1 Corinthians, chapters 4-6

“Whoever is joined to the Lord is one with him in spirit.”
~1 Corinthians 6:17

Bible prophecy says it would be harder to cultivate self control during the time of the end. (2 Tim. 3:1,3)
If even the Apostle Paul felt he was at war with himself, how can I keep my body morally pure? (Rom. 7:19,22-24)
God’s Word warns me not to trust my own heart. (Jer. 17:9)
Instead, I can pray to Jehovah to create in me a new heart- one that is consistently loyal to him. (Ps. 51:10)
I can also pray for holy spirit to have the strength to resist temptation. (Rom. 8:26; Phil. 4:6,7)
I need to remember that my actions affect others, many of whom could be discouraged if I carry on a fleshly course. (2 Cor. 6:3,4)
Jesus said one should not even entertain the idea of infidelity. (Luke 16:10; Rom. 13:14)
It is comforting to know that despite my shortcomings, God is willing to patiently help me be a better person. (Ps. 130:3; 1 Cor.6:19,20)

Acts, chapters 23 & 24

“At the same time [Felix] was hoping that Paul would give him money. For that reason, he sent for him even more frequently and conversed with him. But when two years had elapsed, […] he left Paul in custody.”
~Acts 24:26,27

How can a Christian distinguish between giving a bribe and tipping an official to ensure a service is rendered?
The Bible clearly condemns bribing. (Ps. 15:1,5)
But what could be considered a bribe in one country, could be considered a customary tip in another.
I remember a traffic officer in Mexico who would not release us until my aunt (not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses), implied she would give him a tip.
On other occasions in which my husband and I were pulled over, we accepted citations for minor traffic infractions instead of handing over any cash.
But it is true that many government officials, especially in developing nations, do not make enough money to live on, so whether or not a Christian decides to tip one is a matter of personal conscience. (Mark 12:17; 1 Cor. 10:31-33)
It would be blatantly wrong to give something with the intent of evading justice or seeking preferential treatment over others(Deut. 16:19; Matt. 7:12)
Despite his reputation for corruption, Felix as governor did have a legal right to hold Paul indefinitely without handing him a verdict. (Watchtower. 2001, December 15. “I Appeal to Caesar!”)
If Paul had caved in to bribing him, he would have been breaking Roman law.
As Christians, we find comfort in knowing that Jehovah will bring ultimate justice and he cannot be bought. (Deut. 10:17)

Mark, chapters 9 & 10

“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if ever a woman after divorcing her husband marries another, she commits adultery.”
Mark 10:11,12

Jesus added the exception that a divorce can be legitimate before God if the betrayed spouse files “on the grounds of sexual immorality.” (Matt. 5:32; 19:9)
In Jesus’ day, Jewish culture did not allow women to file for divorce.
If a man cheated on his wife, he was not considered an adulterer.
A woman who cheated on her husband was an adulteress, and the man whom she sinned with would be committing adultery against her husband.
But they did not consider it possible for a man to commit adultery against his wife. (Watchtower July 15, 1995, pp. 18-19, parr. 12-13. “Christian Women Deserve Honor and Respect.”)
With his statement on God’s view of marriage, Jesus pressed his followers to rid themselves of the double standard.
By using the example of a woman who “divorces her husband,” he was dignifying women, giving them that freedom of choice.
Many traditional cultures today still urge female victims of adultery to overlook their husband’s infidelity.
Sometimes their friends and family will excuse the male’s behavior by saying that it is typical in all men, arguing they did not really hurt anyone.
When a social circle does that to a victim, they are isolating her and taking away her will power to do what is right in her heart.
They may go so far as to shame her instead of the culprit, blaming her for his moral fallout.
As true Christians, we must learn to react to others’ suffering the way Christ did: with sensibility and respect, putting their needs before our own expectations.

