by Jenene Stafford
About a year ago, the Lord began to give me small glimpses into the future of my life’s work and ministry. A year later I realize the Lord has literally dropped into my path extraordinary trials, unreliable people, overwhelming circumstances and unfamiliar territories to get me back on His path, rather than my own.
Does that sound strange or familiar?
Why would our God make the maze of life and ministry so incredibly challenging?
It can only be the wisdom of God who would train his disciples for life in this way. Would we continue to keep our eyes focused on Him when everything seems to be coming against us, even our closest and most intimate human relationships?
The answer is “yes”. We will continue the journey.
That is not to say that our eyes have not been muddied with the mud that has been slung and with it has come moments of unclear vision.
When I started this website, I knew the Live Brilliantly Today! slogan was absolutely divinely appointed. I have asked the Lord over and over to show me as plainly as possible exactly what this message of living brilliantly today meant and what the vision for this site would be.
God simply giving me the answer would have been too easy and not nearly as transformative as the path of “experiencing” the meaning and the preparation for myself.
The message of live brilliantly today is now beginning to live inside our (Cindy, Suni and I, Jenene) existence and we are experiencing the deeper secrets of its meaning.
The meaning is multi-faceted and full of spiritual and intellectual intrigue. What started as a spiritual journey, became a mental conquest to get it right and now I believe we have come full circle to realize the meaning is a combination of spiritual and intellectual pursuit.
That enlightenment in itself is an epiphany and just like God, it is brilliant because it is from God. It would have not been the same if we (Cindy, Suni and I, Jenene) had not been surviving and fighting so relentlessly to see women healed and how we play a part in that.
To realize that at the core of the Christian woman’s life must be the understanding that we are to stand and be strong in the power of His might, not our own might. In so doing, we release ourself from our own inadequate human strength and rely fully on the power and strength of the Spirit of the Almighty God.
During this journey of transformation, we have felt and learned the balance between humility and confidence, remaining confident in the ministry we are called to and humbled by our own new found inabilities.
Therefore, it is all I can do, to not scream from the rooftops what we’ve known all along, but seem to have had moments of forgetting along the journey. I believe you will be able to relate. Found in Matthew 6:33-34 Seek (aim at and strive after) first the Kingdom of God, (His way of doing and being right) and His righteousness and then all these things you need for your ministry shall be provided to you. (I added a couple of my own words there.)
Often we leave out Matthew 6:34, but the context is incomplete without it.
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
I used the King James version in verse 34 because I believe it is the most accurate in its description of portraying the evil that exists in each day. Iin spite of it the Lord will provide all that we need to accomplish His plan for our lives.
This brings me to another foundational teaching for living as a warrior for Christ and letting His light brilliantly shine through our lives.
Arguably the Apostle Paul being the most brilliant, passionate and scholar minded of the apostles beautifully uses the metaphor of the Armor of God to describe our walk as dedicated and fully committed followers of Christ. Even to the point of recognizing and describing that our walk is in fact, a battle and our identity is that of a warrior. If our identity is in Christ, then Jesus himself was also a warrior. He was a warrior for the Father’s purpose for His life. He did his Father’s will. He came, fulfilled his ministry and went home to be with the Father, and continues to intercede on our behalf. I look forward to that journey myself.
I’ve been a Christian most of my life and I had been very familiar during my life’s journey with many pieces of the armor. But, the Lord has revealed to me lately that there were some pieces missing. It’s almost as if the Apostle Paul knew that would be the case as the Holy Spirit emphasized our need to put on ALL God’s armor in order to stand against all the deceits of the devil.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].
11 Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.
12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.
13 Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].
14 Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude (righteousness) and right standing with God,
15 And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the Good News] of the Gospel of peace.
16 Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one].
17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.
What pieces can you see are missing for yourself?
To revisit where this all began . . .
And so my mind began on a journey of uncovering why the word brilliant? I immediately thought, the brilliance is the light of Christ and we must live with Him at the core of the Christian’s life.
I denied that “brilliance” had anything to do with intelligence. My own Father, as far as I know was one of the most intelligent brilliant minds, unable to access Christ in his thinking, but went from being an atheist to believing in God. I stopped giving any credibility to the intellectual because I saw that it couldn’t save the spirit of my Father. He spent his entire life consumed and obsessed with learning. He said he was unable to pray or meditate because he was unable to “stop thinking”. Truth be told, I have his genes and my mind is challenged to sleep. But, the greater truth is Jesus was brilliant in every sense of the word. I will not know until I get to heaven if my human Father was ever able to find Jesus in his spirit, regardless of his overly thinking mind.
Jesus, however, was truly brilliant and He had to be able to defend the gospel and have conversations that were relevant to the people He was called to minister to. Why would it be any different for us?
He had a ministry. His ministry lasted 3 years. His life, however, was spent in preparation. In that preparation He learned the art of what we now refer to as Christian apologetics. He knew the religious, philosophical, and political arguments of the day, as well as the culture as it related to the religious practices.
In order to live brilliantly today! as Christian women leaders we must be prepared as God calls us individually and uniquely to share The Secret of Jesus to those people He will put on our path.
On my journey the Lord has put many groups of people on my path, coaches, healers, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus who tend to overall share a common thread in this country. Although each religion is distinctly unique and different, the commonality is the pantheistic point of view that is prevalent more in America. Or a more commonly used term heard in America these days is “All roads lead to God”. (The dictionary definition is below.)
What may come to many of you as a surprise that many Christians have fallen into the American Way trap. The spiritual movement occurring in recent years in America is one that is of Western materialism blended with Eastern mysticism. It is what Ravi Zacharius refers to as The New Spirituality in his book called “Why Jesus”. Even Christians fall into this trap of a blend referred to as Weastern Spirituality.
But, I’m not going to go into this right now. However, I highly recommend this divinely inspired masterpiece of a book. (my opinion).
I share that information with you so that you can see that our journey to see women healed and the lost be found is at our deepest core ministry purpose. The way to sharing the brilliance of a life in Christ is to begin to live brilliantly ourselves. That message is for all women leaders who are seeking God wholeheartedly in the pursuit of His divine purpose.
Sometimes we have to get lost a few times to discover that we have seen this scenery before. Along the journey we may lose ourselves and tire, but in the process we find the Lord.