Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September 29, 2009, "Poppa C.O."

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Stevens Criswell
Enclosed is an update from Tammy regarding Poppa C.O.

"This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."
~ Psalm 118:24 ~

I greet you all as Poppa C.O. would:

Good Day to you, my Friends and Family.

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
This is the day the Lord has made;let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I think of Poppa C.O. today as I realize that even through this difficult, painful time, his concern is with all of us. O how he reveals the heart of our God. I am encouraged to know that each of us can be like Poppa C.O. as well. How? By being in pursuit of God's heart through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Poppa's life reveals the awe he has of Almighty God and it so blesses me as I know it blesses many of you.

In regards to Poppa C.O.; I received an email from Tammy (Poppa's daughter today). She wanted to update everyone as we continue to pray for this special man who loves all of us and more than anything loves His Holy, Mighty, Majestic Amazing, Indescribable God in Jesus Mighty Name!.

The following is a letter from her to all of us:

Hello all,

I have another update on Dad. He had an extremely rough couple of days at the rehab this past weekend. While my mother had stepped out of the room Saturday morning, a nurse that was unfamiliar with his condition came in and hurt him terribly while trying to put the brace on him. There are very specific methods that must be followed to do that and this nurse had no idea. It was a set back. He was unable to do his physical therapy for two days and Saturday was nothing short of brutal for him as the injury left him having terrible seizing back spasms about every two minutes for hours. The experience made him very weak. Anyway, he HAS to start physical therapy again today and that, too, is going to take so much out of him. With much regret, we have to ask once again that no one come to visit him for the next few days. Right now even talking just a little seems to sap his strength and he needs all he can get in the days ahead. I wouldn't ordinarily be so graphic but I've come to think that we are all connected here in our love and concern for him so I think it's okay to be perfectly honest. As hard as it is to do, even Dace and I have left him (in the very capable hands of my mother and brother) for the week so he can spend his time strictly resting when he's not attempting therapy. We ask that everyone do the same.

I told him yesterday that I was going to issue the "no visitors" order today and he said to please be very kind in my wording...that he wanted all of his "babies" to know how important they are to him. He loves everyone and the support inspires him but he, too, knows this is best for now. My phone number is (512)293-2622 and my email is
triviatamrocks@aol.com . I want anyone and everyone to feel free to contact me if you want to know about him or want us to pass on any messages.

Please continue to pray for his quick recovery and for wisdom for those who care for him. We will let you know the minute he's able to receive company again.

With gratitude,
Tammy Farmer Moore

As we continue to pray, may we continue to pray in faith, see through eyes of faith and speak with words of faith placing that faith from God to God, on behalf of Poppa.

As Poppa C.O. would close his letters to you, I want to do the same on his behalf.

Blessings and Love to you, and yours, my Brothers and Sisters in the Lord.You are blessed.

Go forth and be a blessing to those in your life today.

Monday, September 28, 2009

September 28, 2009, "My Heart's Motives"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written 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 ~

"Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my mind and my heart."
~ Psalm 26:2 ~

"My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God."
~ Psalm 84:2 ~

Have you ever craved a type of food so badly that you didn't care what time of night it was or what you were doing? I know for me that has happened, and I went out of my way to satisfy that food craving.

In the same way, I am at this place in my own life where I 'crave' and 'salivate' the heart of God. I don't know how else to describe such a longing that I have never imagined could take place in my life. I am truly in this place where I know the Promises of God are awesome...BUT I crave to desire and pursue THE PROMISER AND HIS GLORIOUS HEART.

I am in this place of great dissatisfaction when I long for my own heart's desires. I want to no longer be in pursuit of my own heart, my own hidden agendas, or my own 'sub-conscience' motives. The Holy Spirit that lives within me because of Jesus Christ who reveals the Father God is highlighting those hidden agendas in my heart; and to God I am so grateful. It is definitely an awakening to selfish motives that I thought were for God, but
really it was for this 'need' of penance and to make myself 'feel' better.

I realize with great truth from the Lord there is no good deed I could do that would match His matchless Righteousness that was placed upon me through Jesus Christ. It is obviously important that I do good works but now doing those works as an act of worship unto Him, versus unto my 'ego' or because of 'religion'.

I am in a season where the 'religiousity' is being shaken out of me and God is replacing it with the fire and passion for 'relationship' with Him.

The reminder today for me is to be aware of my heart's motives. Am I being motivated for my glory? Or am I being motivated for God's glory?

I am realizing that when my heart's motives are for Him; by default, I will honor others. When my heart's motives are for me and my desires then by default many will be dishonored and will even be dishonored 'in the name of the Lord' (spirit of religion does this, not the Holy Spirit).

I pray I do not ever fall into that trap...but if we remember what John writes in Second John verse 8, he warns us, "Look to yourselves (not to others), but look to yourselves that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward."

If he warns the church back then to not lose those things they have worked for, then we know by his warning that those things labored for can be lost. We must moment by moment set our eyes on Who He is. We must stand on Who He is. He is immovable and unshakeable, in the midst of a world full of struggles that try to move us and shake us.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

September 26, 2009, "Thank You"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell
Inserted Heartfelt thanks from Tammy (Poppa C.O.'s daughter)

"This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it."
~ Psalm 118:24 ~

This is how Poppa starts out each devotional for the day:
"Good Day to you, my Friends and Family, and Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior."

"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalm 118: 24"

I sit here amazed as I have read the heartfelt encouraging words. These notes of encouragement from all of the wonderful people who have been touched by the Lord through Poppa C.O.'s life and 'Abundant Life Christian Fellowship, Online'.

Today, I thought of Paul (he wrote most of the New Testament, which were letters to different churches) and the many times he was imprisoned and I wonder how many letters did he receive from the Body of Christ, when he needed encouragement the most?

Many times the conditions Paul was in was undoubtedly unimaginable. It has been said that Paul when he would write to the believers of Jesus Christ that many times he would be in chains, in waist deep sewage, cells infiltrated with rats and yet he was still praising God and encouraging others through these awful conditions for the cause of Christ. He was imprisoned because of his love for Christ. He suffered for Christ's name sake and yet he still encouraged.

I realize today even moreso the reminder that this encouraging could not take place on our own abilities, or on Paul's own abilities. He found strength from within by the power of the Holy Spirit; the Spirit of God to flow in the gift of encouragement. Truly it flowed because of Paul's pursuit of the heart of God, revealed through Jesus Christ as He walked on the earth and then revealed by the Holy Spirit, the Promise that Jesus said would come after he ascended to heaven. The impartation of God's power in our lives from the Holy Spirit when accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior, is unbelievable when we allow Him to reign and overtake others through our lives with great love that we could never imagine being bestowed upon us.

Poppa C.O. has allowed Jesus Christ to reign by allowing the Spirit of God to do what He wills. He has allowed the Light of Christ to overtake the darkness in the marketplace. He has allowed the anointing of God to infiltrate the marketplace. His ministry from God is to the businessmen and women and with great delight it is beautiful to see the outpouring of encouragement on Poppa C.O.'s website (www.caringbridge.org/visit/poppacofarmer)

Tammy, Poppa C.O.'s daughter wanted to let everyone know the gratefulness of their family towards each of you. Here is her following heartfelt thanks to God on your behalf.

I know you will be blessed as you read:

Hello Everyone,

This is Tammy...Papa C.O.'s daughter. I've been hearing about this site for a few days now and have just now had the opportunity to check it out.

On that note, I want to thank EVERYONE who has written notes to Dad here. I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face as I read all the sentiments. I want to thank EVERYONE who has sent flowers and cards and those that call and visit to check his progress. My family has been overwhelmed by the support we have received from the Firestone family and those within Dad's ministry. We've literally been in awe of the efforts so many have made towards him (and us) during this difficult time. Of course we have the honor of being able to call him "our own" as his family and we KNOW how incredibly special he is but, I must tell you that, the outpouring of love we have witnessed from all of you in this has reminded us once more of what an amazing man C.O. Farmer is. He genuinely touches people's lives in wonderful ways and we're all the better for knowing him. Your support has truly brought comfort to us. I can tell you that it's been heart breaking for us to witness him in this kind of pain. It's been beyond anything we imagined as we all drove in to Arlington last week and it has literally brought us to our knees. But it gives us hope and strength to know that SO MANY care about him and are praying for his recovery and that there is a belief among all of us that there must be a purpose in this. It's been my own hard won experience that has taught me that pain usually gives birth to something incredible and I hope that is the case here. We would ask that you continue to pray for him every time he comes to your mind as he has a very long road ahead of him. As my beautiful mother says, "Prayer DOES change things."

I'll leave you with an update. Last night Dad was moved to the rehab. The transition left him pretty restless and they haven't quite gotten his pain medication right but they are working on it. He is at Health South in Arlington. Feel free to express yourselves as you wish with flowers or whatever. The 'no flower' request was put into place when they were moving him around Arlington Memorial though I will tell you that we are going to move him to Health South Austin as soon as he is able and we will let you know once that happens. Again, we are so very grateful to everyone who has reached out.

Tammy, Jason, Joy and Dace

As many of us know this is how Poppa C.O. closes each devotional,
"Blessings and Love to you, and yours, my Brothers and Sisters.
You are blessed.
Be a blessing to those in your world as you go forth today in God's favor.
It will be a Good Day.

Love forever and always,


If you would like to write an encouraging note to Poppa C.O. whether you knew of him or not, please feel free to do so by going to www.caringbridge.org/visit/poppacofarmer
When you get to the site, then click on 'Guestbook' and you can write an encouraging note to him and his family.

Friday, September 25, 2009

September 25, 2009, "'If' or 'When'"?

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"...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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
~ II Chronicles 7:14 ~ (Encourage you to read all of II Chronicles..powerful)!

'If' or 'When'? I stood in the living room this morning as I let our dog our for his morning 'potty'. As I was opening the sliding glass door, I was immediately pressed to pray for our nation, reminded of what is taking place today, allowing the honoring of another god at our National Mall in our country.

As I started to proclaim and remind myself of God's mighty power, I heard in my spirit, "Are you going to be a people of 'if' or 'when'?" Immediately what came to mind was the scripture verse in II Chronicles 7:14. This was a verse that my parents had us memorize when we were quite young.

As I thought of the question, "If' or 'When'? I opened up the Bible to II Chronicles 7:14 and was led to meditate on each phrase. As this happened, I asked myself, "Am I going to be the 'if' or the 'when' in II Chronicles? Which then led me to the obvious which is, we know that God's love is UNCONDITIONAL; but we must realize that His promises and promises of His blessings are conditional.

Here is a breakdown of what I received today:
If my people WHO are called by My name...Notice the words 'are called'...it doesn't say 'might be called' but it states who 'are called'. So we know because of Jesus Christ we are also considered the 'are called'.

So, let's stretch it out even more..."If my people who are called by My name shall" what? Humble ourselves...notice this is not something God does for us, He calls us to do the humbling of ourselves. We do the humbling and He does the EXALTING!

"If my people who are called by My name shall humble themselves and what?
Pray and seek His face, and TURN FROM OUR WICKED WAYS- the turning is truly what repentance is...our wicked ways could be defined as any sin we as a nation, have made provisions for (intentionally or unintentionally).

"If my people who are called by My name shall humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and repent of our wicked ways and repent of the sins we have made provisions for THEN You God will hear from heaven, and will forgive our sin and will heal our land!

Let us be a people today that 'WHEN' we humble, pray, seek God's face and repent -

Let us pray for our country today, if you are led to fast, please fast and let us allow God, Almighty Jehovah, Almighty, Majestic Father God be the King of kings and the Lord of lords over our country! He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords no matter what, but will we allow Him to be so in our lives and in our country?

I am reminded again that The Compassion of God over people must never be mistaken for tolerance of sin.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September 24, 2009, "Confidence"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him."
~ II Chronicles 32:7 ~

We were in the kitchen all cooking and playing together as Tristin helped dad cook. Laughter filled the aitmosphere. Suddenly, we were interrupted by the ring of the door bell. We paused, because were not expecting anyone. Then simultaneously we looked at each other and then proceeded to the door. As I opened the door, I found that no one was there. I stepped out onto the porch and looked to see if maybe they were driving off or walked away, but found no one.

With laughter, our daughter excitedly said, "I know what happened. We just got 'door bell ditched'." We said, "What?" And then we realized what she meant. Someone had rang the doorbell and ran off.

Of course, dad and Tristin decided they would conduct their mystery solving, as this is what they do every opportunity they get and Tristin saw something and shouted, "Hey, Peter it's you!" She looked at dad as he followed her on the sidewalk, he crossed his arms and she said, "Dad, I'll be right back, I need to go karate chop someone." We started to laugh, as she has not been known to be courageous in this area.

As I looked at the stance my husband was in, I realized she was receiving confidence from her daddy. She felt as though she could go 'kick someone's rear end' in a silly way because her dad was there. As the 'culprits' saw her dad and then Tristin chasing after them, the boys started running and screaming like little girls. We were laughing so hard and then what really tickled us is when we saw Tristin with her fist pointed at them, and she yelled, "If you ever do that again, my daddy is going to get you."

She turned around, satisified knowing that she solved this problem from every happening again. I met up with her as I had my arm over her neck and shoulders and she had her little arm wrapped around my waist and we walked together and she said, "Mom, I have the best daddy."

As I heard her make this statement, I realized how this statement she made, confirmed my observation of her new found confidence when running after the boys. She had her daddy watching over her.

This story reminds me of how I want to be with our Father God revealed so awesomely by Jesus Christ. I want to get to this point that no matter what situation attempts to come against me, I can truly say undoubtedly, "I have the BEST DADDY!" And more than anything boasting in my Daddy's powerful protection and strength over me.

I just want to meditate on our Awesome God. He is so loving! He is so merciful and His lovingkindness is better than life itself.

I desire to have the heart of a giant, because I serve and I am a daughter of the King of kings and the Lord of lords! Truly thinking and meditating on such a thought leads my mind to the vanishing point of awe. I know the surface meaning of these phrases, but the infinite power behind it is so incredibly unattainable and beyond my comprehension levels. When this happens, it leads my heart to a place of absolute worship and absolute awe of Amazing, Almighty God. Majestic Holy God! Righteous God, the Redeemer of our hearts and lives! The Burden Remover of sin! Healing God who desires to take our pain and hurt and replace it with His delivering restoration and healing!

When we have our 'setbacks' as the 'cheap shots' of life come at us, may we sit back and be in awe of Almighty Father God and watch Him do what He does best and that is being ALMIGHTY GOD! YAWEH (pronounced yaw-way)! Revealing His powerful, perfect peace that surpasses all understanding! God's great strength in the waiting time through His great joy!

September 23, 2009, "Encouragement"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus.."
~ Acts 4:36 ~

I am in awe of Poppa C.O.'s life. He is an encourager, a man of compassion, and a man who loves Truth.

I am reminded of Barnabas, which is translated Son of Encouragement. I love the impartation of the gift of God that was on Barnabas that is on Poppa C.O. Farmer. The great encourager. It goes beyond just personality of being an encourager, this reveals the heart of God that Poppa C.O. is in pursuit of. Poppa is so after the heart of God and it is revealed in his life.

I truly want to make sure that it is understood that this compassion of God can not be mistaken for 'tolerance'. Compassion of God never compromises with evil. Compassion never compromises period. Tolerance of evil, guised as 'compassion' will overtake us all. I am truly blessed by Poppa C.O.'s life as almost daily he has encouraged us with the Word of God...absolute Truth!

Because he comes in the name of the Lord, I want to make sure he is honored today as God is glorified because of his obedience.

As he is in the hopsital recovering from a serious injury; a broken back, there is a website you can go to: www.caringbridge.com/visit/poppacofarmer

Please whether you know him or not, please go to the 'Guestbook' and send him an encouraging word. As he has lifted many of our hearts with the truth, may we do the same for him. As we do this, I know it will honor our Almighty God!

I hold onto the promise of Isaiah 58:8 over his life in the Name of Jesus, which says, "Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard."

I pray this also encourages anyone else who is believing in God for healing over your bodies, minds and if you have not been privileged to be in a relationship with Jesus who longs for you, He longs to heal your spirit, that it may become reborn by the Holy Spirit who reveals Jesus.

God is so awesome and may we be in awe of His excellent name! The most famous One!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

September 22, 2009, "Testimony of God's love"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard."
~ Isaiah 58:8 ~

I sit here thinking of a dear couple. Their names, Papa C.O. and Joy Farmer. I have not had the privilege to meet his wife, yet what I do know is that their lives are a living testimony of God's passionate love revealed in their lives of humbleness before the Lord.

I sit here in my chair as my fingers strike the keys of my laptop and I wonder what this sweet couple is thinking about at this moment. The reason I am drawn to this wonder is because many of us received the news that sometime last week there was an accident in which Papa C.O. was either getting in or out of the bathtub and he fell. The fall resulted in him breaking his back.

I cannot imagine this trial in my life. Yet what I can imagine so beautifully is the praises coming forth out of his mouth as he praises His Almighty God. For a number of years Papa C.O. has faithfully sent out a daily devotional via email. The ministry that God allowed him is an on line devotional. I can only imagine the number of people that receive his 'Good Day' Devotional on a daily basis. His life blesses so many people around the country; and many have never met him face to face.

He is a godly man and when you look into his eyes, they reveal the love of Jesus Christ. I wanted to send this out today to give you the privilege and the opportunity to pray for 'Papa C.O.' Farmer and his wife Joy. They are in need of great support and love as they have shed upon many others giving glory to God. His heart reveals a glimpse of the heart of Christ and it moves anyone who encounters Papa C.O. in a way to seek Jesus Christ in ways we could never imagine.

As we go throughout our day today, may we be reminded of God's faithful servant in Papa C.O. He is a vessel of honor, set apart and useful for the Master prepared for every good work! Let us also remind ourselves as we pray for him that all things work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). May we also pray that God's perfect peace would surround them in unimaginable ways! I also pray that the JOY OF THE LORD be their great strength in this time. May we agree that God's supernatural healing power manifests upon his back and that his back would be made whole and even stronger than it has ever been before!

I am believing on his behalf for a creative miracle over his body! We must never forget that the enemy is here to steal, kill and destroy...BUT God comes that we may have life and have life more abundantly because of Christ Jesus!

May we not mistaken that this back break is not from God, however our God will be glorified in this. I don't know how God has already turned it around for His glory, but we must know that this didn't take God by surprise, and we must be assured that HE WILL GET THE GLORY!

I pray that we speak forth God's healing over Papa C.O. Praying is not speaking forth what we see in the natural. It is speaking forth by faith in God, His power revealed in His WORD over Papa C.O. and Joy. We must call those things that be not as though they already were.

"Father God in the name of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit we thank you that Your glory and presence would fall fresh upon Papa C.O. and his precious wife, Joy. Lord, I thank You Father God that healing is what you do BEST! For You are the Great Physician! Lord, I believe with my heart in You that You are Papa C.O.'s Healer and I believe for Your healing to manifest upon his body. Lord, I thank you for a reversal, I thank you for restoration and I thank you for accelerated healing over his body. You are not limited because of his age. I will not put You in a box of what You might be able to do, for I with great expectation believe that You are Healer, in all aspects of our bodies. You want us whole in our minds, our bodies and most of all our spirit. Lord, I thank You for Faith to rise up in every intercessor that prays for Papa C.O. We are a people that know by Your Spirit we can see miraculous signs and wonders for this was your promise! Father, we thank you for your glory that is their rear guard in this time. We also thank you as it says in Isaiah 58:8, that healing spring forth speedily for Papa C.O. We also thank you for sending forth encouragers along side of them and that they will hear Your sweet, tender voice comforting them. We praise You Lord for Who You are! Lord, I thank you in advance that Papa C.O.'s back is made whole in Jesus Mighty, Majestic, Holy, Righteous Powerful Name which is above EVERY name...Amen"

Monday, September 21, 2009

September 21, 2009, "Arise!"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you."
~ Isaiah 60:1 ~

We must arise as God's light is upon us revealed in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit!

The voices of the daughters are being silenced by the thoughts of failure.
The voices of the daughters are being silenced by the thoughts of confusion.
The voices of the daughters are being silenced by the thoughts of self-destruction.
The voices of the daughters are being silenced by the thoughts of inadequacy.
The voices are being paralyzed by looming guilt and shame.
The voices are being silenced by pain of betrayal, the pain of sickness, the pain of death.
The voices are being silenced by the fearing question of, "What if"?

We must arise! Our light has come and the glory of the Lord is upon us!

Why do we choose the thoughts of failure versus the thoughts that God has towards us? His thoughts are of peace and not of evil; to give us a future and a hope.

We must arise out of the ashes of failure, confusion, self-destruction, guilt and shame, the pain of betrayal, the pain of sickness, death and the fears of the unknown. We need to put on what is ours! We must put on worthiness. For Christ is worthy, and through Him and by Him we are made worthy to call Almighty God our Father!

We must arise and take off confusion and put on what God has already beautifully provided and that is a sound mind.

We must arise and put on what God has already provided and that is God's redemption and restoration replacing what we have deemed destroyed and ruined!

We must arise and put on what God has provided and that is His innocence because of Jesus blood shed so mercifully and lovingly at Calvary.

We must arise and put on what God has so lavishly provided which is His powerful healing over our minds, body and spirit. We can have newness in all areas.

We must arise and abide, cling to our God who is Perfect Love and in that clinging He casts out all fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of what has already happened and the fear of the right now. We have already been declared by God victorious through the ashes.

Let us stop hanging onto our 'rights' of 'fear' and let us grab onto the promises of God that give us power, love and a sound mind. It is not by our power or our might, or our knowledge that give us those things. It is by God's mighty, majestic, eternal power and love that allow us to receive those things that are of Him.

We must stop hanging onto our 'rights' of being wronged and let us grab onto the promises that He made right. We are going to be wronged, whether it was intentional or unintentional. We are going to be hurt, and we are even going to hurt others. We need to be reminded of God's mercy that flows so rapidly upon us. He drenches us in His overflowing love and mercy. There is abundance in that love and mercy and in that abundance we need to 'share' it amongst others. There's more than enough to go around. It isn't our love and mercy that we have to give out, it's His.

If this is the case why do we many times hoard what is abundantly supplied? We gotta stop being a people of 'rights' holding onto the wrongs and start becoming a people of boldness in God who reveals truth. Many may not want to hear the truth, many may want to grovel in the pain of yesterday, but we have been so tenderfooted about issues that we have only become facilitators of hurt. We have very seldom seen hurt be let go and let God fill it with His promises of joy through the pain. We will never truly arise as God wills for us until we finally let go of our rights and hold onto His promises! I'd rather have His promises over my rights! His promises are freeing. Things may not change right away and the way I would like them to, but His promises provide a way to get through it.

If we are not careful, our rights will become a crutch of justifying the pain, justifying the sin, justifying the 'rights' to sin...but guess what? In the end, we will wonder why the glory of God was not revealed in our lives. The reason is because we would have rather held onto our 'rights' than our position in Him!

What should be our position in Him? To love Him and seek His righteousness. To resist evil and not make way of evil by guising it under the name of 'God's compassion'. Let us not use God's gifts for our own agendas so that others will 'like' us. We need to utilize God's gifts by His leading of the Holy Spirit inside of us.

We must remind ourselves of Who we serve and why. The enemy is shouting, "Our Time Has Come." But we need to shout back with the voice of Triumph, "God's Time Has Come"!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September 16, 2009, "God's Faithfulness"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell and
a testimony written from a dear friend

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."
~ Romans 8:28 ~

I received a great testimony from one of my dear friends, Holly. Her testimony revealed God's faithfulness through situations that are beyond our control and/or our ability to control!

The following is her testimony:

"Today my Father protected and blessed me sooooo much.

I sit here tearing up to weep as I think of the situation. I had just picked up Nicholas and Bethany from school (Lindsey was in voleyball practice) and we had been home about five minutes and I decided to go out into the garage to do one five minute project that needed completing. I just had to put on one more strip of plastic floorboard around the cabinets. I measured and started to slice the plastic strip with the Exacto Knife and it slipped. I stabbed the Exacto Knife into the top of my foot and buried the whole point of the knife into my foot because of the tremendous pressure that I was putting on it.

I was able to stay calm and to keep the kids calm while I drove to the emergency room. I had to stop the car to not faint two times, but, it was all OK. (Nicholas was VERY upset and wouldn not stop crying because I couldn't get the deep cut to stop bleeding and he was scared for me, bless his heart.)

Anyway, when they were stitching it up, the doctor said that it had probably nicked the nerve but did not obviously sever it or I wouldn't have had the motion in my toes that I did. I was able to get out of the emergency room in time to pick Lindsey up from volleyball, go home to dress and go to church.

God is just so good. It could have been BAD. But glory, just a few stitches and swelling. Wooooo-hooooo! (The kids even got shaved ice while they watched me get stitched up. The nurse didn't offer ME any)!

Blessings all over the place.

What Satan dishes up for failure and defeat and pain, God rectifies for the good and for the glory of His name. Isn't it sad how many times that God gets the "credit" for the part that ISN'T His part?"

Monday, September 14, 2009

Week of September 13, 2009, "We Are Not To Be Tools Used by our Emotions"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled."
~ 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 ~

"And don't sin by letting anger gain control over you." Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil."
~ Ephesians 4:26 & 27 ~

The damaging thoughts she entertained,
"He doesn't love me anymore."
"He will leave me."
"He has no interest in me."
"Where could I go?"
"How would I do it on my own?"
"What about the children?"

As the thoughts annihilate her mind, she starts to move in on the attack. The prey? Her husband.

Her husband is broadsided by what happens next. She cries out, "I can't do this anymore!" The more she cries, the more her emotions take over. She 'spews' damaging words so loosely. Hateful comments fill the atmosphere of the room.

The more she entertains those damaging thoughts, they start to become a reality in her own mind. The thoughts playing her 'like a fiddle'. They are about to become reality in her mind because of the influence of rehearsing and entertaining those 'fiery darts'. As she entertains them more and more, she threatens to leave her husband; not realizing the consequences of her emotional outbursts. Deep inside she does not mean a word she says, but she is fighting the pride masked by insecurities that are deep within her soul.

The husband looks at this woman-his wife and knows this is not her. Not saying a word, he calmly walks towards her and embraces her. At first she tries to fight his embrace, but the love of God revealed by her husband stops the fight that is masked by pride. He prayed over her and as he prayed he saw the driving influence was the spirit of insecurity.

The beautiful picture of the love of God over this woman is none other than amazing.

Last week as we were singing to the Lord, singing forth our praises to God. The Holy Spirit so lovingly revealed the following words that I 'penned' in my journal:
"Our emotions are from God to be used as tools. We are not to be used as a tool of our emotions." I love this, it was so freeing.

Even in the emotion of anger, regarding a situation or another person, when I direct that anger upon them, it is a sin. However, when I go to the Lord God through Jesus about my anger, it changes my perspective and getting to see a glimpse through His glorious eyes; and it no longer becomes sin.

I am amazed at how simple it can be, if I just do what His Word says. Our manual for life, for hurt, for situations that are not in our control, the list goes on. God wants to make sure we are in a position where He gets to work those important things out in our lives. He desires to take it out of our controlling hands that only thwart, hurt, manipulate and can ruin. Our Awesome God is about making whole, healing, restoring, rebuilding, and revealing truth, no matter how painful. In these processes, it is painful, yet, when He is by our side as we allow Him, we are able to get through it and can say, "Look what God has done!"

He gives and takes away! He gives us joy and takes away our mourning. He gives us beauty as He takes away those ashes. He gives us healing as He already took away our sickness (whether we see it or not...also called, FAITH).

May we be vessels of honor, set apart and useful for the Master prepared for every good work. May we make the choice to be a vessel of His, not a vessel for our emotions. Let's utilize our emotions as tools, not allow them to utilize us!

God is there to help us everytime...it is our choice to say, "Yes" to His help!

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11, 2009, "Enabling and Disabling"

"Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one].
~ Ephesians 6:16 ~ Amplified Bible

"Do not quench the (suppress or subdue) the [Holy] Spirit; do not spurn the gifts and utterances of the prophets [do not depreciate prophectic revelations not despise inspired instruction or exhortation or warning]. But test and prove all things [until you can recognize] what is good; [to that] hold fast. Abstain from evil [shrink from it and keep aloof from it in whatever form or whatever kind it may be. And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profance things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)."
~ I Thessalonians 5:19-23 ~ Amplified Bible

When we enable our sin nature or someone else's we by default disable the flow of the Holy Spirit. However, when we enable obedience to flow of the Holy Spirit we can see how the disabling of the sin nature to rule over our lives no longer becomes effective.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

September 9, 10 & 11, "Whose Voice Am I Following?"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"The sheep that are My own hear and are listening to My voice: and I know them, and they follow Me."
~ John 10:27 ~ Amplified Bible

"When He has brought his own sheep outside, he walks on before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will never [on any account] follow a stranger, but will run away from him because they do not know the voice of strangers or recognize their call."
~ John 10:4 & 5 ~ Amplified Bible

As I have read the Words of Jesus in the Book of John, I am reminded of the people as He refers to them as sheep and Himself as the Shepherd. We are revealed as His people not just saying a prayer of salvation, but also by hearing, listening and following Him.

To hear Him, we listen to Him and as we listen to Him, we take heed to His instruction, and with that instruction, we are to follow Him. Sounds simple. I am sure it is simple, but I know I have complicated this and in the complication I have compromised.

There are many times where I am hearing, listening and following the voice that should be considered a stranger, yet that stranger's voice is familiar. I am saddened as I do not want to be familiar with the stranger's voice. I am reminded that my life in every realm depends on being absolutely dependent on The voice of the Father God revealed by Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Today, I want to be so familiar with my Master's loving, merciful voice knowing that He is my Shepherd. And because I know that He is my Shepherd, I will not lack for anything in every realm of my life.

There may be seasons in my life where lack seems to rule, but I must keep looking to Him, hearing Him and following Him knowing that lack is replaced with abundance. It does not matter what I see or feel at the moment, I must remember I have abundance because of Who He is, not because of what I have attained on my own.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

September 8, 2009, "Wow"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"Thus says the Lord; Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. What kind of house would you build for Me? And what kind can be My resting place? For all these things My hands has made, and so all these things have come into being [by and for Me], says the Lord. But this is the man to whom I will look and have regard: he who is humble and of a broken or wounded spirit, and who trembles at My word and reveres My commands..."
~ Isaiah 66 ~ (Excerpt from Isaiah 66:1-2, Amplified Bible).

"Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell]. For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart."
~ Hebrews 4:11-12 ~ Amplified Bible

The Lord is so awesome! How is His awesomeness revealed? How can I keep my eyes on His awesomeness, when the world actually attempts to compete?

When I read in Isaiah that the earth is God's footstool, I shake my head quickly as though I got hit upside the head. Trying to comprehend the immeasurable, 'ginormousity' of God literally spins my mind into the 'vanishing' point, it is truly humbling. Isn't it? O, how this encourages me to remain humble moment by moment. Such a glorious reminder within me from the Holy Spirit.

Even at the 'vanishing' point, I am still trying to comprehend such a thought, it is so glorious and it only allows me to see even greater the awesome power and God's Glorious Majesty which is revealed in His passionate love for each of us; revealed by Jesus Christ.

It brings me to this fervency and passion to truly want and desire to love Him as He called us. Loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. This reminder of loving Him is a glimpse of desiring to 'suck' the marrow of God's abundant, powerful Word, as though our lives depend on it. For our lives do depend on it. Not only our lives, but if we have children, their lives and their children's lives.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

September 5-7, 2009, "Search My Heart O God"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

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

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
~ Psalm 139:23:24 ~

Have you ever prayed something like this? "O Lord, highlight those things in my heart that I don't even know are there." Haahaahaa...I have done so and I thank God for His love and grace through the highlighting process.

One of the many areas that has been highlighted was actually quite embarrassing. I must say that I was quite shocked by my irritation with someone else's addiction to nicotine in my family. I really had this 'concern' with this person's addiction.

I would justify my irritation and frustration by saying it's not healthy and all the other natural issues that come along with it. However, as I was doing dishes last night and talking to the Lord about God releasing this person from this habit that I have been freed from, I heard a question come up, "What is your real concern with his smoking?" I thought, "Well, that's a silly question." However, this question now became a light upon my heart and seeing my heart for what it truly was.

At that moment, when I saw the real 'concern' I realized my 'concern' was truly not for him and his health. 'Embarassingly', it was all about me. I realized my true concern was, "If people see me with him and he is smoking what are they going to think of me?" "What about my testimony, because of his addiction?" Ewwwwww, to even think that thought process was in me, is incredibly embarrassing.

I shook my head as though I had been in a long daze and confessed to God and myself of my heart. I am not saying that smoking isn't bad, because it is; just like any other addiction. However, it is amazing how God was dealing with me and with my own heart.

The Lord God Almighty didn't take up the 'offense' with me and condemn this person as I unknowingly was. He showed me my heart and my true motives as they were exposed by His loving conviction. I didn't even know my true motives until that revealing moment as I simply stood there doing the dishes. It was as though I sat down on the bank of the water's edge, looking into the water and seeing my reflection.

I am truly praising God for freeing me of my concerns of me in this area as He is helping me to be truly concerned with others. Not being concerned because of what it does for me at the end of the day, but truly being concerned with no strings (of me) attached.

Today, I am reminded of God's loving mercy upon my life knowing that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. Because of that, I am reminded not to be a condemner to anyone else. I am grateful that God is not my condemner but my Loving Convictor that brings His light into the darkness and His freedom from bondage.

"Father God in the Name of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, I thank You for Your freedom and for Your truth revealing the lie. Thank you for creating in me a clean heart and renewing a right spirit within me. Lord, I thank You for Your perspective of love and in no way do You see me through the eyes of condemnation because of Jesus Christ. I praise You for that. Thank You for Your patience and Your mercies that are truly new every morning. I love You Lord and I want to love You and others with great ferver like I could never imagine. You are God and You are Glorious! In Jesus powerful name, Thank You!"

Friday, September 4, 2009

September 4, 2009, "True Intentions"

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

"So He
(Jesus) answered and said, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.' "
~ Luke 10:27 ~

My husband and I were talking this morning and we discussed, when we say, "We love God", what is that truly based on? We asked each other, "Do I love God because of what I know what He will do for me?" "Or do I love God because of what He has already done and no matter if I ever see the 'blessings' again (which is impossible, because the blessings automatically come for this is His universal law), that I love Him for Who He is, not for what He can do for me?"

When that question was posed, it led me to a conversation I had yesterday with an awesome, wise woman I know. Do I come into a relationship, church, whatever the situation may be and do I assess what can I 'get'? Or do I simply ask what can I 'give'?

Have you noticed that when we attempt to 'get'...we want more; there is great dissatisfication. But when we go into it with giving whether it be a monatary gift, a gift of encouragement the list goes on; we automatically 'get' and there is great satisfaction. I find this amazing. In that 'amazingness', this 'feeling' I get when I give is like a 'rush' that goes through my body. It feels good to 'give' and even if monetarily we 'get' nothing back, what we do 'get' is great joy in return.

Today, I am reminded that I want to love God as He has commanded with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, because of who He is and what He has ALREADY given to me; life and freedom through Jesus Christ.

Mmmmmmmm, that life and freedom in Him is so delicious! It is like a molten chocolate cake drenched in hot fudge topped with vanilla ice cream with a drizzle of vanilla bean sauce. "Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!"
~ Psalm 34:8 ~

Thursday, September 3, 2009

September 3, 2009, "Confidence"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, I tell myself. I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God even with my dying breath. Don't put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When their breathing stops, they return to the earth, and in a moment all their plans come to an end."
~ Psalm 146 ~ (Excerpt from Psalm 146:1-4)

What a reminder just in these few verses of why we don't place confidence in people no matter how 'powerful' we think they are. For they also 'return to the earth'. Even though it is something that I know, to be reminded of it is like a bucket of water being splashed over my head on an unbearably hot day.

May we be refreshed today as we are reminded of His great provision over our lives. We must choose to place our confidence in Him and Who He is! He is The Great I Am! He Alone is so incredibly awesome to try to imagine!

I pray you find yourself encouraged in Who He is. As you do so, may you be swept away in the river of constant joy and abundant life!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September 2, 2009, "Preparation is the Key"

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 ~

"Preparation is key."

This is something I heard in 2006 as I was reading about Noah, and the many other amazing accounts of people in the Bible. At the time I heard, "Preparation is key", this was the beginning of our great financial hardship. We knew we weren't financially prepared and then in 'the knowing' it hit us hard when the economy in Michigan started to make a slight downturn.

Through that situation, my husband and I were starting to understand that the Word I received, so simple, yet incredibly true is that truly 'Preparation is key'. However, it is in ALL areas of our lives. And with preparation we must seek out and 'dig' in many areas of why we should be prepared spiritually, financially, and physically.

We all know the financial realm is of great importance, and most of all spiritually being right with God through Christ Jesus is of the greatest importance. However, we must also be prepared in the physical realm in regards to our livelihood. If anything were to happen whether it be due to weather catastrophe, martial law, or anything that would put us in a situation where we are not prepared, we place ourselves in a situation where we have to rely on someone or something else. We must be in a position to provide provision in our own house, so that when we are taken care of we can hopefully be vessels to be able to help others for His glory!

I have noticed that many times in my own life, I use the question to justify 'why not' to be prepared by saying, "God is in control, don't I trust God?" "Jesus is coming, it won't matter, I won't be here". Well, prayerfully we won't have to be here, but if we are here when it happens, are we spiritually, financially and physically prepared?

I am reminded of Noah before the flood. God told Noah he was going to destroy the people and the earth because of the great sin and wickedness that filled the earth (Genesis 6). God also, as we know, told Noah to build an ark. I must remember that God didn't provide the ark as if He just said, "OK, Noah here is that ark I told you about". No, God provided the wisdom, the measurements, the tools, etc. to build the ark. It was up to Noah at that point to be obedient to build the ark and he did so for almost one hundred years (It doesn't give specific time frame of how long, however, from the list of the generations in chapter five to the point of the flood, some scholars believe it to be a maximum of one hundred years).

I ask myself, "Are we ready if something were to happen?" I laugh at myself as I have so many times made fun of the people who have the gas masks, the gardens, the food pantries, the water, yet I wonder, even the Mormon churches give out a list for their people to know what to fill their pantries with.

I ask myself another question, "If something did happen, what would I do?" Most likely I'd try to find those people or families that were ready, right?

Being prepared in every realm also reminds me of the story that Jesus told about regarding the ten virgins. Better known as the five foolish and the five wise virgins or bridesmaids. Five came with just enough oil for their lamps and the other five came with more than enough oil for their lamps. Well the bridegroom was delayed, as he was delayed the bridesmaids slept. When they awoke at midnight they awoke to a shout, "Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and welcome Him!" As the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps, the five foolish ones asked the others to give them some of their oil because their lamps were going out, but the wise bridesmaids replied, "We don't have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves." So while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. As the 'foolish' bridesmaids returned, they found that the door was locked. As they called outside the door to beg the bridegroom to open the door, they heard the worst words that could fall on their ears, "I DON'T KNOW YOU"!

That story shows us the need for preparation for every realm of our lives, but most of all in our relationship with Him. I am realizing that with God's wisdom it covers every realm.

I am reminded by Proverbs 2, that I must "cry out for insight and understanding. Search for them (insight and understanding) as I would for lost money or hidden treasures." As I do that, then I will understand what it means to "fear the Lord, and will gain knowledge of God. For the Lord grants wisdom."

I am thankful that He knows we are works in progress, but I also believe that my progress is determined on my obedience unto Him. Just think how much progress I would make, and how much faster I would get there. I am not at all saying it is by who we are and what we do that determines our progress; however, it is our reliance on Him that works right along with our obedience to Him that we can see accelerated progress in ways we could never imagine.

May we be a people that is totally surrendered. And in that surrender, great obedience flows, and in that great obedience many lives will walk out in His great abundance in every part of our lives.

How much more effective we can be as vessels, truly set apart and useful for the Master, PREPARED FOR EVERY GOOD WORK!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September 1, 2009, "Trust"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"So I tell you, don't worry about everyday life ~ whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn't life consist of more than food and clothing? Look at the birds. They don't need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to Him than they are. Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not."
~ Matthew 6:25-27 ~

Joyce pressed the 'total' button on the cash register and said with a smile, "Your total is $15.91." As Tom heard the total amount of his grocery bill, he opened his wallet with great hesitancy. His hands were shaking as he felt his heart beating through his hands and it had even felt as the pounding of his heart were in his ears as he felt the sweat roll down his forehead. He knew that the twenty dollar bill in his wallet was all he had to his name for the next few days.

There was a man behind Tom, by the name of Drew. Drew was behind him for about two or three minutes. From the moment he arrived in the line, he kept feeling this urgency inside of him to pay for the groceries for the man ahead of him. However, he tried to reason in his mind, "He doesn't need it, he looks like he has money." But the urgency inside of Drew grew stronger, "Pay for his groceries". Suddenly, it was as though he involuntarily spoke as he looked at Joyce behind the cash register and he said, "Ma'am, let me pay for his groceries." He was surprised by what he had said as he pulled out his wallet and paid for his groceries.

Surprised, Tom looked at Drew and said, "Are you sure about this?" The man looked at him and said, "Of course! No big deal, hey random acts of kindness, right?" The man looked at him and said, "More like God's kindness revealed through you." Tom looked at Drew and reached out his grateful hand to shake it. As their hands connected, Tom embraced Drew and said, "Thank you. You have no idea what you just did for me, thank you for revealing such kindness on me."

Drew looked at him with embarrassment as to not draw the attention to himself. At that moment, Tom walked away, and said, "God, thank you for taking care of me today. I didn't know where it was going to come from or how, but You did it again. Thank you."

This story came up in my mind as I started to write. It is not a story that I heard from someone else, it was as though I was seeing this scenario play out as I was reminded of God's faithfulness. I want to be utilized as a vessel for His honor.

Like the character, 'Drew', when I get that 'unction' to do something for someone else, I want to be obedient, no matter what the person looks like, I just want to be able to do it; with no hesitancy.

At the same time, there are some that are going through what the character 'Tom' was going through and being in that position reminds me of God's faithfulness and how we must trust in God, even when everything around us tells us we must get it into 'survival' mode. I have been there before, and it is a scary place to be; in 'survival' mode. However, when we get into 'trusting God' mode, it is still scary, but there is this incredible peace that surpasses all understanding in the midst of the circumstances.

Thank You Lord for reminding me that moment by moment we must trust in You, Lord, because moment by moment those situations are 'fighting' us to trust in ourselves or others.