By Accident or Intelligent Design?

cross“By accident or by intelligent design?”

When I awoke out of sleep the other night, I heard this question resounding in my spirit. I love questions from God. He also loves questioning me. I am never too quick to answer or lean into my own wisdom. Nighttime is perfect for this. I am not quite awake yet with my own thoughts.

There are always layers to questions. They are not always quite what they appear to be. What does this one mean?

This question summoned me to come apart to spend time with Him. At first I tossed and turned. I started to get up and lay back down. I tossed and turned some more. Finally, I went into my office, began to pray and waited on God with a journal close by.

Do I believe that I was born and placed in time by accident or intelligent design? It makes a difference in how I live my life. I believe I was born into time for such a time as this. I believe in my salvation in Christ, my eternal life in Christ now.

Yet, if that is true, and it is, then why am I so out of sync with life at times and even with myself – my feelings, my desires, my promises? Why do words such as breakthrough and destiny flow from my lips even when I feel out of sync saying them for I know inside of me are fears of all kinds? Why do I feel as if I wander at times, randomly waiting for life to take hold of me and suddenly push me in the right direction of my promise or breakthrough?

As a human being, I can feel fragmented and separated from my authentic self. Who exactly is my authentic self? It’s quite simple and the older I get, the simpler it becomes. I look no further than He who lives His life in and through me.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 NKJVS)

I am in Christ. His life is in me. I died and now live in resurrection power in Christ. Some days that plays out better than other days when life sends its challenges and I surely forget this. When that happens, I run back into truth to recapture the revelation of the finished work of the cross of Christ. I stand in that place as I remember and Christ re-members me in His truth.

Every time that life seems to pull me in many different directions to where I don’t even know myself, He is there, reminding me that I am whole in Him. Nothing overpowers me. He is my life. I have died in Christ to live in the purity of resurrection life. That is truth – a truth that is imparted to me over and over again. In the worst of situations, His grace is sufficient for me. In my weakness, He is strong.

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection. (Romans 6:4-5 NKJVS)

Soaring EagleI am joined to Christ in the power of the cross and the power of the resurrection. That is the glory of intelligent design. I live in Christ. Nothing can separate me from that – not fear, not worry, not depression, not anxiety…not anything. I am not an accident randomly placed in time to wander amidst uncertainty and apprehension, separated from my authentic self, drowning in a false image that the world at large tries to shove down my throat. I am made by His intelligent design. The breath of God courses through my life.

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them (Psalms 139:14-16 NKJVS)

How can anything separate me from the love of Christ? How can anything separate me from Christ in me, my union in Christ? It can’t but it does try to create an illusion or a fog that causes me to look outside myself at circumstances, situations or any life challenge.

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 NKJVS)

I am not randomly moving in time, wandering, and wondering. My life is in Christ and in Christ there is grace to empower me to live as a child of God. Wandering through life, without rhyme or reason, is not my lifestyle. To randomly wander in life is to be separate from this truth. I am not here by accident. I am created by intelligent design, the God of the universe who sent His Son, Jesus Christ for me so that I may live life in Him through the power of Holy Spirit.

I will end with this. There is a pressure to have answers, tie up loose ends, get to the heart of the matter and provide a solution. So many people want a way out and it is simply not possible. Again, life is about process and every step along the way; it is in the journey that we discover the heart of God. This Christian life is all about relationship and we don’t take our cues from the world in how to walk this out and how to live our life. Our life is in Christ, not the world. There is so very much to say on this as time goes on.

Debra 2In Christ,

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


Excellent – exceptional, marvelous, outstanding, wonderful

Excellence is not what I do or achieve in life. Excellence is my life, hidden in Christ. The outworking of His life through me in the power of Holy Spirit is an excellent life. Nothing less than Him.

I am to BE excellent in a world that is easily satisfied with the common, in addition to the perverse and the shallow. As Christians, are we to be satisfied with the common good as our standard when an excellent Christ lives in and through us? I am raising the bar in my life, not to perform, but to BE in Christ wherever I am and in whatever I am doing. Excellence in Christ in me changes the atmosphere wherever I go.

Soaring Eagle

Image vis Flickr Creative Commons

Excellence is not rooted in elitism, or thinking that you are better than, richer than, smarter than, thinner than (fill in the blank). To be excellent is to be the best you – not linked to performance, appearance, or even intelligence. Excellence is rooted in being the authentic YOU in Christ, who you are created to be.

The previous blog, A Discriminating Palette, shared my heart about restricting my diet from junk food, both spiritually and naturally. I can’t waste away taking in massive amounts of information or looking at endless images on social media that do little to build me up or enrich my life. My hunger and thirst shall be satisfied in Christ.

