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The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a strong June employment report. The monthly change in non-farm payrolls was 213,000, compared to a forecasted 195,000 and May's 244,000. Private payrolls saw an increase of 202,000, versus an expectation of 190,000 and May's 239,000. The manufacturing sector, with its high paying jobs, saw an increase of 36,000, which was more than double the 15,000 expected and 17,000 larger than May.
The unemployment rate in June increased from 3.8 percent in May and forecasted to 4.0 percent. Digging deeper, the reason for the increase in unemployment was because 601,000 joined the labor force (employed or looking for employment). As more potential workers believe they will find employment, many have decided to enter or re-enter the workforce. The year-ago change in average hourly earnings was 2.7 percent, the same as May but below the 2.8 percent expected.
During June, 155,576,000 people were employed, which was an all-time record—the 10th record for President Trump. The Hispanic unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent—the lowest on record. Black unemployment increased to 6.5 percent—the second lowest on record. The labor force participation rate increased to 62.9 %.
The strong labor market is a result of President Trump's vision. He campaigned with his famous slogan of "Make America Great Again." A component of his vision was to increase the economy and the labor market with tax cuts and deregulation. His tax reform package, combined with deregulation, has had that effect.
Most Christians know the power of vision. Proverbs 29:18 says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." In a translation of the same verse, the American Standard version say, "the people cast off restraint," and the New American Standard versions says "the people are unrestrained." Regardless of the translation, the meaning declares the importance of vision. A vision from God changes things. Direction, breakthrough and promotion are often the result.
"Where there is no vision, the people perish; but happy is he who keeps the teaching" (Prov. 29:18, MEV).
"Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint; But he that keepeth the law, happy is he" (Prov. 29:18, ASV).
"Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law" (Prov. 29:18, NASB).
Sometimes, a lack of vision has caused Christians to waste precious time and resources. Other times, sincere believers have been frustrated with a lack of vision as they earnestly seek to obtain one. Fortunately, the Scriptures provide examples and principles of what we should do until we receive our vision.
Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers. Daniel was carried into slavery in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. Both men (boys) were uprooted from all of which they were familiar and placed in a totally unfamiliar environment. Both were placed into kingdoms, which at the time, were the most powerful of the earth's kingdoms. How would the kingdom of God fare? Principles extracted from their lives should be an aid to us.
Principle One: Remember that God is with us. Both Joseph and Daniel had the favor of God and man. Since others recognized the favor of God, they must have known it too. Remembering that God is with us puts everything into perspective.
"The Lord was with Joseph, so that he became a prosperous man. He was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper" (Gen. 39:2-3).
"Now God had brought Daniel into favor and compassion with the master of the officials" (Dan. 1:9).
"What? Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God, and that you are not your own?" (1 Cor. 6:19).
Principle Two: Resist temptation. Both Joseph and Daniel had made up their minds to avoid sin. When Joseph was tempted by Potiphar's wife, he ran. Joseph had made up his mind not to defile himself. Forgiveness of sins is available for all believers who repent and confess. But we are also commanded to avoid sinning and obey.
"How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" (Gen. 39:9b).
"But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's food, nor with the wine which he drank" (Dan. 1:8a).
Principle Three: Be open and responsive to the Spirit of God. Both men received and interpreted dreams. Dreams and their interpretation come from the Holy Spirit. Both Joseph and Daniel received the revelation, and as directed, acted.
"And they said to him, 'We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter for it.'
"Then Joseph said to them, 'Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me'" (Gen. 40:8).
"So Daniel went in and requested of the king that he would give him time in order that he could tell the king the interpretation" (Dan. 2:16).
Principle Four: Give credit to God. Both Joseph and Daniel publicly recognized that the power to interpret dreams did not reside with them but with God. When man glorifies God, expect more opportunities.
"Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, "It is not in me. God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer" (Gen. 41:16).
" Daniel answered in the presence of the king and said, "The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot tell the king. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets and makes known to King Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days" (Dan. 2:27-28a).
Principle Five: Be faithful. Joseph was faithful in administering the kingdom of Egypt with godly wisdom. Even Pharaoh recognized the Spirit of God in him. Daniel was faithful in providing divine guidance and administration to Babylon. He chose a den of hungry lions rather than bow to another god. Both were recognized with increased revelation and significance.
The kingdom of God is a supernatural kingdom of visions, signs and wonders. God has a purpose for each of our lives. We need divine visions for guidance and confirmation. Let us resolve to serve the giver of visions with increased focus, determination and faith.
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University.
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