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 26, 2018: Daily Bible Reading Commentary for Job 33-34
Click here for the reading
Commentary: Elihu concludes his speech, apologizing once again and claiming to be speaking with the spirit of God. When Job refuses to respond to Elihu’s speech, Elihu began a second speech.
Focus Verse: 33:6 Why is it important to seek counsel from those who belong to God? What does Job teach us about the counsel that they may give?
April 25, 2018
Erick Daniel Davila has been executed by the state of Texas on Wednesday, April 25, 2018. Erick was pronounced dead 6:31 pm CDT, inside the Walls Unit execution chamber at the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. Thirty-one-year-old Erick is convicted of the murder of 48-year-old Annette Stevenson and five-year-old Queshawn Stevenson on April 6, 2008, in Fort Worth, Texas. Erick spent the last nine years of his life on Texas’ death row.
Growing up, Erick did not have a close relationship with his mother, as he was conceived during a rape when she was 13. Erick was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and had a low IQ. He grew up in a high-crime area that had several gangs.
On April 6, 2008, Erick Davila and Garfield Thompson drove to the home of Annette Stevenson, who was throwing a ninth birthday party for her granddaughter Nihtica Stevenson. After driving past the house, Davila got out of the vehicle and Thompson drove off. Davila was observed by neighbors, who later identified him in a line-up, to be carrying a large gun, with a “red dot beam.”
A group who was in the neighborhood attending another party, observed Davila walk between two buildings. The group followed Davila as he walked between two homes and took aim at Annette’s house across the street. Davila shot Annette several times before running into the middle of the street and shooting into the house several more times.
Thompson then returned, driving the car. Davila got into the driver’s side of the car. He fired more shots at the house as he drove away.
By the time the police arrived at the scene, Annette had already died from her injuries. Queshawn was seriously injured and several other children had various injuries.
Police were tipped off about Davila’s involvement in the crime by his girlfriend Nichcole Blackwell, Davila’s girlfriend. Davila had borrowed her car the day of the murder and he was gone from the house most of the afternoon and evening. Davila was arrested two days later.
Davila eventually confessed to the crime, saying he was trying to hit the only adult male attending the party and that he never meant to harm the women and children. The other man with him in the car, Thompson, knew about his plan to shoot at the house and agreed to drop him off and pick him up.
Davila was convicted and sentenced to death in 2009. During his trial, it was revealed that Davila was also charged with the two other murders, just days before the murders of Annette and Queshawn. Additionally, while in jail awaiting trial, Davila, with two other inmates, attacked two guards and two maintenance men in a failed escape attempt.
Please pray for peace and healing for the families of Annette and Queshawn. Please pray for strength for the family of Erick.
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.
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.
Do you aspire to be a “better Christian?” Do you want to deepen and strengthen your relationship with the Lord? Well, I’ve got good news for you! It is possible! In as little as one year, The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries can help you transform your relationship with the Lord!
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8)
Right there! That is how you are going to grow and deepen your relationship with the Lord! You have to take the first steps and draw near to Him! You have to actively seek after a relationship with the Lord. How?
A great starting point is simple: daily study of His Word, the Bible. God has given us the Bible as a history book, a textbook, a praise book, a philosophy book, a book of warning of the coming future, and so much more! By following along with our “52 Week Bible Reading Plan” (available here), daily study will allow you to completely read through the Bible in one year. It is perfect for beginners who don’t know where to start, or for those who have already read the Bible a couple dozen times. Each reading, each study can bring new meaning and realization.
The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries wants to help you! Each day, we will post a summary of the day’s reading on our website, www.theforgivenessfoundation.org. We will also post specific verses to focus on each day. Read through the entirety of the day’s reading. Then come back and re-read the focus verses. Prayerfully contemplate the questions asked about the reading. If you miss a day, don’t worry! Past commentary can be found under our “Scriptures” tab.
Our 2018 Daily Bible Study begins on December 31, 2017, but join us anytime! So, are you ready to deepen and strengthen your relationship with the Lord this upcoming year? Then let’s go!