From Victim to Victor

We've all felt like victims at one time or another.

Some of us may never have felt like a victor, with success or winning always just beyond our reach, while others may regularly celebrate their many victories in sports, music, film, business, or other pursuits.

But what do these words really mean?

According to dictionary.com, a victim is

  • a person or thing that suffers harm, death, etc., from another or from some adverse act, circumstance, etc., such as victims of tyranny, (or of a crime, rape, abuse, harassment, or discrimination);
  • a person who is tricked or swindled;
  • a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency, such as a victim of an automobile accident; (or terrorist attack);
  • a person who is deceived or cheated, as by his or her own emotions or ignorance, by the dishonesty of others, or by some impersonal agency;
  • a person or animal sacrificed or regarded as sacrificed, as war victims, or sacrificed in a religious rite.

According to that same online dictionary, a victor is

  • a conqueror;
  • a person who has overcome or defeated an adversary;
  • a person, nation, etc., that has defeated an adversary in war, etc., as the victor army;
  • the winner of any contest, conflict, or struggle;
  • a code word used in communications to represent the letter "v."

The word victim comes from the Latin victima, meaning "a sacrificial animal."

The word victor comes from the Latin vincere, meaning "to conquer."

And herein rests the secret to our transformation from "victim" to "victor." But first, let's consider this:

Q. What does "Light" have to do with this transformation? (As in "Victory Through Light")

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Victoria Dorshorn
Writer & Speaker

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Book 1 in "Light" Series

A growing darkness threatens to destroy our culture and make victims of all of us. We don't have to look far to see the threats to our personal security and liberty, to the survival and unity of our families, and to the continued existence of civilized society.

Is this the set-up for a futuristic fiction novel? I wish it were. Unfortunately, that future is rapidly advancing upon us.

Many of the trends of the past 50 years have darkened the culture and confused the church, leaving a wide path of destruction. Responding to Light: Trading Confusion for Clarity is the first in a planned set of three books, the purpose of which is to expose the growing cultural darkness and call readers to Jesus Christ, who is "the true light" that "shines in the darkness," who empowers us to "walk in light" (Book 2), and who equips us to "put on the armor of light" (Book 3).

Using relevant scriptures, personal testimony, and modern parables, this book enables believers to see their way out of the confusing shadows and into the light of clarity, encouraging them to lead others to clarity and victory.

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RECENT POSTS

Darkness Creeping In
11/26/2019 10:17:00 PM BY Vicki Dorshorn

I noticed that I have some new subscribers who signed up before I had my “welcome” email established through Mail Chimp. So, a hearty welcome to you and to all who’ve recently subscribed to my blog list. Please bear with me as I re-establish the habit of blogging at least weekly.

I wrote the following essay in July of 1997. I found it recently while sorting out old files. It struck me odd that I saw this change that long ago, a change that is even more evident today. It was originally titled, “An Upside-down People Cannot Long Survive.” Here it is, slightly revised.

When a high school valedictorian is forbidden to mention Jesus Christ in a graduation speech, but junior high school children are shown homosexual acts as part of sex education and diversity awareness, our nation is in trouble. During that time, I attended a prison ministry luncheon at which the mayor of Denver prayed—in public. Even then, he was castigated on the five o’clock news, not only for praying but also for mentioning the name of Jesus in his prayer. Of course, the rest of the night’s television fare was politically correct—violence, sexual innuendo, and disrespectful language. (Remember, this was circa 1997.)

That long ago, I wrote about the forces that were joining to create a socio-political trend that would significantly affect believers in years to come. These were a movement to redefine sin to make it acceptable and desirable and a movement against public acknowledgment of Judeo-Christian beliefs. Relative morality and privatization are, in fact, two of many errors which have darkened our already dark culture. In Matthew 24:9, 12, Jesus warned of a time coming when his followers would “be hated of all nations for my name’s sake,” and when “iniquity shall abound.”

And iniquity does abound. Isaiah cried, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness . . . which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him” (Isa. 5:20, 23). Darkness is put forth as light by those who reject Christ, who insist that we not speak the gospel in public.

Consequently, if we who have true light are forced by society to hide that light in our homes, how dark will be everywhere else, especially as, in the public realm, works of darkness are extolled as “light,” and evil deeds are proclaimed “good.”

Therefore, we cannot hide our light under a bushel, but must shine it boldly that, perhaps, some will see it and be delivered from the cultural darkness. Those who insist on turning from the true light will walk in their own shadows, in increasing darkness. They will continue to drag us to the gallows of privatization, where they hope to take away righteousness.

In keeping with current trends, individuals will be tempted to either deny their faith or hide it. They may be coerced into compromise with new age philosophy or the social gospel. Some will stand firm in their convictions—at the expense of jobs, promotions, or businesses. They may suffer estrangement of friends or family. Discrimination will increase against those rooted in the Word of God.

Moreover, family structure is changing, and soon the traditional Christian family will be an oddity. As this trend continues, Christian families will either draw closer together as a unit or be split apart by the conflict caused by upside-down morality and inside-out justice.

The ministry may change as society seeks to dictate acceptable topics of sermons and topics which must be avoided to keep the PC police, and resultant lawsuits, away. Churches that fall to this compromise will fade in significance, letting their light go out. Now, more than ever, it is important for churches and individual believers to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). (Do we not see that happening now?)

We must pray that the deceitful web of privatization will be dissolved. We can work to insure that first amendment rights are granted to Christians in public office. We can even work to put more Christians in public offices. But the die is cast. Many in this country do not want to be reminded of their rebellion against the God who created them, the God who established this nation of liberty, the God who loves them and “gave himself for” them (Gal. 2:20).

We need to pray for the leaders of the land and for the individuals who reject God, who unwittingly seek to force their twisted bias upon us. They are not the enemy. The spirit behind them is.

Only God’s love can change hearts; only God’s love can turn the tide; only God’s love sincerely shown by Christians can reverse this dangerous trend. Christians need to “shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life,” (Phil. 2:15, 16). Only then will our nation’s end not be that spoken by Isaiah—“behold darkness and distress” (Isa. 5:30).

The Presence and Purpose of Pain and Sorrow
8/31/2019 9:27:00 PM BY Vicki Dorshorn

A number of popular preachers urge their congregations to reject all sickness and pain as being out of the will of God. They would insist that God will heal all physical conditions NOW. As attractive as that view is, especially in the light of how many healings Jesus performed, and his disciples performed in that first century, there are some burdens we must bear. The apostle Paul pled for a healing, and the Lord told him, “My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (see 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10). In other words, God’s grace would carry Paul on, in spite of the affliction, so that God’s strength would over-rule Paul’s weakness.

Job, in speaking of the frailty of humans, said, “But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn” (Job 14: 22). Pain and sorrow are facts of life: as long as we are in these temporal bodies of flesh, we shall be subject to pain, as the Lord allows, and we will be susceptible to sorrow, as the Lord allows. 

These are part of the natural man, part of our inheritance from Adam. To deny the presence of sickness, pain, death, sorrow, grief, and agony, is to lie, for these things are part of our natural life. But thank God we need not dwell on such or be controlled by them, for “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8: 37).

Later in Job, Elihu calls attention to all the mighty works of God and urges Job to, “Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God” (Job 37: 14). This is the secret to any trial, whether we be in heartache, temptation, persecution, prosperity, or pain, for as long as we keep our eyes on God, considering His wondrous works, we will not falter in the way.

If we are engulfed in sorrow, we can look at our Beloved Jesus and know that His eternal love will not fail us or be taken away or go to the grave. If we are attacked by temptations of the flesh, we can look at His victory and know that it is ours, too, and we can count on Him to deliver us. If we are being persecuted or beset upon by financial troubles, we can look at our eternal wealth in Christ and know that whatever is on earth will pass away anyway and that what we have in Christ will not fade away.  If we are in prosperity and find our eyes wandering to the things of this world, we can look at Christ and the things of heaven. How trivial and insignificant earthly wealth becomes when viewed from our place in the heavenlies in Christ.

Glory to God! We have His “wondrous works”—of which the cross and empty tomb are the most wonderful and marvelous. These cause us to “stand still” (stop self-effort and be at rest in Him) and “consider” (think about and meditate upon) the “wondrous works of God,” and even more our wonderful Lord Himself.

These make pain bearable and sorrow endurable. They enable us to face troubles with the knowledge that the troubles will not overcome us, but we will overcome them. Pain, sorrow, and troubles are part of the world, and we have overcome the world because Jesus overcame it. We have the promise, “Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5: 5). By faith we can overcome whatever frailties of the body we are given to bear, whatever circumstances in this life. Yes, we pray for healing, but even greater than the healing is our endurance by the strength of God, as we look to Him.  

 

Salt and Light
8/21/2019 8:15:00 PM BY Vicki Dorshorn

In Jesus’ famous sermon on the mount, recorded in Matthew chapters 5 through 7, Jesus spoke many words of wisdom, ranging from the “Beatitudes” (Matt. 5: 3-12) to what is commonly called “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matt. 6: 9-13); from a warning about false prophets (Matt. 7: 15-20) to a parable about building a house on a firm foundation (Matt. 7: 24-27).

But in Matt. 5: 13-15, we see two analogies that should encourage us to remain true to His gospel and to share that truth and light with everyone in our sphere of influence. Jesus says:

“You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel [basket], but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house.”  

Salt that no longer has flavor is good for nothing. It won’t even preserve foods, kill germs, or enhance the taste of food. When we compromise with the culture and fail to stand for the truth, we have “lost our salt.” Our diluted and powerless message is, thus, good for nothing, though it may be politically correct.

A light on a hill can be seen; a light in the valley or ditch cannot. A candle on a candlestick can be seen; a candle hidden under a basket or solid covering cannot. When we hide our faith and refuse to share the gospel of salvation “lest we offend someone,” we have “hidden our light.” We must not allow the culture to force us to privatize the light which we have.

We are to be salt and light, to “earnestly contend for the faith” (Jude v. 3). In Matthew 5: 16, Jesus says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The light we shine is the light of Jesus reflected in us, as we allow Him to produce in us attitudes, behavior, and deeds which are righteous.

The apostle Paul put it this way, as he urged believers to live without rebuke before the rebellious and sinful world, “among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life” (Philippians 2: 15b-16a).

Notice that “holding forth” suggests the candle on the candlestick, the light on the hill—something visible, prominent, and accessible. Our walk and ways should provide light to others. Proverbs 4: 18-19 says, “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness; they know not at what they stumble.”

In 1 John 1: 5 we see that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” He is the light that makes us light, who believe in him. In fact, in John 12: 36, Jesus calls believers “children of light.” If we are children of light, we have a responsibility to let our light shine.

If we carry the word of truth in our hearts, as salt, we have a responsibility to refuse to destroy that salt’s effectiveness and flavor by compromising the truth.

Real Rainbows and True Light
8/17/2019 3:17:00 PM BY Vicki Dorshorn

The physical phenomenon that makes rainbows appear also makes lenses, magnifying glasses, and prisms possible. That phenomenon is the bending of light as it passes from one transparent substance (air) into another transparent substance (water droplets). In the case of lenses, it is light passing from air into glass or clear plastic. 

The first recorded rainbow was seen after the first rainfall ever, a flood wherein it rained forty days and forty nights nonstop, and “the fountains of the deep” were broken up and gushed forth underground water to assist in the global flood. The rainbow was God’s “token of the covenant” to never destroy the earth again with a global flood. It was a sign of the mercy of the Triune God, who created all and by whom all things hold together. (Read Genesis 8: 20-22 and Genesis 9: 1-17). 

So the rainbow, which can be explained in scientific terms (which, of course, God knew), was originally a sign of mercy. No matter how bad humanity got again, God would not send a global flood to wipe out every human except a few, as in the first case, 8 people.

And it still represents mercy. That promise of God’s in Genesis 8 and 9 is an “everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth” (Gen. 9: 16). Real rainbows are always seven colors, because there are seven colors in the visible light spectrum. Seven is the number showing completion and godly perfection. 

Counterfeited rainbow flags are simply flags of multiple colors. A six-colored flag represents the number of mankind, all of whom “have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3: 23).

Real rainbows are formed by light. And just as it takes light to make a rainbow, it takes the True Light (Jesus Christ) to bestow eternal mercy. His invitation is to all. Those who respond to that Light and are born again come under His umbrella of mercy for eternity. His Light is reflected in them, and they have His promise of an eternally glorious forever. 

Those who reject His Light and choose darkness will experience, at best, only a temporal mercy, to be followed by death and “after this, the judgment” (Hebrews 9: 27).

Though on earth, we cannot physically reach out and touch a rainbow, we can embrace the spiritual light that gives the rainbow its colors, the One who is “the true Light” (John 1: 9), offered to all, received by some.