Monday, August 29, 2016

we need to NEED Jesus!

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Christian, you are not your own.

For a while now, God has been redefining and remolding my thoughts around this particular passage.  I am not my own.  I know this.  I agree with it scripturally.  I've surrendered my life to Christ and acknowledge His authority as my God and King.  But to be honest, I think I have somewhat failed to actively consider the enormous depth and breadth His ownership encompasses past mercy, forgiveness, and hope.  As usual, God has once again proven Himself much bigger and more reliable than I could conceive through the course of my restoration.  Praise His Name!

You see, recently He has re-shown me something about my claim to Christianity.  Something earth-shattering to the core.  What is it, you ask?  OK, here it goes...

Alone, left to my own opinions, devices, and desires... I am ALWAYS wrong.

Yes, you read that right.  By default, I am always, ALWAYS wrong.

Now, I know you are probably thinking, "Duh, Victoria! You are a sinner saved by God's grace!"  And yes, you would be correct in stating that.  But allow me to elaborate a bit more...

You see, I know I am a sinner.  I know that my faith in the grace of Jesus is key in being restored to God.  I know this.  I believe it.  I strive to seek and love Him every single day because of it.  But still, if I were to be totally transparent and honest about my faulty human way of thinking... I don't naturally wake up every new day with the mindset of, "Victoria, without God you are always, ALWAYS wrong."  I don't attend my church or Bible study with the underlying thought, "Victoria, without God you are always, ALWAYS wrong."  And, I don't converse with others, or plan my activities, or exercise, or shop, or consider the latest news topics, or use my words reminding myself, "Victoria, without God you are always, ALWAYS wrong!!!"  How differently our life in Christ becomes when we choose to humbly remove ourselves from the stage of decision making and allow His audience of One to become the primary spotlight of our existence.   We must be mindful to understand how our corrupt wrongness will never be righted unless we desperately seek His direction, improvement, and goodness while devotedly following His guidance.

Alone, left to our own opinions, devices, and desires... we will ALWAYS be wrong.
So, Christians... we need to NEED Jesus!
We need Him to make our decisions, to dictate our thoughts, to shepherd our steps.
We need to know God's Word thoroughly and follow through in agreement with our Master's commandments.
For without His law, we are unable to function correctly.
Without His involvement, we will never fully know the depth and breadth of God's magnificent and dearest fellowship intended for our lives.

What do I count in my life as “dear to myself”? If I have not been seized by Jesus Christ and have not surrendered myself to Him, I will consider the time I decide to give God and my own ideas of service as dear. I will also consider my own life as “dear to myself.” But Paul said he considered his life dear so that he might fulfill the ministry he had received, and he refused to use his energy on anything else. This verse shows an almost noble annoyance by Paul at being asked to consider himself. He was absolutely indifferent to any consideration other than that of fulfilling the ministry he had received. Our ordinary and reasonable service to God may actually compete against our total surrender to Him. Our reasonable work is based on the following argument which we say to ourselves, “Remember how useful you are here, and think how much value you would be in that particular type of work.” That attitude chooses our own judgment, instead of Jesus Christ, to be our guide as to where we should go and where we could be used the most. Never consider whether or not you are of use - but always consider that “you are not your own."  You are His.  (Oswald Chambers)

We our called to honor God with our bodies.  With our whole selves.  With these broken, human shells that house our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  We are commanded to love Him most and fixate our eyes upon Him alone.  To commit everything to Him.  Why?  Because in Him we are not our own.

I encourage you to sear this thought process into your thinking forevermore...
Alone, left to your own opinions, devices, and desires... you are always, ALWAYS wrong.

May we each need to NEED Jesus and devote our whole selves toward honoring His Name.



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

this day until the day

I haven't written much lately.

I haven't done much of anything lately except try my best to keep my home in working order and attend to some new family health concerns, my own included.  These issues have taken up all my time and energy.  These challenges have occupied my thoughts and attention span, not to mention my hormones and sleep.

As a result, both myself and my family-loves cannot seem to get adequate rest until we gain further medical relief and timely answers to the physical health problems dancing the limbo in our lives.

Thankfully, no matter what seems to be thrown our way, dearest Jesus remains with me and regularly shows Himself in the details.

How, you may ask?

Well, this past week His Spirit was evident in the kind woman I met in Momba's physical therapy office waiting room.  She had selflessly taken time out of her schedule to repeatedly escort her 93 year old neighbor to PT.  Why?  Because she knows God's love and wants to share His goodness.  Because it is important to insure her neighbor's well-being.  Because she obediently chooses to extend herself (and her family) to kindly care for someone Jesus put before her, helping a handicapped widow regain her freedom and mobility as she recovers from a recent tumble.  This lovely, helpful woman is living as Christ - sacrificially choosing to become significant to someone who otherwise has no family left as advocate.  Yes, Jesus was definitely here.  And His love reminded me...

Be kind.
Love one another.
Love your neighbor as you would love yourself.

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Galatians 5:14)

Jesus also showed up via the many check-in's of my wonderful church Life Group.  Volunteering their help as my family regains its footing post surgical procedures, each day I was offered the following comments via text, phone, email... "We are here for you through this difficult time.  We are your faithful friends interceding for you in prayer.  We can help if you need us.  How can we ease your burden?  How can we bring you comfort?"  Yes, once again, Jesus was definitely here.  And His love reminded me...

Come to me.
I will give you rest.
Do not be discouraged.
I am with you.
I am faithful.
I am able.
I will provide.
You are not alone.
I will help.
I will hold you up.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16)

Lastly, Jesus seems most evident inside my own home.  His colossal love coupled with our honest transparency frequently turns my family's painful moments into precious, praiseworthy gifts full of community, laughter, and hope.  Through one another, He reminds each of us to remain forward-thinking... strengthened in His Spirit together... prayerfully glimpsing past this difficult day and fixating our eyes on "the" day He has promised for our future.  "The" day when our cloudy frustrations will finally be clean, and free, and clear.  "The" day when our deepest wounds will be healed and restored to full, joyous health.  In Him, we can know rest and relax.  In His hope, we can carry on.

So, even though I have not accomplished much else these days, I am anxious to start this new day under His reign.  I am glad to progress forward toward "the" day His Kingdom becomes my family's final home.  Ever-seeking His headship, I will forever proclaim His glory!  Hallelujah!

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:11)

Yes, this is the day I choose to praise no matter the challenge ahead.  For "the" day will come quickly in the twinkling of an eye.  So until then, Jesus is definitely here... with me, with my family, with my church, with all those who claim Him as Lord.  As we each look for Him in the details, He reminds us always...

He is The Way, The Truth, The Life.
He is The Alpha, The Omega.
He is The Beginning, The End.
He is LOVE.

Keep on, eternal family!  This day, we are His hands, His feet.
"Let it shine.  Let it shine.  Let it shine."

To live is Christ!

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



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson