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I am disappointed with the current political wrangling over the economic stimulus package. It seems that the whole world wants change - except for Washington politicians. President Obama is off to a very rocky start because he has failed to stand up to his own party members behind closed doors. In addition, he has failed to use his communications gift with the surgical skill the hour requires.
President Obama's speeches and press releases will be the essence of future case studies in MBA and MPA programs all around the world. History will tell us that some of them fell short of his usual brilliance. Last Thursday's speech at the Democratic retreat in Williamsburg will be a classic example of the misuse or abuse of his powerful verbal skills.
Nervous about the worsening economy and the need to get things rolling, President Obama's advisors thought that they could kill two birds with one stone by simplifying a very necessary communications process. Coalition building is a very delicate art. It is not a science that can be reduced to a timetable approach.
Cocky from their recent victory, Obama strategists minimized the time and energy needed to turn the corner at this time. They are still acting in the campaign modality. In their minds, the process would be easy. First arrive at a solution, next get Capitol Hill buy-in, and finally get the ball rolling.
Life in DC has never been that simple. Just ask George Bush about the Faith Based Initiative or Hillary Clinton about healthcare. Obama's first problem was that a partisan group of Democrats wrote down their best shot at developing a plan. They forgot that three major groups will determine whether we beat this recession quickly - the nation's current management elite, Washington politicians and staffers, and the voting public. Each group has unique concerns. Each can accelerate or delay our national recovery, and not one of them can act in a vacuum.
The sin of Thursday's message was not simply that the administration sought to speak to two audiences at once (legislators and voters). The oversight of not speaking to the barons of business was a huge mistake. Highly paid presidential advisors have forgotten that the 500,000+ jobs lost during the two last months have come as the result of widespread management decisions. They were not inevitable. These losses were incurred because managers, from a wide range of industries, perceived that we are entering into an unusually hostile environment for business leaders.
These leaders are not going to wait 18 months to see if the stimulus plan works. They are doing what they think is best for their companies, right now. In the meantime, the president has not once talked directly with these leaders through a dedicated PR strategy. Not once has the president asked business leaders to slow job reductions. Instead he and his advisors have repeated a vision about new green jobs without giving reassurance that the companies that are currently paying both the American payroll and tax bills will be strengthened.
Although the economy has worsened in recent months, many business leaders are just following a "group think" process. Nearly 100,000 US jobs (16 percent of the months' job losses) were announced on the very same day two weeks ago. These announcements were made by executive fiat. Orders had not suddenly dried up; major trends had not suddenly shifted. A handful of US captains of industry simply decided to act in a concerted fashion.
A national, presidential message of a commitment to business could have saved jobs or at least delayed the massive layoffs. In the absence of a clear current industry dialogue the chief economist of Wachovia foresees the loss of at least 1.5 million more jobs in the next four months.
Another troubling aspect of our communications conundrum is that many of our politicians have been acting as though they know "the right answer" to our recession woes. The truth is that we think we know a huge number of isolated facts about economic recessions but no one knows exactly where the re-boot button is.
Therefore when the president makes the following statements, " ... the scale and the scope of this plan is right. If we don't move swiftly an economy that is in crisis will be faced with catastrophe ... millions more Americans will lose their jobs. Homes will be lost. Families will go without healthcare. Our crippling dependence on foreign oil will continue. That is the price of inaction. He seems to be unaware of the price his administration will pay if the stimulus plan does not work.
It would have been better if he had said, "We're going to start our change with the things we can agree on, and we're going to keep trying until we get it right!" This approach would be consistent with the prescriptions of most leadership and change experts - building a bi-partisan economic transition team that creates momentum by making strong decisions in the beginning, publicizing the results, and tackling the toughest issues last.
Since the success of any stimulus package will likely take many months to ascertain, we would be best served by humble public servants who proceed with caution and enthusiasm. Last Thursday's stimulus speech should never have been broadcast from Williamsburg. The broadcast made the president seem very partisan and even a little petty.
Finally, the president has failed to give his loyal followers specific marching orders or directives that will help them turn tragedy to triumph. My advice to the president is to return to bi-partisan language and to go back to projecting his transcendent vision for the future of the US. Creating a bi-partisan economic transition team comprised of his administration and the loyal GOP opposition would also be a wise step. The "professor"/president needs to pursue unity on the Hill, dialogue with industry, and develop a feeling of hope among the voters. A communications strategy, with each of these goals in mind, will change the president's grade from a D to an A+. Fortunately for us, the new president is a quick study. I have just one prayer for him during the next few weeks - that he hires a few more experienced tutors.
If I began to tell you about heaven, I couldn't give you any firsthand information because I haven't been there. But I can teach on prosperity because that is something I have experienced. I've gone from absolutely nothing to abundance in my life.
God's ideal prosperity includes healing, protection, favor, wisdom, success, well-being and every good thing you could possibly need. It's what Jesus provided for us by laying down His own life.
In the nearly 40 years of my Christian journey, the Lord has led me in the way of true prosperity using seven steps. Let's briefly take a look at these key elements to living the prosperous life—the blessed life for which Jesus redeemed us.
