I saw evidence of three great catastrophes this week, and they should start alarm bells ringing in all of our minds:
- Interest Rates
- Hezbollah and Iran Challenging Israel
- Hard Hearts in Our Churches
The last one is the most important, but you’ll understand the first one better. And for the second… you won’t understand the significance, unless you’ve read Ezekiel’s Fire. And, you need to read Ezekiel’s Fire.
I’m going to give an overview of the importance of those three catastrophes. And, I hope that you’ll pay attention to them. They won’t be fixed, but they can be avoided.
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Three Huge Concerns: Debt, Israel and Hard Hearts
YouTube shortlink: https://youtu.be/Ibns_ruE9Qs
[OUCH! – Audio/video lose sync around the four minute mark! Grrrr!]
Here is the MP3 version:
I spend a lot of time chewing over what I should write about. And, I am often not sure what will appear on the page, until I sit down to write. In fact, what appears is often different than what was intended.
I’ve been a writer for longer than some of you have been alive, and my writing often takes on a life of its own. In fact, as I write this, I’m not exactly sure how this will turn out.
It just will.
As God wills.
As I said in the intro, there are three things that concern me, this week:
- Interest Rates
- Hezbollah and Iran Challenging Israel
- Hard Hearts in Our Churches
I ran into the second item first, and the first item, second. The third one hit me today, Thursday. And, I was tempted to just write about the hardness of heart that most Christians suffer from. But, you need to hear about all three, and some of you are tired of my ‘moralizing’.
So, let’s talk interest rates. They’ve been low, outrageously so. That means that they are going to rise. In fact, they are going to rise a LOT. The only question is when and how fast.
Unfortunately, the average person can’t do math, so they won’t see it coming until it is too late. In fact, I’m wondering if it isn’t too late already, but let me get into the problem before I start talking about timing.
The problem is that people hunt for living space, based on the monthly payment that they can afford. Normally, we wouldn’t call that a ‘problem’, but it is when we talk about something big like an economy.
I went looking for a mortgage calculator, and quickly saw this one:
There are better ones out there, but I’m in a bit of a hurry. I’ve cornered an idea in my head, and I want to get it written down before it escapes. And, I don’t want it to bite me, while I’m at it.
(Ideas are dangerous!)
So, let’s plug in some numbers and play a bit.
Home Price: $200,000
Down payment: 0%
(I know. Not realistic. Just bear with me.)
Loan: 30 year
Interest rate: 4%
No taxes, dues or anything else.
That brings a payment of $955/month. That means that if you can only afford a payment of a thousand dollars or less, you can afford a $200,00 house.
But, what happens if the interest rate goes up to 8%?
You will need to knock $70 thousand off of the price, to afford it.
Now, let’s say that you own such a home, and that you want to sell it.
What happens to the price of that home, when interest rates go up?
Well, people will still be shopping for as much homes as they can afford, based on the monthly payment. And that means that you will need to lower the price of your home, to be able to sell it.
What happens if you bought a home on a variable rate mortgage?
Well, that $200 thousand home that you ‘bought’ for $955/month, will now cost you $1468/month. And, that presents a problem for people, since people are bad at anticipating a rise in interest rates.
Do you have an extra $500/month just lying around?
Well, neither do I. In fact, if interest rates went from 4% to 8%, I would need to sell my house or go bankrupt.
But John, why do you think that interest rates will go to 8%?
Actually, I think that they will go much, much higher. Those of you who know the Carter years, know that interest rates were pushed above 16% because America lost control of her spending, as well as having kept interest rates too low for too long. There are a lot of reasons for what happened, but those were the big ones.
We called it ‘stagflation’. I lived through it, and it was terrible. The difference was that America was more stable and better equipped to get through it.
Oh, and what would your $200 thousand house be worth, if interest rates went up to 16%?
Less than $75,000.
Don’t bet that it cannot happen.
I personally believe that we are at the peak in housing prices, for the next few decades. It is all downhill from here. And, I believe that we will be lucky to be stuck with 16% interest rates.
I do not know when this will happen, but I am certain that your house will fall in value, every year. And, eventually, it will collapse in value.
By the way, for those of you who own bonds, the same is true. As interest rates go up, the resale value of your bonds will go down. You can always ‘wait for maturity’, but you might not be able to.
