The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of November 19-25, 2017, is 2 Peter, 1:20-2:3. The recipients of this letter from Peter are no longer known. However, it does not matter because the teachings and warnings in this letter apply just as much today as they did then, to whomever received the letter.
But understand this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of or comes from one’s own [personal or special] interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
But [in those days] false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will subtly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways, and because of them the way of truth will be maligned. And in their greed they will exploit you with false arguments and twisted doctrine. Their sentence [of condemnation which God has decreed] from a time long ago is not idle [but is still in force], and their destruction and deepening misery is not asleep [but is on its way]. (2 Peter 1:20-2:3, AMP)
Are we so different from the ancient Israelites? They received warning after warning about false prophets, yet most of the nation was only too happy to follow the directions of the false prophets. Why? Because it sounded better. It was easier than listening and doing as the true prophets instructed. Today, we do not often hear of prophets, false or otherwise. But we do listen to teachers, pastors, priests, elders, and other influential leaders. How carefully do you compare what they say, everything they say, to God’s word? Are you constantly on the watch for false teachers? As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon the verses for the week, evaluate the teachings of those in you life. Are you being led astray?
November 24, 2017: Daily Bible Reading Commentary for Zechariah 8-14
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Commentary: Whereas chapter 7 was harsh and rebuking, chapter 8 offers a promise of the glorious future for Israel, which the Lord had previously promised. The Israelites are the Lord’s chosen children; He will uphold His promise, as He always has. The remainder of the book contains two prophecies concerning the far future of Israel.
Focus Verses: 14:9, 20-21 What a day this will be! Why is it important to remember what is to come?
"I wish I could indulge higher hope for the future of our country, but the aspect of any vision is fearfully dark and I cannot make it otherwise.” He is the only president to give his inaugural address from memory, without notes. He was accused of running over a women with his carriage in Washington, DC, although the charges were later dropped. He always dressed in black and battled with alcoholism for many years, taking its toll on his health. He is Franklin Pierce, 14th President of the United States of America, serving from March 4, 1853, until March 4, 1857. Franklin was born on November 23, 1804, in a log cabin in Hillsboro, New Hampshire, the only president to be born in New Hampshire, and the fifth of eight children. Franklin was the first president born in the 19th Century and one of six presidents born in a log cabin. His father served as a lieutenant in the Revolutionary War and was active in politics during Franklin’s childhood. Franklin was well-educated throughout his childhood, although he did not favor school. Nonetheless, Franklin went from a local school, to Phillips Exeter Academy (a college prep school), to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. While at college, Franklin became friends with Jonathan Cilley (later elected to Congress) and Nathaniel Hawthorne (an author). After the first two years, he was last in his class. He worked hard, improved his grades, and graduated fifth in his class.
Franklin went on to become a lawyer, being admitted to the bar in 1827, after which, he went on to lose his first case. Just like in school, Franklin dedicated himself to his profession and proved himself a capable lawyer, despite never being a legal scholar. In 1828, Franklin won his first political appointment, town moderator for Hillsborough, New Hampshire. He would be elected to that position for six consecutive years. The following year, at the age of 24, he was elected to the State House of Representatives, where he was elected Speaker of the House in 1831.
In 1832, Franklin was nominated by the Democratic Party for one of New Hampshire’s five seats on the US House of Representatives. He was sworn in December of 1833, delayed by his pending marriage. On November 19, 1834, Franklin married Jane Means Appleton, the daughter of a Congregational minister and former president of Bowdoin College, to whom he had been engaged to for eight years. She was deeply religious and encouraged Franklin to abstain from alcohol. The couple had three sons, all of whom died in childhood. Franklin was also a member of the state militia at this time, where he remained until 1847. While in the militia, he achieved the rank of colonel.
Both Franklin and his wife despised life in the nation’s capital, preferring to live in their home in Concord, New Hampshire. However, Franklin continued to seek political appointment. He was easily re-elected as a Representative, even though he did not always vote along party lines. When not in Washington, DC, Franklin resumed his law practice.
During his second term in the mid-1830s, abolitionism was growing in popularity. Although personally opposed to slavery, considering it “a social and political evil” that he wished “had no existence upon the face of the earth,” Franklin also believed that any federal action would infringe upon states’ rights.
In 1836, at the age of 32, Franklin was elected US Senator from New Hampshire, one of the youngest members in the Senate at that time. Franklin did not dominate in the Senate and was often overshadowed. He typically voted with the Democratic Party and supported President Martin Van Buren. During his brief time in the Senate, Franklin opposed federal money supporting banks and the creation of a national bank. Franklin left politics in December of 1841, returning the New Hampshire and his law practice. However, he remained politically active. During the Mexican-American War, he joined the Army, rising to the rank of brigadier general. During a battle, Franklin injured his leg, causing him to miss the final battle of the war, and leading to claims of cowardice.
Franklin returned from war and resumed his law practice and re-entered politics. As the 1852 presidential election approached, there was no clear leader in the Democratic party. Franklin spoke out against those who wished to nominate him for President, saying such action would be “utterly repugnant to my tastes and wishes.” Franklin was a party leader in his state, but not well-known nationally, as he had not held an elected office in over a decade. Franklin gained the Democratic Presidential nomination after the 49th round of voting, which placed him against his former commander, General Winfield Scott of the Whig Party. Franklin’s wife fainted when she heard that her husband had actually received the nomination!
One of the reasons for Franklin’s candidacy was due the fact that he was a Northern who did not support the Federal government declaring slavery illegal. Franklin was overwhelming elected President in 1852. Unfortunately, several weeks, after his election, Franklin’s only surviving son was crushed to death and nearly decapitated after a train accident. Franklin and Jane both suffered from depression following his death. Jane did not attend Franklin’s inauguration. Franklin, who at the time was the youngest president to take office, was not sworn in using a Bible, rather he affirmed the position using a law book. During his inaugural address, Franklin refused to use the word “slavery.” He also alluded to the tragedy that had befallen his family, stating “You have summoned me in my weakness, you must sustain me by your strength.”
Franklin appointed a politically diverse cabinet that was unanimously approved by the Senate. Franklin was the only president who had no cabinet turnover during his time in office. Due to this diversity, both the northerners and southerners accused Franklin of supporting the other side. Neither side was happy with Franklin’s handling of the slavery issue, especially during the admission of Kansas and Nebraska to the nation, which allowed the voters of the new states to determine the issue of slavery. This action led to violent altercations between slavery supporters and opponents.
Franklin was the second president to not have a vice-president during his time in office, as his running mate died before assuming the office. During his time as president, Franklin helped develop the foundation of what would become the Justice Department, by expanding the role of the Attorney General and appointing federal judges and attorneys. He also appointed people to reform the Interior Department and the Treasury, which had been mis-managed and had many unsettled accounts. During his time as President, construction began on the Washington Monument.
During his presidency, Franklin installed a hot water heating system in the White House, which was the first in country. Also during his presidency, he attended a multi-racial church in Washington, DC.
Franklin was surprised when he was not nominated for re-election, but ultimately supported the man nominated in his place. After leaving the presidency, Franklin and his wife spent several years traveling abroad in Europe and the Bahamas, including a visit to author Nathaniel Hawthorne, with whom he spent considerable time. Franklin remained knowledgeable about the political situation and opposed President Abraham Lincoln’s decision to force the South to return. Franklin received significant negative press for his views and opinions. Franklin had also been a close friend of Confederate president Jefferson Davis. Following Lincoln’s assassination, Franklin was mobbed at his home, as many were upset that he did not publicly display his grief.
In the later years of his life, Franklin again struggled with alcohol and became more religious, as he had greatly struggled with his faith following the death of his son shortly after his election. On the second anniversary of his wife’s death, Franklin was baptized Episcopalian. Franklin died on October 8, 1869, during the early morning. Although Franklin had a colorful and controversial political career, President Grant declared a national day of mourning.
Happy Birthday Mr. President!
"I have no private purpose to accomplish, no party objectives to build up, no enemies to punish—nothing to serve but my country.” The first presidential election he voted in was his own. He delivered America’s first victorious battle in the War of 1812, and led troops into a small battle that would begin the Mexican-American War. He kept his Army horse, Whitey, on the front lawn of the White House. Horse hair from Whitey was a frequent souvenir to visitors. He is Zachary Taylor, 12th President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1849, until July 9, 1850. Zachary was born on November 24, 1784, and was a descendent from one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact. Zachary was one of six presidents to be born in a log cabin and one of eight presidents to be born in Virginia. Although born in Virginia, Zachary spent most of his young life on his family plantation in Kentucky, where he was taught by his mother due to the lack of formal schooling available. He married his wife, Margaret Mackall Smith on June 18, 1810. They had six children together, four of which survived into adulthood.
Unlike most presidents, Zachary was more interested in serving in the military than in law or politics. After winning the first US victory for the War of 1812, he was promoted to brevet (temporary) major. He gained the official rank of major in 1816. Zachary spent much of his time in army traveling, although he eventually purchased a home in Louisiana for his family. Zachary battled Indians throughout present-day Wisconsin, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Florida, and Texas, eventually became a brigadier general due to his success in the Second Seminole War. It was during his time in command of all American troops in Florida that he gained the nickname “Old Rough and Ready.” The nickname came, in part, due to his plain and often messy look, as well as his willingness to share in the hardships of field duty with his men. In 1844, Zachary was sent to Texas, where he helped start the Mexican-American War and lead the United States to victory. Zachary returned home to a hero’s welcome in 1847.
Because Zachary had constantly been moving due to the military, Zachary had never had a chance to vote in an election. His political views were also not made public. Although Zachary grew up in a slave-owning home and owned slaves himself, he was against the expansion of slavery. He was against secession (and civil war) and a firm nationalist. Although he considered himself an independent, he aligned himself with the Whig party. He agreed with the party that a President should only be able to veto a law that was against the Constitution and that the office should not interfere with Congress, however, he did not agree with protective tariffs and expensive internal improvements.
Zachary’s nomination for President in 1848 received mixed reactions, due to his mixed response to slavery. He was a slave owner, but did not support expansion of slavery into new states because he viewed it as impractical, as cotton and sugar could not be grown in the west. However, Zachary also supported states’ rights, even if he did not agree with succession. Zachary was also popular due to his successful service in the military. Upon being nominated and selected to run for president, Zachary remained unaware for several days because he refused to accept mail that was marked postage due!
As president-elect, Zachary kept his distance from Washington DC, and quietly formed his cabinet selections, much to the frustration of those who helped elect him. Zachary despised political games. He ensured that his cabinet was politically diverse, to reflect the diversity of the nation, although it was purposefully lacking in prominent political members. His actions frustrated the leading members of the Whig party who helped elect him.
Zachary spent the first several months traveling to familiarize himself with the northern part of the nation, of which he had previously seen little. Zachary worked to admit California, which was in the midst of the Gold Rush, as a state and allow them to determine their own laws on slavery. Zachary also worked to settle a border dispute between New Mexico and Texas, encouraged New Mexico to apply for statehood, which became a federal territory instead, and to help alleviate concerns by Mormons in Utah. On the issue of slavery, he refused to abolish the practice, but he did fight against expanding slavery to new states.
Zachary, and his Secretary of State John Clayton, both had relatively little international diplomatic experience, however, it was not needed. During his presidency, there was very little international politics to attend and no significant foreign policy decisions were made while Zachary was in office.
During his time as president, Zachary’s wife did not make public appearances, leaving her daughter to act as First Lady at social events. Zachary attended two funerals during his time in office, that of James Polk and Dolly Madison. While giving a speech a Dolly’s funeral, Zachary coined the term “First Lady.”
