Thursday, September 30, 2010

A reminder from September 28, 2009

Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell

This post was written on September 28, I re-read this reminder, I knew that I needed to be reminded of the motives of my heart. I pray you are blessed and encouraged as you read...encouraging each of us to be moved to transforming power by the Word of God!

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my Strength and my Redeemer."
~ Psalm 19:14 ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 23, 2010, "Desperation revealing the great need for Hope"

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

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, know that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
~ Romans 5:1-5 ~

Two hands on the wheel, the windshield blurred with pouring rain as she drives with caution. Her mind divided; overwhelmed with thoughts of tomorrow, next month, next year. Questions annihilate her mind, "How could I have done a better job being a wife, mom, and friend?" Regrets perpetuate the sound of hopelessness. Suddenly, the interruption of being kicked from behind, jolts her to jump as the chaos of disunity permeates the car from the backseat, revealed by her children. Disharmony quickly fills the atmosphere.

Revealing great frustration, she shouts, "KIDS! JUST GET ALONG!" With great intention and force her right hand bends the rear view mirror down to her eye level as she can see their eyes staring back at hers. Simultaneously, a chorus of, "BUT Mom! SHE'S TOUCHING ME" comes back in unison from the back seat! She grits her teeth and in a controlled, sharp tone she says, "If there is not quietness in 3 seconds, I am pulling this car over to the next exit and each of you are getting a spanking, is that UNDERSTOOD?" Their eyes big with knowing the seriousness of mom's tone, they said at once, "Yes ma'am".

Instantly, the car filled with quietness as she was back to her thoughts of regrets; reminded yet again, "See, look at you, if others could see you right now, you would be exposed!" The overwhelming thoughts of disappointment and failure rush her at once, when suddenly she couldn't take it anymore, emotionally breaking down she pulled over to the next exit. She sobs as she had enough, "I can't do this anymore! I'm at my breaking point!" "God! Help me!" "Please! Help Me!"

I interrupt this fictional, yet scene that has overtaken many, reminded that those around us are filled with the desperate cries calling out to God.
I am reminded that I say I know the 'Hope of Glory', my Jesus; but am I revealing His glorious hope?
Am I revealing Him?
Am I so intoxicated by my own concerns of this life?

As I am reminded of my 'Hope of Glory', it provokes me to recall the Joy of my Salvation. I recall the day I saw Redemption not only coming near, but annihilating my life! O, how I must recall that glorious moment when The Hope of Glory became my personal Hope fulfilled!

There are so many who are driving in circles, getting nowhere fast! Attempting with great desperation to get out of the dead end road of life. Will I show them the Way? I am reminded that as I reveal the Way; The Truth and the Life, the Hope of Glory will lead them on the road of great joy no matter the circumstances that await them. The bumpy road of this life cannot be traveled alone. Our Jesus Who is the Way longs to be Who He is; their Answer. The Answer to their desperate cries of hopelessness.

Will I see them?
Will I become the answer revealing, The Answer?

Father God, thank you for the reminder of seeing others through your beautiful eyes of Love and Mercy. Lord, I have the Answer within me and with me. Thank You God for Your Spirit, the Holy Spirit that is within me, Who provides Strength and Comfort. My Teacher who guides me into Truth. Thank you for Your boldness that allows me to approach Your throne of Grace, and also allows me to approach with confidence others who are in need of You. Thank You for the Words to speak, the embrace to reveal a glimpse of Your beautiful, loving embrace. Father, You are awesome and majestic, Your Splendor is beyond description. I long to hear the cries of hopelessness so that they can receive with joy, YOU their Hope! You are beyond Lovely and Beautiful. I love You Lord, In Jesus Mighty, Majestic, Victorious and Triumphant Name. Amen!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

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

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”
~ Romans 12:14 ~

My shift was over. Getting ready to leave, I went into the office area to retrieve my check. As I approached the glass window of the door, I began to knock, but stopped suddenly, when I realized that my manager was on the phone. She turned around to give me a look that revealed frustration and yelled, “What do you want?!”

Taken back by her reaction from her body language, face, and words, I stumbled over my words, as the ‘jab’ of her words took me by surprise. I finally said, “I apologize, I didn’t realize you were on the phone. I wanted to pick up my check.”

Suddenly, with great power this petite, thin woman violently opened the heavy door, which ricocheted off the wall, slammed, and opened again. Frustrated, she had her phone resting between her shoulder and face, as she held the door open with her foot, picking up the pile of checks and, one at a time with extreme motion, shuffling through each one as she threw each one on the desk until she finally found mine.

As she finally found it, she jerked her arm towards me, extending my check towards me and finally said, “Here!” I turned around walking away when I heard an associate say, “Teresa, can you let her know that she has a phone call on line 2.”

I said, with a stunned chuckle, “This probably isn’t a great time to do that.”

Tempted to scream at the top of my lungs, I walked outside, looked up at the sky, and through violently gritted teeth, I yelled, “GOD BLESS HER!”

I fought with the agony of wanting to leave. The ‘runner’ in me tried to talk to myself and say, “Get out of here!”

I fought with the agony of wanting to leave. The ‘runner’ in me attempted to cause me to escape.

To make matters easier to leave, I worked at a particular restaurant chain in which this store was known to have the highest turnover rate in the whole state. The turnover was mainly due to her lack of ability to manage and coach people. It was quite overwhelming as she was someone in which you would not want to be on her bad side.

That moment, as I released a blessing over her, I had peace, even through the frustration. Within three hours, I realized I had a missed call and a message on my voicemail. Upon checking my voicemail, it was none other than her!

This woman, never known to apologize, was calling me to apologize for the way she acted and pled with me not to leave, explaining to me the events that led to her exploding. At that moment, I realized that the blessing of God that was released over her was also released over me.

I got to see God’s hand of favor and provision work in my life as His Word manifested making a way, getting through the uncomfortable situation. To hear her apology made me realize her need of wanting to be understood even through her embarrassing outburst.

I came back that same evening to work my double shift when I was able to hug her, watching God’s love be poured out upon an unlovable person.

Now, I realize this doesn’t happen often, but for me, through this situation, we became close friends and people that I worked with saw another side of this woman that none of us knew existed. It was amazing to see God utilize me to cultivate and experience the way God saw her as His loving embrace began to squeeze His life out of her.

There have been other scenarios in my life where I decided to bless my enemies, and I can confidently say, every time peace was manifested. I was amazed as I watched the power of God move on my behalf, influencing the heart of the one who was considered my ‘enemy.’

The other times I didn’t see anything on their part change towards me; however, and most importantly, I saw change in my heart as compassion for that person came forth from the Holy Spirit of God.

The power of blessing our enemy is not because we decided to bless someone. It is because we have decided to become obedient to God and His Divine Nature who is The Blesser. We have been equipped to utilize God’s power of blessing over another person as we are able to sow righteous seed, seeing the righteous harvest of life from Almighty God, revealing His glory upon the earth!

I am reminded yet again, that to curse an enemy is to curse oneself; however, to bless an enemy is to bless oneself.

This post was posted on Heading Home's blog...Lynne is an amazing writer and woman who loves our God! Please visit will be blessed!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Testimony of God through our story...

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

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and My ways are not your ways", saith the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts "
~ Isaiah 55:8, 9~

Where do I begin, but first thanking our Awesome God for Who He is; and for each of you who are in our lives!

First let me tell you our story from the past couple of days, as God's testimony is revealed:
A few days ago, I wrote in my journal to the Lord, "Lord, I trust you." And I heard, "Do you really trust Me?" My reply was paused as the question sunk in. As I awoke into sober humbleness, I slowly said, "I hope so." When the question was asked, "Do you really trust Me?" Who would have known what was going to happen next.

The evening was like any other; but yet it wasn't, does that make sense? LOL!

