Functional Upgrade In Our Thinking

The Holy Spirit has been challenging me (once again) on not just what I think about myself and my life in Christ, but also what I believe to be true about my identity.

Am I fully engaged with the truth that the Bible teaches about my new nature in Christ?  Do I regularly partner with the Holy Spirit in the Secret Place to allow Him to wash over me with His truth about me, or do I constantly “work at” and strive to be something that I already am by faith in Jesus?  

I want to be vulnerable with a snippet of my conversation with the Father this week while fighting off feelings of anxiety and insecurity over our transition overseas.  I believe what He showed me and the scriptures He gave me will be helpful to you also as you navigate through your own identity in Christ.  

While trying to get myself organized for the trip, I had a moment when I realized that literally ALL of my personal possessions now fit into only 4 large suitcases – though some things could not fit due to the airline’s 50 pound maximum.  My first response to leaving some things behind was anxiety, and I melted down like a toddler.  As I began to fully engage with the thoughts of leaving so many other things behind as well, I actually opened the door for the enemy of my soul to speak yet more lies to me.

The devil tried his hardest to keep me from the Father’s loving embrace by then causing feelings of insecurity and inferiority to come at me. “What if I don’t fit in? What if I’m left out?  What if…what if…what if….” Now the devil is crafty for sure, but the Spirit of the Resurrected King is within me and is much greater than anything that comes at me (1 John 4:4; Romans 8:11)!  I knew the Holy Spirit was telling me that this thinking was indeed incorrect, but the devil jabbed me with one last attempt by trying to convince me that something was indeed wrong with me for feeling anxious, insecure and nervous about the future.  

Over the past two years, I have learned that in this type of moment I have to stop, turn to Holy Spirit and ask for a word from His heart to mine instead of continuing to engage with the lies that the accuser (the devil) is throwing my way.  When I paused and invited Him to speak to me, it was as if I was fine tuning a radio. Suddenly I heard not static and panic but the sweet voice of the Father say to me:

These ‘what if’s’ are the devil’s language, Mandy.  But MY ‘what if’ is this:  What if the only thing ‘wrong’ is not you, but how you are defining yourself in this moment, and what you believe about yourself?  What if there’s nothing wrong with you, just something missing in your thinking?”

What an important reminder!  

What if we learn to partner with the Holy Spirit immediately instead of engaging in the devil’s tormenting lies?  Let’s take anxiety for example.  If we define ourselves as anxious, we are speaking the language of the enemy.  We are not anxious people – we are new creations in Christ who partake in the divine nature of Christ, and we know that Jesus is not anxious (2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Peter 1:4).  

What’s missing from our thinking is peace.  Anxiety is already dead and buried with Christ (Galatians 2:20), and peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  Peace ours in Christ, so rather than engaging with the spirit of anxiety we can work with Holy Spirit to gain greater access to what is already ours in Christ Jesus.  My husband calls it a “functional upgrade” in our thinking.

What if it’s not a matter of what we DO to be “better,” but what we believe about what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross?

No one who is born-again is ordinary.  And there is certainly nothing “wrong” with us if we are in Christ.  We have a real enemy who wants nothing more than to kill, steal and destroy us (John 10:10), and sometimes we are actually unaware of everything that Jesus actually did for us and who He made us.  

I’m so grateful for all my times in the Secret Place where the Word has come alive to me and where I have learned scripture for myself to be able to wield my sword when the devil tries to get me to think of myself as anything less than extraordinary.  1 John 4:17 has changed my life in this context:  “As He is, so am I in this world” (ESV).

What if being “alive in Christ” really is as simple as just fully engaging with Christ who lives inside of you?  Holy Spirit reminded me that day that this looks like knowing and believing my identity and agreeing with the Spirit’s prompting to access the things that Jesus died to give me.  It looks like partnering with Him to fill the gaps that are missing in my thinking.  I can envision anxiety on the cross with Jesus, dying with Him so that it is no longer a part of my nature because I was crucified with Him.  This means that I am no longer enslaved to it, or any other sin:  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin (Romans 6:6, ESV).

