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A Global Economic Crisis 

Economic Crisis

“I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire”

What does the Bible teach us about this present credit crisis?
What changes do we need to make to live in the next twenty years?
How does this relate to other important areas in our lives,
like marriage,        
   family and
       our relationship to God?

    In American history from 1665 to 1776, that’s 111 years, there was virtually no change in the price of things.   This was because the US$ coin was made partly of gold — 1.6 gm and the rest silver, in the ratio 1:15.  So it wasreal money based on the amount of labour it took to get that amount of precious metal out of the ground.
    When war arrives then there is a sudden need for more money to pay for guns and ammunition.  In 1776 to 1783 the Americans fought the British in the Revolution War, and to have more money circulating they printed a note called the Continental.  The British printed huge amounts of counterfeit notes so that eventually the currency collapsed as being worthless.  When money progressively decreases in its value we call this inflation.  This is because the prices get bigger.  Its not because the goods are worth more its just that the money is worth less.
    Another war with Britain in 1812, over land in the north west that was occupied by Indians, made it necessary to again print money.  The war came to an end in 1814 when there was not enough gold left to print any more money.  So a diplomatic solution to the conflict saved a lot of lives and a lot of money. 
    The next spike to appear on the inflation graph was the American Civil War, when the first Greenbacks were printed, and the spike after that is  First World War in 1914.  Soon after followed the Second World War giving rise to more inflation, and at the end of this war the inflation did not settle down again, because the war machine was not dismantled.  War had become a good business but it had to be funded, partly by increasing taxes and partly by increasing debt.  That means the Federal Reserve Bank would print the money and lend it out on interest, recording a time when it must be paid back.  However they were printing more money than there was gold to back it up.  This lead to the Great Depression of the 1930’s.  Many took their own lives as they found they had lost everything — savings, house, and job. President de Gaulle in France began sending his dollars back to the US to exchange them for gold during his term of office 1959-69, and shares on the stock market fell alarmingly as people realised there was not enough gold.
    This led President Nixon to finally to cut the US dollar from the gold standard in 1971.   It also enabled him to finance the Vietnam War.  From now on the inflation curve goes up exponentially (very sharply with a hockey stick shape) because there is nothing to stop banks just printing money to finance their Government’s projects, and to pay for goods and services from overseas.  
    To appreciate what an exponential curve is like, consider this question.  How long would it take to fill an enclosed football stadium with water, to the top seat pretending that it was water tight.  Further, the source of water was a drop at first but doubled each second.  The answer is not a week or even a few days, but only 49 minutes, and it is only in the last five minutes that a person sitting in the top seat would realise that they were in trouble.  Before that it would only look like a flooded field. 
    The national debt of the USA now stands at $44 trillion, and a lot of that is owed to China.  That means America has been buying more from China than China is buying from America and paying China with money that is fast becoming valueless.  This debt is about $732,000 for every American family!  Debt is a claim on future human labour and assumes that the future will be much larger than the present.   But as people begin to default (that means not pay their debts) this huge debt mountain is beginning to collapse.   
    We need to appreciate
what inflation means.  In US history it took 400 years till 1974 to create $1 trillion dollars.  This was the money it took to build all the roads, all the houses, all the factories, and all the cars and trucks.  Since the gold standard was abandoned in 1971, money has been worth less and less, so recently it took just four and a half months to create the last trillion dollars.  Can you imagine what it will be like soon when it only takes a week to create a trillion dollars, and then only a couple of hours? 
    In Germany after the First World War paper money became so worthless that German housewives were seen using it to start their coal ranges!  It took a wheelbarrow load of notes to buy a loaf of bread.  Shops shut at lunch time each day to change their prices for the afternoon shoppers because the morning price was now too low. This is known as hyper-inflation. The money they were using had to be abandoned and a new note set up.  Thousands of people who had hoarded the old currency suddenly had very little and many committed suicide in desperation.
    The same thing is happening now as the national leaders meet to arrange a world currency.  This will allow those who have been planning One World Government to have what they have dreamed of — but it will crush the face of the poor.  They even plan to exterminate them just as Hitler did in Germany — 17 million of them!

    Society gets to this place because we are taught by the advertisers that our life will not be happy without a self opening door on our garage, or a cellphone that shows the caller’s face.  We are taught that it is normal to feel discontent until we have that thing, then it gives a talking point when we meet others, and a sense of well-being.  We are also taught that we canexpect to have it now even if we can’t afford it, so we are encouraged to pay it off, and not even have to put a deposit on it.

The Bible warns us clearly that this system that we have described willcollapse, and will have a devastating effect on those who have relied on it. 
Here it is in Revelation 18.  All of the chapter is good to read for the complete picture and the consequence of its fall, but let me highlight a few verses.
v2  “She has become a home for demons.”
We see this in the pornography, homosexuality, prostitution, and abortion.
“All the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries.”
      “The merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive    
Excessive could mean that half the world has cellphones, while the other half can barely get a meal together each day, let alone three meals, and a snack for supper!
Come out of her, My people, so that you will not share in her      
      sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues;”
v7  “In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit as queen; I am not a widow,
      and I will never mourn.’”
Amongst the long list of things that are traded in her are…
“…bodies and souls of men.”
v19  “Woe! Woe, O great city,
     where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her      
     wealth!  In one hour she has been brought to ruin!”

We are living in a global society that has, in the majority, strayed far from the standards God has set in His Word for right living.
1)  The Bible teaches us to owe no man anything.
Romans 13.8  “Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to
      love one another.”
So if you have anything on time payment, plan to pay it off as quickly as you can and don’t buy anything else until that debt is clear.  Also release any mortgage you have, and you will probably need to combine your resources with others in your fellowship to do this.

2)  God’s answer to the catastrophe that the world is facing is to cancel debts regularly.
Deuteronomy 15.1-11  “At the end of every seven years you must     
      cancel all debts.”
When you smile at someone and say good morning and God bless you, but have not forgiven that person for something weeks, months, or years ago, you too are building up a debt.  You’re in a prison of your own making, pretending that all is well when it is not.  As the debt grows your pretence grows until you are contorted with pain, and God’s wrath is all that is left for you.  You can see preachers now on the Internet going through all kinds of antics to tell the people that God wants to give them more, and more and more, and all they have to do is reach out and claim it.  But with the Gospel the truth or base line is repentance – the cancelling of every debt – your debt and every debt that anyone owes you. The Lord’s prayer says in Matthew 6.12
“Forgive us our debts, as we  also have forgiven our debtors.”  And Jesus comments at the end “For if your forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

3)  Not to store up wealth and so deprive the poor of daily needs. 
Matthew 6.19-21  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…
      but store up for yourselves treasure in Heaven…
      for where your treasure is there your heart will be also.”
Do you need things to make you feel secure?  Then you will find yourself gathering more and more and more.  It will never be enough, because Jesus said here is where “moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal.”  They have even learnt to break into our computers and corrupt the hard drive.  Give away what you don’t need and you will have treasure in Heaven.

4)  He has taught us to be content with what we have, and not compare ourselves with others.  If we have a need then we are to ask God.
Philippians 4.12-13 
“I have learned the secret of being content in any    
      and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in          
      plenty or in want.
      I can do everything through Him Who gives me strength.” 

5)  Our Lord Jesus has invited us to buy from Him gold refined in the fire.  This means no more meaningless prayers, or speaking idle words to others.   
It takes an investment of time to keep a marriage relationship     meaningful and fruitful.
It takes an investment of time to keep the relationship between father and son and mother and daughter, alive.
It takes an investment of time to hear clearly from God,
and to enjoy His company. We must meditate on His word, and speak it out to others around us.  Talking with Him continually.

We can see with the world finances that without the gold standard the value of the paper money has become increasingly worthless.  Today (30.5.10) an once of gold is selling for $1213.  In 1913 it was worth $20.67.  Predictions on the Internet suggest it will be $2500 an once next year.  That is also a commentary on our lives unless we stay close to God.

The mainstream media have attempted to instil confidence in the population that the recession is over the worst and recovering, but this is far from the case.  The 700 billion dollar bailout in the United States given to the Wall Street bankers last year, was an emergency measure of the Obama administration to cover huge losses in the financial world caused by underhand practices.  But it was just more printed money! 
Since 2008 particularly, big banks have been collapsing because of the failure of the derivatives market.  Derivatives are non-regulated, non-transparent, private arrangements between financial institutions that can be anything from an insurance against a loan not being paid, to a bet that a share market will move in a certain direction.  For example, in 1995 Barings Bank collapsed because of a huge derivatives bet by Nick Leeson on which way the Japanese Nikkei index would move! 

The derivatives bubble will continue to collapse.  It is estimated to be worth 1.144 quadrillion dollars.  The entire GDP of the world is about $50 trillion, so the derivatives market is about 22 times this.  The population of the world is about 6 billion so this is about $190,000 per person.  This market was created because of man’s greed and now, as with any malpractice, the day of reckoning has come.  Each time the G20 nations have met since 2008 they have been discussing the need for moving away from the dollar and introducing a world currency.  But the world bankers will make sure that as the bubble bursts, the poor will pay for it, as they did last year.       

This, on a global scale, is like a man who has had several credit cards, and spent far beyond his means. Even when the bank has taken the man’s house and car and boat and TV and sold them all, there is hardly any money from the sale to pay his debt because he had all of them on time payment.  He also had had many meals out at restaurants and trips abroad with his whole family, all on the credit card.  The system is bankrupt!
As the consequences of this economic collapse begin to take effect, we must remember the admonition we saw earlier in Revelation 18.4
“Come out of her my people, so that you will not share in her sins so that you will not receive any of her plagues.”

Are you prepared to be content with less, share more, sincerely pray for the needs of others ?

As Christian communities, we will need to plant more seeds in the soil,
Heat our hot water on the wood stove.
Use stored solar energy or a candle for light at night.
Grind our corn with a windmill.
Fertilise our land with seawater.
Use a bicycle where we can and walk more.
Do our share on the 24 hour prayer watch. 

“The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
This message is not about encouraging the flesh.
  This is offering the Cross as the only remedy –
“crucify the flesh with its lusts and desires.”
Let the blood of Jesus cleanse your vessel,
Then be filled with the Holy Spirit of God,
      and live to please our Heavenly Father.
To find His will, we will need to meditate in His Word,
      and be obedient to the Holy Spirit .