“A Fu…nny Guy! (1 Corinthians 15:33 )

As a young boy, I had a foul mouth. I hung out with other kids my age who were equally loose with profanity. Of course, I only swore when I was around my friends but this bad habit began to creep into my everyday speech. One day, I was speaking to my mother about another boy who was very crude in his behavior. After a few minutes of discussion, I let my guard down.


“Yeah Mom..he’s such a fu….nny guy!”




My mother was wise to what just happened. Narrowing her stare, she said, “I know you are hanging out with lots of boys who swear a lot. I hope you’re not doing that!”


I shifted my glance and lied, “No Mom. That’s the other guys, you know them! That’s not me.”


She nodded. “Yes…..” I didn’t think she believed me. “Well, maybe, hanging around with them is rubbing off on you. Maybe you’re not saying it but if you are around them all the time, it makes it easier to talk like them.”


“Umm, you’re right Mom!” She knew. “Yeah, I have to be more careful. Don’t want to be like them!”


Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

1 Corinthians 15:33 (ESV)


I lied to my mother. I was the bad company and the instigator and perpetrator of much of the foul language. My friends were probably being more corrupted by my behavior than the reverse. The Apostle Paul wrote this verse to admonish the Corinthian believers, to remind them to remain steadfast and holy with their faith in Jesus Christ. But He could have had me in His mind as I ruined the the morals of my childhood friends with my foul language.


How many times in my life have I read the Bible and thought, “Oh thank God, that’s not me!” And yet, when I am honest with myself, I realize that I am often at the center of the worst sins the Bible displays. Yes, it is true that bad company ruins good morals. I just need to be aware that I may be the source of the bad company that others need to avoid.


There are many painful lessons that God has taught me. I thank God that by His grace and mercy through believing in His Son, Jesus Christ, as my Lord and Savior, He is changing my heart and bringing me into a greater sensitivity of what it means to be a child of God.


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

“You Learn To Love Each Other!” (John 3:16)

Many years ago, I worked with a colleague who grew up in India. As we got to know each other, we each shared our respective stories about how we met our spouses. My colleague had an arranged marriage. The vetting process was performed by their parents and extended families. On paper, the two had much in common and had exchanged photos and spoken on the phone. After several months, all that was needed to do was a face to face meeting.


“But what about love?” I asked. “What if you didn’t love him?”


She smiled and replied, “You learn to love each other! Western society puts too much emphasis on this love at first sight, all emotions, all physical attraction. Our way allows us to get to know each other and then fall in love.”


I nodded. She made an excellent point.


For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16 (NKJV)


When I first accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, it was only after many months of getting to know Him. I spent hours reading and studying the Bible. I spent numerous evenings in discussion with a dear brother in the Lord who guided me through my first hesitating steps. Slowly, I learned to love Jesus, and one glorious evening, I called out to Him and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior.


But there is an important difference between my colleague and her future husband. I learned to love Jesus but Jesus already loved me! My sins kept me from seeing the Truth. I am forever thankful for God’s mercy and grace to bring me into salvation and a loving relationship with Jesus Christ. I love Him because He first loved me!


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

When God Brought Me Through My Sickness! (Psalms 60)

Depending upon the translation of your Bible, many of the Psalms include a short description or historical background for the Psalms. For Psalms 60, the following is rendered by three different translations.


He Will Tread Down Our Foes

To the choirmaster: according to Shushan Eduth. A Miktam of David; for instruction; when he strove with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and when Joab on his return struck down twelve thousand of Edom in the Valley of Salt.



Urgent Prayer for the Restored Favor of God

To the Chief Musician. Set to “Lily of the Testimony.” A Michtam of David. For teaching. When he fought against Mesopotamia and Syria of Zobah, and Joab returned and killed twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.



For the choir director: A psalm of David useful for teaching, regarding the time David fought Aram-naharaim and Aram-zobah, and Joab returned and killed 12,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. To be sung to the tune “Lily of the Testimony.”



As I read and studied these paragraphs, it struck me, David, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, wrote these Psalms after he experienced a great victory over his enemies. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we, too, could write a poem or psalm, praising God in remembrance for what He did for us? Updating it to the 21st century, we could give thanks for God saving us from a harrowing car accident, giving us strength through a series of examinations, or blessing us by a recovery from a difficult illness. Perhaps it may be written like this…


When God Brought Me Through My Sickness!
To the Choir Master and Chief Musician: Set to the song “Trust In You.” A song of praise and thanksgiving of Paul for remembrance and praise after God delivered him through a long week of illness!


Indeed! Perhaps we do not write or compose with the elegance of David through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration or guidance, but God is interested in our genuine sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, not in the cleverness of our speech or prayers.


The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;

to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”

Psalms 50:23 (ESV)


I need to spend more time specifically remembering what God has done for me and praising Him in word and song. I need to meditate upon His kept promises to me. And I need to share it with anyone who will listen so that they, too, may know that God is mighty and awesome to save!


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


Let’s Hear It Again! (Luke 24:32)

Super Bowl 51 is in the history books and it was arguably the most amazing Super Bowl ever played. So many records were set capping the greatest comeback in the history of the championship game. And as exciting and enjoyable as watching the game, I relished the next few days as I relived the experience with friends and colleagues. It was an invigorating reminder of the joy of the day. It didn’t get old! Let’s hear it again!

They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

Luke 24:32 (ESV)

The two disciples on the road to Emmaus experienced the excitement of retelling the story of Jesus Christ. The risen Jesus Christ appeared on a dusty road outside of Jerusalem and retold all the prophecies of Himself from the Scriptures beginning with the Patriarchs and leading to the Prophets. He revisited every intimate detail and at the end, their hearts were burning within them! They couldn’t wait to hear it again! And why not? It is the greatest story ever told-more exciting than this past Super Bowl, because THIS is the greatest comeback. Jesus Christ is risen from the dead!

The Good News of Jesus Christ needs to be proclaimed and shared everywhere we go!

Let’s hear it again!


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

“It Will Hurt Me More Than It Hurts You!” (Ezekiel 18:32)

The father sternly prepared his son as he was about to spank him.


“Now son, it will hurt me more than it hurts you!”


How many times have we have heard this? And each time, this parental confession still rings hollow. Discipline is seldom painless; the emotional hurt may equal or exceed the physical pain, for both the giver and recipient.  While I understand the sentiment of the father’s quotation, I don’t always believe it.  Oh yeah, I think, then why don’t you switch places with your son and see!


For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.

Ezekiel 18:32 (ESV)


Sometimes I am frustrated when God disciplines me. I don’t believe His promise to the Israelites, prophesied by His prophet Ezekiel.  I think He is too harsh, unforgiving, or misunderstanding. I plead with Him, “Here God, let me lay it out for You, so that You would understand.”


God answers my plea.


Yet you say, “The way of the Lord is not fair.” Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair?

Ezekiel 18:25


All I am doing is reverting to my selfish desires and informing God, His way is not fair. I continually instruct God how to run my life. I, who have lived less than a century. I, who have lived in only one country. I have the audacity to ask God to switch places with me.


When God disciplines me, it should hurt me far me than I can conceive because I deserve so much more. I am a sinner and the wages of sin is death. I deserve death. It is only by God’s grace and mercy, through His Son, Jesus Christ, that He withholds His justice and disciplines me to transform me into the image of His Son.


Will it hurt me more than it hurts you? For God the Father, it meant seeing His Son die on the Cross, bearing the weight and punishment of all the sins of mankind. How can I ever fully comprehend the pain and suffering of both Father and Son? Why don’t I understand that Jesus died for me so that I would live the life I was created to live? When I will stop instructing God how to run my life?


I desperately need God’s saving grace and mercy in my life!


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


Charades (Ezekiel 3:26-27)

When I was 10 years old, I participated in a series of interviews as part of the application process to attend a private school in Hawaii. At the end of the interviews, all of the applicants were gathered in a classroom to play a game of charades. It was a chance to relax and decompress after the stress of the day but ostensibly, it was an opportunity for the administrators to observe how the applicants would perform in a group setting.


I still remember my assignment. It was the movie, “Planet of the Apes.” I quickly acted out a movie projector, then proceeded to sign the number four with my hand, indicating four words in the title. Then I designated the last word and did my best imitation of an ape, to the laughter of the audience, who immediately shouted, “Planet of the Apes!”


Mission accomplished! Charades got my message across. A few months later, I received my acceptance letter!


I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and not be one to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, “Thus says the Lord God.” He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.

Ezekiel 3:26-27 (NKJV)


If I were sending a prophet to Israel, I would make sure he had strong speaking skills. So what does God do? He informs Ezekiel he would be mute, his tongue clinging to the roof his mouth! Instead of speaking, Ezekiel would have to act out God’s prophecy! He proceeded to create a series of clay tablets surrounded by an iron tablet, depicting the impending siege of Jerusalem. He lay on his left side for three hundred ninety days, depicting the hundreds of years that Israel had been living in carnality, and his right side for forty days, depicting the forty years Judah had been sinning.  It was an ancient game of charades that lasted for over a year! Oh my!


Mission accomplished! God knows what He is doing. His unorthodox means of communicating with the Israelites proclaimed His message loud and clear. This is our God, turning expectations upside down because His ways are not ours!


Praise God!


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

Good Name, Good Character (Proverbs 22:1)

.As I guide my daughter through the arduous process of preparing for college, I am struck with an apparent glaring contradiction. So much of our activities as parents and students are focused upon getting good grades, good national test scores, getting enough volunteer activities, and amassing a well rounded portfolio of extracurricular activities. All of this is to facilitate the application process to get into a good college which may lay the groundwork for possible graduate school and a future job. These activities are important but what I realized is that although all of this preparation may help my child get a great first job, once they enter that door, very little of this matters. An employer is concerned about whether this person plays well in the sandbox. Does this person get along with everyone in my company and my customers? If a person is brilliant but has poor interpersonal skills, very few, if any, employers would declare, “Well, this person is a jerk, but he/she went to Harvard (or other prestigious school), so therefore I will overlook it.” I don’t think so.


It is all about character. Character is developed through many channels. Studying hones our discipline and responsibility.  Citizenship classes define and model the qualities of honor and respect. Coaches inculcate the importance of good sportsmanship. All of these activities are important but only dance around the salient issue.


A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.

Proverbs 22:1 (ESV)


A good name, a good character, should always be our goal, for ourselves and for our children. Our character reveals our core nature by unveiling our true motives. If we have a bad character, we cannot hide behind our grades and test scores; we cannot hide behind our awards or diplomas; we cannot hide behind titles or bank accounts. Our silver and gold will not buy us a good character. A bad character will always fail us.


How do we achieve good character? Good character always begins with God. Our tutor, our example, is our Lord Jesus Christ. As a parent, I need to model Jesus Christ, the perfect example of good character. As a child, they need to do their best with the abilities that God has blessed them with and leave the outcome to Him. AP classes, SAT exams, college applications-it is all part of the process of character development. The goal is to strive for a good name, a good character, in the name of Jesus.  And this is achieved by trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.


There are many obligations that are placed upon our children. The world clamors for good grades, good schools, and great riches. But God places His highest favor upon those who first seek a good name for His sake.




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

His Way (Exodus 14:21-22)

Nearly everyone is familiar with the stirring account of the exodus and how God used Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian captivity by parting the Red Sea.


Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

Exodus 14:21-22 (ESV)


The Bible does not record the expressions or comments of the Israelites as they walked on the dry river bed with walls of water surrounding them. It must have been an incredible sight! But why did God chose to deliver the Israelites in this manner? God can do anything, Couldn’t He have instantly transported all of them into the promised land? Wouldn’t that have been as amazing as walking through walls of water? Of course He could have done this. But God does things His way. The exodus was not for His benefit but for the Israelites and ours. Over the next 40 years, as the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, God showed the Israelites what true faithfulness means. He taught the Israelites the importance of holiness, of separating themselves from the sins that pollute their minds and body. He demonstrated what it meant to live solely by God’s Word and commands. He prepared and matured them to live by faith.


God does things His way!


I am impatient and sometimes want God to immediately resolve all my problems. I don’t want to face the arduous task of learning the life lessons that He wants to teach me. I can learn the same life lesson if He just shows me the end result. Right? Wrong! I want to do things my way. I want to be God. And this is why my faith is so weak. I am unwilling to learn the lessons of faith by obeying God’s plan and timing, instead, substituting my terms and time frames. I need to continually return and remember the promises that God has kept in my life, no matter how long He takes to answer. Only then, like the Israelites, will I begin to learn what it means to live by faith.


God does things His way!


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


Heliotherapy (Romans 6:1-2)

Heliotherapy was a popular form of medical treatment in the first half of the 20th century. It was based upon the belief that fair skinned individuals were at risk for vitamin D deficiency. The discovery that ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is critical for an  important chemical reaction in the skin to convert Vitamin D to its active metabolite, led to generations of children and adults being treated with heliotherapy. Wearing only goggles, there were repeated and regular exposures to ultraviolet light. When later research showed that UVR could kill bacteria, patients with tuberculosis and impetigo were also exposed. All of this occurred during a period when the connections between skin aging, skin cancer and UVR were not established.


UVR  is not all bad. It does play a role to help in Vitamin D production and is an important sterilizing agent. But the small benefits are greatly outweighed by the destructive and life threatening effects UVR has on the human body. Today, no one would exclusively use UVR as a means to increase Vitamin D production or to sterilize and cleanse the skin.


What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

Romans 6:1-2 (ESV)


The Apostle Paul admonished his followers to not continue in a life of sin. Some erroneously believed that they should continue sinning because it would allow God’s grace to be manifest. It is true that God’s grace would be manifested in a believer who confessed and repented of their sins. But Paul pointed out that if someone had truly accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, they would have no desire to willfully sin. Like UVR, we should not invite situations that allow sin to creep into our life, thinking it may benefit or not hurt us. The old adage, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” is not correct in this situation. Sin does kill us. And if we allow even a little into our lives, there is no benefit, only despair and separation from God.


Only after many years, did physicians learn of the dangers of exposure to UVR . We have always known of the dangers of sin. There is no need to expose our lives to any amount.


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

Wake Up Call (Proverbs 4:7)

I first entered private practice in 1994, fresh from my fellowship training with my medical specialty board certification in hand. I was confident and knowledgeable, or so I thought. I eagerly attended my first hospital tumor board, ready to contribute my prodigious knowledge of the latest treatment and diagnostic tests for diseases. I was greeted by an erudite panel of surgeons, oncologists, and radiation oncologists, all of whom rattled off numerous studies supporting their treatment options for the patients.


And I soon learned that many issues that patients and physicians face in private practice are seldom, if ever, discussed within the academic ivory towers of university medical centers. There were concerns of insurance payments and denials, interhospital politics, social service support dealing with nursing home and hospice care. If I were to survive in private practice, I needed to reorient my thinking. It was a definite wake up call! I consulted with my pathology group, sought advice from friendly surgeons and oncologists, and slowly, I began to learn and understand the subtle but important nuances of becoming a complete physician. I had the head knowledge but did not have the understanding to properly apply it in different practice settings.


Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom.

And in all your getting, get understanding.

Proverbs 4:7 (NKJV)


In my spiritual walk with God, I have had many similar wake up calls. I have a book knowledge of the Bible and can quote verses and discuss theological themes. But when I am confronted with a frustrated seeker dealing with a difficult life situation, pleading with me to show me where God is in his chaotic circumstances, I freeze and stumble. Slowly, God has given me wisdom, understanding and insight. It has not been easy and I continue to pray to God for direction. He has answered me, gently and firmly, and guided me with sensitivity into situations when I need to apply God’s Word for the sake of myself and others.


Get wisdom and get understanding! God’s wake up calls for my life place me in situations when I need to rely upon His insight and not my head knowledge.


Praise God!


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