January 19, 2016
January 19th, 2016
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ,
Thank you very much for your prayers and support throughout 2015! God’s Work is going forward with exciting new initiatives. This past year, Tomorrow’s World Presents (TWP) featured 37 public appearances in the United States and 21 presentations internationally. More than 2,300 visitors attended these special presentations hosted by more than 1,400 Church brethren. Those of you living in the Atlanta area should plan to attend the March 5 presentation, “Wake Up, America!,” at which Mr. Dan Hall and I will speak. Be sure to register on our TomorrowsWorld.org Web site. Presentations will also be held in Myrtle Beach and Greenville, South Carolina on March 5 and March 6; Sylva, North Carolina on March 19; and Fresno, California on March 24. In Canada, those of you in London, Ontario will want to attend the TWP on March 19.
Dr. Meredith gave a powerful on-line Web presentation, live, on December 6: “A Prophetic Warning for the World.” His semi-annual letter to 520,000 Tomorrow’s World subscribers offered a DVD of that presentation (which will be mailed to responders next month) along with two of our most inspiring booklets, Restoring Original Christianity and Where Is God’s True Church Today? All of these are free of charge, just as Christ instructed us: “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).
On December 26, for our live-streaming Sabbath service, Dr. Meredith gave an inspiring sermon titled “We Are Christian Soldiers.” If you missed his live message, you can still view it on our LCG.org Web site. As His disciples, Christ expects us to be watchful and discern the signs of the times, something the Pharisees and Sadducees failed to do in His day (Matthew 16:1-4). We all need to be alert to the signs of these dangerous and increasingly evil times as we near the Second Coming and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. Jesus gave us the means to “escape all these things that will come to pass.” What must we do? “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36). Be sure to read Tomorrow’s World magazine regularly and keep up with the weekly telecasts. I hope most of you have subscribed to our weekly e-mailed “News and Prophecy” newsletter that will help you “watch.”
There are many prophetic trends leading up to the Second Coming. God gives His people warning after warning, sometimes through major natural disasters. Sadly, even then, most “don’t get it”—or, as the Lord states it, “Yet you have not returned to Me”! The prophet Amos describes how God will deal with those who would “not return” to Him: “‘I also withheld rain from you, when there were still three months to the harvest. I made it rain on one city, I withheld rain from another city. One part was rained upon, and where it did not rain the part withered. So two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water, but they were not satisfied; yet you have not returned to Me,’ says the Lord” (Amos 4:7-8).
The first week in January brought El Niño rains to California. Many hope this change in weather will help overcome severe drought conditions. USA Today reported: “The rain and snow hitting California this week—partly fueled by an El Niño now tied with the strongest on record—will put a dent in the state’s 5-year-old drought, but there’s a catch. ‘This week’s storms will help but will not end drought conditions in California,’ said Michael Anderson, the state climatologist. The heavy rain brings a double-edged sword: the likelihood of floods and landslides in parts of the state, 97.3 percent of which is experiencing drought. The storms will dump 2-4 inches along the California coast through Friday. Some areas will see 6-10 inches along the west- and southwest-facing slopes of the coastal mountain ranges, according to AccuWeather. As much as 2 to 4 feet of snow is possible in the Sierra Nevada. The National Weather Service warned Southern California residents to be prepared for flooding, landslides and mudslides. The Los Angeles area experienced flooding and mudslides Tuesday” (January 6, 2016).
As of January 14, the weekly United States Drought Monitor reported that 87 percent of California was experiencing “severe drought.” That is down from 94 percent a year ago, as the rainy season beginning in October 2015 has helped somewhat. The state of Nevada is experiencing severe drought over 64 percent of its land area, while Oregon—100 percent covered by severe drought in September 2015—is now down to 44 percent after heavy rains toward the end of last year.
Other regions around the world experiencing record droughts include North Korea, suffering its worst drought in 100 years; Brazil, enduring its worst drought in 50 years; and South Africa, contending with its worst drought in 20 years.
Brethren and co-workers, we all know there are serious consequences for our national sins. God Almighty declares punishments for our peoples if we do not change our national and individual behaviors. The Bible’s “blessings and cursings” chapter declares economic ruin for unrepentant nations: “The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail” (Deuteronomy 28:43-44).
Last week, in his State of the Union address, U.S. President Obama told Americans, “Our unique strengths as a nation—our optimism and work ethic, our spirit of discovery, our diversity, our commitment to rule of law—these things give us everything we need to ensure prosperity and security for generations to come.” Sadly, the President did not ask, “Whose law?” nor did he acknowledge that without God we cannot expect to “ensure prosperity and security”—for ourselves or for generations ahead. Truly, as wise King Solomon wrote thousands of years ago, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1). This Work is a watchman, obeying Jesus Christ’s command (Matthew 24:42). We must not lose sight of the God who alone can save us.
How does the U.S. Congress plan to solve the nation’s problems? In an article titled “Avoiding Rancor, Congress Passes A Fiscal Package, $1.8 Trillion Measure,” The New York Times states: “The agreement also showed just how easily a fractious legislature can seem functional again when there is agreement to spend more money, adding at least $2 trillion in debt over the next 20 years, according to the Committee for a Responsible Budget, a nonpartisan group” (December 19, 2015, p. 1).
A nation that thinks it can spend its way out of debt by borrowing trillions of dollars is in severe denial of reality. The U.S. was, at one time, the world’s most prosperous creditor nation. It has been the world’s greatest debtor nation since 1985 (more than 30 years ago). The nation continues to add to its trillions of dollars in debt. Unless it turns to God, He will judge America and other Western nations for their depravity, sinfulness, oppression, greed, lust, idolatry and evil.
God’s way is to practice faithful stewardship (Luke 12:42-43). This Work strives to do that with the tithes and generous offerings we receive from so many faithful brethren and co-workers. Each of us must do our part to support God’s Work and to stay alert spiritually. Our Lord gives us this admonition: “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching” (Luke 12:35-37).
Stay spiritually alert and awake. Look forward to the Second Coming. Be sure to pray for God’s Work every day, and for more open doors for the gospel in 2016. Thank you for your faithful support of the mission Christ has given us. Strive to be a faithful steward of the blessings God gives you, and thank Him for the powerful Work He is doing through His dedicated servants. May God bless you throughout this new calendar year as you seek Him wholeheartedly and as you “watch and pray always.”
In Christian love,
Richard F. Ames
P.S. Included in the message you are receiving is a small gift—a PDF calendar listing the dates of God’s annual festivals and Holy Days in 2016. Be sure to keep this information handy by downloading and/or printing the attached PDF for your personal records.