Saturday, October 29, 2011

Need not be ashamed of what?

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

II Timothy 2:14-19

I think on a potential scenario, that has likely happened...

"I can't stand her."

"I know! Who does she think she is?"

"You know what? The only reason she got that job is because of her favors!" With their 'hyena like' gasps, it was followed by the ugly, head shaking judgement placed upon another person.

As I imagine the women's hateful words spewed out in a low whisper, revealing the sharp knife of hate, which permeated the atmosphere revealed this dark cloud of disgust and disdain for another human being.

The choice of their theoretical conversation causes me to lose my once roaring appetite...but then it brought me to a place of looking at my own life and asking myself, "Do I do the same thing?"

Today, as I read II Timothy 2:14-19, verse 15 stood out like it had never before, as I read in the context that Paul had written it specifically to Timothy.

Paul warned Timothy to remind EVERYONE to command them in God's name to stop fighting over words. He was urging them to realize that the arguments were useless, not profiting anyone and they were only ruining those who heard them. Then, Paul says, as recorded in verse 15, "Work hard so God can approve you. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed..."

The Holy Spirit stopped me.
Which led me to ask myself, "Need not be ashamed of what?"
Do I need not be ashamed of being a hard worker?

As I asked the question, revelation came! I began to see this scripture more clearly!

When I am a good worker, working hard so that God is able to approve me, I will not need to be ashamed of foolish talk or useless arguments. I always thought that it meant I didn't need to be ashamed of being approved unto God. However, it is more so that Paul was urging Timothy for the people to 'save face' from looking like foolish idiots, wrongfully representing Almighty God!

I am reminded today that when I focus on myself on being approved by God; I can take a hold of His heart and be ruled by His heart to love others because of His glorious strength through me. As His strength goes through me, my actions and the way I talk will follow, revealing my pursuit of who I want the approval from...and that is from My Father God, The Author and Finisher of my faith!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"The Power of Remembrance"

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

"I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old."
~ Psalm 77:11 ~

The constant wind within my heart that stirs the fiery passion for God is consuming.

I remember that specific day in 2004 being in a women's bible study. Every woman was asked to share a brief testimony of how they encountered a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The testimonies were incredibly amazing, revealing the power of God in ways the greatest novel could not romanticize.

I think back upon that moment. It was my turn to share God's testimony in my life's story. I had just surrendered my life to Jesus a year prior and there was a fiery zeal for the Lord that was exceedingly overwhelming. I can still remember that moment when one of the ladies I highly respected said, "O Teresa, that is so amazing. I remember when I had a zeal like that for the Lord. Just embrace it now, because one day that zeal will slowly fade away."

I was so taken back by this saddening comment. I was disappointed as I thought, "I don't want this trust and belief in God to go away."

It was a critical moment. Sitting in my chair, I felt I was the only one in the room. That was the moment I told myself, "I will not lose this passion for God, this is not a man made passion; this is truly God's passion through me."

I must say that upon looking back on this, I shake my head laughing remembering that very moment. I was intensely on fire for God, yet many times I allowed the burdensome, religious lies to come in as I became insensitive to others.

I call to remembrance that very moment which allowed me to be intentional in serving God in ways I never thought possible. I can see God's faithful patience over me as I have continued to grow in Him, which is a constant and continual process with His ability through me.

Incredibly amazed, the pursuit of God's heart is more than I could have ever imagined for myself. I believe the key was truly realizing that God gifted each of us who believe in Jesus. The power of God's Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to us, in us and through us as we allow the Holy Spirit of God to lead us into all truth.

With that reminder and now, leading to right now, I was lovingly reminded of the moment I finally said, "Yes" to being rescued as I surrendered my heart to Jesus.

It seems that as I take a moment to look back on that momentous day; the falling in love with God is rekindled all over again. I love His reminders, so that as we remind Him of what we are grateful for; it is not only a passing thought of His goodness, but I remember that He is The All-Consuming fire that burns so fervently on the inside of us as we are powerfully reminded of Who He Is.

This dynamic tool of remembrance reminds me of how we can do the same for the ones we are married to. Many times the daily grind of life, the difficulties of life, and the what seems like 'mundane' routines of life can be a vice which can strain a marriage; especially when allowed. May we intentionally think back on the day we fell in love with our spouse. As you remind yourself of that day you fell in love, may it rekindle that love that has fallen asleep; and let the remembrance become the kiss that awakens the deep sleep of your love for one another.

Remembrance is also a great tool to utilize when it comes to our children. Even through the bickering, arguing, whining, crying, the tugging, the sassy'ness', and the abrupt disrespect, the daily vices that ware on our last nerves, may we intentionally remind ourselves to look back on the day we first met our children. As we remember, may it awaken the love deep within the reservoirs of our hearts as they come home today from school, or if they are in the other room destroying your 'Tupperware' cupboard, or clanging on the pots and pans. Perhaps they just started to drive to and from school. Wherever they may be, no matter the season of their lives; may we embrace them as we did the first day we met them.

