If you watch the news on a daily basis it would be hard not to get depressed or begin to fear the future. Many have seen their retirement savings and investments plummet. Many are losing their homes and jobs. The unemployment rate has just exceeded 8% and most believe it will get to 10% or more before we see a trend in the other direction. Many baby-boomers who were preparing for retirement realize that date for retirement has to be postponed and some have even lost their retirement savings through scandal, like the Bernie Madoff affair. These are the times that challenge your faith and your belief in the American economic system and its leaders. It provides an excellent opportunity to evaluate where our faith lies.

In the 1990s, I went from more than $500,000 in liquid assets to $1,000. I was subjected to my own "Bernie Madoff" scandal in which many New York City investment executives were taken. I had expenses that exceeded my income by five times per month. I knew what it meant to literally not know where the next dollar was coming from. But God was faithful. He used many creative ways to demonstrate His provision to me. Did I lack at times? Sure I did. But I did not miss a meal. Did I have my American standard of living I once enjoyed? Absolutely not. I had to drop many comforts and things I enjoyed. I had to negotiate with creditors. I had to pay $1 a month to some. It was not a pleasant time, but it was a valuable time. I learned a great deal and it is why I can see the current crisis through a different set of eyes.

If you are being impacted by the current economic downturn let me encourage you not to fear! We know who holds the future. And that is Who we place our trust in. Realize that fear is not from God. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. "

We Have Sinned

 

In order to have a Biblical perspective on the current crisis, we must view our past, learn from it, and decide how God would have us respond to the current situation. The sin that was committed was rooted in greed and pride. Those who could not afford to buy a home were encouraged to do so because the rules changed throughout the mortgage industry to allow banks and mortgage companies to write business they had no business writing. We are all now paying for that. When the slide began the media covered it to an unprecedented level in our history. There are more news outlets, more cable shows and programs that live off bad news. This served to choke the entire consumer spending to the point that no one wants to spend money due to their own fear. It has become a vicious cycle. And, you have not heard any spiritual answers or recognition of our spiritual failures in this process. God is sitting back waiting for His Church to acknowledge our own failure in this, then for the government leaders to turn to the only solution—a spiritual one. Unfortunately, I believe we are in for a long season until either of these happen. In July 2008 I took a small team of leaders with me to both New York Cityand Washington, D.C. to repent on behalf of the marketplace.

 

Most of America is in denial of our real core issues. The wisdom of man is on showcase right now. God says, "You can try to figure it all out, but your problems cannot be solved by throwing money at the problem."  Having said this, I believe it is the greatest opportunity the Church has had in 150 years. Real Christians can step forward with solutions and the reality of a living faith that shines in darkness. Such was the case in 1857 with Jeremiah Lanphier when 1 million people came to Christ because one man began to pray at the noon hour inNew York City. God will be raising up His Josephs during this time with solutions to the crisis. This will lead to influence by those in the realm of influence just like Joseph did with Pharaoh. It is up to us to press in right now.  

 

1857 in America

In 1857, America's secular and religious conditions combined to bring about a financial crash. The third great panic in American history swept the speculative wealth away. Thousands of merchants were forced to the wall as banks failed, and railroads went into bankruptcy. Factories were shut down and vast numbers thrown out of employment. New York City alone had 30,000 idle men. These conditions set the stage for God's "change agent" to fulfill his purpose.