Stretching The Dollar During Recession

Prov 6: 6-8.  Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!  It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

Prov 27:12.  The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

As mentioned in earlier articles on wisdom nuggets, there were 6 recessions in the last 30 years – 1985, 1991, 1997, 2001, 2008 and 2015 – with an average period of 6 years between recessions.  Getting lower prices for the big expense items such as an apartment and a car during a recession should be obvious as long as we are willing to wait out the 6 expansionary years between recessions.  But it is predictably irrational that many will still buy such big expense items during the expansionary years than the recessionary years.

Residential Apartment

2 of the largest expenses in life are an apartment and a car which most will take a mortgage loan and a hire purchase loan for 30 years and 10 years respectively.  If one could save up and buy at the next recession, one would have saved so much as to pay up such loans earlier than the stipulated loan tenure.

Allow me to share my personal experience as an example.  My peers and I started our career in 1985.  Most bought the public housing apartment in 1987 and paid up the mortgage loan by 1992.  Most then upgraded to private apartment in 1994 or 1995 at the peak of the housing prices after surviving the recession in 1991.  I decided to continue saving and skip the 1997 recession till the next recession in 2001 before considering upgrading.  Following is the comparison of our different financial status.

Year My Peer Myself
1992 Owned HDB apartment worth $ 350,000 Owned HDB apartment worth $ 350,000
1994 Bought 120 sq m private apartment for $ 975,000. Took 25 year loan of $ 600,000 and paid monthly installment of $3500. Continued to save $3500 per month and skip buying apartment in 1997 recession.
2001 Principal loan is still between $ 500K to $ 600K with 18 years’ loan repayment remaining. Had saved up $ 320,000 with compounded interest instead of paying monthly mortgage.
2002 Principal loan is still between $ 500K to $ 600K with 17 years’ loan repayment remaining. Bought a 210 sq m apartment for $ 800,000 with a 40% discount from 1995 prices.  With the HDB apartment sold at $350,000, $ 320,000 saved up and some CPF balance, I could almost pay up the apartment without taking any bank loan.

Car

During the good years between recession, the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) will be very high.  If we can change our cars during the recession, we will save much by paying less for the COE and the depressed car price as well.   Allow me to share my experience.  I traded in my 5 year old Mitsubishi Lancer in 2009 for a brand new Suzuki Swift and a 7 seater APV without forking out any money.   I was paying a HP installment of about $ 800 per month for the Lancer and when I took out both brand new cars at a total cost of $ 85,000, I continued to pay the same $800 plus installment for the next 10 years. The COE during the first 6 months of 2009 and the car price were so depressed that the COE offered by the car distributor was practically zero.

Travel

During recession,  you can get very cheap airfare, hotel and food during vacation travel.  For one vacation travel destination during the good economic years,  you can enjoy up to 3 vacation destinations.

Home Necessities

During recession, you can stretch the dollar so much for home renovation and repair,  replacement of necessary old home appliances and furnishing, and purchase of new clothing.  Depleting inventory becomes a top priority for all manufacturers faced with excess manufacturing capacity and you can expect very good discounted prices.

Offers Galore

Shopping and dining offers will be in abundance during recession.  Time to bless your family with treat to the finest restaurants but paying the price in fast food restaurants normally.

There is apprehension to spend during recession for fear of losing the job.  To me, it is irrational fear.  As there is a recession every 5 to 7 years, you still have to worry at the next recession when you have already bought a high priced apartment and a car during the good years anyway.  So instead of spending during the good years, save up this money till the next recession in a separate bank account.  This account should not have existed if you have spent this money away during the good years, and so you cannot treat this account as a rainy day savings account which is another separate account.

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Dogs As Mentioned Degoratorily In The Bible

Matt 7:6
Do not give what is holy to DOGS, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Phil 3:2
Beware of the DOGS, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;

Isaiah 56:11
They are DOGS with mighty appetites;
they never have enough.
They are shepherds who lack understanding;
they all turn to their own way,
they seek their own gain.

2 Pet 2:22

Of them (false prophets and false teachers) the proverbs are true: “A DOG returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

As described above in Isaiah 56:11, these dogs are “shepherds” who lack understanding and they seek their own gain with mighty appetites. They peddle the gospel for financial gain and are swindlers in every sense (2 Pet 2:3,14).

They will bring the way of truth into disrepute and many will follow them surprisingly. 2 Pet 2:2.  Because of greed for financial gain using God’s name for ministry, they will exploit undiscerning believers with fabricated stories. 2 Pet 2:3.  Another clear recognizable trait of such dogs is their boldness and arrogance in heaping abuse on demons and the devil, which even more powerful angels do not blaspheme so at all,  in their “slain in the spirit” practice of driving out demons.   2 Pet 2:10-12.

They are better off not knowing the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.  2 Pet 2:21.  The proverb – a DOG will return to its own vomit – is true of them as they have returned to sinful ways after knowing the way of righteousness.  2 Pet 2:22.

Their fate is spelt out in Rev 22:15 : Outside are the DOGS and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

Here are some clear commands from our Lord and His Word concerning tares (evil workers) and dogs in the church.  And every genuine believer has to decide if he or she wants to obey such clear commands from our Lord to disassociate with them or risk being torn apart by them later.

  1. Do not give what is holy to the DOGS or they will turn to tear you apart. Matt 7:6.
  2. Treat the unrepentant so-called brothers as tax collectors after exhausting the due process of correcting them. Matt 18:15-17.
  3. Avoid people who have a form of godliness but deny its power. 2 Tim 3:  5-6; 2 John 1:10-11
  4. Do not fellowship with so-called brother who is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler.  1 Cor 5:11-12.
  5. Do not welcome false teachers and give them credibility out of your good reputation. 2 John 1:10-11.

King Saul kept the good spoils of the Amalekites and offered sacrifice to God.  Though his intention seemed good apparently but God was angry over his disobedience to carry out His command to annihilate the Amalekites. 1 Sam 15.  Because King Saul showed mercy to some Amalekite children,  they grew up to harass Israel and kidnapped King David’s family later. 1 Sam 30.

Likewise, if we show magnanimity to dogs against our Lord’s clear commands,  firstly we have disobeyed a clear command and secondly, we will face adverse consequence of these dogs turning around to tear us apart.

Though Scripture is clear on such church discipline and even mentioned that a DOG is likely to return to its own vomit (2 Pet 2:22),  we are still exhorted to welcome recalcitrant believers back into church fellowship when they repent.

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Training In Righteousness

James 1:2-4 NASB

2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Heb 12:7-11 NIV

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

When we face hardship or trials, we are exhorted to endure.   We are to treat such trials as divine discipline and to expect them if we are sons of the living God.  If we endure, eventually we will gain peace and a harvest of righteousness having trained by it.

God’s Revealed Will for us is to conform us to be like His Son (Rom 8:28-29).   And so His discipline trains us in this manner to bear fruit of the Spirit :

  1.  Personal Trials.   Train us in love, peace and joy.
  2.  Our Neighbor’s Trials.  Train us in gentleness, kindness and goodness towards them.
  3.  Testing and Temptation.  Train us in patience, faithfulness and self-control.

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Testimony (12)

After God gave me such a earth-shattering vision in Sep 2001, I knew He was giving me a message.   And in hindsight now,  I could understand the purpose of the message for it paved the way for the mission God would give me.   I was called to galvanize churches to prepare for the end times and also to encourage doubling effort to share the gospel both in word and in deeds.

But since I have not enrolled for theological studies in any local seminary, I have no alumni network to call on to embark on this God-given mission.  I did not serve in any office or ministry in any denominational church for which the church could send me out.  I did not join any para-church organization as well.   Unless God opens the door for me, it is apparent that I cannot get off the ground at all.

What a journey of faith in seeing how God opened doors for me miraculously!   Not one, not two but three in a relatively short period of time.   Against all these odds, doors were opened for me in China, Indonesia and Philippines.

“…God led me to know two senior pastors from Guangzhou and Shenyang through a brother who was serving as a missionary in Hong Kong and Shenzhen.  They were overseeing a few dozen home churches with some few thousand members in these cities and were part of an alliance of thousands of churches across China with a Baptist background.  They invited me to come and share in their churches in China.  In late 2007 I made it to share in a pastoral conference in a village in a small town situated one hundred and fifty kilometers from Shenyang.  That was to be my first missionary trip.  About a hundred and fifty pastors and ministry workers attended.  As the churches were unregistered, that conference was considered to be illegal.  In the last evening of the conference, I shared the prophetic word that the financial crisis would happen just after the China Olympics in September 2008…The fulfillment of this prophetic word cemented our bonding and led to further mission collaboration in the future.

