The Christian Public Servant – “like a passing shadow”

The Christian Public Servant – “like a passing shadow”

June 30, 2016 – Thursday

Reading
Psalm 144:4 (ESV) Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.

II Kings 2:1-3 (NLT) When David’s time to die was near, he told his son Solomon, “I am going the way of all the earth. So be strong. Show yourself to be a man. Do what the Lord your God tells you. Walk in His ways. Keep all His Laws and His Word, by what is written in the Law of Moses. Then you will do well in all that you do and in every place you go.”

Reflection
They call them new-agers or sometimes millennials. However they’re all part of Generation Y, which is just a little younger than Generation X. Young people, knowing so much, demanding so much, and expecting so much more than you think you did at their age. Truth is, you and I were like them just yesterday – maybe 10, maybe 20, maybe 30 years ago.

Scripture reminds us that when David was older, he began to see the frailty of human kind. He realized time passes faster with age. He started to realize his days were numbered – like a passing shadow. However, David saw his future with the God whom he loved and he desired to pass that love to the next generation.

And so it is with you and me. There was a time when we’d go to work and our youthful energy and short-sightedness would keep us from seeing life’s brevity. So we squandered so much, but with each passing year, we began to worry about our own frailty – become more cautious in our bets and wagers about the future. Yes, worry sets in. Soon enough so it will be the same with Generation Y. BUT it doesn’t have to be that way. Like David we can point the way and be an example to the next generation. We can be a guiding light.

So whether you are young or old at work today, when you see the young people without a care in the world, don’t be upset. Don’t be envious. In the midst of their laughter, demands, and expectations, take a moment and pray for their ability to see God’s wisdom and that God might use you to light the way for them. For Generation Y’s plight is no different than ours – brevity and frailty. They, too, will be like a passing shadow.

Today at work, pray they find out quickly – perhaps more quickly than yourself – that serving Jesus with all heart, mind, soul, and strength is the only consolation they will ever have for that brief frailty called life here on earth. Yes, pray that they find Jesus before their shadow passes.

Prayer
Father, my time here on earth is short. Let me use it for Your glory so I may do Your work – in my workplace, with my colleagues both young and old, and in
my life. 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 – “use your inner lens”

The Christian Public Servant – “use your inner lens”

June 29, 2016 – Wednesday

Reading
Romans 1:20 [ESV] For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Reflection
When was the last time you took a stroll around your community with a camera? Maybe you use your smart-phone, but I bet you have the ability to pick out unique items that most people, without a camera, just walk past. If you look hard enough, your smart-phone lens will pick up God’s creation a little differently than the person with no camera. You see the camera makes you focus a little more and recognize the special intricacies of His creation; even in people.

As a Christian public servant, use your inner lens to focus and find the uniqueness of Christ everywhere in your community – including your workplace. Notice the faithful co-workers, acknowledge the special gifts of subordinates, and take the time to mention it to them. Allow Christ to use you to edify those at your jobsite. After all, God created things to radiate his “eternal power and divine nature.”

So when you go to work today, “see” what God might see. “Capture” those who need God – His grace, His love, and His hope. And use your inner lens to focus on Christ and His message with everyone you meet!

Prayer
Lord, let me see You and Your workings in community today. Bless all those near and far. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Chip Harrell, M.A.
job hunting – hire me!
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “the condition of the heart”

The Christian Public Servant – “the condition of the heart”

June 28, 2016 – Tuesday

Reading
1 Samuel 2:3 [HCSB]. Do not boast so proudly, or let arrogant words come out of your mouth, for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and actions are weighed by Him.

Micah 6:8 [NIV]. He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Reflection
We’ve all heard the saying, “actions speak louder than words.” And in the workplace, it’s easy to get caught up in responding to credit given for a job well done. A simple “thank you” for compliments and commendations can be a humble response to praise. If several days later, you are still resting on your laurels, it is clear that you need to check the condition of your heart.

In scripture, Hannah knew that God honored the request of those who sought after Him. But she also knew that the condition of the heart would generate her actions and guide her reactions. She did not approach the presence of God with demands or lists of needs. She did not trust in her past successes to win her favor. With a devoted heart, she gave all the Lord had given her, and God was faithful to give her the desire of her heart. She had no reason to be arrogant or boastful.

Today at work, may your actions match your devotion to Jesus. When you are congratulated for a job well done, don’t dwell on this praise. Humbly accept commendations from others, but remember that you are ultimately accountable to God.   He knows the thoughts and intentions of your heart as you go about your work. So instead of seeking the approval of others, check the condition of the heart.

Prayer
Father, fill my heart with Your intent. Let me not be boastful of doing my best, nor be arrogant in accepting credit. Give me the humility to accept the blessings that you have placed in my life. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “cross that road”

The Christian Public Servant – “cross that road”

June 27, 2016 – Monday

Reading
Luke 10: 31-34  A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.

Reflection
Last week, I took some time off to assist my brother with a construction project. We had gone to the store and obtained lumber and other necessary supplies. After loading and strapping down the lumber in the rear of my pick-up truck, we began to proceed to the work site. But in our haste, it became obvious we didn’t tighten the straps sufficiently. Hitting a bump, the entire load fell off into the middle of the road. From out of nowhere two gentlemen crossed that road and helped us lift the load back into the truck bed. My brother and I had never met these men before, but we were truly grateful for their help.

Many public servants have jobs that demand they cross that road to help those in need. In fact, it’s often a matter of law for public safety personnel to be the Good Samaritan. They may even face the danger of going into a crime scene or a burning building to render assistance.

Now your position as a teacher, accountant, office manager, or city manager may not require you to go into areas of danger. But as a Christian public servant, your Lord wants you to go out of our way and cross that road for others.

At work today, share the love for Jesus by acts of kindness and service. Search for opportunities to cross that road.

Prayer
Father God, You want me to assist Your children in trouble. Let me never be blind to their needs or be too pre-occupied with my own duties. Use me to share Your Good News through my actions of assisting others. I thank You for all of the good Samaritans who have rendered assistance to me, and I ask for Your continued blessings for them. In Your Son’s holy name, I pray. Amen!

Stephen Pincus
Battalion Chief and Co-editor
Newport News, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “the right formula”

The Christian Public Servant – “the right formula”

June 24, 2016 – Friday

Reading
Psalm 23:5 [KJV] Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Reflection
The other day I awoke in my usual state – not very refreshed and so uncertain. But once I sat down at the feet of Jesus and read this scripture, my spirit came alive. All day I could not sit still. I had to tell anyone walking by my cell about my cup running over. But it didn’t stop there. All day and night, where ever and whenever I could, I showed my brothers and the correctional officers just how much my cup was running over.

You see, David found the right formula to have his cup running over. First, he allowed the Lord to prepare his table – right in front of all those who deemed him an enemy. My, what a statement made by God! The battle was not David’s, but the Lord’s – and everyone knew it!

Then David allowed the Lord to anoint his head with oil. That made him refreshed and certain – giving him the courage to show how his cup was running over.

Before you go to work today, choose to allow the Lord to use the right formula so that your cup will run over. Have patience and let Him prepare your table – it will not be done in secret. No, it will be done so that your enemies can see. Then take time to let God anoint you – to refresh you and give you confidence for the day.

Let God run your cup over today. Let it run over in your workplace. Let it run over in your life.

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for protecting me from my enemies. Thank You for refreshing me. Thank You for having my cup run over to show others Your love and grace. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “ambassadors for Christ”

The Christian Public Servant – “ambassadors for Christ”

June 23, 2016 – Thursday

Reading
2 Corinthians 5:20 [NKJV] Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

Reflection
I once worked as an intern for a U.S. Senator in Washington, D.C. It was a wonderful experience for me. I learned how a public office works in a professional way. During my time there, I worked in the front office as a receptionist for people coming to meet the Senator. A lot of requests were made to me, and there was always a lot on my plate.

Sometimes a constituent would demand something of me or the Senator and I had to be delicate with how I responded. I didn’t want to say something that would completely turn off the constituent, yet I needed to represent the values of the Senator with my answer. I am thankful I knew solid biblical principles of how to be Christ-like before I started my internship. They helped guide me, and God gave me discernment on how to handle these sometimes difficult situations.

In these situations I learned that I was representing someone far more important and powerful than myself. This is kind of like how we represent Christ to the world –We are ambassadors for Christ in our workplaces! We may not see not see ourselves as important but we are ambassadors for Christ. We represent Christ to the people we meet each day. This is both a challenge and a wonderful responsibility. Challenge yourself today, as I did each day, let’s be great ambassadors for Christ.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for being a God who saved me. Please help me to be more like you by giving me discernment and greater opportunities to represent You. I want to be a good ambassador for You so that others my find You through me. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Paul Bayer, MA
job hunting – hire me!!
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “a quiet way to be visible”

The Christian Public Servant – “a quiet way to be visible”

June 22, 2016 – Wednesday

Reading
2 kings 6:16(b), 17(b) [NKJV] Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them… And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Reflection
I’m always amazed at how invisible most Christians are. Oh, you might see a necklace with either a cross or crucifix, or you might hear someone talk about going to a church supper after work. But what do you know about your coworkers’ spiritual condition? Probably if you are like most, very little.

The excuse used is “we’re not supposed to talk about religion at work.” But think again. At break or in casual elevator conversation, you and I will talk about anything and everything — but not Christ? And we might suggest a book on stress reduction, but not His Word?

It’s not as though you are the only Christian in your workplace. Look around. I bet there are more Christians in your workplace than you think; but how do you know if you never bring Him up? What a pity! Given all the struggles of this life, there may be a natural support group right in your workplace that you haven’t utilized.

Today at work, find a quiet way to be visible. Now, don’t give a sermon, and don’t offer a spontaneous bible study. No! Find a way to just talk about Christ in your life. The way He is helping you today. The devotional you read this morning. And don’t be shy to bow your head in prayer before lunch! Believe me, people are watching. Be an example!

If you find a quiet way to be visible, you will encourage others to do likewise. And who knows, a support group may develop.

Just like Elisha, you may find your workplace full of horses and chariots of fire!

Prayer
Father, let me be bold today, or at least not as invisible as I was yesterday. You have many warriors, even in my workplace. Help me find a way to identify myself as one of your warriors. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “it’s faith that gets you places”

The Christian Public Servant – “it’s faith that gets you places”

June 21, 2016 – Tuesday

Reading
Mark 11:23 [NIV] Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.

Ephesians 2:8-9 [NIV] For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

Reflection
Have you ever had a coworker who always seems to always get things right? It seems that everything that they touch turns to gold. While your work goes unnoticed, they win the admiration of their peers and supervisors. That person never has to learn, never has to invest, never has to fail before they get it right. It can be frustrating to compare yourself to these talented individuals.

Cheer up! Remember that in the eternal perspective, it’s not by works. Actually it’s faith that gets you places. Now I’m not saying you can be successful without knowing your job – but faith is the key to finding satisfaction in your situation. Faith will give you the strength to carry on when it seems that your labor isn’t bearing fruit. Faith will allow you to trust in God’s promises, even when things don’t seem to make sense.   Your performance on the job does not determine your status in the kingdom of heaven. It’s faith that gets you places.

So when you’re back at work with that one person who gets all the praise for his work, don’t fret. Just remember it’s faith that gets you places. While others are concerned with what the world thinks, have faith in the everlasting love of the Father. As others work towards the next promotion, work for the kingdom! Rejoice with those that have been blessed and come alongside those who are hurting in the workplace. Watch your faith move mountains as you continue to pursue God.

Yes, it’s faith that gets you places – you have been given eternal life, have faith in this wonderful gift!

Prayer
Lord, Your blessings overflow in my life. Give me the faith that I need to trust in your plan for my life. Help me move mountains in my workplace today. I need your guidance in my life as I seek to serve you. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Sara Garth, M.A.
job hunting – hire me!
Atlanta, Georgia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “someone in your workplace searching”

The Christian Public Servant – “someone in your workplace searching”

June 20, 2016 – Monday

Reading
Romans 5:8 [HCSB] But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

Luke 15: 4 (NIV) Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the other ninety-nine in the open county and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?

Reflection
There is someone in your workplace searching. That person is searching today – right before your eyes. I bet you know who it is. But you may not know how to reach that coworker. I mean, it’s difficult to do the simple thing: walk right up to a coworker and just ask, “Do you know Jesus?” You fear you might get into trouble, or worse, you fear your effort might turn that person’s search away from Christ.

God wants you to go out and search for the lost. He wants you to help that person be found and returned back to God’s family. You’ve read something this morning that could help. That God’s grace, motivated by His love, reached out and pursued you while you were yet hostile toward Him. That you were lost, and He pursued you. That you were once lost and searching, but He found you.

Today at work, you have the opportunity to extend God’s grace to someone who does not know Jesus. It may not be easy, but don’t give up. Pray for the power of God’s love to motivate you. Pray to the Spirit to give you wisdom and the words to say. Pray for a perspective of grace to see and compassionately understand the fears of that lost coworker.

Yes, at work today, who has Jesus placed on your heart to befriend or tenaciously pray for? There is someone in your workplace searching.

Let the end of that search begin today.

Prayer
Father, thank You for sending Your Son to die for my sins. Please use me today as Your instrument in showing Your love to others. Let the search begin to end today. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant-Even in a land of affliction

The Christian Public Servant-Even in a land of affliction

June 17, 2016 – Friday

Reading
Genesis 41:52(b) [KJV] For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.

Reflection
It’s not easy living in a land of affliction. In my case, a land separated from family and loved-ones. Living and sleeping in a 5’ by 8’ space 23 hours each weekday and 24 hours each weekend day. Waking up and going to sleep knowing I am convicted of killing a man who did not deserve to die. Knowing that man’s loved-ones wake up and go to sleep not deserving to suffer. Oh, yes, I feel all this – I feel the illness every day of my life. Truly this is a land of affliction.

And you, too, may also live in a land of affliction. Things that happen at your home. Things that you bring to the workplace. Things that you take home with you. Loneliness. Worriedness. Anxiety. Anger. Hurt. The pain of hating others. The pain of hating yourself. Yes, yours is truly a land of affliction.

You and I may not be able to leave our land, but we both have our Lord. His power can cause us to be fruitful – even in a land of affliction.

So today at work, be filled with hope. He can bear fruit – if you let Him. Yes, He can bring good things to you – even in a land of affliction.

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for Your power to cause me to be fruitful regardless of where I am – even in a land of affliction. All the glory goes to You. Amen.

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