We live in a time when some possess incredible wealth, and the number of millionaires and billionaires is increasing as each year passes. The U.S.A. has 20.2 million millionaires and 724 billionaires. In 2021, Jeff Bezos was named the world’s richest person with a net worth of $189.3 billion. Worldwide there are 2,755 billionaires. Chances are someone will come along and knock Bezos off his pedestal.
Earning much but nothing to show for it
The Credit Suisse report states the total wealth in the world grew by 6 percent over the past 12 months to $280 trillion. The report also says, the wealthiest one percent of the world’s population now owns more than half of the world’s wealth. Why is there so much wealth in the world, but so many are just scraping by paycheck to paycheck? Perhaps it is time to consider what people are doing, and what they may be missing in their lives.
With all this wealth you would think everyone would benefit and prosper. The truth is nearly two-thirds of Americans, or about 63 percent, say they’ve been living paycheck to paycheck since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. That number has been increasing since March of 2020, according to a survey fielded in October of that year of roughly 2,000 U.S. adults by an information technology company, Highland Solutions.
However, it’s not completely due to COVID-19. About 44 percent of respondents say they were living beyond their means before the pandemic started, and two-thirds say they regret not having more emergency savings. And for many Americans, the financial squeeze is less about personal choices and more about the rising cost of living—including food, housing, education and medical expenses.
Stagnant wages also play a role. Real wages effectively remained stalled in 2019 despite the booming economy. This year, real wage growth has only amounted to 1.1 percent, according to the PayScale Index. Looking longer term, Payscale found median wages, when adjusted for inflation, actually declined 8.8 percent since 2006.
While there are some who want to feed off the system, most people are hardworking and they want to support themselves and their families. However, the majority of households are on survival mode. They can either get deeper in debt to make up the difference, or do without what they may need.
The pandemic has caused a change in housing in the U.S. that began well before the spread of COVID-19. Millennials (adults between the ages of 24 and 39), continue to move back home with their parents in significant numbers. For some it is by choice, but for many it's a necessity for economic reasons. Is this generation the first to live on a lower standard of living than previous generations?
Haggai the prophet challenged Judah, who had returned from Babylonian captivity. The Jews were again doing those things which led to captivity in the first place during the time of Nebuchadnezzar. God said to them in Haggai 1:5-7, “Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Consider your ways! You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.’ Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Consider your ways!’”
With all the working and building and getting in this world, do you think the average person considers their priorities? We do! However, we live in a nation and world where there is much labor, much business, much information and people going to-and-fro busily, and often selfishly, leaving God out of the picture. God is telling everyone to look at the results, and “Consider your ways.” God has called a different people, a spiritual nation, a holy priesthood for the future. Those God calls strive to put Him first and faithfully give tithes and offerings. Judah wasn’t. The money they made was like putting it in pockets with holes.
Abraham and Jacob gave tithes to God
Most people think there is no command to tithe in the Bible, and this simply isn’t true. They believe in Christian giving, but most don’t even do that. The Bible does say, “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Abraham gave tithes of all to Melchizedek long before the covenant God made with ancient Israel (Genesis 14:18-20). Jacob followed his grandfather’s example and gave a tenth of all as well (Genesis 28:22-24).
God declares to anyone and everyone who will listen across this planet, “'Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, "In what way have we robbed You?" In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,' says the LORD of hosts, 'If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it" (Malachi 3:8-10).
Don’t forget all His benefits
We know blessings come in many forms. No matter what difficulties we face personally or as we see the downward spiral of our nation and the world, it is encouraging to remember Psalm 103 and all the far-reaching benefits God bestows on those who put Him as a priority in their lives: “Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things” (Psalm 103:1-5).
When we see what is transpiring around us it is good to reconsider our ways and be careful. We yearn and pray for this entire world to wake up and hear Our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ’s words, “Consider your ways!”
This is my Perspective and the current edition of the Prophetic Times follows below:
February 16, 2023 newsweek.com reported:
Warships in the Russian navy's Northern Fleet have been deployed with tactical nuclear weapons, the Norwegian Intelligence Service said in a report released Monday.
The intelligence agency noted the presence of the weapons on the vessels in its annual report. It is believed that this is the first time in 30 years the fleet has gone to sea with the nuclear weapons on board.
"A central part of the nuclear capabilities is located on the North Fleet's submarines and surface vessels," the report said.
Norway's intelligence went on to describe the "particularly serious threat" that Russia's tactical nuclear weapons pose to NATO countries.
"In addition, Russia has, among other things, underwater capabilities, anti-satellite weapons and cyber tools that can threaten Norway and NATO," the report said.
The Soviet Union's Northern Fleet warships often went to sea equipped with nuclear weapons during the Cold War, Politico reported. But the latest development reportedly marks the first time the Russian Federation has deployed the ships with nuclear weapons.
