The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of October 26 - November 1, 2014, is James 4:1-4. In his book, James is addressing Jewish believers who have scattered from Jerusalem, following the death of Stephan, a leading early believer. James is concerned with how early believers are living their lives and if it is a reflection on the life of Jesus Christ. This passage addresses prayer, and when they appear to be unanswered.
What leads to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members?
You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask.
[Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures.
You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God. (James 4:1-4, AMP)
God is not a genie. He does not grant wishes. Just because we pray for something does not mean that we are going to get it. And that should not cause us to rebel or turn away from Him! James encourages us to examine our hearts when we pray. Are we seeking God’s will for our lives or our will? We are free to ask the Lord for whatever we want, so long as we are content with whatever answer He provides, even if it “No!” As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this weeks passage, consider the heart of your pray life.
Daily Bible Reading for October 31, 2014, with Commentary: Zephaniah
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Date: During the reign of Josiah (639-609 BC)
Context: The book of Zephaniah is book of judgement upon Judah, Philistine, Moab, Ammon, Cush, and Assyria. Zephaniah explains that the judgement will come upon these people because of their wickedness. They reject and rebel against the Lord. They have become prideful. They worship idols. They have become self-centered. For that, they will be destroyed . . . but not completely. The Lord continues to love the Israelites and will spare some of them, as we learn in chapter 3, which tells of the destruction and rebellion (1-8), deliverance of the righteous (9-13), and the joy of the city (14-20).
World History: Zephaniah is probably descended from the royal line of Judah, as Hezekiah is one of his ancestors. If true, he was then a cousin of Josiah and may have influenced him. Josiah ruled during the last spiritual movement in Judah. Zephaniah was the last prophet before the captivity.
Mark arrived home from a hard day at work. His wife berated him for forgetting to take out the trash before he left that morning. She told him he would not be eating until he fixed the leaky pipe. An hour later, Mark realized the problem was not one he could solve. His wife called him “useless” and “pathetic.” All evening she continued to criticize him. She began swearing at him when he went to make himself dinner and relax before going to bed. Mark is a victim of domestic abuse.
Jenny cracked open her door and peered out. She had heard her parents screaming and cursing at each other. Her father reached over and slapped her mother, knocking her down. He picked her up and pushed her up against a wall, continuing to yell. Her mother fought back, escaping his grasp. Jenny wished she did not have to hear the yelling every night and see the fights. Jenny is a victim of domestic abuse.
Katie and her husband both work hard. When they get home, he cooks dinner and cleans the kitchen, while she works at laundry and vacuuming. They enjoy a meal together and watch their favorite television show together, laughing at the ridiculous situations the characters get themselves into. Katie is tired and has an early morning. She wants to go straight to sleep. Her husband has other plans. He ignores her protests. Katie is victim of domestic abuse.
Eric is in third grade, struggling with multiplication, just as he struggled with addition and subtraction for the past two years. He does not understand his homework, but does not want to ask for help. His mother, who used to help him died, and his father’s girlfriend laughs at his questions, calling him “dummy” and “slow,” asking him how he can be so stupid. Eric is a victim of domestic abuse.
October is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month.* Domestic violence is a topic that has recently been brought into the spot light by accusations against star athletes like NFL players Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, and Ray McDonald, and professional soccer player Hope Solo.
Although the issue has received recent attention, domestic violence is not a recent problem. As illustrated above, it takes many forms, from the often identified physical violence, to the lesser thought of emotional and psychological abuse. Domestic violence can also include sexual and verbal abuse. There are over 1.3 million reported cases of domestic violence each year, however it is estimated that the true number of domestic abuse cases is significantly higher as most, especially male victims, are never reported.
For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. (1 Corinthians 7:4, ESV)
God’s plan for a relationship between a man and woman is one of harmony. Eve was created to help Adam. Their relationship was one of unity, never fearing the actions of the other. Sin has corrupted this relationship. Instead of unity and mutual respect, the relationship is one of fear. We must work hard to show our children, and the world, the relationship God designed. Children who are abused or witness abuse are far more likely to enter an abusive relationship.
Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or fret your children [do not be hard on them or harass them], lest they become discouraged and sullen and morose and feel inferior and frustrated. [Do not break their spirit.] (Colossians 3:21 AMP)
Paul warns against being hard on children, yet he is not speaking out against discipline. Discipline is necessary to teach children and is done out of love. Abuse is done out of anger, frustration, and the desire to gain control and manipulate. We are all children of God. We can turn to His examples throughout the Bible when disciplining our children.
We, at The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries, encourage anyone who is being domestically abused, or knowns of someone being abused, to contact the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also visit their website at http://www.thehotline.org.
*Domestic violence and domestic abuse are two terms used to legally describe what are essentially the same crimes. The term used depends on the state and some states assign certain crimes to a certain term. For the purpose of this article, the two terms are used interchangeably.
Update: Monday, October 27, 2014 4:19 pm EDT
Chadwick D. Banks is scheduled to be executed at 6 pm EST, on Thursday, November 13, 2014, at the Florida State Penitentiary near Raiford, Florida. Forty-three-year-old Chadwick is convicted of murdering his wife, Cassandra Banks and raping and murdering his 10-year-old step-daughter Melody Cooper on September 24, 1992, inside of Cassandra’s trailer. Chadwick has spent the last 20 years on Florida’s death row.
In high school, Chadwick was a member of the band, serving as section leader his last two years. Chadwick was remembered as a good student in school, with no behavioral problems. He was the oldest of seven children and often helped the other children, according his father. Chadwick had served in the Army, where he received a general discharge after assaulting a Korean officer with a deadly weapon while he was on duty. Prior to his arrest, Chadwick worked at Fiberstone Quarries as a production crew leader and was in charge of supervising four other employees. He was a good employee, always on time, and had received a raise a few days before the murder.
On the evening of September 23, 1992, Chadwick Banks was drinking malt liquor and shooting pool at a nightclub near where he lived with his wife, Cassandra Banks and her daughter from a previously relationship, Melody Cooper. Cassandra was with him for a while before returning home.
During the early morning hours of September 24, 1992, Chadwick was seen entering the trailer he shared with his wife. Cassandra was asleep in her bed as Chadwick entered and shot her in the head. She died without ever gaining consciousness. After killing Cassandra, Chadwick entered the room of Melody Cooper, his step-daughter. Chadwick raped Melody for approximately 20 minutes while she fought back before also shooting her in the head.
Approximately one hour after Chadwick was seen entering the trailer, a car was heard to “spin off” in front of the trailer. The bodies of Cassandra and Melody were discovered that morning. Chadwick was arrested a few days later.
Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Cassandra and Melody. Please pray for strength for the family of Chadwick. Please pray that Chadwick may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.
Update: Monday, October 27, 2014 4:20 pm EDT
Charles Frederick Warner was scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CST, on Thursday, November 13, 2014, at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma. His execution has been rescheduled to January 15, 2015. Forty-six-year-old Charles is convicted of killing 11-month-old Adriana Waller on August 22, 1997, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Charles has spent the last 14 years of his life on Oklahoma's death row.
Richard's execution has been rescheduled to January 29, 2015, following a request from the Attorney General. The delay was granted in order to allow the execution team to complete their training regarding the new execution protocol, which includes training on new equipment and new communication methods during the execution.
Shonda Waller and her 11-month-old daughter Adriana Waller, lived with Charles Warner and his three children, seven-year-old Charvon, five-year-old Vonita, and two-year-old Dasia. On the morning of August 22, 1997, Warner left around 7:30 am to go pay a traffic ticket. Shonda woke up around 8:00 am and stayed in bed to play with Adriana, who appeared to be her normal, playful self. When Shonda changed her diaper that morning, she did not notice anything abnormal.
Shonda and Warner had planned to go grocery shopping that afternoon, however, Warner suggested that she go alone and he stay to watch the children. Shonda agreed and left around noon, returning around 2:30 pm. When she looked in on Adriana, she saw her lying in bed. Shortly thereafter, Shonda told Warner she wanted to get the telephone connected. Warner went to get Adriana and brought her out of the bedroom, saying she was not breathing.
October 24, 2014
IDPN 2014 Issue 43
China: Although the exact number of executions carried out in 2013 is considered a state secret, the Dui Hua Foundation estimated that approximately 2,400 people were executed in 2013. The Dui Hua Foundation expects that approximately the same number of individuals will be executed in 2014. For 2012, they estimated that 3,000 people were executed. Executions are carried out in secret in China. The organs of executed inmates are used for transplants, although China has been attempting to move away from that practice in recent years.
Egypt: On Tuesday, October 21, 2014, an Egyptian militia court sentenced seven individuals to death and two individuals to life in prison for planning and execution attacks on the military. The attacks killed two military officers. All nine men are members of the Islamist militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, which claims to support the Islamic State.
Iran: On Sunday, October 19, 2014, four unnamed men, aged 32, 46, 44, and 32, were executed by hanging in the prison of Rasht in the Gilan province. All were executed on drug related charges.
Fardin Jafarian was charged with murder at the age of 14. He was executed on Sunday, October 19, 2014, at Tabriz Central Prison. He was 18 at the time of the execution. Fardin’s execution violates the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children, which the nation signed on September 5, 1991, and the Islamic Consultative Assembly approved on February 20, 1994.
On Sunday, October 19, 2014, eight unnamed inmates were executed by hanging at Ghezel-Hessar prison. Their crimes have not been reported. Also on Sunday, October 19, 2014, six unnamed inmates died due to excruciating conditions at a death camp.
On Tuesday, October 21, 2014, three Afghan men were execute by hanging. The men were not named. They were executed for drug related charges.
On Wednesday, October 22, 2014, a 35-year-old unnamed prisoner was executed by hanging in northern Iran. He had spent the last six years on death row.