“What Is Missing?” (2 Peter 3:15-17)

Several years ago, I visited a new church. The greeters were amicable and eager to welcome me and as I entered, I was met with the sounds of an excellent worship team, leading the congregation in a contemporary song. I felt very comfortable hearing familiar songs and receiving warm greetings. As I sat in my seat, I perused the program I was handed and was drawn to the statement of beliefs. Carefully reading it, I was struck by the emphasis on being a family-oriented church. In fact, it explicitly stated their church was focused upon thirty-somethings but all ages were welcome. Polite, supportive, friendly-all familiar and comforting words, but somehow, superficial for a statement of beliefs.

As I listened to the reading of the Scripture, I was confused by the unfamiliar sound of the verses for what should have been a very common Bible passage. I realized the Bible translation the church was using was unknown to me. On my smartphone, I had an app that contained dozens of Bible translations but this one was not found. No worries, I thought, I will investigate later but first,​ I needed to​ listen to what the pastor had to say. The sermon lasted 45 minutes and certainly echoed the themes that were expounded in the statement of beliefs. After the service, I reflected upon the message and statement and reflected, “What is missing?”

There was nothing about Jesus Christ nor was there any mention of the Bible or of the pathway to salvation, the need to confess and repent of our sins to Jesus Christ and accept Him as Lord and Savior. I knew that these omissions did not necessarily mean this church did not believe in this but, if this was their statement of faith, their foundational tenets should be clearly stated. I realized that I needed to learn more about this Bible translation and the denomination of Christianity this church followed.

When I returned home, I researched the origins of this Bible translation and the denomination of Christianity expounded by this pastor and church. The translation was relatively recent, and to my surprise and alarm, nearly all done by one person. Investigating more, I learned that the translator adhered to a fringe sect of Christianity. While it appeared to follow much of mainstream Christianity, major doctrinal differences were present, even with a cursory examination. It was a diluted and watered down version of the Gospel. I reluctantly came to the conclusion that this church, although welcoming, was not following the true message of Jesus Christ.

The Bible is the Word of God, inspired and inerrant. Any reputable Bible translation is the result of dozens of translators, from many different Christian denominations, minimizing the possibility of doctrinal or personal biases. The ESV (English Standard Version) is the translation that I prefer, but whenever I read a passage, I compare it to several other translations including the King James Authorized Version, New American Standard, New International Version, and the New Life Translation. I also examine the English words with Greek and Hebrew dictionaries, examining the original meaning. There are still passages that are difficult to understand, eliciting considerable debate about the true meaning, even amongst theologians. Yet, an overriding principle is allowing the Bible to interpret itself. It must be internally consistent. A passage cannot present Jesus as anything less than God. This new translation fails this test. In several passages, new ideas, foreign or even contradictory to Christianity are added. These passages had no origin in the original Greek and Hebrew texts and were added by the translator to support his theological contentions and sect. Subtle? Yes. Heretical? Most certainly.

And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.

2 Peter 3:15-17 (ESV)

Thousands of years ago, the Apostle Peter warned Christian believers about this same danger. Peter even pointed out that his fellow brother in the Lord, the Apostle Paul, wrote things that were sometimes difficult to explain. Instead of consulting with others and praying to the Holy Spirit for guidance and inspiration, false teachers inserted their own interpretations of Paul’s writings, resulting in the dissemination of false teachings.

What is missing?

Christianity will always be centered upon Jesus Christ. Only by confessing and repenting of one’s sins and accepting Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior will one receive salvation. Nothing is missing when Jesus Christ and His true teachings, as revealed through the Bible, are at the center of one’s life.


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

“But Wait, There’s More!” (1 Corinthians 12:31)

“And you can purchase this kitchen device for the low, low price of $24.95!”

“But wait, there’s more!”

There is always more!

We have all heard and/or viewed these infomercials. Annoying or cloying, all are designed to capture our attention. And if the initial catch phrases are not enough, there is always this teaser at the end! Even if I am chagrined to admit it, I do listen because I want to know what’s more!

Regardless of one’s religious background, most are familiar with the Apostle Paul’s great masterpiece on love, recorded in 1 Corinthians 13. Many have this chapter displayed in homes or read selected passages at their weddings, as we did! Some consider it the finest definition of love, a soaring prose from Paul, guided by the Holy Spirit. In fact, some choose only to read this chapter from the entire book of 1 Corinthians, ignoring the other chapters, and indeed, it is easy to overlook the verses preceding this beautiful chapter; but splendor leads to beauty! 

