Monday, October 31, 2016

the complexity of simplicity

We like things simple, don't we?
We like our lives organized, clean, balanced, restful.
But we live a life that is far from simple.
I'm sure everyone of us can attest that at any given moment our lives can quickly become complicated and unsettled.
Our hearts can become discouraged, defeated.
In truth, keeping our eyes focused on Jesus is really much more complex than it seems.
Sometimes it seems more natural to look past God and use our energies stressing and planning over details of an immediate trial or burden.
However, when we do this, we begin to forget the "Who" of our eternity and focus only on the "what" of the moment.

So what's a girl to do?
How are we to embrace the life that we know God has planned for us to live fully... peacefully... simply, when most of the time we are running around afraid, unsure, unorganized, insecure?

Eve was the first woman to fall into such complexity.
I mean, think about it... Eve had EVERYTHING!
God had made her life perfect in the Garden of Eden.
The perfect home.
The perfect position.
The perfect surroundings.
The perfect man.
Today, we can only dream of such a balanced and enjoyable life.
But not Eve...

She lived her days enjoying intimate walks with her husband.
She used her time supporting Adam and helping him with the upkeep of the garden and the care of all animals.
Best yet, Eve experienced the happiness of God's presence first-hand.
She knew the contentment that the Lord provided, and was blessed with His generosity and love.
She had no concerns about finding the "storybook" life because hers was already complete.
She didn't stress over money, power, appearance, title.
She was secure.
She was happy.
Her life was simple, relaxed, beautiful.
God said Himself, it was all good.

So, how did Eve stumble into such a complex mess?
How did she shortchange herself of the abundant life God had initially designed?
How did Eve (and her husband, Adam) end up neck deep in a life-changing pile of poo that altered the entire course of human history?

The answer is this:
Eve didn't believe God's word.
Eve didn't obey God's commands.
Eve chose to look past God and sought significance through a false method of fulfillment.
Rather than embrace the truth of her Creator, Eve blatantly challenged His headship.
Eve lost sight of her purpose and sinned.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' " "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened..." (Genesis 3:1-6a)

Yes, Eve's eyes were opened... but not with the kind of wisdom she had hoped to attain.
Rather, Eve's eyes were opened to shame.
Her reality... her perfect set-up... it was no more.
She had chosen to disobey the Master.
She had believed the lies of a charming, crafty intruder.
She welcomed the opportunity to converse with the enemy.
She opened her heart and home to the very thing God could not and would not tolerate.
She went against her Creator's holy instruction and doubted His supreme authority.

Yes, Eve had sinned.
And not only did she sin, but she convinced her beloved husband (the man she adored and cherished) to throw away his birthright.
Eve's failure to believe and obey God cost her EVERYTHING.
And so for Eve, life got complicated really fast.

And they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" The man said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." (Genesis 3:6b-13)

What have you done?
What have you been focusing on?
What choices have you made outside of God's will?
In short, where have you stopped believing God?
Where have you stopped obeying His commands?

Thankfully, Adam and Eve's story does not end here.
Thankfully, no matter how big a mess we humans choose (yes, choose), God still (amazingly) loves us. 
God shows up and provides a plan for each lost and dying person to be restored unto Him.
He proves faithful by introducing the life, death and resurrection of Jesus - the Savior... the Lord God Almighty in human form.
Unfortunately, man must still live with the ramifications of his sinful decision while living on earth.
We must endure the hardships brought by a ruthless enemy in order to grow spiritually mature in trusting and obeying our Master.
To accomplish this, we must follow Jesus, our Shepherd... believing only His word... obeying only His commands.
Look at what the Lord tells us in Psalms about the perfection and balance His people may know in Him...

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:7-14)

So, how can we live wisely and know peace?
The answer is, in itself, both simple and complex... for first and foremost we are now all sinners.
Thankfully, with Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can live redeemed! 
WOO HOO!

To experience His well-designed life, we must always believe God completely.
We must always obey His word without apology or question.
His ways are the only way to enjoy all that is good.
So, we must put on the identity of the One capable of saving us from all our messes.
We must adopt Jesus' plan as our own.
His Way becomes our way.
His holiness trumps our corruptness.
His love wins over our selfishness.

Why?
Because His law is PERFECT and REVIVES US!
He is TRUSTWORTHY!
He makes life SIMPLE!
His precepts are right and give us JOY!
His commands are RADIANT and provide us the LIGHT we need to step safely in His grace!
His Light guides our way!
His Light restores us into His presence again and again and again!
We must live disciplined and fixate our eyes upon the WAY, the TRUTH, the LIGHT of the world - always trusting Him to handle the distracting shadows of mishap.

Ladies, Satan wants nothing more than to keep us from knowing our great God.
Why?
Because God's perfect laws will indeed revive us and bring us into Jesus' holy, victorious presence!
Jesus is the answer to all our problems.
Jesus is the Way back home to God's perfect plan.
So, when you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and life becomes complex, I encourage you to take time to remember the "Who" of your eternity rather than the "what" of the moment.
Bury yourself in His promises and look at yourself through your Creator's eyes. Here are some scriptures to get you started...

To God, I am...

The salt of the earth; the light of the world. (Matthew 5:13-14)
More valuable than birds. (Luke 12:24)
Already clean. (John 15:3)
The branches. (John 15:5)
Heirs of the prophets and of the covenant. (Acts 3:25)
Servants of the Most High. (Acts 16:17)
Called. (Romans 1:6-7)
God's temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
Strong; Honored. (1 Corinthians 4:10)
A temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19)
Part of the body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
Christ's ambassador. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
Abraham's seed. (Galatians 3:28-29)
An heir. (Galatians 4:6-10)
Children of the promise. (Galatians 4:27-28)
Fellow citizens and members of God's household. (Ephesians 2:19)
Children of the light. (Ephesians 5:8)
A chosen people; a royal priesthood; a holy nation. (1 Peter 2:9-10)
Daughters of Sarah. (1 Peter 3:6)

These truths should be studied and re-studied because when we meditate in God's truth and pray for his words and thoughts to become our words and thoughts, we are living a life pleasing in the sight of the Most High.
Trust me when I tell you that all other things in life pale in importance when we look at our purpose through the lens of eternity and focus our eyes on His authority and love.
God is always in control. 
His ways are higher than our own and always intended for our good.

