The Christian Public Servant – “season of drought”

March 31, 2016 – Thursday

Reading
Job 6:17 [NLT] But when the hot weather arrives, the water disappears. The brook vanishes in the heat.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 [NLT] Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.

Reflection
While some go to work this morning, others are looking for a job. The process of job hunting is taxing in today’s economy — at times, gloomy. Just remember, God allows us to go through a season of drought to mold us into something better. God allows these times to show our ending will be much better than our beginning.

Three years ago, I was applying for graduate school and searching for a job. The process was discouraging, but I kept praying. My goal was to have a job within a couple of months. Through my faith in God, I was accepted into graduate school and got hired within my timeframe. My season of drought wasn’t long, but it felt like forever.

Your season of drought may also seem endless, but God is there with you – molding you each step of the way.

Now, if you’re out there looking for a job today, have patience and know God is molding you. Patience, after all, is better than pride. And God will bless you with exactly what He has for you — in the right time. So make it your goal today to remain optimistic and in prayer. Know God gives you everything you need to endure and be successful.

Your season of drought will soon be over!

Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me strength to endure each season of drought. Thank You for teaching me patience during these times. Be with me throughout this day and throughout my job-hunt. Guide me, Lord. I know You have something good waiting for me because You love me. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Angelica Pelaez, MPA
Event Coordinator
World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “wager on heaven”

March 30, 2016 – Wednesday

Reading
Matthew 13:44-46 [ESV] The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Reflection
I know a lot of good people buy Power Ball lottery tickets – an amazing thing since where I live, they are illegal! But still many coworkers team up and invest in purchasing great quantities of Power Ball tickets from the surrounding states (in my country) where they are legal. It can be fun to wager together, but the odds of winning this kind of bet is so small. Still, the lottery produces much bonding – and bonding among coworkers is a good thing.

Yet, isn’t it ironic. The Kingdom of God is worth more than the sum of all money ever spent on Power Ball or any other kind of gambling. His Kingdom bonds all in ways lotteries cannot. And bonding in His Kingdom endures eternally longer than bonding over “this” week’s Power Ball.

Yet many invest so little to gain this Sure Bet. So few at work take the same amount of time to invest together in eternity as they do on a weekly wager in lottery tickets. Yes, isn’t it ironic.

Today at work, wouldn’t it be nice to see coworkers collectively buying the “field” called heaven? Wouldn’t it be something to see them in the breakroom helping each other find that Pearl called heaven? Wouldn’t it be great to wager on heaven with your coworkers before the workday begins?

Yes, gambling can bring people together. It’s a fun group activity. So today at work, lead the way on a sure betwager on heaven and encourage coworkers to join you in investing everything they have. Make this the day you and your coworkers find that Pearl.

A wager on heaven at break time advances you and your friends farther than Power Ball. And everyone wins!

Prayer
Lord, give me grace & faith to see the value of investing everything I have in Your Kingdom. Help me encourage my coworkers to do the same. May I experience the great joy that Pearl produces! I wager only on You, Lord, for You are my safe bet. 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 – “as you would want and as He expects”

March 29, 2016 – Tuesday

Reading
Matthew 7:12(b) [NIV] do to others what you would have them do to you

Micah 6:8(b) [NIV] And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Reflection
My friend was responsible for reviewing cases of non-complaint court orders. She quickly realized there are a variety of reasons for non-compliance. Some reasons are valid, and she had the authority to find alternative ways (other than referring them back to court) to bring compliance. But she prioritized her workload in such a way that prevented time to seek other paths. Her system of review trumped treating each case justly and mercifully.

Every decision you make affects the lives of others – drastically in some instances. But your position may grant you some discretion in the path you take. So when you make a decision – when you prioritize your time – make sure you’re still able to do people justly and mercifullyas you would want and as He expects.

Now, I’m not saying fix the outcome. Difficult decisions must be made. And agency rules can be rigid. But the process must be one that you would want if the shoe was on the other foot. And even rigid rules do not remove your obligation to do what He requires.

