The Federal Reserve is the central bank of the United States charged with the dual mandates of maximizing employment and maintaining stable prices. The Fed controls the money supply, supervises member banks, holds depository institutions' reserves, serves as a lender of last resort, provides check-clearing services, supplies the economy with paper money, serves as the government's banker and handles the sale of U. S. Treasury securities.
Established in 1913, the Fed was designed to be independent from political influence. A 12-member board of governors controls and coordinates its activities. The governors are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. However, they serve 14-year terms, and only one is appointed every other year so that no president could pack the number of governors of the Fed. There are 12 Federal Reserve banks serving 12 districts.
Monetary policy can be implemented by the Fed without approval of anyone in the administration. The Fed receives no money from Congress. However, Congress does have oversight, and the Fed must submit semi-annual reports on monetary policy to Congress.
Proponents of an independent Fed argue that it needs this independence to focus on long-term economic objectives. Because of this independence, it is able to make politically unpopular policies that are in the long-term best interest of the economy. Without independence, critics argue that the central bank could be influenced by election-year politics by creating unjustified expansionary policies for political objectives.
Critics argue that the Fed has sometimes contributed to economic problems rather than being the solution. Detractors point to action taken during the Great Depression, which most agree was counterproductive and some argue was causal. Others point to the massive expansion of its balance sheet and the bailout of AIG during the 2007 financial crisis and argue that elected representatives should be involved. The Constitution gives Congress the authority and power to coin money and regulate its value. Some argue that it is unconstitutional to for Congress to assign this power to an independent government agency. Currently, an increasing number or people are expressing concerns that the Fed is increasing interest rates too fast and too far, especially when the Fed is simultaneous reducing its balance sheet.
Jesus was known for His authority and power. Throughout His earthly ministry, He taught with authority (Matt. 7:29) and used miracles to prove His authority (Matt. 9:16) and messiahship (John 14:11). He boldly declared, after the resurrection and before His ascension, that all authority (in heaven and earth) had been given Him. Jesus had demonstrated His power through His sinless life, healings, deliverances, signs and wonders, and the resurrection.
"Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth'" (Matt. 28:18).
John records that the resurrected Christ told the disciples He was sending them. He then breathed on them and told them to "Receive the Holy Spirit" (John 20:21-22). The disciples received the down payment of the Spirit that every earnest believer receives. But even though Jesus had spent three years in ministry with these disciples and had taught them for 40 days as their resurrected Savior, he told them to wait in Jerusalem until they had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
" Being assembled with them, He commanded them, "Do not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, of which you have heard from Me. For John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now" (Acts 1:4-5).
The world was changed at Pentecost. The disciples were changed. Peter went from denying the Lord, to being a bold and courageous witness of Christ that was eventually martyred for his faith. Shortly after Pentecost, Peter and John were released. When they prayed for boldness, the earth shook, and Scripture records they were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:31). Peter and John must have been refilled, refreshed, empowered and given more anointing. We should seek likewise.
Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, and He went about doing good and performing miracles (Acts 10:38). Jesus taught that it was to our advantage that He went away so He could send the Holy Spirit. Jesus also taught that we can do even greater works. Is this an area in our walk that is deficient? Jesus died for us to gain His authority and share His power via the Holy Spirit. Let us truly seek to be empowered from on High.
"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 16:7).
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father," John 14:12, NASB.
Too many of us have dreams of doing something for the Lord which can be envisioned with our skills, education, resources, connections and natural giftings. To those people I say your dreams are too low. Don't settle. Your man-made constraints are invalid. Though Him we can do all things. He has more for us to than we can imagine. He gave us the authority at a tremendous price. Let us seek His power.
"I can do all things because of Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13).
"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" (Eph. 3:20).
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University.
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