And Jesus said to them, “ I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. (John 6:35 NKJVS)

In Christ, I partake of His excellent divine nature, which sets me apart from that which is common and ordinary.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:2-4 NKJVS)

The excellence of His power is hidden in lives that appear to be ordinary. Remember, excellence is not determined by outward appearances but by inwardly conforming to the life of Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us (2 Corinthians 4:7 NKJVS)

In Christ, I am seated in heavenly places, giving me access to eternal revelation, plans, purposes, thoughts, ideas, creativity, innovation and move.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-7 NKJVS)

Living an excellent life in Christ seats us in heavenly places, above the deteriorating conditions that surround us each day, hoping to uproot our source of peace. The destruction that we see in the earth today opens our eyes to see that we are in the world but not of the world and thereby can influence and change the world in the reality of Christ in us, the hope of glory.

Living an excellent life, we are able to be the beautiful expression of Christ no matter what our physical conditions. What emanates from us is a language of excellence and glory that transforms and changes lives around us. Be excellent in wisdom and in grace – pursue that which builds up, edifies, challenges, confronts, glorifies Christ, flows in love and mercy, takes a stand, and moves against the grain of shallow cultural thought which trends to the masses each and every day. Be excellent.

DebraIn Christ,

Rivers of Eden Ministry would love to speak at your next conference, home group of gathering. Contact me on our Contact Page. Get to know me on Twitter, and by going to Our Timeline of Life.


A Discriminating Palette – What Am I Letting Into My Life?

Distractions appear in my peripheral vision all the time. This happens all the time on social media. Images, links, blogs, articles – they call out:

Read this! Watch this! Look at this! Like this! Buy this!

Creativity is Subtraction

Image via Flickr Creative Commons

There they are. Are they worth my time? I can easily get distracted, click, and explore only to find it was a waste of time. They may be good but are they good enough for me to spend on?

Let me emphasize the word ‘good’ here. It can be good, but is good what I really want in my life? Can good be a waste of time? There’s a lot that’s good out there, but I find that sometimes, good is the enemy of what is excellent. Good is a place that I can settle; not reaching higher for what is excellent. Good can be taking in a quantity of information which can turn out to be useless. I want excellence in what I look at, search out, or read – images, blogs, articles, music. I am setting the bar higher in my life. Finding what is excellent for me means I seek quality, not quantity in my life.

What am I learning? I won’t let social media control my life, eat into my day, and waste my time with a myriad of good or not so good things. Yet, I do love it for exploring new ideas, learning from creative people, keeping up with what is going on, and more.

About one month ago, I decided that social media was created for me not me for social media. I don’t want to fit into its box. I want to find my own path on it, what is excellent to build me up, form relationships, and grow. I want to use it in an excellent way. I am more selective, reaching out to excellent people, creative people, challenging and insightful people – people I agree with or don’t agree with, people who are completely different from me.

Whenever I encounter change and transition in my life, I seek the Lord in prayer.  God always has this incredible sense of humor and timing that zings me with one-liners. These one-liners pack a punch, grab my attention and transform my life with just a few words

In this case, I was meditating and Holy Spirit whispered to me:

Restrict your diet.

I partake of that which enriches my life, forming me from the inside out by what I digest and learn from. Words, images, sounds and more all have inherent power to build me up. They also have power to distract me and waste my time. What to choose? What to leave? I release all to Holy Spirit’s direction for me in Christ. Not everything that is good, is good for me.

I am created to have a distinct palette. What I eat is absorbed into my system, giving me strength, vitality, and energy. I am choosing more discriminately what I read, listen to, and watch so that what flows from me is filled with life and creative expression in Christ.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious––the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. 9 Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies (Philippians 4:8-9 Message)

DebraIn Christ,

Rivers of Eden Ministry would love to speak at your next conference, home group of gathering. Contact me on our Contact Page. Get to know me on Twitter, and by going to Our Timeline of Life.

Procrastination – Go! Out! Be Gone!

What if I flyTo procrastinate or not to procrastinate? In the midst of this thought, I discovered that the journey to find out why I procrastinate led me into times of procrastination because I did not want to think about it. Did you follow that?

All kidding aside, I prayed for years about the reasons why I procrastinate at times. I read great articles, awesome blogs and even Googled questions about procrastination. I prayed about it for a long time and yet I could not figure out what is this thing, this root, in me that avoids doing some things that I know I should do.

I’m the type of person where people can tell me what they know, try to help me, and yet, I have to search it out myself and get that inner witness that says, “I get it.”

Procrastination is the avoidance of doing something or thinking something through because of an inner struggle which blocks our forward movement. It led to frustration and tension within me. In me, it was being driven forward by a fear of failure and also a fear of success. Doomed to fail or impeccable perfection. Both are not great options.  I knew this, yet I still procrastinated. I wanted answers. When I want answers I go to God. Prayer brings life-changing revelation, which anchors my soul in truth and that brings freedom.

So, today I have here to say that as far as procrastination and me, “I get it.” And as far as I am concerned, I now actually see some of the ‘why’s’ – why I do it, for what reason? Hope what I am about to write helps you.

One day, quietly sitting, unable to start writing or studying, I procrastinated for hours. The TV called to me from the other room. “Come on, just watch one episode of Survivor….you can do it. It’ll help you get going. Or how about Dr. Phil? That may help you see others are worse off than you.” I wish I were kidding but it’s true.

I was so sick of myself in the midst of a complete waste of time that I simply tuned everything out and began to worship, explaining to the Lord how sick I was of my life and how it was going. I cried out, “What is this? Why do I procrastinate?”

I heard this:

 “Because you were never praised in the process.”

breaking chainsThose words shot through me. They rearranged something in me. In a moment of time, revelation helped me supernaturally see and know what I could not have figured out in my own wisdom through days of reading self-help articles OR trying to force myself to not procrastinate. There is a root to all our problems and that root is not external. It is IN US.

My dad was a perfectionist who rarely praised. He loved me beyond measure but just did not verbally praise, until absolutely necessary OR at the last moment when all was done and I proved myself in some measure to deserve his praise. He never praised in the process, the journey in which I tried different things (art, music, writing).

It is so important to praise in the process. We all need to get a bit of affirmation in the process, the journey, when we wonder, question or ask – “Am I good enough? Is this okay? Am I okay?”

Love needs to speak in the journey of our imperfection so that we keep going, believing that we have value, whether what we do succeeds or we simply let it go. I know that my father could not praise in the process because perfection drove his own parents to withhold words of love. He gave what He could give. I know that now. Most important, I now see something so vital to my well-being.

God in Christ with Holy Spirit ALWAYS praises me in the process. Procrastination paralyzed me in the moment. At times, I was unable to walk forward for fear of getting it wrong, failing myself and others, being rejected, feeling less than, etc. I started and stopped many things, some having no follow through in my life for fear of failure. I needed someone to praise me in the process. My wonderful husband does that but there are times when I could not receive from him. Why? The root in me from years past kept me entangled in an old wound. How to get past this? See it, own it, forgive and move on in God’s grace, trusting Him to lead you in a new way.

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God––you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration––what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day (Psalms 139:13-16 Message)

Jesus praises us in the process. He knows that in our weakness He is strong and in our imperfection He is perfect. He is not waiting for us to get better, be better – we can’t. My life is lived in Christ – He is my life. I live out of that reality now, not procrastinating anymore out of fear.

Green DoorThis revelation is so important to me. It is like a small door, seemingly insignificant to look at, but once I step through it, I stand in a broad place of acceptance of my journey, along with its ups and downs.

Praise in the process of doing affirms our being – we are beautifully and wonderful made in Christ. Praise in the process helps us keep creating and finding out who we really our.

I believe I will write one more blog post on this before Thanksgiving for all of you and for me.

(My secret confession: I am so in process. Do you realize I was going to wait until next week to write this blog? That is too funny and shows you how procrastination will still try to get its foot in the door. But, I got the victory.

DebraIn Christ,

Rivers of Eden Ministry would love to speak at your next conference, home group of gathering. Contact me on our Contact Page. Get to know me on Twitter, and by going to Our Timeline of Life.

To All The Cave Dwellers: Come into the light!

stop-scaring-meAre you a cave dweller? This is a place that many may find themselves in at this time. In caves, one adjusts to a level of comfort, whatever that may individually be, isolated from reality. To many, a cave is better than confronting the fear of what is ‘out there’. One can find solace in the safety of a cave. One can be isolated from the reality of the world, which exists in increasing fear. The light in a cave varies from pitch-black to shadows laced with illusion and imagery. In this place, one can even create their own reality. In any case, a cave is not a pleasant place to be for it evades the light of life. And, life comes with fear. That’s life.

One can live forever in a cave, isolated and alone, even when surrounded by people. One can live bound by fear, go through the motions, and yet, not really live even in the midst of their life. One can learn to see through shadows, avoiding pain and living in internal sorrow. There are self-imposed caves that people live in and these people are all around us on a daily basis. One retreats there to avoid the pain of a chaotic world, its confusion, and its uncertainty. It seems safe.

Fear abounds in caves where voices of accusation cry out. This voice consistently tries to contradict the voice of light and love, which is outside in the light trying to get you to see there is a better way. The voice of fear is powerful and its sheer purpose is destruction of your life. As I said, you live but your life is really only existing. You are not really living.

The darkest of voices accuses in the midst of the cave. The sound bounces off the walls with such a strong reverberating echo that the one who is imprisoned in the cave will repeat over time what the echo is saying.

The dark voice sounds forth: “YOU CAN’T”. This sound crashes against the walls of the cave, resounding with such fury that it penetrates the ears of the cave dweller. It echoes: “YOU CAN’T. YOU CAN’T. YoU Can’t. YOU can’t. You Can’t. you can’t. you can’t”…as it fades away.

The sound penetrates the ear of the one listening. The cave dwellers repeat this empowering sound to themselves each and every day. “YOU CAN’T. YOU CAN’T. YoU Can’t. YOU can’t. You Can’t. you can’t. you can’t………….”

It is a discordant and destructive sound that demands attention. This fear embeds itself in many lives and many don’t know how to get out. The voice continues.

“It’s not possible.”
“Give up.”
“It won’t work.”
“There is NO way out.”
“You’re stupid.”
“You’re worthless.”
“You’ll die.”

Even in the midst of great fear, to the cave dweller, the alternative is unacceptable. They won’t walk into the light. The light itself seems fearful. Having to confront pain and fear is not easy. It’s easier to stay in the cave than confront the illusion of fear. And it is just an illusion. Staying in the cave, lives are framed within the reality of fear. Lives are lived this way. I see it in people all around me. One always opts out of something one does not want to confront fear in any measure – drugs, alcohol, violence, abuse, pills…………There is a better way.

breaking chainsBe brave! Be courageous! There is nowhere to hide. The world is changing, chaotically and drastically. There is safety in the midst of it all – only in Christ. You can’t hide out. Fear seeps through the cracks and crevices of our lives.

What to do? This is for all those cave dwellers out there who are stuck in the darkness or living in the shadows, captured by fears of all kinds. You only need to come out into the light of Christ. Fear will increase in the world. This is indeed a given fact. It is only in the reality of Christ’s love that we find perfect peace to live in the midst of fear. God has NOT given us over to fear. In Christ, love conquered fear.

2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

1 John 4:18-19
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.

Jesus is clear. There is NO FEAR in love. Perfect love (in the person of Christ) conquered fear and death. This is truth. We do not live in torment or the shadows of fear and confusion. Perfect love is victorious in Christ. Fear is an illusion, a strong one but an illusion nonetheless. There is reality in Christ Jesus.

Fear originates in death, a fear of death, the voice of death, the sound of death. Behind fear’s sound is the reality of death. Christ has conquered death on the cross so death and fear has lost its power. Death is no longer a motivator, a controller, or a manipulator in this life for as Christians, we are eternal, here and now. When Christ died, we died and we now walk and live in union in Christ. We die physically but cross over into life. That is good news.

Perhaps the last enemy to be conquered in our lives in Christ is death and its fears. Perfect love casts out fear.

Look around. There is fear everywhere and behind it is the sound of death. Whether it be Ebola, ISIS, the enterovirus attacking children, the economy, border wars, rape, crime, abuse, violence……………..death fuels fear. Yet, that is what we hear constantly through media, news outlets, and television.

The greatest thing to fear is fear itself. Theodore Roosevelt

Fear is a spirit. Christ’s death and resurrection conquered fear and death.

In Christ.
Not religion.

In Christ.
Not psychology.

In Christ.
Not self-motivation.

In Christ.
Not introspection.
In the person of Christ.

As a Christian, He lives in me. I am in union with Him. My reality. I have nothing to fear.

That does not mean that fear does not try to control and manipulate my life every chance that it gets. Each and every day fear tries to get me to retreat to the cave. It does not work. I don’t retreat because perfect love casts out fear. I won’t stop living amidst the fear and confusion of this world. Fear will not manipulate me to hide out and cringe over what may happen. There is freedom in Christ and this is supernatural reality right in the midst of fear.

Love is strong, courageous, and brave. It conquers fear and brings me life. He makes me brave to face each day in Him. The world takes its best shot. I may falter. I may fall. I may stay down for a bit. Yet, despite it all, perfect love casts out fear. In His light, there is life.

John 8:12
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “ I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.

DebraIn Christ,

If you would like Rivers of Eden Ministry to come to your home group, church, or gathering please comment below, or contact us on Facebook or Twitter. Read Our Timeline to get better acquainted with our lives.