Ready? Set? Go? False Start!

Apart From MeFalse Start – an attempt to do something you are not ready or able to do; an unsuccessful attempt to begin something.

With a passion to move out in ministry, my zeal often ran ahead of wisdom. In other words, I had a lot of false starts in my life. Timing is everything!

False starts are not failure. God looks at the heart, sees its passion and graces us to start over in a particular endeavor with more wisdom. Failure paralyzes with fear and shame.  False starts? I set out and somehow it just does not work. Perhaps a mistake has been made. Grace abounds in all ways and we learn how to move in sync with God.

I walk back to the starting line to try again. Father God looks at me with great compassion and whispers,  “Wait for Me! Watch me closely this time. Move with me. Live in Me. I have not forgotten you. You got a bit ahead of Me and you weren’t ready. The time is soon.”

Zeal propelled me forward in a self-paced momentum. I thought I was ready so off I went. God smiled and loved me through it all.

Zeal alone can’t set the pace. Wisdom paves the way in God’s timing. Wisdom often requires that we wait a bit until all the pieces are in place. Wisdom is necessary for maturity. While zeal pushes me forward in my own strength, wisdom releases me in the right time. It’s not about a fast paced track. It’s about maintaining passion and focus for the long haul, giving all glory to Jesus.

Zeal without wisdom can be disastrous.. It all starts good as we jump out but unless restrained it causes burn out, discouragement and despair. Zeal alone can’t sustain. Thank God for His grace, love and mercy in the midst of false starts.

PaintbrushAs we grow in Christ and go from glory to glory, there are platforms of breakthrough and breakout. Holy Spirit opens a door and we are encouraged to walk into a new place.

Moving in God is my life. Being in sync with my destiny positions me in that sweet spot where I know why I have been created and set into this time. This is normal Christianity for all of us. In going from glory to glory, we try, we leap, we jump, we learn, make mistakes and have some false starts.

In my life, I so often focused on the future instead of resting in the present growing in wisdom and grace.  I was not exactly a woman of great patience. As I began to think today about false starts in my life, I felt no condemnation, no regret and no failure. None of us are perfect. We are all growing in grace. False starts are part of life and always will be. They enable us to grow in humility as we look to God alone.

Friday, as I was reading a great book,  I received a series of texts from someone who gave me a lengthy accurate prophetic word. The words shot into my heart like an arrow. They traversed the depths of my heart, healing and restoring. It was prophetically stated that the word came specifically on Good Friday because my time being in the tomb, in the darkness of vision is over.

The timing of this word was perfect. It addressed all my false starts in life, healing regret and disillusionment. The word addressed betrayals from people whom I trusted. These words healed rejection from just feeling humiliated that as I tried to step out in God over the years, I was often shut down, blatantly ignored with words of condescension.

I remembered the ministry work in Kenya, Finland, Abu Dhabi……so many false starts with great risk but also great successes too. Because of the regret, I sensed that I had been counted out of the race, a perfect lie from the enemy. There were buildings rented for meetings where money was invested, life poured out and no one came. That was a great source of humiliation and pain for me.

Is God in the pain? Is God in the false start? Well, let me just say my zeal and my flesh jumped out and He didn’t stop me. He knew there was much to learn in these mistakes that would be beneficial for my future. He allowed the setbacks for me to grow in wisdom. He saw the depth of my heart. He knew that with each setback, I ran back to my Father to learn, to cry and to grow. It’s all about grace.

Over the past few months until this Good Friday, I saw a momentum building in my life, step by step, glory to glory.  The prophetic word brought it all to the forefront and closed the past – done. It is finished. So appropriate to be on Easter weekend but God is so perfect in His timing.

TruthWhat about your false starts? Mistakes? Regrets?  When you dare to jump but it may not quite be the time. Walking sheepishly to the starting line again, one is filled with pain, regret and shame. Many want to hide for a bit. That;s normal but I want to tell you that without the passion of a false start, without daring to jump, without success and failure, how can you even come to know God’s grace? God’s grace flows through our weakness to be strong. God’s grace gives us life to take risks and to take chances and to see setbacks as just a part of life. His love for us NEVER changes. It is better to jump at times, risk it all and learn from mistakes than to live life doing nothing at all.

What happens when we jump out in a false start and realize it’s a bad choice? We walk back to the starting line, dejected and a bit shamed but what we see is God loving us through it all. His simply says, “Trust me. Wait. Follow me this time.”

Standing at the starting line is a place of growth. It’s hard to stand there and see others running ahead with what seems like great favor in whatever they put their hand to in life. I was there. I stood still. I watched day after day after day. In my heart, I was resolute. No false start this time at this point in life. There is this release upon my life to travel to the nations again – to preach, to build up leaders, to impart a revelation of creativity…..and so much more. After years of jumping out, learning, going back to try again, I feel free. No regret. No shame. Only a clear path. The power of this prophetic word Friday shifted my life. May these words I write to you today give you hope to try again, to release the past and to believe God. He is faithful! My life is my message. I walk and talk it so you can be ministered to by it. I tell my story….. without any pretense of trying to look perfect. 🙂

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!

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.