Speaking To A Live Person (Hebrews 1:3-6)

“Oh my! Sally! I wasn’t expecting a live person and certainly not the boss!”

She chuckled. “I overheard my staff that you were calling so I presumed you were communicating a new melanoma diagnosis?”

“You know it. Thanks for taking my call.”

Whenever I make a diagnosis of a malignant melanoma, I immediately call the referring physician’s office and verbally communicate the diagnosis before I fax and deliver the printed copy of the report. Most of the time, I communicate with a medical assistant or front office staff since the physician is usually busy seeing patients. If there is any question about the diagnosis, all of my physician clients have my cell phone number and can call me back. It is an unexpected bonus if I get to speak to the one in charge, the physician. 

What about our spiritual lives? There are some who believe that we must go through different intermediaries to reach God. Some state that we must confess our sins to a member of the clergy. Others state that we should pray to angels or other saints. What does God say?

The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names. The Son Is Greater Than the Angels For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus: “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.” God also said, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said, “Let all of God’s angels worship him.” 

Hebrews 1:3-6 (NLT)

God is very clear. We do not need to go through angels or any person when we wish to speak to Him. We can speak directly to the One in charge of everything, Almighty God! We speak to God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Why?

For, there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 

1 Timothy 2:5 (NLT)

In this world of voicemails and automated answering services, we may be thwarted when we attempt to speak to someone who can get things accomplished for us. It is the exception to speak to a live person. Thanks be to God that when we need Him, we do not need to navigate an endless layer of intermediaries. Whenever we pray to God, we are speaking to a living person, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

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

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It’s The 24th! (Psalms 119:140)

As part of my daily devotion, I read a chapter from Proverbs and five Psalms. However, whenever I reach the 24th day of every month, I make a mental note that I will need to allocate more time than usual for my devotion. On that day, I read Proverbs 24 then read Psalms 116-120, which includes Psalms 119, the longest psalm in the Bible. This psalm is a daunting 176 verses, easily more than triple than the usual number of verses I read in my daily five psalms. Many Christian believers will recognize some verses such as Psalms 119:105, quoted in a popular Christian song by Amy Grant-Thy Word.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. 

Psalms 119:105 (KJV)

For some reason, it was always difficult to recall other verses in this long psalm and I was frustrated by my inability. Sometime ago, God inspired me to commit more of this psalm to memory. Apparently the ancient writer had something similar in mind when the Holy Spirit directed him to write it. This psalm is an acrostic, with 22 stanzas composed of 8 verses. Each stanza begins with a consecutive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Acrostics are often used as memory aids and there are several examples of other psalms utilizing this helpful literary device. An example of an acrostic with the English alphabet would be something like: A is for apple. B is for banana. C is for coconut…and so on. 

Over the course of one month, the Holy Spirit inspired me to write blogs based upon one key verse from each stanza-22 in total. Here are some examples.

As I was writing these blogs, God opened the door to readily recall these verses that had previously eluded my memorization. In fact, because Psalms 119 is such a rich source of God’s Word, instead of dreading the 24th, I now look forward to this day to get an extra dose of God’s wisdom!

Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. 

Psalms 119:140 (KJV)

Praise God!

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

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You Need Three! (Matthew 28:19-20)

In a bygone era of professional basketball, many championship teams built their championship hopes around one key player. Sometimes called a franchise player, many of these names are familiar, even if one is not a basketball fan. Generations ago, players like Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, led their respective teams to championships. Certainly, they were surrounded by other talented players, but the teams truly revolved around these key players. A generation later, there was a growing consensus that a successful team needed at least two franchise players. The Chicago Bulls had Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. The Los Angeles Lakers had Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. As if to prove this contention, numerous championships followed under the leadership of these star players. 

Now, some pundits aver that at least three players of all-star and/or MVP caliber are needed to create a championship team and create a franchise. I don’t think the suggestion that four players will be too far away! What is the correct number to be the best? In our spiritual walk with God, it is three.

God is One and exists in three distinct persons: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is the Trinity, and all persons are involved in my salvation. As Pastor Jon Courson wrote, “Salvation: The Father thought it. The Son bought it. The Spirit taught it. The Bible brought it. Satan fought it. But, praise the Lord, by His grace, we got it!”

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” 

Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB)

Jesus Christ gave this command to His followers before He ascended to Heaven. In our walk with God, everything we do will be guided by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

You need three!


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

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Everybody Knows The Story (Matthew 24:3-6)

Any aficionado of Japanese history and samurai lore is familiar with the story of Miyamoto Musashi. During the height of the power of the Shogun in the early 17th century, Musashi established himself as the greatest swordsman in Japan. His story has been told countless times, chronicled in numerous movies, television series, and books. Thus, it was not surprising that a new Japanese production entitled, “Musashi-The Battle and Truth of Miyamoto Musashi” was released in 2019. With a title like that, I was intrigued. Everybody knows the story. What would be the new angle for this story? 

The entire movie is the opposite of any previous characterization of his story. I was incredulous as I viewed it and I was not the only one. Numerous reviewers, including those who were known scholars of the life of Musashi, chimed in and labeled the entire production as a farce. What was touted as the truth was exposed as an undeniable lie. The writers depicted Musashi as a clumsy and dim-witted ruffian. Even the sword fighting scenes, ones that should have been the highlight of any biography of Musashi, were poorly executed and amateurish. 

This series reminded me about several “documentaries” I have recently viewed, touting the real Jesus Christ. These shows usually air around Christmas and Easter. While many faithfully retell the story of Jesus Christ, some take more liberties than others. Jesus is sometimes depicted as petty, confused, even fawning for another woman! This is not the story I know!

As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 

Matthew 24:3-6 (NASB)

It was inevitable that someone would create an erroneous version of the familiar story of Japan’s greatest swordsman. In these dark days in which we live, it is also inevitable that many will create their own false stories and depictions of Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God that He made sure that everyone knows the true story. He gave us the Holy Bible. Don’t settle for anything less than the original!

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

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We Need To Move It Again! (Numbers 23:19)

Many years ago, I was on staff with a hospital that had an active teaching and research program, with academic ties to a local medical school. The hospital administration was top-heavy with medical researchers who brought in millions of dollars of research grants to the hospital and its medical foundation. At that time, I was a young assistant professor of pathology teaching my medical residents and students with a multi-headed microscope. While our pathology department owned the microscope, we needed permission from the hospital to use an adjacent conference room since we did not have space to accommodate it within our department. As part of the agreement, we allowed other physicians to use the microscope for their research and teaching purposes. And this is where the problems began. 

Some researchers, who wielded a great deal of power and influence within the hospital, began making demands that the microscope be moved closer to their respective departments. A power struggle ensued and, even though our department owned the microscope, no one paid attention to our requests to keep the microscope in its present location, where it had been for over five years. After a year of negotiations, a plan was put into motion to move the microscope along with the corresponding video equipment. Moving a multi-head teaching microscope is not the same as moving a single-headed microscope, like one that many of us used in high school biology class. It is like moving a piano; one needs a specialist, trained to deconstruct, move, then reconstruct the microscope to ensure it is in proper working condition after the move.

The week arrived and the move commenced. Multiple departments including members of the hospital’s physical plant and maintenance, information technology, hospital administrators, medical researchers, and the microscope technicians, tasked with the actual move, were on hand. The process took two days to complete and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief over our seeming success. Then, the email arrived from the hospital administration. 

“To all. My apologies but we need to move the microscope back to the original room.”

And there it was! One year of work, thousands of dollars spent, and countless hours of planning-all blown up in a second. One of the researchers claimed he was not kept in the loop and was appalled that the microscope had moved. He insisted the microscope be returned to its original room. The hospital administration backed down and acquiesced to his demand. I did not want to know the reasons behind the power struggle, nor did I care. Egos were bruised. Money was spent. And the microscope was moved back to the same place!

These prior months were a stunning testimony to how many things do not get done when a withering bureaucracy needs to be navigated. Too many voices. Too many competing demands. No consensus amongst the stakeholders. In the end, I threw up my hands and found solace with God. 

God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? 

Numbers 23:19 (NLT)

It was another painful reminder of how desperately we need a Living Savior. When we speak to God, we do not need to go through layers of bureaucracy. We do not need to navigate through a church hierarchy. We take our concerns directly to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. God does not change His mind. He does not perseverate, hesitate, or procrastinate. 

Praise God for His steadfast and unchanging nature!

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

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Family Of Musicians (1 Chronicles 25:4-6)

The Jackson family. The Marsalis family. The Strauss family.

In nearly every genre of music, there are families that have many of their children become renowned musicians. The Jackson family is well-known for pop music. The Marsalis family are treasures to modern jazz music. The Strauss family created a dynasty of classical musicians in Vienna during the 19th century. Undoubtedly, there are many other families who may not be as well-known but have achieved local fame for their musical prowess.

The Bible lists a very interesting family of musicians. 

From the sons of Heman, there were Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shubael, Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, Romamti-ezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth. All these were the sons of Heman, the king’s seer, for God had honored him with fourteen sons and three daughters. All these men were under the direction of their fathers as they made music at the house of the LORD. Their responsibilities included the playing of cymbals, harps, and lyres at the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman reported directly to the king. 

1 Chronicles 25:4-6 (NLT)

Cymbals, harps, and lyres. With fourteen sons, this must have been quite an orchestra, all led by their patriarch, Heman. There are many ways to honor and worship God and music is definitely a beautiful way to use the gifts that God has bestowed upon us.

The Heman family may not be a familiar name in music history. Thanks be to God that He recognized their legacy of faithful service so that we may be inspired to worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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

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“Why Do You Have That Tool?” (Romans 8:26)

The water was gushing out of a broken pipe connected to our water main. Frantically I called my buddy who lived ten minutes away. He quickly showed up with several tools. While I recognized the usual wrenches, he brought an unusual T-shaped tool. Curious, I asked him about it.

“It’s called a water meter key. It’s used to turn the water main on and off.”

I was impressed. “Why do you have this tool? Did you have a similar leak?”

He sheepishly smiled. “Oh well, you never know when you might need one.”

Seriously? I was thankful that he had one and was able to quickly turn off the water main. I was shocked that he had purchased one just in case he would have to use it someday. I was the fortunate recipient of his foresight!

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. Romans 8:26 (NLT)

God gives us spiritual foresight. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit indwells within us. This is our immediate and imperishable salvation. However, the process of sanctification, becoming holy and more like Jesus Christ, is continuous, and will not end until we are in the presence of Jesus Christ. This sanctification occurs as the Holy Spirit works within us, addressing our weaknesses and even helping us to pray when we are distracted!

God’s spiritual foresight ensures that whatever unexpected situations we may face in life, He will always provide us the knowledge and resources to overwhelmingly conquer them.

Now that is the right tool!

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

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“I Showed You The Door.” (John 10:9-10)

“Doctor, do you have time to talk today?”

The text flashed across my smartphone. I recognized the sender and immediately responded.

“Certainly! I will text you when I have a few minutes.”

Many years ago, I mentored a young man who was interested in a career in medicine. In addition to the usual preparations, such as taking the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), with his application, he included letters of recommendation from some of his former college professors. This was the problem. It had been four years since he graduated and one of his key professors had a policy that she would not write letters for former students if it had been more than three years since they had graduated. Unfortunately, he liked this professor’s classes so immensely, that he took three classes from her. Thus, he was limited in the number of other professors whom he could ask for a recommendation letter.

“What do you think I should do? The recommendation is to have at least two letters from professors who taught her core science classes. I only have one.”

“Yes, if you ask for a letter from a professor who didn’t really know you, you may receive a very generic letter, one that any reviewer would discern if the professor didn’t really know you. Believe me, I know. I have read many letters like this and it downgrades your application. You could just stick with one good letter but I have a suggestion. Why don’t you call this professor today and ask to meet in person.”


“You need to ask her to make an exception for you, explaining why you took so many classes from her because you valued her teaching. You have to do this in person, don’t email her. Don’t speak to her secretary. She has to see that you were willing to make this extra effort if she would even consider doing the same for you.”

“Got it.”

“Okay, let me know what happens.”

Four hours later, I received an enthusiastic text. “I went to see my professor today and she agreed to write me a letter of recommendation! Thank you for your advice!”

I smiled and texted back. “I showed you the door but you still had to walk through it on your own.”

There are many doors that are presented to us in life. Some, like confronting a former professor, may seem intimidating to walk through, even if we hope that it may ultimately lead to great success. Other doors are difficult because we do not have enough information to make the decision; a fear of the unknown. As Christian believers, one of the more difficult doors to walk through is the missionary field. The Apostle Paul understood the risks. When he first entered the city of Ephesus and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a riot ensued and the citizens nearly killed him and his companions. Yet, Paul persevered, and in spite of the dangers, remained in Ephesus for nearly three years. 

But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. 

1 Corinthians 16:8-9 (ESV)

Paul did not fear walking through the door that God showed him. Why do we fear? Satan is determined to discourage us. Don’t go through that door! You will regret it! What should be our response?

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

John 10:9-10 (ESV)

Jesus declared He is the door. He promises to walk through this door with us. He will never forsake or abandon us. In spite of the obstacles that we can see before us, Jesus reassures us that if we follow Him, we will have abundant life. 


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

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Off-Screen Romance (Psalms 138:3)

A famous couple that portrayed a big-screen romance was now dating in real-life. Social media sites lit up with many voicing their approval, acknowledging the on-screen chemistry they exhibited was real and not an act. 

These couples are well-known to anyone who follows the entertainment headlines. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. There are many more. As delightful a story of this successful pairing, the casting directors deserve an award for so adroitly matching two actors to play a romantic couple on the big-screen, it led to an off-screen romance. What about the converse? What about actors who portrayed an on-screen romance but in reality, detested each other. There are numerous examples of these as well. One amusing couple was Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the romantic comedy, Dirty Dancing. Anyone watching that movie could not help but swoon when Swayze literally swept Grey off her feet and into movie lore. In reality, they hated working with each other, but I certainly would never have guessed it and millions of audience members would probably agree with me.

Candidly, these actors who disliked each other should receive a special Oscar nomination for their performance, convincing everyone they were in love when just the opposite was true! Many years ago, I found myself in a similar situation. When I first became a Christian in college, I wondered if I truly loved God or if was I simply convincing myself or even giving in to peer pressure from other Christians. Perhaps others thought I loved God but in reality, was it all an act? Was I like these actors who superbly faked their affection for their co-stars?

One day, I was confronted by Jake, my classmate, who questioned the sincerity of my faith. He was not a Christian and he thought all religions were fake. He challenged my conversion, insinuating I was delusional. I had only been a Christian for a few months. I could not point to a long life of faith. I did not have the knowledge nor experience to debate deep theological issues with him. I felt helpless.

“You know Jake. I can’t prove to you that God is real to me anymore than I can prove to you that God exists. There are some things that you have to experience for yourself. I spent nearly a year searching for God and He answered me. God speaks to everyone with a personal voice. He wants to be in a relationship with you.”

His expression did not change but I knew he was listening. I prayed to God to help me answer my classmate. Immediately a peace came over me and God gave me the words to speak. 

“Jake, I didn’t believe in God. I thought anyone who did was weak and looking for an excuse to explain why they failed or weren’t successful. I despised that. However, during all those years, God was patiently working with me and took me from a complete non-believer to someone who believed that all religions were paths to the same god.”

“What? That’s crazy!”

“I know, right? So instead of bashing all religions, I now embraced everything, but that soon changed. God led me to read the Bible which I eagerly accepted since I thought that all religions were the same. As I read it, I was pleased that much of it complemented what I already believed. But then I read something that Jesus said. He said, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’ John 14:6 (NASB). That really shook me up. On the one hand, I accepted that all religious leaders like Buddha and Mohammad were all teaching the same path to God. Then Jesus tells me that only He is the true path. Everyone can’t be right. So, I decided to investigate the claims of Jesus Christ. Was He really the only way? It took nearly a year but God revealed Himself to me and a few months ago, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.”

Jake was unimpressed. “Well, that works for you, not me. I still don’t believe you.”

I nodded and smiled. “I understand. But I believe.”

On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul. 

Psalms 138:3 (NASB)

At that moment, I had my answer. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and told me to simply tell my story. God revealed Himself to me in a very personal manner, one that was unlike anyone else’s testimony. He took me from being an atheist to becoming involved in a cult that worshiped all gods to finding the one true God, Jesus Christ. This was not an elaborate deception. I was not delusional nor was I acting out for others. It was a decision of faith based upon careful consideration of the facts. 

I thank God for His grace and mercy to me for bringing me to salvation through faith and belief in Jesus Christ. 

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

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Comfort Verses (Genesis 15:17-18)

We all have our favorite comfort food, something from our past that reminds us of better and earlier times. For me, it is taro chips. Each time I eat one, I am transported to my childhood in Hawaii. Delicious memories!

What about a comfort movie? There are some movies which I have viewed dozens of times and essentially have the dialogue memorized. “When Harry Met Sally.” “The Shawshank Redemption.” “Top Gun.” Like food, everyone has their comfort movie.

What about a comfort Bible verse? Are there verses that one can always turn to and be reassured of God’s comfort and presence in our lives? One brother in the Lord shared his comfort verses with me. 

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. 

Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)

My comfort verses are found in Romans, the great verse that confirms the assurance of our salvation. 

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Romans 8:38-39 (NKJV)

Many comfort verses, like the ones quoted above, are familiar to Christians. Thus, I was intrigued to learn of the favorite verse of the great theologian and preacher R.C. Sproul. He wrote that his favorite Bible verse was found in Genesis. I have read many of Dr. Sproul’s books and was curious to discover which was his comfort verse. It was not what I expected!

And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. 

Genesis 15:17-18 (NKJV)

Dr. Sproul explained that God made a covenant contract with Abraham. The Hebrew word for covenant is derived from the word that means to cut. Thus, a covenant represented the ancient tradition of cutting or dividing an animal as the two parties passed between them. This action symbolized that either party should be torn apart like this animal if they fail to uphold their part of the covenant. With Abraham after he cut the animals and placed them on the altar, God, Himself, moved between the cut animal pieces. He was the only one guaranteeing the covenant. Dr. Sproul further expounded on why this verse made such an impact upon him. “He would cease to BE GOD if He did not fulfill His part of the covenant!  He puts His deity on the line! What certainty! He vowed by His own nature!  When I doubt, I want to read this passage.  Abraham does not walk the gauntlet, it is all one-sided!”

Now THAT, is a comfort Bible verse!


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

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