A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Economic News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Economic News. Show all posts

March 25, 2023

The Economic Crisis and Our Faith

As I've said before, I am always listening for the Holy Spirit to bring to my attention various blog topics. Today was no exception. I already knew that I needed to address the growing economic crisis in our nation. After all, you have to have your head in the sand if you aren't aware that our nation is facing a time of intense difficulty and doubt in our financial system. Yes, we've faced it before; in 1929 and most recently, in 2008. The response has always been government intervention in the form of bailouts, buyouts, or the printing of more money (as in just adding more zeros to the fabricated bank ledgers).  

In full disclosure, I am not a financial expert and I am not qualified to give financial advice, but I'm smart enough to know that our financial standing in the world is falling at a drastic rate; we haven't managed our national debt at all; the markets are being manipulated to benefit the powerful and the global elites; and none of it is good for the common man. From what I am gleaning from the talking heads, this latest financial debacle has brought us to the point where our backs are against the wall. Every solution only leads to more debt, higher inflation, and the likelihood of a recession [or even a depression] that will affect the whole world. 

You can feel the panic in the air. Banks are being overrun with phone calls inquiring about the safety of their money. But don't worry, the Big Boys have already got theirs. What we need to worry about is that their greed may likely lead to financial pain for the rest of us. But we have to own up to the part we've played, too. Let's face it ... both the US government and the average American household has been living beyond their means for far too long. With the banks failing, there is no one to finance the lifestyles we've become accustomed to [even though a lot of us could not afford them]. We've always relied on Uncle Sam to come to the rescue, but he's run out of options -- foreign governments no longer want to loan to us, and the value of the dollar is declining faster than we can print it. Now it's time to pay the piper. But if we all cut back on our spending and are forced to live within our means [and most likely way beneath our means], then a recession is likely, and the future no longer looks bright.

So, I've been contemplating this financial turmoil that is threatening to engulf us all and wondering, first of all, how do I look at this from my Biblical perspective? We know that Jesus warned us about the love of money and making it an idol. But maybe it's time we all ask ourselves the crucial question: In 2008, author Mario Seiglie posted an article on that financial crisis in Beyond Today, and asked, "What is our true currency? It shouldn't be money, but faith. If we are faithful to God, He will provide. In a period of widespread famine, He fed the prophet Elijah through ravens bringing him food for many days. God can intervene in many ways to provide for His obedient and faithful servants". 

It's now 15 years later, and the financial ground we stand on is even more unstable. This current crisis threatens to affect the entire world. The merchants of the earth are in fear of a total collapse. Is this leading to the End Times prophecy spoken of in Revelation 17-19, when the political and economic systems of the world fall into great upheaval, and the kings of the earth collaborate with a dominant leader and give him their power and authority to bring order out of the chaos? No one can accurately predict that at this moment. BUT, when the peoples of the world [and their leaders] become desperate, they will be willing to give away their freedoms to a "savior" figure. In the case of world leaders they will only be too willing to share their power with anyone who can promise a return to security and prosperity. And the Bible tells us that there will be a powerful and influential person only too willing to step into that role and exploit global depressions and the aftermath of economic destruction that are the natural consequences of the wars that will follow. We only have to look at Hitler to see what the Bible says this person will look like.

We may not be able to predict when that Biblical truth will play out, but our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, tells us to "keep alert at all times [be attentive and ready], praying that you may have the strength and ability [to be found worthy and] to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man [at His coming]." And just like the parable of the fig tree, we are to recognize the season of such troubles, and know that it is near [Matthew 24:32-34]. When we see those signs it will be most important that the currency we trade in is our faith. 

It is our faith that will give us hope, just as Jesus tells the Church at Sardis in Revelation 3:10: Because you have kept the word of My endurance [My command to persevere], I will keep you [safe] from the hour of trial, that hour which is about to come on the whole [inhabited] world, to test those who live on the earth. It will be our assignment as the Ekklesia and as ambassadors of Heaven, to encourage and reassure those [both Christians and non-believers] who will be shattered and crushed because they won't know their place in a world caught up in uproar and pandemonium. It will be our faith that will see us through and enable us to endure the dark days, knowing that our protection, security, and victory lies in the measure of faith we have been storing up for just such a time as this. We will remain faithful and strong, and we will pass the test! 

#economiccrisis #faithintimesoftrouble #trustingjesus 

Romans 8:18   For I consider [from the standpoint of faith] that the sufferings of this present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us!


October 3, 2022

Now Is The Time To Pay Attention! God's Economic System Is Better Than The World's

With the financial health of the stock market declining at a consistent rate, we cannot ignore the implications for our economy and our future. I know the subject of money and wealth is a difficult one for the Christian community to discuss. But it shouldn't be. God has an economic system in His Kingdom, and we would do well to discern just how different [and better] it is than what the world offers.

In 2008, God shook my husband and I awake. We were just your normal, average American citizens. But when the housing market began crashing from the sub-prime mortgage debacle, our spirits got jolted and we started educating ourselves to the machinations of our nation's economic system, and began asking God for wisdom and counsel in order to avoid getting caught in the evil web that was being spun.

As inexperienced as we were, we were wise enough to listen to what God was instructing our spirits. Instinctively, we knew that the Kingdom of God on earth was to reflect His Heavenly Kingdom. So, if the world's economic system seemed to be failing, shouldn't we, as Christians, be seeking to find out how God instituted His economic system in Heaven and wants our financial system to operate? 

If you grew up with the distorted view of money that I did, then you probably have faced the same two fears that I have known: 1) that money is the root of all evil, and 2) the very real fear of lack of money. Those two fears are at odds with each other and can cause confusion and frustration. So, let me share some thoughts about how God wants us to consider money. First, and most importantly, can we agree that God owns the world and all that is in it? And, yes, that includes all the money [no matter how much the financial gurus try to convince you that it can belong to you]. True, the very wealthy are accused of accumulating more than their fair share; and the government tries to control how much you can keep. 

Now, let me share some wisdom from Byron Howell Ministries on his blog post titled, Economic Freedom and God's Financial System. He begins by quoting Haggai 2:8, "The silver and gold are mine, declares the Lord Almighty". Then he says this: "The first step in operating in God’s economic system is moving your thinking out of the world’s economic system, [which is based on individual ownership of money], and over to God’s economy, which is fundamentally based on God’s ownership of all the world’s money.... The world’s economic system, based on individual ownership, functions by math. God’s economic system, based on His ownership, functions by movement.  God does not spend money, God moves money" [my emphasis]. 

That was the first important principle of God's economy that Mark and I learned. I think we were both so unhappy working in the corporate economic system [where we saw so much mismanagement and dishonesty], that it wasn't hard to make the jump to be self-employed, which also led us to the importance of tithing. Once we had to place our trust in God's grace and authority in blessing us with His resources, we wanted to share those blessings as He led us. We understood that anything that came into our coffers, came from God. And in humble thanks for what He provided, we wanted to give back to Him in ways that honored Him. For us, that meant giving to others as we saw needs to be met; always making it clear that it wasn't our money, but God's, and He was using us to let them know He saw them and recognized their need. You see, God moved that money through us [meeting our needs] and then moved it to someone else who needed it.

