Friday, July 31, 2009

July 31, 2009, "Do Not Fret"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret--it only causes harm."
~ Psalm 37:7, 8 ~

The stress of lack; along with the stress of abundance, it's different yet the same.

I have heard from multi-millionaires, "The more you have the more you have to lose."
And I have heard from the impoverished, "If I only I had one thing to call my own."
The middle class says, "It's not about the money, however, money would make it a lot easier."

"I wish my hair were curly."
"I wish my hair were straight."
"I wish I was shorter."
"I wish I were taller."
"If I only looked like..."
"If only my husband would do..."
"If only my wife would do..."
"If only my children were like..."
"If only my pastor were..."
"If only my clothes were..."
"If only I were a size..."
"If only I would..."

We live in our own world of great dissatisfaction and in that we can be the cause of
self-induced stress and fret.

I am being lovingly reminded today at this moment to be content with what I have, yet to think of and long for God and communion with Him. "Just think how rich my relationship would be with You Lord if I 'obsessed' over being satisfied in You the way I do with other things."

I noticed in the above 'if only's', it has everything to do with me and nothing to do with God or anyone else. Plain ol' selfishness manifesting in many different forms, stemming from none other than pride.

Lord, I want to be grateful for the blessings I do have. If the only thing I can be grateful is for the air I breathe, then I want to be grateful. However, I have so much more to be grateful for than just that.

I must focus on the good things and Who You are today. Lord, thank you for your grace to have eyes to see the great things you have done! And through that may I know with great expectancy what You are going to do no matter what my circumstances look like...YOU will make a way!

I am reminded today to not fret. The reason? Because it only causes harm.

I am called to trust in the Lord; not fret in my circumstances.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

July 30, 2009, "Abundance"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon."
~ Isaiah 55:7 NKJV ~

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
~ John 10:10 NKJV ~

Salvation versus destruction.
Rescued versus forsaken.
Freedom versus bondage.
Restored versus neglected.
Refreshed versus worn out.
Power versus powerless.
Righteousness versus unrighteousness.
Clean versus unclean.
Health versus sickness and disease.
Wealth versus poverty.

These eternal attributes are from within by the Holy Spirit of God and are to be revealed outwardly. We do not have to work to attain these attributes. They are given to us on the inside. They are not outward experiences manifesting on the inside. They are truly an inward experience through Christ Jesus that manifests on the outside. "Thank you Lord that Your thoughts are not our thoughts, and your ways are not our ways."

Just a few of an eternal list of what we have been provided from the Lord. He came to "give us life that we may live life more abundantly". Overflowing, 'waterfall-like' abundance. Yet, many times we try for some reason to place what He wants to give us into a fish bowl. His abundance of love, mercy, power, righteousness, joy and peace He wants to bestow on us in ways we could never dream of, imagine, draw on paper, reveal in a movie with all the awesome, technological effects of Hollywood. His abundance of Who He is wants to saturate us in ways that will truly blow our minds away!

Our "eyes have not seen, our ears have not heard nor have our minds conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him" (I Corinthians 2:9).

The feelings of inadequacy, weakness, depression; when they try to weigh us down, let us let go of those feelings and grasp onto His declarations that defy our feelings. From inadequacy we begin to know who we are as we learn who He truly is. Truly finding that in our weakness His strength is made perfect. The joy of the Lord becomes are great strength replacing depression and overwhelming sadness.

"Lord, thank you for your reminder of replacing abundance of your supernatural provision in the midst of what seems like overwhelming reality. Lord, I want to be thankful for Who You are and as I am thankful I pray that my heart reveals that gratefulness. I love you Lord."

Let us be reminded of His vast, abundantly eternal love for us.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July 29, 2009, "In Awe of His Majesty"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works."
~ Psalm 145:5 ~

I remember the day I looked up when everything around me seemed to be caving into the 'pit of ruin'.

Why did I look up? I could hear in my 'spirit' "Look up". As I looked up, I took notice with great purpose how amazingly vast the blue sky was. I was overwhelmed by the great length and width of 'eternalness'. Then I heard in my 'spirit' what I know were the words of the Lord, "The sky is as the train of My majestic robe. That is how big I Am. Even the heavens do not contain me. Why do you try?"

I have told this testimony and have written this many times. However, today I am reminded that in the midst of great difficulty, nail clenching pain of not wanting to let go of something, the great difficulty of loss whether it be of a person, a job or monetary 'things'. I must remember how awesome God is.

Why do I try to contain God whose glory cannot be contained? Just His glory alone cannot be contained, let alone Who He is! This thought is so beyond my mind's capability to comprehend. I am just amazed by His vast glory and power and utter unexplainable majesty. It literally brings me to the 'vanshing point' in which my mind cannot comprehend such eternal thoughts of Who He Truly is!

"O God, thank You for this reminder that Your ways are not our ways. Your amazing thoughts are not our thoughts. This alone leads me to praise You. Lord, thank You for Jesus Christ who restored us into a relationship with You. You are amazing and powerful and yet You are LOVE!"

When many things come against us. When we see loss all around us and great uncertainty, Lord help me to be reminded that you are Restorer of the things ruined and lost. You are the Refresher of the things that seem spoiled. You are the Resurrecter of the things that seem dead."

"Lord, as I look up at the sky today, I am reminded that the heavens declare Your glory. As they declare Your glory, may I be in utter awe. I desire that my life declare Your glory for You are More than Worthy to be praised."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

July 28, 2009, "Child Like Faith"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"What can we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?"
~ Romans 8:31 ~

I imagine walking through a vast field of golden wheat. It seems the field of wheat could go on for eternity. Imagining myself running through the wheat my arms look as though I am ready to fly as my fingers effortlessly glide through the wheat. The 'tickly' feeling against my fingertips and in between my fingers cause me to feel so alive.

That feeling of being like a child; there is a freedom of the dance. There is a freedom of His joy no matter what is going on around us. There is a freedom of the praise to God. In this moment with the faith of a child, I know without a doubt how Awesomely vast God is and what I know what is impossible in my own ability, is not impossible to Him. "For with Him all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26).

The faith of a child is so unwavering. Many children know without a doubt that what they believe is what they believe. No adult, no peer can convince them that what they believe is not true.

To transfer that kind of belief and faith in our God; "How would that bless you Lord?" "Would that be like a run in the midst of the field, running to You, knowing You are right there?"

I remember back when I was a little girl, and my dad would come home from work. The door would open and the atmosphere of our home would change. The excitement in the air that Dad was home was as though the amusement park was coming to us!

I remember when we would hear the front door open, my mom would run to dad first, usually jumping into his arms as they would kiss and then we knew it was our turn. Dad would then pick us up, and he would spin us around in the air as we giggled and laughed. We just knew when Dad came home, it was fun!!!! Of course, when he would put us down we would scream, jumping up and down, "Dad, please spin us again! Spin us again!"

As I think back on that time as a child, I am so grateful for my dad's love for us and his actions of love. We are able to have a glimpse of how we can approach God in such a delightful way. Knowing that the faith of a child is knowing without a doubt, "My daddy can do anything your daddy can do BUT so much better."

Today, I want to get to that place where I know that no matter what hard pressed situation I may face. No matter how big or gigantic that 'giant' is, that I can say, "My God is so much bigger than you, He will take care of me. I do not doubt that my God, my 'Daddy' is more than able."

I ask you Lord, "Help me to see through the eyes of a child the way I must see You. Thank you that you are ETERNALLY 'GINORMOUS' and I will not be afraid, for I know You are with me, and that You are my Almighty God."

Monday, July 27, 2009

July 27, 2009, "The Power of Praise To You God"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come before His presence with singing! Know (perceive, recognize, and understand with approval) that the Lord is God! It is He Who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]! We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name! For the Lord is good, His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations!"
~ Psalm 100 ~

"The Power of the Praise To You God"
Written By: Teresa Stevens Criswell

"The power of the praise to You God
raises me above the storms of life.

The power of the praise to You God
reveal Your indescribable, overwhelming peace
when all seems overwhelmingly chaotic.

The power of the praise to You God
reveal Your Overwhelming Joy in the midst of mourning.

The power of the praise to You God
reveal the dance to You and
Your glorious dance over me in the midst of despair.

The power of the praise to You God
reveals Your healing hands when
disease tries to tell me Your Healing Hand is not there.

The power of the praise to You God
reveal Your blessings when all seem cursed.

The power of the praise to You God
reveal joyful singing in the midst of great and utter sadness.

The power of the praise to You God
reveal declarations of what You have said before the
foundations of the world were set. As my circumstances
try to shout attempting to cause unbelief.

The power of the praise to You God
reveal Your Overwhelming Compassion on even my enemies.

The power of the praise to You God
reveals Your Holy Spirit's power rise up within me, as rushing rivers flowing from the waterfall of Your Majestic, Powerful loving-kindness and mercy splashing so powerfully onto my heart.

Lord, I thank You for Who You are.
I praise You for Who You are.
I applaud Your glorious majesty."

Saturday, July 25, 2009

July 26 & 26, 2009 "Where is My Confidence?"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"...But as for me, I will look to the Lord and confident in Him I will keep watch; I will wait with hope and expectancy for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me..."
~ Micah 7 ~

"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God."
~ Psalm 20:7 ~

Reading Micah and knowing the demise of the day during that time, it is a reflection of the world we live in right now. However, with the demise there was a promise to come of restoration. It is truly a reminder that nothing is new under the sun (As Solomon has said).

Many right now at this very moment like then, could not trust or even have confidence in the leaders of their country, could not trust or have confidence in their businesses, their careers, their jobs, their spouses, friends and even family. The list goes on.

I don't know who it is that needs to hear this 'word' today. However, I was compelled to write this. I pray it reminds each of us that we cannot put our confidence in 'horses, mighty armies, what we have or who we are' (Psalm 20:7). That confidence and trust must be in and on the Lord and His powerful love and His refuging embrace which shall surround us...IF we allow Him to!

Today, I am lovingly reminded that NOTHING can separate us from the Love of God (Romans 8:35-39)! Absolutely, For Sure NOTHING!

Friday, July 24, 2009

July 24, 2009 "If I Know It...Then 'Do It'!"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me."
~ Psalm 51:10 ~

"...Obedience is far better than sacrifice..."
~ I Samuel 15:22 ~

"For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
~ James 2:26 ~

Why is it 'easier said than done'? I know to do good; but many times I just don't. For instance, my favorite chocolate chip cookies are "Famous Amos" Cookies. They're crunchy, small and fun to eat. I know if I eat too many of them, I'll gain weight, yet I eat them anyway. As I get frustrated with weight gain, I have to look upon what I have been eating. As I do this, I need to change my desire to eat and go in a different direction or just by default I'll grow in areas where quite frankly, I just don't need growth.

With that thought, have you noticed how easy it is to gain weight? Many of us Americans are great at this 'sport', aren't we? Hey, it takes a lot of work to move that jaw around and for those teeth to grind that food.

These scenarios remind me of knowing what we have already received which was made available through Jesus Christ. We know because of Jesus we are victorious, we are more than conquerors, we are holy as He is holy, we are beautifully redeemed by the Blood of Jesus, we are healed no matter what we 'feel' or 'see' in the natural because of Jesus Christ. Yet, many times what He has declared and what I walk in don't seem to be lining up in this 'natural' realm. I know we all go through seasons of when we 'see' victory and when we 'see' defeat, however, we must be reminded that no matter what we 'see' in the 'natural', God has already declared victory over our lives because of Victorious Jesus Christ.

Those thoughts lead me to the 'seems' of life. It seems easier to complain, but then we wonder why we remain (Joyce Meyer). It seems easier to talk about the things that person did and judge who they are, instead of asking God to bless them and speak those things that God would want us to declare. It seems easier to sit around and do nothing and then we wonder why nothing has been accomplished for the day.

As we see growing frustration, we find that those circumstances don't need a lot to feed on. Actually doing nothing causes regression and complacency. By default it grows in places where we don't want it to grow, because there is no maintenance involved. Yes are we powerfully redeemed, delivered, and freed because of Jesus? Absolutely! Yet, we must do our part and be obedient. I am finding that obedience is key; "obedience is better than sacrifice."

Today, as I go throughout my day, I want to 'on purpose' eat more healthy, work out and take care of this one body that God gave me. Today, as I go throughout my day and I find a 'rise' coming out of me because of someone's bad attitude, I need to do a 'check up' with the Lord and find out why their actions are effecting me in such a way. It's easier to look outward than to look inward. Isn't it? However today I want to be purposeful to have the Lord reveal the junk of my soul as He has renewed a right spirit within me.

I need to take hold of what my supervisor Pamm use to say, "If you know it, DO IT!"

Even further, take hold of the Nike slogan, "Just do it"! For the greek word, 'Nike' is truly 'Victory'!

To get the victory, I've gotta 'just do it'!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

July 23, 2009, "Actions Are Heard More Than Words"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions. It is by our actions that we know we are living in the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before the Lord, even if our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything."
~ I John 3:18-20 ~

I am enamored by the love of God shown through the letters of the Apostle John. It is assumed that the Gospel of John, as well as First, Second and Third John were written by him because of the similar styles of writing. He addresses the people in his writings as 'children'. You can almost hear his loving voice through his writings that he had an endearing love for God that was transferred over to the people.

He writes and encourages the people to not only with our words but with our actions reveal the truth that God so graciously has placed within us because of Christ Jesus. Though our hearts may condemn us for sinning, we can know that we have the Truth so powerfully living within us knowing that He quickly forgives as we confess with our mouths and repent by turning away with our actions.

I remember in 2006 I was working for a well known restaurant in Michigan. I had not worked outside the home for about eight years and was blessed to be a housewife and 'stay at home' mom. We had experienced financial hard times in which I was unable to find a job anywhere. The only place that would hire me was this particular restaurant.

I remember before going into work each day, I would literally on purpose get 'filled up' with praise music and the Word of God. This boldness would rise up as I would get that 'unction' to declare that light of Christ within me would show forth in the marketplace. I could feel the fighting and warring against the spirit and the flesh on a daily basis when I walked into work. I remember one of the declarations over myself was for the "Joy of the Lord to saturate me and those around me." God is so faithful, because He did it everytime beyond my wildest imaginations.

I remember wanting so badly to 'broadcast' that I was a 'Christ-follower', yet I knew I wasn't suppose to. I guess one of the reasons was because I was a little 'wimpy' about the crude jokes and the lifestyles being 'proudly' spoken about. I even remember saying to the Lord, "Uh, this just isn't for me God." How sad is that?

This memory was like yesterday. A server that I worked with; a sweet girl with beautiful natural curly hair. Her face framed with small wire glasses and her sweet voice said to me with curiosity, "Why are you always so happy?" I remember the words of my dad going through my head, "Teresa, actions speak louder than words." This truth he spoke came to 'life' for me that day. I looked at her with surprise and said, "Well, I'm glad you asked..." I was able to share with her that it was Jesus and His joy that was within me. From that day on, any chance she got she would want to come and talk to me. It was not because of who I was, but because of the Holy Spirit's power revealing Christ in me.

After this had happened, it got around fast that "Teresa was a 'goody two shoe' Christian". That wasn't what I wanted to be known as, but that was my label. The server staff were so sweet and very careful and even apologetic about cursing, yet so powerfully the love of Christ overrode my religious way of thinking and God would reveal through me that they were loved no matter what.

Well, after all this great breakthrough from the Lord, a few weeks had passed. One particular busy day, I heard one of the waiters as he was walking back into the kitchen literally shouting profanities as he was livid. This was not like him at all. He looked at me with great anger and said, "What's up with all you Christians?" He very sharply extended his arm and hand out and shouted, "Look what they gave me as a TIP!" He opened up his hand and it was there I saw a crinkled fake one hundred dollar bill that was a 'gospel track'. I remember so vividly what he said, "If these Christians can't go out to eat and give a decent tip don't come to a restaurant where we rely on tips as our income and then tell me that your God loves me!" I remember I was so embarassed and I said, "Please know that not all Christians do this." I truly knew that this was not true, however, he looked at me with eyes filled with anger and said another few choice profanities and then with disgust walked away. I was so embarassed, the only thing these particular Christians left behind was a fake one hundred dollar bill 'gospel track'.

I went to God and I said, "Lord, I am finding that some of the most generous patrons that I have seen yet are the one's who smoke and drink." I then thought carelessly to myself, "No wonder Jesus liked being around the sinners who knew they were sinners. Many of them had no agendas, they just wanted someone to accept them. As Jesus accepted them for where they were, they couldn't help but be changed and transformed in ways they could never imagine. (A few examples: Matthew, the tax collector. The woman with the alabaster box as she washed his feet with his hair. The adulterous women almost stoned to death. The woman at the well who had been married four times and was living with another man).

As I am reminded of this story, I realize that as we have every awesome gift of God within us shown forth by the Holy Spirit, we also must be obedient to reveal those gifts within us. Our actions must speak more often than our 'lip service' (As my mom would say).

I know I have been reminded of this today to allow the Lord to reveal His love through me, even when I don't feel like it. "To much is given, much is required." We have been given much! We have been given an awesome life from Jesus Christ. I am not to hoard it for my own benefit, but I am to let it flow out of my lips, hands, feet and actions to reveal God's glorious love.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

July 22, 2009 "I Am Loved By the Most Famous One"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"So the Word (Jesus) became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father."
~ John 1:14 ~

"My Jesus, My Savior, Lord there is none like you..." This song has been 'playing' in my heart and mind today. Mmmmmm!!! The delicious reminder of who He is in my life. Wow! The most famous One, wants to be with us and love us and be loved by us.

I am reminded of Pastor Stephen Behrman who has been teaching on being impressed by God. I think about some of the famous people in the earth today. Their names and faces plastered on billboards and movie posters. They are all over the internet, yet their fame and who they are does not make an impact on my life in a way that I see myself even more precious and like a rare, priceless treasure. Actually, it can have the opposite effect if I'm not careful. I can look at them and start comparing myself and then feel worst off than I did before.

I am reminded of the people throughout the Bible impressed and impacted by God in such powerful ways that they started to see themselves as God had already seen them. People like Gideon, God called him, a Mighty man of valor, before he even looked like a man of valor. Esther, an orphan yet God saw her as a queen and highly favored. David, a shepherd boy, yet God saw him as king over Israel.

The most Famous One. The Eternal God takes pleasure in each of us. He wants us to go from seeing ourselves as 'losers' to seeing ourselves as more than conquerors, because of what Jesus Christ has done for us (Romans 8:37).

He wants us to go from seeing ourselves as 'useless' to seeing ourselves as 'vessels of honor, set apart and USEFUL for the Master prepared for every good work' (II Timothy 2:21).
He wants to take our ashes so He can reveal His beauty upon our lives. He wants to take our mourning and reveal His joy which is our strength. He wants to remove the spirit of heaviness so that He can place His garment of praise over us (Isaiah 61:3).

The most famous One, loves us. He wants us to be impressed by Him. As we are impressed by Him, He will be able to make an impact upon our lives that we could never imagine!

We are loved by the Most Famous One...Almighty God!!!! Wow!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July 21, 2009 "Be holy as God is Holy"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"Obey God because you are His children. Don't slip back into your old ways of doing evil; you didn't know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God - who chose you to be His children - is holy. For He Himself has said, "You must be holy because I am holy."
~ I Peter 1:14-16 ~

Two nights ago, I was talking to a friend on the phone. She was deeply frustrated with herself and those of us who call ourselves Christians or Christ followers. She has been a Christ follower now for almost two years.

I learned in our conversation that she had lived in a Buddhist monastary for about 5 years. She told me that looking back she knows that Jesus is the only way and by His Holy Spirit is what leads us into all Truth and reveals Truth which is Jesus Christ. She also said when she was in the new age movement and Buddhism she knows now that she was being led by other spirits. She was being led by the 'familiar spirits' not the Holy Spirit.

She said, "Teresa, I was so self-disciplined when I was 'seeking' God through the new age 'movement' and Buddhism. I was so careful about what came out of my mouth. Gossip and using gossip as a glorified way to be 'concerned' to pray for someone was not what we did." She said, "I was so careful what I put in my body to eat, it was all about the mind, body and soul."

She continued, "Even though I thought I was walking in truth, I wasn't, because Jesus Christ was not who I had received as my Savior." "Even in the enlightenment it was based on my own 'self-discipline' and legalistic way of doing things. Now that I walk with Truth which is Jesus, I have for some reason gotten away from being careful what I speak. I have gotten away from how careful I treat my body and what I put into it. I have gotten away from the balance of mind, body and soul. I have fallen into this trap of, "Well, I'm a Christian, I'm not perfect just forgiven, which seems to give us this 'right' to sin, which is such a lie of complacency."

This morning I was reminded of I Peter 1 as I thought about our conversation from the other night. Wow! Those things that were the counterfeit without Christ, were the principles of what the Lord wants us to walk in with His grace and strength.

It was a reminder of His grace that many times we use as the excuse to sin, versus what the grace of God is truly about. His grace is about rising us above the sin and 'dying' to self; not giving into 'self' and selfish desires which leads to freedom from those bondages.

Can you imagine if we allowed the Lord to help us with our mind, body and soul? His holiness would come upon us in ways that we could never imagine. I would have to believe that when those three (the mind, body and soul) are aligned as they should be, we are able to be holy as He is holy.

What a reminder today that being Holy as He is Holy, is a command. His command is not so we can do it on our own strength, for then we would get the glory and no man shall glory in His presence (I Corinthians 1:29). His command to be holy is so that we rely in all our ways on Him and Him alone.

I pray you are encouraged through this reminder as I was. It's a hard one to swallow, but in the end it will be worth it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 20, 2009 "His Plans"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail."
~ Proverbs 19:21 ~

I remember when I was in my twenties I had all these plans; unknowingly these were plans to destroy my life. However, I truly thought those plans were cool and I knew that I had experienced life to its fullest. It only revealed true ignorance.

Looking back it also amazes me that I felt I only needed God when I was in trouble. My dad said to me many times when I would talk to him on the phone, "Teresa, please don't place God on the 'shelf of your life'." When I was in the midst of that lifestyle what my dad said didn't register nor did I feel like I was doing such a thing. I was going to church on most Sunday's and hey it was like I was saying, "You saw that God, I went to church today. Another 'tally mark' for me."

I shake my head in disbelief only because I wasn't living a life where I truly knew a glimpse of the God I said I served when I went to church. This kind of living is blatantly a religious act and that is all it act. My attitude was, "Hey, I showed up, what else does He want from me?" I laugh because when I look back at myself, it is as though I am looking at another young woman's life and I want to shake her and say, "There is so much more. There is a relationship to be saturated in. There is something about being immersed in His love, not just a splash of the toe in the water to say, 'I got 'wet'."

I have no idea why I was brought to this memory today, but what I do know is that I am truly grateful that my so-called great plans were overrode by God's prevailing purpose. His plan is so beyond my greatest, wildest imaginations of living for the world.

The adventures in Him have been like nothing I could dream up. Truly the adventures of life; both disappointing and great have been truly triumphant because of looking to the One who is my Refuge, my Strong Tower, my Redeemer. He has taken me above the storms of life. It doesn't mean the storm goes away, but when I choose to abide in Him and cling to His massive neck the flying adventures have been amazing.

Reminiscing of His marvellous provisions are truly astounding. Many times they seemed like the eleventh hour moments, yet it was His timing. Many times we have lost those material things yet looking back that thing that was lost was not abundance, it was a weight holding us down. The abundance and freedom of God we have experienced is in Him only because of Him. However, it is a two way street. He is willing and able, are we willing to trust Him?

To peel back another layer of the eternal layers of Almighty God's love is truly mind blowing and full of treasures.

I am so grateful that my dad planted those seeds of not putting God on a shelf. Why? Because I may have never experienced the journey that I am on right now. Everyday is a reminder that God is not a supplement to life; He is LIFE. WE are the one's who get to experience Him if we choose to say, "yes."

I heard Joyce Meyer say this hilarious yet true statement, "You can sit in a garage for days but that still won't make you a car." "You can go to church everyday of your life but that still won't make you a 'Christ follower'."

Are we going to try unsuccessfully to place God on the shelf of our lives? He won't be there on the shelf. He's not a shelf serving God. He is the God who is served and He reigns all the time. Or are we going to allow Him all of our lives?

I cannot imagine the wealth of His majesty that He wants to shed abroad on every part of our lives. He sees great potential because He placed that potential within each of us. Will we allow Him to pull it out of us. Let's not dam up the potential with fear and unbelief. Let him tear down the levies and let the rushing waters of Himself pour out that it may be a refreshment to others around us.

Let us choose to worship Him today for Who He is. That is reason enough to worship Him, because He is God.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

July 18 & 19, 2009 "Significance"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"O LORD, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep."
~ Psalm 92:5 ~

When we see and feel the sand beneath our feet and between our toes it really doesn't go through our mind how each grain of sand is different.

Imagine yourself placing your hands in the sand. Squat down and let the sand get in between your fingers. Grab a handful of sand and let it slowly run off your fingers like the sands in an hourglass. Closely look at every tiny grain of sand. What a discovery - they are all different - each grain significantly different.

Pondering such a significant difference with each grain of sand; is a reflection of many things around us, including who we are. Each one of us has a significantly different fingerprint, footprint, and ear print. The DNA fingerprint within a cell of our body which is the 'blueprint' of who we are is different (Unless an identical twin). Even our hair has its own way of identifying who we are.

The overwhelming reminder is just as God has created us the same; yet so different is another pattern revealed in the way we will see God make provision in each of our lives. Each of our testimonies of His deliverance and how we came into a relationship with Him are just like the different fingerprints, footprints, earprints, etc. So different...He doesn't run out of ideas, He is not limited to anything. This reminder is quite humbling.

From a distance it all looks the same, yet when we come closer we find how truly significant everything is to God even to the microscopic measures. It doesn't matter how insignificant we may see it; to God He takes pleasure in everything He has made. When we have a moment of feeling that we are insignificant and fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to someone else, may we rejoice in Him that He has called us significant and has truly made us significant.

I am so glad that this was a reminder to me this morning. The reason would be that many times I look at God's hand of provision as a cookie cutter. I act as though I know how something needs to be solved or done, because how He did it last time, or how He did it for someone else. Yet, as I reflect on those times; each time He did it differently. Each moment of deliverance, restoration, refreshment, strength has a different and leaves a different impression over our lives.

Many of us are going through things that seem the same, yet when we look a little closer it is somewhat different. Obviously, there is nothing new under the sun, yet may we understand that what we are going through and how we will go through it is truly significant to God. I pray we choose as we are going through it to choose God's hand to lead us through.

The God we serve is consistent in every way; yet the way He delivers us is never a predictable, cookie cutter way.

May we be reminded by the sands of the sea, our fingerprints and who we are is a beautiful reflection of how our God is eternally vast and amazing. He is utterly awesome to comprehend; yet He came to our level as Jesus came because of His eternal, glorious love.

When you are tempted to say, "I'm not like they are", truly rejoice in that statement. Let that be a reminder that this is a good thing not a bad thing. I heard this said one day from a man named Tim Storey, "You were born an original; don't die a carbon copy."

God blesses us today as we are reminded of His great love for each of us.

Friday, July 17, 2009

July 17, 2009 "The Wisest One"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"Though good advice lies deep with a person's heart, the wise will draw it out."
~ Proverbs 20:5 ~

A thought provoking moment occurred in the midnight hour as I tried to fall asleep. The provoking thought? "Nothing ever gets accomplished by good intentions alone. Actions are the fulfillment of that good intention."

As I was laying my head down to sleep last night I saw these words running through my mind, "A good intention of encouraging someone, still does not encourage until the intention becomes an action."

It led me to think of the great intentions that I want to do for the Lord. Sadly, many of those intentions have stayed within the 'Container of our Heart'. Reflecting on Proverbs 20:5 who is the wisest of all? God. That good advice or that good intention deep within our heart, when we cling to and within the Wisest One, God will draw it out of us; it will no longer be held in that container of our hearts.

Today I want to celebrate those gifts from God that are within you. Those gifts are waiting to become an action fulfilling the intentions of your heart; from God's heart onto others!

I want to be reminded today that when I see someone whether they look like they need encouragement or not; I want to encourage them. If we see someone fall; let's help them up. I don't mean just in the physical sense of falling; but even in their walk with the Lord. I have found that passion for God in my relationship with Him has brought me beyond the 'half way' mode; just to do it because I might receive a 'brownie point'. Instead that passion from and for God motivates me to do things with excellence.

Through this learning lesson today, God has reminded me that the grey areas can hold back those good intentions from getting out of us. Why? When in the grey, this is where God will not operate in or through. The grey is where complacency resides. The grey is where compromise resides. The grey is where procrastination resides. Do you notice that complacency, compromise and procrastination accomplish regression? The grey is where regression resides; 'lukewarmness'. Being lukewarm puts a bad taste in everyone's mouth, especially God's. 'Religiousity' and pride is the pit of where they reside.

I am reminded by the pattern through God's Word; that God is fully righteous and just. He is ALL Light that no shadows can or do exist in His glorious presence. Isn't that amazing? God is the ALL!

We must become a passionate people that great intentions and clinging to God the God of wisdom; those intentions will become actions. The results of those actions will be more than we could ever imagine or hope for in our wildest imaginations.

Have you seen the results of the passion of the world? Have you seen the passion of the terrorists? (Proverbs 19:2). They utilize passion without the knowledge of God. Let us utilize passion with God's power and watch and be amazed as it will change things for His glory.

May our great intentions be driven by our passion for God, to see the fulfillment of the intention become an action for God's glory.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 16, 2009 "Be Still?"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth."
~ Psalm 46:10 ~

It is as though the sunset paints an amber, pink sky,
as I imagine sinking my feet into the wet sand as the tide rolls in and rolls back out.
Watching the amazing effects of the wind as the beautiful, curly waves roll in.
Standing still, mesmerized by the horizon that seems to go on for eternity.
The wind softly carressing my hair as I raise my arms to the sky to feel the breeze embrace me from every side.
Tilting my head back and closing my eyes imagining Almighty God blowing His merciful kisses upon me.

As I imagine the thoughts of God's glorious creation revealing His glorious love and majesty, I am reminded of the verse, "Be still and know that I Am God." I ask the Lord, "Father, this is so used as a cliche. I don't know the true meaning of this verse. How do I 'be still' in a world that is constantly racing?" "Lord, how?" It is as though I heard, "Teresa, still your racing thoughts of the regrets of yesterday. Still the thoughts of the rush of today. Still the thoughts of the fear of tomorrow and just 'be'. Take this moment and pause the growing 'to do' list of life and think on Me. As You think on Me you will remember and be reminded that I Am God."

I know there is much more to this scripture. However, I am being reminded today that tomorrow will take care of itself. Just as the wind blows and the tide rolls in I must remember moment by moment the One who remains constant and never changes in the midst of the constant changes of life.

Today for a moment let us pause our rushing thoughts and be reminded in the moment that God is truly God and there is no one else like Him.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 15, 2009 "Living Waters Quenches My 'Thirst'"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Stevens Criswell

"..Jesus replied, "If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask Me, and I would give you living water..."
~ John 4:1-38 ~ New Living Translation

God's glorious love showered upon her like a morning rain. Refreshment came over her in every sense. God's love had nothing to do with what she did or how she did it. His vast, glorious love had nothing to do with her status in society; it was simply because of God's glorious, great love.

I am overwhelmed by images of streams flowing upon the rocks, splashing against boulders, and watching the little fish as it seemed they were playfully jumping through the consistent rushing waters to get a little closer to God.

It is as though I can hear the rushing waters splash up against each other as a huge clap. The joyful sound is crisp and the volume so high with great commotion as the waters and the rocks together applaud Almighty God. Their applause so powerful as if they were shouting unto God, "Encore! Encore!"

The waters remind me of the story of the woman at the well when her life collided with the Word of God made flesh; Jesus Christ. He makes a statement, "Please give me a drink of water." This woman shocked for she knew He was a Jew and she was a Samaritan. The obvious line of segragation was being crossed by this Jesus. She says, "Why are you asking me for a drink of water?" I can almost see her asking, "Don't you know that what you are doing is such a 'taboo'?"

Jesus replies so powerfully, "If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask me, and I would give you living water." I thought, "Jesus, another parable?" Then suddenly it registered. As He declared this great promise and truth over her life, it was as a waterfall with great power colliding with the pools of water below exposing truth in her life as it was a river constantly splashing up against the rocks of her heart.

At that moment, I realized that living water that He was wanting to give to her would allow her to never thirst. Thirst for what? Thirst for another man's approval. Thirst to fill that want that was meant to be directed towards God. She would never thirst for another addiction to relationships. She would never thirst as shame pressed her head down. She would never thirst, because the One who is Living Water would quench her every thirst for the counterfeit. The Authentic, The One and Only True God would be allowed to powerfully satisfy her mouth of wants. Her head that once hung low as she was drowning in shame, was now being lifted by the Great Lifter of her head.

God's great love is revealed in everything that He has made. It was revealed upon this Samaritan woman as the glorious light of God shone through the mighty waterfall of living waters that she received. God's love is revealing upon my heart what I can be free from ever thirsting again.

Let the constant rushing waters flow over you today. Let His Living Waters refresh your soul so you can be mindful what resides in your spirit..the Spirit of the Living God!

I pray you have received His great gift that He so desires to give to you. The intended receiver must still receive the gift. Have you received His gift of Living Waters by His glorious Salvation?

Remember He didn't for religion; He died so you could be restored to a relationship with Father God. He died so you could be free of religion.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009 "We as the Redeemed Should be 'Saying So'"

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

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others He has saved you from your enemies."
~ Psalm 107:1-2 ~ New Living Translation

Literally experiencing the presence of God in such a tangible way on Sunday was so powerful. The church I am a part of is Worship Life Church ( We were worshipping the Lord and the following writing started coming up from within my spirit and I had to write it down. It was so powerful and mighty.

It was as though all of creation were rebuking many of us who say, "I am redeemed." It was so powerful and such a powerful reminder. I was reminded in that time as though I was at the feet of the King of kings. This question was asked, "Are you redeemed?" And I said, "Yes". I heard this response, "Then why aren't you speaking it out? If you are redeemed, it must be said so."

This is what was written yesterday as it poured from my spirit, through my writing hand onto my journal:

"I wonder with great sadness, "Does creation cry?"
I ask because today I am reminded how creation praises Almighty God.
The tree limbs are stretched forth towards the heavens praising God.
The heavens declare His glory.
I imagine the creatures of the sea dance before the Lord.
The beasts of the field and the birds of the air are grateful for their daily provisions.
The billowing seas clap and dance against the shores declaring His awesome power.

Does the earth cry when the sun rises?
Does the earth cry when the sun sets?
Does the audience of creation watch us and see us worship them, instead of the Almighty Creator?
Does the audience of creation watch us and see us on the treadmill of going nowhere faster and faster?

The earth and God's glorious creation declare His glory but they ask why
our voices are faint and rarely heard of His great power and deliverance.

When there is drought, is it because the sky has no more tears of mourning?
The earth quakes.
The sky trembles with thunder and lightening.
The clouds cry with uncontrollable weeping.
The sun grows angry with even greater fervent heat.
The stars fall in despair.

They are our audience and they shout,
'Declare God's greatness and His glorious power!
You say you are redeemed, but why do you not say so?
The redeemed of the Lord should say they are redeemed.
What a gift to be redeemed.

We hear your praises, but the praises are not towards our Great, Awesome God.
Your praises are towards those things that have stolen from you.
Your focus is on what you don't have, and how you were victimized.
Why is your focus not on the One who wants to give you more than you could ever imagine?'"

Creation is humbled by God's glorious power. I want to love you Lord and declare Your Majesty and Splendor. You are my Strong Tower, You are my Great Deliverer, You are my Healer, You are my Protector, You are my Refresher, You are my Restorer, You are my Redeemer.

I want the audience of creation to be wowed by our declaration of You Almighty God!

Lord, thank you for Your reminder of Your awesome Splendor and Majesty. Thank you for creations reminder, reminding us that You are awesome God. I am redeemed and I need, want and must say so!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

July 11 & 12 "God's Phone Number"

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

"'Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.'"
~ Jeremiah 33:3 ~

Do you ever try to help someone, yet they don't seem to want the help? They come to you saying they need your help, they are even willing to receive provision for it. However, beyond that, it's a constant, one-sided 'I'm in need' relationship.

It seems as though everything is fine, then suddenly they call you on the phone and there they go again. You start to feel like you are being taken advantage of. How do you know when to say, "Yes" and when to say, "Enough"? The most difficult part? You know you are led to help them, however the life tends to get sucked right out of you, when around these type of people.

I am finding that these are opportunities that we get to rely on God. These people unknowingly drive us to a place if we allow it, to go to God who is the Source of our help. He wants to be the One who carries their burden; it isn't our job or place to carry it. We will never be called to a place to carry our burdens or someone else's.

As I ponder this, I think of my mom and what she use to say. In a beautiful Korean accent she would say, "Girls! Do you know God's phone number?" Of course I remember being little and so excited to know His number. She continued by saying, "God's phone number is Jeremiah 33:3 he says, "'Call unto Me, and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you never knew before.'"

In these situations; when we feel the life getting sucked right out of us, and we don't know what to do or what to say anymore, let us not make it our last option, but our first. Our first option must be to call on 'God's Number'; Jeremiah 33:3. Call on God. When we call on Him, He will for sure answer us. If we stay on the 'phone' and listen beyond the answer He will show us great and mighty things which we never knew before.

I am thankful to God for the reminder to call on God's phone number. I am also grateful for being reminded of how my mom taught us how available God wants to be to us. Will I allow Him to do what He so desires? He truly desires to show us great and mighty things which we never before.

Friday, July 10, 2009

July 10, 2009 "The Weapon of Praise"

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

"I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High."
~ Psalm 9:2 ~

I'm being reminded of what I need to be reminded of today.

I was truly fighting the warfare this morning as I was praising God. I was doing so because I could feel a cloud of depression and the anxiety of the things that needed to be done try to annihilate me.

I literally shook my head as though I had been hit in the head physically. I took a deep breath, then slowly exhaled. As I did so, I heard like I always do when that cloud of anxiety tries to come over me; I heard the words, "Praise Me right now."

Immediately on purpose even though I didn't feel like it at all, I started to praise the Lord. Again, I was reminded of the verse of the day on KLOVE radio. The verse of the day was on yesterday's program, "This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24).

Suddenly, I was 'reminded' of how we remind ourselves of things. Journaling has been a great tool for me to remind me of the greatness of God. I remember when I first started journaling I was truly convicted and challenged by the Holy Spirit to write down the things that were of praises to the Lord. There are so many times I wanted to journal all the difficulties throughout my day, however I knew the Lord did not want me to 'go there'.

As I was 'reminded' of this today, I asked the Lord, "Lord, why didn't You want me to write those difficulties down, wouldn't it be 'like' denying that those things ever happened?" I believe I heard Him when I received this answer back, "What you declare as you write is what you choose to glorify. When you make the choice unintentionally to 'glorify' the difficulty and pain at hand, the reminder of Me and what I can do through the difficulty and pain is cast aside. Being reminded is truly being 'mindful again' of something that is in the forefront of your mind." As I heard this it allowed me to minister to myself that when I write down and declare the greatness of God, the reminder when looking back upon my writings, it has truly caused me to marvel even moreso at the Greatness of God and His mighty provision. I know now that if I would have only written down the pain and difficulty, yes it was real; however, it would only 'drag' me back in that place where I have no business being-that is in a place of 'despair' not a place of being 'repaired' by the Lord.

As the cloud of depression of the past and anxiety of getting those pending things accomplished, let us focus and intentionally praise with our lips with the spoken word the glory of God. Even if it is saying, "God you are so good all the time" over and over again, let it be a weapon against the enemy's tactics of throwing the darts of fear and the 'what if's' in our mind. Let us be mindful again of the greatness of God today.

To be reminded is the key; will I remind myself of the pain? Or will I remind myself of my God who gets me through the pain? I pray I choose moment by moment to be mindful of the God who gets me through the pain and difficulty.

As I am reminded, I will remember that "This is the day the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"I Do Believe; But..."

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

"...The father instantly replied, "I do believe; but help me with my unbelief..."
~ Mark 9 ~

If that isn't a 'wishy-washy' statement, I don't know what is. However, I catch myself saying the same thing today. "I do believe; but help me with my unbelief."

Unbelief. The opposite of belief. This is so logical; yet I struggle with believing in the Lord today. I don't struggle with believing who He is. I struggle with believing in Him for situations in my life. Writing such things is difficult; yet it is true.

As I read Mark 9:14-29 I was reminded of what the anecdote is to unbelief. The anecdote is prayer and fasting. I remember reading Mark 9 many times over and had always thought that it was the "kind" of demon possession that this boy dealt with that could only be cast out by prayer and fasting. However, when I read the passages again, I realized that Jesus rebuked the disciples and the people for their unbelief.

The people were puzzled as to why the disciples could not cast out the demons that possessed this boy. They told Jesus, "Even the disciples could not cast them out." Immediately Jesus said, "You faithless people! How long must I be with you until you believe? Bring the boy to me." As I read this, I catch a glimpse of the frustration of Jesus because of unbelief. I don't want to be accused of being faithless, yet I struggle with this daily.

Secondly when Jesus asked the father how long the boy had been possessed, the father revealed that it was since he was small. He explained to Jesus what his son had endured as the demons would not allow the boy to speak and the the things that his boy had to go through, being thrown into the fire or into water as the evil spirits would try to kill him.

The father was pleading with Jesus saying, "Have mercy on us and help us. Do something if you can." Then Jesus says, "What do you mean, 'If I can'"? Anything is possible if a person believes." The father instantly responds to Jesus, "I do believe, but help me not to doubt." Jesus then identifies the spirits by name and by the authority that God gave Jesus and because He believed His Father He was able to say with belief, "Spirit of deafness and muteness, I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!"

Can you imagine the amazement by this miracle? Jesus' authority to speak and the word and the demons had to obey. The evil spirits left the boy as the boy lay there lifeless. Imagine that scene...perhaps the people were shocked by the unfolding drama as they most likely presume he is dead. Yet the scene goes from heaviness to I'm sure this unexplained joy as Jesus takes the boy by the hand and lifts him up to his feet. Yet what I find interesting is that you don't see any mention of their awe, instead it's the disciples asking, "Why couldn't we cast out the evil spirits?" Jesus replied, "This kind can be cast out only by prayer and fasting." So what is 'this kind'? It's what He's been addressing throughout the scenario...UNBELIEF.

To see this played out in my mind, do you see how Jesus was constantly addressing the issue of unbelief? Jesus was getting to the root of why the disciples could not cast out the demons. Can you imagine seeing such a scene manifest upon anyone? Being that we are driven by our five senses, perhaps the sense of sight would undoubtedly be an issue with believing that the boy could be healed.

As I am reminded by this story I see more clearly that many times I am moved by my emotions and fears of the 'what if?' If I must, then the prayer and fasting for the unbelief to leave is what needs to be done. Fasting is a challenge in and of itself. Of course, I cannot depend on my flesh, I must depend on the Holy Spirit to be able to be obedient.

I must remember today, moment by moment that unbelief is a hindrance to the unknown possibilities of what God wants to reveal about Himself and what He ultimately has in store for me. Yet triumphantly and victoriously, belief allows breakthrough to the unknown possibilities of what God has in store for me.

All in all, the simplicity of prayer and fasting is to primarily receive MORE AND MORE OF God NOT to get more FROM God. This is why I LOVE Mark 9 and Isaiah 58...doubt and unbelief are starved as this comes out of those who live a lifestyle of prayer and's abstaining from a life of self absorption by helping others in need.

Final ponderings...when I delight myself in the Lord and believe in Him - His desires and wants become the desires and wants of my heart; there's a supernatural exchange which causes me to see those wants and desires of HIM be fulfilled.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July 8, 2009 "God Has Made Me Glad"

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

"Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence."
~ Psalm 21:6 ~ (NIV)

A chapter closes as another chapter opens in the book of life.
A life ends as another life begins.
A day lingers as another day passes by so fast.
One side of the world is greeted by the sun as the other side of the world is greeted by the moon.

As one person embraces, another pulls away.
A wave of the hand is a greeting as another wave of the hand says goodbye.
Two hearts become one in marriage
as another marriage finds that one heart become two that are broken.

One person finds himself being promoted as another person finds himself without a job.
One person finds herself carressing her son's hair as he falls asleep
as another mom holds onto the pillow her son once laid on as he is away defending the country He grew to love.

Another couple young and vibrant, their whole lives seem to be ahead of them allow the circumstances of life to get in the way; for they have a false assuredness that they have tomorrow. Their focus is on the tomorrow, forgetting that time is short.

Another couple still raising their family have been separated by death. Her husband passes away as cancer has eaten at his once strong body. The last few months together they lived like there was no tomorrow. They enjoyed each other. They enjoyed the smell of morning breath, the beautiful fragrance of their children, the feeling of their soft cheeks as they kissed them continually. Most of all they just enjoyed life for what it was.

A couple aged physically by the years but their love for one another is stronger than when they first met as they fell in love.
Their focus is on the here and now, knowing that life is short in comparison to eternity as the years have flown right through them.

Today I am reminded of what is truly important.

I must and want to bask in God's Love that is provided every moment,
every day, in every way.
The issues of life that are not life and death must be placed in perspective for what it is;
not for what I try to make it.

God has made me glad.
Yes! He has made us glad! He made us, He created us to be GLAD!

Let us be glad in Him and those who are sad, may we be the difference to them as we reveal a glimpse of the love of God on them for His glory and honor.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July 7, 2009 "My Redeemer, Your Redeemer"

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

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer."
~ Psalm 19:14 ~ NKJV

Clearing her throat, she admitted in a low whisper filled with remorse, "We went all the way." As she said those words I could hear her choking back the tears filled with guilt and shame. I was so sad for her. After she had admitted this she knew for sure I would be upset with her; but was surprised when the only thing I could do was cry with her.

Her walk with the Lord has regressed and she was on the 'slippery slope long enough that she finally slipped'. I asked her in love, "Can you pinpoint the moment you were seduced away from God?" She thought for a moment and then she said with a knowing, "Yes. It was when I looked to my ex-boyfriend for my fulfillment instead of God."

On the phone with this girl who I love as a daughter it was truly heartbreaking. I wanted to reach through the phone and embrace her and let her know that all would be OK.

It was amazing. As I was ministering to her by the Holy Spirit, He also ministered to me. I was able to testify of His redeeming power on my life. As I testified this to her, I also told her how I truly never knew what it meant when God was referred to as 'The Redeemer' until the day He showed me so vividly.

I proceeded to tell her that a couple of weeks after I surrendered my heart to the Lord as my Savior and Lord I sat on the floor of my office amazed by His love. As I sat there I remember I cried saying, "O Lord where would I have been if I had only served you 10 years ago." It was so clear as He ministered in love, "Teresa you would be right where you are." I remembered thinking there's no way. But I was reminded immediately as I questioned His response, I just know He said, "Teresa, I am referring to your heart not your circumstances or where you are in the physical realm. Your heart would be right where it is with Me even if you had served me 10 years ago."

He redeemed my heart. He restored my soul. As I shared this with her, I told her that God wants to redeem her purity and restore her soul. He wants to take that 'soul tie' with that young man and release her from that, so that it can no longer remind her of the guilt and shame.

She said, "I wanted to save myself for my husband. I gave myself to him because we talked about getting married, and we talked about having children." I told her you both may have been committed to each other, but there was no covenant between the two of you with God joined in marriage. Commitment and covenant are not the same.

She used commitment as justification to give away that precious gift that belonged to her and her future husband. Now she is no longer in a relationship with this young man; yet daily she is reminded of what she had forsaken and she has a 'soul tie' to someone she is no longer with.

As I spoke with her last night it was revealed to me how moment by moment I must be aware of where my heart and focus is. When I wait on the Lord, He will renew something. What is it that He renews when I wait on Him? He renews my strength. If He has to renew that strength, then it most likely means that the strength has expired. As He renews my strength; I will then mount up with wings as eagles. I will run and not be weary and walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31). What happens though if I don't wait upon the Lord, but wait on man? Strength will not be renewed. Tiredness will overtake me and most likely I will fall asleep when instead I must be watchful.

I must remind myself of this moment by moment. Daily is not enough. Within the day we get hit with unexpected twists and turns. Moment by moment reminding of how awesome God is and acknowledging Him in everything and in every matter of life is key to truly living a victorious life.
Victorious living is to effect others so that they may also be brought into the same victorious lifestyle. There is purpose to every great thing of God. It is not just for me; but it is to be a blessing to others. God ALWAYS has others in mind when we obey Him.

Today you are on His mind. He loves you. He wants to redeem you from the guilt and shame into innocence and honor. Will you allow Him? I pray so.

Monday, July 6, 2009

July 6, 2009 "Encouragement"

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

"But command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.'"
~ Deuteronomy 3:28 ~ NKJV

"Encouragement can be a cause of great wealth. Discouragement can be a cause of great poverty." I heard those words in my spirit this morning. It was like hearing a proverb when I read Deuteronomy 3:28.

Have you ever been encouraged by many people and then there is that one person who discourages you (not constructive criticism, just plain discouragement), what usually happens? I know with me one discouraging word (If I allow it) tends to overshadow all the other encouraging words that I have heard throughout the day.

I ask the Lord, "Why do we allow discouragement to overrule encouragement?" Guess what word I heard loud and clear? 'Pride'. Can you believe that? Pride? "Lord, how can this be? It's not my fault that they were a discouraging mouthpiece." After I said that to myself, obviously God heard my moaning and it was as though I heard Him say, "The mouthpiece is only that...a mouthpiece. You don't have to eat on their regurgitation of discouragement, you have a choice to walk away and not receive it. You have the ultimate choice to receive it. That is what your free will was intended for. Your free will was not intended for you to reject Me, it was intended to reject the lies." Wow! Free will from God was intended to be a gift to us but ultimately to Him.

Then it was revealed. Pride holds us back from the abundance that God has readily available for us. It is our 'free will' or choice to receive the words of encouragement or discouragement.

The encouragement is of God's abundance readily available to keep us going, to progress, actively going forward. Pride holds us in a place where we either become complacement or we end up regressing to the old ways. Many times if we aren't constantly looking to the Source of Encouragement we will be worse off than before.

When those words of encouragement are offered and then that word of discouragement comes in, we immediately look inward and say, "I am nothing." Pride has us focus on the I and the me and the myself. I heard it said one day, "The trinity of humanism is Me, Myself and I."

I realized through this reminder of pride we must look to Our True Source of Encouragement, Jesus Christ. How? By the Holy Spirit who reveals Jesus Christ. When we look to Him the Author and Finisher of our Faith, we will choose to look away from the author and finisher of pride.

May you be encouraged today by the God we get to serve through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. With His great encouragement there is always a way to show where we can improve as we are led by His great, glorious love.

Discouragement doesn't offer a way to improve, it only causes the feelings of inadequacy to rise up. We begin to 'worship' the inadequacy, instead of worshipping the God who makes us adequate when we allow Him.

Encouragement offers hope and allows us to grow in the Lord. I pray I choose moment by moment to grow, progress and actively go forward.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Weekend for the 4th of July! "Do You Hear Their Voices?"

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
~ II Chronicles 7:14 ~

Do you hear their voices?
It is as the sound of a heartbeat.
It is a constant sound.
Do you hear their voices?
Their voices are as one as they shout,
"Do not forget!"
"Do not forget!"

Do you hear their voices?
"Forget not His voice. You have turned your hearts away."
"Did we die in vain?
We sacrificed our time with our families and our children for the future.
You are that future.
That future was meant to continue.
It was not meant for you to hoard and to toss away.

"They have sent their fathers, their mothers.
They have sent their sons, their daughters.
They have sent their brothers, their sisters.
They have sent their grandchildren.

Do you hear their cries in the midst of the bloodshed.
They died for your freedom and your liberty.
Do you hear their cries for home?
Do you hear the cries of their children?

God says, "I Am the Father to the fatherless, the Mother to the motherless."
I use you as my vessels to take care of them.
You have chosen not to be used.
Why? "Because it isn't my job" you said.
You also said, "Someone else will do it."
Someone else did do it.
Someone else did die for your freedom.
Someone else lost their limbs for your freedom.

Yet you say, "I have the freedom of speech"
yes you do, but that was never intended for you to
slander another human being with your words.
That freedom of speech was not to protect 'hate speech' but only to protect
the speech that proclaims the glory of God who allowed us this beautiful country.

Do you hear their voices?
Do you hear their cries?
"Look to the Cross of Calvary"
"Look at the One Who Died for Your eternal freedom"

I am led to great wonder.
When God looked to and fro before the foundations of the world were set?
He must have asked, "Who will go for them?"
And a mighty voice of Triumph said, "I Will Go, Father. I Will Go!"

Someone did do it.
Someone else did die for your freedom.
Who was He? Jesus!
The Name of Victory.
The Name of Triumph.
Do you hear Him say, "If my people who are called by My name
shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from
their wicked ways,then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive
their sin and will heal their land.

"The sounds of His voice bid us to:
Humble ourselves, then pray, then seek His glorious Face
and turn from our wicked ways.
After we do this, His promise is that He will hear from heaven,
will forgive our sin and will heal our land.

It is no longer about whether we hear their voices, it is now about
are we going to heed to their voices?
Are we going to set our eyes on The Freedom Maker.

Turning away cannot be an option we choose.
Let us continue the future freedom,
let us not allow the freedom of our forefathers stop at our generation.
Let it continue.

May we be reminded on July 4th of why we truly get to celebrate.
It is because we can still hear their voices and their cries.
It cost them their lives; but the result was our freedom.

Let us shout the cry of our soldiers from the beginning of our country!
"There is no king; but King Jesus"!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009 "The Staircase of Significance"

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

~ The Book of Second Peter ~
(New Living Translation)

I noticed a staircase of significance this morning.

My husband and I were reading Second Peter together this morning. As we 'saw' this staircase, we also realized there is a firm foundation to the staircase of significance.

The Foundation:
Coming to Know Jesus Christ, our God and Lord. His divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness! When we continued to read what that power does as He gives it to us. He gives us His rich and wonderful promises. This promise allows us to escape the degenerate morality all around us by evil desires and share something with Him. Share what? In His divine nature.

First Stair:
Applying these promises from Jesus will produce a life of moral excellence.

Second Stair:
A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better.

Third Stair:
Knowing God leads to self-control

Fourth Stair:
Self-control leads to patient endurance

Fifth Stair:
Patient encurance leads to godliness.

Sixth Stair:
Godliness leads to love for other Christians

Seventh Stair:
As we love other Christians, I will finally grow to have genuine love for everyone. Keep in mind; it doesn't say that you will love what everyone does, but you will have a genuine love for everyone; for who they are.

When we grow like this, the more we will become productive and useful in our knowledge of who our Lord Jesus Christ truly is.

How do we prevent ourselves from taking this staircase? When we fail to develop these virtues through Christ; the result is becoming blind or shortsighted. When this happens that means we have forgotten something. What have we forgotten? That God cleansed us from our old life of sin through Jesus Christ.

I want to make it to the top through Christ.....walking in love! What was Christ led by on this earth when He healed and restored? By Love and Compassion! This helps me find out where I am in my walk with Christ. I am reminded by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Peter that Second Peter is like a 'litmus' test to where my heart and my actions are and where they need to be.

Enjoy the staircase of significance through Christ. I want to walk with Him knowing God better just as He loves everyone, this is where He wants each of us. Is it impossible? It is without Him, but with Him all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

Tuesday, July 1, 2009 "He Gives and He Takes Away"

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

"If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God and carefully obey them, then the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will be above only and not beneath."
~ Deuteronomy 28:13 ~

God gives and takes away. What is your belief when you hear that?

My former belief was that it is God who at any moment can give you good and then take it away. Thankfully, this belief has changed. I have to believe that this belief was wrong.

The more I read about the character of God, I am reminded that God is The Replacer of the evil, The Redeemer of what seemed lost forever. God is the Restorer and the Rebuilder of those things that have been ruined.

I love the churches that I have been able to fellowship with from Michigan to Iowa to Texas. In Michigan it is where I first learned about confessing the Word of God. I learned not to confess what I was going through at that moment, but confessing what God's Word said, no matter the situation. I am so grateful for that teaching. However, with the flesh I took that out of context.

I'll give you an example of one of the powerful confessions I took out of context. When I would confess, "I am above only and not beneath, I am the head and not the tail" I formed a belief which was a lie that because I am above and not beneath; the head and not the tail that I shouldn't be going through any difficulty. Forming this belief hindered my walk with God. I would ask God, "Why?" And blame God for the situations that I was going through or even going as far as thinking that His Word didn't work. Pretty sad, isn't it?

One day, as I was rescued from this lying belief, I realized God has declared us above only and not beneath. I am above the difficulty that I am going through because of Him. I am not to be beneath it. I am not to be squelched by it. I am not to be depressed by it or oppressed by it. It isn't that I won't go through difficulty but through God's power and His declaration over me I will rise above it with Him.

If I am the head and not the tail. Then that situation or circumstance I am going through won't dictate who I am. But as the head which God has declared over me, because of the covenant relationship with His Son Jesus, then I am reminded that I will not allow that circumstance to tell me who I am, but I will tell the circumstance who I serve and who I belong to.

Don't declare you are unworthy. Declare you are worthy, because God has called you worthy through His Son Jesus Christ. Don't declare yourself useless, when He has declared you useful and a vessel for His honor, to be set apart prepared for every good work.

We might say to that, "Well, I am unworthy without Christ." Yes, that is reality, however, TRUTH is that you are worthy. God's declaration over us is more real than the reality.

I don't want to live in a state of false humility, because in that is truly pride.

He gives and takes away. He gives us His joy and takes away our mourning. He gives us His healing and takes away our sickness. He gives us His beauty as we allow Him to take away our ashes. He gives us His garment of praise as we allow Him to take away the spirit of heaviness that tries to rule over us.

Is He the God who gives and takes away? Absolutely! He gives us Life as He takes away our death sentence.

When I think of God now as the giver and the one who takes away, it helps me to see Him the way He must be seen. He has been blamed for things that were not of Him. Obviously He allows those things to happen, I don't know why, however, we must always be reminded that what Satan meant for evil, God will turn it around for Good to glorify Who He IS...Almighty God!