Romans, chapters 4-6

“Happy is the man whose sin Jehovah will by no means take into account.”
~Romans 4:8

The verse the Apostle Paul is quoting in this passage is a Psalm which continues: “In whose spirit there is no deceit.” (Ps. 32:2)
In order to benefit from the joy of being granted true forgiveness, we must first turn around from our evil course. (Eze. 33:11; Acts 3:19; Ep. 4:22-24)
This implies being humble enough to recognize the error of our ways and a willingness to put in the effort to change.
Once we have demonstrated our repentance, we are able to feel the joy that comes from being reconciled to God through Jesus. (Rom. 5:11)
The knowledge that God loves us and assumes the best in us when we try to please him can carry us joyfully through difficult times. (Rom. 5:2-6)

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)

Zephaniah, chapters 1-3

“Jehovah has removed the judgments against you.
He has turned away your enemy.
The King of Israel, Jehovah, is in your midst.
You will fear calamity no more.”
~Zepheniah 3:15

Even if we have made mistakes in the past which offended God, we can trust that if we sincerely repent, God will not remain angry at us forever. (Ps. 86:5)

Jehovah disciplined his people in ancient times to the point that it was fair and just, and he will do the same to us today if we fall into sinful practices. (2 Tim. 3:16)

So we should never fear that we are inevitably separated from God.
If he has forgiven us, we in turn have to forgive ourselves.

Jeremiah, chapters 8-11

“Correct me, O Jehovah, with judgment,
But not in your anger, that you may not reduce me to nothing.”
~Jeremiah 10:24

We all need to be corrected from time to time, either by someone at work, or if we are younger, by our parents or teachers, or we may be counseled by a mature, caring friend.
It is human nature to initially be embarrassed and even to resist the correction.
Jehovah corrected his People through his prophets.
We do not have modern-day prophets, but we can read God’s recorded thoughts in his written Word, and find God’s counsel under prayer through Bible reading.
To accept God’s correction, we need to humbly recognize that, despite having freedom of choice, it is not in our best interest to act independently of God. (Jer. 10:23)
It is easier to accept correction as soon as we realize we are doing something wrong, without needing to wait for someone to blatantly point out our mistakes to us.
But if it comes to that, and we are privately or publicly reproved, let us remember that Jehovah takes the time to discipline those whom he loves and wants to keep by his side.
Everyone needs to be refined by God’s love and he expects you to keep trying. (Heb. 12:5,6)
As one brother put it, it is better to accept correction now than to ‘be reduced to nothing’ on God’s Judgment Day.

1 Samuel, chapters 16-18

So David got up early in the morning and left someone in charge of the sheep; then he packed up and went just as Jesse had commanded him. When he came to the camp enclosure, the army was going out to the battle line, shouting a battle cry. Israel and the Philistines drew up so that one battle line faced the other battle line. David immediately left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper and ran to the battle line. When he arrived, he began asking about the welfare of his brothers.
1 Samuel 17:20-22

David was undoubtedly a unique boy.

It is without wonder that God chose him as the new future king of Israel (1 Sam. 16:11-13).

In just this short passage, we are able to see his distinct qualities in action and appreciate what really set him apart from the rest.

First, young David was responsible in leaving his flock of sheep attended by someone else.
He obeyed his father Jesse ‘just as he commanded him.’
When he gets to the battleground, he shows to be cautious when he leaves his baggage “in the care of the baggage keeper.”
Then we see him compelled to run to the battle line, worried about his brothers’ welfare.

David was an orderly, detail-oriented, brave, faith-driven boy of action whom Jehovah trusted would become a great king.
Though hardly any of us aspire to royalty, these noble qualities are worthy of imitating to gain God’s favor.

Chapter 17 of the first book of Samuel
is one of the most exciting renown Bible stories.
The implications of this series of events coupled with the prophet Samuel’s intense emotional writing style makes for one of the must-read stories of any person’s lifetime.