Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The witnessed aftermath of a fatal car accident

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell
"O my God! There's an accident happening right now!" As soon as I heard my friend say it, simultaneously we saw a tractor trailer come up off the ground and back down. Debris flew every which way as the 18-wheeler slowly came to a stop. The front hood of the large truck was now twisted metal, barely connected. In that same moment, we noticed fuel streaming from the 18-wheeler and leaking out onto the four lane highway. Particles of tires, of what was left of them, sporatically laid throughout the highway.
As though it happened so fast, yet, in slow motion, many of us going west bound immediately pulled over and jumped out of our vehicles. A man getting gas at the nearby gas station, ran without hesitation into the road to assist the truck driver as another man ran closely behind. It seemed like a matter of seconds, these brave men were already attending to the truck driver assisting him out of the large truck as smoke was coming out, many of our concerns were, "What if the truck explodes?"

As we watched, many of us were running full speed to another vehicle. I remembered thinking, "O God, where is the other car?" A few seconds after that thought, there it was, the car mangled. My friend kept saying, "Teresa! Pray!" I continued to pray in the spirit and what came pouring out was One Name...The Name of Jesus! Over and over, Jesus' name flowed out of my mouth like a river. My mind and my spirit were not in unison. It was like experiencing being in a bubble, watching good samaritans immediately respond. I couldn't see anyone in the vehicle. I prayed that there were no children inside.
These many thoughts like a ticker going through my mind, yet, prayer was flowing forth. Suddenly, my eyes made out that a man was in the driver seat. The only thing I could see was the car crumpled from within and upon him. A good man, a stranger had hopped in the back of the mangled pick up truck, and continued to hold this lifeless man's head as he patiently stayed with him. My friend heard what seemed like an off duty, trained medical personnel calling 911, saying, "We have a trauma." Then my friend heard two people say, "No pulse" and then she heard someone else say, "I feel a faint pulse."
That moment of praying was surreal. Many of us watched people assist, people praying, a pastor and his staff from the church across the street from where we were got a call from my friend and they prayed with people at the scene of the accident. Firemen were on the scene almost immediately, placing their equipment on the pick up truck to remove the crumpled metal so that they could remove the victim. I remember the merciful peace where I stood. I could sense the Holy Spirit ministering to this man's spirit. I can't explain it, there is no 'Biblical' explanation; it was supernatural. As more emergency responders arrived, they were clearing us out, they had already closed the road down within at least a stretch of a half mile. Many of us were in shock as to what we had witnessed and experienced. We were shaking, yet intercession flowed through me even after that. I didn't understand what was being prayed forth, but I knew to allow it to keep flowing. An hour later, we checked online to find if there were any postings on the accident. That is when we saw more than one confirmed report that the motorist in the pick up truck was killed. All I remember after seeing the reports was the seared picture of this man's face before me. I was so numb as I continued to pray for his family. Then the thoughts of questions came, "What if he had children?" "A wife?" "Was he running a quick errand?" "What were the circumstances in his life just a few hours prior?" "Did he get to say, "I love you" to his family members?"
O how fast death approaches our fragile lives. I am continuing to be reminded to breathe in every breath with great intention. When I see my husband and children, I am reminded to breathe their fragrance in; inhaling life with joy, laughter and love. I am reminded to keep my eye on the Father God and not on people. No matter who those people are; good, bad or indifferent, just pray and love them with God's love.
Today, I am reminded of what we already know; and that is to make an eternal difference and be the first responders with the love of Jesus upon the hurting, broken and those mangled in the debris of anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness.
Let us remind ourselves with action that life is to be lived, to move, like a flowing river, effecting wherever it goes with great power; revealing God's glorious power.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Reminder of God Who is Faithful!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 19, 2011

August 20, 2011, "Surviving?"

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

I Corinthians 13:4-13

To Do List for the day:
Wake up (Check)
Survive...Have you had those days where you only see evidence of barely getting by?

Do you feel like you're in a 'rut'?
Does it seem that if you were to describe your life in a form of exercise, it would be likened to walking on a treadmill? You know...the same place, same time, same scenery, just different day on the calendar.

How do we get off the treadmill of survival and into the life of right now? Can you imagine with me for a moment?
Notice the sky above you as the clouds seem to drift away in the majestic declarations of God. Notice the sounds of nature notifying all of creation who they were so intricately and beautifully created by. In awe as I walk, I finally see the souls who drive by in their vehicles. Who are they? Marvelling at the question, "What did God intend them to be?" Do they know their part in the destiny of God?

O how our God is so Awesome as He knows the number of our days on this earth. Will I live for His glory or for my own? Will I be one who declares the greatness of God, even when I don't feel like it?

These questions and thoughts remind me of my daughter who was moved to tears after hearing a song on KLOVE radio yesterday. When she heard the words, she pictured her dad longing to be home. I was amazed by her heart that revealed the heart of God as I saw that she wasn't concerned as much about herself missing dad, but she was moved by his pain of missing us.

In that moment I moved out of selfish mode as this learning lesson played out so beautifully. This 'classroom' moment opened my eyes to see that whenever I am concerned about 'my' feelings and 'my' wants, I can't see anyone else's needs but my own. What an eye opening reminder to realize how I can rob myself from being more concerned about others and being a part of their beautiful lives.

In all of this, let's go from waking up and surviving to waking up and conquering the things that God has called us to conquer. I am learning that I must conquer my feelings and grab hold of the heart of God as we connect with others in God's infinitely great, compassionate love.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

*Revised* August 9, 2011, "How is your story being written?"

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

"Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
~ Hebrews 12:2 ~


The wonders of what we may encounter as joy and excitement are coupled with wanting time to stand still is an aweing thought that compels us to enjoy every waking moment with one another.

The moment we knew would come has met up with us in this dimension of time with rapid acceleration. We are so grateful to The Lord to have had a week full of memory bank moments, and the interest accrued is priceless.

Of course, in this week of great fun, I think of all the years prior made up of successes, laughter induced by happy times, great hopes and dreams fulfilled, and then the other moments that make up the 'DNA' of our lives together. The moments consisting of seemingly hopeless defeats, failures, tears induced by hard times, great hopes and dreams diminished by the crashing waves of 'right now'. It seemed as though the billowing waves swept away our life as a whole into the vast body of water, never to return. Until that life altering moment where heaven met earth as I finally said, 'Yes' to Jesus, my Rescuer!

Through the encounter of this week I am reminded of our short time on this earth. The acceleration of our time growing, enduring great pain, hardships, triumphs, failures, successes, love, betrayal, the losses, the gains. O Merciful God, I am learning that it all passes away.

A new chapter is written. What words will describe our time here on this earth?
Will they be words consisting of a love story between us and our Creator?
Will the words in our story captivate the readers, awakening a deep desire within them to follow The Great Lion of Judah?

These are questions to motivate us in this moment of 'now'.
Others are watching and reading our story unfold.
Do we have a predictable story of barely getting by, playing it 'safe' with religious ideas of our own and others?
Or do we have a story filled with passion for the One who is passionately in pursuit of us?

The Author of our story has a plot that we could never imagine being played out.
Will we allow Him to be the Writer, penning the story of great triumph in the midst of incredible defeats?
Will we allow Him to write the passionate love story of great adventure as He holds us and we hold onto Him?
Will we allow Him to see us through the victory that is readily available, being a victor as we follow after our Awesome God, The Author of all?

Let us awaken to the moment of 'right now' in Who He is and allow the pages to be filled with the revealing declarations of our Awesome God!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

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

1 Peter 4:8 and Proverbs 10:12

Do you have a hard time loving or even 'loving on' your spouse?
Not me, and the reason is because I don't get to see him often. The undeniable privilege to spend time with him, as not only my husband, but someone's son and my daughter's father is truly amazing.

This post is not to awaken condemnation, but to awaken a love and passion from you over your spouse. Don't wait until they are gone to long for them, let us long for them now. You know there is a sad saying, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder"...this is a fact, but it doesn't have to be the truth. May our hearts grow fonder even when we are together.

Faith goes hand in hand with love...and love which is God, covers a multitude of sins, including annoyances and ugly flaws. Thinking about this truth, I would only hope that my husband love me in that way with all of my flaws, insecure outbursts and annoying habits. Right?

Love enjoys and love believes for change but is compelled to love even before we actually see the change.

Husbands and wives, let us all embrace the gift before us and not reject what we once accepted; and that is one another.

Today my husband asked me to iron his pants and shirt, now mind you, I would have grumbled to myself, "Ugh! You know I don't iron, you are fully capable to iron those yourself." My assessment was correct, for the facts are, I am awful at ironing and my husband is fully capable of this task, however, the facts are one thing, but the truth is that there was a shift in my outlook and attitude. I was immediately reminding myself that he is a hard worker, has made many sacrifices and has been obedient to God to do his best to provide for us, his family. My outlook and attitude became the vehicle to get me to the destination of appreciation. This time when he asked me, I said, "Yes! I'm honored that you asked," and then I giggled with delight.

Do you know how great it felt to say it and do it? I thought, "What if I never get to assist him again?" Now please understand, my actions are not based on potential regrets...but if it's a motivator in the beginning, then so be it...however, if it's only based on that, it won't last and it will be a continual drive from fear and not faith.

Our actions must come from a deep, provoking hunger to love with the Love of God. I must remember that in God's great love for us, He always hopes for the best as He is full of faith towards each of us, yes, especially when we blow it. When we blow it, we realize even more the importance of why we need our Redeemer Jesus to reveal the miracle working power of God!

As the cliches go...but true indeed:
"God turns our mess into His message of merciful love."
"God turns our tests into His testimony of redeeming power."

Please note:
This principle of loving and respecting our spouses is universal to all types of relationships. Now I must add that if you are going through an abusive relationship, you can love, pray, faith and speak life over, yet be confident that with God's wisdom and provision and letting integritable people know, God will make a way to escape. Please know I am not advocating divorce, but I am an advocate for God's wisdom and His provision of safety over both His sons and daughters!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

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

"The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life
in all its fulness."
~ John 10:10 ~

How is it that we get to be part of God's amazing, eternal story
here on earth?

There are numerous stories that consist of incredible, devastating
pain, grief, hate, and evil, and yet even in all of this
there is this vast, abundant power from God Who reveals much
healing, restoration, and redeeming stories of Who
He is in the midst of it all.

What are you going through?
Do you believe God is more than able to redeem your story,
unfolding His great destiny over and in your life even in the midst of
herrendous destruction?

At some point our healing is revealed when we shift our question
to "What are 'they' going through?"

However, am I willing to find out?

But, where do I begin? I keep hearing I can begin where He
began with me...His amazing, wondrous LOVE...loving them with His love, definitely
not my own. O, what a turn off that would be. Just thinking about my own
love in comparison to His is quite nauseating.

I am reminded to live for Him, and in doing so others will be led to
His amazing love revealing a dynamic, explosive, passionate life of enormous abundance.
This kind of living is like a compass leading back to Almighty God revealed on this earth
through Jesus and now revealed by His Holy Spirit Who longs to reveal Himself
To us, upon us and through us.