WHY YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT 2022 BEING “YOUR YEAR”

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Please, allow me to set your mind at rest about this new year, weary soul. I know that our frightfully busy world is in the business of making us think that everything is about us, about our happiness, about how well we can compete with those around us. We chase the new car, the big house, the money, the perfect body, a relationship. All of it.

We are captives to a lie that sounds as if it promises freedom. It sounds so good.

If we do more, be more, get more at some point or another we believe that all will be set right in our lives. That we will finally be at rest. That we will get to enjoy life.

Why? Why do we think that?

Is it really so hard for us to see that the “self” cannot be both the problem and the solution?

Listen, can I let you in on something that God’s really been pressing on my heart these first few days of 2022? This year should not be “your year”. It should be His year.

This, friend, is what true freedom is. When we come to the end of ourselves and stop thinking about ourselves, that is precisely when true freedom begins.

Romans 8:1-4 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

There is nothing worth doing this year if it is not exactly what Jesus has for you. If you have welcomed 2022 thinking that you must make this new year “your year”, hear me when I say with complete love that you will be a miserable creature if you continue down that path.

C. S. Lewis once said, “Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or happiness to the future.”

Why? You ask? Because you are not in control and will be disappointed time and time again if you do not cling to something much deeper and stronger than the fleeting and hopeful feelings that come with a new year or dreams of the future.

If, however, you want more than anything else for 2022 to be Jesus’ year, and that He may allow you to be a part of it in whatever way you can, then I promise that you will not be disappointed.

Y’all, our fresh started began when we found Him! A new year is simply marked by the page we flip on the calendar every January 1st. It won’t magically change your life and priorities. That’s what Jesus does!

The point: This year should NOT be your year anyway. It should be His and His alone. So, take the pressure off of yourself. Let go of the expectations you have for yourself to do it all, be it all, and get it all. Is that really how you want to spend the rest of your days?

The passion to live for eternity is pumping through our veins because it’s pumping through our Heavenly Father’s veins. That’s what I want to spend this year, and the rest of my days, living for.

If you want to have the best year yet, stop chasing what you want and start chasing what Jesus wants for you. If you’ve been found, why are you living like you’re lost?

What matters, what Heaven longs for and Hell fears, is that further step, out of our depth, out of our very control.

Let this be His year.

“It is simply no good trying to keep any thrill: that is the very worst thing you can do. Let the thrill go—let it die away—go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow—and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time. But if you decide to make thrills your regular diet and try to prolong them artificially, they will all get weaker and weaker, and fewer and fewer, and you will be a bored, disillusioned old man for the rest of your life. It is because so few people understand this that you find many middle-aged men and women maundering about their lost youth, at the very age when new horizons ought to be appearing and new doors opening all round them. It is much better fun to learn to swim than to go on endlessly (and hopelessly) trying to get back the feeling you had when you first went paddling as a small boy.”  (C. S. Lewis)

START 2022 OFF RIGHT

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Hello friends! Happy New Year! I wanted to type a little something up to thank each and every one of you who read/participated in BLOGMAS here on the Blog in December! We had a few guest writers who graciously took the time to share their hearts as well, and we truly can’t thank them enough for doing so. Our family has been incredibly blessed by the opportunities God has given us to preach the Gospel here, and we are so looking forward to what 2022 will bring!

Our mission remains the same. Madie & I, and our family, want to help people just like you get serious about being serious for Jesus. We don’t believe that anyone can take Jesus and living for Him too seriously. Sadly, so many Christians in the American Church today don’t know what that looks like or what it could look like in their very own lives. If you haven’t been following along recently, BLOGMAS is a great place to start if you desire to make Christ your one and only priority! Thirty-one days of posts are available on our Blog for free. We encourage you to challenge yourself to read one a day, allow Jesus to move in your life, and be obedient to what He has for you!

If you have been a part of BLOGMAS and Jesus used it to impact you in some way, we would love to hear your story! You can email us @ thefew.blog@gmail.com!

Let’s start 2022 off right, together, with Jesus!

EVERY NOW AND THEN (BLOGMAS DAY THIRTY-ONE)

(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

Today is New Year’s Eve. A day of reflection and resolution. Some of you are probably excited at the prospect of a fresh start, a new year. Others are likely apprehensive about what 2022 will hold. The previous couple of years have been trying, to say the least. Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, I want to challenge you to make your personal relationship with Jesus your priority this year.

It is natural for us to gravitate towards making resolutions about our weight, fitness, and physical health. We feel a sense of determination to get organized at home, school, or work in the coming year. But I wonder how many of us even include our spiritual life on our list of goals. Above all else, we must create space in our lives to read and contemplate God’s Word. We must make room to watch for and celebrate the truth, goodness, and beauty He has placed before us.

I heard a poem about the shepherds recently (see Song of the Shepherds poem below) that resonated so deeply with me in regard to where we Christians are in the world today. It starts with the shepherds sitting out in the darkness; darkness that they knew so well because they were out in it night after night. They knew the feel of it and had grown comfortable in it even though they knew there were threats lurking about. Most of the time they sat in silence, but every now and then one of them would pick up a flute and start playing; breaking through the oppressive silence. Pushing back the darkness.

Friends, we have been sitting in the darkness of a fallen world night after night and year after year. We have grown accustomed to it and rarely even give its threats much thought anymore. However, every now and then, one of us has the courage to stand up and provide some beauty, proof that Christ is still in the world, working through His followers. The Light of the World (John 18:12) that breaks through the silence and pushes back the darkness.

Will you be that one this year? It only takes a little courage.

Will you be that one who speaks the truth of the gospel, with love, into your workplace or school? Will you be that one who calls your church back to what the Lord said Christianity ought to look like? Will you be that one who gathers a group of your friends to study and discuss God’s Word? Every little action we take in His name breaks through the silence and pushes back the darkness of this fallen world.

You see, those of us who have walked in darkness and then have seen great light should be changed by that revelation! We should be unable to contain it; desiring nothing more than to make Him known wherever we go!

There is a line in the poem that says the light exorcised the darkness from the world and the world, coming back to itself, began again. Isn’t it just like God to take even our scant and insufficient offerings and use them to set the world aright again? If just one of us will sing His praise, it reminds the world around us of what once was; of what can and will be again.

Oh, but what if more than one of us chose to glorify Him every day in all that we said and did? What would happen to the world around us then?

The shepherds in the poem continued to watch over their flocks night by night and year by year, but something changed after they saw the great light; after God revealed Himself to them. They played and sang of Him every night, not just every now and then as they had before. They clutched their meager cloaks against the cold and played their song. The song that banished dark. The song stayed with them!

I once heard a quote that said something like… Faith is our loyalty to our response to God’s revelation to us.

Brothers and sisters, do you remember a time when the Lord revealed Himself to you? It may be the memory of your salvation and the freedom and joy you felt. Maybe He revealed that He was with you through a loss or time of grief. Has he provided for you in a time of trial? Our response in those times is usually to tell someone about what the Lord has done for us. We want to share His love with others.

You must remain loyal to your response to Him in those moments when you have come closest to Him! Repeat that response on the good days and the bad. When you feel like it and when you don’t. That, my friend, is what pushes back the darkness!

That is what faith, as small as a mustard seed, can do. “The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord answered, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”  (Luke 17:5-6)

Will you be that one who has faith, even faith as small as a mustard seed? Faith that is loyal to your response to God’s revelation of Himself and His truth to you. Faith that gives you enough courage to share that revelation with those around you. Faith that inspires other Christians to do the same.

If so, go into 2022 with great joy knowing that I too will be in my little corner of the world singing God’s praises and sharing His truth; pushing back the darkness with His wonderous light.

SONG OF THE SHEPHERDS by Richard Bauckham

We were familiar with the night.
We knew its favourite colours,
its sullen silence
and its small, disturbing sounds,
its unprovoked rages,
its savage dreams.

We slept by turns,
attentive to the flock.
We said little.
Night after night, there was little to say.
But sometimes one of us,
skilled in that way,
would pipe a tune of how things were for us.

They say that once, almost before time,
the stars with shining voices
serenaded
the new born world.
The night could not contain their boundless praise.

We thought that just a poem —
until the night
a song of solar glory,
unutterable, unearthly,
eclipsed the luminaries of the night,
as though the world were exorcised of dark
and, coming to itself, began again.

Later we returned to the flock.
The night was ominously black.
The stars were silent as the sheep.
Nights pass, year on year.
We clutch our meagre cloaks against the cold.
Our aging piper’s fumbling fingers play,
night after night,
an earthly echo of the song that banished dark.
It has stayed with us.

WAR WITHOUT WAR (BLOGMAS DAY THIRTY)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

If that’s ok?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DON’T TREAD ON ME

Get on outta here
Get on up and leave
Ain’t no devil
Gonna tread on me
He’s choking on the blood
That ran down the tree
Ain’t no devil
Gonna tread on me

Ain’t no devil
Gonna tread on me

HOW ARE YOUR SPIRITS DRESSED? (BLOGMAS DAY TWENTY-NINE)

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

I know we have already done a blog post about “A Christmas Carol” and the famous Ebenezer Scrooge (You can read that post here). But the other day, we were watching our favorite movie adaptation starring Patrick Stewart, and as per usual, I reaped some interesting movie-watching wisdom.

While watching the movie, I was paying close attention to the three spirits that visit Scrooge on Christmas Eve which represent his past, present, and future. I realized something that I had never really thought about before.

Let us start from the beginning, shall we?

The first spirit which visits Scrooge is the ghost of Christmas past. Now, I know many of you probably know these basic facts, but I feel that sometimes it’s important to go back to the basics in order to grasp the complexity of many stories.

Something I found significant about this spirit was his complexion and clothing. His face and hair, along with every part of his clothing were completely white, and bright light shone around him, beaming out from his fingertips and his skin so much that he illuminates Scrooge’s dark bedroom. Now, I began to ask myself, ‘what does this Spirit’s appearance represent?’ I came to one, clear conclusion. His apparel represents innocence. Purity. Simplicity.

He represents the things Scrooge has lost and takes him back through his memories to the things that stripped him of his innocence. He shows him the boarding school where Scrooge stayed by himself for many Christmases. To his first apprenticing job, where his love of money was first formed, and back to the scene of Scrooge’s heart wrenching breakup, where his first love releases him from his promise that he would one day marry her because he was a changed man.

The next Spirit comes to Scrooge shortly after and is the ghost of Christmas present. This ghost comes clothed in thick, expensive looking robes, surrounded by food aplenty, with a wreath of holly on his head. This Spirit represents what Scrooge most wants. Wealth. Comfort. Expensive things. This Spirit Scrooge welcomes gladly and follows him without question, impressed by the Spirit’s fine appearance. However, this Spirit shows Scrooge the things he has sacrificed for wealth, and the things he has taken from others just to make himself comfortable. He shows Scrooge the costs at which wealth comes.

I think the most significant part about this ghost, is the fact that he fades away the quickest. He turns grey and old and ugly before the night is over and vanishes without a trace, no longer surrounded by the plentiful food and the thick robes. He demonstrates to Scrooge that his present desires do not last and fade away without offering comfort or making one feel at ease.

The final Spirit, the ghost of Christmases yet to come, is sent to show Scrooge his future. This Spirit comes completely clothed in a black, well-worn cloak. It has no face and no words to be uttered to Scrooge, but merely a menacing finger to be pointed in the direction Scrooge is to travel. He represents the dark eternity Scrooge will suffer if his ways are not soon changed.

Now, you may be wondering, ‘Madie, what does this have to do with me?’ Well dear reader, I’m glad you asked.

You see, I believe that Scrooge’s story is so powerful because it can so closely relate to us and our present lives. I want you to think back over your life. Think about the past, about your innocence. Think about your present, the things you most want. Think about what your future may be, about whether your eternity will be dark as Scrooge’s was once bound to be.

Is your Present Spirit the representation of wealth, or status, or selfishness? Or does it represent the cross, and your willingness to suffer for it, no matter the wealth or status you have? Is your Future Spirit a representation of a dark eternity? Or does it represent the Light and glory of your salvation?

“For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son …” (Romans 1:9)

We all have ghosts, dear reader, that lurk in the shadows of our sunny days. That impact our past, present, and future.

But my question to you is, how are your Spirits dressed?

I KNOW A GHOST

There’s still darkness on this plane
There’s still a heavy in these chains
Why I carry them around
I don’t know ’cause I’ve been found
Veil was torn from top down

Now I know a ghost
I know a ghost
I know a ghost
I know a ghost

CHANGED YOUR MIND? (BLOGMAS DAY TWENTY-EIGHT)

(Post by: Scott Hobbs)

Well, here we are in that week between Christmas and the beginning of a new year. This week has always been a roller coaster of a week for me personally. We go from the pinnacle of the season, Christmas, Jesus, to the day of December 26. It’s all over and I tend to be very sad about that. Then we head to New Years Eve, another celebration high; with remembrance of the previous year and that twinge of exciting expectation for things to come in the new year.

For many years, this in between week was a week of shutdown for our trucking business. Our primary customer was closed for the week between holidays; so while most of my drivers were off for some rest, a couple of us geared up and worked on trucks the whole week. There was this strange shift from the 24 hour a day, constant stress of trucks on the road, to a different, easier stress of getting equipment repaired and year end office work completed. It was a welcome change and we got to enjoy family and the holidays as well. Woo Hoo!

It’s funny how sometimes those changes in life can be so real that you can sense them. They are as distinct as a change in the weather; like going to bed one night and it’s a balmy 40′ then waking up to a frigid 10′ and snow on the ground. You know something changed.

But what about changes in our personal lives? Are they that noticeable?

One of my favorite movies is “The Darkest Hour”. It’s about Winston Churchill and WWII. Toward the end, Churchill is wrestling with how to deal with Hitler. He moves from what seems to be the inevitable position of negotiating a peace with him; to standing strong against the Nazi regime and fighting to the death if need be.

In the final scene, Churchill’s minister for war asks him one question in regard to his position on Hitler. “Changed your mind?” to which Churchill responds, “Those who never change their mind, never change anything.”

So how is it with you? Are you willing to change as you enter the new year? Or will you stay stuck in your current state with no room for change?

You ask; Scott, what are you saying I need to change? Why do you assume I have no room for change?

In answer, I would say that I have no idea what you need to change. But you do; and it probably is that thing you thought of as you read that question.

I would assume you probably, like me, are not a big fan of change because it’s hard. Maybe it’s my cynical side coming out as well. But I can say that after years of dealing with humanity; it’s a pretty safe assumption.

The first change we must have is to follow Jesus. Accept what He did for us on the cross. Follow His instructions in Scripture. Be all in for Him. It should be a noticeable change for sure.

Then God calls us to things as we are following Him. Maybe it’s a call to be a better spouse, parent, or employee. Perhaps the call is to seek Him more through Bible study, discipleship, or participation in more Christian activity. Whatever He is calling us to, for the most part, it will probably require us to make some changes. This is where we falter because change is seldom easy.

So, here’s the thing. Most of us get to the New Years deal and look back at how quickly the year went and have to admit there wasn’t much change. Then we say, I’m going to be serious this year and do that thing God is calling me to. And another year goes by; same story. Over and over again this repeats.

Can I just confess that I’m tired of doing that? Could we really get serious this year, with God’s help, and change that thing that He has been asking of us? It starts with being willing to look different.

You see Churchill had to stand up against even those in his own party that had accepted defeat at the hands of the Nazis. His position was not the easy way or the popular choice. It was hard.

Will you do the hard thing this year? Whatever it is that God has put on your heart and mind as you read this post. My prayer is that you seek God and earnestly ask for His help to change. Then do it.

Perhaps by the end of this year, folks will be noticing a difference and asking you that question.

Changed your mind?

“And the Lord, who is the Spirit, makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.”   (2 Cor 3:18)

WALKING FREE

Now I ain’t nothing perfect
I still stumble every single day
I still get knocked down
But the difference now
Is that’s not where I stay
‘Cause I’ve got a Savior
Who knows everywhere I’ve been
And He’s telling me that I never have to
Go back there again

So now I’m walking, walking
Walking free
No more darkness
Guilt has lost its grip on me
When mercy called my name
Those chains fell at my feet
And now I’m walking, walking
Walking free

1,000 YEARS FROM RIGHT NOW (BLOGMAS DAY TWENTY-SEVEN)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

It’s so crazy to me how easily we can get caught up on materialistic items as humans. Whether it’s money, cars, or just the little things we buy that we don’t really need; it all fights for our attention constantly.

