The U. S. is upset over Turkey's detention of American pastor Brunson and their recent decision to purchase a Russian missile defense system. Turkey argues that pastor Brunson was an instigator in the 2016 coup attempt, while the U. S. vehemently disagrees. A deal for Turkey to purchase U. S. F-35 fighter jets was approved in June. The U. S. is concerned that the Russian missile defense system could be used to discover and share vulnerabilities of the F-35.
In response to the above concerns President Trump allowed a 25 percent tariff on Turkish steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum. Turkey's currency, the lira, fell as a result of the tariffs and other Turkish economic difficulties. President Erdogan appealed to his people to sell their gold and purchase the lira to support it.
With this announcement from Erdogan, President Trump announced the doubling of U. S. tariffs on Turkey to 50 percent on steel and 20 percent on aluminum. In response, the Turkish lira fell as much as 20 percent last Friday and closed the day down about 14 percent. The tariffs caused ripples throughout the world.
Turkey is heavily in debt that is denominated in U. S. dollars. All debt payments must be made in dollars, which means that when the lira falls, more of the Turkish currency must be paid to meet their debt payments. The risk of a Turkish default is significant.
The world, but Europe in particular, has loaned Turkey large amounts of money. Spain ($83.3 billion), France ($38.4 billion), Britain ($19.2 billion) and Italy ($17 billion) are all lenders. In addition, the U. S. ($18 billion) and Japan ($14 billion) are also involved. Spain and Italy are worrisome because of their current debt loads. Some are concerned about the risk of contagion with banks and even countries.
When the Turkish lira fell, it caused a series of chain events. The Euro and many other currencies fell. As investors sought more safety because of the turmoil, the demand for U. S. treasuries increased. Higher prices for U. S. treasuries meant that interest rates fell. The increased demand for U. S. treasuries also increased the demand for the U. S. dollar, and it increased in value. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 200 points because of European concerns. Higher tariffs for Turkey were a catalyst of change for much of the world.
In the kingdom of God, every believer is expected to be a catalyst of change. Jesus died to give all the opportunity to become a member of His family. He left His throne in heaven to come to earth, to live as a man (even though He was God), to resist all temptation and to take our sins upon Himself, willingly making the sacrifice on the cross for us. After His death on the cross, He rose again the third day, and after ministering to His disciples, returned to the Father, where He intercedes on our behalf.
We love Him because He first loved us. We substitute an old life of sin for a new life of His righteousness, a life of defeat for a life of victory, a life of despair for a life of peace and joy, a life of lack for a life of abundance and a life of hopelessness for eternal life. He will never leave us in this life or in the next.
"We love Him because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20).
We become a catalyst of change for the world by allowing His love to flow through us. The world will know that we are His disciples because of our love for each other. In the natural, it is impossible for us to demonstrate this agape type (or God type) of love to others. But thanks be to God, he left us a helper.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35).
Before finishing His earthly ministry, Jesus told His disciples that it was to their advantage that He go away. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit. Jesus is at the right hand of the Father in heaven, but He lives in us through the Holy Spirit, who resides in us. The finished work of the cross, the infallible word of God and the Spirit inside us allow us to model Jesus—His miracles and His love.
"But now I am going to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?' Rather, sorrow has filled your heart because I have told you these things. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you" (John 16:5-7).
"How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him" (Acts 10:38)
If we want to be a catalyst of change for God, we need to model His love to each other and to the world. We cannot do it within ourselves. We have the greatest and most needed message the world has ever known. Let us give our all to God, that we may be a catalyst that changes the world for His glory.
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University.
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