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Today's Devotional from Grace in the Workplace
Monday, December 31 2018

Verse of the Day

 

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen. [Psalm 41:13 – NIV]

  

Human beings like (and need) milestones. God programmed us that way. We have days, months, years, and we have the seasons. This kind of repetitiousness is intentional. We are slow and dense and need to learn. Anyway, how do you feel about last year and what about the year that lies ahead? As you reflect on the past year, do the good things come to mind or are you burdened by memories of pain, disappointment, and sorrow? What about the future? Are you encouraged about what God has in store for you or are you resigned to a boring, miserable, and unsatisfying life?

 

If you are worried and unsure about what the future holds for you, guess what? We are right back in the midst of the attitude thing! Accentuate the positive! It is not too difficult to see all the wondrous things that God has blessed you with. And never give up on the future. Trust and obey God. The Lord has promised good to you and to me and you can take that to the bank! One last thing, God is omnipresent. He is everywhere at once. He is Alpha and Omega. That means that He existed at the beginning of time, He is here in the present, and He is already out in the future. And since He is in the future right now, He is busy preparing it for you and for me. You can take comfort and great joy in that!

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Friday, December 28 2018

Verse of the Day

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. [Jeremiah 23:5 – NIV]

The Old Testament is replete with references to the coming of the Messiah. Every book in the Bible shouts His Holy Name. No human king could ever reign wisely and do what is just and right. Only Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, could fulfill this prophesy. We look forward with eager anticipation to the Second Coming!

And He will reign forever and ever. Come Lord Jesus! Hallelujah!

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Thursday, December 27 2018

Verse of the Day

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” [Micah 5:2 – NIV]

“O little town of Bethlehem how still we see thee lie…” So begins the first stanza of one of the best loved Christmas hymns ever written and one of my favorites, too! Part of my affection for it is based on my growing up in Bethlehem, PA, the “Christmas City,” but that’s certainly not the only reason for my fondness. There is something about the birth of the Christ Child that touches all of us. His humble birth in Bethlehem is a very compelling story.

So why in the world did God pick Bethlehem as His Son’s birthplace? After all, one would expect that the Son of God would be born in a city of significance, Jerusalem for example, and not a little town that nobody paid much attention to. Today’s passage makes clear that Bethlehem was indeed chosen by God to be the birthplace of His Son. Bethlehem was the city of David, and it was foretold that the Christ would be of the lineage of King David. Jesus, like his ancestor, David, came to earth as a humble servant. A humble birth was only appropriate for Him.

Although Jesus made clear that He was God’s Son, He never used the title “Son of God.” Instead He preferred to use “Son of Man” so as to identify Himself with us. The Messiah came to be a servant. He was humble, caring, loving, kind, compassionate, and full of grace. He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. What better place than Bethlehem for His birth? Let’s prepare for Him in our hearts as we celebrate this Advent season.

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Wednesday, December 26 2018

Verse of the Day

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. [Isaiah 7:14 – NKJV]

The Old Testament is strewn with references to Jesus’ birth, His life, and His death from the first book to the last. The messianic prophesy is very compelling. It really is hard for us as mere mortals to grasp or comprehend the fact that God came to earth to live with us. Just imagine Immanuel, God with us! And He wasn’t just with us, He was one of us! Amazing, isn’t it?

And so this Advent season as we prepare our hearts for the birth of our Lord, let’s never forget that He came to earth to live with us. O come, o come, Immanuel!

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Friday, December 21 2018

Verse of the Day

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [John 3:16 KJV]

As Believers, we are called to give of ourselves constantly. This commandment is one that we obey joyfully by giving our all, as expressed by tithes of our financial resources, time, and talent, all in good Christian stewardship. This is perhaps our defining attribute as we reach outward to our community and the world around us.

Although giving is really a year-round thing, it takes on special meaning for us during the Christmas season. Not only do we give traditional Christmas gifts to our family and friends, but we also give generously to all kinds of charities and other worthwhile causes. All of these opportunities to bless and serve others are truly wonderful gifts, but they pale in comparison to the gift that God gave to us, the “ultimate gift”—His son, Jesus Christ!

Christmastime is so very special to us as Believers, because we are like little children who go to bed on Christmas Eve with a great anticipation of the many wonderful gifts that will be under the tree when they awake on Christmas morning.  Our excitement, however, is the tremendous expectation of God’s gift to us, the ultimate gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you, God!

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Thursday, December 20 2018

Verse of the Day

 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” [Luke 2:14 – NKJV]

 

Christmas is such a special time of year! Is it just me, or does it seem like everyone is a little kinder, gentler, more tolerant, and even, Heaven forbid, actually civil to one another? People on the streets and in the malls are happy, merry, jolly, and downright friendly. There really is joy in the air. But, if we delve down under the surface, many of us are not filled with the Christmas spirit. If you guessed that I’m referring to the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the needy among us you’d be wrong. No, I’m referring to the lonely, the depressed, the brokenhearted, and the bitter, miserable souls who sit at home at Christmas crying themselves to sleep. People who have recently lost a spouse, a child or other loved ones, those without jobs, those who for whatever reason feel all alone in the world—all of these go into a downward spiral at Christmas time.

 

Compare these folks to the rest of us who are blessed with family and friends, go to parties, feel festive, sing Christmas hymns and carols, shop for gifts, play with the grandkids, and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. What a contrast! So, please be aware of the people around you. The sad and forlorn are not always visible. You never know, the person in the cubicle next to you could be suffering this Christmas. So, make a special effort to let Jesus shine through you this Christmas. Be kind to everyone you meet. Make sure you share the joy of Jesus’ birth in a way that lifts the spirits of those around you! Let love and mercy rule the day!

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Wednesday, December 19 2018

Verse of the Day

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. [Isaiah 9:6 – NKJV]

It’s not my favorite Christmas hymn, but “Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming” is one that I really do enjoy. Truth be told, I love all Christmas music, hymns, carols; they’re all special. Singing praise about the birth of our Lord and Savior—what could be better? Anyway, back to “Rose.” The second verse begins with some of the most memorable and uplifting words in any Christmas hymn: “Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind.” The specific reference is the Immanuel prophesy in Isaiah 7:14-17. However, Isaiah goes on in today’s passage to proclaim Jesus’s birth.  He describes the names of Jesus as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. How can you not have faith in Jesus, who is our Everything? Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

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Tuesday, December 18 2018

Verse of the Day

The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. [Isaiah 40:5 – NKJV]

There is so much substance in Isaiah. What an amazing and fascinating book! In today’s passage, God’s prophet Isaiah tells the Israelites to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and that glory was revealed through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior! Nothing more needs to be said. The mouth of the Lord has spoken it, and His Word is the Gospel truth!

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Monday, December 17 2018

Verse of the Day

 

Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. [Luke 1:38 – NKJV]

 

There are several examples of people of great faith in the New Testament: the centurion in Mathew 8, the Apostle Paul, Stephen, and the “heroes” listed in Hebrews 11, but there is perhaps no greater example of faith than that of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

 

Just imagine that you are a young teenage girl betrothed to be married and one day the angel of the Lord shows up and tells you that, oh by the way, you are going to give birth to the Son of God. Surely she was frightened, terrified, confused, and doubtful. Mother of the Messiah, how can it be? And she a virgin! Despite all the emotion that was swirling around in her head, her response was one of resolute faith.

 

As today’s passage tells us, Mary did as the Lord commanded. Her response to the angel, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” demonstrates her complete obedience and trust in the Lord. There is no greater faith that this.

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Friday, December 14 2018

Verse of the Day

“Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.” [Matthew 8:22 – NASB]

Many of us procrastinate. Why would you want to start something today when you can put it off until tomorrow? This habit pops up frequently at work, where it gets us into no end of trouble. Our enemy, the cursed “deadline,” is after all aptly named, and woe to the one who fails to meet it! A true procrastinator, however, is noncommittal about all aspects of his/her life, and that is exactly the point that Jesus is making in today’s passage.

When Jesus says “follow Me” He doesn’t mean when it’s convenient or when it suits you. It’s a drop everything kind of moment. No procrastinating, just “do it!” The Apostle Matthew is perhaps the best example of faithful obedience to the call of our Lord. When Jesus said “Follow Me!” he got up immediately and followed Him (see Mark 2:14). How will we respond? Do we have other, more pressing obligations in our lives? Are we committed to follow Him tomorrow or when it’s convenient? Or, are we like Matthew? When you hear Jesus calling you, drop everything and follow Him!

