LISTEN: Amber Guyger Gets 10 Years in Prison for Murdering Botham Jean (UCNN 10.03.19)

According to The Dallas Morning News, Amber Guyger got 10 years in prison Wednesday for murdering Botham Jean, a sentence that set off angry chants outside the courtroom and an unexpected moment of forgiveness inside. “If you truly are sorry,” Botham’s 18-year-old brother, Brandt Jean, told Guyger from the witness stand before walking down and embracing her, “I know I can speak for myself, I forgive you.” The victim’s mother, Allison Jean, said Guyger’s sentence would give the fired officer 10 years to reflect and “change her life.” The native St. Lucian also called for change and a renewed focus on police training in the city where her son died. “There is much more to be done by the city of Dallas,” she said, addressing a crowd gathered around her on the seventh floor of the courthouse. “The corruption that we saw during this process must stop.” Prosecutors had asked for no less than 28 years, a reminder that Jean would have celebrated his 28th birthday this week if not for Guyger. After a day of testimony focused on how long Guyger would spend in prison, Jean’s 18-year-old brother said in his victim-impact statement that he wished she didn’t have to serve any time at all. Instead, he said, he wanted for Guyger what his older brother would have wanted. “I think giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want for you,” he told her. “I love you as a person, and I don’t wish anything bad on you.” “Can I give her a hug, please?” Brandt Jean asked. As soon as the judge said it was OK, Guyger rushed to the victim’s brother and wrapped her arms around him. They held each other in a long embrace, while sobbing could be heard in the courtroom. State District Judge Tammy Kemp wiped away tears during the moment.

According to Baptist Press, Thousands of middle school and high school students gathered at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes sponsored event, Fields of Faith, for an evening of worship and revival. By the end of the evening, ministry leaders reported, about 150 students from throughout Bradley County, Tenn., made professions of faith in Christ. The annual event –- held Sept. 25 at Bradley County High School in Cleveland — rotates through three different campuses in the county, as part of a nationwide opportunity for students to come together and challenge each other to share their faith with fellow students. Jordan Easley, senior pastor of First Baptist Cleveland, preached a Gospel message centered on the issue of hopelessness and how true hope can be found in Christ. Jeff Lovingood, associate pastor of First Baptist Cleveland, noted that students filled up the entire home side of the football stands. The evening rally followed that morning’s “See You at the Pole” event where students all across the country gather at their campus’ flagpole to pray for their fellow students. The event was a picture of how a community can come together around building up the next generation, Lovingood said. “With so much pressure and a feeling of hopelessness, they [students] can find hope in Christ in a community event,” Lovingood said. “It really impacted the whole community.”

According to Religion News Service, Islamic extremist group Boko Haram released a video last week showing the execution of two Christian aid workers in Nigeria, sources said. Lawrence Duna Dacighir and Godfrey Ali Shikagham, both members of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) in Plateau state, are shown kneeling while three masked, armed men stand behind them in a video posted Sept. 22 on Boko Haram’s Amaq news agency site. The two young men, who had gone to Maiduguri to help build shelters for people displaced by Islamic extremist violence, are then shot from behind. Speaking in the Hausa language, the middle one of the three terrorists says in the video that they have vowed to kill every Christian they capture in revenge for Muslims killed in past religious conflicts in Nigeria. Dacighir and Shikagham, originally from Plateau state’s Mangu County, were captured by Boko Haram, now called the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), as they carried out their work in displaced persons camps. Pastor Pofi, a cousin of the two executed Christians, told Morning Star News in a text message statement also shared with others that the two Plateau state natives had gone to Maiduguri from Abuja. “Lawrence and Godfrey left Abuja for Maiduguri in search of opportunities to utilize their skills for the betterment of humanity and paid with their lives,” Pofi said. “We will never get their corpses to bury. The community will have to make do with a makeshift memorial to these young lives cut short so horrifically.” If the federal government had created economic opportunities for those tempted to join extremist groups and had returned security to the country, his cousins would not be dead now, Pastor Pofi said. “We must ask ourselves if this is the kind of country we want where young men who are earning an honest living are brutally killed while those who abduct and kill others are invited to dialogue with government and paid handsomely,” he said.

According to the Fox News, A Texas sheriff’s deputy who was shot multiple times from behind while conducting a traffic stop on Friday afternoon has died, police said. Sandeep Dhaliwal, a 10-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and its first Sikh deputy, stopped a vehicle with two people inside around at 12:45 p.m. One of the occupants was able to leave the vehicle, approach the deputy from behind and shoot him at least twice — “basically just shot him in a very ruthless, cold-blooded way,” said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. Late Friday, the sheriff’s office announced that Robert Solis, 47, had been charged with capital murder in Dhaliwal’s death. Gonzalez tweeted that Solis was wanted on a parole violation warrant dating back to January 2017, when he was reportedly accused of threatening his girlfriend and possessing a prohibited weapon. Click2Houston reported that Solis was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison in 2002 for aggravated kidnapping but was released on parole in 2014. His parole would have expired in 2022. Dhaliwal’s dashboard camera captured video showing Dhaliwal speaking with the driver in what appeared to be a conversational tone with “no combat, no arguing,” Sheriff’s Maj. Mike Lee said. The driver’s door was opened at one point, and Dhaliwal shut it as the driver remained in the vehicle. When Dhaliwal turned to walk back to his patrol car, the driver steps from the car “almost immediately running with a gun already out,” Lee said. The driver shot the deputy from behind, hitting him in the back of the head. The driver got back in his car and drove away. A deputy a short time later found and arrested a nervous man matching the description of the driver in a business at a nearby strip shopping center, Lee said. A woman believed to have been a passenger in the car also was taken into custody. It was not clear if she would face charges. Dhaliwal, 42, was pronounced dead at Memorial Hermann Hospital, Fox 26 Houston reported. “I’m sad to share with you that we’ve lost one of our own,” Gonzalez tweeted Friday. “There are no words to convey our sadness. Please keep his family and our agency in your prayers.” Gonzalez’s predecessor as sheriff, Adrian Garcia, implemented a religious accommodation policy that allowed Dhaliwal to wear the traditional turban and beard of the Sikh religion. The deputy was a father of three children.

According to Reuters, California cleared the way on Monday for college athletes to profit from brand sponsorships and endorsement deals, as Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation making it the first U.S. state to give them that potentially lucrative opportunity. The legislation states that college athletes may profit from their “name, image or likeness.” It could set up a showdown between the most populous U.S. state and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the influential governing body for intercollegiate athletics, over the NCAA’s longstanding rule that college athletes cannot be provided compensation. The measure is due to take effect in 2023. “Colleges and universities reap billions from these student athletes’ sacrifices and success but block them from earning a single dollar. That’s a bankrupt model – one that puts institutions ahead of the students they are supposed to serve,” Newsom, a Democrat, said in a statement, referring to schools and the NCAA. Newsom signed the bill during an appearance on the HBO program the “The Shop” alongside the show’s host, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, a vocal supporter of the measure. “I’m so incredibly proud to share this moment with all of you,” James, who bypassed college basketball and went straight from high school to the National Basketball Association, wrote on Twitter. “@gavinnewsom came to The Shop to do something that will change the lives for countless athletes who deserve it!” The measure states that endorsement deals should not have any effect on student scholarships provided by colleges. It also permits student athletes to employ agents.

According to Charisma News, Demi Lovato took to Instagram yesterday to open up about her trip to Israel and baptism in the Jordan River. She posted several pictures of her trip and baptism, saying she had never felt such a spiritual connection to God before. “I am an American singer,” she wrote. “I was raised Christian and have Jewish ancestors. When I was offered an amazing opportunity to visit the places I’d read about in the Bible growing up, I said yes. There is something absolutely magical about Israel. I’ve never felt such a sense of spirituality or connection to God.” Lovato says this sense of spiritual connection is something she’s been missing for years now. “Spirituality is so important to me,” she says. “To be baptized in the Jordan river– the same place Jesus was baptized – I’ve never felt more renewed in my life. This trip has been so important for my well-being, my heart, and my soul. I’m grateful for the memories made and the opportunity to be able to fill the God-sized hole in my heart. Thank you for having me, Israel.” While in Israel, Lovato also visited Yad Vashem: The World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem. She posted a photo of hundreds of people killed in the Holocaust and said: “My heart was absolutely broken in Yad Vashem. This was such a beautiful tribute and a reminder that we can never forget.” Her next Instagram post reveals another heartwarming stop: the Shalva National Center. Shalva offers people with special needs and their families support and guidance. The center’s services are available for people from infancy to adulthood, including “leading-edge therapies, inclusive educational frameworks, social and recreational activities, employment training, and independent living, as well as respite and family support.” Lovato says she “fell in love” with one of the little girls she met at Shalva, adding: “What an amazing center for children with special needs.”

According to The Christian Post, Justin and Hailey Bieber held their Christian wedding ceremony in Palmetto Beach, South Carolina, Monday at a venue that was attended by many of their pastor friends. The couple was wed at a chapel near their hotel. While the ceremony and reception were private, some of their guests have been sharing behind-the-scenes photos from the reception. Hillsong Church NYC pastor Carl Lentz officiated the ceremony, a source who attended the wedding told The Christian Post. Before the ceremony, the bride’s fathers, Stephen Baldwin, said in a video posted online by TMZ that the couple wanted to keep God at the center of their wedding ceremony and would be inviting many of their pastor friends. As seen in several photos posted on Instagram, Carl and Laura Lentz, Chad and Julia Veach, Rich Jr. and DawnCheré Wilkerson, and Joel Houston and Judah Smith were all in attendance to celebrate the Biebers marriage. Other photos show the bride and groom entertaining their celebrity guests, such as Jaden Smith, Kendall Jenner, and Jason Kennedy. Others in attendance were Kris and Kylie Jenner, Joan Smalls, and Camila Morrone.

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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!