Archive for January, 2009

Discerning Intent

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

In this complex world we are confronted with discerning intent on a daily basis.  Intent is purpose, an anticipated outcome that guides your planned actions.  Intent has a beginning point and a direction.  Direction is established by a beginning point and at least one additional point or position, effectively a double witness.

There are many powerful people with intent who can impact the economic picture.  For example, George Soros single-handedly extracted a billion dollars from the Bank of England on September 16, 1992.  Oklahoma native Sam Walton built Wal-mart and wiped out thousands of family-owned businesses across the country.  Former President Bill Clinton formed a foundation and has received hundreds of millions in contributions from the who’s who in the global community.

Our Heavenly Father established a purpose for everyone on earth:

Ephesians 1:11   In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Each of us is called to a purpose and our intent should line up with our purpose.  Purpose would denote an outcome while intent is an action or actions guiding you to that outcome.  Intent has anticipated consequences whereas risk has unanticipated results.  As we walk through this life, our goal is to minimize risks and fulfill our purpose.  The best way to minimize risk is to seek the counsel of GOD’S will for you.  With over 6,000,000,000 people on earth with varying intents that may affect each of us in a distinct and unique way, it is critical that we assess our intent on a daily basis.

Each of us is responsible for our own actions.  Who knows what you should invest in?  Our Heavenly Father.  Who knows when you should "pass" on an investment?  Our Heavenly Father.  Who knows what house you should buy?  Our Heavenly Father.  There are influential people out there who understand mass psychology and use it to manipulate people toward their agenda.  Bernie Madoff is a case in point and his Ponzi scheme is still being unraveled.  Could Bernie have achieved success if each of the investors, with a pure heart, had sought Our Heavenly Father and received His counsel about the intent of Madoff?  NO!  Bernie Madoff relied on the "idols in their hearts" to further his scheme.  Did Madoff begin his investment career with this intent?  I don’t believe so.  Bernie’s intent changed over time.  He started off making money for his clients but veered off course slightly and as time passed his ego kicked in resulting in the Ponzi scheme.  Once his comfort level rose and without scrutinizing his intent and purpose, the rest is history.

"Idols in the heart" present one of the greatest challenges to be overcome by each of us.  You can be broke and still have the idol of riches.  You can drive a jalopy and idolize a Mercedes or Lexus.  Investors are challenged by their lust of money and that is why over 90% of the day traders consistently lose money.  Their ego and emotions overpower that "still small voice".  Investments with greater complexities should be avoided by the small investor.  If every investor focused on his individual purpose and reviewed his intent in investing, borrowing, and spending, the country would not be in the current financial crisis.  You might say that this is an impossibility.  When unity with GOD occurs, nothing is impossible.  The Creator has ownership of the created and has given us the capacity to be in one accord.  However, Our Heavenly Father imparted ownership to us and then provided us with laws concerning ownership.  Ownership has conditions attached to it.  If you operate according to the idols of your heart, you will lose title to those things you have been given or you will be unable to attain those things you seek after.

Psalms 84:11  For the LORD God [is] a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good [thing] will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

As we walk uprightly in our intent, no good thing will be withheld.  Judging the intent of others can get you into trouble.  Only judgment through GOD’S eyes can the intent of the person be determined: 

John 7:24  Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

The questions to be asked when you are being confronted with an unexpected negative situation:

1.  Is there an action I took that caused this to occur?

2.  Is there an idol in my heart motivating me?

3.  Did I ask My Heavenly Father about this matter before I became involved?

4.  Is this a test to see how I respond thus to uncover a "heart issue"?

5.  Is the loss I might suffer a matter of salvation?

6.  How would Love respond?

7.  Will this result in refocusing my efforts toward my calling?

When discerning intent, be careful that you are pure in heart:

Titus 1:15  Unto the pure all things [are] pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving [is] nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.

The Risk of Unintended Consequences

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

When a person does not seek to hear GOD’S voice before acting, there is a risk of unintended consequences.  On a corporate scale, leaders take actions that may have a dramatic effect on the future of their constituents.  Not all politicians are conspiring to dismantle America.  Not all government employees are part of a scheme to hurt the common man.

Earlier this month, the people of Great Britain staged one of the largest protests in history.  See: British Protest  Although I am not an advocate of force, this video points out the effect of unintended consequences.  In the current force-based system, deterrents are often used to uphold the peace.  The threat of sanctioned bodily harm deters the would-be burglar from entering our homes.  If you remove the deterrent, do you think the criminal will be held back from their crime?

The sub-prime crisis is in full swing but there is but the next wave is moving rapidly upon us- the commercial real estate crisis.  The leverage factor associated with commercial real estate is much higher than the private sector borrowings.  All of us that qualified for mortgages "the old fashioned way" have equity built up in our houses and have manageable monthly payments.  However with jobs at stake, even once manageable house payments can become a nightmare.

We are at risk of a collapse as early as next month.  I say this not to frighten you, but to prepare you.  In 1993, I saw this current environment coming and discussed it with friends and as we all know, one of the greatest expansions of the stock market occurred.  The problem with seeing in the "Heavenlies" is that everything is presented in the present thus unless Our Heavenly Father specifically tells us when, we can only prepare.  Preparation has both long-term and short-term implications.

The thing that I find consistent with all of the rhetoric coming out of Washington is that legislators continue to push their agenda in the face of this financial tsunami.  They are taking care of the wealthy Wall Street bankers allowing billions in bonuses to be paid in the midst of the massive bailout.  They argue that the banks and other institutions are too large to fail.  In the meantime they are standing by while the small companies around the country are "too small to save".  The Inauguration speech grouped the financial problems of Wall Street with the rest of us by using the statement: “our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age”.  I don’t know about you but nobody called me concerning the last 25 years of misconduct and abuse of the financial standards?

The only precedent of the current situation is the Great Depression and once again our leaders assume they are smarter than their predecessors. There is also the problem of there being a notable difference between the two eras.  In the 1930′s the U.S. had a strong manufacturing base, it was a creditor nation, and an exporter of oil.  Today, it is just the opposite.  We have a service based economy, we owe everyone, and we export most of the oil we consume.  Each of those three attributes individually could take the country down the tubes.

When I was a chief financial officer and we were going to have an unprofitable year, the first expenses I looked at cutting were "services".  You don’t cut your inventory or sell you warehouse, you need them to generate revenue.  As a consumer, you don’t cut out food, utilities, or housing payments.  Instead, you eliminate all the discretionary purchases such as restaurants, retail purchases, entertainment, advanced technologies (such as call waiting, premium cable channels, etc.), and new capital purchases.  Retailers in the discretionary spending category make not make it in this crisis.

I expect the stock market to take a hit when December’s revised unemployment numbers come out next month.  I am sure that Washington will time its "shock and awe" of trillions to offset the bad news.  There is much talk of the formation of an ‘aggregator bank’ to take in all of the toxic debt currently on commercial bank balance sheets. What a deal!

If you step back a moment and look at the big picture, the world is heading for a collapse of some magnitude.  Iceland’s government has "collapsed".  England is teetering and the value of the British pound is at a 23 year low.  Mexico and Pakistan are disintegrating before our eyes.  Remember when the U.S. retirees were heading to Mexico for a life of luxury?  They may be returning soon.  Pakistan is probably the most dangerous place on earth now so keep you potassium iodate handy.

If you put a million dollars in a 30 day Treasury Bill and rolled it over for twelve months, you would receive a total of $200 in interest.  So much for being a "millionaire".  Pension funds will not be able to sustain retirement payments with the current economic environment.  They need a better rate of return on their funds.  It is believed that this economic cycle will form a "W" and we are in the first half of the "W" near the bottom.  At the first sign of improvement, pension funds will jump back into the market with all of the cash sitting in Treasuries.  This will cause a rally of major proportions.  This may be your opportunity to cash out of non-defensive stocks.  I believe this rally will be short lived and then it may get real ugly.

Men continue to make decisions concerning their country’s future without understanding the risk of unintended consequences.

Only Our Heavenly Father has perfect knowledge of the consequences of an intended path.  Who better to seek guidance from in these turbulent times!

Economics of Justice

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Noah was a just man: Gen 6:9 These [are] the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man [and] perfect in his generations, [and] Noah walked with God.  He was righteous and lawful.  Being perfect meant that he was complete, whole, entire, and sound, as we often like to say "he was the whole package".  Outside his family, all of society had become treacherous, lawless, and corrupt to the point where justice was gone.  When justice is gone, trust is gone.

When people operate outside their gifts and calling, they must rely on "unfair advantage" in conducting their business affairs.  This unfair advantage may take on many forms.  Disparaging comments about the competition is one way to unfairly transact business.  While marketing your product to a potential customer you point out shortcomings of your competition in a belittling manner in an attempt to convince the prospective customer that if they buy the other product, they will regret it.  This is a form of manipulation.

Another use of unfair advantage is the constant threat of litigation and in the United States there is one lawyer for every 265 Americans (ABA 2007) or one lawyer for every two inmates.  The U.S. has the highest per capita number among all major countries.  There are many horror stories about how justice did not prevail and how the system is "broke".  Domineering people use the threat of litigation against the weak (or perceived to be weak) to intimidate them into submission.  These intimidation tactics often expose a flaw in the character of the person instigating the actions.  If you truly heard the word of the Lord to enter into a transaction, why are you challenging the outcome?  There is a prevailing attitude that use of an attorney is superior to admitting your failure, accepting the loss, and going on with your business and life.  People who believe and live based on scarcity can’t seem to put their trust in GOD, the possessor of heaven and earth, who knows where all the wealth is and can bring forth blessing at any time.

People judge themselves by their intentions and everyone else by their actions.  Have you ever found yourself under the microscope of a judgmental person?  No matter what you do or say, you can never seem to satisfy that person.  It is because they have a core issue that must be dealt with such as rejection by a parent or some other traumatic experience that puts a wall of protection up.  People use their judgmental attitude with others to seek unfair advantage.  They attempt to make their problem your problem by convincing you that their predicament was somehow linked to you.  The end result is a downward spiral of isolation and bitterness often resulting in sickness and disease.  Attempts at unfair advantage will ultimately backfire.

In contrast, Our Heavenly Father gives each of us a unique advantage of our specific gifts and callings.  HE provides everything necessary for us to carry out our calling whether it be a leader or a carpenter.  If you are called to be a carpenter, you will have the passion and desire to be the best carpenter around.  When you walk in your calling, you will practice justice and will not need to seek unfair advantage of others- you will be a "just man".  If you reject your calling or fail to pursue the revelation of your calling, you will create separation with GOD and others around you.  By necessity you will use unfair advantage and sow the seeds of injustice in your life.  Ultimately you will reap what you sow, a GOD given law.

This is what has happened in the United States.  Investment banks, mortgage companies, ratings agencies, regulatory agencies, and unqualified consumers created a massive financial crisis.  On top of that, unregulated derivatives (casino bets) have infiltrated the current economic system like a plague.  This has created a "target rich" environment for those 1,143,358 attorneys practicing in the U.S.  Don’t get me wrong, in our current system attorneys are needed to handle dispute resolution and contract clarification.  The problem is that most attorneys do not receive their wisdom from above but pursue a position of unfair advantage for their client.  Justice does not matter, winning at all cost does.

The new Administration in the U.S. has pledged a return to regulation.  Regulation is necessary in an environment that pursues unfair advantage.  Less regulation would work if people were basically "good" however the last 25 years has shown us otherwise.  The question now is whether the unregulated nightmare will cause the demise of the current system.  Many of the major banks are technically insolvent and all of the injustices of the current system have created mistrust among the players.  Without trust the system will not work.  For years I marveled in how the banking system could get away with leveraging bets(derivatives) and reaping extravagant profits with no apparent downside.  The seeds they sowed are now producing unwanted fruit.

My recommendation: repent, turn away from your wicked ways.  Forgive the debts of the debtors, and you will be forgiven your debts.

The Truth shall make you free

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Truth is not "just the facts".  There is a spiritual backing to truth which has a motivation connected to it.  Truth is honest, made in good faith, and sincere while it is supported by facts and reality.

Our egos would have us pervert the truth by manipulating the facts in our communications.  For example, when Abraham was confronted by an adversary interested in Sarah, Abraham indicated that Sarah was his sister:

Gen 20:1-12

AND Abraham journeyed from there to the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar.

Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, "She is my sister." And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.

But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, "Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife."

But Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, "Lord, will You slay a righteous nation also?

"Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she, even she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this."

And God said to him in a dream, "Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.

"Now therefore, restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours."

So Abimelech rose early in the morning, called all his servants, and told all these things in their hearing; and the men were very much afraid.

And Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, "What have you done to us? How have I offended you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done."

Then Abimelech said to Abraham, "What did you have in view, that you have done this thing?"

And Abraham said, "Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife.

"But indeed she is truly my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.

 

Fear motivated Abraham to lie about Sarah as well as his lack of faith in God’s word to him.  Abraham did not believe the fear of God was in Gerar.  He assumed that his God was not omnipresent but found that God intervened wherever and whenever was needed.  Abraham had a covenant with the GOD of Heaven AND Earth.  Abimelech agreed.

While having lunch with a friend, we discussed the economy and its expected direction.  He said that if he could just know the truth about the various issues of the economy, he could respond accordingly.  The noise of opinion and mis-information is deafening.  Political speeches contain many facts but what in the speech is being manipulated to promote an agenda?  The truth cannot be known and understood without knowing the motivation behind the facts.  It is well known and documented that the U.S. Government statistics have been redefined to reflect theoretical economic improvement thus misleading the American public about the state of the economy.  The Federal  Reserve quit reporting M3 Money Supply numbers to "cut costs".  Withholding the truth is just as bad as providing misleading facts.

The world economy is in a very serious economic crisis and the path we’ve been pursuing is leading us over a cliff.  The world is at a serious risk of a stampede out of currencies and paper investments into "things".  The prices of commodities have plummeted due to substantial decreases in demand yet they report overall demand is down single digits.

Failure to tell us the truth ultimately forces us to move to a protective mode of de-leveraging.  The borrower is servant to the lender thus we must eliminate that liability which hangs over our future.

How do you get started in this defensive posture?  You must develop new spending habits.

1.  Go a week without "eating out" at a restaurant.

2.  Go a week without using your credit card, then a month.

3.  Pay extra on your home mortgage payment, even if it is only $10.

4.  Give away 10 items you don’t use or need and trash the items if they are of no value to others.

5.  Focus on relationships with others.  Develop face-to-face activities that encourage fellowship.

6.  Plant a vegetable garden this spring.  Go research at the library and learn to grow your own food.

7.  Conduct an energy audit of your home.  Determine how you can decrease your energy usage.

8.  Revisit you budget.  Determine your needs versus your wants.

9.  Do an act of service to your neighborhood or community.  Help the needy, hungry, widows, or orphans.  Plant some seeds of giving.

10. Most important: Spend more quiet time with Our Heavenly Father.  After all, you have a covenant with HIM whether you know it or not!

The Chaos of Competition

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

In the current age, competition redirects our focus away from love.  Competition for resources, money, jobs, land, etc. turns into a quest for dominance and this particular issue plagues our planet.  When Jesus arrived on earth, the Jews were expecting a conquering Messiah to take over the Roman Empire and the entire earth.  When His ministry began, the blindness of the Jewish leadership prevented them from seeing that Jesus was the Messiah and failed to receive the revelations that were to be brought forth at that time.  Instead, Jesus chose twelve men of various backgrounds to establish His Kingdom and spread the Good News across the land.  In the meantime, the Jewish leadership kept looking toward the heavens for a conquering messiah who would lead them into a position of dominance to rule the world.

Competition is a quest for dominance, dominance is a quest for exalting oneself over another, and exalting oneself is an attempt to make yourself a god.  In the U.S. especially, sports have promoted this cycle.  Athletes are paid millions of dollars to perform every weekend.  Fans choose a team to support and then over time, define their lives by the performance of their team.  Some fans become ruthless bullies when their team wins a national championship and further exalt themselves by disparaging the opposing team and its fans.  All of this is an attempt to exalt themselves above others.

As an individual projects or defines his life based on the performance of someone else, he manufactures an identity other than his own and creates a surrogate power.  A surrogate means "substitute".  The person assigns away his gifts and power to a false identity and thus causes his gifts to lie dormant for the duration of this assignment.  For example, a young boy idolizes a football quarterback, he buys the team jersey with the quarterback’s number, and wears it everyday projecting himself to be that quarterback.  The boy takes his focus off of what he is really called to do and fails to develop his gifts.  Isn’t it harmless to wear the jersey?  Only until he defines his life and hands over his indigenous power to the "false dominance" he sees in his idol.

Cravings, addictions, and compulsions compete with our natural functions and strive for dominance over us.  Chemical addiction is a worldwide problem and society now assumes it to be normal.  Is there any difference in an addiction to smoking versus Coca Cola, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, or Pepsi?  When physical cravings dominate the body, the person’s gifts and calling are put on hold to some degree.  These cravings compete for the person’s resources and will lead to ultimate destruction if left unchecked.  Addiction takes on many forms.  People are becoming addicted to video games, gambling, Internet surfing, etc.  The list is endless.  By looking at your time spent on activities, your expenditures, and your recurring imaginations, an honest assessment will reveal the reality of this issue.

Mar 13:7-8
And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for [such things] must needs be; but the end [shall] not [be] yet.

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these [are] the beginnings of sorrows.

What is the ultimate result of competition?  War.  The financial bubbles occurring over the last 30 years have been about competition for perceived wealth.  The housing bubble was all about individuals obtaining a house they couldn’t afford to impress people they didn’t know thus creating a false identity.  Man’s quest for power is the pursuit of a false identity.  Men begin to believe that they deserve resources held by other countries and focus on a plan to take that country’s resources by force.  Troops are trained to be fierce competitors and conquerors of the enemy.  One major purpose of boot camp is to tear down the soldier’s emotion and rebuild the soldier to "think and respond" according to the conquering mentality.

Jesus prophesied of increased competition in the above Scripture and I don’t expect it to subside until the end of this age.  Must we all succumb to the cravings of competition?  An emphatic No!  The Apostle Paul writes the following:

Ephesians 2

1  AND you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,

2  in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,

3  among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts (cravings) of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

4  But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

5  even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

6  and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

7  that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

8  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

 

We are not doomed to live by cravings but by HIS GREAT LOVE are we delivered!  The solution to competition is LOVE because when you serve your brother your are not attempting to dominate him.  The world is going to experience this in the age to come!

Deceit

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Deceit is the act of convincing another to believe information that is not true, or not the whole truth as in certain types of half-truths.  Deceit (or deception) involves concepts like propaganda, distraction and/or concealment.  In many cases it is difficult to distinguish deception from providing unintentionally wrong information.  This is a problem that began in the Garden of Eden:

 

Gen 3:13-14

And the LORD God said unto the woman, What [is] this [that] thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled (deceived) me, and I did eat.

And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

 

The problem did not end there.  Deception has been used by mankind to obtain power, money, status, and other forms of dominance throughout the ages.  Deceit is a symptom of greed.  You can be greedy and broke at the same time.  Greed is the self-serving desire for the pursuit of money, wealth, power, food, or other possessions, especially when this denies the same goods to others.  Self serving is the key word that links greed and deceit.  Information that is self serving and knowingly a detriment to the other party is deceit.  If you sell a car to another individual with the knowledge of an imminent repair issue, that is deceitful.

I received a coupon in the mail from a local car dealership where we bought our last vehicle, "$39.88 for a full service oil change and rotation".  Hmmm, sounded ok to me since I needed an oil change.  I took the car and the coupon in for the service and the service representative accepted the coupon.  They summoned me when the car was ready and I went to the cashier to pay the bill and found that the cost was $3.68 greater than the coupon.  When asking about the difference, they pointed to the fine print indicating an additional fee assessment.  Now the issue was not the $3.68, it was about them being deceitful.

Deceitfulness is a societal issue.  It is at the core of mankind.  The LORD God acknowledged its existence by dealing with the serpent and cursing it.  There are thousands of laws created to guard against deceitful behavior but those laws do not correct the problem.  All levels of government, business, and individuals are exposed to deceit daily whether they are promoting the act or on the receiving end.  Paul warned us of deceit:

2 Corinthians 11:3

But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

 

The serpent deceived Eve using logic directed towards her mind "by his craftiness".  Often deception is encompassed with complexity thus placing the self serving person in a superior position to the one who is being deceived.  This deception is at the root of the problem with financial derivatives.  Investment banks wanted to increase profits and were looking for "new" ways to do so.  By creating complex financial instruments, the investment banks were able to sell these instruments to intelligent, seasoned bankers and investors all over the world.  How could that happen?  Ego, pride, lack of revelation, trust in structure!  In some cases, the bankers and investors bypassed due diligence because they did not want to admit that they did not understand the investment vehicle- ego, pride.  In other cases, the recipients believed that the investment banks would not sell a misrepresented investment- lack of revelation, trust in structure.

