The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of November 19-25, 2017, is 2 Peter, 1:20-2:3. The recipients of this letter from Peter are no longer known. However, it does not matter because the teachings and warnings in this letter apply just as much today as they did then, to whomever received the letter.
But understand this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of or comes from one’s own [personal or special] interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
But [in those days] false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will subtly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways, and because of them the way of truth will be maligned. And in their greed they will exploit you with false arguments and twisted doctrine. Their sentence [of condemnation which God has decreed] from a time long ago is not idle [but is still in force], and their destruction and deepening misery is not asleep [but is on its way]. (2 Peter 1:20-2:3, AMP)
Are we so different from the ancient Israelites? They received warning after warning about false prophets, yet most of the nation was only too happy to follow the directions of the false prophets. Why? Because it sounded better. It was easier than listening and doing as the true prophets instructed. Today, we do not often hear of prophets, false or otherwise. But we do listen to teachers, pastors, priests, elders, and other influential leaders. How carefully do you compare what they say, everything they say, to God’s word? Are you constantly on the watch for false teachers? As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon the verses for the week, evaluate the teachings of those in you life. Are you being led astray?
November 19, 2017: Daily Bible Reading Commentary for 2 Peter 1-3
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Commentary: Although a short letter, Peter’s message is clear. A life for Christ results in change in ourselves; we are no longer part of this world but separate from it. Peter also defends the truth of Jesus Christ and His resurrection. Peter witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus and saw the prophecies about the Messiah come to pass. Peter warns agains false teachers and expounds upon the importance of thoroughly knowing God’s Word, as false teachers often use the truth and twist it to suit their purposes. We must scrutinize what we are taught to ensure that it aligns with God’s Word. Finally, Peter speaks of Christ’s second coming. It will happen, just as the prophets have foretold.
Focus Verses: 3:3-7, 10-13 Why is it important to remember this?
“The return to solid values is hard…Distress, panic, and hard times have marked our pathway in returning to solid values.” He was the only preacher to serve as president. He was ambidextrous, as well as multilingual, and could even write Greek with one hand while writing Latin with the other! He was also the only person to ever be a congressman, a senator-elect, and a president-elect at the same time. He is James Abram Garfield, 20th President of the United States. James was born in a log cabin on November 19, 1831, in Orange Township, Ohio. He was the last of six Presidents born in a log cabin. His father died when he was young and James largely grew up in poverty. He developed a love for reading to avoid other children ridiculing him. James excelled in his academic studies, when he finally started at 17! Jame went on to attend Geauga Academy, becoming an instructor and administrator. He went on to attend Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, now called Hiram College, before moving onto Williams College, where he graduated in 1856 as salutatorian. While in college, James taught and also worked as a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) circuit preacher, after experiencing a religious awakening as a teenager. He met Lucretia Rudolph at Geauga Academy and the two eventually married on November 11, 1858. Together they had seven children, five of which survived into adulthood.
Following his graduation for Williams College in Massachusetts, James returned to Hiram in Ohio to teach, being made president in 1857. While at Williams, James had begun to engage in politics and felt stifled by the opportunities in education. Instead, James began to seek a career in politics, while also studying law. James first foray into politics was being elected to the state senate in 1859.
In 1861, James left the senate and became a lieutenant colonel in the Union Army. He was soon promoted to brigadier general and was at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862. That summer, James was struck with jaundice and lost a significant amount of weight, forcing him to return home to be nursed back to health. His return to the military was delayed until January 1863, where he was appointed Chief of Staff to Major General William S. Rosecrans, where he held more responsibility than most chief of staffs. Due to James’ actions at the Battle of Chickamauga, he was promoted to major general, which he later resigned in order to take a seat in the US House of Representatives.
