The Christian Public Servant – “cut the ropes”

April 28, 2017 – Friday

Reading
Acts 27:31-32 [KJV] Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.

Reflection 
Sometimes God’s plan for me has nothing to do with my plans for me. I assure you, I did not plan as a child to spend most of my adult life on death row. And once here, my plan did not include following Him. And once following Him, my plan did not center on being an active member of the Death Row Church. And once being involved in my church, my plan did not include preaching on Sundays and ministering to others – here on death row, to my family, and to you through this devotional.

Time and time again, God commands me to cut the ropes to my plans, and then He takes me to amazing places through His plan. He places people in my life that I never would have invited through my own plan. He will do the same for you whether you are at work or at home.

God’s plan is always in your best interest. Is His plan changing your plans, too? I pray so!

Just like the soldiers in scripture who cut the ropes and followed a plan not their own, until you get rid of your plan and accept His –  you will never walk in the fullness of God.

Today as you go to work, when you are working, as you come home tonight, and as you start your weekend – trust God. When He commands you to cut the ropes of your plan, follow through. His plan is better, and you will be blessed!

Prayer
Father, in the Name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for revealing Your plan for me each day so I can carry out Your will in the places You plant me. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “work problems beyond your control”

April 27, 2017 – Thursday

Reading
2 Chronicles 20:15 [NIV] He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

Reflection
One of the loneliest situations in the workplace is to have the boss accuse you of incompetence when the situation was not your fault.

As a research analyst working on a major project with high visibility, I faced a dilemma when new information surfaced that dramatically changed my findings. I had a choice: bury the new information and stick with my initial conclusions, or tell the truth and risk embarrassment. I decided to change my report to accommodate the new information, but at the cost of the wrath of my supervisor who had already sent the preliminary report forward. As a result, my boss reprimanded me for unprofessional conduct.

No “good deed” goes unpunished! However, I had the solace of a clear conscience and was able to move forward with the Lord’s help. Thank God, this situation never happened again, but I hope that if faced with the same circumstances, I would repeat my decision to err on the side of the truth.

May the Lord give you the strength to trust Him for protection against work problems beyond your control! After all, the battle is God’s, not yours.

Prayer
Lord, please help me to trust You for protection and vindication and to choose the path of integrity no matter the cost. I know that You will never leave nor forsake me. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Gary E. Roberts, Ph.D.
Robertson School of Government
Regent University
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “trust the Artist of that canvas”

April 26, 2017 – Wednesday

Reading
Galatians 3:3 [NIV] Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?

Reflection
This week marks my 3rd anniversary at my job. While the amount of time may not sound like much, it truly has been a journey. I never expected it to be easy, but it’s definitely been worth it. If broken down into the particulars of single days, this time may look very ordinary. However, if examined at a much higher level, these three years have been extraordinary. The time here at this job, like my time here on earth, gives testimony to me being a work-in-progress – like an unfinished portrait. And what I’ve learned in my job is that I am not the artist; I am just the bare canvas. And to be successful, I must trust the Artist of that canvas.

Every day we have a choice to make: turn over our dreams and progress to God or pick up the load and try to go it alone. Paul asked members of the Galatian church to examine their hearts. As believers, you and I must do that, too. I know, it’s hard to remain in faith. But God has started a work in you, and it’s your responsibility to trust in what He promised to bring to completion.

Before you go to work today, examine your heart and your actions. Are you relying on God? Or, are you relying only on your own strength? Do you intend to try to paint your own future today? Or, will you confess you are simply the canvas – His canvas – and then trust the Artist of that canvas?

Today, trust the Artist of that canvas, and not yourself. The choice belongs to you, but I pray you will choose wisely. Do not let this day finish by just the means of flesh.

Do not be so foolish.

Prayer
Father, I thank You for being intimately involved in my life. Help me be honest with me. Let personal deceit not live within me. Give me strength, wisdom, knowledge and peace to have remaining faith in You. Crazy faith that believes the vision and purpose You have set before me. Father, help me lay it all down at Your feet. What I started in faith, let me finish in faith. I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “fix both eyes on what is unseen”

April 25, 2017 – Tuesday

Reading
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 [NLV] Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Romans 8: 28 [NIV] And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Reflection
Several years ago, I went on a crazy self-discovery search. I had gone through a lot and wanted to discover more about who I was at the core of my heart. I stripped away all my safeguards to focus on God and discern His will for my life. Well, His will led me to travel 800 miles away from every safety net and support system I once heavily relied on.

I’ve discovered much along my journey. Most importantly, I found that I struggle with the fear of failing. Whether in school, work, or relationships, the fear of failing mentally exhausted me and, worse, hindered my ability to trust God.

Does fear ever interfere with your relationship with God? As Christian public servants, God wants you and me to fix both eyes on what is unseen – put all faith and trust in Him.

Yes, failure sometimes seems inevitable. One small error can lead to major negative consequences. Failures in the workplace can get you fired. While labor laws tend to give some job security, this fear of failing remains haunting.

The awesome thing about God is that He will never fire you. He will never kick you off His team. He will use each failure to transform you into something greater. Something stronger. Something of unlimited value. He will take your “lump of coal” and turn it into a beautiful diamond.

Today at work, trust God and fix both eyes on what is unseen. Do not let the fear of failure burden you. God is transforming you into something greater!

