Frozen Waterfall (Psalms 90:2)

During exceptionally cold winter seasons, the majestic Niagra falls freezes. In varying stages of solidarity, the sheer spectacle of a frozen wall of water towering nearly two hundred feet would give anyone pause. Although I have not witnessed this amazing event, years ago, in Denver, Colorado, I experienced a similar, if not miniaturized phenomenon. I lived on the top floor of a four-story apartment building. It was the winter of 1988-1989, one of the coldest on record for the United States. Temperatures dropped to -40F in some parts of Colorado and in Denver, that evening, the temperature hovered around -20F. On this coldest day of the year, I was awakened by a banging on my door at 3:30 AM. I staggered out of my bed and into the family room and was startled find it under a foot of water. The wall nearest the front door had a jagged hole with ice cold water pouring out. Confused, I opened the door to find a shivering man in pajamas and a ski-jacket.


“Your pipes burst!” stating the obvious.


“How did you know?”


“I live below you, the water is coming through my ceiling!”


The next morning, I beheld a surreal sight. There was a solid wall of ice that began on the fourth floor from my apartment and others and cascaded down to the ground floor. Niagra in Denver! In spite of the discomfort, we were all experiencing, I could not help but marvel at this. It was if time stood still and I was able to take a snapshot of what would ordinarily be a dynamic event, too fleeting for my eyes to capture every nuance.


Time is linear and inexorably proceeds forward. Sometimes I wish I could freeze a moment in time and savor it forever; the moment I first met my wife, the birth of my son and daughter. For other painful moments, I would freeze and discard them. Alas, I have no such promise or reprieve in this life.


Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Psalms 90:2 (ESV)


God created the universe and He is not bound by any of its physical laws nor is He restricted by time and its perceived dimensions. The frozen waterfall reminds me that God can view the entire timeline of my life and of all Creation as if it were a singular event. God is everlasting and while He could certainly dwell on my sins, He chooses to not remember them.


I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

Isaiah 43:25 (ESV)


I sometimes long that the best moments in my life could be frozen in time, never leaving this wonderful moment. These are beautiful and God allowed me to experience them to understand His love but from God’s perspective, the best moment in my life was when I confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior-but it was not a one-time event. Every moment I come to Jesus and confess and truly repent of my sins, He sanctifies me. Like the frozen waterfall, my moment of salvation is continually reaffirmed in His presence, as if time stands still.  How beautiful and wonderful is the grace and mercy of God!


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


The One Percent (Joshua 1:4)

“We are the 99%”


Angry mobs stormed major cities around the United States in 2011, proclaiming this clarion cry of their Occupy Movement. The heart of their message was protesting social and economic equality. They drew a distinction between the wealthy 1% who control 40% of the wealth of this country and the other 99%, whose needs they claimed to represent. Their protests brought worldwide attention to a growing socioeconomic disparity averring that all citizens should be able to equally and completely share in the prosperity of their respective countries. Shouldn’t all citizens share in the blessings their homeland has to offer?


From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory.

Joshua 1:4 (ESV)


It may be startling to realize that God had promised the Israelites an area of over three hundred thousand square miles. Yet, even at the height of the Kindom of Israel, no more than 10% was ever completely under control by Israel. In fact, when one looks at the actual land occupied by the modern nation of Israel, it is closer to 1%. But there is a beautiful ending, still being written for the history of the world. God has promised that Israel will someday occupy all of this promised land. During the Millenial reign of Jesus Christ, Israel will finally receive the full blessings of God’s promises. No longer limited to 1 percent, the entire land will be theirs.


Like the Israelites, I am part of the 1%, failing to claim God’s abundant promises. Will I and other Christian believers live an anemic and weak life claiming less than 1% of God’s blessings like the Israelites? Let’s choose to be obedient to His will and live the victorious life that He has always promised us.




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


Strengthen My Core (Ephesians 6:11-12)

It happened again. On a return trip from the grocery store, I tripped on a slightly dislodged segment of pavement, my right foot twisting as it alighted upon the awkwardly angled piece of cement. As I attempted to acrobatically twist my body to avoid dropping the food I was holding with both hands, searing pain shot through my body as I aggravated an old back injury. A few seconds passed as my vision slowly came back to focus, obscured by the fog of pain. My right ankle was throbbing and I could not stand upright because of my strained sacroiliac joint.


Somehow, I managed to hobble back home to quickly ice my ankle. As I rested on the bed, I was keenly aware that any movement exacerbated the pain in my back, only breathing was acceptable. Dejected, I realized I needed to take precautions to prevent this back injury from re-occurring.


For years, I was aware of my weakened and vulnerable sacroiliac joint. The preventive measures I was instructed to undertake were to strengthen the muscles that supported this critical joint, in other words, strengthen the core muscles. Yet, once I was over the acute phase of the pain, my interest in doing these exercises diminished. Once again, I was paying the price for a stubborn and lazy attitude.


There are so many areas within my spiritual walk with God that need core strengthening. Like my back, these weaknesses become exposed during periods of stress. In the middle of a busy day at work, I receive simultaneous phone calls from two different physicians needing immediate results as well as from my wife, inquiring about an issue with our children. Who do you think gets the least amount of my attention? Of course, it should not be this way and I rationalize my terse reply to my wife stating that I am at work and these issues are more urgent. If I simply took a step back and exercised patience and better judgment, an even tenser situation at home could have been avoided that evening. My pride and ego are my greatest weaknesses. I need to strengthen my patience and sensitivity to others to prevent further episodes of pain.


Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 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 6:11-12 (ESV)


Thanks be to God that He provides me the correct spiritual exercises and disciplines I need to deal with my spiritual weaknesses. God clothes me in the spiritual armor of His Word to direct my mind and actions to take my attention off my needs and focus upon His plan for my life. A spiritual war must be met with spiritual power and weapons. Only God, through faith and belief in His Son Jesus Christ, can provide this.


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


Laconic (John 19:30)

It is a word that is underutilized in today’s vernacular and it is ironic since it encapsulates the method of communication that has supplanted traditional letters and long conversations, in favor of short bursts of text messages and emojis.


Laconic. defines it as using few words; expressing much in few words; concise.

There is nothing wrong with being succinct with our communications. However, if we chose this path, our brief message must be overflowing with impact and relevance.


…he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John 19:30 (ESV)


With these three words, Jesus declared that God’s plan of redemption was complete. His death on the Cross meant that He had supernaturally taken all of the sins that humans had ever committed or will commit, bringing it upon His broken and tortured Body. Three days later, God raised Him from the dead showing all creation that not even death had power over Him. By confessing and repenting of our sins and accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we would gain forgiveness of our sins and eternal life and salvation.


It is finished! The debt to God was paid in full!


Jesus Christ is the Master of laconic statements with eternal impact!


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


“It Was All Around Us!” (Matthew 26:41)

Tod mun pla. Naam Phrik Ong. Laab.


These are just a few of the exotic dishes our family discovered during our recent trip to Thailand, adding to our knowledge of the many common Thai dishes familiar to Western palates, such as Pud thai, Khao soi, and green papaya salad. The dishes we savored are largely unknown outside of Thailand unless you are a compulsive foodie or have very generous Thai friends, willing to cook these delicious meals for you. We were exposed to regional cooking, influenced by Burmese and Cambodian cuisine as well as the native tribal peoples. We were also exposed to the stark possibility that our daughter may be exposed to peanuts. She suffers from a severe peanut allergy and because peanuts are ubiquitous in Thai cooking, we were hypervigilant and prepared for a worst-case scenario. It was all around us!


Epi-pens and antihistamines were always traveling with us. I also created a sign, that is reproduced below, that stated in Thai that no peanuts could be eaten. Each member of our family carried this with them and flashed it to anyone who served us food.

Finally, I obtained a cell phone app that translated the quotation, “I’m allergic to nuts. If I eat these foods or foods that have touched them I will go into shock and could die.” Mated with a similar image above of no peanuts, the phrase could be translated into Thai and 25 other languages. Thankfully, there were no close calls or allergic reactions.


At the end of the trip, we reflected upon the experience. We were thankful to God that He protected our daughter and were struck by the irony of the situation. The only times our daughter was rushed to the emergency room because of an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts have been in our home state of California! Ironically, in a location where the life-threatening peanuts were all around us, our hypervigilance minimized the risk. At home, I let my guard down, potentially exposing my daughter to completely avoidable and risky situations.


Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Matthew 26:41 (ESV)

So often in my spiritual walk with God, do I find myself in a similar predicament. When I encounter an obviously dangerous spiritual situation, my spiritual radar is on high alert and I take numerous precautions. I pray continuously in my mind and send text messages to my closest Christian brothers and wife asking for their prayerful support. I listen intently, always testing and comparing what I am hearing to the Truth of God’s Word. God has never failed to protect me in these situations. It is when I let my guard down and lapse into spiritual complacency that disaster usually befalls me. It may be a casual encounter with friends that leads to unwise gossip or a comment from a colleague sharing a questionable investment strategy. So many opportunities to fail and sin that could have been avoided if I had remained spiritually hypervigilant. Indeed, my flesh will always be weak.


As believers, we need to always remain steadfast and wholly committed to nurturing the precious relationship that God has given us through life and salvation in the Name of His Son, Jesus Christ.


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


“I Don’t Know What It Is…” (John 6:63)

My chief resident and I peered through the double-headed microscope as I sat opposite him. We were looking at the microscope slides of a tumor surgically removed from the thigh of a patient. A few anxious seconds passed as we sat in silence, my chief deftly moving the slide around on the microscope stage. The tumor cells were arranged in a herringbone configuration. The pattern was distinctive, even beguiling. I was eager to learn the diagnosis. “What do you think?”


“I don’t know what it is…” he sheepishly began. “But it sure looks like it has a name!”


His amusing and whimsical comment brought a smile to my face. I was a first-year pathology resident, green and inexperienced. It was overwhelming to memorize and assimilate the thousands of tissue patterns created by hundreds of different types of tumors. My chief resident was a rockstar in the department, publishing over ten papers in just four years. His diagnostic acumen made young assistant professors nervous and jealous and full professors giddy with joyful expectations. To that point in time, I had never heard him acknowledge that he did not know a diagnosis. I respected his candor and we proceeded to share the case with other attending professors in the department, all of whom were equally stymied. Finally, we forwarded the case to an international expert hopeful that his vast experience with these types of tumors would deliver a diagnosis. Within a week, we received our answer. Even he did not know! It seems we had discovered a new and previously undescribed tumor. We excitedly made plans to publish the case. I was enthralled to learn that even for experienced surgical pathologists, there was always something new to discover!


It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

John 6:63 (ESV)


I have read the entire Bible several times since I first became a Christian in 1982. Someone once questioned me whether I understood everything I read. No, I emphatically answered. In fact, I am sure I will never understand everything that is written in God’s Word until I stand in the presence of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in Heaven. However, that does not excuse me from studying the Bible and diving deeply into the Word. I have received wise counsel from numerous Pastors, teachers, and brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, all of whom have given me insight into difficult passages. However, my most important teacher is God Himself, the Holy Spirit.


The Holy Spirit reinterprets and breathes new life into familiar passages as my life progresses. He gives insight into confusing passages, showing me how the events of the world are directly related to the events of the Bible. Like the myriad of diagnostic variations that I view under the microscope, God’s Word is dynamic and there will always be something new to discover and learn.


“I don’t know what it is, but it sure looks like it has a name!”




The Word of God…Jesus Christ!


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


Sully! (John 3:3)

“It was a one-in-a-billion chance, is what a lot of us say, that we’re here today. So we feel like we’re on our second life and we’re 10 years old,”

Barry Leonard, a passenger on Flight 1549 (Source Fox News)

Ten years ago, on January 15th, 2009, Captain Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger performed a near miracle, successfully landing his Airbus A320-214 into the freezing waters of the Hudson River, after his plane’s engines lost power, damaged by an encounter with a flock of geese, minutes after takeoff. Easing the plane onto the surface of the river, the plane successfully landed, rescuing the entire 150 passengers and 5 crew members with no fatalities.  It was dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson” and made Captain Sully an instant hero.


Media outlets celebrated the event by interviewing numerous survivors. The quote above by one passenger echoes the sentiment of many who felt they were granted a second life, an opportunity to live differently, to live better.


Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:3 (ESV)


Jesus Christ understood that to truly follow God is to be born again. We are broken by sin and no psychotherapy, medications, or good works can ever reconcile the relationship that sin ruptured between God and man. We need to be reborn. It is not a physical rebirth but a spiritual one, through the work of God, the Holy Spirit. Only by confessing and repenting of our sins and accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior can such a rebirth occur.


Many of the survivors of flight 1549 felt they received a second life and were born again on that fateful day. I received a new life by being born again in Jesus Christ. I pray that God will continue to draw all to Himself to accept His gift of salvation and eternal life. This is what a true second life means.


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


The Tiger Knows!” (Luke 4:13)

Our family was privileged to visit a tiger petting zoo during our recent vacation to Thailand. Surrounded by dense jungle foliage, this tiger reserve was rescuing and breeding tigers, helping to replenish their dwindling numbers.  Dozens of veterinarians and trained professionals attended to the health needs of these magnificent animals, even bringing us to see a newly born tiger cub. We were excited to visit but understandably fearful of meeting these fearsome predators.


Unfortunately, a day earlier, I had severely sprained my right ankle and threw out my back, attempting to maintain balance. As a result, I hobbled around with a stiff gait, grimacing in pain with every step I took. It was amusing to our tour guide until he spoke to the tiger trainer at the zoo who looked at me with grave concern.


“You will not be able to visit with the largest tigers, only the small younger ones.”


I was disappointed and protested. “Why not?”


“If the tiger sees you like this, it knows you are injured and may attack you. The tiger knows.”




The comforting and welcoming surroundings where the tigers lived belied their true nature. Tigers are not domesticated pets. They are born hunters and will take advantage of any situation that presents them with an easy meal. I had a target on my back.


And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Luke 4:13 (ESV)


The trainer was hesitant to allow me to visit with the largest tiger because it may sense my weakness. Satan knows all of my weaknesses and will always exploit them to gain an advantage on me, seeking to devour my soul. There are no smaller Satans or lesser demons that I may choose to confront, Satan controls all of his evil denizens and like confronting the tiger, I would be a fool to think I can stand up to him with my own strength. Only by placing my trust and faith in the only Man who ever successfully stood up and resisted Satan’s temptations and beguilings, will I be able to succeed. Jesus Christ lived a perfect sinless life on this earth, fulfilling God’s plan for His life that led to His death on the Cross and resurrection three days later. Throughout His life, Satan was there, attempting to place doubt in His mind, feeding Him false information and encouraging His closest followers to deny and betray Him. This verse from the Gospel of Luke reminds us that even after Jesus successfully withstood Satan’s temptations in the wilderness after forty days of fasting, he would return, seeking another opportune time to attack.


Like these mighty tigers of Thailand, Satan prowls like a roaring lion, ready to pounce upon me (1 Peter 5:8). Satan knows my weaknesses far better than these tigers. But my Savior, Jesus Christ, knows me far better than I know myself, and it is only by His strength that I will be able to withstand any temptation to sin.


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


“If Only God Spoke To Me!” (Genesis 3:11-13)

My fellow resident was a classmate of mine from medical school and he approached me, searching for answers. Married for over 10 years, he was thinking about leaving his wife for another co-resident in his training program. I couldn’t be impartial. I knew his wife and I didn’t want this to happen, under any circumstance. Yet, his logic and judgment were twisted by his feelings toward this other woman, he was searching for an easy solution.


“If only God spoke to me! If He did, I know I would listen and obey Him.”


If only that were true! His sincerity was hollow as he devised a variety of ways to keep both relationships. He did not want God to speak to him, He needed to speak to God and confess and repent of his sins. I mustered the courage to tell him this but he dismissed my advice as pious dribble.


He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Genesis 3:11-13 (ESV)


God spoke to directly to Adam and when He did, he threw his wife, Eve, under the proverbial bus. God spoke directly to Eve, and she the blamed the serpent. Yes, if only God would speak directly to us, we surely would obey. I am as guilty of this sin as our original parents. Thousands of years of human development have not improved my behavior or the rest of humankind, and why should it? This behavior is not something from which we can evolve and rid ourselves like a pesky parasitic worm. We are terminally infected with a deadly disease-sin. It clouds our judgment and saps our will. We state that we wish God would speak directly to us but in truth, we are terrified at this possibility. It would mean we would have to make the difficult and painful choice and either succumb to instant gratification, denying God, or seek an eternal satisfaction by obeying Him.


God does speak to all of us. Pundits may call it intuition or conscience, but the Christian knows it is the Holy Spirit, who indwells within each believer. He invites everyone to draw closer to Him, to experience the reality of a true relationship with the living God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. When He speaks to us, it is not a muddled and vague message. God cannot lie and He will never lead us in a direction that causes us to sin.


If only God spoke to me!


Yes, He always does. I just have to be willing to listen and obey.


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



Street Food (John 3:30)

Visit social media travel sites on the internet, and a frequent and favorite topic are foodie bloggers. Of the myriad of categories that fall under this genre, street food is an increasingly popular choice. From Mexico City to Bangkok to Barcelona, nearly every major city of the world boasts of its own culinary delicacies. Easily accessible, inexpensive, and prepared quickly on the spot-all the elements of a memorable and captivating meal are present, served and birthed by its rich cultural surroundings. The popularity of street food has even attracted the attention of the famed Michelin restaurant reviewers. In 2015, Michelin created a new category of street food and just a year later, bestowed a coveted Michelin star rating to two noodle stands in Singapore. Up to this point, Michelin stars were overwhelmingly given to restaurants that followed strict guidelines, examining such items such as the quality of the tablecloths and the decor. Fabled names such as Le Bernardin in France and El Bulli in Spain have climbed to the pinnacle of the ratings-three stars. Now, a new category of restaurants was similarly being honored. No placemats or fancy tablecloths at these establishments. The food is cooked upon open burners, in full view of the hungry customers who queue up for hours, then quickly devour it with chopsticks or their fingers sitting at plastic tables. The culinary world was ecstatic and foodies flocked to these inexpensive and accessible destinations. It was a chance to eat world class food at bargain prices! Everyone was delighted.


Well, not everyone. One street food vendor in Thailand, Supinya Junsuta, who received her first Michelin star for her restaurant, Raan Jay Fai, renowned for its crab omelet and other delicacies, wished she could give the star back. The notoriety and fame the Michelin star rating brought to her small restaurant exploded her business traffic as foodies and curiosity seekers alike sought out her restaurant. Her costs have increased as she had to purchase more ingredients to feed the hungry hordes. In spite of her new fame, she is unwilling to raise her prices, fearing she will lose her loyal customers.  She bemoaned the fact that most new people were only coming for the experience of dining at a Michelin star restaurant and not truly discerning or desirous of appreciating the true quality of her dishes as her loyal regular customers. The award had taken away the focus of her life’s ambition, to create food to be enjoyed by the masses.


When one is truly devoted and dedicated to their life’s mission, no accolades, titles, or honors will ever be satisfying. Their only reward and satisfaction are to serve others, performing their tasks to perfection. John the Baptist understood this like few others. He was the first prophet to appear to the Jewish people after nearly four hundred years of silence. His message of repentance was unique and many thought he was the Messiah or the prophet Elijah reborn. He certainly could have accepted these titles, yet John remained steadfast to the mission to which God called him. To those who would bestow upon him these titles, he dismissed them and told them that he was merely a messenger, sent to prepare the people for the coming Messiah (John 1:23). Any fame or accolades that came to John because of his association with Jesus the Messiah were not important. As he succinctly and humbly stated,


He must increase, but I must decrease.

John 3:30 (ESV)


God has a special calling for all believers, bestowing unique gifts and talents to serve Him to further His Kingdom on this earth. These gifts are never meant to bring accolades and honor to ourselves. When we serve God by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, He, and no other must always increase.


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