An Internet Birthday Greeting (Psalms 139:4)

On my birthday this year, I was pleasantly surprised by one internet site. The site is a well-known search engine and when I logged on the site in the morning, the banner page displayed an animated cartoon of a birthday cake. When I right-clicked on the cartoon, a message popped up, “Happy Birthday Paul!” That was a nice and unexpected surprise! Clearly, the website had utilized my registered personal data and created this personalized message. I later found out that other users received a similar greeting on their birthdays.


On that same birthday, I received several emails and cards from professional societies to which I belong. While these were appreciated, it did not make the same favorable impression as this virtual birthday greeting. I knew it was a computer algorithm that generated the greeting, very similar to a program that generated the emails and printed greetings. But there was something different. Perhaps it was the notion that an internet site, used by billions of others, could be personalized just to greet me?


Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

Psalms 139:4 (ESV)


I am reminded of this same profound sense of personalized attention when I ponder my relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. How can the God of the universe, who keeps every atom and molecule intact, still hold my life together when I am faced with trials? How can God know every thought, aspiration, and action of every living creature that has ever existed and still answer my every prayer and give me constant inspiration through His Word?


How indeed? If I limit my understanding of God to a formula, like the computer algorithm that generated my internet birthday greeting, He will not command my attention. But once I understand and realize the fact that God is infinitely greater than anything I can possibly imagine, only then, will I begin to come to the Truth that God created me and everything in this universe. It is not by chance or some biochemical algorithm that explains my existence. It is God-who created me, loves me, and knows my every thought before I even speak it.


Praise God!


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

“The Most Successful Man” (Acts 26:24-25)

As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

Benjamin Disraeli


For many years, I displayed  this quotation, from the former British prime minister, on my biography page of one of my professional websites. It was a pithy statement and on an informational website like mine, appeared to be a good fit. There is truth in this statement but only a partial truth. The veracity of the statement hinges upon the definition of “successful.” Knowledge is important and one element of success, but it is the application and use of knowledge, the wisdom, that is paramount.


The Apostle Paul was one of the best educated men of his day. He listed his credentials in several books of the New Testament. He was a student of Gamaliel, one of the leading rabbis of the day. He spoke several languages including Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. He was familiar with the poetic writings and customs of numerous peoples he visited. In Disraeli’s estimation, he may have been considered a most successful man. Clearly others respected his great learning. As Paul made his defense of the Gospel before King Agrippa, the procurator of Judea, Festus, exclaimed the following:


And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words.”

Acts 26:24-25 (ESV)


No, the Apostle Paul was not insane; he was the most sane and sober person on the planet. All of his knowledge and learning, was now focused upon spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone who would listen. God led Paul to speak to kings, emperors, rabbis, soldiers, and slaves. All levels of society heard him speak. His great knowledge enabled him to travel and mingle throughout the known world, to preach the Gospel.


I have been blessed with a college education and a medical degree. I have learned a great deal of information and continue to accumulate knowledge. I may be on a path of success by Benjamin Disraeli’s standards, but my true measure of success will only be if I use this knowledge, like the Apostle Paul, to further the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


I pray that God will give me wisdom to use my knowledge to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to whomever I meet.




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

“If You Lie, I Can’t Help You!” (Numbers 23:19)

A friend of our family and I were driving home and reminiscing over the passage of time and how our children had grown. His son was taking over the family business and his father beamed with pride as he described how he was making good decisions always putting the customer first. “I’m here to help him, “ he began. “But I always tell him, if you lie, I can’t help you.”


I nodded in agreement.


“Any kind of problem, come to me, I tell him. I know lots of people, I’ve seen it all. I will always support you. But if you lie, there is nothing I can do. So always tell me the truth, no matter how bad it seems.”


It’s true. I would do anything to support my children but there must be trust. A lie would hinder any of my efforts because I would not have the complete truth. It damages both of our reputations. So why lie?


We are fallen sinners. We want to do our best and be honest with those whom we love, but sometimes fear grips us. We are afraid of the consequences if the truth were known. We are afraid that irreparable damage may be inflicted upon our relationship if the other party knew what was done. But what can we do? To whom can we turn and trust?


God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.

Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
Numbers 23:19 (ESV)


Thanks be to God, that He will never lie to us. It is impossible because God is Holy; He cannot do anything that is against His divine nature. He will always be willing to help us but we must come to Him with honest and humble intentions. Although we can hide the truth from Him, He will know when we are lying. Like my friend and his son, we allow God to work His best intentions in us and through our lives when we are completely honest with Him.


Don’t lie to God, He already knows what you have done. Allow God to work His grace and mercy in your life by honestly confessing your sins, repenting, and accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.


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

Pounding The Toy (Galatians 1:10)

When my daughter was about 1 year old, she loved to play with a toy that required her to use a plastic hammer to pound different objects through the properly fitted slots. When she began, she didn’t use enough force with her hammer and the objects would simply rest on the top of the slots. I attempted to demonstrate to her how she needed to use more force. Understanding, she took the hammer and this time, hit the objects with more force. After several attempts, one of the objects was successfully pounded through its slot. Without missing a beat, she immediately turned to me, her face beaming with pride, eager for me to show her my approval. I was elated and gave her a big hug!


I was so touched that my daughter would first seek my approval for something she worked so hard to accomplish. Do I have this same attitude with my Heavenly Father?


For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10 (ESV)


For so much of my life, I sought the approval of others: my parents, my teachers, my friends, my colleagues. Like my daughter, I wanted to turn to them and see their faces shining with approval over what I had accomplished. When I confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, this began to change. My desire was now to please God and not man. But it was not works to earn God’s love and approval. He gives His love to me as a free gift by His grace and mercy. I respond by doing things for Him, not because of obligation, but from an honest thanksgiving in my heart. This is the difference that took so long for me to understand.


The manner in which my daughter looked to me for my approval so many years ago reminds me how I now look to my Heavenly Father for His approval. It is a beautiful reminder of how God cares for all who place their trust in Him.


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

“We Are A Blessed Club!” (1 John 3:1)

It is always a pleasant surprise to discover that I share a birthday with another person.


Several years ago, I was working in San Diego on my birthday. About once an hour, I received phone calls from friends and family wishing me a happy birthday.  My office was adjacent to another physician and because of this close proximity, our phone conversations could easily be overheard. She was also receiving several phone calls and her replies were similar to mine. “Oh thank you! Yes, nothing special….we are celebrating tonight!” or “Yeah, getting up there in years!”


Intrigued, I leaned over to her office, introduced myself and asked, “I couldn’t help hearing, but is it your birthday?” She smiled and said, “Yes…and I think it is yours as well?” It was an instant and welcome connection and we became closer professional colleagues over the next few months.


A similar but deeper connection occurred several years later. One of my dear sisters in Christ and I first began attending Palos Verdes Baptist Church on the same date, Mother’s Day, 2011. We also became members of the church on the same day and it was a short time after that, I discovered we shared the same birthday. For years, we have emailed and texted each other on our shared birthday. But this year, there was an additional surprise. She texted me and asked me if she knew that another close sister in our church also shared our same birthday? I was elated to discover this. She ended the text with, “We are a blessed club!”


Indeed we are.


See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

I John 3:1 (ESV)


Sharing the same birthday allows one to make a deeper, personal connection with the other. Like my professional colleague, it opened the door to a closer relationship. But with my two sisters in the church, we share a much deeper relationship, we do belong to a blessed club. We belong to the family of God, as brothers and sisters who are believers in Jesus Christ.


I am thankful and grateful for God blessing me so exceedingly abundantly by giving me a new life in Jesus Christ!


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