Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Do Good Anyway..."

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

"And no doubt you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.  Then Jesus went around doing good and  healing all who were oppressed by the Devil, for God was with Him."
~ Luke as recorded in Acts 10:38 ~

"Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you.  Pray for the happiness of those who curse you.  Pray for those who hurt you..."
~ Jesus as recorded in Luke 6:27-28 ~

Mother Teresa.  A woman truly after the heart of God.  There is no doubt from her life that she craved God's heart and wanted  to 'dance' to His heartbeat as she revealed Him moment by moment.

Here's a beautiful reminder of one of my favorite quotes...our pastor read it at the end of the 'Forgiveness' series which sums up the ministry of Jesus and what each of us can reveal throughout our life moment by moment...
"If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  
Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  
Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  
Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  
Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  
It was never between you and them anyway."
-this version is credited to Mother Teresa

Friday, October 26, 2012

Will I deny Him?

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

"This is a true saying: If we die with Him, we will also live with Him.  If we endure hardship, we will reign with Him.  If we deny Him, He will deny us.  If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself."
~ 2 Timothy 2:11-13 ~

It's a cold, damp, dark place. Tiny particles of light hardly pierce through the seemingly rotting material. There is a sense that the structure is fragile, barely being held together as fear overwhelms the atmosphere of this place.  The creaking sounds seem to be in 'surround sound' as I slowly look around shaking as my arms are crossed over one another. My back slightly hunched over as my teeth chatter at rapid speeds because of this lonely, scary dark place.  I become overwhelmed as every sound seems to move and shove me until finally I find myself in the corner not knowing which way to go.  As my eyes begin to adjust to the darkness my first instinct is to assess, "How do I escape?"

Suddenly a forceful burst through the doors reveal the captor of my mind.  I attempt to curl up in the corner, slowly sliding down like a helpless child hoping that the more I shrink back I will become invisible.  But there's nothing I can do.  Sitting in the corner, curled up in the fetal position I wait for the first blow as I do my best to guard myself.  In moments I hear the eerie sound of what seems to be the hammer of a handgun being cocked back accompanied by a familiar voice.  Wait! It can't be.  This voice is familiar...this person sounds just like me.  Startled, I look up and I hear, "If I told you the only way you can live is by denying that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, what will you do?"

Suddenly I'm back to reality...standing in my room I ask  "God, I say that I would not deny you if a gun was held to my head, but could I really do it?"

I sit here as my fingers dance upon the keyboard while my mind is captured by this scenario.

Jesus, I say that I wouldn't deny You, but I clearly know there are times when offenses have come and I barely fix my eyes on You as the circumstance squeezes the reality of I'm more concerned about me, myself and I.  I also realize that the best way to shield from falling in the trap of denying my God is to become more concerned for the hearts of others, especially the ones who I 'feel' or even have hurt me and be concerned for their very lives more than my own.

This is so opposite of what me, Teresa wants to do. Yet, this dark scenario has led me to realize that I am way too concerned about my ego, feelings and what people 'might' think of me than what I truly need to be concerned for and that is for especially the souls that are in utter misery, full of torment and sucked into the lies of "no one cares".

Today I am triumphantly and victoriously reminded; becoming more aware of how Christ truly esteemed each of us more than Himself...ensuring that we would know we are His Masterpiece and because we know this we must walk with our heads lifted high craving to do this for others...holding their head up high to see the Lifter of their heads, Almighty God!

Just as The Holy Spirit of God is continually patient with me...whether He leads me to love my perpetrators from afar by continually praying for them with fervency or being led back to display the love of the Father over them...however we are led, we must follow the Spirit of God's lead...for I am learning that obedience will allow us to be actively in opposition of denying Christ Jesus.

I am reminded that denial is not just in the midst of a life and death scenario...but it is also in my every day living...when I moment by moment deny my ego and pride I have actively and openly admitted that "YES MY REDEEMER JESUS LIVES AND NO MATTER WHO DENIES HIM IT DOESN'T CHANGE THAT HE LIVES!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What is it the Lord requires even in the midst of hurt?

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

"And this is what the Lord requires: to do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly before your God."
~ Micah 6:8 ~

"But you don't understand, they really ticked me off."
"How dare they!*&@#"
"That hurt my feelings!"
"They didn't notice me!"
"They didn't choose my child."
"Why wasn't I recognized?"
"I did more than they did yet I never or seldom am noticed."

The 'triumphant victorious reminder' today is to remember what the Lord requires of each of us...to do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly before our God. When we do this we will begin to pursue the heart of God versus pursuing our desires of accolades.  Incredibly as we honor and esteem others greater than ourselves looking to Jesus as the greatest example of this, we can know that God will for sure exalt us in His time.  Whether that be here on this earth or in heaven may we be at peace knowing that we are living out what He requires.   

This humble reminder leads me to realize I don't need to say, "I'm a Christian",
or proudly display a fish on my car,
or even broadcast what denomination I belong to or don't belong to
spouting off all the many scriptures I can quote to cause others to feel inadequte...in the end what will truly matter is did I do what was right, did I walk in mercy toward others and did I walk humbly before my God?

In that reminder leads me to this one...Am I revealing in my moment by moment walk; faith, hope and love?  Remembering that when everything else passes away, those three will remain...the greatest being love
(I Corinthians 13:13).

Finally!  I am reminding myself that as quickly as I want to be forgiven for ALL I have done to others is how quick I must forgive others who have done wrong to me.  This is truly embracing the heart and mercy of God in such a right, merciful and humble way revealing the victory we have because of our God revealed by Jesus Christ so powerfully by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Breath of God!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Treasures of a Child's Perspective...

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

"One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so He could touch them and bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother Him.  But when Jesus saw what was happening, He was very displeased with His disciples.  He said to them, "Let the children come to Me.  Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I assure you, anyone who doesn't have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God. Then He took the children into His arms and placed His hands on their heads and blessed them."
~ Mark 10:13-16

Laughter and squeals of children filled the atmosphere.  The merry commotion caused curiosity to lead me into the living room when to my surprise I saw the adorable, adventurous children attempting to 'ride' on my wooden decor elephant.  The little boy in his gentleman-like ways did his best to help his lady friend climb aboard this exotic find.

Suddenly you could hear the snapping fingers of the little boys mom as she kindly yet firmly said, "You need to get down from there, that is not something we climb on."  The puzzled look on their faces were so cute...it was as though you could see their thoughts, "It's not? Well, what's it doing there?"

As I pondered this scenario I was captured by the innocent beauty of a child.  These hilariously cute, carefree children who were having fun and at play saw the purpose of this elephant and it was useful to them in their playground of life.  I was reminded that because of their bold innocence they can see past and through what many of us as adults choose not to see...potential to a child is as though it is already in existence whereas potential to most people, such as adults are something quite contrary.  The only time it seems an adult may see potential is usually through the squinting of jaded eyes looking through the old spectacles of haphazard 'hope' which maybe just maybe they may see a speck of hidden purpose.

So those times when we hear ourselves say, 
"Don't touch!"
"Don't write on the walls!"
"Why are you wearing that?"
"Don't run in the house!"
"Would you stop making a mess!"

May we with laughter as we teach them to respect other people's things let us also take the opportunity to remember our kids in their wide-eyed curiosity are mesmerized to the point of wanting to touch that shiny, colorful figurine because of their sense of wonder and awe.
How about when you catch them writing on the walls?  As we guide them to what they can write on may we remember how they see outside the 'lines', and outside 'the box' as they desire to express the world they live in with those vibrant colors within the world of Crayola.

Perhaps when they wear those clothes that aren't even close to 'complimenting' one another, may we be able to see that our child just might want to give opportunity to all the items in his wardrobe to say, "You're important enough for me to wear."

What about those times when our children run in the house?  As we show them a better way so they don't get hurt, may we remember everywhere they go they most likely see life as a playground.

And when we see the volcanic like mess in our children's room, as we teach them to pick up after themselves, may we remember their ability to see past the mess and recognize the masterpiece of living in the 'now'.

Today I am reminded of God's abundant life that is ours to walk in.  May we see the treasures within ourselves and others as we cherish the present moment just as many children long to.  As we cherish the present moment it will allow us to live with grateful hearts remembering that everything we possess is temporal but the gifts of God are eternal...being joyful through and in all things.