Friday, December 11, 2015

come!

Holy Spirit, please come.
Reside in my heart, soul, mind, strength.
Fill me with your perfect presence and direct my every step... my every thought.
Influence my conscience to forever seek what is holy, what is wise, what is in accordance with your Word.
Do this, so that I might act righteously.
Do this, so that I might stand firm against every principality that dares to slander your powerful Name.

Come, comfort me, Father.
Cover me.
Give me your breath and peace...
A peace I cannot understand but desperately need to survive, to move forward, to flourish, to fear not!

You are welcome here, dear Savior.
This house is yours to abide... to relax comfortably.
Freely monopolize every corner and crevice.
Redecorate every square inch with your creative newness.
Remove the cob webs, the filth, the grime, the spoiled, the soured.
Evict what is not fit for your sanctuary so that every room illuminates your glory.

Come, so that every bone, every limb, every cell, every organ... every part of me shines your precious grace from within.
When others approach, may they become Son-burnt by your warmth.
May they feel welcomed and accepted as family once lost... now found.
Allow me to open every door, not only to receive... but to give, offer, sacrifice.
Teach me to surrender all skepticism and pride.
Teach me to not only feast, but to serve at your table.
Teach me to enjoy and extend every blessing of your love.
Teach me to cling to what is true, what is noble, what is right, what is pure, what is lovely, what is admirable, what is excellent, what is praiseworthy...
For only you are all these...
Only you.

Creator, please come!
You are welcome here!
Fill me. Consume me. Reconstruct me. Redefine me.
Replenish my soul. Renew my life.
Restore my soul to you, my Beloved...
Yes, my glorious Redeemer... come... redeem.

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” (Revelation 22:17a)

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done!

Blessings!

Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, December 10, 2015

a large piece of humble pie for breakfast

This is one of THOSE mornings in my home, Lord!  It is a morning when my family has not realized that I am a writer, and sometimes writers need actual quiet time to well... write.  As I type this, my husband is chatting away - asking me riveting questions as to where he could have possibly left his favorite pair of shoes, his car keys, his whatever!!! My mother is noisily moving around the house, rearranging things from point A to point B while carrying on a not-so-insightful conversation with our motley crew of pets.  Furthermore, there is even a pesky mosquito that someone accidentally let into our house last night who has taken a personal liking to my head and won't let up on his covert attacks to freak me out with a surprise dive bomb at any given moment.  (I'm itchy just thinking about him!)  Argh!

What's the matter with this picture, Lord?  What is the problem?  What is it about ME right now that seems so engaging for others to annoy?  ME, an introverted insomniac who sits quietly in a corner with laptop and coffee.  ME who wants nothing but disengagement and solitude in the early AM hours of her weekday.  ME, a person who, right now, wishes to be invisible... rather than converse, or help, or answer, or attend to those I share living space.  ME, a girl who just wants some space... some peace and quiet, if you will.  Space, so that I can spend my time writing to other women about (pause...) sharing the love of Jesus in our daily lives. (Gulp.) Yep, I just realized what the problem is, Lord.  The problem is (gulp again)... ME.

While realizing this, my loving husband (unaware of my morning selfishness) begins coo'ing to me across the house. He playfully sings out to me from an open office door, "Vic, I love you!"  Then he joyfully continues... serenading my spirit with a playlist of romantic songs while physically organizing his busy workday.  Clearly his morning is not one of THOSE mornings.  His morning is full of love and gratitude and blessing.  He is not short-sighted with ego or pride.  No, instead, my husband loves.  Who does he love?  He loves ME!  He is appreciative to have his beloved bride of almost two decades near him.  He is thankful for our life and all God has supplied us.  He is thoughtful and mindful and motivated and chivalrous.  He is not stingy, or sarcastic, or disheveled about what is wrong or what is not going his way.  No, instead his day begins with fresh eyes of kindness.  His morning is full of grace.

As I type the last paragraph (above) my mother walks into the room where I sit and quietly kisses my head.  She whispers, "Good morning, sweetie!" and happily continues on with her chores.  She is excited about the new day.  She is content and quiet, and peaceful.  She is everything I aspire to be in a godly woman.  (Why again did I want space, Lord?)

So, dear reader, perhaps this is not one of THOSE mornings when I need to write an insightful blog post. For clearly today I could learn a thing or two about sharing the love of Jesus from those He has blessed me with.  Yes, perhaps this morning I will stop festering in disappointment about what isn't working out "just so" for ME, and instead eat that large piece of humble pie the Holy Spirit has served up for breakfast.  Yep, today is one of THOSE days that I must accept that, yes, I am a writer, and sometimes writers need actual quiet time to well... LOVE.  For what's the point of writing anything, if I don't actually take time to first love others like Jesus?... with all my heart... with full gratitude... with thoughtfulness, and mindfulness, and motivation, and charm... with kindness, and grace, and contentment, and godliness.

Yep. It's time for this writer to stop typing and start eating the tasty lesson my Redeemer serves for breakfast. Give me a full plate of your humility to consume, Holy King. I am indeed hungry for YOU!  So, please, dish me up a much-needed, early morning helping - and make it a heaping helping to boot!  And, most importantly, thank you... thank you for the large piece of humble pie, dear Lord.  Thank you for the reminder!  Thank you for first loving ME and actively showing me your love through others!  Thank you for blessing me with a wonderful marriage, family, and life!  Thank you for every goodness, and thank you for a full, satisfying future of hope!!!

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for making this one of THOSE mornings to teach me about how important it is to share your love in my daily life!  Blessed be YOUR Name!!!

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

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

a special day to celebrate

It used to really bother me.
It used to gnaw at my gut.

How could I say I was a Christian if I couldn't even remember the historical calendar date when I was saved?

You see, I was spiritually "born again" very early in my life.  And although I was young, I indeed recognized my sin, repented to God, and submitted to the truth of Scripture that says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31) and “Whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered.” (Joel 2:32).  But my problem was that I was too young, too childlike, too spacey, too naive to actually think about documenting that momentous date.  I was just a "little one to Him belong".  As a result, later on it really, really bothered me that I did not know the initial date when I accepted Jesus as my Savior.  For I simply had nothing on the calendar to look to as documented proof.  I believed in Christ as my King, but I couldn't answer the question, "So, WHEN were you saved, Victoria?"  Sure, my big brother's salvation was clearly noted in my father's Bible.  But nobody... nowhere... had written down anything about my own conversion.  What up, people?  Lord, now what do I do???

Again, how could I say I was a Christian if I couldn't remember the historical calendar date when I was saved?

Sadly, for years this little detail made me question my eternity.  Over and over I would find myself walking down church pews to rededicate my life to the Lord... just to be sure...  Just to show Him my heart's desire - - even if I couldn't remember my salvation date.  Again and again, I would be tucked into bed each night and fearfully question my mother, "Momba, am I really saved?" Oooo, that ruthless enemy and his bag of tricks.  He frequently introduced doubt while scoffing at my undocumented profession of faith - causing me to question God's promise.  Leading me to consider his lies.

Thankfully, after years of tip-toeing over Satan's minefields (mind-fields) and seeking after Christ's security, God finally offered me this important understanding.  Salvation is not about that one moment in time.  It is about every moment in time with Jesus.  It is not a date noted on a calendar.  It is about a new life affectionately receiving and loving Jesus.  He is the importance.  He is the beginning and the end.  He is the proof.  It didn't matter WHEN I had accepted Him.  It only mattered that I HAD accepted His beautiful gift of NEW life, and that He continues to be my #1 priority and focus as I live it!

Ahhhhh!  Freedom in Christ!  Freedom to celebrate believing in Him!  Freedom to know that I have called on His Name and that I am delivered by His grace!!!

Ladies, the Bible commands us to evaluate and examine our spiritual condition so that we aren’t self-deceived into thinking we’re truly saved when we’re not. (See 2 Corinthians 13:5 and 2 Peter 1:10.)  We are to regularly test ourselves to insure that we are living faithfully to Jesus. We are to diligently make certain that we are following His call.  That said, for those of you like me... those who never documented their historical date of salvation and have questioned your commitment to the Lord because of it... let me share with you something important...

Jonathan Edwards wrote in his famous work "A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections" these important words: “There is no question whatsoever, that is of greater importance to mankind, and what is more concerns every individual person to be well resolved in, than this: What are the distinguishing qualifications of those that are in favor with God, and entitled to his eternal rewards?  The principle evidence of life is motion; so the principle evidence of saving grace is holy motion.” 

What did Edwards mean?  He meant what Jesus said simply in Matthew 12:33, "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit."  Or my own paraphrase: When someone is physically alive... they move, act, breathe, progress, and live their life.  Equally, when someone is spiritually alive... they move, breathe, progress, and live their life choosing to actively follow Jesus Christ.  And by choosing to follow (or not follow) His Way, our spiritual fruit (our salvation) is made known.  In short, His Law becomes every believer's new oxygen to breathe in and out!  The priority of loving, obeying, and submitting to His reign becomes evident because we are living in holy motion.

Does this mean we won't struggle with sin.  Absolutely not.  We are still sinners.  But in taking on God's Name, we are goats now transformed into sheep by His grace. We are NEW creatures!!!  Sure, even Paul struggled with sin in Romans 7 where he shares with us his battle with the old sinful nature.  Clearly none of us is perfect.  But Jesus is.  And He will do a good work in those who actively seek after Him.  He will lead His sheep into His perfect pastures and restore us into His righteousness!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. (Psalm 23:2-3)

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.  (Titus 2:11-14)

Zealous...  That is what we should be questioning.  Our zealous evidence of holy motion toward Jesus.  Are we spiritually alive - moving, acting, progressing, and living affectionately, lovingly, and wholeheartedly in obedience of Jesus Christ?  You see, calendars are not the importance when it comes to the Savior... for TODAY is the day to celebrate His promises and reign!  TODAY is the day to rejoice and be glad in His authority!  TODAY is the day to accept Christ the Lord again and again and again as our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!  Yes, THIS IS THE DAY TO REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN HIM!

I am so thankful that God taught me that every calendar day is a special day to celebrate and believe in His promised salvation.  So, TODAY I live in praise and commemoration of Him!  For I have recognized my sin. I have repented to His authority.  And I have submitted to His truth and chosen to affectionately, zealously, and lovingly believe in His only Son with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength!  Yes, every day, I live NEW because of the Savior's glorious gift of LIFE!  Jesus is my assurance!  Jesus is my proof!  Jesus is my new oxygen!

Believer, God assures us that, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

Ahhhhh!  Freedom in Christ!  Freedom to celebrate believing in Him!  Freedom to know that I have called on His Name and that I am delivered by His grace!!!  This is definitely a special day to celebrate in His Name!  WOO HOO!

The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.  The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.  The right hand of the Lord is exalted: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.  I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.  The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.  Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord:  This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter.  I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.  The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.  This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.  This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.  Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.  Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.  God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.  Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.  O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psalm 118:14-29)

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

Let us rejoice and believe!!!  Let us actively LIVE our new life zealous to honor the King of kings!!!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

call to me and I will answer you

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (Jeremiah 33:3)

Call upon the Lord.  Sometimes I forget this.  Sometimes I suffer unnecessarily before finally realizing that I am incapable of fixing everything.  Understanding that my way isn't always the right solution.  Unfortunately, my standard default is to think I know everything... or that I can come up with all the correct answers.  Sure, I can figure this whole life thing out on my own.  NOT!  Alone, what do I know about life except to complicate it?!

But God... ah, God knows me better than I even know myself.  He created me.  He knows how many crazy, curly blonde hairs sit atop my head.  He knows my comings and goings.  He knows exactly when I am walking in and out of His will... when I am wasting my time with distractions that do not glorify Him, and when I am loving Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Yes, God knows everything.  Even things I do not.

So why not call upon Him?
Why assume that my independence can somehow surpass His greatness?  What foolishness!!!  Especially when He promises to bring new things, new solutions, new ways to the forefront.
Why not go to God first?  Why not call on Him for direction?  Why not?

You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it?  From this time forth I announce to you new things, hidden things that you have not known. (Isaiah 48:6)

Friends, the daily dialog of prayer with the Creator of all things is vital for every Christian to flourish and live fully.  Yes, we need to hear and know our Master's life-giving Word... but application to "do" is equally important.  We must communicate!  We must make the effort to speak with Him.  We must allow our Redeemer the glory and honor to answer us with His unfathomable grace.  We must see and declare every wonder, every blessing, every miracle, every truth our King delivers to us in real time.  We must live our testimony out every hour rather than hole up in stifling selfishness.  Simply... our way does not work.  But His Way is transforming!

I cannot overestimate how vital our calling to the Lord in prayer is.  In fact, daily communication with God is as important as learning His Word inside and out.  Without such dialog, we are unable to share and relate with God.  (And there is no relationship more important than His.)  So, today I encourage you to take time out to call to Him.  God wants us to call to Him so that He can answer our prayers. He wants us to share our lives with Him so that He can bring to us His incredible blessings that we might otherwise have missed. James 4:8 tells us to “draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” God wants us to be close to Him always, folks.  God wants us to acknowledge Him in worship and be thankful to Him for all He provides.  God wants us to confess and repent our sins to Him so that He can further teach and guide us into His holiness.  God wants us to obediently acknowledge Who is really in control of this life we are living.

God is sovereign. Nothing happens without His knowing about it.  As such, He deserves our full attention, our only worship, our complete and consistent praise... our words, thoughts, deeds... our everything!

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. (1 Chronicles 29:11)

Let me encourage you to acknowledge Him each and every day.  His proper place in our lives is FIRST!  His authority is FIRST!  His Way is FIRST!  So, humbly, reverently, and regularly call to your King.  He will answer.  He will bless.  He will lead you and restore your weary soul.

What a marvelous privilege to be given the freedom to call upon the King.  To have a real relationship with the One.  To live with the honor and know the friendship that brings us into actual speaking terms with the great I AM.  Do not take such a blessing for granted.  Build your relationship with the Lord always.  Talk with Him regularly.  Unite yourself to Him in all things.  Draw near and allow Him to show you true life!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson



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