Archive for February, 2013

Getting on with Life

Getting on with Life

Losing a job has been compared to losing a loved one. There is an initial period of mourning that has to be gotten through before one can get on with life. You will quickly discover that life goes on, even after becoming unemployed. All of the personal and family affairs that required your attention before losing your job are still there waiting for you in the wake of your loss. Mourning is part of the healing process–it’s OK to mourn.  However, the quicker you can get through the mourning the better off you’ll be.

The 12th chapter of the book of Second Samuel describes how King David had the great warrior Uriah murdered because he lusted for Uriah’s wife Bathsheba. With Uriah out of the way, David adulterously took Bathsheba for himself. She subsequently gave birth to David’s son. Not long after the baby was born, the prophet Nathan visited David. He told him that the child would die. Only a short time later the child became ill. During the illness, David begged God’s forgiveness and mourned what he knew was God’s judgment for his sins. On the seventh day the child died. Upon hearing of its passing, David arose, bathed, put on clean clothes, went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. His example shows us it’s possible turn a period of mourning into a period of worship, repentance and restoration.

William Bartram was a 19th century American naturalist born in Pennsylvania. He traveled much of the United states, observing nature and recording what he saw. Bartram wrote of his life’s experience, “On the recollection of so many and great favors and blessings, I now, with a high sense of gratitude, presume to offer up my sincere thanks to the Almighty, the Creator and Preserver.”

If you’ve recently lost a job, resist the urge to crawl inside yourself and mourn, which only leads into a dark pit. Instead, get on with life as quickly possible. Establish a daily routine and get to work finding that next job. Meanwhile, as William Bartram suggests, pause daily to thank our Creater and Preserver for the blessings you still have in life, recognizing that all blessings come from God!

Psalm 145, God’s Majesty and Love:
I will extol You, my God, O King;
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
And His greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
5 I[a] will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
And on Your wondrous works.[b]
6 Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,
And I will declare Your greatness.
7 They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness,
And shall sing of Your righteousness.
8 The LORD is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy.
9 The LORD is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.
10 All Your works shall praise You, O LORD,
And Your saints shall bless You.
11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom,
And talk of Your power,
12 To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts,
And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.[c]
14 The LORD upholds all who fall,
And raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
And You give them their food in due season.
16 You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in all His ways,
Gracious in all His works.
18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them.
20 The LORD preserves all who love Him,
But all the wicked He will destroy.
21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD,
And all flesh shall bless His holy name
Forever and ever.

Today’s Lenten Prayer: a prayer for those who mourn
Bless those who mourn, eternal God, with the comfort of your love,
that they may face each new day with hope and the certainty,
that nothing can destroy the good that has been given.
May their memories become joyful,
their days enriched with friendship,
and their lives encircled by your love. Amen.

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 12:15-23 the death of King David’s infant son

Discipline in Everything


Developing discipline is neither easy nor pleasurable. Anyone who has tried to diet knows this! For most people, dieting is a struggle between the desires of the body and the needs of the spirit.

Like dieting, a good job search also requires strict discipline. The best approach is to develop a strategy and stick to it. Your strategy must be proactive. It should include networking, personal branding & marketing, lots of research and a double dose of patience and perseverance. Approach your job search like a fulltime job until you find employment. At the same time, use your period of unemployment as an opportunity to improve yourself: try to shed a few of those extra pounds; develop a fitness routine to improve your physical condition; work on acquiring some new job skills that will make you more marketable and current in your field; reach out to help others around you; and work on disciplining yourself spiritually.

Taking just a few minutes of quiet time each morning to pray, study the scriptures and reflect on the day ahead will add clarity and purpose to your day. Christians could learn a lesson from the followers of Islam. Muslims stop five times per day to pray–morning, noon, afternoon, sunset and evening. Periodically pausing for prayer throughout each day is guaranteed to help you cope with stress and worry, two challenges that you will encounter daily while unemployed.

Mark 1:35 (NKJV) tells us that, “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He (Jesus) went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” If this is the way the Lord began his mornings, how can we do otherwise? If you don’t currently start the day with some quiet time with God, I challenge you to give it a try during this season of Lent. A blessing awaits you.

