Saturday, April 27, 2013

Jesus, Jesus, God of Might

Jesus, Jesus, God of Might;
Quench me of all appetite,
Through every trial and darkened night,
Guide my steps toward Your redeeming Light.
Strengthen me to stand firm and fight,
For whatever is true, and noble, and right.
Jesus, Jesus, God of Might;
Be my vision, be my sight.



Friday, April 26, 2013

dinner at Pappasitos with family

Aunt Cathy & Me

Momba & Marge

My sweet hubby-man

Chuck + Vicki = Chickie

the time is now

This past weekend, our oldest cat, Chloe, had to be euthanized due to ongoing kidney and liver issues. Chloe was the "talker" in our motley crew of pets. Now that she is gone, my family is realizing how silent our home has become as it lacks the sweet meows that once echoed the hallways of our humble abode. (Teary eyes abound... Miss you, Chloe.)

Anyway, on Saturday we were faced with the hard decision to put Chloe down. Because her little body was jaundice, her kidneys no longer working, and her immune system pretty much non-existent, we knew the time had come to let her go before her pain and condition worsened. As I held her lethargic body in my arms, our vet (Megan) administered a sedative to put our cat completely to sleep. Then, I laid Chloe's limp body on the examination table and pet her soft head as Megan sadly gave her the second shot to overdose her system and ultimately stop her heart. And that was it. My little kitty was no longer alive or a part of this harsh, corrupted world. All that remained was a small shell - a sickly body.  Chloe was no longer with us. No, she was gone.

As my whole family struggled with this reality, I began thinking about how much death sucks! (Sorry, but there is no better way to say it... death does suck!) I've learned that it isn't so much the dying part that is hardest for me to absorb, but rather the forced goodbye that I must endure as someone I love is no longer in my same realm of existence. I hate that goodbye. I hate that feeling of loss and the physical separation from someone I care deeply for.

In my life, I have been forced to say many goodbyes to several dear people (and pets). I am quite familiar with the feelings that accompany someone dying - the isolation, the remoteness, the solitude that lingers as I am left behind to live out the rest of my days on earth without the presence of someone I hold close. Also, I personally know the lasting hope and/or the bitter misery that can accompany a person's passing. For the outcome of death is always dependent upon our choice to receive or deny Jesus as Savior. Either Jesus is our God or someone/something else is selfishly substituted in His place. Yes, every conclusion of human life will summarize WHO a person chose to make first while alive on this planet. Jesus or Self?  Success or failure? Sadness or rejoicing?  In seeing both decisions made by people I care for, I've experienced my share of celebration and sorrow when saying goodbye to loved ones who have passed.  I've understood that some of death's forced goodbyes are only temporary... and some, sadly, are not.  (The "not's" are when death sucks the most.   The "not's" are when I lean on the sovereignty of my Maker and trust that His ways are higher than my own.)

All that said, Chloe's passing caused me to think about something more than death. My little kitty's exit from this earth caused me to consider the concept of "time" itself. For in one moment Chloe was alive... and in the next moment she was gone. The only thing separating her life from her death was indeed time. The quiet tic-tock of the clock was the distinguishing factor that determined her existence vs. her nonexistence.

The experience of Chloe's death caused me to think deeply about my own existence, about my God, and about the time that has been ordained especially for me. You see, God created all time when He created the world. He made it so that mankind could take note of seasons, days and years. As a result, in the world's timeline, our Heavenly Father has prescribed a certain amount of time for each person to individually live out their days.... a lifetime, if you will.  He has destined for us to be alive at this very point in earth's history. Because of this we can surmise that we are here... now... for a very specific and individually planned reason to glorify His Name... TODAY!

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. (Genesis 1:14-16)

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity." (Jeremiah 29:11-14)

God is not limited by time, but rather in control of it. I am alive today, because He planned it. I am here writing this blog to you on His schedule. I have and will experience trials and joys over the course of my lifetime all because God has approved what will occur and when it will occur in my life.

