Tuesday, March 31, 2020

our impact, His influence

Well, today it just got real as my hubby informed me that someone he and his boss had a meeting with on March 11th has now been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Fortunately none of our households have shown any symptoms of the virus and we have all been very conscientious to maintain healthy boundaries and use antibacterial agents religiously.  But let me tell y’all... hearing about someone in your circle contracting this virus really hits close to home.

Soooo, just as I was being told the news about Chuck’s business associate, I felt something crawling on the back of my neck and realized a big bug was on me!  😳!!!  Apparently a very large ant had crawled on my back while I was planting new tomato plants in the garden just a few moments before.  Immediately I did the “get it off me dance” and sent the poor guy flying.

Clearly I’m on edge.

We all are.

For these are uncertain times, right?

Thankfully, it was just a little ant that I over-reacted to in the depth of my immediate stress.
It was just an ant.  Phew.

As I settled down from my creepy crawly freak out, I realized something very important.  Clearly, God has already protected me and my family from the scariest of danger.  Not just in the form of a little innocent ant, but we have miraculously been shielded from a deadly bug much more lethal.

Thank you, Father.  Please continue to watch over us all.

I am so thankful that God has kept my already weakened immune system free of this major illness.  He has protected my family and helped us keep level heads.  (Despite my ant moment, lol.)

In this rare global pandemic situation, we must all make wise, purposeful decisions and avoid panic-motivated reactions.  We must not allow our fear to rule over our responses.  We must consider that the choices we make today can definitely impact the wellbeing of another person's tomorrow.  But more important than all of that, we must remember that greater than our personal impact may have on one another is our great God’s influence over all mankind.  We must be thankful and share the good news of His sovereignty.  For He is truly in control.  He is King over all seen and unseen.  And His influence teaches each of us to do all things in Christ's love.  To depend on Him for every single need.  To seek Him first/most/always.  To trust that greater is He (God) that is in me than he that is in the world (the spirit of antiChrist/Satan/evil).  What an encouragement to know that God loves us enough to save us from all evil.  His influence of love reaches farther than any pandemic.  Hallelujah... for His influence is eternal and what each of us needs the very most.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

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

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.  This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.  There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 John 4)

Yáll, I know COVID-19 has made our day-to-day lives more isolated.  I know that we all are coping with the loss of what once was and what will possibly be our new normal moving ahead.  But the good news is this: God has overcome all the yuck in this world and invites us to join His eternal family in Spirit.  His authority spans far beyond this place and time... beyond the whole universe... beyond every microbe and every galaxy.  If we believe in Jesus as our Lord, we are His people!  And He loves us so much.  Such perspective affords us the grace to react more wisely and lovingly in this and every trial.  We can focus our energy on sharing His good news, hope and help to those who really need to receive Him.

So today, I'd like to encourage all who read this little blog to check-in with someone and share Christ's wonderful love.  Call in and say hello.  Text, email, or stream online with a friend, colleague, family member with whom you have not talked to in a while.  Stay in touch with the means we have been afforded in this unique time and place.  Let me say it again... stay in touch.  Notice all the blessings you have been afforded and share His praises with one another.  For our God is good.  His mercies are new every morning!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Folks, this horrible, dangerous virus is real.  It is here.  But it too, shall pass.

So as we wait it out, let's invite others to know the greatest gift given to all mankind...  Christ's perfect love.  Remember, He is ever-faithful.  He will see us through all trials.  He will protect and uphold His people forever.

Share His life-giving influence as you make sound choices that impact other's wellbeing.

This is the day to love.
This is the day to be thankful together.
This is the day to seek Jesus first/most/always.

God bless us, everyone!!!


2020 © Copyright | All Rights Reserved Victoria Anderson | The Devoted Woman

Thursday, February 27, 2020

fear not

It’s been a long while since I’ve shared anything on this blog page.  (Sorry about that, y’all.)  But those of you who follow my social media pages already know that the last two years have been quite taxing on me with increased chronic pain and health issues.

Without getting into all the nitty gritty details, today I find myself home again, in my pajam-jams, while still recovering from yet another necessary surgery and not being able to walk a full day without serious swelling and ouchie inflammation.  In fact, for many, many months, I have had to remain quite still, isolated, and mostly stationary in this space… watching old television and reading new books.  Anyway, sorry that I've not been writing more.

Anywhooo… this morning the hubby and I were up early enjoying some time together and discussing the state of the world.  (A big topic to hit at 5:30 a.m. but I was grateful to chat about anything other than my health woes.)  And though I do not care to elaborate with yáll about our political opinions and views, I do want to share where this conversation led us to.  You see, because I no longer work full time due to my health hardships, the Lord has been testing Chuck and I on how much we depend on Him vs. how much we allow our fears to impact the direction of our day-to-day lives.

Yes… FEAR!

We fear.

Humanity fears.

We spiral and stress.

We worry, worry, worry.

We panic while we forecast and make lists in our heads about handling the worst case scenarios of the day...

The worst job situation.  Being fired and out of work.
The worst home situation.  Being homeless.
The worst relationship situation.  Breaking up or possibly never finding anyone at all.
The worst health situation.  Disease… Ongoing Pain… Blindness… Deafness… Disability… Death.
The worst financial situation.  Debt.
The worst political situation.  Lost freedoms.  Broken economies.  Corrupted leaders.  Forgotten manners, cultures, traditions.

These many fears influence how people exist.
Our moods, our bank accounts, and our time hinges on the millions of threats out there to be faced.

But God commands us, “Do not fear.”
Because He is with us.

Just like my spouse is “with me”… standing by me, supporting me, loving me through this life… more so, God Almighty walks with us in a very personal, intimate, and covenant way.

This is the Savior who endeavors wherever we endeavor.  He sees everything we see.  He even died on our behalf, no matter if we would acknowledge His authority and love Him in return.  Simply, God promises to be right here, right now with us.  He ordains our steps, defines our purpose, promises our future, strengthens and helps, and continues to love, and give, and bless despite our human messiness.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10)

So why do we fear?
Rather, why don’t we cast away our fears and notice God with us?

I think it is because we usually are our own worst enemy.  We trust ourselves, our own logic, our inner reason, and our desires in the everyday more than we seek after His Word and His Way.  As such, we end up lacking and afraid.  Believing the lie that we too are in control.  Behaving in our own best interest rather than choosing to lay lovingly upon the altar of the Creator who knows us better than we know ourselves.

Why do we fear?
Because we are self-focused rather than inspired in His grace.

Seriously, we fear so much.  But in truth, we only need to fear the Lord in humble reverence.  For we are not God.  We cannot know the unknown things ahead.  We cannot determine the depth of the waves or the strength of a storm.  We can only trust or not trust His eternal promises.  Obey or not obey His lawful commandments.  Worship or not worship His holy throne.  We are broken, but He is not.  We are tarnished and corrupted, but He is not.  Without Him, we are lost and struggling to survive a fate we alone cannot overcome.  We need God with us.  We need His help.  We need His adoption and love to save us each day... forever.

So rather than fear… why not rejoice?
Rather than panic and make lists in our heads about horrors that may or may not await... why not focus on His holiness and nothing else.  For He knows the trial.  He knows our path.  He is with us, and that is what matters most.

So, do not fear.
God is here.
He is strong.
He will help.
He will uphold.
He will see you through.
He promises and is able to protect you.
He is all you need to live this day.
His covenant stands eternal.
His love for you is everlasting.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11)



2020 © Copyright | All Rights Reserved Victoria Anderson | The Devoted Woman

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