Monday, January 31, 2011

Testimony of God of the photograph on Triumphant Victorious Reminders blog

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

"But when the Father sends the Counselor as My representative--and by the Counselor I mean the Holy Spirit--he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I myself have told you."
~ John 14:26 ~ New Living Translation

I am reminded of the beautiful spring, early evening as my daughter and I were taking a walk. I had one mission in mind; to get home. My daughter's mission however, was much different. I was taught a very valuable lesson that beautiful, memorable evening. Her mission being different than mine, it was to enjoy nature; to simply go for a walk. Her cares had nothing to do with getting home 'right now' or to complete the next 'agenda' of life.

I realized in that moment that as adults we can be so 'To Do List' oriented that we do not enjoy what is before us; unless of course we 'plan' a day for enjoyment.

As we went for our walk, I was in an unnecessary hurry to get home. My daughter lagged behind when suddenly she shouted with excitement, "Mom! Look! A lady bug!" At first I must admit, I was a bit annoyed, focused on my destination. At first, I thought, "Big deal." Then at that very moment I was convicted by the Holy Spirit to be intoxicated with this moment with my gift from God; my daughter. In that moment as I hesitantly stopped, I received a whole new outlook on this walk. I stopped and saw this beautiful lady bug, wanting to share in the excitement that my daughter expressed with such livliness. This small lady bug was not just anywhere but on a beautiful green leaf blooming from the branch of a tree adorned with white flowers. Wanting to fully enjoy this moment with my daughter, I became as a child and with a shrill of excitement I said, "Let's go home and get the camera!" Her beautiful brown eyes framed with those gorgeous long lashes along with that excited smile said, "Yay! Let's go home." She jumped up and down with excitement and with laughter we ran home; about three blocks.

As we ran, I prayed, "Lord, I pray the lady bug will be there when we come back." We ran to the house, fumbled through my keys, finally unlocked the door, opened the door, ran inside closing the door behind me, ran up to the office, grabbed the camera, running back down the stairs as we informed my husband what we were about to do.

We were so excited as we hurried back outside running to the spot where we were just moments ago. However, when we had last seen the lady bug I did not realize how many trees were along the sidewalk. I became anxious as the 'get things done' itch started to rise up again, forgetting to enjoy the moment.

My daughter looked up at me with some concern. I looked down at her and said, "Do you remember which tree it was?" She shook her head. Now, I must tell you that when we left the scene, I only remember there being one tree...not four! Yes, there were four trees lined up in a row full of beautiful white flower buds and green leaves. We started laughing with some disappointment as it seemed as though it would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack at that point in the search.

I half-heartedly prayed, "Lord, which tree is it?" Then, it was as though my steps were being ordered by Him. As I moved, I was now planted in one spot. I looked slowly through the flowers and leaves on the tree branches, but could not find this lady bug. At this point, I thought, "Well, I have the camera, and these flowers are beautiful, so I'll take a picture."

I snapped a photograph with my little 'Kodak' camera of the small white flower and when I looked through the digital screen to my surprise, I was in absolute awe! I found that I had unknowingly captured a picture of the lady bug! It was so awesome from the area where I stood! I had taken the photograph not knowing what was right before my lens. It was as though God had positioned me right where I needed to be. The undeniable moment of beauty and awe in something that seemed so small.

O goodness. This moment was so beautiful and beyond memorable. I learned so many lessons in those few moments. I felt I was the student being taught in the classroom of life, the teacher being my daughter led by the Spirit of God.

My lesson that day? The seemingly insignificant are truly significant to God.

I was also greatly reminded of how our children are great vessels to remind us to enjoy the life pleasures that God has given to us. No matter the difficulty of our life that attempts to steal our focus, we can still enjoy that moment that seems so small like the lady bug; for we must know that He takes pleasure in what He has created.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

January 29, 2011, Trembling and Shaking at Injustice

"Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up: a servant who becomes king, a fool who is full of food, an unloved woman who is married, and a maidservant (positioned to serve) who displaces her mistress (positioned to lead)."
~ Proverbs 30:21-23 ~


Have you been a witness to someone mistreat a server in a restaurant?
What about a customer mistreating a cashier clerk?
How about a woman being dominated by a man with hateful words?
What about a woman disrespectfully robbing the position of her husband's place?
How about a child being mistreated and instead of being treasured like the rare jewel they are; you witness that they are treated like a piece of trash?


The scenarios could be listed for many years, however, as I think of these few scenarios, I am reminded how I must be a person that trembles and shakes at the injustices done...just as the earth trembles and quakes at injustice (Proverbs 30:21-23).

Our voices are a mighty tool...our stand is a mighty tool. We are meant to declare with the authority given to us by God through Jesus Christ to stand up...even if it 'seems' we stand alone. We may not see with our physical eyes anyone by our side, however, we must know that we have chosen the side of God when we stand...so truly we are not alone...for if God be for us; who can possibly be against us? I love this rhetorical question...in comparison to God....any enemy should look smaller than even nothingness.

There is a boldness from God that arises with great compassion and love...God who is Love also reveals His love even in His wrath. I am learning this even in my life as He has so lovingly corrected me by the Spirit and through my true sisters in Christ. My true sisters that I have relationship with, I have never had to ask or plead with them to be honest with me...they are led by the Spirit of God and they do not keep quiet to appease my soul. Now, is it taken well right away?
Haahaahaa...Uh, no...I definitely experience a squirming in my flesh, sometimes even wanting to explode in anger, yet, the end result is that we have grown closer in the Spirit because they did not compromise quietness to spare my 'feelings'.

I must remind myself that I died when I said "Yes" to life in Jesus...so my feelings that awaken must be reminded how dead and gone they are when it comes to my growth in Christ Jesus. Those feelings that we possess are truly a gift from God, however, those feelings are not to possess and rule over us.

As I write this, I can hear my 'soul' saying, "Are you sure you really want the truth?" My answer by the spirit is, "Yes...as long as it is Truth that points to Christ Jesus who is FREEDOM...not truth defined by opinion or another philosophy that is contrary to that of Christ Jesus."

Am I willing to stand?
Even if it looks like I am alone as we stand for righteousness and justice, we must remember the Great I Am, Holy God is Who we have chosen to stand with in obedience. We must be assured that He is with us along with the angels. He has commanded them to keep us in all our ways!

I pray that I am not moved by their rejection...I pray I am more moved by the reminder of God's acceptance of me even while I was in great sin.

Today I am reminded that the foundation of God's throne is righteousness and justice.

Scripture References:
Proverbs 30:21-23
Romans 8:28-31
Philippians 1:21
Psalm 91:11
Psalm 33:5
Psalm 89:14
Psalm 97:2
Psalm 103:6
Proverbs 21:3

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January 25, 2011, Grace and Humility

Paul pleaded with God three times that the thorn in the flesh that was given to him would depart, which was a messenger of Satan to buffet him, unless he be exalted above measure, And Jesus said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness" So Paul said, I most gladly would rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
~ Paraphrased from II Corinthians 12:7-9 ~

Have you been in a situation recently where someone's actions crossed the boundaries of authority?

Have you been in a situation where you had to address the issue?

Well, to answer these questions, this is what took place for me yesterday. I did not want to address it at all. Before addressing the issue I prayed that the Lord would speak to this person about it, not me...but it was something that the Lord wanted me to walk in. He wanted me to walk in obedience, assisted by His boldness and driven by His love.

After the issue was addressed it did not go as I had hoped; actually it did not go as I hoped or imagined. I was told by this beautiful person that I should have prayed to the Holy Spirit to minister to their heart, versus me addressing it. The heaviness I endured before I addressed it was so burdensome...but as soon as it was addressed, the peace of God came upon me and the heaviness was gone!

Now let me say, the thoughts did try to rule over me that I should not have said anything. The regrets pulling and yanking me; attempting to carry me away into the pit of despair and depression. I wanted to crawl into bed and ask that I would be allowed to do the day over again. But then, I think now, if I had it to do over again, would I disobey God to make my life easier? It wouldn't be worth it.

I may have lost a relationship at this time; but you know what I was able to gain? So much more insight from the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God lovingly rebuked me beyond what I could have dreamed or imagined. I learned that when addressing this person on what they had done, I was reminded what I have done to others more often than I would like to admit.

I had to make a few phone calls to apologize for misusing God's zeal. I had been zealous for what I believed, but did it with prideful motives and was not motivated by the love of God, in which it caused hurt and pain.

This morning I received a text from my dear friend Julie who wrote, "Grace. It has been put on my heart to share with you. Let me know what God reveals to you. I love you."

Upon receiving this text, I prayed and thanked God for His grace. His grace is like a 'ski lift'. To get from one side of the mountain to the other, bringing us across. We still must go across but His grace is like that ski lift. That grace allows us to rise above sin and endure.

After receiving this text, I called my husband and asked if he would pray over me. I did not share with him what had happened, I did not share the text with him either and out of his mouth poured forth these words, "God's grace and peace be upon my wife. Lord I thank you that anything that tries to hinder her from insight from You God, You dispel in the name of Yeshua (Jesus)." As soon as he said these words, I wept. He was concerned about what was going on and asked me to share. When I finally did share a little bit with him, he said, "Ok, Teresa, the Holy Spirit is like the wind, so release this as though you were releasing it into the wind and let God carry it away." When he spoke those words it was FINISHED! The tormenting thoughts that attempted to rob the Joy and Peace left; and the thoughts that remained were the beautiful thoughts of God over me.

I am reminded today that this person and so many others need us to reveal God's grace upon them. Just as we have received much grace we are required to give back.

In this learning process, I am so grateful for what has happened. For what the enemy has meant to destroy, God has been glorified as I am seeing evidence of growing pains in my life. My eyes were opened of what not to do to others and the reverberating power of abiding in Him. If I abide in Him, then His Words abide in me and it will be revealed walking in love, especially to the unlovable.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

January 14, 2011, "Thorns"

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


"Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces some hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
~ Matthew 13:22-23


Thorns?! Ouch! Really Lord?

The rushing of life,
the rushing of time,
the rushing of growing up,
the rushing of getting out of the house,
the rushing of reading the word of God,
the rushing of closing the deal,
the rushing of so-called prayer,
the rushing of so-called praise and worship,
the rushing of technology...
We live a life as though the rushing of time revolves around us...
to do lists that grow...one 'box' gets crossed off and we add a few more.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! BREATHE! Take a breath! STOP! What are we doing?

Distractions allowed to master our lives, instead of us mastering the distractions by the power of God that is on the inside of us, IF we have accepted Jesus Christ as not only our Savior but also our Lord.

With this 'rushing' scenario of life, I was reminded of the parable of the word that Jesus spoke of. The word that comes into our life in the midst of the thorns that surround us. The thorns representing the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches.

The cares of this world does not represent our caring for the world...it is how we allow the world to influence our cares. We not only have allowed the world to influence this, but then we actually attempt to carry these burdensome cares. However, aren't we suppose to do something with the cares? Yes! We are to cast those cares upon Jesus. But, why? Because He cares for us. He knows what those cares will do to us if we don't cast them upon Him...it will destroy us. He knows that the cares that we carry are a tool from Satan that will do what he does best...and that is destroy us. In addition to the cares, it isn't the riches that are decetiful, the deceitfulness is believing that the riches will take care of it all.

How do we cast our cares upon the Lord? We know what we are suppose to do, but HOW? For me, I am a very visual person. In this, I literally must fall to my knees and imagine Jesus seated on the throne. As I imagine such a beautiful scene, I lay prostrate with my arms extended as though every care and burden I have has been laid at His feet. Humbled before His majesty, He then gives me the wisdom to know how to utilize the tools that I must use to be a wife, mom, writer, volunteer, friend, daughter, sister, etc. The cares don't go away; however, they are now placed upon the One who cares and is able to show me how to execute with wisdom how to live in the midst of the cares. The Holy Breath of God, the Holy Spirit show me not to allow the 'cares' to rule me, but allowing the One who Cares for me to rule and reign over me with His overwhelming Love.

I am reminded that my heart need not remain in the midst of the thorns, but my heart can be of good ground who hears the word and understands it, bearing fruit in ways I never imagined.

Lord, thank You for being my Refuge and Help from the cares of this world. The rushing tides of life that attempt to hurry me through, attempting to overtake me and drown me in hopelessness. Thank You Lord that I get to have a relationship with You, Almighty God, the most Famous and Glorious One! Thank You for being our EVERYTHING, not just a supplement to when I need you...but You are my EVERYTHING...I not only need You, but I must desire and want You, humbled by Your Majesty! I love You Lord! Thank you for Your Triumphant Victorious Reminder of what I can possess in You! Hallelujah! In Jesus Awesome, Most Powerful, Majestic, Holy Name. Amen!

Scripture References:
Matthew 13: 22-23
I Peter 5:6-7

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 11, 2011, "Come!"

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
~ Jesus Christ, The Son of God as recorded in Mattew 11: 28-30 ~

The news a father never imagined would come upon his ears. A single father, receiving word from the doctors that his daughter, 9 years old, has been diagnosed with leukemia.

A knock on the door. She opens the door, and finds the officer on her porch, holding his hat in front of his chest; she falls to the floor as she knows and simultaneously screams in horror, "NOOOOOOOOOOO!" Tragedy, devastated by the 'suddenly' moment of the precious life of her daughter, gone.

A family receives devastating news of their son, a missionary, killed as he would not deny His Redeemer, His Salvation, Jesus Christ.

Another family, as though their hearts were forcefully pulled out of their chest experience a life altering moment, forever changed by their child's abduction.

A father, a husband, comes home to find no trace of his wife and children; she leaves behind a note to write what she could never say. He stands paralyzed as his eyes move upon the words; every word, a forceful stab as though he were stabbed violently with a knife. He falls to his knees, his face in his hands, weeping uncontrollably lying on the floor, as though it is over; his world seems to have ended. Regrets and the 'what if's' fly through his mind, meanwhile, his wife has been driving for miles; tears running down her face as she thinks, "What have I done?" Her thoughts are interrupted as she hears the voices of her children. Their little voices pleading with mommy to go back to daddy. Yet, the thoughts that came into her mind, she allowed to take over and the imaginations of what he must have been thinking of her led her away like a tsunami. She is like a victim within the waves tossed violently to and fro.

The scenarios of real life could be listed for a lifetime; yet, I stop as I hear and see the Voice and Hands of Truth. I can see what He longs to do. He desires in His great power with His amazing, strong, yet gentle hands to pull and hold close the victims of distress, tragedy and betrayal out of the swallowing seas of hopelessness.

It is as though I can see His incredibly massive arms dwarf the once perceived powerful seas and I see with amazing perspective. The roaring seas now look like a dribble of water in comparison to His mighty power. His arms of love long to hold them to His chest. His Everlasting, Powerful heartbeat and His Words of Life desiring to breathe new life over their seemingly lifeless bodies.

The Refuge,
The Healer,
The Great Comforter,
The Strong Tower,
The Deliverer
,
The All Powerful, Eternal Great I Am,
The Restorer,
The Redeemer,
The Ever Present Helper in time of trouble weeps over these children and I can hear the Voice of Authority, the Voice of Jesus beckoning them, "Come! Come to me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Come to Me! Come! Arise and run to me!" I believe as they run, before they can take their second step towards Him they would be swept away into His everlasting arms of love.

I am reminded today to reveal who is on the inside of me...the Holy Spirit, The Holy Breath of God. I must reveal by His power that God is Refuge, God is Healer, God is the Great Comforter, God is The Strong Tower, God is The Deliverer, God is The Restorer, God is The Redeemer and God is The Ever Present Helper in time of trouble.

How can we reveal Him? It can be the most simple, yet most powerful act...a touch on the hand or shoulder, an embrace, a prayer of hope. Wherever and whatever God leads us to do to reveal a glimpse of who He is, let us share what we have so beautifully received. For we have been given much and with what has been received, much is required to give back to others; no matter if I feel they deserve it or not...I'm one who received His eternal Love and I know I did not deserve it...but it was freely given to me and I freely received and so now I must freely give to others; revealing my Hope of Glory, Jesus Christ.

Scripture References:
Psalm 9:9
Psalm 28:8
Psalm 46:1
Psalm 59:16
Psalm 62:7, 8
Exodus 15:26
Matthew 4:23
Matthew 9:35
Acts 10:38
Isaiah 61
II Corinthians 1:3-4
Psalm 61
Proverbs 18:10
Psalm 18:2
Psalm 40:17
Psalm 70:5
Psalm 144:2
Psalm 19:14
Psalm 78
Psalm 46:1
Luke 12:48
Colossians 1:27

Sunday, January 9, 2011

January 9, 2011, "Victorious Declaration of Praise"

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

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble."
~ Psalm 46:1 ~

The Victorious Declaration of Praise even when I don't feel like declaring it:

God You are so awesome!
You are magnificient beyond the boundaries of beauty.
Your Holiness and Matchless Power can never be contained!
Containment itself would never dare to attempt such an action.
There is NONE like You...no not one!
You are the most powerful, Holy, Righteous, Just God!

You are powerful. I am reminded of the powerful oceans in all the world that toss huge vessels to and fro and yet these massive waves are in absolute awe of You, The Most Powerful God.

You are Holy. I am reminded of the mighty angels that declare who You are moment by moment, shouting, "Holy! Holy! Holy!" The angels are monstrous in our eyes and yet in comparison to You, the mighty angels are in awe of such Holiness. Pure power. The pure power of Who You are which is Holy is uncontainably rushing; revealing Your glory. The Holiness of You; All Consuming Fire, would obliterate our physical bodies to particles of dust...yet You love us with a Love that can not be translated into human action or human words of any sort...for You are LOVE.

You are Righteous. I am reminded of Who You are! The foundation that stands; You are never failing to support, never falling apart; never losing Your sustaining power. The changes and shifting of time that passes through cannot penetrate You! For You are the Foundation of which I stand because of Jesus Christ.

You are Just. I am reminded of Your Throne. The foundation of Your throne is righteousness and justice. You are my Advocate and my Standby even though I do not deserve it. You remain my EVER PRESENT help in time of need and trouble!

Hallelujah! Father! You are magnified! You be glorified in my eyes! My eyes must see that which already is...and that is You! You are high and lifted up ~ higher than anything that tries to come against me. As my mind magnifies you; the out of control thoughts become demagnified! Submitting to you, causes a resistance simultaneously to my screaming flesh that wants to receive depression! You are All Consuming Fire that obliterates, annihilates and melts away the unknowing want and desire to be a victim when You see me as a victor! You are so Awesome God...beyond the boundaries of awesome. You are incredibly God! My mouth can not keep up with the praises that surround You...for You are The Great I Am!

Scripture References:
Exodus 8:10
I Samuel 2:2
II Samuel 7:22
Jeremiah 10:6 & 7
Isaiah 6:3
Hebrews 12:29
Revelation 4:8
Psalm 89:14
Psalm 46:1

Sunday, January 2, 2011

January 1, 2010, God's Grace

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

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in your weakness"
~ The Lord said this to Paul as recorded in II Corinthians 12:9 NKJV ~

Resolute as defined in Webster's Dictionary:
firmly determined in purpose: resolved
Synonyms: steadfast, stanch, faithful, true, loyal
Resolution as defined in Webster's Dictionary:
1) The act or process of resolving
2.) The action of solving: Solution
3.) The quality of being resolute: firmness, determination
4.) A formal statement expressing the opinion, will or intent of a body of persons

As I read these defintions of what we attempt within our well intended self-discipline; it is amazing how we are reminded of our strength, determination, and steadfastness that only go so far. Some people have great disciplined strength while others do not...however, when we lean on the grace of God for His strength it doesn't matter if we are the strongest on our own or the weakest on our own...His strength through us allows us to go beyond our dreams and imaginations of what He full in His faith sees fulfilled over our lives. Our hearts humbled before His glorious power and the 'attempts' become fulfilled feats of victory because of Who He is through us!

Let us look at this new calendar year and focus on the day given to us by God abiding in His amazing grace. His grace when we lean on Him brings solution and a passionate determination to fulfill the Will of God through our lives to help others bringing glory to our awesome God!

Whether the resolutions are:
to lose weight,
replace curse words with words of blessing,
workout more
eat healthier
getting rid of a bad habit, etc.

Whatever our goals of change may be...let us allow God to reveal our hearts and see that the things we try to change is not about our performance but about repentance. Repentance is not a 'one time' action...it is continual. The initial move in repentance is turning from sin and following after God. The initial turn is accomplished and maintained as we follow after abundant life in Christ Jesus, staying on the path of His righteousness that He provides.

When we turn from repentance and rebel, let us realize it and repent immediately. We don't need to remain in a state of penance by reminding ourselves how awful we are...let's just get back up and with repenting action allow God to grace us through what needs to be worked on in our lives and let us not only see our lives changed with great accomplishment but may we also see our hearts changed as we moment by moment are in worshipful awe towards our Awesome God. Whether we eat, sleep, sit, walk, speak, or listen may each moment be a moment that we stayed fixed on Him, knowing the great desperation of how much we need and desire Him, humbled by His beautiful mercy and faithfulness.

Daily in 2011, may we say, declare and proclaim with great faith towards our God, "Great is Your Faithfulness; no matter what we are challenged with, You, Almighty God remain faithful. May we see His faithfulness revealed as we trust and obey. He is faithful whether we declare it or not...the Truth of Who He is will always remain...He is Strength; let us cling to Who He is!