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

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Quest for Leviathan | Blog Tour

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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 – Done in Love (Spotlight, Review, Interview, Giveaway)
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

Strength for What?

There is nothing weak about God. His love is strong. His wrath is strong. His justice, His light, His grace, everything about Him is so mighty we can’t fathom it.

And God is more than willing to empower us with His strength.

But not so we can spend that strength getting whatever we want. In fact, He may want us to use that strength in a rather surprising way.

[We pray that you will be] strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;

-Colossian 1:11 NKJV

In this passage, Paul describes how he is praying for the Colossian church. (And there are so many wonderful things he prays for them, but I’m trying to keep this concise today.)

He prays that God would strengthen them with all might, according to God’s own glorious power. Does that not sound wonderful?

Then he goes on to say how that power will be used:

To have joy when we’ve been suffering for a long time.

Not just to patiently and miserably endure suffering. But to endure with joy.

The more I think about it, the more I realize I will definitely need God’s own power to succeed in that.

It might not look grand and glorious to the world. It’s not showy strength. Not the kind of strength that features in an action movie.

But it’s a steady, indomitable strength that allows us to rejoice even when we’ve been stuck in a painful situation for so long we hardly remember life before.

That’s God’s strength.

-Miss Darcy

A Tale of Two Fish

I got my first pet fish a little over a year ago–a gorgeous blue half-moon betta with metallic aqua on his tail. I named him Caspian, after Prince Caspian from Narnia. Cass for short, or for people who couldn’t pronounce Caspian.

I had him almost eleven months before he died. (Amazing how attached you can get to a leetle fish.) I didn’t want that tank to sit empty, so I scrubbed it clean and went to the pet story that very day and bought another betta. I almost bought a red one, but apparently I can’t resist the blue ones. I came home with a dark blue veil-tail, which I named Rillian (after Prince Caspian’s son).

I guess I expected them to be almost identical. A betta fish is a betta fish, right?

But these two fish weren’t the same. They had different personalities.

Yeah, I see you rolling your eyes, but most people acknowledge that dogs have their own personalities, so hang with me a little longer.

Caspian was an arrogant little thing. Loved nothing better than to admire his reflection. If I traced my finger along the outside of his tank, he ignored it. And he hated it when I cleaned his tank. I had to chase him round and round the tank before I could scoop him out into the holding cup. (I always figured he’d work himself into a heart attack, but he never did.) He’d just sit and sulk until I put him back in his freshly cleaned tank.

He had the funniest way of turning his nose up at you. He wasn’t the sort of pet I baby-talked.

Rillian is very personable. When someone puts their face up to the tank, he swims over to say hi. He wiggles and flares his gills and follows your finger along the tank. He’s better at aiming for his food than Caspian was. And he doesn’t mind it when I scoop him out of his tank for cleaning.

Altogether, he’s more approachable. I can call him Rilly sometimes without his being insulted. 😉

So perhaps their “personalities” have to do with the way I interpret their behavior. But the fact is these two fish behave differently.

God cares about His creation so much that He bothered to give two little betta fish different “personalities,” so to speak. Two betta fish that might have died in the hatchery or at the pet store, and absolutely no one would have cared beyond the fact they’d lost a very small amount of cash.

The God who made the stars also cares about little fish no longer than my finger.

He makes them beautiful, and He makes them unique.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God.

“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

-Luke 12:6-7 NKJV (emphasis mine)

-Miss Darcy

Though He Does Not Know It

I used to love to read Leviticus when I was younger. I remember a pastor saying, “If you can’t get to sleep, just read Leviticus.” And we all laughed, but I privately disagreed. I thought all the details of the laws and sacrifices were vastly interesting. (If you want to read yourself to sleep, try the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles. They take a huge amount of concentration to be interesting.) 🙂

But it’s been a while since I visited Leviticus, so in March I went back to see if I still find it fascinating. I do. Almost every chapter, some tiny thing jumps out at me that I hadn’t really thought of before.

Here’s one:

“If a person sins, and commits any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD, though he does not know it, yet he is guilty and shall bear his iniquity.

“And he shall bring to the priest a ram without blemish … as a trespass offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him regarding his ignorance in which he erred and did not know it, and it shall be forgiven him.

“It is a trespass offering; he has certainly trespassed against the LORD.”

-Leviticus 5:17-19 NKJV (emphasis mine)

Even if a person didn’t mean to sin–if they sinned without even realizing it–they were still guilty. God still required a sacrifice to atone for their sinning in ignorance.

Jesus was our ultimate Sacrifice. The final Lamb who died for the sins of mankind.

Including the sins I don’t even realize I’ve committed.

My sinful nature is so much a part of me that sometimes I won’t even realize I’ve sinned. (Maybe I’ll see it later; maybe I won’t.) And think of all the times I know I should do something good and don’t do it–that’s sin, too. (see James 4:17)

Jesus died for those sins.

For all the times my folly and pride and callous sinful nature keep from seeing my sin, Jesus shed His blood.

All these sins I may never specifically seek forgiveness for because I don’t even know I’ve done it–Jesus forgives those.

Somehow that truth hadn’t hit me hard until I read Leviticus. I’d never thought to thank Jesus for bleeding on behalf of all my sins of ignorance.

Don’t we have a wonderful, merciful Savior?

-Miss Darcy