The Christian Public Servant – “lift you up in due time”

December 31, 2015 – Thursday

Reading
Job 6:2(b) (NIV) If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales!

Hebrews 10:23 (NIV) Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

1 Peter 5:6 (NIV) Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

Reflection
For more than a decade, my life has been stripped of nearly everyone and everything. My parents died. My sister and brother moved far away. I’ve been ill and suffering greatly, like a burn victim with skin stripping away again and again just as it starts to heal. A semi-truck ran over my car. My house was broken into. And I was laid off from work.

So I’ve cried out to God. I cried long and hard. Why is all this happening to me? I blamed Him. Each day I shouted, “Why are You breaking me again and again and again!”

A couple of months ago, He actually answered. I heard His Voice: “If I take everything … if you have nothing … if I am all you have left … will you still love Me?”

I didn’t know how to answer, but I knew He was talking to me. I finally whispered back to that Voice: “In spite of circumstances, in spite of how life looks from the outside, in spite of a thousand different things, the answer is YES! I love You, Lord.”

His question was a great gift. It allowed me to put life in perspective. How blessed I really am! The God of all creation loves me so much He would take the time to strip my life so I might know the joy of truly loving Him. I have regained the blessing of trusting Him. I know He who promises so much is so faithful. I know He will lift me up in His due time.

God is preparing you for the times ahead. In life and in work, you will struggle. But you were chosen for this time. And as a Christian public servant, you’re called into the New Year to stand against darkness and offer His light to the world. Despite your suffering, people count on you.

Today and all next year, you’ll want to weigh your anguish – put all your miseries on the scale. You’ll want to blame God. But don’t! No, just seek Him, cling to Him, and sing His praises. It is He who promises. It is He who is faithful. It is He who will lift you up in due time.

Yes, He will lift you up in due time. Until then, know He is blessing you richly!

Prayer
Father, You are the Hope I profess. I come to You humbly knowing You will lift me up in Your time – not mine. Thank You for blessing me so richly. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Lori Jordan
Administrative Assistant, Business Development
Arkansas Economic Development Commission

State of Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas USA

The Christian Public Servant – “a quiet leader without tights and cape”

December 30, 2015 – Wednesday

Reading
Judges 3:31 (NIV) After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an ox goad. He too saved Israel.

Reflection
If a bible verse were written about your workday, what would it say?

Scripture tells very little about Shamgar. He was a judge, so he must have been a leader. He was a farmer, handy with at least one instrument of that trade – a long wooden shaft with a metal strip known as an ox goad — to prod oxen in the right direction. Shamgar used that tool-of-trade to strike down 600 enemy soldiers. Imagine that – one farmer killing so many enemies to save His people! Certainly he was known throughout the land. If alive today, some might claim he was a superhero wearing tights and a cape. In our day, he could parlay his amazing deed into endorsement deals, a run for political office, or anything else he wanted.

But in his day, Shamgar pursued no earthly accolades. He was just a quiet leader without tights and cape. He was content with one simple statement attached to the end of his short biblical record: he too saved God’s people.

Now if God chose one farmer to rescue His people, certainly He will choose one Christian public servant today to accomplish tremendous things for His people. And God always chooses the unassuming person – a quiet leader without tights and cape — to accomplish superhuman achievements in His glory.

He will choose you today. Are you ready? Will your actions at work impact many people? Will your actions help that one person who is in greatest need? And if a bible verse were written about your workday, would it say you helped save at least one of His people?

At work today, find a way to help save that one person by pointing her to Christ. Have courage to use the instruments of your trade to step into a crisis and allow God to change lives. But do so as Shamgar did: lead in the right direction and pursue no worldly accolades.

Yes, today at work, be a quiet leader without tights and cape. Glorify only Him in what you do.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank You for depending on me to accomplish much for You this workday. Like Shamgar, give me strength to find a way to help save Your people. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Kevin Erwin
Assistant Principal
Simmons Middle School
Hoover, Alabama USA

The Christian Public Servant – “bring many to the Well”

December 29, 2015 – Tuesday

Reading
John 4:15(a), 39-42 (NIRV) The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water. Then I will never be thirsty…”… “Many of the Samaritans from the town of Sychar believed in Jesus. They believed because of the woman’s witness. She said, “He told me everything I’ve ever done.” Then the Samaritans came to him and tried to get him to stay with them. So he stayed two days. Because of his words, many more people became believers. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said. We have now heard for ourselves. We know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Reflection
Ever gone to see something out of curiosity, but then was convicted because of your own encounter? Perhaps it was someone with a different background. Or, maybe it was a person speaking a different language. Well, scripture tells of the Samaritan whose nationality, race and gender allowed her to bring a whole city to the feet of Jesus.  In our day — with so many fixed opinions about race, nationality, culture, marital status, and economic plight — it’s easy to forget God created you and me (EVERYONE) perfectly — just as we are for this exact time and place. He doesn’t want sin, but He doesn’t want you to be ashamed of who you are or what you’ve done. No. He wants you to share your story as a witness to His Glory and Grace so that you might speak a language that will bring many to the Well. It’s hard to be open about your personal story. Some may laugh. Others may judge and take retribution in one way or another. This is especially true in the workplace.

But today at work, be like that Samaritan woman. Have courage to witness about your encounter with Christ. In the elevator, tell a coworker or citizen about what He said to you at the Well. At lunch, be proud to show how much God loves even you – despite what you’ve done in the past. Throughout the day, let Him use your story to bring many to the Well.

True, you may seem like a curiosity. Don’t worry. Just plant the seeds and let Jesus do the convicting.

Yes, at work today, share your witness. Soon others won’t need your story to believe. And they, too, will bring many to the Well.

Prayer
Thank You, Father, for my story about how You gave me water at the well. At work today, give me courage to witness out loud! I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

Kathryn Saunders
Head Soccer Coach
Texas Southern University
Houston, Texas USA

The Christian Public Servant – “in the reminding business”

December 28, 2015 – Monday

Reading
Psalm 40:3 (HCSB) He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.

Song of Solomon 2:15 (HCSB) Catch the foxes for us – the little foxes that ruin the vineyards – for our vineyards are in bloom.

Reflection
Mondays! Getting my thoughts back onto work after a wonderful weekend is not easy — especially when it’s so beautiful outside.

My computer is very slow to start-up in the mornings, and consequently I don’t shut it down during the week. But this is Monday, and I’m already encountering problems with it… I reboot (again) as the icons disappear (once again) and still nothing happens… Go away little fox!

I decide to get a cup of tea while awaiting the second-coming of my computer. I notice a quote hanging off the string of the tea bag: “Sing from your heart.” Ah… even on a Monday morning, God is in the reminding business. And then He puts a new song in my mouth, Jessi Colter’s His Eyes are on the Sparrow. And so I sing in praise of him: “I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.”

God is so amazing! I may be sitting in a small cubicle and not flying outside like a sparrow, but the Lord has just set me free and that’s something to sing about!

Even on a Monday, He blesses me beyond belief. He knows what my heart needs at this very moment – at every moment.

Today at work, be aware of the little foxes (thoughts, people, technology) that visit on Mondays to ruin your vineyard (your peace, relationships with coworkers, your witness). God has planted you at this specific workplace for such a time as this. And He is in the reminding business.

So even on this Monday morning, trust in Him and bloom… let others pick up the aroma of God’s peace in your worklife.

And when the little foxes show up, look for signs of His glory throughout the day. After all, He’s in the reminding business – even on Mondays!

Prayer
Thank You, Lord, for Your immeasurable love, patience, grace and mercy. Help me recognize the little foxes that come to ruin my vineyards. Let them not distract me from doing Your work and being a blessing to others. Lord, I don’t always see my cup overflowing, but I know You will remind me that it always does. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Suzanne Bourque
Classification Grievances Coordinator / Coordonnatrice de griefs de classification
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada / Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada
Government of Canada / Gouvernement du Canada
Ottawa, Canada

The Christian Public Servant – “let no one die today”

December 25, 2015 – Friday

Reading
Matthew 2:19-20 (MSG) Later, when Herod died, God’s angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt: “Up, take the child and his mother and return to Israel. All those out to murder the child are dead.”

Reflection
I could have been like others – the dead ones – those who want to murder Jesus. You know they’re out there – still searching for the Child to murder. People who think, say, and do harm to His name and to His flock. Angry people. Vengeful people. Sad people. People believing they have nothing to lose in the death of this Child, and nothing to gain from His grace. They don’t know it, but they are already dead.

But, like you, here I sit blessed not to be a part of the dead. You see, I know this Child. I was once dead, but He saved me. And now, I love this Child — His love, mercy, joy, salvation, peace, and, yes, redemption that only comes through Him.

Who would murder this Child? Not me. Not you.

Today — the day of His birth –tell others about this Child so they may be saved from death. Tell them so their hearts may open to His mercy and His protection. Tell others about how this Child lives in your life.

So let no one die today because they want this Child dead. Let all know there is nothing to fear from Him. Let all feel and see and touch the joy this Child brings into the world and into each heart. Let them know salvation awaits within this Child.

Yes, let no one die today. A Child is born, and this Child lives for you!

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for showing me Your son, this Child. Let me show this Child to others today – telling how His birth blesses me in so many ways — so that they may have life in Him and not death away from Him. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “God without limitation”

December 24, 2015 – Thursday

Reading
Luke 1:34-35(b) (NKJV) The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

Reflection
Last year at this time, I was driving with a colleague when Christmas music began playing on the radio. Out of the blue my colleague exploded, “Why can’t you Christians understand basic biology? A virgin can’t conceive!” The Spirit came over me and, frankly, I was surprised by my instant reply. “It’s because we believe in a God without limitation – One who has the power to speak the universe into existence. One who created the laws of physics and biology. One who chose to be born of a virgin so He could be fully God and fully human.” I continued: “God loves you so much, He chose to experience life like you live — with all its joys, heartaches, and pain –so He could die for your sins while truly knowing you.

My colleague fell silent.

It’s easy to focus on human limitations and fall prey to a misapplication of science. It’s easy to miss the real miracle — a God without limitation. After all, He chose something foolish in the eyes of the world — being born of a virgin — to confound the wise. He chose to do so because He is Almighty God, and scientists should understand His empiricism.

So this Christmas, I choose to remember what my colleague missed. The real miracle is not just His birth – it’s not just His birth to a virgin. The real miracle is His proving to world, once and for all, He really is a God without limitation.

And if He has no limitation, then neither do you – if you chose to be a Christian public servant.

Merry Christmas to all of His public servants!

Prayer
Dear Lord God, thank You for being without limitation. Thank You for loving even me — so much that You came down to Earth that first Christmas to save me. Help me remember the choice You made for me, and help me reflect Your choice as I love others — in my work and in my workplace ministry serving You. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Kevin Cooney
Visiting Professor
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Beppu, Oita JAPAN

The Christian Public Servant – “need for help”

December 23, 2015 – Wednesday

Reading
Matthew 1:24-25 (NLT) When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

Reflection
When people meet me, they instantly see I have “male pattern baldness.” But what they may not see so quickly is my “male pattern stubbornness”– known in my household as MPS. The symptoms: refusal to read instructions; refusal to listen to directions; refusal to admit I can’t fix something; and basically a refusal to recognize my need for help. Often it takes the sweet voice of my wife to persuade me to acknowledge my MPS and my need for help.

Joseph was like that, too. He faced a situation where he needed help, but he had his own plan. His betrothed wife was with child, and it wasn’t his. While the law permitted him to really humiliate her, he had a plan to privately deal with the issue and be rid of the “situation” completely. But the sweet voice of an angel let him know of his need for help. And once confronted with MPS, Joseph wisely realized there was a better plan — God’s plan. Submitting to God’s plan brought blessing not only to Joseph, but to the entire world.

God knew humanity needed help and sent His Son Jesus. He gave us instruction and, through Jesus, His instruction would fix the world’s sin problem.

During this Christmas season, what do you need help with in your workplace? Do you hear the voice of a subordinate trying to help? Do you ignore that voice? Do you hear the voice of your boss providing direction? And do you still try to push through on your own? Do you humble yourself and seek help of coworkers to overcome what is beyond your scope or expertise?

Did you seek God this morning to find instruction for the workday? Truth is, you have a need for help, my friend, and that’s why Jesus came.

At work today, be that sweet voice that tells others about their need for help through Jesus. And Merry Christmas to all!

Prayer
Father, thank You for Jesus and the hope I have only in Him. Allow me to see my need, and the need of others, as I turn to You for help. Provide direction in my life as I seek to glorify You. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

Pastor Bill Dudley MPA
U.S. Department of Defense Logistician
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA