Monday, August 31, 2009

August 31, 2009, "'Luke 6 it'!"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"But if you are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you..."
~ Luke 6:27-36 ~

"You are no good."
"Are you that stupid?"
"Can you do anything right?"

As she laughed with her friends in the restaurant with great joy, she looked up to find a handful of people annoyed as they rolled their eyes.

The manager looked over at him, not caring if the customers were in the store and belittled him by saying, "Do you have a brain?"
In anger and embarassment he said, "Well, obviously not."

A sweet young lady ringing up merchandise at a clothing store is rudely interrupted by a customer as she says, "Could you please hurry it up? I don't have all day." The employee's demeanor shrinks back revealing her embarassment, as though all the air was let out of a balloon.

The 'boss' looks over his employee's shoulder as he tries to find something he can belittle.

Insubordination takes place when the employee is told of a meeting and challenges her supervisor by saying she needs an 'agenda' for the meeting and then will decide whether or not she will go. Not only does she challenge her supervisor, but she also goes to the top of the chain of command and surpasses all the other supervisors to manipulate her situation. As her supervisor has every right to fire her, the other supervisors tell her that she can not exercise her 'right' to terminate due to insubordination, because of the position that she holds and what she is training for.

All these scenarios have something in common. The first thing that rises up in most of us is that 'default' human sin nature ~ striking back in some form, getting even, becoming defensive.

As these scenarios have all taken place in some form or another. I laugh as I have heard in my spirit many times in situations like this; I have heard in such love, "Luke 6 it".

"'Luke 6 it'?"
"Are you kidding, 'Luke 6 it'?"
Everything in me would try to justify why I could not 'Luke 6' the situation.

I have said this many times, but I tell you, I know God's Word doesn't lie; The Word is Jesus Christ and He and is ALIVE. If there is application to His Word, you can't help but see God's results take place. Same goes, if we don't apply His Word, we can't help but see the absence of His results in our lives.

In each of these scenarios, Jesus Christ has said, "Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for those who curse you and pray for those who hurt you." It goes against the fleshly core of the sin nature, doesn't it?

Many times I have situations arise where I didn't apply Luke 6 and I wondered why nothing good came out of it. Then the times I have applied Luke 6, I saw the Lord work in such mysterious ways, even through the people who were hateful towards me.

I want you to be encouraged today.
When a problem arises, look at it as an opportunity to 'Luke 6 it'.
Watch what only God can do.

There have been many times where I have walked away from a heated situation and got by myself and screamed with great anger, "GOD BLESS HIM/HER!!!!!!!!!!!!"

It is amazing, as soon as that 'blessing' was released, my attitude changed about the situation, and even the person. It is not that I have the power to bless the is about me relying on His power to bless me through the situation.

I saw it as sowing a seed of blessing and I got to see the reaping of the harvest of His glorious blessings!

Today as we're challenged, may we be reminded of doing the opposite of what we by sin nature want to do.

May we be like the salmon of the streams, going against the current. Let's 'swim' against the current of sin and even though the process may hurt; by God's grace we can do it and as we get to our destination, we will see the great rewards of the obedience in the midst of the process.

Through the process, we will become tired but by God's joy we will see the supply of His strength come over us no matter the situation!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

August 29, 2009, "As Far Away As The East Is From The West"

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

"He has removed our rebellious acts as far away from us as the east is from the west."
~ Psalm 103:12 ~

"With My (Jesus) authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: `There is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to me.'"
~ Luke 24:47 ~

"I close my eyes, breathing in with great intention
as I lift my head up to You, O Lord!
I am in awe of Your great love as You
reveal Your unimaginable, infinite, majestic forgiveness.

As far as the east is from the west that is
how far you have removed my sins from me.
Wow! Unbelievable, infinite description of your great,
vast love revealed through Your forgiveness.
You not only forgive ~ that is Who You Are.
You are my Great Forgiver.
Thank You for Your grace to get me through those
natural consequences of the sin I have committed.

Lord, I thank You that You heal those that I have caused
great pain, whether it was intentional or unintentional.
Lord, as You have forgiven Me so wonderfully and
beautifully help Me to forgive others.
Many times I am guilty for being moved by
my circumstances which many times
have resulted in bursts of anger, dishonor,
manipulation, lying, the list goes on.
Lord, instead of being moved by my circumstances,
I want to be mindful and moved by Your Love and Compassion.

Lord, as I breathe in with great intention it is
as another form of worship unto You.
I love You Lord, thank You
for Your great encouragement in Who You are."

Today, I believe God didn't want me to write about Him, but write to Him.
I pray You are blessed and You are encouraged by
His great love revealed in the eternal ways
that we can not even count, for
His ways of revealing Himself are innumerable.

I am reminded that no outward change, penance or sacrifice
on my part can bring change inwardly.
It is not an outward experience that changes my inward heart.
It is His Inward power on the inside of me that causes change on the 'outward'.

Friday, August 28, 2009

August 28, 2009, "Overwhelmed By His Loving Mercy"

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

"...Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him..."
~ Luke 15:11-32 ~

"I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels."
~ Isaiah 61:10 ~

He cried with great regret, "What have I done?" "I have nothing, it is all gone."

His head and hair filled with dirt. His sandals badly torn. His clothes consumed with dirt as rips, tears, and holes were all that were left of his robe. Sweat dripped off his forehead. As sweat dripped down his face it revealed the many layers of dirt upon his face as it left long marks of dark lines tracing his sun beat face.

He didn't know where to go or what to do. Condemnation surrounded him. I can see this huge twister behind him bellowing the reminders of his regrets, it so overwhelmed him that he fell to the ground weeping.

However, something inside of him said, "Get up! Go home!" He laid lifeless on the ground when the voice inside spoke louder and said, "Get up! Go home!" With great effort and with deep breaths he rose up to his feet and gathered all the strength left as he was reminded of the great abundant life that he left behind. As he rose up, he was reminded by the voices of condemnation, "You have no where to go." "What you have done is unforgivable, they have forgotten about you." "Don't disgrace yourself, suck it up, you did this to yourself, now live with it!" Even then those voices could not stop him from going home.

As he walked for miles, he suddenly saw his home in the distance. The landmark of home had come into sight and his stride became longer and quicker. His stride transitioned from a fast walk to a jog. From a jog to a run.

As he ran, from a distance he could see a familiar silhouette; but he could not make it out as it ran towards him. Suddenly, he realized the silhouette as it came closer was none other than his father. His father's outstretched hands engulfed him in the most powerful embrace. As he violently in passionate love, embraced his son the momentum of his embrace caused them to fall to the ground as he wept over his son's return.

As they rose up, I can imagine the father kissing his son all over his face, all 'manly' pride put aside. His father celebrated his son's return, immediately he went into a 'state' of celebration!

As they arrived to their beautiful home, he had his servants retrive the finest robe in the house, cleaned his son off and placed the finest robe upon him. He then told his servants to get his son a ring for his finger, and retrieve sandals for his feet. Then the servants were told to get the best of the best calf, one I am sure they could have made some good money on, but instead he said, "Go kill the calf we have been fattening, for we must celebrate with a feast! For this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found. So the PARTY began!"

The prodigal son. The prodigal daughter. Were you once a prodigal? I was.

I no longer call myself a prodigal any longer, for His mercy and His love brought great change.
He calls me His Redeemed Daughter!
When He rescued me and embraced me from a life filled with sin, he cleansed me, placed beauty upon me as the ashes upon my head were removed and washed away. He took of my heavy, torn, ragged clothing and replaced it with His beautiful garment of righteousness and praise. I went from being lost to being found.

I love how the father gave his son the best robe, a ring on his finger and new sandals.
The robe of righteousness replaced the heavy cloak of unrighteousness.
The ring placed on his finger was to identify who he was and who he belonged to.
The shoes placed on his feet, are like the gospel of peace that leads to the path of righteousness, replacing the torn sandals that led to the crooked paths of destruction.

Lord, I thank You that You celebrated my return to You.

Thank you for my earthly father who placed a ring on my finger in October 2002, when I was still astray to remind me who I truly belonged to. Thank you Father for my dad!

March 2003, he welcomed me with open arms, he has never reminded me of what I use to do, but only encourages me as he sees You are being revealed in my life.
Thank You Lord that my earthly father reveals a glimpse of Your love.
Thank You Father!

Many of us can not understand such mercy. Like the older son who couldn't understand such mercy he felt was ignorance to have a party for this brother who blew it? He lived a horrible life, he deserves to have some major consequences, not a party! Many have worked hard and they have done what they were suppose to, and there was no celebration for them. And then out of all things to waste the best profitable calf on him? Come on, you have lost your mind.

I love what the father says to the older brother, 'Look dear son, you and I are very close, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!"

Today as I am reminded of my Father God's loving embrace the day He welcomed me into His long awaited arms, I pray You know and feel His loving embrace towards You. The Father has never embraced our sins; He embraces us. Let Him love on you like you could never imagine! Just let Him love you.

Allow His passionate, loving embrace overtake and overwhelm you.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

August 27, 2009, "Condemnation Is Not a 'Gift' To Receive"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus."
~ Romans 8:1 ~

"May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God."
~ Ephesians 3:19 ~

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

Have you ever felt like you made a big fool of yourself? Are you the type of person that will re-hash the scene over and over again in your mind, and then your stomach turns as the feeling of embarassment comes over you all over again? This scenario has definitely taken place in my own life.

When this has happened to me, I tend to arrive at this place of immobility. Then in that place of immobility my soul is able to condemn me, and then as my soul condemns me, the fear of loss comes over me and it becomes this snowball that gets larger and larger by each moment I dwell on it, feeling as though I will get crushed by it.

When does the snow ball effect stop? I believe, it can stop IMMEDIATELY when I look to God for strength to rise up out of that 'groveling' feeling. When my focus comes off of me and goes to God I can shake my head, dust myself off and refocus to say, "Ok, that wasn't as bad as I made it out to be."

I want to encourage you today in the reminder that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. Of course, if there is something that has been done that needs to made right, then it needs to be made right, however allow God to make it right by His grace and strength through you.

I needed this reminder today BIG TIME. I realize even more at this moment that God wants to lavish His mercy and lovingkindness upon each of us today. Will I, will you allow Him? Or will we allow the pressing thoughts of fear and condemnation try to annihilate us? We don't have to choose the thoughts of fear and condemnation; for those are not gifts from God to receive. We need to remember His gifts of love, power and a sound mind, that are readily available to us by Jesus Christ.

Be encouraged today that when fear comes, your Defender is right there with you!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

August 26, 2009, "The Awe"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
~ Revelation 1:8 ~

"...But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
~ John 4 (Excerpt from John 4:23, 24) ~

The Lord asks Job,
"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding."
~ Job 38:4 ~

This is what I believe I received today from the Lord,
"Be in awe of who I Am. For I am the beginning and the end."

I cannot even comprehend such awesome truth, however as I think more and more upon this thought, I realize no wonder that God has called us to worship Him in spirit (not our minds), and in Truth (through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit). It only leads me to my knees of what an awesome God I serve today!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

August 25, 2009, "I Want To Abandon My Heart To You Lord"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

Stephen the man we know as one of the first martyrs for Christ Jesus said,
""Look I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God's right hand!" Then they put their hands over their ears, and drowning out his voice with their shouts, they rushed at him. They dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. The official witnesses took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they stoned him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." And he fell to his knees, shouting, "Lord, don't charge them with this sin!" And with that, he died."
~ Acts 7 (Excerpt from Acts 7:56-60) ~

Wincing in torturous pain; I saw man being tormented and tortured; hanging onto the last thread of life. His tormentors torture him to see if he will deny his Savior, Jesus Christ.

On Sunday, in my spirit, I saw this image of an Asian man as we were singing unto God and worshipping Him. The words we were singing went something like this, "I abandon my heart to You, surrendering to You". When I saw in the spirit the image of this man being tortured, I saw Him screaming with all His might and I could see the veins protruding through his forehead as he screamed the Mighty Name, "JEEEEEEEEEESUUUUUUUUSSSS"!

Personally, during our worship time I was having some of my own issues, wanting to truly sing that phrase with all of my heart, but knowing that God knew my heart. Warring about the petty things I fight against and yet seeing this image in the 'spirit' was all too real and truly an awakening. I remember at that point in worship, I said, "God, if I can't praise You and lift my hands to You as though it is some sacrifice, I am truly sorry, I will lift my hands to You. And if right now I can't do it for You, I will do it because You have reminded me through this man, who will not deny You even unto death."

It led me to the reminder of my humanity and truly realizing how much I needed to be dependent on my Awesome God. It opened my eyes to see that I am concerned with wanting to express my love for Him ALL the way because of the fear, "What will they think of me?"

Catching a glimpse of that Asian man suffering because he was most likely found being part of an underground church. It caused me to weep as their churches are dwindling in numbers not because of offenses, divisions or church splits. But their churches are dwindling in numbers by the many because they are dying in ways we can not imagine because they do not want to deny their Rescuer and their Savior,Jesus Christ.

Lord, thank you for the reminder today that when you are leading me to say or do something for You may I remember my brothers and sisters in Christ who have no relief of pain. They have no relief of torture. They have no relief of seeing their families killed and ripped apart because of their relationship with You. They know that Your love for them is so much greater than even this torture they are going through. Because of this, they cannot imagine denying you in their words or their actions, because they remind themselves daily of what You Jesus did for them as You died on the cross for us to bring us into fellowship with the Father God!.

Lord, send your relief to them. Lord, send Your power and peace over them in the midst of such pain and torment.

I pray that just as Stephen saw you high and lifted up as he was being stoned to death, may you cause your power to come over their mortal bodies so they do not have to endure any more pain. May you cause them to see You right now wherever they are in this very moment.

Lord, my heart is heavy not in condemnation but in conviction by the Holy Spirit to realize this life is not about me in any way. It is about You and what You want to do through me no matter my status in society, or who I am. You want to utilize me today for Your glory.

Let us be reminded that the Lord finds each of us significant; no matter how insignificant we may feel or look.

In the meantime, let us also pray for our brothers and sisters who long to go to church and come together with other believers, but know if they do, they just signed their own death certificate. Let us come together in Jesus name and let us do it for His glory in honor of them.

Monday, August 24, 2009

August 24, 2009, "Power of the Spoken Word of God"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell and Pastor Kim Behrman

"Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You."
~ Psalm 119:11 ~

I love learning more and more about the things God has equipped in us so that it can go through us, impacting others and situations for His glory!

Yesterday at church after we came together in singing praises to the Lord (another beautiful more known form of worship), the kids were released to go to their classes. As Pastor Stephen Behrman encouraged and taught us from the Word, his wife, Pastor Kim Behrman encouraged and taught our children from the Word.

I was greatly encouraged when we were released as I found out what she had taught but also challenged the children. The challenge is that every day they speak The Word of God over themselves and their situations like at breakfast time, before they go to school. It was so encouraging to me, so I had to share it with you all. By the way, the kids were so excited that they said they could also place a copy of what she gave them in their 'data' folders at school.

It is a great way to memorize the Word, so when it is time for the 'Sword of the Spirit' to come out, there is effectiveness, because they know why they quote the Word. Not just to say they memorized something, but that it becomes effective in their life and they see that The Word is ALIVE!

This is what she wrote and gave to the kids:

"The 'ABC''s of Success in School..............."
(Can also pertain to: work, home, interaction with others, etc.)

(Psalm 119:105 ~ "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.").
Written by Pastor Kim Behrman, Inspired by the Holy Spirit:

Remember that we have God's Word to help us out in life, when we don't know what to do or when we might be feeling afraid. Just like David, we can say that God is for me ~ He is on my side. Put the Word IN your mouth, allowing His Words to LIGHT up your path and bring you the help you need!

A. When you're feelin' unable, weak, dumb or intimidated...
Philippians 4:13, You say..."I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."

B. When you're feelin' scared, afraid, out of control, overwhelmed...
I Timothy 1:7, You say..."For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (fear) but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control."

C. When you're feelin' lonely, separated, frightenened...

Deuteronomy 31:6, You say..."Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you, He will never leave you or forsake you."

"Dear Father God, thank you that your Holy Spirit goes with me wherever I go causing me to have great favor and to be a success in all that I set my hand to. I have God on my side, the Blood of Jesus covers and keeps me. In Jesus Name. Amen!"

When we confess the Word of God over our lives, we can not help but see His Words flourish over our lives. There is power in the confessions of our mouth (good or bad). Just like God SPOKE the world into existence, He calls us to SPEAK to those things and situations no matter how we feel or what we see (faith); speaking His Word over it. Echoing back His Words into the atmosphere is powerful, and more than anything, it blesses Him!

I know you will be blessed as I was, and encouraged to know why even moreso of why we are to hide God's Word in our heart, so that we do not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11).

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Weekend, August 22 & 23, 2009, "He Is More Than Worthy"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple."
~ Isaiah 6 ~

Trying to imagine such a vision as Isaiah the prophet experienced is absolutely beyond comprehension. My mind's ability to process logic is 'thrown out the window' as it cannot process my Awesome God. I shake my head with such indescribable explanation in awe of this amazing God Who has adopted me as His daughter through His Son Jesus Christ.

I am still drawn to the vision of the "Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filling the temple". He describes the train of His robe; it is not even the robe He wears that Isaiah describes, but the train of His robe.

I imagine that this moment as Isaiah sees such a sight, he must be overwhelmed by the great, awesome indescribable vastness and size of God. As you read further in Isaiah 6, you will read that the angels had to place coals on Isaiah's lips to cleanse his mouth so that he could speak the sight that he was honored to behold.

Writing this devotional today only leads me to my knees in awe of God and His Majesty. He is More than Worthy to be praised. He is more than worthy to be praised when I clean my house today. He is more than worthy to be praised as I do the dishes today. He is more than worthy to be praised as I love on my husband and children today. He is more than worthy to be praised when I interact with others with His compassion, when my compassion runs out. Wow! He is Worthy to be praised no matter what we are going through, or what we are doing, He is Worthy!

Furthermore, as I write of the God Who is more than worthy; when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, He calls us worthy. We should not call ourselves anything else other than that. I hear many Christians say, "I am unworthy". We may be unworthy by the measures of the natural mercy of man; but to God and in His infinite mercy He has called us worthy!

I pray you are encouraged today as I am that the God who cannot be contained even by the heavens is in pursuit of our hearts. He longs for us to draw near to Him, so that He can draw near to us in ways we could never imagine (James 4:8). May we be reminded in the difficulties and the every day 'chores' of life, that He is more than Worthy to be praised.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Augu 21, 2009, "Choosing Blessings, I truly Choose Him"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."
~ Deuteronomy 30:19-20 ~ NKJV

Today as we were getting some great deals for school clothes and supplies we had also purchased a school bag from my daughter's favorite store. She was so excited to find the 'perfect' bag with peace signs. My fun daughter is so into 'peace' signs and psychedelic colors. She really loves that the '80's are somewhat back in it's own way.

After we purchased her school accessories we walked out of the store and walked to the car. As we walked to the car we opened the doors, jumped in, shutting our doors and placing our seat belts on. As I started the car and started to drive home, we were talking about all her cool new outfits she got and the awesome bag when suddenly she says, "O no, Mom, there is a button in my bag." I was a bit confused as to what she meant by that, so I put the brakes on, turned around to find in her hand a really cool peace sign button. I looked at it and turned it over to see that it was priced $2.50.

As I was turning around to head back to the store, she said with concern, "Mom, we need to turn around and give it back." To know that she had the same thought and not only thought it but expressed it, truly blessed my heart.

As I turned around, I thought to myself, here is a really cool peace sign button that she could have kept to herself and not have said a word, and I probably would have never noticed it. It had me reflect back to myself as a child, even though I was taught much better, my choices were many times deceitful. To see such integrity rise up in this nine year old girl who I get to call my daughter ministered to me in ways that I could never imagine. It was definitely a moment that brought back memories of my dad who always taught us that integrity was far more important than just 'honesty'.

As we headed back to the store, Tristin was so excited to get to bring it back. So we parked the car and headed into the busy store. She saw the lady who rang us up and told her that she had found the button in the bag and wanted to bring it back. The young lady at first said, "O Sweetie, thank you so much." Tristin walked away hurriedly, as I noticed she was a little embarassed. As we were walking out I could hear the young lady say to her associates, "Can you believe that? That little girl brought this back. That is amazing."

It brought a smile to my face to know that even in that gesture, which was a small one, yet it made such an impact. I know it brought great pleasure to our Father God to see one of His children represent a glimpse of the way He should be seen.

Today I am reminded to choose life, which by natural consequences will bring blessings in ways I could never imagine. The biggest blessing that I am reminded of is that I could bless my Father God's heart by choosing life. As I choose life, I truly choose Him.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

August 20, 2009, "A Vessel of Inspiration"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work."
~ II Timothy 2:21 ~ NKJV

"Mom, I think I want to be a pastor when I grow up." I said, "Really?" She said, "Mom, I have a strong voice and I'm not afraid to use it. And I love people; like you do. I 'just' want to be a pastor."

I thought to myself, "Wow! Out of all things to want to be, she wants to be a pastor?" I told her, "Tristin, you would be a wonderful pastor. You love people." I also got to tell her that if it weren't for God allowing her to be in our life, I don't know if I would truly desire to live for Him like I do right now. I was able to tell her how God had utilized her as an inspiration in my life to live for Him in ways I could never imagine. I told her, "You know I don't know if I would have ever written my book or written devotionals if it weren't for you in my life inspiring me as a vessel from God."

Furthermore, I want to be an example like my parents had been to us as people who trusted in God. To know that I had such a wonderful example, I wanted to make sure that Tristin had that example as well.

I told Tristin just like a pastor should, she by the power of the Holy Spirit of God, pulls out the gifts of God that are already within me and her dad. We are amazed by God's grace and mercy in our lives as He has equipped us in ways we could never imagine. It is truly mind boggling!

It was such a blessing when I heard her response as her voice shook with tears rolling down her sweet little face and she said, "Mom, thank you for telling me that." I was more than blessed by her heart being touched in such a way to know that she knew she was appreciated and she is a source of inspiration from the One Who is All-Inspiring...Almighty God!

I am still in awe knowing that I get to be this little girl's mom. It is a great reminder that without Christ there are many things I deserve, but in His infinite mercy He has allowed me the wonderful things that I don't deserve. However, in Him I will not say that I am unworthy, because He has called me worthy. Not because of what I have done, but because of Who He is and what He has already done!

May we be a people who pull the treasures of God out of others. May we celebrate the gifts of God that are within each of us; waiting to flow like a rushing river! Those things are able to flourish when we allow Jesus Christ to become the Lord of our life.

This is another reminder that He is not 'just' taking residence in my heart and life, but He must BE the Lord of my life!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August 19, 2009, "A glimpse of our Father's love"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid of them! The LORD your God will go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor forsake you."
~ Deuteronomy 31:6 ~

"To all who mourn in Israel, he will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the LORD has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory."
~ Isaiah 61:3 ~

We were enjoying our contintental breakfast this morning. We have been staying at a hotel for a few days since we came back from our mini-vacation to find out that our air conditioner had broken during this one hundred degree weather, with no relief of rain in sight.

As we were eating, the continental breakfast was about to be cleaned up when I saw the breakfast hostess organizing and turning off the machines.

We said our 'hello's' to one another and she walked away. Later she came back and I had told her what a great job she had done with the food. She humbly said with a smile, "All I have to do is turn on a button."

Our conversation led to another conversation and then it led me to hear a story that I had hoped I would never have to hear a child would go through. She shared with me how her seven year old granddaughter at the time was living in a different city in Texas. She had been living with her mom as her parents were divorced. This woman who was talking to me was the mother of the granddaughter's father.

She said that one night, the little girl had noticed that her mom was not feeling well and so she told her mommy to lay down, being that she could not bring her to the bedroom she had her mommy lie down on the couch.

This little girl set her alarm clock every two hours so she would awake and check on her mommy. She placed a pillow under her mommy's head and grabbed a blanket to cover her up. At around seven o'clock in the morning, she saw that her mommy's mouth and hands were purple and saw blood coming out of her nose. She called 9-1-1 and explained to the dispatcher what was going on. As the police officer's arrived, Child Protective Services also arrived. Her mother had died in the middle of the night when she was taking care of her.

As I heard the rest of the story from this amazing grandmother who was cleaning the breakfast area at the hotel, I cried for this little girl. This little girl had not bathed for days when the grandmother and father had picked her up. They had no idea she was living in such conditions. This little seven year old girl was having to become the adult at such a young age, because of her mom who suffered from some mental disorders.

This had happened in July 2008, in December 2008 was her 8th birthday. Her mother with whom she lived with never had a birthday party for her. So her father and his family planned a huge surprise party for this little girl. They dressed her up, curled her hair and as her daddy walked her through the house to the backyard, she was welcomed with a host of people yelling, "SURPRISE!" She jumped up and down with joy, as her daddy sobbed with joyful tears to see how blessed his daughter was.

There is more to this amazing story, but it reminds me of our Heavenly Daddy. A glimpse of His love for us. The world we live in can be so hateful and out of order, and He desires like we could never imagine to clothe us in His righteousness, to give us joy for our mourning, to give us beauty for the ashes.

I am so glad to say as many of you reading this are rejoicing to say that You have accepted His hand of love and mercy. He will never force us to take His hand, but He bids us to come.

May you be reminded today as I was of His love and restoration as we are His children. He wants to take the filthy rags off of us and replace it with His garment of Praise. He wants to bathe us in His glory which is our rear guard.

Let us let go of the hands who would want to ruin us, and take hold of His Loving, outstretched hands. May we always remember, He will never leave us nor will He ever, ever, ever forake us!

Monday, August 17, 2009

August 17, 2009, "He is The Resurrection"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"Jesus said to her, 'I Am the Resurrection and the Life...'"
~ John 11:25 ~

Last night for the first time I was watching Stuvall Weems who was on The Church Channel and I listened to him teach out of II Kings 4:8-37. It was regarding the wealthy woman from Shunem and the prophet of God named, Elisha.

As I re-read this amazing story this morning of Elisha the prophet and the wealthy woman from Shunem who had one dream, and her dream was to have a son. One of her circumstances that hindered her from having a son, was that it states in chapter four her husband was of old age.

This woman of great wealth had invited this man of God, Elisha into her home and would feed him. She saw the power of God in his life and one day took it a step further as she told her husband she wanted to build Elisha a room on the roof of their home. She not only built him a room, but she also furnished it with a bed, a table, a chair and a lamp. So that every time he passed through her town, she expected him to stay in their home.

I love how God provided provision for His prophet Elisha through this woman of wealth. She celebrated the gifts of God in His life and wanted to be a part of being a blessing. However, in that moment that she was a blessing to Elisha, God made sure that she would receive the greatest dream that she desired, and that was to have a child. She had great wealth, but even in that wealth it could not provide her greatest dream; and that was to have a baby.

Elisha looked at this woman and spoke to her as he heard from the Lord, "You are going to have a son this time next year." She said with sadness, "O lord, please do not get my hopes up. Do not say this to me." Then shortly after his prophecy over her life, sure enough she became pregnant.

The dream that she dreamed, became a reality. She took hold of that dream, and no matter what the doubts in her mind would say, she held onto that word. No matter what her friends might have said, she held onto that word. No matter what the doctors might have said regarding her chances of having a baby; she held onto that word. As she held onto the word from God through this prophet, her dream became a reality she gave birth to a son.

As time passed, and after the boy was older he went to visit his dad in the fields. Suddenly, he complained, "My head hurts! My head hurts!" His father had one of the servants carry him home. The servant I am sure told the mother what had happened and the mother held him on her lap, but around noontime he died.

In a matter of a moment, everything that was so clear and so amazing, became hazy, confusing and her dream suddenly died. After he died, she carried her son up to the prophets room and laid him on Elisha's bed, walked out of the room and shut the door behind her. She then sent a message to her husband to send one of their servants with a donkey so that she could hurry to the man of God and come right back. Her husband of course, had to know why on God's green earth she would need to do such a thing. What was the occasion? None of it made any sense. In the middle of her dream being ripped from her life, she replied back calmly, "It's all right."

After she had arrived where the prophet was, the prophet, Elisha saw her coming. He told his servant, "Find out if everything is ok with the Shunem woman's husband, herself and her child." Now notice this, she didn't tell her husband that their son died. Now the servant of the prophet asks her how everything is and she tells him, "Everything is fine." Isn't that interesting? She knew who to share her burdens with; and she chose not to share it with her husband, because she must have known, faith would not have been present in the midst of her husband, as he would have immediately mourned the death of their son. HOWEVER, when she came to the man of God at the mountain where he was she fell to the ground before him and caught hold of his feet. The servant of Elisha tried to get her away from him, but Elisha said, "Leave her alone, something is troubling her deeply, and the Lord has not told me what it is."

She then with I imagine with great anger and sadness says to Elisha, "You said that I would have a son. And didn't I tell you not to raise my hopes?" He then tells his servant to saddle up his donkey to go to this woman's home and lay his staff on the child's face. BUT the boy's mother said, "As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I won't go home unless you go with me." So Elisha returned with her.

When Elisha arrives to the woman's house, they see that undoubtedly the child is dead. Elisha shuts the door so it is only the child on his bed and him. He gets on top of the child. Places first his mouth upon his mouth, then his eyes on the child's eyes, and his hands on the child's hands. And the child's body began to grow warm again! Elisha got up and walked back and forth in the room a few times. Then he stretched himself out again on the child. This time the child sneezed seven times and opened his eyes!

He told his servant to get the mother. He said, "Here take your son!" She fell at his feet overwhelmed with gratitude. She picked up her son and carried him downstairs."

Did you notice several things that happened?
The dream that was ripped from her arms; she didn't draw near to hopelessness. She didn't draw near to having a funeral, she didn't draw near to despair; she drew near to God at that very moment.

I notice also that she was careful who she shared her despair with. We all have dreams that seem dead. We have circumstances that whisper repetitively how we don't have a chance. We have the dream killers that surround us with their shouts of, "It can't be done." Instead she knew who to share the despair with. She knew that in the midst of her 'suddenly' moment, that the prophet of God would 'suddenly' rise up with faith in God and remind her of who was more powerful.

I love how she said, "Everything is fine", when all was not fine. Wow! What a woman that was reminded of how awesome her God was.

Your dream may seem dead. But run to the Restorer of the ruined dreams. Run to the Redeemer of what may seem gone forever. Run to the Resurrection and the Life! God resurrected this dead boy and gave him life. God resurrected the mother's dream as she picked up her dream and carried him.

Notice the order as Stuvall Weems gave a great analogy as we notice the order and placement of Elisha's mouth, eyes and hands:
When we line up our words with God's Word we will start to
see through God's eyes and when we see through God's eyes,
our hands will do what He wants us to do. Hallelujah!

I want to be like the woman from Shunem. She didn't plan for a funeral, she planned for a resurrection. She didn't run to people who would mourn with her, she ran to the person who would rejoice with her and see what she had to believe for; RESURRECTION in the midst of death. Your dreams may seem dead, but they are waiting to resurrect.

Let our words line up with His Word, so that we may start to see God's vision and as we see through His eyes, our hands will do what He wants us to do.

Friday, August 14, 2009

August 14, 2009, "Lovingly Convicted"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. If you reject criticism, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding. Fear of the Lord teaches a person to be wise; humility precedes honor. From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive. Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."

~ Proverbs 15:31-33 & 16:23, 24 ~

This is the word I received this morning as I was on the balcony overlooking the beauty of God's beautiful 'Hand Prints'.

His beauty and love constructively brought me to conviction on a situation that had taken place yesterday.

The following are the words I received with such loving conviction:
"Constructive criticism and an encouraging word MUST go together, OR the criticism that was meant to be constructive will be received as only that...criticism."

It is so easy to point out the negative in situations and other people. Isn't it? However, when we are the ones on the receiving end of that negativity being pointed out in our own lives it can cause great discouragement.

I want to be mindful today of the words that flow out of my mouth along with being sensitive to the Holy Spirit. When I am sensitive to the Holy Spirit, I will automatically be sensitive to others.

Thank you Lord for Your sweet, reminder in a 'kiss'. I love You Lord. Thank You for Your encouragement today as You lovingly convicted me.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

August 12 & 13, 2009, "Revealing His Majesty"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"O Lord my Lord how majestic is Your name in all the earth..."
~ Psalm 8 ~

This is an excerpt from my journal yesterday, being that we did not have access to the internet yesterday. This morning I prayed that I would have access to the internet in our hotel, and praise God we were able to connect! Praise You Lord!!!!!

"O Lord, thank You for another day! Lord, You Reign! To see the Gulf of Mexico before me as I sit on the balcony of our hotel; I am amazed. You are awesome!


The water glistens as the water reflects the light of the sun.
The clouds in the back drop dress the waters and cover it like a veil,
in awe of Your majesty!

The palm tress staggered in height,
standing with their palms lifted high towards the
heavens as they praise You.
This reminds me of the verse in Psalm 8.
"O Lord, my Lord how majestic is Your Name in all the earth."

Hallelujah, Lord! You are crowned with honor and glory!
Honor and glory are not only things that you possess,
but they are Who You are!
You are Honor and Glory!
Your glory is revealed in Your creation.
So amazing.

Many worship your creation, yet even creation
declares Your glory....not its own!

Lord, You are awesome,
You are majestic and You love me! Wow!
Your love revealed through Jesus Christ!
Thank You Daddy God!
Thank You!"

Monday, August 10, 2009

Week of August 10-17, "The Reminder of His Great Redemption"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"...So the Lord God banished Adam and his wife from the Garden of Eden..."
~ Genesis 3:1-24 ~

Screams of desperation, "NO! NO! O God No! Please NO!" Being dragged out of their home. Their sobs and despair so full that they could truly vomit such sadness to be without God. They were banished, never to return to the Garden. They were banished from the freedom of walking with God at every moment as they had done before.

If there was a possibility, their consequence of death was better than being absent from God's presence. They would have much rather suffered death than to be removed from their Creator's presence.

Regret, shame, guilt not only for their disobedience but for all mankind. Even the animals of every kind, all suffered because of the great sadness and despair of deception and sin.

As I imagine the scene of being completely able to see in ways we could never imagine, and then to be stripped of it all, now truly being in utter darkness without God; so devastating to try to comprehend.

As I hunger with a great appetite for God, I am reminded that we have been restored back into fellowship with God through His Word, Jesus Christ. What a beautiful gift. With that gift will I set it down and admire it? Or will I do something with that gift? Will I feast on the nutrients and the savory tastes of His great mercy revealed by His love?

With the gift of redemption, there must be a desire to long for more of the Redeemer. Catching a glimpse of His redeeming power on my life, I am in utter awe of His power to change my life; in ways I could never imagine.

This is a reminder of the opposite results that Adam and Eve experienced. They were changed in ways they could never imagine; but in ways that were of utter sadness and great despair.

May we be reminded today of the great gift from God. When people get on our last nerve. When we have a choice to receive a silly offense, or even a great offense. When we are so concerned with others and what they may think of us. May the reminder of His redemption be so overwhelming that we not even entertain such selfish issues. May the issues of offense be so minimized by God's redeeming power that it may never be entertained. May we be so overwhelmed by His redeeming power that we live lives of true victory, no matter what.

May the reminder of Adam and Eve, bring us to our knees in gratefulness of God's redemption over our lives.

"Lord, I pray that when I am tempted to take an offense or be bothered by a thought, may I immediately be reminded of your great love and mercy over my life and walk according to that reminder."

Be blessed today, as I have been blessed by this reminder of His great redeeming love.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

August 7-9, "Rejoice! God Is Still on His Throne"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Stevens Criswell

"This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."
~ Psalm 118:24 ~

Do you ever feel overwhelmed? What causes that feeling of 'feeling overwhelmed'? I am sure there are as many answers to that question as there are people on this earth.

Yet God is the Overwhelming Love, the Overwhelming Peace, the Overwhelming Joy in and over our lives. Notice the word 'is'. His Overwhelming love, peace and joy is readily available to us. It isn't because we had to work on the outward things, outward situations, or outward circumstances first. It IS alreadly provided for within each of us when we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I love how our pastor says it. Salvation through Jesus Christ is the tool that leads us THROUGH the threshold of all the amazing, awesome blessings of Who God is and what He wants to do in and through our lives.

Today as some of us may 'feel' overwhelming anxiousness, sadness, despair, desperation, and hopelessness, may we truly remember what is on the inside of us. The power of God through His Spirit, the Holy Spirit will for sure rise us above those feelings that try with great effort to pull us into the pit of despair.

As we wait for things to change. As we are actively getting the things accomplished that we need and must get accomplished, let us rejoice today in Him.

The test results that just came back may have stated that you only have a few months to live. Someone may have just found out that their spouse was unfaithful. Another person may have found out that they no longer have a job. Someone else is in the process of hearing news they could have never imagined their ears would hear. I want to encourage you by His Spirit today, you are living right now. You are not gone yet; someone needs to hear your voice of encouragement. Someone needs to be embraced, someone needs to open a letter from you saying, "My God is still on His throne." More than anything, there is a 'love letter' to you from God; His Word that declares life in the midst of death.

Let us us shout and echo back His words into the atmosphere:
"I am the head and not the tail. I am above and not beneath. I am blessed coming in and blessed going out. I am highly favored, and His goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. Even when I don't see it or feel it; I will proclaim God's goodness over me. I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord. A thousand may fall at my side and ten thousand at my right hand but it shall not come near me. I am reminded of what David said, "I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor their children beg for bread." You O God are the lifter of my head and Your glory is my rear guard. My healing shall spring forth speedily. I know there is power in my tongue, and I will powerfully declare with my tongue life and not death. I choose this day, Life and blessings because You are my God. The enemy thought he could convince me that You had forsaken me, but he got to me TOO LATE! For I have already read the ending of your love letter and we have the VICTORY! Hallelujah! Thank You Lord for peace in the midst of mighty storms. Only You could do such a thing!"

Let us lean on our God more right now than we ever hoped we could before. If you need encouragement today, may you know that I will pray a supernatural miracle of God to manifest on your mortal body through Christ Jesus and what He did on that rugged old Cross, just know was not done in vain. He didn't stay on the cross, nor did He stay in the tomb....HE ROSE AGAIN! That's why we can proclaim victory! No other god did that...but Almighty GOD did!

May we 'touch' the hem of His garment, no matter what! Knowing that we are restored, healed, made whole and redeemed!

Our reminder today is to rejoice in Him and be glad in today. For He has allowed us another day!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

August 6, 2009, "Help! I need more time!"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills - from whence comes my help? My help [comes] from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth."
~ Psalm 121:1-2 ~

My heartbeat and mind are racing as the clock seems to be in competition of the things that I must get accomplished for the day.

It seems I have more things on my list of 'to do's' than I have hours in the day. I need to breathe in and allow the peace of God that is already within me to manifest right now. I could just scream at this moment, because I don't know what to do first. Do you know what I mean?

I am reminded to fix my eyes on Him, right now at this very moment. I am actually breathing now. It seems as though when I am in a mad rush to get things done, I don't breathe.

From where does my help come from? It comes from You Lord! I am going to trust that You are going to redeem my time today. You have allowed many of us to 'sow' time into others, and many of us are needing to 'reap' a harvest of more than enough time to get things accomplished today. Thank you that our help comes from You. Thank You for Your peace that surpasses my understanding. Thank You that You help me personally in not trying to limit what You want to do so mightily in my life. As you allow me to 'reap' a harvest of more than enough time, may I touch others in the process for Your glory and honor. Today is a season of getting things done and accomplished and I know you are going to help me do this with excellence.

May you be encouraged today as I am right now by the Lord!

August 5, 2009, "The Breakthrough when blessing those who curse us"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"But I say to you who are listening now to Me: [in order to heed, make it a practice to] love your enemies, treat well (do good to, act nobly towards those who detest you and pursue you with hatred. Invoke blessings upon and pray for the happiness of those who curse you, implore God's blessing (favor) upon those who abuse you [who revile, reproach, disparage, and high-handedly misuse you]."
~ Luke 6:27-28 ~ Amplified Bible

"Beep! Beep! Beep!" My phone alerted me this morning with the following text:
"Hey guess what? I kept asking God to bless this lady (a client who has kept throwing me under the bus during meetings - including yesterday, I never felt my cheeks burn so hot)! Well, this morning she called to apologize. Jeez! You were right! It's so strange though, I would never have guessed!"

As I read this text message, my eyes welled up with tears of joy. Tears of joy, realizing that when we release things to the Lord as He has encouraged us to, He will make a way for us. My dear friend had been holding onto the Lord and taking heed to His Word and today she saw His Word become ALIVE in her life! She saw as I saw in this testimony of the Lord's provision that He had made a way for her through and out of this difficult situation.

Luke 6 verses 27 & 28, the Lord tells us to love our enemies, blessing those that hurt us, praying for those who persecute us and blessing those who spitefully use us. She was daily going to God releasing this woman to Him speaking a blessing over this woman who was trying to defamate her character in more ways than one.

"Lord, as I know from learning in blessing those that hurt me, when I release or invoke Your blessing on them, it is not to ultimately benefit them, but to benefit me. For you know the universal laws You have put into place. One of them being, "Sowing and Reaping".

I know that there is a secret mystery to Your ways. When we release those things to You: burdens, difficult situations, you are able to BE GOD in our lives, in ways that You are meant to be and that we could never imagine.

Thank you for Your reminder today. Your amazing ways our thankfully not our feeble ways. And Your Vast, Eternal, Awesome Thoughts are not our foolish thoughts.

Lord, many times we do the things according to the sin nature, justifying our actions because of 'their' actions. 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth'. You know that it is a vicious circle and cycle of seeing the same results that only cause great frustration, bitterness, hopelessness and strife.

Thank you for this reminder today of your faithfulness as we release Your blessing over situations that we can not control on our own. Thank you for the grace to get my friend, Your daughter, to hang onto your Word so that we could see Your promises become real in her life. I love you Lord! Wow! You are awesome!"

I pray that today's testimony of my dear friend who held onto the Words of Jesus, will be a blessing to you as it was for me.

I am 'reminded' today that He is faithful to His Word.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August 4, 2009, "Get Out of the Pit of Doubt"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,"
~ II Corinthians 10:5 ~

I received an email the other day from a reader of 'Triumphant Victorious Reminders'.

This particular reader truly has the gift of encouragement. She has the ability to encourage me in which I know is from the Holy Spirit utilizing her as a vessel. I have not met her, our only source of communication has been via email. From the short yet 'pithy' encouraging emails, her writing exudes profound wisdom.

Upon receiving her email, I was quite 'dumbfounded' to truly see that she was being deceived by not seeing the great gifts that are within her. Here is a small excerpt from the email, "...I don't sew or cook (very well) I am a helper when it comes to mending fences and I am an encourager. But, I still do not know how to do 'anything'. Do you understand what I am saying? You write, and probably many more things I don't know about. My mom plays the piano, my sister cooks...On and on. I feel so useless..."

As I continued to read her letter, I kept seeing her words, "I feel useless." As I read this I saw a word like a 'ticker' roll across my mind. The word was 'deceived'. As she was being deceived, she was falling into this 'trap of doubt' that God could truly utilize her as His vessel. As she was falling into the 'trap of doubt', her beliefs were being challenged. Many times when our belief system in the Lord is challenged, the result is that we don't walk out in 'faith' with God in all areas.

We must have faith in God to be able to utilize even His gifts within us. They are His gifts not ours, we are only 'stewards' of those gifts. Many times we will even find Him utilizing us in areas that we 'know' according to the 'world's' standards, we are 'not qualified'. In our weakness, His strength is made perfect (II Corinthians 12:9). Even our weakness through Him will make our greatest strengths look weak, because of what He is able to do through us as we must lean on Him.

I am so familiar with the 'turmoil' she was going through at that moment. It happens to me personally many more times than I would like to admit. I truly believe that comparing ourselves to other people is not what God intended. This is why we must immediately do what Second Corinthians 10:5 says to do, "bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ".

This reminder brings me to the thought of track runners. Paul also compared himself to 'running the race' and keeping His eye on the 'prize'. Most any experienced runner who competes especially when it comes to sprints, they will say, "Don't look behind you to see where your other opponents are, it will slow you down." We must not look around us comparing ourselves, we must run the race together celebrating the gifts within each of us. If we don't it will only slow down our progress.

Her email was a 'reminder' to me that I must remember as we run this race together the plans of God for us are of peace and His plans are not to harm us or to make us feel inadequate (Jeremiah 29:11). When we become 'new' in Christ, that inadequacy is transformed to adequacy through Him. We can do all things that are of Him, in Christ Jesus who strengthens us.

If you are feeling useless today; today is your 'reminder' that God says you are useful
(II Timothy 2:21)! If you feel condemned, today is your 'reminder' that in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1). If you feel depressed, today is your 'reminder' that He is the lifter of your head (Psalm 3:3).

I must remember that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" by Him!

Monday, August 3, 2009

August 3, 2009, "You Are Glorious"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! His greatness is beyond discovery!"
~ Psalm 145:3 ~

I am not a singer, but I can definitely make a joyful sound! The following words were flowing out of me like a song this morning. It was as though my spirit were praising and singing praises to Almighty God.

Let us declare His greatness to Him today. Praise is a great weapon against despair, depression, adversity and difficult circumstances. The things that seem unclear, suddenly clarity from the Lord will come.

"You Are Glorious"
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"God, You are glorious!
God Your power is so awesome.
Hallelujah for You are Lord.
You are Mighty, You are God, You are King over all!

The mountains tremble because of Who You are.
The waves of the sea roll in the tide as they bow down to You.
The sky declares Your glorious glory.

Hallelujah! To You O Holy One,
Hallelujah! To You O Majestic God.
Hallelujah! For You are God.
Hallelujah! For You are Father.
Halleljuah! For You are Healer.
Hallelujah! For You are Redeemer.
Hallelujah! For You are Restorer.
Hallelujah! For You are Rebuilder over the ruins.
Hallelujah! For You are King of kings and Lord of lords.

You are the Singer over me,
You sing songs of deliverance over me.
You are the Dancer over me,
You dance over me.

Thank you Father,
Thank you Father,
You are glorious,
You are majestic.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
You are Holy! You are Holy! You are Holy!
Thank You Father
For you are my God, and
You are my King and
You are my Lord.

Thank You Father that your mercies are new, every morning.
Every morning, your mercies are new.
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Father!
Thank You Father that what seems like my end,
You will make a new beginning.
Thank You Father what seems like ruin,
You will rebuild, beyond my greatest imagination.

Thank You my Glorious God,
You are the Majestic One.
For There is none like You, no one!"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

August 1 & 2, 2009, "The Lord Takes Care of Me"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive a reward that lasts forever. They will survive through hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough."
~ Psalm 37:18-19 ~

My friend Holly and I were talking the other day as she came to visit me from Iowa for a few days. The conversations we had, which I loved, were so deep and vast regarding the greatness and awesomeness of God. At a certain point our mind that processes logic, that logical process vanished. It became overwhelming that we actually GET to serve This Awesome, Amazing God through the One and Only Jesus Christ.

As I think on Eternal God and then think of the terrible things going on in just our nation alone; unemployment, foreclosures, debt, suicides, hopelessness, anxiety, stress, the list goes on and on. Yet, when we trust in the Lord with ALL our hearts and as we do this we will not lean on our way of doing things that we would understand. But in ALL our ways as we acknowledge Him, He will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). When we trust in Him, the process may seem unbearable to go through. However, as we allow Him to lead us through the 'fire', we will see that we got through it.

As I have looked back on the many times God has brought us through, the 'after sight' of it all is like this, "What was I really worried about?" It almost seemed like a 'cinch' after it was all said and done. Don't get me wrong, I so remember the labor, but with God's power and love I don't remember the pain (Like childbirth).

I must realize that the trials and tribulations are not from God. He gives and takes away. He takes away sorrow and gives us joy. He takes away mourning and gives us reason to dance. He takes off the spirit of heaviness and replaces it with the garment of praise.

I have realized that the trials and tribulations are coming after something. What is it? Our faith. (James 1:2-4). Who is our faith to be directed towards? Is it having faith that you'll get a job. Is it having faith that money will come in? Is it having faith in things or an event? No, it's directing that faith from God to God, knowing that when trusting in Him those things we are concerned with will be provided for. I must also remember that God does not test our faith, it is the trials and tribulations that test our faith.

James, the writer of the Book of James in the Bible, encouraged the Jewish Christians to let the trials and tribulations be an opportunity for joy. The word 'joy' in the greek was a description of someone being tied up, lying on their back as a boulder was being placed on them, crushing them (Holly shared with me what she was reading in Rick Renner's book). However, that is the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness demands a circumstance to bring that forth. Joy comes through in the circumstance when there is no happiness. Nehemiah 8:10 states, "..The joy of the Lord is our strength". So with joy through the trials and tribulations God is our strength. Many times we feel like we are going to be crushed by our circumstances, as though our life is over. Many times lives are ended in the circumstances, and it is crushing. However, with God's supernatural joy, we can get through it, not allowing the boulder of life to crush us, but to allow God's joy to bring us His great strength.

It leads me to another question, Who has come to kill, steal and destroy? The enemy, Satan himself. Who comes to give life and give life more abundantly? Jesus Christ
(John 10:10).

This reminder has greatly encouraged me to remember that He is God. God does take care of us with His great abundance.

I must remember that He will never leave us, nor forsake us. This is His promise to us through Christ Jesus as our Lord. Let us not leave Him or forsake His ways.

The free will He has given to us, was a true expression of His love. Another reminder that this amazing gift of free will from Him was never intended to reject Him, but to reject the temptations of not receiving His joy.