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Friday, November 20, 2009

Retirement Isn't in the Bible. So What?

“Retirement isn’t in the Bible. So I don’t plan to retire.” The 40-year-old teacher told his adult Sunday school class. Stay tuned. Twenty-five years from now he may change his mind.

The teacher was right about one thing, though; retirement isn’t in the Bible. But neither does the Bible mention health insurance, automobiles, vacations, or hot fudge sundaes. Yet, most of us carry health insurance, buy automobiles, take vacations, and enjoy an occasional hot fudge sundae. You haven’t heard anyone say, “No hot fudge sundae for me, thank you; the Bible doesn’t mention hot fudge sundaes. However, if you happen to have some locusts and wild honey . . . .“

The issue of retiring comes down to a personal decision based on circumstances. More of us seniors are postponing retirement. We recognize that improved medical care—clear diagnoses, safe surgical procedures, and new drugs—is extending human life. If we retire at 65 but live to be 85 or 90, our previously anticipated retirement income needs would not carry us through those extra years. Also, if we enjoy good health, we reason that we might get bored after a few years of fishing or lounging beside a pool. So we opt to stay in the work force a while longer.

Post-retirement-age workers pose a problem, though, to their companies because they cost more in wages and health benefits. Many firms, therefore, encourage employees to retire by offering them an attractive severance package. But, if aging workers love their jobs or feel no one can replace them, they may want to stay until they are carried out in a pine box.

The Bible doesn’t indicate whether it is right or wrong to retire, but it makes it clear that we ought to serve the Lord as long as we live. What happened to the apostle John affirms this fact. The Roman emperor had banished—retired—John to the obscure island of Patmos. Surely, at the age of 90 and living far from the mainland, John would pose no threat to the empire. How could he spread Christianity from Patmos? He might as well kick back, wait for Gabriel to blow his horn, and take his last breath.

But John wasn’t the retiring type. He kept on worshiping and serving the Lord, and one day he received a visit from Him. There, at Patmos, Jesus commissioned John to write Revelation, the last book of the Bible. Revelation has given believers through the centuries a glimpse of Jesus as our glorified Lord, King of kings, and Lord of lords. John’s brightest day and perhaps greatest ministry arrived nearly three decades after his 65th birthday.

Your best day, and mine too, may lie ahead.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Culture Squeeze

According to Romans 1 and 2, Christians should dedicate body and mind to God. But the world combats this dedication by trying to squeeze us into its mold. Godless culture opposes right thinking, right behavior, and right speaking.

 We don’t hear much about worldliness, do we? It seems many churches pattern themselves after the culture instead of distinguishing themselves from the culture. Too often, our light is about as bright as the lowest place in a deep cave. Instead of displaying Christian values, interests, and goals, we let the culture form our values, interests, and goals. We think like the culture, act like the culture, and talk like the culture.

 At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, may I urge you to consider what kinds of shows you watch? What you program into your mind will surface in what you do and say. Are your deeds and words wholesome?

Saying “O my G—“ is never right regardless of how often movies and TV shows blast the expression at viewers. Minced oaths, too, do not belong in a Christian’s vocabulary. They aren’t exactly swear words, but they are coined substitutes that sound like swear words. If we have developed the habit of using minced oaths, it is time to kick the habit. The practice of reading and meditating on God’s Word cleanses the heart and mind and programs us to honor God in what we think, do, and say. The psalmist prayed, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD. My strength and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14).


Sunday, November 15, 2009


2012.  That’s the year the Earth will end. At least, that’s what Nostradamus, the Mayan calendar, and a growing number of alarmists are predicting. December 21, 2012 is the actual target date. Allegedly, at that time Planet X will soar into Earth’s rotation, causing earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. The sun will rise in the west, and north will become south. The Earth may get sucked into a black hole. A movie titled “2012” will surely attract millions of viewers; but don’t gobble down your popcorn like there’ no tomorrow, and don’t swallow everything you see and hear about 2012.

For one thing, the Rapture may occur before 2012. It could happen today. It could happen tomorrow. Or it could happen after 2012. No one knows when Jesus will come in the clouds to whish away Christians to be with Him forever.

Terrible calamities will befall Earth after the Rapture. For seven years chaos and unprecedented political strife and corruption will grip our planet. But at the end of that seven-year period, Jesus will return to earth, punish evildoers, establish His kingdom, and restore Earth to conditions similar to those of the Garden of Eden. He will rule as King of kings and Lord of lords for 1,000 years. And then He will consign all unbelievers to the lake of fire and renovate the heavens and the earth.

So don’t panic. God is still in control. His plan for planet Earth is perfect, and so is His plan for you and me.