Skip to content


My very first job as a teacher was in a Christian school. Although I had gone to church all my life, it wasn’t my first inclination to deal with disagreements in a Biblical manner. So when one of the other teachers did something that I thought was inappropriate, belittling and insulting to me, I went to a good friend, just because I had to get it out of my system. She asked me, “Have you talked to him about it?” No, I hadn’t, because he is the one who ticked me off. She told me to follow the Matthew 18:15 principle. So, I went and looked the verse up, and then went and spoke with the other teacher. We resolved the issue, and all was well.

Yes, the guideline given in Matthew 18:15 is a good principle to follow to work out differences in your interpersonal relationships, but if you look at it in the context of the following verses, you will realize that Jesus is talking about more than just a misunderstanding between friends or colleagues. If you read all four steps outlined in Matthew 18:15-17, you will see that it must involve more serious issues. These steps need to be taken if a person’s actions will hinder the relationship between a believer and our Heavenly Father.

Earlier, in Matthew 18:10-14, Jesus tells the parable of the lost sheep, and He says that He is not willing for any of His sheep or His children to be lost. When we get to the next paragraph, He is still not willing for any of His children to be lost, so if one has done something that might lead to that result, it cannot be overlooked. But the process is to deal with it as quietly as possible. First, you go alone and quietly tell your brother (fellow Christian of either gender) what his fault is. Now, it is entirely possible that he won’t see things the same way you do. Perhaps you will be able to persuade him of what is right, and perhaps you won’t. If you can’t, you go and find one or two more people so that a matter may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses. (Deuteronomy 19:15) These one or two other people need to be objective and upstanding themselves, and not just people you can convince to take your side in a matter. After all, this should not be a personal complaint, but a serious breach of God’s principles. The point of going through the steps is not only to convince the other of his wrong, but also to confirm that you were not wrong to approach him.

If these conversations aren’t enough, you go to the church. Keep in mind, that this passage in Scripture is not an excuse to air someone’s dirty laundry in front of the entire congregation. There are some issues that never need to be shared with the entire congregation and will only cause more hurt if they are. A board or committee of the church could be entrusted to make decisions on its behalf. Remember that along with striving to be holy, Jesus wants us to love one another. If you get to the point where your erring brother refuses to listen to the church, you must treat him like a Gentile or a tax collector. In fact, he has chosen to live as a Gentile or a tax collector since he has disregarded the standards that God has set. However, you are not to treat him as the Pharisees treated the Gentiles and tax collectors. You are to treat him as Jesus would have. Start fresh, and continue to try to bring him back into the fold, for your Father in heaven is not willing for any to be lost.


I often read other people’s blogs and comments. One comment I read recently was on the topic of food laws of the Old Testament, and if we weren’t willing to obey them, should we just ignore all the other laws of the Old Testament, such as the ten commandments, as well? I’ve heard comments similar to this before. If this was a cultural issue and doesn’t apply to us today, then does any of the Old Testament apply? I find it interesting that (a) people think that it has to be all or nothing and (b) people are willing to follow the rules without understanding the underlying principles. This is what the Pharisees did.

The Pharisees were very religious, and they were so strict about following the Law that they made up more rules to add to it. Before long it was more about the rules than it was about pleasing God. Jesus had offended the Pharisees by not observing their Sabbath laws, (Mark 2:23-3:6) so they began to watch for any reason to accuse Him. An opportunity came when the disciples didn’t follow the rules for ceremonial washing before a meal. (Mark 7:1-5) This ritual was not intended for physical cleanliness, but for moral cleanliness. So when Jesus responded to them, (Mark 7:15) He also was talking about moral cleanliness. In doing so, according to Mark, He declared the end to food restrictions. (Take note that Jesus did not speak those exact words, but Mark came to that conclusion from what he had learned through Peter in this passage and in Acts 11:1-10.)

The disciples had grown up with these Pharisaical traditions, and didn’t know any other way. So when Jesus said that people could not be defiled by what they ate, the disciples were confused and asked for an explanation. (Mark 7:17-23) I’m sure that Jesus did not intend for us to never wash or to eat anything we wanted without regard to our health. But He was more concerned with our spiritual health than with our physical health. He was more concerned with the condition of our hearts, because that is the source of sin in our lives. If we will concentrate on keeping our hearts pure, our hands and mouths will not do anything to defile us.


I’ve been going to church all my life. I’ve heard a lot of people’s interpretations of a lot of scripture passages. They don’t always agree. Often, only one or two verses are quoted to reinforce a point that is being made. Then when I’ve studied the verses for myself, I’ve seen them in a different light because of the context. Without context, you can make a verse seem to say anything you like, but it may or may not be accurate.

A good example of this is Psalm 37:4. I first heard this verse in the New International Version: “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” It has been interpreted to mean that if you focus on God, He will give you what you want. The important thing to note is that the promise of getting what you want is based on the fulfillment of the command to delight yourself in the Lord. If you put God first, your desires will be holy, and He will fulfill them. (Matthew 6:33) I’ve also heard it explained that God puts your desires in your heart. You want what you want because God put that thought in your head. I would not want to say that God doesn’t give us our dreams, or that our desires don’t come from Him, but I don’t believe that the context of this verse supports that interpretation. If you look at the rest of Psalm 37, you will see that the major focus is not to fret when things go well for those who do evil. (Psalm 37:1, Psalm 37:7-8)

I believe that the first interpretation is more accurate. But I think it is important to realize that the fulfillment of our desires will not necessarily (or even likely) be instantaneous. That is why in Psalm 37:7 David reminds us to wait patiently and confidently. It is possible that our desires will not be fulfilled before we reach heaven. Don't be discouraged by that. In this life we will have our good days and our bad days, days of blessing and days of frustration, but whatever is happening, we cannot look at the evildoers and think that we would be better off if we lied, cheated or stole. Whatever gratification they get from their actions is temporary.

The other thing I think it is important to consider is that we might often misinterpret our afflictions as well. The older I get, the more I can look back and see the benefits that came from my struggles—how job loss led to a better job, how working through conflicts led to stronger relationships, how hard times led to leaning more on God’s grace. David was looking back too when he wrote this Psalm, (Psalm 37:25) so his counsel was based on experience.

The New English Translation (the version you see when you hover over the reference) doesn’t isolate Psalm 37:4, but translates it as an extension of Psalm 37:3. (Psalm 37:3-4) Trust in the Lord, do what is right, maintain your integrity. Then you will delight in the Lord, your desires will be pure, and He will delight in giving good gifts to you. (Matthew 7:11)


  • We are not asked to obey our parents simply to make our lives more challenging or less fun, but so that we may have a long, good life.  This is the first commandment with a promise.  (Ephesians 6:1-3)
  • Parents, don't just try to make your kids go crazy with rules, but bring them up to be like Jesus.  (Ephesians 6:4)
  • Work as though you were working for Christ.  Do your best no matter who is watching because God always is.  God will reward those who do the right thing, even if the circumstances are less than ideal.  (Ephesians 6:5-8)
  • Masters, employers, need to keep the same principle in mind and treat their slaves, employees, the way Christ would.  (Ephesians 6:9)
  • We live in a world that is a battlefield between good and evil.  God has provided resources for us to fight this battle, if we are willing to make use of them.  (Ephesians 6:10-17)
  • Pray.  All the time.  About everything.  (Ephesians 6:18-20)

Please share your thoughts on Ephesians 6 in the comment section.

In conversations that I’ve had with atheists, they have claimed that there is no God, and then seconds later talked about their perception of God. For example: God does not exist; if He does, why does He allow bad things to happen? People who believe in God believe in fairy tales. Why would He allow us to make our own choices? Romans 1:18-20 addresses both sides of this issue. In this post I will examine God’s wrath, and in the next, the proof of His existence.

Sometimes God shows His judgement in historic events like the flood (Genesis 7) or the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:15-26), but sometimes His wrath is shown by letting us face the consequences for our own choices. We have the option of looking to Him for guidance, for asking Him to direct our paths, (Proverbs 3:5-6, Isaiah 26:7, Psalm 37:23) but we often wait until after we are in trouble and then plead for His help.

God is holy, completely unique in His perfection, and because He is holy, He cannot tolerate sin. Therefore He pours out His wrath and judgement against this world’s sinfulness. God’s wrath is not like human anger; He does not have an emotional outburst of fury, but a controlled reaction to that which is against His nature and against His will (ungodliness) and also to offenses against his people (unrighteousness). There are those who think that it is unfair of God to hold us to His standard, rather than lowering His expectations to our level of sinfulness. After all, we are imperfect beings; how can He expect us to be perfect? Yet, if He changed to make Himself more like us, He would not be holy, He would not be worthy of our worship, and He would not be God. If God did not get angry at sin, Jesus would not have needed to go to the cross, and we would not be in need of God’s great love and mercy.

Some people prefer to focus on God’s grace and love rather than on His wrath, and I can’t say that I blame them. He loves us more than we will ever be able to fathom, and because of His love we do not have to face destruction. Lamentations 3:22, in the New International Version says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.” But the wrath of God is real. The gift of salvation that has been made possible by Christ’s sacrifice is what will protect us from God’s wrath. Those who choose not to accept it, will ultimately have to pay the consequences.