Friday, September 30, 2011

Prayer for Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

Father God in the Name of Jesus, the One Who Was, Who Is and Who Is To Come, we pray your uncommon protection over Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. Father God, I thank You that Your angels heed Your Word as they keep Pastor Youcef in ALL His WAYS! Father, we know that the prayers of the righteous avail much...we are not righteous on our own; BUT because of WHO YOU ARE!

Lord Jesus we pray as He is an Ambassador of Truth, that He shall not be touched...for we know the rights of any ambassador...their EVERYTHING is taken care of...if anyone touches an ambassador of this world, it is an international incident...so Father God, Pastor Youcef is much more than an ambassador of this world, he is an ambassador of Your Kingdom....so in this Truth, we thank You Lord that He shall LIVE AND NOT DIE, declaring the Works of You Lord! Father, we thank You that as the eyes of the world watch...may YOU INTERVENE...a thousand may fall at Pastor Youcef's side and ten thousand at his right hand, but it shall not come near Him. Father, He knows Your Name and He will not deny You and as He has not denied You, You will not deny Him. Father, thank You for your peace that surpasses ALL UNDERSTANDING as his family begs, interceeds, pleads with You to set Him Free!

Father, we Love you and this is a brother in You, Lord! In this Truth, we thank You Lord that praises come forth out of His mouth confusing the enemies and the songs of Your deliverance be sung out and declared right there, right where he is...may there be men and women who are near him who with zeal believe they are doing the right thing, may their eyes become unveiled and see that they MUST SERVE JESUS CHRIST! Lord, encounter these people like you did with Paul as he was on his way to Damascus...God we pray a Supernatural, Heaven meets earth pardon over this man's life in Jesus Name!!!! We declare that You are God, forever and ever...As we complain about who wronged us, may we remember the ones like Pastor Youcef who are truly suffering for Your names sake! In Jesus Name. Amen!

Pastor Youcef's Sister in Christ,
Teresa

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The One who could have...did not.

TRIUMPHANT VICTORIOUS REMINDERS
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell
(A re-post from May 1, 2009)

"So when they continued asking him, He lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."
~ John 8:7 ~


This is the scene played out in my mind:

The door swings open by FORCE as they are caught in the very act of adultery. She screams in horror as she not only knows her demise of death at this very moment but they are dragging her outside like an animal being led to the slaughter. As she screams she does everything in her power to hide her frail naked body. She kicks and screams, weeping with little dignity she had.

As they drag her, she tries to defend herself as the men pull her by the hair, and beat her, cursing her. She experiences one of the lowest blows of disgust upon a human being as she is spit on. I can just hear the 'stone' blood thirsty voices shouting at her, "You no good, waste of trash, you are a dead woman!" They throw her around like a rag doll, not caring that she might be someone's daughter, someone's sister, even someone's mother.

As they scream and taunt her, they throw her at the feet of Jesus. Their judgement setting forth her death sentence. They say with their noses in the air, as though they had never sinned before (John 8:4-11), "Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?" They wanted to use this moment against Him, however Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, "All right, stone her. BUT let those who have never sinned throw the first stone!" He stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When her accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to her, "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?" "No, Lord," she said. And Jesus said, "Neither do I. Go and sin no more."

I love this story, knowing that they watched mercy unfold like they had never seen before.

I am intoxicated by Jesus' comment. "You who have not sinned cast the first stone." Yet, the only person who would have been able to cast the stone would have been Jesus. He was the only One who had no sin, who could have exercised His right to cast it. Yet, He did not. Instead He chose to mercifully take her hand, dust the dirt off her tear stained cheeks and I would imagine He took the cloak off Himself and wrapped it around her, embracing her as he held her head close to his chest, comforting her.

Something she had never experienced before, a warm embrace with no intentions of wanting her body in return, she received a pure embrace from God in the form of a man. She experienced unfailing love from someone who could have rightfully stoned her, yet He chose to stand up for her. He didn't embrace what she had done; He embraced her.

I want, need and must do the same. I want to embrace the hurting, even though they may be called the 'throw aways' of society or labeled as 'skum' even by the world. I must do as Jesus did. He is such a wonderful example of loving the person, BUT not the sin. For He is righteous and just.

Lord, I don't want to be the voice of condemnation when I was shown mercy and compassion. I want and know I must be the voice of love embracing the hurting, who long to know what it is like to be held for a moment finding out that nothing will be asked in return, resulting in change for the better.

This life must be about paying it forward to someone else, the love that was shed upon me must be revealed over others because of my Source of Love, Jesus Christ.

What was it like the day after Jesus saved her?

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

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


From yesterday's devotional, I ponder the woman that encountered Jesus as she received her pardon from the sentence of death by stoning. I would like to wonder what became of her?

The touch of His gentle, strong hands, by The Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. Was she grateful beyond her wildest imaginations?

I imagine that as He held her close to his chest she was forever changed. Wiping the dirt from her tear stained cheeks as she uncontrollably wept. Experiencing His unbelievable, indescribable mercy, He looked at her with those piercing eyes of love placing his hands gently under her chin as He lifted her downward head that for most of her life had only seen the ground as she walked in shame. I would love to imagine that He said, "I am the lifter of your head, you go and love others the way I have displayed My love towards you."

With the cloak of Christ that was wrapped around her; hiding her frail, naked body, I believe from that day on she had a different walk. She saw the path before her. It was all brand new to her. It was as though she saw for the first time. The market filled with vivacious colors of the fruit and vegetables on display, the sky beautifully revealing the majestic, glory of God.

I imagine this scene the day after her encounter with Jesus:

Morning came. She awoke. Yet, this time, there was no man sleeping by her side to fulfill the void within her heart.

She was awake! This time with a smile of gratefulness.

She inhaled and exhaled on purpose, no longer holding her breath in shame. She rose up from her bed imagining she would have a new garment to wear. As she turns she notices something. She places her hand on her mouth in shock as she sees a beautiful white dress carefully draped over the stone chair. She was stunned, for the only garment that she ever wore was a heavy, black, dress that revealed who she was...a prostitute. The dress she had worn long enough had reminded her of her life of mourning. Yet today her garment was different.

She ran to the stone chair and hurriedly placed the new dress on herself. She surprised herself as she giggled. She was taken back by the sound of her own laughter. To hear pure laughter ringing in her ears was a refreshingly yet foreign, delightful sound that came from her own voice.

Her heart led her mind to the thoughts of yesterday. She thinks about this amazing man. A man like no other she had ever encountered. Her Jesus, who forever changed her life in history. She thought to herself, "No one had lifted my head like that before. I know what that word means now, the Word called Love. That's Him, He is love!"

She dared with boldness to open that door to the world outside her house. She was ok, no matter what they would say or do, she experienced His love and that was all that mattered anymore.

As she stepped foot into the world outside her house, she noticed the beautiful creation around her. She remembered the past when she only remembered seeing things in a gray tone before her encounter with Him. But today she sees everything in 'technicolor'; the colors so beautiful and breathtaking.

As she walks by the people in her village, she hears them snicker and whisper with sarcasm, jealousy and disgust, "That's her, she's the one who deserved to die and that Jesus who calls Himself the Son of God, let her live. Look how she walks now. I can't believe she can lift her head so high. She is a whore, yet she acts like she is a virtous woman, HA! I wonder who got her that dress?" As they mockingly laughed, making fun of her.

I believe at that moment, she looked at them with eyes of love even in that moment. Like the Man she encountered, she smiled at them with compassion. They were shocked and insulted realizing that shame had no chance.

I would have to think that there were others who would look from side to side with caution to see if anyone was watching as they ran to her. They had to know as they asked her in desperation, "Why are you different?" In that very moment, with her mouth, she was able to reveal that she was redeemed, and she had to say so! She was able to have the opportunity to share as she might have said something like this, "I had an encounter with my Lord, He freed me from my death sentence..."

As she shared her encounter with Him, those that knew of her, wanted what she had. They had to have this life-altering encounter with Jesus, no matter what the cost.

This leads me to ask, "Lord, do those around me know that I have encountered You? Have I continued to lift my head, when You lifted it the first day I met you? Or, do I still walk in shame? Do I walk in Your freedom that You so lovingly provided? I want to be grateful as I display your love Lord, not just by my actions but also by my words of love. Help me Father God, let me walk in daily rememberance the day I encountered you.

Will the world run to Jesus by running to me as I display the freedom I have in Him?
I desire to be like her after her encounter with Jesus; forever changed by THE ONE WHO IS THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY AND FOREVER!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell
Feedback comment by: Kristen Eggers

"In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (atonement) for our sins."
~ I John 4:10 ~

Need to be inspired?

Then, you're right where you need to be...
You are an inspired thought from God as He placed into this earth to reveal His glorious beauty!

Do we need inspiration?
Then, we must inspire ourselves to inspire someone else because God first inspired us!

Do you need encouragement?
Then, we must encourage ourselves to encourage someone else because God first encouraged us!

Do we feel the need to be loved and appreciated? Then, we must love and appreciate the gifts within us that are from the Lord so that we can love and appreciate the gifts of God within others because God first loved us!

Please go to the following link that inspired me this morning. It is feedback from a very dear sister in the Lord:
http://godisenthralledbyyourbeauty.blogspot.com/2011/09/inspired-feedback.html

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What are we nurturing?

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

"The Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have. But what I do have I give you, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."
~ Acts 3:6 ~

Beginning in verse 1 of Acts 3, the setting brings us to a man who was born lame. He was carried daily to the gate of the temple called, Beautiful. The purpose for his being carried by others to this place was to collect alms from those who entered in. As this man saw Peter and John entering into the temple, he had also asked them for alms. Peter then said, "Look at us." As the man turned to face them, he expected alms when Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have. But what I do have I give you, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."

This story leads me to what the words I awoke to this morning, "Nurture only warts the problem..." I was stunned and quite frankly upset. I thought, "No, 'nurture' doesn't do that; that can't be true."

As I prayed about this, I said, "How can this be?" That is when I heard more, "What are you nurturing?" I began to think about this poignant question. I realized, "O my goodness, I see it more clearly Lord." The Lord was helping me to distinguish the "what" to the "who". Does that make sense?

Let me further explain. Notice the man who was born lame. He was carried daily by one or more people to the gate of the temple to collect alms for himself. The people really thought they were doing what was right. Upon this eye opening moment, I realize that when I nurture the "what", I am not focused on the person, whether it is me or someone else, I am focused on what the need is, versus the one who needs. Notice how Peter addressed the true need, it wasn't the alms that he truly needed; it was the potential of healing that was within him. Peter addressed it immediately and then with boldness nurtured the man's need to walk. He walked away that day no longer lame but whole.

Praying more about what I had awoken to, only confirmed what was being brought to the light. Terry, our small group leader was helping us last week to distinguish the difference between what small group focuses on and what it does not focus on. The tool that small group provides is to focus on discovering the God-given potential within people, developing them to become leaders by the power of His Holy Spirit and His Word. As they discover they are a leader, they are then able to disciple their nation (sphere of influence) by the power of the Holy Spirit and God's Word. It was an eye opener to realize that small group is not about discovering potential within a program, developing a program and then discipling others with the program. We as a whole must shift from developing programs to developing people.

When we nurture a program and not the people involved in the program; we only cause the issue that people are dealing with to fester; causing setbacks as they continue to experience the vicious cycle of defeat. The program draws the people with their issues; but it doesn't draw the 'defeatism' from the issues out of the people.

I am reminded that Peter no longer nurtured the man to remain in his state of being lame; but he nurtured the need for this man to walk away from his state of being lame. By God's Spirit and the authority of the name of Jesus, Peter knew to draw the issue out of this man as he experienced what the 'program' of alms never provided; the ability to walk.

The rest of the word came to me, the word that I had awoken to was 'buttoned up' like this:
"When I nurture people's problems, it only warts and glorifies the problem. However, when I nurture people, they become thrivers in their discovered God designed destiny. Take notice! God does not nurture sin; but He does nurture the person with the sin. He calls them forth as Redeemed, Liberated, Victorious, Free, Triumphant and Restored because of what He has done."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

We are His!

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

Micah 6:8

This morning, I have been reminded of the call within each of our destiny's.

My destiny must be assisted by The Holy Spirit and what is recorded in Micah 6:8, "What is it the Lord requires of us? To do what is right (no matter the wrong that has been done to us), to love mercy (as though it were the air we breathe), and to walk humbly before our God (the Awesome Alpha and Omega, The Beginning and The End. As I am reminded of Who He is, there's no room for pride or haughtiness. The reason is because of His glorious Majesty puts me in my place of my nothingness without Him!

We are His beautiful daughters.

The King's daughters.

What a powerful knowing...WE ARE HIS. HIS DAUGHTERS!

As His daughters we must reveal the King! Not the peasantry life we were rescued from.

Let us allow this reminder to lead us in doing what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly before our God; Who just so happens to be our Daddy, our King! This is where I scream...Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

He used a necklace to share His great love?

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

Romans 8:38-39

Ann had a great thought, "Go into the store and you will find some great deals." She warred with her thoughts, thinking, "Yeah right", yet walked in anyway...and as though she had a shopping epiphony...there they were...confirmed deals galore!

She found three beautiful necklaces; $1 each...yes...$1 each! The price and the necklace were a beautiful contradiction, to say the least. Ann thought, "Wow! I know if I received these necklaces as a gift, I would really like them. These will make great gifts!"

After making her gorgeous, yet, more than affordable purchase, she walked out of the store, and began to crave an ice cold frappucino, filled with java chips and a pump of rasberry topped with whip cream and chocolate syrup. The very moment she craved it, she knew it was meant to be...LOL! Right there before her, stood none other than...you guessed it...a Starbucks!

Upon ordering her amazing drink, she walked over to the condiment station to grab a straw, when she heard in her spirit, "See the blonde girl in the corner? Give her one of those necklaces." Ann thought, "Really? Well, ok." She opened her bag, carefully opening the wrapped necklace, peeled off the price tag and folded it gently back into the tissue paper.

As Ann was about to approach the young lady, she noticed that she and a gentleman seemed to be in a deep conversation in which it almost moved her to turn around and say, "Maybe not." Simultaneously as she was tempted to walk away, she knew what she must do; interrupting their conversation she gently said, "Excuse me, I apologize to interrupt." The man turned with a puzzled look, then a smile as she with a smile and yet hesitancy said, "That's fine." Ann continued, "I know this seems awkward, but I feel led to bless you with this necklace, God bless you." As Ann was about to walk away, the man seemed dumbfounded. He asked slowly, yet with a gentle smile, "What moved you to do that? This is so amazing, we were just talking about this very thing. What you have done means more to her than you know."

Ann, choking back tears said, "My husband and I have been blessed; not extravegently, but we have been blessed and with all that is going on in our community and in this world, I must reveal the God kisses as much as possible."

He shook his head in amazement and said, "You have no idea what this means." Ann also shaking her head in disbelief, placed her hand on her chest and said, "I'm going to cry." She couldn't believe that God was allowing her to be a part of such a moment.

In that moment, Ann leaned over introducing herself, she found out what the young lady's name was. Ann couldn't believe what was happening next. She squatted down to her level and said, "May I pray with you?" When the young woman replied with gratitude, "Yes", Ann gently said, "You do not have to tell me what is going on, for God already knows", and she proceeded to pray, declaring that which the Holy Spirit knew which was beyond significant.

Ann told me that as she opened her eyes after praying over this young lady, she witnessed this handsome man; muscular build, with a barbwire tattoo on his left arm, had tears streaming down his face.

He was moved by God in this experience that Ann got to be a part of, and I got to hear about; and what did God use? Yes! None other than a dollar necklace.

This testimony of God's love through a small monetary thing moved me to know, that He wants His message of Love to be spread; especially in ways that we could never imagine. I am reminded of God's unfailing love and how truly NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING shall separate us from the Love of God!

I am reminded today that what we may think is insignificant; God will mess us up and show us His powerful greatness even through the smallest things that we would deem not usable; He not only uses but reveals His great love through what we call nothing in His everything!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Enamored!

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

"You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on You! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock."
~ Isaiah 26:3 & 4 ~

I believe this scripture as recorded in Isaiah says it all. Verses 3 & 4 are part of a song of praise unto the Lord that was prophesied would be sung by everyone in the land of Judah.

Our God is so Awesome! We are surrounded by the walls of God's salvation as stated in verse 1.

I do not have words to articulate such power as I am humbly awed by God's glorious, incredible presence.

The only words that come forth, are words that form sentences of powerful questions.

Do I truly know Who I am allowed to worship?
Am I enamored by the One who bids me to come into His glorious embrace?
Does this knowing move me to a place of humbleness?
Does that place of humbleness move me to reach out to others with His glorious love?
What about the ones whom I deem undeserved?
What about the ones who struggle in their walk not knowing the power they walk in?
Will I judge them in their struggle, turn my nose up in disgust and walk away?
Or will I stop and by God's Spirit be impressed as I have been impacted by God's glorious love to assist, love and pray with and for?
They are not the only ones who struggle; for don't we all? I know I struggle. Now I may have strengths that others don't have; BUT I am humbly reminded that OTHERS have strengths that I don't have.

We are a great and mighty force by God's Spirit to be reckoned with in this world...we may have heard this, but do we know it?
Do we have such a revelation of this power from God that we could not be convinced otherwise?
Are we moving and seeing that power revealed that it shakes the foundations of the earth as the earth applauds His glory?
Do we know our God and His power like we know our own name?
If someone came to you and attempted to convince you that your name was not yours; would you be able to confidently rise up and say, "No! My name is_____________!"

I long to get to that place with the power of God that is on the inside of me because of His glorious, Holy Spirit!

How can we know it, if we don't have a revelation of our amazing, awesome, eternal, glorious God?

Am I digging in the Word of God, the Treasure of all treasures?
I say I know Him; but am I living out what I know. It is not only what I know; it's what is revealed in the knowing as I get beyond the hindrance of self and into the freedom of our Glorious God and King!
I want, desire and long to be moved by Who He is as I read the many accounts in the Word of God of the ones who have gone before us. They were regular, sin-filled human beings; who were great at 'being human', allowing the God of the Eternal Universe to touch them in such a way that could move heaven and earth in ways they could never dare imagine!

My spirit is reminding my mind by the Word of God to trust in God Who will keep us in perfect peace IF and WHEN we trust Him as our thoughts are FIXED on Him! I must ALWAYS trust in the Lord, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock Who is more than worthy to be trusted!