Friday, February 12, 2016

Yes you...

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




Chosen. Worthy. Highly valued. Masterpiece.

Yes...I'm writing to you...will you believe The Father God?
Have you been in fear long enough?
Fear of "What will they think"?
Fear of loss?
Fear of gain so I don't lose again?
Fear of stepping out and into the unknown?
Fear of "What if no one says, 'Hi'""?
Fear of "What if no one shows up?"
Fear of "What if they reject me?"
Fear of...

Are you done with the fears that speculate, assume and accuse impending doom?

You may be right...
- they may think you're crazy or even roll their eyes 
- you may experience loss and you may even gain to lose it all again...
- you may even experience being overlooked and
- no one may even show up and
- you might even get rejected...

BUT guess what?

Are you done with allowing others to STOP you from your destiny in the Father? Did you even think that there may be a group of "cheerleaders" that God sends down your path that says..."It's worth it...keep pressing on and in The One Who says, "You are worthy and highly valued for you are My masterpiece and one day the full picture will be revealed and I want you to see how you were a part in the countless lives who chose to believe Me..."

Chosen one...take the enemy's weapons that were meant to destroy you - and allow the Holy Spirit, The Great Helper and Teacher to teach you how to use them to propel you into places you never dreamed or imagined in HIM...

Here's the lesson...if anyone causes you to feel overlooked or insignificant in life, bless them and thank God for the opportunity to now be intentional in recognizing others - seeing them beyond the surface and watch them soar...allowing God to turn those sorrows into a lifestyle of soaring like an eagle...
Scripture References:
"Perfect love casts out all fear." 
- I John 4:18, NLT

"All the days of the desponding and afflicted are 
made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], 
but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast 
[regardless of circumstances]." 
- Proverbs 15:15, AMP
"For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created 
us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good 
things he planned for us long ago." 
- Ephesians 2:10, NLT
"...To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the lord has planted for his own glory..."
- Isaiah 61, NLT
 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

"How To" or "Go To"

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


Intimacy causes us to know our authority in Christ and in that place is where we experience God's power to overcome. It's not a "how to" as much as it is a "go to"...Who we go to will reveal the how.

WHO are we going to when life gets scary and uncomfortable?
Are we running to self?
Others?
Or are we running to God?
Who are we talking to?
Are we unintentionally talking to the enemy?
Are we constantly yelling at the enemy to go? I'm finding out that this is just a twisted form of "prayer" - when we keep giving him credit and glory, this is when we will be more aware of what the enemy is doing versus being more aware of what God has already done. In this defeated perspective, by default, when we confess and declare that we are being "attacked" we have just fallen into the strategy of the enemy. And what is his strategy? Yet again, the enemy's mode of operation is to distract us so we keep our eyes off God Who is our Victory. The facts are, we are being attacked, but have we ever focused on the TRUTH that God has gone before us? Is our focus on what the enemy is doing or what God has already done?

Are we impatiently waiting for what we hope for OR are we waiting on The One Who is Hope by praising Him for Who He is. But what if we don't know Who He is? Then we can find out by simply asking Him and watch His Holy Spirit lead you to His Word to reveal His character as He is Faithful and Steadfast!

Or how about when unworthiness or doubt come in or let's say I have a thought that I know is NOT truth, then I say out loud: "God! This thought I give over to you - bless this moment Lord that could have ruined me Lord. Bless that person who the enemy tried to use to detour me - they need your Mercy Lord. Bless them Father in Jesus name!" This is "how" we release people and situations to Him. Again, it is that simple. Amazingly enough it is not about being "ready" it's about, "are we willing?" As my daughter said Sunday, "Willimgness determines readiness. Readiness does not determine willingness."

Perhaps my mind has been filled with depressing thoughts...most likely it's about me praying for someone else who I may not even know and saying, "Lord! Whoever is feeling this way, Father, I release your Joy to Strengthen them and then begin to have a FAITH LAUGH  - laugh out loud ON PURPOSE and say, My God is bigger and I know You God are my Strength! Whether we feel it or not, I press into Him BY speaking that...that's an example of "how" to live a victorious life AWARE OF WHO LIVES IN ME AND WHO I LIVE IN.

Another thing is remembering all the GREAT things God has done...thanking Him by faith for (As Pastor Chris says) your faith in Him, thanking Him for your family, thanking Him for your finances (Even when you see lack, speak thankfulness for what you have) and thanking Him for your future in Him!

Intimacy comes from a place of just saying, "I submit to You Father" -
submission is the tool that causes us to resist the enemy. 

If all we do is attempt to resist the enemy, we will most likely not submit to God because we are so busy resisting and in that we get tired, cranky, ungrateful, depressed, and worn out, but JOY comes in submitting to the Father! 

What also helps quite often is when I play the "Fathers Love Letter" or when I begin soaking in worship music to assist me in drawing close to the Lord and then suddenly gratefulness flows!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Milestone Marker of Another Year...2016!


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

 


As I sit here writing in my classroom/office, papers scattered and not many of my things placed where they should, intoxicated by my little world of "to dos", disconnected from the world around me. Yet at this very moment as I realize my disconnection, it's as though you're witnessing me climbing out of my little box called, "Me, Myself and I" and intentionally daring to venture out, pondering the thoughts of my neighbors and beyond.