If I am feeling anxious, I can access peace.  If I am feeling insecure, I can access full confidence in Christ because I know that I am accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6).  If I am feeling an unrighteous anger, I can ask Holy Spirit to come and remind me that I am actually a gentle person now and I can partner with the sufficient grace that He has given me to be a person of gentleness (2 Corinthians 12:9).  If I feel overwhelming sorrow or grief to the point of despair, I can walk in the joy that is already paid for by Jesus, simply by coming into the fullness of His Presence (Psalm 16:11).

What if we really learned to believe the truth about who we are and learn to engage with only those truths?  What if your world needs you to realize that you truly are “free indeed” (John 8:36)?  

What if I really AM as extraordinary as God says I am?

 

~ Mandy Woodhouse

Advertisements

Strategies For Faith

I am waiting on a Promise.

Well, I’m waiting on a few promises to be honest, but there is one in particular that is close to my heart.

The Lord has not yet released me to share it in detail, so for now let’s just say that I have a huge Promise that I am waiting on – and it feels like God is taking forever to fulfill it.

There’s a great church down the street where we used to live that always had the most encouraging signs. One particular sign that I will never forget said, “God always keeps His promises but He is often not in a hurry.” In my case, it feels like God hasn’t been in a hurry for about 11 years.

I don’t want to be negative here, but to be fully vulnerable I have to disclose that this has been a journey of ups and downs for many years.  I’ve seen other personal promises come to pass and there are still more things that I am waiting to see happen in my life. But for some reason there is this one Promise that seems to tug at my heart more than any other, and it has been a great battle at times to remember that the promise IS actually MINE.  That I’m not forgotten or forsaken.  And above all, that God WILL keep His promises to me.

 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised” (Romans 4:20, 21 NIV). 

The worst part is that in the past I felt like such a hypocrite at times. I’ve been in ministry for many years, and I am always teaching people to have faith – to trust in God’s faithfulness and trust that what He says is true. God is most certainly faithful and He only speaks truth. But the number of times in the years that I have regurgitated this and spoken the same cliché statements without really believing it for myself has been too numerous to count.

Of course I have had times when I spoke it from a place of personal conviction, but as the years have grown longer and I have yet to see my promise fulfilled the more I’ve simply clung to the cliché and found myself struggling with the absolute truth that what I am saying to others is in fact FOR ME as well.

So why write about this?

Because I know that there are others out there who are kindred souls, waiting and waiting on a promise from God.

Because up until recently, my head has known His promises but my heart always met my mind with the sting of cognitive dissonance.

My heart would desperately cry out for the fulfillment of the promises of God while my head just sort of “knew” what is true. And as I have gone deeper into intimacy with Him in the Secret Place, He has given me a strategy for the waiting period that has given birth to a new hope in my heart. The dissonance is gone and in its place is expectation.  

Very high expectation.

And a knowing that cannot be thwarted even by the devil’s most crafty tricks and distractions.

1. Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17).

Most of the time faith comes by hearing…and hearing…and hearing it again! Verbalizing aloud the promise that God gave you not only activates something in your heart, but it also pushes the devil away because he hates the fact that you are declaring the truth. The more you remind yourself of God’s truth and Promises, the more you start to really believe.

Write it in your journal, in your Bible, and anywhere that you can look at it so that you have a record of it as well as a way to remember to say it aloud.  You have the amazing invitation to partner with God to see circumstances change.

2. Faith comes by hearing – but you have to KNOW His character too!

When you don’t truly know God’s character and His heart for you, it will be easier for the devil to come and steal from you. The Bible says that Abraham did not waiver in faith, and that he was “fully persuaded” that God could do what He promised. What helped me was diving into the Psalms and seeing how God came through time and time again for David and the other Psalmists. Psalm 33:4 (NLT) is one of my favorites: “For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does.” Until we know that we can truly trust Him, we will struggle with the cognitive dissonance in our hearts.  

Knowing His heart for you comes from intimacy with Him and a deep connection in the Secret Place.  This will look different for everyone, but I suggest starting with some worship music and your Bible in a quiet place, away from distractions.  He longs to meet with you.

3. Faith comes by focusing on the good things that God has done in the past.

You must fill your mind with good things. Remember past answered prayers. Remember how God came through for you and for others that you love. Read through Hebrews 11 (the “fathers of faith”) and meditate on stories in the Bible that show God coming through with His promises. Listen to music that builds your faith – do anything you can to fix your thoughts on what is pure, admirable, lovely, true (Philippians 4:8).

Remind yourself of all that God has done for you!  Ask Holy Spirit to reveal to you the things you may have forgotten.  God is so faithful, He can’t wait to reminisce with you over the goodness in your life.

4. Faith rises when we don’t stop declaring His truth over our lives!

It’s one thing to verbalize God’s promises aloud a few times and to sit down one day and remember all that He’s done for you – but it’s another thing entirely to keep declaring it until you see breakthrough. John 14:13 (NIV) says: “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

In the original Greek, what it really says is “whatever you DECLARE in my name will be done.” Declarations are powerful because they activate conviction. They stir up faith! Proverbs 13:2 (NIV) says “From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things.” Good things will come when we declare them.

5. Faith explodes when we hang out with faith-filled people.

One of the biggest blessings during my 11 year wait has been the people that God has brought into my life who have helped increase my faith and my hope when despair tried to sink in. It seems like yearly God ads to my circle people who take God at His word and do not waiver. Sometimes I think that my best friend Lori and my cousin Karen have both believed in my promise more than I did at times!

They encourage me to keep going and often push me to focus on God’s truth when I forget it, as do my pastors. And trust me – I have had the nay-sayers too, those who cannot seem to look past the natural and believe God’s reality as my reality. The challenge is to not listen to anything that goes beyond God’s already spoken words over me even if it looks impossible in the natural. I have also had pastors and prophets that I trust pray over me and I only attend worship conferences and services where I know that the spirit of the place is full of faith. This has fed me more than words can express.

6. Faith comes when we pray for faith.

A very simple step, really. Just ask God to increase your faith. If He supplies us with everything that we need to live a life of godliness (2 Peter 1:3), then why wouldn’t He also give us greater faith?

7. Ask Him for revelation.

God tends to speak to me in pictures and through His word. But He also speaks through music, nature, preachers and other spirit-filled believers. He recently gave me a picture of something (after I asked for revelation during this season) that completely put my mind at ease for the moment. He reminded me that He isn’t delaying my Promise, just holding it for an appointed time.  WOW.  What a perspective change!  Keep pressing in and He will speak to you like that.

I can honestly say that this strategy has certainly helped me come to a place where I am so rooted in hope that I wake up daily with excitement that this could be THE day. It took me a few weeks of consistency with these seven strategies, but for a year now I daily see the fruit of it.

We must always remember that God is good, and that He wants to do immeasurably MORE than we could ask or even imagine (Ephesians 3:20). If He has spoken a promise over you – consider it DONE in Jesus’ Name. Even if God does not appear to be “in a hurry,” He is always on time.  He has an appointed time for your Promise – and it will impact nations and generations for His glory!

Don’t give up.

 

~ Mandy Woodhouse

Don’t Engage

We have a neighbor across the street from our home who owns probably about 8 dogs.  He’s a nice, single guy who works overnight and therefore sleeps most of the day.

Three of his dogs are larger than the others, and often will find their way outside of the fence without their owner knowing.  I’d love to say that they are friendly dogs who never bark, but unfortunately that just isn’t the truth.  These three dogs love chasing cars, barking loudly (and at all hours!) and the biggest of the three is often quite aggressive.  My husband and I have never seen them bite anyone, but we have both been the recipient of bared teeth a time or two when going to the mailbox.

Months ago I happened to glance out my front window and saw a man walking on our side of the street.  I watched as the dogs across the way noticed him and ran toward the road, barking and snarling and growling like crazy.  They never crossed the road, and the man never engaged them nor did he show fear.  He kept his eyes fixed on his destination and just kept walking forward without flinching or looking at the dogs.  They carried on and caused a racket as they followed him up the road until the barking and snarling came to a stop because they realized he wasn’t going to engage them.  They went back to their spots in the sunshine until about an hour later when a woman came walking down on their side of the road.  Her response was very different to the man’s response.

The poor lady, obviously frightened, picked up a stick and threw it at the snarling dogs, which was like stirring up a hornet’s nest!  She said a few obscene words and then began to jog a bit while making eye contact with the psycho creatures – and you guessed it, they pounced!

The larger one pinned her to the ground with bared teeth while the other two hopped around her until a passer-by stopped his car to help her.  And the whole time I watched this terrible scene play out (while on the phone to the police), I felt the Holy Spirit gently point out the fact that had the woman, like the man, kept her eyes fixed firmly on her destination without engaging those dogs, she would have saved herself all this trouble and pain.  

What an amazing Spiritual truth!

For a few years leading up to this incident, I was on a beautiful journey of understanding the power of agreement with God.  

Google defines agreement as “being of the same mind,” and I found myself not always being of the same mind as God even though I read my Bible and filled myself with powerful sermons. Especially when the devil came around to bring confusion!  The devil has absolutely zero truth in him. God, however, is all truth.  Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (ESV).  God is not a liar and He never changes His mind, period.

So when we must AGREE with God when we read scriptures like, “I am crucified with Christ – it is no longer me who lives but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20), or “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) or “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation….” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  When we don’t agree with what God says, we actually give the devil power because we are speaking his language, which is nothing but lies (John 8).  Proverbs 3:5-6  says we must always agree with truth and trust in the Lord, even if it makes no sense to us at first.

One of the things that God showed me through the dog incident is that we can stand in agreement with God’s word and yet still engage the enemy’s lies when we dwell on what we think is “true” instead of keeping focus on the Truth.  

For example, the man that did not engage the angry dogs remained focused on his destination.  It was indeed truth that the dogs were barking and carrying on, and he may have even been slightly alarmed at this; but the truth is that the man had to be somewhere and had no time for distractions.  Likewise, the woman’s response showed that her fear and intimidation of the dogs was more true to her than the truth that she could have just crossed the street and not engaged them at all.  Yet she gave in to her fear and found herself in harm’s way.

Eve in the garden is a great Biblical example of someone who engaged the enemy.  In Genesis Chapter 3, the devil comes to Eve in the form of a serpent.  He twists God’s words just enough to make Eve doubt God – and we know the rest of the story!  Had she just shook the serpent off without engaging like Paul did in Acts 28, then Eve, like Paul, would have “suffered no ill effects” (Amplified).  

Jesus, on the other hand, was a master of not engaging!  

Check out his response to the devil’s innuendos in Matthew 4.  Jesus’ constant response was “it is written…”  He doesn’t even blink at the devil’s words, He just reminds him of truth and moves on.

I believe that continuing to engage the lies of the enemy and not agreeing with truth creates a stronghold in our minds that makes us more susceptible to demonic attacks.  Like the lady who engaged the dogs across from me, we can invite harm into our world when we engage and embrace the lies of the enemy.  But a renewed mind releases kingdom reality and healing into our lives!  The truth is, we won’t always understand with our minds (Proverbs 3:5-6), but we must agree and confess with our mouths to build faith (Romans 10:17) and then resist the devil so that he will flee (James 4:7).  

Let’s be proactive about shaking off the snake before we begin to engage it too much.  Knowing God’s truths from scripture and agreeing with them is a great place to start.

My prayer is that Holy Spirit reveal to us all the areas in our lives where we currently engage the devil’s lies. I ask Him to break any strongholds that may exist from areas where we have embraced the opposite of what God has spoken. I pray that the Truth of God’s word becomes more true to us than anything else, and that we can fix our eyes firmly on Jesus as He empowers us to continue on our journey with Him.  

 

 ~ Mandy Woodhouse

Hope In The Window

We have a spare bedroom in our small cottage that we have turned into a prayer room.  It is a room that will someday host the fulfillment of promise that the Lord has spoken over us.  This room is actually my favorite room in our cottage – there are windows covering two of the four walls, it is the lightest and brightest room in the home, and it is bathed in prayers, tears, worship and the Presence of God.  

When I start to feel my hope fade, I find myself on the floor in this particular room where Jesus never fails to meet me there.

A few months ago as I was raising the blinds to let the sunlight pour in, my eyes caught a little painting in the window that simply says, “HOPE.”

This painting has graced our window-sill for so long that I had actually forgotten it was there.  

But for some reason this particular day it caught my attention.  

As I focused my eyes on the word hope, I heard Holy Spirit whisper to my heart:  “I am raising the blinds on HOPE in the life of My people!”  Within a few seconds the sun burst from behind the clouds and a stream of gorgeous sunlight came through the window and filled the room around me.

The Lord knows all things, and He knew that I needed this little kiss from Heaven this very day.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12, NASB).  

We understand that trees grow with sunlight, and all plants need light to produce life.  The Lord showed me that there are many hearts in this season, mine included at times, that have felt like hope has been deferred – that the “blinds” have been pulled down over our desires and promises and at times it feels difficult to see the light.  

The wait has not always been easy, and for many people, the past few seasons have felt as if the waiting room was a very dark room with blinds drawn.  Yet if you look carefully, when the blinds are drawn in a room while the sun is out, the room is not completely dark because a small amount of light can still seep through even if the blinds are closed.

God showed me that there has been enough “light” for hope to remain in hearts, but for many people hope has not burned as brightly as it once did.  

Here’s the good news:  God ALWAYS comes through.  “Hope does not disappoint” (Romans 5:5), so take courage, God is raising the blinds!  Hope WILL shine forth again!  

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13, NASB).  

Holy Spirit also challenged me in my little prayer room that day.  He reminded me that all He has ever asked of me was just to BELIEVE Him.

Numbers 23:19 says that God is not a man who lies, and He always keeps His promises.  He never, EVER, changes His mind.  

God never changes.  He is trustworthy – and all I must do is keep believing.  If God made a promise, He will always fulfill it.  

He is the God of hope, and He will indeed raise the blinds on hope.  

My job is simply to believe Him, and with my belief will come great joy and peace.  

I cannot afford to listen to and engage with any other voice than that of Holy Spirit in this season.

Let’s allow Holy Spirit to remind us how faithful God has been in the past.  

If you allow Him, He desires to raise the blinds on hope!!!!!!!!! You will again ABOUND in hope! Thank you, Holy Spirit!

~ Mandy Woodhouse

And Yet…

I believe vulnerability is so important, especially in the body of Christ.  There is no doubt in my mind that my victories (and even my processing toward my victory) can encourage and inspire others along their own journeys.  

This all started a few months ago when I started diving in to the book of John.  Usually the Holy Spirit leads me to read a particular book in the Bible and won’t let me leave that book until I feel a release.  In this past season I have eaten up the book of John, and tried to imagine myself in every scenario with Jesus that John writes of. 

Of all the times that I’ve read through this book, this is the first time that the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet grabbed my heart and would not let go (John 13).  Much like most people I know, the foot-washing-Jesus story has been preached to me a hundred times, in many different ways.  But it wasn’t the actual foot-washing action that arrested my heart – it was the fact that Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him, and yet He washed his feet and loved him still.  John 13:1 says that Jesus knew it was His hour (which meant He knew Judas would betray Him that very night), and yet “…He loved them until the end.” 

It doesn’t say that Jesus “loved the disciples that loved Him” or that Jesus “loved because He had to” or even that Jesus became jaded and put up walls and then struggled to love.  It states clearly that Jesus LOVED “the world” and it is everyone in that world (Judas included) that He gave His life for (John 3:16).

I stewed over this for several weeks, wondering how I had never really thought about this situation with Judas before.  I had asked Holy Spirit to make what I read very real to me, even as if I was there with them.  My desire was to feel what the disciples felt, to be overcome by love for Jesus the man, much like that of the Disciples John and Peter.  And yet my heart was constantly drawn to the betrayal of Judas and the love that Jesus still showed him.

“But Jesus was GOD divine, so He HAD to love,” I first thought to myself.  The Bible is clear that Jesus was fully man and yet fully God.  My mind wondered if it was the “fully God” part of Jesus that gave Him the ability to love Judas despite what He “knew” was in this man’s heart.  That’s quite possible; but at the same time Holy Spirit began to reveal to me the fully human side of Jesus as well.  This Jesus, Who wept when His friend Lazarus died (John 11:35).  The same Jesus, who in a fit of righteous anger overturned tables in the temple (Mark 11:15-18).  Jesus, who pleaded with the Lord to take away the “cup” if it would be His will (Luke 22:42).  A Jesus, who after fighting off the devil himself with truth in the wilderness, still needed angels to come and minister to Him (Matthew 4:11).  Jesus obviously had human emotions, and I believe that He most certainly felt the sting of the absolute betrayal of one of His closest friends. 

And yet....He loved Judas until the end.  And He bent down to serve him.

I wondered, while marinating in this, if I could do the same.

(Are you ready for the vulnerability now?)...

Read the rest here to find out…

 

~ Mandy Woodhouse

Lessons From The Early Bird

One morning this week, I was awakened hours before the sun came up by the most beautiful sound – a little bird was sitting on our window-sill singing.  Singing at the most inconvenient time.

This little bird started her song at around 3am, and I have been pretty exhausted these past several months so I was not particularly thrilled.  We are in a season of intense transition and change as we purge our belongings, sell our home and move to Australia.  In the middle of it all God has been so faithful, but my body and emotions have been responding to this change (as they should).  I won’t lie…I wanted to shoo away the bird when I saw the time on my phone!  3am, I mean, REALLY?!  Yet I felt the Holy Spirit strongly encourage me to listen a bit longer and learn from this little creature.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. – Psalm 46:5

One of the things that I noticed first about this little bird is that she was singing while it was still nighttime.  Before the light of the sun even appeared, she was already serenading the dawn.  I kept thinking to myself as I allowed her song to lull me back into a slumber that she was actually singing in the dark.  I felt in my Spirit that this was a very symbolic act that I needed to follow if I was going to powerfully navigate through this next season of the unknown in my own life.  

The Lord began to speak some life lessons to me during the little bird’s song.  Here’s what I learned:

1. Even the darkness did not dim her song.  This little bird has the most beautiful song.  I still have no idea what type of bird she was, but her song was one I had never heard before.  She sang brightly, and her song lit up the darkness – even though it woke me up physically, it woke me up Spiritually as well.  “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5, ESV).

2. One lonely bird sang her heart out.  Not only did she light up the darkness with her song, but she was fully herself.  She sang at the top of her little lungs, and she sang the very song that God gave her to sing, even if she sang it all by herself!  “Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23, ESV).

3. It was dark and gloomy, but she made it a beautiful place with her glorious song. It was dark and gloomy out, and she made it beautiful. Both for me as well as for herself. I will let Psalm 84:1-4 speak for itself:  “Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca [weeping] they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.”

4. Sometimes, it takes a prophetic act to awaken the dawn.  Personally, I have felt a sense of anxiety about my future during this time of transition.  What will next month look like?  What will I be doing in Australia?  I know that God promises a better future than I could ever ask for or imagine, but at times my “vision” for the next season has felt dark and clouded.  

But since I trust God, I can confidently sing to awaken the dawn.  I can smile at the future because I know that God is good (Proverbs 31:25).  

Like this little bird, I can sing before I see the full light of day because I have hope and I know that my voice and declarations will cause the season to shift.  “My heart is steadfast, O God!  I will sing and make melody with all my being! Awake, O harp and lyre!  I will awake the dawn!  I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great above the heavens;  your faithfulness reaches to the clouds” (Psalm 108:1-4, ESV).

5. I can sing while I wait.  That little bird obviously could not wait for the dawn, so she began to sing it into being.  Why can’t I do the same?  I may not physically see the sunrise with my eyes, but I can feel it in my soul.  Waiting it not easy, but it doesn’t have to be the grueling process that our human minds often make it.  Like David I can command my soul to wait on the Lord and I can sing while I wait.  “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning” (Psalm 130:5-6, ESV).

I am so grateful for this little song bird, especially at 3am.  What valuable lessons to learn!

“Then shall your light break forth like the dawn and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”- Isaiah 58:8

~ Mandy Woodhouse

Recognizing Rubbish

Do you talk to yourself?  I do.  All. The. Time.  I even answer myself at times as well. 

I’m naturally a verbal processor who happens to also be an only child, so talking aloud to myself about anything and everything is something that I’ve grown up doing.  It’s taken my husband and me 12 years of marriage to work out that sometimes, I just need to TALK without him feeling like he has to fix a problem.  Sometimes I don’t even have a “problem” to talk about, I just need to process things aloud.

Can anyone else relate?

The good thing about getting to verbal process with my husband is that he is a passionate lover of TRUTH and if he happens to hear me processing something that doesn’t quite sound like the Holy Spirit’s voice, he will graciously call me out on it so that I don’t go down a bad road in my thinking. 

Verbally processing with him has saved me many times from negative agreements with lies and wrong thinking, thus wrong behaving.

But what happens when my husband is away for a few weeks, and I’m all alone with my thoughts and my verbal musings and self-talk?  Oh the lessons I’ve learned in this.

The past few weeks that my husband has been on a mission trip have been one of those defining “where the rubber meets the road” sort of times for me.  I’ve had a weird lung infection since the end of November, and I’ve been more physically unwell than I’ve ever been in my life. 

The enemy knows that when I’m sick and lacking rest I’m more vulnerable, and he certainly took a few cheap shots from the moment I stepped into …

Click here to read the rest of this amazing post and get the lessons Mandy shares too.

Rise And Shine

We are super excited to introduce you to our newest member of Restored Ministries Blogging Team; Mandy Woodhouse.

Mandy will be sharing her gift with us every Thursday.

Here is a sample of her blog “The Sun Is Rising.”

Enjoy! ~XXOO

Sunrise.

God keeps speaking to me through sunrises lately. 

I don’t mean that I wake up early and watch the sun rise on a daily basis (my usual time of awakening is actually just after the sun comes up).  I mean that I have been dreaming about sunrises while asleep.  And then I wake up and see photos of gorgeous dawn sky-paintings all over social media.  And it’s always the sun RISING, not setting.

Just this morning, for example, after dreaming that I lived out on a mountain watching the sun rise, I saw 5 gorgeous photos on Facebook of the sun rising in my area.  Some were too stunning for words.

One of the dreams I had about the sunrise was so profound, I shared it in a previous blog. In case you haven’t read it yet, I’ll summarize.  I was at a high point overlooking the ocean.  On one side of the beach were people being distracted by things on the ground, and because of the distractions they were missing this glorious sun rise behind them.

They were too distracted to see that the sun was actually rising.

I had another dream recently where I was standing atop another very high tower, much like something you would see in the Lord of the Rings movies.  It actually reminded me of Isaiah 62:6, where God posts His “watchmen on the walls.” In the dream, my eyes were fixed on the horizon and I said aloud, “Am I supposed to warn others about approaching armies and war or something?”  I heard a voice whisper in response, “No…there are many people doing that these days.  What I want YOU to do is remind My people that the sun is rising…”

So here I am, reminding you that the sun is rising.  The dawn is here.  And the darkness cannot last forever.

“A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).

I feel like this has a double encouragement in it. 

There’s more! Click here to read the rest of the blog.

For the other blog on the dream mentioned and summarized above Click here

Connect with Mandy on her Facebook page Outrageous Hope

And to see some of her previous work visit her website

And of course – follow us right here on Restored Ministries Blog so you won’t miss any new posts of Outrageous Hope coming every Thursday.