The serpent was more subtle (crafty, shrewd) than any other beast in the field.  Eve had not been exposed to television talking heads, the Internet, or millions of books on every subject imaginable, she and her husband had walked with the Creator of the Universe.  She had the ultimate opportunity to ask any question and receive the perfect, honest reply but she didn’t.  Our mind is the battleground where the war is waged.  Appeal to our logic, pride, and ego is where deceitfulness can be carried out.

Paul provided us with a key phrase: Simplicity that is in Christ.  As complexity increases, so does deceitfulness.  Men hide behind complexity to mask the deceitfulness in their heart and this deceit becomes a subtle aspect of their character.  As we walk in the simplicity that is in Christ, we will no longer be fooled by the self-serving deceitfulness of man.

Identifying the Source of the Problem

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Man’s logic attempts to determine or predict results, consequences, or derivative patterns.  This is the basis of technical analysis for stock trading.  This logic is also the basis for the manipulation of markets by the consortium of central banks around the world.  Man’s logic attempts to control as much as possible which is contrary to Biblical principles of service.  Rather than letting the market (or mankind in general, move by God) determine value, central governments by nature want to grow and control their populations to the point where they are no longer seen as "public servants".  Jesus served the public and is the standard that should be sought.  He could tap into the power of Heaven and could have subdued the world governments.  His message was to subdue the world by love with the Spirit of God, not by might.

We are heading for a world class depression that could be named "the Greater Great Depression".  Politicians are in denial as well as the American public.  Denial suggest that there are unseen forces withholding resources that could maintain the status quo.  I disagree.  Man’s greed will always exploit resources immediately to reap the fruit.  "Now" is the name of the game, not "Later".  Greed and lust demand immediate satisfaction.  When doing the right thing collides with greed and lust, the result is determined by the character of the decision maker(s).  Our humanity continues to war with the spirit and attempts to use carnal logic to justify the path of greed, lust, and ultimately corruption.

What must be done to avert a disastrous economic event that appears on the horizon?  The Bible identifies thirteen famines.  Those famines provide us insight of the problem:

#1 Gen 12:10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine [was] grievous in the land.

Abram’s covenant with God was challenged.  He was told to go to Canaan where he built an altar at Bethel.  The famine came and he went to Egypt.  His faith was tested.

#2 Gen 26:1 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.

Esau sold his birthright which he despised, an act of rebellion and contrary to the covenant of Abraham.

#3 Gen 41:54 And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread.

Joseph’s brother’s challenged THE LORD’S Word toward Joseph and his calling.

#4 Ruth 1:1 Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.

The Book of Ruth established the necessity of a kinsman-redeemer to be able to supply all need.

#5 2 Samuel 21:1 Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, [It is] for Saul, and for [his] bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.

THE LORD’S covenant was broken and disregarded.

#6 1Kings 18:2 And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And [there was] a sore famine in Samaria.

King Ahab and Jezebel were evil in the sight of THE LORD.  Ahab erected an altar for Baal. (1Ki 16:33 And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.)

#7 2Kings 4:38 And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and [there was] a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets [were] sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.

A wild vine referenced the unfruitful nature of Israel.  However, the wild vine was dealt with by the meal (barley) showing us that GOD will sustain us through the famine.

#8 2Kings 7:4 If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine [is] in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.

The Syrian King had besieged Samaria, the famine resulted and set the stage for a dramatic decrease in prices (deflation) and removal of the Syrians.

#9 2Kings 25:3 And on the ninth [day] of the [fourth] month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land.

The famine marked the end of the Kingdom.

#10 Nehemiah 5:3 [Some] also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth.

The Temple had been in ruin and people were no longer worshipping THE LORD.

#11 Jeremiah 14:1 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the dearth.

