Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving and This Dark Valley

Christians are not Zoroastrians. Neither are we gnostics. We not only thank God from whom all blessings flow, but we also pass through the valley of the shadow of death in the confidence not only that he is with us, but also that he is Lord over that valley, and even that the valley itself is his loving rod of discipline (Psalm 23:4).

For that reason, Scripture tell us to give thanks in all situations, both the happy and the unhappy, the bright and the dark. "Light dawns in the darkness for the upright (Psalm 112:4).

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:4-6).

[B]e filled with the Spirit...giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:18, 20).

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (I Thessalonians 5:16-18).
This Thanksgiving, it is hard not to notice that the country is in dark times that are getting progressively darker both at home and abroad. That presents the Christian with many opportunities to offer prayerful thanksgiving to God the sovereign, wise, and good Father in the name of our risen and reigning covenant Lord, Jesus Christ.

Consider this bad news.

The Heritage Foundation reports a massive increase in our public debt burden over the next decade. The graph is from the Washington Post. "President Bush presided over a $2.5 trillion increase in the public debt through 2008. Setting aside 2009 (for which Presidents Bush and Obama share responsibility for an additional $2.6 trillion in public debt), President Obama’s budget would add $4.9 trillion in public debt from the beginning of 2010 through 2016."

Also, read George Melloan on what the massive expansion of government borrowing means for bank lending to private home buyers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs. Answer: "No money for you!" ("Government Deficits and Private Growth," WSJ, Nov. 23, 2009). Furthermore, as the government is now regulating banker salaries, and linking them to risk aversion instead of risk assessment, lenders have every incentive to prefer risk-free Treasury securities over housing and enterprise.

Have you noticed the price of gold recently? As the value of paper money goes down, the value of gold goes up, e.g., in times of inflation, or when the "full faith and credit of the United States government" comes into serious question.

With the continuing weakness in the US dollar, low interest rates around the world, increasing investor demand and a growing concern about the value of these fiat currencies, it is not surprising that the price of gold is performing so well.  A fiat currency is a currency that a government has declared to be legal tender, despite the fact that it has no intrinsic value and is not backed by reserves. Historically, most currencies were based on physical commodities such as gold or silver, but fiat money is based solely on faith. Most of the world's paper money is fiat money. Because fiat money is not linked to physical reserves, it risks becoming worthless due to hyperinflation. If people lose faith in a nation's paper currency, the money will no longer hold any value" (from Mineweb.com).

Gold is up, and rising fast by about $100 an ounce per month. The world market is bearish on America's economic future thanks to the frantic spending and spending plans of our ruling Democrats.

In world politics, that anarchy of ferocious evil out there, expect a return to 1979. When America withdraws or smiles sweetly and says "Can't we all just get along?," barbarians seize their opportunity, and then all the evil that lurks in the mud catches out. Here, Bret Stephens compares President Jimmy Carter's calamitous naivete with President Obama's equally ill-conceived plans to bring hope and change to the world ("The Carter Ricochet Effect," WSJ, Nov. 23, 2009).

President Obama likes to bemoan the "mess" he inherited overseas, the finger pointed squarely at President Bush. But the real mess he inherited comes straight out of 1979, the serial debacles of which define American challenges in the Middle East just as surely as the triumphs of 1989 define our opportunities in Europe. ... He would do well to cast a backward glance at the tenure of his fellow Nobel peace laureate, as an object lesson in how even the purest of motives can lead to the most disastrous results.
And that's just from today's paper and from what comes quickly to mind.

But you need have "no fear of bad news" if your "heart is steadfast, trusting the Lord" (Psalm 112:7).

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