The Christian Public Servant – “in the darkness of bigotry”

 

darkness of bigotry1

June 13, 2018 – Wednesday

Reading

Luke 6:27(a) [NIV] But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies

1 John 2:11 [NIV] But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

Reflection

I’ve heard about racism, but I never dealt with it. That is, until I took this job. One day a coworker remarked in the breakroom, “She gets away with everything because she’s black.” On another day in the parking lot, someone announced, “Don’t expect a promotion if you’re white.”

I was shocked to hear all this, and more. When I asked if such remarks are reported, a coworker apologetically said it would be a waste of time since racism is overlooked.

Scripture tells us to treat everyone the same. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Instead of putting down others for their skin color, how they dress, or anything else, we are to love each other – including our enemy. We are not to walk in the darkness of bigotry.

Does racism appear in your workplace? Anger? Tribalism? Desire to get even? Are there sounds of walking in the darkness of bigotry?

Today at work, don’t’ let that darkness blind you. Love all, including those you do not like.

Or, are you not listening to Him?

Prayer

Lord, provide me with knowledge and wisdom to handle racism in my workplace. Teach me to treat others as You treat me. Help me shine Your light on those walking in the darkness of bigotry. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Elizabeth Riddle
MPA candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “impart grace to the hearers”

gossiping in a breakroom1

June,12, 2018 – Tuesday

Reading

Ephesians 4:29 [NKJV] Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Reflection

Sitting in the breakroom, a coworker cursed and told a story about someone in another department. It was not the first time that day I heard vulgar words and rumors. After all, gossip is the common language at my workplace, and crude conversation is the currency that drives the breakroom. Dirty jokes seem just the frosting on the cake.

Scripture reminds us to keep corrupt words from pouring out of our months. We are to say nothing that does not impart grace to the hearers.

Does this happen where you work? Do people have few filters and say whatever comes to mind? Keeping your mouth free from corruption is no easy task, but it is necessary if your words will be uplifting to those within earshot.

Today at work, join me in taking a stand against gossip, dirty jokes, and vulgar language. Like mine, your employee handbook probably has rules against that kind of talk. Have courage to use the handbook. But even more importantly, have courage to be a Christian at work. Find ways to show others how to impart grace to the hearers. Find ways to frown upon anything less.

Prayer

Father, thank You for watching my words. By Your spirit, help me avoid the temptation to participate in conversations that are not upbuilding to those who are listening. At work today, may my words be gracious, good, and edifying. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Courtney Payton
Director of Student Finance
Hattiesburg, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “in His due time”

In His due time1
June 11, 2018 – Monday

Readings 

1 Peter 5:6 [NIV] Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

Reflection 

Last month I applied for a supervisor’s position where I work. I thought my record was sufficient and, frankly, I knew I was more qualified than another coworker applying for the job. So, I asked God to give me the job. A few weeks later, I found out I was not selected for the position. That other coworker, with less experience than me, got the job. And I was disappointed.

Scripture reminds us to trust in God’s mighty hand. We are to humble ourselves and know He will choose the time to lift us up. As hard as it is to bear, it will happen in His due time, not yours or mine.

Have you ever been turned down for a promotion or a new job? I know, it hurts.

At work today, humble yourself. Trust He may lift you today, or perhaps tomorrow. Understand hard work will lead to being lifted – just not in your time, but in His due time.

Prayer 

Lord, thank You for leading me in Your will. I wait humbly for Your time, not mine. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Marleigha Evans 
MPA Candidate 
Belhaven University 
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “in His due time”

In His due time1
June 11, 2018 – Monday

Readings 

1 Peter 5:6 [NIV] Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

Reflection 

Last month I applied for a supervisor’s position where I work. I thought my record was sufficient and, frankly, I knew I was more qualified than another coworker applying for the job. So, I asked God to give me the job. A few weeks later, I found out I was not selected for the position. That other coworker, with less experience than me, got the job. And I was disappointed.

Scripture reminds us to trust in God’s mighty hand. We are to humble ourselves and know He will choose the time to lift us up. As hard as it is to bear, it will happen in His due time, not yours or mine.

Have you ever been turned down for a promotion or a new job? I know, it hurts.

At work today, humble yourself. Trust He may lift you today, or perhaps tomorrow. Understand hard work will lead to being lifted – just not in your time, but in His due time.

Prayer 

Lord, thank You for leading me in Your will. I wait humbly for Your time, not mine. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Marleigha Evans 
MPA Candidate 
Belhaven University 
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – SUICIDE – “speak from the heart”

suicide1

June 8, 2018 – Friday

Reading

2 Samuel 17: 23 [NIV] When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father’s tomb.

Matthew 12:34 [NIV] You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Reflection

A brother committed suicide. He waited for the weekend because fewer correctional officers were on duty. He waited until the brothers in cells around him were asleep. He waited just long enough before the 2 am pill call so a correctional officer would find his body before the rest of us awoke. He did not have enough room to hang with his feet off the floor. He must have tied the bed sheet to the bars and leaned forward so eventually he suffocated from his own pressure against his throat.

He was a member of our Life Row church, and he mentioned to several brothers he wanted to kill himself. Having been on death row for 23 years, he was tired and had lost hope. And no one helped him. We were caught up in ourselves. We did not listen. We chose not to speak from the heart. And we are all saddened and ashamed.

Scripture talks about suicide and lost hope. Yet Christ reminds you and me not to be caught up in ourselves. He reminds us, good must come from us – if we are not to be a brood of vipers. Jesus teaches, whatever comes out of our mouths reflects what is in our heart. And when nothing comes out of our mouths, that also reflects what is in our hearts.

Today at work, listen to the heart of those who come into your life. God sends so many people your way. Loved-ones and friends before and after work. Strangers along your way to and from work. People at lunchtime. Coworkers. Those you serve. Do you hear soul-drenching tiredness? Do you hear bone-deep lost hope? Do you hear the word “suicide” or wanting to “end it all?” Will you be so busy not to speak from the heart?

On this day, listen. See with spiritual eyes. And speak from the heart. Let only good come out of your mouth.

Prayer

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Keep me focused on what the heart of another says. Help me speak from the heart You placed in me. Let only good come out of my mouth. I want to help anyone overcome wrong thoughts. 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 – “the good within”

pre-school1

June 7, 2018 – Thursday

Reading

Philippians 1:6 [NLT] And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Reflection

I lost my mother when I was a child, and my father has been in prison most of my life. So, I am called to give service to children. I see in so many pre-school kids the results of a lack of love, no affection, and little positive attention. No matter how many times parents disappoint me or give me problems, I look to their children and smile. I know the good within me is being taught to them, and they make it all worth it. I am prayerful that my good will help build the good within them. I am, therefore, encouraged to enjoy my job and find new ways of teaching these babies.

As scripture reminds us, God put the good within us to be His servant to all. His work will not stop and neither should ours. The good is our purpose, as chosen by God, and how we deliver it is our choice in following His way.

During this workday, remember to use the good within you to help others through your work. Do not let others interfere with your purpose. For today, God is working the good within you!

Prayer

Father God, I pray the love You have bestowed upon me reflects in a way I can spread it to others. Only You know my purpose, continue to help me show it. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Renetra S. Carter
Preschool teacher
Mary C. Jones Head Start Program
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “a positive example to the flock”

micromanaging supervisor1

June 6, 2018 – Wednesday

Reading

1 Peter 5:3 [ESV] Not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

Matthew 5:16(b) [ESV] let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.

Reflection

My coworkers and I endure our supervisor. Every day of the workweek. She constantly micro-manages and reprimands for minuscule incidents. She does not understand how humiliating it is to be scolded – let alone, to be scolded in front of others. Several coworkers are already demoralized even before they get to work. This leads to unproductivity and, of course, that leads to further micro-management, reprimands, and scolding.

Scripture suggests a leader should be a positive example to the flock. Christianity does not view leadership as a control mechanism. Christian leadership means giving glory to God in our good works.

So, I remind my coworkers (and myself) of the importance to stay steadfast in the face of our supervisor. We must shine our light so other coworkers see we work for God, not a domineering supervisor.

How is your workplace? Are you a victim of a poor leadership? Does it affect your morale and work ethic?

Today at work, witness to those who are lost and be a positive example to the flock. You do not have to be a supervisor to be a leader. Show God’s light and, remember, Christ does not like domineering.

Give glory to God, at work today, and you will be a positive example to the flock!

Prayer

Lord, thank You for being the leader I hope to see in my supervisor and myself. Give me strength to shine before my coworkers so that they, too, will know Your glory. Show me Your path today so I can be a positive example to the flock. In Your precious name, I pray. Amen.

Keturah Minor
Account Specialist I
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “not to repay gaze for gaze”

gaze for gaze3

June 5, 2018 – Tuesday

Reading

Proverbs 4:25 [ESV] Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.

Reflection

Yesterday my supervisor told me the department manager was aware of my using the computer during down-time to complete assignments for graduate school. Most coworkers in my unit sit around and talk, text on their phones, or browse the internet during down-time. I mistakenly believed working on my coursework was more productive than browsing the internet. But I guess I was wrong. And the reporting of this “offense” bothered me so much, I wanted to know who complained. The supervisor said it was a coworker, but he declined to say who. My mind began to wonder as to who it was. I eventually deemed the culprit. And I wanted to get even.

Scripture reminds us to do our jobs without gazing around and reporting on others. It doesn’t say we should neglect reporting crimes or acts of bullying or sexual harassment. No, but scripture does call for you and me to look directly forward – including in the workplace. We are not to get even. We are not to repay gaze for gaze.

I wasn’t upset with the department manager for doing his job and addressing the situation brought to his attention. I wasn’t upset with the supervisor who conveyed the infraction. I wasn’t upset with coworkers continuing to do personal things during down-time. But does scripture permit me to be upset with the coworker reporting the infraction? Does scripture call me to deem who that coworker is? Or, am I not to repay gaze for gaze. After praying, I knew I could not try to get even. I, too, had to keep looking forward and not gaze around.

At work today, someone may take issue with your actions. Whether you are right or wrong, someone may report you. Whether that coworker is right or wrong in reporting your actions, you are not to repay gaze for gaze. Do not try to get even. Just let your eyes look directly forward and not upon anyone’s desk.

This is what God wants you to do.

Prayer

Lord, help me today at work not to repay gaze for gaze. Instead, help me glorify You by keeping my eyes on my own desk. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Keidria White Parker
MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “no need to worry”

no need to worry1

June 4, 2018 – Monday

Reading

Philippians 4:6-7 [NLT] Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Reflection

Last Friday, I had a head-on collision with priorities – juggling job tasks and graduate school assignments. Plus, I was just about to go on a special weekend with my mother. I was doing pretty well until an unexpected work deadline came up, due the following Monday morning – TODAY! On the way to pick up my mother, I realized I had not even started a critical part of a class assignment due on Tuesday. When my mother got in the car, I saw how excited she was about our special weekend outing. It was then I started to cry, and the tears would not stop.

Scripture tells us there is no need to worryif we have complete faith in God. Once you and I place our complete faith and trust in Him, and tell Him what is needed, God will provide.

I didn’t know how to tell my mother my plate was full of responsibilities; that everything we planned would possibly not happen. But I did. Yet she said everything would be okay. Before we drove off, we prayed. On the way, she helped me complete a do-list for work that allowed me time to prepare for class. And we had an even better weekend together than anticipated!

Have you ever been anxious about too much work? Too many colliding priorities?

Today at work, don’t be anxious. God will calm you. His comfort will allow you to think, plan and do. Just go to Him, and He will guard you and give you peace.

And there will be no need to worry. This He promises!

Prayer

Dear Father, I know there is no need to worry when priorities collide in my workday. Help me remain calm with a clear mind and heart. Let me be overwhelmed only by Your help, grace and guidance – and not by worldly tasks. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

Chiquandra “Shae” Riley
Compliance Specialist
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “the spirit of Barnabas”

Christ at work1

June 1, 2018 – Friday

Reading

Acts 15:37-38 [KJV] And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.

Reflection

I always try to approach every person as a treasure who can bless my life. But I will never forget how a brother, here on the row, had the spirit of Barnabas toward me.

You see, for my first years here, I was not a Christian. I was anything but a Christian. Yet then I heard Him call, and I wanted to become a Christian. Problem was, I still wasn’t talking, acting, or responding like a Christian. In fact, I probably did not know five scriptures. And so many rejected me, betting I would not last one week as a Christian. All mocked me except one brother who greeted me differently. He didn’t treat me like I was “Mark.” No, he treated me like he was Barnabas – nurturing me and giving me a host of second chances.

You know some people like Mark. They are on the edge, yearning to follow Him but not sure how and certainly not sure they could even if they knew how. They are everywhere, but certainly they are around you at work. As a Christian public servant, treat them as this one brother treated me. Have the spirit of Barnabas so they will be encouraged and blessed in their Walk.

Like Barnabas, be determined to take them with you!

Prayer

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for all the people you plant in my life so I can find new ways to help others. Amen.

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