Heavenly Minded

Epiphany – a moment of sudden revelation or insight, manifestation, appearance.

Like Mary.

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth 27 to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. 28 Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:

Good morning!
You’re beautiful with God’s beauty,
Beautiful inside and out!
God be with you
(Luke 1:26-28 Message)

Like Paul.

When he got to the outskirts of Damascus, he was suddenly dazed by a blinding flash of light. 4 As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice:”Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?”5 He said, “Who are you, Master?” “I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. 6 I want you to get up and enter the city. In the city you’ll be told what to do next. (Acts 9:3-6 Message)

Here are just two examples that crossed my mind today about sudden flashes of light, bringing with them change, revelation, and an angelic appearance. With an epiphany comes a purity in awe and wonder, rushing over a person in a divine exchange between heaven and earth.

I believe that we need epiphanies in our lives – divine interactions of the supernatural kind. Normal Christianity. We need to be awed again on a consistent basis, or at least I do. I desire that sense of wonder, filled with child-like faith.

New CreationThe essence of life can be dull and crusty in the day-to-day, as we all know and experience. As adults, we file our days away into categories or to-do lists that deal with the reality of life as we know it. We speak in clichés because it’s easier than to speak from the depths of our being as we encounter Jesus Christ.

How about being so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good at times? After all, we are already seated in heavenly places in Christ so why not learn to move in that realm, live in that place right now, today.

I believe what I am feeling today is what C.S. Lewis so beautifully said:

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

Have you ever felt like this? I believe this is deeply experienced by those who have turned themselves over to the Lordship of Christ Jesus. That sense that all is so shallow compared to the express longing to know Him in deeper and more profound ways.

Perhaps that is what a longing for holiness is all about. Not retreating into law and trying to find the right rules, regulations or declarations to draw close to God but throwing oneself headlong into grace. A grace that transforms us in the midst of our humanness. A grace that brings us into glory, a deeper revelation of Christ in me. A grace that transcends living in this world while we are living in this world.

To know Him. To see Him. To be like Him. To be transformed in His glory to walk in the light as He is in the light. To allow that light to permeate from the depths of our being so that we are walking light-bearers, filled with the glory of God. Perhaps it all starts with an epiphany that come purposely to destroy our sense of normalcy and set us on fire again.

Debra

 

In Christ and In Process,
Debra
About Me
Rivers of Eden Ministry

Don’t Lose the Substance by Grasping at Shadows!

Man in SunlightDon’t live in the shadows. Live in the light. Move away from living, moving and having your being in another’s life. Their life casts a shadow, a shape and a form. But, their shadow obscures the light from reaching you. It can call to you as a place of safety yet it is a place of shadow – a place where the light can neither energize nor expose, touching your own life.

A shadow is a region where light from a light source is obstructed by an opaque object, namely the person whose shadow we find ourselves in at any time. Their shadow, their form and shape which we can idolize at times, is the very thing that obscures the light from me.

I am not called to live in another’s shadow, putting on their hopes, their dreams, living within the boundaries of their purpose.

I am called to walk in the light, as He is in the light and He is the light. Jesus Christ. I live and move and have my being in the light of His glory.

The light of the world lives in me, Christ in me. I live in His light and my life is filled and flowing with the light of His glory. I do not live in another’s shadow, their purpose, their passion. What keeps me in the shadows? That’s a good question for each of us to personally answer. Is it fear of being different in our own light? Is it worry? Anxiety?

Standing in the light of Christ is the real me. The shadow that is formed from the light is my form, my substance, my silhouette. He who casts a shadow stands in the fullness of light. Shadows may appear to be safe but they obscure the light.

Sunlight Marco…His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light… (1 Peter 2:9 NKJV)

Out of darkness into the light.

Helen Keller
Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.

Aesop
Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.

As the light of His presence flows through each of us, that light will be bright and filled with life so that the world may see and desire Christ Jesus. It is not a case of rebellion or independence trying to find myself because I died and my life is hidden in Christ. He is my life and my light. I am called to shine.

Being different, being creative is a place in the light where all is real, true and authentic. That lends itself to criticism, rejection as well as honor and acceptance. But is there any other way for me? No. The passion in my heart at this time in my life is fired up by an intense desire just to be me in Christ, wherever that leads, whatever door that opens up……my life formed and transformed in the light. How about you?

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!

A Young Man with an Ear to Hear – Part 5/5 – Sound Source

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:15-17 HCS)

Jesus Christ holds it all together. From the smallest particle of energy to the majestic expanse of the universe, Christ holds it all together. He is the source through which all life flows. In the beginning was the Word, Jesus Christ, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He is the source of all life.

The source of all sound, that which is good, right, noble, creative, uplifting, and energizing is Christ and is in Christ. Yet, evil is all around us. In evil there is a constricted, discordant sound that penetrates the universe – a sound of darkness. This universal sound of evil exists, trying to exert dominion but Christ has indeed triumphed over all evil.

Goodness and love itself in Christ has not eradicated the sound of evil. It is still here, at least for now. The young man had a choice in what he wanted to hear. The reality of his life made him run in desperation to anything that would ease or totally annihilate the universal sound of hopelessness – “It is what it is.” He tried Christianity, being exposed to it as a young child but it did nothing for Him. To him, Christianity was nothing more than a veneer of God-speak lacquered over a non-essential form called religion. “Why bother?” he thought.

It’s true you know. Religion tries to cover itself with a facade of relevance but that only masks what it actually is – a sound source of laws and rules, devoid of life. But, Jesus is not deterred or dismayed by anything that seemingly stands in the way of reaching a person.

All along there was another sound building in the young man. He often thought, “There’s got to be more than this.” These words flowed through his DNA, a small glimmer of light and hope amidst the intruding darkness. Reality held him captive to the universal sound but hope somehow managed to find a way into the young man’s heart.

Every young man has an inner resolve to live life to its fullest. Yet, we all know that this is not often how it is. Life, with its inevitable chaos, often made the young man feel as if he was not actually in charge of his destiny. He felt that somehow a source outside himself was pulling him in different directions. He often felt off-centered.

He felt somewhat at a standstill in life. Caught between the tension of bad and worse, he had to find a way out or submit to the fact that this is what it is and life will never get any better than what he saw all around him.

Christ seeks a relationship with young men everywhere. The mundane form of Christianity that we often see today does not limit Jesus in reaching a person. What do I mean by that? Christianity at large packages Jesus Christ in many predictable ways: go to church, hear a sermon, accept salvation, join a Bible study, listen to uplifting Christian music, blah, blah, blah – these are robotic contrived life patterns that the young man simply refused to submit to.

So what’s a God to do with this? Well it is not that hard. God shows up in unique and diverse places to meet us right where we are. The Living Word, Jesus Christ, sounds forth in love to draw all men to Him.

 To a prophet:

“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations–– that’s what I had in mind for you.” But I said, “Hold it, Master God! Look at me. I don’t know anything. I’m only a boy!” God told me, “Don’t say, ‘I’m only a boy.’ I’ll tell you where to go and you’ll go there. I’ll tell you what to say and you’ll say it. Don’t be afraid of a soul. I’ll be right there, looking after you.” God ‘s Decree  (Jeremiah 1:5-8 Message)

 In a palace:

God gave these four young men knowledge and skill in both books and life. In addition, Daniel was gifted in understanding all sorts of visions and dreams (Daniel 1:17 Message)

 In the middle of the night:

God called again, “Samuel!” ––the third time! Yet again Samuel got up and went to Eli, “Yes? I heard you call me. Here I am.” That’s when it dawned on Eli that God was calling the boy (1 Samuel 3:8 Message)

 On a dusty road:

He set off. When he got to the outskirts of Damascus, he was suddenly dazed by a blinding flash of light. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice: “Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?” He said, “Who are you, Master?” “I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. 6 I want you to get up and enter the city. In the city you’ll be told what to do next (Acts 9:3-6 Message)

 By a fishing boat:

When they pulled in that catch of fish, awe overwhelmed Simon and everyone with him. It was the same with James and John, Zebedee’s sons, coworkers with Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “There is nothing to fear. From now on you’ll be fishing for men and women.” They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed him (Luke 5:9-11 Message)

Can you see? It is quite clear that the drawing sound of Jesus Christ is a reality that pierces the darkest of situations. He speaks in many different ways and in many different places. He finds those He wants to find with a pinpoint accuracy. Why is that?

“You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you (John 15:16 Message)

Divine Love in Christ chooses you. You do not choose Him. He draws you to Himself with grace, and love and goodness in the midst of the violent upheavals of life. It is His faith, the faith of the Son of God, which draws you to Himself. He loves you.

He shows you who you really are, your destiny, and your future in Him. When you least expect it, He sees the time is right and reveals Himself to you. That is what you are looking for right? You want reality – not Christian hype or the façade of religion. You want reality. You want Christ and may not even know it. But, He does.

I have confidence and assurance that young men (and young women, old men, old women and all in between) will hear His sound above all other sounds and will draw them to Himself. He who is the one, the way, the truth and the life.

So this young man who I have been writing about. His circumstances seem to dictate that nothing good will come out of His life. It seems that he is lost amidst the mundane. It appears that hope is fleeting and faith is waning day by day. But, Jesus Christ knows that life is meant to be lived in His grace and His truth. And, He knows where the young man is and He knows where you are. Right now. He is the door to life. Just enter in.

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.

A Young Man with an Ear to Hear – Part 4/5 – Penetrating Light

There is always a way where there seems to be no way.

Jesus said to him, “ I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6 NKJV)

Light Texture The young man, trapped within the inconsistencies of his own life, languished under the constant noise that permeated the darkness. Escape was not just an option, but the only way out of the constant mantra of hopelessness. One can only take so much before this muted sound takes its toll on the mind, will and emotions. It seems like a never-ending battle.

The sound seeking to keep him under its influence was not prepared for what was coming. Jesus Himself is always there, waiting for the darkness to reach its proclaimed point of victory. His timing is exquisite and perfect. His sound comes forth in this perfect timing. When emotions reach a new height of expression in anger, rage or violence. When things seem to be getting to that edge of wanting out, at any cost. When things don’t make sense. His timing is perfect and His sound is clear.

Jesus is the way and in this way, there is a path of light, life and truth. This is reality. This is the way out and the way in. Out of darkness. Into light.

The light of truth has a voice in Christ. Light waves and sound waves travel forth with creative power, dispelling the darkness. Jesus pierces the darkness with an undeniable sound of love and freedom. There is no darkness able to conquer the light for light is a dominating force without foe. It does not suffer defeat.

“He (Jesus) deals decisively and completely with darkness by entering the dark and hopeless void that separates us from Him and bridged the gap in His own life, death, and resurrection.Cosmos Reborn – John Crowder

Our defeated foe no longer has an inherent substance. The existence of darkness rests only in the power of a lie. Cosmos Reborn – John Crowder

The darkness cannot comprehend the light. Light is truth. Darkness exists in lies. Darkness holds its inherent power in lies. And, lies, darkness and evil has already been defeated by the cross of cross.

Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:15 NKJV)

Benicia CrossThe cross of Christ sounds forth throughout eternity with a sound above all sounds. “It is finished.” Christ is the victory for humanity. The power of a lie is conquered and defeated by the eternal sound of truth in Christ. Nothing can stand against Him. He is all in all. His name is Jesus.

The darkness is baffled by His presence. The darkness is confused by the sound of victory. The young man hears this approaching sound in the distance, full of light and life. It rushes past vivid memories of pain, even at his young age. It captures sorrow and grief in its presence. It conquers rage and anger. It brings peace to discouragement and disillusionment. It is Christ, the hope of all young men everywhere.

This Jesus is real, with plan and purpose. This Jesus is the ONE. Young men everywhere seek Him without knowing exactly what they are seeking. In reality, His image and name has been crushed beneath the bondage of religion for so many years that most young men won’t even darken the door of a church any more. But, He is the ONE.

He is out and about. He is here. He is there. And, He is able. There is no other way but in Christ.

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 3/5 A Young Man with an Ear to Hear – Discordant Sounds

Subliminal sound strikes deep and prides itself on its consistency to wear a person down. That is exactly what the universal sound intended to do in the young man.

Constantly hearing a mantra of hopelessness, the young man would often repeat to himself exactly what the universal sound was saying. “It is what it is.” In the young man’s mind, thoughts of acceptance and escapism worked side by side to keep him from hearing the voice of the I AM. Rather than confront the universal sound head on, he simply retreated from it, yet did not bother to try to defeat it. He was tired and weary. So, in his retreat he disengaged from its reality and escaped into another reality that was more tolerable to him, but equally subversive.

Light TextureThere was a source to the sound that played out in words pummeling the mind of the young man to get his focus off centered from Christ and onto the enemy’s lies and deceptions. It is demonic in nature. It is discordant in essence.

The discordant sound of the enemy lacks harmony and unity. It sustains an atmosphere of conflict, divergence, and confliction. That is what the enemy wanted to draw the young man into – a discordant sound. A spirit of death masks this sound. It will kill dreams in a life filled with promise and hope. It will abort destinies that can change history. It is not compliant but forceful in its own right.

It is illusive in nature and captures the minds and hearts of young men everywhere on the planet. Lyrics of death, visual media that entangles the heart in violence or worse yet, apathy. Rage and anger that lie dormant waiting to be healed in Christ but instead fueled by the discordant sound, finding its expression in the young man’s life. These sounds pull on him with a tight grip. These subversive sounds attempt to kill destiny and purpose in Christ.

God, the great I AM, in Christ Jesus by the power of Holy Spirit takes no heed to subliminal sounds. Truth and perfection in Christ orchestrates and ordains all the sounds on earth. He does not retreat from discordance. By His hand, He lets them play out until that perfect moment when He interjects the sound above all sounds. The sound of goodness, purity, wholeness and healing. The sound of love, destiny and purpose.

Walking towards the lightGod Himself waits in the midst His revelation of light, life and truth – ready to pour forth into the young man’s heart when all other sounds bring him to the point of intimate extraction. Extraction into what? Extraction into the discordant sound itself. This evil sound is not willing to just come in the young man’s life to exploit and divert. This evil source waits to conquer and pronounce itself lord.

God draws young men out who are willing to look at the source of the sound and be willing to move into another way, a more excellent way. This comes at a crucial point in the young man’s life when all seems out of reach, without reason and purpose. Only truth can lead Him away and only light can bring a young man into its presence.

There is indeed a clashing of sounds issuing forth in this day. Make no mistake to think it is cultural, environmental or sourced in the natural. It is a clashing of kingdoms to capture a generation of young men who are destined to do mighty exploits for Jesus Christ. This is indeed truth and truth is absolute – absolutely engaging, absolutely life changing and absolutely able despite all of hell trying to block its path.

Jesus declares loud and strong into the heart of a generation held captive by the discordant sound of chaos. He speaks with simplicity and grace. He speaks in the midst of light, love and life. He speaks.

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:4-5 NKJV)

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63 NKJV)

Jesus said to him, “ I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6 NKJV)

The clear sound of Christ coming forth in the midst of darkness. There is no reason for any who are concerned about the condition of young men everywhere to be dismayed or in despair for Christ is alive and speaks forth in clarity and truth. Even though at this point in his life, the young man does not appear to be listening, yet the words of life pierce through the darkness, intent on reaching his heart. Do we underestimate the power of light in Christ to overcome and be victorious in a generation that seems in many ways to be held captive by a discordant sound? Christ has triumphed over principalities and darkness. We only need recognize that the battle we fight has already been won even in the midst of knowing that the darkness does not concede that easily.

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.