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What a wake-up call! No, not the kind you get from the front desk of a hotel—I’m talking about the wake-up call you get from God! It’s unmistakable and requires a response. On Father’s Day weekend, Debbie and I flew to Fresno. We arrived at 10:30 p.m. and checked into our hotel by 11:30 p.m. Within minutes of arriving at the hotel, I felt nauseated and started throwing up blood. That was not a good sign.

I went back to the front desk and asked how to get to the nearest hospital. The hotel clerk printed out a set of directions from the Internet—which I hoped would be accurate! Anticipating that I could potentially pass out from blood loss, I quickly drove off, and soon walked into the emergency room of a small community medical center. The next seven hours were touch and go. Physicians, nurses and other staff all contributed positively to gaining ground on what turned out to be a bleeding stomach ulcer. My vital signs remained strong throughout the process and in the end I did not need a transfusion.

By the afternoon of the next day, after consultation with a group of doctors, the medical team was able to cauterize the ulcer and stop the bleeding. Debbie and I got a good dose of reality. The doctors that I encountered were less than thrilled when they discovered my significant daily aspirin consumption. They said this likely triggered the ulcer and since they had eliminated bacteria, alcohol and tobacco as contributors, they were insistent that I stay away from aspirin. I got the message loud and clear. Their encounter was the third one that I had experienced. The first one was with the Lord; and the second one was from my wife.

Everyone finds a way to cope with the tensions and stress of life, though not everyone finds themselves facing a life threatening situation because of their choices. My rebuke from the Lord started a chain of events that has led to a new covenant between me and Him, Debbie and the board of directors (no more aspirin, more exercise, celebrating the Sabbath, building better margins, and playing more golf!). Imagine getting a medical prescription that allows you to play golf; or any sport for that matter that makes you happy!

Sometimes when the Lord can’t get our attention privately, He is not unopposed to getting it publicly! My prayer for you today is that you take a few minutes and reflect on any issues where the Lord may be pressing in. He is relentless. To lose this battle is not an option for Him. It could be said, “What does it profit a man … if he gains a ministry, but loses his health?” Thankfully, I’m moving towards a more balanced approach to life—but it took a serious wake-up call. Here’s hoping you won’t need one!

“…Listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” —Deuteronomy 30:20 (NIV)

served as the president of The Foursquare Church from 2009-2020.