And can you fathom that God has all the money that He will ever need to achieve His goals for the world? But He loves partnering with us, which leads to an intimate relationship of sowing and reaping. God gives us what we need, and if we stay in righteous relationship with Him, we can harvest seed from His blessings and sow it in [and through] others. That economic system perpetuates itself and moves God's money as He informs. And that calls our attention to the concept of stewardship, which is our responsibility to supervise, protect, and manage God's property. 

Another truth that we need to understand is that because money belongs to God, it is not evil. I mean, God blessed Abraham, Jacob, and King Solomon with great wealth. The Bible says Abram was "very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold" (Genesis 13:2). Jacob's wealth "increased greatly" in livestock, servants, camels and donkeys (Genesis 30:43). King Solomon "excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom" (1 Kings 10:23). It must also be understood that while God used these men in powerful ways, and their wealth was often expressed as a blessing from God, it did not necessarily indicate their standing with Him. We would be wise to see the real value of money in this world ... it is provision given to us to be wisely invested so that it yields a return for the One who owns it. It does not entitle us to run our own program with the money He has given us.

In this world, we are subliminally taught that money is the key to happiness. The wealthy are always shown as possessing things that bring them joy; and those things cost money. Hence, the message we get is that the desire for money is essential to be happy. The poor are rarely shown as satisfied; they covet or are miserable because of the lack of money. In essence, we have been trained to see money as an idol. When that happens our focus is taken off Jesus [and what He has given us] and transfers to our own selfish needs and desires. 

So, how do transfer into God's Kingdom economy when we find ourselves facing a serious downturn in the world's economic system? First, let me say it is my personal opinion that we are going to feel some pain in the short term [and only God knows how "short" that term will be]. But when you understand how God's system works, you will navigate this new reality with the proper perspective, which is ... be thankful for what you have been given, recognizing who it belongs to; even in the midst of hardship, sow into others and you will please God, reaping treasure in heaven; and, last but not least, you are not alone.

We serve a God that seeks to bring this world into alignment with His Heavenly Kingdom, and that can mean pain when we are so far out of position. He knows what we need and He desires to give us "our daily bread". So, no matter what our economic future or the future of the nation looks like, let us be content in what we have been given, always looking to share in the blessings we have received. And never forget that no matter what the world looks like, there is an eternal existence that awaits us, and it is our righteousness that will be measured, not our riches. 

Luke 6:38    Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.


June 11, 2022

Inflation: A Biblical and Historical Examination

Inflation is a fact. And it sure doesn't look like it is going to disappear very soon. I feel it is important that we try to understand both the historical and the biblical perspective concerning our nation's problem of runaway inflation. If, as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God here on earth, we are to take back territory from the kingdom of darkness, isn't this as good as any area to reclaim? I will begin by telling you that I am not an expert in economics or economic policy. But I'm astute enough to recognize that the financial health of our nation is failing, and our policies are very sick indeed. And I know that this is not how God intends for His people to prosper. So, I wanted to see if history can shed any light on how we got here; and what God's Word has to say about the situation we find ourselves in. So, I hope you will give my layman's analysis some grace, and let's see if we can discover how to pray and take action.

I don't need to tell you that the cost of food and fuel are rising at an alarming rate. These are two of the primary indicators of the stability of a nation's economy. We learned yesterday that the inflation rate, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is 8.6%, the highest in 41 years! But I learned today that this calculation is misleading. I would like to introduce you to Kerby Anderson, president of Probe Ministries, a Biblical ministry that pursues ongoing research to address today's issues through honest and respected Christian scholarship. On his probe.org website, Mr. Anderson explains that "Most Americans are starting to realize that the current inflation rate is different than the Consumer Price Index." What that means is that we are told the inflation rate is 8.6%, when in reality that figure is associated with the CPI. According to Anderson, the reason that this figure is misleading is because it excludes food and fuel costs from its rate of "core inflation", even while the media suggests those very commodities are at the heart of the figure they quote as the inflation rate. (Are you scratching your head like me, about now)? He goes on to say that there are various economic websites that "conclude that the real inflation rate is more than twice the CPI estimate!"

So, what is the projection for the state of our economy (and I would submit, for the existence of our country)? Can history shed any light on our circumstances, and does the Bible offer any clues or advice? First of all, it always seems that the Roman Empire is used as "the gold standard" to measure the success and longevity of nations and societies, as well as their collapse. I went to DailyHistory.org to avail myself of the information included in their article, What Role Did Inflation Play in the Collapse of the Roman Empire. I urge you to read this informative article because the parallels to what we are experiencing will astound you. 

As you will read, Rome's collapse was the result of several factors that combined to create a “perfect storm” of civilizational destruction. Among them is the often over-looked role of inflation. The article asserts that "once the Roman economy was hopelessly ravaged by inflation, the borders of the empire were open for the Huns, Goths, and Vandals to take what they wanted." Sound familiar? 

But at the beginning of the Roman Empire's economy, the value of their currency was literally worth their weight in silver, bronze, or copper. As the Empire grew, so did their economy and they enjoyed the effects of prosperous trade with the world's markets. Sound fiscal policies helped the emperors keep inflation in check. "The money supply increased proportionately with the increase in trade. Taxes were also kept low: each province only paid a one percent wealth tax and a flat tax on all adults. All of this helped keep prices low and the wheels of government moving effectively, but by the end of the second century AD things began to change."

As the article on DailyHistory.org infers, around 200 AD, the Empire suffered a recession, which was compounded by the so-called “Antonine plague,” which was brought back from the eastern provinces by Roman soldiers. Since the plague led to the widespread decimation of the Roman population, wages increased rapidly – much too rapidly. In our current state of affairs, this sounds a lot like "the stimulus packages" that flooded money into our economy. In Rome, the result was a drastic increase on the prices of goods that had never before been witnessed in Rome: inflation was only one percent in the first two centuries AD, but prices doubled after the plague. And to make a long story short, other factors included an influx of people from the countries they conquered, the exponential growth of their military industrial complex, and the devaluation of their currency due to too many coins in circulation. Again, I ask ... sound familiar?

But now, I come to the part of this post that interests me the most. What is the Bible's view on this monetary nightmare that is overwhelming our country? We recognize that our national debt is soaring. Our government is spending more than it is making. It is that simple. We are allowing our southern border to be inundated by unprecedented numbers of people who are being subsidized by the government. Where is that money coming from? It is being printed, not earned through trade. We are swimming in an ocean of debt, both nationally and personally. And what does the Bible tell us is God's opinion on this? I think Proverbs 22:7 sums it up quite nicely: "The rich rules over the poor; and the borrower is servant to the lender." I think "slave to the lender" is more appropriate.

The Bible also warns that both individuals and their government should have honest weights and measures. Proverbs 20:10 tells us "False weights and unequal measures— the Lord detests double standards of every kind." The manipulation of our currency is dishonest and corrupt. It is cheating the American people whose hard-earned money is being confiscated for immoral purposes. But what can we Christians do to minimize the pain of inflation and poor economic policies? We must begin by getting out of debt. The Bible makes it clear that we are to "owe no one anything", "and the wicked borrows but does not pay back". Being free of debt is one of the best ways to avoid the consequences of runaway inflation. We must live within our means, even if our government has not. Sadly, we, like the Roman Empire, have gotten used to our prosperity and instant gratification. Our grandparents saved until they could pay for their needs with cash. If you didn't have the cash, then you learned to live without it. "For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? (Luke 14:28).

But we have become used to having whatever we want, whenever we want, by swiping a plastic card. When interest rates are low on those credit cards, then paying them off, or at least making the minimum payment, convinces us that it's a good practice. Why should we deny ourselves the pleasures of life? But as we face inflation, recession, and rising interest rates on everything, that pain is about to become palpable. And being a Christian does not forgive us those debts. 

We must also see ourselves in the economic woes of biblical Israel. As Probe.org points out, "God pronounced judgment on the land because the country that once was full of justice had debased the currency and its products. Your silver has become dross, your best wine mixed with water (Isaiah 1:22). People were cheating each other by adding cheaper metals to their silver and by adding water to their wine." Probe.org further explains that "In a statement by someone regarded as one of the most important economists of the twentieth century, British economist John Maynard Keynes noted how inflation affects a nation and its citizens. He said: “By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. He also added, “There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law that come down on the side of destruction and does so in a manner that not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

As Americans, we know that there are economic laws that govern the prosperity of our nation. As Christians, we know that God also has moral economic laws, and His laws are higher.  We must not despair nor think that He cannot deliver us from this quagmire in which our greed and corruption have us mired. But we must do our part. We must not live in debt and we must demand that our leaders be moral and upstanding; that they govern with righteousness. As 1 Corinthians 4:2 says, In this case, moreover, it is required [as essential and demanded] of stewards that one be found faithful and trustworthy. We do not need to follow in the footsteps of ancient Israel or the Roman Empire. Do we have the will to make the personal sacrifices needed to set our overspending back on track? Do we have the courage and strength of mind and faith to call our elected officials to account for the trust and responsibility we have consigned to them? I fear we have greatly offended God by the manner with which we have stewarded the blessings He has given us. It's time we repent for our negligence and return this nation to righteousness. Educate yourselves and make the necessary changes that are pleasing in His sight.

Ezekiel 22:12      In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take interest and profit and make gain of your neighbors by extortion; but Me you have forgotten, declares the Lord God.


May 1, 2022

God and the World's Economies


More and more Americans are becoming aware that the world's economic systems are in a lot of trouble. Just in this country alone, we see headlines that report the crash of Netflix; Jeff Bezos loses $13 Billion in hours as Amazon takes a nose dive; and the Dow lost nearly 1,000 points on Friday! In fact, all U.S. stock indexes were in the negative category. The world's economy is still floundering post-pandemic and struggling to find out how to bring "economic equality" to the world's nations, and develop policies that curb inflation, interest rates, and debt [while creating financial stability]. Or so they say.

Perhaps for the first time, we Christians are asking, Is God involved in Economics? What does He say about economic systems in the world? And what should we be looking for? Just because we may all be Christians, it doesn't mean we agree on all the concepts of socioeconomic systems or their methods of operation. Where we stand politically has a lot to do with our view of different economic practices. If you lean towards less government involvement and favor more social and economic freedom, then you are likely to align yourself with capitalism. If you lean toward more government controlling more of your social and economic affairs, then you probably identify with socialism.

I think, as Christians, it is important for us to identify the various world economic systems [and their methodologies] and then compare them to how God commands (and desires) us to operate in His economy. So, let's briefly consider each of the three major economic systems of the 20th and 21st Centuries: Socialism, Communism, and Capitalism. I want to look at their definitions so we have a baseline to compare with what God's Word says. I'm also going to give a very simple example of each that was shared by a friend on Facebook.

Socialism: “A theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.” Example: You have two cows. Give one to your neighbor. 

Communism: “A system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.” Example: You have two cows. Give both cows to the government, and they might give you some of the milk.

Capitalism: “An economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations.” Example: You have two cows. Sell one cow, buy a bull, and raise more cows.

Because each of these economic systems are human-devised, there are inherent flaws and problems with each. Socialism doesn't agree with private property rights of the individual; favors redistribution of wealth through government coercion; discourages innovation and creativity; restricts individuals of determining their own future; and invites dictatorial rule by unrighteous men. Communism [in its pure form] is an atheistic system which cancels individual freedom; centers around secret government surveillance, propaganda, and censorship; whose economy is centrally controlled and ultimately does not meet the people's needs. Capitalism is often characterized [not without merit] of being a system of elitists with privilege and wealth that encourages greed and profit over people. Corruption and cronyism between individuals and governments have often become its trademark, along with currency manipulation -- all of which interferes with free enterprise and the ability of individuals to have control of their own destinies.

So, that's what man has been able to create as forms of producing, organizing, and distributing available resources among the nations of the world. But what is God's economic policy or policies? Remember that Jesus proclaimed that "His Kingdom was not of this world". God's ways of perfect government are different than man's ideas and systems for governing. And we often see Scripture twisted to align with our own ideas of what we think [or want] God to be declaring that He established. For instance, I'm sure you have heard that Matthew 19:21 is all about Jesus teaching a socialistic redistribution system:   (Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me”.) But that's not the message of the Bible at all! Jesus is showing us that the rich young ruler's sorrow [over the Lord's admonition to give his wealth away] is because the young man cherished his wealth over God; his wealth was more important than being willing to surrender his wealth and serve God. 

Those who believe in the socialism economic model will condemn wealth as being unbiblical, and misquote 1 Timothy 6:10, which says, "For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil", rendering it as "Money is the root of all evil". Pretty convenient mistranslation, isn't it? Notice how Satan has convinced mankind that money and wealth are the root of all evil, when the Bible clearly states that sin is the root that perpetuates evil in the world. In fact, it is not money that is evil, nor does God condemn wealth or the gaining of wealth. After all, Abram, King David, and his son, Solomon were all favored by God and they were extremely wealthy. It is the love of money that can lead to the sins of greed, corruption, and forms of unrighteousness.

Another example of wrongly identifying God's economic system with the world's is the tendency by some to state that Acts 4:32-35 advocates communism ... All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.  On the contrary, "the needy" in this passage were converts who had traveled to Jerusalem from foreign lands for the Passover feast days and after Jesus's death and resurrection, they decided to stay and learn more about Him and His Kingdom. They then found themselves in want, so those who had resources voluntarily shared what they had. Communism is an economic system that demands citizen participation and confiscates wealth from the producers. Additionally, nowhere in Scripture, do we find that this became the norm among Christian society. It was in response to a unique situation and displays a personal willingness to share with others out of the love of a consecrated heart for a fellow man.

And while the economic system of Capitalism can provide the wealth to serve others from our hearts, God will not bless this system if it is rooted in deception, greed, theft, special-interest influence or cronyism. Sadly, we, in the United States, have seen the effects of these sins upon our faltering economic system. But the tenets of Capitalism are evidenced in the Bible through freedom of choice in how we operate in our lives [including our businesses and means of financial support] when our enterprise is conducted with compassion, unselfishness and generosity. But since we still live in a sinful world, we won't see that model in its fullness until Christ returns and implements His Kingdom on earth in its fullness. Micah 4:4 gives us a hint of what that perfect world economy will look like ... Everyone will live in peace and prosperity, enjoying their own grapevines and fig trees, for there will be nothing to fear. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has made this promise!

