Inflation is an increase in the general price level and is often described as too many dollars chasing too few goods. By definition, inflation lowers the purchasing power of the currency. It harms anyone on fixed incomes or anyone whose income rises slower than the rate of inflation. Inflation tends to help borrowers with fixed interest loans, since they pay back the loans with dollars that have less purchasing power.
Inflation was moderately higher, during the month of November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The November Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed consumer prices were 0.4 percent higher than October and 2.2 percent higher than a year ago. The energy sector was the major reason for consumer inflation, by increasing 3.9 percent for the month and 9.4 percent for the last 12 months. Lower airline fares (-2.5 percent) and apparel prices (-1.6 percent) dampened inflation.
BLS also released the November Producer Price Index (PPI-FD). Producr prices were 0.4 percent higher than the previous month (for the third consecutive month) and 3.1 percent higher than 12 months ago. The 3.1 percent annual increase was the highest in nearly six years. Energy was the largest contributor to producer inflation by increasing 12.1 percent over the last year. Producer inflation tends to show up in higher consumer prices later.
Most economists like to see low to moderate inflation (the Fed has a goal of 2 percent) as evidence of a growing economy. If inflation gets too high, it can spiral into hyperinflation which could endanger the economy as the purchasing power of the currency drops rapidly. If inflation morphs into deflation, consumer spending will drop in anticipation of lower prices and businesses, with their related employment, can fail. Price expectations cause inflation or deflation to be self-fulfilling. Policy-makers, decision-makers and economists are always concerned about purchasing power.
In the kingdom, believers should be concerned about power. Our God is all-powerful. As sons and daughters of the Most-High, we are expected to reflect His power. The Old and New Testaments are filled with examples of ordinary men and women demonstrating the supernatural power of God. We have been filled with the Spirit of love, power and self-control. We should not try to operate in our power or our might, but allow Him to operate through us by His Spirit.
"For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control" (2 Tim. 1:7).
"And he said to me: 'This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, saying: Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts'" (Zech. 4:6).
In Paul's final letter to Timothy, Paul warned his beloved son that the last days would be filled with peril (2 Tim. 3:1-4). After describing the sinful nature of the people in the latter days, he warned that many would have a form of godliness, but would deny its power. Does that describe today?
"having a form of godliness, but denying its power. Turn away from such people" (2 Tim. 3:5).
Whatever our calling, we need to be counted worthy of it. We need to place our sins under the atoning blood of Jesus and we need to be obedient. We need to have faith and we need to commune with the Holy Spirit.
"Therefore, we always pray for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling and with power fulfill all your good desires and works done by faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess. 1:11-12).
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen" (2 Cor. 13:14).
With the time for New Year's resolutions approaching, perhaps we should change our paradigm. Perhaps it is time to quit making excuses. While we are waiting on God, perhaps He is waiting on us? Perhaps it is time to begin operating in His supernatural power.
We have been given everything. We have the infallible word of God. Our Heavenly Father loved us enough to send His only begotten Son. Jesus loved us enough to suffer and die for our sins because of the joy set before Him. He is currently at the right hand of the Father preparing a place for us and interceding in our behalf. He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us as our comforter, counselor, reservoir or heavenly power. There are no excuses.
Jesus is worthy to be glorified. Our Heavenly Father is worthy to be glorified. We glorify our God by operating in His supernatural power.
"If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, you will ask whatever you desire, and it shall be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit; so, you will be My disciples" (John 15:7-8).
"Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in Me will do the works that I do also. And he will do greater works than these, because I am going to My Father. I will do whatever you ask in My name, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it" (John 14:12-14).
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University.
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