GIVE YOUR YES (BLOGMAS DAY FOURTEEN)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


She longed to engage in God’s miraculous story.


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


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


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

FROM EAST TO WEST, FROM SHORE TO SHORE

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

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

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

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

ADVENT INSECURITY (BLOGMAS DAY THIRTEEN)

(Post by: Pete Yost)

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is a ritual.

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

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

START OVER

Chorus:

Everybody’s got a blank page

A story they’re writing today

A wall that they’re climbing

You can carry the past on your shoulders

Or you can start over.

Regrets, no matter what you goin’ through

Jesus, He gave it all to save you

He carried the cross on His shoulders

So you can start over

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

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

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

CHRISTMAS BELLS (BLOGMAS DAY TWELVE)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHRISTMAS BELLS BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

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

THE EVERYDAY DEEDS (BLOGMAS DAY ELEVEN)

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Let your heart be light

From now on, our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Make the Yuletide gay

From now on, our troubles will be miles away

Here we are as in olden days

Happy golden days of yore

Faithful friends who are dear to us

Gather near to us once more

Through the years we all will be together

If the fates allow

So hang a shining star upon the highest bough

And have yourself a merry little Christmas now

TRUE WORSHIPPERS (BLOGMAS DAY TEN)

(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALL THE WORLD AWAITS

All the world awaits

The promise of His birth

Open up the gates

Heaven come to earth

A host of angels sing

Our Savior here to dwell

The King of every king

Our Emmanuel

ALWAYS WINTER (BLOGMAS DAY NINE)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you do, could I lift your spirits today?

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

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

JOY TO THE WORLD

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

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

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

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

(Post by: Scott Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sign me up.

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

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

Merry Christmas!

LIGHT OF THE WORLD

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

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

WHAT IF? (BLOGMAS DAY SEVEN)

(Post by: Trent Claybaker)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BEHOLD THE SAVIOR

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

ODE TO EBENEZER SCROOGE (BLOGMAS DAY SIX)

(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

Scrooge’s heart is changed!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will you join me and Ebenezer Scrooge in doing so?

LET THE EARTH NOW PRAISE THE LORD

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

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

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

CHOOSE SOMETHING LIKE A STAR POEM

BLOGMAS DAY FIVE

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

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

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

WHO ARE WE TO HIM? (BLOGMAS DAY FOUR)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

Who are you to Him?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOD REST YE MERRY GENTLEMEN

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

FROM CHILDISH TO CHILDLIKE (BLOGMAS DAY THREE)

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT CHILD IS THIS?

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

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

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OUR LONGED-FOR GUEST (BLOGMAS DAY TWO)

(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

Hello friends, and welcome to Advent!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come, Lord Jesus, come.  

COME, LORD JESUS

As we trust in the Lord helplessly,

Depend on Him as our love and strength,

And listen to His speaking,

Our hope is to be raptured

Through the redemption of our body.

And our prayer is –

“Come, Lord Jesus!”

And our prayer is –

“Come, Lord Jesus!”

“Come, Lord Jesus!”

“Lord Jesus, come!”

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

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(O Come All Ye Faithful)

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

MANIPULATED MINDS (PART TWO)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Note: Intentional misspellings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make no mistake, they have been manipulated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

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

= What are you going to do differently?

MANIPULATED MINDS (PART ONE)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Note: Intentional misspellings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

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

= What are you going to do differently?

DANCING IN THE DISAPPOINTMENT

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, keep on dancing.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What has disappointment produced in your life?

= What are you going to do differently?

A ROAD WITH NO END

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As I stated earlier, we cannot measure it.

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

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

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

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

= What are you going to do differently?

IT’S NOT ABOUT HOW HARD YOU CAN HIT

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

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

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

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

I know, inspiration, 1,000%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are you really taking the hits for?

= What are you going to do differently?

OUR FIRST GIVEAWAY

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

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

Enter By:

Following us here on the Blog, or on Instagram!

Like our last THREE posts!

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

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

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

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

COUNTERCLAIMED

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you know where they lurk?

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

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

= What are you going to do differently?

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

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I included James 1:2-4 in A Thousand Times Over which says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” What a powerful verse!

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

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

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

I’d rather sit with him in a jail cell, scared as I was, a thousand times over again than in church with someone who professes to have it all together but really isn’t living for Jesus. Let alone, think that they should actually go try to reach the lost and hurting outside the church walls. I experienced Jesus in that little concrete visiting booth two years ago more than I think I ever have in a nice, beautiful, clean, church building.

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

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

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

= What are you going to do differently?

GIVE ME YOUR HAND

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But there is ministry in the mess.

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you seeking more of Him?

= In what ways have you felt like Jacob before?

= What are you going to do differently?

WHEN THE MIND IS A BATTLEFIELD

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

I believe that wholeheartedly today.

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

Maybe you feel like the biggest mess right now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Does your mind yield to the present pressure?

= Are you often left feeling overwhelmed?

= What are you going to do differently?

HOW TO SAY NO

(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Has this post empowered you to say no?

HOW CAN MAN DIE BETTER?

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What kind of odds are you really facing?

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you experience eternal stress?

= How do you usually respond to stress?

= What are you going to do differently?

HOW TO NOT BECOME NUMB WHILE THE CHURCH IS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Have you been feeling numb lately?

= Do you feel what God feels?

= What are you going to do differently?

RISE UP

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

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

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

= What are you going to do differently?

THE STATEMENT

(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Michelle Hobbs, RN, MS, APRN – CNP

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

mandated-1

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

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

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

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

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

-174034186.html

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

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

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

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

weighed-heavily-on-her/ar-AAMMTOk

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

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

d9504519a8ae081f785ca012b5ef84d1

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

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

LOVE JESUS, MAKE YOUR BED

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I know, very encouraging!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

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

= What tasks can you do with excellence for Christ?

= What are you going to do differently?

A LIVING HOUSE

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any way you slice it, it’s not legit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are your initial thoughts after reading this post?

= Are you willing to be changed?

= What are you going to do differently?

SHAKE THE DUST OFF

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you ever taken notice of the natural desire for honor that we have? Whether you have or not, it seems to consume us in more ways than I think we’d all like to admit. However, the desire for honor is something I believe is meant to bring us closer to Jesus (because He made us with it), yet we have confused its purpose, as we have with many other desires, and instead used it for our own glory.

Which is usually how the story goes when Jesus isn’t our only priority in life.

You see, we want to receive honor from our employer, from our followers on Facebook, from the teacher grading our papers at school, from our pastor, from coaches and organizations, from friends and peers, or even from leadership positions in the Church.

Here’s what people don’t want to tell you, though… Your choices have consequences, and you get to choose whose honor you receive.

It matters who is giving you the honor.

I’ve always struggled to understand the meaning behind Acts 13:50-52 which says, “But the Jews incited the prominent God-fearing women and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and expelled them from their district. But Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off their feet against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.”

I used to wonder why Paul and Barnabas “shook the dust off their feet against them”, and you may be wondering what this has to do with honor. Allow me to explain, because I believe that this could be really impactful for the American Church if we got this today.

In Biblical times, pious Jews would often shake the dust from their feet when leaving Gentile cities to make clear their separation from Gentile practices and refusing to honor them. However, here we see that Paul and Barnabas shook the dust from a Jewish town off their feet, which is interesting because they were both prominent Jewish men. But this action spoke volumes because it made clear their separation from the Jews who rejected their Messiah. Their very own people.

Are y’all getting this? Paul and Barnabas didn’t want their honor. They answered to a higher authority (Jesus) and wanted to be honored by their Savior, not the very world and people who despised Him.

Now, let me ask you this question… Whose honor do YOU want? Whose “well done” are you ultimately after?

Some of us have purposely been sitting in the world, conforming to all of its standards, just because we desire their honor. I am so sick of that! Why would we want their honor??

A.W. Tozer once said, “We cannot afford to let down our Christian standards just to hold the interest of people who want to go to hell and still belong to a church.”

That’s where Paul and Barnabas were at. They were not willing to compromise under any circumstance because they knew whose honor really mattered in the end. The devastating thing is that I don’t see very many Christians who have a relationship with Jesus like that now.

Instead of being bold and shaking the dust off, most Christians like to sit on the sidelines and claim that they are being “persecuted”. Listen, most Christians today aren’t being “persecuted” because they love Jesus and have the desire to be honored by Him alone. No, they are actually being held accountable for NOT acting like Him.

We’re running out of time. I want to hear “well done, good and faithful servant” from my Savior. I answer only to Him. I am after His honor, and I am not willing to compromise under any circumstance.

“Stand up, shake the dust off yourself!…”   (Isaiah 52:2)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Whose honor have you been after as of late?

= Are you all in to this “Jesus thing”?

= What are you going to do differently?

WORLDLY WINS OR SPIRITUAL SUCCESSES?

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Madie and I are frequently asked what The Few Bible Study groups are like, and we both have a difficult time explaining it. Hear me when I say this, it’s absolutely not because of anything we’ve done, but because the Lord is so faithful to work when His people actually make time for Him (which I am incredibly grateful for).

Thursdays are one of my favorite days of the week now, which is when the older girls meet!

Imagine, if you will, teen girls gathering in-person and over zoom to worship, pray, and be challenged through the Word of God together. They don’t have to come; they want to come. They want more of Jesus than they have ever experienced before, and I truly believe God honors that.

Over the last couple of months, we have been discussing Tran-sgen-derism (intentional misspelling) and the specific roles and duties God has created for both males and females to live out. It has been a very powerful time, and we felt the Lord leading us to talk about it on the Podcast as well (A Few Minutes With The Few). So be sure to check out those recent episodes!

Anyway, I gave them a challenge last week, and I want to challenge you with it this week… Don’t just live a Godly life. Build it.

Too often I think we view Christianity as something “to do” instead of “to be”. It’s great to do what the Gospel says, I’m not discounting that. But think of how much better it would be if we were to actually build the Kingdom and follow Jesus’ example because that’s who we are?

You can live it out yourself, but I believe that we were made to build something that will outlive ourselves. We do so by living life with others and teaching them what it looks like.

Where are my fellow workaholics at?! Just being real here, it’s easy for me to get caught up in work that ultimately has no eternal value, and sometimes even keeps me from the work God has for me. A.W. Tozer once said, “The Spirit-taught Christian must look past the multiplicity of incidental things and find the few that really matter. And let it be repeated for our encouragement, they are few in number and surprisingly easy to identify.”

In other words, Jesus wants us to know and be sure of what work really matters. He knows that we are quick to forget the few spiritual essentials that are necessary, just to chase after unimportant things that do nothing more than distract us from Him. Get to work, don’t let it get to you.

I love to get to the root of things, and I’ve had to ask myself time and time again if I’m after worldly wins or spiritual successes? I hope this question will help you determine whether you are simply living or building. You have to be intentional about the work you commit yourself to.

Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”

God created us to work. He gave us the authority to subdue the earth and have dominion over every living creature (Gen. 1:28). Which means that all of life, culture, and work is meant to reflect the beauty and glory of God. Whether you’re a student, pastor, construction worker, stay-at-home mom, elementary teacher, or an entrepreneur, work is rooted in God’s good creation and its sole purpose is to reflect His glory.

If we want to be spiritually successful, then we need to have a spiritual mindset instead of a worldly one. I don’t just want to look like Jesus, I want to think like Him too. Jesus came to build a Kingdom, one that He said the gates of Hell would not prevail against (Matthew 16:18).

Do not just work hard for the Lord, be sure to work well with Him.

“Seek, O believer, that every good thing you have may be an abiding thing. May your character not be a writing upon the sand, but an inscription upon the rock.” (Charles Spurgeon)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you struggle to be intentional about the work you commit yourself to?

= What’s something you’re currently chasing after that has no eternal value?

= What are you going to do differently?

THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I woke up yesterday morning to the news that a mural honoring George Floyd had been struck by lightning, resulting in its complete destruction. Perhaps you heard this news as well.

When people hear of things such as this happening, they tend to think that it is just a coincidence and nothing more. Take a quick look at the major news headlines reporting about the mural, for instance. The mayor himself said that “we may never know” what destroyed it, and another report I saw claimed that “It was just age. It just came away”. One year later? Hmm, I don’t think so. Interestingly enough, it was also reported one month ago that a porn star was found dead after posing nude in front of the mural.

I am here to tell you, however, that absolutely nothing is a coincidence in life.

You may be wondering why I believe there are no coincidences when it comes to incidents like these, and it’s because of Scriptures like this one…“I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless.”  (Isaiah 13:11)

That is God talking, y’all! Don’t think for a single second that He won’t judge America for its sin. What happened to the mural on Tuesday evening is a warning for us. A warning to repent and turn from our wicked ways, and to seek Him first.

It can be overwhelming to think that one day the Lord will judge the world, and that His standard is Jesus. Yet, believers can and should take joy in knowing that His standard is Jesus. If we have decided to follow Him, then His blood covers us and takes our sin away. We can be free, and freedom works on everyone. Knowing that God will one day judge the living and the dead (2 Tim. 4:1) should fill us with a sense of urgency, not taking our duty to share the simple Gospel lightly.

I have mentioned that revival starts with us, and I am more convinced of that as each week goes by. Do we tremble at the Lord’s justice and live in a Godly fear of it?

Charles Spurgeon once said, “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped around their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let no one go unwarned or unprayed for.”

Are you letting people go unwarned or unprayed for? My concern is that most Christians have recently lost sight of the Biblical command to warn the lost and are instead listening to the world’s megaphone message being screamed in their ears to just “be kind” and to “love everything” and “do what the Government says”.

Listen dear Christian, you were not created to love everything. To love everything is to be unashamed of sin, and to be proud of sin shows others that we have not and will not stand for anything righteous!

Thomas Jefferson once said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

If we really want to have a lasting impact on our country and change outcomes, I am convinced that it starts nowhere else than on our knees. George Washington said, “Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor…”

We must acknowledge Him and obey His commands if it is our desire to live a life worthy of the calling (Eph. 4:1).

Friend, if you are reading this post today and you have accepted and maybe even supported sinful ideologies such as b L m (intentional misspelling), Trans gender ism, and w o ke ism then I want to warn you to repent and to ask the Lord to reveal truth to you about those things.

It’s time to realize, Church, that our society is no longer a “Christian” one. Instead, it is permeated with counter-Christian messages that teach people to despise God and to treat His ways with contempt.

This does not, however, change the fact that there are NO coincidences with our God. He is coming back, and He is blatantly warning us of this truth. Are you bold enough to love Biblical truth, expose evil, and stand firm in this post-Christian society with us?

“And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink from Him in shame at His coming.”  (1 John 2:28)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you have a desire to live confidently for Jesus each day?

= Does the Lord’s justice cause you to tremble?

= What are you going to do differently?

IS JESUS YOUR WHY?

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I often find myself sitting before this computer and its’ keys wondering what God wants me to say next, and to be honest, I feel like I say the same thing over and over again.

However, God has been reassuring me that those are the things people really and desperately need to hear, not necessarily want to hear. You know, all those cute Christian Pinterest quotes aren’t always true (I know, shocker).

The world has enough influencers, I don’t want to be another one.

The world promotes perfection, but I long to be broken before my Jesus.

The world settles for fake religious events. I want to see genuine revival wreck the American Church’s status quo.

The world wants us to believe that we are building something great here, but I aspire to build and battle for the sake of eternity.

Do you?

I want you to know today that it’s ok to live for Jesus unabashedly! Pray when it’s awkward, worship when it’s silent, and preach the Gospel stronger and straighter every time you have the chance.

Do you really want revival? To see people repent and seek Christ? Then get out there and answer some questions. The lost ask the same questions all day every day, and we have the answer!

Speak the mighty name of Jesus over the impossible circumstances. Stop praying things that are logical to you while we have a God who exists for the sole purpose of operating in the realm of the unseen and unknown.

Warning: The majority will not understand your passion. You probably won’t have thousands of followers, and you will certainly be a special target for the hostility of men and devils.

Luke 10:19 says, “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”

Your influence is irreplaceable when you have the authority of Christ and a passion for Him more than anything else you have ever encountered. Let Jesus Himself be your “why”.

Oh, would you just give Him your absolute all today, friend? He will stand with you in the fire, He will pull you out of the water, and He will carry you on His shoulders.

We need to infiltrate our culture with the truth of Christ more than ever. I believe that’s precisely what we were made to do! How it must break His heart to see us search for all He wants to be to us in all the wrong things.

You do understand that that’s why anxiety medicine was made? You do know that’s why suicides continue to occur? We search for happiness and meaning in things like a bottle, and in sex, and in that new car.

In fact, most “Christians” are still searching because they aren’t willing to give everything up for what Jesus has for their lives.

Proverbs 8:17 says, “I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.”

Have you fallen in love with Him? You can right here, right now. If Jesus is your why in life, there’s no limit to what He can do through you.

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?”   – C.S. Lewis

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you desperate for something real?

= Is there anything keeping you from being dependent on Jesus?

= What are you going to do differently?

BUT IF NOT

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

In the summer of 1940, there was a total of 350,000 soldiers trapped on the island of Dunkirk. German forces were closing in around them with the means to completely destroy the island and everyone on it. Invasion was imminent. The speed of the Nazi army was unbelievable, and within days, most of the Allied Forces would be completely wiped out. British, French, Canadian, and Belgian troops had been forced back to Dunkirk by the advancing German army. Almost every escape route to the English Channel had been cut off; a horrible disaster had appeared unavoidable. At the time Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, called it “a miracle of deliverance”.

On May 12th, 1940, Hitler gave the order to invade France. By May 14th, 1940, German tanks had crossed the Meuse and had opened a gap in the Allied front. They reached the English Channel six days later.

The British, French, and Belgium governments had overwhelmingly underestimated the strength of the German forces. Because of this, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), as well as French, Canadian, and Belgian troops found themselves fighting against horrifying odds. Before long, the Allied forces had retreated to the beaches and harbor of Dunkirk where they were trapped, a sitting target for the Germans.

In Britain, as the British people waited restlessly, a three-word message was transmitted from the doomed armies at Dunkirk: “But if Not.”

Suddenly, the nation of Great Britain was thrust into action. Eight hundred boats of all different sizes and descriptions were called into a response. Every battleship, fishing boat, gunboat, yacht, motorboat, and even small rowboats, sailed across the English Channel to rescue those troops from Dunkirk and return them safely to Britain. “Operation Dynamo”, as it was called, was a success. The Miracle of Dunkirk has gone down in history as being the biggest civilian boat rescue mission to ever take place and will never be forgotten.

Many of you may be wondering, “why did that simple three-word message, ‘But if Not’, spur so many people into action?” Well, dear reader, that message was a reference to a passage of scripture in Daniel that reads,

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But if not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)

The story of Dunkirk has always inspired me, but I just recently discovered the power of this message that was sent. This message was so incredible because the army at Dunkirk was saying simply that they REFUSED to let the tyrant that was Adolf Hitler, force them into submission and worship of the diabolical group that was the Nazi’s. They pleaded for the British government to help rescue them, ‘But if Not’, they would fight, and they would go on fighting, until the destruction of every last soldier.

The reason I am writing this blog post, is to call the Church into action. Just like the soldiers on Dunkirk, our enemy is closing in around us. And he is closing in fast. Just like the soldiers on Dunkirk, we need a divine rescue.

One thing I want you to notice about this army though, is the fact that they had already been fighting, and they meant to go on fighting, even if there was to be no divine rescue. This is the part the American church is missing. We like to act as if we have been fighting for a long time. We like to act as if we have suffered for the cause in which we believe. But today I want to ask you, do you believe in the cause for which you fight so much, that you would be willing to say, “But if Not”?

Would you be willing to give up all that you love, cherish, and desire in order to fight for our cause? If many of us were honest with ourselves, the answer would be “No”.

Many of us like to think that we have taken a stand for freedom and for the Gospel, but I think we need to start being real with ourselves. So many people told me last year that they would not go back to in-person learning if there were mask mandates in their schools, but every one of my friends went back to school and wore a mask every single day for the entire school year. So many pastors said they would never shut down their churches just because the government told them too, but almost every single one of them did. Many people told me that if a restaurant told them they were not allowed to have a table because they weren’t wearing masks, they would go somewhere else, but ended up only going to a different restaurant if they were with my family since we would not wear them.

I want you all to know that I do not hate the government, or America, or my fellow Christians, but I believe that every one of the things I just listed, have become weak. Many of us like to read the story of Dunkirk and talk about how inspiring it is and act like if we were in their position, we would stand and fight. But one thing we must also remember, is that the Allied Forces did not win WWII just because they were evacuated from Dunkirk. They still had to go on fighting the Nazi’s in order not to be enslaved.

“We must be very careful not to assign this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations.” (Winston Churchill on the evacuation of Dunkirk)

Church, we cannot look at our present circumstances and act like we have been victorious. We still have fighting to do. Just because our country is not presently a communist country, does not mean that we may not be one in the next few years if we simply continue to evacuate when things get heated. Just because the American church is not under serious persecution, does not mean that we never will be. We must be Christians like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abenego. We must be willing to say to anyone who opposes the Gospel of Christ, “But if not, we will not serve your gods, or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Our job is to be the Light of Christ and fight the darkness that is creeping all around us. We must never surrender.

“What is to give light must endure burning.” (Viktor E. Frankl)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Will you give your all for Jesus?

= What are some things you can do to advance the Gospel?

= What are you going to do differently?

THE SILVERSMITH

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

How’s your day been? How’s your week been? Whether it seems like it has been the best or the worst, it’s extremely likely that you’ve had some kind of “crisis” happen that you’ve had to deal with, maybe even just today.

What’s your first reaction to a “crisis”? Maybe it was that a loved one got sick, or you totally forgot to turn that one year-end assignment in on time, or perhaps it’s just friend/family drama.

You see, I’ve been taught that you cannot fix a spiritual problem with a physical solution. So very often we look at things in life and our first reaction is to do what the people around us (who usually do not know Jesus) say to do, or what the world tells us to try.

But some good life advice I have personally received: Always try Jesus’ way FIRST before resorting to any other option.

1 John 5:19 says, “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”

More often than not, our first reaction to a crisis is to run to the world for a solution or “quick fix”, because we are already functioning in a worldly mindset on a daily basis. However, this is a bigger issue than we think it is. Our choices are evidence of whom we ultimately trust.

This means that we make Christianity look absolutely weak and trivial when we trust in anyone or anything but Christ.

Titus 2:11-15 says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”

We are called to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. I don’t think we are living up to that expectation when we turn to the world and let it be our source of security and hope instead of Jesus.

Lilias Trotter once said, “Holiness, not safety, is the end of our calling.”

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about crisis, hardships, and trials it’s that if I’m doing what I’m called to do through it, He will certainly do His part and make me more like Himself.

For example, it reminds me of when a silversmith heats up silver. He has to heat it up over and over again. As the heat draws out the imperfections and impurities and they would surface, he would scoop it off the top and start again.

Do you know when he would stop refining the silver? He would stop when He could see his own reflection in it. Only then was it perfect.

This is exactly what Jesus does in our lives. He begins to sanctify us, and mold us into His likeness, which is indeed, the most beautiful thing.

The verse above said that Jesus “gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession”. Just take a minute to think about that.

He wants you to be His, and His alone! He is a jealous God because of how much He loves and cares for us.

A.W. Tozer once said, “When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike, it resolves a great deal of anxiety.”

I’m not sure about you, but I want my first reaction in the midst of crisis to be to trust that He is just taking some time to draw out some impurities. He wants to make us more like Himself, but the question you and I must decide the answer to is, are we going to let Him?

“It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.”  (C.S. Lewis)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What tends to be your first reaction in the midst of crisis?

= Do you desire to be holy?

= What are you going to do differently?

THE WAY I AM

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I suppose that a lot of people think I’m crazy for saying and doing the stuff I do on a daily basis. Not just within The Few, but daily life. I’m not going to lie. So often I question why many Christians do not show any sign of change or of being radical for Christ.

I struggle a lot with that. Maybe you do too?

Madie and I are usually labeled as the “crazy girls” in friend groups because we don’t “take a break” when it comes to talking about what Jesus would want us to do, or spending time talking to that individual girl that’s struggling and needs someone to just speak into them spiritually.

People don’t like that. They don’t like that when Madie and I choose to hang out with them it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to go along with what everybody else may be in favor of doing. Not because we are anything important, but because He is our priority.

Can I just share my heart here?

Truth is, I’m sick of the American version of Christianity. It’s not Biblical! The American Church has turned church-goers into consumers instead of contributors (1 Cor. 12), and it’s the exact opposite of what Jesus has called His followers to.

We are no longer focused on the mission, and we quickly forget that there are real people going to a real hell.

There have been more times than I can count that I have questioned if I am too overbearing or if I’m too serious when it comes to this whole Jesus thing. But, then I read verses like this…

Matthew 24: 42-44 says, “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

The question I want us all to ask ourselves today is whether or not that verse has any kind of effect on our everyday way of life? Let’s get more specific… Does it effect your choices? How about your time?

How you spend your time, is how you spend your life.

One of the craziest things that I do NOT understand about Christians today is that they don’t even try. They don’t even try to be like Jesus even though they claim to believe He’s coming back, yet they can certainly train and try out for a sports team or a job they want.

Not only that, but they also seem to be completely ignorant of the fact that they can grieve the Holy Spirit within them! When we are disobeying the commands of Christ, we are grieving His spirit that is inside of us. See Ephesians 4:30.

What’s actually important? Have you ever asked yourself that question?

1 Corinthians 7:29-31 says, “This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.”

The one thing I’ve been asking of the Lord recently is that He would give me a heart for the people who are lost and that I wouldn’t be so focused on myself. I think that a big reason many Christians aren’t even trying to be like Jesus and trying to be holy, is because we really just don’t care about anything except for ourselves.

However, we are told that the present form of this world is passing away. This is indeed no time to be inward focused. Jesus should not have to beg us to get our acts together. It should be a natural response on our part.

The time is short, and it is getting shorter second by second, day by day. You and I need to get serious about Jesus, now. It’s time to start trying.

I am the way I am because Jesus has radically impacted my life. I wouldn’t want to be any other way, and I certainly won’t apologize for it.

“For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.””  (1 Peter 1:16)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Has Jesus radically impacted your life?

= How are you “trying” to exercise your faith?

= What are you going to do differently?

A TIME OF TRIAL

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

This generation is failing to recognize truth, and every human being alive is suffering the consequences. There is indeed a double standard being taught by the world. It’s in almost every news headline that we see on any given day. If I understand correctly, “good” is now bad and “bad” is now good.

Yet, this has been the enemy’s plot throughout history, has it not? Whenever evil becomes evident, Christians are shocked, but I’m not sure why exactly.

Andrew Kern once said, “I believe that God has been preparing His people for a time of trial, but He has been doing it the way He does things and not the way we would.”

In other words, God is purging us of all the vain supports that offer themselves.

1 Peter 4:12-13 says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.”

If Christians would just realize that everything happening to us right now is to make us more Christlike, we would indeed have the passion that our persecuted brothers and sisters do. The problem is, the American Church has little desire to be Christlike because we would rather continue on in our worldliness.

Oh, that we would repent of our love for the world! We’re so worried about ourselves and not about what pleases Him.

I think one of the biggest questions American pastors specifically should be asking themselves right now, is if the people that sit in “their” churches each Sunday would be able to withstand a fiery trial and a time of testing.

Would you?

Are we preaching Jesus crucified or are we preaching the comfortable and convenient version of Jesus that we made up because we don’t want Him on His terms? A.W. Tozer once said, “Many people say, “Try Jesus;” You don’t try Jesus. He’s not there to be experimented with. Christ is not on trial. You are.”

This post is not to make you doubt your relationship with Jesus, but rather encourage you to test the strength of it. In Psalm 57 David said, “My heart is confident, God, my heart is confident.” I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to say that to Him as well.

Friends, the time of trial is now. However, even in times of trial, I want my heart to be confident in Jesus and what He did for me on the cross. May He help us to remain steadfast under trial.

If you give up your life, you will gain it. There is no other way.

“God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over.”  (C.S. Lewis)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Is your heart confident in God?

= What are you going to do differently?

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?

I TALK BACK

We may not see it, we might even forget it’s there, but I believe the biggest battle is going on in the spiritual realm, even as I type. The enemy loves nothing more than for us to begin our days discouraged and defeated, bringing fear and stress into our homes, schools, and workplaces.

Which is what many of us fall into most days.

If your actions are like salt and light in this dark world, it is only a matter of time before you encounter spiritual warfare. The Devil will hurl obstacles and attacks in your face all day long. God challenges us, however, to stand guard and be alert against these schemes, and to stay intimately close to Him.

The Word of God is our sword, and He equips us with strength, wisdom, and discernment through the Holy Spirit. He invites us to spend time in His presence, pressing in to know Him more.

As we begin to understand God’s truth and what is real, we also know more of what is false, and we are stronger to stand against it in the powerful name of Jesus. He never leaves us to fend for ourselves in an evil world, but reminds us that He is constantly with us, fighting for us, even when we cannot see.

Luke 10:19 says, “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” 

This is powerful y’all. That verse right there should change your attitude when you wake up in the morning. No doubt, we are certainly living in enemy occupied territory. But Jesus has given us authority over the enemy!

Praying God’s words back to Him is one of the most powerful weapons against the forces of evil. A practice Jesus made a priority. It reminds us that God knows our way and understands what we face. It allows us to be solely dependent upon Him and trust Him. It guards our hearts and focuses our minds back on Him.

It wins the battle.

Christians need to start talking back to the Devil. God’s people need to remind the enemy over and over who he really is, and the authority we have over Him because of what Jesus did on the cross.

A.W. Tozer once said, “I say, “Yes, Devil, sin is terrible – but I remind you that I got it from you! And I remind you, Devil, that everything good – forgiveness and cleansing and blessing – everything that is good I have freely received from Jesus Christ!””

In our prayer and praise we should talk back to the Devil. I’m asking believers to throw God’s Word in the Devil’s face every single chance they get.

Psalm 44:5 says, “Through You we will push back our adversaries, through Your name we will trample down those who rise up against us.” 

Through the name of Jesus, amen? May He teach us, help us, and sustain us. I want to be better for Him, better than I was yesterday.

I talk back to the devil by claiming victory. How about you, Christian?

“My main ambition in life is to be on the Devil’s most wanted list.”  (Leonard Ravenhill)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you encountering spiritual warfare?

= Do you pray God’s words back to Him?

= What are you going to do differently?

A SCANDAL

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you ever been part of a scandal? A scandal where people mocked you, thought that they were superior when compared to you, and were entertained by the gossip that makes its rounds whenever scandals take place?

Big or small, the world feeds off of stories that involve people’s personal lives. Why else do you think people buy the magazines at the grocery checkouts that tell of all the latest gossip?

You’re probably wondering why I would bring this topic up in a blog post. So, allow me to share about a scandal Christians should, yes should, be a part of and a quote that I came across recently that gave me this crazy analogy…

“If you are going to walk with Jesus Christ, you are going to be opposed. In our days, to be a true Christian is really to become a scandal.”  (George Whitefield)

Now, here comes the part where I beat us all up a little bit. I hope it will be worth your time to read to the end.

Let me start by asking two simple questions… 1. Are you opposed daily? 2. Did you know that an antonym for the word “scandal” is “honor”? To be honored in this world should drive a follower of Jesus mad. If we are standing in the company of worldly worshippers while they praise us for our achievements, then we do not have the right to call ourselves Christians. For, to be honored by the world is indeed the biggest disgrace a Christian can be paid.

Far be it from me that I should receive a crown of worldly honor, when my King was given a crown of thorns.

Matthew 5:10-12 says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.””

To be a scandal for the world should be a blessing for believers, but only if it is for righteousness’ sake. You know, the American Church has done a terrific job at turning people into selfish creatures that live to consume. Most Christians think that we are persecuted if we take our Bible to our favorite coffee shop to read, buy a $7 coffee, and then get weird looks because we brought our Bible.

The thing is, if we were a scandal for Jesus, then we wouldn’t be focused on who’s looking at us. We would be focused on what we’re reading in the Word and then living it out!

There’s a huge difference.

I’ve been especially noticing as of late that even the most religious “Church-goers” are not in their Bibles during the week, let alone the average “Church-goers”. Therefore, they are not opposed by the world, but instead happily welcomed into it. Sure, they could probably tell you what they learned on Sunday from the pastor, but the Church isn’t a scandal, so it really makes very little difference.

The enemy doesn’t need to threaten them because they aren’t being transformed by Scripture personally!

1 John 3:1 says, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”

If you are a child of God, live like it. Be a scandal the world just can’t get over because you know who you are in Jesus, and what you’re meant to do for Jesus.

“There is not a thing on the face of the earth that I abhor so much as idleness or idle people.”  (George Whitefield)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you a true Christian?

= What are you going to do differently?

WITHIN ONESELF

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As I stated earlier, we cannot measure it.

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

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

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

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

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

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

= What are you going to do differently?

THE PROBLEM WITH I, ME, AND MY

(Guest Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

I discovered the writings of Watchman Nee about two years ago wandering through a book store’s discount shelves. I had heard of him before but had never read any of his work. So, when I stumbled upon a copy of The Normal Christian Life for $5.00, I snagged it! I am so glad I did! He has easily become one of my favorite authors and teachers.

Watchman Nee was a Bible Teacher and Evangelist in China from approximately 1923 – 1952. He founded over 200 churches and wrote more than 50 books. Starting his ministry while still a university student, Nee gathered small groups in homes and helped them grow into spiritually strong, self-supporting churches. He was arrested for preaching the Gospel in 1952 and was imprisoned until his death in 1972.

Watchman Nee’s books are filled with the forgotten secrets of spiritual strength and power. He pulls no punches in reminding us where we need to step up. I would say, he has much to teach us given his success in living out the Gospel, even under persecution.

Let’s dive into some of the life-changing truth that can be found in just the first chapter of Watchman Nee’s, A Normal Christian Life!

So, what is the “normal” Christian life? Is it the Americanized version of Christianity, where we show up to a church service a couple of times a week, serve on some committees, donate to a few charities?

Oh friends, I for one, am longing for something much deeper and richer than that. My desire, for myself, and for you, is that we would, honestly and for a long while, ponder what Jesus would consider to be the “normal” Christian life.

Considering even a small portion of Jesus’ teaching, the Sermon on the Mount, for example, where He lays out the Beatitudes, can leave us wondering whether it is even possible for a mere human to live up to such expectations. But, that is precisely the point and the good news! It is not possible for a mere human to live up to those expectations.

Our saving grace lies in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” I no longer live, but Christ lives His life in me. You no longer live, but Christ lives His life in you.

So simple. Utterly complete. Undeniably clear. Yet, it still eludes us. Why?

Let me speak for myself here. I look at the Beatitudes and think… How can I be more meek, more merciful? I will donate my time and my money to a charity. How can I become more righteous? I will memorize the whole Bible and quote Scripture to my sinner friends! How can I be a peacemaker? I will bite my tongue, even though I really want to tear that person up for offending me!

Do you hear the problem with my questions and my answers? Those little pronouns that trip us up every time. “I” and “me/my”.

Nee reminds us that, “God makes it quite clear in His Word that He has only one answer to every human need: His Son, Jesus Christ. In all His dealings with us, He works by taking us out of the way and substituting Christ in our place.”

You see, Jesus died instead of you so you can be forgiven. He must live instead of you so that you can live a “normal” Christian life. Jesus was your substitute on the cross who secures your forgiveness, and He must be your substitute in life to secure your victory.

You can donate your time and money to charitable causes, but those you are serving should see Jesus and not you. You absolutely should memorize Scripture, but it should be for the purpose of knowing God and making Him known; to deepen your relationship with Jesus so that He becomes the love of your life. You definitely should hold your tongue and not respond in anger at an offense, but it should be because you are looking at the other person through Jesus eyes; seeing that they are lost and in need of His saving grace.

We can strive to live a Christian life in our own power. We might even succeed in upholding most of Jesus’ commands for a short time, but it will only be for a short time. If our hearts are not truly and completely substituted with Jesus’ heart, our sinful nature will win out eventually. Have you not found that to be true?

The only way to live a “normal” Christian life is to “keep constantly before us this fact: God will answer all our questions in one way and one way only, namely, by showing us more of His Son.”

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you try to be a “good Christian” on your own most of the time?

= In what way did this post encourage/challenge you today?

= What are you going to do differently?

THE WAY OUT

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I feel like I’m in a stage of mourning something right now. Anyone else? We’ve been talking a lot about what’s going on in our Country, and y’all know that we are certainly mourning that. However, I am experiencing a sense of sadness over the state of Christianity that I never have before.

You know, I think that many of us are thinking that we’ve got the future to get serious about Jesus. Madie hit on that topic so well in the blog post she wrote for all of us last week. But if that’s your mindset, I would just challenge you to walk through a cemetery sometime.

Just read the dates on the tomb stones. It’s not just elderly people who die.

It’s insane, when you walk through a cemetery. It’s just shocking. It’s like, what? They were only 18. 24? 31? Oh, ok 94 I expected that, but 50? Seven?

1 Peter 4:7, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.”

This is a weird verse, because usually we think of prayer as a means to an end, right? I’m going to pray so that I can gain this. Ok, that’s Biblical. But here, scripture tells us that prayer is the end. Meaning, I want your prayers to be strong, because the end could come at any time for any of us, and the one thing you really want to have together when that happens is your prayer life.

Self-control is key. Peter is telling us to not give into all the things that could mess up our prayer lives. It is so crucial that we protect what goes into our minds, whether that be YouTube videos, news apps, sports etc… So that when we pray, we aren’t going a million miles an hour.

That’s what I see so many of us doing right now though! See, the quality of our prayer time is often determined by what we do before we even utter the first word.

Don’t you want to be one of those people that when you see Christ you’re just like, ahh! I was just talking with you a few minutes ago! There you are!

I mean, that’s what we want, right?

Listen, the problem is that many Christians can walk through the cemetery, realize that Christianity is dying, and not be bothered by it. While some of us are mourning that it’s dying and that no one even sees that it is.

If you’re one of The Few, I know that you’re probably feeling helpless and frustrated by the fact that no one wants to do anything about it. I get it, but read this quote…

“Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.” (C.S. Lewis)

Come on, somebody! This isn’t the first time Christianity has been in the cemetery and six feet under. Our God is not bothered by the grave. The impossible has never stopped Him. He knows the way out.

Now, this isn’t a post for those who aren’t bothered by the fact that Christianity is dying. This is a post for those who are mourning that it is.

I clarify, because for some, this sounds like I’m saying that we can just sit back and do nothing, when in reality, I’m saying the complete opposite.

I’m reminding The Few that God isn’t done with us. There is still much to be done. There are still souls to be won, and while that be the case, God will continue to lead us out of the grave.

I’m reminded of Mark 1:1-5 which tells us about how the demonized man lived. It says, “They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesushad stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.”

All the enemy has to do in order to win us is keep us among the tombs. We don’t even have to be bound. We just have to be willing to stay there.

The point: There’s a way out.

Church, Jesus is calling us out of our graves. Though the way out may appear to us unworkable, our Savior is a waymaker.

He knows the way out because He has been here before.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are you going to do differently?

GOT MY HEART GOING

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Each evening, before I go to sleep, I have been reading through some of C.S. Lewis’ books. Why I choose to do this at night I have yet to figure out, as his words are extremely thought-provoking and make my mind wander to very deep places.

On Sunday evening, however, a good friend texted me (on accident actually) as I was reading, and we just started talking about Jesus and the great things we’d been studying recently, because we’re going through the same devotional book. So, I told her about this C.S. Lewis book that I’m reading, and I sent her a picture of the page I was on when she texted.

This is the part of the book that I sent her…

“But creatures are not thus separate from their Creator, nor can He misunderstand them. The place for which He designs them in His scheme of things is the place they are made for. When they reach it, their nature is fulfilled and their happiness attained: a broken bone in the universe has been set, the anguish is over.

When we want to be something other than the thing God wants us to be, we must be wanting what, in fact, will not make us happy. Those Divine demands which sounds to our natural ears most like those of a despot and least like those of a lover, in fact marshal us where we should want to go if we knew what we wanted. He demands our worship, our obedience, our prostration. Do we suppose that they can do Him any good, or fear, like the chorus in Milton, that human irrelevance can bring about ‘His glory’s diminution’?

A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of His cell. But God wills our good, and our good is to love Him (with that responsive love proper to creatures) and to love Him we must know Him: and if we know Him, we shall in fact fall on our faces.”

The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis. Originally Published in 1940.

My friend’s response was this, “It’s so good! You got my heart going.” I was struck by her words. Not for the reason that I thought she wouldn’t like it, but I was struck by how she said that it “got her heart going”.

Whenever I read something about Christ’s love for me and how He wants to have this intimate relationship with me, I have this natural longing to love Him more deeply. I really don’t even have to think about it; it’s just natural.

But it got me thinking, how many people would read something like what I sent my friend from a book, and not think a second thought about it? Or, allow me to go even farther than that, how many Christians have heard about God’s love so many times and think that the last thing they should do is fall on their faces before Him?

Lewis finishes this section of the book by saying, “If we do not (fall on our faces), that only shows that what we are trying to love is not yet God – though it may be the nearest approximation to God which our thought and fantasy can attain.”

You know, we can get so caught up in trying to understand everything about having a relationship with Christ, and yet keep ourselves from actually having a relationship with Christ! Listen, I don’t care if you’re not an emotional person. If you don’t weep over your sin, over the fact that Jesus was willing to be brutally killed because He wanted to win you, then perhaps nothing is going on inside!

Proverbs 3:3 says, “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Guys, are you getting this?! The Gospel should get your heart going! It should change your attitude, your tone of voice, how you drive, how you treat fellow classmates, co-workers etc.

Very few people allow that kind of love in. A love that will change your heart forever. One that doesn’t make sense, one that we’ll never comprehend. Many are scared to take that risk, but what an adventure it is if you are only willing.

Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

If Jesus doesn’t get your heart going today, then let me challenge you to make Him your first love. I want to challenge you to let Jesus end that anguish and to set that bone in your life that has been broken for way too long. Take the risk and let Him love you.

He is a God who will never, ever, misunderstand you because He is the only one who knows without a doubt, where you’re really meant to be.

“Other than heaven, the only place where one’s heart is completely safe from the dangers of love is hell.”   (C.S. Lewis)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Is there evidence in your life that you love Jesus because He first loved you?

= Does the thought of love scare you?

= What are you going to do differently?

A MORE CONVENIENT SEASON

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

In November, I began reading a book by Charlotte Bronte called “Jane Eyre”. It is a classic, so I’m sure some of you have heard of this book, or maybe have even read it.

To give you a basic overview of the book, it’s about a girl named Jane Eyre, whose parents died when she was an infant. Because of her parent’s death, she has been sent to live with her aunt and three cousins who mistreat her horribly. In order to get her out of their hair, Jane’s aunt sends her to a girl’s school, where she isn’t treated much better than she was at home.

There is not enough food for all of the girls, it is always cold, the headmaster is extremely cruel, and so on. Through all these trials though, Jane sees one girl, Helen Burns, (who tends to get punished even more than the other girls), who constantly has a good attitude and bears all her punishments well. She notices something different in Helen Burns compared to all the rest of the girls, which you find out later in the book, is her Christ-like attitude.

As Jane and Helen are having a conversation about how much Helen is punished for silly things, Jane says she could not possibly bear it. Helen’s response is quite challenging…  

She says, “Yet it would be your duty to bear it, if you could not avoid it: it is weak and silly to say that you cannot bear what it is your fate to be required to bear.”  

And now I want you to really pay attention to Jane’s response. This is SO important. “I heard her with wonder: I could not comprehend this doctrine of endurance; and still less could I understand or sympathize with the forbearance she expressed for her chastiser. Still, I felt that Helen Burns considered things by a light invisible to my eyes. I suspected she might be right and I wrong; but I would not ponder the matter deeply; like Felix, I put it off to a more convenient season.”  

When I read this, it hit me super hard. “…I would not ponder the matter deeply… I put it off to a more convenient season.” The very first thing I thought of while reading this, was how we as Christians do this EVERY SINGLE DAY. I know that can be difficult to hear, but I have seen this play out so many times in my own life and the lives of Christians around me.  

We lack conviction. That is one thing I have noticed about Christians, especially throughout 2020. We talk big. We act like we would go through persecution for our beliefs, but then the moment they are challenged we comply.  

For 2021 my focus word is “fight”. Throughout the year, I’m going to be focusing on fighting the battles the Lord calls me to fight, without any resistance or hesitation. Now, I don’t mean I’m going to literally fight with people I don’t agree with, or who don’t have the same opinions as me. I just want to be a person the Lord can use to speak up for the convictions He has laid upon my heart. Another thing I want to focus on is praying for the Church to fight. In 2020, I have watched the Church become the weakest it has ever been.

We have let the Government decide when we do and do not meet, instead of God. We have allowed fear to cripple us and take away our influence. My prayer for the Church this year is that we would not put off the issues that are hard to study and understand, “to a more convenient season”.

No! This is the season for action! We must act against evil now, before it strips away everything we have ever fought for in the past. We must give way to the convictions the Lord has given us. You may have to fight alone. You may have to keep fighting alone, until Jesus has used every last ounce of your strength.  

This isn’t just about us. If we do not fight now and set an example, who will be fighting 50 years from now? At the moment, the example we are setting for future generations is the concept of putting the hard things off “to a more convenient season”. But, if I am being honest with you, that perfect season you are waiting for, that season where things won’t be difficult anymore, is not coming.

There is always going to be something in front of you that is hard to fight. Always. But the thing you need to decide is whether or not you are going to let the thing in front of you consume your life. Because that is what evil does. It devours everything in its path, and as of right now, it isn’t meeting any resistance from the Church.  

“For he says, ‘In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love;”  (2 Corinthians 6:2-6) 

Now is the favorable time. Now is the season. I want to challenge each and every one of you to first pray about some specific issues you feel like the Lord would want you to fight against. Then, I want you to act upon the things He lays on your heart. Do not wait for a “more convenient season”. This is the time.

Now act. 

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE? 

= How have you been fighting against evil in your life? 

= Do you find yourself waiting for a “more convenient season” sometimes? 

= What are you going to do differently? 

THE HOLY PILGRIMAGE OF GRIEF

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

How should a believer grieve? This is a question I have been wrestling with; trying to find the answer to for quite a while now. I’ve never enjoyed the process of grief, and I’m certain that most people don’t.

In the past month, I attended the funeral of a man who never made a profession of faith. Then, just about a week ago, I watched a young woman (in her 40s) who had cancer, take some of her very last breaths. I am unsure of her salvation as well. Isn’t it such a blessing that Christians have an assurance of seeing our saved loved ones again?

Just to clarify, I am not about to say that Christians should not grieve or that grief is bad. Rather, I want to look at how Scripture expects believers to grieve.

I think the hardest thing about grief is coming to the realization that we were not made to experience it. Because of sin, we have death, and we cannot possibly be expected to cope with those things on our own.

Grief is a natural emotion to death. Jesus made it that way. Here is what I’ve been “wrestling with” though… Why do so many Christians grieve more or in the same ways that unbelievers do?

Kind of a crazy question, but I’m being serious.

Many Christians seem to draw it out and expect conversations to be centered around what only they are going through. It appears to me that they are choosing NOT to rely on the Lord. Instead, looking to the world for sympathy and comfort that it cannot give. Only the Lord can bind up our broken hearts.

They trade the Lord’s strength for worldly sympathy, which is temporary and only provides momentary relief.

Christians must be very careful to not live in prolonged grief and despair, looking for constant sympathy. That can be a selfish attitude, and very detrimental to your relationship with Jesus.

It proves that He really isn’t enough for you, and that you would rather remain inward focused instead of finding comfort in Jesus’ love for you. Sympathy is, when looked at from a spiritual standpoint, at its core, selfish. See Philippians 2:3.

It was C.S. Lewis who once said, “Selfishness has never been admired.”

Attempting to gain, consciously or subconsciously, as much sympathy as you possibly can out of the grieving process, shows that you’re trying to avoid the demands of grief. You’re trying to fight the fierce, yet holy, pilgrimage that grief will take you on. We tend to swim against the currents of it, terrified of being overwhelmed or even becoming lost in our brokenness.

If we resist that process, that holy pilgrimage as I just described, we will never come to the place of wholeness that the emotion called “grief” was meant to bring us to. If only we would long to receive God’s strength in the midst of the pain and suffering instead of sympathy, then our grief would have purpose, and we would ultimately find healing.

Revelation 21:4 explains that one day Jesus will wipe every tear from our eyes and that there will be no more death. How absolutely heavenly. As believers, we must rest in that knowledge and peace. Knowing that our Savior wants nothing more than to wipe our tears with His own hands.

2 Corinthians 1:5-7 says, “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”

God allows us to feel grief because He wants it to bring us so much closer to His heart. It should make us evaluate where we are with Jesus, and if we are really living for eternity.

As I witnessed that 40 year-old woman take some of her last breaths last week, every second felt like an eternity. These are usually seconds I tend to think go by so quickly, and complain I don’t have enough of. But the reality is, each second is indeed long enough to do something; to be what God wants me to be. Seconds are what effect eternity. Not minutes or hours as we tend to think. I feel God challenging me to be conscious of MY seconds and what I’m really living for. Did I accomplish what God had for me to do for eternity today? Am I loving and giving and taking notice of this second I have the ability to seize and serve Jesus with?

Oh Jesus, may we become lost in our brokenness so that we can be found in your presence.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all of troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”  (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you spend your “seconds” for eternity?

= Are you careful not to live in prolonged grief?

= What are you going to do differently?

WHY GOD HASN’T WRITTEN AMERICA OFF AND WHY WE SHOULDN’T EITHER

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Many of y’all have asked if I would share more of the devotionals that I have been writing in my government college class as I did in a previous blog post titled, “The American’s Devotion” https://thefew.blog/2020/10/01/the-americans-devotion/ and I thought that this week would be perfect to share some of my very last devotionals since it is the last week of the class!

By sharing these, I hope it reminds you that God is not done with America, and that He is still working in mighty ways. We can’t lose hope. It takes time for evil to be exposed, and we must be patient and willing to trust the Lord for the fate of our country.

Is America Doomed?

October 5th 2020 – “This devotion hit on something that I am extremely passionate about. It mentioned that sin has distorted the image of Christ that we have, but that it can be restored through Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. I think that many American Christians have written America off because of its sin. I’ve heard it said so many times that we’re too far gone in our rebellion to come back to where we once were, and that no matter how many history or government classes we take, or how desperately we desire to come back, it won’t change the fact that we are doomed, as a country, to utter failure. However, when I read verses like Hosea 6:1, I am persuaded to think differently. It says, “Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces, but He will heal us; He has injured us, but He will bind up our wounds.” We are not doomed in our sin, because the Lord is near and more than willing to restore us with His perfect grace. Perhaps the problem is that we are the ones who have gotten so comfortable with where we are, that we don’t even have a need for a comforter anymore? America needs to return to the Lord in order to solve the problems our sin has created. We need to cry out to the One who can restore our image and make us a blameless and Godly nation once again.” 

Judgement and Justice

October 26th 2020 – “This week’s devotion reminded me of a quote by Thomas Jefferson, who once said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.” It can be overwhelming to think that one day the Lord will judge everyone, and that His standard is Jesus. Yet, I think that believers should take joy in knowing that His standard is Jesus. If we have decided to follow Him, then His blood covers us and takes our sin away. We can be free, and freedom works on everyone. However, knowing that God will one day judge the living and the dead (2 Tim. 4:1) should fill us with a sense of urgency, not taking our duty to share the simple Gospel lightly. In a past devotion I mentioned that it starts with us, and I am more convinced of that as each week goes by. Do we, the people, tremble at the Lord’s justice and live in a Godly fear of it?”

Pure Integrity

November 16th 2020 – “On January 2nd, 1814 Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to Dr. Walter Jones describing George Washington and his character. Jefferson said, “His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man.” This is the character that American Christians need to imitate and have in the time we’re living in. People should be able to say that we are wise and that our integrity is most pure because we walk in the truth of Christ, which I believe is what George Washington did. James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” May we be believers who are sincere in our faith this week.”

The Arrival

November 30th 2020 – “I think that it is only when we arrive at the end of something that we are truly able to look back and acknowledge the wisdom and growth that was gained in the process. As we’ve gone through this class, I am thankful to have studied the start of our great country. This great experiment is one that testifies to the grace and faithfulness of our God. We have a Savior who is still busy redeeming broken and hurting lives, and I do not believe He plans to leave America in the dust. There are still a few who are living for the end of the story. There are still a few who know without a doubt that Christ holds our victory and redemption in His mighty hands. We must, as our Founding Fathers, face the unknown with courage and be equipped for every good work that lies ahead (2 Timothy 3:17).”

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you tremble at the Lord’s justice?

= How have you struggled to be patient in this time?

= What are you going to do differently?

NEVERTHELESS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I’m not sure about y’all, but Thanksgiving feels a bit more solemn this year. There’s a heaviness in the air. Perhaps you have spent most of this year being ungrateful, as I know many of us have. There hasn’t been a single day this year that I haven’t heard someone say that this year has just been the worst ever.

Can any of us honestly say that we have lived each day of 2020 with a thankful attitude and perspective?

H.U. Westermayer once said, “The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”

Christians have lived this year of their lives with the mindset that they deserve sympathy because this year hasn’t gone as they might have expected. May I remind the Church today that we deserve absolutely nothing?

God has saved our sinful souls from eternal damnation and we feel as if we are in need of sympathy? I think today, Thanksgiving 2020, needs to be a day that we repent for not being grateful.

May we live as the Pilgrims did, giving thanks and pouring out our hearts before the Lord, nevertheless. May we be grateful that we are not digging seven times more graves than huts. I choose this day to be thankful, nevertheless. Will you join me?

“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” Psalm 57:7-11 (Note: David wrote this while in the Cave of Adullam, running for his life from King Saul)

“Thanksgiving is possible only for those who take time to remember; no one can give thanks who has a short memory.”  -Unknown  

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are you going to do differently?