DO YOU WANT TO WANT?

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Here we are, four days post-Easter weekend, and I am once again just absolutely in awe of my Savior’s perfect love and the ultimate sacrifice He made for my sin. I am so refreshed in my relationship with Jesus when I am reminded of all that He has done for me, and I pray the same for you.

You know, I was so encouraged this weekend when I saw people sharing their testimonies and posting Scripture that was impacting them, as well as how they were celebrating Jesus. It was simply incredible! Christians were actually publicly professing to be followers of Jesus. However, when Monday came, all of those things ceased. It was as if Easter was just a slight “interruption” in their lives and nothing more than that.

What happened?

I can’t tell you how many individuals I heard say that they just felt different. Many expressed that they felt content with where God had them. Others explained that were falling in love with God’s Word again, and that they knew God was trying to speak to them in powerful ways.

Then, most of them went back to their worldly “normal”.

You probably already have an idea of where I am going with this, but allow me to ask you a question…

If we feel so free when we are actually doing what God commands of His followers, why wouldn’t we want to be a part of that every day?

It pains me to see how quickly our love and devotion for Jesus fades, and how fast we run back to materialistic things and glorifying ourselves.

We so desperately want to be God!

Somehow, we have tricked ourselves into thinking that three days is really enough because we want to get back to our “normal”. Are you content with spending three days to mourn your sin, celebrate the cross, and post lifechanging Scripture?

I’m not.

A.W. Tozer once prayed, “O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, ‘Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.’ Then give me the grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wondered so long.”

I want to want Thee. That is my prayer. I want Jesus more than anything else. Church, are we ashamed of our lack of desire for Him?

The good news is this… If you’re not content with only feeling free for three days, you don’t have to be. Jesus can help you change; you just have to choose Him above all else.

If you want to want Him, make different choices. It all starts with your choices.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do people know you are a follower of Jesus?

= What keeps you from living for Him?

= What are you going to do differently?

THE GOAL OF POSTMODERNISM

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

This week, I am finishing my Philosophy college class, and as I did with many of my writings from my Government class, I am going to share a paper with you that I recently wrote for class. It addresses the topic and issue of Postmodernism, and its goal to dismantle Christianity by overturning traditional standards. I pray this opens your mind (as it did mine) to the influence the enemy has on our culture. The enemy has his fangs so deeply rooted in our culture, and I believe Jesus is calling us to go to war with Him against this evil that threatens many precious souls.

Postmodernism Paper

Postmodernism, in Western philosophy, is defined as a late 20th-century movement distinguished by its broad skepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power (Dunigan, 2020). The concept is primarily a reaction that is opposed to the intellectual assumptions and values of the modern period in the history of Western philosophy, which would have been around the 17th through the 19th century. The doctrines characteristically associated with Postmodernism can reasonably be explained as the uncomplicated denial of general philosophical viewpoints during the 18th century Enlightenment.

Present revolutions have changed the direction of modern history. There are, really, three revolutions currently taking place, a revolution in science being one of them. The second is a revolution in philosophy, which aims to overturn traditional philosophic thinking, and lastly, there is a revolution in communication (Catorce, 2013).

Scientific thought has proven incorrect on multiple occasions. There was even a time when some people in the scientific world were convinced that the world was flat. It did not matter how confidently they believed and taught it to be true –– their position was still completely faulty. Modern secular science goes against a literal six-day creation, despite the fact that God clearly reveals this truth (Broggi, 2018). Many are troubled by the fact that Universities are suddenly turning experiential rather than rational. In our world today, youth especially, determine what is true by means of sight and not by means of critical thinking. Young people are not often challenged as to what they think regarding their worldview. God, however, has designed us with ears to listen and minds to think with conscience. We were made to think about how we think. At our present time, communication is purely visual and makes our eyes listen without the use of our conscience. Most of the intellectual battlefields today are on college campuses, where students’ deep convictions about race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation and their social justice antipathy toward capitalism, imperialism, racism, white privilege, misogyny and “cissexist heteropatriarchy” have bumped up against the reality of contradictory facts and opposing views, leading to campus chaos and even violence (Shermer, 2017). This point goes hand-in-hand with the previous. Unlimited influence of technology has made critical thought obsolete. The evidence can be clearly seen when looking at my own generation. Young people are reliant upon social media, not only for communication, but for news and the truth. Many feel as if the media is trustworthy.

It is indeed the goal of Postmodernism to dismantle Christianity by overturning traditional standards. While Postmodernism may propose harmony and community, it is done at the expense of eliminating morality and the things we know to be good. While it seeks inter-relatedness and interdependence of all things, the end result is uncertainty (Catorce, 2013). Postmodernism teaches that the Bible is not something unique or distinct from all other books, and that the Laws of God are mere suggestions, or just another way of looking at reality. I cannot and will not believe in Postmodernism because I believe that the ONLY Absolute Truth is the living Word of God. The spiritual, the mental, the emotional, are all realities that the physical world simply cannot explain, but the Word of God does! It is a constant in a world that is consistently changing. The principle of relativity now expressed in arts, architecture, philosophy, economics, politics, language, literature, and texts will eventually produce a Post-modernized youth culture (Catorce, 2013).

After studying Postmodernism, I believe that Evangelical Christians should respond to it by asking two simple questions… Is the Word of God Absolute Truth, and are we willing to let people believe the lie that we are simply shaped by our culture and that there is nothing unique about mankind? If the answer to question one is yes, and the answer to question two is no, then we cannot compromise the things we know to be right and true by agreeing with Postmodernism thought.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Which of the three revolutions have you encountered the most?

= What are you going to do differently?

References

Broggi, C. (2018, August 24). Postmodernism. Answers In Genesis.

https://answersingenesis.org/world-religions/postmodernism/

Catorce, I. (2013, January 04). Post-Modernism and Its Influence on the Church. Asbury

Theological Seminary. https://asburyseminary.edu/elink/post-modernism-its-influence-in-the-church/

Dunigan, B. (2020, September 04). Postmodernism. Britannica.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/postmodernism-philosophy

Nash, R. (1999). Life’s Ultimate Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy. Zondervan.

Shermer, M. (2017, September 01). The Unfortunate Fallout of Campus Postmodernism.

Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-unfortunate-fallout-of-campus-postmodernism/

SECONDARY

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

How many of us wish there were more hours in a day, or that we could be more productive than we are currently? Go ahead and raise your hand if you do. Ok, maybe don’t do that, especially if you’re in public reading this post, ha!

I think we can all agree, however, that our days, weeks, and months fly by because of how much we tend to pack into our schedules, which is usually our excuse for missing out on all the “Jesus stuff”. Whether that be our personal time with Him reading His Word, going to church, or even serving others, we mark those things as, what I call, “optional tasks”.

About a month ago, my family was invited to share at a church that we have been doing ministry alongside for a few years now. My dad preached a powerful message where he gave some good, practical life advice that I want us all to think about.

He explained that most of us go to school or work every day with the intention to do exactly that, school or work. Who knows, maybe you are doing both right now. Whatever the case may be, we go to those places every single day making assignments or jobs our main priorities, when really, they should be secondary.

Allow me to elaborate…

I’m sure y’all have heard or read Colossians 3:23-24 before which says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Seems to be a pretty straightforward verse, right? Most of us read that and believe it is saying to do things with excellence because we should do everything as if we were working for the Lord. While that is partially true, I think as Christians we have provided ourselves with a very clever excuse.

To speak plainly, I think we have tricked our minds into thinking that we can participate in every worldly thing we find satisfactory, so long as we say that we “look at it” the right way. Have you ever heard someone say, “Well, I don’t think I should quit doing some of the worldly stuff (which usually isn’t bad in and of themselves) I’m involved in because I can be a witness there”? Yeah, me too.

What that typically means is, “I don’t want to quit, so I’ll trick myself into thinking that Jesus is my priority and that I’m doing it for the right reasons, even though I’m really not.”

I don’t mean that harshly, but y’all know I’m not afraid to speak truthfully.

Simple question: What would happen if we would all go to our schools and workplaces with the intention to share the Gospel and live for Jesus, not just to complete assignments or jobs?

Get this y’all, if you work at a factory, you’re first priority should not be to make as many parts as possible today. Your goal should be to pray for the individual next to you who might be struggling with family issues.

Do you need to make parts? Sure. But that’s secondary.

Maybe you’re a teacher or a bus driver. Your first priority should not be to make sure kids are learning or that everyone gets picked up/dropped off on time. While those things are very important, your primary intention should be to talk about how good Jesus has been to you and how much He loves each one of them, as openly as possible.

Every kid you’re around should know that you love Jesus with all of your heart, and that Jesus loves them with all of His heart. Stop with the excuses of why you can’t.

The word “can’t” should not exist in a Christian’s vocabulary.

Maybe you work for a welding company, or work on big cranes all day. Maybe you sit beside a girl at school during lunch who doesn’t eat because she is insecure and has been bullied because of it.

Perhaps a teacher at your school mentioned she just lost a baby, or you know the kid at the back of the class during third semester plans to deal drugs after school is over. When you just start to look around, you will quickly realize that God did not create you and give you life only to do schoolwork or change tires every day.

Are those the things you have to do every day, absolutely! But those are the means by which you are able to meet new people, encourage them, challenge them, pray for them, and speak joy and life into them!

Jesus and His Kingdom should be first in our lives. The task of sharing the Gospel should ALWAYS be your first priority. Let everything else fall in the “secondary” list.

“Do I live in the world as carelessly as others do, and yet make a profession of being a follower of Jesus? Then I am exposing my faith to ridicule and leading men to speak evil of the very name Christian… O, Lord, keep me so. O Lord, make me sincere and true.”   (Charles Spurgeon)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are you going to do differently?

BETTER THAN THEY’RE USED TO

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you ever thought about how terrible a life that unbelievers are living right now? Don’t get me wrong, any day without Jesus is a terrible day, but we are living in a critical time where evil is at an all-time high.  I’m going to be completely up front with y’all and say that I think many Christians only make it worse for a lot of people most days.  

In the American Church, we have less “doers” than we have “big talkers”.

Should unbelievers make a choice to follow Jesus if they want to live a joyful and satisfying life? Yes, absolutely. But how are they ever going to know that they have an opportunity to do so, when so called “Christians” treat them no differently than everybody else they are used to encountering on a daily basis?

A couple years ago, I remember walking into a gas station in a small country town close by, and as my mom and I were checking out, we noticed that one of the young ladies working there was almost in tears as she walked in from helping a customer outside with their pump. As she walked behind the counter, she explained to a fellow co-worker that the pump was broken, and that the customer yelled at her (multiple times) because she was unsure of how to fix it.

At this time, I could hear the individual outside yelling as they pulled around to use a different pump than they typically used on Tuesdays, or whatever day it was. Let’s just say that many profanities occurred, and it was less than a pretty sight. As I turned to look out the window to see all the craziness, I was utterly shocked.

It was someone from my church.

The young lady who had just got done dealing with them, now crying, told the co-worker that she couldn’t understand why everyone is in such a hurry and harsh to people who are just trying to make it in life. To say that I was mortified would be an understatement, but even more than that, I hoped with every fiber of my being that those young ladies working had no clue that this individual claimed to be a Christian.

1 Peter 3:8-12 says, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.”

What I wish for y’all to get from this week’s post is that, as The Few, we are called to love people better than they’re used to. They are constantly getting beat up by the world, just like you and I are, but unlike us, they have no clue what to do with that. They aren’t going to the Lord like we do or should do.

Guys, no wonder the suicide stats, drug use, and divorce rates have gone crazy especially as of late due to the lockdowns and isolation!

So many Christians, young and old, go to their schools, workplaces, grocery stores, churches, and act like everyone else they are around all day.

I love how A.W. Tozer explained why the Church cannot afford to live in such a way. He said, “Modern Christians hope to save the world by being like it, but it will never work. The Church’s power over the world springs out of her unlikeness to it, never from her integration into it.”

So, let me challenge you today, friend. Stop trying to imitate the world! You were never made to be like it, live like it, or act like it. God’s intentions for us are wholly different than what the sinful world wants and convinces us we should want for ourselves.

We’re so focused on us, that we completely forget about Him (God) and them (the people God has made).

I hope The Few will choose to love people so much better than they’re used to and make them wonder why because of how radically different it appears.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”  (Colossians 3:12-14)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= In what ways did you not love people like Jesus this week?

= What are you going to do differently?

I TALK BACK

We may not see it, we might even forget it’s there, but I believe the biggest battle is going on in the spiritual realm, even as I type. The enemy loves nothing more than for us to begin our days discouraged and defeated, bringing fear and stress into our homes, schools, and workplaces.

Which is what many of us fall into most days.

If your actions are like salt and light in this dark world, it is only a matter of time before you encounter spiritual warfare. The Devil will hurl obstacles and attacks in your face all day long. God challenges us, however, to stand guard and be alert against these schemes, and to stay intimately close to Him.

The Word of God is our sword, and He equips us with strength, wisdom, and discernment through the Holy Spirit. He invites us to spend time in His presence, pressing in to know Him more.

As we begin to understand God’s truth and what is real, we also know more of what is false, and we are stronger to stand against it in the powerful name of Jesus. He never leaves us to fend for ourselves in an evil world, but reminds us that He is constantly with us, fighting for us, even when we cannot see.

Luke 10:19 says, “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” 

This is powerful y’all. That verse right there should change your attitude when you wake up in the morning. No doubt, we are certainly living in enemy occupied territory. But Jesus has given us authority over the enemy!

Praying God’s words back to Him is one of the most powerful weapons against the forces of evil. A practice Jesus made a priority. It reminds us that God knows our way and understands what we face. It allows us to be solely dependent upon Him and trust Him. It guards our hearts and focuses our minds back on Him.

It wins the battle.

Christians need to start talking back to the Devil. God’s people need to remind the enemy over and over who he really is, and the authority we have over Him because of what Jesus did on the cross.

A.W. Tozer once said, “I say, “Yes, Devil, sin is terrible – but I remind you that I got it from you! And I remind you, Devil, that everything good – forgiveness and cleansing and blessing – everything that is good I have freely received from Jesus Christ!””

In our prayer and praise we should talk back to the Devil. I’m asking believers to throw God’s Word in the Devil’s face every single chance they get.

Psalm 44:5 says, “Through You we will push back our adversaries, through Your name we will trample down those who rise up against us.” 

Through the name of Jesus, amen? May He teach us, help us, and sustain us. I want to be better for Him, better than I was yesterday.

I talk back to the devil by claiming victory. How about you, Christian?

“My main ambition in life is to be on the Devil’s most wanted list.”  (Leonard Ravenhill)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you encountering spiritual warfare?

= Do you pray God’s words back to Him?

= What are you going to do differently?

A SCANDAL

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you ever been part of a scandal? A scandal where people mocked you, thought that they were superior when compared to you, and were entertained by the gossip that makes its rounds whenever scandals take place?

Big or small, the world feeds off of stories that involve people’s personal lives. Why else do you think people buy the magazines at the grocery checkouts that tell of all the latest gossip?

You’re probably wondering why I would bring this topic up in a blog post. So, allow me to share about a scandal Christians should, yes should, be a part of and a quote that I came across recently that gave me this crazy analogy…

“If you are going to walk with Jesus Christ, you are going to be opposed. In our days, to be a true Christian is really to become a scandal.”  (George Whitefield)

Now, here comes the part where I beat us all up a little bit. I hope it will be worth your time to read to the end.

Let me start by asking two simple questions… 1. Are you opposed daily? 2. Did you know that an antonym for the word “scandal” is “honor”? To be honored in this world should drive a follower of Jesus mad. If we are standing in the company of worldly worshippers while they praise us for our achievements, then we do not have the right to call ourselves Christians. For, to be honored by the world is indeed the biggest disgrace a Christian can be paid.

Far be it from me that I should receive a crown of worldly honor, when my King was given a crown of thorns.

Matthew 5:10-12 says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.””

To be a scandal for the world should be a blessing for believers, but only if it is for righteousness’ sake. You know, the American Church has done a terrific job at turning people into selfish creatures that live to consume. Most Christians think that we are persecuted if we take our Bible to our favorite coffee shop to read, buy a $7 coffee, and then get weird looks because we brought our Bible.

The thing is, if we were a scandal for Jesus, then we wouldn’t be focused on who’s looking at us. We would be focused on what we’re reading in the Word and then living it out!

There’s a huge difference.

I’ve been especially noticing as of late that even the most religious “Church-goers” are not in their Bibles during the week, let alone the average “Church-goers”. Therefore, they are not opposed by the world, but instead happily welcomed into it. Sure, they could probably tell you what they learned on Sunday from the pastor, but the Church isn’t a scandal, so it really makes very little difference.

The enemy doesn’t need to threaten them because they aren’t being transformed by Scripture personally!

1 John 3:1 says, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”

If you are a child of God, live like it. Be a scandal the world just can’t get over because you know who you are in Jesus, and what you’re meant to do for Jesus.

“There is not a thing on the face of the earth that I abhor so much as idleness or idle people.”  (George Whitefield)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you a true Christian?

= What are you going to do differently?

WITHIN ONESELF

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I am not one to sit down and watch many movies or television shows, but a couple months ago, a certain individual recommended a show to me that I had previously been unaware of. After I watched the first episode, I was hooked, because it is based upon something I have always loved learning about.

I regret to inform you that I must refrain from mentioning the name of this, now beloved show, as I hope to name my sons after them one day. Yes, you read that right. Call me crazy or whatever you wish, I love it that much now, ha!

I can say, however, that this show involves the true story of one of the greatest fights in history, and the few Americans who were willing to sacrifice all. It’s a story that should inspire every American. In the show, these few friends display how they are more than willing to fight for what they believe in.

I was struck by one thing in particular though. The show keeps stressing the point that each individual had to continue sacrificing very personal things that they loved and held dear in order to move forward and advance for the sake of their cause.

It wasn’t just this one and done kind of thing.

This really got me thinking. How many of us believe that once we’ve decided to follow Jesus, we’ve sacrificed enough? That our decision is simply enough? We think that once we give Him our attention once, that’s good enough. What I’ve found, is that it is extremely difficult to measure sacrifice; it often seems to me that it is a road with no end.

Once we give God our attention, He wishes for it to remain devoted. Then He demands our time, effort, and love.

I’ve personally found that it is easy to share the gospel, be consistent in my prayer life, and love those who have hurt me deeply, if I but first have the courage to face the battles within my own soul. You see, our cause is easy to fight for, our loved ones are easy to defend, our Churches are easy to protect. Those are the easy battles we will face in life.

But to fight within oneself feelings of uncertainty, the willingness to sacrifice everything, and abandonment of self; indeed, this is the most demanding and perplexed fight you will ever face.

1 Peter 2:21 says, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.”

The entire purpose of Jesus’ life was to show us how to serve and sacrifice for the greatest cause and the greatest Kingdom. We have and never will have any reason to think that we have arrived at the point in our lives of ultimate sacrifice.

As I stated earlier, we cannot measure it.

So often sacrifice hurts so badly that we think we have done enough. We think, in a way, that we are entitled and deserve to be rewarded. This is one of the first battles that must be won within oneself.

Church, we must achieve selflessness to the point of personal sacrifice. This, at its core, is what Jesus lived to show us.

“Every true Christian is both a laborer and a soldier, working with one hand, and fighting with the other. Good work is likely to go on with success, when those who labor in it, make a business of it. And Satan fears to assault the watchful Christian; or, if attacked, the Lord fights for him. Thus, must we wait to the close of life, never putting off our armor till our work and warfare are ended; then we shall be welcomed to the rest and joy of our Lord.”  (Matthew Henry)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Is it hard for you to sacrifice your time, effort, and love for God’s Kingdom?

= Are you working with one hand and fighting with the other?

= What are you going to do differently?

THE BONES IN MY HANDS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Ever since I was little, I have always loved blessing others. Little notes, cleaning and preparing places where people can relax and enjoy themselves. It’s just my thing. My family will tell you that hospitality is one of the gifts God has given me. If you’re an extreme introvert, then there’s probably nothing that stretches you more than being hospitable. I mean, we are certainly not drawn to that kind of thing naturally, are we?

However, Jesus changed what I naturally want to do, and I hope you come to realize that very same thing for yourself after reading this post.

Many of us are in a season of waiting in one way or another right now. Maybe you’re waiting on God to answer your prayers for someone’s health, waiting to hear from a specific College, waiting to find your future spouse, or waiting to get an interview for that job you desperately want. Whatever it is, we’re all waiting on something or someone. As I was thinking about this, the following hit me.

If we’re waiting on God, we need to do what waiters do: serve.

Galatians 5:13 says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

How many of us use our freedom in order to satisfy our flesh? Yeah, me too. We were made, however, to serve those around us humbly. I don’t care who you are or where you live, that just doesn’t come naturally. The majority of people on this planet don’t just do that!

Jesus actually expects His followers to serve; not be served.

Just in case you need a reminder, this whole thing is NOT in any way about us. Jesus modeled this perfectly for believers. He always worked with His hands.

I know a lot of Christians who say all the right things and who could tell you what each of the Beatitudes are, but not once have they picked up their own cross and made their goal to love others in their mess like Jesus did.

This is my point y’all. It is so easy to be that person without knowing it, and I do not want that to be us.

Romans 12:11 says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”

You can’t serve like Jesus if you haven’t been radically changed by Jesus and have a zeal that only He can give. Anyone can hand out food to the homeless. Anyone can donate some money or drive someone to a doctor’s appointment.

Anyone can serve, but only a few will serve like Jesus. Only a few will wipe tears with compassion, preach with mercy, and listen with self-control.

“For you will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.”  (C.S. Lewis)

My question for you is this… What do you want your hands to look like when you get to Heaven?

God, may the bones in my hands be warn, broken down, and tattered when I reach you. Let my hands resemble yours only for the purpose of loving others without abandon for your glory.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= How can you serve someone like Jesus would right now?

= Do you serve others for you own glory or His?

= What are you going to do differently?

THE PROBLEM WITH I, ME, AND MY

(Guest Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

I discovered the writings of Watchman Nee about two years ago wandering through a book store’s discount shelves. I had heard of him before but had never read any of his work. So, when I stumbled upon a copy of The Normal Christian Life for $5.00, I snagged it! I am so glad I did! He has easily become one of my favorite authors and teachers.

Watchman Nee was a Bible Teacher and Evangelist in China from approximately 1923 – 1952. He founded over 200 churches and wrote more than 50 books. Starting his ministry while still a university student, Nee gathered small groups in homes and helped them grow into spiritually strong, self-supporting churches. He was arrested for preaching the Gospel in 1952 and was imprisoned until his death in 1972.

Watchman Nee’s books are filled with the forgotten secrets of spiritual strength and power. He pulls no punches in reminding us where we need to step up. I would say, he has much to teach us given his success in living out the Gospel, even under persecution.

Let’s dive into some of the life-changing truth that can be found in just the first chapter of Watchman Nee’s, A Normal Christian Life!

So, what is the “normal” Christian life? Is it the Americanized version of Christianity, where we show up to a church service a couple of times a week, serve on some committees, donate to a few charities?

Oh friends, I for one, am longing for something much deeper and richer than that. My desire, for myself, and for you, is that we would, honestly and for a long while, ponder what Jesus would consider to be the “normal” Christian life.

Considering even a small portion of Jesus’ teaching, the Sermon on the Mount, for example, where He lays out the Beatitudes, can leave us wondering whether it is even possible for a mere human to live up to such expectations. But, that is precisely the point and the good news! It is not possible for a mere human to live up to those expectations.

Our saving grace lies in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” I no longer live, but Christ lives His life in me. You no longer live, but Christ lives His life in you.

So simple. Utterly complete. Undeniably clear. Yet, it still eludes us. Why?

Let me speak for myself here. I look at the Beatitudes and think… How can I be more meek, more merciful? I will donate my time and my money to a charity. How can I become more righteous? I will memorize the whole Bible and quote Scripture to my sinner friends! How can I be a peacemaker? I will bite my tongue, even though I really want to tear that person up for offending me!

Do you hear the problem with my questions and my answers? Those little pronouns that trip us up every time. “I” and “me/my”.

Nee reminds us that, “God makes it quite clear in His Word that He has only one answer to every human need: His Son, Jesus Christ. In all His dealings with us, He works by taking us out of the way and substituting Christ in our place.”

You see, Jesus died instead of you so you can be forgiven. He must live instead of you so that you can live a “normal” Christian life. Jesus was your substitute on the cross who secures your forgiveness, and He must be your substitute in life to secure your victory.

You can donate your time and money to charitable causes, but those you are serving should see Jesus and not you. You absolutely should memorize Scripture, but it should be for the purpose of knowing God and making Him known; to deepen your relationship with Jesus so that He becomes the love of your life. You definitely should hold your tongue and not respond in anger at an offense, but it should be because you are looking at the other person through Jesus eyes; seeing that they are lost and in need of His saving grace.

We can strive to live a Christian life in our own power. We might even succeed in upholding most of Jesus’ commands for a short time, but it will only be for a short time. If our hearts are not truly and completely substituted with Jesus’ heart, our sinful nature will win out eventually. Have you not found that to be true?

The only way to live a “normal” Christian life is to “keep constantly before us this fact: God will answer all our questions in one way and one way only, namely, by showing us more of His Son.”

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you try to be a “good Christian” on your own most of the time?

= In what way did this post encourage/challenge you today?

= What are you going to do differently?

THE WAY OUT

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I feel like I’m in a stage of mourning something right now. Anyone else? We’ve been talking a lot about what’s going on in our Country, and y’all know that we are certainly mourning that. However, I am experiencing a sense of sadness over the state of Christianity that I never have before.

You know, I think that many of us are thinking that we’ve got the future to get serious about Jesus. Madie hit on that topic so well in the blog post she wrote for all of us last week. But if that’s your mindset, I would just challenge you to walk through a cemetery sometime.

Just read the dates on the tomb stones. It’s not just elderly people who die.

It’s insane, when you walk through a cemetery. It’s just shocking. It’s like, what? They were only 18. 24? 31? Oh, ok 94 I expected that, but 50? Seven?

1 Peter 4:7, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.”

This is a weird verse, because usually we think of prayer as a means to an end, right? I’m going to pray so that I can gain this. Ok, that’s Biblical. But here, scripture tells us that prayer is the end. Meaning, I want your prayers to be strong, because the end could come at any time for any of us, and the one thing you really want to have together when that happens is your prayer life.

Self-control is key. Peter is telling us to not give into all the things that could mess up our prayer lives. It is so crucial that we protect what goes into our minds, whether that be YouTube videos, news apps, sports etc… So that when we pray, we aren’t going a million miles an hour.

That’s what I see so many of us doing right now though! See, the quality of our prayer time is often determined by what we do before we even utter the first word.

Don’t you want to be one of those people that when you see Christ you’re just like, ahh! I was just talking with you a few minutes ago! There you are!

I mean, that’s what we want, right?

Listen, the problem is that many Christians can walk through the cemetery, realize that Christianity is dying, and not be bothered by it. While some of us are mourning that it’s dying and that no one even sees that it is.

If you’re one of The Few, I know that you’re probably feeling helpless and frustrated by the fact that no one wants to do anything about it. I get it, but read this quote…

“Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.” (C.S. Lewis)

Come on, somebody! This isn’t the first time Christianity has been in the cemetery and six feet under. Our God is not bothered by the grave. The impossible has never stopped Him. He knows the way out.

Now, this isn’t a post for those who aren’t bothered by the fact that Christianity is dying. This is a post for those who are mourning that it is.

I clarify, because for some, this sounds like I’m saying that we can just sit back and do nothing, when in reality, I’m saying the complete opposite.

I’m reminding The Few that God isn’t done with us. There is still much to be done. There are still souls to be won, and while that be the case, God will continue to lead us out of the grave.

I’m reminded of Mark 1:1-5 which tells us about how the demonized man lived. It says, “They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesushad stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.”

All the enemy has to do in order to win us is keep us among the tombs. We don’t even have to be bound. We just have to be willing to stay there.

The point: There’s a way out.

Church, Jesus is calling us out of our graves. Though the way out may appear to us unworkable, our Savior is a waymaker.

He knows the way out because He has been here before.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are you going to do differently?

SITTING QUIETLY

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

For my birthday this past week (since I was not going to cave in and wear a mask in order to do anything in public), I decided that I would stay at home and watch all of ‘The Hobbit’ and all of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies. As usual, I have found some very good blog post material.  

While watching the first of ‘The Hobbit’ movies, ‘An Unexpected Journey’, I noticed a line that had not previously held much meaning for me personally, but is extremely relevant in this time of uncertainty. At the beginning of the movie, Gandalf (a wizard) comes to the door of a very respectable Hobbit, called Bilbo Baggins. Gandalf asks Bilbo if he would like to partake in an adventure. Bilbo responds with an extremely adamant “no” and tells him that adventures are “nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!”

But you cannot very easily give Gandalf a “no” for an answer, so he shows up that night with thirteen dwarves whose home has been taken from them by the dragon, Smaug, and who are now hoping to reclaim it. However, they need a burglar. We find out, Gandalf has nominated Bilbo for this position, and has the contract all written up and everything! Bilbo becomes so worked up about the adventure, and the dragon, and even just the dwarves, that he literally passes out!

In the next scene, he comes to and is sitting in his armchair with a cup of tea while he and Gandalf have an exchange that I believe is very important. Listen closely to what is said. “I’ll be fine, just let me sit quietly for a moment,” said Bilbo. “You’ve been sitting quietly for far too long!” Was the response Gandalf gave.  

I had never noticed this line with much significance, as I said before, but this time it really popped out to me. I think now more than ever this quote is so relevant to the Church. With all the things that have been going on in our world recently like the illegitimate presidency and the virus that is supposedly the leading cause of death now, it has become very much apparent to me how weak and quiet the Church has become. I mean seriously, we are failing at our job. Jesus intended the Church to be the force that would speak out against evil, defend the defenseless, be influential in our communities, but no. We have decided that it is far, far easier to sit quietly in our churches, and do nothing.  

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”  (2 Corinthians 11:13-15) 

Did you know that it has been an entire year since the first case of the China virus hit the United States, and we have lots of actual evidence that masks are completely, and utterly useless? Yet churches and businesses around the country are still demanding that you wear them if you want to come into their building. Did you know that political corruption has been taking place since, at least, the time Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office and the Church has ignored the evidence that has been given about this?

Did you also know that the church has done absolutely nothing to speak up for the rights we have as American citizens, and as Christians, to end this corruption? Honestly, what has the church done during this time other than comply to what the government has told us, without them giving us any factual evidence as to why we should obey EVERYTHING they say without pause?  I know that many people are saying, “We can win the next election.” “Just focus on being an influence in your community and your schools.”

But if we are being completely honest with ourselves, there is never going to be another fair election, if the current corruption is not dealt with. It will not matter who is on your school boards because we will be completely controlled by the government. You will not get to worship freely anymore. You will not get to own guns anymore. Some of these things are happening right now.

This whole entire thing with the virus has merely been a test to see who will comply with whatever our leaders say no matter how ridiculous, no matter how false, no matter how senseless. And they have succeeded in this goal, because hardly anyone has offered up any opposition whatsoever; especially not the Church.  

We have been sitting quietly for far too long, and while we have been silent, darkness and evil have over-run our world. My fear is that some of us still do not grasp this truth. We continue to be blind and ignorant of these things. We think that if we ignore it long enough it will just magically disappear, or if we ignore it, it will never affect our personal lives. This is no longer the case.

It used to be that we could ignore the issues in our world to an extent. It used to be that we could leave it to the politicians and scientists, but we no longer have that option. Our world has become so corrupt that it seems like no one can trust anyone else.

The Church should be the place where people can go to be educated about some of the things that are happening, but all they are getting from us is the fluff about how “it doesn’t matter who is in the White House because the same God is on the throne.” That is simply not the entire truth of the matter! Yes, God is still on the throne, but it still matters who is in the White House. It matters because, I believe that God has given the United States of America an opportunity to be “The Last Best Hope” in the world.

If we allow evil to take over our country, the world will be lost. Have no doubt. 

Church, we must stand up! We must stop sitting quietly because we have been doing so for far too long! Some say it is too late, and it may be. But we must try nonetheless! This evil MUST be defeated.  

For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”  (Romans 8:6-7) 

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Have you been sitting quietly?

= What’s one way you can help defeat corruption?

= What are you going to do differently?

POWER OF THE PATRIOT

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Yesterday was exhausting for so many of us. It was discouraging. It was more than sickening. Many of us would have rather been six feet under than forced to see “that man”, you know who, get into office.

It doesn’t seem like there’s anything left to fight for, or even to defend. However, I took a little trip down memory lane yesterday, and the Lord started to remind me of some hopeful truths. You see, in October we had the chance to Truck for Trump, and it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever been a part of.

Why? Because every person who was involved was kind, joyful, and had pride in what it meant to be an American.

It hit me, as I was looking back through some of those pictures, that there are 80 million Patriots who know the truth. There are 80 million of us who love this Country that God has given us to protect and prosper in.

Ok, I know y’all probably don’t have much hope right now and are ready to call it quits, but please allow me to speak some truth over you today… 80 million Patriots who love God, the truth, and their Country are much more powerful than 100 people who might be sitting in the White House today.

Are those people powerful and in a position of leadership? Yes, absolutely. But, like Thomas Paine once said, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”

We, just like the Founding Fathers who made America what it is, have an opportunity to begin again and in such a way that brings us back to God and the reason for our Nation. We can show people that being an American means to preserve our God-given freedom on a daily basis. We can be an example of how to exercise those freedoms wherever God has placed us.

The fight isn’t over, and you are utterly fooled if you think it is. This battle that we are in is not against flesh and blood, although it may come to that. It will always be a spiritual battle first and foremost.

Colossians 1:13 gives me great hope for those who pursue what is right. It says, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

The only reason we have the opportunity to begin again is because of the victory we have in Jesus, but we must pursue the victory provided. It does not just appear out of thin air. We must not turn a blind eye to the devil in times like the present.

We are soldiers in Christ’s army. Aiding the broken and hopeless souls by sharing that we have found the Captain of salvation! What America needs now is not unity, but complete restoration and an overwhelming sense of conviction.

We have the opportunity. The question is, will we seize it?

“When once a Republic is corrupted, there is no possibility of remedying any of the growing evils but by removing the corruption and restoring it’s lost principles; every other correction is either useless or a new evil.”  (Thomas Jefferson)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Have you lost hope?

= Will you seize the opportunity?

= What are you going to do differently?

GOT MY HEART GOING

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Each evening, before I go to sleep, I have been reading through some of C.S. Lewis’ books. Why I choose to do this at night I have yet to figure out, as his words are extremely thought-provoking and make my mind wander to very deep places.

On Sunday evening, however, a good friend texted me (on accident actually) as I was reading, and we just started talking about Jesus and the great things we’d been studying recently, because we’re going through the same devotional book. So, I told her about this C.S. Lewis book that I’m reading, and I sent her a picture of the page I was on when she texted.

This is the part of the book that I sent her…

“But creatures are not thus separate from their Creator, nor can He misunderstand them. The place for which He designs them in His scheme of things is the place they are made for. When they reach it, their nature is fulfilled and their happiness attained: a broken bone in the universe has been set, the anguish is over.

When we want to be something other than the thing God wants us to be, we must be wanting what, in fact, will not make us happy. Those Divine demands which sounds to our natural ears most like those of a despot and least like those of a lover, in fact marshal us where we should want to go if we knew what we wanted. He demands our worship, our obedience, our prostration. Do we suppose that they can do Him any good, or fear, like the chorus in Milton, that human irrelevance can bring about ‘His glory’s diminution’?

A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of His cell. But God wills our good, and our good is to love Him (with that responsive love proper to creatures) and to love Him we must know Him: and if we know Him, we shall in fact fall on our faces.”

The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis. Originally Published in 1940.

My friend’s response was this, “It’s so good! You got my heart going.” I was struck by her words. Not for the reason that I thought she wouldn’t like it, but I was struck by how she said that it “got her heart going”.

Whenever I read something about Christ’s love for me and how He wants to have this intimate relationship with me, I have this natural longing to love Him more deeply. I really don’t even have to think about it; it’s just natural.

But it got me thinking, how many people would read something like what I sent my friend from a book, and not think a second thought about it? Or, allow me to go even farther than that, how many Christians have heard about God’s love so many times and think that the last thing they should do is fall on their faces before Him?

Lewis finishes this section of the book by saying, “If we do not (fall on our faces), that only shows that what we are trying to love is not yet God – though it may be the nearest approximation to God which our thought and fantasy can attain.”

You know, we can get so caught up in trying to understand everything about having a relationship with Christ, and yet keep ourselves from actually having a relationship with Christ! Listen, I don’t care if you’re not an emotional person. If you don’t weep over your sin, over the fact that Jesus was willing to be brutally killed because He wanted to win you, then perhaps nothing is going on inside!

Proverbs 3:3 says, “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Guys, are you getting this?! The Gospel should get your heart going! It should change your attitude, your tone of voice, how you drive, how you treat fellow classmates, co-workers etc.

