The Christian Public Servant – “this cycle of self-deception”

lying2

January 23, 2018 – Tuesday

Reading

Proverbs 28:13-14 [ESV] Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

Reflection

It is so common today in most workplaces. Lies concerning budget-needs are viewed as “strategic moves.” Important issues are omitted from meeting agendas allegedly because of “time constraints.” Subordinates simply go through the motions while claiming otherwise to supervisors. In the middle of it all, hearts become hardened and calamity follows.

Scripture reminds us that, when hearts harden, sin is almost always understood to be private. That is, you think God does not see your sin. And what a terrible mistake! In this deception, you move further away from God – no matter how religious you are perceived by others.

The only remedy to this cycle of self-deception, and certain spiritual death, is to acknowledge God knows all your sin – as He knows all my sin. So, we must confess we know He knows our sinful habits, and then work with the Holy Spirit to gain courage and strength to forsake our sin.

Before going to work today, know a healthy work-life in Christ is always honest, open, and an on-going relationship in the spiritual disciplines with God.

Today at work, pledge to break this cycle of self-deception. Confess and forsake your transgressions. Do not let your heart be hardened when coworkers conceal their own transgressions.

Yes, break this cycle of self-deception and walk toward God!

Prayer

Father, today in my work, fill me with confession and strength to walk toward You and away from personal sin and the things of this world. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “new-found freedom of retirement”

retirement1

January 22, 2018 – Monday

Reading

Matthew 25:40(b) [ESV] Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.

Galatians 5:13 [ESV] For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Reflection

Perhaps like you, I will retire in the next year or so. This new-found freedom of retirement sounds wonderful! Although we want to stay close to family, my wife and I are considering so many options about what to do. The question is, what option to take?

Last week, while listening to our new mayor’s installation speech, I got the perspective I needed! The new mayor talked about the uncertainty of our future, and how we are all responsible for that outcome. That we must accept accountability for what happens and not just blame or give credit to outside influences like economy, politics, or fate. Then the mayor said he is just one of 300,000 residents, and he needs all of us to help our city make the most of its potential.

Wow, he’s right! And scripture confirms what he said. Our freedom calls us to help in the outcome of others – the least of His – because we all are the least of His!

As Christian public servants, you and I must never rely on our own abilities, or restrict ourselves due to certain limitations. Rather, we must invite God to help us be all we can be.

So, I’m really looking forward to leaving my job! This new-found freedom of retirement means more than pleasing my own flesh and selfishness. It is an opportunity to find new ways to serve others. And I am excited to see just how I may finish my time on earth.

If you are at the same stage in career as me, ask how our Lord wants you to use this new-found freedom of retirement. And just think of what opportunities He will have for you!

Prayer

Lord, I give You thanks and praise for all that my life has been so far, and I am grateful for Your forgiveness for all the times I’ve fallen short of Your plans and desires for me. I pray I may continue to serve Your other children well in retirement and be deserving of Your embrace when You call me Home. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Alan Cox
Neighborhood Development Specialist
City of Toledo
Toledo, Ohio USA

The Christian Public Servant – “sure in God”

workers ridiculed2

January 19, 2018 – Friday

Reading

1 Thessalonians 2:2 [NIV] We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition.

Reflection

I read in a magazine about so many Christians being challenged throughout the world. Some lose their jobs and careers, others are beaten and imprisoned, and some lose their lives. They suffer all because they are sure in God. They choose to have faith in Him, and not faith in the ways of this world. And in their suffering from injustice, you can see the power of God flowing in places where the darkness had no light.

Scripture teaches us that following Jesus is not easy. It will bring suffering and outrageous treatment. Ridicule. Torment. Harassment. And, in some parts of the world, even death. Torment and ridicule happen where I live and work. What happens where you live and work?

Let us learn a lesson from the persecuted brothers and sisters we read about and see in the news. Let us learn a lesson from those we see in our own corners of the world. We don’t have to compromise conviction – not at home, not in town, not at work. We need to be sure in God – sure in His word and His will.

Wherever He has planted you, regardless of where you work and whoever may try to keep you from sharing His message and showing His way, be sure in God that He will lead, protect, and provide for you and your household.

Prayer

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Continue to give me Your strength so I can stay sure in Your son, Jesus. So I can present Your message and Your way to others I see throughout the day. So I may bring glory to Your name. 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 – “shout here I am”

 

 

 

 

 

Here I am, Lord4

January 18, 2018 – Thursday

Reading

Deuteronomy 31:6 [NIV] Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Isaiah 6:8 [NIV] Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Reflection

Got a phone call from a former student. She works for a Christian nonprofit that serves the poor and homeless. When first taking the job, how excited she was! But gradually, things have changed. At a meeting earlier in the day, her supervisor outlined a “new” direction based on a business model. From now on, projects would be judged not by measures of Jesus, but by measures of cost/benefit analysis.

Scripture reminds us that believers need to be courageous. That we must fight not just the so-called good fight, as any secularist can do that. We must fight His fight. Scripture reminds us that we are called by Him, and we need to shout here I am to the Lord.

Well, my former student plans to be courageous tomorrow at a staff meeting. After much prayer, the Lord is sending her to battle the misapplication of a business model and what it does to His people. Tomorrow, she will shout here I am to the Lord. She will present the case that the business model is killing Christ.

Certainly, workplace challenges have intensified in the last few years. You might be facing a misapplication of a business model, or it may be another crisis. As Christ workers, you and I need to pray about how to address those issues. If it is God’s issue, not just our ego, we need to find the courage to shout here I am!

Whatever God calls you to do at work today, be courageous and shout here I am, Lord!

Prayer

Father God, I want to stand fast with You today at work. Will You help me? Let me feel Your hand on my shoulder, guiding and guarding me, as I heed Your call. I want to shout here I am! In Jesus name, I pray, for all who hear Your calling. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “seek loving relationships with each other and with God”

loving relationships2

January 17, 2018 – Wednesday

Reading

Matthew 22:37-39 [RSV] And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Reflection

I recently made an insensitive remark over general working conditions, and my coworker took it personally. When I saw the hurt I had caused, I tried to apologize but my coworker would not talk to me. While another attempt to mend the hurt made some progress, the glares and avoidance remained.

Then a call from someone in need brought my coworker and I together in service to use the different skills we each possess. Our working together was required to help this person out of her dilemma. We both started to feel God’s presence in the midst of that encounter, and it wasn’t until we felt God’s presence that our relationship was restored.

Life is full of relationships, chief among them are the people we work with and those we serve. Our Lord gives us just two commandments, and both entail love. When we invite God into our relationships and allow His guidance, we are made whole – through love of Him and each other.

Today, look for God’s presence in your relationships with coworkers and clients. Yes, seek loving relationships with each other and with God. His love will flow to, and through, you.

Today at work, know that wholeness comes spiritually, personally, and professionally when you seek loving relationships with each other and with God. Jesus commands this of you.

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, from Whom my wholeness comes, guide me in seeking relationship with You and my coworker. Bind this relationship with love so that Your Kingdom may be strengthened this day. For it is in Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.

Keith Jordan
Field Supervisor
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “be transformed by the renewing”

transformed1

January 16, 2018 – Tuesday

Reading

Romans 12:1-2 [NIV]Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Revelation 21:5 [NIV] He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

Reflection

Well, how’s your New Year’s resolutions coming along? Exercising more? Eating healthier? Treating others better? Or, are this year’s resolutions working out about the same as last year’s? Why do we fail so often in these commitments?

We fail because we try to conform to the pattern of this world. We who make Jesus Lord and Savior should not conform, but instead be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Today, let’s start anew with the annual resolutions. Pledge to pray before going to work. Get a bible app on your phone and pledge to read one verse during your work breaks. Pledge to start a Bible study group at lunch – even if it’s just you and one other coworker. When you come home after work, pledge to meditate on the verses you read earlier. And before you go to sleep, pledge to pray with your spouse.

If you resolve to start this today, what changes will take place – in your workplace, in your life, and in you! Today, be transformed by the renewing of your mind through a God who has already made everything brand new.

Prayer

Dear Lord, I thank You for the opportunities of this New Year. You have given me all I need to be in a right relationship with You, but often I’m too busy to read the Instruction Manual and to do things that praise and glorify You. I resolve to spend more time in Your word and with You so I can transform into the person you want me to be. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “write the vision to God and make it plain”

grand opening1

January 15, 2018 – Monday

Reading

Habakkuk 2-3 [NKJV] Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.”

Philippians 4:6 [NKJV] Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

Reflection

A friend of mine is an amazing cook and just opened her first restaurant. At the ribbon cutting, she shared her testimony: for more than 10 years she prayed and wrote in a journal her vision from God of having her own restaurant. In the meantime, she married and had two kids. But each night, she continued to write the vision to God and make it plain. And while she continued to work hard and be a good wife and mother, she waited for God. My friend was anxious for nothing. And now, it is her appointed time!

In the midst of what life brings on, have you lost a God-vision for your career? Have you started to believe that vision is too far-fetch? Do you think time has slipped away? Despite scripture giving you every reason not to quit, have you given up?

Today at work, hold on to your God-given vision – a transfer, a promotion, a new job elsewhere, or a different career path. Like my friend, just write the vision to God and make it plain. Continue working hard, do everything you can, and wait without worry.

Yes, tonight, go to God in prayer and supplication. With a thankful heart, make your request known to Him. Hold on to your vision and your faith. Your appointed time surely will come!

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the vision You have given me. On my job today, I will be proactive and write it down. Help me be patient and wait for my appointed time. I will be anxious for nothing but depend on You for everything. I give You honor, glory and praise for I know Your divine destiny for my life will be fulfilled. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Phoenecia Hill, MPA
Indexing and Enrolling Assistant
Virginia House of Delegates
Richmond, Virginia, USA