The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of October 15-21, 2017, is Hebrews 11:1-13. This week’s passage deals with faith. You will notice the frequent use of the word. In the book of Hebrews, the word “faith” is used more times than in any other New Testament book, except Romans.
Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].
For by [faith—trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report.
By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.
[Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel brought God a better and more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, because of which it was testified of him that he was righteous [that he was upright and in right standing with God], and God bore witness by accepting and acknowledging his gifts. And though he died, yet [through the incident] he is still speaking.
Because of faith Enoch was caught up and transferred to heaven, so that he did not have a glimpse of death; and he was not found, because God had translated him. For even before he was taken to heaven, he received testimony [still on record] that he had pleased and been satisfactory to God.
But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].
[Prompted] by faith Noah, being forewarned by God concerning events of which as yet there was no visible sign, took heed and diligently and reverently constructed and prepared an ark for the deliverance of his own family. By this [his faith which relied on God] he passed judgment and sentence on the world’s unbelief and became an heir and possessor of righteousness (that relation of being right into which God puts the person who has faith).
[Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go.
[Prompted] by faith he dwelt as a temporary resident in the land which was designated in the promise [of God, though he was like a stranger] in a strange country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs with him of the same promise.
For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God.
Because of faith also Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered [God] Who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to His word.
So from one man, though he was physically as good as dead, there have sprung descendants whose number is as the stars of heaven and as countless as the innumerable sands on the seashore.
These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of [God’s] promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth. (Hebrews 11:1-13, AMP)
How many times is the word “faith” used in this passage? Go on! Count! Christians today are often ridiculed for their faith in an unseen God, but this is nothing new. Individuals have been ridiculed for their faith for thousands of years! It is not likely to change until Jesus returns to this earth. Do you ever pause to consider the faith required of the individuals mentioned in this passage. We know their stories, their outcomes, so their faith may not seem great, but place yourself in their position. Like you now, they did not know how their story would end, how they would be remembered. They made mistakes, mistakes which they probably wished the entire world would not know. But we do know. We can take comfort in their faith and in their mistakes. They too struggled with their faith, but we remember them because they pushed on and kept their faith. As you mediate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, consider your own faith. How do you show it to the world around you? How can your faith motivate those around you?
October 19, 2017: Daily Bible Reading Commentary for Proverbs 31
Click here for the reading
Commentary: The identity of King Lemuel is unknown, although some have speculated that it is King Solomon. King Lemuel shares advice given to him by his mother. Although it is directed at fellow rulers, all can take this advice, as were are all to leaders. The final part of the chapter 31 address women, especially wives and mothers. Women are equal to men, with their own responsibilities.
Focus Verses: 31:10, 30 Women should strive to follow these verses. Men should seek out a women as described in these verses. Are these qualities important to you?
Updated: Thursday, October 19, 2017 7:08 pm EDT
The Supreme Court of the United States has issued a temporary stay of execution for Torrey McNabb, halting his execution that was scheduled to begin at 6 pm CDT. The stay could be lifted tonight, allowing the execution to proceed. Alabama has until midnight to begin the execution.
Updated: Thursday, October 19, 2017 6:15 pm EDT
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected Torrey McNabb's most recent request to halt his execution, scheduled for this evening. Earlier this evening, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned a stay of execution granted to Torrey.
Updated: Thursday, October 19, 2017 6:03 pm EDT
The Supreme Court of the United States has overturned a stay of execution for Torrey McNabb, who is once again, scheduled to be executed this evening. The stay of execution was initially granted by Chief U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins of the Middle District of Alabama Northern Division, and later upheld by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Torrey and his attorneys were arguing that Alabama's execution protocol provided a significant risk of pain and suffering during the execution, which would be a violation of Torrey's 8th Amendment rights. Two of the nine Supreme Court Justices would have granted the stay. Torrey has again filed with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals for stay of execution.
Updated: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 9:22 pm EDT
A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the stay of execution for Torrey McNabb granted by Chief U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins of the Middle District of Alabama Northern Division. The stay was granted after Torrey and his attorney successfully argued that Alabama's execution protocol provided a significant risk of pain and suffering during the execution, which would be a violation of Torrey's 8th Amendment rights. Alabama has appealed this ruling to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court of the Untied States has previously overturned similar rulings and allowed executions to proceed in the state.
Updated: Monday, October 16, 2017 2:12 pm EDT
Chief U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins of the Middle District of Alabama Northern Division has stayed the execution of Torrey McNabb. Torrey and his attorney successfully argued that Alabama's execution protocol provided a significant risk of pain and suffering during the execution, which would be a violation of Torrey's 8th Amendment rights. Alabama has appealed this ruling. The Supreme Court of the Untied States has previously overturned similar rulings and allowed executions to proceed in the state.
Updated: Monday, October 16, 2017 10:46 am EDT
Torrey Twane McNabb is scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CDT, on Thursday, October 19, 2017, at the Holeman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama. Forty-year-old Torrey is convicted of the murder of Police Officer Anderson Gordon on September 24, 1997, in Montgomery, Alabama. Torrey has spent the last 18 years on Alabama’s death row.
Torrey’s father had spent time in prison and his mother was a cocaine addict. Torrey began using cocaine around the age of 14 or 15.
On September 24, 1997, Sanford Sharpe, a bail bondsman, was attempting to locate Torrey McNabb, who had failed to appear in court to charges of receiving stolen property and possession of a controlled substance. After failing to appear, a warrant was issued for his arrest. Sanford located McNabb and McNabb’s grandmother’s residence. Sanford spoke with McNabb, who said he would go with Sanford. Under the pretense of putting on shoes, McNabb fled out the back door.
Later that day, around 1:30 pm, Sanford again located McNabb, this time parked in a vehicle outside of his grandmother’s home. Sanford pulled up beside McNabb. When McNabb noticed Sanford, he quickly drove away. Sanford pursued. While crossing an intersection, McNabb struck another vehicle. Sanford drove up and started to get out of his vehicle when McNabb started shooting a gun. Sanford quickly drove away from the gunfire and called the police. Sanford then returned to intersection and parked next to a police patrol vehicle. Inside was Officer Anderson Gordon, who had been shot several times. Sanford, fearing for his safety, pulled out his own weapon. Police arrived a short time later and confiscated Sanford’s weapon.
Annie Gamble, was the women whose vehicle had been struck by McNabb. After being struck, Annie saw McNabb, who she identified later, pull a gun. She pleaded with him not to shoot her. McNabb began shooting at a red truck that drove by. Annie then saw McNabb walking towards the police patrol parked on the corner, hiding his weapon. McNabb approached the rear of the patrol car and began firing into the car, shattering the rear window. When the officer fired back, McNabb fled the scene.
Updated: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 6:07 pm EDT
District Court Judge Maria Jackson granted a 90-day stay of execution for Anthony Allen Shore. Anthony's execution has been rescheduled for January 18, 2018. The temporary stay was granted to allow time to investigate claims that another Texas death row inmate, Larry Swearingen, attempted to persuade Anthony to confess to the crime for which Larry has been sentenced to death. Larry is scheduled to be executed next month. The state supports the stay of execution in order to allow time to investigate the claims and ensure that justice is being carried out.
Updated: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 4:00 pm EDT
Shortly after asking Governor Greg Abbott for a single, 30-day reprieve from execution, Anthony Shore revealed that fellow death row inmate Larry Sweraingen had approached Anthony to conspire regarding the murder of Melissa Trotter. Larry has been convicted and sentenced to die next month for the murder of Melissa Trotter (read more here). In an attempt to escape punishment, Larry convinced Anthony to confess to Melissa's murder. As part of the conspiracy, Larry had given Anthony numerous documents about the murder, including a hand-drawn map of where the body was located and where Larry had hidden physical evidence of the crime. The requested reprieve would allow time to investigate all the items found in Anthony's cell. Governor Abbott has not yet responded to the request.
Updated: Monday, October 16, 2017 10:48 am EDT
Anthony Allen Shore is scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CDT, on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. Fifty-five-year-old Anthony is convicted of murdering 9-year-old Diana Rebollar, 15-year-old Laurie Lee Tremblay, 16-year-old Dana Sanchez, and 21-year-old Maria Del Carmen Estrada, over a period of time from 1986 to 1995, in Harris County, Texas. Anthony has spent the last 13 years of his life on Texas’ death row.
Anthony was born in Rapid City, South Dakota. His family moved frequently as a child, which did not allow him to make friends. Around the age of 13, Anthony alleges that his mother began molesting him. A few years later, he began drinking and using marijuana. Around the same time, he also alleges that he had “something” to do with the murder of a homeless man in Florida. Throughout the years, he worked as a wrecker driver, a telephone line installer, and as a general construction worker.
Anthony was married to Gina Worley in 1984, with whom he had two children. The two remained married for several years before divorcing when Gina discovers he was having extra-marital affairs. Shortly after marring his second wife, 18-year-old Amy Lynch, charges were filed against Anthony, accusing him of molesting his two daughters. Anthony avoided jail by accepting a plea bargain that required him to register as a sex offender and submit a DNA sample to the police. Amy divorced Anthony after he attempted to strangle her. Anthony was arrest for cocaine a few years later.
On April 16, 1992, Maria Del Carmen Estrada was kidnapped, raped, and strangled to death by an unknown assailant. Police recovered DNA evidence from under her fingernails, but were unable to find a match in their database. More than ten years later, on October 24, 2003, as police were re-running DNA evidence from cold cases, they received a match for the DNA found under Maria’s fingernails. Her assailant was identified as Anthony Shore.
Updated: Monday, October 16, 2017 10:50 am EDT
Raymond Tibbetts was scheduled to be execution at 10 am EDT, on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Mansfield, Ohio. Raymond’s execution has been rescheduled to Tuesday, February 13, 2018. Sixty-year-old Raymond is convicted of murdering his wife, Judith Sue Crawford, and 67-year-old Fred Hicks on November 6, 1997, inside of Fred’s Cincinnati home, where they all lived. Raymond has spent the last 19 years of his life on Ohio’s death row.
Raymond alleged that he had a “miserable” and “horrible” childhood, as his parents were drug users, causing him to be in and out of foster care beginning at an early age. Raymond played football in high school until he suffered a knee injury. At a young age, Raymond began getting into trouble with law enforcement, eventually resulting in prison time.
Fred Hicks suffered from emphysema and had hired Judith Crawford as his live-in caretaker in his Cincinnati, Ohio home. In late September, Judith married Raymond Tibbetts who also moved into Fred’s house. Fred’s sister, Joan Landwehr would often visit with Fred to check on him.
On November 6, 1997, Joan arrived at Fred’s home for a lunch date. Upon knocking and receiving no response, Joan let herself into the house with her spare key. She also noticed that Fred’s vehicle was missing. After entering, Joan went to the second floor where she found her brother’s body slumped in a chair. Fred’s chest and stomach were bloody and the pants pocket where he normally kept his money was turned inside out. Joan immediately called the police.
Police discovered that Fred was still connected to his oxygen tank. He had two knives protruding from his chest, a third knife in his back, and a fourth knife blade broken off in his back. Fred did not have any defensive wounds and the stab wounds punctured his heart, lungs, and aorta.
October 13, 2017
IDPN 2017 Issue 41
India: The Hight Court has upheld the death sentence of 35-year-old Pappu of Kushinagar, who is convicted of the kidnapping, rape, and murder of a seven-year-old girl. The High Court was considering an appeal by Pappu to have his death sentence revoked.
The Gujarat High Court has commuted the death sentence of 11 inmates to life in prison. Additionally, the court upheld the life sentences of 20 individuals and commuted the life sentences of 31 other individuals. All were originally sentenced for taking part in a 2002 incident in which passengers were locked in a train car which was then set on fire using petroleum. Fifty-nine-individuals died in the attack at Godhra rail station.
Japan: The death penalty has been sought for 70-year-old Chisako Kakehi, who has been nicknamed the “black widow.” Chisako is accused of murdering her husband, 75-year-old Isao, and two common-law partners, 71-year-old Masanori Honda and 75-year-old Minoru Hioki. The three elderly men were all given drinks laced with cyanide. She also attempted to kill a fourth man, 79-year-od Toshiaki Suehiro. Chisako is believed to have killed them to receive their assets, as she was deep in debt. Chisako has pleaded not guilty and her defense is arguing that she has the onset of dementia.
Malaysia: According to Iran Human Rights, there are over 80 Iranians awaiting their sentences for charges of “involvement in drug trafficking.” Allegedly, most of these Iranians will be sentenced to death and are awaiting their sentences in horrid conditions in solitary confinement. Also allegedly, many of these inmates have been denied fair and legal due process, including the lack of a translator during their cases.
Pakistan: Mubasher Ahmad, Gulam Ahmed, and Ehsan, have been sentenced to death in Sheikhupura on charges of blasphemy (insulting the Prophet Mohammad). The three men are accused of tearing down a religious poster in Bhoiwal. All three men are part of the Ahmadi sect, a sect of Muslims whose faith is rejected by the Pakistani state.