Archive for December, 2013

Hope for the New Year

“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!”
(Psalm 31:24 ESV)

With the approaching New Year coming we often make goals for positive life changes. Staying the same is never an option as we are either in decline or progressing forward. Most New Year goals are never accomplished due to lack of determination or resources required for success. Life’s difficulties arise and we give up or just get tired of waiting for a dream to come true. Aligning our goals with the will of God found written in the Bible is the key to succeed because it is the Lord who gives us the strength to achieve them. “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:9) “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6) “Don’t quit if your vision isn’t quickly fulfilled. We are in a marathon, not a sprint!” (1) There is hope for the New Year if we put our faith in the Lord who gives us hope.

1) Stetzer, Ed. Comeback Churches. Nashville, TN: B & H, 2007.


The Fellowship of the Ring

“Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His love is eternal.”
(Psalms 136:3 HCSB)

Wedding rings are used in most Western cultures. The circular band is a symbol of eternity without a beginning or an end. The center space or hole of the ring represents a gateway leading to the blessings of a promised future. To give a woman a ring indicates a never-ending and immortal love. Christians used wedding rings in marriage ceremonies as a “symbol of the union of hearts.”(1) Since the majority of people are right handed, the wedding ring made of soft gold metal is protected from wear or damage on the left ring finger because this side is used less frequently during daily activities. The left ring finger is also surrounded by the third and fifth fingers offering additional protection. The history of the wedding ring reminds me about the eternal love of King Jesus. When we commit to his love we enter into the exciting promise of a future in the family of God. The stressful repetitive routines of this life can wear down our love towards the Lord but surrounding our activities with God’s Word and prayer can protect the fellowship we have with him.



Be a Star!

“I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last”
John 15:16

I love carambola, also known as starfruit which is the fruit of a tree native to Southeast Asia. The entire fruit is edible and they can be used in cooking, or made into relishes, preserves, and juice drinks. Ripe starfruits are sweet with the taste being similar to a mix between an apple and a citrus fruit. Starfruit is rich in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. It also has both antioxidant and antimicrobial health properties. Amazingly, starfruit trees can produce an incredible quantity of up to 400 lbs of fruit every year under ideal growing conditions. (1) Starfruit has an average looking appearance but when prepared in a cross-section it resembles the beautiful shape of a star. The Lord Jesus considers us to be star if our lives produce good fruit. When you seek the Lord’s direction in everything that you do then “the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit.” (Col 1:10) We may feel that our lives are just average but when we are prepared by the way of the cross we become a star. So produce good fruit and be a star!



Small Packages

“And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12)

Some of the best and most expensive gifts come in small packages. Take for instance diamond earrings or a gold watch. Jewelry is very small but can cost thousands of dollars. The exterior packaging does not correlate with the potential value of the gift. Our all powerful Living God chose to package his most valuable gift for all of humanity in a very small package as well. God humbly packaged himself as the Savior King of the entire world in the form of a small baby born in a manger. Though Christ Jesus was God, “he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.” (Phil 2:5-8) “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (2 Cor 9:15) Have you received the gift of eternal salvation? Good things come in small packages. Trust in Jesus today.


“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
(Galatians 2:20 NLT)

I know of a man who was entertaining some house guests and the mother of one of the guests was very ill with the flu. She should have stayed home to recover but nevertheless she came to the house and the man did his best to make her comfortable with some loving hospitality. As they left to go home he cordially embraced the sick women and with a kiss to her cheek said goodbye as per the usual cultural tradition. The man knew all about the airborne modes of flu transmission but he made the sacrifice to kiss the sick woman anyways. Unfortunately within 24 hours he also came down with the flu resulting in an entire week of misery. Love always has a cost. When we choose to love we choose to sacrifice. God is love and he showed us the way. Jesus sacrificed his life on a cross and he did it for love. Love has a cost. What are we willing to spend?


Good Gifts

“Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you.”
(Deuteronomy 16:17)

Tis the season to be giving. Christmas is the time when many people give gifts but giving all year around can bless our lives. We give our time, treasure, and talents to others freely without expecting anything in return. Researchers have found that giving is actually good for our health. Giving randomly to others has several physiological benefits for our bodies. Giving boosts our immune systems and increases energy levels. Giving decreases our stress hormones which lowers blood pressure and heart rate. People who give regularly are more likely to live a longer and more satisfying life. (1) The concept of giving is clearly instructed in the Bible. “And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) We are to give generously “without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.” (Deuteronomy 15:10) So give a good gift and love someone today.



Reach Out

“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
Mark 16:15

I treat many patients with shoulder pain which is a very common problem especially in the work force. Shoulder pain can significantly limit your ability to reach out. Research studies have shown a relationship between scapular muscle imbalances and many types of shoulder injuries. These muscular imbalances can cause abnormal movement patterns predisposing someone to shoulder weakness, rotator cuff tears, and shoulder impingement syndromes. The good news is that a specific scapular exercise program can greatly improve shoulder pain and even eliminate the need for surgery in up to 80% of the cases.(1) Workers in the Kingdom of God frequently reach out as well. The Lord Jesus requires us to reach out to those people who have never heard the Gospel but spiritual imbalances can limit this function. Life becomes imbalanced when the worries of the physical world, lifeless routines, and our own selfish agendas take precedent over this mandate of God. Exercising our faith by sharing the Gospel puts our lives in balance as we reach out to those in need.

1) Kibler WB, Ludewig PM, McClure PW, et al. “Clinical implications of scapular dyskinesis in shoulder injury: the 2013 consensus statement from the ‘scapular summit.” Br J Sports Med 2013 47: 877-885).


Hope for Recovery

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

I have always been a very active person and as a result I have had my share of injuries. Painful injuries can cause a significant disruption in the quality of our lives. Research investigators have recently demonstrated that how we think can effect how fast we recover from an injury. One research study found that “patients with low general expectations for pain relief had worse outcomes at 6 months than patients who expected complete pain relief.”(1) This evidence suggests that those who believe that they will improve are more likely to do so. In other words a person’s baseline expectation for improvement has an impact on their recovery. This finding is plainly obvious in the Bible. We put our faith in the Lord who hears and answers our prayers. Only God can fill us with joy and peace as we confidently hope in him for a full recovery from life’s painful circumstances.

1)Bishop MD, Mintken P, Bialosky JE, et al. Patient Expectations of Benefit from Interventions for Neck Pain and Resulting Influence on Outcomes. JOSPT.2013; 43(7): 457-4631


Trustworthy Friends

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
(Proverbs 13:20)

I was visiting an alligator farm recently and I noticed how the alligator keeper was very cautious when moving about his reptilian friends. He was very observant of the alligators activities to guard against any unsuspecting attacks. Even though the keeper was with the alligators every day he still could not trust his company. Hanging out with the wrong crowd can be dangerous to your health because they may end up turning on you. Good friends are hard to find. “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”(Proverbs 12:26) We can trust devoted followers of Christ Jesus who are transparent and honest before the Lord. When we surround ourselves with these types of trustworthy friends the Lord can use them to guide our steps into his perfect will. Of course the Lord himself is our most trustworthy friend as he is the only one worthy of putting our trust in.


Hot Love

“For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
(Romans 5:5 NLT)

Recently my hot water heater stopped working at the house and it couldn’t have happened at a worse time since I had family coming to visit the very next afternoon. We had to take cold showers for several days while waiting for the electrician to repair the heater. Of course this frigid atmosphere was not very desirable. A cold shower is shockingly uncomfortable for bodies that are accustomed to hot water. A nice hot shower is a basic necessity in the developed world to decrease stress from the day but sadly many households have been submerged in the cold without even realizing it. Jesus said that in the end times “sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12) Selfish attitudes, bitterness, and unforgiveness freeze our ability to love. Only the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives can turn on the heat of God’s love to thaw out this frozen world.


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