Thoughts and Observations of a Minister

Take a look around, make yourself at home.
You will find some of my favorite things, and some of my innermost thoughts.

Poems, quotes, music, preaching, and a few funny things.
Take your time, add your comments, and come back as often as you like.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Two Moose Day

A Two Moose Day

Dr. James Dobson tells the story of the “two moose day” that seems relevant to most of us. It’s about a Vermont man on his way to work one foggy morning when a 700-lb. moose steps into the road in front of him.

He hits the moose, which comes up over the hood and mashes the roof of the car. The moose is killed. Though his injuries a minor the driver is taken to the hospital. Later that day the man is driving home from the hospital in his pickup truck.

You might have seen this coming: another moose, this one a bit larger than the first, is in the roadway. Our driver stops, but the moose charges the truck. When it’s over, both moose and truck are totaled.

That’s a two moose day. I especially like the story because on more than one occasion when I was stationed in Alaska years ago an entire line of vehicles would be held up while a moose decided when and if it would move off the roadway. Fighter jets cleared for take-off would wait impatiently until a moose wandered off the runway.

We all have to wait for the moose sometimes. It’s annoying, but not fatal. When we hit the moose, it gets more serious. And sometimes it will just be a two moose day no matter what we do to avoid it.

The trick is to remember that moose are relatively solitary creatures. There’s no vast moose herd out there in the woods waiting to overwhelm me. I’ve dealt with two moose days before. You have, too. So far, we’re still on the road.

Keep driving. Just watch for the “Moose Crossing” signs.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The “Bottom Line

"Stock prices have resumed their historic decline; and foreign currencies, precious metals, oil, and other commodities have also resumed their declines which, along with real estate prices, will likely prove crushing to most investors. Declining monetary aggregates and rising interest rates on all but the highest quality short-term debt are resuming as the credit crisis returns amidst a scramble for liquidity in the emerging “Greater Depression”.

ALL prudent investors, who are not astute traders, should now be out of stocks and bonds. Expect stock prices to decline farther and faster than they did in the Fall and Winter of 2008-09 and than they declined in 1929-32.

While U.S. Treasury bond yields may drop somewhat as stocks sell off stongly, interest rates must continue their rise over time as the finances of the U.S. and most other nations become increasing unwieldy.

This may be investors’ last chance to get their assets out of harm’s way. Those who are properly prepared may yet profit and live in relative abundance as global wealth is devastated and chaos reigns.

Economic Fundamentals Remain Very Weak

Home sales, consumer debt, and rising unemployment/underemployment offer brutal evidence that the economy here and globally is still, more or less, flat on its back. 43 states saw rising unemployment in December, sharply up from 36 in November. Nationally, many workers are not being tallied in unemployment statistics because they are discouraged from looking for work (600,000 in December). True U.S. unemployment is approaching 20%. Many are seeing their unemployment benefits run out.

An estimate of $350 billion for the States’ fiscal 2010 deficits will surely be revised higher. Also, those deficits are artificially reduced by Federal stimulus which, itself, will soon have to be withdrawn. As I reminded in the August 31 Bulletin, persistently rising consumer credit and real estate problems and growing weakness in commercial real estate, along with steadily rising unemployment and underemployment will eventually and cumulatively reassert sufficient gravity that will also cause hopes for recovery to turn to fear and then to panic. Those concerns are growing.

Growing inability of nations to borrow and spend to support their economies and also to remain solvent will result in more of their “stimulus” programs being reduced before long. Reported growth in economies is largely due to such borrowing and spending. (U.S. GDP statistics do not disclose the source of sector spending.) Spending by government – that can only consume or redistribute and cannot produce wealth – cannot build productive wealth of nations or of their citizens.

In the U.S. all reported economic growth is the result of these irresponsible and short-sighted practices.

Meanwhile, the real collateral and capital base of nations necessary for their borrowings and growth is dissipating at accelerating rates. Nations, not just homeowners and businesses, are becoming “upside down”. Severe recession and deflation devour tax revenues at all levels of government so expect their deficits to become even more problematic and alarming.

