“If You Ever Need Anything..” (Philippians 2:5-8)

It seemed innocent enough. A couple was stopped by a sheriff’s deputy for driving their golf cart on a public road without a license plate. When the deputy questioned the couple, one of the passengers flashed her identification badge and said that she was, “hoping that you’ll just let us go tonight.” The passenger handed the deputy her business card, and informed the deputy, “If you ever need anything, call me. Seriously.” It is likely that incident would not have been reported except the passenger was the local police chief and the entire interaction was recorded on the deputy’s bodycam. A few days later, the mayor of the city chastised the police chief who then resigned her position. 

Source: CNN

People in authority often seek to use their position for personal gain. One sordid tale that is recorded in the Bible involves King Ahab of Israel. He was an evil and godless king who used his position and power to execute one of his own citizens on false charges so that he could then seize his land. What was the result? Like the hapless police chief, Ahab could not escape judgment for his actions. God told him that he would die a miserable death. A few years later, this came to pass.

So the king died and was brought to Samaria, and they buried him there. They washed the chariot at a pool in Samaria (where the prostitutes bathed), and the dogs licked up his blood, as the word of the LORD had declared. 

1 Kings 22:37-38 (NIV)

God is not mocked! What we reap, we sow. How different is the attitude of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death —even death on a cross! 

Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV)

Jesus Christ is God, but He put aside His divine privileges to become human. While human, He was still fully God. Yet, He did not use His authority and privilege for personal gain but humbled Himself, allowing Himself to be crucified so that He could redeem us of our sins. Because of His sacrifice, if we ever need anything, we can confidently call upon His Name for salvation and eternal life.

Praise God!

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

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Perfect Storm (Colossians 2:13-15)

We knew about it for a week. It was a scheduled power outage for our neighborhood, arranged by our local electric company. It was a minor inconvenience but since it was scheduled during a weekday afternoon, when I and the majority of my neighbors were at work, we presumed the disruption to our lives would be minimal. 

Around 10 PM, a police helicopter began circling overhead, searchlight bearing down upon our neighborhood. After several minutes of successive flybys, a loudspeaker was heard above the chopper blades. “To anyone in 38 Kingston Drive, the house is surrounded. Come out of the house immediately!”

Oh my! 

The next day, we learned from our neighbor that a gang of experienced thieves had seized upon the power outage to simultaneously rob two houses in our neighborhood, literally right across the street from our home. The normally closed electric gate to the community was open. Alarm systems and monitoring cameras were offline. Many homeowners chose to leave their homes during the outage. It was a perfect storm for a robbery, the convergence of several calamitous events, amplifying the interactions. 

The Bible describes another grim perfect storm-the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. He was betrayed by one of His disciples. His authority was rejected by the Jewish priests. He was sentenced to die by the Romans, branded a threat to their empire. All of the hopes and dreams of those who believed He was the Messiah seemingly ended on that fateful day-a perfect storm for evil to triumph over good. 

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. Colossians 2:13-15 (NLT)

It may have appeared to have been a perfect storm for evil, but God is never powerless to overcome Satan. No matter how hopeless the situation, God is always in control! A shameful execution became the nexus of God’s plan to reconcile the perfect relationship that sin had broken between man and God. All of our sins were nailed to the cross. All of the accusations and lies that were hurled against man by Satan were destroyed. It was a perfect storm! God triumphed over Satan and evil!

God always wins! He calms and controls the storms of life. 


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

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Independent Contractor (Ruth 2:4)

In the workplace, there are usually two categories of workers. An employee is required to work a predetermined schedule at designated locations. They can avail of a variety of employer provided benefits that may include, but is not limited to, health care, unemployment insurance, vacation pay, and pay for sick time and maternity leave. In contrast, an independent contractor has no benefits but is able to set their own hours and schedule. This definition used to be quite clear but recent disputes and negotiations between states, major companies, and its workers have begun to blur the distinctions.

The gig worker in the modern economy has emerged and with a new name, there are new definitions. In some states, laws have been passed that require companies in certain industries to provide employer benefits to workers who would have previously been classified as independent contractors. Essentially a new category of workers has been created. 

At the heart of this issue is the nature of the relationship between employer and worker. If the expectations between the two are in sync, there should be no need to create new categories of workers. It is not surprising that the Bible outlines the principles of an ideal workplace. 

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites. Masters, be just and fair to your slaves. Remember that you also have a Master—in heaven. 

Colossians 3:22 – 4:1 (NLT)

While we no longer use the labels of masters and slaves, this passage illustrates the most important relationship that should guide all workplace relationships. Both employer and worker ultimately answer to God. There is no new category of worker, there is only a new relationship through faith and belief in Jesus Christ. Perhaps someday, employers and workers will enter into a relationship based upon trust and reverence of God, rather than fear of retaliation from either party. On that day, a harmonious relationship will once again exist as exemplified between Boaz and his workers. 

…Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters. “The LORD be with you!” he said. “The LORD bless you!” the harvesters replied. 

Ruth 2:4 (NLT)

Is this too idealistic? Not when we are all contracted to work for God.


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

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Changing One String (1 Kings 12:6-11)


I groaned as I immediately recognized the sound. Sure enough. The frayed end of a string tangling from one of my guitars was testimony that one of the strings had snapped. As many guitar players have experienced, usually only one string breaks at a time. It can break during a performance or at rest. During a performance, one can quickly replace the string, but this may not resolve a more serious problem. If the remaining strings are also brand new, there is not usually a problem. However, replacing a brand-new string on a guitar strung with older strings will lead to a tonal imbalance; while one can play the guitar, the sound quality is far from ideal. The only solution is to change the remaining strings so that all of the strings are new and balanced. 

Finding the right balance is important in many areas of life. When a new CEO takes over a company, sometimes the only way to set the company in a new direction and restore balance is to replace the former senior management with new blood. Other times, the new CEO may successfully lead, occasionally keeping some, if not all, of their predecessor’s management team. The business world is replete with successful examples of both strategies. The recent changes at Twitter, when Elon Musk took over, is a dramatic example. The jury is still out whether his actions will be successful. 

It is not always necessary for a new CEO to replace the entire leadership of a company. Like the guitar strings, it is possible to achieve a good balance if the rest of the management are also relatively new or are in sync with the new CEO. The Bible gives us a tragic example of a leader who ignored the management and advice of his predecessor. King Rehoboam was the son and successor to King Solomon. Under Solomon’s reign, the kingdom of Israel achieved its greatest power, yet it came at a price. To finance and sustain the kingdom, Solomon levied oppressive taxes upon the people. When Solomon died and Rehoboam took over, a group of disgruntled citizens petitioned Rehoboam to lighten the taxes that had been so burdensome. Rehoboam turned to two groups of advisors to discuss the issue. 

Then King Rehoboam discussed the matter with the older men who had counseled his father, Solomon. “What is your advice?” he asked. “How should I answer these people?”

The older counselors replied, “If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.” But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers. “What is your advice?” he asked them. “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?” The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!’” 

1 Kings 12:6-11 (NLT)

Rehoboam sought to put his stamp on his new monarchy. He eschewed the advice of his father’s advisors and replaced them with younger men who grew up with him and told him what he wanted to hear. What was the result? A civil war ensued and the Kingdom of Israel was torn in two. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained with Rehoboam while the other ten tribes followed their king Jeroboam. The kingdoms of Judah and Israel would never be reunited and both were eventually conquered and sent into exile. 

Finding the right balance is important and whether it is dealing with a broken guitar string or taking over a new company, sometimes a complete change is needed. However, this should never be a knee-jerk reaction and such a decision can only be made by wisely using all resources available. Once again, God gives us the answer to how to live our lives.

Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days. Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the LORD will stand. 

Proverbs 19:20-21 (NASB)

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

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Science Project (Acts 9:15-16)

It was my first science project. I was in sixth grade and I chose to chronicle the lifecycle of the common house fly. My plan was to place a can of cat food in the open air allowing flies to lay their eggs. After a few days, maggots would appear and on each successive day, I would document the changes until the adult flies appeared. Simple. Defined. What could go wrong?

On day three, the maggots appeared and I continued my observations. On day ten, I was anxious to see if adult flies may be emerging. I eagerly went outside to the patio where I had placed the can. To my horror, the cat food and maggots were gone. My cat had managed to find the can and did what any cat would do, it ate it!

It was too late to restart the project; it was due in three days. Completely dejected, I met with my teacher and explained the situation. Expecting her to fail me, I was surprised and elated when she laughed and exclaimed, “Oh my! I have never heard that one!” We then worked out a new project that chronicled the timeline of events and described the anticipated changes. For the last event, I drew a picture of my cat eating the can of cat food and below it was the words, “My cat ate my homework!” No joke!

There was a happy ending. In spite of the mishap, I received an “A” for my project. If only all of life’s problems could be so easily resolved! When we undertake a project or make a decision, we attempt to research and predict all of the possible outcomes, hopeful that we have controlled for the unexpected. Yet, as my simple childhood experience illustrates, the opposite may occur.

What about our spiritual lives? When we confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we receive salvation and eternal life. This is assured. What is not always assured is a life free of problems or persecution. The Apostle Paul was converted to Christianity when he met the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. Jesus told Paul in no uncertain terms what he was to expect. 

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” 

Acts 9:15-16 (NASB)

How did Paul suffer?

Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in  far more labors, in  far more imprisonments,  beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and  exposure. 

2 Corinthians 11:23-28 (NSAB)

Accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Simple. Defined. What could go wrong? If our expectations are focused upon worldly outcomes, everything. If we focus on the heavenly expectations, absolutely nothing! Paul would triumphantly state:

Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 

2 Corinthians 12:10 (NASB)


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

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Discordant Chords (John 18:36-38)

Whenever I watch a program on streaming video, I opt for the option to display the english subtitles. It is interesting to read the subtitles when the characters are speaking in foreign language that I understand. Subtle shifts in translation may be revealed. However I was not prepared for these subtitlers becoming adept with non-verbal messages. Recently I was watching a movie and as the soundtrack played in the background, the following subtitle flashed.

“Discordant synthesizer chords playing.”

Other subtitles followed, such as “Ominous and foreboding music playing.” Interesting! Subtitles now attempt to depict the mood of the scene.

What if there were subtitles when we were reading? Certainly some electronic media provide these in the form of explanatory notes. Yet, I have not seen subtitles attempting to interpret the mood. Rather, this is usually left to the imagination of the reader. What about the Bible? There are many passages that one needs to do this. 

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate *said to Him, “What is truth?” 

John 18:36-38 (NASB)

“What is truth?” 

What was the tone that Pilate used when he questioned Jesus? If one could insert subtitles to interpret the mood, what would be stated? Was it mocking? Sarcastic? An earnest inquiry? Scholars have debated this and an argument can be made for each of these possibilities. I will straddle this answer and aver that it was a combination of all the above. If there were subtitles, perhaps it would have stated:

“Tone conveying uneasiness, fear, and awe.”

Someday, in Heaven, we will know what was Pilate’s tone and the emotions he was experiencing at that critical moment. Until then, we already know the answer to his question. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Him! 

Cue the subtitle.

“Wild praise and elation!”

Praise God!

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

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Eat What You Kill (Colossians 3:23-24)

In my former pathology group, I was a salaried employee. While the compensation was competitive with other regional pathology groups, it masked an inequitable situation of an unequal distribution of work. Some partners worked twice as hard as others and this penalized these more productive partners who were essentially compensating for the inefficiency or laziness of their colleagues. While there were numerous meetings that attempted to address this issue, it was never resolved. 

Thus, when I formed my group, I was determined to not repeat these distasteful experiences. For every associate who joins my company, they are paid by the number of cases they complete. If some associates are more productive than others, they will be appropriately compensated. Conversely if some associates chose to work less, their compensation will directly reflect their decreased workload. 

You eat what you kill.

In work, there may be inequality between the amount of work produced and compensation. Eating what you kill is one way to break down these barriers of inequality. What about in the Kingdom of God? For all who confess and repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, salvation and eternal life are granted. This is the supreme goal of all believers. Yet, once saved, there are some believers who are more committed to serving God than others. Do they receive greater heavenly rewards? After all, as it is on earth, isn’t it also in heaven? 

While there are verses in the Bible that suggest there are varying degrees of rewards for the saints in heaven, we must remember that the Bible does not go into detail what these rewards are nor does it suggest that as believers we work for these rewards. Salvation through faith and belief in Jesus Christ will bring us into His presence but rewards will not make it better. 

Our focus should be upon the forgiveness of our sins and the reward of eternal life through faith and belief in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our works of faith should focus on sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ to everyone we meet. The more works of faith we accomplish in this life is not to secure a greater reward in heaven but done out of thanksgiving for the promised reward that He bestows upon us.

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. Colossians 3:23-24 (NASB)

In the workplace, your reward may be represented by what you eat, you kill. In God’s Kingdom, we will someday dine in His glorious presence because He was killed and resurrected for our sake. Nothing we did accomplished this. It is the pure gift of God through His grace and mercy.

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

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Five Accepted Varietals (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Franc. Merlot. Petite Syrah. Malbec.

Any oenophile would immediately recognize these as the five grapes comprising the classically accepted wine varietals that are legally allowed to be blended to make a true Bordeaux wine in France. The irony is that although Malbec is one of the accepted varietals, it is rarely blended in modern Bordeaux wines. In the mid 19th century, a blight known as the Phylloxera aphid obliterated much of the French grapes, particularly Malbec. Fortunately, healthy vines were exported to various other countries. Thus, Malbec gained a foothold in the New World, notably Argentina, where it has thrived and is currently its top wine that is produced and exported to the rest of the world. When a devastating frost destroyed many remaining French Malbec vines in the mid-20th century, the demise of Malbec in France was sealed. 

What is ironic is although it is very rare to find a modern French Bordeaux wine that includes the Malbec varietal, Bordeaux-style blends that include Malbec are common in other parts of the world, including the United States. Many wineries in California that specialize in Bordeaux-style blends make it a point to include all of these five classic grapes. To find a true Bordeaux-style wine, one needs to search in areas other than Bordeaux, where it all began and flourished for centuries.

Where does one find the true Church? It began in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, but this is no longer the epicenter of Christian faith. The United States was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and for many years, the Church flourished in this powerful nation. However, the number of Americans who currently identify as Christians is declining, down to 63%, when in 2007, a mere fifteen years ago, it was 78%. For many years, Christian Americans took the lead in sending missionaries throughout the world. Today, many missionary organizations aver that there are more committed Christians in the third world. In fact, some of these countries are actually sending missionaries to the United States and Western Europe, lamenting the increasing secularization of these formerly God-fearing countries. 

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT)

The modern Church is, in many ways, very different from the original Church. Youth programs. Music ministries. Opulent buildings. The one constant is the Church is composed of believers in Jesus Christ who confess and repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It is never limited by culture, geography, or ideology. Through the centuries, the centers of faith have changed but the call to faith remains unchanged. 

Christians are under attack, from hostile governments and an increasingly secularized social media and press. Where does one find the true Church? Wherever Christians take a stand for God and seek His face, the Church is found.

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

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Slippery Slope (Proverbs 24:30-34)

My smart phone played a gentle ringtone, awakening me. It was 4 AM. I changed into my workout clothes and headed to my garage where I exercised on my elliptical machine for the next 45 minutes. A shower and quick breakfast and I was on my way to work, arriving at 540 AM. This is my daily workday routine which I have kept for over five years. On the weekends, I awaken at 630 AM to do the same workout. Some of my friends have suggested that I should take a break but I know myself. If I miss one day, I descend onto a slippery slope and I could easily convince myself to skip another day. I know. 

Many years ago, when I was in high school, a family friend who was a physician, imparted some sage advice. “You are young, so this is a good time to start getting into good habits. Try to exercise at least 20 minutes everyday. It may sound easy but believe me, once you begin college and get a job and a family, it will be very easy to miss a workout. You’ll make excuses. Start now!”

He was right. Although I attempted to put his advice into practice, I only sporadically exercised. At that time, I was not a morning person and I attempted to exercise at the end of my day. The problem was I was too easily distracted by the events of the day. Bad mid-term. Argument with a friend. An onerous work assignment. When I came home, all I wanted to do was relax and vegetate. One missed day quickly slipped into a missed week, then a month. I was on the slippery slope and the scale was testimony to my lack of discipline. I gained thirty pounds over the span of twenty years. It was time to take control. 

A similar mindset applies to my spiritual life. My usual practice is to pray as I drive to work then I read the Bible when I am at my office. However, like my exercise routine, I was not always as disciplined. Excuses easily crept in and I justified it by reasoning that I was doing things for my family or helping others with my job as a physician. However, I knew I was only lying to God. 

I passed by the field of the sluggard and by the vineyard of the man lacking sense, and behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles; its surface was covered with  nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. When I saw, I reflected upon it; I looked, and received instruction. “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest,” Then your poverty will come as a robber and your want like an armed man. 

Proverbs 24:30-34 (NASB)

If I have the discipline to exercise everyday, I should certainly have the spiritual discipline to read the Bible and pray to God everyday. 

…On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 

1 Timothy 4:7-9 (NASB)

A little sleep and a little slumber quickly leads one to careen down a slippery slope, ending in excuses and laziness. The disciplined life begins and ends with godliness.

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

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“Who Makes That Club?” (Romans 2:4)

It was a daunting carry of at least 200 yards, over a water hazard and a bunker. I pulled out my 5 wood, my club of choice for this distance. Attempting to focus on the tiny green and blocking out the obvious distractions, I addressed the golf ball, then swung my club. I was surprised when I made perfect contact and watched the ball soar through the air and gently land on the green. I had a birdie opportunity!

“Wow! That was impressive! Who makes that club?”

I was playing in a threesome with another person, who joined my friend and myself at the beginning of the round. He was nodding his head and grinning. I happily obliged and handed him my club so he could inspect it. 

“Yeah, I have to think about getting this!”

It was amusing that this stranger who never saw me play before that day, immediately concluded that it must be my equipment that allowed me to make that superb golf shot. Had he played with me on other occasions, he would have quickly surmised that the same club was also used to dump the ball into hazards and out of the bounds more times than it successfully landed my shots on the green. It wasn’t the club, I was just lucky!

In life, we often draw quick conclusions with very little information or experience. Most in-person job interviews last less than an hour. While every employer does their due diligence on their applicants, it is clearly an imperfect process. Like my lucky golf shot, one may draw a hasty conclusion with an incomplete understanding or representation of the person. The result may be hiring someone who does not work out to one’s expectations. 

Thanks be to God that He does not force us to make a hasty decision about accepting His Lordship in our lives. God is working in everyone’s lives, drawing them closer to Him through ordinary events and life experiences. 

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)

God knows us better than we know ourselves. It is not like a random golf shot. It is deliberate and ordained. He arranges the events of our lives into the perfect sequence to allow us to see His glory. Why? He desires to be in a relationship with us through faith and trust in His Son, Jesus Christ. And if we choose to accept His offer of salvation and eternal life, He will sanctify us, transforming us into the people He created us to be. 

Praise God!

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

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