“I Was Flying!” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

“Are you ready?”

I nodded, hoping my wide opened eyes didn’t betray my fear. My guide motioned a thumbs up. The roar of the turbine fans was deafening as I leaned forward into the chamber. In a second, I was suspended in mid-air. I was flying!

I was participating in an indoor skydiving ride. Giant turbine fans blew upward in a closed chamber with hurricane-force wind speed. A crew member controlled the speed of the turbines, adjusting it to the weight of the participants. My guide held on to me as I took my first hesitant movements in this airborne environment. After he was confident that I was successfully assuming the correct position to remain suspended, he let go of me for a few seconds, never more than inches away. On my first ride, I was hovering at a height of about four feet but on the second ride, I was elevated to a height of nearly twenty feet, my guide in constant contact with me. It was exhilarating and frightening!

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hope to someday repeat it. However, I do not have the same desire to do an actual outdoor skydiving even though my guide informed me that this experience is equivalent. I am afraid of heights and I do not have as much confidence with a parachute as I do with an instructor holding on to me and another controlling the power turbine fans, assuring me that I would never be subject to a fatal fall. No, I am looking forward to a different, far more glorious flight.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NLT)

God has a promise to all who have confessed and repented of their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We will all someday meet Him in the sky. Unlike my experience on the indoor skydiving ride, I will have absolutely no fear. My guide will be my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

What a wonderful promise! I was flying and someday, I will fly again!

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

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

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Nostalgia (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

I was listening to a beautiful modern rendition of a classic song. Although I was unfamiliar with the tune, I knew it was a popular tune during World War II. Many soldiers and their loved ones listened to this in hopeful expectation that they would be safely reunited. As I perused the online comments associated with the music video, many of an older generation posted their comments about how this song sustained them and their parents during difficult periods. I also came upon this insightful anonymous observation that elegantly summarized the feelings of myself and others.

“Weird how songs can make you feel nostalgic for memories you never had.”

Nostalgia evokes a longing for the past that is usually associated with fond memories. I was not yet born when this song was popular but I could definitely relate to the intense emotions and memories that were shared. We read in the Bible about the Garden of Eden. It was paradise that God created for the first couple, Adam and Eve. It was intended to be their eternal home with continual fellowship with God. Unfortunately, paradise was marred when both sinned, disobeying God, and banished from the Garden. Although none of us have ever lived there, we all long for this Paradise. Why?

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)

It is not a coincidence that we have a nostalgia for a memory we have never had. God created all of us with a God-shaped hole within our hearts, placing eternity in our hearts. Praise God for His grace and mercy to all who place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!

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

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Encyclopedia Brown (Ecclesiastes 12:12-13)

“I know you are lying, and I will prove it!”

With that statement, the intrepid 10-year old boy adroitly pointed out the factual flaws spoken by the con artist. Encyclopedia Brown had solved another mystery! When I was about 8 years old, I read the library’s entire collection of Encyclopedia Brown aka Leroy Brown. Brown was a walking trove of facts and trivia. He used this knowledge to solve mysteries, crimes, and help others. I am pleased to see these books are still popular. 

Encyclopedia Brown (penguinrandomhouse.com)

In retrospect, these stories inspired me to be like him. About the same time I was reading these books, my parents gifted me with an encyclopedia set and I spent every free moment reading through all of the volumes. I did not use the knowledge to solve crimes but it did begin my life long interest to learn, continuing with my career as a surgical pathologist and dermatopathologist. What is the goal of learning all this knowledge? Encyclopedia Brown used it to help others. I have used it to stay current with the latest medical knowledge and help my patients and colleagues. Is there an even greater goal for which we should aspire?

But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out. That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 

Ecclesiastes 12:12-13 (NLT)

King Solomon, the wisest man of his time, was the author of Ecclesiastes and wrote the verses quoted above. He was a man whose prodigious study and writings would undoubtedly fill a modern day encyclopedia. Thus, it is instructive that at the end of his life he concluded that the end goal of learning is to learn to fear and respect God by obeying His commands. Good advice! God created and imbued us with this desire to learn. We should use this knowledge in service to God, helping others to see and learn of His grace and mercy for our lives. 


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

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Worth It (Acts 5:1-6)

“A thing worth having is a thing worth cheating for.”

W.C. Fields

The American comedian, W.C. Fields, quipped this over a hundred years ago, yet it still resonates with current sensibilities. The world informs us that if it feels good, do it. Riches. Fame. For some, these are the ultimate goals of life and if one needs to cheat to obtain it, why not? But what is the most important thing that is worth having? A family? A home? What about the salvation of our souls? The Bible bluntly records this exchange between the Apostle Peter and two alleged followers of Jesus Christ. 

But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest. Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!” As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified. Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, and took him out and buried him. 

Acts 5:1-6 (NLT)

As if that were not enough, when Sapphira arrived three hours later, she was unaware of what happened to her husband, but would soon join him. 

About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?” “Yes,” she replied, “that was the price.” And Peter said, “How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this? The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door, and they will carry you out, too.” Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. When the young men came in and saw that she was dead, they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened. 

Acts 5:7-11 (NLT)

Is it worth it? Many, like the tragic examples of Ananias and Sapphira, have tried to cheat and lie their way into heaven. It does not have to be this way. Salvation is worth having and this is why Jesus paid the penalty for our sins because we could never achieve this by our own actions. No lying. No cheating. Salvation is offered as a free gift to all who confess and repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. 

It is definitely worth it!

Praise God for His grace and mercy to all of us.

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

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Saturday (Hebrews 4:9-10)

“Good night! Happy Good Friday and have a Happy Easter Sunday!”

As I said my farewell to my co-workers at the end of the workday on Good Friday, a thought crossed my mind. Why don’t we mention Saturday? For many of us during Easter weekend, it is a day of preparation, usually for a family gathering around an Easter meal. However, we never speak of Saturday. What happened in Jerusalem on the first Easter weekend? While the Bible does not give us any details of what happened, we do know that Saturday is the Sabbath, the day of rest for the Jews. It was established by God when He created the universe. After six days of creative activity, God rested. He did not rest because He was tired. He rested because He ceased from laboring. The Jews also observed the Sabbath and had strict regulations about what types of activities could be done on the Sabbath. What was Jesus Christ doing?

Even Bible scholars are divided on what happened on that day. Some suggest that Jesus descended into hell to free those who died in faithful service to God. Others suggest nothing happened, it was a solemn day of silence as Jesus lay in rest in His tomb. Regardless, one fact is certain. On Sunday, Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead. He received a glorified body, one that still bore the marks of Crucifixion. 

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.

Hebrews 4:9-10 (NIV)

During the Saturday of the first Easter weekend, Jesus became our Sabbath-rest. We no longer have to work for our salvation by doing good works and following rules and regulations. We enter into the Sabbath rest of Jesus Christ by confessing and repenting of our sins and accepting Him as our Lord and Savior. 

For many of us, the Saturday of Easter weekend is a day of preparation. It was also a day of preparation for God. On that Saturday, God, the Father, was preparing the world to receive the resurrected Savior. Even on a day when seemingly nothing was happening, the most important event in Creation was about to occur. Jesus Christ would conquer death.

There are times we may feel dejected and abandoned, thinking that God has forgotten us. No doubt the disciples and many of the followers of Jesus Christ felt the same way on that Saturday after seeing their Lord crucified. Easter Sunday, the Resurrection, reminds us that no matter how dark our current circumstances may appear, God is always at work, preparing us to experience even greater glories. 


Christ is risen!

Christ is risen indeed!

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

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Fasting From Whiteness (Romans 2:4)

The Christian season of Lent is a time of preparation for Easter. During this period, some choose to willingly give up a pleasure, such as chocolate, or make additional sacrifices on behalf of others. Thus, I was intrigued when I read the following headline about how one church was observing this tradition. They were observing a fasting from whiteness. As part of their activities, they would abstain from signing any songs that were written or composed by White people. Instead, they would only focus upon songs written by African-Americans, South African freedom songs, and Native American traditions. 

Source: Fox News

In their church website, they advocate a policy of inclusion, “valuing people of all races, ethnicities, cultural identities, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities in every aspect of our congregational life.” The irony of their self-proclaimed inclusiveness is that it isn’t; it is discriminating against whites!

God loves all people because He created us. While we may differ by race, ethnicity, and a myriad of other identities, we do have a shared identity. We are all sinners. Instead of focusing upon the differences that divide us, shouldn’t we focus upon God who unites us?

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? 

Romans 2:4 (NLT)

Instead of invoking actions that can lead to further division, Christians should focus their attention upon our only true hope in this world broken by sin. Jesus Christ stands at the door of our hearts and gently knocks. He is asking all of us to confess and repent of our sins and accept Him as Lord and Savior. He asks with kindness that is intended to turn us from our sins. Let’s look to Jesus Christ for our inspiration for inclusion. He makes no distinction. He came to save all sinners.


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

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“I Love You” (Galatians 6:17)

It was the first time one of my coworkers was wearing a short sleeved shirt. Near her right elbow, I noticed an unusual tattoo. It appeared to be an EKG tracing but on closer inspection, it was recognizable as a voice print. When I questioned her about it, she smiled and explained the origin. 

“It is my older sister telling me she loves me! She has one tattooed on her ankle of me saying the same thing to her! We copied the voice prints from our cell phones!”

What a clever and original way to express love to one another! Here is an example of what a  similar tattoo looks like.

Source: Etsy.com

From now on, don’t let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus.

Galatians 6:17 (NLT)

The Apostle Paul boldly declared his love for Jesus Christ. In another epistle, Paul recounts how he was beaten with rods and whipped on numerous occasions, shipwrecked three times, and even stoned (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). Paul’s scars were his tattoos declaring his love for His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

What is the cost of showing our love for one another? For my co-worker, it was a willingness to share a unique tattoo. For the Apostle Paul, it was a bold declaration that any suffering or physical harm he experienced for Jesus Christ was not only a mark demonstrating his love for Him, it was the handwriting of Jesus Christ, written upon Paul’s own body.

Praise God for His message of love!

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

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Didn’t Appreciate It (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)

When I was growing up in Hawaii, every party I attended had a massive platter of sushi and sashimi. At that time, the ocean around the islands still had plentiful fish, particularly tuna, and much of the fish were locally sourced and for good reason. Many aficionados claim that Hawaiian Big Eye tuna is very special, even better than tuna sourced from Japan. This was always a part of every celebration. Sadly, I never partook of this because during this time in my life, I didn’t like the taste of raw fish. I was living in one of the best areas in the world for this delicacy and I did not appreciate it. It was not until nearly 15 years later did I discover my current love for these dishes. By then, I no longer lived in Hawaii. 

Much of my spiritual life was spent in similar ignorance. How often do I forget that the unlimited power and blessings of God dwells within me? When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit immediately indwelled within me. God is living within me! Why am I not living a life confident that I am empowered by God?

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (NLT)

I didn’t partake of the bountiful blessings that were continually before me when I was growing up. As an adult and Christian, I often fail to partake of the bountiful blessings that Jesus Christ offers me. Why? God is Almighty but I am a fragile clay jar, corrupted by sin and continually rebelling against my Creator. Only through the saving grace of God can I experience the true blessings of God as He transforms and conforms me into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Praise God for His grace and mercy!

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

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Gaffe (Matthew 26:74-75)

“A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth — some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.”

Michael Kinsley, American Journalist and Political Commentator 

With the prominence of social media, gaffes that would only occasionally be reported are now instantaneously blared throughout the world. Gaffes are not limited to politicians, anyone may commit them. However, whether the gaffe is the truth is open to interpretation. 

One possible gaffe is recorded in the Bible. Jesus Christ had been arrested by the Jewish leadership and was on trial. While this was happening, Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples was lurking nearby. Unfortunately, he was recognized by several people who accused him of being one of Jesus’ followers. Peter defended himself three times, denying that he knew Jesus.

Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed. Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly. 

Matthew 26:74-75 (NLT)

Peter was desperately attempting to save himself stating that he didn’t know the Man. Of course it was a lie, but did he inadvertently speak the truth? In spite of being with Jesus for three years, witnessing numerous miracles, his very words may have revealed his heart and true feelings. Perhaps He truly didn’t know Jesus? If he did, he would not have denied His Lord and Savior. 

It was a tragic statement. Yet sometimes I wonder if I would have done the same if I was in the place of Peter? When life is comfortable, it is easy to proclaim my love for Jesus Christ but if I was threatened with imprisonment, torture, and execution, would I have faltered?

Was it a gaffe? For all who claim to follow Jesus Christ, we should ask ourselves if we truly know the Man. Do we know what the Truth is?

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

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“It Is Hollow!” (Luke 6:49)

On our recent visit to the many hiking trails near Zion national park, we embarked on a half day expedition through several impressive canyons. As I walked on the thousands of layers of limestone, formed over millions of years, some of my steps elicited a familiar sound. Was the rock I was hiking on hollow? I immediately asked my guide who confirmed my suspicions.

“It is hollow!”

She explained that the limestone we were hiking on was overlying large caverns, many feet below us. Although the stone we were hiking upon appeared to be solid, with time, it would erode and collapse with future floods and rains, forming the canyons and caves that surrounded us. Although such events were likely far ahead in the future and rare, one never really knew when it may occur and there had been reports of areas unexpectedly collapsing, sometimes with deadly outcomes. Jesus Christ warned His disciples of a similar fate.

But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.

Luke 6:49 (NLT)

Unless we have a firm foundation in God, like the massive cliffs that I walked upon, we are susceptible to collapse. When Jesus Christ taught this parable, the foundation of which He spoke was hearing God’s Word, obeying, and acting upon it. If we only give a perfunctory nod to obeying God’s Word, we will collapse when the floods, the problems of life, inevitably come upon us. 

It was naive and even foolhardy of me to think that the limestone I was hiking upon would not collapse for many years. There was no way of knowing when it would happen. In life, we also do not know when calamity will strike us. We may grow overconfident, believing that our savings or retirement portfolio will carry us through financial strife. We may rely upon our health insurance to take care of a catastrophic injury. The truth is we do not know. All of these assurances are as hollow as the limestone I hiked upon.

Rather than hoping we will not collapse during the storms of life, we should choose to build our lives upon faith and belief in Jesus Christ. Every word in the Bible points to our need to confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ is the true Rock, the foundation upon which we must all build our lives.

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

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