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,
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!

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!

The Journey Out Is By Settling In – Part1/3

Jeremiah 29:11The Story – Jeremiah 29 – A Desire to Escape At any Cost – There they were, thousands of Jews in captivity. This was a physical captivity but it affected their life – spiritually and emotionally, too. Their reality in life felt like a prison, something they did not want and were not used to. Could they have wanted a way out so bad that their only possible escape route was to believe ‘positive press?’ Positive press meaning exiled false prophets who were quick on the draw to prophesy…positive things, a way out, or an escape clause.

“You my dear friends, will be released soon and a breakthrough is coming. Can’ you see? There is a fall coming – the fall of Babylon and you, you, you all will be restored to all that is pleasant in Jerusalem. Keep focused on moving out. It will happen before long.”

In the midst of this positive affirmation, Jeremiah comes along and simply says, “Wait patiently for the Lord. He has not forgotten you. Settle into your current circumstance, yet focus on God, His goodness to you, His faithfulness. He sees you all and knows your condition BUT you are not going anywhere yet.”

IMG_5481Two conflicting messages. Of course, the Jews wanted to believe that which was more positive, encouraging, uplifting. I mean, who wants to face suffering, pain and trial, right? But, then again, isn’t life a kaleidoscope, constantly changing, moving, shifting often beyond our understanding and just out of our reach to change anything. That can be very frustrating.

Jeremiah was a prophet. He loved God and he loved the people of God. Sent with a challenging message for the times, he burned with a fire within to speak the truth. There was no other option. Yet, he faced a false narrative being spoken all around him by a group of false prophets who were prophesying only good things. Two conflicting messages, for sure.

IMG_5478Jeremiah keeps speaking.

“Build houses and make yourselves at home. Put in gardens and eat what grows in that country. Marry and have children. Encourage your children to marry and have children so that you’ll thrive in that country and not waste away. Make yourselves at home there and work for the country’s welfare. Pray for Babylon’s well–being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you. (Jeremiah 29:5-7 Message)

Jeremiah keeps speaking.

This is God ‘s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out––plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. (Jeremiah 29:10-11 Message)

Jeremiah keeps saying, “God loves you. He has not forgotten you but my children; you just have to stay put for a bit for this is God’s will for you. Don’t fight me on this. I know what I am saying. As much as you would love to move, change places, just BE somewhere else…just BE where I have planted you, for a season.”

IMG_5479Jeremiah’s words rang true outside of abounding clichés. His words rang with truth, in love, but truth nonetheless. The clichés spoken by the exiled prophets of the day can only hold water for a while and then they show to be without power.

Jeremiah was speaking truth. I can only believe he was thinking something like this. “Don’t look at circumstances. Know that God IS faithful in all things and in all ways. Don’t make god in an image that is manageable. Sometimes, my children, things don’t go the way that you think they should go. Just be still and know God IN this situation, not out of it. There is great learning to be had in this place and great wisdom to be had. Be still.”

We do not like to hear that, today or any day. It is hard to stay in a place of suffering let alone to allow the Lord to use that suffering for His glory. What to do? That is the next blog post. Think about this okay?

DebraIn Christ,
Debra