One of the favorite times of the year is upon us. Christmas is near. Christmas is a time to celebrate your faith with those you love. It is a time to get together with family and send a card or gift to a friend. Trees are trimmed, gifts are wrapped, music is enjoyed, and the scent of freshly baked cookies fills the air. Cards are sent and received. Families worship together, comes home to visit, gifts are exchanged, and delicious food is enjoyed. All is well.
The words above seem to describe a Norman Rockwell Christmas. For many, Christmas will not be that idyllic. Some are unemployed, others struggle with health issues, many have family problems that prevent the gatherings mentioned above, and others have simply run out of money.
The bottom line is this...whatever your personal situation, you can make this Christmas one of the best Christmases of your life. Christmas 2009 may not compare to the Christmas you celebrated in 2007. You know what? Take the pressure off...it doesn't have to. The real meaning of Christmas is that of celebrating the birth of our savior and reflecting upon the blessings he has bestowed upon his children.
Trim back your own gift giving and gift receiving and find a family to bless this Christmas. You can identify a family that has needs through your church, the Salvation Army, or a local school. Buy the kids a toy; provide a new coat for the mother or a few pairs of jeans for the father. Provide food for the entire family. Do all of this anonymously for you are not seeking praise and recognition, you are seeking to bless someone else in the name of Jesus.
This Christmas can be a turning point for you, your family, and for someone else. Merry Christmas from christianretirement.com!
According to many experts, the ‘REAL' unemployment rate in America stands at 17.5%.
This number dwarfs the 10.2% statistic most people regard as the unemployment rate for October 2009.
Why is there a 7.3% difference, and where does that difference come from? The short answer is that there is more than one way to report unemployment. The government chooses to report unemployment via a statistic called the U-3 unemployment rate. It is a rate that takes many factors into account. However it does not include the millions of workers who are unemployed and who have stopped searching for jobs, or those who have lost good-paying full-time jobs to take lesser-paying part-time jobs because those jobs were the only ones they could find. Why do they do this slight-of-hand reporting? Perhaps it is the same reason some people conveniently leave some past jobs off their resumes...it makes them look better.
1994 the Department of Labor quantified unemployment in a statistic called U-6. When unveiled in January 1994, the U-6 debuted at an 11.8% rate of unemployment, while the U-3 stood at a mere 6.6 percent. (Remember, the U-3 is the statistic most reported to this day.) Another example of the vast difference between the two rates is the fact that the U-6 hit its lowest mark in April 2000 when it dipped to 6.9%, while the U-3 statistic touted unemployment at 3.8%. The U-3 rate makes us feel that things are not as bad as they really are.
Everyone likes to put their "best foot forward." For instance, when was the last time a new acquaintance told you about their latest bankruptcy, failed marriage, or an out-of-control teen that is on drugs? Obviously, no one tells things like that to a person they just met, or even all their long-time friends. Most people keep those things close to their vest. It enables them to make a better impression and makes them feel that things are not quiet as bad as they really are.
Now, what does the U-6 unemployment rate really mean, and how does it impact your life? If you are unemployed or if you have tried to find a job lately, you already know the answer to that question. Good jobs are difficult to find. An unemployment rate of 17.5% translates to the fact that almost 1 in 5 Americans either out of work or under-employed.
Action items include:
1. Pray for those who are unemployed.
2. If you have a job, keep it. Some are predicting that full employment for our nation will be a decade in coming.
3. Be prepared for a period of slow economic growth.
4. Learn to depend upon the Lord and trust him with your financial situation. Remember what the Bible says in Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths."
5. Save, invest, and prepare for your retirement as best as you possibly can in the middle of tough economic times. It is your future and sacrifices made today will be rewards you will enjoy tomorrow.
Your Will is the most important legal document you will ever possess, yet approximately 55% of American Adults do not have a Will. Many rightly consider their Will as their most important legal document because it allows them to determine the outcome of their financial estate after their death. (However, there is one thing that is more important than one's Will; it is discussed in a moment.)
You need a Will! A Last Will and Testament can give you the satisfaction and sense of security that when you depart this earth, your earthly possessions will be used in a manner consistent with what you have determined. Do you wish to entrust some of your possessions and monies to your surviving spouse, to certain descendants, to stepchildren, grandchildren, a sibling, a good friend, or charity?
A Will enables You to decide. A valid will enables you to predetermine the: "Who, What, Where, and When" of your final estate. It enables you to choose which of your heirs will participate in receiving the possessions and monies you leave behind. Will they go to an irresponsible child or grandchild that would spend the money recklessly with absolutely no thought of gratitude to you for your sacrifices, or will they go to a more responsible person that has proven to be respectful and appreciative? The beauty of a will is that you get to choose to whom you will leave your money and possessions. In short, your Will is your opportunity to have your final wishes met. Click on our Legal tab for more information, or contact your attorney.
There is one thing that is more important than a person's last Will. It is a person's relationship with God. "I knew that you would get around to all this religious stuff sooner or later," you say. Before you dismiss this thought, please read on. Suppose that when you die you have accumulated a large estate. You have large bank accounts, stock portfolios, and real estate holdings. You were responsible and very successful. You will be remembered by everyone as a good person who really had their act together and who was extremely successful. Yet there was one thing missing. You neglected your relationship with God. Though you died a wealthy person, you are now a spiritual pauper. You gained the world, but you lost your soul. Would that be a good trade-off? Not on your life. "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26
This life is temporary. Eternal life is eternal...it lasts forever. We support a person's right to riches, success, and wealth in every way. However, we advocate something that is more important than all of those...a viable personal relationship with God. Riches, success, and wealth can be transitory. Consider the thousands who lost vast amounts of money in the Barnard Madoff ponzi scheme. Wealth can literally be "here today, and gone tomorrow." Have you checked your 401(k) lately? What we are advocating is simple: place your greatest emphasis on things that are eternal, not temporal. Are you interested in beginning a relationship with God? Check our Heaven tab. Do you wish to repair and restore a once viable relationship with God than has grown cold? Study the Gospel of John, pray daily, and seek out a vibrant Bible-believing and Bible teaching church.
By all means develop a will. More importantly, develop a personal realtionship with Jesus!
Stop Receiving Telemarketing Calls!
You have the power to stop receiving those annoying phone calls. Many families, including my own, have used this service for years. The good news is: 1. It is FREE, and 2. It WORKS!
You are enjoying dinner, your favorite television show, or your favorite book, and it happens...your phone rings. You hope it is a call from a family member or friend, but when you look at your caller ID your suspicions are proven true...another sales call from a telemarketer you do not care to speak with.
The Federal Trade Commission maintains a National Do Not Call Registry. Federal and state laws require the government to provide residential phone customers who do not wish to receive unsolicited sales calls may place their telephone number on the register that will remain in effect permanently.
Would you like to register your phone number? Visit the National Register's Web site at
If you would rather handle this by phone you may call 1-888-382-1222. (The number may be different for your area, please consult the first few pages of your telephone directory for more information should this number not work for your region of the country.)
Sign up and enjoy the newfound peace and quite you will experience when your phone stops ringing with annoying telemarketing calls!