“It’s Two Raccoons!”(Proverbs 16:18)

Our home has been invaded by raccoons!


The other evening, my daughter rushed into my room and exclaimed, “Dad! We have raccoons!” We quietly crept into her darkened room. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I peered out the window and two moving figures came into focus on the roof. Yup! Two raccoons!


For years, I thought the sounds I was hearing outside my windows were pigeons cooing. But as anyone with experience with raccoons can affirm, the raccoons make a sound something like a cross between a cat purring and pigeons cooing. In reality, the threat was far more sinister than I could have imagined. The raccoons had been gnawing on our satellite television wires, damaged several roof tiles, and left their calling card droppings on several key locations outside my daughter’s windows. In retrospect, it was also clear that these animals were responsible for shredding a cushion on one of our patio chairs and removing a barbeque cover. I ignored all of the warning signs because I made a careless assumption and was too self-confident in my own knowledge.


Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18 (ESV)


In my walk with God, I sometimes grow lax in my spiritual discipline and may assume that a particular situation poses little danger. Like the raccoons, situations I encounter may be masquerading as something far more insidious. A casual discussion with my staff can quickly lead to a gossip session about a fellow physician. A small tax loophole may become an invitation to take a more than generous deduction.  It is my pride and arrogance, believing that I am strong enough to resist these situations and not succumb to these temptations, that leads to my downfall.


Thanks be to God that He continually reminds me of my need to be continually dependent upon Him. With every decision, in every situation, I must first seek His will and direction before relying upon my judgment. Only then will I be able to live a life that is victorious and pleasing to God.



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


Aware Of My Spiritual Surroundings (1 Peter 5:8)

One skill I learned from my martial arts training was the importance of always being aware of my surroundings. Every corner, every step, every person, an attack could emerge. I had to remain vigilant, but also be ready to respond in an appropriate manner. The danger was not in the seen, but the unseen.


Good advice for life and for my spiritual walk with God. I can avoid the obvious temptations of visiting a strip joint or shooting up heroin, anyone can see these dangers. It is the unseen that is more insidious and far more deadly. An innocent browse for information in the internet may lead to a pornography site. A simple loophole in the tax code may lead to fraudulent reporting of deductions. Unsuspected and unseen dangers may emerge from seemingly innocent activities and doorways.


Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)


The Bible reminds all believers to continually be aware of their spiritual surroundings. Satan devotes his existence to derail my life, causing me to look away from my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He wants nothing more but to convince me that God does not love me and my salvation is not eternal and secure. He wants to compromise myself and listen to what the world can offer, not what Jesus Christ continually offers me.


I accepted the offer of Jesus Christ by confessing and repenting of my sins, and accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  He has given me His Holy Spirit to indwell within me so that I am more aware of my spiritual surroundings. It is a dangerous world in which we live. Thanks be to God that He is always protecting me.


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

“Your Name Doesn’t Make Sense!” (Revelation 20:12)

My Japanese surname is unusual and for non-Japanese, difficult to pronounce. It is so unusual that even native Japanese sometimes look at me with a befuddled look when they hear it. This polite acknowledgement changed one day, when I was with a group of other Japanese and we were writing our last names in Kanji, the Japanese written characters. One of the women in the group looked at the characters in my name, turned her head to the side and frowned.  Pointing at the characters, she declared, “Your name doesn’t make sense!”


I was startled by her accusation. “What do you mean?”


“We don’t read the Japanese characters like that!”


Her pronouncement stirred a memory that my parents shared with me about my name. When my great grandfather immigrated to Hawaii from Japan, the immigration officer incorrectly interpreted and mispronounced the written characters and assigned to him our incorrect present name. To my chagrin, this woman was absolutely correct and I acknowledged her observation.


And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

Revelation 20:12 (NKJV)


And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:15 (ESV)


I am thankful that God places a great deal of importance upon our names. Jesus called Lazarus by his name when he raised him from the dead. He called Mary by name when she came to His empty tomb on that Resurrection Sunday. He also gave new names to His disciples. He renamed Simon as Peter. He renamed the brothers John and James, the sons of thunder.


My name doesn’t make sense! Yes, this is true. But thanks be to God that my true identity is not dependent upon earthly names but by the name that He gives me. He calls me and gives me my true identity as an adopted son of God. And this is the name that is forever recorded in His Book of Life.




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

A Dream Journal (1 John 4:1)

Many years ago, I kept a dream journal. It was a notebook on my nightstand next to my bed. Whenever I awoke in the morning, I immediately wrote down as much as I could recall of my dream. This was a necessary task because within a few minutes of awakening, I often forgot most if not all of the dream.


I kept this journal for nearly a month and I observed some interesting patterns. Certain themes kept recurring, sometimes in consecutive dreams and other times, separated by a few nights. Certain characters and locations also kept recurring. It was eerie. I began to see these themes and characters in my waking hours. I began to wonder if these dreams were actually premonitions. Was I tapping into some hidden and untapped psychic energy? As I sought to make sense of these dreams, I wondered if I was influencing the dreams? What if the very action of observing and contemplating my dreams was warping this dream journal into something that was contrived? But an even more sinister thought crept in, what if these dreams were really an attack from Satan, urging me to rely more upon these dreams as some divine revelation? Was this a simple psychology experiment or was I edging into the occult, wishing to see the future? Was there any way to know?


Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1 John 4:1 (NKJV)


God communicated with many of the great saints of the Bible through dreams. I believe God can still speak to us through dreams. However we now have the Bible as God’s complete revelation to us through the Holy Spirit. The Bible makes it very clear. I must hold every revelation, whether through prophets or a dream, up to the Word of God and test it.


By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

1 John 4:2-3 (NKJV)


Any dream I have that does not honor Jesus Christ is not from God. In my dream journal, it was clear that the dreams did not honor God nor did it encourage godly behavior within myself.


Perhaps someday God will give me a revelation through a dream. If He does, I will know it by holding the dream to the light and revelation of God’s Word.




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

“Where Is the Small Cutting Board?” (John 8:10-11)

“Where is the small cutting board?”


I was preparing dinner for my family and needed it to cut a small tomato. I spent several minutes searching for this cutting board, scouring the dishwasher, dishrack, and usual cupboard, all to no avail. Frustrated, I grabbed the largest cutting board and said to myself, “This family needs to learn to put things back in its proper place!” I intended to vent to my wife and daughter when they came home.


Within the hour, they returned home and I confronted them. My wife looked at me with a puzzled look and then said, “Our son put away the dishes!”


My son put away the dishes? He had never done this before. My wife turned to my son and kindly asked him to show us where he put the cutting board. He led us to a drawer that contained several plastic containers. There it was, neatly stacked on top of the containers. “Thanks Buddy! You were a big help to Mommy today!” My wife smiled and looked at me. “We will need to learn where to put all the dishes in its proper place, okay?” My son beamed and I was embarrassed.


As usual, I assumed the worst intentions when, in reality, the incident occurred because of the best of intentions. My son was seeking to please my wife and myself but my impatience and short sightedness almost led to conflict.


When things do not go the way I planned, I assume the worst and look to assign blame. My efforts are misguided because I do not apply grace to every situation, unlike my Lord, Jesus Christ.  I wonder how God can be so patient with me? I want to be like Jesus Christ, the Author and Perfecter of my faith.


So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

John 8:7 (NKJV)


This passage from the Bible describes the humiliating story of a woman caught in the act of adultery and hauled before Jesus by the Pharisees. They quoted the Mosaic law demanding that she be stoned for her sin. They questioned Jesus, testing Him to see what He would do. Jesus did not chasten or berate her. He did not make demean her or her sins. Instead, He spoke to her with kindness and firmness, valuing her worth as one of God’s creation. He gave her instructions and pointed her to the higher calling that God has for all of our lives.


When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

John 8:10-11 (NKJV)


Sin no more. Simple. Direct. Spoken with the greatest love and extending mercy and grace to everyone He met. This is why I need to extend grace to everyone and in every situation, because I want to be more like Jesus.


He is my Savior and Lord.

He is Jesus Christ.


