Behold the lamb of God Emu Music Lyrics

Details

1. He walked on earth showing glimpses of heaven,
Demons, death, disease had no hand.
The wind and the waves were obedient before him:
Well may they say, “Who is this man?”

Chorus
Behold the Lamb of God
Who takes away our sin,
The light of the world, the Son of God!
Worthy is the Lamb to receive our praise,
And glory and honour, and power.

2. He turned not His face
From our pain and destruction,
He drank the bitter cup to the end
He who knew no sin
Took the punishment for us,
Deserted by God, man and friend.

3. On the third day
He was raised up with glory,
Reigning on high, the risen Son.
Now we have life,
A new hope, a new future,
Now we cry, ‘Come, Lord Jesus come!’

Words and Music: ©1990 Nicky Chiswell and Rob Smith

Use of these lyrics is subject to you holding the appropriate CCLI licence for your territory, or obtaining permission from the song owner. If in any doubt please contact us.

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17 Ways to Reinvent Yourself While You’re Unemployed

17 Ways to Reinvent Yourself While You’re Unemployed

November 2, 2010

Are you in between jobs? Or perhaps you’re temporarily out the job market. Regardless of the reason, if you’re not currently employed you shouldn’t stay idle. I understand seeking employment can be a full-time job, but prospective employers don’t see your search on your CV. Live your life as if you’re constantly building your résumé. Below are 17 ways you can reinvent yourself while you’re unemployed, yet simultaneously looking for a job. You’ll be basically creating a non-paying position for yourself, while being productive, filling an employment gap, generating experience for your résumé, and adding value to the community.

 

Photo by Drew Leavy on flickr

1. Brand Yourself – Even though you’re not working, you still need to constantly reinforce a positive image. Networking in person is important in branding yourself, and could lead to other opportunities, especially if you’re changing fields. Attend seminars, go to panel discussions, etc. and network to get your name out there. Add one or more of the below tips to supplement your networking to further boost your personal brand.

2. Hobbies – Share your talents by teaching your skills at local organizations.

3. Blogging – Write a blog about a personal experience, or your professional field. You add value to the online community, and sharpen your writing and editing abilities.

4. Volunteer – Do volunteer work that utilizes your know-how. It’s a great way to spread your wisdom, and give back.

5. Classes – Take classes and obtain new talents. If possible, get certified or licensed in your newly acquired knowledge.

6. Get Noticed – Try to get published in your local newspaper (articles/photos), or do something in your area worthy of an interview in a periodical or on your local news.

7. Groups – Start or join a group on MeetUp or LinkedIn. Starting one adds to your organizational and leadership skills. It also gets you engaging those with a similar interest, which could even lead to great connections whether you organize or join one.

8. Speaker – Offer to speak to a local organization or business. Put your oratory and PowerPoint skills to good use. This could also lead to more speaking offers, and this helps establish you as an expert in your field.

9. Fundraiser Chair – Chair a fundraiser for a non-profit organization. You certainly gain a lot of experience doing this. If you don’t want to chair one, at least join one of the committees.

10. Consult – Become a consultant. You can volunteer your services or ask small businesses if they need your occasional help for a modest fee.

11. Become a Board Member – Giving your time to be on a board keeps your mind fresh, and is most impressive on a résumé. The position is most easily obtained through non-profit organizations.

12. Podcast – Create an audio or video series of trade tips in the form of a non-streamed webcast. You can submit your podcasts to iTunes for distribution.

13. Social Networking – Brand yourself online, and meet people in your location or professional field. Sign up for a LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter account if you don’t already have one.

14. Panelist – Ask your local library, place of worship, YMCA, etc. if they’d like a panel to speak about your specialty, which should be of interest to the public. If so, gather a few others in your field to be on the discussion panel.

15. Start a Small Business – Think outside of the box and turn one of your passions into a small business. If you’re interested in doing it, but only on a very small-scale, start a small business while continuing with your job search, and perhaps keep it on the side once you find employment.

16. Webinar – Offer one or more web seminars for little money or gratis in your field of expertise.

17. eBook – Write your own eBook and publish it with AmazonApple, or Barnes & Noble.

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Surviving financially when you’re unemployed

Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2012. Presented by Sandeep Madhavan CFP, CMFC, CRPC, and Kevin Connors CFP, CRPC a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Madhavan and Connors are members of the Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts, a professional organization of financial planners serving New England.

Got questions on finances during unemployment? We’ll be hosting a chat on Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 11 a.m. to discuss.

When you lose your job, you may have to put yourself on a financial diet. Just as losing weight is simple if you eat less (and exercise more), staying afloat financially is simple if you spend less. Is this process going to be easy? No, of course not. But it can be done with a little self-discipline, some creativity, and a lot of planning.

Plan for a six-month period of unemployment
It’s hard to know how long you’ll be unemployed. You may find a new job within a matter of weeks, or it may take you months. However, it’s best to plan for a worst-case scenario, probably six months. Most likely, you’ll find a job sooner, and you can throw the rest of your plan in the trash. But, if you don’t find a job quickly, at least you’ll be prepared.

Follow the plan
When you’ve come up with a financial plan, stick to it. Like any diet, you’ll be tempted to cheat by spending a little more money than you should. You may even find that as time goes by, you want to change your plan a bit. That’s OK. Your plan is designed to be flexible so that you don’t feel too burdened by something that seems unworkable.

Adjust your expectations

No, finding a new job is not going to be easy
First, despite the number of appealing job ads you see in the Sunday paper, finding a new job is not going to be easy. Even if you’re one of the lucky few that’s working in an occupation that’s in high demand, finding a new job is probably going to take at least a few weeks and maybe months. Your job search may look something like this:
• Week 1: Send out 10 resumes, and wait for the phone to ring.
• Week 2: Send out ten more resumes, and wait some more.
• Week 3: Send out five resumes for jobs you really want and five for jobs that you really don’t want. The phone rings. It’s your mother.
• Week 4: The phone rings. Then it rings again. You line up two job interviews. You send out three more resumes.
• Week 5: You have two interviews, and send out five more resumes. You’re called for a second interview at one of the jobs.
• Week Six: Good news! You’re hired! Bad news: You can’t start for two more weeks.

As you can see, even a successful job search can take a while, even if you’re a good candidate in a good job market. Prepare yourself for this by drawing up a financial plan as soon as you lose your job.

Expect that life is going to change
When you lose your job, you probably won’t be able to live the same way you lived when you had a job. If you try to live the same way, there’s a good chance you won’t survive financially. If you’re unemployed for only a few weeks, your life might not change radically. Perhaps you’ll only need to spend a little less on groceries, go out to eat once
every two weeks instead of once a week, and then dip into your savings account. But if you’re unemployed for months, or if your basic living expenses are high, you’re going to have to take a more radical approach to survive.

You may have to sell your house, your car, or take a temporary job. Prepare yourself mentally for this.

Map out your priorities

How desperate are you?
Desperation can trick you. Things that you once said that you’d never do, seem more and more appealing as time passes and you can’t find a new job. When you started your job search, maybe you said “I’ll do anything to survive, but I won’t sell my Jeep!” Four months late, you’re saying, “OK, maybe the Jeep has to go, but I’ll never disconnect
my cable.” Hopefully, you’ll never reach the point where you say, “I’ll declare bankruptcy, but only Chapter 13, not Chapter 7!” After all, you do have some pride, don’t you? What are the things you will and won’t do, will or won’t sell to survive financially? At this point, do yourself a favor and map them out.

Remember, diets (even financial ones) don’t last forever
Keep in mind as you plan for unemployment that even though you’re on a financial diet, no diet lasts forever. At some point, you’ll find another job and the crisis will pass.

Therefore, you want to be especially careful that the decisions you make now aren’t shortsighted. Do what you can to survive, but only do what you really have to.

Example: When Jeff was feeling especially desperate one day, he sold his lawn mower at a garage sale for $75. Two weeks later, he landed a job at a software company, and his lawn had grown six inches. Jeff was forced to spend $350 for a new mower.

Draft a survival budget

The next step is to draft a survival budget. If you currently have a budget, use that as a guide. If you don’t, you’ll have to start from scratch by listing all your income and expenses. A survival budget is a bare-bones version of a regular budget. What you want to end up with is an idea of what income you need to actually survive. Start by listing your expenses and your post-employment income. Remember to include only expenses that are necessary; eliminate any items that are luxuries or that you could reasonably do without.

Example: Before Don lost his job, he went to the movies twice a week, ate lunch out every day, and took a weekend trip once a month. By eliminating these expenses from his budget after he was fired from his job, Don was able to save $500 a month.

Find ways to increase your income

There are many ways to increase your income while you look for a new job, some of which you should look into immediately, and others only when you are truly desperate.

Unemployment insurance

One of the first places you should look for income when you lose your job is your state’s employment office. However, you can only receive unemployment benefits if you meet certain eligibility criteria. Mainly, you must be involuntarily unemployed. This means that if you’ve quit your job, you have no chance of receiving unemployment benefits, but if you’ve been laid off or fired (but not for misconduct), you should definitely check into it.

Benefits and regulations vary from state to state, so it’s hard to say how much you’ll get. But if your application is approved, you should begin receiving benefits quickly, often within a week or two. For more information on this, see Unemployment Compensation.

Severance pay
You may be eligible for severance pay if you are laid off. How much you receive will depend upon your employer’s policy. You may have the option of receiving a lump-sum payment or a continuation of salary. If you take a lump-sum payment, you’ll have immediate control over your money, but you may lose your employee benefits. If you
take a continuation of salary, you may keep your benefits, but you’ll have to trust the company that laid you off in the first place to stay financially sound.

Savings
If you’ve planned ahead, you may have an emergency fund set up that’s equal to three to six months of living expenses from which you can borrow when you need to supplement your income. This is a great source of income if you have it. Many people don’t, and are surprised to see how fast a savings account can be depleted when it’s used as a source of funds for everyday expenses.

Credit insurance

You probably don’t have credit insurance that will make your bill payments when you’re unemployed. However, if you have any doubt, call your mortgage company, or credit card companies to find out or check your billing statements. Perhaps you inadvertently signed up for such protection, which adds a few dollars to your payment every month. However, you may have to wait for a while before receiving benefits.

Part-time or temporary job
If you get a little more desperate, you should think about taking a part-time or temporary job to supplement your income. This may be a good idea for two reasons.

First, you’ll feel less stress if you know that you have at least some regular income coming in. Second, you may even be able to parlay a part-time or temporary job into a full-time job, or gain experience that will help you in your job search. Third, you’ll be able to schedule interviews relatively easily, if you can decide where or when you want to work (as you can with many temporary assignments). Even if you take a job that you feel doesn’t have career potential, you’ll feel better just doing something besides sitting
around the house worrying.

Have a yard sale
Depending upon what you have to sell, having a yard sale can be quite lucrative. If you look around your house, you’ll be surprised at how much you own that you really don’t need. Make a list of things you want to get rid of, and list them in order of priority. If you’re really desperate or if you don’t care about an item, price it accordingly. If you
don’t want to sell it unless you get a good price, keep that in mind as well. Also consider consigning items at a shop if you have specific things to sell.

Sell your house, or rent it
As a last-ditch attempt to remain solvent, selling your house can be advantageous if you can raise a lot of cash this way and if you want to reduce your monthly cash outlay over the long-term. It’s not a good short-term way to raise cash because it will take time to implement, and it has long-term consequences. After you accept an offer on your house, you could have trouble if you change your mind, and the impact on your family will be far-reaching. If you want to temporarily reduce what you pay for housing, however, you may want to consider moving to an apartment (or cheaper housing) and renting out your home for a year or two. However, any decisions you make in this area should be made carefully, and only after considering the true cost of your decision and how much you can actually get out of the deal.

Withdraw money from your tax-deferred retirement account
Withdrawing money from your tax-deferred retirement account (e.g., an IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plan) is an option you should consider only as a last resort to avoid bankruptcy. In general, any money you withdraw from a tax-deferred retirement account will be taxed as ordinary income for the year in which you make the withdrawal. In addition, you may have to pay a 10 percent penalty tax for early withdrawal if you’re under age 59½. The IRS allows exceptions to the penalty tax under certain conditions, however. If you are under age 59½ and considering taking funds from your IRA or retirement plan, see Premature Distribution Rule to find out if one of the exceptions applies to your situation.

Tip: If you are considering taking funds from your IRA or retirement plan, you should consult a tax advisor regarding the specific tax treatment of your withdrawal, because not all of it will necessarily be taxable. For example, if you have ever made nondeductible contributions to your traditional IRA or after-tax contributions to your employer’s plan, a portion of your withdrawal may not be subject to tax. Also, qualifying withdrawals from a Roth IRA are totally tax free, and even nonqualifying withdrawals may not be fully taxable (since Roth IRAs are funded only with after-tax contributions).

Borrow from the cash value of your life insurance policy
If you have a life insurance policy with cash value, consider borrowing the cash reserves. You’ll have to repay the money, but not right away.

Borrow from relatives
Borrowing from relatives can be difficult. Not only will you have to put aside your pride, but you’ll also have to contend with the consequences. Your relatives may be generous, but there’s a chance that their generosity will backfire. What if you can’t pay the money back? What if you eat out one night? Will they secretly (or vocally) hold this against you? If you do borrow from a relative, clearly outline the terms of the loan in writing, if necessary. That way, you’ll reduce the chance for a future conflict.

Reduce expenses

Increase deductibles on auto insurance Check with your insurance company to find out how much you could save per month on your auto insurance premium if you increased your deductible. However, remember that if you get into an accident, you’ll have to pay the deductible out of pocket. Will you be able to come up with a large amount of cash while you’re unemployed?

Balance the risk with the benefits. Example: Pamela increased her auto insurance deductible from $250 to $1,000. This reduced her auto insurance premium by $10 per month. Three months later when she was still unemployed, she rear-ended a truck, causing $3,000 worth of damage to her car. The insurance company paid $2,000,
but Pamela had to come up with the remaining $1,000 before she could get her car fixed, an amount she could hardly afford.

Sell your car
While many people consider a car to be a necessity, you may be able to dramatically reduce your monthly expenses by selling yours — they are expensive to drive and maintain. Not only do you have to pay for gas and upkeep, but in many cases, you also have to pay insurance premiums and monthly car payments. This can add up to several
hundred dollars per month — money you could really use when you’re unemployed. Keep in mind, however, that if you have a loan on your car, you might owe more than your car is worth; if you sell your car for less than the loan balance, you’ll still have to make payments until the balance is paid off (or take out another loan to pay off the car
loan balance).

Also, if you get another job, you may need to buy another car, and many lenders require a certain length of employment before they give you a loan. Investigate your options thoroughly before you sell your car.

Selling your car may also be a good way to raise a large amount of cash quickly. This will depend, of course, on whether you own your car, whether you have a loan for it, and what your car is worth. Again, this is a decision to make carefully. If you have a loan, call your bank to find out the procedure to follow, because until your bank releases the title, you don’t really own the car. They can also tell you the book value of your car and your loan balance. If you own your car outright, research its value at the library or on the Internet, and decide what price to charge.

Negotiate with your creditors
If you find that you’re having trouble paying all your bills, seriously consider negotiating with your creditors. Assuming that you have good credit, you may find it relatively easy to reduce the interest rates on your credit cards, skip a payment or two on your car loan, or reduce your monthly payments temporarily. To do this, you’ll have to put aside your pride and admit that you’re having financial difficulties. You’ll be in a much better negotiating position, however, if you call your creditors before you get into financial trouble. Some creditors will turn you down, but most will negotiate with you. If you wait until you’ve already missed more than one payment and the creditors are calling you, you’ll have more trouble making your case.

If you need help negotiating with your creditors or managing your debt, you may want to call a nonprofit credit counseling organization, such as the Consumer Credit Counseling
Service (CCCS). For further information on CCCS, call (800) 388-CCCS. For further information on restructuring debt, read Options When You Can’t Meet Your Financial Obligations.

Caution: If your creditor agrees to let you skip payments or pay reduced amounts, honor the terms of your agreement, and keep in close contact with your creditor’s representative. Otherwise, your good credit may be ruined.

Discontinue discretionary expenses
You probably pay for a lot of things you don’t really need. For instance, think about canceling magazine subscriptions, extra phone services, credit cards you don’t use that have an annual fee, health club memberships (if possible without incurring a large cancellation fee), auto club memberships, cable television, and Internet service
(although this can help you find a job). You may even save a few dollars a month by switching banks if you currently pay monthly checking fees. Every little bit helps.

Tip: If you’re billed annually for some of these things, you won’t save any money unless you cancel them at renewal because you won’t ordinarily get a refund.

Limit long-distance calls
If your long-distance bills are high, put yourself on a phone budget. Vow to spend no more than a certain amount (say $25 a month) on long-distance. To keep track of your calls, keep a notebook next to your phone so that you can easily see when you’ve reached your limit.

Strategies to consider if you have more time to prepare

Often you lose your job with little warning. However, if you’re being laid off or plan to quit your job, you may have time to save money for unemployment by using the following strategies.

Establish a home equity line of credit
If you have enough time, consider establishing a home equity line of credit, if you have enough equity in your house (20 percent is often the minimum), and if you can find a bank that will loan you money without charging you closing costs.

With a home equity line of credit, you’ll pay interest only on the portion you use. However, the bank may charge you an annual fee or require that you take a certain draw on the line up front. You may even be able to use the line to pay off credit cards or loans that carry a higher interest rate, and consolidate your debt. You’ll still have to make a monthly payment, however, so make sure you’ll be able to afford it before you put your house on the line.

In addition, beware when lenders claim that your home equity line of credit will be tax deductible. Although this may be true in many cases, you should consult your tax advisor to find out whether it will be true in your case.

Caution: Use caution when using your house as a debt management tool. If you can’t pay your loan back, you may lose your house. For more information, see Home Equity Loans and Lines of Credit.

Reduce contributions to retirement or education funds
Once you know you are going to lose your job, stop contributing to any savings plans that you’ll have trouble accessing, or that aren’t necessary. These include retirement funds, education funds, and Christmas club accounts.

Decrease your withholding
Consider increasing your withholding allowances to reduce the amount that is taken out of your paycheck. Deposit this extra money in a savings account. Of course, be careful that you don’t claim more allowances than you are entitled to. When you get a new job, you should look at your tax liability for the year. It’s possible at that time that you’ll have to increase your withholding to make up the difference.

Plan a financial strategy
Once you’ve mapped out your priorities and drafted a bare-bones budget, you’re ready to come up with your own six-month financial strategy. After you’ve formulated your own strategy, post it somewhere (maybe on the refrigerator) where you can use it everyday to chart your progress.

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100 Smart Ways To Invest Your Time When You’re Unemployed

Unemployment can strike unexpectedly and leave you feeling frustrated, stressed out, and upset. Yet it doesn’t have to be an entirely bad experience. Aside from the financial woes it might create, unemployment can sometimes be a blessing in disguise, helping you take care of things you’ve been putting off, building career skills, or even pushing you in a totally new direction in life — that is, if you choose to use your time away from the workplace wisely.

Even though you’re not at work, you can still be working toward a better, happier you in your time between jobs. There are hundreds of ways that you can improve yourself and develop as a person and a professional, and even better, you’ll be able to show potential employers that you’re willing to change, roll with the punches, push yourself, and learn even when times are tough. Here, we share just a few of the many ways you can use your unemployment to your advantage and make every minute away from work count.

Getting Back to Work

Chances are good that if you’re unemployed, finding a job is usually on your mind. These ideas will help you push yourself to get back on the workplace saddle.

  1. Give your resume a makeover. If you haven’t looked for a job in awhile, you could probably stand to give your resume a little tweaking. Add your most current positions and give the whole thing a more modern, sleek layout.
  2. Create a plan for getting back into the workforce. With the job market tight, it can often take some pretty serious effort to find a new job. The first step should be to create a plan of attack, deciding what changes you need to make, how you’ll apply, and what you really want to do.
  3. Get an internship. Can’t get a job? See if you can get an internship instead. That will keep extended gaps off of your resume and ensure that you’re gaining experience while looking for more gainful employment.
  4. Do mock interviews. Don’t head into your interview unpracticed! Instead, review interview questions at home ahead of time so you’ll have solid answers to almost anything that comes up.
  5. Take advantage of networking opportunities.Since you don’t have to work, you have plenty of time to get connected with others. Take advantage of any networking opportunities offered to you, as you never know which will be the chance you’ve been waiting for.
  6. Follow up. If you’ve scored a much-coveted interview or have placed an application for a job you really want, don’t forget to follow up. It’ll make you look more interested in the position and will undoubtedly relieve some of your stress.
  7. Ask for advice. Not sure how to handle unemployment? Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Head to the web, your business connections, or friends and family to get information about job leads, personal development, going back to school, and more.
  8. Learn how the hiring process works. Do you know how HR at major companies handles incoming resumes? If not, you might want to learn. Some scan resumes and cover letters for key words, which you’ll want to include (or exclude as the case may be) to help you gain an edge.
  9. Design amazing business cards. Leave everyone you meet something to remember you by, when you create standout business cards. Design them yourself, or ask a design-savvy friend to give you some help.
  10. Stay involved in your industry. Just because you’re not working doesn’t mean you should just drop out of your field. Stay involved with industry events, news, and chat so you won’t get left behind.
  11. Start at the bottom. Sometimes, coming back from unemployment means starting all over again at the bottom. Don’t let this get you down. Use it as an opportunity to learn and grow instead.
  12. Start your own business. For some, losing a job may be just the motivation they need to finally start the business they’ve always dreamed about.
  13. Take on small jobs. If you can’t find a long-term job, there’s no reason not to find shorter-term work in its place. Freelance, consult, or even do odd jobs to stay busy while you’re waiting for a break to come along.
  14. Work part time. If your industry offers part-time positions, try to find one. It might not cover all the bills, but it will keep you working and involved, which looks good to future employers.
  15. Don’t be afraid to take chances. Unemployment is scary, it’s true, but that’s no excuse not to be willing to take a few risks to get ahead. Those chances could pay off big, and help you get ahead in your career.
  16. Ask for help. No matter what kind of crisis you’re going through, you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to friends, family, coworkers, and associates for help in getting back into the workplace.
  17. Temper desperation. There is nothing that will drive away potential employers faster than the smell of desperation. Even if you feel yourself become desperate, don’t let it show. Relax, step back, and address any opportunities calmly.

Working on Yourself

Time off from work can give you a chance to work on you, free from the usual constraints. What’s more, becoming a better person may just help you get the job you want or start a new career.

  1. Reassess your goals. Do you know where you really want to be in five years? The answer might not be what you thought it would be five years previously, especially in light of your unemployment. Take a hard look at your life and figure out what you really want from your career and your personal relationships.
  2. Meditate. Calm your mind and find some inner peace by making meditation, even for a few minutes, a daily practice while unemployed.
  3. Find discipline. Making it through unemployment and back into the workforce is going to take some discipline. Work on finding it in yourself.
  4. Organize your life. Your life might feel chaotic at the moment, but you can restore order in the elements you can control. Organize your home, your thoughts, and other elements of your life to make it easier to think clearly and start moving ahead.
  5. Work on your patience. Being impatient isn’t a virtue. Every time you feel yourself losing patience, remind yourself to calm down and take things slowly. Remember, slow and steady wins the race, not fast and haphazardly.
  6. Listen more than you talk. There are many times in our lives when we think we know more than we actually do. Losing a job can be a wake-up call. Stop talking and start listening to gain valuable insights.
  7. Get out of your comfort zone. Losing a job can be scary, but since you’re already in an uncomfortable place, it’s the perfect time to break out of all-too-comfortable ruts and start doing things a different way.
  8. Change your bad habits. Our bad habits can often get us into trouble and make life more difficult than it has to be. Make breaking some of your worst habits a daily goal while unemployed (and beyond).
  9. Stop being a perfectionist. No one is perfect and the pursuit of that impossible ideal can be exhausting, defeating, and stressful. Let yourself make mistakes, so long as you learn from them.
  10. Work on your self-esteem. Confidence goes a long way in life, from the business world to the dating scene. Feel good about yourself and you’ll have an easier time convincing others that you’re a great choice as well.
  11. Learn how to be your own advocate. You don’t need others to stick up for you; you can just as easily do it for yourself. Spend time teaching yourself how to speak up and get what you want.
  12. Keep calm and carry on. Freaking out will not help you get through any kind of crisis, including unemployment. Stay calm, create a plan, and move on to the next step in your life.
  13. Have an open mind. Closing yourself off from potential opportunities, helpful people, and new experiences are surefire ways to keep yourself stuck in a rut. Instead, open your mind to new ideas.
  14. Be publicly accountable. Want to force yourself to make big changes? Then make yourself publicly accountable for meeting your goals.

Finding Happiness

There’s no sense in wallowing in being out of work. Instead, spend your time learning how to be happy.

  1. Stop complaining. Could things in your life be better? Sure, but constantly reminding yourself of that fact isn’t going to change a thing. Stop complaining and start doing things to improve your life.
  2. Take care of yourself. Being unemployed can be very stressful, so it’s key to take good care of yourself. Eat well, exercise, and don’t neglect check-ups with doctors and dentists.
  3. Get in shape. One of the most common excuses for not working out is lack of time, and you’ve got plenty of that now. Start making exercise part of your daily routine. You’ll look and feel better and it can help reduce stress, too.
  4. Learn the benefits of positive thinking. While positive thinking can’t instantly make your life amazing, it can help to keep you motivated, improve your health, and generally make you happier. Give it a try next time you feel negative thoughts creeping in.
  5. Take stock of the good things in your life. While everything in your life might not be perfect, there are undoubtedly some blessings that you have to be thankful for. Remind yourself of this any time you start to feel down about unemployment.
  6. Don’t put off unpleasant things. Life is full of unpleasant tasks, but putting these things off until tomorrow makes both today and tomorrow miserable. Get the worst things out of the way first, then you can move on and feel better.
  7. Love yourself. Job loss can often result in some pretty negative thoughts about yourself, but it shouldn’t. Learn to forgive, love, and care for yourself. You’ll be a stronger person for it.
  8. Practice mindfulness. You might be too worried about your future to appreciate today, but you really shouldn’t be. Train yourself to live in the moment and appreciate the good things life has to offer, however small.
  9. Say yes. While you don’t want to get as extreme as Jim Carrey’s character in The Yes Man, there is an advantage to being willing to try new things and to saying yes when you would have previously been too busy, worried, or unwilling to do so.
  10. Know yourself. Time off of work is an excellent opportunity for getting to know yourself. Learn what you like, what makes you happy, and, most importantly, what you really value in life.
  11. Practice kindness. It may seem like those who are unkind get ahead the most in the world, but that advancement comes at a hefty cost. Practice being kind to yourself and to others, which brings much sweeter rewards.
  12. Be honest with yourself. Lying to yourself may seem like a good solution to difficult situations, but in the end it only makes things worse. Be honest about your prospects, what you need to change, and the difficulties you may face in the coming months. Only then can you truly make a plan to improve your life.
  13. Find the silver lining.However small it might be, there is undoubtedly some kind of silver lining to being out of work. Find it, embrace it, and let it make you happy.
  14. Get in touch with your spiritual side. No matter what you believe, this is the perfect time to connect or reconnect with your spiritual side. Whether you engage in prayer or just try to connect with others on a deeper level, try to get something more out of life with your new free time.
  15. Simplify your life. Unemployment is a major change and can make you realize how much clutter there really is in your life. Simplify things by getting rid of both physical and mental baggage that might be holding you back.
  16. Get some perspective. Think things are bad? They could always be worse. Give yourself reminders of this by helping out those who are truly down on their luck.

Learning and Growing

Push yourself to learn, grow, and develop while unemployed by using some of these ideas.

  1. Read helpful books. There are hundreds of books out there that can help you to get a job, improve yourself, build skills, or just about anything else you could want. Better yet, you can often find them for free at your local library.
  2. Learn a new skill. Whether you choose to finally take some dance lessons, refinish furniture, or even use a word processing program, learning new skills is always a positive thing and you never know when they could come in handy.
  3. Take time to define your values. Do you know what really matters to you? Spend some time thinking long and hard about what you value most in life and build your future career around those values.
  4. Begin learning a new language. Knowing another language is never a bad thing and can add quite a bit to your resume. Use your time off to start getting familiar with a new language, a process you can continue throughout your life.
  5. Take college courses. If you feel like you need some new training or a new degree to keep up with your competition in the job market, use this break from work as your chance to head back to school.
  6. Grow, grow, grow. While it might be easier said than done, unemployment can be a valuable learning experience, and one that should inspire you to grow as a person.
  7. Experiment with new things.You’ve got nothing left to lose professionally, so why not try out some new things that can help to inspire, motivate, and re-ignite your passion.
  8. Know your failings. Learn how to be honest with yourself about your weaknesses. Then start working on ways to improve yourself in those areas or to compensate for them in other ways.
  9. Learn from your mistakes. Everyone makes them, and that’s ok. Just do your best to learn from them and move on a little wiser.
  10. Keep yourself accountable. You and only you are responsible for your success or failure in life. Find ways to ensure that you stay accountable no matter how you’re spending your time out of work.
  11. Don’t let yourself quit. It is easy to give up and give in to depression when you’re out of work, but while it might be harder to force yourself to keep going, that’s ultimately the more rewarding route. Take it.
  12. Find a coach. If you’re finding it hard to stay motivated on your own, reach out to someone close to you to act as your coach. He or she can help keep you going through the worst parts of your unemployment.

Improving Professionally

Feel like you can’t compete in the modern workplace? Unemployment is a chance to spend some time honing new skills, learning, and preparing yourself to get back to work.

  1. Focus on ambition, not on work. The job itself isn’t always the important thing. Instead, focus on your personal ambitions and drives. When you embrace those, often work comes without really trying.
  2. Attend seminars. Seminars are great places to learn new things and also connect with others in your field. The fees can be well worth the investment.
  3. Look good. First impressions do matter, so don’t let yourself go while unemployed. Keep your hair looking neat, your clothes fitted and professional, and your overall appearance maintained.
  4. Be open to unexpected opportunities. Sometimes opportunities come up that are wholly unexpected or not quite what you had in mind. Don’t reject them out of hand. Instead, think about the pros and cons of each; there might be a greater opportunity there than you thought.
  5. Make connections. Whether you meet people at the dog park or connect on LinkedIn, you should be using your unemployment to build a strong network that you can hopefully use to catapult you back into the working world.
  6. Learn about social networking. It’s hard to get by in many industries these days without some solid social media knowledge. Improve yours by reading all you can about using sites like Facebook and Twitter.
  7. Join or start a club. Meet up with others in your community who are unemployed or working in your field by joining a club or by starting your own local organization.
  8. Collect references. While the ideal time to collect references is before a layoff, now you have plenty of time to get in touch with former employers and coworkers who are willing to vouch for you.
  9. Learn how to be more productive. If your productivity skills could use some work, hone them in your time away from work by learning about time management, reading helpful books, and just being more conscious of how much you’re getting done each day.
  10. Share your skills. Just because you’re not working doesn’t mean you can’t use what you know. Offer free courses, teach kids, and share your expertise on the web.
  11. Join professional organizations. You can make a whole host of new connections by joining professional organizations in your field. Even better, many offer special job listings as well.
  12. Create an online brand. Never spent much time promoting yourself online? Well, now’s the time to get to it. Create a website, write a blog, and use social media to get your name out there.
  13. Balance your life. Getting a chance to pull back from work can help you to finally achieve a bit more of work-life balance.
  14. Practice your job skills. You don’t want to get rusty in your time off from work, so keep practicing those skills you use every day at work to ensure that you stay sharp.
  15. Learn about public speaking. Many, if not most, people loathe public speaking. While you may never learn to love it, you can learn to be good at it, which can be a huge advantage in finding a job and beyond.
  16. Create a portfolio. No matter what industry you’re in, it can be helpful to have examples of how you’ve excelled at work.
  17. Look for inspirational examples. Lots of people throughout history have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. Grab a biography and get reading to get inspired.

Staying Busy Productively

One of the worst things you can do when unemployed is mope around the house. These ideas will help to keep you busy, productive, and even working on yourself during the day.

  1. Volunteer. Volunteering can be a great way to give back to the community, keep busy, and even meet new people who could potentially help you in your career.
  2. Create a routine. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of sleeping late, not getting dressed, or staying up all night watching movies. Don’t do this. Instead, create a healthy, normal routine for yourself that will keep you productive and focused.
  3. Get involved in your community. Start coaching a baseball team or sitting in on city council meetings. You’ll be busy and feel like you’re a valued member of society.
  4. Start a blog. Blogs are a great way to work on your writing skills, connect with others, and just express yourself. You can also use them to build your online reputation.
  5. Journal your experiences. It can be useful to write down how you’re feeling as you’re going through this tumultuous time in your life. It’s both therapeutic and will serve as a reminder of just how far you’ve come.
  6. Work out your brain. Don’t let your brain sit idle! Read, work on puzzles, or just learn new things to keep it busy.
  7. Brainstorm for ideas. It can be useful to spend a part of your day brainstorming, whether for business ideas, job hunting leads, or even plots for novels.
  8. Become more frugal. If you’re out of work, then you need to be very careful about how you spend your money. Start cutting back and saving more where you can.
  9. Give to receive.Often, if you want to get something out of an experience, you have to give something first. Many things in life work this way, so don’t hesitate to put yourself out there; it might just be the risk you need to get things going in the right direction again.
  10. Read stories of others like you. Even if you feel totally alone, we can assure you that you’re not. Millions of people have been right where you are right now. Read about their stories to get some insights into how they worked their way out of a bad situation.
  11. Find something to motivate you. Everyone is motivated differently. Find what motivates you and capitalize on it to get more done every day.
  12. Be creative. There are few rules when you’re on your own at home. You have the license to be totally creative and inventive, so go wild with new ideas and creations.

Enjoying Life

Were you a workaholic prior to your unemployment? If so, take this opportunity to just enjoy life, spend time with family, and understand what all that work is really for.

  1. Spend time with your family. One of the greatest benefits of unemployment is having more time to spend with your family. Enjoy every minute of it while you can.
  2. Take up a hobby. A hobby can be a great, productive way to pass the time, and there are numerous stories of people who found ways to turn that hobby into a thriving business.
  3. Spend time with good people. Kick negative people out of your life for the time being and hang out with friends and family members who can support you and get you through the toughest times.
  4. Smile more. You might feel like frowning, but trust us, smiling will help to change your mood and put a positive spin on even the worst day.
  5. Do things you enjoy that you’re usually too busy to do. Work can be rewarding but it can also make it hard to find time to do other things that you enjoy. Use your free time now to do those things.
  6. Enjoy life in the moment. None of us know what the future will bring, so even when things seem uncertain in life, enjoy the happy moments.
  7. Create jobs for yourself. Don’t have anything to do? Make something to do! Give yourself jobs to tackle each day, related to everything from job hunting, to networking, to fixing things around the house.
  8. Maintain a social life. Don’t drop out of your friends’ lives just because you’ve lost your job. You need them now more than ever, so keep in touch and enjoy spending time with those closest to you.
  9. Keep busy. One sure way to keep from falling into the unemployment blues is to stay busy, whether looking for work, doing projects, or just spending time with your family.
  10. But find time to relax. Of course, on the flip side, you also need to take time to relax. Once you find work, you won’t get that chance again!
  11. Have fun. How can you have fun when you’re out of work? Simple: forget for a few hours that you are unemployed. Everyone deserves to enjoy his or herself from time to time, and you’re no exception.
  12. Explore your city. Never had a chance to visit that bakery around the corner? See the amazing park downtown? Well, now you have time. Use it to see everything your city has to offer. You might just end up making some great connections along the way.

 

This article was first posted in Online Courses.

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boy/girlfriend, husband/wife, dating, marriage

Question: “What should I look for in a Christian boyfriend?”

Answer: Anybody can say they love Jesus, or that they’re a Christian. But how do you know, when you’re falling in love with someone, whether they are the real deal? The Bible doesn’t mention the kind of dating relationships we see today; in fact, the only romantic relationships portrayed are either marriage relationships or adulterous relationships. What this means is that a Christian boyfriend should be, first and foremost, a man you plan to marry or at least someone who would make a good Christian husband. A Christian woman should be looking for someone who is serious about God and serious about his relationship with her. A Christian boyfriend isn’t dating just for fun; he has marriage in mind.

The Bible is full of verses that describe what a Christian man should be like, verses that are helpful and trustworthy for a woman who is evaluating a potential husband. The following are some guidelines based on those verses. A Christian boyfriend should be:

Humble and teachable: The Bible tells us that a righteous man, or a wise man, will take instruction gladly, even when it hurts him (Psalm 141:5; Proverbs 9:9, 12:15). A righteous man evidences a willingness to be corrected by Scripture and a tendency to love and listen to those who can teach him from the Scripture.

Honest: Do his actions agree with his words? The Bible says that a righteous man is characterized by honesty in his personal and business dealings (Ephesians 4:28). In addition, when he makes a promise, a Christian man keeps his promise, even when it hurts (Psalm 15:2-5). In short, his character should be one of integrity.

Selfless: The Bible speaks specifically to husbands when it tells them to love their wives as they love their own bodies, just like Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25-28). A Christian boyfriend should begin to exhibit this kind of care and love for his girlfriend long before marriage. Love is easy in the romantic beginning stages, but a Christian boyfriend should be the kind of man whose behavior and intentions will be loving in all kinds of circumstances (1 John 3:18).

Able and willing to provide: The Bible says that a man who doesn’t provide for his family is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8). Provision doesn’t necessarily mean “bringing in a lot of money.” The issue is whether he takes responsibility for the welfare of his wife and children. It is important for women to grasp the seriousness of this verse. A man that doesn’t want to provide is very hard for a woman to respect, and if a wife struggles to respect her husband, marital troubles will go beyond the material. A woman’s respect for her husband and a man’s love for his wife are interdependent and life-giving to a marriage (Ephesians 5:25-32).

Willing to proactively protect: Both physically and emotionally, women tend to be weaker and more easily hurt than men. They need to be understood and protected and cared for in a proactive way. A good Christian boyfriend is a man who will look out for and care for his girlfriend and carry this passion for protecting her on into marriage (1 Peter 3:7).

Also, here are some negative things to watch out for: materialism (1 John 2:15-16; 1 Timothy 6:10), lying (Proverbs 12:22,19:22), sexual unfaithfulness (Ecclesiastes 7:26; Proverbs 7) and poor treatment of family members, especially his mother (Proverbs 15:20, 19:26, 20:20, 23:22). Usually a man’s treatment of his mother is a good indication of how he will treat his wife. Also, watch out for irrationally, controlling or jealous tendencies, as these often lead to violence (Proverbs 6:34; 27:4).

Finally, a Christian boyfriend is one with whom a woman is evenly matched. First, in the spiritual sense – a couple’s relationship with God should be the primary factor in any relationship, and they should be matched in that regard. Believers are commanded to marry other believers (2 Corinthians 6:14), so there is no reason to be dating an unbeliever. But a couple should also be evenly matched in the more practical aspects, having compatible temperaments, similar energy levels, and shared life-goals and interests. These things add tremendously to happiness in a relationship.

In addition to all this, if a man has a good sense of humor and a steady, cheerful disposition, this is wonderfully encouraging for his wife. Nobody can be “up” all the time, but a man who is characterized by the peace and joy of the Spirit is a real catch. Life is hard, and marriage is hard too. There will be times of sadness and there will be conflict. Because of this, a cheerful, encouraging spouse is a real blessing (Proverbs 16:24; 17:22; 15:30).

 

Question: “What should I look for in a Christian girlfriend?”

Answer: The sort of dating relationships that are seen today aren’t mentioned in the Bible. Marriage and betrothal are the only types of romantic relationships seen in Scripture. What this means is that a Christian girlfriend should be, first and foremost, a potential marriage partner. A Christian man should be seeking a woman to spend his life with, not just someone to have fun with. If a man is not ready to get married, he should not be pursuing a Christian girlfriend.

As a man looks for a girlfriend, the most important quality she must possess (as his potential future wife and a person who will have a great deal of influence in his life) is salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ, and a life lived in obedience to Him. In 2 Corinthians 6:14, Paul tells us not to be “unequally yoked” with unbelievers. If a woman does not have faith in Jesus Christ, a Christian man would be foolish to consider her as a girlfriend and/or as a wife.

That said, just because a woman is a Christian, she is not necessarily a perfect match for any Christian man. It is important to factor in other aspects of being “equally yoked.” For example, similar spiritual goals, doctrinal beliefs and outlook on life are all extremely important considerations. In addition, it is wise to think through more practical things like energy level, common interests, and expectations about family and lifestyle. Many men marry women based on emotional or physical attraction alone, and that can lead to disaster.

The Bible provides some guidelines about the kind of character a man should look for in a Christian girlfriend. A Christian woman will exhibit a spirit of submission to the Lord. The Apostle Paul tells wives they are to submit to their husbands as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22-24). If she is not able to submit to the Lord, she will likely not see the value of submitting to her husband when that time comes. It is important to remember that the character of submission is a spiritual quality, not a personality trait. A sweet personality does not necessarily correspond to a submissive spirit, and neither does an energetic or strong-willed personality necessarily correspond to a willful spirit. A woman will be submissive to the degree she is influenced by God’s Spirit, and she will be influenced by His Spirit to the degree that she loves Him and spends time in His Word.

A Christian woman should benefit and bless her husband. She is to be his helper, according to the earliest biblical precedent set for Adam and Eve. She should be a fit helper for his mission and call. If he is called to be a pastor or a missionary, for example, he should look for a Christian girlfriend who feels the same call. If he feels a strong desire for a large family, he should find a woman who feels the same way. But most of all, according to the call put on all of us to be ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), a man should choose a woman who will help, and not hinder him in this regard. She should exhibit a commitment to prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:16), encouragement (1 Thessalonians 5:11), serving others (Hebrews 6:10) and the wisdom that comes from knowing God’s Word (Colossians 3:16). This is the kind of woman that will be truly helpful to a Christian man.

 

Question: “What should I be looking for in a husband?”

Answer: When a Christian woman is looking for a husband, she should seek a man “after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). The most important relationship that any of us have is our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. That relationship comes before all others. If our vertical relationship with the Lord is as it should be, then our horizontal relationships will reflect that reality. Therefore, a potential husband should be a man who has his focus upon walking in obedience to God’s Word and who seeks to live so that his life brings glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

What are some other qualities to look for? The apostle Paul gives us the qualities we should look for in a husband in 1 Timothy chapter 3. In this passage are the qualifications for a leader in the church body. However, these qualities should grace the lives of any man who walks “after God’s heart.” The qualities can be paraphrased as follows: a man should be patient and controlled in his demeanor, not filled with pride but of sober mental attitude, able to master his emotions, given to graciousness to others, able to patiently teach, not given to drunkenness or uncontrolled use of any of God’s gifts, not prone to violence, not overly focused upon the details of life but focused upon God, not apt to be a hot-head or be thin-skinned so that he takes offense easily, and grateful for what God has given, rather than envious of what gifts others have received.

The above qualities describe a man who is actively engaged in the process of becoming a mature believer. That is the type of man a woman should look for as a potential husband. Yes, physical attraction, similar interests, complementary strengths and weaknesses, and the desire for children are things to consider. These things, though, must be secondary to the spiritual qualities a woman should look for in a man. A man you can trust, respect, and follow in the path of godliness is of far greater value than a man of good looks, fame, power, or money.

Finally, when “looking” for a husband, we must be surrendered to God’s will in our lives. Every woman wants to find her “prince charming,” but the reality is that she will probably marry a man with as many flaws as she has. Then, by God’s grace, they will spend the rest of their lives together learning how to be a partner to, and servant of, each other. We must enter into the second most-important relationship of our lives (marriage), not under an emotional cloud, but with eyes wide open. Our most important relationship, with our Lord and Savior, has to be the focus of our lives.

 

Question: “What should I be looking for in a wife?”

Answer: The most important personal relationship that a man can have, outside of his spiritual relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, is his relationship with his wife. In the process of looking for a wife, the highest principle is to look for a woman with a personal faith in Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul tells us not to be “unequally yoked” with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). Unless a man and woman are in full agreement on this most crucial issue, a godly and fulfilling marriage cannot take place.

However, marrying a fellow believer does not guarantee the full experience of being “equally yoked.” The fact that a woman is a Christian does not mean she is necessarily a good match for you spiritually. Does she have the same spiritual goals as you? Does she have the same doctrinal beliefs? Does she have the same passion for God? The qualities of a potential wife are crucially important. Far too many men marry for emotional or physical attraction alone, and that can be a recipe for failure.

What are some godly qualities a man can look for in a wife? Scripture gives us some principles we can use to create a picture of a godly woman. She should first be surrendered in her own spiritual relationship with the Lord. The apostle Paul tells the wife that she is to submit to her husband as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22-24). If a woman is not surrendered to the Lord, she will not likely see submission to her husband as necessary to her own spiritual well-being. We cannot fulfill the expectations of anyone else without first allowing God to fill us with Himself. A woman with God at the center of her life is a good candidate for a wife.

Paul also gives some character traits for a woman in his instructions about leaders in the church. “In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything” (1 Timothy 3:11). In other words, this is a woman who is not overly proud, knows when to speak and when to be silent, and is able to take her place beside her husband in confidence. She is a woman whose first focus is upon her relationship with the Lord and her own spiritual growth.

The responsibilities of marriage are greater for the husband, for God’s order places him as the head of his wife and his family. This headship is modeled after the relationship between Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:25-33). It is a relationship grounded in love. Just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it, the husband is to love his wife as he does his own body. Therefore, a man’s personal spiritual relationship with the Lord is of supreme importance in the success of his marriage and his family. Willing sacrifice and the strength to choose to be a servant to the betterment of his marriage are the marks of a maturing spiritual man who honors God. Wisely choosing a wife based upon biblical qualities is important, but of equal importance is a man’s own ongoing spiritual growth and his surrender to God’s will in his life. A man who is seeking to be the man God wants him to be will be able to help his wife be the woman God desires her to be and will be able to build the marriage into the union God, he, and his wife desire it to be.

 

Question: “What are the roles of the husband and wife in a family?”

Answer: Although males and females are equal in relationship to Christ, the Scriptures give specific roles to each in marriage. The husband is to assume leadership in the home (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:23). This leadership should not be dictatorial, condescending, or patronizing to the wife, but should be in accordance with the example of Christ leading the church. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word” (Ephesians 5:25-26). Christ loved the church (His people) with compassion, mercy, forgiveness, respect, and selflessness. In this same way husbands are to love their wives.

Wives are to submit to the authority of their husbands. “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24). Although women should submit to their husbands, the Bible also tells men several times how they are supposed to treat their wives. The husband is not to take on the role of the dictator, but should show respect for his wife and her opinions. In fact, Ephesians 5:28-29 exhorts men to love their wives in the same way that they love their own bodies, feeding and caring for them. A man’s love for his wife should be the same as Christ’s love for His body, the church.

“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:18-19). “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7). From these verses we see that love and respect characterize the roles of both husbands and wives. If these are present, then authority, headship, love, and submission will be no problem for either partner.

In regard to the division of responsibilities in the home, the Bible instructs husbands to provide for their families. This means he works and makes enough money to sufficiently provide all the necessities of life for his wife and children. To fail to do so has definite spiritual consequences. “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). So, a man who makes no effort to provide for his family cannot rightly call himself a Christian. This does not mean that the wife cannot assist in supporting the family—Proverbs 31 demonstrates that a godly wife may surely do so—but providing for the family is not primarily her responsibility; it is her husband’s. While a husband should help with the children and with household chores (thereby fulfilling his duty to love his wife), Proverbs 31 also makes it clear that the home is to be the woman’s primary area of influence and responsibility. Even if she must stay up late and rise up early, her family is well cared for. This is not an easy lifestyle for many women—especially in affluent Western nations. However, far too many women are stressed out and stretched to the breaking point. To prevent such stress, both husband and wife should prayerfully reorder their priorities and follow the Bible’s instructions on their roles.

Conflicts regarding the division of labor in a marriage are bound to occur, but if both partners are submitted to Christ, these conflicts will be minimal. If a couple finds arguments over this issue are frequent and vehement, or if arguments seem to characterize the marriage, the problem is a spiritual one. In such an instance, the partners should recommit themselves to prayer and submission to Christ first, then to one another in an attitude of love and respect.

 

Question: “What should I do if I cannot decide who I should be dating?”

Answer: The Bible does not specifically address this topic, but it does give us insight into what we should seek in a potential spouse. The first, and best, advice is to pray about it. God will give wisdom and guidance if you ask for it. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). The first question to ask is, whether the potential spouse is devoted to God. If he/she is not, they should not be considered for a potential spouse. On the other hand, just because one follows Christ, does not make them the right choice. Being “equally yoked” can also go deeper than just “Is he/she a Christian?” There are many different beliefs in Christianity, and this should be taken into account when choosing a potential spouse. Consider what marriage would be like with this person. Are your beliefs close enough to the same that you can agree to teach your children the same doctrines? This is of the greatest importance.

For men, it’s important to look at what a Christian wife is supposed to be. “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24). Paul tells us that a wife is to be submissive to her husband, out of love. This does not necessarily mean that the girl you are considering a relationship with should submit wholly to you, but rather she should not be rebellious, but should submit herself to her father out of love. She should be willing to be led. Proverbs 31:10-31 tells us what the “wife of noble character” is like. She is hard working, generous and charitable, strong, and wise. You may not be able to find all of these traits in one person, but these are desirable traits and pleasing to God.

Another scripture describing a wife that is pleasing to God is 1 Peter 3:1-4: “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” This tells us that a woman should be pure and living for Christ so that they can win a lost husband over without words. It also indicates that she should not be as concerned about outward appearances as she is about her spiritual life.

For women, there are a few illustrations of what a Christian husband is to be. Although the person you are considering a relationship with is not your husband, you should look for qualities that display this kind of love in the person. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:25-27). Is he loving? Is he willing to lead people toward Christ, and help them to be holy and blameless? Is he a leader? A man should love God above all else and be willing to help his brothers and sisters in Christ to strive to be holy and pleasing to God. He should be humble, wise, and merciful, just as Christ was. Watch for these qualities in a man, because this is what is pleasing to God.

You will not find a “perfect” person with all of these qualities, but God will let you see if someone you are considering a relationship with is striving to be pleasing to Him. Just as with any other big decision in life, relationships should be treated with caution, wisdom, and handled with discernment and much prayer.

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“What does the Bible say about work?”

Question: “What does the Bible say about work?”

Answer: “No one should ever work. Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you’d care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working.” These words comprise the beginning of an essay penned by Bob Black in 1985 entitled, “The Abolition of Work.” In a leisure-loving culture, many would wholeheartedly echo Black’s sentiment. Americans spend approximately 50 percent of their waking hours devoted to work. Is work a curse, or is it something that humans were uniquely designed to do? In stark contrast to the assertions of Bob Black, the significance and beneficial nature of work is a resounding theme in the Bible.

The origin of work is depicted in the book of Genesis. In the opening passage, God is the primary worker, busy with the creation of the world (Genesis 1:1-15). The Bible states that God worked for six days and rested on the seventh day. These passages reveal that God was the first to do work on the earth. Therefore, legitimate work reflects the activity of God. Because God is inherently good, work is also inherently good (Psalm 25:8; Ephesians 4:28). Furthermore, Genesis 1:31 declares that, when God viewed the fruit of His labor, He called it “very good.” God examined and assessed the quality of His work, and when He determined that He had done a good job, He took pleasure in the outcome. By this example, it is apparent that work should be productive. Work should be conducted in a way that produces the highest quality outcome. The reward for work is the honor and satisfaction that comes from a job well done.

Psalm 19 says that God reveals Himself to the world by His work. Through natural revelation, God’s existence is made known to every person on earth. Thus, work reveals something about the one doing the work. It exposes underlying character, motivations, skills, abilities, and personality traits. Jesus echoed this principle in Matthew 7: 15-20 when He declared that bad trees produce only bad fruit and good trees only good fruit. Isaiah 43:7 indicates that God created man for His own glory. In 1 Corinthians 10:31 we read that whatever we do should be to His glory. The term glorify means “to give an accurate representation.” Therefore, work done by Christians should give the world an accurate picture of God in righteousness, faithfulness, and excellence.

God created man in His image with characteristics like Him. (Genesis1:26-31). He created man to work with Him in the world. God planted a garden and put Adam in it to cultivate and maintain it (Genesis 2:8, 15). Additionally, Adam and Eve were to subdue and rule over the earth. What does this original work mandate mean? To cultivate means to foster growth and to improve. To maintain means to preserve from failure or decline. To subdue means to exercise control and discipline. Rule over means to administer, take responsibility for, and make decisions. This mandate applies to all vocations. The 15th-century Reformation leaders saw an occupation as a ministry before God. Jobs should be acknowledged as ministries, and workplaces should be considered as mission fields.

The Fall of Man depicted in Genesis 3 generated a change in the nature of work. In response to Adam’s sin, God pronounced several judgments in Genesis 3:17-19, the most severe of which is death. However, labor and the results of labor figure centrally in the rest of the judgments. God cursed the ground. Work became difficult. The word toil is used, implying challenge, difficulty, exhaustion, and struggle. Work itself was still good, but man must expect that it will be accomplished by “the sweat of his brow.” Also, the result will not always be positive. Although man will eat the plants of the field, the field will also produce thorns and thistles. Hard work and effort will not always be rewarded in the way the laborer expects or desires.

It is also noted that man would be eating from the produce of the field, not the garden. A garden is symbolic of an earthly paradise made by God as a safe enclosure. Gardens also symbolize purity and innocence. The earth or field, on the other hand, represents an unbounded, unprotected space and an emphasis on loss of inhibition and worldliness. Therefore, the work environment can be hostile, especially to Christians (Genesis 39:1-23; Exodus 1:8-22; Nehemiah 4).

It is said that man has three basic needs in life: love, purpose and significance. Many times, humans attempt to find purpose and significance in work itself. In Ecclesiastes 2:4-11, Solomon details his search for meaning in a variety of projects and works of all kinds. Even though the work brought some degree of satisfaction in accomplishment, his conclusion was, “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”

Other critical biblical principles regarding work are:
• Work is done not only to benefit the worker, but others also (Exodus 23:10-11; Deuteronomy 15:7-11; Ephesians 4:28).
• Work is a gift from God and, for His people, will be blessed (Psalm 104:1-35; 127:1-5; Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, 5:18-20; Proverbs 14:23).
• God equips His people for their work (Exodus 31:2-11).

There has been much debate recently about societal responsibilities and obligations toward the unemployed, uninsured, and uneducated in our society. While many of those affected by economic downturns truly desire to work and can’t find employment, there are a number of U.S. citizens who have become generational welfare recipients, preferring to remain on the government dole. It is interesting to note that the biblical welfare system was a system of work (Leviticus 19:10; 23:22). The Bible is harsh in its condemnation of laziness (Proverbs 18:9). Paul makes the Christian work ethic abundantly clear: “If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially those of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:28).

In addition, Paul’s instruction to another church regarding those who preferred not to work was to “keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.” And he goes on to say, “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’” Instead, Paul instructs those who had been idle, “Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:12).

Although God’s original design for work was perverted by sin, God will one day restore work without the burdens that sin introduced (Isaiah 65:17-25; Revelation 15:1-4; 22:1-11.) Until the day when the New Heavens and New Earth are set in place, the Christian attitude toward work should mirror that of Jesus: “My food, said Jesus, is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:34). Work is of no value except when God is in it.

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On singleness (a talk)

On singleness (a talk)

 

Before we start, let’s pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity that You have given us to be gathered here together and encourage one another through Your word. Please use this time to bring glory to Your wonderful Name. Amen

Before I start, I want to say thank you for the opportunity to be here today to touch on the topic of singleness. I won’t be able to cover everything on singleness. But I pray that by the end of this, we can learn about what God has to say about this particular stage of life.
Firstly, I want to bring our attention to this world that we live in today. Because whether we like it or not, our thinking are shaped by what we hear and see around us. And we can’t miss the fact that sex has always been the dominant topic of the culture. We see sexual references everywhere. In television, magazines, songs and even in children’s novels. It is so prominent, that to be a single Christian and trying to live a life pleasing to God, can often be degrading and isolating.
But the Bible gives us a completely different view of singleness. Let us turn to 1 Corinthians 7:25-35, where Paul explains to the Corinthians why he himself is single
Let us read this section of the Bible together. From 1 Corinthians 7:25-35

25 Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord

Now, you may say to yourself, “hang on – Paul can’t be saying that I should be a nun is he?”
My answer is: NO. No he wasn’t advocating for the monastery idea. So what is he saying then?
Let us unpack this part of the Bible together.

If you look at verse 29a, Paul explained himself. He was reminding them of the reality that time is short. Humans are like grass, here today and gone tomorrow. Only God knows the past, present and future, and only He knows the plans of this world. That is why in the following verses, from verse 29b to 31, Paul urges the Corinthians not to get distracted with the details and worries of the present. He said those things not because they were unimportant.
No!
 
Rather, he said those things to remind us that time is so short.
So short that the married won’t even have time to enjoy their marriage, as they would like to.
So short that the mourners won’t have enough time to mourn.
So short that the ones rejoicing won’t have enough time to rejoice.
And you get the idea.
Paul is not saying that we should deny everything that we have. But to remind them of what is truly important. So that we would not focus on the blessings but the Giver Himself. Because “the present form of this world is passing away.”
And because these things are passing away quickly, Paul wants to spare believers of these distractions. Paul wants us to focus on things that will last, the Kingdom of God.
And we can see this in verse, let us read it together 32-35:

32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord

Paul is not saying that marriage is bad or sinful. Paul is not anti-marriage in any way. The reason he was advocating for singleness is for the benefit of those who are single. He wasn’t speaking out of his own assumption and personal preference. But, Paul knew very well of the worries and troubles that a marriage relationship will bring. And he wants to spare them of that worries and troubles so that they can be fully devoted to God.

Now, before I move further. This is a hard truth for anyone to swallow. By this time I’m assuming that in your mind you’re saying that “this is too much. I’d rather be troubled and married than to be single and troubled.” And maybe you think that it’s your singleness that prevents you from living your life fully devoted to God.

But can I just say: that’s a lie. Don’t buy into the lie that you are less of a person because you are unmarried. Don’t believe the world when they say that you are worthless if you have no guy beside you.

Remember the psalmist when he said “you are wonderfully and fearfully made by God. You are still part of the kingdom of God regardless of what your marital status is. You are as useful to the Kingdom of God as those who are married. You are as valuable to God as those who have a husband.

And that is what the apostle Paul wants to tell us in his singleness. That to be single means that you are greatly privileged. You have a wonderful gift from God. A privilege to serve God fully with undivided devotion to Him. What greater status can we get more than that?

But don’t get me wrong, Paul is not saying that those who are married can’t serve God with the same undivided attention. He is not at all trying to elevate the status of singleness above marriage. Nor was Paul saying that to be unmarried is holier than to be married.

The argument in the following verses, which I hope you will read in your own spare time, clearly says otherwise.

What Paul is clearly saying here is simply that to be single you do have the privilege to fully devote your attention to God. You have more time and fewer commitments to serve God’s family. You have no children or husband to worry about when God calls you to serve overseas. You have more opportunities to go to places and do more things that a married couple can’t. It’s a wonderful privilege from God.

And before you go home today. I want you to remember this: time is short and the present form of this world is passing away. So in your singleness or in your marriage, do it all for the Glory of the Lord. Because only those things that you do for Him will last till eternity. And don’t ever let anything in this world take away that privilege from you.

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