“He Set Aside Every Dish!” (Matthew 24:44)

For several years, my wife and I have enjoyed the fellowship of two other couples dining at restaurants throughout Southern California. Ethiopian vegetarian restaurants, Italian pasta, sushi bars-for burgeoning foodies like my wife and myself, we were ecstatic to do this with some of our closest friends! As a bonus, occasionally, we were even able to meet the chef and treated to a group photo. Every dinner was special but this latest dinner was different.


As we were finishing our latest gastronomic excursion, one of my friend’s wives waved at a woman passing by our table. They were soon engaged in a lively conversation and the rest of us discovered that it was the co-owner of the restaurant and the wife of the chef. Ebullient and bubbly, she was eager to find out what we thought of our dishes. We were delighted to share our unanimously favorable opinions and she returned our compliments with a history of the restaurant and how she and her husband met. This conversation soon evolved into an intimate sharing as she sat down with us and asked the server to bring some complimentary drinks. One of my friends who selected this restaurant knew that it was highly favored by a very famous food critic, who recently passed away. During a pause in our laughter, he turned to her and gently asked, “How did the two of you feel about his recent passing?”


Her jovial mood melted into a pensive expression and a somber voice now replaced her gaiety. “We owe everything to him!” Tears welled up in her eyes as she continued. “His reviews put us on the map. We loved him!” She kept looking back toward the kitchen where her husband was cooking, her eyes lovingly embracing him. “Every night, he would set aside one serving of every dish for him, just in case he showed up.”


We were in awe of this revelation. She nodded and looked at each of us as she seemingly paused to allow us to absorb the gravity of her statement. “We attended his funeral. It was so beautiful. Even after he passed away, my husband still sets aside every dish.” She wistfully sighed, “And he will always do this in honor of what he did for us!”


It was a poignant and beautiful remembrance of this food critic as the chef continued to show his gratitude to him, living in a continual state of preparedness for the unexpected return of someone he loved and respected. This is the same message that Jesus told all believers.


Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Matthew 24:44 (ESV)


Like awaiting the return of the famous food critic, all believers in Jesus Christ should live their lives in eager anticipation and expectation of His return to earth. We do this out of gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice He made for us, living and dying on the Cross and resurrected to the glory of God. We are to focus our time and energy to advancing the Kingdom of God on this earth by living our lives in continual readiness for the return of our Lord and Savior, by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ!


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


Covering All My Angles (Ruth 3:12)

When I first starting dating my wife, she was an avid West Coast Swing dancer. She had been taking lessons for over a year and graciously invited me to join her classes. I quickly discovered that the only thing I had in common with West Coast Swing was the fact that I also lived on the West Coast. As I observed her gliding through the intricate steps with a natural grace and ease, I realized that if I were to win this woman over, I needed to step up my skill level, in a big manner!


Fortunately, one of my partners at that time was also an avid West Coast Swing dancer and his wife was a former national champion! With his blessing, I hired her as my private instructor, but I did not stop there. I rented dozens of instructional videos as well as highlights of the last three years of the national West Coast Swing championships. I also purchased every book written by the top West Coast Swing dancers in the world, digesting every subtle clue that could make me a better dancer.


I had to make sure I was covering all my angles!


And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I.

Ruth 3:12 (ESV)


There are few love stories as tender and beautiful as the romance between Boaz and Ruth. In this event just preceding this passage, Ruth asks Boaz to redeem her and claim her as his wife, as allowed under the Hebrew Mosaic law. Boaz is in love with Ruth but he also knew that there was a relative who was closer to Ruth than he was and this relative would have to first relinquish his claim to redeem her as his wife. How did Boaz know this? From the moment he first set eyes upon Ruth, he was smitten. He heard of Ruth’s excellent reputation and although he would have been delighted to be her kinsman-redeemer, he knew there was another relative who was closer and had the true legitimate claim. He knew this because he had done his homework; he was covering all his angles! He was ready to seize the opportunity if Ruth made the legal claim for Boaz to be her kinsman-redeemer. When this relative relinquished his right to be Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer, Boaz was free to step in and marry her.


God’s love is just like this! When life challenges us beyond what we think we are capable of handling on our own, He steps in and offers an opportunity to take His Hand in fellowship by confessing and repenting of our sins and accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

He answers all of our questions. He resolves all of our doubts, He comforts us when no one else can. He does everything possible to secure our love and trust.


He covers all our angles!




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




“It Takes A Year!” (Romans 5:8)

A colleague of mine was recently reflecting upon the many business relationships he has encountered over the last twenty years of his career. He had a simple rule to determine whether someone could be trusted. “My mother is the smartest person I know. She gave me some of the best advice on this topic. She said it takes at least a year to truly to get to know someone, to know if you can trust them.”


I nodded and reflected upon my own business relationships. The longer I have done this, the more these words have resonated as truth. Frankly, one year is the minimum amount of time one needs to interact with someone before a trusting relationship can be established. This also overlooks the fact that one year is the time that has elapsed, but actual communication may be as little as one month or less during this same time period.


How long does it take someone to trust another? It is an unanswerable question and one that differs for everyone and every relationship. Thus, it should make me even more grateful to God who trusted me to give my life to Him when I was lost in my sins.


…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8 (ESV)


God does not place a time limit on developing a trusting relationship with Him. If we sincerely confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will be saved and have eternal life. This may have happened when one was a child or even in the last moments of one’s life. God’s grace and mercy to us are not bound by time, only limited by our finite life. Once we die, we will never have a chance to accept His offer of salvation and we will never be able to enter into a trusting relationship with Him. God is merciful but He will not force us to accept His glorious offer of salvation and eternal life.


It usually takes a year or longer for me to feel comfortable with another to begin to trust them. Thanks be to God that He is not bound by time. He knows our true intentions and will always accept us a fellow child of God if we are sincerely seeking a relationship with Him.


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


Doing Something! (Luke 10:38-42)

Our dog, Honey, was frantically pacing our home office and barking. My daughter just arrived home and although Honey desperately wanted to greet her, I was standing at the entrance of the office. She is our family dog but is still terrified of me and will usually bark to alert the rest of the family of my evil and foreboding presence. Thus, all she could was pace and bark. As I watched her frenetic activity, I was bemused. She was so conflicted. She wanted to see my daughter but she was afraid of me and didn’t want to cross my path. She had so much pent-up energy and didn’t know what to do with it, so she channeled it by barking and pacing. At least she was doing something, if not accomplishing anything!


Silly dog, I thought, then, it struck me. I was staring in a mirror. How often do I feel compelled to do some activity out of frustration because I think I need to do something to control a situation? I embark on energetic but useless behaviors meant to appease my ego but ultimately never addressing the real problem. Like my dog, I am doing something but not accomplishing anything!


Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42 (ESV)


I empathize with Martha. She wanted to serve Jesus and occupied her time with activities she felt she must do to please Jesus. Jesus gently reminded her that while these activities have their place and are important, she must reset her priorities and first focus her energy upon quietly listening to Jesus’ teaching and learning at His feet. I, too, need to be still and know that God is Sovereign and in control (Psalms 46:10).


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


Whistle Blower (Proverbs 1:19)

Dr. Soe Maunglay is an oncologist who is largely unknown to most of the American medical community, however to hundreds of patients, he is literally their life saver. In 2013, he was working at the Crittenton Cancer Center in Detroit, Michigan. The owner was the oncologist, Dr. Farid Fata. After about a year, Dr. Maunglay noted some inconsistencies with the treatments that some of his patients were also receiving from Dr. Fata. Upon further investigations, he discovered to his horror that one patient was receiving a very toxic and costly chemotherapy regimen for a diagnosis of cancer, a diagnosis she did not have. Over the next months, Dr. Maunglay reviewed hundreds of charts of patients, revealing excessive prescription of other chemotherapeutic agents for patients who did not require these treatments. After sharing his findings with several of the nurses and the practice manager, he notified the FBI who raided the clinic and arrested Dr. Fata. During his trial, Dr. Fata pleaded guilty to multiple counts of Medicare and insurance fraud and admitted that he prescribed treatments that were medically unnecessary.

Source: The Detroit News


Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.

Proverbs 1:19 (ESV)


This physician who was exposed by this whistleblower abandoned his solemn oath to first do no harm to the patient. For the sordid gain of money and fame, harm and even death came to many of his patients. Nearly every industry has a story of a whistleblower who exposes nefarious and clandestine activities within a company. No doubt, these sordid stories will continue because the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10 ESV).


Man’s inhumanity to man will continue as long as we seek our own desires and refuse to recognize there is an Absolute Good, a true moral compass by which we can measure and judge our motives and actions. When we hear stories of such evil, we are repulsed, but why? If all behavior and actions are relative and there is no absolute standard, there should be no outrage. Yet, very few would not be moved to disgust and anger by this story, regardless of their upbringing and background. God created all of us and gave us a soul, a conscience by which He placed the moral compass of right and wrong within us.


God exposes our actions so that we can admit our guilt and humble ourselves, realizing we cannot become a better person by our own efforts. In Jesus Christ, God has shown us the Perfect Man and the means to live a perfect life. By confessing and repenting of our sins and accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, God sends His Holy Spirit to indwell within us. He transforms our souls to be like Jesus, seeing the world and relationships the way that God intended.




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


“He Was Testing You!” (Genesis 42:15-17)

“Heard you had a nice dinner with Jake!”


My colleague and I were exchanging the usual morning pleasantries and banter. He knew the previous evening, I had dinner with his attorney and personal friend because I was seeking some legal advice. I presumed that he and Jake had spoken after our dinner.


“Yes, I did!” It was a lovely evening and I was so impressed with his professional and personal demeanor that I intended to hire him as my attorney. “We had dinner at that bistro in the mall.”


“Ah yes…I know the place, very nice.”


‘Yeah, “ I continued. “We have known of each other for many years by our mutual connections, but it was nice to finally meet face to face. We have so much in common, like the same wines and foods, traveled to many of the same cities. We even shared a dessert!”


My colleague’s eyebrows elevated, clearly intrigued by my comment. “What do you mean?”


I chuckled. “When the server asked us what we would like for dessert, I ordered the tiramisu. When he heard my order, Jake handed the menu back to the server and said, ‘That sounds good! Bring two spoons.’ So we both shared the dessert!”


A sly grin appeared on my colleague’s face. “He was testing you!”


“What do you mean?”


“He was testing you.” He repeated. “He wanted to make sure you could be trusted. He did the same thing with me.”


I was thoroughly confused. “Why would he test me?”


“He wanted to know if you are a homophobe!”


I paused and searched my colleague’s face to see if he was pulling a fast one but he continued to smile, nodding his head approvingly. I knew from several statements that Jake made to me that he was gay and happily married to his partner for many years. His sexual orientation did not matter to me, I was only seeking a competent and trustworthy attorney. I snickered at his comment. “Well, I guess I passed the test!”


It was a seemingly innocent situation but bursting with staggering implications. In retrospect, I could have been offended, but I was not, because the irony is I do the same thing with many colleagues with whom I am about to do business. I sometimes ask leading questions, attempting to discern their positions on sensitive topics. I may discuss controversial topics, eager to learn of their viewpoints on certain issues.


By this you shall be tested: by the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go from this place unless your youngest brother comes here. Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, while you remain confined, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you. Or else, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies.” And he put them all together in custody for three days.

Genesis 42:15-17 (ESV)


Joseph was betrayed by his eleven other brothers who sold him to slave traders. Years later, the brothers met Joseph who, unknownst to them, was now second in command to the Pharaoh of Egypt. Joseph loved his brothers, in spite of what they did to him, but he wanted to test their character to determine whether they had truly changed or were they the same jealous and petty siblings who were willing to abandon him. In the end, his testings revealed that they were genuinely remorseful over what they did to him and he revealed his true identity to them and forgave them. In one of the most beautiful statements of acknowledging God’s providence in his life, Joseph told them,  As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20 (ESV)


In life and business, God expects us to be wise in our dealings and negotiations. This may require us to test the credibility and sincerity of others but never with the intention to cheat or swindle the other party, only to trust and verify their actions. If we seek God’s will first in every situation, He will deliver us from evil and open our eyes to see the Truth.


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


“The Only Thing Money Can’t Buy” (Luke 12:19-21)

It was an amusing, if not surreal exchange between two super-rich celebrities, having a very public argument about a financial transaction gone sour. Ordinarily, there would be nothing newsworthy about this story except the transaction involved a collectible sports car, that sold for over $1.5 million dollars. The buyer claimed the car was a fake and could prove it. It was an argument that most of us will never have and one casual observer of the deal wryly noted, “Money can’t buy poverty.”


This famous quip by actor and comedian Marty Feldman underscores the irony of the rich and powerful thinking they can use their wealth to control every situation, skewing their priorities. The uber-rich defend their lifestyles claiming they worked hard to achieve their wealth and status in life and are free to do what they want with their money. They proudly declare that “Money can’t buy everything!” but their lifestyles belie this false humility.


And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Luke 12:19-21 (ESV)


The rich man was confident in his riches and spent his time thinking of ways to secure his great wealth. The Christian believer knows that all money and possessions are from God and belong to Him. Thus, instead of hoarding our money, we are expected to be wise stewards and advance His Kingdom on this earth. God knows that where our treasure is, there will our heart also be (Matthew 6:21). When I look at my checkbook and credit card statements, is my treasure found in supporting efforts to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ or am I a poster child for surreal examples of frivolous living like arguing over outrageously priced sports cars?


I know I do not critically examine my lifestyle or analyze how I utilize the financial resources God has given me with as much urgency as other spiritual areas in my life. In Heaven, I will need to answer God when He painfully shows me how I have failed to properly manage my finances during my lifetime. The Bible provides guidance with other 500 verses concerning the handling of money. Nearly half of the parables that Jesus taught focused on the use of money and possessions. In spite of these many admonitions and teachings, I have fallen many times in this sensitive area and I pray that I will be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guiding and be rich toward God and not to myself.


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


“Oh Yes!” (Ruth 2:12)

After one month of dating, I knew my wife was someone very special. “Oh yes!” I thought to myself. “Someday, I will marry this woman!” Of course, that was presumptuous and the intensity of affection I was feeling toward her was definitely one-sided. She needed more time to trust and respect me. Thus, I was committed to doing everything possible to woo her during this courtship. Thoughtful notes were cleverly left in places where she would undoubtedly find them. I would surprise her with a home-cooked meal. Flowers were delivered to her office. I desired to show her that I was attentive, completely smitten and in love with her, even if she was not yet decided. Six months later, I proposed, and thankfully, she agreed.


The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!

Ruth 2:12 (ESV)


Boaz heard of Ruth’s reputation even before he met her. She was a Moabite, a foreigner to the Israelites and a group of people the Israelites shunned, yet Boaz knew of her godly reputation as a woman who gave up her own people and her gods, remaining devoted to her mother in law, Naomi, and returning to Israel with her, forsaking the possibility of marrying another in her own homeland. Boaz was smitten with her from the moment he met her but allowed the relationship to develop, demonstrating his love and devotion to her, in spite of all the cultural and religious hurdles with which he was confronted.


Isn’t this what God does? He is in love with us, despite the fact that we sin against Him and disobey Him. God did not have to redeem us but God loves us so much that He will do everything to bring us back into the loving relationship that He created us to enjoy in Him. What did He do? God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to live on this earth as a Man and whoever believes in Him shall have salvation and eternal life.


Many years ago, I did everything possible to win my wife’s love. God does everything possible to win our love. This is the Good News-the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Oh Yes! That is some kind of love!


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


Take A Photo (John 14:26)

On my dresser is a photograph of myself, my parents and my younger sister-my birth family. Scarcely a day passes when I do not look at this photograph and am thankful to my sister for suggesting that we take this formal portrait. Within four years, both my mother and father passed away. I have many photos with many combinations of different family members but this is the only photograph of our entire family, together as adults.


I encourage all of my friends to take many photographs of their complete family, adding a formal family portrait if they are able. Even if the entire family lives in close proximity, it is an activity that we all sometimes take for granted and forget to do, until it is too late.


Obviously, there were no photographs during the time the Bible was written and although thousands of paintings, drawings, and works of art have depicted various people and scenes in the Bible, no one truly knows what each person looked like or how the events actually transpired. Yet the memories of the events are vividly preserved through the beautiful stories of the Bible. The details are accurate and sufficient for us to understand because God intervened.


But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
John 14:26 (ESV)

I have the blessing of a photograph of my birth family to remember all of them. God gives us His Bible and His Holy Spirit to all believers who confess and repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Through this supernatural intervention, He brings to life all of the details and great Saints of the Bible, weaving through it the beautiful story of redemption through faith in Jesus Christ. Someday in Heaven, I will meet these great Saints of the Bible. Until then, God’s Holy Spirit will enable to meet them through the illumination and revelation of the Holy Spirit.


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



No Consent Given (1 John 4:13-16)

There is a remarkable story that is going viral on social media of a young man who is suing his parents for giving birth to him without his consent. You can’t make something like this up! Aside from the inherent contradictions and absurdity of this lawsuit, I was shocked to discover that he represents a movement of people following a way of life known as antinatalism. As the name suggests, it is a philosophical viewpoint that assigns a negative value to birth. This man and his peers believe that procreation is morally bad since humanity brings only suffering.
Source: Foxnews.com


Taking this to its logical conclusion, if everyone follows the philosophy of antinatalism, the entire population of the world will cease to exist with this generation. With no one alive, that would certainly end any moral discussion!


There is a great deal of suffering in this world. Some blame the failure of mankind and grandiose social programs while others point the finger at God, declaring that a just and good God would never allow evil and suffering to occur in this world. The truth is this is not the world that God intended for us to live in. The Garden of Eden was truly Heaven on earth, a paradise that was given to Adam and Eve, the first humans, for their home and upkeep. But even paradise was not good enough. By disobeying God and eating the forbidden fruit, mankind deliberately turned away from God’s blessings and chose the path of sin and its hideous offsprings-evil and suffering.


By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

1 John 4:13-16 (ESV)


God does not give His consent for our actions and we do not ask for His consent to allow us to live our lives the way we think we should. The truth is we are in rebellion against God from the moment we were conceived. God does not force Himself upon us but He does provide the solution. He gives us our entire lifetime to confess and repent of our sins and accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Savior.


Thanks be to God for His grace and mercy to all who call upon His Name.


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