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

Creative Expression – Restrained Vision

That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was. (Luke 24:13-16 Message)

As I walk on the road of my own preconceived notions or my sublime presumptions, Jesus often draws near to me, in the midst of it all. When life’s events have placed more questions in my mind than answers, Jesus draws near – just to walk with me and talk with me.

Light on a PathThese two men were walking towards Emmaus, talking about Jesus’ crucifixion. Their minds were ablaze with questions. Their hopes– what could have been, should have been, and yet was not- seemed dashed to pieces as they faced the reality of His death. What now? What exactly happened?

Jesus enters into the midst of it all, just like He does for me. When He draws near, I often find myself in the midst of thinking, a process of questions. Why did this happen? What now? He walks besides me and sees my limited restrained vision, just as these two men on the road that day. Vision that is restrained by the power of presumption or assumption inhibits me from truly seeing, just like these two guys. Vision that is held in the power of its own process limits and restrains me from truly seeing.

He draws alongside, never forcing His way into my process, at least not at first. Like these men, I may continue to explain the events taking place through my ‘restrained vision’. He probably can’t help but shake His head as He listens to my words, just as He listened to the words of these men that day. At the right moment, in my own tension, He speaks. Here is how He spoke to these men that day. And sometimes, this is how He speaks to me.

Then he said to them, “So thick–headed! So slow–hearted! Why can’t you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don’t you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?” Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him. (Luke 24:25-27 Message)

listen.520In other words, His words silence me, just as it did for these two guys, catapulting me into a greater reality, past my restrained vision and limited understanding. I find His confrontations into my life as wonderful as His gently flowing words of affirmation and love. Both show me His intense love for me. Both ways open my eyes to see past the nose on my own fact. My pain often restrains my vision. I need a shaking down some days that forces me to rise above my own self-pity and introspection. It’s good for me. He’s always good for me.

They came to the edge of the village where they were headed. He acted as if he were going on but they pressed him: “Stay and have supper with us. It’s nearly evening; the day is done.” So he went in with them. And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open–eyed, wide–eyed, they recognized him. And then he disappeared. Back and forth they talked. “Didn’t we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us. (Luke 24:28-32 Message)

Jesus stops me in the midst of my forward momentum many times. My eyes open to see, to truly see things that have been hidden from me. I get so excited at times at the revelation of truth, which lifts my spirit, that I want to detain Him at that point of revelation to sit with me, talk more with me, dine with me at my table. Yet, I have noticed, that just like these men, at the point of received revelation, sitting at a table of intimacy, He often is quickly up and away. Why is this?

There is more to say, more to see, and greater things to encounter. Being totally human, I may self-centeredly keep Him at that place at my table, receiving and receiving and receiving. Yet, He is up and away and now my choice is to follow Him with all that He has revealed to me, moving and living and having my being in Him. I can’t stay at this place of comfort. I now move in what I have received and take it out.

Yes, there will come another time when my presumptions will get the best of me again. That is only human. And on that day, He will draw near again to show me my shortcomings in truly understanding His greatness, His majesty and His being. That is called life. I go from glory to glory to glory, from faith to faith to faith. I walk on the road of life, wondering, asking questions, and thinking. He draws near, listens and even brings correction to me.

Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27 NKJV)

Christ in me is still revealing Himself to me as I live my life in union with Him. I am enjoying the journey.

It’s Not What It Seems – Speaking from Outside the Walls

seemsAs God healed my heart, He gave me eyes to see and ears to hear with discernment.  Discernment – to separate thoroughly; to make a distinction. Discernment reveals to you the secrets of God’s heart for the purpose of intercession. God trusts us to carry His heart into every situation with discernment to see through a lens of truth.

Coming out of the formatted templated church did not necessarily mean I came into the reality of what that really meant for our lives. I continued to attend conferences trying to ‘get something’. I went looking in many different churches for anything that would point the way into our new direction. I did not truly realize at the time that the Way would point the way for us. So I continued to search but did not find anything that satisfied the longing of my heart for God.

In the process of searching, I noticed that my discernment became quite sharp. In going into conferences or churches, I would see something that indicated one thing but knew by the Spirit; something else was going on beneath the surface. I would hear something that indicated one thing but knew by the Spirit that there was another sound beneath the surface. I got angry and yes, I did judge but I thank God that He healed my heart to speak truth now. I will give one clear example, as it is part of my testimony.

442439869_640At the height of its glory, I went to Lakeland with a friend. It was THE new ‘cutting edge’ revival well and everyone was going. It grew so fast and so strong that people actually believed it was going to usher in worldwide revival. I heard that spoken by many prophets of the charismatic movement.

Just a few days before we actually went to Lakeland, we attended a woman’s retreat where Todd Bentley’s wife was speaking. It was at that conference that I saw something by the Spirit that I totally negated in my mind when I first saw it. In one moment during that conference, I looked at her on the podium and I suddenly saw her face and time stood still. In that moment, I knew that there were marital problems, deep anger within her, and deception going on under the surface. The Spirit simply told me this. I continued to look and I felt an overall feeling of unsettledness. Wasn’t her husband the main headliner in Lakeland? I discounted my discernment for I did not want to judge and I did not trust my discernment at that time.

When we arrived in Lakeland a few days later, we did all the ritual charismatic stuff – waited in line for hours and running quickly when the doors opened for a prime seat. When the service actually started, that same sinking feeling came over me. Yet, looking around I discounted it again for I truly felt I was wrong in what I was feeling. After all, why would all these people be here? And, why would major prophetic heavy-hitters endorse Todd Bentley when behind the scenes there was marital infidelity going on at the same time he was ministering to thousands on stage? But now I know. And now I see that I did see accurately.

At first it got me angry and total disillusionment with charismania began to form in my life. I did not want to judge, but I was upset. You can see on YouTube, if it is still there, that one night, many iconic charismatic leaders stood on that podium with Todd and commissioned him and endorsed his ministry. They actually prophesied that Lakeland would go out into the entire world and he would be a major catalyst of change. Then all hell broke loose shortly thereafter and exposure came. Need I say more? It is not what it seems at times. Where is discernment and wisdom in the Body of Christ? Where is Jesus?

We-need-discernment-in-what-we-see-and-what-we-hear-and-what-we-believe.This is just one example of many that I have encountered. Over the years, I have seen over and over that the norm in the church at large is either to disregard any spontaneity of the Spirit in favor of form and man-made structure. Or, the church will may accept everything and shake, quake, get new mantles, new impartations, and run all around the world for something given to us by someone at some place in some time. How ridiculous this is to me right now in my life. Where is discernment? It is sorely lacking.

Now back again to my definition of discernment – to separate thoroughly or to make a distinction regarding some thing. What is my discernment speaking to me now? Well, first I want to say it is not speaking to judge in any way. Jesus Christ is my wisdom and Holy Spirit gives me discernment. He is speaking simply and clearly. Christ in me, the hope of glory. Christ in you, the hope of glory. Why run seeking revival? That denies the reality of His life in you right where you to walk in power and authority. Why seek out iconic leaders and their templates and format their revelation into your life? Why not believe He is in you and will flow through you?

I am totally disillusioned with the form of church at large but I am totally in awe of Jesus Christ flowing through His church the way He wants to do it, through hearts submitted and surrendered to His will and His ways. His church is a mess, devoid of the presence and the power. He sees this. He knows this. Yet, He loves us with an everlasting love and He will form His Body into what He has destined and ordained her to be. 

Turn Around – Reality Hits – What Will You Do Now?

ImageA simple vision one day from the Lord. He always answers questions that dwell in the depth of our hearts EVEN when we don’t know how to ask them. They stir within us, yet words can’t quite nail down what is causing this tension within.

I was running ahead of myself. I kept looking back and would only see what I perceived to be REALITY and I did not want to particularly look at REALITY. So I kept running to try to outrun the REALITY of certain situations and circumstances in my life. If I did not have to SEE it, then I would not have to face it.

When I saw this vision, I realized that to face reality is the greatest evidence of faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. To truly look at something with eyes wide open, neither disturbs us, lessens our hope, causes pain, or any number of reactions that flow from a reality that looks so far from a dream within us. We look at the present, the reality of our lives. It is hard for all of us to do at times. The picture that reality paints may be one of hopelessness, discouragement, and even loss of vision. We cannot begin to understand how God can and does work through a reality that is seemingly impossible. Yet He does. I don’t know how, when, where, or at what time. I have to simply trust.

Why look back? Looking back, we come face to face with the impossible of what has not happened or could not possibly happen in and through our lives. Then we walk in a greater reality that NOTHING is impossible with God. Avoiding reality often means that we walk in presumption or assumption. What could be or should be based upon our expectations form in our lives, which then becomes a false reality. It is best to trust God in the midst of what appears to be a reality that can’t be changed – BY YOU.

I had to look carefully at reality in my life. As I finally turned to face the fact that I was not where I THOUGHT I would be at this point in my life, pain overwhelmed me. This reality, apart from God, seemed a place that I did not want to be so I kept running ahead of myself trying to create something at some time in some place. That did not work. It can never work if our heart is set in union with Christ. That tension is tension, simply stated.

I kept looking at reality through the lens of my expectations. In and through that lens, I looked like a failure. Suddenly and I am still in process, God changed and is changing my vision to SEE that He can change my reality in a split second. When joy overtakes your being, you realize that even if it did not change, one simply trusts that His ways are His good intentions for each of us. Resting in this reality of rest, not running around looking for something to happen but simply trusting restored peace to my life and rest for my soul. In doing this, I then took my eyes off of my perceived reality and placed them on the ONE that I love, Jesus Christ. The center of my reality changed to Jesus being my focal point and in that I no longer had to look back or sideways or anyways. I only had to look at Him and just keep walking, step by step; knowing His ways are perfect and His timing is perfect.

Are any of you at that place where your expectations have set the course for your life? Do you take your cues from what the world says? Do you wonder what reason your life is even valuable? I would encourage you to turn and look. Look carefully at what you perceive to be failure. Look closely at what you may perceive to be a path of insignificance. Look deeply at what appears to be a life without purpose. Look, look and look again.

Then turn your gaze away from all of that and live your life in union with Christ. Turn all your expectations unto Him and trust. The answer is simple, very simple. My five-year plan did not pan out. My own dreams left me empty. I was suddenly faced with the ultimate place of trust – I seemingly have nothing. Here I sit, with not much to do or say but in the stillness and in the silence, I see Him calling to me to trust and walk one step at a time into a new place. This is reality. This is real. This is true. None of us have arrived and if you have not experienced this, you will, perhaps you have, or you may even be going through it. In all sincerity and honesty, I am tired of so many Christians unwilling to admit that they are lost and wandering even in their salvation. It’s time to get real and true.

I do not want spiritual platitudes from people that are hyper spiritual. I am not discouraged so I don’t need cutesy pictures sent to me showing me that God loves me. I am looking long and hard at the reality of my life and I see dreams forming again. I have stopped questioning the past for there are no answers there as to why things did or did not happen. AND I don’t know what the future holds so I just walk.

Each of you – let’s get real. It’s so darn easy to hide nowadays and I refuse to do that…so share your story briefly with me and be honest. If you can’t, then don’t say anything at all. It’s best that way. Reality in Christ sets the course for our life. His ways are glorious and full of light and life. He is our life.