"Recession Starts Taking Toll: Will it lead to another crash?"
"Worries are building that today's sagging economy may be on the brink of collapse."
U.S. News & World Report
Running Short of Cash: "The United States and its allies scramble to head off a global financial disasterâ€¦Finance ministers from the United States, Britain, France, Japan and West Germany met last week near Frankfurt to find a way to avert a global economic collapse."
As you all know, these sentiments have been expressed many times over by the media in the last few months. Many are even comparing our current financial situation to the Great Depression.
It may surprise you, however, to learn that the two quotes above were from November of 1974 and December of 1982 respectively. They were made by the fear mongers in the 70s and 80s who were predicting financial collapse. It did not come to pass then, and this current financial situation is also not the beginning of the end.
Let me quote a few statistics that you probably won't hear from our media. Unemployment rose to 24.75% in 1933. In time, that improved, but even during Ronald Reagan's first term in the latter part of 1982, the unemployment rate rose to 10.8%. Yet the rest of the 1980s were some of the strongest economic years of growth this country has ever had. Today the current unemployment rate is about 6%-7%. Amazingly, that means 93%-94% of Americans are still working.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell from a peak of 381.17 in October of 1929 to a low of 41.22 on July 8, 1932 - a decline of 85%. The Dow did not return to its peak for more than 22 years. From 1929 through 1933, about 10,000 out of the 25,000 banks in the United States disappeared (source: Business and Media Institute). It's nothing like that today.
There were no federally insured deposits during the Great Depression, but today the FDIC guarantee is up to $250,000 per account. That simply means there will be no runs on the banks as there were during the Great Depression.
The mortgage foreclosure rate during the Great Depression was 50%. In August of 2008 the national foreclosure rate was 4.4%. It may be higher now, but it's not even close to what it was then. The truth, even though it may be painful, is that we have needed a major adjustment from the unsound lending practices of the last few decades. For example, illegal aliens and others who had no way to pay back their loans were receiving sub-prime home loans with government guarantees. That's just wrong!
Marvin Goodfriend, who is a professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business in Pittsburgh, speaking on National Public Radio, said that there is no real threat of another Great Depression. That depression lasted nearly ten years. He sees this turning around in the next few months. On a scale of 1-10, with the Great Depression being a 10, he sees this current situation as a 3 or 4.
All of this is to say, THE SKY IS NOT FALLING. Chicken Little is out there again, predicting the worst, and I'm amazed at how many people are buying into this. I kind of expect this from the unbelievers, but many Christians are just as worried as those who don't have the promises of the Lord.
Do you remember the Y2K scare? The unbelievers weren't too moved by this, but Christians predicted this was the beginning of the tribulation. I had a pastor friend who advocated that his members move out into the country, buy a year's supply of food, and use guns to protect themselves. I know some people who were so stressed, they lost their marriages over that scare.
Or how about the bird flu? I was in Scotland in October of 2005 when one of the leading experts of the British Health Care system said there was no question about if the bird flu would infect humans and cause a pandemic, but only when. Then he said that it might be one year or at the most two years, but he stated emphatically that one-third of the world's population would die by October of 2007. In October of 2007 I read in USA Today that there had been a total of twelve human deaths worldwide from the bird flu. Although it's sad that anyone died from that, it's a far cry from a pandemic.
Can you see a trend or pattern here? The world likes to exaggerate (literally lie) and present the worst-case scenarios because bad news sells. I can't do much about the world, but I would like to use my influence to affect believers. We are not to let our hearts be troubled:
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me" (John 14:1).
Isaac went through hard times. There was a famine in the land (Gen. 26:1). Isaac was a stranger in that land. He didn't own any property. But the Philistines around him panicked. They didn't work their fields. What was the use? But Isaac saw it as an opportunity and took advantage of their idle fields.
Genesis 26:12 says,
"Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him."
This happened during a drought! What was he doing sowing seed when they were in a drought? He was believing God! That's what we should do.
And since there was a drought, others hadn't planted, and therefore food was in short supply. Isaac got premium prices for his crops. The next few verses go on to tell how Isaac became so prosperous that Abimelech, the king of Gerar, came to him and asked him to leave because he was more prosperous than that whole nation.
In Genesis 26:14 and 16 reads,
"For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied himâ€¦And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we."
This is the news believers should be listening to. We have promises from the Lord that He will provide our needs according to His riches IN GLORY by Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19). We aren't limited by this world's economy! Let those who only trust in money panic. In God we trust (Ps. 91:2, 118:8-9; Isa. 12:2, 26:4; and Nah. 1:7). We should be rejoicing.
I'm not saying you shouldn't make adjustments. If you bought into this world's philosophy, getting all you can and getting it by mortgaging your future, then come to your senses, and follow the principles of God's Word. Even if you haven't been burned, you've learned a valuable lesson, and now you can go forward with a new focus on the Lord as your source.
And let me point out the obvious: This is not a time to cut back on your sowing. You will only reap what you sow (Gal. 6:7). This is a time to believe God as never before. This is our greatest hour. We can demonstrate to the world, as Isaac did, that there is a God in heaven who blesses His people, even in the worst times.
With this in mind, I am announcing another building program. We have run out of space for meetings at our Colorado Springs facility. So, in this time when others are drawing back, I am believing God. It is too soon to give you all the details, but I've met with our builder and have talked to neighboring businesses about acquiring their land. Here we grow again.
Some will say this is the worst possible time to expand, but I'm not marching to the drumbeat of the world. I know this is what the Lord is leading me to do, and the response we are receiving to this message confirms it. The world is hungry for the message of God's unconditional love and grace.
We are setting personal records in every category of ministry: phone calls, website contacts, mail, and teaching material orders are all at record numbers. We are even beginning to receive applications for Charis Bible College's fall term - next year! More growth is coming, and now is the time to prepare.
Many of you have partnered with us in this ministry, and I believe God's blessing on us extends to you. You can claim prosperity and blessings because you have been planting seed in good ground. Jamie and I are believing with you for a hundredfold return.
Most importantly, "let not your heart be troubledâ€¦believe in God" (John 14:1).
Be sure to tune in to the Gospel Truth television programs December 15-26. I will be teaching on this very subject in my new series, In God We Trust. I think it will be a timely faith builder.