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Today's Devotional from Grace in the Workplace
Thursday, February 28 2013

Verse of the Day

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” [Isaiah 6:8 – NIV]

Volunteering is a good thing. Many of us contribute our time and talents to many worthy causes. If you are a volunteer for a group or organization you are probably familiar with the “80-20 rule.” That is, 20 percent of the members do the work and the other 80 percent belong. Actually, there is nothing really wrong with this. It is just the way things are meant to be. Some people lead and the others follow. If you are a member of the 20-percent crowd, how would you like it if the other 80 percent were involved in leadership? Just imagine meeting with several hundred people each with their own agenda instead of a cozy group of 10? And if you are a member of the 80-percent group there is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. Belonging is sufficient in and of itself.

But being called by God is different. For example, I know that I have been called by God to share His Word in the workplace. But this is not about me, it’s about you. Have you heard His “still, small voice?” Is He calling you? Is there something that He wants you to do for Him? Are you going to step up to the plate like Isaiah did? You can make a difference for Him. Just answer His call and make a difference in His Kingdom!

Posted by: John AT 11:32 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, February 27 2013

Verse of the Day

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. [Micah 6:8 – NIV]

What better way to begin each day than by praying Micah 6:8? It is after all, what the Lord requires of you—to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Just remember that starting off right is important, but it’s not enough. Patience and perseverance are the keys to consistently doing these things day in and day out. So, pray that you will do what your God requires of you today. You and your fellow travelers will be all the better for it!

Posted by: John AT 07:58 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, February 26 2013

Verse of the Day

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. [Colossians 3:2 – NIV]

There’s a lot of clutter in our lives nowadays, perhaps more than at any other time in history. There are many people and things vying for our time. There are demands at work and at home. We are bombarded with more information than we can possibly process or absorb from a myriad of sources. And all too frequently we chose to waste our time in pursuit of entertainment and leisure, i.e., mindless stuff. So when do we have time for God?

It’s all a matter of focus. Are you too concerned with the things of this world or are you about your Father’s business? Never forget to store up treasures in Heaven because where your treasure is there your heart will be also!

Posted by: John AT 01:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, February 25 2013

 Verse of the Day

 

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. [Isaiah 11:6 – NIV]

 

It is befitting that today’s passage is brought to life in a clever Travelers Insurance TV commercial featuring wild animals hanging out at a watering hole in the African desert. They’re having a great time convening with one another—meerkats riding on floating alligators, baboons performing for hyenas, and lions mingling with zebras, all in complete harmony. The commercial is part of Travelers’ “Take the scary out of life” campaign and, when you think about it, what better describes the Second Coming? That’s because during the age of the New Heaven and the New Earth all sorts of amazing, wonderful things happen. But then, with Jesus our King leading us, how could we expect otherwise? Hallelujah to the King of kings! And He shall reign forever and ever!

 

Posted by: John AT 02:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, February 22 2013

Verse of the Day

 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless!  Everything is meaningless.” [Ecclesiastes 1:2 – NIV]

 You know if you think about it, life is pretty meaningless. It’s futile, pointless and there is absolutely nothing satisfying about it. Of course, what King Solomon is really saying (and me too!) is that life without the presence of God is meaningless and futile. If God is in your life, you have purpose; you have direction. Your life has meaning only if God is part of it!

 

Think about it. Most people pursue wealth, a never-ending stream of possessions, fame, power, and on and on. Why? Because they are not satisfied with their lives and they are deluded into thinking that these things will bring them “happiness” and “fulfillment.” Life for them is an endless search for meaning and without God it ends tragically, unfulfilled, and, as Solomon says, meaningless. Money, houses, fast cars, television, fantasy, sex, travel, sports, food, alcohol – each of these things is a drug, a distraction from the real meaning of life. Escapism isn’t the answer; only a relationship with Jesus, our Lord and Savior, brings true happiness, true fulfillment. Only in Jesus do we find meaning in life!

 

Posted by: John AT 02:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, February 21 2013

Verse of the Day

 

“…when you are invited [to a wedding banquet], take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

[Luke 14:10-11 – NIV]

 

I don’t go to all that many parties, but I am reasonably well-informed about appropriate party behavior and etiquette. It’s one thing to be the life of the party, which can be kind of fun if you’re the right person for the task. After all, you could end up entertaining a few folks and providing a few laughs and priceless moments. But, it’s an altogether different thing for you to get all puffed up, self-righteous, and full of yourself by assuming that you are one of the most important guests. By adopting this kind of attitude you are doomed for disappointment, embarrassment, and humiliation.

 

In today’s passage, Jesus is suggesting the proper attitude for a partygoer, aka a Believer. Adopt an attitude of humility. If you choose the lowest place at the banquet table instead of the highest, then it is possible that the host may choose to move you to a more prominent position. Please note the analogy between the wedding banquet and the Kingdom of Heaven. If we want to be exalted in God’s eyes we need to adopt an attitude of humility. As Jesus says, “…all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

 

Posted by: John AT 03:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, February 20 2013

Verse of the Day

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him.  For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” [1 Samuel 16:7 – NKJV]

Most of you don’t remember the song “Heart,” but no matter. It’s from the musical Damn Yankees about a baseball player who sold his soul to the devil. Ironic, isn’t it? God is really the one who cares about your heart. Satan just wants your soul.

In today’s passage, God was rebuking Samuel, who, after looking at Eliab, David’s older brother, immediately assumed based on his appearance that he was the anointed one of God. As great a prophet as Samuel was, he was still human and prone to the same weaknesses and behavioral shortcomings that we all suffer from. Man judges based on physical appearance, while God judges based on the heart.

Our goal as Believers is to become Christ-like. To accomplish this we need to have a heart like our Lord and Savior. In Acts 13:22, God called King David “a man after My own heart.” This should be our calling too. Is it right for us to dare to be like King David, a great man of God? Well, I don’t know why not. Aspire to be the best you can be for your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Matthew 6:24 provides additional insight by telling us that, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” So we should love God completely with our whole heart. Let’s have none of this halfhearted stuff. That may very well lead to a deal with the devil.

Posted by: John AT 09:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, February 19 2013

Verse of the Day

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. [Romans 1:20 – NIV]

You know you have to be deaf, dumb, and blind to not realize that God exists. His creation screams His Holy Name from the mountains, to the prairies, the deserts, the cities, the pampas, the valleys, the peat bogs, the oceans, the Arctic and Antarctic, and everywhere in between. Day and night, rain and shine, summer and winter, it makes no difference—He is there. How can you walk around at night gazing at the stars and not see Him? Only the deceit of the evil one can shield the obvious from the view of the unbelievers. All the more reason to get out and share the story of the Lamb with all you meet. Never fear; as the Apostle Paul says, you’ve got a lot of help. After all, God is all around us. And never forget, His love is irresistible. We love Him because He first loved us.

Posted by: John AT 11:22 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, February 15 2013

Verse of the Day

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. [Psalm 141:3 – NKJV]

I don’t know about you, but I frequently say stupid and occasionally hurtful things to others. Most of the time this is unintentional, but regardless, it shouldn’t happen. The problem is I think I’m a funny and humorous guy, and the vast majority of the situations in which I say something mean or inappropriate to someone stems from an attempt at humor. A quick wit generally means a quick (and often hurtful) tongue.

Speaking without thinking is a real problem, isn’t it? We could all benefit from the advice of the Psalmist to “set a guard over my mouth.” Actually in my case it should be a muzzle. The key here is to think first. Instead of responding like a machine gun in a conversation, let your heart and mind form your thoughts and that will help ensure that your response will be appropriate. Better yet, get into the habit of listening to others. A wise man listens.

Posted by: John AT 12:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, February 13 2013

Verse of the Day

“There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. [Hosea 4:1-2 – NIV 1984]

I was visiting with my friend Mike one day when he decided to watch the local news at 5. This was definitely not a normal thing for us to do during a visit. I don’t watch local or national network news. My choices are somewhat different—mostly cable news and the print edition of The Wall Street Journal. So, I was shocked when we watched murder after murder, domestic violence, wrong-way collisions, and other depressing stories for the first five minutes of the program. I had to get home for dinner, and so hurriedly said goodbye and quickly left.

What a depressing thing the news is. But, it’s really just a depiction of our society. The world is full of godless people and this is, after all, what they do. In Romans, Paul tells us that we can expect this type of behavior from a world that has turned its back on God. Why should we be shocked? All the more reason for us to share His love with all we meet. Make a difference for Jesus today!

Posted by: John AT 09:18 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, February 12 2013

Verse of the Day

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, this is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” [Numbers 6:24-26 – NIV]

What a great blessing! I remember it fondly from my childhood. Mom and I attended the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and the minister would always end the service with this prayer (as the benediction). As I read it today something else pops out at me. God is instructing Moses on exactly how the Israelites are to be blessed—i.e., God wrote the blessing for Himself. So I think if He wrote it then we should pay attention to it. It’s special! I encourage you to use it in your prayers to bless others.

Posted by: John AT 02:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, February 11 2013

Verse of the Day

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. [Proverbs 1:7 – NKJV]

Like most words in the English language, fear has several different meanings. If we are to seek wisdom, we must learn to fear the Lord, but what kind of “fear” are we to feel or express? What does it mean to fear the Lord? Are we to be terrified of Him; tremble in our boots at the very thought of Him? Is He a monster? Of course not! I’ll bet we can figure out the answer without consulting the dictionary.

God abhors sin, and we know the penalty for sin is death. We also know that God loves us; loves us so much in fact that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross as the perfect sacrifice to redeem us with His precious blood. We are made right with God and have everlasting life thanks to our Savior. But all of us will be judged; so, it naturally follows that the kind of "fear" we are to have for God is the respect, reverence, and awe that He so justly deserves. He is God and we recognize our relationship with Him. We love Him and we worship Him for who He is.

Once we understand our relationship with God, then we can learn His ways and grow in His wisdom. Why would you want to be a fool? Seek out God’s wisdom and instruction. Soak up His Word! It is like sweet honey.

From the "Back by Popular Demand" Collection.

Posted by: John AT 02:43 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, February 08 2013

Verse of the Day

Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” [Revelation 11:15 – NKJV]

I love music, all kinds of music…rock ’n’ roll, classical, blues, Broadway musicals, etc. But my absolute favorite composition of all time is Handel’s Messiah. The reason isn’t just the music. Although it’s magnificent and moving to one’s core, it’s the words that really get me. And why shouldn’t they? Handel did an inspired job of picking Biblical passages that best describe the story of Jesus, the Messiah. It is truly a glorious work; full of passages from God’s Word all of which point to and glorify Jesus.

Perhaps the best known piece from the Messiah is the Hallelujah Chorus. The custom of standing for the Hallelujah chorus is based on the belief that King George II was so moved that he stood up in approval at the London premiere in 1743 (although there is no evidence that he did so). Regardless, it is somewhat ironic that at the end of the Hallelujah Chorus most people assume that the performance is over and break into applause (a big no-no for a classical audience). But as you know, there is more to come in Revelation. So Handel continues the story of Jesus right up to the end (or should I say the beginning of life everlasting?!?!).

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain! Hallelujah and amen!

Posted by: John AT 12:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, February 07 2013

Verse of the Day

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. [John 15:4 –NIV]

I don’t know about you, but every once in awhile I used to like to handle stuff on my own. After all, when you do it yourself it gets done right, doesn’t it? A person who takes this approach at work or in other aspects of his or her life is often referred to as a “lone ranger.” Believe me, this is not a compliment. When you strike out on your own you are, well, after all, on your own. There is nobody to turn to for advice, help or wise counsel. You are it. Is this smart? Of course not!

So if the “lone ranger” approach is a losing proposition, why would unplugging yourself from Jesus be effective in your walk with Him? How can you possibly do good works in His name without having a deep and abiding relationship with Him? Well, you can’t. As Jesus tells us in today’s passage, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” So immerse yourself in the Word and pray constantly to Jesus for help and guidance in your life. All of us “branches” need to bear fruit to honor and glorify our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Posted by: John AT 01:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, February 06 2013

Verse of the Day

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. [Psalm 19:14 – NKJV]

My friend drains a 15-foot putt and after I congratulate him, he says (jokingly), “Chalk it up to clean living.” Of course “clean living” is nothing more than blind, stupid luck. Even a blind squirrel finds an occasional acorn. There’s a difference between clean living and living right.

Living to please God is living right. If my mouth and my heart are pleasing to God then I know I have followed the right path in life. Pursue wisdom and run toward the Prize. Live humbly, love your neighbor, be merciful and just, read and live the Word, be generous, use your gifts to glorify and honor God, and love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength. Trust in God and obey Him. Pray that your life will be pleasing to Him.

Posted by: John AT 11:45 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, February 01 2013

Verse of the Day

Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” …  Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour. [Matthew 8:5-9, 13 – NKJV]

Faith, reliability, trust, and authority are all intertwined. When I was a teenager my friends and I dreamed about our first cars. Our dreams were big and the list was short: a Jaguar XK-E, a Corvette or a GTO. We would be satisfied with nothing else. That is until we got our 10-year-old Plymouth. The thing about clunkers is that they aren’t reliable. Every time you put the key in the ignition something new is bound to happen—you just never know what. Trust was not part of the ownership experience. Speaking of reliability and trust, how about Old Faithful? Aptly named? You bet! It erupts every 91 minutes. One last point: if you sign a contract with a big company you’d better make sure that the person you’re dealing with is an officer who has the authority to act on its behalf.

When we put our faith in others all too often we are let down, disappointed, or deceived. Our fellow travelers are not always reliable and trustworthy. On the other hand, the reason we put our faith in God is because we know without a shadow of a doubt that He is 100-percent reliable, predictable, and trustworthy. But, does the same hold true for His Son, Jesus? Read on.

Today’s passage is one of the greatest acts of faith in the New Testament. It reveals a man, a Roman Centurion, with great insight into who Jesus really was/is. The Centurion approached Jesus and asked Him to heal his beloved servant. When Jesus offered to come to his home, the Centurion declined because he was not worthy, but went on to demonstrate a true understanding of Jesus and his absolute faith in Him. He understood that Jesus was the Son of God and, as God’s Son, had the authority on earth to perform miracles. So Jesus replied, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.”

Do you acknowledge Jesus’ authority in your life? Do you have faith in Him? Seek Him today. As your Savior, He wants to have a loving relationship with you.

Posted by: John AT 01:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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P.O. Box 541
Montgomery, Texas 77356
Email: info@graceintheworkplace.org

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