Prayer
Father, I am Your precious diamond. You see no failure in me. Let my heart and mind not be burdened by the fear of failure today as I recognize You as my ultimate boss. Take my work today, Father, and make it for Your glory. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

Angela Arbitter, MPA
International Justice Mission
Gulu, Uganda

The Christian Public Servant – “a name really matters”

April 24, 2017 – Monday

Reading 
Genesis 3:20 [NIV] Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

Proverbs 31:10 [NIV] A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

Reflection
It’s very discouraging to hear coworkers speak ill of their spouses. It may only be a joke, but the Christian public servant should not participate in such jokes. There is nothing funny about hearing a spouse called “the old ball and chain” or “a lazy bum” or even worse. Yes, my friend, a really name matters. What we call people affects how we and others see them.

Adam named his wife Eve. He knew she would be the mother of all humanity. It is not important that he named her, but when he named her. Adam named Eve after the fall of mankind and the curse from God on all creation. We might forgive Adam if, at that moment, he could not see his wife as some great woman. But he calls her the “mother of all living,” and it makes a difference in who she becomes.

If you are blessed with a marriage, then cherish this gift from God. Of course, your spouse will do something to let you down now and then, but that does not define that person. If you let known every day how your spouse is worth “far more than rubies,” then your spouse will become more precious than gems – especially to you.

So each day, say encouraging words about your spouse. Say them so your coworkers will hear. Do this so you can be a role model for your coworkers. Tell them a name really matters. It not only affects the way others see your spouse, it affects the way they see you.

Prayer
Dear Lord, I love my wife. Other than Jesus she is the greatest blessing You have bestowed on me. May the way I refer to her give voice to her value and show others the way to call their spouses. Help me encourage coworkers to see their spouses as You see them. In this way, there might be a little more of heaven here on earth. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “the road followed”

April 21, 2017 – Friday

Reading
Acts 15: 19 [NLT] And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.

Reflection
When I was a youngster, I started to imitate my uncles. They were big and strong, and I wanted to be just like them. They had good qualities – like taking care of family, being kind to me, and even letting me tag along with them. But they also had some bad qualities. Robbing. Gangs. Fights. Drugs. Things like that. And I imitated them in both the good ways and some of the bad ways. But overall, the bad won out, and the road followed did not turn me to God. I won’t blame them for where I am today, but that road ended at the gate to death row. And I arrived here not knowing Christ.

A lot of times, as Christians, you and I are not aware that others are watching. And because we are Christian public servants, the number of people watching is much larger than we think. Many want to imitate you and me, but we don’t know which behaviors are shaping them.

We think we are always on the righteous path. Right? But think again. Bad attitude today? Selfishness yesterday? Judgmental every day? Or perhaps we are just filled with too many Christian rules that turn off would-be believers. A lot of times we make it difficult for others to take the road followed to Christ.

Is there someone at work who is watching you? Wanting to know what it means to be a believer? Wanting to imitate you because you claim to know the road followed to Christ?

Unlike my uncles, don’t assume that person sees only your best qualities.

Today at work, make sure that person knows the road followed does not turn away from God.

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Keep me street-wise so my behavior points others down the road that leads to You. Amen.

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

Jimmy Davis, Jr.

The Christian Public Servant – “spice things up”

April 20, 2017 – Thursday

Reading
Leviticus 2:13 [ESV] You shall season all your grain offerings with salt. You shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be missing from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.

Matthew 5:13 [ESV] You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

Reflection
Ever come out of a meeting at work feeling a sour aftertaste? Whether it was the subject discussed or the negative comments participants made, it left you with a bad impression. I have had my share. But after a few cynical and negative meetings that left me heavy, I asked myself what I could do to spice things up? You know what I mean; lighten things a bit to bring out the best of what is offered and make everyone’s time worthwhile.

Salt is probably the best-known spice. It is a flavoring agent and a food preservative. It balances sweetness and helps suppress other flavors, such as bitterness. It contains the sodium element, an essential nutrient that our bodies need in small amounts. And where I live, salt is also essential to thawing ice on the roads during winter.

Jesus says we are the salt of the earth. You and I are to serve as a preservative (to stop the moral decay of our sin-infected world) and to spice things up (to show the excitement of living a life in Christ). As Christian public servants, you are I are blessed to have the opportunity to bring out the best in others, to soften even the hardened hearts of non-believers. We are to pray for our entourage and spread God’s love in their lives to thaw the ice on their life roads that lead their way to God!

Salt is so important that Jesus warns us not to lose our saltiness by becoming disobedient and indifferent.

Today at work, don’t lose your saltiness. Don’t give in to badmouthing. Don’t sink to bitterness. Resist rumors. Don’t let negativity taint your day. Instead, sprinkle discussions with love and laughter. Give your interlocutors food for thought. Pray before you throw out a comment.

At work today, spice things up! Don’t let the salt of the covenant with your God be missing!

Prayer
Dear Father, thank You for Your living word, especially Your warnings. Provide me with patience and courage to be of good heart with everyone I meet today at work – even those who may mock me for being so positive and supportive. I am Your public servant, and I pray that You restore me to Your purpose of flavoring the world. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Evelyne F. Altema
Language Assessment Center
Government of Canada
Quebec, Canada