Daily Devotionals from Grace in the Workplace
Friday, July 14 2017
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.
Thursday, July 13 2017
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!
Wednesday, July 12 2017
Verse of the Day
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. [Matthew 5:16 – NKJV]
It’s 6:15 a.m. and you’ve got a long bus ride to work. A grumpy man plops down in the seat next to you and immediately starts a loud and annoying conversation on his cell phone. Later, as you wander into the coffee bar for your third cup of coffee, you overhear a conversation about how the company is about to lay off half of the people in your department. You get back from lunch and your boss drops by to visit. She tells you that you’ve got to stay late to get a rush project done before the board meeting. Finally, as you pull out of the bus lot on the way home, one of your fellow drivers cuts you off. How do you handle these and the myriad of other things that pop up during the typical day at work? Do you gossip or complain? Do you lose your temper? Do you let your pride get in the way of having a congenial, respectful, and productive relationship with your coworkers and boss? If so, then you are straying from God’s path as you go about your daily life.
In today’s passage, Jesus tells us that we are to let our light shine. More precisely, as Believers we are to let the light of Jesus shine through us. After all, we are His “ambassadors” sharing the Good News with the rest of mankind. When those around us see that we are living in accordance with His Word, it is a testimony to His presence in our lives and “glorifies our Father in heaven.” Your words and actions at work and elsewhere else do make a difference. They matter. Our behavior says a great deal about what and who we are. One of the most effective techniques for sharing Jesus at work is just being you. So, let the light of Jesus shine through today and every day and give God the glory!
Tuesday, July 11 2017
Verse of the Day
I said to the king, “If it please the king, and if your servant has found favor before you, send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.” [Nehemiah 2:5 –NASB]
In 1917 as the United States was on the verge of entering World War I, President Wilson spoke to all Americans calling for a “war to end all wars.” Many businessmen, bankers, lawyers, and other professional men respond by joining the executive ranks of various government departments which were sorely in need of experienced leadership. They typically received a dollar a year in salary as remuneration for their services, hence the moniker Dollar-a-Year Men.
In today’s passage, Nehemiah asks permission of King Artaxerxes for a leave of absence so that he could help rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king, a high position indeed, but not one that would necessarily equip him with the leadership skills and abilities needed for the task at hand. However, there is no doubt that God chose the right man for the job. Nehemiah turned out to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, leaders in the Bible. He was gifted at organizing and planning, problem solving, teamwork, and encouragement. He successfully dealt with conflict and opposition from both external and internal sources. Perhaps his most defining characteristic was his relationship with the Lord his God. When Nehemiah was confronted with a problem, He always turned to God first for guidance.
If you are a leader or aspire to be one, there is much you can learn from reading about Nehemiah. Like the Dollar-a-Year Men of modern times, he sacrificed much to serve his people and his God. Let’s pray that the leaders of today are made of the same cloth!
Monday, July 10 2017
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!
Friday, July 07 2017
Verse of the Day
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. [2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – NIV]
I don’t know about you, but I have a few weaknesses, a few faults. Actually, there are so many I can’t count them. Most of us delude ourselves and put on a façade of strength and wisdom, as though we are masters of our fate and in total control of every situation. Who are we kidding? But it’s one thing to acknowledge our weaknesses and quite another to welcome them and celebrate them as Paul did. So delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties, because in doing so, Jesus Christ our Savior manifests Himself in our lives and gives us strength. As Paul says, only in His strength am I strong. So pray for adversities!
Thursday, July 06 2017
Verse of the Day
Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. [Psalm 141:3 – NKJV]
I don’t know about you, but I frequently say stupid and occasionally hurtful things to others. Most of the time this is unintentional, but regardless, it shouldn’t happen. The problem is I think I’m a funny and humorous guy, and the vast majority of the situations in which I say something mean or inappropriate to someone stems from an attempt at humor. A quick wit generally means a quick (and often hurtful) tongue.
Speaking without thinking is a real problem, isn’t it? We could all benefit from the advice of the Psalmist to “set a guard over my mouth.” Actually in my case it should be a muzzle. The key here is to think first. Instead of responding like a machine gun in a conversation, let your heart and mind form your thoughts and that will help ensure that your response will be appropriate. Better yet, get into the habit of listening to others. A wise man listens.
Wednesday, July 05 2017
Verse of the Day
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. [Colossians 3:2 – NIV]
There’s a lot of clutter in our lives nowadays, perhaps more than at any other time in history. There are many people and things vying for our time. There are demands at work and at home. We are bombarded with more information than we can possibly process or absorb from a myriad of sources. And all too frequently we chose to waste our time in pursuit of entertainment and leisure, i.e., mindless stuff. So when do we have time for God?
It’s all a matter of focus. Are you too concerned with the things of this world or are you about your Father’s business? Never forget to store up treasures in Heaven because where your treasure is there your heart will be also!
Monday, July 03 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!