Saturday, October 31, 2009

October 31 & November 1, 2009 "Autumn Season"

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

"LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away. My life is no longer than the width of my hand. An entire lifetime is just a moment to you; human existence is but a breath."
~ Psalm 39:4 & 5 ~

I love the Autumn season in Texas. It is so crisp as it brings refreshment; like drinking out of an oversized coffee mug filled with hot apple cider as it warms me up from the inside out.

As I am reminded of Fall and how this is the time of harvesting for many farmers throughout the Midwest, I want to desire to see a great harvest of people that do not yet know God intimately and personally through Jesus Christ Who is The Seed, Who is The Word Made Flesh!

As the agendas of today, tomorrow and the next day that attempt to sweep me away; I pray instead that I will reveal a glimpse of God's memorable, indescribable, beautiful fragrance. A fragrance of His effervescent, crisp, refreshing comfort in the midst of the lifeless, dulling and painful seasons of our lives. We can reveal it; but only by His strength and His ability.

I pray that the autumn season is a reminder of us 'fall'ing on our knees in awe of Almighty God and His unfailing love.

Friday, October 30, 2009

October 30, 2009, "Creations Awe of Almighty God"

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

"Nothing in all creation can hide from him. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes. This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done."
~ Hebrews 4:13 ~

"In his goodness he chose to make us his own children by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his choice possession."
~ James 1:18 ~

The mountains tremble in awe of God's eternal majesty.
The seas roar and waves crash against the
walls of the sea at His infinite greatness.
Trees that sway to the praises of God, echoed by the wind.
The songs of the birds sing a song of praise,
as they flutter in the freedom of His eternal mercy.

I am in awe of nature's praises to God.
I am reminded that nature is a glimpse of the
incredible, indescribable greatness of Almighty God.

His awesome power and majesty revealed in unimaginable ways;
through unimaginable resources; as He is the True Source.

Nature today has reminded me to be in awe of Almighty God.
I am reminded to not praise the vessels that reveal a glimpse of His uncontainable glory; but to praise the One who created the vessels, for His glory and His honor.
For even creation itself knows that it cannot hide from God.

Today, I am encouraged by God's creation;
as it is fervently and passionately in awe of Who He is.

He's my Daddy,
He is my Strength when I am tired and weak.
He is my Refuge when everything around me has fallen apart.
He is my Restorer; when all I see is ruin.
He is my Righteousness, when unrighteousness tries to condemn me.
He is the Lifter of my head, when circumstances try to get me to kneel and bow.

Glory to You O God; for even the heavens cannot contain Your glory;
why do I try?

Lord, I pray I allow You to be God in my life.

You are God no matter what..but I want You to be revealed in my life.
O Lord, Help me to trust in You and as I trust, help me to obey You.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

October 29, 2009, "My Dream of Becoming a Ballerina"

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

"Let them praise His name with the dance; let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp."
~ Psalm 149:3 ~

I remember it was almost five years ago; as I became 30 years old. For a moment, I went into a silent panic. I began to think of all the things I had always wanted to do, but had not yet accomplished. Those dreams from when I was a little girl were being reignited. It seemed that I had this hilarious need for a 'bucket list'.

The thoughts raced in and through my mind for a few weeks. I made a mental note of the things I really wanted to do, one of them was the following:
~ Become a ballerina.

Those of you who know me; I know you're laughing as you ask, 'ballerina'? Teresa and 'ballerina'? LOL!

Well, I signed up for evening classes at the local dance studio. I proudly purchased my ballet slippers, leotard, skirt and tights, and I was going to become a SERIOUS ballerina! I walked into the dance studio; and before class was over I was made aware that being a ballerina was not for me. I was a a bit agitated at the dancers. They made it look so effortless, as though they were flying so gracefully through the air.

To make a long story short ~ I completed my ballet classes and it was a known fact from the teacher to the other students that I was not a dancer. This was the 'revelation'...."Teresa, You are NOT a dancer." Haahaahaa!

In this 'walk' down memory lane, I am reminded how God allowed me the opportunity to walk in what I truly thought was for me. The humbling fact to sadly realize I was not a dancer. However, I realized that becoming a ballerina could be crossed off my 'bucket list' and truly go to God and ask Him what He wanted me to become in Him.

The 'bucket list' went from becoming a list of my desires before I died, to becoming what God had so desired and intended for me to become before my life ends on this earth and lives on into eternity. I am so grateful that I walked out 'my dream' and found that it was just that...a dream that was not meant to become a reality in my life. LOL!

Through this humbling reminder, I realize my 'carnal' desires are being transformed to desire the heart of God. I truly desire to become a 'freedom dancer' declaring His powerful liberty and truth over my life!

I pray His strength through me will allow others to watch in awe as they see the grace of His hand upon my life as I twirl in Him; as He makes it look effortless; not because of who I am; but because of Who He is and who I rest and cling to.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

October 28, 2009, "High side of conversation"

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth; but that which is good to the use of edifying that it may bring grace unto the hearers."
~ Ephesians 4:29 ~

I saw this today, "Stay on the high side of every conversation: honor the absent." it was a quote by Lisa Bevere.

Truly a reminder today from the Lord; no matter what people struggle with, what they are going through or how we feel negatively when we are around them, this is a great reminder of Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupt communication come out of your mouth but that which is good to the use of edifying; that it may bring grace unto the hearers."

I love how simple yet powerfully the statement effected me. "Stay on the high side of every conversation: honor the absent." As we honor the 'absent', we honor God as well.

O Lord, help me to stay on the high side of every conversation; honoring those have wrongfully accused me, or that I have issues with. Thank You Lord for helping me to honor You and them, I can only rely on Your strength, as my own abilities in this area is almost zero. Thank You Father that I can do all things through Christ as He strengthens me. I can by Your grace be raised up to sow good seed in every conversation. I love you Lord, Love your daughter and princess,

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October 27, 2009, "Remembrance"

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

"I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old."
~ Psalm 77:11 ~

The constant wind in my heart that stirs the fiery passion for God is consuming. I remember that day in 2004 being in a women's bible study. Every woman was asked to share a brief testimony of how they encountered a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The testimonies were so amazing, revealing the power of God in ways the greatest novel could not romanticize.

I remembered as it was my turn to share God's testimony in my life; I had just surrendered my life to Jesus a year prior and there was a fiery zeal of the Lord that was overwhelming. I remember one of the ladies I looked up to said to me very lovingly, "O Teresa, that is so amazing. I remember when I had a zeal like that for the Lord. Just embrace it now, because one day it will slowly fade away."

I was so taken back by this comment. I thought, "I don't want this belief in God to go away." I remember that moment sitting in my chair as it felt as though I was the only one in the room. That was the moment, I told myself, "I will not lose this passion for God, this is not a man made passion; this is truly God's passion through me."

I must say that I look back and laugh at that moment. I was so on fire for God that sometimes it led me to being insensitive to others. As I call to remembrance that day, I can see God's faithful patience over me as I have continued to grow in Him, which will be a constant process with His ability through me. I am truly amazed that the pursuit of God's heart is more than I could have ever imagined. I believe the key was truly realizing that God gifted us with the Holy Spirit who reveals Jesus to us, in us and through us as we allow the Spirit of God to lead.

Today, I was lovingly reminded of the moment I finally said, "Yes" to being rescued as I surrendered my heart to Jesus. The power of remembrance!

It seems that every time I take a moment to look back on that momentous day; the falling in love with God is rekindled all over again. I love His reminders, so that as we remind Him of what we are grateful for; it is not only a passing thought of His goodness, but it becomes a consuming fire that burns so fervently for Him as we are also reminded of Who He Is.

I was thinking that we can do the same for the ones we are married to. Many times the daily grind of life, the difficulties of life, the routines of life can be a vice which can strain a marriage; especially when allowed. May we also think back on the day we fell in love with our spouse. As you remind yourself of that day you fell in love, may it rekindle that love that has fallen asleep; and let the remembrance become the kiss that awakens the deep sleep of your love for one another.

Remembrance is also a great tool towards our children. The bickering, the arguing, the whining, the crying, the tugging, the sassiness, the abrupt disrespect, the daily vices that ware on our last nerves, may we look back on the day we first met our children. As we remember may it awaken the love deep within the reservoirs of our hearts as they come home today from school, or if they are in the other room destroying your Tupperware cupboard, or clanging on the pots and pans, or they just drove to school, wherever they may be; may we embrace them as we did the first day we met them.

Let us embrace our God and bless His heart as though He is all we desire. To desire Him, to be more like Him and to run after Him!

There is something about remembering the goodness of God. But there is also something about remembering the bad of the enemy and the enemies of our lives. We must use the tool of remembrance for God's glory; so we can progress, advance and proclaim through our lives and with our mouths the greatness of God!

Monday, October 26, 2009

October 26, 2009, "God Reigns"

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

"You, O God, sent a plentiful rain, Whereby You confirmed Your inheritance, When it was weary."
~ Psalm 68:9 ~

As the rains shower the earth; there is a replenishing of the soil.

As the God who reigns; He showers the soil of my heart with His everlasting, unfailing love. There is a replenishing, a renewal of His abundant life upon my heart.

I know many of you at this very moment are going through many different and difficult circumstances. I have a friend who took her two year old little boy to the hospital this morning as he had to have his tonsils removed. The love she has for her son as she does whatever she can so that he will not be afraid; grips my heart in such a powerful way.

The lavishing love of a mother flows so freely and abundantly upon her child in times when that child needs their mother and father the most. I imagine the little boy clinging to the neck of his mother, as he knows she is his earthly refuge. O, may we cling to our Father God in this time, like we have never before. Be assured! He won't let us go; just cling to Him, reassuring Him that there is no other person or tool that could provide provision like only He can. Let us bless His heart as we remind ourselves of Who He Truly is.

Another family whom I love and adore, were in an automobile accident this past weekend; in which the only car they had was totaled. Praise God there were no injuries. Unfortunately, circumstances say, they are in over their heads. However, I know God has already made a way and has already declared VICTORY over their lives. Please pray for this family. They have three kids, ranging from 15 to 8, in the natural, they do not have a credit card to be able to rent a car. Please pray for God's great provision. His faithfulness endures forever. This accident did not take God by surprise! Hallelujah to Almighty God who Reigns, even when circumstances try to say that He doesn't. I am going to get to be with this family today; please pray for the encouragement of God to flow like a river through me and upon this family in this time.

The rain as it falls to the ground sounds like the applause unto Almighty God! All of creation declares His amazing glory! For even the heavens cannot contain His glory! He is clothed in Splendor and Majesty! Let us join the applause of the rain unto Almighty God who reigns forever and from generation to generation!

Friday, October 23, 2009

October 23-25, 2009, "Encouragement"

"And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
~ II Corinthians 12:9 ~

I have to say "thank you" to those of you who have sent encouraging words in response to the devotionals written. You truly have no idea how when God uses us to encourage, it is truly a necessity to be encouraged as well.

I am so thankful for your emails and your comments on my blog. I love it when my blogging and email friends receive a word and share with me what God has revealed in their own lives. It truly brings encouragement and there is a "Wow" factor involved! It's something that no one can glory in but ALMIGHTY GOD; to which His glory is only FITTING for HIM! For even the heavens cannot contain His Matchless Glory!

Today, is a reminder to me that even when I 'feel' I have nothing to give, if I am here another day on this earth for His glory, then even a "Hello" to a woman; a complete stranger walking across the parking lot at a mall or a store could bring encouragement.

I often wonder when we walk by another soul that God loves so much, do they battle the thoughts of, "See that person just walked by me and it was as though I didn't even exist."? I can't imagine battling such thoughts, but I know that God is truly wanting me to be more mindful of those He richly loves!

I am realizing, that just because good morals, ethics, and loving Jesus may be uncommon, does not mean it is meant to be abnormal. The uncommon should be the normal; when it comes to encouragement or enpowering others, especially as it glorifies Almighty God.

I am truly enthralled by such a thought...the one thing that is FREE to give can be the most uncomfortable. Encouragement is FREE. There have been very few times where I have encouraged someone that I didn't know, and I got a 'look' of confusion and even fear, as it seemed they thought I had an 'agenda'...haahaahaahaa!!! It really woke me up and at first I wanted to 'receive the offense' and say, "Well, I am definitely not doing that again." Haaahaaahaaa! However, more times than not, people are caught off guard with great joy and they can't help but smile. I remember someone did that to me as I was walking down an aisle in a store. I have to say, nothing but good came out of it, I was so blessed!

I am also reminded that discouragement is FREE to give out as well. However, the results are more damaging and in the end it only brings offense, bitterness, unforgiveness and grudges. It may be FREE at first; but the results are very costly.

I want to choose to be an encouragement. If I feel as though I have nothing to give; that is when God truly give us the grace as He receives the glory that is already His when I lean on Him to give out encouragement. In my weakness; His strength is made PERFECT!

I challenge myself and others; The ones that seem to have it altogether, encourage them; see what happens! :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

October 22, 2009, "Faith in God"

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

"So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God...""
~ Mark 11:22 ~

As the rain trickled down the window pane, hearing the pitter patter of the rain applauding the majesty of God, I was enthralled by His great power and glory. Nature proclaiming their knowing of God's great provision over them. It was as though I was sitting in the middle of a beautiful symphony.

Swept away by this intoxicating reminder, I went to the computer as my fingers knowingly knew how to dance upon the keys of the keyboard. As my fingers continued to dance so confidently; I opened my inbox to my emails. As I opened the inbox, I saw that I had received a devotional from 'Girlfriends In God'. As I read the devotional I was reminded of faith. This quote of faith declared from Corrie Ten Boom, a woman who endured life and death obstacles I cannot imagine during the Holocaust of the Jewish people during World War II.

Corrie Ten Boom's faith declaration, "Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible."

As I read the quote, it showed even moreso how our faith cannot be misplaced in things, circumstances changing, or even other people whom we have great confidence in. That faith must always be directed to God. As we have faith in God, we are able to believe the unbelievable and receive the impossible.

Another quote I heard a couple of years ago from my former pastor was the following: "When I put my faith in God away; I put the ability to receive away."

If I put faith away for one moment, then doubt has a place. It's easier said than done, isn't it? The world that reminds us daily of ruin. Yes, even our present circumstances try to tell us how we are doomed with no hope in sight. We have to intentionally, on purpose remind ourselves of the victory in God through Jesus as we are enpowered by the Holy Spirit.

How? Look at all the examples of deliverance. As soon as they lifted up their voices to God, turned to God or declared the awesomeness of God; God came through in ways they could never imagine. Yet at the same time, many martyrs in the 'New Testament' (Agreement) died; yet even in their deaths they passed through the life on this earth into heaven rejoicing of Who God was to them.

The key, I am learning in their death is that they didn't rejoice in what was happening to them, they rejoiced in God through their horrific circumstances. This leads me to great awe. They never gave glory to the way they died; even when tortured beyond our capability to understand; they were praising their God even in their final moments. Wow! It shows how they exercised their faith in ways we may never have to.

I pray I am reminded throughout today, that I cannot be moved by the great or small things that take place in my life; however, I can remain immovable by the Word of God, rejoicing in Who He is!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October 21, 2009, "My Healer"

"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed."
~ Isaiah 53:5 ~

"...who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness--by whose stripes you were healed."
~ I Peter 2:24 ~

My husband and I were cooking and eating together early evening yesterday; when it seemed out of nowhere the 'chills' started on my back. My mood was immediately moved by the chills as it was a signal to my brain, "You're getting sick." Immediately, because I am learning of the promises of God it became an all out WAR!

I was being convinced by my body that I was getting sicker by the moment. Yet in the same moment I was being reminded in my spirit, as I was reminding my mind that I am not to be moved by what I feel or see, but to be immovable because of the Word of God.

I'm sure my husband received great validation of how much crazier his wife is, when I started jumping up and down by faith rejoicing that I was healed. I was envisioning my body healed (faith). Well, it seemed the more I did it, the more my body convinced me I was truly crazy and still really sick! Haahaaahaaa! At the same time I saw that this was also a result of a lack of rest.

Around 7:30 pm I went to bed and was awakened shivering cold at about 9:45 pm. I got up out of bed to say, "Good night" to the kids and saying our prayers with my husband. I made a quick phone call and texted a few messages and went back to bed, as my body was soaking in the rest like a sponge. I was going through this great unwavering state where I knew what God said, but I knew what my body was saying too. I can't 'feel' or 'see' God many times, so I usually go with what is tangible, and that can be quite deceiving and dangerous.

This morning, I awoke and slowly but surely got showered, 'put my face on' and styled my hair. My head was starting to fill up with pressure as well as my ears; my throat was slowly becoming sore by the minute. I looked into the mirror and reminded myself, "I am healed in Jesus name." "I praise You Lord that I am healed."

Now please know that I didn't feel like doing any of this. I just wanted to curl up in my bed and go to sleep. Suddenly, what came through me were these words, "Sickness is like depression; when it is entertained, it will overtake you." I held onto those words. I was reminded of the promise in Isaiah and I Peter that by the Stripes of Jesus we are and were healed.

I had to think back on the movie, "The Passion of The Christ", by Mel Gibson. I remembered the horrific scene in which these barbaric Roman soldiers violently by great force using their barbaric whips tore Jesus' back apart. When I was reminded of that, I said, "I know Lord You did not do that in vain, I receive my healing from You right now. I know the healing was there before I was even born, and I receive that now in Jesus name, for by Your stripes You made sure I was healed." For me personally, I held onto that, and guess what? I am not kidding, within minutes, the healing of God overtook my body and not the sickness. Don't think doubt hasn't tried to come against me since that time. I must remind myself by the convicting of the Spirit of God that doubt has no place when faith is present!

Some may call it a 'happenstance', some may call it the 12 hour bug; BUT I choose to believe and call it being healed by my Almighty Physician; Who was, is and forever will be Almighty God, Almighty Healer!

It is difficult not to be moved...but in the end as my pastor said, "Victory is already it becomes a CHOICE whether I walk in it or not."

I must remember that His healing provision was on all three parts. Emotional/Mental (Mind or Soul), Physical (Body) and More than anything our Spirit being renewed and 'reborn' to God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I am so grateful for the healing power of God that I have seen be revealed upon my body today. Let His power and strength overtake us with Who He is; The Great Lover, Healer, Restorer and Refresher!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

October 20, 2009, "Jump IN!"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"O Lord our Lord how EXCELLENT is Your Name in all the earth. You have taught babies and nursing infants how to praise You. When I consider the heavens the work of Your fingers the moon and the stars which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him...I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth (recount and tell aloud) all Your marvelous works and wonderful deeds!"
~ Psalm 8:1-4, 9:1 ~

Are you sleepy? Do you feel that almost every part of you is 'spent'? Maybe you even feel defeated. Are you frustrated that things aren't going the way you planned? Maybe you're frustrated by a dream you know is to be fulfilled, but it seems there is more 'road block' than there is 'road'. I felt that way today.

However, TODAY, The Lifter of my head reminded me of Psalm 8 and 9. "Declare out loud My praises."

Does God already know Who He is? Absolutely.
Then why do we need and must declare as the heavens do and all creation?
I think of the tiny smidget of a reason why I should and must out praise Him.

God is MORE than deserving to hear how awesome He is! God is more than worthy to be praised! God is THE Father to the Fatherless and THE Mother to the motherless. God is GOD! Wow! God is GOD! I am swept away by Him at this very moment as the rivers of 'Living Waters' violently yet lovingly embrace me; pushing me over the waterfall of eternal awe and majesty!

Today, I urge you to get into the 'Rushing River of Praise' and let that Praise to God and Who God is sweep you off your feet. The temperature of The Water is Perfect! Just JUMP IN! No more of the tip toeing...JUST JUMP IN! JUMP! COME ON! JUMP IN! Let His Loving Embrace consume you as the waters overtake you by force. Let the beautiful powerful Love of Who He is come over you!

I have a tiny, little, grain of sand of understanding of why we are to remind Him of who He is and what His promises are. We are to remind Him because I believe as we remind Him of Who He is, it truly reminds us of Who HE is and who we are in HIM! We become MINDFUL AGAIN of WHO WE GET TO BE CHILDREN OF; ALMIGHTY GOD!

I am reminded that as I praise Him, it magnifies who He is and demagnifies those things that TRY to prevent us from manifying Him. The praises out of our mouth, determine the state of our minds as our brain and physical body are even effected.

The praises of our situations and problems can and will lead us into depression as we fall into a pit of despair, and overtaken by great fear. OR we can start praising our God and it will lead us into a place of rejoicing even in the midst of great pain and adversity, it will lead us into abounding freedom and we will see that we are more than conquerors because of Jesus Christ! Hallelujah!

Even the heavens declare His glory! I have got to do the same, whether I feel like it or not. I will, by the Spirit of God lead my feelings to where they must go. My feelings must not lead me any longer today to the 'pit'.

May we be mindful as I heard this yesterday,
"Be quick to repent, quick to forgive and quick to believe in God."
~ Kenneth Hagin ~

Monday, October 19, 2009

October 19, 2009, "Update on Poppa C.O."

"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no partiality and is always sincere."
~ James 3:17 ~

Awesome NEWS!!!! Received word from Tammy on Sunday morning that her dad, who many of us know as Poppa C.O. Farmer is now at home in Austin. He returned home on Saturday!

Praise God! We Thank You Lord in advance for accelerated healing over his body in this time. We pray and thank God in advance for great comfort to replace the pain in The Mighty, Majestic Name of Jesus!

The encouraging news is that he will have a physical therapist coming to his home for six weeks so that he does not have to go to them.

I know that the Farmer family is beyond grateful for each of your prayers and encouraging words! If you haven't done so already, whether you know Poppa C.O. or not, please feel free to leave an encouraging note if you have not done so already. Thank you again to all who have left such beautiful, encouraging words for Poppa and his family!

Again, the website address is: you can go to 'Guestbook' and 'sign it' with words of encouragement!

Poppa C.O. is a great man who loves His Almighty, Great God! Poppa's life is a reminder of a smile and an encouraging word through hard times! God has used him mightily and still is even in this time of his life. He is more concerned for all of us, than himself. I am so greatly encouraged by his life and his love for our Lord!

His life which oozes the 'wisdom of God' is a great example of James 3:17. Wow! He has hidden himself in Christ Jesus and his life is evidence of this!

We love you Poppa C.O.!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

June 17, 2009, "Yay! I'm Pricless"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"For God has reserved a priceless inheritance for his children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay."
~ I Peter 1:4 ~

"Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ."
~ Philippians 3:8 ~

"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."
~ Matthew 6:26 ~

My daughter and I were holding hands in the store walking towards the registers to pay for our items. We weren't in any particular hurry when Tristin stopped which jolted my stride. I heard my daughter giggling. I was annoyed when I asked, "What are you doing?" She wasn't saying anything when she placed the top of her hand under the scanner where you can check the price of an item. Her hand adorned in a fish net '80's flourescent green glove, smiling she said, "Yay! I'm priceless."

I was amazed as the annoyance immediately left. In awe, I said, "Tristin, good girl! You are definitely priceless." We giggled together as I drew her close to my side walking together to the registers. She looked up at me and said, "Thank you mom."

As we finally arrived in the line waiting to pay for our purchase, I thought about what had just taken place. I realized the magazines all around us, the bombardment of "You have got to look like her." The lies of what success looks like plastered on the covers of the magazine. The lies of "You are replaceable. You have no value. If you don't look like 'this', or have 'that', you are 'so behind'." Realizing the 'whirlwind' of lies that are before our daughters, I stood in that line thanking God that His voice over her was more clear to her than 'their' voices.

My daughter, nine years old, in fourth grade, is already facing issues of inadequacy, issues of 'you are what you weigh'. Her age group so wrapped up in 'I must' have a boyfriend. I'm in awe even more so of her knowing her value was beyond a price.

It led me to the question, "Do I know my value like her? Do you know your value to God like her?" Many of us 'see' a 'price tag' on our lives. The tag is bright red and there are many prices crossed out as it says, "DISCOUNT. AS IS". We see ourselves as vessels that are no longer of any use. We have to realize that this is a lie and Truth has already spoken...and that was on the CROSS when TRUTH (JESUS) said, "It is Finished." Wooooooooooooo!!!!!!!

Our focus needs to be 're-focused'. When we start focusing on things that have no eternal value, pettiness, annoyances of others, issues that have no regard to the Kingdom of God, that is when we have got to, on purpose, focus on the things of God. Sometimes we have to get into that 'vehicle of praise' going to our destination of praising God.

I imagine a taxi driver in a 'taxi' with the model of the car being 'Vehicle Of Praise' . He drives to the curb where I stand and stops. I open the door and slide into the seat as he asks, "Where to?" And I say, "Destination Praise". But then he asks a profound question, "Destination Praise God?" OR "Destination Praise Your Problems." Wow! I pray I choose "Destination Praise God". Praising God to the refocus. As we start praising Him and broadcasting His awesomeness, something happens to us. That focus on the 'me' is demagnified and He becomes magnified. Leaving no room at that moment for pride in the form of insecurity to rise up.

When I see myself today I want to remind myself of Awesome God who calls me 'priceless'. I want to bless Him as I see myself the way He sees me. I know what we do are in no comparison to His awesome Majesty...however, to bless Him in any way is a gift to Him from His child.

What the world deems successful and valuable; in the end is of great insignificance.

Friday, October 16, 2009

October 16, 2009, "I Desire You O God"

"Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You."
~ Psalm 73:25 ~

The passion for God within me is burning. It is as though I have a constant knot in my throat realizing the God I am honored to call my 'Heavenly Father'!

Excuse the 'what seem to be random' declarations as I type! There is a stirring on the inside of me; it won't stop. I am overwhelmed by His glorious love and His glorious heart.

As I was with great longing wanting to know a glimpse of the heart of God, I asked, "What is the purpose of our assembling together (i.e. church, bible study, prayer, luncheons, etc.)?" The purpose is to pursue Who I AM! I AM your God. I long for for my sons and daughters to know who I truly I Am ~ so that they can begin to see their TRUE identity in Who I AM. It isn't about the big screens, the coolest 'worship bands', the's about Who I Am and what I Am about.

I ponder this, "Pursue Who I AM, The Great I AM." Lord, what does it mean when You say, "I Am the Great I Am"? I believe there is an eternal plethora (overabundance, excess, surplus) of words that have never graced our human ears to describe Your many awesome. Majestic, Glorious Names. However, I am going to attempt a size of a speck of dust to do just that ~ this should be interesting...LOL!

My God! The Great I Am!
"I Am Love. The Great Love this is Who I Am, not only what I possess!
I Am Peace. The Great Peace that surpasses your understanding.
I Am Strength. The Great Strength comes through My Joy through circumstances you could never imagine. I Am Perfect Strength in your weakness.
I Am Power. I Am Great Power that make mountains tremble and the billowing waves to bow down. I Am Great Power through your adversities.
I Am Sustainer. I Am Great Sustainer when you feel like buckling, when you feel like quitting. I will sustain you, For I Am the Great Sustainer!
I Am Jubilee. I Am Great Jubilee as I have set you free from the bondage's of debt to sin. I am the Remover of the Burden of the Sin...for I Am Jubilee.
I Am Refuge. I Am Great Refuge as I Am your Safety, your haven, your protection.
I Am Your Father God. I desire for you to long after Me. To follow Me all the days of your life. Not because I only desire to be followed, but I desire for you to follow that you may receive the blessings I have in store for you! I desire for you, beyond your imaginations, to receive the desires of your heart. I also desire that you allow My desires to become yours.
I desire for you to know me as Your Father!"

Wow! I love that Who He is, is what He does! I want to continue to, on purpose, desire Who He is. I not only want to desire what He can do.

I want to know my Father God in such a way that what we call a miracle, is something that we just expect that this is what our Father does. I long for it to be of no surprise; it should be an expectancy on Who He is.

Many times I have looked for the 'miracle' instead of the Miraculous One!

I love how God is starting a revolution within my heart. I heard someone say this, I don't want those old things revived, we need to stop calling 'revivals' revivals. We need to start calling forth REVOLUTION of our hearts expecting our hearts to change because of Who He is! We look for the outward manifestations of His glory, when we must be longing for the inward manifestations of our hearts in pursuit of HIM!

I'm so far away from it, but the longing brings me that much closer than I was before in my pursuit of Him. O my Awesome God! Wow! The mountains tremble, yet, why aren't I trembling at the utter awe of Who You Are!

I am reminded of Your vast greatness, Your Majesty and more than anything I am reminded to long after Who You Are! I am realizing through this that moment by moment I want and must check the intentions of my heart.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October 14, 2009, "Do Not Grow Weary"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
~ Galatians 6:9 ~

A wife and mother has waited for years to see breakthrough over her children's hearts; yearning for the heart of God. Yet it seems like nothing has come to pass, it actually only seems to be getting worse! Her eyes of faith are growing dim. At one time what seemed so clear, she can hardly make out what it is suppose to be anymore.

Across the country in a beautiful home, a man stares at his reflection as shaving cream covers his face. He stares and sees himself, a man, a husband and a father that has seemed to fail his wife and children. A career that he knew he would have until he retired, has been cut short. The haunting questions, "What am I going to do?" "How do I tell my wife?" He asks himself, "What kind of man am I?" As if to confirm a passing thought he says to himself, "Maybe they would be better off without me."

A couple have waited for more than 3 years to adopt their little girl. Every obstacle that could come against them has come against them. They are beginning to doubt that this adoption will take place. Their little girl on the other side of the world patiently awaits for the union with her new family. She pleads in her prayers to God that they not give up.

O the many who are growing tired. The ones who feel as though they have lost everything. As another family awaits another obstacle to be moved out of the way, their fingers slowly losing grip of hope.

I plead with you and I plead with myself, "Don't let go of Him". I can't even imagine what you are going through at this moment, please know that God is the lifter of your head. He is with you and I. He desires to keep you and I in perfect peace when our mind is intentionally focused on Him.

When the circumstances force our head to look away from God, we must choose to turn our heads back towards Him looking forward and 'up' to God. As we do this, may we remember that He will never leave us nor will He ever, ever, ever forsake us.

What are you losing grip of? Are you feeling as though everything around you is crumbling? Do you feel as though you could lose everything in a moment? Is your mind annihilated and overwhelmed with thoughts of fear?

Hang onto Him, He is the only One who will NEVER leave you or forsake you.
When you feel the crumbling, stand on the One who is immovable and unshakeable. When you feel as though you are about to lose your sanity, your monetary 'things' of this life or even your family, remember what you have gained in Christ Jesus! He has given you freedom. When you feel overwhelmed by your circumstances, watch God overtake You in His loving embrace as He overwhelms you with great faith to place back onto Him!

Run to Him! Run to Him! As you run to Him, watch Him restore your life so beautifully in ways that you could never truly imagine in your most amazing dreams.

As the Amplified Version Bible says in Galatians 6:9, "Let us not relax our courage and faint"!

Let us be courageous in Him and be filled with faith, that is already provided through the Holy Spirit!

October 14, 2009, "I Ran To Him Today"

"Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of [our] hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."
~ Hebrews 10:19-25 ~

I sit here tapping the keys of my laptop and ask the Lord, "What would you want me to write?" "What do you want me to learn today from You?"

Have you ever told a 'white' lie or even a big lie? I'm so frustrated. I feel as though I make such progress submitting to God, resisting the devil as he flees; and then BAM! I feel threatened by consequences and immediately by choice go into 'survival' mode of sin.

I think of my dad. He is one of the most integritable and honest people I know. I long to be like him, who longs for the heart of Almighty God. When I say integritable, it goes beyond just honesty. My dad longs to imitate His Father God and I want to do the same. I want by default to be able to speak forth truth. I don't want the sin nature to have any reflexes in my life. I don't want those lies to have an opportunity to rise up automatically. I long for truth to be the guard over my mouth.

"O God, I am so sorry for lying. Lord, I thank You for Your forgiveness over me. Thank You Father God. You are so awesome Lord, I thank You that as the woman made her way to You to place that oil from her alabaster box upon your feet and head. I want to pour out my love, my praises upon You. I long to bless You O Lord. I long for me as Your vessel to be poured out continually as You fill me with overflowing abundance of life and Truth. I thank You Lord that You are not a man that You should ever lie. I am forgiven, and I love You so much! Thank You Father for Truth that I cling to. In Truth that I cling to, I know that I cling to You, for You are Truth! As it says in Hebrews, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith".

I pray that any condemnation that has tried to come against you because of sin, don't allow the condemning voice to beat you down to where you feel as though God just won't forgive you for the same sin, AGAIN. We must remember that there is not one sin that is more powerful than God's powerful forgiveness! Our own soul condemns us. The key is to quickly repent (turning from it), confess to Jesus what He already knows what we have done and RUN to the feet of Jesus. I love imagining that He says, "Come into my presence with boldness and do not fear."

Run to Him! Run To Him! He has His embracing, forgiving, merciful arms open wide to receive you in His Great Love. Run to Him! Don't wait, and don't linger.

How do I know? Because I just RAN TO HIM THIS MORNING!

Thank You Lord for another learning lesson of Who You Are today! Thank You! Thank You Father for You are the Burden Remover of sin.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October 13, 2009, "She Dances Unto The Redeemer"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"The young women will dance for joy, and the men ~ old and young ~ will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing."
~ Jeremiah 31:13 ~

"And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil,
and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil."
~ Luke 7:37-38 ~

A beautiful woman dances in the back of the church. The church filled with many people. People 'snicker' and with great haughtiness say among themselves and even in their hearts, "Who does she think she is?" Immediately they disqualify her because of her rare expression of her love for God.

Yet, as they snickered, made fun, and judged her, little do they know why she dances so freely. She dances for her Redeemer. She dances to the song of deliverance that He sings over her life. She dances to the 'Mercy Seat'. I weep as I type knowing that at one time in her life she had danced around a pole, surrounded by perversion. As I heard this story from Pastor Kim I realized even moreso the powerful meaning of being Redeemed and our Redeemer!

She dances now unto her Redeemer. He redeemed her from her past. He redeemed her from the darkness and into His glorious light. More than anything, He redeemed her dance.

As I think of this woman, I am convicted of my life. As Pastor Kim spoke forth truth of the Word by the leading of the Spirit of God, she said something so powerful! It was so powerful, she said, "We disqualify people that God has qualified." We even disqualify ourselves, when God has qualified us.

I praise God that this woman did not disqualify herself, when many people did. I praise God that this woman did not disqualify herself because of her past. She allowed Mighty God to qualify her as she pursued His heart with great passion.

May we praise God that He has qualified us. He has called us Worthy! Hallelujah! Thank you my Father God!

Lyrics to the
'Alabaster Box'
CeCe Winans

"The room grew still
As she made her way to Jesus
She stumbles through the tears that made her blind
She felt such pain
Some spoke in anger
Heard folks whisper
There's no place here for her kind
Still on she came
Through the shame that flushed her face
Until at last, she knelt before his feet
And though she spoke no words
Everything she said was heard
As she poured her love for the Master
From her box of alabaster


And I've come to pour
My praise on Him
Like oil from Mary's alabaster box
Don't be angry if I wash his feet with my tears
And I dry them with my hair
You weren't there the night He found me
You did not feel what I felt
When he wrapped his love all around me and
You don't know the cost of the oil
In my alabaster box

I can't forget the way life used to be
I was a prisoner to the sin that had me bound
And I spent my days
Poured my life without measure
Into a little treasure box
I'd thought I'd found

Until the day when Jesus came to me
And healed my soul
With the wonder of His touch
So now I'm giving back to Him
All the praise He's worthy of
I've been forgiven
And that's why
I love Him so much


And I've come to pour
My praise on Him
Like oil from Mary's alabaster box
Don't be angry if I wash his feet with my tears
And dry them with my hair (my hair)
You weren't there the night Jesus found me
You did not feel what I felt
When He wrapped his loving arms around me and
You don't know the cost of the oil
Oh, you don't know the cost of my praise
You don't know the cost of the oil
In my alabaster box"

Sunday, October 11, 2009

October 12, 2009, "Expectation"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"For the Son of God, Christ Jesus (The Messiah), Who has been preached among you by us, by myself, Silvanus, and Timothy, was not Yes and No; but in Him it is [always the divine] Yes. For as many as are the promises of God, they all find their Yes [answer] in Him [Christ]. For this reason we also utter the Amen (so be it) to God through Him [in His Person and by His agency] to the glory of God."
~ II Corinthians 1:19 & 20 ~ Amplified Bible

I woke up and the clock read, "7:15". I rose up from my bed slowly. Yawning, tempted to crawl back under the covers. As I looked down, my legs hanging over the bed before my feet hit the ground, my little dog was looking up at me pawing at me 'telling' me he had to go 'potty'. As I slowly got out of bed, I walked out of the bedroom to the right and down the stairs. As my feet hit the floor after the last step of the staircase, I felt this tugging to 'minister' to God of Who He is in my life. I let the dog out, and the proclaiming started flowing out of my mouth. Yes, we can minister to the Lord. How? By speaking forth who He is to us. When we do this, we automatically remind ourselves of Who He is which by far overshadows who we are.

As He was leading me to pray His Word over our pastors and praying forth His desires that He wants to lavishly place upon each of us that meet together corporately, I heard it again, "Come expecting! Be an 'expectator' of Who I AM, no longer just a 'spectator'. The analyzing of others on the field and critiquing the way they run, needs to stop! Get on the field and only expect VICTORY that is already yours because of WHO I AM!

As the proclaiming continued, I was immediately reminded of Second Corinthians. Then I heard in my spirit, "My promises are 'Yes'. It is for my Children to say, "Amen". I (God) have said, "Yes"! Who will rise up and start agreeing with My promises? If you agree with My promises, say, "Amen"!

Later, as we arrived to church and as we worshipped God with great fervency, it was time to sit down. I was sitting on the edge of my seat, as tears effortlessly flowed down my face; the Holy Spirit so lovingly ministered to us in church through Pastor Kim. In that moment all I wanted to do was fall down on my knees as repentance rose up within me for things I never acknowledged before. As the repentance was rising forth, godly sorrow followed. The wonderful beauty of godly sorrow is it is not accompanied with condemnation. It is beautifully accompanied with great fervency and passion for more of God's heart and wanting more of the desires He has for me; replacing my desires for His.

During our corporate worship unto the Lord I received this vivid, beautiful Word which was deposited right into my spirit. These are the Words I 'heard' in which I wrote:

"When you pray; agree with My Word. You must stop agreeing with your circumstances or man's logical way of praying. Agree with Me, THE Word."

I'll give you an example to help you better understand how I received this Word:Many times as a cliche I loosely say, "Agree with me in prayer for my situation or for my body, etc..." Do you do this as often as I have? I laugh at myself as I have done this many times.

Wow! When I heard this, that 'something on the inside' jumped with great expectation of the Greatness of God that He wants to pour out onto us as His children.

Let us remember and remind ourselves what we are to agree with! Let us 'hook up' with what are to truly hook up with and that is only Truth!

We must be careful to not pursue the manifestations of God. We need to pursue the heart of God. When we do this, we have to know that the manifestations of God by default will flow forth!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

October 10 & 11, 2009, "But WAIT"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."
~ Romans 8:37 ~


Everyone of these adjectives in some way describe how circumstances have effected us, are effecting us or will effect us.

What do these words represent? For me, the two words that come to mind is GREAT LOSS!

When we are victimized we feel violation of innocence stripped with great violence as dignity is lost in the debris of overwhelming sadness.

When we are defeated we victory has escaped us.
When we have failed our lack of success attempts to strip us of our significant purpose.
When the position we have worked in is downsized, our identity along with employment feels as though we are done for.
When we are annihilated and overwhelmed the feeling of being destroyed is paralyzing.


When we are victimized, and feel defeated and through defeat we feel like failures we are able to do something through Christ. The one thing we don't want to become is a 'volunteer' of the victimization, defeat or failure. We must rise up in our given place through Christ Jesus and that is as conquering victors! We rise up and out of the ashes with God's powerful, mighty hand of deliverance, as He delivers us into His beauty, restoration and significance over who we are.

As we begin to know Who He is, we will begin to learn who we truly are in Him!

You may ask, "How do I begin to know Who He is?" For me personally, I have to preach to myself. I go to the beginning. I become overwhelmed by the God I serve as great awe overcomes me.

I become overwhelmed by this Awesome God and shout,
"Wow! You are The God of Adam!
Adam walked with You and fellowshipped with You!
Adam was able to see Your face!
You are the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!
You are The God of Moses!
You are The God of Joshua and Caleb!
You are The God of Gideon!
You are the God of Haddasau who became Queen Esther!
You are the God of Boaz and Ruth who birthed forth Obed,
who became the father of Jesse who became the father of David!
Woooooo!!! You are The God of Hannah who could not bear children, yet through her womb came one of the greatest prophets, Samuel.!
You are The God of David who Samuel anointed with oil as David was chosen by God to become King.
From David's generational line came the King of kings and The Lord of lords..JESUS!
Almighty God, I get to be called Your daughter; for YOU are my Father through Jesus Christ, revealed by the Holy Spirit!"

The more I proclaim these thoughts of AWE, the More it becomes a great equipping over 'self' defeat. I start to see through the eyes of faith and no longer through the eyes of fear. This is more than self affirmation. Even in self affirmation, and it can go a long way, it still has limits, especially in comparison to the limitless God who wants His ability to explode through ours!

God's lavishing, immovable, unshakeable, indescribable, incredible, matchless power and love over us being revealed through the Conqueror Himself..Jesus Christ made available to us by the power of the Holy Spirit is when Psalm 91 comes ALIVE! "A thousand may fall by my side and ten thousand at my right hand BUT it shall not come near me." Wooooooooo!!!!!

Let us no longer say, "I desire to, BUT..." Let us start doing it and saying, "I feel overwhelmed, BUT GOD..." I must moment by moment be in awe of 'Who He IS and was and will forever be!!!!

Let us be strengthened today by the strength provided within us. This strength is not provided because of who we are...but BECAUSE OF OUR GREAT PROVIDER AND WHO HE IS BY HIS HOLY SPIRIT!

This is provided when we accept the gift of salvation through JESUS CHRIST, following through with baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit so that we are enabled to disciple others by God's Word to do the same (John 1, Acts 2:1-39). We truly do not know the eternally, awesome impact of salvation provided through Jesus Christ as He did the Will of the Father when we say, "YES" to Him! Salvation was not provided so that we could selfishly received 'Fire Insurance'...Salvation through Jesus was, is and always will be provided to live a victorious life in Him as the redeemed of the Lord say so (Psalm 107:2) we must also express it through our hands and feet yielding to the Holy Spirit of God as we see the infinite impact on others around us for His glory and His honor!

As the shouts of defeat try to play with our minds....may we shout back with the voice of Triumph who has delivered us...JESUS! We must not relinquish the power over to the enemy who has already lost! He lost at that place called Calvary being defeated as Jesus Christ shed His perfect Blood, and RESURRECTED; conquering death, hell and the grave!

I must remind my circumstances that they are I do this, I must start living the reminder as I am more than a conqueror through Jesus who loves you and me (Romans 8:37).

Friday, October 9, 2009

My First Blog Award!

I received my first blog award today! The 'One Lovely Blog Award'! When I got it today, the timing was never so perfect, like only God does it! Thank You Lord for Alisa!

Thank you so much Alisa from 'Faith Imagined' for my first 'blog' award! Everyone go check out her amazing words of encouragement from God's amazing love letter! Alisa is not only amazing, gifted writer, but she is also a mighty daughter of the King!

October 9, 2009, "Amazing Race, Family Night"

Normally I don't post anything but devotional writings...however, I had to celebrate my beautiful daughter. I am very grateful to God for allowing my wonderful husband and I to get to be her parents. Sometimes we look at her in awe! I tease her all the time, yet there is great truth in jest when I say, "I get to be your mom? You're my daughter? Wow!" She responds so faithfully, "Mom, stop! You say that all the time!" She is hilarious, precious and her heart is so passionate for life and I love her innocence to want to remain a child...

She is so kind and thoughtful as her school had an 'Amazing Race' Theme PTO Family Night, along with a fabulous Book Fair. She allowed me to utilize her as my 'prop' for our country that we represented. I did allow her to take a quick break to get her passport stamped from all the different countries. The 'theme' allowed visitors to 'travel' to the 7 Continents in an hour ~ so cute and everyone did a fabulous job.
Tristin in her hanbok (Traditional Korean Dress):

We represented South Korea. Of course, my mom is Korean and my dad is American (Half Lebanese and Half German). I love the Korean culture and just the country itself, I desire to visit there one day soon.

Grandpa and Grandma came for a surprise visit; Tristin and I were very blessed that they came.
Below is a picture of Tristin and a photo of Grandma when she was 18 years old in her hanbok.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

October 9, 2009, "What if?"

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
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. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.
The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore."

~ Psalm 121 ~

Why is it Lord that the thoughts continue to linger? The thoughts of failure, depression, hopelessness, fear. Those thoughts seem to never leave people. But wait! I don't want that 'by default' promise upon my life. I want and pursue Your heart in which You have promised that You would never leave me, nor forsake me. Never! Never! Never!

I choose Your promise of never leaving me; I don't want to focus on the thoughts that will never leave me. I choose You Lord! I choose Your heart. I choose Your power and might. I choose Your healing power! I want the fullness of You as I pursue Your heart. I don't want to only hang onto Your attributes or what You can do for me. I want You! I desire with great fervency Your heart!

Lord, the pressures are closing in on me. I feel like I can't breathe anymore. I am overwhelmed by the fears of 'What if?' From where does my help come from? It comes from You Almighty God!

What about you? Do you have the 'What if?' fears?

What if they take everything?
What if the report from the doctor is cancer?
What if the medication doesn't work?
What if I don't meet the deadline?
What if I fail, why even try?
What if I lose my job?

These are just a few of the haunting questions that bombard us! As the questions come, allow the Spirit of God on the inside to shout back the answers! Preach to yourself if you have to! Your life, my life depends on it! Someone else's life depends on my obedience in the Lord. Someone else's life depends on your obedience in the Lord and making it through! Someone is praying for a breakthrough from God; and I believe He has a plan to utilize us a vessel for His glory to see the breakthrough come upon their life.

'Preach it to yourself' answers to the bombarding questions:

What if they take everything?
God is the God of Jubilee! The 'What if?' got to me too late...why? Because they can't take everything...for God is my everything!

What if the report from the doctor is cancer?
God is my Healer! That report got to me too late! For the report of the Lord is what I choose to believe! By Jesus Stripes I am healed. I have faith in my Healer. I will not see with 'eyes' of fear my death...I will see through 'eyes' of faith LIFE! Wow! Even with 'eyes' of fear you still have to see something that hasn't happened yet...and many times we see death. We need to call those things that be not as though they are with faith! We need no longer to call those things that be not as though they are with fear! I'm getting ready to do the victory dance right now! Come on! Let's rise up in faith in our God!! How Excellent He is!

What if the medication doesn't work?
God is My Source! He will provide the resources! I am no longer going to try to fix an inside problem with an outside source! No more!

What if I don't meet the deadline?
I need to stop worrying about the deadline and start focusing on the finish 'life'line!

What if I fail, why even try?
Failure is not an option. Trying is not an option! Doing it is the only option! For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It may seem long and weary. The waiting will seem like the longest wait! But in the waiting is when my strength in Him is renewed!

What if I lose my job? Or I've lost my job, now what?
God is My Provider! He provides more than enough for me! I don't know how it's going to come, or where, or even when...but I know the Who in the midst of it! I haven't lost anything...I have only gained favor with God with my next opportunity that God has for me.

May we be reminded in the midst of hopelessness, fear, anxiety and loss that God is our Hope, our Faith, our Peace and our Gain because of Jesus Christ! Hallelujah, for the Spirit of the Living God on the inside of us when we have a relationship with our Savior and Lord!

Let's get the 'preach on' in the midst of the shouting voices of defeat!

October 8, 2009, "Take Your Position"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Stevens Criswell

"You shall not need to fight in this battle; take your positions, stand still, and see the deliverance of the Lord [Who is] with you. O Judah and Jerusalem. Fear not nor be dismayed. Tomorrow go out and against them, for the Lord is with you."
~ II Chronicles 20 ~ (Excerpt from II Chronicles 20:17)

Do you feel like there is a heavy weight on your chest, feeling as though you can't breathe?

Do you dream or have nightmares about your real life situation? The thought never leaves you.

Are you more sensitive, frustrated, angry and irritable?

It sounds like a prescription drug commercial doesn't it? Actually, it's called real life. Many of us are going through difficult times right now. It almost feels like there is no way out, doesn't it?

The words that come to mind are:
Overwhelmed, pressured, failure, depression, sadness, frustration, anger, regret, etc.

Today I was reminded by my Pastor Kim of doing what the people did in II Chronicles 20. They first prayed and fasted and went unto the Lord with thankfulness! After they specificially thanked Him for Who He was, is and is to come, they told God what He already knew about their enemies. They were being driven out by their enemies. After they had told the Lord about this circumstance, the Spirit of God spoke through Jahaziel son of Zechariah and God said to them, "Be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's."

He said to King Jehosophat, "You shall not need to fight in this battle; take your positions, stand still, and see the deliverance of the Lord Who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem, Fear not nor be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you."

Pressures, sadness, frustration, anger, are out of here! I am taking my position! What is my position? Stand still and see! Stand still and see what? The deliverance of the Lord Who is with you and with me!!!!!

Peace, joy, relief, redemption, salvation, significance and fulfillment are ours in the Name of Jesus! Let us take our positions as we are reminding ourselves of Who He is! The God of heaven, the Ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations. In His hand are power and might!

When you are pressed by into God. We need to take our positions, by being still (not reacting by default, sin nature or trying to take over) and seeing that He is delivering you and I! We may see the deliverance now and we may have to wait. As we wait, we will have renewed strength in the midst of the waiting.

Let us be reminded of pressing into God with thankfulness. Not only being grateful for what we have but being grateful and thankful for WHO HE IS!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October 6, 2009, "Fear to Faith"

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
~ I Corinthians 15:58 ~

"What then shall we say to these things? If God [is] for us, who [can be] against us?"
~ Romans 8:31 ~

"My brethern, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."
~ James 1:2-4 ~

Though the giants attempt to come after me. I will not fear and I will not be moved. Not because of who I am, but because of who I am in Christ. For I know what they come after...they come after my faith. As they pursue my faith to attempt to destroy me; I will persevere and produce patience as I count it all joy. How do I count it all joy? On purpose I 'walk' in Joy of the Lord that is within me by the power of the Holy Spirit to rise up and out of me in the midst of great opposition.

If fear wants to push me then I will let it push me to faith in my God! Almighty God, Creator and my Provider, Who is More than Enough! He will and is sustaining me. He will strengthen me and is strengthening me at this moment. How? With His great Joy.

I love the definition of joy from the Greek:
For someone to be tied and bound, lying on the ground while a boulder is placed upon him/her slowly crushing him/her to death. When the joy of the Lord arises it is never under circumstances that produce comes when great challenges are coming against us.

When we are being pressed from every side, the strength of God rises up when we allow His joy to come forth! Hallelujah! Praising God for Who He is in the midst of great adversity is the tool I want to use. Though I may walk through the shadow of death, as I fear no evil it is because I run to the Shadow of the Almighty who is my Refuge and My Strength, My Shield and My Buckler!

Thank You Lord for You are God. You are not a man that you should ever lie! Hallelujah!

I love the principles of how God's Kingdom is the exact opposite of our logical way of doing things:

By default when someone comes against us, it is natural to want to come against them.
By The Spirit of God when someone comes against us, it is His nature to love them, and pray for them.

By default when we hear a bad report, we receive the bad report, fear the bad report, cling to the bad report allowing it to annihilate us from every side.
By The Spirit of God when we hear a bad report, we receive the report of the Lord. We praise Him in the midst of the bad report as we watch His peace come from within and saturate us from the inside out.

By default when we are pressed from every side; we allow anxiety to overtake us.
By the Spirit of God when we are pressed from every side; the joy of the Lord is our great strength in the midst of what looks like great weakness.

By default when we are not able; we allow our ability to tell us who we are.
By the Spirit of God when we are not able; we allow His strength and ability to be made perfect in our weakness.

Monday, October 5, 2009

October 5, 2009, "The Heart of The Matter"

Inpsired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

**Below the devotional is an update on Poppa C.O.**

"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well."
~ Psalm 139:14 ~

As I looked into the mirror getting ready to go to church. I wanted to get to the heart of the matter. You may ask, "The heart of the matter regarding what?" My thoughts were in regards to being validated by others.

I thought, "Lord, why is it I feel the need for validation?" As I looked into the mirror getting ready for church I received some powerful words within my spirit that ministered to my mind:

"When you feel the need to be validated by others it reveals that you have forgotten how valuable you are to Me."

I am amazed how God ministers to me as I look into the mirror. For the only person looking BACK at me? Is none other than ~ me!

Know that you are valuable to Him, that you are and were fearfully and wonderfully made. When you have the opportunity to receive offense because you weren't 'rightfully' validated, Don't open that door, it is a trap of pride and self. We must use the tool of reminding. Reminding ourselves that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by our wonderful, Mighty, Majestic, Awesome Father. Almighty God!.

Be encouraged. As you are encouraged let it flow onto others.

"Father God, I praise You for Who You are. I thank You Lord that You have made each of us so beautifully. You have designed us with such love. Lord, I want to be amazed by You today. Thank You for Your compassion and love that is already within me. Thank You for Your Joy, Peace and Righteousness that is already mine by the Holy Spirit. You have made sure that we are equipped in all areas. Thank You Lord for Your provision over my life. I am amazed by You. In The Mighty, Majestic, Holy, Righteous Name, the Most powerful name....the Name of Jesus...Amen."

Update on our Poppa C.O. Famer:

Hello all,

An update on Dad. He's had a rough week. He has started physical therapy and has made some progress on that front but the spasms have been been relentlessly coming every day. He has had a couple of periods in the last two days where he might get to go two - three hours without one and get some much needed rest but that's it. Otherwise they come every couple of minutes. Excrutiating pain. They give him so much medication to try to control the spasms that he becomes confused and that interferes with his ability to accomplish what he needs to in pt. The rehab staff tell us all this is "normal" though I can't find any written proof that supports that theory and we're extremely frustrated. Even the doctor assigned to him at the rehab appears baffled by this.

Please continue to pray for healing for Dad and deliverance from all this pain, wisdom for the medical professionals that care for him and strength and comfort for my Mother and Brother who are with Dad 24/7. It's emotionally devastating to watch a loved one endure so much. It's very hard for both of them but, to their credit, they don't leave his side. Hopefully I'll have a better report next time.


Friday, October 2, 2009

October 2, 2009 "Pastor Appreciation Month"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

This month, the month of October is 'Pastor Appreciation Month'.

Many who read this, may go to church and many may not. Either way I just want to share with you that the pastors have been placed on my heart this morning.

There is an attack on the office of the pastors, in ways we could never imagine. Many within the 'church' are part of the attacks and many have been disgusted observers of the attacks.

Many have left because other people have left. Some have left because they felt they knew more than the pastor. Some have left the church because they took on an offense.

However, some have left the church because the pastors were being seduced away from truth. Some have left because they were ex-communicated. Some have left because they were given an ultimatum. The list goes on and on. To those that have been mistreated intentionally, I say, I am truly sorry and I pray you will allow the grace of God to abound in your life. God bless you as you have gone through great sadness. However, you must know that God wants to take from that sadness and bring you into His great joy which is our strength.

I have been greatly blessed with wonderful pastors. I must tell you that I have not yet met wonderful pastors like Pastors Dominic and Amira Russo in Oakland Township, Michigan. I still consider them my pastors; geography doesn't determine who they are or are not in my life. I am honored to call them pastors as they love God's people and they love the souls that have not yet allowed Christ to rescue their lives.

I also honor Pastors Bruce and Nicole Wangler in Winterset, Iowa. What great teachers of the Word, yet many have rejected them because of 'here say' and just plain lies. I heard the lies throughout the small community. The lies kept people from experiencing such great treasures of truth from the Lord.

And last but definitely not least, Pastors Stephen and Kim Behrman my local pastors here in Texas. I am so blessed and honored to call them my pastors. I am so blessed to have found such hidden treasures from the Lord. They are truly pastors that teach truth, teach from the Word of God and teach us how to apply it. Their submission to the Holy Spirit allows the Spirit of God to give us that great desire to search the Truth out ourselves. We are challenged to not take their word for it, but to truly be captivated by the heart of Almighty God and take His Word for it. This is nothing short of amazing and awesome! Pastors like the ones I have mentioned are led of the Holy Spirit and I know this because of the results. The result is that it ignites my spirit to pursue the heart of God in ways I could never imagine.

I close today's reminder with a great Honor Video I received via email today. It is from some dear people that I am honored to know. Their names, John and Lisa Bevere. Their hearts reveal a glimpse of the love of God. Be blessed as you watch the video, by clicking on the link below:

I pray you are blessed and encouraged by their words. The video is to pastors, however we can also receive it for our own lives. Let us go in His awesome power and be 'gate keepers' of truth for God's glory!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October 1, 2009, "What are you doing with what you hear?"

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"So whoever cleanses himself [from what is not noble and unclean, who separates himself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences] will [then himself] be a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes, set apart and useful to the Master, fit and ready for any good work."
~ II Timothy 2:21 ~

"You can't be used."
This is a lie. Drive that lie out with the Mighty Name of Jesus.

"Your past is way too dirty and tainted for you to ever be used."
LIE! I am reminded of many people that have been utilized so powerfully by God. Throughout the Bible, there were many with tainted reputations, probably some even wore the 'Scarlett Letter', some convicted of murder, some were adulterers, some were prostitutes, some were cowards, the list goes on..remember the truth when that lie tries to stick it's ugly head up against you. Bring it's ugly head down with the TRUTH...the NAME OF JESUS!!!!!

"You don't know enough about the promises, there's too much to learn in too little time."
That's a lie that the Name of Jesus drives out...for He is the Word, the Holy Spirit is our promise and what Jesus walked in while on this earth, He revealed what Father God wants upon each of our lives!

While Jesus was on the earth...
Did Jesus drive out sickness and disease? Yes
Did Jesus drive out the demon spirits? Yes
Did Jesus heal the lepers? Yes
Did Jesus touch and speak to the blind so that they would see? Yes
Did Jesus raise the dead to life? Yes
Did Jesus walk in love? Yes
Did he stone the woman who was caught in the very act of adultery? NO, however Jesus could have stoned her. He was the only One who had the 'right'. Thank God He didn't hold onto His 'right' to stone her, He held onto the PROMISE of HIS FATHER! He was the only One without sin who could have cast the first stone...BUT He did not do it! He in loving compassion embraced her with God's righteousness and told her to go about her life and sin no more.

Did he shun the 'lost causes'? No. He being the Word, saw with Faith what they were to become..which was much more victorious than all the sin they had ever been partakers of.

I love in Matthew 4:23-24, it states that He went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every weakness and infirmity among the people. It also states throughout the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) that before He did those things he was moved with compassion! Compassion came first and it was His motivation to do what the people so desperately needed.

So the Kingdom of God that Jesus taught and preached shows us what the results are of the Kingdom of God!
~ Reveals the Healing of bodies, minds and spirit from diseases, weaknesses and
infirmities. For He is Healer, Almighty Physician and Counselor.
~ Reveals the Compassion of God, for He is Compassion.
~ Reveals the merciful forgiveness of God, for He is Forgiver.
~ Reveals the Lavish love of God over people, for He is Love.

I pray you are encouraged today by our Almighty, Majestic, Holy, Powerful God! Be encouraged and read the Gospel of the great power that Jesus walked in with God's great love and compassion. What is revealed in this is that the Holy Spirit reveals what Jesus has already done, and He wants and desires to do that through our lives. Will we allow Him?

God bless you today as you bless others and show forth His love as you are led by His compassion...whether WE feel like it or not. That's what FAITH is in action!

If you have not accepted Christ as Your Lord and Savior, He is in loving pursuit of you. Say, "Yes" to Salvation, Who is Jesus Christ. He promises You the Holy Spirit to come in and renew your spirit, which is why it is called being 'born again'. Once you enter the threshold by way of Salvation, then You will see all the promises of God that are before You. Obedience is key. It is not by sacrifice, or by penance, it is by obedience. Sometimes we don't have the 'will power' to obey, but through the mighty help of the Spirit from within, as we allow the Holy Spirit to assist us, we will be able to do things, we could never imagine because of Him through us. Instead of yielding to fears and doubts, it is about yielding to the Holy Spirit and watch what only He can do through'll be amazed!

Believe with your heart as you accept Jesus Christ as Your Lord and Savior, revealed by the Holy Spirit:
"Father God, in the Name of Jesus I say 'Thank You' for sending Jesus to die on the cross to do Your will on my behalf. Thank You for removing the burden of sin and eternal death and for replacing it with Your burden that is light and eternal life. I know that it is ONLY by Jesus Christ that I can come to You. Thank You that your powerful resurrection is what raised Jesus Christ from the dead; as death, hell and the grave could not hold Jesus down. Lord, I want and need You to be my Savior. I may have been a good person all my life, but I know now that being a good person is not good enough. You complete me and fill me with Your Holy Spirit's power. Thank You for coming into my life and allowing me to enter the threshold of salvation. Lord, I surrender to You. I don't commit, but I surrender. Thank You for utilizing me as I am willing by your help and power so that I may be a vessel of honor, set apart and useful for You God prepared for every good work. Thank You for saving me and rescuing me from sin and from myself. In Jesus Mighty, Majestic, Powerful Name I pray. Amen"

If you have prayed this and believed in your heart please know that heaven rejoices over your salvation! God bless you today and please email me or someone you know that you accepted Triumphant Victory by way of Salvation through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Wooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!! I rejoice with you!