Who’s the Boss? | Tips for Oldest Children, Part 2

Notice to younger siblings: Please do not throw this blog post in your older sibling’s face. Forward them the link, if you like, but don’t tag them in public on social media. Take it easy on them. Some of us “oldests” have trouble finding our role–as I’m sure you know. 😉

Last time I wrote about how oldest children are born to lead, and a great way to do that is to set a good example.

Today I want to talk more about that concept of leadership. There are lots of different ways to go about it, and not all ways are equal.

Oldest children have a reputation for being bossy. Most of the time we’ve earned it. The urge to tell others what to do and how to do it just seems to run in our veins.

But, fellow oldests, your siblings don’t need a third parent.

(Okay, I’m referring to most healthy families here. If a family is so dysfunctional that the oldest child has to step up and be a “parent,” then they’ll need more help than my little blogs posts can provide.)

The parents have the right to issue an order and expect it to be obeyed–no questions asked. The oldest child has no such right.

Even if your parents go on a date and put you “in charge,” I guarantee your younger siblings won’t appreciate your acting like a parent. And they’ll be quick to tell you so.

Does “You’re not Mom!” or “I don’t have to obey you!” sound familiar?

Although your siblings instinctively want to look up to you (even if they don’t realize it), you’re still “one of them.” So why should you boss them around?

As an oldest child, you can’t just be a dictator. You don’t have the authority. It’s not your power.

Your power comes when your younger siblings want to listen to you.

When you can suggest (not command) something, and your siblings figure it must be a good idea because you said it, that’s a position of power.

As I’m sure you know, that is no easy position to reach. But it’s not impossible.

You get there by gaining your siblings’ trust.

You have to be worthy of their trust, and you have to prove your worthiness over and over (and over) before you can expect them to willingly listen to you. It’s a long process to gain and keep trust.

But it’s worth it.

So don’t be bossy like everyone expects you to be.

Oh, it might work for a little while. Your loudness or pushiness might force them to do things your way right now.

But over time, they’ll just think you’re a know-it-all. And who likes a know-it-all?

Instead, give in to what they want to do. (Not always, but often.) You can still say things such as, “I’d like to do this.” But don’t be rigid on the little things.

Let your younger siblings make choices. You’re not the only one who can have a good idea. Let them live without feeling like you’re looking over their shoulder all the time, ready to holler, “Not like that! Don’t do that! Do this!”

Prove to them that you are on their team. Here’s one way to do that:

Don’t Belittle Them

When they’re trying to tell a favorite family story or family joke, don’t interrupt to correct up the details. (Most of the time, those details don’t matter.) Don’t roll your eyes. Don’t make a fool of them or steal their limelight.

When they’re scared of the dark or spiders or thunder or dogs, don’t act like they’re stupid. Talk to them in the darkness; don’t mock their nightlight or make creepy noises. Hunt down the spider and get rid of it. Sit with them while you listen to the thunder. Stand close to them when the scary dog walks by. And don’t cop a superior attitude when you’re being their hero. Act like it’s the most normal thing in the world for you to help them. Because it is.

Don’t act like their accomplishments are nothing. Cheer when they hit the home run. Say, “Great job!” when they’re talking about their good grades. Be impressed when they show you the latest project they worked hard on (even if you think it’s silly).

When they get excited, don’t treat them like idiots. You have things you love. So do they. What’s important to them should be important to you, as well.

Basically, try not to make them feel like a little kid. Maybe they are still little kids. But you know how you don’t like to be treated like someone too young to be important? They don’t enjoy it, either.

Do Brag on Them

Do it when they can hear you. Brag to your parents and grandparents. Even to your friends once in a while. Don’t overdo it so you embarrass them, but mention their accomplishments like you’re proud of them. Act like your siblings are cool. Because they are.

Building trust isn’t easy. But it’s worth it.

Whenever you interact with your siblings, think about what you’re doing. Ask yourself if your behavior will help them trust you.

If the answer is yes, then good for you! You are living your birthright well!

If the answer’s no, then change your behavior. It’s not too late. Everybody messes up. (I still mess up, and I’ve been at this for twenty-one years.) Keep trying. Keep praying. You can do this!

Don’t try to be the boss. Be their partner. Give them every reason in the world to trust you.

Okay, I want to hear from you all! Oldests, what have you done that helps your siblings trust you? How have you messed up from time to time?

Younger siblings, what helps you know you can trust your oldest sibling? Or how do they act that warns you it’s not safe to trust them?

-Miss Darcy

P.S. If you don’t want to comment, head to my “Connect” page and shoot me an email. I love to chat about siblings. 🙂

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A Hand Held Out

My desk sits right beside my bedroom window, which overlooks our front yard. Right across from our driveway, another streets T-bones into ours. We have a two-story house, plus we’re at the highest point in our neighborhood, so I have a pretty good view of the goings-on.

Which makes for excellent spying.

Now I don’t really spy with binoculars or anything, but I do love to people-watch. So if I catch a glimpse of movement outside, I’ll pause my work and watch a neighbor unload their groceries or whatever.

(Incidentally, one of my neighbors just pulled into his driveway, and I paused my writing to spy on him.) 🙂

But earlier this week, I spied something that made me very sad.

A couple was walking down the sidewalk on the street across from me. The woman had her cell phone in her hands, texting, from all appearances. Then she stuck the phone in her back pocket. They turned around and walked back up the sidewalk.

As they reached the end of the sidewalk where they step onto the street, the man’s left hand reached out as if he wanted to take the woman’s hand. At that exact moment, her right hand went to her back pocket and pulled out her cell phone again. Soon both hands were busy tapping the screen.

And I wondered what on that phone could be so much more important than the person she was with.

Maybe it was their children who needed them to return home. Maybe.

Or maybe it was just a friend she was texting. A friend who, through the cell phone, became a third wheel on their walk.

I forgot to look for wedding rings, so I don’t know if they’re married or dating. I’m not sure which would be worse.

If they’re dating, love is in its springtime, when everything is fresh and new and special. Yet this woman didn’t want to hold her boyfriend’s hand?

Or if they’ve been married a while, they probably don’t get much time alone together to just walk and talk. Yet this woman didn’t want to hold the hand of the man who has committed his life to her?

It’s a good reminder to me. I don’t have a smartphone, actually. But I have a computer. Writing (and everything that entails) keeps me glued to the screen a lot.

But then there’s social media. I tell myself I’m keeping up with friends I don’t see much. In reality, I end up wasting an exorbitant amount of time looking at mindless stuff I’ll forget within an hour.

I live with my four favorite people in the whole world–my parents and two sisters. The people I love most. The ones who love me most. Honestly, what on this device could possibly be so important that I would rather interact with it than with my family?

I don’t want to be oblivious when those I love hold out their hands–literally or figuratively–because they want to get closer to me.

-Miss Darcy

The Funeral Verse That Isn’t

If you haven’t yet heard this Bible verse read at a funeral, that probably means you just haven’t attended enough funerals. (Which is good because it means you haven’t lost many people who are dear to you.)

Seems like whenever a serious discussion of heaven arises, whether at a funeral or in general conversation among Christians, the conversation is eventually going to include a quotation of this verse.

But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

-1 Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV)

I’m not sure who first applied this verse to life after death. It’s true that we can’t really imagine what is waiting for Christians in heaven. But the context of this verse has nothing to do with heaven at all.

As 1 Corinthians chapter 2 begins, Paul writes that when he preached the gospel to the Corinthians, he did not use “persuasive words of human wisdom.” Instead, Paul preached only “Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Paul didn’t want people relying on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. (see verses 2-5)

Then he goes on to say,

However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,

which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

-1 Corinthians 2:6-8 NKJV (emphasis mine)

In other words, once a Christian starts maturing in his faith, he’s ready to dive into the wisdom of God. The hidden wisdom. The mystery which God ordained before the ages.

That’s what Paul refers to in verse 9 when he quotes, “Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

It is this awesome wisdom of God which we could never have imagined.

No one, not even the Jewish scholars of the Law, knew this wisdom. Otherwise, they would never have crucified Jesus.

Interestingly, verse 10 of this chapter is never read at funerals (in my experience), nor is it often quoted.

But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.

-1 Corinthians 2:10 NKJV (emphasis mine)

Did you catch it? “But God has revealed them…”

The things we could never have hoped to conceive of on our own? God’s Spirit reveals them to us as we mature.

They’re not a secret any longer.

Now that Christ has come, we can plumb the depths of God’s mysteries. Not through our own wisdom, but through the the Spirit of God.

“No one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.” But now we have received that Holy Spirit, “that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” (see verses 11 and 12)

Oh, we’ll never fully comprehend the mystery of God’s wisdom. But isn’t it awesome that we can dive in and explore? The followers of God who lived before Christ had no chance of studying the depths of wisdom we can.

Because Christ IS the wisdom of God.

but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,

but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

-1 Corinthians 1:23-24 NKJV (emphasis mine)

We could never have fathomed the plan of Christ our Substitute, Savior, and Friend.

But God has revealed Him to us.

So I think we need to find a new verse to be our go-to verse when speaking of heaven. A new “funeral verse.” Got any suggestions?

-Miss Darcy

Power of the Birthright | Tips for Oldest Children, Part 1

Notice: Younger siblings, please do not throw this blog post in your older sibling’s face. Forward them the link, if you like, but don’t tag them in public on social media. Take it easy on them. Some of us “oldests” have trouble finding our role–as I’m sure you know. 😉

I’ve been an oldest child for twenty-one years. My sissies kindly say that I’m a pretty good big sister. I’m still not perfect, and I’ve misused my role all too many times. But I’ve come to realize that being the oldest not only comes with privileges and responsibilities. It also has power.

I remember the moment when my younger sister Molly told our Bible study group that she trusted my biblical advice. That if I said something about the Bible, she was likely to believe me over even respected Bible teachers.

Good thing I was sitting down. I felt all the honor of her trust and respect, and all the weight of the responsibility. It kinda blew me away. I mean, what if I got something wrong and led her astray?

See, I’ve always wanted to be a good big sister. (I mean, really, which of us sets out to be a sadistic jerk toward our younger siblings? I hope not many.) But I didn’t fully realize the power of my role until then.

Somehow the fact that I’m older–even if by only two years–makes a difference in how my siblings view me. I learned to read first. Learned to drive first. I’ve been there as long as they can remember. There was never a time when Darcy wasn’t there–older, stronger, oh-so-much-wiser. (That stronger/wiser thing has evened out as we’ve grown, but still… It might not be much, but I’ve still had more experience than they have.)

Just by its very nature, the role of an oldest child is leader.

The younger siblings instinctively know this. Why do you think they love to say you’re not their boss? Because they instinctively feel that you are their superior in some ways, and they jolly well don’t like it. 🙂

So, fellow oldest child, you don’t feel like a leader? Not your personality type? Not your preference?

To be perfectly blunt: tough. It’s your job.

Although you may never lead anyone else, leadership of your siblings is your birthright.

Oh, you can abdicate. You can kinda let life slip by, and someone else will take your role. Maybe a younger sibling with a personality geared more toward leadership will step up. Maybe your siblings’ friends will usurp your position of admired, looked-up-to role model and supporter. Or maybe some dumb, yet popular celebrity who couldn’t care less will become the person your siblings respect.

You were born to lead. Don’tcha think God knew what He was doing when He placed you in your family?

But you can sell your birthright. Esau did. He sold it to his just-a-few-minutes-younger twin brother for a bowl of stew. He even swore that he meant it. (Yes, I know the birthright was a tangible thing in their case, but stick with me.) Later, Esau regretted it bitterly. (Check out Genesis 25 and 27 for the whole story.)

See, it wasn’t really about the stew. Or his younger brother’s petty manipulation. Esau’s birthright should never have been treated that way even in jest, let alone in earnest. The problem was Esau despised his birthright. Counted it worthless. Unimportant.

So, how do you value your birthright? You have an opportunity to lead your younger siblings into Light, and Truth, and Righteousness. (Conversely, you could lead them down a pretty path to hell. Yep, that power is yours, too.) Or you can abdicate, and your birthright will default to whoever happens to step up.

Come on, you don’t really want to risk that, do you?

About now you may be thinking, “Yeah, yeah, whatever. You don’t know my siblings.”

Fair enough. Your siblings are individual people. Every single relationship–and I do mean every. single. relationship.–is different. But I think general principles can be adapted to fit all manner of situations.

You know one of the most powerful ways to lead? By example.

Quit rolling your eyes. 🙂

“But my younger siblings don’t respect me enough to follow any kind of example I set!”

Wrong. Unless they are already utterly and completely corrupted, they won’t be able to help themselves. If they see you living a content, fulfilled, honorable life, they’ll secretly respect it, even if they never indicate so.

Even if they call you “Miss Perfect” or “Mama’s boy.” (There are a lot of worse things in life than being called “goody-goody,” by the way.)

On the other hand, if they see you failing, your leadership might be debased to a case of “What Not to Do.” This is not as powerful, just sayin’.

So one way to lead is to get all your own ducks in a row.

Not that you’ll be perfect. Not that you’ll never ask for help. Not that you’ll never apologize.

Knowing when to ask for help, addressing your imperfections, and apologizing when you need to are actually signs that you’re keeping those ducks in formation.

And when you’re consistently doing well at this thing called “life,” it’s easier for your siblings to respect you. It’s how you strengthen your role.

Whatever you do, don’t act uppity when you get things right.

When you do your chores and schoolwork, when your parents say “Great job,” when your siblings say “How come he gets to…?” Don’t brag. Don’t smile smugly. Don’t rub your accomplishments in their face.

An air of superiority is the quickest turn-off for a younger sibling. Just be genuine in trying to do right, and be honest when you make mistakes.

Because you were born first, all your little actions have power.

Don’t waste them. Keep your daily life following Jesus, not only for yourself, but also for the siblings who are watching you.

Okay, so I’m just getting warmed up on this subject, but I’ll hush for now. More to come soon, Lord willing. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Oldests, how have you noticed your birthright of leadership? How have you used it? Or have you used it at all?

Younger siblings, whatcha think? What makes you respect your oldest sibling? What do they do that drives you crazy?

And if you don’t care to leave a public comment, head to my “Connect” page and shoot me an email. 🙂

-Miss Darcy

Quest for Leviathan | Blog Tour

Blog Tour banner

The first thing that drew me to this story was Leviathan. A story about the sea monster of Job 41 and a young man trying to destroy this menace? Oh, yes!

Leviathan-cover

About the Book

Leviathan took the life of his father.

Anath has spent three years preparing for the voyage that will end the threat of Leviathan. Yet as the Valor launches into the depths of the Mediterranean, an inward quest also begins, taking Anath to depths he is not willing to face.

May I start by saying I loved this story? It’s a short story, and I generally prefer longer works, but the adventure and the spiritual thread were handled beautifully. The historical detail was fascinating, the characters well-drawn. And, of course, we meet the awesome Leviathan. It would be great for kids to read, but I don’t think you could really box this story into applying to only one age group.

Oh, I almost forgot about the illustrations. A nice addition. I guess it’s no surprise that my favorite is the one with Leviathan. 😉

And now I’d like to introduce one of the secondary characters, Kanah, Anath’s best friend.


Kanah, thank you so much for visiting with us. We barely get to meet you in “Quest for Leviathan,” so I’m delighted you’ve agreed to answer a few extra questions for us today.

1) When the story begins, you and Anath seem to have a strong friendship. How long have you known Anath, and how did you become friends?

Kanah: Our friendship reached to before he lost his father to the sea. Our boyhood was lived together. So much so that I do not recall how we became friends. We have always been friends. For life.

2) In your estimation, what is Anath’s greatest weakness? What is his greatest strength?

Kanah: Anath’s greatest weakness would be his all-consuming vengeance toward Leviathan. At the same time, it proved to be a great strength, enabling him to become a great captain at an age younger than any of our sea captains before him.

3) There is some mention of Anath’s quest against Leviathan being impossible without your aid. Why did you invest in this venture? Did you entertain any hope of success?

Kanah: This was of high importance to my friend. It was an adventure, yes, but more importantly, it was the life-blood of Anath. I feared that if there was no one there to keep him in check, he would fight Leviathan until his death. And I knew that God had much more in store for him than that.

4) If you could have one thing in the world, anything, what would you choose?

Kanah: I already have my love in my beautiful wife, Rahel. Above that, I yearn for a godly heritage—a legacy of children who serve my great King, Almighty God.

5) Is there anything else you would like to share with readers of this story?

Kanah: Learn from Anath’s journey. Each of us faces a different dragon that we must gain victory over—and Anath found the true way to acquire that victory.


About the Author

Amanda Tero began her love for words at a young age—reading anything she could get her hands on and penning short stories as young as age eight. Since graduation, she has honed her writing skills by dedicated practice and study of the writing craft. She began her journey of publication with a few short stories that she had written for her sisters and continued to add to her collection with other short stories, novellas, and novels. It is her utmost desire to write that which not only pleases her Lord and Savior, but also draws the reader into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

You can connect with Amanda on her Web site, at her blog, and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Giveaway!

Amanda is giving away TWO print copies of “Quest for Leviathan” to one winner — one for you, and one for your friend!

Visit the Rafflecopter form to enter the giveaway.

You can purchase “Quest for Leviathan” on Amazon in e-book or print. You can also add it to your Goodreads shelf.

If you’d like to see the other places “Quest for Leviathan” has toured, click on the links below my signature. (All links open in new tabs.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this! Seriously, pick up a copy of this story. At ninety-nine cents, I think you’ll enjoy it.

-Miss Darcy

June 8 – With a Joyful Noise (Release Day Post)
Resting Life (Spotlight, Review)
The World of the Writer (Review)
Authoring Arrowheads (Review)
Purely by Faith Review (Review, Interview)

June 9 – Victoria’s Book Nook (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
Bekah’s Books (Spotlight, Review, Interview)

June 11 – Clothed with Scarlet (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
Reveries Reviews (Review)

June 12 – Chosen Vessels (Spotlight, Review)
My Purple Pen (Review)
Read Another Page (Review)

June 13 – Once Upon an Ordinary (Review)
Maidens for Modesty (Review)

June 14 – Honey Rock Hills (Review)
Life of Heritage Corner (Spotlight, Review, Interview, Giveaway)
Kaylee’s Kind of Writes (Review, Interview)

June 15 – The Red-Hooded Writer (Review)
Blossoms and Blessings (Spotlight, Review, Interview, Giveaway)
Lit Aflame (Review, Interview)

June 16 – The Left-Handed Typist (Review)
Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Review, Interview, Giveaway)

June 18 – Great Books for God’s Girls (Review, Interview)
Peculiar Miss Darcy (Character Interview)

June 19 – Creating Romance (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)

June 20 – Keturah’s Korner (Review, Interview)
Rock and Minerals 4 Him (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)

June 21 – A Baker’s Perspective (Review, Giveaway, Character Spotlight)
Christian Author: A.M. Heath (Review, Interview)

June 22 – Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections (Review)
Views from the Window Friend (Review)
Hunting for Truth (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)

June 23 – Reading on the Edge (Spotlight)
Summer Snowflakes (Review, Giveaway)

June 25 – With a Joyful Noise (Giveaway Winner Announced)

Actions Versus Words

“Actions speak louder than words,” goes the old saying. And there’s truth in that.

If I tell my sister I love her, but I never spend time with her, never show interest in her interests, never give her a nice gift, never let her choose the movie, never help her with a task, never go out of my way to serve her, how is she supposed to believe that I love her?

On the other hand, if I give her the best birthday and Christmas gifts, regularly do chores for her, always let her choose the movie, always drop my own work when she needs me, but my mouth is full of cut-downs, insults, teasing, and rebukes, don’t you think she’ll doubt the sincerity of all my loving actions? Won’t she wonder why under the sun I do nice things for her when I apparently can’t stand her?

She’d think me a hypocrite with some ulterior motive. And why shouldn’t she?

“Actions speak louder than words,” they say. But maybe that’s a bit of a cop-out.

Maybe words are actions.

If we say actions are stronger than words, then we could assume that words don’t really matter that much. And if words don’t really matter, then we can let our tongues run away and spout whatever we feel at the moment. If words don’t really matter, then we can berate and mock our friends whenever they get on our nerves. As long as we do nice things for them otherwise.

That doesn’t sound like a healthy relationship, does it?

Of course not. Because our words need to line up with our actions. We ought to be kind in practical, tangible ways. And we ought to make sure our words are kind as well.

Take a look at this passage from the book of Job. When disaster befell Job and all his goods and even his children were stripped away from him, three of Job’s friends came to “comfort him.” Their version of comfort was to accuse Job of wrongdoing and urge him to repent so God would bless him again.

Here’s how Job felt about it:

“How long will you torment my soul,
And break me in pieces with your words?

-Job 19:2 (NKJV)

Can you hear the pain in his voice?

His “friends” never raised their hands against him. But their words crushed him. Maybe long ago his friends had done him a good turn, and he them. Maybe their actions had proclaimed their mutual friendship. Yet here they are tearing him apart with their words.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones…” But words can torment the soul and fragment the heart.

Words have power.

Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.

-James 3:5-6a NKJV (emphasis mine)

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,

-Proverbs 18:21a NKJV (emphasis mine)

Job also had this to say about his friends’ words:

“I have heard many such things;
Miserable comforters are you all!
I also could speak as you do,
If your soul were in my soul’s place.
I could heap up words against you,
And shake my head at you;
But I would strengthen you with my mouth,
And the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief.

-Job 16:2, 4-5 NKJV (emphasis mine)

Job’s friends used their words to make him miserable. They pushed his soul toward despair and death.

But they didn’t have to. They could have chosen to speak words of comfort. Words that urged his soul toward hope and life.

We shouldn’t go around assuming that our actions are loud enough to convince our loved ones that we love them. What message are our words sending?

Maybe we’ve gotten very good at guarding our tongues. Maybe we hardly ever let anything unkind slip out. And that’s great.

But do we keep silent when we have opportunity to speak a word of encouragement? Sometimes silence is a form of speaking. Make sure your silence is saying what you want it to.

One more thing: not everything Job’s friends said was wrong of itself. Their statements weren’t necessarily untrue or unrighteous.

But the right word at the wrong time, in the wrong place, or to the wrong person is the wrong word.

Words can have power coming from anyone, even a stranger. But words have the most power with people we’re close to. If I don’t know you, your insults aren’t going to hit home the way insults from my friend would.

So should we not be extra careful how we speak to those we love?

Don’t ever think words don’t matter. They can kill. Or they can heal.

When you speak, that’s just as much an action as when you punch someone in the nose.

So go love someone with your words today. (Just make sure your other actions aren’t contradicting you.)

-Miss Darcy

The Antichrist and Constrictor Snakes

The book of Daniel is categorized as a book of prophecy, but it’s partly history as well. Second Thessalonians is categorized as an epistle, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve noticed it’s almost half prophecy. Today I read chapter 2, and the prophetic part captured me, which is perhaps unusual because I tend to look for practical, everyday things in the Bible.

Paul writes about the coming of the “lawless one,” whom Christians often refer to as the Antichrist. Paul calls him “the man of sin, the son of perdition.”

who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

-2 Thessalonians 2:4 (NKJV)

Obviously, the lawless one has not come yet because no one has yet been able to exalt himself above all that is worshiped. People around this globe are still busy worshiping all manner of things. But lawlessness is already at work in this world. If you haven’t noticed, just check the news.

But one day, God will take away all restraints (see 2 Thess. 2:7). And when the Lord GOD stops restraining wickedness, then…

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,

and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,

that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

-2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 (NKJV)

The Lord will remove restraints and Satan will raise up the lawless one. The Antichrist, as we call him, will promise peace and prosperity. Satan will empower him to work amazing signs, perform miracles (maybe even miracles that look “good”), destroy his enemies, and appear to be a mighty man with an incredible unseen force at his disposal.

Think of it: destructive power, maybe healing power, and magical mind-blowing powers, all in one smooth-talking, charismatic man.

Talk about a wow-factor.

This guy will look impressive. But he will also be wicked. No code of ethics. No rudimentary morality. No magnanimity. He’ll promote sin and call it good.

A “man of sin” working “all unrighteous deception.”

People will flock to him. They won’t see the wickedness. Or the danger.

Check out verse 8: “whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and with the brightness of His coming.”

There’s a wow-factor for you. This invincible lawless one will be unable to withstand the Lord’s very breath and the awesome brightness that surrounds the Lord.

The lawless one will be utterly destroyed.

And what of those who followed him? They perish with their leader.

The lawless one’s followers will take pleasure in unrighteousness. They’ll reject the truth because it would hamper their lifestyles.

They will not love the truth that could have saved them. They will prefer the lie.

And God will say, “If the lie is what you want, that’s what I’ll give you.”

This lawless one will bring with him strong delusion, the Scripture says.

Delusion. When someone holds to a belief in spite of evidence that invalidates that belief. It can be associated with mental disorders. It implies a harmful deception.

But this lawless one’s delusion is so strong human reasoning will not be able to see it. Without God Himself helping them, people will be incapable of seeing past this strong delusion.

Those who had the opportunity to receive the truth and instead chose to pretend a lie was true–those people will be helpless.

They won’t even realize it. That’s part of delusion.

You know, I’d hate to drown or burn to death. But you know what creeps me out worse?

The coils of a giant constrictor snake. It strikes without warning. It coils around its victim in a matter of seconds. First the feeling of terror and helplessness. You can’t breath as these dry, cool, unfeeling scales wrap around you. Circulation is cut off. Your organs are dying for oxygen and nourishment. Blood pressure explodes. Your heart arrests, and you die. It takes only a short time, but what a horrifying short time.

That is how I picture the lawless one’s strong delusion.

The victim doesn’t see it coming. Long ago they rejected the truth, so they can’t hope to recognize the lie. It wraps them, squeezes them, keeps squeezing until they die.

There’s one difference between them and the constrictor’s victim. The victims of the delusion don’t even know they need help.

Brothers and sisters, can you fathom the horror? Billions of people deceived by this lawless one, and nothing can save them from impending destruction. Only God could help, but eventually He will leave them to their own devices. And they will be destroyed.

Today, the devil already has thousands of delusions wreaking havoc. But today, God is still working and has not yet withdrawn all restraints.

Oh, should we not pray with tears that God will break down lies? That there may be fewer who reject the truth, fewer who die not knowing they need help?

Friend, if you read this and do not believe in Jesus, will you take an honest look at who He is? Will you dare to read the Bible? Will you dare to ask God to reveal Himself to you? (Perhaps you don’t even believe He exists, but I know from personal experience He will not hide from you if you seek Him honestly.)

Will you dare to look at everything you believe and evaluate it ruthlessly to see if there are gaps in the logic, questions left unanswered, feelings left unresolved? This may be a surprise, but Jesus can satisfy all of that. No logical person wants to be deceived. So take a good, long, hard look. It can’t hurt.

And it might just turn your world upside down. In the best possible way.

-Miss Darcy