Breaking News!! Wednesday - Two days. The time has nearly arrived, but today is the calm before the storm. He knows it is coming and is preparing His disciples. They do not know the full truth of what is to come - they would not understand - yet they must be prepared. His time is coming to end, their time is just beginning. Before the end, they will have one last celebration together: Passover, during which a new tradition will be born.
When parents send their children off on their own, there is always a list of reminders - what to do what not to do. They try to remind them in the days before they leave, yet, it never fails, that as the child is walking away, the parent is shouting after them wisdom that they had forgotten to say earlier. Was this the way Jesus was feeling while preparing the disciples?
This day is a day of preparation, although little is recorded of it in the Gospels. On this day, Jesus prepared for what was to come through prayer, likely echoing the prayers later recorded in the Garden of Gethsemane; strength for Him for what was to come and strength for the disciples.
On this day, Judas made arrangements to betray Jesus Christ, receiving his 30 pieces of silver.
On this day, preparations for the Passover were made. Jesus and the disciples would celebrate in Jerusalem in the house of a friend.
There are times when we could all benefit from a quiet day. A day spent in prayer and reflection. A day spent preparing. We never know what is to come in our lives, put we must always be prepared.
*The Gospels are not clear if these events happened one day before Passover or early on the day of Passover. The exact days are unimportant in the overall view and meaning of events.
Mission 2014: Sharing The Love of Jesus
April 2014 Theme
Prayer is a very important part of Christian living. Prayer is important because it recognizes God for who He is and is an outward demonstration of our desire to grow in our knowledge of Him and lead a life that is pleasing to Him. Prayer is talking to God about what is on your mind. It may be about understanding scripture, or healing for a friend who is ill, about the new job offer, or just because you want God to know that you love Him. Pray is about relationship with God, it is worship, it is sharing, it is caring – it is seeking the best for the entire world through your relationship with God. Prayer is about Christian Love!
Intercessory Prayer Need!
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,… 1 Timothy 2: 1-3 (ESV)
The pictures above depict intercessory prayer needs. World leaders in need of God’s guidance, tragic accidents, intentional infliction of serious bodily harm, Mother Nature withholding rain, missing passenger planes, military provocation, and needed revival, are all in need of prayer, your prayer. You do not need military might, guns, or a fancy title to change the world. The world is changed one prayer at a time. Become a world changer –be in a constant state of Prayer!
The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of April 13 - 19, 2014, is Jeremiah 18:5-10. Judah is now ruled by an ungodly king, who does not listen to Jeremiah. The masses also refuse to follow the Lord, placing their faith in man. Destruction is coming. Before it does, God has a message, a lesson to teach Jeremiah, a lesson as applicable today as it was then. As you meditate, pray, and reflect on this week's passage, consider the Lord's power.
Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. (Jeremiah 18:5-10, ESV)
God is often referred to as the Potter. It is an apt description for God formed us from the dust of the ground. Clay also comes from the earth. He took something unsightly and patiently, lovingly, worked it, molded it, shaped it something magnificent. But even then, He is not finished. He continues to work, if we let Him. Unlike clay, we have the ability to refuse His changes in our lives. If we refuse Him in our lives, God also has the ability to destroy us, as happened to Israel. The choice is ours: allow God into our lives, our hearts and allow Him to work in them, or reject Him, like Israel, and face destruction. As you meditate, pray, and reflect over this week's passage, consider the changes God is working or trying to work in your life. Are you welcoming or rejecting?
Daily Bible Reading for April 16, 2014, with Commentary: Psalm 45-47
Click here for the Daily Reading.
Context: All three of today's psalms are written by the Sons of Korah. Psalms 45 is identified as a wedding song. It is also a Messianic psalm about Christ's second coming. The first five verses describe His person and power, while the remaining verses describe His government and glory. Psalm 46 and 47 are both prophetic psalms about the kingdom of God yet to come.
March 16, 2014
Jose Luis Villegas Jr.’s execution is scheduled for 6 pm CST, on April 16, 2014, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. Thirty-eight-year-old Jose is convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, 24-year-old Erida Perez Salazar; Erida’s son, 3-year-old Jacob Salazar; and Erida’s mother, 51-year-old Alma Perez. The murders occurred in Nueces County, Texas. Jose has spent the last 11 years of his life on Texas’ death row.
Jose did not have an easy childhood. His mother died a prolonged and painful death from scleroderma. She had a total of 18 amputations before her death. Jose’s father was an alcoholic and abusive to his children. At least two family members had concerns over Jose’s mental health as a child. Later, Jose would be identified as having intermittent explosive, post-traumatic stress, dissociative, and major depressive disorders. Additionally, Jose was addicted to cocaine marijuana, and alcohol. Jose dropped out of school after the ninth grade and worked various jobs prior to being arrested.
Around 5:00 am, on January 22, 2001, Jose Villegas and Erida Perez Salazar used approximately $200 of cocaine at Erida's house. When Alma Perez arrived at the house after taking her granddaughter to school, she discovered Villegas in the house. She had previously warned Erida to not let him into the house. Alma ordered Villegas to leave the house. Villegas grabbed a knife and stabbed Alma 35 times. He then went into the bedroom and stabbed Erida 32 times and Jacob 19 times. Villegas stole Erida’s vehicle and a television, which he sold for more cocaine.
Alma’s husband, Lionicio Perez returned to the home around 9:15 am and found the bodies of Alma, Erida, and Jacob, all bruised and lying in pools of blood. Lionicio ran to a neighbor’s house and called the police. The neighbor told police that she had seen Villegas leaving the Perez’s house around 8:45 am.
Around 9:30 am, police spotted Villegas in Erida’s vehicle. Villegas led police on a high speed chase and foot pursuit before they finally caught him. Found in his possession was three baggies of cocaine. Villegas confessed to the murders after being arrested and informed of his rights. Villegas also claimed he was going to use the cocaine to commit suicide by overdosing, but fled when he saw police at the house.
Jose Villegas was found guilty on May 16, 2002. During sentencing, it was revealed that this was not Villegas’s first encounter with the police. His other crimes include numerous assaults against family members, terroristic threats, a burglary and a shoplifting charge, and one incident of indecency with his five-year-old daughter. Additionally, Villegas had problems following the rules of his probation.
Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Alma, Erida, and Jacob. Please pray for strength for the family of Jose Villegas. Please pray that Jose may come to find a peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already found one.
April 10, 2014
IDPN 2014 Issue 15
China: A former policeman, Hu Ping, has had his death penalty appeal rejected by the Higher People's Court of Buangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Thirty-four-year-old Hu was drunk when he shot a pregnant woman, Wu Ying, and her husband, Cai Shiyong, on October 28 of last year. Wu and her unborn child were killed. Cai survived with minor injuries to his right shoulder. Hu unsuccessfully argued that he had not shot three times as argued by the prosecutor, that he was too drunk to be aware of his actions, and that Cai had attempted to grab the gun, which caused it to accidently discharge.
Indonesia: Forty-nine-year-old French national Francios Jacques Giuily has been charged with drug trafficking in Bali and could face the death penalty if found guilty.
Iran: An unidentified male was executed by hanging on Monday, April 7, 2014, in Ardebil (northwestern Iran). He was executed on drug related charges.
Iraq: Two men, convicted and sentenced to death for belonging to an al-Qaeda terrorist organization, have been executed. Their execution occurred following approval by the republic presidency.
Malaysia: Indonesian domestic worker Wilfrida Soik will not be put to death for killing her elderly Malaysian employer. It was ruled by a Malaysian court that Wilfrida was mentally ill when she attacked and killed 60-year-old Yeap Seok Pen in December of 2010. Wilfrida will be treated at a Malaysian hospital while she awaits a pardon from the sultan of Kelantan, after which, Wilfrida can return home to her family.
Nigeria: Sixty-seven-year-old Lasisi Yusuf has been granted amnesty by Governor Idris Wada. Lasisi has been on death row for nearly 18 years. He was sentenced to death for homicide.
North Korea: An official, O Sang-hon who was associated with Jang Song-taek, the deceased uncle of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Il, has been "executed by flame-thrower," according to South Korea media reports. O was executed for following instructions given by Jang.
Pakistan: Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar, a Christian couple from the town of Gojra, have been sentenced to be executed for sending a text message which allegedly insulted the Prophet Mohamed. The text was sent to the imam of their local mosque. According to the couple's attorney, the trial was unfairly conducted and the mobile phone from which the text message originated had previously been lost.
Papua New Guinea: Lethal injection has been approved for use in executions by the National Executive Council. This follows the recommendation of a government committee who considered a variety of options of capital punishment. The execution chamber will be built within a new maximum security prison at Bomana, on the outskirts of Port Moresby.
Saudi Arabia: Indonesian domestic worker Satinah Binti Jumadi Ahmad has been spared from execution for the murder of her employer's wife and stealing money. Indonesia has agreed to pay 1.9 million in blood money, and Saudi Arabia has agreed to pay the rest of the money demanded by the victim's family. Saudi Arabia and Indonesia are attempting to work and repair their relationship following the beheading of an Indonesian helper in 2011. Following that execution, Indonesian placed a moratorium on sending new maids to Saudi Arabia, a moratorium which remains in place.
The nation's supreme court has upheld the death sentence for a teacher, Jeddah, who is convicted of kidnapping and raping eight young girls. The teacher would lure the girls into his car and take them to his home, where he would rape them, after he sent his family away. He was arrested after a victim was able to lead police to Jeddah's home.
United States of America: On Wednesday, April 9, 2014, Ramiro Hernandez-Llanas was executed by the state of Texas. Ramiro was executed for the murder of Glen Lich. Read the full story here.
Federal death row inmate, 37-year-old Jeffery Paul has obtained an indefinite stay of execution as he joins three other inmates challenging the federal government's lethal injection protocol. Jeffery has been convicted of killing 82-year-old retired National Park Service employee Sherman Williams on federal land in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Jeffery was, in 2010, scheduled to be the first federal inmate executed under President Barack Obama. In 2011, the Justice Department halted all federal executions so that the execution protocol could be revised due to a shortage of execution drugs. The last federal execution occurred in March of 2003.
Attorneys for James Holmes, the man charged with killing 12 people and injuring 70 others during a shooting spree in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, has asked the judges to relocate the trial due to potential jurors being exposed to prejudicial news coverage and potential emotional reactions. Holmes has pled not guilty by reason of insanity. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
The Senate in Tennessee has voted to allow the state to execute inmates via the electric chair if lethal injection drugs are not available. The measure passed 23-3. Currently, electrocution is a back-up option if lethal injection drugs are not legal available. Like many other states, Tennessee is having difficulties obtaining execution drugs since European drug manufactures have stopped selling to United States' prisons. Tennessee last used electrocution in 2007. The House has not yet voted on the measure.
Defense attorneys for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bombers, have been granted extension, until May 7, in order to have additional time to prepare challenges to the evidence they expect to be presented against them.
Vietnam: The Supreme People's Court has upheld the death sentence for 32-year-old Chaimongkol Suracha, who was convicted of smuggling nearly 2 kilograms of cocaine into Vietnam from Brazil. Chaimongkol claims that she did not know she was carrying cocaine into the country, which was hidden inside of photo albums. In her request for clemency, Chaimongkol noted that she had children. Her request was rejected.
In the past five months, at least three Vietnamese bankers have been sentenced to death for approving counterfeit loans and other banking scams.
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