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Daily Devotionals from Grace in the Workplace
Thursday, March 28 2013

 Verse of the Day

 

…they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!” [Luke 24:5-6 – NKJV]

  

Jesus’ Resurrection on Easter Sunday is the linchpin of our faith. It gives us hope and assurance of a life everlasting as we worship and sing praises to the King of kings and Lord of lords! But why is the Resurrection so important? The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:13-14 that “if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.” Jesus said it best in John 11:25-26: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”

 

So give thanks this Easter to Jesus for His sacrifice on the Cross and His redemptive blood that forgives us of our sins. And make sure to say a special prayer of thanks for His Resurrection that gives us the assurance of life everlasting in Him!

 

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

 

Posted by: John AT 08:06 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, March 27 2013

Verse of the Day

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” [Revelation 5:12 – NKJV]

In just a few days on Easter Sunday we will celebrate the Resurrection. But, before our Lord, Jesus Christ rose from the dead, He died on the Cross as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. Let’s not forget that. Unlike the Day of Atonement, when the blood of a sacrifice only covered the sins of the people until the next year, the blood of the Lamb of God wipes our slates clean for eternity.

As Believers, we have life everlasting thanks to Jesus. As today’s passage so aptly states, there is no doubt whatsoever that Jesus is “worthy…to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” Hallelujah to the Lamb of God! He is worthy!

Posted by: John AT 12:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, March 26 2013

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?

Our only hope is Jesus Christ. Only a deep and abiding faith in Jesus will produce the intestinal fortitude needed to be firm in our convictions. Walk with God. Trust and obey! Let’s give thanks that our God is an awesome God who loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus as a perfect sacrifice to die on the Cross for all Believers! Hosanna in the highest!

Posted by: John AT 02:51 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, March 22 2013

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 12:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, March 21 2013

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!

Posted by: John AT 12:41 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, March 20 2013

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!

Posted by: John AT 08:07 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, March 19 2013

Verse of the Day

Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. [Psalm 24:7 – NKJV]

Well, I’m focused on Handel’s Messiah again. The question: “Who is the King of Glory?” The answer: “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” The reprise: “Who is the King of Glory?” The resounding answer shouted to the highest Heavens: “The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.” Thanks be to our God, for He is an awesome God worthy of being praised, magnified, worshiped, adored, and lifted up on high. He is holy, holy, holy! Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. If you love God you will trust and obey Him.

Jesus is our King. He is the King of Glory. Lift up His precious name in all you do today! Make sure everything you do today reflects on Him and brings Him the glory.

Posted by: John AT 12:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, March 18 2013

Verse of the Day

“…who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” [1 Peter 2:24 – NKJV]

All of us have been sick at one time or another. We go to the doctor, get a prescription, and after a few days we feel better. We are healed. But there is one condition that doctors and modern medicine have no cure for—death. We all sin and the punishment for sin is death. Under the Law, God provided a “cover” for sin so that He could have a relationship with His Chosen People, the Israelites. But the curse remained; all of the offerings and sacrifices merely provided a temporary solution to the sin problem. The sacrifices were usually unblemished animals or birds, but they were not perfect. Only the sacrifice of God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, could provide the blood that would not just cover but eliminate the stain of our sins for eternity. Only the perfect sacrifice could once and for all time restore us to God. The prescription that healed us was the incredible pain, suffering, and sacrificial death of Jesus. By His stripes we are healed and by His resurrection we have the promise of life everlasting. Thanks be to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! By His stripes we are healed.

Posted by: John AT 02:23 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, March 15 2013

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?

Posted by: John AT 01:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, March 14 2013

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!

Posted by: John AT 10:10 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, March 13 2013

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.

Posted by: John AT 02:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, March 11 2013

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!

Posted by: John AT 12:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, March 08 2013

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!

Posted by: John AT 12:47 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, March 07 2013

Verse of the Day

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 01:13 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, March 06 2013

Verse of the Day

 

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. [Hebrews 4:14-16 – NKJV]

 

Today’s passage reveals an amazing thing! Thanks to Jesus we no longer need a High Priest to gain access to the Lord our God. Jesus is our High Priest! Why is this significant? Well, in the Old Testament, as God was giving the Law to Moses, He set up an organizational structure where only one man, the High Priest, would have access to the Holy of Holies (the place in the Tabernacle where God resided) and that would occur on one day each year (the Day of Atonement). Aaron, Moses’s brother, was the first High Priest and there were many to follow, but the point is that the Israelites did not have direct access to God.

 

So, thanks to Jesus we not only have access to the Throne Room of the Most High, we have a level of intimacy that was unimaginable under the Law. What a comforting and assuring thought. So when you pray, give thanks that you are not praying through an earthly priest for forgiveness of your sins but through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

 

Posted by: John AT 04:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, March 05 2013

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!

Posted by: John AT 07:52 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, March 04 2013

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!

Posted by: John AT 07:43 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, March 01 2013

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!

Posted by: John AT 11:06 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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