Until that glorious Day when the Lord returns with His perfect economic governing system [in which the residents of Heaven on earth will espouse the virtues of work, tithing, and sharing the blessings of God], we have one more economic system to endure ... the Mark of the Beast. Revelation 13:16-17 says, He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark... 

How close are we to experiencing that system? Perhaps sooner than any of us want to think! All I know is that we desperately need the biblical social and economic policies of Heaven here on earth NOW! I don't know how much longer before the Lord gets the go-ahead from the Father to mount up with the Host of Heaven and ride to defeat Evil once and for all. I don't know about you, but I am ready to receive Him on earth! I am ready for the earth and mankind to reflect God's ordained system of government in all its manifestations! I will not be consumed by fear of what mankind is scheming out of corrupted hearts and minds, but stay focused on the glorious future that awaits us when we see Jesus coming on the clouds. I choose to glorify the Lord in all the ways He leads me and trust in His provision in this world. Seek first the Kingdom of God and righteousness, and all your needs will be met. That's the key to enjoying God's economic system for us!

 Philippians 4:19   And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.   


December 9, 2021

Is The Body of Christ Suffering From Spiritual Inflation? Keep In Mind What God Weighs and Measures!

Inflation is on the minds of Americans these days because we are faced with the declining value of the dollar as the world's currency. And so we are all clear on the economic definition of Inflation, here is a simple definition that I think we can all agree on: Inflation is a general increase in prices; it is a fall in the purchasing value of our money, and resulting in a crippling rise in the cost of living for everyone.

  All of us are experiencing inflation in the world today. What we paid for a loaf of bread, a gallon of gasoline, or a new car last year has increased by 6.2% [according to the NY Times], the fastest rise in 31 years. And just try shopping for toys for Christmas this year! Approximately 80% of all toys worldwide are made in China, and because the value of the dollar is decreasing, it now takes $24 to purchase a toy that cost $15 last year. I am not schooled in economics, but this much I know ... as long as our government prints new money [to cover their deficit spending], and floods the market with worthless paper notes, the value of that paper is going to drop, and it is going to take more of those paper dollars to buy products than it has before.

Here's a bit of history you will find interesting; from 1878 until June 4, 1963, our money had "Silver Certificate" printed above the image of George Washington. That meant you could take a dollar bill into your local bank and exchange it for a silver dollar. That dollar bill was backed by a silver dollar which had real value. That coin was approximately one ounce of silver, at a value equal to the Silver Certificate. But the price of silver was on the rise, beginning in 1961 and soon an ounce of silver was worth more than that $1 dollar bill, so the government began to regulate the price of silver and discontinued the use of Silver Certificates. Our dollar bills now say, "Federal Reserve Note", and sad to say, the redemption of silver certificates into real coins of value was replaced with the issuance of paper money, which has steadily decreased in worth, with nothing to back up its value. For a far more educated discourse on how our money has lost its value, please read this informative article on CoinWorld.com. 

So, while today we might have more money, because workers demand higher wages to pay for the higher prices, the money we have buys less. Consider this: the dollars we earn for hard work have real value - something is exchanged for the monetary note deposited in your bank account. But mixed in with these dollar bills in our economy is all the money simply created by printing presses; the government pushes a button and no value is exchanged for these bills that flood the market. So how does economic understanding of inflation relate to Religious/Spiritual inflation? 

Within our Churches and the Body of Christ, there are millions of Believers who use terms like "born again", Spirit-filled"; "Revival"; "Kingdom". Now, I'm sure you will agree with me that these words and terms have real value; especially if you have a sincere and covenant relationship with the Lord and know the value His Word assigns to each. But what happens when those words become a "catch-phrase" or "buzz-word" and are over-used to describe Christian attributes in a vague or ambivalent fashion by millions of Christians with no real understanding to back their words? Let's say you are in a group of 15 Believers and the question is posed, "What does it mean to be born again"? If ten of that group stand up as mature Christians and give a substantial answer that reflects God's Word and His understanding of that term, then being "born again" has great value to the group. But if you have ten people who each give answers that are different, and which rely on their human interpretation without reference to God's Word, then what value can you assign that term? 

Can we say that the majority of the Body of Christ is Biblically sound in their understanding of Born Again? Yet nearly everyone will declare that they are. What about Justification and Sanctification? What does Redeemed mean? How would they describe Glory? And does the Body understand how, what, and where the Kingdom of God exists today? I agree that it's nice to hear these words in sermons and podcasts, but are they spoken of in terms of God's Truth with Biblical accuracy? Or have they become slogans with nothing of real value backing them? It is the Holy Spirit of God which backs up the true Biblical value of those words and phrases, giving them real worth because we have received the revelation of what it cost to pay for their existence and usage.

Among the warnings that Timothy gives us in the New Testament is the perilous times that will occur in the Last Days... He says [among the various translations] that people will become "lovers of themselves, boastful, proud, swollen with conceit, heady, high-minded, arrogant, puffed up with pride, and scoffers of God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly" (1 Timothy 3:1-5). In other words, they will value themselves and their ways more than understanding and acting in God's ways. They will weigh their self-worth in the Body and not find themselves wanting; they will be satisfied with measuring themselves by their own standards of faith and knowledge. 

But the Bible has a lot to say about weights and measures ... A just balance and scales are the Lord's; all the weights in the bag are His work (Proverbs 16:11) ... A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight (Proverbs 11:1) ... Can I forget the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? Can I tolerate wicked scales and a bag of dishonest weights? (Micah 6:10-11). In other words, I do not believe that God will tolerate an increase in unhealthy, unsound, or flawed representation of His holy precepts. He's not interested in flooding Christianity with a baseless currency of words. It is incumbent upon us as reliable witnesses of His Holiness that we not tolerate the degradation or dilution of His standards and principles. A minimal or barely sufficient understanding of God's commandments will not be adequate. In other words, it will be found scant and cursed, as it says in MicahLet us not flood the Body of Christ with deficient and weakened teachings that do not give the full and immeasurable quality of God, Himself. Let us be wary of the false prophets and teachers who do not demand full accountability of what it means to call ourselves a follower of Christ. 

So, just like the inflation we are facing in our monetary economy, we must be diligent to prevent inflation in our Churches and religious/spiritual organizations. We must back our faith with an understanding that is Biblical; real and tangible; worthy and of substance. The mere use of Biblical terminology does not mean one represents God accurately, just as saying a dollar bill is really worth a dollar. Biblical vocabulary does not guarantee Biblical value. Instead, let us demand more of ourselves and set standards for Biblical understanding, teaching, and leadership that pleases our Father. Let us show the world the true value of faith in Jesus Christ. Let us follow Paul's admonition to the Church at Corinth:  If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know ( I Corinthians 8:2). And Paul addresses the inflated Believer in Galatians 6:3, For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. We have far too much inflationary deception in our world as it is ... in regards to our economy, our government, the media, our educational system, the military, the entertainment industry, and our families. We don't need it in our Christianity! Let's guard against spiritual inflation and keep our faith free of inflated influences.

Thanks to Middletown Bible Church for their teaching on Inflation as one of the "Crises of Our Day".  

Romans 12:3    For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.  


March 20, 2020

"Who Knows If You Have Not Come To The Kingdom For Such A Time As This"

     The title of today's post are the immortal words of Mordecai, the Jew, to his adopted daughter, Esther, the queen. According to the Bible, Esther's husband was King Ahasuerus, who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces. According to the history books, he was the Achaemenian king Darius I, ruler over what is now Iran. 
     Mordecai has gotten wind that there is a plot to kill all the Jews in the kingdom, and while Esther, herself, is a Jew, it's been kept secret from her husband, the king. Mordecai implores Esther to go before the king and plead his favor, asking him to spare her people. But Esther reminds Mordecai that it is the law of the land that if anyone goes before the king unbidden, death is the penalty. Mordecai then tells his daughter that, as a Jew, she cannot expect to escape the destruction coming against all Jews, and that if she chooses to not help, that God will send His relief and deliverance from another source, and her father's house will perish. Then he speaks the words that I believe apply to us in this generation ... "Who knows if you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther's response ... to gather all the Jews together and ask them to fast on her behalf as she approaches the king, even though it is against the law. "If I perish, I perish" are her words that echo across the centuries.
     As the fears that accompany the spread of COVID-19 cross our land, we must contemplate if we are facing destruction of Biblical proportions. I will admit to you that it is hard to know what to believe. Can we believe the media reports that this is a true pandemic? Is the whole situation politically motivated to bring down the President's economy? Are all the shutdowns of businesses that result in loss of paychecks and jobs really necessary? Is the vaccine safe? I'm not sure we will ever know the unvarnished truth about these concerns, but no one can deny the effects this virus has had on our nation and the world. Frankly, I'm not sure we have seen such fear and panic over the future since the Great Depression and WWII. 
     But if you are a Kingdom-believing Christian, where does all this leave you? Can we truly live in a "Kingdom mindset", not letting the affairs of the world shake our faith and trust in our Father and King? I can't explain it, but I actually find myself calmer than I have been in other "near collapses" in our recent past. It's as if my spirit has been waiting for "the big one", and it's actually a relief. 
     You see, I can understand that God has been preparing me for such a time as this -- a time in which nothing of this world is secure. Money to pay bills, buy food, or take care of loved ones is not  guaranteed. Our health is at stake. For most of us, our homes and possessions may well be threatened as our economy teeters on the brink of crashing. We have never faced a more uncertain future in our lifetimes. And that uncertainty can breed doubt and fear. Where is God in all this? Is He hearing our prayers?
     I can assure you that our Father in Heaven hears our voices. And He is not absent in this situation. But as we face increased isolation in our society, we Christians have to decide what our response is going to be. I cannot answer for others, but I can tell you that I have always felt that there would one day be a tremendous trial come upon the world, and I would have the opportunity to not only experience it, but stand for the Lord. Notice, I did not say that I would be tested. That infers that God has given His approval for the trials the world is experiencing. 
     Instead, I recognize that much of the panic and hysteria that people are encountering comes from their lack of relationship with God, and their misplaced worship of the conveniences that the world offers them. Many Christians are guilty of this! We have fallen into step with society and the culture and worship our status, our wealth, our power, and our comfort. Many of us spend more time with our Facebook friends than we do with our Father in Heaven. We have not sought His will in how we should live our lives, but instead have chased after our own desires and yearnings. We have not fed on the Word of God, but have indulged in our appetites of unrighteousness and greed. 
     And now that may all come to a halt. There is talk of mandatory shutdown of the nation for an undetermined amount of time in the hopes that the spread of COVID-19 can be curbed. Everything in our world will change. There will be people who cannot afford food if they aren't receiving a paycheck. Our medical system, transportation system, banking system, food distribution system, utilities system, political system, and yes, even our religious system will be challenged -- especially our religious system.
     Will people blame God? Will they curse Him in the midst of their despair? Will they try to bargain with Him? Or will they fast for strength and wisdom, and then humble themselves, and pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways? Will the Church rise up and see this for the opportunity it is? For this is a time when not only can the world reset, and begin to look more like it was created to be, but Believers can begin to walk in their true Kingdom identities and take back Kingdom authority over those worldly systems that have gone so far astray.
     This is the time to reclaim the earth for the Kingdom of God! It is a time, in the words of the late Dr. Myles Munroe, to "establish the governing influence of our King over the territory called Earth, impacting it with His will, His purpose, and His intent, producing a citizenship of people who reflect the King's culture, nature, values, and morals". Doesn't the world need that? Doesn't our nation? And don't you want to be a part of that? 
     I am watching people expressing their fears over what the future holds while I am calm and filled with anticipation and expectation. I believe the Lord is about to do a great work in the lives of millions of people. And as always, everyone has a free will choice how they will receive His invitation. Satan has had his way for far too long and is, even now, trying to wield his power as ruler of this dark world to destroy peoples and nations with this virus and ruined economies. The battle over mankind is intensifying. But what the devil means for evil, God will use for His good. We can see ourselves as being born for this time and join with God to glorify Him in the midst of the coming trials. This is an amazing time to spread the Gospel of the Kingdom and to see God sow into the hearts of people. 
     It is an exciting time to be on the earth. It is a favorable time to be a worker in the Kingdom. It is also a dangerous time. The rulers in the spiritual realms, along with the authorities, the cosmic powers over this present darkness, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places are all going to fight back against the Kingdom of God. We can expect to be embattled and we must prepare for casualties; yes, even martyrdom. I know that's not an idea that brings comfort, but just like Queen Esther, we must stand firm, declaring, "If I perish, I perish". Nothing is secure in this new world we find ourselves -- not even our lives. But there is one thing we can count on for sure... Jesus has paid for our victory! And just as Mordecai exhorted Esther, we can choose to be a part of that victory or not, but we can be assured that if it is not you or me, "God will send His relief and deliverance from another source". I want to be part of that source! I was born for such a time as this, and you are, too! Our Father in Heaven, use me to help bring Your Kingdom to earth and heal our land!

Isaiah 43:18-19    "Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."


January 22, 2016

The World Economy & The End Times

     I don't have to tell you that the global economy is in a world of hurt.  The news cycles are full of stories of the woes of Wall Street, the devaluation of the Chinese Yuan, and the fears of further oil glut in the Middle East.  They are all intertwined to paint a very bleak economic forecast for the Seven Billion+ inhabitants of the planet.  And I can't help but see it in terms of my Biblical worldview, and End Times prophecies.  But how do the particulars of today's world economy play into the predictions that the Bible makes about Christ's return?
     The Bible verse that speaks most clearly to me is Revelation 6:6 ... And I heard what seemed to be a voice from the midst of the four living creatures, saying, A quart of wheat for a denarius [a whole day’s wages], and three quarts of barley for a denarius; but do not harm the oil and the wine!  What this tells me is that at a time that Jesus calls The Great Tribulation, there will be great financial struggle and famine among the world's poor, while at the same time, there will those who enjoy great wealth.  Do we not see the rich getting richer, while more and more of the middle class are falling into poverty; that the chasm between rich and poor is getting wider and deeper?
     If, like myself, you are a believer that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God (revelation of Jesus), and that He spoke prophecy into each of the writers of His Word, then it is Jesus Himself who is telling us that this will be the economic picture in the End Times.  And what is the common denominator mentioned in Revelation, and is also one of the primary factors controlling the world economy today?  It is oil!

