israelites had to ensure that the animals they owned did not cause injury to others exodus 21:28 29 a person who uses tobacco violates the principles that underpin those laws he willingly damages his own health in addition his smoking endangers the health of those around him god expects us to love him and to love our neighbor jesus christ stated that his followers should obey the two greatest commandments they must love god with their whole heart soul mind and strength and love their neighbor as themselves mark 12:28-31 since life is a gift from god a person who uses tobacco shows a gross lack of respect for that gift and thus a lack of love for god acts 17:26-28 that person s habit can cause serious harm to others so he belies any claim he makes to love his neighbor god requires that we avoid unclean habits the bible instructs christians to cleanse themselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit 2 corinthians 7:1 tobacco use obviously defiles a person those who want to quit smoking to please god face a difficult challenge but with god s help they can break free from this defiling addiction the watchtower augus t 1 2012 15

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