Straining my mind as I am intentionally compelled to think past my little world, I intentionally wonder, "Did someone around me just receive amazing news that they've been expecting and anticipating?  Have they been pleasantly caught off guard by the overwhelming blessings that they never dreamed before?  To the other spectrum of asking, "Did someone around me just receive news that has caused their world to implode by devastating news they never imagined they would have to face?"  "Did a loved one pass on unexpectedly - with no time to say, "Goodbye" - as they positively knew they for sure they would see one another before the day ended...the cliche of "We have tomorrow" ending abruptly.

Cliches of Happy New Year have been ushered in and yet in all reality, today is just another day that just so happens to be a "milestone marker" of another year that is part of our realm of time.  As we look back upon the "milestone markers" of the past and look forward to the ones to come, may we also realize that the following scripture is not another cliche but truth that must be declared to awaken our awareness of the God Who longs for us to long for Him...and here it is, "This is the day the Lord has made - let us rejoice - be full of joy and be glad in this day that He has intentionally made." - Psalm 118:24

Meanwhile, the sweet whisper of the Holy Spirit reminds me of His guarantee of nothing, but this very present moment - and to choose in the "right now" to recognize Him as He is everything I am hoping for...my misplaced hopes now cause me to be aware of Who my Hope is and it is He Who is my ever Present help in time of need. Then those moments of misplaced faith causes me to be aware of Who I must have faith in and that is my Faithful God to being aware of my misplaced resolutions being turned from intentions into reality as I thank God for His grace to help me follow through.  There's so much more and yet to be intentionally focused on Him so that resolutions become what they were meant to be which is part of every day living in victory.  No longer a slave to what can't be done - but free to posses what is done and if and when we step from the stepping stone of knowing to finally hopping into the vehicle of doing - we will see God's Victory in our own lives, not just daily, but moment by moment.

A triumphant, victorious reminder that comes to me in these moments is how our awareness levels are heightened to seemingly more hateful people coming our way - this awareness will make us think there's more hate than the day before - but truly the more aware we become to the love of God is when we become more aware of the hate in this world and this is where the joy of the Lord comes in giving us strength to see  our opportunity of allowing God's love to overwhelm people.  The how is in utilizing the tools of His kindness and humility. It's getting to play heaven's game against the influences that attempt to distract us from the goal of staying in and abiding in Who God is.  This victory is made manifest when we become more moved by what the King of kings has done for us versus what has come against us! May we remember that in this understanding, there will never have to be a day that we don't know what it's like to be in His overflowing presence of Joy...for remember God's love resulting in joy, peace and beyond is truly recognized when hate, anxiety, chaos and the things of this world are attempting to break us down.

Today I am reminded that the supernatural peace of God is truly recognized when life seems to be in shambles. God's supernatural Joy is recognized when life seems to be overwhelmed by mourning and depression and God's Holy, supernatural Love is recognized when hate seems to be intimidating and shouting threats of hell's curses to convince us that it has us surrounded - but may we see the Truth in the midst of it all for today I declare by the authority of Jesus Christ and the refreshment of God's Word with the Holy Spirit's power - "For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness." - Isaiah 43:19

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Brokenness to Wholeness...but HOW?

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



Through the weeping I heard her whisper, "Jesus, as I go back to that moment where I found him dead; I give it to you so you can bless it...I'm so sad that my kitty is gone but what the enemy meant to destroy, Lord I give to you - bless that moment I found him and thank You for blessing me all the other moments that I got to have with him. Thank You Lord for Your healing from this hurt, please have Your way Lord..."

My heart was moved to the point of tears.  Our daughter, 15 years of age was living out her faith in God, even in the midst of pain.  The pain of finding her sweet 3 year old kitty, who she had just seen hours prior playing and being frisky as any other day...and found him under the bed, thinking he was asleep and finding that he had passed away with no warning. She knew this moment, even though it was an animal and not a human, could fracture her mind, which would cause her to make decisions from that fractured place versus a place of wholeness which caused her to immediately go to The One Who could accelerate her healing from grief - who could take her present brokenness and manifest wholeness.

Inner healing of the soul is needed and necessary from the seemingly small offenses to the tragic moments of our lives. Moments that were meant to disable you so you could no longer be a displayed hope of Christ to others. Those simple moments that bring reminders of a tragedy or traumatic experience whether a familiar sound, smell or unable to do those common things, from leaving our homes; to the simple tasks of going to the store, driving, being in the rain, going to have coffee with a friend; perhaps you feel that oppressive darkness that paralyzes you when meeting people; or that need to control people close to you because of the fear of being abandoned; or even pleasing people because the fear of rejection and unknowingly we'd rather betray our principles and even God rather than have to ever feel rejection from people again. Maybe you don't even let people into your life because of the fear of losing again - or even the reminders of the betrayal of the last friend or even spouse - or even your own action of betrayal against someone else - perhaps even a betrayal of a parent, sibling, family member, to even a son or daughter. The tragedies could be listed for years - but I sit here as my fingers dance upon the keyboard and wonder,

Have you lost a precious child? 
Do you remember the moment the report of an illness was spoken over you?
Perhaps you lost a spouse or a close friend?
Whether it was years ago or just yesterday - You feel as though you are unable to move past that moment because of everything that is going on around you. You feel overwhelmed and alone.

Do you even seem to hear the lie that if you move on, you would betray the one you lost?  Do you fear that if you forgive that person from murdering your spouse or child that you are somehow saying what they did was okay? 

God patiently waits for you, God waits for me to run to Him all the days of our life as His son, His daughter.  He longs for us to go deeper in Him finding things within Him that this earth could never imagine but so desperately need. The Greatest Counselor and Healer of ALL; The One who refreshes, redeems, restores, rebuilds and makes better than could have ever imagined - He's right there with you - do you sense His nearness? 

Pause for a moment and quiet your mind (Be still) - in the stillness let the knowing arise that God is indeed God.

Now here's a "dare to believe" moment...Today, simply say, "Jesus, I accept You as Savior and Lord because I know you conquered death, hell and the grave so I could be FREE from the fractures of death, hell and the grave. I receive Your Holy Spirit Who empowers me with You so that I am no longer hurt by people, instead I now hurt for them because Your Love is transferred into me."

That moment that seemed to change everything - are you remembering right now? Now, imagine God holding out His hand to you, grab a hold of Him and say by faith (Even when you don't feel it, that is what faith truly is) - press into Him as He holds you whether you "feel" Him or not and declare, "Lord, I go back to that place with You where the brokenness took place...and now I ask You Lord to bless that moment - I give it to you as a seed of blessing and I know You will that seed and plant it into the rich soils of who You are as I stand in awe. By faith in You, I declare that this seed I sow will soon reveal upon harvest time that yet again, you are God alone!"

Today's Triumphant Victorious Reminder is this: He is our Victorious Triumphant One...and He wants to walk with us and make us feel as though we are the only one in His presence...He is so good at that...and this is the God Who I get to call Father!

Scripture References:
Isaiah 53
I Peter 2:24
Psalm 46
I Peter 5:7
Psalm 147:3
Philippians 4:6-7
Psalm 42:5
Psalm 34:18
Psalm 119:50
II Timothy 1:7
Ephesians 4:23-24
Isaiah 26:3
Romans 8:1-2


Thursday, November 19, 2015

But how?

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

Photo courtesy of Google Images


Have you ever been moved to tears? To Laughter? To anger? Have you ever been moved to frustration and then allowed frustration to cause you to vent?  Where does venting usually lead to?  For me it's a seeming myriad of thick, resistant webs...the more I "try" in my own strength; my own will power to not be "moved", it seems the more frustrated and angry I become.

In this subtle drifting of being moved - whether the manifestation of leaning into God's Holy Wind by His Holy Spirit or being moved by self, an ungrateful heart that allows circumstances to cause me to see even more of what I don't have leads me to look up the definition of the word moved in the Webster's 1828 Online Dictionary:
  • moved: stirred; excited; 
  • stirred: agitated; 
  • agitated: tossed from side to side; shaken; moved violently; disturbed
As I read the synonyms to each word, I can see the literal snowball effect. It's the "what happens" when I  don't take every thought captive and bring it under the obedience of Christ - it becomes a seemingly overwhelming avalanche that will bury me alive because of allowing circumstances to "speak" to me instead of responding to the peace of God that is already within me.

"So Lord, how do I practically overcome being moved from the minor mishaps, let alone the devastating news of this temporal life whether it be news of losing a loved one or friend to the seemingly crushing reports that could fracture anyone Who don't know You, and even in all of it, how do I remain focused on You?  I want to Lord, but how?"

How? How? How? How?

Of course from the perspective of God, Who perceives nothing as too difficult or impossible for He knows Who He is - in the moment I asked, "But how?"  It's as though I can see His overwhelming presence of Grace in comparison to the billowing waves of the sea that were meant to crush me, He makes it look like nothing but a kiddie pool - and I envision His grace upholding me with His Jesus, Who is His Victorious Right Hand; Who sets me up on the wave which causes me to ride the waters as though I were a mastered Tamer of the Seas!

In the realm of practicality, there is nothing we do "per se" but it's in this instead...it's more being aware of His presence that is already within us (Upon the acceptance that I believe and receive Jesus Christ as my ONLY Lord and Rescuing Savior), knowing He is the Only One Who is Mighty to Save and there is no one else like HIM! This is where the "how" comes into play.  The "how" is making ourselves aware to His presence by...
  • Thanking Him for Who He is..."God! You are glorious! Even the heavens declare your glory, but I do not want creation to be the only declarer of Who You are - You are Holy! You are Magnificent and Mighty and Lord although I only know a glimpse of what these descriptive words mean -  I'm in awe of You - I'm in awe that in Psalms, many writers declare of your Steadfast Deliverance - even when undeserved - how can I not be in awe of you?"
This will lead us into...
  • Praising Him and declaring that He is the First and the Last - He is the Last Word in everything; what the enemy has meant for evil, praise God that He is in the turnaround business.
This will lead us into...
  • Knowing He is there in the midst of it all.
This will lead us into...
  • Meditating on His mercies that are new every morning and seeing with more clarity than ever that He is EVERYTHING and you have been a witness within moments how He has made every mountainous circumstance into plateauing fields because we have allowed Him with our declaring praises.
This will lead us into knowing with great certainty...
  • How to take every good, bad or indifferent thought and bring it to Him - by saying/declaring, "Lord, I'm aware You are with me, Your steady hand will not make me stumble...for now as I behold Your greatness it leads me to awe which leads me to no longer resist You - but fall into You! Lord, You heard/saw that thought - what do You say about that Lord? 
Then, with the reminders of His triumphant victory - watch the Word come alive in us as we are now moved and led by His Spirit to go to His Living Word that refreshes the soul as the spirit within us is quickened and is awakened to compel us to arise in Who He is - as He is Strength and Mighty to save!

