Reimagine Retirement by C.J. Cagle– Book Review

“A reimagined retirement is one that is planned, structured, lived and continually reexamined in light of sound biblical doctrine, principles and practice.  It is a retirement lived for the glory of God, his kingdom and the good of his people.”

In this book author C. J. Cagle takes a hard look at modern retirement and what it means to us.  For many, the ideal is to work as hard as we can, save as much as possible, and then spend the final years of life on an endless vacation.  This  approach is not biblical and is unlikely to lead to personal satisfaction.

Since the Bible does not address retirement directly (most people would not live long enough or have the financial means to stop working), Cagle uses general biblical principles for living.  For example, we should save, but if we are saving so much and working such long hours that we have no desire or time to be generous, we have turned a positive into a negative.  In the same way, our finances may allow us to retire from our job, but we should never retire from the vocations God has given us — within our families, communities and churches.  Retirement is a time when we can plan to do the work we choose to do for God’s Kingdom, rather than the work we must do to earn a living.

The book contains some history of how modern retirement evolved, a case study following a young couple from marriage to retirement age, and a number of sections on saving, investing and other financial issues. Cagle makes it clear that he is not a financial planning professional, and any advice given should not replace consulting such a person.  He is:

“just a fairly average, financially conservative guy who wants to steward my God-given resources well.”

That being said, I had my husband (who was a banker and stockbroker in another life) review the material, and he found it basic and sound.

There is also some discussion about preparing a will, life insurance, and dealing with medical decisions and issues.

Most of the advice in this book is too late for me, as I am already retired.  It should be read by young people, well before they approach retirement.  It could be a great book to read, discuss or plan a class around for young marrieds in the church.

VERDICT:  4 stars– This book was not particularly helpful to me, but would be a good resource for younger people

If you would like to purchase this book, follow the link below:

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255



Go Rest High On That Mountain

My husband and I just finished watching the documentary, Country Music, which I mentioned before.  I thought I’d post this song from the last segment, one of my favorites, which we played at my father’s funeral.

Vince Gill began writing this song after a friend (Keith Whitley, another country singer) died of alcohol poisoning, but didn’t finish it for several years.  When his older brother died he completed this song, and I’m sure it speaks to many, as it does to me.

For More Posts on Funeral Songs follow these links:

Funeral Songs

Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

I Want to Be in that Number

Happy Thanksgiving!

Or is it?  Most of us in the US will be getting up early to cook a turkey and pull together the meal of the year.  Family may be coming over and this is a test to see how well you can handle the stress.  There are some of us that love this kind of thing, doing all the work, watching family enjoy the meal, seeing some of the family that you haven’t seen in a while.  And then there are the rest of us….

Yes, I’m one that hates the stress and bother of having a ton of people at my house.  Let me give you some background on this:  My mother was one of the above described people.  She loved nothing more than fixing a ton of food and seeing 20 to 50 or more people descend on our home and enjoy themselves.  She actually catered my wedding reception for over 200 people without blinking an eye.  I grew up underneath this shadow.  Of course, while growing up I helped my mom do all this.  Thanksgivings, Christmas, she even had an open house on New Year’s Day every year.

Thankful HeartsFast forward about 15 years.  My mom is in a nursing home; suffering from multiple strokes and seizures.  It’s November and my dad calls to ask what I’m going to do for Thanksgiving.  Well, gee.  I’m backed into a corner and tell him I guess I’ll fix up a dinner.  Then it’s the transportation issue for my mom.  She’s in a wheelchair and unable to walk.  Lucky me that I’m working for an agency that transports handicapped individuals and have access and training to get my mom and transport her to my house (with permission, of course).  My brother abstains from driving an hour to come, so it’s just my parents and my family.

I wanted the day to go perfectly because this was probably my mom’s last Thanksgiving (it was).  Coordinating cooking with transport wasn’t easy.  Taking care of mom’s needs and handling it all was harder.  So, in the middle of all this…  I drop the turkey!  ON THE FLOOR.  I almost had a nervous breakdown.

The day didn’t get better after that; in fact, it went downhill.  Dinner was delayed while we cleaned up the mess (have you ever cleaned up the mess a dropped turkey makes?  Yuck!)  Mom started having seizures and didn’t stop.  I had to abandon it all to take her back to the nursing home.  The day, in my eyes, was a complete failure.

I let that day color the rest of the time I had with my mom.  I didn’t do everything with the grace and poise that she always had.  I didn’t meet the standards that she had set when I was younger.  I wasn’t good enough.

Since then, with God’s grace, I have a different outlook on the whole Thanksgiving holiday.  Looking back, I would have rather spent time with my mom and dad and family and maybe fixed a simple dinner.  I’ve learned since that time that you don’t have to have turkey.  We’ve had spaghetti, lasagna and mac and cheese in these past years.  We’ve invited people to join us at our simple family meals so they won’t be alone.  Yes, we still have turkey on occasion, but only if we feel like doing the whole deal.  Otherwise, it’s just dinner.

Be thankful and cherish what you have right now because you may not have it tomorrow.  Relax and love your family around you; they won’t be here forever.  Try not to get wrapped  up in the preparations of the meal.  If problems come up, and you know they will, take it “with a grain of salt” and continue on.  The world won’t come to an end. And remember to Thank the Lord always for this day and the other 365 days after it.


What’s Up With Friendsgiving?

My husband mentioned “friendsgiving”  the other day.  I guess I had seen the word a few times, but really didn’t take note of it — some new advertising ploy, I figured.  Evidently, though, it’s becoming a trend.

What is it?  Well, from what I am able to glean from the internet, it’s a sort of potluck feast you arrange with your friends — sometimes in lieu of Thanksgiving with family, sometimes on the Wednesday before or Friday after Thanksgiving.  On the surface, it doesn’t seem like a bad thing, I mean, why not celebrate our friendships?  Why not get together with the folks we value most?  Still, I find it a bit disturbing.

At a friendsgiving feast, I am encouraged to invite the people I care about most.  I can’t choose my family, but I can choose my friends.  It’s a modern tradition, and no, it didn’t originate on the sitcom, Friends (although there were some Thanksgiving episodes) — it was indeed first used in an advertising campaign for Bailey’s Irish Cream.

The first Thanksgiving, on the other hand, was an actual historic event.  You know the story.  After the first year in America only 53 pilgrims from the Mayflower had survived.  Disease and starvation had claimed the rest (originally 102).  However, at the end of that year, with the help of the local Indians, they found themselves with an ample food supply to face the coming winter.  Sometime between September and November of 1621, a feast to celebrate God’s provision was held.  It included recreational events, and the Wampanoag Indians, along with their leader Massasoit were invited.  It has been celebrated on and off since America was formed and in 1863, during the Civil War it became an official federal holiday.

In summary, Friendsgiving is all about ME.  Having the food I like with the people I choose.  Thanksgiving is about community and GOD.  Thanking the one who created us for sustaining us every day.  It seems that our holidays (which by the way  started as holy days) are becoming more and more secularized.  Thanksgiving is about celebrating our friends and rushing out to get those Black Friday bargains;  Christmas (again, originally Christ’s Mass) has turned into what my husband calls the “gift-giving holiday.”  We’ve replaced God with some new idols — friends and shopping.  We’ve turned days meant to be sanctified times of rest and worship into days characterized by overeating, overspending and stress.  It’s not what God intended.

Anyway, tomorrow, I hope you celebrate your friends and your family and your country, not as things you have earned and deserve, but as blessings from  God that you don’t deserve (this is called grace) — because that’s what they are.  Don’t stress, don’t shop — just be still and know that He loves you and so do I!


Are You Giving Thanks for the Right Things?

Take a look at your own heart, and you will soon find out what has stuck to it and where your treasure is. It is easy to determine whether hearing the Word of God, living according to it, and achieving such a life gives you as much enjoyment and calls forth as much diligence from you as does accumulating and saving money and property.

Martin Luther

Other quotes by Martin Luther:

Martin Luther on Marriage #4

Martin Luther on Love

Martin Luther on Obedience

I’m Nobody, too

I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Are you – Nobody – too?

Then there’s a pair of us!

Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!

How public – like a Frog –

To tell one’s name – the livelong June –

To an admiring Bog!

Sorry, I’m an English major and I can’t help myself.  When I read Beth Ann’s post I’m A Nobody, I immediately thought of this poem by Emily Dickenson.  She was very reclusive and introverted and actually seemed happy to be a nobody, at least in the eyes of the world.

If you feel like a nobody, don’t worry.  God seems to have a knack for picking nobodies to do His work in the world.  He picked prophets who didn’t speak well (Moses) and were too young (Jeremiah).  He picked David, the youngest son of Jesse, just a shepherd boy,  to be a great king.  He picked Rahab (a prostitute) and Ruth (a foreigner) to be part of His son’s human family tree.  He picked Mary, an unmarried teenager, to be the mother of the Messiah!  Jesus picked a bunch of fishermen(James, Andrew & Peter), a tax collector (Matthew), and a rebel(Simon the Zealot), to be some of His first disciples!  Then he chose Paul, who called himself “the greatest of sinners” to carry his message to the gentiles.  Paul in his first letter to the church in Corinth says:

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

Do you get that?  God chooses the nobodies of the world on purpose, because our weakness shows off His strength!  And once He’s chosen us, we’re no longer nobodies — we’re His ambassadors, His body on earth, His beloved children–and that’s somebody pretty special.

He loves you and so do I!

Lord I Lift Your Name on High

This past Saturday I attended an ultreya.  If you’re not familiar with this term, you can go to my previous  post Persevere Upward.  At an ultreya there is fellowship among those who have attended a Lutheran Via de Cristo retreat weekend, and normally LOTS of singing.  One of the songs we sang on Saturday has been in my head ever since — Lord I Lift Your Name on High.

This song is the best known work of composer Rick Founds, and from 1997-2003, the most used song in American churches.  Founds reports that on a particular day, during his devotional time, God impressed upon his heart the cyclic nature of Christ’s redemptive work.  He came from heaven to earth to show us the way to his Father.  He journeyed from the cross to the grave, paying our debt to God in full.  Then he rose from the dead and went back to heaven, completing the cycle of salvation.  Rick picked up his guitar and the song came very quickly.

“Let them praise the name of the Lord:

for His name alone is excellent;

His glory is above the earth and heaven.”

~Psalm 148:13

You’ve probably heard it before (it’s been orbiting the world for a while now), but like me, you’ll enjoy it again.  It’s certainly appropriate for the Thanksgiving season!




Recovered by Robby Gallaty–Book Review

Robby Gallaty has quite a story.  He played college basketball, performed as a magician, learned Brazilian Jiujitsu, worked as a bartender-comedian and became a hard-core drug addict.  He and his wife lost everything during Hurricane Katrina.  He’s also (now) a committed Christian and a pastor. He learned through his experiences that “faith was not about my strength, but God’s.”

Rob came from a loving, Catholic family who supported him through all his enthusiasms, and continued to care for and help him when he became addicted to opioids.  However, their understanding of Christ was superficial;  they attended church as a duty, tried to be “good people” and knew little about the Bible.  We all know there are folks like this in every denomination.  When Robby traded in his addiction to drugs for addiction to God, he was eventually able to bring his father, mother and sister along with him into a close, personal relationship with their Savior.

Gallaty’s testimony is authentic and will touch the heart of many readers.  My issue is not with his experience, but his theology.  There was an implication that Catholics as a group, need to be “converted.”  Infant baptism is discounted as meaningless, as all must be baptized as adults in order to “accept” Jesus and be saved.  Sermons include an “invitation” to come forward and pray the sinner’s prayer (sorry, if baptism does not save you, neither does repeating this prayer).  All of these ideas are in opposition to what I have been taught  as a Lutheran.  I believe that I did not choose God, He chose me:  I have been saved by His grace, not through any work or decision of my own.

VERDICT:  I give this book 3 stars, because of the theological issues.

