Daily Devotionals from Grace in the Workplace
Tuesday, June 22 2021
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.
Monday, June 21 2021
Verse of the Day
The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. [Revelation 21:23– NKJV]
In John 8:12, Jesus tells us that “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” His light shines on our lives helping us see ourselves as we are—sinful creatures in need of His saving grace. He lights our path as we walk with Him, keeping us safe from harm. Likewise, Jesus calls us to be the “light of the world,” sharing the Good News with those around us (see Mathew 5:14). Perhaps the Prophet Isaiah says it best: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (see Isaiah 9:2).
In today’s passage we learn that not only is Jesus the light of the world in a figurative sense, He is also quite literally the light of the world when we arrive in the New Jerusalem where there will be “no need [for] the sun or the moon [because] the Lamb is its light.” This is certainly fitting because before the sun was created on the fourth day in Genesis 1, Jesus provided the light for the newly created earth on the first day (see Genesis 1:3 and John 1:1-5).
Shine Jesus, shine!
Friday, June 18 2021
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.”
Thursday, June 17 2021
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!
Wednesday, June 16 2021
Verse of the Day
A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. [Proverbs 16:9 – NKJV]
We humans like to labor under the delusion that God is up there in Heaven somewhere and that here on earth we can go about our lives pretty much as our hearts desire. We acknowledge that He is in control, but then we tell ourselves that in reality we make our own plans and decisions. We think we have “free will.” Well, think again! Today’s passage tells us that God is in charge. Please don’t get too worked up about this—God is not a puppet master, but He does direct our lives in accordance with His Plan. There are several ways to look at this. Some might find this a scary concept. We like to feel like we are living our own lives and that when it comes to the mundane, day-to-day matters or even the big decisions we face, we are the boss. On the other hand, having a loving God who “directs your steps” is a very comforting thought. He’s not an absentee landlord hanging out in Heaven, but a “hands-on” God who is part of our lives in a very intimate and personal way.
Tuesday, June 15 2021
Verse of the Day
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [1 Timothy 1:15 – KJV]
My childhood memories of church are somewhat fuzzy, but for some reason I have a vivid recollection of today’s Scripture passage. The minister would recite it during the celebration of Holy Communion, omitting the phrase “of whom I am chief” to avoid confusion among the participants. However, it is this somewhat cryptic phrase that is the subject of today’s devotional.
Why does the Apostle Paul, a great man of God and faithful servant of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, believe that he is “chief” among sinners? After all, he was responsible for spreading the Good News to the Gentiles. How can he be the worst of the worst? Perhaps it has to do with his prior life as Saul, blaspheming God and persecuting Christians. But I believe that there is something deeper here. I’d like to submit that all Christians should feel this way about themselves; I know I do. We are all “sinners in chief.”
Once God fully and completely reveals our sins to us, the inevitable result is the realization that we are the lowest of the low. We feel a profound sense of guilt and shame because of the pain and suffering Jesus endured for us on the Cross. He was wounded by my transgressions and yours. The full realization of our sinfulness can cause guilt and remorse, but we are not to wallow in a state of self-pity and depression.
What’s past is past; we need to move forward and run the race with our eyes focused on the Prize. After all, we are new creations in Christ Jesus. God’s grace is amazing.