The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of October 19-25, 2014, is Habakkuk 2:4-5. Habakkuk’s book is not a traditional book of prophecy. The book records his conversation with the Lord. Habakkuk asks many of the same questions that we ask today. In this week’s passage, the Lord is responding to Habakkuk’s inquire about why evil is permitted and appears to prosper.
“Look at the proud!
They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked.
But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.
Wealth is treacherous,
and the arrogant are never at rest.
They open their mouths as wide as the grave,
and like death, they are never satisfied.
In their greed they have gathered up many nations
and swallowed many peoples.
(Habakkuk 2:4-5, NLT)
The Lord’s response to Habakkuk is the same response he has for us today. Nothing has changed! The prideful, the untruthful, the wicked, the arrogant, the greedy, and the unrighteous may appear to prosper, but only on this earth. They will be punished for eternity, while the righteous and the faithful will be rewarded. As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s passage, consider the Lord’s message and if you live by faithfulness.
Daily Bible Reading for October 22, 2014, with Commentary: Psalm 122-124
Click here for the Daily Reading.
Context: All three of today’s psalms are psalms of ascents. These are psalms are sung on the way to Jerusalem. Psalm 122 was written by David. It expresses joy at seeing Jerusalem and excitement at going to the temple to worship. Psalm 123 shows the joy at seeing the temple and looks to the future. Psalm 124 was also written by David. It recounts Israel’s past and praises the Lord for saving them.
Olen E. Hutchison was convicted of murdering 45-year-old Hugh Huddleston by drowning on August 14, 1988, in order to collect Hugh’s life insurance. Hugh was a father figure to Olen. Olen was the beneficiary of Hugh’s will. Olen was scheduled to be executed on May 12, 2015. At 8:55 am CDT, on Sunday, October 19, 2014, Olen died of natural causes at the Riverbed Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, Tennessee. Olen was 61 years of age.
Please pray for the family of Hugh. Please pray for the family of Olen.
Update: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 10:30 am EDT
Miguel Angel Paredes is scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CST, on Tuesday, October 28, 2014, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. Thirty-two-year-old Miguel is convicted of murdering 23-year-old Nelly Bravo, 23-year-old Shawn Michael Caine, and 37-year-old Adrian Torres on September 17, 2000, in San Antonio, Texas. Miguel has spent the last 13 years on Texas’ death row.
Miguel is one of 20 children, although seven of his siblings died before he was born. Miguel was born in Chicago, Illinois to Mexican immigrant parents. Miguel’s parents eventually moved the family to San Antonio, Texas, where Miguel eventually fell in with the violent Hermanos de Pistoleros Latinos gang. Miguel claimed he joined the gang thinking he had found loyalty and love. By the age of 15, Miguel had a pregnant girlfriend and a criminal record.
Early in September of 2000, Adrian Torres, a member of the Mexican Mafia, had given John Anthony Saenz over $800 worth of cocaine. Shortly thereafter, he began calling Saenz’s house seeking repayment. On September 17, 2000, Saenz told his wife to leave because Adrian was coming over and he was “going to take care of business.” Saenz called and asked Greg Alvarado and Miguel Paredes to come over with weapons for back up.
Adrian brought Nelly Bravo and Shawn Caine along with him. The three were ambushed by Saenz, Alvarado and Paredes. After Adrian, Nelly, and Shawn were killed, they were wrapped in carpet and placed in the back of a pick-up truck. After driving for a while, they pulled over on a dirt road and burned the carpets and the bodies.
Saenz and Alvarado each received a life sentence. Paredes was sentenced to death.
Please pray for peace and healing for the families of Adrian, Nelly, and Shawn. Please pray for strength for the family of Miguel Paredes. Miguel claims that he has accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Please pray that he may find peace and continue to grow in his relationship with the Lord.
Update: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 10:29 am EDT
Mark Christeson is scheduled to be executed at 12:01 am CDT, on Wednesday, October 29, 2014, at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Corrections Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri. Thirty-five-year-old Mark is convicted of the murder of Susan Brouk and her children, 12-year-old Adrian and 9-year-old Kyle, on January 31, 1998, near Vicky, Missouri. Mark has spent the last 14 years on Missouri’s death row.
Mark had a difficult childhood. He was abused and had several traumatic experiences.
Mark Christeson and his cousin, Jesse Carter, planned to run away from the relative’s home at which they were staying. On February 1, 1998, the two each took a shotgun and went to the nearby home of Susan Brouk, who was home with her two children, Adrian and Kyle. Carter tied up the children while Christeson took Susan into a bedroom and raped her.
Christeson returned Susan to the room with the children, one of whom recognized Carter. Since they were recognized, Christeson decided they had to “get rid of ‘em.” Susan, Adrian, and Kyle were forced, at gunpoint, into the back of Susan’s Bronco. Christeson and Carter also loaded a television, VCR, stereo, video game player, and other small items into the vehicle. Christeson drove the group to a nearby pond, where everybody exited the vehicle.
Christeson kicked Susan hard in the ribs, causing her to fall. He then slit her throat twice with a bone knife. Susan did not die immediately. Christeson then slit Kyle’s throat and held him under water until he died. Adrian attempted to free herself, but was unsuccessful. Carter held her feet while Christeson suffocated her with his hands. Kyle and Adrian were pushed into the pond. Susan, still alive, was thrown in on top of them. Christeson used a stick to push them further out into the water.
Christeson and Carter returned to the Bronco and drove it to their relative’s home, where they loaded it with their belongings. They then headed west, selling their stolen merchandise for food and gas. They were arrested on February 9, 1998, in Blythe, California.
Jesse Carter testified against Mark Christeson. Jesse received three life sentences. Mark received the death sentence.
Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Susan, Adrian, and Kyle. Please pray for strength for the family of Mark. Please pray that Mark may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.
October 17, 2014
IDPN 2014 Issue 42
Afghanistan: The government plans to review the cases of 400 inmates who have been sentenced to death. The majority of the cases are currently awaiting the signature of President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.
China: Zhang Lidong and his daughter Zhang Fan were sentenced to be executed for beating to death Wu Shuoyan at a McDonalds earlier this year. The father and daughter are members of a religious sect that is banned in China and were attempting to recruit the woman. Three other individuals were given sentences ranging from seven years to life.
On Monday, October 13, 2014, a court in Xinjiang sentenced 12 people to death for organizing a terror attack that resulted in the death of 37 civilians in July. Also on Monday, the Intermediate People’s Court sentenced 15 others to death. Nine others received life sentences, while 20 others received four to twenty years behind bars.
On Thursday, October 16, 2014, Ma Yongdong was executed for murdering his pregnant wife, two of his wife’s nieces, parents-in-laws, and grandparents-in-laws. Ma, a farmer, killed his wife and her family after an argument.
Iran: On Tuesday, October 7, 2014, four prisoners were executed in Bandar-abbas in southern Iran. The names and crimes of the inmates were not reported.
On Thursday, October 9, 2014, one prisoner was executed in the city of Marivan in western Iran. The name and crime of the inmate was not released.
Last week, 28-year-old Mohammad Reza Mazlomi was executed by hanging in the city of Bam in southern Iran. Mohammad was imprisoned for over five years.