Friday, June 23, 2017

truth, provision and all glory and honor

Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
(Proverbs 30:7-9)

Yes, Lord!!!
In agreement with your holy Word...

Make my life clear.
My heart transparent.
My words truthful.
My focus only on YOU.

Give me specifically what I need today to successfully glorify your Name.
Feed me.
Protect me.
Sustain me.
Shelter me from sin and storm so that You alone may be exalted.
So that Jesus can be seen when others look in my direction.
Keep evil from me and give me my daily bread.

Today.
Yes, today is yours.
Today is only about you.
All praise and glory and honor... Today!

Jesus, I will rejoice and be glad... for today is YOUR day, precious Savior!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Saturday, June 17, 2017

letting go of the thing-a-ma-bob

I decided I needed a new thing-a-ma-bob.

See, last year my puppy accidentally chewed up my old thing-a-ma-bob and I've been trying to manage without it ever since.  But this week, I really wished I had that thing-a-ma-bob.  So, I decided to go online and order a new one.  However, once I started searching online, I realized there were three newer versions of my old thing-a-ma-bob.

I was baffled. Which one was the right one to choose?  Which should I order?  I couldn't know unless I saw them all in person.  Unfortunately, my local store didn't carry any thing-a-ma-bobs, so I would definitely have to order online.

I decided I would charge all three versions of the thing-a-ma-bob onto my credit card and then return the two extras once I was able to see which was indeed the best.

But then...

I noticed all the bright and shiny whatcha-ma-call-its marketed for sale next to the thing-a-ma-bobs.  Ooooo, they were new and beautiful and would surely come in handy someday.  Perhaps I should order even more thing-a-ma-bobs and a few whatcha-ma-call-its to boot... just in case, of course.

Just in case I needed more.

Just in case something happened again to my thing-a-ma-bob.

Oh yes, I needed more, just to be safe...

... For those unforeseeable just-in-cases of life.

Suddenly my plan to order one replacement thing-a-ma-bob turned into an online shopping extravaganza!  And, whoa... that $25 bill quickly turned into $300!

Wait, what happened?

I'm only trying to store up for the just-in-cases of life.

I'm only thinking about how I could best be prepared for the future unknowns.

How could I possibly be expected to now whittle down this order when I so clearly NEED all these thing-a-ma-bobs and whatcha-ma-call-its for those possible just-in-cases of life!??!!!

Then the Holy Spirit flicked my ear...

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

Realizing I had probably made a wrong turn, I stopped and began to silently pray, "Lord, I would really like a new thing-a-ma-bob."

Then, the truth was made clear...

"You don't need it."

"You have lived a whole year without it."

"I will provide all that you need."

Yes, I have lived without it... and for a whole year, in fact.  Truthfully, I have not needed a thing-a-ma-bob until recently, when I was reminded I didn't have one and decided I should probably replace it just in case.  But it wasn't really a necessity, now was it?  Clearly, I was the one who blew it up into a full-on NEED.  Sigh.  I do that.  On my own, I bite when the bait is set out.  I get snared in the trap.  I fumble and fall away.  "Lord, help me.  For I know only YOU can keep me safe, secure, and satisfied."

Folks, Satan loves to clutter us.  He loves to promote, and glorify, and peddle until our lives are so over-consumed and complicated that we forget our original focus and fearfully scramble in confusion to manage our own would-be way. Sure, planning for the future is rational and sound, but only to the extent that we continue to keep our eyes fixated on Jesus.  The moment we turn away from being good stewards of God's generous gifts... the moment we put our wants and desires first before His hope and trustworthiness... well, those just-in-cases burden us down and draw our eyes away from the Creator/Savior that has promised to always provide.

In truth, I didn't need a new thing-a-ma-bob, or a whatcha-ma-call-it either.  But rather than pray about it, I simply decided that my wants justified a need.  Not so.

I am thankful that the Lord corrected me to let it go.

It is so important to know and understand this lesson.  It is vital that through the help of the Holy Spirit we learn to distinguish what is necessary for us to flourish in His grace, verses what is a temporary and unnecessary distraction sign that was sinisterly erected to turn us off-course.

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. (Matthew 6:25-34)

Friends, let us not fear or worry about what we may or may not have come tomorrow.  Instead, let us live trusting that the Lord will always provide!  Let us focus on today, wisely, and with our eyes destined toward the Truth of Heaven.  We exist solely to serve and glorify the King of kings.  To love one another and use everything He gives to us for that eternal purpose.  We do not need a side-plate of thing-a-ma-bobs or whatcha-ma-call-its to satisfy.  We only need Jesus... "and all these things will be given to you as well."

Thank you, Lord, for teaching me to let go of everything that distracts me away from Your purpose.  All I need is you.  All I want forever, Master, is YOU!

Blessings!

Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson


Thursday, June 15, 2017

my morning prayer

I've been pretty busy over here at the Anderson abode.
So busy, that I really don't have too much to report or write about.
However, earlier I was alone with God and praying Psalm 143.
I love this Psalm.
I especially love praying verses 8-12 to the Lord in the morning hours.
So, today I thought I would simply share with you these lovely verses and encourage y'all to pray them to God every morning - before you begin each new day.

Check it out...

Psalm 143:8-12 (KJV)

Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the  way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.

Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.

Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.

Quicken me, O Lord, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble.

And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.

Let's daily surrender all our circumstances to the wisdom of His Throne.
Let's give God all glory and honor in every single day!

Blessings!!!

:)

Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

there's a'Lot bugging you... but don't look back




A little something-something for y'all to chew on...

The more you dismantle your fear under the lens of Scripture...
The more you show up to ask God for His bravery and strength while trusting Him to deliver on His promises to protect you and yours...
Then, the less scary, threatening, and intimidating your fears actually become.

Example please, Victoria....

Well, take my fear of big yucky bugs.

When we first moved to hot-summer'ed Texas from cold winter'ed Chicago, I loathed the thought of Southern mutant-sized mosquitos, roaches, and spiders being within a two mile radius of my home.  Ewwww.  However, in Texas all manner of creepy crawly bugs and dangerous reptiles roam... AND IT'S NORMAL!

While out with friends one evening, Sharon (my seasoned Texas dynamo gal-pal) and I were walking back to our cars after a pleasant dinner together with our hubbies.  As we chatted, a BIG yucky bug managed to fly in front of our path.  I shrieked.  But Sharon... well, Sharon scoffed at the creature and then chased it away in a totally alpha-female way.  Those big bugs were nothing for her to shoo, and swat, and step on.  Forget Wonder Woman, y'all.  That day, in my eyes, Sharon became the most awesome female warrior.

But not me.
Nope, I coward and cried.
In fact, each time I encountered another bug here in Texas, I screamed bloody murder while threatening my dear husband that I'd soon be relocating.

Dramatic, yes.
Realistic, no.

It took me five hard years to settle into our new corner of the world.  Five years of me boo-hoo'ing like a spoiled child over silly, small creatures that, in fact, I could actually "end" with only two of my ten fingers.

Sigh.

In year four of our Texas transition, the Lord not-so-subtly started reminding me of Lot's wife.  You know, that selfish wife-mamma in scripture who longed for the comforts of her established Sodom home.  That gal who stalled her family's spiritual progress while she longingly looked backwards to what she would be leaving rather than embrace where God intended for her family to go.

I am certain that Sodom was surely sprayed for mosquitos, you see.  And I doubt a poisonous snake or spider dared show it's face in the plush surroundings of her cushy townhouse.  None the less, we all sadly know the story of selfish Mrs. Lot.  Her disobedience reached fruition under God's throne.  Her fear of the unknown and of not getting her way ultimately caused her to reject God's loving path.  So she chose to look away from God and backward to her sinful home.  And let's face it... sin has no place in God's perfect, holy plan, now does it?!!!

... Anyway, four years into our Texas relocation and the Holy Spirit gives me Mrs. Lot's tale to digest.  Ugh.  Yes, in my heart I knew I was being Mrs. Lot when it came to the bugs... to Texas... to everything.  For I had not lifted a finger to "nest" in our new home.  (A home the Lord had so clearly picked out for us to live in, by the way... and in only three days!!!  Another story.)

Sadly, four years in and I had not branched out of my introverted shell to really love on others the way I knew my King was calling me to do.  I stubbornly stalled.  In my heart I hemmed and hawed to The Holy Spirit with excuses and disappointments.  Sure, in our first year we experienced a rocky start with some really damaging punches from business-related unsavories.  We were broken down and leveled from personal and financial threats that proved untrustworthy and dishonest.  But despite all that... instead of me displaying the grace I knew that the Lord would provide and conquer for us... I simply wanted out of this crazy place!  I hated this big ugly "bug" of a state!  UGH!  Texas!  I loathed the thought of ever calling it home.  Ewwww.  (Let me pause here to apologize now to all my Texas lovelies who are reading this.  You know my heart.  You know where this story leads!)

Anyway, isn't God great?

Clearly, He knew that in order for me to actually overcome the uncomfortable fear and disappointment that was dragging me down, I had to choose to look to Him for more.  I had to let go of my 40-year safety net of familiarity and trust that His armor was sound. His Word was reliable.  His Way was my new way and future.  I had to undrape myself of old "me" in order to cloth myself with His new life.

I knew this.
But for four years I kept turning my head... looking backwards.
I lingered in my lust.

Then this year, two very interesting things occurred.  First, I finally decided I would heed the Holy Spirit's call and obey the Lord in this matter.  To begin, I would start caring about my new Texas home and stop cry-babying over my latitude and longitude.  My priority was the condition and well-being of my family.  I knew God was calling me past my own buggy war-zone and into something more progressive.

Secondly, I decided to start a garden in our backyard.  Mind you, I had never gardened.  But Texas seemed a logical location considering the humid climate.  So, I invested in learning how to grow plants from seed as well as tend to plants already established.  I did this daily - making it my new routine.  Ironically, my little garden project soon became a bigger, family-participation activity.  Chuck made lifting heavy pounds of soil seem easy so that our raised beds would flourish.  Momba brought home interesting plants to add into the mix.  Slowly... daily... the investment started producing fruit, quite literally.

I share all this with you to bring to your attention the obvious bug and reptile population I would now have to voluntarily come in close contact with as I developed our new garden.  But you see, you cannot move past your fear until you realize the important reward and purpose God places past that discomfort.  You cannot enjoy more in His Name until you obediently choose to pull on your protective pink rubber rain boots and matching garden gloves each and every morning and get yourself out there to attend to the good work He has started in you... the life He has called you to joyfully invest yourself into while also sharing His bountiful love with others.  His Way is progress.  His future promotes healthy, holy growth that fills, and satisfies, and rewards.

This year, I have learned more than ever that God is so much bigger than the frightening and dangerous nuisances that lurk about my life.  He is a God who offers to clothe me daily in His grace while protecting me from the evil swarms in this season.  I have learned that Satan and his army have no real power or place in God's new life.  They are insignificant in comparison to Christ's astounding, eternal greatness and hope.  I am brave because He provides and protects.  I can prune them away because He has given me every tool to accomplish the task with grace and dignity in His Name.

So, this year I am learning to be content with wherever God now leads.  To move forward in the beautiful new gardens He will teach me to steward.  Those growing, giving, fruit-bearing places that keep my heart focused homebound as I cultivate His love.

With Him, I can work past any mutant-sized distraction and progress forward... toward His harvest!  Toward His bountiful banquet table.

Again, my friends...

The more you dismantle your fear under the lens of Scripture...
The more you show up to ask God for His bravery and strength while trusting Him to deliver on His promises to protect you and yours...
Then, the less scary, threatening, and intimidating your fears actually become.

Praise the Lord.
His mercies are new every morning.

Wherever you may be today...
Whatever is drawing you to look backwards rather than move ahead toward God's kingdom...
Let me remind you that He has promised to cast out all your fear.
He is able to strengthen you.
He wants mostly to clothe you in His glory and honor.
He loves you.

Let me say that again...

Our great God loves you and wants to see you through to completion.
May we all trust and obey the Redeemer who gives us His new life.

God bless!

Victoria

P.S.  Much love to y'all from the great state of Texas!

