The University of Michigan released its preliminary monthly index of consumer sentiment. Consumer attitudes impact consumer purchasing decisions. The index is closely followed since personal consumption expenditures comprise nearly 70 percent of the total annual output of the economy (gross domestic product or GDP). GDP influences employment, unemployment, disposable incomes and inflation. It is one measure of our standard of living.
The August Index of Consumer Sentiment was 97.6, compared to 93.4 in July (+4.5 percent) and 89.8 a year ago (+8.7 percent). Consumers indicated a slight decrease in their current economic conditions but had optimistic expectations of the future.
The consumer Index of Current Economic Conditions was 111.0, compared to 113.4 in July (-2.1 percent) and 107.0 last August (+3.7 percent). In contrast, the Index of Consumer Expectations was up to 89.0 from 80.5 in July (+10.6 percent) and 78.7 a year ago (+13.1 percent).
The University of Michigan expects fallout from the Charlottesville events to lower the expectations component when the final August index is released on Sept. 1. A lot can change in Washington and the world by Sept. 1, but the University of Michigan is currently predicting that personal consumption expenditures will increase 2.4 percent during 2017.
If believers want to fulfill their purpose, have an abundant life and obtain the desires of their hearts, they must have sound expectations. We must know that in the Bible, the Lord means what He says, and says what He means. His Word is 100 percent reliable. He is 100 percent faithful. He is capable and willing to fulfill anything that He says in His Word or tells us through the Holy Spirit.
Our God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipresent (present everywhere). He loved us enough to send His only begotten son (John 3:16). Of all people, Christians should have trust and expectation. His lovingkindness is everlasting. Our faith, belief, trust and expectation move God.
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in Him, and He will bring it to pass" (Ps. 37:4-5).
"Jesus answered them, 'Have faith in God. For truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you will receive them, and you will have them" (Mark 11:22-24).
Most Christians are aware that Jesus told us to ask and then promised that it will be given to us; to seek and we will find, to knock and it will be opened for us. Some may not be as aware that the Greek can also be translated as "keep asking," "keep seeking" and "keep knocking." Faith and expectation is not a one-time thing, but is the fruit of a growing relationship with our Lord, the King of kings.
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened" (Matt. 7:7-8).
"Faith and doubt cannot co-exist. Kick out the limits on your expectations. Stop entertaining the little foxes that contradict God's word. Stay focused. Stay believing. Disallow fear" —Taiwo Odukoya.
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University.
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