The Bible Passage for mediation, prayer, and reflection for the week of July 27 - August 2, 2014, is John 1:1-5. These verses have many layers to them. Ask God for wisdom to reveal them to you.
In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He was present originally with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it [put it out or absorbed it or appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it]. (John 1:1-5, AMP)
John begins his Gospel unlike the other three Gospel writers. There is no mention of Jesus miraculous earthly birth. In fact, the name Jesus is not mentioned until verse 17. Jesus is the earthly name given to Him upon His earthly birth. Instead John introduces Jesus for who He is: the Son of God, equal to God, God Himself, and the Word. John’s wording refers back to the first book of the Bible, Genesis, where the same wording is used. No doubt, it was intentional. Jesus was present at Creation. He was part of Creation. He was involved in Creation. John refers to Jesus as “the Word.” With a word, all was created. The Bible - Mosaic Law, history, poetry, books of prophecy, the Gospels, letters - is the Word of God, of Jesus, given to us so that we may know Him, deepen our relationship with Him. Carefully meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verses. It is quite a layered verse, with meaning deeper than what is first read.
Daily Bible Reading for July 29, 2014, with Commentary: 2 Kings 21-25
Click here for the Daily Reading.
Context: Hezekiah was the greatest king since David. He was also a terrible father like David. Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh was the worst king Judah had, inciting the anger of the Lord against Judah, leading to the fall of Jerusalem. Manasseh was briefly followed by his son Amon, who was quickly assassinated. Following Amon was Josiah, the last good king. Because Josiah inspired change and return to worship of the Lord, the Lord spared Judah from destruction for a time. Corruption had run rampant through the nation, but Josiah returned to Law of Moses, destroying all pagan alters and worship sites. Unfortunately, Josiah’s life ended too soon, as he was killed in battle with the Egyptians, a battle of which he did not have to become part. After Josiah, the kings quickly went downhill, reverting to pagan worship and rejecting the Lord. Jerusalem was captured and completely destroyed in 586 BC by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The people were taken and scattered.
Update: July 28, 2014 11:00 am EDT
Michael Shane Worthington's execution is scheduled for 12:01 am MDT, on August 6, 2014, at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne, Terre, Missouri. Forty-three-year-old Michael has convicted and sentenced to death for the rape and murder of 24-year-old Melinda Griffin on September 29, 1995, which occurred inside of her apartment in Lake St. Louis, Missouri. Michael has spent the last 18 years on Missouri's death row.
Michael alleges he was raised in a dysfunctional family and frequently neglected and abused. Michael frequently drank and was dependent on drugs and alcohol. He was diagnosed with an anti-social personality disorder prior to his trial. Michael also attempted to exaggerate any psychological problems to psychiatrists before his trial
On the night of September 29, 1995, Michael Worthington was with his friend Jill Morehead for most of the afternoon and evening at his condo. They each had several drinks. Unbeknownst to Jill, Worthington has also purchased drugs. Jill left after Worthington left her at his condo. When Worthington finally returned, he noticed that his neighbor's window was open. His neighbor was Melinda Griffin, whom he had seen around the complex.
Worthington went to his condo, grabbed a razor blade, and put on gloves. When he returned to Melinda's condo, he noticed the bathroom light was now on. Worthington cut through Melinda's screen and entered her apartment, confronting her in the bedroom where Worthington placed his hands over her mouth until Melinda became unconscious. As he was raping her, Melinda became conscious and began to fight back. Worthington strangled her with his hands and a rope or cord. After killing Melinda, Worthington stole jewelry, credit cards, her mobile phone, keys, and car.
Worthington was pulled over the following day, while driving Melinda's car. The officer noticed several items, such as makeup, that identified the vehicle's owner as a female, however the car had not been reported as stolen.
Melinda's body was discovered on October 1, 1995, by a neighbor. DNA testing later proved that Worthington had raped her. Following the discovery of Melinda's body, police went to arrest Worthington, who pulled out a knife and attempted to commit suicide. Found on Worthington was jewelry and keys belonging to Melinda. Worthington confessed to the crime and pled guilty, but said it came after four days of drinking and getting high. He also alleges that he was "blackout drunk" at the time of the crime. Worthington was sentenced to death for murder and given prison terms for the other crimes.
Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Melinda Griffin. Please pray for strength for the family of Michael Worthington. Michael has said that he is saved. Please pray for Michael's relationship with Jesus Christ and that he may come to find peace through it.
July 25, 2014
IDPN 2014 Issue 30
Bangladesh: Eight individuals, Mufti Abdul Hannan, Akbar Hossain, Arif Hasan, Maulana Tajuddin, Hafez, Jahangir Alam, Maulana Abu Bakr, Mufti Abdul Hye, and Mufti Shafiqur Rahman, have received the death penalty for their part in an explosive attack that resulted in the death of 10 individuals in 2001. Five of the eight individuals sentence to death have not been caught. The attack occurred during the celebration of Pohela Boishakh. Mufti Abdul Hannan is credited as the “mastermind” behind the attack.
China: On Tuesday, July 22, 2014, China executed Hu Ping, a former police officer, for the murder of Wu Ying and her unborn child. Wu and her husband Cai Shiyong ran a rice noodle restaurant. Cai sustained minor injuries from the shooting. Hu was drunk when he committed the crime.
On Friday, July 25, 2014, an unnamed Japanese man was executed in China for smuggling stimulant drugs.
India: Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, has rejected mercy pleas for six individuals sentenced to death. One of the individuals is Surinder Koli a serial killer who kidnapped, abused, and murdered several minors in a Nithair village. Others were Renukabai and Seema, sisters from Maharashtra who kidnapped and brutally murdered seven children, Rajendra Prahladrao Wasnik, also from Maharashtra and convicted of raping and murdering a minor girl, Jagdish of Madhya Pradesh who murdered his wife and five children, and Holiram Bordoloi of Assam who burnt two people to death and hacked a third to death in public.
Iran: Political prison Arzhand Davoodi has already served 10 years in prison. Davoodi, now 62 years of age, has recently been sentenced to death for his opposition of the clerical regime. Davoodi, prior to being arrested in October of 2003, was a school teacher. He was first sentenced to 15 years in prison, which was later increased to 20 years.
An unidentified 32-year-old prisoner has been sentenced to be twice executed by stoning and hanging. The prisoner is convicted of adultery and possessing satellite receivers among other crimes.
It is reported that on Sunday, July 20, 2014, a group of four men and four woman were executed by hanging in the main prison in the city of Birjand in eastern Iran. The following day, at the same prison, two more prisoners were executed by hanging. All prisoners were executed on drug related charges.
Update: July 28, 2014 11:05 am EDT
William T. Montgomery was scheduled to be executed at 10 am EST on August 6, 2014, at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Mansfield, Ohio. He has been granted a temporary stay of execution by Judge Gregory Frost and been rescheduled for February 11, 2015. Forty-eight-year-old William is convicted of murdering 20-year-old Debra Ogle and 19-year-old Cynthia Tincher on March 8, 1986, in Toledo, Ohio. William has spent the past 28 years on Ohio's death row.
Ohio inmate Dennis McGuire was executed in January of 2014, using a new two-drug execution process that had not previously been used in any other state. The execution took far longer than expected and numerous reports indicated that McGuire made several unusual sounds during the execution. Following the execution, Ohio conducted a review of their execution procedure and McGuire’s death, eventually concluding that McGuire was unconscious for the execution. However, to alleviate any concerns, Ohio announced that it planned to increase the dosage of each drug used. In late May, Federal Judge Gregory Frost ordered that all executions be stayed until August 15, at the earliest, to allow time for appeals of Ohio’s new execution procedure. William's August 6, 2014, execution, has been stayed and rescheduled to February 11, 2015.
William Montgomery knew Debra Ogle and Cynthia Tincher. Both women were known to be alive during the early morning hours of March 8, 1986. Following a night of drinking, Montgomery, along with friend Glover Heard, took a cab to the apartment shared by Debra and Cynthia. Montgomery was armed with a .38 caliber pistol. Debra agreed to give the men a ride to Montgomery's mother's house on her way to work. Montgomery sat in the front seat providing directions, eventually having Debra stop along a road. Montgomery and Debra walked away from the car into a field. Heard then heard a gun fire twice and saw Debra's body lying on the ground.
Montgomery drove Debra's car back to her apartment and gave the keys to Heard, telling him to take the car. Heard took Debra's wallet when he abandoned the car. When Debra never reported for work, police listed her as missing. Montgomery took the gun and entered the apartment.
A black person wearing a dark hooded jacket with the hood tied tight around their face was seen leaving Cynthia's car later that day. Cynthia was found in her car. She was killed by a single gunshot to the head.
Montgomery was arrested on March 12, 1986, on an unrelated charge. Montgomery confessed that his gun was the murder weapon, however, he was not the shooter. Montgomery blamed the murder on Heard, saying Heard confessed to him. Montgomery eventually led police to Debra's body, but continued to blame the murders on Heard.
Heard made a plea deal and pled guilty to one count of complicity to murder and testified against Montgomery. A jury found Montgomery guilty of murder and aggravated robbery.
Please pray for peace and healing for the families of Debra Ogle and Cynthia Tincher. Please pray for strength for the family of William Montgomery. Please pray that William will come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.
Update: July 28, 2014 11:45 am EDT
Manuel Vasquez was scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CDT, on August 6, 2014, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. Manuel has since been removed from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s online execution calendar. Forty-six-year-old Manuel is convicted of murdering 51-year-old Juanita Ybarra on March 19, 1998, in San Antonio, Texas. Manuel has spent the last 14 years on Texas’ death row.
Manuel worked as a welder, carpenter, and laborer. He was previously arrested for aggravated assault with bodily injury and released on mandatory supervision for a second time in 1995.
Manuel Vasquez was an alleged member of the Mexican Mafia. On March 14, 1998, Vasquez was present when it was announced by a high ranking member of the Mexican Mafia that Juanita Ybarra “had to go down” because she failed to pay the Mexican Mafia their cut of the sale of illegal drugs.
On the night of March 18, 1998, Vasquez attended a party at the New Laredo Motel, which involved smoking marijuana, drinking beer, injecting heroin, and snorting cocaine. Juanita was also staying at the hotel that night. Early on the morning of March 19, Vasquez, along with Oligario Lujan and Johnny Cruz, went to the room where Juanita was staying. They covered their faces and wore socks on their hands to prevent leaving fingerprints.
The three knocked on the door to Juanita’s room. Juanita’s friend, Moses Bazan, was staying with her that night because she was scared. Moses answered the door, leaving the chain in place. Vasquez, Lujan, and Cruz, forced their way into the room, breaking the chain. Moses was attacked and fought back, yelling, breaking a window, and punching a hole in the wall. Moses was eventually knocked unconscious.
Vasquez attacked Juanita, attempting to strangle her. Juanita fought back by biting him in the hand. Cruz went to help Vasquez. The duo hit Juanita over ten times. When Moses regained consciousness, Cruz went back and forth between Juanita and Moses. Juanita was strangled to death using a telephone cord. Moses survived the attack. The trio robbed the room before leaving.
Cruz reached a plea deal, which involved him truthfully testifying against Vasquez in exchange for a lesser sentence. Before his plea deal, Cruz gave several false reports to the police. Vasquez was convicted in November of 1999.
No reason has yet been given for his removal from Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s online scheduled execution list.
Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Juanita Ybarra and for Moses Bazan and his family. Please pray that for strength for the family of Manuel Vasquez. Please pray that Manuel will come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.