Archive for the ‘Job’ Category

A Word for Your Family – STAR

From the time kids are little we sing to them, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are

Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky

Twinkle, twinkle little star, How I wonder what you are.”


During a clear night we look at the stars high in the sky and are fascinated by their beauty. The ancients looked up at the starry night and saw certain patterns. In their imagination they saw bears, lions, and scorpions. They saw people and fish. Those who believed in God saw His handwork. Job says that, “[He] set the stars in place— the Big Dipper and Orion, the Pleiades and the stars in the southern sky” Job 9:9 (CEV).


As a family, we have sat in the dark of the night, to try to identify the different constellations, and to see the occasional shooting star.


If God is able to create the billions and billions of stars, and keep them all moving in perfect harmony, He sure can take care of my family, no matter where we may be.

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How much of what is in your closet do you actually use? You probably have clothes you no longer wear.


Or perhaps we have that closet that holds everything – games, shoes, wrapping paper, umbrellas, the iron, gloves, hats, and mittens.


Did you know that closet cleaning was in the Bible? Job said, “Didn’t the poor bless me when they saw me coming, knowing I’d brought coats from my closet?” Job 31:20 (MSG).


I wonder if a good family activity might be a closet-cleaning party? Choose one closet at a time and together go through it selecting what to keep, what to give away, and what to throw away. What to keep would be those things that we actually plan to use or wear. What to throw away would be things that don’t have a pair, don’t work, or are broken. But the third pile would be things to give away. These would be good things that may benefit others. Perhaps clothes that can be cleaned and taken to a thrift store. Clean your closet to help and bless others.

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The dying groan in the city, And the souls of the wounded cry out; Yet God does not charge them with wrong. Job 24:12 (NKJV)


In an AARP (American Association of Retired People) bulletin, Paula Spencer Scott[i] shares nine facts you need to know to decide if hospice is right for you or a loved one:

If you start hospice and realize it’s not for you, you can stop.  You need to have an ongoing conversation with your health care team in order to decide the best treatment approach you want for your loved one according to their current needs.  The conversation is “ongoing” because goals and needs evolve.

You may live longer during the time you have left.  According to research, patients in hospice care on average live longer than those receiving standard care.  For instance, a 2010 study of lung cancer patients showed that they lived nearly three months longer.  Another study, which looked at the most common terminal diagnoses, found the same, ranging from an average of 20 more days for gallbladder cancer to 69 days for breast cancer.

You can still see your regular doctor.  The basic hospice team consists of a physician and nurse who are on call 24 hours a day, a social worker, a counselor or a chaplain, and a volunteer. Many hospices offer added services such as psychologists, psychiatrists, home health aides, art or pet therapists, nutritionists, and occupational, speech, massage or physical therapists.  But the hospice team does not replace your regular doctor and you are always in charge of your medical decisions.

The goal of pain management in hospice is to enable you to live well, not sedate you.  Pain medicine is not simply intended to make the person sleepy to the point where they can’t interact.  Instead, if you live with pain that is not managed properly, it makes you more tired and irritable, and robs you of quality of life. If drugs like morphine are used, they are intended to treat anxiety and to lessen pain, which has been shown to be undertreated at the end of life, not hasten death or to rob you of interaction with your loved ones, as some people believe.


Father, help me to make all these important decisions carefully and to aim for quality of life for my loved ones.

[i] AARP Bulletin, November 2015, vol.56, No.9 (www.aarp.org/bulletin

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“There are those who rebel against the light; They do not know its ways Nor abide in its paths. Job 24:13 (NKJV)

Does it ever feel like you and your spouse are just wired differently?  According to Gretchen Rubin,[i] most likely you are.  As Rubin explains, “Any combination of personalities has the potential to be happy couple, but it lessens the feeling of conflict when you know your partner’s tendencies.  Rubin categorizes people into four different personality types based on how each of us responds to expectations, or requests, made of us.  She refers to these responses as the Four Tendencies.  Her point is that when we know our own tendencies it will help us know our strengths and weaknesses.  She writes, “The people who are most successful and the happiest are the ones who’ve figured out, whether consciously or unconsciously, how to counterbalance the limitations of their tendency.”

What are the Four Tendencies?  Rubin classifies people into the following four groups:

  1. Obligers. These people are fantastic at meeting other’s expectations — their friends, loved ones, co-workers, etc. — but not as good at meeting their own inner expectations. They get things done because they know that other people are depending on them. Rubin declares that most people are Obligers.
  2. Questioners. As opposed to Obligers, these people resist outer expectations until they are sure those expectations are valuable, worthy or fair. They tend to take their time to make decisions because they’re carefully doing their research and calculating the pros and cons of everything. Rubin believes that Questioners do well with inner expectations.
  3. Upholders. If you’re checking things off a to-do list every day, chances are you’re an Upholder. You probably tend to meet both outer and inner expectations such as deadlines and appointments?
  4. Rebels. They tend to be the smallest group in the framework, and are described as those who tend to resist both outer and inner expectations; no one else can tell them what to do.

Which one are you?  Which one is your spouse?

Father God, help me first understand who you want me to be.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/gretchen-rubins-guide-personality-types-love-t38911

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Traffic-light communication

Surely God will not listen to empty talk, Nor will the Almighty regard it. Job 35:13 (NKJV)

The hard reality is that none of us are as interesting as we think we are.  Of course, we all have stories to share with friends, family and colleagues, but we’re probably going on way too long in telling them. Marty Nemko,[i] a career coach, suggests we use the “Traffic light rule” to ensure that you are truly heard in any conversation.

Nemko suggests that you have approximately one minute to get your point across before turning the conversation over to the person with whom you are speaking.  Think about how you share information or a story as you would if you were coming to a traffic light.  As he explains, “During the first 30 seconds of an utterance, your light is green: your listener is probably paying attention. During the second 30 seconds, your light is yellow — your listener may be starting to wish you’d finish. After the one-minute mark, your light is red: Yes, there are rare times you should ‘run a red light:’ when your listener is obviously fully engaged in your missive.”

Harvard Business Review writer and “Just Listen” author Mark Goulston says that we get regular shots of dopamine, the pleasure hormone, when we talk about ourselves.  The effect is so strong that we become addicted.  But to those who are listening to us, we are not necessarily that interesting, particularly if we go on for a long time.  That’s why it’s important, while you’re wrapped up in your own story,  to take a moment to pay attention to your audience. If they’re fidgeting or interrupting or trying to walk away, they may be trying to let you know that they have heard enough.

While referring to those that talk more than what they work, Ellen White wrote, “Let the talkative man remember that there are times when he has no right to talk. There are those who take time to stand still…Close your lips. Make not others idle by tempting them to listen to your talk. The time of many is lost when a man uses his tongue instead of his tools.”[ii]

Father God, help me to train myself to be a better listener, to talk less and listen more, to guard my lips and limit to what I say, especially about myself, and listen to others more.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/use-1-minute-traffic-light-rule-improve-your-conversations-t37966?cid=eml_tes_20150811

[ii] White, E. G., Manuscript 42, 1901.  {Ev 653.4}

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“Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends, For the hand of God has struck me! Job 19:21 (NKJV)

Deb Kulkkula and Gordon Livingston tell us two more things we should say to a parent grieving the loss of their child:

  1. “I gave to his memorial fund.” Many bereaved parents fear that their children will be forgotten. The friend of a bereaved parent set up a memorial fund for their son and each year on the anniversary of the boy’s death they make a contribution.  For his parents, the sense of continuing and remembrance goes a long way.  Another parent was comforted when she was told her church started a scholarship fund in memory of her late son.
  2. “I mowed the lawn.” People often voice the open-ended offer, “if there’s anything I can do.” which will probably not work because the bereaved person won’t want to ask for help or might not even know what they need. It’s better to make a more specific offer such as “I’m bringing you a meal tonight, I’ll be there at 6 o’clock,” or “I’ll take care of the lawn tomorrow.”

At the same time, there is one phrase we should never say to a person grieving the loss of a loved one:  “I know how you feel.”  As Livingston explains, saying those words “betrays such a lack of understanding of what the bereaved parent is going through.  People mean well by sharing their own periods of grief, like the death of their grandmother or a beloved family pet, as a way to sympathize.  However, those are not equivalent losses and the words more often than not are simply ignored or may even anger the bereaved parent.  As Livingston says, “To try to explain to people that this is the kind of loss that transforms you into a different person, that you will never be the same person you were before this happened, is almost impossible.”

Maybe the words of someone acquainted with death and grief may teach us what this sad experience can do to us: “We will let this bereavement make us more kind and gentle, more forbearing, patient, and thoughtful toward the living.”[i]

Father God, help my presence and words bring comfort to those who grieve the loss of their loved ones.  Use me as your instrument to help and heal their broken hearts.

[i] White, E.G.  Life Sketches, p.253.

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Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. Job 1:20 (NKJV)

What do you say to a mom or dad who has suffered the ultimate heartbreak, the death of their child?  July is Bereaved Parents Awareness Month, a project which Peter and Deb Kulkkula started to honor the families trying to cope after the death of a child.  Columbia, Maryland, psychiatrist Gordon Livingston, explained, “No one knows how to react. There’s nothing they can do so they come up with these meaningless platitudes… that are either dishonest or carry with them no consolation whatever,” Livingston told TODAY Parents.[i]

Most people are so uncomfortable that they may avoid you in public places and never approach you in private not knowing what to say or do to help you during this time of pain.  Livingston and Deb Kulkkula suggested these four things to say or do for a grieving parent:

  1. “Do you want to talk?” Don’t distance yourself and don’t abandon them. As Livingston says, “What works is your presence. There’s no set of words that will work each time, but being there for someone in a supportive way is what provides the most consolation.” Bereaved parents need people who allow them to talk, so look for ways to open up the conversation and give them a chance to speak. Check on them regularly so that if they want to talk, they can.
  2. “I remember the time when…” Don’t avoid mentioning the child who has passed away. For his or her parents that silence, not even mentioning their son or daughter’s name, can be “deafening.” Many parents crave hearing their child’s name and stories about them. They love hearing stories, memories, or anecdotes about their children as well. The problem with most people is their discomfort which keeps them from talking about it with the family. So unless a parent tells you, “I can’t talk about him or her now,” we encourage you to talk about their children.

We want to emphasize, your presence, willingness to listen to their stories and their pain, and your encouragement is more important that clichés, platitudes, silence, or distance.

Father God, Help me to be available and willing to listen to my friend’s pain as they grieve the death of a loved one.

[i] http://www.today.com/parents/child-loss-what-you-should-should-not-say-parents-t30596?cid=eml_tes_20150709

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Divorce facts – 4

But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? 13 Man does not know its value, Nor is it found in the land of the living. Job 28:12-13 (NKJV)

Today we conclude with last six divorce facts as reported by MSN.[i]

  1. A study found that dancers and choreographers have the highest divorce rates (43.05 percent). Bartenders, with divorce rate of 38.4 percent, are at the second spot, closely followed by massage therapists (38.2 percent).
  2. According to the same study, agricultural engineers, sales people, nuclear engineers, optometrists, clergy, and podiatrists had the lowest rate of divorce.
  3. Couples who argue over matters of finance are more likely to get divorced. Often premarital couples bring a lot of debt into their marriage, something which causes tension from the very beginning. In many marriages one spouse is a saver and the other a spender.  Setting up a budget together, and keeping the finances together can help these couples to understand and manage their finances better and prevent that area from becoming a serious issue in their relationship.
  4. A study published in the journal “Family Relations” found that marriages are less likely to end in a divorce among couple with higher levels of education. At the same time, African-American women don’t seem to enjoy the same degree of protection that education confers on marriage.
  5. According to a researcher at the Ohio State University, men are likely to gain weight after divorce. One of the advantages of marriage is that spouses look after each other’s well-being. Divorced men, much like their single counterparts, don’t have that someone helping them to take better care of themselves.
  6. A study in Sweden found that people who spend more than 45 minutes commuting are more likely to divorce.

My hope is that as we review these 24 facts we will be warned but also reminded that our marriage is worth fighting for,

Father God, thank you for bringing us together as husband and wife.  Help us to fight for our marriage so we will stay happily together.

[i] http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/relationships/24-facts-you-never-knew-about-divorce/ar-BBjYgIX

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Divorce facts – 3

“With Him are wisdom and strength, He has counsel and understanding. Job 12:13 (NKJV)

When we got married we made the commitment to stay together until the end of our life.  Many have decided to end their marriage a lot sooner.  Today we continue to list the 24 divorce facts you may not have heard before as reported by MSN.[i]

  1. In Italy, nearly half of divorce proceedings mention the social networking app Whatsapp. Divorces related to the use of social media are on the increase in many parts of the world.
  2. Research shows that if only one of the partners smokes, a divorce is 75 to 91 percent more likely. Consider that the detrimental health effects of smoking are not just for the smoker but for those around.
  3. In 2011, a 99-year-old Italian man divorced his wife of 60 years after he found that his 96-year-old wife had an affair in the 1940s. While affairs can be devastating, they don’t have to bring a marriage to an end. Many have found forgiveness and their marriage has been restored to the intimacy they longed for.
  4. Couples who have a lavish wedding are more vulnerable to divorce. Considering the average wedding nowadays costs about thirty thousand dollars, couples would be better off with a simpler wedding, and being surrounded by those who truly love them and want to be there. Instead of starting their life together with debts caused by a lavish wedding, enter your life together on a more positive, solid financial footing.
  5. Couples with children are less likely to get divorced; however, the chances of divorce increase in case of twins or triplets. It is also important to consider that some childless couples who have ongoing conflict think the solution to their problems is to have children only to find out that having children only increases their conflict. They would be better off working on their marital issues and learn to manage them before taking the step of having children.

Father God, there are many reasons why people get divorced, but there are also many reasons to stay together.  Help us to focus on the latter and find all the good things about our relationship together.

[i] http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/relationships/24-facts-you-never-knew-about-divorce/ar-BBjYgIX

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Divorce facts – 2

Wisdom is with aged men, And with length of days, understanding. Job 12:12 (NKJV)

While we would prefer talking about what makes marriages stronger, sometimes it’s important to be reminded what might happen if we choose to dissolve the marital dyad.  Today we continue to list the 24 divorce facts you may not have heard before as reported by MSN.[i]

  1. According to a survey in the UK, 50 percent of divorcees regret their decision to divorce. Very often, the grass did not turn out to be as green on the other side of the marital fence as they had though.
  2. In 2012, an Italian bride asked for a divorce after the husband brought his mother on the honeymoon. Obviously neither he nor his mother were ready or able to maintain the proper marriage boundaries.
  3. According to research at University of Alberta, children whose parents have divorced are more likely to drop out of school. This is one of many consequences for children of divorce.
  4. In the United States, on an average, women take 3.1 years to remarry after a divorce. Men, on the other hand, take more time to move on and get remarried after 3.3 years. Most professionals would advice a divorced person to not even start a new relationship for at least one year after the divorce is finalized to allow them to process and heal from the end of their marriage.
  5. Marriages where women are two or more years older than their husbands are 53 percent more likely to break than the marriages where husbands are three or more years older or a year younger than their wives. Age differences always need to be taking into consideration before entering a romantic relationship.
  6. According to some researchers, men are eight times more likely to commit suicide after a divorce. Their chances of suffering from depression and heart attacks also double.
  7. In the U.S., two-thirds of the divorce cases are filed by women. With many women in the work-force, they don’t have the financial constraints to stay in a marriage than women forty or fifty years ago had.

Father God, heal and strengthen our marriage.

[i] http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/relationships/24-facts-you-never-knew-about-divorce/ar-BBjYgIX

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