Sunday, June 22, 2008

Food prices to increase on July 1st

An email was circulated among some bloggers recently, warning about a price jump of as much as 30% at the grocery store to be expected on July 1st, after a decision by a major American distributor to increase their prices due to the increased cost of transportation. The blogger who reported it claims to have a friend who was at the meeting where the decision was made.

I have no way of verifying this myself, but there's nothing about it that's hard to believe. The price of food must go up because of the high price of gas, which continues to rise, and because of the destruction of crops by natural disasters.

Should we lay in supplies? Sure we should. But again, what is really needed is prayer and fasting, repentance for the sins of the nation. Since the nation as a whole can no longer be called to this, the churches should be doing it. Seriously, at length, days long, not just the usual token prayer during a service or prayer meeting. Not just adding it to your long prayer list.

Flooding in the Midwest

The horrendous flooding of rivers in the Midwest is just the latest disaster that is going to have repercussions on the entire nation for some time to come. They are suffering terribly there, but the rest of us will be suffering as well as the destruction of crops affects the entire national economy.

We're already paying outrageous prices for gas, which we can trace back to both 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, and food prices have been rising steadily as a result of the increased cost of transportation. Now with the destruction of corn and soybean crops with the flooding in the Midwest, the price of feed for animals will go up drastically and consequently the price of meat:

Since this is a Yahoo story and I don't know how long the link will last, here's some of it copied out:

Record corn prices mean more expensive meat, dairy

NEW YORK - Raging Midwest floodwaters that swallowed crops and sent corn and soybean prices soaring are about to give consumers more grief at the grocery store.

In the latest bout of food inflation, beef, pork, poultry and even eggs, cheese and milk are expected to get more expensive as livestock owners go out of business or are forced to slaughter more cattle, hogs, turkeys and chickens to cope with rocketing costs for corn-based animal feed.

The floods engulfed an estimated 2 million or more acres of corn and soybean fields in Iowa, Indiana, Illinois and other key growing states, sending world grain prices skyward on fears of a substantially smaller corn crop. The government will give a partial idea of how many corn acres were lost before the end of the month, but experts say the trickle-down effect could be more dramatic later this year, affecting everything from Thanksgiving turkeys to Christmas hams.

Rod Brenneman, president and chief executive of Seaboard Foods, a pork supplier in Sawnee Mission, Kan. that produces 4 million hogs a year, said high corn costs were already forcing producers in his industry to cut back on the number of animals they raise.

"There's definitely liquidation of livestock happening," and that will cause meat prices to rise later this year and into 2009, said Brenneman, who is also the vice chairman of the American Meat nstitute. Brenneman's cost for feeding a single hog has shot up $30 in the past year because of record-high prices for corn and soybeans, the main ingredients in animal feed. Passing that increase on to consumers would tack an extra 15 cents per pound onto a pork chop.

It's a similar story for U.S. beef producers, who now spend a whopping 60-70 percent of their production costs on animal feed and are seeing that number rise daily as corn prices hover near an unprecedented $8 a bushel, up from about $4 a year ago.

"This is not sustainable. The cattle industry is going to have to get smaller," said James Herring, president and CEO of Amarillo, Tex.-based Friona Industries, which buys 20 million bushels of corn each year to feed 550,000 cattle.

How many have recognized this as the hand of God against the nation? Very few recognized it in 9/11 or in Katrina either. No, Americans don't seek God, we seek solutions. When gas prices go up we hear all kinds of ideas for increasing our supply from other sources. The immediate victims of the disaster will get government money. We'll pray for them and some will go give physical help as well, all good things, but where is the sackcloth and ashes, the repentance, the fasting and prayer, where is the recognition that this is God's handwriting on the wall against America? This is what is really needed.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Please, America, Repent

All this destruction by the forces of nature, growing economic disaster. We didn't repent at 9/11 and we aren't repenting now. You think it's going to stop?

The news coverage of the flooding in the Midwest highlights the usual community spirit, people coming together to help one another in their shared disaster. People also come from outside to help. America is justly proud of its community spirit. It is always a news item when these things happen.

A 91 year old lady in a shelter had a very upbeat attitude: it's an adventure, she said. Yes, Americans are a hardy and generous lot.

And they ask why would God allow this? They speculate about why bad things happen to good people. They may argue that God doesn't do such things. Disasters are just random phenomena. We all suffer.

I don't want to make too much of this, but there was also the story of Ms. X who is pregnant showing her and her "fiance" returning to their home to find all they had worked for ruined. It's sad no matter who it happens to. But here's an unmarried couple living together and about to have a baby, a situation so commonplace now that it is described matter-of-factly by the media.

But do you ask why God is allowing disaster after disaster on a nation in which this attitude has become the norm? We despise His institution of marriage in SO many ways these days, even to legalizing the marriage of homosexuals. Fornication has become mere recreation. Living together is just as good as marriage and so much less complicated if it doesn't work out. But divorce is also common, though God says specifically in His word that He hates divorce. Adultery is prohibited in the 7th of the 10 commandments. Exodus 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Thou shalt not kill is the previous commandment, but the nation LEGALLY murders millions of its unborn children every year. Their blood cries out to Him from the ground as Abel's did. The nation has the guilt of their blood against it and God will bring vengeance against it for that.

We have a long list of sins by now all crying out for judgment, which has already started and MUST get much worse considering our sins. Will we repent? Will the churches at least seek God on behalf of the nation, that He might grant repentance and cleanse the land?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly

What we need in the nation and the world is a genuine revival. Revival comes when God's people repent of their sins and pray for Him to change hearts.

America is a nation under God's judgment and there is no cure for God's judgment but repentance. We know this from the Bible, particularly from the Old Testament, which is given to teach us among other things how God deals with nations. Sometimes He will relent, sometimes He won't, it depends on how far gone the nation is in its rejection of Him and defiance of His law. We can hope that America is not yet that far gone. Even perhaps Europe.

Judgment is surely underway against America and the only thing that might stave it off is repentance. It is the churches that need to repent since we can no longer expect a President to call the nation to fasting and prayer. The most familiar verse calling God's people to this task is 2 Chronicles 7:14:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

For all its familiarity and occasional practice in the churches, there is reason to suspect that it has never really been obeyed. The occasional prayer doesn't meet the condition. This is calling for a corporate action of some magnitude. "My people" means not just a few of the more zealous getting together to truly obey the requirement, although if even that much happened it would be wonderful. But think of the power we have as Christians that we are not exercising. It is staggering to think of what we COULD do all together if churches all across America set about to obey 2 Chron 7:14.

What does it mean to humble ourselves? Does anybody obey that part of the requirement? The Israelites put on sackcloth and ashes and spent at least a day in fasting. If even a tenth of the people in a tenth of the true churches in America together fasted and prayed for one day a week for the nation, I think we'd see God move. I think we might have revival. If a day a week were set aside for people to gather at the church for this purpose, God would hear. Even at home or at work if Christians deprived themselves of every kind of comfort and luxury and special food or food at all for that day, praying at meal times at least, God would hear. Those who can't fast totally can restrict their food to a minimum and avoid every kind of especially liked food. Those who are able can pray on their knees or prostrate on the floor.

Oh if only the churches of America would agree to seek His face and pray as a corporate body for the nation, confessing the sins of the nation, and especially the sins of the churches.

It's God's people who are to humble ourselves. It's we who are to turn from our wicked ways.

We can make a long list of those sins and spread them before the Lord with pleading for forgiveness.

Joel 2:12 is another passage that calls God's people to repentance, fasting and prayer:

12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. 14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: 16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. 17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?

18 Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. 19 Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil,
and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen . . .