Dear Brethren and Friends,
Mr. Herbert Armstrong from time to time made the observation that the Church of God often reflects the morals and approaches of the surrounding society as a whole. That should be obvious—since we are all human. But Almighty God warns us in His Word that we are not to allow our lives to be in any way “watered down” from the zealous Christianity that Jesus Christ proclaimed. Yet in describing the last era of the Church—our era—Christ warned directly: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:15–19).
Dear brethren, most of us do not want to go through God’s “chastening”! So we need to be aware of the spiritual attitudes God said would dominate our present era and do everything we can to be sure to avoid these attitudes. For in this era—probably more than any other throughout history—people are more interested in the world around them than ever. With the constant bombardment of Satan’s influence and attitudes affecting our minds and hearts through television, movies and the Internet—and even invading our homes and bedrooms with iPads and the other various electronic devices—it is hard to escape Satan’s influence! Satan now has the capacity to virtually pour his approaches and attitudes into human beings regarding illicit sex and same-sex marriage, plus all kinds of “stuff” about “political correctness” more than ever before. This certainly powerfully affects the minds of God’s people—and especially our vulnerable young people!
Almighty God told our forefathers in ancient Israel: “But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you” (Leviticus 26:14–17).
The inspired Word of God tells us clearly: “Even the stork in the heavens knows her appointed times; and the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the Lord. How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us’? Look, the false pen of the scribe certainly works falsehood. The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken. Behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord; so what wisdom do they have? Therefore I will give their wives to others, and their fields to those who will inherit them; because from the least even to the greatest everyone is given to covetousness; from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely. For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace’” (Jeremiah 8:7–11).
Yes, sometimes a sincere “mainstream” minister may succeed at being a “do-gooder” and help “slightly”—Bible scholars say this word actually means “superficially”—in some situations. But their human solutions only scratch the surface. For they do not go back to the root problem: the fact that humans must actually do what the Creator says. They must follow the Bible—not human reason.
As prophetic events begin to speed forward faster than ever, we need to constantly meditate on the reality of God and fill our minds with the fact that He is there—that He is “in charge,” and that He is now intervening to bring about His Kingdom based on His Government and His laws! We need to make sure, as best we can, that all our young people understand this as well—and that they are exposed to this reality more than to Satan’s deceptions. We and our families all need to meditate on the fact that—as our British-descended and American peoples turn away increasingly from the Creator God—He certainly is “breaking” the pride of our power (Leviticus 26:19) more than ever. We seem to be constantly “losing out” all around the world in various troubles which are going on in the Middle East, in the Ukraine, in Africa and China, etc. And we are certainly “losing out” in regard to the constant degradation of people’s morals regarding young people “living together” and especially—at this time—so-called same-sex “marriage” which is one of the most vile things ever foisted on a human society in the history of the world!
At its very beginning, your Bible tells us: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” (Genesis 1:27–28). At first, God created only the man. “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him’” (Genesis 2:18). So the woman was created to be a “helper” for the man—to be his companion, to enlarge his horizons physically, mentally and emotionally, and, obviously, when you read the entire Bible, to make possible the creation of the entire family structure. For God Himself calls Himself “Father” in the New Testament. And He intends to build His Family and make us His full sons. We learn this through the institution of the human family. Men and women learn to submit to one another, forgive each other, care for each other, and love each other in a special way. This is God’s will for humanity. Yet, for millions of men and women around us, the idea of obeying God’s law and yielding to His will is the farthest thing from their minds.
In our own lives—and the lives of our family and children—we should try to avoid being “out on the edge” of God’s will and law. Instead, we should focus on the closeness and interaction we should be having on a regular basis with His people, His Church and His attitudes. We should especially help our young people to understand how the indulgence in too much liquor, illicit drugs and the saturating of one’s mind with television and the Internet will destroy any normal human being who indulges in these things!
Also, our approach should not be just to avoid certain things. But we should strive to be closer to Christ, to His Church, to His Work and to doing His will actively. We should actively prepare in a genuine way for the coming Government of God on this earth of which we will soon be members—if we do our part! We should constantly try to spend more time in reading and really studying the Word of God—“feeding” on Christ (John 6:57) and filling our minds with the attitudes and examples of the leaders God used down through time. We should be constantly striving in every way we can to follow Christ’s command: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). We need to be sure that the interest, the energy and the time we have at our disposal is invested in “seeking” God and His will much more than material things and human interests!
Dear brethren, I have found over the last 65 years of my life in the Church that Satan will try to “take your time” so that he keeps you “busy” doing things that keep you away from the Word of God and the way of God! Your personal “time” is precious. Guard your time and do not let Satan stir you to “use it up” on vain activities that take you away from your reward and Christ’s Kingdom. God’s Word tells us: “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15–16).
Greek scholars tell us that the word “redeem” has the connotation of “buying back.” In this mixed up world, you literally have to “redeem” or “buy back” the time to serve God because the normal course of events always turns out that your time is taken away—unless you literally reach out, grab it and “redeem” the precious time God has given us to serve Him and His people! Please think about that powerful concept. For your life is composed of only so much time. If you allow Satan to distract you and take your time, then your time and your very life are being wasted! Each of us should recognize how vitally important it is that we fulfill the purpose of God and make ourselves ready to be members of His very Family—His coming Kingdom. So we must use the time and energy He gives us to develop His very character!
Remember, you and I are in a Spirit War with Satan and his demons. As the end of this present society quickly approaches, they will go “all out” to divide, to discourage and to confuse God’s people. Will you be a “casualty” of that coming Spirit War? Or will you be a genuine “overcomer”?
God’s Word warns all of us in Revelation 21:7–8: “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” May God give us the genuine awe and fear of Him that will motivate us to strive above all else, with all our might, to be in His Kingdom. We must not be “cowardly.” We must not be “unbelieving” or any of the other things mentioned in this passage. For our very lives—for all eternity—are at stake!
Yet, with full confidence, you and I must go forward in absolute faith—knowing that God is our Father and that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5)! And we must know and believe that God will help all of us follow the Apostle Paul when he was inspired to say: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
In Christian love,