Thursday, December 31, 2009

December 31, 2009, "Praise??????"

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

"And when they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison charging the jailer to keep them safely. He, having receiving so strict a charge, put them into the inner prison (the dungeon) and fastened their feet in the stocks. But about midnight, as Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the [other] prisoners were listening to them, suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the very foundations of the prison were shaken; and at once all the doors were opened and everyone's shackles were unfastened."...

~ Acts 16 (Excerpt from Acts 16:23-26) ~

A fellow blogger wrote on his post, "...I sat, rather laid, much of today just in this coffin of depression, self-worthlessness, and soaking up the cloudy skies even though the sun was quite brilliant today."

Descriptive feelings so real with confusion. Are you familiar with such overwhelming feelings? Personally, I know these feelings all too well.

I distinctly remember a vivid moment a few months ago, being in this state of mind...darkness seemed to prevail all around. It was a subtle fog that slowly constricted my ability to function. I remember feeling as though a dark cloud was moving above and upon me about to grip me as I could hear the chains of hopelessness follow closely behind. SUDDENLY I heard a 'still small voice' in my 'spirit'...yet it seemed to be a SHOUT. I heard, "Praise ME now as though your life depends on it." I thought with great bewilderment, "WHAT?" "This is the last thing I 'feel' like doing...however as my husband says quite often, "I was dumb enough to listen and smart enough to try it."

Needless to say in this overwhelming feeling of great depression the few words proceeded out of my unwilling mouth...My mouth formed the words with great effort, "I praise You Lord! I praise You Lord! I praise You Lord!" This was said over and over again for a few seemed much longer...yet, it was truly only a few minutes and then SUDDENLY it was as a RUSHING RIVER flowing literally out of my belly spilling forth out of my mouth. The words that were being declared were allowing the Holy Spirit on the inside of me to speak forth the awesome praises of Almighty God. The SUDDENLY moment literally dispelled the darkness. The SUDDENLY moment effects of praising God obliterated the 'coffin' of depression that I once laid in and resurrected from.

As I am reminded of the great weapon of praise unto Almighty God; I must sound the 'Trumpet of Triumph' making the beautiful sound of encouragement.

Today, at this very moment, whatever is facing you, praise the Almighty God for Who He is. You aren't going to feel like it. You aren't going to want to. Every part of who you are is going to want to 'kick and scream' and have no part of it. Your circumstances at this moment may be so overwhelming to even think about...however God wants to overwhelm you with His powerful Love, Mercy and Grace to get you through this.

God is the Lifter of Your Head. He is the Overwhelming Light that would melt the flesh off our physical bodies as His Glory is eternally beyond what we could ever imagine or dare try. Let us follow the praises of our 'forefathers' Paul and Silas unto Almighty God and see the chains of despair and depression be annihilated and obliterated in a suddenly moment.

If we're going to be overwhelmed today, let's be overwhelmed by Who God is. You are loved, as He has not left you nor has He forsaken you, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

December 30, 2009, "Joy"

Triumphant Victorious Reminders

Inspired by the Holy Spirit

Written By: Teresa Criswell

"But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You."

~ Psalm 5:11 ~

I was running, jumping, holding myself from not 'peeing' myself, as I laughed so hard.  

I love laughs like this.  It's like that saying I just adore, "Friendship is like peeing in your pants. Everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth."

I remember like it was yesterday, making a New Year's Resolution back in 2006...I wish I would have saved it, however, the one thing I remember was this statement.  I want to live life with great fervency.  I want to laugh so hard that I pee my pants.  If I cry, I want to weep.  I want to encourage beyond my wildest dreams."  I've got much work to do, but to be reminded of that was refreshing.  

It leads me to a day that I was out and about with some girlfriends from church when this statement literally shot out of my mouth, "When I laugh I roar.  When I cry it pours and when I sleep I snore."  We all just laughed so hard  It was such a random moment, a random statement from the random Teresa.  Haahaahaa!  

I don't know why this is such a random devotional today, however, what I am being reminded as I write is to do every thing on purpose for God's glory.  I desire to live extremely grateful.  I also desire to be actively encouraging others.  There is something about a contagious laugh...there is also something about a contagious depressing mood..isn't there?  

I desire to have the contagious joy of the Lord upon my life.  There is so much to be had in this. It is in the depths of my spirit, I haven't even tapped into that which wants to burst forth.  I'm so excited for the ride...I'm so excited about the overflowing joy that is unimaginable no matter the circumstances...His joy is like oil that flows like milk and honey!  O have it too; IF you have received Jesus Christ as your Lord and have the gifts of God within's don't have to do any 'hocus-pocus' 'stuff'.  The gifts are provided by the Gift Provider...Almighty God revealed by Jesus Christ who is revealed by the Spirit of God living on the inside of each of us, who have accepted the FREE gift of Salvation...HE is SALVATION!   Woooooooooooooooooooo!!!!  

ALMIGHTY GOD'S GREAT LOVE wants to pour out of you like you could never imagine not only for our benefit but to flow onto others so that they can be a blessing to others and on and on. Just think of the open vessels for the Lord we could be flowing like a beautiful waterfall, onto another waterfall, into another waterfall...the beauty to behold in such a thought is what can be had.  This knowing and ongoing experience is for others to experience as well. 

The gifts we flow in are not to ever say, "Look what I have..and look what you don't have."  It's truly about saying, "Look what I have, you can have it too."

Laughter, joy, compassion and kindness defy depression and negativity.  Joy is to negativity as Light is to dark...Negativity is dispelled just as darkness is dispelled from light!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

December 29, 2009, "Recalling God's Mercies On Purpose"

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

"But this I recall and therefore have I hope and expectation: It is because of the Lord's mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His tender compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness. The Lord is my portion
or share, says my living being (my inner self); there will I hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him."
~ Lamentations 3:21-24 ~

As my fingers dance upon the keyboard, I look up to find that just a few feet away, my large cat, Mr. Finster has his two front paws on the window seal, looking out the window. His little head tilting to the right. His head now moves back and forth quickly with great assertiveness. As Mr. Finster is in awe of whatever he sees, our dog Jack sits by his side, his head tilted, his ears perked up, looking at Mr. Finster, as to ask with glee, "What do you see? What do you see?"

I am laughing as I see such funny little characters exploring their world. They do this daily, as though it's the first time they are experiencing their surroundings. On a side note: I haven't figured it out yet, but either, our cat thinks he's a dog or our dog thinks he's a cat. Nevertheless, they think and act as though they are the same animal, allies, brothers and friends.

This leads me to a pretty 'shallow' comparison, however, I'll use it anyways. Everyday, we experience life anew. We experience the mercies of God which are new every morning. I sit here wondering, why don't I ever bask in that? Why do I not take a moment, look out the 'window' of awe and just embrace my surroundings of my Loving God who longs for me to know, believe and experience Him in ways I could never dream or imagine.

I realize today, that the goodness of God that I experience, have only been these 'toe deep' experiences. And even in that I'm quite overwhelmed! Can you imagine if we just stopped for a moment and literally lifted up our hands, looked through the window of our hearts, moving our heads around in awe and wonder of His great majesty? Just thinking about this is delightfully wooing me to be in that place in Him.

If you're thinking about how depressed you are, how overwhelmed you are, or how lonely you feel. This is your litmus test to think upon Almighty God, intentionally and on purpose. Right now, at this very moment, you can allow God to change your atmosphere, and your attitude, by thinking upon the 'Lifter of your head', by thinking upon the overwhelming love of God over your life. And by the promise of knowing that Jesus will never leave you, nor forsake you. Take a moment, as I am doing the same. My circumstances haven't changed; however, my attitude has changed because of my God in the midst of the circumstances.

Yes, it's difficult. And I'm sure there are things that you may be going through, that I can't even fathom in my wildest nightmares. Please hold on to Him, don't go through one more step of your life alone. God has never intended for that to ever happen. Not for one moment, not for one second, not for one breath.

Jesus revealed the Father God, and now the Holy Spirit has come to reveal Jesus Christ. As we accept in our hearts and believe that Jesus Christ came to pay a debt He did not owe, on our behalf, the promise of the Holy Spirit will come upon, and inside you making your spirit new to the things of God. The awakening you have longed for, will annihilate you. Some days you will 'feel' it, and other days you won't...but rest assured, He has not left. Sometimes I look at that moment as we've drifted away from Him, unknowingly, as though we are walking out onto the waters of the billowing waves and when we turn around to get to where we were, we find that we have drifted quite aways. However, just take one step towards Him, and He is right there. The amount of steps you took away from Him, only takes one step to get back under His Mighty Wings'. There is no distance, no sin, no death, no demon, no condemnation and no circumstance that can separate you from the Matchless, Indescribable love of God!

Bask in Him today...He is waiting for you to draw near...and when you do, don't be surprised by His Overwhelming Goodness, Grace and Power! The drawing near is moment by moment, daily, every breath. May we leave a legacy of His Matchless, Indescribable, Overwhelming Love!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

December 28, 2009, "Syndrome"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the physical and spiritual captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn."
~ Isaiah 61:1 & 2 Amplified Bible ~

Violently kidnapped. The victims have no memory from where they came. The choices they make seem to be filled with normality. The path of destruction is broad, wide and there seems to be a great 'celebration' when truly there is great violation, imprisonment, demise and great sorrow.

After lightly researching the history of a sociological pattern; I found that when the captured have been emotionally (a.k.a. as the soul) attached to a captor; it has been identified as an actual syndrome called, 'Stockholm Syndrome'. The interesting part of the syndrome is they say it is a "prime example of the defense mechanism of identification" (N. Kato). Think about's about identification.

This leads me to our identification in Christ. Have our minds been captivated and captured by the enemy? Or are we in our rightful place knowing our identity in Christ? To know our identity in Christ, we MUST know who He is. Our heritage is from Who He is.

Do we know our heritage from whence we came? We are created in the image of our an exciting and wonderful reminder. In this reminder, God made a way to come back to Him as He sent His Son Jesus Christ. He didn't send Buddah, or Muhammed, or any other person to redeem us or bring us back into relationship with Him...He sent Jesus Christ His Son; He sent His Word, Who became flesh. He became poor for us in becoming a human being, giving up His true Heritage. The Power of His obedience in becoming 'one of us', He was obedient unto death. Jesus was given a Name that is ABOVE every name (Philippians 2)!!!!

This ongoing, aweing, powerful, majestic reminder leads me to the question, "Do I suffer from 'Religious Syndrome' or am I living the life God has called me to live? Am I a "Liberator of the captives" because of what Jesus Christ has done for me?"

In Isaiah 61 it is written as it was proclaimed by the prophet Isaiah by the power of the Spirit of God, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the physical and spiritual captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn."

I am reminded that today I must be free of any 'soul attaching syndromes' that attempt to abduct me from where I truly belong. In this freedom, we are to enact freedoms and reveal that life giving liberty upon others. What a reminder and a blessed responsibility to be vessels for God's glory in revealing His awesome liberation from the grips of the enemy.

Let's go out today and proclaim with God's Love who they truly are, revealing who they are not. Let's walk the narrow road of righteousness leading others as we are led by Who He is and by His power and might! Hallelujah!

Friday, December 25, 2009

December 26, 2009, "In One Moment"

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

"As a father pities [his] children, [So] the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we [are] dust. [As for] man, his days [are] like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more."

~ Psalm 103:13-16 ~

My heart aches for Debbie. I can not imagine the horror, grief, and her sudden loss. The sudden loss of her husband, soul mate and the father of their children. Early morning, Christmas Eve, it was in a moment, and he was gone. In one moment.

Praying for her, I relied on the Holy Spirit for the words to pray and declare over this family. I felt nauseous for her. I started to drift away in my thoughts concerning her horrific circumstances.

I imagined that they had kissed each other 'good night' the night before, anticipating with great expectation the 'to do' list the following morning.

In a moment, John had passed from this earth leaving behind a wife, two sons and many other family members and friends. He literally woke up and in a moment had a massive heart attack, dying soon after he awoke.

I am sadly reminded that we aren't guaranteed another breath. With each breath I take, I must inhale God's forgiveness and powerful love that He has so richly provided to each of us through Jesus Christ. As I inhale this reminder, I want to exhale with gratefulness revealing God's powerful love and forgiveness upon others; especially those whom I love that He has so abundantly poured out upon my life. Abundantly, beyond my own capability of comprehending.

As God remembers our frailties, may we also remember each others frailties as well. Remembering that each of us has a 'story'. As we remember that, may we also be careful not to fall into the deceptive trap of offense. Let us be aware of our surroundings. When we feel as though we have been 'broadsided' with hate, offense and unforgiveness; may we broadside it with the love of God, not receiving the offense and walking humbly in forgiveness.

I pray for safety over each of you and your family and friends. May we intentionally, and on purpose be grateful to our Almighty God for what He has already done, is doing and will continue to do....and that is be Almighty, Majestic, Holy, Awesome God!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 22, 2009, "Unforgiveness to Forgiveness"

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

"And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."

~ Mark 11:25 & 26 ~

Wrapping gifts I could hear the television change the channel. If you have 'Tivo' or any other digital recorder you know what I am talking about. It went from praise music to a familiar voice. As I scurried down the stairs to turn the channel, I saw that the familiar voice was none other than Richard Roberts, the son of the late Oral Roberts. Richard was speaking at his father's memorial service.

As I stood there listening to the kind and fond words of his earthly father. I then heard Richard so eloquently speak of what his father had taught him. He said something to this effect, "My father reminded me that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."

This statement that he made was so poignant. Immediately I was reminded with Truth what bitterness, grudges and unforgiveness do...they lead to death when we should be living life.

I also saw a 'picture' in my head of arteries and veins in the human body and seeing blood clots form. It was a cooerlation of the 'clot' of unforgiveness. This cooerlation revealed that this 'clot' does not allow the majestic, powerful and loving mercy and grace of God to flow 'through' our lives and because of that it is not allowed to flow 'upon' our lives.

No wonder Jesus said as it is recorded in Mark 11 if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us. It seems harsh, however the attributes of God are based on His Righteousness and His Justice...they are the foundations of God's indescribable Throne (Psalm 89:14).

Through this I was reminded that God will not do anything contrary to His Word. He is not moved by our feelings of why we don't forgive. He is not moved by what was done to us. He is not moved by our moveable circumstances and situations. He is unchanging and immovable. God is not a man that He should EVER lie (Numbers 23:19).

As I was reminded of those powerful truths, I believe the Holy Spirit whispered in my heart that if I truly want God to 'move' on my behalf then I need to move in under Who He is and His promises. I need to stop clinging to my 'rights' of justifying why I should be offended or why I spitefully have harbored a grudge.

During this time of Christmas, the pressure is on. However, just because the pressure is on, does not mean that unforgiveness and choosing to be offended needs to be 'on'. I am realizing all around me that life is too short. I don't say it as a cliche, I say it realizing that I do not want to take one heartbeat that my heart is allowed to beat for granted. I want, desire and must choose life. I want, desire and must choose to laugh in the midst of my feelings getting hurt. It is so very difficult many times when we can 'feel' like we are surrounded by 'downers' versus 'celebrators'.

When we choose to celebrate others and our own lives, revealing our gratefulness to God for another moment to serve Him is when we make the choice to see our atmosphere change for God's glory and honor.

We have opportunities to choose life or death daily; moment by moment. Let this day, this Christmas be about choosing life. If God Who became flesh for us could choose poverty by taking the form of a man; choosing the womb of a teenage girl over heaven; then I think we can show our gratefulness to God by choosing life, by choosing Him. He is Life and He came to give us life more abundantly! He came to give us Forgiveness and Forgiveness more abundantly!

Monday, December 21, 2009

December 21, 2009, "Victories of Today"

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

"But thanks [be] to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
~ I Corinthians 15:57 ~

I was reminded today of the victories on the 'inside' of us ready to explode upon the earth!

Our faith in God because of Jesus Christ can activate great explosion of the things intended! We need to loose those gifts for the world to see a glimpse of the awesomeness of God! Our mindsets must change. Many times my mindset is 'set', based on fear, unbelief and what we see, which is real. God's Truth is the opposite. Truth is effectively seen when faith and belief rise up no matter what our 'reality' says!

I pray you are encouraged by some sayings I have for myself. I want to do as David did; encouraging my soul (my mind, will and emotions) before my soul discourages me which will effect my actions, my mind and my lack of effecting others for God's glory:

"Don't let the losses tell you that you are defeated. Don't let the wins tell you that you can't learn more."

~ Teresa Criswell
Proverbs 8:13, I Corinthians 9:24, I Corinthians 15:57, Philippians 3:14, I John 5:4

"If we as citizens of The United States of America do not know our rights that were established by our forefathers, then when those rights are removed 'under the radar'...then we will sadly realize all the rights we had but when it is too late. When we don't know the promises of God and are swayed by what we see, saying, "It's God's will" we will sadly settle because the settling overruled the activation of faith."
~ Teresa Criswell
Hosea 4:6, Mark 11:22-26

"Healing is more 'contagious' than sickness."
~ Teresa Criswell
Isaiah 53:5, Acts 5:12-16

"The passion for the win must be stronger than the temptation to give in."
~ Teresa Criswell
I Corinthians 10:13

"There is something about remembering the goodness of God. But there is also something about remembering the bad of the enemy and the enemies of our lives. We must use the tool of remembrance for God's glory; so we can progress, advance and proclaim through our lives and with our mouths the greatness of God!"
~ Teresa Criswell
Luke 22:19, John 14:26, I Corinthians 11:24 & 25

"Even the heavens declare His glory! I have got to do the same, whether I feel like it or not. I will, by the Spirit of God lead my feelings to where they must go. My feelings must not lead me any longer today to the 'pit' of depression and destruction."
~ Teresa Criswell
Psalm 23:3, Psalm 35:9, Psalm 42

"What the world deems successful and valuable; in the end is of great insignificance."
~ Teresa Criswell
Matthew 6:20

"You call me a DORK...thank you! For I am a
f the

"You call me CRAZY...thank you! For I am a
nointed and
ealous daughter of God
ielding'to the Spirit of God."

"You call me a 'B' with an 'itch'...thank you! For I am a
Human being because of Jesus."
(I haven't been called this one yet, but when I am, I'm ready....heehee)!

As you can tell we have the power to be offended or to not be offended.
"To be offended or not to be offended? That is the question."
"If it's not a gift to receive...then don't receive it"!

~ Teresa Criswell
James 1:17

As I close today's devotional. I apologize in advance for the 'B' word...however, I truly believe someone needed to read that one. What our enemy means for evil, let's take on the attributes of God and turn it around to glorify God! Heeheehee!!! It's more than being positive, it's positively knowing whom I get to serve, Almighty God because of Jesus Christ!!!! Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If there are any encouraging thoughts you may have, please post them in my 'comments' on my blog page...

God bless you! Have a great Monday! It's another gift of life today...let's no longer look at Monday's as 'mundane' but exceptional! Imagine the possibilities if we started to receive the opposite of these sad 'cliche's' that we have unknowingly received throughout life!

We are blessed beyond measure to live another day. I desire to live, think, act, and love for His glory!

Friday, December 18, 2009

December 18-20, 2009, "One Moment"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Stevens Criswell

December 18-20, 2009

"I press toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
~ Philippians 3:14 ~

Sweat. Tears of frustration. The temptations to give up and the torturing thoughts of what might happen. The life of a wrestler before the match.

I still remember those moments when Tim, Cody's dad would place his arm around his neck as tears of great frustration rolled down Cody's face. I remember those times when his dad would pat him on the rear saying, "Great job!" And then off on the side showing Cody more moves and how to be better next time. They celebrated and then it was on to preparing for the next match.

There were those times when Cody was making up in his mind that he was quitting as the thought of getting back on the mat made him nauseous. Yet the rewards and the victories seemed to wipe the temptations to quit out of his mind immediately.

I remember there was one night in particular where someone very close to my husband told him he needed to 'back off' on Cody and wrestling. This person continued to say that the sport of wrestling wasn't for Cody. I remember my husband expressed his thoughts to me later as he was tempted to back off, but then realized, "No. I can't afford to allow Cody to be on his own yet, I know he's not ready." My husband looked at this person and said something to this effect, "The moment I back off is the moment Cody gives up." Tim knew his son. He knew that wrestling was a 'lifeline' for Cody to remain focused.

Last night every drop of sweat and tears, temptations of giving up, lack of confidence all came to a head when the sounds of the crowd in the stands roared. The roaring sounds cresendoed when Cody stepped onto the mat. The voices of many shouting, "Cody! Go Cody! Go Iowa!" "Come on Cody!" The sounds of many feet stomping on the bleachers as the sound permeated so powerfully throughout the gymnasium.

The wrestlers got onto the middle of the mat. Cody and his opponent shook hands. The referee blew the whistle and the match began. From the moment the whistle blew to hearing the slap on the mat, the crowd stood up and cheered as Cody, undefeated, was able to place another victory under his 'belt'.

I remember at that moment tears welled up in my eyes as I saw Cody walk off the mat after shaking both coaches hands. Cody was headed towards his biggest fan, his life coach, his dad. Tim stood there with open arms as they embraced seeing that the voices of 'back off' couldn't stand a chance. It was the moment that all those other small moments were all about. It was about persevering.

The most rewarding moment? Seeing Cody all through the night encouraging his other wrestling teammates; a true reflection of his life coach, his dad.

As I saw the years prior leading up to last night; I was amazed to see the reflection of his dad. The encouraged Cody became the encourager. The coached Cody became the coach. The one who had his neck embraced was now embracing others.

It leads me to ask myself this one question. Am I a reflection of the Father God? I have been encouraged, am I now encouraging? I have been taught, am I going to start teaching what I have learned, not only with what I say, but with what I do? I have been lavishly and lovingly embraced, am I now embracing others, no matter what or where they are in their lives? Cody's victory on that mat last night was a moment I will not forget. The mat of life, we have the victory, will we obtain it by not giving up? Or will we quit, because someone said to 'back off'?

Don't let the losses tell you that you are defeated. Don't let the wins tell you that you can't learn more.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December 16, 2009, "Rise Again"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"He has shown you, O man, what [is] good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?"
~ Micah 6:8 ~

What was left of their homes was beyond recognition. Debris, trees torn apart looked as though they had exploded through the house. Twisted metal, the remains of cars violently placed in the middle of homes. Some families went back to their homes to find that all that was left was the concrete slab in which the frame of the house once sat. The devastation of the tornado that hit Parkersburg, Iowa was beyond comprehension.

Yet through one man's fiery passion to see the people of Parkersburg rise again from the rubble was nothing short of amazing. He lived to inspire. He lived to encourage. He lived as not only a coach of football, but a coach of life.

My dad sent me this video this evening, and I was inspired to write in honor of the Triumphant Victorious God who graced the people of Parkersburg, Iowa and the Thomas family.

I still remember that evening. We were living in Winterset, Iowa. It was truly like yesterday when we heard on the news and then saw the devastation on the news of what the F5 Tornado left behind. Then realizing the population of this town was maybe a little more than 2,000. I even remember seeing one of the homes spray painted and there in huge letters were written these words, "God is Still Good." I am amazed as this town truly revealed God's amazing handiwork at taking devastating ruin and rebuilding with such grace and power.

One man allowed the One True God to utilize him in ways many have not yet seen on even a grand scale. Ed Thomas a man of integrity, inspiration, and humbleness lived a life that glorified Almighty God...his family carries the same legacy as his life was shortened in a 'suddenly'.

I write to this point to encourage you to watch the video. It is a little over thirteen minutes in length. However, I know as I was you will be inspired to live with great passion revealing our God in ways we could never imagine.

May we be reminded that we are Triumphant and Victorious through Jesus Christ! The storm may try to tell us we have been defeated; but may we be reminded by the Peace in the midst of the storm that we truly have the victory!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December 15, 2009, "God's Greatness"

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

"and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
~ Philippians 4:7 ~

Today I was approached by a concerned husband for his wife. His wife, a wonderful woman of God has grieved the loss of her baby due to a miscarriage; a few days later she found out about the death of her father.

I thank you all in advance for praying for her and her beautiful family. She is with her family in Florida, as they are having to tie up loose ends due to the death of her father. Her husband asks that we pray for her as she returns home as things slow down and as she has a moment to ponder what has taken place, that God would overwhelm her with His Great Peace that surpasses her understanding.

"Father God, You are her Refuge. You are her Peace in the midst of this storm. Father God we thank You that on the inside of them resides Your Great Peace, Steadfastness and Power that assists and makes stronger as You provide 'Joy' even in the midst of such great mourning. Father God in Jesus name, I thank You for Your beauty for these ashes. I thank You for Your oil of Joy for their mourning. I thank for Your Garment of Praise for the spirit of heaviness and depression that attempts to come against her and them. Lord, I thank You that You shield them about with ministering laborers of Your great love. God, You are Awesome, abundantly and eternally glorious; no one can measure Your awesome power and majesty! Father, thank You for Your loving embrace and Your banner over them which is LOVE! Father, I thank You for your peace that surpasses all understanding over each of them in Jesus Name. God, thank You for allowing us to pray to You through Jesus who is our Mediator between us and You. Thank You for the Holy Spirit who prays and intercedes on our behalf when we don't know what we ought to pray. Hallelujah! For You are God...there is NO ONE LIKE YOU! NO ONE!"

If there any others who have prayer requests please do not hesitate to call on the Name of Jesus and send your requests this way. You will be prayed for by many warriors of prayer unto God through Jesus Christ! God loves you in ways you could never imagine, hope for or dream to ever be loved by anyone! God bless you today as you bless others for His glory.

I am reminded today that the greatest 'feats' in life are the most simple ones.

Monday, December 14, 2009

December 14, 2009, "My envy"

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

"Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat
. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil."
~ Luke 7:36-50 Excerpt from Luke 7:36-38 NKJV ~

I envy her. I covet every moment that she wept over him, kissing His feet.

 She is the woman whom we still read and talk about 'til this very day; over 2,000 years later. The famous woman who heard that Jesus was at the Pharisees's house who invited Jesus into his home.  

 The woman desperately entered this Pharisee's house.  She was an intruder from the view point of many on-lookers as she wept over Him. The overwhelming love of Jesus overtook her as she broke the beautiful alabaster box and poured the expensive fragrant oil upon his feet.

I close my eyes as I imagine the strands of her hair, the glory of her head, getting to touch the glorious feet of Jesus. As the people acted insulted by such a display; Jesus overwhelmingly saw her with great compassion and amazing unfailing love. Overtaken by this woman's honor for Him, He spoke forgiveness of her with the sins that she had committed, releasing her with great blessing as He told her to go in peace.

I am in awe. The alabaster box filled with the fragrant oil. What does that moment represent to me? What is so dear to me that I dare not part with it? Would I be able to break free, or do I dare say that my sins are greater than His glorious Love?

It draws me to desire that intimate moment with Him that can never be measured to the intimacy with anyone else.

As I covet this woman's life, do I covet it to the point that I desire to shed my own dignity to behold His great presence, overwhelmed by His unfailing love?

I want to lavishly love Him like she did. A bold woman who loves Him more than she loves herself. She was led and drawn to His magnificent presence, weeping uncontrollably as she beheld Him with great honor.

Friday, December 11, 2009

December 11-13, 2009, "Faith and Works and Works and Faith..."

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"But someone will say, "You have
faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
~ James 2:18, 20 & 26 ~

"I believe in God."
"I know He exists."
"It is difficult to look at creation and try to deny that there is a 'Higher Power'."

These comments lead me to the statement that James, the brother of Jesus made which is recorded in James 2: "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe and they tremble!"

Wow! James spoke with great boldness regarding this humbling truth. As I thought about this statement; I was led to the good people of this world. They do great things for others, they give and give of themselves. They recognize their purpose and they do it. Yet, those same souls do not yet have a relationship with God without Jesus Christ. For Jesus is not 'just a way'...He is 'The' Way, 'The' Truth and 'The' Life. No man can come to the Father but through Him (John 14:6). Jesus is the 'security clearance' to get to the Father.

This humbling reminder then led my heart to a provoking truth of the Book of James in Chapter two. James says that "faith without works or obedience is dead". As I was driving today pondering this truth, the following phrase came up in my spirit and these were the words, "Faith without works is dead; so it is with works, works without faith is dead also." Wow!

I leave you with this today. If you believe that God exists, that is good. Yet, please know that even the demons believe and they tremble at this knowing. The belief is awesome, now I plead with you to go through the threshold from believing in your mind to believing in your heart which then activates the faith in receiving Jesus as Your Savior and Lord. It is not about religious ceremony, it's about allowing Him to rescue each of us from ourselves and the burden of sin.

God forgives in a way that the east and west cannot comprehend (Psalm 103:12). Isn't that amazing?

Please don't fall into the pit of condemnation. Fall into the Loving Embrace of Almighty God, taking the Hand of Jesus so powerfully revealed by the Spirit of God. O how He loves you! You don't believe it? Let the cross and the open, empty tomb remind you of His great unfailing love and forgiveness!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

December 10, 2009, "Wow"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. "
~ Philippians 2:8-11 ~

Tristin and I were conversing as she was trying to fall asleep. There was a moment of silence when it was interrupted by a precious, beautiful sound; the sound of a song softly coming forth from within her. She sang with such great innocence and yet a 'knowing' the awesome song, "Mary, Did You Know?" She has been learning this amazing song for a dance that she gets to dance on Christmas Sunday with a few other girls from our church.

I could have fallen asleep as I listened to her angelic voice...especially when she interrupted the song as she said, "Mommy, this is my favorite part" as she continued to sing right where she left off, "Did you know that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod? When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?"

When she was finished singing, I said, "Tristin you know what 'boggles' my mind?" She giggled and said, "What?" I said, "God doesn't sleep." She said, "I know mom, He watches over us while we sleep." I said, "But Tristin, you know how sometimes God will wake us up in the middle of the night, because He wants to talk?" She said, "Yes". I said, "Well, you know how you're groggy and sleepy when we try waking you up?" "It would be like me waking you up in the middle of the night just to talk." At that moment we laughed as we imitated ourselves when we dread waking up.

I continued to say, "Tristin, God is not limited to time. He is eternal." She said, "He's nocturnal?" I laughed and I said, "No Honey, God is Eternal." She said, "O". I continued, "So if He's eternal, not limited to time, what we think is interrupted sleep, He just may want to say, "Teresa, wake up. I want to tell you something." As grogginess is overwhelming, and I finally awake, I can hear Him say, "I just wanted to say, "I love you, that's all"."

It then led me to how Jesus was called 'poor'. Tristin and I were blown away when we realized what we think of 'poor' is not at all what 'poor' was to Jesus. Think about this. Jesus, The Truth and The Word of God. He was made flesh. He gave up all His Divinity and took the form of a human being...the riches of heaven in comparison to the 'riches' of the world are like trying to compare coal to treasures we couldn't even imagine in our wildest dreams. Now that's truly 'poor' in ways we could never imagine.

As I thought about it, I thought about Philippians 2. The words started going through my heart and mind, "Because He was obedient unto death; God gave Him a name that is ABOVE EVERY NAME. That at the Name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is LORD..." It then led me to this great understanding. I asked Tristin, "What is a 'lord'?" She said, "I don't know." I said, "Well, let me give you an example. This house we live in, We rent it, we are not the owners. The actual owner is called a 'landlord'. The landlord owns this house and we get to live in it and take care of it as our own home. She said, "O" I continued to say, "Tristin, Jesus is the landlord of our lives. He owns our lives, we don't. Our lives do not belong to us; our lives belong to Him." If this is the case, then as my Lord, I must live for Him and live the way He would have me live for His great glory.

Today, may we be reminded of what is truly ours...nothing. Is He Lord of our lives? He is Lord. But are we allowing Him to be the Lord of our own lives?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 9, 2009, "Don't give up!"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is
stayed on You, because he trusts in You."
~ Isaiah 26:3 ~

I am in awe and wonder...yet again!

Have you ever noticed that when you don't seem to have time to do anything; opportunities arise in which you are invited to go here and go over there? It's the same with money too, isn't it? Haahaa!

I was reminded in a conversation I had with a friend of mine how God is eternal. He isn't moved by time frames. He isn't moved by stop watches or alarm clocks. He isn't moved by the expectations of what 'man' calls successful or significant. As The Eternal God, He defies time. He is not moved by the time which passes right through us, nor is He moved by what we call 'success' or significance.

Pondering this provoking thought, I realize yet again, how dare I contain Him? How dare I 'judge' Him when something in my life doesn't go the way I have planned. I am learning at this very moment that what seems like the 'end' is not. It is a process and I get to be 'part' of the Great Grand Story beyond this life into eternity, because of Jesus Christ.

Some of us seem as though our 'dream' has died; for some of us it has..or so it seems. Yet, Almighty God has your destiny and has a plan for you and I. The focus is not to be upon the destiny or the plan, but keeping our eyes on His glorious Faithfulness and in that we will see what needs to be done and what we need to do in the process. It sounds simple...because it is when we allow our mind to be 'stayed' on Him as it reveals that we trust Him.

Don't give up..or as my friend reminded me today, "Don't 'abort'!" God wants to see you through. He is seeing you through at this very moment; now it's an opportunity for us to allow Him to bring us to the dream and destiny He created us to be a part of. Are you ready? Am I? He is!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December 8, 2009, "Choose"

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

day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live"...
~ Deuteronomy 30:19 ~

"But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."
~ Joshua 24:15 ~

Negative. Positive. Pessimist. Optimist. "The cup is half empty." "The cup is half full."

As I was thinking of these words and their antonyms it led me to a reminder of choosing something. We can either choose to see through the eyes of unbelief, fear and doubt and actually have a 'right' to do so; or we can see through the eyes of belief, faith and knowing realizing that our rights are not near as great as His promises.

When in the place of unbelief, fear and doubt it reveals my lack of trust. But my lack of trust in Who? My lack of trust and reliance on God. This is such a difficult one for me, especially in the realm of finances and health. When I 'feel' like I no longer have 'control' of my life, I panic. Realizing yet again, that I have failed myself with choosing to be 'self-reliant' instead of God reliant.

As I have been reminded so humbly today of what I get to choose...not using the excuse..."Well, God is in control." Yes, He is in control...however, He gave us 'free will' to choose life and not death. To choose to see through His eyes of His great Love and not our eyes that only see through the dark lens of 'conditions'.

I am reminded that He calls us to choose. He doesn't choose for us. This leads me to remember what I believe was from Him when I wrote in my journal this excerpt about six months ago, "Teresa, 'free will' was a gift to mankind. I did not intend the tool of 'free will' to reject Me, but to accept Me."

To be reminded of that today saddens my heart to know that I have used His gift of free will to reject the things of Him, due to my perception of my reality, versus through His perfect perception of faith in God through Jesus by the Holy Spirit.

Wouldn't it be great to become a 'rebel' for the cause of Jesus? I believe (my opinion) that He placed rebellion in our hearts; but never to rebel against Him. That rebellion was a tool to be used against sin.

