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Daily Devotion

  • Spiritual Gifts

    Posted on December 23, 2011 by Family Christian

    Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 1 Corinthians 12:1

     

    Spiritual gifts are given by God and for God. These divine manifestations are diverse in their application, but they all originate from the same Spirit. Hence, heavenly ordained abilities give God all the credit for their accomplishments for good on earth. Gifts of the Spirit generate an eternal energy that is able to administer grace and love to lonely hearts and confused minds. Understanding spiritual gifts gives confidence to Christ followers. 

    Godly gifts are not for the personal benefit of a man, but only in service to mankind. The aim of spiritual gifts is to build up the body of Christ—to be the eyes, ears and mouth of Jesus to the spiritually blind, to those tone-deaf to truth and to the morally mute. Today’s disciples of Jesus can do greater works. Why? Because, they are equipped with spiritual resources and are no longer bound up in sin, but rather they are freed up by God’s gifts.

    Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.
    1 Corinthians 14:12b

    How has the Lord gifted you? Are you quick to see a need and then apply a solution? If so, service may be your gift. Is your heart moved with compassion over opportunities to pray for the sick? If this is the case, perhaps God has endowed you with the gift of faith and healing. Or, you may love the process of creating order out of chaos, if so your gift of administration is on display. Indeed, spiritual gifts profit the church and promote Christ.

    Therefore, prayerfully use your Holy Spirit inspired gift not for show, but to serve. Be who the Lord has gifted you to be and your work will not feel painstakingly laborious, but freeing and glorious. Allocate the most time and energy around the gift in your spiritual portfolio that has the most potential to edify others. Celebrate your gift from God by giving it away for God. Spiritual gifts are evidence of our salvation in Jesus.

    This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. Hebrews 2:3b-4

    How has the Holy Spirit gifted me? How can I steward best His gift for His glory?

    Related Readings: Ecclesiastes 3:13; Proverbs 2:6; Luke 11:13; 1 Corinthians 14:1

    Post/Tweet this today:
    Prayerfully use your Holy Spirit inspired gift not for show, but to serve. #Giftedness

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Gift of the Spirit

    Posted on December 22, 2011 by Family Christian

    If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17

     

    Obeying the commands of Christ is tied to enjoying the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Comfort is made manifest from the gift of the Spirit in a fertile heart of faith. Conversion to Christ embeds His eternal Spirit in the heart of His disciple. A benefit of belief in Jesus is the gift of discernment from His Spirit. Unpacked at salvation and propagated in prayer—the Holy Spirit is the eyes and ears of heaven for all who walk faithfully with Jesus on earth. 

    It is not uncommon for some Christ followers to misunderstand or ignore this guarantor of the Godhead. Perhaps fear of a few corrupt charlatans keeps some Christians distant from the dynamic effects of the Spirit’s work in and through them. Indeed, the Holy Spirit seals new believers at salvation and secures their faith journey through the schemes of Satan. This gift from our heavenly Father is meant to lead us into Christ-like character.

    And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:30-31

    The Holy Spirit is grieved when we do not represent Christ well to the world. When Christians assault each other with verbal barbs it deeply disappoints the heart of God. We are spiritually stuck if we grieve the Spirit by not going to the Lord in confession and repentance with our sins of omission and sins of commission. How can we ask our heavenly Father for a blessing when we have not been a blessing to fellow believers?

    Fortunately, once you come clean with Christ and others, the Holy Spirit is unleashed to lead you into a revelation of truth. He shows a seeking spouse the next step to love their life mate well. He gives clarity to a team in need of direction, when all agendas are put aside in deference to what’s best for the organization. The Holy Spirit hunkers down in a humble heart and extends grace. The gift of the Spirit gives you wise guidance.

    But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. John 16:13

    What is the Holy Spirit saying to my heart, regarding the way I need to relate to difficult people?

    Related Readings: Isaiah 63:14; Luke 12:10; John 3:34; Galatians 5:22-23

    Post/Tweet this today: Unpacked at salvation and propagated in prayer—the Holy Spirit are the eyes and ears of heaven. #Holy Spirit

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Gift of Grace

    Posted on December 21, 2011 by Family Christian

    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

     

    Grace is the guarantor of being in the good graces of Almighty God. It is a gift that only the Lord can bestow, because He is the only one qualified to give something totally unmerited. A gift is not a gift if it can be earned or deserved, so His grace is inexplicable in human terms. The world demands results before being rewarded, but God gives His very best with no expectations of earning His gift of grace. Grace guarantees God’s glory is preeminent. 

