The last four years we have seen unprecedented changes in our world and nation as a result of the worldwide recession. We are reminded of how fragile our economy is and how much of an impact the United States has on other economies.
We have seen the symptoms of a political process in our nation that has revealed a huge void in leadership. If there were ever a time we needed a Nehemiah "Change Agent" in our land to rebuild our walls with a solid foundation, it is now.
The Bible encourages us to be "men of Issachar, who understand the signs of the times." It is important to operate from an informed and balanced perspective on the events of our world. It is easy to err on either side of this fence.
Joseph was a man in whom God revealed the signs of his time and what he was to do. He was even called to warn an ungodly king of what was coming because God cared for the people.
I have had the privilege to be connected to many worldwide leaders and receive updates on information from various sources. I have relationships at high levels related to economic issues. This has helped me gain clarity and decipher what is sound wisdom and discernment about the current times we live.
I want to share some of what I am hearing, seeing and discerning about where our economy is right now and what God might be saying through these events. I will do this by sharing my personal insights and the insights from others I trust, but ultimately, you must seek God to draw your own conclusions.
I am also connected to several spiritual leaders in our nation and in the world. It has been helpful to read and listen to what they are hearing and how consistent the word is regarding the spiritual interpretation of these events.
There is a perfect storm brewing that I believe is leading to a worldwide economic tsunami. I know, those are very strong words. "Here we go again - another 'doom and gloom' voice." But somebody has to say it; in hopes the Church and society at large will wake up and get ready. There is a huge OPPORTUNITY heading our way; but you must be prepared to take advantage of it.
That perfect storm involves five world events that are converging:
- The US debt crisis
- The Euro debt crisis
- An aging baby-boomer who is no longer spending money
- A judgment of mammon by God
- An inevitable military strike coming against Iran from Israel
Learning from Joseph
Joseph had a dream from God that said a famine was on its way and God was merciful to even warn an ungodly king to let him know it was coming so that he could prepare and save two nations from starvation. That sounds like a merciful warning and a strategy given by God to prepare for something that was not going to be averted because of any prayers.
Now don't get me wrong. Prayer IS important. God desires we intercede for our nation. I believe He wants to give you His perspective on things and wants to still be your Jehovah-Jireh, your provider, in this season. God is so faithful that if He needs to feed you by the ravens like he did with Elijah, he can still do that. So that is where your faith must remain, regardless of world events.
The Bible clearly teaches us that God gives us solutions and strategies for living our life, no matter the circumstance. After all, there is no problem that God does not already have an answer for if we ask Him for it. This will not be any different, but it will require you to have a genuine faith that is not rooted in principles or natural reasoning. The bar is going up. And we will have to rise to stay above the fray.
The news media is not giving us the real facts on the seriousness of the economic conditions that are quickly unraveling and headed our way. Let me give you some hard facts of the perfect storm that is brewing.
The US debt and the European debt is now far beyond the ability for political leaders to solve. It is that simple. They have kicked this can down the road so many times it is now going uphill and about to roll back over them in the form of a massive debt boulder. We're looking at a worldwide economic reset with many nations, starting with several European nations that will default on their debt obligations. America will have its own problems to deal with as well. (Please watch Hal Mason video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW5IdwltaAc)
The current crisis in America is the result of a fractured foundation
The current crisis in America is the result of a foundation that is rooted in mammon, greed and overuse of debt. As such, that foundation will not be able to stand. It is a simple reality that whatever you sow you also reap. It is a time to understand that we cannot be a debtor nation or be individuals strapped by debt and maintain a solid foundation. Heavy debt is a ball and chain around the neck of individuals and nations and it eventually comes to roost when inflated bubbles burst.
The scripture clearly says that "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender" (Prov 22:7). I have followed this principle in our ministry, using almost no debt to operate. I do not believe the Bible teaches against business debt, just the overuse of it. The rule is that the more you use credit, the more you become enslaved to the lender. There are some businesses that must use debt to operate, but when it comes to our personal lives, we should strive to become debt-free as much as possible. He who owns the gold rules.
There are a few trusted economists I follow that know the reality of our dire situation. John Mauldin is one of them. He said in a recent letter:
"Europe is going to end in tears. The longer they keep piling up debt, the worse it will be. Their choices are Disaster A and Disaster B. Try to avoid both and you get Super Disaster C. Change is coming to Europe. One way or another, a new order and a new balance will be forced upon them. Either a fiscal union or break-up. They have kicked the proverbial can down the road until it will roll no more. You can feel the Bang! moment arriving. This is the Endgame."
Several nations are on life support right now including Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain - "PIGS" is an acronym used to refer to these four nations. France, which has the largest banks and economy, is said to be the next in line following these nations.
Financial analyst Nick Guarino observed in his August 2nd newsletter about whether proposed solutions were having a positive impact: "Reality is, nothing can bail out Greece, never mind Spain, Italy and France. All hell is about to explode in the world economy and financial system."
Another trusted voice that I believe understands what is going on is Harry Dent. Harry is a Harvard economist. I went to high school with Harry. In Harry's July newsletter he cited:
"Of course when you combine this 'demo-economic' reality with everything else happening with the economy: unprecedented debt levels (both personal and at all levels of government), currency unrest, shifting economic power bases... and the fact that we're at the tail end of one of the greatest technological eras not seen since the industrial revolution, it paints a troubling picture for the years ahead..."
Some would believe that we are heading toward recovery. However, Harry is quick to point out that this is a false recovery.
"Many investors will make the mistake of thinking this downturn is temporary: that the markets will roar back after some heroic government fixes, just like in 2009. But this time it won't happen. QE3 will drain the government dry of money, the printing presses will run out of ink, and long term interest rates will keep rising in response to irresponsible stimulus. Week after week the markets will wind down... falling through the 11,000 mark... below 10,000, then 9,000, 8,000... to 6,440 - where it's likely to rally briefly... before ultimately dropping to as low as 3,300... all between 2013 and late 2015, with the greatest danger and crash likely in early 2013.
We are a nation in huge debt.
- 14 trillion in government debt...
- 17 trillion in leveraged banking and financial services debt...
- 11 trillion in corporate debt...
An incredible $14 trillion in consumer debt; mortgages, car loans, credit cards...$56 trillion in total debt - and that doesn't include the estimated $46 trillion in unfunded liabilities for Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, according to the U.S. Treasury. The best experts outside of the government estimate those unfunded liabilities to be more like $66 trillion.
It all adds up to $102 trillion to $122 trillion in debt...
Or about $330,000 to $400,000 for every man, woman and child in America!"
Aging Baby-boomer = Less Spending and an Economic Slowdown
Contributing to the perfect storm is the aging of the baby-boomers and the implications from this. Harry Dent explains that "our peak spending ages - the period in our lives when we tend to have the most disposable income and "treat" ourselves to cars, gadgets and so on - are between 46 and 50. Between 50 and 64 spending habits tend to change dramatically. We see retirement not far off and make a concerted effort to save, while our spending needs decline with our kids leaving the nest. We retire at 63 (on average) and tend to have our greatest net worth at 64 - cash, investments and assets we've set aside to live from.
The largest group of the baby boom generation is made up of people born within a 25-year window between 1937 and 1961. The Baby Boomer generation was no ordinary generation - peaking at nearly 5 million births per year between 1955 and 1959. The greatest economic boom in US history was pretty much "preordained" to have begun around 1983 as the first of the boomers entered their peak spending years (1937 plus 46 years)... and started to tail off after 2007 with the last of them (1961 plus 46 years)."
Thus, part of the perfect storm is the aging baby-boomer generation that is no longer in their spending years, further contributing to a weak economy now combined with a worldwide debt crisis which only compounds the situation.
Dent explains that history tells us that the most severe downturns and depressions have three phases.
- A severe crash, like we saw in late 2007 to early 2009 - when the Dow fell 55%, from 14,280 down to 6,440.
- That's followed by a bear market rally, spurred by renewed economic from government stimulus. That's where we are now.
- The third phase is a final crash and deeper depression, and a deflationary phase that lasts a few years.
In essence, this is when the global reset button gets pushed.
The Iniquity of the Amorites
One respected spiritual mentor and world marketplace leader sees the current crisis as a time of coming into a maturity of a judgment from God on mammon and greed in society worldwide that goes all the way back to the original formation of currency. He equates this to the time when God caused the people of Israel to be freed and ushered into the Promised Land to judge the Amorites. The iniquity of the Amorites had come to maturity and God was now judging the Amorites through the nation of Israel.
Could we now be entering a modern-day "Amorites" judgment in the world? In Genesis 15 God mentions the judgment of the Amorites, when He told Abraham that his seed would go into exile in Egypt for 400 years, and then would come out, with God's help, to destroy the Amorites and possess the land.
"Amorite", derives its name from Martu, and refers to a demon god who made claim to be the god of universe. Amurru and Martu are names given in Akkadian and Sumerian texts to the god of the Amorite/Amurru people, often forming part of personal names. He was the patron god of the Mesopotamian city of Ninab, whose exact location is unknown. The first money was dedicated to this god. Amurru's root name also means "solar golden calf".
Another 400 Year Landmark
We are also at another interesting landmark time period in our world. As I said, it was 400 years before God brought Israel into the Promised Land through the initiation of the judgment of the Amorites. We find ourselves in a similar 400 year time period from the birth of many interesting things.
Four hundred years ago in Amsterdam, the following took place:
- The first multi-national company was birthed in 1602
- The very first national bank was birthed
- The first stock exchange was birthed
- The first, First Baptist church was born in a time of great speculation
The first multinational company in the world was the Dutch East Indian Company formed in 1602. The enterprise was the world's first to be owned by investors through the issuance of stock equity. For almost 200 years the Dutch East India Company paid a dividend to shareholders of 18%.
This was the most valuable enterprise in the world at that time. The success of this business model made tiny Holland the richest state on earth. They pioneered the use of letters of credit, bills of lading and receivable financing. These, and many other finance mechanisms created by the Dutch, enabled this tiny kingdom to enjoy status as one of the world's great colonial powers while much larger nations stumbled and declined.
For 200 years the Dutch East India Company was the international gold standard for corporate governance, performance and profitability. To this very day, the trade routes, trading terms and conditions, and marketing techniques perfected by Dutch merchants are in use. This entrepreneurial nation is an example that modern states can study to learn the massive positive possibilities inherent in creating open trading systems.[i]
Weighed down by corruption in the late 18th century, the Company went bankrupt and was formally dissolved in 1800, its possessions and the debt being taken over by the government of the Dutch Batavian Republic. The VOC's territories became the Dutch East Indies and were expanded over the course of the 19th century to include the whole of the Indonesian archipelago, and in the 20th century would form Indonesia.[ii]
Have we come to a point in world history where God is saying, "Enough is enough" and He is now judging the financial systems of the world similar to the 400 year time with Amorites? I am not a prophet, but we certainly see a shaking throughout the world. The judgment of the Amorites ushered in the people of God to take the land. Regardless of whether this is true, I do believe this is ushering in a time when the Church can make the greatest impact on the culture if we press into God during this season.
Libor: Just when we thought bankers might change their ways
Bankers were in the news again in July for major integrity breaches. This time it was in England. LIBOR are initials that stand for London InterBank Offered Rate. It is the rate that is based on what 16 banks based in London (some are US banks) tell Thomson Reuters they expect to pay for overnight loans (and other longer loans). Thomson Reuters throws out the highest four numbers and the lowest four numbers and then gives us an average of the rest. Then that averaged number becomes about 150 other "rates," from overnight to one year and in different currencies. The key is that the number is not what the banks actually paid for loans, it's what they expect to pay. The British Banking Association, on its official website, calls this price "fixing." They were found manipulating rates.
Economist John Mauldin concludes about the LIBOR scandal: "One of the very real problems we face is the growing feeling that the system is rigged against regular people in favor of "the bankers" or the 1%. And if we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit there is reason for that feeling. Things like LIBOR are structured with a very real potential for manipulation. When the facts come out, there is just one more reason not to trust the system. And if there is no trust, there is no system.
God says He will Shake the Foundations
God said in Hebrews 12, "See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, 'Yet once more Ishake not only the earth, but also heaven." Now this, 'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire." (Heb. 12:25-29).
A Spiritual Viewpoint on the Economy and World
Three prophetic voices I know see this as a time God is ushering in His Josephs and it will be a period of great growth and opportunity for the Church at large to provide solutions to world problems, like Joseph. I agree with this. I believe many, like me, have been trained by our Joseph process in the 90s. Then, in 2008 a new crop of Josephs came into their training period. They are learning to live on manna. Now, another new crop is in training. God is preparing us to be problem solvers in culture. Believers will begin to influence the cultural mountains more than at any other time in history. God is elevating many currently within the 7 cultural mountains of influence.
One voice speaks that these economic challenges will redefine our relationship with God and correct many false beliefs we have had toward God as Father, as our provider.
A friend explained to me that the financial markets make up 93% of the worldwide GDP and only 7% of this is from services and industry. "We are living in a hot air balloon that can burst at any time," he said.
Many will have to trust God more than they ever have during this season. This is not a time to instill fear and begin hoarding resources but make Godly preparation, to use the same wisdom of Joseph to understand the signs of the times, and to avoid debt and seek the Lord more fully to understand His plans to experience His greater power in your life to impact the world.
Jesus is returning for a mature bride. Before Jesus returns we can expect a shaking to come. Spiritual maturity rarely comes through prosperity and ease. Paul tells us in Ephesians that Jesus will come back for a mature bride, not a bride that is immature, which is currently where the Church is today.
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:25-27).
Year of Jubilee
In Leviticus 25 we discover a principal God established for the people of Israel related to debt. It is called the year of Jubilee. God commanded Israel to declare the year of Jubilee every 50 years. The following three things were to occur in the year of Jubilee:
- One all debt was to be canceled or forgiven
- To all slaves were to go free
- Three all property was to be given back to the original owner
God seemed to know that human beings will always use more debt than they can handle. So, as a result, God commanded Israel to declare a national debt purge every 50 years to reset the debt cycle. If this doesn't happen voluntarily, then often what happens is that individuals and nations become overly indebted and bankruptcies and foreclosures are a result. This is exactly what happened in the Great Depression in the 1930s.
"And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family. That fiftieth year shall be a Jubilee to you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of its own accord, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine. For it is the Jubilee; it shall be holy to you; you shall eat its produce from the field. 'In this Year of Jubilee, each of you shall return to his possession. And if you sell anything to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor's hand, you shall not oppress one another. According to the number of years after the Jubilee you shall buy from your neighbor, and according to the number of years of crops he shall sell to you. According to the multitude of years you shall increase its price, and according to the fewer number of years you shall diminish its price; for he sells to you according to the number of the yearsof the crops. Therefore you shall not oppress one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the Lord your God. 'So you shall observe My statutes and keep My judgments, and perform them; and you will dwell in the land in safety. Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill, and dwell there in safety.'And if you say, 'What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?' Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years. And you shall sow in the eighth year, and eat old produce until the ninth year; until its produce comes in, you shall eat of the old harvest. 'The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me. And in all the land of your possession you shall grant redemption of the land.'If one of your brethren becomes poor, and has sold some of his possession, and if his redeeming relative comes to redeem it, then he may redeem what his brother sold. Or if the man has no one to redeem it, but he himself becomes able to redeem it, then let him count the years since its sale, and restore the remainder to the man to whom he sold it, that he may return to his possession. But if he is not able to have it restored to himself, then what was sold shall remain in the hand of him who bought it until the Year of Jubilee; and in the Jubilee it shall be released, and he shall return to his possession.
"If a man sells a house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; within a full year he may redeem it. But if it is not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house in the walled city shall belong permanently to him who bought it, throughout his generations. It shall not be released in the Jubilee. However the houses of villages which have no wall around them shall be counted as the fields of the country. They may be redeemed, and they shall be released in the Jubilee. Nevertheless the cities of the Levites, and the houses in the cities of their possession, the Levites may redeem at any time. And if a man purchases a house from the Levites, then the house that was sold in the city of his possession shall be released in the Jubilee; for the houses in the cities of the Levites aretheir possession among the children of Israel. But the field of the common-land of their cities may not be sold, for it is their perpetual possession" (Leviticus 25: 10-34).
How do you prepare? Learn from Joseph
So, having said all this, what can you do to prepare and navigate this time in history, and even thrive? Some say this will be the greatest opportunity for wealth transfer of our lifetime. However, it is not just being a Christian that allows this to happen. It is being financially debt-free and spiritually in tune with what God is saying and doing and participating with Him in the process.
The first thing you want to do is get your own house in order. Try to save and put away some funds, just as Joseph set aside 7 years of resources. Get out of debt as much as you can. Those who are liquid will have the greatest advantage to take advantage of opportunities. Many millionaires came out of the Great Depression who were not debt-ridden beforehand.
Now is the time to avoid any type of debt. Housing is likely to go down further. Recovery is a long way away. It is not a good time to buy a home, but you must seek God on decisions like this. Again, those who are debt-free will see many opportunities from this crisis. Understand God's view of money and how to manage it from His perspective. Remain in faith. Do not embrace fear. Do not hoard. Tithe and continue sowing seed into Kingdom enterprises. God takes care of those who care for His Kingdom. Remember, God is your provider. There is never a recession in heaven.
A Lesson from Jeremiah: Listening to the Voice of the Lord
We are entering a season where those who do not have a two way, intimate relationship with God will suffer. Listening to the Lord and getting His strategy for this season for our lives is crucial to thriving during this time. We cannot simply follow formulas or do what others might be doing. God relates to each of us individually.
We must place our trust and reliance upon the God who made the markets, the God who made Heaven and earth, and the God who holds our futures in His hand. I encourage you to ask God what strategy He has for you during this time.
A great story featuring the life of Jeremiah can be found in the Old Testament. Jeremiah's Jerusalem was being invaded and God tells him to buy land in Jerusalem, the very land that is being invaded. That would not exactly be sound investment advice, it would seem. God told Jeremiah to buy a plot of land in his nearby hometown of Anathoth. Why? Such land would surely be worthless and useless in a short time.
Skeptical, Jeremiah questioned God: "Look, the siege mounds! They have come to the city to take it; and the city has been given into the hand of the Chaldeans who fight against it, because of the sword and famine and pestilence. What You have spoken has happened; there You see it! (Jeremiah 32:24-25). Jeremiah argues with God about such a directive.
God's answer? "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?" (Jeremiah 32:27). Jeremiah obeys the Lord.
"So I bought the field from Hanamel, the son of my uncle who was in Anathoth, and weighedout to him the money-seventeen shekels of silver. And I signed the deed and sealed it, took witnesses, and weighed the money on the scales. So I took the purchase deed, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open; and I gave the purchase deed to Baruch the son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, in the presence of Hanamel my uncle's son, and in the presence of the witnesses who signed the purchase deed, before all the Jews who sat in the court of the prison.
"Then I charged Baruch before them, saying, 'Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: "Take these deeds, both this purchase deed which is sealed and this deed which is open, and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may last many days" (Jeremiah 32:9-14).
God's instruction to Jeremiah had to do with a time yet to be fulfilled. The copies of the deed, placed in a clay jar according to God's instructions so that they would last a long time, are symbolic of end-time developments, specifically, the promise of the modern repossession of all the covenant land. This jar may yet be found and fulfill a prophetic promise to Jeremiah and the nation today.
So, this is why it is important for you and me to be listening to God's voice at this time. It will prove to be the greatest opportunity for wealth transfer for those who are prepared and listening to the Spirit's directive. I believe God is raising up His Joseph's to be problem solvers just like he was for Pharaoh.
Get ready to be a problem solving change agent!
In July 2012 we held a conference entitled, Understanding the Signs of the Times. It was a very informative conference that went in-depth into the issues I raise in this paper. Other conferences in L.A. (October 26,27) and Dallas (November 16,17) are scheduled. We reveal much more detail and suggested strategies in our conference to prepare you for the season we are entering. Click here to learn more about these conferences.
Five Wealth Secrets 96% of us Don't Know - Craig Hill
End Game, John Mauldin
Purposes of Money, Os Hillman
Living on the Third River, Craig Hill
Wealth, Riches and Money, Craig Hill and Earl Pitts
Receiving Your Inheritance audio message, Os Hillman
Change Agent, Os Hillman
Paper Promises, Philip Coggan
Aftershock, David and Robert Weidner, Cindy Spitzer
Newsletters & Website Resources
Nick Guarino: http://nickguarino.com/index.php/newsletter/
John Mauldin: http://www.johnmauldin.com/
Harry Dent: http://www.hsdent.com/
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