Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 25, 2010, "Compassionate Embrace Revealed by Jesus"

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

Matthew 9

Embracing people for the glory of God is what we are called to, not the embracing of what the world has to offer. What the world has to offer for us to embrace is like embracing a castle made of sand...it will crumble and fall and the only thing that remains is just that...remains...no substance, no life.

The Light reveals our God. Jesus is the Light who revealed His Father God. We have the Light that reveals the Father, but what has stopped the majority of us to shine forth the light? It's concern for the things we 'believe' or have been convinced we should be concerned with. We are concerned with who has what 'anointing', what book we should be influenced by, what this part of the church isn't doing. Before you know it, it becomes about us all over again...the vicious cycle of humanism. When we get back to the letters in Red; that Precious Book called, The Bible, we will see the unfolding and revealing of our Father God. We need to get back to the simple, yet powerful mission of Jesus Christ! His love revealed Almighty God!

I love my Jesus. He never cast out people who were demon possessed. He never cast out the lepers. Jesus did not cast out the woman with the issue of blood. He didn't let death despair Him; but He called forth life in the midst of death. He didn't cast out the people...He cast out the influences over the people, all along revealing the Love of The Father. That Love was led by God's compassion which resulted in deliverance, healing, wholeness and resurrection power! That Light casts away the darkness and reveals the powerful Loving embrace of our God! We possess the light and we have been made the Light through Jesus Christ as we have been called to repentance...am I embracing or am I shunning away?

The power of the Living God is within us. God sustains us when we yield and submit to Him...there is no excuse but to reveal His Love, for it is not by our power or our might, but by His Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4:6)!

Monday, May 24, 2010

March 24, 2010, "Reflecting Back to One Year Ago"

Reflecting back to something I wrote one year ago...I needed this today Lord..thank you!

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

"Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed...lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, 'I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake not let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]'"
~ Hebrews 13:5 ~ Amplified Version

"No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you."
~ Joshua 1:5 ~ Amplified Version

Reading these scripture verses, God's promises of not leaving us is more than amazing.

I know so many times we reflect on how circumstances, things or people have left us and we automatically look at God as though He were to do the same thing. Unknowingly we believe that God is the author of that, which is a lie.

At this present time, we are hurting for a person who is very dear and close to us who has truly believed that God has abandoned him. He has lost everything in his life; except his life. He now believes that he must do it all on his own. He has believed the lie and whispers of the enemy as the truth. O how sad and dangerous.

God's promise to us is that HE will NEVER leave us nor forsake us...God did NOT promise that people would not leave us whether it be to divorce, betrayal, death, financial loss, etc. God's promise was that HE would not leave us. He did not promise that money would not come and go, jobs would not come and go...His promise was that HE would not leave us nor forsake us.

I know it is so hard when we function and operate in the natural realm as we tangibly are reminded by what is going on around us which is so difficult; especially without God.

We must remember that God does not choose to be on our side....it is us who choose whether or not we will be on God's side. He does not choose a side...He is the only WAY...we have options to choose other ways, He will not decide for us. He is the path of righteousness, what path will we choose?

The same goes when we believe He has abandoned us...He has not, however, if we believe that He has we will choose the path of destruction be relying on self...hence the phrase, self-destruction.

May we know and remember that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing! Absolutely Nothing! When the giants shout at you and say that His love is separated from you...you SHOUT BACK IN PRAISE TO GOD ALMIGHTY THAT HE IS STILL THERE WHEN NO ONE ELSE IS!

It is so difficult when you are in the midst of it, we know. We must not give up Hope in whom that Hope belongs and that is our ALMIGHTY GOD, THE LION OF JUDAH, THE ROSE OF SHARON, THE LILY OF THE VALLEY, THE KING OF KINGS AND THE LORD OF LORDS!

Let us remind ourselves of How Mighty of a God we serve as He does not abandon!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

May 24, 2010, "God Is Perfect Peace"

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

"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed [on You], because he trusts in You."
~ Isaiah 26:3 ~

Lord, I pray Your Perfect Peace that surpasses all understanding over so many that are in the midst of overwhelming storms. Lord, I pray their desperation would lead them to their minds to be desperately stayed on You, as we finally trust You! Trusting you during the beautiful moments and the moments that are dark and dreary. Father God, I am reminded that the overwhelming storms are nothing in comparison to You! God, You are the Rushing River of Refreshment! You are as the Mighty Waterfalls that cascade so violently upon the waters below.