As we have just experienced Christmas day, I want us all to ask ourselves a simple question. Presents or presence? Which of those two options are more valuable to you?

Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

I think that as Christians, we should want to get to a place where God’s presence is so much better to us than presents or anything else. The reason I want us to ask ourselves this question is because it’s a reality check for our hearts.

You can identify what your priorities are pretty quick.   

A couple years ago, we were having a 24 hour prayer vigil at my church. I invited some of the girls from our Bible Study group to come and hang out with us to pray and talk. We ended up watching the movie “Passion of the Christ” later that night, and afterwards we went into our church sanctuary to pray.

God started to show up in a crazy amazing and powerful way as we sat in a tight circle in the sanctuary together. Each of us just poured out our hearts before the Lord. I don’t think that I had ever before experienced Jesus like I did that night.

Have you ever had a time where you realized something new, and it all starts to sink in and feel real? That’s exactly what happened as we prayed. We all got what believing in Jesus really means.

Listen, we can say that “Jesus is all we need” and that “only He can satisfy” as much as we want, but until you actually experience God’s presence, you won’t get it.

Of course, all of us girls were emotional as we prayed and as we talked about what God was showing us. However, I noticed that one of the girls kept getting up to go to the restroom, and then she would come back. I could tell that she had been crying each time she would come back, but we all were crying so I didn’t think much of it.

She got up to leave again, and then she texted me and asked if I could meet her in the restroom. As I walked in, I remember looking at her and asking what was wrong Almost immediately she began to weep.

The presence of God was so thick in the atmosphere of that restroom, and we both just started to weep over what Jesus had done for us. I can’t put into words how intimate of a moment that was, not only with the Lord, but also with her.  

I’ve never felt something more real in my life. Oh what I’d do to live that night over again.

With all of that said, here is what I want you to remember… If you really get serious about living for Jesus, and you give Him your soul’s attention, He will show up.

In this time, let’s not focus on the presents we may have received or the busyness of this season. Let’s ask Jesus to show up. Let’s ask to experience Him and His presence.

We should long to be a part of something that can only be explained by the power of God.

Let’s live for what’s going to matter 1,000 years from right now. Jesus is so good, and He is all you’ll ever want after you encounter Him.

“But for me it is good to be near my God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” (Psalm 73:28)

NOEL

Love incarnate, love divine
Star and angels gave the sign
Bow to babe on bended knee
The Savior of humanity
Unto us a Child is born
He shall reign forevermore

CHRISTMAS CAROL POEM (BLOGMAS DAY TWENTY-SIX)

Happy Sunday! Our family has decided to continue BLOGMAS this week because we have enjoyed sharing with y’all, and didn’t want it to end quite yet! Let’s continue to challenge ourselves to live wholeheartedly for Christ, no matter what day it is! Enjoy this poem for today. 🙂

The kings they came from out the south,
All dressed in ermine fine;
They bore Him gold and chrysoprase,
And gifts of precious wine.


The shepherds came from out the north,
Their coats were brown and old;
They brought Him little new-born lambs–
They had not any gold.


The wise men came from out the east,
And they were wrapped in white;
The star that led them all the way
Did glorify the night.


The angels came from heaven high,
And they were clad with wings;
And lo, they brought a joyful song
The host of heaven sings.


The kings they knocked upon the door,
The wise men entered in,
The shepherds followed after them
To hear the song begin.


The angels sang through all the night
Until the rising sun,
But little Jesus fell asleep
Before the song was done.

CHRISTMAS CAROL POEM BY SARA TEASDALE

THE KING HAS COME (BLOGMAS DAY TWENTY-FIVE)

The Lost Christmas Poem by J. R. R. Tolkien

Grim was the world and grey last night:
The moon and stars were fled,
The hall was dark without song or light,
The fires were fallen dead.
The wind in the trees was like to the sea,
And over the mountains’ teeth
It whistled bitter-cold and free,
As a sword leapt from its sheath.

The lord of snows upreared his head;
His mantle long and pale
Upon the bitter blast was spread
And hung o’er hill and dale.
The world was blind, the boughs were bent,
All ways and paths were wild:
Then the veil of cloud apart was rent,
And here was born a Child.

The ancient dome of heaven sheer
Was pricked with distant light;
A star came shining white and clear
Alone above the night.
In the dale of dark in that hour of birth
One voice on a sudden sang:
Then all the bells in Heaven and Earth
Together at midnight rang.

Mary sang in this world below:
They heard her song arise
O’er mist and over mountain snow
To the walls of Paradise,
And the tongue of many bells was stirred
in Heaven’s towers to ring
When the voice of mortal maid was heard,
That was mother of Heaven’s King.

Glad is the world and fair this night
With stars about its head,
And the hall is filled with laughter and light,
And fires are burning red.
The bells of Paradise now ring
With bells of Christendom,
And Gloria, Gloria we will sing
That God on earth is come.

The King has come! We celebrate this Christmas Day for that reason. No longer is our world grey and grim. No, it is now bursting with hope and joy because the Light has come into our darkness in the most powerful way. What an adventure this has been! Have a very Merry Christmas, y’all! We thank God for each and every one of you!

You can listen to us read the poem above on our Podcast (uploaded just today) by clicking here! We briefly explain what Tolkien is alluding to, and how it can change our perception of Christmas. Enjoy!

O COME, O COME, EMMANUAEL

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

FOR LACK OF WONDER (BLOGMAS DAY TWENTY-FOUR)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I long for us to want the wonder again.

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

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

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

Perhaps tonight, on Christmas Eve of 2021, the Church will choose to marvel at the only thing that has ever mattered. May we want the wonder.

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

O HOLY NIGHT

O Holy Night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine

CHRISTMAS IS WHAT WE DEFINE IT AS (BLOGMAS DAY TWENTY-THREE)

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

Just yesterday, I was listening to someone who was talking about some of the things she had done with her family before Christmas Day. She was speaking about an exhibit they had seen which illustrated ‘Christmas through the ages’. It showed Christmas during the Victorian era, the early 1900’s, and present-day Christmas. Then the exhibit began to illustrate what the makers of the exhibit think Christmas will look like in the future.

(Cue the scary music)

The exhibit interpreted Christmas of the future as being entirely virtual, free of contact, and entirely secularized. They didn’t even include real decorations or gift boxes, but rather showed a world in which everything was plastic, and pre-packaged, and all care for thoughtful, touching gifts had ceased to exist. Many of us have been expecting this, as we have looked around at the pre-meditated plans of many in our society who have a strong desire to completely change the world as we know it. This story filled my heart and soul with a heavy sorrow that made me fear for Christmas in the future.

The woman then made the point that Christmas is about incarnation, Jesus coming in the flesh, congregating, fellowshipping, with His Creation. I thought about this for a while and came to consider the deep, profoundness and importance of physical fellowship that we experience with family and friends during this time.

I think over the course of 2020 and 2021, we have all realized that if people can take away our ability to socialize with others, they can control our lives, and I think many of us regret letting people have so much power over us in that way.

For a moment, I felt it was too late; too late to turn back on the path we’ve already chosen. Too late to take back control over our own lives and our own health. Too late to make the world a better place for my children, and to make Christmas the special time I remember from when I was a girl.

Since then, however, I have been filled with hope anew. You see, in that moment, I focused on the darkness, and the power I thought it had over the way we may celebrate Christmas in the future. Now, I focus on the small things, as I wrote about in one of my other, recent posts. I began to focus on the things I can do to keep darkness at bay, the intimate gatherings we have during this season. The good food we are blessed to enjoy. The presents we have the privilege of giving, and I was reminded all over again that Christmas is about the little things. It is about the words we sing in carols, the things we write in a Christmas card, or the time we spend together as a family, in the flesh, just as Jesus came and did.

I will say that this futuristic exhibit is still scary because it is so close to being real. But I will also say that Christmas is what we choose to define it as. Will we choose to define it as a time of fear, as we cower in our houses, afraid of death? Will we choose to define Christmas as a holiday about ourselves as we spend unbelievable amounts of money so we can outdo the neighbors next door? Or will we choose to celebrate Christmas together, and define it as a time of reflection, used to think about the glory of our Savior and His coming?

I challenge you to act on the small things this year. Please, don’t take them for granted. Those are the things that make Christmas magical.

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”  (J. R. R. Tolkien)

ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH

Come to Bethlehem and see
Him Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

CAN’T YOU JUST SEE IT? (BLOGMAS DAY TWENTY-TWO)

(Post by: Barbara Reffey)

Welcome. Thanks for stopping by. I would like to have you stroll through my house with me.

Look, I have several manager scenes, (creches)… seven to be exact. Some are big; some are tiny. Some have many figures; some only 3. However, they all have one thing in common. A baby. Granted, some of the babies are glass, some are wood, some are ceramic. Can’t you just see it?

But let’s stop and sit for a minute. Just let the Holy Spirit refresh our minds. Who is the Baby… Really?

Jesus Christ. The very Son of God.

Isaiah 9:6 says, “His NAME will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

“A Son who has been given.”

Luke 1:23 says, “Emmanuel, God with Us.”

Luke 1:11 says, “His NAME is Jesus for HE WILL save His people from their sins.”

Luke 2:11 says, “A Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

That Baby in our managers, in our homes, reminds us that HE grew to an adult who died a wretched death on a cross for my sin and yours. 

That is who HE really is… Our Savior.

So how does that challenge you and me this Advent season?

Join me as I press on in 4 areas:

Worship – Not platitudes, but real heartfelt praise, welling from deep within us as we humbly fall on our faces, trembling with a true connection with the Holy Spirit. 

The WORD – Slow Down. Go daily to the Word of God, The Bible. Let’s pull out what I like to call our “cling to verses”.  The precious promises He has given us.

Willingness – to daily surrender to the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. “Not my will but Yours (Lord) be done.”  (Luke 22:42)

Witness – This Advent season, be aware of every person that comes across your path. God has put them there. God has put you there. Let’s share what this amazing baby in our managers has done, and is doing in our lives.

All for the glory of God. Amen and Amen.

AWAY IN A MANGER

Away in a manger
No crib for a bed
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down His sweet head

The stars in the bright sky
Looked down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay

AND FOR WHAT? (BLOGMAS DAY TWENTY-ONE)

(Post by: Scott Hobbs)

I have a favorite Christmas book, A Bethlehem Christmas, by Chuck Swindoll, that always gets pulled out after Thanksgiving. Like everything else in my life, I usually have to go looking for it. It’s kind of small; I call it my little blue Christmas book. So usually on the last Sunday of November I’m hollering, “Honey. Have you seen my little blue Christmas book?” because I’m really in a panic when I can’t find it. It’s definitely my go-to for getting prepared for Jesus coming.

Swindoll takes some liberty in getting us into the minds of Mary, Joseph, Zechariah, and the angel Gabriel. He shares the events of Christmas in the first person, or as though we were hearing directly from each of these people; from their perspective. So he’s writing with his perception of what they might have been thinking. 

My favorite chapter is that of Gabriel’s perspective. I want to discuss a little bit of that with y’all tonight. In one particular section, after God has explained all the wondrous details of His long-developed plan to save humanity, Gabriel is just sitting back in complete amazement of the price and sacrifice that is required to save us all from our sin.

He says: “At this I wept. The immense love of God was more than I could fathom. The selfless grace of God was beyond my comprehension. And for what? Creatures who neither desired Him nor sought Him, who not only failed to believe but who refused to believe. This will always remain a mystery to me” (Swindoll, p. 171).

Wow!! That section just hits me like a ton of bricks. Every time I read it, I just feel like I need to stop right there and hit my knees. I hear the forerunner, John the Baptist, preaching directly at me: “REPENT! REPENT! REPENT!”

I know what you’re thinking; but Scott that doesn’t apply to me. Gabriel was referring to the Jews who rejected Jesus as Messiah. They are the ones who don’t get this Christmas thing, don’t desire or seek Him, refused to believe.

Oh, but who was the first that faltered and didn’t believe this plan. A priest maybe? Zechariah; called upright in the sight of God. Gabriel had seen his doubt firsthand upon his announcement of the forerunner John the Baptist.

The question is, how different are we than the folks Gabriel was describing from those early days? What is Gabriel saying about our level of belief today? Do you think he would be looking down at us and saying, “Now this generation of the Church really gets it. Man, look how they are living.”

I think not, and I am preaching as much to myself as to you here. How many times do I miss it in my daily walk? Why can’t I seem to stay focused on what Jesus wants in my life and not on my own selfish ambitions? Where were my priorities today? Was He really first in all that I was doing? Did I take time for the people God put in front of me, or did I just pass right on by trying to get all my stuff done?

Now, I know this is none of y’all. Especially this last week as we prepare for Christmas on Saturday. There’s no way any of y’all are putting the last-minute gifts ahead of Jesus as you take the closest parking spot to the store. I’m sure you’re not sitting around with your family discussing how much you dislike a couple of those folks coming to one of your gatherings; rather than trying to think about them like Jesus does. Probably none of you have decided all the other “stuff” is more important that doing your Advent study, taking time to watch an old spiritual Christmas movie you’ve seen 50 times with your family, or reading the Christmas story out of Luke to your family.

Here’s the thing. Let’s not get to December 26th and once again, like so many years before, say to ourselves, “I’ll do better next year. I won’t leave Jesus out of Christmas like I’ve done so many times before. I really will seek Him, desire Him, and believe.”

God put this perfect plan together for our salvation. Christmas is all about that. Let’s not live our lives for us. Look different. We must live for Him.

Keep Christmas, Jesus, in your heart all the days of the year. I don’t want Gabriel to look down at my life and think, “Really? God did all this for him and all humanity. And for what?”   

O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM

Oh little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth, the everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

HARMONIZING WITH HEAVEN (BLOGMAS DAY TWENTY)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

The first few weeks of Advent seem to hold a heaviness for those who still observe and keep it. It is a time of repentance, and of remembrance. I am so very grateful for the time we have spent preparing our hearts for Christ’s coming and taking this journey together, however, we are not yet through.

As we enter this Christmas week, we now have the opportunity to celebrate.

Not that we couldn’t celebrate before, but it was almost as if we were sitting on a grassy hill, waiting for the sun to make its way above the wooded area before us. Now, as a few moments have passed, we can start to see the sun rising above the tops of the trees and feel the warmth on our skin.

We continue to wait until it rises, though, because we are confident that it will. We dare not leave for fear that we will miss watching it dawn.

My friend, I hope you find yourself in the same predicament today. Christmas Day is quickly approaching, and I would very much dislike for you to rush through these next days and miss joining the celebration of Heaven with your heart and home.

Our souls are in desperate need of harmony. Harmony with our Messiah. We are longing to dance with the only One who understands everything about us. The One who doesn’t simply play the note we long to dance to, but is the note itself. I feel as if many believers are looking for “better places” or “better seasons” than where they currently are, to be joined with Heaven. But when we look only for better places and ignore the presence of God breaking into our darkness, we end up in worse ones.

Each one of us must determine if we have room in our lives for Jesus. I’m sorry to say this to you, but we are each proving whether we do or don’t this very day. While He seeks to invade our hearts and souls completely, we only allow Him to have a “stable” portion of it. For example, we’ll try to give Him a Sunday morning every month or post a cute manger graphic about tiny baby Jesus around Christmas time to make Him happy, but other than those occasional times, our passion for Him is pretty much non-existent.

What do you think would happen if we made room in our lives for Jesus all year long, no matter the cost? Do you think we’d live with a bit more intentionality? Do you suppose we would chase after the cross and our Savior with more of an urgency, because we understand just how much we need Him?

On a Thursday evening a couple weeks ago, Madie & I were having Bible Study with some girls our age who have committed themselves to meeting weekly. As we were studying, I started to weep as I explained to them the burning desire I have to see them live for Jesus who came to save us from our sin and who is coming again to redeem this broken world.

I saw a quote the other day that said, “Crying doesn’t just mean sadness and despair, it can also mean longing.”

If you are reading this post, I want you to know that I feel the same way as I write today. I long for you to encounter Jesus Christ for yourself. I long for you to be in harmony with the Savior this Advent season.

All we must do is repent for losing sight of Him, make room so that He can invade our lives in the ways He alone sees fit, and then celebrate His goodness in every ordinary, radical way we can.

Allow the expectation of Christmas day and the coming of Christ cause you to rejoice, celebrate, and maybe even cry a bit as your soul longs to be in perfect harmony with its Savior. He is coming!

CHRISTMAS IS COMING

I don’t want you to miss it, I know I have before
Like the innkeeper who missed the wonder right outside his door
So open up your heart as Christmas passes through
Just in time to wake the child asleep inside of you

Christmas is coming, the bells are ringing
Hope comes alive as music fills the air
I hear the drumming, it won’t be long now
Christmas is coming, will you be there?
Christmas is coming, will you be there?

IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER POEM (BLOGMAS DAY NINETEEN)

Enjoy this delightful poem on this cold, winter Sunday! We look forward to continuing on with this journey of Advent with you this final week!

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

“IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER” BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

DEALING WITH DARKNESS (BLOGMAS DAY EIGHTEEN)

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

During the Christmas season, it’s easy to get caught up in the light heartedness of it all, isn’t it? Now, don’t get me wrong, this is a very happy season, considering that this is the holiday where we celebrate our salvation and our Lord coming to earth to redeem His people.

However, I believe we sometimes get so caught up in the nativity plays, and the pictures of the cute, little baby Jesus lying in a manger, that we often forget the grotesque and gruesome task that Jesus was actually sent here to accomplish.

Jesus’ life wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows and unicorns. It was hard, and he had to go through some very painful and scary things while He was here rescuing His creation from sin.

We often forget that what Jesus really came to earth to do, was to deal with Darkness.

From the time when he was that innocent child in a manger, this was his goal. This was his mission. This is the reason He suffered and died. To deal with Darkness.

Many times, in the Church, we throw around the apparently light-hearted terms, ‘follow Jesus’ example,’ and ‘what would Jesus do?’

But wouldn’t following Jesus’ example entail dealing with the spiritual Darkness that is presently enveloping the world? Would that not entail devoting ourselves entirely to the Light, and willingly going to war against hell and everything that comes from it?

Because make no mistake, if we said we were willing to do this, we would be following His example to the fullest extent.

I heard a quote this week that inspired me to write this blog post, and I believe if we could grasp the true meaning of this simple thought, we could become Christians to be reckoned with.

“If you simply “escape” the darkness, that means you haven’t dealt with it.” (Sarah Clarkson)

How often I have found myself, and seen others, escaping from the darkness that we so vehemently declare to loath, and that we so eagerly claim to defeat!

You see, fellow warrior, we were made to do so much more than escape darkness. We were made to stand in the midst of it and shine the light Jesus sought to bring so brightly, that Darkness is extinguished in all its schemes.

We were made to wrestle with the Darkness. We were made to defeat it.

In the twenty-first century, however, I have come to the sad realization that many people tend to reason, to bargain, with the Darkness and say ‘do what you like in the world, but I’m a good person. Just leave me out of it.’

Guys, we must come to a point in our Christian walk where we realize that there aren’t other magical people who are going to do our job for us. We, you and me, have been placed on this earth to deal with Darkness, and I wholeheartedly believe that. Like Jesus, we can be victorious over the darkness, if only we would take following His example seriously.

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)

Be confident, oh Christian, that Jesus came to win a war. Not to make peace treaties!

SILENT NIGHT

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus Lord, at Thy birth

WHICH SPIRIT HAVE YOU? (BLOGMAS DAY SEVENTEEN)

(Post by: Scott & Lincoln Hobbs)

I was in a Bible study this week and the question was put to the group asking how we get ourselves ready for Christmas. You know, the whole Advent thing? This preparation for the birth of Jesus. Not the actual birth you realize; but the symbolic day, December 25th, that we set aside each year to celebrate the birth of Jesus, Messiah, Savior, Emmanuel, King of Kings. Could this be preparation for the Christmas Spirit? 

Let’s come back to that.

The comments were actually heart breaking. A couple of the folks were just done with Christmas all together. The only preparation they were interested in was to prepare for December 26th; and it couldn’t get here fast enough. Why, you ask, were they wanting Christmas to be over? Well, it was because they said they had lost the Christmas Spirit. The world had driven it out of them.

You see when Christmas becomes what the world makes it, even things that are good can drain us.  Family gatherings where everyone is sitting around scrolling on their phones and seemingly only showing up out of obligation or ritual. Or the joy of refereeing family members that are still carrying wounds from years before that they have inflicted on one another. Gift exchanges that have completely exhausted us physically, from shopping, not to mention exhausting our bank accounts. Often for gifts that folks just throw in a closet and sell at a garage sale in a few years.

I’m back. Didn’t even miss me did you? I just got off a phone call with my great aunt. She turned 90 a couple months ago. I told her I was writing about the Christmas spirit; what did she think? Her comment was that Christmas had changed so much since she was a kid. Her memories were of not having much money, only a few gifts, and cooking ahead because they only had the one wood stove. She fondly remembered the 3 foot tall, artificial Christmas tree, with very few needles left on its branches, that they used every year. Neighbors really cared. Her mom would always send $1 to a boys home somewhere in Indiana. She told of how kind folks were to each other, and that it was more genuine than it seems to be today. 

So back to our Bible study discussion; the question was posed about how we could keep the Christmas Spirit. We also pondered the difference between the Christmas Spirit and the Spirit of the Lord. Here’s your recap.

The Christmas Spirit seems to be this spirit of joy and happiness that surrounds this holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus. While the Spirit of the Lord is with us all the yearlong when we know Jesus as our savior. So, is there a difference? I think not. 

If we know Jesus in our hearts; like really know Him, then our lives should look different the whole year.  Not just the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And guess what? Mean cousin Eddie or unappreciative little Sally should not be able to steal your Christmas Spirit or the Spirit of the Lord; whatever you decide to call it.

“Christmas is a time to experience the spirit of Jesus coming into the world.  In the other 364 days we should be experiencing the joy of Jesus coming into our hearts. We need to celebrate the spirit that God gives us, not just on Christmas, but all the time.  Honestly, I have missed what Christmas is all about. I mostly just think of the presents and the food. That is good stuff, but it is totally not what Christmas is about.  I found this verse for all of us to think about. This should be for everyday, not just Christmas day.”  (Lincoln Hobbs)

“I will put my spirit in you and cause you to walk in my ways.”  (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

It was said of old Scrooge that after that, he kept Christmas in his heart all the days of the year. What will people say about us? Which spirit have you?

I STILL BELIEVE IN CHRISTMAS

The choir’s singing carols
Bells are ringing, streets are bright
It’s Christmas all around me
So why is Christmas hard to find?
December snow is falling down like I am to my knees
I could use some hope right now
‘Cause right now hope is hard to see
Help me still believe

For God so loved this broken world
He sent His only Son
To a carpenter and a teenage girl
To show us all His love
He left His home in Heaven
To make Heaven my home
My Emmanuel is with me
And I’ll never be alone
Down here, my heart can’t find much to believe in
But I still believe in Christmas

PAY ATTENTION TO THE PREPOSITIONS (BLOGMAS DAY SIXTEEN)

(Post by: Gerald Steele)

As a linguist I know that prepositions matter. As a matter of fact, they are sometimes even more complicated to master than verb tenses. 

I have been intrigued, in recent years, at Christmastime to read the words of Matthew 1:18-21, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way: After His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child by the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man and not willing to make her a public example, had in mind to divorce her privately. But while he thought on these things, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for He who is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

The narrative is not complicated to understand, and it concludes with the angel’s affirmation, “She (Mary) will bear a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people FROM (emphasis mine) their sins.”

The preposition “from” is key to our understanding of the biblical doctrines of “sin and salvation.” Unfortunately, sin and Christians have become strange bedfellows in the 21st century. Christians divorce at the same rate as non-Christians. Christians drink like non-Christians. Christians fornicate like their non-Christian counterparts. Christians engage in pornography. Christians think that occasional cussing is okay and cute. I could add to this list into infinity. 

Let me be clear, this substandard approach to genuine Christian living was never God’s intention for His people. God calls His people to holy living as evidenced in Matthew 1:21. Jesus did not arrive on planet earth with the mission of saving His people IN their sins but FROM them. 

God’s grace is not a license to sin. As a matter of fact, according to Paul it’s a deterrent. 

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘NO’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:11-14)

This is the Christmas message. Jesus came to free us from the tyranny of sin. He came to save us FROM our sins and not IN them. Pay attention to the prepositions in this hymn!

O HOLY NIGHT

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining

Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!”

CHRIST, THE LOGOS (BLOGMAS DAY FIFTEEN)

(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

For the past several years, the world has told us that we cannot know absolute truth. It tells us that we can all have our own truth. You do you, and I will do me. We were created from a big bang or evolved from goo to you. I say that is absurd!

This way of thinking has caused chaos and division versus the harmony that so many are seeking through this faulty thinking. Once again, the enemy has distorted the truth and has led us astray.

You see, Christ is the logos of our world. Logos means the reason or plan. The divine reason implicit in the cosmos, ordering it and giving it meaning.

Are you looking for order, reason, or meaning? I know I am, especially in this Advent season and looking forward to a new year.

While we may not be able to change the whole world, we can change our reaction to it. We can impact those within our small sphere of influence for the better. We can know the world as Christ intended by learning to look for Him in everything.

My homeschool hero, Andrew Kern, says, “You become what you behold.”

Isn’t that a beautiful truth? I challenge you to think about what you truly behold. What do you intentionally give your attention to, gaze upon, actively pay attention to? Too many of us have been captivated by absent minded scrolling, streaming short video clips, and reading twaddle. We are constantly striving to keep up with our neighbors in posting pictures of what looks like a happy life, when, in reality, we are miserable.

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

Friends, all the things that you are constantly chasing after in this world, peace, joy, love, etc… can only be found in Christ. They will only be truly and everlastingly achieved by living in the way He tells us to. By living as if Christ is the logos of the world, your personal logos.

How do you do this? By training your eye and your heart, to see Christ in everything. Your soul does something with everything that goes into it. We process those memes, videos, and pictures and they change us for the better or the worse. That is why it is so important for us to purposefully seek out the true, the good, and the beautiful.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”  (Philippians 4:8)

Imagine how your life would change if you made an effort to seek out things that nourish your soul and glorify Christ as the logos! How would your child’s life change if you gave them great works of literature, art, and music to consider versus Facebook, YouTube, and Tik-tok.

This Christmas season, I have been thinking about the Magi. Who were these mysterious men from the East, mentioned only briefly in the second chapter of Matthew? They were not Jews, yet they were familiar with Jewish scriptures. They were men who studied widely and sought truth, goodness, and beauty. They were Pagan, but the logos of the universe revealed to them a critical piece of prophecy no one else seemed to possess. The Magi studied the stars for years, watching for something that was coming, something that was going to change the world.

When the long-awaited star appeared in the sky, they were willing to travel, possibly 1,000 miles or more to worship Jesus, the Messiah. You see, these wisemen sought the true, the good, and the beautiful. When the logos of the universe finally presented Himself to them, they were ready to accept Him as the true logos of the universe and bow down before Him.

Are you willing to accept Jesus as the true logos of the world?

Will you accept Him as your personal logos and start living in a way that glorifies Him as such? This Christmas is a great time to seek out the true, the good, and the beautiful in His Word and discover His peace, joy, and love!

WE THREE KINGS

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star
We three kings, we three kings

Born a king on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign

Oh, star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy perfect light
We three kings, we three kings

GIVE YOUR YES (BLOGMAS DAY FOURTEEN)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I am prone to think that one’s lifestyle amidst the Christmas season speaks great volumes as to their priorities and what they value the most year-round.


Maybe you are weary of reading the same challenge on this Blog, but it will continue to remain the same. There is no better time than right now to get serious about living a life completely sold out to Jesus. I don’t mean start living for Jesus today and then stop the day after Christmas on December 26th.
No, what I am proposing is that we start now and never, ever stop.


After doing ministry for the extremely short amount of time that I have, there is one thing that commonly seems to be the reason for why people claim they just can’t follow Jesus. The reason is this… They don’t have time.


They don’t have time to study their Bible. They don’t have time to spend in quiet prayer and communion with the Lord, or to disciple someone else. It’s why they can’t commit themselves to spending Sunday mornings at church with other believers or a Bible Study small group during the week.
I’m here to tell you that we’ve gotten it all wrong. As a Church, and as individuals. We’ve gotten it so wrong.

The question is not do we have time for Jesus, it’s will we MAKE time for Jesus?


If Jesus isn’t our life, then we will spend it in hot pursuit of the world. The world doesn’t “take breaks” so that you can spend time with Jesus, your family, in your Bible, etc. Its primary goal is to keep you as far away as possible from each one of those important things.


Will we choose to engage with the story that is unfolding right before our eyes? Do we long to rise up and open our eyes to His coming this Christmas season and in this New Year that is before us? Just as Gideon, Mary, Joseph, Noah, Peter, Simeon, Micaiah, and many other heroes of the faith all had to choose whether or not to engage with the story before them, so do we.


We will either build the Kingdom or make a life, but have no doubt, we cannot do both.


Deuteronomy 10:20 says, “Fear the LORD your God and serve Him. Hold fast to Him and take your oaths in His name.”


I have always loved the “holding fast” part of that verse. Holding fast to the Lord means loving Him, following Him, diligently obeying His Word, devoting ourselves only to Him, and serving Him. Holding fast requires us to not compromise in our relationships, behaviors, or anything that might pull us away from our covenant with God.


Being so content with our small and humble place in His story, with our only desire being that we never forsake the roles we must play in it as the pages turn. When Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she would bear the Son of God in her womb, she never asked “why”. She only asked “how”.


She longed to engage in God’s miraculous story.


Proverbs 4:4 says, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live.” Even in the New Testament, holding fast is an appeal, complemented by a conditional promise of life. Paul said, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)


My longing for Christians living in this generation is that they would simply give their yes. That they would say yes to engaging in the story before them, not forsaking their role in it. Will you be bold enough to hold fast to Jesus though everyone else’s grasp is firmly placed on the temporary and fleeting things of this world?


Start by making time for the One who always has time for you. Give your yes.

FROM EAST TO WEST, FROM SHORE TO SHORE

From east to west, from shore to shore,
Let every heart awake and sing
The holy Child Whom Mary bore,
The Christ, the everlasting King.

Behold, the world’s Creator wears
The form and fashion of a slave;
Our very flesh our Maker shares,
His fallen creature, man, to save.

For this how wondrously He wrought!
A maiden, in her lowly place,
Became, in ways beyond all thought,
The chosen vessel of His grace.

She bowed her to the angel’s word
Declaring what the Father willed,
And suddenly the promised Lord
That pure and hallowed temple filled.

ADVENT INSECURITY (BLOGMAS DAY THIRTEEN)

(Post by: Pete Yost)

I was having lunch with a group of friends this past week, and one of them said something that caught my attention. Made me think. Made me reach inside of myself.

At first, I thought, where has he been all of his life? How did he miss it?

My friend Calvin asked, “What is Advent? I’ve never heard of such a thing. We are lighting an Advent candle this coming Sunday at church, and I don’t know anyone who knows what this means.”

“We’ve celebrated Advent forever, since I was a little girl”, came the reply from one of the women in the group. “But I don’t understand it either.”

The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”. During this season of preparation, Christians would spend 40 days in penance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for this celebration; originally, the celebration of waiting on the Christ child to arrive.

Calvin is a Christian. He loves Jesus. However, he was bewildered because the people in his new church only celebrated Advent because it was something they do each year.

It is a ritual.

On the other hand, there is Hunter, a young single mom with two kids, who recently told me she wants to reconnect her life with Jesus. She has made some terrible decisions in her life which has resulted in great emotional pain and suffering.

During the past week she has decided to intentionally seek God and praise Him. She is excited and joyful while sensing the Presence of Christ anew. She found this song and sent it to me…

START OVER

Chorus:

Everybody’s got a blank page

A story they’re writing today

A wall that they’re climbing

You can carry the past on your shoulders

Or you can start over.

Regrets, no matter what you goin’ through

Jesus, He gave it all to save you

He carried the cross on His shoulders

So you can start over

Advent is a time of Anticipation, not Anxiety. Advent is not a Ritual, but a Relationship. Advent is not a Ceremony, but a Celebration. Advent is not Looking Backwards, it is Looking Forward.

Calvin was confused because his church friends really did not understand the meaning of Advent. They could not explain the meaning of Advent to him. However, Hunter knows fully what Advent means because she is celebrating a new life, a new start with Jesus.

The question for each of us, is, are we able to confidently explain what Jesus did to save us from our sin, or are we insecure and unsure of the meaning behind Advent/Christmas?

CHRISTMAS BELLS (BLOGMAS DAY TWELVE)

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
    And wild and sweet
    The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
    Had rolled along
    The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
    A voice, a chime,
    A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
    And with the sound
    The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
    And made forlorn
    The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
    “For hate is strong,
    And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
    The Wrong shall fail,
    The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

CHRISTMAS BELLS BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

Happy Sunday, everyone! We will be back again tomorrow with a new BLOGMAS post. Be sure to scroll through the recent posts from this past week in case you missed any!

THE EVERYDAY DEEDS (BLOGMAS DAY ELEVEN)

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

Christmas has the power to change people, don’t you think?

Over the years, we have all seen the change that takes place in people around this holiday season, and I think that there can be power in that change. People begin to talk to one another as they do their last-minute Christmas shopping. We all sing the songs that have become so familiar. We all tend to greet one another with a joy-filled, “Merry Christmas.”

I especially remember these small changes in people from when I was a child, looking at Christmas as this crazy time when suddenly, all our differences and disputes were put aside. It was something that I always loved experiencing and seeing, and something that now, I miss very sorely.

You see that small window of time, that month and a half leading up to Christmas, was something that has impacted me in such a powerful way, and I wish I saw that more now. I think that now, in 2021, we have become so self-obsessed, and so consumed with what we want and need, that no one even thinks about the power they could have, just by telling a little girl “Merry Christmas”.

Once again, I believe that J. R. R. Tolkien sums up the power of these little things in this perfect quote by Gandalf, when talking about why he chose Bilbo Baggins to accompany himself and thirteen dwarves on a perilous quest.

He says, “Some believe that it is only great power that can hold Evil in check. But that is not what I have found. It is rather the small, everyday deeds of ordinary folks that keeps the Darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it is because I am afraid; and he gives me courage.”

Now, I believe we can all agree that the darkness in this world is barely, at best, being kept at bay. Yet we are all at a loss as to how that has happened so rapidly. If what Gandalf has said is true, which I believe it is entirely, the answer is staring us straight in the face.

It is the small, everyday deeds of ordinary folks. Something which we have not taken as seriously as we ought.

You see, the reason I always felt so much happier and more content around Christmas time, is because of the small things, that kept the darkness at bay for the month of December. The small things that changed a little girl’s view of the world, even for a short time.

I want to encourage you today, it is the small things you do, the smile you freely give to a stranger, the holiday greeting you utter, that keep the darkness at bay.

Why do I enjoy the changed mood, the songs we all sing, and the spirit of Christmas that changes people?

Perhaps it is because I am afraid; and they give me courage.

HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Let your heart be light

From now on, our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Make the Yuletide gay

From now on, our troubles will be miles away

Here we are as in olden days

Happy golden days of yore

Faithful friends who are dear to us

Gather near to us once more

Through the years we all will be together

If the fates allow

So hang a shining star upon the highest bough

And have yourself a merry little Christmas now

TRUE WORSHIPPERS (BLOGMAS DAY TEN)

(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

One of our dear friends, who is a pastor in Texas, always says, “We have a God-shaped hole in our hearts.” I thought of that saying today as I braved the crowds and long lines of the super-store in our town. There were so many folks filling up their carts and dodging each other in the aisles. There were two guys in the hair and make-up section trying to decide what to buy for (what sounded like) the many female family members in their lives. There was an older woman telling an acquaintance she ran into that she was so glad her grandkids were older, and she did not have to buy toys this year. Then, there were all of us lined up, in frustration, to check out at the two open registers. Ugh!

Some people I saw today were obviously happy to be buying gifts for loved ones, but most seemed to drudge through the task. I grieve over the realization that most of us have lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas. We are trying to fill that “God-shaped hole in our hearts” with gifts and gadgets. Material things that bring joy, only for a moment.

We have allowed our hearts to be captivated by the bright lights, shiny bobbles, and finely wrapped gifts of this world. Yet, what our hearts truly long for is the eternally satisfying glory of God. Jesus’ presence and rule in our lives.

We were created to worship. The need to worship is a big part of what it means to be human. That is the way God made us. He wanted us to want to worship Him and have a relationship with Him. The enemy has distorted that desire, however. Now, we humans worship our careers, sports, bank accounts, and hobbies.

St. Augustine said in his Confessions, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

Friends, there is nothing wrong with gift giving. My family enjoys finding something special for one another each year. I just pray that we spend more time on cultivating our relationship with Christ this Christmas than we do on buying and wrapping material gifts. Let us be swept up in the true wonder of the season; the Lord came to dwell among us! May we feed our own souls with the right kind of worship and share the good news of Jesus birth, death, resurrection, and second coming with those around us.

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.”  (John 4:23)

Will the Father find you a true worshipper when He returns?

ALL THE WORLD AWAITS

All the world awaits

The promise of His birth

Open up the gates

Heaven come to earth

A host of angels sing

Our Savior here to dwell

The King of every king

Our Emmanuel

ALWAYS WINTER (BLOGMAS DAY NINE)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Before this season of Advent began, I started thinking about the significance of winter and what exactly it has the possibility of producing. If you’re anything like me, it is much harder to see the beauty in freezing temperatures, snow, and darkness than it is to see beauty in the warmth from the summer sun, fresh flowers blooming, and the chance for new adventures to unfold. Perhaps you’re the opposite, in which case, I applaud you.

The Lord, however, has been revealing to me this winter just how much my soul longs for and rejoices in the light. Not just physical light, but ultimately the light of our promised Messiah who will come to us again, which I believe the physical light directly points the believer to.

The only reason we know to rejoice in the light, though, is because we have once or twice had to embrace the dark. The darkness that plagues our world, our homes, sometimes our very own souls which seems to make itself extremely apparent amid the winter season.

Madie & I discussed this topic a little more thoroughly, and in a bit of a different way, in our latest podcast episode! Click here if you would like to join the conversation!

I recently read a quote by Charles Spurgeon who once said, “Winter in the soul is by no means a comfortable season, and if it is upon you just now, it will be very painful to you: But there is this comfort, namely, that the Lord makes it.”

What a beautiful, yet challenging quote to read and consider.

It can be quite difficult to remember that the same God who made the summer is indeed the very same God who made the winter, and that there is a unique purpose for each.

Psalm 74:17 says, “It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.”

In a book titled, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe that was written by C. S. Lewis, there is a specific quote that I have been pondering that I’d like to share with you today. In the book, Lucy, the youngest of four siblings’ stumbles upon a place called Narnia where The White Witch has cast a magic spell so that it is always winter there.

As Lucy explains to her older brother, Edmund, what she had encountered while in Narnia, she says something that intrigues me. She says, “It’s always winter, but never gets to Christmas.” 

I wonder how many of us can deeply relate with this after the past couple of years. I wonder if you feel as if you have been living in the dead of winter, never getting to Christmas.

If you do, could I lift your spirits today?

There is comfort in the trials that winter brings, because the Lord who has created them never lets them weather us without also allowing us to experience the hope and joy of Christmas. Jesus has always promised His presence to us. But in order to understand the beauty of Christmas, we must understand just how bleak winter can be. What if we rejoiced in the struggles of life and this season because of what the Lord can produce in us through them?

As Christians, we can find peace knowing that winter will not last forever, and that darkness never triumphs over the light. Christmas is coming because Christ has come.

JOY TO THE WORLD

No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove the wonders of His love

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let Earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing
Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let Earth receive her King
And Heaven and nature sing

Please be sure to read the last few days of our BLOGMAS posts if you haven’t already! We have had some wonderful guest posts and we don’t want you to miss what they each shared! You can also follow and sign up to be on our email list so that you don’t miss tomorrow’s new post. See y’all then! 🙂

JESUS, PEARL HARBOR, AND BLOGMAS (BLOGMAS DAY EIGHT)

(Post by: Scott Hobbs)

I sit here tonight, on the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, pondering how to connect this day with Jesus, the Advent season, and Blogmas. I know it sounds crazy; but stay with me and let’s see how it goes.  

As I have listened to stories today from some of my favorite historians, and pondered the commitment of the greatest generation of Americans on the heels of Pearl Harbor, I am left wondering if we presently have any real understanding of that type of sacrifice.

We sat in the living room tonight as a family and read our Advent devotional by A. W. Tozer. That was followed with listening to the speech FDR gave the day after Pearl Harbor. Then came excerpts from one of the speeches Patton gave to the troops as they headed into battle with the evil Nazis. I thought about how politically incorrect everything we were hearing from Tozer, to FDR, to Patton, would be today.

Our current cancel culture would say what a terrible father I was for teaching my family that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, that He remained fully God while willingly laying aside his deity to come as a baby in a manger and function fully as a man. Christmas preparation.

And then to discuss 16 and 17 year old American boys falsifying their birth certificates so they could sign away anything they had, and possibly were ever going to have, for the cause of freedom and the destruction of the enemy. Do we have that type of love for the country and freedom God has given us today? I wonder…

But could it be that was what was happening in the preparation (Advent) leading to Jesus birth? A young virgin named Mary, somewhere around the same age as those young American boys, said yes to what would have seemed a truly unbelievable assignment from God. While a young man named Joseph, betrothed to this same Mary, accepted a path that any one of us would have said was complete insanity. Christmas preparation.

As we ready ourselves for the celebration of Jesus birth we should be asking; what did Jesus do? He gave up this great seat at the right hand of God to come down and be born a man to die for our sins. To give up His life for ours. And all we have to do is repent of our sins and accept that He paid the price for us.

John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this; that he lay down his life for his friends.”

So, as I reflect today and honor those men who, 80 years ago, made the greatest sacrifice for this great nation; a nation founded on the sacrifice of Jesus. A nation that has spread Christ and freedom around the world like no other nation in history. I’m reminded of my own preparation for Christmas.

I have to ask; am I willing to sacrifice as those young men did 80 years ago? Oh, not to falsify my birth certificate and sign up to head across an ocean to war. But to say I’m preparing for the birth of Jesus. I’m all in for wherever that may take me. I want to give everything I have and am ever going to have to Him.

Sign me up.

I want Christmas to mean that for all I do to celebrate His wonderful birth, it will prepare me to live the way He taught me to in His life. In that, I have to recognize His birth, this Christmas thing, has to point me to His death and sacrifice for me and you. What a glorious thing this Christmas deal is when we get that.

So thank you Jesus for the cross, our American military for fighting evil on our behalf, and for the freedom we still have to do Blogmas. There; I brought it all together and you doubted that I could. If I’m honest; so did I.  

Merry Christmas!

LIGHT OF THE WORLD

Light of the world
Crown in a manger
Born for the cross
To suffer, to save
High King of heaven
Death is the poorer
We are the richer
By the price that He paid

Sing hallelujah
Sing hallelujah
Sing hallelujah
For the things He has done
Come and adore Him
Bow down before Him
Sing hallelujah
To the light of the world

WHAT IF? (BLOGMAS DAY SEVEN)

(Post by: Trent Claybaker)

Shortly after our Thanksgiving dinner, my family and I made plans for a shopping trip to wrap up the loose ends for those who we still wanted to get presents for. If I’m honest, I was pretty excited about the trip.

To the best of my recollection, this was the first year that we were nearly finished with all the purchasing well before Christmas Day. (Not sure how your home’s work, but typically mine is hustling at the very last minute for something forgotten, or someone just wants to get just one more thing). We planned to start down South and work our way back to the house. There were only two planned stops, with the understanding that there was the small potential for a possible third.

We hit our first destination relatively quick but unfortunately, it didn’t take long for my excitement to dissipate. Several of the more popular stores at the outlet mall were extremely busy, so much so, that customers had to wait in line outside since the occupancy level had to be maintained.

If you’re thinking to yourself, oh no… you’d be right! What if the lady in line with the three children had a better understanding of Ephesians 4:29, “do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it would benefit those who listen”, and chose to use better language when speaking to the teenage boy at the door just trying to do his job?

We wrapped things up there and headed North to our second stop. The shopping there was easy. Not because it wasn’t busy, but simply because we each knew what we were in search of, and our lists were getting smaller. We decided to split up and meet back up at the front of the store where the registers were.

I got there first, and a short time later the girls arrived. The lines were long, and everyone had full carts. I’m a people watcher, and I noticed a husband and wife a few spots ahead. The line was moving but it wasn’t as quick as this couple would have liked. I could almost tell what was coming. What if this couple had been in the Word and had a solid grasp of Proverbs 14:29, “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick tempered displays folly”, rather than let the cashier know how they would run the checkout process.

By this time, I was ready to just be done, and by the silence in the car I could tell that was the sentiment of the rest of my family as well. While I was driving, I was asked if I thought that, on either occasion, those people knew Jesus? We hadn’t talked about either situation at the time, but apparently, I was not the only one to notice what was happening. My reply was vague, at best, because even if I thought that they did know Jesus, they certainly didn’t act as if they did.

It’s somewhat cliché but, what if we really understood the “reason for the season”? What if we chose to live life as we are called to? What if the people on that day knew how to love as Jesus loves? What if we took looking different seriously?

I’m boldly asking… What’s your “What if” for His Kingdom?

BEHOLD THE SAVIOR

Here is the promise we had waited for
He will not leave us in the dark
He will bear our weight
He will wear our shame
Come lift Him high
Behold the Savior
Jesus Christ law of love and light
Come lift Him high
Behold the Savior!
Behold the Savior!

ODE TO EBENEZER SCROOGE (BLOGMAS DAY SIX)

(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

Y’all, I love and adore A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I love the book, and I love the movie adaptation starring Patrick Stewart. Every time I read the story or watch the movie, I glean a new spiritual lesson.

If you are not familiar with A Christmas Carol, let me give you a quick synopsis. Ebenezer Scrooge, the main character, is a “tight-fisted” businessman who thought Christmas day, and every day for that matter, was a “Humbug”, and he just wanted to be left alone. He had no use for his fellow man, other than to collect from them the interest he gained from the money he loaned them. He had a kind-hearted nephew and a humble clerk that attempted to soften Scrooge, but to no avail. Then, on Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by his dead business partner, Marley, who is fettered with the chains he forged himself through sins committed during his life.

Marley warns Scrooge, “man of the worldly mind”, that he had gotten his life wrong, and tells Scrooge that he is even worse. Marley explains to Scrooge that if a man’s spirit does not go forth in life caring for his fellow man, he will be condemned to do so after death. However, there is “incessant torture” in that, because in death, it is too late to live as you should have.

Marley then offers Scrooge some hope. Scrooge will be visited by three Spirits who can help him “shun the path” that Marley is forced to tread. Through the visits of the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, Scrooge is able to see the hurts and decisions that hardened his heart and made him the callous man he is. He was able to see how a faithful man keeps Christmas and cares for those around him. Finally, Scrooge is able to see his dark future and is given a chance to turn from it.

Scrooge’s heart is changed!

He cries out, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.” Scrooge immediately sets out to mend the relationships he has with his nephew and with his clerk. He gives generously to charity. He is friendly and kind to his neighbors. “He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good city knew.”

Friends, Christmas is the perfect time of year for us to reflect on our own lives. The Holy Spirit invites us to do so, just as the Spirits invited Scrooge to do. Have we allowed past hurts and decisions to harden our hearts and set us on a path that God did not intend?

Are we celebrating Christmas this year in a way that honors Christ’s first coming and anticipates His second coming versus merely indulging in a worldly version of Christmas? Do we have a secure future with Jesus?

Scripture tells us that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and that the wage for that sin is death, but God offers us the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23).

You see, God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us, even while we were yet sinners (Romans 5: 8). If you have faith in God’s love and accept His free gift of salvation, you can have eternal life with Him (Ephesians 2:8). If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).

Do not shut out the lessons that can be learned from Ebenezer Scrooge. He did not just become a good friend, master, and man because he was scared by the Spirits. He did not change his ways, only for a little while, because he was afraid to be fettered by chains as Marley was.

Scrooge examined his life, his heart, against God’s standard and found himself lacking. He knew that he could not change on his own but called on the Spirit to strive within him. You and I have a wonderful opportunity to ask the Holy Spirit to live within us this Christmas day and every day, friend!

Will you join me and Ebenezer Scrooge in doing so?

LET THE EARTH NOW PRAISE THE LORD

Let The Earth Now Praise The Lord.
Who Hath Truly Kept His Word
And The Sinners Help And Friend
Now At Last To Us Doth Send.

Welcome, O My Saviour, Now!
Hail! My Portion, Lord, Art Thou.
Here, Too, In My Heart, I Pray,
Oh, Prepare Thyself A Way!

King Of Glory, Enter In;
Cleanse It From The Filth Of Sin,
As Thou Hast So Often Done;
It Belongs To Thee Alone.

CHOOSE SOMETHING LIKE A STAR POEM

BLOGMAS DAY FIVE

O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud—
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.
Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says, ‘I burn.’
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.
It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats’ Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

“Choose Something Like a Star” by Robert Frost from Collected Poems, Prose & Plays

We pray this encourages your heart to be willing to see the mystery of Christ and His coming. Happy Sunday & Merry Christmas!

WHO ARE WE TO HIM? (BLOGMAS DAY FOUR)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

The title of this post is a question I have been challenging myself with almost all of this week. If you’ve been around the church much, then I’m sure you know that we like to say “where are you at with Jesus” often. I have nothing against this question, I would simply like to ask it in a different way…

Who are you to Him?

I understand that we have so much fighting for our attention and time right now. Whether it be family, friends, parties, gifts, work, school, or even church. We all have stuff. We think that after this week is over, we will finally have time to spend with Jesus and get serious about living like Him. Life doesn’t usually work that way though, and if we continue living as the world does, it will only get busier and busier.

I’m going to be bold and write that maybe many of us are uncertain about who we genuinely are to Jesus, because we live for the noise, the busyness. Our arms never can stop flailing about. We can never sit still to seek Him. We despise quiet and if it begins to surround us, we fill it with other distractions.

We have allowed ourselves to become addicted to busyness. Most especially the busyness of the Christmas season. I want you to know, friend, that God is not a God of chaos and just maybe, He is inviting you to breathe in His peace and to let some things go.

I think the enemy has been successful in that, he has made this time so hectic that we don’t even realize that we’re missing the entire point and purpose of it. The coming of the Messiah, our King. The One who has redeemed our lives and shown us mercy and grace. If we’ve bought into the world’s point for Christmas, which is materialism, it’s almost impossible to take a minute to stop and fall in love with Jesus again.

Lamentations 3:25-28 says, “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him.”

No one knows who you are to God, except you. Does He know you as a friend, as an acquaintance, as a good and faithful servant? Or do you find yourself to be a stranger to Him?

I love this translation of Psalm 46:10. It says, “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Friend, I have great news for you today. You have always meant so incredibly much to Jesus. Take heart, knowing that He is God and that He is the most important thing. Cease your striving. Though you may be in the world, you are not of the world. Don’t you ever forget that.

So, the question truly becomes, does Jesus mean much to you? Does He mean much to us?

GOD REST YE MERRY GENTLEMEN

God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from Satan’s pow’r
When we were gone astray
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy

FROM CHILDISH TO CHILDLIKE (BLOGMAS DAY THREE)

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

This summer, I took a class that went behind and beyond The Lord of the Rings, and we discussed some of the very real spiritual values that Tolkien presents through his imaginary stories, and how they apply to our everyday lives.

One of the things we talked about was how each Hobbit involved in the stories took a personal journey from their childish ways and went on this quest to become childlike.

Now, I know some of you may not see a difference between the two, I mean, kids are kids, right? But there is actually a big difference between being childish and childlike, and it is deeply intertwined with our relationship with Jesus.

You see, being childish means that you are petty, concerned with small things, unable to grasp the big picture when it comes to life, and you literally act like a child.

Being childlike, however, means that you think like a child. You see endless possibilities and worlds and beings, and you believe that everything is achievable, and that’s just the way life is. Now, I’m sure you have heard of the term “child-like faith” thrown around in church, and kind of referred to as this belief that we all want to have, but soon grow out of as we mature in life and see things in a more realistic sense.

Before I took that class, and heard this topic being discussed, a “child-like faith” didn’t mean much to me. It was just the term we used in the church that referred to a child’s inexperience, and lack of realistic knowledge, and we then accredited that as the reason children can believe in the Lord so easily.

But today, I want you to see the power in becoming childlike. I believe that a childlike faith actually consists of this thought that we are merely a small part in the big scheme of life, but we take pride in Jesus wanting to use us. We still see those endless possibilities, but they are now cultivated by God, and used to help us step off the shore and dive into an ocean of incredibility.

“And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become child-like, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.”” (Matthew 18:3)

During Christmas time, I think we can all agree that there is this feeling that fills the air, and makes us excited and giddy, like we physically cannot wait for Christmas day. However, I think this is a good example of what it means to go from childish to childlike. When we are childish, we get excited about the snow, or sitting on Santa’s lap, or the presents under the Christmas tree.

But if we have made that transition to a childlike attitude, we are filled with joy, not just excitement, and while we may still anticipate those things I just listed, we know that the actual reason for Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birth, and we use that time to remember everything he has done for us, and ultimately prepare ourselves for his second coming.

You see, we all must walk on the road of childishness, where we are selfish and simple, and travel to the glorious destination of being childlike, where we are transformed into a creature who sees possibility and does not doubt the supernatural power and goodness of God.

Only then, can we enter the kingdom of Heaven. Only then, can we look at our Lord through a childlike wonder and awe, that is profoundly connected to our salvation.

WHAT CHILD IS THIS?

Why lies he in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding
The end of fear for all who hear
The silent Word is speaking
This, this is Christ the king
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Haste, haste to bring him laud
The babe, the son of Mary

So bring him incense, gold and myrrh
Come peasant king to love him;
The king of kings salvation brings
Let loving hearts enthrone him
This, this is Christ the king
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Haste, haste to bring him praise
The babe, the son of Mary

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OUR LONGED-FOR GUEST (BLOGMAS DAY TWO)

(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

Hello friends, and welcome to Advent!

Advent, literally “arrival”. The coming or arrival of something or someone that is important or worthy of note.

Though Advent has been observed since the earliest days of the Church, most people today do not so much as acknowledge it. We are ushered into Thanksgiving and December by a flurry of worldly activities we call “the holiday season”. For most of us it turns out to be the most stressful, lonely, overwhelming time of the year. We Christians like to say, “Jesus is the reason for the season”, but do our actions, our wallets, our hearts really prove that out?

How many of us, who genuinely love Jesus, still lose sight of the incarnation, the dank stable on a cold night, the closed door at the inn? Do you take time to contemplate God’s great plan to reconcile Himself to man? Do you share the longing of the ancient prophets who ached for the Messiah to come? Do you watch the heavens, as the Magi did, for a sign that God is near?

Advent is a chance for us to prepare for the coming or arrival of the most important person into our midst. Friend, is Jesus your longed-for guest today and every day? Do you desire the arrival of the kingdom in your home and in your heart this Advent season?

How can you and I prepare a place for His coming? We can look to John the Baptist for some wisdom. John the Baptist’s message and ministry ended four hundred years of silence. His voice, crying in the desert, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” (Matt. 3:3), bridged the gap between a time without the presence of God and a time when God walked with His people again. He heralded the inbreaking of the Kingdom of God.

Oh friend, do you desire that the Kingdom of God would break into your “holiday season” and bridge the gap between you and the Lord? I know I do! The great news is that it is possible! It’s quite simple to realize this desire. We must again look to John the Baptist’s message and simply “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near” (Matt. 3:2).

We must repent of our losing sight of Him. Repentance means that we realize we have been doing something wrong, turning away from that, and begin again in the right way. Like John the Baptist, doing Advent in the right way will look very different than the world around us.

We must root ourselves in His story. Make prayer and reflection on Jesus’ previous coming and His promised future coming our priority. As we prepare our homes with decorations of the season, let’s make sure we are first preparing our hearts, our lives, our time, as a place where He is welcome.

The beauty of Advent is in the reminding of ourselves that our ordinary lives, our small places in this world, are places where Jesus can arrive and change the atmosphere entirely. Allow Him to enter ordinary moments. The making of a meal. The washing of linens. The writing of a letter. If you invite Jesus to invade everything you do this Advent and beyond, He will change you, your family, your friends, all those you have contact with.

There is a profound quote from Wendell Berry’s book, Hannah Coulter, that sums up what I am trying to convey. “Our love of this life and our keeping of it, is where heaven joins earth.”

You have before you, this Advent season, the chance to join heaven with earth. I pray that we all repent and intentionally prepare our hearts for the arrival of our longed-for guest. That we make our lives such a comfortable place for Him that He dwells in us and we in Him for all eternity.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.  

COME, LORD JESUS

As we trust in the Lord helplessly,

Depend on Him as our love and strength,

And listen to His speaking,

Our hope is to be raptured

Through the redemption of our body.

And our prayer is –

“Come, Lord Jesus!”

And our prayer is –

“Come, Lord Jesus!”

“Come, Lord Jesus!”

“Lord Jesus, come!”

THE WAY FORWARD IS THE WAY BACK (BLOGMAS DAY ONE)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Friends, today is the first day of the last month in 2021! As we turn the page on our calendars and behold the month of December that lies before us, I pray we do not forget the importance of remembrance. I pray we do not fail to remember the unfathomable love of our Savior, and the only reason for this season. Jesus.

I can’t help but think of the many individuals who may only embrace Jesus for this short month, and do not plan to do so again until next December comes to us. I think of the individuals who may enter a church building on Christmas Eve and sing the great hymns of Christmas, but exit unsure and uncertain of what it all means for them.

Allow me to say this, all Jesus cares about is having a personal relationship with you. He loves you and cares so deeply about your life no matter how mundane or chaotic you think it might be.

I think about the Christians who may have lost the awe for their King that they once had but lost  somewhere along the way, tirelessly wandering due to their lack of wonder for Him.

Allow me to say this, there is no better time than the present to come back to Jesus. To give Him your attention again. You aren’t too far gone to return. Don’t choose to live a stagnant Christian life. There is so much more.

I think about the people, who, just like me, may be searching for the beauty and life that Jesus offers to us and wants us to encounter through the story of His miraculous birth and coming. The individuals who just want to fall in love with Jesus all over again and have a fresh encounter with Him.

Allow me to say this, I firmly believe that He won’t let us down and will indeed honor our desire for Him. He is our hope, and I pray our hearts find their peace and joy in Him.

Hosea 6:3 says, “Let’s strive to know the Lord. His appearance is as sure as the dawn. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring showers that water the land.”

I don’t want to miss what God may be longing to reveal to us in this Advent/Christmas season, and I believe that the way forward is sometimes the way back.

A.W. Tozer once said, “In history, revival was indeed a move of God among His people to bring them back to Him. It seems strange to me that the average gospel church wants to go forward, but forward in the wrong direction. When revival takes place, God brings us back, back to where we left God, where we left our first love.”

So, I invite you to allow God to bring you back to Him this Christmas. Back to His heart and what truly matters in life. The reason He came into this world was to save us from our wretched sin and the misery that pertains to it.

May revivals take place in our hearts and homes this year as we begin where we may have left our first love.

Our family is thrilled to hopefully share a little bit of our hearts with yours over these next days leading up to Christmas, and we are filled with the expectation that the Lord will move in ways that only He can here on the Blog! We simply ask that you follow and sign up to be on our email list so that you don’t miss anything we might publish each day! You are more than welcome to share the links to these posts with your family and friends so that they can join in on all of the Christmas fun as well. See y’all here tomorrow!

“O come, all ye faithful,
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels!

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.”

(O Come All Ye Faithful)

Comment below and share something you enjoy this time of year with us!

MANIPULATED MINDS (PART TWO)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Note: Intentional misspellings.

This is one of the most crucial and heartbreaking posts I am confident we will ever publish. In part one of this post, that was published on Thursday (November 18, 2021), I stated that I am frightened that many Christians, pastors, and people in church leadership positions think that obeying mandates put in place by devout liars, murders, and people who want to be god is what we are called to as believers.

Again, that is a lie straight from the enemy, and the people believing these deceivers are not walking in the truth nor are they trustworthy. I also mentioned that we are not being told the truth about most things (specifically the v a c c), and that I cannot remain silent about the things that I now know and will be sharing with you in this post.

I pray you hear my heart, as it is not intended to make any individual who didn’t know about this despicable act I am about to write of feel as if they are a terrible person or that they have committed some kind of unforgiveable sin. That is not the intent of this post in any way.

The point of this post is to make people (especially Christians) aware of the lies the enemy has planted within our world and minds in order to manipulate us and make us weak. My hope is that this truth being revealed will bring us to our knees in repentance for the detestable sins being committed in America and across the world.

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

Revealing these atrocities is the right thing, and we will not fail to do it. Stay with me here, we must lay some groundwork first.

If someone is a true Christian, it will be evident that they have been radically changed and operate differently than they did before because of what Jesus did for them on the cross. It is supposed to change your whole deal. We no longer expect that of people though, and being a Christian in today’s world just means that you spend an hour or so in church on Sunday, and that’s if your schedule permits.

We no longer ask the Lord how He would have us live, what He wants us to choose, or what is right. Instead, we consult the world and often, unknowingly, allow the enemy to dictate how we live, what we choose, or what is right.

Unfortunately, this is precisely what a majority of Christians have done when it comes to the C o v i d  v @ c c i n e  that we are being told will save our lives. According to many Christians, if we choose not to receive it, we are putting other’s lives in danger and are not loving or considerate.

Make no mistake, they have been manipulated.

Here is why I believe that Christians should not receive the v @ c c i n e and should reject it in full. I hope you will do your own research as well. In March of 2021, F a u c i revealed in an interview that there is “aborted fetal tissue” in the v a c c i n e s. He claimed that the fetal tissue was used for testing purposes. You can watch the video of part of the interview by clicking here.

Does that bother us? Christians should be absolutely sickened by the fact that they are experimenting with aborted fetal tissue, especially for something that they want to inject into our bodies. However, it only gets worse.

In October, an article was released that reveals the horrific murder of cell line HEK293T, which P f i z e r has been using to test and create their v @ c c i n e s. P f i z e r has kept the details of this murder under wraps for many years, and it was just recently leaked by a w h i s t l e b l o w e r  that worked for them. Because they have not disclosed this information to the public, we are unsure if aborted fetal tissue is still in the v @ c c i n e that people are receiving. J & J, however, has fully admitted that there is aborted fetal tissue in their product (watch video linked above).

A baby girl that was born alive in the early 1970s started the cell line HEK293T and was murdered by having her organs harvested (specifically her kidneys). As the article explains, harvesting body parts such as kidneys requires blood flow, requiring a beating heart, which means that she had to be fully alive at the time of harvesting. A murder such as this also requires that there be no use of anesthesia as the organs are cut out. Read full article here.

Allow me to state this very clearly. This is infanticide. It is wrong. It breaks God’s heart, and it should undoubtedly break ours. We are utterly fooled if we think that this was the first or last murder of a living baby for the use of testing or creating of v a c c i n e s.

This is the cell line used to create the C o v i d  v @ c c i n e s that people are being injected with today. Many people have absolutely no idea about this because they have been manipulating and lying to us. In fact, I know several church leaders that were not aware of this. I am challenging Christians to stand up and speak up for life by rejecting ANY and EVERY v @ c c i n e that contains this kind of history.

The American Church has always stood strong on fighting for life in the past; we cannot stop now because of our ignorance. I strongly believe that this is Satan’s plan. If he can keep us ignorant, then we will fall for anything.

Matthew 24:24 says, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”

Scripture warns us over and over again that we are to be on guard, always discerning what is pure, holy, and of God. Do you realize that even the elect (believers) are deceived and that we are listening to individuals who are ok with the murdering of babies?

Will we allow the murder of innocent babies to take place in order that we may attempt to save our own lives? Oh, God forgive us!

Church, do not fail to do the right thing. We must get a backbone and understand that these scientists and big p h a r m a are evil. They have no regard for life. The most pressing question, though, is this. Do we?

Friends, we want you to know our heart on this matter. If you have received the v @ c c i n e and were not aware of the aborted fetal cell lines being used in their testing and manufacturing, we do not condemn you. We, ourselves, have received v @ c c i n e s in the past, before we knew about this issue. Our purpose here is to make you aware now, so that you can make a well-informed choice in the future.

“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”  (Proverbs 6:16-19)

The story behind cell line HEK293T must be shared, and it is up to us to do so.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Did you know about the murder of the baby that led to cell line HEK293T?

= What are you going to do differently?

MANIPULATED MINDS (PART ONE)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Note: Intentional misspellings.

Compliance makes for an easy life. You don’t have to question every news headline you read. You don’t feel as if you’re responsible to make the truth known. It does not require you to stand up and speak up. If you comply, you get to follow along with the crowd. You are able to sleep at night. You’re even praised for it.

When I look at where our culture is currently, who the leaders are that the majority is obeying, and the American Church that is losing its zeal for its first love, all I can see are many manipulated minds.

Most “Christians” in America today do not know who they are or what they mean.

Church, because I love Jesus and know that His heart mourns the fact that we have forgotten Him and therefore lost our boldness to fight against evil bravely, I must remind you that true Christians are not cowards, and they do not put up with sin.

Revelation 21:8 says, “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Does it not concern us that the first thing listed in that verse are the cowardly? Y’all, cowards are listed before the faithless are.

You understand that the enemy wants us to believe that we are inherently racist, right? He wants us to think that we are hypocrites, that we are unloving, that we are selfish, that we can’t make a difference. And because we don’t know who we are or what we mean, we believe all of it!

How sickening it is to watch Christians listen to and genuinely believe not only what the enemy says, but also the devout liars that he has specifically placed in this world to manipulate our minds. We lack discernment. We lack courage. We lack a passion for the truth to be revealed in the American Church.

Matthew 7:15-20 says, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits.”

I am frightened that many pastors and people in church leadership positions think that obeying mandates put in place by devout liars, murders, and people who want to be god is what we are called to as believers.

That is a lie straight from the enemy, and these people are not walking in the truth nor are they trustworthy. We are not being told the truth about most things (specifically the v a c c), and I cannot remain silent about the things that I now know. As one of our friends says, “I will not comply with a lie.”

I know that it’s hard to know where to start, but we must start somewhere. Part two of this post will be published within the next couple of days, and I will be sharing about a hidden lie that needs to come to light and that the Church cannot remain ignorant of.

“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.”  (Unknown)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Is your heart willing to hear and receive hard truth?

= What are you going to do differently?

DANCING IN THE DISAPPOINTMENT

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

For most of us, the past two years have been hard. Like really, really hard. From Covid ruining plans and hopes, losing people we love, going through transitions that come with school and/or work, overwhelming stress, church issues, friendship struggles and more, it’s hard to stay motivated let alone encouraged. The more I listen to people share what’s been on their hearts and the stories they have to tell, the more I’m reminded that suffering, pain, and disappointment are all inevitable.

It is certainly easy when undergoing disappointment after disappointment to begin to grow angry with God and to think that He doesn’t truly care, because if He did, He would just take it all away, make life less complicated, and solve all of our problems, right?

Well, would you be surprised if I told you that part of finding our calling could be through our suffering and disappointments?

Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”  

I truly do believe that Christians should have a completely different view of disappointment and suffering than unbelievers do. Y’all, we have a hope. We worship and live for a God that is not surprised, shocked, or startled by what occurs in our day to day lives.

He is always speaking and working, but we’re not always listening and paying attention.

I remember how I longed and prayed for a young woman to pour into me spiritually a few years ago, and as I looked around me and where I was in that season of life, I often felt like no one was really trying to become more like Jesus in a radical way. I wanted to do life with someone who wasn’t afraid to share the Gospel, who desired to meditate on God’s Word and allowed it to change their heart. I wanted to imitate someone who was following Jesus with everything they had and wasn’t afraid to be real.

However, again and again I was disappointed. My hope to have this amazing discipleship friendship with someone seemed to be a lost cause and something I was just wasting time on.

Then God started The Few. God started this out of my disappointment of the lack of discipleship and oneness in the American Church. When He told us to start a teen girl Bible Study group in 2017, I thought God was mistaken. I didn’t pray for Him to use me to disciple and pour into other girl’s lives, I asked Him to use someone else to pour into me.

I truly believe that out of my disappointment, God revealed some of my greatest convictions and passions that He had placed within me for such a time as this, and as Madie & I were obedient, He started something that wasn’t a part of our 10-year plan, but man am I glad He did it the way He did.

In case you need to hear it today, God gives freely, abundantly, and consistently and He will never fail you. Sometimes, though, He has a much better plan for you than the one you are mocking up.

C.S. Lewis says, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Suffering isn’t easy. Pain isn’t comfortable. Disappointment isn’t ideal. But it doesn’t mean that it can’t be beautiful. On this side of eternity, we have the chance to choose to worship through it all. In Heaven, tears will be wiped away, and our natural response will be to bow down and worship Him.

What a privilege it is to be able to worship and choose Jesus when all we feel is disappointment.

Jesus, do whatever you have to do to get my attention. If the process of suffering and disappointment is what will do it, then I will choose to dance in the midst of it. I’ll dance in the midst of the storm because my trust and confidence is in you alone.

“It’s always hard to find the courage to start dancing, but I am determined to take my chances.” (Chances by NEEDTOBREATHE)

So, keep on dancing.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What has disappointment produced in your life?

= What are you going to do differently?

A ROAD WITH NO END

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As I stated earlier, we cannot measure it.

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

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

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

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

= What are you going to do differently?

IT’S NOT ABOUT HOW HARD YOU CAN HIT

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

Just recently, my dad, brother, and I started watching the “Rocky” movie series, and as usual, I was able to reap some valuable movie watching wisdom!

In the final movie, Rocky tries to impart some deep, inspirational advice to his son, who was completely unhappy with his life, and who felt like a failure. Many of you may know this quote, but I want you to look at it in a bit of a different light today.

Rocky says, “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and it’ll beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. ‘Cause you, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it’s not about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth, go out and get what you’re worth, but you’ve got to be willing to take the hits. Not saying you ain’t where you want to be because of him, or her, or anybody. That’s what cowards do and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!”

I know, inspiration, 1,000%

The reason I really love this quote is not only because it is so motivational, but because it is also deeply spiritual. I believe that this simple quote, from a boxer from Philadelphia, perfectly describes the Christian life.

Every time I hear this wisdom, I am reminded of all the things in life I can’t control. I’m reminded of all the times I’ve failed. Of all the times my family has been hit so hard by the world, that I couldn’t help but wonder how we were ever going to rise again. Of all the times I have felt bruised and battered, and like I have nothing left.  But then, I am also reminded of the nail-pierced hand that reaches down from Heaven and pulls me out of the ashes and says, ‘Come on, Madie. I made you so much stronger than this. You still have fight left in you, now get up and use it. I’m right here with you.’

You see, dear reader, we always have someone walking right next to us who has had the world throw its fist at him harder than any of us can even imagine. That man is Jesus, our Lord, who shouldn’t have had to experience the heat this world can bring. But He did anyway, for you and me, and every other human being that will ever walk on the face of this earth.

I know. Life hits pretty stinking hard sometimes. But let me ask you, what are you really taking the hits for?

Right now, are you just getting hit for spreading drama at work? Or for wearing something you know you shouldn’t be? Or maybe for falling into friend groups where you know you’re going to be asked to do things you know aren’t right?

Or are you getting hit for being the person that shuts down the drama right when you hear it? Or for making modest clothing choices that other people may think are lame? Or for separating from friends because you realize they are dragging you down?

Let me tell you, I’ve been hit for a little bit of all those things at one time or another. But the moment I made the decision to not get hit for my stupid decisions, but for the truth I want to spread about Jesus, the atmosphere completely changed in my boxing ring.

Because I can’t hit as hard as life. There are things I can’t control. There are people around me who want to see me fail. I am weak.

But I know who can hit harder than life. When I started living for Jesus, it didn’t matter how hard I got hit, because I was getting hit for the right reasons, and I wasn’t relying on my strength.

You see, when you’re getting hit for the eternal stuff that satisfies you to your very soul, the pain isn’t quite as sharp as it used to be.

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1Corinthians 15:58)

Let me tell you something you already know. We are weak. We are incapable of succeeding in this world on our own. We can’t hit as hard as life. But it isn’t about how hard we can hit, how strong we are, or how successful we are.

It’s about how hard we can get hit, and keep moving forward.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are you really taking the hits for?

= What are you going to do differently?

OUR FIRST GIVEAWAY

It’s a great day for a GIVEAWAY! 🙂  Help us celebrate hitting FIVE THOUSAND DOWNLOADS on our Podcast, “A Few Minutes With The Few” by entering to win some of our favorite things! 

So, what are we giving away?! One individual will receive a copy of “Until Unity” by Francis Chan, the other individual will receive an Apologetics Study Bible! Both winners will also receive some amazing stickers, quote cards, and personalized FEW pens! We will be choosing TWO of you to win! You can see pictures of the giveaway items on any of our social media pages!

Enter By:

Following us here on the Blog, or on Instagram!

Like our last THREE posts!

Tag ALL the friends in the comments (minimum of two) and let us know which set you’d like to win the most! Each tag = one entry.

If you’d like, you can also share to your Facebook or Instagram story for TEN bonus entries (be sure to tag us)!

GIVEAWAY CLOSES 10/29/21. This giveaway is not affiliated with Instagram, WordPress, or sponsored in any way.

We would like to thank each and every one of our Podcast listeners! Y’all are the best, and we certainly couldn’t do this without you! THANK YOU!

COUNTERCLAIMED

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Do we, as Christians, genuinely understand that everything God is for, Satan is completely against? Anything God builds, Satan will attempt to tear down. If God makes a radical change in your life, Satan will try to remind you how terrible your past is in order to discourage you. Is your focus solely on Jesus? Satan will try so very hard to distract you with other things. The list goes on.

C.S. Lewis once said, “There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God, and counterclaimed by Satan.”

Everything that God has claimed, is counterclaimed by Satan. This truth has become incredibly evident to me over the last two years, especially in the midst of all the chaos and craziness. Satan is in the business of distorting the good and beautiful things God created and intended to be used to bring Him glory. Which, by the way, you should read the blog post Madie wrote titled, Distortion a few months ago for more on that topic.

Satan is real. Just under the surface of our everyday interactions, hiding in the shadows, clouded in the confusion, Satan tries to put an end to what God is doing in us and through us. That is his only goal.

This is why it is so easy to mistake fun and entertainment for true joy in our world today.

This is the reason for why so many people believe that money and climbing the corporate ladder is what will actually bring meaning and purpose to their lives.

Ever wonder why so many people have been and continue to be tricked into thinking that rest is unnecessary and that they should do “all the things”? Well, I have too.

The amazing thing is that if we are following Jesus wholeheartedly and are serious about it, we know that that is, and has always been, the enemy’s goal. God does not send us into the spiritual war zone blindfolded, unable to see our enemy’s schemes and lies. God has placed His own Spirit inside of us to lead us and help us discern what is good.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 says, “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”

We have absolutely nothing to fear, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t called to be discerning and conscious of where the enemy may be trying to attack and fight back with the truth so that more souls can be won for the Kingdom.

I know this may seem like a silly question, but do you actually know what God commands of you? Are you in constant communication with Him and His Spirit within you on a daily basis?

Christians should have gut reactions for moral clarity. We have to get serious about becoming mature and putting an end to evil things that are counterclaimed by Satan because of the truth and convictions we stand upon.

A U.S. Navy Admiral named William McRaven once said, “If you hope to complete the swim, you must learn to deal with the sharks around you.”

There are sharks in the water that we are swimming in, and we must learn how to deal with them. However, knowing that they’re in the water is the first step of dealing with them. As Christians, we must discern what is good and pleasing to the Lord and be on guard at all times.

I truly believe that there is a spiritual battle going on in the Heavenly realm right now. Your choices, your time, your effort, Satan thinks he’s over it all. But we know who wins, don’t we?

Our enemy may have counterclaimed what rightfully belongs to our King, but I know that, and I am going to complete the swim no matter what it takes. How will you deal with your sharks?

Do you know where they lurk?

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”  (1 Corinthians 15:57)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you discerning of where the enemy is trying to bring confusion and chaos into your life?

= What are you going to do differently?

HOW 05*481 TAUGHT ME THAT THERE IS MINISTRY IN THE MESS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Today, October 7th, 2021 marks two years since publishing A Thousand Times Over. Two years ago today, I sat in front of my computer completely broken before the Lord, about to write a post that I had no clue would make its rounds through multiple churches in the U.S. and be sent through many other jail pods all across Texas. Our friend, Rocky, was in a Texas jail, we had just gotten back from visiting him, and God had given me the courage to write about our experience.

Now I sit in front of my computer again, broken before the Lord, still wondering what the purpose of this situation truly is. In late August, we received news that Rocky is back in jail.

I am unsure as to why, but I haven’t felt like the Lord wanted me to share this news, and what I have been learning. That is, until today. I haven’t even been able to bring myself to write him a letter yet, because I just don’t know what to say.

Believe me when I say that I’m not mad; that’s not the case at all. I know that sounds crazy, because my flesh tells me that I should be and that it would be way easier to walk away and forget about him, but I just can’t.

Disclaimer: This Jesus thing will really mess you up (in the best way of course).

We went to a conference this past summer that an evangelist named Stephen Manley was doing at his church, and I’ll never forget what he said in one of the evening sessions. He said, “The jail is the last place I would go if I didn’t have to.” I can’t explain how much God has used that statement to work on my heart, especially in this season.

I can personally testify that when God gives you someone to pour into and a place to do so, don’t be surprised if it’s the last person you thought of and the only place that’s on your list of places to never go.

For me, that was a Mexican dude from Texas now known as 05*481 (inmate number), and jail. But, you see, 05*481 has taught me that in the middle of a huge messy situation, ministry can still happen and that we cannot give up on people. The problem is that we aren’t willing to get our hands dirty and stay to support people when it gets tough.

There is ministry in the mess, and it’s time for the American Church to realize that “perfect” isn’t working anymore. Our “perfect” buildings, our “perfect” pastors, our “perfect” worship services, they aren’t working anymore.

Here’s the thing… The world wants to convince us that people like Rocky are just numbers such as 05*481 and that they are not worth our time to speak life and truth into because they are too messed up. I mean, they’ll just go back to their old ways, right? The American Church has bought and sold this lie, and I’m convinced that most have no idea that they have.

I included James 1:2-4 in A Thousand Times Over 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.” What a powerful verse!

God warns us that we will indeed face trials, and He also expects us to be in unity with one another. What a relief! God tells us that the trials and testing of our faith produces steadfastness within us. Why are we so afraid to be real and live life together?

I’ll be honest, Rocky chose, for about a year, to try to live life alone and without us because he knew we would tell him that he needed to get right with Jesus in order to fix his deal. That was really hard after helping him start afresh in January of 2020. However, when Rocky called my dad for the first time again a couple weeks ago from jail, do you know what he said? He said, “I need you.”

The 05*481’s of the world need us, y’all, and whether we want to recognize it or not, we need them too. God often uses them to show us what it genuinely means to never give up and for there to be ministry in the mess.

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

Without our 05*481, I wouldn’t know the value of not giving up. Who is your Rocky?

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  (Galatians 6:9)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you tired of trying to keep everything “perfect”?

= Have you ever been surprised by who Jesus gives you to pour into?

= What are you going to do differently?

GIVE ME YOUR HAND

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

God had a lot to do and more than enough to teach me last month. August was one of the hardest months I think I have faced in my own relationship with Jesus.

From discipleship relationships, to Mom’s work m a n d a t e situation, to finding out that our friend Rocky is in jail again, it’s been nothing but a mess.

Raise your hand if you have ever gone through a season of life where you woke up every morning expecting things to just get worse than they were yesterday. Do you watch the world reach a new level of crazy that you couldn’t have even dreamed of yesterday, but none the less it is our reality today?

Yeah? Ok, you can put your hand down now…

If I’m being real with y’all, I have felt like Jacob in Genesis 32 a lot more than I’d like to admit recently. I have spent my fair share of time wrestling with God, and I have a feeling I’m not done yet. While our culture and the American Church embraces wealth, power, and strength, we’re often left feeling stuck. We abhor the idea of being weak, a failure, or experiencing doubt. Sure, we may “know” that a measure of vulnerability comes with life, however, we usually view it as a sign of failure in our spiritual walk. Sooner or later, the reality of life is made very evident to us, which is where I believe Jacob was at.

With his father-in-law behind him and Esau before him, Jacob was too scared and too tired to hold on for much longer.

But only then did his real struggle begin. Jacob wrestled throughout the night with “an angel” until daybreak, and finally gave in when it struck him with a blow to his hip, that left him with a limp for the rest of his life. Jacob realized that he had encountered God. In Genesis 32:30 Jacob says, “I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared”.

The reason I want to share this with you today is because there is a very crucial piece that we tend to completely miss when “wrestling” with God. In Genesis 32:29 we see that God blesses Jacob.

I have watched too many Christians suffer through life because they are unwilling to wrestle with God and become solely dependent upon Him for their strength and courage to face the next battle. But this is precisely what we ought to do because His plan is the only thing worth moving forward with.

As I personally wrestled through the month of August, God challenged me to give Him my hand. Not to take His hand, but to give Him mine. You see, God wants to hold on to us, so that if we happen to let go of Him, we won’t fall.

Don’t you see, dear Christian? This changes the whole dynamic! No longer are we dependent upon the strength we think we may have, but instead on the very Being that sustains us and has the power and ability to keep us alive for the next 15 minutes.

God wants to bless us, but sometimes that means that we must “give in” to what He has for us and what He ultimately wants to be to us. Jesus so desperately wants to be your everything right now, but you have to first give Him your hand.

In the end, Jacob confronted his failures and weaknesses, and all the things that were hurting him, and faced God. What we can practically take-away from this example is that God is willing to wrestle, because if we’re wrestling, we’re longing for more of Him. As Christians, despite our trials and heartache here on earth, we can take heart remembering that God’s blessing inevitably follows the struggle, which can sometimes be messy.

But there is ministry in the mess.

May we willingly give Him our hand and say, “Lead me, Lord.”

“Will you come with me to the mountains? It will hurt at first, until your feet are hardened. Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows. But will you come?”  (C.S. Lewis)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you seeking more of Him?

= In what ways have you felt like Jacob before?

= What are you going to do differently?

WHEN THE MIND IS A BATTLEFIELD

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

How do you react to bad news? Are you sometimes caught off guard by the things you hear at school, work, or on the news? As humans, we have this tendency to obsess over the things that we don’t like or the bad news we hear/receive because we are so desperate to be in control of the situation.

Unbelievers tend to run to the wrong means in order to escape their difficulties. Christians can do the same when our minds yield to the present pressure placed on us by the world.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “If you should be filled with alarm like others, you would no doubt be led into the sins so common to them under trying circumstances.”

This has really been on my heart the last couple of weeks. Do we, as Christians, not have a hope that remains even in the thick of the fight? Do we not have the ability, through our King, to stand firm when the world shifts? Have we not built upon the rock that the gates of hell cannot prevail against?

Whether we want to recognize it or not, you and I were made for 2021, and God didn’t put us here to be stressed out or overcome by the world. He has a much bigger purpose for our time and for this generation.

I believe that wholeheartedly today.

I’m sure it could be said that most of our minds resemble battlefields right now. Maybe you feel as if evil is surrounding you on every side, or perhaps you continue to analyze every detail of the news, or maybe you have lost all the strength you thought you had buried deep down inside.

Maybe you feel like the biggest mess right now.

In order for us to win the mind game, we must live in the Lord’s presence. You cannot live as part of the world without taking on a worldly mindset as well. Christians are called to renew our minds by focusing on the will of God. The Lord has not called us to live stressful and chaotic lives. We bring that upon ourselves through our own choices and actions. We choose to bear burdens that we don’t have to, and that God has told us we shouldn’t.

I can confidently write that every time I have been in the Jesus’ presence, I have never felt overwhelmed with fear and anxiety because His perfect love casts out all of my fear (1 John 4:18). However, when I get distracted and focused on me and all of my personal problems, I feel nothing but stressed and overcome with insecurity and fear.

Whenever we are met with the present pressure of our age, we must rest under the shelter of His mighty wings knowing that when we are with Him, we are protected.

C.S. Lewis wrote a passage in his series titled, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe that I have found to be a message from Heaven itself. It says, “Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Friends, we have a strong and fierce King! He is good. So incredibly good. Do you believe that today?

Your mind may be a battlefield right now, but you have hope because of the God who has not and will not waver. Hold on to Him; stay steady. Our redemption is near.

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His Word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption.”  (Psalm 130:5-7)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Does your mind yield to the present pressure?

= Are you often left feeling overwhelmed?

= What are you going to do differently?

HOW TO SAY NO

(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

We have just been so very encouraged by those of you who have read and shared The Statement and also by those of you who have listened to our latest Podcast episode “S a f e  &  E f f e c t i v e?”! Since we know that so many others are battling the same m a n d a t e s, we wanted to offer some advice on the very best things to include in a religious e x e m p t i o n  so that you can continue to fight for freedom.

Our family has talked to and messaged with so many people recently who have no clue what to say in their e x e m p t i o n request, and I think that this will be just what you need to give you a great foundation to start with if you are wondering the same thing! I asked our mom, Michelle Hobbs, who has been a Family Nurse Practitioner for over twenty years to give us her best tips and pieces of advice.

This isn’t the first time she has had to fill one out, and I think she has some much-needed wisdom when it comes to this crucial problem we are all dealing with!

Advice regarding writing a letter to request religious e x e m p t i o n from the C O V I D vaxx and others. Note: Many intentional misspellings.

My first piece of advice is to keep your reasons for seeking a religious e x e m p t i o n personal. Concentrate on your personal relationship with God. Search the Scriptures and pray about your decision. State that you have done those very things, and the Lord has led you to your decision to decline the v a c c i n e. Do not try to argue doctrine or a specific denomination’s tenets. Do not argue “science”. For example, do not try to list statistics regarding v a c ci n a t e d people still contracting C O V I D or cite studies regarding the multitude of potential side effects and a d v e r s e reactions. While those things are absolutely true, they are not “religious” in nature and do not help your immediate cause. Stating something like, “I have prayerfully sought the Lord’s guidance regarding the C O V I D -1 9 v a c c I n a t i o n…” or “I have studied Scripture and found…” is much harder to deny than statistics and opinions.  Deuteronomy 8:6 tells us that we must observe the commands of the LORD my God, and walk in obedience to Him and revere Him. So, you must obey whatever the Lord has told you to do through prayer and scripture.

The primary issue with v a c c i n e s that should give all Christians pause is the use of aborted fetal tissue in their development and testing. The attenuated v i r u s es used to produce and test several v a c c i n e s  have been obtained from aborted fetuses or are cultivated on fetal tissue from an aborted baby.  A conflict arises because of our religious belief that all life is sacred. God’s commandment “Thou Shall Not Kill” applies to the practice of abortion. The acceptance of these v a c c i n e s promotes abortion and violates the Sixth Commandment of “Thou Shall Not Kill” (Exodus 20:13).  The Bible also teaches that children are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3), not objects that may be electively aborted and then used for scientific purposes.

Finally, you should investigate the ingredients of the v a c c i n e and pray about whether that is something that God would want you to inject into your body, which He has fearfully and wonderfully made. You might say something like, “As a follower of Jesus, I am to present my body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is my true and proper worship (Romans 12:1).” You see, our bodies do not belong to us but were created in the very image of God (Genesis 1:27) and then bought with the greatest price, Jesus’ death and resurrection. “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have of God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (I Corinthians 6:19-20). Specifically list some of the ingredients that you find unacceptable to inject.

If you have any questions or thoughts you can email us @ thefew.blog@gmail.com or leave a comment in the comment box below! Please share this and let people know that they have options. You are NOT alone in this!

Also, be sure to check out our Maskless Correspondent page for more content such as this!

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Has this post empowered you to say no?

HOW CAN MAN DIE BETTER?

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

Over Labor Day weekend, my family and I went on a camping trip, like we usually do for holiday weekends. However, this weekend seemed a little bit different than it usually did.

As many of you know, our family has been experiencing a lot of stress over the past couple of months. Our mom is facing a possible job loss for standing up against tyrannical mandates and our family has become more politically active than we ever have been. Our dad has been having some medical issues and is still having tests and things run. Lilly and I have been having our own struggles within friend groups, Bible studies, discipleship relationships, etc. and it feels like the problems just keep coming.

Even though we were on “vacation” for the holiday, it still seemed like we could not escape the stresses that continually haunt us in our everyday lives. That stress just continues to be present, no matter where we are.

Now, I am not writing this post in order to gain pity or sympathy, but to tell you that the stress we are feeling, is actually good.

On Monday evening, we were planning on sitting around the campfire, and hanging out outside, but unfortunately it started raining, so we had to go inside the camper. Most of the fam ended up just going to bed, but my dad and I decided to watch one of our favorite “comfort” movies. That movie is one about Winston Churchill called Darkest Hour. The whole movie is based around Churchill coming into his position as Prime Minister in the height of WWII, and specifically the issues he faces with getting most of the British army off the island of Dunkirk (I wrote a blog post all about Dunkirk, But If Not, if you would like to read more about it).

At Winston’s literal darkest hour, when his entire party and war cabinet has lost faith in him, when they are pushing him to surrender and seek peace with Hitler, he decides to seek the thoughts of the British people. The day that Operation Dynamo is initiated, Winston decides to ride the Underground and speak with some people who don’t have all the facts about their present, serious difficulties, and get some perspective on it all.

His whole entire railway car says the same thing; they will never surrender.

In this scene, Winston quotes an ancient poem and says, “Then out spake, brave Horatius, Captain of the Gate. To every man upon this earth death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his gods?”

This is probably my favorite quote in the whole entire movie, and literally brought tears to my eyes as I sat in my camper at 12:30am, the weight of all my stresses resting on my shoulders.

All of us have “stresses” that we face in life, but are your “stresses” the ones that matter? Are you stressing over the things that impact eternity, or just your petty little grievances with others?

I have become sick and tired of churchgoers acting like they are such martyrs for the faith when they stand up for a minor, frivolous argument in which they do not even act like Jesus. I hate to even think about how many of us will die thinking we have accomplished something important, that we have faced fearful odds. Only because you blew up at someone about something on Facebook and will then have to face the sad reality that you did not help someone grow closer to the Lord but rather made them run in the other direction.

I believe that the kind of stress you experience matters. Are you simply stressing over the juicy new gossip you just heard at school or work, or are you over here so stressed about the poor state of Christianity that you cannot help but be on your knees before the Lord?

If we look back on history, who is remembered? Those who dwelled on gossip and cower in their bubbles of self- righteousness and fake martyrdom? Or those who were worried about their fellow man and the causes for which they fought, and were concerned with more important things than cowardly self-preservation?

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”   (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Why are movies being made about Winston Churchill? Because he faced fearful odds, and he even did it alone.

It is time for all of us to start stressing about the right things, because most of us are going to come to the end of this life and see that all our actions are strung up in one long line of compliance.

Those who are remembered, who made a real impact on this world, so much so that we still talk about it today, all faced fearful odds.

What kind of odds are you really facing?

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you experience eternal stress?

= How do you usually respond to stress?

= What are you going to do differently?

HOW TO NOT BECOME NUMB WHILE THE CHURCH IS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Today is a great day. 100-150 precious lives will be saved today alone because of the new legislation that was just passed in Texas (look it up if you haven’t heard the news)! I would like to rejoice in that right now! That’s what happens when the Church gets involved in politics and does what God has commanded us to do. I truly believe that He will show us favor when we fight for righteousness.

In a world crammed with darkness, one that openly celebrates murder and despises purity, God is still working just as He did in the days of old and just as He will in the future. Now is not the time to lose sight of that.

I’m reminded of Zechariah 4:6 which says, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.”

I understand, our comfortable, casual Christianity that we buy into now encourages us to retreat when things get even a little heated, but we must stay in it!

It’s never been more convenient to become numb. The American Church is numb. Numb to the things God is speaking to our hearts, numb to the opportunities He places before us, numb to causes we should be fighting for.

You need not look any further than abortion to see that what I am telling you is true. We often retreat from these issues because we are numb to the things of God! We purposely choose to ignore the fact that innocent lives are being murdered because of the selfishness and lies that the enemy has infiltrated our culture with.

C.S. Lewis once said, “They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”

We cannot afford to let the world rule our emotions and our reactions. Refuse to let the world dominate your mind, ask God to do that instead. We must feel what God feels. As soon as we wake up in the morning and start our day, we should know what’s on God’s heart because of the intimate relationship we have with Him which comes through a radical obedience and love for Him.

He will put what’s on His heart on yours, but you better be ready to follow through if He wants to use you to do something about it, which is what we see all throughout Scripture. That’s what keeps you from becoming numb and ineffective.

If you feel what God feels, I promise that you will live most of your life outside of your “comfort zone”. It will be undeniable. Your choices will be different, and you will want to be on mission all the time, therefore, spending time with friends will look different, your prayer times will be powerful, the Word will come alive and move your heart, etc.

There is nothing that will satisfy your heart more than getting serious for Jesus.

Most people, however, have never experienced that before. They don’t know what it’s like to distinguish between good and evil, and to be guided by the Spirit. Most Christians probably shy away from sharing pro-life posts on social media nowadays because they are more concerned with the opinions of man than the commands of God.

Yes, the American Church is numb, but you don’t have to be. Feeling numb is merely a symptom of not living the way that we were made to. If you love Jesus and live for Him, numbness won’t be an issue of concern. There will certainly be highs and there will certainly be lows, but if you feel what God feels, you won’t miss a beat.

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”    (Galatians 5:24-25)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Have you been feeling numb lately?

= Do you feel what God feels?

= What are you going to do differently?

RISE UP

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

We live in a day and age where people get on social media, write up a quick post, and then drop it like a bomb into the world with no intention to defend their opinion with facts or to respectfully debate with someone on the matter. I think we have all seen this done, especially over the last year and a half.

We have almost lost the ability to intelligently and respectfully debate. Most people typically “walk away” from their post without taking a stand or making a legitimate point, because reality is, they can’t. Actions like these are quickly ruining my generation in various ways that I find extremely alarming.

Young people today are terrified to go against the grain of society and to take a stand for anything except for what they see others posting about on social media (because for most, that’s their world). Why is this?

Because the world no longer believes in fundamental truths, and if anyone raises an objection they are deemed “judgmental”, “unloving”, the list goes on. They are also afraid of being the only one. These two things fill young people with absolute fear and anxiety because they don’t know how to refute those opinion filled comments with facts and the truth.

Honestly, my generation hasn’t been taught how to talk to people, let alone stand up and fight for something noble.

So today, I’d like to speak specifically to teens and hopefully encourage them to refuse to be average, but I’m sure some of you adults reading may need to hear this as well.

One of my favorite verses is Ezra 10:4 which says, “Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.”

This is what I desperately wish I could tell every teenager. The matter is in your hands. We must fight to protect the unborn. We must learn about America’s founding and why it has been the most successful system of government ever known. We must learn how to read good books and apply them to our everyday lives. We must learn how to research a topic and defend our position with facts. We must realize that the government does not own us and that morality and the concept of trusting our neighbor is under attack.

It is indeed up to my generation to be God-fearing, educated, intelligent individuals or we will live our lives believing and falling for every lie the world chooses to tell us. Unfortunately, this is how most of the generation that came before us currently lives.

I want young people to know that despite what almost everyone else is screaming at you right now, it’s ok to love Jesus and live radically for Him. It’s ok to be different and say what no one else wants to say. Call evil out for what it is! It’s ok to fight for your country and for the things it stands for. Things such as liberty and independence. It’s ok to desire to be married and to raise kids out in the middle of nowhere to be the next leaders (and no, climbing the corporate ladder is not nearly as important as raising a family). It’s ok to be white, and you’re certainly not racist just because you are. It’s ok to be black, and you’re not lesser or unloved just because you are.  

Your voice is of great value, refuse to be silenced. Think for yourself and don’t quit when it becomes difficult.

1 Timothy 3:1-5 says, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

Read through each of those things again. Seem familiar? We are seeing that description being lived out in our very world right now, and I truly believe that we are in the last days.

I’m a 17-year-old girl who’s trying to rise up in a time where everyone else has sat down. I have to wonder if there isn’t another young person out there who will join me? To my generation: It’s time to take courage and do it. The matter is in our hands.

“Look at the nations and watch, and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”    (Habakkuk 1:5)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you terrified to go against the grain in the society we live in?

= What is stopping you from rising up and doing something?

= What are you going to do differently?

THE STATEMENT

(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

It has been a difficult three weeks for us here in the Hobbs household. My employer has m@nd@ted the experimental Co v id va cc in e, and I will likely lose my job as a Hospice Nurse Practitioner. A job (more like a calling and a ministry) that I have done for over 20 years and love dearly. We have also had a dear friend go home to Heaven. Afghanistan fell to the Taliban and our brothers and sisters in Christ are in grave danger. Mask m@nd@tes and va cc in es are threatening school children. The great aunt that we care for fell and was taken to the ER for stitches and had to be monitored for several days due to the concussion she sustained. A stray kitten has made its way to our home, and while it is very sweet, we cannot keep it. We have been trying to find it a good home.

Some of these things are definitely more significant than others, but my point is, we are all living in a stormy world right now. Many of you are facing va cc in e m@nd@tes and losing the jobs you love as well. Add in the everyday stresses of life and it is overwhelming. We are being tossed around and are feeling like we are going to sink! I want to remind you, friends, that when the hour seems darkest, Jesus will come to us and see us safely to shore just like He did for the disciples when the wind and waves threatened to overtake them in Mark 6.

We wanted to share with you the statement that I read to the leadership during a meeting at my place of employment. We wanted to offer it as a source of encouragement to those of you who are fighting this same battle. Let me assure you that you are not alone. Many thousands are joining forces across the country to stand up to this medic@l tyr@nny. I know it feels like a huge storm, and it feels like you will be overtaken by it. Oh friends, that is precisely where Jesus does His best work! When we can do nothing for ourselves, we must invite Him into the ship. We must also remember that He sees a bigger picture than we do. He sees well beyond this storm to what He intends the end result to be. He sees what the storm is supposed to accomplish in you and the world around you.

So, don’t lose heart! Stand for truth and speak that truth. Do not back down under the schemes of our enemy. Invite Jesus into the ship and be careful to keep your eyes focused on Him and His plan.

My Statement To Ohio’s Hospice Leadership… Note: Many Intentional Misspellings.

I sit writing this statement at 4:18 am on Saturday, July 31, 2021. I am awake at this hour because that is how concerned I am about your decision to m@nd@te the Experimental CO V ID – 1 9 Va cc in e. I am concerned for myself, but I am more concerned for my co-workers. You see, I will seek a Religious Exemption because, for me, the decision to not va cc ina te is a deeply spiritual issue. The Lord and I have wrestled with the question of va cc in at ion for over twelve years now. I am a member of a church, and my family is in ministry, so I have religious support for an exem ption. Some of my colleagues, on the other hand, have made their decision to not be va cc ina ted based on a personal, philosophical conviction (just as legitimate as my spiritual decision) and have shared with me that they are not members of a church that would provide documentation for a religious exem ption. What options do they have?

By m@nd@ting this va cc in e, you are putting us in a position in which we must choose to in ject ourselves with an experimental substance, that we have researched and deemed un safe for us, or lose our livelihood and the jobs that we dearly love.

Your email speaks of moral obligations to our patients, their families, and to each other. Please know that those of us who have chosen not to be va cc ina ted have not done so lightly. We realize our moral obligations and feel them quite keenly. Most of us have been in healthcare for twenty to thirty years. Some of us have spent most of those years in some type of Hospice or Palliative care. I have seen my co-workers go above and beyond their job descriptions by working extra hours, going to get a patient’s medicines and supplies when no one else would help them, using their own pick-up truck to move furniture for a patient, etc. We would never do anything to put our patients or co-workers in danger.

I would ask that you remember that your nurses and PCSs went straight into the thick of the CO V ID in fection last year, without a va cc in e, and at the beginning of the outbreak, without proper PPE. They lived up to those moral obligations, you speak of, in heroic fashion. But now, you force them to accept an experimental medical intervention, they have determined to be unsafe for them, against their will? Why do you not trust that we have done our research? We have studied the numbers. We have prayed. We have wrestled long and hard with this decision. We have not made it selfishly.

We have all seen the effects of CO V ID, some have suffered from the illness personally. We have also been seeing the devastation caused by side effects and ad ver se reactions to the va cc in e. That’s not such a popular topic in main stream media, but we have seen it firsthand in our patients, family members, friends, and co-workers. In fact, one of our co-workers is currently hos pitalized with possible transverse myelitis. When you look at the numbers published on the C D C’s and Ohio Dept. of Health’s very own websites, you will find the death rate from CO VI D, just yesterday (July 30, 2021), was 0.0175 and 0.0181 respectively. That is a death rate of less than 2%.

What is the rate of va cc in e injury? We will never know because the healthcare system refuses to report it. The VA ER S system, our means of reporting va cc in e injuries, captures somewhere between 1% and 10% of the damage done. As of 07/07/21 VA ER S had received 438,411 reports of adverse effects and 9,048 reports of death following the CO V I D -1 9 va cc in e administration. These numbers, following the CO VI D va cc in e, are higher than the reports received following any other va cc in e since the inception of VA ER S in 1990! Injuries reported include allergic reactions, Bell’s Palsy, Transverse Myelitis, Guillain-Barre, blood clots, cardiac conditions, etc… We most certainly do not have an accurate picture of va cc in e injury numbers, but I suspect it is higher than 2%. (That death rate could be lower if treated appropriately)

What is even more alarming than the reported injuries and deaths that we have so far, is the potential for Pathogenic Priming. Despite trying for decades, scientists have never been able to create a successful cor on av ir us va cc in e due to Pathogenic Priming. Va cc in e s for SARS – CoV -1 (about 78% identical to SA RS -Co V-2 ) repeatedly failed animal studies. The va cc in e, given to mice, cats, and ferrets, initially looked like it worked well, but the animals got very ill and died when later exposed to the virus in the wild. They died of sudden severe cytokine storm.

Scientists have done over 50 years of active research to develop a Dengue v a cc in e, but the experimental vac c in es failed when children, in the Philippines, were later exposed to the vir us in the wild and 600 children died (Arkin, F. 2019). Criminal charges were actually brought against those decision makers.

Here in the US, however, va cc in e manu facturers are not held liable for the injuries their va cc ine s cause under the National Childhood Va cc in e Injury Act of 1986. This does not instill great confidence in the big phar ma companies who will make millions off their va cc in es but are not going to pay a cent if they injure someone.

The email informing us of the va cc in e man date stated that, “hospitalizations and deaths related to CO VID -1 9 are increasing PREDOMINATELY in those who are not vac cin at ed against CO V ID -1 9.” I have read 25 articles this week regarding breakthrough infections in fully va cc in at ed people. For example, the C D C reported that 74% of the outbreak in Massachusetts were fully vac cin at ed (Mishra, 2021). An article, published by CNN Health in April 2021, stated that the CDC reported 5,800 fully va cc ina ted people caught CO V ID anyway (Tinker & Fox, 2021). The Associated Press reported that “va cc ina ted people carry as much virus as others” (Tanner et al., 2021).

Va cc in e manufacturers state their va cc in es are effective in preventing symptomatic disease. They do not claim to prevent the transmission of the vir us. In fact, just this week, the Director of the C D C has stated that fully va cc in at ed people are now known to be spreading the vi rus and must now wear masks once again (Perrett, 2021). It makes absolutely no sense to mandate an experimental va cc ine that does not stop the spread of the vir us!

I assume, given the new C D C guidance, that protocols for va cc in ated and un vac cin ated employees should remain the same; masking, testing, handwashing, etc… What is the advantage of being va cc inat ed if it does not prevent me from spreading the vir us to patients or co-workers and it does not change my approach to patient care?

Finally, the current CO VID – 1 9 va cc in es are classified under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA. They are not yet fully approved. It is prohibited to man date a va cc ine that has not been fully approved. The statute granting the FDA the power to authorize a medical product for emergency use requires that the person being administered the unapproved product be advised of his and her right to refuse administration of the product. See 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(e)(1)(A) (“Section 360bbb-3”) (Liberty Counsel, 2021). This right to avoid the imposition of human experimentation is fundamental and has its roots in the Nuremberg Code of 1947 and has been ratified by the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki, and further codified in the United States Code of Federal Regulations. The executive secretary of the CDC, Dr. Amanda Cohn, stated that under an EUA, va cc in es are not allowed to be mandatory (Liberty Counsel, 2021).

In healthcare, the guiding principle is “First, do no harm.” Man dat ing an experimental va cc in e that has not been adequately tested is potentially very harmful. We have no idea what the long-term side effects could be, and we have already discovered its failure in preventing transmission. Given these facts, I ask you, “What is your moral obligation to honor the choice of your employees who have deemed the Experimental CO VI D -1 9 va cc in es to be unsafe for them?”

In conclusion, I ask that you rescind this m@nd@te and recognize each employee’s right to choose for themselves whether or not to be va c cin at ed. A right granted to us by the statute cited above and in accordance with informed consent, the standard in healthcare.  

Thank you for meeting with us today and for hearing our concerns.

Sincerely,

Michelle Hobbs, RN, MS, APRN – CNP

References

Arkin, F. (2019, April 24). Dengue vaccine fiasco leads to criminal charges for researcher in the

Philippines. Retrieved August 01, 2021 from, https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/04/

Dengue-vaccine-fiasco-leads-criminal-charges-researcher-philippines

CDC COVID Data Tracker. (2021). Retrieved July 30, 2021, from https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data- tracker/#datatracker-home

Liberty Counsel. (2021, March 09). Experimental COVID Shots Cannot Be Mandated. Retrieved

August 01, 2021 from, https://www.lc.org/newsroom/details/03092021-experimental-covid-shots-cannot-be-

mandated-1

Loe Fisher, B. (2021, July 11). More Deaths Reported to VAERS Following COVID-19 Vaccines Than

For Any Other Vaccine. Retrieved from https://thevaccinereaction.org/2021/07/more-deaths-reported-to-vaers-

following-covid-19-vaccinations-than-for-any-other-vaccine/

Mishra, M. (2021, July 30). Most COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts outbreak among vaccinated, says

CDC. Retrieved August 2, 2021 from, https://news.yahoo.com/majority-covid-19-cases-large

-174034186.html

Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 Dashboard. (2021). Retrieved July 30, 2021, from

https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/dashboards

Perrett, C. (2021, July 31). CDC director says decision to recommend mask again weighed heavily on her.

Retrieved from https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/cdc-director-says-decision-to-recommend-masks-again-

weighed-heavily-on-her/ar-AAMMTOk

Tanner, L., Stobbe, M., & Marcelo, P. (2021, July 30). Study: Vaccinated people can carry as much virus

as other. Retrieved August 2, 2021, from https://apnews.com/article/science-health-coronavirus-pandemic-

d9504519a8ae081f785ca012b5ef84d1

Tinker, B. & Fox, M. (2021, April 15). So far, 5,800 fully vaccinated people have caught Covid anyway,

CDC says. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/14/health/breakthrough-infections-covid-vaccines-cdc/

LOVE JESUS, MAKE YOUR BED

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I start off every single day by making my bed. It is the first task I accomplish in the morning. Some of you already know this important detail of my life because you’ve listened to our “Love Jesus, Make Your Bed” Podcast episode, in which case I would like to applaud you for listening!

However, I want to re-visit this topic here on the Blog this week because I think that y’all will relate, and I know that many people, like myself, struggle with discipline.

When I decided that I would make my bed as soon as I got up every morning, I didn’t expect it to be much of a challenge. I mean, it only takes a minute to do, right? Well, I quickly found out that even a “small” task like making a bed really isn’t that simple.

An abundance of excuses, that truthfully are too embarrassing to mention, would surface in my mind when I would wake up. Ok, I’ll mention a couple… Perhaps one reason was that I wanted to wash my bedding later that day, or that I would wake Madie, or that I couldn’t make it perfectly every time so why try in the first place. Totally lame, but there was always an excuse for why I couldn’t do it that morning, or really any morning. I would then get frustrated and tell myself that I would start the next Monday (yes, I am one of “those” people).

This also seems to be the case for many of us in our relationship with Jesus, wouldn’t you agree?

Some of us have really great intentions to read our Bibles, serve at our Church, get connected with a small group, pray for those we’re around etc. However, there always seems to be an excuse (or multiple) for why we can’t check those things off of our to-do lists.

It’s easy to say you are going to accomplish something, but sometimes very difficult to actually get it done. Proverbs 14:23 says, “There is profit in all labor, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”

I know, very encouraging!

Yet, I told you in the beginning of this post that I do make my bed every single morning, which implies that I must have been able to move past the excuses that surfaced each morning when I started. This is true, but I was not successful in this area of my life until I became disciplined, took on the mind of Christ, and formed a radically different mindset about making my bed.

You see, I viewed making my bed as something I “had” to do instead of something I “wanted” to do. It was more like a chore to me than a task I could do with excellence.

I can’t help but believe that this is exactly what we do within Christianity as well. We have a ton of great intentions, but we look at the things of Christ as chores that we “have” to do because He told us to.

No wonder most people feel like they aren’t growing in their relationship with Jesus like they should be. If we truly love Him, then we will WANT to spend all the time we can with Him doing the things He has called us to!

Somehow, we manage to get to work and school on time. We manage to go out to dinner with friends, and get to all the sports practices the world has told us we need to be a part of.

My point is that if you truly love Jesus, you’ll make time for Him because you want more of Him. It’s not just something you have to do anymore. That’s the difference between relationship and religion.

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

Making my bed has become something I want to do because I get to do it unto the Lord. It’s a simple way I can thank Him for another day and opportunity to live wholeheartedly for Him, and for the physical ability to do so as well. My first task of the day is done unto Jesus, and I do it because I want to love Jesus well. What if this was our thought process about everything we do?

If you want to change the world, you need to do these two things… Love Jesus, and make your bed.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you functioning out of a relationship with Jesus or a religious checklist?

= What tasks can you do with excellence for Christ?

= What are you going to do differently?

A LIVING HOUSE

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

It’s a pretty easy life if you live the way the world wants you to, isn’t it? If you hustle every day, if you chase after that next job promotion, if you hang with the “cool kids” at school and do all the “cool” things they do, then the world seems to praise us and put us on this kind of pedestal. This thought process has infiltrated the American Church. We desperately want, and sometimes even expect the Christian lifestyle to be just as easy as a worldly one, and the result has been many converts but few disciples in the world today.

There is clearly a lie that has been passed around. People are being told that this “Jesus thing” might be a little difficult in the beginning, but that it will get easier. Christians don’t like to tell others that it’s going to be painful if they live like Jesus, but it’s absolutely unavoidable. Most of the time, they don’t want to or can’t share that it’s going to be painful because they aren’t living a life that costs them anything for Jesus’ sake themselves.

Which reminds me of a quote by Leonard Ravenhill who once said, “An experience of God that costs nothing does nothing.”

If we are leading people to believe that following Jesus is easy or convenient, then we are setting them up to fail in their walk with Jesus.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

For example, we like to talk about praying for a breakthrough like it’s a 1-2-3 process, but forget to mention that Jesus may have something to teach us in the waiting.

We like to tell people that they will see victory when they stop living in their sinful lifestyle, but avoid taking the time to equip them for the temptation they will likely face when they try to give it up.

We like to chat about denying ourselves and taking up our crosses daily, but choose to stay quiet when talking to a new believer about that command because we think it will certainly scare them.

The American Church has become complacent and comfortable and instead of preaching the Word of God, we have started preaching fluff that makes people feel good about where they are with Jesus. We enable people to live an easy worldly lifestyle while claiming to live a godly one.

Any way you slice it, it’s not legit.

Sports teams are fuller than ever, but try inviting people to get serious about Jesus, and you’ll have an empty room. I have learned, however, that Jesus can fill any empty room you invite Him in to, and He will bring the few who desire more of Him as well. We just have to be faithful, and if we want to be faithful, we cannot hide the painful and difficult parts of living completely sold out for Jesus.

In reality, we are like an empty, dark, windows broken, glass everywhere kind of room when we choose not to make room for Jesus. He won’t start the restoration process if we don’t allow Him to. Wouldn’t it be something, though, if He didn’t care much about just how broken you are? Wouldn’t it be something if He didn’t care much about the questions that keep you up at night? Wouldn’t it be something if He didn’t care much that you have really screwed it up before and that you feel like a window that has shattered in a million pieces?

Wouldn’t it be something if what Jesus really wanted was you?

I want to invite you to give your all to Him, but please know that it will be the most challenging thing you will ever choose to do. However, it’s also the most rewarding thing. Love Jesus, and let it happen. He will take care of the restoration process, and just remember that when it hurts, He’s doing a new thing in you that won’t just make an impact in your life, but other’s lives as well.

C.S. Lewis once said, “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

So, my question is this… Do you want to become a living house for Jesus today?

“I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”  (Isaiah 46:4)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are your initial thoughts after reading this post?

= Are you willing to be changed?

= What are you going to do differently?