"AMERICANS ARE TIGHTENING their belts." Hard to believe this statement is carrying the news headlines in a country known for its consumer spending. But, apparently, many all across the economic spectrum are beginning to feel the squeeze on their wallets. With rising food and gas prices, the credit and housing crunch, the federal government's urgent plan to give the economy an emergency jump-start, a volatile stock market, and an impending election, people are beginning to think twice about their pocketbooks and their purchases. And the global economy is feeling the tremors, too. One chief economist was quoted as saying, "The signals are flashing yellow."

The Sentinel is committed to standing watch over such issues. When a person's livelihood is at stake, and they find themselves at an impasse, it's often spiritual answers they seek and need.

But where to start? Many times the solution to a problem seems to be the thing we feel we lack, and so our search is about finding that thing. It's easy to think, "If only I had more money, my troubles would be over." We may approach our household budget with great determination to discipline spending habits; we may look for a second job or a more lucrative one; or we may find ourselves having to sell all our personal assets to afford yesterday and tomorrow. While these solutions have practical merit, is there a permanent answer to our needs?

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February 25, 2008

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