The Bible passages for mediation, prayer, and reflections for the week of August 17-23, 2014, is 1 Timothy 6:6-10. Included in today’s reading is an often misquoted verse of the Bible. It is important to read and study the Bible carefully.
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1 Timothy 6:6-10, ESV)
Very few people are content with what they have. If they have 100 dollars, they see what they could have with 200 dollars. If they have 200 million dollars, they see what they could have with 1 million dollars. If they have 1 million dollars…well you get the idea. Money becomes their god and their focus, instead of Lord.
Paul is not warning against money, as is often misquoted, but against the love of money. When we love money, our focus is no longer on the Lord and serving Him. We must learn to be content with what we have. As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, consider how you handle the money the Lord has given to you. Do you keep your focus on the Lord? Are you content with what you have? Do you give back to Him?
Daily Bible Reading for August 23, 2014, with Commentary: John 7-9
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Context: Jesus was content to wait and follow God’s plan and timing for Him. Jesus would go to the Feast, but not as His brother suggested. Jesus went in secret for it was not yet time to reveal Himself. During the reading of John, pay close attention to who John says it talking. Often, “Jews” refer to the religious leaders, rather than Jews as a whole. The theme of chapter 7 is that God’s timing will prevail! We must know God in order to understand His timing for events in our lives. It is debated if the beginning of chapter 8 was included in the original text or added later. The message is clear: do not judge others without first examining yourself. The remainder of the chapter focuses on trusting Christ. For salvation, for forgiveness, for freedom, for understanding. Chapter 7 and 8 are both heavy theological discussions. There is no doubt, Jesus had much more to say on each truth He addressed and He taught each truth various times during His ministry. Recorded here is only a small portion, but it is enough for us to understand that we must place our faith and trust in Him. Study this section carefully. Chapter 9 returns to the miracle-message, but continues the theme of faith.
World History: The Feast of Tabernacles (in chapter 7) occurs six months after Passover (in chapter 6). In today’s reading, Jesus’ parentage, specifically His father, is questioned. There is a good chance, Jesus also faced these questions growing up. Depending on the emphasis in the statements from the crowds, which we do not know, they could have been using Jesus’ questionable and unknown parentage as an argument for why He could not be the Christ.
August 22, 2014
IDPN 2014 Issue 34
Afghanistan: On Thursday, August 14, 2014, five unidentified individuals were publicly executed by hanging by the Taliban. The five individuals were accused of kidnapping a business man. Their bodies were left hanging overnight in a busy opium market.
China: A unnamed German man has been sentenced to death in China for the premeditated murder of his ex-girlfriend and her partner. The sentenced was handed down by an Xiamen court on Tuesday, August 19, 2014. The sentence can be appealed. Germany opposes the death penalty.
Thirty-two-year-old Jaycee Chan, the son of actor Jackie Chan, was arrested in Beijing on marijuana charges. He was also found to be in possession of marijuana, which could result in an intent to sell charge, which has a maximum sentence of death. Jackie Chan is an anti-drug spokesman in China.
Gaza: At least 18 unnamed Palestinians, who were suspected of collaborating with Israel, were publicly executed by shooting by Hamas militants. At least two women were part of the group.
India: Two sisters have had their execution put on hold after they appealed that the 13-year delay in carrying out the sentence was excessive. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court held that “inordinate and inexplicable” delays in carrying out executions were grounds for commuting death sentences. The two women were sentenced to death for kidnapping children, forcing them to beg and steal, and killing them when they were no longer useful.
Indonesia: Nineteen-year-old Heather Mack and her boyfriend, 21-year-old Tommy Schaefer, both Americans from Chicago, were arrested in connection with the death of 62-year-old Sheila von Wiese-Mack, who was found stuffed in a suitcase on the island of Bali. Evidence suggests that Sheila was brutally beaten and died from for asphyxiation. Heather and Tommy have been charged with premeditated murder, which carries a maximum penalty of death. Sheila was Heather’s mother.
Update: August 18, 2014
Earl Ringo, Jr., is scheduled to be executed at 12:01 am CDT, on September 10, 2014, at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Corrections Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri. Forty-year-old Ringo is convicted of murdering 22-year-old JoAnna Baysinger and 45-year-old Dennis Poyser in Columbia, Missouri, on July 4, 1998. Earl has spent the past 16 years of his life on Missouri’s death row.
Earl had a violent and abusive childhood. His father died when he was young and his family lived in poverty. As a child, Earl was beaten by his mother’s boyfriend with an aluminum baseball bat. The injuries were severe enough that they prevented him from returning to school for several weeks, yet Earl was not allowed to receive medical treatment. His mother was threatened with death if she told anyone.
Earl Ringo, Jr. planned to move from Columbia, Missouri to Jeffersonville, Indiana. Ringo’s friend, Quentin Jones was going to help him move. On July 3, 1998, Ringo and Jones rented a U-Haul truck to move Ringo’s belongings. Ringo convinced Jones to participate in a robbery of a Ruby Tuesday restaurant the following morning. Ringo, who was previously employed at Ruby Tuesday, was familiar with the early morning routine and thought that would be the best time to rob it, as it would have the cash from the previous day in the safe and the least amount of people.
Early the next morning, around 4:30 am, Ringo and Jones drove to within walking distance of the restaurant and parked. Ringo had bulletproof vests, gloves, two Ruby Tuesday shirts, ski masks, and jeans for Jones. The two were going to dress as employees and convince the manager, who would be in the only person in the restaurant, to let them in. Jones expressed reluctance to participate and was convinced by Ringo to continue.
Daniel and Benjamin grew up together. Later, they attended the same classes. They both wanted to succeed. Daniel spent his free time having daily devotions and praying. Benjamin spent his free time socializing with others and partaking of the company of women. Daniel carefully chose what he ate and drank, making sure he was honoring the Lord with his choices. Benjamin over indulged on food and wine. Daniel relied on the Lord for wisdom and understanding. Benjamin relied on himself and his own knowledge. Daniel excelled in his classes and went on to become successful in all that he did, earning praises and great rewards. He had a loving relationship with his wife and children. There were still times in which he struggled and was persecuted for following the Lord instead of the world, but his faith in the Lord brought him through all of his trials. Benjamin struggled in his career, never finding a job he enjoyed. His relationship with his wife was strained and he barely knew his children. Who are you - Daniel or Benjamin?
As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. At the end of the time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. (Daniel 1:17-19, ESV)
Daniel and his friends were ripped from their homes, taken captive, and forced into an environment that went against everything they had been taught and believed in. But they did not give up or give in. They continued in their faith, working to serve the Lord, and were intellectually rewarded for their dedication to following the laws of the Lord.
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9, ESV)
August is National Back to School month. We picture children buying supplies and clothes for the new school year. But part of preparing children to go back to school is preparing children to face the world, to stand apart, to be Daniel.
Upbringing is important, as children build upon what they know. Daniel was brought up in the way of the Lord. His parents followed the Lord’s instructions in Deuteronomy and sought to serve the Lord everyday. When he went out on his own, he was prepared to continue in the way of the Lord. For Benjamin, serving the Lord was a once a week activity, occasionally more on special holidays. It was not a way of life. When he went out on his own, his minimal relationship with the Lord was abandoned in favor of worldly pursuits. Is your child prepared to be the Daniel of their school? A trendsetter for God instead of a follower of the world?
And what about adults? Learning does not begin and end in the classroom. Life is a classroom! As adults, we continue to learn new things. Daniel was nearly an adult when he was taken to the king’s court in Babylon. It was during Daniel’s adulthood that he was challenged for his faith and dedication to the Lord. We also need to ask ourselves are we Daniel?
Follow the instructions of the Lord and teach your children of Him and His ways. Pray that they may, like Daniel, have strength to stand for what is right. And consider your own life. Do you need to go back to school? The school of God? Do you stand strong for Him against the world? Be a Daniel!
Update: August 18, 2014
Leon Taylor was scheduled to be executed at 12:01 am CDT, on September 10, 2014, at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Corrections Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri. The execution date has been withdrawn and replaced by Earl Ringo, Jr. Fifty-six-year-old Leon was convicted of the murder of 53-year-old Robert Newton in Independence, Missouri on April 14, 1994. Leon has spent the last 20 years on Missouri’s death row.
Although the Missouri Supreme Court has not announced its reason for withdrawing Leon’s execution date, the decision to do so came days after Leon’s attorneys filed documents stating that the would not have enough time to work on the case prior to the execution.
Leon’s mother was an alcoholic who drank while she was pregnant. She also gave alcohol to Leon to drink as a child and abused him. Leon alleged that he was sexually abused until the age of five and never taught right from wrong. As a teenager, Leon suffered from depression.
Leon Taylor and his half siblings, Willie and Tina Owens, were driving in Tina’s car discussing robbery possibilities. Taylor suggested the gas station in Independence, Missouri because only one person would be working. Upon arriving at the station, they discovered that the gas station manager, Robert Newton had his daughter, 8-year-old Sarah Yates, with him that day. Tina no longer wanted to rob the store.
The trio bought gas and left the station, only to return minutes later because the oil light had come on. Willie entered the store and asked for some oil. Taylor then entered and drew a pistol. He pointed it at Robert and said he would shoot him unless he gave them his money. Robert handed over approximately $400 to Willie, who then left the store.
Taylor forced Robert and Sarah into a back room, where he shot Robert in the head. Taylor attempted to shoot Sarah but the gun jammed. Taylor locked Sarah in the back room and returned to the vehicle, telling Willie and Tina what had happened. Robert wanted to return and kill the girl, however Willie and Tina wanted to leave, so all three left.
Please pray for peace and healing for Sarah Yates and the family of Robert Newton. Please pray for strength for the family of Leon Taylor. Please pray that Leon may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.