October 19th, 2017
Greetings from Charlotte,
Reports from Feast sites around the world indicate that God has blessed and protected His people during the 2017 Festival season, in spite of a few hurdles that Satan tried to put in the way. We've heard many positive comments about the messages, fellowship, the Behind the Work film and favorable weather. The Westons have returned safely from their visit to congregations in the Philippines, New Zealand and Australia. The rest of our travelers from Charlotte have nearly all returned home. However, on the world scene, Israelite nations have borne the brunt of a series of disasters this year, as hurricanes and flooding spread destruction along the Gulf Coast and Eastern seaboard of the USA and in the Caribbean. Devastating fires scorched thousands of acres in Western Canada and the Northwestern portion of the USA, and just this week an "unprecedented storm" with hurricane-force winds pounded Ireland, Scotland and Northern England with the "worst weather event in 50 years." As we heard at the Feast, the Kingdom of God is coming, but is not here yet—so we still have a big job to do to reach this world with a warning and a message of hope. Let's earnestly pray that God will enable us to fulfill that mission.—DSW
Charlotte Family Weekend December 22-25
The annual Charlotte Family Weekend is just weeks away, offering four days of physical and spiritual rejuvenation. This year's event will begin on Friday, December 22, with a Bible Study. After services on the Sabbath, we will have a lovely evening of dinner and dancing. On Sunday, we will host the ever-popular sports day, featuring basketball and volleyball tournaments, children's games, a lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs, and all topped off with lots of fellowship. Sunday evening will feature a games night at the hotel. On Monday morning we will have seminars for teens, singles, mature singles and married couples. In the afternoon there will be a fun activity for all ages. The weekend will be capped off on Monday night with a casual dance for everyone.
The host hotel for this weekend will once again be the Renaissance Charlotte Suites. This lovely, all-suite hotel has offered us a special $99 per night room rate, which includes breakfast for two adults. You can make your reservation by calling the hotel directly at 1-800-468-3571, or via the online booking link that is posted on the Charlotte Family Weekend Facebook page.
Feast of Tabernacles
Fill Out Your Festival Survey
If you have not already handed in a paper survey, or filled it out online, please fill out the online Festival Survey as soon as possible. Every entry is read, and your comments are valued! You can access the Feast Survey at fotsurvey.lcg.org. You can also find the survey on your MyLCG page.
Maintain Your Perspective: Going to the Feast and focusing on the coming Kingdom of God is one of the highlights of the year for God's people. It is not uncommon to hear comments that it would be great to observe the Feast for another eight days or more! However, the Feast is only a "foretaste" of what is in store for all of mankind. It is designed to help each of us gain a better perspective of how God is going to bring peace to a world that has been deceived and lost its way. We need to remember, when we return home from the Feast, that while we have been called out of this world (2 Corinthians 6:17) and cannot be part of this world and its ways of thinking and acting, we must remain in the world (John 17:11-18) to carry out the mission that God has given to His Church. That mission is to preach the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God (Mark 16:15), to warn the world of events that will mark the end of the age (Matthew 24) and to prepare a people to reign with Jesus Christ when He returns to establish the Kingdom (Luke 1:17). Having just shared a foretaste of what lies ahead, we need to maintain this perspective, actively prepare for the future and earnestly pray "Thy Kingdom come."
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—October 19, 2017
Europe Rises as the U.S. Declines: According to a recent article in Der Spiegel, "the U.S. is in the process of forfeiting its position of economic supremacy" (September 11, 2017). At the same time that American economic influence is declining, the EU and the euro are growing in the world's estimation. "It [the EU] is certainly in better shape than the United States. Growth in the monetary union recently surpassed that of the United States and unemployment is declining in almost all member states. The United States has a high trade deficit while the euro zone is experiencing surpluses. Compared to the United States, the euro zone now feels like a haven of stability and predictability." Bible prophecies have long foretold that if the Israelite-descended nations (including the USA) turn away from God, the pride of their power will be broken (Leviticus 26:19), and they will go from being lenders to other nations to being in debt to others (Deuteronomy 28:12-13, 43-44)—as we are seeing today. In addition, a German-led Europe is prophesied to become a major economic power at the end of the age (see Revelation 17 and 18). World events appear to be moving toward the fulfillment of these ancient prophecies. For more information about the rise of a European superpower and the decline of the U.S. and the British-descended nations, be sure to read or listen to The Beast of Revelation.
Future War with Iran? Reuters reports that, according to the German foreign minister, "If the United States terminates the Iran nuclear deal or reimposes sanctions on Tehran it could result in Iran developing nuclear weapons and raise the danger of war close to Europe" and that such a move "would give Iranian hardliners, who are against negotiations with the West, the upper hand" (October 14, 2017). The foreign minister also noted that the potential acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran could cause a nuclear arms race in the region. With the technological advances in the 21st century, it is sobering to consider the possibilities of a nuclear war involving Iran or North Korea. Yet, students of Bible prophecy should not be surprised. God warned long ago that the end of the age would bring wars and rumors of wars that will threaten the future of human civilization (Matthew 24:6, 22) by causing mass devastation on the earth before Christ returns and enforces world peace (Revelation 6:6-8). For more information on events at the end of the age, be sure to read or listen to our Bible-based booklet Armageddon and Beyond.
Fires in Spain, Portugal and California: Wildfires and arson-set fires are burning out of control in northwest Spain and Portugal, fueled by dry conditions and strong winds from Hurricane Ophelia (Deutsche Welle, October 16, 2017). More than 30 deaths have been caused by over a dozen fires, and more than 5,000 firefighters are working to contain the blazes. These fires follow on the heels of the deadliest fire in Portugal's history, which occurred in June. In Northern California, more than 40 are confirmed dead, as fires have burned more than 5,700 homes and other structures. Ten thousand firefighters are battling 16 separate fires fueled by dry conditions and high winds. Observers describe the fire's aftermath as "a war zone. It is a moonscape of absolute gray destruction. The only thing standing from people's whole lives are chimneys" (Deutsche Welle, October 15, 2017). The devastation from these fires could be a foretaste of the end-time plagues prophesied in the biblical book of Revelation. One of the worldwide plagues that will take place just prior to the return of Jesus Christ is that one-third of the trees will be burned up along with all of the grass (Revelation 8:7). This will occur because of humanity's rejection of God and failure to repent of its sins (Revelation 9:20). However, the Bible reveals that Christ will return and usher in a time of abundance, when there will be rain in due season and even the deserts will blossom like a rose (Isaiah 35:1-2). For a clearer picture of this coming time of abundance and no more destruction, read or listen to The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater