Archive for July, 2009

Entitlement versus Gratitude

Monday, July 27th, 2009

It was decades ago when I came to realize that the world was made up of two fundamental types of people: the givers and the takers.  No matter what economic class you are in, you can find these two groups.  Although it seems there is an imbalance of takers, givers have overcome the same obstacles, have gone to the same schools, and have had the same opportunities.  I am convinced that the maturity of your relationship with Our Heavenly Father will determine which category you belong in.  Can people change categories?  Yes.  When does that occur?  It will generally occur when you begin to comprehend unconditional Love.

In the U.S., there is a prevailing sense of “entitlement”.  Recently, a Harvard professor felt that he was entitled to harass an officer who was simply doing his duty and protecting the neighborhood.  The esteemed professor felt that because of his stature at Harvard, he could intimidate the officer who was following procedure.  See police report: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2009/0723092gates2.html  President Obama called the police “stupid” on national television without knowing the facts of the case.  Is the president entitled to make a judgment without the facts?  The current generation of Americans seems to believe that they are entitled to consume 25% of the world’s energy while making up only 2% of the world’s population.  They are entitled to bigger houses, more food, more entertainment, more blessings, the list goes on and on and on…  It is true the America has been a blessing to other nations in the past, but past actions will only sustain so much reward when the attitude changes from gratitude to entitlement.

This entitlement attitude that prevails around the globe and is based on past successes.  After WWII, the U.S. became the predominant military force in the world.  There are many stories of how just one change in the war could have produced a German speaking world population.  Victory feeds the ego and the ego promotes entitlement unless you understand that your success was due to Our Heavenly Father’s intervention.

When you begin to understand that your successes are connected to the biggest of pictures and that your faculties alone did not single handedly produce your successes, then you begin to operate under the mindset of gratitude.  Gratitude acknowledges that Our Heavenly Father is the ultimate cause of your success, after all we are created beings, not the Creator.  As we become grateful of our successes, we allow Our Heavenly Father to take us to the next level of stewardship.  So often men want to bypass success in the little things because they think they are called to work only in a “global” capacity.

I knew a man who believed his calling to be in the international finance arena.  He spoke to other men who also believed that their ministry was in this area.  For years they would “put deals together”.  These deals were to represent millions and millions of dollars and some of the money would be directed to fund the Gospel around the world.  This man lived out this counterfeit reality and was supported by his girlfriend.  He had such conviction about his calling that no one could minister to him.  He studied Scripture that supported his belief.  He found “prophetic” signs that confirmed his calling and anyone who challenged his path would simply be placed in a category of people who were in his life for a season.  This man had no education that would support this calling and he had no business background or experience in handling global finances.  His ego had convinced him that he was called to an arena without any preparation by Our Heavenly Father and for some unknown reason, he was entitled to pursue this unfounded dream of his.  Along the way, he would make plans to build this and that for third world countries and raise the hopes of desperate people who wanted to believe in his illusionary entitlement.  The deals never happened.

Our callings begin in obscurity as we see when Jesus was born in a manger rather than the King’s palace.  HE spent his first thirty years in preparation for HIS ministry.  We know that HE was well aware of HIS ministry at the age of twelve.  Eighteen years of additional preparation was needed by the One who would change the globe forever.  HE did not bypass this time of preparation but overcame obstacles and matured.

Jesus gave us this truth in the Parable of the Talents.  Each of us are given certain resources to develop and depending what we do with those resources, we will be given more resources with a greater responsibility.  This is really a simple concept to grasp but our ego will get in the way every time.  The man I mentioned above wanted to bypass this process all together.  He wanted a global ministry without first being fruitful in a local ministry.  Unfortunately he had not proved himself worthy of a simple act of stewardship that would support an increase in accountability and responsibility.  Was this any different for the children of Israel when they went into the wilderness for forty years?  Were they ready to enter into the Promised Land after eighteen months?  No, except for two mature men who were prepared for service.  It took an additional 38 years for the people to finally enter in and only after the generation of unbelief passed away.  The new generation spent time learning to believe in Our Heavenly Father’s promises of sustenance and protection as well as walking by HIS statutes.

Are you being a good steward of what you have been given?  Have you brought to completion the projects Our Heavenly Father has laid at your doorstep?  Are you grateful for those projects given to you or do you believe they are beneath your qualifications thus you are still waiting for the big project that would propel you into fame and fortune?  Don’t despise the little things given to you.  They may be the very thing you need to do in order to work on that bigger project you wish and hope for.

