Friday, September 9, 2011

Notice These Posts Have Been Reordered

Please note the posts in this blog have been reordered to a top-down order and grouped all within one month for your convenience. The posts give a better read when the #1 etc. sequence is followed.

These posts are only suggestions you may use at your own discretion.

The guarantee you'll want to hold tight to is quoted here from Psalm 126:6

He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

My own mission is in the "Grandfather's Psalm" 71:18:
Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.

#1 - Me Too! But Why?

Twenty-two years, to the day, ended my employment with an 'invitation' to join about eighty of my fellow workers to load onto a bus for a special meeting at a vacant movie theater about two blocks from our company. Someone passed me on in the hallway and mumbled, “Don't get on the bus.” Upon entering the lobby of the theater, we were required to hand over our company security badges and all would be explained in the auditorium.

As you've guessed, we were terminated, because of downsizing. Many of the terminated employees were encouraged to 'visit' a special temporary employment service that would hire them right back into doing exactly the same job they had been doing, but with decreased pay and almost no benefits. The $1,400. outplacement training I was granted, did little to bolster my self-esteem and help explain to my family how I was going to begin pounding the streets for work, at fifty-three years old.

My skills and experience put me as an electronic technician and corporate computer programmer, but I might as well have been a janitor. I am now seventy-one years old and still get a bad taste in my mouth about that day.

I have only Heaven to thank for the experience moving me to a closer daily walk with the Savior and deep tears on the pages of scripture promises.

I recently read some on-line extended comments of some present day job searchers and all the work they've been going through to dot all their “i”s and cross all their “t’s”.

While some people view their own experiences and condition as evidence that God is sadistic is just the opposite of His character. Sadistic people enjoy causing pain and extreme cruelty to others. This is not in God's character nor does He allow it in His children.

God has no pleasure in seeing the man on the street corner with a sign in his arms asking for work, even just food money. We want to delve into how this truly loving God can allow such circumstances and His purpose, as best as we can determine.

A proper first step is to be settled in our own mind and heart that God has a great deal of good planned on our future steps and that we must look to Him with all our questions bathed in trust. But accusations toward Heaven will sink our ship even on a calm and sunny day.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

#2 – When Doing It Right is Not Enough

What was my boss thinking, when he/she let me go. I was doing so much extra to help my company. There were even those days I put in extra hours and didn't put it on my time card. What does my boss expect – BLOOD? 

In my daily Bible reading (actually FEEDING), I've just finished the book of JOB (pronounced, “Jōb”). So many verses sounded like blood was just what Job's boss (God in Heaven) was expecting. The very first verse of the book rushes right into describing Job's exceptional actions in the sight of Heaven. 

I'm a little too quick sometimes, to describe all my 'goodness' to a supervisor in trying to make my employment a little more stable in troublesome times. With these descriptions on the tip of my tongue, it makes it all the more confusing, why my job was terminated and another person (with not as much bragging rights as me) is kept on... maybe even taking my place. No doubt, I could flash our competing employment abilities on a monster scoreboard faster than updated game totals appear on a major league computerized scoreboard. But it'd still make no difference, in the decision to send me out the door. 

A little later we'll take a closer look at Job, his 'friends', and a few other people – that even had 'killer' bosses. The odd question comes to mind, “Would I rather have a 'killer' boss, or none at all?” Maybe we'll tackle that one a little later also. 

As with other troubling thoughts I've dealt with in the past, I have two directions I can travel in. Both are represented in front of me. One is the quad-core screamer computer with BILLIONS of websites just on the other side of my keyboard. But I see over and over the dead ends (and fatalities too) of unemployed people that have begged technology to show them the way to peace, purpose, and provision. Any 10-year old can see that's no real answer. 

Now with digital phones, computers, and other technology around me, my eyes fall on the only other direction for me to travel. It's a 'how-to' manual with ragged pages, and a loose flaking cover. The pages are yellow, and most are marked by my pen and my tears of so many storms weathered amid rocky shores of deception. 

As we are dealing with jobs; work, a pair of words in my Heaven-blessed 'how-to' manual come to mind. The words, very simply, are - “good works”. Hmmmmmm. This sounds like a lead well worth looking into. It is... far more than our minds can fully savor. The words are part of the description of that 'how-to' manual; yours and my Bible. 2nd Timothy 3:16 and 17 give a beautiful explanation of our Bible with the cap; the frosting; of it's whole purpose that ends with “all good works.” 

The exciting part about this 'how-to' manual is that it comes with a resident teacher. When God gave us the inspired words of the Bible, He also promised, to those who've truly trusted in His salvation, the Holy Spirit, to help us understand and apply its promises. 

In our following posts, we'll be looking at some of those promises and how they apply to us, in the circumstances we are now in. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

#3 – Boy! I Wish I Was Boss!

Boy! I wish I was boss!” I can't begin to count the number of times I've said that, while growing up. As clear as a photograph, I could picture myself sitting at the big desk in the highest office, with a staff of people all ready to leap into action at my every command, now matter how big or small. Everyone would warmly greet me and show a quiet reverence as I passed or shared my thoughts. My decisions were never questioned or doubted. It would be employment suicide for anyone to look me straight in the eye and ask, “But what if...?”

Now you and I know that circumstances are like that only in the movies and liberal imaginations. It is most enlightening to look into factual history books and see just what leadership turns out to be, in real life.

A famous man, once upon a time, was the 2nd most powerful man on the planet. Now how he got there is really important to those of us who'd like to be the boss... on most any level. Somehow I think a boss doesn't have to look unemployment in the face like you and I do. But that's that liberal imagination talking again.

The way the history books put it, this powerful leader got his start at the bottom of a well, and narrowly escaped assassination in the process. Some other troubling factors in this deep well experience made the episode even more confusing. First, this world leader had already been promised by God that he; Joseph, would someday rule with such power. The second troubling factor, was that his jealous brothers; his own family, were the ones that threw him down there, lied to their father about him, sold him to slave traders, and were initially planning on killing Joseph.

If you were to someday become boss, remember there will be jealousy all around you; likely even at home.

Joseph's First Boss Job
God guided Joseph as Potiphar (the Egyptian jailer) made Joseph boss of everything of his house, without question. But Joseph's boss, Potiphar had a wife that DAILY tried to seduce Joseph and finally accused Joseph of rape. I wonder if Joseph ever thought he was now better off that when he was in the well. Things were about to get rotten as Joseph was thrown in prison. You might ask why this happens when Joseph was doing everything right. Have you ever asked God WHY? (It's not a good thing to do.)

Joseph's Second Boss Job
With God's leading, now Joseph becomes the unquestioned boss of the prison. I doubt that Joseph could see any promotions from prison leadership to Pharoah's second in command. But of course, God did. That's what God does best; loving and leading.

Joseph's Third Boss Job
One of the skills Joseph had, was telling the meanings of dreams. That started when he angered his brothers with God's prophecies to him. He got his 2nd in worldwide command job by explaining the meaning of Pharoah's dream, which was how to save the whole world from starvation. One rich aspect of this supreme boss position gave Joseph the power over life and death of his brothers who had planned to murder him, but only threw him down a well and sold him into slavery.

How did Joseph react to his brothers? Genesis 45 and verse 15 says that Joseph kissed all his brothers and wept on them. Surely forgiveness filled the room. That's how God's history book, our Bible states the rise to boss position by Joseph. Think again about wanting to be the boss. Maybe we should be willing to do God's will right where we're at, even if we are currently unemployed. God knows exactly what He's doing, and He's right on schedule. HIS SCHEDULE!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

#4 - The Strangest Job Description

Job descriptions are often quite different than what was posted at job openings. Some of mine became completely different than the one I signed on for. As good jobs are becoming more and more scarce, the job descriptions are going to become even more skewed from fact. That's not something surprising, in the least. To put this all in a little more 'real world' context, let's consider the job description (as posted) of a very famous, very real employee we read of his job history. It's really enough to take a closer look at the ones you and I have seen.

The job posting went something like this. “Immediate position open; solo harpist; to be on call 24/7 for palace duty to entertain King Saul, exclusively. Must be highly qualified in the style of music that cheers up a woeful spirit. No sick leave, or vacation leave provided. Slouches need not apply.”

Jesse's son David, was 'hired' and excelled. His other skills included being valiant in battle and soon was promoted to include the King's armorbearer. David also volunteered for a little side job that we most often remember David for. He's very good at killing giants. Especially one that was called GOLIATH. The fanfare and notoriety was incredible. You'd think David would get the king's highest awards and a permanent place of favor on the 'King's Special People List'.

What history tells us (in God's Word) is that David gained another enemy. It was his boss the king. I've never had a boss that was daily focused on killing me, or even harming me, that I know of. Get a picture of this. David is playing his best harp music to cheer up the man before him. How do you cheer up a man looking into your eyes, with murder (of you) in his heart? David's job description certainly didn't even hint of the boss setting out to murder one of his employees (David).

You and I can't even imagine those work day stresses put upon David... just doing what he was told. David is faced with daily murder attempts on his life at work. When he leads the army in the field, he's faced with legions of enemies wanting to murder him. But it gets even worse. As the history of David's life unfolds, his own son, Absalom tries repeatedly to murder David, his own dad.

Would you call this a dysfunctional family? Whew!

A terribly wrong decision that happened earlier, involved David NOT being on the job where he was supposed to be. Our employee history book, our Bible, begins 1st Chronicles 20 stating that King David wasn't where he was supposed to be. “ the time when kings go forth to battle...” tells us where David should have been. The latter part of the same verse says that David tarried at Jerusalem. What ensued was an affair that resulted in the death of an innocent baby.

The point here, is that whatever your employment status or rank is, be faithful to God, and the one who hired you (in that order) and stay faithfully on the job... more lives are at stake than you might imagine.

Monday, September 5, 2011

#5 - And You've Got It Rough?...

If I had a nickel for every time I thought everyone had it easier than me... well... I could've retired much sooner and with more goodies. We'll return again to a trusted history book with the strangest circumstances of employees that could even be dreamed up.

This Bible-time soldier was putting his life and his heart on the line every day, following his field maneuvers leader, Joab. But little did he know that, at the same time, his wife at home was forced into an affair that made his otherwise very faithful wife, very pregnant.

This soldier, Uriah, was given orders by his commander-in-chief (King David) to return home immediately. The pregnancy coverup was hatched by the king trying to get Uriah drunk, and spend bedroom time with his wife, Bathsheba, thereby covering up the illicit actions by the king. It didn't work. Uriah was both faithful to his wife and loyal to his fellow warriors, by sleeping on the palace front steps.

What terrible circumstances for a faithful, loyal soldier, to be sure. But it gets incredibly worse for this employee; this soldier in his nation's military. Uriah is ordered back to immediate front-line duty, and is to deliver a sealed letter to General Joab. Uriah has no idea he is delivering his own death warrant to Joab, as depicted in 2nd Samuel 11 verse 15.

It's important that you read the historic details in all its context and sense much of the ugliness of the consequences of sin and how it festers like any cancer.

Chapters 11 and 12 provide the facts to Uriah's murder, and the death of the newborn baby, he never saw.

The point to understand, is that faithfulness, loyalty, even disobedience, are not comparative judgments. We are each, individually held accountable by God for His provisions, leadership, and our moment by moment trusting in Him, and Him alone.

The two words, VOCATION and AVOCATION are important here. Vocation is his/her primary job; the one given most attention and energy to. A person's avocation is his secondary job, which should never jeopardize his vocation. Every Christian's vocation is to seek and follow God's Will. So then all other employment, reporting to or responsible for individuals is their avocation.

In light of the preceding descriptions, under Heaven, are you ever primarily 'unemployed'?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

#6 - W.W.W. Can Spell Real Trouble

It's tough even for history scientists to try to fill in a list of all the innovations of libraries between man's knowledge first being written on walls of caves and today's on-line libraries with mind-blowing search engines. We are stampeding toward 'living' on-line, as we work, learn, entertain, and communicate so many hours every day.

As an author and teacher, I use the Internet most every day. But I have to continually remember that going on-line is somewhat like walking through a jungle, known for its vicious hungry predators.
A strong caution is appropriate here, spoken in 1st Peter 5:8:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

The world wide web gives us stupendous amounts of resources. But we must remember, ESPECIALLY AS PARENTS AND TEACHERS, it TAKES from us, far more than it gives; namely, our privacy and our identity. This happens to us on a personal level, but also on a national level. We'll not take time here to detail these intrusions on us. The WWW news daily tells us of greater advances by evil people.

What we want to focus on, is the 'advice' we get from the web. Webpages are decorated and worded to make us believe what we read on them, is the 'gospel truth' (as grandma would say). The 'news' we read and hear on-line, is put there by employees that are competing to keep their jobs and profits for their company. And if their words happen to align with the real truth, well, it was just coincidence.

My daily Bible reading (actually, FEEDING) has me just finished reading the Old Testament book of Job. (rhymes with “robe”) There are many aspects to his life story, but we want to touch on just a couple. I think of Job as being an employee of sorts. He had many responsibilities that are detailed in the first few verses of the book. He was a leader that many looked to, for decisions and provisions. But in a sense, God allowed Satan to 'fire'; to demote him, to a very sick man sitting daily in an ash heap of despair.

The First “W” of WWW

I see the ongoing question from Job, that sounds like, “Why God are you doing this to me, I'm a righteous man?” Using the WHY word toward God and His plan, is a step toward trouble. The WHY word, seems to me, to always lead to the WHAT IF questioning of God's full knowledge of what's best for us. This line of questioning was first and foremost used in the Garden of Eden; in the ears of Eve. The subtle serpent taught Eve to question, God's clear directives.

The Third “W” of WWW

The third W of WWW leads us to be really cautious WHO we get our advice from. Eve was getting her's from the subtle serpent, Satan.

As Job asked God why all these things were happening to him, Satan had placed plenty of evil reasons and suggestions, beginning with Job's wife telling her husband to curse God and die. (Job 2:9b) That was just the start of all the evil advice Job's 'friends' were continuously giving him. When we begin questioning God's plan for our lives, the path of our future is flooded with pain, inside and out.

That path of questioning God, lays a foundation within us that undermines our assurances that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. (all knowing, all powerful, and everywhere present) In a word, CONTROL. Questioning God WHY plants seeds of doubt that He alone has control.

What is REQUIRED, whether we are employed, unemployed, or retired, is to remind ourselves that God is in control and He loves us more than our language can describe. We must immerse ourselves in black and white proof each day, by reading Heaven's history book, our Bible, to see examples of man following God's advice or trusting his own advice. It's your choice, as you start each and every day God gives you breath.