The Quick Scan by Mike Ramey



      Occasionally, hard times arrive.  Once you live past them, they serve as the well-worn guideposts of your life.  However, getting through them is always difficult—especially when those around you have the emotional and economic maturity of a brick.

      Let’s spend a few lines calming your fears, and getting you ready to face life as it is—not as you would ‘like’ it to be.  First, economic downturns are cyclical and often arrive when people–especially those in politics--are ‘remarking’ how ‘great’ the economy is, to sucker the public and protect their friends (and themselves).  Whenever you regularly—or occasionally—hear the following economic terms (among others): Margin calls.  Layoffs.  Bank run.  Transitory inflation.  Consumer spending slowdown.  Credit tightening.  Interest rate increases.  Rest assured, the ‘hard times’ are heading for you.  Also remember that the U.S. economy is, roughly, 75% controlled by consumers.  IF the consumer keeps their hands in their pockets, economic progress will grind to a halt. 

      Second, when you see people standing in line round the block at their local bank, unemployment center, or grocery store, not only are hard times here—you are about to meet them in short order.  Third, hard times usually hit when God is trying to get the attention of a nation.  Remember: there were several times in the KJV Bible when God brought nations to their knees because, a) they forgot Him; b) the nations had been mistreating God’s people; c) God's people turned their backs on God, and; d) people had fallen in love with money and forgot about the poor and needy.

      So, you’re a young person and this IS your first economic downturn.  Or you are a ‘seasoned citizen’ and this is NOT your first time at the trough of bitter waters.  What do you do?  I’ve got a few suggestions on the way: 

      First, it is imperative that you not let what you see determine who you are.  Hard times never last, but prepared people do!  Do NOT let fear rule you when you see things going wrong in the economic landscape.  Suicide, drinking, drugging, chasing, and hanging out with negative folk are NOT long-term solutions.  They are crutches that will sap your strength and wallet.  Misery loves company, and usually has someone else paying the tab for the companionship.

      Second, get your spiritual priorities back in order.  Time alone with the Lord in prayer; time in the KJV Bible and clearing your mental and physical decks of those things that are not pleasing to God.  Take each day as it comes and look up, instead of at the problems surrounding you.  Count your blessings…instead of your shortfalls.  That new job, new business, or new opportunity to get training to go into a new career is only a prayer away—and God’s Word still speak!  The Bible is God’s talking book.  God does business with those who mean business.  WORD.

      Third, get your individual and family economic priorities back in order.  Cut the fat out of your budget and your lifestyle.  Determine what is a ‘necessity’ item and what is a ‘luxury’ item.  A streaming service is a ‘luxury’ item when one is trying to make sure they have enough income to cover rent, groceries, and utilities.  Having meals delivered by a third party gets expensive and is a luxury.  Going to get your own groceries and cooking the same meal at home will save you money.  Explain the economic problems to your kids and allow them to ‘pitch in’ to help the family (they live in the house too—even the older ones who may have returned to the nest)!  Why?  Simply stated, your children need to see and understand how YOU handle hard times so that, when they are grown and have husbands, wives and children of their own, they can look back at how Daddy and Mamma ‘got through’ with the Lord.

      Fourth, get your paperwork in order.  IF you must file for unemployment, do so.  IF you must secure an attorney for wrongful termination, do so.  IF you have to re-tool your resume, do so.  Deep six bitterness—for, in the end analysis, you can’t find a better job until you lose the one you currently have.  Sometimes a layoff is the BEST thing to happen to you (even though it hurts in the short term).  IF you must reach out to your old contact network, do so—and bring something to the table that helps.  Use social media to locate videos to help you sharpen new skills or obtain new training to update your old skills. YouTube—among other sources—has more available than ‘funny pet’ videos.

      Lastly, keep a positive mental attitude (PMA).  You NEVER know when that next opportunity will surface.  You may not feel that you are equipped, but God will equip you.  Help others achieve their goals by blessing them.  Never forget the poor and needy.  Take the time to look after your physical and mental health needs.  It never hurts to take some walks, smell the roses, and look beyond the thorns of life.  Trouble don’t last always.

      Mike Ramey is a Retired Gospel Minister, syndicated columnist and Bible Prophecy Specialist living in Indianapolis, Indiana.  “The Quick Scan” is one of a variety of columns appearing and abounding in print and cyberspace, written from a biblical, business, and common-sense perspective since 1996.  To drop him a line—or a whine—the address is still the same:  ©2023 Barnstorm Communications International.

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Ramey is married and resides in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a Christian, an Ordained Minister and KJV Bible Teacher. Since the 1980s, Ramey has won--or helped to win--multiple journalism awards and citations (including 3 CASPER awards). He holds a Police Citation for Citizen Bravery from the Indianapolis Police Department (1986) presented by the late Mayor William H. Hudnut III, and an award as ‘Best New Internet Writer’ (2003) “Black Men In” from Mr. Gary Johnson, Publisher.

His career also includes serving as an award-winning broadcast reporter, producer and TV/Radio talk show host in the Indianapolis market since 1981. In addition, Ramey has served as staff writer and section editor for The Indianapolis Recorder, and a freelancer for The Indiana Herald. Ramey has also served as a guest Op-Ed writer for The Indianapolis News, a staff writer for The Indianapolis Star, and a freelancer for BOTH The Associated Press and USA Today Newspaper (Gannett).

In business as an Anti-Gang Specialist & Consultant since 2007, Ramey is the Modern Street Gangs Specialist of “The Gang Line”. He has been interviewed in the U.S. and abroad on the dangers of Modern Street Gangs. Ramey is a Certified Modern Street Gang Specialist, with Law Enforcement (2006), Non-Law Enforcement (2010) and Gangs & Cults (2017) certifications, plus endorsements in K-12 Gang Issues (2010) and Transnational Gang Tactics (2010). He has held workshops, trainings and consultations with and for street-level/school-based personnel. He carries Specialist ratings in the area of Cult/Occult Crime, Transnational Human Trafficking and has served as a national/transnational consultant to various faith-based anti-gang ministries.

Ramey has also served as a veteran substitute licensed teacher (1986-2011), a college instructor, a Probation Officer (Intensive/High Risk & School-Based 2001-2007) with the Marion County Juvenile Court and a peer grant reviewer of anti-gang grant programs for the U.S. Department of Justice (2010). He also created, designed and taught the course UM-190 “Modern Street Gangs: Developing Urban Ministry Strategies” in 2009 and 2010 at Crossroads Bible College, Indianapolis, Indiana for those who desired to serve Jesus Christ in an Urban Ministry environment. Ramey also served as a post-production consultant for Chick Publications’ anti-gang comic: “Black Angel”. It had a 2013 national release, with an international Spanish-language version released in 2014.

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