The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of August 13-19, 2017, is John 5:19-24. These are Jesus’ own words; denying His detractors and claiming equality with His Father! Oh! What comfort we can take in this passage!
So Jesus answered them by saying, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the Son is able to do nothing of Himself (of His own accord); but He is able to do only what He sees the Father doing, for whatever the Father does is what the Son does in the same way [in His turn]. The Father dearly loves the Son and discloses to (shows) Him everything that He Himself does. And He will disclose to Him (let Him see) greater things yet than these, so that you may marvel and be full of wonder and astonishment. Just as the Father raises up the dead and gives them life [makes them live on], even so the Son also gives life to whomever He wills and is pleased to give it. Even the Father judges no one, for He has given all judgment (the last judgment and the whole business of judging) entirely into the hands of the Son, so that all men may give honor (reverence, homage) to the Son just as they give honor to the Father. [In fact] whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, Who has sent Him. I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the person whose ears are open to My words [who listens to My message] and believes and trusts in and clings to and relies on Him Who sent Me has (possesses now) eternal life. And he does not come into judgment [does not incur sentence of judgment, will not come under condemnation], but he has already passed over out of death into life. (John 5:19-24, AMP)
At times, it can almost seem as if Jesus is being vague with His true identity. Here He is not. In this passage He fully admits who He is - the Son of God, equal to His Father! Of course, one must be willing to hear the message to understand it! Finally, Jesus speaks of salvation and how to obtain it. As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, let it fill you with warmth and joy! What does this passage mean to you? How does it affect you?
August 16, 2017: Daily Bible Reading Commentary for Psalm 96-98
Click here for the reading
Commentary: All three of today’s psalms are psalms of joyful praise. None have a credited author. Psalm 96 envisions the day that Christ will reign over the world. Psalm 97 speaks of Christ’s second coming. Psalm 98, like 96, speaks of the return of Christ and how we will sing for Him!
Focus Verses: 96:10-13 What a joyful day this will be! How do these verses make you feel? Why?
August 11, 2017
IDPN 2017 Issue 32
Egypt: The Menya Court has sentences 12 individuals to death for their part in storming a police station four years ago, which resulted in the death of the station chief. The death sentences must be further approved before they are carried out. The Menya Court has also sentenced 140 others to life prison for the same offense. In addition, 238 others were acquitted.
Iran: On Tuesday, August 1, 2017, three prisoners were executed by hanging at Shiraz’s Adel Abad prison. The executed inmates were identified as Abolhassan Abravan, Ata Atazadeh, and Hassan Arefianfar - all men in their early twenties. All three were convicted of murder during an attempted robbery.
On Sunday, August 6, 2017, a 30-year-old man was executed in public by hanging in Farrokhshahr, in central Iran. The man’s name was not revealed. He was convicted of rape. On the same day in Urmia Central Prison, Said Pourhormoz and Hossain Shahi were executed by hanging. Both were executed on drug related charges.
Israel: As the government considers carrying out executions once again, the nation has offered asylum to Iranian journalist Neda Amin. Neda is currently living in Turkey and writing for an Israeli news site. She fears being deported to Iran in the coming days. In Iran, she would likely face execution for her work. Interior Minister Aryeh Deri has offered Neda sanctuary and special visa, noting that the reason her life is in danger is because she was reported for an Israeli news site.
It was a rhetoric repeated so often that many stopped listening. It held little meaning for them, especially the ones it was designed to reach. It was not until he was older and an adult that Lucas came to realize the truth and importance of that all-so-frequently-repeated rhetoric: stay in school, get an education, graduate, and don't break the law.
Lucas was an average student. He occasionally turned in homework - and always had an excuse for when he didn’t. He was much more interested in other pursuits - hanging out with friends, playing video games, constantly trying to prove himself to the older group of boys in the neighborhood. Lucas knew that those boys never graduated high school. Neither did his parents or most of the adult that he knew and their life seemed just fine. So why should he waste his time learning stuff he was never going to use again when there were other things he would rather be doing? Lucas began to more and more frequently skip school because he did not want to go.
Many schools across the nation resume classes in August. It is appropriate, then, that August is National Truancy Prevention Month. Truancy is an intentional, unauthorized or illegal absence from compulsory education. These absences can vary from state to state, according to each state’s own laws. Unfortunately, not all schools report attendance information, and with the variation in laws, truancy data is extremely limited. Usually student who are truant end up dropping out of school. Those results are known. Just half of the students who drop out of school are gainfully employed and those who are employed earn 35 percent less than those who graduate high school. Student who drop out of school are also at a higher risk for criminal behavior and activity and teen pregnancy.
This month, pray for the students returning to school. Pray that they will find encouragement, friendships, and a welcoming environment. Pray that the teachers will engage their students. Pray for families to encourage their children to continue with their education. Pray for the children.
Did Abraham always know he was going to father a nation? Did David always know he was going to be king? Did Jonah always know he was going to be a prophet for the Lord? Did Esther know that her being queen was going to save the Jews from extinction? God had plans for each of their lives - and yours! Like Abraham, David, Jonah, Esther, we may not know the plans the Lord has for us, but He has one!
In the Old Testament, God spoke to reveal His word and His plans to His chosen. How does God speak to us today? From the scriptures! We can only learn to hear Him through study of His word! Let us help you in your study! Every year, we at The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries, invite you to participate in our “52 Week Bible Reading Plan” (available here). By using this plan, you will, within one year, have completely read through the entire Bible! No matter if this is your first time - or one-hundredth time! - reading through the Bible, a daily study is the only way to hear God’s word!
Diligent study of God’s word does not end upon reading the Bible. As with any subject of study, once you have grasped the basics, you dig deeper and increase your learning! In addition to a brief commentary on each day’s reading, we also provide focus verses for each day. After reading the through the day’s passages, go back and re-read the focus verses. Contemplate on the questions asked. What questions does the text pose for you? Check back to our website, www.theforgivenessfoundation.org, for each day’s reading. If you miss a day, past commentary can be found under our “Scriptures” tab.
Additional, we provide a weekly verse or verses for study. Consider this passage each day as well. Pray, meditate, and reflect each day on the weekly verse or verses.
Our 2017 plan began on January 1, 2017, but it is never too late to join! The Bible is not a book to be read once, but a book to be read again and again (and again and again) - learning something new and gaining deeper understanding each time it is read! Join in our Bible study at any time and discover God’s plan for you!
Updated: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 12:35 pm EDT
An attorney for Marcellus Williams has requested that Marcellus' execution by halted. The attorney is arguing that Marcellus should be granted a stay due to his DNA not being found on the murder weapon. The attorney is also asking for a new trial or a reduction in sentence to life in prison, at the very least. DNA found on the murder weapon, a knife, belongs to an unknown male. DNA testing was ordered in January of 2015, which was Marcellus' first execution date.
Updated: Monday, August 14, 2017 10:54 am EDT
Marcellus S. Williams is scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CDT, on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Corrections Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri. Forty-eight-year-old Marcellus is convicted of murdering Felicia “Lisha” Gayle on August 11, 1998, in University City, Missouri, while robbing her home. Marcellus has spent the last 14 years on Missouri’s death row.
As a child, Marcellus alleges he was physically and sexually abused by family members. He also says his family encouraged him into criminal behavior. He was exposed to guns, drugs, and alcohol at a young age, which he later became addicted to. His family was impoverished and dysfunctional. Marcellus had a lengthy criminal record, including 16 convictions for robbery, burglary, assault, and unlawful use of a weapon, among others. According to his family, Marcellus was a loving and supportive father to his son and step-daughter.
On August 11, 1998, Marcellus Williams took a bus to University City, Missouri and began looking for places to burglarize. Williams noticed the home of Lisha Gayle. He knocked on the door, and, after receiving no answer, broke into the home. He heard water running from the bathroom. He grabbed a butcher knife from the kitchen and waited of Lisha to come into the kitchen.
Williams stabbed and cut Lisha 43 times. Seven of the wounds were fatal. After killing Lisha, Williams washed his hands and put on his jacket to hide the bloodstains. He also took Lisha’s purse and her husband’s laptop computer. Williams then took the bus to return home.