There’s No There………..There

3294247795_7a63d3d340_zHave you heard the expression – “There’s no there…there”? It captures an image in my mind of someone continually walking, but never arriving at his or her destination.

I see so many people waiting for something or someone to take them out of their current reality to whisk them away to their ‘THERE’. That place where all is settled nicely into place. That next breakthrough. That next prophetic word. That next something or other.

You know that word in Isaiah that says that those who wait upon the Lord will rise up with wings as eagles. Well, I know many who are still waiting and waiting and waiting. I used to be one of them, feeling somewhat self-righteous and smug in my spirituality. No more. It’s time to risk it all to follow the Lord – possibility, faith and obedience being the key words.

Christianity is about life in Christ. He is my life now. So for me there is no ‘there’ to move into to find Him for He is right here within me. That reality has changed how I approach life on a daily basis. How I can walk in adventure and journey, believing that He is all I need now. Jesus is capable of leading me where He wants me to go to do what He wants me to do.

Sound Waves From MouthWhen I prophesy into someone’s life or even write prophetically, I prophesy from the revelation of the finished work of Christ on the cross. I prophesy from a position of breakthrough, of being seated in heavenly places, of being a child of God NOW not somewhere out THERE.

That is who I am and that is who you are in Christ, as a Christian. Our identity is secure in Him, fully settled in His sacrifice. I no longer strive to achieve anything more to add to his finished work but live in rest, His live flowing in and through mine.

Prophecy that causes anyone to strive or to enter into performance to produce anything is not of God. Yet, there are so many words being given that project us into our future, while negating the reality of our now.

Now we are seated in heavenly places.

Now I am complete in Christ.

Now I am loved.

Now I am accepted.

Now all the promises of God are yes and amen in Christ.

Now every spiritual blessing is mine in Christ.

That’s where I begin to write and prophesy. Now is the day of your salvation. What will we do within it?

To constantly tell people breakthrough is coming, revival is coming, and healing is coming negates the reality of what is here for us in Christ. Breakthrough is mine. Revival is mine. Healing is mine. Believe it. That forms the foundation of a prophetic life. The manifestation of healing or breakthrough may not seem apparent right now but they are complete, nonetheless. When we enter into the rest of this reality, we live from a position of our fulfilled life in Christ, not always searching for something more.

I prophesy that Jesus Himself has secured a life of abundance and blessing in Him. In Him is key to our understanding. I don’t strive to get more. I allow Him to live His life through me, which is a promised life of righteousness, peace and joy. It is a life that I will encounter suffering and persecution but in that I am positioned in His blessing and in His abundant life.

There are times of increased warfare in our lives. But, we don’t withdraw from life, waiting for it to pass. We stand, with an intensity to fight off the enemy through declaration of identity, not through shouting and yelling or trying to press harder and harder and harder. Everything is ours in Christ so we walk in that truth– through the ups and downs of life, through all its trials and sufferings.

This reality has changing everything about my prophetic journey. I don’t strive but find peace in Christ to live my life in the Spirit. Rest produces peace and clarity of vision. Rest increases my trust to believe in the promises of God now and to walk in their reality, one step at a time, moving forward in faith.

CrossI prophesy life to each of you reading this, the life of Christ flowing in and through you for victory over any and every circumstance that you encounter. Our relationship with Jesus, with the Father, with Holy Spirit assures us that He will always be with us, in the midst of our life struggles.

For those who struggle with answers nowhere in sight, start by believing that He is a good Father who loves you and only wants what is best for you NOW. When darkness hits and tries to drag you down, remember that He is with you, never leaving or forsaking you NOW. No matter what storm what difficulty, don’t retreat but run to Him and He will see you through…no over or under but through and you will be stronger through it all.

There’s no there…there. He’s right here with everything you need for life.

More in a few days……………..

Debra

 

Living with Passion and Purpose in Christ
Debra

 

 

I’d love  to speak at your gathering, conference or home group, please send me a message on the contact page or email me at westbrook.debra@gmail.com Please visit Rivers of Eden Ministry page to find out something About Us.

See Clearly – Hear Clearly – Speak Clearly – It’s Time!

cropped-soundwave-21.jpgThe world right now is in a chaotic state – filled with wars, violence and an insidious nebulous tolerance of just about anything, elevating the prevailing cultural norm to that which is justifiably right and good, just because it makes an individual feel good or makes one happy and comfortable. People seem to be following the desires of their hearts, following belief systems that are raised up in their own hearts, making them feel good, safe and comfortable.

To stand firm in truth, in Christ, one may be relegated into a place of irrelevance because it does not line up with what is trending as popular thought. Christians can be seen as irrelevant, archaic and out of touch.

In my own life, I sense a passion for Christ to define me, refine me – moving me onto His path of light, life and love. This path is clear and I walk on it aligned with Jesus being the way, the truth and the life. I can’t bear the thought of being nebulous, going with the flow, or just floating along in life. It is a new day for me.

Proverbs 29:18
If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; but when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed. The Message

Proverbs 29:18
Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law. NKJV

It is time to be strengthened, formed, and aligned in Christ so that He may make our path straight and clear. Many may not understand me. That’s okay – Jesus Himself proved to be quite the enigma at times, yet He listened to the sound of heaven and followed its call. So shall I.

My vision – My life – And, my need to speak it forth – Now!

cropped-cropped-shutterstock_38863681-11.jpgHere’s my Timeline (as clear and concise as I can be) concerning my Christian life, Rivers of Eden – my past and my future in God’s hands.

1988- Started my life in Christ – drawn out from the world in my 30’s – not religious and unable to play any Christian games. Since then, through all the ups and downs, I have not turned from Jesus for He is my life. It has not always been easy. At times, this walk proved to be hard and impossible without His grace and strength to sustain me.

1989 – THE VISION

One day, while praying in my family room in Benicia, CA. this vision came alive as I was transported to another place in the Spirit.

I was standing on a map of the USA, with my feet firmly planted in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is my home and dear to my heart. It was dark over the States – not just dark but pitch black. I looked up and looked east, to the East Coast. Suddenly, I saw rising up from the ocean a huge tidal wave, a tsunami that rose without warning. It rose up with strength over the state of New York and proceeded to rise higher and higher as it covered the USA. I could not determine if I should be fearful and run for my life or if I should just stand still. His grace placed me in this position, so I stood, watching it draw closer and closer.

cropped-cropped-photo2.jpgIt then landed at my feet, right at my feet. At that point, this gigantic wave proceeded to roll back over this dark land, and in the wake of the water, I saw diamonds stretched out as far as the eye could see, all over the country. I watched as they were unveiled, bright and shining, in the midst of perverse darkness. I then heard the voice of the Lord say two things to me:

“Follow in the wake of the anointing, going where I tell you to go, speaking what I tell you to speak, and trusting me with your life.”

And then I heard:

“No man will lay the foundation of the ministry I give to you by My Spirit.”

At this point, I was newly saved and had no ministry. I was definitely a newbie. That vision forms the foundation of my life to this day, never leaving me. To this day it is as clear as the day that I stood in my family room.

(Stay with me okay? Some of you may be involved in Rivers of Eden one day. Perhaps. Or this may be good for many of you trying to follow the vision God placed in you. You may need to go back and look carefully at your own timeline)

1990-1995 – Growing up in Christ

Over these years, several great churches contributed to my growth. I honor the pastors for being patient with my zeal and such great men and women of God along the way, who helped me grow.

I served at Church on the Hill, and after a few years began to teach Bible studies, lead prayer groups and more. It was full on Church and I loved it because I was hungry.

1991 – Traveled to Ivory Coast for Missions.

1992 – Traveled to Russia and Ukraine for Missions

1994 – Left Church on the Hill and for the next 18 months, helped a pastor start a new church in the Mission District of San Francisco. Twice a week or more, we traveled from Contra Costa County into The City, fulfilling a commitment God placed on our hearts to serve. Our pastor’s passion was evangelism, so we weekly trekked throughout San Francisco – the Mission District, Noe Valley – handing out tracts and talking to many diverse and creative people, most of whom rejected our message BUT we persevered. I became stronger and wiser in the process.

1995- 2000 – Leadership

1995-2000 – Associate Pastor, Lighthouse Covenant Fellowship, Benicia Ca. Our multicultural church was made up of African-Americans, Caucasians, a few Hispanics, some Filipinos and others. In its diversity, I learned deep life lessons about overcoming racism, along with everyone else. Sometimes it worked and we smiled. Sometimes it did not, our hearts were exposed and we cried. It was all good. My life lessons were abundant through all my mistakes and my successes.

As the associate pastor, I preached regularly, taught, developed a strong prophetic team and altar ministry, administrated and also created cell groups. When Pastor Sam was not in the house, I, along with Ben, administrated the church in different ways.

2000- the present

After 5 years of denominational leadership, God told Marvin and I to start something outside the walls of the norm. So, we left the church and started focusing on Rivers of Eden, the ministry God breathed into my life in 1998. Here are a few highlights over these years.

Traveled with a few intercessors to Detroit, MI, Syracuse, NY, Sioux Falls, ND, Miami, FL, Wichita, KA, Harrisburg, PA, Raleigh, NC and Phoenix, AZ to pray, walk, declare and watch Holy Spirit work as we moved out in faith in these cities. This was raw faith for me and I loved it. I saw glorious things happen during this time. Holy Spirit led us to places to meet people to deliver a word of prophecy or word of knowledge. We laid hands on the sick and walked in a measure of God’s power. These were Holy Spirit journeys. I plan to do more in the future.

God broadened my horizons with a promotion. If I were faithful to move out in the States, He now would send me overseas to many places, in faith.

Walking in the snow2001 – Sitting in our living room, three of us praying, Holy Spirit said, “Go to Helsinki, Finland.” A few months later, we hopped a plane, landed in Helsinki and prayed throughout the nation for two weeks. We traveled all the way up to Oulu, where we stayed with some great people. Not bad, considering previous to this time I knew nothing about Finland. To make a long story short, from that initial visit, I branched out quite a bit in my desire to move in Holy Spirit and to travel to the nations. I preached in many churches, 2 Lutheran conferences, and hosted Rivers of Eden prophetic conferences over the years. We rented three different apartments and obtained a residence visa, good till 2015 – Finland became my second home. I miss it and I love it still.

Simultaneously, in addition to traveling back and forth to Finland from 2001 to the present, we also ministered extensively throughout Kenya (Kitale, Nairboi, Webuye, Eldoret and more) and built a small team to work alongside for many years. This time constituted a lot of travel between California and the nations, but I loved loved it.

Abu Dhabi Skyline

Abu Dhabi Skyline

Then alongside these travels, God surprised us and Marvin’s job landed us in Abu Dhabi from 2006-2010. So from that central location, we traveled throughout the UAE, Oman, and Bahrain and to Egypt.

2011 – Back to California to deal with Marvin’s retirement.

2012 – Moved back to Helsinki for one year

2013 to now– Southern California

This is my life in a nutshell. Why am I writing this? Several reasons. I am writing to make the vision for my life clear to others and me for future opportunities. After many years of intense breaking, deep rejection, incredible disappointment and more, I cannot listen to the lies of the enemy anymore, lies that try to seal my future by the failures of the past.

I have hit the highlights but I don’t have time to tell you all of the intricacies of those years. Trust me, during these years there were lots going on which caused great sadness along with great joy in my life.

In 2010, in the Middle East, Marvin and I physically entered the desert and spiritually entered the desert, lasting up until just recently. Ministry basically stopped as God set us aside for restoration, growth, healing amidst great brokenness in our lives. We felt like failures, useless and alone until God’s grace and great love began to set us free. This is where we are today in Southern California, alive with a clear vision and great revelation. We actually don’t know why we are here but time will tell whether we stay or move out. We are obedient to go where we feel God leads us. In any case, God is faithful and we wait for the next step in our journey. More coming……….lots more.

Debra and ChloeIn Christ,
Debra

Creative Expression – Faith is not a Strategy

I was watching an interview with Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, about passion, creativity, and initiative. He talked about his journey with Starbucks, the good and the bad. He made a statement in this interview that I can’t shake. He said, “Faith is not a strategy.” I have been thinking about that statement for weeks.

Faith = belief

Strategy = design, blueprint, plans

My belief may or may not be enough to get me moving in strategy. I can sit in faith for a long time, and not move in strategy. Just sitting and waiting, being quite noble and stoic in my Christianity. Waiting on God………..that was drilled into me for years. You can wait and wait and wait and wait. I waited so long that in some areas of my life, I lost passion and purpose.

stockfresh_141486_flaming-heart_sizeXSI can stand forever in one place having faith but where does it take me? Faith alone is not strategy. There is movement in strategy. Movement in Holy Spirit strategy in our lives involves course corrections, revisions, dead ends, and upgrades. It is movement. The Kingdom is about movement. My journey in Christ is about risk.

OR, there can be a disconnect between my faith and my strategy. How? Well, like this. I can step out in my best-laid plans, which come to nothing because the source of these plans are not in the heart of Christ for me. I jump on every good idea and take risks but they are not faith-based risks. These risks form a path from expectations played out in my own head to just do something.

Faith is not a strategy. It is a foundation. It is a starting point. Yet, faith is activated in order to move forward. Who is the connection between the two? The Holy Spirit. He reveals Christ, the way, the truth and the life and I move out.

But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. He will honor me; he will take from me and deliver it to you. Everything the Father has is also mine. That is why I’ve said, ‘He takes from me and delivers to you (John 16:13-15 Message)

My faith in Jesus Christ is real, substantial and forms my life. He is my life. But, what do I do with this live in me? DO is a great word. It is a wonderful word.  Grace and truth in Christ reveals to me my union in Him, not performance based in any way. He is. I am in Him. That is foundational and my faith is not shaken in that regard. I may get discouraged and down but He is the way, the truth and the life to me.

For years, waiting became a mantra to me. Wait, wait and wait. Wait more and you will rise up with wings as eagles. There is tension in this type of endless waiting. It breeds discontent and a decrease of passion and purpose. It sounded spiritual but it is not.

For me, each day is an adventure in Christ. My faith is not some magical conveyor belt that moves me into purpose. My faith in Christ aligns me and positions me in heavenly places in Him. From that vantage point, I live and move and have my being in Him.

My strategy now is quite simple and flows from peace and rest in Christ: I worship, I pray, I speak in tongues, I prophesy to myself, I read the Word, and I live from Him filling my heart. I listen to Holy Spirit speak to me and reveal Christ to me. I do what I see the Father doing and move where I see the Father moving. That is not complicated. It is the unforced rhythms of grace.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me––watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill–fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28-30 Message)

What if there is no  strategy during those times of prayer and worship? Well, then I BE and LIVE. But, I don’t wait and stand still. I hope you are getting that picture and I am not sounding completely nebulous and void. Waiting is not passive. Waiting is not standing and looking for that perfect moment to arrive where trumpets sound and angels sing. Waiting is movement, believing with all my heart in Christ Jesus, knowing that He knows where I am at all times and can find me anytime. He sees me at all times. Waiting is active movement on a foundation of sure belief in Christ. Kind of contradictory? No, not at all. Waiting is active movement. Think about it.

Any comments stirring in your heart? I ask this a lot but don’t get a lot of comments so I WAIT. Hahaha! I am quite patient to know that many people OUT THERE struggle with life, up and down and all around. I am a messenger of good tidings to tell you God loves you. So what are you thinking today about faith and your strategy in Christ? Elevate, rise up and see that He has incredible things for your life.

More posts for you to enjoy

Guilty As Charged

Innovation and Creativity

Networking in Holy Spirit

Our Quirky Finland Adventure In Christ

Finland Snow

Finland Snow

I am a bit behind in the Blog Challenge for October, but I will finish well. I have been writing a lot about Creativity and about the direction our ministry, Rivers of Eden, is going in 2014. I don’t want to go deeper into my thoughts on creativity yet, because I want to focus on that in November. So for the rest of this challenge, until October 31,  I am going to write spontaneously about things I have learned while living and traveling abroad for the past 10 years.

Let’s start with Finland. My husband and I  have a residence visa there – a second home to us. It is beautiful, but not always easy to live there.  As darkness encroaches in the winter, you have to have a strong temperament not to suffer some sort of cabin fever. If you are a transplant from California, which we are, I often found myself  looking for the sun. At times, I felt paralyzed by the heavy cloud cover which seemed to press down upon my life day by day.

So people ask us many many many times “Why Finland? Why are you in Finland?” They often look at us as if we are a bit quirky ourselves to choose a nation like Finland. But, they usually do not know,  until we tell them, that we did not choose Finland. God chose Finland for us. Whoa!!! Please stay with me here. I hope I don’t lose you. Let me explain.

IMG_0408In 2002, three of us were praying in our living room and we heard God speak “Go to Helsinki.”  (Christians do hear the voice of God which can lead one on glorious adventures. This is normal Christianity and for those of you who think that is a bit strange, well, it’s true. God does speak to His people) Keep following me okay? I never wanted normal mundane Christianity and believed that if walking in the supernatural was normal in the New Testament, it is normal for me in my life. Anyway, back to the living room.

In prayer, we heard the Holy Spirit say, “Go to Helsinki.” I did not know anything about Helsinki at the time. We were excited to believe God would take us on a wonderful journey, so we continued to pray for the next three months about the trip. Were we complete crazies?  Yes and no. I mean, it was a stretch but I am a bit of an extravagant Charismatic at times. I go wholeheartedly into anything I do for God, so I just jumped in faith at this trip. Nothing deterred me, not even the funny looks we got from so many people in California when we told there we were going to Helsinki. You can’t even imagine how many Americans did not even know where Finland was in the world. Scary thought guys.

God was gracious to us, being our first time and all. He assured us over and over that this was Him speaking to us about Finland. When we were assured that this was a ‘go’, we bought our tickets and flew to Helsinki, Finland, for 2 weeks. During that time, all we did was pray, walk the streets, talk with people, and experience the nation. We got on a train from Helsinki to Oulu (almost the top of the world folks) and prayed all the way up and all the way back. I loved the adventure. Yet, prayers just shot up to God without a response is a bit boring to me. So I expected God to speak to us. He did not fail to disappoint. He talked to us in visions, dreams and revelation for our whole trip. I was hooked. Finland became a part of my life, and still is. What next?

Snow Forest FinlandThrough a series of events over the past 11 years, too numerous to mention here, Marvin and I took one step at a time. Doors opened, doors shut. We rented a total of three different apartments. We obtained our Finnish ID number. They placed us in the system with healthcare. And here we stand today – called to this nation, loving this nation, and looking with great excitement to what the future holds. (I have traveled throughout a lot of the world and have many stories of God taking us into places to pray and meet people. More will be coming.)

Walking in the SnowAnyway, after years of ups and downs, learning and making mistakes, I know that when God puts a nation on your heart, you love the nation and its people no matter what they do to you, think of you or say about you. So I am heading back in one week to spend time in prayer with our small team for Rivers of Eden to figure out our next step in Finland. This past year has been spent in California but God has always promised us we would live in both places. Good stuff, guys. The face of the church is changing and I don’t want the same old boring stuff, churchy stuff, religious stuff. I want the creative out of the box stuff that fills me with passion. So off we go. It looks to be a good year. God’s in it all the way. It is a shift, a dramatic shift for us, incorporating our travels ministry and out of the box Christianity. But, I have been trained all these years for this. It’s time to walk.

A River of Life – Creativity

life-move-on-moving-quote-Favim.com-687442.jpgJohn 7:38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. NKJV

Creativity is about flow and movement in life– what is in you, flowing out of you. The alternative to flow would be creativity trapped inside, with great potential, but growing lethargic and stagnant unable to be released. Creativity is about Jesus Christ in me. That is the foundation upon which my creative passion is founded, Christ in me in the power of Holy Spirit. He is like a river that flows, unhindered and free, through my life.

It is not about “Creativity? Maybe.” It is about “Creativity! Yes and now.” Creativity is not an option for Christians but is life itself. Our purpose – creatively flowing in the power of Holy Spirit in response to His voice directing you in your life along His path. There should be absolutely no hesitancy in believing you are creative. To deny this reality is to cease to believe Christ in you means exactly what it says – Christ in you, in me. He moves in our lives through many different and multifaceted ways. Step into your path in Christ. How? Listen. He will speak and lead the way.

My passion in writing this is simply because I believe Christians are to be creative, spontaneous, initiating and inventive. Instead, we often are robotic, mundane, wordy, and slow. Why is that? Well, over the years, we have conformed ourselves into religion and not been transformed by Christ. So, because of that, we have a form of Christianity that is worn out and in need of change. That is a broad statement, I know but there is no other way to say it.

Over the years, I have continuously heard from prophetic voices in the church that God is doing a new thing or that the face of the church is changing. I not only want to believe it but now is the time to walk it out in fresh vision, opening up to new ways to be the church. The foundation is secure in Christ, His finished work on the cross, His love and grace – foundational principles on which Christianity is formed. But what now? What next? Move out in heaven’s sound and build up in Christ. New architects coming on the scene to build with fresh vision and fresh innovation.

In my life, here is how I see it starting to begin. I am rejecting any idea that sounds old, robotic, or sticks to an old form. I am focused on Jesus and allowing Him to transform my mind so that I can hear a new way He may be telling us to go. How? Outside of set meetings, away from conference gatherings, discipleship creatively, businesses formed in Christ, and more. Remember I am taking you on this journey and I am walking day by day. When I go back to Finland, we are taking the time to wait on God in times of worship to see His vision and to hear His heart. I know it will be time well spent. I am very excited about all of this.