Author Archives: Jenene

His Great Gift

by Suni Bradford

Do you remember the phrase “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today” ? It has always made me laugh, then the thought came to me that Whimpy from Popeye (a cartoon I love to watch as a child) was developing debt. Did Tuesday’s debt ever get paid?  They never showed that, did they?

We can get in trouble with our financial debt by wanting something today and not having the means to pay it tomorrow.  Interest used to motivate us to pay those debts sooner but today interest seems to be an accepted expense. I sometimes think of how different our views about debt would be if we were educated early.  Many of us have been forced to claim bankruptcy either because of poor choices we have made or because of circumstances beyond our control.  This can be overwhelmingly stressful.

At the time I found Christ, I did not have much financial debt but I was emotionally bankrupt. Jesus Christ fully paid for my debt, debt of sin that is.

Salvation is a gift so freely given.  The gratitude I have for Christ’s saving grace makes me want to service Him today and forever. I want to give him recognition for saving me for without it I would still be walking around with a lack of direction and hollowness inside.  I want to share this free gift with others so we all can feel the weight of sin lifted.  The joy that is evident in someone that has His great love inside them shines through, with my hope being that others feel the warmth from that great light and it will draw them to their Savior. Let us not worry about tomorrow but shine today.

A portion of scripture that gives me peace and a since of great value is Matthew 6:25-33

25  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Ladies I pray you have a blessed day and shine like stars.

Suni

I Was Ruined For Life

Two weeks ago I transformed. I got educated and I am ruined for this cause. I met the founder of this heroic organization and his bold and amazing team. These people are my heros. They’ve got guts.

Sometimes it’s a moment in time and that’s all it takes to take the blinders off. I can’t tell you how many times in the last two weeks I’ve cried over the thought of what these little girls are suffering. At the same time I am sick over the number of people who are absolutely in the blind to what is happening.

Remember the movie The Wizard of Oz? Just a click of the of Dorothy’s heels and she was back at home again and she escaped the wicked witch. Well, these little girls have one hope and it’s Agape or there’s no escape. They’re not escaping this evil without our help.

Right now this organization is having a “Raise Her Ransom” campaign and is desperately seeking men to be REAL MEN and be a voice for abolishing this horrific evil.

$100 from 2000 men seems so simple.

I’d like you to imagine that you had a choice of your family either starving to death or selling your 6 your old daughter’s virginity for a high price of $60. That’s the reality in this horrible place. In the middle of the most sex-trafficked spot in the world is the largest building in this small village, a beacon of light and hope. It’s there because someone took a stand and said “NO MORE” and got their wallet out.

When I spoke with Don the first time, I wouldn’t give him any money because I said “I want to do so much more.” The reality was I thought my $30 wouldn’t make a difference. Then a week later I watched his documentary and my eyes were wide open. I couldn’t write that check fast enough. It occurs to me there are probably thousands of people who think their $30 dollars won’t matter either. Please just ask one person to help. Is that too much to ask? Please watch this video, it won’t ruin you for life, but I pray the Spirit of the Most High God will whisper in your ear to help somehow.

Best Practices of a Bold Christian Woman

Everything done in excellence first took a lot of practice.

  • Worry about what God thinks, not what other women think
  • Dress to feel like yourself, not to impress others
  • Diligently seek out the woman in you God can use
  • Never ever ever compare yourself to others
  • Acknowledge your self every day for how far you’ve come
  • Tell your thoughts to shut up as often as necessary
  • Worship God everyday
  • Pray all day long, silently if needed
  • Measure your success based on your willingness to do God’s will
  • Say “yes” to God more and “yes” to others a lot less
  • Choose wisely in accordance with God’s prompting
  • Learn to recognize the voice of the Liar and put him in his place
  • Ask yourself “Is that something Jesus would say to me?”
  • Ask yourself “Is that something Jesus would say to others?”
  • Remind yourself daily of what you’re committed to
  • Bring the light to every situation, even when it makes you look bad
  • Remember this life matters, but the next one matters more
  • Stop and ask a homeless person their story (pray first)
  • Kick your self in the rear when you judge another woman
  • Kick yourself in the rear when you envy another woman
  • Tell yourself to “stop it” as often as necessary
  • Love, love love as this is the greatest commandment of all time
  • Seek endless amounts of power everyday (through the Word)
  • Share your story just like your Father did
  • Remember, your story can change a life
  • Remember, your story can change someone’s eternal destiny

Stretching Into Leadership

The first thing that pops into my mind when I hear the word leadership is perhaps a role as a pastor of a church, a motivational speaker or a CEO of a corporation.   Are you the one that automatically takes charge in any situation? Maybe you aren’t and would rather not.

So many of us have never thought of ourselves as leaders, yet others have no problem seeing them selves in that role and would actually thrive in a position as such.

However, we do lead in so many areas of our lives if we stop and really look at all we do in our daily lives. Mothers for example are industrious leaders.   I believe we are all called to lead in one form or another.  The list of ways to lead others below is just scratching the surface.  There are limitless possibilities.

  • Speaking events (teaching, preaching, sharing experience etc.)
  • Event planning / organization
  • Study groups (small or large)
  • Childcare
  • Worship
  • Administration

Sometimes God asks us to do things that we may not want to do. Or should I say Many times.   He spoke to me about something He would like me to do, my first response was thank you very much but you’ve got the wrong girl.  But He hasn’t let me forget it.

Philippians 4:13 gives me the hope and the confidence, that I have a helper.  “I can do everything through him who gives me strength”

Do you remember the saying “fake it till you make it?”

For me this means to move towards the goal by growing my confidence and doing the uncomfortable things needed to become the leader, I believe He wants me to be. A quote that inspired me is “Attitudes influence behavior, but behavior also influences attitudes”.   Everything changes with our attitudes, positive or negatively. Having an “I can” attitude spurs on an excitement to behave as if I am already equipped.

Hopefully this inspires other ladies to step out in faith.  Do what the Lord is asking of you.   Be bold. Let’s reach more women, increase their knowledge of His word, build their confidence, and build the kingdom for Christ by teaching them to be leaders.

Philippians 1:6 gives us great news. “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

I see us as His worker bees and I’ve been comfy on the hive too long.

Live brilliantly ladies.  Suni J

Welcoming Rejuvenation

by Suni Bradford

I am one that wakes up “happy” and ready to take the day on.  This can be very annoying to folks that aren’t this type of riser. Perhaps you’ve lived with one, they moan, no not already at the alarm clock then they bond with it several times by way of the reset button.  I’ve never quite figured that one out, why not just set the alarm out a half an hour rather then wake, rest, wake, rest? That’s exhausting in itself right….or maybe they are outsmarting themselves into thinking they are getting more sleep.  Then finally dragging themselves and their feet to the coffee pot and their day begins.

I love getting up when it is still and quiet outside.  The sound of the birds chirping brings joy to my heart.  It sets the mood for my time with God.  The time with God produces an outcome of rejuvenation.  I say, if Jesus did this as He rose early in the morning and went to a quiet place and spent time in prayer; it must be a great way to start the day.  Mark 1:35 paraphrased.

Which ever you are, I encourage you to welcome the day with the excitement of “today’s the day”.

Can you use a little vitality and freshness?  I can’t think of a better way to be restored then time seeking His wisdom, His guidance and His loving voice.

So…….

  • set that alarm a few minutes earlier
  • grab your favorite mug full coffee or tea
  • grab your bible
  • and head to your favorite chair

A suggestion is to have a note pad handy. So if your head goes all over the place (like mine) you can jot down a note of thoughts that come to mind, for example, things that need to get done and not let it take up time in my head so I can focus on the Lord.

Throw a little exercise in there and girl your on the move.

Ready, Set, Go

Have a blessed day!

Suni J

Ten Ways To Reinvigorate Your Spiritual Life

1. Go for a walk.
I know this sounds too simple but it is so good for you to get out of your environment and look out at the horizon. To extend your gaze beyond your four walls and drink in the grand expanse of the sky above you. This simple thing could be what breaks the heaviness gathering over you and brings hope into your grasp.

I lift up my eyes to you,
to you who sit enthroned in heaven. (Psalm 123:1 NIV)

2. Forgive someone.
Unforgiveness will drain your spiritual energy like nothing else. Ask God to show you if there is someone in your life you need to forgive. Release them and in return will be released yourself.

Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13 NIV)

3. Get a new devotional.
Some of our favorites are Streams in the Desert, Jesus Calling,

4. Go to church and really be present.
It is so easy to go to church and be busy, distracted or tired. Go to church this week with a purpose: be present. Open your heart during worship. Listen intently to the sermon. Ask God to speak to you through the service. Ask and you will receive.

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24 NIV)

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Luke 11:9 NIV)

5. Take five minutes to pray in the morning.
First thing in the morning, ask the Lord to show Himself to you. To walk with you during the day. It will surprise you what five minutes spent with God first thing in the morning will do.

But I cry to you for help, Lord;
in the morning my prayer comes before you. (Psalm 88:13 NIV)

6. Write a scripture on a sticky note on your bathroom mirror. Pick one scripture every Sunday. Read it as you brush your teeth, as you get ready and as you get ready for bed at night. This is a very practical way to get the Word of God where it is supposed to be- in your spirit.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)

7. Turn off the radio on the ride home from work and in the quiet void, turn on prayer.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)

8. Do a small kindness for someone close to you.
Sometimes it is those closest to us that get the brunt of our worst attitudes. Do a small kindness and it will grow the love between you and the love in you.

Love is patient, love is kind.  (1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV)

9. Do a random act of kindness for a stranger. Ask God to open your eyes for a simple opportunity to bless someone you don’t know. Then be obedient and do it!

Make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:16 NIV)

10. Reconcile a relationship from the past. Ask God to show you if there is someone you have wronged or inadvertently hurt in the past. Then humble yourself and ask for forgiveness. Not the kind of forgiveness that transfers the burden like, “I wanted to ask you to forgive me for reacting the way I did because you were such a jerk”. No, not that kind but the kind that releases people : “Please forgive me for saying that to you, I was wrong.”

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 NIV)

These are simple (and not so simple) things that can reinvigorate your spiritual connection to God and to others. They are small changes that can make a big difference in your spiritual life – a few things that will take you to a new level of brilliance!

Gaga For God

By Suni Bradford

ga·ga/ˈgäˌgä/

Adjective: Excessive enthusiasm, crazy, infatuation

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

My dear friend Lisa invited me to a bible study at her parent’s house.  It was a cozy setting, a man with his acoustic guitar in hand and the worship began.  I’m not sure how many weeks I had attended but this night was special.   I physically felt His calling, I later learned that the Holy Spirit was present.  

It was an extremely emotional experience. I don’t think I realized what was happening.  I did accept Jesus Christ as my Savior.  He was knocking, I answered and I’m so grateful. 

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

I was seeing things about Jesus everywhere I went, it seemed.  Maybe I was just more aware or perhaps placed by God’s perfect design.  We went yard selling the weekend following and at the first stop, I found a brand new bible in the box. And the next stop was this gorgeous 2ft x 3ft matted pressed paper portrait of Jesus in an elegant gold frame. I was so excited.  I felt as if God was telling me, I’ll give you what you need to learn and remember my son.   I was ga-ga about God.  He was everywhere.  The good news is He still is. We can forget to notice because of our fast paced lives. The following are some ways we can keep our enthusiasm and turn our infatuation into long term true love. 

5 ways to stay in love with God

  • Reading and studying the word
  • Prayer and meditation
  • Christian music, concerts and events
  • Associate with other believers
  • Sharing His love with non believers

2 Timothy 1:7 Tells us that God gave a spirit of power, love and self control.

A great verse to keep in our mind’s eye as we making these things a regular part of who we are.  

Live brilliantly and thrive.

Love to all, Suni

Sisterly Love

By Suni Bradford

I was working at Macy’s in the bay area at the time, organizing the front of the store that faced the inside of the mall. When I looked up and saw a women going up the escalator. She was exposing all without realizing it. She had tucked the back of her skirt into her panty hose. My co-workers and I were laughing. At first we thought maybe it was a candid camera setup. But I didn’t have the heart to let her continue cruising through the mall if it wasn’t. She was very grateful. Thank God for compassion.

Disclaimer: This following is not intended to make anyone feel guilty but to show that we can live more joyful lives when our hearts are in the right place.

Sometimes when talking with friends we get caught up in gossip, judgment and character assassination of others. Inside and outside of church. Ouch… These are not attributes we can brag about.

As Christian women, can we be honest with each other? Holding our sisters in Christ accountable is a sensitive matter as it can be very embarrassing and it must be done with love. The guilt and shame we feel when someone brings things to our attention may cause us to react. The need to defend my motives and myself is an automatic response. What we hear may hurt at the time but when we look at the truth in it and ask for God’s help to see what we need to do to be what He wants us to be. So many times we are not even aware of what we sound like to others. We must be careful if professing to be christians among non Christians, we are being watched.

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

Humility can be a catalyst for growth; if we take the awareness’s of our shortcomings to heart. We need each other to help us stay focused on the good. Treating others well just feels right. We are not perfect and never will be but we can continue to grow into more loving women.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

When we hold each other accountable in a loving way we can grow together in our friendship, in our walk with Christ causing a larger impact by inspiring others to do the same. My hope is that we can build Christly character by filling up our minds with the word and that will attract others to Christ because of what they see in us as believers.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Live the life worthy of the calling you have received. Hallelujah.

Let’s love, pray and grow together.

Suni


Untapped Potential

By Cindy Grasso

People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.”

- St. Augustine

[dropcap] W [/dropcap]e just don’t see things the way Jesus does, least of all, ourselves.

My favorite miracle that Jesus performed was his very first one. It is when he changed water into wine. I love it because it is story of untapped potential:

“Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.  Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”  They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.” (John 2:6-11 NIV84)

He chose six stone jars made to be used for ceremonial washing that were sitting along the wall. The wedding was over, the reception had begun and these six stone jars had been passed by countless times that day.  They had been set side, empty and unused.

We often think that these three things are a sign that God doesn’t want to use us:

• set aside
• empty
• unused

And yet it is exactly what qualified them to be used for Jesus’ first miracle.

This is for every girl who feels that she has been passed by. For every woman who has served faithfully, quietly and fearfully.  For everyone who has poured out their lives for others and now wonders, “What am I good for?”, “Does God want to use me?”

The answer is a resounding yes! There is more for you. There is untapped potential  within you and it is just waiting for the Master himself to say the word. He might use you in ways you never thought of, doing things you didn’t know you could do, but nonetheless, He desires to use you.

I love those six jars and the picture they present. They are vessels of a miracle and all they had to be was there, empty and available. These are three things I can do!

To be a vessel of a miracle, you have to:

• be there (where Jesus is).
• be empty (I always feel empty).
• be available (for whatever).

Jesus instructed the servants to fill each jar up to the brim with water. He never even touched the jars or the water they were filled with. My friend, miracles don’t happen because of a magic touch but because of a heart of faith. I think one of the reasons why  Jesus never did the same thing twice, in healing people or performing a miracle, was to help us see that divine intervention does not impact earth’s natural laws because of a method or a formula, but because faith expressed in love.

Jesus told the servants what to do –  I love that he used servants to perform this miracle. I believe God longs for more than just to “perform” for us, He delights in partnering with humanity and using mere servants to do the amazing, mind blowing, incredible things that literally change our world.

Jesus turned plain ordinary water into the very richest wine, aged to perfection and with a depth of flavor that only comes with time and expertise.  Yet, he needed neither time or expertise to do it. Do you think that God can’t use you because it is too late or you don’t have enough education? All God really needs are vessels that are empty and servants who follow directions.

• Untapped potential comes in plain packages and is executed by stepping out in ordinary obedience.

It didn’t seem miraculous to fill the jars with water- who would have thought the water would be turned to wine? Jesus did. There are a lot of things you can do that don’t seem like anything special on their own, but “with God”, ordinary moments become extraordinary testimonies of God’s grace and glory.

• Untapped potential means, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

God isn’t limited by our traditions, wisdom or time tables. In fact, I think God likes to challenge the “norms” that have been dictated by limited resources and limited mindsets : “But you have saved the best till now.” Just when you think God can’t do a thing with you, He can fill you up to the brim with fresh living water then pour you out to bless others as fine wine.

• Untapped potential brings glory to God and causes others to put their faith in Christ.

This life ain’t no American Idol or talent show to see how great you can do something. When God uses your availability to do a miracle, all the glory goes to God.  When he takes your mess and makes a message, all the glory goes to God. When it is obvious that the power or talent or ability isn’t yours but God working through you- all the glory goes to God.

We worry what other people will think of us, so we hold back and yet, if God uses us in something so far bigger than who we are or what we can do on our own- that is when God gets all glory! That is when people put their faith in Jesus, which is where it belongs. I am but a vessel to be filled up and then poured out. Availability is so much more important than ability. So, stop worrying about all you don’t have and start asking God to use whatever you do have.

To gain access to the untapped potential of your life:

1. Be where Jesus is – you will find him with the hurting, the needy, the broken, the sick, the lonely and the lost.

2. Be empty – of your pride, fear, doubts, expectations.

3. Be available – to be used for whatever He desires. Are you limiting God because what he is asking you to do is too small, too ordinary or just out of your comfort zone? Lift your limitations.

4. Be obedient – don’t despise the simple things, for in them hide the true treasures of life and the blessing of being used by a miracle working God.

I love to hear from you and am delighted with every comment. Thank you for taking this time and discovering the keys of allowing God access to your untapped potential!

Basking in His Brilliance,

Cindy