So, what have you been doing?
What have you been focusing on?
What choices have you made outside of God's will?
In short, where have you stopped believing God?
Where have you stopped obeying His commands?

I encourage you to start focusing on the One who is here to save and restore your life.
Jesus is the answer to everything.
Let me say that again... JESUS IS THE ANSWER TO EVERYTHING!!!
Seek Him and He will make Himself known... in every trial, in every moment, in every place, in EVERYTHING.
Stop allowing the enemy to deceive you and complicate what should be simple.  

"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. 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)

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Saturday, October 29, 2016

pride


“You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you…your settings and mountings were made of gold.” (Ezekiel 28:12-13) 

How beautiful this person sounds.
Who could it be?
Who is this passage talking about?
Who was this perfect model of wisdom and beauty?
Was it Adam?
Eve?
Jesus?

No, Ezekiel is referring to our greatest enemy in this passage: Satan.

Wait, what?....SATAN?

Read on in verse 17, “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.” In Isaiah 14:13-14, Isaiah says, “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High’”.

Ok, that sounds more like the Satan we think of. Corrupted and proud... A creature who would rather focus on himself rather than honor the God who created him. A person so consumed with his own gain - to increase his assets, beauty and standing. Yes, that's Satan - with all his pride. How horrible he was to disregard his King. How evil that he tried to make himself a god rather than worship God Almighty.

Gulp. But wait a minute... I too am guilty of being consumed with myself. I too have fallen to my own pride rather than honor God. I too am selfish - seeking personal gain. I'm embarrassed to admit it - but I too am as despicable as the evil one.

I am not righteous. I am not holy. Simply put, I am not God.

God is God.

Sometimes I'm so consumed with my own self, safety, happiness, well-being, comfort, plans... (Gulp again.)... Sometimes I act like my ways are more important than His ways. I put ME before Him. Wow. That is self-love and the basis of pride.... the opposite of humility. That is the same as the anti-god who is Satan. Lord, help!!! I don't want to be that!!!

Augustine called pride: "the love of one's own excellence." Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote that "inordinate self-love is the cause of every sin." Solomon says in Proverbs 16:18 that, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Bottom line: When we give into pride, we forget God. We forget all that He has provided us. We begin to lift up our own SELF to a place that (in our minds) makes us excused from God's intended plan for us. Not good.... Really - NOT GOOD!

Rather than honoring and worshipping the God who created him with all his beauty and splendor, Satan became proud and attempted to lift himself higher than God. YIKES! We all know his coming fate!

Go back to Ezekiel and read on, “All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.” Read in Isaiah also, “But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit. Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate.” The messages of Isaiah and Ezekiel regarding the fate of Satan (and those that follow Satan) are clear. Destruction.

So, what is the cure to pride? How can we overcome our self-centeredness?

We must live each day as Jesus did - giving God the glory that He alone deserves by giving God our whole life!

Jesus lived each day of His life on earth fulfilling His Father's purpose. Our value should be based on the biblical truth that in Christ, we are His people. We were created in God’s image and likeness - not because of anything we accomplished on our own. So, we should live as Jesus commands and follow His example in our own day-to-day walk.

I don't know about you, but that really changes my devotion and attitude toward God verses my selfish desires. That makes me view each new day as an opportunity to be His good and faithful servant.

As we journey ahead with the hope of eternity in HIS glorious presence, let's remember that through Salvation in Christ, we are the adopted children of God. Only by the love of Jesus are we able to escape the fate that Satan and those who reject Christ will face. It is unbelievable to think that God would love us that much to give us the chance to get over our own pride and selfishness. It is incredible that He is that gracious, merciful, loving, constant. We need to let go of our own comforts and customs and worship Him alone.

We are His people. His servants. His followers. As Jesus lowered Himself to save us, we must remember that our lives must be lived in faith and submission for Him. Let's ask God to replace our pride with the hope of His purpose. We can do this in Christ. And we can worship God alone in faith and love together.... God is all we ever need to focus on. He ALONE is worthy of our eternal praise!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson


Thursday, October 27, 2016

catastrophes of opportunity

Once again, my heart dropped.  Once again, the pit of my gut felt the hit, the ruin.  Here I was again at the intersection of yet another catastrophe... another curve ball.  I sat blankly, stunned, broken, wondering.  Then the flood of honest emotions filled my heart.  I began to question God...

"God, aren't you good?"

"God, don't you care?"

"God, are you even here?"

Immediately verses from Matthew 6 turned up in my memory banks, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other."

"Wait!" I gasped, "Not those verses, Lord!  Not the verses about treasures on earth verses treasures in heaven!  Really, I'm in a pickle here!  We aren't talking about treasures.  We are talking about something completely out of my comfort zone and control!  What am I going to do?  Don't you care?  Aren't you listening?  Don't you want to be close to me and help me?"

The still small voice whispered more from Matthew 6, "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"

I rolled my eyes in disbelief to how way off God was concerning my problem, "Are you kidding me?  How great is that darkness?  Healthy eyes full of light?  What exactly is your point, Lord?  What am I missing except that I'm in the thrusts of turmoil?"

"If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"

Hmm.

Grrr.

Frustrated, I got my Bible and opened it up to Matthew 6, skipping directly to the verses I REALLY wanted to hear:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you - you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

"Yeah!  Each day sure is full of its own trouble, but yeah, okay... I won't worry, Lord.  I'm sure that's what you really wanted me to focus on right now from Matthew 6."

Needless to say, I worried.
I worried all night and into this morning.

When I woke up from a very short, very restless night's sleep, the bass of Genesis 1:1 was thumping loudly in my head.  "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

"Sure, in the beginning, Lord.  Before all this chaos happened in my life.  Before my most recent troubles.  Before all historical events - and even before the fall of man took place.  Before time itself...  In the beginning, YOU were here and you made everything.  Got it!  Now, back to my problem... sheesh."

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5)

"Whoa-ho-ho there...  Without covetousness?  What am I coveting?  Really, Lord, we are not talking about the same thing here.  I'm freaking out about ME and You aren't hearing anything I'm saying!"

"I will never leave you, nor forsake you, Victoria."

"Yea, I know... you are here.  You've always been here.  You've been around since the beginning.  You are with me.  You won't forsake me.  Bla bla bla."

Wait...

Whoa... just give me a sec to think about that more...

(The angels smile in silence as I catch up with the rest of the class.)

Lightbulb moment...

"Yes, you are here with me, aren't you, Lord?"

"You've always been here with me!"

"And, you made all this."

"You oversee everything and promise the very best for me."

(The electricity flickers in my soul and a connection is finally established.)

"Lord, you are good, aren't you!!!?  You do care!  You are here... right now!  You totally love and get me!  But wait... what did you say to me last night?  What did I miss?"

"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other..." 

Again, "If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"

Finally, I comprehended what my patient Master was teaching.  I was indeed worrying about ME... my life!!!  And, I was failing to trust God's sovereign, loving control.  I was looking at my would-be tomorrow of uncertainty, wondering if everything would work out in my favor.  All I could focus on was this: If the earth continued to rattle and shake, would I make it through safely and without harm?  But I already knew the answer to that question, didn't I?  And yet, just like the pagans, I continued to focus on my fear and, sadly, forgot my faith.   I wasn't seeking the Lord first.  Not really.  No, I was just dialoging with my "made-up" version of who I wanted God to be in order to comfort myself back into a self-induced coma of personal safety.  So, how healthy were my eyes?

Furthermore, how healthy am I spiritually if my focus is directed toward serving two masters?  Is it all about ME, or is it all about GOD?  No, my issue was I wanted it to be about both of us.  But it can't be both, can it?  The Lord says, "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols." (Isaiah 42:8)

If my heart is not totally devoted and set on Him (and only Him), I am not fully seeking after His kingdom or His righteousness, am I?  In order for my faith to grow strong, I must love Jesus with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength... for He wants nothing less.  His light must be more important than my own comforts, my own expectations, my own god of self.  As such, I am thankful for this recent reminder: Our catastrophes are really opportunities intended to bring us intimately closer to the King.  How and, most importantly, WHO our eyes are looking to exposes either the depth of our human darkness or the brightness and evidence of the Savior living within us.  

Yes, I want the Savior.  Despite myself, I don't care about anything else.  He will care for me better than I will.  Thank goodness (His goodness) that He is with me... He will never leave me... He will never ever forsake me.  HE IS THE LORD!

Holy holy holy is THE LORD ALMIGHTY!  Who was, and is, and is to come! (Revelation 4:8)

In reading this, I hope you too will believe and be blessed, dear friends!  Seek God's grace and you will find Jesus!  He is our refuge, our strength.  So knock, and allow Him to open the door of your heart - exposing the depths and the greatest need for His healthy, holy Light.  

No matter what may come, freedom in Christ is all that really matters.  He is our comfort. HE IS GOOD!  HE IS THE LORD ALMIGHTY!

"Life isn't like a book.  Life isn't logical or sensible or orderly.  Life is a mess most of the time.  And theology must be lived out in the midst of that mess." (Charles Colson, Loving God)

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. (Psalm 91:1-2)

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

who do we appreciate?

Two, four, six, eight... who do we appreciate?

Wait.

Who DO we appreciate?

Have we told them?
Have we cheered them on today?
Have we taken the time to let them know how important, how valued, how unique and special they truly are in the eyes of Christ?

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.  Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:11-18)

God wants every believer in Christ to make such an effort - to pep rally and lift up one another in Jesus' Name.  This is not an activity reserved only for the youth or for our favorite sports team.  No, it is a necessary and helpful effort - a choice we are to make each and every day of our lives.

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19)

What is the "mutual edification" mentioned in Romans 14 (above)?
It is the obedient choice to build up one another for the sake of God's kingdom.
Together, we are to be motivators, helpers... living examples who reflect the love of Jesus Christ!

Why is this so important?  Because, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17)

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.  (Hebrews 3:13)

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. (James 5:13)

According to Psalm 118:24, we are told: "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." (KJV)  So how does God want us to rejoice and be glad in this day?  How exactly does that translate in real time?

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 message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 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 3:15-17)

We are to let God's peace rule over our hearts.  We are actually called to live in His peace together!
We are to be thankful.
We are to let the message of Jesus be as common as breathing.  His truth should ALWAYS be part of our daily conversations.
We are to sing songs of praise and gratitude.
We are to do EVERYTHING in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Friends, I encourage you to obediently choose to live in agreement with God's beneficial Way.  His love is all that matters THIS DAY.  So lift one another up.  Remind one another what REALLY matters.  And be thankful for your brothers and sisters in the Lord.  Tell them.  Show them.  Love them.

WHO do we appreciate, after all?

JESUS  J-E-S-U-S  JESUS!!!  FOREVER UNITED IN HIS HOLY NAME!!!  HURRAY!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

what do we do with tragedy?

Tragedy.  What do we do with tragedy?  With disaster?  With the worst imaginable scenario?  With circumstances that should never ever have happened?

But tragedy does happen, doesn't it?  In fact, it happens frequently without warning, discrimination, or apology.  Yes, our world lends itself to tragedy all the time.  And such "wrongness" deeply scars our tender souls.

This is when we ask God why.  Why such unthinkable moments are allowed.  Why suffering is permitted to be a part of this world.  And then we must realize the vantage point and perspective from which we ask such a question.  For this world is the problem, isn't it?  This world is the tragedy.  The disaster.  The worst imaginable scenario.  This world is what should never ever have happened.  But it did.  And we did it.  We are to blame.  This world is chaotic and unstable because we turned away from our Creator who loved us enough to give us complete freedom to choose to love Him in return.  But instead, we chose not to love Him, didn't we?  We went against His Word and chose the direction of a deceitful snake.  And now this planet is exposed to the disease of sin because we betrayed our devoted Father and decided to do exactly what He told us not to do - thus proving our own selfishness and carelessness toward Him.  Yes, in the beginning the God of all order and goodness lovingly made every perfect gift imaginable for His people to flourish and LIVE!  And what did we do?  We callously trampled all over his beautiful garden because we wanted to do things our own way. As such, to this very day we see the residual effects of our disloyalty: tragedy... disaster... brokenness... all plainly, painfully evident on a sinful planet that continues to separate itself from the Almighty.  Here, the will of mankind still struggles to rule.  So here, sin remains.

So what do we do with tragedy?  There is only one answer.  There is only one message.  There is only one solution - one salvation and relief from the sufferings of this world.  For our loving Master, in His mercy and grace, cared enough for us to offer a gift - a new hope to all mankind. A hope greater than the tragedies of today.  A hope mightier than all worldly corruption.  A hope greater than all our sins.  And with this hope, God proves to us that nothing in our universe is insignificant to Him.  Mankind still matters to Him - irrespective of the fact that He may or may not matter to us.  Yes, God knows when every sparrow falls and He assures us in His Word that men will indeed face trouble in this earthly life.  But even in these troubles, our Creator still loves us and has promised to eternally redeem those who choose to love Him in return.  But the decision is still ours to make.  Following His perfect will is for each of us to decide.

That said, God himself is never the source of tragedy. God is good. God loves us. God is perfect, just, and holy... and, most importantly, so is His will.  This is why Jesus came to redeem and save.  His will is the will of our Almighty Father's.  His plan is God's plan to restore us into holiness in the presence of our Creator.  This is why, no matter the sufferings of this world, we must always seek Jesus.  For Jesus promises real peace.  His Word is trustworthy because it is God's will.  His Way is the right Way! (Romans 8:18-25; James 1:2-3; Titus 2:13; 1 Peter 1:7).

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:18-25)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (James 1:2-3)

While we wait for the blessed hope - the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.  (Titus 2:13)

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:7)

C.S. Lewis once said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” This does not mean that God causes our tragedy, but rather He uses our reaction to tragedy to remind us not only that we live in an imperfect and fallen world, but that there is a new hope in His Son.  God loves us and wants something better for us than this broken world has to offer.

So, as you encounter tragedy in this life, know this...

There is hope.
There is a solution to our corrupt problem.
There is salvation and relief from all suffering.
There is One who is greater than all our sins.
There is One mightier than every disappointment and "wrongness".
There is One willing to restore and renew us with our loving, perfect, and just Creator.
There is Jesus.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, October 24, 2016

ready... set... GO!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Happy Monday, y'all!

:)

Victoria

Saturday, October 22, 2016

the circumference of His sovereignty

Can you control the universe?
Can you control the seasons?
Can you control the morning dew on the growing grass, or the evening tide of the oceans?
Can you control the bird's singing, the lion roaring, the bee buzzing?
No?
Well, no worries... GOD can!

How about this...
Can you control your relationships?
Can you control your security?
Can you control your peace?
Can you completely control these things?
No?
Well, no worries... GOD can!

What's that you are saying?
YOU want to command the outcome of your love life?
YOU want to regulate your family's future?
YOU want to dominate the actions and opinions of people?
YOU want to control your own relationships?

What's that you are doing?
YOU want to rule and manage your success?
YOU want to dictate your income and property?
YOU want to insure your safekeeping?
YOU want to control your own security?

What's that you are endorsing?
YOU want to always be correct?
YOU want to validate every feeling and emotion?
YOU want to receive every wish and desire?
YOU want to control your own peace?

But can you?
Can you really control all these things?
Have you been trying to control all these things?
If so, how's that working out for you?
Are you... ARE YOU?... in full control?

Can you control all health?
Can you control all wealth?
Can you control all time, space, matter?
Can you control the thoughts and hearts of men?
Can you control all things to work together for good?
Can you control life?
Can you control death?
Can you control the outcome of all eternity?
No?
Well, no worries... GOD can!

You see, GOD is unlimited in power!
GOD is unrivaled in majesty!
GOD is not thwarted by anything outside Himself!
GOD is in complete control of every circumstance and will fulfill His purpose and benefit His kingdom!

So, what can YOU control?
YOU can control your obedience to GOD's proven law.
YOU can control your acceptance of GOD's grace.
YOU can control your agreement with GOD's Word.
YOU can control your allegiance to GOD's will and only WAY... JESUS!

YOU can control your choice to follow this good, faithful, trustworthy, and loving King of kings.
A King inclined to listen to His own.
A King who wishes to bless His beloved.
A King who longs to give, and serve, and share, and embrace YOU intimately.
A King who wisely oversees every relationship, every security, every minute of our entire existence down to the most microscopic detail...
Why?
In order to do good... HIS GOOD!!!

He is the Way.
He is the Truth.
He is the Life.
So, won't you make Him YOUR LIFE?

Seek Him first.
Seek Him only.
Seek Him and trust the full circumference of His sovereignty this very second.

He has your best interest at heart.
He promises to never leave or forsake you.
He freely offers true salvation from all sin, evil, fear, pain, loneliness, heartbreak, sickness, famine, despair.
Do you believe Him?
Do you live like you believe Him?

Friends, YOU cannot control every creature, every event, every circumstance.
YOU cannot determine the moments of mankind.
YOU cannot juggle the happenings of past, present, and future or control eternal righteousness, holiness, goodness, peace, love.
No, this is not what YOU can control.

But, no worries... GOD can!!!

The LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand. (Isaiah 14:24)

Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:10)

O Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. (2 Samuel 7:28)


And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. (Isaiah 26:4)

Blessed be the holy name of JESUS forever and ever!
His mercies are new every morning, so this is the day to rejoice and be glad in Him!
Hallelujah and all praise to the sovereign King of kings!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, October 20, 2016

focus on His scars and believe in His grace

Every evening I try to block out at least twenty minutes of my time to enjoy a warm, fluffy bubble bath. It is a nice way to slow down my acrobatic brain and encourage my mind to prepare for resting through the night. It is also a huge help to my body because I suffer a lot with pain from past injuries. Yes, this old girl "ain't what she used to be", but thankfully, the hot water from my tub seems to temporarily pacify my aches and pains so that I am not as uncomfortable and fidgety during the time I've allotted for sleep.

Anyway, last night while I was soaking, I was looking over the ten inch scar that remains on my left leg. It runs down the middle of my thigh, over my knee, and ends midway over my tibia. I've had many surgeries on this leg (and expect many more) because the knee and surrounding bones have proven unreliable due to a past accident. Without getting into all the gory details, I started to remember the day my leg was injured and the unthinkable pain that pushed me in and out of consciousness while gracious paramedics and hospital personnel did their best to assess and treat my many fractures. I have never endured such insurmountable pain and physical suffering as I did during this time. No amount of pain killers could prepare me for that trial, and I will never forget the blood-curdling screams that came out of me while being moved every which-way through the x-ray process, surgery, therapy, etc. It was terrible. Needless to say, it was a very difficult and extremely painful time of my life.

When all this had happened, my dear husband (Chuck) dropped out of his busy travel schedule and "moved into" my hospital room to advocate on my behalf while continuing to carry the load of managing our work/life commitments. When I slept, my husband worked. When I was awake, my husband comforted me. I was so grateful because I could relax a little easier with him beside me - knowing that he was there to protect and watch over me no matter what.

During this time, I had a lot of physical therapy to get through. Whenever my doctors and therapists would push me to do something challenging, Chuck would encourage me to keep going... to not give up... to push through the pain and focus on the goal of getting better. Whenever I would stumble or complain, Chuck was right there and ready to motivate - coaching me to lay aside my frustration and believe God was in control. And even though I felt like an ugly mess, Chuck would reassure and praise me - always telling me how beautiful I am to him, how much he loves me, etc.

I am so thankful for Chuck's help through this trial. Because of him, I became stronger, healthier, focused. Because of his help, my spirit remained refreshed and I was energized to keep moving forward rather than sit in the pity party of what was now in the past. Yes, without my dear husband by my side, I don't know if I would have made it through my desperate, injured state. Oh, thank you, Lord, for giving me such a support!

So anyway..., yesterday I was in the tub remembering all this while inspecting my scar. And it got me thinking about how much more my Savior had endured on the cross. I thought about the tremendous love and will that Jesus demonstrated during this dark and lonely time. Here was the Creator of the whole universe (who made our bodies to work a very specific way) being subjected to the worst physical suffering imaginable.

I wondered when He was whipped and beaten - when His body began to bruise, if He thought about the capillaries under His distressed human tissue that had begun to break under the skin and allow His holy blood to build up. I wonder if He considered the nerve endings that He had designed and how now, on His own body, they would report the trauma back to His brain, disclosing the severity of His deadly situation. I wonder as the thorns dug into His scalp, if He thought about the day He skillfully fashioned blood to coagulate and clot whenever the body received damage. I wonder how wounding the sting of His tears felt as He looked lovingly into the eyes of those who came to hurt Him, condemn Him, murder Him.

I thought about all this as I looked over my own scars and suddenly realized that even after overcoming death, Jesus chose to keep His scars. He kept the nail marks on His hands! Why? He didn't need to do that. He was a resurrected God! A King! Why keep ugly scars on your person when you are the Savior to all who believe and claim your name as Lord? Then I remembered doubting Thomas. How he could not accept the unbelievable news that Jesus lived! And I realized, Jesus kept his scars for us! His hands carry the marks of death so that we can always remember what He victoriously did for us! By merely looking at our Savior - we can know that our Messiah endured and overcame our greatest foe... death! AMEN!

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:19-31)

Friends, our lives on earth are not meant to be easy. God already knows that we will endure many hardships and likely be scarred in many, many ways from the sin that surrounds and entangles us. However, just like Jesus, we can use our scars to showcase His sacrifice and triumph. Just like Jesus, we can be a living example of God's love and victory over sin and death.

It is crucial to understand that as we live on this earth, we are each in the process of undergoing our own spiritual therapy as we relearn how to walk in what is holy and healing. And with us... alongside us - is our faithful Savior, who through His own experience understands our need for encouragement. He has promised to accompany us... pushing us through our pain... motivating us to keep our focus on the goal of becoming healthier in His Name.

Whenever we stumble, He will be there to help us get up again. Whenever we are frustrated, He is ready to teach us that God is in control. And no matter how ugly and worthless and messy we may feel, Jesus is ready to remind us how beautiful and precious and important we are to Him... how much He loves us. He is ready to refresh our spirits and energize our souls with His precious grace. Let us receive Him... seek Him... know Him... be with Him.  Let's keep our dearest Husband by our side so we can make it through this desperate, injured, lonely, corrupt world. We need Him to get better. We need Him to become new.  So let's lift Him up every day of our lives and thank the Lord for giving us His perfect support!

Consider what trial you are presently facing; what hardship and pain you are currently enduring. I encourage you to think about it, and then put it into perspective. Consider the sacrifice your Redeemer has made to insure your safety and eternal security.  Remember His grace.  Remember His pain.  Remember what He endured and overcame for your benefit.  Relax in the fact that He will always be with you... working toward your best interest... at the ready to protect and watch over you no matter what.  This is your Comforter, your King.  He loves you.  Continue to allow Him to "move into" your heart and carry the load of your life.

Let's keep our focus on what is truly important.  No matter what comes, let's continue to fix our eyes on the Creator and Savior of this world. Bathing ourselves in His comfort. Remembering that He has fashioned all that we are... all that we will face... all that we must endure to become more like Him. He has perfectly planned to see us through.  So, focus on His scars and believe in His grace.  There is no One greater.  There is no One mightier.  There is no One that loves you more.

Glory be the Name of our Redeemer.
Blessed be the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord!

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:2-3)

Blessings!

~Victoria

Blog Post Written By Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

comfortable commonplace

I am a coffee person. OK, I admit it... I'm a coffee snob. (I know. I did say snob, didn't I? Maybe that's too harsh a word, but I couldn't think of anything better to describe how very particular I am about my coffee... so just go with me on this.)

Anyway, my coffee has to be good, hot, fresh ground and just so. I am so picky that I won't drink a bad cup of coffee. No, my coffee has to be good or heads will roll. (OR more realistically, I just won't drink any coffee. Ha ha.)

After many years now, my family has learned my official morning coffee routine. When I get up with the new day, the first thing they do is give me some "Mamma" space until they can identify that I have THE JAVA in hand. Otherwise, I'm just a messy-haired zombie who can't seem to get her groove on in the early a.m. hours. And without my "go juice" secure in hand, this mamba jamba does not do as well as she could in the morning.

To further my coffee campaign, one year Chuck was thoughtful enough to invest in a fancy-schmancy European coffee/espresso machine that does it all. So, all I have to do is push a button and taaa daaaaaa - FRESH GROUND COFFEE just like the fancy coffee houses make. (And the cost is technically cheaper when pro-rating the machine expense and coffee made at home vs. coffee purchased out at a Starbucks or similar establishment. My hubby is so smart!) My dear husband bought the machine for me because he wanted to make sure that his woman started every morning right. And let's face it... for me, one of the best ways to insure my morning is pleasant is to include my yummy, fresh ground cup of coffee! WOO HOO!

With that in mind (and as I sip my low-fat hazelnut latte), I sit here this morning thinking about how we all have our routines... our "basics" that we generally always do each and every morning. For instance, many of us (I hope) shower or bath, brush our teeth, and get dressed each and every morning. It's kind of a given. Right? (Please, please agree. Ha ha.)

In our regular week, some of us check email, pack lunches, eat breakfast, read the newspaper, exercise. Some of us are planners and have everything laid out and scheduled. Some of us are NOT planners and are always rushed to get to work or drive our kids to school. Some of us wake up naturally refreshed. Some of us drag our feet while debating if we should ever leave the warmth of our beds. (Author's side note: Lord, thank you for giving us warm beds!) Anyway, these are the routine things we just "do"... we don't usually think too deeply about them. They are simply part of how we live... comfortable and commonplace to our lives.

The same should hold true to our seeking God each and every morning. When the Lord tells us in Romans 13:14 to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, He means for us to seek His views and interests and imitate Him in all things. We are to seek God like Jesus did - clothing ourselves with His word each day.

Admittedly, I find it interesting that the call to seek God each morning is always so much more challenging than taking time to make my coffee... or shower, get dressed, etc. In my morning, it seems like there is always limited time and/or something seemingly more important than my notching out a quiet place and pausing to pray, meditate and memorize key verses of scripture. Yet, that is precisely the discipline that Jesus shows us in Mark 1:35. "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."

Read some passages with me...

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. (Psalm 5:3)

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. (Psalm 59:16)

But I cry to you for help, O LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you. (Psalm 88:13)

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14)

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul (Psalm 143:8)

O LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. (Isaiah 33:2)

The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. (Isaiah 50:4)


I could keep going because there are soooo many examples in scripture showing us why it is important to make time for God first in the morning. And I do emphasize the word "first"! For aren't we to give him everything first? Aren't we to love Him wholeheartedly, giving Him our first fruits? Our first praise? Our first thoughts? Our first cares? Should we not be thankful first to The Light as He introduces a new day?

J.B. Phillips puts it this way, "Let us be Christ's (wo)man from head to foot." He meant that we should put Christ on like we would put on our clothes every day. You wouldn't walk out into the world naked would you? (Please, please say no. Ha ha.) So, why face the world spiritually naked every day? Rather arm yourself with the Master's truths and let Him be the first part of how you begin each new day. (You know, the day that he made for you to REJOICE and BE GLAD?!!!).

WOO HOO! THIS IS THE DAY, sweet friends!!! He has given you another day to worship the blessed Savior! So start early and receive the unmatched blessing of SEEKING HIM FIRST with all your heart, soul and mind! Look to Jesus to teach you about His Kingdom. Learn how to be righteous as you follow after His ways! Let's give God back His rightful place in our hearts and make Him the priority in every day's routine. Let's make Jesus our comfortable commonplace. Let's rely on Him first before running to all other distractions that demand our attention. Before everything else, let's love God first!

Jesus' example reigns true. For indeed, the way to insure a good day is to start it out right with God... and nothing in life could be more right than loving our Redeemer FIRST each and every morning (... and sipping a yummy cup of Anderson coffee too. Wink!)  Great is His faithfulness!

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Saturday, October 15, 2016

from Him, through Him, for Him

I started reading an article the other day...
It was found in a typical women's magazine that one might rifle through while killing time outside the doctor's office.  Full of air brushed celebrities, portraying seemingly perfect lifestyles, selling hyped-up goods and services betwixt and between the pages of fluffy "open-minded" banter.  I flipped through the glossy pages looking for something worth reading and finally settled on an "overcomer" story.  But I didn't make it past the first sentence before my dialog with the Holy Spirit took hold of my heart.

The tagline for the article read:

"After serious traumas, four women dug deep and discovered how the power of their own resilience could make their lives much more meaningful."

Wow.  That sounds like a movie trailer, doesn't it?
I could just hear the mood-setting music accompanied by the announcer's deep voice inciting, "In a world..."

The Holy Spirit responded to my thoughts with this truth... "Victoria, all glory is the Lord's."

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  
How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 
“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”
For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
(Romans 11:33-36)

I couldn't go on reading the article...
For the Holy Spirit is correct.  All glory is the Lord's, not ours.
Resilience is a gift.  Abilities and traits are special and exclusively designed for our benefit.
No human can honestly claim a power that makes their life more meaningful unless they claim the ultimate authority and holiness of Jesus Christ.
All shadows of self disappear in the brightness of His presence.
All strength to dig deep, all hope to survive, all success and progress... these are from Him, through Him, and for Him.
We are not remarkable... He is.
We cannot change circumstances for the better... only He can.
Our purpose is not intended for ourselves... it is to serve His Throne.
Our accomplishments are not due to any ability, any decision, any resource we have not received without His help.
To Him alone we must direct all praise.

Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. (Psalm 115:1)

How the scales fall off our eyes when we actually focus our hearts to see and acknowledge WHO is really worthy...  WHO is to be highlighted and worshipped.
Such truth does not lie between the pages of the air brushed, hyped-up opinions of godless money-changers and idol seekers.
No, their boasting is as fake as the lies they spin.

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:4-6)

I'd rather read the rough and rocky pages of the flawed, the broken, the least of human representation lifted up and honored by the Most High who saves.
I'd rather consider the everlasting covenant of God's promise to restore what we so callously and selfishly destroy... what we alone cannot repair or make whole.
I'd rather focus on Jesus, who came to vindicate righteousness...  to rebuild and use our mess for His good...  to teach and lead us into His love - beyond all trauma - in order to make our life meaningful, hopeful, NEW.
To Him I am grateful.
To Him I will worship, and honor, and focus, and make Jesus my heart's first and only desire.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.  And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:15-16)

All creation exists to display the glory of this One.
All history is painted in order to complete a canvas artfully portraying His beauty.
All mankind, whether willing or not, will breathe His breaths and walk His ordained steps in order to prove the wonder of His grace, the truth of His wisdom, the depth of His love.

