They will all be taught by Jehovah.—John 6:45.
Jehovah supports us in a number of ways. He can help you to keep calm when faced with an opposer. He can also help you to recall just the right scripture to share with an interested householder. And he gives you the strength to continue when you meet with indifference in the territory. (Jer. 20:7-9) Jehovah has also shown us his goodness by training us for the ministry. At our midweek meeting, we listen to well-thought-out sample conversations, and we are encouraged to use them in the ministry. At first, we may be a bit apprehensive about trying something new, but when we do, we may find that the new approach appeals to those in our territory. We are also encouraged at meetings and conventions to engage in forms of the ministry that we might never have tried before. Once again, that will mean leaving our comfort zone, but when we do, we give Jehovah something to bless. w21.08 27 ¶5-6
[Make] the best use of your time, because the days are wicked.—Eph. 5:16.
In a letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul gave strong counsel. After writing that letter, he sent Titus to them. How happy he was to find out that they had taken the counsel well! (2 Cor. 7:6, 7) Elders can follow Paul’s example by spending time with fellow worshippers. One way to do this is to arrive early at congregation meetings in order to have meaningful conversations with others. It often takes just a few minutes to provide some loving encouragement that a brother or a sister needs. (Rom. 1:12) An elder who follows Paul’s example will also strengthen fellow worshippers by using God’s Word to build them up and to assure them of God’s love for them. He looks for opportunities to commend them. When an elder must offer counsel, he bases it on God’s Word. He is specific but kind because he cares about how his words are received.—Gal. 6:1. w22.03 28-29 ¶11-12
We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the power beyond what is normal may be God’s and not from us.—2 Cor. 4:7.
Today, Jehovah gives his people “power beyond what is normal” so that they can continue to serve him faithfully. One way we are strengthened is by means of prayer. As recorded at Ephesians 6:18, the apostle Paul encourages us to pray to God “on every occasion.” In response, God will strengthen us. At times, we may feel overwhelmed or unsure about what we should pray for. But Jehovah invites us to pray to him even if we find it hard to put our thoughts and feelings into words. (Rom. 8:26, 27) He also strengthens us by means of the Bible. Just as Paul relied on the Scriptures for strength and comfort, we too can rely on them. (Rom. 15:4) As we read God’s Word and meditate on it, Jehovah can use his spirit to help us understand better how the Scriptures apply to our situation.—Heb. 4:12. w21.05 22 ¶8-10
God . . . energizes you, giving you both the desire and the power to act.—Phil. 2:13.
We take seriously our commission to teach even though we face challenges that may keep us from doing as much as we would like to do in making disciples. We may feel limited by our circumstances. For example, some publishers are older or have poor health. Does that describe your situation? If it does, remember we have discovered that we can conduct effective Bible studies electronically! So you may be able to start and conduct a study from the comfort of your own home. And there is another advantage. Some would enjoy studying the Bible, but they are not available during the times our brothers usually set aside for preaching. However, they may be available early in the morning or late at night. Might you be able to make yourself available to fill that need? Jesus taught Nicodemus at night, which was a time that Nicodemus preferred.—John 3:1, 2. w21.07 5 ¶10-11
This people approach me with their mouth and they honor me with their lips, but their heart is far removed from me.—Isa. 29:13.
The disciples of John the Baptist were puzzled because Jesus’ disciples did not fast. Jesus explained that they had no reason to fast while he was still alive. (Matt. 9:14-17) Even so, the Pharisees and other opposers of Jesus condemned him because he did not follow their customs and traditions. They got angry when he chose to heal sick ones on the Sabbath. (Mark 3:1-6; John 9:16) On the one hand, they piously claimed to honor the Sabbath; but on the other hand, they had no problem doing business in the temple. They were furious when Jesus condemned them for it. (Matt. 21:12, 13, 15) And those to whom Jesus preached in the synagogue in Nazareth were incensed when Jesus made unfavorable historical comparisons that exposed their selfishness and lack of faith. (Luke 4:16, 25-30) Jesus’ unexpected behavior caused many to stumble.—Matt. 11:16-19. w21.05 5-6 ¶13-14
We are not ignorant of his designs.—2 Cor. 2:11.
