Saturday, August 29, 2009

Blessings of Being a Big Sister

I have never really written much about myself on this blog, because this blog was started to encourage others in their walks with God, not to be filled with the every day happenings in my life. That would be boring indeed. But, I have been so encouraged by reading stories about the lives of other big sisters, that I thought to write a few posts now and then about my family life might be a good thing.

I am the second oldest child in a family of twelve. I have five brothers and four sisters, and being a big sisters is one of my biggest joys. My siblings could tell you that sometimes I am not nice. If you are a big sister you know what they mean. Sometimes I snap at them, sometimes I put them down would I should be building them up. I am not perfect, but I try to do my best, and I have learned a thing or two along the way.

Number one, large families are a blessing. I have had a lot of people comment on how hard it must be on my mother taking care of all of us and homeschooling us on top of that. I smile every time. Many hands make light work, and we have many hands. Just about every child from a big family would tell you that they learned to help around the house at a young age, and that at some point they have helped tutor their younger siblings. Some would say that that is to much to put on a young person's shoulders, and that your growing years should not be filled with so much responsibility, but I know that for myself the added responsibilities, while not aways a joy, have made me a better person. I am more prepared for the responsibilities that come with being an adult, I am less selfish (I hope!), and I am more thankful when others go out of their way to serve me because I understand the effort that went into it. So, even though I started washing dishes at the age of four or five, and washing clothes a few years later, and changed dirty diapers more times then I can count, I still say, I am very blessed to be a part of a large family.

Secondly, when you are an older sister, your siblings look up to you, even when you mess up, so you really have to watch your step. Even though your siblings notice your mistakes, they usually are very forgiving and willing to help you do better. All you have to do is ask. The other good thing is, when you snap at them and hurt their feelings, they will forget it pretty quickly if you tell them you are sorry and then spend some time doing something they enjoy with them. Do not stand in fear of walking lest you make a mistake and lead your siblings astray. Step out on faith, asking God to guide you, and do not stop at walking forward, run. If you make a mistake, seek forgiveness, admit your wrong and continue onward striving to do better having learned from your mistakes. Your siblings will learn from you example and will admire the fact that you humbly ask forgiveness when you mess up, and that you do not give up, but strive daily to do your best.

One of the most encouraging things I have learned by being a big sister is, even if I never get the chance to do something big to change the world for Christ, if I am faithful in the little things God will bless me. One of those little things is teaching your younger siblings and helping to bring them up to fear the Lord and to encourage them to go about His business. It is a great privilege, and the responsibility of it is nothing if God is on your side. The rewards of watching your younger siblings grow into godly adults, who love the Lord with all their hearts, is worth every ounce of effort you put into helping them grow and so much more.

As an fellow older sister my advise to you is this: Give it all you have got. Be the best encourager, the best helper, the best playmate, the best teacher, the best friend, the best big sister you can be. You may feel discouraged because there is not an opportunity for you to be involved with groups who are making a difference in the lives of others. Your church and other ministry involvement may be limited, and that may leave you longing for something, anything, you can do for Christ. Be discouraged no longer. God has given you a special work. He has charged you to help your parents to bring up your brothers and sisters in the way they should go. He has given you the opportunity to learn how to serve and love unconditionally. Being a good big sister takes a lot of effort, let me tell you, and this work is preparing you for bigger things in your future. Noticed I did not say better things, because I think next to raising your own children, helping to raise your siblings is the most rewarding opportunity we are given.

Think of it this way. I have nine siblings. If they all grow up to be godly parents and each of them has nine children and their children have nine children and so on, and they were all raised to love the Lord as you helped teach your siblings too, you would have impacted twenty-seven lives, and that does not include the lives of those outside of their families that your siblings and their children and grandchildren may impact. Just think about it. God has given you a responsibility to touch the lives of those around you with His love, fortunately, He does not as us to carry it alone. He is ready to help us. Focus on living your life for Him, and the rest will not be so hard.

A warning, do not, I mean, do not, try to make your siblings be what you think they should be. Encourage them to be who God wants them to be. Pray with them and for them, and be there when they need you. Be a good example. Live your life for the Lord, they will be watching. That is all you can do. You cannot make them be who you want them to be, that is not what I have been trying to tell you. What I have been trying to say, is that you can have a lot of impact on you siblings lives by setting a good example. Chances are they will learn from you.

I would love to hear from all of you about what you have learned, whether or not you were home schooled, or from a large family, or not.

To God be the Glory,

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Name of the Game

One of the hot topics when people start discussing courtship vs. dating is which is better. Some people say, "We dated and we've been married fifty years." Others say, " We courted and divorced after five years." So which is better? There have been dating relationships that have worked out wonderfully and courtships that have ended in disaster.

The thing that we need to get a grasp on before we go any further is, the name of the game doesn't matter, so much as whether the directions to the game are biblically sound or not. As Christians this should be our number one concern.

Say your family loves to play Nuts (a card game). One day you are gathered with some friends and you challenge them to play Nuts. You explain the game and they say, "Hey, that sounds like Peanuts. We love that game!" Come to find out it is the same game, just they call it Peanuts and you call it Nuts.

It can be that way with dating and courtship too. Not all dating relationships are bad and not all courting relationships are good. It is not so much what we call our relationships, it is more the focus of our relationships. Whether you choose to call your relationships dating or courtship is totally up to you.

The reason that a lot of Christians like to use the term courtship is because dating evokes images of frivolous, fun filled, undirected, undisciplined relationships, where as courtship speaks of cautious, fun filled, disciplined, purposeful relationships. We will get more into that later.

To sum things up, the name of the game is just that, a name. If your name is Susan and your sister's name is Christa, that does not make one of you better or worse then the other. Your behavior is what defines who you are. The same with dating and courtship. The name does not mean a whole lot, it is the behaviors of those involved that define the terms, and that is the bottom line of the issue.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Look At Hebrews 10

I know that this post is much like my last, but I have been reading through Hebrews, and it just popped out at me as something I should write on. Perhaps it hit me harder because of my last post. In Him,


"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. And again, 'The LORD will judge His people.' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: 'For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But is anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.' But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul."
Hebrews 10:23-39


How many times in our lives have we heard the phrase: "No matter what you do, God will still love you." While that is true, I think many of us fall into the trap of doing wrong and then just brushing it off because God loves us anyway.

Even though God does love us unconditionally, He hates sin. When we knowingly sin as Christians we are "trampling the Son of God underfoot," as it says in Hebrews 10:29. We are saying that Jesus' life, given on the cross for us, is not of great worth to us. We are insulting the Son of the Most High God!

God does not take our insulting His only Son lightly. God will not idly stand by and watch us trample His Son under foot. "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," it says in Hebrews 10:30. I typed that last part in bold print because I think each of us needs to remember that we serve a just God. One day we will have to stand before the judgement seat and account for all we have done.

We need to remember what our little sins cost God. Yes, God is a forgiving God, but if we repeatedly do wrong and know all the while that we are doing what we have been commanded not to do, we will be accountable. Those who do not know God's Word cannot willfully disobey it, but for those of us that do know His Word, what excused do we have?

Remember Hebrews 10:26-27? "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment." I personally have willingly sinned against God more then once in my life, so when I read this passage it jumped out at me. I stand in fear of the Lord, and His judgment, but I sorrow with the knowledge that I have taken the death of my Savior so lightly in the past. I say I love Jesus, but if I do, then why do I trample His sacrifice underfoot like it was nothing but trash?

One day I will have to stand before that very same Jesus and have to answer for what I have done. The shame would be so great that I could never lift my head again if I did not know of His grace. The fear of His judgement would make me shake at the mention of His name if I did not know of His love. I cannot take back what I have done, but I can go forward loving Christ as never before because, that He would even look at me after what I have done to Him is amazing.

Next time you are tempted to do what you know is wrong, remember that Jesus loved you so much that He was willing to die for you even thought He knew that there would be times in your life when you would willfully sin. He paid the highest price when He knew we could never be worthy enough. Just think about it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sin Is Sin

I am sorry that I have not posted anything in so long. It is not because I did not want too, nothing could be farther from the truth. It is just that I have been so busy with those last minute summer things. You may wonder at the title to this post, "Sin Is Sin? Who would have ever thought? Who are you kidding?"

It all started a week ago when I was sitting with some other girls in church. We were fixing to go out and witness to folks and invite them to church. We were sharing our testimonies, praying, and just sharing our past mistakes. I did not really know any of the other girls I was sitting with, only having met them a few days before. Their stories made me so sad. They got to talking about this bad thing and that bad thing that they had done, seemingly trying to out do each other. Finally they turned to me and said, " You probably never did bad things like we have. You don't look like the type who would."

I had to assure them, that yes I had done bad things. I did not share what my "bad things" were because I knew they would laugh. They would think what I have done is nothing compaired to what they had done. I wanted to remind them that we all have sinned, everyone of us. We all need to be saved. We all need Jesus.

You see, it does not matter what you have done that you consider to have been bad. Maybe you just told a little lie, maybe you murdered someone. The fact is, you are a sinner. You have done wrong and are destined to hell unless you have asked Jesus to be your Savior and Lord. In God's eyes sin is sin. The lie little Susie told her mama is equal to Jimmy James killing his next door neighbor. There is no such thing as a little sin, a "good" sin. As Charles Spurgeon said, "If you sin, sin boldly. Every time you sin, you are saying that sin is worth more to you than the cross of Jesus Christ."

God has no 1 to 10 scale to measure how bad you have been. We are all equally sinful. We are all equally in need of a Savior. If you do not know Jesus today then I urge you to change that. God is waiting with open arms. Tell Him you are sorry for the mistakes you have made and ask Him to come into your heart and to save you from your sins. Nothing you have ever done makes you so bad that you are beyond the reach of the Master. Do not wait. Ask Him in today.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Egg-less Chocolate Cake

Egg-less Chocolate Cake

3 c. flour

2 c. sugar

1/2 c. cocoa

2 tsp. baking soda

2/3 c. oil

2 tsp. vinegar (we use lemon juice instead)

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. cold water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 x 1 1/2 inch cake pans and dust with flour.

Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix until well blended, about 1 minute. Pour batter into pans and bake until tooth pick comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from pans. Frost and serve, or do not frost and serve. Either way is good!

We have had to fall back on this cake many times. Having an egg-less chocolate cake recipe is handy. It is a really easy cake to make, good for beginner cooks, and it tastes just as good as a chocolate cake with eggs. It rises well and is always moist. Enjoy!