Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Holy reprimand

Today’s Reading: Acts 3:26 (NIV)

26 “When God raised up his servant, He sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways."

Good morning!

There are times when I find it hard to accept a holy reprimand. When I was a little girl, my parents would correct me if I said something I shouldn’t, or behaved badly with my sibling. There was always an excuse, some reason why I acted the way I did. I would jump right in with my loose lips and floppy tongue and try to defend my wrong actions, refusing to listen to the important points being made. At the time, I didn’t really feel very blessed by my parents’ persistent instruction. It took three children of my own and many years for me to begin to fully understand and appreciate my parents’ point of view.

Many companies train their supervisors in mentoring skills, to help their teams grow, learning to work together to achieve a common goal. You don’t have to look far on library shelves or in the bookstores to find training manuals that help teach people “how to” be more disciplined in their personal lives, get more out of each day, and find blueprints designed to teach goal setting and achievement skills. Some supervisors are born visionary leaders; they lead by serving and setting life examples that others will be drawn to and follow. Especially when servant leadership doesn’t seem to come naturally, there are certain principles and skill sets that can be acquired if one sincerely desires to serve the Lord and be used for kingdom work.

Peter was probably the least likely to be voted “Servant Leader of the Year” by his co-disciples. They knew him far too well. Now here was a man who had a temper! He was loose lipped, not hesitating to say whatever he was thinking without hesitation. Peter had very little patience with others. When he would get really angry, I imagine his physical features would change as his skin became fire engine red, especially along the neckline and his ears. He had a hard time being corrected by someone else, and struggled through many of his own life’s blunders in a stew. When Jesus changed Peter’s heart from the inside out, many of his nasty habits began to disappear. He wasn’t quite as quick to spout off, being much more attentive and willing to listen to the instructions being given. His patience level with others grew as he learned how to convey Christ-like love in action. When Peter fully surrendered his life under the authority of Jesus Christ and became a student of His love, the Father was able to use Peter to bless others by helping them see the errors of their way.

I look at Peter’s spiritual transformation and realize that if God can change his life, there is surely hope for me! Father, in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ; melt my hardened heart today. Help me see the error of my ways. Redirect my thoughts to conform to your plan for my life. Teach me how to surrender my stubborn will and self-righteous attitude, and mold me into the kind of person you would have me be. Help me learn from the servant leaders you have placed in my life. Teach me to fully obey Your Word, Lord, not just with lip service but in action. I willingly choose to turn today from the things that are offensive and grieve your heart. Father, forgive me. Help me experience the blessing in your holy reprimand. Amen.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO



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