The Christian Public Servant – “see the goodness”

October 31, 2016 – Monday

Psalm 27:13(b) [KJV] … I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

As a youth, I asked my dad why he always watched the news. He said he found it interesting. I didn’t understand then, but now I’ve become my dad. I’m a news addict.

Being aware of what goes on in the world is great, but it has its drawbacks. The news tends to center on evil and nastiness. It squeezes all the juice from one tragedy and then goes on to the next. The wickedness and evil reported can easily drag you down to where you see only hopelessness. Too often, you and I do not take the time to see the goodness of what goes on in the world.

Yes, if you look, there is hope all around. Good Samaritans risking their lives to rescue people. Unsung heroes sacrificing their own organs to give life to others. Adoptive couples opening their homes and hearts to neglected and unwanted babies and children. Birth mothers choosing life over death. Medical groups uniting to find cures. Volunteers helping the homeless in your country, and others raising capital to feed the famished in other countries.

Just look around and see the goodness that exists.

So what about your workplace? Are you focusing only on the struggles to meet budget? Inter-department rivalries? Bickering with another coworker? Is the atmosphere tense?

While you need to focus on some not-too-pleasant things, take time to see the goodness that is also present. The positive change in the person you mentor. The compliments from those you serve. Coworkers actually working together.

And thank the Lord for providing you a job!

As this workweek begins, look around to see the goodness of the Lord – while you are still in the land of the living.

Father, I praise You for blessing me and my world in so many ways. Open my eyes to see the goodness of Your creation, and open my heart to receive the goodness of Your love. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

Bill Dudley, MPA
Pastor and Logistician
U.S. Department of Defense
Naval Base Norfolk
Norfolk, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “God takes care of the growing”

October 28, 2016 – Friday

Acts 26:28 [NLT] Agrippa interrupted him. “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”

My grandmother loved to garden. She loved to plant seeds and watch them grow. When I was little, I helped her plant some watermelon seeds. And because I like watermelon, I came by her house the next week hoping to get a fully grown watermelon from her garden. She explained that all anyone can do is plant a seed. God takes care of the growing.

And although I am a condemned man, I regard my position on Life Row as a gardener. A gardener of souls, not watermelons. And my grandmother was right – it’s easy to plant seeds, but it’s frustrating to wait on their growth. God places me in a position to help someone, but not in a position to see the results. And I have to remember, all I do is the planting and God takes care of the growing.

Are your surroundings any different?

All God wants you to do is to sow the seed. The Great Harvest may not be tomorrow or the next week. Oh sure, you want to nurture that seed – water it with the love of Jesus and feed it with His forgiveness. But you make the mistake of trying to take care of the growing, when all He wants you to do is to plant the seed.

At work today, remember King Agrippa and how Paul thought his words would produce an immediate harvest. That may not be the way it works. You are a gardener, not a harvester.

When you plant His seed in a coworker or someone you serve, step back and know only God takes care of the growing.

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for blessing me with Your seed to sow today in the garden you place me in. I know it is You – and only You – Who will bring the seed to harvest. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “the plans and provisions”

October 27, 2016 – Thursday

John 6:6-8 [NIV] When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward Him, He said to Phillip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him [Phillip], for He already had in mind what He was going to do.

I recently met an immigrant who had overcome incredible circumstances of growing up in poverty. Even though he struggled for necessities, he was given the gift of the love of Christ in his heart. While his situation did not change immediately upon coming to my country, God already had in mind what He was going to do with this man’s life. And through hard work and eagerness to learn, the Lord opened doors for this immigrant. What God had in mind was for this man to help children growing up in poverty in his new country.

As I get ready for work today, two things stick in my mind about this immigrant – his trust in what God has in mind and his confidence that God will provide.

It’s easy for you and me to trust what we have in mind and rely on earthly means to try to reach those goals. Busy schedules, intimidating projects, and families all demand attention. Being caught up in the noise of every-day life can lead you and me to think we are the only ones capable of handling the situation.

Is this not so?

Just like with Phillip, Christ has the plans and provisions. And just because you cannot see the big picture, does not mean you should hesitate to surrender everything to Him.

So as you go to work today, surrender all your situations to God. He is waiting for you to bring them to Him. And like that immigrant, know that Christ will provide the plans and provisions.

Yes, only He has the plans and provisions – for your search for work, your career, and your life.

Lord Jesus, You know the situations I face, and I know You have the plans and provisions to remedy them all. Even though I may not be able to see the solution, I trust You. Lord, You are the giver of every perfect gift, and I praise You for everything You are doing in my career and in my life. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Jonathan Lantz, MPA
City of Chesapeake
Chesapeake, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “be more like Him”

October 26, 2016 – Wednesday

Matthew 6:14-15 [NLT] If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Ever been wronged in your workplace? Hurt? Really offended? Intentionally? Unintentionally? It’s happened to me a couple of times and, I’m sure, it’s happened to you at least once. And the longer you work, the greater the chance it’s going to happen again.

From an early age, I was taught to forgive people – no matter what they did to me. Yet as an adult, forgiveness seems a much harder task. But nothing’s changed – I know He wants me to forgive others – and that includes in my professional life.

As a public servant, you are expected to serve. But as a Christian public servant, you are expected to be more like Him. You can’t hold grudges, and you can’t retaliate. To be more like Him, you have no choice but to forgive.

So as you prepare for work and all the stress that awaits, remember what you must do if you are wronged today. You must forgive. It will be a difficult task, for sure, but it is the only way you can be more like Him.

And it is the only way He will forgive you.

Lord, be with me today as I work with people. Help me reflect You. Teach me to forgive. Help me to ask forgiveness of those I have wronged. Help me be like You, not me. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Meredith Pulsford, MPA
Department Manager – Human Resources
McDonalds Corporation
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “a sound mind”

October 25, 2016 – Tuesday

2 Timothy 1:7 [KJV] For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Isaiah 54:17 [KJV] No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.

Last Friday at work my car was broken into. While nothing was stolen, it did result in a broken lock and torn door seal. I was grateful to God for minimal damage, but I began to feel afraid; maybe I was targeted and was being watched. I was afraid to go to the gym alone being it was in the same area as my workplace.

Yesterday was my first day back to work, and I parked where I knew I could see my car from my window. As I arrived, the Lord reminded me that He has not given me the spirit of fear. He gave me the spirit of love, power, and a sound mind. After reassurance by His Spirit, I didn’t even peak out at my car — I knew I was covered under His blood. After all, someone got in my car but nothing was taken – for the weapon was formed but it did not prosper.

At your job, you may experience fear for a number of reasons. Judgmental and scheming coworkers. Pressure from an overbearing boss or frustrated citizen. Unsafe parking lot. You may feel fear dwelling up in your spirit.

Remember God has not given you that fearful spirit – it comes from Satan. But God will prevail in giving you a sound mind. As a Christian public servant, be the calming spirit in your workplace knowing God protects you from evil.

So today, as you prepare to enter your work environment, pray and bind all evil spirits. Plead the blood of Jesus over your workplace. God will shield you and give you a sound mind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for protecting me from any harm or danger that may try to come my way. I plead the blood of Jesus over my family and me, and over my coworkers. I thank You in advance for helping me not to stumble in the workplace, knowing that You are watching over me. I repent for acting out of character during a time of fear. I love You. In your Son’s holy and precious name, I pray. Amen.

Tatiana Scott
Candidate, MPA Degree
Robertson School of Government
Regent University
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “asking then listening”

October 24, 2016 – Monday

Acts 13:36 [NASB] For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay.

Ever wonder why you have your current job? Or, just what is the purpose of your career?

Ever ask other questions like: Should I work here or apply there? How do I handle this difficult and annoying citizen? Should I help my coworker, or is this an opportunity for her to grow? How do I confront my boss when he is not being fair?

Do you ask these kind of questions to just yourself? Maybe you ask family and friends. But do you bring these questions to God? If you’re like me, you probably can’t begin to count the times you ask God questions about job and career.

Now it’s important to ask God questions, but it’s also important to listen for His answer. Yes, asking then listening are both necessary if you seek the Father’s guidance. And only by asking then listening can you do exactly what He wants you to do – turn everything over to Him.

So as this work week begins, make certain you approach each job and career situation with a focus on God’s purpose. By asking then listening, you will better serve your workday.

By asking then listening, you will better serve His kingdom.

Father, God, I want to serve Your purpose in my job and career – in my life – during my short time in this world. Give me wisdom to ask You and listen to You so that, before I fall asleep, I waste not a moment of my life. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen!

Ronald Wilson
Development Review Coordinator
Franklin County
Town of Rocky Mount, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “blessed enough to know”

October 21, 2016 – Friday

1 Samuel 16:17-18(a)(c) [MSG] Saul told his servants, “Go ahead. Find me someone who can play well and bring him to me.” One of the young men spoke up, “I know someone. I’ve seen him myself… And God is with him.”

Here I am in prison. Facing a sentence of death. Limited in all aspects of life since I got here. And like my life in the free-world, for most of my time in here I just sat and did nothing. It wasn’t until someone saw something in me that I began to realize I had a gift from God.

And I am now blessed enough to know to use that gift. I use it in letters and writings. In phone calls. With brothers and correctional officers. With free-world people who visit.

Oh, I know it is not my gift. I did not create it. I did not buy it at the prison store. I did not even see it at first. Someone had to point it out. It is a gift from God. And so I am now blessed enough to know God gave me this gift for a reason — to use with whoever God sends to me.

In so many ways, God has changed where I live to where I work! And like David, using that gift has opened countless doors. Yes, He advances me because I use that gift in my workplace.

How about you? Are you blessed enough to know He has given you a gift? Or do you need someone to point it out? And do you think your workplace is just inside that building you go to each morning? Or do you realize your workplace is wherever God sends you?

Today at work, don’t be like me and waste most of your time. Be blessed enough to know He has given you at least one special gift. And be blessed enough to know to use that gift throughout the day. When you leave your worldly workplace, be blessed enough to know He also wants you to think of everywhere you go as His workplace.

So use that gift everywhere and with everyone.

And like David and me, He will surely advance you!

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for giving a gift to someone like me! Help me use that gift to bring glory to Your name. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “hamster wheel”

October 20, 2016 – Thursday

Galatians 6:4-5 [NLT] Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.

Colossians 3:23-24 [NLT] Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.

One of the greatest tools used by Satan is comparison envy. We compare ourselves to others all the time – using the wrong standards and lenses. We become “green with envy” when a coworker gets the promotion or raise that obviously was “due” to you and me. We despair and become bitter when Jane receives all the kudos from the boss – leaving us with the crumbs. But then, when we are the “teacher’s pet,” we believe we deserve the rewards because our work is “obviously” so much better – and this leads to a dangerous form of pride.

Yes, Satan uses comparison envy to keep us in bitter bondage to our emotions – up one day, and down the next – depending on the comparison scorecard. And it gets us nowhere. It’s kind of like being on a hamster wheel. It spins, and your legs move, but you never advance.

How can you free yourself from this trap? The only solution is to keep your eyes on your own work – recognizing who your true Boss is – the Lord. When your goal is to please Him first, you know He is proud of you when you overlook the offense. He is joyful when you uncover hidden pride and repent.

So at work today, get off that comparison hamster wheel. It takes you nowhere. Just keep your eyes on the Lord for He is the Master you serve.

And begin to earn your inheritance!

Lord, grant me the courage to give up my toys of ego and pride. Let me embrace Your standards of success. I cannot do this on my own strength. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Gary E. Roberts, Ph.D.
Professor and Director
Master of Public Administration Program
Robertson School of Government
Regent University
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “joy in the work”

October 19, 2016 – Wednesday

Ecclesiastes 3:22(a) [NLT] So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. That is our lot in life.

I’ve long been a volunteer swimming referee. No pay, just the joy of seeing children do well and helping them to do better. Last summer, as I watched my country’s Olympic trials on TV, I saw one coach who once trained and mentored me as a swimming official.

And you know what? Amidst coaching all those great swimmers, she had joy and everyone could see it! But what the viewers did not know is that she also has the same joy with little swimmers – kids just starting out with faraway Olympic dreams. You see, she puts joy in the work – whatever the task.

Putting joy in the workplace can be hard at times. There is the cranky coworker. The citizen with unlimited complaints. There’s even the boss or coach who thinks you made the wrong call. You can think that the whole world is against you, and it is easy to get depressed.

But God wants you to put joy in the work you do. He created you for work. So take time to rejoice in what you do.

And today, when everything comes flying at you and you just want to scream, think of how God wants you to put joy in the work He creates for you. After all, God takes joy in your work, so you should reach for the joy of our heavenly Father when things come fast and furious.

At work today, be like my mentor and put joy in the work – whatever the task.

It is your lot in life!

Lord, help me put joy in the work I do today – no matter how large or small, major or minor, my tasks may be. And help me be like You, Lord – loving those around me who struggle to find Your joy. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Kevin Cooney, Ph.D.
Visiting Professor
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Beppu, Japan

The Christian Public Servant – “a perfect workday”

October 18, 2016 – Tuesday

Psalm 37:5-6 [NIV] Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.

A good workday. That means many things to many people. For some, a good workday is actually no workday – time off for vacation. For others, it is a workday free from stress. Still others view a good workday when certain tasks need not be done.

But shouldn’t we envision a bit more than just a good workday? After all, we are children of God. Shouldn’t we expect a perfect workday?

For me, a perfect workday doesn’t entail a vacation. It’s not necessarily stress-free. It may even include the most distasteful tasks. No, for me a perfect workday begins when I rise early and first thing, commit my thoughts, my actions, and my life to the Hand of God. Then I take on my workday with faith that His fingerprints will be all over it – as His righteousness shines through me to those in my workplace. It entails me trusting Him for protection and for peace with coworkers, supervisors, and those I serve.

It is my prayer that you and I will have more than just a good workday. I pray we will have a perfect workday – now and forever!

Good morning, God! I know You have my day already figured out. I commit to You, as I rely on Your grace and will in making this a perfect workday. Tonight, long after the setting of that noonday sun, I want to reflect and know You were with me in my workplace. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Deanna Alexander, M.A.
County Supervisor 
Milwaukee County 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA