September 13, 2017
September 13th, 2017
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ,
Two category 4 hurricanes raked and drenched parts of the United States over the last couple weeks. Harvey dumped more than four feet of rain on America’s fourth largest city, and Irma left a trail of destruction the entire length of Florida, America’s third most populous state. The damage done to crops, the petro-chemical industry and tourism is immense. Much of North American petroleum refining capacity is located near Houston and the disruption sent gasoline prices upward.
In addition to the damage done to the United States, many Caribbean island nations suffered far more serious destruction and loss of life. Some islands were left practically uninhabitable when Irma hit at the height of her power as a category 5 hurricane, with sustained winds as high as 180 miles per hour (290 km per hour). Hurricane Katia brought torrential rains to the east coast of Mexico, while an 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck the west coast. This was the strongest quake to hit Mexico in over a century, and it shook Mexico City some 600 miles away, as well as Guatemala. The full extent of damage and loss of life is yet to be known.
In the meantime, hardly a week goes by that we don’t read of another head-shaking attack on traditional and biblical moral values. The Church of England website recently published the following motion: “That this Synod, recognizing the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition” (churchofengland.org, 9 July 2017).
Wars, rumors of wars and sabre-rattling continue, and terrorism remains a threat 16 years after 9/11. Both organized and so-called lone wolf attacks have occurred in many parts of Europe and around the world. Many of the individuals who carry out these attacks care little for their own lives as they commit suicide for the sole purpose of murdering others.
What is happening in our world? If you think something is wrong, you are not alone. Author and lecturer Lord Jonathan Sacks describes what we see as a “cultural climate change” that dwarfs more popular long-term weather concerns. Many wonder, is there a connection between these natural disasters and our moral decline?
Hurricanes, cyclones, tornados, earthquakes, floods and droughts have always been around. Late summer in the Atlantic is called hurricane season for a reason, and cyclones have their seasons in other parts of the world. However, the Bible indicates that God, who has control over the weather, does use the weather and other “natural disasters” to get our attention (Leviticus 26:3-4, 14, 19-20).
While we consider these disasters as “natural,” it is a small thing for God to direct them away from inhabited areas. So one might want to know: Why doesn’t He? At the beginning, our first parents effectively told God by their actions, “Stay out of our business! We want to determine for ourselves right and wrong!” (Genesis 3:5-6). And that is what God has done for the most part. There are occasions when God does intervene when people cry out to Him, and more importantly, when they repent of their sins (Jonah 3:5-10), but far too few do so.
The Living Church of God, sponsor of Tomorrow’s Worldtelevision program and magazine, understands the need to warn this world of the consequences of rejecting God. We see a people stumbling to the slaughter and take our responsibility seriously (Proverbs 24:11-12). It is a privilege to be a part of this Work with you, and I thank you for your consistent support.
Most of you became Brethren and Co-Workers as a result of seeing our television program, but our efforts go far beyond traditional television. For example, our Spanish language program, El Mundo de Mañana has a dozen programs that have received more than 100,000 views on YouTube, with one program topping 1.275 million views, another more than 600,000 and two in the half-million range. Le Monde de Demain, our French language program, has around 385,000 views of the “Seven Signs of the Antichrist” telecast, and the recently aired English program, “Ezekiel’s Message Unlocked,” has over 448,000 YouTube views, in addition to being seen on traditional television.
Our hardworking staff here in Charlotte is constantly discussing ways to maximize our efforts, and I know that this is the case in all our offices around the world. Yet, we understand that it will be God finishing the work through us. It will not be accomplished by our human efforts (Zechariah 4:6). Nevertheless, He expects us to do our part.
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers, many in our world, and this may include many of you, are going to be squeezed financially as a result of the recent hurricanes. As we all know, fuel costs have increased and this will affect the cost of everything that travels by truck or other modern means of transport, to say nothing of our own transportation costs. No doubt there has been much crop damage and this will also impact grocery prices. Then there is the disruption to literally millions of lives and livelihoods. Insurance rarely covers 100% of personal losses. All these factors and more will likely impact our work.
For those of us who are able, please consider these factors when deciding what you are personally able to donate. And for those adversely affected who may have lost income or who are being squeezed on a small pension and will actually have to cut back support, please know that beseeching our Creator in prayer does make a difference. It is a small thing for the God of creation, who owns everything, to pour out a blessing. As we are told in Malachi 3:10, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this… if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” Many of us have experienced how God does pour out unexpected blessings. So let us do what we can and then cry out to Him to do what we personally are unable to do.
Before closing, I want to mention that the Feast of Tabernacles begins this year on the evening of October 4 and ends with the Last Great Day on October 12. If any of you Co-Workers would like to visit us and see what the Feast of Tabernacles is all about, call or e-mail us to see where we are holding our services for this special occasion. For as we learn from Zechariah 14, Jesus Christ will be King over all the earth (v. 9) and will command all people who survive the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord to keep this Feast (vv. 16-19).
I remember a couple in Canada who were quite remote and drove some 15 hours to one of our Festival sites to check us out. They were so overwhelmed that they have never looked back. They, along with a few others, now have a small local congregation where they meet each Sabbath. So if you want to check us out, let us know and we will be happy to give you information on where we are holding these special meetings and family-oriented activities.
Sincerely, in Christ’s service,
Gerald E. Weston
PS: If you would like to learn more about the Holy Days and Festivals Jesus Christ and His apostles kept, call, write, or go to our website to order your free copy of The Holy Days: God’s Master Plan.