Light to Live By

"The unfolding of your words gives light ..." (Psalm 119:130a)

Planning for the Future

Retirement planning is big business these days. And the market is ripe. Baby boomers currently enter retirement at a rate of 10,000 per day. And estimate 33 million more will join the ranks of the retired over the next seven years!

Heading into 2017 there was a surge of confidence in people’s sense of preparedness to enter retirement. In 2011 only 24% felt such confidence; today the percentage has risen to 41%.[1] Whether that confidence is well-founded is, of course, yet to be seen. But it seems people are giving more and more attention to preparing for their retirement future.

Those in their 20’s are being urged to begin now to store away for their retirement years. The magic powers of compounding interest are paraded before their eyes with dollar signs dancing through their dreams of a better tomorrow, free of work and the stress it brings.

Anyone in their 30’s is warned that the window of opportunity is fast passing them by. Left feeling like dullards they are shamed into obtaining professional help and getting a “plan” together.

If you’re in your 40’s the time for warning is past and embarrassment is the tool of choice. If you are in your fifth decade of life and haven’t been working a wise investment plan you are not just foolish, but destining those around you to a life of taking care of you.

And, heaven forbid, you are in your 50’s … well, we have funeral services for you. Survival in retirement years is simply (ahem!) unrealistic.

Am I counseling not being intentional about preparing for retirement? Not at all. Of course there is some wisdom in this. It’s just that a related, but significantly different thought ran through my head the other day. I want to start asking people:

  • What are your post-retirement plans?
  • What are you doing to be ready for that transition?
  • How long have you been concerned and preparing for your post-retirement future?
  • How comfortable are you with your preparations for your post-retirement period?

In fact, the next time someone asks me what I do, I think I may just answer: “I am a post-retirement counselor”!

Jesus—the ultimate post-retirement counselor—advised, “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20). Peter counseled us to make certain of “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). Solomon counseled, “However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all. But let them remember the days of darkness, for there will be many” (Ecclesiastes 11:8, NIV).

As we prepare for 2017 year to give way to 2018, as we enter the gift-buying, gift-giving season, as all the while we all move toward our post-retirement existence … let’s take steps to make certain that we’re ready for our post-retirement experience, by the mercies and grace of God through Jesus.

[1] http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20161227/BLOG05/161229964/2017-will-be-year-of-change-for-retirement-industry

Big Sale! Christmas Shopping?

Three of my books with CLC Publications are not 70% off through the end of November. You won’t find prices better than that! Here is a simple, affordable way to get some Christmas shopping done. Check them out here.

Incomparable!

“To me …  grace was given, to preach … the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8)

“There is no language, ancient or modern, like that of the gospel of the grace of God, pronounced by the Holy Ghost to one’s heart, and of heaven-born souls to God under his influence; no history like that of Jesus Christ, redemption through blood, and effectual application of his grace; no science like that of beholding the ‘Word made flesh,’ and beholding the infinite perfections of JEHOVAH in him, and through him, in every creature,—as from eternity manifested, and to be for ever manifested in our inconceivable happiness, ‘to the praise of the glory of his grace;’ no pleasure like that of ‘fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ,’ and all that joy and peace with which the ‘God of hope’ fills men in believing,—that joy which is ‘unspeakable, and full of glory.’” –John Brown (1722-1787) The Life of John Brown, pp.67-68.

Surprises in Heaven

Which is it?

Of late I have been memorizing and praying back to God the great prayer of Habakkuk 3:17-19. But during much of that time I’ve also had in my Bible a 3×5 card upon which I wrote, some time ago, the text of Genesis 32:26b. Recently, as I was praying back the former to God, I happened upon the card in my Bible. In an instant, seeing them side by side, I realized the contrast between the faith of Jacob and that of Habakkuk.

“I will not let you go unless you bless me.” (Genesis 32:26b). These are, of course, Jacob’s words while wrestling with “the angel” through the night. He says, “I’m not letting go of you, Lord, until you bless me.”

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments” (Habakkuk 3:17-19). This is the prophet’s prayer of faith as he surrendered to God’s sovereignty over the nations and over his own life. This is Habakkuk saying, “I will not let you go even if you don’t bless me.”

See them side by side:

  • I will not let you go unless you bless me.
  • I will not let you go even if you don’t bless me.

So which one is it?

Or, is it both?

Yes, both.

For the blessing for which Jacob holds out is God’s own presence with him. And that of which Habakkuk will not let go, no matter his earthly state of blessedness, is the presence of God with him.

Bless me or bless me not, you, O Lord, are the one essential. You are the one thing I cannot live without. Amen.

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