Warning (Matthew 16:26)

The video screen flashed a message.

Warning. The following program may contain smoking, profanity, and nudity. Viewer discretion is advised. 


I usually ignore such warnings but after watching the movie, I reflected upon the veracity of the statement. The warning was true but what it failed to mention was the slanderous misrepresentation of the Christian religion. Censors and critics are far more concerned that showing people smoking is a far worse evil than propagating a false or distorted view of Christianity. In this day of relativism, it is understandable but is it justified? The world would like us to be compliant with its morality system. What about compliance with God? If we ignore the video warning, we may be offended by the content we view. If we ignore God’s warning, the consequences are far more dire.

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?

Matthew 16:26 (NLT)

What are our priorities in life? What is our treasure? God very clearly tells us what it should be. 

Warning. Living your life without God will lead to eternal separation from His love, grace, and mercy.

Like the warning that flashed on my video screen, will we ignore this warning? 

The destiny of your soul depends upon your answer. 

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

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Is There Anyone Else? (2 Samuel 9:1)

“Thanks Jake! Appreciate you following up on those liability issues!”

Jake is my insurance agent. He is also the son of the agent who was my father’s insurance agent. When I was growing up, I had fond memories of his father visiting our family and going over insurance documents with my parents. The visits always stood out since he wore a suit with a tie, a distinctly unusual attire for a tropical island like Hawaii. Every Christmas, my sister and I would receive a Christmas present sent by his son, Jake. I had only met Jake once and we were about the same age but I did not have the same personal relationship as I did with his father. Many years later, Jake also became an insurance agent and took over his father’s practice. Before he passed away, my father told me to consider using Jake for some of my insurance needs since his father had always been so kind to our family. I happily obliged and have never regretted the decision. 

Now David said, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 

2 Samuel 9:1 (NKJV)

In the ancient world, when a new King ascended to the throne, unless they were related to their predecessor, they usually made sure that no other descendent of the former king could ever lay claim to their throne by imprisoning, banishing, or killing them. King David’s kindness to the family of King Saul was unprecedented. He actively sought out members of the household of Saul because of his oath of friendship he made with Saul’s son Jonathan. 

My relationship with Jake and his family have continued through two generations. Hopefully, our children will continue this relationship. In this day of ephemeral relationships and laconic text messages, it is heartening to know that integrity and respect still transcend time.

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

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Social Media (Mark 2:1-2)

The pungent aroma of burning oak greeted us as we entered the bistro. An iron pot in a wood burning oven wafted the promise of a memorable lunch. It was our first meal in Bordeaux, France. We were ushered to our table, seated next to the open air patio that fronted the cobblestone streets. Lovely! This is why we travel!

After we ordered, we noticed the family next to us ordering nearly the same entrees we did. Intrigued, my wife offered a friendly greeting. “Your daughter is so polite and such a good eater!”

“Thank you!” he beamed. “Our family loves to travel and my daughter loves to try new foods. We are visiting from Switzerland, this is my wife and daughter.”

We exchanged pleasantries then I commented, “We noticed that we were both ordering the same dishes. How did you decide on what to order?”

His wife smiled. “We follow this foodie blog on the internet and they all recommended this bistro and the dishes we ordered.”

Too funny! We soon learned we read the same blog and were there for the same reasons. Social media, once again, brings people together!

And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them.

Mark 2:1-2 (NKJV)

What brought the people to Jesus? News traveled very quickly in the time of Jesus Christ. No internet or postal service. It was all via word of mouth through eyewitnesses. The blind could see, the lame could walk, the deaf could hear! No fake news here. The fortunate recipients who were healed were living in the same villages and cities. Like the couple next to us in the bistro in Bordeaux, everyone was there for the same reason. They heard the Good News!

Jesus Christ brought people together. He was the original influencer and started the social media of the ancient world! Rich or poor, sick or healthy, Jews and Gentiles-He brought all together to hear the Good News of salvation and forgiveness of sins through faith and belief in His Name. 

Praise God!

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

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So Many Words (Job 42:2-3)

I received the phone call on Friday afternoon at 3 PM. “Good news, they agreed to settle.” I thanked my attorney and slumped in my chair. For nearly six months my attorney and I had been embroiled in my first (and hopefully last) malpractice case. It was an unusual lawsuit that appeared to point to a computer software glitch as the culprit. Nonetheless, the plaintiff persisted until the attorneys finally agreed to settle the case, on the eve of going to trial. 

It was one of the most painful and difficult periods of my professional career and although it occurred nearly twenty years ago, the memories still burn bright. During these six months, I experienced a true clinical depression. I spent countless hours talking about the case with my wife and colleagues. I would second guess myself and replay the case in my mind. Could I have done anything differently? Were other patients harmed by this computer error? And at the heart of my questioning, why is this happening to me, God?

Thousands of years ago, Job asked the same question of God. For thirty four chapters, Job debates the reasons for his pain and suffering with four other friends who offer their explanations why Job is suffering. Why does the Book of Job continue for so long? Why indeed? When I am going through a trial, how many hours have I spent agonizing over why these events are happening to me? During this lawsuit, my wife and my friends commiserated with me. Yet, far more time was spent alone, drowning in my sorrows, desperately seeking an answer and a solution. The sobering answer is this is our nature. When we perceive that we are unjustly suffering we search for a reason, any reason, that will help to explain and ultimately cope with our situation. 

The true tragedy is like Job, when I suffer, I can lose sight of who God truly is. My finite mind cannot begin to comprehend the infinite wisdom of an omnipotent God. Yet, in my futility, I will challenge and question God, thinking that surely He owes me an explanation. 

I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?” It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.

Job 42:2-3 (NLT)

God owes no one an explanation for His actions. I only exist because of His grace and mercy. Instead of questioning God with so many words, I should be thanking Him with my life. I should cling to His promise that all things will work together for good for those who place their trust and faith in Jesus Christ. 


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

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“Do You Believe In Miracles?” (1 Samuel 14:6)

One team was composed of college players and other amateurs. Their opponent was an array of battle tested veterans, regarded as the most fearsome lineup ever assembled. It was the championship match between Team USA and the Soviet Union men’s hockey teams.  

The 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics witnessed the greatest upset in sports history as Team USA stunned the overwhelming favorite Soviets, winning the game with a final score of 4 to 3. Al Michaels, who broadcast the game, exclaimed the now famous line, “Do you believe in miracles?”

It made the point. It is not the number or size of your team but the quality of your team, determination, and leadership.

…Perhaps the LORD will help us, for nothing can hinder the LORD. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!

1 Samuel 14:6 (NLT)

I love the confidence of faith in God that Jonathon, son of King Saul, exhibited! He boldly declared to his followers that victory depends only upon God’s leadership and blessing, not by the size of one’s army. Hundreds of years earlier, Gideon, learned a similar lesson as God whittled Gideon’s army down from three thousand men to three hundred and led him and Israel to an unprecedented victory over the Midianites who numbered over a hundred thousand.

God taught Jonathon and Gideon important lessons about relying upon God’s leadership and direction rather than focusing upon their worldly circumstances. It is an important lesson for all of us. 

Do you believe in miracles?

Absolutely! But only when God is in control!


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

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“Thank You, Sister.” (1 Corinthians 14:27-28)

Our worship team was deeply engrossed in performing our song. During an instrumental interlude, the music was interrupted by a loud shout emanating from a woman in the congregation. She was a first time visitor to our church and I did not recognize her. 

“Ooh! Praise Jesus!”

That was the last intelligible phrase she uttered. What followed was a garbled collection of words and phrases, some recognizable, others vaguely sounding like a foreign language. We continued to play during this chaotic interruption, attempting to foster an atmosphere of tranquility, though at times, the volume of her speech drowned our playing. After she finished, I looked to our Pastor who had closed his eyes and was praying. We quietly ended our song and the Pastor continued to silently pray. A few moments later, he opened his eyes and addressed the woman and congregation.

“What you have all witnessed is what some would call speaking in tongues. The Holy Spirit bestowed the gift of speaking in tongues on the day of Pentecost after the resurrected Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven.”

He then read the following Bible verses.

If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. 

1 Corinthians 14:27-28 (NKJV)

Our Pastor continued. “I have waited for an interpretation but the Holy Spirit did not give one to myself or anyone else in this congregation. Thus I must conclude that this message is not meant for our congregation. God’s Word is very clear.” He then read the next two verses. 

And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. 

1 Corinthians 14:32-33 (NKJV)

After reading the verses, the Pastor looked at the woman and nodded, “Thank you, Sister. God bless you.” She quietly sat down for the rest of the service.

I was thankful for our Pastor’s graciousness to this woman and his sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and obeying the Word of God. The Holy Spirit bestows many gifts upon believers in Jesus Christ. There are the gifts of teaching, service, and prophecy-just to name a few. The gift of speaking in tongues still generates much controversy amongst Christians. Whether it means a person speaking in a foreign language or a completely unknown language to this world, it was bestowed by the Holy Spirit to empower a believer to praise and worship God. 

For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.

1 Corinthians 14:2 (NKJV)

If someone speaks in tongues in a public setting, if it is meant for the edification of the church, the Holy Spirit will enable another believer to interpret for the rest, so all will understand the message. 

When the Holy Spirit empowers a Christian believer, it is a powerful affirmation of God’s power. He may enable a believer to defend their faith under persecution. He may heal an addiction to drugs or alcohol. When it comes to the gift of tongues in the public setting, everything is to be done in an orderly manner. God is not the author of confusion but of peace.


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

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Rashomon Effect (Psalms 119:160)

When I review the daily news, I intentionally visit websites that are liberal, moderate, and conservative simply to obtain a range of political viewpoints. It is truly astounding how stories that are deemed newsworthy front page banners by some sites are completely ignored by the other sites or at best, given short shrift. What is the explanation for such gaping disparities in reporting an event?

Perhaps an answer can be found in an unlikely source. The Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s epic masterpiece from 1950, Rashomon, was the gripping story of the rape of a woman and the murder of her samurai husband as told from four different witnesses, all with contradictory accounts based upon their individual motivations and agendas. The movie received international acclaim and the premise of the movie with selective recollections of an event has been dubbed the Rashomon effect. 

It has been the subject of numerous scholarly works. It explains how legal testimonies are often conflicting depending upon the witnesses and can be unreliable. It also explains biases in the way events are reported by the media. 

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but there is only one truth. However in today’s inclusive society, truth is relative and everyone’s opinion is affirmed and given validity. Yet even the most liberal pundits unknowingly acknowledge that some standard must exist. When someone claims that one’s opinion or version of a story is wrong, they are making a judgment call and comparing it to their own standard. The irony is the simple statement that all truth is relative implies that their statement is self-refuting and their very statement is also relative and therefore cannot be trusted!

The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.

Psalms 119:160 (NKJV)

What do we make of the Rashomon effect? If we cannot trust the reliability of eyewitnesses, whom can we trust? We can only trust the source of all Truth. God’s Word is not relative nor does it change depending upon the circumstance. In this world of fleeting trends and fragile relationships, isn’t it comforting to know that we can always depend upon God for a honest and unchanging relationship?

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

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Solve A Physics Equation! (Acts 7:21-22)

I stumbled upon a textbook of physics the other day, very similar to what I used in high school and college. As I flipped through the yellowing pages, painful memories of those classes shot through me. Spring tension. F=ma. Wave dynamics. Physics was definitely not a favorite class but it was a necessary pre-medical course requirement. And why not? You never know when you have to solve a physics equation when a sick patient is in front of you. Truthfully, I never had to do this. So, was learning all this knowledge for naught?

Although I do not directly use physics equations in my everyday work, the principles of problem solving and critical thinking were honed during these years in classes like physics and calculus. Although tedious at times, it rounded out my education and prepared me for much more difficult decisions in medicine. 

But when he was set out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son. And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.

Acts 7:21-22 (NKJV)

I wonder if Moses felt the same way when he was being schooled as a child in the courts of the Egyptian royalty? At that time in history, Egyptian culture was at its height and their scholars were advanced in astronomy, mathematics, and engineering. Moses received the best education in the known world and He was living a life of luxury. Yet he was always aware that he was an alien, a Hebrew adopted by an Egyptian princess. What would all that knowledge be used for since he knew he would never be accepted as a true leader of Egypt? Moses soon learned that God was preparing him for a much greater purpose, to rescue his people from enslavement by the Egyptians. 

He led over two million Hebrews through the desert for forty years. God chose a man who was indeed mighty in words and deeds, having been schooled in the wisdom of the Egyptians. Moses had the ideal training for God’s mission even if he did not fully see the immediate benefits of his diverse education. 

There are many courses we are obligated to take in our schooling because it is a requirement of the institution or for a job we are seeking. However, we may not always see the direct connection between the courses and our future. Our spiritual lives are no different. Times of tribulation and pain, setbacks in our jobs and relationships-these may all seem disconnected from helping us grow our faith and relationship with God. Times like these should encourage us to remember how God uses all circumstances, good and bad, to shape and conform us to the image of His Son Jesus Christ. 

God is always in control.


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

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T.M.I. (Deuteronomy 29:29)


Too much information!

This phrase is sometimes used when awkward personal stories are shared at inappropriate times. We uncomfortably shift and wonder why is this person sharing such intimate details?  What could possibly be uplifting about this knowledge? Likewise, there are many awkward moments in the Bible and I sometimes find myself questioning why God would include these incidents?

And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.

Genesis 9:20-23 (NKJV)


There is no way to sugarcoat this shameful and awkward episode. Noah showed a lack of judgment by getting drunk. Ham showed disrespect to his father by deliberating making a spectacle of him in front of his two brothers. No child should see their father embarrassed and exposed like that. Why would God reveal this information to us?

God does occasionally give us insight into what He is doing and when He does, it is for a specific purpose. He is growing our faith in ways we can scarcely comprehend. Why? It is to help us better understand His Word through the Bible. 

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Deuteronomy 29:29 (NKJV)

It was too much information and if God did not reveal such sordid details, it would not have the impact that He intended to teach future generations. God chose Noah and his family over all other people on the earth and rescued them from the Flood that destroyed every living creature on land. But even for someone of as great a faith like Noah, the Bible laid bare his faults. It is sobering to note that God used this awkward experience to teach us to always remain focused on following God’s commands in the Bible. 

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

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“I Was Just Going To Say That!” (Romans 14:10-12)

Many years ago, I worked in a laboratory that employed a laboratory assistant with an annoying manner of answering questions when he didn’t know the answer. 

“I was just going to say that!”

The first few times could be overlooked, particularly in casual conversation. In fact, several other employees in the laboratory would occasionally use the same phrase. However, after a month, it was clear that he was using this phrase as a pretext for his appalling lack of knowledge. One day, after failing to complete a routine task, the laboratory manager had enough. “Don’t you know the difference between these two tests?”

He fumbled with his answer until the manager shouted, “This one requires a red top tube while the other uses a green top tube.”

“I was just going to say that!”

“No you weren’t! Don’t pretend to know. You don’t. You weren’t going to say that!”

The humiliating dress down silenced him. Within a few weeks, he was fired. The manager now counsels the rest of the employees by stating, “None of us have the answers to everything. If you don’t know, don’t pretend to know. Just say you don’t know. I will respect you a lot more if you tell me the truth.”

In life and in our workplace, we will never have all the answers. However, our spiritual lives are different. God has revealed Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. There is one question that everyone who is living right now will have to answer when they die and stand before God. “What did you do with My Son, Jesus Christ?” Some people assume that reading the Bible, going to Church, or saying prayers makes them a Christian or gets them to Heaven. These are important but it is not the complete answer. 

…For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: “As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

Romans 14:10-12 (NKJV)

There is only one correct answer. I confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. 

“I was just going to say that!”

I truly hope so. The eternal fate of your soul depends upon your answer.

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

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