Yes, I am the recipient of His grace to LIVE. And in this life, I am called to live wisely and for His glory. Sure, I could choose to disobey His purpose.  I could separate myself from Him with sin.  I could choose to reject and deny Him as a holy, perfect God.  But that doesn't mean He isn't God.  No, my choice will not change the fact that He knows what will occur and will use it to be glorified and honored. My choice will not change His ultimate headship or plan.  For every moment belongs to Him, and He will use my obedience (or disobedience) to serve His kingdom.  All His creation will follow His supreme rule.  That just makes sense, doesn't it?  For what kind of King would set up a kingdom He couldn't ultimately rule?  What kind of Potter does not mold His clay into His planned vision?  So, whether mankind accepts their Maker or not... God will still be God, folks!  And we don't function properly without Him!

So, every second we are granted life ultimately belongs to the Creator of all time and space and will be used for His holy purpose. Fortunately, He is a good and just King and will wisely advance His kingdom while blessing those who love and follow His ways.  Ultimately, there will be no life without God. We cannot exist without His presence.  When I consider all this, I always think, "How great is our Almighty Father in Heaven!?  WOW! I cannot fathom His omnipotence and omniscience!  WOW WOW WOW!!!"  For despite our decision to love or hate the One who must be praised...  His love for us is unmeasurable!  In fact, He loves us more than Himself... for He sent His only Son to secure us a place in His home... we are offered everlasting life in His presence!  He lovingly gives Himself (for He is the gift of LIFE) to every person on earth, and will continue to do so until the end of days. All God desires is to be close and intimate with mankind. All God longs for is our complete devotion and affection!  All God wants is for us to enjoy the very best He could possibly offer - Himself!  He knows that there is nothing better for us than His goodness and blessing.  Yes, all God planned for our lifetime... for our eternity... is His true love!  All God has given is ALL God, ladies... ALL GOD!

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in - behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:1-16)

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. (1 John 4:9)

Once we realize God's goodness and look at "time" in terms of being completely connected and completely devoted to Him, the limitations of earthly moments become cloudy and irrelevant... only HE becomes clear and worthwhile.  Only HE proves important.  I've learned that when I focus on His presence and the authority He holds, the past and future do not seem to be such a concern. The details are more for Him to work out.  For He is my refuge and strength.  He is an ever-present help in times of trouble.  And no past mistake or experience can separate me from His love. No deliberation or worry over my own comfort, plans, or any future worldly event or earthly outcome could overshadow the glory He has in store for those who love and seek after Him. No, when I surrender my life to the loving presence of my Master, He is all that matters. Death does not hold it's sting. Sin cannot enslave me in defeat. For all my life... all my time... all my eternity is safe in His capable hands. No hour will pass if He has not sanctioned it.  No moment is without His rule.

Whatever HAS happened and whatever WILL happen are not as important as WHO we place our trust in... WHO is in control... WHO is the same yesterday, today and forever! No, what is most important is the NOW of Jesus. He is all that we need. He is WHO we must rest our faith upon. He is WHO we must follow... no matter what. All seasons belong to Him. All time is His.  So, the time is NOW to seek His presence.  The time is NOW to know your God!

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah. (Psalm 62:8)

The death of Chloe made me wonder what echos my own life will produce in the halls of God's kingdom. It made me consider the "now" of my time on this planet, and the urgency of God's presence in my day. I am certain that this is definitely the reason God gave me Psalm 118:24 as DW's main verse. For today is without question the day that He has made. This is indeed the time that I should live rejoicing and glad.  Why?  Because my God has loved me enough to grant me freedom from sin and eternity in His great presence!  This is the day to honor His headship as King and praise Him for His sovereign rule, His holy and righteous glory, His perfect purpose and infinite love.  Friends, the time is NOW to live praising, seeking, worshipping Jesus. This is the day!

Will you join me and live to please the King of kings with complete devotion?  Will you bask in His presence?  Will you fixate your eyes on the joy of knowing how great and far and wide and deep His love really is?  For your life is really nothing without His LIFE.  Your time is really useless without His presence.  We must always remind ourselves that our time on earth is not about what we want or get or experience.  No, the blessing now and forevermore is in WHO we serve.  The joy is in WHO has saved us. The glory is in WHO we place all our trust. HE IS WORTHY... and we are His! WOO HOO! 

Seek Him.  Hunger for Him.  Do anything and everything you can to BE WITH HIM NOW!  Your very life depends upon your King NOW!  The time to rejoice and know Jesus with all your heart, soul and mind is NOW!  Live it!  Claim it!  TODAY IS THE DAY!  THE TIME IS NOW!

Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

turn that cheek & harvest righteousness & peace

As I continue to put myself "out there" for The Devoted Woman, I find that Satan has ordered a full-on personal assault against me in opposition against our ministry. Because of this, I have grown accustom to people (and organizations) attacking my character in some form or another. I receive emails, letters and posts just about every day criticizing and questioning my actions, my beliefs, my family, my choices, my past, my appearance, my openness, my privacy, my likes, my dislikes, how I worded something, how I didn't word something... even my dog (ha ha - really!). The saddest comments are the nasty and judgmental slams that emerge from those who claim to be fellow Christians. Strangely enough, they don't want me to share how God is the first priority in my life as frequently as I do. Wait... what? Of this request, I am always amazed.

Thankfully, I have learned that at the center of such cruelty roars an enemy ready to attack by attempting to shame me and silence my voice for Jesus. The Lord has shown me that it is not actually "me" that Satan is after... but God Himself. Believe me when I tell you, learning to praise Jesus name - while others are determined to drag your own name through the mud because you praise Jesus name - has been a very difficult but necessary lesson for me to grow closer and more reliant upon my King. It has allowed me to frequently assess my heart's desire to please and seek my Savior... and ONLY my Savior. For this, I am grateful and content in my position to serve and trust Him alone.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)

Shame is something we all experience when we have been declared deficient in some way by either ourselves or by others. Whether a result of our own sin or a result of someone else's abuse, we must all be prepared to deal with shame as a very real component in our lives. The key, of course, is to deal with it biblically. For if left unchecked, shame is capable of leaving any one of us paralyzed and ineffective to live fully in Christ and share His message of grace and redemption.

When our shame is the result of our own wrong doing, God uses our guilt to motivate us to seek reconciliation with Him (and others) through confessing our sin. Then we are able to thankfully move forward in His forgiveness and grace. However, when our shame exists due to someone else's abuse or wrongful accusation, it seems more difficult to overcome because we have done no wrong. When this occurs, Jesus gives us the answer in how to respond to shame that is clearly the result of someone else's sin against God.

When Christ was hung for dead on the cross, He was sentenced as a criminal and put to shame by all mankind. He was humiliated publicly and cruelly forsaken by most of His followers. He was declared deficient. However, by His own actions, Jesus shows us that when such shame occurs, we are to endure the hardship in His name and scorn the shame.

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

God wants us to spend very little time reflecting on shame when someone else has wronged us. For dwelling on such shame can stifle our spiritual growth. Rather, we are to focus on something more important than the wrongful humiliation directed against us at the hand of another... we are to focus on God's kingdom and His glory! Instead of allowing our anger to fester over our treatment... instead of repeatedly highlighting our abuse, Christ teaches us that we are to respond in a way that glorifies The Father. We are to love our accusers, our tormentors, our abusers while standing strong against their sin. We are to love them and glorify God. This is what Jesus did. He scorned the shame of the cross... He despised it... He stood against the sin of those against Him. But then, He spoke up in love for the sake of those causing His pain. He cried out to the Almighty Father, "Forgive them," and loved us in spite of our rebellion.

Mankind spat in the face of the King of kings, and He endured it. Jesus outright chose to love us more than His own life. Because of this, those who believe in Him and follow His way have the promise of eternity!!! This sacrificial discipline is the example we are to follow in our own lives. According to the writer of Hebrews, such discipline will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. "Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. (Hebrews 2:7-13)

Ladies, I cannot possibly know all your situations and circumstances personally, nor can you know mine. However, I do know that many of us have been plagued (in one form or another) with unwarranted shame and cruelty that has been brought on by the assault of another person (or group). Some of us have dealt with childhood abuse. Some of us have been a sexual victim. Some of us have been verbally dragged through the mud and left for dead emotionally. Some of us have been judged unfairly and measured by legalistic hypocrites. No matter what has happened or where our shame has originated from, please hear me on this: We have little control over the circumstances in our lives. However, we are accountable to God in how we respond to the events that affect us. Overcoming anger and bitterness and "turning a cheek" to those who have done us wrong can only be accomplished when we give everything completely over to God, trusting our Heavenly Father to govern all things to work toward His ultimate good.

"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." (Luke 6:27-36)

Let's submit our whole lives over to God's sovereign control - even the deficiencies that others may bring against us. Let's allow Jesus to strengthen our arms and knees to fight past any spiritual enslavement due to anger or emotional bruising. Let's mirror our Savior's way and scorn all shame while banking on our Redeemer's love and protection. Most importantly, in all circumstances, let's share the good news of Heaven until that blessed day when we exhale our last breath and enter into His gates with thanksgiving... into His courts with praise!

Turn that cheek, DW, and harvest His righteousness and peace! He is in control, and one day He will be glorified by the bowing of every knee and the confession of every tongue. Believe it. Share it. Give it. Live it!



Sunday, April 21, 2013

be renewed in His truth!

Revelation 1:18 “I am alive forevermore.”

John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies’”

2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Matthew 6:33 “Seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Psalm 23:1 “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “… give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”

Isaiah 40:11 “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

2 Peter 2:9 “the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment.”

John 15:18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”

Isaiah 14:24: “The LORD of hosts has sworn, saying, ‘Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, And as I have purposed, so it shall stand.’”

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”

Luke 12:7 “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Romans 8:1 “There is, therefore, no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice, and be glad in it.”

Romans 8:29-30 “For those whom God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

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

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

Hebrews 13:5-6 “… God has said, ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’”

Psalm 100:5 “God’s faithfulness endures through all generations.”

2 Timothy 3:1-4 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”

1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

James 4:7-8 “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will near to you.”

2 Timothy 1:12 “He is able to keep what I committed to Him against that day.”
Hebrews 2:18 “Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.”

1 Peter 3:14, 16 “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. … keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, because great is your reward in heaven”

Romans 8:31-34 “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

Psalm 42:5 “O my soul, why are you downcast? Put your hope in God: for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”

Mark 9:24 “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

Ephesians 4:31 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

James 1:19 “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

1 John 4:20 “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Romans 8:1-2 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

John 15:5 [Jesus said] "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

1 Corinthians 14:33 “God is not the author of confusion.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.”

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

Psalm 23:3 “He leads me in paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake.”

1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

2 Corinthians 4:8 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.”

John 3:16 "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.”

John 11:25-26 "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."

Hebrews 2:14-15 “Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”

Romans 15:13 “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.”

Be blessed by your Redeemer, dear believer... FOR HE DOES INDEED REDEEM!!! His promises are reliable and true. So, each day, pray for God's Word to guide you! Meditate on His truth when the problems, worries, and anxieties of life come along. Ask Jesus to take on all your burdens and choose to humbly submit to Him as Lord in your day-to-day living. Remember, the Lord loves you and always wants what is best for you to live fully! Come... flourish in His grace as you seek and embrace His wisdom. Your King cares for YOU! Abide in Him.

XOXOXO! ~Victoria

Monday, April 15, 2013

boston today

Thoughtful prayers and love extended to those traumatically injured today in Boston. Humbled to ask the Holy Spirit to change the hearts and errors of wicked men and begging God to teach me how to forgive like He forgave me of my sins. Trusting God is always in control and choosing to stand firm in his promised hope and peaceful future... All who believe on The Lord Jesus Christ will be restored, renewed, saved forever! I believe in His ability. I believe He is God!

Lord Jesus, come.

christian fiction vs. christian focus

Last night, I was soaking in the tub (a ritual I try to fit in at least once a week). While enjoying the fluffy, warm bubbles around me, I began to pray to God over many different matters concerning DW's outreach. As I waited on the Lord to renew my strength on several matters, the weirdest thing happened... my mind shifted completely and I started plotting out a whole story line for a Christian fiction novel. In less than a minute, I had instantly come up with the name of a heroine, her friends, their adventures, the title of a book, and the biblical lesson to be incorporated between the lines of the story. All I had to do was get out of the tub, grab my laptop and start typing out the first chapter.

But wait... what about praying for DW?

As someone who writes regularly for the sake of sharing Jesus and not a fictional character, I found it strange that this idea surfaced in the midst of my prayer time with the Lord. So before making a move, I began to pray again... this time asking God specifically, "Lord, is this really what you want me to focus on right now?"

Suddenly, I remembered something that had happened at least fifteen years ago. Way back when, I had gone to help out an acquaintance clean and organize her home because her belongings had gotten a little out of hand and she had asked me to come support her as she endeavored to simplify her life. As we cleaned and catalogued her material belongings, she suggested we kick it up a notch and attempt to clean out her bedroom closet (or as she put it, "The Black Hole").

When I walked into her closet, I was absolutely astounded by the hundreds and hundreds of romance novels she had accumulated. I had never seen so many. To be honest, I was more surprised to see these novels in HER closet. This was a woman who regularly proclaimed Jesus as her King, but who was also secretly feeding a sinful appetite for unholy secular material filled with explicit and inappropriate sexual encounters. These fictional books were brimming over with stories of worldly passion and desire... pages and pages of artificial love posing as "romance" marketed to the masses of weak-willed women for consumption to feed their fleshly appetites. "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth." (2 Timothy 3:1-7) In short, these books were fake, unholy wastes of time. These books... these idols... were nothing short of garbage in the eyes of God, and I was happy to see her rid her life of them.

Anyway, as I sat in the tub and remembered this woman's collection of books, I started to pray further about my newly thought up Christian fiction novel. And then the Holy Spirit graciously shared with me this wisdom...

How easy it is for me to become sidetracked from God's plan... to run ahead of Him with my own ideas rather than walk with Him and focus singularly on His ways. The Holy Spirit was showing me that the enemy was trying to stifle my prayers over DW's ministry by sidetracking me with something else "Christian". Something that I could easily put together and produce.

But really, what would my writing a Christian fiction novel produce? A good laugh? A clever plot? A girlie story line with a happy ending that provides a small, general reference to God? Is that what Jesus instructed me to do with my time in Matthew 28? Or did He not call me to go and make disciples of all nations - teaching them to love and know Him first - to obey everything He has commanded? I'm sure I'm going to hear a lot of opinions on this, but I'm also certain Christ would rather use my efforts to produce real fruit rather than 300 pages of nice fluff.

After personally reading many Christian fiction novels, I know that many of them are nice for meeting MY DESIRE to be entertained... and that's about it. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with good, clean entertainment from time-to-time. In fact, I would agree that our world needs to see more wholesome forms of amusement. So, please do not misunderstand me... I do indeed support those who are called to produce quality faith-based materials and productions that point others to seek after Jesus Christ. However, I fear that many women of faith spend their time substituting Christ's Word for a watered down Christian fiction novel... or movie... or conference... or you name it. We have filled our hearts and bookshelves with all sorts of stories, souvenirs and feel-good materials. But what have these items really produced outside of ourselves? And have we bothered to spend the same amount of time (if not more) deeply devoted to knowing the actual Word of God - reading our Bibles, memorizing scripture passages, applying His truth in our daily lives? Also, are we seeking Him prayerfully on behalf of others? Are we boldly sharing His new way to everyone we encounter?

We must be careful, ladies. For just like the romance novels collected in my old acquaintance's closet, these Christian novels (and other materials) can also become garbage in the eyes of our Master if we put their plot before His plan.

I encourage you to assess how frequently you latch onto things that are stamped with the theme of "Christian" that are really produced to entertain YOU rather than to glorify the Name of Jesus Christ. Yes, there are some good materials out there. And no, I am not encouraging you to ban all Christian fiction from your reading library. Just think about it's place in your life. Are these outlets keeping you away from actively pursuing our King's great commission? Have these stories become an artificial substitute that distract you away from knowing and following God's Word?

Please, pray over this matter in your own life. Resolve to seek the Savior FIRST and devote your life to walk with Him and focus intently on His ways! There is no greater treasure... no greater joy... than in the One and only, Christ Jesus. It is worth it to surrender everything over to our blessed Savior. Yes, Lord, we surrender it all. Focus our hearts on You alone.



Saturday, April 13, 2013

a little ditty by Victoria

Once upon a time
Was a tiny little man
From a tiny little town
With a tiny little frown
Once upon a time
Was a tiny little man
Was a tiny little man lost in this world.

Far Far Away
Was a happy little girl
With a happy little song
She would sing, rejoice and twirl
Far Far Away
Was a happy little girl
With a song of love she’d sing around the world.

She sang...

Long Long Ago
Was a man, a God, a King
Was a man with everything
Was a man with love to bring
Long Long Ago
Was a man who was a King
Was a man who was the Savior of the world.

Do, do you know
Do you know Jesus as King?
Do you know the hope He brings?
Are you even listening?
Do, do you know
Do you hear the song I sing?
I will sing about my King to all the world.

Once upon a time
Was a tiny little man
And this man heard a girl sing
Of a King with love to bring
Once upon a time
Did this man turn in his frown
For the cross, a King, a crown not of this world.

Here, here today
Is a happy happy man
With a new song in his heart
And a Bible in his hand
Hear him today
Do you hear the song he sings
He was once a little man lost in this world.

Will, will you know
When your life is said and done
Will you think about this song
When the King who's Kingdom comes
Will, will you know
When the earth is finally gone
Will the Savior recognize you from the world.



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

God's Word is...

Hi all!  I just thought I would share a little bit of what I'm currently studying pertaining to the power of God's Word...

God's Word is (metaphorical descriptions of the Bible)...

A Mirror (Jas 1:23, 24, 25)
It reflects the mind, holiness and righteousness of God and exposes the filthiness of men's sin.

A Seed (1Pe 1:23, Jas 1:18, Mt 13:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23)
Once planted in a good heart, it brings forth life, growth, and fruit.

Water (Ep 5:25,26,27, Ps 42:1 Ps 119:9 Pr 25:25 Is 55:10 He 10:22 Re 22:17)
Like water it is cleansing, quenching, and refreshing.

A Lamp (Ps 119:105, Pr 6:23, 2Pe 1:10)
Light a lamp it shows us where we are, guides us to where we are to go and keeps us from falling off the path.

A Sword (He 4:12, Ep 6:17)
Like a sword it pierces with equal efficacy on sinners, saints, and Satan.

A Precious Metal - Gold (Ps 19:10, Ps 119:127), Silver (Ps 12:6)
Like gold and silver it is precious, beautiful, and highly valued in God's eyes.

Nourishing Food - Milk (1Pe 2:2), Meat (He 5:14KJV), Bread (Mt 4:4, Jn 6:51), Honey (Ps 19:10)
Is is nourishing because of the strength it imparts and the growth it produces in one's Christlikeness.

A Fire (Jer 20:9, Lk 24:32)
Like a fire it is purifying and consuming and bespeaks judgment.

A Hammer (Jer 23:29)
It shatters sinful man's pride and self righteousness.

If you have others, please feel free to share!!!  How wonderful is the Word of our King!!!!

I have a companion, a dear, faithful friend,
A union of blessing that never shall end;
Till Jesus returns with His saints from on high
We'll travel together, my Bible and I. 

Love love love!  And, stay close to Jesus, peeps!



Tuesday, April 9, 2013

a full grasp of half truths

"Creative Theology"... this is the term I heard earlier this week. A term that I've been told I should think about to make The Devoted Woman "more appealing" to my audience. An idea that I have grown accustom to hearing since DW's conception.

I have heard statements like, "Don't talk about witnessing so much. Don't bog the readers down with so much scripture. Don't pray for people who are lost causes. Don't challenge people with such deep topics, for they are busy with life. Don't tell us that God may not answer our prayers our preferred way. Don't tell Christians that they will be persecuted and have to endure trials... etc. etc. etc." Sometimes I wonder if these same individuals have even read DW's mission and statement of faith before joining or "liking" our little group. Furthermore, I wonder if they have taken the time to study the Bible and understand what following Christ looks like. What living for God really involves.

Ladies, there are people out there (in this world... in our churches... even on this website)... people that are not following God - - but they would like you to think they are. I have had conversations with many such folk from month to month and it is disturbing, to say the least. I am more aware today than I have ever been concerning how many women can be distracted and very much deceived by the subtle wickedness they've adopted and allowed in from this world. I am even more frightened by the ones who know better and still choose against God's ways rather than along with His promises... those who specialize in quietly inviting worldly evil into their hearts over the goodness of Jesus.

Outside of those truly seeking after God with all their heart, soul and mind, I have witnessed three scary types of people since starting DW... (1) the wolves in sheep's clothing who masquerade as spiritual leaders but later reveal selfish and sometimes malicious motives, (2) the stagnant excuse-makers who seek ease and comfort while living out their lukewarm lives and serving only when they feel like it, and (3) the weak-willed pushovers who are quick to only point blame on God for their troubles while believing every lie that Satan puts before them OR they maintain a fickle spiritualness by following whatever "moves" their emotional state from one moment to the next. Needless to say, all of the above are not following God... but, unfortunately, they claim to be.

Read some passages of scripture with me. First, check out 2 Peter 2, "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them - bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.... But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish. They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed - an accursed brood!.... These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity--for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."

Now read 2 Timothy 3, "There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.... these men oppose the truth - men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected."

Lastly, let's read 2 Peter 3, "First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen."

The term "theology" literally means the study of God. It is derived from the Greek word "theos" (meaning "God"), and the suffix "ology" from the Greek word "logos" (meaning "theory" or "reasoning"). I am of the opinion that we must continually pray for discernment and be deliberate in our quest to follow our Savior. Creative Theology? No, there is nothing creative about theology - nor should there be. We are to study and obey God's Word so that we can know Him intimately and become more like Him personally. We are to pursue and follow after Him. Period.

I challenge each DW to consider the warnings that both Peter and Paul give in the New Testament letters concerning false teachers, the lukewarm and the weak-willed... the "blackest darkness" is reserved for them and they will be rejected by God. (Yikes - not a place where I want to be!) I further challenge you to continually examine your motives to pursue after Jesus each day. We must seek answers to these very important questions: Do you know God intimately today? Have you meditated on His words today? Have you come to trust His ways today? Are you striving to follow His commands today? Do you seek to be Holy like He is Holy today? Because if you subscribe to what we believe at DW... THIS IS THE DAY to do so!

OR perhaps you'd rather accept the full grasp of half truths that Satan wants you to receive as an adequate "life in Christ"? (A life that you "feel" is a good Christian life - rather than actually taking the time each day to measure your heart according to His inspired, eternal word?) Yep, a full grasp of half truths is what I'd call "Creative Theology"!

Ladies, let's stop settling with sinfulness that God abhors? Let's forego the comforts that turn us away from His blessings? Today, let's take our stand against the devil's schemes and live for Jesus each and every day we draw breath. Fearlessly... boldly... let's seek God daily, and He will show what a perfect life really is by showcasing Jesus! Live in His promised abundance and lose yourself to His ways. I promise, nothing else compares to true LIFE IN CHRIST! Nothing!

Keep looking UP!



Tuesday, April 2, 2013

the new dining room chairs

I love LOVE!

Hey gals. I thought I'd take a second to remind you of the best news...

God is love... LOVE!!! Get this... He is not just someone extending love to us... He IS love!!!

God = Love!

Isn't that WONDERFUL?

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

Equally wonderful is that our loving God is constantly at work - bringing to fruition His perfect, loving plan! And we, as His children, are part of His plan!!! We each have a specific role that nobody else has... nobody in all of earth's history. Every one of us is sooo special and has been given individually unique and specific interests, talents and gifts! Why?... So that we too may constantly be at work (like God) - using the gifts He has blessed us with as an instrumental part to promote LOVE!

And... God has given us His complete Word to teach, rebuke, correct and train us in righteousness! Why?... So that we may grow to become more like Jesus and always be thoroughly equipped to do such GOOD and LOVE our King and each other!

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Isn't that cool?

I love LOVE!!! I love having PURPOSE!!! I love doing GOOD!!! THIS IS AWESOME!

Furthermore, no matter how hard the enemy will try to convince us otherwise, God loves us unconditionally!!! His love is permanent!! Those who believe in Christ need not ever fear God's anger, wrath, or judgement against sin! Why?... Because God directed the punishment for sin onto His own Son, Jesus, who died on the cross for us! God loves us THAT MUCH!!!

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)

God's love does not cancel out His holy requirement of perfection. However, Jesus sacrifice makes it possible for us to be restored to God's eternal family and be in the presence of LOVE forever! When God looks at those who believe in Christ, He only sees Jesus... perfect, sweet Jesus!!!

For He has made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Because of this, God will never be against those who believe in Jesus as Lord! So, we don't ever have to be afraid or worried that God has it out for us, or that God is angry with us, or that God will forget us. No, we can let those false fears go and focus on the joy of following our Redeemer with the full knowledge that God's love for us is FOREVER and UNCHANGING!

And... as believers of Christ, we are blessed to have His Holy Spirit living in our hearts and assuring us that we are His children. We are blessed that we can draw close to Him by reading and studying His Word and by asking Him to show Himself to us. We can know God personally and have the most intimate, loving relationship with our Creator!!! He has assured us that if we seek Him with all our hearts, we will surely find Him and know Him! How incredible that we can personally KNOW the One who created EVERYTHING! (Think about that... from the stars in the heavens down to the smallest of microbes... God made it all by just speaking. With that in mind, think about this... what He desires most is to relate with you and me intimately!!! Wow, Lord... what am I that you are mindful of me?... See Psalm 8.)

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)

Ladies, we are soooo blessed to have such a loving Creator!!! I don't know about you... but my loving God is exciting to me!!! His glory makes me want to hug EVERYONE and share LOVE to all the world!!! WOO HOO!!! He is soooo WONDERFUL, MARVELOUS, MIGHTY, EVERLASTING!!! He is ALL that matters!

Take my money. Take my home. Take my family. Take my life. Just let me be with my JESUS! He is my Lord! Take away the air I breathe and drag me through garbage if you must... but gracious Father, stay with me always. You are my dearest friend, Holy Spirit! You are LOVE, Almighty King! Praise Your Holy Name FOREVER!!!

God = Love!

I love LOVE!!! How about you?



Monday, April 1, 2013

four little magnets

In my kitchen, the door of our icebox is covered with various sizes of magnets. We use them to post upcoming family events, announcements and reminders. They are the kind of magnets, I'm sure, that almost every home is accustom, but whose family never thinks twice about. It's a simple thing, really. They do their job... stick to the refrigerator... hold things ups.... suit their purpose.

But lately, I have taken notice to a set of four 2x2 inch magnets amongst our extensive magnet population. It's funny. I actually remember when these magnets were received as part of a gift given to Momba from my dear, Aunt Ruthie. It is likely that Ruthie thought of them as that perfect "extra something" to include with her package. She no doubt was taken with how lovely they appeared... filled with colorful, inspiring pictures and graced with uplifting statements and scripture verses. They read the following four statements:

"Shine On! The World Needs Your Beautiful Light!"
Let Your Light Shine ~Matthew 5:16

"You Can Do More Than You Can Imagine!"
I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Gives Me Strength ~Philippians 4:13

"It's A Marathon, Not A Sprint!"
Let Us Run With Perseverance The Race Set Before Us ~ Hebrews 12:1

"You Are Part Of God's Plan And Purpose!"

For Surely I Know The Plans I Have For You, Says The Lord,
To Give You A Future With Hope ~ Jeremiah 29:11

It is humbling and encouraging to think that the sum of these four magnets have defined exactly how my outlook on life should be. It's true. I have been created for God's plan. He does have a purpose for me. And above anyone else, He surely knows those plans! I can do anything imaginable with His strength. I must always have eternity in my mind... setting a consistent pace and trusting that the path ahead of me is exactly what God expected. Lastly, I need to let my light shine. I need to show others that Jesus is MY God. He is MY Savior. My light has a voice for Him!

I find it ironic that these four magnets are the most difficult magnets to remove from my refrigerator. Why?... Because their magnetization is so strong that they just won't come off without a serious struggle. Equally, I know I need to attach myself to Jesus and cling onto Him - NEVER LETTING GO! I may be one of many magnets on this icebox, but I plan to be the one magnet that hangs on and never comes off!!! No amount of struggle will separate me from the love of my Savior. I will do the job He gave me... I will stick to Him at all costs.... I will hold onto His promises... and I will suit my purpose. Just as these four magnets have encouraged me to seek God in my walk, I want to encourage others to shine their lights and keep on!

Isn't it wonderful how the Holy Spirit can use just four little kitchen magnets to keep our eyes focused on eternity? Four little magnets = BLESSINGS!

Thank you, Lord. (Smile)



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