Very few people allow that kind of love in. A love that will change your heart forever. One that doesn’t make sense, one that we’ll never comprehend. Many are scared to take that risk, but what an adventure it is if you are only willing.

Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

If Jesus doesn’t get your heart going today, then let me challenge you to make Him your first love. I want to challenge you to let Jesus end that anguish and to set that bone in your life that has been broken for way too long. Take the risk and let Him love you.

He is a God who will never, ever, misunderstand you because He is the only one who knows without a doubt, where you’re really meant to be.

“Other than heaven, the only place where one’s heart is completely safe from the dangers of love is hell.”   (C.S. Lewis)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Is there evidence in your life that you love Jesus because He first loved you?

= Does the thought of love scare you?

= What are you going to do differently?

ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE?!

ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE?! THAT’S RIGHT! WE’RE STARTING A VLOG, BABY! 🎥 

We hit 2️⃣,0️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ downloads last week, and we couldn’t wait to tell y’all, but wanted to make it special and announce the vlog to celebrate! 🎉 

However, what makes the vlog really special is that we are getting ready to turn a garage into a real “studio” where we will be recording Podcast Episodes, Writing Blog Posts, and having Bible Studies! It needs to be fixed up, so we are going to film 🎞 the remodeling process and the whole bit for y’all! 

Click this link: https://rumble.com/c/c-469395 to subscribe to our channel and watch the first TWO videos we have up! Many exciting vlogs to come!

DEARNESS ONLY GIVES VALUE

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

One of my dear friends has encouraged me to write this post, and I want to share how proud I am of her for recognizing modern-day deception, and the passion she has for the truth of God. Now, I am sure that many of y’all have watched the video that has been circulating the past few days. It is the video of the 117th Congress Inauguration Prayer.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, who is a United Methodist pastor, opened Congress with a prayer. He ended this prayer with these words, and I quote… “We ask it in the name of the monotheistic god, Brahma, and god known by many names, by many different faiths. Amen and awoman.”

As soon as I watched that video, I was devastated.

You want to know what made me even more devastated than hearing someone in leadership pray to an unclarified “god” and make the word “amen” (which actually means “let it be so”) into a gendered term? It was the fact that Christians were, and still are, sharing memes and joking about it on social media.

Yeah. I guess they think this is some kind of joke. They must not have thought through the origin of that prayer and the effects that it will have on the lost. Allow me to explain what I mean by that…

For too long pastors and the Church have neglected their godly duty in the political realm. Many of them have preached from the pulpit that politics are not in accordance with standards of honor or decency.

Well neither is the Church at this point in time. So, what’s your point?

Many “Christians” ignore the battles that take place right on their doorsteps, and have done so throughout history. They are deceived! We are fooled if we think that this is not our fight. We sin by rationalizing it out in our heads, and by convincing ourselves that it is just about politics and not about Jesus!

What’s worse, is that because the Church hasn’t gotten involved in politics, “religion” has now trickled in, and in the worst way possible. While our nation was founded on great, solid, Christian principle’s, the Church has allowed it to be stripped away, and now “religion” is being reintroduced in the most evil ways.

What about the lost, folks?? What about the people who will hear that prayer on the news today and will be utterly confused because that’s the first prayer they’ve heard in years, or maybe the first prayer they’ve ever heard?

Oh, and what will they think when they see their “Christian” friends making light of it on social media? If I was them, it would seem to me that prayer must not be that important or serious to them. I would go so far as to say, that they may even think that it’s trivial to us since we’re joking about it.

I’m calling on The Few to stand up against the hypocrisy!! Matthew Henry once said, “A godly man, that he may avoid the evil, utterly renounces the companionship of evil-doers, and will NOT be led by them. Departing from evil is that in which wisdom begins.”

The Church isn’t going to show up. They’re just not. Everybody keeps referring to the term “woke”, and I think it’s time that we realize that if those who call themselves “Christians” aren’t awake and taking action already, then perhaps they weren’t ever “awake” in the first place. I know that’s not politically correct, but it’s the truth and I’m done telling “Christians” that they’re doing a great job when they’re dabbling in evil.  

Psalm 9:15-20 says, “The nations have fallen into the pit they made; their foot is caught in the net they have concealed. The Lord has made himself known; he has executed justice, snaring the wicked by the work of their hands. The wicked will return to Sheol – all the nations that forget God. For the needy will not always be forgotten; the hope of the oppressed will not perish forever. Rise up, Lord! Do not let mere humans prevail; let the nations be judged in your presence. Put terror in them, Lord; let the nations know they are only humans.”

That is what I have been praying over America the last couple of days. I’ve been going through Psalms and it keeps mentioning this “reverential awe” that leaders are supposed to have. How they should tremble when they read the Word of God. Listen, God loves His people so much, enough to literally warn them of His justice and power so that they have time to repent.

When are we going to take His justice seriously? Will we make today THE day, Church? Do you hold things such as the truth and freedom dear? Because that makes all the difference between an attitude of victory and one of defeat.

As one of my favorite poems says, “If you think you dare not, you don’t.” My question today is this… Will you choose to dare because of what you hold dear?

“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”  (Thomas Paine)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What do you think politics effect?

= Are you willing to dare?

= What are you going to do differently?

A MORE CONVENIENT SEASON

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

In November, I began reading a book by Charlotte Bronte called “Jane Eyre”. It is a classic, so I’m sure some of you have heard of this book, or maybe have even read it.

To give you a basic overview of the book, it’s about a girl named Jane Eyre, whose parents died when she was an infant. Because of her parent’s death, she has been sent to live with her aunt and three cousins who mistreat her horribly. In order to get her out of their hair, Jane’s aunt sends her to a girl’s school, where she isn’t treated much better than she was at home.

There is not enough food for all of the girls, it is always cold, the headmaster is extremely cruel, and so on. Through all these trials though, Jane sees one girl, Helen Burns, (who tends to get punished even more than the other girls), who constantly has a good attitude and bears all her punishments well. She notices something different in Helen Burns compared to all the rest of the girls, which you find out later in the book, is her Christ-like attitude.

As Jane and Helen are having a conversation about how much Helen is punished for silly things, Jane says she could not possibly bear it. Helen’s response is quite challenging…  

She says, “Yet it would be your duty to bear it, if you could not avoid it: it is weak and silly to say that you cannot bear what it is your fate to be required to bear.”  

And now I want you to really pay attention to Jane’s response. This is SO important. “I heard her with wonder: I could not comprehend this doctrine of endurance; and still less could I understand or sympathize with the forbearance she expressed for her chastiser. Still, I felt that Helen Burns considered things by a light invisible to my eyes. I suspected she might be right and I wrong; but I would not ponder the matter deeply; like Felix, I put it off to a more convenient season.”  

When I read this, it hit me super hard. “…I would not ponder the matter deeply… I put it off to a more convenient season.” The very first thing I thought of while reading this, was how we as Christians do this EVERY SINGLE DAY. I know that can be difficult to hear, but I have seen this play out so many times in my own life and the lives of Christians around me.  

We lack conviction. That is one thing I have noticed about Christians, especially throughout 2020. We talk big. We act like we would go through persecution for our beliefs, but then the moment they are challenged we comply.  

For 2021 my focus word is “fight”. Throughout the year, I’m going to be focusing on fighting the battles the Lord calls me to fight, without any resistance or hesitation. Now, I don’t mean I’m going to literally fight with people I don’t agree with, or who don’t have the same opinions as me. I just want to be a person the Lord can use to speak up for the convictions He has laid upon my heart. Another thing I want to focus on is praying for the Church to fight. In 2020, I have watched the Church become the weakest it has ever been.

We have let the Government decide when we do and do not meet, instead of God. We have allowed fear to cripple us and take away our influence. My prayer for the Church this year is that we would not put off the issues that are hard to study and understand, “to a more convenient season”.

No! This is the season for action! We must act against evil now, before it strips away everything we have ever fought for in the past. We must give way to the convictions the Lord has given us. You may have to fight alone. You may have to keep fighting alone, until Jesus has used every last ounce of your strength.  

This isn’t just about us. If we do not fight now and set an example, who will be fighting 50 years from now? At the moment, the example we are setting for future generations is the concept of putting the hard things off “to a more convenient season”. But, if I am being honest with you, that perfect season you are waiting for, that season where things won’t be difficult anymore, is not coming.

There is always going to be something in front of you that is hard to fight. Always. But the thing you need to decide is whether or not you are going to let the thing in front of you consume your life. Because that is what evil does. It devours everything in its path, and as of right now, it isn’t meeting any resistance from the Church.  

“For he says, ‘In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love;”  (2 Corinthians 6:2-6) 

Now is the favorable time. Now is the season. I want to challenge each and every one of you to first pray about some specific issues you feel like the Lord would want you to fight against. Then, I want you to act upon the things He lays on your heart. Do not wait for a “more convenient season”. This is the time.

Now act. 

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE? 

= How have you been fighting against evil in your life? 

= Do you find yourself waiting for a “more convenient season” sometimes? 

= What are you going to do differently? 

FOR LACK OF WONDER

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

There used to be a sort of magic in the air around this time of year. I remember being little and marveling at how the Church would sing the Christmas hymn “Silent Night” with an attitude of wonder and awe.

The eyes of those attending Christmas Eve services were filled with such hope as they held their Christmas Eve candles high in the air. Pride for our Savior used to be evident as we welcomed Christmas Day with a time of reverence together, in unity.

But, the wonder has gone away for so many. Only a few eyes still twinkle with a glimmer of hope. There are, but a couple of arms still holding their lights high for others to see.

G.K. Chesterton once said, “We are perishing for lack of wonder, not for lack of wonders.”

Perhaps Christians have allowed the consumer culture to consumer the whole point of Christmas? Sure, giving gifts and decorating the tree is fun, but how much more could we marvel at the Messiah if we didn’t allow those distractions to get in the way?

I have a question for us to think about today… What does Jesus marvel at us for? You know, there are only two times recorded in the New Testament where Jesus is said to have marveled.

Mark 6:7 records that Jesus marvels at the unbelief in Nazareth, and in Luke 7:9 He marvels at the Centurion and His great faith. I wonder if today Jesus is marveling at our unbelief or our great faith?

Listen, I have a passion to see the Church become like the shepherds who, as soon as they laid their eyes upon the Messiah, hurried to go and tell everyone they could about Him and what they had experienced. I long for Believers to be like the wise men who brought gifts to their newborn Savior because they recognized that He alone was worthy.

I long for us to want the wonder again.

The wonder that has left our homes. The admiration for Christ that has left our Churches.

I would be bold enough to say that most of us stress about presents and parties and punch each Christmas more than we think about the manger, our sin, and the cross in a whole year.

Is tonight the night revival breaks out because we actually seek the One true King?

Perhaps tonight, on Christmas Eve of 2020, the Church will choose to marvel at the only thing that has ever mattered. May we want the wonder.

“And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.””    (Luke 5:26)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= How are you choosing to put Jesus first right now?

= Do you feel like you’ve lost the wonder you once had?

= What are you going to do differently?

THE HOLY PILGRIMAGE OF GRIEF

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

How should a believer grieve? This is a question I have been wrestling with; trying to find the answer to for quite a while now. I’ve never enjoyed the process of grief, and I’m certain that most people don’t.

In the past month, I attended the funeral of a man who never made a profession of faith. Then, just about a week ago, I watched a young woman (in her 40s) who had cancer, take some of her very last breaths. I am unsure of her salvation as well. Isn’t it such a blessing that Christians have an assurance of seeing our saved loved ones again?

Just to clarify, I am not about to say that Christians should not grieve or that grief is bad. Rather, I want to look at how Scripture expects believers to grieve.

I think the hardest thing about grief is coming to the realization that we were not made to experience it. Because of sin, we have death, and we cannot possibly be expected to cope with those things on our own.

Grief is a natural emotion to death. Jesus made it that way. Here is what I’ve been “wrestling with” though… Why do so many Christians grieve more or in the same ways that unbelievers do?

Kind of a crazy question, but I’m being serious.

Many Christians seem to draw it out and expect conversations to be centered around what only they are going through. It appears to me that they are choosing NOT to rely on the Lord. Instead, looking to the world for sympathy and comfort that it cannot give. Only the Lord can bind up our broken hearts.

They trade the Lord’s strength for worldly sympathy, which is temporary and only provides momentary relief.

Christians must be very careful to not live in prolonged grief and despair, looking for constant sympathy. That can be a selfish attitude, and very detrimental to your relationship with Jesus.

It proves that He really isn’t enough for you, and that you would rather remain inward focused instead of finding comfort in Jesus’ love for you. Sympathy is, when looked at from a spiritual standpoint, at its core, selfish. See Philippians 2:3.

It was C.S. Lewis who once said, “Selfishness has never been admired.”

Attempting to gain, consciously or subconsciously, as much sympathy as you possibly can out of the grieving process, shows that you’re trying to avoid the demands of grief. You’re trying to fight the fierce, yet holy, pilgrimage that grief will take you on. We tend to swim against the currents of it, terrified of being overwhelmed or even becoming lost in our brokenness.

If we resist that process, that holy pilgrimage as I just described, we will never come to the place of wholeness that the emotion called “grief” was meant to bring us to. If only we would long to receive God’s strength in the midst of the pain and suffering instead of sympathy, then our grief would have purpose, and we would ultimately find healing.

Revelation 21:4 explains that one day Jesus will wipe every tear from our eyes and that there will be no more death. How absolutely heavenly. As believers, we must rest in that knowledge and peace. Knowing that our Savior wants nothing more than to wipe our tears with His own hands.

2 Corinthians 1:5-7 says, “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”

God allows us to feel grief because He wants it to bring us so much closer to His heart. It should make us evaluate where we are with Jesus, and if we are really living for eternity.

As I witnessed that 40 year-old woman take some of her last breaths last week, every second felt like an eternity. These are usually seconds I tend to think go by so quickly, and complain I don’t have enough of. But the reality is, each second is indeed long enough to do something; to be what God wants me to be. Seconds are what effect eternity. Not minutes or hours as we tend to think. I feel God challenging me to be conscious of MY seconds and what I’m really living for. Did I accomplish what God had for me to do for eternity today? Am I loving and giving and taking notice of this second I have the ability to seize and serve Jesus with?

Oh Jesus, may we become lost in our brokenness so that we can be found in your presence.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all of troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”  (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you spend your “seconds” for eternity?

= Are you careful not to live in prolonged grief?

= What are you going to do differently?

WHY GOD HASN’T WRITTEN AMERICA OFF AND WHY WE SHOULDN’T EITHER

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Many of y’all have asked if I would share more of the devotionals that I have been writing in my government college class as I did in a previous blog post titled, “The American’s Devotion” https://thefew.blog/2020/10/01/the-americans-devotion/ and I thought that this week would be perfect to share some of my very last devotionals since it is the last week of the class!

By sharing these, I hope it reminds you that God is not done with America, and that He is still working in mighty ways. We can’t lose hope. It takes time for evil to be exposed, and we must be patient and willing to trust the Lord for the fate of our country.

Is America Doomed?

October 5th 2020 – “This devotion hit on something that I am extremely passionate about. It mentioned that sin has distorted the image of Christ that we have, but that it can be restored through Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. I think that many American Christians have written America off because of its sin. I’ve heard it said so many times that we’re too far gone in our rebellion to come back to where we once were, and that no matter how many history or government classes we take, or how desperately we desire to come back, it won’t change the fact that we are doomed, as a country, to utter failure. However, when I read verses like Hosea 6:1, I am persuaded to think differently. It says, “Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces, but He will heal us; He has injured us, but He will bind up our wounds.” We are not doomed in our sin, because the Lord is near and more than willing to restore us with His perfect grace. Perhaps the problem is that we are the ones who have gotten so comfortable with where we are, that we don’t even have a need for a comforter anymore? America needs to return to the Lord in order to solve the problems our sin has created. We need to cry out to the One who can restore our image and make us a blameless and Godly nation once again.” 

Judgement and Justice

October 26th 2020 – “This week’s devotion reminded me of a quote by Thomas Jefferson, who once said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.” It can be overwhelming to think that one day the Lord will judge everyone, and that His standard is Jesus. Yet, I think that believers should take joy in knowing that His standard is Jesus. If we have decided to follow Him, then His blood covers us and takes our sin away. We can be free, and freedom works on everyone. However, knowing that God will one day judge the living and the dead (2 Tim. 4:1) should fill us with a sense of urgency, not taking our duty to share the simple Gospel lightly. In a past devotion I mentioned that it starts with us, and I am more convinced of that as each week goes by. Do we, the people, tremble at the Lord’s justice and live in a Godly fear of it?”

Pure Integrity

November 16th 2020 – “On January 2nd, 1814 Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to Dr. Walter Jones describing George Washington and his character. Jefferson said, “His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man.” This is the character that American Christians need to imitate and have in the time we’re living in. People should be able to say that we are wise and that our integrity is most pure because we walk in the truth of Christ, which I believe is what George Washington did. James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” May we be believers who are sincere in our faith this week.”

The Arrival

November 30th 2020 – “I think that it is only when we arrive at the end of something that we are truly able to look back and acknowledge the wisdom and growth that was gained in the process. As we’ve gone through this class, I am thankful to have studied the start of our great country. This great experiment is one that testifies to the grace and faithfulness of our God. We have a Savior who is still busy redeeming broken and hurting lives, and I do not believe He plans to leave America in the dust. There are still a few who are living for the end of the story. There are still a few who know without a doubt that Christ holds our victory and redemption in His mighty hands. We must, as our Founding Fathers, face the unknown with courage and be equipped for every good work that lies ahead (2 Timothy 3:17).”

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you tremble at the Lord’s justice?

= How have you struggled to be patient in this time?

= What are you going to do differently?

NEVERTHELESS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I’m not sure about y’all, but Thanksgiving feels a bit more solemn this year. There’s a heaviness in the air. Perhaps you have spent most of this year being ungrateful, as I know many of us have. There hasn’t been a single day this year that I haven’t heard someone say that this year has just been the worst ever.

Can any of us honestly say that we have lived each day of 2020 with a thankful attitude and perspective?

H.U. Westermayer once said, “The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”

Christians have lived this year of their lives with the mindset that they deserve sympathy because this year hasn’t gone as they might have expected. May I remind the Church today that we deserve absolutely nothing?

God has saved our sinful souls from eternal damnation and we feel as if we are in need of sympathy? I think today, Thanksgiving 2020, needs to be a day that we repent for not being grateful.

May we live as the Pilgrims did, giving thanks and pouring out our hearts before the Lord, nevertheless. May we be grateful that we are not digging seven times more graves than huts. I choose this day to be thankful, nevertheless. Will you join me?

“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” Psalm 57:7-11 (Note: David wrote this while in the Cave of Adullam, running for his life from King Saul)

“Thanksgiving is possible only for those who take time to remember; no one can give thanks who has a short memory.”  -Unknown  

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are you going to do differently?

WHEN THE WHOLE WORLD IS RUNNING

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I feel as if a world war is waging about me and everyone is in a panic. Our “leader” is yet to be chosen, while we live on the edge in fear and cover our faces in order to show that we “love” one another. Meanwhile, stores are being burnt down and innocent people are beaten with boards because of a saying they may have on their shirt, or perhaps it was because they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Whether I am sick or not, if I test positive for the v i r u s and I have a baby, the hospital can take my baby away from me without my permission. If I do not comply to wearing a  m a s k  while giving birth, then I may be left to give birth alone with no medical help.

I live in a state where I am mandated to be in my house by 10:00pm and if I do not comply, I risk being fined or even arrested. To me, these things are not funny, but nonetheless American Christians choose to make a joke of it on social media.

If I do not comply and allow something to be injected into my arm, then I might not be able to go to the store and get food or go to church to worship.

Please tell me I do not have to go on!

People constantly ask me why I do not have my drivers license yet, and when I tell them that I will not comply and wear gloves and a  m A s K for 12 hours they look at me as if I am crazy. My mom was even given grief from another Christian in a church building about why I wouldn’t just comply.

C.S. Lewis once said, “When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind.”

I do not think that there could be a more perfect quote for this post. The Few (aka the people who should not be running towards the end of the cliff) should not comply to these things. I know that that is a very bold statement, but I firmly believe it.

I’ve always felt like my family has been “the black sheep” wherever we are. It is rare for us to think or do as the majority does. Is it because we’re anything special? Absolutely not.

It’s because the majority is usually persuaded to do whatever the world may tell them. I choose to be different because I have the ability, through my Savior, to do so. Jesus has overcome the world, and because of Him I can do the same. John 16:33.

The verse I keep coming back to and the one I wish the American Church would take heed to is James 4:17, which I mentioned in a previous post. It says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

For me, I know that it is NOT right to comply to the tyrannical kind of leadership we are seeing within government today. It is evil to force someone to do something against their will or take their baby away because you think you have that authority.

When those in leadership start to trample on our God-given rights it is evil; and for me to obey is sin because I’m going against the freedom God has given me. I cannot write this post and neglect to share one of my favorite pieces of poetry. This poem is exactly what believers need to be made of today.

“IF” by Rudyard Kipling (1895)

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch and toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!”

When all the world is running, we must be the ones who walk steadily. When those around us are heading towards the end of the cliff in fear, we must be willing to climb the mountain that is towering in front of our eyes. We must also be willing to do it alone and appear to have lost our minds if those running happen to look back at us.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you willing to be the one who goes against the crowd for the right thing?

= Do you have the will to “hold on”?

= What are you going to do differently?

FOR ETERNITY, TOGETHER

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Madie and I recently had a conversation with a godly couple about ministry and the things we’ve been learning. Towards the end of the conversation, our Dad asked them if they would give us some advice on marriage; specifically, finding a guy that loves Jesus.

I was a little confused as to why Dad was asking them about that, but the husband’s answer has stuck with me since…

He said, “It will be hard to find a guy who loves Jesus and serving Him more than you do. It will be hard to find a guy who is already serious about Jesus on his own and has the same, or more, experience in ministry than you. But when it happens, you won’t ever question if he’s the one God has for you.”

Definitely a word of wisdom there!

Earlier that same day, I had been listening to a podcast episode that Francis Chan and his wife Lisa did. They were talking about godly relationships and what God really intended for marriage to look like. Francis said something that I was instantly reminded of when the couple was sharing with us.

Francis said, “The only reason you should get married is if you can do more for eternity together than you can do on your own.”  Insert an “amen” right here!

I actually shared all of this in a Bible Study lesson I did a couple weeks ago with some older girls, and I want to share some of those things with y’all as well. I think that there are many valuable lessons to be learned for girls and guys in the area of relationships and our God-given roles that are not being taught anymore. Just to put it out there, I’ve never been that “boy-crazy typical teen girl”. In fact, I’m usually the one trying to pour into the girls that are, and challenging them to stay focused on Jesus.

That probably doesn’t surprise some of y’all reading this right now, ha! And yes, those are also the girls who call me “radical”. So, if you are a radical Jesus girl too, own that word. It’s a good title to have.

However, I have questioned what godly guys desire in a wife, and what things are important for them to be the one to do in a relationship, as I’m sure every girl has. Being the crazy person I am, I reached out to some married guys who I highly respect, and I asked them to answer some questions that I’m sure we can all think about and learn from.

The first question I asked was:  Is it important for women to respect men and allow you to lead? How does it make you feel if we do?

This is how one guy responded: “Yes. It is important for women to respect men and allow them to lead. God has wired men to have a desire for significance. Women, on the other hand, are wired for security. In other words, they need a safe and secure environment. It’s easier for the woman to respect and follow if the man has provided a secure environment.” Check out Colossians 3:18.

The second question I asked was: Is it attractive when a woman is content in her role as a female/wife/mother and provides a godly home and atmosphere?

One guy said: “It is very attractive when a woman is content with her role. A godly home and atmosphere are very important in the dynamic of a family, especially when the man deals most of his day “in the world”. There is nothing more beautiful in a woman than her being secure in her role as the lady of the house.” Check out Titus 2:3-5.

The third question was: Is it important for you to be the one who provides for and protects your wife and your family?

Each guy replied with the same answer to this question: “100% yes. Every man is called to be the provider and protector. There is no better feeling than knowing that I am doing everything I can to meet the needs of my wife and family, as well as keeping them safe.” Check out 1 Tim. 5:8 & Eph. 5:25.

The last question (which was optional): Advice you’d personally give a young, teen girl trying to live out her role as a female in a godly way?

The answer that challenged us the most: “Be confident in who you are, what you believe as a follower of Jesus, and you will be attractive to anyone worth knowing.”

My whole purpose of doing this survey was to prove to the girls in my Bible Study that femininity is a powerful thing. It’s a God-given gift. The same goes for masculinity.

Godly women are attracted to godly masculinity, and from the survey I did, the same goes for guys. They are attracted to godly femininity. The problem is that our culture has distorted what each of those roles look like.

This is why marriage is so insignificant in our world today. Couples think that it’s no big deal to live together and have a couple kids before they get married. Why? Because the world tells them it’s totally normal and perfectly ok.

Families are dysfunctional and full of absolute chaos. It’s common for both parents to be working and never home because they are trying to pay off debt from that new car they just bought, or because they have signed their kid up for every worldly activity out there. Or even both!

My point: If men and women both understood what godly masculinity and femininity looked like and lived for eternity, together, we would begin to see the full picture of the glory of God in our everyday lives. His character would be evident in us.

There is an abundance of freedom when you start to function the way God intended you to. And just remember… Freedom works on everybody.

I pray to one day marry a godly man that I can live for eternity with. I pray we do more for the Kingdom together than we ever could apart.

“I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.”  (Psalm 119:45)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you believe that men and women have unique roles that are God-given?

= Have you found freedom in Christ?

= What are you going to do differently?

MORALITY, RELIGION, AND THE 2020 ELECTION

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Today is currently Day Three of “Election Day” here in America. Across the U.S., Americans are gathered around their TVs watching the news or glued to their smart phones constantly refreshing the “2020 Presidential Election Results” tab. Whether your attitude is one of victory or one of defeat, we all remain a bit anxious about the outcome.

As I’ve said in previous blog posts, I am currently in the middle of taking an American Government college class this semester. I thank God every single day, and sometimes multiple times a day that I chose to take this class at this especially crucial time in history.

I am learning more about the Lord’s character and how the founding of our great country represents Him. I am coming more boldly to throne of God asking for His mercy and grace to be poured out on our country in the midst of chaos and utter confusion.

And today, after spending much time fighting for America in prayer, I feel that the Lord wants me to remind us all of a truth that we may have forgotten.

I believe that we currently have the next best government to what Jesus will one day provide. One day, we will get to experience Jesus’ idea of government, and He will be the only authority in Heaven and on earth.

However, I do believe that the Lord gave our Founding Fathers knowledge and wisdom that only comes from Him when they were creating the system we use today. I think that American government offers an extremely small insight into what the ultimate government will be like when Jesus comes back.

I love this quote by John Adams who once said, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion… Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

We were created to be a religious nation who implores God’s protection and is grateful for His many blessings. The reason our government is becoming corrupt is because we have strayed from what that very quote mentioned: morality and religion.

Proverbs 11:3 says, “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.”

Just to be very blunt with you, I feel that the American Church has completely given up on morality and religion and is using the “God is in control” slogan as an excuse not to fight and do the hard things that will be necessary if we have any desire to keep our nation a free one.

“Christians” will not say this to your face, but they think that evil has already won in this election and that there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.

Here is the reminder we have forgotten, time and time again… God doesn’t let evil prevail for no reason. I am quickly coming to the conclusion that His purpose for allowing evil to be so evident in this time is because He wants us to stop being cowardly Christians.

Which, by the way, cowardice is the first thing listed in Revelation 21:8 when He talks about the second death, even before the faithless! Go look it up if you think I’m kidding.

I had a friend text me last night, and she was expressing how she just wanted all of this craziness to be over, and I totally understand that feeling. But, you know, I think the Lord is using this waiting time to refine us and help us see that we are broken and absolutely lost without Him. There is nothing we can do except pray, and for some reason, God has a weird tendency to show up when we are helpless.

The problem that is becoming more evident, however, is that the American Church isn’t helpless nor do they realize how broken they truly are. We need that to happen.

Why?

Because I believe that only then will revival break out. Many Christians claim that they would die for Jesus if they had to. My question for all of us today is this… When will we die to ourselves?

“Duty is ours; results are God’s.”  (John Adams)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Is morality important to you?

= Do you think the Church is broken before the Lord yet?

= What are you going to do differently?

WHETHER YOU WOULD RISK IT OR NOT

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

Here we go again! Can anyone guess what today’s blog post is about? It is about (drumroll please), The Lord of the Rings! Whoop, whoop! I know, I know, I am obsessed.

But I was once again watching ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’ and something new hit me that I think can really speak to the position America is in right now. So here is a little bit of backstory.

In the ‘Two Towers’ the main thing that is focused on, is whether or not Men will stand up to the evil quickly overtaking Middle Earth. Gandalf (a Wizard), Aragorn (a man), Legolas (an Elf), and Gimli (a dwarf), go to the city of Rohan, where the king’s mind has been poisoned by a servant of the Dark Lord Sauron, Saruman. Gandalf rebukes Saruman, and the king is released from his hold. Later on, Gandalf, encourages the king of Rohan, Théoden, to draw Sauron away from his people and fight him.  

Now, this is the part that really hit me anew when I was watching the movie. Théoden’s response to Gandalf is, “I will not risk open war.” When he says this, Aragorn feels that he must speak up. “Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not,” he states. 

That just really stuck out to me in a new way, even though I have seen that movie many, many times. The Lord immediately brought to my mind the fact that this is how the American church has begun to think. We think that the war between Good and Evil is optional.

I would even go so far as to say that some of us don’t even think that we are in a war. Like the king, we believe that if we do not want to risk an open war, then it will just leave us alone. But people, this is most definitely not the case. We are in war, whether we would risk it or not.  

In this week leading up to the most crucial election in the history of the United States of America, we are at war. In the streets of some of our cities where there are violent rioters, we are at war. In our families, we are at war. In our churches, we are at war. In our schools, we are at war. In our workplaces, we are at war. Our world, is at war.  

“Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war! Rouse the warriors! Let all the fighting men draw near and attack.”  -Joel 3:9 

So, let us ask ourselves, what or who are we at war with? Why do we need to fight? First, we are not at war with flesh and blood. This is not a tangible war like WWII. This a war against evil; against the devil and his schemes.

Secondly, we need to fight because if we do not, sin and evil will completely take over our world. As of right now, we are not fighting against this evil. We are turning a blind eye to the rioters on our streets who are ruining people’s businesses and hurting people, the media who is lying to us about everything, the Black Lives Matter Organization that doesn’t really stand for African-Americans, but encourages flat-out satanic activities, and much more.

We are not proclaiming to the nations that we must prepare for war. For goodness-sake, we are not even discussing this in our churches where people claim to believe in this war. I really love this quote by Winston Churchill, that I feel we should all live by. 

“Never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty-never give in except to convictions of honor or good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming force of the enemy… Do not let us speak of darker days: let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days; these are great days-the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.” -Winston Churchill 

I believe that we can turn this war around. I believe we can win this war, if only we would be willing to risk everything for this just cause. I believe revival can break out if we would only lead the charge.

As Christians, we need to be praying, for the leaders of our Nation, the leaders in our churches, people who do not know Jesus. Then, we need to put action to our prayer. We need to go out and teach people about Jesus, teach them why we need to stand up against this evil.

Show them what this thing looks like. Show them how to pray, how to evangelize, how to choose leaders. We need to get out and vote, not only for this presidential election, but we need to vote for local leaders also. Those who will stand up against abortion, Socialism, and things that are blatantly evil.

Vote for leaders who believe in the Constitution and the way our country was founded. Vote for leaders who will let us keep our God-given rights as Americans. We need to explain this war to our friends and family.

We need to call people to arms. This is where it starts y’all. We already know that we have victory over the enemy because of Jesus’ resurrection, but when are we going to start showing the devil that?

When are we going to show him that we believe it? We are running out of time. We are allowing the enemy to beat us into submission, and most of us do not even know it. We have got to start standing up against the evil that is very quickly overtaking our world. We have got to fight back.

Because open war is upon us, whether we would risk it or not. 

SO WHAT’S YOUR RESPONSE? 

=How can you stand up to the evil in your everyday life? 

=Do you believe that we are truly in war? 

=What are you going to differently?

THE END ZONE

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I think it’s about time that I write a post specifically to The Few, (aka the people who are serious about living for Jesus) because most of my posts are intended to challenge the Church (all of us) to do better. Oh, who am I even kidding? That’s pretty much all of my posts, ha!

I want to write a post to the people who are known as the “radical one” at their church, and those who try to make every conversation they have relate back to Jesus. To the person who has moral standards and is not afraid to do the right thing when everyone around them chooses the opposite. The one who lives to spread the Gospel and share with others how Christ has transformed your life.

Yeah. This post is for you.

I know that you wake up each morning and lay your head down on the pillow at night, thinking that you could have done better. You could have been better at reading the Word or praying consistently, and you beat yourself up about it.

I know that you tried to disciple that person in your life who was really excited about the Lord in the beginning, but then ended up walking away without ever really saying why. I also know that when people ask you about them, you feel like an utter failure and have no idea what to say in reply.

I know that you do not have a lot of people in your life who you can genuinely trust and do life with, because most people just don’t get it.

I know that every time you have a breakthrough with someone, you have a hard time not expecting an even bigger disappointment from that same individual a week later.

I know that it is hard to be serious about Jesus and be someone that chooses to follow Him despite the discouragement and difficulty of it.

But I want to take a minute to remind you of why you should continue to persevere…

If I need a little motivation to keep going, I usually watch a clip from the movie Facing the Giants. If you have not seen it yet, then wow. Every Christian should seriously be required to watch it. There is a clip in the movie where one of the football players, whose name is Brock, makes up his mind that their team is terrible and that they will certainly lose their next game.

The coach, who just heard Brock speak that to the whole team during practice, tells him and another guy to come out on the field. The coach then proceeds to blindfold Brock and tell him that he wants him to do the death crawl with the other player on his back all the way to the 50-yard line.

Brock makes up some excuses, but nonetheless, the coach tells him that he wants his very best. Brock agrees, and at first, he doesn’t do too bad. But as he continues, he starts to get weak and wants to take breaks. The coach walks beside him, telling him not to quit until he has nothing left.

Constantly telling Brock that he only had a little further to go.

As he gets farther out, the other players who were sitting on the sidelines, start to stand up to see how far he can go. Brock starts to yell at the coach that it hurts and that the player on his back is heavy.

This is the moment where the coach gets down on his knees and starts to crawl beside him, yelling back at Brock, telling him to keep going and that he cannot give up.

To just give him 30 more steps. Then he can be done.

Brock continues to yell that it burns, and the coach yells back to let it burn. At this point in the clip, the other players are walking across the field to see how far Brock can go.

The coach tells Brock to take two more steps and then he can quit. He takes the two steps and falls to the ground and buries his face in the grass. The coach takes Brock’s blindfold off and tells him to look up.

Brock is in the end zone.

The coach then tells him this… “Brock, you are the most influential player on this team. If you walk around defeated, so will they.”

I tell you this story to remind you of the purpose. The reward. And the reason why we persevere as one of the few.

Romans 5:3-5 says, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

God has blindfolded us and has kept us from seeing the reason in so many things, because He knows that the few will continue to press on.

Christian, in case you are not hearing me clearly, let me say it in a different way. You are one of the most influential players that God has. Do NOT walk around defeated or the world around you will too.

Leonard Ravenhill once said, “Great eagles fly alone, great lions hunt alone, great souls walk alone- alone with God. Such loneliness is hard to endure, and impossible to enjoy unless God accompanied. Prophets are lone men; they walk alone, pray alone, and God makes them alone.”  (Leonard Ravenhill)

You might be the only one, but don’t you dare give up. Let it burn.

You’re almost in the end zone.

“I am coming soon. Hold fast to what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.” (Revelation 3:11)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you often tempted to give up?

= What is your favorite thing about living for Jesus?

= What are you going to do differently?

BECOMING OBVIOUS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Christians seem to think that they have to “hide” that they are a believer when they are around people at school, work, the gym, or sometimes even in their own home. Have you noticed this before?

Maybe, you are familiar with this concept because you have done it before.

Things like not wearing that “Christian” shirt that quotes a Bible verse because you’re afraid somebody will make fun of you for it. Or could it be that you don’t read your Bible on your lunch break, but instead scroll through your news app so that you don’t look like that weird, over-dedicated person of faith? All while making up an excuse in your head that your school doesn’t allow kids to wear that kind of stuff, or that your boss will be upset with you.

To be truthful, we probably all play the pretend game on a daily basis. I’m going to be bold and say that we typically do it without even noticing that we trying to hide that we believe in Jesus.

1 John 3:9-10 has really been working on my heart for the past week or so and I’d like to look at it with you. It says “Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because His seed remains in Him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God. This is how God’s children and the devil’s children become obvious. Whoever does not do what is right is not of God, especially the one who does not love his brother or sister.”

We could get into so many deep things here, but the main thing I keep coming back to is how God’s children are supposed to become obvious just like the devil’s children are.

I mean, you don’t see the people out there rioting right now trying to hide that they support the organization BLM, Antifa, abortion, and all kinds of evil stuff, do you? Do you know why they do that? Because they want you to know what they stand for. They want to be obvious.

They wear all the shirts and pretty much destroy everything in sight.

My question for believers today is this: What is wrong with us? If we have been born of God, then why are we so afraid to become obvious?

I’ve met many Christians across the country who are fearful that they will be persecuted for speaking up and doing what is right, but what is the point in believing in something that doesn’t require you to take risks? Taking risks proves that you would die for that very thing you believe.

We really like to say that we’re different, right? That people can just “see” Jesus in us. Well, that may be the case for some, and I certainly pray it is the case for The Few. However, I’ve met a lot of Christians who have fooled themselves into thinking that people really can see Jesus in them when the reality is, they can’t. They were fooled when they made that their excuse not to share the Gospel, and they believe that it’s true because they have been faking it for so long.

It’s a mind game that most of us don’t want to fight. We have allowed the enemy to convince us that we are the ones who have to run and hide.

James 4:17 says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

To not sin is to do the right thing, y’all. Let me make this super simple and clear… If it isn’t obvious that we are Christian’s to the people around us, then that is a problem. A big problem.

There’s a song that I’ve been listening to by NEEDTOBREATHE that says,

“I know that I’m found
And I can’t keep from hidin’
I don’t have a choice
But I get stuck decidin’
I am a man in need of
A constant revival”

The Church of 2020 cannot afford to be stuck “deciding” whether or not we will take a stand against sin. We are called to make it transparently obvious that we will do what is right even if it is not the popular thing to do. We don’t have a choice anymore.

I have no doubt that there would be a constant revival if you and I became obvious, fervent, radical lovers of Jesus and were willing to take some risks for the things we say that we believe.

Start proving it by living the Gospel out in your everyday life, no matter what you think other people think.

“People who are not prepared to do unpopular things and to defy clamor are not fit to be Ministers in times of stress.”   (Winston Churchill)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do the people in your life actually know that you’re a Christian?

= Has there been a time where you got stuck deciding instead of just doing it?

= What are you going to do differently?

A THOUSAND TIMES OVER

(Republished Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

A year ago today, I sat in front of my computer completely broken before the Lord, about to write a post that I had no clue would make its rounds through multiple churches in the U.S. and be sent through many other jail pods all across Texas. It is one of The Few’s most popular blog posts, so today on October 7, 2020, we are going to republish it. Just to make it clear, Madie and I would still do it a thousand times over…

I shared a little bit in the last post about how one of our dearest friends is sitting in a Fort Worth, Texas jail cell right now. We went down to see him a couple weeks ago, and I have a few thoughts I’d like to share with y’all.

A little bit of background on our friend before we jump in; we met him when we did mission work down in Texas for three months back in 2017.  My family basically spent every minute with him the whole time we were there. We were together praying and sharing the Gospel all over Fort Worth. He was always the one who made people laugh and made them feel at home wherever we were.

Our friend was super involved in ministry and loved to work with teens. He was also working with a few of the local churches in different ways. He already has a crazy, amazing testimony. I truly believe that this time in jail is another chapter that God will use.

We got to Fort Worth late on a Monday night, so my dad went to visit him for the first time on Tuesday. When my dad came back from the first visit, he said how happy our friend was to see him and to know that we had come all the way from Ohio to support him.

However, my dad also said that no one else had been to visit him in the three weeks since he had been put in jail. Now, let’s just back up for a minute. Remember how I said that he had been super involved in a couple of local churches?

Yeah. No one from the churches or from anywhere else had come to see him.  

Listen, I’m not trying to beat up any specific churches here. That’s not the point. What I’m trying to get us Christians to realize, is that this is the reality of the Church as a whole. We’ve got our Sunday morning routine down, but not much happens outside of that. Especially when ministry gets hard and messy.

If I am being honest, I didn’t really want to go in to see him either. I was scared. I had no idea what I was going to say to him.

There is a quote by Francis Chan that I kept thinking about and it says this, “But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.”

On Wednesday, my dad and my brother went in to see him and had another good visit with him.

Thursday morning comes. My heart is racing from the time I got up until the time we got to the jail later in the afternoon. I knew I just needed to do it. I didn’t want to have any regrets, and I wanted to show him that I loved him and that I support him.

So, I just went in. I was still pretty nervous. My dad and I got our booth and waited for him to come in.

The Lord kept reminding me of James 1:2-4 which says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

All I can say is that nothing in ministry, and nothing in life, will ever prepare you for seeing someone you very dearly love in a jumpsuit behind glass. Nothing.

I’m not going to go into any detail about the visit itself. However, I will say that he was pretty discouraged that day and it wasn’t too great of a visit.

As we walked out and got into the car, I lost it. I just remember thinking about how terrible sin is, and how one little choice got us here. Honestly, I couldn’t believe that I was sitting in our van, outside of a jail, all because of one bad choice he made a little more than a year earlier.

But guess what? I don’t regret going in there one little bit.

I went in the next day, and the next day. Did it get any easier? Nope. Not even a little. I still broke down after every visit with him.

But I would do it a thousand times over.

I’d rather sit with him in a jail cell, scared as I was, a thousand times over again than in church with someone who professes to have it all together but really isn’t living for Jesus. Let alone, think that they should actually go try to reach the lost and hurting outside the church walls.

You know why?

Because I experienced Jesus in that little concrete visiting booth more than I think I ever have in a nice, beautiful, clean, church building.

I’m just being real with y’all.

If the Church would just take the two steps out of their pew, I think we would experience the presence of Jesus in a way that we never have before.

I think we might start to understand what the persecuted Church is dying for.

I believe that we may start to live how Jesus wants us to.

If Jesus came here to do ministry today, I don’t think we would find Him sitting in a pew at a church. I think we would find Him in the places like the jails and the streets where people are broken and hurting.

I’d do it a thousand times over. But the real question is, would you?

“If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land.”   {Isaiah 1:19}

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are you going to do differently?

= How do you think we could do better as Christians? How can we live like Jesus wants us to?

= Did you relate with this post at all?

THE AMERICAN’S DEVOTION

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

The last couple weeks have been nothing short of interesting for me and the older girl Bible Study group that I lead each Thursday evening. I have had the opportunity to take a government college class this semester, which has resulted in so many deep discussions in the Bible Study group about a Christian’s responsibility to government, as well as the things that are needed to get our country back to the founded freedom we once had. https://thefew.blog/2020/08/27/founded-freedom/

I have read multiple devotionals that I have written for my government class to the girls in the group, and many of them have encouraged me to post them so that others can begin to see what we have been uncovering on our nights together.

Since I am six weeks into the class, I will refrain from boring you with every single one that I have written, but here are a couple that we have been going through and discussing as a group recently:

Regarding The Author Of Government:

August 24, 2020 – “I found it interesting that we started off with the topic of submitting to authority, because my family and church have been in deep conversation about that very thing for the past couple of weeks. I agree that we should honor and submit to authority, but only if they uphold our God-given, inalienable rights. Personally, I believe that we serve a “higher power”, as the beginning of Romans 13 states in the King James Version. This “higher power” is God. If government does anything that contradicts our Constitution or what God says in His Word, it is our right and duty as American citizens to throw off such government as our Declaration of Independence so clearly tells us. Does this mean that we are to rebel and cause disputes? No, not at all. However, we are told in Scripture (Rom. 8:16) that the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit. So, in my opinion, if our spirit knows that something is evil or goes against the truth, we need to submit to that godly authority first and foremost; for it is God testifying to us and guiding us. For example, Acts 5:29 says, “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.” The question of “did God actually establish the rule of appallingly evil rulers” is a tricky one. Matthew 28:18 tells us that all authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus. Do I think He allows evil dictators and tyrants to be placed in authoritative positions? Yes, I do. However, I believe He allows that to happen with the hope that it will bring us closer to Him and the “higher power” that He alone has.”

Regarding A Christian’s Responsibility To Government:

August 30, 2020 – “As God’s children we are called to do what is “right”. However, I can’t help but think about how many of us actually take that duty seriously. In Romans 13 Paul says ‘’to do what is right and THEN you will be commended”. As believers, we should never be the ones to cause any kind of division, but we cannot be fooled into thinking that being bold and doing the right thing is the same thing as causing division. It’s not. That’s why the question of our responsibility to government as Christians is a little more difficult to answer. James 4:17 says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” Sometimes it is our very job to not do what government tells us if we know that it is wrong. It is also a privilege and one of the greatest honors to submit to a godly authority who does what is right. Just like children are more inclined to submit to parents who behave according to God’s plan, or wives to their husbands who are submitting themselves to Christ first. I believe that is the point Paul is trying to get across in Romans 13.”

Regarding Who Is Responsible For America’s Actions:

September 6, 2020“Knowledge and discernment are not only needed on a leadership level in America, but also on a civilian level. If we, the people, do not have discernment and godly wisdom when it comes to elections, political arguments, and so forth, then we certainly should not expect our country to remain a Christian nation. 1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” We live in a world where instead of so many evil things being opposed, they are now tolerated. Christian Americans feel as if they must compromise the truth because that is simply “just the way life goes”. This is a lie that the majority has accepted, and in turn deceived others into thinking is absolute truth. However, as believers we are called to “test the spirits”. This is especially crucial when it comes to electing certain individuals to lead us as a country. We must not only observe our leaders’ doctrine, but their conduct as well. Just because a majority of people believe or do a certain thing, does not mean that it is correct and what God wants of us. There are many of us who need to practice testing the spirits, instead of blaming our leaders for our problems, because this is indeed our responsibility as God-fearing Americans.”

I believe that those are topics that many Christians would struggle to answer from a Biblical perspective and be able to back up with Scripture. We seem to struggle when it comes to finding the balance between politics and spirituality, but my question today is why can’t we just do what is right?

Why do we make it seem as if we can only be involved in one or the other, when reality is that they are really meant to be one in essence? I’m not sure why so many believers and the Church have chosen not to think for themselves in what I think is one of the most crucial times in history to do so.

I’m so tired of people saying that Christians should just be quiet when it comes to politics. The reason believers need to stand up and speak up is because politics effects morality. Politics effect your God-given rights, the unborn, religious decisions, schooling, your safety, etc! Y’all, we have to start standing up for ourselves and the things that we know are absolute truth, because no one else will.

Does God know what He’s doing? Absolutely. But I don’t think He’s called us to be cowards who sit in a building with four walls on Sunday mornings and do nothing, simply because we don’t have the guts to, and then say that “God is in control” as an excuse. Albert Einstein once said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”

I am devoted and determined to fight against the same thing our Founding Fathers did; evil. I’ll fight even if I have to do it alone.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you struggle to look at these issues from a spiritual perspective?

= Are you willing to do something so that we can remain a Christian nation?

= What are you going to do differently?

CHRISTIANITY AND…

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

Earlier this year, I read a book by C.S. Lewis called, “The Screwtape Letters.” This book was one of his most popular works of literature, and I can see why. I enjoyed every minute that I spent reading this book and it really opened my eyes to lots of new spiritual truths! (If you have never read it, I recommend it to everyone)

Ok, so here is a little synopsis of the book for those of you have not read it before…

The book is a book of letters between two demons. Screwtape, is the Uncle of the second demon, Wormwood, who is a “demon in training.” Screwtape is writing letters to Wormwood giving him pointers on how to win the person that he is possessing over to their side. So, it is a constant battle between them and the Lord regarding who is going to win the “Patient” over to their side.

With all that said, I want to get right into a quote from the book that rings with truth.

“My dear Wormwood,

The real trouble with the set your patient is living in is that it is merely Christian. They all have individual interests, of course, but the bond remains mere Christianity. What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call ‘Christianity And’. You know – Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Physical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian coloring. Work on their horror of the Same Old Thing.”  ~C.S. Lewis

So, let us ask ourselves, are we merely Christian? Do we simply put a little Christian coloring on our lives?

This is something, that in the past couple years especially, I have noticed the Church doing. This is what The Few is about. We need to be the Few who do not just have a little bit of Christian coloring on the outside.

Now I want you to ask yourself, what is it that you have added on to Christianity? Is it sports, work, entertainment, relationships, money, etc.? This is something that every single one of us has done, so we should all have an example in our minds. Our world is constantly telling us that we need more and more stuff to make us happy, and most of the time we tend to fall into that narrative. But what I want to know is, do you think that you could only live with Jesus, and have nothing else? Would you still be content with your life?

The truth is most of us would not be.

I really love the way that C.S. Lewis conveys this point in his book. If I am being honest with myself, I believe that I have been guilty of adding other stuff on to Jesus in order to be “happy”. But that is not true happiness. True happiness lies at the feet of Jesus and nowhere else! Church, when are we going to wake up and see the madness that we have fallen into? Because that is what it really is, complete and utter madness!

I really don’t know why we all feel this way. I do not have all the answers. But I do know that this is a lie straight from the devil’s mouth. Jesus tells us in Luke 10 that only one thing is needful. Only one. And indeed, that one thing we need, is to fall at the feet of Jesus and find true joy and contentment.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” ~John 14:27

Church, we do not need “Christianity And”. Only one thing is needful. So, come and lay down the “Fashion of Christian coloring” at the cross and be made whole, so that we may experience true happiness and joy.

We have got to get past the lie that we have been taught, that we need all these other things, with a little Jesus on top.

We just need Jesus.

Now, I want you to think of the things that you have added on to Jesus like we did earlier, and I want you to think of ways that you can set those things aside, and be content with just Jesus.

Throw off the Christian coloring and be stained with the blood of Jesus.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What is something that has gotten in the way of your relationship with Jesus?

= How are you going to change that?

= What are you going to do differently?

WINDOW REFLECTIONS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I woke up this morning remembering the absolute fear that I felt last year on this day when I woke up. It’s been an entire year since we were in downtown Fort Worth looking up at a huge jail, knowing that a guy named Rocky, who was genuinely family to us, was in there.

How? Why? What’s the purpose? Those are all questions that I still have and can’t answer entirely.

Late last night I was texting with a friend that has spent hours on her knees, alongside me and some other girls, praying for Rocky. Not only has she done that, but she’s stuck by me and supported me through this whole process. As we were texting about how crazy it is that a year has gone by, she said, “You know, honestly, I would have never been able to do what you did.”

This hit me. Some people may have read that text and patted themselves on the back. But I know that when I went in to the jail to visit Rocky, it wasn’t just me.

Truth is, I was hurt that Rocky had broken the trust that I had in him. I thought that he was a “good guy” and that he was different. That’s why I didn’t go in to visit until the third day we were there.

There’s only one way I know how to explain what made my mindset change, and that’s with some song lyrics. I recently heard a song called “Who Am I” by NEEDTOBREATHE, and man does this song tear me up every time I listen to it. Here are some of the lyrics…

White lights and desperation
Hard times and conversation
No one should ever love me like you do
Sometimes my bad decisions
Define my false suspicions
No one should ever love me like you do

While I’m on this road you take my hand
Somehow you really love who I really am
I push you away, still you won’t let go
You grow your roses on my barren soul

Who am I, who am I, who am I
To be loved by you

At first, I didn’t want to go visit because I was hurt. But secondly, I didn’t want jail to change my mindset about who Rocky really was. I wanted my memory of him to be when we all said goodbye for the 400th  time outside of his favorite pizza place.

I thought that loving who Rocky really was, was loving who he was when I hugged him outside the pizza shoppe. As I look back, I see that I was wrong. I found out as soon as I saw him through that rusty window, wearing a jumpsuit, that really loving who people are, is when you love them in the middle of their sin.

In the middle of the mess, and through the reflection in the glass.

You know, it’s really easy to love who you think somebody really is when there’s no hurt or sin mixed in. It’s easy to love when things are all good, and you know you can trust them.

Anyone who has decided to follow Jesus could have done what I did by going in to visit Rocky. When you experience Jesus loving you the way you really are, you can’t help but do anything else than love others the way they really are too.

And to love who they really are, is to love them in their sin. Just like Jesus did when He proved He was willing to die for us, while we were yet sinners, not knowing if we would ever love Him back.

I had to learn that what people do does not determine their worth. I had to stop my mind from tricking me into thinking that he was a “bad guy” just because I was talking to him through glass.

1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

My goal in life is to love who people really are, simply because that’s what Christ has done for me. What we have to remember is that not everyone will accept that love from us right away. It might take some time, and that’s ok. How long did Jesus wait for you? 

There will be people who decide to close the window when you’ve come back to help them a thousand times over. But what they need to know is that we will be there when they decide to open the window again; simply because we love them.

We just have to be willing to wait and see their reflection in the glass when they come in desperation.

“I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God.”    (Elisabeth Elliot)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you personally believe that Jesus loves who you really are?

= Is it hard for you to love people in the middle of their mess and sin?

= What are you going to do differently?

RELIGIOUS LIFE SUPPORT

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

People really like to throw around the term “fake it till you make it”, and I’m sure you’ve heard it said before on multiple occasions. In the last blog post that I wrote titled “How Dead Is Too Dead”, I mentioned how many “Christians” today are on religious life support.

The Lord has been working on me with that phrase since last Thursday, and I would like to share with you why it’s such a big deal to me.

I think that many people who say that they believe in Jesus are actually just propped up by their fake religion. When they go to church they sing, not because they want to worship God, but because that’s what everybody else is doing. They say all the right things, and no one ever questions whether they really believe those things they speak.

Actually, you know what so many “spiritual people” are doing right now? They’re crowd surfing.

There are enough “Christians” in our world today, there are enough grandma’s and grandpa’s and Christian classes to just prop us up and make us look like superheroes in the faith. Obviously after reading some of the stats we did a couple blog posts ago, I think it’s safe to say that’s not working.

We’re crowd surfing over all of the shallow worship songs that are more about us than Jesus, and all the superficial pastors who do more motivational speaking than convictional preaching.

Titus 1:16 says, “They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”

Some of you may be reading this and wondering, “Ok, Lilly. That’s all true. But how do I really know if I’m personally on life support in my spiritual walk?”

Well, I’m glad you asked, friend. 🙂

If you want to know how to measure success in your relationship with Jesus, then you should see fruit from your actions; not just hear words from your lips. Your faith and relationship with Jesus has to be yours.

YOU have to own it for yourself. It can’t be whatever your pastor is telling you or grandma and grandpa’s religion that they have been practicing for the past 50 years. You have to read the Bible for yourself. You have to be the one who decides not to go along with somebody’s wrong idea at the party.

That’s all you. Nobody else can prop you up and make it seem like you’re doing just fine.

This is why I think people get such a high from hearing missionaries come in and speak at church events, and why conferences are such a huge hit. Those things prop “Christians” up like nothing else can.

However, what happens when it’s just you? Do you run after and pursue Jesus on your own? If not, could it be that nothing’s going on inside?

For me, Jesus isn’t my religion. He’s my relationship.

Lamentations 3:25 says, “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him.”

I want to be a passionate and genuine believer of Jesus, not religion. Let’s be a people who don’t just settle with being on life support.

May we actually desire to be alive in our Savior who has made such a thing possible!

“One of these days some simple soul will pick up the Book of God, read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed.”  (Leonard Ravenhill)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you seeing the fruit from following Jesus in your life?

= Have you been settling for shallow, spiritual things?

= What are you going to do differently?

HOW DEAD IS TOO DEAD?

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

If you’ve read the last few blog posts then I applaud you for coming back to read another one! I understand that they haven’t exactly been what I’d call “uplifting”, but through them I pray that we’ve all come to the realization that different parts of the Church are dying. To be honest, I’m afraid those segments we have discussed, the younger generation and then many of the adults are on “religious” life support. They are almost dead.

Please notice I said “almost”; not “is”. There IS indeed hope.

The reason for hope is because there are still a FEW who are willing to make other choices. However, I’ve recently been wrestling with the question of how dead is too dead? Is there a point where the FEW should just stop trying because the souls they are trying to reach are already dead?

I quite often feel like that. It seems like there’s only so much you can do before it’s just a lost cause and wasted effort. I mean, there are some people out there who just don’t care how much you help them and tell them the hard truth, right? If you feel like I’m literally reading your mail by saying that, I just want to quickly say that I know it’s tiring and that it’s frustrating…

But are those people you are trying to help actually “dead”?

Let’s just be real. If you’ve ever done ministry and, remember that is what we are all called to in our everyday lives, then you know that the people around us who are “dead” spiritually, typically end up leaving us with pretty good scars. Even though we’re the ones trying to help them heal their own scars.

Whenever I’m dealing with situations like that, I am usually reminded of Ezekiel 37:1-6 which says, “The hand of the Lord was on me, and He brought me out by His Spirit and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them. There were a great many of them on the surface of the valley, and they were very dry. Then He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?

I replied, “Lord God, only you know.” He said to me, “Prophesy concerning these bones and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Lord God says to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live. I will put tendons on you, make flesh grow on you, and cover you with skin. I will put breath in you so that you come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

There is so much there that we could get in to, but there’s one place where I think our focus needs to be… hope.

You know that one person that doesn’t seem to get it after you’ve given them all you got? Keep pouring in, they aren’t too dead for God to change their mindset.

Your local church that seems to be a million miles from the New Testament Church, it’s not too dead for God to recover the good that’s left; even if it appears to be the smallest amount.

Can I just say it a little bit louder for the people in the back? NOTHING is too dead for God! Only He knows what will actually come to life. But you know what, I won’t be that Christian who gives up and asks the question “what if” later on.

I want to be the Christian who doesn’t ever give up on people. Because there’s always a chance that God will resurrect the dry bones and I don’t want to miss it when it happens.

You know, most times we don’t realize we’ve been asleep until we wake up. I believe that’s the state of many of our churches and Christian’s across the world.

God didn’t place you in 2020 on accident. Timing isn’t a coincidence. You were made for such a time as this. Keep breathing on those dry and dead bones; they just might come alive.

“I think the most awesome task in the world tonight is not to be the president of the United States or the king of an empire, but to be a man who stands between a living God and a dying people.”  (Leonard Ravenhill)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Has there ever been a time where you wanted to give up on someone or something because it appeared useless?

= Do you believe you have an awesome task?

= What are you going to do differently?

FOUNDED FREEDOM

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

The news, hatred, riots, the virus, they all have one job. To take us away from our founded freedom; founded in God not man. I feel like it’s time to connect the dots here. We’ve been trained to think that wanting freedom is selfish, and I guess I should even say not very “submissive” like. I believe that’s the lie the enemy is specifically trying to use against believers today. This hit me as I was writing an essay this week for the government college class I’m taking this semester. I’d like to share that essay with you, as it goes along with a truth God laid on my heart to share with y’all this week…

Week 1 Government Essay

“The reasons for studying government vary greatly from person to person, each one having their own personal motivations and convictions. However, I believe we can all agree that we should study government so that we can remain true to the original intent of the Constitution. Our freedom is worth fighting for, because the United States is unlike any other nation. President Ronald Reagan (1964) once said, “If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.” America is indeed exceptional.

Another reason to study government would be for the purpose of becoming better citizens than we are at the present. In order to become a better citizen, we must understand what our actual freedoms are, how government is intended to work, and the things we should pursue as  Americans. We must be an informed people. The reason we have seen such a decline in patriotism and American exceptionalism is because people are uneducated about the founding of our great country and are listening to the mainstream media that tells us that our country is contemptible. We will lose our freedom if we, as Americans, do not educate ourselves regarding government. I saw great truth in the article by Roger Pilon that we were assigned to read. The article’s ending statement was this, “At stake are nothing less than our liberty and the legitimacy of our legal affairs’’ (Pilon, 1999).

The United States is a country that has been shown God’s favor more than any other nation (Wallbuilders, 2019). We cannot afford to stray from those spiritual convictions that our Founding Fathers valued so much. Great American patriots such as John Quincy Adams, Sybil Ludington, and Nathan Hale had a passion for liberty within them. I find it hard to believe that they were just extremely ambitious souls. I believe that they had a passionate, God-given spirit within them. They were Americans who knew that there was something about liberty that was worth dying for.

Even our own people take for granted the great American experiment that has not failed us yet. According to WallBuilders (2019), the average length of a nation’s constitution is only 17 years. The American Constitution is over 230 years old and is still the greatest system in the world.

Ronald Reagan (1987) also made a powerful point in favor of studying government when he said, “Freedom is a fragile thing and it is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.” These are the reasons why we should study government; why it is of the utmost importance. Even now we see a generation trying to erase history by disrespecting our flag, taking a knee during the national anthem, and destroying historical monuments. Things I never thought I would see or experience in my lifetime.

I personally run a ministry called The Few, and we do a lot of our ministry on social media. A couple of months ago, I posted a picture on Facebook with two of my friends. One happens to be Asian and the other one is an African American. In that specific post, I brought up how there are still people that love other people, no matter the color of their skin or popularity status. About two weeks later, I posted another picture stating that ALL people are precious in God’s sight.

We received such an amazing response from those posts and gained many new followers because of the amount of people spreading the word and sharing the posts to their own social media pages. However, about a week later, I noticed a significant decrease in the amount of likes and shares that we were receiving. After looking into the actual statistics that Facebook provides us, I realized that it was not because people didn’t like what we were posting or because we lost a huge amount of followers, but because we had been censored. The reason I share this experience with you is because if I had no knowledge of The Bill of Rights and the freedoms ensured by it, I would have no idea that the First Amendment gives me the right to freedom of speech.

Now, more than ever, Americans must educate themselves regarding their rights and be reminded that government was established to work for the people. (Lilly Hobbs 2020)

Many of us ask ourselves how we can “fix” our country. After doing much research and thinking this week, God showed me the one solution. If we are not living how God wants us to live and pursuing the truth in our everyday life, then our nation will never be “fixed”. Want to know why? Because you are the Nation. Just like you are the Church.

Remember how I said earlier that it was time to connect the dots? Well it’s true. We will fall and our nation will fall without God at the center of lives. We’ll fix our nation when you and I make God our only priority. Which in turn will affect those around us.

Don’t just be an American. Be a God-fearing American.

“…Test me in this” says the Lord of Armies. “See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not ruin the produce of your land and your vine in your field will not fail to produce fruit,” says the Lord of Armies. “Then all the nations will consider you fortunate, for you will be a delightful land,” says the Lord of Armies.”  (Malachi 3:10-12)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= In what ways are you putting God first?

= Do you find yourself thinking that freedom (in God and as a country) is selfish?

= What are you going to do differently?

WAR WITHOUT WAR

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you ever had a time where you knew what you were supposed to say, but you just didn’t have a clue how to say it? Well, I’m kind of in that awkward place at the moment. I’m really not sure how to best write this post. The Lord has been working on me with a couple of different things over the last several days, so I’m going to write this post in order to preach to myself…

If that’s ok?

I’ve been thinking a lot about spiritual warfare. The real importance of it and how it often goes unnoticed. I guess I hadn’t seriously thought about how God, (quite literally) made you and I for war until recently.

The issue is that most people that call themselves a “Christian” aren’t engaging in any kind of spiritual warfare at all. Even though they were made to fight. Not only do some not fight, but many wreak havoc on their own souls and cause themselves to fight unnecessary battles.

Leonard Ravenhill has an amazing quote that I’d like to take a look at with you today, but I first want to make it clear that this quote isn’t what it seems. I’ll explain later…

He said, “No church group that knows spiritual warfare has wiener roasts or even passion plays. There is a real warfare. I have said before that we are an arrogant, self-styled bunch of believers. We “believe” to the point of inconvenience – and then quit.”

Here’s where I explain. Some may read that quote, faint, and after they wake up think to themselves, “Is that quote really saying that wiener roasts and passion plays are bad, and that my church shouldn’t be doing any of that?!”  

Sure, I might be exaggerating a little bit, but is that not the truth y’all?

Of course he’s not saying that those things are bad. What he’s trying to do is make an incredible and valuable comparison that I think we skim right across.

Ravenhill is trying to make the point that we replace real war with our own “wars”. Sometimes we start fights (intentional or unintentional) on social media so that we can satisfy our God-given desire to fight for something.

Most of the time, the reason we put on events is not because we are fighting for people’s souls and want to see them come to Jesus, but because we want to do more this year than the church down the street could ever dream of doing.

You see, we wage “wars” that won’t ever satisfy us like real war will. All because we don’t want it to be an inconvenience on our part. We want to create the “wars” we fight. We want to plan them so that we’re certain we can win them before we even start.

But that’s not even close to the kind of war that Jesus created us to fight! He created us to fight against darkness and evil.

Ephesians 5:15-17 says, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you live — not as unwise people but as wise – making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

It’s a great thing to have the will to fight, but it’s an even greater thing to have the discernment about what kind of wars to fight.

The greatest war we will ever have the honor to fight is for people’s souls. Not because we’re anything special, but because of Jesus’ power through us. Like I said, I’m preaching to myself here. These are the very things I need to remind myself of daily.

My prayer for us this week is that Jesus would reveal to each one of us the very wars we need to be fighting.

 And, just a quick reminder, not everyone will encourage you to fight the war’s God calls you to fight. Not everyone will approve. But you, my friend, are a mighty warrior. Made with an amazing, passionate desire to go to battle and win a real war.

“For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.”  (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you fighting unnecessary “wars” in your life right now?

= Do you believe the salvation of souls is worth fighting for?

= What are you going to do differently?

DEAD FISH

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I don’t feel like I can just “move on” from last weeks post. My thoughts, my feelings, my ideas, they all keep going back to “While We’re Sitting”. https://thefew.blog/2020/08/07/while-were-sitting/

After looking at some of those shocking numbers about how many young people are leaving Church, I think many of us were very unsettled. The question being, what can we even do about it? The whole thing just seems rather hopeless.

Truth is, there are a lot of different ideas about how we can fix “the Church”. Entire programs have been created to help solve problems in Church.

What I can reassure you with today is this… I’m not here to reinvent the wheel. I’m 100% sure that what I write about in this post is not going to be new to you. Most of us already know the solution. Discipleship. We just don’t want to do the work.

Allow me to explain why we often think the whole discipleship and “Jesus thing” thing seems to be hopeless.

One of the most irritating and frustrating things I see Christians doing today is they are always acting like they are on the defensive side. They live as if evil has triumphed, and we are trying to take back whatever it is that we’ve lost.

The definition of “being on the defensive” is this: If someone is on the defensive, they are trying to protect themselves or their interests because they feel unsure or threatened.

What would it look like if we were on offense though? Hold that thought…

1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to give an account to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…”

Listen to me here, if you have been bought with the precious blood of Christ and been completely changed, then you are ALWAYS on the offensive. There is not a single moment of your life that you should act or live like you are threatened by evil.

We were made to fight from a place of victory and never defeat.

Church, you already have the victory. You just don’t realize it.

We’re too busy trying to argue out all of our hashtags like “save the children”, “black lives matter” and “flatten the curve” that we don’t realize Jesus already has all of those things figured out. Those things are just distractions from what Jesus actually wants us to be focusing on.

What would it look like if we were on offense though? Give me a minute here, we’re about to answer just that.

His tactic is you. He needs you to wake up and realize that you already have power over those things because He’s laid the victory right in your lap.  

I hate to burst your bubble, but a hashtag probably isn’t going to save the children. But Jesus’ victory will.

A protest and taking sides according to people’s skin color probably isn’t going to lead people to God. But Jesus’ victory will.

Sharing all of your profound and wonderful knowledge about the virus on your social media probably isn’t showing people the hope and gentleness that you’re supposed to have. But Jesus’ victory will.

John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

He’s already overcome the world. So why do we think we need to or that it’s up to us?

My point in all of this is that you and I can’t fix “Church” or the world when we act like we are on the defensive side of this thing. Like we are always feeling threatened and trying to get something that we’ve lost back.

However, if we were to actually take this “Jesus thing” seriously for ourselves first, I truly believe Jesus will take care of the rest. We have a God who doesn’t need us at all, and yet He desires for us to be a part of it with Him.

The reason why young people are walking away from the faith is because all they see is a bunch of dead fish. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that anybody wants to be discipled by a dead fish.

I once heard a speaker ask, in regard to discipleship, “Do we really want two of you running around?” “Would it benefit the Kingdom to have two of you in it?” If you are not living out true Christianity and taking your faith seriously, then the answer is “no”. You are just polluting the water.

I challenge you, ask someone how you can pray for them and pray for their request while you’re with them this week. Forgive that person who you have been holding a grudge against for a while now. Be in prayer about who God may have for you to disciple. Then take them to lunch and just do some life together.

To be on offense means to take your own faith seriously. It starts with you. Remember, you can’t give to somebody else what you don’t have to begin with.

“But making disciples is far more than a program. It is the mission of our lives. It defines us. A disciple is a disciple maker.”  (Francis Chan)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you feel like you’ve been distracted from what God wants you to do lately?

= Is discipleship an important thing in your own life?

= What are you going to do differently?

WHILE WE’RE SITTING

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

“I had seen it happen many times. Heard stories told and realized that it was a harsh reality. No one else seemed bothered though. I didn’t see the people around me making an effort to stop it from happening.

In fact, maybe I’m one of the few who can actually see what they are doing, and why they are doing it?”

These are just a couple examples of the thoughts that I’ve thought about many times over. I mean, kids, teens, and young adults leave the Church all the time, right? It’s certainly not rare or something that we are shocked by.

But, why?

You see, I’m 16 years old. I fully understand what teens are faced with today because I am one. I know what it’s like to go to church every Sunday because I do it. I get what people think about “religious stuff” because I’ve thought it.

What people don’t know is that we have a very serious pandemic on our hands, and no, it isn’t the virus that we currently seem to be extremely challenged by.

It’s a pandemic that is bringing utter disaster upon traditional Christianity. Causing so many young people to call it quits and walk away from what they know as ‘’Church”.

And believe me when I tell you that it is a literal “disaster” of a mess. And it all happens while we’re sitting.

1 Timothy 6:20-21 says, “Guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge” – which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith.”

According to Ken Ham and Britt Beemer in their book titled, “Already Gone”, two-thirds of the young people you see in Church on any given Sunday are already gone. Even if they haven’t actually left and walked out of the building.

You know that teen in the back who always has his jacket hood pulled over his head on Sunday morning? Oh, and that young girl who always recites the Christmas story found in Luke 1-2 at your church’s Christmas play each December?

Yeah, it’s very likely that they’re already gone.

Ken Ham and Britt Beemer also reported that of those who no longer believe that the Bible is true,  39.8% first had doubts in middle school, 43.7% first had their doubts in high school, and 10.6% had their first doubts in college.

Something that I’ve noticed a lot of youth ministries do is focus so much on preparing youth for their time in college. But what about now? According to the statistics, it’s way too late by the time they get to college. Kids are having doubts about Jesus and are walking away from church in middle school.

We may not be losing them physically in middle school, but we have certainly lost them spiritually. They just might wait until college when it’s the opportune time to walk away completely.

You want to know the only reason I haven’t walked away? Because I have a Dad who is willing to drive over a thousand miles to help a guy who messed up just because he felt like it’s what Jesus wanted him to do. It’s because I have a Mom who packs the bags and never questions whether it’s really worth it or not. I also have a few other Godly mentors that show me what it looks like to truly live out Christianity the way Jesus tells us to.

Because trust me, if it was up to the Church to keep me involved and passionate about Jesus, I would have been included in those stats that I shared with you earlier.

Jesus starts around the kitchen table on an ordinary evening. And if there’s one thing I know to be true, it’s this… if kids don’t see their parents making the right choices and living like Jesus is real, they won’t either.

We’ve traveled the U.S. and I’ve seen it in every little American town and big city I’ve been in. It all goes back to the Church in every way. If the Church hasn’t produced passionate believers in one generation, it won’t be passed on to the next.

I lead Bible Study groups for younger and older girls two nights out of every week. If parents show their kids that Bible Study isn’t as important, or should I say even more important, than their school, sports, or any other activity, then don’t think that the kids will make Jesus first when they are old enough to make their own choices.

This stuff is real, and young people are walking out while we’re sitting in our comfy church chairs showing them nothing different that makes them want to stay.

Young people will stop leaving the faith when there are Christians who will disciple them and show them that the Jesus they serve isn’t boring, and that He isn’t like anything they’ve ever experienced before.

The thing is, you kind of have to get up to do that. It’s true. They will start staying when we stop sitting.

“God’s Church is not a social club. It’s not a building, and it’s not an option. The Church is life and death. The Church is God’s strategy for reaching the world. What we do inside the Church matters.”   (Francis Chan)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Were you aware of this “pandemic” before you read this post?

= Did the statistics shock you? If so, why?

= What are you going to do differently?

WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

Alrighty Y’all! I am excited for this one! If any of you know me, then you probably know that I absolutely, positively, love ‘The Lord of the Rings’, and once again, J.R.R. Tolkien has delivered with some good blog post material.

The following quote is said by one of the chief characters, Samwise Gamgee, at a time when he and his companion, Frodo, are almost ready to give up their perilous quest to defeat evil and return home.

He says, “I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had plenty of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”

“What are we holding on to, Sam?” Frodo asked.

“There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.”

This quote motivates me every time I read it! I love this quote because it is so relatable. I mean, how often do we feel like there is just nothing in this world that is worth holding on to? This quote, for me, is a wonderful representation of how we as Christians should live. Even when it feels like there is no good left in this world, you keep fighting. Because there is always a Few who will fight with you.

As I was preparing to write this, I didn’t really know what to say. But my mom was reading this book called ‘Book Girl’ and the author had a few pages written about this very quote and it gave me a lot of inspiration.

 She writes about how heroes and heroines are formed by the stories they believe. Frodo and Sam were able to glimpse the story that their small, faithful actions were part.

“Heroism isn’t about taking your own life in your hands; it’s about being taken hold of by something much bigger and more beautiful than yourself, by a story that draws you into its larger drama and empowers you to act in hope.”    – Sarah Clarkson

Heroic actions always come from our identity being rooted in a story. And when your identity is rooted in a good story, you are prompted to act in hope. As Christians our identity should be rooted in the greatest story in history. The story of our Savior dying for us and gaining victory over evil.

Christians have the awesome privilege of knowing the end of the story. How it all turns out in the final chapter. God wins! Good triumphs over evil. It’s already a done deal!

We are helping with a Gospel Crusade at our dear friends’ campground in Indiana this week. Last night, we had the honor of witnessing a woman give her life to the Lord!

Y’all, God orchestrated, through His body of believers, the perfect circumstances to draw this woman into a saving relationship with Him. It was beautiful!

Long-time co-workers of hers had prayed for her and shared their faith with her over the years. She ended up, through those friendships, coming to this Christian campground, where the owners loved on her and prayed with her and for her.

She picked up a book, ‘Left Behind‘, from the book box here at the campground. She read it and wrestled with the story. My dad shared his testimony at the Crusade last night, where the woman was in attendance. He told about how reading ‘Left Behind’ was part of his salvation experience. The woman then realized God was speaking directly to her, and she told the Lord if there was an altar call, she would answer.

This precious woman is now a sister in Christ. She is part of His story. She has a great story to share with others who need to know Christ. Those of us who witnessed this story unfold last night, and hopefully those of you reading this story now, are encouraged to continue fighting for good!

When we are rooted in this kind of story, we cannot help but fight for the good that is in this world, even when it feels like all hope is gone. Because when we glimpse that our small, faithful actions are part of a story that has changed the world we live in, you cannot help but be empowered by your hope in Jesus.

“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”     – Luke 10:19

Y’all, it’s time to fight back against the darkness that is so quickly trying to overtake our world. We must have our identities rooted in the story of salvation and have faith in the victory that the Lord has already given us.

Because there’s some good in this world. And it’s worth fighting for.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you sometimes struggle to fight for the good that is left in this world?

= Are you rooted in your identity in Christ and the story He has given you?

= What are you going to do differently?

WHAT WE’D MISS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

About a week ago, my Dad was praying at the beginning of one of our church services, right before the offering was taken up. He said something in his prayer that struck me in a new way. He said, “Oh what we’d miss, if we missed you.’’

As soon as he said that, I immediately thought of a story that happened when we were on one of our ministry trips a few months back.

We were having a great outreach at the church that we were at, and there was a certain individual there who was just starting to understand what this “Jesus thing” was really all about.

This individual went out with us on both our morning and afternoon outreach, and was greatly impacted each time. That same day, my Dad was going to preach for the evening service after supper. As we were all sitting down to eat though, we noticed that this certain individual wasn’t there.

We started supper and then started the service. The individual still wasn’t there.

Someone ended up texting them just to make sure that they were ok, and the individual answered saying that they wouldn’t be able to be with us for the evening, but that they would come again the next morning.

The service that night was crazy powerful. God moved in so many amazing ways. It was probably one of the most real and genuine services I’ve ever been in.

We came back to the church the next morning for another day of outreach, and everyone was still talking about the night before. Many of them were sharing about how God had spoken to them and how it was a night they wouldn’t forget.

Guess who was there hearing all of them talk about how amazing the night before was?

Yep. You guessed right. The individual who had missed.

Now, let me get this straight here, I was totally fine that they had to miss being with us that evening. Besides, I didn’t know where that person was or what they had to do. Of course, we were all disappointed that individual had missed experiencing God move, but there wasn’t anything we could do about it.

So, as everybody was standing around talking about the night before, somebody ended up asking the individual who had missed what they had to do and if everything was ok.

Are you ready to hear the individual’s response? Please prepare yourself, because I definitely wasn’t ready for this answer…

“Yeah! Everything’s fine. I went to the high school football game last night. They didn’t win though.”

I can’t even begin to explain how absolutely sickened I was when I heard that that was the reason.

Oh what we’d miss, if we missed Him. Ah, guys, I want you to get this today. It sickened me that this individual missed being in the presence of God, and, for something so completely trivial.

Sure, it was only one night. But it was a night that person will never, ever get back. You see, the individual wasn’t going to support a family member or anyone in particular. They were simply going to watch a football game on one of the three nights this revival was taking place at their church.

There are so many of us who try to justify our worldly pleasures. “Well, you know, I shared the Gospel all day and got my “Jesus time” in, so now I can go to the football game.

We seem to have a bad habit of “rewarding” ourselves with worldly things after we do anything at all spiritual.

I know that there may be some us who will read this post and think that we’ve heard this time and time again. However, might this be the time that things actually change for you?

Listen, I don’t want to be a Christian who looks back and realizes that I missed it. I want to be a Christian who gets to Heaven and knows that I ran as fast and as hard as I could after Jesus. Placing Him first in every single area of my entire life.

Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

The key is to seek first, not second.

“Aim at Heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”  (C.S. Lewis)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you feel like you miss what God has for you sometimes?

= Is there anything that you related with in this post?

= What are you going to do differently?

IF WE THOUGHT ABOUT IT

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

What do you think Christianity would look like if we had everything our way? I think that’s an interesting question to think about for most us. What would look different than it does now if we got to choose?

What’s optional and what’s necessary?

I want to answer those questions with you today in a realistic fashion. I want to see what it would actually be like if we did our own thing, even if we knew what the truth was.

You see, I don’t think the Holy Spirit is an optional thing. He is absolutely necessary.

1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own…?”

I’m just going to be bold and say that I think we’ve had everything our way for so long now, that it’s gotten to the point where we don’t think it’s a big deal if we don’t listen to God when He leads us to do something.

We don’t think it’s a big deal at all.

For example, when the Holy Spirit encourages us to pray for someone, to set a high standard, or to let go of a worldly pursuit, we trick ourselves into thinking that it’s optional. We don’t really have to do that.

Listen, I just want to make this clear. It’s a big deal to hear from God or read a command in His Word and intentionally say “no”.

Truth is, we do have Christianity our way, and you’re seeing what that looks like right now. I’ve heard people say things like, “Well, you know, I can’t really live out my faith at school or at work every day, so it’d be nice if it could just be an optional, once a week opportunity.” Or, “I’ll be back to Bible Study in a couple months after I finish with my summer activity.”

We make the things of God seem optional in our lives, and when we do that, we also make them look trivial to the people around us.

We have verses like Matthew 6:3-4 that we trick ourselves into thinking are optional. That verse talks about not being prideful when we give money. In the times we’re living in, I think we’d probably shout from the rooftops that we gave money to somebody, instead of being quiet about it. Please, we put our names on plaques and banners saying that we gave money to something because we want people to know about it!

This is the question I want you to ask yourself today… Do I think that the things of God, the things He asks of us, are necessary and worth doing every time I’m asked?

Hudson Taylor once said, “Christ is either Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all.”

If only we lived like that quote was true. If we actually believed it, then our focus would be on Him and not ourselves.

So, I would like to challenge all of us to seriously consider how we think about these things. Because if we think this through, we might just choose to do something differently.

Otherwise, listening to the Holy Spirit really is optional and, we should just realize this Tozer quote is really how we are functioning:

“If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the Church today, 95% of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference.”  (A.W. Tozer)

Everything He asks you to do is extremely necessary. Now get out there and do your job, Christian.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you consider some of the things God tells you to do to be optional?

= Would you believe yourself to be an ordinary Christian?

= What are you going to do differently?

LET THE ARROWS FLY

(Guest Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

Attention Y’all! Girls (and guys), please gather your parents around for this one. My mom wrote one for them this week!

Today, I was reading the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1. A beautiful story of how God hears His children’s cries of grief and longing, then answers their prayers. He is so faithful to those who love Him!

But, I was thinking afterward, “How did Hannah give up this son that she so desperately desired?” “Didn’t she want him for herself?” You see, Hannah raised her son only until he was weaned, then took him to the temple so that he could serve the LORD.

Of course she wanted her son for herself, but she wanted her son for God’s glory even more! She wanted a child who would serve the LORD, glorify Him, and further His Kingdom.

Parents, do you think of your children that way? Do you think of your child’s main purpose being to glorify God and further His Kingdom?

I would propose that we tend to think of our child’s purpose as to gain their own glory, or maybe even, to bring us glory. Our actions, our priorities, and our messages to our children do not line up with giving God glory above all else.

We tell our kids (even if it’s subconsciously) to get good grades so they can get into the best college, at least a better college than the neighbors’ kid. Play every sport offered so you can make a name for yourself in town.

Participate in every extra-curricular activity offered just in case it will look good on that college application. Then, after we do all of those things, we will try to squeeze in some “church” when it’s convenient.

I feel like parents of today suffer from “Any Benefit Syndrome”. We are inundated with so many options for our kids that seem great. We think that if there is any possible benefit from x, y, and z that we must include it in our lives and in our children’s lives.

Now, I am not saying that our kids should not participate in any of the activities at all. I’m not even saying that there is no value in them. There are many lessons learned and good character traits built through sports and extra-curriculars.

The problem comes when we make these things our priority, whether on purpose or without really meaning to.

The fact is, we had better sit back and evaluate what our ultimate goal really is. Only when we have sincerely thought that through can we make wise choices regarding what to include and what to pass up.

We must only choose the things that have the biggest benefit to get us where we want to go. Hopefully, you will conclude that where you want to go is toward Jesus.

Our children are given to us for such a short time. I urge you to consider the day they walk out of your door to begin life as a young adult.

Will you say something like, “I’m so glad we focused on all of those worldly pursuits.” Will it be grades, sports, and extra-curricular activities? Or will you say, “I wish we would have focused more on Jesus, and teaching them how to love Him and serve Him well.”

Parents, your children are made in the image of God. Made to be image bearers of The Lord of Armies. We are in a spiritual battle today more than ever before. There is a battle going on for your child’s soul; their eternity. Have no doubt! Will you fight for them?

I read a great quote by Jim Elliot, a missionary who died while bringing the Gospel to a tribe in Ecuador.

In a letter to his parents, written just before he left for the mission field, he wrote: “Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said that they were as a heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So with the strong arm of prayer, draw the bow string back and let the arrows fly – all of them straight at the enemy’s hosts.”

Are you raising arrows to launch straight in the face of the enemy? Effective warriors for the Kingdom of God?

If you are not raising your children intentionally for this purpose, then you are handing them over to the enemy. You are not doing this on purpose, I’m sure, but believe me, it happens passively.

The world and worldly things naturally become the things that get most of our attention unless we are purposefully pursuing something else.

Parents, I beg you to take some time in the very near future to look at the priorities you have set for your parenting and for your child’s life. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt. 19:14)

Here is the hard truth, we as parents may be hindering our children from coming to Jesus. All the worldly choices we make for them (what we allow them to watch, read, listen to, and participate in) are either placing them in the arms of Jesus or in the enemy’s snare.

You may think I’m being dramatic, but the battle is real. “Be sober minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Let’s raise a generation who follows hard after Jesus. A quiver full of arrows that we can confidently launch straight at the enemy!

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= How did God use this post to speak to you today?

= Do you feel that you are being intentional with your priorities?

= What are you going to do differently?

HALF MEASURES

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Jesus does nothing by half measures for His children. Those simple words seem to be stuck in my head at the moment. Any good blogger would tell you not to reveal the purpose of your post in the very first sentence you write, but that rule seems to have just gone out the window for this post.

And I’m perfectly ok with that, because there’s so much more to that phrase than I think we realize.

Think about this with me for a moment… Jesus was not content until He had given us all that He had. He isn’t satisfied unless He is in constant communion with those He loves.

Such a surprising mystery of grace that many of us cannot begin to comprehend.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “The limitless fullness of His all-sufficiency is as free to the believer as the air he breathes.’’

Here’s the thing, as Christians, we all know that we are called to imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). So, if we actually believe that, then we should do nothing in half measures for God. We shouldn’t want to do that because that’s simply not what He does for us.

However, that’s exactly what I think many of us are doing right now. We’re choosing to give Jesus “sections” of our lives.

But you see, Jesus isn’t interested in being any place in your life except first.

Now, you may be thinking, “Lilly, I just don’t feel that blessed, loved, or genuinely cared for by God right now. Why would I want to make Him first in my life?”

Well, I know this might be hard to hear, but it’s something the Lord has convicted me on many times…

Perhaps it’s because you’re too busy to be blessed?

2 Thessalonians 1:12 says, “If your life honors the name of Jesus, He will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving Himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving Himself freely.”

There should be this natural reaction that just comes out of us when we experience the grace and passionate love of Jesus. That “natural reaction” should be that we just can’t help but give everything we have, and all that we are, and lay it down for Him to use in full measure.

Listen y’all, Jesus modeled how this thing should look, perfectly, when He died for our sins. Death is love. There’s not a way to have love without death.

Here’s my point in all of this: If we really love Jesus, then we have to let the worldly stuff, that we hold on to so tightly, go. We shouldn’t want anything more than for all of that stuff to die, if it was something that was coming between us and our relationship with Christ. The One who refused to give Himself to us in half measures.

If we are but willing to do that, then I truly believe that we will joyfully get to partake of the fullness of Christ. It’s guaranteed to those who are willing and obedient and give their everything. Whatever that looks like in their lives.

It’s a fullness without measure.

Now, Christian, is your devotion to your Savior without measure today?

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  (1 Peter 1:13)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What’s your “natural reaction” to the Gospel?

= Does Jesus have your “everything”?

= What are you going to do differently?

YOUR CONDITION

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Many people that I’ve come in contact with or that I know, are pretty much convinced that the quarantine we just went through was straight from the enemy. I’m not here to say whether it was or wasn’t, however, I do know that in my own life, God did some amazing things that allowed me to make Him #1 in every area of my life through the quarantine, and I know He did the same for others.

Psalm 46:10 has never been so real to me until this virus appeared. It says “Be still and know that I am God…’’

I quickly came to realize that I cannot “know” God unless the worldly things around me are stilled in order that I may be still. So, I spent my time asking the Lord to reveal Himself to me through His Word and through my everyday life, so that I could actually know Him for myself.

I didn’t want to just know all the literature and the “right” things to say about Jesus. I wanted Him to show me who He really is.

My whole point was simple. I wanted to know God so that I could trust His plans. This became evident to me one night before the quarantine ever happened, and I desperately wanted to be content with whatever God had for me. I wrote this in my journal that night, “Lord, help me to remember that your plan is so much better than what I want.” That’s stuck with me ever since I wrote it.

Isaiah 14:27 says, “The Lord of Armies Himself has planned it, therefore, who can stand in it’s way? It is His hand that is outstretched, so who can turn it back?”

He convicted me that if I wanted to be reminded that His plan is better than mine, then I needed to know Him and His character. I needed to be certain that He is trustworthy.

I’m not sure about you, but when He challenged me with that, I thought that I was doing great in my relationship with Him. Of course, I knew Him and that He has a great plan for me…

I mean, I go to church, serve Him faithfully in different places, and lead Bible Study groups. While those things are good, and I should be involved in those things in order to keep growing in my faith, I equated a portion of my personal relationship with Jesus and actually knowing Him with some of the “works” that I was doing.

We tend to have a warped way of thinking when it comes to how we are really doing and how much of ourselves we are really giving to the Lord. We lead ourselves, and the people around us, to believe that we just love Jesus so much and that we’d be willing to do anything He tells us, when in reality, we are sidetracked and busy with the world.

Truth is, I had to be honest with myself about my condition. I knew about God, but I didn’t let God reveal Himself to me every single day so that we could have an intimate relationship. And I think that’s how many of us are, even though we don’t often like to admit it.

When you are steady in His presence and come to a knowledge of who your Creator actually is, loving Him just comes naturally. Serving Him, and even giving Him your all, comes naturally.

Our responsibility is to be honest about where we really are in our walk with Him. God wants you to be content in Him. He wants you to know that He has a plan for your life that is so much better than what you want. But you can only experience that when you experience Him.

As Crowder says in one of his songs, “But I find I know less as I come to know you more. You’re not who I thought you were. Praise the Lord.”

I want to know God more than I ever have before. Do you?

“Pay attention to your condition and see whether you are in Christ or not. It is the easiest thing in the world to give high marks when grading your own paper.”    (Charles Spurgeon)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What’s your condition today? Do you actually know God?

= Do you think that God has a good plan for you?

= What are you going to do differently?

MAKE ME MORE

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

For some reason, the Lord has put some people in my life that I’ve just recently noticed have something in common and are satisfied with the very same thing…

A little bit of Jesus.

That sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? Well, that’s a yes and no question. I want to share with you what the Lord has taught me by being around those kinds of people in my life.

The first thing is that they trick themselves into thinking that Jesus doesn’t really “need” their all, when in reality, they just don’t want Him to be involved in their all. This is because they know if He was, they’d have to let go of some worldly stuff, which they are unwilling to do.

Call me radical, but I truly believe that Jesus deserves so much more than our all. But our all is all that we have to offer Him, and we think that an inconvenience on our part.

But I love what James 4:7 has to tell us. The very beginning of verse 7 says, “So give yourselves completely to God…’’

You see, there’s no way you can be a follower of Jesus and just have a little bit of Him. People think, “Well, if I fit Him into my schedule for an hour or so on Sunday and maybe a Wednesday here and there, I’m good. I got my Jesus time in, and I’m doing way better than my neighbor down the street.’’

The funny thing is that the “neighbor down the street” isn’t even saved most of the time, and yet they want to compare their faith to that neighbor’s sinful lifestyle.

Of course you’re doing way better than the guy down the street! As Christians are we really called to compare our goodness against his?

No! God wants us to be imitators of Him and His character.

So, let me ask you a question… How are you doing compared to God and what He has called you to be? Are you sharing the Gospel on a daily basis? Is there someone in your life who you are discipling? Do you spend time with your creator so that you can come to actually know who He is?

James 4:8 says, “Come near to God, and God will come near to you. You sinners, clean sin out of your lives. You who are trying to follow God and the world at the same time, make your thinking pure.”

We can’t have Jesus on our terms. We have to take Him on His terms. You and I can’t follow the world AND follow Jesus wholeheartedly at the same time. It doesn’t work that way.

Listen y’all, I want to be more than the guy down the street. Not because I want to be some great and admired Christian, but because I want to be more like Jesus.

 I want Jesus to make me more like Him every single day I have on this earth. However, that only happens when I look at how pure and holy He is, and I then try to imitate that. I don’t want more “Church”. I don’t want more routines and rituals that make me feel more spiritual.

Francis Chan once said, “We need to be more concerned about who we are before God than our reputation before people.”

I want more of Jesus so that He can make me more than the world.

Jesus, would you make us more today? We want to be the vessels through whom you do the impossible. I pray that we would take a stand against the world and the evil in it, and that we would be the light of the world. Let us not settle for just a “little bit’’ of you in our lives. I pray that our entire lives would revolve around who you are and what you’ve done for us. Amen.

Give yourself completely to the God who loves you enough to make you more like Himself today. Take Him on His terms. You won’t regret it.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What stuck out to you the most in this post?

= Do you settle for “a little bit” of Jesus in your life?

= What are you going to do differently?

I CALL THIS TO MIND

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

On June 7th, The Few officially hit its Two Year Anniversary. If I’m totally honest, I didn’t know if I would have any strength in me to actually “celebrate” Two Years.

I thought I would be experiencing more grief and heartache, than joy and gladness.

This is probably not how you expected me to start off this “Happy Two Years” post I’m sure, but the reason I’m sharing my heart here is because I never want to make it seem like The Few is living in this unrealistic dream where we are always “living the dream”.

Has God done some crazy and amazing things over the past two years? Yes, absolutely! But I would be putting on a show if I didn’t tell you that so very many tears have been shed in the process of walking this thing out that Jesus has called us to.

Truth is, I was really scared to hit two years, because a couple months ago, I wasn’t even sure anyone would be celebrating with me. I was scared that this ministry that God has given me to lead would appear to be a complete failure to others.

That I, myself, would look like a failure.

At this time, I don’t think I’ve ever related with anything more in my life than I have Lamentations 3. In the midst of doing ministry and showing up for people, I can certainly think of moments where it felt like I was just “grinding my teeth on gravel” as it mentions in verse 16.

I know that sounds dramatic and over the top, but those times when the enemy is working against you and trying to make you feel rejected by God and His love, is real. Those moments that He’s trying to take your eyes off of your Savior and get you to focus on the seriously low situation at hand is extremely tough to fight against.

And the enemy wants to trick us into thinking that that’s our reality.

But thank God we can move past those feeling’s and find an overwhelming sense of security in verses 21-23 which says, “Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!”

Can I get an amen y’all?! This is the climax in the book of Lamentations!

The author is coming to a realization of something. He’s remembering the things that God has done in the past. Look at how verse 21 starts off, it says, “Yet I call this to mind”.

His perception of rejection changes and becomes a reality of hope!

Remember… God doesn’t change when your emotions and circumstances do. He is constant and His faithfulness never ceases to meet every one of our needs.

So, today, as I look back at the hurt and scars that I’ve gathered over the past two years, I call to mind that I do indeed have hope.

A hope and a joy that no one can take away or tread upon. I can celebrate that today, and so can you, friend.

You can call His faithfulness to mind morning, after morning, after morning. Because His mercies are new, today.

“If we are faithless, He is faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” {2 Timothy 2:13}

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What’s one thing God has done for you in the past?

= Do you “call it to mind” and remember it often?

= What are you going to do differently?

BASIC

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I feel like we’re all confused. No one has any idea how to react or what words to say anymore. To be honest, I feel that most everything has already been said; it’s just that no one applies what’s been said to their life.

We’re living in a time where the enemy AND the world want nothing more than to confuse us and make us unsure of our basic and fundamental beliefs.

The things that we should never have to question because they are truth, absolute truth.

I want to make this basic for you today. Jesus doesn’t want the Gospel to be complicated or confusing. He’s basic so that everyone can understand and find His grace and love.

He’s the complete opposite of what we are seeing in our world.

Now, I’d like to share with you a quote by Charles Spurgeon that I believe explains the root of the problem and why there’s confusion and conflict among Christians in particular. It says, ‘’If you profess to be a Christian, yet find full satisfaction in worldly pleasures and pursuits, your profession is false.”

The problem with “professing” Christians is that they are false and do not know basic truth. What’s worse is that the majority of them end up affecting the Church as a whole as they start to bring a sense of worldliness in with them.  

As much as I hate to say it, I think that describes a lot of “Christians” today.

A lot of us want the world AND Jesus. We want to be involved in all of our worldly pursuits, such as sports, entertainment, extracurricular activities, etc., then still do Jesus, if we can squeeze Him in, on the days we are free.

Listen, I’m just going to be truthful with you here, that doesn’t work. If you still find satisfaction in the pursuit of worldly pleasures, you’re fake.

Please hear me y’all, I say all of this in complete love. I’m just desperate for you to know, that this “Jesus thing” and living it out in the midst of hatred and evil does not have to be confusing.

If people would only open their eyes and see for themselves the basic stuff the enemy and the world is trying to make them unsure of, I’m confident that it would make us sick to even think about participating in and doing all of the things we are right now.

Because that’s the way the enemy drags you into believing his lies. The execution of his plan may vary a little from person to person and from time to time, but his basic scheme is always the same. The enemy’s only play is planting doubt in what is the absolute truth.

Listen carefully, he will always have you asking yourself, “Did God really say…?”

This was his tactic from the very beginning with Eve in the garden (Gen. 3:1). It is the same tactic he uses on you today.

Our only defense is to know the Word and the heart of God with certainty. Jesus laid out the battle plan in Matthew 4:4-6, when He was tempted by the devil. Jesus always replied with, “It is written…”. You MUST know the Word, friends. It is our complete and perfect defense.

Rest assured that the enemy is trying to work in the midst of the confusion and sin that we are experiencing right now. However, if you know the one basic thing that matters, which is Jesus, then He will give you the victory to overcome all of that.

Jesus is my essential foundation. He is what I want to start with and what I want to end with. I choose to live basic.

“I’m not afraid of the devil. The devil can handle me—he’s got judo moves I’ve never heard of. But he can’t handle the One to whom I’m joined; he can’t handle the One to whom I’m united; he can’t handle the One whose nature dwells in me.” -A.W. Tozer

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you find satisfaction in worldly pleasures and pursuits?

= Is Jesus your essential foundation in life?

= What are you going to do differently?

SELF-IMPOSED WORSHIP

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

Earlier today, I was thinking about what to write for this post. My mom started talking about the devotion she had read in A.W. Tozer’s book called “My Daily Pursuit” and said that maybe I should write about it. I went and got the book and read the devotion she had mentioned, and it just wasn’t really speaking to me.

So for fun, I flipped to the devotion for January 23rd (which is my birthday). I always look at that one in the day by day books since it’s the best day of the year! (Lol) Wow! It was so good. In that devotion Tozer talked about how we get so caught up in ritual and tradition, that if we were really looking at where God’s presence is, we would realize that it isn’t there.

Especially in this time with all the COVID-19 stuff, I have seen how much we value our “normal”, and how much we value our traditions. We really value our church buildings, but that’s not the only place we can experience the presence of the Lord.  The presence of the Lord is in you and me, not in the church building. We are the Church.

“The sons of the fathers may be worshiping the God of fathers, but for the most part, they are only going through the motions they saw their fathers do a thousand times before. Where is the glory? Where is the fire? Where is the brokenness before the possible presence of God?” -A.W. Tozer

When was the last time you were broken in the presence of God? As Christians we often act as though we are whole. As if we have it all together, and our lives are perfect. I’m here to tell you today, God wants your brokenness. He wants your flaws and imperfections. As you start to spend time in His presence, that brokenness, that shame, all starts to go away as we give all that to Him and start to lean on Him and not ourselves.

Psalm 139:7 says, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Where shall I flee from your presence?”

This is such a great example, straight from God’s Word, of how the presence of God is not in any one place. It is all around us. It’s in the extraordinary and in the mundane. It’s in the joy and the sorrow. It’s in the certainty and the uncertainty. God’s presence cannot be bound. What a comforting thought that is! God’s presence is always moving, always working for our good.

In Leviticus chapter 10, the Bible tells us about the sons of Aaron whose names were, Nadab and Abihu, and how they brought unauthorized fire into the place of the LORD. They lit their torches and put incense in them and offered it to God. They were immediately enveloped with the fire of the LORD and were killed because they offered fire that was kindled in their own way; not in the way the LORD had commanded.

You see, the fire they brought was to have been gathered from the Altar of Sacrifice; sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice. This is God’s command. We must approach Him covered by the blood of the sacrifice. Our God is a holy God, and before Jesus was sent as a perfect sacrifice, everything that was offered to the LORD was to be given the exact way that He instructed.

For a moment I want us to step back and put ourselves in the place of Nadab and Abihu. How often do we do things for God simply because they have been done for generations before us instead of seeking the true will of God for the here and now? The sin of Aaron’s sons was in acting in the things of God without seeking the mind of God.

It was self-imposed worship.

OUR sin is in acting in the things of God without seeking the mind of God. Church, do we not see what must be done in order to have thriving churches, with thriving Christians? We MUST seek His presence.

His presence is something too many of us have been living without, and it is time, now more than ever, to truly seek His presence.

Let us stop having self-imposed worship and doing the same things over and over without noticing that the presence of God is no longer there. God’s presence cannot be bound. Let’s take it wherever we go, and seek it in whatever we do!

SO WHAT’S YOUR RESPONSE?

= How have you been spending time in God’s presence lately?

= When was the last time you were broken in the presence of God?

= What are you going to do differently?

IT COMES WITH TEARS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Has God ever told you to do something that didn’t make any sense to you whatsoever? I’m talking crazy weird that you didn’t really want to share what He told you with anyone else because you feared they might think you’re wacked?

Yeah. I know that feeling all too well.

A recent personal experience comes to my mind when I think about being obedient to what I know God wanted me to do, even though it seemed crazy.

On our drive home from visiting Rocky in jail in September of 2019, (refer back to this blog post to learn about Rocky’s story: https://thefew.blog/2019/10/07/a-thousand-times-over/) I felt like God wanted me to get serious about praying over that whole situation. I’m talking praying about/giving things to the Lord that I didn’t even want to start thinking about, let alone pray for.

Getting serious about praying would mean that I would have to wrestle with what Rocky had done, and what the future had in store for him since he had made some really awful decisions. I think what the Lord was trying to teach me was how to forgive the hurt, and also love unconditionally.

So, as we were driving home and I was wrestling with God about the whole prayer thing, I specifically remember Him telling me to pray whenever I saw 111 or 1111.

That’s it.

The Lord obviously didn’t tell me that in an audible voice or anything, but as I was just sitting there listening, I knew that’s what He wanted me to do. Pray whenever you see 111 or 1111.

Y’all, I just have to admit, I literally thought that this “request” was the silliest/dumbest thing ever. I thought that I would only be praying 2/3 times a day at the most.

Boy was I so wrong.

111 or 1111 started popping up EVERYWHERE. All over school assignments, our social media pages, whenever I looked at my phone, I felt like I saw 111!

As I was looking up verses to use in this blog post the very first one that came up was Deuteronomy 11:1 (seriously??) which says, “Love the Lord your God and keep His requirements, His decrees, His laws and His commands always.”

Here’s what I want you to take away from this post, so grab your notebook or scrap piece of paper because I want you to write this simple phrase down…

Sometimes obedience comes with tears.

It wasn’t easy for me to get serious about praying for Rocky that much. I’m just being honest here. It continually brought back feelings of hurt and questioning within me about why the Church didn’t want to step up and do ministry.

Sometimes my obedience to God and doing what He wanted me to do, meant that I had to shed a few tears and push through in order to walk this “Jesus thing” out.

If you’re listening to God and trying to be obedient, it’ll come with tears, and that’s a great thing.

Is it going to be hard? Yes. Will it challenge you in ways you don’t want to be challenged? Yes. But you will grow and become more like Jesus every single time you choose Him even though it might be hard.

2 John 1:6 says, “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love.”

Now, you may be wondering, “Ok Lilly, what in the world was up with the whole 111 and 1111 thing?”

Let’s fast forward to January of this year, (2020) Rocky was being released from jail, so my dad and I went down to find him a place to stay and help him look for a job.

He was released on a Wednesday afternoon, so Thursday was our first full day with him. On Thursday morning we went to pick him up. When we walked into the little hotel room, Rocky mentioned that the house phone that was in the room had some numbers that wouldn’t work when he tried to dial.

So, naturally, we walked over to look at it to see if we could ask the front desk for a different one that he could use until we got a cell phone.

Guess what the first thing was that I noticed on that old, beat up house phone? It was the line on the left side of the phone that had the after hours/attendant dial number on it.

I’ll give you one chance to guess the number that was labeled in bold.

#111. (See the actual phone in the picture above.)

I almost lost it. For five whole months I had been praying and praying and being obedient whenever I saw that simple line of numbers that God had given me late one night on our long drive home.

I had no clue why God had asked me to do it, but seeing 111 on that house phone was total confirmation to me that I had clearly heard from God, and that I had followed through with what He had asked me to do.

Because you are Christ’s, you can hear straight from Him. You have to make the choice however, to be willing and obedient when you do hear from Him.

You may be the only one willing to shed some tears, but rest assured that our God works mightily through the few, not the many.

“Are you placed where others are sitting down idly, doing nothing? Rise to the work with all your powers; and when the sweat stands upon your brow, and you are tempted to loiter, cry, “No, I cannot stop, for I am Christ’s.” – Charles Spurgeon

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Has there been a time in your life where you were obedient to God even though it was hard?

= Do you sometimes fear looking like a fool in front of others for Jesus?

= What are you going to do differently?

STARS AND MORE STARS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

This morning, I was looking back at some of the different Bible Study lesson notes that I have saved over the past couple of years, and I found one titled “Who is God” from September of 2019.

I remember being so excited to preach that night for Bible Study because I had recently listened to a sermon by Ravi Zacharias prior to that study night. It was super deep; packed with so much truth. I couldn’t wait to share everything I had learned with the girls in the group.

He included a story, in that sermon, that I think many of us can learn from and relate to. So, I’d like to share it with y’all today.

When this story made its rounds a long time ago, it was considered one of the funniest stories ever. I’m not sure who actually wrote it, but it is the story of Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick, Watson, on a camping trip.

Ravi Zacharias told the story like this, “They had been out really late into the night, and they went in to sleep. In the middle of the night, Holmes awoke and looked out into the night sky rather stunned. He woke up his sidekick Watson, and said to him, “Watson! Watson! Look up into the night sky, what do you see??”

Watson said, “I see stars, and stars, and more stars.” He said, “What does that tell you, Watson?” Watson said, “Well, astronomically it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Oralogically, it tells me that it’s about quarter to 3:00 in the morning. Metrologically, it tells me that tomorrow will probably be a beautiful day. Theologically, it tells me that in this vast universe, we are just a little part of it. Why Holmes? What does it tell you?”

Holmes said, “Watson you idiot! Someone has stolen our tent!”

While you might laugh and read that story in a lighthearted way just like I did, I think that we are much more like Watson than we’d all like to admit.

It has appeared to me that many Christians have a terrible tendency to over complicate this “Jesus thing” and the simple Gospel in every way we can.

I believe that we have made the Gospel what we personally want it to be. Honestly, we have taken away the Cross to make it look all nice and pretty. But when you do that, there is no reason for the Gospel.

You see, we have made God look how we want Him to look, and we only pay attention to the parts of Him that we like and “agree” with. We add to that and take away from this and pretty soon nothing makes sense because we’ve made everything so complicated.

Voddie Baucham once said this, “The modern Church is producing passionate people with empty heads. People who love Jesus, but have no idea who He is.”

Sound familiar?

We have no idea who God actually is. We don’t know where to start. What we end up doing is making Him look how we want Him to look. We define Him for ourselves.

Guys, lets step back and look at the big picture for a minute here. All we can really know about God is who He says He is in His Word. And all we can really know about ourselves is who He says we are.

As Christians, I think we need to fix our minds on Scriptures like Micah 7:18 which starts off with the question, “Who is a God like you?” Let’s not just assume we already know.

You see, there is no one like Him. So we can’t begin to define who God truly is. We cannot comprehend Him because our imagination isn’t big enough to contain God.

He is too big for us to fathom.

Yet, we put God in this kind of ball, and we roll Him into what we want Him to be. We limit God, because WE are limited in understanding Him! He has not allowed us to grasp His holiness because He wants us to have a relationship of mystery with Him.

Beth Moore once said, “There is no mastery in mystery.”

You can’t have an intimate relationship with a person without mystery, because if you know everything about the person, then there is no excitement. You’ve mastered them. There’s nothing new to learn about them.

When an inventor invents something, he masters it. The inventor knows everything down to the very last detail of their invention. However, the invention will never be able to master its inventor. The invention just does what it is created to do. It knows its place.

As humans, we are so narrow minded, like Watson was, and we focus so much on the question and what WE want the answer to be, or what WE think the answer is, that WE end up getting it all wrong in the end.

Sadly, that’s exactly what we have done with God. We think we know who He is, but by thinking that, we limit Him. We confine Him to only what we can comprehend in our minds.

I want to challenge y’all today. God is so much bigger than what you and I can comprehend. He made us to have a deep and intimate relationship with Him. A relationship full of mystery, joy, and satisfaction.

That’s what we were made for! We don’t have to be distracted by all of the stars and miss the entire point of life. In our lives, the “stars” that you may be distracted by might be things like worldly activities, theology, or different “sides” and opinions.  

The simple answer to this whole thing, is that we just need to accept that we don’t/can’t know everything about God. We can’t master Him no matter how hard we try.

As God’s invention, we just need to do what He made us to do. You and I need to spend one on one time with Jesus, and let Him reveal parts of Himself to us in His time.

He has always been everything that we have needed Him to be. Amen? We don’t ever have to worry that He won’t be something that we need Him to be.

So, don’t get distracted by little things like the stars. Now’s the time to get to know your Savior for yourself.

“You, God, are my God. Earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.”   (Psalm 61:3)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you have trouble staying focused on Jesus alone and His purpose for your life?

= In what ways do you limit God?

= What are you going to do differently?

Has The American Church Canceled Jesus? – Episode 57

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ax2hd-100736a

Is the American Church to blame for the canceling of truth in our culture? In today’s episode, Lilly and Madie share their honest thoughts about everyone being offended, and how Christians have become more “feeling” minded than “Kingdom” minded. There is absolute truth, and the American Church needs to stop preaching that Jesus’ commands are relative. 

Scripture: John 18:33-38 & John 19:15

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