Happy New Year!

As we start 2018, I want to share two thoughts with you.

First, God’s standards are different than our standards, and we should live our lives according to His standards. Monday, January 22nd has been chosen as Sanctity of Human Life Day. I have taken the opportunity in the past to preach on topics such as abortion and euthanasia as a part of this national emphasis. Although I am not going to do that this year, I have two passages for you to consider:

Genesis 9:8 “…for God made man in his own image…”

Psalm 139:16 “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

Second, even while we praise God for the work we can do in our own communities and the freedoms we have, we should be praying for our brothers and sisters around the world who do not have those same freedoms. Valerie and I regularly donate to a ministry that helps Christians escape from difficult circumstances, and we were a small part of getting severely persecuted believers to the United States this past year. In particular, a man was reunited with his wife and children after years apart! I also received an email this past week regarding the persecution of Christians in India. As I understand it, India is composed of states, and several states have enacted laws concerning religious liberty over the years. This is the response of a pastor that is discussing a recent law change in his state:

“We can’t baptize anyone, if baptize, the provision of the bill 5 years jail and 500000 Indian Rupees ($7,825) fine…If a Hindu boy marry a Christian girl they force her to practice Hinduism…We can’t evangelize openly, yes it effects our work.”

It can be a difficult and dangerous world for God’s people – misunderstanding, persecution, danger, even death – but we are not left without hope. I leave you with the same passage that I finished with on Sunday – an important reminder that God continues to work in and through us as we wait for the return of our beloved Savior:

Philippians 1:6 “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

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