It may be time for a self assessment.  Is your ego projecting a life of entitlement or is your spirit directing you with an attitude of gratitude?

$24 Trillion? I was almost wrong!

Friday, July 24th, 2009

On Friday, September 26th, 2008, I post a blog stating that the bailout could reach $25 Trillion.  The last projected numbers place the commitment at roughly $24 Trillion, or roughly $80,000 for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. See: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32010841/ns/business-us_business

If the FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board) decides to force the issue of toxic assets being valued at market value, this $24 Trillion will rise further and it won’t be a pretty sight.  See:  http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&sid=a5BsXz90CMso

Perception in the financial arena can make or break an economic recovery.  It has been expedient to report what people want to hear rather than the ugly facts.  Perpetuating a counterfeit reality will only work until Our Heavenly Father exposes the truth.  What will happen on that day?  It is hard to tell.  I’m sure those in power have contingency plans if the populace were to go ballistic about the hidden truth.  What most people don’t realize it that the truth has been reported but is difficult to assimilate with all of the perceptions being reported as well.  Too much data hides the truth and truth surrounded by half-truths is difficult to recognize.

The citizens of the U.S. have been promised transparency but it would appear that the promise is either being broken or those in charge do not understand how serious the problem is.  The following video provides an unfortunate chronology of Ben Bernanke:

 

The Issue of the $5,000,000,000,000 Sovereign Debt Requirement

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

I have strongly recommended that individuals pay off debt in order to improve their sleep cycle.  Individuals ultimately make up a nation.  In the past, different nations were in different stages of development somewhat independent of the rest of the world.  This is no longer true.  With telecommunications reaching every nook and cranny around the world, all countries are interconnected in some way.  Money easily flows around the globe in milliseconds now.  American depositors can now have a bank account denominated in other currencies with a click of the computer mouse.

It has been reported that the world GDP (Gross Domestic Product equivalent) is $60 Trillion.  See:http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DATASTATISTICS/Resources/GDP.pdf

The following graph indicates that governments around the world will need $5 Trillion in new money to fund their 2009 debt issuance:

 

This graph indicates that governments around the world need to attract funds equivalent to 9% of the world’s GDP.  HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!  This year the amount of funding needed is three times the five year average!

With much of the globe fighting off a recession, where will these funds come from?  Increasing interest rates to compete with other investments is not plausible.  It would appear that the monetary printing presses will heat up to take up the slack.  This will be bullish for commodities including oil, gas, gold, and silver. 11+ states in the U.S. are dealing with the potential of bankruptcy with California in the lead.  Official Unemployment will probably exceed 11% soon.  Tighten your belts, things are getting interesting!

All Men are Sons, but only some Men are Fathers

Friday, July 17th, 2009

We do things because of Our Father; we do things for our sons.

1 Corinthians 4:15  For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me.

In Christian circles the focus has been on being one of the “sons of God” as stated in 1 John 3:1-2:

1John 3:1
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

1John 3:2
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

A father is an originator or transmitter whereas a son is a receiver and responds to the direction of the father.

Paul was urging those in the Corinthian church to mature in their walk and become “fathers” rather than instructors.  How can we take on the attributes of Our Heavenly Father?  By spending time in His midst.  Jesus communed with Our Heavenly Father and made the statement: I and [my] Father are one. (John 10:30)  Has our focus been too narrow?  The Passover feast focuses on Jesus, Pentecost focuses on the Holy Spirit, and Tabernacles focus on Our Heavenly Father.  Surely we are called to take on the qualities of Our Heavenly Father in order to properly operate in the Tabernacles era.  We must take on HIS character of being a “lawgiver”, a “life giver”, a provider, a source of wisdom from above, etc.

John differentiates the three levels of maturity in 1 John 2:

1John 2:13
I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him [that is] from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.

Fathers, young men, and little children show a consistency with the three areas of focus mentioned above.  Justification for the little children or the immature is first in the process of growth.  Sanctification by the Holy Spirit allows the young men to overcome the wicked one.  Fatherhood comes from knowing Him that is from the beginning which I believe is a reference to Jesus, the Holy Spirit, AND Our Heavenly Father.  In the beginning, GOD…

Young men still show signs of immaturity as their focus is on “doing” whereas the focus on the fathers is “being” or at rest.  The ego of conquering is still present among the young men.

As we move towards Fatherhood, we will become providers to those in lack, rather than consumers.  The Father’s Love and wisdom will emanate from us and those who are exposed to this Love and wisdom will seek to stay in the presence with great joy.  Jesus demonstrated these attributes by multiplying the bread and the fishes, healing the sick, and opening the eyes of the spiritually blind.

Consider how and where you spend your discretionary time.  Do your pastimes promote fatherhood or your ego?  Are your children starved for your presence while you pursue your hobby?  Small children have an inner desire to commune with their earthly father.  The desire can go dormant if left unfulfilled.  As we grow older we set aside that inner desire as we go conquer the various mountains confronting us.  You have the indisputable right to have a relationship with Our Heavenly Father.  You have a covenant of blessing not suffering.  How do you realize your covenant?  How do you guarantee success in this life?  By finding out what part of HIS plan you are.  Tests and trials are to bring forth maturity and completeness of character.  Fatherhood is a result of the fullness of maturity, tried and tested and found to be genuine.  If we are to imitate or become like Paul and become mature fathers, we should pursue the greatest example.

What can you give Our Heavenly Father who is the originator and transmitter of life?  Nothing except communion in His Presence!   As you spend time in His Presence, you will take on the qualities of a father.  One of the greatest expressions of Love is for the son to become like The Father.

Thou Shalt Not Covet

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

The tenth and final Commandment given to the children of Israel by our Lord God Almighty was “Thou shalt not covet”.  Exodus 20:17 states “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbour’s.”

Every person is born with a specific set of gifts and a specific calling given by Our Heavenly Father.  In HIS Great Wisdom, HE put HIS plan in action and provided the gifts and callings to cause HIS plan to come to pass.  Our part is simply to develop our gifts and operate in our calling.  We each have a unique purpose and thus should not concern ourselves about what our “neighbor” has.

You should not seek your fulfillment in others’ successes and possessions.  You have been endowed with the ability to operate in your calling, not the other person’s.  When you seek to gain advantage over your neighbor or compare your successes to another, you are not fulfilling your calling.  Instead, you are judging and creating division.

Inner accomplishment is the standard by which we should assess our progress, not by comparing ourselves to others.  Each of us are at different stages of maturity, experience, knowledge, skill, understanding, and wisdom.  When you compare your successes to others, you exalt yourself over the those who have not yet fulfilled their calling.  Your ego will get you into trouble and separate you from communion with Our Heavenly Father.  Many young couples have tried to buy houses and cars in an attempt to keep up with their peers and those purchases have created bondage and disaster in their lives.

External motivation will hinder your ability to recognize your calling or purpose in life.  Envy over another person’s accomplishments or possessions will sway you to follow a path that separates you from your calling.  Jealousy leads to destruction.

As you progress in developing your gifts and calling, your achievement provides a satisfaction and peace about your purpose.  If you must compete, compete with your previous level of success, not someone else.  As a cyclist, I ride around a nearby lake.  My goal is not to outride other cyclists but to simply improve my time around the lake and/or improve my stamina and this increases confidence.  When you compete with another person, you typically cause division and alienation.  One is “lord” and the other is “servant”.  The ego wants to dominate, the heart wants to serve.

We should enjoy the journey rather than just the end result.  In our quest toward fulfillment there are benchmarks of achievement that provide encouragement that your are in the middle of your purpose.

The ego must be nailed to the cross for it is at war with the heart where love is centered.  That spirit wanting to dominate others rather than to minister life must be dealt with.  On a corporate level, the country must repent of its arrogance resulting from military and economic domination.  We must pray for the anointed power and authority provided to those who are willing to immerse themselves in love rather than the conquering spirit that prevailed when Jesus walked the earth.  We are not here to conquer mankind but to restore mankind to Our Heavenly Father.

Management By Perception

Monday, July 6th, 2009

In the 1970′s, Peter Drucker, “The Father of Business”, promoted Management By Objective (MBO).  Current global leadership is attempting to manage by perception (MBP).

Government statistics are no longer accurate and properly accounting for money growth, unemployment numbers, and gross domestic product.  Later this year, we may see a temporary bounce in the economy which will be touted as a recovery.  This will probably be a sucker’s rally which will draw money into the market and place the returning money into higher risk.

There is a lot of cash sitting on the sideline waiting for the market to recover and that money is becoming impatient.  Equities look pretty cheap versus historical price/earnings ratios.  The market pundits expect low interest rates through 2010 but the bond vigilantes may surface and push the rates up.

The government needs the value of the dollar to decline but other countries like China want that value to remain high and stable.  The decline of the U.S. Dollar is the only solution that will be palatable for domestic voters.  This higher inflation rate will be friendly to debtors but will penalize creditors with repayment of loans using cheaper dollars.  It will be a tightrope walk by the current administration.

China is a master at patient negotiations when dealing with adversaries who consistently underestimate the opposition.

All warfare is based on deception.” Quote from Art of War by Sun Tzu

The Chinese understand strategy when dealing with The West.  Don’t underestimate the Kings of the East.

Central Banks are printing money and are attempting to hide the growth of the money by reclassifying demand deposits by sweeping transaction deposits into overnight time deposits thus misstating monetary growth of demand deposits.

Globalization of manufacturing has distorted the manufacturing capacity utilization of the U.S.  When you have less manufacturing capacity, improvements are easier to achieve.  Manufacturing employment has dropped notably over the last two decades in the U.S. and China has been glad to take over the manufacturing duties.  Most of the goods in Walmart and Best Buy are made in China, India, Vietnam or Mexico.

Americans have come to believe they are entitled to consume 25% of the world’s goods and services while third world countries have starving masses.  The character of the American has changed in the last three decades and it is not a pretty sight.  There will be a ground swell of intolerance once the average citizen realizes what his indifference has caused.  The following video is a sample of what will become the rallying cry once the sleeping giant has awaken.  Indifference will be replaced with anger.  Leaders will be forced to rediscover what public servants are.  Will this anger surface in a perfect storm with the financial crisis?

Our biggest problem in the U.S. is found in the mirror:

Business Unfriendly Climate

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Interference in the economy by the current administration is causing businesses to wonder how they can operate a profitable operation.  A cap & trade tax of $2 trillion ultimately will be passed on to the consumer.  The average work week is 33 hours in the U.S., the lowest since 1958.  The next wave of foreclosures will reduce home prices another 10-15%.  All of this uncertainty causes businesses to defer investment until stability arrives in the market.

On a technical basis, there is a possible global catastrophic “head & shoulders” formation forming.  If it finishes forming, there is a notable probability of a financial catastrophe.  The Federal Reserve is expected to no longer monetize debt after August.  3 1/2 trillion dollars worth of bonds are to be rolled over later this year which will put a lot of supply of U.S. Bonds.  This is negative for low interest rates.

Many countries are moving away from the U.S. Dollar.  China, the largest holder of dollars, wants to move away from the risk of holding dollars.  China is diversifying out of dollars into commodities according to George Soros.  That is one reason the commodity complex is the best performing sector.  The valuations of oil, gas, gold, and silver are low and appear to be a great buy.

For the aggressive investor, investing in an ultra bear index fund may be a good investment to offset the rest of the portfolio at risk of a major decline.  However, an ultra bear investment can slice both ways.

Precious metals are forming a reverse “head & shoulders” expected to have the opposite impact relative to the stock market.  The summertime is normally weak for precious metals prices.  The final four months of the year is normally robust for the price of gold & silver.  Some central banks appear to be buying gold without making official announcements.

Unemployment is approaching 10% on an official basis but is double that to 20% based on raw numbers that have no “tinkering” done to them.  As I have said before: If your neighbor is unemployed, it is a recession; it you are unemployed, it’s a depression.  Reduced employment means reduced sales.

“Less bad” is now called improvement or green shoots in the economy.  The consumer is reducing consumption in favor of savings and payoff of loans.  Government stimulus payments have added only 8% in consumption thus defying the government’s intent and creating a possible jobless recovery.  Unemployment is expected to increase through next year.  Expect another stimulus package soon, they will do whatever is necessary to increase consumption at the expense of our children and grandchildren’s tax burden.

Tax Load:  $1 Trillion of new taxes in 2011 (Bush Tax Cuts expiring),  $2 Trillion in Cap & Tax, and  $1 Trillion in Healthcare coming.

They want to phase out your itemized deductions on your tax return.  What are these guys thinking?  They seem to be assuring us of a double dip recession.  When they add another stimulus, there will be a temporary recovery as they trade their stimulus for your itemized deductions and other tax benefits.  Remember when you could deduct interest from your car loan off your taxes?  Remember when your real estate taxes where based on the original cost of your house?

Threats to recovery include: higher interest rates, Fed tightening credit, higher inflation rates, protectionism, BRIC countries’ economies slowing down, black swan event.

Only Our Heavenly Father knows the future but HE gives us eyes to see and ears to hear and provide perspective about being prepared for what is coming.  Watchmen on the wall were placed there to alert the rest of the people of the adversaries approaching the city.  It appears we are on course of an economic challenge that most of us have never seen.