Norway's report also detailed the increased importance of nuclear weapons for Russia now that the nation's defense budget is set to increase by 34 percent in 2023.
"With weakened conventional capability, the importance of nuclear weapons for Russia has increased significantly," the report said. "The Russian strategic and regional deterrent forces have thus become increasingly important for the Russian military power."
The agency's assessment concluded that Russia will continue to maintain and further develop its nuclear arsenal in the coming years.
February 16, 2023 barrons.com reported:
Chinese President Xi Jinping will make a state visit to Iran, Beijing's foreign ministry said Thursday, as a three-day trip to China by the Islamic republic's leader drew to a close.
Xi "gladly accepted the invitation" by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, according to a joint statement by both countries, although no date was given. The trip would be Xi's first visit to Iran since 2016.
Beijing and Tehran have strong economic ties and in 2021 signed a 25-year "strategic cooperation pact".
Both countries are under pressure from Western nations over their positions on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, while Iran is under strict US sanctions due to its nuclear programme.
February 15, 2023 spacedaily.com reported:
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos summoned Beijing's ambassador Tuesday to express "serious concern" after a Chinese security vessel was accused of using a military-grade laser light against a Philippine patrol boat in the disputed South China Sea.
The confrontation marks an escalation in the diplomatic row, after the Philippine foreign ministry earlier filed a protest to the Chinese embassy condemning the "aggressive" actions of the Chinese coastguard vessel that it said left Filipino crew members temporarily blinded.
Marcos confronted Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian on Tuesday "over the increasing frequency and intensity of actions by China against Philippine Coast Guard and our Filipino fishermen", spokeswoman Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil said.
The Chinese embassy said the men had discussed, among other things, how to "properly manage maritime differences between China and the Philippines".
The laser incident happened on February 6 nearly 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands, where Philippine marines are stationed in a derelict navy ship grounded to assert Manila's territorial claim in the waters.
February 15, 2023 jpost.com reported:
Multiple Russian military aircraft including fighter jets and strategic bombers were intercepted by North American air defense forces as they flew over international airspace near Alaska, US military said. The aircraft, which were identified on February 13, did not enter United States or Canadian airspace and did not pose a threat, the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) said in a statement dated February 14.
It added that the Russian flights were in no way related to the mysterious spate of airborne objects shot down by the US military over North America in the past few weeks.
‘NORAD had anticipated this Russian activity and, as a result of our planning, was prepared to intercept it… Two NORAD F-16 fighters intercepted the Russian aircraft,’ it said.
While NORAD said it sometimes escorts aircraft out of the space near Alaska if needed, it did not say whether this was the case this time.
February 14, 2023 jpost.com reported:
Senior Defense Ministry official Brig.-Gen. (res.) Danny Gold on Tuesday said Israel’s air defense lasers could shoot down the drones Iran has been sending against Ukraine.
Speaking at the Artificial Intelligence (AI) conference at Tel Aviv University, the Director of MAFAT [Directorate of Defense Research & Development] said his ministry is working on developing ‘the next generation of using lasers.’
He talked about multiple successful tests destroying rockets ‘with a very sophisticated laser weapons system. We have done the same for mortars, rockets and UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). The Iranian UAVs they are sending to Ukraine? It’s the same concept. We could shoot them down also.’
February 14, 2023 jpost.com reported:
Dutch F-35 jets intercepted and escorted away three Russian warplanes after they neared Polish airspace on Monday, said Dutch Defense Ministry.
The Russian IL-20M Coot-A reconnaissance and signals plane and two SU-27 Flanker fighter planes were escorted ‘from a distance and handed over escort to NATO partners,’ said the ministry.
NATO air command said on Monday morning that German Eurofighters shadowed the Russian craft, ‘who were posing a danger to other air users by ignoring international air safety rules.’
This was the first scrambling of the Dutch fighters since deployed at the Malbork air base in northern Poland. The jets are tasked with monitoring NATO airspace and ‘air policing’ until the end of March.
February 12, 2023 spacewar.com reported:
A US warplane shot down a new flying object near the Canadian border on Sunday, the latest of three mysterious devices spotted since military radar settings were cranked up in the wake of the downing of a suspected Chinese spy balloon.
Jittery Americans have been watching the skies as the mysterious incursions unfolded against a backdrop of acute tensions with China — although only the first object has so far been attributed to Beijing.
On Sunday the Pentagon said that it does not yet know what the other three objects — one shot down Friday over Alaska, one Saturday over Canada’s Yukon territory, and the most recent one Sunday over Lake Huron — are. But it said that the object downed Sunday had been tracked for nearly a day and did not resemble the alleged Chinese surveillance balloon that was destroyed off the Atlantic coast on February 4 after traversing the country. President Joe Biden ordered a F-16 fighter to shoot down the latest object.