But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

1 Corinthians 12:31 (ESV)

In chapter 12, Paul expounds upon the gifts that the Holy Spirit bestows upon all believers in Jesus Christ. He masterfully illustrates the grace and mercy of God by nurturing the members of the Church, the Body of Jesus Christ, through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These gifts are what make us unique in the eyes of God. How could there be anything greater than this? 

But wait, there’s more!

God is about to show us a still more excellent way! 

He captures our attention with the incomparable gifts of the Holy Spirit, and then closes the deal with something even more astounding, His unending and perfect Love!

Indeed, with God, the best is always yet to come!


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

“Is Anna There?” (Romans 1:20)

“Is Anna there?”

I politely answered the caller, “No, sorry, I believe you have the wrong number.”

Her reply caught me off guard. “Oh okay, well maybe you can help me. She was calling me about our offer to support animal rights. Would you be interested in helping out with this worthy cause?”

I quickly issued a disgruntled, “No. You are speaking to a physician during my work hours. I don’t know how you got my private cell phone number. I don’t appreciate these unwarranted solicitations.”

The telemarketers are getting more clever, disguising their initial cold call as a call back. Of course, they use these tactics since the usual introductory comments do not work and many people simply hang up on them. And it almost worked on me. The incident did make me reflect upon how we pay attention to someone we think we should know or forgotten that we had previously made contact. 

For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Romans 1:20 (ESV)

God has made contact with everyone who has ever existed. This world, the entire universe, speaks of His greatness and majesty. God is expecting a call back and He wants us to make a decision for Him. We need to confess and repent of our sins and turn to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. 

God is calling and wants a call back. Are you there?

Love and trust the Lord; keep our family strong. 

Time To Go Home (Micah 6:8)

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

Mankind, he has told each of you what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8 (CSB)

…O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8 (NLT)

This blog is a testimony to God’s mercy in my life. 

I have written over 1500 blogs over a period of more than 5 years. With today’s blog, every book of the Bible has now been quoted in at least one of my blogs. I was surprised to discover that the Book of Micah was the last book that I never quoted given the familiarity of this Bible verse to many Christian believers. I did not deliberately set out to quote a verse from every book of the Bible. In fact many verses have been used multiple times with different Bible translations. However, last month I reviewed the index of the blogs for the first time and discovered the missing book. As I reflected upon this, I knew it was God’s providence directing events, reserving this Bible verse and final book for this blog.

There has never been a period when God did not provide me the inspiration to write the blogs. God used these blogs to teach me about how the entire Bible continually points to our redemption through faith in Jesus Christ. He has been faithful to me even when I have failed Him so many times. I also received great blessings when I heard from many of you through emails or text messages. If God’s messages and His life lessons for me speak to you, I am gratified.

I recently shared with a dear Christian brother about a famous preacher and Bible teacher who had just completed his life work of a commentary of the entire Bible; God graciously took him home to heaven a short time later. Is this now my time to go home? I don’t know what plans God has for my life, but until that day, my focus will always be upon sharing the clear Word of God that shows us the true pathway to salvation. I wish that all decisions in life were always black and white but more often they are presented in shades of gray. Accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior is a black and white decision, but how we chose to follow Him when confronted with different situations in life, is not. These blogs are intended to illustrate how we may struggle with the seemingly mundane decisions of life. We are not perfect and this realization should lead us to come to Jesus every moment of the day and bring all of our concerns and decisions before Him. The grayness of our life circumstances can only be illuminated by the light of the Word of God, Jesus Christ. 

Is it time to go home? Only God knows. Until that day, I will continue to thank Him for His grace and mercy to allow me to share His Word through the events of my life. May God continue to bless all of you and bring you into a closer relationship with Him through belief and faith in Jesus Christ. 


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

Twenty Years (1 Samuel 7:2-3)

“So what were all of you doing twenty years ago?”

The moderator of the discussion I was participating in offered this question as an ice breaker. I smiled as I reminisced. I had just made partner with my former pathology group, my daughter was born, and my wife and I had purchased our first home together. These are my personal milestones. What about my spiritual milestones? Our family drifted from church to church, torn between our need to attend to our growing family and build our respective careers. We had perfunctory prayers, usually at the dinner table. It took several years before we repented of our ways and recommitted our lives to serving Jesus Christ. God, in His mercy, led us to a new church and our spiritual lives strengthened. How long will God’s mercy extend to others who turn away from Him?

So it was that the ark remained in Kirjath Jearim a long time; it was there twenty years. And all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.

1 Samuel 7:2 (NKJV)

Twenty years seems like a long time to be willfully living apart from God before the Israelites finally realized they needed God’s presence. Yet, the Bible is replete with examples of the Israelites turning their back on God for many more years than this. It is only when circumstances changed for the worse that they were willing to return to God. In this example, the Philistines had waged war against them and the ensuing death and destruction had finally convinced the Israelites that they needed God’s presence. The prophet Samuel instructed them in what they needed to do. They needed to put away the false idols that seduced their sensibilities and caused them to turn away from the true God. 

Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the LORD, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.”

1 Samuel 7:3 (NKJV)

Twenty years.

This is how long it took me to confess and repent of my sins and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Do I need any further evidence of God’s grace and mercy within my life than to recognize the patience that He had with me as He tolerated my years of atheism and then following a cult religion and false idols? In spite of this, after God blessed me with marriage, a family, and a career, I still found false idols that I would substitute for God. On the surface, devoting oneself to one’s family by providing a home and solid financial footing does not seem like idol worship. In fact, isn’t it a noble undertaking to care for one’s family? Isn’t this what God commands? Unquestionably, but if any of these activities substitute for the worship of God and a true committed relationship with Him, then it becomes an idol and a sin. It took me a long time to understand this and realize that I had substituted idols for a relationship with God, cloaked under the noble values of family and career. 

What were you doing twenty years ago?

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

“We Are Doing What We Are Trained To Do!” (1 Corinthians 3:9-11)

The text message flashed on my phone. “I need to talk to you about a patient, please call me.”

It was Jake, a dermatology colleague and my former resident, now a successful dermatologist in private practice. I immediately called him and he updated me about a patient of his who was diagnosed from another hospital with the diagnosis of TEN (toxic epidermal necrolysis). We were both surprised since TEN is a life-threatening disease, usually requiring treatment in the intensive care unit. After speaking to the patient, he learned that he was complaining of burning while urinating. While this usually means something minor, like a urinary tract infection, it could also mean that his TEN was flaring and he may be getting worse. We quickly worked together to have the patient admitted to the hospital where I am one of the directors of the dermatology residency program, contacting my chief resident to oversee the admission. 

The next morning, I texted my colleague for an update. He was gratified that we were able to get him admitted. His condition deteriorated within an hour after arriving at the hospital and he was immediately transferred to a tertiary university hospital that specializes in burn patients, the treatment of choice for TEN. Had we delayed even for a few minutes, the outcome would undoubtedly have been fatal. I thanked my resident for being astute to recognize the potentially dire situation and he immediately returned my text, thanking me for training him and assisting in the admission.

“We are doing what we are trained to do!”

Dermatology is one medical speciality that does not usually deal with acutely ill patients, requiring immediate hospitalization. Thanks to my colleague’s clinical acumen, he recognized the signs and symptoms that foreshadowed a potentially ominous outcome. There are several medical specialties that do not have direct patient care or minimal interaction with patients. Pathology is one of them. This interaction with this seriously ill patient reminded both of us that regardless of our chosen specialties and the nature of our interactions with patients, we are physicians first and the needs of our patients are paramount. 

If I had stated on my medical school application that I wanted to be a physician and become a pathologist, it may have raised some eyebrows. After all, isn’t the reason why most aspire to a career in medicine is because they wish to care for patients? In truth, I wanted to be a pediatric oncologist but felt drawn to the specialty of pathology and later to the subspecialty of dermatopathology. I never viewed it as departing from patient care. It did not matter whether I received any recognition, my ultimate goal was to care for the patient. In my profession, I have been honored to work with many like-minded professionals in the laboratory. They are the clinical laboratory scientists, Ph.D. scientists, cytotechnologists, and laboratory assistants. They will seldom receive the accolades that other healthcare professionals, like nurses and physician assistants, may receive but they all know they are performing a vital role for patient care. 

Caring for patients is a broad category with many moving parts. Simply because a physician does not see a patient in person or does not usually deal with life threatening diseases does not mean they are a lesser part of the healthcare team. Think of a stage production. While the actors get the bulk of the public accolades, their success is dependent upon the professionals working behind the scenes-the director, screenwriter, lighting, sound, and makeup, just to name a few. 

Our spiritual lives are no different. Accolades may sometimes be directed toward a pastor or the staff of a local church. Certainly godly preachers and teachers deserve our praise and support but ultimately, there are many more workers within the Church who labor without recognition or accolades. They are seeking to build one another’s faith by laying a firm foundation on Jesus Christ. 

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s  field, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 

1 Corinthians 3:9-11 (NASB)

If you are a Christian and have surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, you should do what you are trained to do, preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to all who will listen. It does not matter whether you are recognized or ignored by others for your efforts, only God’s approval matters. The Apostle Paul rightly directed our attention away from the identity of the worker and to praise the identity of our efforts, Jesus Christ. 

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

“Trust Takes Years To Build…” (Luke 22:61-62)

Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.
Dhar Mann

Several years after my parents were divorced, my father met a woman who became his companion. Although they never married, they lived together for over thirty years. I accepted her as part of our family, frequently asking her to fly to Southern California, leaving my father alone in Hawaii, so that she could spend time with my children. While my mother was still alive, we allowed our children to address her as Grandma, a gesture that endeared her to our family. 

However, after my mother passed away, the nature of their relationship changed, becoming estranged. Two years later, this woman kicked my father out of their home. With nowhere to go, he begged my sister, who still lived in Hawaii, to allow him to live with her and her family. Less than a month later, my father died of a massive heart attack. The reason was obvious. My father died of a broken heart. In seconds, this woman destroyed the trust that took years to build. She turned her back on our entire family, never willing to explain herself or apologize.

Contrast my story of broken trust with Peter’s breach of trust with His Lord Jesus Christ. Peter lived three years with Jesus. He witnessed countless miracles and Jesus even healed his mother in law from her illness. Before Jesus was crucified, Peter boldly and confidently declared his loyalty to Jesus stating he would never betray him. Jesus solemnly declared to Peter that before the rooster crowed that morning, he would betray Him three times. A few hours later, Jesus was arrested. When questioned by the crowd, Peter denied he knew Jesus three times. At the time of the last denial, a rooster crowed. Dr. Luke records the disturbing silent exchange between Peter and Jesus. 

The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

Luke 22:61-62 NASB)

In a few seconds, Peter broke the trust that took years to build with Jesus Christ. Peter never forgot how he betrayed His Lord’s trust but just as importantly, he never forgot how Jesus later forgave him and restored their relationship. Peter would become one of the leaders of the nascent Christian Church, spending the rest of his life preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ, and eventually executed for his faith. He was also sentenced to death by crucifixion but Peter insisted that he be crucified in an upside down position, stating he was not worthy to die in the same manner as His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair. Jesus Christ shows us the true way to repair that trust. Although He was betrayed, He took the initiative to restore the broken relationship that sin had ruptured. 

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

“I’ll Try Harder.” (Matthew 14:28-31)

Over the past twenty five years, it has been my privilege to teach and mentor many medical students and residents. All of them are intelligent but what separates the ones who will succeed from the ones who won’t is their willingness to learn from their mistakes. 

One of my medical students did not have as prodigious a knowledge base as his peers. When I asked him a question about a particular disease, he fumbled with his answer finally admitting that he didn’t know. Understandably embarrassed, the next day, he returned and presented me with a summary of the disease replete with the latest medical literature references. I was duly impressed! He ended his presentation with the prescient words, “I’ll try harder.” Indeed he did. He eventually was accepted into a prestigious residency program and is now a successful physician. 

Very few of us are able to get everything right the first time we attempt it. For most of us, myself included, it requires many attempts and painful failures before we succeed. The Bible gives us a memorable example of a great Saint who failed many times before he succeeded. 

The Apostle Peter was one of the leaders of the early Christian Church. He was also part of the inner circle of disciples whom Jesus picked. Yet, in spite of these lofty credentials, Peter had many faltering starts. It was his willingness to start over again after so many failures, including denying that he knew Jesus, before he was able to succeed. 

Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:28-31 (NASB)

Like Peter, we all begin with good intentions but the results may not always be successful. We begin sinking even after a successful beginning. Did Peter give up at this point? No. Did he continue to make mistakes? Absolutely. It culminated on the morning that Jesus was crucified when he denied to dozens of witnesses that he even knew Jesus. If I was Peter and had just betrayed a man I had declared the Son of God, it would have been a fatal blow to my future efforts, but not Peter. After Jesus restored their relationship, he became one of the pillars of the Christian Church. 

In our spiritual lives, like Peter and my medical student, we can try harder, but we are not alone in our efforts. If we confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, He will send God, the Holy Spirit, to indwell within us. He will empower our efforts and allow us to transform and conform ourselves into the image of Jesus Christ. 

We don’t have to try harder. We need to surrender our lives to Jesus Christ. 

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

“Do You Forgive Him?” (Luke 15:31-32)

“So, do you forgive him?”

I stared at my colleague, Jake, for several moments, not saying a word, but carefully choosing my answer. 

“It was many years ago. I don’t have the anger I once had.” I nodded. “Yes, I forgive him.”

Jake looked deeply into my eyes. ‘I don’t think you have.”

I wanted to dispute him but I knew he was correct. I was betrayed by a former colleague who was no longer with my former group; I thought I was completely over it. Jake’s question made me realize that not having anger toward someone who has hurt me is only the first step in the healing. If I were willing to truly forgive someone who has hurt me, what more would I have to do?

And he said to him, “Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.”

Luke 15:31-32 (NASB)

There are many lessons to learn from the well-known parable of the Prodigal Son. His father had to part with much of his wealth to comply with his son’s wishes to receive his inheritance. This profligate son leveraged his first-born status with his father to indulge his carnal desires, eventually spending all of the money and reduced to living as a servant for a stranger when a famine struck. If I was in the position of the father, would I forgive my son if he came groveling back to me? I think my answer may have been a bitter, “Have you learned your lesson?” Instead the father immediately forgave all of the sins the oldest son perpetrated against him. It is a picture of how God is willing to forgive anyone who truly confesses and repents of their sins. It is a beautiful example of restoration. This is what God did by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. He wanted to restore the relationship between God and man that was ruptured by sin. 

I am not truly willing to forgive someone until I am willing to restore a relationship. 

Thanks be to God for His eternal example of grace and mercy to restore all relationships with Him through faith and belief in Jesus Christ. 

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

Persistence (Acts 15:36-40)

The melodic riffs from the alto saxophone filled the jazz club in Kansas City. The young man on stage was only sixteen years old and was attempting to improvise a jazz solo through the complicated chord changes of Gershwin’s tune, “I Got Rhythm.” Unfortunately, he lost his way through the music and was abruptly stopped when a cymbal was thrown at his feet by an exasperated drummer. Humiliated, he vowed he would return and show the world a new approach to jazz music that he was creating.

The young man was Charlie Parker. He fanatically practiced, never allowing his inauspicious debut to discourage him. He moved to New York City and played with a handful of other like-minded musicians including Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonius Monk.  Parker, now known as Bird, created the music we now call bebop or bop. In less than ten years, before his untimely passing at the age thirty four, he catapulted jazz and popular music to a new level of rhythmic and harmonic complexity. So pervasive and revolutionary was this music that jazz pianist Lenny Tristano later stated twenty years after his passing, “If Charlie Parker wanted to invoke plagiarism laws; he could sue almost everybody who’s made a record in the last ten years.”


Many people would not be able to recover from such a humiliating debut. Parker’s persistence resulted in a new genre of music. This story is now a part of jazz lore. The Bible gives us many examples of persistence in faith, after initial failures. The world has never seen a missionary like the Apostle Paul. A brilliant mind who was trained by the leading Rabbi at that time, his zeal to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ was relentless. His expectations of his companions were equally demanding.

After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also. But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord.

Acts 15:36-40 (NASB)

Paul was upset because John Mark left him on his first missionary journey. The Bible does not reveal what John Mark did after leaving Paul but he did not give up on his faith in God. We know this because many years later, near the end of his life, the Apostle Paul, apparently forgave John Mark and even asked for him to visit him in prison. 

Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.

2 Timothy 4:11 (NASB)

John Mark initially failed the Apostle Paul and it led to a huge disagreement between Paul and his fellow missionary, Barnabas. Undoubtedly, John Mark learned about Paul’s disappointment. He could have given up but he persisted in his faith. Years later, John Mark had redeemed himself in Paul’s eyes so that Paul asked his protege, Timothy, to bring him to his prison cell because he was useful to him for service. 

We all experience disappointments in life, but what leaves it a disappointment is how we respond to the event. If we withdraw from life and do not reflect upon how we can improve, it will remain a roadblock. If we attempt to learn from the event and persist in improving ourselves, it will be a positive inflection point. Charlie Parker became the greatest jazz artist of his generation. John Mark later wrote the Gospel attributed to him. 


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