Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr. – 1964 at the Jasper city pool

Source: Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr. – 1964 at the Jasper city pool

As you continue to search, remember to always follow the light!

The Risen Lord [by Arnold Friberg]

“The Risen Lord” by Arnold Friberg

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. –Psalm 61:1-2 (ESV)

Christmas day has passed, but many Christians around the world continue to celebrate the Christmas season through the day of Epiphany on January 6. The joy and hope of the Christ Child still shines brightly! Unfortunately, joy and hope will fade for many as the Christmas season passes and they return to their often mundane daily routines.

This can be a particularly difficult time for those who are already living with the fear, anxiety and depression that frequently accompany periods of unemployment. Fortunately, if we open our eyes and look we will see that God is present always in his Word, Holy Spirit and blessed sacraments.  

While you’re job hunting, networking, sending out resumes and filling out countless job applications, don’t forget to make some extra time to spend with God in prayer and studying the Word.

Spend time with other job seekers and pray with and for them. Take time to use your God given talents to help others in need. God knows your needs before you ask and He already has a plan for you. His plan will produce fruit in your life at the time He has appointed.

Meanwhile, don’t miss out on the joy today has to offer.  If you will only seek Him, God will give you joy with or without a job. Habakkuk 3:17-18 says, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”

It is impossible for one to know what God has in store for him or her, but rest assured that He only wants the best for us all. Christians may take comfort in the knowledge that God’s love does not depend upon our success in this world. He doesn’t look at our education, work history or awards. He loves us unconditionally. While we busy ourselves with the worries and toils of this life, He is preparing us for something bigger and more glorious than we can possibly imagine.

The Bible promises that those who make seeking the Kingdom of God their top priority in life will be blessed with everything they need in this world. While you struggle with the pain of unemployment and all of the other burdens you will bear during this life, remain close to Christ and let His light show you the pathway that He would have you follow.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. So we do not lose heart, though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. –2 Corinthians 4:6, 16-18 (ESV)

Prayer: The link below leads to a website not associated with this blog.

Prayer of the Unemployed

Day Nine – Safe in Sioux Falls

Thanks be to God!  Our entire convoy arrived safe in Sioux falls around 3pm yesterday.  We’re settled into a nice hotel near the airport with a fantastic indoor water park that will help keep three grand-critters happy.  Today is closing day for Nate and Jenne’s house.  We’re praying that the wire transfer from Friday’s settlement from their home closing in Pennsylvania will be completed before closing at 1pm today.  Now come the move-in challenges.

Our 1,000+ mile drive was long but exciting.  It had been a long time since I visited the upper Midwest.  Things are so compact on the east coast, but everything along our route through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota was so wide open.  The agricultural might of our country is truly awesome. It makes me wonder how we as a society allow any American to go to bed hungry!

Western Iowa was particularly interesting, with hundreds of wind turbines generating electricity in the middle of cornfields and grass beef cattle grazing ranges.  I wish we could have stopped and made a video of the massive turbines that in some spots covered the horizon for 360 degrees.

Wind Turbines Wind Turbines 2

Having previously lived in Kansas, Oklahoma and Arizona I had seen big sky before, but I’d forgotten how beautiful it is.  We enjoyed a particularly beautiful, big sunset two evening ago as we trekked along I-90 west.

I really like the wide roads here and the 80MPH speed limit on the interstates is fantastic.

I can’t wait to get settled in and begin exploring.  Lots of work ahead though. Praying for strength and stamina!

Days Five, Six and Seven – God’s Amusement Consists of Watching Us Make Plans

Laughing JesusThe beloved Scottish theologian Oswald Chambers wrote frequently about how God orchestrates our circumstances in order to help us grow closer to him.  Days five, six and seven of this move were solid proof Chambers was right.

To recap day five (moving day), things began normally, but around 8am, an hour before the movers were expected,  my son-in-law received a call from the moving company telling him the moving truck had been delayed in route and would not come until the next morning.  The remainder of the beautiful, sunny day was spent in a flurry, rearranging hotel reservations along our route to Sioux Falls, rescheduling the house closing on the departure end and basically dealing with a load of frustrations.

Day six would  be  the new move day.  Torrential rains in the morning and a grim weather forecast didn’t do much to lift out spirits.  Miraculously, God provided intermittent breaks in the rain which allowed the moving crew to load without getting the boxes and furniture wet.  A squad of eight movers arrived around 7:30am, but no moving van.

Finally, around 9:30 the long haul van arrived.  Unfortunately, it couldn’t make the sharp turn onto the small side street where our daughter and son-in-law’s house was, so it was necessary to load into a shuttle truck and make multiple runs to the large semi-trailer which was parked about a quarter of a mile away in a ball field parking lot.  Using the shuttle method of loading meant it required twice as much time to load.

As the movers cleared room by room, son-in-law Nate and I cleaned-up behind them.  By the time the long haul van was full, we were finished cleaning the house. Unfortunately, there was still a lot of furniture and boxes sitting on the driveway that wouldn’t fit.  The packing crew had to inventory all of these items and take them back to their warehouse.  They will come to Sioux Falls on a second load later this week.

Nate and I finally drove away from his former house a little after 9pm.  What a day.   Fortunately, we had already dispatched my daughter Jenne and my wife Linda with two vans, the grand kids, dog and cat around 1pm.  They spent the night in a hotel a couple of hours west of Cleveland off of I-80.  After a nice, very late prime rib dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse, Nate and I crashed at the home of some  very gracious friends, Amy and Burt.  God bless them!

On day seven (Saturday), everyone departed their particular locations in the early morning.   Traveling without the kids and pets, Nate and I were able to link-up with the ladies near Gary Indiana and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  The ladies and kids had a chance for a short visit to the park to play on the dunes.  Nate and I linked-up just in time to watch everyone else eat lunch at Quaker Shake and Lube.  We had already eaten sandwiches along the way.

After lunch, we all headed for Sioux Falls together at last.   It was a beautiful, sunny day and the big sky was spectacular. It was fantastic crossing the Mississippi River in Davenport, Iowa.  I’ll have to get use to the flat landscapes of the prairie. Everyone was tired last evening, especially Nate and I who drove about 800 miles in separate cars in one day.  Ugh!   That’s not to say that the ladies weren’t exhausted as well. They had all of the kids and pets to manage in their two vans.

Today, day eight, we are packing up to depart our hotel in Urbandale, IA, a suburb of Des Moines.  Sioux Falls or bust!  We have a little over 200 miles to go. God has blessed up with a safe journey thus far.  I pray for his continued grace as we begin the final leg of our journey.  Please keep us in your prayers.

Day Five – I Have Calmed and Quieted My Soul

I Have Calmed and Quieted My Soul

Pslam 131- O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
    my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
    too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
    like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
    from this time forth and forevermore. (ESV)

Day Four – Reaching Critical Mass

nuke_explosionThings are reaching critical mass now.  It’s nearly 7:30 pm and the movers will be here in about 14 hours. There are still MANY things left undone. Any hope of a relaxing evening is quickly slipping away.  It looks like it’s going to be a long night. I’m quickly running out of gas, but Linda continues to chug along like The Little Engine That Could.  She’s incredible!

I’ve been doing a lot of work with my hands these past two weeks and they’re beginning to show it.  Five of my fingers have those painful cracks that are like little paper cuts.  How can such small wounds hurt so badly? They look like the gnarled fingers on the hands of the fantastic wood carvers I remember from the Alpine village of Oberammergau, Germany.

It finally struck me today that in less than 48 hours we will be headed for Sioux Falls.  I’ve grown very fond of Pittsburgh, but I have a history of growing to like the places where I live.  What really hit home today is that I will be leaving so many good friends and colleagues behind.  There are many great cities in this world, but it’s the people who make a city worth living in.  Thank God that the digital age has given us so many ways to remain in contact.

God continues to bless us with good weather…just give us 24 more hours please!  It looks like rain on Friday, but our moving van should be well underway before then.  Please lift up your best weather prayers for us and join me as I pray:

Dear God–my wife and I are moving to a new place. Please make this a smooth and joyful experience in every way.  Please decide for us how the details should unfold to reveal your perfect will in our lives and the lives of those we are following there.  Thank You for providing all of the resources and and wonderful people who have helped us prepare for this adventure. Help us to trust You, knowing that your perfect will is for us to be joyful in Christ, regardless of the place or circumstances we find ourselves in.  I pray this in Christ’s name.

Tomorrow promises to be a very busy day, so I will most likely remain silent until the end of day 6 when, God willing, we’ll be on the road.

Day Three – Call 911!

Chiropractor

Somebody call 911.  My 60 year old body is rebelling today.  I had to make an unplanned trip to the chiropractor this morning.  For the record, my sacroiliac joint (did I spell that right) locked, causing severe muscle spasms in my lower back.  Thank God for “Complete Chiropractic Health’ in Cranberry Township and Dr. Eric.  I’m good to go for another 100,000 miles.

Today was an exercise in the fine art of packing.  The easy stuff is done and now it’s time to figure out how to pack those 20 lawn chairs that somehow ended up in the garden shed.  First we had to remove the residue from the psychopathic squirrel that ravaged the shed.  Yuck!  Squirrel mess cleared, shed packed and on to the next task.

Many thanks for the prayers.  Weather report is still good for a moving day on Thursday.  God help us.  Nana took the grand kids to a movie and dinner at “Fun for All” this evening.  How she musters the energy to deal with those three wild dogs is beyond me.  After 38 years of marriage I continue to be amazed by her tenacity and energy.  It’s not like Linda is a ball of energy.  She just digs down deep to pull it out.  Amazing woman!

Tomorrow looks like more creative packing…trying to figure out how to ship those odd remaining items.  Hoping to finish up in time to enjoy a bit of relaxation time in the evening.  I must be hallucinating!

God is good!  All of the “to do” lists seem to be getting shorter.  Dreading saying goodbye to “the Burgh,” but at the same time looking forward to seeing Sioux Falls for the first time.  I hope it lives up to the expectations our daughter and son-in-law have cultivated.

I’m beginning to realize that writing a daily blog entry isn’t so easy.  Where is my muse?

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