Nothing to See Here:  Healthcare Fraudfeasors are Like Missing Links

Nothing to See Here:  Healthcare Fraudfeasors are Like Missing Links

(The Evidence of Nothing, Again:  Medicare, Medicaid, and Missing Links)

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Duckbill-skeleton.Hypacrosaurus-AlbertaCanada

Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that [Austin’s] Hon. Catherine Mauzy of the 126th Judicial District Court of Travis County has ruled Dr. Richard Malouf of ASDC Holdings, LLC responsible for 1,842 unlawful acts under the Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act. Dr. Malouf operated orthodontics clinics for many years in the Dallas area and billed tens of millions of dollars to Texas Medicaid. The Court found that Malouf fraudulently billed Medicaid for services that were actually provided by a different doctor, including over 100 billings he filed [for supposed service performed in America] while vacationing out of the country. … As a result of the court’s order, Dr. Malouf is liable to Texas for approximately $12 million, plus attorney and court fees.(1)

How is this ruling like an echo, of a prior report in Acts & Facts, more than a dozen years ago?

In 2008, in an article titled “The Evidence of Nothing”, this jurist reported on a similar situation, that was tried in (and appealed from) federal district court, but this controversy involved Medicare fraud—as opposed to the recent case, involving Medicaid fraud.(2)

This Medicare fraud case involved years of federal court proceedings, with one of the appeals being decided last year [i.e., 2007]. Part of the convicting evidence was nothing–literally nothing, when there should have been something. In the related cases of Okoro and Akpan … Victor Okoro, M.D., in concert with others, was accused of fraudulent Medicare billing practices, which conflicted with his “medical missionary” trips and a bogus charity called the Sisters of Grace.(2)

In the appellate proceeding’s affirmance of the fraud findings, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals commented on Dr. Okoro’s Medicare fraud:

Although some of the patients |in Texas| received physical therapy treatments and some were examined by Okoro, each patient signed blank sign-in sheets and blank patient forms. In addition, Okoro signed most of the forms himself, yet many of the patients testified that he had never examined them….Okoro signed patient documents that stated that he had treated those patients on specific dates and at specific times on which Okoro could not possibly have rendered services. For example, many of the dates on which Okoro alleged that he provided services were dates when he was in Nigeria.(3)

To prove that Dr. Okoro was absent from Texas, at times when he was billing the Medicare program for “services” never performed, his air travel records (including international air travel records) documented him departing and returning to Texas via airports.(2),(3)

Thus, the federal prosecutor used these records to show Okoro’s ingress to and egress from Texas, over the relevant timeframe of the Medicare billings.(2),(3)

Yet just as important, from a circumstantial evidence standpoint, was the government’s proof of “nothing” on other legally important dates. The federal government’s trial proof included official government records with absences of entries on the dates in question, showing that Dr. Okoro was not recorded as having re-entered the United States in time for him to have performed the medical services for which he billed Medicare.(2)

Some might object that this is an “argument from silence”, and it is.(4)

Yet the forensic force of this “silent” witness can support a sentence of felony jail time.  But how can examples of “nothing” become admissible evidence at trial?

Federal Evidence Rule 803(10) provides this forensic proof option:

“Absence of Public Record or Entry. To prove the absence of a record, report, statement, or data compilation, in any form, or the nonoccurrence or nonexistence of a matter of which a record, report, statement, or data compilation, in any form, was regularly made and preserved by a public office or agency, evidence in the form of a certification in accordance with rule 902, if necessary, or testimony, that diligent search failed to disclose the record, report, statement, or data compilation, or entry.” |emphasis added|(4)

Evidence Rule 803(7) is similar, but it applies to admitting as trial evidence the fact that regularly recorded “business records” have a relevant “absence” of an entry, as well as where and when a documentary “nothing” is forensically important.(2)

So, how are these healthcare fraud cases, of “the evidence of nothing”—that prove “something”—relevant to creation science controversies, such as the notion that simians procreated humans via the mystical magic of “natural selection”, an animistic “process” that functions as materialism’s “creator”?

Consider the relevance of the Federal Evidence Rules that govern the adjudicatory admissibility of “nothing, when there should be something” to the evolutionists’ problem of “missing links.”

When examining the quixotic quest for missing links, it is like déjà vu–literally nothing, when there should have been something.

To use the logic of Rule 803(10), a diligent search for these so-called transitional form fossils over a period of 150 years has failed to disclose them. What kind of empirical evidence is that, regarding the origin of earth’s life forms? The years of diligent search indicate a glaring absence of molecules-to-man evolutionary phylogeny in the fossil record. In other words, the empirical data of earth’s fossils, if analyzed forensically, show that evolutionary phylogeny notions are just empty imaginings, refuted by the evidence of nothing.(2)

Geologist-paleontologist Dr. John Morris once summarized the importance of what the global fossil record contains, and (moreso) what it does not contain.

Evolutionists often speak of missing links. They say that the bridge between man and the apes is the “missing link,” the hypothetical ape-like ancestor of both. But there are supposed missing links all over the evolutionary tree. For instance, dogs and bears are thought to be evolutionary cousins, related to each other through a missing link. The same could be said for every other stop on the tree. All of the animal types are thought to have arisen by the transformation of some other animal type, and at each branching node is a missing link, and between the node and the modern form are many more. If you still don’t know what a missing link is, don’t worry. No one knows what a missing link is, because they are missing! We’ve never seen one.(5)

In other words, if the evolutionists were correct about their simian-to-human evolution theory, they should have found “missing links” by now—but they have not—and it’s been more than 160 years of hunting at taxpayer expense!(2),(5)

This argument from silence is an absence in the evidentiary record–a “nothing, where there should be something” if evolutionary theory were true. But evolutionary theory is not true, so the real world’s fossil record has been providing irrefutable evidence, by the absence of missing links, for a long, long time now.(2)

Now consider the outcome, in this part of the Travis County 126th District Court’s recent ruling, in the Malouf case.

The Court finds and IT IS ORDERED that Defendant Malouf is liable for 1,842 “unlawful acts”, as defined by the Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act,  …

[and] that the State of Texas have judgment against Defendant Malouf for the following civil remedies and penalties: $538,228.45, representing the amount of any payment provided under the Medicaid program as a result of unlawful acts,  …

[plus] $9,210.000.00, representing the statutory minimum civil penalty for each unlawful act committed, … representing two times the amount of the payment received as a result of unlawful acts, …

[plus] the State has the right to recover [attorney] fees, expenses and costs reasonably incurred in obtaining the remedies outlined in this order.(6)

And to think that such a serious outcome was proven, in part, by “the evidence of nothing”—while Dr. Malouf was vacationing abroad.

No wonder evolutionists bristle–as the “science deniers” they are–when they are reminded that the so-called “missing links” are still missing.

[Photograph of author, below, in Bosque County Museum (Clifton, Texas), lecturing on Biblical creation-based providential history, while debunking evolutionary mythology]

JJSJ-CliftonMuseum-NST-lecture

References

  1. Ken Paxton (Attorney General of Texas). “Court Awards Millions for Texans in Medicaid Fraud Lawsuit”, press release posted at www.TexasAttorneyGeneral.gov (May 14, 2020) – accessed May 14, 2020.
  2. Johnson, James J. S. 2008. The Evidence of Nothing: The Silent Witness of Evolution’s Missing Links. Acts & Facts. 37(4):4-5, posted at https://www.icr.org/article/evidence-nothing . No one should think that their international travel records are “private” or undiscoverable. See Johnson, J. J. S. 2020. When Travel is Restricted, Be Honest and Trust God. ICR News (April 4, 2020), posted at https://www.icr.org/article/when-travel-is-restricted-be-honest-and-trust-god .
  3. Trial in federal district court began in September 2002. One appellate ruling was published as United States v. Akpan, 407 F.3d 360 (5th Cir. 2005), and a later appellate ruling appears at United States v. Okoro, 213 Fed. Appx. 348, 2007 WL 98804 (5th Cir. 2007) (non-precedent). Quotations are from United States v. Akpan, 407 F.3d at 364-365.
  4. Federal Evidence Rule 803(10). The Federal Rules of Evidence have been cloned, with only small modifications, by the 50 states. According to Rule 102, the Federal Rules of Evidence are supposed to be applied “to the end that the truth may be ascertained and proceedings justly determined.”  This article focuses mainly on Evidence Rules 803(7) and 803(10), which respectively govern the admissibility as evidence of an absence of information that could have been (but was not) entered into a regular business record or an official government record.
  5. Morris, John D. 2006. What’s a Missing Link? Acts & Facts. 35(4), posted at https://www.icr.org/article/2709/ .
  6. Order Granting the State of Texas’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, in Cause No. D-1-GV-12-000863, State of Texas v. ASDC Holdings, LLC (ASDC), 126th District Court, Travis County, Texas (Hon. Catherine A. Mauzy, May 12, 2020), posted at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/sites/default/files/images/admin/2020/Press/D-1-GV-12-000863%20Order%20on%20State%27s%20Motion%20for%20Partial%20Summary%20Judgment.pdf?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term= .

Medicare-fraud.bar-graph-comparison.AARP

Disputing Ownership of Buried Treasure: Are Montana Dinosaur Fossils ‘Minerals’?

Disputing Ownership of Buried Treasure:

Are Montana Dinosaur Fossils ‘Minerals’?

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hides, and for joy thereof goes and sells all that he hath, and buys that field.’ (Matthew 13:44)

Buried treasure, in Montana, could mean buried dinosaur fossils!

In a controversial ruling earlier this month (May 20, 2020), the Montana Supreme Court has finally settled the issue—earlier litigated in federal courts—of who owns a buried dinosaur fossil, when a landowner sells the real estate (i.e., the land called the “real property”) that physically contains the fossilized dinosaur—yet does so with a reservation of “mineral” rights.(1),(2)

However, before describing the Montana Supreme Court’s ruling, consider the context of the controversy.

What are “mineral rights”? Americans are accustomed to the idea of reserving mineral rights, such as when a landowner sells land while retaining the legal right to drill for (and own) any buried oil and gas, and/or retains the right to mine (and own) any gold, silver, copper, coal, or uranium.

But what about subsurface fossilized dinosaurs? Are they, legally speaking, “minerals” that are “retained” when a landowner sells the surface estate (i.e., the topsoil, trees, house and out-buildings)—while “reserving” (i.e., withholding) ownership of the subsurface “mineral” rights?

In other words, are subsurface dinosaur fossils included within the legal (property law) category of “mineral rights”?

Generally speaking, legal categories for property law topics are defined by state law, not federal law. Accordingly, the more specific question—for a fossilized dinosaur dug up in Montana—is whether dinosaur fossils are “minerals” as a matter of Montana property law.  That means Montana law may differ, in answering that legal question, from how Texas or Oklahoma or Colorado would answer that question.

Dueling dinos' set off a legal battle and a debate

This very problem was adjudicated, a couple years ago, in a case called Murray v BEJ Minerals LLC, involving a famous dig-site for dinosaur fossils, the Hell Creek formation of Montana.

In 2006, an amateur paleontologist uncovered the well-preserved fossils of the “Dueling Dinosaurs” on a Montana ranch (“the Ranch”) in an area known as Hell Creek. Lige and Mary Ann Murray (“the Murrays”), the plaintiffs in this action, own the surface estate of the ranch where the fossils were found. In 2005, prior to the discovery of the fossils, Jerry and Robert Severson (“the Seversons”), the defendants and previous owners of the ranch, sold their surface estate and one-third of the mineral estate to the Murrays. In the conveyance, the Seversons expressly reserved the remaining two-thirds of the mineral estate, giving them ownership, as tenants in common with the Murrays, of all right, title, and interest in any “minerals” found in, on, and under the conveyed land.(1)

The outcome of the lawsuit turned on whether dinosaur fossils, as a matter of Montana property law, were included in the term “mineral rights”. Needless to say, a lot of money was at stake.

These fossils are now quite valuable. After a dispute arose regarding the true owner of the Dueling Dinosaurs and several other valuable dinosaur fossils found on the Ranch (including a nearly intact Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, one of only twelve ever found) (collectively, “the Montana Fossils”), the Murrays filed this action seeking a declaratory judgment that the Montana Fossils belonged to them as owners of the surface estate.1 In turn, the Seversons asserted a counterclaim seeking a declaratory judgment that the Montana Fossils belong to the mineral estate. The answer turns on whether the Montana Fossils are deemed “minerals” within the meaning of the mineral deed under Montana law. If the Montana Fossils are minerals, the Seversons, as majority owners of the mineral estate, will own two-thirds of the Montana Fossils. If the Montana Fossils are not minerals, they will belong to the Murrays in their entirety.(2)

The above-quoted court decision, in November 2018, was decided by a federal appeals court (the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals), stating that Montana was being applied to answer the critical property law question (of whether buried dinosaurs were “minerals” under state law).

These fossils are now quite valuable. After a dispute arose regarding the true owner of the Dueling Dinosaurs and several other valuable dinosaur fossils found on the Ranch (including a nearly intact Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, one of only twelve ever found) (collectively, “the Montana Fossils”), the Murrays filed this action seeking a declaratory judgment that the Montana Fossils belonged to them as owners of the surface estate.1 In turn, the Seversons asserted a counterclaim seeking a declaratory judgment that the Montana Fossils belong to the mineral estate. The answer turns on whether the Montana Fossils are deemed “minerals” within the meaning of the mineral deed under Montana law. If the Montana Fossils are minerals, the Seversons, as majority owners of the mineral estate, will own two-thirds of the Montana Fossils. If the Montana Fossils are not minerals, they will belong to the Murrays in their entirety.(1)

Of course, as one might expect for the Ninth Circuit (which has favored evolutionary theory in the past), the appellate decision included reliance upon evolutionary assumptions.

Once upon a time, in a place now known as Montana, dinosaurs roamed the land. On a fateful day, some 66 million years ago [sicerror in the original], two such creatures, a 22-foot-long theropod [Tyrannosaurus rex] and a 28-foot-long ceratopsian [a Triceratops-like dinosaur], engaged in mortal combat. While history has not recorded the circumstances surrounding this encounter, the remnants of these Cretaceous species, interlocked in combat, became entombed under a pile of sandstone. That was then … this is now.(1)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in their ruling, decided that Montana law would recognize the dinosaurs fossils, when buried in the ground, as “minerals”—like gold, silver, coal, or petroleum.

[A]lthough many dinosaur fossils have little or no value, the Murrays concede that the Montana Fossils are rare and exceptional. Therefore, … the Montana Fossils are “minerals” pursuant to the terms of the Deed, and belong to the owners of the mineral estate.(1)

Is this legal controversy one that paleontologists, and other people interested in finding dinosaur fossils, would care about? Yes, this is a very practical question for those who want to dig for dinosaur bones.

Excavating a dig-site when fossilized dinosaur bones are found—in Montana or anywhere else—can be a laborious and expensive exploration. Suppose a paleontologist crew negotiate a deal with a landowner, to dig on his property for dinosaur bones, and get written permission—some kind of signed contract—for rights to the dinosaur fossils if, as, and when they are recovered from under the topsoil.

Suppose further that dinosaur fossils are dug up. The dinosaur-dig crew may think they have a legal right to keep the fossils—if the landowner signed an agreement saying as much.

But what if after that, to the fossil-finders’ surprise, someone shows up and claims the dinosaur fossils, saying: “Thank you very much for carefully excavating my dinosaur bones—I’ll take them now—because when I sold this land, to its present owner, I retained the subsurface “mineral rights” so I am the legal owner of what you dug up!”

So, based upon the Ninth Circuit’s 2018 ruling, it would seem that the owner of the subsurface mineral estate owns any valuable dinosaur fossils—if any are ever excavated.

But that was then … this is now.

The Montana Supreme Court has ruled to the contrary, in the same case—overruling the Ninth Circuit decision—via what is called a “certified question” disposition.

On May 20, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an order pursuant to M. R. App. P. 15, certifying to this Court a question of first impression under Montana law:

Whether, under Montana law, dinosaur fossils constitute “minerals” for the purpose of a mineral reservation?

We entered an order on June 4, 2019, accepting the certified question as written. We observe the importance of the state law question, the public policy ramifications, and the need for clarity in the law governing similar and subsequent property interest disputes in Montana. ¶2 We conclude that the answer to the question is no.  …   Given the overwhelming authority showing “fossils” and “minerals” are separately accounted for under Montana law, we conclude that the terms are mutually exclusive as used in the mineral deed between the Murrays and BEJ. The Murrays, as owners of the surface estate, maintain ownership of any interests not reserved by BEJ in the general mineral deed.(2)

The explanation consumes 46 pages, but the bottom line is that subsurface dinosaur fossils are not deemed “minerals” under Montana state law, because Montana laws generally treat fossils as a category qualitatively different from what are customarily understood as “minerals”.

The technical meaning of a legal term is important—especially if you are digging up dinosaurs on someone else’s land. Meanwhile, now the Ninth Circuit will know how, in the future, to properly apply Montana law to dinosaur fossils.

It would also behoove the Ninth Circuit to discard its uniformitarian-based (“deep time”) evolutionary mythology assumptions about when (and why) dinosaurs lived, died, and became fossilized in what is now Montana.(3)

If those judges are seriously interested in the truth about dinosaurs, in Montana and elsewhere, they need to acquire two science-rich books authored by Dr. Tim Clarey: Dinosaurs, Marvels of God’s Design and Carved in Stone, Geological Evidence of the Worldwide Flood.(4)

References

  1. Murray v. BEJ Minerals, LLC, 908 F.3d 437 (9th 2018), ruling that buried dinosaur fossils are “minerals”.
  2. Murray v. BEJ Minerals, LLC, 2020 WL 2553091 (Montana S. Ct. 2020), ruling that buried dinosaur fossils are not “minerals”.
  3. Long before tainting the analysis of property law jurisprudence, Scripture-rejecting uniformitarianism was predicted by the apostle Peter, in 2 Peter 3:1-6. See also John D. Morris, The Failed History of Uniformitarianism. Acts & Facts. 40(12):15, posted at https://www.icr.org/article/failed-history-uniformitarianism .
  4. Both of these books, authored by paleontologist-geologist Dr. Tim Clarey, are available for purchase from ICR’s e-store and from Amazon.

Alpine Agility of Careful Caprids

Alpine Agility of Careful Caprids

James J. S. Johnson

MountainGoats-Tetons.high-balancing

When America’s president must make decisions about how to transition from a shut-in citizenry (and shut-down economy)—to post-isolationist advances toward resuming business-as-usual activities,(1)—it is time to learn a lesson about balance. And balance is what we see in the athletic agility of mountain goats, adroitly ambulating alpine ascents of the Rocky Mountains.

Indeed, mountain goats provide creation science “gems”, plus a picture of how we need balance in the political arena, when healthcare concerns (including panicking citizens) must be balanced against the need to restore America’s economy and other vital aspects of normal daily living.(1)

Why are mountain goats a picture of this problem? Because safely balancing a mountain goat’s body, on steep alpine slopes—and safely balancing the most vital needs of a nation’s people—are high-risk situations, facing opposing forces and potential disasters. How do you balance healthcare risk shut-ins against society-destroying shutdowns?

To appreciate this comparison, mountain goats must be appreciated within their real-world habitats, just as the U.S. president (and other government officials) must make decisions that match real-world realities (not just speculative models). Context matters!

Also, both situations—high-altitude mountain goats and high-stakes governmental decision-making—indispensably need God’s providential blessing, in all the many details, or else disaster awaits.(2)

In other words, mountain goats provide sure-footed creation science exhibits of how much we need God’s wisdom and His providential blessings, to safely journey through each day’s rocky challenges.

Consider, first, the agility of a mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus), the sure-hoofed bovid that habituates the heights of North America’s Rocky Mountains and Cascade Range.(3)

For those of us who admit to some fear of heights, the Mountain Goat is an animal to be admired …   This shaggy animal, its back hunched in a manner somewhat suggestive of a Bison, is a master at negotiating the steepest of precipices. Mountain Goats are truly alpine creatures. They commonly rest on high-elevation snowfields and find most of their food among the plants of alpine meadows. Their hooves are structured to [optimize] balance and grip; the outer hoof is strongly reinforced and the bottom is lined with rubbery material, making the whole structure rather like a good hiking boot. These animals nonchalantly cross dizzying ledges, sometimes even at a trot.(4)

MountainGoat-on-cliffrock.Journal-o-Mtn-Hunting

In fact, the high-altitude dexterity of the mountain goat is so phenomenal that it routinely spends most of its time on precipitous terrain steeper than a 40o angle, and sometimes at pitches steeper than 60o!, especially during winter.(5)

Furthermore, the leg bones of the mountain goat are engineered to maximize a functional mix of precision balancing (such as perching all four hooves on a small spot), front-forward pulling power, propulsion leverage and maneuverability (for running and jumping), and stability (due to a low center of gravity) against tipping over.(5)

A mountain goat climbs with three-point suspension. … Lifting one limb at a time [it] frequently pauses to assess the situation, tests the footing, and if needed turns back and selects a different route. Slow, sure consistency allows life on rock steeper than the angle of repose. Because they are most likely the ones to find themselves in a tight spot, kids do most of the go-for-broke climbing. Although a kid might take four or five missteps per year, it salvages the situation almost every time.(5)

Thus, the mountain goats are aptly designed for moving on rocky slopes. Mountain goats are instinctively careful, and they apply their characteristic agility, as they test their environment. (Indeed, when predatory cougars try to attack them, the God-given instinct of mountain goats to flee, successfully, is often implemented by their agility and speed in and up these jagged rocky slopes and precipices!)

But without the right physical traits for maintaining balance on rugged rocks—traits which God installed on Day 6 of Creation Week—mountain goats could not thrive, as they do, upon the harsh talus slopes and felsenmeer of their high-elevation habitat.

“The [mountain goat hoof-print] track’s squarish imprint is created by the hoof’s spreading tips. The sides of the toes consist of hard keratin, like that of a horse hoof. Each foot’s two wraparound toenails are used to catch and hold on to cracks and tiny knobs. … The front edge of the hoof tapers to a point, which digs into dirt or packed snow when [it] is going uphill. In contrast to a horse’s concave hoof, which causes the animal to walk on the rim of its toenail, a [mountain] goat’s hoof has a flexible central pad that protrudes beyond the nail. The pad’s rough texture provides [skid-resistant] friction on smooth rock or ice yet is pliant enough to impress itself into irregularities on a stone. Four hooves X 2 toes per hoof = 8 gripping soles per animal. As [mountain] goats descend a slope the toes spread widely, adjusting tension to fine-tune the grip. … This feature makes them more likely to catch onto something. It also divides the downward force of the weight on the hoof so that some of the animal’s total weight is directed sideways. Because there is less net force on each downward [pressure] line, the foot is less likely to slide. Think of it as the fanning out of downward forces over numerous points of friction.”(5)

In a word, BALANCE.

Carefulness is indispensable in the interactive details of every movement. God purposefully designed high-elevation mountain goats for balance, because living life among high alpine rocks is a high-risk lifestyle.

Yet the same is equally true to balancing the healthcare concerns and economic necessities of everyone within American society.  Legitimate needs of both business opportunity “freedoms” and societal “security” are deliberately balanced with the God-given personal liberty rights of individuals.

Like a mountain goat perched atop a precarious precipice, safeguarding those God-given rights and freedoms is no lackadaisical endeavor.  The securing of those fundamental freedoms was not (and is not) easily obtained, nor is it easy to maintain those freedoms amidst the ubiquitously power-greedy politics of both the business community and governmental enterprises.(6)

May God give enormous and timely wisdom to governmental, business, and other organizational decision-makers, and providential prudence in exercising their respective powers, as families and individuals try to responsibly make the best of our real-world predicaments. (7)

MountainGoats-Tetons.high-balancing

References

  1. The president, who faced criticism for playing down the threat from the virus in its early stages, has chafed at the devastating economic impact of the strict social distancing measures his administration has recommended. The guidelines are set to stay in place through the end of April. The president will then have to decide whether to extend them or start encouraging people to go back to work and a more normal way of life. ‘I’m going to have to make a decision, and I … hope to God that it’s the right decision’, Trump said. ‘It’s the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make.’” Staff writer, “Using his own ‘metrics,’ Trump says ending U.S. shutdown is biggest decision yet”, The Japan Times (April , 2020). Posted at https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/04/11/world/us-donald-trump-shutdown-coronavirus-economy/#.XpYUTlVKjIU – accessed April 14, 2020. See also Steve Holland & Jeff Mason, “Trump suggests he may scale back closures soon despite worsening coronavirus outbreak”, Reuters.com (March 22, 2020). Posted at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-trump/trump-suggests-he-may-scale-back-closures-soon-despite-worsening-coronavirus-outbreak-idUSKBN21A0C6 — accessed April 14, 2020.
  2. Job 39:1-2; Psalms 104:18 & 127:1.
  3. The rope-like “backbone” ridge chain of North America’s West is called the Western Cordillera. Included in its geographic system are the Rocky Mountains and the Cascade Range, the primary high-elevation range of most North American mountain goats. George Constanz, Ice, Fire, and Nutcrackers: A Rocky Mountain Ecology (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2014), page 215.
  4. John Kricher, Field Guide to Rocky Mountain and Southwest Forests (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998), pages 235-236. As illustrated in Job 39:1, Israel’s mountain goat is named for how this bearded climber masters its rocky alpine habitat:  ya‘alê-sâla‘  literally means “ascenders of cliff-rock”. See also Psalm 104:18a.
  5. Constanz, Rocky Mountain Ecology, 224-226, with quotes from 225-226.
  6. Psalm 11:3; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Romans 12:18; Proverbs 29:2. Powerful perils and disastrous deceptions swirl in and around pandemic politics, which is tainted by lots of fake science. See 1st Timothy 6:202-21a, with James J. S. Johnson, “Hot Fudge Sundaes and Cherry-Picked Statistics”, ICR News (April 19, 2020), posted at https://www.icr.org/article/hot-fudge-sundaes-and-cherry-picked-statistics .
  7. 1 Timothy 2:1-3; Psalm 127:1; Deuteronomy 1:15; Proverbs 14:34.

 

 

Have You Thanked a Fish-Farmer Lately?

Have You Thanked a Fish-Farmer Lately?

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Scottish-salmon.fishfarm-netpens

Animals who benefit our lives should be appreciated, as well as the hard-working humans who employ those animals in ways that bless us.  But, of course, our primary appreciation and gratitude should go to God Himself, Maker of animals and ourselves.

Recently I published an article about Scottish aquaculture — and what heroes the aquaculture folks are, nowadays, as first-line-of-defense workers for critical times. (See “Fish-Farming Feeds Scots, But It’s Not Getting Easier”, ICR News (posted April 21st, AD2020) at  https://www.icr.org/article/fish-farming-feeds-scots-but-not-getting-easier  — where I posed the question:

When was the last time you thanked a fish farmer for tending to coast water net-pens, braving unpleasant weather and workplace hazards, to ‘farm’ aquatic ‘livestock’ such as salmon, trout, or shellfish for your dinner?”

Just like livestock husbandry, the aquaculture industry appreciates high-risk capital investment, labor-intensive maintenance costs, and (potential) profitability of its “farm” animals – see Proverbs 14:4.   Yet, as the old saying goes:  “If your input exceeds your output, your upkeep is your downfall.”  So, whenever operated as a profitable operation, offshore aquaculture often yields large-scale harvests and handsome profits, all over the world.

Another example, from a few years ago, of such high-risk enterprise harks from Indonesia.

Indonesia-seabass.fishfarm-netpens

According to The Fish Site ( www.thefishsite.com , Indonesia decided to undertake a major offshore fish-farming operation, to expand its seabass production.  Of course, Indonesia need not “reinvent the wheel”, so the Norwegian fish-farming netpen model is being used for this investment capital-intensive operation.  Specifically, The Fish Site report says:

“The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry is to build three offshore aquaculture facilities in 2017 in a hope to produce an additional 1,500 tons of seabass annually. The ministry’s director general for aquaculture, Slamet Soebjakto, said the facilities would be built in Sabang, Aceh; Karimun Jawa, Central Java; and the southern coast of Java between Cilacap and Pangandaran, with a total investment of Rp 141 billion (US$10.5 million), reports the JAKARTA POST. ‘The figure will cover everything, including the automatic feeder machines, fish nets and the cost of establishing floating bases and docks,’ Slamet said. The construction of the offshore facilities, the model of which has been adopted from Norwegian models [which have been developed mostly in Norwegian salmon “farming”], is expected to be completed in eight months, Slamet added. The facilities will be jointly operated by state-owned fishery firm Perikanan Indonesia and local fisherfolk associations.”

[Quoting The Fish Site, January 3, 2017, posted at http://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/28623/indonesia-to-expand-seabass-production-with-offshore-facilities/ .]

Previously this Indonesian fish-farming enterprise (using Norwegian netpen technology) was reported, in “Indonesia Intends to Build Offshore 3 Sea Bass Aquaculture Facilities”, posted at https://rockdoveblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/indonesia-intends-to-build-offshore-3-sea-bass-aquaculture-facilites / .

Fish-farming, like landlubber farming, is no easy business.  Let’s be thankful for those who work long and hard, and incur risks we don’t think about, just so we can have godo food to eat.

And, above all, thank God for good food that He providentially provides to us, to both the just and the unjust of this world (Acts 14:17).

JJSJ-with-Dungeness-Crab

WHO Should Pay for Sloppy Science

Sloppy Science Isn’t Free, So WHO Should Pay for It

James J. S. Johnson

Climate change is impacting human lives and health in a variety of ways. It threatens the essential ingredients of good health – clean air, safe drinking water, nutritious food supply, and safe shelter – and has the potential to undermine decades of progress in global health. Between 2030 and 2050, [anthropogenic] climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhœa and heat stress alone. The direct damage costs to health is estimated to be between USD 2-4 billion per year by 2030.4

If the WHO bases serious human healthcare forecasts on faulty evolutionist (i.e., uniformitarian/deep-time) assumptions about “anthropogenic” climate change—based on evolutionary models that can err (and sometimes do) in embarrassing gaffs,5 how can world leaders (like President Trump) trust them to be reliable “experts” in other human health matters?

As recreational reading, many have enjoyed science fiction novels, such as War of the Worlds. But funding what plays out to be science fiction, while exacerbating public health threats around the world, is one form of science fiction that some prefer to avoid paying for.2,5,6

In effect, sloppy science can become too expensive to justify its price-tag.

It’s one thing to promote educated guesses—based on flawed scientific theories or models—but it’s quite another to expect a suffering nation (who appears to have been misled regarding the true etiology of the Coronavirus pandemic) to pay additional millions or billions of dollars, for what is shown to be sloppy science.

References

  1. Lauren Fedor & Katrina Manson, “Trump Suspends Funding to World Health Organization: U.S. President Accuses Health Body of ‘Covering Up’ Coronavirus Outbreak”, Financial Times (April 15, 2020). Posted at https://www.ft.com/content/693f49e8-b8a9-4ed3-9d4a-cdfb591fefce — accessed April 15, 2020. Accumulating evidences appear to show personal liberty-stifling politics, socialized healthcare economics, and population control agendas–harnessing the world’s COVID-19 pandemic–include more than recklessly sloppy science and bureaucratic bungling. See Hanne Nabintu Herland, “The COVID-19 Scandal: Billionaire Bill Gates and WHO: Hanne Nabintu Herland Sounds Alarm Over Oligarch ‘Pandemic Expert’”, WorldNetDaily (WND.com: April 22, 2020), posted at  https://www.wnd.com/2020/04/covid-19-scandal-billionaire-bill-gates/?utm_source=Email&utm_medium=wnd-newsletter&utm_campaign=dailyam&utm_content=newsletter ; accessed April 23, 2020.
  2. James J. S. Johnson,  “Hot Fudge Sundaes and Cherry-Picked Statistics”, ICR News (April 19th AD2020), posted at  https://www.icr.org/article/hot-fudge-sundaes-and-cherry-picked-statistics / .  Regarding how bait-&-switch bluffers and fraudfeasors often pose as “experts”, see James J. S. Johnson’s “What Good Are Experts?” Acts & Facts, 41(11):8-10 (November 2012), posted at https://www.icr.org/article/what-good-are-experts .
  3. Francis A. Schaeffer, How Should We The Live? (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1976), pages 199-200. Almost a half-century ago Dr. Schaeffer warned that the political managers of the scientific community would select sociological outcomes that they favored, then they would skew/fudge their “science” (falsely so-called) to fit the sociopolitical agendas that they preferred to advance, as if their political goals provided the proper method for producing “science”.
  4. World Health Organization, “Climate Change. Health Topics”. Posted at https://www.who.int/health-topics/climate-change#tab=tab_1 – accessed April 15, 2020.
  5. James J. S. Johnson, “Signs of the Times: Glacier Meltdown”, Acts & Facts. 49(4):21 (April 2020), posted at https://www.icr.org/article/signs-of-the-times-glacier-meltdown / .
  6. 1st Timothy 6:20-21.

HotFudgeSundae-with--Cherry.Braums

Moravian Log Cabin Days

Moravian Log Cabin Days,  in a North Carolina Forest

 Dr. James J. S. Johnson

 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’.   (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

log-cabin.similar-to-Moravian-style-cabin

[NOTE:  this is not the cabin I lived for 1/2 a year, but it looks similar in size and style.]

This adds another episode to the “Pilgrim Geography” series, first announced in Remembering Peer Pressure Testings  during Junior High Years,  in Reisterstown and Wards Chapel, Maryland” [posted at https://rockdoveblog.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/remembering-junior-high-years/ ].


NOTE:  The memoir below is excerpted from “Czech into Texas; From Bohemian Roots, to a Moravian Log Cabin, to the Lone Star State”, ČESKÉ STOPY [Czech Footprints], 13(1):15-22 (spring 2011).


 Czechs, and folks with Czech ancestors, have been coming to Texas for more than a century.  However, some of us gladly claim our Czech ancestral lineages, yet must do a bit more documentation to prove we are genuine  “Tex–Czechs”,   —   and I resemble that remark.    Yet part of my Czech heritage (which includes both Moravian and Bohemian elements)  includes living in a 17th–century Moravian immigrants’ log cabin (see photo of similar cabin below) during a cold and snowy winter,  prior to my “immigration” to the Lone State.  . . .

MORAVIAN   LOG   CABIN   DAYS

After completing junior college in Maryland (Montgomery College at Germantown), I needed to transfer to a four–year university, to complete my undergraduate studies.  Skipping the irrelevant details, I transferred to Wake Forest University in North Carolina, in the fall of AD1980   —   specifically in the historic “twin cities” of Winston–Salem, with emphasis on the “Salem”.

Originally, Salem was a Moravian colony (settled by Moravian Brethren Protestants of the 1600s), located near a site that would eventually be named “Winston”.  The industrial town of Winston grew up and out, eventually enveloping the smaller Moravian settlement of Salem, so the combined metropolitan area became known as “Winston–Salem”, North Carolina.  Tobacco was “king”, there, as the brand-names “Winston” and “Salem” still attest.

Salem-NC.restored-building 

    Salem (restored Moravian town in N.C.)            

Salem, to this day, has a “historic” Moravian town (located by Salem College) which preserves many of the 17th–century Moravian customs and culture, such as Moravian cuisine, Moravian beeswax candles, the multi-pointed 3-D Moravian Christmas stars, etc.

During part of my time attending Wake Forest University, I drove home to Raleigh (where my wife was employed) on the weekends, but rented a cheap place to live that was within driving distance to the university. At first this involved living at a trailer park but that proved to be too expensive to continue beyond the first semester.  So, before the spring of AD1981, due to “student poverty” (if you’ve been there, you know what I mean!), I needed to secure a new form of “student housing”, for my non–weekend lodging.  What I found (and used into the early summer) was certainly “cheap”, but sometimes your “bargain” is not what you expected.

This new “student housing” turned out to be a 17th–century Moravian log cabin.

Moravian-LogCabin

The dark–brown log cabin was located in a woods five miles from Wake Forest University’s campus, somewhat behind the house of the current owner  (who rented it real cheap,  but “you get what you paid for”).  This five–mile distance was not flat, and I especially recall two steep hills, because  (on days when my car wouldn’t start) I often used a bicycle, unless snow and ice conditions made walking an easier form of travel (which was frequent).

Thankfully, there was a McDonald’s located at the midpoint between my log cabin and the university campus, so I routinely bought a bottomless cup of coffee there, as I warmed up and enjoyed the bright interior lighting, which was easier to read by (when doing homework) than was reading by candlelight or firelight.   The McDonald’s also had running water (for hand-washing), a flush–toilet, and sturdy dining chairs for hours and hours of reading and writing (all the while getting free refills on my coffee).   Yet, probably best of all (for studying), the McDonald’s had very good interior lighting, for reading and writing.  Half the time my Moravian log cabin’s scintilla of electricity didn’t work, for reasons I still don’t understand, so electric light in the cabin was unavailable about as often as it was available.  Many evenings I did my reading and writing by candlelight and/or by firelight, i.e., reading by the firelight put out by the frenzied dancing of warmth-radiating flames blazing in my fireplace.

So, for the spring semester of A.D. 1981, as well as for the summer term of A.D. 1981, a Moravian pioneer’s log cabin was home for me, during week-days.  (On weekends, if my car worked, or if I could get to a bus station, I went home to Raleigh for the weekend, to the apartment where my wife and step-daughter lived.)  This arrangement was rather Spartan, on week-days, as will be explained below.  However, it became apparent that this arrangement must change before the fall semester, due to an addition to our family!  Specifically, my wife became expecting during January A.D. 1981. In time, our son was born in mid-October.  During the final portion of her pregnancy, we needed a new home that was within commuting distance to the university, yet in a city where my wife’s company had an office (so we prayed for an intra-company transfer of her employment).  Just before the fall semester, we moved to Greensboro (N.C.), which was close enough for me to commute to Winston–Salem (to attend school), and for my wife to work at her new (i.e., transferred) employment, at her company’s Greensboro branch office.  But, meanwhile, during January to September (about half of A.D. 1981), I lived five days a week  in the 17th century log cabin, which was located inside a wooded area too far to receive mail delivery form the U.S. Postal Service.

The log cabin itself was a simple Moravian settler’s cabin:  one room,  plus a “loft” (where I found a freshly shed snake-skin, left recently by a very long snake!).  No refrigerator: yet the entire cabin was like a refrigerator, unless a large fire was burning in the fireplace!   One bed.  One chair.  Wood floor.  Two shelves attached to the log walls (one for books, one for food).  Rudimentary electricity had been added to the cabin,  by the cabin’s owner,  to allow for only one electric item to use electricity.   (The qualifying word here is “rudimentary”.)  Lots of bugs and spiders.  Especially lots of spiders.  For example, one could plug in the lamp, to use a light bulb in a lamp (for reading).  Or, one could use the plug for an electric skillet (to heat food).  But not both at the same time.  Also, “multi-strip” electric–chord devices apparently overloaded the circuit, causing the wee flow of electricity to cease, sometimes for days.   (So forget using a multi–strip.)   So, to heat up food, the lamp’s light-bulb provided light to see, while the light was on. (During wintertime the daylight disappears quickly, so light becomes an important issue).   After canned food was poured into the electric skillet, I could light a candle.  Then, seeing by the light of the candle, unplug the electric light–powered lamp, and plug in the electric skillet.  After cooking the food, which can be eaten directly from the electric skillet, unplug the skillet, and plug in the lamp.   Or, eat by candlelight.  (Even today I have fond memories of reading my Old Testament Hebrew Bible by candlelight and/or firelight.)

After eating, use the snow outside to “wash” out the skillet.  (Presumably, if the “dish–cleaning” wasn’t perfect, whatever food germs remained in the skillet, till the next meal, should get cooked to death whenever the skillet was next fully heated up for the “new” food.)     The cabin had thick walls of mortared blackish–brown square–cut logs, forming an interior rectangle of about ten feet by twelve feet.   No indoor plumbing!  (No details beyond that  — except I’ll note here that cold, snowy winter nights are not a good time to have urgent digestive issues!)  And, thankfully, for winter weather, the cabin had a very efficient fireplace.  (The woods next to the cabin supplied all of the firewood needed, month after month.)   In the spring and summer, however, the inside of the cabin was so cool (compared to the outdoor weather) that it felt like air conditioning.  Cheese and pimento keeps (unspoiled) for weeks in a cabin life that, without any refrigerator.   It’s amazing how much cheese and pimento (or peanut butter) one can eat, day after day, week after week, month after month, if you have enough saltine crackers to go with it! (Because I ate so much of it then, I won’t eat it now.)

pimento-cheese-on-bread    saltine-crackers

peanut-butter-on-bread

Prior to the fall semester (of A.D. 1981) I gave up my week-day lodgings at the Moravian log cabin, when we rented an apartment in Greensboro (North Carolina), from which I could commute to the university, while my wife worked in Greensboro. Surely my college education would have been impossible without my wife working, to put me through school – so she deserves my unending gratitude for this and many other lovingkindnesses to me (over the past three-decades-plus).  And during this time our daughter (my step-daughter, if you want to get “technical”) attended school in Greensboro.  In October of A.D. 1981, not that long after my “Moravian log cabin days” concluded, our energetic baby boy was born.

  “IMMIGRATING”   TO  TEXAS

             This “Czech-into-Texas” journey is now about over. After Wake Forest University, I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for my first doctoral program.  Even during that time, however, I kept an eye on Texas (since my wife is a native Texan; need I say more?).  After completing my first doctorate, I accepted a challenging job in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  In A.D. 1986, our family relocated to the greater Dallas area, where we have been ever since.

So, biogenetically speaking, I (providentially) finally got my “Czech into Texas”.


 

 

 

Lizards are coming !

The  lizards  are  coming !

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.  (Genesis 8:19)

Earlier this week some co-workers spotted a Spiny Lizard creeping around, inside a building that I work in  —  so I wrote this limerick, about how the lizards are coming! 

Should we panic, trembling as we await invading lizards?   This is a semi-sarcastic attempt  to mock recent trends of panic-in-the-news  (“the-sky-is-falling!”)  hysteria.

Desert-Spiny-Lizard.TucsonHerpetologicalSoceity

Desert Spiny Lizard (female) / Tucson Herpetological Society

THE  LIZARDS  ARE  COMING!

Phrynosomatids  are such fun;

Now here, their visits, have begun;

     As Eastland knows well,

      These can heartily dwell *

If  overbred,  we’ll  be  overrun!

(Regarding Texas’ most famous phrynosomatid lizard, “Ol’ Rip” of Eastland, see this Wikipedia entry:    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ol%27_Rip_the_Horned_Toad/  .)

Usually  Texans are more concerned  about hailstorms  than lizards.

But, it’s not a bad idea to keep an eye out for phrynosomatid  lizards  —  such as spiny lizards, horny lizards (a/k/a horny toads), California rock lizards, fringe-toed lizards, earless lizards, zebra-tailed lizards, and other creepy reptiles.   (But don’t be fearful.)


 

India’s Under-appreciated Hero: Colonel Ole Bie

Colonel Ole Bie, A True Friend of India (Especially India’s Widows)

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord.   (Psalm 102:18)

Here is my limerick about the under-appreciated contribution made to India, about 200 years ago, by Colonel Ole Bie, Norwegian-born Danish trade colony governor of Serampore, a Lutheran who supported Baptist missionary William Carey (and other Christian missionaries) in their efforts to share the Gospel of Christ in India (including Bible translations and the establishment of Serampore College)   —   as well as to promote the Genesis Mandate (by politically opposing the then-prevalent widow-burning custom called “sati”) for Adam’s descendants to “be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth”.

In time, after much lobbying of the British colonial government, a political victory was gained (to protect the lives of India’s widows).  Consequently, many families in India today can trace their genealogical existence back to widows who were allowed to remarry — and who, as remarried, later gave birth unto children (of their second marriages).

baby-in-the-womb

COLONEL OLE BIE, A TRUE FRIEND OF INDIA

India, long ago, traded with Danes;

‘Twas win-win, with both nations’ gains;

Labored Bie, Carey, and Roy,

Sati’s threat to destroy —

Ending those life-quenching banes.

See James J. S. Johnson, “Contending for the Faith and the Genesis Mandate”, ACTS & FACTS, 43(5):19 (May 2014), posted at  https://www.icr.org/article/contending-for-faith-genesis-mandate  .

Because every human life is precious to God, even if a single (and “unsung”) life is a inconspicuous as a water-drop.  [ See  https://pinejay.com/2019/12/05/is-your-life-like-a-drop-of-water/  .]

OleBieChurch-Serampore-India.monument



 

 

Is the Septuagint a backdated scam?

Forensic / Linguistic Judgment:  the “Septuagint” O.T. Translation-Texts are Backdated Misrepresentations

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.   (2nd Corinthians 2:17)

LXX IS AN UNRELIABLE BACKDATED GREEK TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE’S OLD TESTAMENT HEBREW TEXT

(limerick by JJSJ)

Septuagint texts often err;

Did translators just fail to care?

A provenance sham?

A forgery scam?

Check out its history, if you dare!

Image result for septuagint david daniels

YouTube  by  DAVID W. DANIELS  (re Septuagint’s misrepresented provenance)

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBFXozZ_Zhc  

For a surprising report of Biblical text research and forensic analysis, of what is commonly called the “Septuagint” (or “LXX”), check out this journal article:

https://creationresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/crsq-summer-2019-tomkins.pdf

“Extensive Messianic Prophecy Corruptions and Flood-related Chronology Errors Disqualify the Septuagint (LXX) as a Reliable Source for Creationist Research”, Creation Research Society Quarterly (summer 2019), 56(1):40-47, by Jeffrey P. Tomkins, David W. Daniels, & James J. S. Johnson.

Also, this book  (by  scholar  David A. Daniels)  is highly recommended:

DWD-book.Did-Jesus-Use-LXX


POST-SCRIPT:  for a limerick regarding how Biblical texts were corrupted and advocated, by Westcott & Hort, and their ilk, see “Critiquing the ‘Critical Text’ Critics”, posted at https://pinejay.com/2019/01/10/critiquing-the-critical-text-critics/ .

Remembering … Junior High Years

REMEMBERING  …  JUNIOR  HIGH  YEARS

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’.   (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

Remembering Peer Pressure Testings  during Junior High Years,  in Reisterstown and Wards Chapel, Maryland

When I think back, on days gone by,

Such as my years, in junior high:

Peer pressure dares, and snobby sneers;

God’s grace my guide, not foolish peers

Rich victories won, as time hiked by.

This limerick begins a “Pilgrim Geography” series, recalling how God has providentially blessed me in various places, along life’s journey as I trek about this earth as a “pilgrim” belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ.

During my junior high years I was confronted with a lot of ugly peer pressure (i.e., opportunities to sin), which repulsed me and nudged me toward the more-independent pathway of “daring to be a Daniel”  —  when peers mocked my teen-aged piety (as if I had a loser lifestyle, as a “jerk” who would never become “popular”) saying NO to opportunities for immorality.

(Although one doesn’t always know who is watching  —  https://wordpress.com/post/leesbird.com/95265   —  personal moral integrity is often showcased when “no one” is watching.  Besides, it’s never true that “no one” is watching, because God always observes us, even when human eyes and ears don’t.)

Needless to say, I have no regrets that I repeatedly refused “dares” to compromise my personal integrity for the fleeting comfort (and false “value”) of peer “acceptance”/approval.

For a few Old Testament Scriptures, that inform God’s children of their privileged calling as “pilgrims”, see Genesis 47:9; Exodus 6:4; and Psalm 119:54.  In the New Testament, see especially Hebrews 11:13 and 1st Peter 2:11.

By God’s grace, since becoming a Christian (during autumn of my 6th grade year), my earthly pilgrimage (which has included a lot of Providential geography) has been an ongoing mix of life experiences that provide character tests and opportunities to grow in serious loyalty to (and fellowship with) Him, always being enabled by His indwelling Spirit’s all-sufficient grace and guidance (Romans 8:9; Ephesians 4:30), spiced and seasoned with a generous sprinkling of surprises, learning, adventures, joy, and abundant life (John 10:10).

Thank You,  LORD,  for being with me — and shaping my young life then —  through those precious years.