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

“Stop Trying To Sing!” (1 Corinthians 26:13-14)

I enjoy my voice lessons but have struggled to rid myself of old habits. During nearly every lesson, my teacher will stop my singing, smile and say, “Stop trying to sing!”


As he has repeatedly pointed out to me, “Singing is like speaking but longer, stronger, higher, sometimes lower …always better.” I am attempting to sing by singing, rather than speaking. In other words, I attempt to sing the way I think it should sound, rather than how it should sound. The end result is my singing sounds like a weak imitation of someone trying to sing.


There is a direct analogy to my spiritual walk with God. For many years, I attempted to live the Christian life by acting spiritual. I spoke and behaved the way I thought other Christians wanted me to behave. I was a Christian trying to act like a Christian, instead of being the man that God created me to be. The end result was a disingenuous Christian walk and a lie to God and myself.


Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (ESV)


My life as a Christian needs to be rooted in Jesus Christ, standing firm in faith. Yes, it is important to have good role models and a behavior that is evidence of a godly character. But to a be a Christian man means much more. I needed to stop being a man that I thought others wanted me to be. I needed completely surrender my life to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He alone is the Supreme role model because He perfects and completes my faith.


…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)


I had to stop singing before I learned how to sing. I had to stop acting like a Christian before I could learn what it meant to be a true Christian.


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

“Is This Black Magic?” (Ephesians 6:12)

My wife and I enjoy watching magicians. One particularly talented magician was performing on the streets of Las Vegas. He deftly moved from simple card tricks to incredible illusions such as levitating and walking through an apparent glass window. As my wife and I scrutinized his performance, we were dumbfounded over how he could do all of this. We were wise to the usual tricks of deception and misdirection and yet, we were mystified. I turned to my wife and jocularly asked, “Is this black magic?”


We both laughed but there was still a lingering doubt. The next morning, I found one of my colleagues, who was also an excellent amateur magician. He was familiar with this Las Vegas magician and after I described some of his tricks, I nervously laughed and said, “We were wondering if this is black magic?”


My colleague smiled and said, “If you have enough money, there is almost nothing you can’t make appear like magic!” He went on to explain how elaborate sets are constructed to give the illusion of magic. Combined with very skillful misdirection, many magicians have become high-tech technicians. The street magicians and performers do not channel Satan’s powers but they are extremely clever.


For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)


It was only mentioned in jest, but black magic, the occult world, and the power of Satan and his demons are very real. In the 21st century, the world dismisses the notion of Satan and demons as mythology, akin to believing that gods and goddesses live on Mt. Olympus. But the Bible is very clear and blunt about the reality of this dark world. Jesus Christ has already defeated them by His death and resurrection on the Cross. Satan his demons are powerless against the Word of God.


Confessing and repenting of our sins and accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior will grant us eternal salvation. Through God’s Holy Spirit, a believer will alway prevail over the occult power of Satan. There is nothing to fear when God is on our side.


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

“I’m An Extrovert!” (Proverbs 17:14)

“Why does this doctor do this?” One of my staff was frustrated with the unorthodox manner by which this dermatologist’s office designated the sites of the biopsy specimens.


“Yes, I agree.” It was confusing and earlier in the week, it had led to an error with one of our reports. This error was on my staff’s mind and he wanted to avoid another similar problem. This staff member was also suffering from an injured back and the pain was fueling his agitation.


“Look, we can very simply resolve this by comparing the slides with the requisition sheet and…”


“But it is very confusing!” Another staff member interrupted me, her volume rising with an  annoying tone.


“This office does this all the time!’ A third staff member fomented.


Amidst the cacophony, I exclaimed, “I’m an extrovert. I feed off the energy of others! Right now, everyone is agitated and it is making me agitated!” I stared down each staff member. “Your back is sore. You are frustrated with this office. And you are raising your voice! We need to cool down!”


And with that, the heated discussion stopped and we all flashed a smile to one another. We recognized what was happening and was able to stop before it progressed.


But when they found out that he was a Jew, all with one voice cried out for about two hours, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”

Acts 19:34 (NKJV)


The incident in my office reminded me of the riot that occurred in Athens with the merchants who were selling idols of the goddess Diana. They were outraged that the Apostle Paul was preaching Jesus Christ and some of the people were turning away from worshipping Diana, threatening their livelihood. I can imagine the frenzy as the emotions fed one another, leading to more chaos and confusion, some participants unsure why they were even there.


Some therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together.

Acts 19:32 (NKJV)


Had I been there, I am sure I would have been caught up in the frenzy of the moment. I am an extrovert and I must always guard against giving in to my emotions, particularly during heated discussions. I have struggled with this my entire life. God’s Holy Spirit has been changing my heart and through His Word, instructs me with His wisdom.


The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.

Proverbs 17:14 (ESV)


Quit before the quarrel breaks out. Good advice for an extrovert like myself. Good advice for everyone!


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

2 Omega 5:2 (1 Peter 3:15 )

The taxi cab already had two passengers, a mother and young son, when I entered.


“Yup, headed to the airport as well, thanks!”


Great, I thought. We can share the fare. The mother was sitting in the passenger seat while her son sat next to me in the back seat. As we passed by familiar beaches on the way to the airport, the son pointed at several buildings and said, “Mom. What happened to all the trees that used to be on the beach?”


“Yes son,” the mother began. “That is written in 2 Omega 5:2-’The enemy will seek to destroy what you have built.’ ”


Whoa! Where is this coming from? Which verse is she quoting? What is the book of Omega? I needed to say something but knew I had to carefully chose my words. “Excuse me…” I began. My alarm clock interrupted my query. It was a dream. Or was it? I pondered the meaning of the dream for the next hour as I dressed and drove to work.


For several years, I was involved in a cult, following a woman who claimed be the reincarnation of a great prophet. She taught that all religions were paths to the same god. Thus, while she embraced and liberally quoted from the Bible, she also peppered her proclamations with Hindu and Buddhist ideals. Coexist, right? It all seemed to neatly fit. And then, I began to read the Bible and found some disagreements between what she was teaching and what the Bible revealed. When I brought these Bible passages to her attention, she dismissed my inquiry and redirected my attention to meditating upon God and seeking the truth. I took her advice and meditated upon God and asked Him to reveal the Truth. After many months of studying the Bible and deep conversations with a dear brother in Jesus Christ, God showed me the complete Truth. In the week before Easter 1982, I confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.


For the first few years after I became a Christian, I would fervently read and memorize Bible passages that would refute the teachings of this woman and her cult. Apologetics is the discipline of rigorously proving or defending the truth of a religious doctrine and I felt that this was one of the callings that God had for my life as a Christian. Through the years, this desire became diluted and diminished. Only recently, have I begun to once again read books on apologetics, rediscovering the love I first had for the subject.


But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear…

1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV)


In my dream, I was ready to defend my faith. The book of 2 Omega? This dream was a wake up call for me to rededicate my life to defending my Christian faith. At a time when Christians are increasingly under attack and persecuted around the world for their faith and belief and even being muffled or ridiculed in the United States, a deep knowledge and understanding of the Bible is desperately needed by all Christian believers.




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

“I Made Him Famous!” (Acts 4:20)

Al Michaels is one of the most respected sports commentators. His broadcasts bring great flair and color to every sport. Of his many memorable coverages, his quote after the Men’s U.S men’s hockey team upset the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter olympics is now legendary. “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”


But one little known fact occurred early in his career and Michaels was assigned to announce another hockey match. Michaels did not receive a player’s card and thus did not know the names of the players, save one. For the entire broadcast, Michaels deftly emphasized the actions of that one player’s name, who ironically, ended up being the star of the game. “I made him famous!’ he later quipped.


For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

Acts 4:20 (NKJV)


The Apostles Peter and John could not stop talking about Jesus Christ. It was the only name that mattered to them and they wanted to tell everyone about the Good News of Jesus Christ. They wanted to make Jesus famous!


I agree.


If you only know one name, know Jesus Christ. There is no other name under Heaven or on earth by whom we may be saved.



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