Made In The Shade

By Tim Greenwood

Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of  the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

You see, after 30 years of being a professing Christian, I really didn't KNOW my shepherd.  I only knew ABOUT Him.
And I was in great WANT.
I wasn't sensitive and responsive to Him so it was hard for me to receive from Him or be really led by Him.  And I didn't understand what my SOUL or righteousness even was.

Verse 4 says, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

I have been there.  
I have seen it.  
I have been in it.  

No one could have prepared me for how deep it was.
No one could have prepared me for how long it was.
No one could have prepared me for how dark it was.

I fell in at one end and I found no way out the way that I came.
As I continued forward, the valley became
And darker.

It's shadows seem to
envelope me
attach to me and
weigh me down

Every step was a struggle.
Obstacles and stumbling blocks seemed to cover my path ever threatening to cause me to fall further into the unseen depths.
Fear and anxiety waited around every twist and turn
Discouragement waited at the bottom of every decline.

Day after day I would stumble blindly ahead.
Hour after hour symptoms and pain would strike like snakes form the crags in the rocks.
Night after night exhaustion would overtake me.

Each time I would fall -- faith seem to escape from me.

Faith in my youth
Faith in my strength
Faith in my abilities
Faith in my accomplishments
Faith in my knowledge

Then faith in my doctors
Faith in science
Faith in medicine

Faith in my church
Faith in the preacher
Faith in what little I knew the Bible said about healing

And then I fell, sliding down the embankment.
There had always at least been something solid to grab on to.
But here every handhold crumbled.
Here every foothold collapsed.

When I hit the bottom and sat there dazed some hideous thing attacked me in the darkness rifling my pockets and stealing every vestige of my hope.

Now with each and every step came voices
luring me
reasoning with me
chiding me
commanding me
to SAY that I quit!

All is lost, they would say.
Its too hard, they would say.
Time to sit down, they would say.
Time to quit!

Just say it.
Just say it -- it will all be over.

When I refused -- something pushed me from behind and down I went face first into a puddle.  As I lifted myself up I saw a reflection.  Not of myself but the reflection of death itself on my own face.

I rolled onto my back and looked up beyond the darkness at the towering sheer face of the mountains on either side and pondered the impossibility of my situation.  

I had already fallen so deep.
I had already traveled so far.
Yet there was no hope in site.
I saw no way out and the valley seemed just to go on and on and on.

My mind said to quit.
My will said to quit.
My emotions said to quit.
My body screamed for me to quit.

But some little something in my spirit told me to go on.

Around the next little bend was a clearing - seemingly lit by a single cluster of rays from the sun.
And in the center of the clearing was a table.
Not an ordinary table but a lavish banquet table filled with every fruit of the Holy Spirit in great abundance.

But by now I was too weak to even get to the table and I was ready to give up.

On the edge of conscientiousness, I felt myself being lifted and carried towards to the table and placed into a chair.  All I could do was to soak up the rays of light and just RECEIVE what was so lovingly being hand fed to me.

Suddenly, down in my inner being, something went off in me like setting a match to spewing gas.  And that tiny ember within me erupted into a roaring flame as oil flowed over my head, neck, back, chest and shoulders, down my torso, legs and feet.  And as it flowed, all fear, dread and despair seemed to flee beneath my feet.

When I opened my eyes I beheld the largest of the mountains and between us appeared a vision of a lovely white flower opening its petals to the sun.

And on the petals were written these words:

Have faith in God.
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, "Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea;" and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he said shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he said.

It was telling me that one of the mountain that was trapping me here in this valley and that was casting this shadow of death upon me, was for me, terminal coronary artery disease.
It was telling me that I was supposed to be SAYING something to that mountain.
And, that when I believed without a doubt that I received what I SAID -- what I SAID would happen.

So far I had tried to climb the mountain, and to go around the mountain, and fear it and curse it and ask God to make it go away.  But I never spoke to it directly.

The moment I said this, hope came flooding down on me filling me up.
There on the table before me was an open Bible turned to Mark 11: 23, 24.  
And as I read the very word I saw in the vision, faith came flying back to me.

Bible faith.
Faith in God's written Word.

Faith that says, "That belongs to me!"
Faith that says, "I believe that!"
Faith that says, "I can do that!"
Faith that says, "I can have that!"

I got up and faced the mountain.
MOUNTAIN!  GET OUT OF MY WAY -- And Go Jump in the Lake!  
I thought I felt a tiny tremor under my feet.
MOUNTAIN!  GET OUT OF MY WAY -- And Go Jump in the Lake!
And there was a rumbling from down the valley.
MOUNTAIN!  GET OUT OF MY WAY -- And Go Jump in the Lake!
And the mountain seemed to move as rocks and rubble slid down its side
MOUNTAIN!  GET OUT OF MY WAY -- And Go Jump in the Lake!  I yelled over and over again until the entire mountain chain danced to and fro.  
But I was still trapped in the valley.

I was angry and I was frustrated but I would not give up.
I knew God had provided the table, the Holy Spirit, the Word and the vision so I knew that I had just missed something.  After praying for knowledge, wisdom and understanding, I saw that was missing.  

I was going through the motions, doing what the Word had said to do.  But how do I express to God that I do believe and do not doubt that I already possess that which I SAID -- even prior to its physical manifestation?  Two voices spoke at the same time.  One said "Praise Him for it!" and the other said "Use the shield of faith."

Well, I think I already know how to praise -- but what is this shield of faith?
I went back to the Bible on the table and Now it was open to Eph. the 6th chapter.

Lets turn there and read starting in vs. 11.

Eph 6:11  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Eph 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Eph 6:13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Eph 6:14  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
Eph 6:15  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
(Lets skip to vs. 17 for effect)

Eph 6:17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Eph 6:18  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.
(Now, lets read vs. 16)

Eph 6:16  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

I saw that these 'fiery darts' and the mountain in Mark 11: 23 were really the same thing.  In one case blocking my path in life and in the other case attacking me.  

I had the desire to get out of this valley, and I was speaking boldly to that mountain, but the voice said to use the shield of faith using Mark 11:23 as the framework of how to use it.  I was to also to boldly express my belief and my lack of doubt that what I was speaking --
Was as good as done --
Was in the bank --
Was already received.

So then, praising and thanking God for something prior to it manifesting is how to use the shield of faith.

So once again I stood and faced the mountain,
MOUNTAIN!  In the mighty name of Jesus, GET OUT OF MY WAY -- And Go Jump in the Lake!
And, Father I praise you and thank you that, according to Your word, it is gone out of my way.

And with the roar of sliding rock the mountain picked up and moved away some distance -- but like a boomerang it came right back planting itself from where it had left.

MOUNTAIN!  In the mighty name of Jesus, GET OUT OF MY WAY -- And Go Jump in the Lake!
And, Father I praise you and thank you that it is gone out of my way, in Jesus' name. I believe your Word MORE than anything in this physical universe!

Again, the mountain picked up and moved away the same distance -- but this time it only came half way back allowing light to stream into the valley.

.Again I said, "Father I praise you and thank you that in the mighty name of Jesus, that mountain is gone out of my way. I believe your Word MORE than anything in this physical universe!"

This time the mountain picked up and moved twice as far away -- and only came half that distance back.  

The more I praised and thanked God for the mountain getting out of my way, the further it got out of my way -- until one day I looked up, and it was nowhere in sight!

I was no longer in a valley.
The mountain and it's shadow were gone.

I didn't have to climb any mountain.  Believe me I tried. And I didn't have to stay there and die!  

And NO, God did NOT put me in there till I learned some lesson either.  

Had I KNOWN the things that I sharing with you now, I KNOW that I could have ended the ordeal when It first began.

You see, the scripture says that people are perishing or dying for lack of knowledge.  
The knowledge of what the Word of God says about their situation.

LONG before I fell down the slippery slopes into the shady shadows of that valley, the solution was there in the Bible!  
I guess you could say that the whole time that I was in that darkness, I actually already -- had it "made in the shade" but just didn't know it.

Some people fear the dark, and it is said that some people even fear their own shadow.

A shadow is something that blocks the light.  
God is that Light!
Have you noticed that as long as you are facing the light, you can't see your own shadow?
As long as you are facing the Light, the only shadow you can see is something that you have allowed to come between you and that Light.

The written word of God is full of sovereign promises from our sovereign God that cover every shade of darkness.  From the blackness of the deepest pit to your own shadow -- you have it made in the shade!

No matter what your need, God has made provision.  One of the names of God is Jehovah Jireh - Lord God Our provider.  And what is provision?  PRO -- before and VISION -- to see.  God sees and knows what we need even before do -- and, He makes it available to us before we even get around to asking for it!

I was a Christian and had been for decades -- but I was not walking in all that God has for us.  In fact, I didn't KNOW that there WAS any more than what I had been taught.  The denomination I was in seemed to have a booklet for every question.  And since I had read every booklet, I thought I knew all there was to know about God, religion and the Bible.

What a shock to find that none of those booklets contained a solution to my desperate problem.  It was out of that desperation that I escaped the religious bondage that disguised itself as loyalty to my denomination.  And in retrospect I look at all the useless trivia and supposition I held so dear -- and yet, I had totally missed so many important fundamentals.  Such as, what faith even is and what it is not.  How to use that faith.  How to receive healing and all the goodness that God has for us.  Even the concept much less the reality of being able to actually KNOW the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit was completely foreign to me.

But I learned, and you are learning.  
There is a confidence and a boldness we can have when we KNOW what God's own Word says about our situation.  If we believe it and do not doubt and appropriate it for ourselves and speak it and stand on it as a solid foundation fear cannot come and darkness must flee.

The only kind of SHADOWS we need to appropriate in our lives are:
To dwell under the shadow of the Almighty! (Psm 91:1)
To know that with the Father, there is no shadow of turning! (James 1:17)
And To believe -- beyond a shadow of a doubt!

And if we do -- we'll have it made in the shade.