Monday, June 27, 2016

safely walking in wisdom

Survival...
Mankind's most important desire.
The promise and full assurance that we will not be destroyed...
That we will maintain our significance...
That we will live, and, in fact, live well.

But how can we be certain of such things?
Is it even a realistic expectation in this mercurial existence?
For we live in a world filled with death and destruction.
We live in times of uncertainty, sickness, and horror.
So, how on planet Earth can we be assured of lasting survival?
How can we truly know that we are indeed safe?

He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe. (Proverbs 28:26)

Ok, wait a minute. "He who trusts in himself is a fool....?"
How is that possible when I know I'm the only person I can trust?
Really, I'm the only one who honestly cares about my own happiness and well-being!
But, I'm not a fool.
A fool is a silly or stupid person; a person who lacks judgment or sense; a weak-minded or idiotic person who is easily tricked or deceived.
That's not me.
I'm not deceiving myself.
I trust ME!
In fact, I trust that I'm the only person I can trust!

Look at it out there...
Nobody else truly cares about another's safety or survival.
Deep down, people are selfish!
Experience has proven that mankind as a whole is dishonest, and complicated, and mean, and, well, just plain disappointing.
You can't bank on mankind!
But surely you can bank on yourself... right?

God's answer is no.
The truth is, we cannot trust ourselves because WE are mankind!
And we might not like it, but our knowledge is limited and corrupt.
So, if we are trusting ourselves, we are already going about things the wrong way.
We are deceiving ourselves!
Oh no!!!

But how is that possible?
For, I know I am clearly competent.
Surely, I have a brain to reason with and the ability to bring my own valuable insights to the table.
So, how can an intelligent, capable woman of the twenty-first century be labeled a fool just because she feels most safe trusting, well... herself?
As best said by Polonius in Shakespeare's Hamlet (Act 1, Scene 3), "This above all: to thine own self be true."

But scripture overrules Shakespeare's advise, doesn't it?
So, wisdom is not found in one's self.
Furthermore, our feeling safe verses actually being safe are two different things, aren't they?

In truth, no matter how determined, we are not capable of caring for our own self as well as we would hope.
Think about it...
Given the right circumstances, we easily betray ourselves and give into temptation over healthy sensibility.
We regularly fail to choose what is right - even when we know what is right.
And at the end of the day, we are all still selfish, messy, broken people who make choices that aren't loyal to ourselves or our future.
Indeed, on our own we are not safe.
Without outside help, we are all unfortunate fools in dire jeopardy.

He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe. (Proverbs 28:26)

So how do we "walk in wisdom"?
And how can we obtain the outside help we so desperately need to be saved from destruction?
Lastly, if we can't trust in ourselves, WHO can we trust to keep us safe?

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.  

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God - that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”  
(1 Corinthians 1:20-33)

Here is what the Lord says...

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. (Psalm 111:10)

For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6)

So let's get this straight... scripture says we must follow God's precepts to gain a good understanding of wisdom?
Yes!

So... God can insure us safety?
YES!!

By fearing the Lord, we begin to receive wisdom.
Then, by choosing to continually follow the holy path He laid out for us from the very beginning, we are promised more of His life-giving understanding and knowledge.

By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew. (Proverbs 3:19-20) 

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 3:7-8)

So, wisdom is not something to figure out on our own?
No.

Rather, we must seek wisdom directly from the Word of God in order to attain it and enjoy it's many benefits.

With God's wisdom, we are promised a healthy and nourished eternal existence!
WOO HOO!

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed. (Proverbs 3:13-18)

Wow!
Walking in God's wisdom not only guarantees us the insurance of safety, but also promises a fulfilling and blessed life!
Hello... yes, please!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

But what does trusting the LORD look like in my day to day life?
How do I actually acknowledge Him to insure my paths are kept straight?

The Bible (God's Word) provides complete direction in how we are to live as we seek after God for wisdom. To answer "how" to keep your paths straight, daily intake of God's Word is necessary to digest and then adhere to.  But to begin, here are some of His valuable instructions to consider right now...

