There is deep rooted pain that can disappear inside you. Some people say that unveiling the pain is opening up pandora’s box. I say it is a journey of letting go.

My spiritual journey in the last year is different than I ever could have imagined. The more I proclaim that nothing will stop me from God’s divine purpose, the more I am tested to see how hot I can stand the fire.

This fire burns differently than any other.

Today I am at a Retreat Center for Women. I have one day, although I feel I need 30 days to win this spiritual battle. Isn’t it amazing that we feel like we know what we need, but really the Lord is the One who knows and the battle has already been won.

During a time of prayer and contemplation the Lord spoke to me and he gently reminded me that He alone is my honor. He alone is my refuge. He alone is my strength.

And . . . I will not be shaken.

Sometimes it feels as though there is a target on my head as I continue to be true to my Lord and prophesy what I know rather than what I feel.

Surely the last year my heart, my life, my circumstances have all been shaken. My assurance is knowing Truth. When the roots remain strong the tree will stand.

So I stand, a tree whose leaves sometimes are barren and withering and I remember John 14. I feel I have been through the most incredible tornado and everything around me has been destroyed from the elements. It feels like a barren land with a tree in the middle of nothing. The tree stands alone, but it still stands because the roots are connected to a God who has a plan for the tree.

A year and a half ago the Lord gave me the Word that would see me through this unbelievable battle. He said, “I am the Vine, you are the branches. Those who remain in me and I in them will produce much fruit, for without me you can do nothing.”

A woman with vision is a woman on a mission. That’s me and if you’re here, reading this, it’s probably you too. We are called to a purpose that is well beyond ourselves.

I think of the people that have hurt me, the people who have not supported me in doing what God Himself is telling me to do. Sometimes the calling is not pretty, it’s not an easy calling and that makes people around me uncomfortable. I have felt so dishonored.

Today I am at peace, grateful that God reminds me that He is my honor and some day as with King David, He will honor me by humbling those around me. Some day they will see me for who I really am, a woman desperately seeking after God’s own heart. This is an honorable place to be. I am letting go of the need for honor because I realize that all honor belongs to the Lord.

Much Love, Jenene

Put On The Shield

by Suni Bradford

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Do you feel small and beaten down?  We all do at times but we don’t have to continually stay in this state. Life can sometimes feel completely overwhelming, like we are being attacked from all sides. It may feel like we have no control over anything. Circumstances such as losing your job, a spouse, the car breaks down, the kids off the hook rebellious, on and on…

Life is life. Things are going to be challenging. We can learn to stand strong, chest out against the enemy’s ploys to divert us from the truth. The truth of Jesus Christ our Savior. The plan of the enemy is to destroy us. Oh ladies, God’s great (Predestined) plan for our lives is far beyond satan’s ability to destroy it. He is tenacious. He is a liar. He wants to win and the crazy thing is, he actually thinks he can be greater then God. This is never a fight he will win. Our God is greater. Unfortunately, we sometimes let him win in many areas of our lives. We can unintentionally let him in by not protecting ourselves. I have let him into my life in many areas such as when battling with self esteem, self control (food & unwholesome talk), patience.  The lies he tells us are subtle, examples being; you can’t possibly think you could get that job or you’ll never be able to quit cursing, that’s just who you are.  Not true.

The truth is that we have an abundance of protection available to us.We serve a great God. Not a God of  condemnation but of love for His children.  He lifts us up to higher standards, one’s of goodness and peace. He is our greatest cheerleader. He created us and knows what we are capable of.  These truths can be known and lived by looking to what God’s Word tells us about Himself and what we are in Him. When we are doing what we know to be right (walking in obedience to God’s teachings) we are being protected.  When we are not, is when satan sneaks in.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) .”

We must stand on God’s word. He is our shield.  The last portion of Joshua 1:9 is a word to hold onto. “For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

So grab your shield, study it and live in a new way.

Love ya Sisters,
Suni

Thankfulness

Hi Ladies,

Well I’ve been sick the last couple of days so I was a little late getting this out. Better late than never. This is the season for gratitude. Not just today, but hopefully for a long time. I just wanted to take a minute to tell all of you how incredibly blessed I am to have 3 amazing daughters that light up my world. Sometimes in life we’re so spread thin we miss telling our children how amazing they are. It was a divine appointment that these now grown women were brought into my life as a teen mother. I think they know how thankful to God I am, but we can never tell them too much.

I pray our hearts are filled with gratitude toward God, today, tomorrow and forever for the the people who we love and love us back. For those whose loved ones are away, like my baby daughter Feather (25 yrs) who will be missing tomorrow for the first time in her life, our thoughts are with them. I know she’ll be calling her Mommy tomorrow crying because she misses me. Ah, who am I kidding! I’ll be crying too. Have a blessed day with your family Ladies. Much Love, Jenene

Inspired by a High School Student

by guest blogger Nicole Banks

My name is Nicole Banks and I am a senior at Bella Vista High School. We have a Christian club called Revive at school and we meet every Tuesday at lunch. As one of the four leaders of the club it was my turn to speak in our group. I knew exactly what I wanted to talk about. Over the summer, the verse Hebrews 13:5 really impacted me. My youth pastor had shown me this verse and it is forever in my heart. I felt that this verse could help others the way it had helped me. When it came to speak I was ready and so excited to hopefully relieve someone else of the struggles that God had taken from me.

Tuesday, at lunch God stood beside me as I spoke of his love. The verse Hebrews 13:5 was such a powerful verse but I had never acknowledged its importance. I heard it so many times but until it was applied to my life I didn’t appreciate its peace. Hebrews 13:5 says “I will never leave you or forsake you.” I have struggles with something my entire life that I know a lot of other people do to…That feeling of being alone.

Things in life that happen to us make these feelings more prominent. Many people struggle with this. Life throws us down constantly and most of us just take it. Things like: stress, guilt, lost relationships, illnesses, death of a loved one and much more can sometimes make us feel alone in this world. BUT WE ARE NOT. When you are in that moment, where it feels like no one is around to hear you out. That fear of rejection or judgment. Like no one cares… We couldn’t be more wrong. God cares and He’s listening without judgment. God has our backs, he has your back.

We question if this is true when we physically can’t see Him. Just because we can’t see Him doesn’t mean he isn’t putting his arm around your shoulder and holding your hand through it all. And when we feel alone, we like to feed that sadness. You know what I mean. Listening to that beyond depressing song, watching that heartbreaking movie, isolating ourselves from everyone else, or even surrounding ourselves with people we know will disappoint us. When we are at THAT breaking point because everything in our day just went wrong… you were late to school or work and someone was rude to you. You failed that test you stayed up all night studying for. Someone shoved by you in the hallway and you just kept moving forward. When you got home it wasn’t an oasis because your family was at war with each other or there’s financial problems you can’t solve. And you just can’t seem to find peace and you feel alone. In this moment you pray. God is listening and He is begging you to just TRUST in Him, so that He can grant you that peace and take those hurtful feelings away.

We feel alone sometimes and this affects us in such a harsh way. But none of us deserve that feeling. God is standing by your side waiting for your call…He has no judgment and He loves you so much. Hebrews 13:5 is God saying “I will never leave you or forsake you…” He is telling you; I will never leave your side, I am here. Through it all. I will never forget about you and I will always love you.

Lukewarm Faith Is Unacceptable

Podcast One: Lukewarm Faith Is Unacceptable

by Jenene Stafford

Hi Ladies, if you enjoy the podcast, please pass on the love and like it on Facebook or tweet it out. xoxo

Hi Ladies, welcome to our first podcast show. We’re working out the equipment kinks as well as other technical kinks, but we’re getting there. I pray you are blessed by what you hear and the Lord speaks to your heart. In a day or two this should also be available on Itunes. Make sure and pass on the love if the Lord speaks to your heart. Post on Facebook or Twitter and help us make Jesus famous again.

Much Love, Jenene

Download Show Transcript

I believe in the hearts of many Christians there is living a gigantic contradiction. If you find yourself wavering and beginning to subscribe to the idea that all roads lead to God then I pray this next 15 minutes will bring divine spiritual wisdom to your mind and your heart.

 

 

Lady Warrior Is Called to Fight

by Jenene Stafford

About a year ago, the Lord began to give me small glimpses into the future of my life’s work and ministry. A year later I realize the Lord has literally dropped into my path extraordinary trials, unreliable people, overwhelming circumstances and unfamiliar territories to get me back on His path, rather than my own.

Does that sound strange or familiar?

Why would our God make the maze of life and ministry so incredibly challenging?

It can only be the wisdom of God who would train his disciples for life in this way. Would we continue to keep our eyes focused on Him when everything seems to be coming against us, even our closest and most intimate human relationships?

The answer is “yes”. We will continue the journey.

That is not to say that our eyes have not been muddied with the mud that has been slung and with it has come moments of unclear vision.

When I started this website, I knew the Live Brilliantly Today! slogan was absolutely divinely appointed. I have asked the Lord over and over to show me as plainly as possible exactly what this message of living brilliantly today meant and what the vision for this site would be.

God simply giving me the answer would have been too easy and not nearly as transformative as the path of “experiencing” the meaning and the preparation for myself.

The message of live brilliantly today is now beginning to live inside our (Cindy, Suni and I, Jenene) existence and we are experiencing the deeper secrets of its meaning.

The meaning is multi-faceted and full of spiritual and intellectual intrigue. What started as a spiritual journey, became a mental conquest to get it right and now I believe we have come full circle to realize the meaning is a combination of spiritual and intellectual pursuit.

That enlightenment in itself is an epiphany and just like God, it is brilliant because it is from God. It would have not been the same if we (Cindy, Suni and I, Jenene) had not been surviving and fighting so relentlessly to see women healed and how we play a part in that.

To realize that at the core of the Christian woman’s life must be the understanding that we are to stand and be strong in the power of His might, not our own might. In so doing, we release ourself from our own inadequate human strength and rely fully on the power and strength of the Spirit of the Almighty God.

During this journey of transformation, we have felt and learned the balance between humility and confidence, remaining confident in the ministry we are called to and humbled by our own new found inabilities.

Therefore, it is all I can do, to not scream from the rooftops what we’ve known all along, but seem to have had moments of forgetting along the journey. I believe you will be able to relate. Found in Matthew 6:33-34 Seek (aim at and strive after) first the Kingdom of God, (His way of doing and being right) and His righteousness and then all these things you need for your ministry shall be provided to you. (I added a couple of my own words there.)

Often we leave out Matthew 6:34, but the context is incomplete without it.

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

I used the King James version in verse 34 because I believe it is the most accurate in its description of portraying the evil that exists in each day. Iin spite of it the Lord will provide all that we need to accomplish His plan for our lives.

This brings me to another foundational teaching for living as a warrior for Christ and letting His light brilliantly shine through our lives.

Arguably the Apostle Paul being the most brilliant, passionate and scholar minded of the apostles beautifully uses the metaphor of the Armor of God to describe our walk as dedicated and fully committed followers of Christ. Even to the point of recognizing and describing that our walk is in fact, a battle and our identity is that of a warrior. If our identity is in Christ, then Jesus himself was also a warrior. He was a warrior for the Father’s purpose for His life. He did his Father’s will. He came, fulfilled his ministry and went home to be with the Father, and continues to intercede on our behalf. I look forward to that journey myself.

I’ve been a Christian most of my life and I had been very familiar during my life’s journey with many pieces of the armor. But, the Lord has revealed to me lately that there were some pieces missing. It’s almost as if the Apostle Paul knew that would be the case as the Holy Spirit emphasized our need to put on ALL God’s armor in order to stand against all the deceits of the devil.

Ephesians 6:10-17

Amplified Bible (AMP)

10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].

11 Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.

12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.

13 Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].

14 Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude (righteousnessand right standing with God,

15 And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the Good News] of the Gospel of peace.

16 Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one].

17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.

What pieces can you see are missing for yourself?

To revisit where this all began . . .

And so my mind began on a journey of uncovering why the word brilliant? I immediately thought, the brilliance is the light of Christ and we must live with Him at the core of the Christian’s life.

I denied that “brilliance” had anything to do with intelligence. My own Father, as far as I know was one of the most intelligent brilliant minds, unable to access Christ in his thinking, but went from being an atheist to believing in God. I stopped giving any credibility to the intellectual because I saw that it couldn’t save the spirit of my Father. He spent his entire life consumed and obsessed with learning. He said he was unable to pray or meditate because he was unable to “stop thinking”. Truth be told, I have his genes and my mind is challenged to sleep. But, the greater truth is Jesus was brilliant in every sense of the word. I will not know until I get to heaven if my human Father was ever able to find Jesus in his spirit, regardless of his overly thinking mind.

Jesus, however, was truly brilliant and He had to be able to defend the gospel and have conversations that were relevant to the people He was called to minister to. Why would it be any different for us?

He had a ministry. His ministry lasted 3 years. His life, however, was spent in preparation. In that preparation He learned the art of what we now refer to as Christian apologetics. He knew the religious, philosophical, and political arguments of the day, as well as the culture as it related to the religious practices.

In order to live brilliantly today! as Christian women leaders we must be prepared as God calls us individually and uniquely to share The Secret of Jesus to those people He will put on our path.

On my journey the Lord has put many groups of people on my path, coaches, healers, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus who tend to overall share a common thread in this country. Although each religion is distinctly unique and different, the commonality is the pantheistic point of view that is prevalent more in America. Or a more commonly used term heard in America these days is “All roads lead to God”. (The dictionary definition is below.)

What may come to many of you as a surprise that many Christians have fallen into the American Way trap. The spiritual movement occurring in recent years in America is one that is of Western materialism blended with Eastern mysticism. It is what Ravi Zacharius refers to as The New Spirituality in his book called “Why Jesus”. Even Christians fall into this trap of a blend referred to as Weastern Spirituality.

pan·the·ism

[pan-thee-iz-uhm]

noun

1. the doctrine that God is the transcendent reality of which the material universe and human beings are only manifestations: it involves a denial of God’s personality and expresses a tendency to identify God and nature.

But, I’m not going to go into this right now. However, I highly recommend this divinely inspired masterpiece of a book. (my opinion).

I share that information with you so that you can see that our journey to see women healed and the lost be found is at our deepest core ministry purpose. The way to sharing the brilliance of a life in Christ is to begin to live brilliantly ourselves. That message is for all women leaders who are seeking God wholeheartedly in the pursuit of His divine purpose.

Sometimes we have to get lost a few times to discover that we have seen this scenery before. Along the journey we may lose ourselves and tire, but in the process we find the Lord.

The Lord has called us to reach many with the One. Soon, this site will transform into all that Christ desires for it to be. We are working on getting out of His way.

 

Don’t Be Discouraged

This morning I knew I needed to blog, but my mind and heart are discouraged right now and I know I’m not on this particular journey alone.

Someone else needs to read this.

My insides are being turned inside out on this journey to become the woman God can use for this ministry. Do you know that sometimes the Lord calls us to lead even if we DON’T FEEL LIKE IT.

Have you ever felt like you’re walking around with a blindfold on and God’s just directing you here and there and everywhere. Yet you know there’s something beautiful on the other side.

A promise.

A vision.

A purpose.

I want to give up today. I want to throw in the towel. I want to say “I gave it my best shot”.

Then I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone, like I’ve been here before. I recognize this scenery, but yet I always feel surprised that I’m here again.

That place of being UNABLE.

That place of I CAN’T DO IT!

Then I realize the Lord needs me right where I am. He needs to break me of thinking I can do this. He needs me to realize that all I have to do is be willing so HE can do the work and He can get the glory.

I looked up discouraged online and this story below of the Lord directing Joshua to get off his rear end (my words) after Moses had died.

It wasn’t an accident this scripture was divinely handed to me on a silver platter at my point of being totally distraught.

I hope you are encouraged to KEEP GOING if the Lord has given you a vision for His plan for your life or your ministry.

Joshua 1:1-9 (Message)

After the death of Moses the servant of GOD, GOD spoke to Joshua, Moses’ assistant: “Moses my servant is dead. Get going. Cross this Jordan River, you and all the people. Cross to the country I’m giving to the People of Israel. I’m giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on—just as I promised Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon east to the Great River, the Euphrates River—all the Hittite country—and then west to the Great Sea. It’s all yours. All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you. In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. GOD, your God, is with you every step you take.”