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Daily Devotion for May 13, 2015
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
To Wield the Sword of Faith
Flood me with your Spirit, O God. Drown Satan in a deluge of your mighty power! Shake the foundations of hell. Let the beauty and love of Christ pour through me like a cataract. Let me wield the Sword of Faith. Renew me, empower me, purify me this day to your Great Commission.
For Forgiveness Among Fellow Christians
Teach me, O Lord, to act so that all my deeds will glorify your holy name and your wonderful creation. Take pity, O Lord, on all Christians. Hear the desires of all who cry out to you, and deliver them from evil. Send them comfort in distress, consolation in sorrows, and your holy mercy to forgive their misdeeds.
I especially pray for those who have in any way insulted, abused or aggrieved me. Do not punish them for the sake of me, a sinner; but pour your mercy upon them. I also pray to you for all those whom I, a sinner, have insulted or tempted in word, deed, thought, whether knowingly or without intending or realizing I had done so. O Lord God, forgive us our sins and offenses and insults against each other. Dispel from our hearts all indignation, suspicion, anger, remembrance of evil, quarrels, and all that might hinder and lessen brotherly love. Replace resentment with forgiveness, I pray, in the name of Christ.
May God the Father bless us; may Christ take care of us; the Holy Ghost enlighten us all the days of our life. The Lord be our defender and keeper of body and soul, both now and for ever, to the ages of ages.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
The History of Christianity
Graphic by onlinechristiancolleges.com. (See Full-size.)
I hope people will learn a lot from this nice graphic, and even more, be inspired to look more deeply into areas that it touches upon.
The very last item, comparing world populations by absolute numbers and percentage of Christians, illustrates an interesting phenomenon that could fill a book. As a framework, UNESCO estimates that the total population of the earth was 1.75 billion in 1910, compared to 6.9 billion in 2010; so the earth has grown by 300% in the past century. According to the graphic, there were 610 million Christians worldwide in 1910, and 2.1 billion in 2010, about 250% growth. So, in absolute numbers, Christianity has lost some ground over the past century.
But “the world” is a broad category and one notices immediately the wide variance among continents. There has been an enormous drop in the percentage of Christians in Europe and a large drop in the Americas. These are almost fully counter-balanced by the rise in the third world, most powerfully in Africa, but also markedly in Asia and the Middle East.
Then there is the definition of “Christian” to consider; the category, as used in the graphic, might hide as much truth as it reveals. Only God knows who He will save and who He will condemn. But if we use attending church two or more times per month as a proxy for people who actually confess Christ as their savior, the figure for the Americas drops to something in the range of 40%, and the figure for Europe, one might guess, would be more in the 10-20% range. A 2004 Gallup poll gave figures of weekly church attendance in Europe ranging from less than 5% in Scandanavia to 46% in Ireland. The U.K. and France each was reported at 12%.
One might suspect that the “new Christians” in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, on the other hand, whose adoption of Christianity is counter to their traditional culture rather than inherited from it, must be somewhat stronger in their faith.
Finally, there appears to be a fairly good correlation, at the national level, between wealth and apostasy. One cannot help but think of Christ teaching us that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:23-26), or Paul's statement that “love of money is the root of evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10) Perhaps God blesses us with abundance as a test of our faith.