Friday, January 29, 2010

January 29, 2010 thru February 1, 2010, "In Awe of You God!"

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

"The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the people see His glory."
~ Psalm 97:6 ~

Watching the trees sway and move in the wind reminds me of a beautiful dance. The dance revealing the awe of Your Glory. Delighting in You, their Creator as they dance in unison, yet a dance all their own. Some sway to and fro, others waving their limbs in excitement of Who You are. The timing of their dance is so beautiful and so humbling.

There are many cultures who worship Your creation yet they do not consider that creation only reveals Your glory. Creation is NOT Your glory. They only reveal a glimpse of Who You are. Wow! A glimpse, yet on the unjust scales of our thoughts, it seems much more than a glimpse, yet compared to YOU THE Uncontainable, Indescribable God, it is truly only a 'speck of dust' glimpse in who You are! Yet with Your glorious beauty and honor they reveal Your Matchless Glory!

I desire and want to remain in awe of You O God. I am in awe that You are immovable. The very fears and the cares of this world that cause a shaking deep within every human soul, YOU are still not moved. Not only are You not moved by it, but You are not surprised by any of it either. The strength that runs out is when my spirit and soul must with great thankfulness depend on YOUR great strength as it NEVER runs out. I just love that I can truly say NEVER and ALWAYS when it comes to You My Father God.

Lord, I want to minister to You today and I know in return You will minister to each of us in ways we could never plan, imagine, hope for or ever dream of. Even the nightmares that we have never imagined would annihilate us, may I be reminded even in the midst of death, YOU are eternal as this life is temporal. Your promise is never to leave us nor forsake us. To this promise I am truly and humbly grateful. Those things we hang on to with dear life, will all pass away, even our very lives. You are the only One who will stand. I must remain actively in You!

I want to be sensitive Lord to remain in passionate love in and with You. I no longer want to get caught in the religious acts of doing the 'works of God' but not doing it with You, abiding in You moment by moment. I want my life to be as the effortless dance in the wind. I want to remain desperately in pursuit of Who You are, bringing glory to Your Eternal, Majestic, Holy Name!

I love You my Mighty God! I love You with Your love because of Jesus Christ. I don't love with you with my own perishing love, but Your glorious, perfect Love...for LOVE is WHO YOU ARE!

Love your princess and daughter,

P.S. God has been ministering to me to minister to Him...He will lift us up as we exalt Him! I received my confirmation today as I was listening to Jeremy Camp's testimony on the radio. He prayed to the Lord about wanting to minister to the many hearts who would hear and listen to his CD...and in turn God spoke to Jeremy and said, "I want you to minister to Me and don't worry about their hearts, for I will take care of them as you minister to Me."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

January 28, 2010, "Preparation In The Midst of The 'Rain'"

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

"and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;"
~ Ephesians 6:10-18 (Excerpt from Ephesians 6:15) ~

I greatly appreciate your patience as 'Triumphant Victorious Reminders' has not been efficiently going out as planned. I greatly apologize for this; I am sitting at my local library as my fingers dance upon the foreign keyboard. The backspaces and edits are truly humorous.

The past couple days have truly been an adventurous ride. The adventure is based on that false sense of security in technology. Realizing and being reminded yet again who our only Security truly is...The Almighty God!

You may ask, what did the adventurous ride entail? Well, let's just say the dependency on my computer. Does anyone know what I mean? Truly, everything was great, I powered Cody's computer off, ran some errands, came home to write my devotional to find that my computer was hit with some type of virus. With the help of his mom in California, she is assisting us in properly getting it repaired.

I panicked as I didn't transfer any of my documents onto my usb flash drive; which leads me to today's reminder. I must be prepared not just to gather information but be prepared to see great transformation (Lisa Bevere). This was the first lesson in this adventure.

Hmmmmmmm...."preparation is key" is a word I received back in 2005 after we had been hit with the reality of financial hardship...literally in one moment. In the reminder of this simple yet profound 'word' from 2005, while writing in my journal, that memory today was brought back to me.

It leads me to the meaning of preparation. According to one of the defintions on the online dictionary, preparation is the state of having been made ready or prepared for use or action. This is also something my mom fervently taught each of us, her daughters, since we were children. She continually said, "The rainy day will come, will you be prepared?" It wasn't about 'if' it was about 'when'. In comparison, life will have rainy days. The 'rain' or circumstances of life are not bias to one particular sex, gender, race or happens!

I asked myself today, "Am I readily prepared?" My answer is..."Not in all areas of my life." Of course, I will say the one area I am truly thankful is for my relationship with Jesus Christ. For in Him I realize that through the rain, chaos, the unknown, betrayal, death, disaster, and surprises of life He will sustain me IF I allow Him. It isn't that He isn't able and willing...the question is, "Am I willing to do the first step by letting go of fear and grabbing onto Faith in Him!

Today, as we go about our day. When we look at our spouse, children, business, job, career, relationships, cell phones, our technological gadgets, etc. that we choose not to live without, let's truly be reminded of WHOM we must not live without...and that is our Hope and Faith which is Jesus Christ!

I don't want to run only run TO Him because He is my last 'resort'...but I want to run WITH Him because we are honored to know whom we get to serve as we are lavishly loved by Him!

Wow! What a thought...the MOST famous ONE loves you and I! Now that's an awesome reminder today in the midst of preparation!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

January 26, 2010, "Patience"

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..."
~ Galatians 5:22-23 ~

"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,"
~ Hebrews 10:23 & 24 ~

An adorable little girl with blonde hair and blue eyes greatly frustrated, whined, "Teacher! My mouse isn't working!"
I responded in a soft voice, "OK sweetie. In order for your mouse to work you must move it around."

A cute little boy who looked as though he just got out of bed, extended his arm to the ceiling, as his forehead formed a frown. He was frustrated as he had forgotten which program to click on. He shouted, "Teacher! I don't remember!" Before I could answer another little girl yells out, "It's not working!" Then as though it became contagious the voices got louder as more children were joining their cries.

Suddenly, I couldn't take the climatic noise as it sounded like clanging cymbals. I could feel my nostrils flaring as the patience felt as though it was leaving my body at accelerated speed. Impatience annihilating me like bullets.

Suddenly, I heard my voice. Pure frustration echoed from my mind through my mouth, "Just click on it!" As soon as I said it I quickly recovered, changing my tone immediately to a sweeter tone going to each child and remaining calm for their sake.

As I volunteered in the library today, it was at that moment I was learning a lesson in patience. It wasn't about the children, but about that gift which I didn't utilize for a moment. I was being taught a lesson by my Father God as He allowed me to see my weakness so that His strength could be made perfect in my life. It wasn't that I 'lost' my patience, even though it felt like I had 'chucked it out the window'. It was truly about being exposed to that which I needed to work on. The exposure wasn't to make me feel like I was 'no good' or that condemnation of, "You failed again!" The exposure was revealing what I needed to utilize and exercise that which was already within me. It wasn't about utilizing an outside source to fix an inside was to utilize an inside source to fix an inside problem.

It led me to the times I have prayed for a fruit of the Spirit to be placed over me. For instance, patience. Have you ever prayed for patience? Did it seem like every where you turned there was a situation in which you needed it more? We have said it and even heard it, "Don't pray for patience, because you'll get what you pray for."

The beautiful things that God has called us to do, He has never intended for us to do on our own strength or our own will power. He calls us to do His work with the tools that He already provides. It wasn't about 'praying' for patience, it was about utilizing the patience that God had made provision for.

I have to say, I didn't pray for patience, but I saw today even more so why I needed to operate in it, for the sake of the children..haahaa!. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and we remain filled up by the Spirit of God, that 'fruit' is already on the inside of us. The patience is already there as a gift from God to utilize. It isn't something to be prayed for; it is something to be utilized. Those situations 'stir up' the need to 'stir' within ourselves that gift which is already within us, to manifest upon us to reveal upon others.

Today, I am reminded that patience is a gift already provided on the inside of me from God. I must also remember not to use the gift of patience to confuse it with tolerance of wickedness. If patience is a gift, then I realize it's not mine to misuse but to utilize for God's Awesome Glory!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

January 25, 2010, "Meditate On What's True"

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by today's Contributing Writer:
Celina Moser Baginski

Today's devotional is beautifully written by my friend and sister in the Lord, Celina. She has written a beautiful reminder of what our meditations must be based on.

Enjoy and be encouraged today!

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things." ~ Philippians 4:8 ~

"Meditate On What's True"

Today, I want you to focus on the first part of this scripture "...whatever things are true...; meditate on these things" and how worry prevents us from doing what this scripture has called us to do.

God wants your mind to be at peace, yet for so many of us, worrying is almost second nature. How can you have the peace of mind that you're really searching for when you're continually thinking of worse case scenarios? Consider this quote by Warren Wiersbe. “Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny!”

Let's look at the words meditate and truth. The NIV and KJV translates the word meditate to think. It means to employ one's mind rationally and objectively. The word truth means conformity with fact or reality. God has called us to meditate on truth, but when we worry, we're not correctly thinking of the facts because what we're worrying about hasn't happened yet! It's not reality.

Worry is the essence of losing control of our thoughts and instead being controlled by outside forces. So when worrisome thoughts set in, it's an act of giving up; a demonstration of a lack of faith in God. Here’s an example of such faithless words, "What's going to happen to me?; How am I going to make it?; Will my dreams ever come true?" The truth is that this is a failure to think, the absence of thought. Instead, you've given up because you've taken a passive attitude versus an action oriented approach.

The Bible says "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he...(Proverbs 23:7) Even clinical studies back up this truth and have determined that 90 percent of our daily behavior is based on our habits. Read the quote by Warren Wiersbe once more and take note of how just a simple thought is directly tied to your destiny.

Sincerely consider your present situation. If your behavior stems from your thoughts and your actions today determine your tomorrow, you must truthfully ask yourself, how are your thought patterns today setting you up for the person that God has called you to be 1 year, 5 years, 10 years down the road? Is this who you want to be? If you answer yes, I'm so excited for you! But if you're answer is no, let's press on.

So how do we change? The next time worrisome thoughts creep into your mind, use that very moment as an opportunity to believe in God and speak the truth (Mark 11:22-23). A synonym for the word truth is faith. So if your worrisome thoughts have made it difficult to see the truth, simply speak faith-filled words over that situation. For example, the moment you think "What's going to happen to me?" say out loud "God is taking care of me. He's protecting me." When you think "How am I going to make it?" Say out loud "God is preparing a way for me." When you think "Will my dreams ever come true" say out loud "God is faithful to complete what He has started.” (Philippians 1:6).

Is your worrisome mind always racing at mach speeds day in and out? If so, don't let your thoughts limit what God can do. Instead, practice this simple exercise and watch how you start to become the person that God has destined you to be.

Today's Prayer

Lord, help me to remember this simple truth-that you're in control and that you're protecting me day after day.

Be blessed,

Celina Moser Baginski

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Update on Lily's full recovery!!

Sky and Lily eating breakfast and yummy Krispy Kreme!

This morning the girls taking a walk up the hill!!!! Look at that, just a few days ago Lily could hardly walk...and now look! O how our God who heals is not just that....HE is Healing!

We praise God for His mighty works, utilizing prayer as a tool to see things changed according to His will!

Here is precious Lily and her little sister this morning!!!!

Check out the devotional for this weekend as well! It truly encouraged me, as I pray it also encourages you!

January 23 & 24, 2010, "God is Faithful"

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

"If we are
faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself."
~ II Timothy 2:13 ~

I am so humbled as I look back. It is not regret of my past that leads me to this humbleness, it is the Awesomeness of God that has led me to repentance NOT regret.

I shake my head in awe as the recollection of self-inflicted pain, lies, manipulation, and gossip were what people associated me with. As I reminisce of those times; I am not feeling condemned, yet I am in awe of God's Majestic Love over my life in spite of who I was. I am in awe of God's great mercy over my life. I am truly overwhelmed that He saw past the wretchedness and by Faith, because HE is FAITH spoke forth and knew what He meant for me to become in Him and with Him through Jesus Christ.

I look upon this girl I once was. I don't see her as me, but as another person, longing to embrace her, then taking a hold of her, looking into her eyes and telling her there is more to life than that which she lives. I want to tell her the dreams that she can dream again, the love that she can walk in, and the truth that she can live in.

I am reminded of God's faithfulness even when I am faithless.

I love You my Father. Thank you for adopting me and taking me in as I was dressed in filthy rags made of sin as I was clothed in the spirit of heaviness and removing the burden of sin and replacing the rags with your robe of righteousness. Thank you for removing the ashes that I have given to you and for replacing it with much more than I could ever imagine, your wonderful, indescribable beauty. Thank You for the Oil of Joy as You took away the mourning and sadness replacing it with gladness in You, leading me to rejoice in You my God (Isaiah 61:3)!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

January 22, 2010, "Would You have Still Praised Me?"

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

"Why are you cast down, O my soul
(mind)? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God."
~ Psalm 42:5, 11 & 43:5 NKJV~

I am reminded of the day a few years back when I was looking for a front row parking space. I remember selfishly praying for 'parking favor' when suddenly a front parking spot became available. Of course, I was happy that I wouldn't have to walk as far and in doing so I said, "Praise God for front row parking favor". As soon as I spoke that out, I remember hearing in my spirit, "What if the front row parking space was unavailable would you have still praised Me?" I remember being shocked with that question. Most of us know that when God asks us a question, it's not that He doesn't know the answer; it's that most likely we aren't doing what is being asked about. Well, of course, my religious answer? "Of course" then I was quickly awakened to reality when I finished that sentence with ..."not".

Believe it or not, that was the moment when I learned that praising God was not just a 'feel good couple of words' to say, or a cliche. It was the moment when I realized no matter what my circumstances are it doesn't change the must and the necessity to praise my Father God. The mandate on my life; which is to praise Him because of Who He is; not because of what He can do for me.

I ponder the Majesty that we are able to behold as God reveals His loving grace and tender mercies over us moment by moment through Jesus Christ. Creation itself praises our God. You don't believe me? Marvel at the 'limbs' of the trees...look how they extend their 'limbs' to the skies in awe of their glorious Creator. Look upon the blades of grass as they grow upward allowing His glory to shine upon them. The mountain's majestic peaks reaching to the heavens declaring His everlasting glory. The skies that embrace us clothed in a new stroke of His glorious creativity as the sky is ever changing and ever remarkable. The sky is as the train of God's majestic robe...for the heavens cannot contain His glory, so why do I attempt such a foolish feat?

I am in awe of Who He is, which leads me to this aching desire to want to be constantly in awe of Who He is; more so than even creation's thunderous applause.

I was made to worship and praise all that I I am reminded to praise Him when I feel like it, when I don't feel like it, when I feel as though there is no where to turn, when my life is wonderful, when its filled with life circumstances, I want to be found 'guilty' of praising Him in all seasons of my life.

In the praise may it be great evidence of my trust in my Father.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January 19, 2010, "The Hope of Glory"

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

"To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
~ Colossians 1:27 ~

The mystery? Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Wow! It was an amazing weekend. My daughter and I attended a conference hosted by our church, 'Worship Life' and Patsy Cameneti (Our Pastor's sister) was the vessel God utilized so powerfully this weekend.

I had and continue to have a great heart awakening on the inside of me. My desire to want more of His promises and what could be had of Him was cutting me like a knife...truly destroying my desires. The simplicity of truth revealed that I must be filled up constantly by our God. Not what we think of being 'filled up' as. You know that ever burning question of, "What's in it for me? What can I gain from it?" It's not a one time 'fill up' for selfish reasons, but instead it's a fill up of being consumed by God Himself. Not just the 'feeling' or the 'sense' of His presence; but truly aching for Him; desiring Him and praising Him with our lips.

It was daunting to realize as Patsy taught, she noted something so obvious; yet has been overlooked by so many of us. If we are to get filled up, we know by default that just like water...evaporation also takes place. Life schedules, people, circumstances suck those things out of us, which causes us the great need to be constantly filled up. Many times we attempt to do the filling ourselves with the murky, dirty things which only clouds and does not bring a quenching to the thirst that He can quench. We only lead ourselves to great dissatisfaction.

Sometimes when we go to church, we say, "I got filled up today." "I cried during service, I got filled up." "I fell under the Spirit, I got filled up." "I went to a revival, I got filled up." Or we get the 'Holy Spirit goose bumps' and we think we got the fill up. When we sense His presence, we think, "I got the fill up". The manifestations are great; but truly many times they are only splashes of the true fill up. I am beginning to understand however, it's a constant fill up that needs to take place; individually and as a group of believers. Being submerged in knowing Who dwells within us.

He dwells within us leads me to this truth; we aren't called to 'act' like Christ, we are called to reveal His very nature the Hope of Glory. We become the hope of glory to others because of Christ. Just revealing our goodness is still nothing in comparison to God's goodness. Our goodness, our righteousness revealed still comes up short, it's as filthy rags. Not just rags..but filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). God doesn't want us revealing who we 'were' before we became one with Him....He wants us to reveal who we 'are' in Him.

How? As Patsy taught us, reminding us of many scriptures, but one of them was Psalm 81:10..."Open your mouth wide and I will fill it." There is something about the opening of our mouths...not like a bird getting fed...but something comes out from our spirit, praising God. As we praise God and as the praise of our lips unto Him leaves our mouth, there is a reciprocation that takes place...we get filled up. We get filled up with the amazing truth of Who is dwelling within us. The Holy Spirit is not just a 'look alike', or a 'stand in' for the 'real' thing. The Holy Spirit is the SPIRIT OF THE LIVING GOD. The SAME Spirit who hovered over the face of the deep when God spoke THE WORD. God in the plural form were at work...ALL ONE! God opened His mouth and The Word (Jesus) was poured out and the Spirit hovered over what was declared as He watched over the Word seeing it performed. It is incredibly mind blowing and indescribable of the God who not only loves us with a love we could never truly comprehend; but yet He is in us and we are in Him (John 16).

My focus has been unintentionally diverted. I, like many 'Christians' have taken classes and taken these 'tests' on what gifts I operate in. We belong to denominational meetings or we say, I am of this denomination, or of that denomination (I Corinthians 1:10-18), I am of this church, or of that church. We even place great precedence on that book, and this book to help get to the seven steps of this or that. Some even focus on the afflictions we must suffer to give God greater glory. Is your head spinning yet? I was reminded with great fire and fervency of the Spirit that I truly needed a focus transformation. The focus is not about me and what I can do because of Christ. The focus is truly about Christ and revealing that He must be revealed through you and I for others to see, the Hope of Glory! This world needs hope! But NOT our hope...they NEED GOD'S HOPE OF HIS GLORY! We must have an aching for the heart of God, not only as individuals, but also as a church body. It is so important that we do hook up with a body of believers believing the Word of God as Truth which is Jesus Christ knowing that He promised us The Helper who reveals the Father's heart. There is power when we come together; but the true power comes when we seek after God. It is not about seeking God to get what we desire, but seeking God because He is who we desire. When we desire who He is...all those other gifts, blessings and promises come just because of Who He is not because of who we are or what we have done.

Today I am greatly reminded of Who I must desire, versus what I must desire. I close today's devotional with the following words to an amazing song we sang last night (Colossians 3:16):

'Only Satisfied':
By Chad Cates, Tony Wood, Ronnie Freeman

Living Water, Bread of Life,
My desire, my delight,
I have tasted, I have seen
That all You are is all I'll ever need.
I am only satisfied in You.
In the world of empty answers
You're The Way, The Life, The Truth
And I am only satisfied in You.

We were made by Your design
To thirst and pray
For Love Divine
Nothing here can truly fill

All my life I had panted
For a drink from some cool stream
That I hoped would quench the burning of the thirst
I felt within

I am only satisfied in You.
In the world of empty answers
You're The Way, The Life, The Truth
And I am only satisfied in You.

Update on Lily Parker 'LP'

Our family is beyond grateful to God for His beautiful power in the midst of this trial. We are also so grateful for the many of you who have prayed with great supplication on Lily's behalf.

Here is an update of God's healing manifesting on Lily's body...

Sweet lily could walk today! She wasn't able to walk with out a lot of pain until this morning... We were nervous it was a pinched nerve from the lumbar puncture but she walked two loops around the halls this morning! She actually can't walk again at the moment, but they think it's just inflamed so they will give her inflammatory medicines but thank the Lord it's not her nerve. The cultures came back negative today for Bacterial Meningitis. Thank you sweet Jesus. Thanks for your prayers on Lily's behalf. We love you guys!

Here's a pic of 'LP' walking the halls...

Here is another update from my sweet, funny sister:

Hello all... Some have asked about her walking... Well we're home now (Hallelujah). They gave her some medicines for inflammation this morning (Thank our God for 'Mac Mac'- her grandpa in Uganda... He diagnosed it all the way across the world ;) ... I always have heard he's one of the best doctors... Seriously... 'King of the Bush Doctor's').

Lily Parker did well after the medicines but then I guess it flares up again and then she can't walk... When she got home she wasn't able to walk but she is resting now... That is probably what she needs... Some shut eye. ;) Thank you for continuing to pray for her! I know His hand is on her.
Love you mucho,
'Mike and ike'
(Mary Kay)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Prayer Request...Update!

The host of prayers going forth as beautiful banners wave about, reaching to The Throne of God.

My precious sister and her husband David are wonderful parents to two beautiful little girls. I am writing this post on behalf of the whole family, however specifically in regards to their oldest daughter, Lily Parker.

To think upon the face of Lily is so breathtaking. Her beautiful olive skin tone, bright brown eyes that flutter so beautifully as they are framed with those long dark lashes. She is shy yet tenacious, bold in the Lord, and a passionate lover of Jesus as she desires that every Disney princess knows who Jesus is. Lily is 3 years old, soon to turn 4 in February. She is truly a lover of God's righteousness and justice as these are the foundations of His Indescribable Throne (Psalm 89:14).

Today, we must fight with faith that is from God in prayer on behalf of Lily who knows her Loving yet Mighty God. Thank you for praying and agreeing with the Word of God in regards to who she is in the Lord. Thank you for agreeing with Isaiah 58:8, as Lily's heart is about the poor and the destitute; both naturally and spiritually. Because of her heart for the poor and the destitute the promise of God is that her light shall break forth like the morning, and her healing shall spring forth speedily; her righteousness and justice shall go before her, and the glory of the Lord shall be her rear guard. She not only reveals the heart of God in her passionate compassion for the poor and needy, but she also reveals the heart of her earthly parents who also have a passionate compassion for those who are poor and needy, both physically and spiritually.

Here is the following email sent from my sister this morning:

"Hello... Please be praying for Lily... Since yesterday afternoon and until this morn she had a horrible headache with fever and vomiting... She was in a lot of pain all nite... David took her to the ER around 7am (I'll meet up with them when Sky wakes up)... She's getting tested for meningitis. Please pray as she has to have all the tests done... Blood work, lumbar puncture, cat scan etc... And pray it is NEGATIVE. I took her to the doctor yesterday because she had an ear infection and they gave her Amoxicilin 2 tsp twice a day which equals 4 tsps per day... Is that too much mac mac? I thought at first that is why she was sick but I don't think so now. Wanted to call mimi and mac but don't have card or numbers... If anyone else has one, can you give them a ring in case they don't get this. Will keep you updated. Love you guys so much! Thanks for your prayers... Believing that it's nothing serious in Jesus name!"

Please also pray that David and Mary Kay will be able to get a hold of David's parents who are in Uganda as they are missionaries providing medical care and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. David is also going to school to become a doctor, as he is soon to become the 3rd or 4th generation to do so. The amazing part is that each of the generations before him, used their medical positions to help those on the mission field; especially through the continent of Africa; which is also the heart of David and Mary Kay. The lineage continues...

Lily, Mary Kay and Sky

Sky, David, Lily and Mary Kay

Update as of January 16, 2010:

The following update is from my sister...

She ate a good dinner. The children's hospital is nice...they gave her a teddy bear and a blanket. She was doing better a few hours ago but is hurting again especially from the lumbar's hard to move her legs because her hurts her butt she says. She is so awesome and so tough, she hardly makes a squeak...Very brave!!! The nurses at both hospitals and EMT's loved her and says how awesome she did. Thank you again for your prayers!!! Will continue to update you tomorrow...Good night...Love Mikey!

When she was admitted to ER

Being transferred to children's hospital via ambulance.

Eating a little soup and crackers with juice...she looks so brave and awesome!!!

Here is another update from Lily's mommy...

"There she is; the 'pink princess' ;) Feeling much better today. Thank You Jesus! The only thing that bothers her today is her head, bum and back. No more vomiting or fever. The first thing she said this morning when she woke up, "Mommy! What about Sky? Daddy has to go to work and she will be all alone." Sweet, sweet sister ;) they love each other. Thank you for your prayers, encouragement and love...Definitely feel His peace and healing over her. Will continue to keep all of you posted on her cultures and how she is doing. David has a test that he is studying for, so please keep him in your prayers too. I will switch with him in a little bit because he can probably get more studying done here than with little Sky running around everywhere and she is not allowed in the room so I'm not able to watch both of them. Some sweet families from David's class have offered to help with Sky so we'll take them up on it later in the day. We are so thankful to God for His healing over Lily. I can't imagine the families who's precious children are in the hospital for days, weeks and months. So sad. We are so blessed to have two healthy, whole children. Ok bless you guys. Love, MK"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"Father's Love Letter"

Our beautiful reminder of our Father God's Love for each of us! O how He loves you and me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January 14, 2010, "Bless Your Life Today", New Contributing Writer

Triumphant Victorious Reminders

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Stevens Criswell

Please welcome my dear friend and sister in Christ, Celina Moser Baginski as a contributing writer to 'Triumphant Victorious Reminders'.
Be blessed as she has written what was revealed to her so beautifully.

The devotion she has been led to write is titled,

"Bless Your Life Today!”

Written By: Celina Moser Baginski

January 14, 2010

"Pressed on every side; yet not crushed! Perplexed but not in despair! Persecuted but not forsaken! Struck down but not destroyed!"

~ II Corinthians 4:8-9 ~

"Life and death are in the power of the tongue; those who love it will eat its fruit."

~ Proverbs 18:21 ~

Everywhere we turn, we hear of people's struggles due to natural disasters and people hurting and betraying each other, but these stories depict outside influences. In reality the most devastating news of all is what we're doing to ourselves. All over the world, millions of us are hurting because of the defeating thoughts and words that we have spoken to ourselves. Every day millions say, "I'm stupid; I'm a loser; I'm ugly; I'm fat; I just can't win; I can never get it right; When am I ever going to get a break; I deserve this bad thing that just happened to me today; I'm the most unlucky person that ever lived; Who could love me?; I'm such an idiot." And this destructive list goes on and on. Our imagination is endless when it comes to putting ourselves down. Have you ever thought that you were not creative? Think again.

When I first read the scripture for today, I imagined all of the outside forces and influences that were coming against Paul from all sides. But then in an instant this scripture took on a different meaning. Sure, there's been a ton of circumstances in my life that have knocked me down, but even more than these outside forces, it's been me that has pressed, perplexed, persecuted and struck my own self down.

How many times have I condemned myself for not doing this or that right. I would say, "There I go again; When am I ever going to get it right?" I've confused myself by taking on so many projects and have committed myself to so many goals that I've had no direction at all. Persecute means "to pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment, to annoy or trouble persistently." I have harassed myself with overwhelming negativity every time I have gained weight, didn't lose weight, didn't get to the gym, didn't work out hard enough and didn't make it to my fitness class on time. I've tormented myself not just with fitness topics, but anything else that my imaginative mind could come up with.

On the contrary, we would be offended if someone else spoke these same words to us. And if someone said these words to a loved one we would definitely be itching to shake our fists in that person’s face to defend them. But why haven't we taken this same passionate approach against our own defeating thoughts? Today I challenge you to stomp your foot and say, "No more!"

We have been our own worst enemies, but through God's Word and through His promises for our lives, He says you are not crushed! You have what it takes to follow through. He is telling us to not despair because He is faithful in all circumstances. He says, you are not forgotten! He sees what you are going through and He is watching over you today and every day. He is telling us that we are not destroyed! We are not injured beyond repair. We are not useless fragments with no purpose in life.

We believe our words more than we believe anybody else's. Begin to bless your life today by speaking faith-filled words such as "I'm smart; I'm a winner; I'm good-looking; I'm fit; I'm a winner; I do many things the right way; I get good breaks; I deserve good things; I'm blessed; I'm lovable; I'm intelligent."

May we be reminded to choose words of Life as we speak God's Words over ourselves. Our life belong to Him. We are stewards of the life He has given to us.

Today’s Prayer:
"Lord, give me Your words to speak over my life. Teach me how to encourage myself. Show me how my life will change once I speak Your promises over my life."

Bless yourself today!

Celina M. Baginski

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

January 12, 2010, "Testimony"

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

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
~ Ephesians 3:20-21 ~

We met in the seventh grade; the fall of 1987. She was a tall, beautiful girl who ended up being a classmate of mine. We became friends; actually she was more like the 'mother hen' as she was mature, beyond her years. I remember still 'til this day how she encouraged me; the immature, awkward, silly girl. Soon after our friendship bloomed, she ended up leaving our school in 1988 as we did not see each other again until much later; after graduating high school.

Our friendship started right where it left off in the winter of 1994. I just moved from Texas to Kansas. We spent so much time together. We had our giggles, and cries. We cut each others hair. We threw parties, 'were the party' (LOL)! and just loved to party. She was the friend who stuck closer than a sister. She told me the truth when others gave up on me. She loved on me when others couldn't stand me.

Time seemed to slip away as our paths separated. During this time of going our separate ways is when the choices I made escalated into what seemed to be a constant entanglement of destruction. My life was evidence of the absence of God.

I can still remember the last time I saw her, she was dropping me off at the Denver airport to come home to Salt Lake City, Utah. I had just visited her for the weekend in 1998. A year and a half later, in March of 2000 my husband and I had our precious daughter.

After having our daughter, I remember longing to find my friend. The memories of her sticking with me, even after the skeletons she personally had seen in my closet. She knew my deep secrets of shame. She knew me before I was transformed by my Rescuer, Jesus Christ. The memories burned within my heart of the laughter, tears, burdens and wonderful times we shared; I longed to see her again.

Time's passing seconds only reminded me of her absence. I desired to share with my childhood friend, however my resources were limited as I attempted to find her.

In 2003, my life saw the redemption of God's merciful love lavished so beautifully upon me. Almost eleven years later from the time I last saw her, in 2009, we were reunited via online through none other than 'Facebook' as I remember typing her name into the 'search engine', and there she was; as beautiful as ever.

(Celina, pictured above).

The journey we have taken on the phone, via email and facebook has been a hilarious ride and of course, it is as though time never left us as we started right where we left off. To hear of our life's journeys and the destructive paths finally forsaken, and the path of Righteousness taken by the leading of Jesus; we shared with one another what life had brought us as Jesus continually carried us through despite of who we were even without Him.

To hear her voice and to hear about the dreams she has seen fulfilled in her life was not surprising, yet still amazing. Nonetheless, without further 'ado'; I am honored to introduce you to my wonderful friend and sister in the Lord who I have been led to invite as a contributing writer with 'Triumphant Victorious Reminders'.

She is very busy with great adventures; yet has with great joy said, "Yes" to this new assignment. Please help me welcome my wonderful friend, and sister in the Lord and more than anything, daughter of the King.

Celina Moser Baginski, the 'Branding Development Director' at an 'internet technologies' company, resides in Colorado with her husband and two adorable 'puppy' children. She is tenaciously creative, bold, brave and quick witted. Celina is currently working on a few exciting projects. Please pray for her as she will see one of these projects be released to share in the next year.

Celina will be posting devotionals/testimonies as the Lord leads. Tomorrow I will get to share with you that which God has prepared in her heart. I am truly blown away by God's amazing, redeeming power as He is able to do super exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask, think, dream or imagine!

Thank you for your love and support. I am greatly blessed that God has allowed me the opportunity to be a carrier of His encouragement. And I thank you for also being a carrier of His encouragement towards me.

God blesses you abundantly, for that is what He came to do, He came to give us life that we may have, possess and live life more abundantly (John 10:10)!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sanctified Together Publication - Issue 1: Belt of Truth

The first issue of Sanctified Together Publication is out! I am truly blessed and humbly honored to be a contributing writer with this encouraging, powerful publication.

Our prayer is that you are encouraged, inspired and blessed by this publication! Please share it with all the women in your life!

To see the
Sanctified Together Publication online and read all the inspiring articles, click here. To receive future publications by email, click here.

January 11, 2010, "God's Goodness"

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

"I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works."
~ Psalm 9:1 ~

"Or do you despise the riches of His goodness,
forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing
the goodness
of God leads you to repentance?"
~ Romans 2:4 ~

"Your Goodness Leads Me"
Love Your Daughter, Teresa

I praise You O Lord!
Your Goodness is more than words can describe.
No eloquence of the mouth could come
close to Your Excellent Greatness!

Your goodness is what continually leads me to repentance.
In repentance You have lovingly taken my hand
as I express my trust in You.
You turned me from the old ways and
You continue to lead me on Your path of Righteousness.
O Lord Your goodness leads me.

I pray O Lord that I follow your merciful leading.
I pray that I follow, listen and act upon Your loving Voice.
As You have so beautifully shown me Life...
I pray that I beautifully reveal Your Life upon others.

I pray they smell your embracing fragrance.
I pray my eyes would reflect how You see them
As they look into my eyes.

O God You are More than Excellent.
You are More than Worthy to be praised.
You are More than Glorious!
Triumphantly I sound the Trumpet of Thanksgiving
as You enter in ALWAYS with Victory.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

January 9, 2009, "The Heaven's Declarations"

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

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows and proclaims His handiwork. Day after day pours forth speech, and night after night shows forth knowledge. There is no speech nor spoken word [from the stars]; their voice is not heard. Yet their voice [in evidence] goes out through all the earth, their sayings to the end of the world. Of the heavens has God made a tent for the sun..."

~ Psalm 19 (Excerpt from Psalm 19:1-4) Amplified Bible ~

I was turning onto our neighborhood street as we were on our way to take Tristin to school. I was swept away by the sky that was before me. Immediately it was as if the sky were reminding me of the Glory of God. The reminder led me to the skies hovering over me that once hovered over King David, Queen Esther, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the many others who came before us. The same sun that shines also shone about on our Savior Jesus when He walked upon the earth. Creation spoke forth out of the mouth of God still 'til this day proclaim, declare and reveal the Glory of God!

Many times the 'trips' that my heart's mind escapes to in attempting to grasp the awesomeness of God is truly indescribable. I call it taking a trip off the 'Vanishing Cliff' when attempting to grasp such indescribable awesomeness. As I fall into this 'cliff' that is eternal my parachute of reality slows the fall, as I maneuver back onto this temporal, physical realm. My spirit can handle the grandeur of the cliff, but my mind pleads with me to stop as comprehension of Almighty God is more than I can fathom.

I am swept away by the creation of God that reveals His grand Majesty! Even when I pass away, the heavens will still proclaim and declare His glory. So in all of this, I am reminded that as I am allowed to be here on this earth for another moment; I desire to dig my toes into the earth's soil intentionally feeling every piece of dirt beneath my feet. Through my hands, feet, steps and words continually declaring God's glorious Majesty!

Friday, January 8, 2010

January 8, 2009, "The SAME Spirit of Faith"

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

"I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and supplications (. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live. The cords and sorrows of death were around me; and the terrors of Sheol (the place of the dead) had laid hold of me; I suffered anguish and grief (trouble and sorrow). THEN called I upon the name of the Lord: O Lord, I beseech You, save my life and deliver me! Gracious is the Lord, and [rigidly] righteous; yes, our God is merciful!"

~ Psalm 116 (Excerpt from Psalm 116:1-5 Amplified Bible)

And we have the same Spirit of Faith.

My mind attempts to ponder this Supernatural fact. "We have the same 'Spirit of Faith'." It led me to curiosity of the simple word, 'same'. So I did my quick referencing via The Free In my quick search, I found there are several definitions, which I was familiar with. However, the word 'same' that is referenced in II Corinthians 4 is defined as 'Being the very one'. Now the other definitions mentioned obviously define the word, 'same', however, those definitions are more describing similarity versus being the very same one.

Nonetheless, I wanted to know who Paul was speaking of when he said, "And we have the same Spirit of Faith, according to what is written, "I believed and therefore I speak...". So I realized that he was referencing someone or someone's writings. I asked the Lord, who was he referencing? My Amplified Bible referenced, Psalm 116. I sat in my chair amazed.

The writer (author unknown) of Psalm 116 was in similar perplexities, hardships, and most likely being struck down whether in his thoughts, circumstances or just everything; yet even in all of the pressings of circumstances the joyous psalmist reminded himself of the Gracious God he loves. He reminded himself of His God Who is his Helper. He reminded his mind (soul) to just rest, remembering how the Lord had dealt bountifully with him. He yet again, reminded himself in verse 8, "For you have delivered my life from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling and falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living! Then in verse 10 that Spirit of Faith rises up and the psalmist proclaims, "I BELIEVED (TRUSTED IN, RELIED ON, AND CLUNG TO MY GOD), AND THEREFORE HAVE I SPOKEN [EVEN WHEN I SAID], I AM GREATLY AFFLICTED." He spoke forth whom He believed in even with all the afflictions that barraged him.

My closing thought for today: Just as the psalmist and just as Paul, I want to be make the choice and decision to be more overtaken by my belief in God, over the belief that I may be overtaken by the afflictions pressing me.

If you didn't get a chance to read yesterday's devotional, it is titled, "Pressed? Perplexed?"

**A side note from Rick Warren's 'Sparkling Gems':
(Definition of Afflicition: In most of Paul's writings, he associates "joy" with times of affliction. The word "affliction" used in this verse is the Greek word thlipsis. This word is so strong that it leaves no room for misunderstanding regarding the intensity of the afflictions the Thessalonians faced.

The word thlipsis conveys the idea of a heavy-pressure situation. One scholar says it was first used to describe the specific act of tying a victim with a rope, laying him on his back, and then placing a huge boulder on top of him until his body was crushed).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Reflecting back on June 10, 2009

I urge some of us to read from a past blog entry, written on June 10, 2009. Titled, "Confessions of Our Mouth".

Tell me if it helped at was a great reminder of Who I belong to and Who I must 'echo'!

Thank you for taking a moment to stop by...tell me what you think, when you have a moment...

Please be sure to read the post written today...Pressed? Perplexed?

January 7, 2009, "Pressed? Perplexed?"

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

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint or grow weary; there is no searching of His understanding. He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]."
~ Isaiah 40:28 & 29 ~

Please if you can...shout, proclaim and declare out loud this devotional today...I know it will cause great encouragement as it did for me and continues to at this very moment. Please read this with great emphasis!

"Pressed on every side; yet not crushed! Perplexed but not in despair! Persecuted but not forsaken! Struck down but not destroyed" (II Corinthians 4:8&9)!

Now this is truly perspective as Paul truly trusted God. Paul had tribulation like many of us could not imagine. Shipwrecked. Beaten with brutal whips, while in chains; multiple times. Resistance going into a new country to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He gave up the comforts of this world in obedience to God. He was hated; yet he was passionate for Jesus. His passion and love for Christ was a reciprocation of what he received from Almighty God. It was in this, the powerful forgiveness of God. This forgiveness that touched his life was the driving force in which he was truly able to love people with the love of Almighty God. He would make mention that it was not by his excellence; but the excellence of God that was made manifest in, on and through his life.

Paul was a leader in every sense. He looked past his own trials. He didn't ignore them, and he even mentioned them, however HE with great fervency, passion and emphasis knew that through it all, GOD was, is and always would be greater than all of his trials put together. Now that is faith in God, in ways I still cannot imagine.

In the midst of hard-pressed circumstances; even unto death, perplexed and persecuted for Jesus' Name, may we rise up with great fervency and passion finally believing Who we 'say' we believe.

I encourage you today with Paul's words, by the Spirit of God that were written to the Church of Corinth. May we stir ourselves up with this great reminder (This is me paraphrasing
II Cor. 4:7-18):

"We possess this amazing treasure when we have accepted Jesus Christ as our LORD and Savior. This glorious, indescribable, immeasurable Light of the Good News in this frail, human body, that the excellent and exceeding greatness of the power be shown from God and not from ourselves. Church of Corinth, I must tell you we are not only pressed, but we are hard-pressed on every side, yet I am reminded that we are still not crushed! We are perplexed, full of doubt and uncertainty yet we are not in despair! We are persecuted for preaching Jesus Christ, but we know that we are not and NEVER will be forsaken, no matter what happens to us! We are struck down but remember we are never destroyed! They can destroy this physical, frail, decaying body, but they cannot destroy our spirit. I know that as we go through these awful trials the life of Jesus is being made manifest in our mortal, fleshly bodies. And since we have the same spirit of faith, ACCORDING to what is written, "I believed and therefore I spoke," we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that HE who raised up the Lord Jesus from death will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may have a purpose! The purpose and the cause is for thanksgiving to abound to the GLORY OF GOD! Now because of this, Listen up! DO NOT LOSE HEART! DON'T BLAME GOD! Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man, our spirit, is being renewed day by day! Hallelujah! These I call light afflictions, which is but for a moment, in comparison to eternity! Remember, be reminded, remind yourselves that the things which are seen are only temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal!"

I am stirred up on the inside with this 'Triumphant Victorious Reminder'...I pray this stirring on the inside of you as well, this faith that Paul had in his God, I want as well!

Be blessed beyond measure, for we get to serve Almighty God, WHO cannot be measured!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The BBC Parade of Homes (Kitchen)

An extension of the kitchen

The breakfast 'nook'



This is so much fun. Debby from Heavenly Humor has invited her friends to post pictures of our least for this week. She is calling it, "Parade of Homes"...It is part of her "Monday Madness" at the 'Big Butt Club'...if you think that's funny, you have gotta go to Heavenly Humor as soon as you possibly can.

She is hilarious, fun and genuinely an awesome daughter of the King! Many of you already know her, however, those of you who don't...please post a comment on her blog to let her know that you heard about her from me...'Triumphant Teresa'.

She has noted on her blog that next week, is another room...the bedroom. Many, if not most bloggers have not met in person; being that this is the case, Debby came up with this wonderful, fun idea to 'get to know' each other better.

Have fun 'parading' through my kitchen! You can also check out my other blog which has everything to do with the kitchen over at Holly/Teresa Cooking Project if you read the first post, you'll know what inspired the blog to come about!

Have fun 'grazing' through our kitchens!!!! Bon appetit!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

January 5, 2009, "Revealing the Light of The World...Jesus"


Inspired by The Holy Spirit

Written by: Teresa Criswell

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden." Matthew 5:14

Retrieving my emails, I came across an email from a reader and dear friend. He sent the following email in which it provoked a convicting thought within me. Another reminder of The Amazing Jesus we must reveal, moment by moment if we say we have accepted Him as our Savior. I was heavily reminded of this powerful truth not just within the world, but also within the walls of my own husband and children.

Please be blessed as you read the following story. Whether or not this is a true story, that should not be the much as it is a beautiful reminder of The Light we should so beautifully be revealing...the Light of God revealed by Jesus Christ!

Jim, thank you for sending this. It blessed me with great conviction; as the 'Triumphant Victorious Reminder' was revealed in this story:

"A Few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago . They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner.

In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding. ALL BUT ONE!!! He paused, took a deep breath, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.

He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor. He was glad he did.

The 16-year-old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.

The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket.

When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, 'Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?' She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, 'I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly.'

As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, 'Mister.......' He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, 'Are you Jesus?'

He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: 'Are you Jesus?'

Do people mistake me for Jesus? Do they mistake you for Jesus?

That is our destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace.

If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He did. Knowing Him is more than simply quoting scripture and going to church. It is actually living the Word as life unfolds each day.

We are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.



~ Author of this story..Anonymous

Sunday, January 3, 2010

January 4, 2010, "Persevere"

"But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."
~ Jude 1:20-23 ~

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1.2-4).

I woke up puzzled from a dream. It's not really a 'dream' in the sense that it was something I desired with great aspirations...but as defined in the dictionary. The first definition describing it as a series of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations occurring involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep.

It didn't seem it would be a dream of any depth or importance until I asked the Lord if He wanted to reveal something to me...that is when the following was revealed:

I was desperately hanging on. As the dream 'zoomed out' I realized why. I was climbing up a hill that consisted of concrete, like a sidewalk with grass on either side. This hill however was not angled but was literally 100% vertical; I was truly suspended high in the air. Great fear overtook me as my mind tempted my hands to let go as my hands seemed to no longer have any strength. For some reason in my dream, I had this moment where I was able to have the strength to look below and found with great fear that a tree was below me. The fear led me to hang on even more, as I knew if I let go it could be devastating.

Amazingly I remember that soon after I realized I was hanging onto this cement hill, I noticed the people around me going up as well. Their eyes were focused on the top which was so close yet it truly seemed EXTREMELY far away.

I realized this afternoon, one of the reasons I hung on and kept climbing even when I felt as though I could not climb anymore, is the persevearence of the ones who were climbing beside me and before me. I remember the breathing was heavy, yet the focus was steady. When I finally reached the top, I remember seeing that the way down was just as steep, however, the obstacles were out of the way. I remember breathing in real deep, closing my eyes and descending at great speed over the hill as many others who had crossed over were waiting with jubilant glees.

I am sure there may be more to this dream, however, what I received from it was powerful. As I took a step back, being awake from the dream, I realized that the Lord was revealing when we don't quit, but keep going, it provokes others to keep going. The provoking tenacity out weighs the hindering shouts to quit. When we MOMENT BY MOMENT make the choice not to quit, it can become a movement in which others will find that being faithful to the end is the greatest reward; more so than even receiving a reward. Of course, the greatest reward is knowing that we are with God as we realize He is for us, not against us.

It led me to the reminder of what my focus needs to be. I need to see the transition from the temptation to quit to the life changing transforming power of God's passionate love to keep going because of the others behind, beside and before me. God has equipped us to lift others up as we allow God to lift us up lifting up and declaring His Holy Name! It's a constant flowing of Almighty God's Eternal Giving Power!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

January 2, 2010, "Gifts of God"

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

"But Jesus said, "Let the little
children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
~ Matthew 19:14 ~

I ponder this second day of the year 2010, as our calendar states.

How's it going? Challenges? 'Right now' victories? Are you still waiting on the 'yet' in regards to the cliche, "The BEST is yet to come"?

I thought about these questions today as I sat in my reading chair embracing one of my favorite books, by one of my favorite people, Lisa Bevere. The book? "Out of Control and Loving It".

Being that we are still on 'Christmas Break'; we have finally had a moment to sit, intentionally breathe in and truly appreciate the right now. As I sat in my chair reading, I noticed my daughter sitting there squirming around; noticeably bored. I encouraged her to go to her room and get a fun book that she could snuggle with and read, just like mom.

You would have thought I said we were going to get ice cream as she gladly jumped to her feet, her eyes squinting as she smiled, running in her house boots up the stairs. Soon she returned and as I saw her descending down the steps, she giggled as she randomly said, "Mom, I can be an actoress in 50 seconds." I laughed and said, "OK...go for it".

She slowly sashayed down the stair case with something behind her. Both arms behind her back she proceeded down the staircase and said with great drama, "O, I have a stomach ache, O wait." She grunted and then she pretended to 'poop' out a book. At first, I shook my head with disgust and said, "Tristin, are you kidding?" She laughed hysterically and it became contagious as her laughter filled the atmosphere. I laughed so hard and at that moment saw that I was able to truly take in this moment. We weren't at some awesome restaurant or amusement park or spending tons of money to 'make' a memorable moment, seizing the moment of life as in a photograph. It was truly a random moment of everyday life, that I normally have not had time to enjoy and even would become quite irritated. However, I was reminded of enjoying and celebrating the 'now' of today. And in that 'now' moment, I can truly say I will never forget the grand entrance my daughter made going down the stairs on this day, January 2, 2010.

I have to say at first I didn't want to pry my eyes from the book I was reading. Yet in that moment of not wanting to be disturbed, was the moment I needed the most. I was able to be enthralled and captivated by the life of my daughter. I must say it was as a dessert that I can still taste as it brings great pleasure to my pallet.

Today as the sounds of our children's screams fill the atmosphere, may we sit back and truly enjoy those sounds. It is difficult at times; especially when we are in the 'mode' of needing to get things done or just needing to relax and get away. May we get away 'with' the gifts of God, versus getting away 'from' the gifts of God.