How could real prospects be positive when government interventions are draining our substance and strangling incentives of producers, frustrating efficient and profitable asset allocation, and encouraging foolish and unproductive investment and spending decisions within our economy? And when mountains of debt in all sectors of the global economy are unserviceable and deflating? And when the fierce but futile efforts by government and financial system to keep prices and wages high will extend and deepen the “Greater Depression” ahead.

Lack of confidence is growing in mythical “green shoots” economic recovery. Recognized inabilities of governments and their central banks to borrow, spend, and inflate their way back to prosperity is returning and will predictably turn from extremes of unfounded optimism to panic as deflationary declines accelerate. Securities valuations are increasingly seen as optimistic given economic performance that is, at best, soft; and markets – stocks, bonds, commodities – are poised for sharp declines.

Creditworthiness of national governments is showing increasing signs of fracture. Dubai, Greece and Portugal, France and others in the Eurozone plus Great Britain are the latest names to add to Iceland, Ireland, and Eastern Europe. Bailouts of the largest financial institutions and of governments, such as Dubai recently, reveal the global enormity of our harm’s way economic crisis. I discuss the looming “debt trap” of historic proportions in Harm’s Way Financial Planning and Asset Management.

Japan, the second largest national economy, has far higher debt levels than any major country, and with their interest burden at near zero rates has nowhere to go but to dramatically larger borrowing costs and deficits. Indeed, that is the future for most large countries, including the U.S. China has overreached on stimulating their own economy and is seeing customers for their exports struggling. Nations are adopting protectionist policies back home that will further reduce economies of major exporters like China and isolate them from global trade. To assume that China will continue to hold large amounts of debt of the U.S. and others is foolish.

While the U.S. benefits from “flight to quality” with both dollar strength and demand for our (especially shorter maturity) Treasury debt, the U.S. debt crisis remains just over the horizon.

Deflation is again raising its ugly head. Deflation, deleveraging, and global economic decline are resuming here and globally as the broadest measures of the money supply contract. Deflation reigns despite frantic efforts to reinflate through governments’ “stimulus” borrowing of massive amounts and through the Fed and other central banks buying that debt and debts of others in order to create new “money” in their economies. Nonetheless, broad measures of money and credit are dropping, and the “global village” is under great pressure.
The total bank credit shows that the economic sluggishness is consistent with the new downtrend in money and near-money assets.

M3, the broadest monetary aggregate, plus total bank credit trends turning down show that that the deflationary threat is very real. It includes large time deposits, institutional money funds, and other large liquid assets along with narrower aggregates that include coin and currency and deposits of consumer, business, and government deposits in the banking system (M1 and M2).

EWI does not expect inflation to return until, at least 2012, and probably not until at least 2014. The signs are saying that a more rapid and powerful decline in the current Primary Wave 3 bear market leg could end sooner the most powerful portion of the deflationary decline. Possible shortages in food and other key commodities, like energy, could cause those prices to rise in crisis. Commodity prices react to fear of shortages and not to optimistic social mood. Indeed, panic can fuel powerful spikes in commodity prices, hence the need to prepare for shortages of critical tangibles.

High global debt levels are both financially destructive and deflationary because they require increasingly scarce cash to pay interest, much less principal. How can real growth occur as assets and incomes are deflating, debts are turning sour and people save and shrink debts instead of spend and invest? People have been realizing that their cash is more valuable to them than what they can buy with it. This reality should be seen even more powerfully in months ahead.

Since “money” is borrowed into existence by the banking system, shrinking bank deposits and credit outstanding equals deflation and economic decline.

Market and Economic Analysis Highlights

The break of the 10-month trendline of the Dow Jones Industrials Average from its March lows indicates the next major decline of the greatest bear market in at least 290 years has begun. That rally in stock prices reached highs (10,729.90 in the Dow) on January 19th. Just two days later, the Dow index closed decisively beneath its uptrend line on an increase in volume and the strongest downside breadth (issues sold greater than bought) in the last two months. The decline continues and, despite rallies, such as a counter-trend bounce that began today, should accelerate to the downside. Such rallies provide opportunities to exit or go short.

Recent declines also broke the late-November and mid-December lows, erasing 10 weeks of gains in just three days as prices in all indexes declined impulsively. The rally ending satisfied many analytical price and time targets. Market internals have been weakening for months as optimism, by some measures, was even stronger than at the October 2007 highs. of Investor optimism extremes signal significant tops. Optimism has begun to decline as the crowd begins to grasp reality and market volatility increases.

Expect that, for several reasons, the Primary Wave 3 decline which appears to be in its earliest stages, will drop farther and faster than did the 1930-32 decline, though we should also experience powerful snap back rallies along the way as I illustrated in the October 31st Bulletin for 1929-32. Each rally, however, should be more than fully retraced as stock prices continue to work their way lower. Expect that pattern to be similar to the 5-vave impulsive decline seen above in the second chart that tracked the Dow’s 17-month Primary Wave 1 decline into the March lows of last year.

In the global scramble for liquidity as over-priced and over-financed assets deflate, the dollar has begun a major advance against other currencies that will likely last through 2010. Dollar strength corresponds to valuation declines in gold and silver, oil, and in other commodities which are also under pressure because global demand resumes its decline as recession becomes depression. The Elliott Wave Int’l price target for gold is “below $680 per ounce”.

Be Ready for the “Big One”
Before this extremely large degree Primary Wave 3 down ends, the Dow should be below 4000, perhaps even below 1000, as the following projection chart by EWI suggests. After a relatively weak rally then, Primary Wave 5 down should eventually find a final bottom below Dow 1000. EWI’s target is “below Dow 400”. Expect stocks to be crushed for many years.

Expect the current first leg down in Primary Wave 3 (Intermediate wave 1) to break the March low of 6470, or at least roughly 40% below the final January 19th high of Dow 10,729.90. Dow 4000 would be 63% below that high and more than 70% below the final bull market high reached in October 2007. While broader stock indexes, such as the NASDAQ and smaller capitalization issues, fell further, they also tended to rally more but should now again experience even greater declines than the Dow.

We cannot know how long the decline will take or its final bottom, but we can be confident that investor pessimism will be significantly more negative than in late 2008 and early 2009. The most powerful point of decline should occur at its center (at the center of wave 3 declines of various degrees). At that point, investors will stop focusing on possible upside potential for the markets and start worrying about how far down it will go.

This “point of recognition” occurrence (“Prechter Point”) should be stunning enough to set all-time records for financial panic. Thereafter, pessimism becomes the dominant expression of social mood. EWI’s projections for reaching the all-time lows in social mood are around 2016. Regardless of when pessimism bottoms, be prepared for meaningful recovery to be deferred for much longer".

Saturday, February 6, 2010

There is a whole lot of shaken going on.

Whatever Can Be Shaken Will Be Shaken‘For thus says the Lord of hosts; Yet once more I will shake the heavens, the earth, the sea and the dry land, and I will shake all nations’ (Haggai 2:6). ‘Yet once more I will shake the earth and also the heavens. Now this expression, “Yet once more”, indicates the final transformation of all that can be shaken – that is, of that which has been created in order that what cannot be shaken may remain. Let us therefore, receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, offer to God pleasing service and acceptable worship’ (Hebrews 12:25 to 28). God is not only shaking things on earth – He is also shaking things in heaven. ‘All the foundations of the earth are shaking’ (Psalm 82:5). ‘The powers of the heavens will be shaken’ (Matthew 24:29 & 30). Every Christian needs to be prepared to be shaken, and that is not easy.
Why would God shake His people? To purify us for theKingdom of God (Titus 2:14); to separate the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:32).Remember, this Gospel is a Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 24:14); it is the power unto salvation. The Kingdom of God is the only thing that can never be shaken, andChristians who make Jesus their Rock and Fortress will not be greatly shaken. ‘He is my Rock and my Salvation, my Defence and my Fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken’(Psalm 62:2 & 6). God is at work in all the world, shaking everyone and everything everywhere.
There is no use asking God not to shake us, because it is in His will and power to do it. ‘Our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases’ (Psalm 115:3). It is His purpose to shake everything so that only the things that cannot be shaken will be left. What can be shaken? Empires, nations, governments, monarchies, banks, businesses,churches, families, individuals and anything else that is not eternal. The only way we can cope with God’s shaking, is to commit ourselves into the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:6).He is the only security mankind has (Psalm 91). We are told very firmly not to love the world or the things in it (1 John 2:15 to 17). We cannot mix the love of God with the love ofthe world. If our hearts are set on the world and the things the world can offer, the love ofthe Father is not in us; that means we would love the world more than we love God. The love of things in the world are not of the Father – that is they are not of God. The three sins that lead to eternal destruction; the lust of flesh, the lust of the eyes and pride of life – of which pride is the single biggest problem – These are sins from the world, and can keep us trapped and bound to the things we have in the world.
This world along with some of heaven, is eventually going to pass away and be burned up (2 Peter 3:10).
Nobody has a permanent home here on earth. If we try to make our home in this world,then we will be greatly shaken, but he who does the will of God lives forever. Even when we are shaken, if we are founded on the Rock (Jesus) and are doing the will of God, we will not be swept away (Matthew 7:25 to 27).

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dirty Hands

It seems that everywhere you look we see hand sanitizers. It seems that every thing and every one we touch anymore, has germs.
Sickness is passed just by a person touching someone, yet the Bible tells us if there are any sick, to lay hands on them and pray for their healing.
It is only logical if sickness can be passed through touch, why cant healing be passed by the same means. Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.
If a man or woman is holy, I mean they have clean hands before God, then something should pass through them that is grater than any sickness the world seem to put upon us.
We live in a day where it would be difficult to know when people at church lay their hands on us if we will get sick or healed.
I pray we have holy hands,
I pray we pass on life not death by our touch.
I pray we can see gods hands when we lay on our hands,
I pray we see the sick healed, but most of all
I pray for men and women to have holy hands.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Dose God make you angry?

I talk to many people who are upset with God, they say he didn't answer prayer, or he took their child or wife.
Why would anyone think that Gods ways are our way, when the bible teaches just the opposite.
Who are we to argue with the one who with his breath breathed out the stars in heaven.
Who are we to contend with the almighty God.
The bottom line is not that God didn't answer, but our faith is weak, so weak that we think God is our servant rather than our King. We think in lines of time, and limit ourselves, as well as our vision of God.
Everything we have and work for on this earth will perish, only what we do for him will last forever.
My dad told me to always buy the best, because it last longer, he said never get caught up in fads, as they just fade away.
I want to make my investments into that which last, and eternity seem like it would last a long long time..
Faith, not anger, faith. You just might see a mountain move with it. God is a big big God.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How to have peace in your life

We live in a world that is always in a hurry, whether going or coming home, we are always rushed.
We live in a world that is filled with people wanting what they want when they want it.
We live in a world that is filled with sorrow, heart ache, and death.
Yet the bible teaches that we can have a peace that passes all understanding, but if we focus on the problems of our day, we know any peace would be beyond our understanding.
If we could fist look at ourselves and find all of our selfishness, every ounce of it, we would find the truth about what angers us, and what is always stealing the peace from our lives.
A selfish person is a lonely person, a selfish person is always wanting more, and never content with anything. Paul said I have learned to be content. Contentment with life, understanding that God himself knows where we are, what we have, and why we are in the circumstances we are in.
Trusting God, and denying ourself, is the key to living a peaceful life.
Try it, after all, our selfish nature, always thinks that if it gets its way, that will bring peace.
How is that working out for you?
Try denying yourself and accepting the contentment god can bring through faith. God Bless