Give God Glory Not Man
IN RECENT months, lovers of righteousness around the globe learned how to give glory to God as they convened at the “Give God Glory” District Conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Let us review the educational program presented there.
The Bible-based program ran for three consecutive days for most conventioners and four days for those who were able to attend the special international gatherings. In all, the attendees heard more than 30 Scriptural parts, including talks that deepened spiritual appreciation, experiences that strengthened faith, demonstrations that highlighted practical use of Bible principles, and a full-costume drama that depicted challenges faced by first-century Christians. If you attended one of the conventions, why not review your notes as you read this article? We are sure that it will bring back fond memories of a rich spiritual feast and be instructive as well.
Day One Theme: “You Are Worthy, Jehovah, . . . to Receive the Glory”
After an opening song and prayer, the first speaker warmly welcomed all in attendance with a talk focusing on the main reason for the convention: “Assembled to Glorify God.” Quoting from Revelation 4:11, the speaker emphasized the convention’s overall theme. He quickly got to the point of what it means to give God glory. Using the book of Psalms, he emphasized that glorifying God involves “worship,” “thanksgiving,” and “praise.”—Psalm 95:6; 100:4, 5; 111:1, 2.
The next part was entitled “Blessed Are Those Who Give Glory to God.” An interesting observation was made by the speaker. Since more than six million of Jehovah’s Witnesses are in 234 lands around the globe, it can be said that the sun never sets on those bringing glory to Jehovah. (Revelation 7:15) An interview of a number of Christian brothers and sisters who are in some form of special full-time service was an appreciated feature of this part that warmed the hearts of the audience.
“Creation Declares the Glory of God” was the next talk. Though silent, the physical heavens magnify God’s greatness and help us deepen our appreciation for his loving care. This was explained in careful detail.—Isaiah 40:26.
Persecution, opposition, worldly influences, and sinful tendencies challenge the integrity of true Christians. Hence, the talk “Walk in the Way of Integrity” warranted rapt attention by the audience. A verse-by-verse discussion of the 26th Psalm ensued, along with interviews of a school-age Witness who had stood firm for morality and another who had been spending too much time with dubious entertainment but who had taken steps to overcome the problem.
The keynote address, “Glorious Prophetic Visions Spur Us On!” ended the morning program. The speaker cited the examples of the prophet Daniel and the apostles John and Peter as those whose faith was invigorated by glorious prophetic visions pertaining to the establishment and operation of God’s Messianic Kingdom. With reference to any who may have lost sight of the clear evidence proving that we are in the time of the end, the speaker said: “We sincerely hope that such ones will again focus on the reality of Christ’s presence in Kingdom glory and will be helped to recover spiritual strength.”
The afternoon program began with a discourse entitled “Jehovah’s Glory Revealed to Humble Ones.” The speaker showed how Jehovah sets the example in humility, even though he is the highest Person in the universe. (Psalm 18:35) Jehovah favors those who are genuinely humble, but he opposes those who appear humble only when dealing with either their peers or their superiors but then deal harshly with those under their supervision.—Psalm 138:6.
Next, Bible prophecy was featured in a symposium highlighting different aspects of the central theme: “The Prophecy of Amos—Its Message for Our Day.” Pointing to the example of Amos, the first speaker drew attention to the responsibility we have to warn people of Jehovah’s coming judgment. The theme of his talk was “Speak God’s Word With Boldness.” The second speaker posed the question: “Will Jehovah ever put an end to wickedness and suffering on this earth?” His part, “Divine Judgment Against the Wicked,” showed that divine judgment is always deserved, is inescapable, and is selective. The final symposium speaker gave attention to the theme “Jehovah Examines the Heart.” Those who yearn to please Jehovah will heed the words at Amos 5:15: “Hate what is bad, and love what is good.”
Alcoholic beverages, such as wine that makes the heart rejoice, can be misused. In his talk “Avoid the Snare of Alcohol Abuse,” the speaker listed the physical and spiritual dangers of immoderate use of alcohol, even if a person does not get drunk. He gave a guiding principle: Since alcohol tolerance varies from person to person, any amount that impairs your “practical wisdom and thinking ability” is too much for you.—Proverbs 3:21, 22.
Since we are living in critical times, the next topic, “Jehovah, Our ‘Fortress in Times of Distress,’” proved comforting. Prayer, holy spirit, and fellow Christians can help us cope.
The final talk of the day, “‘The Good Land’—Foregleam of Paradise,” concluded with a joyous surprise for all—a new publication with many Bible maps! It is entitled See the Good Land.
Day Two Theme: “Declare Among the Nations His Glory”
After consideration of the daily text, the second symposium of the convention was presented, with the theme “Reflect Like Mirrors the Glory of Jehovah.” The first part elaborated on “Spreading the Good News Everywhere” and included reenactments of actual field service experiences. The second talk included a demonstration of a return visit as the speaker presented the theme “Removing the Veil From Those Blinded.” The last part, entitled “Doing So More Fully in Our Ministry,” was enhanced by interesting interviews involving field experiences.
The next segment of the program was entitled “Hated Without Cause.” It included powerful interviews of faithful individuals who in God’s strength maintained integrity under opposition.
A greatly anticipated feature of conventions is the baptism talk followed by a complete immersion in water of all candidates who qualify. Water baptism symbolizes a person’s total dedication to Jehovah. Hence, the subject matter was most fitting: “Living Up to Our Dedication Glorifies God.”
The afternoon program began with a talk that encouraged self-examination, “Cultivating a Christlike View of Greatness.” The speaker brought out this interesting point: Greatness comes from imitating the humility of Christ. Thus, a Christian should not seek responsibility in order to satisfy personal ambition. He should ask himself, ‘Am I willing to perform helpful tasks that will not be readily noticed?’
Do you ever feel tired? The answer is obvious. The talk “Tired but Not Tiring Out” was appreciated by all. The interviews of longtime Witnesses showed that Jehovah can make us “mighty . . . through his spirit.”—Ephesians 3:16.
Generosity is a quality that we do not have from birth but that must be learned. This key point was brought out in the part “Be Liberal, Ready to Share.” And this thought-provoking question was raised: “Are we ready to share some minutes of our day with brothers and sisters who are elderly, ill, depressed, or lonely?”
“Beware of ‘the Voice of Strangers’” captured the audience’s attention. This talk compared the followers of Jesus to sheep who listen only to his voice as “the fine shepherd” and who do not listen to “the voice of strangers” as uttered through the many agencies influenced by the Devil.—John 10:5, 14, 27.
A choir must sing in unison to be understood. In order to glorify God, true worshipers around the world must be united. Hence, “Glorify God ‘With One Mouth’” gave beneficial instruction on how we all can speak the one “pure language” and serve Jehovah “shoulder to shoulder.”—Zephaniah 3:9.
Parents, particularly those with young children, were thoroughly delighted with the last talk of the day, “Our Children—A Precious Inheritance.” A new 256-page publication was released, pleasantly surprising the audience. Learn From the Great Teacher is a book that will help parents to spend spiritually rewarding time with their children, God’s gift to them.
Day Three Theme: “Do All Things for God’s Glory”
The daily text reminders started the concluding day of the convention on a spiritual note. The first section of this day’s program gave extra attention to the family arrangement. The first talk, “Parents, Build Up the Family Circle,” set the tone. After reviewing the responsibilities of parents to provide materially for their family, the speaker proved that the parents’ primary responsibility is to provide for their children spiritually.
The following speaker addressed children and examined the subject “How Youths Are Praising Jehovah.” He said that young ones are like “dewdrops” because they are numerous and their youthful zeal is refreshing. Adults are happy to work with them in Jehovah’s service. (Psalm 110:3) This part included delightful interviews with exemplary young people.
Full-costume Bible dramas are always an exciting feature of district conventions, and this convention was no exception. The drama “Boldly Witnessing Despite Opposition” depicted first-century followers of Jesus. It was not just entertaining but, more important, instructive. The discourse that followed the drama, “Declare the Good News ‘Without Letup,’” drove home the salient points of the drama.
All in attendance were looking forward to a highlight of Sunday’s program, the public talk, “Who Are Giving God Glory Today?” The speaker documented how the scientific and religious communities in general have not glorified God. It is only the people for his name, those preaching and teaching the truth about Jehovah, who are truly glorifying his name today.
The public discourse was followed by a summary of the Watchtower magazine’s lesson for that week. Then came the final talk, “‘Keep Bearing Much Fruit’ to Jehovah’s Glory.” The speaker presented a ten-point resolution for all in attendance to adopt. It centered on various ways that glory can be given to Jehovah, the Creator. A unanimous “Aye” traveled through all the conventions from one end of the earth to the other.
The convention thus closed with the theme “Give God Glory” ringing in the ears of each attendee. And with the help of Jehovah’s spirit and the visible part of his organization, may we always seek to give God glory and not men.
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International conventions of four days in length were held in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America. Designated Witnesses from around the world were invited to be delegates at these gatherings. In this way there was an “interchange of encouragement” between the visitors and their hosts. (Romans 1:12) Old acquaintances were renewed, and new ones made. A special feature of the international conventions was the part on the program entitled “Reports From Other Lands.”
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New Publications That Give God Glory
Two new publications were released at the “Give God Glory” District Conventions. The Bible atlas See the Good Land has a durable cover and 36 pages of maps and photographs of Biblical sites. Every page is in full color and has maps of the empires of Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. There are separate maps that cover Jesus’ ministry and the expansion of Christianity.
Learn From the Great Teacher is a 256-page book with some 230 pictures. Many enjoyable sessions can be spent with children simply looking at the pictures and answering thought-provoking questions found in the book. This new publication is designed to counteract Satan’s attack on our young ones, which is aimed at corrupting their morals.
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Missionaries related faith-strengthening experiences
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Baptism was an important feature of the “Give God Glory” conventions
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Bible dramas are enjoyed by young and old