“Quick! Grab The Candle!” (1 Chronicles 29:12)

“Happy birthday to youuuuuuuuu!”

I made a wish and blew out the candle.

“Quick! Grab the candle!” Before I could soak in the moment, my wife grabbed the candle and wiped off the frosting. It was ready for the next birthday celebration!

Yes, we recycle our birthday candles. Is this excessively cheap? Perhaps. I have an acquaintance who washes his used paper towels and hangs them up to dry so that he can reuse them. Is that excessive? Who decides when an action is frugal and thoughtful or simply ludicrous and excessively cheap? Clearly if the action endangers one’s health or the health of others, that should be a warning. Reusing paper towels is borderline acceptable. But there are many other examples that are worthy of our attention and effort. Conserving water, recycling garbage, and composting our organic waste are simple but efficient means of wisely using our resources. Yet there are many who make it their life’s mission to point out that we can all do more, and if we don’t, we should be publicly shamed on social media.

I am gratified that God does honor frugality and the wise use of our resources. He asks us to examine the motives for our actions. 

Riches and honor come from you, and you are the ruler of everything. Power and might are in your hand, and it is in your hand to make great and to give strength to all.

1 Chronicles 29:12 (CSB)

Everything belongs to God. Thus, the true motive for our actions should be clear. Everything we do should be to honor God and the wise use of our limited resources is no exception. This is my motivation, not to acquiesce to the shrill voices of a woke crowd, but to answer to the omnipotent voice of God.

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

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See My Teacher’s House (1 Peter 2:4-5)

Like many children, I always looked up to my teachers with awe and respect. They seemed to be on a different plane of existence, unreachable and unapproachable, different from my parents or family members. And why not? Teachers are very knowledgeable. They have the difficult task of synthesizing difficult topics and presenting it in an understandable and entertaining format for kids like myself, with an attention span measured in seconds. I am greatly indebted to many of my teachers for helping to instill within me a love for learning, which continues to this day. 

One day when I was in the car with my mother, she pointed to a house a few miles from ours, and informed me that my teacher lived in that house. I was enamored at seeing my teacher’s house for the first time. There was something deliciously exciting, almost clandestine, as I gained an intimate view into the private life of my teacher. She lived in a home, not too different from my own. She no longer seemed so distant and unreachable. Perhaps we had more in common than I thought! 

My experience with God is very similar. Before I became a Christian, I envisioned God as some cosmic grandpa, sitting on a throne and directing the events of the universe. He was distant and unreachable. When I became a Christian, my understanding of God greatly expanded. God,the Holy Spirit, actually dwelled within me. I became a part of God’s spiritual temple!

You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 

1 Peter 2:4-5 (NLT)

God, through His Holy Spirit, allows me to see how He directly works in my life. He is my greatest teacher, the One who inspires me to continue to learn more about Him. I esteem Him on the highest pedestal and yet He is not distant, but continually with me.

What an amazing God we serve!

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

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Enslaved (2 Peter 2:18-19)

When I first began my professional career, I outlined an ambitious five and ten year plan. During that period in my life, I was not walking with God and turned my back on Him. The passion and drive for my career was my substitute for a life that was previously spent in obedience to God. I convinced myself that I could find fulfillment in my career. Once that happened, everything else would fall into place. I would buy a house, find a wife, and all my dreams would come true. Simple. 

The irony is that what initially seemed to be the answer became the problem. While my professional success grew, my personal losses accelerated. I was dissatisfied with everything. Many personal relationships, including with my father, were in ruins. A life apart from God was not the answer. 

The late evangelist, Ravi Zacharias, eloquently summarized the problem. “While pain can often be seen as a means to a greater end, pleasure is seen as an end in itself. And when pleasure has run its course, a sense of despondency can creep into one’s soul that may often lead to self-destruction. Pain can often be temporary, but disappointment in pleasure gives rise to emptiness-not just for a moment, but for life.”

God reminds us, through the words of the Apostle Peter, of this same fate. 

For by uttering boastful, empty words, they seduce, with fleshly desires and debauchery, people who have barely escaped from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, since people are enslaved to whatever defeats them.

2 Peter 2:18-19 (CSB)

Enslaved to whatever defeats them. 

How easy and seductive it is to be ensnared by the very values that we believe enlighten and free us! I learned a painful lesson, one which I am still reaping the consequences. Thanks be to God that through His grace and mercy, He brought me to my knees and I repented of my carnal lifestyle and recommitted my life to serving Him. 

My five and ten year plans of the world have been replaced by my eternal plan of salvation through faith and belief in Jesus Christ. 

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

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“What Have You Done For Me Lately?” (Psalms 78:18-20)

“Yes, Jake helped us out, but that was over five years ago. What has he done lately? He makes excuses and assigns other people his work and then he takes credit for it.”

I was listening to my laboratory manager of a hospital for which I once worked, lamenting the performance of one of the section supervisors. When he first began in the laboratory, he was an uncorked bottle of champagne, seemingly everywhere, always willing to help out. Yet over time, his enthusiasm waned and he got by with minimal effort. 

When someone is performing at an elite level, expectations are high for that person to continue their performance at the same or higher level. These individuals have to find ways to reinvent themselves. While some are successful, some simply rest upon their laurels and hope that memories of their former accolades will be enough to carry them through. It happens to professional athletes, people in business, artists and musicians-every activity or occupation that requires skill and creativity to succeed and thrive. No one is immune, not even God. 

They stubbornly tested God in their hearts, demanding the foods they craved. They even spoke against God himself, saying, “God can’t give us food in the wilderness. Yes, he can strike a rock so water gushes out, but he can’t give his people bread and meat.”

Psalms 78:18-20 (NLT)

Thousands of years ago, the Hebrews asked the same question of God. Sure, God miraculously rescued them from slavery in Egypt, leading at least a million of them through the Red Sea. Yes, God also closed the Red Sea on the pursuing Egyptians, completely destroying their army. God also fed them manna, a nutritionally complete meal, for forty years as they wandered through the desert. But all of that didn’t matter. That was then, this is now. What have YOU done for me lately?

I often have the same arrogant attitude. Like the Hebrews, my long term memory of God’s grace and mercy in my life often shrinks to short term memories. Sure, you cured me of my allergies that I suffered from for over thirty years. Yes, you blessed me with a job and family. That was then, this is now. Pitiful and pathetic. Instead of complaining and asking God, “What have YOU done for me lately?” I should be repentant and thankful to Him and ask, “What can I do for YOU?”


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

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“They Support The Dodgers!” (John 15:18)

“We need to fill up, where’s the nearest gas station?”

“There is one at the next intersection but I don’t want to go there. Let’s go to the one closer to the mall.”


“They support the Dodgers!”

I was driving with my friend who was an avid Los Angeles Dodgers’ fan. While I knew that he attended many games and rarely missed a television or radio broadcast, I did not know his passion for the team extended to businesses that also supported the Dodgers. While I did not share the same values as he did, I respectfully agreed to abide by his wish and drove to the gas station he suggested. I admired him for his loyalty to something he believes in. 

Unfortunately, in these divisive times, support for different businesses have taken on violent overtones with different activist groups publicly shaming and canceling individuals and businesses for the values which they support. Christians and the businesses they support have been victimized. Ironically the very groups that clamor for inclusiveness and tolerance act in the complete opposite manner when it involves Christians. While these groups could simply boycott and refuse to support businesses that proclaim Christian values, they take it one step further, clamoring for social ostracism, shutting down their business, or worse. 

In America and many democracies, we have the freedom to choose which businesses to support. If we perceive its values do not meet with ours, like my friend choosing to support gas stations that support his favorite baseball team, we can simply choose to not do business with them. I wish it could end there but it will not. Something more sinister than a woke cancel culture is happening. 

If the world hates you, understand that it hated me before it hated you.

John 15:18 (CSB)

For many Christians, the attacks feel personal. They are, but are not directed at individual Christians. They are directed at the person of Jesus Christ. Our Lord stated this thousands of years ago and it is more true today. God’s Truth is absolute. The relative morality of the world is diametrically opposed to God’s Word. Christians must stand firm and defend our faith, even if it means persecution.

There is no compromise. Christians support Jesus Christ. 

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

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