Don’t Fret (Psalms 37:8)

The sounds of chewing and slurping were interrupted by the occasional, “So good!” Our usually noisy dinner table banter was silenced as our family enjoyed the baby back pork ribs, smoked for six hours on our Kamado smoker. Held low and slow at 225F, the pork soaked up the sweet flavors of the apple and cherry wood. As we were eating, an unusual flash arose from the Kamado on the patio. The coals, although nearly extinguished, found renewed vigor when I left the lid on the Kamado open. Within minutes, the coals reignited, and a raging fire engulfed the smoker. I quickly closed the lid, suffocating the blaze. Lesson learned. It was a stark reminder of the ease in which anger can easily be stoked to flare into a raging inferno of sin, ready to consume me and others.

Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. 

Psalms 37:8 (NASB)

The Hebrew word for fret literally means to glow or grow warm, to burn or kindle. It was frightening to see how quickly the dying coals were brought back to life. If I had not caught it in time, it may have started a fire with its surroundings. Anger is not a sin but given the right circumstances, like oxygen feeding the coals, one can easily lose control, igniting and resulting in a terrible sin. The near miss in traffic can escalate into road rage. The public humiliation by a business associate can lead to revenge. God knows this and wisely instructs us to not fret about anger, giving it an opportunity to lead to evil and sin. He even gives the very practical advice of not to go to bed angry!

Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.

Ephesians 4:26-27 (NASB)

God created us as emotional beings and anger is a part of us, just like sadness and happiness. It is rare to find a person who can control their anger and not sin. We must be wise to recognize the circumstances that give rise to anger and master it before we fret, and it masters us. 

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

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Right To Left (Matthew 25:31-33)

“When the villain enters, it is usually from the left. When the villain moves, it is often from right to left.”

I was listening to a discussion of film techniques. Many of these techniques began in the early theater and were later adapted to the big screen and television. I decided to put the above observation to the test. Surprisingly, it was true most of the time. Why did it work this way? Some psychologists have suggested that in western societies, that usually read from left to right, it creates a negative interference with our brain when we see something move from right to left. In fact, studies have supported this hypothesis. 

Left is not cursed and there is certainly no negative connotations implied to those who are left-handed. The important lesson is regardless of the direction, good and evil are separated. Jesus Christ reinforced this many times during His ministry on this earth. 

But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. 

Matthew 25:31-33 (NASB)

When Jesus Christ returns to earth, He will pronounce judgment upon everyone who has ever lived. The sheep, those who have believed in Him, will be placed on the right and the goats, those who have rejected Him, will be placed on the left. 

Right or left? Whichever direction evil comes from or is going, we all need to be assured of our final direction. Only by confessing and repenting of our sins and accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior will we be assured that our final resting place will be in Heaven, in the presence of God.

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

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Two Of The Best (Matthew 17:1-3)

Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston were acknowledged as two of the greatest singers of their respective generations. While I have seen both of them perform individually, I recently discovered these two great artists once sang together for their first and only encounter. Thankfully, this memorable performance has been preserved.

Source: YouTube

I am always thrilled when the best performers or personalities from two different generations meet. It makes me wonder what could have happened if they both lived at the same time. I was thankful for the producers of the event that managed to bring these two great singers together, giving me a glimpse of what might have been. Thousands of years ago, a similar meeting of two of the best occurred. This time, it was in the presence of God!

Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and *led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 

Matthew 17:1-3 (NASB)

Moses and Elijah are revered in the history of the Jewish people. Moses was the prophet who led his people out of captivity from Egypt. God used him to deliver the law and commandments to the people. Elijah was the prophet who prophesied to the Northern kingdom of Israel. His prophecies were the most detailed of the coming Messiah. Now, for the first time on this earth, Moses and Elijah, two of the greatest prophets of their respective generations, were together for the first time. Who brought them together? God incarnate, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

For this epic encounter, I never have to wonder what would have happened if these two great saints met at the same time on this earth. God brought together two of His greatest prophets to glorify His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Two of the best, honoring THE best!

Praise God!

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

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Woke Education (Daniel 1:3-5)

It began innocently enough. Over ten years ago, a local school district began replacing textbooks that had been successfully used for decades by generations of students, with new textbooks, designed to foster inclusivity and acceptance. Instead of the stated intentions, it fomented division and strife between the school administrators, teachers, and parents. It was the beginning of the woke mentality that now dominates so much of our public school education. The debate continues to rage in many cities and school districts. Is there a solution to this current conflict? Does God’s Word give us any insight?

Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility — young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. Daniel 1:3-5 (NIV)

Daniel and his three friends were born to noble Judean families and had received an education in Judea and in their homes. When he and others were carried off to Babylon, he received three years of additional training in Babylon’s best schools. Babylon was quite advanced in many areas of science and literature and undoubtedly, Daniel benefited from this new knowledge. However, he was also exposed to the worship of pagan gods and customs that defiled him. Did Daniel accept these false teachings? No, he resolutely stood his ground.

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 

Daniel 1:8 (NIV)

Much of the food the Babylonians offered was forbidden for a Jew to eat. After ten days of consuming nothing but vegetables and water, the officials concluded that Daniel and his friends were healthier than the others who did consume the Babylonian food. God honored Daniel’s steadfast faith. 

The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. 

Daniel 1:19-20 (NIV)

This is an important lesson for all believers. The world will attempt to inculcate our children with its relative values and morals through the educational system. Not all of the information is against God’s teaching. Like Daniel and his friends, we must first train our children at home with God’s Word. Like Daniel being selective in what he ate, we need to be proactive in reviewing what our children are being exposed to, being quick to point out the difference between the Truth of God’s Word and the false teachings of the world. 

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

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“Where Is The Laboratory?” (1 Samuel 16:7)

“Where is the pathology department?”

I was picking up my hospital ID badge in the medical staff office. It was the first time I visited the hospital where I was credentialed as a member of the pathology department. I was eager to meet the laboratory manager and my fellow pathologists. The medical staff administrator gave me a blank stare and then called out to her colleague. “Sally, where is the pathology department?” There was a pause and Sally replied, “You mean the laboratory? It’s in the basement.”

I chuckled. “Of course, it is!”

There are many professions that are associated with a particular personality stereotype. While this is presently frowned upon since it labels a person with a sweeping judgment, perpetuating stereotypes created by the media and literature, it still persists. Medical specialties are no exception. When one thinks of a psychiatrist, perhaps an image of Freud comes to mind. However, I know many psychiatrists who are the antithesis of this ancient portrayal. The same is true with pathologists, my medical specialty. The stereotype of pathologists are introverted physicians, content to remain behind their microscopes, tucked away in their department, usually located in the basement of a hospital, next to the morgue. They are relegated to supportive roles to surgeons and medical specialists. They labor in the black box of the laboratory where specimens are received, placed in a complex machine, and within a short time, a diagnosis is rendered.  

When I began my career, I joined a very large and successful pathology group. The founding partners were excellent diagnostic pathologists with superb leadership skills. They were also extroverts. They broke the prevailing stereotype of pathologists that was held by other physicians and even hospital administrators. Their bold style enabled them to capture many hospital contracts and create an independent reference laboratory. I was greatly influenced by their style and was inspired to emulate them, also determined to break the stereotype of pathologists.

What about Christians? The popular media and woke crowd have deliberately latched on to negative stereotypes, publicly shaming Christians as bigots, misogynists, and narrow minded. This same crowd also promotes inclusiveness and diversity. Ironically, their attitude toward Christains embodies the very characteristics with which they label, stereotype and vilify Christians. They would be chagrined if they took the time to understand how God views stereotypes.

Thousands of years ago, God dismissed stereotypes and established the true standard by which we should view and treat others. God was directing the prophet Samuel to anoint the next king of Israel. Samuel was led to the household of Jesse. As Jesse paraded his sons before Samuel, Samuel was duly impressed by the physical appearances of many of them, thinking one of them must surely be someone suitable to be the king. However, God corrected Samuel. 

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 

1 Samuel 16:7 (NASB)

After seven of Jesse’s sons were presented before Samuel, God still did not give his approval. Samuel inquired whether there was another son. Jesse replied that there was one more, his youngest, who was tending the sheep and the goats. Samuel asked for him and when this last son appeared, God confirmed that this son, David, was the man who was to be anointed king.  David was not the tallest nor the eldest; he had an even more special quality. David was a man after God’s own heart. 

We should not be swayed by the outward appearance of others or listen to the media or the woke crowd. It leads us to judge by stereotypes and preconceived notions. We need to look at others with the eyes of God, looking beyond appearances, and only at the heart and character of all people.

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

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“What Does A Producer Do?” (Daniel 2:20-22)

“I want to be a producer!”

“What does a producer do?”

“The producer is the person responsible for the entire presentation, from organizing the funding, setting the budget, hiring the actors and crew, and the marketing.”

“Wow! And I thought you wanted to be an actor.” 

“A producer has to know the roles of everyone, including the actor, director, writer, and stage crew. He takes all the risks but he gets all the rewards. He is at the top and decides everything. He is the production.”

I was in high school, engaged in an earnest discussion with my classmate. We were talking about college applications and career goals. His goal clearly distinguished him from the rest of us. Although I had seen the title of producer on movies and television show credits, I did not know the precise definition nor did I ever meet someone who wanted to pursue this as their career goal.

Flash forward to over forty years later. My friend is a well-known entrepreneur. His latest venture was CEO of a popular online shopping marketplace, selling it for millions of dollars. In all of the positions he has held, he is almost always the leader of the company. Although he has not produced a media or stage production, he has lived the role of a producer in all of his companies.

The desire to create and direct events, like a producer, is tempting. Some could use the term “playing God.” The Bible is replete with examples. 

Daniel said, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.”

Daniel 2:20-22 (NASB)

When the prophet Daniel spoke these words, he was about to meet Nebuchadnezzar, the most powerful ruler of the day. Daniel was not intimidated by a man who held the power of his life and much of the known word, in his hands. Daniel knew that all kings and all nations existed only by the will of God. Years later, when Nebuchadnezzar declared how great and magnificent he was to produce his kingdom, God humbled him, driving him insane and reducing him to live as an animal for seven years. Only when he came to his senses, did Nebuchadnezzar understand that nothing he had was by his own efforts. He finally acknowledged the true God, who produced everything. 

What does a producer do?

Only God can correctly and truthfully answer this!


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

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Shohei (1 Timothy 5:17-18)

“He’s just tied his personal best of striking out thirteen, and if that’s not enough, he went 3 for 5 with a double and 1 RBI!” The radio announcer was breathless as he recounted the performance of this professional baseball player. When most baseball players begin playing at a young age, if they are pitchers, they are expected to bat. However, if they are fortunate to play collegiate or professional baseball, most pitchers do not take a place in the batting lineup. All of their efforts are expected to be focused upon their pitching and thus, most pitchers are poor hitters. If they are in the batting lineup, they may attempt to bunt or half-heartedly swing at a pitch. Recognizing this, many years ago, major league baseball created the designated hitter. This was a player who could be inserted into the batting order to bat for another player, most commonly the pitcher. The designated hitter is purely an offensive weapon and does not play a position in the field. 

Shohei Ohtani, a celebrated pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels, is a remarkable exception. He is a formidable pitcher, one of the best in the major league. Whenever he pitches, Ohtani takes his place in the batting lineup and does not need to be replaced by a designated hitter. Why? He is also a feared offensive weapon! He can do it all. Shohei Ohtani is a unicorn, able to do what few have ever done in professional baseball. He rightly deserves to be honored for his accomplishments. If you have not had the pleasure to see this amazing player, here are highlights from the game referenced at the beginning of this blog. 

Source: YouTube

The elders who are good leaders are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain”, and, “The worker is worthy of his wages.” 

1 Timothy 5:17-18 (CSB)

Like a baseball team, the local church has many positions. There are those who preach, teach, manage, and counsel others, just to name a few. There are very few who can perform all of these roles with expertise and efficiency. For these special individuals, God recognizes their special gifts that He has bestowed upon them. 

A church elder is a leader, one who is a mature Christian, tested and vetted by the entire congregation and the pastoral staff. There are many roles an elder is expected to fill and if the elder is also able to preach and teach, he is doubly honored. What a rare blessing and accomplishment!

I have been privileged to work with elders who have been blessed with more than one gift. Like Ohtani, they are rare and gifted individuals and I am in awe when I am in the presence of these great saints. 

Praise God for the elders and leaders who faithfully serve the Church, the Body of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


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

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PREview (2 Timothy 4:3)

“And the medical school I am applying to requires the PREview.”

“A preview of what?”

“No, the P-R-E-view.” My student spelled it out. I was meeting a recent college graduate who was taking a gap year to prepare for medical school. He was describing a new admissions requirement, one which I was unfamiliar with and needed to research it.

It has been exactly forty years since I applied to medical school. While grades in undergraduate classes and scores from the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) still form the main criteria by which applicants are screened and ultimately picked, there have been subtle changes in the application process. A few years after I attended medical school, the MCAT added a written essay, designed to evaluate an applicant’s writing and communication abilities. However, that was dropped after a few years. The PREview is the latest addition. 

PREview is an acronym for the Professional Readiness Exam. It evaluates eight core competencies for medical school applicants that include:

Service orientation

Social skills

Cultural competence


Ethical responsibility to self and others

Reliability and dependability

Resilience and adaptability

Capacity for improvement

Source: AAMC PREview

An applicant is presented with 30 different scenarios that cover situations in healthcare, education, and the real world. Applicants rate the solutions given with a rating ranging from very effective to very ineffective. At the completion of the 75-minute examination, their answers are compared to the answers given by a panel of medical school professors. The scores are given a total score of 1 to 9, with 9 representing the 100th percentile. The final score is another data point along with an applicant’s undergraduate grades and MCAT scores. As of 2023, 6 medical schools require this test, and 10 others recommend it. While this is a small percentage of the 155 allopathic medical schools in the United States, it is anticipated that many schools will adopt this additional examination.

I applaud the effort for medical schools to add this additional test, however, it is far more subjective than grades and MCAT scores. How does one assess character, especially if the test is administered in 75 minutes? There are review courses that coach applicants in the same manner they help them prepare to take the MCAT. If this helps the applicant give the answers the panel of professors are looking for, does this mean the applicant has truly mastered these core competencies? Is this an effective examination and screening tool?

They tell the seers, “Stop seeing visions!” They tell the prophets, “Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies.”

Isaiah 30:10 (NLT)

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.

2 Timothy 4:3 (NLT)

The Bible warns us that we need to be wary of people and situations when others tell us what we want to hear. The PREview is a good start to screen for qualified candidates for medical school. However, like our spiritual walk in life, we must be alert to situations in which people tell us what we want to hear rather than to hear and speak the truth. 

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

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Finding The Right Treatment (Isaiah 29:13)

The calendar alerted me to my appointment. It was 56 days, eight weeks since my last blood donation. I could donate once again… and check my cholesterol. When I was a pathology resident, one of my clinical responsibilities was to oversee the hospital blood bank and blood donor center. I, and most of my fellow residents, wanted to set a good example by also donating blood. If one is in good health, whole blood may be donated every 56 days. A perk that was offered to me as a pathology resident was the option to send a sample of my blood to the laboratory to check my serum lipid levels. During this time, there was a great deal of attention focused upon different ways to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. A variety of interventions including high oral doses of Vitamin C and Vitamin E, vigorous exercise, red wine, and low fat and high protein diets were touted. I decided I would experiment on myself to find what worked best for me.

For two months, I took Vitamins C and E, then measured my levels. No change. The next two months were vigorous aerobic daily exercise. No change. The next two months was a daily glass of red wine. Same negative result. The only intervention that worked was an extreme low-fat diet, almost like a vegan diet, before the term was in vogue. Yes, my lipid levels did decline but I was miserable, longing for food that a hard-core carnivore, like me, loved. No, it would have to be another way. By chance, I stumbled upon the proper treatment. I took soluble fiber pills with dramatic results. My lipid levels dramatically decreased, and my HDL (so-called good cholesterol) doubled. I did not change my diet, drink wine, exercise, or take vitamin supplements. It was all done with soluble fiber. 

While all of the other interventions have been shown to work in different groups of patients, the only one that worked for me was soluble fiber. Whenever patients or friends come to me for advice on how to lower their lipid levels, I share my experience with them but add the disclaimer that although it worked for me, it may not work for them. Medical treatments must be tailored for the individual.

Our spiritual lives are no different. There is no local church that is the right fit for all Christian believers. One may seek an uplifting music worship service, while others focus upon an active youth or young adult ministry. These are very important and relevant for anyone making a decision about joining a church. However, in addition to meeting one’s personal needs and goals, honoring God should always be at the core of any church.

And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote. 

Isaiah 29:13 (NLT)

Like finding the proper medical intervention, the process of finding the right church may take time. There are many options, but a godly church will honor God and ground its teachings solely upon the Bible. Many church programs and ministries may seem attractive, fulfilling one’s personal needs but if the church does not honor God, the worship is man-made and is an affront to God.

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

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Debt Ceiling (Colossians 2:13-14)

Many families carry a mortgage on their home. As a generic example, perhaps the outstanding loan payments comprise 20% of a family’s earned income. Collectively the family decided to keep their debt burden at or below 20%. However, if an emergency emerges, it may be necessary for the family to borrow more money to pay for their new expenses. The family decides to raise their debt ceiling to 30% to accommodate their new expense. While they still maintain a positive cash flow with their incomes, they are taking on more risk of defaulting on their loans if something were to happen that interrupted or diminished their current income streams. Translate this debt to trillions of dollars and this is the situation facing the United States and other countries. 

“If we don’t raise the debt ceiling, the country will default”

Every year, congress needs to vote to raise the debt ceiling. As this deadline approaches, it seems that every news story focuses upon the looming deadline. Whispers of an impending catastrophic financial crisis abound as the negotiations continue until the last minute. In a sense, it is an artificial ceiling, self-imposed by the government. Unless spending is reigned in, the debt ceiling will continue to be raised. If something interferes with the income and revenue streams of the country, such as a war or pandemic, the potential to default on its debt payment could become dire. 

How much debt can a person or nation carry? It depends upon the type of debt. Like most homeowners and nations, the debt is financial and solely dependent upon the ability of the debt holder to repay their loans. What if the debt is spiritual and involves our sins against God? Is there a spiritual debt ceiling?

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 

Colossians 2:13-14 (NASB)

Since we have been born, we have rebelled and sinned against God. How do we repay our debt to God? Unlike our financial debt, we cannot work harder, nor can we find new revenue streams. Nothing we can do will ever erase the debt we owe to God. Only a supernatural invention can cancel this debt. God had to take the initiative. He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins. 

Jesus canceled out the certificate of debt that we owed to God. By confessing and repenting of our sins and accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will eliminate our debt to God. Our debt ceiling of sins is eliminated. And that makes headlines in Heaven, whenever a sinner repents.

Praise God for His grace and mercy!

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

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