Mary, Did You Know?

In this week of Christmas greetings, transition is taking place in my life. This song by Pentatonix is so clear and so crisp in its sound…….my desire for 2016 for me and for you?

Silver BellsMay we rise up into the sound that God has redeemed inside each of us, the very deepest part of us, that part where we commune in deep intimacy with Him….the secret place. Your voice, my voice – unlike any one else’s – unique, clear, resonant with heaven. Hidden away in Christ,  He formed you, knows you through and through. It is the outflow of that intimacy that produces the clearest of sounds, the clarity of a voice that is destined to praise Him with all of our heart, our mind and our soul. That is how this video hits my spirit………the clarity of sound that rises up into worship and praise, like a silver sword piercing the heavenly realm.

Merry Christmas!
Debra & Marvin Westbrook


Sounds Within Sounds – Speaking Truth, Bringing Healing and Confronting Contradictions Part 2

Stephen had a clear, distinct sound come forth as he gazed upon Jesus Christ in glory. He spoke and His sound exalted the reality of a risen Savior. This sound was antagonistic to a religious Pharisaical mindset. They gnashed their teeth with furious frustration while stopping their ears, unable to listen to the sound of heaven.

Visual representation of a soundwaveWhen they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. Acts 7:54-58 NKJV

Stephen spoke truth, confronting contradictions with every word.

“You stiff- necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53 who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it (Acts 7:51-53 NKJV)

Then he lifted his eyes and saw the Lord. That enraged the religious system and contradicted their sound. The religious system in this time lived in an atmosphere that refused to truly SEE or to truly HEAR. These words came forth as light in the darkness. The darkness could not comprehend it and was enraged by it so it caused them to react by stopping their ears. They did not want to hear. They refused to hear.

AwakeThe sound of heaven empowered Stephen’s words. Stephen’s eyes focused on the revealed glory of God. He could not deny the preeminence of Christ. He could not do anything other than speak the sound of heaven itself. Every fear paled in light of God’s glory. Fear simply faded in the presence of love. He could not do anything but speak. And, in the face of imminent death, He focused on Jesus.

Let me bring this into today, into my own life, perhaps with a spiritual application. When speaking forth the marvelous freedom of grace in Christ, I confront the contradiction that exists within a religious sound. What does this sound do? Even today? It gnashes its teeth trying to defend its doctrinal position with accusatory words on social media. Then it gets worse. When the sound can’t be handled, it closes its ears and rushes forward to basically try to stop you and kill your voice through slander and opposition on all sides. Its goal is to kill or keep us silent. Yet, how can we not bring forth a sound that flows in the glory of Christ? In continually exploring, studying and praying through this grace message, I can only say, “Yes.”

As I continue to spend time in the Lord, studying Scripture, worship, and praying in the Spirit, I am not being tossed around by wave after wave of constant Christian noise. I don’t lose my focus on Christ in me. I discern the sound of love, grace, freedom, mercy, abundant life in Christ and so much more in everything I listen to in this time. Let us discern the sound of today. Listen carefully to hear whether it is bringing you life in the Spirit of death.

As I encountered a grace awakening over these past few years, after a long time being in the mix of everything charismatic, prophetic, experiential, I began to turn to solid teaching that would enhance my life in Christ in truth, in grace, in Good News, in life, in New Covenant. It was a new sound at first and I was a bit apprehensive as religion, even in the form of the charismatic or prophetic stuff, tried to stifle me and pull me back in various ways. I kept thinking, kept searching, and kept finding Jesus around every turn, in portions of Scripture that opened my eyes to see something fresh and new.

Is Jesus really that good? Yes.

What was I thinking all these years – performing for Him, trying to get His attention, trying to add on things to my salvation in order to grow in Christ?

Grace is solid, real, sure and true but let me say that it will confront contradictions within first and foremost with the purpose of revealing Jesus Christ in and through you. Along the way I read some great books and learned from some great people that you may be interested in at this time.

Paul Ellis blog – Escape to Reality

Paul Ellis – The Gospel in Ten Words

Bertie Brits – Dynamic Love Ministries

Andrew Farley – The Naked Gospel: The Truth You May Never Hear in Church

Andrew Farley – God Without Religion: Can It Really Be This Simple?

Debra 2In 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!

A Clear Sound in Christ

TruthIntimidation enslaves us within a prison of fear where we feel threatened, bullied, harasses, and subdued. When words are used as a weapon to silence us, they paralyze and take our breath away. We gasp for air at times, losing our voice, losing our sense of who we are, what we believe. It takes courage to stand up for what we believe in. But, is there any other way? To constantly compromise by appealing to the masses leaves one divided inside, lacking unity and wholeness. To constantly look around before one speaks trying to step in sync with a current sound is not necessarily wisdom but a fear of man.

I am going to reference yesterdays blog – digging a little deeper in what she said in the first paragraph.

Speak the Truth
Frances J. Roberts

“Lo, I say unto thee, be not intimidated by anyone, but speak forth My Word, even as I give it unto thee. Ye have written freely and fearlessly. Now speak in the same way. Thy spoken word must be brought into conformity with the work I have done within thee. This ye need for your own personal sense of unity. This ye need for your own strength. For the house divided against itself cannot stand; neither can ye so long as ye bear one testimony in thine heart and another on thine lips. 

In other words, speak the truth, no matter what it costs. And if you can’t speak the truth, t stay silent, waiting in wisdom for the right time rather than walk in presumption and end up in a war of words. It all goes back to when to speak and when to be silent.

The Truth Will Set You FreeWords frame our life – our own words (For as a man thinks, so he is – Proverbs 23:7) and those of others. Words are meant to build up, even if they are strong words. Wisdom helps us see what to take in, what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. Wisdom will not be silent and looks for those who can handle the heat in order to speak truth in the person of Christ.

Intimidation makes us cower and hold back and in the process, we lose ourselves and our voice. Not a good thing for any of us.

In my salvation there is wholeness, a unity in Christ, the life of Christ forming my life, my thoughts, my being. The Living Word  forms me in His image, imparts to me mind of Christ and transforms me in His divine nature. The truth (the person of Christ) sets me free. I am not a parrot and neither are you. His creative expression is to flow freely through our lives. Yet, look around? There is continual opposition to silence Christ in me, the hope of glory. So, what to do? Speak the truth despite the cost. Truth is in the person of  Christ. It is not vague and nebulous but contradicts the prevailing sound of the world, in true love, empowered in abundant grace.

Today, one’s voice can be silenced completely or lost amidst an ocean of information and social media noise. I believe that the sound of the Kingdom, moving contrary to the world while being in the world, will sound forth through many in this time. It is and will be a sound that will not cower when confronted by lies or deception. Truth is moving right through the lies and deception to forge a clear path in the midst of darkness. Truth in the person of Christ, the reality of His salvation and the message of the Kingdom is clear, filled with the fresh breath of the Spirit, and so contrary to the confusion today.  The world waits for a clear sound and many will be drawn to this clarity of conviction. But, we have to speak, know when to speak, how to say it and ultimately pay the price for our words. Many simply don’t want to hear it but who can resist speaking forth the glory of Jesus Christ.

Words overflow around us. Information increases in leaps and bounds. Opinions escalate and force their way in to be heard. Yet, truth is in the person of Jesus Christ – this sound will never be silences and can never be extinguished no matter what kind of opposition comes against it.

Speak the truth – not in quantity, but in quality of life that flows through us in Christ. This sound change nations, revitalize cities, transform people and raise up a standard of life in a death culture.

Debra 2In 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!