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Today's Devotional from Grace in the Workplace
Tuesday, February 28 2017

Verse of the Day

A leader of good judgment gives stability; an exploiting leader leaves a trail of waste. [Proverbs 29:4 – The Message]

The stereotypical employee thinks that his or her boss is a clueless idiot, but in reality this just ain’t so. Most people in leadership deserve to be where they are and this is especially true the higher you go up the chain of command. But, there are always exceptions. There are the occasional bad apples, the executives or business owners that are infatuated with themselves and with the power of their positions. They mistreat, abuse, and ride roughshod over their people and then wonder why their company’s financial performance and productivity numbers are so low. They are hemorrhaging cash and don’t have a clue. But God does. They should listen to God’s Word to the wise. Treat your employees with respect as you would like to be treated yourself and you’ll be amazed at the results. Doing the right thing is, after all, the right thing to do, but it also tends to produce results! As an example let’s consider one of my least favorite Christmas movies, White Christmas. This movie is not to be confused with Holiday Inn in which Bing Crosby made the song “White Christmas” famous, but enough trivia. Anyway, in the movie White Christmas Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen star as Army buddies (and entertainers) at the end of World War II. Their beloved commanding officer, Major General Thomas F. Waverly (played by Dean Jagger), is being relieved of command. His troops give him an emotional farewell and since this is a musical, it’s a song called “The Old Man.” The words are what every leader should cherish…

 

We'll follow the old man wherever he wants to go
Long as he wants to go opposite to the foe
We'll stay with the old man wherever he wants to stay
Long as he stays away from the battle's fray
Because we love him, we love him
Especially when he keeps us on the ball
And we'll tell the kiddies we answered duty's call
With the grandest son of a soldier of them all.

 

Obviously there is a bit of humor in this Irving Berlin song, but the real message comes through loud and clear: real leaders who care about their people have their love and respect. This is what God has in mind for you if you are a leader.

Posted by: John AT 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, February 27 2017

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.

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Friday, February 24 2017

Verse of the Day

Then I said to the nobles, the rulers, and the rest of the people, “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” [Nehemiah 4:19-20 – NKJV]

Things don’t always go swimmingly at work, do they? Whether it’s a jealous coworker, an aspiring peer, a wary superior or an ambitious underling, life in the workplace is fraught with political intrigue. Unfortunately, backstabbing, one-upmanship, and turf wars are commonplace in today’s workplace. So, how do you handle opposition at work? Let’s look at today’s passage from Nehemiah for some great advice.

Nehemiah was called by God to lead the Israelites in rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem. When the Arabs, Ammonites, and the men of Ashdod heard that the wall was being rebuilt, they were very angry. At first they ridiculed, slandered, and threatened the Jews, but as the work progressed, they conspired to attack Jerusalem. How did Nehemiah respond? He prayed to the Lord his God and then he implemented his plan. The key is that before acting, he relied on God.

We should approach opposition at work in much the same way. Always go to God first in prayer; then act to resolve your problems. As today’s passage tells us, “Our God will fight for us.”

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Thursday, February 23 2017

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 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, February 22 2017

Verse of the Day

The one who stays on the job has food on the table; the witless chase whims and fancies. [Proverbs 12-11 – MSG]

There is nothing wrong with being a dreamer; in fact, most successful entrepreneurs are dreamers and visionaries. If you’re a dreamer, great. But just to be clear, there’s a big difference between a dreamer and a slacker. You might be a slacker if you: are chasing the impossible dream, live with your parents after the age of 30, are a professional student, or are underemployed by choice. Today’s passage from Proverbs says it best, “the witless chase whims and fancies.”

Contrast the life of a slacker with someone who applies themselves at work. If you are diligent and hardworking, you are capable of providing for yourself, your family, and others. You are making a difference in life. The real issue of living life as a slacker is one of stewardship. You are wasting the talents and abilities that God has blessed you with. If, deep down, you know that you are “chasing whims and fancies,” then it’s not too late to get your life back on track and get right with God. He has a Plan for you!

Posted by: John AT 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, February 21 2017

Verse of the Day

Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.” [John 4:48 – NKJV]

Miracles do exist in the 21st century. There is no doubt that God can and does perform miracles all around us, but we don’t always see them or believe them. Even today, the best known miracles are those performed by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

There is a difference in how the Gospel writers portray and interpret Jesus’ miracles. The first three Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke (generally referred to as the “Synoptic Gospels” because of their commonality) merely record Jesus’ miracles. Whereas the Gospel of John refers to His miracles as “signs” and attributes to each of them a special spiritual significance which points towards a different aspect or characteristic of Jesus. This is in keeping with John’s purpose of proclaiming Jesus’ deity, i.e., that He is the Son of God. And to make sure that there is no room for doubt, John tells us that “…these [signs] have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (see John 20:31).

Do you believe?

Posted by: John AT 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, February 17 2017

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 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, February 16 2017

When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God. [2 Samuel 6:6-7 – NIV]

Here’s a little contextual background about this passage. Before the reign of King Saul, the Philistines captured the ark and after a circuitous journey though their county (due to the fact that tumors afflicted the Philistine people wherever the ark went), it ended up in the temple of Dagon (their god). The next morning, the statue of Dagon was found prostrate in front of the ark. After restoring it to an upright position, it was again found prostrate the next morning, but this time its head and hands were broken off. After seven months of this, the Philistines couldn’t wait to get rid of the ark so they sent it back to Israel posthaste. But the ark was not taken to the temple; instead it remained for twenty years at the house of Abinadab and God blessed Abinadab and his family. When David became king, he noticed how God had blessed Abinadab and decided it was time to return the ark to Jerusalem so that all of Israel could be blessed.

King David had the right motive, but everything else about moving the ark was a disaster. God had given the Israelites very specific and detailed instructions about who could transport the ark and how they were to go about it. Nobody was to touch the ark. This was a capital offense. Keep in mind that the ark was the dwelling place of the Lord God Almighty and it was holy. David disobeyed or ignored all of God’s instructions for transporting the ark. It was transported on a cart instead of using the poles, as God had commanded, and the men who moved it were not Levites.

So when Uzzah reached out and touched the ark to steady it, God struck him dead. King David was angry with God, but God did this to teach him a lesson. God had gone to great lengths to prepare the Israelites to be His people. They needed to understand what it meant to be holy because God was holy. He could dwell with them only if they learned how to approach a Holy God. So Uzzah suffered for his sin when he touched the ark—the tabernacle of God.

Let’s fast forward to the present day. As Believers, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit, the indwelling of God in our bodies. The ark is no longer His dwelling place; we are. So, what don’t we understand about God being holy? How do we treat His tabernacle? On the one hand, our physical bodies have nothing to do with our eternal life with God, but they are the repositories for His Spirit. So, how should we treat them? Should we eat, drink, and be merry? Aside from the fact that as Christians such behavior is unacceptable, it also fails to take account of the fact that we are ignoring the holiness of His tabernacle. Bottom line, we all need to focus on what it means to be holy and act accordingly. Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty!

Posted by: John AT 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, February 15 2017

Verse of the Day

The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” [Genesis 3:4-5 – NASB]

Adam and Eve walked with God. They were created to worship and glorify Him. They were totally focused on Him and Him alone. But it all changed with one bite of an apple.

In today’s passage, Satan uses lies, half-truths, and deceit to tempt Adam and Eve. But beyond that, there is an interesting nuance in his words that we often overlook. When you think about it, what he is really saying is that “your eyes will be opened and you will be like me,” because that is exactly what happened as a result of the Fall from Grace. We became prideful, self-centered sinners just like the evil one.

But, unlike Satan, who will be tormented for eternity in the lake of fire and brimstone (see Revelation 20:10), God has a Plan of mercy, grace, and salvation for us, His children. We have hope thanks to the redeeming blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!

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Tuesday, February 14 2017

Verse of the Day

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” [Jeremiah 29:11 – NASB]

We often hear about God’s Plan, but we usually think it’s more of a “big picture” thing. After all, God is more of a macro kind of Guy and not much of a micromanager, right? Wrong! Our God is a very loving God. He knows each of us in a very intimate and personal way. After all, King David tells us in Psalm 139 that “You formed my inward parts; you wove me in my mother’s womb.” God is a God of details. He knows every hair on our heads. In fact He knows everything about us! Details are one thing, but true love and caring are another. Rest assured God is not mired down in trivia. Far from it!

Today’s passage tells us that God has an individual plan for each of us. But, hold on. There is so much more! Not only is there a plan for us, but the plan is “for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” God really wants the very best for us, no kidding! What an amazing thing it is that the God of the Universe cares enough to develop a plan that gives us a future and a hope. Get on your knees and give thanks to Him today!

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Monday, February 13 2017

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!

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Friday, February 10 2017

Verse of the Day

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. [1 Thessalonians 5:11 – NIV]

Sometimes we get drawn into the delusion that we are completely self-sufficient, self-reliant creatures. We can do it all on our own without help from anybody else, thank you very much! This “Lone Ranger, I am an Island syndrome” is not a helpful thing, regardless of whether you’re at work or at home. When we are completely honest with ourselves, we acknowledge and admit that we really do need help, support, and encouragement from other people. Once we realize this it isn’t too much of a stretch we see that maybe we can serve them as well. After all, we are all in this game of life together.

In today’s passage, the Apostle Paul exhorts the church at Thessalonica to “encourage one another and build each other up.” Apparently, they were already doing a pretty good job because he tells them to keep on keeping on. As modern-day Believers, we too need to help, support and encourage one another. Unfortunately, in today’s high-tech world this is becoming more and more difficult. We are a society of introverts thanks to our smart phones and other devices. Let’s make a concerted effort to focus outward on those around us. Who knows? A kind word from you may just turn someone’s day around!

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Thursday, February 09 2017

Verse of the Day

No one is like you, Lord; you are great, and your name is mighty in power. Who should not fear you, King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise leaders of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you. [Jeremiah 10:6-7 – NIV]

There is only one God. He is Sovereign. He alone deserves to be worshiped and glorified; there is certainly no one like Him. But our tendency is to elevate people and things above God. For some reason, we have a need to worship the created instead of the Creator. That was Israel’s weakness as the people constantly strayed from the Lord their God and worshiped Baal and other gods made of wood, stone, and metal. These idols were shaped like humans, yet they couldn’t do anything. Unlike the true God, they were powerless. We have the same problem today with our incessant need for stuff. Possessions are so important to us. But things don’t really matter. They come and go. We also tend to put our leaders on pedestals, but they are, after all, only human and disappoint us in the end. Only God is our Rock. There is no one like You, God!

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Wednesday, February 08 2017

Verse of the Day

There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. [Proverbs 12:18 – NASB]

You’re about to take a big bite out of a slice of Chicago-style pizza and you chomp down on your tongue instead. Ouch! That hurts. But sometimes biting your tongue is a good thing (in a figurative sense, of course). We get ourselves in no end of trouble with our tongues. Far too often we say mean, hurtful, and cruel things to others.

Today’s passage from Proverbs uses an apt analogy: The tongue is like a sword, slicing and dicing those around us. But King Solomon goes on to provide some great advice. A wise person uses his or her tongue to uplift others by saying kind, comforting, and healing things. So bite your tongue when you are about to attack others, and let your heart speak words of peace.

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Tuesday, February 07 2017

Verse of the Day

And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. [1 Samuel 3:8-9 – NKJV]

It was not uncommon in Old Testament times for prophets and others to actually hear God speak. God used them to share His Word with His chosen people, the Israelites. Today we rarely hear about God speaking, but He does. It may not be in an audible way like in ancient days, but the Holy Spirit is constantly talking to each Believer, sharing wisdom, providing insight, shedding light on sin, and administering discipline. Since the day of Pentecost, we are blessed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are truly Tabernacles. Since God dwells within us, He no longer needs to speak audibly; He can speak in our minds. And He does. Are you listening?

Do you hear a still small voice tugging at your heart? Does God have a plan for your life, ministry, mission work, lay service, or leadership that you are ignoring or resisting? Has He called you and yet you’re too busy to accept? If so, then pray about it with an open and willing heart. Remember, when God asks you to do something He always provides the means to get it done. So be attentive and listen to that inner voice. It just might be God calling!

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Monday, February 06 2017

Verse of the Day

He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” [Job 1:21 – NASB]

Our lives aren’t always a picnic, are they? We have our ups and our downs. Sometimes we hit a rough patch and we get down in the doldrums. But, guess what? More often than not, we bounce back! The problem is that we are short-term oriented, impatient creatures. We are into instantaneous gratification. We want results and we want them NOW! But God doesn’t work that way. There is a reason we are told to “wait on the Lord.” He does things in His time and in His way.

In today’s passage, Job makes it clear that regardless of our situation in life we need to bless the Lord our God. Few people in the Bible suffered more than Job. God caused the devil to test him and he lost everything; his family and his possessions—all that was near and dear to him. Despite this, Job stated a simple, but profound truth: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” We should react in the same way as we live our rollercoaster lives. We need to bless God regardless of our circumstances!

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Friday, February 03 2017

Verse of the Day

But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” [Joshua 24:15 – NIV]

God called King David “a man after My own heart,” and although David’s son, Solomon, started off strong in his relationship with the Lord, he fizzled at the end. His downfall was attributable to the two things he railed against the most in Proverbs: women and money. Unlike his father, he had a divided heart. You might say that Solomon is a microcosm of Israel. The Israelites were like a yo-yo. They would stray from the Lord their God, but they would always return to Him (after He forgave them and invited them back into His presence). Even when they came back to God they continued to worship pagan gods and traditions. The Israelites had a divided heart toward the Lord.

You can’t serve God with a divided heart. He wants all of you or none at all. The words of Joshua are true today. They are words to live by. “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Who ya’ gonna’ serve?

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Thursday, February 02 2017

Verse of the Day

“...I came that [you] may have life, and have it abundantly.” [John 10:10 – NASB]

You hear a lot nowadays about “living large,” which means living an extravagant or self-indulgent lifestyle. This seems to fit our 21st century existence to a “T,” doesn’t it? Why is it then that polls tell us that a sizable percentage of people believe we are headed in the wrong direction? Is this really all there is? There’s got to be more than this meaningless, empty experience that masquerades as life here on earth. Thankfully, there is more! So much more! What’s the answer to this conundrum? Jesus Christ! He is the way, the truth, and the life!

In today’s passage, Jesus tells us that He “came that [we] may have life, and have it abundantly.” As we read the passage in context it becomes clear that the fulfillment of this promise is conditioned on our acceptance of Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The only meaningful life is life in Jesus. As Believers, we can testify that when we are in Him we are truly “living large” in an abundant and wonderful way!

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Wednesday, February 01 2017

Verse of the Day

Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but who can survive the destructiveness of jealousy? Proverbs 27:4 NLT]

We often associate jealousy with a spurned lover, but it also applies to someone who envies another’s achievements or success (which, incidentally, is the definition). This aspect of jealousy typically manifests in situations where our competitive juices are flowing and our pride is at its peak: —sports, games, academia, but perhaps most of all at work.

There’s nothing wrong with competing with a friend and coworker for a promotion; after all, a little healthy competition is a good thing. But when you’re climbing up the corporate ladder, you occasionally stub your toe on a rung. More often than not, if your friend gets the job and you don’t, your pride kicks in, and before long, you’re on a downward spiral. After all, you were the best choice by far, right?

As today’s passage from Proverbs tells us, jealousy is without a doubt the most destructive of emotions. After losing out on the promotion, you’re depressed, discouraged, bitter, and angry. As you seethe with jealousy, your feelings toward your former coworker turns to dislike and possibly even hatred. Your attitude suffers, and so does your performance. The consequences of your jealousy jeopardize your chances for a future promotion and maybe even your job itself. As if all this isn’t bad enough, there’s much more.

The effects of jealous behavior aren’t just confined to your performance at work; they permeate all aspects of your life. Your relationships with your family and friends suffer, and, most importantly, so does your relationship with the Lord your God.

Once you start down the path to destruction, there is no return. So, pray that you will never let this evil, sinful behavior take root in your life.

Posted by: John AT 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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P.O. Box 541
Montgomery, Texas 77356
Email: info@graceintheworkplace.org

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