John 17:14-19

Today is the first time we have connected in February. The Super Bowl is over; the Trump impeachment trial is over but the ramifications and bickering will continue; the Iowa Caucuses are over: and on a critically important note.... Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog told everyone how much winter was left.

Oh and by the way, the folks from PETA which is the group advocating animal rights to the extreme, and I love animals, wants a robotic AI groundhog to do this in the future. The silly season doesn’t ever end.

There are so many things I would like to say about some of this but I will defer.

But a few more takeaways... Franklin Graham was slated to speak often and share The Gospel and God’s love in Liverpool and elsewhere in Great Britain, but is cancelling and changing his schedule because of LGBTQ opposition. They didn’t want to hear the story. The story of hope and redemption that everyone needs.

China, which is at the dangerous epicenter of what could be a worldwide health threat, is still promoting atheism, even in Wuhan province where this epidemic is widespread, as it won’t allow Christian funerals. Many victim’s families have begged but to no avail. And believers are increasingly jailed and persecuted.

Anti Semitism is on a rampant rise in Europe even as observations are and have been held for those millions who have died in the Holocaust in WWII. Looting and beatings and other crimes against the Jewish population in Germany and France are high.

The Super Bowl, which plays up their multimillion dollar commercials, wouldn’t allow a very tasteful pro life commercial to be aired. Double standard. And when pro life Democrats, in the media, asked some of the Democratic candidates in Iowa if there was room for pro life supporters who wanted to vote for them, they were ignored and got no support. At the same time the President champions pro life causes.

So what is a pro lifer to do when they vote? Can’t we all realize abortion shouldn’t be a form of birth control. And why can’t we find common ground to make adoption easier and reduce the need and heartache of it.

The poor CEO of the Hallmark Channel was pushed to resign because of LGBTQ pressure because they originally wouldn’t allow gay marriage programs on their long time family show network.

And in the media, Christian thought and ideas are smashed consistently. I could go on and on.

Here is my premise, ponder it. God loves all people. Jesus died for everyone and rose again and is the epitome of love. Sometimes Christians aren’t as loving as they should be and sometimes the messengers aren’t what they maybe could be, none are perfect.

But the message is, the Word is and Jesus is. It seems to me more all the time that the only bigotry that’s tolerated and even encouraged in their world today is against Christians and Jews who are both fair game. It intensifies everywhere but then it’s a sign of the times.

But God is sovereign and it will all work out. Many people lose their very lives for the Gospel. We only see a tip of that iceberg. But the key is this... hold fast and know that all that matters is your faithfulness.

The times will get worse but the duty of every faithful Christian is to pray and stay true and as I said last week, let others see from you and in you the love of God. Pray for those worldwide who are persecuted. Pray for those blinded to God’s love to open their eyes. Pray you never waiver and your first love for the Lord hold fast. Pray for renewal and revival. Be involved.

But remember, we are citizens of Heaven and as Jesus said, we are to be in the world but not of it. Being in the world and sharing and living your beliefs and faith set you up for criticism but rather than hiding you must be in the world if you are to have impact. You don’t conform to it, however.

We are called to be salt and light as Jesus said. My wish for all of you is to be very salty and a bright beam of light to shine in a dark world.

As Christians we must not be about hate but love. We are to hate evil but love good and we must share God’s love in word, thought and deed. Some may not like it but it’s who we must be.

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