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 – Don’t Break Your Stride!

Walking in the snowDon’t break your stride!

What does this mean prophetically to me and perhaps to you? At this point, I can’t allow anything to slow me down or to interrupt the pace at which I walk or move in Holy Spirit. I can’t allow anything to get me off of my pace or cause me to deviate from my rhythmic flow in grace.

I believe this is a ‘transition’ time for many of us. I know. That’s been said prophetically for a long time so I can grow weary of hearing it again. Yet, after years of wilderness wandering, God is speaking to me to trust, to watch, to believe, to hear, and to know. I hear the voice of God. As a Christian, you hear the voice of God.

My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me (John 10:27 Message)

For years I have been moving, even when it felt like I was standing still. Holy Spirit leads and guides. Sometimes the surroundings were dry. Other times there was a fog or a mist blocking my vision. Yet, I am moving through it all.  Today I find myself in a place where Holy Spirit speaks and says, “Don’t break your stride!”

God sets up a rhythmic pace for me in Holy Spirit. Learning to be sensitive to His voice is key. Obeying His directives is also key to movement. We move in His grace, trusting Him with each step of our journey.

“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 (Matthew 11:28-29 Message)

Don’t break your stride!

My peripheral vision can pull me off focus.  Looking at people, situations, or circumstances that are on the ‘edges’, off to the side trying to capture my attention, can be a major distraction. If I break stride due to weariness or even unbelief, I lose focus.  I can also break stride because of a cynical attitude that says, “Has God indeed said?” I break stride by looking around and seeing others moving faster than I am so I hurriedly try to catch up to them.

StrideI will stay in my ‘grace stride’ ordained for me by Holy Spirit. Through times of intimacy in prayer and worship, I hear His voice.

Breakthrough is taking us from glory to glory, from faith to faith. Each step Jesus Christ reveals Himself to me by Holy Spirit. My faith increases to believe in Christ alone and His way for me. It is a journey in Christ by Holy Spirit.

WalkingFebruary is a turning month for me. It may be a turning month for you too. Let me show you how the Spirit so beautifully and clearly sets up His way in that word of turning. My eyes only have to be open to see and my ears sensitized to know.

When Holy Spirit moves us, we are moved suddenly or we can move through signposts in the road. February is a month of signposts to show me the way to turning out and moving out. February 1 brought me to a prophetic conference where I received a clear word of destiny. Shortly after that, I stumbled upon a book on Amazon. From the very beginning, it felt like the author was speaking to me. Then, one day on Facebook, an acquaintance I had not heard from in some time asked a simple question, “How are you?” After just a few minutes she invited me to Canada for a time of refreshing and renewal in her home. Step by step, this February is turning for me. This is my way, my path in which I am walking.

Holy Spirit is leading you in Christ’s way and directions for you. Be still and know. Be sensitive and listen.

Creative Expression – Gravity

This morning, sitting, just sitting. Nothing going on. No great thoughts. Just the simplicity of the stillness. I entered into that beautiful stillness in Christ and kept hearing this song, Gravity, which I have loved for some time now. Just the feel of the song. Its sound stirs something in my life. Its notes take me to a place where I feel like I am soaring, above that which can cause me regret, above that which can pull me down into a place where I don’t want to be, into anything that tethers or tries to hold me back. This is just some prophetic musings today. So why don’t you listen to the song and then just read some words of encouragement from my heart to yours.

It really is time to leave regret behind, any regret that tethers you to its expectations and requirements, demands or regulations. To regret is to consistently rewrite the script in your life that says you could have done it better or said it better or lived it better. What if you couldn’t? There are always others involved in the equation. What if you did all you could and you find yourself re-living it over and over and over? That is the effects of gravity. It pulls you back to that place of constriction, that place where you look up, knowing you were meant to fly but you are always tethered to something or someone or some place or some situation by the regret of what could have been but wasn’t, what should have been, but never actually got there. Is that you? Is it me?

Perhaps it is the overflow of this song touching my heart this day. These prophetic stirrings in my heart today are for you and me. Jesus Christ in me is bursting my heart wide open to allow this to flow, without any preplanned agenda but just a creative bent, a creative passion to do something different other than the mundane. So, out comes these words of encouragement for you and for me.

In Christ, I am seated in heavenly places, above the pull of gravity and its effects – the chaos of life, the constant disruptions to my forward progression, the effects that small disruptions have on my life day by day, things that just did not pan out. Yet, seated in Christ, opens up the vistas to see beyond what I can see when regret tethers me to its constant demands in my life. So, today I soar. Do you? I hope so.

I have lived in the box of demands for so long – what demands? Those demands that cried out from deep within that I, like you, have tried to silence, but they are still there until I realize that in Christ, I am above the effects of gravity, whether I want to believe it or not. That is why, even to this song, I can soar to its freedom sound in my life. It is a freeing sound in my life.

Who knows where this bit of creativity will take me? After all it is just a simple song that may mean nothing to you. But it stirred prophecy in me today to realize that you may be reading this and be one of those who struggle with regret. So listen over and over and simply breathe in to know that in Christ, you can be seated above it all, right now, right here. I present Jesus Christ to you to reach up, to raise up, to rise up – past it all into Him. He gathers and hides you in the shadow of His wings. That is reality. From that vista I can look down and see things quite differently. So right now I listen to this song again and open my arms and worship to something that was probably not intended as a worship song……..but it is for me. I love you Jesus.

Creative Expression – Questions, Questions, and More Questions

Words stirring in my spirit. Words of life. Words of confrontation. Words of revelation spoken to me over and over again in the past few days.

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 NKJV)

Questions rise up in me, provoked by these simple words above. What kind of focus is this? What kind of joy is seen here? Who willingly walks forward into pain and suffering unless He is seeing something much greater as His reality?

Abide In MeI call myself a woman of focus. Yet, reality shows me that my peripheral vision, my eyes wandering into distractions and diversions around me, cause me to stop in mid-stride. At times, I get stuck in doubt, loss of hope and even self-pity.

How do I do it? How do I flow like Jesus, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross with its pain, shame, and suffering? Sometimes I am paralyzed in my ‘present’. I don’t want any more dead ends in my life, so I simply stand still at times. I also don’t like pain. I have had enough of it. Haven’t you? What is this key, Lord that you are trying to show me? I am definitely over thinking this, looking for a complex solution in the midst of what appears to be a simple revelation.

My years in Pentecostalism or Charismaticism (new word) have taught me to do something, anything for a situation to change. To move forward when not seeing results, pray more. Cry out to God on my knees more. Worship more. Read the Bible more. But, what happens when you do all that and nothing happens? Has God failed me? Absolutely not. So what do I do? What must I learn in this?

Suddenly a voice of simplicity rises up within me. I hear one word, “Abide.”

“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me. “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing (John 15:4-5 Message)

Is it that simple? And what exactly does ‘abide’ mean for me? How do I abide? Do I read the Bible every day? Do I pray an hour when I first get up? There I am again, looking for the concrete in the midst of the revelational. Hahaha! I am laughing at myself right now.

QuestionsAbiding. Can you assure me that it will work? What makes me want something more definitive and structured so that I can see results and measure life on some self-imposed graph of success? Again, I am laughing out loud. LOL. See, I am. Really.

How must I abide to enjoy this journey called life? How must I abide to walk in peace even in the midst of the storm? How should I abide when life comes with fears and struggles and trials when you least expect it?

The voice of simplicity again rises up within me, not a voice of compulsion or declaration but a voice of stillness and serenity. Holy Spirit says to me “Abide”.

I have preached this as concept. I have ministered this prophetically, preaching it out and declaring it. But, can I now say that I am walking it? I admit not even knowing what I was preaching in times past. I am now abiding day by day. There is joy in trust, in relationship with Jesus, peace and intense love – I abide in this reality. And when this reality is forced to hide behind days filled with insecurity and rejection I run back to that revelation of abiding, Christ in me. He walks with me each moment of my life, never leaving or forsaking me. I am going back to the basics everyone. More in the days ahead on this journey. Perhaps it is best that I stir up more questions in you than answers right now. That is what the prophetic does best. Leading you into questions so that you draw close into Christ and not my words. I point the way to Jesus. That’s all for today.

Creative Expression: Is Anyone Listening? – The Dream

SoundwaveAs I toss in my bed, I am thinking about how often I am unnoticed, even in a room full of people. I am often unheard even when I am called to speak to a group of people. I know that it is not my imagination but it is a deep frustration within me. I am pondering these thoughts while gently nodding off to sleep.

Suddenly my eyes open and I am standing in the great room of a large house. I look around, surprised, trying to make sense of it. This place is completely unfamiliar to me. “How did I get here?” I ask myself. Then, in an instant, I realize I am in a dream.

There are many people gathered in this house, distinctly unaware of me. I keep thinking, “Where did all these people come from?” I know that I am called to be the speaker of this gathering, but it seems quite amusing to me since I don’t know these people or I don’t know where I am. Looking around and surveying the scene, I notice that the house seems to be naturally sectioned off into groups of people. They are divided not by walls or rooms but by ‘people types’. This makes quite an interesting scenario to me.

To my left, I see men dressed in suits sitting on antique dining room chairs, ebulliently talking to one another with fervor and passion. They are leaning in to their circle, a sign that the conversation is intense and interesting.

Off to one side, I see people sitting on plush couches, relaxed and laughing. They seem to be waiting for something to happen with great expectancy.

live-with-passion-cuff-sterling-silverThen off to my right, I see some people sitting quite uncomfortably on folding chairs, looking a bit uneasy, shy and reserved. There were so many different types of people all around the house.

They have come to hear me speak. I know. I just know. How to get them to listen? That is the question in my mind right now. Minutes pass by as I keep thinking how to get their attention. “What to do?” I ask myself. “They aren’t going to settle down on their own.”

Without raising my voice, I began to speak to the group. My voice is neither loud nor soft, but fitting into the mix of the sound of the voices in the house. I am hoping that someone hears me, then another, and another until the room quiets down and I get their attention. That did not work. My words seem to blend into the mix of the sound of voices, having no effect in changing the atmosphere.

Quite unlike myself, I am not frustrated at all. I know in my heart that I will not fight to be heard. I also will not force myself to be seen or noticed at this time. I stand there and wait for an idea. I have experienced this so many times in my life, those moments when you realize that you are not a priority but just an option to those to whom you are sent to bring words of life. Thoughts flood my mind. Thoughts of times past where this has happened to me before. Giving my all, I have often been placed in situations where I am unseen and unheard.  

I have been sent here to speak forth what God has placed on my heart. I surmise that to get their attention, something has to happen, or they will go on this way, in their own self-absorbed world, for a long time. In just a few short minutes, a fire alarm begins to ring very loudly. I had no part in making this happen but I knew instinctively what to do. I spoke loud, clear and with authority. “Everyone outside,” I said. “Now!”

With the sound of these words, people throughout the house began walking toward the door to head out to the back yard. They formed a line across the back of the house. No one was speaking. It was silent except for the sound of the alarm. The alarm eventually stopped and then, the silence was all that remained. I stood on one side of the yard and a line of people faced me from the other side. Having their full attention, staring at me, I started to open my mouth and found that nothing came out. I had nothing to say.

Standing there like a complete fool, I was unable to move and unable to speak. The people started to get restless and within minutes, they proceeded to go back into the house. They walked by me as I stood there.  I turned and saw through the windows that they walked right back to their previous groups and began to pick up in conversation where they had left off. I was still standing on the lawn, alone. The words, which I had to speak, were still pulsing within me like fire in my veins, but they did not flow forth. 

At that moment I woke up, eyes open, wondering what this dream actually was all about. Then my eyes closed and I dozed off again for a short while. Then frustration came upon me because I felt helpless and unable to change my situation. I was still hidden, unseen and unheard. I kept thinking of different scenarios that would have given me some answers to this dream. Should I have walked back into the house and demanded that they listen to me? What would it take to be seen?

Enjoy the JourneyMy dream did not come with closure, at least not the type of closure that I wanted. I wanted clear answers and some type of vindication. I did not get any of this. So, after praying and thinking for some time, I realized that the dream was open-ended and that by the Holy Spirit, the story shown in my dream continued with my eyes wide open. “Is this possible?” I wondered. Then as I briefly closed my eyes, I began to dream again, while awake. There before me was a path, a new path in Christ. The path of my life – a way outside the confines of normality, one in which there would be adventure and joy. I could not go back into the house. That was not possible for me. After all these years of wanting to be heard or seen, or needing to be affirmed by people in the mix, I knew that I was meant to walk a different path in my life. This dream showed me that I knew there was no going back now. So what now? Again, this is a creative journey that works itself out as I walk it day by day in Christ. Enjoy the journey with me!