     Can you see it?  Can you discern that oil is the stimulus that is driving the nations of the world into not only a battle for domination of the oil reserves, but into a final showdown and conflict at Megiddo in the Valley of Jezreel?  That oil and Armageddon are explicitly linked?
     It should be obvious to everyone that oil is the energy-producing resource that every 21st Century nation needs to survive.  It should be equally obvious that the Middle East is Oil Central, so to speak, and the sectarian violence we are witnessing in the region has as much to do with controlling that resource as it does with warring religious ideologies.  That's why we see the growing presence of Russia and China in the area, and what ultimately drives the foreign policies of all the major nations.
     Remember that Chapter 38 in Ezekiel prophecies that the force that instigates the Gog-Magog war will have "an evil thought" to not only "take a spoil", but to turn his hand "upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land"; in other words, Israel.  I believe that "spoil" will be oil.  As writer, Terry James, so eloquently explains in his article, titled End Times Economy: Forecast of Last-Day Indicators:  "It cannot be mere coincidence that the Middle East region is where the planet was most lush--the place where the Garden of Eden was placed. If oil is, as most scientists believe, primarily decayed vegetation and animal matter that has decomposed, then this is the area where we might expect the greatest deposits of the substance we call oil. It must be more than mere coincidence, too, it follows, that this is the general region where all of the petroleum-hungry nations of the world would place intense interest. How much of a stretch is it, then, to believe that the forces of Gog-Magog would one day consider this region a chief target for invasion? And, carrying this logic to biblically prophetic conclusion, is it any wonder that Armageddon, involving most every nation on earth, will meet in this very region to do battle for the great spoil, the liquid black gold beneath the sand of the Middle East?"
     Can you see it more clearly now?  America played a part in the birth of modern Israel, and we were blessed with new venues of economic markets.  Our alliance with Israel and our protection of the infant state, gave the U.S. presence in the region of planet earth with the deepest petroleum reserves.   We have also played a role in protecting the royal Saudi family, who held the keys to the most copious amounts of oil in the region.  This alliance also assured us that our western economy would continue to flourish, and we could keep the oil spigots open and flowing.
     But now there are new players on the block.  The recent negotiations with Iran threaten to upset that apple cart, and now Russia is making its presence known in the region.  And we cannot dismiss the taste for oil that China's burgeoning industrial economy is demanding.  Can you see the nations of the world gathering, just as the Biblical prophecies predict?  Can you see that oil could be "the hook in the jaw" that pulls nations out of the north to the Valley of Jezreel (Ezekiel 38:4)?  Or that oil could be the impetus for a 200,000,000 man army coming from the East (Revelation 9:14-16)?
     It is interesting to watch all the financial experts and their dire projections of an economic world collapse.  They are specifically focused on this world and how to avoid the coming breakdown of world banks and global economic institutions; how that will affect the world's financial systems.  We, Christians, who are not of this world, see it from a futuristic standpoint.  We see the failing world economy as inevitable; as prophetic, and as one more step towards the return of our Lord and Savior and the institution of a prosperous and glorious 1,000-year reign in His presence.
     We must get ready ... times are going to be horrendous, and millions will die from famine, pestilence and war.  There is no way out of it; the Bible tells me so.  But we have just a little ways to go to get out of this corrupted world system and into His magnificent Kingdom.  Whatever comes, if we stay focused on Him, it will all be worth it.  Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Revelation 16:14    "For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty."

August 24, 2015

What Will This Day Bring?

     It happened on Friday.  Wall Street's stock market suffered its biggest loss of the year.  That's right... the Dow plunged 531 points, which is its worst week since 2011.  And if you listen to the talking heads, such as those on the CNN website Money, they will tell you that the big drop was due to three major events in the world-wide economy:  1) China's economy is slowing down faster than their government would like you to believe;  2) The growing uncertainty over what the Federal Reserve has planned for September -- will they raise interest rates or not?;  and 3) Oil prices have dropped below $40/barrel, signaling a decline in the one industry that has been keeping the American economy afloat.
     Of course, those who make their living off selling you those stocks on Wall Street will tell you that this is just a natural "correction"; and that we are still not at the predicted 10% adjustment, so don't be surprised if we see a further drop.  But don't worry, we're in the stock market "for the long term" and stocks will bounce back; they always do.
     But there are others, such as MarketWatch, who say, "It’s not just about China, or Greece, or slowing earnings, or the 'death cross' on Apple’s stock. It would be because, for the past 30 years, Wall Street stock prices have been increasingly boosted by financial factors: collapsing interest rates and Federal Reserve manipulation, culminating most recently in 'quantitative easing.' But at some point, that game has to come to an end."
     I am just a normal citizen, with a level head and pretty good discernment, so it is not hard for me to agree with the basis of that statement.  It just makes sense that we cannot continue to spend money we don't have, while printing fake money to pay our sky-rocketing debt.  And fancy words like "Quantitative Easing" don't fool me.  In plain English, it's nothing more than manipulation -- or to put it more succinctly, a clever and unscrupulous way of controlling our financial situation and economy.
     But here, let a more experienced person lay it on the line for us ... Michael Pento is a well-established specialist in the Austrian School of economics and a regular guest on CNBC, Bloomberg, FOX Business News and other national media outlets. His market analysis can also be read in most major financial publications, including the Wall Street Journal. He also acts as a Financial Columnist for Forbes, Contributor to thestreet.com and is a blogger at the Huffington Post.  What he has to say makes a lot of sense.
     In an article on King World News, Mr. Pento cites three examples in the global economy where Quantative Easing (QE) has been a disaster.  First is Japan, which just a few short months ago, was hailed for its robust growth.  Japan has been the world's third largest economy, largely due to their adoption of QE protocol.  But their growth has been contracting; in fact, their Gross Domestic Product fell by an annualized 1.6% in the three months ending in June; the second quarter in a row.  Mr. Pento asserts that this latest contraction proves that massive money printing coupled with government spending does not lead to a path of sustainable growth, and Japan now appears to be headed towards a triple-dip recession.
     The second example of failed QE policy is the foray of the European Union and the European Central Banks into this form of economic manipulation.  In fact, Mario Draghi, an Italian economist and current President of the European Central Bank, promised that he would do “whatever it takes” to bring growth to the flailing European Union.  Translation:  print money and buy debt.  That resulted in $67 billion a month in money printing, and the eurozone is still flat-lining.
     And, of course, there is our own horrendous $3.7 trillion of debt and Federal credit.  While I dispute that "the Great Recession has ended", no one can fail to see that any economic growth we have engendered has been anemic at best.  The Feds can tell us that we are at a steady 2% growth rate, but who is willing to buy that nonsense?  We all know that manufacturing in this country is nearly non-existent, and after almost 7 years of QE, resulting in sub-par economic growth, how is it that the S&P stock index still shows a 160% growth rate?
     Mr. Pento gives us this plausible answer:  "Time has provided three clear and indisputable conclusions about QE: QE pumps stocks to levels that are completely disconnected from the underlying fundamentals of an economy. It allows bond prices to soar and yields to drop to levels the free market could never accept. And perhaps most importantly, QE does not lead to robust economic growth. This is because whatever unsustainable job growth there is comes from the building and servicing of asset bubbles, while it also encourages further unsustainable debt accumulations. The US oil fracking industry is a perfect example of this."
     I can attest to that.  With plummeting oil prices, we here in Texas have seen a halt in the gas/oil exploration industry.  Companies accumulated huge debt through loans to buy the equipment to go get the gas, pipes to transport it, and trucks to haul it.  The Big Boys have stopped further exploration in an attempt to limit additional debt, and the small companies have halted production altogether.  But those sites that are still in operation need servicing.  So now, those who are still afloat are playing a game of survival --- trying to balance the servicing of the industry while keeping the associated debt at a minimum.  We have seen just how quick a pipeline can be installed, and have also witnessed just how quickly it can be shut off.
     Now, those Central Bankers who endorse QE economics would like us to believe that things would have been worse without it ... instead of a Great Recession, we would still be suffering through another Great Depression.  But I think our economic expert explains the real truth about this failed policy:  "QE prevents the economy from truly healing because it keeps asset bubbles and debt levels from contracting. What you end up with are massive capital imbalances, increasingly unsustainable debt loads, and financial asset inflation that sits on top of a crumbling economic foundation."
     Maybe I'm simplifying it too much, but it seems obvious to me that the Central Bankers, in collusion with the New World Order, wish to control the world's economy to their advantage.  We've all heard the rumors of the financial gains that the likes of George Soros and his cronies have made on currency collapses and other economic manipulations.  The bottom line seems to be that they are intent on collapsing any form of "free market".  But why should we be surprised ... anything that smacks of humanity's inherent freedoms is a threat to their domination.  But the evidence is there for all to see.  The QE-induced faith in the world's Central Banks, and their ability to save the world, has failed.
    But the Bible has told us that the End Times would show us man's greed and the illusion of monetary success.  And we are warned that the opening of the Third Seal will be a time when people will have to work an entire day just to have enough money to purchase a loaf of bread (Revelation 6:5).  And there is a warning for the rich and powerful, too.  Those who have "lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence" and accumulated wealth on the backs of the poor will have to answer to the Lord.
     As Christians, we cannot bury our heads in the sand, dreaming of peace and safety.  The Bible makes it clear.  There will be hard days of famine and economic collapse before the coming of the Lord.  None of us can say how close we are to that day.  But even a casual observance of the economies of the world and our own stock market should have us considering that Biblical prophecy may soon be fulfilled.  Be observant, stay informed, get prepared, and be steadfast in your endurance, prepared to do the will of God in your life.

Hebrews 10:37    "For still a little while (a very little while), and the Coming One will come and He will not delay."

July 14, 2015

The Global Economy: How's That Working For You?

     I don't think we, here in America, really have a grasp on what is going on in Greece and China; let alone, what is going on in our own economy.  I know I don't.  Although I can sense that the world is being transformed through politics, social agendas, and economics, I can't quite connect the dots.  I know that we are being pushed towards a "global economy" ... we recognize that this term has been part of the political lexicon for some time now.  But what are the implications of a global economy?  What is the real agenda behind it?  All I know is that it is a complicated and perilous course we are on.
     I've been reading more and more about what the Greek situation forecasts, as well as the headline on Drudge Report that China's stock market is tracking our own 1929 crash.  That can't be good!  And from my limited understanding of the Greek financial disaster, they are virtually in default on their national loans, and are being forced into a severe austerity program by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Banks (ECB), which will result in pensions being cut (or lost altogether); welfare recipients suffering severe cutbacks; benefit packages for government workers will be sliced and diced ... all the programs that are the hallmark of Socialism.  This is what is coming to the global economic neighborhood near you.
     The bottom line is this:  Greece can no longer support fat pensions, growing welfare rolls, and living beyond their means.  They can't afford it!  Yet the Greek citizens want to continue this lifestyle and loudly decry any measures of austerity that would stop the hemorrhage.  As Steven Moore, a notable U.S. economist, wrote, "Greece is now sitting on $350 billion of debt. It’s unpayable and the international monetary experts are deluding themselves if they believe that by some magic stroke this nation of 11 million citizens will sometime in the future come up with the funds to repay it.  Greece is already overtaxed, and adding more taxes on the few businesses that are still functioning is only going to ensure their eventual demise too. Meanwhile the Greek citizens have come to the conclusion that fat pensions and cradle-to-grave welfare benefits are a human right that can never be taken away. That is what they declared in the [recent] referendum. But those benefits are going to be lost. Socialism has radically reduced the standard of living of the citizens."
     What I see is a fundamental flaw in not only Greece's financial situation, but that of every country and individual person who is living beyond their means and is in serious financial debt ... and that flaw is this:  Somehow they don't think they should be responsible for paying off their debt!  Moore makes a succinct point, when he says, "As part of the European Union, are the hard-working German citizens supposed to pay more taxes to pay for lavish benefits to Greek retirees?"  That's what can happen when you have a global economy!
     But the bottom line and run-away debt is not the only factor that plays into the global economic equation.  The other side of the coin is national sovereignty.  As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (an international economist who has covered world politics and economics for over 30 years) wrote in the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph, "The [European] creditors have sought to nail down the new memorandum by transferring Greek assets to 'an independent fund that will monetize the assets through privatizations and other means'. It will be used in part to pay off debts.  This fund will be under EU 'supervision'. The cosmetic niceties of sovereignty will be preserved by letting the Greek authorities manage its day-to-day affairs. Nobody is fooled."
    He goes on to explain that there is no way that the Plan of Austerity can be successful; it will simply drive Greece further into spiraling debt as the country will be unable to meet its obligations.  And as Nobel Prize economist Paul Krugman points out, "What we’ve learned these past couple of weeks is that being a member of the Eurozone means that the creditors can destroy your economy if you step out of line. This has no bearing at all on the underlying economics of austerity... This goes beyond harsh, into pure vindictiveness, complete destruction of national sovereignty, and no hope of relief...".
     So which is it?  Is a global economy something to be desired, and inevitable, as we are constantly told by politicians and the media?  Or is it a threat to national sovereignty and economic independence?  Or ... is it designed to do both?  True, it is hailed by nearly all world leaders as the inevitable future.  So, is this the plan?  The world is destined to be "connected" to each other economically -- meaning if one fails, we all suffer the economic fallout -- which will eventually lead to being "controlled" by a central economic organization that destroys all national sovereignty and independent financial systems.  Sound like I'm a crazy conspiracy nut?  Then read this quote from David Rockefeller, an indisputable global economist:  "This present window of opportunity, during which a truly peaceful and interdependent world order might be built, will not be open for too long — We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order."  Just consider China's plummeting economy, Greece's tremendous debt, and the latest threats against the cyber-security of our financial institutions.  If they don't qualify as crises, they will do until the mega-one comes along.
     Here's my closing statement:  All of this is too complicated for the average citizen to figure out; and I believe that is on purpose.  Keep us confused; keep telling us globalization is the way to go; and continue with the secret back-room deals.  The one thing that seems clear to me is that the global economy is working for a select group of financiers that is controlling it --- they are getting richer while the common man keeps sliding down the economic ladder. The sovereignty of nations, and individual workers are all expendable.  Greece is in the vice now.  Who will be the next nation that feels the jaws of the global economy tightening around its throat?

Psalm 39:6   "Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!"