In 1862, while recovering from jaundice, James won a seat in Congress. He took his seat in December of 1863. James became opposed to moderates, such as Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Jackson, and became known as an excellent speaker. He supported abolition, even though it made him uneasy, and the exile or execution of rebellion leaders. He also supportive equal rights regardless of color of skin. James advocated against an individual being able to buy their way out of military service, leading to the passage of a conscription bill which excluded this flaw.
In 1865, James began practicing law in order to improve his personal finances. This practice led him to Wall Street the day following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, where he made an impromptu speech. Although lukewarm about Lincoln during his presidency, James offered praise for the President following his assassination.
In 1879, during his ninth term as a Representative, James was recommended by President Hayes to run for Governor of Ohio, however James preferred to run for the senate, which he won in 1880, however, his term was not to start until February 1881. Following the election, James denied any interest in obtaining the presidency and was committed to supporting John Sherman for president. When the delegates reached a deadlock, James was nominated as a tie-breaker. Surprisingly, he ended up receiving the nomination, with Chester Arthur as his running mate.
James was the only president to be elected directly from the House of Representatives. James was sworn into office on March 4, 1881. Even prior to his nomination, there were fractures within the Republican party and James had to work hard to appease all. During his time as president, James advocated against the spoils system, championed civil rights, and recommended a government funded education program to empower African Americans. He also appointed former slaves to prominent government positions. In addition, James worked to reform the Post Office Department, which was ripe with corruption and profiteering, and the US Navy.
James had little foreign policy experience prior to his election as president, causing him to rely heavily on his advisors. James supported free trade and believed it was important to develop good relations with their southern neighbors. James also worked for peace between the warring nations of Chile, Bolivia, and Peru. He also supported the US construction of the Panama Canal.
Four months after being sworn in, on July 2, 1881, James was shot at the Sixth Street Station of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad in Washington DC by Charles J. Guiteau, who had stalked the president for nearly a month after being denied a meeting with him, and being denied a high level foreign consulship. (The assassination of President Lincoln was considered a fluke due to the civil war and it was deemed unnecessary for the presidents to be protected, with their movements and plans often printed in newspapers.) One bullet grazed James’ arm, while a second bullet lodged behind his pancreas, and was only later found during the autopsy. Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln, was at the station and witnessed his second shooting of a president. Charles was arrested, convicted, sentenced to death, and executed on June 30, 1882.
Alexander Graham Bell had developed a primitive metal detector and attempted to locate the bullet, however, it is believed that the metal springs in the bed distorted the image. James survived his injury for 11 weeks. During those 11 weeks, after an initial apparent recovery, James became increasingly weaker, was unable to govern, and in severe pain. It is believed that James had blood poisoning as a result of his doctor probing his wound with unsterilized hands and instruments. During his illness, the first successful air conditioner was installed in the White House in an attempt to cool James and help relive his pain. James was moved to Elberon, New Jersey to escape the heat on September 5, 1881. At 10:35 pm, on September 18, 1881, James died in Elberon at the age of 49.
Chester Arthur succeeded James a President of the United States. Following the death of James, the Secret Service began guarding the presidents.
Happy Birthday Mr. President!
Updated: Monday, November 13, 2017 11:15 am EDT
Junius Burno's execution was scheduled to occur at 7 pm EDT, on Friday, November 17, 2017, at the State Correction Institute Rockview in Rockview, Pennsylvania. Junius’ execution has been stayed. Junius was convicted of murdering 45-year-old Carlos Juarbe and 35-year-old Oscar Rosado III, on April 13, 2003, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Junius has seen the last 10 years of his life on Pennsylvania’s death row.
Junius’ execution has been stayed by the US District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania. It was likely stayed in order to allow Junius to complete his appeals.
On April 13, 2003, Mary Meixell called the police saying that she had heard gunshots from next door. Police arrived at the address provided to discover blood on the front steps and the front door ajar. The responding officer entered and discovered Carlos Juarbe, the lessee of the residence, lying in the bedroom doorway. His friend, Oscar Rosado, was lying in the back of the bedroom, curled in the fetal position.
