Category Archives: Christian Women Today

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

Jesus Loves The Bad Girls, Do You?

By Jenene Stafford

I didn’t grow up with Joan and Ward Cleaver as my parents. My childhood was no picnic. It was really tough and I honestly wondered if I would survive those first 26 years. Looking back I can only believe it was a miracle from God that I went from a victim to a survivor and ultimately a thriver.

Sometimes when we’re punished inappropriately by our parents we create an identity for ourselves. In my case, I was a good little girl, who felt like a bad girl.

At some point, I became that and began living out the lie. For nearly 40 years I suffered with a BAD GIRL complex even when I was way beyond living like a bad girl.

Anytime I didn’t do something just perfect, or if I made a not-so-good decision I would get physically sick to my stomach.

If my husband didn’t like something about my work in our company I would worry and feel sick about it. It was really weird.

It took me years to figure out why I constantly would physically feel like I was in trouble if I didn’t do everything perfect.

But, after years of digging to find this deep-rooted hang up, a faithful God freed me completely of this.

Along the way, I discovered something wonderful about Jesus. He gets you and me better than anyone.

This is the truth about Jesus . . .

He loves the “Bad  Girls”

He is unconditional love, contrary to what many may think right now. This comes with a disclaimer: This doesn’t mean you’ll live life without some major hurts and challenges along the way.

He is the Savior of our souls and our constant stupidity and trouble we tend to get ourselves into. He’s the person that says, “Well done, my good and faithful child, when it takes everything not to have a sexual affair that every pour in your body is craving.”

He’s the God who comforts you when you’ve just finished watching 2 hours of porn and you’re now sick to your stomach and your spirit aches and your body is still unsatisfied.

He’s the lover of the Mary Magdalene’s. He’s the God who sadly watches his molested daughters grow up to be prostitutes, knowing that every suffering of evil can be used for good.

He’s the Jesus that says to the Father, “Forgive them for they know not what they do”, after we’ve just aborted our child. He’s the healer of our guilt, not the cause.

He’s the God who desires above all that we come to know Him personally.

Jesus didn’t come to condemn us, he saves us from ourselves and accepts us no matter how many wrong choices we make. But, what he does not do, is force you to believe he is real. He’s not only some great prophet that lived a couple of thousands of years ago. He was all that and so much more. He died a horrible death and rose from the dead 3 days later, proving to the world that he was God in human form.

He’s the Father to the fatherless. The love to the woman with an aching heart for a husband. He’s the comforter when we turn to him. He’s the healer of our broken hearts and broken bodies.

He’s our greatest teacher.

He speaks to us.

He makes us new so we don’t have to keep living in the past with all it’s mistakes and pain.

His arms are always open if we’ll let him help us. He’s a gentleman and doesn’t push his will on us. He gives us freedom to choose.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, he never did anything like that for me.” I’d have to ask you, Have you ever fully surrendered to Him?

He wants to be in your life. Jesus isn’t a far off God like some like to think. He’s an intimate God. He is our Spiritual Father and he can love you better than any human father ever could.

He knows every hair of your head and made you completely and uniquely different than every other woman on the planet. That is so cool!

The more we trust him and learn about him the more we’re able to see him working in our lives. He’s the only reason I survived the first 26 years of my life. He’s the most amazing, full of humor, wise, creative, loving, forgiving, kind, gentle, powerful, humble person I know. The best person on the planet can’t even measure up because he is perfectly God and his Spirit still lives on with us.

Our spirits are all craving something more and we will try everything to fill that void. Underneath it all, it’s a real God we want to know. We’re all on a search for a real and living God.

I’m here to tell you, Jesus is all that and more. His love is so far out of what we could ever imagine and his peace will save you from suicide.

He’s the God that heals us of our broken lives and broken spirits. He’s the God that heals you of addictions to alcohol, drugs, food, prescription drugs, co-dependency, pornography and every other hang up.

He is faithful to us, but we haven’t done a very good job of being faithful to him. We ignore him because we want to do things our own way, even when his way is far superior.

He is a place of faith, hope and true love.

He is waiting for you to get that He gets you.

Live Brilliantly Today!

Jenene, xoxo

The Best Available

By Suni Bradford

On my way into the grocery store the other day a man stopped me. He was obviously down or perhaps even homeless. He asked if I would buy him something to eat. To be honest, I wasn’t feeling particularly giving or feeling the holy spirit’s nudges as I often do. Nonetheless I went to the store and said, “pick out a few things”, asked him to be gentle on my budget, and meet me toward the front.

I had finished shopping and went to find him. He had chosen a lovely expensive stick of salami and some imported smoked cheese. In my usual sarcastic humor I said “by all means you might as well add some crackers”. I didn’t dare say wine. We spoke about his life circumstances as we waited in line. He appeared fairly content and he said he believes in God. He then said thank you and left.

Several things I contemplated when reflecting on the encounter.

One thought was why not get the best when we ask for help? No earthly counselor or friend can give us the guidance, care and love that our Heavenly Father offers. God wants us to depend on him. He has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
John 14:26

Another being, that we never know who we are entertaining. I know for myself, if I could remember and practice this principle, what a difference could be made for expanding the kingdom.

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
Hebrews 13:2

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. 
Matthew 25:35

The last being, how grateful I am that I always have enough and the confidence in our Lord Jesus Christ through studying His Word which tells me He has my best interest at heart. His goodness can and will shine through any fear of not enough when I stay close to Him and put on the shield of protection. This gift so freely given, not earned. I encourage you women to spend time depending on God for comfort, wisdom and guidance.

We have the best available. So go live courageous and shine brilliantly today.

Suni

Page One, Time For Change

By Cindy Grasso

There is always a page one, a beginning, a place to start. Long before there was a documentary on the New York Times called Page One, there was a beginning of all beginnings documented in God’s Word:

“In the beginning God created … ”

Genesis 1:1NIV

This is what God does, He creates.

On page one, God’s Spirit hovered over the void of nothing and created something. This alone should bring us great hope and build our faith because it shows that us that the only thing needed for new creation is God’s desire to do so.

God desires to create new thing in your life.

How small my prayers are. I so often pray for God to make something of me- from me. “Dear Lord” I pray, “Take this broken thing I am and do something good with it.”  Instead, I could be praying, ” What new thing do you want to do in me? What new thing do you want to create for me to do? What new thing do you want to use me in?”

God is willing, able and has provided everything for you to walk in new things.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV)

What is stopping you?

“Oh, I don’t have it in me- I can’t do it”, you say.

Good. I am glad that you know that you don’t have the power to do it. Now, you can ask God to do what only He can do – create something out of nothing.

“Oh, I am not good enough”, you say.

Good. I’m glad you know that. Starting over has nothing to do with your personal goodness and everything to do with God’s.

“Oh, I have screwed up too many times”, you say.

Good. I’m glad you know that. Now you can ask for forgiveness from the God who offers it to you and let past regrets and mistakes sink into His sea of forgetfulness.

The time for change is now. It is time to let the old things go and start walking in the new things God has for you. There is always a page one, a beginning, a new place to start.

The beginning is always today.

- Mary Wallstoncraft

I love hearing from you and appreciate every comment!

Living in His brilliance,

Cindy Grasso

 

 

 

Remembering Easter

By Jenene Stafford

Hello Brilliant Ladies,

Jesus is in the air and in the season.

Just a quick note today to let you know where my heart is. My prayer this morning in the shower was to be fully present to the gift the Lord gave us when He died and rose again.

It’s easy to get distracted with the “holiday” hustle and bustle and forget what it’s all about. Even, for those of us involved in ministry, we can lose touch with the reason we celebrate the Easter holiday because we’re in “get it done” mode.

Let’s pray the Lord reveals himself this week more powerfully than ever before!

It is my prayer that all of you search yourself deeper than ever before to discover the life the Lord wants you to live, the people he wants you to touch and the legacy he wants you to leave.

Live Brilliantly Today!

Jenene, xoxo

Feeling His Messages

By Suni Bradford

It had been a great day. Headed home from work, feeling content, singing my praise music and enjoying the light rain.  I love praising God as I drive. It is a great place to praise Him and not embarrass yourself as far as your voice is concerned.  My saying is “I’m a star in my car”.  Steal it if you want.

I‘m sure I look like a crazy lady as I do raise my hands.   I know what your thinking, both hands. Really ?  Well, most the time I still have one hand on the wheel.  At least now with cell phones they don’t know if you’re crazy or having a conversation. Which I am grateful to say we have the opportunity to have conversations with a very real God who is with us no matter where we are, how well we sing or how eloquent we feel that we pray.

Music is a constant reminder of His love for us and the desires of His heart as well as our cries to Him.  The song I AM NEW by Jason Gray came on and as I sing this song I have heard many times.  The Holy Spirit was present and said listen. Listen closely to the lyrics in this song.  Personalize and absorb what I am saying to you.

Now I won’t deny

The worst you could say about me
But I’m not defined
By mistakes that I’ve made
Because God says of me

I am not who I was
I am being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy
And I’m dearly loved
I am new

Who I thought I was
And who I thought I had to be
I had to give them both up
Cause neither were willing
To ever believe

I am not who I was
I am being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy

And I’m dearly loved
I am new

Too long I have lived
In the shadows of shame
Believing that there
Was no way I could change
But the one who is making everything new
Doesn’t see me the way that I do
He doesn’t see me the way that I do

I am not who I was
I am being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy
And I’m dearly loved
I am new

I am not who I was
I am being remade, I am new
Dead to the old man, I’m coming alive
I am new

Forgiven beloved
Hidden in Christ
Made in the image of the Giver of Life
Righteous and holy
Reborn and remade
Accepted and worthy, this is our new name

This is who we are now…

I AM NEW by Jason Gray

The love I felt (feel) was so strong, I had tears of joy running down my face.  I knew at that moment that He is doing great things in me.  No matter how long have been Christians; we can be assured that we are constantly being renewed for His good.

Then as I passed the park near my house a tree stood making the statement of new life, one side had no leaves and the other was completely green.  Thanks God for the warm fuzzy. He wants me to share this joy with ladies. To encourage you to give yourselves to knowing and to living for God with every cell in our bodies.

Live Brilliantly Today™

Suni

Fed Up With Mediocrity

By Cindy Grasso
Until you get fed up with mediocrity, you will never step up into excellence or even reach for it. It takes energy, determination and perseverance to go after a brilliant life. It is the life God has called you to. It is the life God has provided for you though the shed blood of Christ- He paid for it. But you must walk in it. You must take it and apply it to your life.

There are moments in the New Testament when I get the feeling that Jesus was fed up with the mediocre life that God’s children were living. When he moved from private to public life, he proclaimed the “God’s kingdom is at hand” (Mark 1:15) he was in essence saying – reach out and take it! Repent- turn around from the life you have been living and start moving toward the life God has made to you to live.

Here is a one such moment from Matt 8:21-25:

Another follower said, “Master, excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have my father’s funeral to take care of.” 

Jesus refused. “First things first. Your business is life, not death. Follow me. Pursue life.” 

Then he got in the boat, his disciples with him. 

The next thing they knew, they were in a severe storm. Waves were crashing into the boat-and he was sound asleep! They roused him, pleading, “Master, save us! We’re going down!” (Matthew 8:21-25 MSG)
Then…

Get busy living or get busy dying.

Are you waiting to live? Waiting to pursue God’s call on your 
life? Are you putting it off because you have too many things to do right now? Jesus is not encouraging us to abandon our responsibility to our family but he is challenging our excuses. When the follower asked Jesus if he could be ” excused” from following Jesus, he was actually asking to go live in his father’s house and take care of him until he died for an indefinite period of time, definitely more than “a couple of days”. Jesus called him out on it. He  knew that a couple of days really meant “I will follow you when I’m done following me and done with what I think I should be doing”.

Jesus refused- he will not agree with mediocrity, he will not tell you, “Yes, go ahead and waste your time, energy, and creativity waiting.” No. He says, “There is more for you. Stop focusing on death and start chasing after life, my life, my power, my grace! Follow Me.”

One of my dearest friends, Deb Killian, is an amazing woman who loves God passionately. I have known here for over 15 years and in that time I have walked with her through triumphs and tragedies. One of the hardest times in her life was when her first husband passed away from cancer. I will never forget the morning I got the call that her husband had died. My heart broke for my friend and I rushed right over so could wrap my arms around her. Those were dark days for my friend. She loved her husband do much and I watched my friend push through those days of grief walking hand-in- hand with God. After Deb’s husband died, there were times she felt like she had died too. Who was she now? What were God’s plans for her now? But she was not dead, she was alive and God had a plan for her- a call that stayed clear for over twenty years and did not diminish when her whole life dramatically changed.  As long as I had known Deb, she has had a call to go to Africa and bring God’s love to it. She dreamed about it, prayed about it and for years the possibility of it looked well, impossible. In those first few years after her husband’s death,  God began to stir within her the truth that now was the time to go after the business of life – the purpose He had for her. What a glorious purpose it is! As He developed her heart and vision for Africa, He also brought new love into her life through her second husband Roy. Together, they head up “Eden’s Song Ministry” (link:  http://edenssong.org ). Their ministry supports missionaries in Africa by providing resources for them such as refurbished iPods, medical supplies, goats and uniforms so the children can go to school, along with many other things. They also go to Africa once or twice a year to lead a team and minister to the people there.  Deb describes her journey from grief to Africa in her book “Eden’s Song – A Women’s Cry” (link:http://edenssong.org/index.php?s=ms&nid=37705&grpid=8314&grpDetails=true ). I highly recommend it for anyone who has recently lost someone or is feeling lost themselves as to what God wants them to do. I love this picture of her in the middle of the African children. It reminds that He who begins a good work is faithful to complete it (Phil. 1:6).
It is time to get busy living!

Jesus said: First things first. Priorities are key to walking in victory.  If you aim at nothing- you will hit it every time. How easy it is to let the small things distract us from the important things. Keep first things first and you will be able to do more than you ever thought you could.  It is important to know what your priorities are. Knowing that helps you make wise decisions in every other area of your life.

What is the 1 priority according to Jesus? Follow God- pursue life.  In other words, stop following others, the world or even yourself. Follow God-His word, His way, His guidance, His plan. When you do that, a brilliant life follows.

Your business is life, not death- we are in a world that is dying, and plagued with sin’s rotting stench. We see it in our relationships, feel it in our bodies and have it thrown in our face every day. But our business- that which we are to live ” like it’s our job” is to pursue life. Go after it! Chase it- pursue it like it was that boy you had a crush on in Jr. High but are not hindered by shyness and self- consciousness. Think about it, dream about it, follow it around, find out what it is doing and plan to be where it is – LIFE!

I want you to realize that right after Jesus said “Pursue life!”,  he got in a boat and faced death. It isn’t going to be easy, in fact, you go after God’s LIFE and purpose you have upped the anti and it will seem get harder. The storm will ramp up to the point where you think, “I can’t do this- I’m going down.” The Bible says it was a severe storm. Not a small one but the type of storm that does damage and threatens lives. Yet, Jesus slept. Why? I think because he already knew this storm wasn’t going to kill them. It was just a part of his journey.

The disciples followed Jesus right into that boat -they followed Jesus right into the storm. Can I tell you, that is the right place to be. You are going to encounter storms in your life. There was a storm on the shore that night too. I would rather be in the boat with Jesus than on the shore without him. I would rather get in the boat and follow Him than let doubt and fear keep me on the shore of mediocrity. 

No one is telling you that it will be easy, least of all God. But He does tell you that it is vital and possible. You were made to live a brilliant life hand- in -hand with God.  

What is stopping you?

• What is your #1 excuse?
• Make a list of your priorities. 
• Ask God to give you His list.  Rewrite your list.
• Don’t worry about the storm you are in – it is not going to kill you and it is just a part of your journey. Read the rest of story in Matthew 8 (Jesus spoke to the storm and it ceased!)
• Get fed up with mediocrity and go after the call of God on your life like it was your job!

I love to hear from you and hear what God is doing in your life. Please don’t be shy, I appreciated every comment.

Live Brilliantly Today™

Cindy Grasso


Spirituality vs Christianity

By Jenene Stafford

As I’ve been researching some of the Buddhist types of teaching, I admit it is quite fascinating. I find it interesting that research shows two different schools of thought. One being that you can practice the teaching of Buddha without actually being a Buddhist.

It is the same with Christianity. A person can practice the religious philosophies of Christianity without being an authentic Christian.

A rather analytical kind of religious intelligence has for centuries been elevated by western culture, above spirituality. This form of religious intelligence is responsible for many tragedies that still continue around the world.

It leads me to the spiritual realization that there are many Christians who practice Christianity from a religious standpoint, but yet don’t know God.

At some level as a spirit-filled Christian it’s a little embarrassing to recognize that a key reason people follow a Buddhist or otherwise lifestyle is because of the “spiritual” elements of their metaphorical practices and yet . . .

Here we are, Christians, and many of us don’t take advantage of the deep and rich spiritual gifts God promises us. Much of the world follows non-religious, yet spiritual practices. Seems strange to me!

This leads me to another thought.

Eastern Philosophy vs. Western Religion

Believe it or not, there are MANY SIMILARITIES amongst Spirit-filled Christians and people who practice eastern metaphorical and spiritual practices. Which brings me to wonder, how many Buddhists have a misunderstanding of what the Ancient Biblical spiritual practices really are.

So fascinating to see the ‘box’ Christians have been put into, via our own religious and political choices historically made. We also have Christian Apologetics for all of the religious wrongs so much of the church has been responsible for.

At least one thing that is missing is the fact that, without question, much of the ministry of the early church through the apostles was to demolish the idea of “religious practice” in order that people would “spiritually” connect to their divine purpose, walk in their Spiritual gifts and connect through meditation and prayer, the Spirit of God.

Christians in the early church experienced moments of enlightenment. It was occurring daily in the form of spiritual mysteries revealed. In fact, it was not due to a political agenda that people chose Christ, but rather because his light was so bright that people were drawn to him and his miracles. Another point of view is that people were so drawn to the light of Christ that they risked and gave up everything to follow him. People have been searching true enlightenment since time began.

Consider that true enlightenment is being connected to God in a way where He is in us and we are in Him. It is void of concepts, words and doctrines. It is in fact the most authentic spiritual state of being, where we cease to exist so that God can exist fully in us and is evident in our actions. Below you will see where Paul spoke of wisdom and deep spiritual things.

I Corinthians 2: 6-16

(6) When I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world, or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten.

(7) No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God – his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for glory before the world began.

(8) But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord.

(9) That is what the Scriptures means when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

(10) But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searched out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.

(11) No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit.

(12) And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

(13) When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.

(14) But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all seems foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.

(15) Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others.

(16) For “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ Jesus.

We have seen that the choice to follow atheism is partly out of a reaction to the confines of the world-view of Christianity which is extremely skewed, as it pertains to religion. Non-Christians and Christians alike, in large part, don’t recognize the biggest secret of all. That is, to be a follower of Jesus is distinctly different than being a subscriber to Christianity as a religious philosophy. I profoundly believe that freedom comes through accessing the spiritual realm of life, as it relates to Jesus as the embodiment of wisdom, not religion.

I Corinthians 1:30

God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy and he freed us from sin.

The way I look at it, we don’t have to wait to experience spirituality and wisdom. We are now free to come into the presence of God as was the intention for the Jews, separate from endless requirements. Consider, like many Jews, religious Christians are still not accessing God, and have an invisible barrier keeping them from experiencing God spiritually. The blinding barrier worldwide is the religion of Christianity.

The Bible spoke often of the choice to walk in the flesh or walk in the spirit. Clearly Jesus taught that following the path of the flesh led to destruction.

Consider hell as a place where we are void of our spirituality as it is connected to a Good God. Hell then becomes a concept human beings can stomach without looking through the lenses of Western religion and a tainted religious past. In my reality as a very spiritual follower of Jesus, hell is a place where the purification to holiness becomes a process that is never-ending and the holy and unholy do not exist together.

If our flesh or humanity is contrary to the holiness of God, because of it’s very limiting nature, as it pertains to accessing God, then it makes practical sense, from that perspective, that it would be necessary to work around our humanness by humbling our flesh (ignoring our cravings for purity’s sake) and submitting to the authority of the Spirit.

To delve deeper into this I must almost seemingly contradict myself for the sake of this teaching. Spirituality in fact is contrary to our human nature and practical at the same time. We must look at this practically, because where you may be right now is likely looking through the lenses of practicality. How profound that we must walk the path from humanity to practicality to spirituality and finally reach God through this process.

If you can’t see the value in a practical approach to spirituality you may never know what Jesus meant when he said, “Many people pleaded Lord! Lord! I did your will and performed miracles in your name so why won’t you let me into heaven? Then he said, “It is because you didn’t do the will of my Father. I never knew you.”

Matthew 7: 21
21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

You could read the scripture above and you may have a bad taste for Christianity or you’re feeling uncomfortable because it could be confronting for you personally. Setting that to the side, I think the more important thing to see is, Jesus says, “I never knew you.” If God does not know us, it is because we did not allow him to know us. God gives us free will to walk in the light (know him spiritually) or remain in the darkness (live limited by our humanity).

John 3: 18-21

(18) There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s own Son.

(19) And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil (against God).

(20) All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.

(21) But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.

True spirituality is being righteous because God’s own Spirit longs for righteousness (not to be confused with self-righteousness), not because of the law. One motive comes from a religious moral motive and the other comes from our love for God. God in his infinite wisdom knows the motive our heart.

To complete this topic: We must know God. When we know God, we will listen and know the path to an abundant spiritual path. Religion is not the means to knowing God. However a brilliant and fulfilling spiritual life can be found through Jesus.

So, if you’re a spiritual person looking for a spiritual experience and don’t believe it exists in the Christian Church, please don’t give up on us. Things are changing in the world and many people are finding a spiritual solution to fill their spiritual needs in the Christian Church.

But, I would say, do your due diligence to ask around and find a Church that offers a profound spiritual experience, not a religious one. Spirituality is catching on, however slow and unenlightened we have been. God is love and he is showing up.

Live Brilliantly Today!™

Jenene

Growing Through Life’s Challenges

By Suni Bradford

Most of us, believers and non-believers, tend to go to God for help when painful issues such as marital, lost children, financial issues arise.  Our fears that stem from not knowing how to handle these pains can sometimes put us into a numb, frozen state.  We go searching for relief, peace and direction.  We desperately need some help and may feel the need for others input when there seems to be no immediate answers from our Loving Counselor.  If we are a non-believer this can be very lonely and non productive.

There are two directions we can choose. One being, God’s will in our lives and the other being self will. By trusting God at and through His word, we can feel the relief of knowing that He does have our best interest at heart.  His word tells us over and over that He is in control.  He has a perfect plan for us.

Jeremiah 1:5  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”

We see such a small glimpse of our lives and in our humanness cannot see as He sees.  The full picture is far more then we can ever imagine.  We have so many scriptures to got to for peace.

Romans 8:18 “Consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  More is always revealed.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Romans 8:28 tells us, we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.

Secondly, we can operate in self-will.  The need for instant answers can easily bring us more discomfort, anxiety and perhaps guilt for hasty decisions made or actions taken.  By rushing to make these decisions because we feel guilt from someone else or lose of control is not a healthy emotional state. The result on our mental and physical wounds can show up in many forms such as isolation and illness.  By looking to God for clarity in our motives we can take responsibility for our part and leave the rest to what it is.  Keeping in mind that the only people we can control is ourselves.  If financial hardship is the challenge and we are making efforts to change our circumstances, faith is our lifesaver.

A prayer that I rely upon is the serenity prayer.  “God grant me serenity to accept the things cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference”. This is a simple rule but can be a challenge to live by.

Many challenges will come our way through our life, the Word tells us this and yet we continue to be taken back when they hit. As we learn to go to God in all things, the good, the bad and the ugly, we can begin to understand His amazing love for us.  He wants to be our all.  We were designed that way.  We can choose to take advantage of the free gift.  By practicing waiting on the Lord we can have a completely different view of these growing pains.  We can grow to have more Christ like characteristics.  In turn helping us to handle future challenges with more grace and perhaps helping another to do the same.

We sometimes think that God should deliver an immediate answer for tough decisions that we need to make.  Especially when we are doing the right things, like prayer, meditation, time in the word and Godly counsel.  His answer may simply be “be still and wait”.

I can picture Jesus sitting waiting for His hurt children to come sit on His lap and be soothed.  As so many of us have done with our earthly parents, for example; when scuffing a knee or being bullied.  He feels our hurts.

Live Brilliantly Today™