100% of Christians Face Persecution in These 21 Countries | re-blog CP World by Samuel Smith

WASHINGTON — One-hundred percent of Christians in 21 countries around the world experience persecution for their faith in Christ as over 215 million Christians faced “high levels” of persecution in the last year, a leading human rights watchdog group reports. Continue reading “100% of Christians Face Persecution in These 21 Countries | re-blog CP World by Samuel Smith”

Christians the most persecuted group in world – by Perry Chiaramonte | re-blog

Peanut Gallery: As the new year unfolds, please pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.

A new worldwide study estimates that 90,000 Christians were killed for their beliefs last year worldwide. And as many as 600 million Christians were prevented from practicing their faith. Continue reading “Christians the most persecuted group in world – by Perry Chiaramonte | re-blog”

Holy Innocents, Martyrs, 28 December – Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:13-18 ~ silent no more

Holy Innocents, Martyrs

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Opening Sentence

Let us adore the new-born Christ: today he has given the Holy Innocents the martyrs’ crown.

Hymn: “All Glory, Laud, and Honor”

Morning Reading: Jeremiah 31:15 NLT

This is what the Lord says: “A cry is heard in Ramah— deep anguish and bitter weeping. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted— for her children are gone.”

Morning Reading: Matthew 2:13-18 NLT

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The Triumph of the Innocents William Holman Hunt, 1883-4 The Tate Museum

After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”

Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance. Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “A cry was heard in Ramah— weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.”

Morning Prayer

Lord Jesus, even at Your birth, You met with the hatred of men, and children were the first to suffer for Your sake. We proclaim our trust in You:

+ As You were persecuted, so will be Your brothers. Lord Jesus, we look to You for help.
+ You committed no sin: yet You, like us, were called to suffer. Help us to take up our cross and follow You.
+ The Holy Innocents were Your silent witnesses: may we proclaim You to others by word and deed. Speak, Lord, to us and through us.
+ As a child You were persecuted and driven into exile: save all the children of men, in exile or under persecution. Save, too, the children as yet unborn.

Lord God, the Holy Innocents bore witness to You not by speaking but by dying. Grant that the faith we proclaim in words may be borne out by deeds. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Hymn: “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name “ – Michael W Smith

Canticle

Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth! Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities— for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him! (Psalms 2:10-12 NLT)

Blessing

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”  (Jude 24-25)

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

The Feast of Saint Stephen: 26 December – Acts 6:8-10,7:54-59; Matthew 10:17-22 ~ everyone who endures to the end will be saved

St Stephen, the First Martyr

Opening Sentence:

Behold, I see the heavens thrown open, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. (Acts 7:56)

Hymn: Good King Wenceslas

Morning Reading: Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-60 NLT

Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people. But one day some men from the Synagogue of Freed Slaves, as it was called, started to debate with him. They were Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia, and the province of Asia. None of them could stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke.
_____

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The Martyrdom of St Stephen Peter Paul Rubens, 1616-17 Musée des beaux-arts de Valenciennes

The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”

Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.

As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.

Morning Reading: Matthew 10:17-22 NLT

“But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

“A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.”

Morning Prayer

Thank You, Lord God, for Saint Stephen, whose life on earth was lived in the service of Christ, and who in death witnessed to Christ with his blood.

+ For all who have found the freedom to lay down their lives for Your sake – We give You thanks, O Lord.
+ For all whose desire for you has brought them through death with a joyful heart – We give You thanks, O Lord.
+ For all who have followed, through suffering, the way of the cross – We give You thanks, O Lord.
+ For all who have undergone martyrdom for the gospel – We give you thanks, O Lord.

Give us grace, Lord, to practice what we worship. Teach us to love our enemies as we keep the feast of Saint Stephen, who prayed even for the men who stoned him to death. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

New Song: “Noel” – Lauren Daigle

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Canticle

Praise the Lord ! Sing to the Lord a new song. Sing his praises in the assembly of the faithful. O Israel, rejoice in your Maker. O people of Jerusalem, exult in your King. Praise his name with dancing, accompanied by tambourine and harp. For the Lord delights in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. (Psalms 149:1-4 NLT)

Blessing

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”  (Judea 24-25)

02 Nov, International Day of Prayer: The Persecuted Church (Voice of the Martyrs)

The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church / 2014

Please visit Voice of the Martyrs / International Day of Prayer website for more resources – click here.

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PLEASE PRAY: The most common request of persecuted Christians is “PRAY FOR US.” One of the ways we answer their request is through participation in the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP), which we observe on the first Sunday of each November. Our goal is simple: We want EVERY CHURCH to “Remember them that are in bonds …” on IDOP Sunday (Heb. 13:3).

Watch VOM’s IDOP videos – click here … share with your friends … and pray for the persecuted.

Liena and her family turned down offers of asylum in Western countries after civil war broke out in Syria. They knew the cost that might be required, but they chose to remain as witnesses to their Muslim neighbors and as an encouragement to other Christians.
Liena was a dedicated Christian, faithful wife and mother of two. In her prayers, she asked God to use her to reach more people. And then God asked her to make one more commitment.

Watch the dramatic testimony of Liena’s Prayer, as she struggles with the difficult decision of how much she can offer God.
You may never pray the same again.

IRAQ: PRAYER FOR IRAQ

VOM received these prayer points from a church in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, with whom VOM is partnering to help Christians in Iraq. Please join with your brothers and sisters in the Middle East to pray for the region. For security reasons, we have removed the name of the church.

  • That we would reach the community and meet its spiritual as well as physical needs.
  • That the Church would experience an unprecedented presence of the Holy Spirit throughout this crisis to change the region, country and Middle East.
  • That individuals and the Church would experience our Almighty God’s unity and power, open heavens, and rivers flowing from the Holy Spirit to give us one shared Vision.
  • That God would grant us favor in the government’s eyes, to acquire permission for establishing a school.
  • That God would send workers for his Kingdom, as many of our services and relief deliveries have been delayed due to a shortage of workers.
  • That God would grant us wisdom in handling the Internally Displaced People (IDP) projects, and strength to those who work with them directly.
  • That God would send confusion and disagreement to those in the IS group, to stop them from inflicting more violence to the region, and that their hidden cells would be uncovered by local authorities.
  • That God would save misled young people from IS and judge the leaders who are aware and yet still misleading youth with their evil desires and ideologies.
  • That all ISIS’ financial resources would be cut off.
  • That God would comfort and encourage the Yezidi people amidst their heartbreaking genocide; that the Lord would reveal Himself to them with dreams and visions; that he would burden missionaries to serve among the remaining Yezidis.
  • That God would encourage the believers who fled from Mosul, that they’d be strong in Him, be bold to witness and never lose hope in Him.
  • That God would raise up faithful leaders in the Central Government who fear God rather than men of power and use their authority for justice.
  • That God would give wisdom to the Kurdistan Regional Government, to manage the crisis, to defend the region faithfully, and that they would realize that God raised them up to serve Him at this time – that He would reveal Himself to them.
  • That the church would pray with one heart: “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, in Heaven as well as in Kurdistan.”
  • That God would send visitations to the Shi’a in central and south Iraq, to heal their hearts and release them from idolatry.

Thank you for reading this far… and for praying for persecuted Christians around the world. May God bless you.