    Thus, through belief in Christ Jesus as the Son of God, we experience the riches of His grace. His grace is glorious, because it gets us to heaven. His grace is matchless, because it covers a multitude of sins. His grace is eternal, because it lifts us from the wretchedness of this world and places us in heavenly places. He gives us grace to get over a grudge, to extend mercy, to get through an illness, to persevere at work, to serve at home and to rest.

    Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:16-17

    The grace of God is a gift that keeps on giving. You receive the grace of God in order to give the grace of God. Grace is not meant to sit sterile in a saved soul; but to actively give life to all it encounters. Unused grace only grows ungrateful and forgets from whence it came: from a loving Savior who expects gracious followers. So by faith, fill your emotional tank with grace and Christ will invigorate you with eternal energy and oomph.

    You offer the gift of grace, because you are grateful for being a recipient of grace. Who in your life needs your grace and mercy? Is it a hurting spouse, a distant teenager, an unforgiving family member, a jealous co-worker, an insensitive friend, a negligent neighbor or a proud plaintiff? Every Christian is grace equipped, thus capable of being a gracious ambassador of heaven. Your generous gift of grace gives God glory and honor.

    Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. 2 Corinthians 1:12

    How can I, with a grateful heart, extend grace to someone undeserving of grace?

    Related Readings: Proverbs 22:11; Luke 2:40; Acts 20:32; 2 Corinthians 8:6-9

    Post/Tweet this today: Grace is not meant to sit sterile in a saved soul; but to actively give life to all it encounters… #grace

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Friendship With Jesus

    Posted on December 20, 2011 by Family Christian

    You are my friends if you do what I command. John 15:14

     

    Jesus is a friend to His followers. He is Lord, but He is a friend. He is Savior, but He is a friend. He is the Son of God, but He is a friend. He is sinless and holy, but He is a friend. He is a friend to sinners, and a friend to those He saves. Jesus is a friend to his followers, but it is a friendship based on obedience. Compliance to Christ creates companionship.

    If I do not obey Christ’s commands, He does not call me friend. It is out of our actions that friendship with Jesus is validated. Obedience to Jesus inspires intimacy with Jesus. It is imperative that we obey Jesus so that we can really get to know Jesus. His friendship is free for all who follow hard with a hungry heart to obey. Friendship flourishes with faithful fidelity.

    He [Jesus] replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it. Luke 11:28

    Friendship with Jesus is an invitation to intimacy. He reveals to His friends the riches of His grace, and the hope of His glory. It is a friendship that bears the fruit of saved souls and solid character. You begin to emulate the attitude, actions, words and spirit of Jesus, because this is what friends do. Friends look, act and sound like each other. You know you are a friend of Jesus, when Jesus consistently influences you to be like Him.

    When others are around you does your behavior provide evidence that you’ve been with Jesus? Is it a friendship based on conviction, not convenience—intimacy not intimidation and giving not getting? As you grow in your friendship with Christ you better understand His heart, and your prayers align more with His will. Friendship with Jesus facilitates friendship with people. True friends flock to be with fellow friends of Jesus. Evangelism of the lost and edification of the saved flow freely when Jesus is your best friend.

    When Jesus saw their faith, He said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven. Luke 5:20

    How can I enjoy my friendship with Jesus and also honor Him in the process?

    Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 20:7; Job 29:4; Jeremiah 17:17; James 2:23; 4:4

    Post/Tweet this today: Compliance to Christ creates close companionship with Him… #obedience

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Lifts the Fallen

    Posted on December 19, 2011 by Family Christian

    The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. Psalm 145:14

     

    It is hard to get up when you have fallen, especially if there is extreme fatigue and fear. Relationally you may have fallen in your marriage, because of unfaithfulness. Financially you may have fallen, because of the deceit of debt. Morally you may have fallen, because of a series of unwise decisions. Spiritually you may have fallen, because the cares of this world choked out your confidence in Christ.

    Fallen people are vulnerable to giving up, but are in reality some of the best candidates for God’s grace. You may have been pushed down by the proud and dominant. This is man’s method of control, but the Lord is always there to lift and uphold you. What God lifts up He supports, sustains and restores for His purposes. Indeed, He lifts us up, so we can be His instruments of encouragement to lift up others.

