Greetings, friends! Our Editor in Chief, Dr. Roderick C. Meredith, has asked me to start writing these “Personal” messages a couple of times each year, so he can devote more time to other pressing projects. At age 82, Dr. Meredith remains more productive than many men far younger, and his dedication to the Work of God is an inspiration to all of us at Tomorrow’s World. You can look forward to reading Dr. Meredith’s next “Personal” message in the January-February 2013 issue of this magazine.
As some of you readers may be aware, this December marks the 60th anniversary of Dr. Meredith’s ordination as an Evangelist of Jesus Christ. We here at Tomorrow’s World are grateful for his continuing example of leadership, service and going “all out” to preach the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God to a world that desperately needs to hear the truth about God’s plan for mankind.
I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Meredith 50 years ago, in the autumn of 1962, when he taught my “Freshman Bible” class at Ambassador College. Over the years, I have been encouraged again and again by his example of dedication and zeal. No doubt it is Dr. Meredith’s continuing example that has allowed God to use him so powerfully to stand up for the truth, even while so many others have turned away from that truth, compromised, or distorted the message for their own personal gain. In an important sense, Dr. Meredith’s servant leadership is a foundational reason why we at Tomorrow’s World are here, continuing to proclaim the message of God’s Church, the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God, in sharp contrast to so many who call themselves “Christians” but whose daily lives demonstrate their love for the world, and their ignorance of God’s revealed purpose for their lives.
As you will see in my article on page 16 of this issue, “True Christian Success,” there is so much more to life than the pursuit of wealth, power, status and pleasure. God does not forbid us from having physical success—indeed, He wants us to have life “more abundantly” than those who do not obey Him (John 10:10). But, in order to do this, He teaches us to keep our physical efforts in harmony with our spiritual pursuits. As Christians, we are to seek the coming Kingdom of God, and the righteousness of God, first and foremost (Matthew 6:33). If we put God first, delighting in His ways, He promises that He will not only meet our needs; He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). Of course, those will be Christian desires, not carnal lusts and vile passions.
All around us, we see a world that does not know its purpose, in which billions of people are suffering. The global financial crisis continues to plague the United States and many other Western nations. The U.S., already the world’s greatest debtor nation, will soon face enormous added expense on top of its already massive financial obligations! A Barron’s article titled “Watch Out!” warns that “the costs of eldercare will drain the federal budget.” And: “For years, politicians and retirees could safely ignore the crisis facing America’s Social Security system. The problems lay in a distant, hazy future, far beyond the next Election Day and the next round of golf. This is now changing; the ground is starting to shake. The first of America’s 78 million baby boomers are turning 66, which means they’re eligible for full Social Security benefits…. In short, the future has arrived, and it doesn’t look pretty” (June 18, 2012, p. 23).
As our Western nations ever more brazenly reject the Ten Commandments and God’s way of life, we will pay the penalties for greed, selfishness and sin. God warns us: “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). Indeed, the two nations now holding the most U.S. debt are China with $1.3 trillion and Japan with $1.0 trillion.
Barron’s further reports: “Eventually, at the rate they’re growing, the combined cost of Social Security and Medicare alone will gradually take over most of the federal budget. Add in other programs, including Medicaid, and entitlements would swallow the entire budget” (ibid., p. 24).
I have had the privilege of giving several Tomorrow’s World Special Presentations, where some of you may have heard me emphasize that there is a solution to all of these problems—a solution that only a very few are willing to apply. God gives a powerful warning that applies not just individually, but also to our nations as a whole: “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8). A tithe is a tenth of our increase or income. The Creator God owns the earth and the entire universe. He gives us every breath of life we breathe. But notice the national penalty for disobedience: “‘You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘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’” (Malachi 3:9–10).
If the peoples of our Western nations would repent, turn to God wholeheartedly and begin tithing, their financial curses would be reversed. God’s way is the way of love—the way of “give.” Robbery is a sin, and robbing from God brings a curse. Remember, God looks at the heart, not at the bank balance, of those who give offerings. Jesus commended the widow who contributed just two mites to the temple treasury as having given far more generously than the wealthy men who made a great show of their charity (Mark 12:41–44).
As long-time Tomorrow’s World readers know, God is not in this present age calling most of humanity to repentance. Most people who read this magazine’s warnings will not heed them. To the vast majority in our day, the message of the coming Kingdom of God is mainly a strong warning message. However, if you are among the few whose minds God is opening, and He is giving you understanding of the truth you are finding in the Tomorrow’s World magazine—and also on our telecast and TomorrowsWorld.org Web site—you have the opportunity to have in your own life today many of the blessings God will bring to all the earth in the coming Millennium and White Throne Judgment.
Most of mankind today is here to learn the lesson that a life of disobedience to God is vanity—futility. Mankind’s best financial systems, social programs, intellectual ventures and bold explorations will all amount to nothing if we are not obedient to God. But God is calling a relative few, even today, as “firstfruits”—those who in this present age will hear His message and obey Him, and in doing so will overcome “all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). Yes, God calls His faithful people to be “overcomers” (Revelation 21:7). How can we do this? Through the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14)! It is through Him that we can overcome. Consider one of Dr. Meredith’s favorite verses in this regard: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, KJV).
Through baptism after repentance, true Christians have “buried” their old carnal nature. They have allowed Jesus Christ to live His life within them, exercising His very faith as they go about their daily activities in obedience to His law and His will. True Christians are not just going through the motions of physical life. They are building God’s own character within them, day by day, as they use the Holy Spirit—which they received at baptism—to prepare for their coming birth into the Kingdom of God, at the resurrection, when Jesus Christ returns. For true Christians, this is “why we are here.”