Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ,
Warm greetings to you all from Charlotte, NC! Dr. Meredith has been very busy in the last few days, so he asked me to write this month’s co-worker letter. Just in this last week, he has been completing several writing projects, holding meetings about plans for the Work, and taping the last in a series of interviews for use in this year’s “Behind the Work” film. I watched him taping one of his interviews, and was both moved and inspired by what I heard. Brethren and friends, we are indeed blessed that God has used Dr. Meredith so powerfully for more than 60 years in the Work! Even at age 81, he continues to persevere in fulfilling the Great Commission. I hope we are all thankful for his continuing zealous and inspired leadership.
I am happy to report that God is blessing our efforts to preach the Gospel through different media. So far this year, our television presenters and other ministers have given 89 Tomorrow’s World Special Presentations [TWSPs] including the following international cities: Durban, South Africa; Kingston, Scarborough, Fredericton, Moncton, Red Deer, Calgary, Edmonton, and Grand Prairie, Canada; Mexico City, Mexico; Dublin, Ireland; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Auckland, New Zealand; Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth, Australia. My wife and I just returned from TWSPs in Chicago and Milwaukee where I was able to meet with some of you co-workers. We appreciate your enthusiasm and support for the preaching of the Gospel and the mission that Christ has given us (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15). Be sure to monitor our Tomorrow’s World Web site for future presentations that may be planned for a city near you.
Given the many natural disasters around the world in the first half of 2011, one theme I have emphasized is, “Be prepared!” When I have asked audiences how many have emergency drinking water to last a week, I have been surprised to learn that only 10 to 15 percent typically indicate they have even that minimal degree of preparation for a disaster. After my presentations and warnings in Chicago and Milwaukee, a powerful “derecho” (violent windstorm) left hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans without electricity. “ComEd officials compared the freak weather to a World War II bombing campaign” (Chicago Sun Times, July 12, 2011).
Even man-made disasters can severely affect us. Last year, in Boston, Massachusetts, a major water main was damaged and two million residents were without safe drinking water for several days. Dr. Meredith in his upcoming September-October Living Church News article writes: “Remember, in doing our part, we need to take proper action to protect ourselves and our families…. May God inspire us all to ‘take action’ and to do our part in every way—yet seeking God more than ever so that we are ‘walking with God’ and can then have His protection and His guidance in the days just before the final events of the age occur—as they surely will.” His article includes excerpts from a Federal Emergency Management Administration “Guide to Citizen Preparedness” which emphasizes “creating a disaster plan” and presents guidelines on “disaster supply kits.”
Yes, as Dr. Meredith admonishes us, we need to “take action” physically and spiritually. We are living in the “end-time” or “the time of the end,” an expression emphasized five times in the book of Daniel. Outlining the sequence of prophetic events, Jesus stated, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:6-8).
In these dangerous times, we need to live with active faith and ensure that we “are not troubled” as we experience “the beginning of sorrows.” We all need to draw close to God for His protection. Psalm 91 is a psalm of protection. Dr. Meredith referred to it in his last co-worker letter (June 16, 2011). “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust’” (vv. 1-2). Read all of Psalm 91—pray for protection and thank God that He has given His angels the responsibility to watch over those whom He has called: “But to which of the angels has He ever said: ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool’? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:13-14).
The living Christ at God’s right hand has given us this instruction: “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). We must stay alert spiritually and recognize the “signs of the times.” Your support of the Tomorrow’s World telecast, magazine and Web site enables millions to understand the prophetic trends revealed in God’s word, the Bible.
Famines are one important prophetic trend about which Jesus warned us. Consider the extreme poverty of millions trying to survive in northeast Africa. “The United Nations has described the drought in the Horn of Africa as an emergency, one phase before famine. Some 10 million people are affected in a triangle straddling Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. It says it is the worst drought in 60 years and almost a dozen aid agencies have launched massive appeals” (Reuters, “Somalia is world’s worst humanitarian disaster: U.N.,” July 11, 2011).
We in the Western world often complain about the most trivial inconveniences. Yet some of these African families walk on foot for miles seeking food: “‘We ran because of starvation,’ said Ulmay Abdow Issack, 32, who spent three weeks walking to the border with her six young children and sick husband. ‘We didn’t have anything to eat or drink on the journey.…’ Increasing numbers of malnourished young children are dying after trekking for weeks to receive emergency aid in what [U.N. officials say] has become the ‘worst humanitarian disaster in the world’” (ibid.).
Brethren and co-workers, we need to face the reality of these end-time prophetic trends. We should “sigh and cry” (Ezekiel 9:4) over the abominations that lead to massive suffering and starvation. We need to spend more time on our knees in fervent prayer for God’s Kingdom to come, and for the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to go forth with greater power and effect as a witness to the world (Matthew 24:14).
Another major trend we have all been watching, and have been experiencing to varying painful degrees, is the global financial crisis. More than one financial professional has described the crisis as our “financial Armageddon.” The deadline for raising the 14.3 trillion dollar U.S. national debt limit is August 2. Many are fearing that if the U.S. Congress does not act by this date, the nation could default on its debt obligations. Experts disagree about the exact scope of the danger, but even U.S. President Barack Obama stated in his news conference last Friday (July 15), “It is constructive to say that if Washington operates as usual and can’t get anything done, let’s at least avert Armageddon. I’m glad that people are serious about the consequences of default.” The Charlotte Observer called such a default “a development that could spawn chaos in financial markets around the world and kick the U.S. economy back into deep recession” (“Never have debt stakes been so high,” July 15, pp. 1, 5).
Unless we change our way of living, the U.S. and other Western nations will face skyrocketing inflation, and “financial Armageddon”! Will our Western nations repent of their immorality and disobedience to God’s righteous and holy commandments? As I reported in my April 2010 co-worker letter, “BBC Focus magazine recently analyzed the world’s nations according to the classic ‘seven deadly sins’—lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. What nation was measured as most sinful? Australia! The United States and Canada followed at numbers two and three (‘The Most Sinful Nation on Earth,’ February 2010, p. 30).”
I hope you have read our July-August Tomorrow’s World cover article, “The Debt Bomb!” Our Director of Business Operations, Mr. Dexter Wakefield, warns us: “Estimates suggest that the total federal budget deficit in 2011 will reach $1.6 trillion! Along with this sobering news, the International Monetary Fund projects that total U.S. debt will exceed the nation’s annual output of goods and services sometime in 2012!” In other words, instead of the 2009 U.S. fiscal deficit amounting to 10.0 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the 2010 fiscal deficit amounting to 8.9 percent of GDP, “the highest since World War II,” “the government debt load will likely reach 100 percent of GDP by 2012…”
Is there any solution to these increasing dangers? Tomorrow’s World continues to call our nations and peoples to repent and turn to the God of the Bible. At rare moments in history, a few bold kings, prime ministers and presidents have called on their peoples to humble themselves and confess their national sins. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was one such leader. When his nation was at war with itself, experiencing terrible death and destruction, President Lincoln called the nation to “a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer” on April 30, 1863. The proclamation stated:
And whereas, it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.
Will any government today in our dangerous world have the courage to confess its national sins to God? We have restricted the public posting of God’s Ten Commandments; we have profaned His name; we have stolen from God and will reap a national curse (Malachi 3:8-9); we have practiced, marketed, and exported immorality and perversion. As Thomas Jefferson wrote: “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever” (Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, “Manners”).
The Apostle James affirms that our liberties are assured by observing and practicing the commandments of God. “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty” (James 2:8-12).
Let me share a powerful example of God’s intervention after a national leader called a nation to earnest prayer. During the early months of World War II, the advancing German army had conquered the lowlands of Belgium and the Netherlands, and had trapped the British Expeditionary Force—along with more than a hundred thousand French troops and some Belgians—in a coastal French enclave. There seemed no escape. But King George VI set aside May 26, 1940 as a National Day of Prayer in Britain. The nation responded in earnest prayer, and was soon blessed to see the evacuation of 338,000 troops across the English Channel—an event later called the “Miracle of Dunkirk.” Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave this assessment before the House of Commons on June 4, 1940:
“When, a week ago today, I asked the House to fix this afternoon as the occasion for a statement, I feared it would be my hard lot to announce the greatest military disaster in our long history. I thought—and some good judges agreed with me—that perhaps 20,000 or 30,000 men might be re-embarked… The whole root and core and brain of the British Army, on which and around which we were to build, and are to build, the great British Armies in the later years of the war, seemed about to perish upon the field or to be led into an ignominious and starving captivity.”
Prime Minister Churchill called the evacuation “a miracle of deliverance.” Our nations do need a “miracle of deliverance.” But the greatest deliverance will come with the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ! If you have not read our inspiring booklet, The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?, I encourage you to write to the regional office nearest you (listed on page 30 of the Tomorrow’s World magazine) or to request it on-line from the Tomorrow’s World Web site.
As humanity’s long and painful experimentation with worldly systems nears its end, we can lift up our eyes in faith and hope, looking forward to and preparing for the coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). Jesus encourages us to persevere and to visualize our glorious future: “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28).
Thank you for your faithful and continuing support as we strive to do our part to fulfill the Great Commission.
With love, in Jesus’ name,
Richard F. Ames