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Thursday, December 13 2018

Verse of the Day

Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!” [Matthew 21:9 – NKJV]

Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!” [Matthew 27:22 – NKJV]

Many of you have served in the military and others have played instruments in marching bands, but regardless of whether you’ve had any experience with marching in formation, you are probably familiar with the command: “About Face!” One minute you’re facing one direction and a second later, the exact opposite—your perspective has changed by 180 degrees! The passages for today illustrate this to a “T.” As Jesus makes His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the people shout “Hosanna to the Son of David” and less than a week later they respond angrily to Pilate, “Let Him be crucified!” What a difference a week makes!

We are really fickle, pliable, indecisive, and capricious creatures, aren’t we? We change our minds and our allegiances on a dime. We vacillate between this and that, seldom taking a stand when we can avoid it. The Israelites expected Jesus to be a warrior king, one who would deliver them from the Romans and when they learned that He was really a meek servant, they turned on Him. Are we any different? We often try to fit God into a mold or pattern of what we want Him to be and when He doesn’t meet our expectations, we abandon Him. What kind of God do we want: a powerless god of our own creation, or the Creator of the Universe?

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Wednesday, December 12 2018

Verse of the Day

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” [Deuteronomy 6:6-7 – NKJV]

What a blessing it is to worship God in church every Sunday. As we leave the service and head to lunch with our family and friends, His Word and its relevance to our lives are still fresh in our minds. Later in the day when we plop down in front of the big screen, it starts to fade, and Monday morning as we head to work, it’s a distant memory. Our helter-skelter 21st-century lives kick into high gear, and far too often we put God on the shelf.

Our natural reaction to forgetting about God and His Word is guilt. We really do know better, don’t we? Rest easy; God knows that we have the attention span of an amoeba. That’s why He repeats things so often in the Bible. It’s also the reason for His commandments and the exhortation to the Israelites in today’s passage from Deuteronomy to live and breathe these same commandments.

Just like the Israelites in Moses’ day, we are commanded to live God’s Word. Thanks to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have the advantage of having the law inscribed on our hearts., But we still need to be diligent in teaching God’s Word to our children and talking about God with our family and friends day and night. So take God off the shelf today and make Him part of your daily lives.

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Tuesday, December 11 2018

Verse of the Day

Then Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for every man of the Egyptians sold his field, because the famine was severe upon them. [Genesis 47:20 – NKJV]

Many of us pride ourselves in our ability to make the tough decisions in life; we believe that we are truly gifted problem solvers. Whether at work, at home or elsewhere, we know how to step up and get it done. Moreover, we are confident that not only do we end up with a good result, but it’s the right result to boot. But, is it really? By whose standards are our solutions judged—the world’s or God’s?

In today’s passage, Joseph “bought the land of Egypt for Pharaoh.” At first blush, this seems like a harsh and unjust result. Is it fair that Pharaoh got even more wealth and power at the expense of his people? Was the “era of big government” about to begin in Egypt? What was Joseph doing anyway? Was this really a decision that came from God? Well, let’s delve into the background of the passage for the answers.

God gave Joseph the ability to interpret dreams, which he put to good use when he predicted that Pharaoh’s dream about the seven fat cows and seven gaunt cows was in actuality a harbinger of seven years of prosperity followed by seven years of extreme famine (see Genesis 41). Recognizing that there was “no one so discerning and wise as [Joseph],” Pharaoh appointed him as governor with power and authority equal to his own. Joseph was tasked with saving Egypt, but there was much more to the story. God used this situation to save His chosen people, Israel, and to build them into a great nation. And, what may look like a power grab by Pharaoh was in reality God saving the people of Egypt from starvation and certain death.

Just to be clear, God is part of every decision we make. His will and His result are paramount. Lest we think that somehow our bosses at work are more concerned about a secular, earthy “correct” answer, never fear. God’s way is the right way regardless of whether you are at work or at home. Look at the result that Joseph got. It was the “right” one for the world and the right one for God. So make sure that you consult with your Boss when you face decisions; you’ll be glad you did!

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Monday, December 10 2018

Verse of the Day

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. [Jeremiah 23:5 – NIV]

The Old Testament is replete with references to the coming of the Messiah. Every book in the Bible shouts His Holy Name. No human king could ever reign wisely and do what is just and right. Only Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, could fulfill this prophesy. We look forward with eager anticipation to the Second Coming!

And He will reign forever and ever. Come Lord Jesus! Hallelujah!

Posted by: John AT 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, December 07 2018

Verse of the Day

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” [Matthew 26:27-28 – NKJV]

As many of you know, I’m a retired tax lawyer. I specialized in corporate, partnership, and M&A (i.e., mergers and acquisitions). One of the concepts that you have to get familiar with in a hurry in my former profession is figuring out what something’s worth; we commonly refer to this as its “fair market value.” It’s not always easy, but there are tried and true techniques that give you an indication of what something is worth, whether it’s stock, tangible or intangible assets, etc. Just curious, but have you ever given much thought as to what you’re worth?

It’s been said that the value of the physical elements in the human body is somewhere around one dollar. Two caveats: this is dated information so it doesn’t take into account inflation; second, it does not account for those of you who have gold teeth. Clearly, this is not an indication of your true value. Another approach might be to determine the net present value of all the services you provide, including the income from your job and the imputed income from your role as parent, caregiver, etc. But, again, this just doesn’t seem to be appropriate.

If you are a Believer, your “fair market value” is best described in today’s passage. Jesus died on the cross for you and me so that we could spend eternity with Him. We often hear this expressed as Jesus “redeeming” us from our sins. That’s a good segue back to my past life as a tax professional. A “redemption” is a tax and legal term or concept generally associated with stock buybacks and similar corporate transactions. What could be more apropos? Jesus bought us back! He was the price paid in the deal. So now we know our true value. Thank you, Jesus!

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Thursday, December 06 2018

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?

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Wednesday, December 05 2018

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!

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Tuesday, December 04 2018

Verse of the Day

[F]or anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. [Hebrews 4:10-11 – NIV]

Nowadays we treat leisure and entertainment and rest as being one and the same, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. We play a round of golf or go fishing on a Sunday afternoon and mistakenly believe that we are “resting on the Sabbath.” But God has a different idea. Even though leisure activities are not work per se, they are still a form of work. For example, we often say that we are working at our golf game (and believe me, mine needs it!). If we are not resting as we engage in leisure and entertainment activities, then how do we rest?

Today’s passage from Hebrews provides some insight. We learn that we are to “make every effort to enter [God’s] rest.” To do so. we must rest from our work by disengaging from all worldly activities and totally focusing on God. As we read God’s Word and commune with Him, we find ourselves entering into His rest. Only as we rest “in” God can we find comfort and peace. God’s rest is a truly refreshing rest.

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Monday, December 03 2018

Verse of the Day

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” [Micah 5:2 – NIV]

“O little town of Bethlehem how still we see thee lie…” So begins the first stanza of one of the best loved Christmas hymns ever written and one of my favorites, too! Part of my affection for it is based on my growing up in Bethlehem, PA, the “Christmas City,” but that’s certainly not the only reason for my fondness. There is something about the birth of the Christ Child that touches all of us. His humble birth in Bethlehem is a very compelling story.

So why in the world did God pick Bethlehem as His Son’s birthplace? After all, one would expect that the Son of God would be born in a city of significance, Jerusalem for example, and not a little town that nobody paid much attention to. Today’s passage makes clear that Bethlehem was indeed chosen by God to be the birthplace of His Son. Bethlehem was the city of David, and it was foretold that the Christ would be of the lineage of King David. Jesus, like his ancestor, David, came to earth as a humble servant. A humble birth was only appropriate for Him.

Although Jesus made clear that He was God’s Son, He never used the title “Son of God.” Instead He preferred to use “Son of Man” so as to identify Himself with us. The Messiah came to be a servant. He was humble, caring, loving, kind, compassionate, and full of grace. He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. What better place than Bethlehem for His birth? Let’s prepare for Him in our hearts as we celebrate this Advent season.

Posted by: John AT 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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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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