Friday, August 23, 2013

Who Will It Be?

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

Photograph found via Google Images


"Look," they told him (Samuel), "you are now old, and your sons are not like you.  Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have."
~ I Samuel 8:5 ~

The bantering mantra of 'We want a king' after reading I Samuel 8 has caused awareness to arise.  I have some amazing friends who are doing a study on I Samuel and to hear their insight from The Lord provoked me to want to study even more.

This morning as I read and studied, it was endearing to see the good man that Saul truly was. Saul's respect for authority was definitely to be marveled. Interestingly enough, what Saul was sent out to look for - looking for donkeys, also known as stubborn animals - would be what he would soon rule as king over - stubborn people who had been wanting a mortal man to be king versus The Immortal God.

With all of that, I had to know, what was the initial cause of the people of Israel wanting a mortal king?
Was it truly 'peer pressure', seeing other nations with a king, and they wanted one too?
What was it?
For years I truly thought that it was because they wanted to be like everyone else. Until I asked this morning, "God, Why would they NOT want You as their King anymore?"

So there it was - the cause of the cry was not what many of us had assumed.  In verse five of First Samuel chapter eight, the cause of their concern was not solely their dissatisfaction in God but more than anything it was the fact that Samuel's sons were nothing like their father Samuel.  His sons were greedy for money, accepting bribes and perverting justice. To think that the conception of Saul's kingship was based on 'rightful fear' is quite humbling. The people of Israel knew Samuel was getting older and his sons were nothing like him; actually his sons were somewhat of an echo of even Eli's sons to some degree. As I was reading, I thought, "Lord, can't you see their true concern?"  And then so lovingly I was reminded, "But their concern of the sin of Samuel's sons outweighed their concern to have faith in Me that I would deliver them."

Many times we see what others are doing, which are contrary to God - we allow their words or actions to have the final say - when we forget that God is The Final Word and He Has the final say - but will we allow Him to?

The triumphant victorious reminder today is as though I'm hearing in my spirit, "You either believe Me, Your God and Who I Am or you don't - and whichever one you believe is who will be king in your life.  Choose The King of all kings - choose LIFE (Deuteronomy 13:19)!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Flattery or Encouragement?

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

Mother Teresa who echoed the beauty of our God!

"If you set a trap for others, you will get caught in it yourself.  If you roll a boulder down on others, it will roll back and crush you.  A lying tongue hates its victims, and flattery causes ruin."
~ Proverbs 26:27-28 ~

"If you are a thief, stop stealing.  Begin using your hands for honest work, and then give generously to others in need.  Don't use foul or abusive language.  Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them."
~ Ephesians 4:28-29 (NLT) ~

Have you been given a word of encouragement and you tend to receive it like you're picking up a dirty rag from the floor?  Do you tend to say, "What do they want now?"
No matter who gives you the encouragement, do you tend to err on the side of disbelief?

Many years ago I was so entangled with manipulation and lies to get what I wanted. It was a way of life - lies, lies and more lies.  Most people who knew me most likely ran when they saw Teresa coming.  It wasn't just about telling lies but it was also giving those empty, what looked like 'encouraging' words to get what I needed or wanted.  A very sad way of 'living' or should I say 'existing'.

A few years after being rescued into Salvation by my Rescuing Savior Jesus Christ, I began to learn from Him by God's Holy Spirit and through the Word, to turn from flattery and run to The One Who is Encouragement.

I realized that my former life of flattery was a perverted twist on what I was called to and that was the gift to encourage others.  One particular yet significant day as I was studying a few 'sharp' scriptures in Proverbs on flattery, I began to 'fear' that I was walking in flattery and not true encouragement.  This 'fear' led me to immediately go to my knees and ask God a question that ultimately delivered me from my fears.  The question asked was, "God, what is the difference between flattery and encouragement?"  This is what I heard in my spirit which helped me rightly divide my soul from my spirit, "Flattery's only agenda is to get it's own way, it has no desire to want to help better someone else's life - however Encouragement's only agenda and desire is to help better the life of someone else with desiring nothing else in return." That answer is what has helped me discern when I'm about to walk in Encouragement or Flattery - it's a great diagnostic tool that check's the motives of my heart.

Today's Triumphant Victorious Reminder is to know that when we become aware of our heart's motives, we can then properly walk in the ways of the Lord with great purpose and intention.  Many times it won't be about not going to the person to encourage them, when we originally were about to flatter them, however now we go and intentionally encourage them with a true heart in the Lord, not wanting anything else in return! Remember awareness is the key - we get to celebrate the beauty of awareness - for it is a gift from the Lord by the power of God's Holy Spirit which helps us to discern our hearts!