The Christian Public Servant – “be bold and testify”

February 29, 2016 – Monday

Acts 20:24(b) (NIV) my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

Romans 3:23(b)-24 (NIV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Have you ever felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to speak out even though you know it might cost you? After all, as public servants, we serve the government and the taxpayers, right? But as Christian public servants, should we not be bold and testify about the Good News?

Recently I had the opportunity to be on a local radio talk show. One of the topics was Edward Cornwallis, the founder of Halifax. You see, history hasn’t been kind to Cornwallis. He lived in another age in North American history. During the battle between French and English, Nova Scotia’s first people sided with the French, and Cornwallis issued a proclamation for their scalps. Many contemporary citizens call for the removal of his statue, as well as the removal of his name from a park, and several streets and churches, and even a river and a military base. When it comes down to it, Halifax is filled with the name of Cornwallis.

But at the radio station, I thought how everyone has fallen short of the mark by sin. I decided to be bold and testify to the Good News. So I said to the voting listeners that, if we dug back into the history of every human who ever lived in Nova Scotia, buried under every tombstone in Halifax, we’d learn all were imperfect. We’d know that all today are equally imperfect. Yet, by grace and grace alone through that ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, we are saved — just as Cornwallis was. I concluded my talk by reminding everyone that this is the reason for Easter!

I want people to know I truly am a Christian public servant, and I’m willing to be bold and testify publically despite potential political cost.

Today at work, remember the reason for the Lenten season. Sometime today, be bold and testify to someone about the Good News.

And fear not – your sacrifice could never match His!

Father God, I am but a frail human full of weakness. Yet, You sent Your Son to save me from this sinful world. Today at work, let me be bold and find opportunities to share the meaning of Lent. In your Son’s name, I pray. Amen!

Matt Whitman
Deputy Mayor
City of Halifax
Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada

The Christian Public Servant – “and hold nothing back”

February 26, 2016 – Friday

Psalm 37:5-6 (MSG) Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon.

Mark 10:46(b)-48, 51-52 (MSG) As Jesus was leaving town, trailed by his disciples and a parade of people, a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, was sitting alongside the road. When he heard that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by, he began to cry out, “Son of David, Jesus! Mercy, have mercy on me!” Many tried to hush him up, but he yelled all the louder, “Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”… Jesus said, “What can I do for you?” The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “On your way,” said Jesus. “Your faith has saved and healed you.”

Have you ever been shown a letter you wrote years ago and discovered everything came true?

Last week, a brother showed me a letter I wrote to him six years ago. In it I listed everything I wanted from God. And, guess what, through God I got what I wanted! Reading it again made me think of Blind Bartimaeus – crying out to our Lord for what he wanted, and doing so loudly despite what others thought. Crying out so loud that Jesus heard him. And, crying out to Jesus made all the difference in Bartimaeus. It made all the difference in me.

Brothers and sisters, there may be a lot of bad going on in your life. Stress. Sadness. Pain. Fear. Anger. Some of it starts at work, and you take that home with you each night. Or, it may start elsewhere, and you bring it to work each day.

Cry out to Jesus! Sure, it’s good that others pray for you. But when you cry out, it becomes personal. So open up and hold nothing back.

So take a break at work today and cry out to Him. He’ll do whatever needs to be done. Believe me, He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon.

Like Blind Bartimaeus and me, you’ll find your faith in Him is enough to save you and heal the stress, sadness, pain, fear, and anger – regardless of where it comes from.

Yes today at work, open up and hold nothing back. Soon He’ll tell you to be on your way!

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for being a God that saves and heals. Give me courage, Father, to cry out to You each day. I long so much to hear You say, “be on your way.” Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “when anger wells up”

February 25, 2016 – Thursday

Galatians 6:9 (NIV) Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Colossians 3:23 (NIV) Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

A friend of mine had a job that caused a lot of stress. Oh, he can take hard work and deadlines. But as hard as he tried, his work never stood up to his supervisor’s critique. Working overtime just to redo projects, anger began to well-up. My friend got to a boiling point where couldn’t take it. He exploded at his boss and was fired.

My friend should never have acted that way, but what could he have done? What do you do when anger wells up?

As a Christian public servant, give Him the stress and keep doing your best! I know, I know – it’s tough not to receive any acknowledgment for good effort and improvement. You may be unappreciated. You may even be ridiculed. And you may never hear anything nice from a particular supervisor. But just keep in mind, you are working for the Lord and not any human master.

Today at work, will you find yourself in the same predicament as my friend? If so, keep your cool. Do your best for Him, not your supervisor. At the proper time, you will reap a harvest for your good work. That, He promises you!

So when anger wells up, it’s all the more reason to work for Him – with all your heart!

Father God, let me not grow weary at work. I promise to give You all the stress and frustration. And when anger wells up, calm me and let me work on the areas I truly need improvement. Throughout the day, remind me I work for You – I work for You with all my heart. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Erica Everette, MPA
Eligibility Review Analyst
Department of Medical Assistance Services
State of Virginia
Richmond, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “love all others – period”

February 24, 2016 – Wednesday

John 13:34(b) (NIV) By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love another.

As public servants, you and I come under close scrutiny of those we serve and those with whom we work. Because of that scrutiny, there’s pressure to keep our faith under wraps. If you display a cross in your work space, you may need to keep it low-key. A bible should not readily be seen. If you wear a crucifix or cross, it’s better to have it tucked under your shirt or small enough not to attract much notice.

It seems you are expected to hide your Christianity.

But what makes you a Christian? Is it a cross on your wall? A bible on your desk? That pendant around your neck? No. Of course not.

Jesus tells what makes you a Christian. He states succinctly what you need to do: love all others – period. As a Christian, it couldn’t be simpler. So as a Christian public servant, you must find ways to love supervisors, coworkers, and the citizens you serve.

And you can do this without displaying anything.

So at work today, do what it really takes to be His disciple. All you need do is the simplest thing. All you need follow is the simplest truth.

Yes at today at work, love all others – period.

Lord, help me focus on the simple truth of Your word. I need Your help to put others first. May my actions toward everyone at work be true to Your teachings. You showed me the way; I want to follow in Your footsteps. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Larry Ketcham
City Engineer
City of Laramie
Laramie, Wyoming USA

The Christian Public Servant – “with the seed you plant”

February 23, 2016 – Tuesday

1 Corinthians 3:7 (KJV) So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

My job often requires me to travel and, when I do, I find time to visit churches to witness how God works in so many different ministries. On one Wednesday night, I attended the bible study of a small church. As I listened to the extremely wise 78 year-old saint teaching the class, I was touched by his humbleness and extensive knowledge of the word and ministry. Chatting with him and his wife afterwards, I asked this old man what kept him active in ministry. He answered “you never know what God will do with the seed you plant.”

Now I didn’t fully appreciate his response until his wife told me he once led a particular person to the Lord. That person became the pastor of one of my nation’s largest worldwide ministries – a preacher everyone knows! The faithfulness of this old bible teacher indirectly led millions to be saved. While most will never know his name, this 78 year-old saint was the instrument of eternal change — because he was faithful to plant a seed, that someone else watered, and God increased it in great measure.

You and I often get discouraged by our circumstance. We grow frustrated in our limited contributions to any thing, including work. We question our influence on others – especially coworkers and the citizens we serve. The older you get, the more you wonder about it.

Yet know God understands your circumstance. Your job is more than a money-maker to Him. Your career is more than an earthly path to Him. What you do has value to Him. Your work is a ministry — a blessing God has entrusted to you. And you may never know the outcome, but still be faithful and plant a seed. God will be faithful to His word and give the increase.

Yes, today at work, you have the value of a 78 year-old saint! And who knows what God will do with the seed you plant today? In His tomorrows, God will give the increase!

God, give me the stamina to be faithful in planting seeds. May I seize the opportunities You provide and be thankful for the blessing of being used to further Your kingdom. Increase that which I have planted so You may receive the glory. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Pastor Bill Dudley, MPA
Logistics Manager
U.S. Department of Defense
and Co-Editor, Christian Public Servant
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “especially when your plate overflows”

February 22, 2016 – Monday

Luke 6:38, 12:48(b) (NIV) Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you… From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Ever end up doing more work than others? Even though your plate is full – almost overflowing with regular job duties — and you really don’t seem to have the capacity to handle more, your boss assigns additional responsibilities. There may be no one else with needed expertise. Perhaps it’s because of budget cutbacks. Or furloughs. Doesn’t matter the reason, you find yourself with more work than you think you can do – more work than you want to do.

Well, how do you respond? Eagerly? Gingerly? Bitterly? Lethargically? Complaining all the way?

In the midst of more work, know you are blessed to be counted on – depended on to have the needed expertise – chosen to have a job while others go without pay.

As a Christian public servant, respond with thanksgiving – especially when your plate overflows! Smile and realize much more is required but much more will return. After all, our Father trusts you enough to have you serve the future of His community.

So don’t just go through the motions today. No, sir! Don’t aim for mediocrity out of spite. No, ma’am!! Be blessed that God affords the opportunity to work, and He entrusts you with much, much more.

As this workweek begins, worry not about all that’s on your plate. Forget what’s not on the coworker’s plate. Just be glad you have that plate and more work than that coworker. So rejoice in the opportunity to give your best – especially when your plate overflows!

Today at work, know He trusts you! And surely your good measure will be poured into your lap.

My Father, thank You for trusting me with work. I will represent You throughout the workday – especially when activities accrue and deadlines close in. Let my measure be Your measure in all that I do. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Krystiana Carr, MPA
U.S. Department of Defense Military Science HR Assistant
Hampton University
Newport News, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “please don’t be too busy”

February 19, 2016 – Friday

Psalm 65:8 (NLT) Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy.

Yesterday when I worked the hall, a brother and I watched God’s wonder outside. As the sun went down, the sky turned orange and blue. So beautiful! We stared into His miracle, and whispered how we never noticed such blessings when we were free. We were just too busy to be blessed by Him in those days. We cared too much for ourselves to notice God.

This morning, as you go to work, notice the sunrise and praise God for it. Tonight, when you leave from work, search the sky for the colors that mark the end of day – and praise God!

Today, please don’t be too busy to be blessed by Him. No, please don’t be too busy.

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. When I was a free man, I was imprisoned with the chains of me. Now that I am no longer a free man, you have broken me from my chains. Thank You, Father, for each day You give me. Whether I can see them or not, I am blessed knowing You control the sun rise and the sun set. Never again will I be too busy for You. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “enough evidence to convict”

February 18, 2016 – Thursday

Philippians 3:17 (ESV) Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.

I once had a coworker who never preached and never talked about church, but everyone knew he was the most sincere and honest Christian because of the way he lived. He represented Christ to everyone at work. Even non-Christians came to him in times of trouble. Certainly there was enough evidence to convict him of being Christ-like!

How about you?

How do you handle yourself at work? How do you react to stress? Do you curse and swear? What do you say about others? Do you gossip? If you were put on trial by your coworkers, accused of being Christ-like, would there be enough evidence to convict?

Just a reminder, others are watching your example. And this is especially true at work. It doesn’t matter if you wear a cross. Makes no difference if your Bible is up front on your desk. Do others see Christ in your words and deeds?

Today at work, draw others closer to Him by your example. And if you’re accused of being Christ-like, just make sure there is enough evidence to convict!

Dear Lord, live Your life in me – an example of how You lived while on earth. At work today, help me be so much like You and so less like me. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Chaplain Chris Summers
W.C. Holman Correctional Facility

Alabama Department of Corrections
Atmore, Alabama, USA

The Christian Public Servant – “do just the opposite “

February 17, 2016 – Wednesday

Hebrews 12:14 (NIV) Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

I have a lot of trouble dealing with some of the personalities at work. In fact, I struggle with them much more than I care to admit. Plus I have to endure the attitude of rude drivers cutting me off in traffic when I’m coming and going to work. My initial feelings are anger and resentment, and too often that is how I respond. Yet Christ commands me to do just the opposite — to live in peace and be holy with everyone.

Now that’s a difficult task – to live in peace and be holy — especially when I so quickly see the dysfunction in others and want to shout out my irritation. But is that really my role? Is it your role? We both know, a life following Christ provides greater testimony than empty words and acts of frustration.

So at work today, be a living testimony that points to Christ. Pray for opportunities to speak and act into the lives of coworkers, supervisors, and citizens you serve. If you want them to live in peace and be holy, they need to see Christ reflected in your own actions at work. They need to see Christ in you and not you in the world.

Yes, it takes a lot of effort to do just the opposite of what you’re initially thinking or what you really would like to say and do — but it’s worth it!

Today at work, do just the opposite of those initial, worldly feelings. And let everyone see the Lord!

Lord, thank You for showing me what I need to change in my life. Remind me throughout my workday that I am supposed to live my life in peace with everyone – I must show You in all my responses so they can see You in even a person like me. In Jesus’ holy name, I pray. Amen.

Gilbert O. Craven
M.A. Candidate
Robertson School of Government
Regent University
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “a coworker in trouble”

February 16, 2016 – Tuesday

Psalm 34:18 (HCSB). The Lord is near the broken hearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.

There is a coworker in trouble – someone about to be terminated. You know this person. That woman sitting across the aisle in the opposite cubicle. That man you see in the break room each morning. Trying to smile yet avoiding eye contact. Worried. Broken. Crushed.

Remember a time when you were in trouble? Remember the mounting tension? The way no one wanted to be near you. The way they looked at you — as if you were one of the walking dead. How hard it was just to get out of bed. Remember?

Yes, today there is a coworker in trouble. Broken hearted. Crushed in spirit. Worried about bills and caring for family without means. Troubled with what to do next.

Pray for that coworker. Pray God shows the light to that person – just as He once showed you there is joy in gaining new work after losing work.

Yes, today there is a coworker in trouble. As a Christian public servant, help make this day a little more bearable. Lend a warm touch. Give hope of His many tomorrows.

God of all solutions, give me the grace required to see others who are broken hearted and crushed in spirit. Give me heart and wisdom to help through You and the promise of Your many tomorrows. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Chaplain Chris Summers
W.C. Holman Correctional Facility

Alabama Department of Corrections
Atmore, Alabama, USA