Three Sons (Joshua 6:25)

Many years ago in a high school history class, I learned what an upper class family of nobility living in the middle ages of Europe would hope to achieve if they were fortunate to have three sons. The first was formally educated and would inherit and continue the family business. The second would enter the military. The third would enter the priesthood. Of course, there was no mention of daughters who were expected to marry into a family of equal or greater status than their own. Having a member of the clergy within one’s family reassured them that their prayers would be answered by God. However, it also was a connection to powerful leaders since at that time, the church controlled much of the power and wealth of European society. Nonetheless, having a member of the clergy in one’s family was regarded as a sign of God’s blessing, a tradition that continues even to this day. I wondered if the Bible supports such a notion? The beautiful story of Rahab’s faith gives us some insight. 

However, Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, her father’s family, and all who belonged to her, because she hid the messengers Joshua had sent to spy on Jericho, and she still lives in Israel today.

Joshua 6:25 (CSB)

Rahab’s faith preserved and protected the Hebrew spies that Joshua had sent to spy on Jericho before their conquest of the city. Her faith saved herself and her family. Did the rest of her family exhibit the same strong saving faith that she demonstrated? The Bible does not give us this answer. It is important to note that while God’s provisions will protect and bless a family through the faithfulness of one member, ultimately salvation is an individual decision. 

A wise person once wrote, Christianity is one generation from extinction. Families may be blessed by God through the actions of one of its members but ultimate responsibility rests upon each individual. If your family has been blessed by God by having a member who serves in the ministry, be thankful but do not take your salvation and blessings for granted. Each person must come to God by their own volition and confess and repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. 


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

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“We Were Not In Kansas!” (Romans 14:17)


It was our first visit to the beautiful city of Siena in Tuscany, Italy. Our hotel was adorned with a beautiful stone facade leading to a modern lobby replete with marble flooring, pillars, and granite counters. It was breathtaking and transported us to the glory years of this ancient Italian kingdom. We were not in Kansas any longer!

“Signore. Please enjoy our special wine and cheese tasting we have set up for your arrival.” The host motioned to the stone stairway which led to a private tasting in the wine cellar. My wife and I eagerly traced the circuitous path as the familiar scents of wine and cheese guided us to our destination. We were greeted with a resplendent spread of local cheeses, wines, and Tuscan salumi adorned with honey and pine nuts. We were encouraged to try all of the offerings, many of which had a familiar flavor but not appearance. One creamy spread intrigued me as I layered it onto a crusty slice of bread. “Buono!” I declared. “What is this?”

“I don’t know how to say it in English. We call it lardo.”

“Lardo.” I said the word out loud several times. “Lardo..lardo…wait! Lardo? You mean lard? Is this fat?”

“Si! Fat. Lardo!”

I was eating raw pig’s fat! We were definitely not in Kansas!

My wife and I relished our experience in Siena. As the adage states, “When in Rome…” and wherever we travel, we attempt to immerse ourselves in the local customs and food traditions. We are not Italian but the experiences allow us to feel welcomed and part of the culture. Something similar happened to me the first time I attended a Christian church when I was an adult. Growing up in an Episcopalian school, there were mandatory weekly chapel services and religion classes. There were rules and restrictions. Although the school attempted to inculcate me with this culture, it felt forced and it left me with a negative impression of Christianity. By the time I graduated from high school and entered college, I was an atheist. But even though I left God, He never left me. He brought me together with a classmate, a strong man of faith in God. Through the example of his life, I was immersed in what it means to live the life of a Christian. When I experienced the true fellowship of Christianity, I knew it was different from my preconceived notions and experiences growing up. God’s Word was being explained and actively lived out. I saw how it was vitally relevant for my life. 

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Romans 14:17 (NLT)

After a year of regular fellowship with this brother, I confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I completely immersed myself in the Chistian Church and was welcomed by a new family of brothers and sisters through Jesus Christ. 

I was not in Kansas any longer. I had been welcomed into God’s Kingdom!


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

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Bittersweet (Genesis 24:1-4)

“Bittersweet bro.. gonna miss my baby.  Enjoy your kids and hug them tight while you can.”

“Amen, brother!”

I was emailing a congratulations to a dear brother in the Lord whose daughter was just married. God answered his faithful prayers and blessed his daughter with a godly young man. I was elated for their family! As a father of two adult children, I am keenly aware of time quickly slipping by and my changing priorities. A wise pastor once reminded me that I should be praying everyday that, if it is in God’s will, He would find a godly husband or wife for our children. 

I wonder if the great saints of the Bible felt the same feelings that my friend and I are experiencing? The Bible gives us this tender story of the patriarch Abraham.

Abraham was now old, getting on in years, and the LORD had blessed him in everything. Abraham said to his servant, the elder of his household who managed all he owned, “Place your hand under my thigh, and I will have you swear by the LORD, God of heaven and God of earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I live, but will go to my land and my family to take a wife for my son Isaac.”

Genesis 24:1-4 (CSB)

Near the end of his life, Abraham knew there was one important task left for him to complete. He needed to find a godly wife for his son, Isaac. He proceeded with the same careful and deliberate process of faith that guided his entire life. He sought God’s providence and sovereign will to guide his servant to find the proper woman. God dramatically answered his faithful prayer by leading the servant to Rebecca.  

The desire that parents have to make sure their children marry the right person has not changed in thousands of years. Abraham’s faithful prayers led to the birth of the Jewish nation. I pray that God will someday bless my children with godly spouses who will lead their families to faith and salvation in the name of Jesus Christ. 


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

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“Sally Doesn’t Work There Any Longer.” (James 3:7-9)

Early in my career, I worked in a hospital laboratory staffed by over one hundred employees. With many moving parts, it was efficiently coordinated and overseen by Sally, my laboratory manager. One day, I was in a conversation with the manager of another reference laboratory which our laboratory used to do some specialized testing. We had previously conversed about technical issues, although the last time was several months earlier. I was calling to discuss the pricing for one of their tests for one of my patients. As we spoke, I informed the other manager to forward the new pricing to my laboratory manager, Sally. 

“Oh…” The manager’s voice trailed off. “I was told that Sally doesn’t work there any longer!”

“That’s odd.” I replied. “Who told you that?”

“Your laboratory manager, Jake.”

“My manager?”

“Yes. “

“I think there has been some mistake. Sally is still working here and she is still the manager. Jake had no authority to state that and I assure you, he is not the manager.”

There was a long pause. “I see. I think we all need to speak to Sally. I negotiated a deal with Jake with different pricing than what we had previously done.”

I ended the call and emailed Sally who was on a medical leave of absence. During the months she was gone, Jake, one of the laboratory shift supervisors, had been speaking to many of the vendors for the laboratory and misrepresenting himself as the new laboratory manager, unknownst to hospital administrators, the other laboratory supervisors, and the pathologists. I wondered how he was going to defend himself when Sally returned? I didn’t have to wonder. Once the hospital administration and other laboratory supervisors found out what was happening, Jake was terminated. It was such a risky strategy, one that was bound to fail. Why would Jake do this? Why would someone repeatedly lie?

Every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and fish is tamed and has been tamed by humankind, but no one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 

James 3:7-9 (CSB)

There are nearly two hundred verses in the Bible that admonish us about lying. Our tongues enable us to lie, slander, curse and praise God, all in the same breath. We think we can control and tame it but the reality is exactly what transpired with Jake and his nefarious actions. If we cannot tame our own tongue, what hope do we have? God gives us the answer a few verses later.

Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:7-8 (CSB)

To tame our tongues, we need to change our focus and draw near to God. The more time we spend in fellowship with Him, the easier it will be to resist Satan’s urges to lie and slander. When God fills our hearts, we leave no room for Satan. We will no longer be double-minded, but single-minded, focused upon serving and submitting to God and allowing Him to purify our hearts and tame our tongues. 


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

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Happy Accident (Genesis 1:27-28)

For many years, Bob Ross was a fixture on public television. His innovative series, “The Joy of Painting” aired from 1983-1994 and introduced millions to a technique of painting that enabled a novice to create their own paintings and discover their hidden talents. One of his favorite expressions was, “happy accident.” He used it to reassure his students that when they thought they made a mistake while painting, it could be used to create something new and usually better. In his own words, “We don’t make mistakes; we just have happy accidents.” It was a comforting thought and it has been adapted to other situations by many others.

Some scientists aver that humans and all living creatures are the product of random mutations that, over billions of years, fortuitously came together to lead to our current existence. In addition to this, there was a series of happy accidents that assisted in the process. For example, the dinosaurs were nearly completely annihilated when one or more comets collided with the earth, millions of years ago. The cataclysmic event wiped out most of the existing species at that time and allowed the early primitive mammals to survive, providing the opportunity for these fortunate creatures to evolve into us. A happy accident, indeed!

So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.

Genesis 1:27 (CSB)

Man is not a happy accident, the end product of a series of fortuitous and random serendipitous events. We were deliberately created in the image of God by an intelligent and omnipotent Creator. Happy accidents may be a compelling explanation for a painting, but God left nothing to chance. We are not mistakes. We are created by God to serve Him and enjoy His creation.


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

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Value Vs. Growth (Psalms 147:11)

There are many types of investing strategies involving publicly traded stocks in the equities market. Two popular approaches are known as growth and value investing. As the names suggest, growth investing seeks companies that have above average growth prospects when compared to the overall stock market. Growth investing assumes the accelerated growth of the respective companies will continue. Value investing seeks companies that are undervalued relative to its peers. These are fundamentally turnaround plays and investing in such a company is betting that more prosperous times will return for the company and it will begin to grow again. 

The key in understanding all of this is one’s time frame. A growth stock, over time, may lose its allure and if there is a management misstep or change in the business climate, may actually begin to underperform the overall stock market and lose its value. Ironically, a growth stock may become a value stock. Conversely, a value stock may show accelerated earnings and profit and may become a growth stock as it recovers from its underperforming years. Thus, the distinction between a growth and value stock may not be so binary. How we truly value a company’s stock depends upon one’s perspective and timing. 

How does God value us? Are we high flyers, growing faster than our peers, or are we laggards and trailing others? God places everything in its proper perspective. 

The Lord values those who fear him, those who put their hope in his faithful love.

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭147:11‬ ‭CSB‬‬

We all have periods in our life that span the spectrum of triumphs to challenges. Depending upon our time frame, we may be on a high growth trajectory or beaten down, ready for a turnaround. From God’s perspective, there is no difference. God looks at our soul and our true intentions. He is seeking those who fear, respect, and honor Him. He blesses those who place their hope in His unfailing love. He values all of us and seeks to grow us in the knowledge of His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Praise God that He never gives up on us!

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

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Gap Years (Galatians 2:1)

A gap year or years is now commonly taken by students in college or just after matriculation. Ostensibly, it is a time that prospective applicants to a professional school will use to enhance their applications. When I applied to medical school nearly forty years ago, taking a gap year was a rarity. In fact, if a reviewer of applications saw a gap year on an application, it would raise a red flag. The majority of applicants who took a gap year did so because their applications were not strong enough to gain admission straight from college. Presently, it is the norm to take at least one gap year. 

How many years are enough? Most of my residents I have interviewed have taken 2-3 years and the majority have accomplished substantive projects that certainly elevated the status of their applications. What if someone took 5 gap years? What about 10 years? Clearly if an individual took this many gap years, the expectations would be very high that they were accomplishing something great, like winning a Nobel prize or competing in the Olympics. The Bible chronicles the actions of one saint who took 17 years, preparing for his very active ministry. 

But when God, who from my mother’s womb set me apart and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me, so that I could preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone. I did not go up to Jerusalem to those who had become apostles before me; instead I went to Arabia and came back to Damascus. Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to get to know Cephas, and I stayed with him fifteen days

Galatians 1:15-18 (CSB)

Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also.

Galatians 2:1 (CSB)

The Apostle Paul was one of the greatest missionaries of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the known world. For most of his young adult life, he persecuted and imprisoned many Christians, whom he and many Jews considered heretics and blasphemers. In one of the more dramatic encounters in the Bible, the resurrected Jesus Christ appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus and revealed the Truth, that He was indeed the Messiah and Son of God, just as He said He was. Paul was one of the most learned Jews in the ancient world, a rabbi schooled by Gamaliel, another respected and revered rabbi. He understood the Scriptures and all of the writings that prophesied Jesus Christ as Messiah. On the surface, it seemed that Paul would be more than ready to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. Yet, he first spent 3 years in Arabia, learning from other disciples of Jesus Christ. If that was not enough, he spent another 14 years in preparation for his three missionary journeys that covered a period of about 10 years. During these last 10 years, he preached to countless people and wrote his seven letters to various churches, which are now preserved as a vital portion of the New Testament. 

Seventeen years in preparation for a 10 year ministry. Those were very productive gap years!

For the many people who are currently undertaking their gap years, be encouraged by the Apostle Paul’s example. God may not be calling you to 17 gap years but trust Him and His sovereign will that He is preparing you for a great ministry. The Apostle Paul did not focus upon the length of time but the quality of time that was spent learning from His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

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

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Burden Of Legacy (Matthew 1:5-6)

If your last name is Einstein, Beethoven, or Da Vinci, most people would assume you are related to the most famous member of your family. And if this is true, that is quite a burden of legacy to which you may be expected to fulfill. The opposite is also true. If your last name is Hitler, Capone, or Stalin, it may be difficult to overcome your legacy. It is only a name but people often associate a name with the attributes of the most famous member. Think of the pressure if your last name was Einstein or Hitler and you were applying for a job! No matter what you did, it would be difficult to escape this legacy.

The Bible is replete with lineages of many of its great saints. There is no greater lineage than that of Jesus Christ. For Jesus Christ to be accepted as the Messiah, the Anointed King of the Jewish people, it would be absolutely essential to establish that Jesus Christ was descended from the tribe of Judah and King David. In both the Gospels and Matthew and Luke, the lineage of Jesus Christ is established, unequivocally showing that He is a direct descendent of King David. 

Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab, fathered Obed by Ruth, Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered King David.

Matthew 1:5-6 (CSB)

The Gospel of Matthew adds an interesting twist and includes two women, Rahab and Ruth, who were gentiles and not Jews. Rahab was a prostitute and Ruth was a Moabite, a frequent enemy of the Jews. If I was a writer of one of the books of the Bible and  was attempting to establish the blood line and legacy of Jesus Christ, I would certainly be hesitant to include these two women. Wouldn’t it taint the legacy of Jesus Christ?

God reminds us that we should never be bound or burdened by the positive or negative legacies of our ancestors and other family members. Both Rahab and Ruth overcame their lineages and backgrounds and chose to obey and honor God in spite of the cultural and religious opposition. God honored these two women of faith by including them in the lineage of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We have been imbued with a free will to choose the direction of our lives. Choose God and establish a new legacy of faith and belief in Jesus Christ. 


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

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Jehu (2 Kings 9:6)

If one reads the Books of Kings or Chronicles in the Bible, it is evident that after the kingdom of Israel became divided, nearly every king of the northern kingdom of Israel was evil. Unlike the southern kingdom of Judah which gave the Hebrews great godly leaders like Solomon, Hezekiah, and Josiah, the northern kingdom was corrupt, led by its like-minded kings. The one exception was Jehu. God instructed the prophet Elisha to send one of his prophets to anoint Jehu as king.

So Jehu got up and went into the house. The young prophet poured the oil on his head and said, “This is what the LORD God of Israel says: ‘I anoint you king over the LORD’s people, Israel.

2 Kings 9:6 (CSB)

God called Jehu to be His servant and commanded him to deliver the kingdom of Israel from the evil King Ahab and his family. Jehu was successful and reigned for twenty eight years. Of the nineteen kings that ruled the northern kingdom of Israel, only Jehu faithfully served God. How does one man, born and raised in a kingdom led by evil kings for hundreds of years, have the courage and conviction to answer God’s call and restore order and morality to a wayward and sinful nation? Is there a lesson for Christian believers today?

In this age of political correctness and woke policies, it is increasingly difficult to proclaim one’s faith in Jesus Christ and not be canceled by others who claim that Christianity is not inclusive but bigoted, racist, and misogynistic. The irony is by operating under the noble banner of inclusiveness, these same shrill voices promote the very values they are supposedly seeking to eliminate. 

God’s calling for Jehu is our calling. Yet even as I acknowledge this, I have failed many times to take a strong and decisive stand for Jesus Christ. I am often intimidated by this pervasive and bigoted cancel culture that seeks to silence any semblance of Christian morality or values. Jehu’s courage to take a stand in a political and spiritual climate that was in direct opposition to God is encouraging. Was Jehu perfect? No, he was a sinner like me, and this should further encourage me. God is able to use anyone to accomplish His purposes. All Christians should find inspiration in Jeju’s example.

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

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“How Can I Repay You?” (Psalms 116:12-14)

“How can I repay you?”

His eyes twinkled. “You can’t!”

I smiled and placed my hand on his shoulder. “Well at least let me pay you for the cost of it.” 

He shook his head, “Your money is not good here. That’s what friends do for each other.”

Many years ago, a good friend of mine surprised me with a gift for which he knew I was searching. It was unexpected and greatly appreciated. We are still friends and I have tried to reciprocate his kindness by always being available to him when he needs assistance. Between friends, kindness and thoughtfulness is a beautiful way to express gratitude for an unexpected gift. What about God? He is the Almighty Creator of the Universe. He sustains my life and all living creatures with His will. How can I thank Him when He blesses me? He created and owns everything in this world. There is no material possession that I can give Him to express my gratitude. Is there anything that I can do to repay Him?

What can I offer the LORD for all he has done for me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the LORD’s name for saving me. I will keep my promises to the LORD in the presence of all his people. 

Psalms 116:12-14 (NLT)

I express my gratitude to God by praising Him and telling others what He has done for me. The proof for others to know my sincerity is when they see me obeying Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. As the beautiful old hymn by John Sammis states, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”


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