From infancy you have known the holy writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.—2 Tim. 3:15.
Timothy’s faith was built on facts that drew him closer to Jehovah. You too must logically reason on what you have learned about Jehovah from reading the Bible. To start with, you need to prove to yourself at least three basic truths. First, you need to be convinced that Jehovah God is the Creator of all things. (Ex. 3:14, 15; Heb. 3:4; Rev. 4:11) Second, you must prove to yourself that the Bible is God’s inspired message to mankind. (2 Tim. 3:16, 17) And third, you need to confirm that Jehovah has an organized group of people who are worshipping him under Christ’s headship and that Jehovah’s Witnesses are that group. (Isa. 43:10-12; John 14:6; Acts 15:14) This does not require that you become a walking encyclopedia of Bible knowledge. Your goal should be to use your “power of reason” to strengthen your conviction that you have the truth.—Rom. 12:1. w20.07 10 ¶8-9
It was granted the locusts, not to kill them, but to torment them five months.—Rev. 9:5.
This prophecy describes a swarm of locusts that have human faces and ‘what seem to be crowns of gold’ on their heads. (Rev. 9:7) They torment “those people [God’s enemies] who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads” for a period of five months, the average life span of a locust. (Rev. 9:4) This does indeed appear to be a description of Jehovah’s anointed servants. They boldly proclaim God’s judgments against this wicked system of things and, as a result, make its supporters very uncomfortable. Are we saying that the locusts described at Joel 2:7-9 are not the same as the locusts presented in the book of Revelation? Yes. In the Bible, it is not unusual for a symbol to convey different meanings in different settings. For example, at Revelation 5:5, Jesus is called “the Lion of the tribe of Judah,” whereas at 1 Peter 5:8, the Devil is described as “a roaring lion.” w20.04 3 ¶8; 5 ¶10
The eyes of Jehovah are everywhere, watching both the bad and the good.—Prov. 15:3.
Hagar, the maidservant of Sarai, acted foolishly after she was given as a wife to Abram. Hagar became pregnant and then began to look down on Sarai, who had no children of her own. The situation became so bad that Sarai chased Hagar away. (Gen. 16:4-6) From our imperfect viewpoint, Hagar might appear to be no more than a spiteful woman who got what she deserved. But Jehovah saw more in Hagar. He sent his angel to her. When the angel found her, he helped her to adjust her attitude and blessed her. Hagar sensed that Jehovah had been watching her and knew all about her situation. She was moved to call him “a God of sight, . . . the one who sees me.” (Gen. 16:7-13) What did Jehovah see in Hagar? He was fully aware of her background and everything she had been through. While Jehovah did not excuse Hagar’s disrespect for Sarai, we can be sure that he took Hagar’s background and her situation into account. w20.04 16 ¶8-9
I have run the race to the finish.—2 Tim. 4:7.
The apostle Paul said that all true Christians are in a race. (Heb. 12:1) And all of us, young or old, energetic or tired, must endure to the end if we want to receive the prize that Jehovah offers us. (Matt. 24:13) Paul had freeness of speech because he had successfully “run the race to the finish.” (2 Tim. 4:7, 8) But what, specifically, is the race that Paul spoke about? Paul sometimes used features from the games held in ancient Greece to teach important lessons. (1 Cor. 9:25-27; 2 Tim. 2:5) On a number of occasions, he used running as in a footrace to illustrate the Christian course of life. (1 Cor. 9:24; Gal. 2:2; Phil. 2:16) A person enters this “race” when he dedicates himself to Jehovah and gets baptized. (1 Pet. 3:21) He crosses the finish line when Jehovah grants him the prize of everlasting life.—Matt. 25:31-34, 46; 2 Tim. 4:8. w20.04 26 ¶1-3
Take up the complete suit of armor from God.—Eph. 6:13.
“The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the wicked one.” (2 Thess. 3:3) How does Jehovah protect us? Jehovah has made available to us a suit of armor that can protect us from Satan’s attacks. (Eph. 6:13-17) This spiritual armor is strong and effective! But it will protect us only if we put on each piece of the armor—and keep it on. For instance, the belt of truth represents the truths found in God’s Word, the Bible. Why must we wear this belt? Because Satan is “the father of the lie.” (John 8:44) He has had thousands of years to practice his lying and has misled “the entire inhabited earth”! (Rev. 12:9) But the truths contained in the Bible protect us from being deceived. How do we wear this symbolic belt? We do so by learning the truth about Jehovah, by worshipping him “with spirit and truth,” and by conducting ourselves honestly in all things.—John 4:24; Eph. 4:25; Heb. 13:18. w21.03 26-27 ¶3-5
He will also enter into the land of the Decoration.—Dan. 11:41.
What made that land especially precious was that it was the location where true worship was practiced. Since Pentecost 33 C.E., that “land” is not a single, literal geographic location; it cannot be, for Jehovah’s people are spread throughout the earth. Rather, “the land of the Decoration” today is the realm of activity of Jehovah’s people that includes such things as their worship of Jehovah through meetings and the field ministry. During the last days, the king of the north has repeatedly entered into “the land of the Decoration.” For example, when Nazi Germany filled the role of the king of the north, particularly during the second world war, that king entered into “the land of the Decoration” by persecuting and killing God’s people. After World War II when the Soviet Union took on the role of the king of the north, that king entered into “the land of the Decoration” by persecuting God’s people, exiling them. w20.05 13 ¶7-8
Close friendship with Jehovah belongs to those who fear him, and he makes his covenant known to them.—Ps. 25:14.
Consider some pre-Christian men who became friends of God. Abraham was a man who showed outstanding faith. Over 1,000 years after Abraham’s death, Jehovah called him “my friend.” (Isa. 41:8) So not even death can separate Jehovah from his close friends. Abraham is alive in Jehovah’s memory. (Luke 20:37, 38) Another example is Job. Before an assembly of the angels in heaven, Jehovah spoke confidently about Job. Jehovah called him “an upright man of integrity, fearing God and shunning what is bad.” (Job 1:6-8) And how did Jehovah feel about Daniel, who served God faithfully in a pagan land for about 80 years? Three times angels assured that aged man that he was “very precious” to God. (Dan. 9:23; 10:11, 19) We can be certain that Jehovah longs for the day when he will resurrect his beloved friends who have died.—Job 14:15. w20.05 26-27 ¶3-4
Teach me your regulations.—Ps. 119:68.
A good student may learn about God’s laws, even admire them. But will the student obey Jehovah out of love for him as a Person? Remember, Eve knew God’s law, but she did not truly love the Lawgiver; nor did Adam. (Gen. 3:1-6) So we must do more than teach others about God’s righteous requirements and standards. Jehovah’s requirements and standards are appealing and beautiful. (Ps. 119:97, 111, 112) But our students may not see them that way unless they see Jehovah’s love behind those laws. So we might ask our students: “Why do you think God asks his servants to do this or to refrain from doing this? What does that tell us about him as a Person?” If we help our students to think about Jehovah and to develop real love for his glorious name, we are more likely to reach their heart. Our students will come to love not only the laws but also the Lawgiver. They will grow in faith and will be helped to endure fiery tests to come.—1 Cor. 3:12-15. w20.06 10 ¶10-11
Be quick to listen, slow to speak.—Jas. 1:19.
We need to be patient because it takes time for a person to heal spiritually. Many formerly inactive ones admit that they responded only after repeated visits by the elders and others in the congregation. A sister named Nancy, from Southeast Asia, writes: “A close friend in the congregation helped me a great deal. She loved me like an older sister. She reminded me of the good times we shared in the past. She would listen patiently as I expressed my feelings, and she did not hesitate to give me advice. She proved to be a true friend, ready to help at any time.” Empathy is like a powerful ointment; it can help to heal hurt feelings. Some inactive ones have struggled for years with bitter feelings toward someone in the congregation. These feelings have stifled the desire to return to Jehovah. Some may think that they were treated unjustly. They may need someone who will listen to them and understand their feelings. w20.06 26 ¶10-11
You have conquered the wicked one.—1 John 2:14.
Each time you resist temptation, it will get easier for you to do what is right. Remember, too, that this world’s twisted view of sex originates with Satan. So when you refuse to compromise, you ‘conquer the wicked one.’ We acknowledge that Jehovah has the right to define what is sinful conduct. And we do our best not to commit a sin. But when we do sin, we confess our wrongdoing to Jehovah in prayer. (1 John 1:9) And if we commit a serious sin, we seek the help of the elders, whom Jehovah has appointed to care for us. (Jas. 5:14-16) However, we should not be consumed by feelings of guilt over past mistakes. Why not? Because our loving Father provided the ransom sacrifice of his Son so that our sins can be forgiven. When Jehovah says that he will forgive repentant sinners, he means what he says. So there is nothing to stop us from serving Jehovah with a clean conscience.—1 John 2:1, 2, 12; 3:19, 20. w20.07 22-23 ¶9-10
With you is the source of life.—Ps. 36:9.
There was a time when Jehovah was alone. But he was not lonely. He was complete in every way. Nevertheless, God wanted others to enjoy life. Motivated by love, Jehovah began creating. (1 John 4:19) First, Jehovah created a fellow worker. Then, by means of this first Son, “all other things were created,” including millions of intelligent spirit creatures. (Col. 1:16) Jesus rejoiced at the opportunity to work with his Father. (Prov. 8:30) And the angelic sons of God also had reason to rejoice. They had front-row seats, as it were, when Jehovah and his Master Worker, Jesus, made the heavens and the earth. How did the angels respond? They “began shouting in applause” when the earth was formed, and they no doubt continued to applaud each of Jehovah’s creative works, including his final masterpiece, humans. (Job 38:7; Prov. 8:31, ftn.) Each of these creations revealed Jehovah’s love and wisdom.—Ps. 104:24; Rom. 1:20. w20.08 14 ¶1-2
You will be hated by all the nations on account of my name.—Matt. 24:9.
Jehovah created us to love and to be loved. So when someone hates us, we feel hurt and perhaps even afraid. A brother writes: “When soldiers hit me, insulted me, and threatened me because I was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I felt frightened and humiliated.” Such hatred hurts, but it does not surprise us. Jesus foretold that we would be hated. Why does the world hate Jesus’ followers? Because like Jesus, we are “no part of the world.” (John 15:17-19) As a result, while we respect human governments, we refuse to worship them or the emblems that represent them. We give Jehovah our exclusive devotion. We uphold God’s right to rule mankind—a right that Satan and his “offspring” vigorously challenge. (Gen. 3:1-5, 15) We preach that God’s Kingdom is mankind’s only hope and that the Kingdom will soon crush all those who oppose it. (Dan. 2:44; Rev. 19:19-21) That message is good news to the meek but bad news to the wicked. w21.03 20 ¶1-2
We know that we originate with God.—1 John 5:19.
Jehovah gives Christian sisters a dignified place in the congregation. They are fine examples of wisdom, faith, zeal, courage, generosity, and good works. (Luke 8:2, 3; Acts 16:14, 15; Rom. 16:3, 6; Phil. 4:3; Heb. 11:11, 31, 35) We are also blessed to have many elderly ones. They may struggle with various health problems associated with advanced age. Yet, these older ones do what they can in the field ministry, and they use all the energy they have to encourage and train others! And we benefit from their experience. They are truly beautiful to Jehovah and to us. (Prov. 16:31) Think, too, about our young ones. They face many challenges as they grow up in this world dominated by Satan the Devil and his wicked philosophies. Yet, we all feel encouraged when we see our young ones comment at meetings, share in the ministry, and courageously defend their beliefs. Yes, you young ones have an important place in Jehovah’s congregation!—Ps. 8:2. w20.08 21-22 ¶9-11
I am sending you out as sheep among wolves.—Matt. 10:16.
When we start to preach and identify ourselves as Jehovah’s Witnesses, we may face “storms” of family opposition, ridicule from acquaintances, and resistance to our message. How can you build your courage? First, be convinced that Jesus continues to direct this work from heaven. (John 16:33; Rev. 14:14-16) Next, strengthen your faith in Jehovah’s promise to care for you. (Matt. 6:32-34) The stronger your faith becomes, the more courageous you will be. You showed great faith when you informed acquaintances and members of your family that you had begun to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses and to attend their meetings! No doubt you have made significant changes in your conduct and lifestyle in order to live by Jehovah’s righteous standards. That too took faith and courage. As you continue to build courage, you can be confident that “Jehovah your God is with you wherever you go.”—Josh. 1:7-9. w20.09 5 ¶11-12
Jehovah gave him rest.—2 Chron. 14:6.
King Asa is an excellent example of a man who acted wisely by relying completely on Jehovah. He served Jehovah not only in bad times but also during times of peace. From early on, “Asa’s heart was completely devoted to Jehovah.” (1 Ki. 15:14, ftn.) One way Asa demonstrated his devotion was by clearing out false worship from Judah. The Bible says that “he removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the sacred poles.” (2 Chron. 14:3, 5) He even removed Maacah, his grandmother, from being a sort of first lady in the kingdom. Why? Because she promoted false worship of an idol. (1 Ki. 15:11-13) Asa did more than clear away false worship. He promoted pure worship, helping the kingdom of Judah return to Jehovah. Jehovah blessed Asa and the Israelites with a time of peace. For a period of ten years during Asa’s rulership, “the land had no disturbance.”—2 Chron. 14:1, 4, 6. w20.09 14 ¶2-3
Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you.—1 Tim. 6:20.
We often place our valuable things in the care of others. For instance, we may deposit our money in a bank. When we do, we expect that our funds will be kept secure and not be lost or stolen. The apostle Paul reminded Timothy that he had received something precious—accurate knowledge of God’s purpose for humankind. Timothy was also entrusted with the privilege to “preach the word” and to “do the work of an evangelizer.” (2 Tim. 4:2, 5) Paul urged Timothy to guard what had been entrusted to him. Like Timothy, we have been entrusted with valuable things. Jehovah has favored us with an accurate knowledge of the precious truths found in his Word, the Bible. These truths are precious because they teach us how to have a good relationship with Jehovah and they explain what brings real happiness in life. When we accept those truths and live by them, we are freed from enslavement to false teachings and immoral practices.—1 Cor. 6:9-11. w20.09 26 ¶1-3
You know what sort of men we became among you for your sakes.—1 Thess. 1:5.
A student needs to see your enthusiasm and to hear your conviction about the truths that are found in the Bible. Then he will be more likely to get excited about what he is learning. If appropriate, tell him how living by Bible principles has helped you personally. Then he will come to realize that the Bible contains practical guidance that can benefit him too. During the Bible study, tell your student about real-life examples of those who faced challenges similar to his and overcame them. You could bring along on the study someone from the congregation whose example might benefit the student. Help your student to see how wise it is to apply Bible principles in his life. If the student is married, is the spouse also studying? If not, invite the mate to join in the study. Encourage your student to share what he is learning with his family and friends.—John 1:40-45. w20.10 16 ¶7-9
You must inculcate them in your sons.—Deut. 6:7.
Jesus’ earthly parents helped Jesus to grow up to have God’s favor; they followed Jehovah’s directions to parents. (Deut. 6:6, 7) Joseph and Mary had a deep love for Jehovah, and their priority was to encourage their children to develop that same kind of love. Joseph and Mary chose to maintain a good spiritual routine as a family. No doubt, they attended weekly meetings at the synagogue in Nazareth, as well as the annual Passover in Jerusalem. (Luke 2:41; 4:16) They may have used those family trips to Jerusalem to teach Jesus and his siblings about the history of Jehovah’s people, possibly along the way visiting locations that are mentioned in the Scriptures. As their family grew in number, it must not have been easy for Joseph and Mary to keep a good spiritual routine. But look at the benefits they enjoyed! Because they put worship of Jehovah first, their family was well cared for spiritually. w20.10 28 ¶8-9
Ezra had prepared his heart to consult the Law of Jehovah . . . and to teach its regulations.—Ezra 7:10.
If you are invited to sit in on a Bible study, it would be good if you could prepare the material that will be discussed. Dorin, a special pioneer, says: “I appreciate it when my companion prepares for the study. Then he can participate in a meaningful way.” Additionally, the student will likely notice that both of you are well-prepared, and this will set a good example for him. Even if you are not able to prepare the material thoroughly, at least take some time to get the key points of the lesson in mind. Prayer is an important part of a Bible study session, so think in advance about what to say if you are asked to offer a prayer. Then your prayer will likely be more meaningful. (Ps. 141:2) Hanae, who lives in Japan, remembers the prayers offered by a sister who accompanied her Bible teacher. She says: “I felt her strong friendship with Jehovah, and I wanted to be like her. I also felt loved when she included my name in her prayers.” w21.03 9-10 ¶7-8
Take courage! . . . You must also bear witness in Rome.—Acts 23:11.
Jesus assured the apostle Paul that he would reach Rome. However, some Jews in Jerusalem planned to ambush Paul and kill him. When the Roman military commander Claudius Lysias learned about the plan, he came to Paul’s rescue. Quickly, Claudius sent Paul—protected by many soldiers—to Caesarea. There, Governor Felix ordered that Paul “be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.” Paul was out of the reach of the would-be murderers. (Acts 23:12-35) But Felix was succeeded as governor by Festus, who wanted “to gain favor with the Jews.” He asked Paul: “Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and be judged before me there?” Paul knew that he would probably be killed in Jerusalem. He said: “I appeal to Caesar!” Festus told Paul: “To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you will go.” In time, Paul would be in Rome—far out of the reach of the Jews who were seeking to kill him.—Acts 25:6-12. w20.11 13 ¶4; 14 ¶8-10
Our hearts may condemn us.—1 John 3:20.
Feelings of guilt are not unusual. For example, some feel guilty because of things they did before they learned the truth. Others feel guilty because of mistakes they made after baptism. (Rom. 3:23) Of course, we want to do what is right. But “we all stumble many times.” (Jas. 3:2; Rom. 7:21-23) Although we do not enjoy feeling guilty, it can do us some good. Why? Because feelings of guilt can move us to correct our course and to be determined not to repeat our mistakes. (Heb. 12:12, 13) On the other hand, it is possible to feel excessive guilt—that is, to continue to feel guilty even after we have repented and Jehovah has shown that he has forgiven us. That type of guilt can be harmful. (Ps. 31:10; 38:3, 4) It is vital that we guard against the trap of excessive guilt. After all, just think how happy it would make Satan if we were to give up on ourselves—even though Jehovah has not given up on us!—Compare 2 Corinthians 2:5-7, 11. w20.11 27 ¶12-13
Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence.—Ps. 73:13.
The Levite psalmist began to envy the wicked and arrogant, not because of their badness, but because of their evident prosperity. (Ps. 73:2-9, 11-14) They seemed to have it all—wealth, a good life, and no anxieties. The Levite needed to see things from Jehovah’s standpoint. On doing so, he was at peace once again, and he was happy. He said: “Besides [Jehovah] I desire nothing on earth.” (Ps. 73:25) Likewise, let us never envy wicked people who seem to prosper. Their happiness is superficial and temporary. (Eccl. 8:12, 13) To envy them is to invite discouragement as well as spiritual ruin. So if you find yourself envying the seeming success of the wicked, do what the Levite did. Heed God’s loving advice, and associate with others who do Jehovah’s will. When Jehovah is your greatest delight, you will find true happiness. And you will stay on the path to “the real life.”—1 Tim. 6:19. w20.12 19 ¶14-16
The problem is that we do not know what we should pray for as we need to, but the spirit itself pleads for us with unuttered groanings.—Rom. 8:26.
As you throw your anxiety on Jehovah in prayer, be sure to include words of thanks. It is good for us to count our blessings, even when our circumstances are especially difficult. If at times you are unable to find the right words to express your intense emotions, remember that Jehovah answers prayers as simple as ‘Please help!’ (2 Chron. 18:31) Rely on Jehovah’s wisdom, not your own. Back in the eighth century B.C.E., the people of Judah felt threatened by the Assyrians. In a desperate effort to avoid coming under the Assyrian yoke, they turned to pagan Egypt. (Isa. 30:1, 2) Jehovah warned them that their wayward course would end in disaster. (Isa. 30:7, 12, 13) Through Isaiah, Jehovah told the people how they could find real security. He said: “Your strength will be in keeping calm and showing trust” in Jehovah.—Isa. 30:15b. w21.01 3-4 ¶8-9
I heard the number of those who were sealed, 144,000.—Rev. 7:4.
As a reward for their faithfulness, Christ’s anointed brothers become kings and priests with him in heaven. (Rev. 20:6) All those who make up the heavenly part of God’s family will be eager to see the 144,000 anointed ones receive their heavenly reward. After telling about these 144,000 kings and priests, the apostle John sees something exciting, “a great crowd” who survive Armageddon. Unlike the first group, this second group is much larger and has no fixed number. (Rev. 7:9, 10) They are “dressed in white robes,” indicating that they have kept themselves “without spot” from Satan’s world and have remained loyal to God and Christ. (Jas. 1:27) They cry out that they have been saved because of what Jehovah and Jesus, the Lamb of God, have done. All the while, they are holding palm branches, which shows that they joyfully acknowledge Jesus as Jehovah’s appointed King.—Compare John 12:12, 13. w21.01 15-16 ¶6-7
Your humility makes me great.—2 Sam. 22:36.
A man can learn to be a good family head by imitating the way that Jehovah and Jesus exercise their headship. For instance, consider the quality of humility. Jehovah is the wisest Person in existence; yet, he listens to the opinions of his servants. (Gen. 18:23, 24, 32) Jehovah is perfect, but he does not, at present, expect perfection from us. Instead, he helps imperfect humans who serve him to succeed. (Ps. 113:6, 7) In fact, the Bible even describes Jehovah as a “helper.” (Ps. 27:9; Heb. 13:6) King David acknowledged that he could accomplish the great work he was given to do only because of Jehovah’s humility. Consider Jesus’ example. Although Lord and Master of his disciples, he washed their feet. Jesus himself said: “I set the pattern for you, that just as I did to you, you should also do.” (John 13:12-17) Although he had great authority, Jesus did not expect to be served. Instead, he served others.—Matt. 20:28. w21.02 3-4 ¶8-10
The glory of young men is their strength.—Prov. 20:29.
Young brothers, you have a lot to offer. Many of you are strong and full of energy. You are a real asset to your congregation. You may look forward to the time when you are appointed as a ministerial servant. However, you may feel that others view you as being too young or too inexperienced to be entrusted with important work. Even though you may be young, there are things you can do right now to earn the trust and respect of those in your congregation. Do you young men have a skill that could benefit others in the congregation? Many of you do. For example, you may notice that some older ones appreciate being shown how to make the best use of their tablets and other electronic devices for personal study and for meetings. Your knowledge of these devices can be of great benefit to such older ones. In everything you do, make your heavenly Father proud of you. w21.03 2 ¶1, 3; 7 ¶18
Each one will carry his own load.—Gal. 6:5.
Even if a wife is better educated than her husband, it is his responsibility to take the lead in family worship and in other theocratic activities. (Eph. 6:4) A woman must be submissive to her husband, but she is still responsible for her own spiritual health. To that end, she must allocate some time for her own personal study and meditation. That will help her to maintain her love and respect for Jehovah and to find joy in being submissive to her husband. Wives who remain subject to their husband out of love for Jehovah will find more joy and contentment than those who reject Jehovah’s headship arrangement. They set a good example for both young men and young women. And they help to create a warm atmosphere not only in the family but also in the congregation. (Titus 2:3-5) Today, women make up a large part of those who are loyally serving Jehovah.—Ps. 68:11. w21.02 13 ¶21-23
Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.—Jas. 4:8.
The apostle Paul set an outstanding example of courage and endurance. At times, he felt weak. But he was able to endure because he relied on Jehovah to give him the strength he needed. (2 Cor. 12:8-10; Phil. 4:13) We can have that kind of strength and courage if we humbly recognize that we need Jehovah’s help. (Jas. 4:10) We can be certain that the trials we face are not punishment from Jehovah. The disciple James assures us: “When under trial, let no one say: ‘I am being tried by God.’ For with evil things God cannot be tried, nor does he himself try anyone.” (Jas. 1:13) When we are convinced of that fact, we are drawn closer to our loving heavenly Father. Jehovah “does not vary or change.” (Jas. 1:17) He supported the first-century Christians through their trials, and he will help each of us today too. Earnestly ask Jehovah to help you gain wisdom, faith, and courage. He will answer your prayers. w21.02 31 ¶19-21
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens his friend.—Prov. 27:17.
You can encourage a Bible student who attends meetings by showing personal interest in him. (Phil. 2:4) Without being too personal, you could commend him for any positive changes he has made and ask him about his Bible study, his family, and his work. These conversations might draw you closer together. When you befriend the student, you help him to progress to baptism. As the student continues to progress and make changes, help him to feel that he belongs in the congregation. You can do this by being hospitable. (Heb. 13:2) Once the Bible student qualifies as a publisher, you can also invite him to accompany you in the ministry. Diego, a publisher from Brazil, says: “Many brothers invited me to go out in the ministry. This was the best way to get to know them well. As I did, I learned a lot, and I felt closer to Jehovah and Jesus.” w21.03 12 ¶15-16
Return evil for evil to no one.—Rom. 12:17.
Jesus told his followers to love their enemies. (Matt. 5:44, 45) Is that easy to do? By no means! But it is possible with the help of God’s holy spirit. The fruitage of God’s spirit includes love as well as patience, kindness, mildness, and self-control. (Gal. 5:22, 23) These qualities help us to endure hatred. Many opposers have had a change of heart because a believing husband, wife, child, or neighbor displayed those godly qualities. Many opposers have even become our dear brothers and sisters. So if you find it hard to love those who hate you just because you are serving Jehovah, pray for holy spirit. (Luke 11:13) And be fully convinced that God’s way is always best. (Prov. 3:5-7) Hatred can be powerful and hurtful, but love is much stronger. It wins hearts. And it brings joy to Jehovah’s heart. But even if opposers continue to hate us, we can still be happy. w21.03 23 ¶13; 24 ¶15, 17
A nation has come up into my land, mighty and without number.—Joel 1:6.
The prophet Joel was predicting a military attack. (Joel 2:1, 8, 11) Jehovah said that he would use his “great army” (Babylonian soldiers) to punish the disobedient Israelites. (Joel 2:25) The invading army is rightly called “the northerner” because the Babylonians would invade Israel from the north. (Joel 2:20) That army is likened to a well-organized swarm of locusts. Of them, Joel says: “Each [soldier] advances in his course. . . . Into the city they rush . . . Onto the houses they climb, through the windows they enter like a thief.” (Joel 2:8, 9) Can you picture the scene? There are soldiers everywhere. There is nowhere to hide. No one can escape the sword of the Babylonians! Like locusts, the Babylonians (or, Chaldeans) invaded the city of Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E. The Bible reports: “The king of the Chaldeans . . . felt no compassion for young man or virgin, old or infirm.”—2 Chron. 36:17. w20.04 5 ¶11-12