February 26, 2015

The Cause and Effect of Our Economic Decline

     I can remember being a senior in high school in the early 70's and the endless possibilities that lay before me.  My future was only limited by my ability to dream big.  Anything I wanted to do or become was possible.  A college education was expected, and with a little hard work, and the availability of low-interest educational loans, I was able to get my degree in four years, and was gainfully employed within 2 months of graduation -- actually employed in a profession that pertained to my degree.  And that was at the beginning of the Carter Administration and the subsequent years of recession!
     Today, I know so many young adults that are struggling under the heavy financial burden of school loans, with no jobs in sight.  First of all, I sometimes wonder at the lack of perception of parents who did not guide their children towards degree plans that reflected the changing dynamics of the American economy.  Couldn't parents discern that jobs in social work or psychology or the liberal arts  aren't exactly abundant in this economy?  I can't tell you how many college graduates I know who have heaped more debt on themselves by opting to go to graduate school because of the lack of jobs in their field.  Does that make any sense to you?  
     Now, if you listen to the policy makers in Washington, they will tell you that our high unemployment rate is due to the lack of skilled labor in this country.  But that's a ridiculous argument when you consider that many of the people serving you coffee each morning at the local McDonald's have at least an associate's degree; with many of them bachelor's or master's degrees.  The real truth is that according to the Economic Policy Institute (a non-profit, non-partisan think tank), for every two American college graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, only one of them is hired into a job in their field.  Why?  Because the jobs are simply not there. Did you know that 30% of college graduates are consistently underemployed?  So,  it's not that we don't have the skilled labor, or the smart labor, or the educated labor ... it's that these jobs no longer exist in the United States.  Did it ever occur to you that the high rate of unemployment is because the U.S. is no longer the major innovator that it once was?  That the jobs have been exported, while our products are increasingly imported?
     The truth is that companies can no longer afford to invest in training; and benefit packages are becoming a thing of the past.  Promotions are fewer, while hiring and wage freezes are now commonplace.  As if that is not depressing enough, machines are predicted to replace human jobs at an ever-increasing pace.
     Let's face it.  We have become both a "service-oriented" economy and a nation where the government is one of the biggest employers.  We are no longer the manufacturing powerhouse we once were.  Economics 101 tells us that the manufacturing sector began hiring cheaper overseas labor, which resulted in higher domestic numbers of unemployed; and eventually the manufacturing itself went overseas and we began importing our products -- "made in America" became a rare slogan.
    Common sense tells us that a healthy economy depends on its citizens having spendable income, and with unemployment at such high levels, there will soon be no one to take advantage of the services Starbucks, McDonalds, hair dressers, cosmetologists, or yoga instructors offer.  None of these businesses encourage innovation among their employees or customers.  I think that is why the TV show Shark Tank is such a huge hit.  It celebrates the creativity, ingenuity and inventiveness of the American entrepreneur.  It gives us hope that with some dedication, hard work, and a hand up, we can achieve great things; that we can once again become a nation who celebrates independent and successful businessmen.
    The bottom line is that 0% interest rates and added government entitlements is no way to "stimulate" an economy.  Until we become producers again, and teach the next generations to create their own futures, they may never know the success that is their birthright.  Finally, I can't help but see a correlation between the beginning of our economic decline and our departure from being a God-centered nation.  You would think someone besides me would make the connection ...

Proverbs 16:3   "Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed."


December 5, 2014

How Does It Feel To Be Number Two?

     For more than half of its lifespan, the United States of America has been considered the leading economic superpower of the World.  That's quite a run, and one that no other nation can lay claim to.  For nearly 140 years, America's economy has been the largest among the nations; but there's a new Power that holds that position.
     According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), China just surpassed the U.S. in economic output, producing $17.6 trillion in so-called “real” terms of goods and services. According to MarketWatch.com, as recently as 2000, we produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese.  So how did this happen, and what does it mean for the already shaky American economy?  And what does history tell us this development means for our future, moving forward?
     First of all, the United States has been in the forefront of prosperity and production for my entire lifetime.  So a fall in position in such a rapid timeframe deserves some explanation, don't you think?  I am also left wondering if this economic downturn somehow foretells a decline in other aspects of our nation.  Is it just me, or does this state of affairs seem to mirror our diminishing civil liberties, constitutional rights, and rule of law?  Are we seeing the permanent decline of the United States of America?
     When you look at it from China's perspective, this is just the evolution that sees them resuming their natural place in the global order.  After all, they have a history of dynasties that go back 3000 years, while the U.S. is not even 300 years old!  They just had a little 200 year blip on their radar screen, which explains our dominance during that time period.  Now, China thinks that things are back to being as they should; and perhaps we just got a little too big for our britches?
     The economic gurus will tell you that the bottom line is that China is able to export more than we do, and do it cheaper.  American manufacturing is on the ropes, and China is ready to deliver the knockout punch.  With global powers pushing for a global economy, we are all intertwined with each other ... how many Chinese components are included in "American-made" products?  The truth is that we need, and use, far more Chinese exports/products than they use of ours.  Even if we tried to ban some of our components in the Chinese marketplace, there are emerging economies that are waiting to step in and take our place.
     But here's a whole other paradigm to consider ... The IMF is a creation of the United Nations, and here is its official duty:  "to promote international financial stability and monetary cooperation. It also seeks to facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world. Created in 1945, the IMF is governed by and accountable to the 188 countries that make up its near-global membership."  In other words, it was created to establish a global, or one-world, financial system.
     But here's the irony ... both China and the U.S. economies are fake; China has built "ghost cities" based on an inflated economy, while we have printed ourselves into a counterfeit recovery.  However, for whatever reason, the global elite leaders have decided that China should now be the nation out front of the world economy.
      Although this might all seem orchestrated, (and believe me, it is!) we must not forget the ideological changes our Number Two status could represent.  We can expect to see a major change in the psychological, cultural, and moral aspects of the world's nations; because whatever beacon of Freedom we have been to the world is shining just a little dimmer at the moment.  China has not exactly been a bastion of Liberty in the last three-quarters of a century ... Their "cultural revolution" resulted in the deaths of 30 million of their own people, and that's a conservative number.  They killed tens of thousands in Tibet and then invaded Vietnam and India. And does anyone think that their cozying up to Russia is a good thing?
     At the end of the day, I can't help but think of the Biblical prophesies that foretell Satan's political and economic systems that come into play close to the Second Coming of Christ.  In fact, Satan even proclaims (in Luke 4:6) that he has been given power over the earth, and he can distribute it to whomever he chooses.  The rulers of nations will be influenced by his evil machinations, and there will be a darkness imposed on the earth by Satan's rule through the governance of men.
     But we must not forget that it is the hand of God that is really in control of the rise and fall of great nations and empires.  Satan's influence is ultimately supervised by God.  History is full of the narratives of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome -- all nations that were used for His plan and purpose.  Each one of these nations played a part in the history of Israel and the Church.  We are no different, except that our rise was meteoric, and our fall may be just as spectacular.
     The real question becomes this:  is God through with us?  Can we still be used by Him to further His plan, or have we become so enamored by the temptations of Babylon's Harlot, that we no longer care about our purpose?  When, as a nation, we are focused on ourselves, and we ignore or deny God, it makes no difference if we are Number One -- the collapse is inevitable.  If our role as "defender of the free world" is reduced, and we no longer export faith in God to the nations of the world, then our role may well be finished.  When that happens, we will become a footnote in history.

Daniel 5:26-27     "This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting;"