The apostle John reveals the first step, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth" (3 John 4, NKJV). "Truth" means to walk in the light of God's Word, according to His ways and His wisdom. It's living a godly lifestyle in obedience to what God says is right. You can't do it and not be blessed.
Faithfulness is another step that moves us closer to prosperity. It's a fruit of the Spirit you received when you were born again. Scripture says: "'His lord said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord"'" (Matt. 25:21).
To live abundantly we must also be diligent. The Word repeatedly says we are to seek God with all diligence, hearken to what He says and obey His commands. Why? Deuteronomy 28:1-2 says that when you listen diligently and obey, blessings overtake you! Diligence brings increase. As Proverbs 10:4 says, "The hand of the diligent makes rich."
Tithing and giving are essential too. The Bible says, "Honor the Lord with your capital and sufficiency. … So shall your storage places be filled with plenty" (Prov. 3:9-10, The Amplified Bible).
My husband, Ken, and I never had any financial growth until we became faithful in tithing. The tithe belongs to God. As we give it to support those who feed us spiritually, we honor Him.
In addition to tithing, we must give as the Lord leads us to the people and places where we are to sow. The Hebrew word for "offering" comes from a root word that means to "draw nigh." We have the privilege of coming close to God when we obey in the area of finances.
Second Corinthians 9:6 says: "He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully" (NKJV). God desires to increase you and bless you because He loves you.
To live prosperously, we must practice believing and saying God's Word. "Since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, 'I believed and therefore I spoke,' we also believe and therefore speak" (2 Cor. 4:13).
Faith must be in two places—in your heart and in your mouth. Believing in your heart and saying with your mouth produce the operation of faith.
I learned to take the Word literally as God speaking to me. I learned if I put it in my eyes, put it in my ears, and let it get down into my heart in abundance, it would come out my mouth in faith-filled words.
I learned faithfully and diligently to do what it says to do. My life and circumstances changed, and they still get better every day.
To me, these are the major steps to enjoy the prosperous life that God offers to every one of His children. I can tell you from my own experience that these steps will bring you increase, no matter where you are in life and no matter what you need.
Gloria Copeland is co-founder and vice president of Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Fort Worth, Texas. She and her husband, Kenneth, are known for their teachings on faith, healing and victorious Christian living. Their daily TV broadcast, Believer's Voice of Victory, airs globally on more than 300 stations. read more
Several years ago, one of the news networks reported that six out of 10 Americans suffer from depression. Some people would say that's understandable. They would say it's normal. It's to be expected in times like these when danger and uncertainty surround us.
But I want you to know that if you have made Jesus Christ the Lord of your life, depression is not normal for you! It is not to be expected. You've been redeemed from it.
Just as surely as you've been set free from sin, you've been freed from depression. Jesus paid the price on the cross so you could be at peace (that means "whole, complete, with nothing missing, nothing broken").
Galatians 3:13 tells us that "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us" (NKJV), and we know that depression is part of the curse (see Deut. 28:65-67). So what Jesus did on the cross redeems us from depression!
However, if you don't take a stand against it, the devil will push depression on you anyway. He'll put pressure on your mind. He'll bring negative thoughts to you and tempt you to say them out loud. If you listen to and speak those things, before long a spirit of depression will begin to rob you of your joy, your health and your productivity.
If that's already happened, I want you to know there's a way out. It is the way of faith. If you begin to cultivate the spirit of faith, depression will lose its grip on you. What is the spirit of faith?
Second Corinthians 4:13 describes it this way: "Since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, 'I believed and therefore I spoke,' we also believe and therefore speak."
Notice the spirit of faith believes and speaks what is written in the Word of God. It believes what God says more than it believes contrary evidence. If you want to develop the spirit of faith, you must believe and speak the Word.
For example, when you see in Psalm 103:4 that God "crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies," you must agree with that verse. Believe it. Say it out loud.
Don't argue with it. Don't think: Well, I'm certainly not crowned with the goodness and mercy of God. I have a terrible past. I'm a failure and my future's hopeless.
If negative thoughts such as these go around in your head like a broken record, make a new record. Spend time reading, meditating on and speaking the Word of God. Get so full of what God says about you that you don't hear that old talk in your mind anymore. Instead, you'll hear "God talk" in your thoughts.
Create a picture of yourself in your mind that's a Bible picture. Make biblical declarations such as: "Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. I have abundant life. God has a good plan for me. As I seek Him, He is showing me the next step." Then purposely start expecting what God says to come to pass in your life.
Often when you're under pressure, the devil will hit you first thing in the morning with thoughts of discouragement. Get the jump on him. Go to bed meditating on the promises of God. Then in the morning, if the devil hits you with depression you can just open your mouth and blast him with the Word!
After all, you are crowned with glory and honor. You're not pitiful or weak. You're strong in the Lord. You may have been acting weak, but God's strength is inside you.
So tap into it. Develop the spirit of faith. The stronger that spirit of faith becomes in you, the weaker the spirit of depression will be. Soon depression will be gone! In its place will be the greatest joy you've ever known. The Bible calls it "joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Pet. 1:8, KJV).
In days like these, that's supernatural. But for the believer it's a normal state of mind. read more