Today’s Theme Song: Sing unto the Lord a New Song

Sing a new song
Sing Unto The Lord A New Song
(written by Anthony Wilkins)
(recorded by West Angeles Church of God In Christ (COGIC) Mass Choir)


Verse:
Sing unto the Lord a new song,
sing unto the Lord all the earth.
Oh sing unto the Lord a new song,
for He is worthy to be praised.

Bridge:
Come before His presence with thanksgiving
and enter His courts with praise,
be thankful unto Him and bless His holy name
for He is worthy to be praised.

Vamp:
Lift up holy hands and praise the Lord,
giving thanks unto the Lord;
He's worthy of all honor and praise. 

#Praise the Lord

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Daily Bible Verse

“Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.”

Psalm 98:1

psalm98_1

#Praise the Lord

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Good Morning from #Guam

#PrayerFocus – Draw me close to YOU!

Blessed Saturday. To my Jewish friends Blessed Shabbat.

Good Morning

good-Morning-happy-thoughts

Psalm 143:8 (ESV) Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

Psalm 90:14 (ESV) Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Psalm 57:7-9 (NKJV) My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise. Awake, my glory! Awake, lute and harp! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations.

coffee cups

#Praise the Lord

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Good night from #Guam

Thank you for another busy day.

May God give you peace and rest.

good night bear

Good Night

May your sleep be undisturbed as you rest in the arms of the One who made you.

Psalm 4:8 (ESV) In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

 

#Praise the Lord

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Make Your Day More Productive With These Tips — Assignment Help Experts

Of course, we all know the difference between a good day and a bad day. It often happens to us that one day we are like top of the world and enjoying the things around us and next day, it just goes opposite. We hardly go out of the bed and feeling irritated all the […]

via Make Your Day More Productive With These Tips — Assignment Help Experts

Thanks guys I really needed this.

I am better with lists, I just keep forgetting to write them.

make a list

#Praise the Lord

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Daily Service: Persecution grows the church

I don’t like the idea but check this out

What do President Ahmadinijad in Iran and the Americans in Afghanistan have in common? Both are presiding over the world’s fastest growing Christian populations. In Iran, the Evangelical population is growing annually at 19.6 %. In Afghanistan, the rate is 16.7%.1

Some scholars theorize that persecution may have something to do with the growth.

Under Chairman Mao and Chinese Communism, professing Christians in China grew from 1.5 million in 1970 to 65 million in just twenty years.2

Fed to lions and hunted into the catacombs, Christianity gradually grew to dominate the Roman Empire.3

Persecution and exponential Christian growth often coincide. However, persecution often coincides with diminishing Christianity. For example, statistics on Christianity in Iraq are reversed from what they are in Iran and Afghanistan. Although Iraq is like Afghanistan in featuring both persecution and American presence, its Christian population is declining by 2.4% annually.4

Christianity was once the dominant religion across North Africa, through the Middle East, and up into Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). European Christians were once a small minority of all the Christians in the world. In 1050, Asia Minor, the land of the seven churches of the book of Revelation, boasted 373 ecclesiastical regions and was nearly 100 percent Christian. 400 years later, ecclesiastical regions in Asia Minor had dropped to three, and Christian population had dropped to less than 15 percent.5 Turkey today is nearly all Muslim and less than a quarter of a percent Christian.6

But it’s not only Islam that often displaces Christianity. During the time of nearly 300 years of persecution in Rome, Christians in Persia enjoyed relative freedom and were on their way to becoming the majority religion. Then after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire more than 190,000 Christians were martyred in Persia over the next 40 years.7

Christianity was established in China and then eliminated at least twice. Relics and inscriptions show that Christians were present, free, and growing in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), but when that dynasty disappeared so did the Christians.8 Franciscan friars established a Christian presence in China during the years of Mongol rule (1271-1368), but they and their ministry results disappeared after the Ming Dynasty took over (1368).9

Christianity arrived in Japan with outside trade (Portuguese in 1542), and it grew to number around 300,000 within 50 years. But in 1587 Japan expelled all its foreigners, and, in 1614, Christians came under intense persecution.10 When Japan allowed missionaries back in 1858, what they found to have survived  was some barely recognizable Christian traditions in a handful of remote fishing and island communities.11

I have a theory that explains why persecution sometimes coincides with Christian growth and sometimes coincides with Christian decline.

Martyrs who are in the socio-economic and ethno-linguistic group of their killers become a persuasive Christian testimony, but the testimony of martyrs who are in a different socio-economic and ethno-linguistic group has no significant impact on their killers.

This theory is a corollary to the “reached” and “unreached” people group categories championed by Ralph Winter and popularized at the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization held in Lausanne, Switzerland.12

Winter and others like Donald McGavran and Cameron Townsend, the founder of Wycliffe, noticed that Christianity tends to spread within durable groups of people that have a natural affinity for one another until it reaches barriers of acceptance and understanding that exist between groups that have different identities and allegiances.

Thus a “reached people group” is one within which a sufficient number of indigenous Christians have the resources, vision, and ability to continue evangelizing their own people without meeting barriers of acceptance and understanding.

An “unreached people group” is a durable ethno-socio-linguistic unit featuring common identity and allegiance that lacks the people, resources, vision, and ability to self evangelize. Until someone from outside the group takes the gospel across the barriers of acceptance and understanding, that group will remain “unreached.”

Tertullian wrote on Roman persecution that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. He saw Christians killed for their faith, and he saw its effects on the society that was killing them.13 He was watching unbelievers within his people group killing believers who were among them – people with the same language, heritage, music, holidays, food, clothing, customs, courtesies, clothing, and living conditions.

The persecution that is happening today (in parts of China, Iran, and Afghanistan) where Christianity is growing occurs between people within the same ethno-socio-linguistic group.

However, the persecution that is happening today where Christianity is diminishing occurs between people groups. In Iraq, the unreached people group (Arab) is prevailing over the reached one (Assyrian).

Sometimes violence between reached and unreached people groups works in Christianity’s favor. Conquistadors established Christianity in Latin America,14 and Charlemagne conquered and then converted many pagan tribes of Western Europe.15 But in Egypt, Turkey, Persia, China, and Japan, power and history favored either the outside Arab and Turkic people groups invading or the inside people groups defending pagan culture.

When Christians become embedded in a people group like yeast in dough, then the heat of persecution helps them mature, propagate, and transform the loaf, but when Christians remain distinct from a people group like chocolate chips in a cookie, then the heat of persecution makes them melt away.

END NOTES:

  1. Operation World7th Edition by Jason Mandryk, Biblica Pub., 2010, p. 916.
  2. World Christian Encyclopedia2nd Edition, Oxford Univ. Press, 2001, vol. 1, p. 191.
  3. The Church in Historyby B. K. Kuiper, Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1951, pp. 7-13.
  4. Operation World, p. 470.
  5. The Lost History of Christianityby Philip Jenkins, HarperCollins Pub., 2008, p. 23.
  6. Operation World, p. 831.
  7. Exploring Church Historyby Perry Thomas, World Pub., 2005, pp. 16-17.
  8. The History of Christianity in Asiaby Samuel Moffett, Orbis Books, 1998, vol. 1, pp. 288-314.
  9. The History of Christianity in Asia, pp. 471-475.
  10. A History of Christian Missionsby Stephen Neill, Penguin Books Ltd., 1964, pp. 133-138.
  11. The Lost History of Christianity, pp. 36-37.
  12. “On the Cutting Edge of Mission Strategy” by C. Peter Wagner in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader4th Edition, William Carey Library, 2009, p. 578.
  13. Exploring Church History, p. 13.
  14. A History of Christian Missions, pp. 143-148.
  15. A History of Christian Missions, pp. 67-68.

I’m not suggesting that we need persecution, but as a body we need to pray for the persecuted church and pray for the fervency they have to seek God when their very life is at risk.

#PrayerFocus: Pray for the persecuted church

Christian growth and Persecution

#Praise the Lord

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More driving around today

Okay I can include this in my #coffee montage. I saw this in a coffee shop in Tamuning today

Traffic in Tamuning. Couldn’t resist another cloud shot

GPO busy everyday, mostly tourists

Clouds and shadows out my back door this morning

#Praise the Lord

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Fox’s Book of Martyrs

Fox Book of Martyrs

https://www.biblestudytools.com/history/foxs-book-of-martyrs/

Edited by William Byron Forbush This is a book that will never die — one of the great English classics. . . . Reprinted here in its most complete form, it brings to life the days when “a noble army, men and boys, the matron and the maid,” “climbed the steep ascent of heaven, ‘mid peril, toil, and pain.” “After the Bible itself, no book so profoundly influenced early Protestant sentiment as the Book of Martyrs. Even in our time it is still a living force. It is more than a record of persecution. It is an arsenal of controversy, a storehouse of romance, as well as a source of edification.”

Fox’s Book of Martyrs is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

The Seventh Persecution, Under Decius, A.D. 249

decius
This was occasioned partly by the hatred he bore to his predecessor Philip, who was deemed a Christian and was partly by his jealousy concerning the amazing increase of Christianity; for the heathen temples began to be forsaken, and the Christian churches thronged.
These reasons stimulated Decius to attempt the very extirpation of the name of Christian; and it was unfortunate for the Gospel, that many errors had, about this time, crept into the Church: the Christians were at variance with each other; self- interest divided those whom social love ought to have united; and the virulence of pride occasioned a variety of factions. 
The heathens in general were ambitious to enforce the imperial decrees upon this occasion, and looked upon the murder of a Christian as a merit to themselves. The martyrs, upon this occasion, were innumerable; but the principal we shall give some account of.
Fabian, the bishop of Rome, was the first person of eminence who felt the severity of this persecution. The deceased emperor, Philip, had, on account of his integrity, committed his treasure to the care of this good man. But Decius, not finding as much as his avarice made him expect, determined to wreak his vengeance on the good prelate. He was accordingly seized; and on January 20, A.D. 250, he suffered decapitation.
Julian, a native of Cilicia, as we are informed by St. Chrysostom, was seized upon for being a Christian. He was put into a leather bag, together with a number of serpents and scorpions, and in that condition thrown into the sea.
Peter, a young man, amiable for the superior qualities of his body and mind, was beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to Venus. He said, “I am astonished you should sacrifice to an infamous woman, whose debaucheries even your own historians record, and whose life consisted of such actions as your laws would punish. No, I shall offer the true God the acceptable sacrifice of praises and prayers.” Optimus, the proconsul of Asia, on hearing this, ordered the prisoner to be stretched upon a wheel, by which all his bones were broken, and then he was sent to be beheaded.
Nichomachus, being brought before the proconsul as a Christian, was ordered to sacrifice to the pagan idols. Nichomachus replied, “I cannot pay that respect to devils, which is only due to the Almighty.” This speech so much enraged the proconsul that Nichomachus was put to the rack. After enduring the torments for a time, he recanted; but scarcely had he given this proof of his frailty, than he fell into the greatest agonies, dropped down on the ground, and expired immediately.
Denisa, a young woman of only sixteen years of age, who beheld this terrible judgment, suddenly exclaimed, “O unhappy wretch, why would you buy a moment’s ease at the expense of a miserable eternity!” Optimus, hearing this, called to her, and Denisa avowing herself to be a Christian, she was beheaded, by his order, soon after.
Andrew and Paul, two companions of Nichomachus, the martyr, A.D. 251, suffered martyrdom by stoning, and expired, calling on their blessed Redeemer.
Alexander and Epimachus, of Alexandria, were apprehended for being Christians: and, confessing the accusation, were beat with staves, torn with hooks, and at length burnt in the fire; and we are informed, in a fragment preserved by Eusebius, that four female martyrs suffered on the same day, and at the same place, but not in the same manner; for these were beheaded.
Lucian and Marcian, two wicked pagans, though skilful magicians, becoming converts to Christianity, to make amends for their former errors, lived the lives of hermits, and subsisted upon bread and water only. After some time spent in this manner, they became zealous preachers, and made many converts. The persecution, however, raging at this time, they were seized upon, and carried before Sabinus, the governor of Bithynia. On being asked by what authority they took upon themselves to preach, Lucian answered, ‘That the laws of charity and humanity obliged all men to endeavor the conversion of their neighbors, and to do everything in their power to rescue them from the snares of the devil.’
Lucian having answered in this manner, Marcian said, “Their conversion was by the same grace which was given to St. Paul, who, from a zealous persecutor of the Church, became a preacher of the Gospel.”
The proconsul, finding that he could not prevail with them to renounce their faith, condemned them to be burnt alive, which sentence was soon after executed.
Trypho and Respicius, two eminent men, were seized as Christians, and imprisoned at Nice. Their feet were pierced with nails; they were dragged through the streets, scourged, torn with iron hooks, scorched with lighted torches, and at length beheaded, February 1, A.D. 251.
Agatha, a Sicilian lady, was not more remarkable for her personal and acquired endowments, than her piety; her beauty was such, that Quintian, governor of Sicily, became enamored of her, and made many attempts upon her chastity without success. In order to gratify his passions with the greater conveniency, he put the virtuous lady into the hands of Aphrodica, a very infamous and licentious woman. This wretch tried every artifice to win her to the desired prostitution; but found all her efforts were vain; for her chastity was impregnable, and she well knew that virtue alone could procure true happiness. Aphrodica acquainted Quintian with the inefficacy of her endeavors, who, enaged to be foiled in his designs, changed his lust into resentment. On her confessing that she was a Christian, he determined to gratify his revenge, as he could not his passion. Pursuant to his orders, she was scourged, burnt with red-hot irons, and torn with sharp hooks. Having borne these torments with admirable fortitude, she was next laid naked upon live coals, intermingled with glass, and then being carried back to prison, she there expired on February 5, 251.
Cyril, bishop of Gortyna, was seized by order of Lucius, the governor of that place, who, nevertheless, exhorted him to obey the imperial mandate, perform the sacrifices, and save his venerable person from destruction; for he was now eighty-four years of age. The good prelate replied that as he had long taught others to save their souls, he should only think now of his own salvation. The worthy prelate heard his fiery sentence without emotion, walked cheerfully to the place of execution, and underwent his martyrdom with great fortitude.
The persecution raged in no place more than the Island of Crete; for the governor, being exceedingly active in executing the imperial decrees, that place streamed with pious blood.
Babylas, a Christian of a liberal education, became bishop of Antioch, A.D. 237, on the demise of Zebinus. He acted with inimitable zeal, and governed the Church with admirable prudence during the most tempestuous times.
The first misfortune that happened to Antioch during his mission, was the siege of it by Sapor, king of Persia; who, having overrun all Syria, took and plundered this city among others, and used the Christian inhabitants with greater severity than the rest, but was soon totally defeated by Gordian.
After Gordian’s death, in the reign of Decius, that emperor came to Antioch, where, having a desire to visit an assembly of Christians, Babylas opposed him, and absolutely refused to let him come in. The emperor dissembled his anger at that time; but soon sending for the bishop, he sharply reproved him for his insolence, and then ordered him to sacrifice to the pagan deities as an expiation for his ofence. This being refused, he was committed to prison, loaded with chains, treated with great severities, and then beheaded, together with three young men who had been his pupils. A.D. 251.
Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, about this time was cast into prison on account of his religion, where he died through the severity of his confinement.
Julianus, an old man, lame with the gout, and Cronion, another Christian, were bound on the backs of camels, severely scourged, and then thrown into a fire and consumed. Also forty virgins, at Antioch, after being imprisoned, and scourged, were burnt.
In the year of our Lord 251, the emperor Decius having erected a pagan temple at Ephesus, he commanded all who were in that city to sacrifice to the idols. This order was nobly refused by seven of his own soldiers, viz. Maximianus, Martianus, Joannes, Malchus, Dionysius, Seraion, and Constantinus. The emperor wishing to win these soldiers to renounce their faith by his entreaties and lenity, gave them a considerable respite until he returned from an expedition. During the emperor’s absence, they escaped, and hid themselves in a cavern; which the emperor being informed of at his return, the mouth of the cave was closed up, and they all perished with hunger.
Theodora, a beautiful young lady of Antioch, on refusing to sacrifice to the Roman idols, was condemned to the stews, that her virtue might be sacrificed to the brutality of lust. Didymus, a Christian, disguised himself in the habit of a Roman soldier, went to the house, informed Theodora who he was, and advised her to make her escape in his clothes. This being effected, and a man found in the brothel instead of a beautiful lady, Didymus was taken before the president, to whom confessing the truth, and owning that he was a Christian the sentence of death was immediately pronounced against him. Theodora, hearing that her deliverer was likely to suffer, came to the judge, threw herself at his feet, and begged that the sentence might fall on her as the guilty person; but, deaf to the cries of the innocent, and insensible to the calls of justice, the inflexible judge condemned both; when they were executed accordingly, being first beheaded, and their bodies afterward burnt.
Secundianus, having been accused as a Christian, was conveyed to prison by some soldiers. On the way, Verianus and Marcellinus said, “Where are you carrying the innocent?” This interrogatory occasioned them to be seized, and all three, after having been tortured, were hanged and decapitated.
Origen, the celebrated presbyter and catechist of Alexandria, at the age of sixty-four, was seized, thrown into a loathsome prison, laden with fetters, his feet placed in the stocks, and his legs extended to the utmost for several successive days. He was threatened with fire, and tormented by every lingering means the most infernal imaginations could suggest. During this cruel temporizing, the emperor Decius died, and Gallus, who succeeded him, engaging in a war with the Goths, the Christians met with a respite. In this interim, Origen obtained his enlargement, and, retiring to Tyre, he there remained until his death, which happened when he was in the sixty-ninth year of his age.
Gallus, the emperor, having concluded his wars, a plague broke out in the empire: sacrifices to the pagan deities were ordered by the emperor, and persecutions spread from the interior to the extreme parts of the empire, and many fell martyrs to the impetuosity of the rabble, as well as the prejudice of the magistrates. Among these were Cornelius, the Christian bishop of Rome, and Lucius, his successor, in 253.
Most of the errors which crept into the Church at this time arose from placing human reason in competition with revelation; but the fallacy of such arguments being proved by the most able divines, the opinions they had created vanished away like the stars before the sun.

#PrayerFocus: If we must be persecuted to grow as a body, I reckon it must be so.

#Praise the Lord

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Daily Bible Reading 31 May 2019

Bible Reading Enhances Any Day (BREAD)
Bread-Crusty King Arthur
Daily Bible Reading: 1 Kings 14-15, Romans 13
1 Kings 15:9-15 (NKJV) In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa became king over Judah. And he reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem. His grandmother’s name was Maachah the granddaughter of Abishalom. Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did his father David. And he banished the perverted persons from the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. Also he removed Maachah his grandmother from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of Asherah. And Asa cut down her obscene image and burned it by the Brook Kidron. But the high places were not removed. Nevertheless Asa’s heart was loyal to the LORD all his days. He also brought into the house of the LORD the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which he himself had dedicated: silver and gold and utensils.
1Kings15_9
Romans 13:1-3 (NKJV) Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.
Romans13_1
#PrayerFocus: Let me be unafraid of authority

 

#Praise the Lord

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