The Most Dangerous Time of the Day (1 Peter 5:8)

My day begins very early, arising at 4:20 AM and arriving at my office by 5 AM. On a good day, I work until about 4:30 PM and am home by 5 PM. My wife works very long hours as well, beginning her day at 8 AM and working to at least 6:30 PM. My son and daughter awaken by 630 AM are in school until 330 PM and, depending upon the day of the week, engage in after school activities that may last until 5:30 PM. The family gathers for dinner at 645 PM. This is the only time of the day we meet together as a family during the week. It is also the most dangerous time of the day.


Our busy lifestyle is recreated in many homes in America. For most families, the dinner should be a time of warmth and reflection. However, within our family, it sometimes becomes a time of conflict. We are all hungry and tired after a long day of school or work. I am more susceptible to this fatigue than the rest of the family. In the comfort of the dining table, I let my guard down. I let my thoughts linger on negative events of the day and my irritability ignites a short fuse. Many an argument has erupted during a time that should be a festive and restful fellowship. I reflected upon this the other day and the reason was quite evident.


Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV)


When does Satan attack us? Anytime. When we think we are in the safety and comfort of our family and loved ones, he attacks. When we are tired and hungry, he attacks. When we are praying, he attacks. This should come as no surprise. This is exactly what he did when he attacked Jesus Christ. In the desert, after forty days of fasting, Satan tempted Him. During the last supper as Jesus comforted His disciples in the upper room, Satan attacked and entered into Judas Iscariot to lead him to betray Jesus. And in the agonizing moments of Jesus’ prayer to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, as He sweat drops of blood, Satan was there, tempting Jesus to abandon His mission to die on the Cross and receive our punishment for the sins of the world upon His broken Body.


Unlike me, Jesus was tempted in all ways but never sinned. Jesus shows me that I do not have to live a life of frustration and disappointment. I have confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior; dwelling within me, is the same power of the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead!


What is the most dangerous time of the day? Any moment I take my eyes off of Jesus and do not allow the Holy Spirit to control my life.


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

Based Upon A True Story (2 Peter 1:20-21)

Based Upon A True Story


Ever watch a movie or television show and see these words flash across the screen? One reason to insert this is to impart an air of authenticity to the production. Of course, one wonders to what extent the writer or director needs to remain faithful to the original story to justify the inclusion of this phrase? Some screenwriters or directors take extreme liberties with the original story. After watching some of these shows, I wonder if a more accurate phrase might be, “Loosely Based Upon A True Story” or “Based Upon An Idea Taken From A True Story”?


There have been several recent television series and movies featuring Jesus Christ and other Biblical characters. Unfortunately, many of these shows have not been completely faithful to the original text.  It is also interesting that for none of these shows did the words, “Based Upon A True Story” appear, but it should have, if the show remained true to the source. But unlike other works of literature, there can be no deviations or artistic license taken by screenwriters, directors, or actors when the Bible is used as the source. Why not?


…knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1:20-21 (NKJV)


The Bible is rightly regarded by many as a great work of literature, on par with Shakespeare or Homer. Others, however, dismiss the Bible as a collection of myths and folktales. The Bible is a great work of literature but much more. It is an eyewitness account of God’s plan for His Creation and for mankind. It was written by men, moved and guided by the Holy Spirit. It is the absolute Truth of God. Think of a great novel, that was written by one individual over ten years. Undoubtedly the plot would be refined and tightened and all potential inconsistencies would be eliminated. But now, take that same novel and add an additional thirty authors and spread the work out over several thousand years. At the least, there will be some internal inconsistencies and who would be charged with editing the story over several millennia? Certainly each new editor would add their personal biases and add or subtract items from the original story. Now, let’s add another wrinkle. Let’s embed over three hundred prophecies predicting a Messiah, a Savior for the world, in the first part of the story. And then, thousands of years later, the second part of the story, will have one Man, Jesus Christ, fulfilling every prophecy. One statistician calculated that for one person to fulfill only eight prophecies, the odds against this would be 1 x 1021. What about for one person fulfilling three hundred prophecies? The staggering answer, given by author Lee Strobel, is one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion.  That number is actually greater than the known molecules in the universe! This gives one a very small glimpse into the authenticity and reliability of the Bible.


Beware! Based upon a true story, may not be the same story! The only true story with eternal significance for everyone’s life is the Bible. Read it, believe it, and learn of God’s plan for your life to confess and repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.


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

The Placebo Effect (2 Corinthians 5:17)

We are familiar with the placebo. It is any medication or treatment that is perceived as real but has no active substances. Any improvement or worsening of the patient’s symptoms are attributed to the patient’s expectations and is termed the placebo effect. Placebos have many appearances but are commonly pills that only contain sugar. However, placebos may encompass sham treatments such as surgery or intravenous infusions. The patient may see or experience the treatment but no medication or surgical procedure is actually given or performed.


Placebos are an important component of scientific research and serves as the control for experiments involving a true medication or treatment. Patients may be randomized to receive either the treatment or the placebo. In a double blinded study, neither the investigator nor the patient knows which treatment they are administering or receiving. Any perceived response to the placebo is incorporated in the statistical comparison with the true treatment. If 20% of the patients responded favorably to the placebo and 20% of the patients responded to the true treatment, the true treatment would be statistically viewed as a failure.


While all of this seems straightforward, there is an interesting wrinkle. Some medical investigators have utilized the placebo effect as an actual treatment. Patients are informed that the medication or treatment they are receiving is a placebo. Yet, they are instructed to follow the same procedure as if it were a true treatment. In selected studies, a statistically significant positive response has been identified with some placebo treatments! Even when a patient knows the treatment they are receiving is fake, it may still have a powerful effect. The mind can be a powerful ally with medical treatments.


Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)


For many years, I thought religion and Christianity were placebos. Praying to and worshipping an imaginary god was the ultimate placebo effect. But God, by His mercy and grace, turned my heart and showed me the depravity of my sinful nature. I confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. At that moment, something miraculous happened. God began to transform me by the power of His Holy Spirit. I began to understand, what billions of other souls know, that God is real and He is not a placebo effect. His power is not mind over body but God over my soul.


Placebos demonstrate the power of the mind over body. Jesus Christ is the power of God over all Creation! He transforms my entire being and conforms me to His glory!


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

“I Am My Father’s Brand!” (Galatians 3:26)

I recently attended a memorial service for a friend’s father who went home to the Lord. At the service, her brother gave an eloquent and powerful eulogy for their father. He recounted the life lessons he learned from his father through every decade of his life. The son understood that his life reflected the best qualities of his father. Wherever he went and whomever he met, he would always represent his father. He gladly accepted the awesome responsibility because he devoutly loved his father and desired to honor him. Trembling with emotion, the son declared, “I am my father’s brand.”


For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:26 (NKJV)


The eulogy reminded me of our responsibility as believers in Jesus Christ. God grants us the special privilege of adopting us as His sons and daughters, when we confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. What kind of God would grant us this status? Only One who loves us so much that He would send His only Son to live and die on the Cross, receiving the full punishment for of all my sins, past, present, and future. God loves me as much as He loves His Son, Jesus Christ. He is my heavenly Father.


I am my Father’s brand. I represent God’s character through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.


Thanks be to God for His indescribable love and mercy to me!


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

A Tulip Garden (Genesis 2:15)

My friend was reminiscing about a special memory when he was a medical student in Pittsburgh. The preceding winter had been particularly cold and long and this was the first warm Spring day. Everyone was celebrating the warm weather. My friend stole away some time between his classes to sit on a bench in the middle of a beautiful garden. Sitting there with the sun illuminating the beautiful colors of the garden, replete with tulips displaying vibrant colors, he fondly reminisced that it was one of the best memories of his life. He described it in such breathy detail that I felt myself being transported to that same park bench.


Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

Genesis 2:15 (NKJV)


God created the garden of Eden; it was the setting for the first home and first family. It was paradise on earth, the way God intended life to be. Sin destroyed this perfect garden but we all have a longing to return to this garden. The joy that my friend experienced in that tulip garden on that beautiful spring day is a reminder of what God has placed within each of our hearts. The garden of Eden waits for us and beckons to us.


In our lifetimes, we will never be able to return to the garden of Eden. But we can see it someday if we confess and repent of our sins to God and accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Savior. The moment we do, we will become a new creation, an adopted son of God, the Father. When we die and pass into His presence, we will be in paradise. The longing of our hearts will be fulfilled. We will return to the garden of Eden!


I am looking forward to that glorious day!


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

Hypocrite (2 Kings 17:33)



We meet or read about them everyday. When the perpetrator is a celebrity or leader, it makes a greater impact upon us, as if, somehow, we think they should know better. Everyone is familiar with the examples. There is a well known talk show host, touting how his advice can save a marriage, in spite of the fact that he has been married three times. There is the politician who vehemently campaigns for tougher immigration laws but employs undocumented workers in his home. It is a litany of bad morals and behavior.


Not surprisingly, the Bible provides numerous examples. The following verse stood out as a particularly egregious example.


They feared the Lord, yet served their own gods—according to the rituals of the nations from among whom they were carried away.

2 Kings 17:33 (NKJV)


The tragic downward spiral of the northern kingdom of Israel is the historical background for this Bible verse. As I read this passage, I experienced the same disappointment as when I read of a leader caught in hypocrisy. It sears my soul, because it is a reflection of my hypocritical attitude. No, I do not carry wooden idols but I do carry my idols of pride and greed. I do not offer sacrifices at a pagan temple but I do spend money on frivolous worldly activities.


I am a sinner and as God has graciously and mercifully extended His forgiveness to me, so should I extend forgiveness to others. I, and others, do not need lectures pointing out our hypocritical behavior. I need a Savior-we all need a Savior. I needed to confess and repent of my sins and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. My heart had to first change. Only then did l acknowledge my fallen state and seek to change and end my hypocritical behavior.




I am still one of them.


Thanks be to God for His grace and mercy to transform my life through belief in His Son, Jesus Christ!


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

“We’re On the Same Side!” (Proverbs 31:10-12)

“Babe! We’re on the same side!”


My wife and I were engaged in a heated discussion over the planning for an upcoming family event. I had painstakingly planned everything on the menu  even designating where the guests would sit. Thus, I became offended when she questioned one of my decisions. We were at an impasse as I pleaded for her to see my point of view. I was raising my voice and my blood pressure. She knew I was agitated and I attempted to stay calm but I was certainly not helping the situation. Her interjection brought me back to reality.


“We’re on the same side! Just because I question one of your decisions doesn’t mean I am arguing with you.”


My wife then proceeded to calmly explain her point. Within a few moments, I saw the wisdom of her viewpoint. It did not dramatically differ from mine, only upon the points of emphasis. In fact, we were on the same side and her tweaking smoothed the entire plan. I was chagrined as I realized I should more willingly trust her.


Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.

The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.

She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.

Proverbs 31:10-12 (NKJV)


Sadly, this scenario has rerun with many different permutations during our marriage. I wish that these words from the Bible, extolling the godly and virtuous wife and woman, were etched upon my heart. It is my sinful pride and stubbornness that keeps dragging me down, blinding me to see my wife’s ideas as complementing, rather than attacking, mine.


My wife and I are on the same side. God created marriage to honor Him, not to exalt oneself and viewpoint. How I desperately need the grace and mercy of God in my life! How blessed I am to have a godly wife at my side to complete me and make me a better man, husband, and father.


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

J.P.O. (2 Corinthians 5:20)

Nearly all schools in the United States have traffic crossing guards. These dedicated individuals  are stationed at busy intersections, ensuring that children and adults are able to safely cross during the busiest times, before and after school is in session.


