A Holy Moment – Whale Watching

Living in Southern California has its advantages at times. Being near the ocean is one of them. When I want to be alone and relax, I jump in my car and drive a short distance where I have my pick of some glorious beaches. That is why I live here. I love the ocean, the waves, and the beaches. I guess it runs through the whole family because my son, an avid free diver just caught these the other day. (Instagram account of Ryan.)

Ryan Lobster

And then he always sees other creatures, following him and looking at him as he looks at them.

Ryan Baby Seal

And because we are all a bit quirky, here’s a keeper.

Ryan Fish

When I was in university, I took extensive marine biology classes. To this day, I am in awe of God’s creation. When I am in the midst of nature, I am sometimes so overwhelmed I cry. Yes I do. It is as if I can’t catch my breath because of Holy Spirit moving upon my heart.

That is what happened yesterday when Marvin and I went on a day excursion to see the whales off the coast. And, this year is a booming year because they are seeing many different creatures – humpbacks, blue whales, killer whales, seals, and so much more. So, we knew we would not be disappointed, knowing that it would be a great day, and it was excellent.

These beauties were so close to the boat that they took my breath away. As a pod of them were spotted on the horizon, the boat started heading that way. What a great crew, too! They worked with the whales, not overtaking them to cause any stress but to roll with them as they detected us coming near. And these whales surely gave us a great show, moving slowly with the boat to show their majesty, glory and grace.

Whale 3

Whale 1These photos were captured without having to zoom at a distance. They were close.

Whale 2Whale 4I was in awe. Oh God, how glorious is your name in all the earth. Behind my sunglasses, tears kept welling up as I just watched, completely mesmerized. It was, indeed, a holy moment where Holy Spirit flowed over my heart as I reflected on the majesty and beauty of God to create such glory and splendor right in our midst.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. 2 Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard (Psalms 19:1-3 NKJVS)

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16 NKJVS)

God displays His beauty and glory through nature. Who can deny this? Who cannot believe in a good glorious God when the intricacies of nature shows us His divine hand magnified and evident in His handiwork?

And if God loves creation so much, which He does, than how can His love not be overflowing toward each of us whom He has created in His own image. It is essential that we get away from information overload at times, turning off the cell phones, leaving computer, and just going out to worship Him.

The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters. The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders; the Lord is over many waters. (Psalms 29:1-3 NKJV)

I just wanted to take a creative break today in this blog post. Healing comes, at times, in obscure moments and in diverse ways. Sometimes It takes watching a whale to glorify the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in all His glory. He is truly excellent. How wonderful are His ways.

Me and ChloeIn Christ,
Debra

I would love to speak at your gathering, church or home group. Contact me here, on Facebook or on Twitter. Enjoy reading about Rivers of Eden and the Timeline of our Life!

Gazing At a Picture and Whoosh, Swept Into Its Life

In Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace are in a bedroom looking at a framed picture of a ship on the ocean, hung on their wall. As they continue to gaze, the picture opens up and frames a life of its own as the waters flow right out of it and into the room. The waters rise around them and whoosh…they are swept into the picture and find themselves in a great ocean, facing the ship. Taken into the life of the picture, a great adventure in Narnia begins.

As I prayed this morning on how to focus this week in blogging, I kept seeing this video clip play out in my head. It’s a one-minute clip and if you can, please watch it. It’s a great prophetic encouragement for our lives today.

Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

While gazing at the picture, Lucy went beyond just observation, entering into its life as waves of rushing water came into their room. Life rushed in and they were swept up into a great adventure, quite outside their comfort zones.

How does this translate to my own life, now?

I look at a picture of my life, framed within the context of my experiences and adventures so far. I walk past it. I admire it. I glance at it. One day, I stop and stand, gazing at it with open eyes. I see many things; often one-dimensional fears or disappointments that prevented flow. I even see dreams that were once dynamic but now are just static and unmoving. Yet, slowly, as I continue to gaze, going beyond fearful observation, something is moving within the picture of my life.

With any great work of art, to appreciate its beauty I must go beyond observation and gaze at it with new perspective. That which I gaze upon transforms me. I should look with new eyes enlightened by Holy Spirit. I continue to gaze and things seem to be moving right before my eyes. Hope is rising. Risk is at the forefront and some decisions will be made right at that moment. Believe and receive.

The lines and the colors shift, moving to form new realities amidst heavenly possibilities. Do I enter into the possibility in flow or observe at a distance in predictability? The choice is mine and the choice is yours today.

God frames our life with beauty and design, with color and creativity. We are His masterpiece.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)

Our lives are framed within His possibilities and His possibilities are endless and limitless in Christ. As I gaze at this framed picture from a renewed perspective as a new creation in Christ, I realize that I must enter into my life, not stand and look at it from afar. I must let the picture of my life flow out of the confined place that I display it and simply enter into deep waters.

Who knows where they will lead? When swept up into the picture, there is glorious adventure. I am not meant to observe my life through a frame that limits and restricts the very life of Christ that wants to flow in me through the Holy Spirit.

Today is the day. In fact, 2015 is and will be an extraordinary year. When our eyes are open to see the living and moving life of Christ flowing through us, in us, towards us…we have two options – resist or flow with Him, moving in a wave of glory.

I don’t live in the clouds, unaware of what real life is all about. I am always aware of life’s limitations and impossibilities but I am seated in heavenly places and so I live from that perspective, in freedom and Holy Spirit flow. Eternity flows through my life here on earth as I am in Christ.

Today, let’s not be so quick to glance at our lives, believing the lies that speak to us like this: It is what it is. It’ll never change. Don’t even try to dream. Be practical. Blah, blah, blah…

Gaze upon your life and know that Christ is in YOU and ME…now. In union with Him, I can do all things. So today, just start believing a little at a time. Gaze upon the framed picture of your life, set in place by what appears to be limitations. Look closely at what is moving and living. See where He wants to take you. Dream again. Believe again. Enter into the journey.

DebraIn Christ,
Debra

I would love to speak at your gathering, church or home group. Contact me here, on Facebook or on Twitter. Enjoy reading about Rivers of Eden and the Timeline of our Life!

Open the door! Pull back the Curtains! Let the Light In!

Freedom in ChristThe darkened areas of our lives, those places filled with fear, memories of abuse, sexual addictions, emotional destruction, substance abuse, alcoholism – all those places are like rooms yet to be opened in a house where Christ dwells. He sees them. We see them. We know they are there but we won’t confront their reality, let alone open the door to let the light of Christ into these dark areas.

Even as Christians, there are these dark areas or internal rooms that need the confrontation of divine love to be healed and to be set free. Yet, we avoid pain at all costs. We worry about what others will think.  We wonder if God can be trusted. We don’t like suffering. We want what is easy and we love what is fast and doable. But that is not authentic Christianity. That type of Christianity is tailored to a Western mindset.

There is increasing chaos and darkness in the world. At the same time, the glory of the Lord will rise in His people. It is essential that as Christians, we face our own darkened areas, submit to the Lord, and receive healing and deliverance  in order to shine brightly in the earth. Receive His love and allow Him to deal with our lives, to reveal and heal those areas that are hidden in those darkened rooms.

In those dark areas the curtains are drawn tight, held in place by shame, guilt and condemnation. The truth of God’s grace and mercy in Christ wants to flood the room with light but we won’t open those doors. Therefore, we remain in the shadows of half-truths and subtle lies perpetrated by the enemy, keeping us bound, not trusting God.

CrossJesus Himself calls you out of the darkness and into His marvelous light. He calls you to be habitations of His glory, shining bright in His presence.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10 NKJVS)

There is a simplicity in Christ that is missing in the church today. It is hidden underneath layers of cultural add-ons that work in the world, fueled by man’s wisdom, but have no power in the church. We thrive on process – the unending path of needing more than Jesus – more conferences, more books, more seminars. In all of this, the Body of Christ is still immature and lacking in supernatural power and authority.

What would happen if we actually believed in the Gospel message, walk out the truth revealed in the Epistles, allow the Holy Spirit to lead and believe all that God gives to us in Christ? The church would rise up to BE in Christ instead of some other form and template.

To confront the evil outside of us with the authority and supernatural power of God, we must confront any evil within.  It time to grow up and allow God to change us from within. Going deep, not wide.

Keyhole

As Christ confronts us in love at our deepest level, there is pain. We will suffer in the flesh, which always tries to maintain its position, avoiding any pain or suffering, but we will be alive in Christ, free and filled with greater measure of light and life.  Submit to His way. It’s worth it. Walk in the light, as He is in the light and the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us, empowers us and sets us free. Open the doors to the closed rooms. Let Him in and He will heal.

Quiet down. Get a journal, a Bible, a pen, a computer, the beach, the couch…wherever…just be still, know that He is God and the simplicity of the reality of Christ Jesus is real. I am not trying to oversimplify this in any way, but there is only so much I can say in a blog. I know pain is real. Yet nothing is greater than Jesus Christ. He is all in all. He is faithful in all things.

DebraIn Christ,
Debra

I would love to bring life and light in Christ Jesus to your gathering, your church or home group. Contact me here, on Facebook or on Twitter. Enjoy reading about Rivers of Eden and the Timeline of our Life!

Trapped in Time by People’s Judgments and Opinions? Forgive – Move On

Forgive 2 Have you ever felt that no matter what you did, you could not break free from what people thought of you – their judgments and opinions? When that happens, I realized a long time ago that it is because people entrap you into a place in time, a moment where something happened between you and them. There is pain in that moment in time for whatever reason – failure, betrayal, anger and more. I may have been a part of it. I may have even caused it. But, as I repent, ask forgiveness and forgive, I am free to move forward. Yet, that does not mean others will. Therein lies the problem.

For years, I kept a close watch on my heart – keeping anger and unforgiveness at bay because I knew I was so easily prone to it in my life due to past hurts and wounds. With God’s grace, I forgave over and over knowing that it freed me up inside. No matter what happens, I chose to forgive and to always ask forgiveness, even if it is through clenched teeth or some measure of initial resistance. I choose to forgive. I start somewhere and eventually God syncs my heart with the reality of my words.

This way of forgiveness formed in my life when my sister was murdered in 1982. I knew that if I did not forgive, this pain and trauma would incapacitate me emotionally, physically and spiritually throughout my life. I would be imprisoned to that moment of time if I did not allow forgiveness to set me free.

Forgive 1When I heard of my sister’s murder, I had to walk through the practicalities of life – helping my parents deal with it, going through paperwork, and talking to the police. Months later, when the initial shock wore off, I had to deal with me. For over a year, I walked in a cloud unable to truly face it and look at it head on. Things like this just didn’t happen to us. My life was imprisoned to a moment in time and I was trapped.

One day Holy Spirit overwhelmed me with emotion in a time of worship and simply said, “Forgive the person who did this.”

I said, “I don’t know how.”

Holy Spirit said, “Choose to forgive.”

I said, “I forgive.”

I remember, at that moment, just crumpling to the floor, weeping and weeping for hours. When I got up I was free. To this day, I still grieve the loss of my sister; a dear friend but there is no anger or bitterness toward the person who did this to our family. Forgiveness is real and true and releases you from moments of time that are traumatic in your life. There is power in forgiveness.

Now getting back to my point above. People who don’t or won’t deal with their own anger, unforgiveness, bitterness and pain are stuck in time. When people unjustly attack me, I can ask forgiveness, truly repent and then, I am free. I am not trapped in that moment of pain, even if I was some part of it through anger, betrayal or for whatever reason. I am free in Christ. I don’t want to go back to that point but frequently, others do. And they never cease to remind me about that. They often accuse me, overtly or subliminally, wanting more on my part – more groveling, more proof of changed behavior, more of something. I can’t go there and in deciding that, they don’t like it, which only revs up their engines to accuse and attack more. They want to lock me up in the past and keep me there.

Don’t let anyone pull you back in time to a place where you are not at any more. It’s a place where guilt and discouragement can cast a snare and try to trap you in that moment again. You don’t live there anymore. You are free.

Now, don’t think for one second that because you understand this, others will also. People are people and each of us is responsible for our own lives. Each of us stands before the Lord for our own actions. We can only do what we can do. So to this day, I still encounter people who won’t let me be me. They want to write a script of their own understanding in which I am the star player who negatively impacted their life in some way. Ever feel like that? Look around, it’s happening on social media all the time. Attacks, accusations and more – all because people won’t forgive and move on. Keeping it in the forefront adds a lot of drama and they get a lot of attention for the most part.

Forgive Cross 3Once you have done all you can, stand in the freedom and forgiveness that is yours in Christ. Don’t allow your future to be taken captive to moments in time past. You stand in the now and that is a glorious place to stand. The now moves you forward and by God’s grace there is always a new day, a fresh start, a new life…that’s how good God is. Again, there is so much to say about this. Get your journal and spend some time with God and He will reveal His heart to you personally in your own situation. He is faithful to do that.

Moving on in Christ.

Debra 2In Christ,
Debra

I would love to speak at your conference, gathering, church or home group. Contact me here, on Facebook or on Twitter. Enjoy reading about Rivers of Eden and the Timeline of our Life!

Image 1 – Flickr – Paul Sableman
Image 2 – Flickr – Christa Lohman
Image 3 – Flickr – BRainy Photography

No More Event Based Spirituality! – A Great Quote

“Stop being an audience and become something else. Stop waiting for people to lift you into a new place. No more event-based spirituality!” Graham Cooke

Light and life flow from these words – “No more event based spirituality!”

As I read words that are so in sync with my heart, I can barely handle it. I get up, walk and pray. This is one of those statements. The damage that event based spirituality has caused in the body of Christ is huge. In fact, my mind is racing ahead of my ability to type right now so I must stop and meditate on this for a bit, wondering why this bothers me so much. It really bothers me – event based Christianity/spirituality.

Event based Christianity = western Christianity for the most part. Gather the crowds, promote, sell, speak a message that’s popular, and then gather the statistics on how successful it was. Then, wait awhile and start over again, with the same people speaking and the same crowds attending year by year. I have seen this happening for years now. The same speakers over and over at the same conferences over and over.

Even in churches, there is a great divide that exists between those “up there” and those who come week after week, sitting in seats, going in and going out. This pattern repeats itself over and over again. The speakers and the audience. Yes, if one attends regularly, there are ministries to be involved in, special meetings to attend and more, yet after years of seeing this form of church, it still appears to fall short of the very life of Christ flowing through a body of believers. There are great shifts coming. Of that, I am sure. There has to be change – resurrection power requires death – death to the way we DO church to become the church Christ intended us to BE.

Open RoadEvent based spirituality (whether in a conference format or a church that flows like an entertainment venue) begins to take on a life of its own, not the life of Christ in Holy Spirit. That is evident as we visit churches. Some seem to be rolling on with their own momentum, with very little evidence of the supernatural power or anointing of Holy Spirit. Some simply don’t know Holy Spirit. Some flow as a business. For whatever reason, I believe change is desperately needed.

In our immaturity as Christians, we cry out for something we can feel, see and touch. We run from the call to maturity on any level because it is uncomfortable and required some measure of suffering.  To flow in resurrection power, one must die to live. We don’t like death don’t we? Who does?

Sometimes it is easier to keep a church or a movement on life support rather than pull the plug to see what rises from the ashes.

Marvin and I don’t have any option right now except to focus on Jesus and the way He wants us to take. Pretty much everything has been pulled from our lives and we stand empty-handed. It’s a great place to be…..now.

Authentic Christianity is community oriented in Christ. Event based spirituality is not. We need to make the shift. Many are already making the shift and it has led many out – out of churches, out of structure, out. I love the church but the church needs to change its course and its focus. Pull the plug on any measure of life support and let it die so that it may live in Christ. It’s not about us anyway, is it?

Christ in me, Christ in you, Christ in us. It is all quite simple. Event based spirituality/Christianity lacks flow and authenticity. Boundaries and borders form in the natural with a focus on product – the product being numbers of people, financial rewards, and more. This is man’s wisdom. Christian community is organic and flowing, listening and responding to the directives of Holy Spirit.

Authentic Christianity forms by listening and obeying Holy Spirit, walking by faith when all seems contrary to natural wisdom. Growth comes through heavenly directives, not cultural trends.

Authentic Christianity flows in God appointed leadership who impart into people’s lives and co-create an atmosphere in Christ where people flow in their unique creative expression in Christ.

Authentic Christianity thrives on change.

Authentic Christianity lives in an eternal perspective as we are seated in heavenly places.

Authentic Christianity is formed and established in love. Love is messy, flowing, moving, and changing at all times. This all makes life interesting and keeps us focus on Jesus.

Authentic Christianity is dynamic, not static.

So where is one to find this? There are habitations of His glory forming, with more rising up each day. Holy Spirit is creating them in locations all across the earth – buildings, home groups, coffee shops and more. The creativity is endlessly and eternally being expressed in Christ. There’s no stopping Him. What is our part? (Each of us has a part in the Spirit.) As we go to Kenya in 2015, we will walk alongside pastors there to encourage and build them up in Christ to BE their unique expression in Christ.

There is so much more on this topic but these are my words for today. Extraordinary times are ahead of us in 2015. I perceive them now and focus on being in sync with God, no matter where He calls me or what He tells me to do. I am an extraordinary woman who walks in the excellence of Holy Spirit.

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.” Benet Wilson

Debra and ChloeIn Christ,
Debra

I would love to speak at your conference, gathering, church or home group. Contact me here, on Facebook or on Twitter. Enjoy reading about Rivers of Eden and the Timeline of our Life!