Thursday, February 26, 2015

this is the day to worship the King

It is a day of mourning and liberation when we realize that we are not perfect. We do not have all the right answers.  We are broken and in need of Divine repair.

It is a day of sacrifice and freedom when we give up our individual ideologies and surrender to the One who is perfect.  The One who has all the right answers.  The One who repairs, restores, redeems, and revives.

This is the day to rejoice and be glad in that One.
This is the day to worship the King.

Thank you so much, Jesus.

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. (1 Chronicles 29:11)

Blessings and LOVE!


© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

as you travel another day toward Heaven

Today I was reminded of the time I was traveling back to our home in Chicago from Houston. It was only a few weeks before the holidays, and Chuck and I were racing through the airport to check in for our flight. On this particular trip, I had packed heavier than usual. I brought a large suitcase and a small laptop case to roll around, and planned to check the large piece of luggage to make moving around easier. Like most people, Chuck and I decided to use the airport escalator to easily get to our ticketing gate. However, for some reason while riding up the escalator I lost grasp of my large suitcase, and (to my horror) watched it tumble down the moving stairs. Aghhhh! As I tried to chase after it, my laptop case also then slipped from my fingers and fell ten steps below. Immediately I panicked. How on earth would I retrieve my bags? I was in no physical shape to challenge a moving conveyor and poor Chuck was in front of me with his own two cases to manage. I felt like I was living out a comedy scene from an old sitcom. Except this wasn't funny. My laptop could be broken. My passport could be stolen. Lord, help!

Thankfully, out of nowhere, who I now like to refer to as "Airport Man" (an mature gentleman wearing a grey Houston sweatshirt) appeared at the bottom of the escalator. He carried no bags. He held no ticket. Assessing the situation, Airport Man grabbed my two suitcases and yelled up, "Don't worry. I've got em'." Relieved, I watched him smile directly at me as he rode up the moving steps. Tearfully, I began to thank him incessantly. When he reached the top of the stairs, I threw my arms around him as he tried to hand both cases to my husband to stack and better manage.

"Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!!!" I squealed.

Airport Man laughed and smiled at me with kind eyes, and then said to Chuck in a deep Texas draw, "You've got your hands full being married to this one, huh?"

Chuck joked, "You have no idea."

I continued thanking Airport Man profusely until Chuck finally shook his hand and then dragged me away to check our large luggage at the counter. Later, we boarded our flight and settled in for the two hour long trip. It was then that I reminisced at how crazy-thankful I had reacted toward Airport Man's rescue. He had come out of nowhere and brought a joyful outcome to my klutzy mishap. Airport Man was indeed a good Samaritan who showed up when I needed help the most on that particular travel day.

While remembering all this today, the still small voice in my head prodded, "Victoria, do you appreciate the Lord your God with the same fervor that you expressed to Airport Man? Do you display the same kind of gratitude toward Jesus for saving you? For Christ has taken on all your heavy burdens. He has redeemed you from every klutzy mishap of sin and has offered to take care of each detail in your life. The Lord wants you to know His relief as you step onward toward His kingdom. He wants you to to squeal with delight when you consider Him. His greatness commands incessant thankfulness and admiration. His glory is to be made known!

Ladies, what a wonderful reminder from God! What an important thought to consider. For if we are not uplifting the mighty Name above all other names, then how are we spending our time? Really, how grateful do we outwardly thank and acknowledge God's heroism?

Just something to consider as you travel another day toward Heaven. Yes, head home to your King with praise and admiration. Worship with a new song, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Jesus! I love you! I love you! I love YOU!"



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Saturday, February 21, 2015

the cross changed everything

Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial (Matthew 26:31-35)
Then Jesus told them, "This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: "I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee."

Peter replied, "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will."

"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times."

But Peter declared, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the other disciples said the same.

Jesus Deserted By His Disciples, Arrested and Judged Before the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:55-64)
At that time Jesus said to the crowd, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled."

Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome. The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward and declared, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.' "

Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God."

"Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

Peter Denies Being Associated With Christ (Matthew 26:69-75)
Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. "You also were with Jesus of Galilee," she said. But he denied it before them all. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said.

Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth." He denied it again, with an oath: "I don't know the man!"

After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, "Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away." Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, "I don't know the man!"

Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times."

And he went outside and wept bitterly.

It is hard to accept the choices made (above) by Jesus' disciples. His closest followers... his friends and confidants... they all panicked, betrayed and abandoned their Messiah at His greatest hour. Despite three years of watching Jesus perform unbelievable miracles, speaking tremendous truth, and ministering to those that needed Him the most... these men struggled with the fear and the acceptance of men's opinions over God's absoluteness. So much so, that when the chips were really down and their lives looked bleak and physically threatening... when their situation was filled with gloom and hopelessness... they fled, they lied, they cursed, they deserted. They denied and ran away from the only ONE that promised them everlasting hope.

I too have been there. I have sworn my loyalty over to Christ with full resolve to do what is right only to later drop the ball when my fear entered the scene. I too have failed my Master by appearing to approve the sinful agenda of unbelievers. I have avoided speaking up in His name because I was worried about what someone might think of me... how much pain it would cause me to endure. But what is the worst that could really happen? What would people think?... that I love the Lord?... that I support and follow my Holy Creator's good plan? Sure, some would call me a fool. Some would tell me I'm banking on a fairy tale. Some may even try to hurt me. But in my heart, I know the truth. I know that Jesus came to earth, died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sin, and overcame death to offer me eternal security. I know it. So why do I conform to please the opinions of men? Why do I give into the fear of what's temporary when I am promised eternal love, security and peace?

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

I have learned that to succeed in my faith, I must continue to focus on Jesus and what His resurrection really means. For the cross changed everything. It made all the difference. Because of Christ, I am now SAVED. Saved from losing. Saved from dying. Saved from evil. Saved from separation. SAVED! Because of Jesus, I am REDEEMED! Do you know what that means? It means I have been bought back - or even better, brought back to life. I have been recovered from the captivity of sin and restored in His name. I am FREE! FREE PEOPLE!!!

When I keep my focus on Jesus, and all that He has done to rescue me from spiritual death, my life is no longer clouded or chained down by man's corruption or Satan's threats. During hard times and moments of insecurity, I know that the enemy works overtime trying to convince me that God isn't enough. He whispers that the love of Jesus cannot possibly exist to the extent of God's promises. I must reject such lies. This is when looking to Christ and His resurrection is most critical. Ladies, we must know His words of assurance and confess them with our own mouths over and over and over again. This is how we drive away fear. This is how we avoid corruption. This is how we ward off the enemy and succeed in our faith.

Take a look through Romans 8 and see how secure we are as followers of Jesus Christ. "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

There is victory in these truths. Victory over our own fear and nervousness. VICTORY! We need not be ashamed of the gospel. We need not betray our Master or worry about what sinful men may think of us. No! We should give GLORY! Glory to our King! When this victory is realized and Jesus resurrection and grace becomes our only focus... things change. Courage is born. Freedom is present. We adopt His eternal eyes. Our hearts are renewed with hope. And we know that NOTHING can separate us from His love.

Yes, the cross changed everything! Suddenly, what once frightened us can no longer chain us down in fear. What once threatened us can no longer harm our eternal future. When we focus on all that Jesus has done for us... when we keep our eyes on His grace and the price He paid for us to live... we are able and willing to do ANYTHING in His name!

Oh what a difference when Jesus' disciples realized this truth!!! When they saw the resurrected Savior stand before them, eat with them, talk with them, love them.... they knew the truth! He had indeed overcome death! He could SAVE their lost hearts from this decaying, infected world. No longer would any form of temporary pain produced from this earth overshadow the glory promised them. They knew that they were FREE... destined to live forever in His Heavenly presence! NOTHING could separate them from God ever again! They believed it wholeheartedly and lived the rest of their days on earth sharing it to others! In fact, they willingly died to share this news to the world! Why? Because Christ's love and forgiveness changed everything! The cross changed EVERYTHING!

These same men that once deserted and ran from the Savior gave up their lives to deliver His message. You see, once the truth of Jesus' resurrection was understood, it became the most important news for the disciples to share with others - no matter how high the cost. For nothing costs more than the price our Savior paid with His own blood.

So what happened to these men? Well, Matthew suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound. Mark died in Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead. Luke was hung in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost. John faced martyrdom when he was boiled in a huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome and later was imprisoned for his faith. Peter was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross, according to church tradition because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died. James the Just, the leader of the church in Jerusalem, was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller's club. (This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation.) James the Greater, a son of Zebedee, was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian. Bartholomew, also know as Nathanael, was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed to our Lord in present day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia when he was flayed to death by a whip. Andrew was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: "I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it." He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired. The apostle Thomas was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the subcontinent. Jude, the brother of Jesus, was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. Matthias, the apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded. Barnabas, one of the group of seventy disciples who preached throughout Italy and Cyprus, was stoned to death at Salonica. And the apostle Paul was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67.

Yes, these same men that rejected Jesus and ran away, later died for the sake of the cross... for the sake of His grace! That is how much God can change us! These men now live in glory with many crowns! Today, they stand in the presence of The Almighty and enjoy all the benefits of His kingdom. Hallelujah! Because of Christ's loving sacrifice, these brave men were able to focus past fear and martyrdom and faithfully walk through unthinkable circumstances and pain... and they walked directly into the arms of their great Comforter and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

So, when you consider all this as you sit in front of your computer today... when you think about the hardships that you currently face and the fears and pressures that you are dealing with... please stop and seriously choose how you will accept or deny the promise of your Savior. Will you refuse His word, forgetting what He has sacrificed in order to save you? Or will you stand firm... humble... unashamed... and with a renewed faith to see life through? Remember, HE IS ABLE TO SEE YOU THROUGH! Nothing can separate you from His love and eternal protection! Nothing can overshadow His grace.

I encourage you to let go of your fears and regrets. I encourage you to leave your chains of disbelief aside. I encourage you to look past your present trials. See eternity. See His glory. Seek after His gospel of righteousness and live by it in faith, ladies. Root yourself in His promises and place your courage in His strength. Share His message to anyone who will listen. And always remember, the cross changed everything! Jesus changed everything!!! Stop denying and running away from the only ONE that has promised you everlasting hope. Receive His gift. Live and be free in Jesus Holy Holy Holy Name!!!

He who has ears, let them hear. (Matthew 11:15)

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. (Colossians 2:6-7)

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." (Romans 1:16-17)

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Friday, February 20, 2015


Lately, God has been challenging me with a prideful matter: taking credit. Of recent, there seems to be a theme of situations that have come up where either I, or someone I love, have not been acknowledged for our efforts... or worse, have been misrepresented, undermined, and even belittled. Not always intentionally, mind you. But nonetheless, it has happened. Internally, I know that truth and fairness can easily be distorted in this corrupt world, but such injustices leave me feeling defensive and... well, a bit slighted.  But why?  What do I have to prove?

It's especially interesting when this happens because my former Human Resources Management side would always encourage the push and promotion of one's accomplishments and abilities - - taking credit when and where credit is due, all for the sake of advancement. Glass ceilings and tough competition are quite real, and, as experience has shown so many, you really can't get ahead if you don't put yourself center stage and sing your own praises... or can you?

God has really been challenging me to reconsider this mindset.  To reflect on what taking credit really means and why so many of us, especially women, feel the need to defend ourselves to our husbands, our families, our friends, our employers, and our co-workers in order to receive it.  I think it all goes back to the submission thing, which I personally seem to wrestle with the Lord on a daily basis. We want to be recognized and treated fairly.  We want to be heard, and seen, and acknowledged, and respected.  However, when we focus on our own attention, we are robbing the attention away from Jesus.  For doesn't all credit belong to The Lord?  Are we not to submit everything unto Him?  And in doing this, doesn't He promise to fight for our honor?  Yes.  All we need to be is still... always relaxed in His peace and looking toward His glory.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. (Exodus 14:14)

The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes.  (Deuteronomy 1:30)

Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you. (Deuteronomy 3:22)

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:5b-7)

Instead of casting all my anxiety upon the Lord, I frequently dispute with Him over the matter of credit, crying out, "Wait a minute, Lord!!!... I knew that answer!  I told that joke! I had that brilliant idea! I accomplished that incredible task! I overcame that huge obstacle! Not them!!! Me! MEEEE!"  (Sigh.  I know.  I see the big "MEEEE" with those four blinding "E's"trailing like a comet in the sky...  Forgive me, Father.  All glory is Yours forever.)

But back to this issue.  What is credit?  Credit is centered around a loan.  Something temporarily entrusted that must later be restored, replaced and/or returned.  And what is usually credited?  Well... wealth, honor, trustworthiness, time.  These are things deferred with credit.  These are benefits entrusted to us by the King of all things.  Our humor... a benefit.  Our creativity... a benefit.  Our abilities... a benefit.  Our LIFE... a benefit!  How easy it is to forget that we are not the Creator.  We are merely His creatures.  How conveniently we loose sight of the fact that every benefit, every moment, belongs ultimately to Him and thus, should be directed toward His honor... His glory.  In this life, we are merely entrusted the time He grants, the wealth He owns, the acknowledgement He is due.  Yes, the true reality is this:  Every credit belongs to the Lord!  All kudos and brownie points will be repaid to Him... and only Him!

So, why fight so hard to receive that all-important pat on the back?  Why do we insist on being recognized rather than point all recognition upward toward Jesus?  Again, the matter is pride-based.  Rather than utilize our spiritually educational credit hours to learn as much as we can from our Heavenly Teacher, we are greedy for His rewards and hunger for a premature glory that, in fact, is not our property to take.  As such, we take His credit.  We become identity thieves to the Savior's Name and unfairly, selfishly, choose to discredit the rightful owner of all wealth, all honor, all trustworthiness, all time.  Folks, that is sin.  That is idolizing ourselves.  That is selfish, ugly, unhealthy pride.

However, no matter how hard mankind may try to distort the truth and take credit for things that are not his to claim, the reality of God's Kingdom is this: Nobody can short-change the King of kings for He will not share His glory with another!

I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. (Isaiah 42:8)

The good news is, in Jesus Name, prideful habits can be remedied.  Instead of taking credit, we can learn the new habit of humility and return all glory back to our deserving Creator.  Claiming His holiness, we can surrender our hearts and well being over to the generous Savior who promises us unmeasurable love in His Word.  This is important.  In fact, this is our purpose for living and should be our #1 goal: Give God Glory! For God created us to love and worship Him.  He instructs us to fear and obey His perfect Law so that we might intimately know His Way.  He is the focus.  He alone is always the reward.  This is a big shift in thinking when it comes to receiving the rewards of credit.  But do not worry about being short-changed... for Jesus never leaves us with less.  In Him, He promises us unmatched joy.  He offers us the best life imaginable and a glorious future in His abundance!  I don't know about you, but I want to live THAT life!  I want to fulfill what I was created to do and enjoy the intimate presence of the Most High God more than I want to steal His credit!  Yes, I prefer His favor and friendship more than the attention of others!  For He is GOD!  He is everything!!!

If you agree, I pray that you will join me today (and every day) with a heart of humility and surrender... giving the Lord your own honor to manage and use for His good.  Yes, this is the day to give Jesus the glory.  Give all credit back to the King who rightfully owns and deserves every praise!  Bow down and worship the God from whom all blessings flow... and be thankful for every one of His benefits!

Be still, Believers... always looking to Him!  Always honoring His Name!

LOVE LOVE LOVE in Jesus Name!


© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, February 19, 2015



Clean eating.  Clean water.  Clean air.  Clean body.
Clean home.  Clean living.  Clean energy.  Clean environment.
Clean speech.  Clean entertainment.  Clean __________ (fill in the blank.)

We all desire to be clean.


Clean is good for us!

Clean is freedom.

Clean is simple.
Clean is healthy.
And, in life, clean is always needed to live fully and well.

There is nothing about being clean that isn't good.
We all know this.
In fact, our society formalizes summits, collaborates, and funds all sorts of efforts in support of CLEAN.  Why?  Because cleanliness brings purity.  And, purity produces perfection... holiness.

There is nothing more refreshing than a clean slate.
There is nothing more rewarding than a clean life.
To be clean means to be free of pollution, stain, or blemish.  To be fresh and wholesome.
To be new.
And we love us some NEW and IMPROVED, don't we?!!!

But how, in this soiled, sinful world, can mankind really be CLEAN?  Clearly, we are all contaminated in some form or another.  We are flawed, imperfect, broken, dirty.  Still, we wash, and vacuum, and dust, and order... We scrub, and sanitize, and filter filter filter.  Until one day, we are so overwhelmed by it all that we give in.  Clean is too big for us.  It is impossible to fully achieve and regularly maintain on our own.  So, we simply give up and sell out - deciding that all things unfiltered, unadulterated, and unholy are easier and have proven to gain us attention.  A different kind of attention, mind you.  Like an unruly, desperate child, we reach for any form of acknowledgement and spiral downward into all things dysfunctional.  It is then that our campaigns turn ugly.  Our environments deteriorate.  Our lives build up clutter.  Our values become gray.  Our words get sloppy, our attitudes get lazy, and our frames get weak.  In short, when we live unclean our whole health, and the health of others, suffers.

Oh Lord, we are unable to be CLEAN.
We need Your help.
We need Your Spirit to restore us, renew us, and reward us in Your everlasting holiness!!!

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 
(Psalm 51:10-12)


Clean is good for us!
Clean is freedom.
Clean is always needed to live fully and well.
There is nothing about being clean that isn't good.
Because God is good.

We can become His NEW.
We can, in Christ, be free, be CLEAN... forever!!!

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:1-12)



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

you are His wife, right?

"Come with me..." my husband said yesterday.

“Vic, come with me to Corpus Christi this week.  You can help me!  You can drive the car while I make phone calls and catch up on work that needs to be done."

Silently, I considered Chuck’s request.  I had already scheduled a lot to do this week at home, and a few days in Corpus would throw off my well laid out plans. But I always love to be with my sweetie.  And, I really wanted to be of help to him.  I desperately desire to be instrumental toward the success of his daily life.  After all, I am his wife, right?   

Hmm.  What to do?  My plans or his?

“Sure, honey!”  I committed myself.  For all I could think of was my devotion: my devotion to Chuck, and even greater, my devotion to Jesus.  I remembered Christ bidding His disciples in Matthew 4 to come and follow Him.  No questions.  No explanations.  No drawn out discussions or analysis.  Just get up and go wherever the Messiah goes.  Follow the Savior's wise lead.  Willingly, obediently, join Him and participate in doing real good and sharing real truth... all in His Holy Name.  Just follow Him.

Jesus simply proposed that the disciples get up and join Him.  So what did they do?  They immediately left their livelihood, their property, their families, their friends.  They left everything aside and decided to accompany the Lord.  And from that humble, obedient decision, what did they witness?  I'll tell you!  They were provided a front row seat to God's miraculous, glorious, perfect, holy work.  Mmmmm.  God at work… WOW, what a honor!!!  For God is always great at work, isn’t He?  God is always accomplishing, always healing, always providing, always doing His good!  God ALWAYS was, is, and is to come…  So, to be invited to stand next to Jesus, God with us, as He did His work in real time… whoa!  That would truly be the coolest, most remarkable thing ever, wouldn’t it?  That would be life-changing!

Think about it.  If you could faithfully stand next to God this hour, and watch Him as He sovereignly manages all large and small matters of LIFE… if you could watch Him “be” that magnificent God of the whole entire universe… if you could physically see Him love, and heal, and restore others, like only He can do… WOW!  How might that change your path?  What would your focus become?  Would your goals be different?  Would your priorities change?  In fact, wouldn’t you want to drop everything else to become a useful, valuable part of His impressive, everlasting, restorative kingdom?  Wouldn't you desire to be an active, helpful participant to His glorious work?  Or would you continue to selfishly choose your own well laid out plans?  Honestly, what do you really have going on that is more important than His loving work?

The answer is nothing.
Nothing trumps the Lord’s call.
Nothing matters more.
Nothing is greater, or better, or more important than what Jesus has asked of His beloved.
We are to join Him in the doing... in the living... in the NOW of His work!
After all, we are His bride, aren’t we?

“Come with Me,”  He says.
“Come abide.  Come rest.  Come claim victory.  Come love… all in My Name.”
“Yes, come share My good, good news to all the world!”

What to do?
My plans, or His?
My life, or His?
My way, or His?

I type these thoughts from a dark lab room at a small research university in Corpus Christi.  Here I sit, deliberately being quiet, because in the room next to me my husband is busy teaching an eager classroom of students on how to use Phased Array equipment through real-life application.  (I don’t even know what importance Phased Array equipment brings to this world, but Chuck's audience does… and they are hungry to hear all they can about it!)  Yes, our early commute to get to this location was quite taxing for me as I didn’t get much sleep the night before and my physical handicaps remain difficult.  And sure, the food and accommodations in this place are underwhelming, to say the least.  Of course, all this has kept me away from my household of scheduled activities and personal to do's.  Even the very chair I find myself sitting in right now is quite dirty and uncomfortable.  But here I sit overlooking every annoyance and obstacle... joyful in today!  I am content with my husband.  I am thankful for this time, this place, the food, the accommodations, and especially the people.  Mostly, I am thankful to be here beside my Love.  Why?  Because I have learned that every flower, every lasting vine, must be deliberate to stretch out it's branches to get through the dirt in order to grow beautifully in the splendor of the sunshine above.  My husband asked me to join him here and help him accomplish this work, at this time, in this place... and that is precisely what I intend to do!  There is nothing better than following God's everlasting purpose, folks!  So, stretch out those branches and bloom!

“Come with Me,”  Jesus says.
“Come abide.  Come rest.  Come claim victory.  Come love… all in My Name!”
"Yes, come share My good, good news to all the world!”

What to do?
Your plans, or His?
Your life, or His?
Your way, or His?

Who is more important than all livelihood, all property, all family, all friends?
Whose Name do you claim?
Whose household do you represent?
Really, who holds your full devotion?

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)

For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:2)

Are you growing in the glory of the Son, believers?  Are you walking in step with the Savior and participating in His most important work which He has commanded you to do?  Are you helping Him as a loyal, devoted helpmate?  Are you desperately desiring to be instrumental to the success of your Husband's daily LIFE?

After all, you are His wife, right?



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Saturday, February 14, 2015

a study in Job: a higher perspective of victory! (part 9)

After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer.

After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.

The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.
After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years. (Job 42:7-17)

Through all of Job's trials, God remains faithful to see Job through and uses him for His purpose. He blesses this beaten down man more abundantly than he could have ever imagined! And not only does God bless Job, but he extends blessings onto his family as well as his friends. Friends, mind you, that in the beginning were not abiding in the complete ways of the Lord as they should. But through Job's trial, not only does Job learn and grow, but his friends and family are also brought back into alignment with God and are blessed.

Isn't that just like God? Isn't it just like Him to use one broken but willing person to influence many who are still struggling and in bondage? Of course it is. Look at Abraham. Look at Moses. Look at David. Look at Paul. All were broken down in one way or another by sinful pride and human trouble. However, all were still willing to love and obey their Master first. They feared more the thought of being without God over any reality of endured hardship. They loved the promise of their Messiah more than the false securities offered by the enemy.

Job was no different. Sure, he wasn't perfect. He even came to a point where he not only questioned God "why" things were happening to him, but he also made his sufferings a means for prideful attention and drama. But deep down, God knew Job was a man who feared Him and shunned evil. So, to get Job's attention, God used another random "big-Godder" person to set Job straight in his thinking: Elihu. Upon hearing sound wisdom from Elihu, Job saw past the popular worldly point of view, and took in God's higher ways rather than remain trapped in his own storm of sorrow.

The book of Job carries an interesting theme, doesn't it? It is the theme of one person standing firm in the secure love and sovereignty of the Almighty King so that our Master's holy domino effect of truth can penetrate others in need of sound wisdom and comfort. It is the promise that nothing is bigger than the Lord, and with our eyes focused on Him, every believer can come out ahead of all adversity and continue to be blessed while also choosing to be a blessing! We are to support and uplift one another in Jesus always. No matter what we face in this life, we are to remain close to His truths as we first seek the light of His Word through the worst and darkest of days.

What happens when Christians live like this? What happens when God's people believe their King first and love each other through the worst this sinful earth can dish out? I'll tell you what happens... we prevail! We prevail in Jesus Name! We prevail in Jesus Name and He blesses us! We prevail in Jesus Name and He blesses us and exposes His glorious plan of redemption through our very lives so that we may be a benefit to others! We become living testimonies of the Lord Almighty's grace! What an awesome honor to endure hardship for the purpose of becoming ambassadors to His kingdom. God uses us as breathing instruments who promote His salvation so that others may learn His Way and also be given the opportunity to do what is right and pleasing and good. And what is the result? A new Way. A higher perspective. A new life with an eternal family willing to LOVE God and each other no matter what. Is this how you are living today? If not, why not? Are you not a child of the King of kings? Yes? Then believe and rejoice! Nothing is greater than our God... NOTHING!

The message of Job is God's message of peace through the storm by Way of Christ Jesus. It is a promise that we can overcome the corrupt sin and horrible sufferings of this world by willingly trusting our Savior through every difficult trial that comes. Remember, our Creator oversees all things and has graciously offered to guide His people through every second of time. Will you follow His guidance? Oh, I hope so. For His plan leads to LIFE!

Ladies, every difficult experience is intended to lead us into a new level of understanding through lessons uniquely designed by our perfect Teacher. Why? So that we may retain His holiness in our lives and spread His love to others in need of His redemption. God always wins. So, let's allow Him to use us as broken but willing instruments that showcase His victory rather than remain stumbling blocks for Satan's sinful problem! That ole' enemy won't last, you know. He has no authority over our King and will be thrown away with all trash of unholiness. So stand firm... stand soundly in Christ's wisdom and rejoice! In Jesus, we are more than conquerors and will one day be completely restored! Things may seem bleak for a season, a decade, a lifetime... but if we continue to abide in Him, we will indeed win and be blessed... and become blessings to boot! WOO HOO! Remember, God is ALWAYS in control of our lives, and in the end, God always wins. Period!

So, what should you do today as you face discouragement? Choose to trust God first. Choose to believe and abide in His Word and rejoice in His love and hope! The pain of today is temporary, and the sorrow of this time will be wiped clean. Jesus will restore His own to His Father's kingdom! So, stand firm in your faith and rejoice, dear believer. He knows what you can handle and will give you no more than that. He will supply all your needs as well as bless you in ways you could never imagine.

There is nothing (no loss, no hardship, no sickness, no pain, no relationship, no agenda... nothing!) that triumphs over the magnificence and glory of the King of kings! This is all you need focus on today, dear Job. For your inheritance awaits you in your Father's house. So, stay the course. Your trial will be worth it... He promised! Keep on keeping on! Climb that mountain! Run this race! Just keep moving forward in His truth, and encourage and pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Very, very soon, you will see Jesus' beautiful face and hear His loving voice proclaim, "Well done, my good... my faithful... my beloved!" Exhale the peace and calm of this wonderful promise, then inhale His truth again... and again... and again...

You will overcome and win because He has already overcome and won! Victory through every storm, dear believer! Victory in Jesus! Amen!

I heard an old, old story,
How a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood's atoning,
Then I repented of my sins;
And won the victory.

O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him,
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

I heard about His healing,
Of His cleansing power revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, "Dear Jesus,
Come and heal my broken spirit,"
And somehow Jesus came and brought
To me the victory.

I heard about a mansion
He has built for me in glory.
And I heard about the streets of gold
Beyond the crystal sea;
About the angels singing,
And the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I'll sing up there
The song of victory.
(By Eugene Monroe Bartlett, 1939)



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Friday, February 13, 2015

a study in Job: don't just hear... SEE! (part 8)

Then Job answered the LORD: “I am unworthy - how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer - twice, but I will say no more... I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 40:3-5; 42:2-6)

We are soon coming to the end of our study in the book of Job. To be clear, I truly debated calling this a "study" to begin with since I know the great depths of truth that are available for discovery and discussion in these 42 chapters of scripture. However, in the interest of time, we have only skimmed the surface of Job's story within this blog series by offering a form of cliff notes on the book's varying key points, if you will.

That said, today I've decided to pause in writing the conclusion to our series in order to strongly encourage every DW to take some time out to read, meditate, and pray over each chapter in the book of Job. You see, I know God has so many more lessons to individually teach each of us from this applicable book. But only those who faithfully take the time to seek Him in private, in obedience, and in humility, will see Him more clearly and learn His everlasting truths.

With this in mind, not only do I believe it is important for us to show up and worship His higher ways (as discussed in yesterday's blog),... but I also know that as we stand speechless in His astounding sovereignty, and as we consider the journey this series has taken, we must also be deliberate to actually take in and retain the full lesson our Teacher wishes to share from His perfect study material... the BIBLE!

Ladies, my heart is heavy this morning, as I am compelled to urge each of you of this: please... please..... do not miss abiding in God's Word fully - especially as we are soon to finish discussing the book of Job. This key section of scripture contains the longest dialogue offered from God in one book of scripture. His Words should definitely not be skimmed over, but slowly savored and digested! For we cannot know the intricacies of all that our Master wishes to teach us by merely reading one or two daily devotionals. No, this is GOD that we must make the effort to know! This is the God that Job got to know! Sure, he believed in God's greatness as so many of us do... but only after Job sat and absorbed the full truths offered by the Creator of heaven and earth were his eyes opened to really see GOD's Higher Ways as they applied to his own life!!

"My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you!"

