Thursday, June 26, 2014

correct us... direct us... protect us

Late last night, I was lying in bed staring out my bedroom window. Earlier, Chuck had fallen asleep in his recliner located in our family room, and I just didn't have the heart to wake him up. So, I was alone with my beagle snuggled under summer-weighted covers and enjoying the soothing breeze that was rhythmically waltzing in and out of my bedroom's open window.

Usually, when I am awake at such hours, it is a great time for me to study, pray or write because it is so quiet. However, last night, I was content to just gaze out my bedroom window. Nearby our home is a strategically placed street light which often illuminates the beautiful trees in our subdivision. I love to watch the tall, established trees lean with the currents of the wind - swaying back and forth, back and forth. It is so peaceful and calming.

Anyway, while enjoying the peace of last night, I noticed two strange shadows of movement outside. I grabbed my glasses to focus in better on the glowing-eyes lurking about our lawn. Thankful that I was inside, I started thinking about how many dangerous creatures really do exist and hunt in suburban locations. Interesting... yes.  A little unsettling... well, yes!

As I watched the two shadows disappear into the darkness behind some trees, I started thinking about the evil powers that lurk around my life within the spiritual realm. Most of the time, I foolishly forget that there is a constant battle taking place around me... that my seemingly simple, average life is surreptitiously infiltrated by the subtle and relentless intrusion of Satan sneaking around my heart and home. Thankfully, last night I was reminded how important it is to give Jesus full residence within my life and stay close to Him even when moments may seem peaceful and quiet. I must remain strong in the Lord and in his mighty power as outlined in Ephesians chapter 6 - constantly putting on His whole armor and uniting myself with Him in Spirit. I wish to always be a living temple under holy renovations made to accommodate His welcomed residence within my heart.

Immediately, verses from Psalm 25 came to mind...

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD. Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant. For the sake of your name, O LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him. He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me! Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you. (Psalm 25:1-21)

Ladies, wickedness is all around our lives and Satan is lurking about to snare us so that we will be ineffective in God's kingdom. Let's not let him! Let's be aware of the enemy's subtle presence and protect ourselves in the Lord! Let's be on full alert to the wicked shadows of evil men and spirits that scheme against our eternal success. Their hunting grounds are where we live relaxed and sleepy - hidden within the false comforts of the attractive idols in which we still cling to. But heed my words... there is no true comfort without the Lord's statutes. There is no safety or growth without His refuge and strength. His presence is where we must always rest - nowhere else.

So today, submerse yourself in God's perfect word and curl up in His promised hope. Memorize and hide His truths in your heart.... for it will correct you. It will direct you. It will protect you!

Remember, the battle is not planned according to the way this world fights; earthly stratagems are not our concern because the enemy does not play fare in this capacity. No, our warfare is spiritual in nature and our power comes from God alone. Let's praise Him for His promised deliverance and trust Him through the insidious attacks formed against us. He will protect us from corruption if we will remain in Him.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

"Remain in me, and I will remain in you." (John 15:4a)

Lord, you are my rock and deliverer from evil. For the sake of your Name, lead and guide my every step. Continue to be a guiding light through every darkness... through every shadow. Let me not become comfortable to the trappings of this world's philosophies, reasonings, and schemes. Let me not be blinded by a devil who distracts my human eyes with false promises of comfort, pride, self-centeredness or self-confidence. Rather, let me trust in You alone. You are my safety and assurance. Let me remember that you surround those you love with your protection... and that no principality will ever prevail against any of your decrees. Teach me to always remain within your holy boundaries so that I may avoid all danger. And use me, dear Father. Use my heart to house your Spirit's holy presence. Use my home to share your Son's unfathomable love. Use my life to further your kingdom, Almighty Father. I wish to remain in you always.

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right man on our side,
the man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth, his name,
from age to age the same,
and he must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God hath willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo, his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers,
no thanks to them, abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours,
thru him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill;
God's truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever.
(Martin Luther)


Ladies, the gates of hell shall not prevail against our God. (See Matthew 16:18) So, let's live every day totally surrendered to the will of the Lord of Hosts. He will protect His people!

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” (Psalm 20:7)

A mighty fortress is our God! WOO HOO!

Blessings!

~Victoria

Saturday, June 21, 2014

system, order, cleanliness, holiness

Let all things be done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:40)

"System and order"....  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  Let's all just exhale as we think about those two wonderful words. And while we relish in their sweet, blissful relief, let's not forget their ever-important first cousin "cleanliness" either.  Mmmmmmm.  Yes... system, order, and cleanliness.  A trifecta of method, simplicity, and purity all harmoniously working together.  Good stuff, for sure!  The mere possibility of any one of these disciplines just settles my nerves.  How about you?

The upright shall have good things in possession. (Proverbs 28:10)

Sure, in our homes we all must battle clutter.  And it is easy to fall into the selfish trap of hoarding cumbersome collections when our belongings are not prayerfully managed.  But isn't it so much nicer when our possessions are surrendered to the Savior?  When our stuff does not overwhelm us but instead is organized to bless and be used wisely for His kingdom?  Such gifts enhance, rather than bog down.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.  (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.  (Acts 44:42-47)

Surely, there is a season for every single thing on this earth, and God has entrusted His people to act as good stewards alongside one another.  We are called to generously share together and re-give what we've been given so that we may further highlight the Lord's glory.  If you think about it, even our sentences require His holy structure!

Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things. (Proverbs 23:16)

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:15-16)  

How awesome is our God in His perfect wisdom concerning all things!!!  WOO HOO!

I don't know about you, but organization as a whole makes me feel, well, free.  It causes my other burdens to feel lighter, and renews my energy to press on in other tasks.  I can't explain why it make such a monumental difference, but I do know that my God is the Creator of all order.  And He commands me to remove anything that hinders my focus away from Him..."let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us." (Hebrews 12:1)  Disorderliness definitely refocuses my attention away from Jesus! In fact, clutter really depresses me! For when things are in chaos, I am easily confused, uncomfortably cloudy, and can't think beyond the mess and madness. Simply put, I can't move forward because I feel chained down. Yuck!  Lord, I don't want to be that seed stuck in the thorns... "He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful." (Matthew 13:22)

I've come to believe that clutter is a sneaky trick that Satan uses to impede people... especially women!  Clearly, it is in our make-up to nest and nourish.  But when we don't surrender control, or obediently manage our nests for the sake of Christ, our own nourishment becomes hampered and the enemy muddles in our lives... "Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men."(Mark 8:33)  And when the enemy is given such access, the hodgepodge of sinful distractions and weights soon accompany.  UGH!  Soon we are drowning in the mindset that taking out time to regroup and reorder our lives is impossible and/or somehow less important than other tasks.  But nothing is impossible or more important than to live in freedom, folks! For God clearly doesn't want us wading around in Satan's mud and mire feeling imprisoned by our own stuff.  No!  We are not to be snared into a hot mess of anarchy or let our own pride win out concerning this matter.  Freedom is too precious.  Time is too valuable.  We must obediently let go of anything unnecessary to Christ.  Simply put, if anything is limiting your usefulness to God, if anything is failing as a blessing in your life, clean it up... ask Jesus to give you the strength and wisdom to remove that burden... and then move forward!  Period.  It is more important to keep your heart open to His opportunities.  So, de-chain and move forward, Believer!  Take charge to organize yourself to know God's holiness.  Do everything you must to purge away all stumbling blocks and invite in God's deliverance!

When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain;  And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people. (Isaiah 57:13-14)

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.  Use hospitality one to another without grudging.  As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1 Peter 4:8-10)

Be not now negligent: for the Lord hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him... so the service of the house of the Lord was set in order. (2 Chronicles 29:11 & 35)

Today, serve God by doing all you are able to set your house (His house) in efficient, working order!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© 2014 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Saturday, June 14, 2014

standing slow and moving still... memories of my "Christian" life

It's funny how God changes our lives from one minute to the next. If I were to jump into a magical time machine and travel back several years, you would see that my free time would never have been consumed with anything resembling The Devoted Woman ministry. I would not be spending my off days answering emails, publicly sharing my faith, or praying specifically for people located all around the world. I would not be faithfully studying the scriptures, speaking and teaching for the sake of Christ, meeting with ministry leaders and charitable organization heads, or even writing this blog.

No, many years ago my down time away from work was all about playing online video games with my husband, watching sports and television shows, enjoying dinners and concerts with family and friends, swimming at the health club, reading and studying topics of interest, shopping with girlfriends, refining my hobbies, playing with my dogs, and occasionally attending church and participating in a women's bible study. These were the more enjoyable parts of "living" that I smooshed between the to do's of my career and the everyday responsibilities of family. I considered it a pretty decent life. I was average. My family was normal. We were the common folk of society who faced the good and the bad while doing our best to get through the day without incident or disappointment.

Every morning, Chuck and I would be in a rush to get out the door without eating breakfast. Every evening, a loud television would overpower our little house as we reclined/collapsed after a long day's work. We were a family that ate bad, slept little and looked to Jesus rarely. The average "Christian" American home, right? Sure, we loved being together... we loved our marriage, family, friends, church, etc... but truthfully, as a couple we had no spiritual motivation. As a woman, I had no ambition to be better. (OK, maybe I wanted to be better in an Oprah "Your Best Life Now" kind of way... but not REALLY better. Not closer to God better. Not choosing His will over my own wants better. Not newer in Jesus better.)

Several years ago I was tired. Tired from dealing with the aftershock of a major injury. Tired of being the responsible family member in the midst of crisis. Tired of driving an hour each day to a stuffy gray office in a stuffy gray suit. Tired of working late. Tired of puffed-up corporate egos. Tired of deteriorating business ethics. Tired of a small bank account and large bills. Tired that nobody really cared about anything other than themself, and tired that I was one of those nobodies. Tired that love didn't seem like love. Tired that life didn't feel like life. Tired that my friends were messes, that my longings were superficial, that my world seemed... well, stuck. I was just tired of being tired.

Mind you, I had accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was a young child. I grew up in a Christian household, fellowshipped in a Christian community, and was educated in schools full of strict Christian beliefs. I knew the way to Heaven. I agreed that God was the one true God. I believed that Jesus was the Savior who could save me from a sinful fate. And sure, I followed His path... to an extent. (Perhaps it was more by way of dragging my heels and zig-zagging my steps.) I was keeping His law and walking in His way... sort of. Brought up in the church, there was nothing I hadn't heard doctrinally. There was little I didn't know biblically. So yeah, I was a "Christian". Not one of those judgemental-hypocrite Christians though. And not one of those fanatical, over-the-top crazy Christians that weirded out everyone around them while worrying about their hair and skirt lengths like a cult. No, I didn't think that all movies were of the devil. Nor did I believe that music with a drum beat could be considered evil. Sure, I knew those Christians. In fact, I was surrounded by them. But not me... No, I was just your average, warm-blooded, lukewarm believer - quietly standing slow and moving still since salvation. What do I mean? Well, simply put, I was living the contemporary Christian oxymoron that is so common of today. I was going nowhere while claiming to follow Jesus.

This contradiction resulted in a life of little intimacy with the King. Sure, we had a few close encounters from time-to-time. He showed up during my childhood at a few key moments and monumental events. He revealed His hand during some of my desperate single years. He poked His head out when my husband's life was hanging by a thread. He made an appearance when my own physical handicaps seemed a life-long reality. Yes, I knew He was there and in control. I witnessed him make some of my impossibles possible. I believed He was the way, the truth, and the life to follow. But on the whole, my dialogue with Him was brief. My faith in His capability was limited. Not because I didn't think He was the GOD ALMIGHTY of the Bible I sometimes read... but more because I didn't trust Him any more than I trusted other people - or even myself. How could I trust a God I couldn't see ALL the time? I knew that it was because of me that there was no warmth or depth in our relationship. You see, I was lacking spiritual sight. To me, He was just that big, giant God up in the sky who was worthy to do whatever He wanted. And I was just this tired, little woman who still did whatever she wanted. This was my "Christian" life.

It's funny how God can change a life. It's amazing to think of what He can do with someone who decides to stop being tired and start being truthful. It's encouraging to witness first hand how He can renew the most wretched, worn down "Christian" woman into a energized and blessed bride of Jesus Christ. A bride eager and anxious to celebrate her wedding day with her Beloved Eternal Devotion.

I know that this blog post may seem strange to some. I know that it has no snappy story, challenging push, or blithe meaning to probably anyone except me. But today, I just want to spend my time writing as a means to ruminate on His transforming grace. Today, I wish to stop and savor what He has brought me out of, and where He is leading me. HE IS so much love, ladies. He reveals so much spiritually to those who truly turn from their "normal" and seek honestly after His eternal.

My once lethargic stance turned into a skeptical stroll. My skeptical stroll turned into a skipping step. My skipping step turned into a revived sprint. My revived sprint turned into a devoted run... and ladies, today I am running joyfully to win! If you too are living in this same amazing haste, please pause with me today and rejoice! This is the day to follow Jesus!!!

Thank you, dear Savior, for REALLY being mine! You astound me!!!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© 2010 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Saturday, June 7, 2014

how to always, ALWAYS be right

Wow. We women are mean. Really, we can be MEAN MEAN MEAN!!! If we don't get OUR WAY (irrespective of the fact that our way may not coincide with God's love), or if we think someone should be doing something different, better, and again OUR WAY... oh, how we lash out like spoiled children! Sure, we might look pretty on the outside, but inside we are ugly, ravenous killers ready to spit fire at anyone who crosses us.

It's true. We can deliver some snide, messed-up nasty-grams that are, in fact, capable of ripping the skin off any unsuspecting bystander. Yep, we can manipulate and imprison while dropping verbal bombs that completely devastate and destroy without even caring to so much as glance back and take notice of a person's feelings, needs, or full situation. Why? It's simple. Because we are sooo clearly right and know more than anyone else! DUH!

I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. (Ecclesiastes 7:26a)

Yes, we women... we are always, ALWAYS right! Right?...

Boy, you'd think so in how we speak and/or write to and about others. You'd think our sarcastic retorts and judgmental zings must be completely sanctioned and justified somewhere in God's Holy Word. Why else would we act so entitled? So superior? So RIGHT about everything?

But alas, God does not condone our nastiness or mean behavior, does He? God does not permit OUR WAY to come before adhering to His love first. Nope. Rather, God calls us to always, ALWAYS love as Christ... irrespective of being right and justified in our own eyes. For our eyes are corrupt, aren't they? Our eyes easily see what WE WANT and regularly ignore what God commands. In short, we do not like to do what He calls us to do. We want our way first, don't we? WE WANT OUR WAY TO BE RIGHT!

But can we really live as healthy, grace-filled, devoted women OUR WAY? Can we really become new, holy creatures if we don't first measure our spiritual focus against the temperament of God's perfect love while modeling our behavior after Jesus? Hmm. Probably not. (OK, most assuredly we cannot according to scripture.) For His Word clearly states that His is the ONLY WAY... the real Truth... and the Life that we desire to attain! So whether we like it or not, HE is always, ALWAYS right, isn't He? As such, His love comes first, doesn't it?

With this in mind, I thought it only fitting to share with ya'll how God describes the attributes of His love in 1 Corinthians 13. These are the details we must strive for to insure that we are living righteously and in accordance with the eternal law of our most worthy King...

Love...
Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy.
Love does not boast.
Love is not proud.
Love is not rude.
Love is not self-seeking.
Love is not easily angered.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
Faith, hope, love.... the greatest of these is LOVE!

Yes, God's love keeps us in accordance with what is always, ALWAYS right, ladies. So, consider if you are trusting Him to handle everything? Are you sharing the good news of His kingdom? Are you living content under His provision? Are you exclusively worshiping Him above all others? Are you giving full glory to His throne? Are you deliberately treating others as you would want to be treated? Are you sacrificially submissive? Are you maintaining a meek and quiet spirit? Are you living humbly like He has demonstrated? Are you forgiving others as He has forgiven you? Are you daily rejoicing in His true, unchanging Word? Are you always, ALWAYS protecting, trusting, hoping, and persevering to uphold His mighty Name?... the glorious Name of Jesus Christ!!!

Ladies, are you living in God's love? Are you promoting the emancipation of His people and contributing to the advancement of His kingdom? Are you representing His good news always, ALWAYS?

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. (Proverbs 14:1)

Today, I encourage you to follow God's proven path of LOVE rather than cat fight and bulldoze over others with your own foolish, mean, and opinionated way of doing things. Stop arguing. Stop keeping a record of wrong. Stop speaking rudely and debating in evil anger. Stop reacting in fear and envy. That is not how the Savior calls us to live... and today is the day to start LIVING and rejoicing in His Name! God's Way is indeed different than ours. His Way is much, much better! Yes, God's Way is THE ONLY WAY to always, ALWAYS be right. SO BE RIGHT IN JESUS AND LOVE! His love offers us the promise of a new, fulfilled, everlasting LIFE! Seek Him first, ladies! Seek His love!

For the greatest of all these... of everything.... is LOVE!!!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© 2011 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, June 5, 2014

living as an insult or an inspiration

Once upon a time there was a man, a husband, a king. Unfortunately, this man was not a strong leader or a follower of God. Rather, this man proved to be spiritually weak and emotionally childish. Worse yet, this weak-minded man married a domineering, self-centered woman and allowed her to rule over him in their home, their kingdom, their life.

Once upon a time there was a man who did not follow God's original plan for marriage. He was not a loving husband who cared for his wife like Christ loves and cares for His church. Instead, this man's life was spiritually messy. As such, his home was in disarray and his kingdom was corrupt.

His chosen queen was a hard-hearted woman who did not respect his position, nor did she encourage him to live godly. In fact, she was a woman who wanted nothing to do with God. Rather, she wanted everything to be to her liking - to her own way. She craved control, prestige, entitlement and used her push-over husband to live exactly as she wished.

Once upon a time, there was an evil woman who took the bull by the horns and mothered over a flimsy man to get her own way. She made every effort to control every situation, and chose not to submit to her husband as to the Lord. Furthermore, she held no reverence for God or His holiness.

Once upon a time, there was a lazy king and a spoiled queen who ruled a chaotic country and lived exactly as they pleased.

Soooo...

One day, this king noticed a nearby vineyard situated close to his kingdom. It was a beautiful little plot of land. The king impulsively decided he wanted to own the vineyard and began dreaming of all he could develop it into. How nice it would be to plant an herb or vegetable garden there. How lovely it would be to own and enjoy it! With his spoiled sense of entitlement, the king brazenly approached the owner of the land and demanded, "Give me your vineyard since it is close to my palace. I want it and will pay whatever it is worth to you. Let's make this deal happen NOW!"

The owner of the vineyard was a righteous man who graciously refused the king's offer. For this little patch of land was worth much more to him than the king's money. His vineyard was a precious inheritance from his father. It was a place that had been passed down for generations in his family. It wasn't much, but it was, well... home. So respectfully, the vineyard owner declined to sell his land. The selfish king would not get his way.

What do you do when you don't get your way?
How do you act when God clearly says no to something you desperately desire?

Once upon a time, a spoiled king ran home sullen and angry. Furious, moody, and dramatic, he stopped eating and curled up in his bed - mourning over the loss of a small piece of property that could have been so much. Why wouldn't the vineyard owner comply? Why couldn't he just do what the king wanted? Oh, what a horrible, hopeless situation! Life was spinning out of control. Poor, poor king without his vineyard. Forget that you have an entire kingdom at your disposal. Forget that you could probably purchase ten other vineyards tomorrow... vineyards with even better conditions! Even so, they would never be THIS vineyard. So, how can you ever be happy without it, little king? How on earth, can life go on?

Realizing that her meal-ticket (uh, I mean husband) was having an "episode", the queen entered their bedroom. Rolling her eyes at his pitifulness, she asked, "Why aren't you eating, dear? What is wrong NOW?"

The king whined to his wife about losing the vineyard, and how his offer to purchase it was graciously declined. Sure, the owner had an honorable reason to say no. But upon hearing the news, it was clear to the queen that her husband really wanted THAT vineyard... and they were being told no! Her ego took over. Who did this vineyard owner think he was?... denying her husband... denying HER? Suddenly, life could no longer continue without the small plot of land becoming their possession! But clearly her useless spouse was mentally incapable of getting the job done. Men!! So, the queen began to scheme while the king continued to fester and boo hoo.

What do you do when you realize you are not in control of a situation?
How do you act when God is clearly asking you to be humble and pass something up?

The story I am telling you is actually from the archives of King Ahab and Jezebel, his queen. (Read 1 Kings 21.) It is a story of two selfish people so consumed by their own desires that they would conspire to do anything (yes, ANYTHING) to get their way. The outcome of their quest for this vineyard resulted in Jezebel plotting with two lying scoundrels to have Naboth (the vineyard owner) be falsely accused and denounced on capital charges and ultimately executed by stoning. Jezebel and Ahab schemed and murdered Naboth and his sons (keeping with the custom of their day) simply to acquire what... a little land?... a small vineyard? Clearly, property was more important to this king and queen than the value of human life. Once Naboth and his heirs were all dead, Ahab had no trouble (and no conscious) acquiring the real estate for himself.

Of course, God later punished and killed both Ahab and Jezebel for their rebellious acts. Ahab would die in disgrace outside his palace (in Naboth's vineyard no less) where dogs would lick up his blood. Jezebel would be thrown from an upstairs window and eaten by dogs. That said, I bring up this story for you to consider how scripture remembers this self-serving couple. The Bible says, "There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols." (1 Kings 21:25)

It is easy to assume that we could never become so selfish as to be compared to Ahab and Jezebel. It is an insult just hearing their names, isn't it? But let us never dismiss the possibility that our hearts may indeed become idol-addicted, hard-hearted, scheming. Let us not overlook that we are naturally selfish, lazy, vile beings who desperately need the righteousness of a perfect God in order to maintain humility and live holy.

Soooo, considering your own walk...

What do you do when you don't get your way?
How do you act when God clearly says no to something you desperately desire?
What do you do when you realize you are not in control of a situation?
How do you act when God is clearly asking you to be humble and pass something up?

Ladies, let us not corrupt our lives, and the lives of others, with a bulldozing drive to obtain whatever will feed our selfish (and fickle) lust. Let us not try to control past God's will. For the idols we desire today will hold our dust tomorrow. Possessions will never bring peace. So, let's instead choose to be an inspiration to others for the sake of Christ... living to serve Him alone... promoting LIFE and LOVE always! When our time here has passed and all is said and done, may we not be remembered as selfish, domineering people who have insulted God's kingdom. Rather, may we be known as good and faithful servants who followed Jesus. May we strive to walk holy and pleasing in the eyes of our Lord. May we live and share His inspired grace - always trusting and modeling His way.

Once upon a time, may the King of king's proclaim on our behalf, "Well done, my good and faithful... WELL DONE!"

This is the goal.
Stay the course.

Remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

THIS IS THE DAY!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© 2014 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

what would you learn?

What would you learn if you opened God's Word today?
What wisdom of hope for you alone might be made known?
What would He share that is most important to your circumstance?
What crucial truth must you hear and be told?

What if you chose to be still and to know God?
What if His promises were more important than air?
What if your survival, your future, your life,
Depended on this very moment in His intimate care?

What if today is a day for rejoicing?
What if victory is yours to claim confidently this hour?
What if His armor is custom tailored for winning?
What if, oh what if, that dusty Bible holds power?

Perhaps now is the time to stop making excuses.
For what if those challenging texts hold the answers you crave?
Perhaps Jesus is waiting exactly where He has promised;
Perhaps right now He's ready to share His love that can save!

What would you learn if you opened God's Word today?

Seek Him first.
Seek His righteousness.
Seek His Way.
Lean not on your own understanding.
Instead, take the necessary time to acknowledge and know God's wisdom and He will direct your path!
This is the day!

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105)

Be blessed in His care!

~Victoria

© 2012 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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