Letters

Herbicide Sensitivities

Below, find a letter I sent to a handful of Reed City High School employees.

Josilyn will not attend school for a 24 hour period after this is sprayed. I recommend NO PREGNANT women or immuno-compromised people attend school that day (WHICH IS TOMORROW!)

I will post an update from the Facilities Management Department (Paul Lewis was the posted contact person at plewis@reedcityschools.org) when I receive a response. I sent it a few minutes ago around 10am, so it's fair to not expect a response in the next hour. Hopefully before the end of the school day or Josilyn may end up missing two days, due to my wanting "to be safe rather than sorry."

 

"I have meant to write many times when I’ve seen pesticides are going to be used on the school grounds. Today I am thankful to have the time to ask some questions and share my personal knowledge. I promise to keep this as brief as possible (and technical terminology to a minimum).

The local areas, throughout the past 100 years, have been exposed numerous times to intense chemical contaminations. Each time, in the months after, the communities downstream of these mistakes get sick. Our repeated exposure to a family of chemicals, known as endocrine disruptors, create havoc in our bodies. They also act as carcinogens, neurotoxins, reproductive toxins, volatile organic compounds, and sensitisers, but my research has not dove deeply into the other areas as of yet. So I’ll focus on what I have learned.

Well known examples of endocrine disruptors:

DDT, Agent Orange, PCB, PBB, BPA, PCE etc.

There have been MANY times corporations have chosen to allow this community to be poisoned. Mistakes happen. As a former laboratory technician at the Mayo Clinic, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Amway, and Perrigo, I understand how easily mistakes happen. However, many of these companies, after realizing the mistake, took minimal to no action, creating a wider spread problem, still hospitalizing our community regularly;

The round of contamination which concerns me the most, the 1973 exposure when PBB (a fire retardant was accidentally added to cattle feed, instead of an additive, which was to increase dairy production) entered the ENTIRE MICHIGAN FOOD CHAIN. Nobody who lived here was safe from the problem. The mistake was realized early by farmers, due to their cattle’s rapid health decline after starting the contaminated feed. When the farmers asked questions at the feed store which supplied the PBB laced feed, they were told it was only happening on their farm, and their sanitation skills needed some examination. The company, Farm Bureau Services, was aware rather quickly, of the mistake made, yet continued to deny allegations. I’m sure this was for legal reasons. As the farmers’ own families, starting with the elderly and children, (not just their livestock/livelihood) began to get sick, with similar issues as they had observed kill their cattle,  they knew it was not their fault. With this confidence, they began to contact the Agriculture Department for the State of Michigan. For reasons we’ll likely never know, they also chose to deny. These two denials allowed the problem to continue, allowing the cattle to ingest the fire retardant, leading to the entire food cycle being contaminated.

This family of endocrine disruptors has proven, since the 1800s, to have intense health effects on humans. The current government paperwork will tell you “The effects on humans is unknown at this time and more research is needed” while they completely ignore loads of historical data I have access to online.

The non-technical way I imagine endocrine disruptors working; DNA is chugging along in a cell that needs to divide (this is how children grow and how we repair problem cells and replace dead ones). So, the DNA is a great worker and is happily doing cell cycle work… and then a loud, excited toddler shows up and starts throwing a fit. The DNA will continue to work the best it can, but it’s super hard with that disruptor being so aggravating. Mistakes happen. Mistakes made in the cell cycle can lead to fetal death/deformities, and cancer, illness, and death throughout the population.

Endocrine disruptors have a special ability causing us major problems; the ability to build up in our bodies, known as ‘bioaccumulation.’ So, our community, exposed heavily in 1973, is still full of the stuff, which means we don’t have mild reactions to small exposures. This community can and will have more intense reactions with every single exposure. I think this is a good point to state that the chemicals listed for use tomorrow, May 8, 2018, are strong endocrine disruptors, whether diluted or not.  

Another metaphor (to keep the technical words at a minimum);

Imagine our bodies are a glass of water. If the glass is empty and nudged off balance there are few factors acting upon the ability to remain balanced after the nudge. Now we begin to fill the glass, one ounce at a time, and nudge it again after each ounce is added, always being careful to use the same force. It will no longer react as an empty glass, because there’s new and additional factors created from the sloshing water.  

Repeat this until the glass is full. At this point, observe a change in the ability to remain balanced after a nudge. When the glass is already full, yet has more water poured on top, the dribbles and spills will continue to occur,

Does it always spill out/over at the same spot?

Did the glass tip over completely?

Did the glass break when it fell over?

Following the glass of water metaphor, imagine each body of a long term area resident is the glass (our bodies) full of “water” (endocrine disruptors). “Full” means we are carrying around high concentrations of endocrine disruptors, which our DNA is constantly trying to ignore, but it’s just so annoying, which leaves the glass unbalanced. This imbalance means small water additions lead to mistakes happening daily in our DNA, leading to obesity, diabetes, arthritis pain/inflammation, decreased memory, etc. (We have been told for decades this is a result of bad decisions we’re making, don’t believe them!!! It’s totally the endocrine disruptors). The glass is full and a small amount of water is added on top of the full glass, if even just a teaspoon, the water spills out.

Just as the spill can happen at any point around the rim of the glass, the havoc created by the endocrine disruptors will spill out of our storage systems and the health changes we will notice are dependent on each of our bodies history (ie. epidemiology).

.Accumulators of Endocrine Disruptors

(high concentration storage locations)

Thyroid, Liver, Spleen, Lymph Nodes, Fatty Tissues, Breast Milk, Brain

So why am I so obsessing about an exposure that happened 25 years ago?

The endocrine disruptors pass from mother to infant, through the placenta and breast milk. This means each generation since 1973, has continued to be exposed, at minimum through breast milk, including  the children attending the school today. These children are still growing, which means they have many cell divisions ahead of them (ie chances for illness when the endocrine disruptors are present and added).

What other kind of problems/illnesses do endocrine disruptors cause in our body?

Let’s think about the glass of water again. Life experience gives us good idea of where the water will begin to spill over due to factors like gravity, the angle of the rim, and any physical deformities the rim of the glass had at the beginning of the experiment. We know it will not spill over the rim evenly, but at one or two locations. The same happens in our bodies, which means not all of our storage areas are going to show the problems every time we’re exposed. This also explains why the entire community does not suffer from the exact same health problems, even though we’re full of the same stuff. So, how do these “spills” show up (expressed) in our bodies?

Problems and Illnesses due to Endocrine Disruption

Obesity, hypo/hyperthyroid, confusion, memory loss, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, diabetes, MS, vision problems, slurred speech, exhaustion (needing 16+ hours of sleep), depression, anxiety, shame, blisters, acne, thickened hair growth, thickened skin (ingrown hairs), toenail abnormalities and infections, weakened bones (“Osteoporosis-like”), herpes (all kinds/locations), arthritis, breathing problems including asthma and sinus infections, migraines, lowered impulse control, severe sensitivity to light and sounds, eyelid swelling/puffiness, stye on eyelids, poor vision, muscle twitching/jerking/spasms, drooling (increased salivation), low blood pressure (“anemia-like”), high blood pressure, cancer of soft tissues and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, loss of appetite (anorexia/bulimia), stomach pains, ulcer like symptoms, vomiting, muscle weakness, slowed heart rate, shortness of breath, pee shivers from acid in the urine, incontinence, cyanosis (bluing of the skin and gums), large white area at base of nails, random intense aches throughout the body which pass quickly, unconsciousness, miscarriages, decreased body lengths of developing fetus, an increased incidence of delayed or absent bone formation in offspring (“Polio-like”), and the list can go on and on and on and on...  

If the above list hit home, you’re aware we’ve all suffered long enough and it’s time to start making large scale changes.

I do not write because I have simply read about these problems and I like to hear myself talk. I have lived with many of these problems in my body. I currently watch my friends and family spin through the ever-revolving door at Spectrum, suffering from the the effects of the numerous endocrine disruptors present in our day to day lives.  

I can no longer ignore our communities failing health.

I am making major changes to my families lifestyle to avoid these poisons, which in turns means my daughter, age 6, will not have to deal with constantly being re-exposed, week after week, meal after meal, for her entire lifetime.  

We always want better for our children.

Let’s not surround them with a chemical, known to make them sick.

I know “we’ve been doing this forever” but it doesn’t mean it’s safe or the morally responsible choice.

 

Questions:

  1. What time on Tuesday was this planned to happen?
  2. There are wind and rain restrictions for application, will this be considered before spreading?
  3. Where, specifically, are the pesticides being spread at the entrances?
  4. Is it possible to leave one entrance, at each school, uncontaminated for safe entry for 24 hours (the minimum time I believe should exist before ANYBODY comes near it, according to the chemicals’ half lives (ie LD50))?
  5. Are there reasons we can’t have broadleaf weeds on the property beside non-uniform grass presentation? I know we “find pride” in having a beautiful lawn, but is it not more important the school provide a SAFE environment, rather than a “visually appealing” experience?
  6. Will it be a job one person does?
  7. Since Tripower is regulated and not available to the general public, is the person doing the application properly qualified and fitted with an effective face mask?
  8. Is the person doing the application aware of the possible side effects to themself, the children, teachers, and administrators?
  9. Is the person doing the application aware of our communities health exposure sensitivities?
  10. Can the school buildings be advised, and subsequently announce a time to close the windows and doors during application? *I see the application, according to RC policies, will not be spread while students are in class. Is this something that Facilities Mgmt follows through on?
  11. Have the pregnant women of the school been informed (they should not come to work for 24 post application) exposure could lead to miscarriage, preterm birth, or low birth weights?
  12. Why is vinegar, known to kill the unattractive broadleaf weeds being targeted by this herbicide application, instead of the herbicides and pesticides?
  13. Who else do you recommend I contact regarding this issue?

 

In the past month, I attended a meeting where elder community members who remember when the PBB was added to our food chain, were discussing what happened then and what problems have happened since. In attendance was also Emory University, in charge of the Michigan’s PBB Registry and subsequent research (though the share almost none of their findings). The community members are still mad at the company which chose to deny it’s knowledge of the mistake in the first months. They also have little trust in the government, because it knowingly chose profits over people’s health by suppressing test results which confirmed the farmers’ suspicions. The sick folks (those still alive) were most disappointed by the employees of the feed mixing company. These employees were community members and had grown up alongside the farmers, the people ingesting the toxins. The employees chose to lie because their employer told them they had to deny it. Imagine, had one single employee, working in the company which spread the feed, chose to do the right thing and inform the farmers... the suffering that could have been avoided!!!

 

I live my life by the philosophy; “KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER.”

I like to imagine others live this way as well.

The feed company and its employees knew better and chose to turn a blind eye.

After reading this, you now know small exposures can have disastrous results in our community.

So now, I beg you to do better.  

Please refuse to spray these chemicals, as is scheduled, for Tuesday, May 8, 2018.

Please choose our community’s health and future over the assigned task.

Your community will support you. None of us care about the broadleaf weeds. However, the kids… they’re kind of special to us.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing back from each of you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jennifer (Franklin) Newman

Newman’s Local PBB Report

RCHS 1999 Graduate

Parent of RC Kindergartener"

  continue reading

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Letters

Victory. Overwhelming Victory.

This has been on my mind for a while.

Where our Owners’ Manual speaks of the battle (in Ephesians 6), it’s very specific: the victor is defined as the one still standing when the dust settles.


“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore.”

So if you’re battered and bloody and discouraged and weary when the fighting stops, that’s normal. If you’re still standing, you’re the victor.

We tend to think “victory” means that we’re still humming a happy tune, the birds are still singing and our armor is still shiny.

Bah! Shiny armor means you haven’t been in a real battle yet. And the birds will sing again when it’s time. And you can always choose what kind of tune you want to hum.

Someone will bring up Romans 8: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” True that. We are more than conquerors. Isn’t that talking about the happy Hollywood ending where the hero (you) rides off into the sunset with his heart’s desire next to him?

Not so much. What it means is that you’re still standing.

How do you conquer except that you do battle? Real battle. War. Blood. Guts. Demons flapping. Curses flying. Tongues wagging. Naysayers naying. Enemies screaming.

Look at our own example of “more than a conqueror.” He wore the crown of thorns and not a scrap of cloth as he dangled bloody, groaning “It is finished.” That’s our example. That’s our Forerunner. That’s our King.

Have you fallen and you’re not getting up? That’s not winning. I don’t care who’s fault it is. Lying there, staying there, with your face in the mud and blood is not victory.

Having face-planted, and then struggled to your feet as the angels mopped up the battle, even if you need three others to help you to your feet, that’s victory. That’s more than a conqueror.

Do not let the devil tell you you’ve lost if you’re still on your feet, if you’re still fighting, if you’re weary to the bone. If you’re upright, you’re the victor.

‘Nuff said.
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Letters

Emory PBB Registry Meeting

On Wednesday, April 18, in St. Louis, MI, at 7pm there was a meeting put on by the incredible folks of the Pine River Superfund Citizen Task Force. They have been the driving force to keep the PBB problem from the deepest of back burners. At the meeting, there were a few special guests including Emory University's Michele Marcus. Emory of Atlanta, GA, is the current holders of medical records for all who gave blood samples and access to their health records since 1978. The agenda was to discuss the Michigan PBB Database research. My personal agenda was to meet others passionate regarding PBB and to ask the researchers VERY specific scientific questions that my research has been unable to answer.

My personal scientific background includes laboratory technician positions at the Mayo Clinic, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Amway. Currently I'm asking one question, “How do we get back to good once we realize we're still reeling from PBB?” I was disappointed to find Emory offers very little in the way of recommendations for healing to the victims.

I realize Emory must follow the laws as they were set when they began only five years ago. I hope someday the registry will help the victims. However, the "boxes of records still unopened from the 70s" gives me little hope at this moment. Will I sign up or recommend my family members do so? No, and here's why: To be an effective leader, the leader must not waste people’s time. These people have been giving for decades and now their grandchildren are suffering. They give hoping for help and are repeatedly offered, “These things take time.” It has been 45 years and the people have nothing to help them other than the chemical plant site cleanup (not finished). Perhaps Dr. Marcus was having an off day and I misunderstood. Perhaps she’s over extended and under funded. However, that is not an excuse to suggest people continue to sit and twiddle their thumbs while third and fourth generations suffer. I genuinely hope this meeting helped the team realize they will not continue to receive data if the people don’t feel the university is making a difference for the victims. This morning, I’m already messaging with the new friends from last night. They feel like they've been treated like guinea pigs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The good from Emory I took away from the meeting, some handouts (above) they have assembled. The information included is definitely helpful if you’re new to the topic. I believe we should all bombard our doctors with this first one (double-sided), sub-titled, “Information for Clinicians.” Email it to them. Fax it. Print it and hand it out to every health worker you come in contact with at the doctor’s office or while visiting with your friends and family. If you don’t know much about it and feel like you don’t have a right to pass it on, I’d like you to know, the handout has numerous links for your physician to follow-up. You do not need to be the expert. Even if you don’t think you are a victim, it’s still vital our local health workers are aware of the situation. This community should never be treated as “typical patients” because we are full of the PBB byproducts. The amount of medications I have taken because I was being treated as a typical patient… well it would horrify you all.

My brain is still attempting to recover from the medications and with each “good day” I have, I feel one step closer to figuring out how to help the entire community. I feel like this is my life’s purpose and I’m beyond excited. I’ve never felt like anything was my life’s purpose (outside of being the best mom I know how). Thank you to those who have already been supporting me. Following are the other six handouts.

So back to the meeting last night: I found one major theme from the attendees; People are done being asked to donate their time, story, and blood. They have been doing it for decades, with almost no return for the farming families. Personally, I believe Emory’s research is vital to keep us on the government’s radar. Without "proper" scientific methods being followed, there would be "no proof” the government would find adequate to fund cleanup projects or research. I do not think Emory’s work is in vain, however, I know time is precious and I think there are better ways for the victims to spend time on this topic. I would never look down on anybody who disagrees with me. I'm newer to this and am speaking from my experience.

 

I have said it before, research showing detrimental effect of Heavy Metals and Arsenic (what PBB breaks down into) has existed since the 1880s. I have done all my research with absolutely no special access to technical literature. If I can’t get it for free, I’m not going to bother (at this point). So, how does a university with accounts and access to numerous scientific journals, not seem to have done their research? I went to the meeting, very hopeful and left realizing I have a lot of articles to write to share what they don’t (won’t? can’t?).

Dr. Marcus also announced (and asked for volunteers) for a project she hopes to conduct. This one will study the effects of Rapid Removal of PBB Techniques. So… I'm reading between the lines; the knowledge to help us is known and not being shared. Why not? If they shared it now and they weren’t tracking the results with regular blood samples, they won’t get the data. So, for us to remove it without them would be detrimental to their studies. Well, I’m not that interested in their studies because it seems they're not big on sharing results. Another reason to not share is of course,  liability. If they share something and it makes people sicker, they will be sued. I however, with all of the disclaimers and constant reminder that I’m NOT a physician, will continue to offer my recommendations. I make my recommendations based strictly from chemistry and historical data from other heavy metal chemicals around the globe. 

So, here they are.

My Recommendations (using only one of these will be helpful, the more the better,  but just choose to start somewhere)

$20 shower head water filters (expires after 6 months, so a whopping $40/year)

$15 filter straws (0.001 micron filtering capacity)

$10 bentonite clay

Free - Get yourself sweating for at least 15 minutes a day, to keep the toxins from settling in your immune system (lymphatic system). When they are on the move, they cause much less damage.

$5 Apple cider vinegar shots (if you drink it with OJ, it’s doable. If there’s also mango juice added to it, I find it completely covers up the taste of the vinegar)

$60 - Massage (like exercise, in that it pushes the toxins from settled locations)

$5 Ion Foot Soaks

$8 Arcanum Albumin from your local naturopath

Eat a diet as close to paleo as possible

Never drink cloudy beverages (Fanta, Squirt, Mt Dew, Juices, etc)

Avoid storing food in plastic (NEVER heat in contact with plastic, including cling wraps)

Wear respirators when working with chemicals (ie lacquer, paint, varnish) or sanding all forms of pine wood and old furniture (pine absorbs Arsenic from the soil and stores it)

Free - NEVER USE weed killers because their byproducts exist in us as PBB does

 

I’ll add links for the above recommendations soon (none of which will end in my getting a referral bonus, because it’s vital you all know I’m in it for the health and not money) continue reading

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Letters

My Family’s Current Plan

“How do I get my body working better without spending much?”

I AM NOT A DOCTOR.

I AM NOT FINANCIALLY COMPENSATED FOR ANY OF THE FOLLOWING.

I have created an Amazon Wishlist for you to easily find the products I recommend so you can get them into your home as soon as possible. I’m convinced these items should help us clean our bodies of old, settled problem contaminants, while decreasing the daily amount we consume/inhale/absorb.

AMAZON WISHLIST CLICK BELOW LINK

http://a.co/0VYY0dc        <--- CLICK

AMAZON WISHLIST CLICK ABOVE LINK

I created an Amazon Wishlist with three purposes (I make NO MONEY from purchases made):
First; an easy reference of items I highly recommend for those looking to make a purchase for personal use.

Second; for those generous enough to donate, so I can more easily help people in the community (without it becoming a financial burdon on my family). I love helping people. I'm obsessed with helping people. My unique life story has placed me in this place in time where I am able to help. I'd love to have a few of these items stored at my home to hand over to the folks wanting to make changes, but are too negatively altered by the toxins, which has led them to a point in life when they aren't able to help themselves (mentally and/or financially). Sometimes one person showing they care is all an ill person needs to begin healing. If you donate, that will be at least two of us (and I'll be sure to let them know). I'd love to be able offer more than information and a shoulder to cry on as the realizations sweep over their faces. If you can only afford yourself, please do not financially burdon yourself to add to my giveaway pile. Care for you. The whole, "Put your face mask on before you try to help another" applies here. Continue choosing your health first and your bank account will eventually follow suit... then I'd love a donation. Pass on the goodness only when/if you're able.

Third; to continue my education on the topic, including reference material, monitors, testing kits, etc. I would use the testing kits and monitors around the local area and teach based on what I find. I always do my best to find the best deal. Often the items I've added here cost 3-4 times LESS what I find on typical sites (or what is first suggested). Thanks for your time, either way! I appreciate your interest in my passion project. (I do not make any percentage profit from these purchases.)

 

  

This is the product I think is worth the most bang for your buck.
Installation takes a few minutes.
Results our house has noticed in the 12 hours since installation:
Water flow NOT slowed.
My 6 year old’s hair has never been so soft (after ONE bath!).
Brushing went from rat nests to a couple of tangles.
All of our hair lightened a full shade (similar to natural sun bleaching)

Update: It's been six weeks and all of the above is still going great!!! Water pressure has NOT SLOWED. I am beginning to notice some bronzing in my hair (NOTHING LIKE BEFORE THE FILTER), which tells me it's not working at full capacity anymore, so I will likely replace in the next week or two and then move the used filter to our washing machine inlet.

The filter says it should be replaced every 6 months. At this price, that’s no problem here!!!

We will also put one on the end of the hose this summer (small pool and vegetable gardens). Both of these non-showerhead options will likely need a simple/cheap metal adaptor piece, but neither of those would cost more than $10.

I recommend this to you IF you currently live in the areas from the Mackinac Bridge to Kalamazoo and your home is drawing water from a ground source. The city/town water treatment plants do so much, I have no idea if the chemicals already added would be okay in this filter. Some day I may look into this, but for now, definitely on the back burner. However, I have some non-water recommendations too. Future posts will still be of interest to you. Don't leave me just because you drink city water.

The ingredients most important to me in this purchase were KFD 55 and Activated Charcoal. The other sections were a bonus.

 

Aztec Healing Clay $10

 

 

It removes toxins on the surface of your skin, or just near the surface. The uses are many, though.

 

 

 

I’m using it as a mask after mixing with apple cider vinegar (for best results). My 6 year old uses water to mix (also recommended on the directions) because she can't stand the apple cider vinegar smell. She loves the foot massages I give her with it.
Physical changes I notice:  My skin is tighter and wrinkles aren’t so pronounced.
Help's "draw out" infections/toxins in wounds that won’t heal without assistance. Surprisingly, the vinegar doesn't burn even in wounds (I avoid antibiotics at all costs, so I try this before ever going to the doctor).
I use it dry, in tiny amounts on my roots/scalp as a dry shampoo.

 

 

 

Lifestyle Options
Remain active (I know the struggle is real)  or the funky water that makes us so sick will settle in your lymph nodes, creating havoc. The key is to keep what’s in our bodies on the move so they can leave our bodies (pee and poop).
Drink the water you’ve filtered out of glass jars. Plastic puts many of the nasty chemicals back in our beverages when the plastic starts to degrade. This degradation happens easily. Simply because big companies bottle in plastic, that does not mean it’s safe for us. It means it’s cost effective and accepted by the consumer. Accept it no more!
Eat fresh cilantro. The lipids in it bind to those nasty chemicals, and then we poop it out! The key is to be active and hydrated if you’d like to remove the old built up stuff. Eating cilantro, without proper activity and hydration is still going to help remove whatever stuff it runs into along your digestive path.
Visit Clinton Zimmerman, CTN, and owner of Red Fox in Big Rapids, MI. A few months ago I was at a point in my research when I couldn’t find anybody who understood what I was talking about. He was the VERY FIRST person who understood why I see this as something vital for our community to understand. Thankfully, he has a health store, where he takes appointments. He does not accept insurance and charges $100 for an hour of his time. During that time, it’s up to you and him about what will best help you. The services he offers seem endless. He is an amazing person for you to follow up with beyond the simple, huge impact solutions I’ve recommended above. I am confident in his comprehension of the problem and was relieved he had more solutions than “filter your water.” The solutions he recommends for almost everybody in this area will cost you under $30. We’re beyond lucky to have such an amazing resource in our community. continue reading

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Letters

Reflections on Some Influencers

I was reflecting on some of the guys who have influenced my life in God over the years. None of these guys had a position of “leader,” but all three of them were competent leaders.

I knew a man who studied God, and God’s ways, for decades. He could put all kinds of letters after his name, including DMin, and PhD. He understood the Bible better than anybody else I knew at the time.

When I listened to him, I thought, “What a learned man. What a great foundation! I need a foundation like that.”

I knew another man who didn’t have a degree, but had spent a couple of under-funded decades among a people who didn’t even know who God was: teaching some, discipling a few, and desperately depending on God every day, for his meals, for his ministry, for his family’s lives.

When I listened to him, my heart melted. I prayed earnestly, “Father, I want to know you like this man knows you!”

I knew another man who came from the streets, and even that was just recently. He had not the slightest shred of education, and it showed. But he spent hours, many hours, just sitting in God’s presence, listening to his heartbeat, talking with him about what was on his heart.

When I listened to him, I realized that he had some ideas that were pretty messed up, and the first guy could help him with that. And I saw that he had some serious insecurity issues, identity issues, and the second guy could really help him with that.

But when he talked, he blew my mind. He healed the sick regularly, got words of knowledge effortlessly, and unbelievers listened carefully when he talked about his Jesus.

When I listened to him, I thought, “Father, is this really possible? Can your children walk in this kind of revelation, this kind of power, in this day and age?”

I learned some things in this reflection.

I really do love meditating on the things God has done in my world, in my life. The angel in Revelation 19 was right: the testimony of Jesus, who he is, what he's done, really is the spirit of prophecy. Mmm mmm. So good.

Different people have imparted different strengths into my life. If I only listened to people like me, I would certainly not be who I am today. Since both my wife and I like who I am today, this would be a bad thing.

Even people that make me uncomfortable can have a great impact on my life, provided I’m willing to learn. It's that "willing" part that I wrestle with sometimes.

It’s not enough to know ABOUT God. I must know God. And there’s more to know than I have any idea, even now. What a big heart!

It’s not enough to know God. I must also know ABOUT God if I aspire to trust him, to be like him. And again, there’s more to know about him than I even believe is possible.

When God invests himself into a person, he doesn’t necessarily make that person tidy, neat, clean, respectable. My ideas for what a “Good Christian” is were woefully inadequate, which means they are probably still woefully inadequate today. (Yet again I am reminded: He is NOT a tame lion.)


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PBB Contamination 101

The Walking Dead has opened my eyes to what happened to America’s culture in a way I never expected.
“The decision was made a long time ago. Before any of us knew each other. We were all strangers who would have just passed each other on the street before the world ended. But now we mean everything to each other. You were in trouble. You were trapped. Glenn didn’t know you but he helped you. He put himself in danger for you. And that started it all.” From Atlanta, to my daddy’s farm, to the prison, to here. To this moment now - not as strangers; as family - because Glenn chose to be there for you, that day a long time ago - that was the decision that changed everything. It started with both of you and it just grew, all of this: to sacrifice for each other, to suffer and stand, to grieve, to give, to love, to live, to fight for each other. Glenn made the decision, Rick. I was just following his lead.” - Maggie at the hilltop

So, here it starts, with me and you (you’re reading this, aren’t you!?). The movement of getting back to good can begin now. We’re all desperate for answers and to wake in the morning without limping from joint pain. I think I have figured it out and I am beyond excited to share with all of you. I will not profit from you all getting better. This is not a business I’m creating. This is not a pyramid thing. This is me, using my chemistry background, to dig through the articles full of technical lingo, to simplify it, so you can begin healing, mentally and physically.
I may not know you as well as I did in second grade, but I remember the joy you brought me. You are good. No person is born “misbehaving.” For at least the past twenty years, we have only had to reach out to one another on occasion; school gatherings, weddings, funerals, fundraiser event for those who couldn’t pay their hospital bills, and the subsequent decrease in pay from whatever caused them to visit the hospital in the first place. Oh… and at our jobs. I see you at yours. You see me at mine. There are many who come to me looking for advice, but I feel like a failure. At so many things. I look up to every person I come across. We all fight our own battles, and I thank you for showing up in mine, whether you were a protagonist or antagonist. I am here. I am happy. I am confident. I love. I am loved. I am a mother. There is no better love. I use it as a gauge of how to treat myself; with the same patience I show my daughter.

Take in a breath.
We don’t have to agree about EVERYTHING.
It can’t be about my opinion.
It can’t be about me.
It can’t be about you.
It can’t be about religion.
It’s not about politics.
It is about humanity.
How do we move forward now that we are so separated?
I imagine when “America was great” and I think of unity.
I think of both of my grandparents’ farms and their neighbors.
There was one school house and a handful of families sending their children.
The tightly knit farming community all wanted their kids to get an education.
Education. Education. Education.
This was the path to our common goal.
Learn all you can from your family and community,
then fly the coop, but always stay in contact.
There’s a reason we need to stay in contact.
You can only learn from the past if you know it.
Know better, do better.
We need to get healthy.
We no longer need to blame ourselves.
It was never our fault.
It was never a lack of self control.
The data was lost or ignored.
The info is now available.
Thank you, internet.

So, I put myself in danger, simply publicizing my findings. There are certainly going to be people upset with what I expose. There are going to be a lot of feelings of guilt trying to come to the top; for not knowing sooner and then feeding our children things that were making them sick. For making ourselves sicker and sicker by having no idea what’s happening around us. Let that blame ALL go from your thought process. This information has been suppressed on purpose. I will post articles where those trying to control the “hysteria” claimed the side effects we would experience in the future were completely unknown. The side effects were known in the 1880s. I’m going to start my reporting in 1970, Michigan. Eventually, I will move back in time and expose more reasons for why we have experienced life as we have… but for now, I focus on 1973’s PBB Feed Contamination.

I will do my best, to remain focused on Mid-Michigan. Otherwise, the info will overwhelm us both and you’ll feel desperate and like there’s no end in sight.... but there is an end in sight and we can all get back to good.

Lesson #1 - What was the PBB Feed Contamination?
There is no need for me to rewrite about the PBB Feed Contamination. I’m not the first to realize the catastrophe this caused, across ALL of Michigan. The media on it is everywhere, though each one comes from a different angle, and exposes different information. You don’t need to know it all to get better, so choose your favorite/easiest method from the list below so you can “know better.” Know better. Do better.

Movie

Bitter Harvest ((1981) available on Amazon)

Non-Technical Articles

http://michiganradio.org/post/michigans-toxic-1973-pbb-food-contamination-associated-more-health-effects

http://www2.michfb.com/about/fbs_summary

Book

PBB: An American Tragedy, by Edwin Chen

 

  continue reading

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Letters

Believers Who Find Fault

A favorite activity among some (not many) Christians is fault-finding. When someone makes a positive comment about certain topics, the faultfinders are quick to point out all the reasons we shouldn’t be positive, all the bad things that are associated there. 

Favorite targets for these people include:

a) Famous Christians (“Did you know that this famous leader once sinned? Gasp!”),

b) Politicians (This doesn't need much explanation; there aren’t many Christians who can say positive things about all three: Trump, Clinton and Obama),

c) Poignant Facebook posts (“Martin Luther is an evil man because some of his followers did bad things!”)

I’m convinced that this is a model given to us by the accuser of the brethren, since these are indeed accusations, and it’s aggressively marketed to us by the secular (and, to a lesser extent, Christian) news media.

When I run across people who have to begin their conversation with criticism or “We need to know both sides of that!” then I’m afraid I make the assumption that this is a person who is more influenced by the news media than by the Spirit of God. (I don’t like assumptions, particularly in myself.)

Our Instruction Book gives us certain standards for our behavior, and for our conversation with each other, standards like “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt.” (Colossians 4:6)

And one of those standards is not fault-finding: Proverbs 11:12 “People without good sense find fault with their neighbors, but those with understanding keep quiet.” & Jude 1:16 “These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.”

Another of those standards is the solution: fixing our attention on whatsoever is good and right. Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”.

Faultfinding is a fundamental failure to meet Scriptural standards, I’m afraid. It’s also something I aggressively discourage in conversations on this page (as I am doing in this post).

Off the record, my motivation for discouraging this is not Scripture: you are responsible for your own response to that standard; that’s not my job.

I speak up because being around that particular work of the enemy (the “accuser of the brethren” Revelation 12:10) is like swimming in a sewer for me: it’s incredibly distasteful, and more importantly, it’s really quite dangerous to my own health.

If you want to find fault with people, living or dead, do it somewhere else. If you to take a crap, don’t use my swimming pool for that purpose.

Thanks! 
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Letters

God’s Beauty in Creation

It was a beautiful fall day. The sun was out and the rains of winter hadn’t come yet so it was cool and clear.

I was wandering through a grassy field with Father. We were talking about something or other, sauntering, quiet and peaceful. I was running my fingertips through the tops of the grass as we walked.

I loved the way the wind moved the grass, blowing gently, eddying. The tops of the grass swaying with the breezes was fascinating and lovely. I sighed in appreciation.

I latched onto  one stalk of grass as I walked and pulled it out, something to fiddle with as we walked, rolling it around my fingers.

After a few minutes of fiddling blankly with the grass, I looked at the single stem of grass, and suddenly I saw it. Suddenly I realized that the single stalk of grass was every bit as beautiful - in a completely different way - as the entire field of grass. The tall, straight stalk had a classic, almost a formal beauty.

I reflected on that for a while as I looked at my piece of grass. Then I looked more closely, and I saw the pattern of the veins in the leaf. It was on the stem, too: completely irregular patterns that reflected it’s Creator’s attention to detail.

I stood there in awe of how beauty infused the grass at every level: the field was beautiful, the single stalk was beautiful, the tiny veins were beautiful. What a wonderful Creator we have. That’s Jesus (John 1). He’s amazing.

 Suddenly, I remembered my high school biology classes where I examined the cells of a leaf of grass. That had another beauty all its own: row after irregular row of semi-autonomous life all contributing to the overall life of the plant, each asymmetrical in its beauty.

And then I thought about the molecular structure of the grass, the molecules all reaching out and attaching to the molecules, all the atoms perfectly in place within each molecule. Wow. What beauty at that level, too.

And then we could talk about quarks and neutrinos and string theory! Beauty, all the way down! I was overwhelmed.

And that’s it. Nothing profound. Just amazement at a Creator who fills, full to the brim, everything He touches with beauty.

Beauty is everywhere. I just need eyes to see it. And when I do, I get to see more of God’s amazing attributes.

I’m so proud of my big Brother. He’s amazing!



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Letters

Waging War With Your Prophetic Words

It was a heartbreaking season in my life.

I’d been given some prophetic promises about an area of my life. God had declared some beautiful things: unity and power and intimacy and victory. Yeah, it was a lot of “the usual stuff,” but it came in a declaration from God. Actually, it came in two or three declarations; this wasn’t just a warm and fuzzy thought from one person.

We’ll pause here for a definition. When I talk about a “declaration from God,” that might be a prophetic word; those are the best, and I give them the most weight: when someone with a known gift of prophecy says, “This is what God says,” and the community judges it to be true (1 Corinthians 14:29), that’s the gold standard of prophetic revelation in my view.

But the idea of a declaration from God includes what I hear God whispering to me, and it includes those times that something from the pages of Scripture leap alive and demand my attention. They include when friends tell me what they hear God saying about me, and when the promises of scripture actually, contextually apply to me.

As I said, I had two or three of these, including both the prophetic words and the whisper of my Father. There was a good bit of unity among the declarations. I trusted them.

And then things began to go to hell. I wish I spoke metaphorically. Without putting too fine a point on it I’ll say that just when I expected the promises to begin to manifest, to show up, just when I expected to see things turn toward unity and power and intimacy and victory, they turned the opposite direction.

It was a heartbreaking season in my life. You see, this was an area that was really quite important to me. This was no cute little bonus.

I ran through the demonic logic tests: Can God be trusted? Is he really a good God? You know that list. They came at me hard and fast, and I threw them back in his face just as hard, declaring God’s goodness, his trustworthiness, and my confidence in Him. I went further and rebuked every demon I could think of from every aspect of this promise. I felt victorious!

I thought, There. That will do it. And the promises down-shifted for better acceleration into oblivion.

My heart was crushed, but still I held on. I began to ask better, more honest questions: Did I assume God had promised this, when in fact he had not? No, he’d been quite clear.

Were the promises for right now, or was I rushing him? That one was tougher, as he’d never actually given a date, but if this trend continued, then there was no chance of fulfilling them later.

Was I imposing my own definition of what these fulfilled promises needed to look like? Maybe the fulfillment was so different than my expectations that I didn’t recognize it. I searched my heart long and hard on this, and I examined the circumstances. No, the failure was real. This wasn’t just my misinterpreting it.

My life was pretty much over. I nearly gave up.

And then something whispered in the back of my mind. It was a quiet little whisper, easy to miss. “I want you to give thanks for my promises as if you were already walking in the fullness of their fulfillment, as if everything I said has already happened, even though you’ve seen nothing yet.”

It took rather a lot to take the voice seriously, and it took even more to do what he said. But I did.

In those days, I took my lunch hours in a remote meadow. I parked my truck, and since I pray best when I walk, I’d worn a trail into the grasses and shrubberies of the meadow.

I began to pace my trail, questioning my sanity, and mumbling thanks for these hallucinations, these promises. I recognized the failure of my prayer, so I began to pray out loud. That was better, but I could tell I wasn’t to the point of actually engaging my faith yet.

So I began to shout. It was hard, and it took me days to get there, but before long, I fairly flew into that meadow, locked up my parking brake, and before the truck had fully stopped, I was on that trail, roaring my thanks for these promises, for the glory of having been my experience, for the power that had been unleashed. I screamed my gratitude for a victory I had not yet seen, and I wept in thanksgiving for the intimacy that I still only imagined.

Over the next days and weeks, I watched several changes. The first were in my heart. Eventually, my empty declarations of faith began to actually fill with faith, and I began to understand that I was waging war with these promises (1 Timothy 1:18). Not long after, I realized that the things that I was declaring that had not yet happened, they were going to happen. I began to expect, not fearlessly, not solidly, but I began to expect to see things change.

My prayers expanded. I spent my spare time thinking of what that will look like when these promises are fulfilled, and I prayed every answer to that. By now, I was thankful that my meadow was remote, and occasionally, I checked the trees near the meadow, to make sure I hadn’t roared their bark off.

And still I prayed. I walked and prayed and shouted and demanded and wept and gave thanks like there was no tomorrow.

And then things did begin to change. It was like lighting a match to the tinder of a well-set fire: the change was so very small and fragile, and the slightest breath would extinguish it. I said nothing of this to anyone, so as to not blow out my precious flame, but I gave myself to serving that tiny, flickering flame, nurturing it the best I could.

But gradually, over months and years, it did turn, and today I can say I’ve been walking in the fullness of many of those promises for many years.

I’ve also noticed a change in me. I’m quicker to give thanks than I ever used to be. I think I like that.
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Letters

When God Paused

There is a funny little verse in Genesis chapter 1: “And God said, Let us make man in our image,…” [Genesis 1:26]

There's so much you can learn when God pauses for a little interjection like this.

This is the first – and only – time that God says this. He never said “Say, let's make mountains.” Or “Let's make some stars” It was only when he made man, that he paused and said “Hey, let's do this. Let's make man.”

Apparently there is something about making man that takes more consideration than when you're making sweet potatoes or goldfish or black holes. Apparently there is something about making man, that makes even God pause for a moment, to think about it before he does the making.

Thus far, God had created everything in the universe, except man. All the stars, all the planets, all the asteroids, all the strange things of space. He had already filled the Earth, with fish in the oceans, animals all over the land, green plants growing everywhere, a healthy weather system in place, to make sure it all kept going well.

And I suppose it's fair to say that when that omniscient Trinity of omnipotent beings pause to think about something, that they do a really good job of thinking. I'll bet it's not a mystery to them, when they apply themselves to thinking about making man.

So he thinks about man.

“Well, if we are going to make men really, actually in our image, he has to have free will. And actual free will means he has authority, like God. Now what will he do with that authority, that free will? What will he do with that aspect that makes him like God?”

And God looked further into the future.

I think what he saw might have broken his heart. After a long time of  naming animals and plants, of caring for the garden,  God watched Eve eat an apple from the tree they were instructed not to eat from, and share it with her husband, Adam. He knew he would need to send them out of the garden, lest they eat from the Tree of Life, and live forever in sin.

And still God looked. And God saw. And God saw Cain and Abel, and he wept. And God saw Enoch, and he rejoiced come with a joy that only a God can Rejoice with. And God saw Noah, and he saw the flood, and he wept some more, as he watched the effects of that first sin poison Humanity.

And still God looked down through the years of History. He saw Abraham and Sarah, and Isaac, and Jacob and his multitudes. He saw their years in Egypt, and he made a mental note to prepare a Moses.

And he kept looking. He saw David, and he saw a succession of Kings. And he saw the Dark Ages, Attila the Hun, Charlemagne, Napoleon, Hitler. Such pain. Such heartache.

And then he saw you.

He saw your birth, he saw the squalling mess of your beginning. He watched you grow up.

And he fell in love with you. And in that moment, that God was thinking about what would happen if he created Adam and Eve, in that nanosecond of applied omniscience, God's thinking changed. God was in love.

And because he was in love with you, he no longer had the option of NOT creating man. Because, you see, if he didn't create man, then you would never be born, and that was unthinkable, even by an omniscient thinker. He loved you, even then.

Before your remotest ancestor was created, God was already in love with you.

But that apple. That sin. That disease that would inhabit these humans. Something needed to be done about that sin.

And God said to himself, there's only the one option. I will take off my divinity, I will conceal my Godhood, and I will become one of them. And God said, but they will kill me. And he replied, yes. So? Do you not agree? And God said Yes. We will become the lamb that is too be slain. We will take away, not just their sin, but their sinfulness.

And God knew that dying for these people, these children, would not, could not guarantee a relationship. He was completely adamant about free will. Without free will, we would not be his children. Without free will, we would be pets, or robots, nothing more.

No, his death for us did not, we'll never, overcome our free will. But it will open the door. When God walks among us, now he can tell us of his love. Now he can show us what it's like in his family. Now we have a chance to join him.


That is the story of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. [Revelation 13:8] That was for you. 
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Letters

When God Paused

There is a funny little verse in Genesis chapter 1: “And God said, Let us make man in our image,…” [Genesis 1:26]

There's so much you can learn when God pauses for a little interjection like this.

This is the first – and only – time that God says this. He never said “Say, let's make mountains.” Or “Let's make some stars” It was only when he made man, that he paused and said “Hey, let's do this. Let's make man.”

Apparently there is something about making man that takes more consideration than when you're making sweet potatoes or goldfish or black holes. Apparently there is something about making man, that makes even God pause for a moment, to think about it before he does the making.

Thus far, God had created everything in the universe, except man. All the stars, all the planets, all the asteroids, all the strange things of space. He had already filled the Earth, with fish in the oceans, animals all over the land, green plants growing everywhere, a healthy weather system in place, to make sure it all kept going well.

And I suppose it's fair to say that when that omniscient Trinity of omnipotent beings pause to think about something, that they do a really good job of thinking. I'll bet it's not a mystery to them, when they apply themselves to thinking about making man.

So he thinks about man.

“Well, if we are going to make men really, actually in our image, he has to have free will. And actual free will means he has authority, like God. Now what will he do with that authority, that free will? What will he do with that aspect that makes him like God?”

And God looked further into the future.

I think what he saw might have broken his heart. After a long time of  naming animals and plants, of caring for the garden,  God watched Eve eat an apple from the tree they were instructed not to eat from, and share it with her husband, Adam. He knew he would need to send them out of the garden, lest they eat from the Tree of Life, and live forever in sin.

And still God looked. And God saw. And God saw Cain and Abel, and he wept. And God saw Enoch, and he rejoiced come with a joy that only a God can Rejoice with. And God saw Noah, and he saw the flood, and he wept some more, as he watched the effects of that first sin poison Humanity.

And still God looked down through the years of History. He saw Abraham and Sarah, and Isaac, and Jacob and his multitudes. He saw their years in Egypt, and he made a mental note to prepare a Moses.

And he kept looking. He saw David, and he saw a succession of Kings. And he saw the Dark Ages, Attila the Hun, Charlemagne, Napoleon, Hitler. Such pain. Such heartache.

And then he saw you.

He saw your birth, he saw the squalling mess of your beginning. He watched you grow up.

And he fell in love with you. And in that moment, that God was thinking about what would happen if he created Adam and Eve, in that nanosecond of applied omniscience, God's thinking changed. God was in love.

And because he was in love with you, he no longer had the option of NOT creating man. Because, you see, if he didn't create man, then you would never be born, and that was unthinkable, even by an omniscient thinker. He loved you, even then.

Before your remotest ancestor was created, God was already in love with you.

But that apple. That sin. That disease that would inhabit these humans. Something needed to be done about that sin.

And God said to himself, there's only the one option. I will take off my divinity, I will conceal my Godhood, and I will become one of them. And God said, but they will kill me. And he replied, yes. So? Do you not agree? And God said Yes. We will become the lamb that is too be slain. We will take away, not just their sin, but their sinfulness.

And God knew that dying for these people, these children, would not, could not guarantee a relationship. He was completely adamant about free will. Without free will, we would not be his children. Without free will, we would be pets, or robots, nothing more.

No, his death for us did not, we'll never, overcome our free will. But it will open the door. When God walks among us, now he can tell us of his love. Now he can show us what it's like in his family. Now we have a chance to join him.


That is the story of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. [Revelation 13:8] That was for you. 
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Letters

Bye Bye, Bogo

Sometimes in Asia, dogs have the run of the town. They don't really have dog catchers like in the West. Many consider it cruel to neuter pets. I mean, lots of homeless cats and dogs, no animal control to catch them, let them roam the streets and starve, get hit, or get attacked by other stray animals—so much more "humane" than neutering pets, right?

That's the world in which Bogo and I met. I named him "Bogo" for this article because, frankly, he didn't have a name. "Bo" is a manly name for "love" and "go" sounds like the Mandarin word for "dog". The name sounds right for an Asian pet. So, this is a story about Bogo, the black mutt who lived on the streets in Asia.

I first noticed him at local convenience shops. He was young and, for whatever reason, never got acquainted with the other dogs. He had no pack. Most street dogs have at least one dog friend, usually a pack of three or even twenty. Sometimes they roam the streets at night, dogs of every breed and size. It's almost like a dog-lover's movie.

Bogo never ran with any of those packs. He was always alone, yet somehow happy.

He was skinny. His ribs were pronounced. He was timid, yet not sorry for existing. When I saw him sleeping on the floor of the convenience shop, I had seen him once before, perhaps. But, that was the first time that we really got acquainted.

In Asia, dogs run in and out of convenience shops all the time. Don't get me started on health code. A dog in a convenience shop is cleaner than most outdoor food vendors. Besides, the germs strengthen the immune system. I never heard of anyone getting sick from a dog like Bogo. But, this was the first time I ever saw a dog sleeping inside a convenience store.

Maybe there just wasn't a safe place for him in the streets. The other packs probably chased him away. Or, maybe he was smart and liked the air conditioner for sleeping during the tropical summer. Maybe the other dogs didn't like him because he was the only canine with a luxury dog's taste for air conditioning.

Bogo seemed to gel well with humans.

After about six months, some things began to change with Bogo. I wouldn't only see him on the street at a distance anymore. He began to get friendly. In fact one time, he let me pet him! That's not normal for a dog who didn't grow up in a home.

He didn't have the best etiquette. He's jump up on me. If I told him to get down, he thought I was either trying to play or hurt him. He was always wild at heart, even though he preferred the company of humans. Bogo was a "spicy-sweet", just as the Taiwanese like their sauce.

Not long after he nosed me and let me pet him, Bogo started following me around. One night, I was at a BBQ with the neighbors when Bogo crashed the party. He was enamored by the fact that everyone was eating, but he rejected the food we gave him!

I finally tossed him a piece of toast. He picked it up, tried to bite it, then dropped it, uninterested. "You have to teach the dog by example," I said to one of the party guests. I scooped up the toast Bogo had dropped in the road, took a big bite out of it, chomped it down, then threw the rest back at Bogo. Bogo stared at me in awe, then picked it up, and ate the thing whole! The Asian party guests were in shock. You mean that a dog can understand humans?

That's the world in which Bogo and I met.

Of course a dog can understand humans. But, Bogo loved humans. So, he started to play bite with me. That sent the party guests on a whole new learning curve about dogs. They couldn't believe the dog was "biting" me, yet I wasn't bleeding.

Actually, Bogo did break the skin just a little on the back of my hand. But, it wasn't anything big. My hands smelled like dog for two days after that. He'd play too rough. When I smacked him for play biting too hard, he snapped back as if he didn't understand why I had just gently smacked his face. Bogo was always wild at heart, a "spicy-sweet" who loved humans.

A few days later, I had to call the police to report a hit-and-run in the parking lot. I had the plate number, hehehe. When the police showed up, so did Bogo the friendly dog. "New chew friend!" he must have thought to himself as he started play biting one of the young officer's hands. The police were quite entertained by Bogo, but not as much as Bogo was enthralled by them. I mean, think of it—more humans who love him.

In the days that followed, Bogo became more and more friendly in the neighborhood. He'd walk right in and out of the local convenience shops, almost as if he was exercising his status to use the automatic door like the "rest" of the humans. Everyone got acquainted with him. He was the friendly local dog.

I'd see Bogo 100 meters down the street and call to him. He'd come bounding to chase me on my motorcycle, all the way home. Quick play bite, a few words of wisdom that he probably couldn't understand beyond, "He's talking to me!" then I'd step inside and close the front door. The last time I remember him doing that, he smiled at me ear to ear and didn't even try to play bite. It was almost as if he just wanted to say, "I get it. You make sense to me. We can play, but I don't have to. I get it. Thank you. I'm so happy that you helped me get it."

I couldn't have adopted him because he was wild at heart. He wouldn't be happy penned up in a small, Asian house. The first time he went inside, he might have gotten scared and then, bye bye, Bogo!

It was almost prophetic, like the foreshadowing of a novel. At least two daily devotionals from different books were about the death of a loved one. It was too depressing for me. Those devotionals had a positive and encouraging tone—they'll be okay, God is near to us in such times, do not despair... But, I still put down those articles while reading because I just didn't want to think about death. What relevance did it have to that particular week, anyway? Why was I getting the "death is natural, don't be sad" message from so many directions?

Then, it happened. I was walking to a local convenience shop and I saw several neighbors out on the street. A dog had been hit in the road. The body was gone by the time I arrived on the scene. It was a small black dog. It made a big, bloody mess. One of the local shop owners had purchased several liters of bottled drinking water to wash the blood out of the street. It left a stain that is still there today.

At first, I wasn't sure if it was Bogo or not. But, he didn't show up the next day or the next after that. Weeks went by and no Bogo. Bogo went missing after a dog died having his description. I know how put two and two together.

I don't get my teaching of the afterlife from myself nor do I get it from other people who get it from themselves. I get my teaching of the afterlife from the Bible. And, I've seen quite good Bible-based evidence that pets might be in Heaven. Animals have emotions which are intangible, a "spirit"; but they are not sentient, so they have no soul. Just as our life lessons and friendships endure, the spirits of animals we love and train will, in all likelihood, see us again.

I'm not so sure that all dogs go to Heaven, only the dogs with big hearts, who loved because they were loved.

Bogo was a homeless dog, but he wasn't friendless and he isn't homeless anymore.

Why did all that happen? Why did a large puppy—Bogo was no more than a year old—suddenly drop in, dog-friendless, sleeping on our floors, befriending everyone, then get run over on a street where dogs never even get bumped? I miss Bogo annoying me every time I arrive at my front door. Why did all that happen?

Did our community not love enough? Did we need a love to lose so we might love each other a little more?

I can't believe we did something wrong to not prevent Bogo's death, especially with all those "don't despair when loved ones die" messages I kept getting the days before Bogo departed. A dog catcher isn't the answer since we never would have known Bogo. I can't blame the driver since Bogo is jet black and so is the pavement. Dogs sleep in the road all the time in that neighborhood and never, ever get hit, making this even more unusual.

I suppose I could blame the other dogs for making him sleep in the road instead of letting him sleep with them, but had he not been excommunicated from "Dogianity" I might have never gotten to know him. None of us would.

This world was unworthy of a dog like Bogo. There was no place for him. Dogs rejected him. He wouldn't be happy in a home. The streets are dangerous for a dog captivated by every human he sees. It just wouldn't work.

For a few days, the other dogs bugged out. No strays wanted to get close to where Bogo got plowed over. I thought they had moved, but you know how territorial dogs are. After a week, the packs were back. But, they were a little quieter. In fact, since Bogo left, everything has seemed more peaceful. Maybe his spirit really does live on.

He loved humans more than other dogs. His last day was his happiest. One night, he was hit by a car. He died surrounded by friends whose hearts he touched. Neighbors held vigil in the street, giving him a human farewell, just as many Asian funerals take place in the street.

So, there we have it. Somewhere in Asia, a dog with a big heart, a big family, and no home died. He was posthumously named Bogo.

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Letters

Declarations: For Yourself or for Others

Here’s a prophetic exercise for you:

Take a week and declare these [all of these] over yourself every day for a week. Then sit down and journal about what effect you’ve experienced.

Alternative: They’re also a great way to pray for someone you love, someone going through hell! If you prefer, declare these every day about someone else for a week.

Then sit down and journal about what effect you’ve experienced and what you observe in them. If it makes sense, ask them if they feel anything different this week from last week, and note that.

Instructions: Declare these aloud about yourself, or about the person you’re praying for. Declare them out loud. Shout them if you need to.

Engage your heart with them: don’t let them just be words. Recognize that you’re speaking both to all of Heaven and all of hell when you’re announcing these truths.

Note: These are things that the Bible clearly says are true. You’re not asking nicely if these can be so. These ARE so, the Bible says so. You’re just announcing the ruling of the King, like a town crier: “Hear ye, hear ye! This is the way it is now! The King has declared it!”

I am [or Suzie is] complete in Him Who is the Head of all principality and power (Colossians 2:10).

I am alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:5).

I am free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).

I am far from oppression, and fear does not come near me (Isaiah 54:14).

I am born of God, and the evil one does not touch me (1 John 5:18).

I am holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:16).

I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5).

I have the peace of God that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

I have the Greater One living in me; greater is He Who is in me than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

I have received the gift of righteousness and reign as a king in life by Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).

I have received the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus, the eyes of my understanding being enlightened (Ephesians 1:17-18).

I have received the power of the Holy Spirit to lay hands on the sick and see them recover, to cast out demons, to speak with new tongues.  I have power over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means harm me (Mark 16:17-18; Luke 10:17-19).

I have put off the old man and have put on the new man, which is renewed in the knowledge after the image of Him Who created me (Colossians 3:9-10).

I have given, and it is given to me; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, men give into my bosom (Luke 6:38).

I have no lack for my God supplies all of my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

I can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one with my shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16).

I can do all things through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:13).

I show forth the praises of God Who has called me out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).

I am God’s child for I am born again of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God, which lives and abides forever (1 Peter 1:23).

I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ unto good works (Ephesians 2:10).

I am a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I am a spirit being alive to God (Romans 6:11;  Thessalonians 5:23).

I am a believer, and the light of the Gospel shines in my mind (2 Corinthians 4:4).

I am a doer of the Word and blessed in my actions (James 1:22,25).

I am a joint-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17).

I am more than a conqueror through Him Who loves me (Romans 8:37).

I am an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony (Revelation 12:11).

I am a partaker of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4).

I am an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).

I am part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people (1 Peter 2:9).

I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

I am the temple of the Holy Spirit; I am not my own (1 Corinthians 6:19).

I am the head and not the tail; I am above only and not beneath (Deuteronomy 28:13).

I am the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).

I am His elect, full of mercy, kindness, humility, and long suffering (Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12).

I am forgiven of all my sins and washed in the Blood (Ephesians 1:7).

I am delivered from the power of darkness and translated into God’s kingdom (Colossians 1:13).

I am redeemed from the curse of sin, sickness, and poverty (Deuteronomy 28:15-68; Galatians 3:13).

I am firmly rooted, built up, established in my faith and overflowing with gratitude (Colossians 2:7).

I am called of God to be the voice of His praise (Psalm 66:8; 2 Timothy 1:9).

I am healed by the stripes of Jesus (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24).

I am raised up with Christ and seated in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 2:12).

I am greatly loved by God (Romans 1:7; Ephesians 2:4; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4).

I am strengthened with all might according to His glorious power (Colossians 1:11).

I am submitted to God, and the devil flees from me because I resist him in the Name of Jesus (James 4:7).

I press on toward the goal to win the prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward (Philippians 3:14).

For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

It is not I who live, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20).
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Letters

Kindness Leads to Repentance

In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus is describing some of the ways that his family is to be different than how the world does things. In the middle of that lecture, he drops this bomb: “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

There’s one command in this, and one reason for the command. Don’t be like those people because unlike their father, your Father knows what you need, even before you tell him.

I’d like to share a testimony, if I may.

I was helping someone with a legal issue. This someone important to me, someone who calls me “dad.” And the legal issue was pretty bad. It wasn’t that he had done anything illegal, but he’d gotten involved with a World Class Pain-In-The-Hindquarters. 

The World Class Pain was making his life miserable, threatening lawsuits, threatening huge expenses, and was completely flouting the law on the matter. He was Too Important To Be Bothered with things like that (he is a legitimate millionaire, for all the good it does him), and he does know powerful people who owe him favors.

So we’d talked together about the options open to us. At its most intense point, my spiritual son called me in terror and confusion about the latest round of threats, so I called the Millionaire Pain and explained things firmly to him. I think he’ll be able to use that ear again in a few days. I did not submit to his campaign of terror. I wasn’t rude, but I didn’t let him push me around.

But I pissed him off, so he jacked up the intimidation and threats, and neither my son nor I slept much for a couple of nights.

I wanted to ask for prayer, but I didn’t feel that freedom.

A day later, I realized that when I got in his face, I misquoted some facts to him, so I called him back, and (as expected) he sent my call to voicemail, so I left him a long message. I apologized for my errant facts, explained the situation from my son’s perspective, acknowledged what we understood of his own needs in the situation, and proposed a sit-down meeting where we could resolve the disagreement.

He ignored me, of course. His intimidation continued, but it did not escalate again.

Again, I wanted to post a prayer request, but I still didn’t feel the freedom.

One night it really got to me. I should have been asleep. Instead, I was ranting, my intestines were growling, and my sheets were soaked with sweat. I had acknowledged that we’d probably need to take the Pain to court, but as I rolled it around in my mind, I realized that we couldn’t lose the case. We had him cold! We had documentation of a couple of things that would make this an open and shut case! I didn’t want to go to court (nobody in their right mind does), but if we needed to, we would win.

And then I realized that The Pain wasn’t doing any of this to hurt my son or to hurt me, and he wasn’t doing this to win a court case. He just needed to stay in power in his interactions with other people. He needed to feel powerful, and this whole drama was how he met that need. I honestly began to feel sorry for him. That was actually confusing; he was the reason I was still awake at 3:00 in the morning!

And then Father reminded me of Romans 2:4b: “God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” We wanted him to change his mind about the hell he was wreaking; we wanted him to repent. Here, God’s showing me the key to The Pain's repentance: my kindness. Nice.

So I prayed quite a bit; I prayed blessing on this man, on his business, on his real estate holdings. But wait, there's more!

I’d been studying angels in the Bible, recently. My new favorite book of the Bible talked about them: “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14).

So I invited some angels to go visit him and minister the things of the Kingdom to him. We’re supposed to DO the stuff we’re learning, right? And I gave him a new name. No longer The Pain, now he was The Millionaire.

Suddenly, I was tired and I slept.

The next morning, the Millionaire surprised us all. He messaged my son with a remarkably reasonable response. He outlined some things he needed from us (reasonable ones!), and offered some concessions we hadn’t even asked for. Then he recused himself from the final negotiations and he invited us to work with his more reasonable partner. (What? Who IS this guy?)

I wonder if there’s a connection?

I shared the good news with Mrs P, and she admitted that she had been praying blessing on him as well (before she dropped off to a sound sleep several hours before I did!).

I never did ask others for prayer. Our amazing Father really does know what we need, even before we tell him. He’d been answering that prayer long before we got around to praying it.

Then I heard Holy Spirit whisper to me, “I’m serious. It’s kindness that brings repentance. Not power, not strength of will, not even being right. It’s kindness.”

It's kindness that leads to repentance. It really is. 

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