False Prophets (v14) had prophesied lies, false visions and divinations through the deceit of their heart.

#12 Luke 15:14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

The prodigal son wasted his inheritance with riotous living and encountered a famine.

#13 Acts 11:28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.

Rome was rejecting the Bread of Life.  Agabus (locust) may be tied to the separation of Egypt from the Children of Israel.

 

The general theme is that famines result from the people turning away from THE LORD.  They worship the created rather than the Creator and ultimately fall into the trap of relying on their own logic and experience.

The good news is that Our Heavenly Father has brought the world through these famines with HIS great grace and mercy.  HE sends deliverers (overcomers) to guide the whole earth through these times and to restore proper focus and relationships.  All of the information, intellect, worldly wisdom, and skill did not prevent these 13 famines.  A famine in your spiritual life will result in a famine in your physical life.  Repent, turn back towards Our Heavenly Father and ask for HIS great grace and mercy to prevail over the coming turbulent times.

The Dollar Crisis Vector

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

As we enter 2009, the U.S. Dollar is heading toward a crisis.  Currently, the dollar crisis appears to reach its climax mid-year 2012.  The Federal Reserve has begun injecting new money into the U.S. economy at breakneck speed and this will infiltrate Main Street soon.  I expect commodity prices to begin their upward move soon since they are priced in U.S. Dollars but sold around the globe.  With the pedal to the metal, Bernanke can only hope that these injections will not overtake the system like a flood.

The American saver has been bamboozled once again!  Many of us have spent our lives "doing the right thing" when it comes to saving and investing for the future.  We did not sign up for "sub-prime" loans but saved our money for the classic down payment, we diligently put money in our savings accounts, and we tempered our spending so that we would not be overextended.  Along comes Wall Street seeking temporary profits purely based on greed and sets the economy up for failure.  The Fed’s response is to move interest rates to zero.  Who does this help?  The banks.  Who does this hurt? The average American saver!  We are always told that this is done for the "greater good".  Who is the "greater good"?

2009 will be a volatile year.  The Obama-nation is planning to create 3 million new jobs.  The administration will do everything in its power to keep unemployment below 10% because it seems that everything goes south beyond that magic number.

State Governments want some lovin’ too.  They want the Feds to provide over $2 Trillion in state assistance as if the Feds were Daddy Warbucks.  All of this funding is coming from you, me, and the global lenders.  The global lenders will ultimately be on the losing end since the only thing left to do after the smoke clears is to devalue the U.S. Dollar.  The buying power of our savings accounts will drop relative to other currencies.  Global lenders will dump U.S. Dollars and head for the exits.

What are we to do?  Since most of us are not independently wealthy, we must "crash proof" ourselves as much as possible.

1)  Do what is essential to your life.  What is truly important?  What is unimportant?  Create a "To Do" list daily and follow it.

2)  De-leverage.  Lower and eliminate debt where possible.  Eliminate credit card debt.  Move to cash basis on monthly expenditures.  Evaluate current expenditures and determine whether you really need to spend the money.

3)  Do not commit to new long term liabilities unless you are confident that you can cash flow the commitment.  Why renew a two year commitment to a cell phone contract, just stay on a month to month commitment for now.  Pay as you go!

4)  Simplify your life.  De-clutter your home. Remove the clutter from your mind.  There is so much "noise" occurring now.  Everyone on the Internet has an opinion… including me.  Ask Our Heavenly Father to direct you to who you ought to read and listen to.  Get rid of the rest.  If you haven’t used the "stuff" around the house for 24 months, do you really need it?  Give those articles around the house to others in need.

5)  Renew relationships.  Let’s face it, the clutter and complexity of your life has shoved personal relationships to the back burner.  Everyone is too busy with non-essential tasks.  We have become servants to complexity.  Technology creates servants if possible and people have become addicted to information.  Admit (or confess) your problem then re-discover face to face relationships.  In the end, life is all about relationships, not things!

6)  Address your ego.  Your ego is not your friend.  Excess consumption is often due to our quest to project an illusion.  "We spend money we don’t have to impress people we don’t know".

7) Pursue revelation.  There is no set formula that we can all implement because each of us are in unique situations.  Only Our Heavenly Father can supply your specific "crash proof" action plan.