“Friendship First – An Urgent Invitation”
By Mandy Woodhouse
As the Church has been invited back into a position of first love
(Revelation 2:4), I feel an urgency to herald this call, particularly for those who represent Jesus in a more public manner, such as social media and other online platforms. I feel a specific importance upon knowing how much the Father loves His children
– a knowing that goes beyond head knowledge and pierces the heart, bringing with it an awakening that flows into every word that is spoken or even prayed.
I feel this urgency for myself as much as for anyone else. We
desperately need His extravagant love washing over us constantly. We need to learn to ENJOY His love for us, and our love for Him. More than any other time in my life, I feel that the WORLD, and even the CHURCH, needs us to govern in the heavenlies from this
place of deep intimacy and from a position at His feet, being overwhelmed by His great love for us individually, before we do or say anything.
A Child Before a Minister, Prayer Warrior or Prophet
Recently one morning, upon entering my prayer room just to be loved on by Jesus, I grew increasingly overwhelmed as I looked at all the needs written on my prayer wall. I began to feel different emotions rising up while looking at the
many prayer points. There was so much need, so much brokenness, so much to believe for.
After a moment or two, even with my beautiful worship music blaring in the background, I actually shifted from being overwhelmed to feeling
annoyed. The more I focused on the annoyance, the quicker it grew into criticism toward certain situations and people written on my wall. I found myself “venting” to God, and I began frantically writing down what I felt to be a “word in season
from God” to “build up the Body of Christ.”
I had my Bible opened to Jeremiah 23:29: “‘Is not My word like a fire?’ says the Lord, ‘And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?'”
As I began to ask the Lord to give me a tongue of fire and words like a hammer to smash all the seeming offense and potential bitterness that I thought I saw on others (primarily others in the Body of Christ), suddenly my eyes caught verse 31: “‘Behold,
I am against the prophets,’ says the Lord, ‘who use their tongues and say, “He says.”’”
In that same moment, the music I had on went from just background noise to words that grabbed my heart.
I had Housefires on, and the song playing was “Jesus What a Savior,” written by Kirby Kaple. The lyrics that caught my attention were these:
I’ve never known a love like Yours
Jesus, what a Savior,
What a brother, what a friend…
My eyes scanned Jeremiah 23:31 again as I began to weep in repentance for my own speculations and judgments. My initial
heart posture was to enter the prayer room to encounter God’s love, and I had somehow moved away from that place. I know that by my faith in what my precious Savior did for me, God was not “against me”; but I also knew that I had stepped
outside of alignment with His heartbeat, and I was full of sorrow for this because of my love for Him.
The “word” that I was scribing was NOT the word of the Lord. I was scribing my emotions and starting
to write out what was actually a response to my own frustration (righteous as it may have appeared), which in that moment, I was convinced others needed to hear for their own sake. And the most horrible revelation of all – I was responding from
the wrong manner of spirit, and not out of an overflow of my love affair with my beautiful Savior and friend, Jesus. I had gone into that room to be with Jesus, and I had not even said hello to my beautiful friend yet!
Years ago, the Lord said to me that I am a daughter BEFORE I am a warrior. Everything that I do must come from that place of intimacy, friendship and the intense love of the Father; especially as a prophetic voice who represents Jesus.
There are times when I hear anointed people, obviously called by God, and there is something about the manner of spirit in which the words they give do
not sit right with me. I am not speaking of a realignment that brings redemption, or a harder “word” that is difficult to swallow, but ultimately brings healing and restoration. I am speaking of words brought with a critical spirit that
points the finger and causes others to do the same.
I remember asking the Lord about one particular voice, and what made this voice sound more like the critical world around me and less like the voice of my GOOD
Father. Oddly enough, the day I asked this question, this exact same song (“Jesus What a Savior”) was playing in the background, and in a moment when I was feeling overwhelmed by the intense love of the Father, the Spirit of God said to my heart:
“[This person] prays too much.”
I realized that God was not talking about the act of prayer itself. Listening again to the lyrics, “I’ve never known a love like Yours…Jesus, what
a Savior, what a brother, what a friend,” I felt a sense of love and acceptance from my heavenly Father that I had not felt walking into my prayer time that day. I knew the Holy Spirit was saying that some voices have strayed away from the intensity
of their own love affair with Jesus to pray and intercede for the needs, the chaos and even the sin of others. They have not strayed from their first love; but they have become so distracted by what needs to be realigned that they have somehow, unknowingly,
neglected the heart of the Redeeming Realigner, for others and for themselves.