One of the ways in which Jehovah warns us about pride and greed is by encouraging us to learn from real-life experiences. When we think of greed, Satan the Devil likely comes to mind. As one of Jehovah’s angels, Satan must have had many fine privileges. But he wanted more. He wanted the worship that only Jehovah rightly deserves. Satan wants us to become like him, so he tries to make us feel discontented with what we have. That sort of effort started when he approached Eve. Jehovah had lovingly provided Eve and her husband with an abundance of satisfying food to eat—“from every tree of the garden” except one. (Gen. 2:16) Still, Satan deceived Eve into thinking that she needed to eat from the one tree that was forbidden. Eve failed to appreciate what she had; she wanted more. We know what that led to. Eve gave in to sin and eventually died.—Gen. 3:6, 19. w21.06 14 ¶2-3; 17 ¶9
Be fruitful and become many, fill the earth and subdue it.—Gen. 1:28.
Adam and Eve were to have children and take good care of their earthly home. If they had obediently cooperated with Jehovah’s purpose for them, Adam and Eve and their offspring would have remained members of God’s family forever. Adam and Eve had an honorable place in Jehovah’s family. As recorded at Psalm 8:5 and footnote, David said this about Jehovah’s creation of man: “You made him a little lower than angels, and you crowned him with glory and splendor.” True, humans were not given the same power, intelligence, and abilities as the angels. (Ps. 103:20) Yet, mankind is only “a little lower” than those mighty spirit creatures. Sadly, Adam and Eve lost their place in Jehovah’s family. This has had disastrous consequences for their descendants. But Jehovah’s purpose has not changed. He wants obedient humans to be his children forever. w21.08 2-3 ¶2-4
“Not by a military force, nor by power, but by my spirit,” says Jehovah.—Zech. 4:6.
Today, many of Jehovah’s worshippers face opposition. For example, some live in lands where our work is restricted and they may be arrested and “brought before governors and kings” for a witness to them. (Matt. 10:17, 18) Other Witnesses face opposition of a different sort. They live in a country where there is considerable freedom to worship Jehovah, but they still face opposition from family members who are determined to stop them from serving their God. (Matt. 10:32-36) In many cases, when opposers realize that their efforts to discourage their Witness relatives are in vain, they stop opposing them. And in some cases, those who were once violently opposed have later become zealous Witnesses. When you face opposition, do not give up! Be courageous. You have Jehovah and his powerful holy spirit on your side, so you have nothing to fear! w22.03 16 ¶8
O you who love Jehovah, hate what is bad.—Ps. 97:10.
The Bible reveals that Jehovah hates “haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood.” (Prov. 6:16, 17) He also “detests violent and deceptive people.” (Ps. 5:6) Jehovah hates these attitudes and actions so much that he wiped out all the wicked in Noah’s day because they had filled the earth with violence. (Gen. 6:13) Also, through the prophet Malachi, Jehovah said that He hates those who treacherously scheme to divorce their innocent marriage partner. God rejects their worship and will call them to account for their conduct. (Mal. 2:13-16; Heb. 13:4) Jehovah wants us to “abhor what is wicked.” (Rom. 12:9) The word “abhor” describes a strong emotional response; it means to hate something intensely, to be disgusted by it. Therefore, even the thought of doing something that Jehovah says is bad should be repulsive to us. w22.03 4-5 ¶11-12
Happy are all those keeping in expectation of him.—Isa. 30:18.
Soon our heavenly Father will bless us richly by means of his Kingdom. Those who keep in expectation of Jehovah will receive many blessings both now and in the new world to come. When God’s people enter into the new world, they will never again have to endure the anxieties and the challenges that they must face today. Injustice will be gone, and pain will be no more. (Rev. 21:4) We will not have to wait anxiously for what we need because there will be an abundance. (Ps. 72:16; Isa. 54:13) What a blessing that will be! In the meantime, with every bad habit we conquer and every godly quality we develop, Jehovah is preparing us for life under his rulership. Do not lose heart, and do not give up. The best is yet to come! With a bright future ahead of us, may we continue to wait willingly and patiently on Jehovah as he completes his work! w21.08 13 ¶17-19
Do not forget to do good and to share what you have with others, for God is well-pleased with such sacrifices.—Heb. 13:16.
