Thursday, April 29, 2010

April 29, 2010, "Able and Willing?"

"Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work."
~ II Timothy 2:21 ~

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
~ Philippians 4:13 ~


I organized my food pantry, swept the floor and tossed the 'science projects' that were hidden in corners of the pantry. It is truly mind boggling how the mentality of "I'll do it later" soon accumulates to unrecognizable food. It's disgusting, isn't it?

As I finished the organizing of the food pantry, I decided to take on the refrigerator. **Sigh** I threw a few more 'science projects' into the trash can. I proceeded to pull out the drawers and had difficulty pulling the bottom drawer as I had to angle it to pull it out. In that moment I had a passing thought in which I knew it was going to be almost impossible to place the drawer back on the track.

Successfully however, I cleaned all the dirt and some particles of what was once called 'food' out of the refrigerator. Now you have to realize that the right door to my refrigerator when opened, is perfectly parallel to the wall. Realizing this, I attempted to place the drawer back into the refrigerator, I tried to angle it to go back in, yet there was no way that it was going to be able to get back on the track. I started sweating, getting mad and frustrated. At this point, I was tempted to let the drawer just freely sit at the bottom of the refrigerator. This is when I heard a voice within me say, "Teresa, is there a way to do this correctly?" I said, "Yes". "Teresa, are you willing to do it correctly?" I said, "No". Haahaa! That's when I saw that it was more than possible, if I pulled the refrigerator out from the wall. But I wasn't willing. I asked myself, "Teresa, why aren't you willing?" I answered, "Because I just want to be done with this. I know I'm going to find a nasty mess underneath the refrigerator and I'm going to have to get it cleaned up." At this point, I heard, "Look how frustrated you are. There is a solution, but because of your unwillingness, you will remain not only frustrated but doing this half way." The conversation I was having within myself was truly highlighting laziness on my part. In the process, there was a teaching lesson that the Holy Spirit was walking me through. Long story short...I pulled the refrigerator out so that the door could swing wider which allowed the drawer to slip right in. I swept and mopped behind the refrigerator and at that moment, I was able to see what could be accomplished when I was willing to go beyond the surface.

Through this scenario I am reminded that there are things in my life that God wants to deliver me from, clean out and replace that which He has already provided within me. Placing that drawer back the right way was temporarily uncomfortable, yet the assignment was accomplished even beyond what I had imagined. Not only was the bottom of the refrigerator cleaned out, but the drawer fit well and the floor and wall were cleaned as well.

Moment by moment when we are clinging to the King, there is truly a willingness to get those things accomplished no matter what has to be done. Am I able and am I willing are two different things...I must simply ask, "Am I willing to do that which I am able to do through the strength of our King and Lord Jesus Christ?"

I praise our God that in the midst of this reminder, I am reminded that He is not only able, but thankfully, He is also Willing!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April 28, 2010, "A Great Reminder from Tamara Lowe"

A Triumphant Victorious Reminder of why we are here! The King of Kings!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUQYJ77qa50&feature=player_embedded

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April 27, 2010, "Captivity or Captivated?"

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


"The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."
~ Psalm 18:2, NKJV ~


Purposefully I went on a walk this evening. Each intentional footstep was with great effort. Suddenly, I became enthralled by the vibrant blue sky and the thick, puffy white clouds that moved so gracefully above me! Enamored by the ray's of the sun that shone through as the warm rays surrounded me as a beautiful embrace. The embrace captivated me with the beauty that surrounded me especially as the beauty intensified when listening to my favorite song by Rich Mullins' titled, My Deliverer . I was moved to tears as this song played numerous times as I walked. The one line that moved me was 'Jesus listened to the song that the captive children used to sing
They were singin'
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
Through a dry and thirsty land, water from the Kenyon heights
Pours itself out of Lake Sangra's broken heart
There in the Sahara winds Jesus heard the whole world cry
For the healing that would flow from His own scars
The world was singing
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
He will never break His promise - He has written it upon the sky
...though the stars should break faith with the sky
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by..."

As you read these words, I pray that you are so overwhelmed by the Glory of God that is revealed so beautifully through His creation!

I am reminded today of My Deliverer. When the issues of life attempt to snatch the hope of being delivered...let these beautiful words remind us of what the captive children sang. As they sang, they were set free from the captivity and delivered into the glorious Deliverer who captivates our hearts!

It is either be in captivity, bound to despair and the feeling of 'there is no way out'... or I can finally be set free and captivated by God's glorious light revealed by His glorious Holiness and Grace!

Monday, April 26, 2010

April 27, 2010, " Captive or Captivated?"

Purposefully I went on a walk this evening. Each intentional footstep was with great effort. Suddenly, I became enthralled by the vibrant blue sky and the thick, puffy white clouds that moved so gracefully above me! Enamored by the ray's of the sun that shone through as the warm rays surrounded me as a beautiful embrace. The embrace captivated me with the beauty that surrounded me especially as the beauty intensified when listening to my favorite song by Rich Mullins' titled, My Deliverer . I was moved to tears as this song played numerous times as I walked. The one line that moved me was 'Jesus listened to the song that the captive children used to sing
They were singin'
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
Through a dry and thirsty land, water from the Kenyon heights
Pours itself out of Lake Sangra's broken heart
There in the Sahara winds Jesus heard the whole world cry
For the healing that would flow from His own scars
The world was singing
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
He will never break His promise - He has written it upon the sky
...though the stars should break faith with the sky
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by..."

As you read these words, I pray that you are so overwhelmed by the Glory of God that is revealed so beautifully through His creation!

I am reminded today of My Deliverer. When the issues of life attempt to snatch the hope of being delivered...let these beautiful words remind us of what the captive children sang. As they sang, they were set free from the captivity and delivered into the glorious Deliverer who captivates our hearts!

I can either be in captivity, bound to despair and the feeling of 'there is no way out'... or I can finally be set free and captivated by God's glorious light revealed by His glorious Holiness and Grace!

April 26, 2010, "Lesson Plan?"

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

Reflecting back on a post that I wrote a year ago...the following is a story that God allowed me to write for April 25 & 26th, 2009. I pray that you are ministered to as I was this morning.

"And let us not be weary in doing well: for in due season we shall reap,
if we do not faint (give up)."
~ Galatians 6:9 ~

"But you, brothers and sisters, be not weary in doing well."
~ II Thessalonians 3:13


kids raising hands
Jim dismayed, stood in the classroom asking himself how he got there. His wife, Jennifer sat on the ground as her eyes welled up with joyful tears. She was moved to tears by an eager little boy who wanted to share his favorite song. He extended his right arm so high as if he were to raise it any higher he may just have pulled a muscle. Wearing a white polo shirt, beige 'docker like' pants and light brown hair spiked handsomely high, Jennifer said, "Yes, share with us your favorite song."

The little boy looked around to make sure his audience of 22 was ready to listen when suddenly with all his heart he belted out in his sweet, southern drawl, "TW'A'NKLE, TW'A'NKLE, LITTLE STAR, HOW I WONDER WHARE YOU ARE..." As he finished with a huge smile on his face, his audience of 22 clapped for him.

As most precious children, the others wanted to share their favorite songs too. Meanwhile, another little boy eagerly raised his hand. As he extended his arm upward, his little hand waving violently back and forth, Jennifer finally called on him saying, "What is your favorite song?" He proudly said, "Spiderman". After he sang his song, another child, a little girl, or I should say a 'princess' accessorized in pink, with her 'bling bling' purse filled with little toy cosmetics, stood up knowing who she was...a princess. As she sang her favorite song she twirled up on her tip toes like a ballerina and her arms extended above her head.

As the little girl sat down, it suddenly sunk in as Jennifer and Jim realized with panic that they were the only adults in the classroom. There was no teacher, they had no lesson planned, and Jennifer asked herself, "What do we do now? We signed up to help, not to teach!!!" The ability to improvise took over as she said in her sweet, gentle voice, "Let's sing a song about Jesus." As she giggled and sang with the class she noticed in the corner of the room, her quiet husband who would never intentionally place himself in situations like this, was frantically looking for the lesson plan to teach the kids about Jesus.

Sweating profusely he was stunned as he thought with great irritability, "How did she talk me into helping out in the four year old classroom at church?" Suddenly his question was interrupted as he heard a sweet little girl's voice. He looked down to see a precious little girl with flowing blonde naturally curly hair looking straight up at him. Clearing his throat as if to act he was never perplexed, said, "Yes?" The little girl with tear filled eyes, desperately said, "Teacher, I need help! I have a snake stuck in my hair." Puzzled he said, "What? A snake?" He realized after quickly assessing the situation that the entanglement  was going to have to consist of scissors. He shook his head again saying to himself, "Never again."

He carefully, seemingly piece by piece, pulled out each hair as he so glared at his beautiful wife from across the room. He finally got to the last few strands of hair, as he had to break the news to the little girl, with no emotion, just raw realness, he said, "You have a choice, I'm going to either have to cut your hair or cut the snake." The expressions on the little girl's face changed multiple times within a couple of seconds when suddenly she began to cry, just short of screaming, "No! Don't cut my snake! No!!" His face bright red, sweating profusely he calmly, yet irritably said, "Hey, hey, it's okay, we'll just cut a little bit of your hair in this one place."

The drama was interrupted by the excitement in his wife's voice and she proclaimed across the room, "Who loves you all so much that He died on the cross and rose again?" They all shouted simultaneously and with great confidence, "JESUS"!

A few moments later, after the hair and snake episode, James finally found a book filled with Bible lessons for the children. He opened it up and realized all the helpful activities to coincide with the lesson. Of course in his mind he thought with great sarcasm, "Well I found this a little late." A few more minutes passed by and it was finally time for the parents to pick up their children. Although it felt like chaos at this point, Jim and Jennifer just knew to hang on for they would for sure make it out alive!

To say the least, it was hilarious to hear their story, watching their facial expressions, I giggled so hard, but this time guys I actually made it to the restroom DRY!

As I journal someone else's funny experience, I am reminded that many times we aren't prepared to take the 'curve balls' of life. We see how life drives us to the knowing need, the wake up call of what the lesson plans are, yet just as Jim and Jennifer were desperately looking for a lesson plan to teach the children; we need to become desperate for God and His plan for each of us by going to the Instruction book - The Word of God.
Well with all that, along the way, as we laugh, let's laugh with no fear of the future...because we know how our awesome our God is in the midst of the surprising twists and turns of this adventure called life!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

April 24, 2010, "Fret or Righteousness?"

"The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Will evildoers never learn - those who devour my people as men eat bread and who do not call on the Lord? There they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous. You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their Refuge..."
~ Psalm 14 ~


When I fret Lord, do I foolishly, yet unintentionally say there is no God? Is my fretting mind revealed by my mouth and actions that say, "Almighty God is unable to overcome?"

Will my unwavering, doubtful evil flesh ever learn? Will I be seduced away into a state of double mindedness, divided in the mind, overwhelmed with dread? Yet You Lord are present in the company of the righteous...the righteous who know they are righteous, not because of themselves...but because of Your righteousness in and on them.

In Your righteousness, I am reminded that the evil doer frustrates the plans of the poor. I am awakened to assist in the plans of the poor in spirit..to assist by taking the poor and needy into overflowing wealth and joy because of Who You are Lord! In Your Righteousness, Your Glory can not help but be revealed! Hallelujah to Our Awesome God! I applaud You O Lord, for You are Mighty. You are Almighty God! How can I not trust You? How can my flesh lead me to the grave of fret and despair? I must lead my mind to the abundance of what is already provided through Jesus Christ, for those who have no more hope!!!!

I am reminded today that Faith In You Jesus resurrects the hope in me that was once deferred!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

April 22, 2010, "Beautiful Feet"

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

"And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!"
~ Romans 10:15 NKJV ~


Lord, I have taken my feet for granted.
Your Word says that beautiful are the feet who preach the gospel of peace, bringing and revealing the glad tidings of good, wholesome, righteous things of You!


When pain annihilates my feet, I immediately attempt to massage and console my feet. The pain usually reveals that I have not taken care of my feet as I must. I am reminded that I allow my feet to take me places with no purpose. Yet, my feet have a purpose, to take me where You want me to go...not where I only desire to go.

This leads me to ask myself, "Are my feet leading me to people where my arms can be extended to give of my time? To give an embrace? Are my feet leading my mouth to speak encouragement and truth? Are my feet leading me to give and run closer to the Glorious Face of You Father, praising Who You are? Or are my feet only leading me to take and run away, speaking things that must not proceed from my mouth?"

Lord, I know that my feet are to be used as a tool for Your glory; not because I have to please You or because I must as it is the 'right thing' to do; but knowing that my feet are to be utilized as a tool for Your glory because I desire to seek You for Who You are. I want to desire Your heart and Your glorious Face, because I can. You have made the way through Jesus Christ to do so. Lord, I am reminded that my feet desire to bring me to Your Throne of Grace as I enter with boldness, not because of what I have done...but because of what You already have done. I want to please You because I get to; not because I have to. I thank You for Your Amazing Grace that places my heart on You, versus myself. I don't want to misuse Your grace to sin; I want to utilize Your grace to rise above the sin!

Thank You Lord for my feet. Thank You Father. Thank You! You are so AWESOME, Indescribable altogether. I am awestruck by Your Glorious All Powerful Love! I get to love You because You first loved me. When my feet led me to the grave; you delivered me from my steps leading to destruction when I finally said, "Yes" to Your gift that was already there to receive before I was even born! Yes to Salvation being rescued by Jesus Christ, who brings Wholeness in my mind, spirit and body...not just my spirit but my mind and my body! I am eternally grateful by this Triumphant Victorious Reminder!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April 20, 2010, "Probing Questions"

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

"To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."
~ Isaiah 61:3 ~

"But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work."
~ II Timothy 2:20-21 ~

She briskly walked. The focused intensity was set as stone upon her glistening face. Headphones in her ears.

What filled her ears? What filled her thoughts?

Lord, are they overwhelming beautiful thoughts of hope in and with You?
Are they thoughts of overwhelming 'to do lists' for the next few years?
Are they thoughts and reflections of a broken heart? Broken dreams?
Does she know she is significant?
Has she fallen into the trap of comparison which is the deception of insignificance?
Is she striving or thriving?
Does she look at opportunities as just that...opportunities?
Or does she look at them as obstacles, hurdles and road blocks?
What drives her?
Is she motivated by helping others?
Or is she motivated by her own agendas?

As I ask these questions of her, watching her walk away. I am led to ask these questions of myself.

It is amazing to know that what I see in the mirror is truly a physical 'chest' that holds cherished memories, hopes, and dreams. Also holding devastating heart break, self-inflicted sadness, choices made that linger with regret and betrayal. Yet, the story of redemption that rescued me from the burden of sin and myself is overwhelmed with glorious victory inside that 'chest'. The treasured oil of joy that God gave me to replace my sadness; His glorious beauty that He replaced for my ashes of heart break, ugliness of sin and shame; His glorious, priceless, overflowing Garment of Praise for my spirit of heaviness. So many things that I are encased in this spirit, soul and body. What we see in the natural, as physical human beings, we cannot begin to reveal what we hold within each of us.

When I attempt to lift my head, am I too burdened to do so because of the overwhelming thoughts of regret?
Or is it when I lift my head, am I reminded of the freedom from those bondages of regret?
Not only bondages that are obvious; but bondages of self-defeat? Bondages of criticism yet justifying as discernment from God? Victim mentality and shame, unknowingly resisting the Hand and Face of God that wants to deliver me? He is The Deliverer, but am I willing to do my part to be delivered? Will I allow the despair of inadequacy to resist?

The Redeemer, The Deliverer wants and desires us to remember that it is not what we have or haven't done...it is what He has already done! The Overcomer waits patiently; I must cease, quit and abandon the need to 'attempt' to overcome that which He has already overcame! The obstacles are there; but Jesus Christ revealed through the Holy Spirit of God that He is the answer to get through! He is not surprised by the ordeal, the disaster or bewildering circumstances. He will show us the tools we need to utilize to get through. More than anything the tool of praising God is the One to get through along with prayer unto Almighty, Holy God!

The answer is there...yet I must realize in the waiting time, accompanied by God's strength to supernaturally wait, His Joy is made manifest as finally the answer will be revealed at the appointed time! It's not about timelines to God, He is not contained by our 24 hour/365 days a year, time span. It is not about, "Is He ready"? I believe it is truly about, "Am I ready?" God will see to it that things of Him are accomplished. Will I reveal the readiness in my obedience? Or will I allow the opportunity to pass me by, revealing disobedience? God will get His amazing work accomplished, even when He is to choose another vessel to do what I was intended to do. I don't want my unwillingness to allow the opportunity to pass over me!

If I don't know what I am called to do, then I must go to the Creator and find out from Him in prayer. He will reveal, I must be sure of it! I'm no longer surprised when it is something I am unable to do on my own. God's really great at that...haahaa! To do His work, we must be completely reliant on Him, craving to be with Him, as we see Supernatural results! It is not just about doing things 'for' Him but getting to do those things 'with' Him!

Today, I am reminded that I am a blessed wife and mom...so in this important, significant role, I must rely on God to be the lover and nurturer that God is and depend on Him when my love and nurturing skills 'run out'.

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 19, 2010, "Let's Be A Part of An Avalanche"

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

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
~ Jesus Christ, Matthew 18:6 ~


I can't get the images out of my mind.
I am haunted by the innocent faces of little girls younger than my own daughter; sold as sex slaves. I begin to weep as I type, shaking my head pleading with myself not to be a voice that becomes willingly silent...if I choose to silence my voice when able to speak up and speak out then I am just as guilty as the perpetrators. When I see unrighteous acts being done, how can I stand by, raise my eyebrows, shake my head and then go on as if it isn't happening?

O God! I feel this overwhelming nauseous knot in my stomach. To know that families in many third world countries are selling their children to pay a debt. Many times the parents sell their children because they honestly believe that the perpetrators are going to give them a better life; unknowingly placing them in the very hands that will violently rob them of not only these treasures but the innocence and trust of these children, being violated in ways I don't want to ever see or imagine.

No way of escape, no way out for these precious children...unless we rise up and give financially or even of our time if possible to raise awareness of the human trafficking that has been going on for way too long! I have chosen to bring awareness through this tool called blogging. This sick, perverted industry that preys on women, young girls and boys brings in over 30 billion dollars a year.

If you go to www.skunkstv.com my sweet friend and her husband are the hosts of this television show in Tulsa, Oklahoma and you can see their interview with Lisa Bevere. You can also go to www.messengerintl.org and find out how you can pray, help and assist with Pearl Alliance!

Today, through this I am victoriously reminded that I can do something to help! These children that don't even know I exist, that you exist, can be rescued from this evil grip of sexual perversion and lusts that are literally a reflection of the pit of hell!

Thank you in advance for assisting in your prayers, and even forwarding awareness of solutions that are available to this problem that stands before us, literally mocking our God! Every bit of awareness helps. Whatever ideas that come to mind to assist in this; don't think it's too great or small...just do what you have the ability to do and I believe that God will utilize even our small abilities and do great things that we could never imagine, dream of or articulate in all the languages of the world put together, both known and unknown!

Many small efforts together reveal the greatness of unity intended for God's glory! One snowflake alone is just that, a snowflake. However, the snowball effect of many snowflakes coming together can be massive! I'm not just talkin' a snow ball that can build a snowman, but many snowflakes together during the effects of an avalanche! Let's be a part of an avalanche that destroys the chains and bondages that have bound these beautiful children!



Saturday, April 17, 2010

April 17, 2010, "Are you a professional 'care slinger'?"

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

"casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you."
~ I Peter 5:7 NKJV ~

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.
~ Hebrews 10:35 NKJV
~

I heard a great phrase a few weeks ago from my pastor's wife. With great exhortation she proclaimed, "We must become 'professional care-slingers'!" I laughed in hilarious agreement. I thought, "What a great visual."

Of course, the more I think of it, that scripture, "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you" truly comes to life. Not only does it come to life; but it is a beautiful reminder of how we are called to live an abundant life revealing Jesus Christ and His victorious freedom that is provided when we abide in and obey Him.

Notice that when we cast our cares upon Him, we know something...We know that He cares for us. I am reminded yet again, that 'knowing' that He cares for me must be a reflection in my daily walk, allowing Hebrews 10:35 to become a manifestation of what I already know. "Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward." As we should become 'professional care-slingers' we must remember not to professionally sling along with our cares, our confidence in Who He is. How often I tend to 'take back' those nagging cares and anxieties.

This is a great reminder that when I professionally 'sling' those cares to God, I must remember those cares were never meant to be 'slung' as boomerangs. They're not suppose to come back for us to receive again!

I want to make sure that I'm slingin' my cares to God; not slingin' boomerangs to myself!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

April 15, 2010, "Opportunity to Grow or to Groan?"

"He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"
~ Micah 6:8 ~



We met together for a bi-weekly prayer fellowship. As usual, it is so awesome! I love my sweet sister's, Jeanne~Mari (From South Africa), Mollie and Rachel who meets with us once a month.

We shared with each other some things where God has been correcting us as He reveals His everlasting love that is so lavishly shed upon us. Needless to say, one of the ladies shared an awesome story of her daughter. The one sentence that arrested me were these words, "She told her friend who was mad at her: "If you don't tell me how you feel or how you feel I wronged you, how will I know? I won't get upset, I will only look at it as an 'opportunity to grow'." Haahaahaa! Wow!

I still remember sitting in my chair, stunned with the Wisdom of God that flowed from the mouth of this sweet daughter. God will utilize anyone, no matter the age, and in this case, He uilized a 10 year old girl.

Of course, upon hearing that testimony, I was led to the day before. As I clear my throat with conviction...haahaa! I did some sinning with my attitude. As my husband and dad would say, "allowing little 'foxes' to get the best" of me. On this particularly beautiful day, my husband and I were having an 'intense fellowship' as he was truly attemptng to help me on how on how to approach a situation with one of our children more lovingly and with mercy versus being led by my vast resources of emotions. It was not a life and death issue; yet, my attitude of 'this sucks' sure would assumed it was. All in all, I was robbing myself of seeing all the blessings before me. Instead of looking at our conversation as an 'opportunity to grow' I was walking in the conversation as an 'opportunity to groan'. I laugh now; but at the time, it was quite difficult to get out of that pit that I dug on my own. Not only did I dig that pit with my groaning attitude, but my words became the shovel that dug the hole. I allowed my mind to lead my tongue which then allowed my tongue to lead me where I didn't want to go, nor ever want to go; the pit of despair.

I am reminded that today I must remind myself of what is required of me...to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with my God (Micah 6:8). For when I walk in this, I will make a way for God's provision of an opportunity to grow, versus the provision of the flesh as an opportunity to groan.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 14, 2010, "Procrastination"

Yesterday, I finally received my Copyright 'Certificate of Registration'. Yes! I received it for the first book that I wrote titled, "God Is Enthralled By Your Beauty" Finally Looking Into The Mirror He Sees You In. The book was written in 2004, and completed in 2007. I'm so excited! I know to many it does not seem like a 'big deal'...but it was for me! I'm smiling so BIG, I could 'pee' my pants...heehee! I apologize for the unprofessional excitement, but, o well, I'm plain excited!!!

The amazing part of this waiting process for the Copyright Registration Certificate is first of all, it normally should only take at the most 6 to 8 weeks to receive. Of course, with life...things, circumstances, growth takes place and then that thought of, "Wait! I haven't received my certificate yet" would come and go. It seemed that every time I would try to correspond with someone, there was either "no answer" or "no call back" to my voicemails. The no "reply" to my emails or I would forget to follow up. No matter the circumstance, during that time, there were major procrastinations on the revisions of the book; but finally as stated in a few posts back, 365 tomorrows went by and finally I just grabbed the project by the horns and said, "We're gettin' it done today!" What was placed on the back burner for a year was literally accomplished in one day, when I committed the process to God and relied on His grace and strength. Relying on Him to finally allow His grace and strength to allow me to rise above the procrastination.

To make this short, if possible...haahaa...as soon as the revisions were finished, I immediately called the Library of Congress and no kiddin'...someone answered. Not only did they answer, but the gentleman I spoke to said, "Tomorrow, I am mailing out the certificate, and when I do, I will give you a call." Sure enough, he called me the very next afternoon and let me know he was mailing it out...I kid you not...what I waited for since November 7, 2007 was finally received on
April 13, 2010!

Again, it doesn't seem like a 'huge' deal...but upon receiving the certificate, all the things that have taken place since this lengthy period of time I submitted my paperwork, allows me to appreciate it so much more. I thank God for the process in waiting; even when it seemed unnecessary; it is definitely an opportunity to grow and realize that procrastination never pays. Procrastination more times than not; is the enemy to destiny and great significance through the success that God wants to lavishly allow us to live in.



Sunday, April 11, 2010

April 12, 2010, "Holy God gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit"

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

God Your Holiness is revealed as we declare Your Glory!
The heavens declare Your glory!
The mountains declare Your vast Majesty!
The creatures below the sea declare Your amazing Beauty!
The billowing waves and seas that crash against the mighty boulders of the shores reveal their great awe as they run to You!
Your glory reveals a glimpse of You Holy God!
The Seraphim, the many Seraph angels declare You are Holy! They cry one to another as they fly, with two of their six wings! Wow!
You are Mighty God! You are more than worthy to be praised!
Praise and Glory to Your Holy Name!
Your Holy Name shakes the massive, mighty door posts of heaven! The door posts are not what we imagine...but door post are as deep below the foundation as they are above!
Your Spirit is revealed as Holy Spirit. Not just any spirit...but You sent Your Holy Spirit and have placed Your Holy Spirit on the inside of those who call on the Name of the Lord and follow, abiding in You!
I am no longer that one that just hollered out Your name when I needed help and then let go, like many times before...I am one who called on the Name, the most powerful Name and since that day have clung with great fervency to You Jesus. I cannot let go of You, I cannot help but love You! All that You have done; all that You have made all that You are...I am in awe of You Holy God!
Awe and wonder that leads my spirit to dance in freedom! Dancing to the beauty of Your melody of beauty and grace!
I love You Lord! I admonish, exhort and remind myself to fervently and passionately be in awe of You as I get to be Your daughter!

April 12, 2010, "Convince, Rebuke and Exhort"

"I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth; and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."
~ II Timothy 4:1-5 ~

II Timothy 4 was one of the many verses that were reflected on Sunday as we met as a corporate body led by the Holy Spirit through Pastor Kimberly Behrman. The title of the message,
"A Judas Kiss...The Betrayal of the Truth". This message stirred me. I was stirred to seek His face to reveal my heart. I was led to this place of repentance and wanting, desiring to not betray the Truth...MY JESUS! When I came home, the three words that stood out were from
II Timothy 4, "Convince, rebuke and exhort". I wanted to get some understanding of these words. What I noticed immediately was this phrase, "Convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering (a.k.a patience) and teaching." I came to the conclusion that when teaching with patience there must at all times (in and out of season) convincing, rebuking and exhorting the things of Jesus Christ. This sound teaching must be maintained and never be 'let up' for one moment. Why? Because it says further on, "the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, falling prey to the itching ears, wanting to hear what they want to hear." Paul then warns Timothy, "be watchful in ALL things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry"

Here are the following definitions for 'convince, rebuke and exhort':
Convince
(To bring by the use of argument or to bring by the use of evidence to firm belief or a coarse of action; to prove to be wrong or guilty; to conquer or overpower).
Rebuke (To criticize or reprove sharply; reprimand ~ admonish: to reprove gently but earnestly; to counsel another against something to be avoided; caution; to remind of something forgotten or disregarded, as an obligation or a responsibility)
Exhort (To urge by strong, often stirring argument, admonition, advice or appeal; to make urgent appeal: in other words to make an urgent, earnest request).

Wow! These definitions are very cutting. I pray that I do not fall under deception like that which was warned by Paul. O my heart must be maintained at all times. The soil of my garden must be constantly taken care of.

These cutting definitions of convince, rebuke and exhort are definitely not what is taught by the 'mainstream church'. Living for God has nothing to do with "let's fluff each other's behinds, tip toe around issues that must be confronted head on!" We are into this false thinking that the feathers shouldn't be ruffled. I am realizing in my own life that when my eyes are no longer focused on God for Who He is and seeking His face, everything else becomes a religious act. It becomes involuntary movement. There is this passionless, mundane, boring life mentality, that does not reveal the Rivers of Living Water that are abundant and purposeful.

There is a mandate on each of our lives when we say "Yes" to being redeemed by Jesus Christ to stand up for the One who Redeemed us. I must live with passion that ignites the thirst and hunger for God in others who are thirsty for Him, but are sadly seeking elsewhere; just like many of us did at one time.

I am led to this awakening: we can no longer be okay with the world saying, "You can't say the Name of God or the Name of Jesus. You have to 'bow down' to our way of doing things." Immediately, I am reminded of what happened to all the leaders who were gathered together in Babylon ordered by King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3. The leaders were brought forth from all the different rankings and ordered to bow before this mighty golden image that the king had built. They were ordered through the proclamation of a herald to bow down after the sound of the music and instruments and if they didn't they would be thrown into a burning fiery furnace. Well, of course the leaders did what they were told. However, Shadrach, Meschech and Abendago did not. I love what happened next: King Nebuchadnezzar says with great pride, "Who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?" Shadrach, Meschech and Abendago answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up."
Wow! That causes me to shout with great exuberance!!! What Boldness to know their God, despite what could happen to them; and they didn't even have the relationship with God that we are able to have through Jesus Christ made manifest through the Holy Spirit!!!!!
This true, powerful story leads me to the voices of those who say, "The law is that we can't say the name of God!" My reply is, "You can't afford not to say the Name of God." If you are not allowed to say His name...the one's who are saying that you can't say His name are missing out on a powerful transformation! I pray that I do not compromise by falling into the trap that I missed out on an opportunity to share the Gospel. There is nothing we can do when we do our part and it is rejected, they aren't rejecting us or our ministry...they are rejecting Almighty God!

The leaders in business and schools who make the decision to say "No" to God will be responsible for the many lives who missed out on hearing the powerful message of redemption, deliverance and restoration provided through the Name of Jesus!

Today's message taught by the power of the Holy Spirit through Pastor Kimberly Behrman was so a 'right now' word! She said, "We can not fall into self-deceit, because this leads to justification. Justification leads to accepting the lie and accepting the lie, causes you to turn from Truth which dangerously leads to rejecting God."

We must do what we have been called to and allow God to do what He does best...and that is Being God! He doesn't need our help to 'fix' the hearts who say, "No" to Him. He wants us to be fixed totally and completely on Him. His love for the lost is indescribably more vast than what we could ever comprehend.

Our love for the lost and hurting is nothing in comparison to His passionate pursuit of them and us. We must uphold that which we are led by, and that is Him. How can we say we are led by the Spirit of God, if we are willing to 'edit' His name out? Many say,"Well, we don't want to offend anyone, people could lose their jobs." Well, guess what? God offends...the name of Jesus offends the world! Notice the world is not offended by Mohammad, Buddha or any other name...but wow...when it comes to the Name of Jesus the world is appalled! As I heard Greg Fritz say, "The name of Jesus must get equal time." If the world can say curse words, speak bitter, envying, strife, death filled words, then there is no problem with my God's Name getting equal time! I am humbly reminded that the laws of man must kneel to the Righteous and Just God who is Holy. We may not see the kneeling and the bowing to our God now...but we better believe that we will one day and I pray soon!

If I am going to wear the beautiful name of a "Christ Follower"...I must wear it by the Grace of God. That Grace provided by God is to allow us to rise above sin and walk in great power and boldness in the name of Jesus. That grace is not provided for us to back down, back off; walking in weakness and timidity. I admit, I feared confrontation. My personality by nature is to have everyone get along. But one day I heard in my spirit, "At what expense are you willing for your personality trait to infiltrate the way you worship and serve Me?" That was a wake up call! If I am not careful, I can fall into compromising situations very quickly. The mentality of, "I don't want you to be mad at me...so I'd rather not say anything at all" does not lead to the fruitfulness of God; glorifying Him. I'm learning that when we know what is right and we say and/or do nothing when we see evil being done...we are just as guilty as the one who is doing evil (James 4:17).

A great example of a Christ Follower was Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ. Paul was passionate and there was no such thing as a 'bush'! He didn't beat around the bush; Paul went right through the bush of deception by the power of the Holy Spirit! Especially when they saw the teachings of God be manipulated to selfish agendas and desires. I want this same passion, however my flesh doesn't want that passion; for it is guaranteed that from that passion for Christ, persecution will rise up (Matthew 24:3-13).

Let's never betray the Truth for one moment. Let us be quick to rebuke and admonish ourselves before betrayal can take place.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Revised April 9, 2010 "Reflecting back to one year ago..."

As some of you may know I have been reflecting on things from the past year. I love journaling and blogging and beautifully pondering and seeing the wondrous things that God has done and is continuing to do!
I don't understand why I'm reflecting back so much, but what I do know is that I am being reminded of how Great our God is, was and is to come!

Posted April 9, 2009...
Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
By: Teresa Criswell

"...The Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what He requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."
~ Micah 6:8 ~

I was pulling the weeds today. The roots were stubborn as I tried to pull them from below the surface. The root itself was twice as long if not more than the actual weed.

I was reminded of sin that is deeply rooted in my heart. From the surface it doesn't look that bad. Yet deep down it has festered, taken root and is so hard to pull up as it is entangled with other roots. I can "snip" the bottom of the "weed" from the surface of sin but if I don't get to the root, it only gets deeper below the surface more intertwined and much harder to get out of the ground (my heart).

The root of sin are of many different things...but I believe more than anything the root to all sin is pride. Pride comes in many different forms. If I'm shy or I don't want to talk to someone because I'm afraid of what that person may think...believe it or not it's pride. You may say, "No, that can't be." Seriously, think about it. If I put a guard up around myself because I'm fearful of rejection or what they might say about me; it's pride. I'm thinking of ME, MYSELF and I at that moment which is the "trinity to humanism". Some of you who know me may think, "You shy?" Maybe not bashful or shy, but I hold back many times when the Lord wants me to bless someone with a compliment or a word of encouragement.

I always thought that pride came in one form and that was in the form of haughtiness. For example, "I know I'm good, I'm better than you and I can do it better than you." However, I believe just how Lucifer (Satan) fell which was from pride; he truly believed that he could raise himself up above God...PRIDE! He was so bright and beautiful as he reflected the glorious light of God. The key is that he only "reflected", he was not the source of light. Lucifer actually believed that he was the source of light. Boy, he was truly deceived. How interesting that he was deceived by his OWN deception.

Another example that I can give that I unfortunately do a lot is when someone is wanting to help me out, by blessing me with something and I refuse it because I don't need their help, yet I just prayed for help in a certain area...but my reasoning is "If I accept it then what does that say of me?" Maybe some of you don't have these issues, but I do and struggling with those stubborn roots today was a great reminder.

Here are some common sins that are from pride and what we can do to please the Lord instead:
Sin OR Please the Lord
Manipulation OR Speak Honestly about what is trying to be accomplished.
Lying OR Truth
Stealing and Hoarding OR Giving
Gluttony OR Being balanced
Jealousy OR Celebrating
Taking offense OR Choosing to not receive offense
Selfishness OR Selflessness
Behaving rudely OR Behaving kindly (Remembering that niceness is not to be
taken as a weakness).
Grudges and Unforgiveness OR Forgiving and showing Mercy

Notice everyone of the sins mentioned above has to do with protecting myself. However, when I choose the right thing, I by default will walk humbly before the Lord.

We have choices to make daily. I have made many, many bad choices in my life. I have made a few good ones and I like the outcome of the good choices. Not only are the results worthwhile but it pleases God. Let us get the root system cleaned up.

Let us take root in the fertile soil that our hearts need to be made of, so that we may do what the Lord requires of us and that is to do right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

April 8, 2010, "Reflecting..."

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

I have been reflecting back on some of my writings from last year. This was the first post written for Triumphant Victorious Reminders. The following was written on March 20, 2009. I am amazed how God had been teaching me the power of praising Him, even before I came under the ministry of Worship Life. The writing revealed as i humbled myself by praising Him; His great power was revealed as He lifted me up and out and into His glorious restoration! Hallelujah!


"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall be continually in my mouth."
~Psalm 34:1~


I ask myself the following questions:

When I woke up this morning, did I intentionally think on the Lord?
Or, did I unintentionally think of the concerns of my day?
When my feet hit the ground, did I run to praise the Lord?
Or did I immediately "praise" the world's problems?

Have you heard this well-known cliche?
"They're so heavenly minded; they're no earthly good"
but there is this one also...as I thought about it, I wrote:
"We can be so earthly minded; we're no "heavenly" good"
So with these two statements, it tells me that there must be a balance, correct?

How do we live a balanced life?

I'm sure we could come up with many answers to this question.
As many people that there are; I am sure that there are as many opinions to that question.

Well, let's look at the Word in what we are called to live by:

"Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say 'Rejoice'!"
~Philippians 4:4~

"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall be continually in my mouth."
~Psalm 34:1~

"Count it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing."
~James 1:2-4~

When you read the scripture that relate to praising and rejoicing in God and declaring His greatness, it is usually associated with a trial or tribulation.

We "rejoice in the Lord always"...it doesn't matter what our concerns are, what has happened to us or what is presently happening to us...we rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS!

It doesn't say to rejoice in what you are going through,
it says to "Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say, 'Rejoice'"

As we have been going through some rocky times, which let me say, some are self-induced 'rocky times',...we are realizing that praising God is a mighty weapon against the enemy. Have you tried it? You won't feel like it, but when you do it despite your feelings, it's amazing how the problem is demagnified and God is Magnified, which is where He is to be at all times!

When we rejoice in Him, it causes Him to be magnified, which He already is, but then we give Him place even in our hearts and minds! I love what I heard in 2006 when things were really rough, "Look up!" I heard. Then, as I looked up I heard, "The sky is as the train of My majestic robe, even the heavens cannot contain Me...so why do you try to contain Me?" Soon after I heard that in my spirit, I recognized subtly the power of praise. I'm not just talking about singing songs of praise, but truly declaring the praise which belongs to God and God alone (Example: "I praise you Lord for Who You are; I declare as the heavens declare your amazing glory! You are eternally just and merciful. Thank you for your Love and your Power to endure, persevere and most of all TRUST in YOU at ALL times!

As you exalt the Lord, watch what will happen. Even if you don't feel like it, just triumph over those feelings regarding someone or something and praise the name of the Lord. The peace of God will rule and reign in our hearts when we do so! It's an automatic...you praise God, He will raise you through it!

No wonder when Jesus said, "I have come that you may have life and life more abundantly". For as God has given us life and then life more abundantly; that abundance is to be given to others so they may also experience life more abundantly. The abundance is not for us to hoard but it is to be used as a tool to reveal to others the unfailing, abundant love of God! "Whom He loves, He disciplines" [Hebrews 12:6]

When we start exercising the power of praise by faith in God every day, no matter what our situation or concerns are, when the day comes that we need to praise Him even more, as the giants of concern, worry, anxieties shout at us...we can shout back by faith in God, knowing who our God truly is! In the praise He will reveal Himself in ways that we could never imagine, hope for or dream of.

Be encouraged today to know that if you suffer for the cause of Christ...that is the wealthiest life and most fulfilled life to live! I pray the grace of God over each of our hearts and lives so we will walk in boldness for the glory of God, which is our rear guard.

God bless you all!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

April 7, 2010, "I'll Do It Tomorrow"

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

Today, I had an agenda...not one of those planned agendas were accomplished. I wanted to see my friend today, I was even on my way to her house, when I felt this tug in my spirit to turn around; I have learned to listen to that inner voice of the Holy Spirit, speaking to my spirit.

When I came home, I was drawn to get done what I had kept telling myself I would get done 'tomorrow'. Of course telling myself 'tomorrow' has totaled to over 365 'tomorrows'. Yes. I had been ignoring, procrastinating some things that needed to get done for the past year; and finally it was like a loud whisper...sit down and get it done today!

The short version is that I have been in the process of editing my book before it goes to be
re-printed. Well, for what should have been 3 to 4 weeks, turned into three years when it came to receiving my copyright certificate. It seemed that when I would call or email to find out the status, there would be no response. I thought, "Are you kidding? This is ridiculous! I must for my own peace of mind, have that certificate." Of course, it was not only for my peace of mind, but hey...I paid for it, registered for it, what's takin' so long? Right?

So in the process of waiting, time slipped by, life went on and I sit here amazed how time has passed like the sand in an hourglass. Finally, I intentionally sat down and edited my whole book from front to cover...what I couldn't do in a year, I did in less than a day, which I am grateful to God for the grace to do so. Well, the last correspondence I had in regards to the certificate was March 2009...over a year. So I got back on the 'case'. I emailed, called and MIRACULOUSLY got the call back immediately! The gentleman called me back and was more than apologetic and sympathetic to my situation. After his apologies, he let me know that the pending issue was resolved and they had a registration number for me since March 2009. He also informed me that the certificate had been mailed out at that time as well! He stated that if I had not yet received my certificate to please let him know and he would reissue a certificate for me and send it in the mail. Immediately, he verified my address and reassured me that the certificate would be mailed out tomorrow.

After this eventful day of accomplishments, not originally on today's agenda, I sat back in my chair with great relief. I thought and reflected back on the timeline from today and March 2009, and seeing that truly God's hand was in on this whole thing. Reflecting back, I realize and now know that if I would have received the copyright certificate last year, I wouldn't have worked so diligently on re-editing my work. I am not kidding, as soon as I was finished editing my book is when what I had been waiting for had opened up!

I am reminded how I must get things in order and lined up according to God's direction and His agenda versus my direction and my agenda. Nothing takes Him by surprise. If I can constantly remember this, then I can truly trust Him to know that He will get those things accomplished when I yield myself to Him. God will make a way for me when I make the choice to do what needs to be done; whether I feel like it or not. I want to be sensitive to His timing and enjoy the time in the process!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April 6, 2010 "Reflecting Back"

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

I was reflecting back to the last entry of the year from 2009...thus another reminder:

"And when they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison charging the jailer to keep them safely. He, having receiving so strict a charge, put them into the inner prison (the dungeon) and fastened their feet in the stocks. But about midnight, as Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the [other] prisoners were listening to them, suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the very foundations of the prison were shaken; and at once all the doors were opened and everyone's shackles were unfastened."...
~ Acts 16 (Excerpt from Acts 16:23-26) ~

A fellow blogger wrote on his post, "...I sat, rather laid, much of today just in this coffin of depression, self-worthlessness, and soaking up the cloudy skies even though the sun was quite brilliant today."

Descriptive feelings so real with confusion. Are you familiar with such overwhelming feelings? Personally, I know these feelings all too well.

I distinctly remember a vivid moment a few months ago, being in this state of mind...darkness seemed to prevail all around. It was a subtle fog that slowly constricted my ability to function. I remember feeling as though a dark cloud was moving above and upon me about to grip me as I could hear the chains of hopelessness follow closely behind. SUDDENLY I heard a 'still small voice' in my 'spirit'...yet it seemed to be a SHOUT. I heard, "Praise ME now as though your life depends on it." I thought with great bewilderment, "WHAT?" "This is the last thing I 'feel' like doing...however as my husband says quite often, "I was dumb enough to listen and smart enough to try it."

Needless to say in this overwhelming feeling of great depression the few words proceeded out of my unwilling mouth...My mouth formed the words with great effort, "I praise You Lord! I praise You Lord! I praise You Lord!" This was said over and over again for a few minutes...it seemed much longer...yet, it was truly only a few minutes and then SUDDENLY it was as a RUSHING RIVER flowing literally out of my belly spilling forth out of my mouth. The words that were being declared were allowing the Holy Spirit on the inside of me to speak forth the awesome praises of Almighty God. The SUDDENLY moment literally dispelled the darkness. The SUDDENLY moment effects of praising God obliterated the 'coffin' of depression that I once laid in and resurrected from.

As I am reminded of the great weapon of praise unto Almighty God; I must sound the 'Trumpet of Triumph' making the beautiful sound of encouragement.

Today, at this very moment, whatever is facing you, praise the Almighty God for Who He is. You aren't going to feel like it. You aren't going to want to. Every part of who you are is going to want to 'kick and scream' and have no part of it. Your circumstances at this moment may be so overwhelming to even think about...however God wants to overwhelm you with His powerful Love, Mercy and Grace to get you through this.

God is the Lifter of Your Head. He is the Overwhelming Light that would melt the flesh off our physical bodies as His Glory is eternally beyond what we could ever imagine or dare try. Let us follow the praises of our 'forefathers' Paul and Silas unto Almighty God and see the chains of despair and depression be annihilated and obliterated in a suddenly moment.

If we're going to be overwhelmed today, let's be overwhelmed by Who God is. You are loved, as He has not left you nor has He forsaken you, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER!

Monday, April 5, 2010

April 5, 2010, "Jesus"

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

The Book of Ruth

I am so excited I can't even 'type' straight. Where do I begin?

Ok...I have been slowly reading a fabulous book by Francine Rivers called, "Redeeming Love". This book is based on the Book of the Bible; Hosea.

In the book there was a reference made to the Book of Ruth, based on the name Mara.

I felt the Holy Spirit challenge me to put the book down and study the Book of Ruth. As I started to read the Book of Ruth, there was the name I had been curious about. The name was Mara. Naomi after arriving back into her homeland of Bethlehem, the people with great excitement greet her asking her if she is Naomi. She says, "Call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almgihty has afflicted me?"

As I got the meaning of the name, I was hungry to learn more about Naomi and Ruth. There was great intention to truly study. I jotted down some questions and continued to read. After Naomi loses her husband, their two sons marry two women of Moab. Well, ten years after the sons were married, they both died, leaving their wives as widows; their names were Orpah and Ruth.

(Ruth 1:6) Now I am not sure of the timeframe, however Naomi hears that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread; this had caught my attention. I kept thinking, 'bread', 'bread'. In Ruth Chapter one, upon returning to Judah, Naomi insists that her daughter in laws go back to their mother's house. However, I noticed something quite beautiful. Naomi speaks a blessing over them before they are to depart to their families. I take notice of this, because of the great importance of speaking a blessing in that culture. Well, Orpah ends up going back to her homeland and family; however, Ruth clings to Naomi and weeps and proclaims a powerful declaration to her mother in law, refer to Ruth 1:16-17.

As I went back to Ruth 1:6, I was amazed to see the word, bread. Not only that word, but to know the meaning of Bethlehem is, "the house of bread". The important part are some other points I picked up on:
Number 1: The House of Bread
Number 2: Ruth ends up marrying Boaz, the wealthy relative of Naomi's late husband, Ruth's late father in law.
Number 3: Ruth and Boaz have a son named Obed. Obed later has a son named, Jesse. And Jesse, ends up having a son named David.
Number 4: David is born in Bethlehem and is later anointed King of Israel by the prophet Samuel.
Number 5: When Ruth went to go glean, Boaz came out to his field and blessed the reapers with his spoken word, "The Lord be with you!"
Number 6: The reapers answered Boaz and said, "The Lord bless you!" Again, there is something to speaking forth the blessing of the Lord!
Number 7: Who is referred to as the Bread of Life? Yes! Jesus!
Number 8: When you find the time frame of Naomi's arrival to Bethlehem, it is at the beginning of the barley harvest. The barley harvest is associated with none other than the Passover!
Number 9: Who died and resurrected during Passover? Jesus!
WOW!!!!!

All in all! I am amazed on every count! I am in awe that truly everything was made by Jesus and through Jesus, and nothing is able to exist without Jesus (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1)! As Greg Fritz said yesterday as we met together, "We ALL, saved and unsaved alike owe our very existence to the One Who is, Who was and Is to Come!!!! JESUS!!!!!"

When we are told, "You can't say the name of Jesus"...we may as well, pack up, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them and literally pray mercy over those people who have not allowed us to say His Glorious Name (Mark 6:11)!

I am learning that God never has to manipulate to get what He needs to get done. Why is that for some reason we feel that we need to assist God by manipulating, and if we don't say the name of Jesus, then we will compromise even not saying His name, as we justify that we are opening a door to help with God's plan? O Lord, help us in this day! Lord, help us to never deny you in the slightest bit!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

April 3, 2010, "Preach, Proclaim, Deliver and Comfort"

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

Isaiah 61

The many in need, the impoverished, to the ones who had everything and now have nothing.
The many who wail with great sorrow as they experience the pain of their unimaginable grief.
The ones who have lost a loved one; a husband, a wife, a mother, a father, grandparent, an uncle or aunt, a child, a friend.
Some have lost their whole family in one moment; like a puff of smoke, a blade of grass being cut down.
There are those who are sick in their minds; stuck in a prison of despair and unending torment.

As I think upon these people, I am reminded this beautiful Saturday of how God sent His only Son Jesus. Jesus came to first do the Will of His Father which was to preach good tidings to the meek; to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, to comfort all that mourn, and to give those that mourn beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

I realize with great wonder that all these actions that Jesus walked in had and has great, powerful purpose. What is the purpose? A glimpse of God's purpose is that He will be glorified as those who receive His transforming deliverance, would be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord. The end result? Glorifying our Holy God!

Lord, I must stop asking "What Would Jesus Do?" And start doing what He has already victoriously acomplished. The Spirit of You Lord is within me as I have called upon the Name of the Lord that I be saved. I am to extend Your comfort by Your Spirit on the broken and the ones who suffer great anguish as they mourn.

Lord, I am so caught up in 'my world' that I forget about 'the world' that You died for. Lord, I am here typing away, knowing what I must do. Help me to proclaim that which I have received so abundantly from You. Your great comfort in the midst of discomfort.

I am reminded yet again that You Jesus, preached, proclaimed, delivered and comforted. You desire and have mandated us to preach, proclaim, deliver and comfort, not by our own strength or might, but by Your Spirit. We have freely received, so then, we must freely give! Lord, thank You for this beautiful reminder!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 1, 2010, "The Wind"

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

"If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done. God's ways are as hard to discern as the pathways of the wind, and as mysterious as a tiny baby being formed in a mother's womb."
~ Ecclesiastes 11:4 & 5 ~


Definition of wind: A current of air, especially a natural one that moves along or parallel to the ground, moving from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure.

The manifestations of the wind; isn't it amazing?
It is impossible to see with our 'naked' eye what wind actually looks like, however, we can see the bending effects of the wind.

We can also see from which direction the wind blows, by the objects that sway.
Speaking of swaying...Have you ever felt as though you could have been swept away by the force of the wind? This is what happened to me today. I walked out of a calm place into the outdoors. Not only did my hair so violently blow every which way, but the object I was holding in my hand was being picked up by the wind, pulling me around like a kite waiting to take off.

I was immediately humbled by the force of the wind as I was trying to remain balanced in the midst of great force causing great swaying every step I attempted to take. So it is with life.

Have you had those quiet, beautiful times with the Lord? You feel a glimpse of His beautiful presence. You get on with your day as normal and nothing goes the way you planned? Giving up is so tempting and you feel as though you violently got knocked off the beautiful course of life and into the deep pit of despair.

I am reminded that even in the midst of life, when I remain senstive to live and abide in the presence of God by His Holy Spirit, His Holy Breath that is within and with me, then even in the midst of the 'suddenly's', I can stay on course as I am staying focused on not only God's hand of provision but God's glorious face. Abiding within The Uncontainable Holy, Refreshing Breath that breathes life, vitality and restoration! We can either abide in the 'Wind' of God that directs us and leads us or we can be swayed by the 'winds' of life that confuse and cause great disorientation and hopelessness. We must abide in the Lord by the power of His Holy Spirit through His Living, Revitalizing Word, so that we will with great fervency and passion continue to stay on course in the abundant life that we have through Jesus Christ.