Matthew, chapters 14 & 15

“[…] Out of the heart come wicked reasonings […].”
~Matthew 15:19

Do I ever try to justify unethical behavior to myself when tempted to do something wrong?
It is human nature to have a sinful inclination, but if I am not careful, I could end up a slave to my own whims, and also end up hurting those who matter most, including God. (Jer. 17:9)
Instead of entertaining sinful notions, it is wiser to not let them nest in my heart to begin with. (Prov. 4:23)

Proverbs, chapters 22-26

​”Like a silver glazing over a piece of earthenware are affectionate words from an evil heart.”
~Proverbs 26:23

Christians should be wary of people who try to hit on them with bad intentions.
In a world of moral decadence in which most single adults try to have as many sexual experiences as possible, a kind, friendly Christian’s virginity or integrity may be seen as an attractive barrier that can be challenged and overcome (Gal. 5:16,17,19-21).
Like in first-century Christian times, the practices of the world are not the practices of God’s people (1 John 2:15-17).
Christians should therefore check their associations periodically to make sure they are not lending themselves to be used by an immoral person’s fleshly desires (1 Cor. 10:12; 15:33).
When that person’s true intentions are manifest, a true Christian will have to face the consequences of having deserted his or her faith (Rom. 14:12; Gal. 6:7-9).

Ruth, chapters 1-4

“I will do for you everything that you say, for everyone in the city knows that you are an excellent woman. While it is true that I am a repurchaser, there is a repurchaser more closely related than I am. Stay here tonight, and if he will repurchase you in the morning, fine! Let him repurchase you. But if he does not want to repurchase you, I will then repurchase you myself, as surely as Jehovah lives.”
~Ruth 3:11-13

By the time the widowed Ruth approached her benefactor, Boaz to request he perform brother-in-law marriage with her, it is obvious he had already given the matter significant thought.

Through his reply, one can infer that he had taken enough notice of Ruth to ask others about her personality and reputation, and he had also taken into account her personal circumstances (Ruth 3:17).

He did not, however, rush into a relationship with Ruth, since he recognized that there was another man who legally had first choice regarding marrying Ruth and acquiring her first husband’s inheritance (Ruth 4:3-6).

Boaz, despite his power and feelings, did not overstep this law.

He took into account God’s instructions regarding the marital arrangement, setting a fine example for us, demonstrating that true love is based on principles.

Joshua, chapters 6-8

“Israel took the livestock and the spoil of that city for themselves, according to the orders that Jehovah had given to Joshua.”
~Joshua 8:27

In God’s instructions regarding the siege of the previous city, Jericho, God had ordered Israel to devote everything to destruction.
Only precious metals were to be spared and offered into God’s tabernacle (Jos. 6:17-19).

It’s under these circumstances that the story of Achan and his household takes place.
Motivated by greed, they stole a garment and money, hiding it in their tent (Jos. 7:1, 21).
Consequently, when Israel initially attacked the neighboring city of Ai, Jehovah was not with Israel and they lost thirty-six men (Jos. 7:5, 11, 12).

It is curious that once the other Israelites removed the wrongdoers from among themselves, God proceeded to allow his warriors to partake in the spoil (Jos. 8:2).
But neither Achan nor his household saw any of it, for their sin was considered high treason and they were punished by death (Jos. 7:25).
Had they waited a few more days serving Jehovah faithfully, they would have rightfully had all the spoil they wanted.
Their impatience, however, coupled with their greed and blatant disregard for God’s explicit instructions, led Achan and his household to tragedy.

Despite enduring all the trials through the desert, Achan stands out as an example of stealing,  cheating, bad parenting and general deceit.

How sad it would be for us who serve God today to miss out on his promises because we put fleshly interests before our spiritual health.

A Thief in Israel My Book of Bible Stories

Achan stands out as an example of stealing, cheating, bad parenting and general deceit.

To listen to an Audio Play about the first few days Israel experienced in the Promised Land, click here and select “Jehovah Delivers Those Calling Upon His name.”
Achan’s story begins 39 minutes into the play.