Monday, August 18, 2014

Faith is Ugly?

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

James 1



When is faith really faith?  As Terry Pruett, the well known 'Possibility Architect' and CEO of XMO Global says, "Faith isn't faith until it's tested." Well then if that is the case, if "faith isn't faith until it's tested", then how do we know when we're walking in faith?  The answer to that question is found in a few places of scripture, however one the most well known scriptures is found in James 1. The exercise and the drill to know that our faith is working within us is when we count it all joy when circumstances come our way, especially in those moments we cannot control. 

Counting it all joy? 
Really? 
This causes me to realize that when I count it all joy in the midst of trials and tests, it is because I am intentionally choosing to COUNT on God - my faith is in Him which fills me with joy that is unexplainable.

With that just think, much of the ugly things we will go through, are going through, or have gone through allows faith to get us to experience the grace of God which empowers us by the Holy Spirit's power (Who is Grace) to lift us up; allowing us to keep going when in the natural we wouldn't be able to go on our own.

In those moments when we "say" we have faith we are now able to go to the next step and now choose to use the faith that possesses us and place our faith in God.

The triumphant, victorious reminder is realizing that having faith in things to happen or for things to get better is not what God ever intended! As Mark 11:22 records - that faith is to be placed in ONE PERSON - AND THAT IS GOD HIMSELF.  When we have faith in God, by default our perspective changes - our mindsets are changed - we see from Victory and now we can boldly say to the mountain to be moved because when our faith is in God - doubt has no place!  As our pastor profoundly says, "Get doubt out" - and the answer in getting doubt out is by placing our faith in God. As we place our faith in God, doubt has no place and now we are aware of hope being on the scene and now everything that seemed daunting and even is daunting is now shifted in it's proper place - the mountain is now a plateau because my sights are on God and Him alone! 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Broken to Beautiful

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
 Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

Broken glass. Oil spilled. A waste...Or so I thought...



In that moment I was corrected to not look at it as a waste but as a lesson in the making.  I saw these words like a ticker in the forefront of my mind - "Broken to beautiful."


I had things to do - not a moment to waste - and I thought, "Not only was oil wasted but now my time..."

More than anything, that is when I saw the raw, naked truth of allowing God to be revealed in the midst of the broken vessel that once held my olive oil. It was as though I could hear the whisper of the Spirit, "I waste NOTHING - what you see as broken - I have already restored - I Am Restorer - I Am Rebuilder - I Am Redeemer. In that moment, the realization in the broken glass I had to clean up in the physical realm; the beauty of the oil sprawled on a small portion of the floor was uniquely beautiful.  It was as though I was hearing the whisper of the Holy Spirit, "The rich vastness of heaven is what is released when you allow the brokenness to become an exercise of revealing the glory of Who I Am.

I want to be intentionally clear on this - if we're broken because of self-inflicted wounds - then let's quickly repent and ask God to forgive you and begin living for Him - no longer focus on NOT sinning, instead FOCUS on the Life Giver and watch the longing to sin dissipate as you become more in awe of God.

More than anything, recognizing the oil of heaven in the midst of our unforeseen troubles allows us to be aware of the beautiful oil of joy - the strengthening oil of God - the trade currency of heaven on this earth. 

In no way do I ignorantly invite pain - but when pain comes, will I allow myself to recognize the majestic glory of God that is sprawled as evidence that He is right there?

What in your life, in my life that seemed to be a waste is now a triumphant victorious reminder of God's grace?  Let's allow His oil to permeate us with supernatural joy - so every time you are tempted to waver and shake - the oil of God's grace permeates your shield of faith.

 ~ Matthew 26:6-13 ~

Monday, June 23, 2014

42 years ago...


Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

 

The landmarks that were set in the background from that memorable day on June 21, 1972, has led you both to this very moment from which your story began – From Seoul, South Korea, to Honolulu, Hawaii and finally to the Los Angeles, California airports.  Think about this – so many moments, innumerable to count all the people walking by in that moment; in every terminal; goodbyes softly spoken; hellos excitedly shared; to the vacationers coming and going to the anticipated reunions and perhaps those mourning a loss to those who were starting all over again as fear caused their hands to sweat and their hearts to sink.  Those many moments filled with people in every circumstance revolving around one another – yet in those moments, it was like a pause in the universe as you must have felt the joyful nervousness of being reunited assisted by adventure of unbridled love and the longing to start a life together in the unknown.

Meanwhile, as you stepped out into the world of the unknown – misplaced faith in following this rare kind of love – this love that crossed oceans and the great divide transformed into faith that was intentionally placed in the Author of it all – Almighty God.

Dad and mom – your love for God – and your desperation for Him is what has led to this milestone
504 months, 2,191 weeks, 15, 340 days and 368,170 hours later.
 


Your 42 year anniversary – may the both of you have an anniversary with one another in which God is glorified and you both benefit in ways never imagined, dreamed or could possibly have ever seen in the greatest of books or movies.  May you see, experience and know that you both needed one another – one did not need the other more than the other – instead God placed in each of you what the other lacked and joined together in Him is what completed two beautiful people in becoming one rare vessel that has made an impact over their children, grandchildren and so many others that you have met along the way. 

Blessings and favor abound in Him every day and all the day long.

Love, Teresa “Twiggy”
June 2014

Monday, May 26, 2014

Exhausted or Empowered?

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by The Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"I am given His Spirit, therefore, I have access to the mind of Christ."
~ I Corinthians 2:10-16 ~

There are two balloons - as I hold them both, they look the same. They're the same color and same size, BUT when I let go - one balloon soars to the ceiling and the other falls to the ground. The balloon filled with air and breath has no ability to allow the balloon to rise above - the balloon filled with helium allows the balloon to soar...same goes with who we are - our spirit man is pure and our soul man is weighed down by our will, emotions and past experiences. 

We expect to live a life for God in the soul, carnal realm - but it's not possible to make choices of the Spirit of God with our own power or might. HOWEVER, what is possible in Christ is to live a life according to The Spirit of God - but how? It starts with our mouth. Yes! When we regularly exercise - more than daily (Moment by moment) when our mouth, our tongue begins to declare the Truth of The Word of God - it is The Word that purely and properly renews our mind and lines up with the Holy Spirit of God. 

Be encouraged that no amount of will power can serve Almighty God without getting exhausted! If we're exhausted in the realm of "living for God" this could be an indicator that we are most likely "doing" out of the flesh versus "being" in The Holy Spirit. 

Let us be triumphantly and victoriously reminded that we cannot worship God in the flesh and opinions but only in spirit and in truth - thus is the difference in being exhausted and empowered!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Brokenness To Wholeness

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by The Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Stevens Criswell

"...Beauty of God in exchange for ashes of this life, the oil of joy in exchange for mourning and depression, the garment of praise in exchange for the spirit of heaviness and oppression..."
~ Isaiah 61:3 ~

 As I had many times before, I dropped my phone; but this time the drop brought shattering results. 

At first bummed, then calling my mobile phone carrier to upgrade, it was in that moment I wasn't willing to pay nor sign a two year contract and found myself attempting to figure out "how" I could get my upgrade at no cost. It was in that very moment The Holy Spirit utilized my iPhone to teach me something so beautiful. It was that sweet, gentle whisper as though I could hear Him say, "Teresa,  don't worry. Let this be a reminder of your life without Me." As the call ended, in a silly way I held my phone close and said, "Thank You Lord for that reminder." 

Meanwhile, as I got really happy that my phone was broken - there it was -another teaching moment. "Teresa, this is how many are looking at life. It's as though they are seeing through distorted, broken glass due to fractures of being mishandled, mistreated and even their own mismanaged living." 

I must encourage myself and others - let the brokenness of your soul be made whole. Allow God to deliver you - it truly is a breath by breath, moment by moment, day by day intimate process with our King. The more we allow Him to hold us - the more the wholeness, the Shalom of God will manifest. Shalom is Peace - this supernatural Peace of God is what holds us up with His Abundant Grace that allows us to rise above hurt and offense and see with vision in God that "Nothing is broken and nothing is missing in Him." 

Be triumphantly and victoriously reminded that the state of our circumstances and the state of this world will not attempt to convince us that our God lacks any good, great, awesome thing.

* Deliverance is to be delivered from the lies and delivered into the healing, truth of God!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Rescued...but by Who?

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, Who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins."
~ Colossians 1:13-14 ~



The building was consumed with fire. The billowing black smoke revealed the intensity of the fire from within.
On the top floor of the enormous sky rise building with no way out, suddenly the door burst wide open with incredible intensity.
Not being able to tell if the door had been forced open due to the flames, but no matter what, the intense heat of the fire quickly consumed the room; crackling sounds were evidence that things were melting at record speeds.

Surrounded by the reminder of your last moments as your life flashes before you - you can feel the strength like never felt or imagined as you are picked up, wisked off feeling the forceful, yet gentle wind of being carried out of the building at lightening speeds.  Simultaneously within moments of being in the room to now being rushed down the stairs, you find yourself cradled in the arms of a veteran fireman, someone with controlled strength as the intensity of being rescued becomes overwhelming.

All you know is that you have been rescued. Slow motion collides with "the now" when you feel the rescuer place your feet on solid ground.  As he puts you down, his work seems to be done. With no words spoken, he walks away.  Wait! Do you let him go?  Do you let him walk away? Aren't you curious who this was that risked his life for you? Or do you let this cataclysmic - life altering moment pass you by? 

With all the intensity described, the same goes with the Rescuing Savior Jesus Christ. There are many who have let the Rescuer walk away...they talk about being saved and rescued but they don't even know who rescued them.  This hot, hunky fireman, this "man's  man" is likened to my Jesus.  He has rescued us, but many have not ran after Him, pursued Him to know more of Who is this One who rescued me?  Is the moment of being rescued more important than the One Who rescued me?  Is the event more important than the One who made the event so?

As I think upon my Rescuing Savior Jesus Christ, I think of that charge from Lisa Bevere when she wrote to me in 2004, "Teresa, Run after your Prince". A few years after her charge - this vision I shared of the "fireman" came alive in me. I realized that our churches and this country we live in is inundated with those who say they have been rescued, but have no idea who the Rescuer is.

Imagine if we did know HIM - we wouldn't live mediocre, complacent, "whatever will be, will be", passionless lives.  The results of this lukewarm living is that we know "of" the Rescuer, but we don't "know" Him.  Many of us did not pursue Him after that moment He set us on solid ground...we let Him go.  We didn't ask to 'sup' with Him, we didn't go run after Him to know more about Him.  We didn't run after Him and say, "I've got to know why you would risk it all, abandoning your rights to live - to allow me the right to not just live but live with abundance. Like bringing cookies to our local, earthly firemen - We didn't even live a more productive life to show our gratefulness.

Listen! Look! It's not too late for us! 
Run after Jesus.
Pursue Him.
Get to know His familiar smell.  Really - I mean it, you've got to smell Him - intentionally know His scent so you always know that He is near!.
Get into Him, be in awe of the One Who sent Him - our Father God.

The FIREMAN of all firemen AWAITS FOR YOU TO ASK HIM TO COMMUNE WITH HIM...WILL YOU PURSUE HIM?

There's more to this life than saying, "I'm saved" -  It's about us desiring the ONE Who saved us.
 
May this stir up an insatiable appetite to want and desire more of Him - falling in love with the Rescuer and getting to know Him as so much more - Giver, Lover, The Generous One, The Compassionate One, The Slayer of Hate as He overcomes evil with GOOD. The One Who Draws us to Himself.  The Healer, The Strengthener, The Confident One, The One Who Makes our weaknesses dissipate as His strength is made perfect in the midst of it.  The One Who Redeems; the One who gives back more than we could have ever imagined.  He is the Lord, the landowner of all the earth.  The One Who makes the earth His footstool, the Great I Am - The Alpha The Omega - The Beginning and The End, The Author, The Finisher of our Faith.  The ONE Who Has and Is the last word over our lives, if we let HIM.  He is our Shalom - the ONE who ensures that NOTHING IS BROKEN AND NOTHING IS MISSING.  THE ONE WHO MAKES THE FRACTURES BECOME WHOLE AS THOUGH IT NEVER HAPPENED.  Are we evidence of Who we've been rescued by?  Or do we just have a good 'story' to tell?

As Lisa wrote to me, so I write to you - "Run after your Prince, Your King - His Name is Jesus!"

(Applicable ways -
Ask the Father God to allow His Holy Spirit to show you.
Read the Gospel of John
Ask God, "Father, in Jesus name, I ask, will you baptize me by the power of the Holy Spirit with YOUR UNQUENCHABLE FIRE?")

Will you let me know what happens next?

How do we defeat the enemy?  By the Blood of The Lamb (Jesus) and by the Word of our Testimony who reveals Jesus! (Revelation 12:11) 


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Do you know...?


Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

Do you know a man who is merciful yet walks in great authority?
How about a man whose words are few yet when he speaks, his words have incredible weight?
Have you ever met a man who is so fixed on His God that the demonstration of his life is not about what he says but how he lives?

This man I ask about is none other than my earthly dad. Vanishing point, mind blowing thoughts race my mind to think that out of all people, my sisters and I would get to have a daddy like him.  I have often wondered, why me Lord?  Why would you allow me to have this sweet encounter with an earthly father who is incredibly rare?

I have to be honest, these thought have brought me to guilt at times as I was not the easiest daughter to raise - a daughter who witnessed at the age of 13, her daddy in the living room, praying on his knees to a God that seemed so far away - yet he prayed at 4 am as though he was so near.  In those moments, my dad humbled to know the only way through this life was and is to seek God with everything as guidance and protection would fall into place over his wife, my mom and his girls.

This great man who constantly spoke life into me when others gave up - he championed the heavens to chase his daughter down when she was beguiled and deceived by the world's glamor and the seemingly fulfilling gratification of right now. My dad, a man who called on Jesus, the name above every name, to dispatch His angels to take charge over me in all my ways so that I would come back home...not just home with my family - but my true home, being aware moment by moment of God's incredibly matchless presence - seeking His face, pursuing Him with everything and never turning back...that HOME! For dad you knew that once I encountered my true home not from your experience but from my own with Jesus that this would only compel me forward, loving God with everything which would overflow into loving myself and others and in that revelation of God's true love would cause me to never quit!  Dad, through partnering with God in obedience, you allowed the course to be set the course to fix our eyes on the Author and Finisher of our faith and his name is none other than JESUS!

Why do I write all this for you to see? Because today is my dad's anniversary of his birth - his birthday!

Daddy, we all love you, you are a unique treasure.  Some may only have known you as that cute, little mischievous little boy, others as that rebellious teenager and then there are those who may  have only known you as a hippie or a young man serving in the military -

Dad is the 2nd one from the left...


  - but the lineage you have left behind for your family and so many others is your demonstration of being a warrior for the King of all kings.  We must thank God for His persistent vessel in the 1970's by the name of Ray Pew who was the first to witness you drop to your knees and receive Jesus not only as Savior but Lord as Ray was the first to see your lineage forever change - and to God we are grateful for him but also grateful dad that you said YES to God - for we and so many more are a life that was and is forever changed...

.

Dad, there's something else you need to know - you were and are that awe inspiring example of how we can approach our Heavenly Father with boldness, laughter and great surety that He will never turn us away, for you did that for each of us.  I know with boldness that God will never say,  "Not now - I don't have time..." - Instead dad you gave us a glimpse of the example of consistently taking the time to pray over us, speak into us the Word of God even in the midst of squirming about wanting to go play as you allowed the patience of God to echo and be displayed through every fiber of your being.

Well dad, I could write so much more - but what a privilege and honor to know you and wish you a happy birthday.  Thank you for cheering on heaven on my behalf and even when it looked like the game of my life was ending with a score of 70-0, you cheered me on and said, "Teresa, there's a call on your life - NOW ANSWER IT - CATCH IT - YOU CAN DO IT - I BELIEVE IN YOU!"

With all that, I cheer for you my dad - WITH LONG LIFE GOD SATISFIES YOU AND HAS SHOWN YOU HIS SALVATION!
 
Love you!
Twiggy

Monday, March 10, 2014

Abandoned Yet Chosen

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell
(Re-post from October 24, 2011)





"Father to the fatherless, defender of widows-this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy..."
~ Psalm 68:5-6a ~

She stood before the mirror, staring at her saddened reflection. The thoughts entering her mind, whirling about at cataclysmic speeds as she was on the brink of making the biggest decision of her life.

Torn by the news of her pregnancy, her mind led to the unknown experience of adoption. The thoughts invoked fear, which led to the deceptive 'quick fix' thoughts of abortion. The more she allowed that destructive thought to burrow into her mind, it dangerously became a 'logical' option that she could justify. She would not only have to experience seeing her baby at the appointed birth, but she would not have to feel the aching pry from her arms as she delivered a beautiful gift into the world. The turmoil haunted her. The 'quick fix' would have a more tragic outcome as she might hear haunting whispers of, "What was I suppose to be?"

As she warred with the decision of adoption and abortion; she knew that she could not kill the child growing within her womb. Suddenly, the nurturer, the warrior and the mother rose up on the inside of her and said, "I will see to it that my baby lives and does not die, and will be 'chosen' by a family who will see the desires of their heart fulfilled! Not only will this beautiful life live; but my mandate is to pray continually for my child. My beautiful gift from God, no matter how the baby was conceived, will live an abundant life in Jesus, revealing God's power in this earth."

I interrupt this with the thought of the many who have experienced abandonment in this life. Whether you were the one who abandoned someone, or the one who was abandoned. Perhaps you were adopted, and you have dealt with those real feelings of abandonment. It is a possibility that you are one who was treated worse than an animal, even left for dead. It may have been that you have experienced the life as an orphan, tragically losing your parents or perhaps you were one who was cared for with great love but for some reason could not fully accept such pure love.

The circumstances are innumerable; but God's powerful love that king's cannot speak of; this earth shaking love that causes the 'greats' to weep from such uncommon Power, is before you in this very moment. Holding out His glorious hand, encouraging you with His desire that you receive His irrevocable, unconditional love.

We must rise up as the woman did who was at a crossroad in her life. There will be times where the decision on either side will be difficult. However, in our decision making, we must be a warrior of obedience; a warrior for someone else, seeing life come forth because of radical obedience, no matter how incomprehensible the situation.

Will we receive the One Who allows us to dream BIG?
Will we receive Him, moment by moment, the One Who is Love?
As we do, how can we not be willing to share His love that is continually being lavished upon us with others whom He lavishly loves?
Will we lavishly reveal God's love, expressed through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, upon someone else who is in desperate need of God's love?
Will we be assistants in the breakthrough over another individual, who is on the familiar path we were once on, will we allow them to see God's love expressed through our lives?

I don't know what God has in store with the following, however, I am led to write:
If you have a dream, see to it that it is developed. In the development, do not be solely focused on the development of the dream, but envision the people who will be forever changed by the dream. Most importantly, Don't Give Up! This will ensure that your dream comes to fruition and brings glory to the Father God!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Top Five Things I Was Reminded to NOT FORGET...

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell




Top Five Things I Was Reminded To NOT FORGET...

1. Prayer changes things??? Actually this alone is FALSE...Let it be clarified - It is GOD Who changes things and He uses prayer as one of many 'tools' to let us see change. Just like the shofar, anointing oil, prayer cloths, worship music, praise, dance, banners, fasting, etc. - those things alone don't do the change...it's WHO those things are committed to - The One True God - that changes things. However, when these things are properly used while focusing our faith in God - these things help change our perspective and mindset to completely focus on our Awesome God and get rid of doubt and walk in faith - HAVING FAITH IN GOD...FOR WHEN THIS HAPPENS THEN WE CAN SAY TO THE MOUNTAIN, 'MAY GOD LIFT YOU UP AND THROW YOU INTO THE SEA, AND YOUR COMMANDMENT WILL BE OBEYED...WE CAN TALK TO THE MOUNTAIN ALL DAY, BUT UNTIL OUR FAITH IS IN GOD, WE'LL BE DOING MORE CHATTERING THAN SEEING MOUNTAINS SHATTERING (Mark 11:22-25, Isaiah 26:3)!!!

2. When we go through tough times it makes us stronger in character! - This is partially true...but alone it's a lie...for it's ONLY when we focus on God Who sees us through that will cause us to be GENUINELY stronger in character (Philippians 3:12-14, James 1:2-4...our pastor has been teaching on this with great power)!

3. If you go to church you'll become stronger in Christ...NO!!! It's tripled with what we learn from the Holy Spirit as The Spirit helps us become equipped through the true understanding of The Word of God while meeting together as a church (Praise God for our pastor who teaches truth from The Word of God as the final authority) along with that intimate time alone with God while in His Word and in prayer that causes us to become stronger in Christ! (Ephesians 6:10-18)

4. God doesn't give us more than we can handle...NO!!! Life gives us more than we can handle - but it's through CHRIST that handles things in our lives that we could never do on our own...in our weakness HIS STRENGTH IS MADE PERFECT AND COMPLETE (II Corinthians 12:1-10)

5. Paul's Thorn in the flesh was a physical ailment - FALSE!!!! The thorn in his flesh is revealed plainly in II Corinthians 12:7!!!! Do you know what it was??? It was a messenger from Satan who tormented him. And three different times he asked God to remove it...and each time God said, "MY gracious favor is all you need. My power works BEST in your weakness."

With these 'ponderings' today...here's the conclusion, the Triumphant Victorious Reminder:
Everything points back to HIM! We have given credit to the 'things of God', our past experiences and who we are for way too long and it has muddied the waters that were never meant to be muddied! We must give CREDIT TO GOD AND ONLY GOD and the things of HIM should point back directly to HIM and that is it...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Heavenly 'Snapshot' Transfer

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by The Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"This accords with the Tanakh, where it says, "I have appointed you to be a father to many nations," Avraham (Abraham) is our father in God's sight because he trusted God as the One who gives life to the dead and calls nonexistent things into existence."
~ Romans 4:17 (Complete Jewish Bible) ~



Spacing out into the vanishing awe and wonder of God while washing the dishes in the sink, and then BAM! I saw the face of someone I had not thought of for over 15 years.  I shook my head as though I was clearing my thoughts as if to ask, "Where did that thought come from?"  Usually, in most cases, I have found that these 'pictures of people's faces' are what I call heavenly 'snapshots' from God, transferred and downloaded into my thoughts for a purpose. 

These are the moments that stir the joy of the Lord within me.  Why?  For this reason...
that God would trust me enough in that moment
to share a small glimpse of His eternal, continual thoughts of that person or group of people;
with 'out of all people'...me.

Do you know what I'm talking about?  It causes me to sit here...a mere woman...a wife...a mom...sitting at her desk in the small classroom tucked away in the corner of her home to declare Who He is in their lives, even if it is not seen in their lives - I can see through the eyes of God's supernatural vision; seeing through another dimension...the dimension of eternity as though it were in our realm of 'right now.'

This leads me to the power of Faith...not just the general word we so easily and loosely use -
but the 'faith in God' kind of 'faith'.
Not that 'magical' 50/50, hope and cross your fingers type of faith -
but that SUPERNATURAL, HEAVEN INVADES EARTH KIND OF FAITH.
The faith that causes what has already taken place in God's eternal realm to manifest in our realm of 'now'.

So when we get that 'download', that 'snapshot' - let us triumphantly remember what Adonai, our Almighty God says, "For I know what plans I have in mind for you, plans for well-being, not for bad things; so that you can have hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11).  We must allow the Holy Spirit to lead our declarations so we are no longer praying from our limited intellect but by the Holy Spirit's power which reveals Adonai's Wisdom and Understanding; Counsel and Might; Knowledge and fearing Adonai" (Isaiah 11:2).

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Something New...

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell



I would like to introduce you to my new additional blog - it's called, "The Pee Diaries of A Laughing Mom" - Her laughter is stronger than her bladder!

Please know that I will continue blogging for TVR, but wanted to hilariously introduce you to the link of my very first post!
http://thepeediariesofalaughingmom.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/10/

Enjoy!




Friday, December 13, 2013

Adventures From Lack to Abundance

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"...Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."
~ James 4:7-8 ~


Rarely wanting to be home, even as a young girl - she continually longed to 'drift' away into another adventure.  This young girl, filled with romantic, starry dreams longed to embark on new exploits to meet  people she had not yet met along the way.

Along the journey of many irresponsible adventures - she met her beloved husband - a great man - but more of a 'loner' - a free spirit in a '180 degree' way.   Although a wanderer, a nomad of sorts - he was okay with just a few in his life. Nothing against people - but he just loved to be with those he closely invested in.  In 2000, when this couple had their beautiful baby girl, the 'free spirit' that moved this young woman to meet new people in this journey called life - the reality of someone else being dependent on them scared her at first.  As a few years went by, this novice of responsibility, schedule and structure began to realize that her daughter was 'wired' for what she lacked. 

What this mother lacked in understanding; this undiscovered love that gushed forth over her daughter far exceeded what was foreign to her.  That love for her daughter began to supersede her love for adventures.

This woman I speak of is none other than me.

I visit this memory of who I use to be to reveal my gratefulness for what God has allowed me to become and still becoming. As I draw near to Him, He by default draws near to me, because He has been there all along - waiting - watching - anticipating my return.

I've learned on this new venture in life in Him that I determine how close I get to be to The Adventurer of all adventurers.  As I gave Him my everything -which was nothing but lack - He with hilarious gladness made an exchange that no economist would ever even think about - let alone do.

The triumphant victorious reminder today overwhelms me with great joy to think that the true adventures of my life were marked on God's Divine Calendar - March 6, 2003.  That memorable day broke open the capsule of a decade of prayers that were declared by my parents, my sister's and many other people who faithfully prayed for me - were answered.  But it didn't just change my life - but the lives of the generations to come!

That moment, the cataclysmic moment,  when I finally took His extended hand of love and began the journey of Salvation with and through Jesus Christ, discovering the Holy Spirit Who still 'til this day leaves me standing in awe of God's abundance that He desires for each of us to live out with and in Him.

Let Him overwhelm you - He's been ready all along - His love for you is not about you - it is about Him; for He is Love.  Let Him swallow you up in an embrace like no other!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Lesson of Repentance

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell
(Written January 18, 2012 - repost)

"Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?"
~ Romans 2:4 ~

Slipping back into time, it was 1988; my eighth grade year. My parents experienced grueling frustration as they were continuously receiving reports from my teachers of me carrying on in class, not taking my classes seriously and consistently getting into trouble for being one of the 'class clowns'.

In hind sight, as a parent myself, the acting out wasn't their greatest frustration; it was my overall attitude of not caring, which to say the least, my grades mercilessly reflected.

Meanwhile, during this time, I still remember my wonderful dad. I shake my head in awe as my dad continuously believed in me. He would even say in the darkest times of my life, "Teresa, God has a great plan for you." I can still remember being in the awkward 'skin' of a young teenage girl; it was one of those situations where I sadly could not receive his words because of the inner turmoil stirred by insecurity and unworthiness stemmed from not knowing the value from within. The concerns of what the outsiders thought was more important to me than the ones who loved me the most.

Reminiscing this particular moment my eighth grade year is in regards to my dad (Including my mom and sisters) who never gave up. Although there were times he was justifiably on the brink of seeing no hope in sight, I can still remember that moment in eighth grade as though it were this very moment.

I remember it like this:
Dad set his schedule aside and asked me to come down to the light and airy family room. He brought two chairs and placed them in the middle of the 'love-filled' room adjacent to the red brick fireplace. He had me take my seat as he walked away for a moment into another room. When dad came back, he was holding a medium sized cardboard box with certificate frames inside. He had my full attention as I wondered, "What is he doing?"

Curiosity detained me in the midst of my dad's quiet demeanor. He sat down and now we were practically knee to knee. He looked at me with his soft hazel eyes, framed by his glasses and began to speak life into me. I remember how he began to one by one, show and tell me of his accomplishments backed up by the certificates in his possession. One of his accomplishments that I still remember so vividly was the one in which he graduated number one in his class for morse code in the ARMY. For a moment I was captivated by this untapped perseverance, integrity and tenacity that I had not yet chosen to experience for myself. Looking back, I am still in awe of my dad who chose to possess these attributes even after the setbacks of his own choices and did not allow his original choice of becoming a high school drop out stop him from pursuing the greatness that God placed within him. Dad revealed in his story as he patiently spoke to me how in one moment I could make a choice to turn it all around for good. He was showing me the power of repentance.

This reminder of this teaching moment from my dad with me, reveals a glimpse of how the goodness of God leads man to repentance. It was the goodness of my dad and his love expressed over me that enabled me to finally receive the message of God's rescuing power from sin and myself by turning away from my old ways and clinging to the new ways that God abundantly provided, revealing life and prosperity in my spirit from Jesus Christ. My family believed in God for many years, in spite of what it looked like, they would not allow my actions to trump God's promise as they continued to pray His abundant life to finally be received by me.

Perhaps there are those of you who may know part of my story as it took more than a decade to finally get to the point that I truly knew in my heart I needed to be rescued from one of my greatest enemies ~ myself. This incredible beginning took place on March 6, 2003. Actually, let me back up, interestingly enough, it was five months before my incredible beginning that my dad and mom flew to Michigan to come see us and gift me with a ring that he designed just for me in October of 2002 (He also did this for my sisters who were already following after Jesus).



I remember when I put it on my finger my dad said, "Whenever you look at this ring, say a prayer for your mom and I." I remember thinking, "Yeah right...they know I don't pray." Well, I truly believe that the ring I still wear 'til this day was truly a 'point of contact' from my parents prayers of hope in God over my life to be redeemed and restored back to Him. The moment from my eighth grade year was a defining reminder of discovering the power of repentance; allowing God's Holy Spirit to rule and reign over my life.

I am reminded that my dad took on a glimpse of the perseverance, integrity and tenacity of Jesus Christ which was victoriously revealed at the Cross of Calvary. Death, hell and the grave shook in fear as they surrendered all power to Jesus as God raised Him from the dead!

The reminder set before me is realizing yet again God's glorious power as He sent His Word Jesus to become a mere man to pay the debt of sin as He 'suffered long' even while we are known to be 'quick to quit'.

We must remember when we find ourselves being faithless, get rid of doubt and allow faith to rise up as we remember that He is still faithful even when we aren't (II Timothy 2:13).

Thursday, October 3, 2013

God's Cleansing Power



Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Teresa Criswell

"But WHEN the Holy Spirit controls our lives, HE will PRODUCE this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control..."
~ Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) ~

Today's Triumphant Victorious Reminder will allow you to breathe and violently shake off the daunting burdens that we were never meant to bear!  What burdens am I referring to?  The burdens of believing that we are to produce the things that God can only produce - let us remember that we don't produce anything that is of God -  however we are 'displayers' of what He produces - when we allow Him to - and that is the Fruit Of The Spirit - then we realize that it's by God's Holy Spirit that works in us and through us to reveal Who The Father God is - as Landon Schott says, "Making Jesus Famous" through the powerful display of The Holy Spirit's power that was revealed as Jesus' resurrected from death, hell and the grave - now talk about a DISPLAY of God's Supernatural, Miraculous, Wonder-working power!

When we bring ourselves to the indescribably powerful awareness of God's continual, overflowing presence, watch the video below of what we allow Him to do -



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB5aTeq9ZqE


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Like a Perfectly Layered Cake Or A Lasagna

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"Commit your works to The Lord, and He will make your ways successful."
~ Proverbs 16:3 ~ 

"Lord!  Are you sure?  Homeschool?!?" 
Is this me or is this me being led by what my friends are doing?
 "Wait! This can't be, I'm not meant to homeschool!"  And in that confession, I realized that I was correct. For I am not meant to do anything He has called me to on my own.  Yet when I rely on the strength of God, daily committing my works to the Lord; moment by moment, The Lord reveals Himself in the midst of this class called 'life'.  And in this class called 'life', if we pay attention to The Holy Spirit Who is The Teacher of all teachers, He will prepare us with His instructions as revealed in The Word of God so that we do not fail.

With that said, this morning before our Bible class started, my daughter was led to share what the Holy Spirit was teaching her this morning. She wanted to speak to me on what had happened to her earlier that morning. I asked her if  I could record  her and later transcribe what she said to write notes, in which she gave me permission.  After she spoke, I sat down at the keyboard, hit play to transcribe, and was brought to tears to hear the wisdom of God through a teenage girl. So in that, I wanted to share with each of you.

 

My daughter's words:

"Mom, you know what I realized on why I need to be homeschooled? It's because I need to grow closer to The Lord.  I'm not saying everyone should be homeschooled in order  to get  to know Jesus, I'm just saying for me personally I knew I had to, I needed to be homeschooled. I think God changed my heart because He said, "Wait for what I have in store for you in 8th grade." Mom, if you didn't listen to that voice of telling you to homeschool me, I would be in public school right now just being like a regular 13 year old.

Mom, I know I'm not being homeschooled because of my other school; I'm not being homeschooled because, "Oh, I need a better education"; I'm not being homeschooled because, "Oh, I need to get better at math and I need to have one on one teaching."  I finally realized what it is! God is my Teacher! I didn't realize that in school, I just thought, "Oh, I have like seven teachers".

Mom, you know I just realized all of this today.  If it wasn't for God waking me up this morning at 6:30 I probably wouldn't have gotten that.  I probably would be miserable right now, right here, saying, "I don't want to do this, I'm tired and this and that." But, I was meant to wake up and go outside this morning and see those two red birds flying around and be in awe of seeing God's creation.  After I saw that,  this thought came, "God, This is why You want me to be homeschooled, to be closer to You." Before, I would say to God, "I can't talk right now, I have to get ready.  I don't have time right now, I'm going to be late for school."  You know how dad says it's all the distractions that try to keep us away from God?  Or when you say it's like we drift away from God more and more but we don't even realize it?  But we forget He's right there.  But so many people don't even realize He is there. But when we pray and read His Word we are reminded that He's there and we know we can talk to Him.  He's pleading, saying, "Please talk to Me, I'm right here."

As tears streamed down my daughter's face she continued, "And people are blinded in the world and even in the church, and people are distracted and people don't understand "Why is this happening, why is that happening?"  When God is right there, and I understand a little more, it's so sad and you see people drifting away from God and they don't even notice. But God is right there and all you need to say is, "Jesus come be in my life."  It's that easy.  He has always been there, you just got to realize it. Do you know what I mean?

Mom, I felt led to tell you that, I just wanted to tell you the reason why we're homeschooling.
This is God through me telling you why, so you have more reason why you're doing this.  Not just because I need a better education, not because of what this person or that person says.  Or when people complain and say, "these schools are so bad..." - NO! It's not because of that.  Maybe there are those that have reasons of why they're homeschooling because they want a better education, but mom the reason WE'RE homeschooling is to get closer to The Lord and of course having a better education.  We didn't know why we were homeschooling, we just knew we needed to.  We were happy with our school, but now we know WHY and we have a purpose and we need to remember that every day. I have a fire that is firing up inside of me.

So now when people ask me, "Why are you homeschooling?"  My answer will be: because I have a purpose and the reason is to get closer to God.  Mom, if you have a good foundation on God everything else falls into place, you know, like a perfectly layered cake or a lasagna."

There was so much more she said, but I wanted to share the insight from The Holy Spirit, the triumphant victorious reminder though a 13 year old girl who loves God, loves being a young lady who basks in the joys of fashion, Paris, the Eiffel Tower and just having tons of fun in this life filled with giggles and laughter!

When we begin to  get sidetracked by what others are saying, doing and living, may we be triumphantly and victoriously reminded of Who our Foundation is, our God!  May we remember that everything else will fall into proper place; like she said so eloquently; "a perfectly layered cake or a lasagna".


Friday, August 23, 2013

Who Will It Be?

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

Photograph found via Google Images


"Look," they told him (Samuel), "you are now old, and your sons are not like you.  Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have."
~ I Samuel 8:5 ~

The bantering mantra of 'We want a king' after reading I Samuel 8 has caused awareness to arise.  I have some amazing friends who are doing a study on I Samuel and to hear their insight from The Lord provoked me to want to study even more.

This morning as I read and studied, it was endearing to see the good man that Saul truly was. Saul's respect for authority was definitely to be marveled. Interestingly enough, what Saul was sent out to look for - looking for donkeys, also known as stubborn animals - would be what he would soon rule as king over - stubborn people who had been wanting a mortal man to be king versus The Immortal God.

With all of that, I had to know, what was the initial cause of the people of Israel wanting a mortal king?
Was it truly 'peer pressure', seeing other nations with a king, and they wanted one too?
What was it?
For years I truly thought that it was because they wanted to be like everyone else. Until I asked this morning, "God, Why would they NOT want You as their King anymore?"

So there it was - the cause of the cry was not what many of us had assumed.  In verse five of First Samuel chapter eight, the cause of their concern was not solely their dissatisfaction in God but more than anything it was the fact that Samuel's sons were nothing like their father Samuel.  His sons were greedy for money, accepting bribes and perverting justice. To think that the conception of Saul's kingship was based on 'rightful fear' is quite humbling. The people of Israel knew Samuel was getting older and his sons were nothing like him; actually his sons were somewhat of an echo of even Eli's sons to some degree. As I was reading, I thought, "Lord, can't you see their true concern?"  And then so lovingly I was reminded, "But their concern of the sin of Samuel's sons outweighed their concern to have faith in Me that I would deliver them."

Many times we see what others are doing, which are contrary to God - we allow their words or actions to have the final say - when we forget that God is The Final Word and He Has the final say - but will we allow Him to?

The triumphant victorious reminder today is as though I'm hearing in my spirit, "You either believe Me, Your God and Who I Am or you don't - and whichever one you believe is who will be king in your life.  Choose The King of all kings - choose LIFE (Deuteronomy 13:19)!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Flattery or Encouragement?

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

Mother Teresa who echoed the beauty of our God!

"If you set a trap for others, you will get caught in it yourself.  If you roll a boulder down on others, it will roll back and crush you.  A lying tongue hates its victims, and flattery causes ruin."
~ Proverbs 26:27-28 ~

"If you are a thief, stop stealing.  Begin using your hands for honest work, and then give generously to others in need.  Don't use foul or abusive language.  Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them."
~ Ephesians 4:28-29 (NLT) ~

Have you been given a word of encouragement and you tend to receive it like you're picking up a dirty rag from the floor?  Do you tend to say, "What do they want now?"
No matter who gives you the encouragement, do you tend to err on the side of disbelief?

Many years ago I was so entangled with manipulation and lies to get what I wanted. It was a way of life - lies, lies and more lies.  Most people who knew me most likely ran when they saw Teresa coming.  It wasn't just about telling lies but it was also giving those empty, what looked like 'encouraging' words to get what I needed or wanted.  A very sad way of 'living' or should I say 'existing'.

A few years after being rescued into Salvation by my Rescuing Savior Jesus Christ, I began to learn from Him by God's Holy Spirit and through the Word, to turn from flattery and run to The One Who is Encouragement.

I realized that my former life of flattery was a perverted twist on what I was called to and that was the gift to encourage others.  One particular yet significant day as I was studying a few 'sharp' scriptures in Proverbs on flattery, I began to 'fear' that I was walking in flattery and not true encouragement.  This 'fear' led me to immediately go to my knees and ask God a question that ultimately delivered me from my fears.  The question asked was, "God, what is the difference between flattery and encouragement?"  This is what I heard in my spirit which helped me rightly divide my soul from my spirit, "Flattery's only agenda is to get it's own way, it has no desire to want to help better someone else's life - however Encouragement's only agenda and desire is to help better the life of someone else with desiring nothing else in return." That answer is what has helped me discern when I'm about to walk in Encouragement or Flattery - it's a great diagnostic tool that check's the motives of my heart.

Today's Triumphant Victorious Reminder is to know that when we become aware of our heart's motives, we can then properly walk in the ways of the Lord with great purpose and intention.  Many times it won't be about not going to the person to encourage them, when we originally were about to flatter them, however now we go and intentionally encourage them with a true heart in the Lord, not wanting anything else in return! Remember awareness is the key - we get to celebrate the beauty of awareness - for it is a gift from the Lord by the power of God's Holy Spirit which helps us to discern our hearts! 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Life!

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell



c. 1980 Stevens Family (L to R: Dad, Joanna, Mom, Mary Kay & Teresa)

2012


Dusting off the old VCR - placing it on the entertainment center - plugging in the proper components and finally ready to watch none other than the old family home videos from 1986.  The setting took place in the family room downstairs, adorned with that 'ever so charming' brown shag carpet and paneled walls sitting on the floor in front of the artificial Christmas tree as my sisters and I eagerly opened presents from mom and dad.


Watching the video, I noticed something I hadn't 'seen' before - and that was the subtle flirting between our parents as us, their daughters, ages 12 and younger were in our own world opening those presents we eagerly anticipated to receive.  As I sat on my couch, the atmosphere permeated with charming nostalgia.  The lack of worries we had as our parents bore the brunt of balancing and blending our lives along with dad's hard work, was nothing short than seeing and recognizing the evidence of God's grace on our parents lives as they beautifully enjoyed us and one another.

As I watched the old home movies I was reminded that in the midst of working hard, the hustle and bustle of life -  it is never too late to enjoy your spouse, your children and your family.  Sometimes we have to be creatively intentional in how we do that as some husbands/dads travel, perhaps there are wives/moms who work and/or travel, but no matter what - instead of regrets let's begin to experience contentment.

Today's triumphant and victorious reminder in all of this:
Remember your kids will vaguely remember how the bills were paid - although important - we want their greatest memories to be how their parents enjoyed one another, speaking respectfully to one another, laughing with one another - when stressful times came they knew how to laugh in the middle of it all and with intentional adventure they explored the world within their living room, kitchen, front yard, back yard, taking a walk or just sitting on the porch and enjoying one anothers company.  Moment by moment when we feel inundated with life, let us inundate life by enjoying it! Let us reveal our grateful hearts to God and make lasting memories with His creative power!





Monday, July 22, 2013

Are You Asking, "Why?"

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by The Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"Jesus said to the people, "I Am the light of the world.  If you follow me, you won't be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."
~ John 8:12 ~

God is Here!
Make yourself aware to His presence that is already here.

Most of us reading this have recently asked God, "Why Lord?" And frustratingly enough you haven't got the answer. However, as you notice the "Why question" toward God doesn't provide solutions?  We realize instead it attempts to accuse and cast judgement and plays the blame game on Almighty God.

When we ask God, "Why?" or "How could YOU let this happen?" We unintentionally say, "The enemy has the final word."  In the midst of our unintended declaration, this is causing awareness that we don't really know Who God truly is and we walk into the trap of another lie that leads us deeper into the abyss of darkness, no longer becoming AWARE of the LIGHT of GOD which is JESUS Who is the LIGHT OF THIS DARK WORLD.

Today, let's triumphantly declare this statement, "God I don't know WHY this has happened, but the enemy, the circumstance, death, divorce, calamity, and hell itself does not have the final word in my life!  God, this is what 'they' say, BUT GOD! WHAT DO YOU SAY ABOUT THIS?  What am I to learn in this?"

The learning process is to find out to an even greater degree WHO GOD IS and WHO WE ARE IN HIM! When we choose to partner with HIM and HIS TRUTH as He is TRUTH we will come to an even greater understanding that even as heaven and earth will pass away, HIS WORD REMAINS FOREVER!

Actively get into God's Word by FIRST asking the Holy Spirit to teach you as you study the Word of God!  The Holy Spirit is THE ONE WHO ENLIGHTENS and REVEALS WITH WISDOM HOW to study the Word who beautifully reveals GOD HIMSELF!  The Holy Spirit is the TEACHER of all teachers, the INSTRUCTOR of all instructors, so in this, we must begin and continue to read the Word of God by His Spirit not our own intellect!  We don't want to read the manual of SUPERNATURAL FREEDOM AND LIBERTY through the eyes of slavery and captivity (our own intellect), we MUST read the manual of SUPERNATURAL FREEDOM AND LIBERTY by the Holy Spirit of Truth WHO IS FREEDOM AND LIBERTY!

As we become triumphantly and victoriously aware of God's presence in the midst of this life - let's reveal THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD WHO IS JESUS!  Remember it is not our light that people are in awe of; it is the LIGHT OF GOD WHO IS JESUS that causes people to bow down to the KING OF all kings and LORD of all lords!  The pressure is off of you to perform and now just BE as His yoke is easy and His burden is light and easy!

Scripture References (New Living Translation Tyndale):
Mark 13:31, "Heaven and earth will disappear, but My words will remain forever."
John 14:26, "But when the Father sends the Counselor I mean the Holy Spirit - He will teach everything and will remind you of everything I Myself have told you."

John 8:12, "Jesus said to the people, "I Am the light of the world.  If you follow me, you won't be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."
Philippians 2:1-11, "...so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Matthew 11:30, "For My yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light."


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Revised...The power of God revealed through Intimacy

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

Photograph from Google Images

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
~ Galatians 5:22-23 ~


This season of my life has been filled with opportunities to learn like never before from the greatest TEACHER of all teachers and that is by the Spirit of God through His Word. 'Opportunities' to utilize His Word through situations that would attempt to knock us out cold!  I have come to this amazing revelation that Satan does not have the power to steal our joy - however, he does have the ability to deceive us.  How does he deceive us?  By convincing us that God's joy, God's peace, God's love is gone because he stole it from us and all the while he takes us off course as we believe his lies and as a result no longer walk by the Spirit of God Who reveals the Word, Who provides life!  With Satan's many deceptive tactics he can use anything from offense, rumors being spread about us, circumstances, the busyness and distractions of life, anxiety, fear, death, etc. to take us off course. When we allow the deceptive liar to continue to talk to us, we end up forfeiting the promises of God by forfeiting ourselves of what the Spirit of God desires to produce in our lives and that is God's love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control!  Again!  This is what the Spirit of God produces in us as we become aware and and realize that it is by God's Spirit that is within us that we are able to operate in His fruit!  It is not by what we produce, but what the Spirit of God produces in us and through us. 

I plead with myself and each of you to remember that Satan is crafty and subtle in his tactics. The majority of the time he comes into our lives and makes us feel bad about things that have nothing to do with the Kingdom of God, causing us to be unaware of his tactics.  And he does this when we least expect it.  Don't focus on his craftiness, but begin to focus on the face and Names of God!  It is no wonder The Holy Spirit warned us as recorded in I Peter 5, to "be sober and vigilant, watch out for your great enemy, as he is seeking whom he may devour"!  He is so crafty that he even gets other believers to devour one another...this only echoes Satan's kingdom and that is death. This is an incredibly raw question, but I'm going to ask it anyway - "Are we going to allow spiritual 'cannibalism' to take us over because of unnecessary offense which causes division and strife and only ends in destruction?"  We must take every thought, insinuation, and speculation, and take it captive, bringing those things to the obedience of Jesus Christ!  Even if those thoughts are good ones, it does not  necessarily mean they are GODLY ones!  We must handle situations according to God's Word and His Word alone, not according to our experiences, whether good or bad or our own opinions - as our opinions do not set anyone free, but only by the Word of God!  We must allow Him to have the last word in our lives! 

As we begin to become intimate with God and become familiar with the Promise of His Name and Who He is we become incredibly humbled. The power of God's Promising Name as He IS The Great I Am!  He is Provider! He is Protector! He is Shield! He is Refuge! He is The Strong Tower! He is The Rock of Ages! He is The Everlasting Shelter!  He is the Mighty Banner!  He is The Covering!  He is The Husband!  He is The Father!  He is The Mother of the motherless! He is The Commander of the Armies of the Heavenly Hosts!  He is The Maker of the Heavens and the Earth!  And His names go on for eternity.

As we remember and are constantly aware of God's Names we realize that this life in Him is no longer about 'wanting' to do what God has commanded - but finally DOING and BEING what He has commanded!  Think about it - I can 'want' to do what is right all day long - but 'wanting' to do what is right doesn't get me anywhere. For instance, I can 'want' to climb Mt. Everest - and guess what?  I'll be in 'want' all the days of my life and still not even attempt that climb.  We cannot be only 'wanters' of God's truth...but finally doers, partakers and partners of God's truth with action.  In addition to this, we can 'try' and 'attempt' to partake and partner with God on our own intellect, by our power and our might but this will only leave us frustrated and walking along the dead end path.  It is by the Spirit of God that we are able to be and do what God has commanded!
The Triumphant Victorious Reminder today: we can only live this life He has commanded by His Holy Spirit!  It's all about relationship through intimacy with the Father through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit of God - The Ancient of Days!