Not long after receiving the apostle Paul’s letter, Christians in Judea had to leave their homes, their businesses, and their unbelieving relatives and had to “begin fleeing to the mountains.” (Matt. 24:16) At that time, there was no doubt an urgent need for them to help one another. If prior to this they had been applying Paul’s advice to share what they had with one another, they would have found it easier to adapt to their new way of life. Our brothers and sisters may not always let us know about their needs. So be approachable. No doubt you know brothers and sisters in your congregation who are always ready to help others. They never make us feel that we are imposing on them. We know that we can count on them when a need arises, and we would love to be just like them! w22.02 23-24 ¶13-15
Maintain the oneness of the spirit in the uniting bond of peace.—Eph. 4:3.
In recent years many congregations and circuits have been reorganized. If we are asked to join a new congregation, we may find it difficult to leave friends and family. Do the elders receive divine direction that tells them where to assign each publisher? No. And that fact might make it challenging for us to follow the direction we receive. But Jehovah trusts the elders to make such decisions, and we too need to trust them. Why should we cooperate with the elders and support their decisions even when the decisions are not what we would have preferred? Because in doing so, we help preserve the unity among God’s people. Congregations thrive when all humbly submit to the decisions reached by the body of elders. (Heb. 13:17) More important, we show Jehovah that we trust in him by cooperating with those whom he trusts to care for us.—Acts 20:28. w22.02 4-5 ¶9-10
Continue applying yourself to public reading, to exhortation, to teaching.—1 Tim. 4:13.
If you are a baptized brother, you might work on improving your speaking and teaching ability. Why? Because your getting “absorbed in” reading, speaking, and teaching will be a blessing to your listeners. (1 Tim. 4:15) Try setting the goal of studying and applying each speech quality discussed in the brochure Apply Yourself to Reading and Teaching. Study one quality at a time, practice diligently at home, and endeavor to manifest that quality in your talk assignments. Seek out suggestions from the auxiliary counselor or other elders “who work hard in speaking and teaching.” (1 Tim. 5:17) Focus not only on understanding the technique but also on helping your listeners to strengthen their faith or on motivating them to take a certain course of action. By doing so, you will enhance your joy and theirs. w21.08 24 ¶17
With humility consider others superior to you.—Phil. 2:3.
If we consider others superior to us, we will not compete with those who may have greater talents and abilities than we possess. On the contrary, we will be happy for them. That is especially true if they are using their abilities in Jehovah’s service to his praise. As a result, we will all promote peace and unity in the congregation. We can control our tendency toward envy by cultivating modesty, that is, by being aware of our own limitations. If we are modest, we will not try to prove that we are more talented or more capable than everyone else. Instead, we will look at how we can learn from those who are more capable than we are. For example, suppose a brother in the congregation gives excellent public talks. We might ask him how he goes about preparing his talks. If a sister is a fine cook, we might ask her for suggestions that will help us to improve in that area. w21.07 16 ¶8-9
[Jehovah] is never unjust.—Deut. 32:4.
In the book of Numbers, we read that Jehovah sentenced an Israelite to death for collecting wood on the Sabbath. In the second book of Samuel, we learn that centuries later, Jehovah pardoned King David for committing adultery and murder. (Num. 15:32, 35; 2 Sam. 12:9, 13) We might wonder, ‘Why did Jehovah forgive David for murder and adultery but sentence the other man to death for a seemingly less serious transgression?’ The Bible does not always provide all the details of an account. For example, we know that David was sincerely repentant of his actions. (Ps. 51:2-4) But what kind of person was the man who broke the Sabbath law? Was he sorry for what he had done? Had he disobeyed Jehovah’s laws in the past? Had he ignored or even rejected previous warnings? The Bible does not say. However, we know more than enough about our God to be certain that he “is righteous in all his ways.”—Ps. 145:17. w22.02 2-3 ¶3-4
Wisdom is with the modest ones.—Prov. 11:2.