Zachary died while in office on July 9, 1850, approximately 16 months after being sworn in. He was 65 years of age. Zachary exact cause of death is unknown, although there was some speculation of poison, which was ruled out when his body was exhumed in 1991. The same testing also led to the conclusion that he died from contaminated food or drink, which likely occurred at the 4th of July celebration a few days earlier, where he consumed raw cherries and milk at a fundraising event at the Washington Monument. Several of his cabinet members also fell ill. Following Zachary’s death, Vice President Millard Fillmore became President.
Happy Birthday Mr. President!
November 17, 2017
IDPN 2017 Issue 46
China: A 27-year-old man with the surname Xue has been sentenced to death for throwing a women off the 19th-story balcony of the apartment they shared. Xue was romantically interested in her and became jealous after discovering she was in a relationship.
Iran: On Sunday, November 12, 2017, Morteza Qolipour, Mehdi Hajizadeh, Qobad Moradi, and Ramin Eshqi were executed by hanging at Urmia Central Prison. All were convicted on murder charges.
On Monday, November 13, 2017, 37-year-old Saber Soleimani was executed by hanging at Bandar Abbas Central Prison. He was convicted of possessing and trafficking methamphetamine.
Beginning on November 14, 2017, a new law goes into effect that is projected to decrease the number of individuals sentenced to death. The new law will sentence those convicted of drug smuggling to prison time, instead of sentencing them to death. They will also be ordered to pay fines. Some government officials worry this new law will increase drug use in the nation. Those who smuggle large quantities of drugs, carry arms, and use children under the age of 18 can still be sentenced to death.
Japan: The trial of Chen Shifeng is scheduled to begin on December 11, in Tokyo. Chen is accused of murdering 24-year-old Chinese national Jiang Ge on November 3, 2016. Jiang’s mother has gathered support in China and is asking the Japanese government that Chen be sentenced to death.
Tanzania: At least 34 individuals have been sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of individuals with albinism. Over the course of the 10 years, from 2006 to 2016, there were at least 67 reported cases of killing people with albinism. The targeted murder of albinos is atttibitated to witch doctors saying that the body parts of people with albinism have properties that confer good luck and wealth. The government has also recognized the need to educate the public and dispel this belief.
November 20, 2017
Bobby Wayne Stone was scheduled to be executed at 6 pm EST, on Friday, December 1, 2017, at the Brood River Capital Punishment Facility at the Brood River Correctional Institute in Columbia, South Carolina. Bobby’s execution has been stayed. Fifty-two-year-old Bobby is convicted of the murder of Sumter County Sheriff Sergeant Charlie Kuala on February 26, 1996. Bobby has spent the last 20 years of his life on South Carolina’s death row.
According to testimony provided during Bobby’s trial, Bobby suffers from brain damage and significant intellectual impairment. The brain damage allegedly affects the area of the brain that regulates behavior. Bobby also had a family history of depression and schizophrenia. Due to the depression, Bobby did not have a stable and loving childhood. The family struggled to hold down jobs and had a history of alcohol and drug abuse. Bobby struggled in school and his family was unable to help him.
On February 26, 1996, Bobby Stone purchased two firearms and some alcohol, after which, he spent most of the day wondering around a wooded area while shooting his firearms and drinking alcohol. Towards the end of the day, Stone attempted to visit an acquaintance, Mary Ruth McLeod, who lived nearby with her aunt, Ruth Griffith. Mary refused to let Stone into the home and asked him to leave the property. She then reported the incident to the police.
Shortly thereafter, Ruth heard banging on her door and gunshots outside. Mary had left the house by this time. Ruth again called the police and Sumter County Sheriff Sergeant Charlie Kuala was the first officer to respond. Ruth directed the officer to the side porch, which is where the noise was located. Ruth and a neighbor who was inside with her, heard a voice yell “halt” or “hold it,” followed by several gunshots. As Sergeant Kuala approached the porch, he was fatally shot twice. Stone would later claim that he was startled and fired his weapon accidentally.
Only through a relationship with Jesus Christ can anyone hope to separate themselves from the power of sin in this world. Through Him, all things are made new. For a complete listing of readings, please download our Bible Study.