Blindness (Mark 4:11-12)

Jake walked into my office holding a microscope slide. I smiled at him, anticipating what he was about to ask of me. 

“Fite stain?”

“Yup. Thanks again!”

“No problem.” I took the slide from him and examined it under my microscope. 

In surgical pathology, the tissue on a microscope slide is stained with a variety of stains, most commonly hematoxylin and eosin, enabling the pathologist to differentiate the many structures. Many of us are familiar with these stains from our science classes, peering into microscopes to see the structure of cells. While these stains are helpful, much of diagnostic surgical pathology relies upon pattern recognition, rather than color differentiation. However, there are important exceptions. When a pathologist looks for evidence of a tuberculosis infection, a special stain known as a Fite stain is utilized, which will highlight the organisms in the tissue sections if present. The organisms are tiny but, with this special stain, will stain a brilliant red against a green background. This is a straightforward and common diagnostic analysis for someone with normal color vision. Jake, my former partner, had a form of red-green colorblindness. Thus, whenever he viewed this stain, red and green were in shades of gray, making identification of any positive staining organism extremely difficult. 

If we have normal color vision, we take for granted the recognition of basic colors. For a person who has color blindness, they may have no concept of how some colors should appear. What they see is not what others see. There is a parallel for our spiritual lives. We should be able to discern when we are in a dangerous situation that could lead us into temptation and sin. However, for some of us, like those with color blindness, our spiritual vision is impaired. We may not know how to recognize or perceive these dangers. 

And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.”

Mark 4:11-12 (ESV)

When our Lord Jesus Christ spoke these words to His disciples, he was describing a spiritual blindness. If one is not enlightened by faith and belief in Him, one is unable to truly recognize the abundant and everlasting life He has prepared for us. Only Jesus Christ can give us a true spiritual vision, to discern the path to salvation by trusting in Him as Lord and Savior. 

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Simpler Time (Deuteronomy 8:2-5)

Artificial intelligence. Gender fluidity. Wokeism. Culture wars. Global warming. COVID.

Whenever I engage in an in-depth discussion of these topics with adults over 50 years of age, I hear an often- repeated phrase. “Things were a lot simpler when we were younger.” I understand the sentiment but was it really a simpler time? Perhaps some of us think this because we were younger with less responsibilities, selectively retrieving only happier memories. Indeed, there are many lenses from which one may remember the past. To this point, I also have colleagues from a generation or two before mine, who aver that the times when they were growing up were actually much darker and more complex. 

What were some of these crises? In 1945, the world witnessed the birth of the atomic age with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In 1962, the Cuban missile crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. If one goes further back into history, there were equally grim times. The fall of the Roman empire heralded the beginning of the Dark Ages. The Bubonic plague plunged Europe into the most horrific public health crisis. These were some of the existential threats that earlier generations faced.  If we lived through those experiences, everything seemed hopeless at the time, perhaps far worse than what we are currently experiencing. 

Our current circumstances may appear complex, even hopeless. God reminds us that no matter how dire our circumstances are, if we trust Him, He will keep His promise and deliver us as He always does. The Israelites needed to be reminded of God’s provisions and promises. 

Remember how the LORD your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell. Deuteronomy 8:2-5 (NLT)

An emerging nation of over a hundred thousand people roamed the wilderness for forty years. They had no permanent cities. As they wandered, they were attacked by neighboring kingdoms. There was no constant source of food. For some, their circumstances seemed even bleaker than when they were slaves in Egypt, from which God had delivered them through the leadership of Moses. Perhaps some even thought that Egypt was a simpler time, forgetting how much they suffered during this ordeal. How did God respond? He provided manna, a complete and nourishing food. He took care of their material needs, ensuring their clothes did not wear out. He attended to their physical needs, ensuring their feet did not swell from nutritional deficiencies or injury. In spite of all these provisions, God still had to remind the Israelites that He was always in control. 

Whether we think times were simpler in the past or in the present, life is always complicated. Shifting moralities. Fluid definitions. Health challenges. The only constant is God-unchanging, sovereign, and omnipotent. God always takes us back to a simpler time when all we need to do is trust Him with child-like faith. 


Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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First Job (Galatians 1:8-9)

The burrito is $1.20. Taco is $0.49. And don’t forget the sales tax. I got this!

It was my first job working for a fast-food restaurant specializing in Mexican food. In the summer of 1979, there were no computers or digital monitors. The prices of all of the items had to be memorized and entered into the analog cash register. Since there were over twenty menu items, it was challenging, and we were tested on these prices before we were allowed to work the cash register and take an actual order. 

As thousands of young men and women, graduating from college and high school, enter the workforce, the ritual of learning the ropes of their first job begins. ID badges, security passes, payroll issues, a contract. These are standard for any job. However, each job has nuances that are unique to that position. For my first job, memorizing the prices of all items and being able to calculate the sales tax was critical if I were to succeed. All of the details were clearly outlined in a manual which I was also expected to memorize. What would have happened if my first job did not clearly state what my responsibilities were to be? What if there was no manual of operations? I would have to rely upon my supervisors and hope that the instructions were consistent. In the first days of the Church, the leaders faced a similar dilemma. 

On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit entered and empowered all believers in Jesus Christ. It was the beginning of the Church, the Body of Jesus Christ. There are several passages in the New Testament that outline Church organization and establishing responsibilities and expectations for the new leaders. However, when the Church began, these books of the New Testament had not been written. How would they know what to do? There was no manual. The Church had something better, something the present Church still has. 

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be  accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be  accursed! 

Galatians 1:8-9 (NASB)

The first Church had the eyewitness account of the apostles who were chosen by our Lord Jesus Christ. While there was great credibility with their witness and testimony, the Apostle Paul made it clear that if he, the other apostles, or even an angel from heaven ever preached a gospel that is contrary to the Truth of Jesus Christ, they were to be accursed. In other words, all teaching must be held to the testimony and witness of Jesus Christ, whom they were all witnesses. He is God’s Word, the absolute Truth. Today, we still do this. The Bible is our instruction manual. It is our tutor that leads us to Jesus Christ. 

God never abandons His people. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit indwells within us, instructing and guiding us to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. We are witnesses to the risen Jesus Christ. We are the Church of Jesus Christ. 

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Saw My Smile! (James 1:22-25)

I saw the reflection of my face on my computer screen. I had a smile from ear to ear and I didn’t even realize I was smiling. I was viewing a performance by a new jazz trio and loving it. I was alone and was completely unaware of the emotions and expressions I was exhibiting. My reflection revealed my true feelings. The experience reminded me of times when I have been filmed. Most of the time, I knew when a camera was recording, and I could control my actions. However, like my experience with my computer screen, when I observed my actions when I was unaware of being filmed, it could be an amusing and, occasionally, a humbling experience. I saw physical mannerisms that betrayed my true feelings. I heard myself saying things in a tone that I would find mildly offensive if spoken to me. The camera doesn’t lie. I was looking in a mirror. 

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 

James 1:22-25 (NLT)

When I look in the mirror, I see my true self. It may be a pleasant experience but many times, I see a disagreeable ugliness. What should be my response? I can ignore it or I can obey God and act upon it. God reminds us through the Apostle James that our actions must be consistent with our beliefs. If we say we love our neighbors as ourselves, we cannot feign this. We cannot give lip service and show a cheerful facade but harbor resentment to the person who hurt us. I still struggle with this, and it is only by being willing to look at the Word of God, the mirror of God’s holy nature, can I continue to repent of my sinful thoughts and actions and seek forgiveness and change through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Catfishing (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

The face of the attractive young woman appeared on my social media app that I used to connect to other professional colleagues. Her profile described her as the CIO of a company specializing in decentralized autonomous organizations. What an odd job description. Who is this? Her educational background seemed impressive: Ivy League schools for her bachelors and M.B.A. Previous jobs included a major bank in New York City. Surveying her prolife, I even recognized some of her professional contacts. I dug deeper. The company she currently worked for definitely existed. Yet, somehow, her credentials didn’t pass the sniff test and I rejected the offer to connect. A few days later, one of our mutual contacts emailed me to warn me of a scam by this woman. He assumed she was legitimate contact and had connected with her. His human resources department later informed him that she and a number of her other contacts were fakes. 

I was being catfished!

This term has catapulted into the modern vernacular, spurred on by the increasing popularity of social media. This woman created a fake identity on a social networking service with the intention of deception. Many examples are on dating sites and related apps but businesses are a frequent target. Fake identities are nothing new. Satan has been doing this since he first rebelled against God. Like this woman, Satan also recruits his army of demons with similar nefarious motives. 

These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve. 

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NLT)

If Satan and his demons disguise themselves as angels of light and servants of righteousness, we must remain hypervigilant to his schemes. He is not simply trying to defraud us of money. He is playing the ultimate game of catfishing with the sole intention of preventing or harming our relationship with Jesus Christ. Satan can and will use all identities, including the leaders of our churches. Keep the faith and resist the devil so that he will flee from you. 

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Reading The Newspaper (Ephesians 5:11)

“Son, you really should be reading the newspaper and keeping up with current events.”