It rained the whole day, not letting up. Did we need it? Yes...but the overflow of rain was now beyond our need as it started to flood into different parts of Austin. That night after we had attended a couple of meetings within our schools with lower than lower attendance, we came home and my husband said he felt like he pulled a muscle in his abs, that was about 8:00 pm. He didn't feel very good and so he went to lay down. Upon laying down, the job he had hoped to have the next day which would be in New Mexico, did not come through and so we were praying for God's provision. As Tim laid down, it seemed like every hour he would get more nauseous and the pain would rise little by little.

Suddenly, we heard someone violently banging on our front door and then ringing our doorbell multiple times. I ran upstairs to get Tim, and saw that Cody and Tim were proceeding down the stairs at great speed. Cody answered the door to find our neighbor lady who was screaming, "MY baby! My baby! She's stuck in the water!" The first thing that came to my mind was the rain and a baby drowning outside! I panicked and ran outside in my pajamas to my neighbor lady and I said, "Where's your BABY?" She said, "No! She's not here, she is in her car on Lakeline" I thought, "What?" It was happening so mind was asking myself, "your baby is in a car on lakeline?" She said, "My daughter!" Well, I found out after a moment of shock, that her 'baby' was her 20 year old daughter stuck in her car as water started filling up her car and the pressure of the water rising would not allow her to get out. So my husband and son rushed to the scene, with the mom going with them. Tristin and I stayed behind and about five minutes after they left, our dog started barking, I looked out the window where he was barking and noticed a police car stopping in front of our neighbors house. As he stopped, the back door of his car opened up and our neighbor's daughter came running through the rain, out of his squad car. Well, the police officer had safely gotten her out of her car and dropped her I called my son to let him know that she had been dropped off, in which they ended up turning around.

Well, after that ordeal, we went from tired to 'wide awake'! My husband's pain was getting worse and yet we managed to finally fall asleep at around 11:30 pm. At about 2:30 am, I awoke to groaning sounds of great pain from my husband. Well, if you know my husband, he's a 'tough guy'; so with his groanings, I knew he was in a lot of pain. I remember running downstairs and getting my CD player with Freddy Hayler's CD, "Song of Angels" and I played it in our room, prayed over him and with great hesitance, text our pastor and his wife.

Shortly after, Tim fell asleep for a little bit, then woke up with major pain and I remember him crying out, "Lord, please show me what it is and what I need to do." By this time it was about 4:15 am. I had gotten up and was in the bathroom, I felt as though I needed to get dressed and put my make up on and then by this time Tim had been vomiting because the pain was so great. Throughout that night, we thought for sure it was a bad flu, then we thought it was food poisoning because of the pain that was going up his spine; but that was outruled, because we had all eaten the same thing that night. I finally asked, "Tim, do I need to take you to the emergency room?" He replied with great agony, "Yes". At that moment, I knew the pain was definitely bad...because normally the answer would have been, "No". We got into the car and Tim said, "Teresa, I prayed and asked the Lord what is this and what do I need to do? The answer I got was, "appendix and you need to go to the hospital." On our way, we prayed for God's favor over our coming and going. I also hesitantly called our pastors to give them an update as they prayed as it was so early in the morning.

Upon arriving to the ER, I am not kidding...there were NO, not one! Tim was literally treated wthin 10 minutes of us getting into the ER...they saw the severity of his pain, being that vomitig was induced due to the pain. They told us the different things it could be; they were thinking most likely it was kidney stones; and Tim told the guys that were working on him, "I asked the Lord what it was, and I heard 'appendix'." They said, "Well, we will have to do a body scan." (I"m thinking...great...$$$$, but suddenly was reminded that my husband is more important than the cost of any test). They hooked him to an IV with pain medication, took him in for a body scan and within a few minutes, our pastor arrived with his bible in hand.

Soon after, the results of his blood came back and they found that his white blood cell count was high, which revealed that there was an infection. They then came back and said, "The radiologist saw that it is your appendix, it is infected and you're going to need to get it removed today." To see what Tim heard from the Lord as it was confirmed by the ER staff was amazing. They informed us that they called the surgeon and they needed to wait for the team to arrive and he would be the first in surgery. I am not kidding by 7:00 am the surgeon and her team were coming in one by one, introducing themselves and asking Tim the same questions. They were beyond nice and so kind throughout the whole the time they arrived, they were preparing Tim for surgery. As the surgeon came in and before she left, I asked if she would mind if we prayed over her, and she said, she would not mind. Our pastor prayed God's wisdom and understanding to be revealed and that her hands be guided by God's hands.

Immediately, the peace of God came over me as I was able to release my husband wholeheartedly. Soon after, Tim was rolled out of the room by 7:30 am to go into surgery. The surgery was lathroscopic and when she had gone into remove the appendix, she found that it was highly infected, ready to burst. She also repaired a hernia somewhere around the belly button. The surgery ended up being a little over an hour and he was in recovery by 8:45 am.

The whole post-surgery process was amazing. The hospital was first class and even the accomodations were nice. Even though the financial part was in the back of my mind, I was reminded of that moment just a few days before when I said, "I trust You." And then reminded of the poignant question, "Do you really trust Me?" I was reminded at that moment...this does not take God by surprise. Then I looked back, Tim was suppose to have a job that day, but it was cancelled, he would have been in a different state, going through airports, and not with his family and then what if he had been in another hospital with no one? Wow! God is so amazing! There are things I don't understand, but it's not for me to understand for I am reminded that "my thoughts are not HIS thoughts, nor my ways HIS ways, saith the Lord".

Your responses through text messages, phone calls from friends from all over the country, room visits from my Dad, Don, and Heath. My Dad, coming up to see us, Tim was sleeping and my dad wisked me to the cafe and fed me lunch; my mom came at dinner time as she drove in an hour and a half, feeding us dinner in the hospital, and bringing flowers. Of course, Tim's mom, she repeatedly said every phone call, "Please if you need anything, you call me right away." I had friends texting, "I'm bringing food over...", "We'll pick your daughter up from school"; "My pastors had meals lined up for the rest of the week from families within our church; your encouraging words...we ARE STILL BLOWN AWAY by God's goodness revealed through each of you!!!!!!

Our prayer is that every person, family, staff member at the hospital, doctors and nurses who assisted my husband and our family in any way, would be blessed expedentially beyond measure in the Name of Jesus! Your thoughtful words, your prayers and your immediate action in serving our family are such a gift to us, but MORE than anything, I know it blesses our Father God!

I know this is lengthy, but I want you to see that we are not in despair (II Corinthians 4:8)...our God is faithful, no matter the circumstances, He will always show that HE Is mightier than any mountain, than any giant that attempts to come against us, trying to draw fear out of us...but I do trust in our God and I know that He is going to reveal provision as He has revealed such beautiful favor in the midst of this stressful situation. The amazing part? We weren't stressed...our daughter was dancing in the hospital room, pretending to be dad's nurse, jerking dad's legs around, straightening up around the room and so excited that she could serve her dad. She was so funny to watch; God even utilized her in such a way to get our minds off of the situation and just enjoy doing life together, no matter where we are; as long as our family is together, we are counting that blessing. Our son was at home, tidying up the house, picking up after himself...our kids are such a blessing!

As we went home last night, Tim remained in the hospital...Tristin and I prayed over dad and she said, "Dear God (pause), thank you for letting our daddy be with us another day." When she prayed this to our Heavenly Father, tears came forth upon the realization that she knew that God was the reason dad was given permission to be here on earth another moment. We may not have the money like we use to; but we have each other. I have my husband and children, my parents and sisters, my church family and friends, what precious gifts from God! I thank God for each of you and I pray you will constantly see God through ALL circumstances; the good ones and the bad ones too. I have been reminded, yet again, that nothing takes God by surprise. As long as we remember that, we can lean on and trust Him, versus resisting Him because we think we need to be in control by worrying and fretting. By worrying and fretting, the results have always been associated with great stress...but with trusting God and Him only it results in great peace no matter what is seen all around us.

I pray that I am reminded of God's faithfulness daily, moment by moment and even as I sleep; for Faithfulness is WHO HE IS!

UPDATE: Tim is now home! Praise God!!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Excerpt from Chapter Two, "God Is Enthralled By Your Beauty"

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

Here is a small excerpt from chapter two of God Is Enthralled By Your Beauty. As mentioned in several posts before, I am placing excerpts of the book I was led to write onto my blog. I would encourage you to read chapter one so that you can better understand chapter two's excerpt. I pray you are blessed and that as you read you are led to rise up on behalf of girls and women alike who must be delivered and celebrated into God's glorious love.

Some of these women we are called to celebrate, have rejected us. However, remember they have not only rejected you, but they reject freedom from insecurity and shame. With and in God's love, we are more than able to overflow with abundant, powerful freedom that saturates their lives, so that they and we will never be the same!

There are two excerpts from chapter two (The whole chapter itself is not posted)...

“Blessed (Happy, fortunate, to be envied) is he who has forgiveness of his transgression continually exercised upon him, whose sin is covered. Blessed (Happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity and in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silence [before I confessed], my bones wasted away through my groaning all the daylong. You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, you surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah [Pause and calmly think of that]!

~ Psalm 32:1-3, 7 (Amp.)

"...The manifestation of Bitterness was alarming. It literally changed and disfigured everything about her. The hope of that little girl that she once was, was now gone. It would seem as though there would be no trace of her again.

I heard this girl once full of life; whimpering with regretful cries. It seemed from the sounds of her cries that bitterness was attaching itself to her in unimaginable pain. The eerie sound of her pain was overwhelming to my ears.

She cried out, “Daddy”! “Daddy”! He immediately answered with a voice so booming and beautiful. She did something that alarmed me and that was to ask a question that I could never bear to hear again, especially to ask such a question to Father God. With a bitter tone and her fists clenched in anger, she yelled, “Why have you forsaken me?”

The loud cry of bitterness was so painful. She inhaled deeply as if to cry even louder in between the cries and the breath. Then there was silence. The silence could be described as utter darkness to the ears. Even my ears had not experienced silence to this degree.

Crawling on the ground, I suddenly felt the ground shake below me, it shook with such power; it was God’s Mighty tears falling to the ground.

Suddenly, I saw these two amazing hands. These hands were so beautiful. Hands so detailed with power. Hands I had never seen before as they tenderly took hold of her. His loving, booming voice said, “O my princess do not judge me, for I am God. I am not God who forsakes and I have not forsaken you.”

She jumped angrily out of those unforgettable Hands without saying a word. However, her heart and eyes said it all as they filled with hate towards Him.

He stayed by her side as He whispered His promises of Who He was, is and is to come; choking back loving tears. She drowned out His loving whisper by screaming and running into a room I had not yet seen until that very moment. The name above the door was posted a sign, “The Place of Secrecy”, along with the heart wrenching screams she slammed the door...

...There are deep wounds and ugly scars we have dared not look upon. Now why do we try to place those things into a place of secrecy? I believe it is not only 'survival mode', but also because we are made to believe it is better to ignore it and act as though it never happened, when in actuality it is as a festering poison in every area of our lives. The wounds of guilt and unworthiness must be revealed and rid of, so that it can be replaced with what God has so readily available for us ~ innocence and worthiness.

Our Daddy wants us to come to Him, no matter what we have done or have not done. He wants to lift us up, not to oppress us or be a victim of condemnation. We are His children. We are His victorious daughters.

We as His daughters will not be able to bear the opening of that door without our Father’s glorious love and grace. We must call upon Him!

I believe we will realize that this is not a bother to Him when we call upon Him. He wants us to call out to Him. He desires for us to know who we are in Him. The powerful moment of realizing who we are in Him, is realizing who He is!"