Fully accomplish your ministry.—2 Tim. 4:5.
Jesus had tender feelings for others. People sensed his love for them and responded favorably to the Kingdom message. The more we develop similar tender feelings for people, the more effective we will be in accomplishing our ministry. What can help us show fellow feeling to those to whom we preach? We want to put ourselves in the place of those we meet in the ministry and treat them as we would like to be treated. (Matt. 7:12) Consider the needs of each individual. Do not try to use the same approach with everyone we meet in our ministry. Rather, take into consideration the specific circumstances and viewpoints of each individual. Draw the person out with tactful questions. (Prov. 20:5) When we draw others out, we in effect allow them to tell us why they need the good news. Once we know that, we can show fellow feeling for their specific needs and respond accordingly, just as Jesus did.—Compare 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. w19.03 20 ¶2; 22 ¶8-9
Commit to Jehovah whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.—Prov. 16:3.
Adam and Eve displayed a callous lack of appreciation for all the good that Jehovah had done for them. We all have the opportunity to show just how much we disagree with the decision that they made. By getting baptized, we show Jehovah that we believe that he has the authority to set the standard of what is right and what is wrong for us. We prove that we love our Father and trust in him. The challenge we face after baptism is to live each day by Jehovah’s standards, not our own. Millions of people are living that way each year. You can be like them if you continue to deepen your understanding of God’s Word, the Bible; associate regularly with your brothers and sisters; and zealously share what you have learned about your loving Father. (Heb. 10:24, 25) When you make decisions, listen to the advice Jehovah gives you through his Word and his organization. (Isa. 30:21) Then all you do will be successful.—Prov. 16:20. w19.03 7 ¶17-18
Every good gift and every perfect present is from above, coming down from the Father of the celestial lights.—Jas. 1:17.
Jehovah has given us an abundance of spiritual food. For example, we receive helpful instruction through our meetings, our magazines, and our websites. Have you ever heard a talk, read an article, or watched a broadcast and thought, ‘That is just what I needed’? How can we show our appreciation to Jehovah? (Col. 3:15) One way is by regularly thanking him in our prayers for these good gifts. We also express appreciation to Jehovah when we keep our place of worship clean and tidy. We share regularly in cleaning and maintaining our Kingdom Halls, and those who handle electronic equipment used by the congregation do so carefully. When we maintain our Kingdom Halls properly, they will last longer and will need fewer major repairs. That way, we make more money available to build and renovate other Kingdom Halls around the world. w19.02 18 ¶17-18
These are just the fringes of his ways; only a faint whisper has been heard of him!—Job 26:14.
Job spent time contemplating the marvels of Jehovah’s creation. (Job 26:7, 8) He was awestruck when he thought about the earth, the sky, the clouds, and the thunder, yet he recognized that he knew very little about the vastness of creation. He also felt awe for Jehovah’s expressions. “I have treasured up his sayings,” Job said of God’s words. (Job 23:12) Job’s awe and respect for Jehovah moved him. He loved his Father and wanted to please him. Job’s determination to keep his integrity thus grew stronger. We need to do as Job did. We know far more about the marvels of creation than did people of Job’s time. And we have the entire inspired Bible to help us to know Jehovah as he really is. All that we learn can help to fill our heart with awe. Our awe and respect for Jehovah will, in turn, move us to love and obey him and to build up our deep desire to keep our integrity.—Job 28:28. w19.02 5 ¶12
I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?—Ps. 118:6.
Throughout history, human rulers have persecuted Jehovah’s people. They may charge us with various “crimes,” but the real issue is that we choose to “obey God as ruler rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) We might be ridiculed, imprisoned, or even physically mistreated. With Jehovah’s help, however, we will not retaliate but will remain mild throughout the test. Consider the example that three Hebrew exiles—Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah—set for us. Mildly, they explained to the king why they would not worship the image he had made. They were willing to accept whatever outcome Jehovah would permit. (Dan. 3:1, 8-28) When our loyalty to God is tested, how can we imitate the three Hebrews? We humbly trust that Jehovah will care for us. (Ps. 118:7) We answer those who accuse us of wrongdoing in a mild, respectful manner. (1 Pet. 3:15) And we absolutely refuse to compromise our friendship with our loving Father. w19.02 10-11 ¶11-13
Take courage!—John 16:33.
We can strengthen our courage by thinking about the hope that the ransom sacrifice of Christ makes possible for us. (John 3:16; Eph. 1:7) In the weeks leading up to the Memorial, we have a special opportunity to build our appreciation for the ransom. During that time, keep up with the Memorial Bible reading and prayerfully meditate on the events surrounding Jesus’ death. Then when we gather for the Lord’s Evening Meal, we will understand more fully the significance of the Memorial emblems and the matchless sacrifice that they represent. When we appreciate what Jesus and Jehovah have done for us and understand how it benefits us and our loved ones, our hope grows stronger, and we are motivated to endure courageously to the end. (Heb. 12:3) How grateful we can be that Jesus continues to display humility and courage as our heavenly High Priest, who pleads in our behalf! (Heb. 7:24, 25) To show our appreciation, we must loyally commemorate Jesus’ death, just as he commanded.—Luke 22:19, 20. w19.01 22 ¶8; 23-24 ¶10-11
Please take pleasure in my voluntary offerings of praise, O Jehovah.—Ps. 119:108.
Jehovah has given all of us the privilege to praise him. Our comments at meetings are part of our “sacrifice of praise,” and no one can offer that sacrifice for us. (Heb. 13:15) Does Jehovah demand the same type of sacrifice, or comment, from each of us? No, he does not! View the congregation meetings like a meal shared with good friends. Imagine that some friends in the congregation planned a barbecue and asked you to prepare some small item of food. How would you respond? You might feel a little anxious, but you would likely do your best to bring something that everyone could enjoy. Jehovah, our Host, has provided a table full of good things for us at our meetings. (Ps. 23:5; Matt. 24:45) And he is pleased when we bring a simple gift, the best that we can give. So prepare well and participate as freely as you can. Then you will not only feed at Jehovah’s table but also bring a gift to share with the congregation. w19.01 8 ¶3; 13 ¶20
Those who pursue other gods multiply their sorrows.—Ps. 16:4.
In Bible times, false worship often included gross sexual immorality. (Hos. 4:13, 14) To be sure, that form of worship appealed to the sinful flesh. But it did not bring lasting happiness. To the contrary! ‘Those who pursued other gods multiplied their sorrows,’ said David. They also brought untold suffering to countless children. (Isa. 57:5) Jehovah detested such cruelty! (Jer. 7:31) Today, too, false worship often condones sexual immorality, even homosexuality. But the end results of reveling in so-called moral freedom have not really changed since Bible times. (1 Cor. 6:18, 19) People “multiply their sorrows,” as you may have observed. So young ones, listen to your heavenly Father. Be fully convinced that obedience to him is in your best interests. Impress on your heart that the harm caused by wrongdoing far outweighs any temporary pleasure.—Gal. 6:8. w18.12 27-28 ¶16-18
I will behave the same way toward you.—Hos. 3:3.
If a Christian’s mate committed immorality, the innocent Christian would face a decision. Jesus said that the innocent one would have a basis for getting a divorce and then be free to remarry. (Matt. 19:9) On the other hand, the innocent mate could extend forgiveness. That would not be wrong. Hosea took back Gomer. Once Gomer was back with Hosea, she was not to have relations with any other man. Hosea did “not have relations” with Gomer for a while. (Hos. 3:1-3, ftn.) In time, though, Hosea must have resumed marital relations with her, thereby reflecting God’s willingness to accept his people back and resume his dealings with them. (Hos. 1:11; 3:4, 5) What bearing does that have on a marriage today? If an innocent mate decided to maintain the marriage, resuming marital relations would show forgiveness. (1 Cor. 7:3, 5) That course would cancel what had been grounds for divorce. Thereafter as a couple, they should work to reflect God’s view of marriage. w18.12 13 ¶13
The shrewd one sees the danger and conceals himself.—Prov. 22:3.
When studying, we do well to consider what bearing Jehovah’s thoughts may have on situations we might face in the future. That way, should we be in a situation requiring an immediate decision, we will not be caught completely off guard. By immediately rejecting the attempted seductions of Potiphar’s wife, Joseph showed that he had given thought to Jehovah’s view of marital faithfulness. (Gen. 39:8, 9) Furthermore, his reply to Potiphar’s wife: “How could I commit this great badness and actually sin against God?” indicates that he had made God’s view his own. What about us? Suppose a coworker began manifesting flirtatious behavior. Or what if a sexually explicit message or image was sent to your mobile phone? It is far easier to take a stand if we have already sought out and adopted Jehovah’s view on such matters and have determined in advance what we will do. w18.11 25 ¶13-14
I will exult in Jehovah.—Hab. 3:18.
Some scholars think that this verse literally means “I will jump for joy in the Lord; I will spin round for delight in God.” What a powerful assurance for all of us! Not only has Jehovah given us wonderful promises but he has assured us that he is swiftly working out his great purpose. No doubt, the vital message of Habakkuk is to trust in Jehovah. (Hab. 2:4) We can acquire and maintain such trust if we strengthen our relationship with Jehovah by (1) persevering in prayer, telling Jehovah all about our anxieties and concerns; (2) paying careful attention to Jehovah’s Word and any direction we receive through his organization; and (3) faithfully and patiently waiting on Jehovah. That is what Habakkuk did. Though he began his book with grief, he ended with a confident and joyful exclamation. May we follow this inspiring example so that we too can feel Jehovah’s fatherly embrace! What greater comfort could we find in this darkening world? w18.11 17 ¶18-19
[Christ] died for all so that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised up.—2 Cor. 5:15.
True Christians also have this reason to be drawn to God’s love: He “loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) What love Jesus also showed in giving his life for us! And what a powerful motivation that love is for us! God’s Word promises that not even “tribulation or distress” can “separate us from the love of the Christ.” (Rom. 8:35, 38, 39) When we grapple with trials that are physically, emotionally, or spiritually draining, the compelling force of Christ’s love can give us the strength to endure. (2 Cor. 5:14) Jesus’ love has the power to sustain us and to motivate us not to give up, even in the face of such trials as disasters, persecution, personal disappointments, or gnawing anxiety. w18.09 14 ¶8-9
I will walk in your truth.—Ps. 86:11.
To walk in the truth, we must accept and obey all of Jehovah’s sayings. We must give the truth priority in our lives and live according to Bible principles. Like David, we must be firmly resolved to keep walking in God’s truth. If we are not, we could have second thoughts about what we paid for the truth and perhaps be tempted to begin taking back part of the payment. Rather, we carefully hold on to the complete truth. We recognize that we cannot pick which truths to accept and which to ignore. After all, we must walk in “all the truth.” (John 16:13) To avoid drifting away from the truth, we must make wise use of our time. If we are not careful, we might start to spend excessive amounts of time on recreation, hobbies, browsing the Internet, or watching television. Although these things are not wrong in themselves, the time we spend on them can begin to encroach on time previously spent in personal study and other spiritual activities. w18.11 10 ¶7-8
I have calmed and quieted my soul.—Ps. 131:2.
When our life takes an unexpected turn, the changes that we have to face may cause us apprehension and emotional stress. (Prov. 12:25) We may even find it hard to accept those changes. In such circumstances, how can we ‘calm and quiet’ our soul? (Ps. 131:1-3) Despite adverse circumstances, we today can experience firsthand the soothing effect of “the peace of God” that guards our mental powers. (Phil. 4:6, 7) Thus, if we turn to Jehovah when we feel overwhelmed by anxiety, God’s peace can strengthen our determination to reach spiritual goals and guard us against any tendency to give up. In addition to calming us down, God’s spirit can draw our attention to key scriptures that will help us to keep our spiritual priorities.—John 14:26, 27. w18.10 27 ¶2; 28 ¶5, 8
Speak the truth with one another.—Zech. 8:16.
What device has had the worst possible effect on humankind? The lie! That is, saying something that one knows is not true in order to deceive someone else. And who devised the first lie? Jesus Christ identified “the Devil” as “the father of the lie.” (John 8:44) When did he utter the first lie? It happened thousands of years ago in the garden of Eden. The first human couple, Adam and Eve, were enjoying life in the Paradise that their Creator had provided for them. Then, the Devil entered the scene. He knew that God had commanded the couple not to eat from “the tree of the knowledge of good and bad,” lest they die for their disobedience. Even so, through a serpent, Satan told Eve: “You certainly will not die [the first lie ever told]. For God knows that in the very day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and bad.”—Gen. 2:15-17; 3:1-5. w18.10 6 ¶1-2
Happy are the pure in heart, since they will see God.—Matt. 5:8.
To keep our hearts pure, we must be clean on the inside and nurture chaste affections and desires. We need to keep our thoughts clean so as to be spiritually untainted in our devotion to Jehovah. (2 Cor. 4:2; 1 Tim. 1:5) How, though, do the pure in heart “see God” when, in fact, “no man can see [God] and live”? (Ex. 33:20) The Greek word rendered “see” can carry the sense of “to see with the mind, to perceive, know.” Those who see God with ‘the eyes of the heart’ are those who have really come to know him, appreciating his qualities. (Eph. 1:18) In addition to getting to know God’s qualities, true worshippers can “see God” by observing the way he acts in their behalf. (Job 42:5) They also focus ‘their eyes of the heart’ on the wonderful blessings that God holds out for those who strive to remain pure and to serve him loyally. w18.09 20 ¶13, 15-16
Wisdom is the most important thing, so acquire wisdom.—Prov. 4:7.
Doing what we know to be right brings rich blessings. Although wisdom is based on knowledge, it particularly has to do with the decisions we make rather than just the facts we understand. Even ants reveal wisdom. Ants demonstrate instinctive wisdom by preparing their food in the summer. (Prov. 30:24, 25) Christ, “the wisdom of God,” always does the things pleasing to the Father. (1 Cor. 1:24; John 8:29) God knows the difference between making the right choice and acting on that choice. And he rewards those who demonstrate humility with endurance and who practice what they know to be true. (Matt. 7:21-23) Therefore, work to preserve the spiritual environment in which genuine humility can flourish. Applying what we know to be true takes time and requires patience, but it is a mark of humility that leads to happiness now and forever. w18.09 7 ¶18
Let each one examine his own actions, . . . and not in comparison with the other person.—Gal. 6:4.
The Creator envisioned that perfect humans would cooperate with him to accomplish his purposes. Despite mankind’s current imperfect state, faithful people can still work with Jehovah each day. For example, we become “God’s fellow workers” by preaching the good news of his Kingdom and making disciples. (1 Cor. 3:5-9) Just think what a privilege we have to be counted worthy of cooperating with the almighty Creator of the universe in a work that he considers important! Yet, preaching and making disciples are not the only ways that we work with Jehovah. Other ways we can do so are by assisting our family and fellow worshippers, by being hospitable, by volunteering for theocratic projects, and by expanding our sacred service. (Col. 3:23) However, do not compare what you can do for Jehovah with what others can do. Remember that age, health, circumstances, and abilities vary from one person to another. w18.08 23 ¶1-2
Keep in expectation of it! For it will without fail come true.—Hab. 2:3.
Jehovah assured Habakkuk that he would receive answers to his sincere questions. Relief for all his worries would come before too long. God, in effect, told the prophet: “Be patient, trust in me. My answer will come despite the apparent delay!” Jehovah reminded him that He had an appointed time for fulfilling His promises. He counseled Habakkuk to wait for the accomplishment of His purposes. Ultimately, the prophet would not be disappointed. Patiently waiting on Jehovah and paying close attention to what he tells us will give us confidence and will help us to acquire a calm heart despite adversities and hardships. Jesus confirmed that we can trust in Jehovah as the Great Timekeeper, not focusing on “times or seasons” that God has not yet revealed. (Acts 1:7) Therefore, may we not give up but wait in humility, faith, and patience, making good use of the time we have to serve Jehovah to the best of our abilities.—Mark 13:35-37; Gal. 6:9. w18.11 16 ¶13-14
God has shown me that I should call no man defiled or unclean.—Acts 10:28.
