The Christian Public Servant – “balance in the storm”

March 24, 2017 – Friday

Reading
Mark 4:39 [KJV] And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

Reflection
Two weeks ago, I got out of balance. Everything got to me – my ministry with the brothers, and my ministry with some of the correctional officers. And my ministry with my family. Seems like everyone wanted or needed something from me. I was also anxious about something I would face in the upcoming days. So many storms at that point, and I knew I was out of balance.

Jesus faced a storm, and He did two things we all need to do. He got up and faced the problem, and He kept His balance in the storm. See, Jesus did not allow the problem to speak to Him. Instead, He spoke to the problem. He kept his balance so He could gain victory.

You may face a lot today. A storm at home. A storm of memory and regret. A storm of present words. And that storm may follow you to work. It may start at work and follow you home.

I know how you feel, for I have storms all around.

As you get ready to do His work today, use Jesus as your example. Speak to your problem and don’t let the problem speak to you. Get up in the boat and keep balance in the storm.

The wind will cease, and there will be a great calm.

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for keeping me focused on You in the life of my storms. Thank You for Your balance. Amen.

Jimmy Davis, Jr.
Z-557 Unit N-10
Death Row
Holman Correctional Facility
Atmore, Alabama USA

The Christian Public Servant – “where the real treasure is found”

March 23, 2017 – Thursday

Reading
Proverbs 3:5 [NASB] Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.

Matthew 6:21 [NASB] for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Reflection
Well, it’s 7:00 am, and I haven’t yet received The Christian Public Servant devotional in my inbox. I always read this treasure as I get ready for work. But, I guess, not today. What am I going to do? Ahhh, here it comes. Thank You, Lord!

And then it dawned on me. I’ve become dependent on another earthly thing. That’s OK, I guess, especially since it is a devotional – something directing me to God. (I mean, it could be something bad that attracts me.) But do I depend as much directly on our loving God? If I ranked everything and item that I treasure in my life, where would He be on that list. At the top? Or someplace else?

So, am I really dependent on an email devotional to get me through the workday? Or, am I dependent on my Lord?

I think you know my answer. But if I don’t explicitly focus on Him, my heart can get lost. I start taking God for granted. I forget where the real treasure is found. Devotionals help, sure, but even that is not what I need. I need to lean less on things of this world and focus more on the Lord – Himself – directly. I need to trust Him with all my heart – regardless if an email devotional arrives early or late.

So, where does God rank in your priorities this morning? With apologies to all the devotionals out there, do not forget where the real treasure is found. As you get ready for work, as you travel to work, and as you work at work – trust in God with all your heart because only with Him will you find your heart.

Yes, today at work, do not forget where the real treasure is found. And then have a tremendously treasured day!

Prayer
Lord, may I strive to keep You first and foremost in my daily work life. May I honor You generously through the many blessings I receive from You. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Alan Cox
Neighborhood Development Specialist
Housing Division
City of Toledo
Toledo, Ohio USA

The Christian Public Servant – “move mountains through faith”

March 22, 2017 – Wednesday

Reading
Mark 11: 22-24 [NLT] Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.”

Reflection
How’s life? Things good right now? Just so-so? Or, are you searching for answers to no avail?

Every day we face trials in the workplace. Some are deadlines, others are meeting goals and making difficult decisions. Still other challenges center on difficult coworkers, managers, and citizens you serve. Sometimes the challenge is the loss of a job.

What if the lost job belonged to you? I am guessing that would not make this a good day. You might be asking, “Why me”?  You might be at the end of your rope.

This happened to a friend of mine and, the very next day after he was fired, God spoke through this reading. My friend had to trust God with his circumstances, career, and finances – trust in Him more than ever before. He had to believe he could move mountains through faith in Him – a God who has already gone before and worked everything out.

What challenge is in your way at work today? Whatever it is, know you can move mountains through faith in Him. Lay your heart out to God and believe He has already taken care of “it,” but in His time. Today is not going to be easy, but trust in Him. If you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours!

Yes, you can move mountains through faith in Him – no matter how your life is going today.

Prayer
Dear God, help me trust You completely, and know You will lead and guide me. You already know the outcome. Please remove any doubt in my heart because I know all things work for the good to those who love You. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

Chris Whitaker
Writer/Editor
Flowood, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “like the watchmen in the Bible”

March 21, 2017 – Tuesday

Reading
Habakkuk 2:1(a) [NKJV] I will stand my watch And set myself on the rampart,

Ezekiel 3:17 [NKJV] Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me.

Reflection
Where I live, “Old Man Winter” is not going quietly. I woke up this morning knowing there was a heavy snow fall expected overnight. I was not looking forward to the morning commute or just getting out of my alley and my street to the main road. However, in the quiet of the morning, I heard a familiar sound of scraping going by my house. I looked out my windows to see not only the streets fully plowed but the alley as well. Public servants had been up all night preparing the city for the morning. I am so thankful for their planning, sacrifice, and desire to make things better for all of us. They are like the watchmen in the Bible.

You know, all public servants are like the watchmen in the Bible. Some serve in the dark of the night, and others during the light of day. Snowplow drivers. Budget specialists. Correctional officers. Policy analysts. Police and firefighters. Librarians. Garbage pick-up crews. Custodians. Military. IT specialists – just to name a few. All are snowplow drivers, doing the jobs that are necessary for others to go about their daily routines with the fewest interruptions.

No one will thank you today for making their lives dependable. No one will notice you, until you are not around to do the “snowplowing” for them. But as a Christian public servant, know Who has called you to guard the house. Truly you are like the watchmen in the Bible.

As for the actual snowplow drivers in my city, “Old Man Winter” could not stop them last night. Now they are headed to bed for a well-deserved rest while the citizens they serve are hitting the newly plowed roads. My day would have been so much harder without their biblical efforts on the ramparts the night before. I am thankful to them.

May you, too, have a blessed day with thanks, for you truly are like the watchmen in the Bible.

Prayer
Lord, help me remember the people who serve without being noticed. Thank You for them and their service. Bless them today for their faithfulness and remind them that You notice what they do. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Kevin Cooney, Ph.D.
Visiting Professor
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Beppu, Japan
(and grateful resident of Snoqualmie, Washington USA this winter)

The Christian Public Servant – “your forgiveness quotient”

March 20, 2017 – Monday

Reading
Matthew 18:21-22 [NIV] Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

Reflection
How is your forgiveness quotient?

In every workplace, there is no shortage of people who can do things or say things that hurt us on so many levels. You and I cannot control the bad behavior of others, but God gives us a choice on how to respond: our own way of getting even; Peter’s way of forgiving just a little; or Jesus’ way of forgiving as many times as it takes.

So, as you drink your morning coffee, don’t fantasize on how to take revenge and repay the suffering. Remember what Jesus said to Peter. Realize when you fail to forgive, you become a prisoner in a jail of your own making – reliving the pain every time you see or think about that coworker or boss. Know the first step to reconciliation is to give the hurt to the Lord and ask for God’s strength to forgive.

At the beginning of this workweek, reflect on your choice. How are you going to treat that extra-grace-required person? Are you “willing to be willing” to forgive countless times as it takes more than once to heal from the negative emotions? What path will you take? Your own? Peter’s? Or the path of your Lord?

As you go to work today, how is your forgiveness quotient? You and Peter are standing on the same mark. As with Peter, Jesus is standing right next to you.

And He, too, is asking, how is your forgiveness quotient? Is it high enough for Him?

Prayer
Heavenly Father, please grant me the strength to forgive those who hurt me. Help me to be the good and faithful servant who recognizes that Jesus forgave my sins and calls upon me to do the same with others. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

Gary E. Roberts, Ph.D.
Professor and Director
Master of Public Administration Program
Robertson School of Government
Regent University
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “with hearts in unity of cause”

March 17, 2017 – Friday

Reading
Nehemiah 2:18 [KJV] Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.

Reflection
How many times have you tried to rebuild a relationship? Maybe in your family. Or at church. Perhaps where you work. I have tried countless times, and it is impossible if you are the only one trying to repair what is broken.

Nehemiah had a heart to rebuild the wall of his people. Yet he could not do it alone. He started the process, but others said, “let us rise up and build.” Let US rise up. Not just Nehemiah. They knew the wall could not be built without the help of others – with hearts in unity of cause.

Like Nehemiah, you and I need to have heart to rebuild what we have taken for granted. What we have unvalued. What we have misused or even abused. But nothing can be rebuilt without the help of one or more others –all with hearts in unity of cause.

As you start work today, know that it takes more than one to rebuild anything. As you rise up, know it takes more than just your heart. It is not easy, but think about the damage that can be repaired if you take the first step and find a way to encourage the other person or persons to join in.

When others strengthen their hands for good work, amazing things can be accomplished – even in your workplace.

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for renewing my heart so that my heart may join others in building, rebuilding, and repairing. Amen.

Jimmy Davis, Jr.
Z-557 Unit N-10
Death Row
Holman Correctional Facility
Atmore, Alabama USA

The Christian Public Servant – “His encourager of hope”

March 16, 2017 – Thursday

Reading
Psalm 105:1 (NLT) Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done.

Reflection
I once interned at a local government agency – I was the youngest by a solid 15-years. The full-time coworkers were well-established but highly stressed-out. Each felt the pressure of tremendous public scrutiny. At one point, the agency experienced drastic internal changes that left many employees even more emotionally and physically drained.

For some reason, several coworkers felt safe in talking with me about their stress. At first, I wondered why. After all, who wants anything to do with a 24 year-old intern? Yet they wanted to talk about their day. I did not mind. In fact, I cracked jokes and found things about which each could be thankful. I pointed out how the Lord was blessing them in so many ways – just as He was blessing me. As time went on, I began to view myself as His encourager of hope.

As Christian public servants, you and I are called to let the whole world know what He has done. The Good News He gives us must be shared with others. Yes, each one of us must be His encourager of hope.

So today, let the whole workplace know what He has done for you! Share it especially with those under the gun – those lost in anxiety; those victimized by fear. Share His Good News and proclaim His greatness.

At work today, be His encourager of hope.

Prayer
Father, You have blessed me in so many ways. Let me fix my eyes on You, remember Your goodness, count my blessings, and share what You have done with those around me. Let me shower Your hope throughout this workday. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Angela Arbitter, MPA
International Justice Mission
Gulu, Uganda