I'd like to introduce you to my amazing husband, Carston Woodhouse. Carston has been a prophetic voice and teacher of the prophetic for many years, and is only just beginning to release the things that He and the Lord have spoken about. As an intercessor, Carston spends much of his free time getting the heartbeat of the Father in deep friendship and worship. He is a man of great honour and integrity, and I love his Shepherd's heart for the Bride.
Carston's dream and prophetic warning, listed below, is timely and I believe empowers us to stay soft during times of intense turmoil and realigning. Please read it carefully, with an open heart, and of course test and weigh it with the help of the Holy Spirit.
When Church leadership is exposed and empires fall, keep a soft heart and a right spirit.
Don’t jump on the band wagon.
A prophetic warning dream.
I woke up on the 1st of January 2023 after having had a prophetic dream. It was set some time in the future; it felt like two seasons ahead. We had passed through a season where unhealthy leadership dynamics had been revealed in the Church and some leaders had been revealed for toxic and unhealthy practices. Little empires had fallen, and now we, as the bride, were in the next season after that.
I was walking through a shopping center (or shopping mall) and every shop I went past, there were little clusters of Church leaders, pastors and former pastors, and even some people that were followers of Jesus but hadn’t been in leadership. They gathered in little clusters between 3-8 people and they were everywhere. They were in coffee shops, restaurants, even shops that don’t sell food. They were just gathered in little clusters talking. All the conversation was about their own unhealthy experiences within the Church leadership setting. The conversation was negative, and they were comparing ‘horror stories’ with gossip, critiques and negativity toward Church in general.
As I walked through the shopping center, I wanted nothing to do with these conversations. As I walked along, I became aware that some of these clusters had pastors who had quit, or who were going to quit, to “make a stand.” These clusters were criticizing and selling out their brothers and sisters in Christ and the Church. The sense I got was that it had become ‘cool’ to distance yourself from the “established Church,” yet the spirit with which they spoke was wrong. It was disgusting.
At the start of the dream, I had heard many of the bitter leaders criticizing a man, and speak ill of him for standing by the Church. He was a man of great integrity, a soft heart, and much respect. They were questioning whether he’d continue to stand or not, and in the midst of criticizing him, they asked me in negative tones “Do you think he’ll quit?”. I yelled at them, “BEAR FRUIT! It’s not about what you DON’T do, it’s about what you DO.”
As I walked on, other people would look at me and try to start these conversations, but I just walked away. I didn’t want to be a part of any of it, so after a while they stopped looking at me and I was able to walk on. Eventually, I walked into an alley way that zigzagged from one part of the shopping center/mall to another. There weren’t many shops here or much traffic, there was just one Gelato shop. Outside of this shop was a massive, king-sized bed, just sitting against the wall, perfectly made. I met a man who was both an Asian pastor as well as a doctor, and he represented many things in our world. He was very sound and safe both doctrinally and pastorally. He was the man the others had been debating over and criticizing at the start of the dream.
Near the bed, I heard this man say, “Don’t sell out or be ashamed of your brothers, but protect them. Stand up for your brothers, rather than being ashamed.”
Laying on the bed, there was a giant Bible opened to Romans 6. I spoke to the Pastor/Doctor because he carried a pure Spirit, and seemed to be the only sound voice at the shopping centre. He began to show me things from the Bible for what seemed to be an uncountable amount of time, and as he finished I opened the Bible and I said, “Oh my gosh…we’ve been right this whole time! There’s nothing wrong with this message of righteousness – we’re the ones who’ve messed it up. Jesus + nothing = holiness.” I looked at Mandy, and she said to me, “I knew it!”
This is the warning I felt from the dream:
There IS a season coming where there will be unhealthy things being revealed in the Church, and there’s a new wine skin coming as well. But we are not to buy into the bitterness or the deconstruction of faith, or enter in to a spirit of cynicism.
We are to go deep with the Holy Spirit and lean into Him, so that we get the heartbeat of the Father and not buy into bitterness or critique. Even when there are unhealthy things revealed, we are still to honour the previous generation’s work and sacrifice because what’s been established through them has built things that we did not have before.
Also, there is a strong prophetic encouragement to believe what God is doing right now. He is showing the Gospel for what it is; the power to transform a life and set them free from sin! Not just forgiveness, but giving you a new, righteous nature. This is of utmost importance right now, and there are many Churches and movements getting ahold of this truth. I could see that the enemy wanted to sell people lies that take people out of the faith into places of deconstruction and unhealthiness where they actually eventually abandon Jesus Christ.
We are to have nothing to do with the spirit of these conversations. Getting healing and removing yourself from a toxic situation may be needed, but don’t buy into the spirit, and keep your heart soft at all costs.
God is breaking spiritual co-dependence
One of the great strategies of the enemy has been to tempt people into a place of making leaders and cultures their foundation, and if they falter or fail, so also the persons’ faith is shaken. God is breaking this spiritual co-dependence and the victim prison of blame, disillusionment and disappointment that this can create for people. Then that they can be unshakable, because their faith is not in man, but is founded upon the rock.
I felt this strong encouragement:
YOU are responsible to cultivate your walk and relationship with Jesus, and YOU are responsible for your decisions and actions.
· Not church
· Not leaders
· Not peer culture.
You are the Body of Christ. You are The Church. And how YOU act, and what you sow is the harvest you will bear on the earth and in eternity.
Keep a soft heart, and do not depart from kindness and truth
Prov 3:3 “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart”
Prov 4:23 “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the Springs of Life”
Psalm 37:8 “Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret, it leads only to evildoing”
Do whatever it takes to keep a soft heart, towards God and man. When people attack other members of the body for lacking love and mercy, they’re usually guilty of not showing them that same mercy and love. Don’t fall for it. Remember who the real enemy is. The enemy wants to sour your hearts. They’ll need your heart towards them to be for redemption also. It’s point is not that they have not done the wrong thing, but the SPIRIT in which you respond to it is what will keep you.
“Bitterness is about you” - A tale of two wives
I saw a vision – A man had two wives (or rather, the same wife, but the scene played out 2 different ways). He was abusive and she was forced to leave.
In scene 1, she leaves (as she should), but she is never ok again, either destroyed or forever jaded by trauma and unforgiveness.
In scene 2, same woman, she leaves, but moves forward into forgiveness, and a love towards the husband, wishing the best for him and that he finds wholeness and restoration. Obviously she can’t return, - the situation remains unhealthy and unsafe, but she finds wholeness and forgiveness.
“The difference is forgiveness”
Same situation, same person, same initial response (in both cases she must leave) -> the only difference between the “two” women, is forgiveness. One is able to move forward into love and wholeness, the other is not, and is destroyed.
God spoke to me this: “Bitterness is about YOU”
The test of bitterness is not whether she leaves or not, but whether you choose to turn your love off and stay in unforgiveness, or choose forgiveness, find the very real and necessary healing, and move forward.
Obviously, she must leave, and the hurt, pain and abuse is very real. No one would EVER criticize a woman for leaving an abusive husband by saying “oh, she’s just offended”. Whether you must leave spiritually or personally abusive situations is not the test of offence or bitterness, but what you do with your heart afterwards, and the spirit you allow to lead you, is. Bitterness is up to you and only affects you. This is your opportunity to go deeper into HIM. Take all your hurts, pain, disappointment, confusion, and anger, and lay it upon the Rock. This is your opportunity to make HIM your hiding place. Find His face at all costs.
Brooke Ligertwood wrote these words in a recent song:
“When the brokenness of sin surrounds. When people fail and leaders fall. Still the Lord will be my hiding place. I am safe upon The Rock. For I belong, I belong, I belong to Jesus. He is my Rock, my strength, my song. Yes I belong to Jesus”
God is breaking spiritual co-dependence, and raising sons and daughters founded upon The Rock. He is turning these negative situations against the enemy, and using it to preparing His Bride for the next season, and a greater realm of yielded-ness to Him.
Shepherds, we’re going to need you
Shepherds - Don’t be taken out, or enter into a “spirit of critique”, nor distance yourself from the Body (which Christ loves and died for). Shepherd the flock of God. We’re going to NEED you, because when leaders fall and kingdoms crash, and they may crash HARD, the sheep won’t understand. They’ll need you to gather, not scatter. Matt 12:30, Luke 11:23.
I know some things weren’t right, or fair, or just, but: YOUR fruit on the earth and heavenly reward will not be defined by your “accurate appraisal of current church trends”, but on the FRUIT YOU BARE through your obedience to Christ, and loving His sheep. John 21:15-17 if you love Him, feed and tend His sheep. And don’t be tempted to “distance yourself” from or be “ashamed of” His Church - This is the spirit of the age.
The sheep will need your purity and uncompromised spirit, not you to comfort them with justifications for anger, or justifications to critique His Bride, nor to build new empires or wineskins of reaction and offense. What you can do, is teach them to forgive, and demonstrate it, and lead them into true healing and in the unconditional response of Jesus Christ to love their ‘enemies’. Teach them how to put everything on the alter and yield to HIM.
God is revealing the true Gospel of transformation and freedom from sin
All over the world, in so many streams, movements and congregations in the Body of Christ are re-gaining a revelation of the death and resurrection that we share in when we are baptized into Christ. Everywhere I go, I hear phrases like “died in Christ, raise to new life in Him”, and so on, on church videos, sermons, various media, and church services, especially during baptisms. The Church is returning to the revelation that when we are baptized into Christ, our old self dies, and we are raised to newness of life, to walk with a NEW NATURE freed from the dominion of sin. Not just forgiven, and left in the same old sinful state, but set free. A NEW MAN.
The enemy wants to muddy this by pointing to mistakes some have made, and say “SEE” and bring jadedness, judgment and doubt to this New Creation Reality. But he has already failed, and the Word of Righteousness is going forth radically in the midst of a generation where the enemy has sort to defile identity and purity. Don’t doubt or compromise for a second. This generation desperately needs this revelation, that they can be set from the dominion and identity of sin. It is already changing and setting free countless lives across the earth. Keep preaching it, keep practicing it, and don’t back down or water down for one second. The Spirit and the scriptures have your back.