The last few days have been filled with economic drama that is is likely to continue and even intensify.
Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has called for a referendum on July 5. Greek voters will decide whether to accept creditors' offers of continued austerity as a condition for more aid. In response the European Central Bank froze emergency funds at last Friday's levels. Mr. Tsipras closed Greek banks and issued capital controls for at least a week.
Greece missed its required June payments to the IMF and will be declared in formal default 30 days later unless funds are found. Greeks will experience economic turmoil over the coming days. The coming days will decide whether Greece will remain in the Euro.
Most European stocks were down sharply, while Asian and U.S. stocks were also down. The Euro was down against the U.S. dollar. Interest rates for U.S. treasuries were down while European interest rates were up. Expect the uncertainty to continue. Current trends could accelerate, or even reverse if resolution is obtained.
Risks of contagion of the crisis to the European Union or the United States are minimal short term. The world has had five years to prepare for a potential Greek exit. However, if Greece were to default, leave the Euro, and improve their economic well-being (a possibility), long term risks to the European Union are significant. Countries such as Italy, Portugal and Spain could be enticed to follow a similar strategy.
Even if the Greek situation is resolved, expect a lot of economic drama over the coming months. The Chinese stock market is falling sharply. U.S. stocks are likely overvalued. Increasing numbers of investors, analysts and economists are concerned that U.S. and global bonds are in a bubble. Liquidity in some bond markets is problematic. The hundreds of trillions of dollars in derivatives outstanding increase risk.
For those in the Kingdom, we should remember that God is in control. Economic events do not surprise Him. His provision is not dependent on the economy. As citizens in the Kingdom, our source is the King of Kings.
Isaac planted in a drought and reaped a hundred fold return. Joseph prospered as a slave, a prisoner, and as second to Pharaoh because God was with him. Daniel was promoted to a position of great influence because others recognized that he had the wisdom of God.
We serve a supernatural God, who owns everything, and has promised to provide all that we need and ask in faith. In times of economic (political, social, or spiritual) turmoil we need even more to seek His presence, direction and favor. Specifically, we should
be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6); seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33); give (Luke 6:38); abide in Jesus, let His word abide in us, and ask (Matthew 15:7); keep our confidence, endure, and expect (Hebrews 19:35-36).
We should also focus on the goodness, power, and faithfulness of God.
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no change or shadow of turning" (James 1:17).
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics and undergraduate chair of the College of Business at Oral Roberts University.
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