Friday, May 20, 2016

Breakthrough Not Brokenness

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



Have you ever prayed to God about someone or something and it seemed things only got worse?

This is when I realized this is the beginning of a breakthrough not broken dreams.

For instance, have you ever bumped something really hard and the pain was intense, yet the first day there was only redness in the effected area?  Yet a few days later that area turned yellow, black and blue...it looked far worse than the first day of impact.  What looks discouraging and really bad is truly the body miraculously attempting to heal that area.  From the outside it looks really bad, yet from the inside there's healing taking place.

This Triumphant Victorious Reminder is to remind us to not grow weary as we must now allow the outward move us out of our place in speaking life over those that we were meant to ONLY see what God sees and declares.  This reminder is humbling as we may be in their life for that very moment when others "give up" we continue to "give in" to God on their behalf.

Some may need practical ways of "how" to live this out...

If you see someone in your life is spiraling out of control or rebellious...

Speaking over a man:
"You flourish in God like a well nurtured plant; you are strong and valiant - a mighty man of valor and rebellious against sin and your zeal is for God and you are controlled by the Holy Spirit knowing that you are an overcomer - for you are above and not beneath; you are the head and not the tail and the fear of the Lord rests on you as wisdom and understanding are revealed because you know your God! Whenever difficulty comes, JOY arises as you remember WHO has you as you are strengthened in the midst of battle.  I speak to your spirit man and call forth the REAL YOU to arise - you are God's and the ONLY assignment that can prosper on your life is God's, for He has the last word over your life.  You are His and He is yours in Jesus name!"

Speaking over a woman:
"You are as a graceful pillar carved to beautify a palace; you are as a lioness arising in the virtue of God and you are rebellious against sin and your zeal is for God as you are controlled and led by the Holy Spirit as you know your identity in God is as His daughter, revealing royalty in the midst of peasantry.  I speak to your spirit and call forth the REAL YOU to arise - you are God's an the ONLY assignment that can prosper on your life is God's, for He has the last word over your life.  You are above and not beneath; the head and not the tail - the fear of the Lord rests on you as wisdom and understanding are revealed because you know your God! Whenever difficulty does, JOY arises as you remember WHO has you as you are strengthened in the midst of battle.  For you are His and He is yours in Jesus name!"

Scripture references:
Psalm 144:12
Judges 6:12
Romans 8:37
Deuteronomy 28:13
Nehemiah 8:10
Song of Solomon 2:16

Perspective Shift

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

I apologize as the other day I was thankfully notified by a few of our readers that they only saw a blank screen...the reason is because the picture was not properly uploaded...so let me try this again...


Tactics of the enemy:

Hardship - to be seen as defeat and to only see how the enemy is attacking and how he is after you. In this mindset it causes us to fight from exhaustion and we even begin to declare, "What's the enemy going to do next?"

BUT...when we see from the perspective of what is already accomplished from God's perspective:

"Strategies of God":

Hardship - to be seen as VICTORY and the beginning of our breakthrough.  The mindset is seeing the Deliverance of God as we declare with authority and speak with effortless power, "I can't wait to see what God is about to do next!"

How are we seeing?
From beneath?
Or from above?

Shift perspective!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Beauty in rejection?

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



There's beauty in rejection? Oh yes! The beauty of rejection reveals the power of acceptance!

Just think of all the times we've been rejected - they were supposed to be seen as "God opportunities" for a new assignment on this adventurous journey called life...is it easier said than done? Well of course! At first it is - but the whole point is we need to allow rejection to be the arrow that points to The Father Who longs to show us the Victory that is already ours - we just have to receive The Victory which is Who God is!!!

The "why" to not focusing on rejection is because it's an opportunity to "sow" more good seed and bless those who rejected us and that's how we release them - and thank God we had them on our journey - as we can thank God we learned what to do and what not to do. And as we bless them - God is honored more than anything - I don't want to just think this way because it's a jab at the enemy - I want to do it because it honors God...

Through the twist and turns, the gains and losses, from rejection to acceptance, from health to sickness, from seeds to harvest, from friends to enemies and so much more - I am learning I must choose how I see this life...if I see from the realm of eternity - I see as a "divergent" as even "this" is not reality - and by God's grace He empowers me to rise above self and reveal Him...the things of this life no longer have to touch me or even bother me because of WHO my Hope must be in - but if I live from a place of this temporal realm; life will seem like it's "us against the world"; most things will be seen as a struggle and I will continuously see from a place of lack...perspective with God is the only way - we need this perspective as though our lives depend on it!

Let's pursue God like we've never pursued a person or opportunity before...
Scripture references:
James 1:2-3
Luke 6:27-38
John 10:10
Ecclesiastes 3


Reference to "Divergent" is from the movie, "Divergent"

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Testimony...

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





As the Holy Spirit flowed, I was learning even more as a mouthpiece of His message of faith through last night's Girlfriends 2016 Women Conference in Belton.  One of the many reminders while speaking and sharing my testimony of waywardness to redemption, was in regards to how my incredible parents prayed prayers of faith for over a decade over me, even in the times when they didn't know if I was dead or alive. The reminder that came forth was when we pray by faith, it doesn't mean we don't recognize the "facts". Think about it, my parents knew the painful, hard hitting facts. They wept and were distraught especially when they heard what people were saying about my lifestyle - but PRAISE GOD, my parents even in those moments did not allow those "facts" to replace God's TRUTH in changing how they prayed. They continued God's declarations of faith; they echoed His Truth and perhaps the faith declarations; the echoing Word of Truth spoken went something like this, "Teresa is a daughter of The King, she is as a graceful pillar carved to beautify a palace - she will gather women together and share of the goodness of God. She is no longer wayward but now redeemed as she will live and declare the works of the Lord..."

Oh how our prayers of faith in the midst of trying circumstances are unshakeable even while we may shake with everything in us - yet even still - if and when we focus Who our faith must be in, we begin to get excited again in Him as we remember WHO IS FOR US - more so than who is against us.

As I think upon that evening, it was so sweet as my mom came to surprise me as I was invited to be the guest speaker for this beautiful women's conference - and upon that moment, receiving the microphone, and going up to the platform - it was divinely incredible to watch my mom get to see the prayers of her and dad's faith unfold right before her eyes...as I shared God's testimony of my story - I witnessed her at many times closing her eyes and sensing she was even in that moment interceding for me as I declared the testimony of God's character and faithfulness.

I am reminded of a glimpse of God's victorious mindset...If you've been stolen from in any way - whether the financial realm; or perhaps life ending in death; to health being compromised with sickness and disease; from marriage being severed by separation or divorce; from anticipation of giving birth to the suddenly news of a miscarriage; or longing for your wayward son or daughter to come home; in the midst of mourning; God has equipped us with HIS victory by His grace that allows us to rise above the ashes even while tears stream down our face and in His strength proclaim with HIS WORD, "Oh no! The enemy won't get the satisfaction that he stole from me - instead I now sow/give that moment back to You Father as a seed; I release those people and moments to You as I KNOW YOU Father take every evil thing and turn it around for YOUR GLORY and I will partner with YOU Lord as I know I will receive a 30, 60, 100 fold return in Jesus name to share the greatness of YOU LORD yet again; for I will not be kept quiet even as I wait - FOR MY HOPE IS IN YOU LORD and in this hope that I have in You, my strength shall be renewed - I WILL run and not be weary; I WILL walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31)!"

Scripture References:
Psalm 144:12
Proverbs 18:21
Romans 4:17
Psalm 45:10-13
Book of Hosea
Isaiah 60 and 61
Romans 8:31
Matthew 13
Isaiah 40:31

Monday, April 25, 2016

Prayers of Faith...

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

"Without faith it is impossible to please God."
~ Hebrews 11:6 ~

Have you ever been in awe of a child's imagination?  The world of colors and wild adventure - no boxes, just open skies, open atmosphere...creativity revealed in pictures, words, movements, songs and so much more.

(Photo, courtesy of my sister, Mary Kay McCall)


Imagination geared to The God of PURE imaginations is one of the tools to walk by faith in HIM!

Here's an example of what I mean by this.  I have to believe my parents did this over me as they believed in God, no matter what I did - they believed God more so than what they saw me doing. I truly believe this is how they prayed for me...may this bring encouragement and may your soul be refreshed as it aligned with the spirit of who God intended you to be - for your spouse to be - your children - your friends - your acquaintances - those you pray for:

This is a glimpse of what "prayers of faith" look like and what we get to declare over our sons/daughters - when the naysayers ask or people we know who care, yet pray what they "see" instead of what God intended - this is how we get to speak...for the sons and daughters are depending on our prayers of faith, not the prayers of frustration or prayers that curse them with a woeing doom...instead it's prayers that reveal the fear of the Lord that cause our prayers to line up with The way Jesus prays to The Father.
Example of the prayers of faith that I believe my parents prayed while I was astray...
Friend/Acquaintance: How is Teresa?
Can you imagine if my parents responded: We are so glad you asked as I'm not going to share what is going on in the present moment as this too shall pass - however we will tell you who our Teresa really is - 
Teresa is a woman after God's heart, she is doing the purposes of God as she binds up the broken hearted, she comforts those who mourn and she's proclaiming liberty to the captives and declaring that the prisoners WILL BE set free! If you could see her, she is as a graceful pillar carved to beautify a palace and her mind is so renewed with the understanding of Who God is that she is walking out the unfolding beauty of her knowing of who she is IN HIM! Instead of searching who she is - she is searching after Jesus and now knows who she really is as she knows she doesn't belong to herself, she belongs to God and God alone!

Oh, if you could see her, you would be moved to tears as she gathers the women together to see God and go to Him as little children who know they can trust Him with all their hearts and with everything they have! She has this new way of thinking like Christ as every diagnosis of this fallen world has disappeared and the diagnosis of God is being revealed in her very life - it's amazing how she is now addicted to God and pursues Him with a passion that causes others to want to come to God! The Holy Spirit arrested her spirit and now her soul is lined up with His plans and purposes and she wears this crown of beauty and drips with this oil of joy that has a fragrance you can't stop smelling and she has this new wardrobe of praise and her ONLY STRONGHOLD now is her Everlasting Father as He is her future and her hope - the events of her life do not hold her hope and future - instead it is God who does and now her every moments and events reveal Who truly is her hope and future!! Oh my! We are looking forward to you meeting our daughter as you have already met her two beautiful sisters!

And in this faith declaration as this I BELIEVE HAD TO HAVE BEEN somewhat declared over me - no matter what they "saw" in the natural, dad and mom were not moved by me and how I was behaving, instead they saw God's glory in my life and that's what they held onto and declared and as we do this - watch what others will see as we begin to pray like this...each of us will see with the "God compassion" and even when we speak to the daughters who are not lining with the destiny of God "yet" - we can say, just as I remember my dad saying things like, "Teresa, this is the REAL YOU..." - and this will one day cause our children, our spouse, our friends, our family members to walk out of sin and shame and into the very ONE Who delivers them out of selfish desires and into Himself who is selfless.

Tears stream even now as this past Friday (Passover) at Daughters of The King, God so sweetly reminded me of where I was without my awareness of Him all those years ago and in this He reminded me of who prayed in faith over me and how to pass it along to the ones who need to hope in our God.

I just know this is a small glimpse of God's heart and Kingdom perspective of how to pray over the ones who are wayward as God does not call them "wayward" but "found, redeemed and reconciled to Himself" and this moment of remembrance caused me to have a more softened heart.  

Yesterday while in our corporate, family gathering at REACH Church, as Pastor Chris Gilkey spoke to never give up and I also remembered as pastor spoke that My Jesus, my Champion declared life over me when many others saw me as rebellious, hopeless and an aimless wanderer - this series that pastor is teaching has brought me to a new place of remembering - remembrance of the goodness of God is so key, isn't it? 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

40 Years Ago...

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



Persistence. Perseverance. Tenacity. Never give up.

It was in 1976, on a Tuesday evening yet another knock on the door. It was like clock work. Every Tuesday night for a couple weeks, Ray and his counterpart were on their Tuesday evening "visitation" route as a particular couple's home was part of their route every week for the last few weeks.

Of course, on the other end, the couple knew who it was as they had a routine drill of their own. Whenever the couple heard the knock on the door, they would slowly get on the ground, crawl on all fours to make the outsiders think no one was home.  The only problem? Ray knew they were home because one, their car was in the driveway and two, he could hear the floors creaking as they tried to quietly move away from the front room.  If I remember the story correctly, Ray would knock on the door, hear the creaking sounds and then say something like, "Gerard! I know you're in there...today is the day of Salvation." I laugh as I love this man's persistence - it was like the Holy Spirit through Ray compelled him to not give up because of the calling on their lives and even the lives of those who were not born yet.

After a few visits of no one answering the door...this particular evening, after Ray's persistent attempts to see another person come to Jesus, Gerard finally opened the door to his home along with his wife Nan and their two year old little girl.  That very day changed the course of this family's future. Not only did Gerard open the door to his physical home - but he opened up the door of his heart to Jesus. From that moment, Gerard and Nan went on to have two more little girls...they taught their three daughters about this God who loved them so much that He sent His willing Son to die for them so that they could live a life with God.  This incredible couple brought these young ladies up in the Lord as Ray had been their pastor for a number of years. These young women remember being brought up with beautiful families that did life together, broke bread together and fellowshipped often - they remember all the gatherings - the fellowships - the going out to eat at Godfather's Pizza and then years later God would lead Gerard and Nan out into the unknown - yet so known by God.

Through all the ups and downs - the challenges of life and even their oldest daughter who would stray away from all that she knew, including this God that seemed so far away as she was more in awe of the world than in awe of the One Who loved the world - even in this, it led this beautiful family to trust God more - they became a family that stood united - no matter who walked away, they would stay faithful to this amazing God Who seemed to pause the world that evening in 1976 just for them. It was as though they could never forgot and could't turn their back on God just because their oldest daughter did.  They prayed for her, they loved her from afar, not knowing if she was still alive as months would go by before they ever heard from her.

Who is this family that I speak of?  It's my family...you see, in 1976, our lives changed forever because a man who was touched forever by God had to share this touch with others. God's love is persistent - His love is unchanging and His love never gives up!

I am so grateful to God for Ray Pew, whom I still refer to as "Pastor Pew" - he will forever have a place in my heart...you never know who you'll get to introduce to Jesus - you never know the lives that will be forever changed...but just know this - God's heart is for the lost and broken - He doesn't give up and His love is what must be received so we can freely give to others from this boundless love that is far more reaching than we can ever imagine!

What happened to Gerard and Nan's daughter?  Well, that daughter is me...and there's a line that my middle sister would say on a consistent basis whenever she spoke to me...before we would hang up the phone she would say, "Teresa, remember you can take a million steps away from God...but take one step back and He is right there."

Well, in 1993 Teresa walked away from all that she knew - and almost 10 years later, in October 2002 her mom and dad flew to see her and her family to deliver a ring that her dad designed just for her as he did for her other two sisters.  As her dad gave her the ring, he said, "Whenever you see this ring, say a prayer for mom and dad." Of course, didn't dad know better?  He knew she didn't pray...and yet 5 months later, on March 6, 2003, their daughter would surrender her all to Jesus and never turn back as later she realized that the ring was a prophetic point of contact to say, "Welcome home daughter...welcome home!"

Be persistent with God's persistence...His persistence is moved by His eternal love that is unchanging and the only thing impossible to God is to give up - He doesn't know how - He is faithful even when we are not!

Bless you today and if you are a family member or friend who hasn't given up yet on a loved one to to be saved and forever changed - don't give up now, instead remember this promise that Paul reminded the jailer from Acts 16..."You and your household shall be saved!" Don't be moved by their mess ups - just be moved by the message God has in the midst of their mess.  As my sister would say, "Teresa, you're living out your testimony!" And wow...she wasn't kidding!



Monday, April 11, 2016

Schemes...

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



Based on the goodness of God and His wisdom - God has reminded me in my mess ups the reason we are called to "confess our sins one to another" - it is to remain in unity with the Holy Spirit of God - and when we do this, we know it comes with a call to pray for one another and even have the ability to pray for one another's healing (James 5:16).

Notice, it does NOT say, "confess OTHER people's sins to one another" because that is called, Gossip and it brings division amongst one another.

What does division actually do? It dismembers; cuts off limbs; mutilates...this is what happens in the spirit when we get caught up in division of any sort  - we end up taking the "ax of the enemy" and dismembering and mutilating others.

This picture in and of itself is alarming and will help us to not fall prey to the schemes of the enemy - his scheme is to get us to stand on his side of the courtroom to accuse others because he knows the great law of sowing and reaping and he would love nothing more than for us to reap havoc in our own lives because our point of view on others was not God's. Yet, just know this - the enemy will even make us feel as though we are in the right so we feel better about our "self-righteous" stand - oh! But this is when we can say, "He got to us too late because I know what God says..."

Let each of us be watchful and if someone begins to gossip about someone's marriage, divorce, addictions, wayward children or other personal matters, immediately stop it as you cover them as well as the one they are about to talk about - covering them with the mercy of God as God's grace empowers you to stand in Truth. Remember, the person who is about to gossip may not know it is gossip, as they may be new in The Lord and truly concerned for the individual's well being...that is where we get to come in and offer a teaching opportunity - and here is a way on "how" to do that...

"I need to interject as my spirit is not at ease with where our conversation is going. I so understand your concern, and I have been where you are - yet I have learned that God's concerns must trump our own as I am reminded of what God's Word says in Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let corrupt or foul communication come out of our mouths - only that which is good to the use of edifying and encouraging so that the result brings grace to those who hear it."

I know I need this reminder on a daily basis - the enemy does not care if we are new or seasoned in the Lord - many times he will use situations that would draw a "convicting opinion" out of us which will only help his cause because we can easily justify why we have "the right" to accuse them.

Here's another reminder that trumps that "self righteous" thinking from Luke 6:27-38, "Jesus said, "If you're willing to listen then love your enemies..." Jesus continued by saying HOW to love them - "Bless those that hurt you, pray for those that use you and bless those who persecute you."

This is humanly impossible - but with the reminder of God's Love we have freely received - when that reminder takes place- it's like this "lid" comes off and His love runs freely through us - His grace empowers us to do above and beyond what we could ever do on our own. Isn't He amazing? He has equipped us! Yes He has!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Do We Add To The Chaos Or Do We Bring Peace?

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



When you walk into a situation...do you add negative insight to an already difficult situation? Or do you provide an atmosphere of hope? A safe place for others to thrive?

As we ponder those personal questions - here's how to activate God's faith, hope and love...be aware of God's character - how He is immovable and unchanging - no matter pop culture or circumstances or even other people's annoyances or shortcomings - just because we recognize those things does not mean we were ever meant to focus on them.  

This is a Triumphant Victorious Reminder that God is not moved by our ever changing moments of despair or joy - nor is He moved by our current status - He is not even "fickled out" by our upbringing or lack thereof - nor is He moved by whether you worked hard all your life or if you are just plain lazy...He is compelled by Himself because He is faithful and is the God of integrity and character and in this He has purposed to infuse His character and integrity  into our being so we may exercise His ability through our lives to receive the mandate to spread the Gospel of the Good News with not just our words but with our lives, displaying the Kingdom of God which is Righteousness, Peace and Joy!

Let's go...let's go in His peace - the Shalom of God that causes nothing to be broken or missing in Jesus name! What about those moments when we see things broken and missing?  We have the opportunity to change from mere sight to vision by doing something - and that "something" is utilizing our faith in God that "calls those things that be not as though they already are..." - now that's the life in Him we get to live with victory to spread hope and joy into others!

Scripture references:
Psalm 91
Micah 6:8
Galatians 6:9
Romans 4:17


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Note To My Soul...

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

Note to my soul:


Teresa, when you are reminded of the obedient, submitted sacrifice of your Jesus - even Him knowing all that you would do against God and others; He willingly took every torturing, tormenting whip to where tissue and muscles were torn to shreds - the tormenting pain of being stretched across the remains of a tree to be nailed, and when He was thirsty they mockingly "refreshed" Him with something equivalent to vinegar...from there Jesus uttered the Words, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!" If that wasn't enough, He even musters the strength to speak to the thief on the cross to declare that he has been forgiven and today, he would see him in paradise.

Yet even beyond that, He placed on Himself every kind of sin, sorrow, grief, infirmity, sickness and disease upon Himself to where His own Father had to turn His head and then Jesus cries out, "Father, why have You forsaken Me?" He did that for you Teresa...He did that for you...He did it for the worst of the worst and He did it for the best of the best - from there He declared, "it is finished!" And it truly looked like it was...it looked like it was finished for Jesus and it looked like death, hell and the grave won - yet 3 glorious days later - Jesus resurrected out of His tomb with God's resurrecting power - so powerful that right after Jesus died, the earth shook and the graves of the saints opened up and they resurrected and waited in the cemetery until Jesus by God's power resurrected Him and those who were once dead were now alive and they even began appearing before many people! Teresa -  Oh my God - this Jesus you get to know - He is the MOST INCREDIBLE HERO - He tops Samson's greatest feat against the Philistines! 

Teresa, you know Jesus - you've said that He rescued you - Teresa, He didn't die to such extremes so you could remain hanging onto every hurt, offense, grief, bitterness, and nasty thinking and still get to declare you have been saved by Jesus - He did it so you wouldn't have to pay the debt - He paid the price - no wonder why people say, "If they don't pay for it they won't value it as much..." Teresa, today, moment by moment, reconsider the value of none other than Jesus RESURRECTION DAY...Teresa, you must work out your Salvation daily - MOMENT BY MOMENT WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING...

Teresa, IT IS FINISHED! SO LIVE LIKE IT...

Scripture references:
Matthew 27
Matthew 27:45-65

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Thoughts Foretelling Your Future?

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



"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, Amplified (AMP)

In other words...
When we get a feeling that bad things will happen and then become controlled by our anxious thoughts, we by default begin to "foretell" our future which becomes bleak - we become unhappy, in low spirit, dejected and altogether losing confidence resulting in being troubled, burdened and distressed and then wonder why evil seems to be surrounding us. Yet those who have grateful hearts toward God have thoughts to praise Him and enjoy a continual feast, no matter the circumstances. Notice...in both cases the circumstances are the same - they are not good - yet it is about perspective in the midst of the hardships and difficulties.
 
 

Hope in God keeps us strengthened with God's supernatural love, revealing His peace and joy that are incomprehensible; overflowing with effortless celebration in the spirit knowing Who has accepted us as we know our confidence is in Him and Him alone...

We can no longer allow our thoughts to foretell our future...we must take our thoughts captive and bring them to the ONE WHO has our future!
 
Scripture References:
Nehemiah 8:10
Galatians 5
Isaiah 49:16

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!