Encouragement For The Replanted

Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the LORD; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it. – Jeremiah 36:36

Have any of our readers ever experienced personal root shock? Trust me, you’d know if you had.

In a ministry leadership meeting I attended recently, we were asked to reflect upon our past year and how we feel we have grown, how our character had been refined, and how we feel we have changed.  

The only words that kept coming to my mind were the words “root shock.”

I am so familiar with root shock. My parents both had green thumbs, so we always had plants around our home growing up.  I remember this one plant that was in a larger pot on my parents’ back porch.  It had grown quite large and leafy-green, and it was even blossoming and dropping seeds yearly, but my Mom was convinced it was being stifled in that pot.  My Dad decided to replant it in another part of the yard, and he did everything one is supposed to do when replanting greenery.  The plant apparently had root shock the first few months it was transplanted, so my Dad had to prune it WAY BACK to almost nothing so that the roots could get everything they needed from the soil and recover more quickly.  

Within months, the plant had not only recovered, but it had grown so large that it was actually taller than the one-story house, and the blooms on it were the size of a small animal!  My Dad again had to keep it cut back to beneath the roof and keep it watered and well-looked after.

People can have root shock too.

The past 12 months – pandemic aside – has been “root shock” for me.  And I know for a fact it has felt the same for many others in the body of Christ.  Like my husband and I, many have moved countries or states.  Many have left old jobs for new, old friendships for what feels like isolation, and many have been removed from communities that they thought they would serve forever.  Almost like pieces on a chess board, it feels like the Lord has strategically been moving and placing people in new areas as He sets up His “check mate” on the enemy in the last days.  All will know that He is Lord, and how amazing that we get to play a part in that.

If you have indeed experienced a form of “root shock” and pruning over this last little time, I want to encourage you with this little prophetic picture of the plant from my parents’ yard so many years ago.  

Perhaps you were blossoming and thriving where you were, and now the pruning has been so painful you wonder when you will ever feel the blooms again.  Maybe you have been pruned so hard that you feel exposed, vulnerable, even lacking. Let me encourage you, through Jesus we only ever have REBUILDING, REPLANTING and RECOMPENSE!  He prunes us so that we can endure the amount of fruit that He has actually called us to carry in this next season.  He replants us for the sake of not only OUR BEST, but also to fulfill the destiny He has for us and for the world.  Even when we find ourselves desolate and barren, we can trust that there will be NEW LIFE spring forth, with more fruit than we had ever expected!

Don’t despise the replanting.  

The root shock doesn’t last for long.  When you stay well-watered and in the sunshine, your growth will explode!  Be encouraged!

— Mandy Woodhouse

Time To Occupy!

Look, I am giving all this land to you! Go in and occupy it, for it is the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to all their descendants.. – Deuteronomy 1:8

But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” – Numbers 13:30

Yesterday, a word dropped into my Spirit during my morning prayer: OCCUPY.


Now being the nerd that I am, I quickly took to Google to get a definition of the word. Google defines “occupy” as two things:

  1. To fill
  2. To exist (within a space)

The Cambridge dictionary’s three definitions utterly blew me away!  I know that you will love the first one as much as I did:

  1. An army or group of people who move into and take possession of a place and refuse to leave
  2. To have a particular job or role or assignment
  3. To keep thoughts busy

Wow….a group of people who move into a place, take possession, and REFUSE TO LEAVE.  Sounds like a feisty, faith-filled kingdom group of people to me!

I heard the Lord say that it is TIME TO OCCUPY THE LAND THAT HE HAS GIVEN YOU.  Whether your nation, your home, your sphere of influence, or just simply a promise that God has given you – it is time to fill that space and REFUSE TO LEAVE.  It’s not time to hunker down and wait it out.  There is such an invitation to take a hold of your territory, whatever that may be, and OCCUPY!

Next, He said that it is TIME TO FILL YOUR ASSIGNMENT!  Regardless of whether you are a parent at home with your children, or a doctor, teacher, barista, insurance agent – OCCUPY YOUR SPACE!  If you are a prophet, teacher, intercessor, evangelist….IT’S TIME TO OCCUPY YOUR ASSIGNMENT!  

It’s time to rise up.  It’s time to take possession of what He has promised you, and refuse anything less.

Lastly, the Lord said that it is time that we OCCUPY OUR THOUGHTS WITH GOOD THINGS. It’s time that we start putting ONLY the truth of what the LORD says about situations into our thinking. It’s time to start seeing, hearing, and meditating on Kingdom realities that feed the truth into our minds that GOD IS VICTORIOUS! And through Jesus, WE ARE VICTORIOUS.

It’s time to occupy. Just as Caleb says in Numbers 13, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”

The time is gone for the Bride to just maintain a normal existence.  The time is here to OCCUPY THE LAND!

And through Christ, all things are possible.
 

— Mandy Woodhouse

Pause In His Presence Part 15

What Did God Say?

Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him. —Psalm 105:19 (NASB)

Oh, this verse!!!

I have struggled with this verse in the past.  I have struggled, because I just could not grasp why the Lord would make a promise to someone and then TEST THEM until the full promise manifested.  

Isn’t He a GOOD GOD?  Why would a good God say that He would do something, and then test someone until He followed through?

When I read this scripture last week, I felt the draw to just pause in His presence and allow Him to speak to me through this verse.  As someone who has been waiting on a few promises from God for a great deal of time, I had several questions on my heart regarding Psalm 105:19. “What do you mean by this, Lord?” I asked Him.  “Please explain Your heart to me, because I just don’t get it.”

He first directed me to look at the Hebrew meaning of “word” in this scripture.  The meaning of “word” (h0565) is simple:  The utterance of God.  Basically, I felt a challenge from the Lord to remember what He has actually spoken to me in the past.  He gently guided me through several promises I have yet to see, and all of the scripture, prophetic words and words that came directly from His heart to mine in the years that I have been waiting.

“What have I said to you?” He asked me.  

I use the word “ask,” but really, His question felt more like a challenge.

As I sat in His presence, recounting all of the things that the Lord had spoken to me about my promises, I began to ask again about the word “test.”  He led me again to look up the Hebrew meaning (h6884), and I found that this word does not mean something that’s unbearable or cruel.  It means refining, yes; but the word also means “to cast,” specifically in fire.  To cast something is not just to burn it – a “cast” is an object made my shaping molten metal material in a mold.  

According to Google, the things that are cast most often are TOOLS, WEAPONS, and JEWELRY.

Here is what the Lord spoke to my heart when I realized the weight of this “testing”:  Every promise is for an appointed time, with an appointed purpose.  Psalm 105:19 refers to Joseph, who was “tested” while waiting for the fulfillment of the dream he had regarding leading his brothers.  Joseph needed that time of molding and casting so that he could be the EXACT SHAPE NEEDED to lead a nation.  Joseph was given a word – an utterance of God through a dream – and needed to be WEAPONIZED before the word of the Lord could come to pass in his life.  Joseph needed to be weaponized because the Lord’s word to him was about more than just Joseph.

Some translations make it clear that Joseph’s character needed a refining.  I am sure that is true!  But if we focus on “refining” of character, we may miss the point entirely.

Joseph needed refining not because something was wrong with him or because he wasn’t good enough or lacking.  Joseph needed refining because what God chose him to carry was of such weight, such greatness and such importance, God needed Joseph to be fully weaponized to walk in the glorious promises that the Lord had for him and for his nation.

Every promise of mine and yours has a Heavenly purpose, and that purpose is larger than we are.  I would encourage those who are in the waiting and being tested to go back to the Lord and ask Him to lead you into the truth about your promise.  Ask Him to open your eyes to see beyond yourself and beyond the fulfillment of it, and ask Him to show you what “shape” He is casting and refining you to be.

Chances are, the word that He has spoken to you is weightier and more magnificent than you could even imagine.  

Whether you are a weapon against the forces of darkness, or a tool to smash through lies and strongholds in others, or a jewel to display the splendor of the King of Kings….do not despise this season of testing while waiting on the utterances of God to manifest in your life.

Surrender to the “casting,” and allow Him to shape you for maximum Kingdom impact.  And hold God to His word while you wait – He loves your faith!

— Mandy Woodhouse

Pause In His Presence Part 14

Forget Not His Benefits

“Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” —Psalm 103:2, NKJV

“Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things that He does for me.” — Psalm 103:2 NLT

I was reading Psalm 103 this week – one of my favorite Psalms of all time – and I found myself pausing to reflect more on verse 2.  At other times, I would have found myself camping at some of the juicy verses that come later, but verse 2 really caught my attention this week.  I feel like at times, the rest of the passage is indeed so rich that people tend to unknowingly skip right over this little verse when it is so packed with goodness on its own.

I love the New Living Translation. “Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things that He does for me.” Let “all that I am” praise the Lord.  That phrase literally means our whole self; our appetites, minds, desires, emotions, passions, and inner beings.

Everything that seems to make up ME, that’s what’s to praise Him!  I would assume that would also include the negative emotions, the negative feelings and thoughts – it’s ALL to bow to Jesus and bring Him praise.

“May I never forget the good things that He does for me.”  Gosh, what a ploy of the enemy to make us FORGET.  Other translations say “forget not all his benefits…” and that word “benefit” means all of His deeds, all of His rewards and all of His recompense towards us.  Let us not forget his recompense!  Let us not forget His deeds!  Let us not forget how He sent His very own Son as a sacrifice for what WE did wrong, and how that He took upon Himself our own sin, sickness, mistakes, failures, pains, traumas, anxiety, etc.  

Let us not forget that Jesus actually transformed us on the inside, making us new creations and changed our nature to be like His (2 Peter 1:4).  Let us not forget.

In my personal life, I sometimes begin to forget.  I get focused on the things that have nothing to do with God’s kingdom, and I can sometimes forget to look at my true reality, which is Him.  I believe that remembering all the good things that He has done for us actually helps to refocus our eyes upon our true reality, which is His kingdom.  If everything within me can not forget what He has done, then the rest of the worldly troubles stay in my peripheral vision, and my heart stays fixed upon truth.

Perhaps that’s why the rest of Psalm 103 is so incredibly rich; because the writer knows that God has done good deeds, and he is calling them to his remembrance!  When we remember, then our whole selves can praise Him.  And when we praise Him, we enter into new levels in the Spirit where nothing else will do.  THIS is the true Kingdom.

May I encourage you today to REMEMBER.  If you must, grab a journal or a piece of paper and pause in His presence.  Quiet yourself before Him, and then jot down all the deeds, all the good things the Lord has done, all that was done for you at calvary.  Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you where necessary.  Make a list, and then REJOICE!  Celebrate with everything that you are, and watch not only your perspective change but also the atmosphere around you.  He is so worthy of ALL of our praise.  THIS is our true reality.

— Mandy Woodhouse

Pause In His Presence Part 13

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” – Psalm 91:1-2 (NASB)

I was pausing in His presence today, and I found myself unable to get past verse 2 of Psalm 91.  My heart was arrested by the truth of God’s burning, passionate love for us and how utterly worthy He is for us to just abide in everything He is.

Abiding, in this context, means to rest into something and to stay there permanently (Strong’s h3885).  His “shadow” here refers to His protection (h6738), so I was first drawn to the thought of permanently resting into His protective arms.  

The word “dwell” absolutely blew me away as well, as it means not just to remain somewhere but also to stay in a place because of marriage (h3427).  He showed me that the Father’s covenant of love with us allows us to remain under His protection.

The fortress mentioned in verse 2 (h4686) refers to a stronghold or a place of defense.  Now if you’re like me, it’s quite easy to get caught on a rabbit trail of definitions and word research!  Without going too far off track, I’ll share a bit more research on the word “stronghold” because I feel it is important to build the context of what the Lord was speaking to me.

Google defines a stronghold as “a place that has been fortified so as to protect against attack.”  Other places in the Bible, a stronghold is defined as a lofty or inaccessible place of great safety.  

Here’s what the Lord spoke to my Spirit in regards to these first two verses in Psalm 91 and Him being our stronghold.  I know it will bless you.

He showed me that the idea of running to Him as a stronghold is so much deeper than we even know.  It’s not a mode of behavior modification, nor is the idea of finding safety in Him a bribe to get us to pause in His presence.  It’s simply WHO HE IS.  And He is worthy of ALL of us.

I began to see that He is worthy of ALL OF MY HEART, not just the wounded parts.  He is worthy of ALL MY AFFECTIONS, ALL OF THE TIME, not just when I feel afraid and run to Him for security.  Dwelling or abiding in His shadow goes beyond finding a shelter for our own benefit.

Of course, we are protected and fortified by His love, but I believe that the real breakthrough in our lives comes not from utilizing Psalm 91 only when we are feeling fear and looking for security.  The breakthrough comes in the DWELLING, in the “marriage” off all that we are to all that He is.  

In the full acceptance of His covenant of love that leads us to great intimacy.

THE HEART OF THE FATHER is a lofty and inaccessible place that goes beyond safety and a momentary freedom from feelings of fear.  His HEART and HIS BURNING LOVE is where we can go high and remain permanently.  That place in His heart transcends anything on the earth, and it goes far beyond the temporary emotions or provision of physical needs.  

His burning heart of love is the reason that we live, move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

His love for us, and our being tucked away deep into His heart (under the shadow of His wings), is our greatest refuge and fortress.  It’s what we were created for.  He alone is our lofty and inaccessible place – He is not a formula for driving out feelings of fear.  He is where we’re made to abide and remain, and everything we need is found there, in the shadow of who He is.

May we all sit permanently in the New Covenant of LOVE that Jesus died to give us, which grants us a greater level of intimacy than we could have ever imagined.  May we learn to abide in that place and receive all the safety, security and rest that we have been created to live in!

— Mandy Woodhouse

Pause In His Presence Part 12

Digging Deep Beyond the Pain…

How enriched are they who find their strength in the Lord; within their hearts are the highways of holiness! Even when their paths wind through the dark valley of tears, they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others find only pain. He gives to them a brook of blessing filled from the rain of an outpouring. They grow stronger and stronger with every step forward, and the God of all gods will appear before them in Zion. Hear my cry, O God of Heaven’s Armies! God of Jacob, listen to my loving prayer…..Pause in his presence – —Psalm 84:5-8 (TPT)

This passage touches me deeply.  I go back to it often, and have gone back to it over many years.  It’s a beautifully articulated few verses in any translation, but I find it particularly moving in The Passion Translation (seen here).

One thing that stands out to me – amongst many – is that the writer seems to be on a journey.  They are passing THROUGH the valley of tears, not camping there.  They are on the “highways of holiness” just slowly moving along, and not staying put in their sorrow.  

What conviction grips my heart when I hear of others who carry grief and pain, and yet choose to slowly-but-surely move past it.

The second thing to note is that they DIG DEEP to find pleasant places. I adore how The Passion Translation words this next part: “…they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others find only pain.”

Once again, the writer obviously has made a CHOICE to not just sit in their pain.  The writer understands that there will be a valley of tears, a time of darkness, and often some intense pain.  But this is just for a season, and while he is in that season he is choosing to dig deep and build “brooks of blessing.”  As he digs those brooks of blessing there is a great outpouring that occurs!

The last thing that I noticed here is that with every step forward, with every choice to move on and begin to dig deep, the person GROWS STRONGER AND STRONGER.

They have God before them, and it even says that He APPEARS to them!  Through their pain and grief, the person makes choices to push through, dig deep and even bless others – and he grows stronger and gets to have special encounters with God along the way.

Gosh, he had me at special encounters with God!  That’s the very thing that satisfies and brings joy in the pain.

May we be like the writers of this Psalm, the “sons of Korah” who understood that – as verse 11 says – “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (NKJV).

Pause in His Presence now and think on these things.

— Mandy Woodhouse

Pause In His Presence Part 11

And I said, “This is my anguish; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.” I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds. Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; Who is so great a God as our God? -Psalm 77:10-13 (NKJV)

The Psalms are so rich in human emotion!  I love reading about how David, the Sons of Korah, and in this case, Asaph, process their human emotions and yet stay aligned in their minds and hearts to the truth of who God is and how He will come through for them.  There is pure gold in their words and how they describe their journeys.

I believe that the author, Asaph, has given us keys here to maintaining freedom and peace.  If you read from the beginning of the passage, Asaph expresses his anguish.  He appears to be troubled, overwhelmed and absolutely struggling in his emotions and thoughts.  He seems to waiver from verses 1-9 between his emotions and pushing himself to declare the goodness of God.  Yet in verse 10, everything changes!  I believe that verse 10 is the key for peace.

And I said, “This is my anguish [or infirmity]; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.”

But I will remember….. I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds…..this is the key.

Rather than dwelling on what needs to change, or how to NOT feel the depth of pain that he felt, Asaph begin to remember what the Lord had done for him.  He did not engage feelings that tried to tell him that something was “wrong” with him, or that things would never change.  He was real and raw with his emotions, but he then began to process the truth about who God really is.  He remembered what the Lord had done in the past, is capable of doing in the present, and will do in the future.

Asaph then meditated on God’s faithfulness and began to speak it out. He didn’t remember and then file it away in the back of his mind; he meditated upon the truth. He stirred up his faith by remembering and pondering the works of the Lord, and then he began to decree them. He spoke them out, and as he did faith arose because faith comes by hearing. And the end of Psalm 77 is simply Asaph pausing in God’s presence to REMEMBER.

Psalm 77 is such a beautiful way to process our pain and emotions.  We need not deny how we feel or what we think, but we need not stay in that place of negativity or pain, either.  Freedom and peace will come when we remember, meditate and talk of the faithfulness of our Good Father.

Who is so great a God as our God? – Psalm 77:13

— Mandy Woodhouse

Pause In His Presence Part 10

He SHALL Continue

His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him; All nations shall call Him blessed. Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, Who only does wondrous things! And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen. — Psalm 72:17-19 NKJV

Something struck me when I read this today. It stopped me in my tracks, actually. It literally MADE me pause in His presence and really take in what I was reading.

His name SHALL endure forever.

His name SHALL continue as long as the sun. Men SHALL be blessed in Him. Nations SHALL call Him blessed. This isn’t a nice statement. This is a reality.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve skipped over these verses dozens of times.  I love vulnerability, so allow me a moment of raw honesty here.  There are times when I just want the juicy verses that point directly to my situation or what I’m praying into at that moment in time. Sometimes I read over scriptures such as “…let the whole earth be filled with HIs glory…” and I think thoughts to myself such as, “Yeah, yeah…the earth will be filled with Your glory.  But where is a verse to help me with my current need?”  It’s as if my eyes don’t see what’s right there in front of them.  I’m sure we’ve all done this.  

Reading this today, however, I felt so challenged as my eyes were opened! I’m always looking for scripture to declare over my circumstances…or to bring peace…or to give me direction…and yet everything I need to know is RIGHT HERE:  His name SHALL endure forever.  His name SHALL continue as long as the sun.  Men SHALL be blessed in Him.  Nations SHALL call Him blessed.

Hebrews says that the Word is living and active, sharper than a sword and able to discern between what is Spirit and what is soul (4:12).  We need scripture.  We need every single sentence, every single word.

The Bible is alive, and in it is LIFE.

Life isn’t found in just the few scriptures that speak to us at particular moments, but in every single portion that is written.

As I stopped to pause in His presence, my heart was so encouraged to read this truth!  The reality is that regardless of what things look like in the natural, the name of the Lord shall endure forever.  Nothing can change this – not pandemics, not job loss, not fear or government or chaos or riots – nothing at all can change the fact that His name shall endure “as long as the sun.”  

The next portion of scripture says that we SHALL be blessed!  I may not feel blessed.  I may not see blessings around me, and I may not be aware yet of how the blessings will come.  Yet the promise still stands, God’s people shall be BLESSED IN HIM! And He shall be called blessed by the nations. What a promise to hold to!

The Lord only does “wondrous things.” When we fix our thoughts on that, and allow ourselves to take in the LIFE found in this small passage of scripture, we can rest assured the truth is that the Lord shall continue to BE, and we can be confident in Him no matter what swirls around us.

He SHALL endure!

— Mandy Woodhouse

Pause In His Presence Part 9

Psalm 68:8-9! Oh my…I cannot stop meditating on this truth.  

This scripture has actually changed my perspective this week, and therefore changed the outcome of many things that occurred in my week.  I know it will bless you, as well.

“The earth shook; The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God; Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel. You, O God, sent a plentiful rain, Whereby You confirmed Your inheritance, when it was weary.” (NKJV)

What REALLY happens when we pause in His presence?

He does the IMPOSSIBLE!  

When His presence is around, the earth shakes.  Sometimes, a good shaking is what we need to wake us up and get us going.  The Bible says that “…all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain” (Hebrews 12:27).  

When God’s presence is near, even in the shaking and quaking of His majesty, we find that what actually remains is every bit of Him in us.

When the presence of God comes near, droughts end!  What seems like dry, barren seasons become alive and teeming with pools and streams of living water.  Heavy rains of blessing and glory pour down upon those who learn to pause and be still with Him.  

Barrenness and drought have no place under the open Heaven that the presence of God brings.

The presence of God moves mountains!  The presence of God smashes roadblocks and moves things that seem immovable.  

His presence is where impossible things find possibility, and where hope can rise because nothing can stand in its way.

In His presence is where inheritance is found, and strength comes upon the weary.  It is where promise is remembered, and where plentiful life and growth occur.

There is truly no place like the presence of God.  May we learn to stop, pause in that place and breathe deeply of His amazing love.

— Mandy Woodhouse

Pause In His Presence Part 8

Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth, And He was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer.

—Psalm 66:16-19 (NKJV)

If you’ve been following these blogs of mine, you’d know that I have been reading the Psalms and meditating on the promises found within them.  I felt at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic that the world needed a few divine “Selah” moments – to pause in His presence and just take in and sense His heartbeat.  I feel like in light of everything else going on in the world right now, pausing in His presence has been the most needed and yet the most attacked of any tool that we have as born-again Christians.  The forces of darkness certainly are aware of the power that the children of God find in that space..and they hate it.

I’ve been re-reading Psalm 27 a bit lately, and I have found such peace and strength in those words, especially during this time.  

The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.  The Word cuts through to the heart of the issue every time, and it is such a weapon for believers (see Hebrews 4:12 and Ephesians 6:10-18).  I have declared certain scriptures in Psalm 27 daily, and I have felt such a wonderful shift in my thinking and emotions while reading and declaring.  Today, however, the Lord spoke to my heart and led me to read Psalm 66:16, and it was exactly what I needed and what I feel the Lord is in part wanting to say prophetically to His children at this time.

Verse 16 in the New King James Version is my favorite: “Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul.”  What a significant piece of scripture in times such as these.

When the author of this Psalm used the word “declare,” what he was saying was that he was to recount or take into account (either as a scribe or verbally) a score or a record of all the good things that God has done (see Strong’s h5608).  When he mentions his “soul,” he’s not only talking about the mind, will and emotions but also, in a very wide sense, everything that makes up him as a man (Strong’s h5315).  

I believe that there is an invitation for all born-again Christians to not only come and listen to one another share a record of all of the good things that God has done for them, but I ALSO believe that this is a challenge to all born-again Christians to stand up – both in person and on social media – and DECLARE (recount) the absolute goodness of God in every area of our lives.  

I felt the Lord say that as we continue to extol Him with our tongues (verse 17), then our voices will indeed speak LOUDER than the evil currently found in the media.

The more we recount what the Lord has done for us and how Jesus has transformed us, the louder HOPE will become, and the Name of Jesus will actually DROWN OUT the voices of hate, negativity, godlessness and evil that so permeates social media in this season!

In the midst of being daily bombarded with darkness, what if we set ourselves upon this: To continue to pause in His presence and allow Him to remind us of all that He has done.  I believe that the Holy Spirit will awaken our remembrance to all that Jesus is done for us, and that He will begin to use our stories to roar over the voices of the enemy.  

Holy Spirit, I ask that You would bring to our remembrance everything that You have done for us. I ask You to help everyone reading this, including myself, to be able to clearly and boldly articulate the goodness of God and how You have transformed our souls. Thank you for the ability to pause in Your presence and breathe deeply of your love. Amen.

— Mandy Woodhouse