A five-year recovering alcoholic is struggling. It has been a rough day, roughest in a long while and he is craving a drink. He calls his friend who is willing to drop everything and be with him if needed. As they talk, he is reminded by his friend of rough days in the previous five years, reminded of how far he has come in his recovery. “Do you need me there? I can stay the night to make sure you don’t relapse.” The conversation had helped, the reminders of the past made him feel empowered; he had succeeded before and he would again. His friend’s offer was also motivation. Knowing that others believed in him and wanted him to continue his success.
“Come on!” “You can do it!” “Let’s go!” The screams echoed throughout the gym. The weightlifter stood beside the squat rack - weights racked, ready to go. She looked at the weights, mentally calculating the amount. It was a record breaker and her teammates knew it. She stepped up, position herself, took a deep breathe, and lifted the weights away from the rack. Her teammates screams of encouragement, motivated her, making her believe that she could do it.
The disciples had self-doubt. For many months, they had followed Jesus, seeing Him perform miracles and listening to His teachings. Now it was their turn. They were being sent out on their own, without Jesus, to minister, to teach others. They things they had seen and heard were extraordinary! But they were ordinary men. How could they do as Jesus did?
October 15, 2018: Daily Bible Reading Commentary for Deuteronomy 1-3
Click here for the reading
Commentary: This book was written by Moses for a generation that was not present at Mt. Sinai. This book is Moses’ final instructions before the Israelites are to enter the Promised Land, where they will no longer have Moses to guide them. Today’s reading recounts some of the significant events that have happened over the last 40 years. Forty years ago the Israelites lacked the faith in the Lord to enter the Promised Land. Through his writing, Moses is encouraging the Israelites to not make the same mistake twice.
Focus Verses: 2:1-23 Why is it important to remember the wanderings of the Israelites? What do we learn by studying the history of the Israelites? What do we learn about the Lord?
October 12, 2018
IDPN 2018 Issue 41
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 was the 16th Word Day Against the Death Penalty. Read more about it here.
Bangladesh: The nation’s Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for Saiful Islam Mamun. He has been convicted of murdering Saudi embassy official Khalaf Al Ali. Three others - Mohammad Al Amin, Akbar Ali Lalu, and Rafiqul Islam - have been sentenced to life in prison for their parts in the murder of 45-year-old Al Ali.
Iran: On Monday, October 2, 2018, Hamed Valizadeh was executed by hanging at Qazvin Central Prison. Thirty-eight-year-old Hamed was executed for murder.
On Tuesday, October 3, 2018, three prisoners were executed by hanging at Rajai Shahr Prison. They were identified as Mahmood Akbari, Yasser Eslami, and Omid Khosrongejad. All three were convicted of murder. These executions have not yet been reported by state media.
The judiciary has requested that 17 striking truck drivers be sentenced to death for attempting to stop other truck drivers from breaking the strike. Allegedly, the 17 who were arrested and charged were using violence in their attempts to stop others. Truck drivers have been striking for three weeks in protest of low pay, skyrocketing prices for parts to fix their trucks, and authorities refusing to respond to the truckers demands.
Pakistan: Since December 2014, the nation’s Supreme Court has overturned 85 percent of death penalty cases brought before them, according to the Justice Project Pakistan. Pakistan resumed carrying out executions, after a six year moratorium, in December 2014, following a mass shooting at a school. The average person spends 11 years on death row before their sentence is overturned.
In 2010, Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, was sentenced to death after being convicted of blasphemy against Islam. Since then, her case has received international attention and raised awareness about blasphemy laws. In 2009, Asia was working on a farm and went to get water. When she tried to share the water, two Muslim women refused to drink from the same container as a Christian. A few days later, she was accused of blasphemy, then convicted and sentenced to death. Sadly, many blasphemy cases are similar, with evidence often lacking. And the law appears to be misused as a way to settle personal disputes and silence opposition.
Updated: Friday, October 12, 2018 9:46 am EDT
Edmund “Ed” George Zagorski was scheduled to be executed at 7 pm CDT, on Thursday, October 11, 2018, at the Riverbed Maximum Security Institute in Nashville, Tennessee. He has been granted a 10-day reprieve by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. Sixty-three-year-old Ed is convicted of murdering John Dale Dotson and Jimmy Porter on April 23, 1983, in Robertson County, Tennessee. Ed has spent the past 34 years on Tennessee’s death row.
Just days before his execution, Ed asked to be executed via electric chair instead of lethal injection. His request was initially denied, as there was not time to prepare, however, Governor Haslam issued a 10-day reprieve in order to allow time for the arrangements to be made to use the electric chair. Further, Ed was also granted a stay of execution by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. That stay has been vacated by the Supreme Court of the United States. A new execution day will be set by the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Ed was born in Michigan and grew up in a very poor family. Ed never completed high school and had a learning disability. He had trained to become a boat captain.
Ed Zagorski first met John Dotson at a trout farm in Bucksnort, Tennessee on April 5, 1983. Zagorski claimed to be a mercenary from Central America. Zagorski agreed to supply John with a large marijuana purchase, 100 pounds for $23,000. Zagorski told John that the marijuana would be dropped by airplane on April 21, 1983.
Zagorski informed John when the marijuana had arrived and the two arranged to meet at Spot, Tennessee, on April 23, 1983, around 6 pm. John and his friend Jimmy Porter met at a tavern with the money before going to meet Zagorski. The tavern operator saw the money in the bag, along with a pistol. They left in Jimmy’s red truck and were never seen alive again.
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2018 11:50 am EDT
Juan Ramon Meza Segundo was scheduled to occur at 6 pm CDT, on Wednesday, October 10, 2018, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. His execution has been stayed. Fifty-five-year-old Juan is convicted of raping and murdering 11-year-old Vanessa Villa on August 3, 1986, in Fort Worth, Texas. Juan has spent the last 11 years on Texas’ death row.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has halted Juan's execution. His execution was stayed to allow time to consider if Juan is intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible to be executed.
Juan was born in Los Angeles, California. Juan had a difficult childhood, often not having enough food. His father was physically abusive, eventually causing the family to move to El Paso, Texas. Juan also spent some time in an orphanage, before being returned to his mother, who remarried. His step-father was also physically abusive. He dropped out of school after the 7th grade. Prior to his arrest, he worked as a landscaper and general laborer. In 1988, Juan was given a 10-year prison sentence for burglary of a habitation. He was released on parole after serving just one year. While on parole, Juan was convicted of driving while intoxicated, adding five more years to his sentence.
Vanessa Villa lived in Fort Worth, Texas with her mother, Rosa Clark; her brother Enrique; and her aunt, Alicia Avila; and her aunt’s three children. On Saturday, August 2, 1986, Vanessa returned home in the evening after working at a flea market. Tired, she went to bed immediately, full clothed. Later that night, her mother and aunt left to run some errands. When they returned, Rosa went to check on Vanessa.
Rosa quickly yelled for Alicia. Vanessa was unconscious on the bed. She was bare from the waist down and her top had been pushed up. Her legs were slightly apart, with fluid on her legs. The window fan in the room had been pushed inside and the window screen was loosely hanging. They called the police and Vanessa was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short time later. The cause of death was strangulation.
Police were able to collect DNA evidence and it was used to rule out several possible suspects. Vanessa’s rape and murder eventually became a “cold case.”
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!