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

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

Why? Why do we think that?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let this be His year.

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

START 2022 OFF RIGHT

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

EVERY NOW AND THEN (BLOGMAS DAY THIRTY-ONE)

(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SONG OF THE SHEPHERDS by Richard Bauckham

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

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

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

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

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

WAR WITHOUT WAR (BLOGMAS DAY THIRTY)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

If that’s ok?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DON’T TREAD ON ME

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

Ain’t no devil
Gonna tread on me

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

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

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

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

Let us start from the beginning, shall we?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I KNOW A GHOST

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

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

CHANGED YOUR MIND? (BLOGMAS DAY TWENTY-EIGHT)

(Post by: Scott Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changed your mind?

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

WALKING FREE

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

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

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

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

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

(Cue the scary music)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH

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

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

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

(Post by: Barbara Reffey)

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

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

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

Jesus Christ. The very Son of God.

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

“A Son who has been given.”

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

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

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

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

That is who HE really is… Our Savior.

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

Join me as I press on in 4 areas:

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

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

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

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

All for the glory of God. Amen and Amen.

AWAY IN A MANGER

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

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

DEALING WITH DARKNESS (BLOGMAS DAY EIGHTEEN)

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SILENT NIGHT

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

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

(Post by: Scott Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sign me up.

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

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

Merry Christmas!

LIGHT OF THE WORLD

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

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

FROM CHILDISH TO CHILDLIKE (BLOGMAS DAY THREE)

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT CHILD IS THIS?

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

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

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OUR LONGED-FOR GUEST (BLOGMAS DAY TWO)

(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

Hello friends, and welcome to Advent!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come, Lord Jesus, come.  

COME, LORD JESUS

As we trust in the Lord helplessly,

Depend on Him as our love and strength,

And listen to His speaking,

Our hope is to be raptured

Through the redemption of our body.

And our prayer is –

“Come, Lord Jesus!”

And our prayer is –

“Come, Lord Jesus!”

“Come, Lord Jesus!”

“Lord Jesus, come!”

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

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(O Come All Ye Faithful)

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

MANIPULATED MINDS (PART TWO)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Note: Intentional misspellings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make no mistake, they have been manipulated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

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

= What are you going to do differently?

MANIPULATED MINDS (PART ONE)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Note: Intentional misspellings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

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

= What are you going to do differently?

DANCING IN THE DISAPPOINTMENT

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, keep on dancing.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What has disappointment produced in your life?

= What are you going to do differently?

IT’S NOT ABOUT HOW HARD YOU CAN HIT

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

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

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

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

I know, inspiration, 1,000%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are you really taking the hits for?

= What are you going to do differently?

RISE UP

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

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

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

= What are you going to do differently?

THE STATEMENT

(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Michelle Hobbs, RN, MS, APRN – CNP

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

mandated-1

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

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

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

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

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

-174034186.html

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

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

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

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

weighed-heavily-on-her/ar-AAMMTOk

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

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

d9504519a8ae081f785ca012b5ef84d1

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

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