The Christian Public Servant – “stay focused on the task”

June 30, 2017 – Friday

Reading
Hebrews 11:7 [KJV] By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Reflection
There is a brother on Life Row who refuses to listen to what God can do for him. Growing up, he was hurt by members of a church. He was abused by family members who claimed to love Jesus. He is on Life Row without Christ, yet God continues to direct me to this brother. For several years now, I have tried and tried. But it seems like bringing Christ to this brother is a hopeless task.

Lots of times, God asks me to do things – venture into situations – I feel are hopeless. But then I think of what God asked Noah to do. I remember the faith Noah showed in his obedience – even though he moved with fear. So I am learning to stay focused on the task God wants me to do. I am learning how to move with fear with Him by my side. And so, I stay concentrated on that brother who does not know Christ.

Is God asking you to do the hopeless at work today? Is there a situation that is impossible? A project that requires a miracle? A coworker who settles for a lot less than Christ? And is God asking you to help?

Today at work, look a lot less at what seems hopeless. You may move with fear, but just stay focused on the task God has given you. Don’t worry about what you can’t see or understand. Like Noah, you will show righteousness. And like Noah, you will get a sneak view of God’s bigger picture.

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Keep me focused so I can be an example of You. Let me move in Faith while I move in fear. Amen.

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

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The Christian Public Servant – “with godly confidence”

June 29, 2017 – Thursday

Reading
John 16:33 [ESV] I have said these things to you, that in me you have peace. In the world you have tribulation. But take heart: I have overcome the world.

Reflection
Knowing Jesus has overcome the world should give us tremendous relief. It allows you and me to respond to the world’s influences that create doubt concerning the Way. The peace of God is our assurance to act always with godly confidence.

Yet it’s difficult always to conform to the Way, isn’t it? There are so many tribulations, including at work; so many efforts by the world to overcome you.

Just think about the worldly temptations you will face today. What will challenge you on the way to work? What will tempt you at work? What will you face when you leave work?

Take heart! Jesus overcame those same tribulations. And it is only through Jesus that you can have peace – peace going to work; peace while at work; peace returning home from work.

So, go to work today with godly confidence. His peace is offered. You can overcome the world!

Prayer
Father, remind me throughout this workday what Your Son overcame in this world. Bless me with the peace that comes only from Him. Give me strength to work with godly confidence. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “pass the test before you can serve”

June 28, 2017 – Wednesday

Reading
1 Timothy 3:10 [NLT] Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons.

Reflection
Last Sunday, my pastor preached a powerful message, “God proves you before He promotes you.” As scripture confirms, you must pass the test before you can serve. That is what good leadership requires – whether in the capacity of church deacon or agency manager. You must pass the test before you can serve.

Are you tired of your job assignment? Feel stuck at your current rank? Are you eagerly awaiting the opportunity for promotion? Or, are you only part-time and want to become full-time? Perhaps you are an intern hoping that a position will open with your name on it?

Remember, God loves good human resource management. He knows that serving at a higher level requires knowledge and experience to do the job right. He favors performance assessment so that abilities can be judged.

At work today, don’t grow tired of what you do. Don’t just wait eagerly for an opportunity. Work hard – very hard – to show others you can do more if asked. Rest assured, God is with you on this venture. But whatever door He wants to open, He wants you to be prepared.

Both God and good managers are on the same page: pass the test before you can serve.

Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, please help me pass Your test and the tests of my supervisor at work. I want to be obedient to You, Father. I want to be obedient to You in all places including my workplace. 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 – “felt, present, and abides within”

June 27, 2017 – Tuesday

Reading
Acts 4:31-32 [ESV] And when they prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.

Reflection
Scripture tells us about a very powerful moment in the life of His church. Oh, how it must have felt to be there! To feel His presence! To know He is abiding within everyone in that room!

When the Spirit of God is felt, present, and abides within the believer, the community of God is perfected by divine grace. The heart and soul is changed into a oneness. Nothing, including the blessings of Christ, belongs to one person or one group or one nation. Everything, including the blessings of Christ, belongs to everyone – red and yellow, black and white; poor and rich; illiterate and educated; liberal and conservative; Marxist and capitalist; all nations and regions in this world.

This oneness in Christ can also happen in your workplace. Just imagine what that oneness would look like there! Think of what might be accomplished if the Spirit of God is felt, present, and abides within each coworker and the citizens you serve!!

It all begins with prayer and a gathering together. Before work begins? During a 15-minute work break? At lunch? After work?

And it all begins with you. Then one other. Then others around you.

Yes, it all begins with prayer and a gathering together. Yes, it all begins with you. And when the Spirit of God is felt, present, and abides within your workplace, everything changes!

Today, will you invite Him into your workplace? If you do, your workplace will certainly shake!

Prayer
Father, let me be bold today at work in glorifying You. I want to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout the workday. I want the Holy Spirit to abide within all hearts and souls where I work. I want my workplace to shake with You. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “everything will work out”

June 26, 2017 – Monday

Reading
Proverbs 16:3-4(a) [NIV] Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. The Lord works out everything to its proper end

Reflection
Like most college graduates, I celebrated as if I was done forever with school. I learned what was needed, and I was ready for the real world. And shortly I found my first professional job!

But that was before I met my future bride. See, education in her family is a big deal. Even when I asked for her father’s blessing to marry his daughter, part of that conversation entailed my commitment to earn a master’s degree one day. For several years now, even after finding a better job, my wife has been urging me to do as she did and earn that second degree.

It’s funny how things work. You think something happens as irony or a coincidence, but God’s plan unfolds right in front of you daily. It wasn’t long ago I found myself reading scripture that spoke a little louder than normal. My quick skim changed to a slow read and, in that moment, everything clicked. I need more education because of the door He wants to open for me. All I need to do is commit to Him – to pledge to sacrifice on His behalf – and go back to school for Him and not just for myself or for my family. If I commit to Him, everything will work out to its proper end.

So here I am, preparing to go back to school – four years after that conversation with my (now) father-in-law, two years after my wife started mentioning it, and several months after I learned where my Lord fits in. Yes, I have doubts and face plenty of stress. What if I can’t do it? What about my full-time job? Will I have time for family? But in addition to a supportive family, I am committed to Him – I have pledged to sacrifice on His behalf – and I know everything will work out to its proper end. I have God on my side, and I’m excited to continue seeing His plan unfold!

Are we in the same boat? Are you going back to school while working full-time? Are you worried about how everything will fit together? Commit to Himpledge to sacrifice on His behalf. Watch His plan unfold, and know everything will work out to its proper end.

And after work each night next semester, maybe we’ll see each other in an online course!

Prayer
Dear Lord, give me strength to commit to You and to pledge to sacrifice for You. Give me courage to follow Your plan for me. Bless me with comfort knowing You are in charge of my life – including my work, my family, and my education. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Brandon Miller
Associate Editor
Grand View Media
Birmingham, Alabama USA

The Christian Public Servant – “a nevertheless spirit”

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June 23, 2017 – Friday

Reading
Matthew 26:39(b) [NIV] My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.

Reflection
As I read and study, I find so many people in the Bible who had a nevertheless spirit of obedience to God. You know, people who followed God regardless of the detail and regardless of the consequence. Moses, Noah, David, Daniel, Paul – come to my mind. And then, of course, there was Jesus. The worldly part of Jesus did not want to die. (Who does?) But the spiritual part of Jesus knew that even dying was in God’s hands. Even in preparing for death, He lived a life of obedience – not worldly will, but spiritual will. Jesus was going to do whatever God wanted Him to do, regardless of the pain involved.

And so it should be with us.

Every day you and I are put in situations we don’t want. We see things we wish we didn’t. We hear things that we can’t block from our ears. Settings beyond our comfort zones.

As a Christian public servant, don’t let circumstance control your action. Don’t let the world dictate your outcome. Don’t let fear lead your way.

So at work today, you may not be where you want to be. You may be way out of your comfort zone. That’s okay. Just be obedient to God regardless of all else. Listen to Him always. Keep a nevertheless spirit in your heart and in your soul.

And when you do, coworkers and those you serve will begin to see Him. Through you, my friend, others will experience the one true God. Yes, if you keep a nevertheless spirit of obedience to God, others will begin to hear His will – not theirs!

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Keep me humble. Give me opportunities today to do Your will, not mine. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “a friend unknown”

June 22, 2017 – Thursday

Reading
John 15:13 [NIV] Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Luke 10:36-37 [NIV] “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Reflection
A few summers ago, I had the honor to stand at the National Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. As I looked from the cliffs at the beach those men had to cross and the white crosses of those who did not make it, I came to understand the true meaning of “hero.” Those who “lay down” their lives for mea friend unknown – they are true heroes.

And of course, Jesus tells about the Samaritan who helped a stranger victimized by robbers. Jesus does not describe this man as a hero, for he did not lay down his life, but simply as a neighbor offering mercy to a stranger – a friend unknown.

So, when I hear coworkers and supervisors pontificate about the sacrifices they must make for their agency – well, you’ll have to forgive me if look the other way. We have developed a real talent in convincing others how greatly we sacrifice – acting as if that somehow makes us heroes. And boasting is never an attribute of being a Good Samaritan. As Christian public servants, we must understand the meaning of real sacrifice and the meaning of real mercy and, therefore, we should never participate in talk that belittles those meanings.

As you go to work today, think of all the amazing sacrifices made by true heroes – including today’s heroes protecting us from terrorists. Then think of all the offerings of mercy that could be performed on this very day – gestures of mercy that can stem the tide of hatred in the world and in your neighborhood. Finally remember, God doesn’t expect you to be a hero today. But He wants you to be a Good Samaritan every day.

Today at work, don’t complain. Don’t pontificate. Don’t cross the street to avoid being either a hero or a neighbor. Look for ways to sacrifice for others so they can gain a small idea of the great love that has been shown to you. Do this for just one person at work – a friend unknown.

Now, go and do likewise.

Prayer
Dear Lord, I thank You for heroes and neighbors. Thank You for being both Hero and Neighbor to me, showing Your great love that saved a sinner like me. Help me each day show that love to others, not just friends but enemies, as a hero or as a neighbor. In this way, may others come to know that great love for themselves and always call You, Friend! In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Stan Best
Training Manager, Apprentice School
Newport News Shipbuilding
Newport News, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “a Christian communicator”

June 21, 2017 – Wednesday

Reading
James 1:19(b) [NIV] be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry

Reflection
I’m a single mother raising two children, working full-time, and in graduate school at night. It’s not easy, believe me. Too often the stress builds up, and this can affect home, workplace, and classroom.

Scripture says communication is important. But communication through Christ is not the same as communication through secular means. It’s not a quid pro quo. It’s not trying to out debate someone. It doesn’t consist of shouting and angry outcries.

Scripture requires me to be a Christian communicator. This means I must show an obedience to listening when it comes to conversations with God. Being a Christian communicator means being slow to speak when it comes to seeing and understanding the needs of my children. Being a Christian communicator means I need to be real slow to anger, including when it comes to my workplace and classroom. Scripture gives a prescription for checking my emotions and freeing me from the bounds of my situation.

Are you under stress? Are you like me – a single parent, with a full-time job, and enrolled in night school? Sure, you are doing important things that will improve your family and advance your career. But are you a Christian communicator? Or are you willing to communicate just like everyone else in the secular world?

As you go to work today, think about what scripture says about communication. Listen well, then speak, and check your anger. Be a Christian communicator.

Prayer
Father, help me learn how to communicate by listening to You, my children, those in my workplace, and those in my classroom. Teach me how to measure my words so I can deflate my emotions. Help me to cope through these stressful times. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Veronica Gates
Special Project Officer IV
Office of Oral Health
Mississippi State Department of Health
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “serve Him and His people”

June 20, 2017 – Tuesday

Reading
Colossians 3:23 [GNT] Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.

Matthew 25:40 [GNT] The King will reply, ‘I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these followers of mine, you did it for me!’

Reflection
My friend works at a call center for a nonprofit agency. It’s important work and senior citizens receive help from her every day. Her supervisors are encouraging, and she gets along well with coworkers. But she is not happy with her job. She received a promotion within the last year, but no pay-raise. And she is growing tired of callers yelling at her if she cannot assist them. With the passing of each workday, my friend loses more motivation. To top it all off, she has applied for several jobs but has heard nothing back.

One of the worst things that can happen at work is to lose your motivation. Salary becomes the only driving force – but the less you make, the less motivation you have to do an excellent job. You start looking at the clock to see how much time is left before breaks, lunch, and going home. You stop looking at the clock to see how much time remains to help others as a Christian public servant.

Scripture teaches that our real boss is the Lord, and our real task is to serve Him and His people. You and I have no option but to obey Him, and so we must find ways to do this – either in the same job or in a new job.

If you are heading to work this morning without motivation to serve Him and His people with all your heart, think twice. You have no option – if you want true success in your current job or true success leading to another job – you must follow His word. Motivation comes not from salary or raise, and it doesn’t come from encouraging supervisors and friendly coworkers. It certainly does not come from grateful citizens. All these things help with motivation, but all these things can easily pass away before the hour to leave the office.

At work today, don’t serve for worldly reasons. Serve with all your heart. Obey scripture and serve Him and His people. You will find motivation – for this job and the next!

Prayer
Dear Lord, thank You for being my motivation at work. I promise to serve You and Your people throughout the day. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Brianna Gibson
Family Service
Hinds County Human Resources Agency
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “confident through the comfort abounding”

June 19, 2017 – Monday

Readings
Psalm 55:22 [NIV] Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

2 Corinthians 1:5 [NIV] For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

Reflection
A few months ago, a coworker became pregnant with a baby boy! How wonderful, I thought, since I knew her little daughter wanted a baby brother! This was a “high risk” pregnancy, and she eventually went on bed-rest – following every bit of her doctor’s orders. Most importantly, she was confident through the comfort abounding from our Lord.

Well, yesterday, terrible news arrived via social media. That precious newborn baby boy was delivered but quickly ascended back into heaven. I can’t stop crying, and my heart is broken for that lady who works across the hallway. Yet at the same time, her postings show grace and faith. While confessing only God knows why her son couldn’t stay, she remains confident through the comfort abounding from Him.

I don’t know about you, but today I will hold my kids a little tighter before going to work. When I return home, I will say “I love you” a little more than before. Yet I will not forget the faith shown by my coworker in her suffering. It’s true: only God knows the why of this world, including why babies and loved-ones are taken prematurely back to heaven. But whatever happens, I know I must cast my cares to the Lord for He will sustain me. Yes, today and always, I will be confident through the comfort abounding from our Lord.

Do you know a coworker in this kind of crisis, perhaps struggling to understand the way of our Lord? Or, is it you? Mourn in the loss, but pray for His grace that will certainly fall from the same heaven that takes away a loved-one. He will sustain you.

As you go to work today, remember only God knows the timing of life. And yet, like my friend at work, be certain about God. He sustains the righteous-in-suffering. You may not understand the “why” of God, but be confident through the comfort abounding from Him.

Prayer
Lord Jesus, please sustain me in my suffering, as You sustain all Your people. I trust Your ways, and I know Your comfort will abound. In Your precious name, I believe and I pray. Amen.

Maureen Bereznak
Research Analyst
Health Committee (R)
House Professional Licensure Committee (R)
State House of Representatives
State of Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania USA