The Christian Public Servant – “hold onto peace”

March 31, 2017 – Friday

Reading
Exodus 14:13-14 [KJV] And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Reflection
Each day from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m., I work as a runner on my hall. I get things for brothers locked in their cells: hot water, ice, maybe heat something up in the microwave, or just be someone they can talk to at that time of day. (Most are awake since breakfast comes before 3 a.m.) I am around over 50 different mindsets – correctional officers and brothers. Some are saved and some are not. It is not uncommon to run into “battles.” A brother wants to take out his anxieties and aggression on you. Shouting. Sometimes throwing. Not being thankful of your efforts.

It is tempting to jump in and try to battle back and defend yourself against a brother at 3 a.m. Or, it is easy to just walk away and be of no service to that brother. But every time I try to fight my own battle, or show the brother I cannot be pushed around, I lose my own peace.

So I try to hold onto peace. It is all I have in life. If something arises at my “workplace,” I try my best to allow God to fight the battle for me. It is not easy, but I have no choice if I want to hold onto peace.

At work today, try not to fight your own battles. He is fighting for you, so you don’t need to defend yourself. If you choose to fight, I am afraid you will miss God. You will lose your peace and, like me, peace is all you have in life.

As difficult as it is, try to hold onto peace. The Lord shall fight for you.

He is fighting for you right now.

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for fighting all my battles so I not only hold onto peace, but can carry out Your will. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “fail with grace”

March 30, 2017 – Thursday

Reading
Romans 8:1 [ESV] There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Reflection
I have a confession. As a Christian public servant, I hate to make mistakes and fail. I beat myself up and take out the internal whip of punishment. As an educator and practitioner in government, I know that making mistakes and failing is essential to individual and collective learning and development. However, when it comes to “my performance,” I would rather never test that principle.

But lately I am learning an important concept, to forgive myself when I make a mistake and reject self-condemnation and shame. As a recovering perfectionist, I reject the fantasy and prideful delusion that I can ever be perfect. I am learning to fail with grace, and this enables me to step out of the safe harbor and comfort zones.

If you’re like me and have to resist the temptation of beating yourself up, rest in the freedom of knowing that God does not demand perfection of performance. He only demands an attitude of forgiveness and a desire to learn from your mistakes.

Today at work, you will make mistakes. You may even mess up big time. And when you do, may you fail with grace knowing you are in Jesus Christ!

Prayer
Dear Jesus, I pray for the strength to forgive myself when I make a mistake. Only You are perfect. Help me recognize that the only true failure is to quit. In Your 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 – “a list for you”

March 29, 2017 – Wednesday

Reading
Ephesians 2:9-10 [NIV] not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Reflection
Do you supervisor or lead? How often do you prepare tasks for those who work for you?  Sometimes they are tasks you don’t want to do. Sometimes they are tasks you don’t have time to do. Sometimes they are tasks you don’t have the skills to do. But always you expect the delegated tasks to make you and your unit look good. Right?

Did you know, God has prepared a list for you? A list of good works just for you! Not because He needs you. Not because He can’t do it on His own. No. He has prepared a list for you because He loves to grow you, to build you, to stretch you, to involve you in His detailed plan.

Once you accept Christ, you must also accept the fact that nothing you do is for your own glory. Not anymore. Not even in your workplace. You are now working for a greater purpose than your own. You are saved by grace, and you work from a place of grace.

So, you may delegate out of need, and you used to delegate out of selfishness. But God delegates out of love and grace. And you need to do the same.

Today at work, God has prepared a list for you. A list of good works just for you. But nothing will be done for your glory, only His. And that will affect how you delegate to others.

And what a different workplace it will be!

Prayer
Father, thank You for involving me in the smallest details of Your biggest plan! Thank You for the intimate vision You have for my life. I ask You to help me lead like You lead. Help me change my motives on this work day. Help me grow those You have entrusted me to lead. Help me be the light. I pray these things in Your Son’s name. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “enough for Who”

March 28, 2017 – Tuesday

Scripture
Ephesians 6:7 [NLT] Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

Colossians 3:23-24 [NLT] Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Reflection
Recently I helped a citizen who had a lot on her plate, and it was obvious she was having trouble focusing. After a while, she murmured she didn’t believe God loved her anymore because all that was happening in her life. My heart sank, and I began to encourage her and offer my prayers. I started to assist her above and beyond my role in this department. I even reached out to colleagues in other units to help find her resources.

Yet afterwards, I learned she called my Director and complained about me. You see, she is white and I am black and, no matter how much I went above and beyond for her, she was upset that someone like her had to depend on someone like me.

Thankfully, I served her with the attitude of Christ. Even after the report, I continued to work behind the scenes to find the resources she needed. And my Director thanked me for serving unto Christ, and not the racist person who stood before me.

Have you ever experienced a citizen inflicted with racism or sexism or nationalism or faithism?  Was it difficult going above and beyond the call of duty because you knew it just wasn’t going to be enough? But did you ask yourself, enough for Who? As a Christian public servant, see beyond what you see in people and continue to serve unto Christ.

Yes, today at work, don’t allow the misbehaviors and bigotries of the world change who and how you serve. Go above and beyond at each opportunity. Do more than enough at each turn. Just remember, enough for Who? And then continue to serve Him!

Prayer
Father God, thank You for allowing me to serve You. Continue to guide me and provide me wisdom to do Your will and not man’s. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

LaShonda Garnes, MPA
Business Operations Manager
Public Works & Utilities
City of Wichita
Wichita, Kansas USA

The Christian Public Servant – “even more is required”

forgiveness.2

March 27, 2017 – Monday

Reading
Genesis 50:19-21 [NIV] But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

Reflection
I’m sure you’ve witnessed it. You may have even been a part of it. It’s not unusual for one to see grudges held even over the littlest slight. As a Christian public servant, you know forgiveness is necessary – but at times even more is required.

Each year much of the world celebrates St. Patrick’s Day. You know, the day many wear green, and too many go out and drink green concoctions. It is a shame so few know the powerful truth about St. Patrick. Do you?

Patrick was an English farm boy who was kidnapped and enslaved in Ireland. Once free, he prepared to return and share Christ with his very captors. Thankfully he was successful because Ireland became the repository of many manuscripts from antiquity we have today as a devotion to God.

Like Patrick, Joseph knew that, although the intent was to harm him, God used that opportunity to show more than forgiveness – he provided for them and their children.

You don’t have to remember St. Patrick just on the day we honor him. What he did is as important as what Joseph did. And what both did, should be what you and I do today.

As this workweek begins, forgive those who are harming you. But know even more is required. Take care of that coworker in some special way. After all, as a Christian public servant, you are in the place of God – just like Joseph. Right?

Forgive, but know even more is required because you are in the place of God!

Prayer
Dear Lord, how can I hold a grudge when I know what price You paid so that I may be forgiven? Help me look for opportunities to forgive and even more. When I put that into practice, I may find that I give others the benefit of the doubt. I may find that I am offended far less often. Like St. Patrick, I will truly chase snakes out of my workplace! In Your Name, I pray. Amen.

Stan Best
Training Manager, Apprentice School
Newport News Shipbuilding
Newport News, Virginia USA

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