The Christian Public Servant – “when the Enemy comes to work”

Satan at work1

December 29, 2017 – Friday

Reading

Romans 12:21 [NLT] Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Reflection

This has been a bad week, but any week is bad when the Enemy comes to work.

It began on Monday, with a correctional officer accusing me of valuing my visitation time more than a brother’s life in here. That correctional officer thought it would be better for me to stay with that brother instead of going to the yard to visit with my friend. (I do not blame this officer, for he is not evil. He probably thought he was doing his job.) On Tuesday, the Enemy came back and tried to block my ministry as I worked the hall! On Wednesday, the Enemy tried to destroy my confidence as I prepared to preach the word of Jesus in our church. On Thursday, it seemed the Enemy placed everything in my way to keep me from doing the Lord’s work. Again, I don’t blame anyone. People sometimes let evil conquer them, and it sometimes happens to me – when the Enemy comes to work.

Is it true where you work? Have you had bad weeks like this? Is it difficult to do good when the Enemy comes to work?

Scripture tells both of us that we need to conquer evil with good, and not the other way around. We need to take a deep breath and not let the Enemy win. It is not the supervisor who is evil, it is not that correctional officer who is evil, but it is too easy to let evil temporarily conquer good people.

At work today, join me in conquering evil with good. Do not react to evil with evil. Do not show anger in response to anger. And when the Enemy comes to work, conquer him with good!

Next week, let’s be better prepared to conquer evil with good!

Prayer

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for helping do good in Your work, especially when the Enemy comes to work. Keep me prepared. 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 – “as a New Year’s resolution”

December 28, 2017 – Thursday

Reading

Matthew 4:19(b) [NIV] and I will send you out to fish for people.

Reflection

Perhaps as a New Year’s resolution, won’t you commit to writing one devotional each month?

The Christian Public Servant is running out of devotionals. This ministry will have to shut down without your help.

If you are led to write a workplace devotional, please contact me at jslack0229@live.com.

I will send you a tip-sheet on how to write one. It is easy, and I do edit proactively so you “look your best” and to facilitate the Holy Spirit using your devotional for His work.

So as a New Year’s resolution, won’t you commit to writing one devotional each month?

Prayer

Father, if it is Your will that this ministry continues, let volunteers send devotionals. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Jim Slack jslack0229@live.com

The Christian Public Servant – “conduct business with justice”

justice1

December 27, 2017 – Wednesday

Reading

Psalm 112:5 [NIV] Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.

Reflection

You’d think the Christmas spirit would continue for at least a week, but yesterday at work it did not. I phoned a claims client and, after I identified myself and the purpose of the call, the man on the other end started to use profane language and made racists comments. I asked him several times not to speak at me with such words, but he wouldn’t stop. I decided to let him continue, just to complete the call, but profanity and racism kept coming.

Before I hung up, I decided to bring God into the conversation. I reminded him that, while we may be of different races, we are created by the same Father. While we may be of different color, we both are made in His image. I told him that scripture calls for all believers – including him and me – to conduct business with justice. I explained this is why I did not hang up.

Well, the man calmed down and apologized. He confessed he was a Christian, but obviously not that day. He talked about the frustration in his day, but did so with much more respect towards me and his God. As he said goodbye, he told me how ashamed he was and those ugly words would never again leave his mouth.

God expects you and me to conduct business with justice. I know it’s difficult because there are many who want nothing more than to spew the venom of injustice. A few mean it, and others are just angry. Still, God is clear on how we are to react.

Christmas may be over in the hearts of some, but it should not be over in your heart. Today at work, follow Christ and conduct business with justice. Do this even when confronted with the angry, the profane, and the racist. No matter who, conduct business with justice. And know good will come of it when you do!

Prayer

Dear God, guide me each day to conduct business with justice regardless of who I am serving. And surely good will come of it when I do! In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Renata Rankin
Disability Adjudicator
Mississippi Department of Human Services
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “a miraculous event”

workplace gifts1

December 26, 2017 – Tuesday

Reading

Psalm 139:14(a) [NIV] I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Romans 12:6(a) [NIV] We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

Reflection

Too often, I go to work just to earn a salary. Nothing wrong with that, and that’s why I went to graduate school. I need money to support family and church, as well as to do both good and selfish things on the weekend. And so, I go back to work each day to earn more money.

Sometimes, however, I forget to look around at how God transforms His gifts. For instance, He uses my gift of gab to make me a better negotiator. He turns your gift of explanation into a gift of training. Or, a gift of detail into a gift for documentation. He may use one’s gift for organization as a gift of management. His gift of love may lead someone to be a better team-builder, and His gift of compassion may make another a better listener to the citizens being served.

There are countless ways that God wants to apply His gifts in our work. And each time we notice how He’s doing that, the job becomes more than just a means to an end. Each work task becomes a miraculous event.

Today, watch how God is making you wonderfully – even at work! Salary, sure. But watch how He uses the gifts He’s given you to make each work task a miraculous event.

Prayer

Father God, thank You for the gifts You give me. Let me use each, not just at home or in church, but at work – to fulfill Your work in my life and Your glory in my workplace. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Erica Everette, MPA
Healthcare Compliance Specialist II
Medical Assistance Services
Commonwealth of Virginia
Richmond, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “be filled with the knowledge of the LORD”

baby Jesus2

December 25, 2017 – Monday

Reading

Isaiah 11:1-9 [NIV] A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling[a] together;
and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

Reflection & Prayer

Whether you are working today, or with family today, be filled with the knowledge of the LORD!

YES, be filled with the knowledge of the LORD!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Amen & Amen & Amen!

The Christian Public Servant – “the greatest gift ever”

Jimmy Davis Christmas picture

December 22, 2018 – Friday

Reading

Matthew 2:19-23 [MSG] Later, when Herod died, God’s angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt: “Up, take the child and his mother and return to Israel. All those out to murder the child are dead.” Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother, and reentered Israel. When he heard, though, that Archelaus had succeeded his father, Herod, as king in Judea, he was afraid to go there. But then Joseph was directed in a dream to go to the hills of Galilee. On arrival, he settled in the village of Nazareth. This move was a fulfillment of the prophetic words, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Reflection

I got the greatest gift ever in all the Christmases of my life! You see, I came to prison at the age of 23 and now I am 47. I have spent more of my life in a 5’x8’ cell than in the free-world. But that is a blessing!

Like Joseph hid Jesus to save His life from Herod and Archelaus, Jesus has hidden me from the Enemy here for 24 years. He has hidden me so well, that death row changed into Life Row. And like Joseph was faithful to Jesus, Jesus is faithful to me. He has hidden me to show His gift of love, peace, and joy – this Christmas and each day of the year!

And this is the greatest gift ever!

In your life, in your work, and in your family, Jesus wants to hide you from the Enemy. He wants to hide you with His gift of love, peace, and joy. He wants to hide you from your own “death row” and turn it into His Life Row. Wherever you are, whatever you do, He wants to hide you from the Enemy because He loves you.

So you, too, can have the greatest gift ever! Let Him hide you. He is faithful!

Merry Christmas, hidden one! Merry Christmas!

Prayer

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for hiding me in Your Son! Thank You for hiding me so I might enjoy life and live life abundantly. Thank you for the greatest gift ever! Let me share it with one and all. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “the Hope of all hope”

Jesus within2

December 21, 2017 – Thursday

Reading

Colossians 1:27 [ESV] To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Reflection

You and I worry about the economy. Don’t we? Job security. Stock markets. Pensions. Industries long on going and short on coming. New and old taxes. Healthcare. The kids’ college. The mortgage. If you are my age or a little older, you might think back on a simpler time when the economy caused less stress. If you are much older, you remember the economy falling apart and your parents losing everything.

As we sit and worry, I have two questions for you. In the economy of God, how rich is rich? In our economy, is hope worth much?

Without hope, most people find no reason to live. It is in the inner power that gives people all sorts of good emotions and rationale to keep moving. Hope gives power to purposeful living.

Scripture reminds us that the Hope of all hope lives inside us – the hope of glory, Jesus. Believers who know this accept the responsibility of living and sharing that hope so others might feel the glorious life-giving hope, Jesus, inside of them.

Yes, money issues may cause worry, and pay uncertainty will mean sleepless nights. These are real problems that must be remedied. But as you go to work today, have faith more than worry. How rich is rich? Very, if richness dwells in the economy of God. Is hope worth much? Yes, if it is based on the Hope of all hope. That Hope Glory resides within.

At work today, fan the flame within you – the Hope of all hope. Live it and share it with all.

Prayer

Father, work is tiring and the earthly rewards of security and loyalty and money seem to be less than before. I place my faith in Your economy. Let the Hope of all hope live within me, and let me share it with worried coworkers. In Your Son, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “this falsely accused Savior”

death row1

December 20, 2017 – Wednesday

Reading

Romans 6:23 [NIV] For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 3:16(a) [NIV] For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son

Reflection

Driving into work today, the radio station advertised a lawyer who pursues justice for those falsely accused of a crime. Probably all lawyers do that, but I started wondering about being accused of a horrendous crime I never committed. Even worse, what if the punishment was death? Can you imagine having to give up your life for something you never did?

As this scenario circulated in my head, I began thinking about Christ. Isn’t that what Jesus did for me? Yes, this falsely accused Savior went to the cross to pay for my sins.

As Christian public servants, our hearts should always be filled with thanksgiving for what this falsely accused Savior did. The result of his act should impact our hearts in everything we do in our workplaces. It should radiate outwards to coworkers and the citizens we serve, and it should motivate us to look for His purpose in every work-task throughout the day. Being thankful for this falsely accused Savior should remind us of our dependence on Him when things at work fall apart, and it should bring about a sense of godliness because of His constant presence and work in our lives.

Oh, I know it’s the Advent season and all thoughts are on His birth. But even though you see Christmas lights on all the streets and houses, do not forget He paid the ultimate price of His life for your life – for your eternal life.

So, as you drive to work today, take with you a thankful heart for this falsely accused Savior.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, I pray today with a thankful heart! Thank You for loving me so much – despite my failings – that you accepted Your death for mine. Thank You for surrounding me – including in my workplace – with Your everlasting love. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Angela Arbitter, MPA
International Justice Mission
Gulu, Uganda

The Christian Public Servant – “get ready to be prepared”

walking through the door2Walking through the door1

December 19, 2017 – Tuesday

Reading

Jeremiah 29:11 [NIV] “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Isaiah 41:10 [NIV] So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Reflection

Last Sunday, my pastor asked me to be a substitute team-leader for one of the worship services next week. While I serve on the worship team, I have never asked to take a leading role. I thought, doesn’t my pastor know I’m shy? She must see I’m the quiet type who never volunteers for anything that brings the spotlight. Even at work, I never volunteer to lead anything. I help, but I never think of leading.

So why is my pastor asking this of me? And that service next Sunday just happens fall on Christmas Eve! And a candle-light service, to boot! So why me?

My initial response was a polite “no.” But then I felt God’s hand on my shoulder. He reminded me that He has plans for me – great plans – and He wants me to prepare. He assured me that He would be with me. He told me not to fear.

I don’t know what His plans are for me, but I do know they include some training in my church. So before long, I found my pastor and said “yes.” And I will try to learn as much as I can to get ready to be prepared for the next step in His plans.

Today at work, or anywhere, He may call you to reach outside your comfort zone. Do not fear. He is with you, and what you do is part of His plan. There is a connection between leadership anywhere, for His sake, and leadership everywhere, for His sake.

So, get ready to be prepared! He does have a plan!

Prayer

Father, prepare me to be the leader You want me to be. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “nothing but that ridiculous employee handbook”

December 18, 2017 – Monday

Reading

1 John 3:24 [NIV] The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Reflection

Ah, the employee handbook. While much of it makes sense and is absolutely needed, there’s always those quirky one-size-fits-all standards that makes you wonder who messed up so badly to necessitate a policy “like that.” And some expectations seem so outdated – especially in the age of electronics, emails, and the internet – that you wonder why on earth should they be followed? And then there’s the occasional supervisor who doesn’t seem to understand a standard yet feels the need to implement it according to her misguided assumptions. And you start to judge, that supervisor’s an idiot. You think, the handbook is stupid. Oh, on some days it’s easy to find nothing but that ridiculous employee handbook hampering your way.

Even in the workplace, scripture reminds us that obedience to God always comes first. Follow Him and trust in His word – even when you have nothing but that ridiculous employee handbook sitting on your desk and halting your productivity. And when you do obey Him, everything else will not seem as bad or pointless. Before you know it, He will help in finding a way to clear the clutter that stays your work.

Yes, somedays you will see nothing but that ridiculous employee handbook, and its poor implementation. But as a Christian public servant, your faithfulness to Him will help you through the mess.

Today at work, stay calm and obey Him. He lives in you, so respond by the Spirit He gives you – even when all you have is nothing but that ridiculous employee handbook!

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I will strive to obey You. Keep me strong through those ridiculously challenging times that may arise at work today. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

Meredith Pulsford, MPA
Operations Officer
Norfolk Police Department
Norfolk, Virginia USA