OUR DEATH-DEFYING HERO

(Post by: Michelle Hobbs) Blogmas Day Three

As our family has been gearing up for the Advent season and preparing our hearts for writing these Blogmas posts, I have to admit I have struggled with what to say. I have been distracted and stressed with all the usual hubbub of this time of year, but my mind has consistently kept coming back to the phrase “Death-Defying Hero”.

Our culture loves a good hero tale or movie, and there has been no shortage of them these days. Hero stories are great. They always start with a group of people who are oppressed by some sort of evil. There are usually tellings of ancestors’ stories promising someone will come along one day to deliver the oppressed. Then we finally meet the hero and get to root for him as he goes to battle with his opponent.

However, I have noticed the heroes of today can often be found lacking. In regard to morals or methods, today’s heroes are not much better than the bad guys they face off against. Not really someone I want my kids looking up to or someone I aspire to be.

Fortunately, we do have the ultimate Death-Defying Hero to emulate. I would like to remind us of just who it is we should be celebrating at Christmas.

Jesus, the Messiah, came to fulfill the long-foretold prophecies of the Old Testament that a Savior would one day appear to save Israel, and ultimately all of us, from the grip of Satan and death. Since the original sin of Adam and Eve, humankind had been slaves to their sin and separated from God because of it. God, in His great mercy, had a plan to restore humankind to Himself and give man dominion over earth once again. That plan was Jesus.

Scholars differ in their opinions regarding how many prophecies there are that were fulfilled by Jesus, generally ranging from about 200 to 400. Here are just a few:

  • He would be human, born of a virgin.
  • He would reconcile people to God.
  • He would crush evil at his own expense.
  • He would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as well as David.
  • He would appear after the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the Babylonian destruction and before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem.
  • He would be born in Bethlehem.
  • He would be called Immanuel, God with us.
  • A messenger would prepare the way of the Lord.
  • He would appear in Galilee and be a light to the gentiles.
  • He would perform miracles and teach in parables.
  • He would be humble and meek.
  • He would be called Son of God.
  • He would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey.
  • He would be rejected, betrayed, and despised. Hated without reason. Forsaken.
  • He would be silent before His accusers.
  • He would be mocked, beaten, spat upon, stripped. Lots would be cast for His clothing.
  • He would die and His death was described. He would be lifted up and His hands and feet would be pierced. His suffering would include thirst. No bones would be broken.
  • He would suffer and die for the sins of others.

But His death was not the end! Although He was buried in a tomb, Jesus would not see decay. He rose again on the third day; defying death and bringing salvation to all who believe in Him and accept Him as their Lord.

The simple Gospel really is such good news, friends! Through Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice, He made a way for you and me to defy death also!

Madie’s post from yesterday brought the story of Aslan in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe back to mind. In the scene that she described, the hero, Aslan, has risen from the dead and has broken the stone table, which represented death. My favorite few lines follow the scene she described. Aslan says:

““Oh, children, I feel my strength coming back to me. Oh, children, catch me if you can!” He stood for a second, his eyes very bright, his limbs quivering, lashing himself with his tail. Then he made a leap high over their heads and landed on the other side of the Table. Laughing, though she did not know why, Lucy scrambled over it to reach him.”

Did you catch it, friends? Not only did Aslan leap over the Table, representing death, but Lucy scrambled over it too! This is what our death-defying hero has done for you and for me. He has made a way for us to scramble over death and get to Him, never to be separated from God; to have everlasting life! Hallelujah and Amen!

My prayer for you and me this Advent season and Christmas is that we would stay focused on celebrating our death-defying hero, Jesus. He is truly the reason for the season; nothing else really matters.

BEHOLD THE MAN

(Post by: Madie Hobbs) Blogmas Day Two

Throughout this year, the Lord has truly been using sorrow and suffering to shape me.

Half of me wishes this was not so, for no matter how many times I tell myself I will get through the suffering, it makes it hardly more bearable. The other half of me is thankful for the sorrow and suffering. These two emotions often have been the most potent and powerful in my life, and no matter how much I may like to deny it, it is the way the Lord can most often get my attention.

I have frequently wondered why this is and have asked God to show me His reasons (as if I could ever comprehend them completely), and I think He is finally beginning to interpret some of His divine plan to me.

Something the Lord has shown me this year is that a true Christian is built through suffering. Most often, through suffering for others. He has shown me that suffering is the cornerstone of our faith, and we need to stop expecting Christianity to be quite so easy.

To expect, and live out, a soft Christianity is actually to rob the gospel of much of its power.

Let me give you an example of this that I think is quite profound.

In John 19, we are given a glimpse into an exchange between Pontius Pilate and the Jewish people after he has just interrogated and humiliated Jesus. Listen to this passage.

“Pilate went outside again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing Him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against Him.” So Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”” (John 19:4-5 ESV)

One of the primary things John highlights in his gospel is the contrast between the First Adam and the Last Adam (Jesus). This is an unbelievably important theme, and something that is highlighted so poetically in these verses.

You see, when Pilate says, “Behold the man,” he is actually closing the Genesis story. Through this, John is beautifully saying to us, his audience, ‘here I have the Last Adam. Now let’s finish this Genesis story. Behold the man, sent to change the course of history.’

With this simple statement, we also get to see the purest, most divine image of humanity we could ever imagine. We are shown what true humanity, in its most perfect form, looks like.

It embodies sorrow. Humiliation. Betrayal. Rejection. But most importantly, the willingness to suffer and lay down one’s life for another.

Behold the man. Who came as a baby in a manger for the sole purpose of suffering for His lost people.

Now, take courage, dear heart, for suffering is no longer meant to produce only misery. Because Christ has assumed human suffering, that means we can also be confident that He has healed and restored it to its most divine form.

Many of you, I am sure, know that in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis, Aslan, the great Lion, lays down his own life in the stead of Edmund Pevensie. A boy who has betrayed his family and the country he is rightfully meant to rule over as king. Because Lewis directly mirrors the crucifixion and resurrection in his book, like Jesus, Aslan also rises from the dead after he is brutally killed.

I would like all of us to read this beautiful exchange between Aslan, Susan, and Lucy, and absorb the absolute comfort and reassurance regarding suffering in this passage.

“But what does it all mean?” asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.

“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.”

This passage is so beautiful to me because it illustrates to us that darkness and suffering are both actually quite necessary to the Christian life. If we simply ignore the pain and suffering, and we do not look into the stillness and darkness, we can never know the true power of our tribulations. Because to suffer is to walk in the footsteps of the Man for whom we celebrate Christmas.

If you’re anything like me, you may be looking back at your year, and asking the Lord why all that suffering was necessary. That’s good. Keep doing that. He will answer you. Know that all the sorrow and suffering was not futile.

Because once we “Behold the man,” and see that to suffer is to be human, even Death itself will begin to work backward.

ATTENDING WELL TO WHAT MATTERS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Friends, today is the first day of the last month in 2022! 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 have seen so much darkness, loss, and pain this year, and I simply cannot express how much my heart has been yearning for this time. Not because of the pretty Christmas trees and lights, or even the parties or presents that do indeed usher a bit of hope into our hearts, but because of the One whose coming we join with all the Heavenly hosts to celebrate.

This, my friends, is a month people like you and like me choose to immerse ourselves in because it is rich with beauty, goodness, and love. Things which we find lacking in this world but abounding in Christ.

What the Lord has been laying on my heart this day is to attend well to what matters. I pray we share this common desire.

Truth be told, some of us have neglected the things that matter for much longer than we’d like to admit. Perhaps it has been days, months, or even years that we have embraced things that may be important, while neglecting the very things which are of upmost importance. Things such as the preparation of our souls for eternity, meaningful fellowship around a dining table that has hosted many cheerful gatherings, and the priceless gift of our time and spiritual gifts to serve the widows and orphans.

Last year, on day one of Blogmas, I shared with you how 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.

Though these people are always on my heart and mind, they are at the forefront at this time of year. If you are one of those people, I would like to formally invite you to join me, and so many others who want to learn how to attend to the things that matter more than anything else.

It is a journey, but is there any other journey more fulfilling than this one?

The attending process begins when we sort through the things that distract us, and intentionally do away with them as best we can with Jesus’ help. We must make room in our hearts for the light when darkness attempts to fill it daily. May we prepare Him room.

Remember, this is only day one.

NOTE: Our family and friends are thrilled to 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 you don’t miss anything we publish for Blogmas! 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!

ARE YOU READY? PART TWO

(Post by: Scott Hobbs)

The question we ended our last visit with was “Are you ready?” 

Are you ready to head off into eternity should that moment come for you today?  Just in case you are wondering, if you believe scripture, it is a 100% certainty that this short, earthly life will end for each of us.  We will all make the transition into eternity.  Which eternal destination is up to you.  I strongly recommend the Jesus route.

But this is what has been rolling around of late in my, saved by a miracle, head.  Assuming we are ready for eternity because we have followed Jesus, He has saved us from our sin, and we have the confidence of Heaven; then there is a second question to ponder.  Are we ready to live like we have made that decision?  

Whether you ever have that close call that reminds you of how quickly this earthly life can be ended; or go through a long health battle with an ugly disease; or you just deal with the trials our fallen world brings; you must be ready to live for Jesus if you have accepted Him as savior.

I think too often in Christendom we just want our get out of jail free card.  Our salvation card if you will.  We think we can say, “Sure.  I’m ready if I get hit by a bus tomorrow or get diagnosed with cancer.  But until then, I will just keep my free pass tucked away and live like I want to live.”  Can I just tell you; that is not how it works.  How do I know?  Check out these verses.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive our demons and perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from me, you evil doers!’

Luke 6:46, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”  

The older I get, and the more experiences I have with Jesus, the more I think that He was pretty serious in these verses.  We are not called to just accept this free gift of salvation and then go on living like Hell, the world, our unsaved friends; whatever thought the Holy Spirit just put in your mind.  

This Jesus thing should change us.

It shouldn’t take getting your head almost smashed to put you on the right track; however it often helps.  When we give our lives to Jesus it’s not just so we can say we are ready if that happens, but it’s suppose to be all in, life change.  Now you’re wondering what does that look like.  Here are some thoughts:

• Treat your waitress poorly because she forgot your refill?  

NO; ask if you can pray for her, tip her well, look totally different than 90% of her customers.

• Run up behind the dude that pulled out in front of you and act like a fool when he looks in his mirror?

NO; just slow down and assume he didn’t see you or is going to pick up his sick kid at school.

• Get mad at my spouse for not doing all the things I think he or she should know I want them to do after all these years.  

NO; love them like Jesus tells me to and like He loves me and you.  Bless them every chance you get and deal with all our own selfish issues.

• Quit your job and be a missionary?  

NO (unless you’re sure God tells you to); you have to be a missionary at the job God has already given you.  Pray for your co-worker, right there at the machine or your desk, when he tells you his kid is sick.

Are you with me yet?  Most of this stuff is hard and completely counter-cultural.  That’s why it matters so much.  God lays it all out for us in this guidebook for life He calls the Bible.  Once we accept Jesus as our savior it should be our life goal to live for Him in recognition and praise for what He has done for us.  Not because He makes us like some dictator from above; but because our hearts are now turned to Him and we just can’t help it.  Praise Jesus!!!

So, I’m praying you have said yes to the first question, to Jesus, and are ready to meet Him; whatever the timing or circumstance.  And if you have, that leads us back to our second question. 

Are you ready to live for Him?

SO, WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are you going to do differently?

A QUIET REVOLUTION

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

Prior to visiting Williamsburg, Virginia, I did not know much about the historical figure of James Madison. I knew, of course, he was our fourth president, and he wrote some of the federalist papers, but besides that, he was a mystery to me.  

The Colonial Williamsburg foundation puts on interesting shows for people who are visiting, which is explained briefly in my last blog post, and one of the figures my family and I were able to see was James Madison. When I tell you his presentation was wonderful, I use the word to its very fullest extent.  

He discussed in great detail his education, the great philosophers he learned from, the boarding school he attended, and the way these things shaped his entire life. He was a very quiet man, and not entirely sociable, which made him rather endearing to me, as I can relate with his personality.  

You would think, however, that possessing these qualities would not make him inclined towards politics, and he admitted as much in his presentation. He claimed that he was quiet, and sometimes harsh, and was not particularly interested in making a name for himself that would go down in history. This was another point on which I could relate with him.  

Over the course of my life, I wouldn’t say that I have been uninterested in making a mark that would be remembered in history, but much of my time has been spent behind the scenes, and I have been primarily content with this. I have lived in quiet solitude for most of my sixteen years of life, and I must say I have grown quite fond of it.  

Not many of you know this, but over the past year or so, I have taken up writing. I’ve worked on writing a few of my own novels and am hoping to possibly pursue a career in writing fiction. James Madison was also a passionate writer and spent a good deal of his presentation discussing this passion and how it was the reason he did such great things.  

He said one specific thing in his talk that I have committed to memory, and which has been an inspiration to me ever since I heard it. He spoke so eloquently of the revolution he was truly fighting as our nation became independent and called it a “paper revolution”. He spoke from the depths of his heart regarding the eternity of the written word, and how writing has the power to change all our lives.  

The one specific thing he said was this…  

“Is not the Revolution we find ourselves engaged in one that will outlive all of us? One where quiet people sit, in quiet moments, and with pen and paper quietly put forth ideas that thunder through the world. Is not this a Revolution worth dying for?”  

I’m sure this quote will not have quite as profound an impact on some of you as it did on me, but may I just say that these are some of the most beautiful, elegant, and radically inspiring words I have ever before heard.  

You see, at the end of his presentation, he left me with a desire to be a Founder in my own time. To be someone who quietly thunders through the pages of history and is ultimately a vessel the Lord uses to turn the tides of Good and Evil.  

That day, the Lord impressed upon my heart one simple thing: Sometimes, I call quiet people to do loud things, even when they don’t think they can. 

I know, dear reader, especially if you are quiet and deeply feeling like me, that may sound like the most difficult thing God could ever call you to do. It quite possibly sounds downright terrifying to some of us. But may I just encourage you today that what you do with your quietness could echo through the tides of history and make a profound impact on the Kingdom of Heaven.  

I truly believe the Lord does some of His best work in the people who utter as few words as possible. Who are perfectly content living in the shadows and assisting others in their climb to the stars. Who are equipped with humility and passion. We have seen God use these character descriptions over and over again throughout scripture.  

The primary thing that matters is what you choose to do with your quiet personality in your quiet moments.  

“But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (I Peter 3:4 ESV).  

Do not allow your quiet personality to hinder you from doing the powerful things the Lord calls you to. But go on boldly, more boldly, in making your mark for the Kingdom of Heaven. Allow God to do His best work in you, and hand your passions over to Him, so they may be used to their fullest extent.  

This is how we begin a quiet Revolution.  

“If something burns your soul with passion and desire, it is your duty to be reduced to ashes by it. Any other form of existence would be yet another dull book in the library of life.”
~ Charles Bukowski  

SO, WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What do you do with your quiet moments?

= How do you want to be remembered in history?

= What are you going to do differently?

NOVEMBER

A Poem By: Esther M. Clark

Summer was made for the wandering heart,
The changing beauty and wonderment
In the long, gray stretches of open road
With only the sky for a wayside tent.
Meadowlarks singing beyond the hedge,
Grass with the shimmer of dew still wet;
A noon day rest by the water’s edge
Summer was marvelous sweet; and yet:

November days and a bright wood fire;
A hearth and a home and the Heart’s Desire.

Summer was kind to the wayfaring one,
Luring and beckoning, on and on,
Through new and untraveled, unweary ways
From dawn till night and from night till dawn.
Orchard and field in a veil of rain,
Blossoming beauty on every bough;
What more could the heart of a man contain?
Summer was wondrously kind; but now:

November nights and the open fire;
A hearth and a home and the Heart’s Desire.

WHAT HEAVEN DESIRES AND HELL FEARS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I have felt a bit stuck in my writing lately. Do you know what I do in times such as those? I begin a book by C. S. Lewis.

What else would be more appropriate?

Just a few days ago, I finished his book titled, “The Weight of Glory” (if you have read it, please let me know in the comment section). This was my first time reading it, and it is most certainly a book I will reach for again.

One of my most favorite quotes by Lewis is found on the last page of “The Weight of Glory”, and I would like nothing more than to turn our attention to it today.

He says, “What matters, what Heaven desires and Hell fears, is precisely that further step, out of our depth, out of our own control” (Lewis, 1980).

Please forgive me if you think I am asking to simple a question, friend, but do you believe this statement to be true?

Lewis goes on to say, “I do not think any efforts of my own will can end once and for all this craving for limited liabilities, this fatal reservation. Only God can. I have good faith and hope He will. Of course, I don’t mean that I can therefore, as they say, “sit back.” What God does for us, He does in us. The process of doing it will appear to me (and not falsely) to be the daily or hourly repeated exercises of my own will in renouncing this attitude, especially each morning, for it grows all over me like a new shell each night” (Lewis, 1980).

I believe this is what scares humanity most about Christianity. The fact that it requires us to surrender, to renounce our own attitude of reservation, not just daily, but at times hourly.

What exactly are we surrendering when we surrender? It is nothing other than our own control.

This, he says, is what Heaven desires and Hell fears.

Oswald Chambers once said, “If I do not put to death the things in me which are not of God, they will put to death the things that are of God.”

Deciding to take that further step each hour can sometimes feel as if we were stepping off the edge of a cliff, but is this not what we were made for?

God has nothing to offer us except Himself, and that He does. Will we not have Him? Do we not long, with every fiber of our being, to just take hold of Him?

The shell Lewis talks about is what I am going to call the “shell of self”. Oh, what a terrible, miserable thing it is. He alludes to the fact that it grows over us anew each night. Our first thought in the morning when we arise should be how great and wondrous our precious Savior is, and the second should be how we can get out of the “shell of self”.

Often, our desire for control overrides our desire to surrender, which results in us getting stuck in a cycle of self-sourcing. This is not true Christianity.

True Christianity is not just the act of a mere decision.  For just a decision does not ultimately transform our lifestyle. It is the cross of Christ, the repentance of sins, and the daily, sometimes hourly surrender of our own control to the Lordship of Christ, that changes us.

This is true Christianity, and this is precisely what Heaven desires and Hell fears.

“We may never, this side of death, drive the invader out of our territory, but we must be in the Resistance, not in the Vichy government. And this, so far as I can yet see, must be begun again every day. Our morning prayer should be that in the Imitation: Da hodie perfecte incipere – grant me to make an unflawed beginning today, for I have done nothing yet” (Lewis, 1980).

References

Lewis, C. S. (1980). The Weight of Glory. Harper One.

A MAN IN A MILLION

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

Over the past few days, I have begun and nearly finished reading, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, by Harper Lee. As you all know, I can very rarely read something and not write a blog post about it.  

To Kill a Mockingbird”, is a classic novel which, unsurprisingly, has come under much scrutiny from those who wish to see our world spiral into utter chaos and destruction. The book is centered around the Finch family, consisting of Atticus, a lawyer in the small town of Maycomb, and his two children, Jem, and Scout (more formally, Jean Louise). Atticus makes the rather unorthodox decision to defend a black man who has been wrongfully accused of raping a young white woman. Mr. Finch and his children experience a great deal of persecution and betrayal because Atticus has decided to do this. Now, the book is set primarily in the year of 1935, a time in history when black and white people were distinctly separated, and when a white man would never dream of even trying to defend a black man in court.  

Scout, Atticus’s eight-year-old daughter, does not take kindly to the slurs directed at her family and her father’s client, and gets into more than one fight because of them. Over the course of the story, Atticus encourages her on many occasions not to take the comments personally, and to always remember that the people of Maycomb are their friends, no matter what may happen concerning the trial.   

The first time Atticus told her these things, I was instantly reminded of the many different occasions in my life where I have had similar conversations with my father. He would never want me to say this, but he is so similar to Atticus Finch, I sometimes feel as though I am reading about him directly. I, no matter how much I may like to deny it, am extremely similar to Scout, and have on more than one occasion become equally as irritated with people as she does throughout the book.  

During my mere sixteen years of life, I have witnessed people lose their heads about the silliest, most un-Christian of things, and proceed to blame my family when the ship begins to sink because of their poor decisions. This blog post is not intended to shame anyone, or lead anyone to believe my family is anywhere near perfect. I can assure you we most certainly are not. Just bear with me as I continue.  

I believe Atticus is one of the greatest fictional men out of all the literature I have read, and he has provoked a great deal of conviction in my own heart. I have often struggled with feeling utterly disgruntled toward people who refuse to do the right thing merely because it will not benefit them; because it is not in their own self-interest. Atticus, if he were real, would be a man in a million. He was willing to sacrifice his good reputation, suffer physical harm, and listen to people publicly humiliate him and his children, simply to do the right thing, even though he knew it may not make much difference.  

Many of you know we were in Williamsburg a couple of weeks ago for a family vacation, and something they do there are short productions where you get to “see” and interact with a Founding Father. One of the Founders we were able to see was Thomas Jefferson. Once he finished his presentation, he allowed the audience to ask questions. A question he was asked was, “How do you reconcile owning slaves and, in the initial draft of the Constitution, calling for the complete outlaw of slavery?” He paused for a few seconds, thought about the question, and proceeded to tell the audience that he meant, whole-heartedly, what he proposed in the Constitution. That he would have freed every one of his slaves had his proposal been accepted. Unfortunately, it was not, and slavery remained legal for many years after.

He then posed a question to his audience, and it is one I have been pondering most of my life. He asked, “How do you get a group of men to do something that is not in their interest? That, though it is right, will not benefit them, and will in fact make their lives more difficult?”  

It saddens me greatly to see weak men be brought under the yoke of self-service and merely float along with the tides of others. It makes me physically sick to see men protect themselves, instead of seek justice, no matter what it may cost.  

Men like Atticus Finch and my father really are one in a million, and that is why I believe history is one long tragedy. A long story of one strong man being beaten down and ground into the dust because of a multitude of weak ones.  

This is why people like Scout and I become disgruntled and angry. Because while we have had the great privilege of living with the strong man, we have had the disheartening burden of watching him fight against the seemingly never-ending tide of weakness.  

However, this is the kind of story our very faith is built on. It is built on the life of a man sent down from Heaven to be one in a million, and to bear the weight of our weakness, so that we may eventually learn to rely on his unending strength. Through this story, we have been promised that one day what is right will prevail, and that is an encouraging thought.  

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it (2 Timothy 3:12-14 ESV).  

The Lord has used my father, and Atticus Finch, to teach me that just because what is right may often earn you the hatred of lesser men, and may cost you everything you hold dear, it does not make it any less valuable.  

The only answer I have ever found to the question Mr. Jefferson asked is that in order for men to do the right thing, even if it is difficult, they must be overcome with the power of Jesus. They must admit to themselves that they are utterly helpless in their own power, and the only way they will ever be capable of standing for something, is if they fall completely into the power and presence of our Almighty God.  

This week, I hope you are willing to lay your life before the Lord, and let him guide you toward what is good, true, and beautiful. That you are willing to give up whatever you value to pursue His truth and justice. 

I pray you are willing to be one in a million. 

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he falls, at least falls while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”  

– Theodore Roosevelt, The Man in the Arena 

HOW TO NOT BECOME NUMB WHILE THE CHURCH IS

(Re-published Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I truly believe that the Lord will show us favor when we fight for righteousness. Do you?

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 bold, Biblical 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?

A COMMON CAUSE

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

This past week, my family and I packed our camper up and headed to Williamsburg, VA. Williamsburg was the very first place I fell in love with in a book, so when my parents asked what I wanted to do to celebrate graduating High School, I knew a family road trip was on the horizon.

If you’ve been around for some time, then you know where I (as well as my family) stand politically. We don’t do a very good job of keeping it a secret, ha! American history is undoubtedly a passion of mine, and as a young person/new college student, that passion is being tested and refined daily.

Prior to our trip to Williamsburg, I had been feeling very defeated when it comes to the ongoing fight for freedom that we find ourselves in today. For a couple years I had been hoping and dreaming about going to a particular Bible College I had researched and quite honestly thought was the perfect fit for me. I would be able to graduate debt free (a huge goal and conviction of mine), study online while continuing to do ministry here at The Few and receive the degree I felt the Lord leading me towards.

I was accepted earlier this year, and was beyond excited to begin my college adventure. My first semester began in August (of this year), and I was completely shocked, taken aback if you will, by the required reading material and foundational beliefs of the school.

Like many others, the school is woke. I am not exaggerating when I say this discovery was like one of my worst nightmares was taking place in real life. I am sure there are some that would think that is over-dramatic of me to say, and it’s fine if you are one of them.

However, the things they believe and are teaching their students was enough to make me leave the school. Now, why am I sharing this with you?

Young people all across America, in private schools and public ones, and on almost every college campus in between, are being taught to hold their country in contempt. We’re being told that our Nation’s past is full of nothing but darkness and hatred, and that we are all inherently racist.

This is exactly what I was being taught at a Bible College, and would have been taught for the next four years if I would have chosen to stay.

Hear me when I say there are very few things (abortion being one of them) that are more anti-Biblical than social justice and wokeness.

Many Christians are openly accepting the idea that we are inherently racist. However, to say this is also to say that it is a sin the blood of Christ could never wash away because it is inherent. Are we willing to believe that lie?

In order to make people hate America, you have to make America hate-able. This is exactly what the Left does day in and day out. Why is this their aim? Because America was founded upon Biblical principles that have guided us for the last 230+ years.

They know it is especially difficult to fight for a common cause when you don’t have a common identity.

This is why they constantly remind us of our failings in the past, such as the slave trade, Jim Crow, etc. It is completely intentional. They want us to believe that America is worth destroying, and one of the most important places they occupy and change minds is in the classroom.

Why else would we leave the borders open, allow cities to be burnt to the ground, and let evil people tear down our statues that stir up feelings of American exceptionalism as they very well should?

They refuse to acknowledge that we have overcome more than any other Nation in history, in such a condensed period of time.

Did you know we were one of the first countries to outlaw slavery, and not long after that we put our Navy ships on the shores of the Americas and the mid-Atlantic in order to capture slave ships. From 1820-1861 (41 years) over 100 suspected slave ships were caught. Unfortunately, anti-American revisionism forgets that America’s record of anti-slavery is exceptional compared to the rest of the world.

In fact, America was the first to elect an African American into office in 1641. The first British African elected in Great Britain was in 1987, and the first Russian African elected in Russia was 2010 (Wallbuilders).

We have forgotten that slavery, both globally and in America, was never simply white on black. Just as every people group has owned slaves, and prior to the 1700s, there were more white slaves globally than there were black slaves (America’s Exceptional History, 2020). We do people a great disservice by teaching them to hold their country in contempt and view it, as well as themselves, as racist.

It is saddening to me that many authors and leaders today are trying to convince Americans that being American is the problem. This is not to say that America does not have a past, or has messed things up in certain areas, but I firmly believe we should not allow people who believe we are the root of the problem wipe away our American culture that was built upon solid, Biblical principles.

Needless to say, our time in Williamsburg reminded me once again, how important our beloved America is. Whether we are young or old, let us learn our history, and be proud to bear the title, “American”.

“Our cause we leave to Heaven and our rifles.”  (The Hanover Resolves 1774)

References

America’s Exceptional History of Anti-Slavery. (2020, January 18). Retrieved on October 10, 2021, from

MEET HIM AT THE HELM

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you run into the arms of Jesus this week? I don’t know what’s been weighing on your heart, what burdens you might be carrying, or if you’re just tired of rolling with the punches of life, but the one thing I do know is this… Jesus isn’t far from you.

I read this quote by one of my favorite old, seasoned preachers the other day. You certainly know of him if you’ve been around here even just for a few weeks. Spurgeon once said, “My heart, run to Him afresh tonight, whatever your present grief may be. Jesus feels for you; Jesus consoles you; Jesus will help you.” 

How comforting are these truths today, my friend? Jesus feels for you. Jesus consoles you. Jesus WILL help you.

My prayer list this week has been a bit daunting, a bit overwhelming. I continue to pray these big, bold prayers for those who are facing insurmountable odds and unforeseen circumstances, and I struggle to even find the words to intercede for them.

I was brought back to the book of James. James begins his letter to the twelve tribes dispersed abroad with an unanticipated focus. Following his greeting, James states that they will surely endure challenges as Believers. He explains that these challenges will result in greater maturity if they are willing to “consider it all joy” (1:2).

This leads into James 1:5-8 in which he challenges them to ask the Lord for wisdom. When he states, “If any of you lack wisdom,” he is not proposing that most of them have it together in such a way that they have no need of wisdom while a couple of them do not. I believe he is pointing out the fact that we all lack wisdom when we face difficult trials. The problem comes when we don’t immediately recognize our desperate need for God’s wisdom. So, the “wisdom” James is talking about refers to the wisdom each of us need to endure trials with God’s joy. Only then will we be “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (1:4). 

To come to God, in the midst of tragedy and trial, we must humble ourselves and admit that we alone do not know what we need to know in order to live joyfully in the face of hardship.

I think we could all agree that it is certainly much easier to steer a boat in calm seas, and it’s a completely different matter to steer it in seventy mile-per-hour winds with forty-foot waves. In fact, any ordinary chap can steer the boat on a clear, sunny day, can’t he? However, it takes a true helmsman when conditions are less than perfect.

The good news is that Jesus is a true helmsman. He doesn’t ask us to figure life out on our own or to “fix” all the daily problems we encounter without His help. No, not at all.

I once heard Stephen Manley say, “Christianity is not just all of Jesus and none of me, or all of me and none of Him. It’s all of Him and all of me. We merge!”

Sure, Jesus wants us to surrender the helm to Him knowing He will do a much better job than we ever could, but He still wants us along for the adventure.

The seas may be rough, they may be tiring. However, Jesus WILL help you.

Even if all you can say is “Jesus”, that name in and of itself is more than enough. There’s no need to utter another word.

Run to Him afresh. Meet Him at the helm.

I’m standing at your door
My heart is calling yours
Come fall into My arms
You’re weary from it all
Been running for too long
I’m here to bring you home

I’m reaching out, I’ll chase you down
I dare you to believe how much I love you now
Don’t be afraid, I am your strength
We’ll be walking on the water, dancing on the waves

(Dancing On The Waves – We The Kingdom)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Why is it crucial to look to God for wisdom, rather than trusting our own feelings?

= What are you going to do differently?

TO ONE STATE OR THE OTHER

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Perhaps the most critical part of evaluating a worldview is considering the competence of its answer on death.

According to the atheist, life comes from cosmic slime; from non-life through evolution (Lindsley, 2003). This world is it; there is nothing after.

Sadly, this is what many believe today. Hence why people are searching for purpose, truth, and meaning. Their worldview offers them nothing except for the ability to state that they believe “something”, which they ultimately allow to define them.

They try to find purpose in being an atheist, just as we truly find purpose (and so much more) in being a Christian. They are not evil; they have simply chosen poorly.

However, if life does come from cosmic slime, this would mean that our origin is out of death, and since there is no life after death, our destiny is death. This destiny warrants the question – what then is the point of life?

Life would be a mere chance, and dare I say interruption, in the midst of cosmic death.

For the Believer, however, God is Creator. We are given the gift of life from Him, and our destiny in Christ is eternal life. Death is merely a very temporary interruption in the midst of cosmic life.

This makes all the difference, though.

C.S. Lewis once said, “Every time you make a choice, you are turning the central part of you, the part that chooses, into something a little different from what was before…you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature…to be one kind of creature is heaven; that is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to one state or the other.”

With every day that passes, we are becoming what we will be. So, I ask you, what will you be in the end? What will it take for you to come to the realization that the central part of you, that is becoming either a heavenly creature or a hellish creature, is all you will be left with in eternity?

The answer to the question, “Does life exist after death?”, lies solely in our belief in the credibility of Christ and His resurrection from the dead.

If Christ is not raised, then as the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15, our faith is futile. We are still in our sins, and we might as well eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.

If Christ be not resurrected, nothing in this world, not even our souls, hold an ounce of significance.

According to Lindsley (2003), we must conclude that: 1. Christ was either lying when He told us about eternal life and should be utterly rejected for telling us such an untruth. 2. He was a lunatic who truly believed what He said and was deluded about his own deity and about eternal life and should have been confined to an asylum next to a person who believed themselves to be a poached egg. Or, 3. He is telling us the truth, is our risen Lord, and must be taken at His word.

We must determine for ourselves whether His claims were true or false. I believe that He is Lord and my Creator. Therefore, I know with certainty that I will be raised and have eternal life with Him.

Which state will the central part of you choose to progress towards today?

References

Lindsley, A. (2003). C. S. Lewis on Life and Immortality. C. S. Lewis Institute.

EVIL CAN ONLY DESTROY ITSELF

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

For my birthday earlier this year, I was given a book all about how literature, acting, and writing impacted the life of Winston Churchill, and it has swiftly become one of my favorite books. It tells stories of Churchill’s childhood, and how playing with his own puppet theatre helped him in memorizing entire Shakesperean plays, and how the modern books he read when he was older made him more personable to the average British citizen.  

Many of us know Churchill (or I at least hope you do) as the man who saved the United Kingdom in the height of WWII, and who never deviated from the clear path of fighting to the death, and victory at whatever costs over the tyrant, Adolf Hitler. What many of us do not know, however, is how much the fine arts and a classical education impacted the way Churchill approached politics and problem solving. 

Something Winston was very passionate about was melodramatic plays, and he frequently attended London theatres with his friends to sometimes see the same productions repeatedly. Now, melodrama is always focused on suffering heroes facing insurmountable odds but ultimately beating the terrible villains they face. The plots typically vary from play to play, but the ending always stays the same.  

Here is one specific quote from the book I have found particularly encouraging, and one I want to share with all of you.  

It says, “The shootings, strangling, hangings, poisonings, drowning, stabbings, suicides, explosions, conflagrations, avalanches, earthquakes, eruptions, shipwrecks, trainwrecks, apparitions, tortured heroines, persecuted heroes, and fearsome villains are only a lengthy prelude to inevitable happiness and the apotheosis of virtue. Audiences could enjoy crime and villainy and horror in the full knowledge that the bright sword of justice would always fall in the right place, and that bags of gold would always be awarded to the right people. Evil can only destroy itself, no matter how hard it tries.”  

From the moment I read this quote a few months ago, it filled me with an overwhelming sense of relief.  

Throughout our lives, we all tell ourselves everything is going to work out for good. Or whatever will be will be. Or in the end Jesus always wins. However, I often find myself forgetting that while, yes, Jesus does win ultimately, this doesn’t mean we will be spared from facing the ugly things sin has brought into our world.  

Because we believe Jesus will work everything out for our good, we often forget that to get better at something, you must first challenge yourself to change from what you have been in the past.  

Now, do not misunderstand me, or think I’m being overly morbid. I wholeheartedly believe the Lord has a plan, and ultimately, He will win the spiritual battles raging in all our lives. However, before He wins those battles, some fighting needs to take place first.  

If we look once again at the life of Winston Churchill, or even just the time he spent in office as Prime Minister during the war, we see that he had to go through some very difficult things before he was actually able to defeat Hitler.  

His entire political party was working against him and pressuring him to sue for peace with the Nazis. The British military was much smaller than the German army. He didn’t even have enough boats to transport all his troops stuck on Dunkirk to somewhere safe. He had to work through some very real issues before he could scarcely even allow himself to begin hoping the British could gain victory and retain their freedom.  

It was the furthest thing from smooth sailing you could possibly imagine.  

One of the reasons melodramatic plays became so important later in Churchill’s life, is because by watching, memorizing, even acting out some of these plays, he learned to look at trials and tribulations in a bit of a different light.  

Instead of looking at the failure the tortured heroines and persecuted heroes had to suffer through as setbacks, he was taught to look at them as inevitable events which would ultimately bring about that radical, joyful victory of those same weary heroes. He learned to draw one line between Good and Evil, and not allow room for any sort of grey area. Greatest of all these, however, he learned the light always wins, even if it takes a little longer than we want it to.  

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5 ESV)  

I know this may be a simple reminder for you this week, but never forget, you must experience some difficulties to fully appreciate the peace found in the Lord. He’s always got our six, no matter how loud the battle rages. Trust him with your present trials today and allow Him to grow you through the hard times you may be facing.

Remember, the light always wins. It must. Because after all, no matter how hard it tries, evil can only destroy itself. 

“When things go wrong as they sometimes will,  

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,  

When the funds are low and the debts are high, 

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,  

When care is pressing you down a bit,  

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.  

Life is strange with its twists and turns 

As every one of us sometimes learns 

And many a failure comes about  

When he might have won had he stuck it out;  

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –  

You may succeed with another blow.  

Success is failure turned inside out –  

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,  

And you never can tell just how close you are,  

It may be near when it seems so far; 

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –  

It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit. 

For all the sad words of tongue or pen 

The saddest are these: “It might have been!””  

~ John Greenleaf Whittier  

           Don’t Quit 

BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I’m not sure how this blog post will find you, dear reader, but I hope you are well. Allow me to share with you my current setting… I am sitting here at my laptop (a place I don’t get away from very often at the moment), around 8:00pm on a Wednesday evening. I’m looking out a small window, the sun setting in the West, of which I have an excellent view. A farmer just went by, I suppose he’s checking on how his crop is coming along before dark.

It’s quiet. It’s still. How I wish it could be always like this.

But life isn’t always like that, is it?

These days in which we live are dark and evil. It seems we have entered a deeper state of complacency in the American Church. We are living in a post Roe America, and though I would like to, I cannot explain my immense thankfulness to the degree I’d like. All I can say is praise the Lord for strong Supreme Court Justice’s who are willing to stand up for the truth!

I’m afraid we have a problem, however. There was much rejoicing on June 24th, 2022, when Roe V. Wade was overturned, but it sounds as though the applause has been hushed.

Of course, the political climate has not ceased to raise a ruckus, I’m simply sharing my observations about the Church.

We haven’t just been hushed about the overturn of Roe V. Wade, we have also been hushed about human trafficking, traditional marriage, Godly femininity, the expectations God has for Christian parents, social justice and woke ideologies that are infiltrating churches and schools, the rise of depression and anxiety especially amongst younger generations, etc.

You see, I’m afraid the true Christian life is not one you can live by keeping your head stuck in the sand.

Earlier today, I was reminded of a quote by Aragorn in The Lord of The Rings, when they are preparing to fight evil and defend the goodness they can. Aragorn inspires the fearful, but strong men standing alongside him in a desolate wasteland, where they have nowhere to retreat to, looking up at the tall, sturdy gates leading to Mordor. Behind which a vast army of horrible, terrifying creatures lie in wait. He says, “A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the Age of Men comes crashing down, but it is not this day. This day we fight!”

As much as I would like to pat Christians on the back and tell them it’s perfectly fine to retreat when the days are dark and evil, I can’t. We may be living in a post Roe America, and praise the Lord for it, but it is in large part due to the five Justice’s that didn’t go stick their heads in the sand and ignore this crucial, heartbreaking, unlawful issue.

Now it is up to us to continue the fight, to advance the Kingdom, to be beacons of light in our little corners of the world.

Luke 16:10 says, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

You may not feel like you’ve been given much. Maybe you feel as if you have absolutely nothing to work with in your corner. I know the feeling, and that’s exactly what the enemy wants you to believe. It stops you from fighting right where you are.

In the eloquent words of Ernest Hemingway, “Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.”

May I ask you a question? Who else is going to fight where you are if you won’t? Let the goodness of the Lord you have experienced drive you to fight for more of it. Not for you alone to have, but for the ones coming after us.

As Christians, what we need to do is understand the state and the urgency of the battle we’re in, kick the devil in the teeth every day we get out of bed, and decide we won’t let him defeat us or mess with those around us.

A day may come when the courage of men fails, but it is not this day.

This day, we fight.

“Someday the Church can relax her guard, call her watchmen down from the wall and live in safety and peace; but not yet, not yet.” (A. W. Tozer)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= In your corner of the world, what can you do to make a difference for the Kingdom?

= Is goodness and beauty worth protecting? Why?

= What are you going to do differently?

A LIVING HOUSE

(Re-Published 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?

AIR BRAKES AND DEEP THOUGHTS

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

You know, one of my favorite sounds in the entire world is the sound of air brakes clicking as they warm up. This was a sound I heard every day for a long time when my dad was running his trucking company and we had drivers starting semis and rolling out our driveway day in and day out.

Many people say the sounds which remind them of their childhood are things like the song of an ice cream truck, the theme song of their favorite cartoons, or a common saying their parents used when they were little. For me, the sounds of childhood are air brakes warming up, and the great Rush Limbaugh’s voice on the radio at twelve o’clock in the afternoon.

My siblings and I would all take turns going trucking with our dad, and many of my fondest memories in life took place in the seat of a semi. I remember waking up early, sometimes before the sun had risen, and hurrying to grab my books and our cooler before we left to pick up our load and head for our distant destination.

My dad and I would listen to sermons on the radio in the mornings and add in a couple of Alabama songs in the afternoons (until Rush came on, of course). Sometimes, I’d just sit and look out my window, gazing at the cars passing or the fields rolling steadily by. When I would be quiet for a long time, Dad would always look over and ask me, “What are you thinking about?” At times, I would tell him I wasn’t thinking about anything, or I’d say I was wondering what the fam was doing back home, or I’d say I was wondering what Mark Levin would talk about when his radio show would come on at six.

Whenever he would ask me that question, it seemed like everything was at peace in the world. It was just me and Dad rolling on. Nothing else mattered.

Now, you may be saying, “Gee Madie, thanks for making me crave my childhood, but where in the world is this going?” Well, dear reader, thank you for asking.

When Dad used to present that question to me, my answers would always be so simple. So innocent and childlike. But now, I fear the world has tainted my train of thought a bit more than it had back then, and my answers would be a little darker, or more negative.

I can often find myself thinking about things like, ‘why do people have to be so difficult sometimes?’ or ‘what will our country really look like in five years’ time?”

My answer to that question no longer reflects a childlike thought pattern. Now, I know this comes with getting older, having more real-world experience, and seeing people for who they really are.

But I’d like you to imagine for a moment that the Lord is asking you this question.

What are you thinking about?

Are you thinking about Him? His Kingdom? His children who you are supposed to be in unity with?

If any of you answered honestly, you probably relate with me a lot more than both of us truly want to admit.

In truth, we’re thinking about our difficult co-worker, our crazy schedules, school starting back up soon, an annoying situation we can’t ignore for much longer, etc. etc.

Something the Lord has been convicting me of a lot lately is what I’m consuming my mind with. What I’m watching, reading, listening to, thinking about. Most of us want to ignore the way Jesus is really supposed to affect all these aspects of our lives, and we want to believe He’s only supposed to help us with the “big” things.

Why does it matter what I’m thinking about?

“To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV)

It has been my prayer the Lord would renew the spirit of my mind, and help me in thinking of good, true, and beautiful things. I hope you will join me in this prayer as you go about your week and intentionally take time to meditate on the things of Heaven.

Through the mind, the body is either defeated or victorious.

So, I ask again, what are you thinking about?

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you willing to meditate upon the things of Heaven this week?

= What are you going to do differently?

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN POEM

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

(Poem by: Robert Frost)

DISTORTION

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

Every good thing can be distorted, even Christianity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are some things in society you think have been distorted?

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

= What are you going to do differently?

DOES FREE REALLY MEAN FREE?

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Some may say that this blog post is a bit late, but I will never turn down an opportunity to talk about spiritual freedom and our exceptional Country, America. After just celebrating Fourth of July, I have some fresh inspiration.

We all know that there are those who claim one worldview and the benefits of that worldview, while living out another. It takes hard work, time, and effort to honestly evaluate those things, most especially if you do not live in a state of freedom. It’s not an easy or small thing to admit that you are a slave to something.

However, you are currently living as free as you’d like.

One of the most important things Christians need to think logically about is the topic of freedom, in both the spiritual and physical realms.

The idea of absolute freedom can be difficult for our minds to grasp in this sinful world, but freedom is certainly within our reach.

Have you ever thought about the fact that God Himself has given us the freedom to choose freedom?

C. S. Lewis once said, “The freedom of a creature must mean freedom to choose: and choice implies the existence of things to choose between. A creature with no environment would have no choices to make.”

We are most certainly in a counterclaimed environment here on this earth. Do we, as Christians, genuinely understand that everything God is for, Satan is completely against? 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.

The Lord holds freedom in great esteem. He is indeed for it. In fact, 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

His Spirit is what gives freedom to the captive, and Satan despises that.

Choosing to live according to God’s Moral Law is the most freeing thing I have personally ever experienced. God loves His creation dearly, and He desires the very best for them. The only way we can experience God’s best is by choosing to live the way He has instructed us to in His Word.

C.S. Lewis also once said, “Obedience is the road to freedom.”

Galatians 5:1 tells us, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Sin is always trying to make its way into our lives, and even more so after we have decided to follow Jesus.

We must come to the realization that God’s ways bring freedom, not when we simply believe that they do, but when we implement them and live by them daily, knowing that it is for our own good and ultimately God’s glory.

Spiritually speaking, I believe each one of us can live as free as we’d like. I believe we are currently living as free as we’d like.

When you aren’t spiritually free, it’s a difficult thing to value and appreciate physical freedom. A good Christian American fully understands the sweet gift of freedom that Jesus gives us, and therefore knows how precious it is to be physically free as well and is willing to fight for it.

Spiritual freedom is precisely what creates a love within us for what is morally righteous because of what the Lord holds dear, and that begins to heal the broken world in which we currently reside.

What an amazing thing it is that when the Lord says “free”, He means true and absolute freedom.

We are free, really free. Praise the Lord.

“Spiritual freedom is the root of political liberty… as the union between spiritual freedom and political liberty seems nearly inseparable, it is our duty to defend both.”  (Thomas Paine)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= How dear is freedom to you?

= Are you currently burdened by a yoke of slavery?

= What are you going to do differently?

WHAT WE’VE BEEN USED TO

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

If you’ve ever heard me talk in depth about some of the books I really take delight in reading, the Anne of Green Gables series will have no doubt been in the list.

At the beginning of this year, I was determined to be extremely organized when it came to my choices in literature and read only three books a month. This was brought about from an overwhelming previous year where I had nearly twenty books going all at the same time. However, though we are only just coming to July, that three-book-a-month schedule has been figuratively tossed right out the window.

I’ve had a keen desire to re-read the Anne of Green Gables series and began Anne of the Island again a few weeks ago. This is one of my favorites in the series because it’s the book where Anne embarks on the new adventures of college, falling in love, and learning to live on her own outside of the small community of Avonlea.

However, when she comes back home from college to visit everyone in Avonlea, she discovers one of the girls she had gone to grade-school with, Ruby Gillis, is actively, yet slowly, dying.

Ruby Gillis constantly belittled Anne in their childhood and was an overall sour person. However, Anne, of course, feels Ruby’s ailment very deeply herself, and mourns over the fact that one of the people who was present in many of her childhood memories would be the first to pass away. Ruby requests Anne’s presence often, knowing she isn’t like the other flippant and immature girls their age, and she can have a real and deep conversation with her.

Until this point, none of Ruby’s family had seemed to accept the fact that she was dying, and Ruby herself seemed to have no idea. But one night, as she and Anne are sitting together out in her garden, she finally admits that she is terrified of her inevitable fate and confides some feelings which she has never voiced before. Now, I want you to really absorb this exchange with me. Anne says,

“Why should you be afraid of dying, Ruby?” Anne asked quietly.

“Because – because – oh, I’m not afraid but that I’ll go to heaven, Anne. I’m a church member. But – it’ll all be so different. I think – and think – and I get so frightened – and – and homesick. Heaven must be very beautiful, of course, the Bible says so – but, Anne, it won’t be what I’ve been used to.”

Through Anne’s mind floated an intrusive recollection of a funny story she’d heard Phillipa Gordon tell – the story of some old man who had said very much the same thing about the world to come. It had sounded funny then – she remembered how she and Priscilla had laughed over it. But it did not seem in the least humorous now, coming from Ruby’s pale, trembling lips. It was sad, tragic – and true!

Heaven could not be what Ruby had been used to. There had been nothing to her gay, frivolous life, her shallow ideals and aspirations, to fit her for that great change, or make the life to come seem anything but alien and unreal and undesirable. Anne wondered helplessly what she could say that would help her. Could she say anything?

“I think, Ruby,” she began hesitatingly… “I think, perhaps, we have very mistaken ideas about heaven – what it is and what it holds for us. I don’t think it can be so very different from life here as most people seem to think. I believe we’ll just go on living, a good deal as we live here – and be ourselves just the same – only it will be easier to be good and to – follow the Highest. All the hinderances and perplexities will be taken away, and we shall see clearly. Don’t be afraid, Ruby.”

This particular passage had never really stuck out to me in the past, but as you know from my last blog post, death has been particularly prevalent in my mind, making this scene jump out of the pages at me.

How true is it that many of us should be able to relate with Ruby, in that Heaven seems to us such an alien place? A place that takes us away from our earthly home we have grown so attached to, and the people we have come to love in it.

I do believe Anne’s thoughts ring with truth though, as she says that there had been nothing in Ruby’s flighty, frivolous life to prepare her for the world to come. Yet how sad is it that this disconcerting thought is held by many churchgoers today, who have not been taught to live in light of Eternity?

This is the entire concept Lilly and I have been talking about for over four years now. Literally bringing small bits of heaven to our lives here on earth through living the way Jesus specifically intended us to live.

As Ruby said, heaven will not be what we’re used to.

It will be a place where we go to be restored to complete perfection and wholeness, and where most of the things we care about and with which we consume our earthly lives will no longer hold even a microscopic drop of importance.

Let that sink in for a minute.

What we’re used to is working our nine-to-fives, wasting three hours of our lives screaming at a TV and sitting on the edge of our seats, waiting for our lives to come crashing down if our favorite sports team doesn’t win their game. What we’re used to is going to school and only half-heartedly paying attention to what we’re taught, hoping to slip through by the skin of our teeth with a high enough GPA to graduate. Simply to go on and lead the same boring lives others have led for hundreds of years before us. What we’re used to is going through the drive-thru, throwing a tantrum, and cussing out the person serving us because they messed up our order.

That really glorifies Jesus, doesn’t it? I’m sure that’ll be included in our packaged experience of heaven.

What we’re used to is wasting every single day of our lives going through the same monotonous motions we’ve gone through for the last ten years, and not batting an eyelash when an actual opportunity to glorify Jesus comes our way.

“When you cry out, let your collection of idols save you! The wind will carry them all off, a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in Me shall possess the land and shall inherit My holy mountain.” (Isaiah 57:13 ESV)

There has been only one time in my life where someone has managed to make Heaven sound boring, and I believe that was because he was entirely too focused on the things that gave him pleasure, and happiness, and so-called joy here on earth. 

He said, “You know, many of us imagine heaven as a place where we’ll run around on the streets of gold, do whatever we want, and be immortal. But really, all we get to do while we’re there is sit in front of God and worship Him, singing the same phrase over and over and over again.”

His tone was filled with such flippancy, and even a hint of dread, I could barely keep my mouth from falling open.

You see, when we get so caught up in the things of earth, that does sound boring. It makes you think, “If that’s all I get to do in heaven then Sia Nora, Hasta La vista, and peace out.”

But when we finally get our heads wrapped around the fact that when we live in light of Eternity, we realize that without this incredible, perfect God we serve, we could not sustain ourselves. He is our very life-source, the very breath in our lungs, and thump of our pulse.

What else would we want to do but worship?!? Worship is not all we can do; it is the very most we are capable of.

This week, I challenge you to not be like Ruby Gillis. Don’t chase after trivial, unimportant, and wind carried tasks and attitudes until you are faced with death. Live in a way that reflects Jesus in everything you do, and in a way that brings a little slice of heaven down here to earth.

Put your life in God’s hands, be an active participant in what He wants you to do in your home, family, school, workplace, and then sit back and enjoy the show. I promise you; it’ll be a good one.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Have you been chasing trivial, unimportant tasks this week?

= What are you going to do differently?

THESE ARE THE DAYS!

(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

I would like to ask you a question. Please, take some time to really think about it and answer honestly.

Are these the most spiritually fulfilling days of your life?

My family and I are at a ministry conference this week. The speaker yesterday posed that question to us, and I have been mulling it over ever since.

What is my answer? Well, in some ways, “Yes”. Overall, probably, “No”.

When I think of the most spiritually fulfilling days in my life, I think of the first few years after I got saved. Scott and I were in our late twenties when we got saved, and we were on fire for Jesus immediately. We attended every class we could. We studied the Bible every day. The Word was opened up to us in a powerful way. It was exciting and exhilarating!

I remember looking around at other church attendees, people in our Sunday School classes and worship services, and not seeing the joy and excitement I was feeling at the time. I found it odd. I knew they loved the Lord, but the pressing desire to worship, study, and learn new things was not evident.

They were comfortable. If I am honest, I have now grown comfortable, as well.

Comfortable is a dangerous place to be in the Gospel, friends. Revelation 3: 14-17 says, “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.”

Those of us who have been saved and/or have gone to church and have done “Christian stuff” for several years have a tendency to simply get comfortable. We lose our zeal for the Gospel. We lose our passion for learning new things; our deep desire to know the Lord more each day. We lose sight of the lost and walk around defeated, thinking there is nothing we can do about the state of the world around us.

We are content to remain in a state where we feel no guilt, but there is also no blessing.

That, dear Christian, is exactly where the enemy wants you; and precisely where the Lord has warned us not to be. From the verses I previously cited, it sounds like the Lord flat out despises that state. When we are comfortable, we are lukewarm and completely ineffective.

The speaker from our conference yesterday, shared a story from a time when he was in seminary, and he went to listen to an old, seasoned preacher. After the sermon, he told one of his professors that he would give anything to be as spiritual as the preacher they had just listened to. The wise professor replied, “No you wouldn’t. You don’t want to get up at 5:00 am to pray for two hours like he does. You don’t want to spend three hours a day studying Scripture. You don’t want to spend countless hours serving the hurting people in your community. You don’t want to pray with the store clerk or share the Gospel with a stranger or a fellow classmate.”

That wise professor said, “Each of us are as spiritual as we really want to be.”

Ouch! That is a hard truth, isn’t it?

You see, when I look back at the days that I would say are the most spiritually fulfilling days of my life, they are the days when I was willing to put a lot of effort into my relationship with Christ. I was praying, studying, and serving every day. They were the days when I learned how to pray with people and share the Gospel with them, and I actually went out and did that on a regular basis. They were the days when I saw the truth being ignored and injustice being accepted, and I spoke out, in love, against it.

My most spiritually fulfilling days, depend on me, and me alone. No one else can lead me into them. I cannot ride into them on someone else’s coattail.

We are each as spiritual as we really want to be.

Friend, do not allow yourself to get comfortable; to become lukewarm in your faith. Can you imagine how wonderful life would be if we would strive to make each day the most spiritually fulfilling day we have ever had?

It’s not too late for you and me to do just that!

I was so encouraged at the end of our service yesterday.  After the speaker shared this message, he gave an altar call for those who wanted to commit to making the days ahead more spiritually fulfilling than the days behind. An elderly woman, with a full head of white hair and walker to steady her gait, was the first one to make her way down to the altar. It was no easy task for her, but she obviously recognized that there was great reward in making this commitment.

Oh Lord, let that be me when I am old and gray!

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are these the most spiritually fulfilling days of your life?

= What are you going to do differently?

TO THE DISCOURAGED CHRISTIAN…

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

C. S. Lewis has a quote that says, “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”

Me neither, Mr. Lewis. Me neither.

Christianity has been the most costly experience I have ever given my “yes” to, and though I have occasional thoughts that it may not be worth the sacrifice, the pain, and giving up everything I am for Jesus and His Kingdom. Deep down, I know I have never been more sure about anything than the fact that He is the only thing I want to live my every second for.

No one and nothing else come close when compared to Him. I hope you have the same desire in your heart and life.

Here’s the thing though. People tend to think that if that’s the case, and I’m so sure eternity is worth everything, then it must mean I never feel discouraged, and that Christians are just on this constant “Christian kick”. In fact, many American Churches make it seem as if discouragement is a form of sin, and that there’s no reason we should be disappointed or discouraged.

They probably just haven’t read the book of Psalms yet.

I will say, I do think discouragement becomes a sin only if you let it beat you and break you and stop you from maturing in the faith (James 1:2-4). But, what about the few who don’t?

Have you ever heard someone say, “It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing, it only matters what you are doing”? In some respects, I agree with that statement. You should, as Scripture tells us, die to yourself, carry your cross, and follow Jesus (Matthew 16:24-26). You are the only one that can make those choices for yourself. True Christians are most certainly harder on themselves than they are on others. However, Jesus cared deeply for those around Him, for His disciples, for the crowds, for the children.

He cared so much that He died for them. He died for us.

The reason you may be discouraged often is not because you take this “Jesus thing” way too seriously, as some would put it, or because you think you have all the “right” answers to every spiritual question but no one will listen. It’s because you care. You care about people’s souls, and the reality that death results in spending eternity in one of two places: Heaven or Hell.

Please, I beg you, friend, don’t apologize for being discouraged because you care like Jesus. Because who people are and what they do DOES matter in the spiritual realm!

It’s ok to mourn the fact that you have friends around you that are so lost. It’s ok to get on your knees and plead with God to reveal Himself to the Church and usher in a revival that brings us back to where we left Him. It’s ok to not understand why that one addict can’t just give it up. It’s ok to feel sick when you start thinking about how it’s ruining their life and their family.

Discouragement is a beautiful part of the Christian life because it’s the natural result of caring, of loving, of wanting people to experience who Jesus is and what He can do in the life of someone who surrenders all the control they thought they had but never really did.

What would make us run into the arms of Jesus constantly and consistently if not for the feeling of discouragement that we can’t address on our own?

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

Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.

It is true that the Christian life is not a constant high, and what matters more than anything else is where we run when we have feelings we can’t deal with on our own. You see, discouragement is a beautiful part of the Christian life only because God uses it to bring us closer to Himself. He helps soften our hearts to feel what He feels, and it is in that moment, when we feel what He feels, that we can best care, love, and serve.

So, discouraged Christian, you care. Don’t apologize for it.

“Courage, dear heart.”  – C. S. Lewis

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”  (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you believe God can use discouragement to bring us closer to Himself?

= What are you going to do differently?

LIFE UPDATE!

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Happy Thursday, y’all! This Blog Post is going to look a little bit different than it usually does, but I am excited to update you on all the awesome things God has been doing in our little corner of the world recently!

We need to do this more often!

Our family is getting ready for a big weekend of outreach and celebration which are, of course, the best kind of weekends, in our book. We are participating in an event called Healthy Kids Day in a county close to us, where we will set up a couple tables and have some Christian resources, prayer journal crafts for kids, and offer to pray/share the Gospel with those we encounter and connect with! Please pray that hearts would be open to hearing and receiving the Gospel.

Our closest friends/Bible Study girls are coming along for the adventure. After the outreach we will celebrate our FOUR-YEAR anniversary of being a Bible Study group, together, in our newly renovated Ministry Center.

I can’t tell you how much our group looks forward to these times where we can get away from all the noise and business to celebrate, spend some quality time together, and thank the Lord for His great faithfulness to us. The Lord always reveals Himself to us in new ways as we attempt to re-focus on what ultimately matters, which is eternity.

Because we want to be fully present this weekend, Madie & I decided to take this week off from recording and editing for the Podcast. However, we shared with our Podcast listeners in our latest episode that we created a Spotify Worship Playlist as a free resource for y’all! CLICK HERE to listen to some of our favorite worship songs and worship with us. It’s over three hours long, and we plan to continue to add more songs over time!

Here’s a list with direct links to our three recent Podcast Episodes in case you missed them (click on title of episode to listen) …

Rebellion To Tyrants Is Obedience To God – Season 2 Finale & Memorial Day Special!

What To Do When Life Feels Boring – S2:EP54

Compassion And Critical Thinking – S2:EP53

I mentioned earlier that we are celebrating in the Ministry Center, and so many amazing things are happening in that space! Our parents (Scott and Michelle) have been doing some marriage counseling out there, and one of the couples they are counseling decided to follow Jesus and give their lives to Him a few weeks ago. These are the very first salvations to take place in the Ministry Center! Praise the Lord! We are excited to see them continue to seek Jesus and grow in their knowledge of Him.

Alright, I could spend so much more time updating, but I’ve got to get ready for our Bible Study time with the girls tonight! I want to thank you so much for being here and for reading, listening, and supporting The Few every week. We appreciate y’all so very much!

If you have any questions or topics you would like us to write/talk about, leave them in the comment section below, and please let us know how we could pray for you this week!

Bye guys! 😊

WILDERNESS AND WASTELAND

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you ever attempted to walk through a wood that hadn’t been pruned, in which a clear pathway didn’t exist? If your answer is yes, I would like to ask you, how did that walk go? From my own previous experiences, I am guessing not very well.

You were probably quite frustrated by how many sticks (no matter how careful you were to avoid them) you stepped on, how many itchy bugs bites kept appearing on your skin, or the number of times you were forced to change direction because of fallen tree branches in front of you. I think you get my point.

However, if you have also taken a walk through a wood that had been pruned and had a clear pathway, you know just how different the experience can be. You probably enjoyed the quiet sound of nature, felt the warm rays of sunlight shining through the trees, and were deep in your thoughts as you walked effortlessly following the path that had been made.

I believe we are all aware that if a piece of land is not cultivated consistently and pruned constantly, it will never cease to return to being a wilderness and wasteland. It will always go back to its former state. There is one thing that I don’t believe we are all aware of, though… Our hearts can do the same if we are not obedient to Christ and allow Him to do His work of cultivating within us.

Our souls are in desperate need of being tended to.

Three of the Gospel writers record a story Jesus told known as the “Parable of the Sower” (Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8).  In each case, the sower spreads the same seed by casting it over the soil. One would expect the same results, but that’s not how the story goes. What effects the results you ask? The state of the soil.

An uncultivated heart cannot produce the enduring, plentiful, spiritual fruit that is possible and desirable. Our hearts can be so hardened that the Word “bounces off” us with no lasting impact.

The rocky soil Jesus speaks of is not just filled with little pebbles of stone, but the solid, obstinate table of rock buried several inches beneath what appears to be fertile soil. This represents the sin and hidden things in our minds and hearts that we never prune away, and they keep the seed from taking root. The third type of soil seems to accept truth, but never reaches maturity, because it also accepts the world with its riches, worries, and pleasures. God’s Word is “choked out” and is unable to produce fruit.

The good soil, however, is the heart that embraces the Word and holds fast to it, allowing it to take root, grow, and mature, and ultimately produce eternal and abundant fruit for the Kingdom of God. This heart is described as honest, good, and noble.

The Holy Spirit is the only one who can give us a “good heart” that will receive and bear the fruit of salvation. He gives us a heart of flesh instead of stone (Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26). We are responsible (with the help of the Holy Spirit) to cultivate and keep a “noble and good heart” so that the Word of God continues to bear fruit pleasing to God.

To cultivate means to nourish the soul with the true, the good, and the beautiful. This must be done constantly if we wish our hearts to not be a wilderness and wasteland spiritually. You can be sure that when your heart is not being cultivated by Jesus, it is being filled with disorder and chaos by the enemy.

Ultimately, it’s a heart issue in the listener, not a failure of the sower or the seed that keeps someone (maybe even us) from bearing fruit. Matthew 6:20-21 says, “But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Remember the Pharisees and Scribes Jesus spoke to in Matthew 15:8? He said Isaiah had correctly prophesied about them when He said, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

Their hearts were not cultivated. Sure, they may have looked spiritual on the outside, but even an uncultivated and unpruned wood can look good at first glance. It’s when you step inside that you realize what a mess it is. They could say all the right things, but it didn’t matter because they weren’t genuine.

We have a sin problem that is turning us into a wilderness and wasteland by the minute. Our souls are in desperate need of being tended to. The ultimate goal we are after by means of the act of cultivation is to know God, glorify God, and enjoy God.

Nourish your soul with the true, the good, and the beautiful instead of giving in to the temporary and fleeting things of this world that will certainly pass away. Lord, let our hearts not be far from you.

“Disorder in the world implies that something is out of place. Usually, at the heart of all disorder you will find man in rebellion against God. It began in the garden of Eden and continues to this day.”  (A. W. Tozer)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you feel like your life is full of disorder?

= Do you desire to focus on the true, the good, and the beautiful?

= What are you going to do differently?

YOUR MISSION

This dark, gloomy weather here in Ohio made it feel like a good day to share a poem! I love this one in particular because it encourages us to not stand idle when God has given us work to do. Though we may not think it to be grand, nevertheless, it is our mission!

If you cannot on the ocean
    Sail among the swiftest fleet,
  Rocking on the highest billows,
    Laughing at the storms you meet;
  You can stand among the sailors,
    Anchored yet within the bay,
  You can lend a hand to help them
    As they launch their boats away.

  If you are too weak to journey
    Up the mountain, steep and high,
  You can stand within the valley
    While the multitudes go by;
  You can chant in happy measure
    As they slowly pass along–
  Though they may forget the singer,
    They will not forget the song.

      *      *      *      *      *

  If you cannot in the harvest
    Garner up the richest sheaves,
  Many a grain, both ripe and golden,
    Oft the careless reaper leaves;
  Go and glean among the briars
    Growing rank against the wall,
  For it may be that their shadow
    Hides the heaviest grain of all.

  If you cannot in the conflict
    Prove yourself a soldier true;
  If, where fire and smoke are thickest,
    There’s no work for you to do;
  When the battle field is silent,
    You can go with careful tread;
  You can bear away the wounded,
    You can cover up the dead.

  Do not then stand idly waiting
    For some greater work to do;
  Fortune is a lazy goddess,
    She will never come to you;
  Go and toil in any vineyard,
    Do not fear to do and dare.
  If you want a field of labor
    You can find it anywhere.

POEM BY: ELLEN H. GATES

OUR OLD, DEAD SELF

(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

Well, I am back at it, wrestling with the teachings of Watchman Nee. At the beginning of the year, I picked back up on my reading of The Normal Christian Life and began slowly working my way through the Scofield Bible Correspondence Course. (A gem of a six-volume course that was published in the 1950s and used by missionaries who were out in the mission field. We ran across a set in a used bookstore last year. I love finding treasures like that!) But I digress.

Anyway, prompted by a New Year’s Resolution, I was devoting some of my morning hours to Bible study and the Lord did one of my favorite things that He sometimes does. He coordinated the subject matter I was reading in The Normal Christian Life with the subject matter of the Scofield lesson I was completing that day. He does those kinds of things to let us know He is with each and every one of us; providing just what we need. But friends, when He does do that, you had better be paying attention. He is definitely trying to tell you something!

So, what was He trying to tell me, that I now want to share with you?

He was answering a question that I have wrestled with for several years. Why do Christians continue to accept sin as a normal part of our lives after we have been saved, forgiven, and transformed by the Lord?

I have to be honest; I cringe a little inside when I hear my brothers and sisters in Christ declare that they are sinners. You have all heard someone say, “We are all sinners saved by grace. We are still human and will always make mistakes. That’s just the way it is.” Just yesterday, I read a post on social media that said, “The one thing I am really good at is sinning… so praise the Lord I’m in Christ and when I do sin, I can go to Jesus and He forgives me.”

While I, regrettably, do still make mistakes and sin, I make considerably less mistakes and sin much less than I did before my salvation, and I pray that with each passing year, I look more and more like Christ, whose image I bear. I refuse to accept that I am stuck in my sin.

I believe that continuing to see ourselves as sinners after we are saved is wrong, and that wrong view of ourselves has a hugely negative impact on our growth as Christians. It keeps us right where the enemy wants us; not living in the fullness of Christ!

I pray that the Lord will grant us a fresh knowledge, a deep understanding, that what is true of the forgiveness of our sins is also true of our deliverance from sin.

In Romans 4:25 we see, “Jesus our Lord…was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification.” Our “justification” is talking about our standing before God. God looks upon the precious blood of Christ and sees that Jesus has paid the price for the sins of us who believe in Jesus as our personal Savior. The blood deals with what we have done. We need the blood for forgiveness. The blood shed by Jesus, as our substitute, secures for us forgiveness, justification, and reconciliation with God.

Most Christians have no trouble believing that fact, but we tend to stop there. We, rather flippantly, continue on in our sin when Jesus tells us to “Be holy, as I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). We fail to understand the greatness of the Cross of Christ! While we need the blood for forgiveness, we also need the cross for deliverance!

Nee asks, “How could a holy God be satisfied to have unholy, sin-fettered children?” If He has provided a way to be forgiven of sin, surely He has provided a way for His children to be delivered from sin. The cross, precisely our death on the cross, is that provision.

You see, humans are born with a sin nature. Romans 5:19 says, “Through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners…” Because of the fall of Adam and Eve, all who have come after them have been born sinners. It is our constitution. We are not sinners because of our behavior. Our behavior, or sin, is merely evidence of the fact that we are born sinners.

Thankfully, God knew this about His creation and had a plan to deal with it (even before the beginning of time). That plan can be found in the conclusion of Romans 5:19, “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One shall the many be made righteous.”

Christians must understand this and grow in their faith past being only concerned with our behavior, on to accepting the crucifixion of our old, dead self. The blood cannot take away our sin nature. “There is only one way. Since we came in by birth, we must go out by death. Bondage to sin came by birth; deliverance from sin comes by death” (Nee, 1957).

“All we who are baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death” (Romans 6:3). The blood deals with what we have done. The cross deals with what we are. We must have the cross to crucify our old selves. The cross provides our deliverance from what we used to be. “The cross is thus the mighty act of God which translates us from Adam to Christ” (Nee, 1957).

Christian, stop living in your old, dead self with Adam and start living in your new identity in Christ. “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).

Do you see? You are supposed to be a new creation, not a spruced-up version of your old self! This new, divine nature is Christ’s own.

Romans 7 is a record of the conflict between the old self and the new creation. In verses 14-24, we read Paul’s struggle with his sin nature. He says what all of us have felt. He states that he feels like a slave to sin. That he wants to do good but ends up doing wrong. Finally, in verse 24, Paul asks the question we all must ask. “Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?”

“Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord…And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death” (Rom. 7:25-8:2). The battle now belongs to the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and will bring it about.

You must believe this and rely on this truth. Stop believing the lie that you are still a slave to sin. The old, dead self, that you should loathe, is on the cross.

“Our crucifixion can never be made effective by will or by effort, but only by accepting what the Lord Jesus did on the cross. Our eyes must be open to see the finished work of Calvary” (Nee, 1957).

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are you going to do differently?

References

Nee, W. (1957). The Normal Christian Life. CLC Publications.

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?

OUR FIRST GIVEAWAY

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