Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! May everyone find the time to take a break this week, breathe and just rest in the Lord. It has been a wonderful and challenging year for me, as I am sure for many of you.  God makes a way through it all for us, giving us His peace, joy, and love every step along the way. I am taking a break from blogging until January 1. At this time of year, I love to just BE and SEE what the Lord may want to speak about 2015. It will be full of more challenges – of that I am sure. Yet, it will also be filled with great grace to encounter anything which appears to be impossible. Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas from Debra, Marvin and Chloe from Southern California – French Bulldog meet up 2014 – Long Beach with 80 other Frenchies……………………Dogs just keep making us smile and smile!

To Infinity and Beyond

TD Jakes – whenever I want to be motivated and kicked in the butt with a challenge, I listen to TD Jakes. He has the innate ability and anointing to express, with great love, the need to look at oneself and change, accepting all my imperfections and failures and KNOW – God is indeed good, very very very good. My quote of the week:

“Don’t write the memoirs of pain and agony, writing from the REAR VIEW window.” TD Jakes

Rear View Mirror SkySo, here it is. One day before we actually do the pack up and move – I feel great. It is not a ‘great’ that is motivated by false assumptions or vain imaginations of what could be based on fear. It is a ‘great’ that is filled with the reality of how good and faithful God is.

I can’t look in the rear view mirror any more. Gazing at the past with some sorrow, great disillusionment, and deep discouragement at times. This woman is moving on. It has been so busy that despite my love of blogging, I found time itself to be at a premium with the move. So, I did not sit down to write BUT I have so much stirring in me that next week, revelation and thoughts and stuff will be coming your way.

It’s time to move past blogging angst – writing of pain, sorrow, disillusionment, etc. I know that may help people at times but what helps more is a revelation of Jesus Christ and the truth in His promises to us. No writing about unanswered questions that still remain unanswered – done. Moving on past blogging about the pain, the anger, and the sorrow. Moving into Christ and the hope that fills me with such expectation that I can hardly breathe at times. Moving with Christ into a future that is promised to me because He is faithful to complete what He started in me. Moving through revelation that helps me walk day by day, one step at a time into adventure and challenge and LIFE, unedited.

Where have I been these past years? Trying to be everything to everybody. I was whooping and hollering along with TD Jakes all the way from Ventura to Valencia last night. Amening and believing it 100% – accepting the reality of my life in Christ.

Rear View MirrorI used to be filled with passion and positivity and great faith. When I found myself talking more about my past, I realized that something in me stalled and died. When I realized that I blogged about the intricacies of introspection, I realized that is not always the way I want to go. As a mother, grandmother and daughter of the King, my job is to love you and to challenge many of you to keep moving. These blogs will not always sound oooshy and gooshy with love, but they will sound forth with love that is solid and believes in the reality of Christ within a person to live in an abundant life, despite any outward circumstances that drag one down.

Like TD says (paraphrasing here) – you can live in the ghetto but you don’t have to think like the ghetto. I have not lived in any ghetto but I lived in a prison in my own mind that limited and restricted me to the opinions of others along with the guilt and condemnation that comes from the past.

When we leave Valencia tomorrow, it’s almost September, the 9th month – a birthing month. For me, spiritual birthing. That could explain why I have been in a bad mood for the past 5 years. I am carrying a baby that is long overdue to be birthed. I found my birthing room in Christ, outside the walls, outside of institutional Christianity, at least for now. There is spiritual significance in the move taking place right now. I will not be looking in the rear view mirror any more. When I do that, I can’t see the future.

Buzz LightyearSometimes when I want to detox from all the crap that comes with being an adult, I watch Disney – Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Madagascar and more. Okay, I do it a lot, not just sometimes.  There’s something that brings you into the beauty of reality when you look through the eyes of a child. This kept coming to mind today. “To infinity and beyond.”  Would you believe the Holy Spirit brought this one to me? God is indeed very very good. My trajectory is changed, catapulting into the great unknown,  infinitely filled with possibilities in Christ. It’s all good. Enjoy the next season of this journey with me.

In Christ,
Debra Westbrook

Mantles??? Why? Christ in us – Reality!

Prophetic words often speak about mantles falling, mantles being imparted, and Elijah mantles ready to receive. I  read about mantles that were given to people in past seasons, now available for us. I also read about mantles that were never actually appropriated in a person’s life, being available to us right now to finish what they did not or could not These are just a few examples that I find in current prophetic words.

How can I stand in judgment when I probably prophesied about mantles too in years past while preaching? It was the prophetic way to follow and I followed wholeheartedly in it. Now I am seeing differently. The lens in my life is seeing through the finished work of the cross of Christ. It has radically shaped and transformed my life, even my prophetic life and prophecies that flow from deep within me.

So what about mantles? I recently went through the hundreds of messages that I had on my computer, preached in days gone by. I tossed many of them because of the mixture of Old Covenant and New Covenant reality that I found in their context. How did I preach that stuff?

Isn’t that a bit extreme – tossing it all away? Can’t I just save a few? Well, yes and no. Yes, I can save some, if they point to Christ and Christ alone, I can rewrite them with Christ in focus. No, they can’t be saved, if they continue to be preached from an Old Covenant reality. For me it is freedom to see with growing clarity and conviction that I am in the reality of a New Covenant given in Christ where Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is the open door revealing to us mysteries and revelation of the Kingdom. As I said before, as for me, I love the Old Testament but I am not under an Old Covenant. I love the Old Testament when it points to the reality of Christ. From that point of revelation, I can learn, glean and receive wisdom and revelation from God.

Mantles – garments, glory, anointing; a large over garment such as Elijah’s mantle; to gather over and form a cover; represents spiritual covering; Mantle passed from Elijah to Elisha; significant of spiritual authority, covering and power

In the context of many prophetic words that I read, the mantle seems to be prophesied as a covering or something that we need to seek for and hunger for in order to gain something greater in our lives. The focus of the mantle in many prophetic words is ‘outsourced’ to something or someone other than the reality of Christ in us. What do I mean by that? The focus of the mantle in many prophecies that I read seems to imply that I should desire or seek a mantle to gain greater authority or power such as the anointing of Elijah or Elisha. Why? This focus is outsourced to something that is outside of us. So many prophesied from the reality of this verse. Altar calls were given based upon receiving a mantle or double portion.

Elijah went straight out and found Elisha son of Shaphat in a field where there were twelve pairs of yoked oxen at work plowing; Elisha was in charge of the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak over him. I Kings 19:19

I have been in conferences in seasons past where the focus was on the mantle/anointing of Elijah, Elisha, Deborah, Esther, and John the Baptist Forerunner Anointing, just to name a few. Again I want to say that all of this is inferior to the excellence of Christ Jesus in me in a New Covenant reality. I am in union with Christ. Why a mantle or a covering when I have Christ or rather, He has me.

“This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it’s out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you; therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. That’s what I’m working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me.” Colossians 1:26-29 The Message

Why seek a mantle, something that is implied as needed and is in contradiction to the reality of Christ and Holy Spirit?

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. John 16:13-15 NKJV

Why did I and many others run to the altar to receive an impartation for a mantle or anointing? What did we think we were going to receive when all has been given to us in Christ? Prophecy seemed to extend the invitation for us to gain more, seek more, and hunger more rather than rest in the excellence of Christ in us. He has given us Holy Spirit. Why would we need a mantle or greater anointing?

There is great transformation needed in our prophetic language. How will this come about? Our language reflects the inner workings of our heart. Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. We will prophesy that which we see, comprehend and understand. If we see and hear a mixture of an Old Covenant reality preached to us or prophesied to us, we prophesy or speak from that position in our own lives.

When our vision lifts us up to see Christ in a New Covenant reality of grace, we prophesy from the position of being seated in heavenly places. What is that reality? Our total security in Christ, unconditional love and acceptance – without striving to receive more to complete us. We are complete in Christ and from that revelation, we move in grace and the faith of the Son of God moves us in action.

From that position, our perspective changes as we reflect on the eternal purposes of God in Christ to be manifest in the earth today through believers of Jesus. We mature and grow beyond the elementary teachings. This is a process that is taking place right now. We are in the tension of that process. That is why so many prophetic words are falling flat, without life. They are still prophesying breakthrough, revival, more anointing so that people get emotionally intoxicated but inevitably time goes by and we often see, little if any change. There is a lot to say on this. I am in process, learning day by day writing one step at a time.

We need no covering. We have Christ. We need no mantle. We have Christ. He is our all in all. When we gaze upon His beauty, we will be transformed by that which we gaze upon in our lives. My focus: I have said it many times. To see the preeminence of Christ restored as our only focus. From that, the river does indeed flow.

Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 2:16-18

In Christ,
Debra Westbrook

cropped-10177248_755497004490453_3881209406351311543_n.jpgRivers of Eden Ministry is called to challenge people to live a prophetic 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 August 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 if you would like us to minister in grace and glory.

Creative Expression – Without What?

Without faith, it is impossible to please God. What kind of faith? What does that mean? Do I have to work something up within myself to believe something to be pleasing to God? What if tragedy strikes and I simply fall apart and can’t believe? Am I pleasing to God? What if life throws me a curve, out from left field and I am not prepared to handle the stress simply because I am human? What if sorrow or discouragement comes? Does that make me less spiritual? What kind of faith is necessary to please God?

When my sister was murdered in 1980, I fell apart and crashed in the midst of the ‘why’s’ and the ‘what if’s’ and the ‘how come’s.’ I could barely breathe for a few years let alone have faith in God. I felt betrayed. I felt alone. So I hid out in the midst of life, pretending that all was okay. But, inside, I was falling apart. You can say that I had a crisis of faith. That would put it mildly.

I asked God all the right questions. It’s just that He never really gave me a satisfying answer. Why did this happen? It was hard to talk to anyone about this pain. Christians often retreat into cliches and platitudes when questioned about pain or sorrow that can’t be explained or Scriptured-out. The equation kept coming before me. Without faith it is impossible to please God. I had no faith therefore I was not pleasing to God. Without faith it is impossible to please God. There is more to this verse than just that.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6 NKJVS)

What is faith? At my lowest, I had none or at least I did not think I had. Yet God says that it is impossible to please Him without it. So what kind of faith is that? I had done everything I knew to do and yet, I simply didn’t have that mountain moving faith to get going and live again. Is there something more to this than meets the eye? It actually is quite simple.

The faith that God finds pleasing is faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Faith = a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God.

The simplicity of faith in Christ for salvation is wholeness- healing – physically, emotionally and spiritually. The faith of the Son of God, who gave His life for me, is the faith that God finds pleasing. I enter into that reality. Faith in Christ when life is impossible. Faith in Christ when questions are not answered. Faith in Christ when I am so low that I can’t rise up. When I am weak, then He is strong in me. It is not my faith but His faith. I believe in Him and that is where the journey starts.

I can breathe and rest in Him. I stood in the simplicity of that revelation, trusting Christ with my life. I relinquished my ‘right to know’ or even understand to just BE in Him. If anger, fear or grief rose up, I stood in His grace and mercy and love. That is hard for us as humans to swallow at times. Life is not packaged into manageable components. Life is filled with unanswered questions. Life also gives us the opportunity to disdain God simply because there are these unanswered questions. Years have gone by since my sister died. My faith is active and alive and moving again. Why is that? My life still has it extremes and its trials.

My faith rests in the finished work of Christ Jesus, not in me. I live and move and have my being in Him. That’s not an easy way out. It’s the only way. Life moves and I move with it. I don’t cope. I live. I don’t strive. I rest. I don’t control. I abide. Christ is the way, the truth and the life.

When I write these blog posts, I usually want to come to a bit of closure. Then, I realize that is very unrealistic. My life is a journey. If, through my experiences, I can stir questions up in you, that is a good thing. I have always believed the purpose of the prophetic is not so much giving answers as it is stirring up questions.

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.

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What’s In A Name?

Tunnel_Of_LoveWhat’s In A Name?

Christian – a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings; one who lives according to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Since 2002, we have been out of the ‘church building’ and out of ‘institutional church”. When the revelation hit us in 2002 that we are the church, Christ in us, we simply walked away from a certain form of ‘church’. One can say we left church, but we really did not leave church. We may have left a form but the revelation of the church and the Body of Christ has intensified in our hearts for many years. With each passing year, we become more and more aware of the beauty and the mystery of Christ and His Bride. The Body of Christ is a miracle and we saw it OUT of the confines of religion. We believe in the church of Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1: 15-19  We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. 16 For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels– everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. 17 He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. 18 And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body. He was supreme in the beginning and– leading the resurrection parade– he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. 19 So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding

Over the years, we have fellowshipped with small groups of people in homes. We have developed some strong relationships of accountability and continue to be in love with Jesus Christ. A shift happened a few years ago when I began to see that God was pulling us out even further as we began to fellowship with many different people, with diverse belief systems.  Our purpose was not to be drawn away from Christianity as much as it was to take Christ into wherever we were going in life.

ColorfulWith our focus on the Lord and our belief in His love for people, we did not feel at all uncomfortable with people that drank, cussed, swore, slept around, or lived with other members of the opposite sex. Then we started having dinner with Muslims, Buddhists, Pakistanis, Indians or Africans. Then along came the lesbians and the homosexuals and even the bisexual and transvestites. Then what followed were more people, simple people whom Jesus Christ died for and whom He loves with an unconditional love.  Many showed us their honest feelings about Christianity and what they perceived it to be. When I simply walked in the peace of Jesus Christ without condemnation and lots of love, they kept talking and we kept listening. Most of the past year or so, I have been also been around a lot of people who don’t like the church at large, hate the church, find the church irrelevant, don’t think about it or stereotype her in many ways. Without saying it at times, their impressions of Christians are quite humorous. Some have been raised in church but would not walk into one now at any cost. Some or should I say many, especially among the 30-somethings, may even challenge us on topics of social justice and how they feel the church is totally irrelevant and bigoted. Many test us, trying to see if we are gay haters, hypocrites, religious right-wingers that equate Christianity with American patriotism and Republicanism. Woo-hoo what a ride over the past years! So what is the outcome of all this relationship diversity?

Christian – that is something that I don’t even want people to know I am at times. I am being serious here. Why? Simply because they equate the name Christian, for the most part, with anything but Christ and what the reality of the Gospel truly is. I find myself over and over having to qualify the simple fact that we are just preaching Jesus and the simplicity of the Gospel. Most find this interesting because they often tell us or show us by their expression, that this is not what they find Christianity to be as they observe the current condition of the church at large. So, in some respect, we feel we are continually taking the hits as we venture forth in a bold grace message of forgiveness and love extended to people, no matter who they are. There is a simplicity in Jesus Christ in you, that permeates every atmosphere you find yourself in, at any time.  The subtlety and sometimes forthrightness of our speech and actions always conveys some simple truths. God loves you. He sent His Son to die in your place so that you have life in Christ.

At times, I bristle when I tell people that I am a Christian because of the connotations that that term implies. I look past their judgment and simply relax and breathe in their presence, not trying to prove anything but just BEING Jesus Christ to them without judgment or condemnation or a Bible to pound over their head. Just because I don’t have to declare everything I believe does not mean I compromise my convictions or water down this glorious Gospel. I am simply following the Holy Spirit in loving the individual or individuals. And in the process I am seeing my eyes open to greater and greater dimensions of the Father’s love for me and for others. I was hard-core black and white some years ago in what I believed. Gray areas were for those who simply did not have enough faith or conviction to know the truth. Now I know that life is filled with shadows that we don’t really understand. Yet God knows us through and through and loves us with an everlasting love.

Out into the void goes my heartfelt feelings that if I could eliminate the word Christian I would. Just a personal thought! Yet we can’t do that so I wholly prefer to call myself a follower of Jesus Christ and a lover of my Savior. That sounds a lot better to me and it opens the ears of many to wonder, ask questions and listen. Out into the world I go. I am at peace and at rest and able to articulate the depths of my heart. Perhaps you may not relate to this. That is okay. I am in process and when this process ends, onto the next one I go. I look forward to the journey.