Jesus said that men: “…loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” John 3:19, contrast some of the latest shenanigans of some of today’s elected officials with the values, virtues, and character displayed by some of our leaders from the past.
John Adams was the second president of the United States. He saw the need for religious values to provide the moral base line for society. He stated in a letter to the officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Two hundred years after the establishment of the Plymouth colony in 1620, Americans gathered at that site to celebrate its bicentennial. Daniel Webster was the speaker at this 1820 celebration. He reminded those in attendance of this nation’s origins:
“Let us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light, and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence through all their inhibitions, civil, political, or literary.”
Biblical Christianity was an important foundation to this republic we call the United States.
Benjamin Rush talked about the religious freedom of the republic that demanded virtuous leadership. He said that, “the only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid on the foundation of religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object of life of all republican governments.”
Consider the statement from our first President, George Washington during his farewell address: “And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
If you randomly asked 100 people to name their greatest retirement need most answers would revolve around
some derivation of the theme of money, but money is not your greatest retirement need. Many would say something like: “It’s a no-brainer, it’s my savings account,” “My bank accounts,” or “”My gold.”
Money is not your greatest retirement need.
Some would say: “My 401k,” “My IRAs,” or “My Pension.” Several respondents would include Social Security.
Financial security is not your greatest retirement need.
Other answers would include things like houses, lands, vacation homes at the beach, the mountains, or on some tropical isle. Still others would wax philosophical by saying something like “To be loved,” “To be needed,” or “To have made a contribution to society.”
Being loved is not your greatest retirement need.
Many would mention healthcare, wellness, fitness, and express desires to remain ambulatory until death. Some would include the opposites of Alzheimer’s and dementia, by referring to mental acuity and the desire to remain lucid until death. Some would include the subjects of retirement communities, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities.
Good health is not your greatest retirement need.
If those are not the greatest retirement needs then it must be something like relationships with family and friends. No, that is not it either. Could it be something like volunteerism, or hobbies and recreation?
Your greatest retirement need is to have a personal relationship with God.
10 seconds after death, one's greatest retirement need will be obvious. All the things we left behind will suddenly become meaningless. When standing at the portal of eternity nothing could be more important than one’s relationship with God. The Bible says: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” Hebrews 9:27. Consider these words of Jesus: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21. Jesus is saying that a person’s relationship with God is the most important need he or she can ever have. This need eclipses the all the other valid needs mentioned above. For more information see our “HEAVEN” tab above.
· mistakes happen…when people and corporations cut corners to save money and increase profits, accidents often follow. It involves the law of unintended consequences…as Sir Isaac Newton stated: “Every action has an equal but opposite reaction.” When a person does A, it causes B, or C, or D to happen
· people’s lives can end suddenly and without warning…the unfortunate workers who died such tragic deaths when the oil rig exploded never thought that their lives would end on that particular day
· people’s livelihoods can be decimated instantly…tens upon tens of thousands of people’s lives have been changed by one terrible disaster. Not only have people lost their jobs and businesses failed, but some will experience bankruptcies, foreclosures, divorces, suicides, depression, financial hardships, and dozens of other negative results that are destined to follow
· government can’t solve all problems…even though our president claimed that he and the government were in control of this situation, reality has proven otherwise. The entire situation seems to be that of attempting to manage an unmanageable disaster and the government can’t wave a magic wand and make it go away
· bureaucracy fails…those in charge of regulating off-shore drilling had become corrupt and lax in enforcement of laws, safety practices, and well-intended regulations that failed
· man is finite…though he brings all his best resources to the problem, he is unable to quickly stop something that is out of control
· man can’t destroy the environment…believe it or not, at the time of this writing this is still only the 4th largest oil spill in world history. Tragically, before it is finished, this could easily become the worst spill of all. We need and will eventually develop alternative sources of energy. While that is a much-needed priority, stopping the flow from this well is an even greater priority at present
· along with oil, greed has surfaced…scam artists seized upon the disaster immediately as successful attempts were made and continue to be made to rip people off at every possible juncture
· politicians never wish to “waste a good crisis”…when it comes to an oil spill of this magnitude, there is no such thing a “good crisis;” it’s time for all politicians to stop playing politics and concentrate all their efforts on mitigation and cessation of the disaster. Where are our statesmen of old?
· we need God more than we can ever know…while life on this planet is robust, it is also fragile; God blessed us with his wonderful creation and we should do our best to take care of it…”For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” I Corinthians 10:26
Will the oil spill eventually be stopped? While no one knows the future with absolute certainty, one has to hope so. Pray for those who are attempting to stop the flow. Pray for those who are making inroads in recovery and cleanup, and finally, pray for the tens upon tens of thousands whose lives will be adversely affected for years, if not generations to come.
Insatiable appetites abound. Aromas finally fill empty kitchens. Children scurry to the table for the long anticipated and desperately needed sustenance. Finally, the food arrives. Children, teens, and adults bask in the heavenly fragrance of rice, beans, and other staples hot-off-the-stove.
On June 2, 2010, after languishing in the Port-au-Prince port for almost two months, 41,200 pounds of rice was released for distribution to the hungry families of Haiti. In addition to the rice, some 8,300 “Buckets of Hope,” were also released for distribution to Haitian families.
According to Dennis Wilbanks of the Florida Baptist Convention’s partnership missions department, the rice plus all of the buckets and food were distributed within four days of their release by the Haitian Government. Commenting upon the urgency of the situation, Wilbanks added, “We must give the distribution report to the government officials in order to get more released.”
During February and March, more than 152,000 of the buckets of hope were packed with rice, flour, beans, oil, and other food by hundreds of Christians from Florida and other states as they sought to alleviate some of the hunger after the devastating earthquake of January 12.
Wilbanks cautioned, “The battle is not over; this is just the first one.” Fritz Wilson, Florida’s disaster relief director said another 14-16 shipping containers are awaiting release from the Haitian ports. Floridians are thankful that 41,200 pounds of rice and the contents of almost 1,400 Buckets of Hope are on the tables of so many who are hungry.
Pray for the Haitian people who are still reeling from the devastating effects of January’s earthquake. Pray that the Haitian government will release the tons and tons of food sitting in Haitian ports awaiting distribution.
Thank the Lord for Florida Baptists, Samaritan’s Purse, and the many other Christian ministries and relief agencies that have successfully distributed food, medicine, construction materials, and countless other supplies to the Haitian people.