Psalm 84, the blessedness of dwelling in the house of God
How lovely is Your tabernacle,
O LORD of hosts!
2 My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the LORD;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
My King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You. Selah
5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
They make it a spring;
The rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength;
Each one appears before God in Zion.[b]
8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
9 O God, behold our shield,
And look upon the face of Your anointed.
10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
12 O LORD of hosts,
Blessed is the man who trusts in You! 

Today’s Lenten Prayer: a prayer for self-discipline
Lord, give me the wisdom to see
No good life comes without right discipline.
Give me the grace to impose it upon myself
Lest others do it for me.
Help me to discipline my tongue
That I may be clear rather than clever
Sincere instead of sarcastic
Help me to discipline my thinking and actions
To do what is right
And not what is easy
Let me get on with the job on hand
Doing the best I can
And leaving the rest to You. Amen.

Today’s Reading: Oswald Chambers – the Discipline of Spiritual Perseverance

Don’t Go It Alone


Searching for employment can leave one feeling lonely, isolated and hopeless. Jobseekers need a support network to encourage and assist them on their journey. Joining a job networking group while unemployed is a good way to discover you’re not alone and your situation is not unique. It will boost your morale. There is strength in numbers and as the saying goes, “two heads are better than one.” It is a well documented fact that the vast majority of new jobs are landed through networking, not by searching and applying for jobs through Internet job boards.

Even though we are currently in the season of Lent, each Sunday is a feast day on the church calendar; today is a day to rejoice and celebrate our salvation through the Lord. Just as it is not good for jobseekers to go it alone, it is not good for “Godseekers” to go it alone either. The Sabbath is a day set aside for communal worship in God’s house. The fourth chapter of Luke’s Gospel tells us that it was Jesus’ custom to attend services in the synagogue on the Sabbath. We should need no further example to convince us of the importance of worshiping together with fellow believers.

If you haven’t attended church for awhile, I encourage you to make an effort during the Lenten season to get back into the habit of attending. It’s one habit that’s guaranteed to make you better off than before.

Psalm 25, a prayer of David:
To thee, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in thee I trust,
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
3 Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4 Make me to know thy ways, O LORD;
teach me thy paths.
5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me,
for thou art the God of my salvation;
for thee I wait all the day long.
6 Be mindful of thy mercy, O LORD, and of thy steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth, or my trangressions;
according to thy steadfast love remember me,
for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD!
8 Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
11 For thy name’s sake, O LORD,
pardon my guilt, for it is great.
12 Who is the man that fears the LORD?
Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
13 He himself shall abide in prosperity,
and his children shall possess the land.
14 The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him,
and he makes known to them his covenant.
15 My eyes are ever toward the LORD,
for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
16 Turn thou to me, and be gracious to me;
for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart,
and bring me out of my distresses.
18 Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.
19 Consider how many are my foes,
and with what violent hatred they hate me.
20 Oh guard my life, and deliver me;
let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in thee.
21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for thee.
22 Redeem Israel, O God,
out of all his troubles. (RSV)

Today’s Lenten Prayer: A prayer for the lonely
Loving God,
there are times in each life
when there is no one.
No one with whom to share
a word,
a laugh,
a sad remembrance,
a gentle touch,
a fond embrace,
a kiss of love.
Bless each one who suffers
from such loneliness.
Enrich life with a friend
or gentle stranger
who will spend a moment
noticing and loving.
In those times
your love shines through,
the world is reborn,
and Christ is known. Amen.

Today’s Reading: Matthew 28:16-20 Jesus is always with us.

Cling Fast to Hope

Lent - fast forgive pray prepare

Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain outcome of events. People remain hopeful as long as they continue to believe their desired outcome is possible. Often, this hope fades with time until a person becomes convinced that his or her desired outcome will never happen. Despondency and depression sometimes follow.

Those who find themselves unemployed might initially have a great deal of hope of finding a new job. Much of this hope stems from confidence in their personal skills, qualifications, education and performance in past jobs. This confidence often fades with time. Long, disappointing job searches can ultimately lead to depression if not handled correctly.

It’s good to be confident in one’s self, but we human are all flawed. Our true hope doesn’t lie in our ability to solve our own problems. Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” When we put our hope in the Lord, that hope turns into faith. He is the only genuine source of hope for the world. As you move through your Lenten journey, remember that true hope means presenting your desires and needs to God on the altar of prayer, listening and leaving the details to Him.

Listen to what Saint Paul says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:1-5 , NKNJ).

Placing our hope in God leads to faith, which ultimately results in peace with God, even in times of great tribulation. Hope in God, place your faith in Him, and let him be your main source of comfort and peace as you search for your next job.

Psalm 146 – the happiness of those who hope in the Lord:
Praise the LORD, O my soul!
2 While I live I will praise the LORD;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
3 Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
4 His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
In that very day his plans perish.
5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
7 Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners.
8 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind;
The LORD raises those who are bowed down;
The LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the strangers;
He relieves the fatherless and widow;
But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.
10 The LORD shall reign forever—
Your God, O Zion, to all generations. (NKJV)
Today’s Lenten Prayer: A penitential prayer of St. Augustine

O Lord,
The house of my soul is narrow;
enlarge it that you may enter in.
It is ruinous, O repair it!
It displeases Your sight.
I confess it, I know.
But who shall cleanse it,
to whom shall I cry but to you?
Cleanse me from my secret faults, O Lord,
and spare Your servant from strange sins.

Today’s Reading:  Jeremiah 17:5-8  Trust in the Lord

I’m Tired of Waiting

Clocks - end time

Patience is in short supply in America today. We live in a culture of instant gratification, taught by the media that we needn’t wait for anything. We buy new computers that will load a web page a second or two faster than the previous model. We impatiently pace while the microwave heats a dish in 60 seconds that would have taken 20 minutes in a conventional oven. We buy with credit cards before we earn the money to pay for the things we want. We type text messages on our cell phones while driving our cars. We pound our fists waiting for the traffic signal to turn green so we can hurry to our next destination.

For the unemployed, patience is one of the first virtues to be tested. In today’s economy, it doesn’t take one long to figure out that even though he or she might be highly qualified, it takes time—sometimes many months—to find a new job. It’s best to approach a job search like a marathon, not a sprint. Slow and steady is the key to success. Patience is essential—never give up!

Fortunately, God is extraordinarily patient and doesn’t give up on us. Probably the greatest example of patience in the Bible is displayed in Jesus’ relationship with His apostles. Only a few hours before Jesus’ crucifixion, Peter, an eyewitness to the transfiguration, denied knowing him. Yet Peter became the “rock” upon which Jesus built his church here on Earth. Thomas, who had walked with Jesus and saw him perform many miracles, didn’t believe in the risen Lord until seeing the resurrected Jesus with his own eyes. Even after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, the apostles remained confused and didn’t fully understand what Jesus was really about until they received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

During this season of Lent, make an effort to pray for patience and ask God to strengthen your faith. And don’t forget to thank Him for his patience with you!

Psalm 40 (NKJV), Faith Persevering in Trial:
I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
3 He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the LORD.
4 Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust,
And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
5 Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered.
6 Sacrifice and offering You did not desire;
My ears You have opened.
Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.
7 Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
8 I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart.”
9 I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness
In the great assembly;
Indeed, I do not restrain my lips,
O LORD, You Yourself know.
10 I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth
From the great assembly.
11 Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O LORD;
Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.
12 For innumerable evils have surrounded me;
My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up;
They are more than the hairs of my head;
Therefore my heart fails me.
13 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me;
O LORD, make haste to help me!
14 Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion
Who seek to destroy my life;
Let them be driven backward and brought to dishonor
Who wish me evil.
15 Let them be confounded because of their shame,
Who say to me, “Aha, aha!”
16 Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
Let such as love Your salvation say continually,
“The LORD be magnified!”
17 But I am poor and needy;
Yet the LORD thinks upon me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Do not delay, O my God.

Today’s Lenten Prayer:
Teach me, my Lord, to be sweet and gentle in all the events of my life, in disappointments, in the thoughtlessness of others, in the insincerity of those I trusted, in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied. Let me forget myself so that I may enjoy the happiness of others. Let me always hide my little pains and heartaches so that I may be the only one to suffer from them. Teach me to profit by the suffering that comes across my path. Let me so use it that it may mellow me, not harden or embitter me; that it may make me patient, not irritable; that it may make me broad in my forgiveness, not narrow or proud or overbearing. May no one be less good for having come within my influence; no one less pure, less true, less kind, less noble, for having been a fellow traveler with me on our journey towards eternal life. As I meet with one cross after another, let me whisper a word of love to You. May my life be lived in the supernatural, full of power for good, and strong in its purpose of sanctity. Amen.

Today’s Reading: James 1:2-8 Profiting through Trials 1:2-8&version=NKJV

I’m Sick of This

Hospital Corridor

For many Americans, one of the scariest things about being unemployed is the looming threat of the loss of health care.   While many western nations have guaranteed health care to all of their citizens, the United States lags far behind in this area.  According to one study, as many as 75% of unemployed Americans have no or inadequate health care coverage.  Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV) tells us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

God doesn’t promise us good health, but he does promise to give us the strength to carry us through any situation, including health problems.   During your Lenten journey, through prayer and fasting, place your cares on the altar of God and leave the rest to him.  Do not be afraid…He will give you the inner strength to sustain you in any situation.   As the apostle Paul tells us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  (Philippians 4:13, NKJV)

Psalm 23, the Shepherd Psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (NKJV)

Today’s Lenten Prayer

Dear God, in his public ministry Jesus healed the sick and cured many of diseases. We pray for your compassion on the sick and also for their friends and loved ones who are anxious and worried about them.  We pray for the unemployed and others in our nation lacking basic health and dental care. We pray for those who receive inadequate treatment for their illnesses and injuries or have suffered financially from their health problems. We pray for all believers who are health care providers, recognizing that their careers serve their faith. May the conscience of all health care professionals and all health care institutions be reminded of the sacredness of human life. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God

Today’s Reading: Luke 17:11-17  Jesus Heals Ten Lepers

Taking a Lenten Journey while Unemployed

Ash Wednesday

A long period of unemployment can be one of the most trying experiences a person will ever endure. There are two paths one can take in such a situation.

The first and easiest way is to descend into self-pity. This journey ultimately leads to anger, blame and hatred aimed toward the individuals or group perceived to be responsible for one’s situation. The pathway leads into a deep pit that is difficult to climb out of. It turns toxic if followed for too long; and the poison spreads to those around you.

The second path is much more arduous, because it entails a difficult climb requiring tremendous strength, patience and faith. This journey is filled with personal reflection, introspection, forgiveness and discernment. Sticking to this pathway, call it the high road, leads to renewal, reinvigoration and healing. It makes one stronger inside and out.

The season of Lent is also a journey. Traditionally it is a period of reflection and renewal for Christians. During this season we pray and reflect upon Christ’s final journey as he prepared for and set out towards Jerusalem, where he knew he must suffer a horrible death. There, having resisted all the temptations of this world and lived a sinless life, Jesus chose the difficult pathway leading up Calvary Hill. On that bloody rock, mocked and condemned by his own people, he was nailed to a cross and died, taking upon himself all the sins of the world. The story doesn’t end there though. For at the end of Lent we celebrate Easter, the festival of the glorious resurrection of Christ when he arose from the dead, thereby setting us all free from death.

During Lent, challenge yourself to choose the difficult path. Make this a season of reflection, introspection, forgiveness and discernment. It is a wonderful time to discipline yourself through prayer and simply listen for direction from the still, small voice of God. Hope and inner peace await those who follow this pathway to the end.

A Psalm for Ash Wednesday:

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! Psalm 130:1-2

A Prayer of St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; Where there is hatred, let me sow charity; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is error, the truth; Where there is doubt, the faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; and Where there is sadness, joy. O, Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying to ourselves that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

A Reading for Lent:

The Economy – Just in Time for Lent (an article by Randy Sly, associate editor of Catholic Online)

Please visit this blog for the next six consecutive days as we begin our Lenten journey together.

Take a Lenten Journey


During the first week of Lent, as part of my personal discipline, I will be writing a daily inspirational lesson for my jobseeker’s group.  Begining on Ash Wednesday, please check in for seven consecutive days to help kick off your Lenten Journey.