If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9, CSB)
Bowling, golf and pool share a crucial commonality: Get the trajectory right. Being off a few degrees at the beginning will result in a wide divergence from the target. The initial difference between one angle and another may not be very significant, but the terminal points can be so far apart. Fortunately, you can always recalibrate for the next time.
Playing these games is a lot like life. We may have an idea of where our lives should be five or ten years down the road, but if at the beginning of our journey we make decisions—even small choices—that deviate from the correct trajectory of obedience to the Lord, we may find ourselves landing far off the target. We may wake up one morning and look at ourselves, careers or relationships and wonder just how we got there. It’s because we got our trajectory off by a few degrees.
But just like in the games, we can always recalibrate spiritually through repentance. God’s grace and forgiveness far outstrip our ability to sin. The same power that resurrected Christ from the dead can realign us to target, no matter how far we may have diverged.
Have you checked your trajectory lately? Christ makes it easy to recalibrate.
Hope seemed to be the theme last week as market observers struggled to point to a solid rationale for the market’s strong upward move. Light economic data with a few small pieces of good news seems to have spurred a “relief rally.” The Federal Reserve’s newly released Beige Book (a summary of economic reports from its branch banks) indicated that price increases were moderating in nine of its 12 districts, primarily due to lower fuel prices and concurrent lower demand. On Tuesday, the Institute of Supply Management (“ISM”) and S&P Global released widely divergent final readings on August service sector activity. The ISM gauge was revised upward to 56.9, while the S&P measure fell more than expected to 43.7, the biggest contraction since early 2020. Meanwhile, the labor market appeared to maintain its strength, with weekly jobless claims coming in much lower than expected (222,000 versus 240,000) and hitting their lowest level since the start of the summer. For those looking hard for meaningfully positive news, Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard did state that she believed the economy could avoid a recession, although she did not elaborate much further.
European stocks experienced a positive week across most countries, although not echoing the degree of strength found in the U.S. Many European countries announced plans to deal with the ongoing energy crisis (via fiscal packages larger than COVID-era infusions) while the European Central Bank raised rates by an unprecedented 75 basis points. Japan’s commitment to easing inflation pain came in the form of an announcement of cash handouts to low-income households and a promise to cap prices on certain commodities and food prices. Japanese markets were up on the news, while the Yen fell to its lowest level in 24 years. Lastly, China’s markets were up as inflation cooled somewhat, but so did trade and domestic demand.
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