Friday, August 18, 2017

the solution to our repeated corruption

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 

“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. 

She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
(Genesis 3:4-6)

Our historical problem...

  • We disregard God's instruction in an attempt to love self more than Him.
  • We theorize and redefine what is and isn't good, even though we have no authority to do so.
  • We choose what we desire rather than what God has designed for us.

And so we fall... away into death and darkness.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12)

And so we fail.

Repeat.
Repeat.
Repeat.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with such people.  They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:1-7)

Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city!  She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God. (Zephaniah 3:1-2)

But what if...

  • We decided to love God first?  
  • We used our moments to properly know and obey His good authority and approved wisdom.  
  • We chose to finally believe and follow only Him and become faithful disciples to the Living Light of the World.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 
So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.
Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:
To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;
Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;
Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;
Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths.
(Proverbs 2:1-15)

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. (John 12:46)

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (Matthew 22:37)

Jesus is The Way.
Jesus is The Truth.
Jesus is The Light, folks.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.  (John 14:6 & 12a)

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails. 
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)

Jesus is the solution to our repeated corruption.

Repent.
Repent.
Repent.

Be blessed in our Savior today!

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

XOXO!

Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

o men of now

O men of now,
Who protest today,
For pride, for power,
From cradle to grave.

Your efforts, your advances, excels and campaigns,
Will fall away like the chaff that the wind drives away.

For what of your future?
What matters beyond?
Is it treasures of men?
Or perhaps, is it God?

Walk away from false counsel.
Stand not where sin dabbles.
Do not sit with the scorned, the bitter, the rabbles.

But in His delight come obey the true Law.
His spoken eternal.
His glory, His all.

For love is the answer.
In His Name alone.
His Kingdom, His glory...
Come seek Him to know.

For God so loved that He gave and He gives.
For God so loves that He shares with us Him!
O men of now, how I pray that you'll see,
How great is God's love for you and for me.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.  (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)

By Victoria Anderson

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, August 10, 2017

let us forget not all His benefits




This morning I got up with my husband.
I helped him.
I made his coffee and breakfast.
I fed the dogs.
I picked up the house.
I started the dishwasher.

This morning, my husband kissed me before leaving for work.
He took out the trash and recycle bags.
He promised to meet me for a difficult appointment later this afternoon.
He hugged me tightly as we giggled, and nuzzled, and told our special inside jokes together.

And as I later watched the hubs leave for his meeting, it occurred to me how blessed I am.
How rich my life is.
How generous my Creator has provided.

So, I started listing out my thankfulness...
For my husband.
For clean water and food.
For family.
For pets.
I have warm shelter, devices to aid me in cleaning, nearby medical facilities, and laughter in my home.

How daft I can be to overlook these gifts...
Labeling them to seem ordinary, mundane, common, unremarkable.

But they are remarkable.
They are noteworthy and good.
As such, God calls me to think on these things.
To think about Him as their Giver.
To worship and live thankfully.
To bless His Name with all that is within me!

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
(Psalm 103:1-2)

God is the greatest gift giver, isn't He?
His love is durable, lasting, righteous, and healthy for us.
Mind you, this is the same Almighty being praised every moment by angels singing...
"Holy Holy Holy!"
"Holy Holy Holy!"
"Holy Holy Holy!"

That we would be privy to such greatness and love in our lives... unfathomable!!!

I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.
My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.
I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:
That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.  (Proverbs 8:17-21)

Yes, Lord... may we no longer forget the credentials of WHOM grants us every earthly treasure!
May we seek your Light every hour and return our hearts in gratitude!
For you are so generous to us.
You love us more than anything else.
How blessed we are to see even a glimpse of your grace.
You are worthy of all our praise.
You are love Most High.
You are all that truly matters.
You are the Light of this world!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.  (John 1:1-4, 9, 16)

I exist because the Light has given me life.
How carelessly I forget that I am to live fully under His Name.
Forgive me, Lord, and thank you for teaching me Your focus.
Remind me to daily claim your wisdom and reward!
I have been granted eternity in Your holy house because the Light made Himself man, died on a cross, and overcame all evil and death so that I may be close to Your presence...
So that I may never be without Your brightness.
So that I may be blessed every hour with Your holiness. (Thank you, Jesus!)

Indeed... "Holy Holy Holy, Lord God Almighty."

After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.  And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.  And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.  And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.  And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.  And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.  And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.  And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.  And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,  The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4)

Friends, let us start every day in worship, for that is what we were created to do.
Let us look around and realize what our great God has generously given each of us.
And let us remember the Word with God... interceding on our behalf.
Praising He who was God, and is God, and forever will be God...
The One who saves us from all sin and promises us a full, satisfying life of eternity under the grace of His endless care.

This is the day to REJOICE!

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever. (Psalm 118:1)

Praise ye the Lord. 
Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. 
Praise ye the Lord. (Psalm 150)

And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. (Isaiah 6:3)

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

surge


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?

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.

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!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, July 31, 2017

focus on His scars and believe in His grace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings!

~Victoria

Blog Post Written By Victoria Anderson
Copyright © | All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

unfiltered disgruntlement or thankful confidence

You spill a glass of milk.
You stub your big toe.
Your cell phone gets disconnected during an important call.
You get cut off in traffic.
The list of day-to-day annoyances goes on and on and on.

When these nuisances occur, our natural reaction is to blurt out a hearty four lettered "#@*!" while we wrap our minds around how to endure the newest frustration that has come about.

But what does our chosen vexation say about our heart? How are we representing a perfect God when we blurt out profanities and inappropriate language in unfiltered disgruntlement and disappointment?

Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen and understand. What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.' " (Matthew 15:10-11)

This topic is not a new struggle for me. I can swish out my toilet mouth with the best of intentions every single day and still fall short when my pen runs out of ink or the batteries die in the remote control. Then, without deliberation or thought... all bets are off. Before I know it, I have yelled out another inappropriate "gem" for my family and friends to hear and cover their ears. As a result, I have negatively chipped away from my Christian testimony and have presented myself and my Savior as inapproachable... dissatisfied... beaten. Is this how I want to be? Is this how I want to represent my King?

Friends, good intentions can only get us so far. However, to fully sanitize ourselves from sinful lips, we must seek after the One who created our tongues in the first place. We must go directly to the Master of all matters and turn to Him in obedience and thankfulness - especially through the seemingly trivial irritations that occur in our lives. You see, God tells us that all things are planned for our benefit and His ultimate good. When we willingly trust Him and accept the experiences He has sanctioned (even the little annoyances that creep into our day), we are able to look through His eternal lens rather than our own limited scope or viewpoint. As a result, our hearts are more open to mirror His holy tone, and we are able to adopt how Jesus would react to things and give glory to our Father in heaven.

But it is key to keep our eyes focused on the Creator. It is imperative to share His heart in all matters. For everything... EVERYTHING will happen according to His perfect plan. So much so, that we must look at even the smallest of annoyances as a means to expose His abundance and love! We must use all moments to give Him glory!

Might we all be challenged to lay down every word spoken on God's altar. Ask Him to remove any forms of disappointment from your heart and instead teach you to give thanks in all circumstances. Remember, all things really do work together for His good. So, let's remember to faithfully keep Him first in both word and deed so that we can be used to glorify His Name and share Him with others whom we may come in contact... especially those closest to us!

Let us no longer negatively chip away from our testimonies. Let us no longer present our Savior as inapproachable... dissatisfied... beaten. No! He is our Redeemer and we are more than conquerors in His Name! His Spirit is always available... always encouraging... always confident in the Almighty Father's will! As His people, we should live the same.

Let's use our words to uplift and uphold the way of Jesus. In all things, let's be content and thankful. Let's live our lives following the Savior's perfect example and be a people set apart... holy and pleasing in His sight. We are living, breathing testimonies saved by His grace. So, let's "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

This is the day that the Lord has made... let's rejoice and BE GLAD IN IT!

Blessings!

Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson
Copyright © | All Rights Reserved

Monday, July 17, 2017

this little sheep's travel journal

Journeying through... ah, what a view!
We march through fields of gold.
Nearest our King who leads His few
Obeying the Word He's told.

Through valleys, through shadows, through death we tread
Where darkest lions prey.
Here, Shepherd instructs us in urgent love,
"Beloved, stray not away."

His staff ensures us comfort and rest,
His rod brings strength nor else found.
"Stay close. Fear not, my little flock."
Passing Jericho tumbling down.

"Onward, forward!"  We clench His robe.
"Be strong and help those least!"
"Stand witness to passing wayward foes,"
"Invite them home to feast!"

Praise Father. Praise Son. Praise Holy Ghost!
Yes, lead us to Promised Land.
Today is the day we rejoice and believe,
Because with You, you've promised WE CAN!

(Victoria Anderson)

Sunday, July 9, 2017

a mighty fortress... an ever-present help

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble... (Psalm 46:1)

"An ever-present help in trouble..."

What a wonderful promise.
God is ever-present.  He is here.
God is available to give aid; to be of service and advantage to us.
God offers us His benefit and support.
And not only does God offer help, but He is constant, ceaseless, current.
What a wonderful, loving God we serve!
Our refuge.  Our sanctuary.  Our hiding place.  Our shelter.
Our strength.  Our fortitude.  Our stability.  Our authority.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:2-3)

What is there to fear when God is our refuge and strength?  The answer is nothing!

Satan will try to distract every believer away from this promise.  He will do all he can to make fear our focus rather than Jesus.  And to do so, he will upset everything - and I mean EVERYTHING!  He will threaten our comfort, our security, our health, and our foundation.  He will upset our feelings.  He will break our hearts.  He will tour us into hopelessness and take away all that we have come to enjoy.  He will bring us down down down down down.

You see, what Satan desires most is for us to permit him access into our hearts and minds so our eyes will look away from God, causing our souls to become troubled.  Simply put, he wants our focus away from Christ. Why?  Because then we will be more likely to believe that God cannot be GOD to us when we absolutely need Him the most.  Satan wants God to seem distant and insignificant.  He wants us independent and unattached from our Creator.  And what better way to redirect our heart, soul, mind, and strength than to point our attention toward our own flesh... ourselves.  "Look at you," he whispers.  "You are what matters.  Not God!"

But God is ALL that matters, isn't He?  He should be the only One we care about!  In all our ways, we should be acknowledging him!  With all our hearts we should be trusting Him.  With all we are, we are to love Him more than ourselves.  Seeking Him first.  Being still and knowing Him!  Not vaguely acquainting ourselves, but rather becoming intimately bound and genuinely hungry for His nourishing Word.  For God's Law is more important than our own flesh.  His Way is greater, better, ever-present, everlasting.  Yes, God is all that matters!  Without Him, we are nothing.  Without Him, we are dead.

For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.  (Romans 8:13)

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. (Romans 13:14)

Joyfully, the most beautiful twist of all is that WE are who matter the most to God!!!  So much so, that He gave us Christ in order to save us from ourselves!  What a wonderful, loving God we serve!

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. (2 Corinthians 3:5)

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)

Let us boldly believe God's promises and cast every burden we face upon the Lord.  For He will sustain us.  He will direct our path.  He will provide, protect, and guide us.  Thankfully, He is always with us.  Graciously, He is always for us.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble... The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:1 & 7) 

So... are you with Him?  Are you for Him?
Is He first?
Is God ALL that matters to you?
Who will you love and glorify most this brand new day?



Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson


Monday, July 3, 2017

persevere... for our hope is in the Lord!

Because of my chronic pain, I've been tracking my sleep patterns to see if there is anything I can do to get more rest.  Here are last night's notes (mirroring a pretty typical night for me).
  • 11pm: Fresh new sheets.  Bedroom cool/dark/essential oils diffusing.  Took two Advil PM's.  Definitely am tired and ready to sleep.
  • 12am: (1 Hour Sleep)  Woke up with acid tummy, stuffy nose, and really bad leg cramps.  Sciatica is shooting fierce!  Uncomfortable.  Now what?  Took Benadryl, Prevacid.  Don't want to take pain killers until morning because of the Advil earlier.  Removed all clothes.  Raised head with second pillow.  Left knee throbbing like a toothache.  It hurts so much, I can't even stand the feeling of the blanket touching it!  Kicking exercises from physical therapy to try and help.  Frustrated!
  • 12:35am: (15 Minutes Sleep)  Dozed off for about 15 minutes.  Still kicking when I awoke.  Sigh.  Will try to lay still and hopefully fall back to sleep.  Legs hurt!
  • 12:48am: Gave up on the bed and moved to the jet tub.  Added Eucalyptus epsom salts.  It's now 12:53am and I'm going to close my eyes in tub.  Hopefully will sleep.
  • 1:40am: (1 Hour Sleep)  Just woke up in tub.  Moving water really helps, but sciatica is still a burden. Can't remain in this position any longer but love the water.  Slow to get up.
  • 2am: Clothes back on.  Giving up on trying to sleep for a while because pain is pretty bad and I'm frustrated.  Grabbed a Greek yogurt and am now watching a House Hunters International re-run.
  • 3am: Eyes heavy again so I'll try to sleep. Praying I get a few hours in before morning.
  • 4am:  (1 Hour Sleep)  Dozed off but not remarkable REM.  Giving up and going into my office to paint/pray/study/write.
I've decided that the worst outcome in living with chronic pain is not necessarily the pain... it's the lack of good sleep due to pain.   People always ask me how I am able to function and remain upbeat when I'm always hurting.  Well, in truth, I just do the best I can in the moments I'm given.

I can say this, however...  I do believe that the Lord only gives us what we personally can handle.  Furthermore, I know that if God gives us the gift of time (albeit time I'd prefer to be sleeping/resting), that we should do our best to use our moments wisely and for His good.

When 4am came about this morning, I was frustrated with my health AGAIN.  I'm tired, you see.  I hurt from arthritis and sciatica and can't seem to get it together... to keep a consistent sleep schedule... to feel physically rested and refreshed come each new day.  Yes, my circumstances are definitely difficult.

But here's the thing... God says that he will ultimately give my spirit the rest it craves.  He will come through.  He promises me this hope throughout scripture - and His promises are true and trustworthy!  Because of this, I know I must consider today's trial a joy.  Why?  Because it is useful in testing my faith and teaching me perseverance.

I know that this life will dissipate as quick as a vapor.  This life is short after all.  But Jesus has promised to give me so much more.  He has come to save us from all hardship known in this life and lead us into a new life, a new home, a new health!  No matter the test we face today, we can still look ahead in faith toward Him and know victory.  For those who are in Christ are indeed promised His peace and a future where He will wipe away all tears and pain.  Thank you, Master!!!

I've decided that the worst outcome about living with chronic sin is not the deserved death it demands of all mankind.  Rather it is the unbearable separation away from the Creator.  I can't even imagine living without the Holy Spirit's spiritual upbuilding.  We need God in order to function and survive!  Thank goodness that He loves us!  Thank goodness that He sent His only son to save us through His own sacrifice!  In Christ, God promises us true peace.  In Christ, He will bless us and keep us free from death and destruction.  In Christ, God is gracious to us and lifts up His countenance upon us.  He redeems us from the pain and discomfort we face today and gives us the hope of His future.  Hallelujah!

So friends, no matter what trial you find yourself overburdened and exhausted by this hour... do not let it sway your focus away from the Savior.  Instead, use it to build your faith.  Use these moments for His good.  Choose to rejoice and be glad despite this suffering and seek Him.  Seek Him and He will bring the rest you crave.  He will see you through to holy completion.  Persevere, and you will hear Him say, "Well done."

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)

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

Persevere... for our hope is in the Lord!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, June 26, 2017

the choices we make... the way we live

Poor choices: a tiny lie, a coveted idol, a lazy job, a rationalized thought, an emotionally driven decision, a disregard for another, a word spoken in vain...

Poor choices make up the majority of sins we allow entry into our routine lives. Poor choices showcase our inate selfishness. These choices derail our quest for holiness and drip with the ugly residue of the enemy's presence. They steer us away from our conscience... away from the Holy Spirit. Poor choices - YUCK!!!

How driven are we when it comes to living courageously, abundantly, effectively, successfully for the Lord? How frequently do we start out our days in prayer and communion with our Master? Do we seek Him regularly with intention... deliberateness... discernment... divine leading? Are our plans focused? Are our feet stable in His word? Are our choices good, biblical choices? I hope so.

I have a wonderful Aunt that once taught me the greatest lesson about "how" to approach each day in faith and avoid the snare of making selfish, poor choices. She said that she starts every day an hour earlier than her family. With her "to do" list and schedule in hand, she lays everything at the feet of her Almighty King in prayer. (This includes feelings, health issues, desires, bills, meetings, family, friends, etc.) Then, if something unexpectedly changes in the course of her busy day (a certainty), she is able to handle it with grace... trusting that God brought the situation or person into her life for a reason. She is then able to take a moment to regroup and seek the Lord's leading. Sure, she is always hit with surprises and her schedule is crazed, but she begins at the starting line of each new day with deliberate intent to follow the teaching of her Savior and give over her plans to Him first. That way, her plans are covered and driven by His plans, His leading. When Satan drops in with a surprise temptation to make a poor choice, she is already prayed up, equipped with scripture, thinking on whatever is pure... noble... lovely. She is ready to face anything because Jesus has provided her daily portion and is walking with her - guiding her in Spirit. I love this.

Before knowing this approach, my days usually started rushed, unrested, unfocused, unorganized... un-everything. I was more concerned about disappointing the people in my life rather than seeking out God's daily instruction and call. So, I would give others my first fruits and thus feel stretched to accomplish whatever seemed important from moment to moment. Mind you, my choices were not driven by an eternal focus. They were chaotic timeframes that caused me to have an anxious and restless heart spiritually. Rather than pick up my daily supply of manna, I would only approach the throne of God when I was desperate. When it suited my purpose. The rest of the time, I lived on the fly and with the whims of my emotions and selfish desires. I made an infinite number of poor choices that cost me many blessings due to my lack of focus and inability to seek my Savior first. I began my days unprepared to make good choices and live like Jesus. So, how did Jesus live?...

When Christ came to earth, He lived each day making the best choices. He approached every day with eternal focus and had purpose to follow the plan and teaching of His Father. He started every quest, every endeavor with intention... deliberateness... discernment... divine leading. He was stable and knew the Word of God intimately. Yes, He was interrupted constantly by others and tempted greatly by Satan. Yet He never made a poor choice. He never said, "Ya know what, I'm busy and really tired right now, so ya'll have to just figure it out on your own." Or, "If I don't address this now, surely God will handle it later." No, Jesus lived each day deliberately... diligently. From the moment He was born - until the moment He died - until the moment He rose again... Jesus showed up and lived up to His calling. He made good choices by living and knowing God's perfect will. We should do the same.

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 1:10)

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. (2 Thessalonians 1:11)

I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. (Ephesians 4:1)

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men (women) of courage; be strong. Do everything in love. (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

Friends, let's seek God first each day and welcome His presence into every decision we make. To be people of courage... to be strong and deliberate... to stand firm in our faith.  Let's stop pretending that our daily routines are average and meaningless. Rather, let's be on guard and humbly attentive to the choices that face us each moment. Let's live our lives with significance that showcases Jesus in every single breath we take. Let's sparkle with His love. Let's be prepared to obediently live following His ways.

We each are responsible for our own walk. We are accountable for how we choose to behave and live out our faith. Our choices, both poor and great, are decisions to follow the cross or follow self. Mother Teresa so aptly put it this way, "We can do no great things, only small things with great love." This is so true. By dedicating our every day to God first, we are more easily able to keep our eyes on heaven and love others selflessly. God can use such a woman to point those who cross her path to see a glimpse of His throne.... to feel His love... to experience His grace. Oh, how I long for Him to use me as His Devoted Woman to glorify His Name above all other names!!! Lord, help us to make good choices that always seek Your holiness.

Thank God that Jesus loved The Father so much to follow God's will each second that He was on earth. Our salvation is due to His perfect example to make good, biblical choices - following The Father's redeeming plan! I am both heartbroken and grateful every time I think of our Messiah carrying the weight of His cross to Calvary to die on my behalf. It takes away all my words. I can only sing, "Hallelujah to the King of Kings! Praise be Your Name, Jesus! You are in charge of EVERYTHING! We dedicate our small everyday choices to you. We give the sum of who we are to YOU to use FOREVER!"

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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

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