Pause In His Presence Part 7

“When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I…” – Psalm 61:2

Go Up Higher!

I have always loved this verse in Psalm 61.  How often does my heart feel overwhelmed in this crazy, beautiful world?  Do I always go straight to that high place, or do I often wallow in my feelings and struggle to see clearly?  It’s been a long, hard journey, but I think I’ve finally learned to climb up into the lap of the Father when I feel that tormenting sense of anxiety that overwhelms me.

In reading this verse this week, I was reminded of a dream that I had a few years back while I was in a season of feeling incredibly overwhelmed.  In the dream there was a great warrior who had won many victories.  He finished one battle and then rested for a time, and yet when it was time for him to move along again, he found himself up against quite a large, dark forest.

The forest was thick and the foliage allowed for very little light to seep through, and even the look of it caused the warrior a bit of angst and weariness.  The warrior had no idea how he would ever get through that thick, overwhelmingly dense forest – but he knew that it was something that he had to do.

Soon in the dream, the warrior took a step back, only to find that to his back was a very high rock, nearly as high as a mountain.  The warrior thought that at least if he climbed the rock, he could find a safer place to rest until he gained the courage to enter and go through the dark paths that lay ahead.  So, he began to climb, higher and higher, and what happened next was amazing.

The warrior climbed to the top of the rock, and found himself seated in a spot that allowed him to see from a much higher perspective.  From the high rock, he could see that the sun was actually rising, and the colors were glorious and warmed his heart.  He could see that the forest was much smaller than he had observed from the ground, and that there was actually a path that ran right through the middle of all the tress and it was more well-lit than he previously thought.  He could see that there was nothing sinister in the forest, and that a river with refreshing water was just past the tree line toward the back.  

Up high, in the glow of the morning sun, the warrior was able to gather strength and courage to continue his journey and eventually make his way confidently through the forest path.

Wow…what a picture!  I think of this dream often, especially when I read Psalm 61:2.  The Bible calls us “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37), so when we find ourselves face-to-face with a perspective that seems to overwhelm us and make us feel the opposite of who we truly are, we can turn to our Lord and our Rock and climb up high into His lap!

We can stop, pause in His Presence, and know that His perspective is actually much different than ours.

Up high, we can regain our confidence, regain our peace, and move forward with great courage because we know that the Lord has lit up paths in the darkness for us.

Therefore, when my heart is overwhelmed, I will climb up high and rest – in confidence – with my loving Father who is in charge of the whole landscape.

— Mandy Woodhouse

Pause In His Presence Part 5

Hearts Entwined

For how could anyone be disgraced when he has entwined his heart with you? But they will all be defeated and ashamed when they harm the innocent. – Psalm 25:3, TPT

I’ve been chewing on this verse for a few days now.  The imagery of a heart entwined with the Father’s is breathtaking.  This really comes alive to me in the Passion Translation, but I like the English Standard Version of the first part as well:  “…none who wait for you shall be put to shame…”  

It may be just me, but I tend to see verses pop out at me from the page. I know that this is the Holy Spirit wanting to speak, so I grab a hold of the verse and rip it apart.  I read it in several translations, look at the original Greek or Hebrew meaning, read all the context around it, and then I ask the Lord how I can apply it to my life.  Usually, because of how I am wired, I then turn it into an encouragement for others.  But this particular verse was different for me.  I could not move past these two translations, and I could not move past the very first part of the verse.

“…none who wait for you shall be put to shame…”  

The Hebrew meaning of the word “wait” here actually means to “bind together,” or to entwine (Strong’s h6960).  I believe the Passion Translation so beautifully translated it from the Father’s love.  To have our hearts entwined with His is not just a nice concept; it is a REALITY for every daughter or son of the Most High.

I don’t know who may be dealing with shame or disgrace right now, but even as I type this I feel the Father’s heartbeat for you.  I feel Him longing to wash the shame off of you, to remove the disgrace from your shoulders.  As a child of God, you are NOT a person who carries shame or disgrace, but you are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and there is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).  