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, June 1, 2017

coming soon: DW 2.0

To everything there is a season.
Change inevitably occurs.
Life moves forward.

And so it goes in this new season of The Devoted Woman.

A revised look will soon follow.
A broader, more interactive website is already on the horizon.
A blank slate awaits... bringing with it a new opportunity to peel back a little bit more of introverted me in my pursuit of sweet Jesus.

Indeed, this is the day the Lord has made.
A time to rejoice and be glad in Him!

In Christ, I'm excited to share this new chapter of the journey!
On my own, I'm terrified too...
But I still choose Christ.

So get ready, y'all!  More to come.

XOXO!

Victoria Anderson

Want a sneak peak into 2018?  Check out what's happening at www.victoriaanderson.com

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Sunday, May 28, 2017

P.S. On this Memorial Weekend...

P.S. On this Memorial Weekend... Here is something my late Uncle Harold shared with Lovington United Methodist Church on Memorial Sunday, May 24, 1987:

"When the smoke cleared, twenty-six army soldiers of the 45th infantry division... some of them my buddies, were dead. My division had landed on the Anzio Beach head, Italy. A major thrust during World War II. The Germans had launched an air attack and had hit us with a least two bombs. They were trying to put a halt to our advance. Many Americans were wounded and many were killed. But nothing was to stop us from winning... but the cost was tremendous.

In the months that followed, I drove a truck which served as an ambulance for the injured at the front. Taking seriously injured soldiers to medical aid stations, I saw the cost of war up close. Many had missing limbs, had lost their eyesight... some were dying and did not make it.

This Memorial Day, I remember! I remember that the price of freedom comes high... the sacrifice made by Americans in World War II and other wars was the ultimate sacrifice. I remember that I was, and am blessed - for I got to come home in one piece. I praise the Lord for his gift of LIFE and on this Memorial Day Weekend, I pray that we will never have to fight a war again... especially a war in this great country of ours."

Harold Forsen
WWII Army Veteran

May we never take for granted the freedom that so many fought for us to enjoy.
May you have a blessed Memorial Day!

XOXO!

Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

walking with God

Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. (Genesis 5:24)

By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. (Hebrews 11:5)


Enoch walked with God. Enoch accompanied His Master. Enoch stayed close and served His King until he was lovingly escorted directly to the throne room of the Most High. Oh, to be Enoch... to walk through this life and into the next WITH God. To intimately know God's grace that is greater than all our sin. Amazing love! What joy and hope to behold! Yes, Enoch walked with God because God is all Enoch needed! As such, he pleased His Father with his continued devotion and faithfulness.

I just love the brevity of Enoch's story in scripture. It's as if the Almighty couldn't bare to be apart from His most faithful even one more second. "Just come be with me, Enoch... walk with me... remain with me... and while your at it... oh, why not just STAY with me forever!!!" Glory Hallelujah! Enoch walked with God!

Recently, Momba came across an old, worn book in her belongings and gave it to me to read. The fragile pages within it are separating from it's binding but the print remains sound and the message is definitively clear. You may wonder why my mother would give me this tattered old book to read? The reason is because of WHO the book represents. You see, it is a devotional, published in the 1940's, that was given to my Great Uncle Harold by the Servicemen's Committee of Roseland Evangelical Mission Church just before he left for World War II. During this time, my uncle served in the Army and traveled through North Africa, Italy, and Europe carrying this simple but substantial book in his pocket. As a medic, my uncle saw just about every horror resulting from war. As a man, he faced every emotional, physical, and spiritual trial that accompanies the life of military service.

After my uncle returned to the states, his mother (my great grandmother) decided to read this little devotional every day, documenting her prayers and praises within it's pages for 20 years. So, as you can imagine, this tattered little book holds many notes written by the hands of my ancestors. Needless to say, every page is a treasure to relish.

Each morning as I turn the delicate paper to the next calendar date, I am reminded of the generations that came before me who also turned these same pages. With every word I digest, I am comforted in the knowledge that my own family members read and absorbed these holy truths. Best yet, I am so very pleased to know that these faithful, devoted family members chose to walk with God through their own journey. Knowing their history, I am confident that God remained a constant presence beyond their last earthly breath and into His throne room where Enoch and others joyfully awaited their Heavenly debut. Glory Hallelujah! Uncle Harold walked with God! Great Grandma walked with God!

Interestingly enough, my uncle's devotional was written by Dr. Henry Ironside (a former pastor of Moody Church from my hometown Chicago), and my grandmother had inserted a 1951 clipping of Dr. Ironside's death within the pages. The clipping reads,

"Dr. Henry A. Ironside, 74, pastor of Moody church, Clark st. and North ave., for 18 years until his retirement in 1948, died Sunday in a hospital in Cambridge, New Zealand, while on a world evangelistic tour, friends here learned yesterday. Dr. Ironside began his preaching career with the Salvation Army when he was 14 and later became a traveling evangelist and Bible conference minister. He became pastor of Moody church in 1930. He was the author of many religious books. Surviving are his widow, Ann, who was with him on the tour; a son, the Rev. John, and one daughter, Mrs. Gilbert I. Koppin. Burial will be tomorrow in Aukland, New Zealand. Memorial services will be held later in the Moody church."


As I think about the lives of Enoch, Dr. Ironside, my Uncle Harold, my great grandmother, and the impact of their individual existence here on earth... I'm amazed at how greatly God can use the lives of those who faithfully choose to walk with Him. Those who deliberately live with purpose to please their magnificent Creator. Those who carry His Word secure in their pocket through the worst of human storm and tragedy. Those who boldly evangelize His truth from the early age of 14 until the late age of 74. Those who quietly nurture their families day in and day out, trusting that their Master is always near and making it a priority to remain close to their King's redeeming presence.

Yes, these few walked with God. They were not perfect. They were not immune to trial or hardship. But they each made it a priority to know the Savior intimately. Today, these beloved brothers and sisters of the faith now stand free in the grace of the Lord God Almighty! Glory Hallelujah! For the same God that traveled alongside them, is also my great God. He is the God who will see me through this life and escort me into the next. He is the King who will direct my every step, even when the ground I walk upon quakes. He is the Master who promises to remain close... to always be with me... to always, always love me. He is my most cherished and faithful Friend. Yes, I'm with Him! No matter where this life takes me... I choose to walk with God! Blessed Jesus... Blessed Lord!

He who walks with God must take His way,
Across far distances and gray,
To goals that others do not see,
Where others do not care to be.

Who walks with God must have no fear,
When danger and defeat appear,
Nor stop when every hope seems gone,
For God, our God, moves ever on.

Who walks with God must press ahead,
When sun or cloud is overhead,
When all the waiting thousands cheer,
Or when they only stop to sneer;

When all the challenge leaves the hours,
And naught is left but jaded powers;
But he will some day reach the dawn,
For God, our God, moves ever on.

(Taken from H.A. Ironside's The Continual Burnt Offering)

Who are you walking with?
Who do you trust and turn to?
Who directs your path?
Who do you seek for comfort in times of trouble?
Who do you stay near in the simplicity and complexity of everyday life?

Might I encourage you to make it a priority to walk with the One who knows you better than you know yourself? Might I suggest you seek Jesus first... His kingdom... His righteousness... His love! Really, don't just talk about it... do it! For He alone holds the plans to your future. Walk closely with your God!  Trust me when I tell you that the impact of this decision may not only benefit you, but it will likely impact generations to follow... so, onward Christian soldier! Our loving God will never leave or forsake you! In fact, He invites you to cling to His everlasting security, peace, hope, and wisdom. He gives you His trustworthy Word to know Him better... to be WITH Him more!

So, will you choose to walk with the King of kings? Will you please the Almighty Creator with your attentive faithfulness? Will you follow the Savior wherever He leads? Will you, beloved, choose to walk with God this very day? For this is the day to rejoice and be glad in Him. This is the day to enjoy His unchanging and everlasting friendship... a friendship with the Most Worthy and Most High! O Glory, Hallelujah!

When all is said and done, my hope is that the final chapter of your life here on earth will be written like this:

" ____________ (fill in your name) walked with God and 
was commended as one who pleased the King."


O Glory, Hallelujah! Today, ____________ (fill in your name) walks with God!!!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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

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