In today’s social media obsessed, 24/7, instant access society, judgements are formed immediately. Decisions made rapidly. Words, written and spoken, delivered without thought, sometimes anonymously. There is always so much to be done, that there is no time to stop and think about what we are doing, what we are saying, what we are typing.
Of course, this problem is not limited to today’s society. Peter often had a problem of speaking and doing without thinking. He jumped out of a boat to meet his Lord, only to start drowning when he actually thought about what he was doing! (Matthew 14:28-30) When asked a question, Peter would often say the first thing he thought, without actually thinking about the question (Mark 9:2-6). Peter swore he would never betray Jesus, yet did so three times just a few hours later, not realizing what he did until after it was over (Matthew 26:31-35, 69-75). Are you noticing a pattern?
When we understand the power words hold, we must be careful how we use them. That means going against the tide of the world and stopping to think about what are words are saying, how they are being used, and how they might be interpreted.
Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]; (James 1:19, AMP)
April 22, 2018: Daily Bible Reading Commentary for 2 Corinthians 1-3
Click here for the reading
Commentary: Paul begins his letter (actually his third letter to the Corinthians, but his second has been lost in history) as he traditionally does. Once again, there are several problems present within the church and Paul immediate begins addressing them. First, though, Paul addresses misunderstandings, accusations, and mistrust between himself and the Corinth church. The church thought that Paul was not a man of his word. Paul explained that he wanted his visit to be one of joy and fellowship, not rebuke, hence his harsh letters.
Focus Verses: 2:5-11 What is Paul saying in this passage? Why is it important? How can you apply it to your life?
“Liberty must be allowed to work out its natural results; and these will, ere long, astonish the world.” He is the only president to have never been married. His favorite vegetable was cabbage. He was the only president ever elected from Pennsylvania. He is James W. Buchanan Jr., 15th President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1857, until March 4, 1861. James was born in a log cabin on April 23, 1791, in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania. He was one of six presidents born in a log cabin. It may seem James was destined to become President, as he is a direct descendent of King James I of Scotland and Queen Cleopatra of Egypt.
James was educated at what is now known as Dickinson College. He graduated with honors after almost being expelled for poor behavior. In 1812, he was admitted to the bar. James was also a Freemason. In 1819, James almost married but his fiancée broke off the engagement and died a week later. James refused to publicly discuss the relationship. Since Buchanan never married, his niece, Harriet Lane Johnson served as the official White House hostess at social functions.
James initially opposed the War of 1812, believing it unnecessary, however he later joined a volunteer unit to help defend Baltimore, Maryland from British invasion. Throughout his service in the military, he never served as an officer, the only president with military experience not to do so.
James’ political career began in 1814, at the age of 23, when he was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as a member of the Federalist Party. In 1821, he went on to served for five terms in the US House of Representatives. In 1832, James was appointed by President Andrew Jackson as envoy to Russia, where James proved his abilities as a diplomat. Two years later, James returned to America and won a seat in the US Senate. He remained in that position for 10 years, before being appointed as secretary of state by President James Polk. In 1852, James made an unsuccessful bid for the presidentially nomination in the Democratic Party. He lost to Franklin Pierce, who later appointed him minister to England.
James was elected president in 1856, defeating Republican nominee John C. Fremont. In his inaugural address, James promised that he would not run for re-election and, therefore, be able to focus solely on the issues at hand. Those issues would turn out to be one primary issue - slavery. Several states were threatening to succeed over the issue. James believed that slavery was a matter for the states and territories to decide, not the federal government, and thought that the issue could be easily and quickly resolved. James’ beliefs showed a fundamental misunderstanding of the issue.
James wanted to be great president, comparable to George Washington, but he failed to grasp the reality of the political situation between the North and the South. Instead, James went on to be considered one of the worst US presidents. James thought that the slavery issue could be resolved through the law and through compromise. He failed to realize that neither side was willing to compromise with the other. During his time in office, James managed to alienate both sides of the issue by declaring that states did not have the right to secede, yet the government did not have the authority to stop them from doing so. When President Buchanan left office, the nation was on the brink of civil war.
Following the election of Abraham Lincoln, South Carolina seceded, the first state to do so, in December 20, 1860, with six more following by the time Buchanan left office in March of 1861.
While slavery was the primary issue addressed by James, he also faced other problems. Due to over consumption of goods from Europe and banks overextending credit, debt began to rise and people began to panic. James ended his presidency with a $17 million federal deficit, as he refused to curtail public works projects to save money.
In March of 1857, James received conflicting reports about Mormons causing problems in Utah for federal employees. The problems in Utah with the Mormons, was an inherited one for James, as it had begun with the Pierce administration refusing to grant Utah statehood. James acted swiftly upon the unconfirmed reports, replacing Mormon Governor Brigham Young with non-Mormon Alfred Cummings and sending the Army to assist Alfred. Unfortunately, Brigham never received notice of his replacement, as the Utah mail contract had been annulled by the former president. Brigham responded with a two-week expedition which destroyed wagons, oxen, and other Army property. The war lasted approximately one year and ended with amnesty being granted to all, provided they respected the authority of the government.
James all but disappeared from public life after he left office. James was and still is judged harshly for his actions as president, especially for failing to stop the Civil War, which broke out less than two months after he left office. He is frequently rated as among the least, and as the least, effective Presidents of the United States. In October of 1862, James attempted to defend himself and his actions as President in the National Intelligencer newspaper. James Buchanan died from respiratory failure on June 1, 1868, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, shortly after becoming ill. He was 77 years of age.
Not much is known about James’ religious views. In a conversation with a Rev. Dr. William M. Paxton, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of New York City, he stated that he had been reading the Bible and praying daily for the past 12 years and, upon further conversation, believed he was a Christian. He eventually joined the Presbyterian church after leaving office and made a generous donation to the church following his death.
Happy Birthday Mr. President!
April 20, 2018
IDPN 2018 Issue 16
Iran: On Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 33-year-old Omid Damani was executed by hanging at Kerman Central Prison. He was charged with murder and sedition.
On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, Bahman Varmazyar, a sports coach, was executed by hanging at the prison of Hamadan. Bahman was convicted of robbing a jewelry store while armed. Reportedly, Bahman’s family was informed that his execution had been halted the night before he was executed.
Twenty-four-year-old Ramin Hossein Panahi, a Kurdish citizen, has been sentenced to death for being a member of Komala, an armed Kurdish opposition group. Ramin was allegedly tortured prior to his unfair trial, which did not even last an hour. Lawyers for Ramin argued that there is no evidence he participated in any acts that involved intentional killing, which is the threshold for imposing the death sentence. Ramin was arrested after being injured in an ambush.
Iraq: On Monday, April 16, 2018, 13 individuals were executed for “terrorist crimes.” Eleven of the 13 were convicted of exploding car bombs, killing security personnel, or kidnappings. Crime details for the remaining two were not provided. The names of those executed were also not released.
Two Russian women and a French women have all escaped being sentenced to death. All three women were convicted of being members of the Islamic State. Twenty-nine-year-old Djamila Boutoutaou, told the court that she was forced to leave France with her rapper husband and join the Islamic State. Her husband was later killed during the fighting. All three were sentenced to life in prison.
April 19, 2018
Walter Leroy Moody, Jr., was executed by the state of Alabama on Thursday, April 19, 2018. He was pronounced dead at 8:42 pm CDT, inside the execution chamber at the Holeman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama. His execution was delayed several hours due to appeals. Walter was 83 years of age and is the oldest inmate executed in recent years in the United States. He was executed for the murder of 58-year-old US Circuit Judge Robert Smith Vance on December 16, 1989, in Alabama. Walter has spent the last 20 years of his life on in prison.
In 1972, Walter Moody was convicted of possessing a pipe bomb and, when it exploded, injuring his wife. He served three years in a federal prison before being released. In 1985, Moody wanted to have his conviction overturned and, to that end, bribed Julie Linn-West, an acquaintance, to say that she personally knew someone else had placed the bomb in Moody’s home in 1972. Julie’s mother, Susan Eckstrom would also become part of the scheme by agreeing to testify that Moody was innocent.
Moody’s attempts to have his conviction overturned were unsuccessful, as the District Court for the Middle District of Georgia denied his petition and was later affirmed by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
In 1990, he learned that his connection to Julie and Susan was being investigated. Moody attempted to continue to bribe Julie, and threatened to harm her mother, Susan, if Julie were to cooperate with law enforcement. Julie, however, had already agreed to help the government and recorded many of the conversations that she had with Moody.
Hello, 9-1-1, what’s your emergency?
Hi, umm, yes. I’d like to report - I think - that is - I think that I have been sexually assaulted.
It can be a scary call to make. It can be a difficult fact to face. But when faced with the possibility that you, or someone you know, has definitely, or may have been sexually assaulted, raped, or abused, the first phone call that should be made is the police. Never report it to someone who is in anyway related or dependent upon the abuser. Never report it to someone who may be the abuser or assaulters friend. CALL THE POLICE!
Throughout the years, there have always been rumors. A warning here, a suggestion there. The infamous jokes about the “casting couch” that go back decades. The wonder and intrigue that so many child stars have mental breakdowns and become addicted to drugs and alcohol. Many brush it aside - its all part of growing up in the public eye, in Hollywood. But is it really? #MeToo
He was a world renowned gymnastic doctor - some even called him a miracle doctor - able to fix and heal all injuries. Able to keep gymnasts together during the most important competitions of their lives. But Doctor Larry Nassar was abusing these young girls and women. Under the guise of medically necessary treatment, he would digitally penetrate the athletes he was “treating.” It did not matter where the injury was located on the body. He was a trusted doctor, and he took advantage of that trust.
We send our children to them five days a week. We trust them with their safety, their education, their development for eight hours a day, five days a week, for nine months a year - sometimes even more. Inappropriate sexual relationships between students and adults in our education system, from teachers to administrators to coaches, appear to be on the rise. Social media and texting have made these interactions all the more common and all the easier to initiate and continue.
He was a famous and revered football coach. He started a charity to give disadvantage youth the opportunity to develop life skills, further their education, provide them with mentors. Visits from Penn State players and coaches were common. A select few even got to visit Penn State itself! But Jerry Sandusky took advantage of these disadvantage children, sexually assaulting and raping them on Penn State property.
The Catholic Church is no stranger to accusations of sexual abuse and misconduct. In the past several decades, more and more attention has been paid to the accusations made against the church, with charges being filed against priests, nuns, and other church staff. Sadly, the Catholic Church is not the only Christian denomination, or even religious group, to have such accusations lobbed against them.
Many of these wide-spread cases of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or sexual misconduct have another factor in common - the coverup. When the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke there was outrage! How could this have been going on for so long with no one finding out?! When Larry Nassar stood trial earlier this year, a similar outrage occurred! And who can forget the Hollywood elite feigning outrage and shock at their coworkers and friends being accused of being serial rapists and abusers?
What often falls by the wayside is that many of these abuses were reported shortly after they happened, only not to the police. Victims of Sandusky reported it to Penn State authorities. Victims of Nassar reported it to their coaches, staff at Michigan State, and staff with USA Gymnastics. In Hollywood, you were warned you would be blacklisted, never cast again, if you complained about sexual assault. The Catholic Church would simply move their priests or other staff members to a new location with no explanation. Those who received these reports had a vested interest in keeping the reports quiet and concealed; in justice not being served. It wasn’t until outside forces, the police, were brought in that justice could begin to be served.
Sadly, as the above examples show, sexual abuse can occur anywhere, by anyone! Including those in authority positions and family members. If someone touches you inappropriately, or makes inappropriate suggestions REPORT IT TO THE POLICE! If they suggest that you keep a secret, just between the two you, CALL THE POLICE! An adult wanting to keep a relationship or physical contact of any sort a secret from anyone, is a huge red flag - CALL THE POLICE!
This April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. It is a month to encourage those who have suffered sexual assault/abuse to speak out. If you need someone to talk to, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE(4673), or visit their website https://www.rainn.org/get-help to chat with someone online. Additional information is also available at their website. Don’t be afraid to seek out help!
For parents, take time this month to educate your children, no matter their age. Teach them to understand and respect consent. No means NO! Teach them what to do if they are uncomfortable. Teach them where they should not be touched. Teach them how to call the police and make a report. Above all, let them know that you are there for them, and that they can come to you, no matter what should happen. And if any child should ever come to you and say or suggest that they were the victim of inappropriate sexual attention - CALL THE POLICE!
Finally, pray for all who have been victims of sexual assault/abuse. Pray for those who are struggling to overcome. Pray for those who are being sexually abused. Pray for end, so that #MeToo will never be necessary again.