If you would like to purchase this book, follow the link below:


If you would like to see other reviews of books by Robby Gallaty and his wife Kandi, see these previous posts:

Disciple Her by Kandi Gallaty–Book Review

Bearing Fruit – A Book Review


I actually enjoyed these books as the focus was on Christian growth, an area where the Gallatys and I have substantial agreement.

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255


I’m A Nobody

Have you ever felt like you don’t count in this world.  Think that people should look at you and say “Just who do you think you are?”  Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt that way tons of times.

But Jesus changes that.  We are all somebody.  We all have worth.

Take a minute to listen to Casting Crowns (with Matthew West) sing about being nobody.  Lately I’ve been trying to live so the world can see nobody but Jesus.  I put the lyrics here so you can follow (or sing!) along.

Why You ever chose me
Has always been a mystery
All my life, I’ve been told I belong
At the end of a line
With all the other Not-Quites
With all the Never-Get-It-Rights
But it turns out they are the ones You were looking for
All this time

‘Cause I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody
All about Somebody who saved my soul
Ever since You rescued me, You gave my heart a song to sing
I’m living for the world to see nobody but Jesus
I’m living for the world to see nobody but Jesus

Moses had stage fright
And David brought a rock to a sword fight
You picked twelve outsiders nobody would’ve chosen
And You changed the world
Well, the moral of the story is
Everybody’s got a purpose
So when I hear that devil start talking to me, saying
“Who do you think you are?” I say

I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody
All about Somebody who saved my soul
Ever since You rescued me, You gave my heart a song to sing
I’m living for the world to see nobody but Jesus
I’m living for the world to see nobody but Jesus

So let me go down, down, down in history
As another blood-bought faithful member of the family
And if they all forget my name, well, that’s fine with me
I’m living for the world to see nobody but Jesus
So let me go down, down, down in history (Go down in history)
As another blood-bought faithful member of the family (It’s all I ever wanna be)
And if they all forget my name, well, that’s fine with me
I’m living for the world to see nobody but Jesus, yeah!

I’m just a nobody (Nobody)
Trying to tell everybody
All about Somebody
Who saved my soul (Oh, saved my, saved my soul)
Ever since You rescued me
You gave my heart a song to sing (You gave me a song to sing)
I’m living for the world to see
Nobody but Jesus (Nobody but You, Lord)
I’m living for the world to see nobody but Jesus

The Holiness of God–R.C. Sproul–Book Review

I’ve just finished this book, which we’ve been reading in our Tuesday morning Bible study class.  I found it challenging in a way that’s hard to pin down.  According to Sproul,

“The one concept, the central idea I kept meeting in Scripture was the idea that God is holy.”

Any Christian would agree with that statement, but what exactly does holiness mean? One of the first discussion questions (each chapter has these) was When you think of God as holy, what comes to mind?”  I told the class, I could think of things that suggested God’s power or God’s love or God’s mercy, but God’s holiness is difficult to express.

Holiness, of course, means set apart.  Certain items and places are holy because they have been set apart for sacred purposes — the church building itself, the baptismal font, the communion ware and so on.  In the same way, we, the people of God are holy because we have been chosen and set apart to do God’s work.

God’s holiness is different, because God is different.  God’s holiness is expressed in these verses from Isaiah:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

God is so different, we can’t begin to understand Him;  and we can’t truly understand His holiness because it is not so much one characteristic of God, it encompasses all that God is.  God is holy because He is God.  Whatever God chooses to do is holy, because God is always good and always right.  He sees everything from the perspective of eternity. What God does is always consistent  with Who God is. Is this beginning to make sense?

All I can say about this book is, I didn’t so much teach me things, as it taught me how little I actually know;  but maybe that’s a good thing.  It was humbling and somewhat uncomfortable.  At best, I have made a start at understanding the holiness of God.  Read it for yourself and see.  I would love to hear some other opinions.

Note:  There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter (if you’re like me you’ll struggle with them) so it can be studied in a small group setting, or with a friend.

For more on R.C. Sproul visit these posts:

Flee to the Scripture– A Quote by R.C. Sproul

R.C. Sproul on Repentance

A Quote From R.C. Sproul