Like other Jews of his time, Peter grew up believing that Gentiles were unclean. Yet, Peter had experienced events that caused him to reevaluate that position. For example, Peter had a miraculous vision. (Acts 10:9-16) Like Peter, we must examine ourselves carefully and be willing to receive help so that we can identify any remaining traces of prejudice in our hearts. What else can we do? If we open our heart wide, we will allow love to replace prejudice. (2 Cor. 6:11-13) Are you in the habit of having close association only with those of your own race, ethnicity, nationality, tribe, or language group? If so, widen out. Why not invite those of a different background to work with you in the field ministry or invite them to your home for a meal or a gathering? (Acts 16:14, 15) If you do so, you will fill your heart with so much love that there will be no room for prejudice. w18.08 9 ¶3, 6; 10 ¶7
Keep from becoming causes for stumbling.—1 Cor. 10:32.
Some Witnesses have not firmly rejected worldly conduct. Their dancing and actions at parties go beyond what is acceptable for Christians. They post on social media photos of themselves and comments that are unbecoming to spiritual people. Therefore, they can be a negative influence on their peers who are striving to maintain fine conduct among Jehovah’s people. (1 Pet. 2:11, 12) The world aggressively promotes “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) Yet, because we belong to Jehovah, we are admonished to “reject ungodliness and worldly desires and to live with soundness of mind and righteousness and godly devotion amid this present system of things.” (Titus 2:12) Our speech, our eating and drinking habits, our dress and grooming, our work ethic—everything we do—should tell onlookers that we are exclusively devoted to Jehovah. w18.07 25 ¶13-14
Our eyes look to Jehovah our God until he shows us favor.—Ps. 123:2.
If we keep our figurative eyes focused on Jehovah, we will not allow the actions of others to embitter us or damage our relationship with him. This is especially important if, like Moses, we have a measure of responsibility in God’s organization. While it is true that each of us needs to ‘keep working out his own salvation with fear and trembling,’ we must remember that Jehovah does not have one rigid, inflexible standard by which he judges us. (Phil. 2:12) Rather, the more responsibility we have, the greater our accountability. (Luke 12:48) But if we truly love Jehovah, nothing will stumble us or separate us from his love. (Ps. 119:165; Rom. 8:37-39) In these challenging times, may our eyes be raised continually to the One who is “enthroned in the heavens,” so that we can perceive his will. (Ps. 123:1) May we never allow our relationship with Jehovah to be negatively affected by the actions of others. w18.07 16 ¶19-20
Let your light shine before men, so that they may . . . give glory to your Father.—Matt. 5:16.
How thrilling it is to hear of increases that Jehovah’s people are experiencing! In 2017 we regularly conducted over 10,000,000 Bible studies. This certainly indicates that God’s servants are letting their light shine! And think of the millions of interested ones whom we welcomed at the Memorial. They could thus learn of the love that God expressed when he provided the ransom. (1 John 4:9) Worldwide, Jehovah’s people speak many different languages. However, this does not prevent us from offering united praise to our Father, Jehovah. (Rev. 7:9) No matter what our mother tongue is or where we live, we can shine “as illuminators in the world.” (Phil. 2:15) The increase we observe, the unity we enjoy, and the watchful attitude that we strive to maintain all contribute to our bringing glory to Jehovah. w18.06 21 ¶1-3
Rabbi, eat.—John 4:31.
Jesus’ reply indicated that he was so absorbed in the spiritual discussion that his hunger could be ignored. Preaching—even to a Samaritan woman—was the will of his Father, and it was like food for him. (John 4:32-34) James and John did not grasp this lesson. When journeying with Jesus through Samaria, the disciples sought overnight lodging in a Samaritan village. The Samaritans refused to receive them, so James and John angrily suggested calling down fire from heaven to destroy the entire village. Jesus firmly rebuked them. (Luke 9:51-56) We may wonder if James and John would have reacted the same way if the inhospitable village had been in their home region of Galilee. It seems likely that prejudice had kindled their animosity. It could be that the apostle John felt embarrassed about his rash outburst when he later enjoyed a successful preaching campaign among the Samaritans.—Acts 8:14, 25. w18.06 10-11 ¶12-13
Stand firm . . . with the belt of truth fastened around your waist.—Eph. 6:14.
When Bible truth is wrapped around us tightly, as it were, we will be moved to live in harmony with it and to speak the truth at all times. Why will we avoid telling lies? Because lies have been one of Satan’s most effective weapons. Lies damage both the one telling them and the one believing them. (John 8:44) So to the best of our imperfect ability, we avoid telling lies. (Eph. 4:25) But it can be a challenge. Eighteen-year-old Abigail says: “Speaking the truth may not always seem worth it, especially when telling a lie can get you out of a difficult situation.” Why, then, tell the truth? Victoria, 23, says: “When you tell the truth and stand up for your beliefs, you might get bullied. But you always get outstanding benefits: You gain confidence, you feel closer to Jehovah, and you earn the respect of those who love you.” Certainly, it is worth keeping “the belt of truth fastened around your waist” at all times. w18.05 28 ¶3, 5
Keep on the watch.—Matt. 24:42.
As these critical times worsen, all of us need to keep on the watch. When Jehovah acts, it will be at the right time. (Matt. 24:42-44) Meanwhile, exercise patience, being ever watchful. Read God’s Word each day, and be vigilant with a view to prayers. (1 Pet. 4:7) Take note of sterling examples of brothers and sisters whose lives reflect their joy in keeping on the watch as well as letting their light shine. Fill your life with upbuilding activity and association. That will bring you great joy, and it will seem to you that time is passing quickly. (Eph. 5:16) It is faith-strengthening to know that our imperfection does not stop us from serving Jehovah acceptably. Consequently, appreciate Jehovah’s provision of “gifts in men,” congregation elders. (Eph. 4:8, 11, 12) The next time an elder visits you, take advantage of the opportunity to draw on his wisdom and benefit from his advice. w18.06 24-25 ¶15-18
If you observe my commandments, you will remain in my love.—John 15:10.
Jesus told his disciples not only to be in his love but to “remain in [his] love.” Why? Because living as a true disciple of Christ year after year calls for endurance. Jesus stressed the need for endurance by using forms of the word “remain” over and over in the brief passage recorded at John 15:4-10. How do we show that we want to remain in Christ’s love and keep his approval? By observing Jesus’ commandments. Simply put, Jesus tells us, ‘Be obedient to me.’ Yet, Jesus only asked us to do what he himself did, for he added: “Just as I have observed the commandments of the Father and remain in his love.” Jesus sets the example. (John 13:15) By carrying out Jesus’ command to go and preach, we too show our love for God because Jesus’ commandments reflect his Father’s thinking. (Matt. 17:5; John 8:28) In response to our expression of love, Jehovah and Jesus keep us in their love. w18.05 18 ¶5-7
The plans of the diligent surely lead to success.—Prov. 21:5.
Adolescents have to make decisions about education, employment, and other matters. If you know what your goals are, making good decisions becomes easier. The earlier you make plans by setting good goals, the sooner you will have success. Thousands of young ones in congregations all over the world deserve warm praise. They commit themselves to Jehovah and focus their lives on theocratic goals. Such young people enjoy life to the full while at the same time learning to follow Jehovah’s guidance in all endeavors. This also includes family life. “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart,” wrote Solomon. “In all your ways take notice of him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Prov. 3:5, 6) Youths in the Christian congregation are precious in the eyes of Jehovah, who loves them dearly and gives them his protection, guidance, and blessing. w18.04 26 ¶7; 27 ¶9
Love one another; just as I have loved you, you also love one another.—John 13:34.
The apostle John was a pillar in the early Christian congregation. His riveting Gospel account of Jesus’ ministry has been a source of encouragement to Christians throughout the centuries—and still is. His Gospel alone preserves Jesus’ statement that love is the identifying mark of his true disciples. (John 13:35) John’s three letters contain further gems of truth. When we are weighed down with the burden of sin, are we not relieved to read that “the blood of Jesus . . . cleanses us from all sin”? (1 John 1:7) And if our heart continues to condemn us, do we not get a lump in our throat and tears of gratitude in our eyes when we read that “God is greater than our hearts”? (1 John 3:20) John alone wrote that “God is love.” (1 John 4:8, 16) His second and third letters commend Christians who continue “walking in the truth.”—2 John 4; 3 John 3, 4. w18.04 18 ¶14-15