Thursday, May 29, 2014

have some fun

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

How do you view living in the Spirit? How do you view God? Do you think of a King who likes to have fun? Do you think of a Father who enjoys laughing with His children? Do you think of a Savior who is pleased when He sees His people loving and enjoying each other? I think for many of us it is easy to get caught up in the to do's of our faith and forget that we have a Creator who is, well... CREATIVE and GOOD. The Bible tells us that He made everything on this earth for us to enjoy within the healthy boundaries He set. I think it becomes habit for us to forget His gifts and instead, fall into the mindset that we must always be serious and never enjoy anything fun. That couldn't be further from the truth.

The fact of the matter is, God wants us to have fun. He wants us to have everything GOOD. He created us to smile and laugh and have joy for a reason. The old idea, "if it is fun, it must be a sin" is ridiculous. God wants us to LIVE! God wants us to LIVE ABUNDANTLY... today... now... in His presence... and FOREVER! Of course, He wants us to have fun - He invented it! It's "old ugly" that wants us to live miserably. The enemy wants us to be defeated and worn down. Ladies, that is not of the Lord! But sometimes we forget this and live so depressed and defeated for no reason except that it is how we associate surrendering to Jesus. How wrong. Our sacrifice to live and follow Him is to give us LIFE, not to take it away!!!

Some time ago, I was greatly intimidated by a legalistic environment of overbearing, hypocritical "Christians" who were more concerned about their many religious regulations, rather than focusing on true salvation and the "why" and "how" we are to express our love to our merciful Redeemer and each other. They spent their time thinking up ways to impose strict (and frankly, weird) cult-like parameters to dictate their authority over those under their leadership. Without going into detail, it is safe to say - their views were unhealthy, abusive and very much unbiblical. How sad. Although at the time, I strongly suspected something wasn't quite right with their methods, I was too young (and too naive a follower) to know better. Thankfully, later God gave me the courage to face such giants, showing me that their control issues stemmed from fear and insecurities that were not of my Lord. He taught me the truth about "how" and "why" He intends for me to live a certain, healthy way - - IN HIM. This life-changing, life-giving lesson provided me the FREEDOM that Christ promised and now I AM NEW... and loving every minute of it!

In Galatians 5:22-23, we are told that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. In addition, we read in Philippians, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9)

I don't know about you, but that really opens up a lot of things to which I am able to enjoy and have fun with and still live a life obedient and pleasing to my King. There are so many ways to experience joy and bring excitement (and sometimes a little dose of silliness) into our lives... and, all the while living a life in dedication to our gracious Master. Ladies, we are not supposed to live lives that block us into fear, failure, disappointment, or boredom. No! We are to live abundantly and look forward to our future in heaven with a joyous heart of worship for our Savior! BOO YA, Satan! Time for you to get lost! In Jesus Name - we are here to stand firm in our LOVE while living LIFE!!! Now that's FUN!

Read some verses with me...

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." (Proverbs 31:25)

To everything there is a season... "a time to laugh" and "a time to dance." (Ecclesiastes 3:4)

"But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds - His name is the Lord - and rejoice before Him." (Psalms 68:3-4) (
Authors Note: God is so cool... riding on clouds!!! Yea!)

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil - this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it." (Ecclesiastes 3:11-14)

"When times are good, be happy." (Ecclesiastes 7:14a)

"Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise." (James 5:13b)

"Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp." (Psalms 149:3)


In retrospect, I am saddened for the leaders I once knew in my earlier years. I'm sad because I don't think they will ever know the joy and freedom that truly comes from loving God with all your heart. No longer do I worry about limitations and controling statements such as, "You can't do this or that..." "You must be this or that..." No. I now know that I can dress any way I wish. I can eat anything and do anything I want. I can sing anything, watch anything, listen to anything... my only parameter is that I always follow God's perfect, life-giving Word - doing everything in moderation and with a heart that is pleasing to my Lord. I am not bound by anything of this world. The only thing I am bound by is LOVE! How wonderful it is to be that FREE in my Savior's care. In Him, I can relax and LIVE LIVE LIVE!!!

So ladies, go ahead... have a private concert and sing in the shower at the top of your lungs! Do cartwheels and somersaults in a field while barefoot! Jam out and beat those air drums to a joyful noise honoring His name! Dance on your tip-toes while cooking dinner for your family. Create, dream, laugh and twirl... ENJOY YOUR LIFE AND HAVE FUN!!! God wants us to digest great books. He wants us to enjoy exciting football games. He wants us to have fulfilling sex with our husbands. He wants us to eat and drink delectable foods. He wants us to travel and meet people and enjoy all sorts of experiences. He wants us to breathe in the ocean air. He wants us to smell the roses. He wants us to smooch babies and snuggle with puppies. He wants us to feel pretty and precious and beautiful. He delights when we delight. He sings when we sing. He rejoices when we rejoice.

God has lovingly given us His most healthy command ever... to live our lives in love with Him and share that love with others. Let's face it, there is nothing more fun than LOVE!!!!

We need to get out of this mindset that God is sooooo rigid, and in order to follow Him we must surrender our sense of humor. Ladies, God is in control of all things, yes... but that doesn't mean God isn't fun!!! HE MADE FUN!!! He is ready to spoil us rotten with unmatched grace and a bounty of blessings. He is Ruler of everything we know, and He enjoys and loves His creation. We see pieces of His greatness everywhere on earth. Just look around and enjoy the intricacies of a leaf... or the playfulness of an otter! (Don't even get me giggling about the platypus!!!)

Let's take our Master up on this "living abundantly" promise and HAVE SOME FUN LIVING IN JESUS NAME!!! Now, go out there and enjoy your day!!! LIVE in the Spirit!!! WOO HOO and HALLELUJAH!!!

"Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord." (Psalms 150:1-6)

Blessings!

~Victoria

© 2010 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

stop fraternizing with the enemy

My computer is set to automatically switch over to a screen saver after the computer sits idle for more than ten minutes. When this happens, the screen saver is setup to "float" various words (along with their definitions) across my monitor screen. I like it very much because it has become a fun and educational opportunity for me to find a new or forgotten word when I return to my desktop. In fact, I've started to make a game of it by attempting to incorporate the said word into my everyday vocabulary.

Earlier, I approached my computer with the mindset to write today's blog about a particular topic. I was going to name the blog "Identity Theft" and discuss how easily we as Christians forget WHO we are as children of the Most High God. I was going to share verses and examples as to how the enemy tries to convince us into believing his lies, in contrast to how God views us and intends for us to live freely in Him. However, once I sat down and looked at my monitor, there was a new word waiting on my screen... that word was: fraternize.

Fraternize: To associate on friendly terms with an enemy or opposing group, often in violation of discipline or orders.

I stopped for a minute and realized that fraternization is exactly our problem. Satan cannot make us believe anything. Satan cannot force us to sin. No, that responsibility falls on us alone. It is our decision, our choice, to believe Satan's lies over God's truths. I fear that our fraternization to accept rather than reject the enemy's presence in our life is our biggest issue. In general, I think we are too eager to put out the welcome mat and get friendly in associating with Satan. We do this by becoming comfortable with the presence of sin around us - sometimes even welcoming it into our homes and family lives! Look around at the images you thoughtlessly accept... listen to the words you are accustom to hearing... are they holy?

Rather than humble our souls and sacrifice our lives to consume God's Bread of Life, we have gotten used to feeding our hungry egos with Satan's sinful junk food. We do this because an easy drive thru seems more accommodating than taking the time to come home and prepare a family meal. But is it healthy? Is it really beneficial? It takes quality time to know God and relish in His order and ways. It takes no time at all to get chummy with Satan. So, when we give Satan our attention... any attention, we directly violate God's plan to abide in Jesus alone. Then we ultimately find ourselves in despair and torment from the spiritual tummy ache of sin the enemy has fed us. Not cool.

Jesus said it is impossible to have two masters. "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other." (Matthew 6:24)

Satan will always try to tempt us to love this world and the many things that please our eyes, make us feel good about ourselves, and gratify our fleshly desires. But this world is not holy... it is corrupt. And focusing on our self rather than Christ, is a sure recipe for disaster. We were created to worship God, not ourselves!!! "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." (1 John 2:15-17)

James points out that to seek to embrace the world and its friendship is enmity (hatred) toward God and spiritual adultery. "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." (James 4:4)

Because of this, we must stand firm against the enemy and the things of this world that can steer us away from following Jesus. This includes "friends" who would lead us the wrong way... television shows and movies based in the occult and darkness... strongholds and addictions that numb us... pursuits for popularity, possessions, physical and emotional gratifications... in short, anything that turns our eyes away from Jesus and keeps us from following God... anything! Ask yourself, are you standing firm against these things?

Spiritual identity theft is achieved when we fraternize with an enemy that God clearly tells us to stand firmly against. We let our guard down and, in turn, our pit grows deeper and deeper. Our hope gets stifled and we become burdened and ineffective in our faith. We choose to follow what is untrue... all because we grow accustom to the company of a liar... a destroyer! A wolf cannot co-exist with a flock of sheep without inevitably attempting to harm and devour each and every lamb! When we keep company with the enemy, we ridiculously rationalize his presence and start to accept our sin - - all the while becoming more and more anxious and heavy burdened because...hello... he's a wolf waiting to devour us! This is not living free and following Jesus' holy way. We must break off all ties to that which is unholy and put our trust in our Shepherd to guard us against the enemy. He will watch over us and guide our ways. He will fight off the enemy and keep us safe from harm! But we must follow Christ fully and stop two-timing between serving two masters.

Ladies, God promises that if we pursue Him, He will not only provide for our needs (Matthew 6:33) but He will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4-5). Let's stop violating the discipline and orders of our good and faithful King by believing the enemy has a better plan for us... he doesn't. Nothing is better than Jesus. Let's stop choosing less than what God has intended for us. Instead, let's live holy in our Redeemer's grace.

The enemy is just that - THE ENEMY!!!  Let's stop fraternizing and following the advice of someone who wants us defeated... destroyed... dead. Rather, let's start rejoicing and living in Jesus Name - HE WHO IS WORTHY OF ALL PRAISE - He who gives us life anew! Follow the Savior, ladies. Believe Him. He is the WAY!

Thank you, Lord, for giving us life and adopting us into Your family. Your grace has made us worthy because You first loved us enough to save us! Our identity is safe in Your care! AMEN!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© 2014 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, May 26, 2014

who is your God?

Who is YOUR God?

Do you believe your God can make a dry path for you to walk safely through the middle of a roaring sea?
Do you trust that your God can defeat any enemy that stands against you and threatens your existence?
Do you know that your God is capable of dismissing all disease and death with merely His words?
Do you have confidence that your God will always come through... will always deliver... will always be there for you?

Even when you are faced with the most unbelievable trials in the most unlikely places, will your God show up?
Can you see Him bidding you to join Him in the fiery furnace?
Can you look past the lions in the den in which you are standing and trust that He is still in control?
Are you confident that He will bring down those extremely high walls of Jericho?
Will He hear your requests to raise those you cherish from the grave?
Can He restore your sight?
Can He quench your thirst?
Do you trust that He is reliable to remove you from bondage... from slavery... from the belly of the darkest whale... from the selfishness of your own tongue... from the errors of your own foolishness?

Who is your God?
Will He feed you?
Will He clothe you?
Will He always provide and protect you?
Will He revive your soul?
Will He renew your spirit?
Will He restore you into His kingdom?
Will He save you? Is this the God that you claim to love and believe in - the One who will guide you into purity, holiness, goodness?

Is this your God?
Is this your Savior?
Is this Who you represent?
Is this Who you follow?
Who you live for?
Who you promote in every word, every deed, every thought?
Is this Who you love with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength?
Is this the God who overcame the deepest depths of death on your behalf in order to give you life? Is He the Savior who overcame the cross so that you could baptise and submerse yourself in His grace... in His ways... in His perfect plan of redemption?

Is this your God?

Or is your god an imaginary fairy tale that you hope one day will come true and find favor in you?
Is your god a nice idea when the day is sunny and your belly is full, but not really a practical solution to cast all your cares upon when the storms of life come?
Is your god an old, tired Sunday school story or a new, living daily Song to rejoice about?
Do you cherish and seek after your God's presence, or do you simply pray that he exists?

Who is your God?

Friends, our God is like no one else. He is real. He has complete control over all creation because He is its source. I cannot stress enough that nothing in our lives is too hard for Him to handle. He wants us to trust His Word and know that He is the one true, reliable, glorious God - the Maker of Heaven and Earth! When we begin to call any part of His abilities or promises into doubt, all of God’s marvelous plans become suspect, and we open the door for the lies and distortions of Satan who wants nothing more than to destroy our faith. This is not healthy. This is not living in Jesus Name. Rather, let's choose to sing praise to our God's splendor. Let's raise up our hands and rejoice in thanksgiving. For our God - the God of the Bible... the God we claim as our own... the Savior of LIFE... yes, HE is in complete control and will see us through!!! Join me today and claim victory in His Holy Holy Holy Name! Great is the LORD - the One true God!!! He is most worthy of our eternal praise!!!

Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, O descendants of Israel his servant, O sons of Jacob, his chosen ones. He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth. He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: "To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit." When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it, they wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another. He allowed no man to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings: "Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm." Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place. Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength, ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns!" Let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them! Then the trees of the forest will sing, they will sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Cry out, "Save us, O God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, that we may glory in your praise." Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Then all the people said "Amen" and "Praise the LORD." (1 Chronicles 16:8-36)

Who is YOUR God?

Blessings!

~Victoria

© 2010 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Sunday, May 25, 2014

difficult people

In my profession, I am frequently confronted on the back-end of our ministry with difficult people. These are people who represent the dissatisfied part of DW's audience. In general, they approach me in venomous anger and are determined from the beginning to debate, insult, threaten, boast and disagree with the beliefs and/or make-up of The Devoted Woman Ministry. It is a regular part of my role that leads me directly to my knees in prayer... begging God to continue working in my heart so that my default attitude to dislike someone does not take center stage and overshadow the love that God wishes me to extend to EVERYONE. I'll be honest with you... it isn't easy.

When faced with the spiritual test of interacting with "the difficult", I think it is important for each of us to remember the perfect example given by Jesus. Christ was approached by every kind of difficult individual out there, yet He still made sure to show and tell his followers how to deal with individuals who hate, curse and mistreat. I am so thankful for His teaching from the sermon on the mount. There He taught this, "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you." (Luke 6:27-31)

Jesus never looked at anyone with an attitude of superiority or haughtiness. He came to earth with the ultimate authority of heaven, but still made the point to approach every individual with love and respect. Jesus extended to others a servant's heart and did everything for the sake of glorifying His Father in Heaven.

God provides us clear direction in dealing with difficult persons whose speech is full of foolishness. These individuals like to argue for the sake of arguing and usually come to challenge God's word with their own sinful reasoning. Proverbs has a wealth of information to say about such difficult people. They despise wisdom (Proverbs 1:7, 22, 10:21, 23:9); they are right in their own eyes (Proverbs 12:15); they are deceitful (Proverbs 14:8) and scornful (Proverbs 10:23, 14:9). Scripture is clear regarding how we are to deal with fools... For negligible issues we should just ignore their foolishness. However, in issues that matter, they must be dealt with so that credence will not be given to what they say. In general, it is usually better to walk away from an argument that will only spin you in circles. The only exception is when we give an answer of reproof that is supported biblically so that God's word can be given as the true voice of reason. It is likely that the wisdom of scripture will be despised and rejected, but God expects you to make the attempt... both for the sake of the Truth which is always to be declared, and for the sake of those listening. We must leave it up to the Holy Spirit to work in someone's heart when sharing the wisdom of God against man's folly.

As I type this, I am reminded of someone I know personally. This person has actually become predictable to me in their method to try and suck me into debating God's word. Unfortunately, they show no interest in God, except to argue against Him, and they use all means to reel me into their agenda: deceit, drama, scoffing, anger, insults and abuse. We all have people in our lives like this. We all have to constantly be on guard when such spiritual warfare arises and pray for our hearts and minds to stay protected from "going there". As Christians, we shoud not fall into such schemes of the devil. It is not healthy or holy. Rather, it is best that we disagree once in love and then leave the matter with God to handle. Sure, we need to continue to love and pray for them. But let's face it, God is the only One that can turn a hardened heart anyway. No amount of our arguing can come close to His still, small voice. Amen to that!

Let's instead walk away and live by the admonition given to us by the apostle Paul in Romans 12, "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you... Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (Romans 12:3)

Ladies, we can successfully and biblically deal with difficult people. Each test, each opportunity should be viewed as an occasion to share God's word with another as well as praise our Teacher for showing us how to behave like Christ.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3-4)

A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult. (Proverbs 12:16)


Always remember that love is patient and kind. When you find yourself speaking to a challenging temperament, and/or foolish, angry ears... maintain a humble, quiet spirit. Then move on and pray for the Holy Spirit’s power to change your heart toward that difficult person and enable you to see them as God does. They need the same love, grace and mercy that Christ extended to you when you were lost. Without His love, we would never have received our salvation. So, we too must imitate the character of our perfect Redeemer who forgives and loves all who seek Him. This is behavior that edifies and pleases our King. Through the most difficult dialog and interaction, let's bring glory to our Almighty Father.

Blessings!

~Victoria

© 2009 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Friday, May 23, 2014

nothing can separate us from His love!

Physical discomforts cannot separate us from His love.
Financial setbacks cannot separate us from His love.
Uncertain futures, hardships, persecution, or famine... nothing cannot separate us from the love of our Father.

Praise the Lord today, for NOTHING can separate us from the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ!

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Blessings!

~Victoria

Friday, May 16, 2014

oh what a beautiful day!

Sing with me folks, "Oh what a beautiful morning!  Oh what a beautiful day!  I've got a beautiful feeling, everything's going my way!"  And it is!  For Jesus is with me!!!

I look at my pretty lemon, avocado, and fig trees - all thriving... all growing nearby my kitchen window.  All sprouting up with delight to welcome in the new morning sun.  I too will sprout with sincere delight and welcome into my life the new morning Son!

Shine on, dearest Creator!  Beam your love onto me and give me your everlasting Light so that I might extend my branches out and transfer your healing oxygen to others today.  Use me to bless.  Use me to live positive and renewed, with deep roots abiding tightly to your firm, supportive foundation.  Always ready for the next thunderstorm.  Always on guard for nightfall and darkness... to come and to go according to your perfect schedule, in your perfect timing.  Always believing to my core that your promises are eternally true, and unchanging, and for good.

Yes, I know that my Master is here with me.  I will joyfully praise Him in every hour because my Savior is going my way... HIS WAY!  "All the sounds of the earth are like music!"  Sing along, believers!  For our King rules!  The Master has painted another explosive new dawn - bringing in this phenomenal new day to serve and glorify His Magnificent Name.  Who wouldn't want to sing along?  Hurray!  Jesus is Lord!  Let us feast on His Word!  Let us drink from His giving abundance!

This is THE DAY that the Lord has made!  He intends for us to rejoice and be glad in it, no matter our current trials!  Christ invites us to sing His new song of salvation!  To live positive... prepared... in His full, peaceful potential!  Won't you lay aside and surrender it all on His altar?  Won't you come and adore Him?  Come... accept His gift, and stretch every limb high in worship!  Come and know that the Lord is with you and will fight for you!  His mercies are NEW every morning... every day!

Hallelujah to the King of kings!  He reigns.  He sparkles.  Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail!  Rejoice!  For He has risen so that we also might rise up and stand firm!  Let all those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy!

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.  See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip. Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come. Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the Lord. All Kedar’s flocks will be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth will serve you; they will be accepted as offerings on my altar, and I will adorn my glorious temple. Who are these that fly along like clouds, like doves to their nests? Surely the islands look to me; in the lead are the ships of Tarshish, bringing your children from afar, with their silver and gold, to the honor of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor. Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you. Though in anger I struck you, in favor I will show you compassion. Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so that people may bring you the wealth of the nations - their kings led in triumphal procession. For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined. The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the juniper, the fir and the cypress together, to adorn my sanctuary; and I will glorify the place for my feet. The children of your oppressors will come bowing before you; all who despise you will bow down at your feet and will call you the City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Although you have been forsaken and hated, with no one traveling through, I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations. You will drink the milk of nations and be nursed at royal breasts. Then you will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. Instead of bronze I will bring you gold, and silver in place of iron. Instead of wood I will bring you bronze, and iron in place of stones. I will make peace your governor and well-being your ruler. No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise.  The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. Then all your people will be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor. The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly. (Isaiah 60)

"Oh what a beautiful morning!  Oh what a beautiful day!  I've got a beautiful feeling, everything's going my way!"  

Happy Friday, May 16, 2014!  Happy, beautiful NEW DAY!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© 2014 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, May 15, 2014

what kind of man is this?

Jesus did many things... "If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." (John 21:25)

I sooooooo love the point that John makes at the end of John 21. It is so true. There are already SO MANY books that have been written about Jesus... and we still have not finished writing about Him! Just imagine...what if God had given us MORE to digest in scripture? I can't even fathom it.

Even in His own time, we see the impact of Jesus... Check out the writings of Josephus, a 1st century Jewish historian born in AD 37:

"About this time came Jesus, a wise man, if indeed it is appropriate to call him a man. For he was a performer of paradoxical feats, a teacher of people who accept the unusual with pleasure, and he won over many of the Jews and also many Greeks. He was the Christ. When Pilate, upon the accusation of the first men amongst us, condemned him to be crucified, those who had formerly loved him did not cease to follow him, for he appeared to them on the third day, living again, as the divine prophets foretold, along with a myriad of other marvellous things concerning him. And the tribe of the Christians, so named after him, has not disappeared to this day."

Jesus also shows up later in writings from AD 116 by the Roman Historian, Tacitus, who refers to Him as "Christus". In Tacitus writings, we see confirmations of both the life and death of Christ in Judea. Even more importantly, he confirms that Jesus death was by crucifixion. As a Roman, Tactitus unsympethetically records the spread of Christianity and the persecution of Christ's followers as they faithfully spread His message of redemption throughout Rome:

"Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired."

Christian scholar Edwin Yamauchi said that death by crucifixion was the "most ignominious death" reserved for the lowest and most worthless criminals. By Tacitus' own account, it is interesting to see that the direction of mankind continued to follow Jesus despite his lowly death. More importantly, those who believed that He was God were prepared to follow Jesus no matter what - - even to the penalty of their own death! His message was that important and continues to be even today... what a Messiah!!!

Both believers and non-believers alike have written, debated, filmed, argued and interpreted so much about this simple man from Nazarath. Centuries of eyes have been cast upon Him, volumes of words have been written about Him.... and still, we can't seem to get enough. Every single day on this earth is even measured to Christ's life on the calendar... BC (before Christ was born) or AD (after Christ was on earth). We cannot help but focus on Him. Whether we admit it or not... whether we believe in Him or not.... we are drawn to recognize His life...His death...His LIFE! Like it or not, He has captivated man's attention so that all must ask, "What kind of man is this?" For no other has done what He has done. Whatever one may believe about Jesus, there is no denying the ripple effect that His life has produced. It is astounding, to say the least.

When I consider John's statement again, I am overwhelmed with the thought of how many books HAVE actually been written about Jesus in the course of my lifetime alone. I'm certain the number cannot be calculated. There is no other man in all of history who has produced more fruit and reached more people than my loving Savior. There is no One greater.... no One better. He alone is separate, unique and holy from all the rest. Only the King of all kings could produce such a response from all mankind. And yet, this world cannot contain His glory... He is too awesome!

This is Jesus the Christ... My Messiah. My Savior. My King!!! I am His follower and will glorify His name forever and ever!

Ladies, take the time to place your eyes upon the ONE who is worthy of all praise!!!  Make today (and everyday) all about Him!

This is Jesus!!! 
My Redeemer!!! 
He is coming again!!! 
Are you ready?

Blessings!

~Victoria

© 2014 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Sunday, May 11, 2014

happy mother's day, Momba!

"Her children arise and call her blessed!" (Proverbs 31:28a)

Arise and call, dear brothers and sisters!
Arise and pay tribute to the most blessed of all women!
Arise and acknowledge the warming womb, the steadfast teaching, the tender heart.
Arise and give thanks for the provision and care.
Arise and embrace she who has nurtured... she who has loved... she who has sacrificed.
Arise!

Happy Mothers Day, Momba!!!

I love you!

XOX!

Blessing!

~Victoria

© 2014 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, May 5, 2014

no greater love than Jesus

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17)

I love when I receive notes from folks that start out with, "Hello Victoria.  Boy, do I have a story for you..." or "OK, you have to hear this one..."  While attending my Grandmother's memorial service yesterday, I received a few such emails and texts.  Also, this morning I opened my inbox for a few more scrumptious bites of love!  Usually when folks send me such notes, it means that someone is writing to share a story of good news and encouragement... a story of how God has provided for them in some momentous way.  Yep, those are the best stories to read, and I soooo love when people share them with me!  What an honor!

Also, I love that God puts no limitation on the number of our friendships.  That we can get to know and love as many people as He so generously places before us.  That we can identify every single living soul as a reflection of Jesus... choosing to bless and return care to God's most loved creation in real time.  I mostly love friendships with those who are in my Savior's eternal family - who live covered in the blessings of His life-saving sacrifice, and live each day with His Kingdom in mind.  Those are the believers who have received Christ's gift and now also love me - not as passing travelers that may never be encountered again, but as dear brothers/sisters in the Lord!  I will be rejoicing and singing side-by-side with them forever in The Almighty's presence.  Those friends are indeed family to me and the most special.  They are my peeps!

This morning my beautiful friend, Renee, wrote me.  What makes Renee beautiful is that she gives.  She gives of her time, gives of her own personal resources, and gives of her heart to help lost animals in need.  I met Renee a few years ago when Chuck and I chose to adopt another dog.  She was fostering our sweet Rocky - a chocolate lab who had been rescued out of an abusive environment.  To adopt Rocky... Chuck, Momba, and I had to drive many hours in difficult weather to pick him up from Renee's home (located in another state).  After the initial pleasantries and introductory hand shakes, Renee warmly welcomed me and my family into her home.  There, she introduced us to her lovely family (and many thankful pets), and shared with us a glimpse of her heart's mission to help both people and animals care for one another.  I instantly fell in love with her.  Who couldn't!?!!  Of course, since that first meeting, we have kept in touch.  Frequently I lift up Renee in prayer as I watch her updates online - taking in another lost animal, finding a loving person to care for said animal, and then selflessly letting the animal go (with a piece of her heart) to thrive in it's new forever home.  Renee gives.  Renee loves.

Here is a snapshot of what Renee wrote me this morning:

Long few weeks.  As I was placing yet another sweet puppy (yes!), I was so tired of the Facebook thing and the drama I saw, that I shut the computer down and sat back and looked at the black screen. What I saw flashing was "No Greater Love than Jesus!" I looked again, and realized it was your Christmas card you sent me on my fridge!!  "No Greater Love than Jesus!"  Went and got my son and told him to look at the screen.  He said, "What?"  Then I said, "Do you see something flashing?" He said, "Yes... 'No Greater love than Jesus.'"  I turned and looked at the card!  Hugs!

I love when God reveals Himself in strange, simple ways!  I mean, come on(!)... a shiny Christmas card that I sent months ago stuck to a refrigerator door situated behind Renee somehow reflects itself off her shut down computer screen at the exact moment she needs a lift!!!?  Really, that zap of love could only come directly from the Throne of God!  (Hallelujah to the King!)  And there is so much to appreciate in the details of the story:  My friendship with Renee, causing me to even send the card in the first place.  Renee's spiritual eyes opened enough to actually see and receive God's message.  Renee's big heart to then share the blessing with her son, as well as myself - taking a few seconds of her day to acknowledge The Master's goodness.  And so on... Oh, how I love when God uses His peeps to uplift and encourage one another in His Name.  There is nothing more beautiful than Jesus giving to us!  And there is nothing more important than us sharing Jesus with others!  WOO HOO!  What a great and loving God we serve!

I have another friend, Shelene, who recently reminded me about something through her writing concerning the message of John 3:16-17.  Its funny how you hear a key, life-changing Bible verse your whole life.  Of course, you know it is important.  And yet through the faithfulness of a friend, God makes the verse's message new and inspiring again.  This week, Shelene reminded me about John 3:16-17... how God loves us!  How does God love us, you may ask?  The answer is: God loves us by giving.  "For God so loved the world THAT HE GAVE..."  What does He give?  He gives us Jesus!!!  He give us the opportunity of a new life in Christ!  A life that overcomes toxic sin and death!  A life that allows us the joy to love and give Jesus to others over, and over, and over again!  WOO HOO!  With Jesus, God gives us a love that cannot be topped.  A hope that cannot be outdone.  A future... a home in His Kingdom!  God soooo loved us "that He gave"... so that we could also give of Him, for Him, and because of Him.  God is love, and love is giving.  And ohhhh, how I love to give His message!  Again, what an honor!!!

This got me thinking.  Renee gives Jesus by caring for lost and abused animals.  Shelene gives Jesus by writing, speaking, networking, and raising funds to help the homeless.  My late grandmother gave Jesus by tickling my arm with her soft hands, by singing, and by living a modest, frugal lifestyle that benefitted others with resources she chose to live without.  My dentist, Dr. Wambaugh, gives Jesus by utilizing his skills to repair broken teeth.  My Life Group from church gives Jesus by praying and encouraging one another via text and email.  My friend, Kim, gives Jesus by being a terrific wife and mother.  My husband, Chuck, gives Jesus by working hard and providing for our family while always remaining available to help and listen to others.  On the surface, all these folks live their lives just like anyone else... but what matters is that each of them chooses to do so under the grace of God and for His glory!  Each has faithfully chosen to trust Jesus to teach them how to love as He loves! Each has proclaimed their allegiance to His Eternal Kingdom!

In this life there are infinite ways Christians can give and minister to those God generously puts before us.  There are so many relationships to be developed as we reflect the Savior to others in our words and deeds.  In fact, in God's economy, our whole life will be considered the biggest success if we choose to do these two simple things... love God, and love others.  To give and receive Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength!  That's it!  No matter what our occupation, our interests, our activities, or even our bank roll... there is nothing greater than the love of Jesus, and our sharing Him in every capacity we are able!  There is nothing better or more fulfilling than receiving, and knowing, and sharing the Lord!  Yes, God is love... and love is giving.

So today, I encourage you to think about giving Jesus.  Give His gift in your home, your work, your words, your actions.  Give His future, His hope, His promises to those who need Him.  (And, we all need Him, don't we?)  Give His care through the gifts and abilities He has blessed you with.  And as you give, keep your eyes open.  Keep your heart focused to see, and know, and receive more of His great love.  For He delights in surprising His people with generous, encouraging blessings.  Seek out His love, my friends!  For God sooo loves every person in this world... For God soooo loves YOU that He gives!!!  What a blessing!

Happy Monday, May 5th, y'all!

XOXOXO!

~Victoria

© 2014 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson


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