August 19, 2015
August 19th, 2015
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ,
Dr. Meredith returned to Charlotte on August 9 after several days at our Living Youth Programs’ Teen Camp in Delaware, Ohio. While there, he spoke several times to the more than 300 campers and staff, and was moved by the inspirational attitudes he saw again and again in the participants. Even at age 85, he continues to drive himself daily in directing God’s Work around the world, making vital decisions concerning our international mission and administration. And he continues zealously in writing inspiring and motivating articles for Tomorrow’s World and the Living Church News. Please join me in continuing to pray for his leadership and inspiration as we draw closer to the very end of this age.
Sadly, our world is moving more toward godless leadership in condoning same-sex marriage, abortion and governmental corruption. We are fast coming to the end of human civilization’s experiment with government, science, business, religion, education and other dimensions of national and international life. To the degree that human beings follow biblical laws and principles, life can be abundant, prosperous and inspiring. But, any glance at world history should teach us—after two world wars and many regional wars even in just the last century—that we are headed for total global disaster.
One apparently systemic problem with human governments is corruption. The New York Times, Sunday Business, August 8, featured the headline, “Brazil’s Great Oil Swindle” (p. 1). The subhead continues: “A painful corruption scandal at Petrobras has destabilized the government, damaged the economy and wounded the nation’s pride.” The article further describes the scandal as “a fraud that has destabilized the country’s political system, helped tilt the economy into recession and left thousands unemployed. It has all but devastated Brazil’s status as an up-and-comer on the world stage” (pp. 1, 4).
An August 13 update by The New York Times reported: “A sweeping anticorruption crusade in Brazil is ensnaring one major political figure after another, throwing the country into upheaval at a time when the national mood is souring and the economy is reeling from a painful downturn” (p. A1).
Can humans solve the problem of governmental, business and social corruption? The Scriptures make it very plain that human nature gives a resounding answer: “No”! God reveals a fundamental characteristic of humanity: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25).
What countries seem to be the most corruption-free? Transparency International analyzed 175 countries and territories in its Corruption Perceptions Index 2014. Transparency International states this definition: “Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs.” What countries have the least perceived corruption? The top 20 countries with perceived integrity (duplicated numbers indicate ties) are:
2. New Zealand
14. United Kingdom
17. Hong Kong
17. United States
It is interesting to note that the least corrupt countries are among the world’s most prosperous, and that a majority are descended from the ancient tribes of Israel. Two-thirds of the 175 countries surveyed, however, fell into the range indicating a “high” degree of political corruption. Yet even those countries with relatively higher perceived integrity have other sins for which they may be judged. For example, Denmark three years ago began allowing same-sex marriages, which God calls an “abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). As we approach the end of this age and the coming Kingdom of God, we must examine our own conduct, individually and nationally, and repent of our sins (Mark 1:15).
Brethren and co-workers, how long can peaceful international relations be sustained when so many of the world’s governments and organizations are rife with corruption? Three of the Ten Commandments instruct us to live honest and greed-free lives. The Eighth Commandment states: “You shall not steal.” The Ninth Commandment states: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” The Tenth Commandment states: “You shall not covet…” (Exodus 20:15–17).
Sadly, we see that thefts, covetousness, fornication and other violations of God’s commandments are so prevalent in our modern society. Let me share just one recent example. The New York Times published an Associated Press release on August 12: “Leaked Documents Raise Anger Over Palestinian Corruption…. Documents leaked online detailing two attempts by Palestinian officials to misuse public funds have triggered outrage, highlighting the corruption and mismanagement critics say remains rampant in the Palestinian government.” Other corruption scandals are currently shaking the governments of Brazil and China. And they are not alone. Where is the respect for God’s law?
Some even try to use religion to justify the most horrible anti-God actions. As Bloomberg Businessweek magazine recently reported, ISIS is now selling women and children as slaves: “A senior United Nations official says Islamic State is circulating a price list for captured women and children who are being sold as slaves” (August 10–23, 2015, p. 16). The highest prices are paid for children ages one through nine. The report quotes Zainab Bangura, a U.N. special envoy on sexual violence in conflict, as stating: “They have a machinery, they have a program… they have a manual on how you treat these women.” The article concludes: “The result is sexual abuse that shows no sign of ending” (ibid.).
The New York Times on August 14 published a front-page article detailing this extensive system of enslavement for sexual abuse. ISIS is attracting new troops by claiming that Islam allows them to take sexual ownership of non-Muslims: “Enslaving Young Girls, The Islamic State Builds A Vast System of Rape, Militants Use Practices as Recruiting Tool While Claiming Quran’s Support.” The article describes an ISIS fighter’s attempt to use the Qur’an as justification for his rape of a 12-year-old girl.
God will judge such evil, and we pray daily for God’s Kingdom to come! As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:19, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
God will soon replace the corrupt governments of our world. He is preparing a new world-ruling government with Christ as King over all the earth (Zechariah 14:9). He is also training us as kings and priests to assist the King of kings (Revelation 5:10). Will we have hearts of integrity? As we near the end of this age, we all must strive to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18)!
We in this Work have dedicated our lives to fulfill the mission Christ has given His Church (Matthew 24:14; Matthew 28:19–20). Thank you brethren and co-workers for your continuing support of that mission! We recently added a new television station in Knoxville, Tennessee, WKNX, which airs Tomorrow’s World telecast Sundays at 6:00 PM and Saturdays at 7:30 AM. We are grateful for the continuing great success of our Tomorrow’s World Roku channel, which is in the top 10 percent of all religious channels on that popular Internet TV platform. Other exciting Internet projects nearing completion include new Web sites in French and Dutch to more powerfully reach the world with the true gospel of Jesus Christ and the coming Kingdom of God.
Thank you for your contributions to the Media Fund, even above and beyond your tithes and offerings, which made it possible for us to air on this new station. Be sure to pray for more open doors for the gospel and for the Tomorrow’s World presentations in cities around the world! You can find the up-to-date presentation schedule at TomorrowsWorld.org.
May God bless you all as you watch and pray always and prepare with your whole heart for the coming Kingdom of God as servant leaders with godly character, love, and integrity.
In Christian love,
Richard F. Ames