I rolled my eyes. I was ten years old and the last thing I wanted to do was read the newspaper to learn about current events. “And not just the sports and entertainment sections.” My father added. “You need to read the front page and business sections. I’m going to ask you about the stories.” Darn! The sports and entertainment sections were going to be my answers. I mumbled a half-hearted, “Ok Dad.”

When I was in elementary school, I took my first halting steps to read the daily newspaper. I did not like it and it took many more months before I was able to make it a routine. However, what made the task more palatable were the changes that paralleled my life in school and social circles. Whether it was history, biology, or English, I discovered an intimate knowledge of current events allowed for a greater and deeper understanding of the topics that were being discussed in class. In social interactions, I found that the ability to concisely and clearly explain current events facilitated relationships with peers, teachers, and employers. My father did me a huge favor.  

Presently, I devour all news stories. From the first moment I get into my car, I catch up with the latest news on the radio. When I arrive at work, I read the top news stories presented on a variety of websites. In free moments, I research the news stories, cross referencing them with the appropriate historical backgrounds. I am so enthusiastic that I am frequently disappointed when I encounter teens and young adults who stick their noses in the air when questioned about current events and sniff, “Who cares?” Indeed. You should.

Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.

Ephesians 5:11 (NLT)

As Christians, we have a responsibility to understand our current events. This means going beyond the sound bites and headlines and being willing to dig deep into the stories, analyzing multiple viewpoints covering the entire political spectrum. Why? If we are to expose social injustices, brought on by Satan and his minions, we must understand the pressing social issues that confront us. When we do, we will be sensitized to know how the Good News of Jesus Christ can be applied to effectively address these worldly concerns. It is faith justified by works. 

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Nation Of Laws (Matthew 24:12-13)

The shop owner surveyed the broken front windows and overturned shelves in his store. He told the reporter. “These guys have smashed and grabbed several other stores on this block. The cops don’t do anything and if they do, the courts put them back on the streets.” Shaking his head, he shouted, “Are we or aren’t we a nation of laws?”

The reasons for the alarming increase in smash and grab incidents in many American cities are complex. There is low morale amongst many law enforcement officers because of defunding the police movements. Related to this are insufficient numbers of law enforcement who have either retired or left the police force. Finally, many cities have decriminalized low-level offenses, raising the threshold for a felony theft from $500 to $950, emboldening criminals to steal up to this limit and not risk imprisonment. Of course, no one is keeping an accurate accounting of the amount of each theft and the thefts often exceed these limits. Many have simply given up, resigned that the government is no longer protecting its citizens. Others no longer care. 

These are dark times. The Lord Jesus Christ prophesied these days. Thousands of years ago, the disciples of Jesus Christ asked Him to tell them what would be the signs of His return to earth. Many of the events that are happening in the world were described by Jesus. Wars and rumors of wars. Famines and earthquakes. The demise of law and order. 

Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 

Matthew 24:12-13 (NASB)

Even Jesus did not know the exact time of His return, only God, the Father did. However, He did reveal a sign when the end will come. 

This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole  world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. 

Matthew 24:14 (NASB)

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are to remain steadfast in sharing the hope and Good News of the message of salvation through faith and belief in Jesus Christ. We must overcome the attitude of defeat and indifference that this current wave of lawlessness has fomented. Whether it is through the internet, the written word, or directly sharing with others, the Gospel will be preached in the entire world. 

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Winning Percentage (1 John 5:4-5)

One measure of success in a sport is the winning percentage, calculated by dividing the total number of wins over the total number of matches or games played. As examples, in major league baseball, the 2001 Seattle Mariners had an impressive winning percentage of 72. In professional basketball, the Golden State Warriors achieved an astounding percentage at 89 during the 2015-2016 season. On the other end, one of the lowest winning percentages is held by the Charlotte Bobcats who have the dubious distinction of a winning percentage of 11 during the 2011-2012 season. 

There is a sport where the top winning percentage is 22. Although this seems low in comparison to baseball or basketball, it is considered an absurdly high number, one that may never be equaled. The sport is professional golf and the top winning percentage is currently held by Tiger Woods. In 359 career PGA tour starts, he won 82 times for a winning percentage of 22.8. To place this in its proper perspective, the next closest golfer has a winning percentage of 9.4. The comparison between a team sport such as basketball and an individual sport such as golf may not be fair but the stark difference in winning percentages does hammer home a truth. Golf is a difficult sport to consistently win. It is a continual battle that one often loses. 

We are in a continual battle with Satan. He attacks by tempting us with cravings for physical pleasures, with seductive eye candy, and with pride in our achievements and possessions. We may accept what Satan and the world has to offer, thinking that this will give us a quick victory, but it is hollow and fleeting. We soon learn that it leads us down a slippery slope and an ever deeper hole. What was initially viewed as a victory is revealed as a horrible defeat. 

There is a better way. We are already more than conquerors through Jesus Christ! By the power of His Resurrection, Jesus defeated the power that Satan has over this world. God gives us the triumphant answer. We have already won!

For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. 1 John 5:4-5 (NLT)

What is our spiritual winning percentage?

When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, we will always win!

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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“You Sounded Nervous.” (Psalms 94:19)

The familiar strains of “Gonna Fly Now-Theme from Rocky” emanated from our home as I approached it, returning from high school. When I entered, my father was sitting on his lounge chair, listening to a recording of our high school jazz band. 

“Hi Dad! Why are you listening to that record again?”

“Our neighbor, Jake, came by and he was asking about your playing, so I played him the record you recorded a few months ago.”

Jake was our neighbor and my father’s close friend. He also played guitar and we occasionally played together, although he was a more talented player. I was the lead guitar in our high school’s jazz band and the guitar solo in this song was my showpiece. I cautiously asked, “What did he think?”

“He said you sounded nervous.”

I was. Although I had played that solo in numerous live performances, it was the first time I was in a recording studio. With headphones on and surrounded by microphones, I was intimidated. I could not relax. My fingers were tight and did not have the usual nimbleness. Unfortunately, after many takes, we settled on this solo which, to my chagrin, still betrayed my nervousness. 

Performance anxiety. There are many activities which we have successfully completed in the past. However, when the circumstances change, we may become flustered. Even familiar routines may be flubbed. Anxiety is inevitable. A musical recital. Speaking before a crowd. A job interview. Taking an examination. How can God help us through these challenging events?

When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul. 

Psalms 94:19 (NASB)

God created us and knows us better than we know ourselves. Do not focus on the circumstances within but look outward and upward to God. Whatever the reason we perceive is the cause of our immediate anxiety, God is always seeking to comfort us. Which is more important, worrying about the present or delighting in God?

Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it. 

Psalms 37:4-5 (NASB)


Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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A Heart That Is Big Enough (2 Samuel 9:7)

“Do you want to know when I knew that he was the right one?”

My sister was reminiscing about her husband’s marriage proposal to her ten years earlier. Her first husband, Jake, passed away from pancreatic cancer. It was several years later when she met her present husband. They immediately connected to the delight of our family and friends. It was a whirlwind romance and she confidently declared that “when you know you know.” She then shared the moment that convinced her. “I was snooping in his personal calendar. I turned to the month of September, hoping to find my birthday indicated on the 27th. Instead, my eyes focused on September 14th, where it said ‘Jake’s passing’.  My heart dropped to my stomach. Why did he have this on his calendar? If I ask him about it he will know I was snooping! But being the female that I was, I had to ask! So I did and what his answer was is nothing I would have guessed in a million years. He told me he put it down in his calendar so that if I seemed upset or sad that day, he would know why and would understand. At that moment, I knew this was a man who knew my heart was big enough to love two people. That if I shed a tear, which I do, it would be ok and he would understand.  After telling me this, I knew he was the one.”

It was a beautiful and tender example of the endearing love my brother-in-law has for my sister. The Bible shares a moving demonstration of love for another. 

One day David asked, “Is anyone in Saul’s family still alive—anyone to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” He summoned a man named Ziba, who had been one of Saul’s servants. “Are you Ziba?” the king asked. “Yes sir, I am,” Ziba replied. The king then asked him, “Is anyone still alive from Saul’s family? If so, I want to show God’s kindness to them.” Ziba replied, “Yes, one of Jonathan’s sons is still alive. He is crippled in both feet.” 

2 Samuel 9:1-3 (NLT)

Saul was the king before David. Mephibosheth was Jonathan’s son and Saul’s grandson. When Mephibosheth was summoned before David, he was in great fear. In those days, a new king may execute or banish family members of the former king. David’s treatment of him was completely unexpected.

…David said. “I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat here with me at the king’s table!” 

2 Samuel 9:7 (NLT)

David demonstrated his love to Mephibosheth, to honor the friendship he had for his father, Jonathan. My brother-in-law demonstrated an unselfish love and devotion to my sister, honoring her first husband. In both examples, their love transcended their immediate relationships. It is a beautiful representation of the love that Jesus Christ has for all of us. Even when we were sinners, Jesus Christ died for us, receiving the punishment that we justly deserved. 

A heart that is big enough. 

Praise God for His grace and mercy to all who place their faith in Jesus Christ. 

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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