Creative Friday: One Day – Beautiful Moments in Ordinary Places – Pass the Salsa Please!

Do you believe that God reveals Himself in ordinary moments? I hope that you not only believe it but also experience it. You know those times – when it seems that the spiritual atmosphere shifts, feeling almost electric. You can sense it. You can feel it.

God’s manifest presence brings with it a sense of awe and wonder. He loves showing up, showing Himself in the moments, and charging the atmosphere with heaven on earth.

I can feel far from God at times but that’s an illusion brought on by fear, anxiety, or worry. He always right here, in me. Christ is in me at all times and is my reality. So I practice His presence in my life, wherever I am. I always look to engage with Holy Spirit on this journey wherever I find myself, at any moment.

Taco PlateWhile sitting in a Mexican restaurant with a friend, celebrating my birthday, He moved in with His manifest presence right in the midst of our conversation, reminding us that He loved to be with us.

Shawn and I talked about the day-to-day and what was going on in our lives. Inevitably, the conversation centers on Jesus, in some way. He’s our life, so that’s the way it should be as we talk. He’s right there. He blends in nicely. You know…one minute we’re talking about prayer and worship and there He is, right in the middle as I say, “Pass the salsa.” Our God is incredibly wonderful.

The more we talk about Jesus, the more we sense that a shift in the atmosphere comes, a tangible shift that is real, right in our midst, right in the restaurant. 

Shawn began to tell me about watching a session of IHOP (International House of Prayer) when there came a moment, an ordinary moment when the worship leader was so engaged and overcome by the Lord that she was crying. It was a holy moment where people bowed down in His presence just gazing on the beauty of Jesus. That sense of holiness came right into Shawn’s home in Texas. Our spirits transcend time and place and His presence moves right through the TV to right where we are. How awesome is that right? I know that many have experienced that. It shows me how sensitive God is to us, right where we are, even in a Mexican restaurant one particular day, one ordinary moment.

Chips and SalsaAs she told the story, we then began to talk about the beauty of God right over the chips and salsa. Engaging conversation about the One we love. To gaze upon His beauty and to reflect His glory is what makes our hearts beat.

Shawn mentioned that it is a challenge to find beauty in life, with some places being harder to see His beauty than in other places. I wholeheartedly agree. While in Kenya, God told me to speak on beauty while ministering in the slum area of Eldoret. Beauty and the slums – quite a paradox. Hardly seems to go together. But, that day, His beautiful presence flowed out amidst poverty conditions. He makes all things beautiful and changes atmospheres in ordinary moments with ordinary people just as He did that day and just as He did while sitting in a Mexican restaurant eating tacos, chips and salsa.

Here’s some of Shawn’s words from an email. I think you will get the picture quite easily.

“…Some places and people groups just exude beauty and loveliness and it practically hits you in the face and surrounds you, engulfs you…others you have to search underneath, dig for the beauty…ask the Lord to show you where it is…. sometimes gritting your teeth…. but then you see it and sometimes this hidden beauty is more wondrous than the kind that smacks you in the face!

Oh, sometimes we are just covered in muck, and dirt…but we need the Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit eyes to see them/us washed and clean and the hidden treasure, just be one dot of light or the tiniest spark…..” in the midst of the moment.

Jesus is beautiful. When He is exalted through our lives, our conversation, our worship…the Father looks at us with loving affirmation speaking out, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased.” God manifests His presence anywhere, at any time where the Son is glorified through our conversation or any number of outlets.

I picture Father God saying, “I love to see My Son honored and magnified. It brings such joy to my heart. Just keep talking.”

Then, Jesus smiles and flows into the midst of it all as Holy Spirit reveals the Son’s presence. All while eating chips and salsa, or watching holy moments on TV or anywhere for that matter…just an extraordinary God showing up in ordinary moments.

Each Friday I want to do something a bit different so I call one Friday a month “One Day” to see how God invades ordinary moments. Another Friday, I want to feature creativity in another aspect as I did in this blog about prophetic artist, Shari Breault. Each Friday, something different led by the Spirit. Enjoy!

DebraIn Christ,

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!

Light Always Overcomes Darkness

It is a miracle season. In fact, it is always a miracle season – Christ in us, the hope of glory. Sunday morning at Glory of Zion, testimonies of miracles declared the beauty, the glory, the majesty of God, increasing my expectancy, my faith and my anticipation in 2016. Chaos abounds, darkness encroaches – this is all true but He who created the heavens, who set the stars in place, who knows us intimately through and through asks each of us to believe……miracles abound to those who simply open eyes to see. It is going to be a glorious year of light.

Man in Rising Sun On Beach - Flickr

And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:5 NKJV)

26 Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who has created these things,
Who brings out their host by number;
He calls them all by name,
By the greatness of His might
And the strength of His power;
Not one is missing.
27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
And speak, O Israel:
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
And my just claim is passed over by my God”?
28 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:26-31 NKJV)

Marvin Debra



Merry Christmas!

Debra & Marvin Westbrook

No Plan B – Don’t Settle, Don’t Opt Out!

Jeremiah 29:11For those encountering ‘God’s delay’ in fulfilling a promise given to you years ago or seeing breakthrough in any number of areas, this blog is for you and me. God breathed the ministry of Rivers of Eden into my heart in 1997. Over all these years, seasons of discouragement filled my life when I was so far away from any semblance of the promise. Many times in the midst of great regret, I railed at God for being less than faithful to me. I cried deep tears wondering if this life as it existed was all I could ever dream for or hope to get. There is so more but all I can tell you is that I went though so much stuff, like many of you.

In all these years the vision of Rivers of Eden has never died within my being. It seems like this promise is interwoven into my framework, my DNA. In times where I wanted to walk away, I realized that no matter what I did, my heart was set on the promise given to me by God. It was today, while driving, that I realized so clearly that I never wanted a plan B. I never opted out no matter what came my way. His grace sustained me in the journey, even when I did not see Him or feel Him in the slightest way.

There is no glory in plan B for me. In fact, there is no plan B for me. Only Plan A – the promises of God, as He spoke them to my heart, alive and flowing in me out to the nations.

Now having said that, I also want to say this. Plan A does not work itself out like we think. The way I thought Rivers of Eden would flow is not the way God saw it flowing in my life. So His Plan A is different from my perception of Plan A. His seed of promise is growing in me and I tried to work it out my way, in my time. Now, I see He is faithful to His way in His timing in His wisdom.

So for those reading – don’t settle for anything less than what God promised you. No matter how long it takes to see fulfillment. No matter how far away you seem to be from it, don’t settle. As God aligns your vision with His, and as you hear His sound, rest in His way and release what you thought into His process. Eventually passion and joy will be infused into your life as you realize that you are not forgotten and something greater than you can imagine is upon you, unfolding one step at a time.

Why am I so encouraged right now? Well quite simply, I just watched a movie today called “Mr. Holland’s Opus.’ I’ve seen it many times but Holy Spirit kept prompting me to watch it again with spiritual eyes and ears open to receive.

Here’s a brief recap of the story. Mr. Holland has a dream – to write his symphony, his opus, as a composer. He thinks about it all the time. He works on it all the time. Then, life hits – bills to pay, baby on the way, house to buy, job needed…you see the picture. Life has a way of distracting and diverting us from our dreams.

He accepts a teaching job but over the years, his involvement with the students increases to the point where his symphony seems to take a place way down on his list of priorities.

All through the movie, he deals with regret, loss of vision and discouragement. He feels he is losing his passion and his dream in the daily outworking of his life. Yet behind the scenes something was happening that he didn’t see. Plan A was still being worked out, but not the way He thought it would come together.

It all happens in the last scene of the movie. He walks into an auditorium to find people, hundreds of people who are there to honor him for how he impacted their lives over the course of many years. While he thought his dream was dying, it was birthing itself over and over in the lives of people. They were his symphony, his opus.

The stage is full with an orchestra made up of former students. Their lives were his opus from years of of his encouragement, his patience and his love for each of them. But, he never saw it until that day. As he began to lead this orchestra in the symphony, his dream, his Plan A came forth in the sound of beauty, honor, love, respect and so much more. It came together, not in the way he planned it, but in a much greater way than he could ever imagine.

As for me, there is no Plan B. There is only Plan A fulfilling itself right now in the journey in God’s way in His timing. He is faithful to complete what He seeds into us. I will enjoy the journey, rest in His grace and walk step by step in His promises right now as He leads the way. I pray this encourages you in some small way today.

DebraIn Christ,

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!

Ready? Set? Go? False Start!

Apart From MeFalse Start – an attempt to do something you are not ready or able to do; an unsuccessful attempt to begin something.

With a passion to move out in ministry, my zeal often ran ahead of wisdom. In other words, I had a lot of false starts in my life. Timing is everything!

False starts are not failure. God looks at the heart, sees its passion and graces us to start over in a particular endeavor with more wisdom. Failure paralyzes with fear and shame.  False starts? I set out and somehow it just does not work. Perhaps a mistake has been made. Grace abounds in all ways and we learn how to move in sync with God.

I walk back to the starting line to try again. Father God looks at me with great compassion and whispers,  “Wait for Me! Watch me closely this time. Move with me. Live in Me. I have not forgotten you. You got a bit ahead of Me and you weren’t ready. The time is soon.”

Zeal propelled me forward in a self-paced momentum. I thought I was ready so off I went. God smiled and loved me through it all.

Zeal alone can’t set the pace. Wisdom paves the way in God’s timing. Wisdom often requires that we wait a bit until all the pieces are in place. Wisdom is necessary for maturity. While zeal pushes me forward in my own strength, wisdom releases me in the right time. It’s not about a fast paced track. It’s about maintaining passion and focus for the long haul, giving all glory to Jesus.

Zeal without wisdom can be disastrous.. It all starts good as we jump out but unless restrained it causes burn out, discouragement and despair. Zeal alone can’t sustain. Thank God for His grace, love and mercy in the midst of false starts.

PaintbrushAs we grow in Christ and go from glory to glory, there are platforms of breakthrough and breakout. Holy Spirit opens a door and we are encouraged to walk into a new place.

Moving in God is my life. Being in sync with my destiny positions me in that sweet spot where I know why I have been created and set into this time. This is normal Christianity for all of us. In going from glory to glory, we try, we leap, we jump, we learn, make mistakes and have some false starts.

In my life, I so often focused on the future instead of resting in the present growing in wisdom and grace.  I was not exactly a woman of great patience. As I began to think today about false starts in my life, I felt no condemnation, no regret and no failure. None of us are perfect. We are all growing in grace. False starts are part of life and always will be. They enable us to grow in humility as we look to God alone.

Friday, as I was reading a great book,  I received a series of texts from someone who gave me a lengthy accurate prophetic word. The words shot into my heart like an arrow. They traversed the depths of my heart, healing and restoring. It was prophetically stated that the word came specifically on Good Friday because my time being in the tomb, in the darkness of vision is over.

The timing of this word was perfect. It addressed all my false starts in life, healing regret and disillusionment. The word addressed betrayals from people whom I trusted. These words healed rejection from just feeling humiliated that as I tried to step out in God over the years, I was often shut down, blatantly ignored with words of condescension.

I remembered the ministry work in Kenya, Finland, Abu Dhabi……so many false starts with great risk but also great successes too. Because of the regret, I sensed that I had been counted out of the race, a perfect lie from the enemy. There were buildings rented for meetings where money was invested, life poured out and no one came. That was a great source of humiliation and pain for me.

Is God in the pain? Is God in the false start? Well, let me just say my zeal and my flesh jumped out and He didn’t stop me. He knew there was much to learn in these mistakes that would be beneficial for my future. He allowed the setbacks for me to grow in wisdom. He saw the depth of my heart. He knew that with each setback, I ran back to my Father to learn, to cry and to grow. It’s all about grace.

Over the past few months until this Good Friday, I saw a momentum building in my life, step by step, glory to glory.  The prophetic word brought it all to the forefront and closed the past – done. It is finished. So appropriate to be on Easter weekend but God is so perfect in His timing.

TruthWhat about your false starts? Mistakes? Regrets?  When you dare to jump but it may not quite be the time. Walking sheepishly to the starting line again, one is filled with pain, regret and shame. Many want to hide for a bit. That;s normal but I want to tell you that without the passion of a false start, without daring to jump, without success and failure, how can you even come to know God’s grace? God’s grace flows through our weakness to be strong. God’s grace gives us life to take risks and to take chances and to see setbacks as just a part of life. His love for us NEVER changes. It is better to jump at times, risk it all and learn from mistakes than to live life doing nothing at all.

What happens when we jump out in a false start and realize it’s a bad choice? We walk back to the starting line, dejected and a bit shamed but what we see is God loving us through it all. His simply says, “Trust me. Wait. Follow me this time.”

Standing at the starting line is a place of growth. It’s hard to stand there and see others running ahead with what seems like great favor in whatever they put their hand to in life. I was there. I stood still. I watched day after day after day. In my heart, I was resolute. No false start this time at this point in life. There is this release upon my life to travel to the nations again – to preach, to build up leaders, to impart a revelation of creativity…..and so much more. After years of jumping out, learning, going back to try again, I feel free. No regret. No shame. Only a clear path. The power of this prophetic word Friday shifted my life. May these words I write to you today give you hope to try again, to release the past and to believe God. He is faithful! My life is my message. I walk and talk it so you can be ministered to by it. I tell my story….. without any pretense of trying to look perfect. 🙂

DebraIn Christ,

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!

Coming To Terms With The Impossible

(I feel prompted by the Lord to send this out again so I am doing just that! 🙂

We hear it, declare it, and believe it. Sometimes we doubt it, or react against it in anger when things simply don’t go the way we want. Nevertheless, it is clear in Scripture.

But He said, “ The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
(Luke 18:27 NKJVS)

Today, I sat on the couch, upset by something I read on Facebook. All I could do was close my eyes for the umpteenth time in years and shake my head. I said to the Lord, “Lord, this is impossible unless you change this situation. It is impossible for women to lead in the Body of Christ in any capacity unless You make a way. Men don’t see it, won’t see it.” You may think this is a generalization, but it is not. It is truth. And, the sad fact is that so many women also put other women down in this regard, spouting off that women need male covering or any number of religious platitudes. So, as a woman in leadership, you can get this from both sides. Today is my day simply to be me and to express my heart.

With Brave Wings, She FliesUnless God changes this situation , (and I believe He is) the condition of women in the Body of Christ will only be seen on the peripherals. Yes, I know there are women leaders in the Body of Christ but they are few and far between. It is impossible to move out as a women apart from God Himself making the way. Please don’t get so spiritual on me that I hear “But God always has to make a way.” Yes, He does but He also uses people in the process. We are in this together but upon closer inspection, looking at the round of conferences, churches, meetings, etc. one could only see that the vast majority are men in positions of leadership. This is simply wrong and is not the heart of God. Let me say again, with all the kindness and grace I can possibly pull together. Women are in every sense equal in the Kingdom of God, able to hold any leadership, walking alongside men in every capacity, leading men and women, serving in any way God has called them to serve.

Will this every change? In and of itself?  No, not if women still believe they are little girls, always waiting for affirmation, covering, and someone to give them the go-ahead. That is not necessary and in no way am I justifying rebellion or independence, trying to push your way ahead or making a way for yourself. This is a multifaceted problem existing in Christianity on many levels and I am but one voice. Something deep is changing in me.

Today, I closed my eyes and just sat on the couch, trying to ignore it and be the better for it but inside I always get angry. I am so tired of feeling restricted and held back by man when God says I can BE in Christ and do anything He calls me to do. I am a strong women and feel this way. How do women feel that perhaps aren’t strong but have been beaten down years after year, being put in a place that is less then their God affirmed destiny.

I know I know. God is in control and he makes a way where there is no way and we should rest in his timing and his ways and nothing is impossible with God. I Know all the right things to say and how to appear graceful when I say it to avoid being called angry or some such things.

But today, I am tired. Christian platitudes won’t solve this problem. Neither will anger. But neither will staying silent on it either as if it is a point that has been rehashed so many times, it does not gain attention. Women are not second-class citizens in the Kingdom.

I got angry this morning. Now, please hear me. I am no longer an angry person flying off the handle. I am passionate about what I believe. And it is good to get angry but not to run with it causing damage to yourself or others. Big difference.

My own personal experience – I have been passed over for years, rejected and tossed aside because I don’t fit the mold. (Now to be honest, I was an angry women for some years ago but that is healed and I have made amends with people and asked forgiveness of them and of God.) So what is this rising up in me? It is an anger that is just grieved at being 60 years old and still seeing this same stuff in the Body of Christ.

God will make a way for the sake of unity and freedom in His body. I believe He longs for this reality of equality to be revealed in us and through us, our hearts totally transformed that in Christ there is no male or female……

Though she be littleWhat equally disturbs me is that women are not even considered as if they did not even come to mind as being qualified or able. Once I asked a leader why there were not more women to be considered for conference positions or church positions and instead of responding to me in grace, his answer was so condescending with a clear purpose to avoid answering the question. Then my husband asked and he acted the same way toward him, perhaps feeling sorry for the poor guy that has to live with me. (Sigh!)

Yes there are token women out there leading in the Body of Christ, and more added daily but it is a wearying fight in many ways and they are few and far between, at least for now. 🙂

God we need your help. Our hearts need to be transformed and changed. The Body of Christ is functioning at half its capability without women.

How does this affect me? I simply can’t make things happen in my life. I never really thought I could but perhaps there is a small seed in me that says, Be nice, be graceful, be a good girl. Don’t rock the boat. And this blog is talking to me more than you. I can’t do anything to help you to see or believe this but I know I can do a lot about me.

What to do? I can’t make doors open for me. I truly believe it is God that will do this for me and is already doing that for me. (I will be preaching in Oakdale CA in May, Oklahoma in May and also Kenya in August/September.) I will not wait, sitting around, looking for someone to affirm in me what God has already affirmed and called forth. It is a good place to be because my deep trust is in the Lord alone to take me where only He can take me. My eyes are focused on Him alone.

Today, I hit the wall when I saw this conference with no women. It is not the first conference that I have seen like that and I am sure it won’t be the last but something in me just exploded at the sight of it. I was volcanic in a good way. My own husband affirmed me as the lava flowed.

Coming to terms with the impossible? Look to God and Him alone. Move out, in confidence and assurance of Holy Spirit in me. Enough is enough. No qualifications, no justifications, no affirmations, no networking in the flesh trying to change things that will not change. Move out going where God says to go and do what God says to do with grace in humility. That’s the key isn’t it?

DebraIn Christ,


I will be sending this out immediately and again on Monday. Just to let you know. Just something I have to do.