Thursday, May 28, 2015

what kind of evangelist are you?

Yesterday, I was writing a comment on my friend's Facebook page. As I looked over the current activity of other people's comments and postings that made up his page, I noticed something. There... again... was the link to a famous You Tube video that has been circulating on the web for many, many months. I'm sure you probably know about the video I'm referring to... it's the one where the young youth pastor unintentionally flubs up his sermon, slurring an inappropriate word - thus throwing off the whole course of his intended speech. And, of course, his sermon was being video taped - so why not post it on You Tube for a good laugh. Right?

Now, I must admit, the first time I saw this video clip, I did laugh. Honestly, I laughed and thought, "Poor guy. Look at him get embarrassed. Too bad for him. But really you've got to wonder why he blurted out that word. Maybe there is more going on inside him than he's letting on. Hmm. Well, regardless I'll share this goodie with some of my friends so they can laugh about it too."

Yes, I'm embarrassed to say, upon first seeing this video, this was my initial response. And from the looks of it, most Christian's I know responded in like: (1) A private laugh at someone else's expense. (2) A silent judgment about a person's character. (3) A decision to embarrass and mock a fellow messenger of the faith. And so it goes... and so it goes.

This youth pastor, whom I've never met, whom I know nothing about, and whom I have never, ever seen outside this one video encounter was thrown under the bus (by my doing)... Why? So I could scoff at his mistake while having a good cyber-laugh with my friends. Hmm. Would I wish for the same courtesy to be extended to me for my own mistakes and slurs? (It doesn't seem so funny now, does it?)

Thankfully, my teaching God corrects where His children need correcting. Months ago, when this video popped up again and again in my inbox, the Holy Spirit finally asked me this one important question: "Victoria, what kind of evangelist are you? Are you a scoffing evangelist? Are you a person who sits in the middle seat of the scornful and mocks at the expense of others? Is this the message that I've asked you to share? Is this the new creature I encourage you to be in Christ? Is this how you are spending your time on my behalf?"

Of course, conviction set in. God was right! Repentance was needed within my heart, and STAT! Changes need be made for the better. HIS better awaited my obedience! For what kind of evangelist mocks and jeers at others? Really? What person claiming Jesus spends their days laughing at another's mistake? That's not who I am in Christ! That's not who Jesus is making me to be through the power of His gracious rule!

How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? (Proverbs 1:22)

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2)

Ladies, if we are living in Christ, we are ALL called to be evangelists on His behalf. Our #1 purpose is to love and glorify God's Name and share His good news of salvation in every breath we take - in every act we choose. We are to love others as ourselves and actively promote God's Word as ambassadors to His kingdom. He commands each of us, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. (Mark 16:5)

I am so thankful that God pointed out my sin of being a scoffing evangelist when I chose to circulate the You Tube video with others. It was a wake-up call to the many ways I am capable of stumbling in this area. Really, I don't want my time spent scoffing or mocking at anyone! It is not ladylike, nor is it godly! No, I want to serve my King, and spend my time sharing Jesus' love! Thank you, dear Lord, for your ongoing correction and guidance! Thank you for showing me Your righteous path!

Now, before ending this blog confessional to you, I want to point out something even more key in all this... Holy, godly evangelism is so important in God's economy. However, I am sadly certain that this correct form of evangelism is not always our #1 focus. If it was, our world would be much different, wouldn't it? So, in an effort to motivate each of us to walk straight on His path, today I'd like to ask you what the Holy Spirit asked of me many moons ago:

What kind of evangelist are you?

Think about it. For there are so many inappropriate forms of evangelists out there that require our Master's spiritual correction. Do you need correction as I did? For example:

Are you a vague evangelist? Are you one who is easily embarrassed to share God's Word with others? So instead, you share as little information as possible and/or avoid the issue altogether?

Or how about an obliging evangelist? Are you someone who will agree with any theology presented because you don't really know or care about God's wisdom on particular matters?

Are you a likable evangelist? Does everyone need to be your buddy? Do you default to "agree to disagree" with others so as not to cause waves or acknowledge sinful excuse?

Are you a sanctimonious evangelist? Do you consider yourself better than everyone else, and thus judge others for the sake of the cross? They need to know about hell, fire, and brimstone, right?

What about an acclaimed evangelist? Do you need to be noticed and admired? Do you seek personal fame? Do you speak up for God in order to receive your own "religious" form of limelight and attention?

Are you a greedy evangelist? Do you share in order to receive reimbursement in some way? Is sharing the gospel a means of income or wealth rather than an act of obedience and love?

Really, what kind of evangelist are you? A holy, godly evangelist is found few and far between in our Christian communities. Indeed, I do believe if we were all living as holy, godly evangelists, the world would already know Christ! But alas, many who proclaim to know Jesus are not at all enthused or motivated to share His Name without their own conditions or selfish intentions attached. As such, our dear Savior remains to be the best friend that is failed to ever be introduced by His own. Oh Christian, why continue this old way? Instead, why not embrace the new life He's given and obediently share LOVE to everyone we encounter?

Friends, as I had to do, I encourage you to repent and humbly approach the throne of grace for strength and direction in your own evangelistic pursuit. Jesus gives us His example to follow throughout God's Word. He teaches us what love looks like and how we are to live in Him. Embrace His truth. Walk His narrow path. This is the new life that He wants you to run towards, flourish in, and enjoy! His is the only Way! So, share Him with everyone you meet. Cast aside selfishness and become the holy, godly evangelist He has called you to be... in His Holy Name... for His Holy Kingdom... being holy because He is Holy!

Let us live new TODAY! Let us openly rejoice in His truth together! Let us share the delight of His law with others who do not know Him! Let us choose to love because He first loved us!!!

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:17-24)

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:12)

Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy.
Love does not boast.
Love is not proud.
Love is not rude.
Love is not self-seeking.
Love is not easily angered.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.

I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (1 John 2:1-6)



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31)

Do to others...
To perform. To execute. To accomplish. To follow-through.

As opposed to don't.
Don't to others. (That just sounds weird, doesn't it?)
But so many of us DON'T.

Sure we dream about doing.
We talk about doing.
We write about doing.
We even commend others when we hear they are doing.
But if WE don't actually DO... then what's the point???

Aren't we supposed to DO as God commands?
And if so, to what extent?
To what lengths has God called us to DO to others?

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty protective of myself. I try my best to take care of myself. And, in general, it is instinctively in my nature to attend to my own needs quickly and effectively... to DO for my own betterment, improvement, growth, peace.

When I consider this example, do I DO the same for others?...

Or do I DON'T?

How about you?
Do you proceed to treat others the same way (and with the same sense of urgency) that you choose to treat yourself?


It is a command of our King.
It is a choice to obey.
It is God's way to reflect the generous heart of our humble Savior in order to reach a world desperate to receive Him.

So, do...

Do to others.

Do to benefit the One who always, ALWAYS is performing, executing, accomplishing, following-through, and lovingly DOING to benefit you!
DO... for Jesus!



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

the exclusive, super-special club

I have this philosophy about my home. You see, for me and my family, being at our home is like being in a club.... an exclusive, super-special club! In fact, it's so special that only those who live under the Anderson roof are allowed entry and the privilege of participating and enjoying our club's warmest and most wonderful benefits.

Sure, if you find yourself a guest in our home, we will invite you in... we will dine and relax with you in our dining room and cater to make you feel full, comfortable, and welcome. But trust me when I tell you, that is only a glimpse of our awesome club. For the real action... the real honor can only be known by sitting at our small kitchen table each day! Unfortunately for the rest of the world, no one on the outside is invited to dine at our beautiful kitchen table. For it is THE place my peeps and I will protect and defend for ourselves. It is base station to where we are most relaxed... where we congregate together and deliberately make it a priority to love and uplift one another to the degree of extravagance. It's a place that has become so valuable to us that we've actually started shopping for extra-fancy place settings merely to demonstrate how exclusive and special our club really is. Dinnerware intended only for US! Dinnerware used only to showcase the gift of every day that we are blessed to live together! And I'm not talking about just purchasing plain ole anti-breakable picnic plates... I'm talking about investing in pieces that are gorgeous, and fragile, and limited, and perfectly suited to symbolize our love for each other! A symbol that will only be served at our "members only" dinner table! This is how lovingly I care about my home.

It is exclusive. It is special. It is ours.

I just love when my husband walks through the doors after a long day's work and exclaims, 'Ahhh, I just love coming home!"  I so enjoy listening to the purrs of Momba when she admires every architectural ism about our home: it's rounded corners, it's crown molding, it's pleasant entry.  Every campfire of candles we gather around in our cozy living room is special.  Every football game we kick back and cheer over is as important an event as a major holiday.  Home is the place we play games and accomplish puzzles.  It is where we work and work-out.  Home is where we thank The Lord for our blessed space and time together. Yes, home welcomes us in. Home is where we are most transparent and at ease with ourselves. Home is where honesty thrives. It is where good deeds compound and are returned with interest. Home is forgiveness, grace, love. Home is, holiness!  Yes, holiness.  That is how I look at my home.  It is the place where my ability to share God's holiness flourishes.  It is the structure where I am called to bless others the most.

Because of this, I do everything I can to make my home as warm and inviting as possible for my family.  For example, this week I changed out all our scented candles from Winter to Spring.  Rather than being welcomed by scents of hot cider, cinnamon and cloves, now those who enter our doors will first be hit with melodies of violets and vanilla.

Also, I truly believe our home is meant to be in order.  It does not function smoothly in on-going chaos.  We cannot relax together in an environment of mess.  No, home is the place where projects are shared and completed in reasonable time frames.  It is where order is worth the effort of each club participant.  Sure, laundry might not be done immediately or dishes may not get washed on any given day due to more pressing matters... but overall, our home is harmonious between the comings and goings of it's people and the gifts God has given each of us.  We appreciate everything we have.  We take seriously our role as stewards.  And, we always help one another to remain clean, clothed, clear, and comfortable... even if it means aiding another in their work.  Even if it means taking a personal hit in order for another family member to have a chance to rest and recoup.

There are no egos at home.  There are no reasons to one-up another.  No, home is where we make it a priority to love and uplift one another to the degree of extravagance.  What do I mean by extravagance?  I mean excessive, exceeding the bounds of reason, going beyond what is deserved, or expected, or justified.  We love more.  We give more.  We support more.  We bring more.  And no matter how hospitable we might respond to those outside our exclusive, super-special club... they just don't know how wonderful being a part of our home is.  They simply can't understand it's value unless they join our family indefinitely.

The same is true in Christianity.  For Jesus wishes to make each of our hearts His own exclusive, super-special home.  He wishes for his peeps to defend and honor His Way with the same kind of vigorous extravagance and importance that showcases His forgiveness, His grace, His love.  In Christ, every believer... every family member is invited to relish over and enjoy His holiness each day. We are called to bless one another with His good news... with His open table.  We are invited into His peaceful presence.  And, we are to cherish Him and each other most.  Why?  Because our home is so very special.  Because His kingdom has the warmest and most wonderful benefits for each of us to upkeep and share.

Because His Way is exclusive.  Because His Life is special.  Because He is ours.

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:23)

Friends, let's look at our home as the exclusive, super-special club it really is!

Home is an honor.
Home is most important.
Home is holiness, dear family.
Home is where Jesus lives!

Be His blessing!


© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, May 21, 2015

a wise comparison


We women sure do have a bad habit of comparing one another.  We regularly identify our similarities and differences.  We consider who we are... what we have... and then measure it against who others are, and what they have.  Ultimately, our assessment leads us to one of two outcomes:  (1) we become proud and judgemental or (2) we feel defeated and lacking.

In the end, we want to compare better than anyone else.  Prettier, smarter, more organized, more important...  we want to have more... to be more.  But more of what?  Or rather, more of whom???  Clearly, there is always something more to be had... a better car, a nicer home, a thinner waistline, a happier disposition.

But Paul said, "We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us." (2 Corinthians 10:12-13)

Hm.  Are we behaving unwisely?  For what purpose and good comes from sinful people comparing themselves with themselves?  The fact is, we are all unrighteous.  We are all broken.  We are all wretched without the redeeming salvation of Christ's covering.  It really doesn't matter what "more" we could attain.  If we don't have Jesus, we will always be lacking, defeated, unsatisfied.  Without the security and magnitude of God overshadowing us, mankind is undeniably doomed to succeed.  For no one, from beginning to end, can survive or flourish without God’s abundant provision of grace and His gift of righteousness through Jesus Christ.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned. To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!  Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:12-21)

Ladies, it is not wise to compare ourselves with one another.  There is nothing healthy to be gained in wanting more of anything that is from this corrupt world.  Rather, we are to seek after God's higher Ways - looking first and always to His Kingdom, His righteousness. We are to model our hearts, intentions, and deeds against the perfect example of Jesus, to whom no one can compare.  We are to put on and wear Jesus always... displaying His image over our own self.  

Thankfully, God's grace allows every follower of Christ to live justified under His Name, His image.  So, rather than unwisely compare ourselves with others, God calls us to encourage and uplift one another in His love as we individually serve His kingdom with the gifts and talents that our Creator has uniquely blessed us with.

Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done,
The things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
Were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare. (Psalm 40:5)

The heavens praise your wonders, Lord,
Your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord?
Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings?
In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;
He is more awesome than all who surround him.
Who is like you, Lord God Almighty?
You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
Love and faithfulness go before you.
Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
Who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
They rejoice in your name all day long;
They celebrate your righteousness.
For you are their glory and strength,
And by your favor you exalt our horn.
Indeed, our shield belongs to the Lord,
Our king to the Holy One of Israel. 
(Psalm 89:5-8; 14-18)

Today, I encourage you to stop wasting precious time looking away from God.  Stop living unsatisfied outside His path.  Instead, focus all your effort, all your attention, onto Jesus.  Love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Put on His armor and wear His Way.  You are justified in His grace.  You are alive, right now, to glorify His image.  You are important because He loves you more!  So, find your "more" in Him.

Friends, the Lord gave us one another for building up rather than tearing down.  So, let us ask Him for the strength to stop our unwise comparison habit, and instead spend our time boasting confidently in the Lord - sharing His great love to all the world!  With all our heart, soul, mind, and strength... this is the day to lay down all distracting selfishness and LOVE LOVE LOVE like Jesus!!!  



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

choo choo'ing through the winter of our discontent

This morning, in the middle of May... in the heat and humidity of Texas no less, I woke up thinking about Winter. Winter in Chicago specifically.  Winter, when I'd wake up in the middle of the night to cold toes, get up to find a big pair of fluffy socks, and be surprised by intricate ice crystals forming like little feathered railroad tracks choo choo'ing atop the glass of my window pane.  Silently, behind this living painting was more mysterious art being created in real time as large snowflakes hang-glided down to the ground, ultimately covering the earth with white parachutes of confectioners sugar.  Winter...

Wow.  God sure is awesome, isn't He?

I almost felt wrong sharing this thought with you today.  For I know that the past winter was quite difficult and taxing across many states. "A doozy for the record books!" as my Grandpop would say.  But while preparing my 3:00 a.m. bath water and noticing through my bathroom window the shadows of outdoor palm fronds swaying under the orange hue of street lights, Winter now seems like a forgotten childhood fondness. A far away memory that I may or may not be able to enjoy ever again now that I live in a more tropical climate.  I miss it's crisp smell.  I miss snuggling up in my bathrobe and slippers while holing underneath down-filled bedding.  I miss winds whistling through eaves and rafters.  I miss crackling fires, the smell of pine, snow angels, the crunch of bootprints to and from the mailbox, hot chocolate (with marshmalows), and chunky home-knit scarves long enough to wrap around your neck more than once.  Winter, I miss your fresh coating of purity that covers each brisk new day... after the sludge and slush we humans produce and kick around in our messy little lives.  After our hurried days have subsided for a few nighttime hours of rest.  After loathing attitudes filled with complaints have been silenced with the gift of delightful sleep.  Still, we seem to always awaken restless and unsatisfied with God's artful, changing masterpieces sitting silently before us.  The cold makes us discontent.  (Just like the heat of summer can make us ornery.)  O, how the Creator must sigh in response to the moans of mankind's fickle prerogatives.  Too hot.  Too cold.  Too little.  Too much.  Our Shepherd calmly, wisely answers, "Yes... more snow.  Yes... more shoveling and work to be done.  Yes... more maneuvering slowly, carefully through another frost-filled period.  So, just follow Me.  Just follow Me and love love love."

(Pause)  Being still.  Knowing that He is God.  Wow.  God sure is awesome, isn't He?

All time is precious, isn't it?  All moments are useful and necessary for us to become more like Jesus.  To seek after the Savior's holy.  To know His glory intimately.  To reach out our barren branches with the faith that He will clothe every limb in His pure whiteness.  Are we looking to see His beautiful stature through the toughest of moments?  For His peace warms like nothing else.

Yes, we need winter to refresh our planet.  We need it's different, desolate water to wash us, nourish us, and blanket us in the reminder that Spring will return.  That Jesus is indeed coming again!  But until that glorious moment, His gift of NEW is still available to us every morning.  Miracles continue choo choo'ing all around, even if we forget to notice, or acknowledge, or even remember His grace in our selfish, sludgy haste.  But, I encourage you to try and notice, dear friends.  I encourage you to pause beneath His majestic throne and devotedly remember His perfection like one listening to the charm of Debussy's "Clair De Lune" for the first time.  Brew yourself a fresh pot of hot coffee (or tea) this morning and watch the breath God has given you condensate over the steamy liquid.  Study the Savior's promises as you sip.  Be thankful for every winter's breath He has seen you through.  Remember His everlasting covering, and praise Him for another NEW day and the NEW identity that He invites you to wear in His Name again and again and again!

Yes... today there is still more shoveling and work to be done in our hearts and lives.  And yes... Jesus has promised to teach us how to maneuver slowly, carefully through these frost-filled periods.  But don't lose sight of His workmanship or forget to notice and cherish His miracles.  His mercies are NEW and made evident every morning - even through seemingly frozen trials and complicated forecasts... even through dangerous conditions... even through muck and mire, sludge and slush, peaks and problems.  Remember His intricate ice crystals and white parachutes of confectioners sugar.  Spring will return.  Jesus is indeed coming again!

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Wow.  God sure is awesome, isn't He?



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Thursday, May 14, 2015

let me brighten as Your Light shines

Perfect Savior, Prince of Peace;
Let my selfishness now cease.
Let me showcase all Your good.
Let your love be understood.

Simple, silent, Spirit fill me;
May my thoughts stay close to Thee.
May my heart steadfast in Yours.
May my faith hold strong, endure.

Gracious, glorious, God on High;
Give Your words, dear Adonai.
Give Your joy to whom despair.
Give Your hope and let me care.

Father, Son, and Holy Ghost;
Let my life please You the most.
May my way get lost in You.
Give me all to say and do.

All my efforts are Yours, Divine.
So, let me brighten as Your Light shines!

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. (Psalm 37:3-6)



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Ah, there it is again. The call of the Holy Spirit asking me to step outside my comfort zone to do something I have no interest in doing. I've tried to ignore Him prodding at my conscience, but I know He will continue. Whether evangelizing to another, giving a belonging over that I selfishly don't want to share, serving a person I don't particularly like or care for, honoring God in how well I care for my body, carving time out to pray and know His word, or making myself get up earlier than the singing birds to write my book or this blog devotional... in the end, it isn't really about "what" He is asking me to do. What matters to me is that when He asks, I DON'T ALWAYS WANT TO DO IT!

But that doesn't seem to change His mind. He doesn't seemed concerned about what I want or don't want. No, He is more interested in IF I WILL DO WHAT HE ASKS. If I will follow His instruction. If I will trust His leading. If I will respond obediently. He simply and directly whispers, "Victoria, are you willing to do what I am asking you to do?"

"Sure, Lord. I will obey anything you say... BUT....

Ah, the infamous "BUT"... We have reached the point in our conversation where I begin inserting a catalog of excuses in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few from my summer collection...

BUT, I'm really not the right person.
BUT, I'm sure I'm not qualified to write about that subject.
BUT, I just did that for you yesterday.
BUT, I don't think the outcome will work out well.
BUT, I'm scared.
BUT, I'm so comfortable right now and that would make me uncomfortable.
BUT, it's too hard to do that.
(And this is the worst of all...) BUT, I don't want to, God."

So, here I sit debating the Spirit on my own private conference call with the King of Kings. Going back and forth in my mind. Wondering if I can trust Him enough to move forward and do whatever He has asked of me this time. Finally, I decide to answer His question. "OK, yes Lord. I will do what you are asking me to do."

I proceed. Reluctant. Awkward. Exposed. Uncomfortable. Embarrassed. Doubtful. Sometimes complaining. Sometimes kicking and screaming. Sometimes angry. Why on earth would He ask me to do this??? What on earth is He thinking??? Why won't He explain more??? "Are you sure, God?"

Sigh. How frequently I allow my sinful craving to remain comfortable to sidetrack my Christian growth and hinder my trust in God's plan. I'm especially good at rationalizing myself away from His call. In fact, if they had an Olympic category for EXCUSE WRESTLING... or AVOIDANCE BOXING... or even a COP OUT TRIATHLON... I think I could win the gold! Really, my laziness has no limits and my selfishness no bounds! But still God quietly calls me. He knows what is best for me.

Making excuses isn't a good practice. Spiritually debating with God when we don't want to obey (like commands to forgive or stop gossiping)... or when we don't want to go where He is sending (such as going to the mission field, visiting a friend, or even showing up for church)... or when we fail to believe what He has promised (that all experiences we face will stretch us to become more holy and work toward His good, or that He loves us and wants us to live abundantly in His grace) - these are all forms of laziness, doubt and disbelief... and they are especially dangerous. Our excuses expose our mistrust in the Maker's plan. They reason our will against His way. In short, the selfish pause of making excuses delays us from holy action.

This is sin.

Ladies, there is no excuse that can trump God's perfect plan. He has every intention of doing great things with our lives. There are no past failures, rejections, age limits, educational discrepancies, physical or mental inabilities, or magnitudes of a task that will hinder our Maker's ability to use us. The only thing that can prevent us from succeeding spiritually is our own disobedience to follow His path.

I can't imagine that any of the great servants of God ever felt qualified for what God called them to do. Take Moses for example in Exodus 3 & 4. When God called Moses to go free the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses threw out every excuse in the book. He simply didn't want to do the job and was overwhelmed with the responsibility it presented. He didn't feel that he was up to the challenge or qualified. In fact, He didn't think the plan would even work.

But God answered Moses with a profound truth... "I will be with you." (Exodus 3:12)

I find it interesting that God doesn't tell Moses how wonderfully gifted he was to get the job done. He didn't emphasize if he had more talent than every American Idol contestant combined. No. He simply says... "I will supply. I will be with you."

And there lies the key. God is able. God meets needs. He holds the Master plan and knows how to accomplish it well. To receive His peace... to enjoy His blessing... to give Him the glory and be showered in His grace, we must be obedient and JUMP to do what He says... when He says.

I remember a time when Chuck and I were traveling on business together. We were heading from Houston to Chicago and the weather was particularly bad as we checked our luggage at the airport and awaited our long-delayed flight to start boarding. We sat for hours and hours waiting.... waiting... waiting...

At one point, Chuck answered a call on his cell phone and then quickly turned to me. He quietly whispered in my ear while pointing at the exit sign... "Vic, get up right now and come with me."

My first instinct was to question my husband's judgement. "BUT, where are we going? BUT, we just got a comfortable seat in front of the gate. BUT, our luggage is already checked. BUT, if we miss this flight we won't get home today. BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT!" Fortunately, I was strong in Spirit that day and did not ask the avalanche of questions that were collapsing about in my brain. Instead, I got up and without word, followed Chuck to the exit.

Within minutes, Chuck had me in front of a ticket attendant rescheduling our flight to the next morning... in first class, mind you (on points). He then made a phone call and got us a room on the concierge floor of the Marriott hotel attached to the airport. In addition, he made reservations for us to dine at CK's - the fancy revolving restaurant that offers yummy cuisine while showcasing a bird's-eye view of the airport and surrounding sites.

I stood beside my husband paralyzed. My mind was racing with questions. What was he doing? What on earth possessed him to change our entire travel plan?

Suddenly, I noticed many of the passengers who were waiting with us earlier running toward us - colliding with one another hoping to be the next person in line with our ticketing agent. Turns out, our flight was cancelled due to severe weather. In fact, no flights would be going in or out of Houston that night. Getting back to Chicago would have to wait until morning.

With our morning airline seats secure, Chuck grabbed my hand and led me to the hotel. By the time we had checked into our room and were heading up to have dinner, the crowds of stranded travelers had arrived at the hotel and were arguing with the management because there were no more rooms available. The weather had stopped everything. Only those fortunate enough to have quickly secured a room in advance would enjoy their evening in peace. The others would be scrambling and lost in the shuffle. Only those prepared to move quickly... to JUMP (like my husband - who wisely had arranged for inside travel and weather updates to be sent to his phone before the airline had ever announced the decision to ground all planes) would find their needs met and be able to fly out the next morning.

How thankful I was that I chose to avoid questioning Chuck's new plan. How relieved I was that I laid aside my excuses and JUMPED when my husband said to JUMP! Taking time out to discuss his authority would have hindered everything. Questioning him would have prevented an evening of peace in a time of chaos. Excuses would have insured my sleeping on a cold, hard airport floor without a blanket... without a flight home.

I wonder how many times I have shot myself in the foot by procrastinating and questioning what God has called me to do. And why? I know He is with me. I know He will meet all my needs. I know He is true to His word... but still I doubt.

Paul emphasized our need to JUMP and obey God throughout Philippians. Read these verses with me:

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)

"For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." (Philippians 2:13)

"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)

The key here is not in our ability, but God's. Our responsibility lies in our obedience and belief in His authority. Success is measured by our heart's willingness to follow His call. The rest... God will simply handle. He is in control. The strength is in the Master's strong, capable hands... not mine. The credit belongs to the King because the plan is His... not mine. And trust me when I tell you... it is a good and thought out plan! A plan to redeem those willing to jump when He says, "JUMP!"

Let's go back to Moses. God spoke to Moses as if this whole Exodus project was a "done deal"... a "sure thing". He didn't say, "Moses, if you bring the children of Israel out of Egypt, this or that may happen." No, God was certain and secure in the plan. He said, "The cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt." (Exodus 3:9-10)

"So now go." There is not room for question here. It is a direct, specific course of action. There is not excuse or reason to search for. God is certain. It will be done. So, just do it. JUMP! Why? Because He told you to. Because it will advance His Kingdom. Because it will insure you peace and bless His Name.

Ladies, it doesn't matter what you are facing. It doesn't matter what God has called you to do or to endure . . . you can do it if you trust His strength! I encourage you to stop procrastinating. Stop rationalizing. Stop worrying. Stop questioning. Stop making excuses. If the Holy Spirit is calling you to do something. Go! Do it! JUMP! Whatever the challenge, if God has called you to do it... He promises to be with you and to see you through. Sure, you may not be strong enough by yourself. In your opinion, you may be the worst candidate for the job. But girls, we are not alone. He is with us and the battle is the Lord's!

There will always be something that we don't know or understand or even feel like doing. But the best way to grow in His knowledge is to step out in faith. The best way to learn about God is to obey His call. He makes a habit of taking simple things and simple people and using them in very profound, big ways. He has taken shepherds, fisherman, tax-collectors, children and a whole host of rag-tag individuals and has used them for change. We must stop worrying about our own comfort and placing obstacles in front of opportunities. Where we see problems, God sees potential. So, stop focusing on the minefield of excuses surrounding you and start seeking the One who knows His way through to safety.

Take His hand. Obey Him. Follow His leading until you are blessed with His splendor. There you will enjoy His peace in the midst of chaos. There you will be blessed and used to bless others in His Name.

"Are you willing to do what I am asking you to do?" What is your answer, ladies? How quickly will you act? I encourage you to JUMP into His secure arms and follow His good plan. JUMP because His ways are better than our own.

"So now go." Follow Him. JUMP because He is with you... because He knows what is best for you and loves you enough to show you how to get there. JUMP to the eternal peace promised according to the glorious riches guaranteed in following Christ Jesus.




© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

wealth vs. worth

Wealth. We all have some. We all want more. As a people, we desire to acquire. It doesn't matter if it is a wealth of finances, status, knowledge or property. We seek to grow in abundance of our assets. We live our days in an endless quest for plenty. Our motto is to always gain more... to always amplify our fortune (whatever fortune that might be).

Despite character, our human nature is to esteem those who appear to have an opulence of wealth. Some presidents have been elected on their wealth of charisma alone. Some scientists have been given carte blanche to promote theories as facts merely because their wealth of education suggested more knowledge. There are so many forms of wealth that are enviable to us: beauty... money... fame... education... talent... fitness... charm... You name it, we want more of it... We want all of it!

Yes, wealth in correlation to this world is very important to mankind. We stress and worry over losing it. For what would happen if we lost all our finances? How would we survive if we became paralyzed physically or mentally? What if we were no longer respected, appreciated, or liked for our efforts, our work, our contributions? Worse yet, what if we were forgotten entirely? What if our wealth amounted to so little that we were considered completely worthless... a drain to society... a loser? Oh my! How could we possibly survive if we lost our wealth? What more would we be if not for our sums and securities? For wealth is what makes the world go round, right?

Worth, however, is different. Worth is about value. It is not about the acquisition or accumulation of plenty. No, worth is based on importance. It is determined by one person and is centered around an intended purpose. Worth to the world is inestimable for it cannot be measured by the same standards as wealth. In fact, it cannot be measured by any amount. It cannot be dictated by popularity or status or complexity or appearance either. Also, worth has nothing to do with the fringe of outside opinion. Rather, whatever is deemed worthy is uniquely appreciated... securely guarded... and completely adored by it's owner. Worth transcends wealth because it is independent of limitation and free to just be appreciated and treasured. In short, worth involves unchanging, unquestioning love. So in my book, worth trumps wealth any day of the week (and twice on Sundays)!

The Bible teaches us many details about a Christian's worth...

For example, first and foremost man was made in God's image. What an honor, right? We bear the image of the One who is LOVE!!! I cannot digest and absorb what an immense blessing this is, but scripture confirms it to be true in Genesis 1:26-27. We are also described as fearfully and wonderfully made in Psalm 139:13-16. Scripture informs us that all the days of our lives were written down before we were ever born. Wow! What does this mean? Well, it certainly confirms that our Creator has a plan for our life. It solidifies that we each have an intended purpose. Also, did you know that in Ephesians 1, we are told that God chose His own people before the foundations of the earth were ever formed (vs. 4). He knew about us and chose to make us specifically - giving us value in His sight. Yes, God always intended to love us without measure while blessing us with His wonderful gift of purpose. What is our purpose? To praise and glorify His Name! But God didn't stop there. No, in addition to our worth, He also blesses us with His wealth. Not an earthly wealth of temporary, fleeting gains and losses... but rather the eternal, unchanging wealth of a royal inheritance in His Kingdom. God gives us the ultimate security by promising the presence of our King forever (vs 13-14)!

So ladies, no matter what you estimate your wealth to be (or not be) according to earthly standards, please hear this life-defining truth: You are most valued and loved by a good and perfect Creator who wishes to give you everything holy! Your worth is determined by a Maker who transcends all space and time and wishes for you to live complete and secure in His grace. And His grace is the key to our worth, isn't it? For everything God has done for us has nothing to do with our own abilities, energies, contributions or efforts. No, no matter how hard we may try, there is nothing we could ever accomplish to deserve the honor of His holy, eternal presence or the mercy of His loving sacrifice. Yet, remarkably... thankfully, He offers Himself to us. With nail marks embedded in His hands, He reminds us of our importance to Him. He cares for us and encourages us to thrive in His perfect peace. Our glorious Father longs for us to experience a life void of limitations caused by sin and corruption and is at the ready to veto the power of death over us through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. Because of this, we are invited with open arms to be uniquely appreciated, securely guarded, and completely adored by a King who values us beyond all measure... who treasures us beyond all wealth and glory. This is LOVE, ladies. This is WHO God is to His people! He is worthy of all praise and glory and honor and worship! This is Jesus... sweet, remarkable, glorious Jesus!

Today, I encourage you to consider the miracle that insures every Christian this truth and joy: God loves you! (See John 3:16-17 for confirmation!) No matter what happens on earth... no matter what trials and tribulations may come... always, always remember that God loves you! God loves His people! For while we were yet sinners, Christ still chose to die for us, and He is faithful to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness!!! How great is the love of God who chose to pay the price to redeem and restore us even before we were born... even before the earth was created? The answer is this: His love is greater and deeper and farther and wider than all the wealth and glory imaginable... and that's just the beginning, for our God cannot be measured! WOO HOO!

Ladies, this earth is loaded with whirlwinds of selfish distractions that will spin us away from WHO we should be focused on if our feet are not secure in His grace. Because of this, today I implore all DW's to remember your purpose. Remember what "healthy" really is in terms of your creation, and then consider WHO is really healthy. Rather than worry over the wealth of men... rather than stress over how to live with or without all that you've accumulated on this temporary planet - - let's fixate our eyes, energies and efforts on the richness... the power... the glory... the security... the beauty... the EVERYTHING of the ONE WHO IS WORTHY!!! For He has it ALL, ladies! He is LIFE to us!!! So, let's live today (and every day) like the gift it is and rejoice and be glad in JESUS! For by His grace we are saved... we are worthy... we are loved... we are alive!!!

Hallelujah to the King for His unfathomable love! Let us never forget that we are worthy because HE IS WORTHY! Let us live every day treasuring WHO really matters: The King of kings. The Lord of lords. The Lover of our soul. Jehovah. The One and Only Great I AM. Jesus Christ the Holy Lamb!!!



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, May 11, 2015

every. single. hour.

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.

Every. Single. Hour.  We all need the Holy Spirit every single hour.  Every moment.  Every breath.  We need the Counselor's presence... changing, comforting, leading, showing us where to selflessly love and serve in His Name.

I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.

When I visited Port au Prince, Haiti a year after the earthquake, it affected me so much. (Honestly I feel like I'm still processing it all in prayer.)  Such a trip changes you.  In fact, when I first returned home, I found myself becoming very angry with how much we callously waste and take for granted here in the states.  It bothered me so much that I had to surrender my anger back to God in order for Him to filter my words and thoughts on the matter.  It was then that He gave me this hymn.

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.

Overall, the trip to Haiti showed me just how much need for hope there is throughout the ends of this earth.  Simply put, the world needs Jesus desperately.  As believers, I don't think many of us really grasp how vital it is that we devotedly embrace becoming Christ's hands and feet in every moment, every day.  We are to unreservedly hold close (even if only in prayer) the forgotten children suffering from malaria, or elephantiasis, or malnutrition, or blindness.  We are to use our own resources to feed and clothe the naked, the starving, the broken, the homeless.  We are to love the lonely... to give up selfishness and replace it with God's LIVING message of salvation.  Yes, every single hour provides us a new opportunity to love whomever Jesus puts before us.  He is always ready to use our willing heart for the good of His kingdom.  So prayerfully allow Him to transform you, believer!  It really doesn't matter if you walk into another country or not... it matters who He puts before you... it matters that you love.  The Holy Spirit will lead... so we must, MUST take up our cross and follow the call of the Teacher.

I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.

As you consider what I just shared above, please also think about this: Annie Sherwood Hawks was a simple housewife and mother in the 1800's.  She wrote, "One day as a young wife and mo­ther of 37 years of age, I was bu­sy with my reg­u­lar house­hold tasks. Sud­den­ly, I be­came so filled with the sense of near­ness to the Mast­er that, won­der­ing how one could live with­out Him, ei­ther in joy or pain, these words, 'I Need Thee Ev­e­ry Hour,' were ush­ered in­to my mind, the thought at once tak­ing full pos­sess­ion of me..."  Later in life (after her husband's death) she shared, "I did not un­der­stand at first why this hymn had touched the great throb­bing heart of hu­man­i­ty. It was not un­til long af­ter, when the sha­dow fell over my way, the sha­dow of a great loss, that I un­der­stood some­thing of the com­fort­ing pow­er in the words which I had been per­mit­ted to give out to others in my hour of sweet se­ren­i­ty and peace." 

I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me Thine indeed, Thou bless├Ęd Son.

Ladies, we may only consider ourselves "simple"... the average Western woman living an average American life.   But to God we are so much more.  Both you and I live in a world desperate to know His peace.  So, do not ever forget that YOU have been put here for a great purpose to share His message of hope.  Even in our average moments, God can give us words that open doors and bless for generations to come.  So today, I encourage you to receive His call and remain open to His loving, leading voice.  We each need Him, wherever He leads...  We need Jesus - Every. Single. Hour.

