The Christian Public Servant – “show someone the kindness of God”

September 29, 2017 – Friday

Reading
2 Samuel 9:3(b) [KJV] And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him?

Reflection
One day a brother talked to me about a correctional officer facing a big challenge in his life. His wife needed an operation, which would mean he would have to take care of her. He was worried about how he could do both – take care of his wife and be at work.

The brother and I went to the officer and told him we would be praying for him and his wife. We would be praying that the Lord would find some way to take care of his wife and for him to keep working. We told him that his fears are now with God, and he should not worry. Everything will work out.

Well, that officer’s face went from showing anxiety and fear to reflecting peace and joy. Knowing two men on Death Row would pray for him, and his wife, helped him put things into perspective. He and his wife would survive, and the Lord will take care of both – just as He takes care of my brother and me. Yes, he started reflecting peace and joy on his face.

Today at work, go out of your way to show someone the kindness of God. A coworker? Your boss? Someone you serve? Someone on the street on the way to or from work? Don’t worry, God will lead them to you – just as He led that correctional officer to two condemned men.

When you show someone the kindness of God, you feel His kindness in return. And you will be blessed!

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Open and clear my spiritual heart, eyes, and ears today so I can be bold to show Your kindness and build up peace and joy! Amen.

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

October 6 — Jimmy Davis, Jr.’s Birthday! — October 6 – This is a “Special Edition” of the Christian Public Servant.

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If you read the daily devotionals from The Christian Public Servant, you know that a man on death row — Jimmy Davis, Jr — writes the Friday devotional, and he has been doing so since 2013.

If you are blessed by Jimmy’s devotionals, perhaps you would want to send him a Birthday Card! He was born on October 6, 1970, and that means his birthday is NEXT FRIDAY.

Let me encourage you to send a card to Jimmy.

(1) In the upper-left hand corner of the envelope: place your FULL NAME and COMPLETE ADDRESS. (You may use any address — your home, your work, or your church — which ever makes you feel comfortable. But it must be a street address — not a P.O box number.) He will not get your letter/card if this information is not included.

(2) Make sure you write precisely Jimmy’s name, z-number, unit-number and address on the envelope. He will not get your letter/card if any information is incorrect or omitted. Below is what should be on your envelope:

Jimmy Davis, Jr.
Z-557 Unit N-10
Holman Correctional Facility
Holman 3700
Atmore, AL 36503-3700
USA  (if you are writing from another country)

(3) No gifts can be included in the envelope.

(4) STAMPS OK. This is not a DOC requirement. But Alabama inmates must purchase stamps, and most cannot afford it. So Alabama prison culture encourages the writer to include 2 stamps – one possibly to respond to you and the other possibly for the inmate to write to his family. (And, if you write from outside the USA, do not even bother enclosing stamps because Jimmy will not be able to use other-country stamps to write back.)

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at jslack0229@live.com.

Pax Christi, Jim Slack.

The Christian Public Servant – “regardless of circumstance”

not being with a child2

September 28, 2017 – Thursday

Reading
Proverbs 3:5-6 [KJV] Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Reflection
It’s a struggle working odd shifts at various stores just to keep the monthly bills paid. It’s also a struggle to go to graduate school in the evenings to further my education. To add to everything, I haven’t seen my son in 6 months because his mother and I do not see eye-to-eye anymore. Going to work, I fear my son thinks it’s his fault I’m not there. While at work, I’m always afraid my son thinks I do not love him.

Have you had a time in your life when you didn’t know how things would turn out? Wondering if you are going in the direction God intended instead of the way of your own selfish ambition? When the battle goes from flat ground to uphill with everything seemingly against you?

Scripture reminds us to trust in Him. Lean not on our own understanding. Acknowledge Him, and He will direct our paths.

So as I travel to work this morning, I praise God for He will enable me to pass all challenges in job, education, and, most importantly, in the life of my son. I will try not to worry because to worry is to lean on my own understanding – or lack of understanding.

As you go to work today, lean on Him because your circumstances do not define who you are. Do not turn your back on problems but instead face them head on. Someone is waiting on you to succeed – regardless of circumstance. In my case, it’s my son. Who is it in your case?

Today at work, lean on Him. Know that your circumstances do not define who you are. It’s His reality and love that define you. Trust in Him to direct your path – regardless of circumstance.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank You for both the good and bad placed before me. Keep Your arms around me, Lord, as I fight the good fight on so many fronts. Guide my actions to speak loud and clear that I am on Your path – regardless of circumstance . In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

Calvin Reed, Jr.
worker on various shifts
Vicksburg, Mississippi USA
and MPA candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “stillness…. quiet…. peace….”

peace1

September 27, 2017 – Wednesday

Reading
Job 3:26 [HCSB] I cannot relax or be still; I have no rest, for trouble comes.

Reflection
stillness…. quiet…. peace…. 

My heart longs for serenity yet I find I have no rest.

Budget cuts reduce staffing until everyone is working at least a job-and-a-half. Overtime – a requirement rather than a choice. Morale is low. Everyone is just – so – tired. The only comfort I have is the hope that my staff really sees me working as hard as they.

It feels absurd to suggest they or I should take time during the day for reflection when I know such precious time simply doesn’t exist. Leadership includes crisis management but, dear Lord, there must be more! I mean, it cannot only be a reactive process.

stillness…. quiet…. peace…. Insisting that these words become of integral value for today will help assure I have the focused-center to be a good administrator. Making these words become of integral value for my staff’s day will certainly help them tackle the impossible tasks I must lay before them.

And when I finally secure the resources they need to do their jobs, I will be mindful of their need for such things as time-off, real vacations, and even professional development!

But for today, I promise I will find each a few minutes of unexpected stillness…. quiet…. peace….

How about you? What integral values will help shape your workday? Stress? Anxiety? Fear? Or will you drape at least part of the workday in stillness…. quiet…. peace…. 

Prayer
Father, show me how to be still today – quiet and in peace – to allow You to transform me into who and what You call me to be. Help me learn not to borrow trouble and to be faithful to Your word. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Stephanie L. Bellar, Ph.D.
University of Central Arkansas
Conway, Arkansas USA

The Christian Public Servant – “better than the mighty”

September 26, 2017 – Tuesday

Reading
Proverbs 16:32 [KJV] He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

Reflection
I was better than the mighty today. Yes, sir – I always wanted to be, and today I was! No arrogance about it, just plain biblical truth. So as not to confuse you, let me explain.

I was in a planning meeting, and everyone wanted their idea or agenda to get funded. As you can imagine, this kind of meeting went on much longer than needed. The arrogance of some began rubbing on my last nerve. I wanted to shout, “make a decision!” But I did not. Instead, I prayed and thanked God for the many ways he has blessed me. I controlled my spirit; and that makes me, according to God’s word, mightier than one who “taketh a city.” Yes, in that planning meeting, I became better than the mighty!

Now, if you think I think I am somebody special, let me assure you – I am! Not because I was mighty today, but because a mighty God loved me so much and reached into my life. Jesus changed me, and the Holy Spirit gives me the strength to control my spirit. I am only better than the mighty when He is in control.

Today at work, what challenges face you? Who is driving you to the edge of losing control? Let God provide the calmness of His Spirit and make you better than the mighty.

Yes, on this workday, you can be somebody special because you have a mighty God who loves you and wants to reach into your life! So you, too, can be better than the mighty if He is in control.

Prayer
Thank You, heavenly Father, for the power of Your Spirit. Thank You for changing my heart and for giving me the strength to live according to Your word. Thank You for the mighty works You choose to perform through me throughout my workday. Use me for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Pastor Bill Dudley
Logistician
U.S. Department of Defense
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “do anything to help”

Two men in a car1

September 25, 2017 – Monday

Reading
James 2:14-17 [ESV] What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Reflection
A friend called today, stressed over his job situation. It’s beginning to have a negative impact on his family life. His current job does not pay enough, and he must spend a lot of time away from his three-year-old daughter and his wife. He’s trying to get a job in a neighboring state that would pay more, and give him more time with his family. He has an interview lined up for the following week, but does not have a car worthy of the trip.

As I listened, I began to wonder, “Can I do anything to help?” Of course, I would pray for my friend. Yet, the Spirit kept nudging me and tugging at my heart to do more. In fact, toward the end of the conversation, my friend asked if I could drive him next weekend to that neighboring state for the interview.

Now I don’t know about you, but my weekends are rather full. Taking an out-of-state trip would be inconvenient. But then I began to think of how that drive would not only help my friend, but also help his family. I could also share my faith and love for Christ. So, I said I would drive him.

Have you found yourself in the middle of a situation where the Spirit nudged you to act and do anything to help?

At work today, remember God puts you in the pathways of people who have a lot of burdens – citizens you serve, coworkers, and people you pass in the lobby. Quite often, they need someone who will do anything to help. Today, won’t you give of yourself and share your faith and love of the Lord by sharing your works? Today, won’t you do anything to help?

Prayer
Lord, thank You for always watching over me in dismayed times. Let me be Your hands and Your feet. Let me live my faith through Your action so I may fulfill the needs of others. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen!

William Waples
Investigator
Jackson Public Schools
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “try to please someone”

black & white4

September 22, 2017 – Friday

Reading
1 Corinthians 10:33 [NLT] I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.

Reflection
I have a friend in the free-world, someone I consider my brother. I don’t “just” mean a Christian brother, I mean we are as close as if we are brothers in the same worldly family. He is going through some big challenges at his workplace. He is not in trouble, but I sense worry in his letters, and I see fatigue on his face when he visits. He doesn’t talk about it much, probably concerned about burdening me. You see, he tries to please me and keep me at peace. He wants to do what is best for me.

In my letters in him, I now search for the very best scriptures, ones that will give my friend a special peace. And in those letters, I try to make him laugh a bit while assuring him God is with him. When he visits, I try to get him talking about sports or something that will make him laugh. I try to show him the humor God carries around.

And suddenly my friend realizes what I am doing. As he tries to please me, I am trying to please him! We are both doing the best for each other so that we both may be saved and continue our brotherly love in heaven.

At work today, try to please someone. Not in some worldly way, but in a godly way. Please for the right reasons – showing God’s love, protection, and grace. Doesn’t matter how long that person has claimed to be a Christian, he may not yet be truly saved. Please that person in ways that will save him by restoring faith in our Lord.

Yes, at work today, try to please someone. Who knows, that person may try to please you in return!

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. For so many years, my selfish attitude led me to have a very empty life. Then I gave my life to your Son, and I was born again with a new attitude. Father, help me please others in ways that please You. Give strength and confidence to do my best for others so that many will be saved. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “need your help”

need your help1

September 21, 2017 – Thursday

Reading
Deuteronomy 16:17 [NLT] All must give as they are able, according to the blessings given to them by the Lord your God.

Reflection
It’s that time again. The Christian Public Servant is dangerously close to running out of devotionals. We need your help.

Would you tithe to our Lord to write 1 one-page workplace devotional per month?

Would you tithe to Him to write 2 one-page workplace devotionals per month?

How about just 1 devotional, and let’s see where He takes you after that?

Don’t have anything to write about? You have a job, right? You have a career, right? In retirement? On vacation? Searching for a new job? Dealing with job problems?

Not a good writer? We have a tip sheet, showing how and what. We also edit to make sure your best comes out.

Below are the email addresses of the coeditors. Please contact one of the editors, and he/she will send you the tip-sheet.

We’ll never ask for a dime, but will you tithe your thoughts and experiences?

Give as you are able, and the blessings will be many!

We are dangerously close to running out.

And we need your help.

Prayer
Father, if it is Your will, let this ministry continue. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

The Co-Editors:
Kevin Cooney kjcjapan@gmail.com
Bill Dudley bbssongs@gmail.com
Tammy Peavy tammy.peavy@mid.ms.gov
Stephen Pincus spincus@nnva.gov
Jim Slack jslack0229@live.com
Greg Smith greg@kelsysarmy.org

The Christian Public Servant – “be strong and stay focused”

Gold & silver1

September 20, 2017 – Wednesday

Reading
Proverbs 16:16 [ESV] How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.

Reflection
Although you must go to work today to earn the “gold” necessary for survival, what is it that makes your work – your productive activity – worth living for? Is it money alone?

Fellowship with Jesus, coupled with one’s tangible mission in Christ for the Kingdom of God, brings the necessary love, peace, and joy from the Holy Spirit to make life more than hand-to-mouth. As you work today, be strong and stay focused. There is wisdom and understanding out there – His wisdom and His understanding – and they are more valuable than gold and silver.

So be strong and stay focused throughout this workday. After all, His return is closer today than it was yesterday! And all the gold and silver in your paycheck will not help.

Prayer
Lord, it is so easy to get confused over work and career. Gold and silver – a good salary – is needed. But You are needed more than money. Let me be strong and stay focused on You. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “go beat myself up”

beating yourself up1

September 19, 2017 – Wednesday

Reading
Psalm 130:3 [KJV] If You, Lord, kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive?

1 John 1:9 [KJV] If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Reflection
I did it again. I messed up. I gave into my flesh. I did what I knew was not Christ-like. I SINNED. There I said it. I admit it. I don’t know why I have trouble admitting it. I know, as a Christian, I am supposed to be the example. So because I think I need to be perfect, I’ll go beat myself up until I feel I have punished myself enough to feel like maybe Christ will now forgive me. Yet, Christ has never told me to go beat myself up in the process of forgiveness. He said I just need to confess it, and He will be faithful to forgive and remember no more.

So, why do I take something so easy and complicate it to where the result is that I go beat myself up? Maybe it’s because I don’t comprehend the depth of His love and forgiveness. I am thankful that He doesn’t keep a record of my sins; that he does forgive; and that I really do not have to go beat myself up. I just need to run to Him for forgiveness, receive His mercy and then, through the power of the Holy Spirit, set my sights again on pleasing Him.

What happened in your job, so far this week, that makes you say “I need to go beat myself up?” Maybe you got mad at a coworker and said the wrong thing. Maybe you were short with a citizen you serve. Maybe you slacked off on your responsibilities. If you’re like me, you could make a list of things that you messed up as you aim at perfection.

However, there is only one person who achieved perfection. Thankfully, because He did achieve perfection, He relieved you of having to achieve perfection. So you don’t need to murmur “I need to go beat myself up.” You just need to go to Him for forgiveness, and then receive His wisdom and strength to do better in the future.

Something to think about as you go to work this morning.

Prayer
Father, I am so thankful You do not remember my sins, but You provide mercy and strength for me to overcome them. So this workday, Father, forgive me for my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me, and lead me not into temptation but deliver me from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and glory forever. Amen.

Pastor Bill Dudley
Logistician
U.S. Department of Defense
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA