June 2024 Conchshell Chronicles

The Rainbow- a promise from God

After the flood that covered the world, God made a promise to Noah and his descendants. He would never destroy the human race again by a flood.

Like all of God's covenants, it is still in effect.

Lamb Bleatings

“You will have no other gods before Me”.

I have been actively meditating on this first commandment for the last four years. During 2020, I went into an all-out examination of myself before the God who made me and knows me intimately. I did not want to be swayed by and giving into the fear and many voices that were speaking.

Laura with Felix Bodden, the son of our carpenter Robert and wife Karla.

On the Rio Coco Cafe dock on Utila. May 2024

I began recognizing the depth of need I possessed. I know he is near to the broken hearted and poor in spirit (those who recognize the need for God ) I have had needs for myself , friends and family who suffer around me between life and death . Yesterday we lost a good friend who was struggling with cancer and won the battle and crossed over to be with the Lord who He loved and served so well.
I have been contemplating the brevity of this life and my need to focus on that which is eternal. I am not of this world . I am only in it to make my life count for God and his purposes for the reasons he has me here now at this time . At the onset of the plandemic in 2020, I heard clearly in my spirit “if my people who are called by name will humble themselves and pray , I will heal their land.” (2 Chron 7:14)
The practice of praying, giving praise and honor with thanksgiving to God without ceasing caused me to realize how distracted I am in my own ways, thoughts and being. I falter in perspective and focus even though I have experienced my Heavenly Father showing up and doing the impossible in my life over and again. His Words remind me as I zero in on how it directly applies to my moments.

I have great need to have my heart and mind washed by it daily. The cleansing is helpful and real as I approach all that He has for me for the day. I make my plans, but God directs my steps. The moment by moment asking the Maximum Leader of my Life what He wants has been an extraordinary experience of becoming freer and less tied to how people, places and things affect me. Liberating.

I realize how JADED I can be in life and my many triggers that render evil results
Of lost time and moments of being out of God’s presence .
I notice my human nature and what drives me and others and it is not of eternal value but earthly and carnal .

Someone gave me the acronym for JADE and a bracelet I wear that says WAIT .
A common earthly reaction for ourselves as flawed humans before God and in conversation with others is often ….
J ustify
A rgue
D efend
E xcuse
A sure unpleasant self-centered way of relating .

I wear the bracelet and often look and ask the question:

W hy
A m
T alking  ???

Practically I have implemented a few consistent antidotes that work for me and my relationship with God , myself and others .

Let Go . Let God when it comes to fixing, changing speaking, venting, doing, going, loving, encouraging, seeing , stretching , flexing, strengthening , and being . He will deal with the evil because He is God. Evil here on earth will always be distracting and calling out to us to pay attention and do something about it . There will always be a list going on in my head that I need to do and accomplish, things that I need to adjust, change, pick up, clean, weed out and reshape. The thoughts are endless living in this world and in my own head, heart and soul. It is a whirlwind and battle to stay safe and undercover. The bullets and darts are constant as we go through each moment and it is easy to choose the gods that we serve to amuse us, protect us and shield us. We all have go-tos that keep us a little off from the Primary Source of all Hope, Care, Love, freedom and true Life itself. Interesting. We all dance around with comfort, convenience, “fun” and temporal. God is our eternal Creative Genius that knows all and sees all and has an intentional plan He has for each one who is upon this earth for a very brief time.

Last night one of our dear friends went on to be with Jesus after suffering and seemingly beating his pancreatic cancer. A man who truly lived and kept his heart, mind, perspective and priorities rightly placed in his life. We shared Great talks at the gym that he and his wife owned here in Vero. They created a safe and wonderful space for community, exercising activities and growth …a gift to all.

Once they sold it to a corporation, they lost many members because the soul left with the former owner husband wife team. The silver lining for me was being able to have my quiet time while I stretched, strengthened and aligned myself up with my Heavenly Father in the corner of the gym by the window. I have often voiced my appreciation to my friends for setting up such a sweet spot to meet Jesus every chance I have. My goal has been hear God, seek God and know God and all the rest takes care of itself .

Daily God has put into place some practical habitual behavior that aids my day. They are specific to my prepping my mind, body and spirit for the day including devotional reading (Jesus Calling) , 21 Squats , push-ups, and quick invigorating jumps thankful I can move in liberty , listen to the Bible as I prepare for the day (started a narrative chronological study), drink greens plus and all the magical natural pills Michael sets out for me. Having God direct my thoughts and steps is the only way I can survive.


On Utila making preparation for opening the cafe soon!

Take Courage

 This month, we celebrated the 80th Anniversary of the June 6, 1944 Normandy invasion which was the final step in defeating a vicious enemy that had conquered all of Europe (except Switzerland and Sweden). It was the largest amphibian invasion in history. Over 5000 ships under the cover of 10,000 fighter and bomber aircraft landed 156,000 soldiers on five beaches, with three airborne division dropped the night before behind the landing zones.


Sgt. Forrest Bagby, Germany 1947

One of those soldiers was a sergeant in the 2nd Armored Division named Forrest Bagby, who rolled ashore in his Stuart light tank on D+2 (June 8th) on Omaha Beach, directly into the fighting in the hedgerow county of Normandy. It took over a month to overcome the tenacious defense of the Germans and break out at St Lo to the west of the beach head to the Brittany coast (July 28-30), turning the encircle the Germans at the Falaise Gap, capturing over 200,000 German prisoners. Then it was a race to the Seine River, and Paris was liberated on August 24th.

My dad often spoke about these events, how long it took to capture St Lo, the enormous casualties of his fellow soldiers, how his company commander was hit in the neck by a shell, decapitating him and his head falling in the lap of the tank driver- a story which Steven Ambrose repeated in his book ‘Citizen Soldiers’. The tank driver was traumatized by that event. He expressed frustration they all felt of racing to liberate Paris, only stop outside the city and give their tanks to the French 2nd Armored Division so that French soldiers would enter Paris first.

The invasion was costly. Over 2000 were killed that first day on Omaha Beach. Total D-Day casualties were close to 10,000 Americans, British and Canadians killed and wounded. The total casualties (killed and wounded) for the Invasion were approx. 520,000 total. Among the Germans - 320,000, French (civilians & military) -12,000, British - 65,000, Canadians -18,000, and the Americans lost over 29,000 killed and 106,000 wounded or missing.

What were they fighting for?

Hitler and his Italian partner Mussolini had taken all of Europe under a Fascist government where there were no freedoms to speak or resist their often draconian decrees. Camps were established where unwanted people went to work and die- mentally ill, political opponents, Christian pastors, Polish and Russian prisoners of war, gypsies, and Jews. Over 6,000,000 Jews died in the concentration camps and over 8,000,000 non-Jews were killed there as well.

As a four or five year old child, I went to the Dachau Concentration Camp just a few miles from where my dad Forrest was stationed at Furstenfeldbruck Air Force Base near Munich. This was only nine years after the camp was liberated by the Americans. There were white chain barriers around large mounds of dirt.

I asked him what those mounds of dirt were. He said “That’s where they buried hundreds of dead bodies of those they killed.”

He took us to the long outdoor ovens. I asked him “What are these for?” He said “This is where they burned the bodies of those they killed. I reached up and pulled down the thick wire handle of the door and stuck my head inside, seeing the two rails extending to the other end. “Why would they kill so many people?” I wondered. “How could humans do this to other humans?”

I didn’t understand. Now I do.

Forrest, along with some of his friends, enlisted in the Army in November 1941, before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He told me, “We knew something bad was happening in Europe and we knew that we were going to have to do something to stop it.”

Forrest and his 2nd Armored buddies made the North Africa invasion on November 7, 1942. After the Germans were defeated in Tunisia  in May of 1943, he and his buddies invaded Sicily in July and cleared the Germans and Italians off that island. Then they went to England to prepare for Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy.

After Paris, they fought the Germans all the way to their border by December and the surprise  German attack through the Ardennes Forest of Luxembourg and Belgium on December 16 forced them to march south to hit the Germans on the north side of the “Bulge”. Forrest said it was the coldest time of his life (and the reason he retired to Vero Beach Florida). Historically it was the coldest winter in Europe in over 50 years and he didn’t have a shower for the six weeks of the Battle of the Bulge. When he did, he threw off is pants, covered in the grease and grime of tank warfare, and they stood up on their own in the corner of the room.

The 2ND Armored was the first American division to enter Berlin in July 1945. Hitler was dead, the German Army had surrendered, and the greatest war in human history was over. Forrest was fortunate. Of the 120 soldiers in his company that he started with in 1943, only 3 were left. Just 3. The others had all been killed or wounded and sent home.

I draw two principles from this 80th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion.

1) Taking the beach head.

The Allied soldiers were able to defeat the Germans in Europe because they established a beach head in Normandy, and brought in more men and equipment to overwhelm the Germans. Those first six weeks were touch-and-go, but finally numbers of men and machines defeated the Germans. The first step in getting to Berlin and conquering the Nazis was to establish a foothold in Normandy.

So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil. Ephesians 4:25-27

Satan want to conquer us and enslave us. He does this by trying to gain a foothold into our lives through temptations. What are you looking at? What words are coming out of your mouth? What are your thoughts about the people around you? What are your needs that only you can satisfy? Are you living to serve others or serve yourself?

In this verse, Paul points out that how we handle temptations to hold on to anger and unforgiveness gives satan a foothold into or lives. If you read the rest of that section of Ephesians, he points out many of our old behaviors that open the door to our enemy.

So close those doors!

2) Not letting your mind get off track.

Forrest’s commanding general, George Patton, was famous for saying something that Forrest often quoted: “You duty is not to die for your country, but to make that other son of a bitch die for his.”  I often think of another of Patton’s famous quotes: “In the midst of a battle, never give counsel to your fears.”

According to Peter, fear and pride are the two handles that satan has on us to turn us away from God.

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.     1 Peter 5:6-9

The most often repeated phrase in the entire Bible is “Fear not” or “Don’t be afraid”. Look it up yourself.

One of the most significant witnesses of the Early Church was their casual attitude toward death. Whether it was in the arena facing wild animals, or caring for the sick during the terrible plagues of 160 AD and 250 AD when over 30% of the population of Roman cities perished, Christians showed no fear. They knew that life did not end here. This amazed those pagans who were ‘deathly afraid’ of any sickness. According to Rodney Stark’s The Rise of Christianity, this was one of the main factors why the church grew from around 9000 at the end of the First Century to over 33,000,000 by the middle of the Fourth Century- which was over 56% of the Roman Empire population.

Its good to celebrate the Courage of our soldiers who won the greatest war in human history. Its also well to embrace that courage in our fight against the enemy of all mankind. We have a King who has already won the war, and He is here with us.   Michael

Forrest with his son and wife Mabel, Honolulu 1988


Biblical Places Spiritual Spaces

How do you talk to the philosophers of this age?

How do we engage our friends in significant conversations?

What response can we give on their comments on morality, evolution, family, and economy?

Lets take a tour through Athens, and listen in on Paul's conversation with the Athenian philosophers. As we do, we will understand the Socrates method of questioning, and how we can point our friends to the Eternal God.

Paul was brilliant and effective in engaging them on their level and reaching their minds and hearts.  We can do the same in a very natural and friendly manner.

Here is the link.

Athens: Speaking to the philosophers of this age.

Some philosophers in Athens discussing important things- 2001

Randy Smith, Jason Spence, Michael, Hal Jones & Craig Englert


Rio Coco Beans

Pictured above is Java Jake Spence. He was very instrumental in teaching me coffee ministry. After he passed, we made a special blend of Sumatra, Timor and Papua New Guinea coffee to remember our friend.

It is delicious! Order some today!

Java Jake Coffee


Seek The Lamb Giving

Thanks to all of you who have keep our school project going over these past decades. We are in an exciting phase this season working with Young Life ministy in Nicaragua (Vida Joven) to send our students to their camp in the mountains above Matagalpa, for a spiritual retreat.

Here is the link to our giving page if you want to help out this month.

Thank you.

Seek The Lamb Giving







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