Let us embrace our God and bless His heart to desire Him, because of Who He is. Desiring Him, to be more like Him and to run after Him! Let us utilize the tool of remembrance for God's glory;. The purpose is so that we progress, advance and proclaim through our lives and with our mouths the greatness of God!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Abandoned Yet Chosen

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

"Father to the fatherless, defender of widows-this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy..."
~ Psalm 68:5-6a ~

She stood before the mirror, staring at her saddened reflection. The thoughts entering her mind, whirling about at catacosmic speeds as she was on the brink of making the biggest decision of her life.

Torn by the news of her pregnancy, her mind led to the unknown experience of adoption. The thoughts invoked fear, which led to the 'quick fix' lying thoughts of abortion. The more she allowed that destructive thought to burrow into her mind, it dangerously became a 'logical' option. She would not only have to experience seeing her baby at the appointed birth, but she would not have to feel the aching pry from her arms as she delivered a beautiful gift into the world. The turmoil haunted her. The quick fix would have a more tragic outcome as she might hear haunting whispers of, "What was I suppose to be?"

As she warred with the decision of adoption and abortion; she knew that she could not kill the child growing within her womb. Suddenly, the nurturer, the warrior and the mother rose up on the inside of her and said, "I will see to it that my baby lives and does not die, and will be 'chosen' by a family who will see the desires of their heart fulfilled! Not only will this beautiful life live; but my mandate is to pray continually for my child. My beautiful gift from God, no matter how the baby was conceived, will live an abundant life in Jesus, revealing God's power in this earth."

I interrupt this with the thought of the many who have experienced abandonment in this life. Whether you were the one who abandoned someone, or the one who was abandoned. Perhaps you were adopted, and you have dealt with those real feelings of abandonment. It is a possibility that you are one who was treated worse than an animal, even left for dead. It may have been that you have experienced the life as an orphan, tragically losing your parents.

The circumstances are innumerable; but God's powerful love that king's cannot speak of, who can only weep from such Power, is before you in this very moment. Holding out His glorious hand, encouraging you with His desire that you receive His irrevocable, unconditional love.

We must rise up as the woman did who was at a crossroad in her life. There will be times where the decision on either side will be difficult. However, in our decision making, we must be a warrior for someone else, seeing life comes forth because of the obedient decision, no matter how incomprehensible the situation.

Will we receive the One Who allows us to dream BIG?
Will we receive Him, moment by moment, the One Who is Love?
As we do, how can we not be willing to share His love that is continually being lavished upon us with others whom He lavishly loves?
Will we lavishly reveal God's love, expressed through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, upon someone else who is in desperate need of God's love?
Will we be assistants in the breakthrough over another individual, who is similar to us, allowing them to see God's love expressed through a person?

I don't know what God has in store with the following, however, I am led to write:
If you have a dream, see to it that it is developed. In the development, do not be solely focused on the development of the dream, but envision the people who will be forever changed by the dream. Most importantly, to ensure you don't abort the dream, is a direct result of not giving other words, as Nike's slogan simply puts it...just do it!

Monday, October 17, 2011

The 3 D's...Discover, Develop and Disciple!

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

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has appointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to announce the captives will be released and prisoners will be freed."
~ Isaiah 61:1 ~

The sadness overwhelmed her. Yet, she arose out of her depression. The heavy dark cloud that consumed her for way too long; in a suddenly moment, disappeared.

The result was from the whisper she heard. The rescuing still small voice which beckoned her to come.
With hesitancy, yet with humbleness, she was brought to her knees.
In that moment, she heard the freeing words of victory:
"When you need encouragement...go and be an encouragement."
"When you want someone to smile at you...go and smile at someone."
"What you pour out; it shall, it will, for sure be reciprocated."

Our perspective is gained when we focus on the needs of others. I have found this to be truth. While the truth and the facts are different, the fact is that we can easily slip into depression, caught unaware and suddenly consumed is a reality. However, the truth is that the potential within us to praise God for Who He is, in the midst of our life is a weapon that we will not understand...yet, just know it works!

In this knowing, we realize by experience, it is not by our power or our might but by the Spirit of God that we can live a life of POTENT POWER to deliver us out of depression which causes us to see the potential; the POTENT POWER within ourselves and others to do the same and that is living in refreshment.

We know our focus - must be on God - we know this in our heads. But is it a revelation? Often times we know the 'right' answer, but have we experienced the 'right' answer?

What does focusing on God look like?
What has been your experience when you took your focus off yourself and placed it intentionally upon someone else?

These are questions to really ask ourselves.

When we see people as valuable, the bottom line will change.

I must confess, my passion in the 'someday' is to discover, develop and disciple people who manage companies to shift their management skills into managing people. The reason is because there is a discovery of great potential that takes place. The product does not move on its own, it is moved and consumed by people. In that discovery we find out the strengths within people are so great and can be utilized effectively in ways never imagined. Just imagine, we get to be a part of not only a success story, but a significant one!

For instance, you want to be profitable?
If you are a business man or woman, then, we can no longer see the 'product', the 'numbers' or the 'profit margins' as the bottom line. Instead, we must see people both within the company and the consumer as valuable and by default we will see the manifestation of those 'numbers' and 'profit margins' soar. When your people are soaring in their talents and gifts, everything else follows.

Do you know who the first person in my life to expose this truth was? My awesome, earthly Dad and the second is my 3D small group leader, Terry...and guess who they learned it from? JESUS CHRIST! He is the perfect example of leading people into discovering, developing and discipling others!

I have learned NOT to be threatened by someone's talents, but to constantly excavate that which is within them, because when they soar, so will I. Another lesson learned in life, is that when a manager leaves, and the place falls apart, this is not a compliment to the manager; it is sadly a sign that the manager has not empowered the people to lead.

We need to stop training people on the successes of others, but develop people in their own successes. We have done things the opposite of God's ways. For instance, God didn't provide a training manual for David based on what Moses did...He provided His significance upon David that was already in David, and as it was discovered, David developed into a man that has left a legacy based on his best in God...not Moses' best in God.

Finally, the summary of today's reminder is to focus on what God's focus was, is and will always be and that is on OTHERS! As the focus of what we need is shifted to what others need; our needs will automatically be fulfilled.

Remember, we may not see results right away; but realize that life is a marathon, not a sprint...this principle is applicable to every part of our lives; from raising children, to being married, building and maintaining relationships within companies. As we discover, develop and disciple from this day forward; watch our 'world', our circle of influence radically change!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Are You Protecting or Violating?

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

"Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that His love has not been perfected in us. We love each other as a result of His loving us first."
~ I John 4:18-19 ~

"How dare you!" followed by the sound of a heavy slap across his face.

The quietness became louder than the disturbing slap. His whole countenance slumped over as though he died. All that remained was a zombie of 'going through the motions'.

Her loud cries of offense revealed the distorted perspective of her past betrayals. His quietness of frustration and at his wits' end, followed by the continual thoughts, "I can't do this anymore. No matter what I do or say, she is not convinced that I am true to her; that I love her."

Every attempt to cover her with his love; she rejects with hateful words, belittling him. She was a victim who is now the perpetrator.

She believes she protects herself; yet, she is a victim of none other than herself. The charge? Victim and perpetrator of theft and robbery.

She has robbed herself from the very act of love.

Not only has she robbed from herself, but also this man, her husband. He has been robbed in the act of receiving from her; a daughter of royalty, who only identifies with peasantry.

Is this you?

Have you been rejecting others unintentionally as you truthfully assumed you were protecting yourself. What you thought was protection was truly violation from receiving what is rightfully yours. Could it be possible that you may experience rejection? O yes!
But the risk is beautiful.
How could this be? It is beautiful because relationships are formed.
Will those relationships be hurt proof? Absolutely not...but you know what comes forth?
The beauty of getting to know another human being, who God knew before they were ever formed in their mother's womb. Enduring with them in love. Working through in love. Allowing love to triumph in ALL situations.

I urge and beg you and myself to break down the walls of seclusion and be vulnerable to one of the most beautiful gifts that God designed...the beauty of relationships.

Let us not slap the One Who loves us the most, by rejecting those He loves...yes, even the most unlovable. For I was once the one who many ran from...yet, I needed someone to run to me. When the 'Christians' had given up on me, there were good people in the world who God utilized to open my eyes to see my selfish ways.

I needed someone to say, "You are worth fighting for. You may drain me more times than you fill me up, but I am still here." I want to be the one who echoes the words of my beautiful Savior, the Lifter of my Head when everyone else saw that my head should remain hanging in shame. Praise God there was the One who spoke forth, "You are worthy". The shame I carried was from my own doing; but who will stand for the ones that I once was?

I am grateful for my parents and my sisters who truly loved me unconditionally...they didn't rescue me from myself; but they loved me in spite of myself.

Will we discover the potential within ourselves to love?
As we do this, we can then properly discover the potential within others, not rescuing them, but showing them how they can be rescued.
As we discover, we then develop others by the power of the One Who develops us...Jesus! This is true discipling.
We can then teach others how to discover and develop; constantly paying true love forward.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Imagine a little boy...scared...

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

This was written to a friend of mine; and when I wrote it out being led by the Spirit of God, O how it ministered to me BIG TIME!

I Corinthians 13:13, Proverbs 17:9, I Peter 4:8

Imagine a little boy...scared.
He knows what he is suppose to do...but the distractions of 'right now' blind him. He feels alone.
He needs help.
But, doesn't ask for what he needs because of the fear of
"What if they think I'm weak?"

Surprisingly, many times this can be our husbands.

They are the provider,
the conqueror,
the one who extends the boundaries,
the one who is the husband,
the father,
the one who others work with.
They feel the pressure of splitting their time among
so many people and things as so much is required of them.

We must cover our husband with the same love we have so lavishly received from our awesome God.

Praise the King of kings,
so that you can encourage the king of your home.

Let us cover our husbands with love in both word and deed.