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

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

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

Enter By:

Following us here on the Blog, or on Instagram!

Like our last THREE posts!

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

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

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

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