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)

Preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.
Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow” - when you now have it with you.
Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you.
Do not accuse a man for no reason - when he has done you no harm.
Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways, for the LORD detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence. 
(Proverbs 3:21-32)

Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 
(Proverbs 3:9-10)

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 
(Proverbs 3:3-4)

Remember, we are assured eternal security in the Lord.
We will thrive at our best in the Lord.
Wisdom is found only in the Lord!

If you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5)

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. (Psalm 143:10)

May we each walk upright and regularly in His Way!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

hard verses tough

This week, the Lord reminded me that there is a grand difference between being hard (as in someone not easily broken) verses being tough (as in someone having enough strength to withstand adverse conditions or rough/careless handling).

Let me explain:

I have spent many years of my life becoming hard.  I have built up protective layers in order to shell myself away from the ongoing disappointments this world constantly hurls.  And in this self-imposed defensive stance of hardening, I can easily default into the role of Controller - always preferring security over spontaneity. Always planning instead of taking risks and exploring God's new.

Yep, I'm the person clinging tightly to the bird in my hand... chaining myself to my own posted safety warnings so later I wouldn't find myself betrayed or feeling sorry due to some unknown.  Simply put, I have spent much energy hardening myself so I would not break.  For I am certain I am not strong enough to endure yet another break.  Oh Lord, must I break again?

Whenever I feel out of control - whenever I sense a change in which I have zero say whatsoever... well, you can imagine the initial "hardening" panic alarms going off.  I talk nervously.  I laugh excessive, uncontrolled, loudly.  I don't sleep.  My mind races, and dissects, and races some more. All in the interest of my own comfortable commonplace, I can easily freak out into a crazy obsessive-compulsive dictator who can clear the room by assigning to do's in less than 15 seconds flat.

Yes, I am quite capable of being hard.

But am I tough?

Am I resilient to real enemy warfare?
Am I strong to withstand the frightening unknown, the unorganized, the unfriendly, the unmanageable?

No.  I am not tough.  I need Jesus to become tough.  And how easily, in my own hardness, do I avoid becoming malleable for His hands to remold, reshape, renew. With Jesus, I am called to give up my hardness and soften myself.  I am encouraged to love, to be kind, to show patience, to know His peace.

Friends, God does not intend for us to live as foolish people making prayerless decisions.  Instead, He calls us to live fully - running eagerly toward His NEW!  To wrap ourselves in His proven Word.  To clothe ourselves in His authority and hope... always advancing toward His promises... always moving toward His Throne.  Jesus commands us to arise each day seeking God first - - boldly forging ahead on His behalf, and choosing to nourish and feed His sheep while promoting His good, no matter the cost.

Sadly, those who are "hardened" grasp tightly to the false securities of this world and hide deeply inside themselves so as not to break.  I am the forgetful first on this list.  But thankfully, The Holy Spirit forgivingly reminds me that Christ mends and renews.  Jesus weathers and improves me for His good.  He invites me to join Him in the eye of the storm.  He leads me joyfully through all chaos and death.  He asks me to forget myself and put all my faith in His Name - risking everything I hold dear for the future reward of His Life!!!

This week, the Lord reminded me that there is a grand difference between being hard (as in someone not easily broken) verses being tough (as in having enough strength to withstand adverse conditions or rough/careless handling).  I am thankful to be reminded that Jesus is my strength.  He calls me to become a broken sacrifice so that He might reveal His glory through me.  Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

For Him, may we each refocus all energy, all efforts... all everything.

Lord Jesus, not my will, but your Way.  Make me tough, not hard, in your holy faithful Name.  Break me if you must, but keep my heart softened, tender, brave and bold to seek first your truth and display your endless grace.  You are the adventure of my life, precious King!  Toughen my soul, so that I may always live large, and full, and free indeed!

Blessings!

Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, June 20, 2016

all I need

When I am small,
You are great and magnificent.

When I am afraid,
You are powerful and present.

When I am broken,
You are gentle and comforting.

When I am weak,
You are strong and able.

When I am lost,
You are light and direction.

When I am abused,
You are kind and giving.

When I am betrayed,
You are constant and reliable.

When I am void,
You are full and complete.

When I am destroyed,
You heal and mend.

When I am burdened,
You relieve and accompany.

When I am me,
You are God Almighty.

When I am nothing,
You are life...
You are everything.

Walk with me.
Work in me.
You are all that I need to become free indeed!

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

Blessings!

~Victoria


© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, June 16, 2016

there is the grace

It started with the substitute mailman who rang our doorbell to deliver a large package that required my signature.  Pointing out the unique postage on the box, he joyfully began to comment on how far the package had traveled to reach our little neighborhood, but all I could notice was his contagiously upbeat demeanor.  So, I asked.  "Tell me, Ciro, why are you so happy today?"  Excitement filled his eyes and he began to tell me about Jesus.

I smiled in agreement.

A day later, I was on the hunt for an open check-out line at my local Walmart.  I successfully scooted my cart to register #10 where a beautiful woman and her teenage daughter were finishing their own check-out process.  As I began to assess and unload my items onto the counter, the woman's eyes met with mine and she immediately paused her transaction with the cashier to step over and hug me.  No explanation, no words... just robust hugging from a random Walmart shopper.  Curious, I patted her back and questioned, "So, how is your day going today, sweetie?"  She chuckled and said, "Just wonderful.  God loves us, you know.  He takes care of all our needs.  We have so much to be thankful for because of Him."

I hugged back tightly.

Only days before, I had asked the Lord for more.  More of Him.  More of His dazzling love.  More of...  well, just more.  See, of late I have been intently studying the age lines on my face along with the few white hairs that have slowly been changing the appearance of my hair color.  So many visible differences that have become more noticeable as my years have passed by.

I was doing this because I've realized that this year I reached the half-way point of my normal life expectancy.  Honestly, this somewhat terrifies me.  Not because I have an issue with getting old.  No, I've always felt old.  Rather, I am uneasy to consider how I have lived my life so far, and how I will live out the remainder of my days.  For when I look into the mirror, I still see all my flaws.  I still carry the burden of so much that weighs me down.  I still am broken, and frightened, and selfish, and, well... a mess.

"But there is the grace, Victoria."  (The still small voice whispers to me encouragingly.)

Ah yes.  The grace.  Greater than me.  Greater than my sin.  Greater than my tarnished, old, weary ways.  Mmmmm, grace that brings along with it contagious joy.  Grace that provides, and cares, and undeservedly gives because.... well, because my Savior first loved me and came to renew, repair, and restore me into His kingdom.  This is the good news of my Jesus.  This is the hope I willingly and vulnerably place all my trust and surrender all my weakness.  For His grace is sufficient.  His grace is enough.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)

The grace in which we stand, Believers.  The grace that we rejoice in real hope.  The grace we each obtain by faith in Jesus Christ the Lord.  This grace... this GRACE... makes us excited to share His Holy Name.  This grace causes us to be mindful, to care, to love no matter what the circumstance.  To live differently... abundantly... communally... eternally.  This is His Way.  And His is the only future to embrace as we stand in line at Walmart or sign for a package at our doorstep.

Lord, teach us to stop looking at ourselves and instead look upward to Your abounding, everlasting, irrefutable grace.  Alone, we are nothing, weak, broken.  But praise Your Name... there is Your freeing grace.  The grace You lovingly give.  Sing Hallelujah!  For there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Yes, teach us to live every second in worship of Your joy and beauty.  Afford our every step, our every day, to become a celebration of your endless glory!

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. (John 1:16) ...upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace... Hallelujah to the King of kings!

Today, dear friends... stand hopeful in His amazing grace.

