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

BETTER THAN THEY’RE USED TO

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you ever thought about how terrible a life that unbelievers are living right now? Don’t get me wrong, any day without Jesus is a terrible day, but we are living in a critical time where evil is at an all-time high.  I’m going to be completely up front with y’all and say that I think many Christians only make it worse for a lot of people most days.  

In the American Church, we have less “doers” than we have “big talkers”.

Should unbelievers make a choice to follow Jesus if they want to live a joyful and satisfying life? Yes, absolutely. But how are they ever going to know that they have an opportunity to do so, when so called “Christians” treat them no differently than everybody else they are used to encountering on a daily basis?

A couple years ago, I remember walking into a gas station in a small country town close by, and as my mom and I were checking out, we noticed that one of the young ladies working there was almost in tears as she walked in from helping a customer outside with their pump. As she walked behind the counter, she explained to a fellow co-worker that the pump was broken, and that the customer yelled at her (multiple times) because she was unsure of how to fix it.

At this time, I could hear the individual outside yelling as they pulled around to use a different pump than they typically used on Tuesdays, or whatever day it was. Let’s just say that many profanities occurred, and it was less than a pretty sight. As I turned to look out the window to see all the craziness, I was utterly shocked.

It was someone from my church.

The young lady who had just got done dealing with them, now crying, told the co-worker that she couldn’t understand why everyone is in such a hurry and harsh to people who are just trying to make it in life. To say that I was mortified would be an understatement, but even more than that, I hoped with every fiber of my being that those young ladies working had no clue that this individual claimed to be a Christian.

1 Peter 3:8-12 says, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.”

What I wish for y’all to get from this week’s post is that, as The Few, we are called to love people better than they’re used to. They are constantly getting beat up by the world, just like you and I are, but unlike us, they have no clue what to do with that. They aren’t going to the Lord like we do or should do.

Guys, no wonder the suicide stats, drug use, and divorce rates have gone crazy especially as of late due to the lockdowns and isolation!

So many Christians, young and old, go to their schools, workplaces, grocery stores, churches, and act like everyone else they are around all day.

I love how A.W. Tozer explained why the Church cannot afford to live in such a way. He said, “Modern Christians hope to save the world by being like it, but it will never work. The Church’s power over the world springs out of her unlikeness to it, never from her integration into it.”

So, let me challenge you today, friend. Stop trying to imitate the world! You were never made to be like it, live like it, or act like it. God’s intentions for us are wholly different than what the sinful world wants and convinces us we should want for ourselves.

We’re so focused on us, that we completely forget about Him (God) and them (the people God has made).

I hope The Few will choose to love people so much better than they’re used to and make them wonder why because of how radically different it appears.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”  (Colossians 3:12-14)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= In what ways did you not love people like Jesus this week?

= What are you going to do differently?

WINDOW REFLECTIONS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I woke up this morning remembering the absolute fear that I felt last year on this day when I woke up. It’s been an entire year since we were in downtown Fort Worth looking up at a huge jail, knowing that a guy named Rocky, who was genuinely family to us, was in there.

How? Why? What’s the purpose? Those are all questions that I still have and can’t answer entirely.

Late last night I was texting with a friend that has spent hours on her knees, alongside me and some other girls, praying for Rocky. Not only has she done that, but she’s stuck by me and supported me through this whole process. As we were texting about how crazy it is that a year has gone by, she said, “You know, honestly, I would have never been able to do what you did.”

This hit me. Some people may have read that text and patted themselves on the back. But I know that when I went in to the jail to visit Rocky, it wasn’t just me.

Truth is, I was hurt that Rocky had broken the trust that I had in him. I thought that he was a “good guy” and that he was different. That’s why I didn’t go in to visit until the third day we were there.

There’s only one way I know how to explain what made my mindset change, and that’s with some song lyrics. I recently heard a song called “Who Am I” by NEEDTOBREATHE, and man does this song tear me up every time I listen to it. Here are some of the lyrics…

White lights and desperation
Hard times and conversation
No one should ever love me like you do
Sometimes my bad decisions
Define my false suspicions
No one should ever love me like you do

While I’m on this road you take my hand
Somehow you really love who I really am
I push you away, still you won’t let go
You grow your roses on my barren soul

Who am I, who am I, who am I
To be loved by you

At first, I didn’t want to go visit because I was hurt. But secondly, I didn’t want jail to change my mindset about who Rocky really was. I wanted my memory of him to be when we all said goodbye for the 400th  time outside of his favorite pizza place.

I thought that loving who Rocky really was, was loving who he was when I hugged him outside the pizza shoppe. As I look back, I see that I was wrong. I found out as soon as I saw him through that rusty window, wearing a jumpsuit, that really loving who people are, is when you love them in the middle of their sin.

In the middle of the mess, and through the reflection in the glass.

You know, it’s really easy to love who you think somebody really is when there’s no hurt or sin mixed in. It’s easy to love when things are all good, and you know you can trust them.

Anyone who has decided to follow Jesus could have done what I did by going in to visit Rocky. When you experience Jesus loving you the way you really are, you can’t help but do anything else than love others the way they really are too.

And to love who they really are, is to love them in their sin. Just like Jesus did when He proved He was willing to die for us, while we were yet sinners, not knowing if we would ever love Him back.

I had to learn that what people do does not determine their worth. I had to stop my mind from tricking me into thinking that he was a “bad guy” just because I was talking to him through glass.

1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

My goal in life is to love who people really are, simply because that’s what Christ has done for me. What we have to remember is that not everyone will accept that love from us right away. It might take some time, and that’s ok. How long did Jesus wait for you? 

There will be people who decide to close the window when you’ve come back to help them a thousand times over. But what they need to know is that we will be there when they decide to open the window again; simply because we love them.

We just have to be willing to wait and see their reflection in the glass when they come in desperation.

“I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God.”    (Elisabeth Elliot)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you personally believe that Jesus loves who you really are?

= Is it hard for you to love people in the middle of their mess and sin?

= What are you going to do differently?