Saturday, October 31, 2015

letting go of our own versions of good and false idols of fear

Since Tuesday, I have put everything on hold solely to lay low and practice my watercolor technique.  I deliberately blocked out some relaxation time to wind down from last week's travel because flying always seems to take a toll on me.  So, yesterday my goal was to stay in my pajam-jams all day and focus on a few painting exercises I had gained from a classroom experience years ago.  In addition, I blocked out a few hours to watch some online instructionals from a few master watercolor artists.

As afternoon rolled in, I found myself in front of my computer absorbing the words of one well renowned painter whom I would esteem as most skilled in her field.  However, as I watched her teach,  I realized that we had a big difference in opinion concerning what we each would consider a "good" watercolor painting.  You see, as she was covering the important topic of how to make one's watercolor "picture" into a "painting"... how to work the whole of one's subject rather than simply focus all effort onto one small sketched section of a page... I couldn't help but feel like her small sketched examples were equally beautiful in their simplicity.  In my opinion, her example didn't need extra brush strokes or further techniques.  It looked just fine.

Suddenly, I found myself questioning her aloud.  Asking why her subject matter would need to be blended, blurred, and perhaps a little bit lost within the sum of her composition.  Perhaps that was her intention all along?  I wasn't sure.  But I was frustrated because her "lesser" version already seemed to be so much more to me.  From my vantage point, her "little" had already gone a long way.  Her small taste of something beautiful had satisfied my seemingly uneducated palette.  So why mess further with it?  Why insist on changing the subject that already seems "good" into something much, much better?  Surely it was fine as is.  Wasn't it?

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9)

A few days ago, while Chuck and I were flying home from a family wedding event, I cried.  I cried the whole flight home.

Why, you ask?

Well, as other passengers slept, read their daily newspapers, and/or ate their in-air complimentary peanuts, I wrestled with the Lord over the genuine condition of my heart.  Through minor moments of turbulence, I tearfully gazed outside the window and watched the remaining clouds of hurricane Patricia sweep over the sky.

It was here that I struggled with the Lord through my fear.  Fear of flying?  Fear of losing control?  Fear of dying?  Fear of insignificance?  None and all of the above, yes.

Mostly, I wept because God had been challenging me throughout my whole vacation to let go of more... more of myself... more of my own way... more of me.  He exposed my ongoing anxiety and seeming authority as distracting idols that cause me to look away from Him.  Yes, my fear is indeed an idol.  My need to control is definitely an idol.  For I am more comfortable playing it "safe" than trusting God's sovereignty.  It does not come naturally for me to live limitlessly under the eternal promise of His grace, because frankly, His methods don't always seem so good to me.  His Way is usually the bumpy, unpredictable, and turbulent path.  Sure, He might yawn at the wind and sleep through the waves, but I panic... I fear... I flounder... I cling to the small, sketched subject matter that I already know and feel secure with.  It blows my mind to think His bigger thoughts.  To trust His plans more than my own.  To give up my comfortable vantage point in order to know His greater, more experienced salvation and love.

Yes, Jesus looks good as my Savior from a comfortable church pew safely bolted to the ground, but what if I followed Him further into the heaviest of storms?  What if I believed Him more than myself?  What if I went along with Him into frighteningly unknown space, allowing Him to skillfully teach me how to navigate higher into someone better resembling His new creation?  Could my heart actually blend deeper into His composition?  Do I want my lines to be blurred so much that all that remains of me is a portrait that displays His glorious image?

Yes, Lord.  Through surrendered tears... oh yes!

Yesterday, I watched the completion of a gorgeous work of art.  It was beautiful, breathtaking.  It was more than I could have ever dreamed up at my simplistically limited creativity level.  The finished painting was so much better than the inferior sketch that I earlier thought was the best it could ever be.  Why on earth did I question the instructor's proven ability?  Why didn't I trust the obvious skill and knowledge of the master artist?  Old habits die hard... but die they must if we are to grow.

How stuck we can become inside our own safety nets.  The devil loves to snare us back, to pause our progress, to stop our course.  But Jesus, our King Creator Teacher Maker, challenges us to soar above.  He invites us to join Him in places we could not venture without His teaching and leading.  He lifts us higher, makes us holier, brings us closer to His heart.  We must only be willing to follow His Way - letting go of our own versions of good and false idols of fear.  Giving up our make-believe ideas of control, and instead, actually allowing Him to rule our lives.  So, let us seatbelt ourselves daily into His Word and choose (ever so tearfully sometimes) to trust His ability to save us - not only from surrounding storms and trials, but from our very selves.

Yes, Lord.  Let me become lost in Your composition.  Create in me a clean, fearless, open heart that always is willing to give up myself in order to showcase you, the Master Artist... the Alpha and the Omega... the Kingdom, the Power, the Glory forever and ever!  Amen!

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
(Psalm 51:10-12)

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, October 29, 2015

love "lock-down" day

So, here's the thing.  I had every intention of using my morning to write out and share a new blog with y'all today.  I had every intention of encouraging you, challenging you, relating with you in how we each are to live TODAY (and every day) for Jesus. But as I began to write my intended posting, I kept getting interrupted.  Not interrupted in a bad way.  Not interrupted like the enemy sometimes does to try and prevent me from sharing God's Word.  No, today my interruptions have all been good... with family things... with hubby things... with life, and morning, and laughter, and love things... with the people I share my life with type of things.  And now, I see that those wonderful people are whom the Lord wishes for me to spend all my time ministering to this morning.  As such, the Anderson family is in a temporary love "lock-down" and I will be unavailable for a newsworthy comment.  (LOL.)

With this in mind, I thought I'd at least extend a courtesy to y'all (so that you didn't think I fell off a cliff or something) and share this short blog post reminding each of you this important thought:

Sometimes, we might not know how the Lord will use us in a day.
Sometimes... often, the people He would have us minister to are those closest to us - and sometimes they are not.
That said, you never know how a day will play out when it comes to sharing God's love with others...
Ahhhh, but you should always be flexible and willing to adapt to His perfect plan when He chooses to direct your paths differently than expected.

So, on this morning, I bid you adieu.  Today is a vacation day... a personal day... a family-only day!  I am vacating with my family... with my closest loves.  I am available exclusively for them - merely because they have asked me to be.  Because sometimes, you need to step back and make sure your own household feels they are most special to you... not only knowing there is love, but seeing it and experiencing it close up, first hand, personally, and fully from your heart.

Might I encourage you to do the same with your own special loves.  Take a day off.  Be with you and yours, just because.  Love... minister... remind them that they matter!  Because they do soooo matter!!!

Love like Jesus!
Love wherever He leads!
Love love love!!!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

have Christian women forgotten the golden rule?

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34)

"Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:39)

"Do to others as you would have them do to you." (Luke 6:31)

Last night I was laying in bed considering today's blog. I was thinking about how I would start discussing the topic God has recently laid on my heart to share with DW. I was wondering how I should expand upon the concept of considering others in love... of treating others with biblical respect? It seems so basic. So elementary to our Christian beliefs. But unfortunately, it is not practiced as regularly as you'd think.

For how many Christian mothers have thoughtlessly reacted to their children in frustration, desperation, and anger rather than with loving discipline? How many Christian wives have harvested bitterness and resentment against their husband's God-given position of leadership rather than lift Him up in loving submission and support? How many Christian friendships have maintained an ongoing undertone of contempt and competitiveness rather than encourage a mutual regard for one another and a loving appreciation of the gifts shared. Mind you, I have not even skimmed the surface of the unsaved community. Nor have I discussed the people in our lives that we don't like... those who we are inclined to merely tolerate because our experiences coincide in some way. How do we love them?

Furthermore, how do we "do unto others" and "love" who we meet online... or over the telephone... or who we must engage with through business dealings or forms of service... or who we simply pass by as we walk down the street? Really, how do we love these "others"? Is it in the same way we love ourselves? Do we truly think to extend the same courtesy, respect, regard, honor, or care that we would in turn wish to receive? Or do we hold favoritism to those we only expect to get something from? Do we reserve our "do unto others" for those with promise to fulfill something we want... or agree with something we feel? In short, do we maintain such relationships as a means to feed our many forms of selfishness rather than extend God's many examples of servanthood?

Ladies, I am concerned that many Christian women have forgotton to consider God's primary command to love other people... ALL people. In fact, I am certain that in this matter, some of us look no different than the unethical and ungodly of this world. Some of us cannot rebuke without condemning. Some of us cannot manage without belittling. Some of us cannot share without gossiping. Some of us cannot give without selfishly gaining. Some of us are so wrapped up in ourselves that we can't hear the Spirit's call to pray for a complete stranger who passes by. Some of us are so absorbed in our own ways that we can't focus on what is righteous in the eyes of God over what is rightful in our own opinion. We crave for our identity to be benefited first. We insist that our treatment is reciprocated justly. But is this love? Look at Christ's words again:

"As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34b)

Jesus tells us to love others as He has loved us. When we look at the example of our Savior, we not only see a life of sacrifice (which is a BIG component to love), but we also see His emphasis to love in positive agreement with the will of His Father. This means, that even in the harshest examples of Christ's love being demonstrated, He still chose to love us in a way that was positive in execution, rather than negative and corrupt. Jesus always maintained a genuine concern, consideration and respect for others that righteously reflected His Father's love and encouraged others to be built up in such love. This is the way of our Master. This is the example of how He loved us... positively and with great care to restore ourselves to healthy, uplifted individuals secure in His presence.

Is this how you love?
Is His the example you consider when you "do unto others"?
For if you are not mirroring His image, whose image are you reflecting?

Ladies, I challenge you to honestly and prayerfully consider your words and intentions when it comes to your daily practice of "the golden rule." I encourage you to pause and reflect upon the example of our perfect Savior while extending love to another.

Does your heart showcase His heart?

No matter how close a relationship you may have with someone... no matter how fond you may like or dislike an individual... no matter how society may deem a person respectable or unworthy... rise above it all and love your neighbor like Jesus! LOVE them as God has loved you. Love with positive execution. Love with righteousness. Love in agreement with the will of your Almighty Father. Love because He first loved you.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

I am certain that if every Christian woman asked God to remove the selfish scales from her eyes and actually stopped to think about how profound her glorifying His way of loving others would effect the hearts, attitudes and interactions of people (including herself)... well, I think it would greatly change our world if executed and carried out!

So why aren't we?
Why are we still stuck in our own selfish problems rather than moving forward with His holy objective?
Are not the lives of others most important to share what Jesus shared with us?... To give what Jesus gave us?...
To do as Jesus did for us?...
To bring up our children, love our husbands, respect our employers, honor our parents, pray for our leaders, and care about strangers as Jesus sacrificially proved for us?
Isn't God's love what we should be completely focused on?

He answered: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind"; and, "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27)

Our wise Redeemer summed up how we are to live in two simple phrases: Love God with everything you are, and love others as you would love yourself. Simply put: Love God and love people. Both put the needs of others before our own. Both positively promote the execution and agreement of His righteousness. Both give every devoted woman the opportunity to do something great with the life God has blessed her.

So, will you use your life for His purpose?
Will you love others as Christ loves you?
I hope so.
For we are each sinning in this area if we do not do as He says.
We are each disregarding His will and going our own way if we do not take this matter very, very seriously.

Ladies, I encourage you to embrace this important message today.
Pray for the Spirit to guide your steps as you implement and demonstrate the Savior's sacrificial, unfathomable love in your own life.
Remember, we are living testimonies for the sake of the cross.
I encourage you to live like it and make everything you say and do about God's wonderful, marvelous, sacrificial love.

Love... just LOVE!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, October 26, 2015

an important lesson about satisfaction

But godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Timothy 6:6)

Yesterday, I was asked the following question, "Victoria, do you think that God only created one distinct person for you to marry, or do you think you could have married someone else and lived just as happily?"

I thought about this deeply and realized that such inquisitive speculation is really a "would-have, should-have, could-have" kind of question that opens up the screen door for the enemy to breeze in discontentment. For how could I entertain answering this question when I'm already living the path God intends for me? How can I faithfully trust God's sovereignty while wondering at the same time what else could have happened differently in my life?

The more I contemplated this, the more God led me toward the topic of satisfaction. For in simply considering the question above (or questions like it relating to other areas of our lives) - our mere asking reveals how hungry we are for something else, something different, something outside of where God has placed us today.

Really, is it for us to think past God's plan? To speculate around His authority? Absolutely not! Nor is our happiness the end in which we must be focused. Rather, God's glory is the goal!

Needless to say, I've been up most of the night pondering and praying over this matter... asking my King if satisfaction is more about spiritual discipline and sacrifice rather than happiness and/or what makes me comfortable. For without His spiritual intervention in my heart and mind - without His higher disciplined Way followed by my obedience - I can never really be full, can I?

Simply put, mankind can never be satisfied without God. Yet, as a race we are always looking for the next thing - the next something/someone to fill us up with whatever we seem to crave at any given moment. And unfortunately, the average Christian of today is no exception to this snare of Satan. In fact, I think that if all self-proclaimed Christians paused right now to state their full satisfaction in God alone, many would not be speaking honestly. For how many of us use our time with God as one of many default checklist items for finding inner peace? However, in truth we are quite unsatisfied with God. For deep down, we don't care for His way of doing things. We'd certainly prefer that He changed His style to suit our desired way. Sure, we say we want more of Him, but in reality we spend much time speculating, planning and making excuses around Him. Yes, most of us live each day thinking and acting independent of His commands for our lives. To this I ask, can contentment exist without real godliness present? Consider Paul's charge in Philippians 4 to be content no matter what the circumstance...

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (Philippians 4:11b-12)

What is the secret to Paul's fulfillment? What brought on Paul's honest, active satisfaction - no matter what his current situation presented? Please note, he was not speculating about would-have, should-have, could-have's. No, Paul was referring to satisfaction in his daily life. So, what was his secret to being content in any and every situation?...

"I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13 NIV)


"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13 ESV)

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13 KJV)

Through Christ, Paul was focused on getting through the NOW of his life. As such, he was strong in His faith. He consistently looked to the only One who could give him exactly what he needed... TODAY - at this very moment.

Do we do the same? Right here? Right now? Is God enough for us? Can we simply, obediently abide solely in His Way, His Truth, His Life without turning our heads to the left or to the right? Without seeking or speculating elsewhere? I encourage you to search your heart on this: Is Jesus Christ ALL that you need to be fully satisfied TODAY? Or are you still searching for something/someone else? Do you still want something/someone else?

Be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. (Deuteronomy 5:32)

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. (Joshua 1:7)

So, how can we live both godly and content in our present situation? How can our lives be lived in complete union and satisfaction with the Savior alone? Read earlier in the chapter of Philippians 4 and refocus your lens, believer... for here is the answer:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, 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 4:4-9)

1. Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS!
2. Let gentleness be evident to everyone. Gentle treatment to ALL!
3. Remember always that Jesus is right beside you. He is HERE NOW!
4. Do not be anxious for anything, but rather trust that your active, present, available God will answer every prayer and petition you lay before Him in His perfect timing.

Then what?... Then the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus! What a blessing! Your heart and mind will be covered under His protection so that you can freely focus on His things rather than your own!

And what happens when you live out these steps and solely focus on the things of the Lord?...

THE PEACE OF GOD WILL BE WITH YOU!


Friends, this very minute YOU CAN HAVE THE PEACE OF GOD WITH YOU! Peace... ahhh yes.... Jesus! I receive your gracious gift of peace! I submerse my life in your Way. I choose to obediently, calmly, and confidently think on the things you have sanctioned in Philippians 4 and will trust you to handle the rest of what the enemy throws my way! For you are my covering! You will protect and provide for my every need! I can do this, because you give me the strength to do it! All glory is YOURS alone, dear Savior! Thank you for saving me TODAY!

Yes, Jesus is the NEW LIFE of satisfaction and fullness you seek, ladies! His is the only Way to know true contentment. Once you stop searching for things outside His Word... once you make it your only priority to think about all that He has made true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy... then you will know His lasting, eternal, glorious peace! Then you will realize, as Paul did, that "my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)

Let us make the glory of the Lord Jesus our only mission right here, right now! Let us praise Him TODAY - the day in which He made for us to live rejoicing in Him! His Way is indeed healthy and good for us and will bring us peace. Yes, in Christ alone... we can be satisfied this very second... and forevermore!

Believers, I encourage you this very hour to seek God's kingdom, His righteousness, His glory! Hallelujah to the King of kings! All glory is His! So be satisfied in His rule and let you life serve as living proof in Jesus' Name!! WOO HOO!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Saturday, October 24, 2015

the Way... choose Jesus

As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange - I speak as to my children - open wide your hearts also. Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”  Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6)

How empty are you?
How empty do you want to be?
For we are to remove anything that hinders us away from God.
We are to surrender everything so that Christ alone may be looked upon.
So, choose Jesus.

How open are you?
How open do you want to be?
For we are to open every door, every window, every gate that we possess.
We are to welcome in the fresh air of the Holy Spirit so that we might abide solely under His authority.
So, choose Jesus.

How generous are you?
How generous do you want to be?
For we are to humbly return what we have been given without fear or hesitation.
We are to offer every wealth and treasure so that the King's abundance is fully magnified throughout all the earth.
So, choose Jesus.

How transparent are you?
How transparent do you want to be?
For we are to prayerfully reveal all hope while expressing gratitude for every good blessings.
We are to boldly rest in thankful expectation, believing that the Father's love will always be made known.
So, choose Jesus.

How ready are you?
How ready do you want to be?
For we are to run urgently toward every opportunity directed to us in the faith.
We are to live willing to go, ready to move, able to act, joyful to respond for the sake of our Savior's prize.
So, choose Jesus.

How faithful are you?
How faithful do you want to be?
For we are to commit our ways unto the Lord and allow him to establish our thoughts.
We are to seek and obey the Word of God and present ourselves as living sacrifices to His perfect, eternal kingdom.
So, choose Jesus.

How loving are you?
How sincerely loving do you want to be?
For we are to love every neighbor... every person... and make disciples of every nation.
We are to love with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength the Creator and all his creation.
So, choose Jesus.

Today... won't you choose Jesus, the Way, and represent His Glory?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:18)

Lord, fill us with your grace so that we might purposefully glorify Your Name and show our faith in you by the Way we live.  
Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

Blessings!

Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Friday, October 23, 2015

whose counsel will you follow? whose wisdom will you seek?

You know, I receive so many letters requesting advice. So many questions asking how to live successfully and fully. Many of these requests come from women who are grasping at straws - struggling to find answers in their marriage, or in their singleness, or in their work, or in their present circumstance. And really, on my own, I have nothing to say to them. Personally, I hold no authority or advanced degree of certainty to answer anything about anything. In fact, I still have several questions of my own regarding the comings and goings of this life.

Yes, alone I have nothing of significance to advise or offer anyone. But here's the good news... I know someone who does! I know my Jesus is able to teach and lead. I know the might of His Word and the strength of His Way. I know His forgiveness, His truth, His love, His redemption... I know He works! He fixes! He repairs and replenishes!

I always get a kick out of how quickly God can bring peace and resolve when relentlessly sought after and faithfully followed. His wisdom allows for every man, woman and child to gain holy understanding and insight. His Word is beneficial for receiving instruction so that we may learn to do what is right and just and fair. He gives prudence and knowledge and discretion to anyone willing to listen. Yes, the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge! So, why on earth do we still seek counsel elsewhere? Why aren't we using every opportunity to break open His book and share all He has to say? Why are we still choosing to live distracted, defeated, distorted and dismissive of the One who has the power to really, REALLY change us for the better?

Let me be clear about a common misconception that exists even in our Christian circles. Self help is really no help at all. Human rational and psychology cannot counsel anyone back into wholeness or holiness. No, the answer to our problems does not lie in newly discovered and emotionally led revelations about who we invent ourselves into being while lying on a therapist's couch and exposing our deepest darkest secrets to yet another imperfect human being. Rather, the real Way, the real Truth, the real Life we crave to secure can only be found in One person... JESUS!

Many people do not realize that psychotherapy and even some forms of Christian counseling are needs-based. That means we are being told by other sinful humans that in order to find personal happiness, we must focus on our own level of self-esteem. But God's Word teaches us that it is not our self but God who changes our desires and determines our worth. In fact, true happiness can only be found in the desire for God and His godliness. People who need to rate and promote their own self-esteem and significance may find temporary happiness when they get what they want, but they will still remain self-centered... and thus remain unsatisfied and unholy.

"Desire without knowledge is not good - how much more will hasty feet miss the way!" (Proverbs 19:2) 

On the other hand, people who desire after God, His wisdom, and the glory of His throne will FOREVER be satisfied, joyous, obedient, and profitable.  Hmmm, temporary happiness or eternal joy and satisfaction. Seems like a no-brainer, doesn't it? So whose counsel will you follow? Whose wisdom will you seek? God or man?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Yes, we all have questions. We all seek to find real solutions as we maneuver through this sinful, tainted world. But if we are not seeking our answers from God's counsel first... if we are foolishly relying on human rational and/or human feelings to dictate the course of our ways, then we are walking down the wrong path and learning false truths from from false teachers.

Instead, let's choose to fully equip ourselves with the wisdom of the Creator of all things.
Let us be correctly trained in His truth and righteousness rather than seek after our own distorted versions of happiness.
Why? Because He works! He fixes! He repairs and replenishes!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-3)

So today, why not seek after God's wisdom? Why not submit over all selfish reasoning? Why not trust God's way? Why not fear the LORD?

"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." (John 3:16)

Ladies, I encourage you to seek for true solutions to every question from to the only One who has full authority and power to answer correctly.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones." (Proverbs 3:5-8)

Be healthy!
Be nourished!
Be still and take time to know... really KNOW the wisdom you desire.
JESUS is the way... the only Way!!!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, October 22, 2015

blessings for growth

Lately, I've been thinking about my default reaction in how I approach new circumstances and new experiences. In particular, I've been thinking about my attitude and how I respond to God as a woman devoted to following Jesus Christ.

Do I approach the happenings in my life with the mindset of, "Lord, how can I best serve You,” or do I have an attitude of, "UGH! Now what do I have to go through, God?" As the saying goes: Is my glass half empty or half full? In truth, I want my glass to be completely full! I want it to be spilling over the rim and gushing down the street while drenching others in the process! You see, to live the Christian life well, I believe attitude is everything.

If my default mindset while living in service to my Savior views every situation as a chore rather than a blessing, and if I view every trial that comes as just another burden to endure, then what's the point? What would make my new life of victory in Christ proof of anything different from the life of the next person walking down the street who is also living through a variety of hardships or happiness?

I am to live fully in Christ no matter what the circumstance to showcase and give platform to the hope I have in Jesus as my King! That means, I am to live in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control no matter what comes my way. Simply put, if I truly believe what I say I believe, I should welcome God’s ability to stretch and mold me into a healthy woman who, despite my circumstances, is willing to lay the status of my emotional optimism in His hands. For I am being transformed into a new creature. To grow in the newness of my redeemed life, I must also be willing to allow my Savior to transform my spirit. Sure, I might not “feel” like trusting God, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t. I must be willing to bring my A-game in attitude for His Name’s sake. Rather than lean on my own understanding, I must know that my emotional reaction is just that... a reaction. By the grace of God, I am able to turn over all negative emotions to Him so He can in turn change my heart and use me effectively. This way, my focus is always on Him, acknowledging Him.

When I am reminded of the hope I have in Jesus, then my attitude can’t help but reflect His light to the world. Nothing is greater than God’s love. Nothing. With Him, I am able to reflect His light by displaying His presence in my life. The good news of heaven is the truth that changes an old wretch like me to shout praises from the mountain tops. Why? Because He is Lord of Lords, people! He is the Way, the Truth, the Life! I am redeemed and free because Jesus saved me from sin and death! WOO HOO! This is the attitude that should be present in the life of every person who has accepted eternal victory in Christ. This should be our default reaction in every circumstance.

The Holy Spirit is always with me, comforting my heart and directing my ways while He presents new challenges before me. Everything God deems entry into my life occurs for a reason... a good reason. I believe that, because I know that He uses all things to work together for His good. Why? Because He is good! Also, I know that my good God loves me more than anything! So, I can trust Him more than I can trust my own insecurity about what is going on. When the Holy Spirit pulls at my heart strings to share myself with others, or when I am faced with a hard situation that is overwhelming and and can potentially beat me up, I can still rest assured that God has brought the moment into my life because He knows it is an opportunity for me to trust Him and live out my faith while representing Him well. (And I soooo want to represent Him well! Don’t you?)

My Redeemer is fully aware of what difficulties will come. But He allows them to occur in order to mold me to become more like Him. Because of this, how I choose to react to trying circumstances is so important. God is fully able to do a good work in me when I am present with Him and show up willing to serve. When I start out from the get-go approaching my circumstances as blessings for growth, He receives center stage in my life and is then able to reveal His glory in a big way... which in turn makes me more secure in who He is... which in turn makes me healthier and happier in spirit and eager to worship... which in turn brings me closer to the Lord... which in turn allows me to share the good news of my wonderful, loving Savior with others... which in turn changes my heart to further seek His glory... and the whole process continues over again. This makes me stronger in my faith and more enthusiastic to see Him face-to-face in glory. Through every trial, I long to hear Him say with satisfaction, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” This is true growth that moves me closer to my King.

We are told, "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) This seems pretty clear. No matter what, we are to be joyful. We are to seek God and pray all the time to Him. We are to thank Him for every circumstance and look at what comes as an opportunity to do the right thing as we live out our part of His perfect plan. I especially love that these verses point out that doing these things is God's will for our lives. So many times I have women say to me, "If only I knew what God's will is for my life." Here it is, ladies!!! Be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks to God always... at ALL times. His lifelong plans for you to be living in the center of His will is a reality today. How wonderful is that?

I am only one person. But I represent the full power of heaven in how I choose to live in the Name of Jesus each day. As His child, I willingly choose to fill my glass to the top and share His love to all the world. Why? Because I know how good He really is. I know where I would be without Him. I need Him. I love Him. He gives life, because He is life! So, I choose to approach the happenings in my life with a positive attitude and sing praises of joy to my wonderful Counselor always! He is the Mighty God! He is the Prince of Peace! He is my Redeemer. A = Attitude, and I choose to bring my A-game so that I am spilling over in victory and living abundantly and free in His perfect will.

I choose to respond with a positive attitude and ask, “Lord, how can I best serve YOU?"

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

whose you are

Shame and guilt.
Ugh… the worst!
The hardest things to get over and give over to our Savior is shame and guilt.

These are the most difficult depths of the old sinful nature to overcome.

Many of us have repeatedly tried to leave our shame and guilt at the feet of the Master but have returned to snatch them back up again and wear them as soiled rags over our souls. Shame and guilt are old habits of self-induced worthlessness that many of us cannot seem to let go. In fact, in my opinion, Satan uses shame and guilt as probably two of his biggest strongholds for manipulating people away from God... away from flourishing in His holy, healthy grace.

Fortunately, the Bible provides us with some great examples of people overcoming the worst of shame and guilt. For example, put yourself in the shoes of Adam and Eve after the tragic fall of mankind. How does a couple move on and work together in faith after making such a catastrophic mistake? With God... they did. Think of the apostle Peter after he denied knowing Jesus - not once, but three times. This occurred the same evening he had enjoyed a blessed Passover meal with his Master. How can someone rebound from such a horrible decision and then progress and grow in his spiritual walk? It seems impossible... But God made it possible and used his life to advance the message of Jesus.

So, how can we advance beyond our past?
How can we overcome these feelings of defeat and view ourselves as worthy women... women who can receive and extend God's love to others all the while trusting that He will stay faithful to us and mold us to be more like Jesus?
How can we believe that we are that important...?
How can we accept that we are most precious in the eyes of The Almighty God, Creator of the universe?
How and why on earth would such a tremendous, perfect God bother to love and accept me?
Because, honestly... I wouldn't.

Thankfully, God says so many things about our worth that we should stop and take notice...

  • Genesis 1:26-27 says we were made in the very image of God.... His holy image! That is unimaginable and overwhelming!
  • Psalm 139:13-16 says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made… that all the days of our lives were written in God’s book before we were ever born. This confirms that from the beginning God took the time to not only create us, but planned out our lives for a deliberate and specific purpose. 
  • In Ephesians 1:4, we read that God chose His children before the foundations of the earth were ever formed. 
  • Later in verses 13-14 we are told that we are God’s own possession… chosen for the praise of His glory. He states that those who believe in Jesus have an inheritance in heaven with Him.  We are His.  We belong to the Savior!

The important thing to remember when reading these scriptures is that each truth that talks about “who” we are always points us back to God and what He has done for us... not the other way around. It is probably better understood as "whose" we are... being created in His image, being fearfully and wonderfully made, having a planned purpose, gaining an inheritance as His children.  These are all matters that we have not and cannot earn on our own, nor do we deserve. Therefore, our worth and value is something that He determined in advance of our birth.  WOW!  By sending Jesus to die on the cross on our behalf, God decreed and proved His love for us with supreme finality and security. Nothing can change our identity and worth to Him.... Nothing!

Hallelujah to the King of kings!

Christ knew our sins before we ever drew breath. Yet, He still sacrificed Himself for us in love. That really puts our value and worth to Him into a whole new perspective, doesn't it? God considers us important enough to send His perfect Son to die on the cross for us. Because of this, we can be recipients of every spiritual blessing offered in Jesus’ trustworthy, unchanging, everlasting Name! No matter how we feel about ourselves, God deems us worthy of His blessings in Jesus Name!

WOO HOO!

Many women I meet have tremendous difficulty accepting their inestimable value in God's eyes. I frequently hear that they must be the exception to the rule… for God could never, ever love them if He really knew them. So, they remain stuck in their pity pool party and continue to swim in the deep end of shame and guilt. What these women fail to realize is that their denial to accept their identity in Jesus is, in fact, a back-handed way of calling God a liar. Why?... Because they are rejecting His Word and accepting their own. They are trusting their opinion rather than believing in His absolute power and unchanging promise. They invite in their own defeat instead of accepting His merciful, unending grace. It is a form of selfish pride that redirects the focus back toward the "hopeless" person rather than forward toward the Redeeming Prince of Peace. Ladies, I promise you - this is an inaccurate and dangerous road to take as it is a decision to accept a direct lie promoted by Satan!

Christ died for us "while we were yet sinners" - not after we somehow got it together. It is absurd to think that we would be able to remove our sin and ugliness without His help. We must realize that our guilty and shameful ways did not, for one second, cause Jesus to pause from going to the cross to save us. No, God loved us so much that He imputed to us His own righteousness - not because we were worthy of it, but because we were unworthy. He loved us in spite of our mistakes and worldly conditions. He made a way for us to remain in Him despite our sinfulness. This is what gives us hope. This is the miracle of His grace.

As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, hanging onto guilt and shame is invalid and selfish. Whenever such feelings arise and the enemy attempts to redirect our focus off of God's glory and back onto our "worthless" self, we must confess this stronghold to our Redeemer immediately and believe that He has made us a new creature. We are indeed redeemed. The old has passed away and the new has come to stay. The safest place for us to be is close and in agreement with God... believing that our worth is based on His decision to redeem us, thus making us worthy in Jesus Name.

John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us from our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we focus on how much God loves us and the price He paid to redeem us, we will come to see ourselves as God sees us, and that will help us understand just how worthy we are as His children.

We cannot be measured by what other people tell us about ourselves. We cannot even believe what we think personally about ourselves. The only true authority who can speak about our worth, is the God who made us and the Messiah who saves us. Our sins are washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. With Jesus, all shame and guilt is removed... as far as the east is from the west.

This is the best news ever!

So, what are you waiting for?
Get out there and live without worry, defeat, shame!
Drink in His abundant grace.
Stretch out your arms and embrace others with His unfailing love.
We are cleansed from all our unrighteousness!
We are forgiven!
Our salvation is eternally secure!
So, let’s allow Him do great things with our lives and trust that His ways are perfect!

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20)


Praise God that we are free!
We have liberty to live joyfully in His presence!
Again, praise God that we are free... free indeed!!!

Blessings!

~ Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, October 19, 2015

become a butterfly


How does one become a butterfly?...
You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.

How true is that?
How willing are we to give up everything else in order to seek God's new life of holiness?

I hate to say it, but many of us still live fearful of change and drowning in sinful habits. We listen to Satan's evil whispers and avoid inner progress at all cost. We rationalize that well, we are just too messed up to change. We fester in defeat as we forget and ignore the blessed promises available to us in God's Word while bogging ourselves down with human busyness that only hinders us further away from Christ's life-changing greatness.

Yes, for many of us, our spiritual life revolves around the idea of "someday" as we procrastinate and find all sorts of excuses to stop us from growing and changing into creatures who follow Jesus and seek to be holy at all cost. Someday... when my life gets more organized and put together. Someday... when my spouse will agree to go to church with me. Someday... when I'm more healthy physically. Someday... when I can find a bible study or church group that fulfills me spiritually. Someday... someday... someday. But really, when will someday be TODAY? For THIS is the day to rejoice and be glad in Him, is it not?

Paul says in Romans 12:2, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will!"

In this passage, the word "transformed" literally refers to metamorphoses - to change from the inside out. We must be renewed in our minds so that we can enjoy what is good, pleasing and perfect in God's will. We must make the decision to seek His freedom! We must become spiritual butterflies and know our God in order to become holy!

In order for a caterpillar to change into a butterfly, it must wrap itself in it's cocoon and wait. It must be still and motionless and allow God to do something that seems impossible - transform it into an entirely new creature. The same is true for us. In order for us to be changed from the inside out and become spiritual butterflies, we must wrap ourselves in the cocoon of God's Word and be still in the teaching presence of the Holy Spirit. Only then will God be able to transform us into entirely new creatures. Only then will we be able to live abundantly and freely in His good, pleasing and perfect grace! And trust me, life is indeed so much richer from the vantage point of God's grace!!!

So friends, let's dare to reach new heights and be devoted to our own transformation in Jesus Christ! Let's seek first God's kingdom this very day! I don't know about you, but I'm sooo willing to give up my caterpillar lifestyle forever? I'd rather fly high in His glory! I rather soar and live fully in Jesus' Name! If you feel the same, come join me and let's deliberately, devotedly still our hearts in the presence of the King of kings! Let's be still and know His Word! Let's be still and allow His Spirit to teach us, to renew our minds, and to guide us into His new way! WOO HOO! THIS is the day to seek Jesus, people!

Yes, it's transformation day, dear butterflies!
So, rejoice and be glad... for a new day has come!
Let's prepare ourselves to fly to new, holy heights with the Savior who loves us beyond all measure!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Friday, October 16, 2015

washing feet

Today, I was having a conversation with a dear friend.... let's call her Kim (tee hee - cause her name is Kim). We were talking about how freeing it is to know our identity through Jesus.

Wait, let me backtrack....

Remember in scripture when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples? This is where Kim and my conversation began. You see, Kim and I were noting that Jesus already knew He was King. He didn't need to prove his identity. He didn't need to be convinced of anything. He was the Son of God and was royal. He knew that no man (or woman) on earth could change that fact.

Let me back up a little further...

When Satan brought Jesus to the mountain top to tempt and offered Him the world - it was a ridiculous offer that was already invalid. You see, Jesus already owns everything. Our entire universe would bow to Him at any moment if He gave the command.

OK... now take a second to remember when Jesus started washing the disciples feet. He already knew that Judas would betray him, yet he still washed his feet with love. Why? Because Jesus knew that nothing would separate Him from the Father. Nothing. He was royalty and that was that. So no matter what the world would bring in pain and suffering to Him - He would ALWAYS be with God. No matter who let him down in this life, or what undesirable circumstances this sinful world brought... Jesus knew that in the end - He would be with GOD! So he put on an apron, grabbed a basin of water and gently washed the dirt and grime off the feet of a man who would later betray him and send him to his death.... and He did this with love.

WOW!

I have to ask the question...

Could we do that?
Could we treat our enemies that wanted us dead with that kind of humility and love?
If we are to follow Christ's example, that is exactly what He has told us to do.
We are to love our enemies and even pray for them. Jesus knew that as the Utmost High He was secure enough in His headship to become the lowest servant and wash feet.
I'm in awe of this thought.

So, let's fast forward to my conversation with Kim today...

We were acknowledging that even though we have experienced horrible pain in this life, we are children of Christ... thus we are heirs to the throne through Him.
We too, can be sure that since we have accepted Jesus as our Savior that we are royalty.
Nothing - no pain, sorrow, hurt.... NOTHING can separate us from the love of our Father in Heaven.

What a wonderful and freeing thought!

So, no matter what disappointments we have and will face.... no matter what false promises or lies that Satan may try to distract us with.... no matter how many years pass by... we can rest assured that WE BELONG TO JESUS CHRIST!

Let's keep our eye on the ultimate reward of being WITH GOD.
Let's remember to stay as close to Him as possible TODAY and every day.
Let's acknowledge who we are by remembering TO WHOM we belong.

Praise Him, Ladies!!!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, October 15, 2015

true worth

Two cars in the garage
Four computers, three TVs
A refrigerator stocked with food
A home filled with amenities

Everyone is clothed
Everyone is fed
Everyone is healthy
With a roof above their head

Take the time to ponder
The privileges we share
We take it all for granted
Without a single care

While others in this world
Survive on so much less
You’d think we’d be more grateful
With all that God has blessed

Be cautious of these riches
For they bind you to this earth
Take up your cross and follow Christ
You'll find eternal worth

So, take the time to thank Him
And keep this thought in mind
Jesus love is all we need
With Him, true life we’ll find

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

it's all good

I was thinking about this the other day...

Everything on this earth is from God and was originally created GOOD.
EVERYTHING!
In the beginning, God made this earth for mankind so that we would commune directly with Him and flourish in life under His headship.
According to Genesis, everything God made was good and created for His purpose.
There is nothing on this earth that wasn't originally certified as "GOOD" by our Creator.
So... everything He made was originally purposed for our benefit so that we might glorify Him.
It is only the sin mankind chose that ultimately tainted and corrupted our planet, our bodies, our souls.
The sin that God cannot tolerate.
The sin that proclaimed holy war between God and mankind... against our perfect Creator who loves us more than anything and wants us only to be in a relationship with Him.
Thank God for His grace to provide Jesus on the cross so that we can once again commune with Him.

Sometimes, I think we can become so caught up in our lives... with "the rules" and expectations of society... that we forget the simple meaning of why we were originally created as a people.
It is simple.
We are here to have a relationship with God.
We were made to worship and glorify His Name.
That is our purpose.
I'm amazed at how our sin can complicate this simple truth.
We get so caught up in "religion" that we forget the Redeemer.
We make idols of His gifts and lose sight of the Giver.
We are easily distracted with our own reason and logic, when in truth our rationals cannot be trusted.
Why?
Because we are tainted and corrupt... damaged goods due to our sin.

Thank God that from the beginning, He knew what was good for us.
Thank God that even after we rejected Him, He still loved us more than anything and continued to want to be with us.
Thank the Almighty Father for His grace to offer Jesus as sacrifice to remove our sin.
For only Jesus can wash away our corruption.
Only Jesus can restore us... redeem us.
We remain healthiest when we are with Him.
He continues to know what is good for us and what we require to live abundantly.
Only He can filter out our sinful reasoning with His absolute, truthful Word.
Only He can restore our relationship with The Almighty Father and bring us back into communion with our Creator.
Only He can free us from our sin.

We NEED Jesus to live!

Thank God that He supplies us enough each day to stay focused on Him.
We must not worry about tomorrow or stress about what is ahead.
Instead, we are to live thankfully and enjoy all that He has given... all that He has proclaimed as good.
We must never rush ahead without Him, relying on our self to accomplish what only God can accomplish.
We are to live each moment deliberately obeying His instruction and seeking His healthy and balanced holiness.
This is why we must heed the words of Jesus in Matthew 22...

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment. (Matthew 22:37-38)

Let's not lose sight of why we are alive, folks.
Let's not forget that we are bound only by love and that all our Creator's good gifts are meant for us to use and enjoy in balance while worshipping His good Name.
Let's stop stressing over the logic of a sinful world and relax in His absolute truth.
Let's daily enjoy His wisely allocated portions and grow spiritually in Him while honoring His unending grace and provision.
He will guide us through our trials and give us enough.
No more, no less.
He will always make available just what we need to reap the ultimate blessing of His abundant love.

Yes, we need Jesus to relate with God.
We need Jesus to be healthy and enjoy His good creation.
We need Jesus to LIVE!
He is more vital to our life than the air we breathe.
So, let's love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, strength!

Always remember, GOD IS GOOD...
Most importantly, God is good for us!
All glory is His forevermore!  Hallelujah!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

details... for all eternity, for all mankind, for the sake of good

Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? (Job 11:7)

Details.
Handling details.
There are so many.
Infinite options, possibilities, directions, pursuits.
How can one possibly juggle all the details in each encounter?
How can one oversee all that is to be accomplished and fulfilled in this life?
To do so successfully is paramount.
To do so for all eternity, for all mankind, for the sake of good... unfathomable.

He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. (Job 9:10)

Details.
Details that the Potter molds and forms.
Details that the Vine extends to every branch.
Details that the Light shines brightly over shadows and darkness.
Details that acknowledge the I AM, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, He who was, and is, and is to come.

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. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Yes, the Cornerstone is stable and sound.
The Bridegroom is deeply in love and ready to wed.
The Author and Perfecter has written and refined.
The Bread of Life is sweet with nutritious truth.
The Word... ah, the Word lives, breathes, is active and sharper than any double-edged sword.
Such details penetrate the minds of the divided soul and spirit... constantly welcoming home those broken, foolish, forgotten, hopeless.
Seek Him.
Yes, seek His details, little sheep... for his pastures are green and bountiful.
His Way is proven, perfect, unmatched... unfathomable.

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. (Psalm 145:3)

Details.
Handling every single detail.
Considering all complexities on behalf of the beloved.
Managing, directing, teaching, protecting.
Skillfully guiding the steps of men toward the only One who saves.
Masterfully shepherding while showcasing His glory, His love... in all seconds, in all displays, in all things.
God Almighty, Creator, King on High, Prince of Peace, the Morning Star... arise with each new day and extend your mercy upon us.
Unfathomable Redeemer... for all eternity, for all mankind, for the sake of good...
We humbly bow down.
We joyfully praise.
We choose to believe what you, our Holy God, has promised...
What You, dear Jesus, have made known and evident from the beginning - in every single detail.

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. (Genesis 28:15)

To whom will you surrender all your details today?
To whom will you give all glory, and honor, and praise?

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, October 12, 2015

peacefully waiting for that one beautiful moment

But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.  Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. (2 Peter 3:13-14)

Last week, while Chuck and I were driving homeward, we found ourselves behind a school bus on its afternoon route, dropping kids off in our neighborhood. As we neared our subdivision, the driver slowed down, retracted the attached stop sign, and brought the bus to a complete halt. My husband and I waited as we watched a small child, wearing a backpack almost equal to his body size, jump off the bus and run down a side-street toward his home, only pausing to wave back at the bus driver who had returned to driving the rest of his route.

As Chuck began to accelerate passed the now-moving school bus, I kept watching the events on the side-street... where the little boy had darted enthusiastically into the arms of his waiting father.  Both so happy to be reunited.  The last image I recall of them was the child jumping mid-air toward his dad while the father simultaneously scooped him up and twirled him around in the air.

One beautiful moment as a family came together.

This event reminded me of my relationship with my own father...

Daddy would ride the Metro train after a long day's work in the city. His station drop was only a few blocks away from our home, so he'd hoof it back to our house at 6:00 p.m. each night, just in time for dinner. There, my much younger self would anxiously be awaiting his glorious return.

I can't even express my excitement whenever I would see him turn the corner onto our block.
I would run as fast as my small legs could carry me to welcome him home, rejoicing and singing, "Daddy's home! Daddy's home!  Hurray, hurray, Daddy's home!"

I giggle at the thought of how it must have thrilled him to see this little ball of blonde curls running towards him each day.

As I raced to hug him as tightly as I could, He simultaneously would scoop me up in his arms and twirl me in the air, equally thrilled to see me after a long days work.  Then, he carried me home while I'd wrap my arms around his neck and kiss his face repeatedly.  In these precious moments, I would tell my father how much I loved him and he would assure me that he loved me more.

One beautiful moment as a family came together.

This morning, I woke up early and was reminded of these two events.
When I sat down to relate with God, I felt like He was saying, "Victoria, I am your Holy Father who loves you without limits.  Won't you love me in return?  Won't you run to me each day with enthusiasm and excitement also?"

Ladies, God wants us to live out our days anxiously anticipating His return.
He desires for us to be ready to worship when a corner is turned and He willingly reveals Himself to us.
Most importantly, He commands us to love Him most.

So, let's barely be able to sit still because we long for the Father's glorious presence.
Let's run quickly toward His grace - as fast as our little legs can carry us - all-the-while proclaiming our complete devotion to His Throne.
Let's live in hope - ready to wrap our arms around our Beloved Father...
Diligently living without spot or blemish...
Peacefully waiting for that one beautiful moment when our family will come together forever.

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23)

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, dearest Lord.

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Friday, October 9, 2015

forty-six


I will praise the Lord all my life;  I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.  (Psalm 146:2)

Today I am thankful to have reached forty-six years of age.
Forty-six years of life in which I have existed.
A life full of much joy and deep sorrow.
Sure, one may ask if I would change anything.
Perhaps.
But if I did, would I become someone different than who I am today?

So, no.... really... leave everything as it is... and as it was.
Some failures.
Some embarrassments.
Some betrayals.
Some brokenness.
Many, many mistakes with so many selfish twists and turns.
But also, soooo many great stories, big surprises, wonderful celebrations, and huge blessings.
So many lessons and miracles.
So many moments of awe and wonder under the covering of God's grace.
Because through it all, my Jesus has walked beside me.
My Jesus, who stays the same... constant... holy.
Who loves me more.
Who is the beginning and end of everything.
The Alpha and Omega.
My all in all.
Hallelujah to the King of kings!
My birthday wish is for the whole world to know His peace.

Yes, today is another new day that I will celebrate all that God has generously provided.
The NEW me He still teaches, and guides, and restores.
The new life He gives and gives.

Blessed be His Name always!
For I am thankful in every breath He allows.
I am grateful for His everlasting hope.
I am anxious for His perfect Kingdom.
I am alive solely for His glory!  

My life is just as it should be, and I will entrust all that I am to His perfect, active plan.
I will glorify His sovereign rule.
I will praise Him no matter what joy or sorrow is still to come!  

For He is with me forever.  
He loves me forever.  
He is my God forever.  
(Really, there is no greater gift than knowing that!)  

I love you, Jesus!
Use my life, my heart, my mind, my soul, my strength, my all!
I am yours forever!!!

Yes, thank you, Lord, for another birthday.
But more importantly, thank you for continuing to make me new in lovely, beautiful YOU!  

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

see, say, then do

I am frequently approached by Christians who want....

They want a simpler life.
They want more time with their family.
They want to live debt free.
They want to be in a healthy relationship...
The list goes on and on (and the self-help books continue to sell).

When further pressed about any of these "wants" their most prominent desire soon becomes their want to grow more spiritually.
Usually, this is because many Christians believe God is able to save them from their circumstances.... at least they believe it in theory.
But do they live it?
Or do they contradict their own statement of belief by expecting a desired blessing without accepting ownership of their own actions?

I hear a lot of folks claim they want to know God... to spend time alone with God... to be with God and to follow after Him.
However, when you get right down to it, their actions don't line up with their words.
They talk a great talk, but don't actually take the time to seek Him or live as God has called them to live.
They want salvation and freedom from their sinful nature, but they fail to actually DO anything to change their direction.

Wanting vs. doing are two completely different things.

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:8)

Ask yourself...
What do you really want?
What do you really value?
Where are your priorities?
Do you value people over things?
Do you value simplicity over chaos?
Do you value responsibility over debt?
Do you value humility over image?
Do you value a life in Christ over comfort?
Godliness over wickedness?
Do you seek to live as Jesus lived and follow after His ways?

Thoreau once said, "Your priorities are what you do."

With that in mind, consider how you are living and what you are DOING to be close to Jesus.
Do your actions match your stated values?
Is GOD really your priority?
Is there a dichotomy between how you say you live and the way you are actually living?
Or do you find yourself living hypocritically as you contradict yourself at every turn?
Are you living what you are really hoping... saying... claiming... all in Jesus Name?
If not, I suggest that it is time to stop deceiving yourself and to start getting honest with a repentant heart.
It's go time, Ladies.
It is time to DO!

From my perspective, the only way to live for God is with focused perseverance.
By doing so, we become mature and complete and learn to lack nothing outside of God.
The closer we are with Him, the more our wants become His wants.
So, to avoid becoming double-minded and hypocritical in what we say vs. what we do, we must own our end of the relationship with God and apply ourselves to live as Christ lived.
We must choose to DO!

Lethargic faith does not align with scripture.
So, we must choose to love God first.
We must take up our own cross and follow Him.
Nothing else is more important than actually being with Jesus.... NOTHING!
We were created to live glorifying Him.
We were made to adhere to His will - not our own.
Because of this, we must confess, believe, seek and follow in order to experience His full blessing.

We must see, say, and then DO!!!

If anyone speaks, he should DO IT as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should DO IT with the strength God provides, so that IN ALL THINGS God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11)

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.... Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.  If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:22; 25-27)

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, DO IT ALL for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Oh, how I pray that we each DO!

Blessings!

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Saturday, October 3, 2015

a measure of immeasurable love

Are you feeling defeated... burnt out... powerless... beaten... exhausted... lonely... overwhelmed... trapped?
Is your tank running on empty?
Do you seek restoration?

At some point in life, we all hit bottom.
We all feel stuck.

Satan does his best to back us into a corner and hopes that we will cower in defeat and unbelief.

When those times come, please pray Paul's prayer to the Ephesians and apply it to your own circumstance...

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:14-21)

Ladies, God does not intend for His people to be held captive or worn down by anything that is hindering the abundant and effective spirit-filled life He has planned for us. We are not to live like some form of preserved corpse... we are alive in Him and in the process of being transformed in Jesus Name! Sure, trials and sin can wear us down, but we must always remember that we are new creatures in Christ Jesus!

When you feel like you've hit empty, it is time get on your knees and pray for restoration. Pray for healing. Pray for peace. Pray for purpose. Rather than cave to sin and defeat, Paul shows us that we must boldly go before the throne of our Savior in prayer and ask to be rooted and protected in God's perfect, restorative and unsurpassed love. We must believe that He will heal us to the very core of our inner being, and allow the Holy Spirit to strengthen us with a measure of His immeasurable love... a love that surpasses anything we could ever imagine!

When we find ourselves drained by the sin of this world, let's remember to press forward in prayer and ask for His fullness to restore. Putting "self" aside, let's trust God to renew our faith. Let's keep our eyes focused on the eternal rewards and glorious riches that He offers to us freely. And most importantly, let's never forget that our citizenship is in heaven!

The unfathomable love of God is always the renewing antidote for burnout. It may take time, but God will hear and answer those who trust and eagerly seek Him. Stay the course, ladies. He is faithful and will restore your spirit! We live because HE LIVES!

Praise God that His power remains at work within us, even when our own power has run out! How great is the love of our Savior!!!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Copyright © | All Rights Reserved

All articles and content posted to this website are protected by the copyright laws of the United States (17 U.S.C. 101 et seq.) and similar laws in other countries. No part of this website may be used in whole or in part without prior written consent of Victoria Anderson.

© Copyright | All Rights Reserved Victoria Anderson | The Devoted Woman

Translate This Page...