Shadow Of Victory

Thursday, 29 January 2009

January 29th Salvation

Day 3 of my fast and although I am coping with no food I am amazed at how much the call of telly and books is making itself felt . I have always said I dont watch much telly and I know that is true but I do like to settle down about 9ish and watch an episode of CSI type of programmes. I also realise just how much time I give to reading novels.

God is showing me that the choices I have been making arent "wrong " in themselves but not always what He wants me to be doing.In making the decision to fast from these very worldy pleasures and give myself to reading Gods word...prayer...and worshipping I am beginning to take back some ground that I have given to the enemy.I said before I feel "wide awake" in my spirit and this is continuing to grow within me,and hearing God speak to me afresh is so worth it.

Last night at the prayer time we were looking at the scripture from Matthew ch.9 v 35-38 where Jesus is talking about the harvest being ready and the workers are few...."ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers." We prayed that God would raise up workers BUT more than that we prayed that God would give us boldness to believe in the harvest and to be ready at all times to lead people to salvation. We prayed that we would lead someone to Christ this name them and claim them.!!!

This led me today to look back at my salvation record... when was the last time I talked to someone about salvation and then led them through repentance into faith??
I am embarrassed to say that it has been years...I remember the person but it must be over 12 years ago .!!! I have spent this afternoon asking God to bring back some of the enthusiasm I had in those early years of my own salvation.

In the first few years of my walk with God I can honestly say I was praying salvation prayers with at least one person a year and sometimes more. One year I did a course called Contagious Christian and I had to write the names of 5 people I would like to see saved.I can look back at that list now and know within two years they had all become Christians. The ministries I was involved in all saw people saved and added on a fairly regular basis throughout the year. I wrote a personal tract and kept it with me at all times ,giving them to people I was involved with. I was always ready to step up front and pray with people who had responded to one of the messages on a Sunday.

My question is WHY do I no longer have this same enthusiasm?? I know I have lost the passion and maybe even lost the compassion that I used to have. We heard from someone at the meeting that perhaps we have lost the "vision of people actually going to hell"..have we got too complacent about the judgment waiting for our family...friends and neighbours? I think this is partly the reason but I also realise again that my circle of friends is mainly ALL church people,so I have very few contacts to actually share the gospel with.

As I walked the dog this afternoon I began to pray for a renewal of faith to believe that I can make a difference,that I will have the faith to believe for just one person this year,that the passion and enthusiasm I once had would again be real to me.I asked God to restore in me a compassion for the lost , the weary,the confused,the poor. The scripture in Matthew says that "Jesus had compassion on them because they were harrassed and helpless , like sheep without a shepherd " I look around at peoples lives and I see sometimes they are harrassed and helpless and most of the time I ignore the clear call to have compassion on them.May God forgive me my complacency, and change my heart so that it beats as one with His for the lost.

Walk with me on this faith journey and lets believe that God can use each of us to bring just one person to salvation this year.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

January 28th...Choices

It is day 2 of my fast and I am quietly realising that I am sinner .!!! Saved...oh yes...but still a sinner. I seemed to spend the entire day yesterday aware of ....the thoughts I think ..the words I speak...the choices I make...the time I waste....I felt as if I was "wide awake" in my spirit and thinking that I am so in need of a spiritual de-clutter.This morning God brought this passage to mind. I havent read it for many years , and was surprised by its impact on my day today.

Deuteronomy ch 19 v 15 says this...."See, I set before you today life and prosperity,death and destruction."

As I spent some time thinking this through I was reminded that at the prayer meeting last night JWG prayed that I would make right choices and that I would be able to discern what is right and what is wrong. As the prayer time was an invitation for God to pour out His spirit on us I began to ask God for an infilling once He began to move on people around the room I began quietly to confess sin after sin after sin.....and just when I thought there was no more to say...He gently reminded me of something else until I felt completely emptied of all the rubbish that had accumulated in my spirit.Rubbish that gathers because of wrong by day I make wrong choices until I lose sensitivity and ALL my choices seem right ones.

I am meditating today on all the verses Deut. ch 30 verses 11-20 ..The life and death choices referred to here are all about spiritual life and death...I realise afresh that so many choices I have made over a period of time have resulted in a "death"in parts of my spirit. Let me share with you a couple of examples.....I love to read...I can read a novel in a day if it really grips me...crime novels are my favourite...I know that reading in itself isnt wrong but sometimes a whole week can go by without me reading any scripture but I will have read several books in that time. Then after several days I lose the urge to pray ,then the ability to hear God ...then when He whispers into my spirit... "no ..dont do that , dont think that ...dont say that...." I turn away...and over a sustained period of time my heart becomes like stone and sin claims me once again.

It is one small omission after another then another that results in spiritual "death". Last night as I spoke out all the things I had neglected to do....and asked God for His forgiveness...I knew God was waiting for me..The Holy Spirit began to speak to me, it was as if once all the clutter had been dumped, there was room for me to hear His voice.He began to speak words of restoration telling me ....He will never leave nor forsake me...His grace is sufficient...He is sovereign...He is my shepherd...He is my healer....He has plans for me...He loves me with an everlasting love.I felt as if He was holding me close once more and re-affirming me over and over again.

Why do I wait for seasons like this to deal with my sin?? Why dont I learn to turn to God every day and keep myself right with Him?? Why do I keep on doing the things I dont want to do?? At some point in this ongoing blog I am going to explore the scriptures from Romans know the verses that talk about struggling with sin.? If anyone has ever heard a sermon or read a book that really explains that passage in laymans terms pass them on to me! In fact ..whenever anyone actually reads the verses it is read like a kind of "chant" or very slowly pronouncing each phrase as if to a child! Watch out for future blog entries on this subject .

Going back to the question ...WHY??...If I am totally "naked in public"..its because I am lazy..selfish and self- centred.! you all know.! I am daily at war with the old nature ,its a daily struggle to wear the new creation garment that was woven for me through the cross. At times I look back over 24 years of walking with God and wonder at His grace and His mercy to me......I am so grateful He doesnt ever give up on me... I am so surprised that he considers me precious...I am incredibly humbled that He uses me ...I am overwhelmed by His faithfulness...I am amazed that He doesnt bring judgement on me. I love the verse in James ch.2 v.13..which ends by saying " Mercy triumphs over judgement" and after all my confessions last night I am standing on that scripture.

Where will I be at the end of my journey this year?? What changes will have been wrought in my spirit?? Walk with me please.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Tuesday 27th January--Identification

Jacqui Webber -Gant said once that spoken words are like a mist that disappears but the written word lives on in peoples spirits and has a lasting legacy. I feel very strongly that written words can change peoples lives..change their thoughts..change their perceptions of the world around them and I also believe that through "Identification" can change their innermost feelings and emotions.

One of my favourite books discovered only recently is -Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist and if you havent yet got it...I can recommend it big time. In the chapter headed-Hide and Seek she writes this

"Writing for me feels like getting naked in public. Its feels like falling to the bottom of a deep well and finding lots of creep crawly things down there with you.It feels kooky and scary and out of control. It makes me upset sometimes, because it makes me honest. Writing is my best chance at happiness, its the riskiest thing I can do. But thats how life is; the riskiest things always yield the best- most beautiful things."

I can so identify with these words...the first time I read them I felt as if she had access to my soul. A woman I have never met seemed to know me understand my feelings about writing..her phrase that "writing is my best chance at happiness" has taken root in my innermost being. I can almost sense the words digging down and taking root and waiting there for me to water them with my thoughts.... becoming words and perhaps becoming a legacy. I laugh at the words..."writing is a bit like getting naked in public"...let me assure you all there is no chance of that actually happening in the real sense...and I know you have all heaved a huge sigh of relief...but I am going to attempt in this blog to allow my spirit to get "naked". It may upset me sometimes as it will create prayer is that it will also bring to you a sense of identification and perhaps you will be encouraged to "get naked " with me.

Tuesday 27th january ....Prayer and Fasting

Our church has called a time of Prayer and Fasting and I believe it is a timely thing for me. I have never completed any sustained fasting and in previous seasons I have fasted one meal or fasted a TV programme. This time I have set myself to do a 3 day fast and also to fast from all TV and fiction. I love my telly....I love my novels...I watch all CSI and NCIS and Waking the Dead type of programme and I read 1-2 novels a this is a real test for me. Why am I doing this you may it a bit extreme? why not just one day fast ?or just telly and not books too?

The answer lies within me.....I need God to intervene in my life..I need God to speak to me..I need to read the word to move me forward...I need to give serious time and consideration to the condition of my soul and spirit. Many circumstances seem to have come together at this time to confirm that it is time to do some serious business with

. My work commitments mean I have two days clear
.I have entered into a mentoring relationship through the Inspire ministry (check out website link to Kerith Community Church)
.Its the beginning of a new year...always a good time to start afresh
.I have joined Exposition which is a writing group (check out link to Kerith Community Church)
.I have started this blog and taken the risk of losing my mask and being vulnerable.

I will be spending a considerable chunk of my time looking at scripture...reading a couple of great books..listening to worship cds..walking the pooch..and blogging.!! I will keep the entries short and sharp in the hope you may walk alongside me. I know it wont be fact I believe I will find it extremely difficult and knowing myself well I wonder if I will manage to complete the fasting. I value your prayers and if you want to leave a comment on blog or email me ..please do....and I hope to see some of you at the prayer meetings each evening. You will recognise me..I will be the one sagging in the corner with a bottle of water and a desperate look in my eye and asking everyone and anyone if they have seen CSI and what happened to Grissom?!
Journey with me so I dont get lonely.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Why the title?

I thought it would be a good idea to explain why I have called my blog "The Shadow of Victory".
Having been a christian for almost half my life and being in my 50s I am realising more and more that time doesnt stand still. For too many of my years I have struggled with issues relating to my childhood, and for many of my early years as a christian I have looked for answers as to the the "why" of it all. In the last 2-3 years I have begun to grapple with the truth that I may never fully understand any of it.

Several years ago I listened to a series of preaching entitled "Doing Life Well" and although I have been the recipient of superb teaching over the years this particular series gripped me. The slogan that went with the series was something like.."everyone is going somewhere, but very few get there ON PURPOSE ". I began to ponder this and ask God what this meant for me and my searching for answers. God began to whisper to times I shut Him times I busied times I ignored His voice....but slowly but surely I realised this could be a life changing opportunity if only I would listen carefully.

God directed me to several verses from the old and new testament...
Psalm 91 says this..
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the SHADOW of the Almighty."
As I began to think this through in the light of my almost constant search for dealing with my past and for healing I sensed that God was saying to me..."its time to rest in my shadow."

Hebrews 11...that great faith chapter explains in verse 13 "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised, they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance " ...and in verse 39 "These were all commended for their faith ,yet none of them received what had been promised."
These verses came alive to me and something in my spirit began to change....the restlessness that I have always known...the need for answers...the desire to justify what had happened...the searching for a deeper level of healing....all these things began to dissolve as God worked His peace and acceptance into my heart..soul...spirit.

At some point in 2008 I knew God was completing some kind of healing work ....I find it difficult to put into words the depth of peace that was beginning to envelope me. I realised that God wanted me to rest in His Shadow...and I am beginning to accept that this is okay....I dont need to keep keep looking keep asking...Like the heroes of Hebrews ch. 11 I am coming to a place of acceptance that I may never receive all that God has promised but I can still "see them and welcome them from a distance." the title of my blog....I am going to live life determined not just to "get there " but to get there on purpose ...and if I never know victory in its fullest sense then I will be content to live in its shadow. Living in THE SHADOW OF a totally releasing place to be..I have freedom to just be ME...knowing I am in His shadow and HE is caring for me...
Rest awhile with me here.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

All Change...already!!

Please dont adjust your are in the right place but I have changed the template of the blog...those of you who know me well..(who shall remain nameless) will know how much I like order and neatness. Although the first template was lovely it lacked lines and boxes and bits to hold things in(!) was a wee bit spread out with no borders.

I know some of you will already be thinking..."what is this woman on" and believe me I ask myself this again and again...but I look at the new template and I sigh with satisfaction.Lines...boxes....lists.....all looking neat and contained.

I wonder if others like lines and order and neatness...or is it just me??? today I cleared out some cupboards dumping some old paperwork and out of date bumph and finished feeling amazingly pleased with myself. I love to achieve order and take delight in re-arranging "stuff".

The Christian life can be a bit like that for me...I know there are times I need to re-order my "inside" life. I believe this year I will be making some major adjustments to that part of me....I believe it will be a life changing one for me as I set out to bring some "order" to my spirit . I sense that there is some spiritual clutter that needs to be gone through and sorted out and maybe thrown away. A bit like the things I discarded from my cupboards today..out of longer any use...taking up valuable space...

I am looking forward to some much needed de-cluttering within my much needed order. Psalm 139 finishes by saying."see if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting"..and this is what I am praying that God would do in me in these coming days.
Come walk with me.......

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Hello world

Wow ....I have a blog...what an excitement! I wonder who will come visit with me as I journey through life.

The senior pastor of my church Simon Benham has been encouraging everyone to be honest ,be vulnerable, to drop the "yes. I am fine thanks" response to the question.."how are you??"

Perhaps as I share my walk with God,my day to day life,my mountain tops and my will identify with me and we can share a moment of friendship.

For too many years I have at times hidden behind a mask....the mask that says ..."everything is okay"....and my prayer is that I would grow ever more free to just be ME. This is scary is all too easy to hide behind masks....for those who are old enough to remember an old Beatles song...Eleanor of the lines says that "she keeps her face in a jar by the door...who is it for??"...perhaps you know what I mean when I say that behind closed doors I am often a different person to the one I show the world.

I wrote a poem recently and one line says...."who do you see when you look at me? the outside me or the inside me?"...well my hope is that with this blog you will see who I am...and perhaps you will allow me to peek into your life too. So keep me company on this adventure,you are all welcome.