Thursday, December 30, 2010

one two three four five six rest... and relax forever in His presence!

On the first day of creation my true Lord let there be...
(Yes, I have the "12 Days of Christmas" song in my head, so just go with it. Ha ha.)

Day 1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
On the second day of creation my true Lord let there be...

Day 2
And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
On the third day of creation my true Lord let there be...

Day 3
And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
On the fourth day of creation my true Lord let there be...

Day 4
And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
On the fifth day of creation my true Lord let there be...

Day 5
And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
On the sixth day of creation my true Lord let there be...

Day 6
And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. d blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food." And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

On the seventh day of creation my true Lord RESTED!

Day 7
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Ahhhh, rest. Don't you just love that God rested? Isn't it wonderful that God didn't just stop with those six days in the first week of our earth's history? Rather, our loving God chose to acknowledge a seventh day where He deliberately ceased creating and stopped to enjoy and appreciate His good work. Furthermore, isn't it interesting that the Master Carpenter of all we know made a deliberate point to bless this unique day of rest... to actually decree it as something special and holy?

Later in scripture we see God use this example of holy rest to establish the principle of Sabbath for His people. In fact, God considers this day so important that He commanded Israel to remember the Sabbath day and continue to keep it holy. (See Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15.) One day out of every seven we are to keep especially sacred, set apart, special. Here, Israel was instructed to rest from their labor - acknowledging the same day of rest not only to themselves, but to their servants and animals. It is important to note that this remembrance was not just about God's people physically resting, but also about their complete cessation to fully and deliberately practice the act of pausing, recessing, breathing. Ahhh, breathing. Remembering His breath of Life! Remembering His purpose and plan.

So, what would happen if we followed God's example and were purposeful to consecrate one day each week to simply relax? What if we chose to obey His command and took time out to enjoy a restful vacation every seventh day of the week? What if we deliberately and thoughtfully stepped away from the hustle and bustle of life and, for a short while, simply praised and acknowledged all that is good... all that God has done... all that God continues to provide and bless us with? Doesn't that sound delightful? Doesn't that sound refreshing? Doesn't that sound right?

Mind you, I'm not speaking about church attendance here. For even when God commanded Israel to remember the Sabbath, there was not one specific day set aside for the purpose of corporate worship. No, worshiping the Almighty God occurred EVERY day in Israel. Sacrifices were made daily at the tabernacle/temple. So, holding onto the notion that the Sabbath is the only God-ordained day for corporate worship is actually not biblical. When we research God's Word, we see the early Christians meeting regularly to study, share and worship. Sure, in Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:2 Christians met on the first day of the week; however, there is no evidence in all the New Testament that the Apostles or the early Christians observed the Sabbath day as the one and only exclusive and prescribed day of corporate worship.

By no means am I disregarding the importance of church fellowship alongside other believers. Growing in the body of Christ is an essential part of our Christian walk. All that said, I think it is important to point out that scripturally the Sabbath day is not about a formal, organized church service being checked off our to do list. No, the Sabbath is about rest... God's perfect, restorative rest.

Ultimately, the Sabbath is intended to symbolize the promise of the cross. As Messiah, Jesus provides the only solution to save His people - permanently removing all "labor" and struggle in our lives. For without Christ, man cannot be found holy or acceptable in God's sight. And without God, we cannot survive. As such, without Jesus there can ultimately be no rest.

But thankfully, because of Jesus' sacrifice, we no longer have to “labor” in order to be justified in the sight of God. Jesus came so that we might know rest. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Sabbath is a deliberate, dedicated reminder that we can cease from our spiritual labors and rest in Him, not just one day a week, but always. “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. (Colossians 2:6-10)

So, are you taking time out to enjoy His Sabbath rest? Are you intentionally living for Christ EVERY day and pausing once a week to breathe in acknowledgement of your Maker and Redeemer? Have you made it a priority to rest - to stop working, stop worrying, stop consuming, stop processing and rather unplug, unwind, and relax? Is your priority to remain rooted in His perfect presence, allowing Him to strengthen and build you up? I hope so. For this is how He created you to function. Jesus is the only One whom you can find complete and lasting fullness and peace.

Ladies, as we live out our days, weeks, months, years... let's look forward to our Savior's gift of rest. Let's regularly and deliberately seek to acknowledge His goodness - allowing every blessing that we pause to appreciate and every Sabbath that we obediently practice serve as a reminder of His grace and love to save and restore our lives back to whole.

This is the day to rejoice and be glad for our Maker is in full control of our earthly and eternal schedule. All things work together according to His perfect timing and purpose. So, let's obey Him and take time out to recess and relax in His grace. Let's abide in Him regularly and enjoy the calm only found in His Sabbath peace. Let's pause weekly and wait upon the Lord to renew our strength - allowing the Master to restore our weary souls and bring us back into focus of His fullness. Then, after enjoying His proven goodness, let's passionately pursue our intended purpose and spend our days glorify His Holy Holy Holy Name with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength!

Hallelujah to the King of kings! "For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:8)

Peace, be still... and relax forever in His presence!

Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson

Would you like to have an intimate, eternal relationship with the One who made you and loves you unconditionally? If so, tell Him in your own words or use this simple prayer to receive Him as your only God and King:

"Father in Heaven, until now I have been living life my own way, but I want to start living for You. I trust You. Through the working of Your Holy Spirit, I realize I’ve sinned before You and come to You in repentance. I believe that You loved me so much that You sent Jesus, Your Only Son, to fully pay the penalty for my sin by dying on the cross. I receive the sacrifice Jesus made on my behalf and trust Him as my Lord and Savior. Because Jesus rose from the dead, I will live eternally in Your perfect, glorious presence. Dear God, thank you for forgiving me, making me Your child, and preparing a place for me in Heaven. Amen.”

Thursday, December 9, 2010

who couldn't love Jesus, right?

Late last night, my honey (Chuck) flew home from another business trip. By the time he landed at 11:00 p.m., he was tired but happy because the trip offered promise to produce new sales for our company in the upcoming year. (Yea Chuck!)

Chuck's traveling is nothing new for us as a couple. When we aren't joined at the hip in person, we are glued by cell phone to one another because it seems that he is always flying away to some random location to sell and/or service test equipment to any number of new or existing customers. You see, my husband oversees all sales for the Cable Test company we both work for by day. So naturally, he is a social butterfly because he has to encourage sales relationships in order to put food on the table. He's pretty good at it too. The ongoing joke with everyone who knows him is, "Who couldn't love Chuck, right?" In fact, I always tell my husband that he should really be running for some kind of political office because he is always so friendly with everyone and makes time to get to know individual people. I mean... he's ethical, smart, has a great memory, a witty sense of humor, is handsome as ever... who couldn't love Chuck, right?

Strangely enough, Chuck is also a brilliant engineer. (A sales manager AND an engineer... I know, his personality is an oxymoron, right?) When he's not charming your socks off, he is usually discussing all sorts of "engineering'y" topics with really, really, REALLY smart people. I hear him carry on intelligent discussions that include technical sayings like: distance to fault... or passive component... or functional test... or calculus. OK, I admit I added in calculus, but his language may as well be something perspicacious and mathematical (my worst subject) because he can unintentionally talk WAY over my pee-brained head most of the time. (And yes, I did look up the word "perspicacious" in order to write that last sentence. Wink!)

Although my husband does not officially speak any foreign languages, he somehow has the ability to understand EVERYONE he meets and can carry on full conversations with people who aren't limited (like me) to only speaking English. We have traveled abroad to many countries and I've never worried about our well being... Why? Because who couldn't love Chuck, right? I remember our last trip to Italy... no Italian known, but by the end of a one hour drive, Chuck knew all about our taxi driver's family life, hopes and dreams, etc... merely by speaking a mixture of Spanish/Italian/English/and I think he even threw in a little German. How he manages to do this, I'll never know. But I love him and always feel safe with him.

Anyway, last night, Chuck flew in quite late from a business trip. After he got his luggage, he headed for our car which was parked in the short-term parking lot at O'Hare airport. Unfortunately, the car wouldn't start. It was dead as a doornail. Now, I don't know about you, but I would not practice grace in such a situation. I would have an emotional moment and probably embarrass the family name with words my Momba never taught me. But not Chuck. Chuck calmly called to tell me the problem, then contacted a towing service and took care of all matters. By the time he got home, it was 1:30 a.m. But did Chuck complain or lose his cool? No. He hugged and smooched me and playfully encouraged me stay up and watch the Survivor episode that was missed earlier in the day. (Yes, we are Survivor fans.) Of course, by the time we were all settled and snuggled in front of the television (2:30 a.m.), I think we lasted about five minutes before falling asleep. (My neck hurts from sleeping in a recliner now! Ha ha.)

I woke up first this morning (a rare phenomenon since Chuck is usually showered and already chatting business on the phone with our German owners before I even open my eyes). I looked at my husband snoring soundly in his recliner and smiled at his cuteness. Then I covered him with another blanket and left to make my morning coffee. While the beans were brewing, I thought about what a cool customer my husband really is. How even in the midst of last night's automobile discouragements, he never blurted out one frustrating word. Sure, he had just traveled thousands of miles, dealt with calibrations and sales meeting, and still he was wonderfully loving and ready to spend quality time at home with me.

As I sipped my coffee, I thought about past examples of how wonderfully gracious and caring my husband has been during difficult and trying times. And then I thought about my own behavior. Hmmmmm. I'm not so gracious under pressure. I'm not so caring. I'm not loving or at the ready to spend quality time with ANYONE when I've been frustrated by the smallest of things. Between my husband or myself, I'm usually the emotional mess of our twosome. I'm usually the one with the problem. But here's the most interesting dynamic between us... whenever I'm upset or something is really wrong in my life, Chuck stops EVERYTHING just to be with me... to comfort me... to love me and take care of me. When my world is off-track... he stops his whole schedule... his whole life, in order to do all he can to insure that I'll be alright. OK, really... who couldn't love Chuck, right?

And here's the best news of all... my relationship with Chuck is just an example, a glimpse, of the beautiful love and grace God extends to His beloved! I know that I am blessed to be with an earthly husband who strives to love me like Christ. And because of Chuck's effort to model the Savior in our marriage, he has taught me more and more about the kind of husband Jesus really is. My God is the most personable, intelligent, gracious, all-knowing KING of Kings! And I have to wonder, why is this magnificent Creator of the whole universe so enraptured with me? Why does He stay connected to me and share interest in my interests? Why does He want nothing more than to be home with me, embraced and enjoying one another's company? Oh, how I can take His love for granted and forget how beautiful and marvelous He really is! Really, who couldn't love Jesus, right? He is EVERYTHING!

With that in mind, I'm off to bring coffee to my man this morning. I'm off to read him today's Fresh Flowers blog. (Hi Honey!) I'm off to love him up and appreciate him for all he is and all he does! Lastly, I'm off to encourage my husband to take a vacation day alone with me so that we may spend some quality time together - handling life matters while enjoying one another's company.

When was the last time you vacated to be alone with Jesus, ladies? When was the last time you stopped to really know and fully appreciate your Heavenly Husband? When was the last time you paused to consider ALL that He is... all the love that He holds for you... all the protection He promises... all the peace that He brings? Perhaps it is time to start living more connected to Him? Perhaps it is time to thank Him for ALWAYS being there for you? Perhaps it is time to love Him in return with all your heart, soul, mind, strength?

I don't know much. But I do know that marriage is at its strongest when both husband and wife are completely DEVOTED to one another. So, are you a Devoted Woman?

Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. (Revelation 19:6-7)

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. (2 John 1:6)


Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

my hope is in the Lord

Early in my life I met a woman... let's call her Jade. Jade was gorgeous physically, had a loving family, and was very intelligent. However, Jade had one ongoing flaw... she was ALWAYS complaining. She walked with her shoulders hunched over like she had a backpack weighing her down and whined over the smallest of matters. Every little thing was criticized and manipulated into a big production of how wrong and hopeless her life had become. When Jade visited any kind of social gathering, she would make a point to hone in on one person and spend the rest of the evening telling that poor individual about how horrible her life was. It was as if every morning after her alarm clock went off, she would hand Satan the keys to a big Mac truck and allow him to drive over her spirit. She viewed herself as worthless and life as a big disappointment. This belief reflected itself onto everything she touched and spoke about. Jade had no hope. She was worn out, spiritless, broken, irritable. Jade was... well, jaded. And her presence made others weary.

The interesting thing about this whole story, is that Jade claimed to be a Christian. A believer. A follower of Jesus Christ. A child of the King of kings. However, her actions and words did not reflect that of a person who held the eternal hope of a Redeemer. Instead, she lived defeated... hopeless... worthless... sad. And it was sad. For the joy of the Lord was not her strength. Rather, the discontentment of the enemy fueled her. When confronted about her hope of eternity thanks to God's Son, she would agree to the terms, but not actually follow through by living the life. She was stuck in defeat and the enemy knowingly kept her pinned down in his pit of despair.

As much as I would love to tell you that I was able to help and counsel Jade, she would not have it. Even today, she is still comfortable swimming in her pool of complaints. She is content to extend negativity in all her statements. However, now that many years have passed, she incorporates into her dilemmas a would-have, could-have, should-have mindset as well. What would have happened if she only did this or that? What could have happened if she married so-n-so? What should have been but never was. She is still stuck and now living in regret. (Please pray for Jade.)

While reading this, you are probably thinking, "How sad. How pitiful. I'm so glad I'm not like that!" I would likely agree that many of us have not taken our complaining to the level that Jade has taken. That said, as women we are (unfortunately) capable of falling into this same pit of hopelessness with Satan. We can easily look around and become discontent with our lives and families and nag and criticize like a champion whiner. Things can easily get broken... schedules can easily change... husbands may fail to follow through on responsibilities... parents may become overbearing... children may get into trouble. From this, we can easily carry too many burdens on our back. We can worry about things we have no control over. And while being pummeled by all this life throws at us, we can quickly become unhappy. Troubled. Worn down by all that surrounds us. But wait... we are Christians! Believers! Children of the Most High! Because of this, I want to explain a little something to you about hope.

You see, hope in earthly terms is usually considered more of a wish. It is an anticipation that something may happen. For example, when a person goes to college they hope they will complete their degree in four years. However, life could easily throw them a curve ball. They could fall ill and miss a semester as they recuperate. They could learn that their major is not what they thought and reconsider their focus thus causing them to start over. They could run out of funds and have to work a year to pay for more schooling. The hope they have to complete their degree in four years is really nothing short of a wishful expectation.

However, hope in biblical terms is this: it is an assured outcome. A confident and definite conclusion of events that will indeed occur. There is no wishing or wondering with God's promises. They are certain. In fact, our biblical hope is drenched in certainty and unchanging truth. As Christians, it is important to keep this hope at the forefront of our lives in order to proceed forward with our lives. This is the hope that Jesus gives us. A hope that should shape our attitudes and outlooks because of the promise we are assured to receive in His Name. This form of hope cannot be found in another human being or a new drug treatment for cancer. It cannot be seen in a raise or promotion. This form of hope is not about the possibility of good things that may or may not occur while you live on this earth. This hope is eternal. Forever free of doubt. It is an inevitable certainty of peace to those who have believed that Jesus is God and proclaimed Him as Lord of their life.

When Paul spoke of "looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ" he was referring to an event that is definitely going to take place. Jesus WILL return to us and rule forever! Nothing can stop this fact. God has promised it. We can live confidently in that expectation! As such, we must also live lovingly and patiently work though all trials and temporary circumstances here on earth with the certain, eternal perspective of what is promised to come to those who accept the Messiah.

An assured outcome!  Ladies, this is an important perspective and truth. We must check our hearts with God each and every day. We must seek Him first so that we are always reminded of the hope He has promised... the hope we truly have in Jesus who has granted us the freedom to LIVE. We must not allow the enemy to rob us of this truth. We must guard it in our hearts and cherish and be blessed by it's promise. For if we truly accept God's full promise and plan, it can change our entire outlook and attitude. It can stop our complaining. It can cause us to be content. It can give us patience and love to continue on as women who seek holiness in all areas of our lives. We must not drag down others and cause them to be weary because the trials and uncertainties of this life exist. Rather, we must rejoice in the Lord always and share this certain, definite good news with others! We have reason to celebrate in spirit. For our eternal destination and position in God's kingdom is assured. Our Redeemer lives and will reign for all eternity! Let's remember to seek His kingdom first every day so that our temporary tents pitched on this earth will not distract us away from the blessed hope and glory that awaits!



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Sunday, October 24, 2010

taste and savor His fruit!!!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control...

Love fully with affection and passion.
Be joyful always with happiness and delight.
Offer peace and harmony while being content in all things.
Strive to remain patient, steady and submissive to others.
Be kind, compassionate and generous.
Share in the goodness, decency and excellence of the Savior.
Remain faithful, devoted and loyal to His Word.
React to every area of life with a spirit of gentleness, mindfulness and meekness.
And, always practice self control, moderation and balance.

... against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22&23)

Everyday, let us freely taste and savor the fruit of our wonderful King!!!

Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson

Friday, October 15, 2010

let it be

Today, Chuck and I are scheduled to drive to Minnesota with some friends for a weekend of relaxation and play time. Our good friends, Mike and Michele (M&M) are huge Dallas Cowboy fans, and this week Dallas is scheduled to play Minnesota. M&M invited us to join them for a weekend of fun - driving up to catch the game and watch the Cowboys play the Vikings as well as goof off in downtown Minneapolis. Of course, Michele and I are most excited to visit the Mall Of America (or as I like to call it, the "Mall-O-Ma") on Saturday.

The funniest part about this whole trip is that both Chuck and I are avid Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears fans - huge rivals to both the "Boys" and "Vikes". But because we love M&M, we have decided we can suck it up for a weekend and support their team. At first, I thought it was pretty big of us to cheer on a team we usually hate... but in truth, Chuck and I really win the most since we'll be blessed to spend some quality time with our good friends. WOO HOO!

So, the plan is this: At present, Chuck is currently in Oklahoma with a customer, but he will be flying back to Chicago by noon today. I am working/juggling to do's (both at home and at the office) trying to wrap up as much as possible before the busy weekend officially arrives and Mike picks us up around 3:00 p.m.

As you can imagine, with all we have going on - the latter part of this week really turned into official crunch time for both Chuck and I to finish our long list of to do's. Even this morning, I have been emailing back and forth with our German subsidiary discussing a few open-ended issues that need to be resolved before the weekend arrives. In truth, I know that I am trying to do too much before we leave for this long, relaxed three-day weekend. But I'm not one who can easily relax when there are loose ends streaming about.

For example, one of our cars is in the shop and needs to be picked up today. Our only employee just broke his leg and recently informed Chuck that he will be out of office for a few weeks undergoing surgery and treatment. Although I am first concerned for his health, now nobody will be in the office next Monday (while we are out of town) to receive shipments. The vet says Benny Beagleman has a yeast infection in his ear and requires a second round of ear drops (morning and night) in order to get better. Oscar (our 100+ pound mutt) needs ongoing supervision since he is old and requires much assistance due to arthritis and his aggressive cancer. So before we go, I have to prep Momba with babysitting duties and medicine dosages for the dogs. Furthermore, my house is in major disarray with dirty laundry and bills to be paid. My lower back and health has been questionable as some days I've needed to walk with a cane. My office looks like Christmas came early (and not in a good way) - for paperwork is now snowing from the ceiling rafters as we've been wrapping up our fiscal year end and moving into a new fiscal year - all the while incorporating a brand new accounting system. And worse yet... I have a pimple. (Ok, I don't really have a pimple... but it's likely I'll get one soon from all that's going on.)

Yesterday, while freaking out over all this, Momba kindly brought me lunch. She quietly sat in the office eating her salad and listened to me officially loose it - making my mole hill out to be the gravest mountain imaginable. She patiently watched this "Devoted Woman" grumble and complain about stupid matters that would be forgotten within a month's time. Then, once her nut job of a drama queen daughter finished getting it all out, she encouraged me with loving comments and graciously offered to take Benny Beagleman to his vet appointment that afternoon - allowing me more time to get my paperwork done.

When Momba left and the office was silent, I suddenly realized how much I had been complaining and boo-hoo'ing. I started conversing with God... "Lord, I don't want to complain. I know you continue to bless me. I'm thrilled to have some time off soon with M&M (and Chuck, of course). However, since Wednesday I've felt a bit behind the 8-ball regarding my usually efficient schedule. You know it's not because of poor planning or bad stewardship on my part... it's just been crazy-busy. As a result, I've hated running around like a chicken with it's head cut off, trying to get done more than humanly possible. However, for some stupid reason, I can't seem to stop letting it get the better of me. These past few days, I can't stop stressing or complaining. I'm trying so hard to relax and enjoy the journey, but I just hate this idea of getting bogged down with "old" work. I don't want to return to all this on Tuesday! But I also don't want to live sloppily while trying to keep the wheels turning. I've been juggling like a clown - keeping all these balls in the air while spinning plates and yodeling. This is ridiculous. It has been crazy crunch time... and in my mind, I feel I "have to, have to, have to"... I have to finish it ALL... I have to get everything done... I have to get my work, home, life "just so". But unfortunately, nothing is getting done... and I'm feeling overwhelmed. Help me, Jesus. I don't want to complain thru this clutter... but I'm so frustrated to finish it all!"

Once I got home and settled... once reclined in my bathtub with a hot cup of tea and surrounded by warm, aromatic bubbles, I started deliberating about my attitude regarding my work the last few days. While breathing in and out, the Holy Spirit whispered to me...

"Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed." (Luke 10:41-42)

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

"Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few." (Ecclesiastes 5:2)

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27)

Praise the Lord for providing His holy perspective. I have been living like a busy-bodied Martha regarding my work. I have been reacting hastily and unthankfully. My heart has been unsettled and I've been quick to utter words of complaint and dissatisfaction while forgetting to praise the Lord for His continued blessings. I've been a worry-wart over time and matters of which I have no control. My job is to live obediently and honor Him as a good steward - trusting God to give me what I need... to handle what I encounter and, most importantly, when He'll have me encounter it. For a few days, I've lost myself in the clutter of life... I've been focused on a checklist rather than cherishing my King. Oh, thank you, Lord, for refreshing me with Your right mindset. For what work issue and worldly accomplishment could possibly be more important than aligning my pace with Your patient heart? You will work out all my work - in Your time, not mine.

There are only so many hours in every day... we cannot extend them any more or any less. So why lose our heads in errands? Why complain over trivial, stupid tasks. We should always rejoice in our work - doing our best to get things done while glorifying the King and focusing on His peace. Moving forward, I will "let it be" until God gives me new time to finish whatever must be done. I will know that with God, nothing in His plan will fall through the cracks. Yes, God will give me all that I need (even time) to accomplish my purpose in the season it is meant to happen.

So, now I will sit here relaxed. With coffee in hand and a heart at peace, I am taking my time to enjoy packing for the weekend. Praise the Lord for providing me with clothes to pack. Praise the Lord for giving me a home to return to. I will enjoy this time. I will enjoy my weekend. I will not stress over filing, accounting software, bills, automobiles. I will entrust my family to His sovereign care. I will let it be and praise His name.


Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

bubble bath meows

A few nights ago I was enjoying a hot bubble bath in my bathtub while reading my bible. I had shut the bathroom door for privacy since I live with a few animals and a very busy household. Throughout my bath, one of my cats named Valentine was so determined to get into the bathroom to be with me that she began to repeatedly body slam herself into the door with the hope that it would soon open. This went on for several minutes until the latch on the door finally gave way and she was able to come into the room and purrrrrrrrrr. Needless to say, my time in the tub was not as relaxing and quiet as I had originally planned. However, it did remind me of something. You see, Valentine’s persistence to be with me made me think of how devoted we should be to get to God – no matter what. While my little kitty's desire to be with her mamma had overpowered all physical pain of slamming her little body into a door – I should want to be with God more than anything, no matter how uncomfortable it is for me to get to Him. I know it’s a strange analogy, but that’s what it made me think of. My little kitty cat is a great teacher sometimes. Smile.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

she who has ears to hear, let her hear

What do you do with truth? Do you hear it? Receive it? Believe it? Accept it? Apply it to your life?

Whether admitting it or not, people are naturally drawn to hearing truth. Many will receive and believe that truth is, well.... true. But I find that few people actually choose to accept and apply real, godly truth to their lives.

What do I mean? Well, if you regularly follow DW's blogs, you already know that the Lord has called me to boldly share in love some very specific (and sometimes difficult) topics with The Devoted Woman community. He has pushed me to move past my own introverted uncomfortableness and speak up where I once would have remained quiet. In doing so, I have relied on His words... His truth, to back up whatever topic He lays on my heart to write about. That way, whatever I share is because of His promptings and in line with what I know to be truth.

Usually after posting a truth that God is teaching me, the response I receive from those who follow DW (both on and offline) range across the board from genuine thankfulness to outright hatred and disgust. Mind you, I've learned to not take every nasty comment too personally. I take great care to speak honestly and in line with what the Holy Spirit is showing me in scripture. So, when someone chooses to respond in anger or denial, I know that they really aren't upset with me for the "challenge" laid before them. Rather, deep down they are upset with God's word... with God's way. These are the people who don't want to hear truth and show up only to argue and reject.

Happily, there are those who respond in gratitude - those who join me in agreement of God's word and encourage our little ministry to continue on each day. These are the folks who are open to hear, receive, and believe what God says. Just like me, they may struggle at times with some truths that our Savior shares, but they remain open to trust that His ways are always righteous. They have faith that Jesus loves them and desires what is best for them. So they choose to accept His word and pray for God to help them actively apply His truth within their lives.

Then, there are those who are amazed, and in fact, taken aback by the truth our little group projects... especially in an age where tidbits of truth seem to only be spoken as a means to disguise someone's underlying corporate agenda for profit or to gain something selfishly. They don't know what to do with the truth of Jesus, or His love, for that matter. But they keep coming back because they are curious about Him. Their ears are somewhat open to hear as their hearts struggle to determine if they will ultimately receive, believe, accept or apply what God is telling them.

Lastly, there are those who respond with enthusiasm when truth is spoken. They definitely hear, receive and believe that God's word is accurate, real, and the only way. However, they stop there. They don't accept or claim truth for their own lives. They don't apply it to their day-to-day. They are what I like to call Christians in Quotes.... "Christians". These people make up the majority of DW's audience (or any Christian audience for that matter). They know full well that God's way is the right way. But sadly, they are unmotivated or unwilling to move forward from their own selfishness and ultimately never claim His truth for themselves. Their faith is short lived. Their lives are lukewarm.

So, what do you do with truth?
Do you hear it?
Receive it?
Believe it?
Accept it?
Apply it to your life?

Jesus talked about how differently people will respond to God's truth in His parable about the seeds. Check it out (below)...

Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water's edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: "Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times."

Then Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, " 'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!' "

Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown." (Mark 4:1-20)

Ladies, does your life take root in God's truth so that you produce a crop? Or are you still standing at the starting line of salvation? Jesus said that the secret to the kingdom of God has been given to each of us in scripture. Are you stopping to hear what God is telling you? Are you receiving and believing His words are true? Are you accepting that He is the only Way? Do you take care to retain and apply what the Almighty Teacher has said and claim His Way as your new way? Or are you just showing up because you are curious, or want to debate, or wish to feel spiritual but then forget, reject, and fizzle out to what He has said? How far... how much of your comfort zone are you willing to give over to God? Are you an "all"... or "nothing"... or "lukewarmly standing somewhere in the middle" kind of Christian?

The choice is yours. She who has ears to hear, let her hear!

Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. (Psalm 25:4-5)



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Saturday, September 25, 2010

comfort vs. effort

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. (Proverbs 31:10-12)

This morning, I woke up thinking about how much effort I actually put into my life, my marriage, and my relationships. How much time do I invest in the areas that matter most? How much do I really, really care? And whom do I really, really care for?

For example, this week Chuck was traveling throughout Texas on sales visits while I stayed home in Chicago and handled matters for our business and DW. While he was away, I was able to work from home all week. The result of this "perk" was a more disheveled looking (and feeling) Victoria. I wore only pajamas and comfortable sweats from Monday through Friday, and (I'm embarrassed to admit) I successfully avoided showering altogether. (I know... ewwwww! Such a lady... NOT!)

By Tuesday, as I walked my dogs in our front lawn in a bathrobe and clogs, I rationalized that a little laziness was acceptable. Who cared what my neighbors thought, right? Who cared if our mailman thought I smelled like the inside of an old shoe. Who cared if the hair piled high in a scraggly ponytail atop my head had started to resemble the consistency of olive oil and shipping twine combined. Not me. For Chuck was out of town. No man around. No social events to be present at. What better time to become a hygienic slacker.

OK, in retrospect, I'm not proud of my behavior.

So, here we are finally at the weekend and yesterday, God began reminding me about how dear life really is. How much I really do take for granted. All this was running through my head this morning and then I sat down for some much needed time alone in Scripture. I flipped to Proverbs 31. Before I read the first few verses, the Holy Spirit reminded me of how I welcomed Chuck home when he returned from his trip. My dear husband who missed me all week had called about ten minutes before his taxi brought him to our front door. And rather than being excited about his return, I panicked. I screamed over the phone, "Honey, let yourself in and make your own dinner, I have to run and take a shower because I'm stinky." With that, poor Chuck found himself walking into a home with a wife who was mentally MIA. I was too wrapped up in scrambling to clean myself and my mess. Did I welcome him with open arms - thrilled that he returned after a long week of travel? No. Did I have dinner ready for him and a clean house waiting? No. Did I even finish all the work posed to me for our business... work that I needed to finish in order for our month-end financials to be reported back to our owners in Germany. No. (Sigh... I'm such a loser sometimes!)

Sure, I finished many things during the week, but if I were to be honest about it... not THAT many. Not as many as I could. Nor did I reach out to especially love anyone or further work on my relationship with God. No, I think somewhere around Wednesday, it became evident that my comfort was more important than the effort. I achieved the minimum of all tasks - just getting enough accomplished so that I could spend the rest of my week lounging around like the Queen of Sheba while playing computer games and zoning out in front of the cooking channel. My healthy diet was somehow tossed out the window. My organized home was building piles fast. Had Chuck been home, he would have probably wondered what happened to the woman he married. For this self-feeding slob was not her.

Ah, Proverbs 31. The wife of noble character. The "perfect" godly woman. This week, I was NOT her. This week I neglected it all. This week I was an outward expression of inward selfishness. This week I was NOT devoted.

This morning, I read the scriptures about this blessed woman. This woman who works eagerly with her hands. Who gets up while it is still dark and prepares for her family - using everything that God provides her to bring improvement and growth to those that know her. This is the woman who vigorously sets about her work and intentionally keeps her body strong and healthy to accomplish many tasks. This is the woman who is savvy, industrious, energetic, charitable. She is not lazy. She is not drowning in comfort. No, she makes the effort! She cares! She loves! She lives under the strength and dignity of the Almighty's tutelage and is able to relax and enjoy God's many blessings while enveloping herself in the wisdom of her Savior and sharing Him with others. In short, "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." (Proverbs 31:27) This is a woman who LIVES for the Lord! This is a woman whom God blesses and praises all the days of her eternal life!

This is the goal I lost sight of this week. This is the sin of complacency. The sin of apathy. The sin of laziness. The sin of disregard. I fell prey to the enemy and failed to care or make the effort. I failed to keep my vision focused on the bigger picture of love, and forgot that I was made to glorify God in ALL that I do. Lord Jesus, I repent of this sin. I ask for you to change me. To teach me. To continue to point out where I can become more like you. I don't want fleshly comfort, Jesus... I want YOU! YOU are my comfort!

Ladies, I encourage you to reflect on what God really did when He sent His Son to die on the cross to save us from the tightened grasp of sin. It is not just about freedom from death, but more so about freedom to LIVE... and LIVE WELL! We must remember that because of Jesus, we can indeed become this woman outlined in Proverbs 31. We can represent our Redeemer and promote His plan of improvement, growth and love. When we fail to keep Him as our focus, we become stagnant and comfortable as our sin suffocates our homes, families, lives, etc. But WITH HIM... ahhhhh, with Him we are capable of so much more. With Him, we are blessed creatures exceeding in grace and love as we surround ourselves in His presence. With Him all things are better, newer, worthwhile... worth the effort!

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. (Proverbs 31:30-31)

God loved us soooo much that He gave His only Son, so that WE MIGHT LIVE and enter into His gates with thanksgiving! As I regroup and clean up my home today, I am praising Him for the reminder and thanking Him for His patience! As I spend some much needed time this weekend with those I hold most dear, I encourage you also to think about your own relationships... your own comfort vs. effort to live in Jesus Name. This is the day that the Lord has made. Let's live rejoicing and glad that we are in it! The old has gone... the NEW has come. Thank you sooo much, Father. I forgot, but now I remember... thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

Let's live, ladies! Let's live in thankfulness each day. Let's LIVE FOR JESUS and not ourselves! Let's BE devoted women and bless others with WHO gives our lives purpose and worth! Greater is HE who is in us! Great is His faithfulness! Let's remember to live in His truth and expose God's love to all the world in how we LIVE each and every day! (...even in front of neighbors and the mailman!)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." (John 3:16-21)

Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

comfort in all our troubles

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

$166.25... "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort..."

$166.25... that is how much money it costs to euthanize and cremate your dog in Northern Illinois... "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of COMPASSION and the God of all COMFORT."

Yesterday, Chuck and I had to make the hard decision to put down our beloved dog, Vader. For years, Vader, and his brother Oscar, have both been struggling with an aggressive cancer, and yesterday Vader's time was finally up. The cancer, the corruption in His body, had finally won. Vader's physical frame had deteriorated to the point of imminent death. So, with a heavy heart we gave our vet the go-ahead to spare him further discomfort. Yesterday, Chuck and I held our beloved Vader in our arms while a two-shot process was administered into our dog's body. The first shot put him to sleep. The second shot stopped his heart and ultimately ended his life.

Death quiets everything, doesn't it? It changes our realm so that we are able to dissect every detail from it's visit. It causes us to later evaluate and examine our own imminent future and notice the importance of our own existence. In this world, death is a certainty that shadows every creature. Yes, death is our rightful finale... the deserved end of what we physically know from this time and place.

Soon, Chuck and I were home where Vader's brother, Oscar, awaited our return. At first, Oscar had no idea that Vader wasn't with us. He danced about as normal - thrilled that Mommy and Daddy had come home. But as the evening progressed, His breathing became heavy. His mannerisms exhibited sadness. Oscar knew. Vader was gone. His brother's life on earth was over. Suddenly this humble creature felt the same sting of sadness - the same burden that Chuck and I were carrying. Of course, I spent the remainder of the night comforting Oscar - assuring him that all would be O.K.... that Mamma and Pappa would be here, loving him very, very much.

However, at one point while snuggled and stroking his head in the wee hours of the morning, I realized that one day soon Oscar's aggressive cancer cells will also bring us to this sad, lonely place. In the near future, both Chuck and I will return home brokenhearted and $166.25 the lesser.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of COMPASSION and the God of all COMFORT." Compassion and comfort. Compassion denoting God's mercy and concern for the plight of those who suffer. Comfort confirming what God lovingly extends to every sufferer... to every person tormented by the result of sin. This is our God, the Father of Jesus Christ - Lord and Savior - God in human form. Yes, He is our Comfort... the One who compassionately, wholeheartedly loves us and offers to pay the price for our aggressive cancer of sin. The One who substitutes Himself so that we may be freed of every broken heart, every disappointment, every cost incurred as the result of our own corruption.

This is the Holy King who insures us a place in His eternal realm of peace and goodness. This is the Perfect who saves the imperfect... the tainted... the lost. Our Almighty Father who secures us everlasting LIFE via His Only Son's willing and obedient sacrifice.

But why?

Jesus sacrificed Himself so that our exposure to death would only be a temporary trouble. So that our Father could snuggle close to us rather than lose us in our own peril. So that we may enjoy true freedom and hope while intimately knowing His ever-present Light... forever! Jesus died and rose again for us because He loves us... and because He has the only power to save us from our sin.

Truly such a God is worthy of our praise, isn't He? Yes, I believe that Paul was right when he wrote about this loving God of compassion and comfort. Read the rest of Paul's text. Text written when Paul had been under great pressures with problems beyond his ability to endure on His own. Problems so greatly discouraging that Paul had despaired that he may not be able to survive physically.

Still, Paul knew Jesus. Still, Paul acknowledged God's headship and control. Still, Paul relied on His Savior. Still, Paul encouraged endurance while all evidence on earth pointed to utter hopelessness.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Have you chosen to receive God's wonderful compassion and grace? In the midst of every storm you face, can you praised God for His Comfort?

Ladies, through the worst moments of our earthly life, we must realize that God's power to raise the dead has significance beyond Christ's resurrection and the general bodily resurrection of the last days of this earth. Hear me when I tell you this truth: God is able to make the power of Christ's resurrection evident in our lives TODAY! His transformation is taking place right now! In our worst sorrow, we are called to respond confidently and with praise. Why? Because Jesus will indeed save and restore His own. One day, Jesus will wipe away every tear and every heartbreak. So today, and every day... He is our hope!

"He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken." (Isaiah 25:8)

I am certain that when Paul's $166.25 moment arrived, he moved into Heaven's realm and was crowned by the one true God who's riches endlessly abound... who's blessings cannot be counted. I am content knowing (as Paul knew) that my death has also been covered by Christ's blood. My sin has been paid for in full by His death. My life is promised and I will continue on with my living Jesus... surpassing and overcoming every sadness of this world because of His glorious Name.

In this knowledge, on the eve of a new morning that follows my beloved dog's death... with tears in my eyes, I WILL REJOICE! For my God is indeed in full control. My God is faithful.

Today, I will LIVE seeking His newness and choosing to embrace every moment with the security and promise of His eternal Word... my only Comfort. I will live evaluating my obedience to His kingdom... examining my motives to match His ways ... enduring every trial for the glory of my sacrificial Savior.

Yes, this is the day to rejoice and be glad. (See Psalm 118:24.) Yes, today is the day to praise God, ladies. May we each come to know His compassion and comfort intimately. May we share His love openly as we expose our trial - presenting our broken hearts to Him and receiving His promise of hope to restore and renew us. Today is the day to find refuge in the shelter of the Most High. Blessed be His holy, holy, holy Name!

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

Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson

Monday, August 30, 2010

the disintegration or the stability of your life

Ladies, how well do you know God?
I ask because I receive so notes from women who are drowning in all forms of despair but claim to know Jesus as their Savior. Women who acknowledge Him as The One True God, but reject His headship, truth and promises in their day-to-day lives.

How do I know this?
Because these women all admit to being discontent. They are unhappy with something in their lives, or with something from their past, or because God is not hearing them, or because God is not providing to their liking, or because God is not doing what they want. Their hearts are disordered and unsatisfied because, in their own opinion, things should have been different in their marriage, their homes, their jobs, their health, their lives.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21)

So, how well do you know God?
Do you believe that God cares about you?
Do you believe He will do what He says?
Do you believe sin is really as bad as He says it is?
Do you believe that holiness is really as good as He says it is?
Do you believe that you will reap what you sow?
Trust me when I say that how you honestly answer these questions will have everything to do with the disintegration or the stability of your life.

Let me be clear on this...
A world where God does not love you does not exist.
A world where God is not in control of all things happening in your life does not exist.
A world where you are abandoned by God does not exist.
A world where God is out to get you and make you suffer miserably does not exist.
If you are living in any of these worlds, you are living in the lie of unbelief.

What is unbelief?
Unbelief is rejecting what God says to be true.
Philippians 4:19 says, "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." 

Think about that. 
God will meet ALL your needs with Jesus. 
His Way is enough. 
He will supply EVERYTHING you specifically require at all times. Period.

What does that mean?
That means wherever, whatever, whoever you are at, in, or with... this particular moment... this situation is exactly what you need to grow closer to Jesus. Whatever your financial situation, your career situation, your health situation, your relationship situation, your life situation... YOU NEED! Sure, you can dispute me on this. You can say, "I don't need this" because you don't like something or someone in your life. But if you do so, you are disputing where God has placed you. You are challenging the King of Kings. You are debating the Master plan of the loving, caring, powerful, eternal God who made sure that you are where you are for His good reason. Wherever you are today, He let happen with the purpose of supplying for all your needs so you could glorify His Name and obey His commands. Whether you see the good in it or not, He is using your trial to get you closer to Him. He is stretching you to become more holy like His Only Son. Will you move forward from this moment in obedience and thankfulness? Can you praise His omnipotence and wisdom through this challenge? If not, perhaps it is time to be still and get to know God better. Perhaps it is time to start addressing your unbelief that is questioning His perfect plan.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Understand that a mind renewed with the spirit of God (the truth of God; the Word of God) is the only antidote for despair... ALL despair! ALL pain! Running away to greener grass is no answer. It is never greener if it is outside His grace. Really. Don't fall into the trap mentioned in Romans 1:21. Don't allow your thinking to become futile or your heart to become dark. That is what Satan wants. If we do not know God... if we do not believe God... we won't glorify Him and we won't remain thankful for Him. Instead, we will only acknowledge Him as "The" God of this universe, but our hearts will reject His truth and we will keep on sinning against Him. We will reason out the way we think things should be and question His love for us rather than accept the revelation of what He has promised in His Word. We will exchange His truth for the lie of unbelief. No no no, not cool.

Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:7-9)

God says to us throughout scripture, "This is what I'm like. These are my ways. I am good and I love you... ALWAYS." So why continue to question Him? Why go on questioning our present predicaments and reasoning that we know what is best? In truth, we do not know what is best. Only our Creator can claim that knowledge and authority... and His ways are higher and greater than ours. It is wicked for us to exalt our thoughts and opinions above God. His disposition is the only one that matters for us to find stability and avoid all despair, anxiety, anger, unhappiness. His is the way to follow.

I have found that unbelief isn't as easily recognizable as other sins. It requires much prayer and reflection in God's word. Generally, we are blinded by our unbelief. It is easier for us to notice the more obvious sins like lying, stealing, etc. But unbelief is a sin that lurks in the shadows of our heart. The only way to recognize it is to ask God to expose it to us. In my opinion, many other sins show up as a result of unbelief, such as panic, fear, anxiety, depression, hatred, etc. These are external problems stemming from the deep roots of unbelief that fester in our hearts and cause us to question or turn from God's provision. Satan does not want you to know this. But God will expose it when you seek and believe His truth and follow His Master plan. We must seek Him in everything so that we won't become weary through the trials He has given us here on earth.

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:3)

Every problem we face in this life can be broken down spiritually. The lie of unbelief is no exception. If we choose to think that God is not doing enough... that we need something more or different for our lives... our view of our King is warped and incorrect. God is enough. Right now. This moment. In whatever trial you face. He is trustworthy to see you through successfully if you believe and follow His way of doing things. Sadly, God's promises do not penetrate the hearts of those who do not take Him seriously or make time to receive Him and know Him well. (Mind you, I'm not speaking of those who don't know who God is... I'm speaking of those who don't KNOW HIM WELL.) When you know God well, you realize that He really is all you need to be content and at peace.

I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:2)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Ladies, if we know God well and are content with Him as enough, we are stable. We are filled with the joy of the Lord. We stop searching for answers to the "if only's" and the "I should have's" and the "I don't like whatever" and the "Why can't life be this way or that way"... All these thoughts are lies against the Master's true and holy plan and are encouraged by the enemy - baiting us to look past God's Way. Turn from this sin and dive into knowing and trusting your Almighty Father, your Blessed Savior, and His Holy Spirit. Become content in His headship. Stop worrying and focusing on what you don't have and start focusing on all that He is. I promise you, if you really go there... if you really submerse your whole life in Him... you will find Him to be more than enough.

Allow me to encourage you to stop questioning God's plan. If your life is difficult, it is for a reason that He has ordained and intends to use for His ultimate good. Stop questioning that you are doomed to misery. That is Satan's plan, not God's. No matter what this corrupt world dishes out... Rejoice... Trust... Obey! For your Maker loves you. Every trial is sanctioned by Him and meant to make you more like Jesus. Don't question what could be different in order to give you comfort or satisfaction. No, if your trial HAS happened... if it IS happening... God meant for it to be and will use it to mold you to be Christlike and draw you closer to His gracious throne. No matter what has happened in your life, His ability to work in you is NOW! He is enough for you NOW. This is the day to rejoice and be glad for Jesus is King and in control of all circumstances! WOO HOO!

Do you believe that?
Do you believe that God's promises and presence is enough?
Can you rejoice in Him while bringing your legitimate concerns to Him in full trust that He is always in control and looking out for you?
He will hear you, ladies.
He is the same yesterday, today, and forever and can indeed be counted on.
Ask Him to show you where the roots of unbelief grow in your heart.
Ask Him to teach you how to be content in all circumstances and trust Him in all matters.

Don't be like the children of Israel in Numbers 11-16 who were always complaining and murmuring about everything. No! God takes our griping quite personally because He is the One who has given us what we have. Israel sinfully complained over so many things... "If only life were easier in this wilderness. This is too hard. If only we had water. If only we had something else other than manna to eat. If only we had more say. If only we were back in Egypt. If only we were dead." Bla bla bla bla bla blaaaaaa! I'm sorry, but that is not living the redeemed life. That is not grasping what is holy and embracing the victory already won on the cross! That is not trusting and loving and living in Jesus name! A lust for wanting more is the basis for every temptation in the heart. James 1:14 says this, "But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed." Do you really want to be a sitting duck to Satan's schemes all because you've chosen to believe the sin of discontentment over believing God? I don't.

This is the day that the Lord has made for YOU. (Psalm 118:24)
No matter where you are or what circumstance or trial you face, God wants you to rejoice and be glad THIS DAY.
He has promised never to leave you or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5b)
He loves you and remains consistent to make you His primary concern yesterday, today, and forever. (Romans 8:35-39)
Believe His way is higher than your own and trust Him. He will take care of you. He will see you through. He hears your prayers. He listens to your concerns. He wants you to be blessed.

So, how well do you know God?
Do you believe your loving Redeemer enough to proclaim Him worthy of praise without hesitation or reservation and no matter what the circumstance?

"Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say... It is well. It is well with my soul."

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

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. (Proverbs 3:5-8)

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. (Jeremiah 17:7)

The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. (Nahum 1:7)
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

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)

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6)

Is it well with your soul? 
Is God really enough? 
Search your heart and ask Him to remove all disbelief and discontentment. 
Get to know His way and follow Him no matter what this life holds! 
Baptize yourself in the security of Jesus. 
Submerge yourself in His unending grace. 
Fix your eyes upon the Savior. 
He will fill you. 
He will uphold you. 
He will care for you. 
That's a promise!!!



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Saturday, August 21, 2010

the selfish monster resurfaces

Chuck and I live in a modest-sized "raised ranch" style home. It works well for us both because the upstairs level contains our living room, dining room, kitchen, bedrooms, etc., and the downstairs is sanctioned as Chuck's "Man Cave" (aka our family entertainment room). I am convinced that all men need a Man Cave. They like to have that special room to hold the biggest TV they can get their hands on. A place where they can play computer games and turn their stereos up to decibels equal to the launch of the space shuttle. It's a place where recliners are standard, remotes are bountiful, and just about everything plugs into the wall.

Although our Man Cave has a lovely fireplace situated in the center of the room, it is unfortunately not the "showpiece" feature seen when company enters. No, people generally miss our sweet family portrait hanging above the fireplace because they are overwhelmed by Chuck's massive "wall-o-television" projecting life-sized images (which let's face it, is kind of freaky). Attached to the television, my engineering husband has connected a DVR-recording thingy, a computer, a Wii gaming system, and who knows what else. On either side of the TV are built-in shelves that hold varying board games and what not. So, as you can imagine, this is the room we entertain most in. It is where we congregate as a family at the end of a long day.

This past week, I asked Chuck if we could rework the positioning of furniture in the Man Cave. I wanted to move the theater chairs a little closer to the television in order to make room for a treadmill I have been saving for. You see, my doctor wants me to be walking as much as possible while rehabilitating my lower back (which has painfully been a problem for several months now). Without reservation, Chuck started moving heavy pieces of furniture around.... scooting coffee tables here... resituating desks there... sliding floor rugs so that they were centered to my liking, etc. When all was said and done and I was satisfied with the look of the "new" room, we sat down to order the treadmill online.

To place the order, Chuck picked up the lap desk that holds our computer's keyboard/mouse and said, "Do you want to drive, or should I?" I didn't care, so Chuck began surfing the Internet to find the perfect treadmill to suit my needs. As he was typing, he realized that the "feet" of the computer keyboard were not extended out... you know, the feature that allows the keyboard to be raised about 1/2 inch from it's back. Chuck quickly flipped the keyboard feet in the upright position and started Googling "treadmills".

Now, I know everyone has their own preferences when it comes to computers. Everyone has their own favorite keyboard position, mouse speed, etc. But my biggest pet peeve when working on the computer are those stupid extended keyboard feet. If I had my way, they would never be flipped up, much less put on the keyboard to begin with. So, it really bugged me when Chuck flipped them up to elevate the keyboard. So much so, that I just couldn't let it go. Like a crazy person, I kept nagging him to change it back. I kept pushing for it to be setup my way. Did I care that Chuck preferred the keyboard this way? No. Did it matter that he would use it considerably more than I ever would? No. Did I take to heart that my dear husband had just spent the whole afternoon rearranging furniture in his favorite space for my benefit? No. Was I thinking about how Chuck willingly rewired and reworked a complicated setup so that my needs could be accommodated for? No. Instead, I began blowing up the smallest, most insignificant matter. I was thinking only of myself... of my preferences. Simply put, I wanted it my way.

In retrospect, I'm quite amazed at how quickly I can forget all that my husband does for the sake of my benefit. Equally, I'm astounded at how entitled I can act toward the man I love while insisting that he constantly accommodates my every selfish monsterly desire. Do I consider his desires? No. Just mine. What I want. How I think everything should be. Clearly, something isn't healthy or right with this picture. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit brought it to my attention (again) and I later made sure to apologize to Chuck.

So why do I share all this? Well, the same is true in how we can thoughtlessly treat our Savior. We live in a fascinating universe that He created and designed especially for us. Yet, we selfishly and sinfully stomp about forgetting that it is His space, His setup. Our God has the authority to claim ownership of all things. He lovingly oversees and maintains their workings so that we may live well cared for under His headship. He promises to always provide for our every need while fulfilling the desires of our heart according to His will. Still, we regularly forget His love and insist He change His perfect plan to suit our preferences. We bulldoze over His setup, His timing, His design - all for the sake of getting our own way... the same selfish way that separates us from His Light and get us into trouble. Something isn't healthy or right with this picture, ladies. We cannot live holy if we continue to justify that we are more important than God. We cannot demand our way and still expect freedom from our sin. For our ways will always favor sin. Our ways will always prefer what is wrong. Our way is corrupt, tainted, disorderly. But His way is perfect, righteous, eternal.

Today, I encourage you to consider where you have pushed to dominate with your own self-justified authority rather than humbly submit your life over to God's headship. Where are you living your way rather than His way? Where are you rearranging your Holy Husband's plan simply to accommodate the desires of your selfish monster? Is it time to apologize to Him for this sin? Is it time to let the Holy Spirit direct you differently?

This is the day to submit both small and large matters over to the Master, ladies. This is the day to stop thinking only of ourselves and pushing our agenda to control exactly how everything should play out. That's not our role. That's not our concern. God is in control of all things and He alone oversees what is good for us. So instead of questioning His preferences, let's spend our energy noticing all He has provided. Let's thrive in His rich grace and glorify His Name. Let's enjoy His presence while communing together in thanksgiving. Let's love and bask in the happiness and peace that He has designed for us to enjoy and allow Him to redesign our hearts, His temple, into His holy way. As we hear so often in the Christian community, "Let go... and let God!" Simply put, let's just concede to His throne and obey His perfect plan.

Today, let's commit ourselves to the Lord, ladies. Let's submit and be thankful for our God is indeed good! Trust Him and be FREE of the selfish monster. Follow His way and be dazzled!

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. (Psalm 37:4-6)

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22)

Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. (Psalm 40:4)

Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson

Saturday, August 14, 2010

ohhhh Jesus...

