The Christian Public Servant – “no other choice”


May 31, 2017 – Wednesday

Reading
Proverbs 3:5 [KJV] Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

James 1:2-4 [KJV] Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Reflection
This has been a trying week. Our school is suffering a loss; in fact, our entire community is suffering. A child was kidnapped in a supermarket parking lot. He was later found shot to death. Children, teachers, and community members are struggling. I am so angry; I can’t think straight. You almost wonder if God can see what is happening.

Yet I know, God sees everything. He is in control – really – in my school and in all the schools in every country. He knows what will happen today in every workplace – yours and mine. I know I must trust in His understanding, not mine, for I have no other choice. And I know I must endure the trials placed before me.

There are workplaces around the world feeling the suffering of turmoil. Perhaps yours?

Children shot by gangs. Teens ruined by drugs. Terrorist bombs at concerts. Parents not coming home from work because something went awfully wrong. All this is real. And it makes you wonder. Yet you and I know we must trust in Him and endure the trials. We have no other choice.

Yes, as you go to work today, trust in Him and endure the trials. Whatever the trials are, they are coming. But He is sitting next to you. So lean on Him – you have no other choice.

Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, please put Your protection all around me, my workplace, and my community. Give focus to Your words and not what is going on in this world. Endurance, Father, give me endurance. I have no other choice but You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Barbara Hill
Teacher Assistant
Jackson Public Schools
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “the most difficult task”

May 30, 2017 – Tuesday

Reading
John 13:34-35 [ESV] A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

1 John 4:20 [ESV] If anyone says, “I Love God”, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

Reflection
I once worked as a custodian in a public school system. I was assigned to a particular school and, at the time, I was the only African-American employed in the building. I loved my coworkers and everyone got along; and the students were wonderful! However, I got a new supervisor, and things began to change. I believe she did not like me because of the color of my skin.

This supervisor started assigning me tasks that were not a part of my job description. She insisted that I do these tasks in demeaning ways. She talked about me to other coworkers, and she made every effort to make me feel out of place. While I did my best to show her love and respect, she offered nothing by hate and disrespect.

God expects us to love and respect every human being just as He does. For some reason, this seems to be the most difficult task in too many workplaces. How about yours?

Coworkers come with diverse backgrounds, and the people we serve arrive with many different attributes. Some people are familiar, and others can make us feel uncomfortable. Nevertheless, if we want the workplace to be God’s place, then we most do what seems to be the most difficult task: love one another.

Today at work, do what seems to be the most difficult task: show your love to someone else! Show your love to a coworker unlike you. Tell a stranger in the elevator that you love them.

If you have hate in your heart, leave it in a trash bin out in the parking lot. When you go into your building, do what seems to be the most difficult task – love someone!

And tomorrow, that task may not seem so difficult!

Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, I pray You touch my heart right now so I will love and not hate. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Lakisha Williams, BSW
Personal Care Aid
Ability Works
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “as people, not numbers”

May 29, 2017 – Monday

Reading
1 Peter 4:11(a) [NLT] Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.

Reflection
As third-generation Military, I remember when I first joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in my country. While my career is now taking me elsewhere, until the day I left I remained so excited being a part of an agency that cares for veterans. But I quickly noticed a culture of treating our patients impersonally. I know, large agencies tend to be impersonal for a lot of reasons – insufficient budgets, limited staff, and inadequate resources, to name a few. However, I really wanted to treat the patients as people, not numbers.

During my first week at work, a veteran came up to my desk extremely upset and shouted at me about how much time he had to wait and that no one cared about his well-being. He said, because I was just a young person, I had no idea of what he’s been through and how I wouldn’t have my freedom if it weren’t for him. Once he finished, I thank him for his service and apologized for the inconvenience. I smiled and touched his hand to assure him I was listening. Well, his anger subsided, and he, too, apologized. And guess what? We began a friendly chat until it was his turn to see a physician.

Do you work in an impersonal environment? Has anger overflowed from someone you were trying to serve? Did things escalate even though it wasn’t directly your fault?

Remember, God has given you gifts. Because you are a Christian public servant, I bet He’s given you the gift of speaking and the gift of helping. As taxing as the workday may be, remain humble and find ways to treat those you serve as people, not numbers.

Yes, at work today, use the gifts God gives you to remove a little impersonality. Do so with all the strength and energy God provides. And in the process, you will glorify Him!

Prayer
God, please give me humility in my heart, patience with others, and a sound mind in dealing with difficult situations. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Chameka Boswell
U.S. Veteran
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “God in that moment”

May 26, 2017 – Friday

Reading
Matthew 5:8 [KJV] Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

Psalm 51:10 [KJV] Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Reflection
Last Sunday, right before church, we got blessed with a pound cake and we decided to share it with everyone who attended! Since I had changed my diet, I wasn’t going to eat my share. So the Holy Spirit led me to give it to a particular brother who would see his mom the next visiting day for the last time. She is dying of cancer.

Now this particular brother and I do not get along very well. So when the Holy Spirit said to give him my share, I was a bit surprised. But I checked my heart and knew I was being led to renew a right spirit within me. I took the piece of pound cake over to him.

And guess what? This brother also checked his heart, and we both saw God in that moment.

Check your heart before you go to work today. Is it receptive? Pure? Clean?

At work, listen for the Holy Spirit and do what is right. Make amends. Ask forgiveness. Share something. Check your heart and you, too, will see God in that moment!

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Create in me a clean, pure heart. I beg you to do this each morning. I want to always see You in all my circumstances. Amen.

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

recent

The Christian Public Servant – “enough, enough”

May 25, 2017 – Thursday

Reading
Proverbs 22:24 [ESV] Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man

Ephesians 5:15-17 [ESV] Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5:25 [ESV] Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

Reflection
A loved-one called last night. Not the first time, but I pray it will be the last time without some remedy. What’s going on? The man in her life abuses her. She doesn’t know what to expect when she gets home at night or before she leaves the house in the morning. Her energy is drained by the time she gets to work. Her productivity is declining.

But what she told me last night took the cake. You see, this time he pushed her down the stairs and injured her ankle. I told her, it must stop. She needs to care about herself – financially, emotionally, and spiritually. If she can’t do her job, she will not be able to take care of the necessities of life. If she is emotionally hurt, she cannot focus on her job. And if she does not understand what the Lord’s will is for her in this situation, then she may be spiritually foolish.

And so we prayed and talked throughout the night. Does this man love her as Christ loved the church? Is she walking wisely by being with such an angry, wrathful man? Is enough, enough?

Are you like her? While challenges come with all relationships, are you abused? Are you driving to work afraid of what will happen when you get home tonight? Remember, God loves you so much. You deserve someone who loves you as much as Christ loved the church.

On your way to work today, think about God’s will – not yours and not his. Is enough, enough?

Prayer
Lord, I come to You humbly and thank You for giving me the strength to keep going. I understand You have created me to be both loved and productive. Keep me focused on You. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Michelle Lewis,
CEO/Executive Director
Kicks N More Unltd Boutique
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “comfort the anxiety”

May 24, 2017 – Wednesday

Reading
Proverbs 12:18 [KJV] There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.

Psalm 94:19 [KJV] In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.

Reflection
A friend called me last night. Stressed out over poor communications at work. Yesterday she was told by her supervisor to put everything aside and complete 98 tasks by the end of the week. This morning, the entire work team received an email instructing them to complete all absentee management caseloads by the end of today – this was in addition to my friend’s job of completing 98 task assignments by Friday.

She put aside the 98 tasks and completed what she thought was her share of the absentee management caseloads. However, some team members went on doing their normal work assignments for the day, assuming for various reasons that others would do their share. By late afternoon the supervisor noticed this and asked my friend to work on another stack of caseload files. Plus, she was to have it done before she went home. She asked the Lord to comfort the anxiety in her thoughts, and then she rearranged her after-work plans and stayed until that extra load of cases was done.

Why couldn’t her supervisor just give those files to the other team members who did not do their fair share? Did my friend’s servant attitude make her the easiest for the supervisor to target? Or, did the other team members not read or understand the instructions, and the supervisor did not want to correct the communication problem at that point?

If your workplace is like my friend’s, poor communication adds stress – especially in group situations. In the long-term, it needs to be addressed and corrected. But in the short-term, as a Christian public servant, all you can do is turn to the Lord for patience. He will comfort the anxiety in your thoughts, and He is there to get you through the tasks.

At work today, do not let instructions become like a piercing sword. Just do what you are assigned to do. He will comfort the anxiety, and He will delight your sole!

Prayer
Lord, thank You for being my Comforter at work! Today remove my anxiety and help me cope with stress. Give me peace in knowing You are there with me in the face of poor communication. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Renata Rankin
Disability adjudicator
MS Disability
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “the extra steps needed”

May 23, 2017 – Tuesday

Reading
Matthew 5:41 [NIV] If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.

1 Corinthians 10:24 [NLT] Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.

Reflections
Sometime ago, a church leader called in regards to an environmental health recommendation for the site of their new church home. As we all know, church capital campaigns take time and, having applied three years ago, the recommendation made then had long expired when they were ready to break ground. When I told her a new application was needed, she asked if something could be done about the attached fee. I talked with my supervisor to try to find a way to eliminate that fee for the church, but ultimately nothing could be done. She thanked me for trying, and she paid the fee. The next day I evaluated the property and made the updated recommendations.

Yesterday the contractor called concerning an inspection. It was apparent he was not too familiar with regulations for a church structure. Because errors could cost the congregation more money, I offered to meet him on-site to go over my expectations. While waiting for him to arrive, I chatted with a deacon who told me about the various struggles the church endured but was later blessed with the donation of additional land. I added this new information to their file and saved them much more money than a reapplication fee!

As a Christian public servant, it’s not every day you can help a church grow. But you can take the extra steps needed for all citizens to make sure they gain every possible benefit. Sometimes you may not feel like it with everything on your plate – or when you’re faced with an angry and demanding citizen who doesn’t expect anyone to take the extra steps needed. But do so!

At work today, be willing to ask that additional question or listen to a long background story. Take the extra steps needed to serve that citizen. Be concerned for that citizen’s good, not your own. In doing so, you will glorify God!

Prayer
God, on this workday I ask You to continue to keep my mind and heart open to Your word and to learn how to be a blessing to others. These things, I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Lakeisha Paige
Environmental Health Program Specialist
Mississippi State Department of Health
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “just like smoke, it fades away”

May 22, 2017 – Monday

Reading
James 4:14 [NASB] Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

Reflection
Last week I visited family in Memphis, Tennessee. When I was ready to go back to the hotel, I said to everyone, “I’ll see you all tomorrow if nothing happens.” Several members were perplexed by the nature of my goodbye. They wondered, what does it mean – if nothing happens? Was I ill? Was I worried about something? Was there a problem?

I took this opportunity to explain that God does not want us to boast about tomorrow. He never promises a tomorrow. Hence, that is why I said if nothing happens. Well, some just laughed in relief but others knew what I was talking about. I hope it stays in their minds and hearts so they appreciate what God does promise each one today; but never forget that earthly life is temporary and gone tomorrow – just like smoke, it fades away.

As you prepare for work this morning, you really do not know what this day will bring. So much going on with kids and family before you get to work. So many deadlines and stressors when you are at work. So much planning for the next day with both family and job.

Just remember, you do not know the day or hour when He will take you from this life. Any tomorrow – any extra second other than this current one – is His will, not yours. And just like smoke, it fades away.

Enjoy the blessings and challenges He gives you now – at home and at work. Anything else is just like smoke, it fades away.

Prayer
Lord, prepare me for this workday, and I will not worry about tomorrow. Let me focus on the right now, despite my sketching out tentative goals for the next day and after. I do not know when You will call me Home. Let me make the most of what you give me, for I am just a vapor. Give me opportunities to teach this to my loved-ones and coworkers. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Barbara Hill
Jackson Public Schools
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “deepened peace in this place”

May 19, 2017 – Friday

Reading
3 John 1:129(a) [MSG] Everyone has a good word for Demetrius—the Truth itself stands up for Demetrius!

Reflection
The lives of two of my spiritual mentors speak to me in so many ways. Both seem to have, every minute of the day, something I crave: a deepened peace in this place. I get a peace at certain times on most days, but not like those two brothers.

So, I asked them how their lives are so peaceful? They affirmed what I already knew. Their deepened peace in this place comes from the His Truth – and they let the Truth itself stand up and fill the day.

Sometimes we all let our mouths speak so much, we forget to let our lives speak. And our lives will show others what we truly have. It can show others what they crave.

As you head off to work today, let His Truth of peace, joy, compassion, mercy, and grace allow your life to speak for you in all circumstances. Yes, the Truth will speak for your life, more so than the truth will speak through your words.

Today at work, let the Truth itself stand up for you. Wherever you work, fill your day with a deepened peace in this place!

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for all You do for me, so I can keep allowing my life to speak Your Truth to others. So I can have a deepened peace in this place. Amen.

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

5-12-17

The Christian Public Servant – “in someone else’s shoes”

May 18, 2017 – Thursday

Reading
Romans 12:2(a) [NLT] Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.

Reflection
It’s not yet Friday, but I sure need the weekend. I’ve had several assignments due for class, and those are on top of my work duties and my kid’s softball awards ceremony. Not to mention they are still playing games that were rained-out from earlier in the season.

As I pull into the parking lot, I notice several of my clients standing outside the building. I run group therapy sessions, and I notice this isn’t the typical time for break. As I proceed to go inside, I speak to everyone and ask, “Why hasn’t ‘group’ started?” The answer was simple: “We’re waiting on you.”

With so much on my plate, I had forgotten. Still my coworker was perfectly capable of starting the group due to my absence. There are lesson plans in my office, and she knows it. And I have covered for her in the past when she’s been absent.

I was getting angry, but then I looked at things differently. As a Christian public servant, should I make a big deal? The answer was, “no.” After all, I talk about stressing less and becoming the bigger person during my group sessions. I figure I should practice what I preach.

Taking time to put yourself in someone else’s shoes can really change the way you think! Regardless of what is going on at work today – despite commitments to school and to family – don’t let your busy schedule take control over your judgement. Have sympathy and compassion for others.

Yes, today at work, change the way you think. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and God will transform you into a new person!

Prayer
Father, guide me and give me a humble spirit to have compassion for others. Let Your light shine through me. I want to be pleasing in Your sight. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Erica Carr
Psychosocial Rehabilitation Coordinator
Weems Community Mental Health
Bay Springs, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA