1, 2. Where can we find protection today?
IMAGINE that you are walking outside on a stormy day. The sky gets darker, lightning starts to flash, and it begins to thunder. Soon the rain pours down. You search for a place to hide. What a relief when you finally find somewhere safe and dry!
2 We are in a similar situation today. World conditions are getting worse. You may wonder, ‘Where can I find protection?’ The Bible psalmist wrote: “I will say to Jehovah: ‘You are my refuge and my stronghold, my God in whom I trust.’” (Psalm 91:2) Yes, Jehovah can give us relief from our problems now, and he gives us a wonderful hope for the future.
3. How can we make Jehovah our refuge?
3 How can Jehovah protect us? He can help us to deal with any problem we have, and he is far more powerful than anyone who may try to harm us. Even if something bad happens to us now, we can be sure that Jehovah will repair the damage in the future. The Bible encourages us: “Keep yourselves in God’s love.” (Jude 21) We need to stay close to Jehovah to receive his help during difficult times. But how can we do that?
RESPOND TO GOD’S LOVE
4, 5. How has Jehovah shown his love for us?
4 To stay close to Jehovah, we need to realize just how much he loves us. Think of all that Jehovah has done for us. He has given us a beautiful earth and filled it with fascinating plants and animals. He has also given us delicious food to eat and clean water to drink. Through the Bible, Jehovah has taught us his name and his wonderful qualities. Above all, he showed his love for us when he sent his beloved Son, Jesus, to the earth to give his life for us. (John 3:16) And because of that sacrifice, we have a wonderful hope for the future.
5 Jehovah has provided the Messianic Kingdom, a heavenly government that will soon end all suffering. The Kingdom will make the earth a paradise, where everyone will live in peace and happiness forever. (Psalm 37:29) Another way Jehovah has shown his love for us is by teaching us how to live in the best possible way now. He also invites us to pray to him, and he is always ready to listen to our prayers. Jehovah has clearly shown his love for every one of us.
6. How should you respond to Jehovah’s love?
6 How should you respond to Jehovah’s love? Show him that you are thankful for all that he has done for you. Unfortunately, many today are ungrateful. The same was true when Jesus was on earth. On one occasion, Jesus healed ten lepers, but only one thanked him. (Luke 17:12-17) We want to be like the man who thanked Jesus. We always want to be thankful to Jehovah.
7. How deeply should we love Jehovah?
7 We also need to show our love for Jehovah. Jesus told his disciples that they must love Jehovah with their whole heart, their whole soul, and their whole mind. (Read Matthew 22:37.) What does that mean?
8, 9. How can we show Jehovah that we love him?
8 Is it enough just to say that we love Jehovah? No. If we love Jehovah with our whole heart, soul, and mind, we will show our love for him by our actions. (Matthew 7:16-20) The Bible clearly teaches that if we love God, we will obey his commandments. Is that difficult? No, because Jehovah’s “commandments are not burdensome.”—Read 1 John 5:3.
9 When we obey Jehovah, we have a happy and satisfying life. (Isaiah 48:17, 18) But what will help us to stay close to Jehovah? Let us see.
CONTINUE DRAWING CLOSER TO JEHOVAH
10. Why should you continue learning about Jehovah?
10 How did you become Jehovah’s friend? Through your study of the Bible, you came to know Jehovah more and developed a friendship with him. This friendship is like a fire that you want to keep burning. Just as a fire needs fuel to burn, you need to continue learning about Jehovah to keep your friendship strong.—Proverbs 2:1-5.
11. How will Bible teachings affect you?
11 As you continue to study the Bible, you will learn things that really touch your heart. Notice how two of Jesus’ disciples felt as Jesus was explaining Bible prophecies to them. They said: “Were not our hearts burning within us as he was speaking to us on the road, as he was fully opening up the Scriptures to us?”—Luke 24:32.
12, 13. (a) What could happen to our love for God? (b) How can we keep our love for Jehovah alive?
12 Just as the disciples’ hearts were touched when they understood the Scriptures, you may have felt the same enthusiasm when you began to understand the Bible. This helped you to know Jehovah and to love him. You do not want this love to grow cold.—Matthew 24:12.
13 Once you become a friend of God, you need to work hard to keep your friendship strong. You must continue to learn about him and Jesus and to think about what you are learning and how you can apply it in your life. (John 17:3) When you read or study the Bible, ask yourself: ‘What does this teach me about Jehovah God? Why should I love him with my whole heart and soul?’—1 Timothy 4:15.
14. How does prayer help keep our love for Jehovah strong?
14 When you have a good friend, you talk to him regularly, and this keeps your friendship strong. In the same way, when we talk to Jehovah regularly in prayer, it keeps our love for him strong. (Read 1 Thessalonians 5:17.) Prayer is a wonderful gift from our heavenly Father. We should always speak to him from our heart. (Psalm 62:8) We should not repeat our prayers from memory, but we should really mean what we say. Yes, if we continue to study the Bible and pray from our heart, we will keep our love for Jehovah strong.
TALKING TO OTHERS ABOUT JEHOVAH
15, 16. How do you view the preaching work?
15 If we want to remain close to Jehovah, we also need to talk to others about our faith. Talking to others about Jehovah is a wonderful privilege. (Luke 1:74) And it’s a responsibility that Jesus gave to all true Christians. Each of us should preach the good news of God’s Kingdom. Have you already done this?—Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20.
16 The apostle Paul felt that the preaching work was very precious; he called it a “treasure.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) Telling others about Jehovah and his purpose is the most important work that you can do. It’s a way for you to serve Jehovah, and he values what you do for him. (Hebrews 6:10) Preaching can also benefit both you and those who listen to you because you help others and yourself to draw close to Jehovah and to get everlasting life. (Read 1 Corinthians 15:58.) Is there any other work that could give you more satisfaction?
17. Why is the preaching work urgent?
17 The preaching work is very urgent. We should “preach the word,” and we should “be at it urgently.” (2 Timothy 4:2) People need to hear about God’s Kingdom. The Bible says: “The great day of Jehovah is near! It is near and it is approaching very quickly!” The end “will not be late!” (Zephaniah 1:14; Habakkuk 2:3) Yes, very soon, Jehovah will destroy Satan’s wicked world. Before that happens, people need to be warned so that they can choose to serve Jehovah.
18. Why should we worship Jehovah along with other true Christians?
18 Jehovah wants us to worship him along with other true Christians. The Bible says: “Let us consider one another so as to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking our meeting together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24, 25) We should do our best to be at all the meetings. The meetings give us an opportunity to encourage and strengthen one another.
19. What can help us to love our Christian brothers and sisters?
19 When you attend meetings, you’ll find good friends who will help you to worship Jehovah. You’ll meet a variety of brothers and sisters who, like you, do their best to worship him. And like you, they’re imperfect and make mistakes. When they do, be ready to forgive them. (Read Colossians 3:13.) Always focus on the good qualities of your Christian brothers and sisters, for doing that will help you to love them and draw ever closer to Jehovah.
THE REAL LIFE
20, 21. What is “the real life”?
20 Jehovah wants all his friends to have the best life possible. The Bible teaches us that our life in the future will be completely different from our life today.
21 In the future, we will live forever, not just for 70 or 80 years. We will enjoy “everlasting life” in perfect health, peace, and happiness in a beautiful paradise. That is what the Bible calls “the real life.” Jehovah promises to give us this real life, but we must do all we can now to get a “firm hold” on it.—1 Timothy 6:12, 19.
22. (a) How can we “get a firm hold on the real life”? (b) Why can we not earn eternal life?
22 How can we “get a firm hold on the real life”? We must “work at good” and “be rich in fine works.” (1 Timothy 6:18) This means that we need to apply what we learn from the Bible. However, the real life does not depend on our own efforts. We can never earn eternal life. It’s a free gift from Jehovah to his faithful servants, an example of his “undeserved kindness.” (Romans 5:15) Our heavenly Father really wants to give his faithful servants this gift.
23. Why do you need to make the right choices now?
23 Ask yourself, ‘Am I worshipping God the way he approves?’ If you find that you need to make some changes, you should do so right away. When we rely on Jehovah and do everything we can to obey him, Jehovah will be our refuge. He will keep his faithful people safe during the last days of Satan’s wicked world. Then Jehovah will make sure that we live in Paradise forever, just as he has promised. Yes, you can have the real life if you make the right choices now!