The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of March 26-April 1, 2017, is Jeremiah 1:4-10. This passage records Jeremiah’s calling by the Lord. As you read this week’s passage, study Jeremiah’s reaction to his calling. Have you ever acted in a similar manner?
Then the word of the Lord came to me [Jeremiah], saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Then said I, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me, “Say not, I am only a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord. Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day appointed you to the oversight of the nations and of the kingdoms to root out and pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:4-10, AMP)
Jeremiah’s reaction is one shared by many prophets and individuals whom the Lord has called into His service: believing they are unfit to serve. Moses was scared of public speaking. Joshua needed frequent assurance and encouragement. Saul, after prophesying with prophets, felt unqualified and inadequate and attempted to hide! Solomon sought wisdom above all else, perhaps feeling he was too young to become king. Do you feel inadequate, unqualified, unsure, and/or scared for the purpose the Lord has called you? Take comfort! You are in good company.
God has called us all to serve Him in some manner. Very few approach the task with no reservations. As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this weeks verse, consider what task the Lord has set before you. What excuse are you using to evade serving?
March 29, 2017: Daily Bible Reading Commentary for Psalm 36-38
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Commentary: All three of today's psalms are written by David. Psalm 36 examines the wickedness of the human heart and how through God, wickedness can be overcome. Psalm 37 is a promise of a better future. The Lord will deal with the wicked and sinful in His time, which is often different from our time. We are to trust in the Lord and leave Him to deal with the wicked. In Psalm 38, David is quite physically ill. He prays to the Lord, confessing that he has sinned and asking that he be healed.
Focus Verses: 37:9-11 What do these verses say about good and evil? What do they say about God’s timing in rewarding good and punishing evil? How do you live your life?
“Everything dependent on human action is liable to abuse.” He is the great uncle of Harry Truman. He was an avid reader, with a large personal library. His favorite author was Shakespeare. He was the first vice-president to become president. He is John Tyler, 10th President of the United States of America, serving from April 4, 1841, until March 4, 1845. John was born on March 29, 1790, in Charles City County, Virginia, on his family’s slave-owning estate called the Greenway. He was one of eight children and one of seven presidents born in Virginia. John had an excellent education, graduating from the College of William and Mary at the age of 17 and being admitted into the bar two years later. When John was 21, his father became governor of Virginia, which allowed John to obtain a position in the Virginia House of Delegates. John married his first wife, Letitia Christian in 1813. They had eight children together, one of whom died as an infant.
John served as a military captain in the War of 1812, after which he was elected to the House of Representatives from 1816 to 1821. In 1825, John became governor of Virginia for two years before becoming a senator. In opposition to President Andrew Jackson, John joined the Whig party, founded by Henry Clay and Daniel Webster.
In 1840, John was selected to run as vice president, with William Henry Harrison as the presidential nominee. Together, with their catchy slogan - “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too!” - the duo won their bid for the White House. Harrison was inaugurated in March of 1841. One month later, President Harrison died, the first president to die while in office. One legend says that John was on his knees playing marbles when he received the news of Harrison’s death, although this is unconfirmed.
With Harrison’s death, uncertainty abounded regarding the office of the Presidency. Was John Tyler, the vice-president simply to assume the powers of the president’s office? Was he actually the President of the United States? The presidential Cabinet determined that John was simply “Vice-President acting President,” however John believed differently. John believed that with Harrison’s death, he now was the President, shortly after returning to Washington DC, had himself sworn in, without any qualifiers. John did not believe that it was necessary to take the Presidential oath, as he had already taken the Vice-Presidential oath, however, he wanted to squash any doubt regarding his accession. He also went on to issue an inaugural address on April 9, 1841.
John’s presidency was difficult. There were those legislatures that did not immediately accept him as President. John remained firm in his belief that he was president, returning any correspondence that was addressed to the “Vice President” or “Acting President,” unopened. Additionally, he was immediately at odds with his inherited Cabinet, as he was unwilling to allow them to continue making policy by a simple majority vote as Harrison had done. Further, John became at odds with his own Whig party, when he demonstrated that he was not a man who could be managed. The Whig party eventually expelled him and attempted to have him impeached for misuse of veto power. The attempt failed to gain support. It was the first time impeachment proceedings had been started against a President.
The major division between John and the Whig party occurred over a national banking act, which John opposed and the Whigs supported. John twice vetoed such an act. Shortly thereafter, his Cabinet began resigning, all but one, an act orchestrated by Henry Clay in an attempted to force John’s resignation. When John did not resign, the Whigs in Congress refused to allocate funds to repair the White House.
In September of 1842, John’s wife, Letitia died of a stroke. He was the first president whose wife died while he was in office. He married his second wife, Julia Gardiner in 1844. They went on to have seven children, all of whom lived into adulthood. John had a total of 15 children, more than any other president.
President Tyler and Congress continue to oppose each other on several issues, such as the tariff rate, the government debt, and a distribution program. Due to several vetoes by John, the first impeachment proceedings in American history took place against President Tyler. The Congress also refused to accept a number of the Presidential nominees for his Cabinet. He was the first president to have his nominees reject. He continues to hold the record for the most rejections.
Despite the domestic issues, John was successful on several foreign and military affairs. He began a process that would eventually lead to Hawaii becoming a state. On his final day in office, he admitted Florida into the Union. He also advocated for Texas to become a state. John improved relations with Britain regarding several disputed borders and brought an end to the Second Seminole War. He also advocated for the establishment of a chain of forts from Iowa to the Pacific.
John sought to run for second term and was using the annexation of Texas to gain favor. Unfortunately, following a deadly incident onboard the USS Princeton, John was unable to complete his plan prior to the election, as several key Cabinet members were killed. John also sought to reshape his public image by distributing a favorably biography of himself.
Unfortunately, neither the Whig party, nor the Democratic party was willing to accept him and nominate him for another term. John, therefore formed his own party - the Democratic-Republicans, who nominated him to run for a second term. However, John eventually dropped out of the race and supported James Polk of the Democratic party for President.
Following his time as President, John retired to a Virginia plantation that he renamed Sherwood Forest, after the legend of Robin Hood. He spent much of the time on his plantation, rarely receiving friends or giving public speeches, although he did attempt to help with a compromise that would avoid Civil War. Following the breakout of the Civil War, John did not hesitate to support Virginia and join the Confederacy, where he was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives, although he never lived to see the opening session. John, who had frequently suffered from poor health, died on January 12, 1862, at the age of 71. His cause of death is believed to have been a stroke. John became the only president to not have his death officially recognized in Washington, as many believed him to be a traitor. Confederate President Jefferson Davis insisted that he be given a hero’s burial, with his coffin draped in the Confederate flag. Over a century later, President Jimmy Carter restored John’s US citizenship.
John is believed to have been Episcopalian. He would occasionally make references to God in speeches, however he was not known as a strong proponent of religion. John believed in religious tolerance and freedom for all religions - “The conscience is left free from all restraint and each is permitted to worship his Maker after his own judgement.” John also believed that religion did not have a place in politics.
Happy Birthday Mr. President!
On Christmas Day, 2015, Concussion, starring Will Smith, was released. As you might have guessed from the title, the movie looked at the effects of concussions, specifically on football players who endure repeated concussions throughout their time playing the game. The movie, while not exactly presenting any new information, did get football fans, and others, to engage in discussions about brain damage. It caused some parents to question at what age a child should start participating in sports such as football, boxing, and wrestling, that are known for potentially causing brain damage - through concussions and/or repeated blows to the head. Unfortunately, the conversation faded away all too fast.
March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month. While Concussion raised concerns about brain damage in a particular sport, the Brain Injury Association of America seeks to educate the general public about brain injuries in general. Over 3.5 million children and adults sustain an acquired brain injury every year. The exact total is unknown, as not all incidents are reported. Acquired brain injuries can be caused by lack of oxygen to the brain, diseases, seizures, strokes, substance abuse, tumors, and/or exposure to toxic chemicals.
Traumatic brain injuries, like concussions, are caused by trauma from an external force, such as being in a car accident, falling off a bicycle, or suddenly having your head slammed to the ground by an opposing player after catching the football. A traumatic brain injury occurs every 13 seconds and 50,000 die every year from the injury. The Brain Injury Association of America estimates that one out of every 60 individuals live with a disability related to a traumatic brain injury.
Our brains - the way they function, operate, and their importance - are extremely complex. Scientists may study them for their entire lives and still only understand a fraction of their operations! Therefore, brain injuries present a problem for scientists because the long-term effects are relatively unknown and treatment for brain injuries are limited to what we know.
This March, raise your awareness about brain injuries. Know what they are and how to recognize symptoms. Talk to your children and increase their awareness. You never know when your knowledge could help another.
Updated: March 20, 2017
Please pray for these men and women. Pray for salvation if unsaved, peace if saved, and that the innocent shall be revealed before they are executed. "The Lord is slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." (2 Peter 3:9 ESV).
March 24, 2017
IDPN 2017 Issue 12
Belarus: Thirty-two-year-old Aliaksei Mikhalenya has become the first individual sentenced to death in the nation in 2017. Belarus is the only member of the European Union to still retain capital punishment, despite repeated calls to abolish it. Aliaksei was sentenced to death on March 17, for murdering two individuals with particular cruelty.
Ethiopia: In June 2014, Andargachew “Andy” Tsege was kidnapped while transitioning in an international airport and taken to a death row prison in Ethiopia. Andy was an outspoken critic of the Ethiopian government who lived in London, England with his partner and their three children. The death sentence was handed down in absentia while Andy resided in London. So far, British diplomats have been unable to secure Andy’s release, although they have secured a promise that Andy will now have regular access to a lawyer. The Ethiopian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, however, have both confirmed that Andy has no appeal options.
India: A bill has been introduced that would ensure all defendants convicted and sentenced to death would have the “natural and unrestricted right appeal in the Supreme Court in all cases.” Currently, there are stipulations on an appeal to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court can dismiss death penalty cases without consideration. Nearly 30 years ago a similar bill was introduced and then withdrawn when the Minister of Law promised to take the bill into consideration. The bill was not brought forward again until recently.
Japan: Forty-two-year-old Tatsuhiko Hirano has been sentenced to death for the murder of five individuals on Awaji Island in 2015. Hirano’s lawyers allege that Hirano is mentally incompetent and cannot be held responsible for his crime. They are appealing his conviction. Hirano had previously spent five years in a psychiatric institution due to him being judged a danger to the public due to mental illness. Since his release, he has continued to taking psychotropic drugs.
Malaysia: Courts will no longer be required to give mandatory death sentences to those convicted on drug charges. Judges may now give those convicted of drug related charges jail time. The death penalty remains an option for other serious crimes. There are approximately 800 prisons on death row for drug trafficking crimes.