2010When Haiti experienced a 7.0 earthquake in January, Pastor Serge Nema and the members of the Ebenezer church in Leogane had their faith tested when the town was the epicenter that devastated Haiti. Six church members were killed, most families lost their homes, and the sanctuary was completely destroyed. But the people’s faith stood firm.
Samaritan’s Purse partnered with Pastor Nema and a neighboring children’s home for impoverished and orphaned girls, providing food, blankets, shelter, materials, and clean water for girls and more than 50 families. “Samaritan’s Purse was the first to help us and they didn’t ask for anything in return,” Pastor Nema said. “God brought His people to help us.”
What would one give for a cup of cold water? “Many wells collapsed during the earthquake and the water isn’t safe to drink,” said Emily Mast, a worker at the school. A water treatment system was set up on the school compound to provide clean water for the entire community. “Offering clean water to the community gives us a way to reach out to many people and show them God’s love.”
Emily is also thankful that God protected the children. None of the girls were injured and the school buildings received only minor damage.
The presence of the Lord was evident: “God’s hand was in it,” she said. “After the earthquake a man stopped at the gate, looked inside and compound and said, ‘Look at this. Nothing happened? We know God was with you.’”
Many humanitarian and religious groups have helped the Haitian people. Samaritan’s Purse was one of the first relief groups on the ground in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake. We focused on temporary shelter, non-food items such as blankets and hygiene kits, medical aid, and clean water during the initial phase of our response. We then moved into a recovery phase that included transitional shelter and therapeutic feeding. “The people of Haiti need our help like never before,” Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham said. “It is desperate. Ours is a long-term commitment. This is something we’ll be involved with for years.”
Please continue to pray for the people of Haiti and the heroic efforts of Samaritan’s Purse and other groups that are helping bring relief to the countless people that have experienced tremendous losses.
2010Haitian officials have estimated the death toll to be in excess of 250,000 people.
Thousands of families have lost loved ones and need your prayers. Many mission possibilities exist for those who wish to travel to Haiti to help with recovery and reconstruction. Contact your local church, association, or denominational office to discover the possibilities that exist.
When large disasters strike, there is usually a large response during the first days and weeks as people are made aware peoples’ needs. Both concern and contributions begin to trail off as time goes on and people begin to focus on other priorities and needs. Now is a good time to contribute to the humanitarian efforts to help the untold thousands of families with massive financial needs. We at christianretirement.com invested in the ministry of Samaritan's Purse by contributing to their Haitian relief efforts. We encourage you to do the same today.
When you give a gift you will bless many people who will benefit from your gift. One of the great secrets of giving is that you too will be blessed. The Bible teaches this principle in Acts 20:35 as it quotes the words of Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Consider giving a bless to others and to yourself today through samaritanspurse.com
For the past few presidential election cycles, candidates from both political parties have campaigned on the promise of: “saving Social Security.” These have been empty promises as evidenced by the fact that nothing has been done. Social Security will celebrate its 75th anniversary in August 2010. It was created by a law that was signed into existence by President Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression. It currently offers retirement, disability, and survivor benefits to 50 million people.
Over the next several years approximately 80 million “Baby Boomers” will be entering the phase of their lives that will see them begin receiving Social Security benefits. For Social Security, the “Baby Boomers” have been a blessing because of the hundreds of billions of dollars they have contributed through payroll taxes. Now that the first of the “Boomers” have begun receiving Social Security benefits, an anticipated strain on the system is getting closer to becoming a reality.
Predictions of both the Social Security system collapsing and predictions of it surviving have been made by various “experts” for years. By 2017, Social Security will begin paying out more than it collects in payroll taxes. In the beginning, the ratio of people paying into the program versus the people receiving monies from the program stood at 16:1. By the end of the “Boomer” retirement cycle that ratio is projected to be 2:1, or two people paying into the system to every person receiving benefits.
Will Social Security exist when you are ready to retire? Yes, it probably will exist, but if your retirement is 10 or more years in the future, the program may not exist in the same form it does today. Changes are coming; it is just that no one can speak definitively as to what those changes may be. They will be under control of future political leaders when they are able to muster the courage to touch that “Third Rail,” called Social Security reform.
One day in the future congress will be forced to step up to the plate and “save” Social Security. It will be a crisis when that time comes. It will be a crisis because congress will have procrastinated for so many years, that by the time they finally get around to addressing it, the problem will be monumental. When finally addressed, it will certainly be accompanied by political finger-pointing, incessant acrimonious rhetoric, and political jockeying. Unfortunately, the longer congress refuses to address the problem, the worse the problem will become. It is sad that congress refuses to lay political advantage aside and make an honest non-partisan attempt to do something that truly would benefit American peoples’ future retirement funds.
Jesus warned his disciples to be as: “…Wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16. Be judicious with your retirement accounts. Be circumspect with your spending, and continue putting as much into private retirement accounts as you possibly can salt away.
2010The Obama administration is proposing to expand and implement plans for citizens to save more for retirement. Do some research and decide whether any of the following options might be right for you and your financial situation.
• Saver's Credit: This option allows a person to deduct money off his or her tax bill, linked to donations to a retirement account. The lower the income, the higher the credit, 50% of donations up to $2,000 for singles earning up to $16,750 and $33,500 for married people filing jointly. The credit phases out at $27,750 for singles and $55,500 for married joint filers. Taxpayers at that upper end get only a 10% credit.
The President is proposing to give a flat 50% credit for the first $1,000 of contributions to retirement plans by families earning up to $65,000 and provide a partial credit to families earning up to $85,000. The administration also wants to make this tax credit refundable even if the taxpayer has no income-tax liability.
• Automatic IRA: Employers that do not offer a retirement plan may be asked to enroll employees in a direct-deposit IRA unless the employee opts out. Such a plan would, in effect, create employer-sponsored retirement plans for 78 million workers, the roughly 50% of working Americans who now don't have a plan at work.
If this plan is placed in effect, workers would automatically have 3% of pretax earnings go into an IRA. The worker could increase the amount of the automatic deposits or opt out altogether. The money would either be placed into a diversified portfolio or the worker would have the option to invest that money as he or she sees fit.
• Updating 401(k) Regulations: Mr. Obama is also calling for improving the transparency of 401(k) fees to help workers and plan sponsors make sure they are getting investment, record-keeping and other services at a fair price. Moreover, Mr. Obama wants to promote the availability of annuities and other forms of guaranteed lifetime income, which transform savings into guaranteed future income.
Talk with your HR Director, Financial Advisor, Accountant, or Attorney for more information about how to save and have more for your retirement. The more saving, investing, and financial preparations you make for retirement, the larger your monthly retirement checks will be when you begin receiving them. See Robert Powell's January 29, 2010 article in the Wall Street Journal.