Mix It Up

Color PaletteToday, try a new way!
Do one thing different!

Take a new path – turn right instead of left.
Don’t let life evolve into mundane moments so that you find yourself at some point wondering if you really lived at all.

Jesus Christ is creatively calling, wooing, drawing many to His creative expression – that which has been placed in your heart by Him alone. Yet so many along the way have lost the direction in the midst of the journey. They seem to know a way formed through cultural templates, unending information and the call of the world. Yet they have lost THE way – the person of Christ.

Color SwirlingThere are many creative expressions – Christ in you, the hope of glory. The way you move, unlike anyone else. The way you live, unlike anyone else.

In Christ there is a divine unity with eternity – on earth as it is in heaven – your life, lived in the power of Holy Spirit, gazing upon His beauty and reflecting His glory in the earth realm now. Formed in Christ, transformed in His glory for such a time as this.

Who ever told you that being different was unacceptable? Those who bully, who criticize, who push and pull on you on all sides, trying to form you into their image – that is unacceptable. You are formed in Christ, move in Christ, live in Christ and in Him there are no two alike – all so different, so creative.  Perhaps it is a day just to hear this and to let this become something you know, something so simple – be you. Don’t turn this into a cliche. Live you. Move you. Be you. In Christ. In Christ glory abounds and expression is unlimited.

Color Swirl 2Jesus is the way, the way for you. In His way, in His life, there is truth. Along the way, as the fog clears, truth forms clarity of thought and expression and the you that is in Christ, suddenly becomes evident and shining and full of the light of His glory.

Now you can see….Him. In Him all else seems to become clear.

In the way, in Him, the truth of life unfolds in glorious diversity, color, sound, light and glory. You are His expression on earth….right now. Eternally seated in heavenly places but placed in time, right now.

Haven’t you actually longed for life to begin? To get past the stuff that binds you to pain, to worry, to anxiety, to conformity, to lack…..

GlassesLive!

Choose life in Christ.

Jesus and the Father are one. Once you see Jesus you see and come to know the Father. Holy Spirit – don’t forget the Holy Spirit. He mixes it up in response to your desire, your passion for life.

You want more…..you have more…..you are in Christ. The truth unveils and reveals the way. Just believe and just receive.

IMG_6047In 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!

(Some pictures above via Flickr!)

Hidden In Plain Sight – So Much To Learn

In seasons of my life when I am transitioning from one place into a new place, I am often hidden in plain sight. Not a fun place to be. Funnier still is that God Himself initiates and maintains this time for me. He waits for me to stop moving so much and just sit still for a bit. If I don’t discern the time, I will find myself in great pain trying of my own will to wiggle out of it. Not understanding the ways of God’s love for me, I can consider it a divine chastisement or deep rejection by some heavenly courtroom passing a verdict that says: “Unqualified.”

Hidden in plain sight teaches me to trust God and God alone. He knows me and has my best interests in His heart. And, He wants to see how I respond when He is all I have to define my life. What happens as I am stripped of so much that forms my identity according to the world’s demands? How do I handle the pressure of being constrained by the hand of God to submit to this place even when it hurts? How do I handle being passed over when I know I am the woman for the task and there’s some great stuff within me?

He waits until I release. Release what? All of my life into His life, His plans, His purpose, and His way. Obviously that is taking awhile. I still feel somewhat hidden, no matter what I do, but I know that this will not be forever. This does not mean that I stand still, not doing anything but waiting and wondering where I am heading. Each day is a journey. I just don’t try to make things happen anymore. I don’t walk ahead of His purpose, but I do keep walking. And, when someone forgets my name for the 100th time or forgets the name of Rivers of Eden, I can smile now. Heaven knows all the necessary details.

This is a good season, one filled with a growing wisdom in me. Continual downloads of wisdom fill my being, transforming my life and my accompanying actions. I am learning to listen more and speak about me much less. I am learning to quiet down to see and hear in the Spirit with greater accuracy.

Lessons are learned through tears. If I even look sideways to see the immense favors on other ministries or other people, I lose my focus and can easily fall into a hole for a bit. So I don’t. I keep looking forward, focused on Jesus and His plan for me, not some one else.

20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “ Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “ If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me. (John 21:20-22 NKJVS)

Yep I am a lot like Peter. Peripheral vision at this time is not a good thing.

You know, it’s true what God said to me.

“Time is not working against you. Time is on My Side. Follow Me.”

DebraIn Christ,
Debra

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

See Clearly – Hear Clearly – Speak Clearly – It’s Time!

cropped-soundwave-21.jpgThe world right now is in a chaotic state – filled with wars, violence and an insidious nebulous tolerance of just about anything, elevating the prevailing cultural norm to that which is justifiably right and good, just because it makes an individual feel good or makes one happy and comfortable. People seem to be following the desires of their hearts, following belief systems that are raised up in their own hearts, making them feel good, safe and comfortable.

To stand firm in truth, in Christ, one may be relegated into a place of irrelevance because it does not line up with what is trending as popular thought. Christians can be seen as irrelevant, archaic and out of touch.

In my own life, I sense a passion for Christ to define me, refine me – moving me onto His path of light, life and love. This path is clear and I walk on it aligned with Jesus being the way, the truth and the life. I can’t bear the thought of being nebulous, going with the flow, or just floating along in life. It is a new day for me.

Proverbs 29:18
If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; but when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed. The Message

Proverbs 29:18
Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law. NKJV

It is time to be strengthened, formed, and aligned in Christ so that He may make our path straight and clear. Many may not understand me. That’s okay – Jesus Himself proved to be quite the enigma at times, yet He listened to the sound of heaven and followed its call. So shall I.

My vision – My life – And, my need to speak it forth – Now!

cropped-cropped-shutterstock_38863681-11.jpgHere’s my Timeline (as clear and concise as I can be) concerning my Christian life, Rivers of Eden – my past and my future in God’s hands.

1988- Started my life in Christ – drawn out from the world in my 30’s – not religious and unable to play any Christian games. Since then, through all the ups and downs, I have not turned from Jesus for He is my life. It has not always been easy. At times, this walk proved to be hard and impossible without His grace and strength to sustain me.

1989 – THE VISION

One day, while praying in my family room in Benicia, CA. this vision came alive as I was transported to another place in the Spirit.

I was standing on a map of the USA, with my feet firmly planted in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is my home and dear to my heart. It was dark over the States – not just dark but pitch black. I looked up and looked east, to the East Coast. Suddenly, I saw rising up from the ocean a huge tidal wave, a tsunami that rose without warning. It rose up with strength over the state of New York and proceeded to rise higher and higher as it covered the USA. I could not determine if I should be fearful and run for my life or if I should just stand still. His grace placed me in this position, so I stood, watching it draw closer and closer.

cropped-cropped-photo2.jpgIt then landed at my feet, right at my feet. At that point, this gigantic wave proceeded to roll back over this dark land, and in the wake of the water, I saw diamonds stretched out as far as the eye could see, all over the country. I watched as they were unveiled, bright and shining, in the midst of perverse darkness. I then heard the voice of the Lord say two things to me:

“Follow in the wake of the anointing, going where I tell you to go, speaking what I tell you to speak, and trusting me with your life.”

And then I heard:

“No man will lay the foundation of the ministry I give to you by My Spirit.”

At this point, I was newly saved and had no ministry. I was definitely a newbie. That vision forms the foundation of my life to this day, never leaving me. To this day it is as clear as the day that I stood in my family room.

(Stay with me okay? Some of you may be involved in Rivers of Eden one day. Perhaps. Or this may be good for many of you trying to follow the vision God placed in you. You may need to go back and look carefully at your own timeline)

1990-1995 – Growing up in Christ

Over these years, several great churches contributed to my growth. I honor the pastors for being patient with my zeal and such great men and women of God along the way, who helped me grow.

I served at Church on the Hill, and after a few years began to teach Bible studies, lead prayer groups and more. It was full on Church and I loved it because I was hungry.

1991 – Traveled to Ivory Coast for Missions.

1992 – Traveled to Russia and Ukraine for Missions

1994 – Left Church on the Hill and for the next 18 months, helped a pastor start a new church in the Mission District of San Francisco. Twice a week or more, we traveled from Contra Costa County into The City, fulfilling a commitment God placed on our hearts to serve. Our pastor’s passion was evangelism, so we weekly trekked throughout San Francisco – the Mission District, Noe Valley – handing out tracts and talking to many diverse and creative people, most of whom rejected our message BUT we persevered. I became stronger and wiser in the process.

1995- 2000 – Leadership

1995-2000 – Associate Pastor, Lighthouse Covenant Fellowship, Benicia Ca. Our multicultural church was made up of African-Americans, Caucasians, a few Hispanics, some Filipinos and others. In its diversity, I learned deep life lessons about overcoming racism, along with everyone else. Sometimes it worked and we smiled. Sometimes it did not, our hearts were exposed and we cried. It was all good. My life lessons were abundant through all my mistakes and my successes.

As the associate pastor, I preached regularly, taught, developed a strong prophetic team and altar ministry, administrated and also created cell groups. When Pastor Sam was not in the house, I, along with Ben, administrated the church in different ways.

2000- the present

After 5 years of denominational leadership, God told Marvin and I to start something outside the walls of the norm. So, we left the church and started focusing on Rivers of Eden, the ministry God breathed into my life in 1998. Here are a few highlights over these years.

Traveled with a few intercessors to Detroit, MI, Syracuse, NY, Sioux Falls, ND, Miami, FL, Wichita, KA, Harrisburg, PA, Raleigh, NC and Phoenix, AZ to pray, walk, declare and watch Holy Spirit work as we moved out in faith in these cities. This was raw faith for me and I loved it. I saw glorious things happen during this time. Holy Spirit led us to places to meet people to deliver a word of prophecy or word of knowledge. We laid hands on the sick and walked in a measure of God’s power. These were Holy Spirit journeys. I plan to do more in the future.

God broadened my horizons with a promotion. If I were faithful to move out in the States, He now would send me overseas to many places, in faith.

Walking in the snow2001 – Sitting in our living room, three of us praying, Holy Spirit said, “Go to Helsinki, Finland.” A few months later, we hopped a plane, landed in Helsinki and prayed throughout the nation for two weeks. We traveled all the way up to Oulu, where we stayed with some great people. Not bad, considering previous to this time I knew nothing about Finland. To make a long story short, from that initial visit, I branched out quite a bit in my desire to move in Holy Spirit and to travel to the nations. I preached in many churches, 2 Lutheran conferences, and hosted Rivers of Eden prophetic conferences over the years. We rented three different apartments and obtained a residence visa, good till 2015 – Finland became my second home. I miss it and I love it still.

Simultaneously, in addition to traveling back and forth to Finland from 2001 to the present, we also ministered extensively throughout Kenya (Kitale, Nairboi, Webuye, Eldoret and more) and built a small team to work alongside for many years. This time constituted a lot of travel between California and the nations, but I loved loved it.

Abu Dhabi Skyline

Abu Dhabi Skyline

Then alongside these travels, God surprised us and Marvin’s job landed us in Abu Dhabi from 2006-2010. So from that central location, we traveled throughout the UAE, Oman, and Bahrain and to Egypt.

2011 – Back to California to deal with Marvin’s retirement.

2012 – Moved back to Helsinki for one year

2013 to now– Southern California

This is my life in a nutshell. Why am I writing this? Several reasons. I am writing to make the vision for my life clear to others and me for future opportunities. After many years of intense breaking, deep rejection, incredible disappointment and more, I cannot listen to the lies of the enemy anymore, lies that try to seal my future by the failures of the past.

I have hit the highlights but I don’t have time to tell you all of the intricacies of those years. Trust me, during these years there were lots going on which caused great sadness along with great joy in my life.

In 2010, in the Middle East, Marvin and I physically entered the desert and spiritually entered the desert, lasting up until just recently. Ministry basically stopped as God set us aside for restoration, growth, healing amidst great brokenness in our lives. We felt like failures, useless and alone until God’s grace and great love began to set us free. This is where we are today in Southern California, alive with a clear vision and great revelation. We actually don’t know why we are here but time will tell whether we stay or move out. We are obedient to go where we feel God leads us. In any case, God is faithful and we wait for the next step in our journey. More coming……….lots more.

Debra and ChloeIn Christ,
Debra

Creative Expression – Some Great Stuff

Some Great Articles

The Spirit Led Church is the Only Real Church

Why People Don’t Operate in the Gifts

Church Is More Than What You See

Saying I Was Wrong

Some Great Books I Am Reading

Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright

Birthing the Miraculous by Heidi Baker

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life by Twyla Tharp

Some Great Quotes

CS Lewis – “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin or your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable…The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers…of love is Hell.”

Helen Burns – “My voice does not need to be heard at all times – i just need to be heard when the conductor asks me to sing or play my part.”

Henry David Thoreau – “If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away.”

Graham Cooke – “Whenever God speaks, He creates something. What is the life that should be coming to you through the promise that God has given you? You need to inhabit that promise; obtain and inhabit the blessing of God through your walk with Him.”

In Christ, Debra Westbrook

Debra and ChloePlease pray and consider having Rivers of Eden minister in your gathering, home group, conference or church in 2014. This is our year of release wherever and whenever God opens His doors bringing His grace and His glory through us to those to whom we are called in this season. You can contact us on Facebook or Twitter.

Creative Expression – A Seamless Life in Christ Part 2

Heart of FireSeamless – Flowing, Continuously, Living. Connected to heaven, living on earth. Before my salvation in Christ, I wandered into anything and everything that could or would give me meaning. At that time in my life, I did not want, nor did I seek salvation because I was a ‘hard-sell’, very cynical and rebellious. For me to even focus on the Lord, I had to see that He was real. He is. He offered me life and I accepted. And, in my Christianity, I never settled for anything so religious that it denied that I am a spiritual being in Christ, able to hear His voice and meant to walk in the supernatural, . The Word and the Spirit – that is Christianity that is my reality. People of two realms – that is a good way to describe it.

And raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 2:6 NKJV)

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4 NKJV)

Heart on Fire for GodWe are spiritual beings in Christ. Who is actually teaching that in church right now? Some are but they are few. I hear a lot of needs based sermons with a cultural edge of justice, restoration, how to have a happy marriage, and how to raise great kids. That is excellent stuff  but that is not the fullness of the Gospel. I hear great teaching. But what about the supernatural? It is the essence of the Good News that we live, move, and have our being in Christ. He created us body, soul, and spirit. Once again, may the reality of Holy Spirit invade gatherings once again.

Flaming HeartMay God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together––spirit, soul, and body––and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23 Message)

Christians are created to move in a continuous flow in the earth. We are the point of contact where heaven meets earth with Christ in you and me. So, living in the reality of an open heaven, seeing in the Spirit, and more is our inheritance now. The door is open and the veil is rent to commune with God as a habitation of His glory.

That’s why we have this Scripture text: No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, never so much as imagined anything quite like it–– what God has arranged for those who love him. But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you. The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God––except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person–to–person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way (1 Corinthians 2:9-13 Message)

In Christ, Debra Westbrook

DebraPlease pray and consider having Rivers of Eden minister in your gathering, home group, conference or church in 2014. This is our year of release wherever and whenever God opens His doors bringing His grace and His glory through us to those to whom we are called in this season. You can contact us on Facebook or Twitter.