A modest person will adjust his expectations of how much he can do. As a result, he will remain happy and productive. We could compare a modest person with someone driving a vehicle uphill. The driver needs to change to a lower gear in order to continue driving up the slope. True, he will probably travel more slowly, but he will keep moving forward. Similarly, a modest person knows when it is time to “change to a lower gear” so that he can continue to be active and productive in Jehovah’s service. (Phil. 4:5) Note the example of Barzillai, who was 80 years old when King David invited him to become part of the royal court. Modest Barzillai declined the king’s offer. Recognizing his personal limitations, Barzillai recommended that a younger man, Chimham, go in his place. (2 Sam. 19:35-37) Like Barzillai, older men are happy to give younger men the opportunity to serve. w21.09 10 ¶6-7
No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son is willing to reveal him.—Luke 10:22.
Do you find it difficult to view Jehovah as a loving Father? Some of us do. We may find the idea of a loving parent hard to grasp because our upbringing was painful. How comforting it is to know that Jehovah completely understands our feelings! He wants to be close to us. That is why his Word urges us: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.” (Jas. 4:8) Jehovah loves us, and he offers to be the best Father we could ever have. Jesus can help us to draw closer to Jehovah. Jesus knows Jehovah so well and reflects His qualities so perfectly that he said: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father also.” (John 14:9) Like an older brother, Jesus teaches us how to respect and obey our Father, how to avoid displeasing Him, and how to gain His approval. But Jesus’ life course on earth especially reveals how kind and loving Jehovah is. w21.09 21 ¶4-5
Shepherd the flock of God under your care.—1 Pet. 5:2.
Jehovah’s people are united in worship of the one true God. Jehovah has entrusted the elders with the weighty responsibility of keeping the congregation clean. If a Christian commits a serious sin, Jehovah expects the elders to determine whether that individual can remain in the congregation. Among other things, they need to find out whether the person is truly sorry for what he did. He may claim to be repentant, but does he truly hate what he did? Is he determined not to repeat the sin? If bad associations led up to the wrongdoing, is he willing to cut off those associations? The elders prayerfully consider the facts in the light of the Scriptures, taking into account the wrongdoer’s attitude toward what happened. Then they decide whether the wrongdoer may remain in the congregation. In some cases, he must be disfellowshipped.—1 Cor. 5:11-13. w22.02 5 ¶11-12
Clothe yourselves with the new personality.—Col. 3:10.
Whether we have been baptized for just a few days or for many decades, all of us want to have the kind of personality that Jehovah loves. To be that type of person, we need to control our thinking. Why? Because our personality is largely shaped by our thoughts. If we regularly think about what appeals to our fleshly desires, we will say and do bad things. (Eph. 4:17-19) On the other hand, if we fill our mind with good thoughts, we will more likely speak and act in a way that pleases our Father, Jehovah. (Gal. 5:16) However, we cannot stop all bad thoughts from entering our mind. But we can choose not to act on such thoughts. Before we get baptized, we need to stop speaking and acting in a way that Jehovah hates. That is the first and most important step in stripping off the old personality. To please Jehovah fully, however, we must also put on the new personality. w22.03 8 ¶1-2
In every respect you demonstrated yourselves to be pure in this matter.—2 Cor. 7:11.
It is no easy task for the elders to determine whether someone who has committed a serious sin is now truly repentant. Why not? The elders cannot read hearts, so they must rely on outward evidence that their brother has had a complete change of viewpoint toward his sin. They need to see evidence of genuine changes in the sinner’s thinking, feelings, and conduct. It might take the man considerable time to make the needed changes. To show that he is genuinely repentant, a disfellowshipped person would come to the meetings regularly and follow the elders’ counsel to have a good routine of prayer and study. He would also diligently avoid the circumstances that led to his wrongdoing. If he works hard to repair his relationship with Jehovah, he can be assured that Jehovah will forgive him fully and that the elders will restore him to the congregation. w21.10 6 ¶16-18
You must not make for yourself a carved image or a form like anything that is in the heavens above or on the earth below . . . You must not bow down to them.—Ex. 20:4, 5.