Today, I choose Life. I choose Him. I desire to choose His ways; leading me to trust in Him with ALL of my heart being in awe of His Awesome Majesty. It is my choice. What will I choose today? What will I choose moment by moment? Will I choose, "Well, that's just me. I'm just a pessimist." If I choose to believe that lie, that will become my 'truth', which is still a lie. Or I can choose to say, "I may have been a pessimist, but today I choose to be an optimist because I know my God is greater than that which is coming against me."

Monday, December 7, 2009

December 7, 2009, "Jesus"

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

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

~ John 3:16 ~

Distractions. "Look over here." "Look over there." "He/she offended me." "I have to buy a gift for her, for him...ahhhhhhh!!!!"

When all the while as we're busy being 'petty' someone else is dealing with the 'hefty'. I'm not saying what we are going through is insignificant, but stepping back and truly looking at the other issues of life in which lives are being changed in ways I cannot imagine. Lives are ripped apart, effected by murder, rape, abuse, kidnapping, the list goes on. There are others effected by sickness, disease and even death of a loved one and a friend.

As I think about the many issues of life. I am also led to think about the one's who have not yet met their Rescuer; their Savior. He longs to rescue them. He longs to embrace them as all of heaven waits with great anticipation to celebrate another soul redeemed by the Great Redeemer...Jesus Christ...the Son of the Most High God.

Today, as I go about my day and an opportunity arises to be upset at someone or to be offended by someone; may I take a step back,and truly focus on The Almighty God. This Amazing God that I surrendered my heart to, my heart leads my mind to imagining I can see Jesus' Amazing Face, as His arms are open wide as I can see His nail scarred hands. As I run towards Him, I can see this amazing light penetrating the huge nail scars on His feet. I cry in utter wonder as most likely the only thing I would be able to do is fall into His chest as I experience the unfailing love beating against my face hearing the sound of His heart beat. Such Amazing Love as The One who holds me is none other than the King of kings, The Lion of Judah, The Amazing Majestic One Whose Name is All Powerful...JESUS! This One Who could have come in all of His Royalty would have shaken the foundations of the earth to utter destruction because of His great power; yet, instead chose the womb of a teenage girl over ALL the prestige riches of the world and forsook the Indescribable glory of what was rightfully His by the Father.

Today, I am going to take the opportunity to bow down and worship Him. I want the 'opportunity' (as my Pastor Stephen says) through the 'petty' offenses and shortcomings of others and ourselves and let it become a place where we take that opportunity to effect others for God's great glory because of The Incredible, Indescribable, Ultimate Sacrifice He made for us. Much love was given, Much Forgiveness was given...much is required from that which we have received. Wow! What a reminder. Lord, help me to see through eyes of Your Love, not my own. Thank You Father God in the Name of Jesus for the gift of the Holy Spirit!
Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December 3 & 4, 2009, "Overwhelmed By Who God Is"

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

"You will keep him in perfect peace. Whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You."

~ Isaiah 26:3 ~

I am in awe of God's amazing, majestic 'gloriousness'. I don't know what else to say. I am overwhelmed with great fascination by His Awesome Greatness...words cannot articulate the incredible awesomeness in which I am truly overwhelmed.

The hustle and bustle of everyday life, especially during the Christmas season. Gaining material possessions. Losing material possessions. The great things of life are either slipping through our grip; or they are just coming upon us in many different ways.

In the process of either losing or winning; I ask myself, "Am I able to praise God for Who He is?" "No matter what?" The gloriousness of His awesome power getting us through from striving to thriving no matter our circumstances.

I pray great encouragement through each of you today. I don't know what you may be facing...but I am reminded to remind you that those things you face, must face Almighty God. Are we declaring Him mightier than those giants that face us? We must be in a constant place of reminding ourselves of whose side we are on.

I sit here as one eye squints trying to find many words to describe who I get to serve and be so lavishly loved by. There is not one amazing word that can even come close to His mighty power! As I long to mediate on His awesomeness; it leads me in a place of 'nothingness' in the midst of 'everythingness' because of Him and Who He is.

I am reminded today that the rain falls on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). Difficult situations, death, sickness, disease, hardships of every sort come upon many. Great situations, life, celebration, health, wholeness, thriving of every sort come upon many as well. Whether it's a difficult or a great situation, may our eyes be steadfastly stayed on our God. It is easier said than done...but again, in the reminding, it draws us closer to our Steadfast, Immovable, Almighty, Healing, Restoring, Redeeming Father God.

May you experience His peace today in ways you could never imagine; not by your own power or your own might; but by the Spirit of God (Zechariah 4:6) who reveals Jesus Christ , who came to reveal the Father God. Hallelujah!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December 1 & 2, 2009, "Transformation"

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

"I beseech
(plead with) you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
~ Romans 12:1-2 NKJV added words italicized ~

"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man (every temptation is common to man); but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."
~ I Corinthians 10:13 NKJV added words italicized ~

As I staged a house today, the creativity was flowing. I came home and made more 'Triumphant Victorious Decor' inspirational boards and canvases for a few of my clients.

Before I painted one of the canvases, I took a 'before' picture. When I was finished I also took an 'after'. When taking the after photo I was quickly reminded of how God transforms our lives by the saving power of Jesus Christ; when we allow Him to change us and transform us by the renewing of our minds through the Word of God.

I took notice again of the verse today, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." So if we are not to be conformed to this world, Paul urges the reader by the power of the Holy Spirit to be transformed. How do we become transformed? He says, by the renewing of your mind. What does the renewal of the mind through Jesus Christ provide? To prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

It is amazing how I looked back upon my life without the Lord a few years ago. Looking back at me from then and now is refreshingly different. The only way I can describe it...I feel as though I am unattached to the woman before. It is as though I look back at someone else, feeling such pity, wanting to pray for her.

I also was reminded today that my first journal I ever wrote in towards the Lord in 2003, was the scripture for today. My dad being led by the Holy Spirit gave that verse to me as he encouraged me to walk in obedience to and with the Lord. He gave me many other scriptures, however, another scripture he gave me was I Corinthians 10:13. I am beyond amazed of how God's Word is so beautifully intertwined.

Wow! I praise God for His awesome transforming power as my mind is becoming renewed by His Word. I am reminded to rely on His great Power to not be conformed to this world. There is continual change that must be made; but it is nice to look back and see the triumphant victory in Christ Jesus.

His transforming power is made available to us and is already in us when we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. His grace was not given to us to give us permission to sin. His grace was given to us so that we could rise above the sin; not in and of ourselves, but only through Him!

Monday, November 30, 2009

November 30, 2009, "The Comfort of Love"

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

"But now I am going to Him Who sent Me, yet none of you asks Me, Where are You going? But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts [taken complete possession of them]. However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you]."

~ John 16 (Excerpt from John 16:5-7 ~

Cold day. Blanket. Hot Chocolate. Praise Music.

What do these words describe? Comfort in the midst of uncomfortable situations.

As I thought about this, I also thought of my Amazing Father God. Jesus Christ when He ascended to heaven to be with the Father God, He promised The Great Comforter. The Holy Spirit would come and has come to reveal who Jesus is; who revealed the Father God.

The thought and reawakening of Who lives within me because I said, "Yes" to Jesus, it brings me to my knees in great awe and wonder. A thought that my mind can not shrink down to contain. Only my heart by faith can receive such amazing truth..

This is so amazing...I have the Holy Spirit within me. In the midst of our 'cold' situations and even 'cold' people, I can bring comfort to others, revealing who lives within me.

I can allow the warm embrace of the Father God to cover me. Sipping on His refreshing, overflowing mercy and loving kindness and allow the praises of Who He is come forth out of me. In doing this, watching my atmosphere change; my mind will soon follow as my heart leads, being led by the Holy Spirit. We can't let it stop with us, we must allow ourselves to be vessels. To much is given; much is required.

This truth has been used to manipulate our own agendas, however today I truly think of this. I am reminded of much love was given and lavished upon us and to that; much is required to flow through us and upon others, revealing the Author of Love. For Jesus not only operated in love...but more importantly He is Love.

The Perfect Blood that He shed for each of that's true love...pouring out His love upon those who would even say, "No" to Him. He didn't just die for those who would love Him, He also died for those who would spit on Him as they would reject Him.

Wow! No greater love, than His great love for every one of us. Allow His ever present, unfailing love embrace you today, covering you as it casts out all fear!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

November 28, 2009, "Loyalty"

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

"Never let
loyalty and kindness get away from you! Wear them like a necklace; write them deep within your heart."
~ Proverbs 3:3 ~

He laid down near the door waiting patiently for Tim.

I went around the house picking up, making beds, and bringing down dirty laundry when I noticed he was still waiting near the door. With compassion, I called out his name, followed by a light whistle. Our dog "Jack", a smooth fox terrier, came over to me, sat real pretty and then went back to where he was lying down before.

Sure enough, a few minutes later, I could hear the garage door opening and saw that Jack was whining excitedly at the door. Soon I could hear the key turning the lock and at the same moment the crescendo of excitement as Jack let out a constant bark as if he was saying, "Dad's home, dad's home, dad's home." As the door opened, Jack barreled through the door jumping all over Tim to greet him with great excitement.

Jack's eagerness to please his master is nothing short of remarkable. He is the first one to defend our home when a male person that he does not know comes into our dwelling. Jack's loyalty reveals his 'heart' for his master. Our dog's loyalty to his master leads me to the reminder of how I want to desire my Master, my God. I want to desire that 'heart' for my God's heart and His powerful unfailing love and presence.

I want to desire every waking moment desiring to be with the Master, Almighty God, through Jesus Christ.

It is amazing how in God's creation we are always reminded how to worship God with great adoration (Psalm 104):
The heavens declare His glory (Psalm 19).
The waves of the ocean bowing down to worship Him (Psalm 93).
The birds of the air do not worry about what they will eat; as they know they will be provided for (Matthew 6).
The trees raise their 'palms' to the heavens worshiping God (Psalm 96).
The earth trembles at the presence of the Lord (Psalm 114:7).

Whatever the reminder of worshiping our God may be today; may we follow the reminder through with action because of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

"Lord, thank You for Your unfailing love towards us. You love us so much that you reveal it through all of your creation as revealed by the 104th Psalm. God You are amazing as I consider the works of Your fingers, the moon and stars which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him? Yet, you sent Your Only Son Jesus Christ on our behalf so that we could be redeemed and restored back to You. Lord, thank You for Your mercies that are new every morning. May we long and desire to be in Your presence as we love on You because You first loved us. Thank You for the reminder of our dog who longs to be with his master every waking moment. Lord, I want to think about You every moment. As I think of You, I know it will change the way I treat others, loving the unlovable and lovable alike. Not because of my love, but because of Your love through me. Thank You Father for Your reminders, which reveal your tender mercies over each of us. Thank You for our mediator which is Christ Jesus. Amen"

Monday, November 23, 2009

Celestial Odyssey, By Freddy Hayler

This is one of my favorite songs...if you have a moment where you can just focus on the presence of God...give way to 10 minutes...I promise you won't regret it! This is amazingly awesome...Our God is so awesome...all the time!

Happy Thanksgiving and "Behold the Son of God, Worship Him"...woooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!

November 24-27, 2009, "Words from a Child"

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell
Guest Writer: Tristin Criswell (my daughter, age 9) :)

"But the LORD said to me: "Do not say, 'I [am] a youth,' For you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I [am] with you to deliver you," says the LORD. "
~ Jeremiah 1:7 , 8 ~

"Mom, every day I am going to write a devotional. I am going to talk about the miracles from the day. I am starting in Genesis." With great joy I said, "Really?!" "She said, "Yes".

I found that she wrote her first devotional last night. I was so blessed by the one sentence she wrote. The sentence exuding with great power. Wow! I realized through this how we can never limit God.

Just as God told Jeremiah; so I am reminded that no matter our age; young or old. No matter our education; 'drop out' or possessing a PhD. No matter our gender; male or female. The Lord Jesus can utilize whomever he chooses to glorify The Father God!

Here is the devotional the Holy Spirit led her to write
(The title of her daily devotional is, "God Time"):
"Love the Lord and sing your joy to Him and say how much you love Him. And smell His presence come into the room."
~ Tristin Criswell

This is how she wrote it:
"love the lord and sing your joy to him and say how much you love him and smell his preasents come in to the room."

I pray you are blessed by the praises of a 9 year old to her Father God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit!

Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your family and friends!

November 23, 2009, "I Am An Honored Carrier"

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

"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us."
~ Romans 5:3-5 ~

Random thoughts of the awesomeness of God were circulating through my mind. My mind kept hitting these 'vanishing points' where I had to reel myself back into my reality, even though I didn't want to; however, I had to before I 'fell off the edge' of craziness; pondering the awesomeness of God.

I became so enveloped in the thought of the Holy Spirit living on the inside of me. The Holy Spirit! The Spirit of God! The Revealer of Jesus Christ living on the inside of me! Wow! I couldn't help but literally be humbled by such a powerful truth! When I accepted the gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ...notice the word 'accepted', The Holy Spirit made my spirit brand new as The Spirit of God now lives on the inside. As this truth penetrated my heart I was being reminded that I was an honored carrier.

This is what was written in my journal yesterday morning:

"I am a carrier of God's glory.
I am a carrier of God's love.
I am a carrier of God's faith.
I am a carrier of God's joy.
I am a carrier of God's mercy.
I am a carrier of God's healing.
I am a carrier of the Spirit of God!"

If I am an honored and privileged carrier of the Spirit of God; then there should be this awakening on the inside which transforms my mind as I am constantly being transformed by Who He is and His awesome word.

Just my own thoughts..."O my goodness, I am a carrier of God's healing. It's on the inside of me. It needs to be stirred up as my faith in God is so strong because of Who He is. I want to be captured by the amazing reminder of my God the healer, The Source of Healing. His provision flows from the inside transforming my outward condition and others. Then I started laughing thinking to myself, if this is the case, wouldn't it be great to see sickness, depression, diseases of every kind, as it attempts to come on our body literally shrivel up as it can't come near the glory of God that is on the inside of us? If we truly knew Who was on the inside of us, would we live much differently? How awesome a new reality to see healing become more 'contagious' than sickness."

How do you describe such awesome, amazing power on the inside of us? It is impossible to articulate the gift of God. His Breath, His Spirit is within us; attempting to focus on this mind blowing thought is truly debilitating.

God you are awesome! You are amazing..I don't even know where to begin on how to praise You. Thank You Lord for your unfailing love.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

November 21 & 22, 2009, "Passion To Win..."

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

"But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the
temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it."
~ I Corinthians 10:13 (New Living Translation)~

School. Peers. Quizzes. Tests. Sports. What do these words describe? A student/athlete. Today is Cody's first wrestling tournament. To watch the discipline of our son, a junior in high school, and a wrestler (rated number four in the state of Texas, weight bracket 152) is utterly amazing and convicting. Especially one that is still growing into his body; the aches of hunger and the workouts before school, during and after. Conditioning and preparing his body for the season.

The preparation before his first meet is grueling and comes months before the actual season begins. The foods he has stayed away from; the foods he is tempted to eat. Then on top of that, his growing body screaming out, "Feed me!" The peers shouting out, "Party over here with us; take the edge off!" Yet to see the champion mentality rise up in him is nothing short of amazing. I am finding that the passion for the win is stronger than the temptation to give in (That's a great one Lord).

This leads me to my passion for Who God Is and His Unfailing, loving heart. Is my passion for Him stronger than the passion to give into those habitual sins? I'm so not there. I am not feeling condemned, but it brings me to this place where I truly desire to want my Father God to be blessed more than I desire to be blessed.

What are one of the tools He has equipped us with that can lead to this passion? I would have to say that most likely praising Him for His great faithfulness, which leads us in a state of reminding ourselves of who He is; not who He isn't. With that praise to Him we also exercise the fruit of self control. It's not something we pray for, it's something He has already placed within us by the Holy Spirit when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior. It's literally stirring that 'fruit' on the inside of us with the help of the Spirit of God.

Am I prepared for the next 'meet'? The next challenge? Unfortunately, there's not a 'schedule' of when the next challenge will occur or at what venue. However, this just shows how vitally important it is to be prepared in God, in the physical realm and in all other realms as He leads and even as the commonsense He has given us leads. The preparation is not about me taking on the challenge, it is about my trust in my God that will get me through the next challenge.

Today, I am reminded that the passion for the win must be stronger than the temptation to give in.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

November 20, 2009, "Not to Harm You"

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

"For I know the
thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."
~ Jeremiah 29:11 ~

I don't know who this devotional is for, however, as I was trying to sleep this great 'unction' on the inside of me from the Holy Spirit led me with great fervency to write the following words. I pray that it ministers to you and you feel the hope of God rising up on the inside.

It was June 15, 1944. Bodies lay scattered on the ground. The bodies of 30,000 Japanese, Korean slave laborers and original inhabitants of Saipan; their bodies strewn throughout the island. They jumped to their death as they would rather die than surrender; especially due to speculated fears that they were told by their own people that our American soldiers would torture and kill them and their children. One particular father in his desperation because of the fears of his children being taken captive; overtook his own children by slitting their throats then pushing them over the edge of the cliff and then he followed by jumping to his death.

As I watched World War II in HD on the History Channel with my husband, I wept uncontrollably. To see the bodies of these I would assume hard working, loving families overtaken by the fears was utterly shocking.

The American soldiers were horrified and forever changed at what they found. They tried in great desperation to stop the people from jumping to their death. Somehow in their desperation they found a Japanese translator who was given a type of microphone to speak over the loud speakers pleading with his fellow people to surrender. He attempted to assure them that harm would not come near them. He went on to let them know that they would be fed, given water and they would be helped. Some listened, yet many others did not trust that the translator was telling the truth. Many thought he was being used to trick them; in which they jumped to their death.

This reminded me of the deceiving voices many of us here even today. "You're not good enough." "You didn't do anything you wanted to, what a waste." "You're a failure, you can't even take care of your family." "End your life now, they'd be better off without you." The voices of "He/She is a hopeless case. Why did you marry him/her in the first place?" The voices that subtly lead us away from the destiny of God over our lives.

When the temptation to jump and end it all; remember that God has a great plan and purpose; never to harm you! You will get through IF you choose to walk with and in Him. Is it difficult at first? Yes, but then as we start to praise Him for His great faithfulness, in the midst of our own faithlessness, we will be overcome by His overwhelming presence of peace and grace. We will run to worship Him at all times. The rewards of our praise in the midst of great mounting fears will save generations to come.

As I saw the lives lost due to the mass suicide of the mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives because of the lies that they believed; ended not only their lives but the generations after them. .

God is the Restorer! He is the Redeemer! God is Love who casts out fear!

When fear tries to drive us to our death; may we run to our refuge, surrendering to Him through Jesus Christ as we are led by the Holy Spirit. As we run with and after Him may we shout with the voice of triumph knowing we have the victory because of Almighty God, through Jesus revealed by the Holy Spirit!

November 19, 2009, "Fretting and Stressing"

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
~ II Timothy 1:7 NKJV ~

Frantically looking for the folded envelope. The fearful thoughts, "Did I throw it away?" "Did it fall out of my purse?"

Looking all through the house; in cupboards, drawers, dressers, trash cans. It even went as far as my friend, Breckin digging through the outside trash can with me. Bless her heart.

I would pray real quick, yet was frantic, fretting, stressing, my head was filling up with a cold, coughing and tired. I thought, "My husband is going to get so upset with me."

I walked back into the house after digging into the trash. I must have had the look of despair as my husband was in the kitchen preparing dinner.

He called out to me and said in a calming voice, "Teresa, just walk away from it for a while."

I was upset.

I said, "Tim, you know me; I can't just stop thinking about this; I'm feeling paralyzed, this is a very important envelope."

He said, "Teresa, come here. Have you prayed?"

I said, "Of course I've prayed."

He said, "OK, Teresa, calm down, it's OK. You will find it."

He pulled me into his chest, wrapped his arms around me as my face was smashed and squished against his chest. I had literally just fallen into his embrace; limp as though I said, "I hand over the stress to you Lord."

My husband prayed, "Lord, I thank you that you know where this envelope is that Teresa has misplaced. Lord, please remove any obstacles in her mind that would cause her to forget. Lord, we thank you that it is done. In Yeshua's (Jesus) Name I pray. Amen."

I gave him a big hug and told him thank you for praying.

I walked away, went upstairs and suddenly a 'picture' popped into my mind. A picture of my Bible. I ran down the stairs, grabbed the Bible, opened it up and there it was!

I could have melted as the stress, anxiety and fretting fell off of me. Hallelujah!

I shouted, "Tim! Thank you for praying for me, God helped me find it! Thank You Lord!"

As he always says, "Teresa, just thank the Lord as the Holy Spirit showed you where it was."

At that moment, I was reminded of the gift of praise unto God that I did not utilize. As panic was readily available, I fell into the 'pit' as it gobbled me up leaving bruises from the kicks and hits of fear, doubt, confusion and panic. It started to choke me out of my ability to think clearly. I am reminded of that scripture that says, "For God has not given me the spirit of fear; but of power, love and a sound mind."

Today, may we be reminded that when we choose Him; we choose peace, joy, love and power. It is so difficult at times; yet when we praise Him, whether we feel like it or not; we will see the results of who He is; no matter the outcome.

Fall into His arms as He brings you in, and just allow His embrace to carry you through with His awesome grace.