All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time.
When you give it to them, they gather it up;
When you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.
When you hide your face, they are terrified;
When you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.
When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works.
(Psalm 104:27-31)

Yes, all glory is the Lords.
Every knee will bow to Him.  Every tongue will confess His Kingdom.
Holy holy holy is the Lord God Almighty!
From Him, and through Him, and for Him are all things!

Let us forget ourselves and surrender to His perfection.
Let us praise Him in everything, with everyone we encounter, and in every place we visit.

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. (1 Chronicles 29:11)

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, October 13, 2016

this day...

Before you go about your day, take a moment to consider what God's Word says about LOVE...

  • Love is patient.
  • Love is kind.
  • Love does not envy.
  • Love does not boast.
  • Love is not proud.
  • Love does not dishonor others.
  • Love is not self-seeking.
  • Love is not easily angered.
  • Love keeps no record of wrongs.
  • Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth.

My dear Christian friends,

God is our Father and we are His children.
Jesus is the vine and we are His branches - reaching out... extending our limbs to welcome others in.
He invites, "Come, dear ones!  Come and know my LOVE!"
THIS DAY... let's choose to make good on His invitation.
May we nestle in His truth and encourage one another as His restored, His redeemed.
Let us no longer be estranged to this magnificent Savior, but rather make our hearts His home - receiving His NEW life and building up God’s beloved family.

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (118:24)

We are children of the Most High King and heirs to His throne of righteousness.
We are the forgiven who can’t help but bloom with possibility and hope as we obey our Father's good Word and showcase the full technicolor of Jesus’ gorgeous, perfect, beautiful LOVE!

  • Love extends mercy.
  • Love displays grace.
  • Love nourishes.
  • Love always points to righteousness.
  • Love is holy.
  • Love is joyful.
  • Love encourages peace.
  • Love is timely.
  • Love is good.

THIS DAY we walk in faith believing His promise.
We enjoy His satisfying fruit and obey His perfect laws.
For, there is no room for hate in His presence.
There is no future for human failings or defeat in our Savior's Name.
He has promised us victory!
He is able and willing to free us of every bondage!
He has overcome all danger so that we may live full.

  • Love is pleasing and beautiful and it’s fragrance enriches the soul.
  • Love offers refuge.
  • Love forgives.
  • Love is honorable.
  • Love restores.
  • Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
  • Love builds up.

Let us be strong and courageous, Believers.
Let's stand firm and rest assured in our God's omnipotence and grace.
Do not be afraid.
Do not be discouraged,
For the LORD God, our good God, is with us... forever!
He will not forsake.
He is constant, dependable, and in full control.
Hallelujah!

THIS DAY believe your Shepherd and be restored in His pastures.
And... love one another.
Do not love merely with empty words or speech - for that is not how Christ loves us!
Rather, let us follow His example and joyfully deliver His Holy Holy Holy Name!
ALWAYS rejoicing in our Father’s authority and living in His full praise.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:7-12)

  • Love is noble.
  • Love is generous.
  • Love is pure.
  • Love is honest.
  • Love brings clarity.
  • Love never, ever fails.
  • Love never, ever leaves or forsakes.

This is the law of God's kingdom: to love Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength... and to love others as ourselves!
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love!
THIS DAY is the day to choose His love and rejoice!

OK... go get it, gobble it up, and give it away!  WOO HOO!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Sunday, October 9, 2016

remembering His heavenly hallmark...


Victoria,

Hard times will come.
Difficult moments will occur.
Sin will tempt.
Death will loom.
These worldly days will remain a challenge.
But keep on.
Press forward.
Follow and obey My Voice.

For as you walk through the midsts of these troubles;
As you are threatened by mountainous-sized turmoils of pain;
Remember, I Am here.
Remember, I Am faithful.
Remember, I will keep My promises.
Remember, I love you most.
Remember, I will vindicate and preserve your life forevermore;
Remember, and believe in Me with full assurance.

I will never abandon or forsake you.
I will generously give you my breath, my Words.
I will save you from this pit;
And, I will crown you with unimaginable blessings from the bounty of my Throne.

For My glory is great.
My love endures and lasts.
So always, always remember...
I Am able.

In you, I will continue to do a good work to completion.
So, as you live out each day, in this time, through these moments...
Stay nearest to My heart.
Abide closest with My Spirit.
Keep your faith fresh in the secure covenant of My grace.

Remember, I Am your God;
And you are My most beloved.

Live in victorious celebration!
You are free to soar and rejoice!
You are hallmarked under the royal stamp of My only Son's Life.
You are adopted in My house, in My family, in My Name.
You are cherished, valued, treasured, saved.
You are whom I serve with sacrifice.
You are whom I love always.

And I...
I Am your God.
Remember.

Happy Birthday, my beautiful Victoria.

~God

While I live will I praise the Lord: 
I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.  
(Psalm 146:2)

Friday, October 7, 2016

savoring God's greatness

Are we savoring God's greatness in our everyday lives? Today, God impressed me with this thought as I read my latest devotional study. Convicting words jumped off the page and asked a simple question, "Are you spending your time living in the next moment and missing the present one?" It was like someone had slammed the brakes on the millions of thoughts swarming in my brain. To say the least, I was instantly hit between the eyes with how selfish and sidetracked I really am by things trivial.

Then I realized something – it’s true, we are all busy... insanely busy. Women are consumed with multi-tasking just about everything with expectation of instant results and unrealistic perfection. While we flurry through our days, most of us are so preoccupied in hurry and worry that we carelessly scarf down food, bark at friends, honk at strangers in traffic, and morph into nightly TV zombies without ever realizing we've missed the sweet details that God made for us to savor and appreciate. As such, I fear we are missing key opportunities to worship Him and praise His Name for all He has given.

So often I forget to just look around and appreciate the complexities and wonders that originate from my Creator’s hand. I take for granted all my senses, every vein in my body, fresh water, electricity, the ability to read and write - you name it. And why? What is so important that I can't take a second to breathe a short “thank you” to my Jesus for something as terrific as the spring showers that replenish the soil and my coat and umbrella that keep me warm and dry?

So, I'd like to invite you to join me in this endeavor. Let's ask the Holy Spirit for a spiritual adjustment and become women that are aware of our abundant surroundings and grateful for all our glorious Savior has promised. Dear Christian, may we indeed treasure the One that gives us life to live fully - both today and for all eternity in His presence!

Have a blessed day of praise!

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for every blessing!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

ambition

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)

What is your ambition?

Is it to be noticed?
Is it to be successful?
Is it to become rich or famous?

Or, is your ambition centered around a more selfless endeavor?
Perhaps to lead a quiet life in the wake of the Savior?
Perhaps to love others in the little details of every single day?
Perhaps to live mindfully, healthy, and holy in both word and deed?
Perhaps to do all things in the Name of Jesus Christ with intent to honor the King of kings always?

ambition: to seek after earnestly; to aspire to

What do you seek after earnestly?
What do you aspire to?
Is it Jesus...
Is it always Jesus?

Or is your ambition wrapped up in gaining, acquiring, earning, and obtaining something other than glory for God Almighty?
Perhaps something for yourself?
Something that will make you feel more comfortable?
Something that will give you special distinction for some type of achievement?
Something that will bring you power, honor, fame, or wealth?

What is your ambition?

God's Word tells us, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. " (Philippians 2:3; James 3:16; Galatians 5:24-26)

As we begin this new day...
As Satan roams about waiting to devour us into sin...
I encourage you to pause, Believer, and consider:

What is your ambition?
What do you seek after earnestly?
What do you aspire to?

Is it Jesus?
Is it a life in step with His Holy Spirit?
Is it devotion and love for His Father... our Almighty, Sovereign, Omnipotent Father?

Today is a new day.
A day to rejoice in the Lord.
A day that He has made for us to live as His ambassadors.

So, let us cling to His perfect commandments of order and sacrifice.
Let us care for one another as He has called each of us to do.
Let us remember that worldly reactions based in human fear are never His Way.
Let us remember that selfish agendas can only lead us into evil practices.
Let us remember that the lusts of this corrupt world are inferior to His love, His holiness, His hope, His eternal LIFE!

Yes, let us aspire to consider our true ambition.
Today, let us earnestly live for Jesus... always Jesus!

All praise, all glory, to our gracious, glorious, generous, and good King!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, October 3, 2016

impact

Do you ever pause to consider your impact?

Not the impact of your parents or your husband...

Not the impact of your children or your friends.

Do you ever think about YOUR impact?

Do you ever think about the influence and impression you are capable of generating through the words, actions, attitudes you choose?

I do.

I regularly think about my effectiveness in life and honestly feel overwhelmed at times.

For I am one person in an infinite number of human beings who have walked this planet throughout earth's history.

How can I make a difference?

How can I impact anything?

On the other hand...

From a biblical perspective, I am one person whom God intended to use for His good purpose today... at this moment... in this time.
I am a woman who He chose to place in a certain country with a particular family for a deliberate reason.
He has blessed me with unique skills and gifts.
He has created me with individual tastes and interests.
He has bestowed upon me my own unique style.
And whether or not I personally feel like my life is valuable - God assures me that I am precious in His eyes.
Whether or not I consider my voice a voice to be heard - God commands me to share His very particular message according to my unique and distinct experience.
Whether or not I believe I am able to overcome or accomplish any circumstance - God tells me that I can do all things through His perfect Son who has promised to give me strength.
Whether or not I question the importance of my time or the richness of my life in comparison to others who appear more prominent or wealthy - God says that He is able to make all grace abound to me... so that in all things and at all times, I will have everything I need to generously share Him to others on every occasion.

This brings me back to the point.... impact.

How do we as normal, average, everyday Christian women impact?
Are our lives directing others to Jesus?
Is He evident in our thought life?
Is He present in our words?
Do we speak of God's glory openly...
Or are we embarrassed to bring Him into our conversations?
Do we think of God's will regularly...
Or do we coast along following our own reasoning and logic while reserving His presence only for emergencies?

How about our hearts?
Do we showcase God's love in how we treat others?
Do we intentionally live our lives looking for ways to extend His love to everyone... yes, everyone! Do we think about Christ's example?
Do we seek after His ways when we respond to the happenings of today?

I believe that each DW can impact the world greatly.
We are distinct beauties that carry the Holy Name of the Almighty Father.
We are blessed creatures made new in Christ.
This is our God-given position.

If we decide to live exclusively devoted to seek and display Jesus in the small, everyday moments and conversations of our days, God will use our lives to impact the lives of others with whom we engage.

You see, we are the hearts of our homes.
We are the fresh flowers of our families.
As such, we each have influence to change the larger more daunting issues of society by simply showcasing what eternal love really looks like in the small, seemingly insignificant seconds that occur in our personal lives and communities.

For no moment is too small in God's kingdom.
No person is unimportant to Him.
He is a King who has decreed every detail of every life.
He has scheduled and planned every situation.
And we, ladies, are His ambassadors.
We are called to represent and extend His Name to others.
Yes, we are here today, this day... to impact the world, our world... by giving Him all glory, all honor, all praise, all attention, all devotion.

Our lives are not to be a compilation of hollow, distracting, selfish moments.
No, we are not to live in fear, defeat, or reluctance.
We are called to live fully in Jesus Name and love love love love love love LOVE!
There is no room for anything else.
We are to be cheerful and rejoice in everything - even the difficult moments.
Why?
Because He is our eternal, good God who treasures us beyond understanding.
He has changed our lives by extending His love.
He has saved us!!!

Yes, He has impact... so we have impact.
He has given to us, so that we may share His love to others.
So let's be a true, living witness to God's love, dear DW.
Let's share all His glory, all His honor, all His praise, all His attention, all His devotion... all His love to everyone we encounter in our life.
There is no other Name than His.
There is no other way than His.
Let's prove it with our very lives and share His love forever.

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. (Acts 4:12; Acts 5:32)

Ladies, you are indeed here to make a difference.
You are alive to impact.
The question is, will you choose to do so in Jesus Name?

I hope so.

I pray that every DW will choose to live deliberately devoted to His exclusivity.
Showcase His glory to whomever He places in your path... His path.

Remember, this is the day that the Lord has made. These are His moments. Let's rejoice and love love love love LOVE!

Blessings!
Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson

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