Friday, November 18, 2016

How do I know?

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



How do I know if I'm walking in my ways or GOD's?

Here's how I know when I'm walking in self, humanistic, prideful, egotistical, fleshly ways...are you ready?  It's pretty ugly...here we go:

- I get hurt easily by people;
- constantly wanting to control others so I'm not hurt;
- it's about me, myself and I (The trinity of humanism);
- trying to get others to side with me;
- being disappointed by others;
- when I allow others to hurt me, I see all THEIR faults and how THEY need to improve; it makes me feel better when I can say I made the wrong decision because I was protecting so and so;
- I allow disloyalty from someone else to cause me to be disloyal to GOD;
- planting seeds of discord into others by saying, "Did you notice what they did, or was it just me?";
- I forget about how much He has forgiven me and in that I end up not extending HIS forgiveness over someone else.
- I'd rather be right and justify by proving my point than to allow GOD's RIGHTeousness and JUSTICE to win out.
- I lead others out to do things with a peasantry mindset versus a flourishing royalty mindset.
- I have to constantly confront others in how they've hurt me and then because it's not made right it involves others and then it gets really messy filled with division when all along I was to make sure I was unified - not with them or with their or my agenda - but with Holy Spirit, which reveals a gentle and quiet spirit.

Of course I could keep going and going - but watch what happens when I wake up out of myself and into His presence - worshipping HIM and praising HIM - all of a sudden it's not about my ability to pray, praise and worship - but it's ABOUT THE ONE I pray to, praise and worship...watch what happens when I walk in HIM, in THE SPIRIT...it's beautiful and it reveals HIS glory once again which points others to THE FATHER so others can also be reconciled as our purpose is to be ministers of GOD's reconciliation!

- I no longer am hurt by people, I now hurt FOR them.
- I want Holy Spirit to control me with GOD's endless, captivating, violent love that was proven at the Cross of Calvary.
- I don't want to side with others, I only want to side with HIM.
- I don't see the faults in others, instead I see what they were meant to be and how I can go deeper in GOD so that by default I improve in HIM.
- It makes me rejoice when I allow HIS decisions to rule me as HIS mercy is executed.
- In HIS presence, even throughout the day, my mind is so fixed on HIM because my spirit by HOLY SPIRIT's power is leading me.
- My memory, remembrance is set on HIM as I'm in continual awe.
- Those "checks" in my spirit about another person leads me to lift them up to GOD...and when it's difficult to do so, that is my check to go deeper into GOD yet again as the deep calls to deep.
- I rejoice when the truth wins out but I don't rejoice when others are exposed
- HIS love causes me to desire to cover them in prayer and if I still have a tinge of rejoicing because they were exposed, then I know to go deeper into THE FATHER.
- My life in Christ is about constantly blessing and praying for those who the enemy attempted to use to hurt me, spitefully use me or persecute me.
- I don't even want anyone to know what's going on - because I know GOD knows and HE has already worked it out and I have no idea what HE's prepared.
- In what seemed like "set backs" I can now see were really "set ups" to allow GOD's glory to be seen yet again in and through my life.

All in all, as I was reminded today - Holy Spirit has been teaching and showing me how HIS way will always lift others up with the tools HE has equipped us with in praying and blessing as we come to the realization that we believe GOD was not surprised and HE can do things we could never imagine THROUGH US. No longer does offense have power, instead of being hurt by others we hurt FOR them and in that no one can ever be disappointed by someone else. We immediately correct if we see wrong being done - but no amount of behavioral change can ever come close to the change that takes place when in the awareness of GOD's presence that is constant. The greatest reminder in all of this is we can do the right things with wrong hearts - but again, when we are aware of HIS presence, our hearts reveal HIM with effortless grace - it's no longer about having to, now it's about I want to because it just flows out of me!

This requires us to get out of the way and this is HOW...by going deep into The Father as HIS heart and HOW do we do this? By being enamored how HE loves us -

Scripture references:
Luke 6:27-38
II Timothy 2
Philippians 2
I Corinthians 13
Galatians 5
James 1:2-4
II Corinthians 5:11-21
Ephesians 4:1-6
Revelation 2:4


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Oblivious...just when you thought no one was listening

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



Two women having breakfast together at a local restaurant when someone very close to me, sitting alone overheard their conversation. Their conversation consisted of gossip and talking badly about their "friends" and leaders in their church. 

Let's just say that my friend does not go to church but has been growing in the Lord. Although they don't know the beauty of community within the church YET especially as they have so much to give within the local body - but not only that, here's the deal, they were so close to visiting. 

As this person shared what had happened earlier that day they said, "Teresa, you know how you quite often say to always be intentional of how you speak, especially while in public? Well, I realized what you meant because that was the moment I realized - people like that are the reason so many don't go to church, me included. My friend continued, "I wanted to go over to their table and let them know how they just confirmed why I don't go to church but then the Holy Spirit convicted me as I would be pointing out a splinter in their eye when I have a plank in my own because I've done the same thing..." 

First I was in awe of their maturity and yet in the same moment my heart dropped as I thought, "God bless those ladies as they have no idea what they had just done" oblivious to who was around...and yet this was just another confirmation to what my daddy always taught us from Ephesians 4:29 as we were growing up, "Do not let foul or corrupt communication come out of your mouths, but only that which is good to the use of edifying so that it may bring grace to those who hear it." 


Lord, point taken...

Praise You? Right now?

Triumphant Victorious Reminder
Inspired by Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell




It was that moment where panic tried to stir when SUDDENLY I heard in my spirit, "Praise Me now..." - and so I began praising God right there (Here I was at a stoplight on my way home in my vehicle that I call my JESUS car as it was a gift from HIM through some very special people in my life)! Let me not forget to point out that the whole week the engine light had come on and I ignored it and not only did I ignore it but I also didn't tell my husband on purpose (We'll go there later).

So fast forward to the moment as the light turned green, I stepped on the gas pedal and my car would not go more than about 10 miles an hour when I noticed my car was revving. As I looked down at the dashboard I noticed my RPM's were going over 7,000 while simultaneously I noticed cars were fast approaching behind me as they didn't realize I was almost at a stop. At first my "knee jerk" reaction was to "fight" the enemy by telling him where to go as so many thoughts were whirling as that still small voice instructed me to turn my hazards on, tap on the break to communicate to the other drivers approaching to slow down all the while He was showing me not to fight the enemy but instead to praise HIM.  I laugh looking back at that moment as wait until you see what happens next...

I know it was a GOD moment when this Cadillac Escalade came up closely behind me and patiently followed me as the driver must have known something was wrong.  With that Escalade behind me, they unknowingly escorted me from the middle lane to the right lane so I could turn right on the closest street which just so happened to be Angus Street. As I pulled over on the shoulder I turned my car off for a few minutes and then turned it back on as I noticed I was in between an apartment complex and a Prosperity Bank...don't you love that name...Prosperity?

So here I am praising GOD, while now asking Holy Spirit, "What do I do next?" First I called my local Firestone and let them know to be expecting me in a couple hours and then I called road side assistance in which I was told it would be the typical 50-70 minute wait.  A seemingly inconvenient moment turned into a Philippians 4:6 moment, "Do not worry about anything, pray about everything..." for this is the reason...."it will guard your heart and mind with the peace of GOD..." And here are some of the things I prayed:
- Favor and I'll have so much joy stirring when the tow truck driver comes
- Driver will come fast and not have to wait too long
- if this is for the driver to see GOD's hope, then I'm all for this
- What was meant for distractions and inconvenience is an opportunity for GOD TO BE SEEN IN JESUS NAME
- Diagnosis and car cost will be paid for and covered with GOD's provision
- Let me remind myself and anyone else who reads this, the enemy gets no glory for this - ONLY GOD's provision of what HE's about to do next!!! I can't wait to see!!!!!!! 


Without fail, the results of GOD's WORD  from Philippians 4:6 is exactly what happened - peace seemed to rest on and in the car, all the while seeming to surround me and although at first it was an intentional moment to praise as I didn't "feel" like it - in that moment as I felt the goodness of GOD I told HIM I was sorry for not telling my husband about the engine indicator light - after that I began to praise GOD again, not singing (O Lord, you wouldn't want to hear that, HA!), but just simply declaring WHO HE IS!

In moments my ability to understand seemed to explode and it became like first nature as I prayed in the Spirit and in that time I said, "Lord, I know I'm here for a reason, what is it?" And that is when I felt that impression/unction to pray for the area I was in.  I remember saying, "I don't have authority in this area", and that is when I knew, HE was giving me the right to pray in HIS authority. In that moment as I prayed in the Spirit, I don't remember if I said it out loud or if I just saw or heard in my spirit, but in that moment the words, "Set the captives free" came to me.  That's when I felt that unction to look down at my dashboard and I noticed the engine indicator light was off.  I was puzzled and then said, "Lord! Is this You okaying me to drive to the Firestone?" "Or do you want me to wait for the tow truck driver?" "Lord, I don't want to do the "Gideon" on you, but if you want me to stay here, then the indicator light will come back on - but if You are okay with me leaving then I will praise and pray all the way there. Now mind you my car is where I love to pray and many times get unction to do so on a regular basis, but this time had ever greater intention of focusing on THE FATHER more than anything else, even more than "hoping" for a good result with my car.

As I arrived at the Firestone, of course they were amazing and after diagnosing the issue they found no codes appearing except an old history code and something else that would be best for the dealer to look at...but other than that the car was just fine and guess what?  Do you remember my number 5 declaration? It was that the diagnosis and car cost will be paid for and covered with GOD's provision, well it was covered as they said I owed nothing. No matter what the issue or circumstances are - GOD is worthy to be praised.

Yet there's one more important thing to know...as I shared this testimony with a few ladies at a meeting I had in my home - one of the ladies looked up the name "Angus" - remember that's the name of the road I turned right on to pull over...well guess what it means? It comes from the Celtic meaning of "God of Love" and also means unnaturally strong and ONLY choice! In that moment on November 1st, I ran right smack into the deeper parts of the GOD of LOVE as HE was my only choice; one WHO IS supernaturally strong but who is also STRENGTH HIMSELF WHO I got to see in a new way - yet again! A seemingly inconvenience turned into a divine appointment of HIM showing me how HE inhabits the praises of HIS people.

(Oh and yes, as my husband picked me up at the Firestone, I did let him know that I knew about the indicator light and told him I didn't want him to know so he wouldn't stop me from going and doing the things I needed to get done throughout the week.  He looked at me and such patience plainly said, "Teresa, please don't do that again...this is about your safety and the longevity of the car and we would have figured out a way for you to get what you needed to get done throughout the week.")