Romans, chapters 12-14

“I tell everyone there among you not to think more of himself than it is necessary to think, but to think so as to have a sound mind [..].”
~Romans 12:3

The closer we draw to God’s promised kingdom, the harder it is to manage our trials. (1 Pet. 4:7)
How do we protect and improve our mental health?
One proverb advises: “A calm heart gives life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.” (Prov. 14:30)
When we keep emotions in check, such as anger, stress and anxiety, we can train ourselves to remain calm and strong. (Ps. 37:8; Eccl. 7:9)
We can also pray to God for more patience and empathy. (Prov. 14:29)
If we have a tendency to overreact, it will do us good to nurture a forgiving spirit toward minor mistakes, both our own and those of others’. (Ps. 4:4; Col. 3:13)
If we think before we speak, we will end up with fewer regrets and feel better about ourselves. (Prov. 12:18; 15:1)
Sometimes we may need to physically remove ourselves from a situation before we can figure out how to best tackle the problem. (Prov. 17:14)
Wearing a smile on our face and focusing on what we have instead of what we lack can promote cheerfulness. (Prov. 15:15; 17:22; 2 Cor. 8:12)
It is also important to surround ourselves with people who are encouraging. (1 Cor. 15:33)
It helps to remember that God values us and we are not alone. (Is. 41:13)
Personally, I have found that diet and exercise greatly influence my emotional state.
But if we constantly feel our situation in life is hopeless, we could probably benefit from speaking to a psychology professional who understands our personal values. (Luke 5:31)

The following is a good video to share with someone who might show symptoms of depression:

From Sad to Glad

Jeremiah, chapters 49 & 50

“’In those days and at that time,’ declares Jehovah,
‘Israel’s guilt will be searched for,
But there will be none,
And the sins of Judah will not be found,
For I will forgive those whom I let remain.'”
~Jeremiah 50:20

God allowed his people to be disciplined for not heeding his commandments and straying from true worship. (Jer. 44:10,11)
But God also foretold that his people would return to the Promised Land after a set period and they would then be at peace with him. (Isa. 44:22; Jer. 31:34, 33:7)
Jehovah God is willing to forgive once he has set matters straight, leaving the past in the past.
Shouldn’t we be willing to do the same?

Isaiah, chapters 52-57

“[…] All your sons will be taught by Jehovah,
And the peace of your sons will be abundant.”
~Isaiah 54:13

One of the identifying markers of true worship is the peacefulness of those who practice it.
Jesus said: “By this all will know that you are my disciples—if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:35)
Isaiah himself prophesied that in the last days, God’s people would be made up of peace-lovers from different ends of the earth. (Is. 2:2,4)
But is an international brotherhood of peace really something attainable in these divided times we are living?
Jesus also stated: “The things impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)
If we love God and want to follow in Christ’s footsteps, we will not only practice a form of worship free of promoting hatred or war, but will ‘clothe ourselves’ with love in the manner in which we speak and treat those around us on a daily basis. (Col. 3:12-15)

Isaiah, chapters 34-37

“‘We trust in Jehovah our God,’ is he not the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed […]?”
Isaiah 36:7

Hezekiah’s father, apostate King Ahaz, had littered Judah with pagan altars and had closed the doors of the temple in Jerusalem. (2 Ch. 28:23-25)
Upon coming to the throne at age 25, Hezekiah reinstated divine worship according to Mosaic Law, celebrated a Passover to which even people from the northern tribes of Israel attended, and reorganized the Levite priesthood. (2 Ch. 29:1-5; 30:1-5)
The “high places and altars” Hezekiah had removed were not places of worship to his God, Jehovah, but to pagan deities.
The king of Assyria sent a messenger threatening Hezekiah to submit his people to Assyrian rule.
That messenger publicly accused Hezekiah of bringing down Jehovah’s altars, questioning whether Jehovah would save Jerusalem after the king’s recklessness.
It was unbeknownst to him that Hezekiah had actually been doing God’s will during his entire kingship and had no reason to fear Assyrian conquest.
We may sometimes experience similar accusations from our loved ones when we do something that is in line with Biblical principles but in conflict with what the world generally considers to be “good.”
For example, a woman studying the Bible may feel inclined to leave the man she is living with, although he may be a “good” man by the world’s standards, if he has no intention of legalizing their union.
She might receive severe criticism from her family or coworkers even though she is in fact doing the right thing. (1 Co. 7:39; 2 Co. 6:14)
Or a Christian man who abstains from celebrating holidays of pagan origin with his extended family may be accused of isolating himself and being intolerant of others, even though he is only trying to practice Christianity as it was originally practiced by first century Christians. (2 Co. 6:16,17)
There are many cases in which the stance of those trying to carry out God’s will may be misinterpreted.
We do well to avoid arguing and find solace in the satisfaction of having obeyed our conscience. (Is. 36:21)
Such a strong relationship with God gives us joy and the reassurance that he will never desert us. (Is. 35:10)
If you would like to view a (completely free) film reenacting the greatest trial of King Hezekiah’s faith, follow this link: https://tv.jw.org/#en/video/VODMovies/pub-tiy_x_VIDEO
You can toggle the language setting in the top right corner of the screen.

Deuteronomy, chapters 1-3

“‘And you saw in the wilderness how Jehovah your God carried you just as a man carries his son, everywhere you went until you came to this place.’ […] Who was going ahead of you on the way, to spy out a place for you to camp. He appeared by fire at night and by a cloud in the daytime to show you the way you should walk.”
~Deuteronomy 1:31,33

During trying times, the future may appear to us like a dark, unknown wilderness.

It becomes much more difficult to discern what direction our life should take.

We need strong faith to trust that God will somehow provide us with all we need to sustain ourselves and our families (Ps. 37:25; Matt. 6:31).

A step in the wrong direction may set us back years financially or psychologically, or may even ruin our most intimate relationships.

Faith helps keep us cool-headed so that we do not rush toward the first available option or needlessly argue with our family, only to later regret it.

During their 40-year wandering, the Israelites lacked nothing (De. 2:7; 8:4).

Jehovah God visibly advised them of when to set up camp or when to move and in what direction.

Their leaders knew that they would some day arrive to the Promised Land if they kept following God’s guidance.

Nowadays, instead of fire or a cloud, we have God’s visible organization funneling spiritual food at the proper time’ to his people all over the earth (Matt. 24:45).

This spiritual food that nurtures our faith now comes in a new video and audio platform: Tv.jw.org.

There, we can find sound entertainment to help develop our ‘power to distinguish right and wrong’ (Heb. 5:14).

A mature faith will help us recognize what direction God wants us to head next and act accordingly.

Thus we will not wander around so much and the time it takes to arrive at the “Promised Land” will seem shorter (Rev. 21:4).