Last weekend, Chuck and I were blessed to visit our friends, Wayne and Nicole, to celebrate their daughter's third birthday. Sophia, who is just the cutiest patootiest blondie-blonde sweetie pie, was dancing with enthusiasm as she welcomed every friend and relative into her party. And wow, what a fun party!!! Momma and Pappa had gone out of their way to spoil Sophia with a rented inflatable bouncy tent/castle in the backyard. In addition, the theme and cake presentation were very clever too. The main cake was made to resemble a barn and included a graham cracker roof surrounded with coconut flaked grass (dyed with green food coloring). Situated around the barn cake were frosted cupcakes dressed to resemble farm animals such as pigs, cows, chicks, etc. All homemade using Grandma's secret recipe... all yummy and delicious! In addition to this, Sophia was made a darling birthday dress with bright and cheery fabric - sporting a cute cupcake print all over it... so perfect and pretty! (Yes, I know... Nicole could give Martha Stewart a run for her money!) To say the least, it was just precious to watch Sophia's eyes light up as she enjoyed all the details that made up her special day.

After dinner was served, Nicole asked if I would be the person to bring Sophia each of her presents. Of course, I couldn't pass up such an honor, so I agreed and recruited Chuck to help me with the heavier presents. I began with a smaller box and brought it over to Sophia who was surrounded by cameras and video recorders to document every moment of the occasion. Sophia was pleased to quickly rip away the cheery wrapping paper and expressed genuine delight as she discovered each new treasure. Once she was finished with her first gift, I was summoned again to bring her another... and thus the process would repeat itself. By the time Sophia finished opening her fourth or fifth gift, she had gotten into the habit of calling out my name... bidding me to come with yet another present. She'd playfully sing, "Ohhhhhh Vickiiiiiiiiiii......" This would be my cue to work my way through the crowds of family paparrazi and bestow upon Sophia her next birthday surprise. By the time I'd reach her, Sophia's hands were extended out and she was smiling ear-to-ear, at the ready to devour the next gift. Amusingly, even now (a week later) I am imagining Sophia's precious call, "Ohhhhhh Vickiiiiiii...." It makes me want to drive over with a trunk full of gifts just so I can see her three-year-old arms extended out to receive me. I'm giggling just thinking about it.

Anyway, this morning I was reminiscing about Sophia and her birthday party. Then, I began to think about how the Lord's mercies are new every morning. How He delights in taking care of His children. How He longs to give us the desires of our heart. I thought about Sophia's arms widely extended and ready to receive... and equally ready to hug those around her. I was particularly delighted when Sophia would call out my name - fully expecting to be dazzled with what I would bring her. I was reminded that this is how we are to welcome our King. This is the enthusiasm that He longs to receive from us as He grants to us His many blessings within each new day. And our wonderful God wants nothing more than to hear us call to Him... to see our arms extended out to receive His glory and sing His Name with glee. Equally, He is thrilled to see us at the ready to hug others... to bless and love as we have been blessed and loved. To freely sing aloud the Name of Jesus so that everyone around us can hear Who we find our delight in... Who we enjoy seeking... Who extends to us blessing upon blessing upon blessing.

Ladies, I am anxious to start this new day seeking out the Savior who loves to love me. Who offers me not only a place in His kingdom, but adopts me as His own. Who showers me with gifts of sunshine, shelter, food, family, employment, sight, hearing, breath, etc. etc. etc. (The list is too long to imagine.) Today (and every day), I wish to call to Him, "Ohhhh Jesus..." and open my arms wide. I want to live my life ready to receive Him and share His love with others. Blessed be the Almighty Father who gives and gives and gives. Let us be open, anxious, and ready to be dazzled by His astounding love each new day.

Come, Lord Jesus. Please come.

"Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway." (Proverbs 8:34)

"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." (Lamentations 3:22-24)

Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson

Sunday, August 1, 2010

a treasure to be seen

Is it not a gift to see the sun setting in the heavens?
Oh, how I long to be with my Jesus.
For His magnificent ways are higher than I could ever imagine.

Today, I will give thanks for His love.
For His beauty is found in every dew drop.
His greatness is seen in every crashing wave of the sea.
Here I will stand astonished and blessed.
For my God is great.
For my God is in control.

Oh glorious nature. Your gift is not appreciated from one generation to the next.
Under the Master's care, does not one seed bring forth the great oak or the mighty field?
By His command, was not oxygen encapsulated?
Here within earth's atmosphere reside infinite buildings of a grand Carpenter.
Quietly showcased in a gallery of galaxies do we see His absolute skill and design.
Yes, truly His work is to be revered and applauded.
For what pleases His eye can only be good.

Oh foolish men.
You do not credit the Artist who made you.
You do not see the talent of His workmanship.
You do not notice the intricacies of His creation.
But who are we compared to the sun’s radiance?
Who is man in contrast to the worm or the elephant?
Are we as big and powerful as the mighty volcano?
NO! We are nothing!
Only from dust do we originate. Only to dust will we return.
Yet by God’s decree we are made more.
By His deep love we are rewarded with the bounty of fields and the fruit of trees.
We have been given dominion over every land and every beast by the blessing of His sovereign hand.
Praise Him. For the scope of His generosity cannot be grasped.

Oh great God, humble my soul!
Let me fear Your words with my whole self.
Let me love Your ways with my whole heart.
Let me be pleased and satisfied with Your perfect plan.
For then I will acknowledge the good You have given me.
Then I will truly see the gifts You have offered throughout all my days.
Do not let my eyes look past them.
Do not blind me from Your care.

Go forth my friends and accept all His provisions.
Simplify your thoughts with great realizations and the truth of His holy word.
Never forget that our God is good! Our God is real! Our God saves us from ourselves!
The repentant sinner may find His way!
The broken heart may be restored...
All in His Name! All in His Name!

So, do not be caught up in worry or deceit.
Do not be tied down by shame and regret.
Self is not important...
Only Christ! ONLY CHRIST!

His many splendors are here to be admired.
May we discover His revelations along this narrow path.
May we continue to walk straight in His law...
Always toward His glory.
Always toward His love.

And as I walk, dear Lord...
Let me not forget the diminutive creatures that live under the rocks.
Let me not take for granted the clouds above my head and the mighty storms they bring.
For they are remarkable.
Let me not forget the wind that blows the desert sand.
Let me not overlook the pollination of the bee or the beauty of the flower.
Let me not forget the mysterious creatures that live under the sea.
Truly these are complex and fascinating examples of Your talent.
Let me not miss the rotation of each planet nor the distance of every star that glimmers.
Teach me of Your colors, and Your elements, and Your design.
I want to see everything You have accomplished, My King!
I want to know all the workings of Your hand.
Do not hide from me Your omnipotence.
Let me seek. Let me find.

All praise and glory is Yours, dear Father.
For endless are the triumphs of a perfect Creator!
All ground is sacred for Your hand has touched it.
All words are precious for Your lips have breathed them into my mouth.
Every knee shall bow down to Your authority and might.
Every tongue shall confess Your Lordship over all.

With every fleeting moment, let me sing your Holy Name!
Do not give me rest unless I am resting in Your embrace.
For there is no other place I wish to be but in my Shepherd's arms!

Blessed is the Lord,
For He has given everything and more!
Blessed is His Name,
For He has given life and NEW LIFE!
To ignore His unmatched excellence is foolishness!
To ignore His perfection is the most despicable of follies.

Lord, I am small.
Let me be reminded regularly.
Let my focus not become cloudy or hazed.
Continue to open my eyes so that I may behold Your greatness.
Continue to keep me poised so that I may relish Your goodness.
May my witness bear Your witness...
For YOU are a Treasure to be seen!