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Friday, September 19, 2008

Making Ends Meet

A word to seniors . . .

“Food gained by fraud tastes sweet to a man, but he ends up with a mouth full of gravel” (Proverbs 20:17).

Most seniors live on a fixed income that requires constant fixing. The cost of filling up the car’s gas tank is definitely high octane even when the gas is low octane. Remember when gas cost about twenty cents a gallon and an attendant pumped it, checked the oil, and also washed the windshield? The cost of heating the house seems to be going through the roof faster than smoke from the chimney. Food eats up your social security allowance faster than you eat your food. And when it comes to medical and prescription costs—well, let’s not even go there.

Our challenge, as seniors, is to stretch our income so that it will reach the ends that seem to keep moving farther apart. But how do we do that?

One way is to refuse to buy what we don’t need. If we really don’t need more clothes, even if they are marked down fifty percent at the department store, we ought to say no and save some closet space—and budget space too. If our car runs okay and doesn’t pollute the air, talk back to all the new car commercials. Remember that a new car becomes a used car the minute you drive it off the dealer’s lot.

Another way to get financial handles on those ends that keep moving farther apart is to conserve and consolidate. Instead of driving a mile to pick up a loaf of bread, walk! We would all be better off if we walked more and drove less. And think of the gas we would save by walking! Also, visit the grocery store less often and you will save gas. Make it a habit to shop for groceries after eating a meal. We tend to buy more when we are hungry.

If you have the health and stamina to work part time, why not give it a try? A number of companies are discovering how smart it is to hire older workers. It seems we seniors have a good work ethic and demonstrate company loyalty. If you can’t work away from home, maybe you can work from home. Make an inventory of your skills? Can you prepare taxes, write articles, baby-sit, teach music, or turn a hobby into a cottage industry? You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that people will pay for your services.

Finally, trust the Lord to provide all that you need. He has promised to do so and He never breaks a promise. Assume the positive attitude of the believer who commented, “I may be living from hand to mouth, but it is the Lord’s hand and my mouth.”

© Jim Dyet

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Another Fine Mess

“This is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into, Stanley?”

Do you remember those words from the Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy era? It seems Stan was always bumbling his way into trouble and dragging poor Oliver with him. Stan and Oliver are out of the spotlight now, but when I read the newspaper or watch the news on TV, I feel like saying to the human race, “This is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.” Country after country is fraught with military conflict, unrest, poverty, drug traffic, disease, and corruption. We could laugh at Laurel and Hardy’s predicaments, but the chaos we see in our modern world is no laughing matter.

Who is to blame for the current global mess?

Adam and Eve? Not entirely. Their rebellion against God resulted in a cursed earth, a troubled home life, pain, suffering, and death, but according to Romans 5:12, we have all sinned. The human race continues to rebel against God and inflict hatred and misery on one another. The legacy of evil and its consequences will continue until God says, “That’s enough!”

And He will—in a clear, authoritative tone. He will wrest control of our planet, punish evildoers, and inaugurate eternal, peace and well-being for all His children. Someday, an angel will announce, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15).

When that glorious day arrives, believers from every era of history may spin Oliver Hardy’s words and tell the Lord, “This is a fine mess you’ve gotten us out of!”