Noah did according to all that God had commanded him. He did just so.—Gen. 6:22.
Noah had never built an ark before. So he had to rely on Jehovah, doing “just so”—that is, just as Jehovah directed. The result? Noah got it right the first time. Indeed, he had to! Noah also succeeded as a family man—and for basically the same reason; he trusted in God’s wisdom. He thus taught his children well and set a fine example for them, which was a big challenge during that wicked pre-Flood era. (Gen. 6:5) As parents, how can you do “just so” in God’s eyes? Listen to Jehovah. Let him instruct you in child-rearing by means of his Word and the guidance we receive through his organization. However, despite the parents’ best efforts, some children leave Jehovah. Nonetheless, parents who have tried their best to impress the truth on a child’s heart have a good conscience. They can also hope that the wayward child will one day come “home” to Jehovah. w18.03 30 ¶10-11
Be hospitable to one another.—1 Pet. 4:9.
Have you ever wanted to be hospitable but felt inadequate? Some are shy and fear that conversation would lag or that guests might not feel entertained. Others have limited income and believe that they could never offer what other members of the congregation could. Of prime importance about a home is, not that it is fancy, but that it is orderly, clean, and inviting. Let love motivate your hospitality, and you need not worry. Remember that showing personal interest in guests is always helpful. (Phil. 2:4) Nearly everyone enjoys sharing his experiences in life. Social occasions may be the only times others ask to hear about our experiences. One elder writes: “Having friends from the congregation to my home helps me to understand them better and gives me time to get to know them, especially how they came into the truth.” Loving interest can make any occasion a delight. w18.03 17 ¶15-17
Why are you delaying? Rise, get baptized.—Acts 22:16.
Christian parents have an interest in helping their children make wise decisions. Postponing baptism or delaying it needlessly could invite spiritual problems. (Jas. 4:17) Wisely, however, parents want to be sure that before their children get baptized, they are ready to shoulder the responsibility of Christian discipleship. Some circuit overseers have expressed concern because they meet young ones in their late teens and early 20’s who have grown up in Christian households but who have yet to get baptized. In most cases, these young ones attend congregation meetings and share in the ministry. They view themselves as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Yet, for some reason they hold back from dedicating their lives to Jehovah and getting baptized. What could be the reason for this? In some cases, parents have encouraged them to delay baptism. w18.03 8 ¶1-2
Have . . . the same mental attitude that Christ Jesus had.—Rom. 15:5.
To be like Christ, we need to know his pattern of thinking and the full range of his personality. Then we need to follow in his footsteps. Jesus’ mind is focused on his relationship with God. So being like Jesus makes us more like Jehovah. For these reasons, it becomes clear how important it is to learn to think as Jesus does. How can we do this? Jesus’ disciples saw his miracles, heard his discourses, watched how he dealt with all kinds of people, and observed how he applied godly principles. (Acts 10:39) We, however, cannot observe him directly. But Jehovah has lovingly provided the Gospel accounts that can make Jesus’ personality come alive in our mind. By reading and meditating on the Bible books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we expose our mind to Christ’s mind. We thus can “follow his steps closely” and “arm [ourselves] with the same mental disposition” as Christ had.—1 Pet. 2:21; 4:1. w18.02 22 ¶15-16
Faith follows the thing heard.—Rom. 10:17.
Since early in human history, men and women of faith have learned about God in three primary ways: by observing the visible creation, from other God-fearing humans, and by experiencing the blessings of living in harmony with God’s righteous standards and principles. (Isa. 48:18) By observing the physical creation, Noah would have seen abundant evidence not only of God’s existence but also of his many invisible qualities, such as “his eternal power and Godship.” (Rom. 1:20) As a result, Noah did more than believe in God; he developed strong faith in him. Noah no doubt learned much from his relatives. These included his father, Lamech, who was a man of faith and whose life overlapped Adam’s. They also included his grandfather Methuselah and his great-great-grandfather Jared, whose life overlapped Noah’s by 366 years. (Luke 3:36, 37) In any event, what Noah learned touched his heart, moving him to serve God.—Gen. 6:9. w18.02 9 ¶4-5
Do not let the sun set while you are still angry.—Eph. 4:26.
When a fellow believer or a family member says or does something that hurts us deeply, we may be devastated. Suppose we cannot simply forget the incident. Will we allow resentment to fester for years? Or will we follow the Bible’s wise advice to settle matters quickly? The longer we put off dealing with the situation, the harder it will be for us to make peace with our brother. What positive steps can you take to make peace? First, approach Jehovah in earnest prayer. Ask him to help you to have an upbuilding conversation with your brother. Remember, he is one of Jehovah’s friends. (Ps. 25:14) Jehovah treats his friends with kindness, and he expects no less from us. (Prov. 15:23; Matt. 7:12; Col. 4:6) Next, review in your mind what you are going to say. Do not assume that your brother set out deliberately to hurt you. And be open to the possibility that in some way you may have contributed to the rift. w18.01 10 ¶15-16
Just as I have loved you, you also love one another.—John 13:34.
In contrast with the people who show the widespread lack of love today, those who worship Jehovah have genuine love for their fellow man. This has always been true. Jesus said that love of neighbor was the second most important commandment in the Mosaic Law, second only to love of God. (Matt. 22:38, 39) Jesus also said that love for one another would be the quality that would identify true Christians. (John 13:35) Such Christian love would even be extended to one’s enemies. (Matt. 5:43, 44) Jesus showed great love for others. He went from city to city, telling people the good news about the Kingdom of God. He cured the blind, the lame, the lepers, and the deaf. He raised the dead. (Luke 7:22) Jesus even gave his own life in behalf of mankind. Jesus’ love perfectly reflected the love his Father shows. Throughout the earth, Jehovah’s Witnesses express godly love toward others. w18.01 29-30 ¶11-12
For all things I have the strength through the one who gives me power.—Phil. 4:13.
You may have qualified for baptism at a young age. Yet, you cannot always predict what challenges you will face in the future. To help you stay faithful in any circumstance, never forget that your promise to Jehovah is unconditional. That means that you have told the Sovereign of the universe that you will continue to serve him even if your friends or parents stop doing so. (Ps. 27:10) In all situations, you can summon the strength—with Jehovah’s help—to live up to your dedication. (Phil. 4:11, 12) Jehovah wants you to be his friend. But maintaining that friendship and working out your own salvation will require effort. In fact, Philippians 2:12 says: “Keep working out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” So consider how you will maintain your friendship with Jehovah and remain faithful to him despite any challenges. You cannot become overconfident. Even some of God’s longtime servants have gone astray. w17.12 24 ¶4, 6-7
I have voluntarily offered all these things.—1 Chron. 29:17.
Jehovah dignifies us with the opportunity to support the grand work taking place today. He guarantees that we will receive blessings when we give in support of the Kingdom. (Mal. 3:10) Jehovah promises that the one who gives generously will prosper. (Prov. 11:24, 25) Giving also makes us happy, for “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) By word and example, we have the privilege of training our children and new ones to appreciate how they can have a share and how they, as a result, can enjoy many blessings. Everything we have is from Jehovah. Giving back to him shows that we love him and appreciate all that he has done in our behalf. When donating for the construction of the temple, “the people rejoiced over making these voluntary offerings.” (1 Chron. 29:9) May we likewise continue to find joy and satisfaction in giving back to Jehovah what has come to us from his own hand. w18.01 21 ¶18-19
Each one in his own proper order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who belong to the Christ during his presence.—1 Cor. 15:23.
The first resurrection would take place sometime after “the presence” of Christ began. Anointed ones who are alive during the great tribulation will be “caught away in clouds.” (1 Thess. 4:13-17; Matt. 24:31) They “will all be changed, in a moment, in the blink of an eye, during the last trumpet.” (1 Cor. 15:51, 52) Today, most faithful Christians are not anointed and called to serve in heaven with Christ. Rather, they await the end of this wicked system of things during “Jehovah’s day.” No one can know the exact timing of that end, but evidence shows that it is close. (1 Thess. 5:1-3) Thereafter, a different type of resurrection will take place, a resurrection to life in an earthly paradise. Those raised will have the prospect of growing to human perfection and never having to die again. w17.12 11 ¶15; 12 ¶18-19
Wherever there are jealousy and contentiousness, there will also be disorder and every vile thing.—Jas. 3:16.
If we cultivate love and kindness in our heart, we will not easily become jealous. God’s Word says: “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous.” (1 Cor. 13:4) To prevent jealousy from taking root in our heart, we must strive to see things from God’s standpoint, viewing our brothers and sisters as members of the same Christian body. This will help us to show fellow feeling, in harmony with the inspired counsel: “If a member is glorified, all the other members rejoice with it.” (1 Cor. 12:16-18, 26) Thus, rather than feel jealous, we will be happy when others receive blessings. Consider the example of King Saul’s son Jonathan. He was not jealous when David was appointed heir to the throne. Rather, he encouraged David. (1 Sam. 23:16-18) Could we be as kind and loving as Jonathan? w17.11 27 ¶10-11
He will not judge by what appears to his eyes, nor reprove simply according to what his ears hear. He will judge the lowly with fairness, and with uprightness he will give reproof.—Isa. 11:3, 4.
Jehovah preserved the Law covenant for us in his Word, the Bible. He wants us, not to obsess over the details of the Law, but to discern and apply its “weightier matters,” the lofty principles that underpin its commandments. (Matt. 23:23) The Mosaic Law reflected a “framework of the knowledge and of the truth” about Jehovah and his righteous principles. (Rom. 2:20) The cities of refuge, for example, teach elders how to “judge with true justice,” and they teach all of us how to “deal with one another in loyal love and mercy.” (Zech. 7:9) We are no longer under the Law. Yet, Jehovah does not change, and the qualities of justice and mercy are still important to him. What a privilege to worship a God in whose image we are made, whose qualities we can imitate, and in whom we can take refuge! w17.11 13-14 ¶2-3; 17 ¶18-19
Happy is the man who finds wisdom and the man who acquires discernment.—Prov. 3:13.
Brothers who speak from the platform should make sure that the Scriptures form the backbone of their talk. (John 7:16) What does that involve? For one thing, be careful that nothing—experiences, illustrations, or even your manner of delivery—overshadows or draws attention away from the Bible verses you use. Also, remember that simply reading a number of scriptures does not in itself constitute teaching from the Bible. In fact, using too many scriptures could result in none of them standing out in the mind of your listeners. So select your key scriptures carefully, and take time to read, explain, illustrate, and apply them well. (Neh. 8:8) Try to understand the connection between the statements in the outline and the cited scriptures. Above all, prayerfully ask for Jehovah’s help to convey the precious thoughts contained in his Word.—Ezra 7:10. w17.09 26 ¶11-12
Return to me, . . . and I will return to you.—Zech. 1:3.
The year 537 B.C.E. was one of rejoicing for Jehovah’s dedicated people. After 70 long years of captivity, they were freed from Babylon and enthusiastically got to work on restoring true worship in Jerusalem. In 536 B.C.E., the foundation of the temple was laid. Sixteen years later, the building of Jehovah’s temple was at a standstill. God’s people needed to be reminded that they should return to Jehovah and stop putting their personal pursuits first. To help his people recall why they were freed from Babylon in the first place, God sent his prophet Zechariah in 520 B.C.E. The very name Zechariah, which means “Jehovah Has Remembered,” may have brought to mind a vital truth. Though they had forgotten Jehovah’s saving acts, God still remembered his people. (Zech. 1:3, 4) He lovingly assured them that he would help them to reestablish pure worship, but he also firmly warned them that he would not tolerate halfhearted worship. w17.10 21-22 ¶2-3
Become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate.—Eph. 4:32.
Mental-health experts say that practicing compassion can improve your health, well-being, and relationships. When you relieve the suffering of others, you will feel happier, more optimistic, less lonely, and less inclined to think negative thoughts. Yes, your showing compassion will benefit you. Christians who lovingly seek to help others are rewarded with a good conscience, knowing that they are acting in harmony with godly principles. Having such a disposition makes for a more caring parent, a better spouse, and a better friend. Those who are quick to show compassion are, in turn, more likely to receive help and support when they need it. (Matt. 5:7; Luke 6:38) Knowing that compassion is good for you should not be your main reason for wanting to cultivate it. The principal reason should be your desire to imitate and glorify the Source of love and compassion, Jehovah God.—Prov. 14:31. w17.09 12 ¶16-17
He will sit down on his throne and rule, and he will also be a priest on his throne.—Zech. 6:13.
In addition to being commissioned King and High Priest, Jesus was assigned to “build the temple of Jehovah.” In modern times, Jesus’ building work involved liberating true worshippers from Babylon the Great and restoring the Christian congregation in 1919. He also appointed a “faithful and discreet slave” to take the lead in directing the work in the earthly courtyards of the great spiritual temple. (Matt. 24:45) Jesus has also been busy refining God’s people and helping them to render worship that is clean. (Mal. 3:1-3) During the Thousand Year Reign, Jesus and his 144,000 associate kings and priests will bring faithful humans to perfection. When this is accomplished, only true worshippers of God will be left on the cleansed earth. Finally, true worship will be fully restored! w17.10 29 ¶15-16
He must dwell in [his city of refuge] until the death of the high priest.—Num. 35:25.
An unintentional manslayer had to take action to receive mercy. He had to flee to the nearest city of refuge. (Josh. 20:4) We cannot imagine the fugitive being indifferent; his life depended on his reaching that city as soon as possible and remaining there! This meant sacrifice on his part. He had to leave behind his previous employment, the comforts of home, and the freedom to travel—until the death of the high priest. But such inconveniences were worth the effort. To benefit from God’s mercy, repentant wrongdoers today must likewise take action. We must completely abandon the sinful course, fleeing not only from serious sin but also from the lesser sins that often lead to gross wrongdoing. Earnest actions to abandon a sinful course show Jehovah that we are not complacent, that we have not presumed on his mercy.—2 Cor. 7:10, 11. w17.11 10-11 ¶10-11
Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.—1 Pet. 4:9.
Jehovah commands us to be generous toward our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:17) Yet, we must do so with a pure motive, avoiding any trace of selfishness. We can ask ourselves: ‘Do I offer hospitality primarily to close friends, prominent ones, or those who might be able to return a favor somehow? Or do I instead look for ways to be generous toward brothers and sisters whom I do not know well or who have nothing with which to repay me?’ (Luke 14:12-14) Or suppose a fellow Christian falls into need because of poor planning or fails to thank us for our hospitality. In such situations, we should apply the counsel given in today’s text. If you follow this advice, you will gain the reward of happiness that comes from giving with the right motive.—Acts 20:35. w17.10 9 ¶12
How could I commit this great badness and actually sin against God?—Gen. 39:9.
Potiphar’s wife set her eyes on Joseph, who was “well-built and handsome,” and she tried to seduce him. Joseph, however, did not succumb to her repeated advances. And when the situation became critical, he fled from her. What does Joseph’s example teach us? One thing is that we may need to flee from the temptation to break one of God’s laws. (Prov. 1:10) In the past, some who are now Witnesses struggled with overeating, heavy drinking, smoking, drug abuse, sexual immorality, and the like. Even after baptism, they may at times be tempted to return to their former practices. Still, if you are ever tempted to break one of Jehovah’s laws, strengthen yourself by taking time to ponder the disastrous spiritual consequences that you could face for failing to restrain sinful impulses. You can try to foresee situations in which temptations could likely present themselves and decide how you can avoid them. (Ps. 26:4, 5; Prov. 22:3) Should you ever face such a test, ask Jehovah to give you the wisdom and self-control to resist. w17.09 4-5 ¶8-9
Make friends for yourselves by means of the unrighteous riches, so that when such fail, they may receive you into the everlasting dwelling places.—Luke 16:9.
One way to gain friendship with Jehovah is by minimizing our involvement with the commercial world and using our circumstances to seek “true” riches. Abraham, a man of faith in ancient times, obediently left prosperous Ur in order to live in tents and pursue his friendship with Jehovah. (Heb. 11:8-10) He always looked to God as the Source of true wealth, never seeking material advantages that would indicate a lack of trust. (Gen. 14:22, 23) Jesus encouraged this sort of faith, telling a rich young man: “If you want to be perfect, go sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come be my follower.” (Matt. 19:21) That man lacked faith like that of Abraham, but others have shown implicit trust in God. w17.07 10 ¶12
[Jehovah] promised to give [the land] to [Abraham] as a possession and after him to his offspring, though as yet he had no child.—Acts 7:5.
It was not until 430 years after Abraham had crossed the Euphrates that his descendants were organized into a nation that would take possession of the land. (Ex. 12:40-42; Gal. 3:17) Abraham was willing to wait, because his patience was based on his faith in Jehovah. (Heb. 11:8-12) Abraham was happy to wait, even though he did not see the complete fulfillment of the promise in his day. But just imagine Abraham’s joy when he is resurrected back to a paradise earth. He will be surprised to see how much of the Bible was used to record his personal story and that of his descendants. Just imagine how thrilled he will be to understand for the first time his vital role in the outworking of Jehovah’s purpose with regard to the promised offspring! No doubt, he will feel that the long wait was worth it. w17.08 5-6 ¶10-11
Deaden . . . your body members that are on the earth as respects . . . uncleanness.—Col. 3:5.
The original Bible word translated “uncleanness” is a broad term that includes much more than sexual sins. It can refer to the harmful practice of smoking or the telling of obscene jokes. (2 Cor. 7:1; Eph. 5:3, 4) It also applies to unclean activities practiced by an individual in private, such as reading sexually stimulating books or viewing pornography, which may lead to the unclean habit of masturbation. Those who habitually view pornography nurture “uncontrolled sexual passion,” which may result in their becoming addicted to sex. Research indicates that individuals who admitted to having an irresistible urge to watch pornography show the same signs of addiction as do alcoholics and drug addicts. No wonder the practice of viewing pornography has harmful results—such as deep feelings of shame, low productivity in the workplace, unhappy family life, divorce, and suicide. w17.08 19 ¶8-9
He makes the bars of your city gates strong; he blesses your sons within you. He brings peace to your territory.—Ps. 147:13, 14.
In thinking about the restoration of Jerusalem, the psalmist sang the above about Jehovah. How reassuring it was for the psalmist to know that God would strengthen the city’s gates to provide protection for his worshippers! You may face difficulties that cause you to become anxious. Jehovah can give you the wisdom to cope. The psalmist said of his God that “he sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.” Then, referring to Jehovah as ‘sending the snow, scattering the frost, and hurling down the hailstones,’ the psalmist asks: “Who can withstand his cold?” He adds that Jehovah “sends out his word, and they melt.” (Ps. 147:15-18) Our all-wise, all-powerful God, the one who controls the hail and the snow, can help you to surmount any obstacles that you encounter. w17.07 20 ¶14-15
You are worthy, Jehovah our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things.—Rev. 4:11.
God’s sovereignty is right. It is the best rulership. And it deserves our wholehearted support. Why? Because Jehovah created all things. Therefore, he has full right to rule over humans as well as spirit creatures. Satan has created nothing. Consequently, he has no rightful claim to universal rulership. In rebelling against Jehovah’s sovereignty, he and the first human couple acted arrogantly. (Jer. 10:23) True, as creatures with free will, they could choose independence from God. But did that give them the right to do so? No. Free will enables people to make many appropriate choices daily. However, it does not entitle them to rebel against their Creator and Life-Giver. Clearly, taking a stand against Jehovah is a misuse of free will. As humans, our place is under Jehovah’s righteous rule. w17.06 27-28 ¶2-4
If only I may finish my course and the ministry.—Acts 20:24.
If we treasure our ministry, we will be like the apostle Paul, continuing to preach despite persecution. (Acts 14:19-22) During the 1930’s and early 1940’s, our brothers in the United States faced tremendous opposition. Yet, like Paul, they stood firm and continued preaching. To protect our right to do that, the brothers fought many legal battles. In 1943, Brother Nathan H. Knorr, when commenting on one victory in the U.S. Supreme Court, stated: “The victories won are due to your fight. . . . It is this victory of the Lord’s people standing firm that finally brings that decision.” Yes, our love for the ministry can defeat persecution. When we view the ministry as a priceless treasure from Jehovah, we will never be content with simply “counting time.” Rather, we will do everything in our power “to bear thorough witness to the good news.”—2 Tim. 4:5. w17.06 11-12 ¶11-12
You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.—Matt. 22:37.
Having deep love for God helps us to obey Jehovah’s commandments, to endure, and to hate what is bad. (Ps. 97:10) However, Satan and his world strive to undermine our love for God. The world around us has a distorted view of love. Rather than direct love to the Creator, people are “lovers of themselves.” (2 Tim. 3:2) This world ruled by Satan fosters “the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life.” (1 John 2:16) The apostle Paul warned fellow Christians against pleasing the flesh, saying: “Setting the mind on the flesh means death . . . because setting the mind on the flesh means enmity with God.” (Rom. 8:6, 7) Indeed, those who have spent their lives on pursuing material things or gratifying sexual desires have ended up disappointed and deeply hurt.—1 Cor. 6:18; 1 Tim. 6:9, 10. w17.05 18 ¶5-6
If anyone does not want to work, neither let him eat.—2 Thess. 3:10.
When refugee brothers show gratitude, never demanding anything, they help their hosts to experience the joy of giving. Granted, living indefinitely on others’ generosity may erode the self-respect of the refugees and may damage their relationships with other brothers. (2 Thess. 3:7-9) But they do need practical help. This requires, not a lot of money, but mainly our time and concern. It may be as simple as showing them how to use public transportation, how to shop for healthful but inexpensive foods, or how to obtain tools or equipment—such as a sewing machine or a lawn mower—in order to earn some income. More important, you can help them to become fully involved in their new congregation. If possible, offer them rides to meetings. Also explain how they might approach people with the Kingdom message in your territory. Take the refugee brothers and sisters along with you in the ministry. w17.05 5 ¶11-12
Form a longing for the unadulterated milk of the word, so that by means of it you may grow to salvation.—1 Pet. 2:2.
Fleshly-minded people have difficulty cultivating a balanced view of material things. Why? Because their spiritual senses are dulled. (1 Cor. 2:14) Once their powers of discernment have become clouded, it becomes more difficult for them to distinguish right from wrong. (Heb. 5:11-14) As a result, some develop an uncontrolled desire for material things—a desire that can never be fully satisfied. (Eccl. 5:10) Thankfully, there is an antidote to being poisoned by materialistic thinking: a healthy dose of God’s Word, the Bible, taken on a regular basis. Just as meditating on divine truth fortified Jesus to reject temptation, so applying Bible principles helps us to fight against materialistic desires. (Matt. 4:8-10) By doing so, we show Jesus that we love him more than any material thing. w17.05 26 ¶17