Any sense of shame a child of God feels is an external feeling brought by the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10).  

Regardless of whether or not you actually did make a poor choice, it’s no longer you that lives but Christ IN you (Galatians 2:20) and you therefore only acted out of character because you believed a lie.  Repentance and embracing truth again is all that’s needed.  

And yet the devil is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8), and we are not unaware of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11).  Especially to keep us in bondage.

I believe the key to overcoming the voice of the accuser in our lives is to Pause in His Presence, and allow our hearts to be entwined with His.

The ESV says that when we wait for Him, we are not put to shame. When our hearts are entwined with His, we feel His heartbeat for us.  We come to know His absolute approval of us, and we are convicted of the higher calling that He has created us for. He reminds us of our righteousness, by faith, in Him, and that we have no need to fear as His perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).  

So who would be disgraced, whose heart is entwined with His?  He will certainly never disgrace you.

If you are fighting off shame or disgrace today, take the pressure off yourself.  Pause in His Presence, and bind your heart to His.  Allow His love and truth to wash over you as the shame and disgrace fall off.

You are SO loved.

— Mandy Woodhouse

Pause In His Presence Part 4

Goodness is CHASING YOU DOWN!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Have you ever woken up and faced a spirit of dread? Have you ever had days where you just don’t want to get out of bed, and you feel like everything is just TOO hard? We’ve all had days like these, and although we know that we have great victory in Jesus, and the authority to see things shift in the heavenlies… sometimes, it can feel like it’s all too much at once to handle.

Praise God these are just feelings and often not our reality.

The reality about every one of our circumstances is found here in Psalm 23:6:  Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives!  

The Word says that there may be weapons formed against us, but they will not prosper (Isaiah 54:17). So although there may be weapons being formed against us, at the same time we have goodness and mercy chasing us down as well.

Goodness here is the Strong’s h2896, which means everything that would be beautiful, pleasant, excellent, agreeable, etc. Mercy is the Strong’s h2617, which means kindness, faithfulness, favor. What David is saying here is that beauty, kindness and favor are the things that shall follow us all the days of our lives, not dread and despair and feelings of being overwhelmed.

And if that wasn’t encouragement enough – the word follow makes me the most excited. It’s the Strong’s h7291, which does not point to something distant that follows behind you like a little shadow. It implies something that is alive that is chasing after [you] with hostile intent. God’s beauty, His kindness, His favor chase after us with hostile intent!

What a testimony to His great love!

For those who may feel discouraged or battling a spirit of dread today, be reminded that the Father’s “goodness and mercy” far outweigh the devil’s little demons of dread and discouragement.  I speak over you today that His goodness and mercy will CHASE YOU DOWN, and will overtake you in a glorious way.

Spirit of dread, BE BROKEN NOW over the reader, IN THE NAME OF JESUS!  That we may dwell in the house of the Lord forever, knowing that His great love has chased us down.

— Mandy Woodhouse

God’s Playlist For You

Listen for your music in the night hours and wake to it in your ears. The earth trembles at the sound of heaven’s song – My gift to you.

~ Jesus

(Marie Chapian Walk With Me Jesus)

Go ahead—sing your new song to the Lord! Let everyone in every language sing him a new song.

—Psalm 96:1 TPT

A new song for a new day rises up in me every time I think about how he breaks through for me! Ecstatic praise pours out of my mouth until everyone hears how God has set me free. Many will see his miracles; they’ll stand in awe of God and fall in love with him!

—Psalm 40:3 TPT

Pay attention to those tunes stuck in your head when you wake up or during the night. That’s the playlist God has for you.

~ XXOO Michelle Bollom

Pause In His Presence Part 2

Psalm 3:3-4…

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah (ESV)

But in the depths of my heart I truly know that you, Yahweh, have become my Shield; You take me and surround me with yourself. Your glory covers me continually. You lift high my head when I bow low in shame. I have cried out to you, Yahweh, from your holy presence. You send me a Father’s help.
Pause in his presence (TPT)

But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory [and my honor], and the One who lifts my head.
With my voice I was crying to the Lord, And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah. (AMP)

The Lord stopped me in my tracks this morning as I read this Psalm.  I felt the urge to read it in several different translations, and could not help myself in sharing them all with you as well!  Sometimes reading something over and over, in different “tones,” helps make the truth sink deeper into our hearts.  

It definitely went deeper into my own heart this morning as I hope it does yours.

The truth is, I didn’t want to read anything this morning (how embarrassing). If you read last week’s blog, you’d know it was from Psalm 1 and about not neglecting reading our Bibles, especially during this season.  I talked about marinating on the Word and allowing our roots to go deep and therefore bear much fruit, even in dry seasons.  More than anything, it was an encouragement to dig deep and continue to pause in His Presence during this time in history.

Now as most of you probably understand all-too-well, the devil is a PUNK, and within days of submitting that little blog I found myself stuck in a cycle of busy activity, interruptions and distractions almost daily that kept me from digging as deeply into my Bible as I had been.  When things like that happen, our response should always be to pick ourselves up, shake off the distraction and guilt, and then carry on as if we had never skipped a beat.  

But oh, the accuser of the brethren is ready and waiting to pounce with lies and accusation to make us feel bad about whatever it is that we momentarily slipped over.  Half the time what we experience is purely an attack from the enemy, who twists things and makes us feel like a hypocrite and like it’s all our own fault.  What a jerk.

So here I am this morning, still in isolation, with a few blogs to write and a handful of little tasks to accomplish today.  I’m still sipping my morning coffee when I felt the tug toward my Bible.  I haven’t actually marinated in it for a few days, so I felt a sense of almost guilt in grabbing my Bible and opening it.  But I know that there is no condemnation for me (Romans 8:1) and I can come boldly to His throne (Hebrews 4:16), so I turned to this Psalm and began to allow His Presence to wash over me.  After all, I have VICTORY over every attack (Psalm 34:19).  So I CHOSE to grab my Bible and read Psalm 3.

Here’s what He showed me, that I think will really encourage you:  HE IS THE LIFTER OF OUR HEADS!  Even when I feel like I don’t deserve His Presence, even when I feel under attack or when I’m wrestling with external feelings of being a “hypocrite” or whatever the lies may be…HE is a shield around me and HE is the one who lifts my head.

Being the teaching nerd that I am, I looked up a few of these words in the original Hebrew language. The word shield is the Strong’s h4043, the word magen or meginnah, which literally means a scaly hide of crocodile skin which was used as protection and defense.

The Lord is our defense…even when we “feel” that we don’t deserve it!  And the word lifter (He is the “lifter of our head”) is the Strong’s h7311, the word rum, which means to be lifted up and set on high; to be exalted; to mount up and rise up.  

Take a look at how The Passion Translation says it: You lift high my head when I bow low in shame. He lifts us up and sets us on high. He exalts us with His love. He causes us to rise up, even when we are bowing low in shame. The imagery here is outstanding! I can almost imagine sitting at His feet, unable to make eye-contact while he gently and lovingly takes a finger and lifts my chin up toward His, making me look deeply into His eyes of pure love and full acceptance.

I feel like THIS is how He answers me from His holy hill.  His response to those who belong to Him is always LOVE and lifting our eyes beyond the shame.  It’s just Who He is.

If I needed another reason to dig deep into the Word today (and every day!) it would be this.  Because when I do, He lifts my head.  He surrounds me with glory and honor.  He protects me and answers me with His Presence, and with “a Father’s help,” and in the midst of all this He breaks off the shame and guilt that the devil has tried to place on my shoulders.  

He is so good.

Pause in His Presence.

—Mandy Woodhouse

Don’t Hinder The Flow

So now every righteous requirement of the law can be fulfilled through the Anointed One living His life in us. And we are free to live, not according to our flesh, but by the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit!

—Romans 8:4 TPT

Only the flesh hinders the flow of God’s Blessings. Tap into the Dynamic Power of the Holy Spirit.

~XXOO Michelle Bollom

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