PART TEN – The Issues of Life (cont.)
I was angry with Marilyn over her attitude and conduct with me, yet I’ve said almost nothing. What will it take? She doesn’t believe she’s wrong; she believes I’m wrong. It’s that black faith, that power of deception, which feeds from the Tree of Knowledge, with reasoning that opposes the Tree of Life. Two real realms, but only one is life. The Tree of Knowledge seems right to a man but its way leads assuredly to death (Proverbs 14:12).
A few days ago I was told to warn Paul about getting cozy with Marcia. On May 30, I told him what I had heard. “I could have used that warning earlier,” he responded.
“What happened?” I asked.
“I was holding her hand tonight, and I embraced her,” he replied.
Until then, he had been talking to me of business, both Hsin Ten and spiritual work matters, mentioning nothing of Marcia. It hurts to be played with by someone you think to trust. Again, I am betrayed. I hung up. It is one thing to do evil; it is another to deceive and to hide.
I have said more than once, “I don’t care if nobody comes or stands with me. I will walk with the Lord.”
Marcia asked for my thoughts and stance on her relationship with Paul. My take was that she was focused on the sexual and physical more than on the spiritual. I saw little good with her stance. All those at the farm felt the same.
Paul claims this event with Marcia provoked him to realize he had never committed himself to being a . Rather, he despised the commandment. Now he feels something has transpired. Lois received two things: one, that Marcia was poison for Paul, and two, she was the finality and cure for what ailed him concerning women.
Today, June 8, 2003, I was bothered. I ate too much. I felt guilt over having hurt Jonathan by negligence when he fell on his head at a year old. I felt guilt over buying expensive lychee nuts. I was near to cursing God that I had ever been born. Lord, forgive! You have paid the price of redemption for our sins. One day, no more tears and no more sorrow.
Sara has been at the farm for some months now. Today, June 9, she informed me she has imaginary friends that could be very real. I told her they were devils. She needed to confess their presence and illegitimacy, renounce them, and ask the Lord for cleansing and deliverance. I told her to pray together with Lois to deal with the issue, which they did.
The very next day, Sara’s mother and grandmother called, wishing to speak with her. Coincidence? Beth was suspicious, accusing and cagy, as usual. Unlike previously, Sara now seemed to be a bit alert to her mother’s ways. Talking to Sara now, I felt like I was talking to someone I had not met before – something seemed to have changed for the better.
Wayne and Carol Storoz were Harvest Haven customers and Hsin Ten distributors in our downline. Wayne was constantly searching out ways to deal with his crippling health problems. They were also on the watch, as JW’s often are, to convert us to their kingdom.
I had a long talk or two with Wayne and finally told him that the main difference between us was that they did not believe Jesus Christ was God. I also confronted him on their use of religious pictures of Jesus, which is a violation of the Second Commandment.
I marveled (though it should not be surprising) that Carol would walk into the store with her daughter, Jara, who wore the fashions exposing her midriff.
I have also found that some, though not all, JW’s have had a bit of a problem with money, as the Storozes have had. They are just plain thrifty, or perhaps they’re afraid “the wicked world” is trying to bilk them of their precious pennies. I’ve found this characteristic common to more Jehovah’s Witnesses than to others of various religious groups. I also suspect that JW’s watch their pennies closely because their organization requires them to contribute considerably to furthering their kingdom, which would strain their budgets. I say “their” kingdom because it isn’t God’s. How can it be when they deny Jesus Christ as the Lord God, King of kings?
On June 14, I received a letter from Marcia. She said she was praying for me, and encouraged me to believe and know that what I speak is for others, and not for here and now necessarily. She was reminded of a passage in Peter, I believe; I don’t recall what it was.
We drove up to Camp Impeesa, past Beaver Mines, to pick Jonathan and his friend Derek up from their Scouts campout. While there, I thought I might try the trans-river tram, which required a partner, but Jonathan wouldn’t go with me, though he was willing to go with his mother, and the kids were partnering up with each other.
This brought back unpleasant memories and the social uncomfortability I suffered at being left out so often as a child. It really is quite painful and it was all I could do to try to shake myself out of the feeling of rejection. One of the principles that helped was to take a genuine interest in others instead of allowing feelings and thoughts of myself to take over. I found that others too appreciated some attention and company. We can find ourselves living in a crowd of lonely people.
I find it curious that before Jonathan was born, Marilyn was afraid Jonathan would reject her, but he didn’t; they became the closest of friends. On the other hand, I never feared rejection from him, yet found myself living what Marilyn had feared.
A principle that helped me with this problem was the use of knowledge while considering the issue. I was realizing that fathers can’t have the same relationship with children as do mothers. I also considered that children enjoy peer company, which I recalled of myself as a child.
Furthermore, there were many times when Jonathan made it clear, not by words but action, that he wasn’t rejecting me personally. I had to remind myself of these things, and I knew the problem was with me, not with others. Now I ask, Lord, remove this scar and problem from me.
We learned that John Stewart acquired a distributorship for copycat Chi machines. We confronted him on the moral aspect of selling them, thus cheating the inventors and investors of the real thing – the Original Sun Ancon Chi machine. The imitation machines also didn’t do the same job. On the contrary, they could injure people; at the very least, they weren’t effective. John couldn’t care less. Furthermore, Cody agreed with him and wanted to sell his machines rather than ours.
Having tasted freeloading weekends at our farm with the best of meals and lodging free of charge, Cody pressed to invite himself, without shame or hesitation, and we let him and Dena come, allowing that we would have opportunity to speak truth to them. His agenda was also to promote his blood analysis business, suggesting that we arrange with our customers that he analyze their blood for a fee. We declined.
Lois said she didn’t trust them any more than she would Brad and Lana Ackerman. Cody was ever the manipulator, the schemer, the one to find a way to sell something, never for good but always for gain. And he had no conscience; nothing really mattered to him. I began to suspect the man of being a true sociopath.
I had a peculiar question come to mind for Cody one day. “Cody,” I asked him, “what are you, or which will you be – a Christian, a businessman, or a Christian businessman?”
It seemed to me that he had a choice to make. He was steeped in an ungodly mixture of heavenly and earthly business, using the things of God to further his carnal ambitions.
We received word from the Gunnlaugsons, new owners of John Schussler’s property, that he had gone bankrupt. After I warned John that his business would not go well if he didn’t do it honestly and remove his misleading saskatoon syrup labels, John reported an incident of thievery. While he was away, a truck pulled up to his loading dock and presented an order for close to $70,000 worth of syrups and jams. Not knowing any better, whoever was minding the shop for John gave the trucker the product.
John said he later found this product in some southern US hotels or restaurants and knew it came by the thief. He didn’t think he could do anything about it and wrote it off. Other problems were occurring as well.
It was John’ habit and nature to be after the lowest price on anything. He would attend auctions, buy up bargains and sell them to anyone, including us, for all he could get. Whenever he wanted anything from us, it was for a fraction of its worth. I concluded we were seeing the fulfillment of the saying, “What goes around, comes around.”
But how could I criticize John when I’ve been the very same? How could I blame anybody for anything when I have pretty much done it all? I’ve been guilty of everything. It’s human nature and I am declaring us all guilty of such corruption. Why? So all will realize they’re not the only guilty ones and will be encouraged to get honest and come clean. In getting honest about themselves, God will deliver them from themselves. We are all perpetrators and we must admit it, if we are to be released from such a state.
John lost it all, including the dairy facilities his friend Debbie Wright was using for her herd and milk business. She was forced to promptly relocate an entire dairy operation with a three-day deadline when the property was sold to the highest bidder for a very low price. (John had not warned her.) And she had no alternative but to return to her old dilapidated farm that had no facilities!
The buyer was Jim Gunnlaugson, an owner of a local, heavy equipment construction business. (Jim’s man did our dugout with his excavator in 1995.) It was a good thing Jim had the equipment to clean the property. There were few places that needed it more, according to Jim’s report.
Debbie Wright is an animal lover who seemed to be able to match some veteran veterinarians in diagnosing and treating animals. She often helped us out with our animal health challenges. She also had some notions about animals which led her to be offended with us.
When we bought the farm from Bill and Vera Mokoski, they had an active strawberry U-pick business going and they marketed lamb. When we took over the operation, we carried on where they left off with strawberries and lamb. However, we decided to go organic immediately, whereas Mokoskis had been conventional farmers. This change necessitated a severe cutback in strawberry fields, seeing much of the work such as weeding now had to be done by hand.
Debbie Wright would see the greatly diminished traffic and speculate to others that God took all that business away from us because we were “killing baby sheep.” Yes, we marketed lamb, but at least the lambs had their mothers and pastures, and were free to frolic until their destined time, while Debbie raised her calves in small, restrictive cages.
True, Debbie rescued her calves from feedlot operations that were disposing of them or leaving them for dead, but was there no better way of handling them? Give the dumb little beasts a corral, some freedom and a cow to suckle from, if possible.
Indecision can be a pain and loss.
Haying in southern Alberta is often a challenge in June, the rainy month of the year. I had chosen a certain day to do it, with Mark’s agreement. But Trevor countered, wanting his day off. We let him have his way and it rained. Had we done it when we chose, it would have been fine.
Marilyn, Jonathan and I decided to go for ice cream in Fort MacLeod. There were two places from which to choose. I chose one but Marilyn and Jonathan insisted on the other so I gave in. Where we went, the man was impatient and brusque with us, not at all grateful for our patronage. Later we discovered the other place to be friendly, with more variety for choice and with better prices – the place in the locale to go.
There have been several such situations. The lesson? Stick to my inclinations and don’t let others dissuade me, unless they must learn their lessons by pushing their agendas and suffering consequences. I received that these simple lessons would instruct me to be firm to my decisions in the future where they counted. Of course, I’d have to take responsibility for wrong decisions.
So often, Trevor did his own independent thing, refusing to heed his mother’s, Mark’s, or my directions. This time, he headed out haying without consultation. Rarely, if ever, did his decision prove to be the right one (I can’t think of one instant). He has been a pain. Sure enough, days later, we found the haying situation was a disaster.
And now he has developed a critical stance against Marilyn. Thinking to marry Ingrid, he boasts of how their marriage will be the perfect example, so unlike ours, and how Ingrid will be that dutiful wife Marilyn never was. One can almost see the trouble on the horizon. It makes me wonder if we dare let them marry.
The Jewish authorities were trying to stop believers in Christ from preaching Him (Acts 5). Gamaliel’s counsel to them often poked at me as not being legitimate, though commonly accepted as wisdom. The passage:
“Then there stood up one in the Sanhedrin, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a doctor of the Law honored among all the people. And he commanded the apostles to be put outside a little space.”
“And he said to them, Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. For before these days Theudas rose up, boasting himself to be somebody; a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves to him; who was slain. And all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered and brought to nothing. After this one, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the Registration, and drew away considerable people after him. Yet that one perished; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered.
“And now I say to you, Withdraw from these men and let them alone. For if this counsel or this work is of men, it will come to nothing. But if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it, lest perhaps you be found even to fight against God.
“And they obeyed him. And calling the apostles, beating them, they commanded not to speak in the Name of Jesus, and let them go” (Acts 5:34-40 MKJV).
While what Gamaliel was saying was true, things do not appear as one may think. The interpretation and conclusion by most readers is that anything sustained in duration is of God. There are, however, many religious organizations operating today, the greatest of all in nominal Christendom being the Roman Catholic Church, seventeen centuries old or more. Others are the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Taoists, Shintoists, and many more. They all contradict and oppose one another, yet several have endured for centuries. Are they of God because they haven’t disappeared, or because they continue with or without their leaders?
I realized that what is of God may appear to disappear while that which is not of God may appear to prevail. While Gamaliel spoke truly, one must understand him differently than most do.
On June 22, I found out that Paul was pursuing Marcia again. Or was she enticing him? Lois said Marcia was poison for him.
He so angers me. I swear I am prepared to go on if nobody comes. Lord, are these idle words? Of course, I would prefer that all come, without battle, but sometimes I feel like telling them to go do their own thing (which I’ve done with most of them in the past – Paul included). How long, how often must I strive with him, or Trevor, or Marilyn?
By the 28th, Paul was remorseful and was reporting renewed commitment and the grace of God to do so. I would have to recall again and again the Word of the Lord to me in the ’80’s: “Carry him where you can. He will make his calling good.”
But what about Marcia? More and more, I was seeing an obstinate, incorrigible woman, yet I know that God has brought her for a purpose.
Two young Japanese men came to the farm and stayed for a few months. They were referred to us by connections Mark had in Japan. There was a marked change in them by the time they left. “I now believe in God,” said Toru, who asked me if there was anything in him that needed change or correction. I told him I had received that he had a barrier, seeing he was asking (otherwise, I had not planned to tell him).
I believe the barrier was his father’s business. He felt obligated to take care of it when he returned to Japan. It was not the most spiritually edifying kind of business – his father had a chain of karaoke bars. I could have tried to reason him out of that commitment but wasn’t inclined or led to do so. However, I prayed for him and blessed him.
Mark received the words, “What is, is: what was, was; and what will be, will be.”
We may so need these words. The Lord reigns over the past, present and future. “It is not in man to direct his steps,” as Jeremiah says. We can’t change the past, so we let it go. We can’t determine the future, which we have proven thus far. We cannot, therefore, control the present any more than we could in the past. So why worry? Just learn to obey.
That being said, Jonathan just declared, “Before marrying, Trevor needs to prove himself considerate of everyone else.” Unknown to Jonathan, I had said similar things on the Sabbath to some at the farm.
There was some internet correspondence on the net among the Scouts. Jason, a Scout leader from Australia sent to all the young boys what we, when I was a kid, once referred to as a “dirty joke.” I addressed him, including the many cc addresses in his mailing. My letter must have struck a chord because while Jason didn’t respond, several others did, in his defense. He never responded or apologized. He hid away while his Aussie friends Cameron, Tom, Charmaine, Merv, and Judy defended him. They couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about in an “open-minded world.” I also responded to them.
The world spirals downward in decadence for another and final time, its state abhorrent to fewer and fewer in the earth. It’s time for a great cleanup by fire.
Hugh Crawford had made it quite clear he didn’t want to hear about God. So now on June 27, 2003, as I pay a visit to Choices, a now defunct restaurant, I find Hugh Crawford having a bite to eat. He was marketing his beef there. I sat down with him for a few minutes and he began to tell me of how his marketing representative stole $15,000 worth of inventory from him and took over his clientele. His life has been quite miserable on many fronts: health problems, marital problems, etc. With his business, Hugh basically had to start all over again. What a life it is without God! When a man does not wish to hear about God’s will for him, God hands him over to the consequences.
I wondered if I should try talking to him again, knowing his expressed wish to not talk of God. But then he said that things were now finally turning around for him; they were better, he said, as he went on to give me a few general details on how this was so. I thought, “He still thinks things are fine, and for all I know, God has taken him as far as He wants to take him and now things will change or have changed for the better for him.” I left it, said good-bye, and continued with my errands. In 140 days, I would have cause to wonder if I had done the right thing.
Many times have I been told and again today, July 1, 2003, the message comes home strong – “Tell it like it is; have faith; don’t mince words; be bold; be direct, without delay or compromise. Speak! Speak! Speak!”
I have repeatedly told Mark that Trevor cannot be trusted and that it is up to him to be sure that Trevor does what he is supposed to do, when and how he is supposed to do it. Today, we lost 28 chickens because Trevor has been careless and irresponsible. I’ve been so tempted to kick his ass around the farm until there was nothing left. I know – I’m supposed to give thanks, but it’s so hard when these things happen. Yet I know I must. Lord, You are sovereign over all.
Mark has also despised my instructions. He hasn’t taken to heart my command to supervise Trevor or anyone else. He is no less negligent and irresponsible and has adamantly rejected my word to him, not only orally but spiritually – in the heart.
On July 4, 2003, after an exchange of much internet correspondence and discussion of various doctrines and truths in which Cody has been unreasonable and sarcastic, Cody and Dena paid another weekend visit to Harvest Haven. Paul and Marcia came from Helena for this weekend as well. At this time, Sara had been staying at the farm for months.
In more discussion with the Dahls, I asked Dena what she thought. She said she agreed with all that we were saying. When asking Cody, he could only say that what I was saying made sense, though he had offered abundant and silly objections and argument. During these visits, whether at the farm, at the Dahls’ place or on the internet, Cody was the one constantly addressed on his contradictions and error; Dena was seldom if ever addressed and offered no opposition or opinion, only agreement when asked. Was it fear, or sycophancy? It didn’t seem like either.
Having returned to Calgary, Cody called me the next day and asked for advice on how to deal with his Branhamite pastor, James Mayfield. Cody was struggling but was willing to make a break with him.
However, it was always evident that while I was trying to freely advise Cody in his business and finances as well as his spiritual and religious life, he was ever dealing with me in financial matters as though I was an impersonal businessman who had to be bargained with. While I approached him as a man of God, he approached me as one to be taken advantage of in any way he could.
Did anything happen on this day? Not that we are aware, but it may have. The day before, I sent a letter to Ben Hafichuk, containing an indictment on Archie’s entire family. On this day, I was frustrated with Jonathan, who was so reluctant to work. I love him, I enjoy him, but I see a hard, selfish, argumentative, “I know better” spirit, which I find hard to take. At other times, he has been cooperative, helpful, thoughtful, and almost always cheerful.
Jonathan has complained about his neck, for which I have been so sorry. Today, I again asked the Lord for healing and wrote: The Lord has healed his neck because I have asked it of Him. He hears me because my heart is set to love and obey Him.”
“Worship services” are a substitute for true worship. They are sacrifices of the lips and body to substitute for faith and obedience. That is their true nature and purpose.
When Cody and Dena made it known to James Mayfield they were leaving his church, he blew up at them and condemned us as of the devil. He refused to discuss anything with Cody. James’ wife, Marilyn, who had left him, also set up a blood analysis business in the Midnapore Mall where Cody was, and therefore in direct competition with Cody, which was an unfair and unpleasant development for him. Cody’s business was originally Mayfield’s about a year or less earlier. Cody’s house landlord, Irv Kroeker, bought the blood analysis from the Mayfields, had it for about 6 months to a year, and sold it to Cody and Dena for about $125,000.
As you know, Marilyn renewed contact and relationship with her mother Laura and her husband Les. Consequently, Marilyn encouraged Jonathan to spend time with his grandmother, to which I didn’t object. Laura and Les also appreciated Jonathan. I did want him to experience some grandparenting, if possible. My father was gone and I was not in touch with my mother.
To my chagrin, I always had a spiritual conflict with the Kleins. I tried having a personal talk with Laura but she would have none of it. We couldn’t talk to them about the troubling past or about the things of God. I also found that while they showed themselves friendly, there was an undercurrent of bitterness toward me. I suppose that for fear of losing Marilyn and Jonathan’s company, they dared not discuss anything with me lest they should create open conflict, though I wanted to deal directly and honestly with them.
Concerning earthly occupations, they bought some machines from us, yet they were never interested in anything that occupied our lives, like the farm, natural health care, and organic diet. Les was particularly contemptuous of organics and natural healthcare. Jonathan came home repeating absurdities Les had spoken. It was vexing and frustrating, yet I knew I had to let it happen for the time for whatever reason.
Elmo and Larue Still came to Harvest Haven to talk about the Chi machine and the Hot House. I talked with them for about an hour and they both tried the machines. They seemed interested, yet were quite noncommittal. I later heard from Glen Johnson that when they left the store, they went directly to him, their friend, as he had been trying to sell them the machines, and bought them from him.
Now I don’t mind doing Glen a favor but I do mind being used. The Stills were dishonest. They wouldn’t grant me any credit monetarily or any other way. Indeed, we never heard from them again. Neither did Glen express any appreciation or make an offer of reward, even a finder’s fee.
I told Glen that because they abused me, the machines would do them no good. Soon after, Elmo died. Nor would it go well for Glen as we discovered years later.
By now we were having more conflict with Marcia. There were good signs and bad but something was wrong. She could never seem to be open and honest with us. Marcia also had a logic that, while on the surface seemed unassailable, was in error nonetheless. While she tried to agree with us, she didn’t believe in the heart. I agreed with her that it was better to be an honest rebel than a disingenuous sycophant.
A man or woman mature in Christ will begin to speak as He, that is, as though he or she were God. Indeed, it is the fulfillment of the words, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me….”
Was it Jesus or the Father Who said, “Destroy this temple and in three days, I will raise it up”? Why is it hard to tell? Because He was one with the Father. The Father spoke by Him. Jesus was His Father’s Mouthpiece. When one listens to someone on an intercom, is it the intercom speaking or the speaker using the intercom? The Jews didn’t recognize the Speaker. They judged after the appearance and condemned the Intercom for claiming to be the Speaker. Indeed, the Intercom was the Speaker, and the Speaker the Intercom.
I found myself saying things and realizing it was not I but the Father Who was speaking. I greatly rejoice in this.
For some time, Paul and I had spiritual talks and correspondence with Kenny Lai of Hsin Ten, but as friendly as he was, it seemed he had a barrier. Now he was telling us that an Anglican priest in Singapore was steering him away from our site to Daily Bread, a daily “devotional,” where Kenny said he was getting value. We understood but didn’t agree with what he was receiving, not that he gave specifics, but because we knew the wishy-washy nature of the material, the carnal reasonings cloaked as spiritual revelation and truth.
We counseled Kenny to read the Bible instead. I also told him directly of the fallacy of the Catholic Church, of which the Anglican was but a branch, having the same nature. Kenny was also attending a Presbyterian church, which we told him was not good.
Kenny complained of not having the time to read the Bible. We advised him that if he honored the Lord, the Lord would give him all the time he needed. He then got the idea to go to work half an hour earlier to read. I told him the Lord had given him the idea. Giving the time to the Lord, he later joyfully reported to us that he did indeed have more time to do his work.
Then Kenny informed us that Paul and I had won another trip, this time to Hawaii, all expenses paid. Lord, thank You. You want us there.
About August 7th, Lois had a vision of Yuri (Lily), a Japanese visitor at the farm. She saw snakes all around her neck; Yuri was caressing and enjoying them.
Yuri was a bit strange. Though she was about thirty, and a nurse, she seemed to never have grown up or suffered any kind of hardship; it was almost like she was frozen in time, remaining a child. Yet, by that very fact, she was suffering.
We believe she was inhabited by spirits, which these serpents represented, but we weren’t led to pray for her deliverance. However, we did have a personal time with her wherein she divulged to us that her mother had committed suicide. She wept in telling us. It was evident the event traumatized her, but she wasn’t ready for a change.
Yuri came as a WWOOFER (“Willing Workers on Organic Farms”) but she was unable to work because of her physical, mental, and spiritual condition. Because we weren’t given to help her, we had to ask Yuri to pay her way or leave. She chose to leave. I don’t recall the details but wish I did.