Light to Live By

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

Category: Miscellaneous (page 1 of 7)

Entertaining Thoughts

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30, emphasis added)

“The finest art has always offered transcendence – inviting us to stand outside ourselves and gain perspective. Artistic images, music, and stories engage our rational faculties, which mediate and critique our emotional and visceral responses. Entertainment makes an end run around the intellect, stimulating the nervous system in much the same way as drugs do.” (Lael Arrignton, A Faith and Culture Devotional, 54).

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

Jesus and Family Responsibilities

The Bible has harsh things to say about those who put family before Jesus …

  • Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matt. 10:37)
  • “To another he said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Yet another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’” (Luke 9:59-62)
  • “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

The Bible has harsh things to say about those who put Jesus before family …

  • “And he said to them, ‘You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, “Honor your father and your mother”; and, “Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.” But you say, “If a man tells his father or his mother, ‘Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban’” (that is, given to God)– then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.’” (Mark 7:9-13)
  • “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8)

So how are we to understand what Jesus wants with regard to our commitments to both Him and to the families He has given us? Here is what I’ve concluded …

  • If my commitment to my family keeps me from fulfilling a Scripturally-defined commitment to Jesus, my commitment to my family is inappropriate and must yield to my commitment to obey Jesus.
  • If my commitment to Jesus keeps me from fulfilling a Scripturally-defined commitment to my family, my commitment to Jesus is fundamentally wrong-headed and must yield to the commandments of God to care for my family.

So I need to ask myself some questions, prayerfully before God and honestly assessing my family’s needs …

  1. Am I using love for or loyalty to my family to avoid obeying clear commands of God?
  2. Am I using commands of God to dismiss what may be costly service in the care of my family?
  3. How can my love for and fidelity to Jesus fuel an increasingly righteous, faithful, genuine, and sacrificial love for the family members He has surrounded me with?
  4. If I am growing in my love for Jesus, how ought that find expression in my relationship to my family?
  5. If I love my family as they desire me to, how will that affect my relationship to Jesus?

that T in the road

bumbling through life

Quite

Unaware

I encounter a

T in the road

What to make of this T?

An impasse? The end of my road?

A signal I should QUIT?

Or does the T signal, not a Termination, but a Transition?

As I consider my options something Emerges, standing between me and that fateful T

Exaltation of the King who rules my journey

Examination of my heart as part of my journey

Exploration of the King’s leading for the next stage of the journey

In fact, I discover the E is not just one thing, but many things

Yet it is not Everything

No, that is the Exclusive domain of my King

Him alone in that place between me and the T

Embracing Him as my Everything Transforms my journey

opening new options as I stand there before that great T in my road

there, with Him the T no longer demands I QUIT, but invites me to become QUIET

for, says my King, “in Quietness and in Trust is your strength” for this journey

A New Communion Hymn

Today I share the words of a new communion hymn written by my good friend, John McGarvey, pastor of the Cochranton Alliance Church in Cochranton, PA. They are to be sung to the tune of Come All Christians Be Committed. May your heart be warmed for your next celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

communion

Gather at the Table

We have come to give attention
To the story of the cross
Where our Savior laid His life down,
Willingly for all the lost.
But our minds are so distracted,
And our hearts are drawn to sin,
So we gather at the table
To remind ourselves again.

Come and see God’s gracious working
On behalf of sinful man
Come and give your full attention
To the gospel truth again.
When our hearts become complacent
And our worship has grown dull
We will gather at the table
Till our hungry hearts are full.

We have come to share the supper,
Come to hear the truth retold,
Come to see and taste and handle
These reminders from of old,
For our senses are bombarded
With the vain pursuits of men
So we gather at the table
To remind ourselves again.

Turn aside, for God is calling;
Come and see what He has done!
For His presence is among us
And we stand on holy ground.
Come and ponder all the mysteries
Of His matchless love and grace.
Let us gather at the table
For He meets us in this place.

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