Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Submitted Article as a contributing writer for "Family Face Ministries"

Contributing Writer for Family Face Ministries

The Deceptive Battle Cry is Truly an Outcry
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"Women Rule!

When I saw this slogan a few months ago in a news article, my heart sank. I shook my head in sadness. If I would have seen this slogan ten years ago, I know I most likely would have held my head up high, arrogantly sniffed my nose, clearing my throat and saying, “That’s right! Women rule!”

Although, I am blessed to be a woman and I LOVE being a woman; this is a slogan I do not want to be associated with. For when we see a woman ruling alone, versus ruling with man, most of the time this is a sure sign that a man has relinquished his role and right as ruler. This deceptive slogan, “Women rule” is an outcry not a battle cry. This unknowing outcry reveals the neglect of man’s rightful role not standing in their God given abilities to be Protector, Conqueror, Provider and King.

Have you walked in the power that we as women possess? Look at Jezebel. Yes. I said, “Jezebel”. That almost sounds blasphemous, doesn’t it? Yet, because King Ahab relinquished the role of courage and bravery of holding fast to what was right and true, the role of the manipulating spirit of this woman was able to rule. This is a reminder that the power we hold must not be misused. We are to take this power that has been given to us, not for our glory. However, we must realize with action that we are to assist the men and awaken the Protector, The Conqueror, The Provider and The King that is within them. We must awaken the men, whether they are husbands, fathers, sons and/or brothers and with administrative power encourage and edify, resurrecting back to life the heaven meets earth power of what it looks like to truly have dominion.

So what does it look like to rule ‘with’ man versus ruling alone? As a wife, I must speak and declare that my husband is a mighty man of valor. This is crucial to those who may not see this at all. I must pray to God that my husband’s will bows down to the will of God, executing righteousness and justice for every situation assisted by God’s Wisdom. I must realize that the words that flow out of my mouth must be intentional words of life so that the temptation for my husband to relinquish or misuse his role would be zero.

If we look back just three or four generations as a whole; we see the dwindling role of man ruling effectively. Notice one of the number one attributes of a man is to be a protector. A protector keeps what they already possess. A protector guards what is precious and valuable and those who are valued seize the responsibility to maintain what must be kept. When the attribute of protection begins to dissipate, yet the role of conqueror remains, we find that the results can be devastating. When the ruler no longer sees the value of what they have or been entrusted with, then they do not see the value to keep or to guard, so they will leave behind and continue to conquer, revealing barbaric results.

Do you see the echo of this in our society today? We have seen the heart wrenching effects as many have been abandoned, left behind and deemed useless and invaluable because of the lack of being kept. What has been revealed in turn is the walls of the city have tumbled to the ground. A city with no walls, allow precious people to become prey to the warriors of death revealing the lack of protection.

So how do we hear what should be the God given slogan, “Mighty, courageous, protecting men rule as the virtuous women rule by their side”? We will see this as we hold up the arms of our tired warriors. We must encourage not nag. We must build up not tear down. We must have faith in God that our men will echo a glimpse of the All in All Protector, Conqueror, Provider and King, Almighty God.

Therefore, we are to assist in the dreams that our men have within their spirits as given by God. We do not want to break their spirit, but remind them of those dreams. Even though many times we do not know the how or when those dreams are fulfilled; we must actively assist the men in seeing the fulfillment of their dreams come to fruition, resurrecting new life for “a dream fulfilled is a tree of life”.

Scripture References: Proverbs 2:7, I Kings 18-21, Proverbs 25:28, Proverbs 13:21

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving thanks!

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

"Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in prayer with thanksgiving."
~ Colossians 4:2 ~

Gratefulness. Thankfulness. Appreciation. These words reveal the state of thanksgiving allowing us to be reminded of what we do have; versus what we 'feel' we lack and don't have.

Thanksgiving is a great tool that alleviates the temptation to compare, however, complaining fuels the fire of comparison which leads to the thwarted reminders of what we don't have and what we uselessly long for.

On this beautiful day of Thanksgiving; let us do what this day is set aside for, which is living a life of giving thanks.

God bless you and keep you in all your ways. May your day that is set aside with your friends and family be joyous, filled with forgiveness, love and extended mercy as we have freely received from God; so we must freely give to others.

A great applicable way to live a life of giving thanks:
Write to God on a daily basis what you are grateful for and then read it aloud, "God, I am grateful to You for..."

"And I am grateful to God for each of you."

You are loved,

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Confessions of a daughter of the King

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

"Those who love to talk will experience the consequences, for the tongue can kill or nourish life."
~ Proverbs 18:21 NLT ~

"I never do anything right."
"Just when I think everything is good; I'm broadsided with something else."
"If things are good now; I just know something bad is about to happen, I better brace myself."
"I can never get a break; people just don't understand me, and I don't understand them."
"It would have been better if I just didn't get out of bed this morning."
"When will I ever catch a break?"

Have you caught yourself confessing such things? I know I have caught myself in this vicious, cynical rhetoric.

However, there is hope even in the midst of the circumstances.
Really! There is!

Do you suffer with issues of wanting control? I know I do...well, we are in store for a cure...are you ready for the prescription?

Take every moment.
Cannot overdose.

Here's the deal, we may not be able to control our circumstances; but we can control and bring change to our perspective.

Yes! We have the power to control our attitudes, which brings change in us through our circumstances and in that we allow God to set us up on high, versus being overwhelmed by the surroundings of despair.

This leads me to what our pastor has been teaching us from the book of Proverbs. To seek out God's wisdom. In this series, there is an applicable challenge that I have taken, and in that, here is my confession, especially when I don't 'feel' I am adequate to confess such things:

"I am a daughter of the King who seeks Wisdom."
"As His daughter, I must NEVER let loyalty and kindness leave me."
"I must bind loyalty and kindness around my neck as a beautiful necklace."
"As I cling to wisdom, as revealed by the Spirit of God, I am a fountain of blessing to my husband; for he rejoices that I am his wife."
"My husband is captivated by my love and I have his full attention."
"I am a wise woman who builds her home and I am also a woman of understanding, and because of this understanding; knowledge comes easily to me and when I arise my children call me, "Blessed"."
"As a daughter of the King I also acknowledge conviction and seek out reconciliation. "

These confessions are helping me throughout the week.

Do I feel like confessing it all the time? No, but once I do, my outlook changes on God, then myself. In that change, loyalty and kindness are extended to others.

Today, I am reminded that healthy confessions, bring health to our mental state and even brings health to our bones and allows others to experience what should be contagious and infectious...and that is health!

Scripture References:
Proverbs 18:21
Proverbs 3:3-4
Proverbs 5:18-19
Proverbs 14:1
Proverbs 14:9
Proverbs 11:25
Proverbs 11:27
Proverbs 11:17
James 4

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Contributing Writer for Sanctified Together Online Magazine Publication

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell
Excerpt from online magazine, November 2011 Issue-Life Lessons

Sanctified Together, an online magazine publication, consisting of articles filled with inspiration and applicable ways of living life has allowed myself and other writers the opportunity to contribute our nuggets of lessons learned through faith in God in this month's issue called, "Life Lessons" .

It is an honor to share an article I wrote for November's issue, titled, Teachers of Life:

angry girl

Interrupting her father's counsel, Catherine scooted her chair out from the table with indignation, stood up with frustration and said, "Dad, I already know that!"

Catherine's father replied with the rhetorical, "Are you sure you already know? Do you know what I was about to say?"

Ignoring his question as her voice became a shout, "Dad, why do you always treat me like a stupid child?"

Shaking his head, he slowly looked up at her. As if to control the raging volcano within, seated at the head of the table with his chair pulled out sideways, his left hand grasped the edge of the table, leaning forward, with his eyes piercing hers, causing her to sit back down. He said in a calm and steady voice, "My intentions are never to cause you to feel that you are a stupid child. As a matter of the patterns in your life, you have made some very childish decisions based on emotions, resulting in destructive consequences. It is not that you are stupid. Catherine, that is the furthest from the truth; however, because you 'think' you know 'everything' and in disrespect you interrupt my counsel, you are going to have to learn from your own experiences and consequences."

He continued, "My heart aches to know that you are going against what I know is best for you. My advice is to see you through the 'right now' and assist you to your destiny. This decision you are about to make is going to cost you. Are you willing to pay the price that you have priced yourself? I plead with you to know that I can foresee what you can't. It's called life experience. Many times, my daughter, experience trumps knowledge. Unfortunately with your interruption today, you have already made your decision. You are going to allow the little knowledge you do have to override both the knowledge and experience that I have survived and walked through. My daughter, I have many scars, and only by God's grace am I able to sit here with you today, still alive."

Humbled by his calm words for a moment, pride suddenly swept in taking her captive as the painted pictures of her mind led her away by the lies disguised in romance, success and invincibility, she made a decision in that moment to ignore the voice of wisdom and heed to the voice of what would become a path of shame and burdensome guilt.

Does this scenario bring back memories of your youth? It does for me.

Just as the fictional scenario, the life lessons in my youth were unfortunately based on ignored wisdom from those who loved me the most. I continue to have to learn even in my adulthood. It would have been one thing if the Holy Spirit had led me in an area that would have seemed absurd, yet without doubt was based on the Word of God, leading me to honor my parents and others. However, in my case the decisions I made were based on the inexperienced, romanced, unrealistic conjured up thoughts in my head leading me away from the Word of God, resulting in dishonoring not only my wise advisers, but also dishonoring myself.

Through these choices that I made, I was led to roads of destruction that I could no longer tread upon. The fear of knowing that I could not do it anymore my way led me in the turnaround on the road to repentance -- asking God for His beautiful forgiveness.

In this leading to the path of repentance, I know my heart has answered the call of God's voice, empowering me by His glorious, rich love to influence many young women who are about to make life altering decisions. I must echo His voice, leading them back to the unfailing love of God and His Glorious Word led by the Holy, Majestic Spirit of God.

Life lessons -- they are beautiful reminders of when we depend on God and His Spirit being confident in His Word knowing that He is our teacher, we become teachers of life; versus life becoming our teacher.

Experience may trump knowledge, but God's Spirit who guides us through His Word, trumps both life experience and knowledge leading us to the abundant life of what God longs for us to experience and know and that is HIM!

Do you know Him?

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Beauty of Gratefulness

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

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything that is praiseworthy - meditate on these things."
~ Philippians 4:8 ~

A cloudy day embraces me as I imagine being accompanied by the fresh, steaming apple cider that bolsters from my favorite coffee mug.

Fresh baked pie, cooling down on a metal rack and Sweet Cake candles burning as the grey lit sky pierces through my windows.

I imagine sitting with you as we breathe in the moment of fresh, right now, today's present moment. The gift of today. The gift of right now. The beauty of the present moment.

With all that life and time within our life tries to suck out of us like an 'all you can drink' straw; what is it that we are truly grateful for?

As though I am gently holding onto the precious feet of my once upon a time baby...I grasp one toe at a time and say,

"This is what I am grateful for...
* Getting to talk to God whenever I want and hearing His voice through His Word.
* Getting to experience the unctions of His presence and seeing His voice displayed as pictures form before my mind.
* The moment that I can wake up my daughter with a kiss
* The ability to pray for my daughter, the words of God's blessings, as I echo the love of her God from my mouth to her ears.
* Getting to hear my husband snore for the first time in a long time.
* Getting to hold his gigantic hand as I feel protected and loved, whether we are in the car or walking in the grocery store.
* Catching a scent of his fragrance and feeling his presence come into the room, even when my eyes have not yet seen him coming around the corner.
* Refraining from childish arguments; and enjoying one another's company and laughter.
* Enjoying our son pay us a visit on his day off and seeing him enjoy one on onetime with his dad.
* Enjoying this moment right now, as my fingers dance upon the keyboard, accompanied by the melody of gratefulness to God."

What are you grateful to God for today?

For just moment; kick the distractions of technology that rob us of right now. Breathe in slowly, now slowly exhale.
Look around with great intention and be moved by the beauty of gratefulness.
Be moved, drawing closer to the One to Whom we get to be grateful to...and that is our Awesome God Who allows us this very moment.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

You are an Answer!

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

"...I have come that they may have life, and that they may have life more abundantly."
~ Jesus Christ, as recorded in John 10:10 ~

You are an answer to someone's breakthrough!

Does that seem arrogant? It may for the religiously minded...for I am reminded that as our spirit is possessed by the Holy Spirit of God, Who is the Answer, we are able to lavishly reveal The Answer through us!

Lisa Bevere said it best, "We are NOT a problem; but an answer to a problem!" Now the question is, "Am I willing to walk in this truth?" Instead, let me say it like this, "I know I am willing but am I able?"

This is so freeing to realize that it is not about my ability; but God's ABLE POWER through me to accomplish the ability of being an ANSWER...not just 'having' an answer...but BEING an answer!

What does it look like to be an answer?
Here are some ideas:
* A smile...
'What if' they don't smile back? Then, keep smiling!

* Opening the door for someone...
'What if' they are insulted, saying, "I can open the door on my own." Then, we must continue to err on the side of kindness...don't give up, because of one hurting person, who is unable to receive it.

* When led, ask if they need prayer...
'What if' they say, "No", then pray for them when you walk away.

* Be kind to the unkind and unlovable...
'What if' they...?

In these examples, and so many more not mentioned, we have the honor and privilege to be the seed planters...later on, some will water...but guess what? The Lord receives the INCREASE!

Today, I am triumphantly reminded that God is able, which confidently allows me to walk in willingness without fear of rejection, no matter the other person's reaction.

Let us show others Who Is Willing and Able to continue to love us, as we love ourselves. We GET TO freely and lavishly place God's Love upon others. We get to reveal God by being an Answer and Breakthrough in this journey called, LIFE! As we live, may we demonstrate in potent power the One Who gave us life and life more abundantly...Jesus Christ as revealed by the Holy Spirit!