The Christian Public Servant – “display a Godly honor”

honoring workplace supervisor3

December 15, 2017 – Friday

Reading

Judges 21:25 [KJV] In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

Reflection

Recently, a correctional officer told all the hall runners, including me, to lock-down because they needed a re-count. (Hall runners get ice and heat food up for the brothers in cells. Lock-down is when all inmates must return to their cells. Re-counts happen throughout the day to make sure no one is missing.) So, I went back to my cell and shut the door, hence, locking it for the lock-down.

After the re-count, about 30 minutes later, the correctional officer called out to me and noticed my door was locked. He came over, unlocked the door, and asked me why I had shut it. I told him I was obeying his instructions about the lock-down. He told me other runners did not shut their doors, but sat on their beds for the recount with their doors open. I responded that I try to display a Godly honor with all his commands.

On Life Row, I work as a runner. But I bet your workplace is no different. You must see coworkers feeling somehow empowered to do what is right in their own eyes – despite specific instructions given by those in authority. They cut corners with instructions, and it may be ok to do so in your workplace. But, as a Christian public servant, you have a higher obligation.

Today at work, display a Godly honor in all your decisions. And remember, when you display a Godly honor to your supervisor, you must first extend that honor to God, Himself. In that way, work will be done in a successful and serving way – to those in authority and to Him.

Prayer

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for renewing my mind and heart each day so I can honor You in all my decisions and not just do what is right in my own eyes. 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 in a snake pit”

snake pit3

December 14, 2017 – Thursday

Reading

Genesis 50:20(a) [ESV] As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good

Isaiah 54:17 [ESV] no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD
and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.

Matthew 5:44(b) [ESV] Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

Reflection

I know people who work in a snake pit. They can’t trust anyone. They cannot depend on anyone. They are evaluated on pretense. The workday is just miserable, and getting up to go to work is even worse. Maybe it’s the economy, or many it’s just the age in which we live, but it seems more and more people are in dysfunctional workplaces.

If you work in a snake pit, what should you do?

Scripture does not give an easy answer. The Word requires you to find good out of the evil that is thrust at you. Look closely today and see what kind of good you may be missing. Scripture also challenges you to stand up and hold your own ground. God doesn’t expect Christians to be powder-puffs in the workplace. Consider the employee handbook for guidance. Scripture also requires you to love your enemies and pray for – not against – whoever persecutes you. That’s right, you must love and pray for those who attack you.

If you work in a snake pit, your task is much more difficult than you thought. You just can’t hate. You just can’t retaliate. You just can’t hope for the worse for those who hurt you.

Today at work: find good, stand your ground, but love and pray for the workplace bully. It won’t be easy, but it’s what God commands of you.

And throughout the workday, know He is vindicating you with the Father!

Prayer

Lord, help the victim of workplace harassment see Your good, do Your will, and remain obedient to Your word. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Chris Summers
Chaplain
W.C. Holman Correctional Facility
Alabama Department of Corrections
Atmore, Alabama USA

The Christian Public Servant – “just don’t be an idiot”

spilling coffee1

December 13, 2017 – Wednesday

Reading

Matthew 5:22 [NLT] But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

Reflection

OK, so I was in a big hurry. A business meeting in two hours, and I was still 90 minutes away on an interstate. And I had to stop for gas and to relieve myself. After taking care of business, I walked back to my car. In route, an elderly man in front of me emptied his coffee mug onto the pavement. But instead of just pouring it out, he swung it way behind him – exactly where I was walking. Now I had coffee on my pants and suede shoes. I shouted a curse, in surprise, that remains ringing in my ears. The man turned and asked, “did I get any on you?” Thinking about the time it would now take to get presentable for the meeting, my response was simple and quick: “yes you did, you idiot!”

Idiot. Finally, back on the interstate, I started to analyze what I had said. Scripture reminded me that I shouldn’t have cursed. His Word told me I should not have called that elderly man an idiot. And for the rest of the trip, I could not focus on the meeting. I could only focus on what I did. I was now in danger of being brought to His court. In fact, I was in danger of the fires of hell.

Idiot. Turns out, I was the idiot, and not that other guy.

As you travel to work today, remember the red ink. You don’t want to be judged by Jesus. You don’t want Jesus to send you into the fires of hell. So just don’t be an idiot – in the eyes of others or in the verdict of Christ.

Whatever happens going to work today, just don’t be an idiot. Eternally there is no pay-off.

