BLS released surprising August inflation reports. Consumer inflation, as measured by the CPI (consumer price index), was estimated to be 8.3% (compared to 8.5% in July and 8.1% expected) over the last 12 months.
Core (less energy and food) consumer inflation, increased to 6.3% (5.9% July, 6.1% expected). Energy prices increased 23.8%, airline fares 33.4%, food at home 13.5% and new vehicles 10.1% for the last year.
August producer inflation, as measured by the PPI, was 8.7% (9.8% July, 8.8% expected) for the last 12 months. Excluding energy and food, the annual rate of change in the core PPI was 7.3% (7.6% July, 7.1% expected).
The Dow-Jones Industrials Index (DJIA) closed sharply lower (more than 1,000 points) after the CPI’s release. The index was down 4.1% for the week and 9.3% for the month. The CPI and PPI reports documented that inflation is still a problem, that it is widespread (not just food and energy), that the Fed will be forced to aggressively fight inflation and that we are likely to have high inflation for some time.
Although late to the game, the Fed has recently adopted an aggressive monetary policy. They have already raised interest rates 2.25%, are likely to raise it at least 0.75% next week, and could easily end up with interest rates of 4.0-5.0% or more before they control inflation
The opposing forces of conflicting fiscal and monetary policies complicate the solution. The current administration has already approved approximately $4.8 trillion in new borrowing. Unfortunately, the administration shows no indication of changing direction.
Since inflation can be defined as too many dollars chasing too few goods, adding dollars to the inflation fire makes the Fed’s job considerably more difficult. The Fed is attempting to stamp down inflation while the administration continues excessive spending.
Opposing forces is a primary message of the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation and all the books in between, the scriptures talk about the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the enemy, the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of eternal life and the kingdom of death and heaven and hell.
We are commanded to pray that the kingdom of God will come and that the Father’s desires be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10). As citizens of heaven, we also have a responsibility to work toward that end.
The Lord, through the scriptures, gives principles to follow in confronting and obtaining victory over the opposing forces in our lives and ministry. Many, and possibly most, of the challenges we face, are the result of spiritual forces aligned against us. For us to be victorious in creating more heaven on earth, we need to review and apply these principles.
Remember that our enemy is in the spiritual realm, not human.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places,” (Eph. 6:12, NASB 2020).
“Put on the full armor of God, carry the sword of the Spirit, and always pray in the Spirit. Specifically, we are told to put on the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, to clothe our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, to use the shield of faith, and to put on the helmet of salvation. Offensively we are told to carry the shield of the Spirit which is the word of God and to always pray in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:14-18).
Pray and when led fast.
“And He said to them, ‘This kind cannot come out by anything except prayer,’” (Mark 9:29, NASB 2020).
“So that your fasting will not be noticed by people but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you,” (Matt. 6:18, NASB).
Use the name of Jesus with faith. Everything must bow to the name of Jesus and that includes opposing spiritual forces.
“And whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it,” (John 14:13-14, NASB 2020).
Remember the stakes. You are at war with the adversary of God. Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly. The enemy came to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). Many of our issues with our families, health, vocations, finances and ministries are the result of opposing forces.
Remember, the battle is won already because of the work of Jesus.
“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world,” (1 John 4:4, NASB 2020).
Remember, the battle is not yours but the Lord’s. Once you have sought and petitioned the Lord, relax. Remember it is His battle and you are His child.
“This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of armies,” (Zech. 4:6, NASB 2020).
The future of our families, ministries, careers and nation depends in part on whether we are victorious in our spiritual battle against opposing forces. As Paul instructed Timothy, let us fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience (1 Tim. 1:18-19).
Dr. James R. Russell is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University.