Sunday, April 28, 2013

God's Royalty Revealed In the Midst of A Verbal Slap

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

"Love your enemies.  Do good to those who hate you.  Bless those who persecute you and pray for those who spitefully use you..."
~ Luke 6:27-38 ~

True story...

So how's this one for revealing God's royalty in the midst of a verbal slap?

The setting of this story is on a college campus involving one of the girls I get to encourage whose name is Rebecca and another young lady whom she did not know, who had some mean, choice words.

"I need to talk to you! Take your sunglasses off because when I talk to you I want to see your eyes."
Rebecca shocked, took her sunglasses off, thinking to herself, "I think she has the wrong person."
"You're a fake 'B with an ITCH' and I see you walking on campus all the time so happy and I see you're full of sh*%. There's no way someone could be THAT happy all the time".
Rebecca's confused response, "I think you have the wrong person."
She quickly replied, "O no! I've noticed you for a long time; I'm a good judge of character, there's just no way you could be that happy; you're so fake."

Rebecca a little set back from the 'verbal punch in the face', then the next moment, God's grace and compassion arose within and out of her as she responded with God's love. With kindness she responded, "I'm sorry you feel that way. My name is Rebecca, we haven't formerly met." The girl confused and shocked, extends her hand as Rebecca gently shook hers while noticing her fingernails, complimenting her.

Now if this isn't a test...The very next morning, as Rebecca was driving home from her early class she noticed this same girl from the day before walking in the somewhat cold temperatures with shorts on. As Rebecca pulled over, concerned for this girl being cold, pulled her car over, rolled down the window and asked if she could give her a ride home. Her response, "You're offering me a ride?" She got into Rebecca's car and they had a casual conversation, when the girl asked, "Why are you being so nice to me?" When Rebecca responded, " I'm CHOOSING to be nice to you because that's my character." They arrived to her apartments and Rebecca dropped her off and said it was great visiting with you.

Later that day Rebecca received a phone call from one of her friends who said, "That girl who was spreading around to other people that you were fake, just told me what happened and said as much as she wants to hate you, she can't because of the kindness you showed her."

To hear this from my spiritual 'little sister', I was incredibly pleased with what I heard, she walked out Luke 6:27-38 and Proverbs 25:22. As I encouraged her and let her know how pleased God was, she looked at me with those beautiful brown eyes and in all seriousness said, "Well any Christian would do that."

Moral of this Triumphant Victorious Reminder: 

As followers of Christ, let us not disappoint this young believer who truly believes any of us would forsake offense and INSTEAD be a doer of God's Word and honor someone else, even in the midst of dishonor.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A $1 Necklace?

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

"Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful."
~ I Corinthians 1:27 ~

It was about a year and half ago.  Ann had a great, pressing thought, "Go into the store and you will find some great deals." She warred with her thoughts, thinking, "Yeah right", yet she walked in anyway; and as though she had a shopping epiphany - there her thoughts were confirmed - right before her were '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 raspberry 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 guessed it...a Starbucks!

Upon ordering her amazing drink, she walked over to the condiment station to grab a straw, when she 'heard', 'felt', 'knew' in her spirit, "See the blond girl in the corner? Give her one of those necklaces." Ann feeling a bit awkward, yet saying to herself, "Really? Well, okay." Still standing at the condiment station, she gently opened her shopping bag, carefully opened the tissue wrapped necklace, peeling off the price tag and folding the tissue paper gently back over the necklace.

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 extravagantly, 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, as she found out what the young lady's name was. Ann couldn't believe what was happening next. She was led to squat down to this young woman's level seeing her eye to eye and proceeded to say, "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 that what we may think is insignificant; God's ways will 'mess us up' and show us His powerful greatness even through the smallest things that we would deem insignificant and unusable; He not only uses but reveals His great love through what we call nothing in His everything!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I get to call him, "Dad"!

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

Do you know who I speak of?
This person I write about is quiet and bold;
A man of few words, yet his actions speak louder than any given shout.

Brave and courageous; gentle yet stearn.
He says what he means and he means what he says.
Integrity and noble character is in his DNA,
He is witty yet observant, clearly faithful without dismay.

Compassionate and merciful and has no qualms when telling the truth.
This person I speak of is a man you may or may not know, he is my dad a man of little reproof.
Today is his birthday and I get to be called 'daughter', yes this is so.
Daddy, as I write these words I cannot help but see,
the imagery of Jesus Christ unfolding upon your life as you live out that you have been set free.

Dad, I remember all those years ago the twirls, the laughter, the fair discipline and more!
I remember how you helped me write and do my homework patiently; your words of wisdom filled my ears as you would read that amazing Book called the Bible every night before we were all set to snore.
You even made learning fun and even helped me 'Ace' a few spelling tests; do you remember helping me become the fastest multiplication girl in my 5th grade math class?

The most influential part of me and my sister's lives was knowing you prayed every morning and night.
You may not have known for many years that went by, but we knew you would kneel at the chair in the early morning before the sun would rise.
Praising and praying to God to cover your family with His love and His care.

You are a man of great integrity, but most of all, you are my dad.
'Twiggy', 'Jojo', and 'Mikey' are your 'three stooges'; your daughters who know they are blessed.
We are blessed beyond measure to have such a patient dad and most of all a loving husband to our beautiful mom!
You were and remain a great example from when we were little until now how we learned to realize "we are worthy and valued" by God Almighty Himself. 
Thank you for validating the gifts within us, along with our mom, allowing us to see how easy it is talk to
Almighty God and to never in our hearts or mind  'put God on a shelf'.  But to praise Him and thank Him every chance we get so we will never forget who we are without Him!

You taught us to love Him and trust Him with this amazing, loving and no one is better than Him fear.
The Great I Am who wants us to trust Him so that He can direct us on His path with very little tears.
Thank you for causing us to know Jesus and forsake religion at all cost,
for you knew the Freedom Fighter as you met Him in 1976.

You are a living legend in terms of a man, but most of all you reveal the Eternal Legend our Jesus, The Rescuer who showed His love for us in unimaginable ways!
Again, happy birthday dad, you may never know the lasting impact you have made as you have allowed the Lord to rule and reign in your life.

Love you sooooooo much,