Search Results for 'Matthew 18'


Matthew 17-19 (NLT)

Discover His heart: He provides a way for us to reconcile with others

Counselors, therapists, mediators and coaches spend a great deal of time helping clients resolve conflicts in their lives, and they accomplish a lot of good and help people move past difficult situations.  It’s not surprising, however, that the Bible offers some guidelines for believers within the church who find themselves at odds with someone.

For those individuals who have never experienced conflict with anyone, I suppose this devotional may be irrelevant.  Still, just in case a conflict should someday pop up, it could never hurt to be aware of the plan Jesus offered to resolve conflicts. 

@ Matthew 18
It’s troubling that God’s straightforward set of guidelines for conflict resolution is so seldom followed.  Maybe because it’s so clear-cut, we feel it just isn’t profound enough to help, or perhaps we’re just too cowardly to try it.  I’m not sure. “If another believer sins against you,” this is what we should do…according to Jesus:

  • “Go privately and point out the offense.  If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.  But if you are unsuccessful,
  • Take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses.  If the person still refuses to listen,
  • Take your case to the church.  Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.” (18:15-17)  Now that would be a memorable Sunday service.  And to be considered a tax collector – the ultimate disgrace!

If we find ourselves in conflict with someone, common sense should prevail.  If I am upset because someone says something insensitive to me, fails to compliment a new hairstyle or ignores me, etc, it’s probably time for a little dying to self on my part. In Matthew 18, Jesus was talking about “if another believer sins against you,” follow these guidelines.

If we fail to follow the Lord’s instructions, we often end up sinning ourselves with an unforgiving heart or by gossiping and causing division.  There will always, absolutely always, be someone close at hand who is willing to listen if I choose to gossip instead of following His guidelines. In our conflicts, God will provide all the grace we need to resolve them, but there may not be grace for those uninvolved individuals that we choose to include through gossip.  They, in turn, pick up our offense without grace, and it always turns out badly.  Sometimes rather than follow His guidelines, we may feel it’s just easier to keep our hurt, keep it to ourselves, let it fester and grow into bitterness.  Ugh!

When we follow the Lord’s plan to resolve conflict, we find ourselves back in unity, in agreement.  I love that Jesus followed these guidelines with a promise of help in matters of conflict and discipline, and I believe, for prayer in general as well, “If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.  For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (18:19-20) Who doesn’t want that!

Moving Forward: Imprint these guidelines on my heart, Lord, that I might not sin against you. Help me live in such a way that no one has the need to approach me regarding sins I have committed against another.  With His help, all things are possible. 

Tomorrow @Romans 15-16

Matthew 17-19 (NLT)

Discover His heart: He provides a way for us to reconcile with others

Counselors, therapists, mediators and coaches spend a great deal of time helping clients resolve conflicts in their lives, and they accomplish a lot of good and help people move past difficult situations.  It’s not surprising, however, that the Bible offers some guidelines for believers within the church who find themselves at odds with someone.

For those individuals who have never experienced conflict with anyone, I suppose this devotional may be irrelevant.  Still, just in case a conflict should someday pop up, it could never hurt to be aware of the plan Jesus offered to resolve conflict. 

@ Matthew 18
It’s troubling that God’s straightforward set of guidelines for conflict resolution is so seldom followed.  Maybe because it’s so clear-cut, we feel it just isn’t profound enough to help, or perhaps we’re just too cowardly to try it.  I’m not sure. “If another believer sins against you,” this is what we should do…according to Jesus:

  • “Go privately and point out the offense.  If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.  But if you are unsuccessful,
  • Take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses.  If the person still refuses to listen,
  • Take your case to the church.  Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.” (18:15-17)  Now that would be a memorable Sunday service.  And to be considered a tax collector – the ultimate disgrace!

If we find ourselves in conflict with someone, common sense should prevail.  If I am upset because someone says something insensitive to me, fails to compliment a new hairstyle or ignores me, etc, it’s probably time for a little dying to self on my part. In Matthew 18, Jesus was talking about “if another believer sins against you,” follow these guidelines.

If we fail to follow the Lord’s instructions, we often end up sinning ourselves with an unforgiving heart or by gossiping and causing division.  There will always, absolutely always, be someone close at hand who is willing to listen if I choose to gossip instead of follow His guidelines. In our conflicts, God will provide all the grace we need to resolve them, but there may not be grace for those uninvolved individuals that we choose to include through gossip.  They, in turn, pick up our offense without grace, and it always turns out badly.  Sometimes rather than follow His guidelines, we may feel it’s just easier to keep our hurt, keep it to ourselves, let it fester and grow into bitterness.  Ugh!

When we follow the Lord’s plan to resolve conflict, we find ourselves back in unity, in agreement.  I love that Jesus followed these guidelines with a promise of help in matters of conflict and discipline, and I believe, for prayer in general as well, “If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.  For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (18:19-20) Who doesn’t want that!

Moving Forward: Imprint these guidelines on my heart, Lord, that I might not sin against you. Help me live in such a way that no one has need to approach me regarding sins I have committed against another.  With His help, all things are possible. 

Tomorrow @Romans 15-16

Isaiah 18-22 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He is our help in the time of storm, worthy of our trust

Florida is a beautiful place to live with its dramatic coastlines and lush greenery.  Fresh year-round fruits and vegetables and seafood only add to its appeal.  Yes, Florida is a great place to live, except for those pesky hurricanes, and they definitely keep everyone on their toes.

Generally, Floridians respond to an approaching hurricane in one of two ways.  Most will stock up on water, lots of water, and non-perishable foods, tape windows, put away lawn furniture/play equipment and secure plants.  In other words, they batten down the hatches.  However, some Floridians have friends come over, turn up the music to drown out the wind and throw a big party to ride out the storm.  I am more of the batten down the hatches crew combined with some very serious prayer for protection.  When Israel faced utter destruction back in the days of Isaiah, they trusted in their weapons and stockpiles and chose to party.  They failed to pray. 

@ Isaiah 22
“You run to the armory for your weapons.  You inspect the breaks in the walls of Jerusalem.  You store up water in the lower pool.  You survey the houses and tear some down for stone to strengthen the walls…But you never ask for help from the One who did all this. You never considered the One who planned this long ago.” (8-11)  I can’t imagine facing possible annihilation without turning to God for help and protection.  We can reinforce our structures and stock up on water, and this is wise, but God is the one who is able to cover us with His protection or even turn the storm out to sea.  Isaiah warned of Israel’s fate through his vision, but once again he was ignored.  The God of the Exodus, the Red Sea and miraculous victory after victory was not called upon for help in the face of the storm.

In the face of sickness, loss or any kind of storm, we should do all that we can to strengthen ourselves through doctors and those who are trained to help us.  But when we fail to pray, we put our trust in everything other the One who controls all things just as the Israelites did.

“At that time the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, called you to weep and mourn… But instead, you dance and play; you slaughter cattle and kill sheep.  You feast on meat and drink wine.  You say, ‘Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!’”(12-13)  And die they did. I’m always ready for a party, but if God calls for fasting and weeping, I’m going to fast and weep.

As Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:4, “For everything there is a season…A time to cry and a time to laugh.  A time to grieve and a time to dance.”   It wasn’t time to party.  Israel had lost their faith and trust in God along the way; and not only did they fail to pray because of it, they approached the coming storm with a fatalistic attitude.  Feast, drink, tomorrow we die.  Many in our world share this attitude, not only because of personal storms but because of the turmoil in the world.  If for no other reason, this should give us cause to fast and weep when our hearts are stirred to do so, and then He will never need to question why we never asked for help. 

Moving Forward:  I’m going to prepare for life’s storm as best I can and pray for His help.  I know where my help comes from – the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and in Him have I placed my trust.  When the victory is in hand, I will celebrate! 

Tomorrow @ Matthew 8-10

Isaiah 18-22 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He is our help in the time of storm, worthy of our trust

Florida is a beautiful place to live with its dramatic coastlines and lush greenery.  Fresh year-round fruits and vegetables and seafood only add to its appeal.  Yes, Florida is a great place to live, except for those pesky hurricanes, and they definitely keep everyone on their toes.

Generally, Floridians respond to an approaching hurricane in one of two ways.  Most will stock up on water, lots of water, and non-perishable foods, tape windows, put away lawn furniture/play equipment and secure plants.  In other words, they batten down the hatches.  However, some Floridians have friends come over, turn up the music to drown out the wind and throw a big party to ride out the storm.  I am more of the batten down the hatches crew combined with some very serious prayer for protection.  When Israel faced utter destruction, they trusted in their weapons and stockpiles and chose to party.  They failed to pray. 

@ Isaiah 22
“You run to the armory for your weapons.  You inspect the breaks in the walls of Jerusalem.  You store up water in the lower pool.  You survey the houses and tear some down for stone to strengthen the walls…But you never ask for help from the One who did all this. You never considered the One who planned this long ago.” (8-11)  I can’t imagine facing possible annihilation without turning to God for help and protection.  We can reinforce our structures and stock up on water, and this is wise, but God is the one who is able to cover us with His protection or even turn the storm out to sea.  Isaiah warned of Israel’s fate through his vision, but once again he was ignored.  The God of the Exodus, the Red Sea and miraculous victory after victory was not called upon for help in the face of the storm.

In the face of sickness, loss or any kind of storm, we should do all that we can to strengthen ourselves through doctors and those who are trained to help us.  But when we fail to pray, we put our trust in everything other the One who controls all things just as the Israelites did.

“At that time the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, called you to weep and mourn… But instead, you dance and play; you slaughter cattle and kill sheep.  You feast on meat and drink wine.  You say, ‘Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!’”(12-13)  And die they did. I’m always ready for a party, but if God calls for fasting and weeping, I’m going to fast and weep.

As Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:4, “For everything there is a season…A time to cry and a time to laugh.  A time to grieve and a time to dance.”   It wasn’t time to party.  Israel had lost their faith and trust in God along the way; and not only did they fail to pray because of it, they approached the coming storm with a fatalistic attitude.  Feast, drink, tomorrow we die.  Many in our world share this attitude, not only because of personal storms, but because of the turmoil in the world.  If for no other reason, this should give us cause to fast and weep when our hearts are stirred to do so, and then He will never need to question why we never asked for help. 

Moving Forward:  I’m going to prepare for life’s storm as best I can and pray for His help.  I know where my help comes from – the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and in Him have I placed my trust.  When the victory is in hand, I will celebrate! 

Tomorrow @ Matthew 8-10