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Today's Devotional from Grace in the Workplace
Tuesday, January 31 2017

Verse of the Day

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit;” whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. [James 4:13-16 – NKJV]

We all like to boast. Whether it’s our golf game, cooking, business accomplishments, you name it. For the most part we have a high opinion of ourselves, which is generally undeserved, but, that’s not the point. The businessmen in this “parable” were boasting with certainty about the outcome of future events. They were going on a business trip and it was, without a doubt in their minds, going to be a success. They were going to sell things and make a huge profit. The only problem for them and for us is that none of us knows what will happen tomorrow, much less in the next minute or two. Only God is omnipresent. Only He transcends time and space. So, it is boastful indeed for us as mere humans to make statements with absolute certainty about future events. As James says, such boasting is sinful.

Does this mean that we are not to plan our lives, to think and dream about the future? Absolutely not! But when we dream and when we plan, we are to do so by seeking God’s Will for what we should do. After all, entrepreneurs, inventors, artists, and many others with creative spirits have great dreams about what the future holds for them, but these dreams need to be in accordance with God’s Will and grounded in His Word. Make sure you pray to God about what His Plan is for your future.

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Monday, January 30 2017

Verse of the Day

For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. [Romans 7:5-7 – NIV]

In the Old Testament, the Israelites lived under the Law. It consisted of the Ten Commandments and many other commands and rules that God provided to ensure that His people were holy. The Law provided a means of covering sin, but it did not eliminate it. The Sadducees, Pharisees, and other religious leaders became very adept at keeping the letter of the Law; appearances mattered to them. Form over substance, so to speak. Thankfully, this all came to an end thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. His death and resurrection put an end to the Law. But did it?

In one sense, yes; because we no longer need the Law and its system of sacrifices to cover our sins. But as the Apostle Paul suggests, we still need the law to reveal sin. That is one of the many gifts of the Spirit. The Spirit helps us identify sin in our lives. Once revealed, we need to repent and sin no more. Sin is still with us and we still need a means of dealing with it. But Praise God for His Son, Jesus who has freed us from the penalty of sin forever. Hallelujah!

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Friday, January 27 2017

Verse of the Day

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. [Matthew 5:16 – NKJV]

It’s 6:15 a.m. and you’ve got a long bus ride to work. A grumpy man plops down in the seat next to you and immediately starts a loud and annoying conversation on his cell phone. Later, as you wander into the coffee bar for your third cup of coffee, you overhear a conversation about how the company is about to lay off half of the people in your department. You get back from lunch and your boss drops by to visit. She tells you that you’ve got to stay late to get a rush project done before the board meeting. Finally, as you pull out of the bus lot on the way home, one of your fellow drivers cuts you off. How do you handle these and the myriad of other things that pop up during the typical day at work? Do you gossip or complain? Do you lose your temper? Do you let your pride get in the way of having a congenial, respectful, and productive relationship with your coworkers and boss? If so, then you are straying from God’s path as you go about your daily life.

In today’s passage, Jesus tells us that we are to let our light shine. More precisely, as Believers we are to let the light of Jesus shine through us. After all, we are His “ambassadors” sharing the Good News with the rest of mankind. When those around us see that we are living in accordance with His Word, it is a testimony to His presence in our lives and “glorifies our Father in heaven.” Your words and actions at work and elsewhere else do make a difference. They matter. Our behavior says a great deal about what and who we are. One of the most effective techniques for sharing Jesus at work is just being you. So, let the light of Jesus shine through today and every day and give God the glory!

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Thursday, January 26 2017

Verse of the Day

“A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work.” [Ecclesiastes 2:24 – NIV 1984]

Do you find your work satisfying? I sure hope so. But many employees are frustrated. They spend much of their time complaining about their job, their boss and/or their company. For whatever reason, they are dissatisfied, disgruntled, bitter, and angry. I hope and pray that this doesn’t describe anyone who is reading this devotional.

First and foremost, we are to work as if working for the Lord, and that in and of itself should provide great satisfaction. Then there are the other things, often small, intangibles, that can bring us a feeling of satisfaction. Getting a congratulatory word from our boss for a job well-done, finishing a difficult task, or helping a coworker—each of these things can give us a boost at work. Also, attitude plays a huge role here, too. If you start your workday with a bad, negative attitude you’re not likely to enjoy your work. This kind of behavior feeds on itself. Why would one want to spend day after day down in the doldrums like this?

So follow King Solomon’s advice and look for satisfaction in your work. It really is there just waiting for you to discover it!

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Wednesday, January 25 2017

Verse of the Day

A worker’s appetite works for him, for his hunger urges him on. [Proverbs 16:26 – NASB]

Have you ever been ravenous? Probably not. We are blessed to live in a country that has a bounteous supply of food and other necessities. Regardless of the condition of our tummies, the essence of God’s truth and wisdom in today’s passage from Proverbs is obvious for all to see. It is the kind of profound wisdom that can be found only in God’s Word.

We have basic needs—to put food on the table and a roof over our heads—that can be met only by hard work. The beauty and simplicity of God’s Plan for mankind is amazing, and work is an essential part of it. Only through hard work can we provide for ourselves, our families, and others around us. It is a true blessing to be able to work and, by so doing, to worship and glorify God.

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Tuesday, January 24 2017

Verse of the Day

…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. [Matthew 6:34 – NIV]

Here’s another rock ’n’ roll theme: “Let’s Live for Today,” a 1967 hit by The Grass Roots. If you listen to the lyrics you will hear words and phrases like “worries” and “people in a hurry” and so on. Well, maybe the songwriter was spending time in the Gospel of Matthew before putting pen to paper. Anyway, before we consider today’s passage, I think it’s only fair to point out that most devotionals about worry focus on the need to “seek ye first the Kingdom of God,” which certainly is the key to overcoming the worry problem. Those of us in the workplace need lots of help with worry and stress. After all, they are the most common byproducts of our work environment. Did you get your report done? What about that promotion you’re expecting? Are you going to meet the deadline? We are under constant stress and we worry nonstop. Putting God at the center of your life is the first step to controlling and eventually eliminating worry. When you put Him in charge and take yourself out of the equation, there is a peace in your life like you never imagined. Everything becomes crystal clear.  He is holy and we’re not. So, seeking God and His will for your life is the key to your worry problem.

But, there is more. In today’s passage we get some added insight into why we worry and why it’s so futile and pointless to do so. Worry happens when we delude ourselves into thinking that we, and not God, are in control of our lives. But, because we are really weak, flawed beings, there is really nothing we can do to control or shape future events. Hence, we worry because we don’t know what’s going to happen. Our sinful pride prevents us for seeing the reality of the situation. That’s why today’s passage is so neat. When Jesus says “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” what He’s really saying is that tomorrow will take care of itself; i.e., that the natural course of events will control and shape what happens in the future. And here is where it gets really fun; He goes on to say, “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Well, there’s no doubt about that, is there?

So, here’s the lesson for today. Only God is omniscient and omnipresent. He knows everything and He is everywhere at once. He is in the past, present, and the future. Since He is in the future, doesn’t it make sense for us to seek Him and His will for our lives? We have to live in the present, so why don’t we just get comfortable with that fact and stop dwelling on possible future events over which we have no control? There is absolutely no point in worrying; it is a total waste of time. We need to turn ourselves over to God, seek His will, and live in the present. After all, that is where we are. So, live for today!

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Monday, January 23 2017

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!

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Friday, January 20 2017

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.

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Thursday, January 19 2017

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!

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Wednesday, January 18 2017

Verse of the Day

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” [1 Corinthians 15:55 – NASB]

The idiom “Cross my heart and hope to die” is used by children to emphasize the seriousness or truth of a statement made to their peers. Amazing, isn’t it? The awareness and fear of death starts at a very early age and only intensifies as we grow older. With death comes the end of life. There is a finality to it that is unavoidable and terrifying. We try everything to avoid growing older, by changing our physical appearance as well as our mental outlook. Nevertheless, death will come to all of us. Our lives here on Earth will end.

All of this changes when Jesus Christ comes into our lives. For the first time, we have an understanding of what death really is—simply a transitional moment in our lives as citizens of the Kingdom. We take great joy in the knowledge that God loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us on the Cross. Thanks to Jesus’ death and resurrection, we will spend eternity in Heaven worshiping and glorifying God. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

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Tuesday, January 17 2017

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!

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Friday, January 13 2017

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.

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Thursday, January 12 2017

Verse of the Day

Give us this day our daily bread. [Matthew 6:11 – NKJV]

This is a familiar passage from the Lord’s Prayer. But, does it really have something to do with our diet? Are we supposed to eat bread and water every day? Or, is there more to it than we realize? The “daily bread” referred to in the prayer goes way beyond rye, pumpernickel, wheat, white, or sourdough. What it’s really all about is that God will provide for our everyday needs—not only the physical ones, but the mental, emotional, and spiritual ones, too. When you are praying to Him for your needs, be comforted and assured by the fact that He can take care of all of them regardless of what they are. He will give you whatever you need, not only to provide for your own needs and those of your family, but the needs of others as He uses you to fulfill His Plan!

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Wednesday, January 11 2017

Verse of the Day

And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:24-26 [NKJV]

I’ve wanted to write a devotional on the eye of the needle for years but struggled with how to approach it. As I got deeper into the Word and scoured the commentaries and other resources in search of wisdom, I found that there were two schools of thought as to what Jesus meant. One interpretation is that the eye of the needle refers to a small gate in the wall of Jerusalem through which a camel could enter only by stooping on its knees with its baggage removed, the inference being that it is difficult (but not impossible) for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The other is that Jesus was literally referring to a sewing needle, meaning that it’s impossible.

Recently the Holy Spirit shared with me that, instead of trying to discern the true meaning of today’s passage, I’d been engaged in an intellectual exercise. I’d been focusing on the wrong part of the passage and failed to grasp the heart of the parable. The beauty of this passage is that it shows us the mercy, grace, and mystery of God. Regardless of what the eye of the needle really means, Jesus tells His disciples (and us) that the answer to whether a rich sinner can be saved is that “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (emphasis added). Only through divine grace can one be justified. Amen.

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Tuesday, January 10 2017

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!

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Monday, January 09 2017

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!

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Friday, January 06 2017

Verse of the Day

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” [Matthew 2:1-2 – NKJV]

The three wise men mentioned in today’s passage from the Gospel of Matthew were members of the intellectual elite of their day. Isn’t it ironic that these learned men traveled a great distance to worship Jesus, while today our intellectuals are more interested in denying that Jesus is the Son of God? Modern-day elitists make light of and even ridicule Christianity, while the wise men of Jesus’ day knew something that the Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious elite of the day, refused to acknowledge—that Jesus was the King of the Jews, the Messiah!

Many believe that intellect is an impediment to faith, but it just ain’t so! As the Apostle Paul tells us in the book of Romans, God’s existence can clearly be seen in His creation and therefore no one has an excuse for not believing in Him, not even the intellectual elite. Once we understand Who is really in charge, the strongest organ in the body, the heart, takes over and controls the mind. That’s what faith is all about.

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Thursday, January 05 2017

Verse of the Day

If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” [John 14:7 – NIV]

Many ask, “What’s God the Father really like?” In the Old Testament we see a well-woven tapestry that depicts a close, personal, and constant relationship between God and His People. Many Old Testament figures walked and talked with God: Adam and Eve (before the Fall from Grace), Enoch, Noah (who God chose to continue man’s presence on earth after the Flood), Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Samuel, David, and many other prophets and kings. And let’s not forget that the Israelites, His Chosen People, had a close, personal relationship with Him, too. They saw His miracles (as well as His judgment), His presence (as represented by fire and smoke), and occasionally heard His voice. But, after the remnant returned from Babylon, God seems to have disappeared.

In the New Testament, we get occasional signs that God still speaks to His people, most notably when Jesus was being baptized (see Matthew 3:17: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”). As the New Testament times draw to a close, God no longer makes Himself known to His People, at least in an audible or visible way. There are reasons for this disappearance; the principle one being that, after His death, Jesus sent a Wise Counselor to us. Now, thanks to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we Believers have the Spirit of God with us 24/7!

But, just as in Jesus’s day when the disciples wanted to know the Father, we too have an insatiable curiosity to know more about our Heavenly Daddy. We wonder, “What is God really like?” Well, in today’s passage, Jesus has the answer for us: if you want to know God the Father, get to know His Son. How do you do this? One of the best ways is to read the Word. The more you learn about Jesus, the more you will get to know God the Father.

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Wednesday, January 04 2017

Verse of the Day

I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of God. [Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 – NASB]

How do you feel about your job? Do you dread every minute you spend at work? Many of us barely tolerate our jobs, and some even despite them. We would rather be almost anywhere else than at work. So you might be shocked to learn that “[work] is the gift of God,” but that is exactly what King Solomon tells us in today’s passage from Ecclesiastes.

How can something that we often find so distasteful be a gift of God? It takes a paradigm shift in our attitude about and understanding of work before we can see it. Most of us really don’t know what God has to say about work, but once we delve into His Word, it becomes crystal clear. Work is one of the pillars underpinning God’s Plan for us. Work is how we provide for ourselves, our families, and for many of those around us.

So each day as you sit down for dinner with your family, it is my fervent prayer that you “[see] good in all [your] labor—it is the gift of God.”

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Tuesday, January 03 2017

Verse of the Day

Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness. [Micah 7:8-9 – NKJV]

It’s just a question of time. We all fall short; we all miss the mark. None of us are capable of living a sinless life. The Apostle Paul says it best in Romans 3: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But God in His infinite love and mercy provides us with a bridge, a pathway to redemption—His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Today’s passage from Micah reminds us about the attitude that we should have when we do fall into sin. Instead of being forlorn, bitter, and doubtful when we sin, we need to be confident in our God. Thanks to Jesus, “He will bring [us] forth into the light.” Please don’t misunderstand; we need to be vigilant in our battle against sin, but when we do stray, we can take comfort in the fact that we have a loving and forgiving God. This fact is made abundantly clear in 1 John 1:8-9 where we find the very direct promise of God’s forgiveness which should give us confidence as we confess our sins when we fail. Thank you, Jesus!

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Grace in the Workplace Ministries, L.L.C.
P.O. Box 541
Montgomery, Texas 77356
Email: info@graceintheworkplace.org

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