Tag Archives: Christianity Today

Oh to be a reckless ragamuffin!

I’m always amazed to see that deep down, we really are on a journey to accept ourselves and to learn to unleash the “ragamuffin” inside. Jesus is in the reckless ragamuffin.

RagamuffinWhatever is “religious” the reckless ragamuffin is the complete opposite. I want to be like that all the time. I want to be fully me because in that love and acceptance of myself, I hear Jesus whispering, be brave, be yourself, then people will see me. It seems like a strange paradox because we can’t really be fully ourselves until we’ve emptied ourselves of ourselves. Jesus is the cup that overflows in me. The true nature of God breathes in the person willing to boldly walk like Jesus walked and love like Jesus loved. We are the ones that from a distance people say, that’s one unusual chick! I’m ok with that. Up close and personal people say you inspire me to be more like Jesus. That’s a legacy worth living. So, it’s worth it when people don’t get me, to know the ones that do, experience the love of Jesus. The ragamuffin’s are the free spirited Christians who will not conform to religion, but are willing to be totally transformed by the miraculous grace of Jesus Christ.

Rich Mullins was the best at being a reckless Ragamuffin for Jesus. He left you wanting more of Jesus and more of life lived spirited and in the moment. The story of his life is playing around the country now. I’m pretty sure it will be playing on the Big Screen soon. I am so glad. He was a walking living testimony of God’s incredible poetic nature in a simple man. Watching this musician on stage pour himself out and Jesus right along with him is exhilarating! He leaves you wanting more. Truth is, we want to be like that, don’t we? We want to get beyond being held back. It’s a journey to realize that fame, fortune, money, fitting in and all that stuff is a facade that keeps the true you bound up. However, Jesus came to set the captives free.

When Jesus captivates us we will captivate others and the freedom cycle of making disciples lives on. That’s what the apostles were all about. Jesus had something special to offer and nothing could compare. That kind of spiritual freedom was worth their life. They were glad to lay down their lives for the message of Jesus’s grace. Fame and fortune won’t bring honor or glory that lasts. I hope this musician man, Rich Mullins touches this new generation of youth. He was ahead of his time, but I believe the youth of this day are ready for him. Rich unveils the Truth that making Jesus famous has deep implications that last an eternity all the while touching humanity on every level. He removes all boundaries and perceptions of who is worthy to be loved by the Lord Jesus.  What a legacy! I wish I would have known him personally, surely I would have called him brother. Watch the trailer here and Amy Grant as well as other people’s testimonies of what an extraordinarily unique Christian he was, here. You will be so inspired to just let go and let Jesus work miracles in your life.

My Vulnerable Journey To See

eyes-cropped-smallIt has taken me a lifetime (I’m 46 years old), literally to understand who I am in the Body of Christ. What is my role? Although this blog is a little bit about my personal journey of what I myself have perceived as a strange gifting of the Holy Spirit, a seer, this blog is intended to make you think about how your spiritual gifts are being used in Jesus Christ’s Church today.

Are you holding back your spiritual gifts?

It is my authentic prayer for you that you seek like never before for Godly insight so that you may be made a worthy of the calling on your life. Because our Lord is gracious, merciful and kind, He does provide allowances for our lack of courage to step out and boldly do what He asks us to do. Today, I pray you go a little further in your walk toward boldness and courage because we are at war and all whom He calls are soldiers of His Kingdom, like it or not.

If we are soldiers, who are we fighting against? We live like we’re fighting humanity and each other way too much in the Church. We have to learn to stop ourselves from thinking on this elementary level. We are more brilliant than this. The Holy Bible clearly says we fight NOT against flesh and blood. Ephesian 6:12 says,

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

God does not hide the fact that the enemy is the ruler of this world and we are called to shed light into the darkness that is all around. It is a difficult task if you take that seriously. Being a warrior for Jesus is not easy, not comfortable and will cause you to seek the face of God for strength, wisdom and courage to keep fighting and keep standing for the Truth of Jesus and His Way of life and eternity.

Eternity

This thought of eternity is so uncomfortable for some human beings because the enemy has taken a great focus to counteract what Jesus has taught about it as he does with all spiritual teachings of Jesus.

Religions around the world have adopted reincarnation as a way to believe we will just evolve forever. The challenge with that way of thinking is that we will never need to be accountable to the Spirit of God. This way of thinking actually takes God out of the equation because there is no logic to it, all the while our minds being blind to think this is God’s way. However, it contradicts itself.

Another way to eternity is to become so blinded by the carnal mind that hell becomes a desirable place. That sounds crazy, but I am telling you the truth, otherwise there would be no Church of Satan. Hell is perceived by those who have been completely given over to a carnal way of existing as a place of power.

I could go on for days with the enemy’s devices for blindness in the Church and in the world.

However, the Word of God in Isaiah 14 says this about the enemy’s leader, you look upon him narrowly and consider him and will think, is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? Satan’s power and those of his leading will come to an end. Without focusing on the drama of hell and only the reality of the condition of the spirit, the spiritual environment will be absent of God.

No demon will bow to satan. Every knee will bow to our Lord Jesus and forever and all eternity the demons will know that the choice they made to follow was one that was unable to be undone. Even now, they are very clear, more than we are as humans, that they took on the essence and nature of evil and there is no turning back. Now, they have a responsibility to “be” who they chose to be. They have one focus to kill, steal and destroy and take as many souls with them as they can to the place originally created for the devil and his demons. It is the job of all that is evil and we need to be fully aware (as the Spirit allows) to understand the schemes and the workings of the devil. We’ve got to be much more enlightened by Jesus’ Church so we are not in the blind and we can start taking back lost ground.

Why do I say this? Because the enemy has the upper hand too often.

However, there are a few of us who have always seen things differently. Not only do we exist to draw people closer to Jesus, but we see things from a spiritual perspective, rather than a worldly perspective most often.  In other words we recognize the impacts of worldly things on spiritual and heavenly things. This has been a big challenge for me because I have clearly felt like an outsider and wondered and begged God to answer why I see things differently than others. The more I see the Truth of Jesus and the things the enemy does to handicap God’s children, the more the Lord encourages me to lead this charge.

I would be a liar if I said that so much of the time I do not want this calling. I just want to live a normal life, but I’m not normal. I perceive things most people do not perceive. I admit that there was a time a few years ago when the spiritual world got to be so much, I told the angels, demons and God to to just leave me alone. I needed a break. So they did for awhile. That has to do with the intensity of the gift and my willingness to grow in it.

What Do I Do?

Last year was one of the more difficult journeys of my life. With the loss of my dear Brother Zach, I started to write a book called Saving Zach. Truth be told, he was possessed with alcohol and demons.

Eight years ago after 18 days of no alcohol and hanging on for dear life, double-tied to a hospital bed because he kept breaking the straps, I brought my Bible into the hospital room. He was making disgusting snake gestures with his tongue and slivering his body like a snake as far as he could slither down the bed. Then the demon spoke and He said to me very exorcist like, I am going to kill you.

I let my mother know she needed to get someone from the church and exorcise the demons. I didn’t feel strong enough to take that on and I felt I was too close to him. We were only 11 months apart and we had a unique kind of bond. I didn’t think I could do it because I thought the devil would somehow use my love for my brother against me. We needed someone he couldn’t tempt in that way.

However, my mother did not follow through. They were not exorcised, but they quieted.

Last year my brother fell off the wagon again, but the damage to his body was so tremendous and of course I prayed for his healing. I prayed the Lord would release him from the grip of the enemy who had bound him as a child and convinced him that God couldn’t possibly exist after such a painful childhood. He opened the door to the enemy and life was a living hell until the Lord released him this last summer.

In his last weeks I spent 18 days with my brother, but his mind was not there enough for me to make sure he could give himself back to God. He was a strong Christian as a child and he loved the Word of God and he loved Jesus.

I waited every day for my opportunity, but it never came the way I wanted. So I laid hands on him and I prayed fervently for his soul. I ministered to his completely broken body and massaged his legs which ached from being in bed for 3 months. I felt a kind of peace and I knew in my spirit I was doing all I could and everything else was up to my Lord and his ministering angels.

My brother spoke of a white lightening creature in the room and struggled to discern what was real. I hoped it was an angel from the Lord. Finally I surrendered to God’s way and I had to leave back to California. My brother wanted to go home desperately, but he didn’t know what home was. He begged me to take him home and my heart felt like it was being ripped out of my chest watching my beloved brother suffer so much torment and mental confusion. I didn’t realize he probably meant take me to heaven.

The Lord gave my husband and I a Word before I left to Idaho to be with him in those final days. I asked him to release him from the bondage and God said, “I am releasing him.” I didn’t know what that meant exactly, if he’d live or die. But, I knew he was going to put an end to his suffering and he would by His grace, make a way for my brother to get back home as he had been begging me, to heaven. I knew he was going to heaven because if he was going to end up in forever torment, he would remain imprisoned and God would have not promised to release him.

Although I was grateful to my Lord for those words when I had prayed for twenty five years for my brother, I still have memories of his suffering that I wish I could shake, but perhaps due to my ministry, never will.

As I was there going through the emotions of watching him fall apart in every sense of the word, my heart just wanted to save him so badly. I started writing about Saving Zach.

What happened after that was everything in my life began to fall apart, or be taken from me and I was tested, all the while hearing the Lord speak to me, “keep standing, keep standing no matter what.” And although I felt so weak from the experience of it all, I now understand what the Lord meant when He said, I am made strong in your weakness.

Here I am today seven months later after incredible testing and three and a half years of sifting to tell you, we exist to let this hurting, sick and tormented world know that it is Jesus who saves the Zach’s of the world.

The memories of my brother Zach and his sufferings encourage me all the more to take back what the enemy has stolen, to bring healing to the nations and exhort the Church to stand against all the schemes of the enemy.

It is not enough to know who wins in the end. This journey to follow Christ is about becoming the Church in all it’s glory. 

You are His Church. You are His hands. You are His mouthpiece. You are His heart. Go, go, go!

Who Am I in the Church?

I am daily in prayer for those that are afflicted around the world, for the leaders of our world, for movie stars who will rise up for the cause of Christ, the leaders of the Churches, for the occult being called out, for those cults that use the name of Jesus to come to know the True Jesus, for the spiritually, mentally and physically tormented and the like.

I pray for the for the Mormons to find the True Prophet, the Catholics to find the True Pope, the Muslims to find the True Holy God, The Christians to Know Jesus deeply, the Satanists to find True Power, for the Buddhists to find True Peace, for the spiritualists to find The Holy Spirit, for the Jews to find the True Messiah, for the Luciferians to see the Great Deceiver and for the Hindus to find Jesus as their path to liberation.

I pray for the angels of the churches, an increase of God’s grace, for the Holy Spirit to expand Himself, for a piercing of our heart for the Great Cause of Jesus, I pray for spiritual, political, and economic climates and for the Word of God to come alive in the hearts and lives of humanity and so much more.

I am burdened and rung out at times with responsibility in ways most people cannot understand for the time that is coming and for the preparation of the Lord’s Church.

In Preparation for Ministry

I have spoken with satan who introduced himself as Lucifer and been threatened of course with death to stop ministering to the Saints of God.
I have had a lengthy conversation with a demon who God used to shed light on their unchanging nature to lie.
I cast spirits out of my home even as I write.
I have received angelic visitations (not ever having studied about angels).
I have received visions from the angel Gabriel about heaven and hell and they were interpreted by him as well.
I have seen and felt more demons than I could ever count.
I experience the demon’s curiosity about humanity.
I experience types and levels of evil, some being more powerful than others.
I experience the deep respect of Holiness by Jesus’ angels.
I experience the angel’s praise and honor for God and His throne.
I experience the desire of Jesus to give good gifts to His Children.
I experience Jesus deep desire to have His children desire Him more.
I experience Jesus’ desperation to see us grow spiritually to prepare for what is coming . . .
and so much more!

And all of this does make me weary and tired at times since I am human and very imperfect. However I raised my hand and said, I will do whatever you ask of me. Still I have told God He has the wrong girl because I long for the simpler life. I  have told Him I can not do this work after such tremendous torment from demonic/unclean spirits. It is so far out of this world that it humbles me because the responsibility I carry to Jesus and His Church is beyond enormous for me. So I understand how difficult it is to be a True Follower of Jesus and be willing to do anything He asks to prepare for His ministry and His coming.

If you are a True Follower of Jesus then this blog should not be so much of a surprise because as I speak the Lord has been preparing your heart and helping you to come to terms with what it means to truly follow after Him.

I want to encourage you

We are still learning and growing with our spiritual gifts, but we will move forward for the cause of our Lord Jesus, whose face will shine upon us and His Spirit will take us to our knees where all true power lives.

We cannot stop. We’ve got to remain focused on Jesus’ Good Plan and stop trying to direct God. He knows what He is doing. We are not God so we need to have Him take us out of our conservative or charismatic box or whatever box you’re in, and take Him out of our limited-vision box. However big or great or loving your visionary box is, His vision and plan is perfect.

He will NOT be put in a box. His Word says, “we see in part and we prophesy in part.” Even those like myself who see spiritually and prophetically still see pieces. We’re not sitting around “doing readings” on people and we don’t have all the answers to everything in the world. We are called and anointed like every other Christian and we have to keep our eyes on revealing Jesus in all His glory.

We must go to our knees. With all humility, His Throne is where His power to keep us going and moving forward in our gifts comes from.

I want to encourage you today to pray for bigger ears to hear and bigger eyes to see what the Spirit of the Lord is saying so that we will become the Church in all its glory. With those eyes and ears, pray for discernment and I believe God will honor His Church.

How Do We Turn The Tables?

We must turn the tables and gain some ground in the Church.

In our fear of taking the focus off of Jesus and giving more power to the enemy, we want to teach and speak only a little about the enemy, or tread very lightly. Although, I don’t believe this is keeping the Lord’s children from knowing Christ, I do think it is giving the enemy and his kingdom the right to have a heyday by means of sickness, mental illness, addiction, strongholds, family attacks and even curses, worldwide. In addition, we still have a large amount of Christians who don’t believe in the enemy or hell. Which, is absurd and makes me wonder if they understand why Jesus needed to come to earth in the first place. It was to undo satan’s deception that led to an imperfect, unclean and unholy world.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Not all things are caused by the enemy and also understand that Jesus is so good that He alone can turn every evil into something good. This is one way Jesus takes power back from the enemy.

What I am clearly saying is that we, as the Church, are not utilizing our God-given power or gifts as we should and the Lord has told me that “My Church is sick” and He asked me “to help heal the Church”. I assure you I will do my best to educate God’s children in these deeply spiritual matters that have been swept under the carpet or been taught an elementary level. Never will I say anything that goes against the Word of My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Always, always, always I will point you back to Him because all authentic truth, purity, love and power exists in Him.

But, I do see things and it is our spiritual gifts through Christ that play a HUGE part in the big scheme of where the Church is heading and the Revelation of God’s Holy Word. 

Life here on this planet is the place now where we CHOOSE CONSISTENTLY between the two camps, what is good (life) and what is evil (death). The Spirit of the Lord has to reveal this to us in its entirety because it is not all about living morally, that is the fundamental and human way of thinking about it. However, a deeper spiritual understanding is to consider that doing righteously, is more about doing what is right in the sight of God. To one person something is right and to another something else is right. Only the Holy Spirit can lead each one individually to the the right path for the pre-ordained plan for each human being called according to His Purpose. 

Understanding that incredibly magnificent distinction (CHOICE) is what will have us go from warming the pews, chairs or bleachers to living for Christ’s purpose and continuing to seek the good things Jesus has for us. If you do not choose, the devil will choose for you.

You need to KNOW you have the POWER through Christ to choose. Choose the Good things of Christ. Choose to build His Kingdom and take dominion or the devil will take dominion because we have not taken rightful Kingdom authority.

By ignoring the enemy (not referring to resisting, this is temptation) and remaining ignorant to the open doorways to evil, ie. being religious, lukewarm, arrogant, selfish, self-seeking, cruel, undisciplined, uneducated regarding spiritual matters, untalented (not using God’s talents), unspiritual (not letting God lead us spiritually), stubborn (also not letting God lead us) we have a Church that is sick in every sense of the word. We play in the enemy’s camp and he accuses us before our God all day long and says if they’re going to continue to open the doorways to my realm of authority (anything evil or opposing Jesus), I’m going to persecute the heck out of these Christians, therefore re-crucifying Christ.

Jesus triumphed over powers and authorities by way of the Cross and this is why Paul says not to re-crucify Jesus by continuing to sin because he understood that it opens the doorway to the enemy’s domain. Jesus is persecuted because we (His Body) are persecuted and He is trying to let us know authority has been given to us to overcome the enemy when He attacks us. However, we cannot have it both ways. You cannot live for God and play in the enemy’s camp by being like the devil in the way you live (character) and the way you believe (following your own way).

Colossians 2:15tells us, “…and having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

Paul also says we have been set free from the bondage of sin so stop living as if you’re not. Paul knew better than anyone on the planet at the time how the enemy works. The Bible says he had a thorn in his flesh from satan. Every day he lived with that thorn being fully aware of who put it there and still he never stopped following Christ. So clearly he has proven that we can still do what God is calling us to do in spite of the enemy if we will STAND and FIGHT. Paul had to have understood that to overcome the enemy, to be used by God, to see God’s Good plan come to pass, we had to have the mind of a spiritual warrior. Through the armor of God, we overcome, we win the battle and finish the race. However, I’m sorry to say we don’t apply these Scriptures in Romans 6 enough when it comes to understanding the Spiritual Truths of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus is the Way and The Key to the Kingdom of God where no death and no darkness exist. Until then we need to wake up and start being like Jesus. Do the Father’s will and stop worrying about everyone who does not know your heart or your spiritual conviction.

All that said, I believe most of our problems and lack of success in the Church are not because of the enemy, but rather because we provide the way for satan to take authority. Respond with the authority of the Word and keep your heart and mind pure before God so that the Holy Spirit will move on your behalf and give you the strength to overcome.

Do not let satan, the accuser of the brethren, get the upper hand in your spiritual journey. We were created to be MORE BRILLIANT than our current spiritual behavior.

We were born, we do exist and we will die physically or spiritually. You get to choose. We must look at life and death from a logical and Christ-like spiritual point of view. He was the great Spiritual Teacher and He did teach spiritual truth at an extremely high level and it is why parables, metaphors, prophecy and revelation are and were ways of communicating Spiritual Truths. He said, “let your ears hear what the Spirit of the Lord says.”

These are spiritual truths that have to do with Kingdom things, sometimes difficult to understand through our human mind so we need to search for the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth and righteousness. 

The 5 Things I live by

  1. Seeking Jesus’ face
  2. Approaching the throne of the Almighty God
  3. Studying the Bible
  4. Discerning spirits through the Word, prayer and God’s leading
  5. Praying diligently

These are the secrets to become all that God intends you to be. We will all see more and more what the Lord wants for His Church and His Children if we just keeping doing the 5 things above with pure intention of God’s will.

With Grace & Brilliance, Amen

 P.S. Please use respectful responses should you respond to the blog. Thank you

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

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

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

 

 

 

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