So today at work, live up to His commands – not just the easy ones, but all of His commands. With coworkers and citizens – and yes, even supervisors – make sure your decisions are just and merciful – as you would want and as He expects.

Yes, do as you would want and as He expects. And walk humbly with Him this workday!

Prayer
Father God, thank You for giving me authority to make decisions in my workplace. Lead me always in doing so. Give me wisdom to make Your decisions. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “still be of Easter”

March 28, 2016 – Monday

Reading
Philippians 1:29 [NIV] For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him

Reflection
Who doesn’t suffer? An illness. A fear. A debt. A relationship. One suffers from poverty and another suffers from affluence. Some suffer from prejudice and discrimination while others suffer from entitlement and arrogance. One woman suffers from being alone, and yet another suffers from family and friends. One man suffers in prison, and still another suffers in freedom.

You see suffering everyday – regardless of where you live and where you work. And you suffer, too. But do you suffer for yourself or for Him? Do you see suffering from His view?

Scripture states, you and I are granted to suffer for Him. We are granted that privilege. Yes, it’s a privilege to suffer for Him. But it’s selfish to suffer for ourselves.

So keep suffering in His perspective. And know He too is suffering for you – today – just as He suffered on the cross. He feels your pain. He agonizes over your sorrow and despair. So suffer in memory of His suffering. Suffer for Him. Even though Easter Sunday is past, still be of Easter – each and every day – for He feels your pain. And He feels the pain of those you serve. And He feels the pain of your coworkers, too. And you must feel His pain.

So today at work, still be of Easter. When you see suffering, see Jesus. When you feel suffering, feel Jesus. See Him suffer. Feel Him suffer. And act with His mercy, love, kindness, and passion.

Today, see and feel His suffering – not yours, not theirs. And still be of Easter.

Prayer
Father God, let me see You in the eyes of others who suffer before me. Let me remember You in my own suffering. As a man of Easter, I know for Whom I suffer. In Jesus’ 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 – “live and work like it’s finished”

March 25, 2016 – Easter Good Friday

Reading
John 19:30(b) [KJV] he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Reflection
What do you need from Jesus to be a Christian public servant?

On the cross, Jesus said, it is finished. So all you have to do is receive the victory He plans for you. Receive His power flowing through you. Yes, receive Him to be His hands and His feet right here on earth – right in your workplace.

Every day receive His love, grace, mercy, joy, peace, blessing, favor, healing, and deliverance.

All you need do, to be a Christian public servant, is to live and work like it’s finished. Then coworkers and citizens will receive, through you, His finished works on the cross.

So what does it take to be a Christian public servant?

Today of all days, live and work like it’s finished!

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray, for He has risen! Thank You for Your great love through Your son, Jesus, so I can walk, live, and share all of His finished works – His finished works on the cross for me. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “desire Him fervently”

March 24, 2016 – Easter Thursday

Reading
Luke 22:15 (NKJV) Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;”

Reflection
This day began quite ordinary but ended up being most significant. The day before His execution, He wanted to eat dinner with His disciples. Yes, He wanted to share a meal with His buddies.

Wow! We can so easily get lost in the divine nature of our Lord, the God who could raise Himself from the dead, that we forget He made himself human as well. He had all the desires and needs that we have. Jesus, most of all, desired fellowship – fervently – with his disciples on that last day. And what better way to do that than to eat a meal together. We call it the Last Supper, but it really was the beginning of a new relationship — not just for the disciples but also for all who call Jesus “Savior”.

Many public servants put their lives on the line – firefighters, police, military, and more. We are thankful. But has someone ever actually saved your life? If so, I bet you are very grateful. I bet you stay in touch with that person and want to be a friend for life!

Jesus saved our eternal lives, and what does He ask in return? He desires fellowship. To be invited to our dinner table – to that pick-up basketball game – to the mall – to our workplace.

Jesus loves you — so much He suffered and died on the cross – for you. And all He asks is that you desire Him fervently in your daily life.

So today at work, seek fellowship with Him in every way possible. Enthusiastically invite Jesus to spend the day. Beseech Him to be a part of your decisions, your meetings and emails, your frustrations and accomplishments, your lunch hour, and your commute. Passionately show Him the love He has always shown you by giving His life for you.

Yes! At work today, desire Him fervently. He fervently desires fellowship with you right now!

Prayer
Jesus, please come into my workday and life – into my struggles and joys. Let me show my gratefulness for saving my life. You are my best friend and my God. Thank You for my new beginning. In Your name, I pray, for You have risen! Amen.

Kevin Cooney, Ph.D.
Visiting Professor
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Beppu, Japan
and Co-editor, The Christian Public Servant

The Christian Public Servant – “yelling and shouting”

March 23, 2015 – Easter Wednesday

Reading
Mark 15:13 [NIV; MSG] “Crucify him!” they shouted… They yelled, “Nail him to a cross!”

Reflection
In my country, we used to love public executions. They were the entertainment event of the 18th and 19th centuries – kind of like the Super Bowl or the World Cup today. The day of the hanging, thousands began to gather hoping for a show and possibly a souvenir – a strand of the noose, rips of the shirt, or a shoe cast off at the jerk of the neck. The execution day often began in church, where the pastor strongly condemned the doomed person. Then a procession to the hanging tree – with the condemned leading the way. And all along the way, people were yelling and shouting, enjoying the spectacle.

It was no different with the execution of Jesus, except His was bloodier and much more painful. Yet the crowd was still there – yelling and shouting – wanting to be entertained. Perhaps seeking a souvenir. Watching with family and friends.

Today, we’re much more “civilized.” When actually executing someone, it’s done in ways so the condemned cannot hear the yelling and shouting. When we symbolically execute someone – like at work or in our private lives – the yelling and shouting usually comes in quiet forms of whispers, glances, and gossip.

It’s easy to get caught up in the process. It’s easy to get caught up in the event and think not about consequence. Just as in Jesus’ time, we like the show of something public. We seek a souvenir. And yes, we don’t mind yelling and shouting in “civilized” ways.

Today, at work and in your private life, think twice about yelling and shouting at someone’s misfortunate. They may deserve it, or they may not. Either way, before you start yelling and shouting, think about what Jesus heard. Think about what He felt.

Prayer
Father God, I grieve at what Jesus heard and felt amidst those wanting entertainment. Give me strength to remember Your son the next time I get the urge to be part of the crowd. It is in His name, the risen King, that I pray. Amen.

Tammy L. Peavy
Fire Safety Educator
State Fire Marshal’s Office
Mississippi Insurance Department
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and Co-editor, The Christian Public Servant

Pastor Bill Dudley, MPA
Logistician
U.S. Department of Defense
Naval Base Norfolk, Virginia USA
and Co-editor, The Christian Public Servant

The Christian Public Servant – “seems more impossible than not”

March 22, 2016 – Easter Tuesday

Reading
Luke 24:2 [NIV] They found the stone rolled away from the tomb

Jeremiah 29:11(b) [NIV] plans to give you hope and a future

Philippians 4:13(a) [NIV] I can do all this through him

Reflection
Easter reminds us that all things are possible through Christ. Nothing seems as impossible as Jesus rising from the dead and rolling away the heavy stone that kept Him entombed. But God had a plan for the life of Jesus – how He would teach people then and now – how He would touch their hearts then and now – and how He would give His life for the forgiveness of all sins then and now. Yes, God’s plan made the Easter impossibility possible.

And God has a plan for your life, too. That includes a plan for your job and career. A plan that removes the heavy stone, offers you His work, and allows you to serve others and Him.

But that doesn’t mean it will all be easy. You know today will present struggles and doubts. That difficult coworker. Your overbearing boss. The never-ending project. And the rude citizen you are trying to serve. Yes, work often seems more impossible than not. Sometimes you just want to just stay in bed and hide under the covers – like a tomb with a heavy stone keeping all out.

When work seems more impossible than not, keep your faith in Jesus! He has a plan – at work and in your life. You can come out of your tomb because all things are possible – but only through Him. And the same Jesus, who died and rose again, is with you at work – today! The God who removed the heavy stone from Jesus’ tomb has already done the same for you!

So today at work, remember Jesus rose to be with you. And the heavy stone is already gone.

Prayer
God, I thank You for giving me Your only son. I thank You for the incredible sacrifice of His life for the forgiveness of my sins. I thank You for making the impossible possible, and for being with me during my hardest times. God, I thank You for the miracle of Easter. He is risen! Amen.

Christopher Sean Meconnahey, MPA
U.S. Department of the Navy
Military Sealift Command
Norfolk, Virginia USA
Co-editor, The Christian Public Servant

and James D. Slack, Ph.D., Ph.D.
Jackson State University
Jackson, Mississippi USA
Co-editor, The Christian Public Servant

The Christian Public Servant – “serve and show love”

March 21, 2016 – Easter Monday

Reading
John 13:2-5; 14-15 [NIV] The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God. So He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist.  After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him… Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

Reflection
After working in public service for thirty-plus years, I have come to realize that the time is now for Christian public servants to really step up and demonstrate our love of Christ by the way we treat one another – even those who would betray us.

You know the workplace can be quite cutthroat. And we happen to deal with some citizens who are desperate. And some are criminals. The question is, how do you react?

Living in the world and being Christ-like is hard. Christians are called to do things that run counter to human flesh and emotions. We must not be afraid to follow Jesus’ example – even if it means we serve and show love to all – even to those who do us wrong. After all, even knowing the consequences of Judas’ betrayal, Jesus knelt down and washed his feet.

You and I are commanded to do no less. This means we must wash the feet of those who will betray or do evil to us or our community. Yes, we must serve and show love to those who crush our spirit and our neighbors’ spirit by their action. That’s what following Christ means.

This Holy Week, in loving memory of the greatest sacrifice our Lord and Savior Jesus did for you, recommit your own sacrifice as a Christian public servant – to serve and show love – even in a cutthroat workplace – even among desperate citizens – even with criminal citizens.

Yes, living in the world and being Christ-like is hard. But Jesus sets the example.

Now go and serve and show love – sacrifice as He commands – so you can join Him in His Resurrection!

Prayer
Heavenly Father, I send You all glory, honor, and praise as I remember the greatest sacrifice – Your Son, Jesus, laying down His life for the forgiveness of my sins. Help me always follow Jesus’ example by willingly forgiving, loving, and serving everyone – even those who commit wrongs against me – even those who commit wrongs against my community. I ask this in Your Son’s holy name, as I rejoice because He is risen and lives! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen and amen!

Stephen Pincus, M.A.
Battalion Chief
City of Newport News
Newport News, Virginia USA
and Co-editor
The Christian Public Servant

The Christian Public Servant – “because that person is Jesus”

March 18, 2016 – Friday

Reading
Matthew 25:40(b) [MSG] Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me – you did it to me.

Reflection
You and I have the same job. My workplace may be a little different than yours, but we serve the same purpose in our work – as we do in our private lives. We serve God. And our job commands us to treat each person as special because that person is Jesus.

Fact is, we are all overlooked and ignored. We all have worldly hurt and shame. This is true for the brothers on Life Row, and it is true for free-world brothers who visit. And the correctional officers feel the loneliness of hurt and shame no less than the person working next to you.

But God takes time to treat you and me as special. In fact, He wants to visit with you every second of the day. He sees His son in each of us. And if He can see Jesus in the likes of me, why can’t you see Jesus in everyone you meet? Too busy? Too embarrassed? Too what???

Today at work, join me in doing His work. Visit with Jesus. He isn’t hard to find. Just look into the heart of the person working next to you. Look into the eyes of each citizen you serve today. Look beyond the hurt and shame, the hidden loneliness, and there you will find Jesus.

Yes, today treat as special the person next to you – because that person is Jesus. Visit with the citizen you serve – because that person is Jesus. Attend to the needs of each person you meet. Love the overlooked and ignored.

Do so because it is His job for you. Do so because that person is Jesus.

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for visiting with this overlooked and ignored sinner. Thank You for showing this sinner how to love and follow Your son. Thank You for allowing this sinner to visit with Your son as I treat special the person next to me. Amen.

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