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Saturday, June 11, 2016

more openly, more intimately

They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!" For Jesus had said to him, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!" Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "My name is Legion," he replied, "for we are many." And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, "Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them." He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed. (Mark 5:1-20)


By nature, I am an introvert. For those who know the Meyers-Briggs personality test, I am an INFJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Scheduling). I'm told that my personality is scarce, representing a little more than one percent of the population. Of course, if you met me in person, you would never know this. I think it is because I spent the last twenty+ years or my career perfecting my social skills in an occupation that required me to engage, relate, nurture, speak, and advise all types of people from all walks of life. So, if you met me in person at a party or on the street, you would encounter a "bubbly" and happy person, enthusiastic to welcome you and hear all about YOU. That said, I am not particularly easy to get to know beyond that point. I am friendly but complicated. However, I've learned that most people are more interested in talking about themselves or a particular topic, so I can usually get away with sharing the "friendly" part and keeping the "complicated" to myself.

In the past, I would not usually share my feelings, thoughts, or beliefs with anyone unless they were a loved one or CLOSE friend. Don't get me wrong, I feel DEEPLY about many things. But I don't usually share openly or generate an outward reaction to much. I like to remain recluse and stay the same in temperament. In fact, I find that people who have known me for years are frequently discovering something new about me or how much I deeply feel about a particular topic. I hear this a lot: "Vic, you are a mystery to unravel." I'm not sure about the whole "mystery" thing, but I do generally enjoy my own rich inner life alone with the Holy Spirit rather than the petty banter with no eternal value that is regularly discussed in mass.

In contrast, I find myself married to the most social person ever to draw breath. (Smile. Love you, Honey!) Chuck is an ESFP (Extroverted, Sensory, Feeling, Probing). He loves to talk and socialize to everyone about everything - good things, bad things, happy things, sad things, up things, down things, thin things, round things... oh, sorry. It was starting to sound like a Cat-in-the-Hat book though, don't you think? Anyway, Chuck is playful, fun-loving and expressive. If he's angry - you hear it! If he's excited - you know it! If he is edgy - you feel it! If he's happy - you enjoy it! With the exception that we share the same sense of humor, we are complete polar opposites from one another. (God knew we needed each other to be complete. Yay!)

A few years ago, God asked me to go outside my comfort zone and start The Devoted Woman. He made it VERY clear that He wanted me to start sharing my daily walk with Jesus Christ more openly for the purpose of encouraging women to learn how to seek Him more intimately. So, here I am - vulnerable... uncomfortable... exposed... but obedient to my Master to offer up the many stories and lessons the Lord continues to bring to my own life as I submit to His leading.

Anyway, now that I've shared more about myself than ever, let me get to the point... As an introvert living in an extrovert world, I often find myself frustrated and worn down by the superficiality that the world can project. In those circumstances, when I feel "talk" is generated just for the sake of producing sound or gaining attention rather than sharing depth and purpose, I admittedly become recluse to the outer world and pray inwardly with my Savior. Never, would I have considered sharing that intimacy in replacement to the superficiality out there. Never... until now.

I read somewhere once that students typically recall only 5 percent of the main points outlined in teaching with presentations, graphs and charts. In contrast, students generally remember half of the stories their instructor told them in the same presentation. There is a growing consensus among communication experts about the power of sharing yourself (your thoughts, stories, experiences) and how this impacts others. While facts and figures often put listeners to sleep, an illustration from real life or sharing a compelling story can motivate it's listener into action.

In Mark 5:1-20, we read about Jesus freeing a violent, self-destructive man from powerful demons that were possessing him. It is an incredible story of how the Messiah was able to heal someone who was living a terrible life in bondage. After the demons were removed and the man was able to enjoy the Savior fully, he begged the Lord to allow him to remain in His safe presence. He didn't care about the outward world or anything else he had ever known... only Jesus. The Jesus who delivered him from the shackles of the demons. The Jesus who was his Redeemer.

But the Lord had other things in mind. He told the man to go home and share with others the great things that Christ had done for him. Now, I can tell you - I can relate to this man. I prefer the presence of my Redeemer over the company of any person on earth. But when the Father instructs you to do something... it is best to do it. This was a man who was probably not overtly knowledgeable or eloquent. This was a simple man who, up until this point, lived a horrible life under possession from the enemy. Yet, renewed by Jesus, Christ told him to go... share the good news... speak up on My behalf. So the man obeyed. Not only did he obey, he shared in Decapolis - meaning in ten cities! And what was the reaction of the crowds? They marveled. They were amazed by the power of the Almighty God. I can't even fathom how many came to know the Savior because of this man sharing his incredible story.

Ladies, never underestimate the power of what God has done for you. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to share your story of redemption with others. You don't have to be an extrovert, a teacher, a well-educated scholar, or an eloquent diplomat... you just have to be YOU. You are a story in progress and the good news is the happy ending that awaits you in glory with the Lord. So, I encourage you to share the wonderful news of Jesus Christ with as many people as you can. Let them see your daily walk with Him. Give them the chance to be amazed and marvel at how the Savior continues to change you to be more holy, transparent, and real in His grace. Let them visibly see Jesus remove the bondage of sin from your life and your willingness to submit your weaknesses at His feet each day. It is powerful to be exposed to a story of someone overcoming eternal death in His Glorious Excellent Blessed Name.

Sure, it might not be your default response to open up to others. Trust me, I understand that COMPLETELY. But, I promise you that you will be blessed beyond measure if you continually choose to get over yourself and instead follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. When He calls, do not hesitate to share His message. Be available to let Him work through you and your personal experiences. It will be heard. It will be seen. It will be retained. It will be used for His good, eternal plan.

Take control of my words today,
May they tell of Your great love;
And may the story of Your grace
Turn some heart to You above.

Sharing the gospel is one person telling another the best of news. Give unto others as you have been given. Step outside your comfort zone. People can't know Him intimately if you don't first share Him openly.

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Friday, June 10, 2016

reduce, re-use, recycle: re-gifting for God's recurring purpose to love


What do you have that will bless another?  Time?  Money?  Shelter?  Resources?  How about... Prayer?  Hope?  Encouragement?  Joy?

Really, in what way can you re-gift the many gifts God has already extended to you, choosing to give them again and again in order to glorify His throne?  You see, whether great or small, we all have been given many blessings by our Creator.  (Even this very hour!)  Indeed, so many of us have been given so much. But with much comes the responsibility to steward wisely.  With much comes the greatest opportunity - to reduce ourselves and re-use our Savior's Name.

You see, every gift that God gives to us must be selflessly considered for the purpose of repurposing the love of Jesus Christ.  For His love is useful in any capacity, isn't it?  In fact, His love never grows old - for He alone is eternal.  Because of this, His love is always perfect in every situation... in every moment... in every occasion... and, for every person.

So, what do you have that will bless another?  What has God graciously given to you for the purpose of re-gifting His love?  And, please, don't think for a moment that you have nothing.  Is the sun not shining above the earth?  Then praise Him for it and recycle that realization!  Do everything you can to preserve His holiness and give thanks.  Do everything you can to share His goodness with everyone you encounter.

Believer, our God is all that matters!  His provision surrounds!  His grace abounds!  His love astounds!  So, in every second... in every heartbeat... in every breeze... in every twinkle... there are a million things to notice, appreciate and share for His Name's sake.  So, let us offer Jesus Christ His worthy spotlight and be privileged to give up our own.  Let us devote ourselves for His recurring purpose to love and obediently carry out the command of our King:

Reduce ourselves over and over in sacrifice.
Re-use our Savior's Name over and over in worship.
Recycle the message of our Redeemer over and over in obedience.
Re-gift God's recurring purpose to love - forever!

Why?

Because He first loved us.
Because He gives and gives.
Because He is worthy of our full devotion, and praise, and sacrifice, and attention.
Because He lives eternal... so we can live blessed and share His blessing today... this very hour!

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. O Lord, save us; O Lord, grant us success.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you. The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. (Psalm 118:24-29) 

What do you have that will bless another?  Go ahead... re-gift in Jesus' Name!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord for His love endures forever!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, June 9, 2016

forgiveness

Do you hold on to grudges? Are you harboring unforgiveness? Are you hanging onto hurt and carrying the weight of betrayal? It may be hard to accept... it may be difficult to hear, but the simple truth of the matter is forgiving someone is a simple choice. It is a choice to hold onto a burden or a choice to lesson our load and trust God and take on His yoke. A choice to allow God's grace to shine through us or a choice to let the devil's hardness incarcerate us.

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:29-30)


When we fail to forgive, we fail to trust God. We carry the weight alone and bottle up feelings of resentment. The idea of moving on seems unjustified, for many of whom we hold such anger continue to do nothing decent to warrant true forgiveness. They are not apologetic. They do not care for our feelings. They will do it again... it is certain. So, in a desperate act to protect our hearts from being trampled on, we shield ourselves emotionally by isolating ourselves just enough. We hold back relations and hang onto the control of not getting hurt again. The only problem is, the only person being controlled and affected by the matter, is US! Satan has cornered us from moving on. He has thrown a burden on our back that is preventing us from keeping our hearts open, soft, and malleable for the Lord to mold and work with.

Ladies, what is the greatest commandment?... To love our Lord with everything we have. What is the second greatest commandment?... To love others as ourselves. To be healthiest, we need to love... EVERYBODY. The command to love is mandate from God. Even if we don't want to forgive... even if our feelings and emotions are torn to shreds... obediently we must remember that we are to always respond in love. Read what God has instructed us in Ephesians concerning forgiveness, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Once we decide to mirror Christ's grace and let go, we are free to let Him heal us. We are free to love and be loved. We are no longer occupying our time by wasting our emotions and resources on feeding the burden of bitterness. Rather, we are able to allow God to nourish our soul and welcome in His healthy purpose - moving life forward in worship and peace. It is a collaborative effort of trusting our Savior's power to renew us while we continue to lay our resentment on the altar. It is a process where we let go and give our hearts to Him.

Letting go can also allow us to look at our relationships with spiritual eyes. It will allow us to objectively and prayerfully address toxic relationships with people who only wish to keep us in bondage. We begin to change around unchanging people. This usually scares others and causes them to work harder in pulling us backwards. However, in these cases remember David's words, "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." (Psalm 40:2) This coming from a man who had many unstable, unhealthy relationships. But no matter what, David always put his complete trust in the most stable relationship of all... with God. He laid his burdens and heavy feelings of worry, bitterness, mistrust... you name it... he laid them on the altar and gave his trust to God to handle matters. Read through the Psalms and you will see a man who sought the heart of The Almighty so that his heart could remain faithful and filled with song. We are not meant to live as if we are standing on unstable ground in our salvation. No. We are to stand on The Solid Rock - our Redeemer. We are to trust Him with ALL our heart, soul and mind and let Him guide our ways while we only focus on loving.

We are living a new life in Jesus Christ. We are releasing our burdens to Him to change us... to move us closer to be like Him. We are being made new. Let's give up the bondage, weight and ugliness of unforgiveness and let it go. Let's give it to our God and then seek Him to show us how to move forward in grace. Let's love because He first loved us. (See 1 John 4:19)

Lord, we all deal with unforgiveness in our hearts. Shine your light in us and remove all darkness. Take our grudges and help us lay them at your feet rather than hang onto them. We know that you did not intend for us to live under the bondage of hurt. We need you to teach us and change us to be more like Christ who continues to be our perfect example. Lord, we know that you see all things - including the responsibilty and consequences that belong to other persons behavior and actions toward us. We trust that you will show us how to best handle each hurtful situation as Jesus would. We only wish for a gentle and humble heart. We long for the rest and peace that only you can give. Please give us your yoke and help us to eliminate seeking retribution. Help us to come to you in a spirit of trust... giving you all power over every single situation that poisons our ability to love and stifles our relationships. Set us free, Jesus. We give you EVERYTHING!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

let my words be few (a prayer)


Lord Jesus, let my words be few.
Let me be quick to listen and slow to speak.
Keep my tongue from evil and tamed from deceit.
Let my speech nourish others and bring healing.
Let my ears test my words the same way my tongue tastes its food.
Keep me silent when I am foolish and in lack of discernment.
Let me always rejoice and speak only of your righteousness.
I've hid Thy Word in my heart so that I will not sin against You...
Let me speak Thy Word - always.
Amen.

