Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Outlook (06/02/11)
By Edmond Ng
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- The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in From this time forth and forever. (Psalm 121:8 NAS)
Meanwhile, unemployment rate has edged up to 9.1 percent from 9.0 in April. This is despite 54,000 nonfarm payroll jobs have been added in May, after the increase of about 220,000 jobs in each of the three previous months, according to the Labor Department. The gain however was only about a third of what economists have been forecasting.
In a separate story on May 18, 2011, The New York Times reported that evidences are now emerging to show the damage wrought by the sour economy is more widespread than expected. Even for college graduates, the outlook is rather bleak. An analysis by the Labor Department found the number of college graduates aged 25 to 34 employed in food service, restaurants and bars had risen 17 percent in 2009 from 2008. Similar or bigger employment increases are also evident at gas stations and fuel dealers, food and alcohol stores, and taxi and limousine services. This analysis indicates not only the waste of a college degree, but also the displacement of less-educated workers who would normally take these jobs.
As we continue to read, hear and watch the news of what’s to come with forecasts of more gloom than a brighter future, how should we respond as believers in Christ? Do we feel discouraged or disconcerted as if a dark cloud is hanging over our heads or do we have complete calm in our hearts knowing that God is in control? In the face of a bleak economic future, do we despair or hold fast our confidence in the Lord (Hebrews 3:6)?
Let us choose to respond positively, and like the psalmist who wrote Psalm 121 lift our eyes to the mountains, knowing that our help comes from the LORD who made the heavens and earth (v.1-2). Our God will not allow our feet to slip and He will not slumber nor sleep (v.3-4). The LORD is our keeper (v.5), we will not be smitten by day or by night regardless our situation (v.6). The LORD will protect us and keep our souls (v.7). He will guard our going out and our coming in forever (v.8). Our God knows the plans He has for us, plans for our welfare and not for calamity, to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
If therefore we are in need, let us ask of God and seek Him, for to everyone who asks shall receive, and to the one who seeks will find (Psalm 34:4; Matthew 7:7-8). Our God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should repent. Has He said and will He not do it? Has He spoken and will He not make it good (Numbers 23:19)? The LORD is our shepherd; we shall not be in want (Psalm 23:1). Let us trust in the LORD with all our heart and not lean on our own understanding. In all our ways acknowledge Him, and He will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Our sovereign Lord who made the heavens and the earth, by Your great power and outstretched arm we know nothing is too difficult for You. Though men may forecast a future of gloom, nothing they say can come true unless You permit so. Even if we are to walk through many trials, we need not fear nor worry because You are with us, Your rod and Your staff comfort and guide us. Help us therefore Lord to rise above the dark clouds and never doubt Your plans for us, of welfare and not calamity, to give us a future and a hope. You O Lord are God and in You we can trust completely.
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