“No Parent Should Experience This.” (John 19:25)

My cell phone flashed the caller, it was my younger sister. 

“William would like you to come and see him.”

I understood what she meant. “I’ll be there as soon as I can.” 

My brother in law was dying from pancreatic cancer. For several years, he bravely faced his cancer but it was now clear the end was near. I made arrangements to spend a weekend in Hawaii where they lived. I arrived at their home at 7 AM on a Saturday morning. For the next twelve hours, we were left alone to reminisce and talk about anything that was on his mind. We spoke of the many adventures he had at sea as a chief petty officer for the U.S. Navy Seals reconnaissance support team. We spoke of his love of cycling and how he would sometimes bike to work, a 45 minute trip. Our conversation then turned to his parents who lived in New Jersey. Because of health reasons, they were unable to travel to Hawaii to see him. We spoke of the life lessons he learned from them. He shared the dreams that they had for him and his siblings. He spoke of his older brother who died a few years earlier and how it shattered their family.  He hung his head and softly spoke. “No parent should see their own children pass away before them. No parent should experience this.” We held each other and wept.

There was nothing more to say. I knew he believed in God and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Although he did not speak of his faith, he lived it, tenderly shepherding his family through the travails of this life. Now, in this time of his greatest need, his family surrounded and supported him. I was humbled and grateful to be at his side. I returned to California the following day. A few days later, my sister called me with the news that William had passed, surrounded by his loving family.  Even though it was not unexpected we both cried over the phone. How could this happen to someone so young? What about my sister and their two young children? Does God understand our pain when we lose someone far too early in life?

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

John 19:25 (NKJV)

The Bible does not go into detail what Mary, the mother of Jesus, was feeling as she saw her son dying on the Cross. We cannot begin to imagine the soul searing anguish as she cradled His lifeless body in her arms after He was taken down. There was nothing more to say. Did God understand her pain, losing her son under such horrific circumstances? As Mary cradled her son, God, the Father, also saw His own Son die. God knows our pain when a child unexpectedly dies.

No parent should experience this. 

Someday, in Heaven, I will see my dear brother in law again. There will be no more pain, suffering or tears. God is comforting him right now with the same tenderness that He gives to all of us when we are experiencing our deepest sorrows. 

He understands.

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

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Tiger Trap (Isaiah 44:9-10)

Horoscopes are present in nearly every newspaper and many other media publications. I have heard people jocularly state, “Hey, my horoscope said this is my lucky day so I’m going to buy a lottery ticket.” While sometimes they did win, most of the time, no luck was found. Many years ago, before I was a Christian, I decided to perform an experiment on myself. For one month, I kept copious notes detailing my activities for that day. At the end of the month, I reviewed the horoscopes that were posted by allegedly reputable astrologers. Except for a rare hit, the horoscopes were a miss. At least with this retrospective study and a sample size of one, horoscopes were debunked. 

But what about Chinese horoscopes? As an Asian-American, I was more exposed to these astrological signs. By the Chinese Zodiac, I am a tiger. I performed the same retrospective experiment for the previous month and was surprised to see slightly more concordance. This needed further investigation. I found a Chinese Zodiac book from two years earlier and reviewed the predictions that it made for the last year. In spite of the seemingly encouraging successes, the predictions of the previous year were completely wrong. It was a tiger trap and I nearly fell into it. 

How foolish are those who manufacture idols. These prized objects are really worthless.

The people who worship idols don’t know this, so they are all put to shame.

Who but a fool would make his own god—an idol that cannot help him one bit?

Isaiah 44:9-10 (NLT)

Horoscopes are an idol, manufactured by man in an attempt to divine the future. We all would like to know what our future holds, myself included. But a more important question should be focused upon our time frame. We will all die as our physical bodies slowly deteriorate. What happens at death? Do we simply cease to exist and our conscience and experiences forever lost or do we have a soul that continues beyond this mortal existence?

God has given us the answer. A man-made idol cannot help us any more than a horoscope or a block of wood. Would you place your trust in a dead or inanimate object or in the living God? Jesus Christ has definitely answered this by living a perfect sinless life and being crucified on the Cross. Three days later, God raised Him from the dead forever proving that He alone has the power to conquer death. Our souls do not cease to exist when we die but unless we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior in this lifetime, our souls will be eternally separated from Him. Jesus Christ has shown us our future and final destiny and offers it to all who confess and repent of their sins and accept Him as their Lord and Savior. 


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

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Why A Physician? (Hebrews 11:3)

“This is the question you will have to answer for yourself and probably in several medical school interviews. ‘Why a physician? Why not a nurse? Why not a P.A. (physician’s assistant)?’”

I have mentored several students who are in the process of applying or have successfully been accepted to medical school. I inform them that the answer they give to the question above is critical to understanding their true motives for pursuing a medical degree. What about me? 

Before I applied to medical school, I pondered this question. Compassion for patients? Physicians do not have the monopoly for empathy. I know of many nurses whose compassion for their patients helped them to pull through their disease. Need to be able to make independent decisions? P.A.’s and nurses have considerable autonomy and may have to make a split second decision at the bedside of an ill patient that may mean the difference between life and death. Financial reward? Prestige? Job Security? All of these can be found at an equal level with many other health care professionals.

My answer focuses upon the thousands of hours of classes leading to matriculation from medical school. The courses I took in preparation prepared me, not only to become a physician, but to be a problem solver. It gave me knowledge and the tools to innovate new solutions to problems and diseases that go beyond simply diagnosing a disease and prescribing a treatment. The training for the other professionals does not go into the same detail that a physician must master. It allows me to understand the mechanisms and anticipate potential side effects for the novel RNA vaccines for COVID-19. It allows me to set up research protocols to investigate additional uses for medications that are currently being used to treat diseases. It allows me to intelligently address ethical concerns that new technologies such as CRISPR bring. 

There is one more reason. The precision of the cellular process organizing to form organs resulting in a living person is staggering. My medical training has enabled me to appreciate the complexity of the human body in ways that few other healthcare professionals can approach. Each day I practice medicine further impresses upon me that man is not a random series of evolutionary events but a purposeful design. 

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

Hebrews 11:3 (CSB)

Why a physician? 

As a physician, God has enabled me to see with greater depth and understanding the masterpiece of our living bodies. 

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

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“One For The Ages!” (Matthew 26:13)

“It’s one for the ages!”

How many times has that headline been plastered across newsfeeds?

From Tiger Woods’ first victory at the Augusta Masters Golf Tournament in 1997 to the current victory by Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama in the 2021 Master’s tournament, it describes a rare and outstanding event. It is usually used in reference to sporting events but it certainly has much broader applications. Of course, like all phrases, it has been overutilized. How many rare and outstanding events can there be? If they are happening all the time, they cannot be rare. And these are only the events that are recorded by the media, what about the countless numbers that go unnoticed or dismissed as unworthy of such an accolade? Perhaps the issue is not understanding the significance of the event when it occurs?

It was an event that may have gone unnoticed or misinterpreted. Jesus was in the home of Lazarus, whom Jesus had just raised from the dead. Mary, the sister of Lazarus, quietly came forward and anointed Jesus’ head with a costly perfume. The disciples of Jesus derided her actions stating she should have sold this perfume and used the money to give to the poor. But Mary was not distracted, she knew that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem to die. The disciples were with Jesus for three years and heard everything he said but only Mary was listening.  Jesus praised her actions and informed the disciples that she was preparing His body for burial.

Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.

Matthew 26:13 (CSB)

It was a rare and outstanding event, one for the ages. God, Himself, affirmed it and recorded it in the Bible so that for two thousand year, everyone knows of Mary’s actions. When Jesus Christ does something in our lives, do we dismiss or fail to recognize the significance of the event when it occurs?

“It’s one for the ages!”

Amen! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

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

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By His Stripes…(Isaiah 53:5)

The movie, The Passion of the Christ, co-written and directed by Mel Gibson, is a graphic retelling of the last twelve hours of Jesus before He was crucified. The actors spoke in Hebrew, Aramaic and Latin, recreating the historical landscape and the dialogue that occurred between the Jews and Romans.  Critics have panned the movie as lurid and gratuitous. Others have charged that sectarian bias is imbued within the movie. I aver that it is a powerful presentation based upon the four Gospels of the Bible.

The Passion of the Christ (2004) YouTube

As I viewed the horrific recreation of Jesus being whipped and tortured by the Romans, the Holy Spirit brought to mind the passage from the Book of Isaiah. By His stripes we are healed. 

But He was wounded for our transgressions,

He was bruised for our iniquities;

The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,

And by His stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)

But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

He was crushed for our iniquities;

The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,

And by His scourging we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5 (NASB)

But he was pierced for our rebellion,

crushed for our sins.

He was beaten so we could be whole.

He was whipped so we could be healed.

Isaiah 53:5 (NLT)

In every Bible translation of this passage from the Prophet Isaiah, we read about the terrifying horror and pain that Jesus Christ endured for our sins. However, no words, no movie, no historical account will ever enable us to understand the depth of suffering that was inflicted upon Jesus. It was a physical suffering as depicted. It was an emotional suffering as He wept for His followers, His mother, and the Jews. It was a spiritual suffering as He bore the weight of the sins of everyone who has ever lived and will ever live.

This was not the first time I have viewed this movie and after each time, I am filled with profound grief, overwhelmed with emotions. For a few hours, all I can focus upon is the all consuming love that Jesus had for us. All I can see is the anguish on His disfigured face. I vow to always remember the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for me and all Creation. 

And then, life intervenes. 

A prickly HR issue has arisen within my office staff. A near miss at a busy intersection by someone speeding to beat the changing traffic light. A patient is calling to dispute their bill. Out of sight, out of mind. Choose your aphorism and my excuse. My fleeting faith is watered down by the concerns of my world. My sinful nature once again takes over and the vow I so confidently made is forgotten. The soul shaking image of Jesus is replaced by my sins. My sins are the stripes that wounded my Savior. 

By His stripes we are healed. 

How desperately I need my Savior, Jesus Christ. 


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

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“It Never Happened!” (Matthew 28:11-15)

We surveyed the expansive square filled with visitors. Looming in the background were the gates leading to the expansive Forbidden City. This was Tiananmen square in Beijing, China.  As we meandered through the square, soldiers patrolled at every monument and stopping point. It was a stark reminder of the events of the student led protests that occurred in this very spot in 1989. Demanding reform from the ruling communist party, thousands of students gathered in the Square culminating on June 4th when the government declared martial law and forcibly put down the protesters. Some estimate that thousands died. Foreign reporters were forbidden to record the events but some photos and film were leaked to a horrified world.

Tiananmen Square Massacre – 1989 YouTube

I turned to my Chinese guide and pointed to an area of the square. “This is the area where the tanks came in when the students were protesting and…”

“It never happened!” My guide abruptly cut me off.

“But the news…”

“It never happened.” He looked straight ahead, stone faced. 


The government denied this happened when there was incontrovertible truth, disseminated throughout the internet and the world media. Clearly the national policy was to change the narrative. In fact, the official response of the Chinese government declares that this was all biased Western propaganda and reporting, part of a conspiracy to weaken and divide China. 

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” This quote is attributed to Joseph Goebels, the notorious minister of propaganda for Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. It is applicable to many societies, including democracies like the United States. Even in our great nation, we have covered up shameful examples of racism and class warfare, all cloaked under the noble banner of patriotism. 

As the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and told the leading priests what had happened. A meeting with the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. They told the soldiers, “You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’ If the governor hears about it, we’ll stand up for you so you won’t get in trouble.” So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell it today.

Matthew 28:11-15 (NLT)

The greatest miracle that ever occurred is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Even the Jewish leaders did not dispute this. Yet if they acknowledged it, they knew they would no longer be in power so they fabricated a story and bribed the Roman soldiers who were guarding Jesus’ tomb. As the Bible states, Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell it today.

Nations and men will manipulate the facts to support their objectives. When there is an agenda to be carried out, lies will be repeated. Yet when faced with the overwhelming evidence of the Resurrection, even bribery and lies could not stop the Truth of God to spread throughout the earth.


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

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“He Knows You.” (Matthew 3:4)

“I am sending over my research associate, Jake, to go over the data on our paper.” I was speaking on the phone with my chief of dermatology at the teaching hospital with which I am associated. 

“Ok, thanks. I don’t think I know him.”

“He told me he knows you, he met you once at my lab. He said you always dress so casually, wearing jeans and Aloha shirts to work.”

“Wait, what? I never dress like that at work! I don’t even own a pair of jeans!” At that time, I always wore a dress shirt with a tie, dress slacks, and wing-tip shoes. How could he say that? I thought back to the encounter and remembered I happened to be off that day, which was a Friday, and needed to stop by the chief of dermatology’s office to pick up something from him. I met Jake when he was in the research laboratory. I was dressed casually with an Aloha shirt, dress slacks and dress shoes. It was the typical attire of how businessmen in Hawaii dressed on Aloha Friday, the equivalent of casual Friday. So, that physician was partially correct. From a chance random encounter one day, this physician made a sweeping judgment about me and how I ALWAYS dress. Not only that, he embellished it with his own recollection of my wearing an imaginary pair of jeans which I don’t own. He knows me, indeed!

Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.

Matthew 3:4 (NKJV)

If I met John the Baptist, I think I may have walked the other way or just stared in fascination. This dude was out there, even for that time. A diet of locusts and honey. Can you imagine what his breath smelled like? Would I have listened to what he had to say or would I be distracted by his appearance and make sweeping assumptions like Jake did for me? Thankfully many people did listen to what he had to say. He was a prophet sent by God to proclaim the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who affirmed his importance.

Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Matthew 11:11 (NKJV)

I was annoyed that Jake made a sweeping assumption about me after one casual encounter. Yet, how often have I done the same? I would have done it if I met John the Baptist. Would I have done the same if I met Jesus Christ? For the first twenty years of my life, I did. I made an assumption about who Jesus Christ was and completed the missing parts with my own narrative. He was a great teacher but delusional, thinking He was God. He helped a lot of people but these miracles were staged. Oh yes, my false characterization of Jesus Christ deluded me for many years. Only when I took the time to read the Bible and investigate Him on my own did I understand how presumptive and wrong I was.

He knows you.

Yes, Lord Jesus Christ, you do know me. Thank you for your grace and mercy for leading me to confess and repent of my sins and accept You as my Lord and Savior.


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

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Less Than Twenty Cases (Matthew 16:11-12)

There was nothing unusual about the clinical history of the case that arrived at my microscope in the middle of a busy sign out day. As I examined the patterns on the microscope slide, I was reminded of a very rare tumor that I had read about when I was a resident. But no, it couldn’t be. There were less than twenty cases reported in the world medical literature. Still, the longer I examined the case, I was convinced that this was the diagnosis. The author of the definitive paper on this tumor was still actively publishing and I sent the case in consultation to him. Within a week, he confirmed the diagnosis. Thankfully for the patient, a complete excision was usually curative. I shared the case with my residents as an example of a tumor they will probably never see again for their entire careers.

Two weeks later, the entire scenario repeated. As I reviewed the slide, it looked nearly identical to the rare tumor I had earlier diagnosed. I checked the name of the patient, thinking this must be a re-excision, but no, this was a different patient from a different dermatologist. I was dumbfounded. I thought I would never see a case like this again and two weeks later, here was another one! I repeated my actions and sent this second case to the same consultant who again confirmed the diagnosis. In my nearly thirty years of practice, I have never again made this diagnosis. 

When one encounters two cases of an extremely rare disease in a relatively short period of time, one conclusion may be to attribute it to chance. However, another possibility investigates whether the cases may have a common link. Perhaps the patients were related or worked in a similar occupation? Did they have a similar underlying medical condition that predisposed them to this rare tumor? An inquiry to both of the referring dermatologists yielded no additional clues but I have always kept these cases in the back of my mind and regularly review the medical literature to see if any epidemiological associations are ever discovered. I recalled the astute pathologists who found a connection with a heretofore rare disease, Kaposi’s sarcoma, and the AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s. It could happen again.

The disciples followed Jesus Christ for three years. In that time, they witnessed many miracles. However, there are two which were repeated almost exactly. Jesus fed over 5000 men and women with five loaves of bread. A short while later, he fed over 4000 with seven loaves of bread. Yet, the disciples completely missed the connection between these extraordinary events.

Later, after they crossed to the other side of the lake, the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring any bread. “Watch out!” Jesus warned them. “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread. Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “You have so little faith! Why are you arguing with each other about having no bread? Don’t you understand even yet? Don’t you remember the 5,000 I fed with five loaves, and the baskets of leftovers you picked up? Or the 4,000 I fed with seven loaves, and the large baskets of leftovers you picked up?

Matthew 16:5-10 (NLT)

It wasn’t until Jesus put together the association for them that they understood.

“Why can’t you understand that I’m not talking about bread? So again I say, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’” Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Matthew 16:11-12 (NLT)

In life, we need to be aware that the occurrence of rare events may portend a very important association. Jesus reminds us that as we walk with Him, every event He leads us through is associated with eternal significance. It is our privilege to learn how it will strengthen and increase our faith in Him.


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

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We Have Asked For Nothing Except… (John 11:25)

Secretary of State Colin Powell was delivering an address to the World Economic Forum in 2003. This was just before the second Iraq invasion and Mr. Powell was presenting the case for the United States to hold Iraq accountable for the development of weapons of mass destruction. After his message, he accepted questions from the audience. The former Archbishop of Canterbury asked if the plans that then President George W. Bush was proposing were merely a pretext for empire building by the United States. This was Mr. Powell’s sobering reply. 

We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we’ve done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in, and otherwise we have returned home to seek our own, you know, to seek our own lives in peace, to live our own lives in peace. 

Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State for the United States

Source World Economic Forum

Since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, mankind has been at war, either with one another, God, or both. Millions have given their lives to support a cause that resulted in the ultimate sacrifice. How do we properly honor their sacrifices? Mr. Powell’s eloquent answer points the way. 

If our perspective is only focused upon this life, why honor the dead? If we are nothing more than a random collection of atoms and molecules that have evolved to become humans, there is no greater purpose or hope once we die. But what if there was more?

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.”

John 11:25 (NLT)

We honor our dead because we believe there is a life after death. If we placed our faith in Jesus Christ, we know that death is merely a transition of our soul from this life into the next. Whether wars, famine, or pandemics, nothing will ever separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


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

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“We Should Pray About This!” (Hebrews 7:25)

Many years ago, my wife and I were in the market to purchase a townhouse. We were introduced to a real estate agent who previously worked with one of our friends. Meeting at the house, she was professional and courteous and efficiently walked us through the property. After we returned home, my wife said, “We should pray about this!”

“Definitely!” As my wife and I prayed, we asked God to open our eyes and guide us in our decision. We also asked God to give us confirmation if we should continue to deal with the agent whom we just met. Two days later, we met with the agent again. As we walked through the home, I ventured this question, “You know Sally, you look very familiar and I feel that we have met before.”

“Oh really?” She paused. “Yes, you look familiar also. You remind me of my optometrist.”

We soon discovered we had the same optometrist and we both wondered if we ran into each other at his office. Perhaps, yet I was not satisfied. As we ended our session, I put forth another suggestion. “Do you attend The Hope of Life Church?” Her eyes lit up as she enthusiastically answered. “Yes!” That was the connection! Our family attended that church many years ago and still maintain close relations with the Pastors and several members of the church. We undoubtedly met and interacted since we had many mutual friends. 

My wife and I were grateful that God enabled us to meet another sister in Jesus Christ. Her honesty and transparency placed us at ease and through her, we reconnected with other members of that church we used to attend. We proceeded with the purchase which went smoothly and we all agreed to remain in contact with each other. 

Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.

Hebrews 7:25 (NLT)

Admittedly, most of my prayers are not answered in such an immediate and dramatic manner. Yet, it is comforting when God answers my prayers so decisively. Our Lord Jesus Christ is in Heaven continually praying for all believers. If the God of the universe is always praying for us, shouldn’t we take the time to pray to Him to intercede in all of our decisions? God answers all prayers but in His perfect timing, not according to our plans but by His. 


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

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