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Saturday, June 4, 2016

sing!

"Sing, O barren woman..." (Isaiah 54)

There are times in life when we feel barren. Times when we feel afraid, disgraced, humiliated, shamed and alone. Our prayers feel lifeless. Our faith seems weak. Like drooping flowers in the hot sun who have not received a drink of water, we require a refreshing shower. When we find ourselves in such a condition, what are we to do?

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters..." (See Isaiah 55)

My advice is the same advice as Isaiah's... SING! Sing praises to the Lord!

Read all of Isaiah 54. The whole passage addresses us in our worst possible state... barren and rejected. And yet, in the very first verse, we are told as barren women to SING... to burst into song and shout for joy. When we are at the depths of barrenness and love feels cold in our lives, how can we sing? And when we are at our most low point, what on earth can we sing about?

My answer to you is this... sing about Jesus. Pop in a great cd and sing of His unmatched love and redemption. Go to the cross. Take your heavy laden soul and go directly to Calvary. Do not hesitate... just SING! The very cross where Jesus gave you eternal life to be with Him forever is what you should sing about.... focus on that hope! In song, magnify the great love of Christ and what He has already done to save you from sin and death. In times of desolation, poverty, helplessness, shame... return to Him in song.

For if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are always His child. Even if you feel barren on this earth, you have the confidence that He is faithful to save you from all transgression. Sing, believer, for it will cheer your heart... and the hearts of others who also feel desolate and alone. Go to the only true Comforter. Sing on and on and on to Him.

You CAN sing because He promises eternal restoration to Him. In His presence, we will be fruitful! For, no weapon forged against you will prevail! Kings and kingdoms will bow down to Him. Heaven and earth will adore Him because He IS the love that frees us!

Right now, life may seem barren, but the promise to be in the presence of our Lord is nothing short of delightful. So, use your current state of poverty as a means to drive you further to the feet of the Holy Christ. That is where we need to be anyway.

Sing! Sing to Him and praise His Name! FOREVER! For in Him there is eternal hope!

Blessings!

~Victoria (LAAAAA!)

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Friday, June 3, 2016

waiting upon the Lord

For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. (Psalm 37:9)

Waiting.

Waiting for the Lord to answer my specific prayer.
Waiting for the next step in this walk to be made abundantly clear.
Waiting for His guidance.
Waiting for His wisdom.

Waiting.

Waiting for the Lord to renew my strength.
Waiting for His timing rather than insisting on my own agenda.
Waiting through every test and struggle.
Waiting out the storm.

Waiting.

Waiting to see a glimpse of His greater perspective.
Waiting for His perfect Way to be revealed.
Waiting in obedience and trust.
Waiting as I choose to praise.
Hallelujah to my King!

Hallelujah to my King!

Waiting.

In a culture that demands everything NOW,
I will continue to wait for His answers.
I will continue to pray for His aid.
I will continue to stand firm.
For my Redeemer is faithful to me.

Waiting.

And, I will not be anxious about anything.
I will be careful for nothing.
I will not let my concern to know the answer
Overrule my trust of His proven timing and eternal solution.

Yes, I'm waiting.

Knowing that He hears me.
Knowing that He will answer.
Knowing that He will provide and bless.
Knowing that He is in full control.

Waiting.

Waiting patiently.
Waiting confidently.
Waiting joyfully.
Waiting for His renewal and strength.

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Lord, I will wait for your answer.
I will love you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.
I will believe that you will reveal your answer in perfect time.
So, please come, Lord Jesus...
For your beloved is calling!

Hallelujah to my King!

Blessings!

~Victoria Anderson

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, June 2, 2016

no time to waste on WASTE!

Get behind me, Satan! You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men. (See Mark 8:33b)

Yes, get behind me, Satan!

Fall to the back.
Digress to the rear.
For your pitiful presence is not welcome here!
No, not in My Beloved's temple!

Get behind me...
Because your evil thoughts are selfish endeavors.
Because your schemes are wasteful distractions.
Because your motives are not worthy, or loving, or godly, or eternal.

So, leave!
Be gone forever!
For I have no time to waste on your WASTE!
Get going...
Get lost...
Get out!

GET OUT IN JESUS NAME!

See, my heart belongs to the ONE who is worthy!
HE who is faithful!
HE who is eternal!
HE who is holy holy holy!!!

COME IN, LORD JESUS!

I am devoted to You alone!
Enter in and share Your Way!
Remove all trace of sin within me!
Remove the wicked things of men and restore my soul to NEW!
YOUR new!
YOUR things!
YOURS...

Yes, Precious King of kings... I am exclusively YOURS forever!
Welcome!!!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

let your light shine

Do you ever think about how you interact with the world? OK, maybe that's too broad and overwhelming a question.

Rather, do you ever consider how you relate to the neighbors present within your own community? Do you even know your neighbors? Do you love them?

If we look at the example of Jesus, He enjoyed meeting and loving everyone around Him. He made it a priority to know others and help those who needed Him. In short, Jesus loved people - all people! You never found Christ stuck in a safe Christianized bubble that didn't interact with those who didn't know Him. No, neighbors got to know Christ because He wasn't hung up in selfish excuses as to why it would be too difficult to meet new people due to time constraints, workloads, or because it might seem uncomfortable relating to strangers. Yes, Jesus was out there loving and helping people while showing them first-hand what was right and good according to God's law.

People were Jesus' first priority. His entire life was intended to bring God's message of good news and everlasting hope to all mankind and, as only God could accomplish, Jesus continues to offer this same message to everyone He encounters - even today. (Have you heard of Jesus? Have you encountered His Name? If so, seek Him further - for He has good news for YOU!)

Furthermore, take a closer look at Jesus' neighbors. Most of these folks did not live up to the judgement of church standards. Many were prostitutes, thieves, lepers, etc. But Jesus didn't care. He loved everyone all the while knowing they needed God's life-giving solution. No matter what their circumstance, walk of life, or past belief system, the Messiah came to pave the way and secure mankind's future with His own blood and sacrifice. Whether one accepts or rejects His gift, one thing is for certain... Jesus definitely loves people. JESUS DEFINITELY LOVES YOU!!! As a result, the life of Jesus cannot be ignored by anyone! For true LOVE can never, ever be ignored.

So, dear friends, knowing that we are to mirror our lives after Christ, let's think about His instruction in Matthew 5:14-16. Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

With this in mind, today I encourage everyone reading this blog to step outside their comfort zone and let your light shine as Christ did. Love everyone you encounter. Always be willing to introduce yourself to someone new and share the good news of Jesus in your life. Do good and allow His Spirit in you to be noticed! We were made in His image. We were created to relate and love as His people - letting His light shine through us. So, let's not be weird, judgmental, "cult-like" Christians who never stick their heads out of their turtle shells in order to meet and greet anyone new. Rather, let's make it a priority to introduce ourselves, to care about others, to build relationships, to help those who need help... to love as Christ first loved us!

I pray that others will see Jesus' love through our daily obedience to Christ's call. May His grace be apparent in our lives. May we positively impact His kingdom as we stand as living testaments to His good news! WOO HOO! Ladies, this is the day to let your light (HIS LIGHT) shine! Now get out there and LOVE like your King has decreed! What a blessing to faithfully do as He commands!

The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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