The Lord showed me that there are some things which we can only understand if we allow Him to deeply love on us. In that
place of enjoying His presence and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, we begin to awaken again to the goodness of God and everything that this goodness entails. When we see Him for who He truly is…everything changes.
revelation brought me to my knees in repentance and worship. It’s not something that I can adequately put into words. This encounter gave me a greater level of compassion for this particular voice, and my prayers for them and others on my wall have changed
drastically. I learned the same lesson that I learned above – that as a teacher, prophet, and even an evangelist, in order to carry the weight of glory and redemption power that brings healthy realignment, my words MUST come from the place of a deep
love encounter with Jesus, and personal affirmation from the Father that is separate from what I am praying into or discerning. I am a child and a friend FIRST.
As voices for Jesus, even as intercessors behind
closed doors, we need a deep and consistent FRIENDSHIP – before we intercede or “go to war” spiritually, and most definitely before we prophesy, preach or share a word. We are DESPERATE for the love of our Savior, our brother, our
friend. We need His love, His wisdom, His kindness and His very words flowing from our mouths. There is more authority, more power to see change and way more of the proper fear of the Lord, when the motive is from the Father’s heart and not out of our
own annoyance. That way God is sure to get the glory.
“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.
If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)
the Manner of Spirit
“And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‘Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from Heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?’ But He turned
and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.’ And they went to another village.” (Luke 9:54-56)
and John, affectionately called the “Sons of Thunder,” lived with Jesus. They loved Jesus. They knew Him intimately. But they had a moment here, and they were rebuked by Jesus for the “manner of spirit” that they were operating in.
Granted, this is before they knew Jesus in the fullness of redemption, restoration and reconciliation, but the lesson is the same for us now.
There is a spirit at work in the world today. The Bible talks about
the “anti-Christ” spirit (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 2, to name a few). This spirit is not just simply a spirit that is at work against Christ or looks like the opposite of Him; it also presents a counterfeit that has infiltrated
our cultures across the globe. It tries to sneak into any open door, window or place that it can find within the global Church as well.
This counterfeit spirit, at times, can appear to hate sin
as much as we do; thus it has the appearance of truth. It brings with it such worldly perceptions and such an outrage against injustices that it actually distracts us from our first love. It covertly operates to keep us from seeing the REAL
Jesus, the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Like the Sons of Thunder, it is a spirit that is quick to call down fire upon others instead of stopping to hear the Father’s heartbeat for them.
A Fire and a Hammer to Build – not Just Destroy
The answer to this counterfeit is in lingering first at the feet of the real Jesus, allowing His extravagant love to wash over us, and
then allowing our extravagant love for Him to minister to His heart. Relationship with Him is the primary reason for our being created. He did not seek and save the lost in order to make robots to do His bidding. He wanted intimacy with His people.
I am constantly reminded of the apostle John (one of the same Sons of Thunder) who, later in his walk with Jesus, learned to lean back against the chest of his friend. Through our friend Jesus, we have access to lean back as John did,
and allow the heartbeat of the King to beat louder in our ears than any fear, any concern, any discernment, any offense or any frustration.
This is the place where we meet the TRUE Jesus. This is where the fire and the hammer
that come forth from our mouths will not only burn and smash through the lies and deceptions, but also BUILD UP and REDEEM those who have ears to hear. This is where the words that come forth from our mouths will begin to sound like Heaven’s words; they
will fall upon hearts with a supernatural RHEMA tone and not the tone of a mere mortal.
Who is the true Christ?
• “…For the testimony of Jesus is
the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10)
• His testimony is one who preaches good news to the poor, and who brings freedom and double recompense (Isaiah 61; Luke 7:22).
• He disarmed principalities
and powers and made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them (Colossians 2:15).
- He takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
- He gives abundant life, instead of stealing and sabotaging life (John 10:10).
• He overcame the world (John 16:33)…and He is so much more.
“And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain
the books that would be written. Amen.” (John 21:25)
Finally, Urgently Chase After Understanding His Love
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten
Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
The Holy Spirit challenged me with this thought: Would I be willing to give up my current ministry, even if it meant that
all I would do is sit at His feet and allow Him to just love on me? He gave His life for me – would I be willing to give up everything good for Him? He did not ask me to do anything drastic in that moment; He simply asked “would you.”
This was incredibly confronting.
I believe there is a fresh revelation of John 3:16 and even Matthew 4:20 available to us: “They immediately left their nets and followed Him.” The key for anyone with a
voice in this era is to reflect upon and begin to articulate, with conviction, why they have dropped everything to follow Jesus, and to marinate in the truth that He gave His life for us. Once those who are called to be a voice begin to go back to
being lovers of Jesus, before they are anything else, I believe that the world will hear some of the purest, most powerful prophetic words and teaching revelations in history.
In that place of conviction, we will begin to
gaze upon the true Jesus, and all that will matter is what HE says, what HE thinks, and HOW HE wants His message delivered. There will be no room for anything but Jesus as the goodness of God penetrates our hearts and laces our words and prayers.
He is worthy, He is worthy, He is worthy.
By Mandy Woodhouse
528 Ellsworth St. SW
Albany, OR 97321