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Daily Devotionals from Grace in the Workplace
Monday, November 30 2020

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, November 25 2020

Verse of the Day

Then [Stephen] knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. [Acts 7:60 – NKJV]

Stephen was appointed as one of the first deacons of the early church. He was described as one who was “full of faith and the Holy Spirit”—so much so, in fact, that he performed great wonders and signs among the people (see Acts 6:8). But as so often happens, many people in the church were jealous of him and falsely accused him of blasphemy. He was taken before the high priest and when asked about the charge against him, Stephen responded with an impassioned speech about the Israelites resisting the Holy Spirit both in the past as well as in the current day. The crowd was so incensed that they stoned Stephan to death.

As today’s passage vividly points out, what is so remarkable about Stephen is that even as he was being martyred, he cared not for himself but for the members of the angry mob who were taking his life. He implored God to “not charge them with this sin.”

Do we care about other people in the same way that Stephen did? Would we do what he did? What level of mercy and compassion do we have? Are we merely paying lip service to loving others as we love ourselves? I for one need to pray to be more like Stephen. How about you?

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Tuesday, November 24 2020

Verse of the Day

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. [Philippians 4:11 – NIV]

Far too often we find ourselves living on an emotional rollercoaster. Frank Sinatra said it best: “Riding high in April, shot down in May.” And it’s not just our love life; we frequently face disappointment in every aspect of our lives—family, work, school, church, friends. Don’t get me wrong; emotions aren’t inherently bad. In fact, God has emotions, e.g., love, anger, jealousy, a sense of humor, compassion. It’s just that God’s emotions are perfect, controlled, just, and true, whereas our emotions stem from our self-centered, prideful nature and are often sinful. We strive for happiness when it’s really joy and inner peace that bring contentment.

In today’s passage, the Apostle Paul shares the key to overcoming the doldrums, “be content whatever the circumstances.” On the surface this sounds like something that we can work toward, but just imagine that you’ve lost your job, your wife wants a divorce, or you’ve been diagnosed with colon cancer. How will you react? Is contentment really something that we can experience in the here and now? The answer is yes!

Paul didn’t just pick himself up from the road to Damascus, brush himself off, and live a Christlike life. Philippians 4:11 tells us that he “learned to be content” (emphasis added). So Paul went through a maturation process just like us. As our lives shift from being self-centered to being Christ focused, we move closer and closer to realizing the many blessings that Paul and others tell us are possible. Content no matter the circumstances. You bet. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

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Monday, November 23 2020

Verse of the Day

Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” [Daniel 3:24-25 – NKJV]

I’ll bet when you were growing up your Sunday School teacher taught you all kinds of Bible stories—David and Goliath, God parting the Red Sea, Daniel in the Lion’s Den and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were fun and entertaining for 5- and 6-year-olds just like other fairytales that our parents read to us, such as Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, and Cinderella. But as we grew up we were told that all of these stories were myths created by people seeking to explain their existence without the benefit of modern science.

So what gives? All of a sudden later in life we become Believers, and all of that great worldly knowledge about the myths of the past is again questioned; this time, not by scientists and other heroes of secular society, but by God’s Word. Why? Because if we believe God’s Word, all of the Bible stories we learned in Sunday School are true. And not only are they true, but they are far more profound, far more meaningful, and far more interesting than we could have imagined as children.

King Nebuchadnezzar’s lieutenants decided to create golden idols of his likeness for all the people of Babylon to worship and pay tribute to. As Israelites, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship the idols, which eventually resulted in Nebuchadnezzar commanding that they be cast into a fiery furnace (which incidentally had been heated to seven times its normal temperature). After they were cast into the furnace, the King is shocked and amazed when another person appears with them in the midst of the fiery inferno—a fourth person whom he identifies as the “Son of God.” Yes, Jesus, our Savior was in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, protecting and saving them from the intense heat. They emerged totally unscathed without a burn on their bodies; in fact, even their clothing was completely intact. Wow, Jesus saved them and He has saved us too!

So, maybe “Trix are for Kids,” but the stories of the Bible are for kids, young people, adults, and everyone else who believes in God.

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Friday, November 20 2020

Verse of the Day

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. [Proverbs 3:11-12 – NIV]

Most of us don’t like being told that we are wrong, that we’ve made mistakes, and we especially don’t like someone else telling us what we should have done instead. We all have a little bit of an issue with authority. We think we know what’s right for us and when a parent, teacher, boss, doctor, policeman, or judge suggests otherwise we get all bent out of shape. Discipline, regardless how well-intended, is rarely well received.

When you think about it, most of the authority figures in our lives only have our best interests at heart. So, how do you react when God disciplines you? Do you resist and resent His efforts to help you with your journey or do you welcome His nudges and jolts towards a more Christ-like life?

As King Solomon points out in today’s passage, “the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” What don’t we understand about God and His desire for us to be His children? We need discipline because all too often we fall short. As the author of Hebrews points out in Hebrews 12, discipline is like the training that an athlete goes through as he or she prepares for a race. By disciplining us, God is getting us ready to “run the race.” And as you run, always remember to keep your eyes on the Prize!

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Thursday, November 19 2020

Verse of the Day

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” [John 13:34-35 – NIV]

Well, The Beatles got it right didn’t they? What a wonderful world this would be…oh, I’m sorry, there I go again lapsing into more song lyrics from the 1960s. But, you get the picture. Jesus gave us a command. This isn’t just some sort of “I’ll do it if and when I feel like it” sort of thing. God’s commandments are to be obeyed. Hold on. What’s so tough about this love thing anyway? I love all sorts of folks. I love my spouse (well, most of the time), and I really love my children (but they are annoying sometimes), I love my friends (when they are doing what I want them to do), and I love my boss and coworkers (when they leave me alone). These are examples of the kind of love that The Beatles were singing about, but Jesus expects much, much more. He expects us to express and experience agape love, the kind of love where we love one another unconditionally.

The way Believers treat each other at work can definitely minister to others. If we treat each other with love and respect as Jesus commands, we identify ourselves as Christians. Nonbelievers see us and know that we are Jesus’ disciples. What better way is there to spread God’s Word in the workplace? Of course, our love for others doesn’t stop with fellow Believers. We should love the nonbelievers at work too (and not just those that we happen to like). And Jesus also calls us to love our enemies! (Matthew 5:44). So, let’s put these commands into practice. Learn to love others as you work with them day in and day out. It may not be an easy thing, but when you think about how much Jesus loved each of us as He was nailed to the cross, it is the right thing.

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Wednesday, November 18 2020

Verse of the Day

[Hezekiah] brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said: “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. [2 Chronicles 29:4-5 – NIV]

After Israel split into two kingdoms, there were never any “good” kings in the northern kingdom (Israel) and only a handful in the southern kingdom (Judah). By good, I mean a king who walked in the ways of the Lord. Hezekiah was one of the few good kings of Judah. In today’s passage we see Hezekiah restoring temple worship, something that the Israelites had abandoned long ago. He started by commanding the Levites to consecrate themselves and the temple and to remove all defilement from the sanctuary itself. Well, this is an interesting bit of information as we learn more and more about God’s chosen people, but is it relevant in our lives today? You bet it is!

After Pentecost and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, our bodies became tabernacles or sanctuaries. We have God living in us. So it is incumbent upon us to keep our “tabernacles” holy. Just like the temple in Hezekiah’s day, we have to remove all defilement from our bodies to ensure that they are suitable dwelling places for the Lord. So, clean yourself up and make sure that you are an appropriate sanctuary for the Lord your God!

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Tuesday, November 17 2020

Verse of the Day

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. [James 1:5-6 – NIV 1984]

Wisdom is one of the keys to our spiritual walk. A wise person is someone who fears God; who walks in His ways. Clearly, as Believers we need to seek God’s wisdom and fortunately there are several sources where it can be found. First and foremost is in His Word. Most people would pick Proverbs and Ecclesiastes as the best source for advice on wisdom, and why not? King Solomon was, after all, the wisest man who ever lived. But, don’t let your search for wisdom stop with a quick read of these two books.

The Bible is chock-full of good advice and much of it is found in the New Testament (especially in the “red letter” passages!). As today’s passage points out, there is a second source of wisdom available to us and it comes from our Wise Counselor, the Holy Spirit. But as with faith, do not doubt when you ask God. Only when you ask, do so with an expectation of certainly and you will receive.

