Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day -John 14:6 – Restored Name King James Version – January 19, 2020

John 14

Christ comforts his disciples with the hope of heaven
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in יהוה(Yahweh), believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
professes himself the way, the truth, and the life, and one with the Father
Thomas saith unto him, Rabbi, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
Yahushua saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
Philip saith unto him, Rabbi, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
Yahushua saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
assures their prayers to be effectual
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
requires obedience
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
promises the Comforter
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Rabbi, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
Yahushua answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh), whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
and leaves his peace with them
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

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Marketing Psychiatric Drugs to Jailers and Judges

Drug companies are courting jails and judges through sophisticated marketing efforts.

 

On a rainy Monday morning in April, more than a hundred sheriffs, doctors, nurses, and jail guards from around the country sat in a ballroom on the outskirts of Nashville, sipping on coffees and listening to Daniel Potenza, a psychiatrist from New Hampshire, describe one of their most vexing problems: treating schizophrenia.

The conference, on medical care inside America’s jails and prisons, had been put on by an organization that sets standards for treatment in correctional facilities. Potenza paced the stage, talking animatedly about a national mental-health epidemic that had burdened jails and prisons. He flipped to a presentation slide showing that nearly half of all inmates diagnosed with schizophrenia were “non-adherent,” meaning that they weren’t taking their daily medications as prescribed.

Then, Potenza suggested a solution: a single shot of long-acting antipsychotic medicine, whose effects last for as long as three months, administered to patients while they’re still incarcerated. To show how this might help, Potenza presented a hypothetical scenario in which an inmate with schizophrenia becomes eligible for release but is denied parole because a medical provider describes the person as non-adherent. Parole-board members might be willing to reconsider if they could ensure that the person would receive his or her medications as prescribed ahead of release. In some cases, a “treatment resistant” patient who is simply forgetful might agree to the shot. However, in some cases, a judge might order a shot to be administered without the patient’s permission.

Potenza didn’t recommend a specific drug, and he was presenting at the conference at his employer’s expense, having been invited by its organizers.  But if you looked inside the conference program, you would learn that the keynote address on schizophrenia had been underwritten by Alkermes, an Irish company that manufactures one of the long-acting medicines, Aristada. If you walked through the exhibit hall, you would see Alkermes banners hanging from the rafters, along with a booth of salespeople expounding on the benefits of the antipsychotic drug. An Aristada flyer they passed out featured two buildings—a guard tower surrounded by a razor-wire fence, and a community health center—with the slogan “Transition of care takes time.”

For most of the twentieth century, pharmaceutical companies expressed little interest in inmates. People in need of mental-health treatment often received it at state-run psychiatric hospitals. But in the 1950s and ’60s, states began shuttering many of America’s psychiatric hospitals, pushing patients toward treatment in their communities. Then, in the 1980s and ’90s, lawmakers passed “tough on crime” policies that dramatically expanded the nation’s corrections population. Taken together, those developments had the unintended consequence of turning jails and prisons into warehouses for the mentally ill. By 2005, more than a million adults behind bars had some form of mental illness, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The dramatic shift in American mental-health care presented new opportunities for pharmaceutical companies. Correctional officials are required by law to provide adequate health care, including prescription drugs, to inmates. They also have an imperative to try to make sure people have enough medication when they are released to tide them over until they can seek care on their own. Federal researchers have found that releasing inmates with a supply of medication, and connecting them to community-based treatment, has lowered the odds of recidivism. But by the turn of the millennium, psychiatric-drug prices were rising. As early as the 2000s, to help mitigate costs, local officials in some states, including Washington and Ohio, sought free samples of antipsychotic medications from pharmaceutical companies.

Since then, the relationship between drug companies and the criminal-justice system seems to have intensified: free samples to detention facilities; comped lunches during which jail and prison doctors learn about medications; and payments to physicians to tout certain medications at conferences for criminal-justice professionals, including those without health-care licenses such as sheriffs and drug-court judges. At recent conferences about correctional health care, Merck, Gilead, AbbVie, and other big pharmaceutical companies have staged “product theaters” or “education luncheons” that show how their products could help treat inmates. The criminal-justice system isn’t just a lucrative market because of current inmates; it also introduces incarcerated people to medication that they might continue using after they’re released. (The full cash price of Aristada is about $1,300 for a four-week shot. The drug is covered by Medicaid and Medicare but can still require hefty copays.)

Dr. Joseph Penn, the director of mental-health services for the Correctional Managed Care division of the University of Texas Medical Branch, which oversees treatment in many of the state’s jails and prisons, says drug companies have awakened to the potential market behind bars. “No other country incarcerates as many people as we do, and they realized, ‘Hey, that’s a whole market we haven’t tapped,’” Penn said.

Long-acting schizophrenia drugs, in particular, can be an effective medication for inmates who might otherwise resist treatment, potentially leading to a safer and more predictable environment for them and for the correctional officers on shift. Potenza, the doctor who presented at the Tennessee conference, told me that meetings with drug companies allow doctors like him “to understand the benefits, despite the amplification”—of a particular drug’s merits—“from the company reps.” And free samples of these drugs can make them more accessible.

But despite having benefits for detention facilities and prisoners—free drugs, more information about new treatments—these marketing efforts have raised worries among criminal-justice advocates that drug companies could influence both the prescribing habits of correctional doctors and the choices of non-health-care professionals such as sheriffs and drug-court judges. A recent ProPublica analysis found that doctors who accepted money from pharmaceutical companies for top brand-name drugs were more likely to prescribe those companies’ medicines than doctors who did not. And Dominic Sisti, a medical-ethics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, worries that nonmedical professionals might not be able to analyze drug companies’ marketing messages the way doctors can. “It’s a sales pitch,” Sisti said.

Potenza said that audiences should “apply a keen eye as to anything that is biased.” Dr. Brent Gibson, the chief health officer for the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, which organized the conference at which Potenza presented, said in an email that Alkermes and other sponsoring companies do not have input into presentations like Potenza’s. “We do reserve the right to not accept financial support from a corporate entity that is in conflict with our mission, but we do not feel that is the case with pharmaceutical companies that offer medications that can be useful in the correctional setting,” he wrote.

While drug companies have long marketed to people in a position to help patients make decisions, critics say their efforts in the criminal-justice sphere are particularly troubling because the patients involved, being incarcerated, may not feel that they have as much of a say in their own health-care decisions.

John Snook, the executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center, a group that calls for better mental-health treatment, said, “If you’re a jailer, and someone says, ‘We’re going to provide you with a solution that gets regular levels of therapeutic medicine to a population that’s difficult for you to control’”—in the form of samples of psychiatric drugs—“that’s going to be extremely attractive.”

But David Fathi, director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project, expressed concern about whether this kind of marketing, aimed at jailers and judges rather than incarcerated people themselves, further diminishes the agency of prisoners, who are disempowered in nearly every facet of life behind bars. Even in cases where incarcerated patients elect to take a psychiatric drug, he said, it may be a choice made under duress, knowing that they may be medicated against their will if they refuse. “If you know you can be forcibly medicated, can you really make a free and noncoercive choice about medication?” he said.

Geoff Mogilner, a spokesman for Alkermes, said, “We expect healthcare professionals to utilize their independent clinical judgment to continually assess, with their patient’s input, how a medication is working and to recommend the medication that works best.”

Alkermes, which manufactures drugs for conditions that are disproportionately found behind bars—such as schizophrenia and alcohol and opioid addiction—is among several companies that have embraced the criminal-justice system as a source of customers. Starting in the early 2010s, Alkermes promoted Vivitrol, a treatment for opioid-use disorder, to correctional facilities. The treatment, generically known as naltrexone, had previously been used for alcohol-use disorder, but the drug floundered. When Alkermes recast it as a solution to the opioid epidemic, the company directly lobbied jailers and judges on the shot’s merits, selling the promise of the drug despite scant evidence of its effectiveness compared to competing treatments like buprenorphine, one of the active ingredients in the brand-name drug Suboxone. In closed-door meetings, Alkermes disparaged Suboxone as a “black market” drug that was illegally abused inside correctional facilities, according to a report from The New York Times. The company’s marketing practices received blowback. (Alkermes has pointed to studies it says offer further evidence for Vivitrol’s effectiveness. In some cases, the company has pushed back against criticisms. Earlier this month, in response to a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration, the company responded that it was taking steps to be “fully compliant” with federal regulations.) Alkermes accomplished its goal: People received Vivitrol while behind bars, and kept using it once they were released. Today Vivitrol is widely available in treatment facilities across the country, in part thanks to this early push.