In 2011, God opened doors for me in a big way to share in the regional mission movements in Indonesia and Philippines also.  It was nothing short of the miraculous.

One evening in early 2011, a brother brought an Indonesian businessman to my home.  I took the opportunity to share about my visions and the coming financial collapse.  He was so intrigued that he invited me to share in the church pastored by his younger brother in Indonesia…On March 10, 2011, I went to Batam to share in a prayer meeting.  Some one thousand people attended that evening.  And, to my surprise, a radio crew was present to record my message…I learned later that the senior pastor of the church is the chairman of the Body of Christ Fellowship, which is an alliance of some one thousand churches belonging to more than sixty denominations.  As I was sitting in a café lounge waiting for my ferry ride back home the next day on March 11, 2011, I saw the breaking news on TV of a tsunami that had just happened in Japan.  Over the next 7 days, with my sermon being played on air to an audience estimated to be a million listeners, the sermon – with the mention of signs such as exponential increase of earthquakes and calamities – captured the attention of the churches.  I was subsequently invited regularly to share in pastoral conferences across several cities in Indonesia.

Two weeks later, a Filipino pastor walked into our Sunday worship service.  We thought he walked into the wrong church, as there was another Filipino worship service in the same premises.  He told us that he felt led by God to attend our service.   I was preaching that day…He invited me to share with his church in the Philippines.  Two months later I travelled to the Baptist church.  I did not know it was actually a pastoral conference, or rather, a conference to commission chaplains.  As the leaders are mainly pastors of evangelical churches, they invited mostly pastors of evangelical churches to serve as chaplains in the Philippine government across over 80 provinces in the provincial, city and county level today… “

– extracted from my book, The Coming Economic Flood.

1 Cor 1:26-29

26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God.

What a humbling experience to see how God opened the doors for a person like me with no network, church or resources to call on except just for the grace of God.   All thanks and glory to God in the highest !

Chaplain Commissioning Ceremony in Bangasinan.

Chaplain Commissioning Ceremony in Bangasinan.

Emptying The Gospel Of Its Power

There are presently 2 huge diabolical movements of deceiving the elect.   One is promoting a different gospel and has called itself the Grace Reformation.   The other is promoting a different Jesus and has called itself the New Apostolic Reformation.

The false prophets in both these movements will understandably masquerade themselves well as servants of righteousness and will lure away many professing believers as prophesized.  They should be very skillful in deception by disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.   Not surprising that they really call themselves Apostles in the New Apostolic Reformation as stated in 2 Cor 11:13-15.   And since they are so skillful in deception, the defense of their authenticity by their followers and sympathizers  – that they are humble, preach good biblical sermons on grace and do a lot of good to help the young people for example – surely fall short.  A “Berean” Christian should watch out for their doctrine of salvation and Christology instead.  For the master of these false prophets, the devil, surely will not promote the true gospel and true Jesus.

It is one thing to believe in the sovereign will of God that He still give spiritual gifts today and I sincerely believe;  but quite another to believe that signs and wonders are a necessity to share the gospel.   The following Scripture in Luke 16:30-31 dispels that premise.

Luke 16:30-31

30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’

1 Cor 1:17

17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

As Paul was even careful not to empty the gospel of its power by eloquent wisdom like what the hyper grace false teachers did,  how much more would it be through signs and wonders ?

Our Lord had warned specifically in Matt 24:24 that false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray even the elect in the last days and will He confuse the elect even more by empowering many to do signs and wonders as a necessity to share the gospel  as well ?

Though we have to be wary of the New Apostolic Reformation prophets who promote these signs and wonders as THE means of sharing the gospel emptying the gospel of its power and twisting the doctrine of Christology in the process, we should not dismiss or despise that God can still give such spiritual gifts today for certain unique circumstances on the other hand.   We are exhorted not to despise but to test these spirits.    1 John 4:1.  1 Thess 5:20-21.

Martin Luther, the champion of sola scriptura, said this, “The signs here spoken of (Mark 16:17-18) are to be used according to need.  When the need arises, and the gospel is hard pressed, then we must definitely do these signs, before we allow the gospel to be maligned and knocked down.”  –  Believer’s Bible Commentary.

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The Fourth Turning – A Seminal Work On Generational Cycles

In my book, The Coming Economic Flood, I stated that I finally understood the message God has given me. When God finally judges the Babylonian financial system, all 3 groups – the kings of the earth, merchants and those who make their living by sea – will weep together.  At this time, the kings of the earth, the governments, are still able to keep the system afloat by massive quantitative easing.  And that averted the collapse in Sep 2015 when stock markets collapsed spectacularly around the world, especially in China.  It is amazing to note that a USD 2.5 trillion debt bubble burst in US housing loan market nearly caused the global collapse in 2008 and yet a USD 11 trillion stock market drop in Sep 2015 did not cause anything near the contagion seen in late 2008.

We have noticed that the financial crises happened 7 years apart for the past few decades.  God has judged the symbol of Babylon (WTC) in Sep 2001 and the system partially in Sep 2008 and Sep 2015.  Thanks be to God for His patience and long-suffering that He has given further time for His people to come out of Babylon.  Will the collapse come by Sep 2022 ?   Or was Sep 2015 actually the last trigger ?

(https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2016/08/03/japanese-government-shifts-further-toward-authoritarianism-and-militarism/)

The above article made these very interesting comments :

“One of the most discomforting aspects of Neil Howe and William Strauss’ seminal work on generational cycles, The Fourth Turning (1997), is the fact that as far as American history is concerned, they all climax and end with massive wars.

To be more specific, the first “fourth turning” in American history culminated with the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), the second culminated with the Civil War (1861-1865), while the third ended with the bloodiest war in world history, World War II (1939-1945). The number of years between the end of the Revolutionary War and the start of the Civil War was 78 years, and the number of years between the end of the Civil War and the start of World War II was 74 years (76 years if you use America’s entry into the war as your starting date). Therefore, if Howe & Strauss’ theory holds any water, and I think it does, we’re due for a major conflict somewhere around 75 years from the end of World War II. That brings us to 2020.

The more I look around, the more signs appear everywhere that the world is headed into another major conflict. From an unnecessary resurgence of a Cold War with Russia, to increased tensions in the South China Sea and complete chaos and destruction in the Middle East, the world is a gigantic tinderbox. All it will take to transform these already existing conflict zones into a major conflagration is another severe global economic downturn, something I fully expect to happen within the next 1-2 years. Frighteningly, this puts on a perfect collision course with the 2020 area…”

Looking at the terribly flawed monetary policies of all major economies which have already crossed over the threshold of returning into balance, it will take a miracle to avert the inevitable collapse.  The question is not “if” but “when”.   As God’s people, we will come out of Babylon, prepare and rejoice when it happens.  Rev 18:20; Rev 19:1-2.

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Trials And Temptation

Although both trial and temptation are translated from the same Greek word “peirasmos”,  it is a world of difference between them.

Trial usually refers to morally neutral events that will affect us both emotionally and physically such as death of a loved one,  accident,  illness, failure, disappointment, unemployment, betrayal or rejection.  While temptation usually refers to evil desires in us, such as fornication or covetousness, waiting to be birthed into sin if one capitulates  to the conceived desire.

The following table highlighting the difference is given  by Pastor Mark Wheeler of New England.

https://wheelsms.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/of-trials-temptations/

trials-temptations

 

Many well meaning Christians have wrongly used the verse 1 Cor 10:13 to comfort those undergoing trials that God will not let them suffer such trials beyond which they cannot handle.  The verse refers to temptation and not trial.   And concerning temptation,  I am sure God will provide a way of escape through various means such as the convicting work of the Holy Spirit and His Word,  but it is one own’s volition if he or she allows the sin to be birthed.  James 1:13-15.

(1 Cor 10:13.  No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.)

It is a fact that some believers have succumbed to taking their own lives when trial such as depression has taken a terrible toll on them.

Here are some of my thoughts concerning whether these believers are saved.  And you may form your own conclusion.

