Saturday, April 24, 2010

accessible

This was my experience the other day...

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring

Thank you for calling. If you are calling about a new order, please press 1.
If you are calling about an existing order, please press 2.
If you are calling for technical support, please press 3.
If you are calling to speak to an actual person and get some actual answers.... well.... hmmmm.... we don't have a button to push for that. Maybe press 0???....

(I pressed 0.)

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.

Thank you for calling. If you are calling about a new order, please press 1... and so on... and so on... and so on...

Sigh. Don't you hate that? Don't you hate being that person who is stuck following a recorded operator's voice? Don't you hate being that person who is treated like a statistical number rather than a valued individual? Don't you hate being that person who is doomed to hear every allotted service category assigned to your telephone's ten digits, but never really know if you will have the satisfaction to ever find or receive the help you seek from a living, breathing person?

While enduring such a circus the other day, I started to think about how we can sometimes forget that God is God... not man. We sometimes fall into the trap of comparing God's Way to man's way and how men are accustom to doing things. Thus, we can end up feeling dissatisfied with The Almighty because we feel stuck "waiting on the phone" for Him to answer our seemingly one-sided conversation with the recorded Voice of scripture.

Sometimes, when God is quiet, we start to think He is inaccessible, unattainable, far away. Our own life experiences, filled with the unfulfilled promises of this world, can easily but incorrectly lead us to surmise that God must not be on the other end of our call... that He must not care or be reliable either. So, why should we seek after Him... trust Him... believe Him?

Here is God's answer:

This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it — the Lord is his name: "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." (Jeremiah 33:2-4)

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath. (Deuteronomy 4:29-31)

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. (Psalms 9:9-10)


When we begin to doubt God's truth and reliability, we are following the same pattern of sin that Satan dangled before Adam and Eve. When we don't follow God's word and trust His Way, we always end up selfishly seeking to find our own solution and end up outside of God's will. So, when God feels distant to us and Satan tries to shake our faith away from following Jesus, we must always go back and cling to God's eternal, unchanging Word... He is good. He loves us. He wants what is best for us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He has promised to be faithful to us. He has told us that if we trust in Him, He will never forsake us. These are absolute statements of truth that will never change. Our Savior is also our Shepherd and King... because of this, we must not only believe in Him, but follow Him to know Him and be in His presence.

We must always continue to seek after God while constantly asking Him to strengthen our faith. No matter how far away He may seem at any given time, God is more accessible and more in love with us than any other person we will ever know. That said, we must also remember that He is God, and does things according to His own perfect plan... His way works... our way, clearly does not. To find Him, we must not only hear His words, but put them into practice. We must do what He says and strive to never waiver from following His commands.

Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete. (Luke 6:46-49)

For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8)


Ladies, I share this news with you as the apostle Paul did when he said, "When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power." Don't rest your faith and hope on the wisdom, actions, and the ways of men. And don't compare God's ways to man's. Man is not naturally reliable or loving. Man is sinful and unholy. Only by following Jesus, can man ever find God. There is no other Way.

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

No matter if God feels close or distant, I encourage you to trust and follow His Word. Daily pray to Him as king David did in Psalms 27, "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple."

Let us live seeking and following our Redeemer, rather than questioning His accessibility. He is with us. He loves us. He wants what is best for us. Let us meditate on His promises and remember to walk in His ways and do what is right. No matter how we may "feel" from moment to moment, we can rely on the absolute truth of our Master and know that He is on the other end of the line always overseeing what is best for us.

God is God. God loves me. God will be with me and will bless me if I follow His Way... Remember that! Believe it! Call to Him and He will answer you... you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

If you do whatever I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you. (1 Kings 11:38)

I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws. (Psalm 119:30)

Blessings!
Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

home


Hurray!  I'm traveling home today!

I miss home. It's sooo nice to know that after a week of work/play in Curacao that my home is still there, waiting for me to return and relax alongside my family....

Isn't it nice to know that no matter what, we as Christians also have a heavenly home to look forward to in the same way?

For this very moment, our Redeemer is preparing our eternal home for us! He is meticulously seeing to all the glorious details so that when we arrive, we will be welcome.  I don't know about you, but I'm ready to kick back and rejoice and relax in His presence. How exciting! How wonderful!  How blessed that day will be!

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." (John 14:1-4)

Praise God to Whom all blessings flow! Hurray!  I'm traveling HOME!

XOX!

~Victoria

Saturday, April 10, 2010

declare His glory

After finishing a little work today, Chuck and I decided to take a tour of the Hato caves while continuing our visit on the island of Curacao. It was very interesting to hear that these beautiful limestone caves were once completely submerged below sea level. Later in history, the Arawak Indians used the caverns as a shelter leaving many petroglyphs. These carvings have only been found in this area of the Caribbean and certain areas along the South American Orinoco river where this tribe originated from. Then centuries later, European slaves used to hide in these dark, musky caves for months on end to escape slavery from tyrannical plantation owners that had established themselves on the island.  Can you imagine such a life?

While walking together in total silence through these magnificent caverns, Chuck and I appreciated taking in the natural cathedral ceilings of stalactite limestone grotto. At one point, while looking at a covered section where the Arawak’s once lived, I turned to Chuck and said, “We are really so blessed to have shelter… to have a home with a roof, clean water, air conditioning, etc.”

This comment caused Chuck to recall the many places he had visited across the globe where people still struggle to survive. He especially remembered the outskirts of Manila where poverty seemed most rampant as the locals were living side-by-side in open plywood-type boxes covered in garbage, and clothed in nothing more than what we would consider underwear in the United States.

By the time we returned to our hotel this evening, Chuck and I decided to sit out on the beach and enjoy the breathtaking sunset God had already arranged as He drew the evening curtain over the blue sparkling ocean. While enjoying the show, we continued to discuss how blessed we really are and how much we take for granted each day of our life.

As we savored the faithfulness of God's provision in our lives, Chuck reminded me about another customer that he visited in Mexicali, Mexico many years past. During his visit, Chuck had left the customer to go grab some lunch at a nearby McDonalds. When he returned to the company, one of the employees asked Chuck where he had gone to eat. Chuck told him and the man said, “Oh yes, McDonalds. I’ve eaten there once.” Once?  Chuck later learned that this man earned a salary of $8.50 per week... A WEEK! Mind you, this was a higher salary than his fellow workers because he was a supervisor in his group.  But for this man to take his family of five to McDonalds to eat a simple dinner was a very BIG deal because the cost of the outing was equivalent to more than two weeks of this man’s earnings. Chuck said that this reality hit home for him spiritually… especially when many of us carry twenty dollars in our wallets without giving a second thought toward splurging on a extra value meal to feed our corpulent bellies.

How many times do we callously consume our food or take our homes and belongings for granted? These blessings are indeed gifts from God. We must never forget His grace and provision in our life.  We must never become haughty and forget to share what He has given us with others who may have less. For nothing is more valuable than loving God and loving people with all our hearts.  No possession or earthly security trumps our Redeemer's eternal love.

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Luke 12:48)

A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:24)

We each are accountable for the knowledge, resources, and abilities that God has blessed us with. If we have been given much, then He expects that much more from us to serve others by sharing His holiness. I challenge you to consider how frequently you stop to consider the beauty and benefit of God's universe in relation to your daily survival. How often do you give genuine thanks to Him for the many extraordinary blessings He continues to entrust in your care. Are you a good steward? Do you freely share the message of His grace to all the world? Are you open and faithful to trust, receive, give and love as Jesus did? Or is your heart clenched and selfishly guarded due to fear, pride, greed or ungratefulness?

Ladies, our God is faithful to us. Even the heavens declare His glory every single second - so shouldn’t we do the same? I believe so. I believe that we must remain open to receive all that God lovingly imparts to us. He is mindful of our needs and promises to give exactly what is best for us to grow closer to His grace. For His presence is truly what we need the most. Let's remember to give thanks to Him and rejoice in His goodness while always sharing His love to others. Let’s do this every day we draw each glorious breath that He has lovingly bestowed upon us to receive... with each heartbeat He has allowed our bodies to drum out in praise of His goodness.  Let us declare His glory!

Read, relax and rejoice in the Psalms with me today.  Let's give thanks to our wonderful Creator for all He is!  Let’s end today’s blog glorifying His majestic and Almighty Name above all other names!!! Let's start our weekend as devoted women... ready and willing to live pleasing in His sight both now and forevermore!

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8)

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat. The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19)

Blessings!
Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson

Thursday, April 8, 2010

designer clothing

Here I sit at the Miami International Airport on a 3 hour layover waiting for my next flight out to Curacao (an island in the Netherland Antilles near Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea). While waiting, I decide to do one of my favorite things to pass the time… I watch people.

Sitting beside me is a middle aged European couple. The woman is garbed in Tommy Hillfinger flip flops, Calvin Klein blue jeans, a Gucci belt, a pink Juicy Couture t-shirt and next to her sits a sizeable Louis Vuitton handbag. The man traveling with her wears a team promoting rugby shirt, Guess jeans, Tommy Bahama shoes (I think), and sports a very fancy timepiece on his wrist. If you only took a passing glance at this couple, you wouldn’t give a second thought to their casual attire. But under closer inspection, it is evident that these two are dressed to the nines in expensive designer clothing pieces. And they aren’t the only ones.

As I scan the area around me, most of the travelers I notice are clothed in some form of wearable advertisement for a product, brand, sports team, political view, military division or country... some more obvious than others. (A group of men just walked by who look like they belong in a hip-hop music video.)

To be fair, I decide to take a look at myself to see if my appearance promotes someone or something… if I display any particular form of style. And then it hits me… there is a lesson in this. For artistically, whom do I really promote when you take time out to look at me in a spiritual fashion? What impression do I portray while jouryneying past others in this life? Do I showcase the talent, precision and flair of a Designer, a Creator, a Stylist, an Architect whose skills are supreme? And while wearing His handywork, do others naturally desire His elegance when they recognize Him on me? Are they eager to clothe themselves with His goods… to seek after His coverings?

Do I appear polished, wealthy, successful - with a presence that illuminates His richness and glory? Or do I seem tired, defeated, poor in spirit? Worse yet, do I accessorize myself cheaply with flashy, counterfeit forgeries only to later realize that I ended up losing more when I bought into them? For the quality of those knock-offs do not endure… their attributes do not hold up. I would have done better to invest in the real deal. For the original Designer took great care to engineer the finest pieces. He attended to every intricate detail to insure quality. Sure, His exalted wardrobe seems extreme at first… but His worth promises to advance my own value. His ways clothe me in guaranteed rewards beyond measure. My Almighty Designer promises an ideal fit because He is tailored to meet my every need.

When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." (Mark 5:27-28) 

Ladies, today I challenge you to consider all this. Think about what you are spiritually wearing - what knock offs you are still promoting. Consider if others passing by you see the elegance, worth and glory of Jesus when they look at your divine wardrobe? Is it obvious to see that you are clothed in the grace of the Savior... that you have invested in wearing His attire... that His goods are the real deal and soooo worth it!  Would others desire Him when they glance in your direction?  Really, what Designer are you showing with your life, ladies?  If it is Jesus, are you representing and wearing Him well or casually mixing Him with other gods, idols and beliefs?  

Please think about it.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-17)

Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Romans 13:14)

Blessings!
Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson

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