Holy Spirit in You IS the Dominant Spirit

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. – 1 John 4:4

Have you ever walked into a room, a building, a store or some venue where you immediately feel feelings you had not, until that moment, felt?  Feelings such as anxiety, intimidation, fear and discouragement, just to name a few.

These are feelings that may make you feel twitchy, flustered and often makes you want to run!

2 Corinthians 2:11 says that we are not unaware of the schemes of the enemy.  The devil is crafty and he will often try to trick us by making us believe that these feelings are actually coming from us, when in reality there is an external spirit at work in the room that we have just entered.  If God created you as a sensitive and discerning person, you know exactly what I mean.

Sometimes these things can feel so overwhelming to a discerning person that it is difficult to find the inner peace and to actually think clearly enough to realize what is actually happening.

Personally, I have worked out that if I am suddenly and unexpectantly feeling a certain way that I was not previously feeling (especially intimidation and fear), then it is actually my invitation into intercession for that particular location and the people within it. This happened to me recently, and I heard the Lord speak in the midst of my discomfort, “YOU ARE the DOMINANT SPIRIT in this place.”

Here’s an illustration from life that the Lord gave me yesterday.  

I was driving down a busy motorway in Brisbane, just past peak-hour morning traffic.  I was doing exactly the speed limit, not even one over. There were dozens of cars going around me, all in such a hurry.  Some would tailgate me until they could get around me and punch on the gas to prove how badly they needed to go faster.

Others were speeding past me. Some were overtaking me while others undertook me.  They were all rushing around in a manner that I could literally feel their anxiety.  Yet for me, I was not bowing to the craziness around me.  I REFUSE to speed, so I was just rolling along with my internal peace and refusing to be influenced by what was happening around me.

I was the dominant spirit in that environment, and my speed was actually causing those following me to go slower as well.

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you..” – Romans 8:11

God also reminded me of my dogs. We have a boy named Frodo, who is an alpha male.  We live with a family who has a gorgeous boy named Pepper, who is also an alpha male.  They are both good boys with huge personalities, and it took some time for them to work out that Frodo was the true alpha in the room.  There are still times that just Frodo’s presence causes Pepper to get angry, bare his teeth and growl, but as soon as Frodo begins to rise up as THE alpha, Pepper backs off. Frodo is the dominant male in the room.

If you have the Holy Spirit living inside you, then you, too carry great authority (check out Ephesians 1). YOU ARE the DOMINANT SPIRIT in the room, because you carry Him within you.

One final testimony to encourage you!  I had a medical appointment one morning in a part of Brisbane that is known for its night life.  I had a 2 minute walk to the train station, and ran into a homeless woman just as I was about to enter the station. God gave me a word of knowledge about her health and circumstances so I asked if I could pray for her.  As I began to pray we saw her physical healing take place, but there was a woman sitting on the sidewalk across the road from us who began to scream at the top of her lungs, “No, DON’T TOUCH HER!  Keep your hands off….” And then she yelled at the lovely woman that I was praying for, “Don’t let her do it!  Don’t let her pray for you!  Don’t do it…it’ll ruin everything!  Noooo!”

I could hear her screaming at me, but for a second I was unsure of whether or not she was talking to ME, so I started praying in the Spirit just to regather my thoughts.  This seemed to make matters worse, and it caused the woman’s yelling to grow louder and more aggressive.  I quickly realized that this was a demon yelling at me, not another homeless lady.  So, in my righteous anger, I asked the lady that I was praying for if she knew Jesus – and got to lead her to the Lord – but not before a group of rather large men approached me shouting the same things at me that the demonized woman across the street was shouting!  They never got within a few feet from my person, but each of them was manifesting something nasty that was designed to intimidate me and cause me to leave the scene.

Just about the time I saw my woman accept Jesus, find healing and find deliverance, the woman across the street started to scream as if someone was stabbing her!

The men began to shout loud obscenities as well, and I suppose all the ruckus caused the police to arrive.  I was asked by the police to leave immediately.  I politely submitted to their wishes and turned into the train station, where the Lord so graciously processed with me what had happened.

I am a carrier of His glory, and I walked into a territory where demons seemed to have free reign. Yet He who is in me is greater, because I have the Spirit of the Risen Christ within me, so I was the dominant Spirit.  Just like Pepper getting cranky when Frodo walks into the room as the alpha, I seemed to have stirred up the spiritual atmosphere when I came walking down the street carrying Jesus inside of me!  

But I am not unaware of his schemes, and I knew that I carry Jesus therefore I carry authority. The intimidation tactics did not work on me because in that moment I knew who I was and WHOSE I was.  Had I allowed the intimidation to affect me, the woman would not have been healed, delivered and saved that day.

If you have Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit within you, you ARE the alpha.  You are the dominant Spirit, and you carry great authority.  Let’s ask Him to show us more and more how to navigate this in our lives.  

 …having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,  far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.  And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church…” Ephesians 1:18-22

~ Mandy Woodhouse

 

  

 

King Of The Fire

Where I live in the Southern Hemisphere, the heat has been difficult to bear at times.  I’m not yet acclimatized to it, and it’s actually been affecting my body and my health.  Of course, it may not take much time and I’ll soon be adjusted, but it hasn’t been the easiest in the waiting.

I was walking to the car a few days ago after another HOT day, and I felt such a cool breeze on my face that my hair blew past my lips.  I could almost taste the current (and very missed) Autumn weather in America!  It was such a nice breeze that it took me by surprise for a moment, but I felt the Lord’s Presence in it.

He reminded me of Genesis 3:8:  They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  

What came to mind was that God walked through the garden in the cool of the day.  I felt so strongly that He was in that cool breeze, and that I could either brush it off as a nice bit of reprieve and brush Him off, OR I could accept the invitation to go deeper in worship to Him for being in the cool of the breeze!

While pondering these thoughts, He also reminded me that Hebrews 12:29 also calls Him a consuming fire.  God is indeed in the loveliness of the cool breeze, but He is also an all-consuming fire and not to be messed with.

But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. ~Isaiah 43:1-2

I felt the Lord say that whether you are walking in the fire or in the cool of the day, God will walk through the garden with you.  He’s always with you – nothing can separate you from His love (Romans 8:38).  

He was in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3), and He promises that the fires will not burn you.  And when the waters seem like they will overtake you, He is with you and you will NOT drown!

If you’re walking through fire or facing nothing but sweet, cool breezes – just know that as you keep your heart pure before Him, you will see Him (Matthew 5:8).  He is in the breeze just as much as He is in the fire.  He is the Lord of both.  He is the King of everything.  And the King never abandons His children!

 

~ Mandy Woodhouse

King Of The Fire

How’s Your Hope?

Happy 2020!  

Have you been on Facebook lately?

The start of a new year is always a fun time to have a little Facebook newsfeed scroll.  I usually get inspired by my friends and everyone’s new year’s goals, game plans, dreams and personal mission statements for the next 12 months.  I love to pray for each person’s post that I read, that they’d truly fulfill everything that is in their heart for the coming year.  

While some people are dreaming bigger, going back to the gym and making faith-driven decisions, others are digging around in themselves trying to figure out what went wrong the previous year and how they can make deep, heart changes for the new year.

Personally, I felt years ago to not start the new year looking at what needs a tune up in my insides, but to focus on Jesus and everything that He has done in and through me the previous year.  I love to make declarations about what the next 12 months will bring, and begin to dream with God about what He desires for me in the coming weeks.

If something comes up I just repent and move on, knowing that there is now therefore no condemnation for me in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) and that in His Presence I am fully loved back into inner health.

I won’t lie though…I am definitely going back to the gym as well! Bring on the physical health!

This week, however, I did feel a special challenge from Holy Spirit to reevaluate and readjust myself in the area of HOPE.  Holy Spirit never points out what’s “wrong” with us (the accuser does a good job of that already); He always reminds us of what we were created for and how we can smash the lies that are holding us back from that place.

This year, it seems that my area of lie-smashing was in the area of hope, and as He began to speak to me about this area I felt my heart come alive again as I felt Him wash over and over me with fresh perspective from Heaven.

Now I realize that what I deal with and the lies that I believe may not be what you face.  But I also know that HOPE is a weapon, and one that is constantly stolen and bashed around by the enemy.  The Bible says that hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:5), so my goal is to help expose and crush any disappointment from you that may be at the door of your soul!

I Googled the definition of “hope,” and I didn’t really like what I found.  Everything seemed so…disappointing.  The best definition I found was from Wikipedia, which says of hope:  As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation.”  I think I like what the Bible says better:

• This hope we have as an anchor of the soul… – Hebrews 6:19a

• Return to the stronghold, O prisoners who have the hope; This very day I am declaring that I will restore double to you. – Zechariah 9:12

• Then you would trust, because there is hope; And you would look around and rest securely. – Job 11:18

• But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.- Romans 8:25

• But as for me, I will look expectantly for the Lord and with confidence in Him I will keep watch; I will wait [with confident expectation] for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. – Micah 7:7

• 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

The first scripture listed, from Hebrews, has become one of my favorites in the context of HOPE.  Hope is actually an ANCHOR for our souls!  The Greek word for anchor here is the word agkyra (ἄγκυρα) which represents the same kind of iron anchor that we always see in the cute little paintings on Pinterest from Hebrews 6:19.  It holds us down, keeps us from blowing off with the winds of adversity, and it also in Greek represents a “safeguard.”  

Hope is our safeguard from going off into an emotional mess whenever we start to feel the tension in the wait.  It keeps us ANCHORED to Jesus and to promise.  Hope doesn’t disappoint, it’s a stronghold and we are captured by it, and we can abound in it by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Friends, God’s word is TRUE.  We can trust Him.  We can have a confident expectation of God coming through, regardless of the circumstances.  If the enemy has come to lie to you, ask Holy Spirit to fill you again with HOPE.  Become a prisoner of hope!  Allow it to anchor your soul and keep you full of joy and peace in believing. Do you need to reevaluate and readjust like me?

Allow the Father to be your guide as you walk together through His truth.  He has a plan for you and wants to give you HOPE and a prosperous future (Jeremiah 29:11).  And as we know, God’s Word never fails!

~ Mandy Woodhouse

Presence Leads To Obedience

Twenty twenty.  I have heard over and over that it’s a year of acceleration, declaration, double portion and clear vision.  How wonderful!  I’m so expectant and excited for these things in 2020.

But I also see that 2020 is a year of people experiencing the manifest PRESENCE of God in ways that they have never imagined.  I see that as His Presence is encountered, new levels of OBEDIENCE are the byproduct, and obedience is needed for the acceleration, declarations, double portions, and clear vision.

It always hinges on His Presence.

“And he said to him, ‘If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here…’”

(Exodus 33:15)

I LOVE that Moses told the Lord God that he simply would not go and do what God asked if God’s Presence wasn’t going with him.  I love this.  This was in a time long before the Holy Spirit would dwell WITHIN the children of God, and Moses knew that he could do nothing in his own strength.  Moses knew that he needed God’s Spirit above all else if he was going to succeed.

At my Church this weekend, my pastor talked about how there will be great acceleration in 2020 and that great obedience was needed in the acceleration.  She used the amazing illustration of cars going fast along a highway, all going in the same direction.  There are imperative road rules on highways – which if ignored, cause crashes.  

If we don’t remain in obedience to what is being told to us during times of acceleration, we could cause a crash.  So eye-opening for me.

I felt God say that partnering with His Spirit when He asks for obedience is so important.  It’s us working TOGETHER WITH HIS SPIRIT, not just us all alone out there without the Holy Spirit’s help.  In fact, Ezekiel 36:26-27 says that God has removed our old heart of stone and given us a new heart of flesh, and has given us the Holy Spirit “…and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”  The Holy Spirit it our helper and guide.  We are not alone, and it is never in our own strength.

“…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

(Hebrews 10:22)

We need the Presence of God.  We need His guidance, His help, His affirmation, His conviction, His love.

OBEDIENCE comes naturally when we burn for Him.  And we burn for Him when we sit in His Presence and become like Him.  “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.” (Psalm 17:15).  

We CAN behold His face in righteousness, because through our faith and co-crucifixion with Christ, we have BECOME the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

Unlike Moses, who Exodus 33:23 tells us was unable to see the face of God, we are now able to come BOLDLY into His throne room and face Him as children and heirs who sit WITH HIM in Heavenly places (Hebrews 4:16; Ephesians 2:6).

Moses had to ask God to allow His Presence to go with him.  We have full access to God’s Presence anytime we want – we just have to understand that we now CARRY Him.  And we must not go anywhere He does not direct us to go.  We need Him desperately in order to fulfill everything He has for us in this next decade.  We must sit with Him, WITHOUT DISTRACTION, and tap into what we carry on the inside.  He is inviting us to go higher and deeper.

We carry the Presence of God, and I also sense that God is wanting us to go deeper with Him in 2020.  In Exodus 33:15, Moses asked the Spirit of God to go with him, and in 2020 we can do the same, only WE GET TO SEE HIS FACE as well!  We need more of Him this coming year if we are going to obey and see our promised acceleration.  

We need more of His clear, pure voice in order to not crash.  We need His clear eyes to see the road ahead and those around us the way that HE sees it all.  I believe that 2020 isn’t just a promise of acceleration and all of these amazing things – I believe it’s an INVITATION into MORE of His Presence and POWER in our lives!  We just need to press in to obey His every leading.  

Arise my love, my beautiful companion, and run with me to the higher place.  For now is the time to arise and come away with me…”

(Song of Songs 2:13b, The Passion Translation).

-Mandy Woodhouse

Keys To Advancing In 2020

Recently a friend asked me to do a teaching on some keys into Advancing into 2020 for a private group he leads.  The Lord spoke some pretty awesome things, so I figured I’d share a few keys with you, as well.  After all, who doesn’t want to advance WELL when going into a new year?

Key number one is, I believe the MOST important key for any season of life.  Let’s just call this the “master key.”  The master key is learning to lean into His Presence without coming out early.  I believe that most lovers of Jesus have become quite good at lingering in His Presence a little longer, but this key goes beyond lingering.  This key requires utter trust that God can bend time for you, should you need it.  A trust that Holy Spirit can teach your kids to either leave you to be with Him, or join you quietly while you wait upon the Lord.   I call it the master key because it draws you so deep into the Father’s heart that it opens every door you need (ie. affirmation, clarity, breakthrough, fear of the Lord, hunger, intercession, consecration, etc.).  

Instead of just getting “filled up” and coming out with a bit of an overflow, you are literally smeared with His Presence and don’t miss out on the fullness of what God wants to show you or say or do because of distractions or time.  

You get to minister to His heart, and He takes care of the rest (Matthew 6:33).  He is SO worthy.

Key number two is simply to lean into the tension, and don’t drop your arms.  I liken this to that of an archer who has pulled the arrow way back in the bow, ready to shoot at any moment.  The seconds before the arrow is released, there is a great tension in the archer’s arms. If the archer drops their arms for just a second, the arrow either launches in the wrong direction and way too early, falls flat, or hurts someone or something because it is off target.  

I felt the Lord say that some people will want to drop their arms because they are weary and/or tired of disappointment, while others will drop too soon and launch out into the wrong direction, catching the wrong winds because of their impatience.  Still others are ready to launch, they just need to lean back for just that little bit longer so that the target is exact and the arms are more steady.  

God CAN steady your arms, if you lean into key number one!  “But his bow remained taut, and his arms were strengthened by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, by the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel” (Genesis 49:24, NLT).

The last key for advancing well into 2020 is to prophesy over yourself and the next decade.  Job 22:28 says, “You will also decree a thing, and it will be established for you…” (NASB).  2020 is the Hebrew year of “the mouth,” and while praying into this the Lord gave me the most amazing visual to explain it!  He whispered gently to me, “look at the fan.”  

Here’s the context:  I’m currently living in Brisbane, Australia, where it is the very hot beginning of an even hotter summer.  We have a little stationary fan near the bed, and it is almost always turned on these days.  This particular day when the Lord asked me to look at the fan, I saw that there was a small, white feather that had somehow come to be on the corner of my bed just in front of the fan.  As the fan blades turned with great momentum and force, this little feather was blown up into the air, and then flitted across the room where it gently landed on another piece of furniture near the window.  The Lord said that this is what our prophetic words do in the Spiritual.  Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing, so when we prophesy over ourselves and we HEAR what the Lord is wanting to do in our lives, our faith is built (turn fan blade once).  

This faith that has been built in us then causes more faith to grow and greater declarations to come forth from our mouths (turn fan blade again, faster).  After a few more of these prophetic declarations, our faith is so high that our emotions engage with the faith, and things begin to shift in the natural as angels are released on our behalf (see the fan blade getting more momentum?).  

Soon, what’s happening in the Spiritual is that a great force and momentum from our very mouths has caused our little “feathers” to be lifted up and moved over – or advanced – into an entirely new location.  How amazing is God?!

The beautiful thing too is that if one of these other keys doesn’t work or seems to feel dull or flat, we can always go back to the MASTER KEY for everything we need.

I hope these keys bless you as they are blessing me.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, and I pray that you advance well into 2020!

~ Mandy Woodhouse

Engagement

Can I be honest for second? I’ve had a battle in my thoughts this week, and the battle actually came from one little moment where I ENGAGED a lie from the enemy instead of dismissing it immediately.

I engaged his lies, which opened the door to more conversation in my head about the particulars surrounding this lie, which then caused full-blown warfare on my mind.  

We’ve all been there.  But friend, this is NOT our reality any longer!

Fighting off lies after we’ve engaged them does not have to be our “normal.”  It’s just not who we are in Christ.

Here’s a personal illustration to better paint a picture for you.  My previous neighbor across the road from us in South Carolina used to have issues with his 3 big dogs getting out of his fenced yard and running up and down the street. The dogs were rambunctious, would bark at people and would chase cars.  

They were intimidating and even the postal workers would carry sticks to be sure they were safe.

One day a man was walking down the street, and the dogs were out. They ran up and down the street along the opposite side of the road, barking and snarling and jumping around.  However, the man kept his eyes fixed in front of him and did not flinch.  After a moment the dogs got no response from the man so they backed off and the man continued his journey, dog free.  

That same afternoon, a woman was walking along and the dogs started acting up again.  The difference is that the woman engaged the dogs. Where the man kept walking and never made eye-contact, the woman looked straight at the dogs and started yelling swear words at them.  She picked up a stick from our yard and went to throw it at them, but the dogs charged at her and knocked her over.  The story ends with me calling 911 and the woman crying hysterically.  

The Lord really used this situation to teach me a valuable lesson about the lies of the enemy in my own life. How many times in the past had I engaged the intimidation, fear and accusations of the devil?  It’s such a trap, because the result was the same every time – there was always pain and I’d always feel overcome.

Yet had I not even acknowledged what the enemy was whispering to me and just kept my eyes on the truth about God and the truth about me, I would have saved myself years of grief and pain.

Friend, when the accuser of the brethren comes to lie to you about your identity, you must be like the gentleman walking down my road and not engage.  Remember the truth and only allow that truth to enter your mind.  Do not dwell, even for a second, on the devil’s innuendos.  He is a father of lies and there is absolutely ZERO truth in Him (John 8:44).  

Let’s look at how Jesus does it in Matthew 4:1-11:

And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you, ’and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

I believe that Jesus is the perfect example of one who did not engage with the devil!  The devil came to him and tried to bring intimidation, but Jesus only responded with truth.  Jesus never once engaged, yelled at the devil or even tried to debate him.  Jesus spoke truth until the devil left Him alone.  And in doing this, Jesus taught us a better way than Adam and Eve had chosen.  “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Thanks to Jesus, the only truth you need engage with is the truth about HIM.  As He is, so are you (1 John 4:17).  You are like Jesus.  You are as righteous as Him.  Holy living is an overflow of your relationship with Him.  You are not an orphan, but a son or daughter who has full access to your Father.  You are in His image, with His characteristics and His Holy Spirit to remind you how loved you are.  The Bible says that you are a partaker of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), and you are seated with Christ in Heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6).  Colossians 3:2 says to set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.  

Engage only these truths, and the devil will have to back down. Engaging only God’s truths will also help break off any strongholds that the enemy would want to use to keep us in bondage.  The devil is crafty, but TRUTH is way more powerful.  Just close your eyes, take a deep breath, and begin to meditate on the Jesus-truths that you know to be true! Know these truths, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).  

 

~ Mandy Woodhouse

His Promise Stands

My friend Megan mentioned something a few days ago about the end of 2019, and the fact that there’s still TIME to accomplish things and complete some of the tasks that God has called us to.  

She reminded us that 2019 still has a certain number of days left, and she brought encouragement to really end the decade well and ask God what else, if anything, He would have us take action in the remaining days leading up to 2020.

Her words resonated with me and I mulled over this most of the weekend.

In the middle of asking God what areas I needed to work on, what still needed to be finished before the new year, etc., He spoke to me very clearly out of one of my favorite verses, Numbers 23:19: “Am I a man that I would lie?”

“Ok God,” I thought.  “You have my attention…I haven’t called You a liar, have I?”

Quick as lightning in my Spirit I heard His response: “No, but you stopped partnering with me on your Promise…just because the year is almost over doesn’t mean I have changed My mind”

Cue mic drop.

What has God said to you in the past that you may have “shelved?” Have you given up on the things that He has promised?  Do you believe Him?  Has your heart started to disengage because there is only a matter of weeks left of the year and you are still waiting on something He promised?

If He said THIS is the year, He will keep His promise.  Psalms 12:6 (TPT) says: “For every word God speaks is sure and every promise pure. His truth is tested, found to be flawless, and ever faithful. It’s as pure as silver refined seven times in a crucible of clay.”  

Let me ask you again – What has He said to you?  His word surely does not return void (Isaiah 55:11).

Even with just a short amount of time left this year, God is still God and has not gone back on His word. Don’t give up now! If He said it, you will see it. You’re almost at the end, I encourage you to finish strong and full of HOPE!

Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.” – Zechariah 9:12 (ESV)

~ Mandy Woodhouse

Lean In A Little Further

This morning during my time with God, I had a serious encounter with Holy Spirit.  I hope you know the kind of encounter I’m speaking of.  It was glorious as I was moved to sobbing, I felt breakthrough in my Spirit, and I was trembling in awe and reverence of Who He is and what He has done for me.  

It seemed like every song on my shuffling worship playlist hit me in the heart, and scripture was jumping off the page.  I could hear so CLEARLY and felt such tremendous peace and approval.

Regretfully, I glanced at the clock, which rudely informed me that I only had about 15 minutes left of this supernatural ecstasy before I had to continue with my normal morning routines or I’d be late.  

I don’t know if it was my brain trying to justify my actions or if it was my emotions feeling like I just couldn’t take anymore because it was sooooo good, but somehow, I began to think that it was time to pull out of this beautiful heavenly place.  As if I was “filled up for the day” and therefore somehow released to leave God’s Presence and go about my day.  I certainly felt utter satisfaction – no doubt about that.  I both wanted to start my day but also felt like an anchor was there pulling me back into His Presence.  But I knew that I had things to do and it was time to get up and go.

And then I heard Him speak: “Mandy, I NEVER want to let you go!”

I was wrecked.

I realized then that there is so much more. There is so much more to our “quiet time” with Him.  The “Secret Place” is so much bigger and better than the corner we have settled for.

He asks us in John to ABIDE…. that word in Greek means so many beautiful things, including to tarry and to linger and to stay. HE WANTED ME TO STAY WITH HIM LONGER!

The farther I go in my walk with Him, the more I realize that a fact about Heavenly hunger is that we are actually NEVER filled. We just get invited to keep going and going and pushing in deeper and deeper and we have to actually challenge ourselves to not stop just because we’ve had an emotional or spiritual encounter that we think has set us up for the day.

THERE’S SO MUCH MORE, y’all.

And He is worthy. And He can bend time for us. He will do the impossible just to be with us – again and again.

I was reminded of a dream I had once, and while thinking about this dream I felt Holy Spirit take me into His Presence yet again.  I was able to revisit what He showed me in the dream, but also He gave me even more insight through another vision, rather like an extended version of a movie.  

In the dream I was with this woman who I knew from a previous ministry, and she was chatting my ear off with criticism, accusation, negativity – all the things that pastors deal with and yet struggle with regularly.  I found myself backing up into a deep closet while she kept yapping at me, and I was able to close the door and lock myself in.  When I did that, I could still hear her chatting away, yet it was muffled.  So I went a little deeper, and then a little deeper, until I couldn’t hear anything but my own heart beating in rhythm with the Father’s.  In the extended vision this morning, I then saw that I was so utterly transformed in the “deeper” places, perfectly in rhythm with His heart, that when I finally did exit the closet, the Glory on me was so intense that it silenced the woman completely, and caused her to repent and begin to speak Praises instead of cursing.  

That’s what going deeper into His Presence looks like.

Leaning in and abiding is a supernatural experience. YOU HAVE PERMISSION TO TURN YOUR BRAIN OFF. He’s the God of the impossible, which we all agree on, and He CAN bend time for us. His reality in Heaven is OUR reality because we are seated WITH HIM in Heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) and if He is the God of the impossible, He can change circumstances, literally stop time (He did it for Joshua) and change our perspective if we allow Him to.

He did it for me this very morning.

God didn’t just want to fill a place called Heaven with a bunch of humans, He wanted INTIMATE FRIENDSHIP with us.  

Everything that Jesus went through was for INTIMATCY.  I am convinced that one of the devil’s best tricks is to cause us to forget that fact and to keep us from going deeper and lingering longer.  

Why stop short of everything He has for us?  Even if you feel that you can’t take it anymore, let Him burn you with His love a bit longer. Burning leaves a mark, yes, but it’s a heavenly mark that has the supernatural power to transform the earth.

Next time you are pressing in and feel the need to “come out” a little early, I dare you to press in just a bit longer.  Watch the GLORY that comes forth!  He is so worthy.

~ Mandy Woodhouse

A Spiritual Weapon

We all have them – those scriptures that you may read a thousand times in life, but one day when the penny drops, you feel like you’ve read it for the first time.  

Understanding Ephesians 2:6 was like this for me.  In fact, it has actually changed my life.  And it has specifically changed the way that I pray and my understanding of what “intercession” truly is.

God is most definitely moving hearts toward intercession in this hour.  I am seeing people across the globe “suddenly” realize that they are called to intercede for nations and generations, and I have walked with a handful of these people just this past week.  I feel that God is redeeming intercession in the Church, and teaching His people how to remain happy and hope-filled while they pray.  

Intercession is an invitation into hearing more of God’s heartbeat for His people and the globe, it’s not meant to be a weird thing reserved for only a few “special” ones nor is it only a tool to bring home the prodigals.  Intercession is actually the very thing that will shake and smash the idols and the sinister spirits that have had such open space in our nations, families, marketplaces and governments.

I believe that it is Bill Johnson who said that intercession is the power to release God’s heart onto the Earth.  What an invitation!  Yet with this release of God’s heart, an intercessor must both know God intimately as well as know the power and authority that he or she carries.

Ephesians 2:5-6 – “…even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (ESV)”

I suppose to fully grasp the meaning of this verse, we have to go back to the end of Chapter 1 to get the context of Paul’s statements in Chapter 2.  Let this sink in while you read it because this is the truth about who YOU are, as His Beloved:

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.  And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:16-23).

The idea that we are seated WITH Christ in Heavenly realms blows my mind.  The implications of this are listed above – as the Church, we have been given His authority over all things.  He sat us at the right hand of the Father (in Jewish culture, sitting at the right hand of the head or leader is the highest form of honor given), and we sit far ABOVE all rulers, dominions, powers, and anything that is basically not Jesus.  

We are seated in a place of absolute power, ultimate victory, and all of the same authority as Jesus.  1 John 4:17, “as He is so are we in this world.”

Understanding this and actually believing it changes everything.  Notice how Paul states there is “immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.” What if it’s simply our belief that holds us back from the power that is already ours?

I ran from intercession for a long time because I had a wrong picture of it in my mind.  I guess one could say, I “threw the baby out with the bathwater” because I didn’t want to carry the strangeness, the heaviness and the grumpiness (oops…I said it) that some intercessors in my world seemed to carry.  Because of what I saw in some, I had the very wrong impression that being an intercessor meant signing up for a life of constant warfare and burdens, though I could not understand how this was possible with scriptures like Ephesians 6 and Isaiah 61:3.  There definitely were times that I felt a call to go to war in prayer for certain things – especially as I began to step out in the prophetic – but I always felt like I was begging God to pull Heaven down over Earth, which greatly frustrated me.

Until I discovered that I was already seated in Heavenly places!

Dear friend, if you are currently feeling a draw toward intercession and you want to run from it because of past experiences, misunderstanding or just not knowing how to walk in it, I’d love to encourage you to meditate on the first few Chapters of Ephesians.  Ask God to reveal to you the authority and power that He has given you as an inheritance.  There is a sense of frustration in always feeling like you have to pull Heaven down to Earth, but there is great ease and joy in knowing that you can, in fact, PUSH Heaven down because of the authority Jesus has given His Church.  

We always pray from a place of peace and victory, and though the warfare may be slight, it can never really touch the Child of God who knows how high they are actually seated.

I am by no means an expert on this subject, but I am passionately journeying through the invitation into intercession, and these passages in Ephesians have been the most eye-opening for me yet.  It took me some time to fully believe and therefore walk in His immeasurably great power, but once I started to believe I felt the shift in my prayers and began to see Him move mountains.  

Now it is my great joy to carry people, nations and situations into prayer.  Another book that I would like to suggest for further reading is Beni Johnson’s book, “The Happy Intercessor.”  Both her book and an understanding of the ease of my prayers (because of Jesus) have turned me into a Spiritual weapon – and I believe that this is a promise for YOU, as well!

 

~ Mandy Woodhouse

Jacaranda

I am an American, deep-South girl that’s now living in Australia and absolutely in love with Jacaranda trees.  Jacarandas supposedly come from America, but I have never seen them in the South, so I obsess and squeal over them whenever I am in Australia during their blooming season (which happens to be right now).  

I often stare dreamily out the car window, completely in awe of the sea of purple that seems to cover the hillsides in parts of Brisbane.

Last week as I was walking along the side of our home with my dogs, I noticed that there were Jacaranda petals all along the ground under my feet.  I had not noticed any jacaranda trees in our yard, so I took this as a special kiss from heaven or some supernatural encounter from the Father’s heart to mine because He knows just how much I love them.  

After telling my husband about this encounter, I was surprised to find out that there was actually indeed a jacaranda tree just at the fence in the neighbour’s yard!  It was so tall and broad that I had somehow missed seeing it at all.

After a few minutes of staring at this gorgeous tree that has actually been just in front of me all along, heard the Holy Spirit say, “My Blessings are sometimes hidden in plain sight.”

Just as I had access to the beauty of this jacaranda tree at any time, we children of God – by faith – have access to the blessings of God whenever we want.  

Sometimes we get distracted or weary, and we miss that the blessings are right there in our vicinity carrying all the beauty and life that we need.  Sometimes we are just looking in the wrong place.

I also heard the Holy Spirit say that just as I was convinced that I was having a supernatural encounter when I saw the petals on the ground, so too God is delighting to give supernatural encounters to those who have the eyes to see.

Clear as a bell I then heard in my Spirit that all we have to do is LOOK UP.

“My Blessings are sometimes hidden in plain sight.”

I feel that this is an invitation from the Lord to stop, breathe and take time to look around.  We are already seated with Christ in Heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) so we don’t have to look very far.  We also have a Father who loves to be the “lifter of our heads” (Psalm 3:3) so He is happy to help us see by faith if we need Him to.

He is so faithful to draw near to those who draw near to Him (James 4:8) and He will allow us to find Him when we seek Him with our whole heart (Jeremiah 29:13).  And when we seek Him first, everything else will fall into place (Matthew 6:33).

It’s also important to note that although He will pour out good blessings upon His children just because He loves us and is a good Father (Matthew 7:9), there is actually nothing in the world like seeking His face and Presence over His blessings.  He certainly delights to give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11; James 1:17), but there is nothing that satisfies like just being at the feet of Jesus.

~ Mandy Woodhouse