If you have any word of encouragement for the people, tell it.—Acts 13:15.
Encouragement is a power for good. “I have fought feelings of worthlessness for many years,” says Rubén. “But one time, I was preaching with an elder who realized that I was having a bad day. He listened with sympathy as I expressed my feelings. Then he reminded me of the good I was accomplishing. He also reminded me of Jesus’ words—that each of us is worth more than many sparrows. I often recall that scripture, and it still touches my heart. The elder’s words made a huge difference.” (Matt. 10:31) It should not surprise us that the Bible emphasizes the need for regular encouragement. The apostle Paul wrote to the Hebrew Christians: “Keep on encouraging one another each day, . . . so that none of you should become hardened by the deceptive power of sin.” (Heb. 3:13) You know how important the counsel to encourage one another is if you recall a time when words of encouragement lifted your spirits. w16.11 1:2, 3
Men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.—Acts 20:30.
In 313 C.E., “Christianity” was granted legal recognition by the pagan Roman Emperor Constantine. After the Council of Nicaea, Constantine, who was present at the council, ordered Arius, a dissenting priest, into exile because Arius refused to acknowledge Jesus as God. Later, under Emperor Theodosius I (379-395 C.E.), the Catholic Church, as the contaminated form of Christianity came to be known, became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Historians refer to pagan Rome as having been “Christianized” in the fourth century. The truth is that by that time an apostate form of Christianity had joined the pagan religious organizations of the Roman Empire as members of Babylon the Great. Even so, a small number of anointed wheatlike Christians were doing their best to worship God.—Matt. 13:24, 25, 37-39. w16.11 4:8, 9
Throw all your anxiety on [Jehovah], because he cares for you.—1 Pet. 5:7.
We live in very stressful times. Satan the Devil is bitterly angry and “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.” (1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 12:17) Therefore, it is not surprising that at times even we, God’s servants, experience some feelings of anxiety. After all, on occasion, God-fearing servants of Jehovah in the past, such as King David, had “anxious concern.” (Ps. 13:2) Recall, too, that the apostle Paul experienced “anxiety for all the congregations.” (2 Cor. 11:28) But what can we do when we are overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety? Our loving heavenly Father came to the aid of his servants in the past, and today he makes it possible for us to gain considerable relief from distress or anxiety. How? By means of heartfelt prayer, by reading God’s Word and meditating on it, by tapping into Jehovah’s holy spirit, and by sharing our feelings with a trusted confidant. w16.12 3:1, 2