Interest rates are going up.
This rise in rates will collapse the economy.
I personally believe that this economic collapse will be the worst in human history.
Please prepare accordingly.
Hezbollah And Iran Challenging Israel
Hezbollah and Iran are essentially the same thing. Iran was the one that created Hezbollah, and Hezbollah takes its orders from Tehran. And, they are both itching for a fight with Israel.
Please understand that Iran is not a normal country as you and I think of ‘normal countries’. Iran is a country ruled by fanatics. And, their fanaticism is involved in everything that they do. And, their goal, since 1979 has been the capture of Jerusalem.
I have been telling you about the elite special forces of Iran.
Do you remember their name?
‘Quds’ mean Jerusalem. So, we should be calling ‘Quds Force’ by its real name – ‘Jerusalem Force’. And, they have been broadcasting their intention of capturing Jerusalem for almost 40 years.
What will their ‘casus belli’ (justification for war) be?
The gas wells being drilled in the Mediterranean Sea. Iran, through Hezbollah, is claiming that Israel is violating Lebanese rights. And, on behalf of Lebanon, Iran will be attacking those wells. They have already declared their intention to do so.
Will Israel sit by and let Iran do this?
Of course not. Iran knows this, and wants Israel to attack them. And, the longer that Israel delays in her attack on Hezbollah, the harder it will be to defeat Hezbollah.
Israel MUST attack. She doesn’t have a choice, and she cannot delay too long before doing so. And, Hezbollah is ready for them to do so.
Hezbollah is dug in, with a horrendous number of missiles pointed at Israel’s heart. The destruction wreaked upon northern Israel will be incredible.
What would I do, if I were Israel?
I would do my best to cut the land route between Iran and Syria. And then, I would find an excuse, any excuse, to invade Syria, and draw Hezbollah fighters out of Lebanon, where I could kill them more easily.
Unfortunately, Hezbollah would still use their missiles on Israel, and cutting the land route between Iran and Syria is not out of the question.
What will Israel do?
Feed as many weapons as possible into the area between the Golan and Damascus. I would also send in raiding units into Syria, to disrupt the movements of the Syrian army, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah. I would assassinate anyone connected with Hezbollah.
In short, I would do everything possible to weaken Hezbollah, to give myself time to prepare a knockout blow. And, I believe that they’ve been doing that, to some extent. But, this threat against Israeli gas fields in the Mediterranean, means that Israel is running out of time.
I believe that this will be the fulfillment of Isaiah 17:
And, it will be a prelude to the coming of Gog and Magog. And, along with Gog and Magog comes something that I have called Ezekiel’s Fire:
Trust me when I say that you are not ready for Ezekiel’s Fire. No one is.
Hard Hearts In Our Churches
Many of you know that I suffer chronic depression. And, my depression is about as bad as anyone can have, without being permanently disabled. In fact, without the medication that I take for it, I doubt that I would be able to function normally. And yes, I have investigated the full range of alternatives to medication.
Trust me on this one. I am very thorough in my research, and I will try anything at least once. In fact, I probably have.
Some alternatives do help, and I do my best to use them. But, nothing helps more than medication. I deeply appreciate the good will that people show me, when they attempt to share their thoughts on this, and I readily accept all such communication. But, please understand that I’ve been at this for almost 40 years.
The big question that often hits me, is…
Why have I had to go through this?
Why should I spend every day preferring to die, rather than live?
Part of it is Hashimoto’s Disease, and the time that it took to discover that I had a problem. Whenever there is a delay in diagnosis for something like this, there is always room for depression to sink its roots into your life. And, once those roots have dug in deep enough…
Hypothyroidism is a GIGANTIC cause for depression. And, when doctors discover that you have it, they now tend to prescribe an antidepressant along with your thyroid pill. And yes, you need it. I certainly did, but didn’t know it.
However, I believe that there is a much bigger reason, and it’s a ‘church reason’.
Our churches are full of people who do not care about others. We meet on Sunday morning, give each other a nice big smile and think that this is enough. Those who suffer are not welcome among us. And, when we find them, we make them feel like there’s something wrong with them – that there’s some sin involved in their life that caused them to suffer.
If there is sin involved, it is assuredly the sin that dwells in the heart of those who abuse the sufferer. I have seen this in the vast majority of the churches that I have gone to. And, it is an abomination.
In one church, I tried to set up a kind of self-help group. Our goal was to help ourselves and take what we learned to help others. Our effort was shot down after a week, by the wife of an elder. No explanation. No discussion.
The irony is that the pastor’s daughter was in desperate need of help, and was forced to attend another church to get it. And yes, they provided such help. And, that is the only church that I know of, that provides such support.
I sit in awe and wonder at the coldness in our churches. We are arrogant and full of pride, and when someone comes to us, with a real need… the best that we can do is say, “Be warmed and filled. Be blessed.”
I’m sure that none of you are like this. I doubt that you would take the time to read or listen to this, if you were. Omega Shock readers are uniformly awesome. However, you might not realize that the person sitting next to you, is suffering terribly.
Your Mission, If You Choose To Accept It
So, let me give you some homework:
First, seek out those in your church who are suffering. Listen to them, without offering advice. You can’t listen with your mouth open, and most of those who suffer, already know more about their problem than you do.
What people need is someone who will listen to them. And yes, it gets repetitive. But, I can tell you that you won’t die because you had to listen to the story about their cat, ten days in a row.
And, just because you went through a period of depression for a few weeks or months, doesn’t qualify you to hand out advice to those who suffer depression. Chronic conditions are a completely different animal, and your ‘experience’ is less than meaningless to us.
Come back to us with advice, after you’ve suffered depression every day for five years straight. Then, we might have something to talk about. Until then, you need to understand that you don’t understand. And, because we love you, we don’t WANT you to understand.
And, it actually hurts to have to fight off the bad advice that keeps getting thrown at us. Yes, we know that you mean well. And, we try to give you some slack, because of it. But, it still hurts.
The second thing that I want you to do is stop the attacks on antidepressants. I am so tired of hearing the incessant criticism of antidepressants, I could scream. In fact, I have screamed.
For some reason, the alt-right has gotten it into their collective head that antidepressants are somehow the cause of so much that is evil out there. Sorry, but antidepressants have NOTHING to do with it. Zip. Zero. Nada.
Yes, that shooter in Florida was on medication for depression, but those medications were NOT his problem. His problem was bad parenting. And, by the time that he got some good parenting, it was already too late.
Antidepressants do not cause people to ‘flip out’. People ‘flip out’ because they don’t have self control, and never had it. In fact, we are a society that no longer understands what self-control is.
So, stop repeating what the morons tell you about antidepressants. They work. I’m a walking, talking example. And, if you demonstrate enough care and compassion to those around you, you would probably find out that a surprising number of your friends are taking them too – but were too scared to tell you.
Please. If you call yourself a Christian, stop the abuse and reach out to the abused. And yes, that means that some of you need to repent.
The Number One Reason
Oh, and I didn’t tell you the number one reason for why I suffer depression this much:
Because it’s good for me.
I am a man of many talents, even though they aren’t mine. By the grace of God, I do many things well and have proved it by doing those things. I have been greatly and magnificently blessed by God. But, with each of my blessings, comes an equally perilous danger of believing that they are mine…
I have often made the mistake of thinking that my talents were my own. They are not and never were. If I am better than anyone at something, it is only – and solely – by the grace of God.
In fact, I identify strongly with this passage in I Corinthians:
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
– 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
I remember a time, when I was begging the Lord for release from this plague. And, the Lord brought to mind the time when I dedicated myself to serving Him wherever, whenever and in whatever capacity. And, it was as if He was asking me if that commitment was still true.
It still was.
From that moment on, I knew that this burden would be mine, as long as I was still committed to serving God. And, if that was the price, I was willing to pay.
I’m still willing.
The bottom line is that there is a good reason why we suffer. You might not know the reason. But, God never ever allows suffering in one of His children, unless it is necessary.
For those of you who do not suffer, please be careful to not be a source of suffering for others.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
– Romans 12:15-16
So, I have a question for all of you:
Are you ready to open your heart and weep with those who weep?
I truly hope that you’ll be ready for this
A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished. – Proverbs 22:3
If you find a flaw in my reasoning, have a question, or wish to add your own viewpoint, leave a comment on the website. Your input is truly welcome.
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