Monday, May 22, 2017

sand castles

How fragile we all are.
How quickly death looms.
How often we avoid preparing for the inevitable that will indeed come.

We work.  We play.  We live each day...
Burying the still, small voice that beckons our hearts to consider more...
It challenges us to ponder what follows these fleeting moments.
It invites us to search for real authority, real truth.
To ask, "Why am I here?"
To wonder, "What happens next?"
To consider, "What lasts forever?"

It is all too common to simply ignore the uncomfortableness of mankind's future.
To live desensitized to life's preciousness.
Instead our motto becomes, "Drink, for tomorrow we die... so look at me... notice ME!"

We briefly pause to honor the loss of those recently deceased.
Strangely enough, we are always shocked by their passing.
We wonder, did they make a mark?
Will they be recognized, respected, remembered, recorded?
No matter... our short attention span will inevitably move us quickly into the next today... the next to do... the next tomorrow.

And so we move on.
Life goes on.
Time passes on.
The clock ticks.
The calendar brings it's seasons.
The tide of tomorrow washes away our sand castles.

"What lies ahead?"
The still small voice calls out again...

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” 

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.  
(Matthew 7:24-29)

How fragile we all are.
How quickly death looms.
How often we avoid preparing for the inevitable that will indeed come.

Like the blind we grope along the wall, 
Feeling our way like people without eyes.
At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; 
Among the strong, we are like the dead.
(Isaiah 59:10)

This is what the Lord says - your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.  If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.” 
(Isaiah 48:17-18)


© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

waiting over worrying

It's been a hard "go" for me lately.  A difficult and challenging year physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually... and so on.  Most of the time I do my best to put on a brave face and leave my worry, depression, and frustration with the Lord.  Most of the time I push myself to forge ahead... always trying to consider the beauty and wonder gifted to me from my generous, creative King rather than allow the horror and pain inflicted in this corrupt world to bring me down.

But this week has proven especially hard for me to cope.  And at this moment the enemy has wounded me to the point where I feel completely helpless, isolated, and deeply punctured by arrows of hopelessness.  How I long for Christian hands to be placed on my shoulders and honest, loving prayer to shower me with the wisdom and love of the Holy Spirit working in tandem.

Yes, this hour I find myself faintly praying undercover in morning darkness.
Silently remembering my Father's promises as tears roll down my cheeks.

It is here I whisper...

The Lord is my Shepherd.
I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness...
Why?
For His Name's sake!

So, even though I find myself walking through this hopeless valley full of death, and hurt, and pain, and terror...
I will not fear.

Let me say that again... I WILL NOT FEAR!

Why?
Because my Master is with me!
His rod and staff - His promises and commands - these are what comfort me.

Yes, it is right here that He has prepared a table for me - smack dab in the very presence of mine enemies at the height of these trials.
Here, He anoints my head with His royal oil; so much so that my cup runs over.
What a blessing to know His goodness and mercy follows me all the days of my life.
What a joy to remember I will dwell in His house... in His presence forever!

Thank you, Jesus.

This morning I find myself clinging to God's faithfulness.
I sit here singing hymns, repeating His Words full of strength and certainty...

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.  I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)

Yes, this new morning, I choose waiting over worrying.
I choose believing rather than retreating.
For all I have needed His hand has provided.
Through this present void, I will not fear.
I will not lose hope.
I will trust and obey the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY.

Why?

Because great is His faithfulness!
Current is His anointing!

The table is prepared!
My place has been set!
My cup runneth over and over!

So, I will rejoice and be glad in this new day!
I will walk this path... the path He has ordained for me to travel...
Why?
For His Name's sake!
For His glory!
For His Kingdom comes and His will be done!

Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord!

Amen.

XOXO!

Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson


Sunday, May 14, 2017

my greatest honor

I simply believe that there is no excuse as to why I should not share Jesus every single day of my life.  Whether in person, over the phone, via email, online, or whatever.  Really, how hard is it to bring attention to His perfect love at least once every 24 hours?

Lord, each day you allow me to draw breath on this planet... use me to mirror your love, to promote your holy Kingdom, and to rejoice in your astounding message of salvation!  Provide me the greatest honor to live these days as your good and faithful servant!

Blessed be His Name forever!  Today is the day I will rejoice and be glad!

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


XOXOXO!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, May 8, 2017

we are Christ's


I hate loss.
I hate losing.
I hate giving up.
I hate giving in.
I hate throwing in the towel.
I hate defeat.
I hate dying.
And I really, really hate death.

But today I will die to self.
I will let go.
I will surrender.
I will sacrifice.
I will count it all loss.
I will...
In order to gain my Jesus.

He is my new Way.
He is my new Truth.
He is my new Life.

We are more than conquerors, Believers.
We are Christ's!!!

Check out God's Word...

Jeremiah 29:13 (KJV)
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Romans 6:13 (NIV)
Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.

Mark 8:34 (KJV)
And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Happy Monday, May 8th, y'all!
May you seek and find the everlasting love of the King of kings.
He is able.
He is all we need.

1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV)
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

❤️

Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Saturday, May 6, 2017

good and faithful


May 6th, Saturday Morning:

Realizing something very special has reached its end of usefulness, Victoria hesitantly retires one of her most treasured coffee mugs originally given to her and Chuck as a wedding gift.

Yes, this little cup has been glued and re-glued many times throughout their twenty years of marriage.  And yes, it has performed admirably - acting as a warming comfort through careers and sickness; through tea times, lattes, holiday spicings, and cider mulls.  This treasured little cup has served Victoria's family and friends well... consistently... steadfastly.

Understanding that nothing on this planet lasts, Victoria now pauses to consider how this good and faithful cup is leaving her with one final reminder... there is One who will never leave or forsake her.  One who will last beyond the trappings of this world.  She rejoices in the grace of His new, the hope of His future.

Now gazing through her window, watching bold squirrels parkour from tree to tree in her backyard, Victoria holds her broken cup and remembers the cup her Savior heroically carried in order to fulfill His Father's will.

Yes, He came to save mankind from sin.  To repair Victoria from her earthly breaks and burdens.  She cherishes His promises.  She looks forward to His banquet.  She longs to see the place He is preparing for her once she completes her usefulness in this world.  How she longs to discard all that is old for His new.  To hear His praise, "Well done, my good and faithful."  To live full and complete in His eternal home.

She whispers prayerfully, "Yes Lord.  You are the Potter, I am the clay.  Use this vessel for good.  I wish to carry your warmth and comfort to those thirsty and in need.  Allow me your great honor to share the Truth that truly fills and satisfies forever."

The sun is fully shining now as Victoria looks outside at her garden.  It is time to start tending.  Time to prune.  Time to work and serve well... consistently... steadfastly for the benefit of her family.  It is time to give... time to love... time to live useful for His good.  Yes, to everything there is a season.

Fill my cup, Lord.
I lift it up, Lord.

Happy Saturday!

:)

Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

the greatest form of flattery

Have you ever noticed how you tend to pick up the characteristic traits of those you are close to? Have you noticed yourself emulating the mannerisms of someone you respect? The more time we spend with certain people, the more we find ourselves using the same words and expressions they may use. It is natural for us to unconsciously imitate people we admire.

Yesterday, the Lord posed an interesting question to me as I was perusing through a magazine. Do I know more about certain celebrities and world leaders than I do about prominent figures detailed in God's Word? Am I quick to read gossip about which movie stars are dating or take time out to know the plot line of my favorite TV show over insuring my understanding of My Redeemer's covenant and promises with His people?

Who am I spending my time with?
What am I watching and listening to?
Who do I unconsciously emulate?
Do my mannerisms portray who or what is truly influencing my time?

In this world full of ungodly distractions, these are questions we should visit, and visit often.

In 3 John 1:11 we read, "Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God."

Friends, God wants us to be careful about the people and influences we invite into our hearts and minds. Let's take special care to live purposefully and emulate our gracious Father's Way. Let's only take in whatever is pure and lovely and just so that we put out the same. Let's be sure to use our time to learn what is important... what is eternal... and leave the rest at the feet of our Savior. Let us only see Him. We are citizens of Heaven and should live and promote ourselves as such. Never forget that. Never forget that we are His children and not of this world!

Blessings!!!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, April 27, 2017

treasures

I have an interesting question for you to consider:

Which would be the easiest item to give up...

The Bible or your television?
The Bible or your computer?
The Bible or your cell phone?
The Bible or your bank account?

Wow, this was a hard one for me because it pinned me down to really think about what I cling to and value the most. Do I clutch on to the material or the eternal?

Admittedly, God's Word is not always the first thing I would instinctively choose over some of the things of this world... or even over my spouse and family. It is a constant discipline to remain focused on His authority and direction first... to treasure Him first... to yield to His way first.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:19-20, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."

Friends, I encourage you to stop and pray with me on this matter. I urge you to ask God to keep His Word the #1 priority of your life... the treasure that you cling to. He is worth it! His truth is more precious and more valuable than anything! And praise Him - His Word is eternal, unchanging, absolute, and enough! Hallelujah to the King!!!

Blessings!

XOX!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, April 20, 2017

in all your ways

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

Trust in the Lord...
Trust Him, with ALL your heart.
Trust Him, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Trust Him, and in all your ways acknowledge Him...

IN ALL YOUR WAYS ACKNOWLEDGE HIM...
Submit to Him.
Honor Him.
Be thankful for Him.
Believe in the reliability, the truth, the ability, and the strength of Him.

I've been thinking about these words a lot lately.
How difficult it is for me to surrender the idea of leaning upon my own understanding.
To prevent myself from defaulting into my own selfish way of thinking... MY way, if you will!

But, MY way is simply not the place I should rest assured or feel definitive.
MY way is not really secure or in control.
No... truth be told, MY way is not something to be trusted.
It gets me into trouble.
It leads me into stress.
It causes me confusion, sorrow, restlessness, anger.
In fact, MY way is the farthest place my heart should seek rest.
MY way is the most ridiculous place to put trust.

The world says, "Trust your gut.  Trust your instincts.  Trust your inner, authentic self.  Trust your dreams."  But later in the book of Proverbs, I read, "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered."  (Proverbs 28:26, KJV)  

But how weird and contradictory does that seem?
I trust me more than anyone, right?
I know me.
I've learned from my own personal experience.
I perceive.  I study.  I make decisions with what I know to be a sound mind.
But is that actually wise or good for me?
Am I walking in real wisdom when I go at it alone?

God says, "No... Don't do it.  Don't trust yourself. Don't loose sight of my glory.  Don't stray away from my perfect truth.  Rather, acknowledge me in everything.  Obey my Word and know my promises.  Look for me everywhere.  Abide in my grace and give me the task of taking on your well-being.  Really, I've got this!  Believe in me and only ME!"

Yes, only in His Way is there wisdom.
Only with Him as my focus, can I have a beneficial direction... a proven path.. a meaningful purpose... a blessed hope.

Reading on further in Proverbs 3, I am instructed, "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, KJV)

Clearly, I need to remember that wisdom is not naturally mine.  It is something found only in the diligence of seeking after God's law.  Because of this, I am told to live my life pursuing righteousness while loving and uplifting others to do the same in Jesus' Name.  (See 2 Timothy 2.)

Why acknowledge God?
Why trust Him with all our heart?
Why give up our rationale and what we think may be right vs. submitting to what He commands to be holy?

Because He is able.
Because He has a plan in hand and is ready to see us through to completion.
Because He is good.
Because He is wise.
Because He loves us most.
Because HE IS GOD and well, we are not.

With this in mind, today I encourage everyone reading this little blog to stop and read all of Proverbs Chapter 3.  And as you invest in receiving God's Word, consider the importance of trusting and seeking after His healthy wisdom.  Stop and look around at all the ways there are to acknowledge His glory in your life while loving others in His Name.  Surrender your understanding and logic over to His care.  Abide in His grace.  Why?  Because God's Way is the only reliable path to cling to.  God's Way insures and promises peace, health, favor, refreshment.

Thank you, Lord.

Proverbs 3

My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.  So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and 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 ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.

The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.

My son, do not lose sight of these—keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.

Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you.

Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you.

Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm.

Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways, for the devious person is an abomination to the Lord, but the upright are in his confidence.

The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous.
Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.

The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace.

Blessings!

:)

Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, April 17, 2017

standing in agreement with my LifeGroup ladies

Lord Jesus...

We praise you.
We trust you.
We believe you are in control.
We lift up our lives and the lives of our households to you.
We give you all that we have because we know you are steadfast and worthy.
We cling to your good promises.
We long for your company.
We need you.
We love you.
In worship and praise, help us to keep our eyes focused on your Way, your Truth, your Life...
You are our today and our future. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Amen.

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Friday, April 14, 2017

He's Risen! He's Risen!

Majestic, Exalted, Supreme, and Divine;
My King, yes my King, all glory is Thine!
O Zion, arise! Make way for the One;
Our Savior is risen! Messiah has come!

The chains have been broken; oppression removed;
For Jesus, yes Jesus, His power is now proved!
At Calvary's Cross, came my greatest delight;
Forever, Eternal, my Day Spring, my Light!

The tomb has been emptied. The rock rolled aside;
The heaven's rejoice, cause in Him I abide!
So sound every trumpet, rejoice and give praise;
Both justice and mercy are found in His Ways!

See, death could not bind Him. Sin could not endure;
Believe Him, believe Him, and find yourself pure!
Forgiven as far as the East is to West;
Renewed as His bride and made whole as His blessed!

O Holy, yes Holy, for the Lamb that was slain;
O Glory, dear Glory, He's returned now to reign!
My words cannot showcase the depths of His care;
My heart stops astounded. My mind can't compare.

He lives! He fulfills! He frees! He restores!
Almighty is Jesus! All peace, love, and more!
The battle is over. The war has been won!
He's Risen! He's Risen! A New Life has come!

Happy Easter Weekend!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, April 10, 2017

i need you most

Heavenly Father, I have many things going on in my head this hour.
Many thoughts.
Many projects.
Many people, places, things, possibilities, and pursuits.
But Lord, I want you most.
I need you most.
Help me to intimately know you most.
Focus my lens to see only your Way... Your proven path. Your healing presence.
Keep my heart aligned in your Truth... Your wise commands.  Your instructed peace.
Give me the fullness of your Life... Your promised hope.  Your immediate and eternal holiness.
Continue to change my very flesh into a living representation of your grace.
Draw my soul near.
Keep my heart close.
Use me.
And as you cover my sinfulness in your loving kindness,
Help me to throw my selfishness on the fire of your altar.
Give me the strength to trust you in each moment.
For you alone are my glory.
You are my lifelong goal.
You are my all-in-all.
You are the answer to every distraction and dream.
Blessed is your Name, dearest Jesus, my Savior and Lord!
Blessed is your living council, Holy Holy Holy Spirit of the Most High!
Blessed is your Majesty and Kingdom, omnipotent and omniscient, my Abba Father GOD!

"Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.” (Hebrews 1:8)

Amen.

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson



Thursday, March 30, 2017

giving God my more

As many of you know, I recently took some time off from social media.
Two months to be exact.
I did this because I felt like the Lord was leading me away from it...
Asking me to consider it's place and importance in my day-to-day life.

Why?

Because my focus was clearly being distracted by it.
My time was more and more consumed from it.

The checking, the reading, the updating, the surfing, the posting… etc., etc., etc.

I was undisciplined in it's usage.
I was overly-hungry for the sudo-acceptance and insta-gratification it promised.
For who doesn't like being “liked” online?
Really, who doesn't want to be seen, accepted, informed, and in-the-know?
The mainstream, if you will.
The newsworthy and notable.
The "more" we login to find each and every day.

To this end, I have spent the last two months praying over what the return on my social media investment of time has brought me over the years.
And though I believe balance is ultimately the key, I still want to be certain that my first objective in life is to abide in the Lord and to love others in His Name.

I want to serve my King actively rather than fit Him in between surfing the many online feeds.
I want to be satisfied in Jesus' holiness rather than be fed with selfish superficiality and buzz.

So, today I'd like to formally return online via all forms of social media.
I'd like to say, yes... I'm back, and I'll definitely be chiming in from time-to-time.
I'll share a blog or two, a photo, a painting, a quote... or whatever... on any given platform, any given day.

BUT... please know that overall, I have committed myself to be less online.

Why?

So I can give God my more.
So I can be present in His presence.
So I can "like" Him live!

You see, when all is said and done... I want to seek Him the most.
He is my mainstream... my newsworthy... my notable... my truest family and eternal friend...
He is my devoted purpose worthy of all glory and praise.

Just thought I'd let y'all know, and encourage y'all to consider the same. 

LIKE LIKE LIKE!
LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!

:)

Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

yes, I'm social media fasting... but here's one more poem before February arrives

If I were not here,
Would the world still turn?
Would the tides still roll?
Would the sun still burn?

If I were not here,
Would the breeze still flow?
Tell me, how would life really go?
If I simply were not here.

But what about God?
What would life be then?
If He was not near,
If He was not our friend?

Without God's hope,
We'd have nothing good to do.
We'd have no worshipping view.
We'd miss Salvation's perfect New!

Without God's grace,
Whatever could we be?
There'd be no point, you see.
Because no Calvary.

Without God's love,
We'd have nothing at all.
No hope from sinful fall.
No purpose; no holy call.

Yes, if God wasn't here,
This world would not turn.
These tides could not roll?
Our sun would never burn?

If God were not here,
No breeze would ever flow?
So tell me, how would life really go?
If God were not here?

By Victoria Anderson
© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson


fyi...



To all my Online Peeps...

Beginning tomorrow, and lasting through the month of February, I will be fasting from all social media.

What exactly does this mean?
It means I will not be posting, checking, or chiming in on my Blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. for one month. My purpose, simply, is I have chosen to take a mini-sabbatical.

With this in mind, if you need to contact me, feel free to shoot me an email. (I will be checking incoming emails limitedly and will also keep my Etsy shop open for orders.)

Thanks for understanding, and have a blessed month!

LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!

Victoria Anderson

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, January 30, 2017

lead me, Lord!

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)

O Lord, to lose my life daily?
To deny myself for Your sake?
What would I lose?

For all things truly good and pleasing exist in Your Name.
All things pure, holy, and right are exactly under Your care and will transcend into everlasting.
So what must I lose?
What part of "ME" must I deny whilst still being the "me" You intend, dear Jesus?

Sorrow... Yes.
Fear... Yes, please take it.
Pain... Oh, yes! I willingly lay every discomfort before You, dear Master.
Guilt... I'm in favor of losing all these horrors, Father.
Selfishness...
Selfishness...
Selfishness...
Hmmm.

Now You've done it!
Now You've penetrated my core.
For giving up "self" is the leap of a lifetime, isn't it?
That involves complete surrender.
That involves true denial of will, want, way.

Can I do this?
Is it truly possible to stop feeding my own inflated ego?
Isn't my sense of entitlement valid?
No, for I am consumed with sin, aren't I?
I am not valid.
I am nothing.
Nothing.

So, how do I forsake myself and instead revere and glorify You more than "ME"?
O Lord, position my heart in the lowliest state of submission,
So that I might be blanketed in your divine wisdom...
So that this world's normalcy of sin is no longer an expectation or entitlement.
For such evil assumptions are false and dark and evil.
Satan's whispered suggestion for me to know more... to become more than You...
This is not of Your kingdom.
So, change my thoughts.
Change my desires.
Change my tastes.
Change "ME" to be more like YOU!
And use whatever means necessary to break down my defiance!
If I am to live... if I must come after you each day...
If I must grasp at your sacred cross,
A cross that promises freedom,
A cross that promotes a future of hope, and a way of love,
A cross that will save all that is good and pleasing,
Then yes, Jesus, I choose to follow Your path.
Under your grace, I give you every horror to be washed away.
Yes, I will choose to trust Your Way.
For it is better than my own.
Yes, with You, I will deny self!
I will embrace the good life You saved,
In order that I might flourish.
I will live with Your purpose and plan... not my own...
Never my own again, dear Lord.
Let this be, all in Your Name.
All in Your Holy Holy Holy Blessed Name!
This is the day to rejoice and be glad in You!
This is the day to deny myself and follow You, precious Shepherd!
Here I am...
Just as I am...
Lead me, Lord!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Friday, January 27, 2017

make every effort

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

This God - his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. (Psalm 18:30)

Gals, I know y'all will feel me on this one.  Don't you hate it when you spend a lot of time, energy, and thought on a project only to have a family member, a co-worker, a spouse, a child, a friend disregard and maybe even hinder your efforts?  Coats aren't hung up.  Dishes aren't put away.  Shoes are left to trip over.  Homework is lost.  Bills are unpaid. Timelines are forgotten.  Work is incomplete.  Invitations are ignored.  Ugh!  The list goes on and on concerning how our plans for life can quickly run amuck!

I so hate it when my plans and hard-earned efforts are disregarded, don't you?  I hate killing myself over something that is ultimately going to be trampled upon, abused, and/or even dismissed.  Why bother, right?  Why bother!!!

With this in mind, let's stop and think about the meticulously designed order and the specifically unmatched perfection that our God, the Creator of all the universe, readily gives to us in each day we draw His breath. Think about all He has planned for our individual lives and for the future of His people.  What love He gives in order to save and restore each of us to His Throne.

