SHAKE THE DUST OFF

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you ever taken notice of the natural desire for honor that we have? Whether you have or not, it seems to consume us in more ways than I think we’d all like to admit. However, the desire for honor is something I believe is meant to bring us closer to Jesus (because He made us with it), yet we have confused its purpose, as we have with many other desires, and instead used it for our own glory.

Which is usually how the story goes when Jesus isn’t our only priority in life.

You see, we want to receive honor from our employer, from our followers on Facebook, from the teacher grading our papers at school, from our pastor, from coaches and organizations, from friends and peers, or even from leadership positions in the Church.

Here’s what people don’t want to tell you, though… Your choices have consequences, and you get to choose whose honor you receive.

It matters who is giving you the honor.

I’ve always struggled to understand the meaning behind Acts 13:50-52 which says, “But the Jews incited the prominent God-fearing women and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and expelled them from their district. But Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off their feet against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.”

I used to wonder why Paul and Barnabas “shook the dust off their feet against them”, and you may be wondering what this has to do with honor. Allow me to explain, because I believe that this could be really impactful for the American Church if we got this today.

In Biblical times, pious Jews would often shake the dust from their feet when leaving Gentile cities to make clear their separation from Gentile practices and refusing to honor them. However, here we see that Paul and Barnabas shook the dust from a Jewish town off their feet, which is interesting because they were both prominent Jewish men. But this action spoke volumes because it made clear their separation from the Jews who rejected their Messiah. Their very own people.

Are y’all getting this? Paul and Barnabas didn’t want their honor. They answered to a higher authority (Jesus) and wanted to be honored by their Savior, not the very world and people who despised Him.

Now, let me ask you this question… Whose honor do YOU want? Whose “well done” are you ultimately after?

Some of us have purposely been sitting in the world, conforming to all of its standards, just because we desire their honor. I am so sick of that! Why would we want their honor??

A.W. Tozer once said, “We cannot afford to let down our Christian standards just to hold the interest of people who want to go to hell and still belong to a church.”

That’s where Paul and Barnabas were at. They were not willing to compromise under any circumstance because they knew whose honor really mattered in the end. The devastating thing is that I don’t see very many Christians who have a relationship with Jesus like that now.

Instead of being bold and shaking the dust off, most Christians like to sit on the sidelines and claim that they are being “persecuted”. Listen, most Christians today aren’t being “persecuted” because they love Jesus and have the desire to be honored by Him alone. No, they are actually being held accountable for NOT acting like Him.

We’re running out of time. I want to hear “well done, good and faithful servant” from my Savior. I answer only to Him. I am after His honor, and I am not willing to compromise under any circumstance.

“Stand up, shake the dust off yourself!…”   (Isaiah 52:2)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Whose honor have you been after as of late?

= Are you all in to this “Jesus thing”?

= What are you going to do differently?

WORLDLY WINS OR SPIRITUAL SUCCESSES?

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Madie and I are frequently asked what The Few Bible Study groups are like, and we both have a difficult time explaining it. Hear me when I say this, it’s absolutely not because of anything we’ve done, but because the Lord is so faithful to work when His people actually make time for Him (which I am incredibly grateful for).

Thursdays are one of my favorite days of the week now, which is when the older girls meet!

Imagine, if you will, teen girls gathering in-person and over zoom to worship, pray, and be challenged through the Word of God together. They don’t have to come; they want to come. They want more of Jesus than they have ever experienced before, and I truly believe God honors that.

Over the last couple of months, we have been discussing Tran-sgen-derism (intentional misspelling) and the specific roles and duties God has created for both males and females to live out. It has been a very powerful time, and we felt the Lord leading us to talk about it on the Podcast as well (A Few Minutes With The Few). So be sure to check out those recent episodes!

Anyway, I gave them a challenge last week, and I want to challenge you with it this week… Don’t just live a Godly life. Build it.

Too often I think we view Christianity as something “to do” instead of “to be”. It’s great to do what the Gospel says, I’m not discounting that. But think of how much better it would be if we were to actually build the Kingdom and follow Jesus’ example because that’s who we are?

You can live it out yourself, but I believe that we were made to build something that will outlive ourselves. We do so by living life with others and teaching them what it looks like.

Where are my fellow workaholics at?! Just being real here, it’s easy for me to get caught up in work that ultimately has no eternal value, and sometimes even keeps me from the work God has for me. A.W. Tozer once said, “The Spirit-taught Christian must look past the multiplicity of incidental things and find the few that really matter. And let it be repeated for our encouragement, they are few in number and surprisingly easy to identify.”

In other words, Jesus wants us to know and be sure of what work really matters. He knows that we are quick to forget the few spiritual essentials that are necessary, just to chase after unimportant things that do nothing more than distract us from Him. Get to work, don’t let it get to you.

I love to get to the root of things, and I’ve had to ask myself time and time again if I’m after worldly wins or spiritual successes? I hope this question will help you determine whether you are simply living or building. You have to be intentional about the work you commit yourself to.

Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”

God created us to work. He gave us the authority to subdue the earth and have dominion over every living creature (Gen. 1:28). Which means that all of life, culture, and work is meant to reflect the beauty and glory of God. Whether you’re a student, pastor, construction worker, stay-at-home mom, elementary teacher, or an entrepreneur, work is rooted in God’s good creation and its sole purpose is to reflect His glory.

If we want to be spiritually successful, then we need to have a spiritual mindset instead of a worldly one. I don’t just want to look like Jesus, I want to think like Him too. Jesus came to build a Kingdom, one that He said the gates of Hell would not prevail against (Matthew 16:18).

Do not just work hard for the Lord, be sure to work well with Him.

“Seek, O believer, that every good thing you have may be an abiding thing. May your character not be a writing upon the sand, but an inscription upon the rock.” (Charles Spurgeon)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you struggle to be intentional about the work you commit yourself to?

= What’s something you’re currently chasing after that has no eternal value?

= What are you going to do differently?

THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I woke up yesterday morning to the news that a mural honoring George Floyd had been struck by lightning, resulting in its complete destruction. Perhaps you heard this news as well.

When people hear of things such as this happening, they tend to think that it is just a coincidence and nothing more. Take a quick look at the major news headlines reporting about the mural, for instance. The mayor himself said that “we may never know” what destroyed it, and another report I saw claimed that “It was just age. It just came away”. One year later? Hmm, I don’t think so. Interestingly enough, it was also reported one month ago that a porn star was found dead after posing nude in front of the mural.

I am here to tell you, however, that absolutely nothing is a coincidence in life.

You may be wondering why I believe there are no coincidences when it comes to incidents like these, and it’s because of Scriptures like this one…“I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless.”  (Isaiah 13:11)

That is God talking, y’all! Don’t think for a single second that He won’t judge America for its sin. What happened to the mural on Tuesday evening is a warning for us. A warning to repent and turn from our wicked ways, and to seek Him first.

It can be overwhelming to think that one day the Lord will judge the world, and that His standard is Jesus. Yet, believers can and 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. 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.

I have mentioned that revival starts with us, and I am more convinced of that as each week goes by. Do we tremble at the Lord’s justice and live in a Godly fear of it?

Charles Spurgeon once said, “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped around their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let no one go unwarned or unprayed for.”

Are you letting people go unwarned or unprayed for? My concern is that most Christians have recently lost sight of the Biblical command to warn the lost and are instead listening to the world’s megaphone message being screamed in their ears to just “be kind” and to “love everything” and “do what the Government says”.

Listen dear Christian, you were not created to love everything. To love everything is to be unashamed of sin, and to be proud of sin shows others that we have not and will not stand for anything righteous!

Thomas Jefferson once said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

If we really want to have a lasting impact on our country and change outcomes, I am convinced that it starts nowhere else than on our knees. George Washington said, “Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor…”

We must acknowledge Him and obey His commands if it is our desire to live a life worthy of the calling (Eph. 4:1).

Friend, if you are reading this post today and you have accepted and maybe even supported sinful ideologies such as b L m (intentional misspelling), Trans gender ism, and w o ke ism then I want to warn you to repent and to ask the Lord to reveal truth to you about those things.

It’s time to realize, Church, that our society is no longer a “Christian” one. Instead, it is permeated with counter-Christian messages that teach people to despise God and to treat His ways with contempt.

This does not, however, change the fact that there are NO coincidences with our God. He is coming back, and He is blatantly warning us of this truth. Are you bold enough to love Biblical truth, expose evil, and stand firm in this post-Christian society with us?

“And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink from Him in shame at His coming.”  (1 John 2:28)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you have a desire to live confidently for Jesus each day?

= Does the Lord’s justice cause you to tremble?

= What are you going to do differently?

IS JESUS YOUR WHY?

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I often find myself sitting before this computer and its’ keys wondering what God wants me to say next, and to be honest, I feel like I say the same thing over and over again.

However, God has been reassuring me that those are the things people really and desperately need to hear, not necessarily want to hear. You know, all those cute Christian Pinterest quotes aren’t always true (I know, shocker).

The world has enough influencers, I don’t want to be another one.

The world promotes perfection, but I long to be broken before my Jesus.

The world settles for fake religious events. I want to see genuine revival wreck the American Church’s status quo.

The world wants us to believe that we are building something great here, but I aspire to build and battle for the sake of eternity.

Do you?

I want you to know today that it’s ok to live for Jesus unabashedly! Pray when it’s awkward, worship when it’s silent, and preach the Gospel stronger and straighter every time you have the chance.

Do you really want revival? To see people repent and seek Christ? Then get out there and answer some questions. The lost ask the same questions all day every day, and we have the answer!

Speak the mighty name of Jesus over the impossible circumstances. Stop praying things that are logical to you while we have a God who exists for the sole purpose of operating in the realm of the unseen and unknown.

Warning: The majority will not understand your passion. You probably won’t have thousands of followers, and you will certainly be a special target for the hostility of men and devils.

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.”

Your influence is irreplaceable when you have the authority of Christ and a passion for Him more than anything else you have ever encountered. Let Jesus Himself be your “why”.

Oh, would you just give Him your absolute all today, friend? He will stand with you in the fire, He will pull you out of the water, and He will carry you on His shoulders.

We need to infiltrate our culture with the truth of Christ more than ever. I believe that’s precisely what we were made to do! How it must break His heart to see us search for all He wants to be to us in all the wrong things.

You do understand that that’s why anxiety medicine was made? You do know that’s why suicides continue to occur? We search for happiness and meaning in things like a bottle, and in sex, and in that new car.

In fact, most “Christians” are still searching because they aren’t willing to give everything up for what Jesus has for their lives.

Proverbs 8:17 says, “I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.”

Have you fallen in love with Him? You can right here, right now. If Jesus is your why in life, there’s no limit to what He can do through you.

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?”   – C.S. Lewis

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you desperate for something real?

= Is there anything keeping you from being dependent on Jesus?

= What are you going to do differently?

BUT IF NOT

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

In the summer of 1940, there was a total of 350,000 soldiers trapped on the island of Dunkirk. German forces were closing in around them with the means to completely destroy the island and everyone on it. Invasion was imminent. The speed of the Nazi army was unbelievable, and within days, most of the Allied Forces would be completely wiped out. British, French, Canadian, and Belgian troops had been forced back to Dunkirk by the advancing German army. Almost every escape route to the English Channel had been cut off; a horrible disaster had appeared unavoidable. At the time Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, called it “a miracle of deliverance”.

On May 12th, 1940, Hitler gave the order to invade France. By May 14th, 1940, German tanks had crossed the Meuse and had opened a gap in the Allied front. They reached the English Channel six days later.

The British, French, and Belgium governments had overwhelmingly underestimated the strength of the German forces. Because of this, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), as well as French, Canadian, and Belgian troops found themselves fighting against horrifying odds. Before long, the Allied forces had retreated to the beaches and harbor of Dunkirk where they were trapped, a sitting target for the Germans.

In Britain, as the British people waited restlessly, a three-word message was transmitted from the doomed armies at Dunkirk: “But if Not.”

Suddenly, the nation of Great Britain was thrust into action. Eight hundred boats of all different sizes and descriptions were called into a response. Every battleship, fishing boat, gunboat, yacht, motorboat, and even small rowboats, sailed across the English Channel to rescue those troops from Dunkirk and return them safely to Britain. “Operation Dynamo”, as it was called, was a success. The Miracle of Dunkirk has gone down in history as being the biggest civilian boat rescue mission to ever take place and will never be forgotten.

Many of you may be wondering, “why did that simple three-word message, ‘But if Not’, spur so many people into action?” Well, dear reader, that message was a reference to a passage of scripture in Daniel that reads,

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But if not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)

The story of Dunkirk has always inspired me, but I just recently discovered the power of this message that was sent. This message was so incredible because the army at Dunkirk was saying simply that they REFUSED to let the tyrant that was Adolf Hitler, force them into submission and worship of the diabolical group that was the Nazi’s. They pleaded for the British government to help rescue them, ‘But if Not’, they would fight, and they would go on fighting, until the destruction of every last soldier.

The reason I am writing this blog post, is to call the Church into action. Just like the soldiers on Dunkirk, our enemy is closing in around us. And he is closing in fast. Just like the soldiers on Dunkirk, we need a divine rescue.

One thing I want you to notice about this army though, is the fact that they had already been fighting, and they meant to go on fighting, even if there was to be no divine rescue. This is the part the American church is missing. We like to act as if we have been fighting for a long time. We like to act as if we have suffered for the cause in which we believe. But today I want to ask you, do you believe in the cause for which you fight so much, that you would be willing to say, “But if Not”?

Would you be willing to give up all that you love, cherish, and desire in order to fight for our cause? If many of us were honest with ourselves, the answer would be “No”.

Many of us like to think that we have taken a stand for freedom and for the Gospel, but I think we need to start being real with ourselves. So many people told me last year that they would not go back to in-person learning if there were mask mandates in their schools, but every one of my friends went back to school and wore a mask every single day for the entire school year. So many pastors said they would never shut down their churches just because the government told them too, but almost every single one of them did. Many people told me that if a restaurant told them they were not allowed to have a table because they weren’t wearing masks, they would go somewhere else, but ended up only going to a different restaurant if they were with my family since we would not wear them.

I want you all to know that I do not hate the government, or America, or my fellow Christians, but I believe that every one of the things I just listed, have become weak. Many of us like to read the story of Dunkirk and talk about how inspiring it is and act like if we were in their position, we would stand and fight. But one thing we must also remember, is that the Allied Forces did not win WWII just because they were evacuated from Dunkirk. They still had to go on fighting the Nazi’s in order not to be enslaved.

“We must be very careful not to assign this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations.” (Winston Churchill on the evacuation of Dunkirk)

Church, we cannot look at our present circumstances and act like we have been victorious. We still have fighting to do. Just because our country is not presently a communist country, does not mean that we may not be one in the next few years if we simply continue to evacuate when things get heated. Just because the American church is not under serious persecution, does not mean that we never will be. We must be Christians like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abenego. We must be willing to say to anyone who opposes the Gospel of Christ, “But if not, we will not serve your gods, or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Our job is to be the Light of Christ and fight the darkness that is creeping all around us. We must never surrender.

“What is to give light must endure burning.” (Viktor E. Frankl)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Will you give your all for Jesus?

= What are some things you can do to advance the Gospel?

= What are you going to do differently?

THE POWER OF PREVAILING PATERNAL PRAYER

(Guest Post by: Gerald Steele)

Yesterday my Uncle Frank was laid to rest. He was my mother’s youngest brother and he lived to be 99 years old. He was a retired pastor who lived not only a long, but a very productive life. As I reflect on Uncle Frank’s life, I think of the words of Psalm 92:14, “They will still bear fruit in old age, they shall stay fresh and green…”

Uncle Frank was a hero and mentor to me. He was a World War II veteran who was an Army medic in the historic Battle of the Bulge. He was a very gifted and successful pastor. However, Uncle Frank excelled in prayer. His day typically began at 4:30 a.m. He would pray in a disciplined way for a myriad of requests that included family, missionaries, and the lost.

He confessed to me, just several years ago, that sometimes he would awaken at 2:30 a.m. and could not get back to sleep so he would get up and start his prayer journey for the day. His entire bedroom wall was plastered with photos, missionary prayer cards, and written requests. Uncle Frank did not hastily offer “a word of prayer.” He was old school, and he knew the reality of a “sweet hour(s) of prayer.” Like the great Apostle Paul, he knew the agony and reality of suffering “labor pains” (see Galatians 4:19) on behalf of those who were not in right alignment with God.

He was an intercessor.

Fortunately, our family was the object of Uncle Frank’s prayers. He had our missionary prayer card on his wall as a reminder. When my Aunt Betty, Uncle Frank’s wife, died in 2012, he told me he just wanted to get to heaven as quickly as he could. I told him that I was not going to allow that to happen because I depended on his prayers. He enjoyed a quick little chuckle, and he knew that the Father still had work on this earth for him to do.

His prayer ministry continued on for nearly another decade. Through the years, Uncle Frank partnered with Miriam and me in praying for the conversion of our son Joel. When Miriam (my wife) and I went to Brazil as missionaries, we had two small girls. Prior to embarking on our missionary journey, we had discussed the idea of adopting a baby boy. So, after six months of language school, the Lord opened up an opportunity to adopt our Joel David. He was only eight days old when he came to us. A few days later, at our annual missionary conference in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil we dedicated him to the Lord and his service. Joel’s boyhood and early years could be described as normal. He was an obedient and compliant child.

Joel was eleven years old when we returned to the States. During his middle school years, we began to notice some behavioral changes. However, we were not overly alarmed. But following his high school years there were some significant changes, and none were for the better. This even included some gang activity in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

By then, Miriam and I were living and working in Portugal as missionaries. Finally, when Joel was nineteen, he had an altercation with a fellow gang member and was severely beaten up. This too, was an answer to prayer. Not long after this experience he got a job and established some new friendships. But Joel still had other issues to be dealt with.

He had multiple live-in girlfriends. He fathered a child with a young lady who was not even a girlfriend, but rather just a sex partner for a few nights. Finally, in his thirties he moved into a long term, live-in relationship with a young lady. They lived together for fourteen years. Life seemed to be treating him, and her, well. However, after fourteen years the relationship ended rather abruptly. Joel was devastated. He began to experience depression and anxiety. This culminated in a phone call to me around 10:00 p.m. on a cold January night two and a half years ago. 

Miriam and I had driven up to Fort Wayne from Florida for my cousin’s funeral. In the phone conversation that I had with him that night, I sensed that he was in crisis mode, so I got up from bed and put on my clothes and drove through the freshly fallen snow to his place. He talked that night. He talked like he had never talked before. He expressed his fear and anxiety. He told me about a friend that he had reconnected with in recent weeks who had been texting Bible verses to him.  He wanted me to hear some of those verses, that basically dealt with the issues of sin and salvation. Actually, this friend was a man who was nearly 80 years old by the name of Pete. My response was, “Son, Pete is an answer to my prayers.” He responded, “I know that’s true dad.”

At that juncture, I asked Joel if he wanted me to pray for him and he indicated that yes, he did. I went over to couch and put my hand on his shoulder and began to pray. The tears were beginning to stream down my son’s face as I prayed. When I finished, I said, “Son, it’s your turn to pray.” He said, “Dad, I don’t know how.” I asked him, “Do you want me to coach you?” He said, “Yes.” At that point in time, I basically helped him pray a prayer of repentance.  And repent he did! He put his face down on the coffee table in front of him and sobbed, totally broken. After it was over, I returned to my daughter’s home where Miriam and I were staying. I told Miriam that it was one of the most “ugly/beautiful” experiences of my life. Ugly, because tears and snot were dripping everywhere. Beautiful, because I watched a gorgeous butterfly emerge from a cocoon, a life redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

A week ago, Miriam and I had lunch with Joel and his new girlfriend. Before we ate, I called Joel’s new girlfriend by name and told her that we had a practice in our home of saying a prayer of thanksgiving for the food before we ate our meal. She said, “I know, because Joel prays with me all the time.” Wow! What an affirmation! Joel continues to climb. Recently he’s landed a real good job with Pepsi Cola. I have had the joy of discipling him from a distance. We text each other almost daily.

The moral of this story, in the words of Jesus is, “Pray and never give up.” We need praying fathers like never before. Uncle Frank, who had to prevail in prayer for some of his children, taught me this lesson.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! If you by chance have children who are not following Jesus, make prayer for them a priority.              

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What valuable lesson has your father/man in your life taught you?

= Have you experienced the power of prayer in your own life?

= What are you going to do differently?

FOR ONE ANOTHER

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

On June 7th, 2018 God started something in a little youth café with just a couple teen girls that would very soon after that be known to others as The Few. This past weekend, Madie and I celebrated three years of The Few with a couple of our Bible Study girls (we missed celebrating with all of them because of distance and other activities).

I think we can all confidently say that its only gotten better with time.

We started the weekend with an amazing outreach at an event called “Healthy Kids Day” that a YMCA about an hour away from us was putting on, where we got to pray with many families (especially kids), as well as give them opportunities to interact with us! So, if you’re checking out the blog for the first time, hi! Thanks for connecting with us! 🙂

One year ago, on our two-year anniversary, I wrote the blog post titled, “I Call This To Mind” https://thefew.blog/2020/06/11/i-call-this-to-mind/. I was struggling at that time with ministry, and just life in general. It was a discouraging time, as we were trying to lead well in the midst of the world’s craziness, and walk alongside one of our Bible Study girls who was in the middle of one of the most trying and heartbreaking times of her life.

Over the past three years, The Few has had its fair share of highs and lows, yet God has been greater than them all. He has held us together when Madie and I thought we’d fall apart, and made the victories more than worth the late-night conversations, recordings, and everything else in between.

We’ve seen some people walk away, and we’ve had some come and surrender their everything to Christ and decide to get serious about Him. Not everything has been perfect, and as I told the girls in our study last week, we’re called to be beautifully sacrificial, not perfectly artificial (not sure where I got that).

However, the only quote I think suitable for this memorable milestone post is a quote by C.S. Lewis about friendship…

He once said, “In friendship… we think we have chosen our peers. In reality, a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another, posting to different regiments, the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting—any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret Master of the Ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends “You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others. They are no greater than the beauties of a thousand other men; by Friendship God opens our eyes to them. They are, like all beauties, derived from Him, and then, in a good Friendship, increased by Him through the Friendship itself, so that it is His instrument for creating as well as for revealing.”  

There is so much that I love about The Few and what God has done with/through it, but there is one thing I never want to lose: The friendships. The ones where you can text at any time and tell them to pray, the ones that make it a priority to spend two hours every single week worshipping, praying, and studying. The ones that don’t try to compete and can work as a team no matter what’s happening around them, and the ones that want to love Jesus more than anything else with you.

That’s something I don’t want to lose. I thank God for those friends very often.

One of our favorite verses within Bible Study has been Proverbs 27:17 which says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

I believe with all of my heart that God has chosen us for one another, and those are the friends that don’t let you settle for who you are, but instead push you to be who you were created to be. We are living our adventure, and I couldn’t be more in love with it! Thank you, Jesus.

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”  (Psalm 133:1)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you have a friend(s)/community that doesn’t let you settle for who you are right now?

THE SILVERSMITH

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

How’s your day been? How’s your week been? Whether it seems like it has been the best or the worst, it’s extremely likely that you’ve had some kind of “crisis” happen that you’ve had to deal with, maybe even just today.

What’s your first reaction to a “crisis”? Maybe it was that a loved one got sick, or you totally forgot to turn that one year-end assignment in on time, or perhaps it’s just friend/family drama.

You see, I’ve been taught that you cannot fix a spiritual problem with a physical solution. So very often we look at things in life and our first reaction is to do what the people around us (who usually do not know Jesus) say to do, or what the world tells us to try.

But some good life advice I have personally received: Always try Jesus’ way FIRST before resorting to any other option.

1 John 5:19 says, “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”

More often than not, our first reaction to a crisis is to run to the world for a solution or “quick fix”, because we are already functioning in a worldly mindset on a daily basis. However, this is a bigger issue than we think it is. Our choices are evidence of whom we ultimately trust.

This means that we make Christianity look absolutely weak and trivial when we trust in anyone or anything but Christ.

Titus 2:11-15 says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”

We are called to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. I don’t think we are living up to that expectation when we turn to the world and let it be our source of security and hope instead of Jesus.

Lilias Trotter once said, “Holiness, not safety, is the end of our calling.”

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about crisis, hardships, and trials it’s that if I’m doing what I’m called to do through it, He will certainly do His part and make me more like Himself.

For example, it reminds me of when a silversmith heats up silver. He has to heat it up over and over again. As the heat draws out the imperfections and impurities and they would surface, he would scoop it off the top and start again.

Do you know when he would stop refining the silver? He would stop when He could see his own reflection in it. Only then was it perfect.

This is exactly what Jesus does in our lives. He begins to sanctify us, and mold us into His likeness, which is indeed, the most beautiful thing.

The verse above said that Jesus “gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession”. Just take a minute to think about that.

He wants you to be His, and His alone! He is a jealous God because of how much He loves and cares for us.

A.W. Tozer once said, “When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike, it resolves a great deal of anxiety.”

I’m not sure about you, but I want my first reaction in the midst of crisis to be to trust that He is just taking some time to draw out some impurities. He wants to make us more like Himself, but the question you and I must decide the answer to is, are we going to let Him?

“It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.”  (C.S. Lewis)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What tends to be your first reaction in the midst of crisis?

= Do you desire to be holy?

= What are you going to do differently?

THE ISSUE IS NOT SHOVING

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

A very serious question has presented itself to me a number of times recently. It has had me in a state of deep thought as of late. And of course, I must write about it, because it is indeed a matter more than suitable for the blog, ha!

It is the question: How do I not “shove Jesus” down someone’s throat?

Whether you are a Christian or not, I’m sure you have heard, or maybe even used that term before. I have many questions and thoughts when it comes to this specific topic, so let’s tackle it together.

When I hear people accuse Christians of “shoving Jesus” down their throats, I can’t help but wonder if they get equally upset when other things are shoved down their throats? When a magazine arrives in their mailbox each month, do they become incensed that classified ads are being “shoved down throats”? 

Are the landscapers who walk neighborhoods for business with little bags containing ads for their services, “shoving gardening down people’s throats”?  Or how about food coupons? Is the restaurant guilty of “shoving it’s product down someone’s throat”? 

The simple answer is no!  Why? Because they understand that ads go to everyone, so if they do not want the ads, they just throw them away. They have the freedom to do whatever they want with the information presented.

You see, people who accuse Christians of “shoving Jesus” down their throats are not really upset with you at all. What these individuals are really upset about is Jesus Christ (John 15:18). They do not want to answer to Him, so they do not want to be reminded that He exists.

I find it quite amusing that Christians are even accused of this, when truth be told, most Christians are so timid when it comes to sharing the Gospel, they are practically incapable of shoving it down anyone’s throat. 

Which leads me to my next point… The issue is not shoving. The issue, I think, is that most Christians who ask the question about how to not shove Jesus are really just using it as an excuse not to share the Gospel with a certain individual(s), because they know that the Lord is leading them to do so.

We really have two types of extremes in American Christianity… One that doesn’t share the Gospel and makes a bunch of excuses, and two, those who shove religion (not Jesus) down people’s throats.

Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”

A tenet of the Christian faith is that it is evangelistic. That means it is good news and that it is to be proclaimed; not forced. If you are just sharing your “religion” with the mindset that everyone is going to be offended by it and hate it, then I would encourage you to ask yourself if you have genuinely encountered Jesus. After I have experienced His life changing Gospel, how could I not tell them about Him in love?? When people who claim to be Christians are comfortable with a “private faith” that they keep to themselves, they are not following Jesus’ clear command to proclaim the Gospel to everyone everywhere. See 1 John 2:4.

If we are going to be true Christians, we must proclaim Christ.

1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”

Your job is to share Jesus with everyone you encounter, whether you are comfortable doing it or not. If you are serious about this Jesus thing yourself, those you are around will see a difference in what you say and do compared to everyone else they encounter. Make sure they know that difference is because you have been saved from your sin because of what Jesus did on the cross.

I am convinced that a true Christian cannot and will not “shove Jesus down anyone’s throat”. They are practically incapable of doing such a thing! They are the ones who know that the Gospel is a free gift to those who choose to receive it for themselves.

Psalm 34:2 says, “My soul will make its boast in the Lord; The humble will hear it and rejoice.”

So, the issue is not “shoving”. The issue is that we are letting the concept of “shoving” get in the way of us sharing the Gospel. When it comes to sharing Jesus, I have found that the people whose hearts are most hardened to the things of God are usually the ones who actually want Him the most.

They do not want “religion” shoved down their throats. They want something radical. Which we know is the Gospel. There is a big difference.

“We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.”  (Madeleine L’Engle)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you proclaiming the Gospel daily?

= Have you ever used that question as an excuse?

= What are you going to do differently?

DESPERATELY DESPERATE

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

What does it mean to be desperate for God? Biblically, I believe it is something we are to strive towards, and it seems like there is a sense of desperation in the worship songs we sing at church on Sunday, but what does it look like in everyday life? Is it just a feeling you experience when everything in your life goes terribly wrong and you have no other “fix” or solution?

These are real-life questions that I believe pertain many of us, no matter how young or old we are. I think it is also safe to say that many of us may know the “right answers”, but can you actually explain, from personal experience, what it’s like to be desperate for God?

The other day, my family and I were praying for one of our friends who has cancer. He was in the hospital, and not doing well, and we felt like God wanted us to drive to the hospital to simply pray in the parking lot for his healing.

As we were praying, my dad said something that honestly, I thought was a bit crazy at first. He said, “Well Lord, I’m glad we’ve finally come to the point where every other possible solution has ceased to work and where we can realize that you’re all we’ve got.”

He wasn’t saying that the radiation wasn’t worth it or that the chemo was useless for our friend. We were trusting that God would use those things in whatever way He wanted to. My dad was just sharing that he was actually glad that God had made Himself our only hope, and that we wanted and expected Him to work powerfully!

Psalm 91:14-16 says, “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

I think we tend to get this whole “desperate for God” thing mixed up. Most people only want God when the chemo does not work or when they don’t have anything else to try. That’s the only time they’re desperate.

But I think that being desperate for God really just means that we constantly realize He is all we’ve got. Being desperate for God isn’t necessarily about acquiring His presence in our lives, because if we have a relationship with Him, we should know that God is always with us. A desperate need for God results from already having a relationship with Him but wanting more and more of Him and only Him.

Because in reality y’all, we are always at the end of ourselves.

God says that he will deliver those who hold fast to Him, and that He will protect those who know His name. You may ask about those who are unsaved, and I truly believe He works even in the lives of people who are not close to Him. He comes to them when they are at the end of themselves because He wants them to know Him and rely on Him. But trust me, it is SO much better for those who always recognize that they are at the end of themselves and rely on God every second of every day.

They know full well that it is God who works all things for our good, and ultimately, God gets all the glory.

We should always be desperate as followers of Jesus because we should want more of Him! Don’t just settle with past experiences you may have had! There is always more.

Leonard Ravenhill once said, “Prayer is as mighty as God, because He has committed Himself to answer it.”

Do you understand the gravity of that today? Prayer is as mighty as God, and yet most of us hardly pray at all. And if we do, I bet we don’t pray with the knowledge and attitude that it is that powerful. You see, we should be in a constant state of prayer because of our constant desperation for Him.

I am glad we’ve finally come to the point where every other possible solution has ceased to work. There’s not a solution. There’s a Savior.

“From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”  (Psalm 61:2)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you tend to only be desperate for God when times are hard?

= Have you come to the end of yourself?

= What are you going to do differently?

THE WAY I AM

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I suppose that a lot of people think I’m crazy for saying and doing the stuff I do on a daily basis. Not just within The Few, but daily life. I’m not going to lie. So often I question why many Christians do not show any sign of change or of being radical for Christ.

I struggle a lot with that. Maybe you do too?

Madie and I are usually labeled as the “crazy girls” in friend groups because we don’t “take a break” when it comes to talking about what Jesus would want us to do, or spending time talking to that individual girl that’s struggling and needs someone to just speak into them spiritually.

People don’t like that. They don’t like that when Madie and I choose to hang out with them it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to go along with what everybody else may be in favor of doing. Not because we are anything important, but because He is our priority.

Can I just share my heart here?

Truth is, I’m sick of the American version of Christianity. It’s not Biblical! The American Church has turned church-goers into consumers instead of contributors (1 Cor. 12), and it’s the exact opposite of what Jesus has called His followers to.

We are no longer focused on the mission, and we quickly forget that there are real people going to a real hell.

There have been more times than I can count that I have questioned if I am too overbearing or if I’m too serious when it comes to this whole Jesus thing. But, then I read verses like this…

Matthew 24: 42-44 says, “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

The question I want us all to ask ourselves today is whether or not that verse has any kind of effect on our everyday way of life? Let’s get more specific… Does it effect your choices? How about your time?

How you spend your time, is how you spend your life.

One of the craziest things that I do NOT understand about Christians today is that they don’t even try. They don’t even try to be like Jesus even though they claim to believe He’s coming back, yet they can certainly train and try out for a sports team or a job they want.

Not only that, but they also seem to be completely ignorant of the fact that they can grieve the Holy Spirit within them! When we are disobeying the commands of Christ, we are grieving His spirit that is inside of us. See Ephesians 4:30.

What’s actually important? Have you ever asked yourself that question?

1 Corinthians 7:29-31 says, “This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.”

The one thing I’ve been asking of the Lord recently is that He would give me a heart for the people who are lost and that I wouldn’t be so focused on myself. I think that a big reason many Christians aren’t even trying to be like Jesus and trying to be holy, is because we really just don’t care about anything except for ourselves.

However, we are told that the present form of this world is passing away. This is indeed no time to be inward focused. Jesus should not have to beg us to get our acts together. It should be a natural response on our part.

The time is short, and it is getting shorter second by second, day by day. You and I need to get serious about Jesus, now. It’s time to start trying.

I am the way I am because Jesus has radically impacted my life. I wouldn’t want to be any other way, and I certainly won’t apologize for it.

“For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.””  (1 Peter 1:16)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Has Jesus radically impacted your life?

= How are you “trying” to exercise your faith?

= What are you going to do differently?

I WILL

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

One of our close friends called my dad earlier this week to share that he had plans to visit a relative near us, and to ask if he could stay with us while he was here. Of course my dad said yes, and we couldn’t wait to see him!

In the midst of the excitement and anticipation to see our friend who we hadn’t seen for quite some time, reality set in. We needed to clean, bake, and prepare for our guest!

We all know that preparing for a guest takes a lot of time and effort, right? For some people, they very much dislike having to put in the work for someone to come. I mean, some of us have the gift of hospitality more than others, haha!

Trust me, I’ve definitely been that person before, but there’s just something different about preparing for someone who would not only do the same for you, but who loves Jesus more than anything and is obedient to whatever Christ calls him to.

This got me thinking about a quote by Francis Chan that I want to share with you today. He said, “Whenever I meet people who resemble a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1), having suffered for the Gospel, I’m ready to give them the shirt off my back. I feel an immediate affinity and bond in the Spirit. Their lives resemble the life of Christ. Loving them and serving them is an honor because it feels like I am serving Christ Himself.”

I guess my question for us today is not if we know Jesus is coming back, because we know without a doubt that He is, just like we knew our friend was indeed coming to our house. But rather, do we have an urgency to prepare? An urgency full of anticipation and hope?

Truth is, if you are a genuine and true follower of Jesus, you should already be preparing by being in constant communion with Him, preaching the Word in and out of season, and by making different and radical choices for the sake of the Kingdom.

Sometimes, however, we need a little heart-check to make sure that we aren’t preparing for Him to come as if it is a dreadful chore that we have no desire to do with excellence. I am convinced that it is the most beautiful thing when we can serve our Savior with an unrestrained heart.

Psalm 59:6-10 says, “They return at evening, snarling like dogs and prowling around the city. Look, they spew from their mouths- sharp words from their lips. “For who” they say, “will hear?” But you laugh at them, Lord; you ridicule all the nations. I will keep watch for you, my strength, because God is my stronghold. My faithful God will come to meet me; God will let me look down on my adversaries.”

I think what this generation lacks and so desperately needs are Christians who are bold enough to say “I will” and actually do. The world needs us, y’all! They need us to warn them, and they need us to truly believe that Christ is worth all of our time and effort spent preparing and doing what He has called us to.

Leonard Ravenhill once said, “Christ has not conquered my affections if He has to compete for my attention.”

I encourage you to read that quote again. Even now, ask yourself if Christ has to compete for your attention.

I’m afraid that so many of us are like the people in the verse that we just read. We have somehow convinced ourselves, in the midst of the busyness we create, that God doesn’t hear us. That God doesn’t really care about how we live.

David points out that there are clearly two kinds of people. Those who don’t care about preparing and don’t think that God does either, and those who say “I will” and intentionally choose to wait upon the Lord. They know that God will come to meet them, and they are more than ready for when He does.

The question before us, then, is which one will Jesus find us to be?

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” (Benjamin Franklin)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= How are you going to prepare for Christ today?

= Has He conquered your affections?

= What are you going to do differently?

LET’S CELEBRATE Y’ALL!

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

This week has been one of the most crazy, exciting, & humbling weeks for Madie and I. May 1st will mark one year of podcasting for The Few, and two years of blogging! So many of y’all have been here since the very beginning, and many of y’all are just now joining the community, which we couldn’t be more thankful for! We just want to say thank so very much for being here and for reading and listening each week, and choosing to be one of The Few alongside us. It truly means everything to us to see other people getting serious about living for Jesus in their everyday lives! After all, that is our mission!

With that said, we kinda love celebrating over here at The Few, and we have a couple of surprises up our sleeve for YOU that we think you will LOVE, as well as grow through! We have put a lot of time and effort into this and I do, of course, need your help before we can make this huge surprise happen! So, here’s what you can do…

  1. Make sure that you are subscribed to our podcast “A Few Minutes With The Few”, which you can find on all major podcasting platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, etc. It is also super helpful if you leave our podcast a rating and review on Apple Podcasts (scroll all the way to the bottom).
  2. Get yourself signed up to be on our email list so that you are notified whenever we post or upload! You can do so right here on the homepage of the blog!
  3. You can also find us on Instagram & Parler @ thefew.blog!

We plan to announce our first surprise TOMORROW on our social media platforms, so be sure to stay connected! Eeeek! I better stop typing before I give it away, ha! If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or email us thefew.blog@gmail.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible! 🙂

A TIME OF TRIAL

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

This generation is failing to recognize truth, and every human being alive is suffering the consequences. There is indeed a double standard being taught by the world. It’s in almost every news headline that we see on any given day. If I understand correctly, “good” is now bad and “bad” is now good.

Yet, this has been the enemy’s plot throughout history, has it not? Whenever evil becomes evident, Christians are shocked, but I’m not sure why exactly.

Andrew Kern once said, “I believe that God has been preparing His people for a time of trial, but He has been doing it the way He does things and not the way we would.”

In other words, God is purging us of all the vain supports that offer themselves.

1 Peter 4:12-13 says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.”

If Christians would just realize that everything happening to us right now is to make us more Christlike, we would indeed have the passion that our persecuted brothers and sisters do. The problem is, the American Church has little desire to be Christlike because we would rather continue on in our worldliness.

Oh, that we would repent of our love for the world! We’re so worried about ourselves and not about what pleases Him.

I think one of the biggest questions American pastors specifically should be asking themselves right now, is if the people that sit in “their” churches each Sunday would be able to withstand a fiery trial and a time of testing.

Would you?

Are we preaching Jesus crucified or are we preaching the comfortable and convenient version of Jesus that we made up because we don’t want Him on His terms? A.W. Tozer once said, “Many people say, “Try Jesus;” You don’t try Jesus. He’s not there to be experimented with. Christ is not on trial. You are.”

This post is not to make you doubt your relationship with Jesus, but rather encourage you to test the strength of it. In Psalm 57 David said, “My heart is confident, God, my heart is confident.” I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to say that to Him as well.

Friends, the time of trial is now. However, even in times of trial, I want my heart to be confident in Jesus and what He did for me on the cross. May He help us to remain steadfast under trial.

If you give up our life, you will gain it. There is no other way.

“God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over.”  (C.S. Lewis)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Is your heart confident in God?

= What are you going to do differently?

DISTORTION

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

Every good thing can be distorted. When we think back throughout the history of our world, we see a constant repetition of this; of good things being distorted.

Quite honestly, you need not look any further than our very own country to see this issue taking place. America was built on very good things, but if you listen to anything that some news platforms, or some politicians are saying, you are being taught that our Founding Fathers were racist, selfish men, who could not see beyond their own time, and who were not blessed by God. A good thing like justice has also been extremely distorted in recent days. Christianity, the best thing that the Lord has given us, has been so extremely distorted that it hardly resembles the early Church at all!

“But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” (1 Corinthians 11:3-4)

I believe this verse is extremely relevant to Christians today. If someone were to get up in front of a church congregation on a Sunday in our time and deliver a message that was completely contrary to what Jesus said, most of us would accept this message readily enough because we never even use our own Bible’s to do some actual, good, fact checking on preachers and teachers to make sure that what they are saying aligns with what Jesus taught.

Every good thing can be distorted, even Christianity.

My mom was watching a conference about education while we were talking about what I should write for this post, and the people who were presenting brought up the fact that a very good thing such as education has been distorted so much that it is unrecognizable in comparison to what education used to be. Education was something that was used to build character and virtue, but is now merely used so that you can be educated just enough to get a decent job. Education used to be something that was used to produce a flourishing society and is now merely a means to an end.

My advice to you would be this: look back through history and find the very roots of things like Christianity, America’s founding, justice, education, etc. and then begin to change your lifestyle so that it fits into the mold of true, biblical Christianity.

If people don’t start getting back to the basics of things like these, our world will be in even more depravity than it is now. Getting back to the basics looks like actually reading AND studying your Bible on your own time and not just on Sunday’s, actually researching what your children are being taught in school, actually reading and studying our Founding documents, etc.

When we aren’t researching, studying, and paying attention to the things going on in our world, we make it SO much easier for evil people to distort good things. If we don’t start fighting for the good in this world now, it may be too late to bring it back to its full goodness because we have let people believe that the good things are bad, and the bad things are good, for so long that no one is even interested in trying to restore it.

Pay attention, Church. The good in this world is quickly slipping away, and if we don’t fight for it, then who will? Now is the time to take action, because every good thing is being distorted.

“Mystery is the antagonist of truth. It is a fog of human invention, that obscures truth, and represents it in distortion.” (Thomas Paine)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What things in society do you think have been distorted?

= What do you think is the definition of “good”?

= What are you going to do differently?

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?