  1. Samson who committed suicide was listed among the heroes of faith in Heb 11.
  2. Suicide is the sin of murder (self murder) – I see taking the life of another is the same as taking the life of self. Salvation is not dependent on sin accounting or based on the last sin committed.
  3. Trials are morally neutral events affecting us emotionally and physically.

Church Discipline

1 Cor 5:9-13

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

St Paul had given clear advice in the Scriptures on how to deal with professing believers who are immoral, greedy or are swindlers or idolaters and are unrepentant.  He had also taken preventive action in warning Timothy and the Corinthian church of certain so-called brothers who were causing great harm to his ministry. 1 Tim 1:20; 2 Tim 4:14.

Ex-communication instructed by Paul was necessary to protect the Corinthian church when these sinful believers were unrepentant after exhausting confrontation of sin privately and before the church with evidence and witnesses, and sincere attempts to restore them.  But ex-communication as a last resort is not an end in itself when Paul also instructed on possible future restoration and saving their souls.

The following sermon by Pastor Steven Cole gives an excellent overview of church discipline – the right steps to confront and to restore; and the necessity of ex-communication as a last resort in protecting the church.

http://www.fcfonline.org/content/1/sermons/081306M.pdf

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Thorn In The Flesh

2 Cor 12:7-9

7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Just before this Scriptural passage, Paul wrote about having the miraculous experience of being caught up to the third heaven.

It is natural human weakness to be conceited when one has great miraculous experience, visions and revelations, even Paul was not an exception.

I believe the messenger of the enemy was not a physical infirmity or disease but a real person in either a demonic being, or servants of the enemy in the church masquerading as servants of righteousness like the “super apostles”, undermining his ministry. Or someone like Alexander who did great harm to his ministry whom he had to warn Timothy and the church.

And it is important to note that God was the One who sent the messenger of the enemy to harass and humble Paul for the very purpose of training him not to be conceited.

In what way was Paul conceited ?

How did Paul plead with God to remove the harassment ?   Is it by pleading that God would bind the enemy when He was the One who sent in the first place?   How did the enemy’s messenger harass him ?

It must be so troubling a trial that Paul had to plead 3 times.  But nevertheless when the Lord told him that His grace was sufficient for him,  Paul eventually realized that a successful ministry rested on a weak servant in order for Christ’s power to manifest even more in him.

1 Cor 1:27-31

27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Lesson:

The Word of God is truly amazing for it anticipates that those who are given such surpassing gifts in the last days are likely to be conceited and this experience of Paul serves as a warning.  I see it as a comfort as well that when one encounters such trial will readily call to mind this experience of Paul and realizes God is in control and His power is made perfect in weakness and not strength in the surpassing gifts.

 

 

weakness

 

 

How Do We Await The Return Of Our Lord ?

After sharing about the signs of the end times in the Olivet Discourse in most part of chapter 24 in the gospel of Matthew came 4 parables in close sequence – the parable of the wise and wicked servants, the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids, the parable of the talents and the parable of the sheep and goats –  in which our Lord shared about the importance of faithfulness while eagerly awaiting His Second Coming.  The sheer number of 4 parables underscored how important is the message of awaiting watchfully and faithfully.

The parable of the wise and wicked servants and the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids gave contrasting attitude in awaiting His return.  The wicked servant did not believe the Master would return so soon and was slack in discharging his given responsibility and was evil in conduct as well;  while the foolish bridesmaids believed the Bridegroom would return very soon so they were careless not to bring extra oil for their lamps not expecting a delay.

Though our Lord gave frightening account of events preceding His return, He also exhorted us not to be alarmed and be troubled.  Matt 24:6.

In the parables of the wise and wicked servants, the talents and the sheep and goats, the main lesson to be learnt was to be faithfully discharging our responsibilities to care for God’s people conscientiously while we wait with an expectant heart and watchfulness.

The parables are not teaching that salvation is obtained through works.   But faithfulness in conscientious works will definitely accompany genuine faith.   The wicked servant,  the servant entrusted with one talent and the goats did not have genuine faith as evidenced by their lack of faithfulness and the utter folly of completely ignoring the commands of their Lord.   In all 4 parables, the fate of such unfaithful servants was banishment to a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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