“We Don’t Have To Pray About It!” (1 Samuel 30:6-8)

“We don’t have to pray about it! We know this is right!”

I agreed. We all knew it was right, but I was still uncomfortable. I was young and spiritually immature, about to embark upon a missionary trip. We needed to make a decision about logistics and prioritizing our resources. The answer seemed obvious; naively, I acquiesced to my friend’s advice who was older and the leader of the group. God blessed our trip but I regretted not taking every decision to God, even for something that seemed spiritually and morally correct. 

David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the LORD his God. Then he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring me the ephod!” So Abiathar brought it. Then David asked the LORD, “Should I chase after this band of raiders? Will I catch them?”

And the LORD told him, “Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!”

1 Samuel 30:6-8 (NLT)

In this passage, David knew he had to rescue his wives and fellow Israelities who were taken captive by the raiding Amalekites. His followers were angry, blaming him for their losses. David’s cause was noble and no one would have questioned his decision to chase after his enemies, yet before he acted, he sought God’s guidance with his chief priest. God honored David’s faith and secured a victory for him and the Israelites, rescuing all who were taken captive. This is an important lesson for all who place their trust and faith in God. 

The Bible gives us a moving example with the story of Joseph. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery and he was imprisoned in an Egyptian jail. Only by the providence of God was Joseph released and elevated to second in common over the entire kingdom of Egypt. Many years later, Joseph was reunited with his brothers. Cowered before him, his brothers were fearful that he would take revenge upon them. Joseph certainly was justified to do that, however, he reassured them with these solemn words. 

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 

Genesis 50:19 (CSB)

Even if the cause or situation is morally or spiritually correct and it appears likely that God will bless and honor our decision, it is no excuse to neglect to bring the decision before God, humbly asking Him for guidance and direction. As Joseph recognized, when we take matters into our own hands, we elevate ourselves to the position of God, and this is a dangerous precedent. 

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

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“Who Would You Like To Meet?” (1 John 2:15-17)

“So if you could meet anyone in the Bible, who would you like to meet?”

I was enjoying an evening with two of my friends and the topic of conversation turned religious. I had thought about this question in the past so I quickly answered, “That’s easy. Jesus Christ!”

My friend smiled and said, “Well, yes, that’s an obvious answer. But who would you choose if it wasn’t Jesus Christ?”

I was intrigued. So many great saints flashed through my mind. Abraham. David. Paul. Peter. Like Jesus Christ, they were somewhat obvious. No, my choice would be different. After a few moments, I offered my choice. “Judas.”

My friends were surprised. “You mean Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus Christ?”

I nodded. “Yup.”

“Why?” My friends were aghast.

“Well, I figured that someday in Heaven, I will meet all of the great saints who are mentioned in the Bible, but who would not be there? There are many evil people in the Bible but Judas would certainly be on the top of many people’s lists. I want to know why he would betray his Lord.”

Judas betrayed his Master for thirty pieces of silver. He was stealing money from the treasury of Jesus and His disciples. Is this not evil personified? Judas lived with Jesus Christ for three years, witnessed countless miracles, listened to numerous sermons, and was even given the power to cast out demons and heal the sick. Yet, in spite of all these experiences, in spite of all the reassurances that Jesus was the Messiah, his desire for money and power usurped his devotion to his Master.  What was going through his mind? What turned his devotion? He loved the world more than he loved the living God. Why would I want to meet and have a conversation with Judas? There is an important lesson for all believers of Jesus Christ. 

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions—is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever. 

1 John 2:15-17 (CSB)

Judas loved the world and the things of the world. It superseded any devotion he had for Jesus Christ. Judas succumbed to his own sins, causing him to betray His Master. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. Would I ever act in the same manner as Judas? Of course not! Yet, how often am I seduced by the lust of my flesh, the lust of my eyes, and the pride of my possessions? I may rationalize little indiscretions and overlook a snide comment that I utter, but all sin is an affront to God. It is not the magnitude of the sin. It is giving in to the sin. This is what Judas did and this can easily happen to me. 

I want to meet Judas because he is a sober warning to all believers who place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We can never take our faith or obedience for granted. Every moment of our lives, we must continue to abide in Jesus Christ and seek His sustenance. He is the living bread and water of God and we need to continually come to Him for sustenance. 


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

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“I Have The High Ground!” (Proverbs 9:1-3)

“It’s over, Anakin. I have the high ground!”

The FALL of Anakin Skywalker: FIGHT with Obi-Wan Kenobi

One does not have to be a “Star Wars” fan to understand the earnest pleading of Obi-Wan Kenobi to his former protege, Anakin Skywalker, to resist his desire to attack him. Obi-Wan did have the high ground which created a precarious situation for any attacker. Ultimately, his warning proved prescient and Anakin was defeated. The Bible recognizes the importance of this strategic positioning. 

Wisdom has built her house; she has carved its seven columns. She has prepared a great banquet, mixed the wines, and set the table. She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come. She calls out from the heights overlooking the city. 

Proverbs 9:1-3 (NLT)

The woman named Folly is brash. She is ignorant and doesn’t know it. She sits in her doorway on the heights overlooking the city. 

Proverbs 9:13-14 (NLT)

Both Wisdom and Folly are perched above us, on the high ground. Upon casual comparison, it would appear both have the advantage over us, and this is exactly what Folly desires for us to believe. How can we discern to whom we should answer and obey and to whom we should reject? Jesus Christ warned of such deceptive people and how we can identify them. 

You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act…

Matthew 7:16 (NLT)

The answer is by the words and actions. Folly leads us to lie, steal, and slander others. Wisdom always leads us to God. It appears to be an easy distinction but Folly cloaks her actions under the banner of Wisdom. Only if we have the Spirit of God living within us, will we be able to discern the difference. 

Taking the high ground may result in a temporary advantage for our adversary but we should not fear the confrontation when we have God on our side. If we have confessed and repented of our sins and accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, He will always occupy the highest ground and carry us with Him. No folly, fear, or evil will ever supplant Him.


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

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My Library (Ecclesiastes 12:12-14)

“The Art of War”
“Outliers: The Story of Success”
“Rich Dad Poor Dad”
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
“Built to Last-Successful Habits of Visionary Companies”
“Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t “
“Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else

Even the venerable, “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie is there. Earlier in my professional career, I devoured every major business and self-help book that had been recommended by various pundits. My office has two bookshelves filled with these books. Included with these books are biographies of great leaders like John Adams, Andrew Jackson and Harry S Truman and entrepreneurs like Rockefeller and Carnegie. From these books, I learned many important life lessons which I pass along to my mentees and employees. However, the additions to my library stopped about fifteen years ago. Although there was wisdom in these books, I found that the time I spent reading them was taking away time that I could have spent reading the Bible. I was substituting the wisdom of man for the wisdom of God. 

But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body. The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:12-14 (NASB)

The author of the book of Ecclesiastes is usually acknowledged to be King Solomon, considered to be one of the wisest men who ever lived. He read and wrote many books and was an expert in many different areas of scientific study. Yet, at the end of his life, he reflected upon all the time he spent in these scholarly pursuits that was attempting to gain wisdom and arrived at an inescapable conclusion. The only true wisdom is found in a relationship with God, studying and meditating upon His Word. 

All of the wisdom of man comes from God and can only be found in the Bible. Don’t waste a lifetime seeking answers to life when God has revealed the Truth to us through faith and belief in His Son, Jesus Christ. 


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

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First Generation (Proverbs 4:5-8)

I am fortunate to currently have three first generation college graduates working in my office. I see this encouraging trend repeating when I review medical school applications and applications to medical residency programs. It is an absolute positive and a good beginning to break down the barriers that have disenfranchised so many because of socio-economics, race, culture, and religion. Malcolm X correctly stated, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

My extended family is represented by a broad diverse cultural heritage of White, Asian, Black, and Native American Indian. Each group has been disenfranchised at some stage since their arrival to America. I am a third generation Japanese-American. When my grandparents immigrated to the United States, they knew that education was the key to success and advancement. This is true but must be qualified. Knowledge alone is not sufficient. It is the passport and brings us to the door but to walk through it, one must have wisdom.

Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them. Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you. Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. If you prize wisdom, she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will honor you. 

Proverbs 4:5-8 (NLT)

Education gives us knowledge. Wisdom gives us judgment and the proper tools to apply the education. Without it, we would merely be book smart. There are many sinister forces in the world seeking to deceive and mislead, determined to divide and disenfranchise, leading to poor choices and bad judgment. The challenge is for all of us to recognize this and rise above it. For my three first generation college graduates and so many others, they have embraced the challenge. Like my grandparents, I enthusiastically support higher education for all and encourage the desire to seek knowledge and good judgment. 

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

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All I Want for Christmas (Psalms 50:23)

“Dad, what do you want for Christmas?”

I smiled and hugged my son. “I told you, I have everything I need. The only thing I want from you and your sister is for you to make me a Christmas card.” When I shared this story with a friend, he chuckled and said, “They probably said, ‘Dad, can’t I get you a necktie instead?’ “ We both laughed and it is probably true that it would be a lot less effort for them, but then, it would miss the point.

On the window sill in front of my desk in my home, are all the cards that my children have made or given to me for my birthday, Father’s day, and Christmas. While I have appreciated the gifts my children have bought me in the past, I will always hold these handmade cards closest to my heart. They were made only for me and there is no other possession that I have that will ever match these treasures. The great preacher, Charles Spurgeon, eloquently summarized this attitude. “It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”

For this Christmas, I pray that we reflect upon the reason we celebrate this day. God loved us so much that He gave us His only Son, Jesus Christ, to be born on this earth to become the Savior for everyone who places their trust and faith in Him. How can we ever thank God for this gift? How can we repay Him for His sacrifice of living and dying on this earth for our sins? How can we show Him gratitude for the power of the Resurrection that gives us salvation and eternal life?

He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who  orders his way aright

I shall show the salvation of God.

Psalms 50:23 (NASB)

While we may honor God with our possessions and talents, nothing will ever replace the act of simply taking a moment and thanking Him for sending Jesus Christ to us. God is seeking a personal sacrifice of praise because our happiness is complete when we rejoice and thank God for what He has done for our lives. It is our Christmas card to God and honors Him who lavished His love upon us.

Merry Christmas!

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

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Blessed But Not Saved (Psalms 73:11-12)

“That guy is blessed by God!”

My friend was speaking about a mutual acquaintance of ours. He was handsome, intelligent, successful, and talented. He was an Eagle scout in high school and attended an Ivy league college and an equally prestigious medical school and residency program. He was a superb classical guitarist, trained by one of the greatest classical masters in America. He was a hunter who once bagged a wild boar armed only with a hunting knife. Everything he did was accomplished with gusto and flair. He was blessed by God…but not saved.

The two are not equivalent. His story is a sad but familiar one. “Don’t you see all these evil people prospering, God? It isn’t fair!” This was the plaintive cry of his and many who observe the world and question the omnipotence or even the existence of God. God understands this and provides us a roadmap to understand how a loving God can allow evil to prosper in this world. It begins with resentment.

“What does God know?” they ask. “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?” Look at these wicked people—enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.

Psalms 73:11-12 (NLT)

For anyone truly seeking, God is willing to answer them. The realization begins with recognizing our own sinful nature. 

Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. 

Psalms 73:21-22 (NLT)

Once we confess and repent of our sins, we can begin to understand why we were created by God. This is the first step toward redemption.

Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. Psalms 73:25-26 (NLT)

God bestows upon us different talents and gifts. Why does He seemingly bless some with more gifts than others, even if they don’t believe in Him and reject Him? God is patient and desires all to come to Him by their own accord. The blessings we all receive from Him are intended to lead us to recognize that there is something greater than simply acknowledging our gifts and abilities. We exist only by the grace and mercy of God. Once we understand this, we will realize that any blessings we have received in this life are to be used in service to God and not ourselves.

We can be blessed and saved. We are all given a choice to accept God’s invitation to receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. This is God’s desire for His entire creation. 


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

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Jacaranda (Revelation 22:1-3)

“What is that tree? I love those purple blossoms!”

It was my second date with the woman who would become my wife. We were returning from our lunch date when we drove along a street lined by trees overflowing with exuberant purple flowers. Ironically, I had lived in the area for three years but had never noticed these trees.

“I don’t know…but I do know who might!” We were approaching the local botanical garden and I slowed and turned into the parking lot. Getting out, we went to the ticket office and asked the attendant who gave us our answer.


Blooming in the late spring and early summer, the Jacaranda will always remind my wife and me of the first week we met. The tree only gained my special appreciation when it became associated with our relationship. Prior to that, it was simply another tree, in spite of the magnificent burst of purple coloring. Many couples have a plant that is meaningful to their relationship. This is not surprising because God has done the same for His creation, reminders that are powerfully placed in the beginning and end of the Bible. 

Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 

Genesis 2:8-9 (NIV)

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 

Revelation 22:1-3 (NIV)

The Tree of Life was present in the Garden of Eden at the beginning of man’s history when there was perfection on earth. However, mankind willingly chose to reject God’s blessings and provisions. Yet, this did not stop God from carrying out His plan to restore the relationship that sin had ruptured. At the end of history, The Tree of Life will reappear to fulfill God’s promise to restore His creation to perfection, eternal life, and salvation through faith and belief in the Name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. 

The Jacaranda reminds me of my sacred marriage bond. The Tree of Life is God’s promise to restore the sacred relationship between Him and His Creation.


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

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Process or Answer? (John 11:25-27)

Many people have been asked oddball questions during their job interviews. One interesting example involved an interview at Amazon.com. The applicant interviewed with then CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos. Bezos said he would ask him two questions, the first was a brainteaser. “I’ll do the math,” Bezos said. “I want you to estimate the number of panes of glass in the city of Seattle.”

The applicant was astute enough to realize that Bezos was more interested in his problem solving abilities, breaking down a complex problem into manageable segments. His answer closely matched Bezos, and he was hired. 

Source: CNBC.com

It was an excellent example of how the actual answer may be less important than the process. Many of us have taken classes in which we are asked to show our work as we attempt to solve the problem. Even if we don’t arrive at the correct answer, if our approach is correct, we may receive partial credit. What about our salvation? Do we receive partial credit if we are able to provide an earnest rationalization for how we live our lives?

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who comes into the world.” 

John 11:25-27 (CSB)

When Jesus Christ posed this question to his dear friend, Martha, He was not seeking to understand her rationalization or reasoning. He was seeking a definitive answer. For challenging questions on job interviews, the process may be just as important as the final answer. For our salvation and eternal destiny, we may believe the same principle applies. Surely if we have treated others kindly, performed charitable works, even donated money to worthy causes, this should mean something? If we did all of these activities and showed God what we did with our lives, wouldn’t that count for something? These are all noble actions but salvation does not depend upon a process of works, it is only received with one correct answer.

Will you confess and repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

This is the process and the answer.


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

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No Significance (Psalms 8:3-4)

Thirty years ago, when I was a fellow in dermatopathology, I observed an unusual finding on the slide of a common skin cancer. I was unsure of its significance and brought the slide to my professor. As I pointed out the histological changes, I asked him, “I’ve read some conflicting things about this. Is there any prognostic significance?”

“No.” He paused. “I know why you are asking but unlike other skin cancers, this does not appear to be a poor prognostic sign.”

I was relieved but made a mental note and over the ensuing thirty years, I closely followed the medical literature and consulted with other colleagues ensuring that the opinions had not changed. Meanwhile, what my professor taught me that day was also communicated to my own residents.

Recently, I reviewed a journal article that convincingly demonstrated that this histologic change definitely has prognostic significance. Recalling my conversation with my professor and my previous teaching sessions with my own residents, I immediately forwarded the article to my colleagues and residents, explaining that this new data will change the way we manage this skin cancer. 

Medicine is dynamic, ever changing as new data and facts come to light. While this is exciting and ultimately leads to improved diagnoses and treatments for patients, some may also conclude that all knowledge is changing, with no absolute standard. Thus, the concept of an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent God is an anachronism. Some scientists scoff that if there is no current explanation for a phenomenon in nature, Christians immediately fall back on God and use it as an inclusive crutch, instead of searching for scientific proof or validation. For  these critics, Christianity is no different than ancient myths that surmised the sun was driven through the sky by a celestial chariot. 

Contrary to this narrow minded view, some of the leading scientists in the world are Christians. Francis Collins is a physician-scientist, responsible for many major discoveries in medical genetics. He led the Human Genome Project, responsible for mapping the entire human genome, a monumental task that was completed in 2003. He is currently the director of the NIH (National Institute of Health) and the recipient of numerous awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and National Medal of Science.

In his book, “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief”, Collins wrote that scientific discoveries are “an opportunity to worship.” His faith is exemplified by this quote, “The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. He can be worshiped in the cathedral or in the laboratory. His creation is majestic, awesome, intricate, and beautiful.”

I agree!

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? 

Psalms 8:3-4 (NIV)

God has endowed us with an amazing intellectual capacity and ability. The universe and all living creatures were created by God who has allowed us to discover some of the biochemical and physical processes that He put into place. Science and medicine are tools for mankind to understand the workings of God and ultimately point to the complexity of God’s sovereignty, not the ingenuity of man. 

Medicine is dynamic because God is unchanging, everlasting, and eternal!

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

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