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According to Genesis 6:8-9, "Noah found grace [favor] in the eyes of the Lord...Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God."

Did you catch the progression of Noah's description? The way these statements come together says a lot about Noah. He found favor with God, was a righteous man, and walked with God. Despite these notations, Noah probably wasn't perfect, yet the people of his time condiered him blameless. Can the same be said of us?

When our days are troubled and full of stress, may we be like Noah...always walking close to God and finding His favor because our deeds are righteous (as much as is possible for faulty humans!). May those we interact with in the neighborhood, at church, with former work colleagues, or with those we've just met consider us to be blameless, persons full of integrity and always ready to speak the truth without dissembling or fudging things to make ourselves look good. Or, as Scripture says it: "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer" (Psalm 19:14).

And just so you know...there's still no full time work...the part time work has dwindled to nothing...there hasn't been enough money in the till at the part time position to pay anything for hours worked for the last three weeks...the temporary job that was to be a forty-hour work week for 8 weeks may now only be 20 hours a week for 4 weeks...

BUT GOD IS FAITHFUL. He has not forgotten where I live. He knows my needs. And He has promised to take care of me. So I will offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving--gratefulness to God for all He is and for all He has already done for me. And it will be a sacrifice, because I don't feel like it. I feel like hollering and throwing a tantrum. I feel like giving up and throwing in the towel. But instead I will sacrifice an offering of praise and thanksgiving. I hope you will do the same; and then, let's both keep on trusting God for this roller coaster ride of unemployment.

From June 2008 until now much of our unemployment journey has been chronicled in Discovery House Publisher's recent release The Roller Coaster of Unemployment: Trusting God for the Ride. But here is an excerpt from a journal from those early days of joblessness that didn't make it into the book...

Genesis 4:14, 16 [And Cain told God,] "Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth...So Cain went out from the Lord's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden."

Cain had murdered his brother in anger. And now Cain recognized the implications of his sin--he would be removed from God's presence. With each sinful step this first family moved farther and farther away from close fellowship with God. Mom and Dad (Eve & Adam) were tossed out of the Garden of Eden for eating what had been forbidden. Now Cain was banished even further--to the east of Eden--completely out of the Garden of Eden's neighborhood and all the way to the land of Nod.

So, too, in your life, whether jobless or not, each little (or big!) sinstep takes you further away from close fellowship with God. When you fear what is to come, you sinstep away from what God wants because His Word says He has not given you a spirit of fear, but of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). You sinstep away from God when you are ungrateful for what God has given you, for God's Word says giving thanks in all things is a part of His will for your life (1 Thessalonians 5:18). When you worry about how you're going to pay your bills or if you'll lose your home or any of the myriad things that pop into your head in the middle of the night, You've sidestepped again into sin, for the Bible says you are not to worry, but rather cast your cares on God for He will provide for you because He cares for you (Matthew 6:34; 1 Peter 5:7).

Indeed, you and I both need God's presence more than we need the sideways sinsteps into the land of Nod. So ask Him to restore the joy of your salvation, to grant you a newness in His Spirit. Confess aloud that He is your Father and that He is in charge of everything. For that's the truth. God reigns over everything in heaven and on earth. He guides, guards, and directs you even when you might not recognize it, and God knows what it best for us. Instead of sinstepping away from God's presence like Adam, Eve, & Cain, keep trusting Him for the ride.

According to the Bible (Mark 10:27) Jesus reminded His disciples that while some things appear impossible to happen in human times and terms, "all things are possible with God."

When I read that phrase back in June 2008 when my husband was laid off from his full-time job, I supposed that it meant that even though it looked like getting another full time job in his field seemed impossible, God could make it happen. And, indeed, while God is capable of making those things happen that way, He didn't. Full time work never materialized--in 2008, 2009, or even so far into 2010.

However, what God did do is just as much of a miracle and an impossibility; it's just that I didn't have eyes to see it while it was happening.

...At first, I expected full time employment and a regular salary equivalent to his old job: instead, God provided temporary work that was enough to enable us to pay off most of our debt.

...As time wore on, I expected the impossible of full-time salaried work of any kind for my husband: instead God provided temporary work for me and a book contract with a publisher.

...As the unemployment trial drew past 18 months, I expected the impossibility of work of any kind--full-time, part-time, temporary: instead, God provided for our needs through an unplanned inheritance, some retirement payouts, and the unexpected generosity of Christian friends.

...And, as we see the two-year mark of Mike's unemployment approaching, I'm seeing another impossibility happen: a change in my attitude. Instead of expecting God to fill up our lack the way I see fit, I'm finding myself sitting back and stressing out less while I let God show me how He wants to do the impossible.

And guess what?! Now, there's a change in our work status. We've gone from unemployed to underemployed. We're both working part-time temporary work for the 2010 census. That's another impossible thing God has done. More than 40,000 people applied for 1800 positions here in Nashville--and God secured two of those positions for us.

Indeed, Jesus words to His disciples still rings true today. God is in the impossibility business. All things are possible with Him. Sometimes we just have to have eyes that will see it His way! So, keep on trusting Him for your ride of umeployment, underemployment, career choices, life decisions, etc. He IS working those seemingly impossibile impossibilities into His plan for your life!

First century Christians would greet each other with the words, "He is risen!" If this greeting was received by another believer, they would reply, "He is risen indeed!" By giving and exchanging this coded greeting early Christians could be fairly certain they were talking to someone else who believed in Jesus as Lord and Savior and not some spy from Caesar or the Jewish temple guard who sought to imprison Christians.

Today our greetings to one another are not usually marked with such secret phrases or code words. Yet our hellos might be tinged with other thoughts not spoken but hinted at between the lines. For example, someone might say hello and how are you, when what they really want to know is whether or not you've found a job yet. Someone else might even ask you how an interview went or if you've had a response to your emailed resumes, when what they're really wanting to know is why are you still unemployed? You have skills, abilities, a decent personality. So what's wrong with you that you still don't have a job?

But thankfully there's at least one person who doesn't speak in coded greetings or with hidden messages. That one person is God. God only ever says what He means. In fact Jesus says more than 30 times in the Gospel of Matthew alone, "I tell you the truth," so that people would know that what God says is true. And what does God say?

...God loves you more than you realize: Titus 3:4-5
...Your life has a divine purpose: Jeremiah 29:10-14
...God stands ready to give you guidance: Proverbs 3:5-6
...Nothing that happens in your life ever escapes God's attention:Genesis 16:6-14
...Though bad things happen, God is still in charge: Daniel 2:20-22; 4:17,35
...God promises blessings for your faithfulness to Him: 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

But best of all Psalm 145:13 says "The Lord is faithful to all his promises." Catch hold to at least one of the promises listed above as you go through this next week. Pair it with this verse in Psalms, and repeat this to yourself whenever the roller coaster of unemployment and life rushes you down the track and into the tunnels of the unknown. Keep trusting God for the ride, for "He who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23)! He is risen; He is risen, indeed!

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