    He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2

    Like fallen comrades in war, we have an obligation to come along side and see how we can help fallen friends. It may be a tourniquet of trust or a canteen of care that gives life. Look around you and observe those who have fallen and need lifting up. Be aggressive to administer God’s grace at their point of need, for this grows the faith of the fallen.

    Banks and borrowers are drowning in debt. Single parents are not sure how they will provide for their children. Widows and widowers wonder what the future holds. A friend or relative is out of work, embarrassed and losing hope. You can best lift up the fallen by first leading them to lean on the Lord. Buy them bread, but bring them a Bible.

    He [Jesus] said, "Yes, and I can be even more explicit. You're hopeless, you religion scholars! You load people down with rules and regulations, nearly breaking their backs, but never lift even a finger to help. Luke 11:46 (The Message)

    Pay their rent, but invite them into your home for a meal. Show them how to live life that is truly life, by serving them. Christians are on call to care in a crisis. The fallen need faith that their Heavenly Father loves them. He loves for He is love. The old hymn declares, “Love lifted me, love lifted me, when nothing else could help, love lifted me.”

    He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. "For the foundations of the earth are the LORD's; upon them he has set the world. I Samuel 2:8

    Who in my life is needy, whom I can lift up on behalf of the Lord?

    Related Readings: Psalm 3:3; 113:7; Luke 1:52; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6

    Post/Tweet this today: Be aggressive to administer God’s grace for this grows the faith of the fallen… #grace

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Fears Silence

    Posted on December 18, 2011 by Family Christian

    Ish-Bosheth did not dare to say another word to Abner,
    because he was afraid of him. 2 Samuel 3:11

     

    Most people do not speak in the face of fear. This is unfortunate for the leader who strikes fear into the heart of those around him. Fear is a cowardly caricature for motivating others. It may work for a short time, but it will come back to roost as a disloyal and demoralized team. Politics and backstabbing run rampant in fear-filled cultures. Wise leaders do not want followers silenced by fear. Rather, they need those who will speak their minds.

    Silent people provide no value to the enterprise. They serve only as humanoids in servitude to the system. This silent treatment is detrimental to the organization.

    A healthy team is one that is not only allowed, but encouraged, to challenge the system. A process that remains unchallenged will petrify into an ineffective routine of activity. This is one of the fruits of fear. If people are forced to embrace the status quo, then they feel backed into the corner of a fearful state, void of options. This is a poor position for productivity. Fearful followers become frozen into incompetence. They are afraid to change for fear of management’s retaliation.

    This leadership by intimidation is lethal. Ironically, it eventually makes for lazy and lethargic team members. Fearful followers eventually lose steam and do just enough to get by. Fear-based leadership dislodges loyalty and replaces it with legalism. Who desires to follow someone because they have to? People experience a more noble motivation to follow when they have the freedom to express their concerns and thus become a part of the solution. Wise is the leader who replaces his or her fear-based tactics with a conciliatory spirit, wrapped around collaboration.

    Moreover, fear-based leaders are afraid themselves. They are afraid that their weaknesses will be found out. Paradoxically, they try to hide what everyone already knows. What a waste of time! Your weaknesses are already as clear as the color of your eyes to everyone. Thus, wise leaders will confess their weaknesses and learn to laugh at themselves. By stating the obvious, you are freed from the clutches of using fear to intimidate. Your best people will honor you and embrace you for this. Then the strengths of others become your greatest ally, not your enemy.

    There is no need at all to fear those who are better than you at certain tasks. This is the very reason you need them and they need you. Therefore, shift your style of leading from fearful intimidation to open dialogue. Take the time to listen and understand those around you. Start with your family by apologizing for your closed style of communication. Ask them to pray for you to lead by humility and honesty.

    Be open with those closest to you about your own fears and inadequacies. As you begin to share your fears, others will be given permission to do the same. Then something beautiful takes place. The walls of intimidation come tumbling down. People feel the freedom to fail and to be themselves. The home and work environments become places of encouragement and excellence. People’s self-awareness become alive and well. Processes and people are constantly improving because there is total freedom to think of ways to do things better. Each of us is a candidate for being a genius in our own area of expertise. A fearless culture incubates genius. By faith, extract fear from your home and work environments and replace it with freedom. This freedom of expression will silence intimidation!

    Taken from Dose 79 in the 90-day devotional book, “Infusion” ”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today:
    Fear-based leadership dislodges true loyalty and replaces it with legalism. #leadership

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Benefits of Humility

    Posted on December 17, 2011 by Family Christian

    You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.    Psalm 18:27

     

    Humility is the doorway to God’s salvation. It is an entrance into an exciting life with the Lord. God saves the humble, but brings low the haughty. He lifts up the humble in heart, and brings down the haughty. A haughty look may be masked for a while but eventually it comes out. The face is a direct reflection of the heart. Our countenance can be hard and uninviting or it can be soft and accepting.

    The haughty find it hard to take responsibility for their ill will and anger. They blame others while becoming victims of their own pride. Haughty eyes have blurred the vision of God and shies away from serving people. It is all about “what’s in it for me?” It stiff-arms our Savior. The eyes of the haughty are cold, callous, and distant. The haughty are consumed with themselves and have but a faint remembrance of Christ. They don’t remember what they wish to forget. Haughtiness forgets humility. However, this comes back to haunt the haughty.

    Humility, on the other hand, woos the blessings of God. It has bountiful benefits. God’s presence permeates an environment of humility. It is an atmosphere of humility that engages the Almighty. The Lord looks out for the family members or work associates who value humility. He saves them from unwise decision-making and irresponsible living. He saves them from themselves.

    Humility also encourages honesty. It encourages honesty about our dreams and disappointments. It recognizes the tremendous need for God to consummate the vision, and as we depend on God, we see Him work. Humility also learns how to process disappointments. There is an acknowledgement of anger and the need for healing. God saves the humble from bitterness and replaces it with brokenness.

    Humility benefits relationships. It is a lubricant for love and the fuel of forgiveness. A humble heart helps husbands and wives learn how to complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It cultivates appreciation of each other’s differences and spurns  irritation. It checks our conversations before we position ourselves for a win/lose dialogue. Humility first understands and then seeks to be understood. Humility is a prerequisite for relational success. It deflates pride and inflates patience. Humility is quick to honor and slow to blame. It keeps us in the good graces of God and people.

    Run from false humility formed out of fear, deception, and pride. Instead, cultivate authentic humility through prayer, honesty, and community. Surrender daily to your Savior with a sense of overwhelming dependence on Him. We are to submit on our knees so He doesn’t have to bring us to our knees. Humility is conceived in an honest heart—one that understands its limitations. It is comfortable with its strengths and its weaknesses, and not afraid to speak up and show its emotions.

    Humility is best harnessed among a Christ-centered community. Let people you respect into your life. Otherwise, “a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20b). Haughtiness is hurtful. Humility is beneficial, so sign up for its benefits. The Bible says, “You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low” (2 Samuel 22:28).

    Taken from the December 23rd reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God” ”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today:
    The face is a direct reflection of the heart. Our countenance can be hard and uninviting or it can be soft and accepting. #humility

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Choose to Serve

    Posted on December 16, 2011 by Family Christian

    But made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. Philippians 2:7

     

    Jesus voluntarily became a servant for the sake of others. He made Himself nothing so others could be something. He served out of humility and obedience to God. Jesus was first motivated to serve His Master in heaven, which lead to His service of mankind on earth. Some days I don’t feel like being a servant. I grow weary and afraid, but by God’s grace I make myself nothing for the greater something. Choosing to serve Christ is best.

    Serving like Jesus does not always receive a ‘pat on the back’, but sometimes rejection, or a ‘kick in the behind’. It is our labor of love the Lord loves. He blesses service that is not concerned with receiving the credit but crediting Christ only. Jesus was a suffering servant who was obedient to death. Service like Jesus’ requires Him working in you, and serving through you. His children are His creation for His good works.

    For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

    How can we serve like Jesus? Many times it is the small and mundane things that solicit service. Mowing the neighbor’s grass, organizing dinner for another couple, providing transportation to the doctor for a sick friend, tutoring children, being a foster parent, volunteering at church and work, chores around the house, or giving your spouse a break from their routine responsibilities. These are all everyday ways to serve for Jesus’ sake, but there may be another level of service to which He is calling you.