Lord, as I pray Your perfect peace over many, I know Father that You ARE Perfect Peace! Lord, I pray for Salvation Who is Jesus, to be received by the many who are looking for salvation elsewhere.

I am reminded this morning Lord that You are Perfect Peace that Rages with overwhelming power in the midst of the storms that attempt to raise itself with mighty, billowing waves to cause great fear. Lord, You are Faith revealed by Love...for You are Overwhelming, Unconditional Love! You Father God are Perfect Love casting out fear!

Lord may the raging rivers of Life violently destroy the paralyzing fear of death.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

May 23, 2010, "Gates and Courts"

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name! For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations."
~ Psalm 100:4-5 Amplified~

There are times I love to pray the scripture from Psalm 100, but then I forget which one comes first...courts or gates....haahaa! Then today, I got this great visual as I went to the Word and prayed this out. I believe the Lord gave me this analogy, "Teresa, before you can enter someone's gated property, you must first go through the open gates. As you proceed through the entrance of the gates, you are grateful that they let you in. As you enter in with gratefulness, you are able to enter into their courts.

"Father God, In the Name of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, I am thankful You have allowed me into your beautiful gates. Lord, as I enter into your courts, I am overwhelmed by Your Majesty; entering into your courts all I can do is praise You; for You are Awesome Glorious, Majestic and beyond words to articulate my awe of You Father. Thank You Father, Thank you. I rejoice in You O Lord!"

May 22, 2010, "Reflecting back to one year ago"

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
By: Teresa Criswell
(May 21, 2009)

Be blessed by this reminder as it was written one year and one day ago today...

"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I trust..."
~ Psalm 91 ~

Tired as I had just come home from working out, yet anticipating to see my parents, I heard the knock at the door. As I unlocked and opened the door there stood my awesome dad. As I invited him inside my dog who is a smooth fox terrier darted out the door. The dog paused for a moment as he heard my husband and I yelling for him, screaming out, "Jaaaacccck! Jaaaacccck!"

I was tired yet as I chased Jack suddenly a burst of energy went right through me. Running after him I realized that he would stop and mark his territory on almost ever tree along his way. He would then turn around, see me advancing towards him and then would turn around and run even further.

Just thinking about my dog's actions truly irritates me. That little guy knows better than to run off; he would intentionally stop, turn his head and see me running and panting after him and then as soon as I would come close, he darted off again. Jack went around the block onto another street, of course at this point I was afraid he would get run over by a car as fast as he was going, as he had no intentions of 'looking both ways' when crossing the street.

Panting as I felt my lungs were going to burst out of my chest, people were staring at me and not helping me as they knew and witnessed that I was trying to catch my dog. It was as though they were witnessing something quite normal; a person frantically chasing their dog through the neighborhood because she has nothing better to do.

Thank God that dogs have a 'bm' because that is exactly what he did. I never thought there would be the day where I was thankful that my dog had a 'bm'. However, this time I was. At this point, I lunged at him as people were seeing me literally fly through the air towards him with my arms extended out and I knew it was now or never, as it felt like slow motion, my hands grasped Jack by the back of the neck interrupting his 'bm' and finally whisking him off the ground. As I walked back out of breath and telling Jack what a naughty thing he had done, my husband appeared around the corner as he drove around looking for Jack and I.

This real life scenario leads me to a thought. I know I use to think differently towards God's protection. I truly thought and believed that He took His hand off of us when we sinned. I realize through the past few years that it is us who remove ourselves from His protection.

Just like with our dog Jack. He was safe within our home, which is where he abides. However, when he ran from his home, and if something were to happen to him on his great adventure, it was because he ran from the place where He was safe and into a place where there is no telling what could or would have happened.

I need to ask myself, "Am I running from God or are am I running after and to Him?" That is truly the question that I must ask moment by moment.

I want to run after Him. I want to abide in His shelter under His protection in whom I can only trust.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

May 20, 2010, "Overwhelming Needs met by an Overwhelming Awesome God"

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

II Timothy 4:2

The needs are profound. There are many who are seeing the hard times come upon them as two great walls that are slowly coming together, crushing all hope, giving up with no life left.

I am amazed to see the ones who have the Lord, they have great hope in Him. They are hoping for a great result, but it seems that even in the midst of great hopelessness and no matter the result, their eyes are steadfastly stayed on Jesus Christ, the Hope of Glory.

As I am thinking of the several families that are going through these times I am being reminded at this moment that while in the store, school, place of business and we see a need that must be met, then I believe we aren't there by coincidence, but by God's divine appointment. I am reminded that it may not always be about the financial need, but the investment of our time, a word in due season, an embrace, a touch on the hand, or praying. I pray that I am ready and willing by His great power and strength to do what needs to be done.

Many times the situations around us that we may be experiencing or seeing others experience seem like Mt. Everest; the overwhelming needs we see right before us, cause us many times to not do anything at all.

However, as the tiny little ants that God created, it is our reminder of what we can do as we work together. The little mounds that we see the ants build in the dirt in comparison to their size is a huge mountain that they were able to construct together. Their individual 'gifts' that they operate in together allows great conquest! The gifts and time that we have available to us, we are able to see great progress on someone else's behalf for the Glory of God. I am reminded today to pray for the wisdom of God and His understanding to be stirred up on the inside of me. May we be ready in and out of season as we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit of God!

If you have a testimony of God that you'd like to share in regards to this, please comment! I would love to see how the 'God ideas' were manifested through your life or upon your life!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 18, 2010, "The Comforter...He Provides What He is!

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell
~ Isaiah 61:1-3 ~

Isaiah the prophet speaking by the power of the Holy Spirit of God revealing Jesus Christ hundreds of years before Jesus came to the earth! The people in that time caught only a glimpse of what would be manifested upon the earth hundreds of years later as Isaiah spoke of this Indescribable Liberator and Freedom Fighter revealing Triumphant Victory! And now thousands of years later, we are able to experience that which the people could not comprehend experiencing for one moment. The imagination of the people could only take them so far in attempting to imagine such a beautiful freedom.

Have you allowed Jesus Christ to become your Savior and Lord?
Is He Your Savior, your Rescuer?
Did you allow Him to rescue you?
Are you in awe of how He revealed the Father God as He walked this earth?
Do you know that we have the power to reveal the Son of God, because of the Holy Spirit who reveals Jesus?

As I read the scripture from Isaiah, it is never tiresome to read what the Holy Spirit reveals of our Father. Notice! He is our Comforter. Our God longs to comfort you and I. This is beyond our ability to comprehend. I love that God is not just a Sympathizer...He with great overwhelming action longs to comfort us! I believe more than anything, He longs for us to know, believe, experience and live that He is The Great Comforter in our lives, so that we may manifest this by His power into other people's lives.

What is a glimpse of the Comfort I have received from the Great Comforter?
O! Wow! Words do not come close to describing such beauty. He gave me His refreshing, rejuvenating, resurrection life revealed by His oil of joy in place of my mourning for what is gone and dead.
He has given me more than I could ever hope or imagine.
One example in the comfort I have receive from my Lord and Rescuer is the condemnation of sin in the form of abortion. The murder of my children, His glorious gifts of life, I rejected because it 'inconvenienced' my life of selfishness. The muddy waters I barely walked through, the images around me lurking through the waters reminders of the shameful sin. In horror, I attempted to close my eyes through the trudging of heavy, haunted waters. I wept, crying out for someone to rescue me from the shame and weighing burden that seemed to drown me in despair.

Suddenly, I could see the mighty silhouette of His outstretched, nail scarred Hands reaching out to me. Sadly, my hands resisted His, yet my cries continued. I was blinded by the sin that resulted in great shame and condemnation. When I finally stopped and quieted the whirling voices of condemnation, that is when I heard the voice of Truth. The mountains that surrounded me in one moment were consumed and destroyed by His Majestic, Holy Voice of Freedom. His beautiful, overwhelming voice of Truth revealed by His great freedom showed forth God's unfailing forgiveness over me and with great awe, I finally received. As I received His forgiveness, I was able to forgive myself and ask God if it was possible to please tell His beautiful children that I once rejected, how much I loved them. Please tell them Lord to forgive me, please God. At that moment, I knew with His great comfort that the revelation of forgiveness was an action.

In the journey of His Great Comfort, my mourning was turned to joy as the oil of His Holy Love saturated me, revealing His beauty for my ashes that I finally handed over to Him. And in the revealing of His beauty my wardrobe changed from heaviness and cloaks of darkness into a beautiful garment of praise! The praise revealing the Comforter, my God! He healed my broken heart, His proclamation of freedom and liberty to me that was once held captive by my choices, Jesus, the Key opened the prison in which I had been bound!

Daily, moment by moment, I am reminded that I can enter the prison without any help of the enemy, when I allow my thoughts to be overwhelmed by what I have done, more so than being overwhelmed with what my God has already finished and conquered with Triumphant Victory through Jesus Christ!

I praise my God as He is Comfort and reveals His comfort in the midst of great darkness! We must allow His Holy Love to overwhelm us today, so that we may reveal that overwhelming love upon others! I am reminded today and at this very moment, that He provides what He is!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

May 15, 2010, "Boldness"

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

Acts 4:13,29, 31
II Corinthians 3:12, 7:4
Ephesians 3:12
Philippians 1:20
I Timothy 3:13
Hebrews 10:19
I John 4:17

"Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgement; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us."
~ I John 4:17-19 ~

At one time I related being bold, as to being overbearing and someone who was rude and abrasive. Yet, as I have been studying the Word of God, I realize that boldness is Who God is...He is Love. Boldness is an amazing attribute that reveals God's glorious grace as to how we love and speak forth His Word.

I am reminded today that boldness is a tool against the fear of rejection; fearing, "What will they say if I talk about the Lord?" By the leading of the Spirit, we do not need to be concerned with what we shall say, for with boldness the Holy Spirit will give us the appropriate words that must be spoken at the appropriate moment. For he knows what the ears must hear before their ears were even formed within their mother's womb.

I love how God equips us so that we are able to confidently approach our God through Jesus Christ. Boldness will marvel the onlookers as the glory of God is revealed. As it is revealed, the onlookers many times will become radical, passionate followers of our God! Boldness allows us to speak that which we would normally not speak. Another beautiful gift of Who God is, accompanies boldness...and that is Love! When boldness is spoken forth, it reveals the love of God...if love is not revealed, then it's just plain ol' bogueness!

Our voice is a tool to speak boldness in regards to what God says! We echo the mighty works of God!

Those that we mingle with; those that we fellowship with, may they experience the boldness of God through us and upon them! Boldness results in growth and we are able to flourish, not 'just' survive!

Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14, 2010, "The Rock"

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

"...I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me."
~ John 5:24-30 ~

Romanticizing thoughts of My Savior is overwhelmingly beautiful. I am so amazed beyond amazement that I have been rescued by my Savior Jesus Christ. My spirit yearned for something more than the wisdom of the world could offer. My heart said, "Yes" to His glorious, mighty hands as He reached out and said, "Will you follow me?"

Will I follow this Amazing Savior who could have said, "Look at me! Look what I have done. Look what I can do." Yet, instead as recorded in John 5:30, he says, "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me." I am most amazed by one of the stories recorded in the Bible in which the woman was caught in the act of adultery. She wasn't caught coming out of the house discreetly; she was caught in the very act. I often imagine this woman being dragged out, most likely naked, revealing her shame. Humiliated as the crowd is bloodthirsty to kill her and yet My Jesus, My Savior makes the famous statement that we still talk about this very day as he speaks to the enraged crowd, "You with no sin, cast the first stone." He could have cast the first stone punishing the woman caught in the act of adultery. He could have, for He was the only one without sin. He was the Mighty Stone, the Rock of Ages that stood before her to become her stability and strength; not the stone of her demise.

O, how I rejoice in You Lord! You are the Stone that the builder's rejected! You are the Cornerstone in which we must build and You must be our guide so that we do not waver.

I am encouraged by this reminder that Jesus Christ who revealed our Father God, only gave His Father the Glory. He did not receive any glory for Himself, He could have, instead He transferred it directly to the One from Whom He trusted!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 13, 2010 "Perfection?"

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

"[As for] God, His way [is] perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He [is] a shield to all who trust in Him."
~ Psalm 18:30 ~

I sigh with great satisfaction. Today, my dear friend Jennifer and I received a massive God Kiss as we were able to fellowship with one another. Our fellowships consist of giggling, trading back massages and more than anything basking in the amazing testimonies of our Awesome God!

I love my 'God kisses' when I am with her especially...the experience is even richer. It reminds me of the principle of agreement in scripture where two or more are gathered in His name, there He is in the midst of them! When Jennifer and I get together, many times it is an experience of God's beautiful embrace upon His daughters.

While Jennifer and I were laughing about our struggles and the healing that God is bringing us through, especially in regards to obsessing with cleaning or organizing, she said something that resonated so deep within my heart. She said, "Teresa, have you noticed that we as Christians do not look at 'perfectionism' as an addiction? We actually give place to it and burden each other with it, acting as though it's a good thing. When she said it, it was as though the striving to perfectionism is as a shovel that only digs a deep pit of despair. The struggle with perfectionism is like a drug, and yet we seem to reward those who strive and condemn others who aren't doing it." I am reminded today that God did not call us to perfection, He called us to trust in Him, Who is PERFECTION...HE calls us to rely on His perfection as it completes us by His Grace...not ours! We are not to rely on our inability to be perfect...first, it will never happen and secondly because it only unravels our lives into despair. He has never called us to forgive, love, or bless others on our own strength...it can't be done because of our own conditional agendas and judgments...we are called to trust Him, rely on Him so that we can forgive, love and bless others through Jesus Christ who gives us the strength to do such a work that transforms lives!

May we remember today that the rich, wealthy blessings of God, revealing salvation through Jesus Christ; is a story of His perfection that unfolds into a beautiful, revealing power of God's great redeeming love story that our lives get to be a part of to share with others with great freedom and joy!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

May 11, 2010, "Reflecting back to May 11, 2009"

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

Today's reminder is from one year ago today...I pray you are blessed as I was.

"And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop."
~ Mark 11:25 ~ Amplified Version

The thoughts of how her friend spoke to her rehearsed in her mind like a broken record. The more she 'nurtured' the pain, the more her face revealed pain and anger; unknowingly she fed bitterness.

Surrounded with beauty of her children and the love of her husband she would rather not give place to because her mind was so consumed with how she felt she was wronged. Legitimately, she had a 'right' to be angry, however, that right infringed on her joy from the Lord. It infringed on enjoying her beautiful blessings. Her life itself.

I am amazed when we don't hold a grudge against someone that perception has great life and most things seem to be seen with beautiful technicolor? The way you receive things are different. Yet, have you noticed that when we perceive things through pain and betrayal, nothing seems to be right? When you do hold a grudge or unforgiveness against someone, maybe due to betrayal, your perception truly changes. You tend to look at everything through the 'eyes' of betrayal, grudges, and unforgiveness. Leariness comes instead of compassion.

I believe that one of the many reasons why Jesus said, "When you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, drop it, let it go..." because He knows that when we stand with unforgiveness, we are unable to communicate in prayer with His perception, instead it is through our wronged perception that we 'attempt' to pray.

I believe praying is truly 'echoing' back what the Word of God says over a person or situation. Praying should not be 'echoing' back what has already happened, that's called re-hashing things, meditating on what has already happened only makes it worse.

Writing at this moment has allowed the Holy Spirit to convict me with a reminder of what I am called to do, whether I feel like it or not. I am not here for my own purpose, I am here for His. In that purpose there is constant growth, constant learning, constant reminding and constant changing before The God who never changes. Let us praise our God that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He remains the same as everything else is constantly changing. He is the only One we can trust to never change.

Today, I am reminded of what He has required of me. To do justly, to love kindness and mercy, and walk humbly before my God as I forgive others not holding grudges (Micah 6:8).

Finally, we must not confuse forgiving sin with forgiving others. We do not have the ability to forgive sin, however, we do have the ability to forgive the person by the Grace of Almighty God. Sometimes the hurt caused, allows forgiveness to be a tool to pray for that person or people and loving them with God's love, not our own. I must be reminded at times that forgiveness does not mean I have to 'hang out' with that person; but forgiveness is a tool that God bestows upon us so freely, that we must bestow on others.

Forgiveness is not mine. It has been provided for me, but not only for me but to go through me onto someone else.

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10, 2010, "This Is Where The Healing Begins..."

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

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us."
~ Psalm 103:12 NKJV ~

For many who know me, please pray before reading this. I pray that you will not look at me with eyes of shame; instead I pray you see the transforming power of Almighty God over a woman's life who went against everything she knew and had been taught. The life I had lived was of great selfishness and vanity, a life with great void, making the intentional choice to walk away from God.

"I woke up late.

I had RSVP'ed for the event that I was to be attending at 10 am. It was now 9:45 am and I wasn't even close to ready.
The anxious thoughts of, "How are you going to get there without being beyond late?"
"The drive alone is 15 minutes."
 I thought,"Well, I'm not going then, I can't show up late."

Yet, the pull on my heart to go was stronger than the arguing voice in my head. My daughter and I with great efficiency were able to get ready...of course it didn't change the fact that I would still be incredibly late.
Upon leaving the house, my mind was still warring with me, "You can't show up late...that is so incredibly rude."
 I remember having to physically shake my head as though it would cast the thought out and I turned on the radio to KLOVE and a song came on that I had never heard before. The chorus I heard was the following phrase: "This is where the healing begins, This is where the healing starts..." by Tenth Avenue North. I thought, "Lord! Okay, I believe this is of You and You want me to go!"

I preface you with the above to confess that I am a woman scorned by her own choice to abort and murder more than one child from God. For many years I hid my choice with great shame. Because of the shame, I was never able to mourn over the sin I had committed and mourn over my children. My womb was to be a refuge and a safe place for these lives, yet it became a place of horror and death. Several weeks before going I had confessed before some dear friends as we were in an intimate setting; the horrific, shameful burden that I had carried for years. At that moment, God's healing allowed me to finally mourn over a regretful, sinful choice I made more than once, many years ago.

Before my confession to the women from my church, I had been invited to the first annual, "Born Into Heaven" Service held at Gateway Church in the cafe set aside from the church building. I was invited by my dear friend, Jennifer.  The atmosphere was filled with love and I was truly blown away to find out that the 'God Idea' had only been deposited into the hearts of these passionate women two weeks before the event. God utilized these four women who all had experienced miscarriages and a still born birth.  They figuratively conceived, carried and birthed this event full term in a matter of two weeks - it was supernatural! Again, their hearts were deposited with the healing of God to be made manifest on men and women who experienced miscarriages, still born births, a death of a child and women who made the choice to abort. To hear the testimonies from the four original women of how everything fell into place for the event was beautifully amazing. To see the centerpieces, refreshments, and gifts were all donated from different vendors in Austin was incredible. It was a 'God Divine Service' to comfort all who mourn!

During this monumental event, I met a few women who experienced the pain in miscarriages, even some who carried their babies to full term, going through labor and finding out that their child had already passed away. I was in absolute awe to see that their sadness was replaced with God's supernatural, overflowing grace and strength. At that moment, I remember how shame tried to come upon me again, knowing that many of these women desired to have a child and to receive their children as beautiful gifts, yet were unable to. The beautiful gift that they so desired, I treated as it was nothing, as worthless trash.

That Saturday, I mourned what 'I chose to lose'. I wept even more to witness the women who revealed the grace of Almighty God on their lives as their dream to have a child became even more far-reaching - the mirage of desiring for a child, slipping away into the abyss of what seemed like shattered dreams.

Observing the large yet intimate room, I was incredibly amazed to see these small beautiful stones laid out in the middle of each round table along with Sharpie markers. We were told if we wanted, we could place the names of the children that had passed away upon the stones. We were instructed to write the names on the stones and then place them into the beautiful glass vase toward the entrance of the cafe. At that moment I wept with remorse as I never knew the names of my children or who they were suppose to be. I prayed, asking as tears streamed down my face, "Lord, what do I write?  I didn't know who they were and had no plans to know them." The only thing that came to me was to write down the number of children. After writing it on the stone, I wept even more. I rose up from my chair and slowly walked to the table placing the stone into the beautiful glass vase.

As I returned to my seat, I noticed the others who approached the glass vase. I was left in awe. Amazed to see the husbands who wept and embraced their wives as they approached the glass vase together with one or more stones in hand. It was an incredibly beautiful picture of God's embrace especially through the sadness that they could never have imagined going through, especially on their own.

Going back to when I first arrived, very late I must add, a woman was speaking. One of the things that she had spoken that morning, resonated so deep within my heart. The analogy she spoke of was from a devotional written by Oswald Chambers. This is what she quoted as she said, "Patience is more than endurance. A saint's life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says - "I cannot stand any more." God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God's hands. For what have you need of patience just now? Maintain your relationship to Jesus Christ by the patience of faith..."

To hear this beautiful metaphor was a defining moment of the stretching process which represents growth. I realized that even in my sin, God wanted me to rise up out of the ashes. I realized that He truly desired and continues to desire for each of us to be stretched so that we can go further than we could ever dream of going on our own.

Today, as I reflect on what I have been so lovingly forgiven of, I am greatly comforted by my God knowing that my children were born into heaven. I am so sorry to my children for allowing my womb to be a place of darkness and rejection.

I ask You Lord God, will you please tell my children how sorry I am? I am so sorry. I am so sorry that I robbed myself of getting to embrace such beautiful gifts. Thank you Lord for allowing me the gift in my daughter. She is our inspiration from You. She is my inspiration to go on and lift my head, knowing that I don't deserve her...but You still allowed me to raise her, embrace her and celebrate her. Thank You Lord. Thank You! Thank You for your healing Lord that You have placed so lavishly upon my life!

"Healing Begins"
So you thought you had to keep this up
All the work that you do
So we think that you're good
And you can't believe it's not enough
All the walls you built up
Are just glass on the outside

So let 'em fall down
There's freedom waiting in the sound
When you let your walls fall to the ground
We're here now

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

Afraid to let your secrets out
Everything that you hide
Can come crashing through the door now
But too scared to face all your fear
So you hide but you find
That the shame won't disappear

So let it fall down
There's freedom waiting in the sound
When you let your walls fall to the ground
We're here now
We're here now, oh

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

Sparks will fly as grace collides
With the dark inside of us
So please don't fight
This coming light
Let this blood come cover us
His blood can cover us

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

May 10, 2010, "A Year Ago Today"

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

The following post was written a year ago today...'Mother's Day'...I know today is Monday, but please be blessed by this message as I was. If you know anyone who would find this as an embrace from the Lord, please forward it on...

"Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied); and her husband boasts of and praises her [saying], "Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all."
~ Proverbs 31:28 ~

This is to honor every woman who is a mother. Especially the one's who have endured miscarriages. Just know that just because you may not have carried that precious child in your arms, your womb carried what your arms could not embrace. The precious child heard your heartbeat of love on their behalf. They knew as their mother you wanted more for them than you ever wanted for yourself. I honor you today especially, as God embraces you with His comfort, grace and unfailing love.

If you are expecting to meet your little one soon, Happy Mother's Day, as you will be elated. Will it change your life? Yes! In the best way ever. After you have your precious child, you will have memories of your baby being with you, even though they weren't really there. Why? Because once you meet your child, it is unfathomable to imagine life without that little person. It is amazing, yet true. Watch and see!

If you have little one's at home and as they annihilate you with great love on Mother's Day, may you know that they rise up and call you blessed as they know they get to call you, "Mom"!

If you have teenager's at home and they annihilate you with great love on Mother's Day, may you know that they rise up and call you blessed as you are assisting them through this monumental time in their life. If you have teenagers that seem to not care or don't care, just know that one day they will rise up and call you blessed that you were there for them in that difficult time of their life. They will look back and say, "I know how blessed I am to have her as my mother."

If you have young adults that you rarely see; maybe in college or they are in a far off land, even serving our country, may you know that they rise up and call you blessed as they have you fervently pray to God on their behalf.

If you have children that are now married and have their own families that they are now raising, may you know that they do rise up and call you blessed as you are their mother. They know, "my mom is just a phone call away", if they need your counsel. Now they have children that call your daughter who is their mother blessed.

If you have lost a child at any stage of their life whether it was from the womb, infant, toddler, child, teenager, young adult or as an adult, may you know you are comforted by Almighty God. As you look to Him for your strength, as we all rise up together and call HIM Blessed as there is NO ONE ELSE LIKE OUR GOD.

We are truly blessed on Mother's Day. May we look at our children as our gifts, not in what they do but from Whom we received them from. Any gift is wonderful, but our children are one of our greatest gifts from God. To be able to receive a name called, "MOM" on this earth is nothing short of amazing, even when we think our children may have worn out that name, it is the greatest name to be called as we are crowned with that beautiful name, 'Mom'.

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

May 9, 2010, "Mother's Day"

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

Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice.
~ Proverbs 23:25 ~

"He grants the barren woman a home, Like a joyful mother of children. Praise the LORD!"
~ Psalm 113:9 ~

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us."
~ Psalm 103:12 ~

I sit here on my bed, with the laptop, watching my daughter sleep. Her little nose congested and her throat sore. I pray the healing of God that is already available to be made manifest on her little body in Jesus name. This leads me to the reminder of the privilege and the opportunity to pray for this sweet spirit that I get to call, 'my' daughter.

I am led to my definition of 'mother' with inspiration from Lisa Bevere. The world and the church need less mentors and more mothers. "A mentor duplicates themselves, however, a mother is someone who desires more for her children than she ever wanted or could dream for herself."

Of course, every day is Mother's Day, if you have or had a child, whether you have carried a child in your womb, await to adopt or even foster a child, whether you have given birth, had a miscarriage, or a still born birth, you are a beautiful mom. To the women who have desired to have children, and have not seen this in your life, yet, you are able to nurture another person or child...you are a mother! To each of you, I with great privilege, honor you this beautiful day called, Mother's Day. I believe I must also say, to those of you who have sadly and with regret have aborted your child, God has forgiven you. I know too well that the 'right to choose' sadly has great consequence, the murdered, unborn child has no say and no safety in a place where there should have been great refuge...in the womb. By the love and mercy of God, I embrace you and whisper into your ear, by His great love, "You are forgiven mom."

I ponder the amazing beauty to be a mom. To hold a title such as Mom is amazing. I desire that I think of this title as a privilege every day. By the way, the words, 'just' and 'mom' should never be in the same sentence. We are not 'just a mom'...we are women who inspire, lift up, encourage. We are highly trained motivators, movers and shakers, raising up mighty leaders who have mandates that are specific to the call on their life from God!

Lord God in the Name of Jesus, thank you for Your forgiveness and Your love to allow me to celebrate this day! Help me Lord to look at being a mom as a privilege at ALL times! Thank You that being a mother that you have called each of us to be must be by Your Grace. God I know that You not only possess the character of nurture, but You are Nurture...You are God and your supply of nurture and inspiration is bountifully overflowing! I love You Father God!

Friday, May 7, 2010

May 7, 2010, "Truth"

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

Jesus, thank You that You never placated sin and pride.
You are Truth. Truth is Truth.
A lie mingled with truth is still a lie. And You are NOT a lie!
With You Jesus there is no mingling of anything...You are Straight Up Righteous and Just! Hallelujah!

I praise You Father for The Truth!
Your Truth leads and guides us as we trust in Truth!

As there are many names that describe You; I so love You Jesus that
You are Truth!
You are Freedom!
You are The Word of God made flesh!
You are Life!
You are The Resurrection!
You are The Death Conqueror!
You are Victory!
You are Triumph!
You are Power!
You are!
You are Majesty!
You are not just awesome...You are The Awesome!

Thank You Lord that we can rejoice in Who You are!!!!! Thank You! Thank You!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May 5, 2010, "Almighty Father!"

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

Psalm 8

How great, how awesome, how amazing you are God!
You are King of kings and Lord of lords!
You are King of all, as you need no advisors!
You are Lord of all, as You not only own everything, but You created everything!
You are The Bright and Morning Star!
The Alpha and The Omega! I love that Alpha is the beginning of the Greek Alphabet and Omega is the last of the Greek Alphabet!
The Beginning and The End...Yet You have no beginning nor will you ever end.
You do not fail, nor do You have ability to Fail.
You are Father, every attribute of Who You Are is Father. You Holy Father Provide, Protect and Heal. You not only have the ability to do this; but You are Provision, Protection and You are The Almighty Physician...you not only restore the body, but also the mind and the spirit! Beyond this life is the life to come in Your Holy Presence in ways our mortal minds could never imagine, unless we melt into nothingness!

God! When I start to worry about my needs not being met...I am reminded who My Father is...YOU!!! You are so Awesome! You are God! You are King!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May 1, 2010, "Jesus, The Word"

Matthew 13

My husband and I were reading Matthew 13 together. It is a passage that we have read, been taught and many times are taught in relation to finances. I have to say, although the principles of God cover every aspect of our life; as we read this passage, I wanted to read it from the perspective of Jesus teaching. I didn't want to read it from an angle to benefit agendas that we want to see fulfilled in our own lives; whether it be with our family, jobs, 'church', leadership, finances, and choices in general.

As we sat reading together, my husband said, "Teresa, who is the Word?" I said, "The Word is Jesus (John 1)!" He said, "Ok, because He is the Word, let's read verses 18 through 23 with the name of Jesus in place of the word, "word" in the text." As I started to read, here is how it read and my spirit jumped with great joy:

"When anyone hears Jesus of the Kingdom, and does not understand Him, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears Jesus and immediately receives Him with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of Jesus, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears Jesus, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke Jesus out of their lives and the one who received the seed becomes unfruitful. But he who received the seed on the good ground is he who hears Jesus and understands Him, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."

When we hear him, may our hearts be continually tended to and guarded so that we do not get snatched from, give up, stumble or choke out the purposes of God. We are made righteous, not by our doing, but by what Jesus did. In this, let us allow The Word to maintain our hearts in ways we could never imagine, so that we are producing the things with Him and of Him in ways we could never imagine!