The Christian Public Servant – “a good spiritual house cleaning”

house cleaning1

May 31, 2018 – Thursday

Reading

Psalms 51:10-12 [NLT] Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.

Reflection

At lunch yesterday, a couple of coworkers and I talked about our respective lives when we are away work. Each one of us wants to improve our relationships with God. One coworker stated the obvious: the closer she gets to God, the harder things become in her life. The others agreed. Throughout the conversation, it was clear we were trying to hold on to some things of the world, and yet get back to where we once were spiritually.

I shared a scripture passage about the importance of a clean heart. We should offer Him our best and ensure our house (heart) is clean. God will renew our spirits when we welcome Him into our clean heart.

When you take a stand for God, and try to return to Him, the enemy attacks you even harder. So sometimes you must work on a good spiritual house cleaning of the heart. When you do this, He will come in. When He comes, He cleanses you with His righteousness and restores you. All He asks is that you be willing to accept Him.

Well, we didn’t settle everything at lunch, but the afternoon seemed brighter. More hopeful. We all went back to work knowing it was time for a good spiritual house cleaning of the heart.

How about you and your coworker friends? Is it not time for a good spiritual house cleaning?

Prayer

Dear Lord, thank You for Your grace and Your renewing spirit. Guide me so I can continue to grow closer to You. Help me share Your love with coworkers. Create in me a new heart and, with it, may I help others at work also find a new heart. I ask all these things in Your name, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Courtland Green
Accountant/Auditor III
Mississippi Department of Human Services
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi, USA

The Christian Public Servant – “unafraid to fish”

not afraid1

May 30, 2018 – Wednesday

Reading

Luke 5:10(b) [NLT] Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!”

Reflection

My husband and I just completed training to be a Family-Teaching Couple for a faith-based organization that works with at-risk youth. We’ll take care of about eight preteen and teenage girls who have witnessed the horrors of life in this world. Even before we got married, my husband and I asked God to use us to do His will on earth — to be a force of goodwill and an agent of change. He answered our prayers, and now we are unafraid to fish for those who have had their childhood and innocence taken away from them. We remain unafraid to fish for those who have been robbed of love, care, and an opportunity to learn. We will help them find redemption and renewed faith in what is to come.

Scripture reminds us that we all must be unafraid to fish for those who need help. Scripture does not say we can ignore them, nor does it permit us to neglect them.

You don’t have to be missionaries like my husband and me. You can fish in your own workplace or in the area surrounding your building. And there is nothing more blessing than to serve our Lord as you serve others!

Today, when you head to work, go with a renewed spirit. Know that, in whatever you do, God awards you the ability and courage to be unafraid to fish for those in need.

At work, or perhaps on a work break, help someone. And do so with the fire and zeal of Jesus. Speak with His words and actions, and know you make a difference in the life of someone else.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for this opportunity to do Your work here on Your earth. Keep me unafraid to fish for those who need help and, in doing so, always glorify God. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

MeShel M.J Bussey, MPA
Urban Missionary
USA

The Christian Public Servant – “distracted from things that really matter”

 

being distracted3

May 29, 2018 – Tuesday

Reading

Luke 10:38-42 (NIV) As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Reflection

Do you ever “get into the groove,” or get “dialed in,” when you are at work? I know I do. At times, I am so focused – heavily involved in my work – that I become oblivious to my surroundings.

You see, my duties require the use of several different computer software systems. At any given moment, I’m toggling between multiple systems with a high level of concentration. Yet in a second’s notice, the rhythm of my day can be interrupted by a client, coworker, or another agency.

Sound familiar?

As Christian public servants, you and I are supposed to be diligent in performing our job duties. However, staying busy in and of itself can cause us to become distracted from things that really matter. We may not notice opportunities to serve Christ by serving others.

Our Lords wants you and me not only to listen and learn from His Word, but also to be His people of action. When we are too mentally busy, we may fall into the trap of being distracted from things that really matter. We may miss the opportunity to share Christ’s love through helping someone else.

As you begin your job today, even though you may have to really concentrate to get the tasks accomplished, stay mindful that someone else might need you, too. Don’t become distracted from things that really matter.

By being open to other’s needs, you will be able to choose what is better.

Prayer

Father God, I come knowing that I am imperfect. Yet, You are my teacher. I strive to stay productive, but I need Your help to remain balanced. Please allow me to become better at being Your servant, learner, and steward of Your ways so that I may serve others in their time of need. In Your Son Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!

Erica Everette, MPA
Eligibility Review Analyst
Department of Medical Assistance Services
State of Virginia
Richmond, Virginia USA

 

The Christian Public Servant – “fish for people”

fishing for people1

May 28, 2018 – Monday

Reading

Luke 5:10(b) [NLT] Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!”

Reflection

With faith in God, once again we are running out of devotionals. The Christian Public Servant is a ministry that serves our Lord strictly through the efforts of volunteers writing devotionals. So please, help us fish for people!

We will never ask for financial tithing, but we ask for a monthly tithing of devotionals.

If you are led to write a workplace devotional, please contact one of the co-editors. You will receive a tip-sheet on how to write a devotional for The Christian Public Servant.

We are running out of devotionals. Please help us fish for people!

Don’t be afraid.

Prayer

Father, if it is Your will that this ministry continues, we pray for volunteers to send devotionals. We seek to follow You and fish for people. 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 scpincus@gmail.com
Jim Slack jslack0229@live.com

The Christian Public Servant – “the Peace of God”

 

IMG_3711

May 25, 2018 – Friday

Reading

Hebrews 13:20-21 [KJV] Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Reflection

I have a confession to make, and I know Jesus will walk me through this. I can receive visitors just twice a month, the first two Fridays of the month, each time for about four hours. In the past 24 years, only one person visits – he started about three years ago, and now my girlfriend sometimes rides with him. But each visitation day, I lose the Peace of God. I start focusing on all that might go wrong. Will my friend get sick? Will his car break down? Will traffic make him miss the time deadline to get in the prison? Will my girlfriend’s grandchildren need her on the visitation day? Will a lock-down keep everyone from visiting on that day?

Even though I pray about it, I lose focus and I’m not prepared for what God wants me to do that will be well-pleasing in His sight. I know what scripture says. Yes, the Peace of God is there to help you and me stay prepared to carry out every good work God plans for us to do.

But sometimes it is hard to stay focused and prepare for His needs, not mine. And before the start of visitation is my weakest time.

Today, as you finish your work-week, allow the Peace of God to help you stay prepared to do every good work. In this way, others will experience His love and presence before they go home and start the weekend.

Prayer

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for offering me a peace that surpasses all understanding. Give me strength to accept Your peace so I can do every good work for Your Kingdom. 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 – “love and do good”

love and do good3

May 24, 2018 – Thursday

Reading

Luke 6:27(b) [ESV] Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.

Reflection

My family and I are dealing with so much. A cousin was shot coming home from work, and we learned yesterday he will not make it. Saying goodbye is always hard, but it’s easier if you have made peace. So, my cousin began apologizing to his children and wife, and other family members, for making many mistakes and not “being there” on too many occasions. Although he couldn’t make up for lost time, he wanted a clean slate. He wanted to strengthen weakened relationships. This tragedy has been a hard pill to swallow, but it just goes to show that you never know when it’s your time.

The scripture tells us to love and do good. This is Jesus’ commandment to you and me. This includes our enemies and those with whom we are not “right.” Not just those in our families, but those in all areas of our lives – including at work. It includes those who have hurt us, and those whom we try to hurt in return. As Jesus reminds, it is too easy to get caught up in our feelings and forget we all make mistakes.

Is there a coworker who is mean or unpleasant? Someone who constantly keeps the drama dial on high? The one who makes so much trouble, you try to stay clear? Perhaps a former work-friend who wronged you about something – and now that friendship is past?

Today at work, greet that person with a pure heart of forgiveness. Show love and do good. Know you cannot move on until you forgive – even if no apology to you is forthcoming and no forgiveness for her is desired. Do not worry about things like that. After all, it is your workday (and your life) that is at stake.

Travelling to work today, realize you don’t know when your time is up. Follow Jesus’ commandment: love and do good. Period.

Prayer

Dear Lord, instill in me the desire to forgive. Lend me Your strength to let go of wrongs in the past that still have me emotionally shackled. At work today, let me love and do good. Let me heal and be healed. I ask this in Your name. Amen.

Tabitha Ammons
Jackson Public Schools
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “calm throughout the storm”

not working1

 

May 23, 2018 – Wednesday

Reading

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

Reflection

Last week, my work unit was slammed with back-logged tasks. 1,500 tasks to be exact, and all had to be completed by the end of the week. I was a total mess, frustrated and fed up because a few coworkers did not take their share of tasks to complete. Once I saw them not caring about getting work done, it started a chain reaction with me and the other coworkers who did take the responsibility seriously.

At lunchbreak, several of us Christians got together and read scripture. We were reminded that, through God, we can remain calm. He will remove our anxiety with His confidence. We prayed together, as the work unit’s Body of Christ, and started to feel the Holy Spirit calm us down. Before the end of lunch, we were ready to make our target despite what the others might have in mind. And even though we had to pick up their slack, we completed all 1,500 tasks by the end of the week.

Next time you become flustered at work, just remember God will keep you calm throughout the storm. He has your back no matter the circumstances – no matter the storm.

Prayer

Dear Lord, keep me calm in the face of chaos. Give me strength and confidence to make it throughout this work day. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Nawassie Long,
MPA candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “death’s grip at any moment”

police1

May 22, 2018 – Tuesday

Reading

Psalm 27:1 [KJV] The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Reflection

Recently, a coworker was involved in a deadly confrontation that many in law enforcement pray we will never face. It was a “routine” traffic stop that turned deadly in a matter of minutes. The situation was so dire and the odds seemingly insurmountable, the officer was seconds away from losing his life if God had not interceded. God’s saving grace turned the tide in favor of the officer, and he slipped through death’s grip unharmed.

I accept that my job puts me in harm’s way – every day I face death’s grip at any moment – on duty and off. It is an occupational hazard, but it does not change the fact, like every officer, I experience the same anxieties that other public servants face but sometimes on a greater scale.

There is, however, a silver lining. The key to preparing for the unknown is seeking comfort in the knowledge that God is a very present help in times of trouble. Ultimately this is what scripture teaches us. His grace is sufficient. It was for my coworker, and it is for you and me. So, of whom shall we be afraid?

Your workplace may differ from mine. Nevertheless, you too face death’s grip at any moment. It may come from a health condition more so than a threat from a stranger. But it is real. So, don’t let this workday go by without giving Him thanks. Do so as you wake up, as you go to work, during work, and as you come home from work.

Yes, on this workday, give Him thanks. Ask Him for the grace to make it through the day, and the strength to deal with whatever troubles you may encounter. Ask Him to be with you because, like me, you too face death’s grip at any moment. Yet with Him, what do you have to fear?

Prayer

Gracious Father, I know You are a God of grace and mercy, and that You provide protection for Your children. Your word gives me comfort in my work, knowing You will be with me through whatever troubles I face today – whatever trap the Enemy sets before me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Duane E. Odom
Sergeant
Robbery and Homicide Unit
Jackson Police Department,
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “motives behind actions”

black & white4

May 21, 2018 – Monday

Reading

Mark 9:38-41 [NIV] “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.”

Reflection

Every now and then, I get to serve at a spiritual retreat. It’s one of the few times I feel I am doing what the Lord wants as I become a living sacrifice poured out for the sake of others. I spend weeks with the team preparing to ensure everything goes well so the participants experience the love of God in a new and exciting way.

After a recent retreat, accusations were expressed that the team had sown seeds of discord in God’s Kingdom. I would not worry so much if this complaint was leveled at me alone, but I feared the unchallenged accusation would hurt this very worthwhile ministry. I wanted to defend.

While scripture shows the disciples had that same concern, it also shows that actions need not be defended. Jesus told them that motives behind actions count. God can use whatever we do, regardless of how poorly we do it, to reach others for His purposes. We therefore should be very careful before criticizing others who are also working for His Kingdom. When motives behind actions are true to serving Him, then those people are with us.

You don’t have to be at a Christian retreat for such criticism to occur. Even at work, one Christian’s actions may start other Christians to question and criticize. Poor advice given to a coworker. A bad breakroom conversation. A sour meeting about budgets or personnel. After-work parties. However, if the motive is true, the actions require no defense.

Today at work, do not get in the way of other Christians. Never stop what He would want them to do – regardless of how the actions are perceived. Remember, when motives behind actions are true to Him, let them serve that cup of water in His name.

Prayer

Dear Lord, help me think before I speak about what others are doing for Your Kingdom. At work today, let me see with Your eyes how they are helping You in Your ministry. Prevent me from becoming an obstacle in what they are doing. In Your precious name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “all yesterday is dead”

All yesterday is dead2

May 18, 2018 – Friday

Reading

Romans 4:19(a) [NKJV] And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead

Psalm 118:24 [NKJV] This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Reflection

I was raised by a single mom. I was abused growing up. I only met my father once, and I found him dead. I lost my only child before birth, due to a miscarriage. I have been given-up on – many times and by many people. I have been in prison more years than I was in the free-world. For the past 24 years, my home and workplace is death row.

You know pain. Not just physical pain, but the pain of memory. While my circumstances might be different than yours, the pain of the past is not. But for me, I never take my past into account. Since I found Christ, death row changed to Life Row – and all yesterday is dead.

Scripture reminds us, like Abraham, faith determines who we are and what we can do. Having Abraham’s faith means we don’t consider the past in obeying God today. He creates this day for you and me – regardless of past sins now forgiven – and all yesterday is dead.

As you go to work today, decide not to let the considerations of the past control who you are or what you do. Your childhood troubles are dead. The troubles of this week are dead. All fights and disputes are dead. When you get out of your car, don’t bring the troubled past into your building – because all yesterday is dead.

Throughout this workday, do not be weak in faith. Do not let the memories of the past turn you from God. It is a new day. His day. And all yesterday is dead. Rejoice and be glad in it.

Prayer

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. My faith in Your love and grace renews me so my past does not dictate who I am and what I do today. Only You control my day, for the old me is long dead. I have faith. I rejoice. I am glad. Amen.

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

Jimmy Davis, Jr.8