2014 Almost Here Happy New Year???
Substantial changes are coming to America, and perhaps this would be a good time to sit down and meditate for a few minutes on these changes from a Christian perspective. Storm clouds have darkened the horizon. A “perfect storm” (I call it “Brutus”) is swirling offshore with tremendous energy and it will make landfall in a short time. The power within Brutus should not be underestimated. Whatever can be blown away will disappear.
A list of insurmountable problems faces this worn-out-over-populated planet. According to the book of Daniel, we have reached “the appointed time of the end.” The world has reached a time when national and global problems are so large and complex that there is no solution without enormous carnage. Do not be alarmed! God is very much aware of our situation. He knows our limitations, our self-inflicted problems, and that another world war is inevitable. The Bible predicts a cry for “peace and safety” will rise before the Great Tribulation begins. (1 Thessalonians 5:3)
Problems in the United States (U.S.) are growing. For example, consider its dependency on basic needs. Unfortunately, the nations power grid is inadequate, overloaded, and needs major updating. Thousands of bridges are weak and need significant repair. The postal service is bankrupt.
The work force has been reduced, and social security and many pension funds have not been properly funded. Millions of retirees could be left in poverty. The nations banking system is essentially bankrupt, and if it were not for the “crazy-money” created by the U.S. Federal Reserve, no one could write a check and pay a bill! The food industry operates on a “just in time” inventory. This means our nations food inventory is less than three weeks, and at any given time, four days of the reserve food supply is in transit.
U.S. unemployment and under-employment combined is hovering around 15%. Forty-three million citizens receive food stamps (this number has doubled in the past ten years). Thousands of ex-students are now in default on billions of dollars in loans they cannot repay.
The nations healthcare system is in upheaval. This issue is so complex and expensive that no one knows what 2014 will bring. In these challenging times, the nation needs a functional government that makes good and thoughtful decisions. Unfortunately, Congress is divided, lives in a continual state of gridlock, and is dysfunctional.
I have itemized these situations so that you can see why substantial changes are coming. Of course, politicians and pastors would have us “think positive thoughts” and embrace optimism about a better future (2014 is an election year), but no amount of optimism and positive thinking (as important as they are) can change what is coming. They may not have identified Brutus, but this perfect storm is coming and words cannot describe the outcome. I am reminded of that gospel song, “In times like these we need a Savior.” Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me.” (John 14:1)
A “perfect storm” is defined as a storm when several atmospheric conditions align changing an ordinary storm into an epic storm that is not easily forgotten. (For this reason, we name storms with names like Katrina, Sandy, Ike, Wilma, and Andrew.) Using the analogy of a perfect storm, I believe three conditions have developed and when viewed together, they could easily produce Brutus, a “perfect storm” that could ignite World War III.
Condition #1: Too many nations are bankrupt.
Most of the developed nations of the world (sometimes called the G20) are in various stages of bankruptcy. The essential difference between Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, and Italy (nations declared bankrupt) and the rest of the G20 is that the remainder of the G20 have larger economies, more assets, and greater wealth which has permitted them to “buy” more time. But at the end of the delay, bankruptcy is bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is the inability to meet a payment deadline.
The U.S. is bankrupt. The national debt is ~$16 trillion. It has to borrow $1.1 billion per day to pay the interest on our national debt. (This daily figure will dramatically rise if/when interest rates increase.) This great nation, the United States of America, who once loaned and generously gifted money to other nations has borrowed $416 billion last year to pay interest on money that we borrowed in the past. It is impossible for the U.S. to borrow its way out of debt.
To keep the U.S. economy functioning, the Federal Reserve has injected $3 trillion dollars into the economy since 2007. This money (currently $85 billion per month) has not produced the desired results. It appears that Wall Street soon figured out how to capture this “crazy-money,” so instead of putting the economy on its feet, the Federal Reserve has made a few shrewd people very rich. The economy has not been fixed; instead, the fallout has been delayed. The middle class is disappearing and the poor are getting poorer.
There is no financial solution or possible means for recovery. A nation whose economy represents 20% of the worlds economy cannot be rescued. This will become clear when Brutus makes landfall. I am not being fatalistic or pessimistic. God foreknew these details thousands of years ago.
Consider Gods ways for a moment: Men do not create nations. (Romans 13:1-5) God creates each nation according to His purposes. (Daniel 2:21) Nations are living organisms, too complex and diverse for a group of finite people (any government) to manage. Therefore, the welfare of each nation depends upon that nations relationship with God.
If a nation exalts righteous principles, God blesses that nation with prosperity. (Psalm 33:12) When a nation turns it back on righteousness, God removes His blessings and the woeful results of greed, idolatry, sexual immorality, mismanagement, and dysfunction begin. (Galatians 5:19-21; 6:7) Over time, a dysfunctional house becomes divided and Sovereign God destroys it. (Daniel 4:17; Jeremiah 25:12,13) There you have it. The rise and fall of nations have been explained in one short paragraph!
Before we leave this segment on the bankruptcy of the nations, remember the current situation in the U.S. is not unique. All members of the G7, the richest nations among the G20, have the same financial woes as the U.S. and each is afflicted with the same greed, idolatry, sexual immorality, and mismanagement.
Therefore, most nations are trying the same things to recover from bankruptcy that the U.S. is now doing. This “lemming-like” behavior by the nations to resolve financial problems will only produce a “lemming-like” result. The lemmings are famous because once a year they madly chase each other past the edge of a cliff, fall into the ocean, and all drown together.
Condition #2: World Reserve Currency
There is another silent development taking place in the world that could bring about the ruin of the global economy. Since World War II, the U.S. has enjoyed a strategic benefit among the nations of the world. We have had the good fortune of having and controlling the worlds reserve currency.
This means, for example, when Japan wants to buy a million barrels of oil from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Japan has to first buy dollars from the U.S. to pay OPEC because OPEC does not accept Japanese money (the yen).
The dollar has been considered the largest and the most stable currency in the world. World nations have bought U.S. Treasury bills and bonds (U.S. debt) to conduct financial transactions with other nations in dollars, and/or they deposit their excess funds in a secure place and receive a good return on their investment.
Lately, the world reserve currency scene has been changing. Several months ago, representatives from China, Japan, Germany, Russia, and other nations held a secret meeting without informing the U.S. These nations made arrangements to deal directly with each other, exchanging their own currencies among themselves. This has caused a 30% drop in reserve currency demand for the U.S. dollar. This means there is a tipping point ahead, which may happen possibly this coming year.
When the U.S. dollar is no longer deemed desirable as a reserve currency, what nation will buy U.S. bonds and Treasury Bills and loan money to the U.S.? Remember, the U.S. has to borrow $1.1 billion per day to avoid default.
Other nations will not loan money to a country whose economy is not secure and cannot repay existing loans. When this tipping point is reached, the U.S. could become the new Greece. Worse still, because the U.S. represents 20% of the global economy, we could take most of the G20 nations over the cliff with us.
Condition #3: World Food Supply
Because the population of the world is relentlessly growing (over seven billion people now), it is causing an increased need for commodities such as food, oil, metals, and building materials. During the past twenty years, China has become the worlds third largest economy. (The European Union is the largest and the U.S. is second.)
To feed its population of 1.3+ billion people, China has been buying exports from many nations. Since exports are limited (nations typically ration their exports, taking care of their own needs first), China has been trying to buy huge parcels of land in Africa and South America for food production.
As a result of Chinas global purchases and investments, China is economically sustaining portions of Africa and South America. Although nations import and export food supplies on a regular basis, there could be a sinister component within this process. For example, what happens if/when an exporting country suddenly decides that it is not in its best interest to export food which was sold a year in advance as a commodity contract on the futures market? Could this be regarded as an act of war?
It certainly is a possibility. For example, if Chinas leaders determined that thousands of Chinese could die of starvation unless they take the purchased food by force, what would keep China from deploying military force to take pre-purchased food? What nation in Africa or South America could stop Chinas military forces?
For the past eight years, many nations have been frustrated with Irans nuclear ambitions. Irans hatred for Israel is well documented. Israel has warned Iran that it will not stand by and allow its avowed enemy to build an atomic bomb. Many believe this could be the trigger that could bring about a nuclear exchange, but it could be something as simple as food or economic default.
Because all nations are competing for the necessities of life (commodities extracted from Earth), any circumstance or political policy that causes the disruption of life within or among the nations could be grounds for war. As the demand for commodities rises, so does the price along with the misery index for the middle and poor classes.
When the misery index reaches an intolerable level, anger and frustration will boil over, and rioting and looting will begin. When social order breaks down, martial law will become necessary. Military spending levels indicate that every nation anticipates war either within or outside its borders. No one knows when the trigger will be pulled, but every nation knows war is always a strong possibility.
Brutus Will be a “Perfect Storm.”
Nothing we can do will prevent Brutus, the perfect storm, from occurring. Absolutely nothing! We may be able to do a few practical things to endure it. The following suggestions are based on the possibility of forced evacuation which may or may not occur in your area. History indicates that sudden evacuations can be caused by earthquake, fire, flood, nuclear accident, social unrest, and/or war. Here are a few suggestions to consider:
First, work on a written list, itemizing things that you should have readily available if you are notified to leave your home suddenly (a list might include medications, important papers, pictures, cash, appropriate clothing, food, and water). If there should be an unexpected evacuation, do not panic. Instead, work from your prepared check-list.
Second, always keep some food and water on hand. Rotate your food supplies. Be prepared to share with those who will have no food. As a general rule, keep your vehicles fuel tank full and make lodging arrangements with friends or relatives who live in different directions but within a half tank of gas (~100 miles).
Your plan is to reach one destination and stay there. Having two or three predetermined locations to meet family members may prove helpful. In the event of a sudden evacuation, traffic congestion will be severe and gasoline may be unavailable. Wireless phones may be jammed and useless. Remember the evacuation pictures of New Orleans when Katrina was about to make landfall?
Third, network with someone who is close by and will need help. It may be a family with small children or an elderly couple. Genuine Christians love their neighbors as they love themselves. If possible, work with them as a team and travel together for a long as possible.
Finally, regardless of what occurs, abide in Christ. If we abide in Jesus each day and we humbly seek to know His will in our lives, the Holy Spirit will lead and impress us to do what Jesus wants done. Remember, we cannot save ourselves from the Great Tribulation.
If we abide in Christ, we will love our neighbors enough to be helpful and useful as the Lord leads. The Great Tribulation will bring about conditions that will allow the gospel to be told and repeated many times as it focuses on the gospel of Jesus which brings peace, joy, and serenity. Memorize the following verses and repeat them often.
Jesus said: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Fathers house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3)
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19,20) These words are Gods truth-filled reminders to you, and when peace is in short supply, they will shore up your faith and give you courage for the days ahead.