Moved by his deep love for God, Jesus worshipped Jehovah exclusively, both when he was in heaven and when he was on earth. (Luke 4:8) He taught his disciples to do likewise. Neither Jesus nor his faithful disciples ever used images in worship. Since God is a Spirit, nothing that man could possibly conceive could even come close to representing Jehovah’s glory! (Isa. 46:5) But what about making images of so-called saints and praying to them? In the second of the Ten Commandments, Jehovah said the words of today’s text. Those words are clear to those who desire to please God. Secular historians have acknowledged that the early Christians gave exclusive devotion to God. Today, Jehovah’s Witnesses follow the pattern set by the first-century Christians. w21.10 19-20 ¶5-6
Let the man on the housetop not come down to take the goods out of his house.—Matt. 24:17.
Jesus warned the first-century Christians living in Judea that the time would come when the city of Jerusalem would be “surrounded by encamped armies.” (Luke 21:20-24) When that occurred, they needed to “begin fleeing to the mountains.” Their flight would lead to their salvation, but it would come at a high cost. Some years ago, The Watchtower put it this way: “They left fields and homes, not even gathering their possessions from their houses. Confident of the protection and support of Jehovah, they put his worship ahead of everything else that might seem important.” It added: “There may be tests ahead as to how we view material things; are they the most important thing, or is the salvation that will come for all on God’s side more important? Yes, our fleeing may involve some hardships and deprivations. We will have to be ready to do whatever it takes.” w22.01 4 ¶7-8
How precious your loyal love is, O God!—Ps. 36:7.
Not long after Israel’s Exodus from Egypt, Jehovah revealed himself to Moses by declaring His name and qualities. He said: “Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and abundant in loyal love and truth, showing loyal love to thousands, pardoning error and transgression and sin.” (Ex. 34:6, 7) With this heartwarming statement about His qualities, Jehovah revealed to Moses a unique characteristic of His loyal love. What is it? Jehovah described himself not merely as having loyal love but as being “abundant in loyal love.” That description is mentioned six more times in the Bible. (Num. 14:18; Neh. 9:17; Ps. 86:15; 103:8; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2) In all instances, that description refers only to Jehovah, never to humans. Is it not remarkable that Jehovah himself so strongly emphasized his quality of loyal love? w21.11 2-3 ¶3-4
Stop being anxious about your lives.—Matt. 6:25.
Married couples can learn from the example set by the apostle Peter and his wife. About six months to a year after his first encounter with Jesus, the apostle Peter had to make an important decision. Peter made his living in the fishing business. So when Jesus invited Peter to follow him full-time, Peter had to take into account his family situation. (Luke 5:1-11) Peter chose to accompany Jesus in his preaching activity. And evidently, his wife supported his decision. The Bible indicates that after Jesus’ resurrection, she traveled with Peter for at least some of the time. (1 Cor. 9:5) Undoubtedly, her example as a Christian wife gave Peter freeness of speech to record inspired counsel for Christian husbands and wives. (1 Pet. 3:1-7) Obviously, both Peter and his wife trusted Jehovah’s promise that He would provide for them if they put the Kingdom first in their life.—Matt. 6:31-34. w21.11 18 ¶14
Become imitators of me.—1 Cor. 11:1.
The apostle Paul loved his brothers. He worked tirelessly in their behalf. (Acts 20:31) In turn, his fellow believers had deep affection for Paul. On one occasion, “quite a bit of weeping broke out” when the elders from Ephesus learned that they would never see him again. (Acts 20:37) Our devoted elders likewise love their brothers and sisters very much and spare no effort when it comes to helping them. (Phil. 2:16, 17) Sometimes, however, elders experience challenges. What can help them to overcome these? Our hardworking elders can consider the example of Paul. He was not superhuman. Paul was an imperfect man who at times struggled to do what was right. (Rom. 7:18-20) And he had to contend with various hardships. But Paul did not give up or lose his joy. By imitating Paul, elders can overcome the challenges they face and maintain their joy while serving Jehovah. w22.03 26 ¶1-2
You should keep my sabbaths. I am Jehovah your God.—Lev. 19:3.
