August 24, 2016: Daily Bible Reading Commentary for Psalm 102-104
Click here for the reading
Commentary: Although the writer of Psalm 102 was not specified, it could be anyone who has ever had a time of suffering or stress, or sorrow, or weakness in their life. Psalm 103, written by David, is a psalm of great praise! The author of Psalm 104 is unknown, but like the psalm before it, it one of great praise for our Creator!
Focus Verses: 102:25-28 How do these verses speak to you? What are they saying?
Update: Monday, August 22, 2016 2:40 pm EDT
Robert Lynn Pruett was scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CDT, on Tuesday, August 23, 2016, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. His execution has been stayed. Thirty-six-year-old Robert was convicted of killing 37-year-old correctional officer Daniel Nagle, on December 17, 1999, while Robert was serving a life sentence at the McConnell Unit in Beeville, Texas. Robert has spent the last 16 years of his life on Texas’ death row.
Robert grew up poor, often going hungry. He and his family frequently moved while he was a child. Robert was friends with gang members and frequently used drugs and alcohol while growing up. His mother worked hard and his father was gone during the early years of his life. Eventually they got back together. As a teenager, Robert and his friends began stealing from people's houses. During one of these robberies, when Robert was 15, he and his friends were caught by a neighbor. They fled the house and attempted to hide their stolen goods, including rifles. Robert was caught and sent to a juvenile detention center. Robert returned home on a very strict parole and warned to not get into any more trouble.
Upon returning home, Robert was informed by his friends that his neighbor, Ray Yarborough, had taken one of the guns he and his friends had stolen. Robert, who did not like Ray, asked for the weapon back. Ray denied having the weapon. The two argued but did not resolve the problem. Robert informed his brother and father about the argument. They all agreed to do nothing so as to not stir up trouble.
On August 9, 1995, just a few weeks shy of Robert's 16th birthday, Ray, who lived in a trailer across from Robert, came home drunk. His dog had escaped and, while attempting to catch it, he yelled obscenities and threatened to beat it. Robert, who was unaware of the escaped dog, thought Ray was yelling at him. Robert awakened his father and brother and all three went outside to confront Ray. Robert, the first one outside, attacked Ray. Robert's brother came outside next and began fighting with Ray. The two of them ended up in some trees, where Robert's father went after them. Robert claims he stayed with the group who had gathered. Robert's father and brother emerged from the woods with blood on their clothing. The three fled. They were later arrested and all were charged with Ray's murder. Robert's father eventually confessed to stabbing Ray and killing him. He testified that although his boys were with him during the murder, they did not partake. He received a life sentence. Robert's brother, who was 25 at the time of the murder, received a 40 year sentence. Robert, who was tried as an adult, received a 99 year sentence.
Update: Monday, August 22, 2016 2:50 pm EST
Jeffery Lee Wood was scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CDT, on Wednesday, August 24, 2016, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. His execution has been stayed. Forty-two-year-old Jeffery is convicted for his part in the murder of Kris Keeran on January 2, 1996, in Kerrville, Texas. Jeffery has spent the last 18 years of his life on Texas’ death row.
Jeffery was allegedly abused and beaten as a child and had severe mental, emotional, and learning disabilities, although he graduated from high school.
On January 2, 1996, Jeffery Wood and Daniel Reneau parked outside a Texaco station in Kerrville, Texas during the early morning hours, around 6 am. Reneau entered the store alone, while Wood remained outside. Reneau pointed a handgun at Kris Keeran, the clerk, and threatened to shoot unless he cooperated. When Kris refused, Reneau shot him, killing him almost instantly.
Wood entered the store after hearing a gun shot. He saw Kris lying on the floor. Reneau, pointing the gun at Wood, ordered Wood to retrieve the video tape surveillance. The duo also took the store safe and cash box - all totaling over $11,000.
They drove to Wood’s parents’ house where they attempted to open the safe, but were discovered by Wood’s younger brother, whom they ordered to destroy the video tape evidence. Wood and Reneau were arrested later that day. Both men confessed to the crime.
The police investigation showed that they had, unsuccessfully, attempted to recruit Kris and another employe to state a phony robbery. They were also connected to a series of prior robberies.
Wood was initially found incompetent to stand trial, however, after staying for a few weeks at a mental hospital, he was determined to be competent.
Both men were convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Wood was convicted under Texas’ controversial Law of Parties, which holds accomplices as liable as the actual killer in capital murder cases. Reneau was executed in 2009.
Jeffery Wood received a stay of execution by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals due to claims that the jury was improperly persuaded to sentence him to death due to the testimony of highly criticized psychiatrist, who has been banned by the American Psychiatrist Association. Jeffery's lawyers are also arguing that the pshychatirst lied during his testimony to persuade the jury.
Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Kris Keeran. Please pray for strength for the family of Jeffery. Please pray that if Jeffery is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence be presented prior to his arrest. Please pray that Jeffery may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.
August 19, 2016
IDPN 2016 Issue 34
China: Huang Qingheng was executed in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Tuesday, August 16, 2016. Huang, who resided in Vietnam, was convicted of trafficking over 20 infants and children since 2010. Children, some just a few days old, were brought to China from Vietnam and sold. Twenty-three other individuals involved in the trafficking operation received various prison terms. Huang was executed by hanging.
India: President Pranab Mukherjee has rejected clemency petitions from Shabnam, Jasvir Singh, and Vikram Singh who are all on death row. Shabnam is convicted of murdering seven family members in 2008. Jasper and Vikram are convicted of murdering a 16-year-old boy in 2005.
Iran: On Wednesday, August 10, 2016, two prisoners were executed by hanging at Rajai Shahr Prison. The two men were identified as Fariborz Jalali and Gholamreza Arabderazi. Both were executed for murder.
On Thursday, August 11, 2016, two prisoners were executed by public hanging. One was executed in the western city of Ravansar for the murder of Salim Ghanbari, a former prosecutor. The other man, identified as Abbas Tahmasebi, was executed in the southern city of Kazeroon for buying and selling drugs, although he had previously been convicted of murder.
On Tuesday, August 16, 2016, a prisoner, identified by an initial only, was executed by hanging in Mashhad. He was executed for murder. In Tabas Central Prison, a second execution was carried out. The condemned was not names. He was convicted on drug related charges.
Three prisoners - Ghais Obidawi, Ahmad Obidawi, and Sajjad Balawi - were executed on Wednesday, August 17, 2016. It is speculated, but not confirmed that the executions occurred in the city of Hamidiyeh. The three were executed for terrorist activities, the death of three police force personnel, creating fear and terror, and attacking pilgrims.
Also on Wednesday, August 17, 2016, two men, identified by ages and initials only, were executed by public hanging in Bandar Abbas. They were sentenced to death for rape, kidnapping, and theft.
It was a rhetoric repeated so often that many stopped listening. It held little meaning for them, especially the ones it was designed to reach. It was not until he was older and an adult that Lucas came to realize the truth and importance of that all-so-frequently-repeated rhetoric: stay in school, get an education, graduate, and don't break the law.
Lucas was an average student. He occasionally turned in homework - and always had an excuse for when he didn’t. He was much more interested in other pursuits - hanging out with friends, playing video games, constantly trying to prove himself to the older group of boys in the neighborhood. Lucas knew that those boys never graduated high school. Neither did his parents or most of the adult that he knew and their life seemed just fine. So why should he waste his time learning stuff he was never going to use again when there were other things he would rather be doing? Lucas began to more and more frequently skip school because he did not want to go.
Many schools across the nation resume classes in August. It is appropriate, then, that August is National Truancy Prevention Month. Truancy is an intentional, unauthorized or illegal absence from compulsory education. These absences can vary from state to state, according to each state’s own laws. Unfortunately, not all schools report attendance information, and with the variation in laws, truancy data is extremely limited. Usually student who are truant end up dropping out of school. Those results are known. Just half of the students who drop out of school are gainfully employed and those who are employed earn 35 percent less than those who graduate high school. Student who drop out of school are also at a higher risk for criminal behavior and activity and teen pregnancy.
This month, pray for the students returning to school. Pray that they will find encouragement, friendships, and a welcoming environment. Pray that the teachers will engage their students. Pray for families to encourage their children to continue with their education. Pray for the children.
Update: Monday, August 22, 2016 2:52 pm EDT
Rolando Ruiz, Jr., is scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CDT, on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. Forty-three-year-old Rolando is convicted of murdering 29-year-old Theresa Rodriguez on July 14, 1992, in San Antonio, Texas. Rolando has spent the last 23 years of his life on Texas’ death row.
As a child, Rolando was allegedly abused, which led him to be addicted to drugs and alcohol. Rolando also claims that because of his excessive use of drugs and alcohol, he has difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality. Rolando dropped out of school following the 10th grade. He worked as a laborer prior to his arrest. Rolando has previously been arrested and served time for assaulting his ex-girlfriend and stealing her vehicle. While in prison, he assaulted a jailer.
In 1992, Rolando Ruiz was hired by Michael and Mark Rodriguez to kill Michael’s wife, Theresa. Michael agreed to pay Ruiz $1,000 up front, with an additional $1,000 being paid once the job was completed. Prior to the hiring of Ruiz, Michael took out a $150,000 life insurance policy on his wife and himself, in addition to the $250,000 policy he already had.
Michael planned for Ruiz to rob and murder Theresa on July 10, 1992, when she arrived for work at a restaurant. Ruiz called off the attack when he spotted a security guard. Michael then asked Ruiz to kill Theresa when they were leaving the movies later that night. Michael and Theresa never showed up at the movies.