The instructions for seeing God make mountains into plateauing fields is directly from Psalm 100:
"Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!  
Worship the Lord with gladness.
 Come before him, singing with joy.  
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
 He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  
Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name. 
 For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever,
 and his faithfulness continues to each generation."

Here's a great music video by Johnny Swim titled, "Diamonds"...I love listening to this song, especially in those moments the mountains seem incredibly big: 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7o9yG1mWcE



Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What?

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


Leaning into the heart of God as though I can hear the billowing waves of His mercy and realized...

God did not send Jesus in vain to die for the Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, American, European, African, Australian, Asian, good, bad, giver, taker, rapist, homosexual, heterosexual, murderer, molestor, nurturer, philanthropist, influencer or any other religion, nation or creed; He died for each and every person within these groups as He knew each of us as an individual calling us by our name before we were ever formed in our mother's womb - He never meant for us to take on the false identity of any one of the groups mentioned.

Today I am reminded that Jesus didn't die and then conquer death, hell and the grave so that we'd take on the identity or citizenship of another - but that we would take on His identity - as a son/daughter of the King of all kings so that we would become citizens of heaven, representing the One and Only King of heaven Who wants to impart into the earth from heaven.

The triumphant, victorious reminder is that He doesn't group us into a cluster of people but sees us as an individual Who need Him - then we must see others with ONLY HIS VISION and say, "God! You know him/her by name - open their ears so they can hear You, sensitize their feelers so they can sense your wooing and open up their senses so they can hear, smell, see, and feel the declarations of Your Mighty Name - as you call each of us by name...you don't call us by who we "think" we are - but Who You say we are!

In all that we are experiencing in our world - this is not to negate what we must do here on earth to protect that which has been entrusted to us to defend the defenseless and much more - but may we walk in God's wisdom every step of the way, not moved by good or bad emotions, opinions or more - but moved by His leading, by His Spirit - oh how we need You Lord!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A powerful weapon...

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

"What does the Lord require? To love mercy, to do justly and to walk humbly before our God."
~ Micah 6:8 ~

Photo credit: Mary Kay McCall


When we walk in awe of God; we become humbled by His incredibly, infinite majesty that we supernaturally realize there's nothing too difficult for Him. Whether the situation be lofty or a difficult circumstance that seems impossible to walk through or perhaps a relationship in which we are constantly finding ourselves offended...when we walk humbly before God, I am reminded that pride is silenced. In this knowing, humility manifests so we can do what the Lord has equipped us to do what He requires; to do justly because we are in awe and moved to love The Merciful One Who abounds in infinite mercy.

So here's a great weapon I am learning  in Christ...it is called "humility". Those Who are in Christ Jesus already have humility from within, however humility manifests when we behold His beauty and holiness! Meanwhile, the triumphant, victorious reminder of what I heard The Holy Spirit speak into my spirit a few months ago as He knows this saved my life - it was something I will remember all the days of my life  as pride was seducing me to forsake God's promises and pick up my measly rights...it  is when I heard the gentle whisper, "Remember Teresa, HUMILITY humiliates the enemy!"

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Simplicity...

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




Gathered around the kitchen island, my daughter and I were discussing a few points she had prepared to discuss at a leadership class.  As she and I were talking, one of the things she declared with fervency from deep within was, "Are we going to let our purpose fade in the dust?"  In this question, I asked another one, "Are we going to allow, not our purpose, but the purpose of God within us to fade in the dust?"

Then a quote from the late, Dr. Myles Munroe rose up within me.  A quote that God utilized to awake my soul as my spirit cried out many years ago, "The wealthiest places in the world are not gold mines, oil fields, diamond mines or banks.  The wealthiest place is the cemetery.  There lies companies that were never started, masterpieces that were never painted...In the cemetery there is buried the greatest treasure of untapped potential.  There is a treasure within you that must come out.  Don't go to the grave with your treasure still within YOU."

Many times we wait for others to come alongside us - yet do we realize that the greatest Revealer of the potent power within us, is not only alongside us, but within us?  The Holy Spirit - The Holy Breath - The Holy Wind of God is within us, for those who have received Jesus.  Yes! It's awesome that we have made the first step to receive Salvation - but there's so much more.  Our focus is not on where we're going because of salvation - our focus in Salvation is to be on the Savior who is our Great Assister in helping us walk through the threshold of Salvation into the abundance of what The Father has prepared from long ago...no limits...no boundaries...the more we seek Him - the more we find out WHO we have been rescued by...not just for our sake, yet more importantly so we can continuously be equipped from one level to another to gather others to seek Him as well.  The focus is not on going to a church that feels like family - but being the family who belongs to the Head of the Church - The Patriarch of ALL and that is our Almighty God!

You want to know your purpose?  First realize this - it isn't your purpose but HIS.  Realize the simple beauty of stewardship that what we have within us, this treasure is not ours but God's and the purpose of stewarding His potent power within us is so that we truly rely on the Holy Spirit to manifest the Kingdom of God on this earth.  We are looking for things outside of ourselves that have been within us all along...look no further...go into that place of praise unto the Father, and watch what He reveals - He will reveal Himself more and more and the enamored  awe that will set our feet on solid ground will begin the journey of why each of us are here - not to reveal our opinions or even our greatest desires - in this journey of seeking Him more and more - it is to reveal the endless GLORY OF GOD!

Remember it isn't that He can't be found in the seeking - it's that there is an eternal, endless depth - just when we find out a little bit of Who He is- we find in the seeking there is so much more of Him that we never knew of Him before - the endless GLORY OF GOD...never boring - only eternal adventures in Who He is!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Truth trumps facts...

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



"God removed His hand because they were disobedient."
"They went through that because they walked away from God."
"Children are a direct reflection of their parents."

SCREEEEEEEECH!!!!!!!!!!!!  HOLD ON! STOP!

Where did these cliches come from?  Definitely not from the Word of God...but I know for me, I have likened these sayings as though I read it straight from, First Liar 1:1 (That was me being facetious).  Of course through the hazy glass of deception, I have found that the purpose of that looking glass is to erode our vision of how we see God as this effects whether we receive from Him or not.

In this process, I am continuously learning about opinions...they seem right...and many times are even factual...but it's not ABSOLUTE TRUTH.  So when we hear, "God removed His hand because they were disobedient..." this by default says that God is a liar for The Word says differently, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." - Deuteronomy 31. All in all, truth trumps facts...and here's the truth...I remember those times I intentionally and unintentionally removed myself from Who He is and that removal process was due to my own choice of disobedience...yet He still patiently awaited for my return to Him.

I have been guilty of saying and hearing others say, "They went through that because they walked away from God..." In God's lovingkindness, His Spirit has lovingly highlighted  that calamities and prosperity fall on the just and the unjust  (Matthew 5:45). In finding this, I have learned not to allow the majority of good or bad circumstances be the final say in my life to be the "measuring stick" of how "good" I am in the sight of God.  Actually, my heart is being purged to live a life of continual thanksgiving that no matter how good I am, or how good or bad my circumstances are - God's goodness is revealed - it may not always be in my circumstances - but if we really pay attention, His goodness is always active. Even in that knowing, my good works are a must as it reveals I have faith - yet, it still doesn't come close to the goodness of God that He longs to lavish on me and more importantly THROUGH me.

It brings me back to the place of knowing our good works reveal the glory of God, His glory is the person Jesus! Yes, of course there are consequences to our obedience and disobedience - it's called the law of sowing and reaping...the results of living in Him are ULTIMATELY an abundant life of Who He is as revealed in the EVIDENCE OF HIS SPIRIT, motivated by His LOVE which brings forth JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS AND SELF CONTROL. It isn't about mustering every ounce of human will power to produce this - these things are just evidence of Who possesses us when we allow The Holy Spirit to operate through us - not for our glory but for the good of others so they look to the Father in awe!

What about that "age old" saying, "Your children are a direct reflection of your parents"?  Although at times this is factual pertaining to earthly parents. I also know wonderful parents who have great kids...then there are those who are wonderful parents who have wayward kids...there are parents who have no business being parents who have kids that seem to have no hope...and then those same kind of parents who have kids that are incredible in spite of their upbringing. With all these takes on different types of parents, ultimately, we have an incredible Father God who has children that once received His Salvation, but walked away...does that mean our God is a bad parent because of those who are wayward?  Of course not, the choice of every individual to be obedient or disobedient is up to them - to walk in relationship with God or not.  In this I am reminded that just because I live a good life, make great choices in many ways, doesn't mean anything - my choice to obey in the beginning was "fear based" reasoned by the thought, "I don't want God to be disappointed in me." And this kind of thinking is not relational to please God, but it's truly carnal and even selfish because it is on another spectrum of pleasing self. Some please self with sin - while others can please self by being good. I am learning that both stem from pride and God has triumphantly and victoriously reminded me today that without Him I can do nothing that He has destined me to be a part of - it's all about relationship and intimacy with the King by His Spirit Who reveals Jesus Christ the glory of The Father!

Finally, do you want to continuously get out of the paradigm of religious, selfish cliches?  It's simple yet it takes relying on His Spirit...we get to be in awe of Who God is - ask Him for the Fire of His Spirit which compels us to study Who He is through His Word which reveals His steadfast character through every story of triumph and tragedy...He is the unchanging God of Majestic Love coupled with Wisdom as He reveals His purpose through ours!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Sower, the Seed and the Soil

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

Matthew 13



Often concerned, "What if I sow into someone and nothing comes of it?"
"What if...?"

I was reminded of the understanding I received about 6 months ago regarding the sower, the seed and the condition of the ground as played out in Matthew 13...
- From the path, which represents those who don't understand, to
- The rocky soil, representing those who hear the Word and immediately receive with joy but when problems arise they fall away, to
- The thorns which are those who "hear" but the cares of this world and deceitfulness of riches crowds it out to
- The final, which is the good soil or good ground. This good ground produces a harvest of 30, 60 and 100 fold.

After reading this at that time, truly believing as I read that passage that it was strictly speaking of four different types of people, this is when I couldn't shake it and just had to ask the Lord, "What if we sow into one of these types of people besides those who have a heart of fertile soil?" "Does that mean I wasted my time?" Almost simultaneously, as I asked that question, it was as though I heard, "Teresa, my daughter, your heart was once like the "path" where the seed (Word) was snatched up, but I sent sowers into your life and then one day that path was turned to "rocky" soil, where you heard and with joy you received, but when the hard times came, you didn't run to Me, instead you ran from Me.  Then soon after, the condition of your heart turned to thorny ground where the cares of this world and deceitfulness of riches crowded my Word out; you didn't make yourself aware to My grace as I was eagerly awaiting to pour Myself onto you and because of My love for you, I knew what needed to be done and in My patience and loving kindness, I sent laborers to woo you back to Me and in that you allowed me to truly become The Gardener of your heart - and look - now you have allowed Me to turn your heart into fertile soil where there is a return like you could have never imagined  - some 30, 60 and even 100 fold."


With all that said, as we sow into people's lives - let's not hold back in sowing into people - whether we ever see results or not...we must remember that God's Word does not return void as God watches over His Word to perform it. We know it is only by the goodness of God that draws men to repentance so they can be revived and through the process of His patient love toward us, our hearts become and remain fertile by continuously producing crops that point to the handiwork of the Father!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Reflecting...

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

Today I am reminded of a blog entry from  July 9, 2009...you can read it by clicking here...
http://www.triumphantvictoriousreminders.com/2009/07/july-9-2009.html

Friday, August 21, 2015

Trying to "find" yourself?

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


 
If I try to "find" myself - I will only get more lost in self...
If I try to "find" my value in what I do - then when the work is done I will believe the lie that I have no value...
If I try to "find" my worth in who I know or the title I hold - then when our paths part and the title is removed, I will believe the lie that I am worthless.
If I try to "clean" myself up, I will only get tired and more weary and become even dirtier than before.

Yet the beauty of all of this? The burden has been removed to fail at the attempt in doing this ourselves. God has made it quite simple - The One who finds us allows us to find out who He is so that no matter what we do or don't do, or who we know or don't know or the title we hold or lack thereof...identity starts with being a son, a daughter of God and as this understanding falls on us we only hunger and thirst for Him even more. 
 
Meanwhile in the intimate moments with our God in prayer, pondering, praise and worship - it's not just saying a plethora of words, or singing many songs - at times it's about living our daily lives and leaning into HEAR...HEAR the Words of Jesus as we stand in awe by the Holy Spirit's power to hear how He intercedes for us and if we really listen, we can even hear His songs of deliverance as He sings over us.  
 
Remember, you are His Masterpiece not because of what you've done or how great you are - He calls you Masterpiece because He is the "Master" of the broken "pieces" as only through Him we can do the things He planned for us from long ago. In this Masterpiece declaration, He makes us whole and complete, hence Shalom, which means nothing broken and nothing missing! 
 
Scripture references:
Romans 8:34,
"Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us."

Galatians 4:6, 
"And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, "Abba, Father."

Psalm 32:7,
"You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah."

Ephesians 2:10,
"For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us new in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
 
Isaiah 26:3,
"You will keep in perfect [Shalom] peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!"

Friday, July 31, 2015

"I just want to walk again..."

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



In the waiting room, I spotted a woman in a wheelchair checking in for her appointment. Upon checking in she began softly crying to herself. I'm sure for her it was a moment in which she thought no one could see - which was most likely the moment in which I was moved by the Compassionate Whisperer, "Be My embrace"...Upon the whisper, I received a heavenly idea of how to approach her without making her feel pitied.

In that very next moment, we exchanged names and as I was about to walk away I felt that "nudge" to turn back and simply squat down next to her; while looking into her eyes, I whispered, "What can I pray about with you?" Her answer has not left me and it causes me to appreciate everyone and everything around me...she whispered as tears streamed down her face, "I just want to walk again." Upon that request, we grabbed each others hands and just simply prayed that she would walk again and I believe she will...God loves His children and He hears our cries and thanking Him for His love that is meant to be shared.

"I just want to walk again..."

Now some will think, "What a seized opportunity to obey..." But let me tell you what really took place...I believe it was God's way of utilizing her to anonymously reach out to me - to rekindle the fire of gratefulness so I could "see" more clearly again.

The Triumphant Victorious Reminders in this is how today I request of the Father God, "Lord, let me "see" more clearly again...with Your Love - and I believe that this beautiful woman will not only walk again but run with the best of them - furthermore with her heart, she will run after you all the days of her life!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Insight

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



Have you noticed how the Lord is giving us insight as to how the enemy is at work? Well in that, God clearly shows us how He, Himself operates.

For instance, have you ever speculated, or assumed that someone has pulled away from you? I know I have in the past. However what is so awesome about the Lord is if we let Him, even if the pulling away is truly happening - the Lord is allowing us to see through the schemes of the enemy which is to bring division by getting offended and guess what happens? These schemes, if not recognized, will cause us to stop interceding on one another's behalf.

So how do we pray when we feel that, whether true or not? We pray - "God, cover my sister/brother...Whatever they're going through - thank you that you have them and hold them so very tightly - show me Lord how to reach out to them...show me how they need your love in this season. Lord, if their assignment with me is over in this season, bless them as they are now assigned elsewhere and may your Shalom presence saturate them."

This is a great, practical way to stay in unity - by being unified in God's Holy Spirit. These are the last days - we must stick close to one another, whether it be through just intercession or both physically and spiritually.

Let us be reminded, when tempted to pull away, we must be careful who we're being pulled into...God doesn't scatter - He unifies. You are His and He is yours! Peace be with you at all times!

Monday, July 6, 2015

From regret...

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



Recently, the thought of those who carry regret caused compassion to overwhelm my soul as the images I saw were likened to someone carrying a decaying carcass on their back. 

Do you constantly remind of yourself of your regretful past?  Whether it's in a passing comment or a thought, I liken it to heaping ashes of the dead upon your head. Do you want this ceremonial reminder to cease? 

With that said, have you heard the saying, "Don't forget where you came from?" Although I understand the point of this saying - let me explain what I have been awoken to...

Recently, I broke free from the lie that whispered, "If you're not reminded of what you've wrongfully done in the past, then you'll slip back into that lifestyle of sin again."  Here's how freedom annihilated me...it was in one moment - that specific moment I was rescued and delivered as the Breath of God caused me to realize that all along I was heeding to the whispers of the demonic.

As though it were a "suddenly", I awoke to divine understanding from the Holy Spirit's wooing.  His goodness allowing me to see Him shake off the sackcloth of lies and replace it with a beautiful garment of hope and praise.  This garment He gave me was to focus on Him which allows me to cast off the lies. Here it is, believing that the memory of my past is what saves me from going back.  If this becomes my principle of living a life of so-called freedom then I have forgotten Who has rescued me from myself. My focus was never to be on the shame but on The One Who delivered me from shame.

Have you lived in shame for long enough?  Are you finished with echoing the religious spirit's lie of justifying why you remain in the prison of deceit?  Then I urge you...call on the Freedom Fighter's name...His name is above every name and that is JESUS!  Watch regret turn to repentance - and let that turning back to The Father's heart allow you to praise Him right where you are.  He doesn't have an anniversary reminder of your sins - instead He "triumphantly and victoriously reminds" you of what you're becoming in Him, for He is the Author and Finisher of your faith...so let His story merge into yours so that you become the Hope of Glory in Christ Jesus. 

Let freedom begin...

Scripture references:
Psalm 38:4
Romans 8
Romans 2:4
Isaiah 61
Philippians 4
Hebrews 12:2

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Honroing my dad

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

Today, I get to honor my dad...



Dad, you are the definition of a true man. Your yes is yes and your no is no and most of the time - there's no such thing as a maybe - LOL.

Dad, we, your daughters, along with mom, agree wholeheartedly that you are a man of integrity, honor, character and truth. You love it when the truth wins out and when people's hearts come back to the Father God, you rejoice! Although a man of few words - the words you do speak have much weight as they're filled with nuggets of wisdom! Your motto is quite simple, "When God says "Go", sometimes man will most likely say, "No."

You taught us to never take someone's opinion of another human being and run with it...you also taught us to remember if we didn't hear it from the person - but only heard it from others it's just hearsay and you've reminded us of the Proverbs that says, "Every story sounds true until you set the record straight." Dad, there is so much more that you live and lead by great example!  Even as I write I'm reminded of making sure I don't live by what others say, but only by what God says.

I love you so much dad...you are one who allowed us to see major glimpses of God as one who loves us and how we can easily approach Him boldly to the throne of Grace. Happy Father's Day to our God for allowing us to have you dad as our first earthly hero.  Happy Father's Day, we love you!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Chocolate Silk Pie...

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

So yesterday we had two of my husband's friends come over for dinner. As we were getting ready for their arrival, my husband had gone outside to grill the steaks when across the room I spotted a half of a chocolate silk cream pie on the counter. Oh goodness, my adrenaline started pumping as I honed in on that pie and as though I was in a "chocolate" trance I went to the silverware drawer and grabbed me a big ol' fork, proceeded to pop the lid off the container and without even a thought started eating that thing as though I had never had chocolate before...ha! As I came to reality, my eyes widened as I was incredibly shocked to see the only thing left remaining was a half ring of pie crust, chocolate and a little evidence of whip cream...have you ever done that? Where you ate something so delicious and realized you ate more than you had planned?  So, I guess the little girl in me thought, "Just put it on the cake stand and no one will even notice..." (I can just hear my sweet  mom's voice in her Korean accent, "Aww Teresa, you no eat like that...you know better.")

 

Well, upon our guests arrival, Trissy and I were getting ready to leave for a meeting - at this point I had forgotten about the pie incident. As we came back home a couple hours later, we were greeted by everyone when I spotted the same pie on the counter - but there was even more in the container than when I feasted on it just a couple hours earlier! Drawn to it yet again, I said out loud, "Wow! I love that pie!" And then I heard the laughter from the men as they reenacted what happened next, I was almost on the floor rolling in laughter!

Now you have to understand these men...they are MEN...warriors, manly and just like super heros...so they began to tell me what had happened. After they had eaten their steak dinners, my husband was so excited about this chocolate cream pie! The guys were excited too but kept visiting and about half hour later, my husband's friend reminded him, "Hey! Where's that pie?" So hubby said, "Oh yeah! Come on!" So they get up from the table and hubby opens the refrigerator when he says, "Hmmm...I can't find it...O wait! I bet Teresa put it in the cake plate", and as he walked over to the cake plate, his friend closely behind him - they spot none other than my plundered feat of the sad remains of a chocolate pie!!! Hubby quickly assesses and says, "Oh man! Well there's no putting this together" and his friend said, "What the heck happened?" And all my husband said was, "Well it looks like two little mice got in there and their names start with "T""! They busted out laughing and made a trip to the grocery store and that's how the pie "reappeared"!

So of course, I sadly admitted there was only one mouse and  it was all me in which they laughed even more.  Yet even in this real life scenario I was reminded of our amazing God - of course there are two ways to see this - but I'm going to speak from this victorious perspective...in those moments when we finally see intimacy with God is likened to feasting on a chocolate silk pie - we get to that place where we can't get enough of Him and the time spent with Him we can't believe how much time has passed - and when it looks like our day was "wasted" because of the time that got away in His presence - He redeems that time back in ways we could never imagine - and we end up getting more work done that matters to both Him and to us! The moral? Taste and see that the Lord is sooooo good as we will delight in Who He is - there's so much more of Him to be had - dig in!

Psalm 34:8, "Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh the joys of those who take refuge in Him!"

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Mystery Revealed Through Us...

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



Praying the Word of God; in all of it's importance to do so - do we understand the magnitude of these prayers?

I have to ask myself, do I long for the constant awareness of His presence?
Have I fallen asleep to the awakening of His empowering grace?
Do I allow His supernatural power to invade in and through me to walk in Who He is with supernatural ability to be and do above and beyond my natural abilities? 

With that said, I think on Isaiah 11:2, which I am led to pray quite often: "May the Spirit of the Lord rest on us - The Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, The Spirit of Counsel and Might, The Spirit of Knowledge and the Fear of the Lord." Yet today, I was compelled to continue reading on through verse 5.  Upon this reading, my eyes were opened to understanding - this prayer of The Spirit of the Lord to rest on me is to awaken me to understanding what the Spirit of the Lord desires to be through me, just as the Spirit of the Lord did through Jesus - it's not just to be smart and witty or know how to see, say and hear things more clearly - it's truly to be able to:

- Delight in obeying the Lord
- Never judge by appearance (Whether they look the part or not), false evidence, or hearsay.
- Defend the poor and the exploited.
- Rule against the wicked and destroy them with the breath of our mouth.
- Be clothed with fairness and truth

Today's Triumphant, Victorious Reminder is that in His presence is fullness of joy to be able to delight in obeying Him; to delight in never judging others by their appearance (Whether they "look" good or bad), false evidence or hearsay; to delight in defending the poor and the physically and spiritually exploited; with humility to rule against the wicked as we speak what The Spirit of God would speak through us, cutting sharper than any two edged sword - being able to see clearly between the soul realm and the spirit realm; and with delight be clothed with fairness and truth.

As we pray the Word of God, may we realize it's not just to possess "super" powers to look good or having the false mindset of "accessing" a "genie in a bottle"  - the purpose is to reveal the loving power of God to see people set free to be a part of releasing them from their prison cells and FINALLY seeing the glory of the Lord through us which gives others hope - for we have the honor to be ambassadors - representatives and agents of a beautiful mystery - and that mystery is simply this: we are the hope of Glory, and that is us revealing with our actions that Christ lives in us!

Scripture References:
Isaiah 11:2-5
Isaiah 61:1-3
Psalm 16:11
Colossians 1:27

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Fabrics...

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


 
 

"I have to have it!  Oh my goodness that outfit is a MUST! Where can I get it?"

Depending on who wears it and if they wear it well...for many in the fashion industry, their clothing is to inspire and if marketed well, it compels others to want it also.

So with that said, it caused me to think of what I've been called to clothe myself in...it's made with the finest fabrics, made by the Author of all designers who clothes the ones He has chosen to represent on the "red carpet" of this life to display His glory - as others look in awe - I must wear the rare fabrics of tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  This beautiful array of threads interwoven with gorgeous grace gives allowance to extend to others in their faults just as He has done for me and causing me to be aware of forgiving the people who I have allowed to offend me.  This beautiful garment reminds me of the great forgiveness of God in all the sins I have committed, and in that is great responsibility to be quick to forgive others as well with HIS forgiveness that is endless.  Yet even with all those beautiful fabrics, the most important piece of clothing to wear is LOVE - it is the rarest of all and it's the very one that brings all the other rare pieces to fit together so uniquely well as the garment falls into place binding me with others in Him in perfect harmony and reminding me to always be thankful to God for Who He is.

It's great to know what we need to do, but HOW?
It's simple, the "currency" of receiving this clothing is with a heart of gratefulness allowing the LOVE of GOD to rest on us - bringing us into intimacy with the Most Famous Designer of all times...and here's one of the keys, when we become aware of our ungrateful hearts, we no longer need to feel condemnation or shame, instead we can be thankful to Him that His Spirit made us aware of the ungratefulness and simply say, "Thank you Father for Jesus Who is revealed by the Holy Spirit who came to reveal the love of the Father." It's simple - when we mess up in the midst of hard times - He makes allowances for us to get back up in Him and reveal Him more and more - for He is Love!

Scripture Reference:
Colossians 3:12-17

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Have the things of God become a god?

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


What a reminder...to never let the "things" of God become my idol...

- The focus was never meant to be solely on the Ark of the Covenant...but THE ONE WHO took up residence within the Ark.
- The focus was never meant to be solely on the Cross but THE ONE WHO hung on that cross.
- The focus was never meant to be solely on the tomb but THE ONE WHO WAS RAISED OUT OF THE TOMB.
- The focus was never meant to be on prayer but THE ONE WHOM WE PRAY TO and WHO PRAYS TO HIS FATHER FOR US...THE GREATEST INTERCESSOR OF ALL.
- The focus was never meant to be about church but THE ONE WHO IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH and imitating HIM as we are the church.
- The focus was never meant to be on the gifts of the Spirit but THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO HAS GIVEN THE GIFTS.
- The focus was never meant to be solely on the Bible but THE ONE WHO IS REVEALED IN THE BIBLE.
- The focus was never meant to be solely on faith but THE ONE WHOM WE HAVE FAITH IN...AND THAT IS GOD.
- The focus was never meant to be solely on healing but THE ONE WHO IS THE HEALER.
- The focus was never meant to be on the enemy but on THE ONE WHO HAS DEFEATED the enemy!
- We stay fixed on JESUS...it's all about an incredible relationship with HIM...not an incredible system that occasionally refers to HIM.