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Monday, November 16 2020

Verse of the Day

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. [Matthew 11:28-30 – NKJV]

Do you find your work difficult and demanding? Our work isn’t supposed to be easy. After the Fall from Grace, God caused work to be a real burden for us. He cursed the land and even after we moved from farms into factories and offices, our work is still a chore. We toil away; nothing comes easy for us at work. There is always something that seems to keep us from completing our tasks in an effortless way.

If you work hard and feel like you are at the end of your rope, then take comfort in today’s passage. Jesus is offering to help us cope with our work. In fact, once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and start to learn His ways, He promises that we will receive rest for our souls. Trust and obey Him in all you do. Jesus’ yoke is not lighter because He demands less, but because He bears more of the load. As your walk with Him evolves and your relationship with Him matures, you will find that your time at work will become easier. Jesus is beside you sharing the load!

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Friday, November 13 2020

Verse of the Day

And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way. [Acts 19:23 – NKJV]

At first blush, today’s passage may seem somewhat cryptic, but not really. What is with the reference to the “Way” and what in the world is it? Well, the explanation is simple. The Way was the name given to the original church. Makes sense doesn’t it? Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life.” It’s His way or the highway. What more need be said?

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Thursday, November 12 2020

Verse of the Day

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” [Isaiah 6:8 – NIV]

Volunteering is a good thing. Many of us contribute our time and talents to many worthy causes. If you are a volunteer for a group or organization you are probably familiar with the “80-20 rule.” That is, 20 percent of the members do the work and the other 80 percent belong. Actually, there is nothing really wrong with this. It is just the way things are meant to be. Some people lead and the others follow. If you are a member of the 20-percent crowd, how would you like it if the other 80 percent were involved in leadership? Just imagine meeting with several hundred people each with their own agenda instead of a cozy group of 10? And if you are a member of the 80-percent group there is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. Belonging is sufficient in and of itself.

But being called by God is different. For example, I know that I have been called by God to share His Word in the workplace. But this is not about me, it’s about you. Have you heard His “still, small voice?” Is He calling you? Is there something that He wants you to do for Him? Are you going to step up to the plate like Isaiah did? You can make a difference for Him. Just answer His call and make a difference in His Kingdom!

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Wednesday, November 11 2020

Verse of the Day

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. [Proverbs 3:5-6 – NASB]

I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve always been an “A to B” person. I like fast cars, and getting to my destination in a hurry is the name of the game. No doubt many of you will disagree. You prefer the scenic route. To you, there is nothing like a slow, meandering drive taking in the beauty of God’s creation. And, you’re right! I’m the misguided one! But, the debate about how to get somewhere in our 21st century world is not exactly the point of today’s passage.

In Old Testament times, long journeys were grueling and tiresome tasks. Most people traveled on foot over “roads” that were at best rocky, dusty, uneven, and treacherous. Because engineering was still a thing of the future, most roads in those days were twisty, winding, and often traversed mountains and other rugged terrain. Is it any wonder that the travelers of the day prayed for straight, flat paths? They longed for the easier route.

The message from today’s passage is that if we “trust in the Lord … and do not lean on [our] own understanding” then He will make our paths straight. In other words, life will be easier for us. So, trust in the Lord today and reject your own thoughts and desires. You’ll be glad you did!

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Tuesday, November 10 2020

Verse of the Day

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. [Romans 1:20 – NIV]

You know you have to be deaf, dumb, and blind to not realize that God exists. His creation screams His Holy Name from the mountains, to the prairies, the deserts, the cities, the pampas, the valleys, the peat bogs, the oceans, the Arctic and Antarctic, and everywhere in between. Day and night, rain and shine, summer and winter, it makes no difference—He is there. How can you walk around at night gazing at the stars and not see Him? Only the deceit of the evil one can shield the obvious from the view of the unbelievers. All the more reason to get out and share the story of the Lamb with all you meet. Never fear; as the Apostle Paul says, you’ve got a lot of help. After all, God is all around us. And never forget, His love is irresistible. We love Him because He first loved us.

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Monday, November 09 2020

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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Friday, November 06 2020

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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Thursday, November 05 2020

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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Wednesday, November 04 2020

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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Tuesday, November 03 2020

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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Monday, November 02 2020

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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Grace in the Workplace Ministries, L.L.C.
P.O. Box 541
Montgomery, Texas 77356
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