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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Why Am I Included? (Psalms 22:27-28)

It was touted as the model for well-run companies, creating a new way to distribute energy across the increasingly complex power-grid of the United States. However, within a few years, a series of expose articles and whistle-blowers questioned the financial management and operations of the company. The company was Enron and on November 28th, 2001, the company that was once valued at over 100 billion dollars, was bankrupt. Thousands lost their jobs and the company ceased to exist. 

There are so many tragic stories that are still being told. Enron and its leaders were convicted of fraud and many were fined and imprisoned. What about the much larger number of rank and file employees? Lawsuits filed on behalf of numerous employees were only able to recover a paltry amount of their lost pensions. Many wondered what they did to deserve their fate? Why were they being punished along with their company? They were only doing their job, it was their company and its leadership that deserved to be punished, not them!

The Bible includes many examples of God passing judgment upon nations. In the Old Testament, the leader of the nation, the king, was judged for leading his nation to sin. When a nation passes laws that oppose God, it may bring judgment upon that nation. When nations were judged, it led to their destruction and/or captivity. Judgment was rendered upon Israel’s enemies such as Moab, Edom, and the Egyptians. Eventually judgment was rendered upon Israel and Judah leading to destruction of their homelands and exile to Assyria and Babylon, respectively. Thousands of its citizens were displaced and subjected to torture and untold suffering. If I was a citizen of Israel or Judah when this happened, like an employee at Enron, I would wonder why must I be included in a judgment of a nation? Our Lord Jesus Christ warned of this impending judgment upon the nations and its citizens. 

But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. 

Matthew 25:31-33 (NLT)

We live in a fallen world. In the United States and many other countries, there are laws that directly oppose the Bible’s teaching. With increasing frequency, we are seeing how a bold stand for God can result in social media shaming joined with a cancel culture directed against Christians who are willing to stand for God’s Word. If we are citizens of a nation that rebels against God, like an employee at Enron, we will be judged along with our leaders. 

The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him. For royal power belongs to the LORD. He rules all the nations. 

Psalms 22:27-28 (NLT)

God is not mocked. God is holy and He must judge sin. When Jesus Christ returns all nations and its citizens will finally acknowledge that He is the Lord and true ruler of all. 

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

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Remember This? (John 14:26)

It resembled a small flip mobile phone. Small and sleek, it could easily fit in one’s pocket or purse. It was a UV wand and nearly everyone carried one. Stores and online shopping sites could not keep them in stock. Here is an example.


It was only three years when the world was gripped by the COVID pandemic. This UV wand and similar devices were ubiquitous. We had several in our home and I purchased one for each of my co-workers to sterilize their workspaces. In spite of this, one co-worker did not remember what it was when I showed it to him. How quickly we forget!

The chaos of COVID disrupted everyone’s lives. For many, including myself, we all said “Good riddance!” at the end of 2020 only to learn that 2021 was not very different. Many habits which I acquired during the pandemic, I still practice. I have a drawer of reusable cloth face masks, which I still use. I have a desktop UV sterilizer which my cell phone is placed in everyday. Yet, as my co-worker demonstrated, our memories, even of recent events, may be fleeting and selective. 

Depending upon the Bible translation, the word “remember” and its variants are cited over five hundred times. God continually reminds us of the promises He has kept. Especially during traumatic events, our memories may falter. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ understood this. After spending three years with His disciples, Jesus told them that He would soon die and be resurrected on the third day. The Messiah would die! There could be no more jarring or disturbing news than this. 

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

John 14:26 (NASB)

Three years after it began, the world is still reeling from COVID. Yet, even now, some memories of commonplace events are fading. For three years, Jesus Christ lived on this earth with His disciples. Yet, even in His constant presence, they still did not remember everything He taught or did. They would be cowering in fear when He was crucified but three days later, His glorious Resurrection proved that He is God by conquering sin and death. He sent the Holy Spirit to remind them of everything He taught and promised them. Everyone who places their faith in Jesus Christ will receive the comforts of His Holy Spirit so that we will always remember His promises. 

Our memories are faulty and fleeting. Thanks be to God that His Holy Spirit we can never be reminded enough of what God has done through us by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.


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

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Hidden Talents (Romans 12:1)

At the college I attended, several times a year, our dining hall hosted what was called a “Special Dinner.” The dinners were frequently themed to different countries and this evening’s theme was France. As I eagerly filed into the dining room with my roommates, I was pleased to hear live music greet us. “La Vie en rose” was being beautifully rendered on a harmonica! Impressive! And what made it an even greater surprise was the musician. It was Jake, my classmate! Friendly and gregarious, I always enjoyed spending time with him, but I never knew he had such an amazing hidden talent!

I am always pleased to learn of the hidden talents of my friends and colleagues. One colleague is a champion in ultimate frisbee, even representing his native homeland in the world championship. Another dear friend expertly carves vegetables and fruits to create remarkable presentations for festive occasions.

God generously imbues all of us with many talents. Some are only known to a small group of acquaintances; others may be on display for a large gathering. Yet, there are many hidden talents that may only be known by a few or even one person. These are the talents that God gives to us to minister to another person. At the right time and place, God brings people together so that He may comfort and encourage the Body of Christ, the Living Church. It may be a kind word, a helping hand, or simply being together in silent support. I have been the recipient of all these talents from brothers and sisters who allowed themselves to be used by God for that very moment. 

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 

Romans 12:1 (NLT)

There are many talents that remain hidden to most. God uses all of these for His glory for all who are willing to yield to His sovereign will. 

Praise God!

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

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“Rib Eye, Medium Rare!” (Ezekiel 34:11-12)

“Has the gentleman made his dinner selection?”

My son nodded. “Rib-eye.”

“Excellent choice! And how would the gentleman like that prepared?”


That’s my boy! I was beaming.

My wife smiled. “He’s copying you!”

“Well, he’s got good taste! Like father, like son!” I fist bumped my son. It was a proud moment when my son first emulated me, especially with one of my favorite activities, eating! Our family are carnivores and one of our favorite entrees is a rib-eye steak. It is the cut that I regularly grill at home and whenever we go to a steakhouse, it is my default choice. As many a steak lover can attest, medium-rare is the ideal preparation to maximize the flavor and texture of the meat. 

For thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. 

Ezekiel 34:11-12 (NASB)

God, the Father, spoke to the prophet, Ezekiel, thousands of years ago. He was encouraging the Jews who were in exile in Assyria and Babylon, reassuring them that He is the shepherd who will one day gather His scattered sheep, the Jews, and bring them back together. Thousands of years later, another spoke these same words. 

I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 

John 10:14-15 (NASB)

God, the Son, spoke to His disciples and other followers and used the same beautiful metaphor that God, His Father, used. Jesus was asserting that He and the Father were one and He would also shepherd the lost sheep of Israel, bringing them back to their homeland. 

Like Father, like Son!

Praise God!

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

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Peace Of Mind (John 14:27)

“Is that a Plug-In Hybrid you’re driving?”

I had just arrived home from a dinner meeting with a colleague when his text message appeared on my smartphone. He must have noticed my car when we were leaving the parking lot.

“Yes, love it! Thinking about getting one?”

“Unsure, but I like the idea of a hybrid because if the electrical power grid goes down, I wouldn’t be stuck. I really like the mileage.

“Yup! Let me tell you, last year, we took a road trip to Zion and the Grand Canyon. There were not a lot of electrical charging stations. In fact, for the majority of the trip, I was using the gas engine. All these electrical car companies boast about driving to different cities or crossing the country. You can, but when you start going off the main highways, that’s when you run into problems.”

“Exactly! I am leaning towards a plug-in hybrid but still not completely sold on your model.”

“No worries. I know it’s not for everyone, but it gives me peace of mind knowing that I have the best of both worlds.”

A thumbs up appeared, approving our exchange.

Peace of mind. Who doesn’t want this? It most certainly is because God wants to bless all believers with peace of mind if we keep our thoughts fixed upon Him.

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! 

Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

On the night He knew He would be betrayed by Judas, Jesus Christ reminded His disciples that He was leaving them a gift. He blessed them in the same manner that God, His Father, did. He gave them peace of mind.

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. 

John 14:27 (NLT)

If I was in Jesus’ place, I would be very distressed, knowing that one of my followers, who had been with me for three years, was about to betray me and turn me over to the Romans and Jewish leaders. I would definitely not have peace of mind, nor would I be able to encourage my followers to be at peace.

The troubles of the world frequently overwhelm me. Too often I fail to claim the promises that God gives us. Instead, I wallow in worry and self-pity. How desperately I need my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Only He can give me peace of mind because He is our peace who has broken down the walls of worry and sin.

When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. 

Psalms 94:19 (NLT)


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

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Throwing Away The Script (Acts 17:22-23)

Aladdin. Smokey and the Bandit. Apocalypse Now.

Besides being an iconic part of American movie lore, these three movies had something else in common. Much of the dialogue was improvised by its main characters! Many movies and other productions have indelible moments when the action or dialogue was completely ad-libbed. However, in the three referenced movies, the main actors literally threw away the script and ad-libbed many of their lines, much to the initial consternation of the director and producers. Only after the scenes were filmed and reviewed, did everyone agree that the ad-libbed lines were better than the original script.

When the Apostle Paul entered a new city, he usually preached in the local synagogue. When he entered the city of Athens, this is what he initially did.

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city. He went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there. 

Acts 17:16-17 (NLT)

However, as he walked through the city, the Holy Spirit moved him to speak extemporaneously. He observed all of the pagan idols and shrines and wove his observations into a magnificent sermon, one that led to the conversion of Dionysius, a member of the city council, and several other prominent citizens. 

So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.”

Acts 17:22-23 (NLT)

When we serve God, we should always be ready to defend our faith and explain to others the reasons we are Christians. However, like the Apostle Paul, we should be willing to throw away any script and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, promised this to all believers.

And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.

Luke 12:11-12 (NLT)


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

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21G (Proverbs 7:6-8)

What? Again?

My home wifi service dropped once again. I was in a part of our house that did not efficiently receive the wifi signal from our router. I needed a strong signal because of a project I was undertaking that could only be done in that location.

As I surveyed the available networks, I saw the strongest signal was named 21G. I surmised that this was probably my neighbor’s, whose street address was 21, next to mine which was 19. It was enticing to want to use his wifi and just on a whim, I connected to it and a request for a password immediately appeared. Of course, I did not know it and I was unable to connect, however the entire episode gave me pause. What if he did not password protect his system and I was able to connect? Would I have continued with it? Would I have covertly used his wifi and not tell him? Perhaps I would convince myself that I just needed it for that one project but if another opportunity arose in the future, would I succumb to the same temptation?

Of course, none of this happened but I was dismayed that my thoughts even went down this slippery slope. Isn’t this how sin begins? We place ourselves in the pathway of temptation which can lead to sin if we are not careful. The Bible warns of this. 

While I was at the window of my house, looking through the curtain, I saw some naive young men, and one in particular who lacked common sense. He was crossing the street near the house of an immoral woman, strolling down the path by her house. 

Proverbs 7:6-8 (NLT)

This naive young man placed himself in the path of temptation. He knew what he was doing, lurking near the home of a woman who enticed him. He created the situation to be seduced by the immoral woman who eagerly responded and showered him with attention, leading him into an adulterous affair. 

I am no different than the naive young man, except at my age, I should know better. Why should I look for ways to make it easier to sin when I should be looking for ways to follow God more closely? Unless I continue to yield to God’s will, I will always find excuses to place myself in the pathway of temptation. 

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

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Unrealized Sin (2 Samuel 21:1)

It was a difficult period in my life. In three years, I lost both of my parents, one to cancer and one to a heart attack. As I struggled to deal with these losses, I often wondered if these tragedies were because of sins that I had committed, either sins of commission or omission. The following passage from the Bible kept coming to my mind. 

There was a famine during David’s reign that lasted for three years, so David asked the LORD about it. And the LORD said, “The famine has come because Saul and his family are guilty of murdering the Gibeonites.” 

2 Samuel 21:1 (NLT)

Famine struck Israel because of Saul’s sin that he committed over thirty years earlier. There are many troubling issues that this passage from the Bible raises. Why did David wait for three years before inquiring of the Lord? How many events in my life are because of unrealized or unconfessed sins? These sins were committed nearly a generation earlier, is there a statute of limitations for sin and its consequences?

As I reviewed my life and the events leading up to my parents’ passing, I could convince myself that the sins that I committed in my past may have led to these tragedies. What about the time I disappointed my father when I told him that I did not want to become a dentist and follow in his footsteps? What about the time when I broke my mother’s heart when I chose to live with my father after they were divorced? At the time of these decisions, it was easy to convince myself that I was making the right choice. Perhaps. These are only two things I did. How much more pain did I cause my parents but was unaware because of my ignorance or selfish motives? Yes, these events occurred over thirty years earlier, but like the Israelites, God is not mocked and He could enact His judgment whether it occurred thirty years or three hundred years earlier. 

All sin is rebellion against God but not all sins are equally judged by Him. There are different consequences. This event that occurred thousands of years ago was unique to this period in history. God dealt with this sin with an appropriate judgment, one that may seem confusing to us. What about current events? Only God knows the perfect way to mete out judgment for our previous sins. While God forgives our sins when we confess and repent of them, there are always consequences that must be addressed and there is no statute of limitations. God spoke to me and reassured me with this verse. 

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 

Romans 8:1-3 (NLT)

We do live in a different world than when the Israelites were held accountable for the sins of their first king, Saul. We are in a period of grace under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the power of His Resurrection. While there are still consequences that may occur, I do not need to wallow in the guilt of my past sins. He freed me from returning to my past transgressions and allowed me to focus on conforming my life to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Praise God for His grace and mercy!

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

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Song Writing (2 Corinthians 10:10-11)

Sir Elton John is a legendary musician. He is an EGOT, one of the elite class of artists who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. This is just a small sample of his numerous awards and accolades, all well deserved. I have always been fascinated that all of his songs are written with a lyricist. His most well-known collaborator is Bernie Taupin. Together, they have produced iconic songs such as, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and “Rocket Man.” The process usually begins with Bernie Taupin writing the lyrics and giving it to Elton John, who then composes the music. Their interaction is surprisingly minimal. 

In an earlier generation, the collaboration of the Gershwin brothers, George and Ira, and Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II have produced classic American songs, now considered a part of the essential great American songbook. With each pair, one was the lyricist and the other the composer. This type of collaboration is in contrast to artists who compose their own music and write their own lyrics. There are numerous examples such as Carole King, Paul McCartney and Billy Joel. 

A great song needs powerful lyrics and a memorable melody. Individually, each skill requires an extraordinary degree of talent and doing both is exceptional as their respective collections of music can attest. There are other skill sets that parallel this example. Some people are great speakers but are not great speech writers. The converse is also true. Like singer/songwriters, it is rare to have one individual able to master both skills. 

For some say, “Paul’s letters are demanding and forceful, but in person he is weak, and his speeches are worthless!” Those people should realize that our actions when we arrive in person will be as forceful as what we say in our letters from far away.  

2 Corinthians 10:10-11 (NLT)

I may be unskilled as a speaker, but I’m not lacking in knowledge. We have made this clear to you in every possible way.
2 Corinthians 11:6 (NLT)

In his second letter to the Corinthian church, the Apostle Paul shared that he is not a gifted speaker. It was a surprising revelation, especially coming from Paul, one of the greatest missionaries for Jesus Christ. His confession was revealing. Few of us have all of the skill sets to be successful. Even the Apostle Paul struggled with his oratorical skills. How reassuring it is to know that when God calls us to do His work, He will equip us with the perfect combination of skills that will bring glory to Him. Whatever weaknesses Paul perceived he had with speaking, God more than compensated him with the powerful message of the Good News of Jesus Christ. 


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

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