Wednesday, April 15, 2009

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

"Train, not only teach, but lead by example as you show your child the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."
~ Proverbs 22:6 ~

Yesterday, the devotional was regarding the old and the new life. I received feedback from several people, but one I received was from a very important person, my dad.

He wrote:
"...2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore if anyone be in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION, old things are passed away, (Demolition) behold all things are become new (Restoration).
What has passed away in our lives since that day of salvation? It’s a continual process that only occurs when we are in His Word or more importantly when HIS WORD IS IN US." ~My Dad, Jerry.

My dad whom I am so blessed to have as my earthly father. He leads a life that has and still does show me and my sister's a glimpse of how we could see our Heavenly Father. I don't struggle with approaching God boldly to the throne of grace, knowing that I am His because of Jesus' obedience.

I remember when my dad and mom would sit us three girls around the table almost every night from small to when I left home as we would have our devotions in the Word of God. Then, as we would come from church on Sunday's in the Black Volkswagen with white interior...I'm laughing as I write that. Dad and mom would have a verse to memorize weekly and so as a family we would all memorize the scripture together. The Word of God was in all of us.

Even after my long journey away from home in my rightful place as I lived the life of what seemed like the "glamorous world" not! When I truly surrendered my life in March of 2003 my dad was right there for me giving me verses to memorize to help me stop smoking. He gave me I Corinthians 10:13. I'll paraphrase it, "Temptation is common to every man, BUT GOD is faithful who will not suffer me to be tempted above that I am able, and will with that temptation make a way to escape that I may be able to bear it." The Holy Spirit revealed to me as the Word became a "Rhema" word not and not only a "Logos" word in my life. He revealed that He made an "EXIT ROUTE" for all temptation. So that's when I learned a glimpse of the two-edged sword is truly a POWERFUL WEAPON which describes the Word of God! Tomorrow we will discuss that more in detail. That weapon when I spoke it out by faith out loud over myself, that day I was released of the habit of smoking! Not 'cold turkey', the WORD OF GOD!

My dad and mom prayed for my return for more than 10 years along with many other faithful 'servants' of God, including Poppa C.O. who was truly a faithful brother in the Lord to my parents.

I tell you all of this as I am reminded daily as I wear a ring that my dad gave to me and my sisters. In late 2002 before I surrendered my life to the Lord, my parents came up to Michigan to see me and my family. It was Dad and Mom sitting on the couch with me and Dad said I want to give you something. He handed me a small box and as I opened it I saw a gorgeous silver ring with 3 rows of hearts and in each heart was a diamond. He said, "I gave a ring to each of my daughters and when you look at this ring, it will be a reminder to pray." I remember thinking to myself, "I don't pray, but thanks for the ring."

Well, the amazing part is that it was revealed later that mom and dad had prayed over the ring by faith in God that I would soon return to the Lord. I believe it was in October when they blessed me with the ring and in March which was 5 months later, their daughter returned home with many 'battle' scars from the world.

I remember how faithful my sisters were too as they prayed for me many times. There would also be times where my sister, Joanna would call me and she would say, "I just want to let you know that you could take a million steps away from God; but if you just take one step back, He'll be right there with you."

I want to encourage all of you. Many of you have prayed for your daughter, your son, parents, family members, friends and even people you may have never met, but please know from my life that I came back. One of the first verses dad and mom memorized when we were small was Proverbs 22:6, "Train (lead by example) not only teach, but train up your children in the Lord and when they are old they will not depart from it."

I know they held onto that verse so close to their hearts as they cried in the beginning, felt numb in the midst of their journey of waiting to see their daughter come home through the window of their hearts. They are proof as I am proof that no matter what they heard the way I was living my life, or when they didn't hear from me for months, not knowing if I was dead or alive, they just kept hanging onto that verse. Their life verse is Proverbs 3:5-6. That verse has been "stamped" in the concrete that held up the basketball goals at all our homes we lived in. That verse is throughout the house as my mom declares it daily.

My parents have been "vessels of honor, set apart and useful for the Master prepared for every good work (in my life)." My sisters were selfless as they had to go through much hurt because of my actions. There are many things I credit my parents for, but one is that they did not allow my actions to sever the nurturing for their two other children that were still home, my sisters. They continued on, it was difficult, but they had to, and I am so blessed by the life of my two sisters who live extraordinary godly lives. My parents weren't just Christian parents...they are godly parents. I'm not saying they didn't make mistakes, but they did the best they could and they truly relied on the Lord for their strength. I am truly blessed to have them as my parents.

I thank the Lord for my dad who always encouraged me. He is not a man that speaks many words, but when he does, you should probably listen. I remember hearing my dad say to me when I was disobedient many times. He would say (by faith many times) "Teresa, you are going to be used by God in a mighty way." You know what? He was right...I am a wife and a mom and what a ministry that God has for me. It's difficult, but yet so worth it!

I want to honor my parents today and for all the other parents that are almost at the point of giving up...don't give up! Look at me..I'm still here! I'm still here! God has surrounded me with warriors. My parents and sisters; warriors of Christ on my behalf. I married a warrior and my daughter's name means "Bold, brave warrior". More than anything I serve the Mightiest Warrior of All...My Jesus!


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