Leviticus 19:3 mentions keeping the Sabbath. Christians are not under the Law, so we need not observe a weekly Sabbath. Still, we can learn much from how the Israelites kept the Sabbath and how they benefited from doing so. The Sabbath was a time to rest from normal labors and give attention to spiritual matters. Fittingly, on that day Jesus would go to the synagogue in his hometown and read from God’s Word. (Ex. 31:12-15; Luke 4:16-18) God’s exhortation recorded at Leviticus 19:3 to “keep [his] sabbaths” should move us to buy out some time from our day-to-day activities so that we can give more attention to spiritual matters. Do you feel that you should make some adjustments in that respect? If you regularly set aside time to focus on spiritual matters, you will develop a warm, personal relationship with Jehovah, which is essential to become holy. w21.12 5 ¶13
I have come to call, not righteous people, but sinners to repentance.—Luke 5:32.
While on earth, Jesus chose to associate with all types of people. He dined with the rich and the powerful, but he also spent much of his time with the poor and the downtrodden. In addition, he was compassionate toward those who were generally regarded as “sinners.” Some self-righteous individuals stumbled at what Jesus did. They asked his disciples: “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” To this, Jesus replied with the words of today’s text. (Luke 5:29-31) Long before the Messiah came, the prophet Isaiah described him as one who would not be accepted by the world. The prophecy foretold: “He was despised and was avoided by men . . . It was as if his face were hidden from us. He was despised, and we held him as of no account.” (Isa. 53:3) The Messiah was to be avoided “by men,” so those first-century Jews should have expected that Jesus would be rejected. w21.05 8-9 ¶3-4
Jehovah will raise him up.—Jas. 5:15.
Some early Christians were slow to apply counsel. (Jas. 1:22) Others showed partiality toward the rich. (Jas. 2:1-3) Still others had a hard time controlling their tongue. (Jas. 3:8-10) Those Christians had serious problems, but James did not give up on them. He presented his counsel in a kind but straightforward way and encouraged those who were struggling spiritually to seek additional help from the elders. (Jas. 5:13, 14) The lesson: Be realistic, but keep a positive view of others. Many with whom we study the Bible may struggle to apply its counsel. (Jas. 4:1-4) It may take them some time to root out bad traits and replace them with Christlike qualities. We must have the courage to tell our students where they need to improve. We also need to remain positive, trusting that Jehovah will draw humble people to him and will give them the strength to make changes in their life.—Jas. 4:10. w22.01 11 ¶11-12
Whoever stops up his ear to the cry of the lowly one will himself call and not be answered.—Prov. 21:13.
All Christians seek to imitate Jehovah’s mercy. Why? One reason is that Jehovah will not listen to those who fail to show mercy to others. None of us would want Jehovah to refuse to listen to our prayers, so we carefully avoid developing a hard-hearted spirit. Rather than turn a deaf ear to a fellow Christian in pain, we must always be ready to listen to “the cry of the lowly one.” Similarly, we take to heart this inspired counsel: “The one who does not practice mercy will have his judgment without mercy.” (Jas. 2:13) If we humbly remember how much we need mercy, we are more likely to show mercy. We especially want to show mercy when a repentant wrongdoer returns to the congregation. Bible examples of those who were kind and merciful can help us to embrace mercy and to avoid harshness. w21.10 12 ¶16-17
Sit down here while I go over there and pray.—Matt. 26:36.
On the final night of his life on earth, as his ministry came to an end, Jesus sought out a quiet setting where he could meditate and pray. He found that setting in the garden of Gethsemane. On that occasion, Jesus gave his disciples some timely counsel about prayer. When they arrived at the garden of Gethsemane, it was very late, perhaps past midnight. Jesus asked the apostles to “keep on the watch,” and he went off to pray. (Matt. 26:37-39) But while he was praying, they fell asleep. When he found them sleeping, Jesus again urged them to “keep on the watch and pray continually.” (Matt. 26:40, 41) He realized that they had been under much stress and that they were tired. Jesus compassionately acknowledged that “the flesh is weak.” Still, two more times Jesus went off to pray, and when he returned he found his disciples sleeping rather than praying.—Matt. 26:42-45. w22.01 28 ¶10-11