Ronald Weinland

Financial Planning

The purpose of this post will be to cover a few items for God’s Church that would be good to be addressed at this time concerning financial planning. As the Church today is composed mostly of newer people, there are matters that come up from time to time that have need of further clarification and guidance.

Over the past couple of years, the Church has learned much and grown much through the process of having strongly embraced two separate occasions when it believed Christ would return, Pentecost of 2012 and then again on Pentecost of 2013. This “experience” created and produced a spirit of conviction that was far more fully molded and fashioned toward “living” God’s way (truth and law) of life and it being first and foremost our primary focus in life. This is a far deeper conviction and “understanding” actively living in God’s people in a far greater way than I have witnessed in my 44 years in God’s Church.

There is no price that can be placed upon the value of what God has created in His people through this time. Yet, there is also a component of a literal price paid in the lives of all who have gone through this process. Some of that cost may have involved recycling stored goods (primarily foods) or even discarding some that spoiled. Other costs may have involved Feast of Tabernacles expenditures that had been largely used before each Pentecost, since the focus was so absolute that Christ would return at that time, therefore all currency saved to that time would have no value afterward. Another area of impact affected some who believed they would no longer have their jobs after Pentecost (in this age) and planned accordingly. This list could certainly include several other matters that created a greater financial impact in people’s lives, but perhaps the most common was that which involved over-extending credit purchases above what one could otherwise handle.

Some of the literal cost experienced by people was simply a natural consequence of believing this current age of man’s self-rule was ending, which includes man’s established economic system coming to an end. Other costs were simply self-imposed as a result of unwise choices. Yet with all of the various costs to people’s lives, none can be remotely compared to the “value” of what was created and fashioned in us by God’s creation and transforming power at work in our lives due to this incredible experience. In addition to the incredible depth of conviction that was molded into people’s lives, there was much more that was learned on a spiritual plane. As a result, many have grown much more in Godly wisdom, deeper understanding of one’s own nature, and a magnified appreciation of experiencing such a creative transformation in life.

Economic Implosion
A common experience that has been expressed by a number of people is that if Christ had returned on either date it would have solved (resolved) ongoing financial struggles and other difficulties (battles) in life. First, it is important to acknowledge that because of all the financial struggles associated with such a strong focus of Christ’s return on two separate occasions that all of us can grow and become wiser in budgeting and planning. Secondly, we need to realize that no matter how wisely or how well we have planned ahead, there will still be financial hardships because of the “end-time” we are currently living in.

Since 2008, when the First Trumpet sounded, the financial impact from a growing global buildup to a complete economic implosion has been in the works. This buildup is steadily eroding away all the underpinnings of this world’s economic system. It is causing greater stress and strain on businesses and governments worldwide, which in turn, is doing the same to individuals and families.

For all of those who are in God’s Church, this can be likened to the first few plagues that were poured out during the time just preceding the Exodus when both Israel and Egypt suffered together. In the beginning, we will suffer what the world suffers until the time when God begins to intervene to protect and deliver His people.

Gold Cannot Save the World
Many in the world “see” the handwriting on the wall of the collapse of the American dollar, which is the world’s reserve currency. Although there are nations preparing for a shift (complete change) from dependence on the U.S. dollar as the current reserve currency, it is too late for their efforts, even apart from a third world war as some see it. In addition, the nations have so prostituted themselves to the Dollar that the world’s large corporations and the very economic system itself cannot survive such a collapse.

God has allowed (even orchestrated) mankind to come to a moment in time (at the end of 6,000 years) to have great technology, massive industrial capacity, and global economic trade and dependency in order to reveal the result of all human self-rule. Mankind would thoroughly destroy himself if God did not intervene. Although people can partially imagine the horror of a nuclear war, they do not comprehend (conceive) of the kind of death that will blanket the earth when massive corporations and governments collapse from an economic implosion. Today, the people of the world are dependent upon massive amounts of food production and daily delivery through modern technology. When that stops, the flow of food stops. Then that which follows is ugly beyond comprehension.

The sickness of the current economic system and world reserve currency can be seen in how some powerful and rapidly upcoming nations are preparing for a complete change in this world’s economic system. Some of the major players believe “gold” is the primary key to their survival, as well as their future world influence and growth. Normally, I would only quote sections of an article, but I’m going to include most of a particular economic news article in this post. This article truly reveals so much about the fragile current “state” of the world’s economic stability. But now, all the gold in the world cannot save anyone.

This economic news article, “China and Gold,” dated Oct. 18, 2013, is written by Alasdair Macleod. Known as a stockbroker, banker, and world economist, he understands many of the current economic trends taking place in the world.

Xinhua, which is China’s official press agency, was quoted in this article as running an op-ed article stating that because of all the shuffling back and forth in the United States government over its own economic issues that “it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world.” Then this article entitled, “China and Gold,” went on to expound upon what China has actively been doing to actually build a de-Americanized world. The magnitude of China’s actions are staggering.

“She (China) is encouraging the creation of an international market in her own currency through the twin centres of Hong Kong and London, side-lining New York, and she is actively promoting through the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) non-dollar trade settlement across the whole of Asia. She has also been covertly building her gold reserves while overtly encouraging her citizens to accumulate gold as well.”

“There can be little doubt from these actions that China is preparing herself for the demise of the dollar, at least as the world’s reserve currency. Central to insuring herself and her citizens against this outcome is gold. China has invested heavily in domestic mine production and is now the largest producer of an estimated 440 tonnes annually, and she is also looking to buy up gold mines elsewhere. Little or none of the domestically mined gold is seen in the market, so it is a reasonable assumption the Government is quietly accumulating all her own production without it becoming publicly available.”

“Recorded demand for gold from China’s private sector has escalated to the point where their demand now accounts for significantly more than the rest of the world’s mine production. The Shanghai Gold Exchange is the mainland monopoly for physical delivery, and Hong Kong acts as a separate interacting hub. Between them in the first eight months of 2013 they have delivered 1,730 tonnes into private hands, or an annualised rate of 2,600 tonnes.”

“The world ex-China mines an estimated 2,260 tonnes, leaving a supply deficit for not only the rest of gold-hungry South-east Asia and India, but the rest of the world as well. It is this fact that gives meat to the suspicion that Western central bank monetary gold is being supplied to keep the price down, because ETF sales and diminishing supplies of non-Asian scrap have been wholly insufficient to satisfy this surge in demand.”

“So why is the Chinese Government so keen on gold? The answer most likely involves geo-politics. And here it is worth noting that through the SCO, China and Russia with the support of most of the countries in between them are building an economic bloc with a common feature: gold. It is noticeable that while the West’s financial system has been bad-mouthing gold, all the members of the SCO, including most of its prospective members, have been accumulating it. The result is a strong vein of gold throughout Asia while the West has left itself dangerously exposed.”

“The West selling its stocks of gold has become the biggest strategic gamble in financial history. We are committing ourselves entirely to fiat currencies, which our central banks are now having to issue in accelerating quantities. In the process China and Russia have been handed ultimate economic power on a plate.”

Plan Ahead Wisely
This article that has just been quoted is astounding in scope. It reveals that indeed the “handwriting is on the wall,” yet we know the economic system (part of Babylon) will collapse in God’s perfect timing as He moves the final end-time events into place. However, we do not now know the specific timing as we had previously believed we had.

As people in God’s Church are struggling right along with the rest of the world under growing economic strains, we all need to plan ahead as wisely as possible in all facets of our life. God has revealed that our spiritual focus is from Pentecost to Pentecost. Although we deeply yearn for Christ’s coming this Pentecost of 2014, he may not return on this date. If he does not return on this Pentecost, we will begin looking to the following Pentecost for his possible return, and so on.

This focus of living Pentecost to Pentecost stirs up the reality that such a coming can be very soon, and that in turn helps fuel a spirit of being continually on guard and spiritually watchful, just as Christ commanded we should be. So we must plan for the possibility of Christ’s soon coming and at the same time understand it could also be a few years down the road. We simply do not know until God reveals it.

If Christ’s coming is soon, we have a great work ahead of us. If Christ’s coming is a few years away, we will have a much greater work to accomplish in this age. Either way, we have a great work before us. But for now, you must plan ahead financially for the possibility of several years yet before us. There is no other way to plan wisely in financial matters than in the context of several years, as monetary matters cannot be changed quickly in life, but instead, it takes time, thought, and implementing a plan which will hopefully ensure a better chance for a positive outcome.

Everyone will have to take such matters before God as each asks for wisdom, guidance, and help in such planning and in the execution of those plans. God will not make your choices for you, as in such planning there can be many choices in front of you, but you can seek wisdom and favor (blessings) in the decisions you do make. Some must consider and then possibly make changes in their current living quarters, jobs, education, etc. Such decisions cannot be “put off” if there is an issue at hand that needs to be addressed. “Putting off” (or delaying) the making of difficult decisions is not a quality of wisdom, but of foolishness.

The Church cannot and does not tell people what decisions to make concerning such personal matters in life. No minister can tell you what is best for you to do. All such decisions and responsibility are yours. Again, take all such matters before God and seek His wisdom, favor, and help.

Along these lines of financial planning, everyone should also plan wisely for the annual Holy Days and the saving of Second Tithe for their observance as God commands. As God has now given us a focus of Pentecost to Pentecost, we understand that this also means we are to plan for the potential of our next observance of the Feast of Tabernacles. Over the past couple of years in our “present truth,” when we believed Christ was specifically coming on the “following” Pentecost, the administrative decision for the use of 2nd Tithe was given to also include special visits and travel associated with those visits. Now, 2nd Tithe should only be used for annual Holy Day expenses, especially for those associated with the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles.

In the context of the Feast of Tabernacles, the Church is seeking to plan ahead wisely in financial planning. This brings us to the subject of Festival Assistance for helping those who make such request. Over the past couple of years this area of financial load has grown tremendously, and as a result there will be the need to more wisely distribute such assistance. One of the first things we are going to institute is what the Worldwide Church of God carried out in its distribution of such funds. Festival Assistance was not automatically given each and every year to all who had been fully recommended and qualified to receive it. Many had to stay home for a year or two before receiving such assistance.

In the future, there will also be the need to tighten some requirements before receiving assistance. If it is clear someone has not consistently given Holy day offerings over the past year, then they will not receive Festival Assistance. The same is true concerning whether someone has been faithfully tithing over the entire previous year. In addition, for anyone who has made no effort whatsoever to set aside something for the Feast, then no Festival Assistance will be given. Over the past few years, due to so many being new in God’s Church, the Church has been very merciful and exceedingly patient when determining the giving of assistance. We are now a more matured Church and God has made it clear that He is requiring a higher standard from everyone in the Body.

Most people who have made requests for Festival Assistance are faithful in tithing, giving of Holy Day Offerings, and often saving extra aside for Feast observance. In every way, God’s Church will strive to make it possible for those people to attend the Feast of Tabernacles.

Financial conditions will continue to tighten in the world and we need to better prepare ourselves in the best ways we can. Hopefully time for this world is exceedingly short, but we must still plan ahead wisely. God desires to grant us favor, wisdom, and help as we continue moving forward, so “ask” God for such grace and guidance in your life concerning all your financial planning.