Evidence gathered by the police pointed to Terrence Betha as the suspect. He was arrested on September 12, 2003, and charged him with murder. Betha gave a voluntary statement to police which also incriminated Junius Burno. Betha also alleged that he and Burno were shot at as they fled the apartment.
Betha’s wife confirmed to police that on April 13, 2003, Betha and Burno arrived at the house, with Betha having been shot. Both men refused to provide her with any more information. Betha was taken to a hospital in Philadelphia, where Betha provided false information to the police.
November 17, 2017
IDPN 2017 Issue 46
China: A 27-year-old man with the surname Xue has been sentenced to death for throwing a women off the 19th-story balcony of the apartment they shared. Xue was romantically interested in her and became jealous after discovering she was in a relationship.
Iran: On Sunday, November 12, 2017, Morteza Qolipour, Mehdi Hajizadeh, Qobad Moradi, and Ramin Eshqi were executed by hanging at Urmia Central Prison. All were convicted on murder charges.
On Monday, November 13, 2017, 37-year-old Saber Soleimani was executed by hanging at Bandar Abbas Central Prison. He was convicted of possessing and trafficking methamphetamine.
Beginning on November 14, 2017, a new law goes into effect that is projected to decrease the number of individuals sentenced to death. The new law will sentence those convicted of drug smuggling to prison time, instead of sentencing them to death. They will also be ordered to pay fines. Some government officials worry this new law will increase drug use in the nation. Those who smuggle large quantities of drugs, carry arms, and use children under the age of 18 can still be sentenced to death.
Japan: The trial of Chen Shifeng is scheduled to begin on December 11, in Tokyo. Chen is accused of murdering 24-year-old Chinese national Jiang Ge on November 3, 2016. Jiang’s mother has gathered support in China and is asking the Japanese government that Chen be sentenced to death.
Tanzania: At least 34 individuals have been sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of individuals with albinism. Over the course of the 10 years, from 2006 to 2016, there were at least 67 reported cases of killing people with albinism. The targeted murder of albinos is atttibitated to witch doctors saying that the body parts of people with albinism have properties that confer good luck and wealth. The government has also recognized the need to educate the public and dispel this belief.
Updated: Monday, November 13, 2017 10:26 am EST
Larry Ray Swearingen was scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CST, on Thursday, November 16, 2017, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. His execution has been stayed. Forty-six-year-old Larry is convicted of the kidnapping and murder of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter on December 8, 1998, in Montgomery County, Texas. Larry has spent the last 17 years of his life on Texas’ death row.
Larry's execution has been stayed due to an error by the Montgomery County District Clerk's Office, who sent the execution paperwork to the wrong location. Due to this error, a new execution date will have to be requested. Additionally, new DNA testing has been approved in Larry's case, after being agreed upon by both sides. Among the items that will likely be tested is a rape kit, the ligature used to strangle the victim, finger nail scrapings, and hair. Previous attempts to have these items tested were eventually overturned by higher courts, who ruled that the results could, in no way, overcome the mountain of evidence against Larry.
Larry was born in Montgomery County, Texas on May 21, 1971. He attended school through the 11th grade. Larry worked as an electrician/mechanic until his arrest. Larry had one prior conviction for burglary of a building, for which he received probation. After his arrest for murder, the probation was revoked and he was given a two-year sentence.
Melissa Trotter was a student at Montgomery College in Conroe, Texas. She met Swearingen in the beginning of December 1998. On December 8, 1998, Melissa and Swearingen were observed together in the library. They were seen leaving the campus together by her biology professor, who later identified the man with Melissa as Swearingen. After leaving campus that day, Melissa was never seen or heard from again. On January 2, 1999, her partially nude body was found by two hunters in the Sam Houston National Forest.
Only through a relationship with Jesus Christ can anyone hope to separate themselves from the power of sin in this world. Through Him, all things are made new. For a complete listing of readings, please download our Bible Study.