Category Archives: Suni’s Blogs

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

Old Habits

by Suni Bradford

I was at work doing my regular duties, one of which is making late payment calls. When a word, one that should not have come out of the mouth of a professed Christian (my words). A short time later, my co-worker asked me softly, how I felt about speaking like that as someone who is working in a ministry sharing Jesus Christ through her blogs? “Ouch”- is all I can say. I felt like a hypocrite with no integrity. I have heard comments in the past about Christians being “hypocrites” and I have responded with they are not hypocrites but sinners. I certainly do not want to be a hypocrite but more so I don’t want to miss the opportunity to shine Jesus light on someone. Whether this light be spoken or felt in kindness.

We talked about how these “old habits” are, oh so stubborn to die. It seems words and actions tend to come so quickly without a conscious decision is made. Romans 7:15 came to mind. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. How many times I’ve read that scripture and thought, how true.

A leader in the area of personal growth Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D. explains how bad habits are actually recorded in neural pathways in our brain and we have to do reprogramming like we would with a computer. Couldn’t we just do a defrag and clean it all up, like we do on our computers? No. Unfortunately,it takes practice.

God can and may do this “clean up” of the brain for some but I believe He is shaping me through the changes, disciplines and practices. Changes that “I” must make. Habits that I must create. He has taken away many of the things that held me in bondage, such as a desire for alcohol and drugs. Praise Jesus. I want to break these habits that keep me from the fullness God has for me.

This has been a great lesson about integrity and humility. I was reminded of the responsibility of being a representative of Jesus Christ. To show Him to others through my words and actions.

Hypocrisy: The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.

Integrity: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

I am grateful that today I can sincerely thank my friend for pointing out my shortcomings. Also I am extremely grateful that God has shaped me into a woman that handled it with grace.

Live bold and blessed, Suni

Now That’s Good News

by Suni Bradford

I recently attended a festival that was designed to share with people the truth and love of our Savior. The message of His desire to have a personal relationship with us.  I wondered how many had heard the message of hope before.  Perhaps, they hadn’t felt the call or perhaps before they never responded. They may have been embarrassed and still others felt the strongest most overwhelming call of their lives.  They felt it emotionally as well as the physical pull from God.  The message which said, “I am love, come to me”. I remember that feeling very clearly when the Holy Spirit first spoke to me.

I got to experience a daughter, who was already a believer see her father come to Christ. She shined as you could see the joy radiating from her.  I had to ask them if I could take a picture of them.  I used her camera so she could see and remember this very special day.  Incredible.

The unselfishness and sincere desire to share the love, hope and life we all can have in Jesus Christ was beautiful.  From the great man that had vision, to the performers along with all of the many people that volunteered and served in one form or another to make this life changing event happen.

As I watched and listened to all the chattering of excitement, laughter, singing to praise music and the fabulous smell of kettle corn, I felt such joy and so blessed to be part of this great family. The whole experience was a reaffirming of His greatness. I could feel the energy in the air by the lives given over to the amazing God and by the reviving of a believer’s faith.  The wave that rolls out around all involved can be an accepted and welcomed drenching. Or it can feel like you’re on an abandoned ship.  Jesus stilled the waters before and He’ll still them again.  Fortunately, we may be attacked for our choice to change and live a different life.  It may make friends or family members uncomfortable as they do not understand this “God” we have found.  It takes great courage and I can guarantee that this new life is worth the risk.  So, be brave little engines and live boldly today.

The saying be brave little engines come from a cartoon called Thomas (the tank engine) and the toy workshops, theme song.  The first verses goes like this.  There are times to be brave and times to be strong, when you are lost and all alone.  You might be somewhere strange and dark, but long to be safe at home.

I think that the people that have accepted Christ, were being very brave and strong as they felt lost and alone and they heard God.  Even if they were in a huge crowd they heard His call. When we feel we are in a dark place, God offers us a safe home and He is always there waiting with open arms.  Now that’s good news.Congratulation and welcome to our family.

So again,  be brave little engines and live boldly today.

Love to all,  Suni

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

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


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

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

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™

Healthy Living and Spirituality

By Suni Bradford

This probably sounds like a strange concept but I have noticed the link between treating myself well and my connection with God.

In the past I would treat myself in the areas of food, which meant indulging in any and every yummy thing I wanted or by getting that extra hour or two to sleep rather than exercising and reading my Bible, thinking that I was enjoying life. My idea of “treating myself” was actually doing the opposite, inflicting harm to myself.  After taking a good look at my habits, I now see how destructive they were.   In looking at the effects they can have on our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well being, I’ve got a new outlook on living a clearer more satisfying life.

Spiritual well being

The emptiness we feel and try to fill with everything else in life can be replaced by peace and contentment through intimacy with Christ.  We may not even know what is eating us, but we know something is missing.   By remembering when I hear myself saying these things, either out loud or in my head, that the source of these lies are the enemy.  God has a much better plan. Jeremiah 9:11 “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”.

Mental well being

The constant stream of negative thoughts, such as I can’t stop eating my ice cream, oh, I could never lose weight, I’ve never been one to keep up on any of my resolutions or goals.  This is one of the enemy’s best tools for keeping us sidetracked and in pain. If he can keep us thinking we cannot change, he has done his job in destructing our self-esteem and self worth as well as distracting us from our relationship with God.  By remembering our value.  Genesis 1:26-27 tells us, “Our value comes from the fact that we are wonderfully made in the image of God”. One of my favorite reminders is Matthew 10:30

“And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Wow…. That pretty much clears it up”.  He loves us.

Emotional well being

By identifying our feelings we can learn to control our urges that we are attempting to mask. Emotions can trigger cravings as we feel that they comfort us.  As we develop a closer relationship with our loving God we are able to achieve more balance in the tough times as well as the good times. 1 John 2:16-17 “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.  And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever”.

Physical well being

The damage we can do to our health by over eating and not moderating our eating of things that are unhealthy for our bodies such as high fat foods, imitation/ processed foods, a diet high in sugar as well as yo- yo dieting.  Some of the effects may be headaches, irritability, fatigue, feeling like we are in fog all the time or worse yet, the stress on our hearts, arteries etc. 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 “ Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body”.  This also says to me the importance of exercise.  Keeping our bodies strong and mobile is beneficial now and as we age.

The energy boost resulting from the increased intake of oxygen, the building of muscles as well as the mental clarity is worth the lost sleep.  The confidence, a result of the discipline we develop, can help us to put out a positive energy to the people around us.  They’ll wonder what got into you.  Perhaps creating friendships and opportunity to share the love of Christ with them.

Accountability can be extremely helpful in the area of goal setting and encouragement.  I encourage you to not do as I did in the beginning of my transitioning to a healthier life.  I picked a pal that we would both say heck with exercise this morning, lets go have breakfast. However, we did work our biceps, right…

In believing that our lives can be more rewarding in all areas when the clutters of our previous patterns are cleared of negative aspects. Be renewed by Christ’s healing and forgiveness.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17

I pray this article will encourage the desire to change from unhealthy patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving into peace, joy and a newfound confidence that God has a plan for us to prosper in every area of this great life.

“I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Now, go share the love.

Live Brilliantly Today™