Category Archives: Serving Others

Charities for Life

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Christmas is almost upon us, which means you’re probably wrapping your presents and doing some last-minute shopping. Now, take a breath. Stop for just a moment and think if there are any people around you who are in need. No matter where you live, you probably drove past at least one homeless person today, and there must be dozens of charities in your area that could use a donation or a helping hand.

If you’ve already blessed your own community and want to make a difference across the world, check out two of my favorite charities that help children in need:

Compassion International

Compassion has many programs to ensure children in need have nutritious food, education, healthcare, job preparation courses, and more. They also share the Gospel with these kids, giving them a real hope for their future.

Robby and I have two sponsor kids through Compassion, a little boy in the Philippines and a girl in Africa. We love to read their letters and to hear how our monthly donations are used. This is a great way to bless children in need throughout the year.

This month, you can also shop Compassion’s Gift Catalog, where you can select an item to give to a family in need—items like Bibles, chickens, goats, pigs, garden seeds, textbooks, bicycles, and more. If you’d like, you can make the one-time donation in honor of a loved one and a card will be sent to them explaining what you donated in their honor. This is a perfect way to honor a loved one and bless a family in need.

Sweet Sleep

Most people are aware that children in poverty need food, shelter, education, and healthcare. What most of us don’t think of is beds. Many children in poverty sleep on bare floors where they’re susceptible to parasites and bacteria. Others are without mosquito nets, leaving them prone to malaria.

Sweet Sleep works with communities throughout the world to provide beds, sheets, and mosquito nets to children in need. This not only gives them comfort, it gives them an opportunity for a future. Sweet Sleep also provides each child with a Bible in their own language, supplying them with faith and a new hope for the future.

This Christmas, pray that the Lord will give you guidance on how to bless those in need, whether they’re in your city or a world away. And may God bless you and your family this Christmas and throughout the New Year.

 “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ (See Matthew 25:40 NAS.)

When It’s Not About You

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Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations that are…well…they’re just not about us. Perhaps God has His eyes on someone in far greater need; or maybe your role is just to bring others together, to plant a seed, or to make a way for someone else.

This month, I found myself in a very frustrating “it’s not about me” situation. Here’s an excerpt from the blog I wrote, which is now posted at Lift Up Your Day. I hope it encourages you!

Excerpt:

I felt so convicted! While my heart had been turned inward, God’s heart was focused on Lynn and what she needs. I know God loves me as much as He loves Lynn and, yes, this will work out for the good for all of us. (See Romans 8:28.) But this issue is about Lynn and making sure she’s safe in her own home.

In other words, this isn’t about me….

We all love it when God moves in our lives, when we’re the focus of His blessings. But as we grow in the faith, we learn that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 NAS). We should want God to trust us to be His messengers, comforters, teachers, and servants. It should be our heart’s desire to be God’s hands and feet in this world.


To read the full blog, click here.

Happy Birthday, Big Sister!

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Happy Birthday! (Photo by Ashley Jones, 2016.)

 

It’s been a full year since this blog, BigSisterKnows, was “born.” Since then, I’ve posted forty-one blogs. Perhaps you read the one about Robby’s garden, our Christmas tree traditions, or my mother-in-law’s taco soup recipe. Whichever ones you read, I hope they blessed you in some small way.

 

In the Beginning

I originally created this blog to “build my platform,” as they say in the publishing world. This meant getting as many readers as possible to follow the blog. Numbers count, so shares, likes, and comments, would be crucial.

The “platform” would also provide a venue to share what I learned as I wrote my Christian living book, Girls with Gusto (still in progress). I liked the idea of using the blog as a way to share my insights and Biblical knowledge with you. I knew this would be my outreach to the world, my ministry.

 

But then…

After a couple months, my frantic drive to post, post, post, calmed down bit, and I started to listen to what you had to say. I read your comments and posts. I noticed what you “liked.” I saw what engaged you and, more importantly, what made a difference to you.

Then I learned something. No matter what I write, it needs to meet a need, a pain point. And because all of this is supposed to glorify God, it should also be encouraging in a sincere and godly way. (No platitudes like “Just keep your chin up” will be spoken here.)

I finally realized that knowledge can only get us so far, even if it’s knowledge of the Bible and God. The real important part is how we feel about that information and how it affects us. We all need to feel God’s love and His hand at work in our lives. We also need to know we’re not in this alone. We need to be lifted up, and we need to lift up others.

 

And Now…

I still have to have a platform to get my book published. I still have some really neat insights I can’t wait to share with you. But I want it all to be meaningful to you, to help you get through the day. To encourage you to look up and see God’s smile over your life.

So, I want to thank you for my blog birthday gift—for all you’ve taught me, whether you’re a regular reader, a fellow blogger, or a close friend who’s said “You know, I’d like to read a blog about….” (No, Rach, I probably won’t post anything on Alabama football, but I do appreciate the suggestion.)

 

Let’s Connect

As for my birthday wish—I want to tap into what you want and need from this blog.

To that end, I’ve created an email newsletter called Friends of BigSisterKnows. I’ll be soliciting feedback and suggestions from time to time, which I’ll use to help determine future blog topics. I’ll also send special information, updates, and freebies (think recipe cards!) that aren’t published directly on the blog site. If you’re interested, you can sign up here: Friend of BigSisterKnows.

You can also contact me directly through the Contact Big Sister page, or you’re welcome to leave comments at the end of individual blogs.

Please let me know what you like, don’t like, or want to see in the future. Every time we connect, it helps me—as a blogger, a writer, and a person who wants to know she’s making a difference.

If you have the time and inclination, please also like, share, and tag. (If you don’t know what that means [Mom], don’t worry about it.)

Thanks again for a great year. Now, let’s get started on Year 2!

~Ashley