This is sooooo important! We too must follow Job's example and absorb what God has said to us. However, if we do not take the necessary time to know our King, we will "obscure His counsel without knowledge". In short, we will quickly fall into doubt and lose sight of His sovereign love and fulfilling plan for our lives. I definitely don't want that!... Do you?

Tomorrow, we will finish our study in Job. But today, I encourage you to just stop in awe of God. Take as much time as you need to read and pray over every word the Master says within this important book. And while you continue to stand speechless in His presence, allow the perfect Teacher, the sovereign King, the loving Savior, the One whose Ways are clearly higher and greater than our own, to open your eyes to His many truths and revelations. Ponder the greatness of your Messiah... for mere cliff notes do not do Him justice, nor can they sustain a lasting relationship with the One who demands all our time and energy. So, with all my heart... I encourage you to get to know HIM. Don't just hear... SEE!

Hallelujah to the Lord GOD Almighty! Thank goodness for His love! Thank goodness for His LIFE! Thank goodness for His Word!!! Let us take the time to know Him intimately so that we may trust Him fully... so that we may know His Way!!!

I'm glad my times are in Thy hand. It is so sweet to know,
That everything by Thee is planned for me where'ere I go;
The Hand that holds the ocean's depths can hold my small affairs,
The Hand that guides the universe can carry all my cares.
I'm glad I cannot shape my way, I'd rather trust Thy skill;
I'm glad the ordering is not mine, I'd rather have Thy will.
I do not know the future, and I would not if I might,
For faith to me is better far than faulty human sight.
(Author Unknown)



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, February 12, 2015

a study in Job: answers out of the storm (part 7)

"Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm." (Job 38:1)

I once read that the mark of a good teacher is that the teacher patiently begins at the level their student currently is at and then moves them up to where they want to bring them. With this in mind, please note that I love getting to chapter 38 in the book of Job. I love that after all the horrible experiences, after all the "hoo-ha" of debate, judgement, and human counsel Job faces... God shows up. And not only does He show up, God comes to teach Job (and us) right where Job is... right in the center of this man's worst... right out of the storm. Furthermore, our good Teacher has every intention of moving Job up to a higher level of understanding, and thus, changing Job's perspective to the correct holy perspective.

You see, no matter how awful we may begin to to think our lives are, we are still alive for one purpose alone... to rejoice and glorify the Lord. Why? Because we have been given the honor to do so! Think about it. What right do we as humans have to complain about anything? None! Not only are we sinful, broken, and corrupt - but as much as we wish it weren't true, we don't control anything! We have no authority. We have no power. So good or bad, happy or sad, we must understand that all circumstances are sanctioned so that we might fulfill the purpose of the One who does have all the authority... who does have all the power! That One is God. And here's the kicker... if we rebel against God... if we choose to blatantly disobey His way... He is still able to use our defiance to achieve His good plan. It doesn't sound all that fair, does it? But it is. God is quite fair. In fact, better than that... God is merciful and good. Hallelujah! Best yet, God loves us more than anything else! His love is why Jesus came to die for our sins... so that we could remain with Him rather than be destroyed for our corruption. I can't even fathom such a wonderful gift!!! But such a gift is ours for the taking. Jesus is here... ready... able... offering to teach and restore!

With this higher perspective in mind, really stop and consider some of the questions God asks Job through his suffering... "Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place? Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle? What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth? Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, to water a land where no man lives, a desert with no one in it, to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass? Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen? Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens? Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’? Do you hunt the prey for the lioness and satisfy the hunger of the lions when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in a thicket? Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food? Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn? Do you count the months till they bear? Do you know the time they give birth? Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread his wings toward the south? Does the eagle soar at your command and build his nest on high? Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?"

Oh my! What right do we have to question God's sovereign reign? None! He oversees our entire universe. He determines every moment in time. So again, oh my! Who are we?... Who is anybody to question the comings and goings of life? Clearly every experience we face is approved by His hand and intended for His purpose! Every moment, every joy, every hardship, every second is His! God, our good Teacher, answers BIG out of Job's storm and raises our level of understanding to see a glimpse of His higher ways. There is no place for us if we are not under His rule. Everything is His. Yet, graciously, He gives every blessing to us - for our benefit. Why? Because this astounding God... LOVES!

To this, I am speechless. There is nothing (no loss, no hardship, no sickness, no pain, no relationship, no agenda... nothing!) that triumphs over such magnificence and glory as His!!! What an honor that He even takes time to answer. What an honor that He loves us enough to not only save us from corruption... but personally offers to guide us safely back to His throne. His ear is inclined to hear us. His arms are ready to embrace us. His heart is betrothed to us... for we are His beloved, His bride. Again, I am speechless to ponder over such an honor. Jesus, you are everything!

Today is indeed the day to rejoice and be glad in Him!

What a blessing is Jesus!!!


© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

a study in Job: a godly perspective + a big-Godder = a wise counselor (part 6)

Hi gals. Well, up until this point in our Job study, we have watched poor Job receive great abuse from Satan. We've witnessed him lose his possessions, his wealth, his children, and his health while listening to his wife and friends turn against him and accuse him of the worst of sinful crimes against God.

Poor Mr. Job... this man was literally broken down mentally, physically, and now even spiritually as we see the pressure of his trials begin to get the better of him. He now wishes he was never born. His friends (if you wish to call them friends) have lowered him with poor counsel and biblical half-truths while judging, judging, and, oh did I mention, judging! I don't know about you, but I'm thoroughly exhausted for Job!

By the time we reach chapter 32, we are introduced to a new character who, up until this point, has stood silently in the background while listening to Job and his friends debate. Before we look at Elihu, let me first point out that he was indeed standing nearby listening to the dialogue of Job and his friends. Perhaps Elihu was alone or perhaps he was in a crowd of people surrounding Job. But irrespective of such details, the fact that Elihu is there and now suddenly mentioned in this context shows us that the ongoing dronings of Job's friends were done in a more public setting.

When I first read this, it instantly made me think of how quickly someone's name can be defamed publically. Especially in our age of television and Internet broadcasting, public opinions from negative exposure can easily ruin the reputation of someone's life and cause masses of individuals to judge someone without knowing, or caring, about their true story or personal circumstances. Unfortunately, by the time Elihu enters the scene, Job is already torn apart by those who insist he has committed crimes against God. But what does Elihu do? Does he join the bandwagon and beat up poor Job? Does he think, "Better him than me." and throw out more judgments? Not quite. You see, Elihu probably did wonder if Job had committed a crime in God's eyes, and he does recognize that Job's suffering had now provoked a form of "backwards" pride within his heart. However, rather than choose to tear Job down even further, Elihu respectfully stands up and tells the truth to Job while making concessions for the one thing Job's other friends failed to acknowledge - God's mercy and love.

Elihu was a young, courageous man who compassionately spoke up in the interest of God's sovereignty. Though he was unsure of Job's innocence or guilt, he still decided to seek the highest good in Job's situation. He didn't open his mouth with the intent to win an argument. He didn't selfishly wish to appear more knowledgeable than the older men surrounding Job. No, Elihu wisely held his tongue until the Holy Spirit gave him the zeal to speak in love and truth.

When I think about Elihu in contrast to how we, as Christians, are to represent our Savior in both word and deed, I wonder how many of us make it a habit to forgivingly look beyond an individual's situation while remaining sensitive to their current hurts. Or is it more about determining their rightness or wrongness? Oh, I hope not. For judgment is not ours to decide. No, that role belongs to God alone. Elihu knew this. Furthermore, he knew that he could not stand idle and remain silent when truth needed to be said. Elihu's perspective of God was able to put Job's suffering into the proper perspective. One commentary I read on this subject gave the following illustration...

A former student of Robert Dick Wilson, one of the great professors at Princeton Theological Seminary, was invited to preach in Miller chapel, twelve years after he had graduated. Dr. Wilson came in and sat down near the front. At the close of the meeting, the old professor came up to his former student, cocked his head to one side in his characteristic way, extended his hand, and said, "If you come back again, I will not come to hear you preach. I only come once. I am glad that you are a big-Godder. When my boys come back, I come to see if they are big-Godders or little-Godders, and then I know what their ministry will be."

His former student asked him to explain. The old professor replied, "Well, some people have a little God, and they are always in trouble with him. He can't do any miracles. He can't take care of the inspiration and transmission of the Scripture to us, He doesn't intervene on behalf of his people. They have a little God, and I call them little-Godders."

"Then there are those who have a great God. He speaks, and it is done. He commands, and it stands fast. He knows how to show himself strong on behalf of those who fear him. You have a great God, and he will bless your ministry."

He paused a moment, smiled, and said, "God bless you," and turned and walked out.

Elihu was a big-Godder. He was one who had a high, transcendent view of God, a knowledge of God that towered over man. Consequently, when he gave counsel to Job, he spoke from the same divine perspective. While Job's suffering may have been greater than Job was, in Elihu's estimation God was greater than human suffering.

Ladies, are you a big-Godder or a little-Godder? Like Elihu, are you ready and willing to share that God is holy and can be trusted in every circumstance of our lives – in good times or bad. This was truth that Job needed to hear during the darkest moment of his trial. This is a truth that we all need to know and remind ourselves, and others, when we are led to counsel one another in love.

Lord, let us be big-Godder’s so that we might see your perspective in contrast to our own discomforts... so that we might boldly speak on your behalf what is real and true no matter how we may personally feel... so that we might effectively represent your mercy and love as we offer the wisdom of your Word through every hardship and trial!  Your counsel is indeed wise, Jesus.  Let us gravitate toward your promises and give you all glory and honor and praise forevermore!

Let's pick up the rest of this study tomorrow.  Keep focusing your eyes on our BIG God!  Keep fixating your whole heart, soul, mind, strength on Jesus.



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

a study in Job: true friends in times of trouble? (part 5)

Everyone likes having friends, right? Everyone likes to enjoy the company of like-minded individuals and spend time with pleasant companions. Job was no exception to this. And to their credit, Job's friends did show up and sit beside him. But did their presence glorify God? Did their visit encourage Job to stand firm in his faith... well, no.

A week after Job's friends turned up is when Job began cursing his own birth and questioning his faith. In fact, up until that point, scripture accounts that Job chose not to sin against God - even when the worst of circumstances came about. However, once Job's three friends enter the picture, Job's whole attitude changes. Their very presence darkens his door and lowers his spirit. (What does that say about these three men?)

Entering the scene is Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar (whom I like to call Eliph, Bill, and Zo). Three guys who clearly were NOT like-minded with the same perception as Job when it came to God. Through several chapters we see these three amigo's give bad counsel and wrong advise.

Eliph begins by arguing with Job in scriptural half-truths while adding in his own personal assumptions that Job must have done something wrong to bring such horrible crisis upon his life. Rather than remind Job of his eternal hope in God and encourage him to stand firm against the enemy, Eliph only accuses and criticizes Job, thus becoming an agent of discouragement and further affliction. This is a very dangerous and destructive approach as it promotes unnecessary sorrow to another without exhibiting compassion. Is that love? I think not. No, judgementally selecting parts of God's word while adding in our own human criticism can only produce the absolute wrong counsel at the inappropriately wrong moment. Thanks for nothing, Eliph.

To make matters worse, Bill chimes in and supports Eliph's argument. Unfortunately, he does so without fully considering God's providential care for His people. Furthermore, Bill fails to listen to Job's rebuttal against Eliph's original accusation. Job knew that he had done nothing wrong to cause such calamity in his life, but Bill is clearly blind to Job's proven integrity - the same integrity that God Himself had assessed as blameless. Bill's approach was equally as dangerous and destructive as Eliph's, but he brought the added annoyance of correcting Job with empty, long-winded counsel without really hearing all the facts in Job's favor. Bill altogether disregards Job's character and feelings and becomes the poster child of how not to listen and comfort a friend who is in the depths of pain. Thanks for nothing, Bill.

Finally we hear from Zo, who, up until this point, has been biting his tongue in frustration. Agreeing with both Eliph and Bill, Zo responds the angriest and most heated of all three friends. He is least sympathetic and most impatient with Job. His argument is all justice and no mercy. Job has got to get it together and fess up to his sin, so Zo does not even try and comfort Job with the concept of God's unconditional love and trustworthiness. No, like Job's other friends, Zo is resolved to bluntly condemn Job into a corner until he repents of whatever he must be guilty of. Thanks for nothing, Zo.

This dialogue... this ungodly counsel, continues back and forth between Job and his "friends" for many chapters. Tag team attacks and accusations against this poor beaten down man continue without regard to his character or feelings... worse, without regard to God's proven love for his people in times of trouble. In the end, Job's friends end up tearing him down farther into despair. Thanks for nothing, guys.

I would hate to hear how these "Christians" spoke about Job behind his back, considering how abusively they treated him in person. Seems to me that Job needed new friends!

I don't know about you, but I can relate to Job's need for good, supportive Christian friends. Personally, I have very, VERY few friends... lot's of acquaintances, mind you, but very few friends. My true friends, however, are usually quick to listen and slow to speak. They are humble enough to simply sit with me without knowing all the answers and study God's word while we wait on the Lord to renew my strength. Yes, my true friends are deliberate to live positively and fill every room they enter with the hope of Jesus in their lives. These are friends who are secure in their faith... even enough to call me out on sin when it is apparent and unconfessed, and balanced enough to remain loving, merciful, and supportive as I work through my own selfish strongholds.

Ladies, a true friend loves at all times. A true friend builds up rather than tears down. A true friend can actually become closer than a brother or sister. A true friend is patient and kind. A true friend never envies, or boasts, or gossips, or dishonors. A true friend is never self-seeking or prideful or abusive. A true friend keeps no record of wrongs. They do their best to always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere on your behalf. A true friend strengthens the focus on God's sovereignty, God's wisdom, and God's love. This is the type of friend I desire to be near, and this is the type of friend I always wish to be.

How about you? Are you this kind of friend? Do your current friends do there best to model the qualities of Christ? If not, perhaps, like Job, it's time to pray for some new relationships!

We can learn a lot by studying the poor example and the poor advise of Job's friends. I'm sure Job learned a lot too. After being exposed to the counsel of their ungodly ways, I'm sure he had reached the end of his rope. But the good news is that Job's most faithful friend would soon enter the scene and set the record straight. GOD was about to speak! Hallelujah and hurray! God's holy perception was about to be revealed to these abusive, misguided men. God's faithfulness would soon be known to poor, ol' defeated Job! I hope you'll tune in tomorrow to hear what the King of kings has to say! (Thanks for EVERYTHING, Jesus!!!)

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.

Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.
(By Joseph M. Scriven, 1855)



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, February 9, 2015

a study in Job: our perspective through discouragement (part 4)

For those just joining us, we are mid-way through studying the book of Job together. So, let's see, where did we leave off? Oh yes. God intends to use Job as an example for overcoming adversity and coming out victorious in His holy Name. WOO HOO!  As such, in the beginning of the book of Job, God allows Satan the freedom to test Job's loyalty, and Satan jumps at the chance - instantly killing all of Job's children and removing all of Job's wealth. That said, Job chooses to praise and trust God!

As a secondary attack, the enemy decides to inflict Job with painful sores and disease all over his body. Struck by the magnitude of bad fortune, Job's wife panics and urges him to curse God so that he might die and be relieved of his misery. But again, Job chooses to honor and trust God while recognizing his wife's foolishness, and calling her out on trying to misguide him and dishonor the Creator.

Finally, by the end of chapter 2, Job's friends show up. Since Job is in such bad shape, they are afraid to even speak to him. Instead, they sit and mourn with him as he suffers... waiting for poor Job to break the silence from his torment. For one week, they sit quietly as he weeps and scrapes away at his sores with a piece of pottery.  (Yuck!)

In the chapters that follow, scripture exposes many perspectives through Job's trial: Job's, Job's friends, and finally, God's holy perfect perspective. All in all, it is important for each of us to relate to Job's journey. For we too will face difficult trials as we walk this earth. Notice that by chapter 3, we read Job's own discouragement which finally causes him to lose it and question everything. The overall tone of his dialogue insists, "Why me, God?" WHY???? (Ohhhh, how many times I've been there! How about you?)

Yes, Job's perspective changes as he allows the pressure of his sorrow and the pain of his physical trauma to bewilder his reasoning. Satan had penetrated his weakened mindset and influenced Job enough to jump to several wrong conclusions about the value of his life. Just read the many exaggerated statements said by Job in chapter 3. Within one week's time, Job is cursing His own birth. Thinking back to his earlier conversation with his wife, I wonder which is worse in the eyes of God... wishing you were dead, or wishing you were never born? Either way, this is what immense depression can do to even the strongest of the faith.

We read Job as he sums up his sorrow with these words, "For sighing has become my daily food; my groans pour out like water. What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.”

Can you hear the "why me, Lord" in Job's tone? Can you relate to his depression? I sure can. I think I've sighed out these same words on many occasions... when Satan chips me down to rubble... when I lose myself in life's painful tragedies and temporarily take my eyes off the only hope I have: Jesus! Job... buddy... I hear ya, man! I get it!

Ladies, God allowed this spiritual giant of a man to be broken down by sudden pain, gloom, anxiety, confusion, helplessness, and long-term heartache. Job had reached the darkest place of adversity. He was physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually suffering to the greatest of depths and turning more and more pessimistic as the days past. All understandably so.  But please take note to this most important fact... it is in these worst of times that God will test our true faithfulness!  We see, in this difficult moment, that God will teach and get through to Job so that he might become a man with a victorious living testimony that showcases the Almighty's loving and generous throne.  What an honor!!!

I don't know about you, but when all is said and done, I want to come out victorious as Job does at the end of this book. I want God to mold me and use me for His purpose too - proudly bragging about my loyalty and faith in Him!  Yes, no matter how discouraging this life becomes, I want to know that I've trusted my Master in all circumstances. Sure, I understand that in this life, I will be exposed to much pain and suffering. (I already have been.)  But such suffering is clearly the unfortunate result of man's sin. But through each trial, my prayer is that I will continue to look to my Savior so that He might always use me to benefit God's kingdom and my ultimate good!  I believe He will always, ALWAYS save me!!!

Today, consider where you are at in your worst trial?
Are you questioning God?
Are you so consumed with feelings of depression that, perhaps, you have forgotten to live by faith?

It is a choice to trust God, you know. We must remember, that if we fail to keep our eyes fixated on His hope and abide in Him completely, we can easily become overwhelmed and discouraged and lose the correct perspective. Let's stand against our own wrong conclusions in Jesus' Name! Let's reject the enemy's snares and trust the LOVE of our lifetime instead! For God loves us!!! THERE IS NO GREATER LOVE THAN HIS!!!  So, no matter what may come, God has promised to supply for all our needs. No matter what we face, God has promised never to leave or forsake us. No matter what pain we endure, God has promised to give us no more than we can handle.  Ultimately, He will always save us and see us through! He promised!  (Thank you, Jesus.  I love you too!)

So, will you choose to trust God?
Will you believe your King's promise - even in your worst moments of despair?
I encourage you to prayerfully think on these things and ask Jesus for His gracious aid.

Until tomorrow, sweet DW's... LOVE!!!



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Sunday, February 8, 2015

a study in Job: foolish talk or a faithful testimony? (part 3)

So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:7-10)

I have this bad habit. The habit is that whenever my husband, Chuck, is involved in a project or working through a situation that has become frustrating for him, I begin to encourage him to put it aside, to walk away, to let it go, to get out of it until he cools off from whatever it is that is aggravating him. However, I have found that whenever I offer this suggestion, I tend to only frustrate my husband more, and I am not uplifting him to succeed in Jesus' Name as a true helpmate should.

Mind you, my intention is not to cause him any further grief. Instead, my reasoning is to try and remove him from the suffering and stress which he is experiencing. However, Chuck has pointed out to me that in doing this, I fail to acknowledge that sometimes God intends for His people to work through things, as well as suffer, in order to grow spiritually and fulfill the work of His will.

Of course, deep down I know this. We cannot develop further in our faith unless we endure trials and difficulties head on - all the while learning to obey and honor the Lord. But to see the man I love treading hip-deep in a trial, well... it can bring my bad habit out and cause me to question why Chuck chooses to continue forward.

Such is the case (on a larger scale) with Job's wife. Certainly, she wondered why Job didn't just curse God and die. You see, in those days, sudden death was believed to accompany the act of cursing God. So, why continue on living with such pain and suffering? Why keep standing firm with integrity when it seemed as if God had let Job down? When you think about it, Job's wife had also suffered most of the same losses as Job. She had instantly lost her children and her wealth. So, undoubtedly she was confused and bewildered amid the aftermath. Consequently, when her husband then became ill with disease, she must have looked at her sweetie in sympathy while questioning why life was suddenly so complex and horrible.

In that moment she very humanly asks Job the age old question: Why trust God? Why continue on? Why go forward in this horrible trial, dear? Instead, let's just curse God and die instantly rather than endure any more pain.

Ohhhh, Mrs. Job, how I do understand! How easy it is to get bitter and angry and scared and defeated when faced with life-shattering change. Satan may not have successfully penetrated Job's faith in God, but he sure caused Mrs. Job to question and stumble. And Job knew it! Even in his desperate state, he told her, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”

Wow! A foolish woman talking! Is that what we want our testimony to be when we undergo true tests of faith? Not me... no sir! I'd prefer to be like Job and trust that God is always... ALWAYS... in control and true to keep His promises! Also, how wonderful a husband was Job to speak the truth to his wife and correct her grumblings when she began to stumble in sin? What a wonderful man of God! No wonder God chose him as the biblical representative to teach us how to come out ahead when faced with adversity!

Perhaps Job's wife later realized that she had surrendered to Satan's manipulative scheme rather than adhere in praise to the Lord's unseen plan? I like to think so. Because in the end, both Job and his wife were blessed abundantly by God. I also like to think that scripture accounts for this woman's untamed emotional response to her husband's misfortune in order to teach each of us a most valuable lesson. That lesson is: Just because things look bleak, doesn't mean our faith should falter.

God is in control of all adversity, and in the end, God always wins. Period!

As we consider this lesson from the book of Job today, let's choose to bring our trials before the King of kings in prayer. Read with me the wise words of the Psalmist as we choose in faith to worship God rather than disbelieve His promises. Get behind us Satan! We will no longer question or speak in foolishness by allowing our emotions to sway us from the One who is always faithful and in control of our future! God is able. God is in control. God always wins so that we might always win in Jesus' Name!!! AMEN!

I will exalt you, LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. Sing the praises of the LORD, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” LORD, when you favored me, you made my royal mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed. To you, LORD, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: “What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear, LORD, and be merciful to me; LORD, be my help.” You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever. (Psalm 30)



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Saturday, February 7, 2015

a study in Job: before we begin... remember, in the end, God always wins! (Part 2)

At the conclusion of yesterday's blog, I asked you to consider why God would hand over Job's life to Satan to be tormented. Why would our Maker, who claims complete devotion and love for us, allow terrible things to happen to His servant? I think clues to the answer can be found back in God's own description of Job as He dialogs with Satan. Check it out...

Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” (Job 1:8)

Here, in this statement, God is putting Satan in his place by proving the unbreakable bond held between God and every true and faithful servant of the Most High. God proudly beams with His approval of Job, like a parent bragging about His child. He defends that His servant lives blameless and upright - always choosing to honor God's Name no matter what circumstance may occur.

You see, God knows that when all is said and done, it really won't be about His people suffering or not suffering here on earth. Rather, it will be about our eternal bond to our King. A relationship that can only exist when first grounded in HIS love, and then followed by our response to completely love the Redeemer in return with all our heart. Such a union is for our ultimate good! Like Job, our security must always rest in WHO GOD IS, rather than foolishly focusing on what God may or may not allow to happen to us.

If we really believe that our God is good, then earthly trials become opportunities for His sake. If we are certain that God loves us more than anything else, then human heartache and suffering cannot overshadow our hope in Him! When you think about God permitting the interference of evil in this new way, you understand that every hardship is an opportunity to be used to glorify and share His Name. This is the reason James encouraged us to consider our trials pure joy - allowing God to prove His sovereignty through our chosen humility and faithful perseverance.

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

Truly the events in Job's life proved to be the greatest of compliments from God. Think about it, the Maker of the universe confidently trusted Job, His servant, to faithfully represent! God knew that Job was completely devoted to Him. Yet, Satan still pompously challenged God's sovereign wisdom.  Then God confidently defends Job and provides him a great opportunity to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Without knowing any of this has happened, Job chooses (yes, chooses!) to honor and obey His Almighty Father - entrusting his spiritual integrity to the safekeeping of his King. And, despite not knowing God's full plan, Job believes that God will not give him more than he can handle. Job relies on God keeping His promises. In turn, God is faithful and does not allow Satan to give Job more than he can endure and ultimately blesses Job with more. The story results in a grand victory in God's family name - Jesus' Name! AMEN!

In the end, Job becomes a tremendous example and receives blessings beyond measure from his approving Master. Hallelujah!

In the end, the kingdom of the Most High is honored and glorified. Yippee!

In the end, God wins!
In the end, God always wins!  WOO HOO!!!

Friends, sometimes we will endure great suffering for reasons unknown this side of Heaven. Through these times, I encourage you to think of Job and choose, as he did, to praise WHO GOD IS. Remember that no matter how late the hour, the dawn will ultimately break the darkness. God's Light will indeed be revealed. The Son will always, always shine!

Rejoice!  For His kingdom comes!!!  God always wins! So, let's allow Him to use our lives as part of the victory!  Praise Jesus forever... for His grace is sufficient to see us through every moment!

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Tomorrow, we will continue to discuss some key points taken from the book of Job. Until then, please consider how generous our God is to share with us His interaction with Satan before Job was under the attack of the enemy. Clearly, God shows us that there is indeed a bigger purpose for what takes place before our earthly eyes.

What a comfort to know that He is in full control. Yes, how great is our King to explain to his servants the full lesson of Job from it's very beginning so that we can understand His greater scope and the unseen dealings regarding His hand over our own life. His ways are indeed higher than our own! Hallelujah!

Think prayerfully on these things.



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Friday, February 6, 2015

a study in Job: how do you respond to adversity? (part 1)

Job..., Ugh.

Nobody likes thinking about the hardships that poor ole' Mr. Job endured, do they? No, we don't want to consider the possibility of Christians facing horrible earthly trials or losing everything we have and everyone we know. Such a life is too difficult to swallow, isn't it?

Instead, we want to live in comfort, peace, rest, love. We want to know God... but only the God who promises to build us up and offer us infinite blessings. Not a God who allows the infliction of tremendous difficulties upon His own faithful servants. No, that's not what we signed up for, is it? But that is exactly what God permits in the book of Job.

Why would God allow bad things to happen to His faithful followers? Let's spend the next few days looking for clues...  Read with me the beginning of Job's story:

One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:-12)

After this conversation between God and Satan occurs, we read in scripture that in one fell swoop Job loses all his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, most of his servants, and worst of all, all his children. Can you imagine? Can you picture going about your daily routine and then suddenly receiving the same such news about your own wealth, possessions, and family? How terrible would that be? How defeated and derailed would you feel? I promise you, Job felt the same way you and I would.  Completely devistated!  But read how Job chooses to respond...

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:20-22)

What?  Job praises the Lord?!  Job does not question or blame God for what has happened?!! He does not fall into sin or wrongdoing?!!! WHAT???  No, Job accepts this monumentally difficult moment in full humility and chooses to worship his Creator through the storm. WOW! (I wonder, do we respond the same way in the midst of our own problems? Really, do we?)

But wait. This story is far from over. Read what happens next to poor Job...

On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”

“Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.” The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”

He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”

In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. (Job 2:1-10)

OK, not only has Job lost just about everything, now Satan has covered his body in disease from head to toe. Not only has his heart been broken by tragedy and terrible loss, Job is now physically living in unbearable pain. In fact, at the end of chapter 2, Job's friends don't even want to talk with him because they see how great he is suffering. How aweful!

Interestingly enough, no matter what has happened to Job, he still chooses to accept God's sovereign reign over his life. No matter who challenges his belief, Job maintains integrity and defends His King's trustworthiness and faithfulness.

Before we move any farther in the study of Job, let's pause today to think about all the difficulties we currently face in our own personal lives and their magnitude compared to Job's challenges. Then, let's consider how we have responded to God in our own trials. Have we questioned if His motives for us are really good? Have we grumbled and complained in our own discomfort and loss? Have we fearfully worried over our future? Have we turned away from the King in anger? OR, have we maintained our spiritual integrity as Job did? Have we chosen to praise and worship the Creator of the universe while accepting every circumstance that comes? Have we humbly, submissively, obediently, faithfully bowed down before God without sinning against the Lord? In every trial... in every pain, have we chosen to live holy in Jesus' Name no matter what?

The book of Job is intended to teach us how to face all adversity and still come out ahead glorifying Jesus. Yes, when Satan conspires against God's beloved and brings to us all forms of catastrophe, God proves through Job that we each can endure and overcome every trial while faithfully glorifying His Holy Name.

So, before we continue in this study, I challenge you to consider Job's example while meditating over chapters 1 and 2 today. Review what this godly man faced. Consider why God would hand over Job's life to Satan so that he might be tormented. Look at the responses of all those around Job. Then, honestly assess how you, in your own life, have chosen to respond toward God and others when things don't go as desired.  How do you respond to adversity, calamity, disaster, affliction, or distress?  Do you blame God?  Do you question His love?

Friends, there is so much for us to learn from Job. More importantly, there is so much to be revealed in Job's story about our mighty and good God and His authority over our lives as He uses us to discredit every scheme brought on by the evil enemy.

Until tomorrow, let's praise and worship the King of kings in every circumstance. No matter what comes our way... good or bad, happy or sad... THIS IS THE DAY TO REJOICE!



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson