Saturday, September 12, 2009

September 12, 2009

Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. —Matthew 20:26

An intriguing article in Michigan Nurse magazine called attention to “nursing’s dirty little secret”—the incivility and verbal abuse that occurs among some nurses. This peer-level bullying (also known as lateral violence) takes the form of back-stabbing, innuendo, infighting, sabotage, verbal affronts, failure to respect privacy, and others.
Not only is lateral violence occurring among nurses, it’s a growing problem in a host of other work environments. This bullying always includes an imbalance of power, an intent to harm, and the threat of further aggression.
Of course, this would never occur in the church—or would it? Think about the personal interaction in deacon and elder boards, church office staffs, Bible-study groups, and youth ministries. Are they ever marked by the kinds of behavior that harm, denigrate, or intimidate others? And what about in our families?
When the disciples were jockeying for position in the coming kingdom, Jesus rebuked them and said, “Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant” (Matt. 20:26). With that attitude in all our relationships, bullying will never be found among us.  — David C. Egner

Lord, may we have a servant’s heart
In all we say and do
By placing others’ needs above
What we want to pursue. —Sper

Only the one who serves is qualified to lead.

My Utmost for His Highest:
Going Through Spiritual Confusion
Jesus answered and said, ’You do not know what you ask’ —Matthew 20:22

There are times in your spiritual life when there is confusion, and the way out of it is not simply to say that you should not be confused. It is not a matter of right and wrong, but a matter of God taking you through a way that you temporarily do not understand. And it is only by going through the spiritual confusion that you will come to the understanding of what God wants for you.
The Shrouding of His Friendship (see Luke 11:5-8 ). Jesus gave the illustration here of a man who appears not to care for his friend. He was saying, in effect, that is how the heavenly Father will appear to you at times. You will think that He is an unkind friend, but remember?He is not. The time will come when everything will be explained. There seems to be a cloud on the friendship of the heart, and often even love itself has to wait in pain and tears for the blessing of fuller fellowship and oneness. When God appears to be completely shrouded, will you hang on with confidence in Him?
The Shadow on His Fatherhood (see Luke 11:11-13 ). Jesus said that there are times when your Father will appear as if He were an unnatural father?as if He were callous and indifferent— but remember, He is not. "Everyone who asks receives . . ." ( Luke 11:10 ). If all you see is a shadow on the face of the Father right now, hang on to the fact that He will ultimately give you clear understanding and will fully justify Himself in everything that He has allowed into your life.
The Strangeness of His Faithfulness (see Luke 18:1-8 ). "When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" ( Luke 18:8 ). Will He find the kind of faith that counts on Him in spite of the confusion? Stand firm in faith, believing that what Jesus said is true, although in the meantime you do not understand what God is doing. He has bigger issues at stake than the particular things you are asking of Him right now.

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