CONSUMED BY THE SUBSTITUTE

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I recently had a conversation with someone about whether or not there will be entertainment, food, or other kinds of things we have here on Earth, in Heaven. The person that I was talking to said he thought there would probably be some different forms of fun and entertainment in Heaven, since God is not boring.

As we discussed this topic further, he asked what I thought about entertainment in Heaven. Almost immediately, the Lord reminded me of John 15:11 which says, “I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”

Now, I want you to get what Jesus means by this. This particular verse, (John 15:11) comes right after the story about the vine and its branches, the good fruit and the bad fruit. In this illustration of the vine and the branches, God basically gives us the command to “remain” in Him, and whoever doesn’t will be thrown aside to wither (see John 15:6).

The point that I am trying to make here is that Jesus should be all we need. Our joy is complete when we remain in Him.

We shouldn’t need the games, the merchandise, or the pizza to be happy or fulfilled. Now, these things aren’t necessarily bad, and I think Jesus does want us to enjoy life. I, myself, love a good chai tea latte from time to time. But we must learn that our contentment in Jesus is enough and always will be.

Leonard Ravenhill once said this, “Entertainment is the devil’s substitute for joy. The more joy you have in the Lord, the less entertainment you will need.”   

Y’all, I believe that entertainment specifically is one of the main reasons people are missing church a lot more than they used to. I believe this is why we are running all over the place all the time. It’s the reason we don’t have peace, and the list could go on and on.  

Let’s face the facts: The enemy has tricked and fooled us so well in the area of entertainment, that he’s gotten us so far from Jesus in the process.

Guess what? It’s our fault! We have shot ourselves in the foot here. But the crazy thing is, we wonder why it hurts. We complain about not feeling close to Jesus, but we are the ones who sign our names on every activity list and are never available to spend time with Him.

Yet, Jesus gives us the simple answer in John 15:11 to fix all of the issues I just listed. He tells us that He is all we need in life. Our joy is made complete when we remain in Him.

So, to make it plain, I really don’t know if there will be entertainment in Heaven. I don’t. But what I do know is that Jesus will be there. Maybe we should focus on the one thing we know will be in Heaven?

Jesus.

Post about Him. Talk about Him. Share about Him with the people you know. Remain in Him. He is your source of life.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” {Isaiah 26:3}

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= How did you relate with this post?

= Do you find it hard to “remain” in Jesus?

=What are you going to do differently?

GONE REAL

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Are we fake? This is the question that I discussed with my Bible Study group last week.

I think that in the American Church we have wrongly tried to make ourselves look like something we are not. We try to appear perfect.

If I am honest with you, I think that is the second most crucial reason people are leaving the Church and the reason church buildings are being closed all across the country. The first reason being, in my opinion, we have lost the true Jesus and His Word along the way and come up with our own version of “the gospel”.

I was watching a conference online a couple weeks ago. It was focused on the topic of the future of the Church. One of the speakers, named Noah Herrin, said this, “We have given people words when they have wanted to see wounds, and sermons when they have wanted to see scars.”

I hope to never forget that quote. Maybe I am just crazy, but there is not one story in the Bible that gives us the impression that Jesus was trying to appear perfect to people. Right?

2 Corinthians 8:8 says, “I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine.”

Our love is supposed to be genuine because of what Christ has done for us on the cross. Not fake and perfect.

People want to see something real. I mean, when you look around at our world today, almost everything is fake in some way. Jesus was real, and I think that’s why people were willing to give up their entire lives to follow Him. So why don’t we copy His example and see if it works?

I want to be a gone real Christian. I want people to see my scars and my wounds. To actually show them what Jesus has really done for me instead of just being quiet and ashamed. Jesus was a gone real Christian and it worked. Guys, we can’t just keep wondering what kind of flyers will catch people’s attention or what new program will get people in our doors.

That stuff is not working anymore.

I was in Tennessee about a week ago, and the pastor’s wife invited me to speak to the youth during their Sunday School hour. I went in with the intention to let them see my wounds and my scars.

To make a long story short, I shared with them how making Jesus #1 in my life has changed the way I see Jesus and the things that He calls me to do. I now want to serve Him in every way that I can. It’s not an “I have to” thing, it’s an “I can’t wait to” thing!

I shared with them that I’m not perfect, and I shared the things I struggle with. Guess what the result was? Every single one of those teens showed up later that afternoon to participate in our outreach. They went out into their community to pray with people and to share the Gospel with random strangers.

I didn’t have to bribe them to come with pizza. I didn’t have to say that there would be some reward for coming. I just followed Jesus’ example of what He did with people and let His Spirit work. All of them showed up. Thank you Jesus!

Luke 6:46 says, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” I’m guilty of this y’all. I show up and try to do things in my own power even though I ask Jesus to help me. Truth is, there have been a lot of times where He tells me to do something when I ask Him to lead me, but then I decide to just run solo instead.

We need some gone real Christians. People who aren’t afraid to show others what Jesus has saved them from, and what He can save them to.

I want to be one of them. Will you join me?

“An experience of God that costs nothing, does nothing, and is worth nothing.” (Leonard Ravenhill)  

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What has Jesus saved you from?

= Why do you think we aren’t real with people most of the time?

= What are you going to do differently?

RAINY DAY OBEDIENCE

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

A couple weeks ago, I went camping in Indiana with my family and a few of our friends. It’s our annual fall camping trip together, and we have been doing it for the last several years. Well, my friend (who is a part of The Few and my Bible Study group) and I have made it a goal to do Bible Study and pray together as much as we can over the course of the camping trip.

So, when it ended up raining most of the day, we decided to go up to the campground’s café to study and pray together. We went into the café and there were a ton of kids in there playing air hockey and a bunch of other loud games. It wasn’t exactly quiet or peaceful, but we sat down our stuff and started to dig in.

After about ten minutes of Bible reading and discussion, a teenage boy walks up to us and asked what we were doing. We replied that we were doing Bible Study together. He said, “Oh that’s cool!”, and sat down at the table right next to us and got on his phone.

My friend and I may not be the “brightest” people alive, but we both knew that he was listening to our conversation.

We were aware of our surroundings, and we were intentional with how we spoke. Listen guys, this may be the only time this guy ever hears about Jesus, and I wanted to use the opportunity that the Lord was giving us.  

A few minutes later, he moved to the other end of our table. One seat away from my friend.

Then, he starts to talk to a couple of other teens at the table across from us. As he does, one of those guys asked him, “What are those girls doing over there?” Guess what his response was? “Oh, they are doing Bible Study.’’

 Meanwhile, my friend and I were still talking. You know, we were trying to play it cool and mind our own business. But the truth was, we were both listening to what was going on around us.

Almost immediately, the second guy stood right up and came over to our table, sitting so that there was one chair between me and him. So, my friend and I were sitting at one end of the table facing each other and then there’s two teenage boys at the other end of our table facing each other.

Yeah, it was a little awkward.

Finally, the guy sitting next to me says, “I hear you guys are doing Bible Study. I’m not really familiar with your culture, could you tell me about it?” What he really meant to say was “religion”, but I looked at him and said that we would love to tell him. I asked him, “What would you like to know? Anything specific?”

In my head I’m thinking, “How am I going to sum up the entire Bible in three minutes? Do I have one of the Bibles that we use to explain the Gospel to someone in my bag? And thirdly, are they both just trying to play my friend and I to get our phone numbers or something?”

The guy responds by telling us that he has been to a bunch of different churches and started listing off a bunch of denominations. He told us that he had been to a catholic school and was honestly just confused by it all. After all of that, he then says, “Let’s just start in Genesis. Tell me what that’s about.”

At this point, I am thinking, “Dude, there is a LOT in Genesis. But I also thought, what if I forget something important, or what if I don’t know as much as I should.”

So, my friend and I explained that Genesis tells us about how God created the world, and how Adam and Eve sinned and were kicked out of the garden; how that eventually resulted in the flood and so on. You could tell that both of them were really listening to what we were explaining.

We told them that the point of Christianity is Jesus, and what He did for us on the cross.

The guy beside me got up and thanked us for going over that with him, and said that it helped him understand a lot more. However, the other guy just sat there. I looked over at him and asked what he thought about all we had just discussed.

He responded with, “I don’t think that anyone ever lands on one thing. Like, no one believes 100% in something.” We told him that we understood where he was coming from, but we also told him that we had both given our lives over to the Lord, and that we believe that Jesus died for our sin. 100%.

I asked how I could pray for him, and he said that he has had three cardiac arrests in his lifetime, and he was only 15 years old. In almost an angry tone he said, “So I’ve been prayed for a lot,” and then he got up without another word and left.

Long story short, we wrapped up our study a little while later and as we were gathering our stuff and walking out of the café, the other teen who had asked about Genesis and our “culture” walked back in and thanked us again.

We asked if we could pray for him, and he said yes. I see God in all of this! My friend will tell you that a year and a half ago she would have never prayed out loud, let alone for a stranger in the middle of a campground café.

I share this story with y’all because that’s what I call real ministry. That should happen to us everywhere we go if we are genuine followers of Jesus.

I love what James 4:3-5 says, “You ask and don’t receive because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulterous people! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility towards God? So whoever wants to be the friend of the world becomes the enemy of God. Or do you think it’s without reason that the Scripture says: The spirit He made to dwell in us envies intensely?”

Guys, it would have been so easy for me and my friend to have said that we were just talking or hanging out when that boy asked us what we were doing. But because we have the Holy Spirit, and He taught us at that time what we should say (Luke 12:12) we were able to see God move.

We didn’t have to tell him what we were really doing. I mean, what if he got mad at us or made a scene? That’s what I call a friendship with the world. It’s when you constantly live in a fear of what people think, and what they will do and then you miss out on what the Holy Spirit wants to do through you.  

I never want the Holy Spirit to envy what I am doing or feel forgotten because I’m so wrapped up and focused on the world.

“If our lives do not reflect the fruit of following Jesus, then we are foolish to think that we are actually followers of Jesus in the first place.” (David Platt)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What kind of things keep you from living for Jesus?

= What did Jesus want you to do recently that you walked into or ignored?

= What are you going to do differently?

NO SHORT CUTS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I sat down at the computer yesterday to start writing a blog post. As I typed each letter to form the sentences, I felt like it just wasn’t right. I thought it was what the Lord wanted me to write about, but I wasn’t writing with the same passion and excitement that I usually do.

So, I stopped. I saved what I had written and moved the keyboard away from my fingers. I sat there and read it over, and over again. Lately, as people have been asking what I want to do after school, I have been telling them that I feel called to ministry.

Then, as I was pondering what I was going to do with the post, I thought, “You know, I just need to pursue a 9 to 5 job where I know exactly what I’ll be doing every day.”

I’m just going to be honest with you, in that moment, I thought that sounded a lot easier than doing ministry. While a regular job might seem easier, I’m convicted that I even thought that as I look back now.

Jesus has given me everything that He has, including His own life, and I’m over here complaining about how I’m just tired and want to give up and go with something easier. Y’all know that I’m pathetic right? I mean, I don’t have this thing all figured out.

The Lord reminded me of a verse that says, ”The Lord looks down from Heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” (Psalms 14:2)

There have been a couple people in my life lately that have been challenging me to go deeper with the Lord. If you are anything like me, then you know how easy it is to get comfortable with where you are at and just remain there.

A.W. Tozer once said this, “No short cut exists for a deeper spiritual life. The man who would know God must give time to Him.”

If we want to go deeper in our walk with Jesus, we have to give Him our time. I know that I’ve said it a million times, but until we make Him our first priority, we are not going to see Him move in our own life.

Very few people are willing to do that.

That’s why the verse says that the Lord actually “looks” for people who understand and seek Him. Guys, He wants to take us deeper. It is us who get in the way of that happening. We would rather be playing golf than reading our Bibles. We would prefer to be watching our favorite show on TV instead of spending uninterrupted time with Jesus.

 I don’t want to just settle with where I’m at and I hope that you don’t either. Jesus has called us to live for eternity and all we are focused on is the temporary.

There are no short cuts. Let’s stop being lazy. We need to put some real effort into our relationship with Jesus. Living a Christian life is not to make you feel good once a week when you walk into church, it’s about the other six days of the week. He’s not just a weekend thing.

Francis Chan once said this, “Following Christ isn’t something that can be done halfheartedly or on the side. It is not a label we can display when it is useful. It must be central to everything we do and are.”

SO WHAT’S YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you have those feelings of wanting to give up sometimes?

= Right now, do you find yourself wanting to live for eternity or the temporary things here on earth?

= What are you going to do differently?

A THOUSAND TIMES OVER

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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 my 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 HOT TOPIC THAT CHRISTIANS ARE BUYING INTO

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you seen all the cute coffee mugs, bags, and sweatshirts lately?

Have you heard the saying that’s been going around?

Did you see the message that’s recently been shared all over social media?

The world has recently been putting this message out to everyone and it is “supposed” to fix all our problems in life…

The saying is this: If you can learn to love yourself, then everything will be ok.

Can I be honest with you? The Church and churched people in general have accepted this and have started sharing this message.

This really hit me last week as my dad and I were visiting one of our dearest friends in a Fort Worth jail cell. He said someone, another Christian as a matter of fact, told him this was the fix to all his issues… learn to love himself.

After some discussion with Dad, our friend was the first to say that loving himself was actually the reason we were visiting him through a glass and concrete wall. This hit us like a ton of bricks!!!  He was so right and needed to understand what loving himself really looked like. A great conversation followed, and we are still praising God for that opportunity!!

I feel the need to shine some light on this topic today. I want to examine this message of self-love through the Word of God.

Let’s start off in Mark 12:30-31 which says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

This is a very popular verse. One you have probably heard before.

When you boil that down, this verse is telling us to 1. Love God and 2. Love people.

There is absolutely nothing in that verse that says to love yourself. Jesus gives us our two greatest commandments right there and I think we are trying to ignore them as a Church and society.

So, I am going to be bold and say this… I think that we have twisted and tweaked that verse to say what we want it to say. Because truly, deep down inside, we really don’t want to love God with everything we have, and we definitely do not want to love other people and care more about them.

What we really want to do is love ourselves because we are selfish.

Francis Chan once said this, “Nothing you will ever do in this life will ever matter unless it is about loving God and loving the people He has made.”

You see, we are sinful. We really shouldn’t love ourselves because we are nothing without Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. If we could love ourselves and have everything work out and be great, then the Gospel is useless.

Matthew 6:33 tells us to seek first the kingdom and then everything else will be added to us.

David Platt said this, “We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves.”

Instead of loving ourselves, I think we need to learn how to be loved by God.

Because once we do, we will realize our true worth and our pure identity that is made possible through Jesus. Then, we will want to love God and others with everything we have because we know how much God loves us.

Does this make sense?

It’s impossible to learn to love yourself without loving Jesus first.

We need to love ourselves, in that, we love who God made us to be. Our peace will come through what Jesus did for us.  Each of us; on the cross.

Abandon yourself and let God refine you. Let Him determine who you are and how much you are worth.

The world spreads lies. Jesus speaks truth.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Have you bought into this message of self-love?

= What are you going to do differently?

= Is there someone you know who needs to hear this?

NO MIDDLE GROUND

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

The Lord gave me a really powerful message last week. My Bible Study group was meeting, and I was waiting on the Lord to give me something to discuss with them later that afternoon. As I was praying, the Lord just made it clear that I was supposed to talk about the persecuted church and how much they love Jesus.

So, I grabbed one of our Jesus Freak books off the shelf and started to look through the stories. I landed on the story of Polycarp being martyred. He was a bishop and the last remaining direct connection to the original 12 disciples; he studied under John.

I read that story aloud during Bible Study that night and I was so emotional. Not because it’s such a terrible thing that he was martyred because he didn’t deny Jesus, but because of his passion and devotion for His Savior. I’m not sure if you have ever read that story or not, but he actually told the guards to leave him untied from the stake as he was burned alive.

Polycarp said this as he was about to die, “Leave me as I am; He who gives me strength to endure the fire will enable me to remain still within the fire.”

The Jesus Freak book describes his death like this, “The flames rose high above his body, but miraculously, he was not burned. Those who watched said, “He was in the midst of the fire, not as burning flesh but as gold and silver refined in a furnace. And we smelled such a sweet aroma as of incense or some other precious spice.”

Guys, right now everybody is so focused on fall and pumpkin spice and all that delightful stuff. Right? Is that stuff bad? Nope. But again, it’s one of those things that we tend to focus on more than Jesus.

 So, here is my question to you…  Do you smell like a fragrant offering for Jesus? Do you reflect Him and His perfect image? That’s what we should be focused on. Not fall and pumpkin spice!

Come on Church! We are more focused on posting our thoughts and opinions on that kind of stuff when we should be proclaiming that Jesus has saved us from our sin!

A.W. Tozer once said this, “Throughout the entire New Testament a sharp line is drawn between the Church and the world. There is no middle ground.”

Listen, Polycarp loved Jesus and gave Him everything he had. He didn’t have one foot in to this whole “Jesus thing” and then one foot out in the world. His focus was solely on Jesus and that’s it.

1 John 2:15-17 says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions – is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.”

To make it basic, if we love the world, we don’t love Jesus. If we love Jesus, we don’t love the world.

Proverbs 1:15-16 says, “…my son, don’t travel that road with them or set foot on their path, because their feet run toward evil and they hurry to shed blood.”

Truth is, many of us are on the road that the world has paved all nice and smooth for us. However, it leads us towards evil.

My challenge for myself and the girls that night was how far are we willing to go?

Would we be willing to stand in an arena and be killed for Jesus?

Francis Chan once said, “We live in a time when Christians need to be told that they are supposed to live like Christ. That’s weird.”

So don’t be weird. More on that another time…

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= How far are you personally willing to go?

= Do you find yourself loving the world or Jesus?

= What are you going to do differently?

GO AGAIN!

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you ever been hurt by someone? Maybe somebody in church has hurt you. Maybe your best friend lied to you about something. Maybe, someone you have loved and poured so much of your time into doesn’t seem like they care the same way about you.

Yeah. I think we have all been there. I know we are all thinking it so let’s just say it. IT STINKS! IT’S AWFUL!

Nobody wants to go through that.

Have you heard about Hosea? If you have, you’re probably like, “Yep! I know where she is going with this.” Well, just stay with me. He was a man in the Bible who was called by God to live out and preach a very difficult message to the Israelites and basically invite them to come back to God.

You see, God had a marvelous plan for this really bizarre example. Hosea’s wife, Gomer, was unfaithful on multiple occasions. God told Hosea to take her back, over and over again, even though she returned to her sin many times. The Israelite community watched as Hosea did the illogical, unthinkable, merciful act of taking her back.

So, while Hosea was dealing with his wife and all of her sin, the LORD was having him preach a message. God wanted the Israelites to return to Him even though they were living in sin and had turned their backs on Him multiple times. God wanted the Israelites to get just how much He loved them!

God was having Hosea practice what He preached.

Hosea 3:1-3 says, “ Then the Lord said to me, “Go again; show love to a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, just as the Lord loves the Israelites though they turn to the other gods and love raisin cakes.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and five bushels of barley. I said to her, “You are to live with me many days. You must not be promiscuous or belong to any man, and I will act the same way toward you.”

Poor Hosea was getting to experience what God was feeling. Which is why the message he was giving was SO much harder.

Yet God tells Hosea to go again. I can only imagine what Hosea was thinking here. Probably something like this, “What if she cheats and hurts me again? How can I genuinely love her when I know how she feels and what she has been doing?”

Yet God tells Hosea to go again.

So, what does he do? He goes and buys her back. I might be crazy for saying this, but I really don’t think that He would have done that if He didn’t actually love her.

Here is the hard part though. I am like Gomer.

I can’t tell you how many times Jesus has had to call me back to Himself. To buy me back and pull me out of my sin.

As the church, we need to return to our God, to our first love. He fiercely loves us and wants us to return to Him no matter how big or how many are our sins. Once we have done that, then we can be like Hosea and go again to the people who have hurt us. Not because we have to. Not even because it’s the right thing to do.

But because we actually love them.

Oh, how He loves us, church. We are His portion and He is our prize. Drawn by redemption by the grace in His eyes. If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking. (Taken from the song, “How He Loves”)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= In what ways have you been like Gomer and turned away from Jesus?

= Are there people in your life that you know you need to act like Hosea to?

= What are you going to do different now?

THE LIGHT ALWAYS WINS

(Guest post by: Michelle Hobbs)

I was walking in the main hallway of a nursing home recently, heading to see one of my patients. A gentleman stopped me at the bulletin board and asked me to read to him the riddle posted there. It said, “The more you have of this, the less you can see.” Can you guess the answer?

Darkness. I found that riddle to be profound, and I’ve thought of it several times since then. It reminded me of the following scripture:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.     John 1: 1 – 5 (NKJV)

John 1: 1-5 is one of my favorite passages of scripture. I love verse 5 in particular. I recently became intrigued by all the different translations of this verse and discovered something that you need to hear too. Here are a few translations:

CSB That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.

ESV The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

NIV The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

NET And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.

NLT The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

When John says, “the light”, he is referring to Jesus. Jesus calls himself “the light of the world” in John 8:12. Those of us who believe in Jesus and follow Him are also to be light in our world. John 12:36 says, “Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.”

The darkness is the world of evil, unbelief, sin, misery, death, and judgement.

Now, I used to read this verse and think, yep, the darkness does not understand the light. I get it. Those who are not yet saved don’t understand those who are. They don’t understand the gospel or the scripture on their own.

But… NO, NO, NO! That’s not all! It’s so much more exciting and massive than that!!!

Did you notice, in the various translations above, all the different words used at the end of the verse?

  • did not overcome
  • has not understood
  • has not mastered
  • can never extinguish
  • comprehended it not

You see, there is this battle between light and darkness. The darkness wants to overcome, master, extinguish the light, but the darkness was not able to do those things!

One commentary states, “The darkness did not hem it in, oppress it; it was invincible before it.” The light was invincible before the darkness!  

The darkness did not, will not, cannot overcome the light! The light always wins! Friends, if you are struggling with some dark stuff in your life right now, concentrate on this fact.

Lilias Trotter tells us, “Believe in the darkness what you have seen in the light.”

Just think about when you were a little kid or when your electricity has gone out and you were left in a dark room. The complete darkness is scary! You can’t see anything, and the “what ifs” come creeping into your mind. But just a tiny bit of light from a little night light or a candle drives the darkness out of the room. That tiny bit of light takes over and allows us to see more clearly.

So verse 5 is saying, that Jesus, the light of the world, has entered into the darkness of evil, unbelief, sin, misery, death, and judgement; and this darkness did not overcome Him. When you believe in Jesus, you leave the defeated darkness and enter the victorious light. Ephesians 5:8 says, “Once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light”.

The light always wins! Jesus has triumphed! All who believe in Him, the children of the light, will triumph.

There is a whole lot of darkness in our world today. Someone out there needs to hear this great news and be invited into the light! Go tell and show them about Jesus.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Did this post help you understand anything better?

= In what ways can you be the light to those around you?

= Which Bible verse stuck out to you the most?

DO PEACE AND BUSYNESS MIX?

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

This past Sunday, as we were on our way to church, my Dad happened to turn on a podcast discussion. They were talking about peace and what it should look like for Christians if we are truly living in peace. It was very interesting to me because as I look around at the world and culture we live in, I don’t see very much peace.

Everyone is so busy. We are always going somewhere to do something.

While those things are not in themselves bad, we elevate them on our priority list. What happens then, is we start to make those things more important than our time with Jesus, praying, and studying His Word.

My question to you is this; have you filled your life full of stuff to do that are you are constantly tired and feel like you are never at rest or feel at peace?

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Do you have time to just sit and be still before Jesus? Just to be in His presence with no distractions?

As they were talking about peace, I thought of one of my favorite quotes.

It’s by Elisabeth Elliot who once said, “One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business. When all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.”

I think that a lot of us read that quote and cringe. We realize that there are some items on our agenda we know God didn’t place there, but instead that we signed up for. Is the item necessarily bad? No, not at all.

However, it may not be what God wants you to be busy with.

I know that there have been times in my own life where God did not let me feel at rest with what I was choosing to do with my time; because that’s simply not what He had planned for me.

Listen guys, He gives us pretty clear hints.

If it’s not where your supposed to be, He will make it hard for you to do.  I think He’s hoping we will get the hint, that maybe our choice is not a part of His will.

No wonder we are always running everywhere, and we don’t have peace. We are trying to do all of those things because WE want to.

Isaiah 26:12 says, “Lord, you will grant us peace; all we have accomplished is really from you.”

Jesus wants us to live in peace. He doesn’t want us to be so busy with other things that we miss out on spending time with Him.

You see, peace actually comes from spending intimate time with our Savior. It comes from living in His presence.

I want to challenge you with this… Are you busy doing the things that the Lord has told you to do in your quiet times with Him? Or are you busy with the things the world says you should spend your life doing?

It’s a very big question that we must ask ourselves so that we don’t spend our whole lives doing stuff that doesn’t really matter.

Corrie Ten Boom once said, “In the center of a hurricane there is absolute peace and quiet. There is no safer place than in the center of the will of God.”

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What is one thing that you may need to give up in order to do what God is calling you to?

= Is this topic of busyness and peace something you struggle with?

= What has Jesus been teaching you lately?

LOOK BESIDE YOU

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you ever wanted to share the Gospel but didn’t know how or where? Maybe you have had the intention of telling someone about Jesus, but you just don’t have any clue when or where to do it.

Let me tell you, that’s ok! As we discuss this topic further, what I want you to do is give that frustration, of not knowing how or where to share the Gospel, to Jesus. Trust me, it’ll help you focus on what I am about to share.

This past week, we had our annual Church Camp. A couple days before our camp week started, the Children’s Director at my church asked me, my sister Madie, and one of my best friends, to share the Gospel with the 5th and 6th graders in the class she was teaching at camp.

Of course, we said yes! (Now you might be thinking, “Lilly, that’s crazy! Why in the world did you say yes?” I know it sounds crazy! But it’s what God calls all Christians to do.)

Before we shared the Gospel with the kids though, I always like to start with asking the question, “How can I pray for you?” I took three prayer requests and had different people pray for them.

One girl was in foster care and didn’t know if someone was ever going to adopt her. Another girl had been terribly abused and removed from her home. One boy was worried about his dad’s back and his health.

These were 5th and 6th graders, Y’all! Those are some heavy burdens these kids are carrying!

What truly amazed me though, was that the kid sitting next to them had no idea they were dealing with that. No clue.

It made me stop and think, how often do we sit next to someone whether it be in school, or a restaurant, and never offer to listen to what they are going through and pray for them. We have no clue, and they were right beside us.

Psalm 96:2-3 says, “Sing to the Lord; praise His name. Each day proclaim the good news that He saves. Publish His glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things He does.”

Jesus has entrusted us with a very important job! We are to proclaim that He saves every day!

We don’t have to think about good places to share the Gospel or speak of Jesus. Just do it with the people right beside you. God has put those people in your life so that you can pray for them and share Jesus with them!

Out of this class of 5th and 6th graders, two kids recommitted their lives to the Lord, and one gave her life to the Lord for the very first time!! Isn’t that amazing?!

David Jeremiah once said, “Share the Gospel. According to the Bible, it is every believer’s privilege and responsibility to share the Gospel. If we understand what lies ahead for those who do not know Christ, there will be sense of urgency in our witness.”

As Christians, we should have an urgency for the people who are beside us when we are going about our day.

Another really exciting thing, was that the next day (Thursday), we got to take a few of the kids out into the surrounding communities to share the Gospel. The kids in that class felt empowered and excited to share their faith after seeing the simple method and tools we use.

As we went out, my team saw a garage sale sign, so we walked up to the sale and two women were sitting in their garage. We asked them how we could pray for them, and the one woman said her daughter had just committed suicide earlier this year because of bullying.

It was a very special moment as we stood there and prayed for her. She had tears streaming down her face as we were wrapping up. Both of them were so thankful that we had stopped by, and said that they had been wondering where God was in the midst of this awful situation and now they knew He is with them!

Again, I thought, how many times do we go to garage sales or the grocery store and never know what the people around us are going through or dealing with. These women were right beside us. We would have never known about their struggle if we hadn’t asked them.  

If you are reading this and have no idea how to share the Gospel clearly, and you feel like it’s too hard, please send me a comment down below. I would love to share an amazing tool that makes sharing Jesus so easy!

God will use you, I promise! Just look beside you. I’m sure you’ll find somebody who needs Him!

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What do you think you need to do after reading this post?

= Who is beside you that you know needs Jesus? Are you going to share the Gospel with them?

= What stuck out to you after reading this?

# WORTH IT

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

June 27th, 2019 will forever be one of my favorite memories. I had gotten up really early that morning because my dad and I were headed to a seminary for the day to take the students of a class out of the building to pray with people and share the Gospel.

I went out on a morning team and then came back to the seminary for lunch. During lunch, I got a text from one of my best friends, Isabelle, who is apart of The Few (our Bible Study group), and she asked me if it was ok to bring her cousin to our Bible study meeting that night.

She shared with me that she didn’t think that her cousin had given her life to the Lord, or even had any girls around her that would help her and encourage her to follow Jesus.

I said that she was more than welcome, and so that night she came to our Bible Study. We talked a little bit and got to know each other and then we walked her through the Gospel and we each told her how this “Jesus thing” has changed each of our lives personally.

You could sense that she was really listening and open, and that the Lord was moving in her heart. I asked her if she wanted to give her life to Jesus and turn from her sin and she said yes!

She prayed, and then we all prayed over her, and it was a very powerful experience! Over the past couple weeks, she has continued to come to our Bible Study nights, and she and Isabelle have been going through the book of John together every day! We have been meeting two times a week because we are all so excited that once a week isn’t enough!

We can’t wait to pray and worship, and study God’s Word together and just discuss and share the things that we are going though and dealing with. Her conversion has encouraged me in my faith, and she has taught me so much about what it’s truly supposed to look like when you are serious about living for Jesus.

I asked her what some of the things were that she has chosen to turn away from since giving her life to Jesus and this is what she said…

 “I have chosen to give up most of the music I typically would listen to, and I’ve started listening to more Christian music. I also chose to give up the way that I talk to people, which was definitely a great change. Not only do I talk about Jesus more often, but I also feel like I am more respectful with my words. Along with music, I also chose to give up some of the YouTubers that I would normally watch.”

How awesome is that?!?!

That just shows me that she is serious about this Jesus thing and I often think that as believers we take repentance and turning away from worldly things very lightly.

She has also asked so many great questions about forgiveness and how to look at others like Christ does, and she is genuinely applying these things to her life.

I tell you this because I truly believe that Jesus is worth it.

He is worth all of the hard work.

He is worth the scheduling conflicts and preparing studies and lessons.

He is worth EVERYTHING simply because He is God.

A.W. Tozer once said this, “Accepting Jesus Christ, receiving Jesus Christ into your life means that you have made an attachment to the person of Christ that is revolutionary in that it reverses the life and transforms it completely. It is an attachment to the person of Christ. It is complete in that it leaves no part of the life unaffected. It exempts no area of the life of the total man; his total being.”

Jesus leaves no part of our lives unaffected when we have actually made a choice to follow Him, even if it means that we have to give up everything.

So, my question to you is this… Is Jesus worth it to you?

Have you chosen to listen to God honoring music because you want to please God with what you listen to? Has He changed the way you look at people, and the way you talk to them?

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

If we are seeking Jesus above all else, then He will affect the shows we watch, and the way we talk, and everything in between. No part of our lives should be unaffected by Jesus!

It’s so worth it to follow Jesus and see others lives changed because of Jesus and what He did on the cross!

God is moving, get ready!

“Worthy are you, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for you created all things, and because of your will they existed, and were created.”    Revelation 4:11

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Would you be willing to drop everything if Jesus asked you right now without thinking about it?

= How has Jesus affected your life?

= Are you seeking Jesus first?

= What TV shows, music, activities, etc. do you need to give up or change to honor Jesus?

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!! THE FEW OUTREACH DAY!!

Guess what?!?! We are going to have an outreach day! Whoop whoop!

Now you may be wondering what this “Outreach Day” entails. We are going to have a time of worship and prayer together, and then you will sit in on a simple and easy training that will show you how to pray for someone out in the community. If the Holy Spirit leads, you will also know how to walk someone through the gospel!

I promise you can do it; so don’t be nervous. Then you will go out on a team of 4 or 5 people, with a leader who has already been out and done this. If you have never done something like this before, you can just watch and have fun with your group!

After that we will listen to the different and fun experiences everyone had on their teams and then fellowship together. Yes, there will be lunch! We would love to have you join us!

THE DETAILS:

When: AUGUST 10TH

Where: PLEASANT VIEW MISSIONARY CHURCH, 5231 Gettysburg-Pitsburg Rd. Greenville, OH 45331

Time: WE WILL START AT 8:30AM AND END AROUND 1:00PM

 P.S. LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENT SECTION IF YOU ARE ABLE TO COME SO THAT WE CAN GET A COUNT FOR TEAMS AND FOOD

EVERYDAY CHURCH

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

In our last post, “Where Did Church Go Wrong”, we looked at how the Church has gotten hung up on human traditions and philosophy and has lost Jesus along the way. Today, I thought it would be interesting to do a follow up post and examine how the Church can get back on track, and what it’s supposed to look like if we are genuinely following Jesus.

I have met many Christians who have given their life over to the Lord and then say something like this, “Well what now? How am I supposed to live? How can I do this whole “Jesus thing” right?”

Guess what? I can’t tell you, because I often ask myself the very same thing. I don’t have this secret formula for living this thing out perfectly. I mess it up just like you and everyone else.

However, I believe that Jesus has given us a primary channel through which we can learn how to live, listen to what He says, and obey wholeheartedly. The Bible is the place where He can speak to us if we give Him our time. So, let’s take a look at God’s Word, and see what He has to say about how we are supposed to live this thing out and get going in the right direction…

1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

WE are a chosen race. WE are a royal priesthood. WE are a holy nation. WE are a people for His possession. Why? So that WE may proclaim the praises of Jesus!

What I take away from that verse is that if we are really wanting to live this thing out, then we are going to…

1.  Talk about Him. You won’t be able to help it. You will want to proclaim His praises to anyone that will listen.

It’s the same thing for the whole Church. If your Church is longing to make Jesus #1 in everything, then it’s going to talk about Him at every event, program, and gathering.

A.W. Tozer once said, ”What’s closest to your heart is what you talk about, and if God is close to your heart, you will talk about Him.”

Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.”

So according to that verse we will…

2. We will offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice. In order that He may use us in whatever way He chooses. This verse is saying that when you’re a living sacrifice for God, then that means you are willing to give up your time, your money, your possessions, literally everything.

Being a living sacrifice is to abandon yourself completely. Because Jesus sometimes calls us to give up everything for the sake of the Gospel. See Luke 14:33, Matt. 6:33, or Matt. 16:24

David Platt once said, “My prayer is that people will see that following Jesus costs you everything you are and everything you have. And my prayer is that people will see that Jesus is worth it.”

Main idea: If Jesus was #1 in every single Christians life and in all of our Churches, then we probably wouldn’t see what we do in the world today.

So, make Jesus #1 in your life and watch others catch on to the idea. One of my best friends has started to pray before and after every one of her sporting events with her teammates. Two men in our church started a Bible study/prayer time once a week with a couple of the guys they work with every day.

3. It all truly boils down to discipleship and if you are pouring yourself into other people.

That’s what it looks like when you apply those verses to everyday life. When you start living like that, suddenly you are not living for the mundane, “normal life” stuff, but instead you are living for your eternal destination!

Be the Church when you’re at the grocery store! Show Jesus when you are working. Start small groups that will reach others with the Gospel. That’s Church gone right!

Jesus calls us to be intentional in the little and big things we do in our everyday life. Jesus didn’t want to become a “weekend” thing.

He calls us to open our eyes to see the waitress at the restaurant we eat at on Tuesday, or the guy collecting the carts at Walmart when we go shopping on Friday. You never know what they may be going through or dealing with.

When we start doing everyday Church, that’s what will change the world.

“It is the whole business of the whole Church to preach the whole Gospel to the whole world.”  -Charles Spurgeon

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are your thoughts after reading this post?

= Who do you think you could pray for this week?

= Do you have any other ideas about how you could do everyday Church in your own life?

WHERE DID CHURCH GO WRONG?

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

As my family and I have done ministry across the United States, I have come to realize that many churches are dying off. So many of the leaders are discouraged. They can’t get any new people in their doors; especially young people. No matter how many programs they try, they cannot grow.

Why? Where did we go wrong? What did we mess up?

Well, let’s take a look at Colossians 2:8-10 which says, “Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ. For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ, and you have been filled by Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” CSB

So based off that verse, could this be where Church went wrong?

  1. We have made Christianity and Church all about philosophy and human tradition based on what the world says and even looks like.
  2. Once we did that, we lost the true nature of Christ. We forgot that it’s about Jesus and advancing His kingdom.

Look at all the areas where Christians get together to worship Jesus in secret because of persecution; they’re thriving! New people are coming in willing to risk jail, torture, and even their own lives! They are making new believers because they are not silent, despite a great cost.

Why?

Because they know that it’s about Jesus and not about routine and rituals! They know that they have been filled with the Holy Spirit and have power!

That’s why they are packing their homes and the other places they meet.

However, there is a bold truth that the American Church doesn’t want to hear… Once you start making Church a chore and all about tradition and philosophy, people will STOP coming. Why? Because you have lost what they actually NEED, in an attempt to give them what you think they WANT.

Richard Greene, Keystone Discipleship Project founder, once said, “What you win them by is what you win them to.” So, if we win people into our church by entertainment & flashy programs, then we are winning them to a false, and very shallow faith.

Leonard Ravenhill once said, “The church that is man-managed instead of God-governed is doomed to failure. A ministry that is college-trained, but not Spirit-filled, works no miracles.”

Church went wrong when we lost Jesus!

You see, we put so much effort and time into developing programs or events like Easter egg hunts, movie nights, Vacation Bible Schools, or youth overnights and then forget to even leave time to share the Gospel. We neglect to share the single most important thing with folks because we don’t have time in the business of “church”.

Guys! This is our reality, and we need to wake up to it!

David Platt once said this, “We have a dangerous tendency to misunderstand, minimize, and even manipulate the Gospel in order to accommodate our assumptions and our desires.”

To put it plainly, a lot of Christians do not grasp the power of Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. Many do not understand or appreciate their Salvation that came through the blood shed on Calvary!

I mean, people in the persecuted church are walking miles and miles on foot to worship Jesus in secret! While the American church is complaining about how hard it is to get in our cars and drive a couple minutes to 2nd service!

Our persecuted brothers and sisters truly appreciate Jesus, and what He did for them. They count it a privilege to walk a few miles in the crazy heat to worship Him! They actually long to worship Jesus!

If only the American church could get back to her first love and ditch the whole man-made tradition and routine idea. Only then, will we experience Him and His holy presence and begin to see an ushering in of repentance poured out among the nations of this sinful world.

“You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes running when there’s a fire. Likewise, if your church is on fire, you will not have to advertise it. The community will already know it.”    -Leonard Ravenhill

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

~Do you genuinely understand and appreciate your Salvation?

~How can you help your church get back to Jesus and the only true purpose of church?

~Are you on fire? Do other people see that?

A CALL TO BIBLICAL OBEDIENCE AND HOLY LIVING

(Guest post by: Pastor Gerald Steele)

Thank you, Lilly, for inviting me to share a few thoughts on your blog. I’m honored! I love the emphasis on “The Few” and your call for others like yourself to live a life of “reckless abandon for the Lord.”

 Your call for THE FEW to remain faithful to God in the midst of cultural relativism is necessary and applaudable. In my lifetime, I have witnessed like never before the erosion of Biblical authority. Biblical absolutes are considered obsolete.

Unfortunately, many who claim to be born again followers of Jesus Christ have allowed the world to squeeze them into its mould (See J.B. Phillips paraphrase of Romans 12:1-2).

Christians here in the West have adopted practices that are identical to their non-Christian counterparts. They lie, cheat, cuss, have sex before marriage, drink, exhibit addictive behaviors, divorce etc., but show up at church on Sunday morning like all is well with their souls.

 Something is blatantly wrong. There are obviously some major disconnects!

 If I understand my Bible correctly, we are saved FROM our SINS and not IN them. That doesn’t mean we don’t occasionally stumble and fall, but rather that when we do, we get up quickly and move forward in our walk with Jesus. We don’t embrace sinful behaviors, we do our best to avoid them and the Holy Spirit is our Helper.

The current recruiting slogan for the United States Marine Corps is: The Few. The Proud. To be a Marine, you have to learn self-discipline, submission to authority, commitment, endurance, loyalty and integrity.

 The Bible also calls us to similar character traits. For example, David in Psalm 15:1-2 gives us a useful question and a clear response when he writes, “Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.”

Pastor Scott Harris puts these two verses in the form of three short preaching points. True worshippers who have access into the presence of God: WALK in integrity, WORK acts of righteousness, and speak truthful WORDS.

In other words, what ushers us into the presence of a HOLY GOD is a HOLY HEART.

However, God invites the FEW to “hitch their holiness to the harvest.” Genuine followers of Jesus are missional in their thinking.

 They know that God never invited us to a “holy huddle,” but rather to make disciples, who will make disciples. God’s objective for us as Christ followers has always been to “bring many children into glory.” Hebrews 2:10. NLT

For the past nearly fourteen years, I have had the joyous privilege of working with an unreached people group in northern Mozambique in East Africa. God has blessed this ministry. Today there are nearly 60,000 disciples that have been made and 1,500 churches that have been planted.

 As I have worked with these first-generation disciples, I have been amazed at their ability to embrace and obey the Bible, break from sin, commit to serious prayer, and their total commitment to winning the lost and discipling new Christians.

This is not something radical in light of the New Testament. Jesus chose a FEW. The FEW reached the MASSES. As a result, the Kingdom of God grew! Do it again Lord!

THE GRAVE DANGER OF SILENT CHRISTIANS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I think that the American Church, and all Christians, should be scared of something: Silence.

As Christians, we are way too quiet about what we know to be right and wrong according to the Word of God. From things like gay marriage and abortion to bad movies, TV shows, and unacceptable music, we are told to be silent and keep our opinions and the truth to ourselves.

Well, I refuse to be silenced about what Jesus tells us is right and wrong. I will NOT be quiet about what I believe and what Jesus did for me on the cross.

A lot of Christians have been very silent about Jesus and what He has done for them and I think it’s time they realized that’s not ok.

If you remain silent and scared of what people think and say about your faith or what you believe, then you need to ask yourself if He really means EVERYTHING to you. You need to ask yourself if He is #1 in your life.

I believe if Jesus is #1 in your life then you will talk about Him, and your going to show up for what He made you to do. It’s impossible to be silent if He is everything to you.

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

Jesus calls us to rebuke evil, not back down from it. He calls us to discipline other believers in kindness, even though they may not want to hear it. Christ tells us to preach the gospel to the lost and hurting people around us, no matter who says we can’t.

However, many Christians would much rather stay in their comfort zone and in their churches where it’s safe and cozy when it comes to this.

Here is the grave danger of silent Christians…

 When you are silent about Jesus and what He did on the cross, people will end up burning in Hell because of your silence. You are here with one mission, and that is to tell all people what Christ did on the cross of Calvary.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said this, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

I suppose that a lot of people believe that they are living a good Christian life. A lot of believers think they can get by with going to church on Sunday, posting the Word of the Day from the Bible app on their Facebook page, and sending a card to someone who is sick to be nice.

Y’all, there is SO much more to Jesus than that! There is so much more to living how He wants us to live than that!!

John 14:12 says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

Do you get the amount of gravity in this verse? If we believe in Jesus, then we will do the things that He did while He was here on Earth: healing the sick, preaching the good news, discipling other Christians, helping the poor and lowly, and much more!

It’s more than just going to Church! It’s more than having the nicest car! It’s more than living a nice life!

It’s MORE than posting encouraging things on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter!

We cannot remain in silence if we are living for the salvation of 7.7 BILLION souls on planet Earth!

Guys! People are going to Hell! They will be in Hell for eternity! Somehow, we have gotten comfortable with the thought of living in our daily routine and have lost sight of why we are even here and why our voices matter!

The Church needs to wake up and realize that 7.7 billion people will be spending eternity in 1 of 2 places if they died tonight. We need to realize that Jesus has given us work to do and it’s about time we show up and clock in on eternity’s timeclock!

 Cause at some point, it’s gonna stop ticking.

Frank R. Wolf once said, “My hope and prayer is that the body of Christ in America will awake with holy boldness, a boldness content neither with silence nor mere words but that backs up those words with action and results.”

My challenge to you is to not be comfortable with staying silent on matters that you know are not Biblical. Awake with a holy boldness and stand up for the truth!

“Church, we are plan A. There is no plan B.”     -David Platt

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

~Can you remember a time where you were silent about your faith or the truth? Do you wish you would have spoken up?

~Are you scared to speak about what Jesus has done for you on the Cross? If so, why?

~How are you going to do better about not being quiet or silent about the things you should speak up for?

SOME PEOPLE CHANGE

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

My dad listens to this song by Montgomery Gentry called, “Some People Change.”

For some reason, the Lord has been putting this song on my heart, and I really feel like I need to write about it. A lot of Christians struggle in this area. I don’t think that God’s children fully understand what it means for some people to change, or what God requires of us if they do repent and begin again with Jesus.

The thing is, we have been offended. Someone has totally messed up and messed our lives up in the process. I’m sure you are probably thinking of that individual in your mind right now.

However, what if God got in the middle of that situation? What if your offender turned from their sin and found Jesus and repented? Repented from all that junk; from all of the evil and selfishness that was involved.

What if God brought restoration and healing to your heart, their heart, and the whole situation?

I would like you to read some of the lyrics from the song before we jump in. So here they are…

His old man was a rebel yeller
Bad boy to the bone
He’d say: “Can’t trust that other fella.”
He’d judge ’em by the tone of their skin
He was raised to think like his Dad
Narrow mind full of hate
On the road to nowhere fast
Till the grace of God got in the way
Then he saw the light an’ hit his knees, an’ cried, an’ said a prayer
Rose up a brand new man
Left the old one right there

Here’s to the strong
Thanks to the brave
Don’t give up hope
Some people change
Against all odds
Against the grain
Love finds a way
Some people change

Oh guys! I want you to get this! Some people change! Not all people, but some, and that’s what makes everything I do worth it! It’s the hope that some people change and will actually get what this whole Jesus thing is about!

But here is where Satan attacks. He whispers this in your ear, “You have been hurt. They have offended you. You are not the one who messed up. You didn’t do anything wrong. They are the guilty one. They deserve to be punished for what they did to you.”

Sound familiar?

Satan’s bait is getting you to believe that you have been offended. We are so quick to believe every single lie he throws at us because it feels the right choice when you’re angry and hurt.

However, while Satan is whispering all of those things in your ear, God is over here saying, “You can’t believe all of those lies. You are being deceived, and you are blinded from the truth. You must walk beside me and listen to what I say. Do what I would do. Forgive.”

“Sometimes God doesn’t change your situation because He is trying to change your heart.”  Unknown

WWJD; What would Jesus do?

Well, we see that Jesus forgives and forgets all of our sins IF we truly repent and turn away from that sin. He allows us the chance to start over. He takes the chance that we could either begin anew, or we could just go and break His heart again. Either way, He allows us back in after we have messed up.

Listen to me here, the enemy wants you to throw your hands in the air and just give up. Satan wants you to get mad and angry toward the person that has offended you.

Satan DOES NOT want you to see that that person has changed and repented, because if you do, he knows that you will experience amazing freedom through Jesus. He doesn’t want you to realize that the cross and the blood of Christ can even save the person that you are dealing with.

No matter what they said, no matter what they did, it cannot change what Jesus did for them on Calvary.

Romans 5:20 says, “The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more.”

Jesus gives us SO many chances to start again. So why can’t we realize that because Jesus forgives us, we should also forgive and allow the difficult person in our life to change.

Do you think that Jesus let the Pharisees steal His joy and zeal?

Nope.

In fact, I believe that anything that offends us or hurts us will NEVER compare to what hurt and offended Jesus when He was being whipped and flogged, and then nailed to a tree to die a horrifying and bloody death. NOTHING.

I don’t care how big that person messed up. I don’t care what they said or did. Absolutely nothing that person did to offend you will be greater than the love of Jesus.

If Jesus can forgive the people who flogged and killed Him, then I would be a very weak and ignorant Christian not to forgive a person who has caused me pain and made me suffer.

Some people DO change. All because of what Jesus did. LOVE, Jesus’ love, can find a way past our pain and can allow us to give that person a second chance.

 I assure you that there will NEVER be a time where Jesus just gives up on you when you mess up. When you come running home to Him after you have repented and changed, there will NOT be a time where He tells you to go away because He doesn’t want to be hurt and left alone again because you have already broken His heart.

If Jesus can restore you and your rags of filth and sin and turn them to riches, then He can restore your offender. Pray and watch for their repentance.

Christ wants you to experience freedom in your situation. He wants to bring restoration to people’s hearts and to whole families who have been affected by one person’s poor choices.

Because some people change.

It’s time for you to be like Jesus and give them the chance to change. Often, you will be surprised at how blind you were and what the enemy wanted you to believe. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

I’m going to be really bold and challenge you with this… If you cannot allow the person who has caused you so much heartache and pain a chance to truly repent and change, then you need to make sure that your heart is right with Jesus. If you have experienced Jesus’ forgiveness of your sins, then I believe that we can, and might I say SHOULD, forgive the people in our lives who have offended us.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

~After reading this post, was there an individual who popped in your mind that you know you should forgive? (No names please)

~Are you grateful that Jesus gives us countless chances to begin afresh?

~Have you seen people change and turn from sin because of Jesus and what He did for them on the cross?

SELF-RESPECT, STANDARDS, AND AN EMBARRASSING STORY

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

A lot of people probably look at my family and think we are crazy! No really! We live a life that the world thinks is weird and different.  We are a homeschooling family who loves Jesus and does ministry together. We don’t play every sport that has ever been created. We have very high standards and goals for ourselves, and so on. Does this make us perfect? Absolutely not! Am I ok with not going to public school and not having a trillion friends? Yep, I sure am.

Honestly, me and my family just live totally different from what the world classifies as “normal”. However, I like to say we live in light of eternity.

My dad was in the Air Force, so growing up I have always been taught to keep my standards high and to never quit; no matter how hard it was or if it was just easier to lower my standards in order to fit in. I have been brought up in a strong Christian home as well, and there are standards I have set for myself in that area.

 I have strict standards for myself because I want to please God, and I also respect myself. I believe that if you respect yourself, then you will set your standards high. Self-Respect = Standards and Guidelines.

 The sad truth today is that most girls don’t have any self-respect, resulting in what we see in our modern culture. They don’t have standards because they don’t want to do anything that may be hard or take effort. They just choose to go with the flow.

Before I jump into sharing with you some of my personal standards as a teen girl, I want to make sure you understand a few things…

  1. Jesus tells us straight up what is right and wrong and the things we should do, and then it is our decision whether we listen and choose to live like He says. It’s called free will. I don’t choose to set guidelines for myself based on a man-made set of rules. I choose to set them up because I love Jesus and I want to do what He says.
  2. I believe that you should set your standards early in life so that you aren’t in a situation where you end up doing something you didn’t really want to do. Set your standards and stick to them. If you do this early, you won’t end up in a situation where you don’t know what to say or do.

Ok. Now that I have made that clear, I am going to share with you a few of my standards and guidelines that I have put in place for myself, and how it helped me avoid some things I did not want later…

I have personally decided to court instead of date. (Courting means to date with the intention of marriage). I have set that standard because I don’t want to just date around to have “fun” or to just be able to say that I have a boyfriend. I want to be intentional in the area of relationship because I do not want to end up with a bunch of heartache and regrets later.

 I have chosen to save sex for my wedding day with my husband. I have set this standard based off of Matthew 19:4-6 which says, “He answered them, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

 I want to experience intimacy with one man, within God’s design, which is marriage. I don’t want to get married and know that I had experiences with a bunch of other guys. God intended it to be between one man and one woman. Done deal. Marriage and intimacy are supposed to represent the connection between Jesus and the Church; holy, sacred, and special.

It’s time that a FEW girls broke the trend of quitting on themselves in order to “fit in” and decided to do something hard, because it’s worth it to set challenging standards. It’s what Jesus calls us to.

Elisabeth Elliot once said, “If your goal is purity of heart, be prepared to be thought very odd.”

Do I expect it to be hard to court instead of date around and then wait for my wedding day to be intimate? Yes, I do. However, my goal is purity of heart, and I’m prepared for people to think I’m crazy and weird for it.

I know if I hold myself to those guidelines though, Jesus will be pleased and glorified through my choices to do hard things.

A couple months ago, I was at a church helping with an outreach and there was a young guy there who kept talking to me during the time I was there. He was very nice and respectful but as things were wrapping up, he asked for my phone number, (which he had hinted about getting a couple times before, but I was able to ignore it). I do not want to be rude or make this guy sound weird or anything, but I knew what his intention was.

It was the first time I had been in a situation like that. However, I knew what my standards were and from the long conversation we had, I knew that they did not line up with his.

Now, I’ll have to admit that I felt awkward saying no. I wasn’t really sure how to say no to him.

Are you ready for my really weird response? Here is exactly what I said, “You can have my dad’s number if you want.” Ahhhh! Really Lilly?!?!

I know, it was kinda awkward, but we laughed it off and it was all good!

I tell you that embarrassing story to say this, if I would not have known what my standards were, I would have been so much more uncomfortable, and it would have made it very easy to say yes and just give him my number. Right?

Now you may be wondering why giving him my phone number mattered. In my mind, if I would have given him my number, I would be leading him to believe that I was interested in something more. Like I said, I knew what his intention was, and it didn’t line up with what I have set in place for myself.

However, you can set standards for yourself in any area of your life. It doesn’t just have to be the area of relationship. It can be areas of your life such as school, Church or a Bible Study, friends and family, etc.

I know standards and guidelines are sometimes challenging and are a lot to commit too, and I cannot promise it will be easy, but what I can promise is that it’s worth it and so rewarding to listen to what God says!

SO WHAT’S YOUR RESPONSE?

~Have you thought about setting up certain standards so that you don’t end up doing something you don’t want to do later?

~Has it been hard to stay committed to some of the guidelines you have put in place?

~What are your thoughts from this post? Did it help you realize something?

GET OUT OF YOUR TENT!

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Does it sometimes seem like you’re just having a really boring week? A week where it seems mundane and dull? I think we can all feel like that sometimes. However, as Christians, I think that we may not be living how Jesus wants us to live if we are always bored and feel like we are just living out our “normal” routine.

Did you know that there is actually a man in the Bible who felt like we do sometimes? His name is Abram (later known as Abraham), and God had to teach him a very important lesson that still applies to us today.

Genesis 15:5-6 says, “He (God) took him (Abram) outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.” Then He said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Did you catch what the beginning of that verse said? It said that God took Abram outside. Why? Why did it matter if he was inside or outside of the tent?

God knew that He needed to get Abram out of his normal daily routine. God knew that Abram was not going to see the big picture if he was comfortable where he was at. Because what God had planned for him was going to require him to be uncomfortable and step out of his normal day to day kind of thing.

However, God required Abram’s time. What a lot of Christians don’t get today is that God requires OUR time as well. It frustrates me deeply when people say that they are too busy to come to Church, or Bible Study, or just to serve Jesus in general. It frustrates me because people would rather do their other stuff instead of serve Jesus and give Him everything they’ve got.

Well aren’t you glad Jesus isn’t too busy for you? Are you grateful that Jesus wouldn’t rather do something else instead of spending time with you and helping you?

It’s about time that Christians start thinking that way.

A.W. Tozer once said, “The man who would truly know God must give time to Him.”

If we really want to know God and get serious about Him, one of the biggest things we can do is to give Him our time.

We have to start getting out of our tent! Most of the time it’s a tent that we have created ourselves. We make it cozy and comfortable just the way we like it, and then we wonder why God isn’t using us.

However, we must understand that God does the big stuff outside of the tent!

I’m going to share with you a personal story of when God took me out of my tent and then what happened…

I was out on an outreach team in Dayton, Ohio praying for people and sharing the gospel with them. We weren’t having a very successful morning. Not many people were out that we could talk to and a lot of the businesses had not opened yet.

So, we ended up at a Kroger grocery store, and we walked around a little bit, but nothing really happened. When we walked outside Kroger there was this young lady leaning against the wall, and she happened to be an employee. As soon as I saw her, I knew God wanted me to go over and ask her how I could pray for her. However, I didn’t want to! I was scared and uncomfortable.

No joke, my heart was racing, but I knew I just needed to do it.

I walked up to her and introduced myself, told her that I knew it is crazy, but I wondered how I could pray for her. As soon as I asked her how I could pray for her, she started to bawl. Almost ugly cry if you know what I mean.

She told me that she had just had a miscarriage the day before, but she didn’t know that she was pregnant prior to the miscarriage. She said that she had come to work because she wanted to keep her mind off of it, but her boss was sending her home to rest, and she was waiting on someone to pick her up.

After she explained all of this, we stood there, and I prayed over her. When we got done praying, she let me walk her through the gospel, and we just stood there and talked.

It’s crazy that God could use me in such an incredible way outside of my comfort zone! I didn’t want to walk up to her and ask how I could pray, but because God prompted me to, this girl heard the gospel and was prayed over.

See what I mean?

God uses the mundane and ordinary people to further His kingdom! You don’t need to be a pastor or write books to be seen and used by God. You just have to give Him your time and be willing to get outside of your tent!

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

~ Do you feel like you have allowed yourself to stay in the tent where it’s comfortable? Why or why not?

~ What are your thoughts after reading this post? Do you think that it could help you and your everyday life?

~ Would you share the gospel with someone if God wanted you to?

THE NUMBER ONE THING THE WORLD DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you ever stopped and thought about what is actually true? I mean, look at our world right now. We are told that murdering babies is perfectly ok. We are told that we can do anything that pleases us as long as it makes us happy and doesn’t harm anyone else, and that we should tolerate that from everyone around us as well.

Our culture is putting out a message that tells us that there really is no absolute truth, and that what may be true for me, may not be true for you, and that’s ok as long as we can get along. As the popular bumper sticker says, “coexist.”

Does this sound like a familiar voice you have been hearing from the world around you?

We are constantly forced to wonder what is true, and what we can absolutely believe. Ravi Zacharias once said, “Most of the intellectual elite of the USA completely disavow the idea of absolute truth.”

So, does truth even exist? I’m talking real and legit truth upon which we can safely stand.

I’m writing this because I 100% believe that the ONLY Absolute Truth is the living Word of God. It is the only thing that can be tested and tried and still be completely true.

“Over the span of life, the Word can be tested time and time again and its truths will stand tall as our culture’s fascination with the subjective proves itself to be hollow and false.”   Ravi Zacharias

However, our culture and society will not point you towards the Bible. In fact, they will try to pull you as far away from it as possible.

Why does our world do that? Why do they constantly try to pull us away from the only absolute truth? It’s because our world loves sin, and sin loves to deceive us instead of telling us the truth and pointing us towards the Word of God.

Listen to what Jesus says here, “Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”    John 8:31-32 CSB

That verse says that if we read the Bible, which is His Word, then we will know the truth, and then best part, we will be set free!

Jesus is the truth!

So, look around you, do you see people who believe all of the lies that we hear from the people around us? Are there people around you who long to know the truth but don’t know where to find it?

Well, let me give you a little wake up call. It’s time you start telling them the absolute truth of the simple gospel! They aren’t going to hear it from anyone else, and that’s why as believers of Jesus, we should tell them!

Now here’s the thing, you cannot choose to “coexist” in your own life. ‘Cause believe me, it’s a choice you must make for yourself. Here is what Elisabeth Elliot says about the Bible and what it requires of us so that WE understand and know the absolute truth, “The Bible is God’s message to everyone. We deceive ourselves if we claim to want to hear His voice but neglect the primary channel through which it comes.”

I think a lot of Christians say that they really want to know and understand the word of God and its truth. However, many don’t even take their Bible to church on Sunday morning; let alone read it during the week!!

That’s why the world and sin so easily deceive us! It’s because Christians neglect their Bibles and the truth that it brings! Satan’s means of deception have not changed from the very beginning. In Genesis 3:1, the serpent asks Eve, “Did God really say…?”

Brothers and sisters, Satan’s tactics are still the same. He continues to ask, “Did God really say …?” A lot of times we simply do not know what God really said because we fail to read and know His Word.

Let me challenge you to get into the word of God and learn the absolute truth. The next time that you are forced to question if something is true, read your Bible and see what it has to say about it. I promise you, that is the only place to determine what is absolutely true in today’s society.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

~In the comment section, tell me what lies you have been told lately from the people/ world around you, that you know are NOT true based off of the Bible.

~Being completely honest, {no cheating}, how many times a week would you say you are in the Word and reading the truth?

~Do you tend to listen and believe what the culture and media tell you?

TRUST TRIUMPHS OVER FEAR

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

In 2018, I felt like God was calling me to be more intentional in my personal Bible study. I had heard of  people choosing to have a focus word that they studied in depth, and I thought I’d give that a shot. My 2018 focus word was ‘’Rock’’. However, I also decided that in the future I would have a focus quote and a focus Bible verse that went along with my focus word.

My focus word for 2019 is ‘’Trust’’. I think God laid that word upon my heart because I had been very fearful of the future and worried about the problems and struggles that life brings in general.

During that time, I had been inspired by a quote from Corrie Ten Boom who said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” God knew exactly what I needed to hear, and what I truly needed to focus on in this season of my life!

Also, just in case your wondering, my focus verse for this year is Psalms 125:1, which says, “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.” NIV

As I started studying the word ‘’Trust’’, I understood why I had been so fearful about my future and my life. Elisabeth Elliot once said, “Fear arises when we imagine that everything depends on us.”

You see, I thought that I had to have my whole life perfectly planned out. I thought that it was my job to handle all of the problems and struggles in my life.

But guess what I have come to realize?

I have realized that my life is not MINE; it’s actually God’s!

Isn’t that great news? We don’t have to worry or have fear about our future because Jesus is in charge, and He knows what is best. Not only are we free from fear, but we can replace that fear with trust in who God is.

Fear is an ugly and terrible thing to live in constantly; and because it’s such a terrible thing, we must replace it with something good. That something, is trust.

We don’t need to know what the future looks like, because we know who our God is!

Once I realized that I could replace my fear with trust in God (because I know who He is and how good He is) it totally changed how I look at my life and my future. Are there times I still worry? Definitely!

However, my trust in God triumphs over my fear and worry.

Now, you may be wondering, how do I know how to choose a word to focus on? My advice to you, is to consistently pray about it. I didn’t plan to focus on the words “Rock” and “Trust”.  Jesus just laid them on my heart because He knew exactly what I needed to challenge myself on.

The craziest thing that God has done through these two years is that each year He has given me a new Christian song to listen to that goes along with my focus word and the things I am studying. I know, crazy right?!?!

AFTER I had chosen my focus word in 2018 “Rock”, I Am They came out with a song called: My Feet Are on the Rock.

This year, 2019, AFTER I had chosen my focus word, “Trust”, 7eventh Time Down came out with a song called: Trust.

These 2 songs came out AFTER I had chosen my word for that year. To me, God confirmed that I was focusing on exactly what He wanted me too. It’s so crazy to me that God will clearly confirm that you are where He wants you to be. He is faithful and so good!

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

~Tell me in the comment section if you are focusing on a specific word, quote, or Bible verse this year. If so, how has it impacted you?

~Do you think that it helps you to focus on a specific thing for a long period of time? Or do you like to jump around and study a bunch of different things in the Bible?

~How has fear affected you personally? Do you think you have replaced that fear with trust in Jesus?

Come Boldly!

(Guest post by Michelle Hobbs)

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”    Hebrews 4:16

I wonder if we truly understand what a privilege it is for us to pray directly to God; and beyond that, have a promise that we will find mercy and grace in our time of need. I know I take it completely for granted most of the time.

You see, in Old Testament times, before Jesus died on the cross for us and rose again, the common man was not allowed to enter the presence of God. Ordinary folks, like you and me, were not allowed to go beyond the outer courts of the Tabernacle or Temple. Priests could enter the Inner Courts, but only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies, where the Spirit of God dwelt, once a year. And he entered with such fear of the glory of God that he prepared for days in advance, and he tied a rope around his ankle before entering so that his friends could pull him out should he be struck dead by God’s holy power!

“But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.”   Hebrews 9:7

But the work of Jesus has granted the likes of you and me direct access to God anytime we want! In fact, He tells us to “come boldly” to Him. “Boldly” means: with full confidence, unembarrassed, speaking everything. The LORD is telling us to come and pour out our whole heart to Him.

Think about this. Jesus, while here on earth as a man, was tempted in every way that you and I are.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.”   Hebrews 4:15

This gives us assurance that He understands exactly what we are going through, no matter what it is. He has perfect knowledge of the distress we are facing and of the help that is required. He wants you to bring every need to Him.

Charles Spurgeon says, “True prayer is an approach of the soul by the Spirit of God to the throne of God.”

Our scripture tells us that we can come before the throne of grace. When I think of a throne, I think of a seat of supreme authority, a seat of judgement. That’s a little scary! While God is the ultimate authority and judge of our lives, He says to His children, come boldly unto the throne of “grace”.

Grace is the undeserved favor and love that God extends to those who are saved through Jesus. Grace is a love that has its own motive; a love that is given regardless of our worthiness, but is built wholly upon the work of Christ. All we have to do is accept it.

The only requirement for you to be able to step right into the throne room of God is that you must accept Jesus’ great sacrifice for you. You must ask Jesus to be Lord of your life. Your faith in His love and sacrifice for you is the means by which you can approach the throne of God, the throne of grace. Have you done that? If not, why not do it now?

100% or 0%? Are you all in or all out?

My passion is to see people make Jesus #1 in their life. That’s it. I don’t have some crazy agenda or goal for this blog except to challenge people to make Him first in their life. It is my belief that if we make Jesus first in every single thing we do, we will do those things well.

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

The majority of Christians I have interacted with are satisfied with just going to church on Sunday, and then walking out exactly the same. They have no motivation. They carry the same heavy burdens on their shoulders that they have been carrying around for years. Most importantly, they walk out with no desire to serve God with a reckless abandon during the week.

How and why does this happen??

It happens because we pack our lives completely full of stuff that does NOT affect eternity one bit!

Your either ALL in to serving Jesus because of what He did for you and how He has changed your life, or your ok with just checking the “church” box on Wednesday or Sunday.

In my mind, there’s no in between. You cannot be half in and half out.

However, there is good news. In every generation there are a FEW who decide to stand up for what they believe in. There are some who choose to stand out when everyone else is purposely trying to fit into the culture.

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

Do you see what God is doing here?

He wants to see who is actually serious about Him and what they are going to do about it. He wants to see if they LONG to serve Him with every breath they breathe here on earth, even though everyone thinks they are crazy and maybe even hate them for it.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belong to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15: 18-19 NIV

That may sound harsh, but Jesus lived this thing out and where did that get Him? It got Him nailed to a cross, so should it look any different for a 21st Century Christian? I believe not.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

~Read John 15 and let’s get a discussion going in the Comment Section.

~Why do you think the word “remain” is so pivotal to this teaching?