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Today's Devotional from Grace in the Workplace
Thursday, January 31 2013

Verse of the Day

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 3:13-14 – NIV]

Like one of my favorite passages, Hebrews 12:1-2, today’s excerpt from Philippians is about “running the race” and keeping your eye on the Prize. But unlike the author of Hebrews, the Apostle Paul stresses the need to forget the past and focus on what’s ahead. Just imagine trying to run a drag race in reverse. That’s scary! In fact “going out in reverse” in any kind of race is nonsensical.

All of us tend to dwell more on the past than we should. We have good and bad memories that we tend to share (maybe a little too often) with others and certainly mull over repeatedly in our minds. There is nothing wrong with an occasional thought about a fond memory or telling a story relating something that others might find fun or interesting, but if you are living in the past you have a real problem.

For a Believer, the past reflects our old life before we were saved; i.e., the ways of the world. Why would we want to focus and dwell on what we left behind? We have a new life in Jesus Christ. He is the goal, the Prize that we are seeking at the finish line. So focus on what lies ahead. Go ahead, go for it!

Posted by: John AT 07:58 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, January 30 2013

Verse of the Day

Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank. [Proverbs 22:29 – NIV]

Most of us work hard so that we will be rewarded. Usually we are looking for a salary increase, a bigger bonus, or a promotion. But a tangible sign of our employer’s appreciation of our efforts isn’t always the most important thing. Doing the best you can do at work brings you honor; it enhances your reputation not only at work but in the community as well. More importantly, being the best you can be at work honors and glorifies the Lord your God. Now that’s a really good reason to try harder. And, by the way, if you do excellent work you will likely be rewarded in a tangible way, too. So be skillful in your work and serve before the King!

Posted by: John AT 12:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, January 29 2013

Verse of the Day

I said, “I will guard my ways, Lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, While the wicked are before me.” [Psalm 39:1 – NKJV]

In the old days public libraries were dark, musty, quiet places—so quiet, in fact, that you could hear a pin drop. Just in case you didn’t get the message about proper library decorum, there were signs posted everywhere that read “Quiet Please!” And if you transgressed and your voice rose above a whisper, you got the evil eye and a word of warning from the librarian. After all, “quiet, please” is really just a polite euphemism for “shut up!”

It’s one thing to be loud and quite another to be rude and offensive. We are all too prone to let our tongues get out of control. We say rude, thoughtless, hurtful things to others far too often. And it happens in all kinds of situations, even when we are trying our hardest to be on our best behavior. Most of the time our excuse is “we just can’t help it.” We shoot off our mouths at home, at work, at church, on the golf course, at the grocery store; in fact just about everywhere we go.

King David gives us great advice. We need to restrain our mouths with muzzles. Now that’s a thought! Just imagine what life would be like at work, at home, and everywhere in between if we were actually civil and kind to one another! Pray to your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for His insight and guidance in controlling your tongue. A word to the wise: if we’re not talking, then we’re listening, and that’s certainly a good habit to get into. It’s really about humility. Pray that there will be less of us and more of others today!

Posted by: John AT 12:42 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, January 28 2013

Verse of the Day

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. [1 John 1:1 – NIV]

Even though I’m a retired tax lawyer, I do know a little bit about evidence and trial practice. Lawyers rely on different types of evidence to establish the facts and prove their case. Evidence varies in its strength, effectiveness, and usefulness. Generally speaking, the strongest and most credible type of evidence is eyewitness testimony. And it becomes even more reliable and convincing when more than one person has witnessed the event at issue. So it strikes me as odd that there are so many doubters about Jesus being the Messiah, but then Satan has done a great job of planting seeds of doubt for the past two thousand years. That’s why, as a lawyer, today’s passage is so important. It’s the backbone of the case. Despite Satan’s lies and deceit, the fact remains that there were many independent eyewitnesses (aka, the 12 disciples and other followers of Jesus, the Apostle Paul, and many more) to Jesus’ life—not just as a man, but as the Son of God. Case closed.

Posted by: John AT 10:54 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, January 25 2013

Verse of the Day

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. [2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – NIV]

I don’t know about you, but I have a few weaknesses, a few faults. Actually, there are so many I can’t count them. Most of us delude ourselves and put on a façade of strength and wisdom, as though we are masters of our fate and in total control of every situation. Who are we kidding? But it’s one thing to acknowledge our weaknesses and quite another to welcome them and celebrate them as Paul did. So delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties, because in doing so, Jesus Christ our Savior manifests Himself in our lives and gives us strength. As Paul says, only in His strength am I strong. So pray for adversities!

Posted by: John AT 12:33 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, January 24 2013

Verse of the Day

“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore submit to God.” [James 4:6-7 – NKJV]

All of us tend to think way too much of ourselves. We are prideful, self-centered creatures with an insatiable need to elevate our needs, wants, thoughts, desires, and objectives above others and far too often, above the Lord our God. We think we’re the top dog, but in reality we are all sinners, the lowest of the low. It’s really about how we see ourselves that counts in God’s eyes. Do we lord over others? Are we dominating? Are we prideful, arrogant, or overbearing? We know that the meek shall inherit the earth, but are we meek?

How we behave is so important. Adopting an attitude of humility is not a situational thing. Being humble at church or with your family and friends is great, but how do you behave at work? Are you aggressive and mean? Do you have a “take no prisoners” attitude in the workplace? Let’s hope and pray that is not the case. God expects us to behave consistently in accordance with His Word regardless of the situation or circumstances in which we find ourselves. Just because you’re at work doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t submit to God and to others. Be humble. Pray every day that there will be less of you and more of others.

Posted by: John AT 08:20 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, January 23 2013

Verse of the Day

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. [Psalm 73:25 – NIV]

There are many great passages in the Bible about loving God, and King David seems to be involved in more than his fair share of them, either as the author of a Psalm or as the subject of a passage about loving God. After all, God described David as “a man after My own heart.”

The theologian Paul Tillich defined god (with a lower case “g”) as “your ultimate concern.” So what are you really bonkers about? Playing golf? Gourmet cooking? Eating gourmet cooking? Your kids? Fast cars? TV? Football? History? Skiing? Camping and enjoying the great outdoors? Your spouse?  Baseball? Traveling? Your job? Clothes and fashion? Reading? Finance? Music? Facebook and other social media? The list goes on and on, doesn’t it?

We humans have many varied interests. We can really get passionate and obsessed with lots of things—our families, our friends and our hobbies and interests. But what (rather who) should be our ultimate concern? Who should we be most passionate about? Why God, of course!

That’s the great thing about today’s passage. David describes a relationship with God in which God is absolutely everything to him. In David’s life there was nothing, absolutely nothing more important than God. Nothing else came close. So how do you feel about God? Is He your everything?

Posted by: John AT 08:10 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, January 22 2013

Verse of the Day

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. [Colossians 2:9-10 – NKJV]

Many devotionals have been written on Immanuel, God with us. The fact that God came to earth to live with us as a man is incredibly important, but that is not the point of today’s passage from scripture. Although He was a man, Jesus in His incarnation reflected the image of God the Father. While He walked the earth, He was God in human form. He was and is perfect. In much the same way, when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are perfected by the righteousness of Christ that God imparts to us. We are brought into fullness by being positionally perfected in God’s sight. Only Jesus and His blood that was shed on the cross for us could accomplish this. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer! Thank you Jesus!

Posted by: John AT 04:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, January 18 2013

Verse of the Day

“He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.” [Proverbs 18:9 – NKJV]

In the old days, we used to hear a lot about the “old world craftsmen.” They took incredible pride in their work. Whether they were watchmakers, blacksmiths, carpenters, or coach builders, it made little difference. The members of each of these trades and many others built things to last. They did top-quality work.

How do we stack up today? Do we do the best job we can or are we content to just skate by? Do we take pride in a job well done? I hope and pray that we do. Years ago when you wanted to cast dispersions on a person’s work effort or the job they did you referred to it as “government work,” and I’m sure that’s still true today. When there is little expectation of quality on the part of the customer or recipient of your work, or you are in a position where you have “guaranteed employment,” there is a tendency to slough off and do shoddy work.

Unfortunately we see this all too often in life. But, we as Believers are held to a much higher standard. We are to “work as if working for the Lord.” When you have God as your boss you want to do the best job possible. You strive for perfection in your work and produce the best results possible regardless of the circumstances in which you find yourself. So be the best you can be for the Lord today! May your efforts at work bring honor and glory to Him today!

Posted by: John AT 12:41 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, January 17 2013

Verse of the Day

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. …  Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. [2 Peter 1:5-7; 10-11 – NIV]

This is great advice from the Disciple Peter. Notice that we are to perfect our faith by adding various attributes and characteristics in a specific order and at an ever-increasing degree. I think there is a reason that they are ordered as they are. Each successive attribute builds on the previous and cannot be attained without the addition of its predecessor. I think it would behoove us to study the characteristics that Peter has noted in this passage and the order in which we are to seek and obtain them in our lives. Of course, each of these attributes (which lead to our practical sanctification) can never be fully “attained” in our life here on earth (which is why Peter says that they are to be added in “increasing measure”). But keep in mind that once goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love are attained, the servant will receive a “rich welcome into the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” I can think of nothing that we should seek after more than this. Thanks to Peter for some really great advice!

Posted by: John AT 08:11 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, January 16 2013

Verse of the Day

The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips. [Proverbs 16:23 – NKJV]

The world tells us it’s our intellect that makes us wise. Based on this belief, the brain is the key to wisdom. But, is this really true? Never forget that in the Bible, a wise person is one who knows God and His Ways. So, the real key to wisdom is not the brain, it’s the heart. God always looks at the heart when evaluating a person. In Genesis 4, He found Abel’s offering acceptable while He rejected Cain’s sacrifice, based not solely on the offerings themselves, but on the hearts of the respective givers. We know from Acts 13:22 that God found King David to be “a man after My own heart.” Why? Because David always returned to being fully and completely devoted to the Lord his God.

God looks at our hearts, too, in order to see how we are doing on our walk with Him. Do we love Him and understand Him like King David or only half heartedly like His Chosen People the Israelites?

In today’s passage, King Solomon tells us that the brain still plays a role in this process. The heart instructs the brain of a wise person and as a result “adds learning to his lips.” In other words the heart trains the brain. But make no mistake, wisdom is not intellectual knowledge. It’s not a degree from Harvard, Yale or another Ivy League university. Wisdom is a right relationship with Jesus Christ. It is an ever-changing heart that is growing more and more like Him one day at a time.

Posted by: John AT 07:42 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, January 15 2013

Verse of the Day

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. [Matthew 11:28-30 – NKJV]

Do you find your work difficult and demanding? Our work isn’t supposed to be easy. After the Fall from Grace, God caused work to be a real burden for us. He cursed the land and even after we moved from farms into factories and offices, our work is still a chore. We toil away; nothing comes easy for us at work. There is always something that seems to keep us from completing our tasks in an effortless way.

If you work hard and feel like you are at the end of your rope, then take comfort in today’s passage. Jesus is offering to help us cope with our work. In fact, once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and start to learn His ways, He promises that we will receive rest for our souls. Trust and obey Him in all you do. Jesus’ yoke is not lighter because He demands less, but because He bears more of the load. As your walk with Him evolves and your relationship with Him matures, you will find that your time at work will become easier. Jesus is beside you sharing the load!

Posted by: John AT 04:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, January 14 2013

Verse of the Day

Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge. [Proverbs 19:27 – NKJV]

You know, it’s a miracle that we ever learn anything in life. Very few of us have developed “listening skills.” We are far more interested in hearing our own voice than the voices of our fellow travelers. Once again the culprit is our sinful pride, our self-centered nature. We think we’re better than others and have an innate need to elevate ourselves over them.

Here are a couple of thoughts. First, pride is sinful. We are called to be humble before the Lord our God and before our fellow man. Being humble means “less of us and more of others.” The humble person has a natural desire to listen and to show respect to those around him. Second, a wise person will listen to others.

Calling listening a “skill” is a misnomer. The reason it’s a “skill that needs to be developed” is because so few of us do it naturally. So, we all need to make listening a natural part of our approach to life. You will never learn anything if you don’t listen to others. And that applies equally to the Word of God. If you want to grow in God’s Word you not only need to read it, but also listen when those who are wiser than you, a.k.a. teachers of the Word, are talking. Pay attention; you’ll be glad you did!

Posted by: John AT 11:27 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, January 11 2013

Verse of the Day

David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. [2 Samuel 6:14-15 – NIV 1984]

I don’t know about you, but I’m not much of a dancer. My wife, Sharon, loves to dance and she’s recently gone berserk over all those dance shows on TV. Maybe I should take dance lessons from King David!

All kidding aside, all of us Believers should start practicing our singing and dancing and the sooner the better. We are going to be singing praise songs to the Lord of lords forever and ever and dancing with all of our might on the streets of the New Jerusalem to honor and glorify Him. When we get to heaven, we will see God’s face and there will be no more night (He will be our light!). So we will need all the energy we can muster because we will be singing and dancing 24/7 for eternity! A word to the wise: get practicing! I don’t care if you don’t like to dance or can’t sing a note. That’s not the point. What’s in your heart, and how do you feel about God? This is more of an attitude thing than a talent thing. He doesn’t care about the performance, He cares about our hearts. Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him!

Posted by: John AT 10:22 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, January 10 2013

Verse of the Day

And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” [Luke 12:15 – NKJV]

Today’s verse is sandwiched between a request to Jesus for His help in an inheritance dispute and Jesus’ response in the form of the Parable of the Rich Fool. But the verse itself is telling. We just never seem to get it, do we? Our life is not about the stuff that’s in it. It’s about our relationship with the Lord our God and with our fellow man.

The rich fool had an overabundance of crops and his barns were filled to capacity. He built new barns to store his harvests and felt so good about himself that he decided to kick back and relax. But God had a different message. The fool had decided to eat, drink, and be merry, but God told him that he was going to die that very night and what good would the stuff be then? This question still rings true today doesn’t it? What good is the stuff? Use it for the glory of God, but never let it become your god. Never forget that stuff is just stuff. In what do you place your sense of hope, trust, and security? Is it in your stuff or your God’s?

Posted by: John AT 10:31 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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Email: info@graceintheworkplace.org

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