Drugmakers introduced long-acting schizophrenia shots more than 50 years ago as a way to infuse consistency into psychosis treatment. But some psychiatrists and mental-health advocates were skeptical because of concerns about extended exposure to side effects such as sleepiness and low blood pressure, and because the shots seemed like “an attempt by psychiatrists to impose their will on patients,” according to a paper by Ahsan Khan, a psychiatrist at Saint Louis University, and colleagues.

As long-acting antipsychotic drugs improved, along with their public image, drug companies thought they could reinvigorate the market. In July 2009, the Food and Drug Administration approved Invega Sustenna, a long-acting, injectable form of an earlier antipsychotic pill made by Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen brand. Abilify Maintena, from a Japanese company called Otsuka Pharmaceutical, followed four years later. Then came Aristada, green-lit in 2015.

Within the multibillion-dollar schizophrenia-drug market, the makers of all three drugs are seeking to cast long-acting injections as the future of schizophrenia treatment. A 2015 study by the University of California, Los Angeles, found that patients who were given such injections were more likely to adhere to treatment and see reduced symptoms over a 12-month period, compared to those taking the same medication orally. But there’s also a chance that side effects will last longer than with the pill form, and that’s one of the key reasons some psychiatrists still start with the pill.

Recognizing the importance of detention facilities in the mental-health market—approximately 15 percent of state prisoners experience serious mental illness, more than three times the rate found in the total U.S. adult population—drugmakers are, to varying degrees, marketing the long-acting drugs to criminal-justice audiences.

Janssen, whose schizophrenia drug leads the market, offers free samples and financially supports advocacy groups aimed at keeping individuals with mental illnesses out of jails. Last year, the company won approval from the FDA to market Invega Sustenna as a treatment that can keep schizophrenic patients out of jail. Before then, Janssen could market the drug’s ability to treat schizophrenia but not make further claims about how it might help incarcerated populations.

Once it got the additional approval, Janssen rolled out video testimonials of formerly incarcerated individuals receiving injections, including a 31-year-old woman identified only as “Tanara” who was incarcerated after a fight with a neighbor. Tanara explained that the injection allowed her to not worry about missing daily pills for schizophrenia and helped her get a steady job as a peer-support specialist after she was released.

Kaitlin Meiser, a Janssen spokeswoman, said free samples allow doctors to “familiarize themselves with the medicine and for patients to try the medicine and determine if it is the right fit for them.” But she noted that the company does not have any “concerted” efforts to specifically educate correctional doctors through the use of paid speakers or free meals.

Otsuka’s criminal-justice efforts appear more limited. Public records show that psychiatrists who have worked in corrections have received payments or perks from Otsuka, but Robert Murphy, a spokesman, said the company’s marketing does not specifically target the criminal-justice system. It has offered free samples of Abilify Maintena to just one correctional system, in Maricopa County, Arizona—and that was on request. He also said that Otsuka has not made “any payments for meals or speaking fees at any meetings or conferences where the audience was doctors or individuals who work with jails, prisons, or courts.”

Aristada, a relative newcomer in the antipsychotic-injection sector, trails behind Invega Sustenna and Abilify Maintena. As Alkermes seeks to catch up, it has provided the treatment in 40 correctional facilities in 18 states, offering free samples to many of them. And it has paid doctors to speak at criminal-justice conferences about its potential, as well as designing advertisements that depict people reentering society thanks to the shot. Two doctors told me Alkermes paid them to participate in focus-group panels where they were asked by company representatives about how to market the shot to criminal-justice officials.

Mogilner, the Alkermes spokesman, did not answer specific questions about the company’s marketing and sales tactics but noted that they are, to a large degree, no different from other companies’ efforts. He wrote in an email that Aristada can offer people leaving prison or jail “consistent and sustained” treatment during “the often-challenging transition back to the community.”

Corrections officials don’t have to exclusively prescribe Aristada in exchange for free samples, Mogilner added, or continue prescribing the shot after the samples run out. “We work to educate healthcare professionals and other stakeholders with whom they work about the treatment of schizophrenia in diverse settings of care, including criminal justice healthcare settings, community mental health centers, and hospitals,” he wrote. “No one medicine is right for every patient.”

Several health-care officials and practitioners told me that free samples of long-acting antipsychotic shots have helped their patients in the criminal-justice system access helpful drugs that would otherwise be too expensive for them to offer. “Funding is always an issue,” Rachel Waddell, a nurse practitioner who treats inmates in a 662-bed jail in Rapid City, South Dakota, told me. The jail has provided samples of Aristada to 10 inmates but hasn’t accepted payments from drug companies, or perks such as free lunches. “With Alkermes, we don’t have to jump through hoops.”

Officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, have not taken perks or payments from drug companies, but they have accepted free samples of long-acting shots from Janssen, Otsuka, and Alkermes. Grant Phillips, the medical director of Maricopa County’s correctional-health services, said that nearly 120 inmates are on long-acting shots and that they work well. More than half of those are ordered by judges, he said, but judges leave it up to doctors to decide which product is best for their patients. The medication consumes a fifth of the total pharmacy budget for a jail population of about 7,500.

While some jail officials see mostly an upside in drug companies’ marketing efforts, others say it’s more complicated. Jeff Gromer, the former warden of the Minnehaha County Jail in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said he hasn’t accepted perks or consulting payments, but he has given samples of Aristada to 16 patients since 2018; their symptoms stabilized while on the drug. “When you put someone with anxiety and paranoia in [a jail] environment, it gets hard for them to cope,” Gromer said. “When they can’t cope, there’s behavioral problems such as self-harm or aggression toward inmates or staff, or hiding in their cell.” Still, he’s wary of Alkermes’s efforts to reach patients by marketing to criminal-justice officials overseeing them. “Alkermes’s hope is that the prescription is continued once they’re out of custody, and they’re going to get paid for that,” he said. (Alkermes didn’t comment on Gromer’s characterization.)

Penn, the doctor working with Texas prisons, said his system does not accept samples from drug companies at all and restricts the perks or payments doctors receive. While patients in Texas prisons are sometimes prescribed long-acting antipsychotic drugs—typically as a last resort—Penn expressed concern, noting that “there’s not much literature” on them yet. Though more company-funded studies are emerging, he hasn’t seen enough “good head-to-head studies of the medications,” he said.

Alkermes and other drug companies have marketed not only to jailers but to judges as well. Earlier this year, at a conference for drug- and mental-health-court professionals in Maryland, Alkermes sponsored a closed-door promotional session about using long-acting shots in a court setting. Featured at the session was Richard Jackson, a former psychiatrist at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and Ernie Glenn, a magistrate in Bexar County, Texas, who had helped defendants in his court get access to long-acting antipsychotic shots. While Glenn had received no payments from Alkermes, the company had paid Jackson more than $250,000 between 2015 and 2018 for speeches, travel and lodging, and meals, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’s open payments database. (Jackson also received $252,608 in payments from Otsuka from 2015 to 2018, and said he has continued receiving payments from drug companies in 2019; it wasn’t immediately clear whether Alkermes was one of them.) The conference program, as in the conference in Nashville, directed people to learn about Aristada at Alkermes’s exhibit booth. “It wouldn’t matter to me if the info was sponsored by one company or all the companies, so long as the info about the medication gets out to the public,” Glenn later told me.

“A lot of people in corrections … they’re not even aware,” Jackson said of long-acting injections. “If you’re not getting educated, you’re not using them, there’s no way it’ll ever be afforded to those prisoners.”

Judge Robin Faber, who presides over a Miami-Dade County court division that aims to divert inmates into mental-health treatment, has not been the target of marketing by Alkermes or any other pharmaceutical firm but said he sees the potential of long-acting drugs in his sixth-floor courtroom. One sweltering afternoon in early September, a young man named Chris Sellers took off his orange cap and slouched into the back of Faber’s courtroom. (Sellers’s name has been changed; Faber, Sellers’s lawyer, and Sellers allowed The Atlantic to sit in the courtroom, which isn’t open to the public, on the condition that his real name not be used.) Faber was reviewing Sellers’s medical records.

“You look good,” Faber said. The first time Faber had met Sellers, several months earlier, Sellers had recently been arrested for stealing a $20 T-shirt. Having looked at his records, along with his initial health assessment from a doctor, Faber felt Sellers’s nonviolent offenses were linked to untreated mental illness, and decided to require treatment instead of incarceration. At the time, to ensure that Sellers received his medication, Faber ordered an involuntary shot for his schizophrenia. Faber believed that Sellers would reoffend without it—and hoped that it would break his cycle of incarceration. As Faber continued reviewing the records, he noticed that Sellers had since received another long-acting shot. “That’s probably helping a lot,” Faber said, agreeing to keep Sellers on the treatment regimen instead of sending him to the Dade County Jail.

After Sellers’s hearing, Faber told me he defers to doctors regarding which medications patients should get. Ernesto Grenier, a psychiatrist at Jackson Health, the medical provider for three of Miami-Dade County’s jails, is often the one choosing those drugs.

When I spoke with Grenier, he told me that Jackson Health prohibits free samples from pharmaceutical companies. But, on occasion, Grenier has listened to pitches from Otsuka, Janssen, and Alkermes. From 2016 to 2018, he accepted food or drinks from the three companies 22 times, for a total of $949.92. He said he does not typically prescribe Aristada—which he considers less proven than some other drugs because it is newer—and dismissed the notion that free lunches or drinks from any drugmaker might have influenced his care. “They all say theirs is the best,” Grenier said. “We choose medication based on the patient.” (Click to Source)


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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – Jeremiah 29:11 – January 5, 2020

Jeremiah 29

And these are the words of the letter which Yirmeyah the prophet sent from Yerushalayim to the rest of the elders of the exile, and to the priests, and to the prophets and to all the people whom Neḇuḵaḏnetstsar had exiled from Yerushalayim to Baḇel –
after Yeḵonyah the sovereign, and the sovereigness mother, and the eunuchs, and the heads of Yehuḏah and Yerushalayim, and the craftsmen, and the smiths had gone into exile from Yerushalayim –
by the hand of El‛asah son of Shaphan, and Gemaryah the son of Ḥilqiyah, whom Tsiḏqiyah sovereign of Yehuḏah sent to Baḇel, to Neḇuḵaḏnetstsar the sovereign of Baḇel, saying,
“Thus said יהוה (Yahweh)of hosts, Elohim of Yisra’ĕl, to all the exiles whom I exiled from Yerushalayim to Baḇel,
Build houses and dwell in them, plant gardens and eat their fruit.
Take wives and bring forth sons and daughters. And take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, and let them bear sons and daughters, and be increased there, and not diminished.
And seek the peace of the city where I have exiled you, and pray to יהוה (Yahweh)for it, for in its peace you have peace.’
“For thus said יהוה (Yahweh)of hosts, Elohim of Yisra’ĕl, ‘Let not your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, neither listen to the dreams which you are dreaming.
For they are prophesying falsely to you in My Name. I have not sent them,’ declares יהוה(Yahweh).
“For thus said יהוה(Yahweh), ‘When seventy years are completed, at Baḇel I shall visit you and establish My good word toward you, to bring you back to this place.
For I know the plans I am planning for you,’ declares יהוה(Yahweh), ‘plans of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and an expectancy.
Then you shall call on Me, and shall come and pray to Me, and I shall listen to you.
And you shall seek Me, and shall find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
And I shall be found by you,’ declares יהוה(Yahweh), ’and I shall turn back your captivity, and shall gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, declares יהוה(Yahweh). And I shall bring you back to the place from which I have exiled you.’
“Because you have said, ‘יהוה(Yahweh) has raised up prophets for us in Baḇel’ –
thus said יהוה(Yahweh) concerning the sovereign who sits on the throne of Dawiḏ, concerning all the people who dwell in this city, and concerning your brothers who have not gone out with you into exile,
thus said יהוה(Yahweh) of hosts, ‘See, I am sending on them the sword, the scarcity of food, and the pestilence. And I shall make them like spoilt figs, so spoilt as to be uneatable.
And I shall pursue them with the sword, with scarcity of food, and with pestilence. And I shall make them a horror among all the reigns of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them.
For they did not heed My words,’ declares יהוה(Yahweh), ‘which I sent to them by My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, yet you did not listen,’ declares יהוה(Yahweh).
“You, therefore, hear the word of יהוה(Yahweh), all you exiles whom I have sent from Yerushalayim to Baḇel.
“Thus said יהוה(Yahweh) of hosts, the Elohim of Yisra’ĕl, concerning Aḥaḇ son of Qolayah, and Tsiḏqiyahu son of Ma‛asĕyah, who are prophesying falsely to you in My Name, ‘See, I am giving them into the hand of Neḇuḵaḏretstsar sovereign of Baḇel, and he shall strike them before your eyes.
And because of them all the exiles of Yehuḏah who are in Baḇel shall use a curse, saying, “יהוה(Yahweh) make you like Tsiḏqiyahu and Aḥaḇ, whom the sovereign of Baḇel roasted in the fire,”
because they have done wickedness in Yisra’ĕl, and committed adultery with their neighbours’ wives, and have spoken a word in My Name falsely which I have not commanded them. And I am He who knows, and a witness,’ declares יהוה(Yahweh).
“And speak to Shemayahu the Neḥelamite, saying,
“Thus speaks יהוה(Yahweh) of hosts, the Elohim of Yisra’ĕl, saying, ‘Because you have sent letters in your name to all the people who are at Yerushalayim, to Tsephanyah son of Ma‛asĕyah the priest, and to all the priests, saying,
“יהוה(Yahweh) has made you priest instead of Yehoyaḏa the priest, so that there are overseers in the House of יהוה(Yahweh) over everyone who is mad and makes himself a prophet, that you should put him in the stocks and in the iron collar.
“So why have you not reproved Yirmeyahu of Anathoth who makes himself a prophet to you?
“For he has sent to us in Baḇel, saying, ‘This captivity is long – build houses and dwell in them, and plant gardens and eat their fruit.’ ” ’ ”
And Tsephanyah the priest read this letter in the hearing of Yirmeyahu the prophet.
Then the word of יהוה(Yahweh) came to Yirmeyahu, saying,
“Send to all those in exile, saying, ‘Thus said יהוה(Yahweh) concerning Shemayah the Neḥelamite, “Because Shemayah has prophesied to you, and I have not sent him, and he has made you to trust on falsehood,”
therefore thus said יהוה(Yahweh), “See, I am bringing punishment upon Shemayah the Neḥelamite and his seed: he shall have no one to dwell among this people, nor is he to see the good that I am about to do for My people,” declares יהוה(Yahweh), “because he has spoken apostasy against יהוה(Yahweh).” ’ ”

The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research – 2009 Edition


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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – John 3:16 – January 1, 2020

John 3

Christ teaches Nicodemus the necessity of regeneration
And there was a man of the Pharisees, Naḵdimon was his name, a ruler of the Yehuḏim.  This one came to יהושע (Yeshua/Jesus) by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from Elohim, for no one is able to do these signs You do if Elohim is not with him.”
יהושע (Yeshua/Jesus) answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born from above, he is unable to seea the reign of Elohim.”
Naḵdimon said to Him, “How is a man able to be born when he is old? Is he able to enter into his mother’s womb a second time and be born?”
יהושע (Yeshua/Jesus)answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he is unable to enter into the reign of Elohim. “That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, and that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit.  “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You have to be born from above.’  “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who has been born of the Spirit.”
Naḵdimon answered and said to Him, “How is it possible for this to take place?”
יהושע (Yeshua/Jesus)answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Yisra’ĕl, and do not know this? “Truly, truly, I say to you, We speak what We know and witness what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. “If you do not believe when I spoke to you about earthly matters, how are you going to believe when I speak to you about the heavenly matters?
“And no one has gone up into the heaven except He who came down from the heaven – the Son of Aḏam.
of faith in his death
“And as Mosheh lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so the Son of Aḏam has to be lifted up, so that whoever is believing in Him should not perish but possess everlasting life.
the great love of God towards the world
“For Elohim so loved the world that He gave His only brought-forth Son, so that everyone who believes in Him should not perish but possess everlasting life.  “For Elohim did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
and the condemnation for unbelief
“He who believes in Him is not judged, but he who does not believe is judged already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only brought-forth Son of Elohim. “And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were wicked. “For everyone who is practising evil matters hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. “But the one doing the truth comes to the light, so that his works are clearly seen, that they have been wrought in Elohim.”
Jesus baptizes in Judea
After this, יהושע (Yeshua/Jesus)and His taught ones came into the land of Yehuḏah, and He remained there with them, and was immersing.
The baptism, witness, and doctrine of John concerning Christ
And Yoḥanan was also immersing in Ayin near Salim, because there was plenty of water there. And they were coming and were being immersed, for Yoḥanan had not yet been put into prison.
Then a dispute arose between some of Yoḥanan’s taught ones and the Yehuḏim about cleansing, and they came to Yoḥanan and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Yardĕn, to whom you have witnessed, see, He is immersing, and all are coming to Him!”
Yoḥanan answered and said, “No man is able to receive any matter unless it is given to him from the heaven. “You yourselves are witnesses for me that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but I am sent ahead of Him.’ “He that has the bride is the bridegroom, but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the voice of the bridegroom. So this joy of mine is complete. “It is right for Him to increase, but me to decrease.  “He who comes from above is over all, he who is from the earth is of the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from the heaven is over all. “And what He has seen and heard, that He witnesses. And no one receives His witness. “He who receives His witness has set his seal that Elohim is true. “For He whom Elohim has sent speaks the Words of Elohim, for Elohim does not give the Spirit by measure. “The Father loves the Son, and has given all into His hand. “He who believes in the Son possesses everlasting life, but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of Elohim remains on him.”

(The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research – 2009 Edition)


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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day -Hebrews 9:15 – December 31, 2019

Hebrews 9

Now the first covenant indeed had regulations of worship and the earthly set-apart place.
For a Tent was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, and the table, and the showbread, which is called the Set-apart Place.
And after the second veil, the part of the Tent which is called Most Set-apart,
to which belonged the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that held the manna, and the rod of Aharon that budded, and the tablets of the covenant,
and above it the keruḇim of esteem were overshadowing the place of atonement – about which we do not now speak in detail.
And these having been prepared like this, the priests always went into the first part of the Tent, accomplishing the services.
But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for sins of ignorance of the people,
the Set-apart Spirit signifying this, that the way into the Most Set-apart Place was not yet made manifest while the first Tent has a standing,
which was a parable for the present time in which both gifts and slaughters are offered which are unable to perfect the one serving, as to his conscience,
only as to foods and drinks, and different washings, and fleshly regulations imposed until a time of setting matters straight.
But Messiah, having become a High Priest of the coming good matters, through the greater and more perfect Tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation,
entered into the Most Set-apart Place once for all, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood, having obtained everlasting redemption.
For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the defiled, sets apart for the cleansing of the flesh,
how much more shall the blood of the Messiah, who through the everlasting Spirit offered Himself unblemished to Elohim, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living Elohim?
And because of this He is the Mediator of a renewed covenant, so that, death having taken place for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called might receive the promise of the everlasting inheritance.
For where a covenant is, it is necessary for the death of the covenanted one to be established.
For a covenant over those dead is firm, since it is never valid while the covenanted one is living.
Therefore not even the first covenant was instituted without blood.
For when, according to Torah, every command had been spoken by Mosheh to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,
saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which Elohim commanded you.”
And in the same way he sprinkled with blood both the Tent and all the vessels of the service.
And, according to the Torah, almost all is cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
It was necessary, then, that the copies of the heavenly ones should be cleansed with these, but the heavenly ones themselves with better slaughter offerings than these.
For Messiah has not entered into a Set-apart Place made by hand – figures of the true – but into the heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of Elohim on our behalf,
not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters into the Set-apart Place year by year with blood not his own.
For if so, He would have had to suffer often, since the foundation of the world. But now He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the offering of Himself.
And as it awaits men to die once, and after this the judgment,
so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to those waiting for Him, unto deliverance.

The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research – 2009 Edition


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Big Pharma’s addictive opioids are causing the ruination of society

Thursday, December 26, 2019 by: Isabelle Z.

(Natural News) Opioid addicts aren’t the only ones suffering from the drug. The crisis is now ruining society in ways that we are only beginning to grasp, and it’s all thanks to greedy pharmaceutical companies who care more about profits than people.

For example, opioid addicts desperate for their next fix are contributing to a spike in retail theft. Case in point: Home Depot executives are blaming the opioid crisis for the surge in thefts hitting their stores across the nation, something they say is going to hurt their operating profit margins.

In a phone call to investors, CEO Craig Menear said he believes the opioid crisis could be behind their financial woes, and he said it’s something that is happening everywhere in retail.

He recounted to investors how thieves were caught trying to steal $16.5 million of goods on one occasion, of which $1.4 million was destined for their stores. Some of their locations have resorted to taking high-value products like power tools off of their sales floors to prevent loss.

Home Depot’s operating profit margins are expected to drop to 14 percent in 2020 on account of the increased thefts, according to Bloomberg. Although it’s not clear how much of this can be attributed to the opioid crisis, it’s clear there is a big problem.

According to the National Retail Federation, retailers lose $51 billion per year on average, and that’s something they expect to rise in the coming years because of the opioid crisis. They say that more than two thirds of retailers have reported a rise in “organized retail crime activity” in the last year.

The crisis is taking a huge toll on the economy

It’s not just Home Depot and other retailers who are taking a hit; the crisis is taking a massive toll on the economy. An analysis by the Society of Actuaries shows that the total economic cost of the nation’s opioid crisis reached $631 billion from 2015 to 2018, which is greater than the GDP of nations like Belgium, Taiwan and Sweden.

Almost a third of the costs, amounting to around $186 billion, were shouldered by local, state and federal governments to deal with the rise in deaths, legal expenses and health care spending related to the crisis, while $445 billion fell on the private sector and individuals.

$205 billion of the estimated financial losses went to the excess health care spending needed for these people’s inpatient and outpatient visits and care for family members. There’s also the impact opioid use has on newborns, who can suffer medical problems and withdrawals when born to parents who abuse the drugs.

Meanwhile, criminal justice costs accounted for $39 billion. This includes expenses like legal fees, correctional facility costs, and police protection.

While health care costs and retail losses are somewhat easy to measure, society is suffering in many other ways, too. People’s lives are being ruined, their livelihoods are being destroyed, and their families are being torn apart thanks to the opioid crisis. Big Pharma is to blame for aggressively marketing these dangerous drugs to people who clearly didn’t need them in the first place, setting them on a downward spiral that is very difficult to break out of.

Rather than show remorse for their actions, some drug company employees have the audacity to joke about the crisis. For example, leaked emails showed two callous executives making light of the deadly crisis, writing things like “Keep ‘em comin’! Flyin’ out of there. It’s like people are addicted to these things or something. Oh wait, people are…” and “Just like Doritos keep eating. We’ll make more.”

According to the CDC, nearly 400,000 people died of opioid overdoses in the years from 1999 to 2017, and many others are living with the effects of the crisis. It’s already impacting countless people who have never even touched the drug, and as long as there’s money to be made, this is a problem that isn’t about to go away. (Click to Source)

Sources for this article include:

ZeroHedge.com

CBSNews.com

Independent.co.uk


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