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Daily Devotionals from Grace in the Workplace
Friday, April 28 2017

Verse of the Day

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. [Luke 24:45 – NIV]

We humans can get very passionate about our many varied interests. Take sports for example. There’s a reason that spectators are referred to as “fans”—it’s short for fanatic, which is what they are about their particular team. If you’re a sports fan, you want to learn as much as possible about sports, the teams, stats, trivia, etc., and most fans spend hours and hours each day reading, watching TV, and surfing the net. Wow! Amazing, isn’t it? Can you believe that we create all of this commotion about a game? It makes me wonder if Believers are really as fanatical as sports fans about learning and living God’s Word.

If you want to learn about your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, read the Word of God. Today’s passage makes clear that God speaks to us through His Word. The Apostle Peter tells us “… [That Believers] like newborn babies, [should] long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord” (see 1 Peter 2:2-3). It doesn’t matter where you are on your walk with the Lord; you need to be in the Word. Read it, study it, talk about it, pray about it, and live it. So get involved in a Bible Study. You’ll be glad you did!

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Thursday, April 27 2017

Verse of the Day

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. …  Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. [2 Peter 1:5-7; 10-11 – NIV]

This is great advice from the Disciple Peter. Notice that we are to perfect our faith by adding various attributes and characteristics in a specific order and at an ever-increasing degree. I think there is a reason that they are ordered as they are. Each successive attribute builds on the previous and cannot be attained without the addition of its predecessor. I think it would behoove us to study the characteristics that Peter has noted in this passage and the order in which we are to seek and obtain them in our lives. Of course, each of these attributes (which lead to our practical sanctification) can never be fully “attained” in our life here on earth (which is why Peter says that they are to be added in “increasing measure”). But keep in mind that once goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love are attained, the servant will receive a “rich welcome into the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” I can think of nothing that we should seek after more than this. Thanks to Peter for some really great advice!

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Wednesday, April 26 2017

Verse of the Day

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners… [1 Timothy 1:15 – NKJV]

I remember my first day of work at El Paso Energy back in 1997. Buried in the mound of paper on my desk was a job description. I briefly looked at it and then tossed it aside. Despite my cavalier attitude, job descriptions are useful things. It’s always a good idea to know what your duties and responsibilities are and what you’re expected to produce or accomplish. Almost all of us in the workforce have job descriptions, but what about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Does He get a pass from this somewhat mundane requirement? Absolutely not!

Today’s passage makes that abundantly clear. Jesus came into the world to save sinners. That’s His job description and we can get down on our knees and give thanks that His Boss, God the Father, gave it to Him! Thank you, Jesus, for doing your job!

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Tuesday, April 25 2017

Verse of the Day

“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths of the grave—what can you know? [Job 11:7-8 – NIV 1984]

I grew up reading mysteries—one of the many idiosyncrasies I inherited from my parents. Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, John Dickson Carr, Robert van Gulik, Dorothy Sayers, Clayton Rawson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, etc.—I’ve read (actually it’s more like devoured) them all. One thing about a mystery novel: by the last page it’s always solved (either by the reader or the fictional detective). But in real life, there are mysteries that are never solved. Sometimes mystery surrounds something because it’s unknowable. The best example is the Lord our God. As today’s passage tells us, He is the ultimate mystery!

The fact that God is a mystery is not a bad thing. Never forget that God’s Word reveals all we need to know about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. And we Believers are blessed with the indwelling of the Spirit that helps us in our understanding of God’s ways. We also need to resist the secular world and the belief that everything is knowable; that nothing is beyond mankind’s grasp. This just ain’t so! We are not meant to know everything, at least this side of Heaven. So, give thanks for God; He’s my favorite mystery and I’m sure He’s yours too!

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Monday, April 24 2017

Verse of the Day

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. [Micah 6:8 – NIV]

What better way to begin each day than by praying Micah 6:8? It is after all, what the Lord requires of you—to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Just remember that starting off right is important, but it’s not enough. Patience and perseverance are the keys to consistently doing these things day in and day out. So, pray that you will do what your God requires of you today. You and your fellow travelers will be all the better for it!

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Friday, April 21 2017

Verse of the Day

 

“…through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” [Genesis 22:18 – NIV 1984]

  

I like word games even though I’m not always as good at them as my family and friends seem to be. Anyway, today’s title has two meanings and ironically (or perhaps not), the subject of this devotional speaks to both. Often we speak of the personal, intimate things associated with a family as “family matters.” Also, we know that family is important and has true significance and meaning, so it “matters.” So how does this fit into our life as the family of God? Let’s take a look.

 

In today’s passage God tells Abraham that through his lineage all nations of the world will be blessed. This is a direct reference to Jesus, the Messiah. What could matter more than your salvation? Jesus, our Lord and Savior, died to save us from our sins. Thanks to Him, we are children of God! So you see, family really does matter; especially when you are blessed to be a member of the Body of Christ!

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Thursday, April 20 2017

Verse of the Day

“There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. [Hosea 4:1-2 – NIV 1984]

I was visiting with my friend Mike one day when he decided to watch the local news at 5. This was definitely not a normal thing for us to do during a visit. I don’t watch local or national network news. My choices are somewhat different—mostly cable news and the print edition of The Wall Street Journal. So, I was shocked when we watched murder after murder, domestic violence, wrong-way collisions, and other depressing stories for the first five minutes of the program. I had to get home for dinner, and so hurriedly said goodbye and quickly left.

What a depressing thing the news is. But, it’s really just a depiction of our society. The world is full of godless people and this is, after all, what they do. In Romans, Paul tells us that we can expect this type of behavior from a world that has turned its back on God. Why should we be shocked? All the more reason for us to share His love with all we meet. Make a difference for Jesus today!

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Wednesday, April 19 2017

Verse of the Day

And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” [Luke 18:13 – NKJV]

When Moses asked God what name the Israelites should call Him, He responded, “I AM WHO I AM” (see Exodus 3:14). Have you ever wondered if God is the Great I Am, then who am I? Our Lord and Savior, Jesus, provides the answer in today’s passage. The tax collector (or publican) in Luke 18 is perhaps the best example of a humble person in the entire Bible. Unlike the pompous and proud Pharisee, he refused to approach the Temple or gaze up at Heaven.

Recognizing that he was a sinner, he begged God to have mercy on him. We are no different. I would submit that my name (and maybe yours too) is the “lowly I’m not.” How could it be anything else? God is everything and we are nothing. Give Him all the honor and glory He deserves today! May there be less of us and more of Him, today, and everyday!

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Tuesday, April 18 2017

Verse of the Day

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ…Preach the word! [2 Timothy 4:1-2 – NKJV]

I’ve never displayed bumper stickers on my cars. I just can’t imagine that anyone would care or be influenced by my opinion, about my political ideology or my candidate of choice, where I went to college, my favorite NFL team, my child being an honor student (or beating up your honor student), or any one of the many social issues of the day. I think I’m fairly well-informed and believe that my opinions are well-reasoned, but “Who cares, right?” Sharing our opinions with others is a tricky thing. There are always two (or more) sides to any issue, so you are bound to get into controversy if you go overboard in expressing how you feel about something. That’s why many people subscribe to the “no politics and no religion” rule at the dinner table. But there are times when your opinion does make a difference—so much so, in fact, that it’s a matter of life and death.

In today’s passage the Apostle Paul charges us to preach the Word. It is a life-changing and saving experience. It’s the one time when your opinion really does matter! So share the Good News of Jesus Christ with everyone you meet today!

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Monday, April 17 2017

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!

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Thursday, April 13 2017

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!

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Wednesday, April 12 2017

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.

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Tuesday, April 11 2017

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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Monday, April 10 2017

Verse of the Day

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. [Colossians 2:9-10 – NKJV]

Many devotionals have been written on Immanuel, God with us. The fact that God came to earth to live with us as a man is incredibly important, but that is not the point of today’s passage from scripture. Although He was a man, Jesus in His incarnation reflected the image of God the Father. While He walked the earth, He was God in human form. He was and is perfect. In much the same way, when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are perfected by the righteousness of Christ that God imparts to us. We are brought into fullness by being positionally perfected in God’s sight. Only Jesus and His blood that was shed on the cross for us could accomplish this. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer! Thank you Jesus!

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Friday, April 07 2017

Verse of the Day

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, this is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” [Numbers 6:24-26 – NIV]

What a great blessing! I remember it fondly from my childhood. Mom and I attended the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and the minister would always end the service with this prayer (as the benediction). As I read it today something else pops out at me. God is instructing Moses on exactly how the Israelites are to be blessed—i.e., God wrote the blessing for Himself. So I think if He wrote it then we should pay attention to it. It’s special! I encourage you to use it in your prayers to bless others.

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Thursday, April 06 2017

Verse of the Day

…fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. [2 Timothy 1:6 – NIV]

Like many children of the ‘50s, I was shipped off to summer camp. Camp was fun; you got a chance to do lots of things that just weren’t possible back home in the city, like shooting a gun or a bow and arrow, canoeing, chopping wood, hiking and camping, and many other outdoorsy things. One of the most challenging skills we learned was how to start a fire with a steel knife, a piece of flint, and some tinder. This required lots of patience and perseverance. Once a fire was started, you had to keep it going, gently blowing and fanning the flames.

As we consider today’s passage, it’s good to keep in mind that the people of New Testament times probably started fires in much the same way as we did in summer camp. Why is this relevant? Well, because it sheds light on the real meaning of Paul’s words. Developing and using the gifts that God gives us takes a great deal of patience and perseverance on our part.  We are not to sit idly by, but we are to be engaged to the fullest in sharing God’s Word. So I implore you to do your part in spreading the Good News to all you meet today and every day!

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Wednesday, April 05 2017

Verse of the Day

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. [Psalm 19:14 – NKJV]

My friend drains a 15-foot putt and after I congratulate him, he says (jokingly), “Chalk it up to clean living.” Of course “clean living” is nothing more than blind, stupid luck. Even a blind squirrel finds an occasional acorn. There’s a difference between clean living and living right.

Living to please God is living right. If my mouth and my heart are pleasing to God then I know I have followed the right path in life. Pursue wisdom and run toward the Prize. Live humbly, love your neighbor, be merciful and just, read and live the Word, be generous, use your gifts to glorify and honor God, and love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength. Trust in God and obey Him. Pray that your life will be pleasing to Him.

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Tuesday, April 04 2017

Verse of the Day

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” [Acts 9:3-4 – NIV]

Road trips were a big part of growing up in the ‘60s. A bunch of guys and gals would jump into a car (preferably a convertible) and head off to, well, nowhere in particular. These adventures of a misspent youth were fun, but the greatest “road trip” ever took place two thousand years ago during New Testament times. Walking was the only way to travel back then and Saul (later to be renamed Paul) was headed down the road to Damascus toward an amazing experience, a conversion like no other—a direct, intimate and personal encounter with Jesus Christ!

God had a very special purpose in mind for Paul. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He told the Apostles “…you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” [see Acts 1:8, emphasis added]. Yes, God handpicked Paul to be His messenger to the Gentiles, and just in case you’re still on your first cup of coffee that means us.

Given his background, Paul would seem to be the perfect fit to share the Good News with the Jews. After all, he was the “consummate Jew,” well-educated and a Benjaminite like his namesake, King Saul. However, God rarely follows human logic and reasoning. Paul’s mission trips spread the Word throughout the Roman world and to the ends of the earth. His epistles are equally notable considering that he got the Word directly from the “horse’s mouth” (from Jesus Christ Himself).

God used Paul in a very powerful and unexpected way to fulfill His Plan. As a Believer, God will be using you too. Be ready to honor and glorify Him forever!

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Monday, April 03 2017

Verse of the Day

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” [Hebrews 12:14 – NIV]

Many of you remember the tension between the United States and the USSR after World War II. The Cold War kept escalating. We lived with a constant threat of nuclear war (who remembers practicing how to kneel under your desk at school?), and our systems (capitalism and communism) competed against one another on the world stage. Eventually, we reached an understanding and our strained relations eased; hence the title of this devotional—Détente.

As today’s passage tells us, peace is a great thing to seek. Of all the possible conditions that mankind could find itself in, peace is the one that we strive for the most, yet it is rarely achieved. We bicker, fight, and are often at war. So truth be told, peace is really more of a dream than a reality. The author of Hebrews tells us that for us as Believers, peace in and of itself is not enough. We must be holy because “without holiness no one will see the Lord.” This is a high standard indeed, but then what don’t we understand about being Christ-like?

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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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