The Christian Public Servant – “all yesterday is dead”

All yesterday is dead2

May 18, 2018 – Friday

Reading

Romans 4:19(a) [NKJV] And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead

Psalm 118:24 [NKJV] This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Reflection

I was raised by a single mom. I was abused growing up. I only met my father once, and I found him dead. I lost my only child before birth, due to a miscarriage. I have been given-up on – many times and by many people. I have been in prison more years than I was in the free-world. For the past 24 years, my home and workplace is death row.

You know pain. Not just physical pain, but the pain of memory. While my circumstances might be different than yours, the pain of the past is not. But for me, I never take my past into account. Since I found Christ, death row changed to Life Row – and all yesterday is dead.

Scripture reminds us, like Abraham, faith determines who we are and what we can do. Having Abraham’s faith means we don’t consider the past in obeying God today. He creates this day for you and me – regardless of past sins now forgiven – and all yesterday is dead.

As you go to work today, decide not to let the considerations of the past control who you are or what you do. Your childhood troubles are dead. The troubles of this week are dead. All fights and disputes are dead. When you get out of your car, don’t bring the troubled past into your building – because all yesterday is dead.

Throughout this workday, do not be weak in faith. Do not let the memories of the past turn you from God. It is a new day. His day. And all yesterday is dead. Rejoice and be glad in it.

Prayer

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. My faith in Your love and grace renews me so my past does not dictate who I am and what I do today. Only You control my day, for the old me is long dead. I have faith. I rejoice. I am glad. Amen.

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

Jimmy Davis, Jr.8

The Christian Public Servant – “not forgotten”

not forgotten1

May 17, 2018 – Thursday

Reading

Jeremiah 29:11 [NLT] For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.

Deuteronomy 31:6 [NLT] So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Reflection

On my way to work yesterday, I began to worry about my future. You know how that goes. Thinking about if I am headed in the right direction. Reflecting on my new journey into graduate school and the nearly two years within my current position. It felt like I was in a battle with myself. And fear set in. How am I going to compete with the other graduates from my program? How will I compete with those who have earned MPA degrees from other institutions?

Scripture affirms, God has a plan for each of us. Hence, we should always trust Him. He will lead you and me in the right direction – if we listen and follow. Scripture confirms that our Lord goes before us. He will neither fail nor abandon us.

Wow! Throughout that workday, I prayed about the things bothering me. When it was time to go home, my worries and self-doubt began to lift. My spirit and motivation began to rise, and I concluded that I will trust God. I recognized that God has place me just where He wants me to be, and He has equipped me with the necessary tools to succeed. I also realized, God has not forgotten me.

If you are worrying about your job or career, remember God has a plan for you! Remember, you are important, and God has not forgotten you.

Today at work, no need to stress about what tomorrow or what your future may carry. Strive to do your best now and give all your troubles to God. He has not forgotten you, and He goes before you. He will take care of you. So be strong and courageous!

Prayer

Bless me, O God, with strength and courage as I travel on Your path that remains unfamiliar to me. Grant me security to know You are in control. When I worry, clear my mind of distractions. I will continue to have faith in You and Your plan for me. I know You have not forgotten me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Courtland Green
Accountant/Auditor III
Mississippi Department of Human Services
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi, USA

The Christian Public Servant – “how to let it shine”

 

how to let it shine6

May 16, 2018 – Wednesday

Reading

Matthew 5:14,16 [NKJV] You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Romans 2: 2 [NKJV] And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Reflection

I once had a job where I learned quickly that the agency head was not a Christian – or religious in any way. Rather, she believed in something she called “the power of the universe and reciprocity.” The coworker who trained me also did not believe in God. I wondered, how could I carry my faith around these people? I certainly didn’t want to be a Bible-Bully, pushing my faith on others, but nor did I want to be that Christian who didn’t acknowledge Jesus as her Savior.

Scripture is clear on who we are as believers in Jesus Christ – we are lights. And scripture is even clearer that you and I shouldn’t dim that light. Rather, we are to let it shine so God may be glorified. Yet scripture also gives us options on how to let it shine. We do not have to conform just to get along. Nor do we have to bully. Instead we can live and work as examples of the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Well, I am not perfect, but I did find ways not to conform. When lunchtime conversations went south, I went North. I did my best to change the subject. Or, I politely excused myself. Without thumping it, I read my Bible in the breakroom.

Is your faith challenged where you work? You don’t have to hide that light. You just need to find how to let it shine.

At work today, remain true to the light within you. Do not conform, but find how to let it shine in your workplace so He is glorified. Draw others to be transformed, and lead them to join the family of lights. Other workplace Christians may need you to show how to let it shine!

Prayer

Father, help me shine bright today with the light of Your love and truth. Keep me from dimming my light by conforming to the world of my workplace. Use me to draw others to You, so that they may be transformed into vessels of light for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Courtney Payton
Director of Student Finance
Antonelli College
Hattiesburg, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “come quickly to help”

 

 

 

come quickly3

May 15, 2018 – Tuesday

Reading

Psalm 119:28 [NIV] My soul is weary with sorry; strengthen me according to your word.

Psalm 22:19 [NIV] But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.

Reflection

My sister died. I am struggling. A week ago, I took vacation days to visit her for the last time. I still do not understand why she had to die at her age. Why did our last conversation have to be our very last?

And I am struggling about having to go back to work after the funeral. I am so tired emotionally and physically. My strength is running out. Will I be able to hold in my personal agony, so I can do my job? As a manager, employees feed off my reactions and emotions. I do not have the right to fail them because of my personal life.

Scripture tells, you and I must have faith that He will not forsake us. Even when the struggle seems too heavy to handle, we must push through, knowing He is close and His strength is ours.

I do not know if you’ve been through this kind of trauma. I do not know if you’ve struggled as I am struggling. Perhaps you are struggling right now? Certainly, you will struggle in the future.

You must ask for His strength. You must ask that He come quickly to help.

Today at work, regardless of the struggle you personally face or the one you may face down the line, know He is not far from you. Know you will gain His strength.

Throughout the workday, call on Him. He will come quickly to help.

Prayer

Dear Lord, I need Your strength. I know You are not far from me. Come quickly. Right now. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Jennifer Peacock
MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “dig a specific ditch”

Jimmy Davis, Jr.8

May 14, 2018 – Monday

Reading

2 Kings 3:16(b)-17 [MSG] GOD’s word: Dig ditches all over this valley. Here’s what will happen—you won’t hear the wind, you won’t see the rain, but this valley is going to fill up with water and your army and your animals will drink their fill.

Reflection

It was a little crowded in the visitation yard. Added to the normal 3 or 4 death row inmates with a sibling or friend, there were five mothers visiting their sons on this Friday before Mother’s Day. It was perhaps the first time in decades they made the trek to the prison. As usual, the room was filled with quiet talk. About half-way through the 4-hour visit, a correctional officer asked each inmate if he had purchased a ticket for a picture with his guest. As usual, most said “no.” Fact is, their loved-ones are generally poor and cannot deposit money into prison accounts.

But something was different that day. My death row brother-in-Christ had purchased 5 extra tickets to give to inmates whose mothers were visiting. Telling me this plan a week earlier, I offered to give him money to purchase more than 5 tickets. I mean, just how did he know only five mothers would show up. He said, God had told him to prepare for five mothers – not six or seven – and that’s what he was doing.

Scripture reminds us that, when God instructs something to be done, it is specific. Say hello to this stranger. Buy an extra breakfast sandwich for that homeless person. Cheer up a specific coworker. God tells us to dig a specific ditch, and our job is to do it.

And so, my brother obeyed to dig a specific ditch. 5 extra tickets. And, oh, what fell from heaven! Even for those without mothers visiting, the remaining hours turned into a party. Everyone felt the Holy Spirit! Laughing and talking across tables. Even the correctional officer re-entered the room to join in the fun. So much love raining down on that once quiet room!

Today at work, prepare to dig a specific ditch at His command. It may be for a coworker or a citizen you serve. Perhaps in the breakroom – something “foolish” like buying “a round” from a machine. But it will be specific – something He needs dug.

Yes, at work today, be like my brother on death row. Obey His command to dig a specific ditch. You won’t hear the wind, and you won’t see the rain. But you will drink your fill of blessing. You will drink much more than your fill!

Prayer

Father God, prepare me to dig a specific ditch for You today. In Jesus 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 – “show some good”

show some good1

May 11, 2018 – Friday

Reading

Proverbs 3:27 [NLT] Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.

Reflection

Last week, a brother came off segregation for the first time here on death row. (Segregation is staying in a cell for several months until the new brother on death row becomes used to the idea of where he is at.) He was obviously scared – trying to still act tough like he did in the Free World – but inside, very scared. I saw it in his eyes. He needed some basic information about how things work here because, even though the correctional officer explained things to him, he was so scared that he could not really hear. I could hear him cry in his cell the night before and, like most new brothers, I knew he needed someone to show some good.

My bible tells me not to withhold good from those who deserve it, especially when it is in my power to help. Does your bible say anything different?

This new brother, although a murderer, has done nothing wrong so far in his new world. Yet he still does not understand his slate is clean. He has a choice to be on death row or to accept Christ and be on Life Row. So, I must show some good by planting a seed of the new fruit of Life Row before the weeds of death row take root.

Every day Jesus wakes me and gives me a seed – the seed of His word, His love, His peace, His joy, even His encouragement. What I choose to do with it will determine the power I believe I get from Him. I must use that power – the seed of His fruit – to show some good.

Is it any different where you work for Christ? Is there a new coworker who seems to be at a crossroad? Scared. Not knowing what to do. Do you not have the power to help him?

Today at work, show some good. Realize that new coworker is in his own kind of segregation. And know that coworker is no less deserving than you.

Prayer

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for giving me power every day so I can use it to show some good. Amen.

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

Jimmy Davis, Jr.

The Christian Public Servant – “first take refuge”

taking refuge1

May 10, 2018 – Thursday

Reading

Leviticus 19:18 [NIV] Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

Psalm 7:1 [NIV] LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me

Reflection

A friend called last night, stressed about a couple of coworkers harassing him. They make fun of him and gesture with their hands as he goes to the restroom. This has been going on for a couple of weeks, and he is thinking of hurting those guys.

As scripture tells us, I reminded my friend. He must first take refuge in God. Pray our Lord places love and forgiveness in his heart. Know our Lord will deliver him for the mischief of those coworkers. Once he places trust in God, I recommended he take that confidence to his supervisor. Let her know about the situation – not in a way of seeking revenge, but in a way of seeking remedy.

Is someone bothering you at work? Making fun of you? Bullying you? Remember, scripture promises He will protect you. But you must not seek revenge or bear a grudge. You must seek remedy with love in your heart. And to do so, you must first take refuge in God.

Today at work, bad situations can change into something good. Supervisors can help remedy the unpleasantness. But you must first take refuge in God. Know He is Lord.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for always being there for me, even when I don’t think You are. Thank You for carrying me through tough times, even when I don’t think You are. Give me faith to first take refuge in You. Give me courage to count on You. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

William Waples
Investigator
Jackson Public Schools
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA