"Just Like Jake!" (Romans 8:1)

There are certain people I have met that, very simply, rub me the wrong way. They did things like snide comments about how they couldn’t share information with me because it was privileged, even though I was working on the same committee with them. Sometimes it was name dropping, always making sure I knew they were far better connected with other important individuals than I was. The common thread was these people all  reminded me of a childhood nemesis named Jake. He took great pleasure in making my life miserable, tormenting me with a plethora of mind games.


“They are just like Jake!” I once concluded when I interacted with these people. But upon further reflection I realized, they are just like me! The same faults that I saw in these people were also mine. Oh, I would deny that I did the selfishness of my actions, convincing myself that I was not as bad as these others. Shades of grey, but I always knew the truth. They were my mirror and I didn’t like my own reflection. I refused to take ownership of my sins.


There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1 (ESV)


When I look in the mirror, I don’t like seeing my own faults and sins staring back at me. For many years, I would beat myself up and blame others. But when I confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, that all changed. I began to understand the depth of my sins and depravity. I desperately needed a Savior who could take away my sins and my guilt. I no longer had to condemn myself but could confess and repent of my sins to God who took the punishment for the sins of all mankind.


My problem with my attitude toward other people was not bad childhood memories of Jake. The problem is me. Thanks be to God that He unconditionally  loves and accepts me, does not condemn me, and continues to transform me into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.


Just like Jake? No. Just like me.


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

I Didn't Miss It! (Matthew 6:31-33)

I am settling into my new physical appearance after a thirtyfive pound weight loss. Since the process took nearly six years, it was not burdensome for me. Now that the weight is off, I wonder why I waited so long to accomplish the task?  I am also quite pleased that it did not require a drastic change in behavior. I simply ate a little less everyday and I increased my physical activity to thirty minutes a day on an elliptical. There were no food cravings nor was I tired or cranky. Thirty five pounds gone...I didn’t miss it.


The weight loss made me reflect upon other areas of my life that are out of sight and out of mind. Excess baggage, I have carried a lot of it over the years. There are material objects gone or used only sparingly and, much like my weight, I didn’t miss them.


How often have I purchased something, thinking I must have it, only to find it gathering dust in a few months? The latest and greatest cooking appliance or cooking tool! A new fangled wash cloth that cleans everything! A pillow that will guarantee a good night’s sleep! Infomercial marketers love customers like me.


But probably the biggest excess baggage I carry is needless worry and anxiety concerning so many aspects of my life. How will I manage the household budget, save enough for college for my children, and save for retirement? How can my wife and I juggle our jobs, spend time with our children, and still have enough energy and enthusiasm for each other? God knows me and my anxieties.


Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

Matthew 6:31-33 (ESV)


And what is God’s solution?


But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 6:33 (ESV)


I have spent a lifetime accumulating excess baggage and what has it achieved? There are so many things in my life that I have clung to but God, through His grace and mercy, has allowed me to let them go. If I seek to do His will first, if I seek His kingdom, all of my priorities will be aligned with His and I will truly live the fulfilled life for which He created me.


Excess baggage, whether material or psychological,  I don’t miss it when I give it up to God.


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

Surprise Me! (Matthew 7:7)

My prayer list chronicles my prayers from the initial date and an accompanying Bible verse. Whenever a prayer is answered by God, I record the date and outcome. As I review my prayer list, I note the varying length of times God has used to answer the prayers. Some prayers have been answered on the same day it was first recorded. However, there are several prayers that are still awaiting an answer after more than five years. Recently, I updated some of these prayers and prayed over them and asked God to surprise me. As the old adage goes, “Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.” I would modify that and state, “Be careful what you pray for, God will surprise you!”


God has surprised me many times with answered prayers. He kept my dying mother alive long enough for me to return to Hawaii and spend a last day with her. He allowed me to have one last telephone call with my father before he unexpectedly passed away. But perhaps the most surprising prayer God answered was the first prayer I ever truly prayed to Him.


Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7 (ESV)


You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

James 4:3 (ESV)


Many years ago, I was searching to know the truth about Jesus Christ. Was He truly the only path to God? I asked God to grant my prayer to reveal Himself to me. It was the most honest prayer I have ever prayed and because I asked from the purest of motives, He answered my prayer affirmatively and dramatically!


A wise man once stated, “Pray for something so big that it will only succeed by God answering the prayer.”




God does answer prayers! And I am grateful that he does!


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

"Much Of The World Would Be Covered!" (Matthew 28:19-20)

The two most populous countries in the world are China and India, and their respective languages are Mandarin and English. Spanish is spoken by the majority of nations in Latin America. These three languages could allow communication with at least three billion people, slightly less than half of the world’s population. And this doesn’t even account for the peoples in Europe and Africa which could add another half a billion people who have some facility with at least English or Spanish.


English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese.


If one is able to speak these three languages, much of the world would be covered! It would be wonderful to be able to visit and communicate with at least half of the world’s inhabitants. Sharing food, music, culture...this is what travelling is all about. But there is an even more important message to be communicated.


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

Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)


The Great Commission.


Jesus commands all of His followers to spread the Good News about Him to all nations of the world. To do this, we need to be able to communicate in their native languages. Thus, it is important to support the work of Bible translators. One such organization, Wycliff, states on its website, that as of 2017, the New Testament has been translated into more than 1400 languages and the entire Bible has been translated into more than 600 languages. Yet, it is estimated that there remains at least 1600 languages that still need a Bible translation.


English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese. It’s a good start, but there is still much more work to be done. But thanks be to God that He is always with us, to the end of the age!




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

A Spiritual Blood Transfusion (Ephesians 1:7)

There is a new medical study that is testing the hypothesis that when blood is donated from younger patients and transfused into older patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s dementia, it may lead to cognitive improvement and improved memory. The study is based upon similar earlier studies involving mice. Scientists are cautiously optimistic suggesting that proteins present in the plasma of younger patients, and lacking in the plasma in older patients, may be the reason for the benefits.


It is certainly an intriguing hypothesis and if successful, could open the door to novel treatments not only for dementia, but for many other diseases. New blood may indeed have significant benefits.


Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

John 3:5-6 (ESV)


When a person confesses and repents of their sins and accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, they are spiritually reborn as a child of God.The Holy Spirit now indwells within us, sanctifying and transforming us into the image of Jesus Christ. It is because Jesus died on the Cross, taking the full penalty and punishments for the sins of the entire world. His blood cleanses us. Our physical body is the same but we have been given a spiritual blood transfusion!


In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

Ephesians 1:7 (ESV)


It remains to be seen whether a blood transfusion from younger patients will have benefits for older patients with dementia. But I have no doubt that the blood of Jesus Christ will give all who call upon His Name, a spiritual blood transfusion. The benefits? Salvation and eternal life with God.

Praise God!


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

It's About Serving God! (Deuteronomy 6:5)

My company is dealing with a financial setback. A major client was repeatedly delinquent in their payments to us. After months of negotiating and extending grace to their clinic, I decided to end our relationship and send the company to collections. They immediately responded with their lawyers and the situation has escalated into a legal battle.


This is a serious financial loss and has taken a great deal of my time. As I pondered the events of the last few months, God very clearly spoke to me. He showed me it’s not about the money or the lost client. He allowed me to become a dermatopathologist. He allowed me to create my company.  It’s not about preserving my livelihood, any financial gains or losses are in God’s control. He has placed me in my position in life and He could take it away. He could slay me but He is still sovereign. It’s not about recouping losses or legal actions. It’s about serving God. God is in control.


You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Deuteronomy 6:5 (ESV)


So often, I am caught up in the rat race of life. It's About Serving God! (Deuteronomy 6:5)I convince myself that the way I serve God is through my skills as a physician. This is true. But this is only one part of my relationship with the living God. It is more than my education, my occupation, or my customers. Every breath, every thought, every action must be to honor God. Only when I have this attitude will the apparent chaos and confusion of this current situation make sense. Regardless of the outcome,I chose to serve God rather than my profession and customers,


I serve God and Him alone. He does not serve me.




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

"I'm A CEO!" (Romans 10:13)

“So, you should come and visit our church! We would love to see you!”


“Ok!” my friend grinned. “But I’m a CEO!”


“So you’re too busy with your work to come for just one Sunday?”


“I’m a CEO,” he repeated. “Christmas and Easter Only!”


“Got it!” We both smiled as I nodded my head.


I know many CEO’s who are like my friend. While I do not know whether they are true believers in Jesus Christ, many of them do view Christianity as a cultural tradition. The church is a place to visit on Christmas and Easter, to those events, one could add weddings and funerals. To attend a Christian church on these days does not make a person a Christian, any more than growing up in a Christian household, attending a Christian school, or singing hymns and Christian songs. Not even reading the Bible or praying makes one a Christian.


There is only one way to become a Christian, to confess and repent of your sins and call upon Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior. Christianity is a personal relationship with the living God.


For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Romans 10:13 (ESV)


I am thankful my friend and many others attend church on Christmas and Easter. It is a great start and the messages that are preached on these two days usually present the Good News of Jesus Christ. I pray that God will continue to place all CEO’s in the pathway of His grace so that they will come to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.


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


Choose Joy (Philippians 4:8)

“Give me liberty, or give me death!”


The American patriot, Patrick Henry, declared this famous statement in 1775 to persuade his fellow Virginians to send troops to support the Revolutionary war against the British.His decision to make this noble speech was a major turning point in the war, gathering much needed support for the fledgling army.


We make many choices in life, perhaps not as stirring or life defining as Patrick Henry’s, but no less important to our lives as we seek to achieve our goals in life. As a Christian, I rely upon God to help me make my decisions. God does not force me down any path. He presents me with choices. The more I walk with God and spend time in prayer and reading His Word, the closer I can align my decisions with God’s will. His goals become my goals. I know this, but so often, I chose to go my way. And when I do, and things go awry, I am quick to blame God. In reality, I chose to walk this path. I chose folly. I chose sin.


When a man's folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.

Proverbs 19:3 (ESV)


For many years, I eagerly sought the joy of the Lord. I prayed to God, as King David did, to restore the joy of my salvation (Psalms 51:12). Slowly, I am learning that God’s joy is not only a gift by His grace and mercy, it is a choice that I must make, every moment of the day. I can chose to wait for God to restore my joy while at the same time, I can chose to surround myself with God’s joy.  I can think upon and remember people and events in a positive and uplifting light, rather than focus upon the negative and hurts. I can align my thoughts upon pure and lovely thoughts, filled with joy. I can chose to be filled with joy.


Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)


I thank God that He gives me a choice.


I choose joy!


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

Who Is The Real Enemy? (Matthew 7:5)

Who is my enemy?


Military strategists, business consultants, even sports teams ask this question of themselves. Sometimes the answer is obvious. It is the business associate who reneged on their financial obligation to pay your company for the work you rendered. It is the family member who negotiated a side deal with an attorney to gain an upper hand on an inheritance. It is the employee who spreads rumors about their employer while divulging company secrets to a competitor. They are certainly not one’s friends. But enemies?


At the heart of each of these scenarios was a nagging doubt within myself that perhaps they were not wholly to blame. Was there another collaborator? Were there extenuating circumstances that could explain their behaviors? Perhaps.


The contract that was signed with the business associate was not as airtight as it should have been written and he exploited a loophole. The family member felt he was unfairly excluded from an inheritance and was seeking to preserve the financial stability of his children. The employee was disgruntled because, unknownst to me, he was putting in extra hours on his own time, but his efforts went unrecognized by the rest of the company.  Do any of these reasons justify their actions? No. But it does shed light on a common thread. I conveniently overlooked my own role, either by commission or omission, in fomenting the conflicts. Whether it was my inexperience in negotiating the contract, insensitivity to a family member’s needs, or inattention to workplace activities-I had a role and I failed to recognize this.


You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

Matthew 7:5 (ESV)


Who is the real enemy?


I am. My pride, my arrogance, my sins.


I need a Savior. I need Jesus Christ.


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

Total Solar Eclipse (Isaiah 40:28)

The internet, nuclear fusion, space travel.


Is there any limit to what man can achieve? This is the rallying cry of humanists who trumpet man’s greatness, man’s accomplishments, and man’s rule over nature. Man’s creativity and intelligence have the world in awe.


And yet, for a few minutes on August 21st, 2017, much of the United States was mesmerized as they witnessed the awesomeness of God’s Creation, a total eclipse of the sun. All of the news stations and social media internet sites were covering the event, replete with live blogs and videos of the eclipse. In the parking lot of my office building, several people were viewing the eclipse with special dark glasses or using pinpoint box viewers. In Southern California, because of our lower latitude, we only viewed a partial eclipse, but in Madras, Oregon, considered to be the best point of viewing, the spectators were treated to the full spectacle of a total eclipse. At the critical moment, we all watched the televised live coverage from Oregon and witnessed the eerie darkness that descended upon the audience as the sun was blocked by the passage of the moon. Spectacular and awesome! And so like God!


Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

Isaiah 40:28 (ESV)


Have you not known or heard? Yes indeed, God can still rivet our attention! Do we realize that this is just an infinitesimally small manifestation of the beauty of His Creation? If God created all of this, does He also have an equally awesome plan for our lives? Yes indeed! God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth, nearly 2000 years ago. He lived the life of a perfect human, completely sinless and obedient to God. He took on the sins and just punishment that we all deserved and died on the Cross. But the Good News is He was resurrected and raised from the dead, forever conquering sin and death. And for all who confess and repent of their sins and place their trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, salvation and eternal life will be theirs.


Has God captured your attention?




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

Vanilla (Proverbs 12:4)

“I’m vanilla!”


This is what my wife says to me when she feels that other people are more exciting, talented, creative, or energetic than she thinks she is. I reassure her that she is absolutely amazing. She manages to adeptly  juggle and balance her many responsibilities-a pediatric dentist, a mother to two teen-agers, and caring for a stubborn and spoiled husband. Instead, she laments that she is just plain and ordinary, like vanilla, nothing special.


Nothing special? Vanilla is the most popular aroma and flavor. Millions love it as a solo flavoring or as an additive with many different foods ranging from cakes, to ice cream, even with meats such as porks and steak. It is as versatile as it is delicious.


An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,

but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.

Proverbs 12:4 (ESV)


I am thankful and grateful for my wife-my crown, helpmate and best friend.She is anything but plain. Like vanilla, she makes my life richer and sweeter, enhancing everything I do. She brings this quality to her work, her family, and to her friends.


I wish I could be vanilla!


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

"She Can't Speak To Her Father!" (Romans 8:1)

When I was about twelve years old, my father asked me to join him on a late night drive. This was distinctly unusual since it was 9 PM and my father was usually in bed by this time. I nervously agreed, fearing that he was going to reprimand me for something I had done. We drove a few miles to an unfamiliar neighborhood, pulling into the driveway of a darkened home. My father instructed me to wait in the car. He entered the home and did not return until about 20 minutes later. I sat alone in the dark, clueless over what was transpiring. My father then returned with a somber look on his face and we proceeded to return home.

During the return trip, he shared the burden that was obviously on his heart. “Do you remember Molly?”


I nodded slowly. “Yes, she used to work for you about 5 years ago. She was in high school.”


“Yes, that’s the one. She’s in trouble.”




“She has a boyfriend and she got pregnant. She can’t speak to her father about this.”


“Why not?” I naively asked.


“She’s afraid of him. She always knew that she could confide in me and that’s why she called me.”


She was obviously ashamed of her actions and did not think she could confide her hurt with her own family. I know if I had been in a similar situation, I may have felt the same way. Even though I was very close to my parents and loved them dearly, I never wanted my father or mother to be disappointed in me. But I did not have another adult that I could confide with the same confidence that this young woman had with my father.


Sadly, this young woman ended up getting an abortion. I later found out that my father attempted to convince her to continue with the pregnancy and put the baby up for adoption. He even offered to help her financially. But the pain and embarrassment were too much for her to handle at this stage in her life. She moved away and although my father made several attempts to contact her, he never heard from her again.


There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1 (ESV)


This young woman’s guilt overwhelmed her. Even though my father attempted to help her, she could not forgive herself nor could she confide in others.  Years later, I viscerally understood this pain and guilt. I harbored sins and dark secrets that damaged my relationships with others. I felt I had passed the point of no return and God would never forgive me for my sins. But God, in his mercy and grace, brought me back into a loving relationship with Him. He showed me there is no condemnation when I confess and repent of my sins to Jesus Christ. No sins, nothing will ever separate us from God. How can this be? By the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, all believers are forgiven of their sins and are adopted sons and daughters of God.


And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Galatians 4:6-7 (ESV)


We have a heavenly Father who loves and accepts us as His own children. We have a Father to whom we have the privilege to confess anything to Him in prayer. We never have to be afraid to come to God with our problems, our fears, our embarrassments-anything we feel, any situation we encounter, God understands and can comfort us. And He will forgive us if we confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.


With Jesus as my Savior, I learned of a new relationship with God. He is my Father that I will never be afraid to share my burdens and fears. I can always speak to God, my Heavenly Father.


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

Tuna Sandwich and Ramen (Galatians 6:7)

When I was in 5th grade, I purchased my lunch from the school cafeteria. Of the many delectable offerings, the two that usually caught my attention was a tuna sandwich and a bowl of ramen noodles. Usually I would purchase one or the other but on this one day, I was particularly hungry, so I decided to purchase both, knowing that it would quickly deplete the funds I was given for lunch that week. When I presented my food to the cashier, I was surprised that she didn’t charge me the full price, but only for the price of the tuna sandwich. I was young and mischievous and didn’t point out her apparent error. Here was a chance to get a deal!


The next day, I presented the same two items. Same thing happened! This was too good to be true! I was getting two items for the price of one! This happened a third time but by then I was feeling guilty. In fact, I wondered if she was making the same mistake with others who purchased this same combination. A casual observation of other patrons could not answer this question. My guilt got the better of me and I did not purchase these two items for a few days. But by the next week, I wanted to see if I could still get away with my scheme. I presented the same two items but this time only gave money for the tuna sandwich. Without hesitating, she looked at me and said, “You only gave me enough for the sandwich, you need to pay for the ramen!”


“Oh!” I was flustered. “Here you go!” I was about to leave but she wryly looked at me and said, “You know, I think I have been undercharging you for your lunches. Did you know that?”


“I..I didn’t realize that.” I was never a good liar and it showed.


“Well, we’ll let it go, but now you know.”


Indeed, I did.


Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

Galatians 6:7 (ESV)


I may have thought I was getting away with a steal, but God will never be mocked. Even though I was not yet a believer, He spoke to me through my conscience. Years later, when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I understood the true meaning of living a life that was accountable to God. It is easy to be on good behavior when I am being observed or under the scrutiny of others. But do I hold myself to the same high level, the same morality, if I think no one else is watching or is aware of my sins?


I can only do so because I have confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. His Holy Spirit indwells within me and convicts me through my conscience.


God is not mocked and I pray that I am now sowing seeds of love and grace rather than fraud and hurt.


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

Weekly Chapel Services (2 Peter 3:9)

Attending church doesn’t make one a Christian, anymore than celebrating Christmas or Easter. I should know. From 6th grade until my high school graduation, I attended a private school in Hawaii. It was founded by the Episcopalian church and there was a mandatory weekly chapel service for the entire school every Tuesday morning. For nearly twenty minutes, I obediently sang a hymn accompanied by an organ, listened to a short sermon, and uttered a perfunctory prayer. Then it was off to classes.  Only rarely did I ever focus upon the meaning or message of the service. My thoughts were usually on an upcoming test or some girl that I wanted to meet.


In fact, attending these chapel services did more to turn me off to Christianity and turn me toward atheism. I was disillusioned by the mechanical and ceremonial trappings of the service. I could not identify with the liturgical mutterings of the priests. The hymns were trite and staid. The sermons were pedantic and boring. Christianity was the antithesis of what I thought life should be.


But a few years later in my sophomore year in college, God reintroduced Himself to me. He would show me that Christianity is not a religion, a series of rote memorizations and do’s and don’ts. It is not an accumulation of good works and good behavior, earning enough brownie points in my ledger of life to offset my bad works. No. Christianity is a relationship with the living God, Jesus Christ.


The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)


God was patient with me and always placed me in the pathway of His grace. He gave me many chances, seven years of middle school and high school chapel services to learn about Him. His  patience allowed me to meet a man in college who modeled a life that was abundantly fulfilled in his relationship with Jesus Christ. I saw that Christianity was more than hymns, reciting school prayers, and something that I needed to earn. It was a relationship with God and I knew that I needed this relationship. I confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.


Thanks be to the mercy and grace of our Living God, Jesus Christ! He was patient with me and broke through weekly chapel services, man-made rituals, and my arrogance to bring me into a relationship as a child of the living God!


Praise God!


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

"You Will Be Very Successful!" (1 John 5:4-5)

Many years ago, when I was medical resident, a friend took me to a palm reader fortune teller. I thought it would be amusing at the least and insightful at best. In order to prevent the palm reader from discerning anything about my occupation or background, I dressed in an old tee shirt and jeans and removed my watch. As far as I knew, my friend had not told the fortune teller anything about me.


When I sat down opposite her, she smiled and asked me, “What work do you do?”


I sardonically cracked, “Oh no, you’re the fortune teller. You tell me what I do!”


She frowned, obviously annoyed at my arrogance. “Hmmm….” she thoughtfully began. “You are an engineer?”


“Nope!” A good logical guess since I lived in an area that employed many engineers, many of whom were Asian.


Undaunted, she tried again. “You are a lawyer?”


“Nope!” This was comical. How much longer did this charade have to last?


She looked me over very carefully, desperately seeking a clue to my occupation. Then, in a triumphant voice, she declared, “You are a doctor!”


Wow! It only took her three guesses! She must be in the elite class of fortune tellers!


Now that we established my occupation, she carefully examined my palms. Thoughtful seconds later, she pronounced her fortune. “You will be very successful. You will marry a doctor, an engineer, or someone in the military. You will be very rich. All of your dreams will come true!”

And with that, I paid her fee and departed. I dismissed her as a fraud but curiously, a part of me still wanted to believe that it was possible to tell one’s fortune and predict the future.


The obvious danger is being beholden to a disclosed fortune. Of course that could never happen to a rational person like myself! I kept reminding myself that astrologer, fortune tellers, palm readers-these were all charlatans eager to say anything in exchange for my money. Besides, my daily horoscope reassured me that I would not fall victim to any schemers or frauds!


But I was determined to see if it could be done. I even took it upon myself to do a retrospective pseudo-scientific study and purchased a horoscope of the previous year and studied it to see it it accurately predicted the events of my life. The answer? No, but with a caveat. The predictions were so broadly written that the interpretations could be loosely applied to nearly every situation I had encountered. So much wasted effort, all to see if I could predict my future. But that could never be done, could it?


For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

1 John 5:4-5 (ESV)


God has already revealed the future, not only for me, but for all His Creation. By sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the Cross for my sins and be resurrected. He has secured the fate of the world. Everyone who confess and repents of their sins and believes in Him as Lord and Savior will receive salvation and eternal life. Satan may attempt to deceive us with his lies, diverting our attention away from God and focusing upon the evil and suffering in the world, subtly planting doubt in our minds that God could not possibly be in control of a world filled with so much pain and suffering. But this is not the world that God planned for His creation. We sinned and disobeyed God and we have inherited this world that is ruled by Satan. But Satan knows his days are numbered until the day Jesus Christ returns to this earth and establishes His Kingdom. Satan knows the future and we do also!


I will be successful only because I turned from the false gods of this world and placed my future and hope with the One and only True God, Jesus Christ!


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

"I Know How Difficult It Is!" (Isaiah 53:3-6)

Everyone enjoys listening to a master performance in music. The talent of the musician is on display and our spirits may soar as we bask and revel in their artistry. As beautiful as these moments are, I find it an even richer experience when the artist is playing a musical instrument with which I am familiar. I play guitar, take voice lessons, and have played violin in the past. Thus, when I have the pleasure of hearing an artist performing within these genres, I marvel even more at the performance; I know how difficult it is!


Knowing how difficult a task is helps me to empathize with others in a similar situation. But empathy can only take me so far. I can never understand the pain and  joy of childbirth. I will not be able to relive the wonder and joy that an infant has when they first embrace their parents. And I will never be able to understand how difficult it was for my Lord Jesus Christ to remain steadfast to His mission to God, His Father. How could I? The worst pain I have experienced is infinitely less than the agony and suffering that Jesus endured on the Cross for me.


He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:3-6 (ESV)


How could one man bear the sins of every person who has ever lived-past, present, and future? How could one man receive the just punishment from God for these sins? How could one man endure the pain and suffering of separation from God, His eternal Father? Only one Man, Jesus Christ. He could do this because He is fully Man and fully God. He took all of our sins and nailed them to the Cross. He died and rose again so that I may have eternal life if I confess and repent of my sins and trust Him as my Lord and Savior. And this salvation is for everyone who does the same.


I know how difficult it is? I have no idea and never will!


Praise God for His ultimate sacrifice for me!


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

Getting An "A" in Religion Class (2 Timothy 3:7)

I attended an Episcopalian private high school. A mandatory class was religion. Everyday, we had a quiz on the homework reading assignment from the previous evening. The priest-teacher was very lenient and everyone received an A in the class. I attended a very competitive private high school and, for me, it was not enough to get an A, I had to be the best in the class. The only way to triumph was to do the extra-credit assignments. One of the assignments was to memorize all of the books of the Bible-either old testament, new testament, or the entire Bible. I eagerly accepted the assignment for the new testament and received my extra credit. But a friend of mine surpassed me and did all three. At the end of the year, he received the award for the highest grade in religion.


I did receive an A for my religion class but I wanted more. I not only wanted to have the highest grade, I wanted to be known as a religious person, even though at that time, I was very close to being an atheist and did not know God.


...always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

2 Timothy 3:7 (ESV)


I held this attitude for most of my high school years. All I cared about was the appearance of being a good person-the knowledge, not the understanding of the content. But a few years later, God convicted me of my sinful attitude and behavior and brought me to my knees in confession and repentance of my sins. I knew I needed a Savior. I needed Jesus Christ.


I am thankful that by God’s grace and mercy, He saved me and continues to transform me into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. I no longer want to learn just for appearances. I no longer want to be known as a religious person. I know I am a sinner and need Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I want to be known that I am only saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.



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

"You Should Have Seen It Before We Had It Fumigated!" (Isaiah 29:15)

Several years ago, I was enjoying a meal with my wife’s family in a well-known restaurant. In the middle of the meal, my nephew let out a scream. We all turned in his direction to see him pointing under the table. He had lifted up the tablecloth to reveal a dead rat! Several waiters quietly came and swept up the rat, but not before I took a picture of the entire event with my cell phone. I chided one of the waiters, “Wow, that’s pretty bad.”


The waiter looked at me, nonplussed. “You should have seen it before we had it fumigated!”


Yikes! Is that supposed to make me feel better?


At that point, the manager arrived and after hearing our complaints, declared, “There is no rat! We don’t have rats in this restaurant!”




It was comical for the restaurant to attempt to deny the incident ever occurred when the evidence was plainly in view AND I had captured the event on my cell phone. I quickly showed the photo to the manager who immediately apologized. After another half hour of a heated discussion with my brother-in-law, he agreed to comp the entire meal.


Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the Lord,

And their works are in the dark; They say, “Who sees us?” and, “Who knows us?”

Isaiah 29:15 (NKJV)


As I reflected upon this pathetic incident, I could see myself, like the restaurant manager, denying my own sinful behavior even though it is in view for everyone to witness. I’m not arrogant. I’m not prideful. And if I am confronted with the evidence, I am quick to make an excuse.


Who am I fooling? Who sees me? God. He sees everything; my secret shameful sins; the sins I commit when I think no one is watching. Do I really believe that if I deny these sins, that God will look the other way? For many years, I did believe that. But God, in His mercy and grace, changed my heart and brought me to the point when I confessed and repented of my sins, and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.


Thank you God, for seeing everything in my life and changing me to become like Jesus Christ.


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

The Truth About My Family Name (Ephesians 1:4-5)

My last name is difficult to pronounce and usually elicits snickers from non-Japanese. Nonetheless, I am very proud of my family name. We are five generations of Japanese-Americans. Family members have served with the United States army during World War II and during peacetime. My father was a successful dentist in Oahu, Hawaii. My name is relatively unique for Japanese surnames. As I have often shared with others whom I first meet that if they met another person with the same last name, I am probably related to them.


When I was about 8 years old, my father shared the truth about my family name. His mother was married to a Japanese man, his biological father. But soon after he and his two older sisters were born, his mother and father divorced. My grandmother met my grandfather and namesake just before World War II. He was a widower with two young boys. He enlisted and served with the American army intelligence in Burma. Before he enlisted, he married my grandmother and adopted my father and his two sisters, giving them our family name.


I was quite surprised when my father shared this revelation, but it did not diminish my pride for my family name. In fact, I was honored that I would be adopted into this family, a decision made many years before I was even born.


...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.

Ephesians 1:4-5 (NKJV)


I did not have a choice with my grandfather adopting my father and his two sisters. But I did have a choice when I became an adopted son of God through Jesus Christ. By His grace and mercy, God led me to a dear brother in Jesus Christ who spent many hours answering my questions about Christianity. When I confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I became an adopted son of God.


I am proud of my adopted family name. But I am even prouder to be an adopted son of God!


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

"What Kind of Christian Are You?" (Psalms 51:17)

“What kind of Christian are you? You still lose your temper. You still are prideful! You still say mean things!”


These are the accusations that have been hurled at me, sometimes by friends and family members. I have no response, they are all true.  Sadly, my bad behaviors will continue until the day I die. So how do I even know I am a Christian if my behavior does not consistently demonstrate the character of Jesus Christ?


The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Psalms 51:17 (ESV)


For many years, I followed this same mindset. I was unsure of my salvation, always doubting if my salvation was eternal and secure because I still sinned. I have slowly and painfully learned that being a Christian is not about living a sinless life, no one can, only my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ could. If I love Jesus, if I truly desire to follow Him, I will continue to come before Him each time I sin with a contrite and humble heart and spirit, confessing my sins and repenting of them to Jesus Christ. I could give up and dismiss this as futile. I could attempt to convince myself that repentance is a waste of my time and energy. But I did not.


My desire to repent is the surest evidence that God, through His Holy Spirit, is working in my life and changing and conforming me into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ.


...for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.

Proverbs 24:16 (ESV)


What kind of Christian am I?  I am no better than anyone else in the world. I am sinner, saved only by the grace of God.


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