Dear Brethren and Co-workers with Christ,
Greetings from Charlotte, North Carolina! “Thank you” never seems adequate to express our appreciation for the dedication shown by our members and co-workers. This Work moves forward on its knees before God, but He uses you and me to support it. So, thank you for making it possible for those of us in the various Regional Offices to purchase time on scores of television and radio stations, to print and mail literally millions of booklets, magazines, DVDs, and CDs (all sent out free of charge), and to serve hundreds of congregations around the world. We are an incredibly small number doing all this, so “Thank you” does seem inadequate.
We are commanded in Proverbs 24:11, “Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.” We do see a slaughter coming upon our world. We are living at the end of the age and billions of human beings have no idea where their worship of false gods, including the god of self, is leading. Yes, many people are apprehensive about the future, but few realize the disaster lurking just over the horizon.
Neither do they understand why this world is heading into such deep trouble. This is why the next verse in Proverbs gives this warning to those who understand: “If you say, ‘Surely we did not know this,’ does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?” (v. 12).
Dear members and co-workers, this warning is clearly for us. We are the ones who understand where this world is heading. We believe the prophetic word. We see what is happening and recognize that disaster will surely follow in the wake of mankind’s overwhelming rejection of its Creator. We recognize the same choice is before us today that was given to ancient Israel:
See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live (Deuteronomy 30:15-19).
Individuals today do not think they are worshiping and serving “other gods,” but the fact is that most are. The very holidays they cherish are steeped in the worship of gods from the past. Why is it that people celebrate the supposed birth of Christ on the birthday of the pagan sun-god Mithra? What is known about the season of Jesus’ birth is that it was not in the middle of the winter. Shepherds were not in the fields at that time of year. And while there was great celebration at the birth of the Messiah, the Bible is silent about an annual celebration of His “birthday” by any of His early followers. How strange it is that history confirms the early Church did not celebrate His birth and that no one did until the third or fourth century A.D. Slogans, such as “remember the reason for the season” and “put Christ back in Christmas” are meaningless when He was never in it from the beginning. If you have never studied into this subject, be sure to order a free copy of Is Christmas Christian?
But our sins do not end with these deceptions. A growing industry is being built around helping gender-dysphoric children destroy and disfigure the bodies God gave them at birth. There are a few brave doctors and psychiatrists speaking out against this, but the momentum is immense. Sadly, these and many other anti-biblical behaviors are promoted even in many houses of worship. Does any of this make sense? Through His prophet Jeremiah, God states: “Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’?” (Jeremiah 7:8-10).
The speed of our moral slide is shocking. Who would have thought we would be where we are today?
Meanwhile, the year 2022 has been another encouraging year for this Work of God. The Tomorrow’s World subscription list has increased by 84,000 since this time last year. We also set a record this year, surpassing for the first time, more than 151,000 new subscribers to the Tomorrow’s World Bible Study Course, with a couple of weeks in the year remaining to add to that record. And most encouraging of all is having a hard-working staff in all our Regional Offices who strive to find better ways to reach people of all ages and nationalities with the message of the Gospel and a warning of what is surely coming upon rebellious mankind.
I am currently writing from our Canadian Regional Office where I have had the privilege of sitting in on several planning meetings where new ideas were explored and goals were set for next year and beyond. No one is sitting back with a lukewarm attitude when it comes to zeal to do the Work of God!
Each year at this time I not only take time to thank all of you, but explain why I do not send private personal letters to our largest donors. We do have a few who send in larger-than-normal donations—not many are in that category, but we do have a few. To be open with you, I am often tempted to write a private letter of thanks. When someone sends in a truly substantial donation, he or she has really made a statement about what is important in his or her life. But we must see as our Savior sees, and He gave us this example.
Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood” (Mark 12:41-44).
This in no way minimizes the dedication and zeal of those who send larger donations, as they too have made a significant personal sacrifice. But the widow on a small, fixed income is just as deserving of special thanks. So, I hope you will forgive me if I did not send you a private letter for an unusually large donation. I just do not want to be a respecter of persons in the sight of God. We appreciate every donation and thank you for what each of you do! The One who really knows the score will reward you accordingly: “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works” (Matthew 16:27). We must never take our eyes off this fact. What we do today, will be rewarded beyond our comprehension in the resurrection.
So I want to give special thanks to each one of you for your prayers and your generous moral and financial support. I also want to thank those of you who have included us in your wills. Most years we receive a few notices that someone has died and named Tomorrow’s World or Living Church of God as a beneficiary. We are often unaware of this until after someone dies, so if you are one of those few who have included us in your will, thank you in advance! (And by the way, we do have a resource to help any who desire to help with their planning. Just contact us and we will be happy to send it to you.) I want every one of you to know that you are valued and appreciated. Our hope is that, if not before, we will meet you in the resurrection where we can dwell together in splendor and glory forever as brothers and sisters in Christ’s coming Kingdom!
Sincerely, in Christ’s service,
Gerald E. Weston
P.S. For USA donations, please remember that any contributions dated in December and postmarked on or before December 31, 2022, will be counted as 2022 donations and may be tax deductible in 2022, even if we receive them in January 2023. So be sure any December donation is dated and postmarked no later than December 31. If you prefer to use our online donation system found at www.lcg.org/donations, the cutoff for 2022 donations will be 11:59 p.m. on December 31.