Valid At Participating Restaurants (Genesis 3:1-5)

I use a food delivery service app at least once a month that delivers food from participating restaurants. I was quite satisfied with their services and never had a complaint. Thus, when I saw a new offer on their website, offering an even better deal, I was intrigued. If I paid $50, I would have the delivery fees waived for an entire year. However, when I read the fine print, it told a different tale. “Only valid at participating restaurants.”

Interesting. The only way one would know that a restaurant was participating would be to place an order and then see if the delivery charge was waived. If it was not, one could choose to pay the delivery fee or find another restaurant that does participate in the program. It wasn’t quite a bait and switch but the deal was certainly not as alluring as it initially appeared.

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” 

Genesis 3:1-5 (NLT)

Adam and Eve lived in the garden of Eden. It was paradise on earth. All of their needs were provided by God. What more could they possibly desire? What about being like God? Satan offered what seemed like an even better deal than the situation they were currently in. Sadly, they accepted the offer and discovered to their horror that it was not as alluring as it initially appeared. Everyone bears the mark of sin that entered into humanity by their decision. 

Every day we are faced with tempting and alluring deals that appear to better our current situation. Most are innocent but always be wary of the guile of Satan who prowls amongst us like a lion, seeking to devour the unsuspecting. 

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

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Preparation (Hebrews 12:10-11)

“God is going to punish me for disobeying him.”

I was listening to the confession of a former investment banker who swindled hundreds of his clients. I did not know his spiritual background nor the nature of the relationship that this man had with God. However, as I listened to his self-analysis, I understood his perspective. For many of us, including myself before I became a Christian, we may view God as a stern and unmerciful judge. If we sin and wrong God, we must be punished. Since God created us, He must be like us. If someone wrongs us, we should also judge them harshly and seek retribution, even invoking the Bible, cloaking it in the pious statement, “An eye for an eye.” 

It is true that God may chasten us when we sin and disobey Him. However, God is sovereign and He always acts with His perfect will and purpose. Chastening may be a punishment for sin but it also may be preparing us for greater challenges yet to come.

For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. 

Hebrews 12:10-11 (NLT)

When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, my understanding of God changed and expanded. I realized that I was projecting my own insecurities and prejudices upon God to justify and rationalize my actions. I did not understand that while God does judge, He does so with mercy and grace. As Pastor and Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe wrote, “God in His mercy does not give us what we do deserve, and God in grace gives us what we do not deserve.” Only God knows what we deserve to receive when we sin. We do not know when this will occur but we do know the reason; He chastens us so that we may share in His holiness.

Our relationship with Jesus Christ is a continual preparation to become like Him. Justified. Sanctified. Purified. 


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

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“I Believe In You!” (Isaiah 41:10)

The clamor of the gymnasium was deafening. Four different events, including floor exercise, the balance beam, and the uneven bars showcased young women performing their routines before the appreciative crowd and judges. However, for this moment, only the vault mattered. I was holding my ten-year old daughter in my arms. She was scheduled to do her vault, her last event. However, a few minutes before, she informed the coach that her stomach was upset. and she would not be able to continue. The pain was so intense that she was close to tears. The coach called my wife and I over to console her. “She will be okay,” he said. “I think it is just the stress of the tournament.” I nodded but also considered that it was something she ate for lunch, about a half-hour earlier. I quickly examined her making sure it was not a medical emergency. Once I was reassured, I needed to do the same for her. 

“I believe in you, Sweetheart! Whatever you decide, I will support you.” As I held her, I was praying to God to give her healing, peace, and strength. My wife was next to me and draped her arms on both of us. Thankfully, within a few minutes, our daughter felt better, and she decided to continue with her vault, successfully completing the competition. After the event, we all gave thanks to God for healing her. 

All of us have needed the support of others to help us navigate through the obstacles of life. Like my daughter’s experience, we may never know the true reasons why we are experiencing the trial, only that we are grateful when we can find comfort with those who care for us. What about if no one is around to support you in a crisis? For some, comfort can only be found with drugs. For others, withdrawal is a solution. This was the choice that I took for many years. It was my problem. I would deal with it. No one else would understand. This changed when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. 

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)

The problem was my self-esteem. When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I surrendered my defiant will to Almighty God who showed me that my worthiness and self-esteem were rooted in Him. I accepted His help and accepted the help of other saints whom He sent to console me.

I believe in You! 

Thank you, God, for strengthening and helping me when I was unwilling to turn to anyone else.

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

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Perfect Alignment (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“Keep your elbows tucked in and lift your arms straight up. Keep your chin parallel to the ground.”

I dutifully followed my instructor’s directions. I was taking my first Pilates class and was learning the basic positions. I would soon transfer this standing position to the reformer, a machine that adds resistance to the basic movements in a supine position. I thought this would go smoothly since I correctly assimilated the basic positions. However, once I lay down on the reformer, I discovered how premature my assessment was. 

“No, you are out of alignment. You need to move your left foot slightly closer to your right and turn it slightly outward.”

I attempted to follow but she still had to reposition my feet. The problem was that although my instructor could see that I was out of alignment, I was unable to see or worse, even feel that I was out of alignment. I struggled with additional postures, still out of alignment. I had no physical or visual cues to assist me. My instructor sensed my frustration. 

“Don’t worry, you will never be perfect. It is a continual process!”


I was concerned that if I did not learn how to be in perfect alignment before I began the exercises, any minor misalignment may translate into later significant issues. It was like a laser pointer. If one aims at a close object, it is easy to hit the target. However, if one is aiming at a distant target and is off by less than a millimeter, depending upon the distance of the target, it translates into a huge error, missing by several yards. One needs to be in perfect alignment with one’s goals from the beginning.

I was struck with how similar this is with our relationship with God. If I am not in alignment with God’s will, I will inevitably go astray. Even if I am off by the smallest amount, I will miss the mark and sin. But are there physical or visual cues to assist me? Do I have an instructor to correct me? 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)

Thanks be to God that He desires to keep us in perfect alignment with His will. How does He do this? If we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, God’s Holy Spirit indwells within us. He provides us with the physical or visual cues that we so desperately seek and desire. He prods us in the proper direction. We become frustrated and despair when we attempt to follow our own cues and understanding. Perfect spiritual alignment happens when we acknowledge that only God can keep our spiritual posture straight.


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

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Timeline (Daniel 2:21-22)

I love studying history. To assist me with my studies, I always construct a timeline. In doing so, I am able to connect seemingly disparate events and characters and see how they are woven together in the fabric of time. 

Several years ago, I acquired a chronological Bible. This Bible places the chapters and verses of the Bible in the approximate chronological order in which they were first written. Thus, instead of the Gospel of Matthew beginning the New Testament, verses from the Gospel of Mark begin the New Testament, since this was the first Gospel that was written. In addition, events that are recorded in all four Gospels, such as the feeding of the five thousand, are placed in consecutive verses, acknowledging the simultaneous occurrence of the event. In this manner, it is a timeline of Jesus’ ministry and instructive to see the harmony of the four Gospels.

One of many insights I have gained is learning of the intimate associations between the prophets who were preaching during the same period to both the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The prophets Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and Jeremiah all preached dire warnings of judgment. These were not seemingly disconnected prophecies. I saw the Hand of God expertly weaving and directing the events of history. 

He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light. 

Daniel 2:21-22 (NLT)

God created time. He does not act randomly and without purpose. His providence oversees history and if we are willing to dig deeper into the Bible, we can see the very granular details of how He accomplishes His will along a divine timeline. 

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

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“I Ignored Everything!” (Acts 21:13-14)

“I’m Spanish-Italian and my wife is Korean.”

I was being introduced to a mutual acquaintance. He was recounting his first meeting of his future mother-in-law. 

“My wife and her brother were all advising me how to properly act when I met her. She is a very traditional Korean woman and physical affection, particularly on the first encounter, is a no-no. I was going crazy trying to absorb all of the information. So when I finally met her, I ignored everything they told me and followed my instincts. I went up to her mother and gave her a big bear hug!”

“Oh my! How did she react?”

He chuckled. “She was stunned. EVERYONE was stunned. But you know what? She was very impressed by my show of affection. She could see I truly loved and cared for her daughter. She trusted me and began to confide in me. In fact, after Sally and I were married, her mother would always ask me for advice for family issues and financial affairs.”

Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory. 

Proverbs 11:14 (NASB)

All of us have experienced the wisdom of this proverb. Yet sometimes we need to ignore the advice of others and go with our gut feelings. The Bible recounts a similar story of the Apostle Paul ignoring the advice of his well-meaning friends. 

Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” And since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent, remarking, “The will of the Lord be done!” 

Acts 21:13-14 (NASB)

The Apostle Paul was being warned by his friends to not continue his missionary journey to Jerusalem because they feared he would be captured by the local Jewish leaders and handed over to the Gentiles to be imprisoned or even executed. Paul acknowledged their concerns but emphatically stated that he was following the command of God. Paul was emboldened and convinced by his years of faithful service to Jesus Christ. For this, he was rewarded with whippings, a stoning, shipwrecks, and imprisonment. Was it worth it? Paul’s triumphant declaration definitively answers this.

More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of  knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ…

Philippians 3:8 (NASB)


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

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Dignity (1 Corinthians 12:22-27)

As a Professor of Medicine, I have had the privilege of reviewing hundreds of resumes, CV’s, letters of recommendation and personal statements from college students, medical students, and applicants for medical residency positions. All of them discuss their background and qualifications to care for their patients or their unselfish desire to practice medicine. There is a theme that permeates every application, but the word is rarely invoked-dignity.

Dignity is a word that can be defined by a dictionary and one definition is the right of a person to be valued, respected and treated ethically. Yet, there are many interpretations and all of us can cite noble examples of dignity. We use and personalize it, applying it to different situations we encounter in life. Protecting the liberties of the disenfranchised; exposing human trafficking; seeking to remove the barriers to social and racial equity. Every physician should desire to defend the dignity of the individual.

Dignity is derived from the Latin word dignitas, which means worthiness. God has provided a beautiful example of this worthiness, this dignity, through His sacred Word.

In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it 

1 Corinthians 12:22-27(NLT)

The Church is the Body of Jesus Christ. God uplifts and honors all members of the Body, particularly the weaker members. Whether the weakness is spiritual, physical, or emotional, God defends the dignity of the individual and He commands all believers in Jesus Christ to do the same. 

Medicine is a noble profession but its nobility can only be fully realized when we follow the highest principles of dignity that God has demonstrated through faith and belief in Jesus Christ. 

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

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Linsanity (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Jeremy Lin was at the epicenter of the pro basketball world during the 2011-2012 NBA season. He was a backup bench player but came to prominence when he filled in for an injured starter for the New York Knicks. For a brief period, everyone was fixated on this overlooked and minor role player. As a point guard, he ignited the team with his exciting play. The public went wild and the press dubbed it Linsanity! For those who are unfamiliar or desire a trip down memory lane, here is a link. 

When Jeremy Lin Took Over the NBA “Linsanity” – YouTube

How did Lin respond?

Ironically, when others were going insane over his playing, Lin was calm and introspective. Lin’s story was even more compelling because of his strong witness and testimony as a believer in Jesus Christ. When he reflected upon his career in the NBA, he stated, “My legacy with the world would be, I would want them to know that I lived for God, I was faithful in my life…A lot of it really is just faith in God’s divine plan. I remember when I made it to the NBA, I remember I actually, physically wrote down a list one day and I was like, ‘If any of these one things didn’t happen, I wouldn’t be here today. It was a long list of maybe about 13 to 15 things, and I made sure that everything on that list was out of my control…so that’s the first thing I need to do is not take credit for a lot of outside things.”

As a professional athlete, Lin could have basked in his fame. Instead he used his unique position to share his testimony. He was practically living the admonition that the Apostle Paul gave to his followers.

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. 

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NASB)

Presently, Jeremy Lin’s professional basketball career is winding down and Linsanity is just a footnote in basketball history. Whatever accolades the world showered upon him, Lin was only focused upon one thing, to give glory and honor to Jesus Christ and encourage others by spreading the Gospel. 

That’s not insane. This is God’s will for our lives.

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

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Gain Of Function (Genesis 3:5)

Gain of function.

The concept originated in the beginning of the 21st century and is defined as research that seeks to alter an organism to enhance the function of its gene products. For microorganisms, the objective is to enhance the organism’s infectivity, allowing other animals to be infected with the altered microbe with the hope that more effective vaccines may be created.

The COVID pandemic has thrust this concept to the forefront of headlines. Some politicians and medical experts have leveled charges that researchers may have genetically altered the Coronavirus and accidentally released it, resulting in the pandemic that still affects us today. A raging debate and investigation into this possibility is ongoing. 

All research pushes the boundaries of human achievement by attempting to manipulate God’s creation, including man himself. Since the beginning, mankind has always wanted to be better than how God created us. In truth, we want to be like God.

God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.

Genesis 3:5 (NLT)

In this fateful encounter in the Garden of Eden, Satan tempted Eve with this offer of being like God. Adam and Eve were living in paradise. Everything they ever needed was provided for them by God, except for one thing. They were not God. Satan tried to be like God and he was expelled from Heaven. Now, he wanted the same fate to happen to Adam and Eve who both succumbed to Satan’s temptation. Sin entered their lives, rupturing the relationship between God and man. 

Gain of function research has led to important medical advances. Satan has tempted man since the very beginning with the promise of a spiritual gain of function. We can be like God. No, we cannot. Only by confessing and repenting of our sins and accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior will we gain salvation and eternal life. This is the gain of function that we all need, to become the adopted sons and daughters of God, restoring the relationship that sin has broken. 


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

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Internally Consistent (Matthew 5:17-18)

There are many topics in medicine that are polarizing, eliciting erudite and impassioned arguments from experts on all sides of the issue. Fetal tissue research. CRISPR gene editing. COVID treatment. Pick these or many other topics and one will be bombarded by articles written by thought leaders in the field immediately followed by articles written by equally renowned and qualified experts, completely refuting the claims. Who is correct? Unless one has a medical background, it is difficult to arrive at a definitive conclusion, and even with a medical background, the discussions are sometimes bewildering. There is no gold standard. All one can do is review all the available information and decide which position seems most credible. 

Some people believe interpreting the Bible is the same. Theologians, pastors, and scholars have written thousands of pages giving their interpretation of different passages and concepts. When there is no consensus, critics hurl accusations that the Bible cannot possibly be the inspired Word of God when there is so much confusion and dissent over how to interpret a Bible passage. A fundamental principle in Bible interpretation is to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture; the Bible interprets itself. In other words, when one attempts to discern the meaning of a passage in the Bible, it must be in harmony with the rest of the Bible. By adhering to this, many seemingly confusing issues may be resolved. Yet, many are unwilling to do this. 

Blaise Pascal, the great Catholic philosopher and mathematician, bluntly described the problem. “[Unbelievers] think they have made great efforts to get at the truth when they have spent a few hours in reading some book out of Holy Scripture, and have questioned some cleric about the truths of the faith. After that, they boast that they have searched in books and among men in vain.” 

Our Lord, Jesus Christ, provides the supreme example of allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture.

Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. 

Matthew 5:17-18 (NLT)

Many who listened to the teachings of Jesus thought he was a heretic and blasphemer. When Jesus spoke the words cited above, He was preaching the Beatitudes, found in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew Chapters 5-7). Jesus quoted passages from the law of Moses, found in the Old Testament, then elevated the teachings to a new and deeper level. He did not contradict the earlier passages but built upon them. If His listeners took the time to search the Scriptures, they would understand this Truth. 

With knowledge of the world, like medical opinions, there is no gold standard. There are interpretations that may be contradictory and yet have equally compelling reasons to support opposing positions. All one can do is to review more studies which generates even more conflicting opinions. With God’s Word, it is always internally consistent. Scripture must interpret Scripture. If there are passages we still do not understand, we do not need to seek other opinions.  It is not because God’s Word is incorrect. We are finite minds attempting to understand an infinite God and an absolute Truth. We need to dig deeper into God’s Word and ask His Holy Spirit to give us understanding and consistency in interpreting God’s commands. 

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

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