Prayer

Father God, forgive me for cursing and name-calling. Help me make up for my sin the next time something goes wrong on the way to work. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

James D. Slack, Ph.D., Ph.D.
Professor
Jackson State University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “the anchor of Advent”

Advent2

December 12, 2017 – Tuesday

Reading

1 Timothy 6:10 [NIV] For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Reflection

As a single mother, money is always tight. It is especially tight in this season of Advent. You know what I’m talking about. Christmas gifts. Christmas wrapping. Christmas cards. Christmas stamps. Christmas tree. Christmas cookies. Special Christmas delights to take to the office Christmas party. It all adds up. I get anxious for more money, and I start to think about a second job – or even a third job – during this Advent season. If I’m not careful, it’s easy to start loving money more than needing money.

But scripture reminds me that the love of money leads to all kinds of evil. For those very desperate, it can lead to drugs, prostitution, robbery, strip-dancing, and gambling away that which you don’t have. For less desperate, like me, the love of money can easily distract from the anchor of Advent – the anticipated birth of Christ.

As you go to work this morning, remember the anchor of Advent. Do not let a need for money turn into a love of money. Or else, you will miss the love found in this season.

Prayer

Dear Lord, shield me from greed. Help me protect my faith. Help me remember You are the anchor of Advent and, as such, You will supply my every need. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Logan Dickens, MPA
Special Projects Analyst
Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services
Richmond, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “don’t conform to the pattern of Advent – if”

Advent1

December 11, 2017 – Monday

Reading

Romans 12:2(a) [NIV] Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Reflection

In the season of Advent, when I should be full of joy, I tend to be anxious at work. I wonder, am I doing what colleagues and administrators expect me to do? Am I attending enough of the lunch-time and after-work get-togethers? Am I making enough appearances at the during-work unit gatherings? Oh, I’m reassured that these extra-curricular activities do not mean much, but they do count in some ways.

Scripture reminds me that I must stop trying to please others. While it’s important to fit in, God does not want me conforming to the pattern of this world. His words even suggest, don’t conform to the pattern of Advent – if the pattern prevents you from being transformed by renewing heart and mind in the Reason for Advent.

Does this happen to you? So many office parties that you forget why you are celebrating? So many gatherings that neglect the transformation of heart and mind?

At work, today and throughout this season of Advent, don’t get confused as to why you celebrate. Don’t conform to the pattern of this world. And don’t conform to the pattern of Adventif the pattern makes you forget Who you are celebrating!

Prayer

My Lord, I celebrate Your coming into this world. To You, I conform. Only You. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “blocked from hearing God”

blocked from hearing God1

November 8, 2017 – Friday

Reading

Exodus 6:9 [MSG] But when Moses delivered this message to the Israelites, they didn’t even hear him—they were that beaten down in spirit by the harsh slave conditions.

Reflection

I live and work in harsh conditions. It is nobody’s fault but mine, so I am not complaining. The heat in summer, the cold in winter, the desperation in heart – the never-ending background noise – all beat down the spirit. It causes good men to become angry and bad men to become dangerous. It causes fights over the pettiest things. Like the brothers around me, if I am not careful, I get blocked from hearing God.

Is it so different where you live and work? Does the harshness of deadlines beat down on you? How about the background noise of pettiness, arrogance, and spite? How about the anxiety of maybe losing your job? In your conditions, is it not easy to get blocked from hearing God?

Scripture reminds us that the Israelites were in that same kind of condition. Plus, they had little prayer life and forgot, in the mist of all that was wrong, to worship Him.

Yes, your workplace is different than mine – but only in unimportant ways. You struggle in your job of serving Him in your workplace. And if you are not careful, you get blocked from hearing God.

As you pack your lunch, make sure you include prayer in that bag. Use prayer throughout the day to worship Him. If you don’t, you will be blocked from hearing God. And that is a terrible thing in any workplace – yours or mine.

Prayer

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for always speaking to me, but also for keeping my conditions from drowning Your voice. Let the Enemy not block me from hearing You today. 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 – “how is YOUR death row going?”

Jimmy Davis, Jr.5

December 7, 2017 – Thursday

Reading

1 John 3:1 [NIV] See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Reflection

Had a wonderful visit with Jimmy Davis, Jr. this week. He sends his Christmas greetings to one and all.

Jimmy’s faith in God moves mountains. His excitement about the birth of Christ moves hearts. Just spending one minute with him, you know that God has turned his death row into Life Row.

BTW, how is YOUR death row going? Only through Christ will it turn into Life Row. Miracles happen! Just ask Jimmy.

And BTW, if you are called to send Jimmy a Christmas card, please refer to the instructions found in Monday’s Christian Public Servant devotional, or email Jim Slack at jslack0229@live.com.

Prayer

Father God, I live on my own death row. Only through You can I change my death row to Life Row. Give me strength to follow You, and love to join others who believe in You — wherever they live and whatever they have done. Let love be the bond, not chains.  In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

Jim Slack

Jimmy Davis, Jr.4