The Christian Public Servant – “who you are, not what you do”

April 29, 2016 – Friday

Reading
1 Samuel 10:27 [KJV] But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought no presents. But he held his peace.

Reflection
I fully understand how hurt King Saul had to be after those people not only rejected him, but despised him and brought him no presents. He was a true servant. It must have been tempting for him to explode. To get even. To let everyone know how hurt and angry he was.

But he didn’t. He held his peace.

And I sit here on Life Row. I know you may reject who I am because of what I did. And down the row, there’s a brother who despises me not for what I did but for who I am.

Life gets pretty complicated, especially when you’re a servant – a Christian public servant. And I am tempted to get angry at those who reject and despise me.

But I don’t. I hold my peace.

As hard as you try to do good today, you will be rejected. Despised. Questioned. Examined. Someone will even try to take a part of you because you have laid it all out there. No “thank you.” No presents. Just suspicion or, at best, just taking your good efforts for granted.

Today at work, remember who you are, not what you do. You are a Christian public servant. You must hold your peace. Your work is not important – even the work you do in His name is not the thing to remember. No matter what you do and what happens, you must show others Who you serve, Who you’re saved by, and Who you believe in.

Today of all days, just hold your peace. Show others who you are, not what you do.

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Continue to give me Your peace in the face of everything that comes my way today. So I can give my peace, even when people reject and despise me. Let me not forget who I am. I am Yours. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “give God the glory”

April 28, 2016 – Thursday

Reading
2 Corinthians 10:12 (HCSB) For we don’t dare classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. But in measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves to themselves, they lack understanding.

2 Corinthians 10:17 (HCSB)—So the one who boasts must boast in the Lord.

Reflection
I had just received the employee of the month award at my job and was feeling slightly self-conscious at all the attention. A small crowd had gathered to congratulate me. As the people started to disperse, I began to wonder why I was uncomfortable with my accomplishment and the positive attention it gave me. My quick conclusion was that I was a naturally shy person and that I did not like the attention.

However later that night, as I was falling asleep, I began to think about God and all He had done for me. Suddenly I realized that not once during the day had I mentioned God and my relationship with Him as the sole reason for any of my accomplishments. I failed to give God the glory!

The embarrassment I felt was a realization that I was taking credit when any credit I took should have been going to God.

It is easy for you and me to forget the true foundation of our being and not give God the glory during the workday. It is especially easy when we are showered with accolades. After all, it is only natural to look around at where we are in life and proclaim, “Look what I have done!” when it should be, “Look what God has done!” Personal pride can be poisonous to our relationship with God, because it is only through Him that we can boast about anything.

So today at work, remember you live and thrive only through the grace of God. And even in your greatest hour – understand all praise, boasts, and accolades must be directed to Him.

Yes, at work today, give God the glory!

Prayer
Dear Lord, I thank You for every breath You give me. With every breath, let me give You glory and help me to never forget that everything that I do and have is because of You. It is only in You that I may boast, and it is only in You that I will feel no shame for boasting. Help me today hold Your Word close to my heart. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Joshua Nierle
M.A. Candidate
Robertson School of Government
Regent University
Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA

The Christian Public Servant – “who will you eat with”

April 27, 2016 – Wednesday

Reading
Mark 2:16-17 [NIV] When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Reflection
I work in a place with a lot of “sick” people. No, it’s not a hospital. But there’s this man who murdered his children. As a teenager, another murdered his parents and sister. Still another who suffocated his wife. No, I don’t work at a hospital, but these are the people I “eat” with.

Now, to the passer-by, these may not seem like nice people. To a Pharisee, they are nothing but sinners. Each did a terrible thing, no question. But I do know them – I “eat” with them – as human beings. I know them as God’s children.

Is my workplace any different than your workplace? Do you not also work at a hospital?

Hopefully not many murderers work next to you, but are there not “sick” people in the mix? Those who do wrong at work? The coworker making sure the supervisor knows something about someone. The one treating citizens differently – based on skin color, clothing, tattoos, or accent. The one who just hurt you in some way.

Sure, they are “sick,” but weren’t you “sick” sometime ago? I know I was. I know we both may catch the “flu” in weeks to come.

So at work today, who will you eat with? Who are you willing to influence for the Kingdom? The righteous or the sinner? Like me, you know people who have done wrong or are doing wrong this very day. Will you know them as God’s children?

Today at work, who will you eat with?

Prayer
Father, I know there are “sick” people in the mix. Give me Your compassion to eat with them today. Let me know each as Yours, just as I am Yours. I know You are the Great Physician. Only You can treat their sickness, as You treat mine. Let us all eat together today — at Your table. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “be a fraud investigator”

April 26, 2016 – Tuesday

Reading
Thessalonians 5:11 [NIV] Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Reflection
At work I’m known as the cheerful one. As I walk into the office each morning, I’m always smiling and greeting everyone with a big “hey!” And even if I don’t pass by your desk, my body language across the room shows how happy I am to see you!

Now, you should know my office is filled with fraud investigators. We all look for minute details – it’s part of our job. And one day, a coworker noticed my body language was off. Oh sure, I still smiled and greeted everyone with my morning “hey,” but she detected something was wrong.

Over lunch, this sister-in-Christ didn’t pry into my business. She gathered, whatever was wrong was deeply personal. But she did encourage me to remain the Christian woman she knew. She started building me up so I could confront the issue – whatever it was — in a way worthy of Christ.

You know life’s issues can unfold in the workplace. And this means, as a Christian public servant, you need to be a fraud investigator. Is someone trying to be cheerful? Do words say one thing, but body language tells a different story? You don’t need to pry, but you do need to encourage. Without knowing the details, you can build up.

So at work today, be a fraud investigator. Detect when something’s wrong. When someone is hurting. When someone is struggling being the Christian Christ expects.

Encourage. Build up. Just as in fact my coworker did for me, you can do for others!

Prayer
Father, I pray I am aware of the opportunities that arrive to encourage and build up someone today. Let me not get caught up in my own needs where I forget to look around. Instead, I pray for eyes to see and a heart to respond in love. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “the hope that you have”

April 25, 2016 – Monday

Reading
1 Peter 3:15(a) [NIV] But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

Reflection
If a court charged you and me with the crime of being Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict us? Are you sure?

Every day we are in the world – at school, work, and the marketplace. Do we bear witness to our reverence for the Lord? Or, do we just go through the day like everyone else?

As a Christian public servant, you should have to answer – why so much hope? After all, everyone should see the hope that you have in Christ. Right? So do you have the answer ready?

Of, if you aren’t asked this question, then maybe you need to reexamine your walk a little more. Why aren’t you asked? Don’t others see the hope that you have?

Today at work, remember you don’t need to be a preacher or missionary to do great things for the Kingdom of God. Just keep in mind there are people around you needing to know the love of Jesus is real. And you may be the only person who can convince them.

So at work today, be ready to answer – why so much hope? Show them the hope that you have and they will start to ask!!

And I will see you in court!!!!

Prayer
Lord, I am happy to be Yours! Help me share that joy and hope with those around me. It is easy for the tasks of the workday to crowd out that hope, so help me see those with whom I need to share Your Good News. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Stan Best
Training Manager, Apprentice School
Newport News Shipbuilding
Newport News, Virginia USA
and Masters of Theology Candidate
St. Leo University
Chesapeake, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “be in Christ today”

April 22, 2016 – Friday

Reading
John 15:5 [NLT] Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

Reflection
Last week, I got in a dispute with a brother, and I lost my cool. I decided to walk away and pray about it. God reminded me that, when I lose my cool, there is no way I am in Him. I was just in me – Jimmy – and Jimmy can do nothing. So I continued to pray until I got back in Him.

As I walked through the yard, I had a chance to ask that same brother for forgiveness. And we prayed together – that both he and I remain in Christ. We found a way to end our dispute. I mean, it really did not matter without Christ.

Well, as we walked around the yard, we both were able to mend another dispute between two brothers – a dispute that had gone on for many years! They forgave each other – after a decade – and mended their relationship.

What a spiritual breakthrough! From hating a brother — without Christ — to loving him – in Christ. From us in our own dispute without Him to us in Him helping solve a dispute between two others.

And that is your task, as a Christian public servant. At work today, mend relationships. End disputes. Yes, be in Christ today. The choice is yours. You can be without Him or you can be in Him. One way will bear no fruit. The other way will surely bear much.

So be in Christ today. For you can do nothing without Him.

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for giving me Your grace and mercy, so I can produce the fruit for Your kingdom. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “find ways to work peacefully”

April 21, 2016 – Thursday

Reading
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.

Reflection
I once worked in an office where doing cruel things was the sport-of-preference. Back-stabbing. Landmines. Retaliation. Nuclear war. Both coworkers and supervisors seemed to go out of their way to be mean – really mean. It got to the point where, more days than not, I hated going to work.

Then I remembered that Christ calls me to find ways to work peacefully with everyone – even those who are angry.

Oh, that’s not an easy commandment, I know, especially in a snake pit. But snake pit or not, we see angry people throughout the workday – fallen individuals who have given up. Yet you and I are also fallen individuals – the only difference is, we know Christ and so we have not given up. But we are equally in need of God’s saving grace.

So at work today, regardless how mean people get, find ways to work peacefully. It won’t be easy to change the rules of engagement. It may not be easy to be the example of holiness. But without holiness, you will not see the Lord. Neither will they.

Yes, today find ways to work peacefully. Be holy. Let all see the Lord!

Prayer
Lord, thank You for Your saving grace. Help me be at peace with those around me so they can see You in the way I live my life for You. So I may also see You. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “meet the desires”

April 20, 2016 – Wednesday

Prayer
Psalm 145:16 [NIV] You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

Isaiah 58:11(a) [NIV] The Lord will guide you always;

Reflection
Some coworkers are annoying. One in my office is so competitive, winning is everything. He pursues every opportunity that comes along – regardless of what the prize is and whether the prize is even in his best interest. And then, when successful, he flaunts it to all who have ears in the breakroom.

Well, one day this annoying coworker was up against my good friend. Both were in line for an opportunity. While the supervisor preferred my friend, something happened to change all that. No, it had nothing to do with the annoying coworker. Rather, the change had to do with something my friend did. He withdrew his name from consideration. He let the annoying coworker have it.

“You what!! Why would you do that,” I asked? “Now we’ll all have to listen to that guy’s bragging.” My friend just smiled and said he prayed about it and discovered this opportunity just wasn’t for him. “I’ve decided to trust God to meet the desires of my heart – sorting out what I think are desires – and that includes in my career.”

What – meet the desires of his heart?!? Now, you might think my friend is crazy. Even Christian public servants, like you and me, face job competition. Like everyone else, we struggle to stand out – to be picked – to go up the career ladder.

But this doesn’t mean we can forget God is providing everything – meeting all of our needs – and guiding us as to which ladder to climb. So we needn’t worry about winning for the sake of winning. Our goal is not to keep someone from bragging!

Today at work, trust God to meet the desires of your work, your career, and your life. Trust Him to guide you. Competing just to gain something might well contradict God’s direction and disrespect His provision.

At work today, listen and have faith. His hand is open and you will be satisfied – more than you can imagine!

Prayer
Dear Lord, help me learn to rely on You at work. Let me trust in You to provide for my needs and the needs of those around me. Let my actions show faith in You rather than hope in my own human selfishness. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Chip Harrell
M.A. Candidate
Roberson School of Government
Regent University
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “get in the boat before Him”

April 19, 2016 – Tuesday

Reading
Mark 6:45(a), 46(a), 47(b), 48(a & c) [NIV] Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side … And after he had taken leave of them … the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land … he saw that they were making headway painfully … about the fourth watch of the night he came to them…

Reflection
Jesus made them get in the boat before Him. He knew they were reluctant to engage in the dangerous conditions ahead. So He made them do it. He didn’t ask their preference. He didn’t take a vote. He didn’t reassure them. He just commanded them, and they obeyed. All so fearful, yet all obeyed.

Has that ever happened to you? Or, are you now entering dangerous conditioners? Do you feel Jesus is making you get in the boat before Him?

What hazardous sea are you facing? Termination from work? Too little income? A poor business decision? A passive-aggressive supervisor? Perhaps you struggle with health issues making your job increasingly taxing. Maybe you have other opportunities but you don’t want to leave the safety of your work’s “shoreline.” Perhaps a ministry calls you out to sea.

Whatever the circumstances, know this: when Jesus makes you get in the boat before Him, consolation comes from knowing He makes you do it. It’s His idea, not yours. It’s His command, not your choice. And He knows the agony and anxiety you are going through.

So you can trust Him or abandon Him. Obey Him or ignore Him.

At work today, will you get in the boat before Him? Or will you not get in at all?

Prayer
Lord, You watch over me – even when you send me before You. Even when I feel alone and scared. I ask for strength to go into rough seas if that is what You command. I will obey You, Lord, for I know You still watch over me and sometime in the night You will come. 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 – “ahead of the game”

April 18, 2016 – Monday

Reading
Galatians 6:9 [ESV] And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Philippians 2:3 [ESV] Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Reflection
Meetings. Deadlines. Newly assigned deadlines. And always the extemporaneous. It’s Monday, and I already have a robust to-do list. And so I renew a daily commitment to complete tasks way in advance. Yes, I’m very proud of staying ahead of the game!

But walking towards my office, with coffee in hand, I see my former intern waiting at the door. He is a recent full-time hire, so we are now coworkers and, frankly, his problems are no longer mine as I have my own robust to-do list.

Yet his frantic face tells me he’s nervous about his first major project. And he’s behind the curve. A deadline is approaching and a presentation is even closer at hand. He desperately needs help to calm down, stay focused, and gain confidence.

At this moment, I have a choice. Send him on his way, dooming his confidence to failure and his project to incompletion. Or, forget about staying ahead of the game on this day, right now, and help this coworker.

How you react to situations can define your faith. Do you respond with compassion or selfishness? As a Christian public servant, you are required by Christ to sacrifice your time to further the Kingdom and put others first.

So at work today, help that young coworker who is overloaded. You may experience stress for doing so, but you can take it. After all, you are ahead of the game.

Today at work, your willingness to sacrifice time for a coworker can be the ultimate way to show Christ’s love.

And doing that, my friend, will keep you truly ahead of the game.

Prayer
Lord, I sacrifice my time and life for You. Bless my interactions with coworkers today and help me overcome selfishness. This day belongs to You, and the real game is You. Help me stay in pace with Your game, not mine! In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Chip Harrell
M.A Candidate
Robertson School of Government
Regent University
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA