The Christian Public Servant – “reminders of His love”

 

July 31, 2017 – Monday

Reading
Daniel 2:21(a) [ESV] He changes times and seasons;

Isaiah 43:19 [NIV] See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Reflection
Nature reflects God’s creative character. Just look at trees. In the fall season, they show an elaborate array of colors while, in spring, trees display the light greens of new life. The summer season, of course, brings out their full green. Through the beauty of these colors, God provides reminders of His love. Yet even in winter – a season of wilderness and wasteland – there remains hope for the start of a new season. And in this hope, God is also providing reminders of His love.

As believers, we are like trees reacting to each new season. The barren winter may come unannounced bringing devastation to one’s work and career. There will be set-backs and even lay-offs. There may even be false accusations of misconduct leveled against the believer at work. A project may fall flat. These things may seem like a colorless wilderness or wasteland.

Regardless of trial and season, you and I must never forget the reminders of His love. We must have hope that the winter season is soon to pass. As Christian public servants, we must not only have hope during times of trial in our own careers, but we must also offer that same hope to others – we must be like streams in the wilderness.

Are you struggling at work today? Are you struggling to find a job? Maybe a coworker is in a colorless wilderness. If so, just look about. Certainly, He is giving all sorts of reminders of His love. Let your hope be renewed as God changes times and seasons.

Prayer
Lord, guide me through the trials of career. Let me always remember that You are making a way for me in the wilderness, and You are the stream in the wasteland. The colors of spring, summer, and fall are soon to follow! In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!

Chip Harrell, M.A.
J.D. Candidate and President
Student Bar Association
School of Law
Regent University
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “not to judge”

July  28, 2017 – Friday

Reading
John 12:47 If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.

Reflection
A couple of months ago, I was really down. It seemed so many brothers around me were angry and getting into fights. Even the brothers involved in our church were arguing. Many of the correctional officers seemed bent on cracking down on all brothers, regardless of any wrong-doing. I needed some guidance, and fortunately that came from one of my spiritual mentors.

I was reminded of scripture. If Jesus came not to judge the world but to save it, who am I to judge those who do not keep His words? I understood (again) that my job is not to judge, but to keep spreading His words.

I took that advice. Rather than watching the wrongs and failings of my brothers, I started to watch God working in their lives – God working in the lives of my brothers in major ways! Also, I enjoyed the gift God gave me of seeing some of His seeds growing, spread by me through His words! And who knows, I may be blessed by a harvest or two before my life is over!

At work today, there may be Christians coworkers not keeping His words. Take a deep breath and remember, you are not to judge. Your purpose, at your job, is to keep spreading His words.

And if you have trouble doing that today at work, find a spiritual mentor who can remind you of the job you really have in your workplace!

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for continually convicting my heart when I begin to judge others. Thank You for Your constant reminder that my job today is to show You to others. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “chasing the wind”

July 27, 2017 – Thursday

Reading
Ecclesiastes 1:17 [NLT] So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind.

Revelation 16:15 [NLT] Look, I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their clothing ready so they will not have to walk around naked and ashamed.

Reflection
Had lunch with an old friend yesterday. We’ve known each other for three decades – since graduate school. Over the years, my friend has made a tremendous impact on his profession. So many articles and books he’s written. And he has dedicated so much time and effort to ensure the success of his students. And now he is retiring.

What was supposed to be a celebratory lunch turned out quite differently. After ordering our meals, my friend confided in me. The week before, he was diagnosed with a stage 4 inoperable cancer. With or without treatment, he has less than a year to live.

He confessed his anger and shame – spending all those decades in his work and not going to be able to enjoy retirement. You see, he put off doing so many things with his family throughout his career. Oh, there was love, but he felt his time was “better spent” putting career first. And so, he missed countless events in the lives of his kids. He hardly knows his grandchildren. And all those trips with his wife were never taken so he could attend “important” conferences.

My friend now grasps that, throughout his career, he was worried about chasing the wind. Focusing on work advancement while not investing in other things he thought could easily be made up sometime in the future. And only now he realizes he missed so much with his family.

Today at work, think hard and long about chasing the wind. While job and career are important – sometimes even crucial – in no way do they substitute for what really counts in this life – the love of God and enjoyment of the love-blessings He bestows.

So do not take work home tonight. Go to that ball game with your son. Take in a movie with your daughter. Walk with your spouse. Listen, listen, love, love. The Lord will come for you shortly, unexpectedly, and you don’t want to be caught naked and ashamed.

Tonight when you leave work, stop chasing the wind.

Prayer
Father God, You will come for me unexpectedly. Let me have no regrets for what really counts in this life. Let me be prepared. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

James D. Slack, Ph.D., Ph.D.
Department of Public Policy & Administration
Jackson State University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “that desert called no job”

July 26, 2017 – Wednesday

Reading
Psalm 63:1,3 [ESV] O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water… Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.

Reflection
Someone I know lost her job about a year ago. It wasn’t anything she did, the state just had to cut the budget and her agency was eliminated. She worked over 20 years in that office, and now she had to find other work. The problem was, there were no jobs to be had, and even part-time jobs at fast-food restaurants were not hiring. She quickly lost her apartment and, with no family, she stayed at our home a few nights. But she left to drive around the region to find work. She became homeless and lost contact with everyone else.

Then I saw her yesterday, and I hardly recognized her. Yet she smiled when I approached, and greeted me like a brother. You see, she has not given up hope. Rather than turning to the seamy side of life – or worse, contemplate suicide – she quickly realized Who she needs from the first day she landed in that desert called no job. It may sound silly, but she found water where there was no water. And it is only God’s steadfast love that keeps her going.

I wish I could say my friend is out of that desert called no job. She has found a room in a homeless apartment building, and she volunteers at a church dedicated to serving the homeless. She is now seriously considering a ministry serving the homeless. She has hope, and always has had hope, because of God’s steadfast love.

Today, I hope you are not in that desert called no job. But if you are, remember Who you thirst for. Remember for Whom your flesh faints. I’m sorry to say miracles don’t always happen overnight. Your time in that desert called no job may be longer than you think. And it may be hard to understand that His steadfast love is better than what you were doing before, and His love is better than what you will be doing after. But have faith that His love is better.

If you are in that desert called no job, force your lips to praise Him. For your soul will not thirst, and your flesh will not want. He promises you this, and much more. And He keeps His promises.

Prayer
Father God, I pray for all who find themselves in that desert called no job. I know I was once there for a seemingly long time. But I also know that my soul did not thirst, and my flesh did not want. My lips will praise You throughout my life. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

James D. Slack, Ph.D., Ph.D.
Department of Public Policy and Administration
Jackson State University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “follow through”

July 25, 2017 – Tuesday

Reading
Ruth 1:16 [NIV] But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”

Reflection
Could you blame Ruth if she had returned to her home where everything was familiar? Me neither! Yet, she decided to stay with Naomi. And what she declares is important because it sheds light on her success in ultimately finding Boaz. Ruth knew she needed someone (Naomi) to hold her accountable and encourage her. She also needed a plan to set in motion her success. Ultimately, she needed an oath with God. There would be days of temptation to turn back, but Ruth would have the strength to follow through on her decision.

We make decisions at work each day. But when push comes to shove, it’s not always easy to follow throughespecially when it counts. So much can happen between point A and point B. Altered deadlines. New issues. Revised budgets. Somewhere along the line, we can falter and turn back.

As Christian public servants, you and I must be like Ruth. We need to have the highest level of determination to follow through on all tasks at work. And we also need to trust God and surround ourselves with the right people – coworkers who will hold us accountable and call us out if we start to stray from the purpose and decision.

Whatever daunting work-tasks you face today, do as Ruth did: create an inner circle, plan, and make a covenant with God. Do as Ruth did, and you will be able to follow through on anything this workday has to offer.

Prayer
Father, I thank You for placing tasks before me and for providing supervisors and coworkers who hold me in support. Give me strength in moments of weakness and hold me accountable for the greatness that is within. Continue to do Your work in me and through my work. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Kathryn Saunders
Head Soccer Coach
Southern University
Houston, Texas USA

The Christian Public Servant – “win favor and a good name”

July 24, 2017 – Monday

Reading
Proverbs 3:1(b)-4 [NIV] keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

Reflection
So often it’s difficult to be kind when faced with meanness, rudeness, or anger in the workplace. But Solomon instructs us to keep God’s commands in our hearts because, when we do, we will add peace and prosperity to our lives.

I know this is not an easy thing to do, but kindness – love and faithfulness – cannot be absent from the work life of each Christian public servant if you and I expect to have peace.

As this workweek begins, win favor and a good name in the sight of God, your coworkers, and those you serve. Practice love and faithfulness in your workplace. Bind them around your neck. Write them on your heart.

Today at work, win favor and a good name through His kindness to one and all.

Prayer
Father, I thank You for Your commands. Through them I find peace and prosperity. Let me take love and faithfulness to work today. Let me show kindness to my coworkers and the people I serve. In Your son’s name, I pray. Amen.

Linda Chambers
Senior Deputy Treasurer
Town of Gordonsville
Gordonsville, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “become a slave to all”

July 21, 2017 – Friday

Reading
1 Corinthians 9:19 [NLT] Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ.

Reflection
So many free-world brothers come here each week to share Jesus with the brothers on Life Row. They take off work, use up vacation days, and drive for hours while paying for their own gas. And sometimes they must turn around once they get here because of a lock-down. Still they make those weekly trips with joy and peace. Each free-world brother has become a slave to all of us on Life Row so that many might come to Christ.

Before you get out of your car to start the workday, set it in your heart to become a slave to all so that many might come to Christ. A coworker you know needs Him today.

Will you become a slave to all at work today?

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Give me the confidence to become a slave to all, to gain more sisters and brothers in the Family of Your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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

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