Psychological Warfare (Judges 7:13-14)

In 1612, one of the greatest duels between two samurai warriors took place in Japan. Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro were acknowledged as the top swordsmen in Japan. They met in a previously arranged duel on Ganryu island. Musashi deliberately showed up three hours late. While he was ferried on a small boat to the isolated island, he carved a wooden sword from a spare oar. Leaping out of the boat and brandishing this oar, Musashi began hurling insults at Kojiro. Kojiro was furious that Musashi was late and drawing his sword, he discarded the scabbard. Musashi then declared, “If you have no more use for your scabbard, you are already dead!” All of the tactics rattled Kojiro. Within a few seconds it was over and Musashi defeated his most famous rival. It was psychological warfare, perfectly executed!

Source: Swords of Northshire

The Bible documents several examples of psychological warfare. On the eve of Israel’s battle with the Midianites, God caused one of the Midianites to dream that they would soon be defeated by Gideon, leading the Israelite army. 

Gideon crept up just as a man was telling his companion about a dream. The man said, “I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat!” His companion answered, “Your dream can mean only one thing—God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!” 

Judges 7:13-14 (NLT)

When Gideon heard about this dream, he was emboldened and rallied his army.

When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship before the LORD. Then he returned to the Israelite camp and shouted, “Get up! For the LORD has given you victory over the Midianite hordes!” 

Judges 7:15 (NLT)

Satan knows he has already been defeated by God but he desperately attempts to use his own psychological warfare to convince me otherwise. Like recognizing what Musashi did to Kojiro, I should recognize the mind games he inflicts upon me. It should be a simple matter for me to ignore his schemes. So why do I pay attention to the psychological warfare of the devil and not trust in God? Am I afraid that this time, Satan will win? Is God too weak? No! My faith is too weak!

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 

Romans 8:31-33 (NLT)

If God is fighting for you, no one can be against you. Faith and belief in Jesus Christ will always conquer Satan and the psychological warfare that he attempts to wage against our souls.


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

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African-American (1 John 4:19-21)

“I will introduce you to him, he’s a great guy!”

“Looking forward to it!”

My colleague was raving about his newest associate who joined his pathology group. He was one of the leading experts in the pathology of the kidney, prostate and the urological system. He recently left academia and entered private practice. I had read many of his papers and was duly impressed with his erudite discussions and astute observations. I was excited to meet him in person. I decided to prepare myself and found his webpage. In his biography, he introduced himself as African-American, a world traveler, and a lover of good food and wine. Very cool, I thought, we should have a lot in common. A week later, I met him in person at a conference. He was standing next to my colleague who introduced me. With sandy brown hair and a light complexion, he was not the image I had of an African-American. I later learned he grew up in South Africa before emigrating to the United States to pursue his medical residency training. He was proud of his African heritage and wanted others to acknowledge and recognize this.

I like to think of myself as inclusive and unbiased but here was a glaring example of my own biases influencing and coloring my thoughts, leading me to false assumptions. I began to understand that it was a symptom of a deeper problem. Microaggression is a relatively new word that encapsulates some of the issues. It is defined as “commonplace daily verbal, behavioral or environmental slights, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative attitudes toward stigmatized or culturally marginalized groups”. Source: 

As I examine my own thoughts and speech patterns, I realize that I am definitely part of the problem. The Bible is replete with examples of how racial, cultural, and religious biases have influenced us. What is the solution?

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And we have this command from him: The one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.

1 John 4:19-21 (CSB)

Love is more than words and actions, it needs to permeate our very soul, restructuring and realigning our thoughts. We cannot be content to make empty hollow statements declaring that we love others but fail to critically re-examine our thought lives. Prejudices and biases creep into our speech and influence our decisions. Even if unintentional, it is still wrong. We must actively pursue God and allow Him to transform and conform us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. Only by bringing every thought and action to the Cross will we be able to free ourselves of microaggression and the trappings of societal and cultural biases.

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

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Neuropathologists (Psalms 94:19)

Neuropathology is a board certified medical specialty requiring training in both clinical neurology and pathology. It is intellectually challenging and intimidates many neurologists, neurosurgeons, and pathologists. Anyone who has ever looked at a microscopic section of the brain usually had the same feeling I had when I first viewed it. It all looked the same! The pathological changes are subtle and demand a very practiced eye and ability to quickly assimilate the complex neurological signs and symptoms that may accompany the histopathological changes. With each encounter, my anxiety level was stratospheric.

Ironically, three neuropathologists greatly influenced my career choice. The first was the chair of the department of pathology who directed the pathology course during my second year of medical school. The second was a clinical professor who was chair of the department of one of the main teaching hospitals for my medical school. The third was the director of neuropathology in one of my residency programs. Because of their expertise in neuropathology, they were all amazing teachers, able to distill difficult concepts to easily understandable ideas that even a novice like myself could understand. It is no coincidence that they all practiced this relatively obscure and demanding medical specialty and I was inspired by them. What was once intimidating and anxiety provoking now became a passion and one of my favorite topics in diagnostic pathology.

My spiritual journey took a similar pathway. When I first began studying the Bible, I experienced a similar anxiety, intimidated by its immense size and dense verbiage. To complicate matters, I needed to understand Jewish history to place different events and customs within the proper context. As I began to read commentaries and other study aids, it became even more confusing. Words like grace, sanctification, propitiation-it all began to conflate and look the same. Like the first time I studied neuropathology, I was intimidated and anxious.

Thankfully, God allowed me to meet many godly brothers in Jesus Christ. Some of them were medical missionaries and only when I saw the Christian faith dynamically lived out through these faithful physicians, did I begin to understand. Words and concepts that once intimidated me became integrated within my vocabulary and thought life. My anxiety diminished as the complex theological concepts of the Bible became practical principles of Christian living and I allowed God to enlighten and console me. 

When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul. 

Psalms 94:19 (NASB)

Like the neuropathologists and medical missionaries who demonstrated complex concepts through practical examples, I find comfort in bringing my anxiety to God. Anxiety is self-inflicted. Left to my own efforts, I will flounder and drown in my turmoil. The way to understand the difficult concepts of the Bible is through practical living by faith, always coming to the Cross and humbling myself before my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

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

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Meeting The Parents (Exodus 20:12)

Many years ago, I proposed to the woman who would become my wife. After she accepted, we received congratulations from our friends but one important task was left for both of us. It was time to meet the parents! Her parents lived in the Philippines so she and I flew to Manila. When I arrived, all eyes were on me, scrutinizing and analyzing my body language and speech. Was I worthy of their daughter? Would I be a good provider? Would I honor her? Thankfully, all went well and the scenario successfully repeated a few months later when we flew to Hawaii to meet my parents. We have been married for nearly twenty five years but the first meetings with the parents were definitely the most stressful encounters for both of us. What would have happened if her parents didn’t like me? What if my parents didn’t like her? Would either of us have chosen to get married if there was not unanimous support from both sets of parents?

Meeting the parents. It is a scenario repeated throughout history and in all cultures. The customs may differ but the anxiety is the same. Does God have anything to say about the expectations of our parents for the approval of a marriage?

Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

Exodus 20:12 (CSB)

If either set of parents disapproved of one of us, I am certain we both would have taken much time to reflect upon their opinions. We wanted to honor our parents and seek their blessings for our marriage since we both acknowledged that they knew each of us very well and were seeking God’s will for our lives, just as we were. God speaks to His children in many different ways and our parents are a very powerful and important channel for His love and guidance. In these troubling times when children are suing their parents to divorce themselves from their care and jurisdiction, my wife and I are thankful that our parents raised us to respect them and fear our Heavenly Father.


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

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Like Or Dislike? (James 1:2-4)

I was enjoying a music video on a popular social media site. At the end of the video, a message flashed on the screen suggesting that if I liked this video, to hit the “Like” button and subscribe. Do social media and other internet sites solely depend upon whether the user will click a like or dislike button to determine whether their shows and content are a success? Definitely not! I have been on sites that I have never used or signed up for and, after being on it for a few minutes, within hours, I am receiving ads from companies that are important advertisers or supporters of that website. Clearly there are many sophisticated software algorithms and programs that are running in the background, analyzing very granular aspects of my behavior. What about God? Does He need my active participation to determine whether I like or dislike something?

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

James 1:2-4 (NLT)

God is not an abstract ethereal Being who sits on a heavenly throne and muses, “I wonder if he will like the situation I have placed him in?” God always knows my thoughts and actions, even before I do. Unlike an internet site, God does need me to act so that He will know how to respond. Instead of me asking whether I like or dislike the circumstances I find myself in, I should be asking, “What is God attempting to teach me?”

Like or dislike?

With God, the proper question that He asks me is, “Will you trust and obey?”

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

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Looking For Errors (2 Peter 1:20-21)

The limousine sped along the dirt road. The next scene followed the car from a different angle, but there was something different. I paused the movie and replayed the scene. Yes! The roof of the car was missing the satellite antenna, present in the first but not the second scene. It was a movie from 1973 and car phones were a rarity, reserved for the rich and powerful and required an antenna conspicuously placed on the roof or trunk of a car. Because of this, the error was obvious, at least to my eyes. 

It was the first time I noticed an error in a movie. I am sure if I looked for these errors, they would be easy to find as dozens of social media sites can attest. Many popular movies and television series have entire websites and social media pages dedicated to pointing out the errors and inconsistencies. Some are minor like the missing car antenna. Others are serious, like an actor wearing a wrist watch when the setting is ancient Rome. 

Not surprisingly, there are many websites also dedicated to exposing the supposed errors in the Bible. These sites are an attempt to prove the Bible is fallible and therefore, God is also fallible. Before I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I pored over much of the Bible looking for errors and read books that would challenge the inerrancy of the Bible. My premise was how could a book written by fallible humans contain the infallible and inerrant Word of God? How indeed?

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1:20-21 (NIV)

As is so often the case, I was asking the wrong question. The Bible was physically written by fallible humans but they were directed by God, the Holy Spirit. In other words, God Himself, wrote the Bible. Many so-called errors can easily be resolved when reading the original Hebrew or Greek texts of the Bible. Others can be resolved by the still emerging archaeological records. But the vast majority of so-called errors can be disproven if one simply reads a Bible passage within the context of the entire Bible. For example, in the Gospel of Luke, it is recorded that two men (angels) were in the empty tomb of Jesus.

While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.

Luke 24:4 (NIV)

In the Gospel of Matthew, only one angel was mentioned.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.

Matthew 28:2-3 (NIV)

Critics are quick to point out the discrepancy and error, but is it? Luke recorded two angels present. Matthew only mentioned one but this does not exclude the possibility that there were two angels present. As in any eyewitness account, there are different viewpoints. Reading both accounts shows the harmony and consistency of the Bible.

Looking for errors. 

Everything that we create will inevitably have errors. Everything that God creates is perfect, inerrant and infallible. The more one investigates, the more the absolute Truth of the Bible is confirmed. 


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

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We Had A Cat! (Psalms 123:2)

It was a Saturday afternoon and I came home after spending the day playing at my friend’s house. I was nine years old and when my mother heard me enter the house, she called out to me. “I have a surprise for you!” Intrigued, I went around to the backyard where my mother was hanging clothes on the clothesline. Nestled at her feet was a cat. She had short hair with calico-like coloring and an irresistible need to snuggle in your lap. I was ecstatic. “Can we keep her, Mom?” I anxiously asked as I stroked her back. 

My mother nodded but said we needed to make inquiries around the neighborhood to see if anyone lost a cat. We did but there were no responses. She had no collar or license and it was an era before microchipping. We decided to keep her as our own. We had a cat! I will never know why this cat chose my mother, instead of all other humans, to be her new owner. Perhaps, like myself, she sensed the caring spirit that my mother exuded. If a stray cat was intelligent enough to seek out care and comfort from a being greater than itself, shouldn’t humans also have as much common sense? One would hope but sadly, the opposite is often true.

Humans, like other animals, have an innate need to seek care and comfort. Yet humans so often turn to material comforts and even themselves before realizing that these are only cosmetic and ephemeral solutions to a deeper spiritual problem. This is what I did as I sought care and comfort in my career and many broken relationships. It was only when I realized that I was seeking someone beyond what I or other humans could provide, did my futile quest for fulfillment with these other relationships end, and I turned to God. 

Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the LORD our God, Until He has mercy on us.

Psalms 123:2 (NKJV)

This beautiful verse from the Book of Psalms captures the tender love and compassion that God has for His creation. My cat instinctively knew to whom to turn when she needed mercy, love, and protection. God created all of us with the same need; we are unfulfilled until we turn to Him. I pray that unlike myself, others will not have to suffer many wounds, pain, and abandonment before looking to God to receive His mercy.


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

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Supporting Your Arm (2 Chronicles 6:12)

I learned an interesting sign of respect from my Korean friends. When Koreans shake the hand of a superior or elder, they support their own arm by placing the opposite hand under their elbow or forearm. It signifies deference and respect to the person you are greeting, acknowledging their weighty presence and personality. Here is an illustration. 


What a lovely and practical way to show respect to another! As I reflected upon this, I wondered if there is a proper way to physically show respect to God?

There are many examples of the great saints of the Bible praying before God. Lying prostrate on the ground or on one’s knees are two common examples. Yet one that has always stood out to me was King Solomon when he dedicated the temple to God. It was a seven year undertaking and when it was completed, it was a temple like none other in the ancient world. He prayed to God by stretching out his hands and audibly praying before God. 

Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the entire congregation of Israel and spread out his hands.

2 Chronicles 6:12 (CSB)

Would God have been honored if Solomon fell on his knees and prayed to Him? The Bible does not tell us but I am quite certain Solomon’s prayers would have been received and honored by God. Why? God knew Solomon’s heart and his true intentions. The most important physical sign of respect to God is not with the position of our limbs or body, but with the position of our heart. 

…Humans do not see what the LORD sees, for humans see what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7 (CSB)

For some, it is physically impossible or not practical to kneel or raise one’s arms in prayer. It is reassuring to know that from whatever position we chose to honor God with our prayers, He honors our prayers when it comes from our hearts with the purest of intentions.

Praise the Living God!

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

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Who Gets The Credit? (Judges 8:1-3)

When I was a resident, I was fortunate to work with many fine mentors in surgical pathology. One of them was a paternal figure to all the residents in training. His open door policy encouraged us to frequently stop by and review problematic cases with him, even if he was not the attending physician on the case. One day, I had a troubling case with an unusual pattern that I could not match with any of my textbooks. Perplexed, I brought the case to him and pointed out the areas on the slide that were concerning to me. After a few thoughtful moments he declared, “This is a rare find. You found the key features.” He paused and smiled at me. “You made the diagnosis!”

I was flattered but embarrassed. I didn’t make the diagnosis, he did. Yet, when we presented the case at our weekly surgical pathology conference, he was quick to give me the credit. He did this with all of the residents. He had no ego; all he desired for us was to always keep the wonder of discovery and joy of learning in our hearts. It was a positive reaffirming experience. Many years later, I still attempt to emulate this and pass it along to my residents.  

Then the people of Ephraim asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us this way? Why didn’t you send for us when you first went out to fight the Midianites?” And they argued heatedly with Gideon. But Gideon replied, “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t even the leftover grapes of Ephraim’s harvest better than the entire crop of my little clan of Abiezer? God gave you victory over Oreb and Zeeb, the commanders of the Midianite army. What have I accomplished compared to that?” When the men of Ephraim heard Gideon’s answer, their anger subsided.

Judges 8:1-3 (NLT)

Gideon was one the judges of ancient Israel, chosen by God to lead the Israelites in a victory over the Midianites who were oppressing them. Inexplicably, the people of Ephraim, one of the tribes of Israel, did not equally share in the revelry and complained to Gideon that he excluded them. How did Gideon respond? He swallowed his pride and pointed to an earlier accomplishment of the Ephraimites, claiming their victory was far greater than his. Hearing this mollified the Ephraimites and stabilized Gideon’s leadership. 

President Ronald Reagan stated, “There is no limit to what a man can accomplish if he doesn’t care who gets the credit.” This is exactly what Gideon did.  Just as my professor in residency did for me, Gideon gave others the credit. This is an inspiring life lesson. God calls upon all of us to approach Him and life with a humble heart. If we do, at the appropriate time, He will honor us for our faithfulness and trust. 

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. 

James 4:10 (NLT)


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

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Living Close (Hebrews 10:24-25)

I have an acquaintance who deliberately purchased their home in close proximity to their temple for their religion for which his family follows. While it was for geographic convenience, since their family participated in many activities that occurred at this temple, he also believed that their family would be protected by literally living within the shadow of the temple. They were not alone. The property values of the homes around the temple had outpaced similar homes in the same area. 

Does living close to a house of worship impart spiritual blessings upon a person and their loved ones? Our current church is located just five minutes from our home. In the past, I have attended churches that were as far as an hour away by car. The deciding factor for me was never the geographical proximity but the spiritual proximity of its members. 

And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (CSB)

The COVID pandemic has radically changed the way many Christians, including my family, currently worship. For over 18 months, we have been attending our church worship through online services. Of the several churches we have attended, we connected with several members in one church. This led to more connections and interactions. While we do not meet in person, we have been encouraged by their text messages and emails. But it is not only this church, many brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, from other churches we have attended in the past, have reconnected with us during these difficult times. They encourage us in our faith in spite of the physical distancing and challenges. 

The Church, the Body of Jesus Christ, will never be limited by geographic boundaries. Living close is always possible when we are united as brothers and sisters through faith and belief in Jesus Christ. 


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

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