Consider His great law, order, and care for us.  Have we disregarded and maybe even hindered His will in our lives?  What invitations have we ignored that might have further brought us closer to His blessed holiness?  What opportunities have we blown off?  What momentum has dwindled due to our laziness and lack of care?  What laws have not been obeyed?  I wonder.

And I wonder how God feels about our regard or disregard to His perfect plan.  Does He look at us and think, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.  Enter into the joy of your master." (Matthew 25:23)  Or does He throw up His hands in frustration rebuking us in disgust, "Woe to them, for they have strayed from me! Destruction to them, for they have rebelled against me! I would redeem them, but they speak lies against me." (Hosea 7:13) 

Ladies, if we do not make God's plan our own, if we disregard His law and fail to promote His Way most and love Him first, our efforts will be nothing more than blatant sabotage toward His kingdom.  Are you a saboteur?  Think about it:

Who are you dating, single gal?  Is he a believer or are you on a path of unequally yoking yourself?
What are you watching, dear housewife?  Is it holy and uplifting to your King's law or full of idolatry, lustfulness, revenge, and deceit?
How are you budgeting, lovely home keeper?  Do your spending habits represent what and whom you treasure the most?
Who are you loyal to, dear friend?
What are you selling and promoting, faithful servant?
Where are you playing, dear child?
What company will you keep, precious family member?

Yes, consider if your present efforts positively match the perfect plan of Christ?
Are you walking deliberately and faithfully inside His grace?
Or are you trampling, abusing, and dismissing His Way?
Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?
Are you damaging or devoted?

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (James 2:26)

You shall therefore keep all my statutes and all my rules and do them, that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. (Leviticus 20:22)

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:31-33)

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. (Matthew 6:24)

Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-11)




Blessings!

Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, January 26, 2017

surge


SURGE: a strong, wavelike, forward movement, rush, or sweep; a swelling, billowing volume or body of something that cannot be stopped; a strong advancement in momentum that causes a widespread change.

Join me on the outskirts of Bethlehem where Jesse has just asked his youngest son David (a simple shepherd boy) to deliver food to his three brothers at their military unit, presently away at war. The brothers were part of the Israelite army and they had assembled at Ephes Dammim, between Socoh and Azekah (about 15 miles away from David's home in Bethlehem). They were stationed there, because the Philistine army had once again invaded Judah with the intent to overpower the Israelites and their king, Saul.

Historians have speculated that the Philistines may have been a confederacy of seafaring raiders who sailed into the eastern shores of the Mediterranean and settled into occupying the five cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath, along the coastal strip of southwestern Canaan. But regardless of their origin, they were a people that made frequent incursions against the Israelites, causing almost perpetual war between the two peoples.

When David arrived at the scene, the army was just beginning to head out to their battle posts all the while shouting their standard war cry. But they must have been lacking in enthusiasm and spirit. In fact, I'm certain their tone must have reverberated an undertone of defeat. For in the last forty days, the Israelite army lived in complete dismay. They were in trouble... they were in real danger... and they were terrified. Why? Because the Philistines had brought a fierce and intimidating warrior to the battle. His name was Goliath.

Goliath was from Gath and stood intimidatingly over nine feet tall. He wore heavy, impenetrable bronze scale armor all over his body. You see, in that day, the Philistines held a monopoly on iron smithing. So, Goliath came suited with the best made protection. He also came with a title... refered to as the "Champion from Gath". So, he was equally fit and skilled in the art of war and well-prepared to fight against the best of Israel's army. Needless to say, Goliath posed a big problem for Israel.  A. BIG. PROBLEM!!!

Each day, this monster of a human being would come out and shout defiantly at the ranking commands demanding proof of their strength. He would ask, "Why do you even bother to come out and line up for battle?" It didn't help matters that whenever the Israelites saw Goliath, they all ran from him. This only made Goliath bully them more... for what had this pathetic "army of the living God" done in forty days except tremble and huddle together uselessly on the sidelines? He could clearly see they were too afraid to follow-through and do anything heroic. Sure, they claimed to be God's chosen people, but the evidence before him proved contrary. So, he'd continue to verbally bate and abuse them - insisting, "Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us."

There stood the stagnant Israelites... forty days of living in complete, paralyzing fear. Their courage removed. Their hope dwindled. Their trust lost.

Then entered David who hears the scoffing Philistine first hand. In disbelief, David begins to question the troops, "Why doesn't anyone stand up and kill this jerk who outwardly stands against the army of the one true living God?" He couldn't believe that this had been allowed... that no one had done anything. He continued inquiring for answers and questioning the need for leadership in God's army. This went on until he was brought before king Saul. And by then, David knew something had to be done... something no-one else was doing. Unacceptable. His God was not a God to be mocked. His God could never be defeated. So, he did what he knew to be right. He assured Saul and the others, "Stop worrying... don't lose heart on account of this cocky Philistine. I will go and fight him."

David had lived with God. Throughout many a solitary day he had kept his father's flock among the lone hills of Judah, and had worshipped the Unseen but Ever-present Lord. He had grown into an adoring familiarity with the Most High, so that to him the name of the one only living and true God was a deep and solemn joy. As you may have spied far up among the ramparts of the mountains a solitary lake, whose one office it is to mirror the face of heaven, so had David's hallowed life become the reflection of the light and glory of the Lord of hosts. It had not occurred to him in his meditations that base men would dare to challenge the infinite majesty of God, or that proud adversaries would come forward and defy the chosen people of the Most High; and now that he hears the defiance and beholds the challenge, all his blood is up. He starts! A holy rage is upon him! Yes, it is true; he hears Jehovah blasphemed! How can it be? The youth's holy soul is undergoing a new experience, he is bringing his whole life to bear upon it; he reaches the conclusion that as bears and lions die when they meddle with sheep, so must Goliath fall now that he dares to attack the Lord and his people.

When David finds himself in the camp, and when he hears Goliath of Gath pouring forth his blasphemies against Jehovah, and defying Jehovah's people, he has no thought of having been mistaken in his former lofty adoration, he entertains no notion of adopting a lower style; but he inwardly burns with indignation against the infamous reviler. An insult against God cannot be allowed. This abominable blasphemer must be silenced. Somebody must put him down, and so dispose of him that none shall ever dare again to do the like. David enquires whether somebody or other is not going to batter the brazen champion. If any man in the camp will meet this huge man-mountain, David will not stand in his way; he is not so covetous of glory as to deprive a more deserving person of these huge materials for renown. But it is imperative that some hand should silence that hillock of proud flesh. It is driven in upon David's devout heart that this blasphemous mouth must be shut, and God's name and God's people must be clear of such a brutal enemy.

About the stilling of this enemy and avenger David has no enquiry to make. It is going to be done, done soon, and done without any particular display. When he kept his sheep and the lion came, David did not raise the question whether he could kill the lion: he killed him, and then the question was settled. When the bear came, and was about to rob him of one of his lambs, he did not say to himself, "Have I a call to kill that bear?" Not he; but he killed him, and then he knew he was called to do it. He feels within him at this moment, "If nobody else will deal with this Philistine difficulty, I must do so; for I cannot live and see God opposed. Jehovah is all in all, and beside him there is none else: he can put an end to an opponent with a word; it must not be that he shall be insulted continually after this fashion. I feel an impulse upon me. This Philistine has defied the armies of the living God, and down he shall come." And so, yielding to the diviner impulses by which the truly great are led, David puts himself forward to stand in single combat with an enormous giant. ~Spurgeon


Saul, was in disbelief that David would step up and deliver such a bold promise.
No one was up for such a challenge... not even Saul.
His troops were all stuck in fear -  looking at this "Goliath" situation with human eyes.
What a relief to see someone have courage to fight in the name of God.
As foreign as such a concept had become, Saul would welcomed David's willing heart.

So, Saul began to clothe David in his armor. He reasoned that it would keep David safe. But David was not used to wearing armor and ended up denying Saul's offer... For David was not worried about his safety... He knew His God. He knew that Jehovah had promised to protect His people. No, he would rather not weigh himself down with the securities of this world. Instead, David would let God use him as he was accustom and stand comfortably equipped with the abilities and truths God had given him to fight. So he picked up five smooth stones and bravely headed out to face the giant in the name of his Creator.

We all know how this story ends. We've heard it a thousand times in church and bible study... The minute Goliath saw David, he cursed and mocked him. But David stood strong and proclaimed without fear or reservation in 1 Samuel 17:45-47, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands."

Goliath began to move in closer to attack David. Without hesitation, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the giant. He reached into his bag and took out a single stone, He positioned the rock in his sling and extended his arm - swinging slowly to seat the projectile firmly into it's cradle. His swinging began to gain momentum. David positioned every part of his body, legs, waist, shoulders, arms, elbows and wrist in the direction of his intended target while gaining as much speed as possible to initiate a launch. Then, in complete confidence of God's sovereign rule, David took aim and released.

In horror, the Philistines watched as the stone hit Goliath in the forehead and sank into his skull. He was dead. The giant had fallen. In one faithful act, the threat against Jehovah and His people was removed. In relief, the Israelites realized WHO their God was and what He was still capable of achieving. Somewhere along the way they had forgotten this. Somehow they had become comfortable living in fear and desperation. They had turned into lukewarm, lackadaisical Christians rather than bold believers who were willing to face and fight ANY enemy that opposed their Redeemer.

And here is the best part of the story... the minute David killed Goliath... the second he took hold of the Philistine's sword and cut off his head in victory... the Bible says that the Philistine army ran away in fear, and the Israelite army surged forward and won the battle. God was clearly GOD! For a young shepherd boy just defeated a skilled military champion with a small, smooth stone... and the LORD ALMIGHTY, MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH was with him!!!!

Ladies, how many of us are surrounded by fellow Christians that are stuck... living in fear... comfortable in their stagnant, defeated ways? How many of our churches are suiting up week after week shouting their standard war cry... talking a good talk, but failing to follow through and live with the zeal God has intended for his people? What can we do to help one another stand up and fight the good fight? What abilities and gifts has God given us to use to encourage and motivate one another to surge ahead and claim the victory that exists in Jesus Name?

One small teenage boy who reacted against his enemies with unquestioning, unhesitating faith was used by the Almighty God to change the course of a war and the direction of a nation.

One person.

What has God called YOU to do with unquestioning, unhesitating faith? Where in your life do you see a need for someone to step up and deliver? Will you allow God to use your faith and abilities to launch a stone of revival in your community? Will you boldly question why sin is allowed to continue and stand against an enemy that seems too big to fight in the eyes of human reasoning? Will you bravely showcase the victory already won by our Savior? GOD IS GOD! Let's start living like it!

SURGE: a strong, wavelike, forward movement, rush, or sweep; a swelling, billowing volume or body of something that cannot be stopped; a strong advancement in momentum that causes a widespread change.

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

love GOD


Love God.
Obey God.
Believe God.
Esteem God.

...with all your heart, soul, mind, strength!

Refuge
Strength
Redeemer
Deliverer
Shepherd
Messiah
Master
King

To Him and For Him
All Power
All Glory
All Focus
All Praise

This is the day to rejoice and be glad in Him!

Forever and ever and ever!!!

Happy Wednesday, January 25th, y'all!!!

:)

Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Saturday, January 21, 2017

and be thankful

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17)

"And be thankful"... did you catch that command in vs. 15?
Boy, that sure hit home for me today.

Yesterday, I had a very hard day. Everything was a mess. Everything was going wrong. I was physically and emotionally bogged down, broken, beaten-up and bombarded with matters that seemed unforgiving and unending. The enemy really had a hold on my spirit, and I, unfortunately, allowed his hold to keep me from seeking God more intimately. Because of this, I wasn't living in the fullness I knew God had desired for me to enjoy yesterday. Rather, I was drowning in defeat and physical pain. Yesterday was a very, very difficult day.

It was a day that not only affected me. Due to my short temper and weariness, it clearly had a domino effect on the spirits of my family. They all could feel my stress. They all were struck with my lack of motivation. They all felt the pain I have physically endured as the weather continues to change. But thankfully, my dear husband had the wisdom and drive to stay focused and positive. Thankfully, my wonderful mother (Momba) had the grace to encourage and help out where needed. Thankfully my family knew better than I.

We all have days where Satan wins small battles and sets us back. We all have moments when we allow the enemy access to bruise our spirits in an effort to halt our progress and stop us from moving forward in God's grace. But thankfully... thankfully... every day is a new day - a new gift from God. Every minute is a new moment. Every second provides us a new opportunity to turn from our pity party and seek Jesus and His joy. Thankfully, one small battle does not win the entire war. For my God has already won the war! In Him, I am free. I am soooo thankful that He reminded me of this today.

In all things I will give thanks. I will gladly welcome back the peace of Christ to rule in my heart again. Today, my focus is back on HIM... where it should be. I will remember to follow his command and be thankful.

I am so thankful that God continues to teach and bless me. Yesterday, I lost sight and forgot to seek Him and give thanks in every circumstance - even the hard ones. Today, however, is a new day! Yesterday is over. Today, by the grace of my King... I am able to start again... NEW and IMPROVED IN JESUS!

Thank you, Lord, for EVERYTHING! Thank you, Jesus, for LIFE! Thank you for showing me the way back to your abundance. Praise your name FOREVER!!! Get behind me, Satan. You are not welcome any longer as I have much celebrating to do TODAY!!!

Blessings!

Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

a prayer for my beloved country

Heavenly Father,

Your Spirit is pushing me to pray for the condition of my beloved country.  To lift up all citizens to the promise of your throne and ask for salvation, grace, and holiness on earth as it is in Heaven.  Intercede for us, dear King, and change us to become more like you.  Lead us to your revival.  Teach us to let go of our own selfish lusts, agendas, idols.  Show us your profound, lasting mercy.  Use us to serve your Name.  Unite us.  Protect us.  Resolve in us to believe and once again trust the truth of your eternal Word.

Faithful Shepherd, there are so many lost, angry, fragile, frightened. Let your unfailing love and secure guidance consume every heart and mind.  Let your purpose and path become our only focus.  Give this nation your perfect wisdom to acknowledge our emotionally stubborn and shaken temperaments as mere indicators... reminders to live deliberately in love rather than succumb to hate and/or discord against one another.

You, precious Savior, are the answer to all that upsets and destroys.  Yours is the only solution to all uncertainty, evil, fear, brokenness.  Open our eyes to your new Life, your Way.  Remove the scales and let us know your Truth.

Lord, I pray for our leadership, our government, our churches, our families.  Teach us to obey your law first.  Bring us into your integrity and peace.  May every man, woman, and child seek you in every matter.  To know you intimately, honestly.

Convict us.  Bless us.  Be our one God, dearest Jesus.

We need you.
We need you.
We need you.

Come, Lord Jesus... please come.

Amen.

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson


Monday, January 16, 2017

let us live UP!

Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for His mercy is great.
Let us go to His dwelling place.
Let us worship at His footstool.
Let us return to the LORD.
Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.
Let us make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Let us stop passing judgment on one another.
Let us encourage one another.
Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Let us love one another, for love comes from God.
Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
Let us do good to all people.
Let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God.

Let us examine our ways and test them.
Let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
Let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

Let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.
Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
Let us bow down in worship.
Let us exalt His name together.
Let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

Let us sing for joy to the LORD.
Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.
Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.
Let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.
Let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise.

Let us, Believers...

Let us be thankful!
Let us be transformed!
Let us be NEW!
Let us live up to what we have already attained in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Today, let us live UP because He has let us LIVE!!!
(And all God's people say, "Amen!")

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Philippians 3:12-21)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Sunday, January 15, 2017

His love is better than life!

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. (Psalms 63:1-4)

Better than life...
His love is better than life!
Do you believe this?

The love of God is the only thing we should earnestly seek.
He is the only One our soul should thirst for.
He is the only One we should long to be near...
For only He refreshes, restores, renews, replenishes!

Pause today and enter into His sanctuary.
Pause this moment and meditate on in His Word... His Way!!!
Feast your eyes on His glory, His power, his LOVE!
Why?
Because His love is better than life!
He is better than anything else!
He is better!!!

So, lift up your hands, dear Believer!
Praise Him!
Glorify Him!
Glorify His love!
Glorify His kingdom!
Glorify His holy Name!!!
Forever.

Yes, He is better than life!
So, be refreshed, restored, renewed, replenished this very hour!
Love Him.
Love others in His Name.
Love and enjoy the everlasting love of your King!
Hallelujah to the King!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Saturday, January 14, 2017

holiness... one empty toilet paper roll at a time

OK, who didn't change the empty toilet paper roll?  Come on, fess up!  It really isn't that hard to do.  You just pop out that thing-a-ma-bobbie, slip off the old cardboard round thingy, and then slip on a fresh, new roll of toilet paper... of course, with the paper fed over, not under.  Under is just crazy talk!  Under is so difficult to manage.  Ugh, under.  But I digress.

In my home, we all know how to change the toilet paper roll.  I mean, come on... you don't need a PhD in astrophysics to accomplish such a task. And yet, we all hate doing it.  So, conveniently, anyone of us might choose to leave one or two small squares on the old roll instead of changing it for the next user.  To this I'd like to say in amazement, "REALLY???," but sadly I too have participated in said behavior and left the chore for the next person to deal with.  (Don't judge me... I'm already embarrassed.)

My point is, life is full of such moments.  Small situations where each of us are faced with either the ease of choosing selfishness or deciding to embrace every opportunity to make that "extra effort" to intentionally love within our simple, everyday actions.  For love is found in those extra small efforts... which by the way, aren't so small or simple.  This is where and when we invite Jesus into our actions - when we choose to do what is thoughtful, what is right, what is... holy.  Yes, holy.  Empty toilet paper rolls are such an opportunity to display God's holiness.  Feeding your children a healthy, well-rounded meal rather than scurrying to pick-up fast food is an opportunity to display God's holiness.  Pausing to verbally build up your husband while physically attending to his needs rather than nag and pick at his inadequacies is an opportunity to display God's holiness.  Giving is holiness.  Service is holiness.  Love is holiness.  And holiness is the life God intends for each of us to live...  one empty toilet paper roll at a time.

For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. (1 Thessalonians 4:7)

Peeps, it is so easy to look out for oneself and do what is comfortable, inconsiderate, and natural.  But the beauty of our Savior is revealed when we obediently decide to lay down our own nature and take on His... especially in the small crevices of our day-to-day.  Sure, God can be glorified in the grand pomp of public worship, the drama and intrigue of foreign missions, and what not.  But His holiness is found in the evidence of how we choose to live in our common everyday.  Just like Jesus.  Like He gives.  Like He serves.  Like He loves!

Giving is holiness.
Service is holiness.
Love is holiness.

For it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16)

Be holy... and have a blessed day!

XOXOX!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Friday, January 13, 2017

pollution or perseverance?

"If you have not slept, or if you have slept, or if you have headache, or sciatica, or leprosy, or thunder-stoke, I beseech you, by all angels, to hold your peace, and not pollute the morning."  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Pollution in the morning.  Yep, I can claim fault of polluting the morning.  I can take a new day full of opportunity and make it all about ME - my pain and problems.  I can feel sorry for myself and make life out to be soooo horrendous by focusing on morning arthritis, my sleep depravity, my aches and pains, my worries.  But then what does that do?  What effect does that have on those I live with and encounter?  What example does that mirror in relationship to my showcasing the glory of my King?

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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:29-30)

For we all have problems, don't we?  We all can complain about every little, stinking, rotten thing that is wrong in our lives.  What we have lost.  What we don't have, or never had.  What we think should be different in our lives.  What stresses us out and gives us anxiety.  What irritates us.  What should be better but isn't.  Sure, by focusing on such things, today might already seem be the suckiest of all days... but at least we have today, don't we?  At least God has granted us precious life.  So why waste it, Believer?  Why give the enemy a foothold to pollute these once-in-a-lifetime moments rather than use our breath to salute the One who redeems us this very hour?  Instead, why not be grateful and cherish this unique time rather than lose another second to clamoring and grumbling?  Has Jesus not overcome the sin of this world?  Yes He has.  So aren't these trials intended for our good in the end?  Yes, they are.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

Pollution or perseverance?  It is a deliberate choice that must be made every glorious hour.  Will we seek after God's holy maturity, or will we continue to whine, moan, and tantrum?  Oh, how I hope we will persevere in the Savior's Name and stop complaining and polluting.  How I pray that we will leave our grumblings at His altar and resolve to believe in His proven Word.  For He is in full control.  He does have our best interest at heart and has planned all moments for His good.  Indeed, He will oversee our concerns because He cares for His own.  He cares deeply for me and you!

The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. (Psalm 145:13b-14)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life - in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. (Philippians 2:14-16)

As Edward Dayton put it, "There are always enough hours in every day to do the perfect will of God."  Let's keep our eye on the prize and choose to persevere rather than pollute.  This is the day to rejoice and be glad!

This day, this very hour, is precious LIFE in Jesus' Name!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson


Thursday, January 12, 2017

a new day has come... thank you, Lord!

Yesterday the enemy hit hard.
Yesterday the enemy relentlessly struck and attacked again and again and again without a single break...
Without so much as allowing me to enjoy a fulfilling breath.
Yes, yesterday was difficult.
Anxiety was high.
Emotions were overwhelming.
Yesterday was a time when I could not hear God's Spirit within.
When I did not feel protected. Or loved. Or renewed. Or even forgiven.
But here's the kicker. I still was all those things.
I still was.

I still was His most blessed child. His most beloved. His favored. His own.
I still was, and am these things!
I still am!
Thank you, Lord.

Yesterday, no matter how difficult my day became...
No matter how challenging my trials worsened...
No matter how worrisome my gasping escalated...
Finally... thankfully, God allowed me a moment of grace to catch my breath.
(Inhaling... Exhaling.... Inhaling... Exhaling...)
Thank you, Lord.

When that moment came, I realized that I still was being taken care of and provided for.
I still was safely covered under His wings.
I still had His hedge of protection guarding me.
Saving me.
Guiding me closer and closer to His glorious throne.
How anxious I am to see His throne!

Yesterday, no matter how alone, fearful, broken, burdensome, and physically defeated I may have felt...
I still knew He was with me.
I still knew that my Jesus loves me.
HE LOVES ME!
I believe this promise.
I trust His truth.
Thank you, Lord.
Thank you for helping me believe.

Yesterday, and now today... I continue to run this race.
I continued to look ahead to His peaceful presence that awaits.
I continue to bless His Name with each breath of air He bountifully supplies my lungs.
And I will continue to praise Him when I breath celestial-eternal.
Glory! I can't wait to be near Him.
I'm sooo stoked to see His beautiful face!

Now, yesterday has past.
And today, a NEW DAY has come!

As I write this little blog, the weather is changing and ominous thundershowers rumble above my home.
The wind is whistling through the window creases.
The enemy is prowling around my house like a roaring lion.
Yes, Satan is out there.
But I am alert and rejoicing that my Savior is in here... in ME!

Oh yes, JESUS LOVES ME!
This I do know!
For my Bible tells me so!
Remember little ones, to Him we belong...
For surely we are weak...
But praise God that He is strong!
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
So get behind me Satan, for Jesus loves me!
The Bible... His Word promises so!

What an honor to get to know this intimately close God today!
What a comfort to know that He will one day wash away every tear, every sorrow.
What a gift that He offers fulfillment, hope, and purpose to our lives.
What a God!
What a King!
What a Savior!
Really, what LOVE!!!

He is our Day Spring, our New Day, our Light!
His Name is worthy of our every breath... even if only a mere gasp in this moment!
Yes, everything belongs to Him.
So, be still and know, Believer.
Be still and breathe His promises.
Be still and bank on His love FOREVER.

He is reliable.
He is faithful.
He is trustworthy.
He is always with you.
He will never leave or forsake you.
Yes, a NEW DAY has come...
And the possibilities IN HIS NAME are endless!
Thank you, Lord!
Thank you with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength!

This is the day to rejoice and be glad because, "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)

Believe it and go run that race... live this NEW day in His great Name! WOO HOO!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, January 9, 2017

moldable, flexible, pliable

Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. 
(Isaiah 64:8)

How tender are you?
How flexible is your heart when it comes to obeying and trusting the Creator?
Are you adaptable, adjustable, humble?
Or is your heart hard and crusty like a block of dried out clay?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never known a Potter to make anything useful from earth that has not been worked and softened first. No, when a Potter creates, He spends a great deal of time kneading His clay, submersing His clay in water, and continually pounding His clay into submission. This deliberate process is necessary for clay to become pliable and practical. In fact, this is the only way a Potter will take an old, dusty lump and sculpt it into a beautiful, functional vessel. Yes, once the clay has become supple in His hands, the possibilities to create a treasured, one-of-kind masterpiece becomes a reality to the Potter.

Perhaps from there, the Potter will form His clay into a useful pitcher so that He may pour out His refreshing wine to those who come to His house thirsty?  Or perhaps He will manipulate His clay into a special serving platter intended to distribute nourishing fruit to feed those He knows are hungry? Best of all, perhaps the Potter will form His clay into a beautiful, clean vase. A vase always open and ready to display His hand-picked bouquet of fragrant, fresh flowers taken directly from the best of His garden!  Oh how wonderful to be the blessed, cherished, and favored container of the Potter! (Hallelujah, Precious Father!  Please make me your chosen vessel!)

Indeed, the Potter is able to use supple clay for so many useful, needed purposes! For this very reason, it is so important for each of us to remain moldable, flexible, and pliable in order to allow our Potter’s guiding hands to influence and maneuver us successfully through every oppression and hardship. We must humble our wills in order to allow for every inner hardness to be softened by His firm but loving touch. Only then, will He transform us into meaningful vessels of purpose and usefulness.  Only then, will He guide us through His proven process of new life - turning us into solid, lasting figures that showcase His artistic resemblance and display His perfect design of holiness!

So, how tender are you?
How flexible is your heart when it comes to obeying and trusting your Creator?
Have you submitted your ways to the Lord?
Have you opened yourself to becoming supple?
Or are you still defiantly dusty, crusty, and cracking throughout with the dryness of sin and death?

Friends, it is time to be made into your Creator’s intended creation!  So, do not be hardened any longer!  Today is the day to become His clay... to become the blessing your Almighty Father always intended for you to be!

I encourage you to become pliable to God’s perfect Way.
Through His grace, your dirt can indeed be washed clean and made new in Jesus!
So, be moldable and useful.
Be flexible and cherished.
Become His most valued work today!!!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Sunday, January 8, 2017

and all things else recede

O Jesus Christ, grow Thou in me,
And all things else recede;
My heart be daily nearer Thee,
From sin be daily freed.
Make this poor self grow less and less
Be Thou my life and aim;
Oh, make me daily, through Thy grace,
More worthy of Thy name.
(By Rev. J.C. Lavater in the 1800's)

Something to consider: God wants to redeem every area and aspect of your life. Our Holy Father is preparing us for eternity, and in doing this, "He must increase, but I (we) must decrease" (John 3:30 HCSB) 

 Let's let God work in our lives and accept His leading with trust and open hearts.

XOXO!

Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Friday, January 6, 2017

a sheep's guide away from conformity

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

"Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." This really gets to the point, doesn't it? According to God's word, Christians will be visible in how they live their lives and represent His kingdom. Scripture also tells us that false prophets (those who claim to be Christians who are really impostors working against God's plan) will also be recognizable by their own words and deeds.

Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?" Then I will tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" (Matthew 7:21-23)

Whenever I read these passages, I always ask myself these two very important questions: First, "Is the fruit of my life (my words, deeds, thoughts, actions, intentions)... is the fruit of my life good?" Good as God defines "good"? And secondly, "What truly is the will of my Father in heaven?" For I know that God's way is the only way for me to be healthy, happy and at peace forever. Yet I also know how easy it can be for my own sinful plans to selfishly take over and blindly overshadow my eyes from focusing on God's perfect will. I am fully aware of the many spiritual leaders, teachers and followers out there that proclaim Jesus as their own, but who will one day be denied and called evildoers by the Almighty Father and Judge of mankind. That is not my desire. These are not the people with whom I wish to emulate or follow... Jesus is.

So, I am wise to review these passages and assess my heart. I must consider... Am I an evildoer? To answer this question honestly, I can safely confess to my King - of course I am an evildoer, Lord! I am the worst there is. I am selfish and stubborn. I have sinned and have desired to sin. My thoughts are impure. My lips are lying. My motives are selfish. My heart is corrupt. So, how can I (or anyone else for that matter) measure up to God's commands and be certain that my fruit is recognized as "good"... that my life is in keeping with the will of the Almighty Father?

By merely looking at the depths of my own character, I already know that to live a holy life is clearly something I am incapable of accomplishing on my own. I NEED a Savior. Graciously, God has given every person the opportunity to choose His Son. To eternally follow after the One Good Shepherd who can safely lead us as His own, all be it selfish, stubborn sheep. But in His uncompromising love, God has also granted every person a choice to follow after their own way and this world's unhealthy reasoning and definition of comfort. The first choice (to choose Christ) will grant me freedom from all sin while showering me in perfect love and forgiveness forever. The second choice (to choose my own path) has promised false comfort and pleasure, and is coated with everlasting death and separation from my Maker. Hmmm. Seems like an easy choice - but our sinful nature makes it sooooo complicated.

Is the fruit of my life good? Am I following the will of the Father in heaven? The answer is not found in how one views or believes in the Good Shepherd. For even Satan and his demons believe in God.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that - and shudder. (James 2:19)

The answer is found in our decision to receive, repent, and follow the teaching and instruction of our Savior. Teachings that we will naturally be prone to work against in order to feed our own human nature and earthly desires... Teachings that we will try to barter against God to find an acceptable work-around. We will attempt to stretch and alter His commands to somehow work in tandem with the sin of mankind so everyone can come out of this "life on earth" thing happy. But is God happy with those who barter around the truth of His absolute, unchanging word? I think not. I think conformity to the sinful ways of this world is in direct violation of God's will and reveals the ways of those led astray by wolves disguised in sheep's clothing. Conformity is not a path that leads to righteousness or truth. We are warned against conformity in scripture.

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

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. (1 Peter 1:14)

This "wolf" belief system of conformity will sooner or later cause us to question God. To go against His word in some subtle way. As a result, this "wolf" belief system can lead us astray from the will of our Father in heaven. By conforming, we begin to accept sin as normal and debate against what is holy. We reason: Even though God hates divorce, it must be acceptable in certain situations, right? Even though God speaks many times against homosexual relationships, surely it must be different in this day and age, right? Sure, there are numerous verses against drunkenness, but I can't believe that God wouldn't OK "boozing it up" in times of celebration, right? What about living together before marriage to make sure my partner is the right one? What about lying to protect someones life? What about aborting a baby caused by rape? What about judging our enemies who have wronged or disagreed with us? What about swearing against His Name for the sake of dramatic art? What about this or that or the other, Lord? Sin is here, so we must conform and accept it, right? We must work around it and agree that You can make an exception against Your law, Your commands, Your ways. Right?

Wrong. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is perfect and does not change. Also, God hates sin... all sin. If one person sins, it does not excuse us to alter God's plan and act out another sin. Two wrongs will never, ever make a right. If men defy God's way, it does not excuse us to nod it by because it is politically correct. And just because we may want something, does not mean that we are excused to necessarily receive it. These choices are our own path... not God's. For God hates ALL SIN. Period. He died to ultimately rid us of sin. So, we would be wise to altogether avoid it (any form or question of it) and only seek after what God loves instead.

What does God love? God loves Jesus. In fact, Jesus said, "The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God." (John 16:27)

As a people, we look for loop holes. Yes, we spiritually long for the benefits of spending eternity within God's richness, but our sinful natures never tire of hungering after "self" and our own "sound reasoning"... the reasoning and sense of mankind rather than the absolute word of God Almighty.

To really follow the will of the Father... to be the good and recognizable fruit that He speaks of, we must be willing to die to ourselves, our reasoning... our work-arounds and loop holes. We must be willing to lay down our comforts and feelings and identify ALL SIN as unacceptable and unholy while trusting and following the teachings of our Redeemer. Our eternal life was bought by Christ's blood. So, if we truly accept Jesus as Lord, what He says goes. Living and loving as He sacrificially has demonstrated, we must follow Him with the willingness and submission to accept the hard absolute truths of our Almighty Father, the unpopular way... the small gate, the narrow road leading to His kingdom. I say this not in judgement against any sins from our past, but in encouragement in how to live as followers of Jesus both today and forever. I too have my own laundry list of sinful regrets. But thankfully, He has Redeemed me and is teaching me to live anew... holy in His name and mirroring His image!

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

God's ways are indeed difficult in contrast to the conforming ways of this sinful world. But we must always remember that this world is lost and dying. It is temporary and corrupt. It would be wise to spiritually invest in His eternal grace - to accept His will fully and without apology. Willfully giving over the well being of "who we are" and the meaning and bounty of our lives to the one, true Savior to prune us into His holy image. We must accept His word completely and allow Jesus to take over - no matter what man may say... no matter how we may feel or think. Christ's way is absolute. He is eternal and unchanging. He is life and health and wealth and goodness. Jesus is love alive!!! To be His sheep... to bear His perfect fruit... we must harvest His holiness in our daily lives and accept His ways over our own.

In ever decision, in every circumstance, I encourage each DW to frequently assess whose kingdom you are truly promoting when you speak on behalf of God's will. Whose way are you revealing in how you live your life? Assess if you are representing real truth or attempting to work-around and compromise His perfect word. Furthermore, I encourage each DW to take time to know the eternal words of the Creator. To hide them in your hearts. To follow the plan He has laid out for His children... honestly, openly, and sacrificially.

Sure, Jesus' way is narrow and challenging to follow on this earth. But with Him, you are able. He promises to be enough. His grace is complete and sufficient. His way is the only WAY, TRUTH, LIFE. Our lives are intended to glorify His grace. Let's strive to really KNOW HIM by remaining spiritually strong in His word - secure as a flock destined to enjoy His eternal kingdom. Let us LIVE TODAY in Christ and claim Him as our only focus... our only God. His way, His yoke, promises us freedom - eternal peace from the annoying burden of sin.

Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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 11:25-30)

Today and everyday, I challenge you to humbly and obediently die to your "self"... to lay on God's altar all loop holes and the work-arounds that serve Satan and the ways of this sinful, desolate planet... and to make Christ your new love life - the precious Prince of Peace who is more worthy than any other person, concept, idea, thing or lifestyle! Let us not be led astray by our desires, comforts or public acceptance. Let us follow the Good, Loving Shepherd. He is everything we selfish and stubborn sheep will ever need to find our way safely home to the arms of our Almighty LOVING Father.

But he brought his people out like a flock; he led them like sheep through the desert. (Psalm 78:52)

Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the LORD gave to you and your fathers for ever and ever. (Jeremiah 7:23; 25:5)

When Jesus saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. (Mark 6:34)

Yes Lord. Teach us. Bless us. We wish to receive and illuminate YOU ALONE. Guide us down the narrow road and lead us to everlasting LIFE IN YOUR PRESENCE! Let our short time on this earth visibly point others to know YOU! Reveal Yourself through our lives. We live to serve only You, dear Jesus! Amen!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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