The NOW – Very Important to Holy Spirit

3294247795_7a63d3d340_zWhile here in Poland, I keep hearing Holy Spirit say to me:

“NOW is very important to me. The NOW.”

The ‘now’ keeps me present in seeing what Holy Spirit wants to do in and through me at any given moment. NOW comes with a seeing in the Spirit. NOW keeps my eyes open to see and then to move in the Spirit – to SEE what the Father is doing and to DO what the Father is doing.

NOW cares about the people at hand and to minister grace, healing, restoration, destiny, purpose……..……NOW looks at those around as God SEES them. Prophecy flows in the NOW to those whom the Lord is looking at with eyes of divine love. He points them out and says, “Prophecy to them NOW and take them into their FUTURE through words of love, hope, grace and mercy.”

4090457358_0ae38fd2c8_zMinistry is so good on this trip. Many are getting encouraged and many are being challenged to move in adventure and journey in Christ. Yet I can also see that I am changing in great and glorious ways. Ways that are not easily definable yet. Why? Because I am focused on the NOW, pouring out and serving people in different and unique ways. Isn’t that the heart of ministry?

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In Christ,
Debra
About Us
Rivers of Eden

Creative Expression – Invisible Women – To Be Seen Or Not To Be Seen, That’s The Question

Do you ever feel invisible? Seriously. Do you ever feel that you can be in the midst of a crowd, your family, your friends and suddenly you realize that not only do they not see you, but they don’t even know they don’t see you? Ever been there? My own life is taking a turn this year. In the midst of this growing transition and inner frustration I heard this condescending remark, “You should just get a hobby.” Not a good time to say that to me.

Several months ago, I kept telling my husband that I felt invisible. A recurring picture flashed before my eyes. Parts of my body were disappearing as I looked in the mirror. About 3 weeks ago, I saw a book on Amazon. Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray. I was not even looking for a book like this. I did not even know a book was written with such clear and astute humor to address this phenomenon and to assure me that I was not alone.

Jeanne Ray wrote this at 60 years old. What can I say? It is great. It should be mandatory reading for families, churches, leaders, and friends of women over 50. It’s awesome. It’s fiction, filled with subtleties that make one burst out laughing and realities that make one cry. This book is a Godsend to me.

I relate to her in every way. It is real. It is very real. In my particular situation, a woman minister, over 50, and over 55 and almost 60, I sense that older women are the ‘new lepers’ in the church at large. Heck why not let me say that it is a reality for women of my age in general. End of sentence.

You know, I (or we) can do something about this.  Instead of shrinking back as a fading wallflower roaming the aisles of Walmart or  worse, becoming a dissatisfied, angry gritch charging forth with offense and sarcasm, we can make ourselves seen. Seen – not by force, or pride or a rotten attitude. It’s more than that. How? By being ourselves and seeing ourselves before we expect others to see us. They may never change. I can’t do anything about that. But, I can focus on me, the ‘me’ inside that is still alive in every way. The ‘me’ that walks in grace and humility, responding to condescension with a smile (most of the time). Or how about the ‘me’ that won’t get angry each time I am looked over and around but not at?

Here’s just a quick ‘aside’ for a moment. See the cover of People this month? Wow, look at Christy Brinkley at 60 after 4 marriages and 3 kids. They exalt her ability to look good ‘at her age’. There it is. That subtle comparison to what? A 40-year-old? A 30-year-old? A 20-year-old? How contrived and manipulative.

Maybe it’s just me? I have nothing against looking good but come on – there’s got to be a better way. So now my goal in life is to avoid being ‘me’ and somehow to strive to be just as good, fit, healthy, youthful, or ______ (fill in the blanks) as someone else defined by the media. Just as good – a comparison in and of itself. They don’t say it. They never say it but implication is evident by just looking at the cover. What if I want to be as good as ME? If you want affirmation, don’t look to the media. Please don’t.

Thank God for God. God, the ultimate emancipator, the consummate lover of women, proclaims, “Be free. Be released. Just BE!!!!”

And, He is saying, “Enough is enough.” I may not stop this invasive onslaught to annihilate my God-given identity as a woman of God over the great age of 50, no 55, no……okay, almost 60. But, I can ride the wave of speaking life and release to myself in Christ and to those wonderful gals coming after me.

Here is a great Facebook posts.

And another.

Just one more.

Let’s confront the heart attitude that must accompany this release. When I feel invisible, I feed into the norms of the culture at large that dictate my identity based upon my age or gender. It’s a double whammy. Age and gender – over 50 and a woman. So much condescension has been leveled at me over the years of being in Christian ministry. Yes, there were many men and women that supported me but there were more that tried to shut me down at times.

Invisibility permeates a woman’s life because culture at large, in many places around the globe, simply disdain women leading to everything from sex trafficking to prostitution to inner wounds of depression, anxiety and fear.

God has been teaching me a lot over these past few years regarding this subject. To actually be seen, I had to see what it was really like to be invisible. I had experience after experience in life, showing me that no matter what I did or said, people were not listening to me. I lost my voice. I lost confidence. I lost ‘me’. I did not even know why. In fact, at this conference that I just attended, a woman got up, came over to me, put her arms around me and said, “You have lost your voice. The enemy has tried to shut you down for many years. But, God is restoring your voice, sending you to the nations to speak and declare His words.” That one came from left field like a hurricane force wind through a woman of grace and glory. It was at this moment that scales dropped off my eyes.

So what do you think? Any comments?

I will leave you with a quote from the back cover of the book.

A mom in her early fifties, Clover knows she no longer turns heads the way she used to and she’s only really missed when dinner isn’t on time. Then Clover wakes up one morning to discover she’s invisible – truly invisible. She panics even more when her family doesn’t even notice a thing. Her best friend immediately observes the change, which relieves Clover immensely – she’s not losing her mind after all! – but she’s crushed by the realization that neither her husband nor her children ever truly look at her. She was invisible even before she knew it.

Clover discovers that there are others like her, women of a certain age who seem to have disappeared. As she used her invisibility to get to know her family and town better, Clover leads the way in helping invisible women become recognized and appreciated, no matter what they role. Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray

In Christ

Debra Westbrook

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. You can contact me on Facebook or Twitter.

Creative Expression – Prophecy….. Flowing From His Grace and Goodness!

Rivers of Eden MinistryI prophesied a lot over the past years – over people, churches, nations, situations. One night many years ago, I awoke at 2 am in the morning to a divine encounter with Jesus, calling me to a prophetic life in Him. There is a hunger in me for Holy Spirit, His gifts, His flow, and His creativity. My Christian life is an adventure – walking in the supernatural is my normal.

We are all called to prophesy. It is part of our Christian life. This is not a teaching. This is my heart in the prophetic – how I grew, how I changed, and how I still love Holy Spirit and adventure. It is for you. It is for me.

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

As grace awakened my life in 2013, the lens over my eyes shifted to prophesying with one focus, and only one focus in my heart. Jesus Christ, His finished work, the glories of His unconditional love and acceptance in the beloved, is the source of all prophecy that flows over my lips and from my heart. There is no other way.

Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10 NKJV)

The testimony of Jesus Christ, flowing through my life, is the spirit by which I prophesy. Yet, that was not always evident in the Charismatic movement in which I immersed myself as a Christian. Over the years, I saw a lot and heard a lot. I was part of it all. Sometimes the bulk of the prophecy, at times, seemed to have its focus on everything but Jesus Christ. As I said, in my life, grace shifted my focus.

Grace has not eliminated the desire to prophesy. It has only clarified my intent and purpose in the gifts of prophecy and other gifts of the Spirit. It has ‘rounded me out’, if I can say it that way. To prophesy from the life of Christ flowing through me and not some other focus or agenda.

Now, I want to add some observations if I may. On my Facebook wall, I read a lot from grace teachers. In their posts, I don’t read a lot about prophecy or the gifts of the Spirit or the manifest presence of God. I don’t read anything about five-fold ministry of apostles, prophets, etc. yet, Paul specifically talks about this in the epistles. Sometimes, I find some things lacking in these posts.

I do read a lot of words about the finished work of the cross, theological debates and discussions. It’s excellent but often I still find it lacking. Kind of like, running with some great revelation, but how long do you keep running with it? I want to ask this question “What now?” How often do you keep saying, “God loves you unconditionally? You are forgiven.” What movement for me is beyond this revelation? To walk in grace in the fullness of the Spirit flowing through my life.

What happens with the revelation of grace? With me, it fits in and adds fulfillment to many of the other teachings in my Christian life that may have been a bit off but now are full in grace. Grace keeps me centered on the fact that I BE in Christ and He flows through me. Yet, I still hunger for the gifts of the Spirit to add that creative element to my Christian life.

I also wonder how one flows as eyes open to grace if you are considered to be a Baptist or a Charismatic or an Evangelical. Do you maintain your positions of belief to some extent even in grace? Does a grace revelation flow from your foundation in that particular denomination. Let me explain. I have not been in many Baptist churches where Holy Spirit is flowing in tongues or in the gifts with spontaneity. From what little I know, many Evangelicals can also hesitate to take the Charismatic seriously. And, Charismatics can be so experience minded, that they could seem a bit ‘out there’ to others.

Many coming into grace from denominational backgrounds. What now? Grace is the great equalizer to accept the truths in Scripture that the lens of our vision may have disregarded in other seasons of our life. In other words, grace opens the door to the fullness of Scripture, not just an add-on to our belief system.

Grace does not negate the five-fold ministry or the gifts of the Spirit in Christ. It beautifully gives these color and creativity. Grace has moved me into a greater measure of His glory by faith in Christ and His unconditional love for me.

Just some thoughts and way more are coming.

In Christ, Debra Westbrook

Rivers of Eden – our ministry in Christ. 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.

You can contact us on Facebook, Twitter, our Rivers of Eden Contact Page, or right here in the comments.

Some Great Posts To Read

Mirror, Mirror

Be Intentional

The Voice, The Vision

Onward, Upward, Moving Out

Rivers of Eden Earth Globe

Hi Everyone!

I am going to be switching over from riversofeden1.wordpress.com to just riversofeden1.com. over the next few days. So, having never done this before, if I lose some of you, please check soon and subscribe to the new address. It should all just transfer over and through, but I am sending this out today just for some info. 🙂

I have wanted to do this for some time, but decided to wait until after the Ultimate Blog Challenge finished on October 31. I have happy to say that I actually wrote 25 blog posts. Smiling about that!

So it is a new season for me. It seems that God always orchestrates my life in the fall to move into new things. He has done it again.  I am going to focus in 2014 on a clear sound which is creativity and expression in Christ. What is my desire? To flow in Rivers of Eden in a clear path, developing creative people, building a community where creatives join together (online and in person) and imparting a creative spark which fires up and out.  I hope you join me as I walk it out day by day into exactly that broad place that Jesus is leading me and each of you. It is time to see the visual manifestation of what has been beating in my heart as a passion for a long time. It is time for me to deconstruct the old and build up the new to reflect the passion in my heart. It is a year for change and challenge for those who walk alongside us and flow with us.

I have always believed and will continue to believe that Rivers of Eden will only flow in might and power to the extent that people jump into this river with a clear revelation of creativity in Christ in them, the hope of glory. In other words, I can’t do this alone and need others to help this river flow. How to do this? Time will tell – perhaps creative gatherings in Finland, the States and other nations, called out to places to impart revelation on creativity in Christ, an online presence of creatives who write, draw, create to the glory of God. Just some thoughts.

One more thing – I want to interact with those of you who will read these blog posts in 2014 – feel free to comment and let’s let the Lord lead the way. See you on the other side of riversofeden1.com

In Christ,

Debra

Creativity – Expressed

Creativity-quotes51Creativity has expression through people in art, music, dance, prophetic words, visions, dreams, revelation, and on and on. The Holy Spirit is endless, varied, and multifaceted in His forms of expression in our lives or in a meeting. This post is about Holy Spirit expression in our meetings in Rivers of Eden. The Holy Spirit moves and we interpret what He is doing or saying.  I can often see the direction that He desires to move, the picture He wants to paint, and the story He wants to tell. Holy Spirit is like the master conductor that says, “Follow Me as I lead the way!”

While ministering in a service in Dubai, I was preaching  when I suddenly saw a flight of stairs arise in the midst of the sanctuary. I saw this in the Holy Spirit. There they were. What to do? I heard the Lord say “Tell them to climb the stairs!” God wanted to take them to another place of greater vision and revelation, to see His heart and plans for them in that season. The stairs were a moving up to see from a different position, with a faith in Christ to believe and know that He is able to finish all that He started in them. Once I see, then I know and it is settled. I then just flow with the Spirit to prophesy to individuals what is already settled in the heavenly realm. But, unless one is open to allow the Holy Spirit to move creatively, and then interpret and act on the vision, the vision just stays a vision without manifestation.

While ministering in Nairobi, I began to see silver swords suspended in the spiritual atmosphere during a time of worship. There they were right in the meeting. What to do? How to interpret the atmosphere by the Spirit? This was a sign of what the Lord was doing in the meetings that very day. Silver often represents redemption and the sword is the authority and power of the living word. As we began to minister, we stepped into a place in the Spirit to encourage each person to believe in the power of their redemption, the reality of Christ in them, the hope of glory. We encouraged them in this reality. Then as we called each person forth, we symbolically placed a sword in their hand to remind them that the living word of God cuts, exposes, heals, delivers, sets free in Christ. The outcome? The room was filled with expectancy and revelation because of the obedience to interpret the vision and to move creatively out in the vision. Prophesy flowed as if a river was right in our midst.

images-16One more example now. (If you have never experienced this, I hope you are excited to know that the Holy Spirit is creative and alive. And for those who have experienced this and even more, walk in that realm again to ignite passion in your heart.) During a meeting in Finland, right before I got up to preach about light and sound challenging the darkness, a bright, clear, radiant light shot into the midst of the sanctuary. It just shot in and hit the center mark of the sanctuary. In that vision, God was confirming the preaching of the word through us. Power accompanied the shaft of light, encouraging us to know that all was already accomplished in Christ, the light of the world. We only had to follow in the flow and see heaven manifest in the earthly realm that night. As we began to preach, there was light in the room challenging the darkness in the lives of people. What followed were healings and deliverances. Freedom filled the room. Our responsibility was simply to take what God was showing in His creative expression and allow it to flow by the Holy Spirit.

These are just a few of many examples in the ministry of Rivers of Eden. Now you know why it is dear to my heart. We are supernatural with eyes to see in vision and ears to hear revelation. As Christians, we don’t try to be people of the Spirit. We are people of the Spirit. It is all a matter of walking in wisdom and grace to discern and learn the ways of God and His expression to walk in the reality of it right here, right now.