    Maybe you are to serve overseas for a season, or you are to serve your family by taking a less stressful job. Are you to relocate your parents into your home or close by, to care for and honor them during their last days? Service like Jesus’ is not always easy and leads to death of self, and life in Christ. Choose to serve, even when you don’t have to serve.

    Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13

    Where am I to serve even though I may be uncomfortable and fearful?

    Related Readings: Joshua 22:5; Judges 2:7; Psalm 22:30; Luke 4:8; Acts 20:19

    Post/Tweet this today:
    Service like Jesus requires Him working in you, and serving through you. #service

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Personal Peace

    Posted on December 15, 2011 by Family Christian

    But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace. Ephesians 2:13-14a

     

    Jesus Christ is a personal Savior who brings a personal peace. One of the advantages of knowing Jesus is knowing His peace; a peace that passes all understanding. A person outside of the Lord is exposed to the unsettling elements of evil that eliminate any thought of peace. Indeed, personal peace is a by-product of personally engaging God.

    Are you at peace in your life in general and your work in particular? If not, submit to the Prince of Peace (Jesus) and allow Him to shepherd you through your valley of trepidation. You may not know what the future holds, but you know who holds the future. Because Christ is peace, do not overlook His inventory that already resides in your heart by faith.

    Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.
    Job 22:21

    Once we were far off without faith and in fear, but now we have been brought near to God by the belief in His son’s blood for the payment of our sins. Salvation in Jesus is a peaceful position for all who appropriate their role as a child of God. It’s when we try to substitute the peace of God with the shallow promises of the world that we get anxious.

    Your heavenly Father promises you peace in His son Jesus. There is no need to go any further than faith in Him. Yes, peace can be allusive within an alluring and noisy culture, but Christ is at peace in you. Unfair family members may cause you to fret and an unreasonable boss may cause you to sweat, but in the sanctuary of your soul there is peace. So, don’t substitute faith in Christ with a false peace; instead rest in His promise.

    I will listen to what God the LORD says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— but let them not turn to folly. Psalm 85:8

    While you rock your feverish little one to sleep, lean into the Lord’s peace. When your mind races in frantic worry, resolve in your heart that the promise of God’s peace is irrevocable. When the stock market dives at every economic uncertainty, dive deeper into the security of your Savior Jesus. Personal peace is a product of being with the one who is peace. Your Prince of Peace awaits to escort you into His calming courts of peace.

    You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. Acts 10:36

    In what area of my life do I need peace of mind from the Prince of Peace, Jesus?

    Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 20:30; Isaiah 9:6; Romans 15:13; 33; 1 Corinthians 14:33

    Post/Tweet this today:
    You may not know what the future holds, but you know who holds the future. #trust #God

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Management Compliments Leadership

    Posted on December 14, 2011 by Family Christian

    And he [Jesus] directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. Matthew 14:19

     

    Jesus was a leader worth following, but He was also a manager who managed well. He understood the importance of an orderly process, and He implemented it effectively. Management is the method for executing the mission. Leadership ensures the enterprise is on the right strategic path. However, leadership will languish without good management moving critical initiatives forward toward their milestones.

    Wise managers clearly define who, what, when and where. There is an attention to detail that supports the overall objectives of the team. Managers diagnose problems, and then bring solutions to bear that remove obstacles and reclaim progress. Managers implement methods that support the success of the organization. Managers manage productive processes. Like the Lord in His creation, they bring order and discipline to the enterprise.

    Dominion and awe belong to God; he establishes order in the heights of heaven. Job 25:2

    Successful managers are almost obsessive about clear communication and mission critical measurements. They constantly ask, “Does the team understand their responsibilities and deadline for results?” “How can we be better at what we do?” “What are the leading indicators telling us, and how do we need to adjust?” As a manager you are a steward of God’s time, money and resources at home and at work.

    So, seek the owner Jesus for His wisdom and expectations related to people and process. Good managers make people their priority while still managing below budget. Your task may seem impossible, but you can trust the Lord to multiply your efforts and resources in creative and innovative ways. Stay faithful to manage well and you will be in a position to be entrusted with much more.

    Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together. (Matthew 25:21, NLT)

    How would I improve as a manager if I served people more at their point of need?

    Related Readings: Genesis 39:2-6; Nehemiah 2:11-20; Luke 12:42; 16:1-8

    Post/Tweet this today:
    Like the Christ in His creation, good managers bring order and discipline to the enterprise… #management

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

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