I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.
(Annie Sherwood Hawks)



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Friday, May 8, 2015

this new day

Sometimes we wake up in a new day and first think, "Ugh, I have so many things to do today." And sometimes we get up in the morning and realize, "WOO HOO... what a beautiful day to be alive. Thank you, Lord!" Let's make this morning the latter and thank our Heavenly Father for the LIFE He has given!

Today, let's carve out time to know His Word. Let's make a point to enjoy this gorgeous planet He created for us. Let's love each other as He first loved us! Let's work hard, play big, and give generously. Go ahead, tell your family you love them! Do something nice for someone who needs something nice! Accomplish, enjoy, dream, and believe that God is in control of all moments and wants you to live each and every one of them fully. And at the end of this magnificent day, let's be still and rest - knowing that our God is with us! Knowing that His Way is the best Way, and we are becoming more like Jesus in every "WOO HOO... YES LORD!" we agree to accept.

Peace & love, peeps! PEACE & LOVE THIS BRAND NEW DAY!!!

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)




© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

I will not fear... for You, Lord, are always with me!

When I am afraid, I will trust in you...

In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? (Psalm 56:3-4)

I will praise You, Savior.
I will trust You, Teacher.
And I will not fear, Master.
For You, Lord, are with me!

There is no man than can separate us.
There is no trial that can change Your love for me.
So, I will not fear.
For You, Lord, are with me!

Your Word is my Light.
May it guide my every step.
Yes Jesus, let your Truth strengthen me.
For You, dear Lord, are with me!

Though war may wage.
Though quakes may rattle.
I will not fear or be afraid.
For You, my Lord, are with me!

So praise and praise again, children of The Most High!
Trust the One who LOVES you forevermore... FOREVERMORE!
Do not be afraid...
No, do not be afraid...
Know His love today and DO NOT BE AFRAID!
For God, our God, is with us!
God, our God, is for us!
God, our God, is in control...
He is in control...

Through this dark valley.
Under this shadow of death that hungers to consume my soul.
I will not fear...
No, I will not fear...
Get behind me, Satan! I WILL NOT FEAR!
For I belong to Jesus.
I am my Beloved's and He is mine!
I am loved and protected under His endless grace, mercy, and love.
Forever... FOREVER!

Yes, You, most precious... my Lord...
You are always, ALWAYS, with me!


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)

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." (1 Peter 3:14)

This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear. (Haggai 2:5)

But now, this is what the LORD says — he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine." (Isaiah 43:1)

Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. (Psalm 27:3)

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:1-3)

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

Be blessed and know His peace, Believer!



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Monday, May 4, 2015

letting go and hanging on

What would you give up in order to gain true love?  Would you give up money?  Would you give up time?  Would you give up belongings?  Would you give up work?  Would you give up friends, family?  How about your reputation, your honor?  Would you give up the whole world for true, perfect, LOVE?  Would you cast it all aside in order to be swept off your feet and fully adored and made complete forevermore?

What would you give up in order to gain true love?  I suppose one's answer to this question can be found in how desperate, how devoted, such a love is needed, wanted, desired.

The older I get, the more I am learning just how small I must become in order to gain closeness to Jesus.  This is not a bad thing.  On the contrary, I find that it is most important to hang onto Christ with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength while letting go of the "me" that is so easily distracted and selfish.  All that really matters is how close I can get to the Savior.  He is health for me.  He is more important than my own existence.  His love is better than life.

These days, I find myself constantly re-evaluating what distracts me away from God.  What sways my vision from His throne?  Sigh.  This world is full of all sorts of idols, isn't it?  At every corner awaits another false god waving us down and screaming at full volume - ordering us to turn our direction away from The Creator.  Unapologetically, Satan, and mankind's choice to sin, steer so many far far away from the One who truly matters.  How easy it is to foolishly give away our attention, our finances, our moments, our space, our focus.  We forget that none of these things are actually ours.  They are God's resources and gifts for us to tend to and steward.  Yes, my willingness to surrender everything back to His kingdom (rather than toward my own folly) is crucial in order to gain closeness to His love.  His true, genuine LOVE.  For what worldly treasures are more important than knowing Jesus intimately?

Less of me.  More of Him.
I must become small.
I must let go of self and hang tightly onto Him.
For His love is all that matters.
His true love is all I need, want, desire.

Friends, throwing off every distraction that weighs down and hinders us from the presence of the Lord is restorative.  Giving up and surrendering all we have ushers in new, joyous purpose.  For there is nothing we can ever pursue or obtain that trumps our safely abiding in the shadow of the Most High... The Great I AM.

Willingly, let's give it all up for His love.  Let's sacrifice each day and lower our posture - giving Him reign to teach us to relearn what is good and pleasing in His sight.  Today, let's let go of this aggressive, addictive, surrounding world, and simply stand still in God Almighty's glory.  For we can never be full on our own.  We can never know peace without His presence.  We are lost and in grave danger whenever we wander from The Shepherd.  We need Him.  We want His peace, security, hope, freedom.  We desire His unchanging heart, His strong arm, His soothing Word, His nourishing grace.

What would you give up in order to gain true love?

May we become smaller and smaller and smaller, dear Lord.
Give us the humility and strength to let go of our stubborn selves.
Help us to hang onto You desperately, devotedly, forevermore.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.  I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.  Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.  I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.  I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. Those who want to kill me will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals.  But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God will glory in him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced. (Psalm 63)

Abide in me, dearest Lord Jesus... abide until all that remains is YOUR GLORY!



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson