Australia’s Broadcasting Corp posted these incredible pictures of the devestation in Japan. It’s hard to look at, especially to imagine how many thousands of homes and lives were lost. It certainly puts life’s essentials into perspective.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/events/japan-quake-2011/beforeafter.htm

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Lord, have mercy on me. Provide the way for me to follow, light it up so I can see it, and help me get on my way. Amen.

It’s hard being stuck in one place, especially if that one place is a dark valley. I’ve had times on top of some hills, on the edge of the mountain faces, looking out to see how awesome life is. Today, I’m trudging along in the valley, trying to find the end of it.

The hardest part of being in the valley is the huge amount of psychological stress it creates. I have no scientific evidence for this claim, but I’m beginning to believe that there’s a part of my brain that shrinks, and then lusts after things. I suppose another way of framing it is, sin easily overwhelms me without much of a battle.

When life is “normal” and I’m working on all four (or eight) cyclinders, that part of my brain remains healthy. I’m busy on things of a purposeful nature, unconcerned and not easily overcome by sin.

Being unemployed (or partially underemployed) takes my focus away, letting me get taken away by the part of me that has become unhealthy. With a click of a mouse, I’m suddenly at the side of a cliff, jumping over the edge into some of the darkest experiences of a man’s life.

I pray that this day, with grace renewed, that I would make a strong effort to keep God first; to have my faith built up. That I renew my commitment to the God who has protected me, loved me unconditionally, and supported me this whole life. I pray for mercy and forgiveness. I pray for an inner strength that will make a difference in the lives of people I love and care about. I pray for more work in the near future. Regardless of my situation, help me God to remember that You are God, the One who knows where my life is headed. Remind me each moment, God, that I am in Your hands, that your provisions are an abundance, and that you know exactly what I need. Help me not to worry or stress about what will happen tommorrow. Help me to make the right decisions especially when faced with clear cases of right and wrong decisions. Help me to choose the right way.

Wait for the Lord. Wait for the Lord.

Good things will come.

Wait for the Lord.

I’t’s amazing how many storms our lives can handle, isn’t it? From the stories I’ve read about people who’ve lost it all, from people who’ve suffered abuse and tragedy, the stories continue: the storms continue as well.

The fear of the unknown and the uncertainty of the future are both terrible human predicaments to endure. When we feel hopeless, useless, and without direction, I can’t find any other compass better than God. There are times when I ignore his ready hand. There are times when I think it’s not worth it. There are time when I think that He’s not listening.

On this wintery morning, I pray that I will seek Him out. I pray that we can reach out and find the peace of His arms. I’m praying that we stop fumbling, and instead land on the rock.

February is just around the corner, the year’s biggest snow storm is approaching, and I find myself without work again. After finishing a five week contract, I’m here wondering what’s in store for me next. Reading the posts to my blog reminds me that I’m not alone in my situation. In fact, I don’t think we’re ever alone in our problems or crises. It’s just that we feel that way, blinded by our weakness, and not realizing that there’s a god who cares for us and who will never leave us nor foresake us.

I’m committing this approaching month of February to growing spiritually. I’m aiming to take each day as it comes, pray faithfully and wholeheartedly, and not be blinded anymore. I want to see beyond the difficulties and stress, to recapture a vibrant faith that I once had. I’m going to step out in faith, do the small things well, and be surprised by the things that God’s going to do for me.

I was sitting in church yesterday, feeling pretty much alone. My family was downstairs, some people I knew were in the pew behind me, but I still felt like I didn’t have the frame of mind that God wants and expects of me. I felt crusty, my heart hardened, afraid and alone.Sure I smiled and performed my church services, but I know that it’s not the true person that God wants me to be. He has given me so much more, and I simply need to open the blinds to see how much light there is.

I’m re-affirming that God is good. Regardless of my situation with work, finances, relationships, God is always good and He’s looking out for me.

Wow. Two awesome videos I hadn’t seen before, published as top ten best on Youtube.

Ken Block’s Gymkhana: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TshFWSsrn8

This Too Shall Pass: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qybUFnY7Y8w

Without a doubt, this holiday season has been, and will be, a difficult season for me. Like I’ve written before, it’s not like anyone close to me is suffering in pain. I am not ill, I have food to eat, a place to live, family and friends who care about me. Yet, there’s that cloudy, dark feeling that envelops me. Listening to Christmas carols that speak of joy, of birth, of hope and love.

I know there are millions this year who are going through the same kind of isolation due to unemployment. The uncertainty alone is incredibly hard to cope with. I’m hoping that 2011 will be bring some much needed changes.

I pray for a calmer mind, one that seeks out new opportunities to encourage and love others. Instead of claming up, I’m praying that I’ll be able to continue take actions to get things done for others.

Here’s are some great, simple, no fuss websites to help recommend books for you to read. If you enjoyed one book and you’re looking for ideas, these online databases provide some ideas: it may not be as accurate as you’d like, but it certainly gives ideas for additional reads.

www.whatshouldireadnext.com

www.yournextread.com  (This is a BRILLIANT site!!! I loved it!)

I constantly surf the web looking for spiritual help and stories from unemployed people. I know that God’s so, so much bigger than my jobless state, and that my lack of a job is truly nothing. I’m praying for more faith, especially during those terrifying moments of worry. Pangs of anxiety in the middle of the night, worrying about whether or not a job will appear.

I found this blog on Billy Graham’s website: http://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.asp?articleid=6242

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What I’m reading now

"Wanderlust: A Social History of Travel," by Laura Byrne Paquet (Fredericton:Goose Lane Editions, 2007) "The Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping malls, and the Search for Home," by Pico Iyer (Toronto: Random House of Canada, 2000). "Outliers: The Story of Success," by Malcolm Gladwell (New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2008).

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