Hawaii has an interesting variation for this familiar position, the J.P.O.-Junior Police Officer. This organization still exists as a division of the Honolulu Police Department. When I was in 5th grade, I proudly served. We were given yellow helmets emblazoned with the letters J.P.O. and wore an orange vest and were required to wear shoes. The latter item of dress was distinctly unusual in Hawaii, at a time when the normal foot attire was bare feet or slippers/flip-flops. We had a uniform! We were official!


It was quite a head trip. Holding a large stop sign connected to a metal pole, I would step out into a major three lane highway during a break in the traffic and force all the cars to stop. Me, a little ten year old kid, stopping peak traffic flow, before and after school. Such power, such authority, and such danger.


In retrospect, what I was doing was extremely dangerous. Knowing what I now know about the inattentive driving habits of people, an errant driver could have easily plowed into me. Thankfully, no serious issues or injuries ever arose. At that young age, I was completely ignorant of the dangers, all I knew and cared about is that I had the authority of an adult police officer. For this small plot of space and time, I represented the Honolulu police department.


Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

2 Corinthians 5:20 (NKJV)


When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I also gained a new identity. It was not just me, but me with the Holy Spirit indwelling within me. I am being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. I represent Him in this world and am empowered to act by His Name.


Like the J.P.O., there is power, authority, and danger when I am a Christian. Others may respect me, fear me, or even hate me. I did not understand the hate until many years later. This is the reality of the life I now live as a child of God. My focus should always remain upon Jesus Christ as I represent Him in this life. I represent the Truth of His Gospel for there is no other Name, in Heaven or on earth by whom we may be saved.




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

Nice To Be Blessed! (Job 2:10)

When something painful or sorrowful occurs, I seek God’s comfort and guidance, asking Him for strength to endure the trial and peace in my life.  I know God uses the pain to chasten and mold me into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. I know His plans are not my plans. But I don’t like pain, even when I see the benefits and blessings of God in hindsight. I am still very weak in my faith, not accepting good and adversity from God as His will, but instead, seeking to impose my will. Thus, when something good happens, I do bask in the glow of God’s blessings and savor the experience. I want to accept adversity as a blessing but when something good happens, it is nice to be blessed!


Today was one such day. It began with the very good news from Washington D.C. My closest brother in the Lord is a hematologist-oncologist who discovered a drug treatment for sickle cell anemia. Today, the FDA voted to approve the new drug application. Twenty years of work were finally rewarded! It was a great testimony to the faith and perseverance of my brother and of God’s protection and guidance for his life and his company. My cases arrived earlier than expected so I was able finish nearly an hour earlier than usual. I was elated because it meant I would be able to attend my son’s special dance performance. He performs with a wonderful organization, dedicated to allow children and young adults with special needs to learn to sing and dance. This was their annual concert and I was thrilled to cheer my son and his friends.


What a day of blessings!


…Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?

Job 2:10 (NKJV)


It is nice to be blessed! Lord God, increase my faith so that I can see your blessings in everything and everywhere you lead me.




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

That’s Me! (Hebrews 12:1-2)

As I read the Bible and learn of the great saints of the Bible, it is easy to remember their life stories, because they are mine. Always ready to voice support but unable to commit; ambitious to be number one in God’s kingdom but not ready to count the cost; blessed with many gifts of service but easily distracted by petty jealousies and pride. Meet Peter, John, and Jonah. And by the way, look in the mirror. That’s me!


And there are others, many others. My faults are the same as the sins and faults of many of the great saints. The Holy Spirit has recorded these stories to instruct all believers in Jesus Christ. We are to be inspired by their lives and faith and learn from their sins and errors.


Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)


I am still learning to obey God. It is painful to be reminded of my own sins as I read the Bible but thanks be to God that He has given me the answer to life’s problems. I do not need to wallow in my fears and sorrows. These great saints of the Bible are witnesses to me of God’s grace and mercy in their lives. I can persevere in this life because, like these witnesses and saints, I have placed my faith and trust in God, through my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect life of obedience to God, showing everyone that there is a better way to live. I do not need to aimlessly run through life. I now chose to run the race knowing that I will victoriously complete it because Jesus has already done it for me.


Praise God for His grace and mercy!


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