Category Archives: The Jesus Woman

I’m always amazed by how many Christians claim to have the gift of spiritual discernment. It concerns me because in this day and age we really need the real thing. In the end times knowledge is at all time high so we can easily be persuaded if we are discerning from a natural perspective, rather than a spiritual one. I think it’s even more difficult to discern things spiritually when we are naturally gifted at decision making. It may seem strange, but perhaps those people who have found themselves praying a lot to make better decisions, could be the ones who have a gift of discernment.

When I ask people what their spiritual gifts are I will hear “discernment” more than any other gift. For myself I even hesitate to say I have this gift because I recognize the challenge we have. Often we have to go against what the natural eye sees and perceives. If you find yourself using common sense and thinking this is discernment it’s likely not the case. Common sense and discernment are not the same, not even close. We’ve got to lay aside ourselves and ask Jesus to help us discern without logic. That seems weird right? I’m not saying that there won’t end up being logic inside the discernment after all is said and done. I am saying that we are not to discern through it.

Learning to discern spiritually, is asking God to help us see like Him. Help us to hear like Him. To nudge our gut based on the Holy Spirit not on bias, logic or evidence. The evidence that you’ve discerned right can show up sometimes way later. There is no need to discern a spirit that is blatantly going against the Word of God or pointing people to unbiblical doctrines. The gift of discernment, like all spiritual gifts, requires us being so connected to God that you fear getting off His path, this is submission of the gift. We’ve got to pray to remain acutely spiritually aware and in tune with His knowledge, not our own. He sees the future, He knows the BIG PICTURE better than even the strongest prophets. Even they only saw in part and prophesied in part.

Wisdom About Discernment

I found this content below and I thought from my own experience regarding discernment that it was spot on. I hope this helps you understand this gift of discernment more. If you discover you don’t have the gift, don’t worry. Just focus on the spiritual gifts you do have. The Lord made the body with all it’s many parts and spiritual gifts and His plan is just perfect.

(The information below was found herehttp://www.acts17-11.com/dialogs_gift_discernment.html)

For it is not about having good antennae in the flesh, it is about staring at Jesus and waiting for His strength, power, wisdom, life, and leading. It is about dying and being resurrected into new life. When the real thing comes it is MILES from the natural in character and effect. When it doesn’t, it is a drag, since flesh by itself stinks. I have had some scandalous failures in the past, but this has humbled and humiliated me–which is good. This internet “sensory deprivation” thing–both where we have done well and failed–has been an excellent training ground. Now when I meet someone, I deliberately try to tune-out what I perceive in the flesh, and simply ask God for discernment in how to respond or not. They say the blind develop heightened senses in other areas. This is a good metaphor for becoming blind in our fleshly abilities such that our spiritual gifts might be awakened by faith and grow.

2Co 5:7 (KJV) For we walk by faith, not by sight.Phil 3:7 (NIV) But whatever was to my profit [Paul's fine human capabilities, skills, accomplishments] I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish [KJV: dung] that I may gain Christ.

“I can discern things; but I have very low knowledge of Biblical teachings. Is it possible to have one without the other?

I believe it is, if it is the real spiritual stuff. If it is just a natural “hunch”, of course, you will not find confirmation later–either from yourself or others–through scripture and/or simply the way things play out.

Here I will offer some insights that might not be shared by many in the current “puffed up with knowledge” Christian environment that we live in. I am of the view that discernment is not knowledge based, but I suspect that many in the modern church would disagree. For example, Hank Hannegraf nearly always uses Scripture to discern and calls his a “discernment” ministry, but I think this incorrect. By using Scripture, his is a “knowledge” and/or an “understanding” or “teaching” ministry. Discernment is more elemental than human thought, more in the domain of the heart or spirit and not so much the mind–except as a conclusion afterwards. In scripture, it is “discernment of spirits” not “discernment of knowledge” or “discernment of facts”; and spirits must be spiritually discerned.

1Cor 12:7-10 (NKJ) But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, …to another discerning of spirits…1John 4:1 (NAS) …test the spirits to see whether they are from God…

The major categories of spirits are 1) God, 2) the devil (or world, if you will: Js 3:15), and 3) the flesh. People with mature discernment can tell the difference between flesh and spirit in themselves and others, thus the difficulty and learning needed at the outset to grow in the gift. They can also perceive the demonic as acute pain, angst, or discord in their spirits. But many in the body do not want to “submit” to this gift, exalting knowledge (biblical, in particular) above all. This is very inefficient and misapplied… even silly at times. For example, you (I suspect) could tell a man from a woman (in most cases) without doing a hormone test, no? The hormone test is like “finding a scripture”–much more accurate for difficult cases; but it is inefficient and silly (even bullying?) to insist on this in every case. Most often you can just tell. So it is with discernment. If it were simply a matter of looking up scriptures, then why a separate gift from knowledge, wisdom, and understanding?

Given this, I have felt led in the last few years not to provide scriptural support if this was not the basis of my conclusion–and normally with real discernment it is not–even if I can come at it from this angle, which I most often can. While this has not gone over well with a few people, predictably, I feel it is time to burst the swollen knowledge bubble. It is like having spiritual smell–why pretend we saw something we really smelled just to make those without smell feel better? And smell can go around corners and into places that sight can’t. Now I just tell them: “that is demonic” pure and simple. Scripture only tells us to discern and is not case specific. My freedom in this boldness is that God (if He can be taken at His word <smiles>) always confirms by two or three.

Mat 18:16 (NIV) …”‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’”2Cor 13:1 (NIV) “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”

Thus, we should never, ever, submit to one man’s prophecy, discernment, or whatever–cult like. If it is really God, then He will confirm it His way. Sometimes the second or third witness is simply the Holy Spirit in us going “YEAH!” (1Jn 5:7-9) but God never breaks His own rules. Thus, we are free to take risks and not worry about misleading anyone, for it is really God then He will get the glory by doing it His way: through at least two or three separate witnesses. This does not work so well in most modern churches, because the “witnesses” are afraid to death (in the pride of flesh) that they might be wrong and thus paralyzed into inactivity. Well, they will never know or learn until they try.

Discerners are given to the body like a nose: they are to sniff things out and give advance warning to that which is gross or moldy or toxic, as well as what might be glorious, gorgeous, or splendid. When we discern, we need no hype or “authority”, we can just simply state in humility and the freedom that Christ has provided in the new-wineskin structure (such as “by two or three”). What people do with this information is up to them and God, but we must speak if prompted by the Holy Spirit with strong discernment within.

In conclusion, my advice might run counter to popular opinion, but I am of the view that discernment has little to do with how much scripture you know, but is more like an ability to see or “smell” into the spirit world. You would do well to learn more of the Bible, and you are doing this… but I think you will find this more like outside confirmation than applying to the basic gift; it will be like getting the hormone test results back on the “queen” that you knew in an instant was not a woman.

Well, if I am right, you will have a tough row to hoe with all the “knowledge touters” beating you up, rejecting your gift, or asking for “hormone tests” from you… and the like; but be bold and know that if it is really Christ-in-you then He will confirm it later even if people reject it now. Remember, it is His glory we are after, not ours. And when it comes to any deficiency in knowledge that you might have, if you are submitting to Christ’s body in your life, then this might well come mainly from others–for this is how God wants it to be. Are all the nose or hand? Just be the nose and get real good at it, and if you are rejected then remember how this felt when you are tempted to reject the foot or some other part. Because sometimes we cut off our noses just to spite our face. For God wants us to be interdependent, that is why He gives gifts “as He chooses”.

We really need each other.

Bring Your Fire & Rain

Some of us feel the cry of Jesus, his heartbreak over His Church.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to watch His children be tossed about, have their eyes closed and sit back comfortably watching the enemy thwart His plan. While He knows His plan is good and perfect, the enemy works to make us weak, lukewarm and useless in God’s Kingdom.

I know how it sounds crazy to a lot of Christians, but I really do feel the cry of Jesus. I have heard His voice to bring healing to the nations and I know as sure as I breathe this very moment that it because we are being so small in the face of such a BIG God. We are wimpy too often and try to do so much within our own strength. Jesus doesn’t work that way. It’s His strength that matters. Our job is submission to the will of God. Our job is boldness in the face of all the giants around us. Our job is to stand even when we’re violently trembling with fear. In that stepping out and attempting to walk on the water, it is the power of God that will rise up and make us into His True Church.

We must battle the mind and the consistent distractions of the enemy in order to come to terms with God’s way of doing things. The news is good, however, because the reward is a victorious life and purpose in Christ and there is nothing in this world more fulfilling than that spiritual knowledge. It’s my deep prayer for a Church awakening, for Jesus to rain down from heaven and end the drought of faith, for fire to consume the works of the enemy and purify our souls so that we will rise up and become true warriors worthy of our calling. We’ve got to get our head into the clouds of God and out of this chaotic world. Ask the Lord to give you a vision for His plan for you and do not let it go. It is what you must hold on to help you keep going forward.

If you let go of the vision because you’re worn out, it’s predictable to move into resignation and then depression. What follows can be a nightmare and a sure way for the enemy to take ground in your mind. It’s a tactic he uses all the time. Resignation brings depression, depression brings sedation and then the world becomes an easy target and we aren’t even a worthy adversary to the enemy. We are then subdued and looking around trying to figure out how in the heck did I get here?  Now, we’ve become truly useless because we’ve blindly given our authority to the enemy. This is why I pray God will open our eyes so we can see what the enemy is doing to the Church.

If our job as Christians is to bring healing to a broken world through Christ, how do we do that when the enemy has such an unworthy military opponent! We are putty in his hands. It’s disgusting! Now, everyone, Christians and world religions are feeling the change in spiritual climate as we draw closer to Christ’s return. Christ is preparing His army and I can’t sugar coat this, He will eliminate the barley that is of no use to him. He is right now drawing His Church from everywhere and the religious are going to balk and not get it. This is why they will lose their religion.

Who are we to tell Jesus where to pull His army from? This is the day we’re in. It’s fighting time and no time for useless Christians. It’s the kind of time like when Jesus said in His Holy Word, you will drink my blood and eat my flesh and the disciples went running. They said this is too much, we can’t handle this crazy talk. That is the season the Church is in, so don’t be surprised when you see a little more chaos and division in the Church because it is all for the sake of preparing for Christ’s return. Those who remain standing will get their crown. Those who see will see even more. Those who truly love will love the unloveables. We will see miracles happen in America because we’re going to get very hungry for Truth in the middle of the chaos. There is great hope during this season.

This American soil is being tilled. The entire New Testament Bible is a witness to the effectiveness of Jesus’ cultivation of the“soil.” His True disciples will go on to do miraculous things in forwarding the Kingdom, as we carry out the Greatest Commission the world has ever known, to share the grace and story of a loving, kind and sovereign Jesus.

As Jesus’ present day ambassadors of Truth, we’ve got to hoe, weed, remove rocks, and fertilize the soil so that the ones in whom the Word is sown might be able to understand it, hold it, live in it, and produce an abundance of fruit. (John 15:5). My prayer for you today is to tend to your own ground so we can help with other people’s soil. Now is the time to draw closer to the Creator of the soil and remember in Mark’s version of this parable, Jesus is portrayed as using the phrase,“nobility of character” (greek word- kalokagathia). The phrase is used to describe “good soil,” that is, the person in whom the Word takes root and produces well.  John 15:5, which is my life’s Scripture to live by, that says (5) “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Notice the word remaining. Remain in Him and you will produce beautiful things. Stand and then stand some more.

by Jenene Stafford ] The Jesus Woman

We Need More Miracles

I know I’m abnormal. At 46 I’ve learned to accept and appreciate that about myself. I actually love meeting other abnormal people too. It reminds me of the beauty and creativity of God.

I think we need more abnormal or peculiar people in the world. It helps others around them to wake up a little, see things differently. We need that.

Part of what makes me so abnormal are my experiences in life and the way I spiritually perceive things. As an example since I was six years old I have been mesmerized by Jesus, truly intrigued with Him as a healer and compassionate God who walked the earth. He really stood out for me. I started resonating with him at a very young age. Somehow I believed he really did perform miracles and I thought with a childlike mind about it and still do. It just hasn’t made sense to me that we aren’t doing what he did a lot more.

Therefore I’ve been on a journey to get answers.

Along with that a gift of heart wrenching compassion came for the forgotten, starving, sick and heart broken. Honestly remember experiencing physical pain when I saw starving children on television and started imaging myself becoming more and more like Jesus. Constantly in the question of “Why don’t we see more miracles?”

As a child I obviously didn’t realize the personal sacrifice, study, prayer, testing and pain that would come along with being abnormal like Jesus. I see myself traveling the world to bring healing to children, men and women.

Am I speaking into being what has not happened yet? No. I’m speaking into being what has already been shown to me. The miracle is in believing in what He prophesies to us and stepping into our anointed/sanctified roles as his Daughters and Sons of God.

This calling requires wisdom in order to bring healing to those that are experiencing physical, spiritual or mental suffering. I do not take this Jesus-inspired calling lightly at all. I have at this point in my own life experienced so much personal pain, abuse, brokenness and wrongful judgment that I prefer to go and be with Jesus if He is not going to use me to shed light into the darkness of people’s lives. Since I have been assured that day is not coming as soon as I’d like, I trust my God to work miracles at my willingness to be used for a purpose that is completely beyond my own abilities.

I believe God is waiting on us to #1 go deeper, #2 step up and #3 believe in miracles with the humility of a little child.

Are you ready to partner with God’s Spirit?

Love & Grace,

Jenene

 

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