Story Week – Part 2/5 – A Young Man – Disengage!

Heart MonitorThe sound: “It is what it is.” A universal sound continually piercing the heart of the young man. This sound is quite subtle but also persistent. The prince of the power of the air uses sound waves to invade and impact a generation of young men. This enemy is no respecter of persons so is able to strike deep in the heart of young men. Color, culture, environment – he shows no favorites. He strikes at the heart to gain a generation, taking them captive to the darkness.

When the young man could not bear one more moment of the droning sound of hopelessness and chaos, he did what he knew to do to escape.

Disengage!

Disengage: Separate or release from something in which there is an attachment; remove troops from an area of conflict.

Put those earphones on and block everything out.

Divorce, chaos, arguing, abuse, violence in the home – Disengage!

School – an emotional war zone of bullying, rejection, peer pressure and violence of the physical type or emotional violence perpetrated on the heart. – Disengage!

Drugs, alcohol, sexual pressure – temptations on all sides!

Hand reaching upPut on those earphones and enter a world where technology conforms you to its own image, where you actually continue to lose yourself without even knowing it. This sound through music, videos or games penetrates and permeates the life of the young man, providing a means of escape from the reality of his own pain. Put on those earphones and trade one sound for another. But what’s the trade-off? The droning of “It is what it is” is left behind. What takes its place? Pulsating sounds that deify violence, rage, death, anger, and hate.

These alternative sounds consistently interject themselves into the void of the young man’s heart. A void will always seek to be filled in some way. To disengage from one sound simply means that you engage in something else.

A battle rages all around this young man’s life. The enemy exploits and uses treachery, knowing exactly what he is after – a generation of young men with a cry in their hearts. They are lost amidst a desire to be found. Looking for a genuine authentic life, they seek truth but only see lies and deception all around. This young man, one individual in a generation that is looking for the light but does not know where to find it.

Great men in times and seasons past have addressed this with words of wisdom and grace. Peter, a disciple of Jesus Christ says it like this:

Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. (1 Peter 5:8-9 Message)

Paul, another mighty man of God, says it like this:

This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life–or–death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon (Ephesians 6:12-17 Message)

It is a battle. Looking from the outside in, one can often feel that we are losing more ground than we are gaining. A generation of young men finds Christianity archaic, irrelevant, powerless and boring. Like David, their hearts cry out, “Is there not a cause?”

All the while, Father God knows best. The great I AM is whispering to the young man, a better way, a more excellent way. Right in the midst of his darkness, the sound of the great I AM is whispering destiny and purpose.

More to come……

In Christ, Debra Westbrook

DebraRivers of Eden Ministry is called to challenge people to a life of creativity, revelation and intimacy in Christ. Marvin and I look forward to hearing from you, allowing us the opportunity to minister in the grace and love of Christ in your gathering, church, home group or conference.  Currently we are planning a trip to Kenya in July in which we are looking forward to establishing new relationships with leaders for a Kingdom purpose. Contact us on Facebook or Twitter for more information.

Story Week: Part 1/5 – A Young Man with an Ear to Hear

There was a young man who labored under the sound of acceptance. He tried to find his own sound, yet amidst the constant undercurrent of the prevailing sound of normality, the young man often found himself tired and weary. The sound called out to him each day, loud and clear. It was as if that sound was set into time itself, constantly reminding him throughout the day that the sole purpose of his life was to fit into the universal norm. He rose to this sound in the morning, worked in the midst of its consistency throughout the day. In the evening, he tried to rest in its presence swirling around him but each night he went to bed amidst its reality. The sound indeed was persistent.

Heart Monitor Every few hours, on a consistent timetable set by some external source, the sound issued forth into the atmosphere. The sound used specific words that sought to contain and restrain creativity from flowing from his life. The words coming from the sound were simple and pure, hitting the mark of the young man’s heart, which was steeped in insecurity and doubt. Insecurity laid a foundation within him, consistently telling the young man that there would never be anything more than this in his life. Doubt laid the perfect foundation for hopelessness to thrive. The sound indeed was purposeful in penetrating this young man’s life.

The sound:

“It is what it is.”

“It is what it is.”

“It is what it is.”

The sound would come in threes – a spiritually perfect number. Over and over those words numbed the soul of the young man. Those words consistently sought to penetrate the young man’s heart. Their purpose: trying to cause the young man’s heart to actually beat in tune with its mundane rhythm.

“It is what it is.”

“It is what it is.”

“It is what it is.”

The young man could not help but be resistant at this attempt to nullify and make void the individuality within his very being. The battle for conformity raging around him grew stronger and stronger each day. The warfare, unending and unceasing, was relentless and resolute in capturing the young man’s life. He became tired and worn out in time.

New SoundHe was not even acutely aware that a new sound was rising up within him, contrary to the sound that was trying to overtake his life. It was soft and distant, not seeking to immediately overthrow the current condition of his heart with violence but intent on creating a habitation of glory.

The new sound:

“I AM.”

More to come………….

In Christ, Debra Westbrook

Debra and ChloeRivers of Eden Ministry is called to challenge people to a life of creativity, revelation and intimacy in Christ. Marvin and I look forward to hearing from you, allowing us the opportunity to minister in the grace and love of Christ in your gathering, church, home group or conference.  Currently we are planning a trip to Kenya in July in which we are looking forward to establishing new relationships with leaders for a Kingdom purpose. Contact us on Facebook or Twitter for more information.

Creative Expression – An Infusion Of Desire

Desire, a powerful word. The distortion of this word can evoke images of lust, sex or sensuality. Yet, here I am talking about Holy Spirit, the prophetic, creative expression, and the gifts and I find it in what Paul says below.

Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. (1 Corinthians 14:1 NKJV)

Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. (1 Corinthians 14:39 NKJVS)

Desire to prophesy. Desire spiritual gifts. Burn with zeal to prophesy. Be zealous for this and pursue this in life. Pretty clear to me. I have always been part of or a leader in a prophetic church that encourages a prophetic lifestyle. I encourage tongues and prophesy and creative expression. That is what keeps us alive and moving in Christ. Sometimes it can look like sanctified chaos  in a gathering. That is where leaders come into play. Holy Spirit led leaders who are willing to walk in such an intimacy with Christ that they flow in accordance to the sound and directives of heaven, no matter what the cost. Leaders that direct and lead in accordance with where Holy Spirit is moving. I want to be that. I feel I am that. Are you?

Do you desire to take a risk and enter into a Spirit led lifestyle, desiring for the manifestation of heaven on earth? A seamless life where Christ flows through you with discernment, prophesy and more? What are you waiting for? In the coming days, I will keep speaking on Holy Spirit from a foundational aspect along with prophetic perspective. In other words, I want to see that we walk in the prophetic in a foundation established on the excellency of knowing Christ intimately. And, from that place of intimacy, the Holy Spirit flows from us in unique and creative ways.

Prophesy is caught and taught. Yes, I learned all the principles and Scriptural references but at some point, I had to jump out of the boat. And, as a leader, I had to encourage people around me, as I mentored them, to step out of their boat. It’s a lot like riding a bike. We try. We fall. We try. We fall. But, we keep trying. I want to be that type of leader that helps people grow by placing them in an environment of love and acceptance to make mistakes  in the prophetic and not feel condemned. I want to see people established in Christ and to get up and keep trying. There is a lot of flesh worked out as we learn to walk in the prophetic but that goes for much of our walk in Christ. He establishes us in great grace.

The beauty of the prophetic is when its focus is entirely on Christ. That is why intimacy with Christ allows one to mature in the desire to prophesy and move in an incredible array of gifts which glorify Jesus.

Flaming HeartThough I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NKJVS)

So many churches and leaders simply want to throw the baby out with the bath water. They don’t want to lose any control. That’s not life. That’s a controlled environment with restricted movement. I am here to tell you there is a better way, a more excellent way. It’s called love flowing through intimacy. There it is. The prophetic needs to mature and mature we shall do. Why? Because I desire to prophesy over people and nations and situations. And in this desire I want my focus to be Christ in all ways. Foundationally we are getting it right and as we do, the river will flow and flow and flow. It’s all about Jesus. Here’s a great prophecy from Paul. When words did not cut it and when all He knew and saw and experienced was Christ, he let loose.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “ For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 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 8:35-39 NKJVS)

As we realize that love conquers all – our heart, our lives – nothing will stop us from prophesying when the focus is on the ONE in whom we live move and have our being.

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.

Creative Expression – Words of Spirit, Words of Life

Here’s a post I read on Facebook. “When believers face discouragement and problems, they are not staying close to the Word of God.” Add that to my list of religious sayings. Or at least I believe it has some religious undertones behind the words. I might have said this years ago. Okay, I probably would have said this years ago with great religious fervor.

SeeDo I believe this statement above?  I do not believe that the Word of God can be used as some sort of mantra without the living Spirit of God flowing through the Word. When one is in the depth of pain, discouragement, or depression, just reading the Word of God may or may not help. Yet, when one is in this depth of pain, and goes to the Word, to have the Living Word of God, Jesus Christ, revealed to them by the Spirit of God, then it heals.

If I am in a depth of pain and discouragement and pick up my Bible to read, where does it lead me? It is words on a page that may be no different from reading a self-help book. The Book is not life. The Living Word, Jesus Christ, is life. He speaks words of spirit and life. What I am saying is that to say something like that with religious undertones puts a person under bondage, indicating that they are not reading enough, or praying enough or worshipping enough. That is ridiculous.

There are times in a person’s life when pain is evident and real. Weariness settles on a person, the best of Christians, the most studied of Christians, the most church attending Christians. There are times when the weariness settles in and what is one to do? Those are the times when rituals and traditions don’t cut it. Those are the times when you need the tangible presence of the Lord Jesus Christ to reach down and touch you, manifesting the beauty of His presence right where you are, right there.

It is at those times when love conquers your heart and you know that all will be okay. The Living Word of God speaks to you. He could say:

“Be still my child and know I am God.”

It is at those moments when love conquers your heart and you just know. Running to a book without a revelation of the person, the Living Word, and without the Spirit of God is ridiculous. I am learning, as a Christian for over 30 years, that I actually know nothing to very little at times when facing the complexity of the human condition. I just know Christ, and Him crucified. I am still in process and learning, so I am watching my own words very carefully when I speak. My way of doing things is often blown out of the water. I learn that my pat answers for the questions that humans are facing in this day and age often do not serve to penetrate the depths of their heart tensions. I know Jesus.

What am I saying? Not to read the Bible? No I am not saying that. Not to trust the Word of God? No I am not saying that either. Well, I guess at this point Jesus said it better than me.

“You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want (John 5:39-40 Message)

Words do not heal. They are just words. Jesus heals, the Living word, who speaks words that are spirit and they are life. Words that flow through our lives, one to another, when they are spirit and when they are life, heal and set free from Christ in us the hope of glory. I am learning that I detest pat religious answers. It just shows me that the person giving these pat answers may be ministering for the Lord, ministering around the world, have seminary degrees, read the Word inside and out and yet…perhaps they need an encounter with the Living Christ. Just some random thoughts today. Any comments? I just want to keep asking. I sense some of you have things to say.

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 or right here in the comments.

Some Great Posts To Read

Tension and Gritty Grace!

Prophecy Flowing From His Grace And Goodness

Creative Expression – Three Years Of Wandering; Prophetic Realignment

AdventureI 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 139:14-16 Message)

It is hard to believe sometimes, as I look at my life, that I am marvelously made. I see the constant inconsistencies and contradictions within me. Who do I believe I am or desire to be?

At this point in my life, I need an ‘internal alignment’ this truth in Psalm 139. I need to line up my life with some essential truth. Here are those truths.

The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24 Message)

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. (Philippians 1:6 Message)

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 29:11 Message)

How often do I fight within myself to accept what God believes about me and how He sees me and where He wants to lead me? I often set boundaries in my limited understanding, defining who I am and thereby leading me into a path to get to my destiny, not necessarily to what God calls me to do for Him.

2014 is a year, for me, to come into alignment and agreement with exactly who I am in Christ, or rather, who He is in me. It is better said that way. For the past 3 years, it appears I have been following a path laid out in my own wisdom. Follow along on this prophetic path today and see if you can glean anything in it for your own life.

Chuck Pierce, Glory of Zion. I respect this man as a prophet. A lot of what he says works its way into my being as truth. When God wants to captures my attention and speak to me, he often brings me to prophetic people who impart something into my being. In this case, some things that Chuck said in a recent prophetic message, grabbed hold of me, loud and clear.

In 2010, Marvin (my husband) received a clear word from the Lord. God spoke and said to him, “ONE WAY.” That’s it. At the end of his job assignment in Abu Dhabi, we left to go back to Northern California simply because we did not know where else to go, and Cali was our home. Marvin retired at this point. So for 2010, we shifted into our ‘normal’ and assumed, after a few months, that God placed us there to start a work. We rented a beautiful building, furnished it, bought sound equipment, advertised services and more. After 6 months of trying to build, no one came and we closed up shop.

So the next idea seemed to be obvious. Since nothing was going on in Cali, we would head back to Finland since we hold a residence visa there. It seemed clear that 2011 was a year of wandering in our good ideas. 2012 seemed to hold promise. Off we went. Eventually, I had another good idea. Build in Finland a spiritual house of grace and glory to raise up a people, healed, delivered and set free in Christ. The same scenario began to play itself out. We rented a great place; furnished it ourselves, did all the right things, and preached great life changing messages. Over 3-5 months, a few came and went, and eventually there was no one coming so we closed up shop.

Now let me say this. I know some may be thinking that we stopped short of the breakthrough and that we should have persisted in holding on. That was not even an option at all. Nothing we tried worked for us. Is that God? Can I believe that God was in it? Now, yes, I can, looking back.

Okay so then what? I have covered 2011, 2012, and now comes 2013. We are done with Finland so we are officially without a plan or purpose, beat down through and through, without hope and feeling a bit lost after years of this. The only place we knew to head was Southern Cali to be near our son, only this time we did not start something. We sat in SoCal in our townhouse, and sat and sat, wondering if all the years and promises were a thing of the past. Our lives pretty much seemed without any purpose. So here we sit……….and then along comes the message from Chuck Pierce one day last week.

I can’t relay the whole message but here is the main word for me, and possibly for you.

“Work both sides of your brain. Some of your order can’t permeate into a new creativity. There is something you missed 3 years ago in what God was trying to do in your life to prosper you and to begin to see the call of God on your life. Go back and think, 3 years ago. What have you not allowed to permeate into a new creativity?”

So I did just that. I saw that for 3 years, we have wandered in our own good ideas – just wandered, without a purpose, or so it seems to me. I believe that we can’t go back and redo the past. Yet, I can redeem my future by realizing that perhaps some mistakes were made that a gracious, loving, awesome God wants to bring to pass through a course correction. I go back and align myself with His wonderful promises, submitting myself to His will and His ways.

Now some may be wondering – “But couldn’t have God told you that 3 years ago and you could have avoided all the wandering?”

Well, yes He could have, but He did not and God works mysteriously at times.

The shortest distance between two points for God is not always a straight line. Perhaps there was lot to learn during this time that will become apparent to me as I continue to meditate on this word and see where God is leading NOW.

So back to Marvin’s word, ONE WAY. Let’s see what pans out in the next year. Will write more on this in the next blog.

In Christ, Debra

Please 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. Feel Free to contact us on Facebook, Twitter, or on our Contact Page on our website.

Some Great Posts To Read

Formed By Shame, Free In Christ

Time To Take Action, Don’t Ya’ Think?