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Are You Counting The Blessings Of Others?

                                        “A faithful man will abound with blessings,SELRES_01ff8e8e-c0ee-488d-af4f-1a94f1740e77SELRES_429ea1c6-7059-461e-a54a-e3133f156961SELRES_678ae898-f4e5-44aa-a445-9f2d21ae76a3,                               BSELRES_678ae898-f4e5-44aa-a445-9f2d21ae76a3SELRES_429ea1c6-7059-461e-a54a-e3133f156961SELRES_01ff8e8e-c0ee-488d-af4f-1a94f1740e77ut he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished.”

Proverbs 28:20

Lately, our finances have not met the usual expectations.  The tithing has been extremely low because the summer calls for people to use their money for their vacations.  Or they have family gatherings, that means they are not attending our weekly meetings.   Yet the demands of the ministry the last couple of years have been stronger than ever!  As a matter of fact, there has been such a drain on the finances that they are nearly depleted.  This is none of your affair or problem, and this is NOT a plea for anyone to send any funding to us.  I do not want anyone to get the wrong idea.  I just want to share the thought process of a pastor when things get so uncomfortably lean.

We are an extremely small ministry.  People call us all the time needing their groceries, diapers, gasoline for their vehicles, places to spend the night while in transition, or their utility bills paid.  When we saw our funds dwindling, we knew God was going to bring in the finances to replenish them, it was only going to be a matter of time.  From time to time we get a little bit of a boost, but it is not nearly what “we consider” is enough.  However, the Lord seems to meet our bills EVERY month, so He continues to prove He is faithful.  We just aren’t having the luxury of having any extra.  So our thoughts go from one extreme to the other.  It first starts out very optimistic.  Then, we start to think that maybe we are not doing God’s will and He is punishing us.  When we check our hearts and spirits and we get a smile from our Heavenly Father, we know we are doing EXACTLY what the Lord is calling us to do.  Then we get caught up in our flesh.  We begin to compare our financial situation to how the other ministries in the area APPEAR to be faring.

When we look at some of the other ministries in the area, they are building new additions on their churches; a couple of them are buying new jets; others have new vehicles and moving into new homes.  We are working just as hard if not harder and yet it just doesn’t seem fair!  Then it hits us that we have fallen into the trap of the devil.  We begin to covet things that our “neighbors” have attained.  It is at this time we begin to come to our senses.  We realize what we are doing is a sin (Deut. 5:21), and we repent.  We take the vain imaginations captive and we reel in our faith.  We remind ourselves the Lord has ALWAYS provided for us and we are lacking NOTHING!  Then, we start taking inventory of our blessings which FAR OUT WEIGH the things we consider to be our sorrows.  This, immediately, carries the fear and feeling of lack right out of our minds.  We start praising the Lord and fill our hearts with gratefulness.

It never benefits us to compare ourselves to others.  Being envious of people around us will trap us in the snare of the devil EVERY single time!  So please beware of the anguish this can cause.  The Lord brings and blesses us with joy, don’t let the enemy steal it with a covetous spirit.  Counting your own blessings and not those of others will keep us on the righteous path and in a state of contentment.  If we keep our focus on the Lord, He will keep us in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).  When we do this, we find that we have TREASURES untold, treasures that are PRICELESS!  Treasures the world will NEVER be able to attain.  Be content with what the Lord has given us and know that the Lord will NEVER leave you (Hebrews 13:5).

Be Blessed,

Cindy Simpson~Hembree

gold beaded necklaces on gold jewelry box
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Do You Resist Sharing God’s Love?

“Pay everything you owe. But you can never pay back all the love you owe one another. Whoever loves other people has done everything the law requires.”

Romans 13:8

Something doesn’t seem right about the recent events that have been going on in the media and our government leaders.  Personally, I feel like we all need to take a step back and look at what is really going on here.  I know that many of us call ourselves Christians.  I have Christian brothers and sisters of ALL ethnicities. Red, brown, yellow, black and white – we are ALL precious in God’s eyes.  Does it matter where we come from?  Mexico, Italy, Pakistan, Columbia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Canada, Ireland, France, Russia, Congo, South Africa, Australia, Bermuda, Jamaica, Scotland, or any place else on the globe that you would like to pin – does it matter where they are from before you show some compassion and love toward a person?  If a person is a liberal, a Democrat, a Republican, a socialist, or an independent, does it matter how you treat them?  If it does, it should not.  You see, because we are Christians, we should be happy and vibrant in our desire to want to SHOW and SHARE the love of Christ.

In 1 John 4:20 it says that if we SAY that we LOVE God but HATE our brothers, we are LIARS!  I have to take note to this and realize I have heard many people tell me how much they love the Lord, but then spew out HORRIBLE things toward one person who I know professes to be Christian, or a mass of people of one race or another, who also have history of being children of God.  You see, we have to be extremely careful, because 2 Peter 3:9 says that God has patience so that anyone can turn away from their wrong doing and follow Him.  God loves us all.  Look at Jonah, God sent him to Nineveh.  Those people were so awful, Jonah tried to get on a boat going the other direction.  Jonah was mad, he did not like those people and definitely did not want them to become one of his “brothers and sisters”, but God has His way. It’s the same way things are now.  We never know who God is going to have us encounter and lead them to the Lord.  Or maybe even bring us up short when we find out the person we are dead set against is really a devoted God-fearing person.  That happened to me several years ago.

There is another aspect we have to look at in our lives.  Many times we are looking at someone in a higher position at work or in the government.  We have the habit of sitting in our easy chairs at home in our living rooms and criticizing all the decisions that are made.  We pick these people apart if they are from a different political party or organization that we are in disagreement with the policies.  I have been just as guilty as anyone in the past when it comes to trash talking our political leaders.  Then one day, one political leader was killed in a plane wreck.  My heart went out to the family and then I realized he had a family just like I did.  I was no better than he was.  The man just had different ideas than I did.  He deserved no disrespect.  Romans 13:2 says that those who oppose their government, opposes what God has established.  We need to pray for our government officials.  I know that it is hard to do when you don’t agree with or share the same ideals as they do, but this is something that should be REQUIRED from us, AS CHRISTIANS!!  Because we are to LOVE our enemies and PRAY for our enemies, thus saith the LORD!  (Matthew 5:43-48)  These leaders should not be exempt from us showing and sharing God’s love toward them.

I am hoping and praying this little blog will have a BIG impact on all who read it.  I do love you all, but more than anything – God loves us ALL so much more – no matter who we are or what we do.

Be Blessed,

Cindy Simpson~Hembree

Whoever lives in God Continue reading “Do You Resist Sharing God’s Love?”

Stand Tall and Firm In The Shadow of Your Past

Who is he that condemns you? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Romans 8:34

Do you stand accused of something you did before you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?  I someone constantly bringing your past up to you, even though you had asked them to forgive you?  Do they continually holding the offense that you did over your head with venom in their accusations?  Or maybe we should look at the other side of the coin.  There are many of us, than even though we are forgiven from the Lord and/or others, we cannot forgive ourselves.  Therefore, we are forever holding ourselves over a barrel and suspended in a cloud of guilt.  We can’t ever seem to stop thinking about the horrible things that we have done in the past.  It could be as simple as taking part of a high school prank that hurt someone’s feelings; or harsher offenses such as a lie that cost someone their job; or maybe some kind of accident that maimed someone severely.  Whatever or whoever that may be that persistently holds those transgressions is not working in the light of the Lord.

When you accepted Jesus and began your life in Christ, the scriptures are clear that you are a NEW creation.  (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)  And Romans 8:1-2 says that we who are in Christ are no longer subjected to condemnation.  We are made FREE from sin and eternal death.  Sin has dominion over us no more. (Romans 6:14)  So it is time that when we are faced with someone who is constantly reminding us of the terrible things that we did from our life before Christ; or even if you did something AFTER you found Christ and REPENTED for it, then we need to tell them we are forgiven and they have to let go of their anger and spite.  However, if it is the memories of our own that keep plaguing and tormenting us, we must learn to forgive ourselves.  It says in Ephesians 4:30 that we are not to grieve the Holy Spirit because we are SEALED into God’s grace until we are taken into God’s kingdom.  Hallelujah!  Don’t allow your flesh or the devil to keep lying to you by telling you that you are GUILTY of acts you have done in the past.  Once you repent for something, you are forgiven by God.  Whom the Son sets free is free, indeed.  (John 8:36)  The Lord is THE FINAL authority.  Period.

Be Blessed,

Cindy Simpson~Hembree

Power In the Name Of Jesus

Are You Wearing The Appropriate Attire – Part 5

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.

1 Corinthians 14:33

So we are at the final entry of the “Armor Of God” which is the Sword of the Spirit.  This is the one item that is probably the most difficult to figure out.  In order to use this part of the armor, one must be educated on how to utilize it.  You see, how can a person learn how to wield it if they have never been taught how to fence?  We may have to spend a little more time to study and learn how to use it, but after we grasp its ability, it becomes more intriguing.  Remember, the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.  Within in its pages lies a treasure trove of information, wisdom and knowledge.  When we open the treasure chest, we recall that knowledge is POWER!  John Paul Getty once told his son, “Power is a strange thing.  When you get a little of it, you want A LOT of it.  When you get a lot of it, you want ALL of it.”  When we read God’s Word and find out that all of life’s answers are held in your hand, and the authority we are given, as Christians, your empowerment is  overwhelming!

Let me just give you some examples of what I am talking about:  If we have questions about things that happen in our life, all we have to do is ask the Lord about it, He will direct us to the right scriptures.  Case in point – I could not figure out why so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ had been overcome with sickness and diseases and were passing away.  I soon found the answer was written in 1 Corinthians 11:27-32, this surprised me.  Another time I was really concerned about the growing reports of mosquitoes coming into the area carrying the West Nile Virus.  I told the Lord I knew how to fight demons and people, but how do I fight off insects.  In Psalm 91:4-7, the Lord showed me that I didn’t have to, He will take care of that problem.  When my husband and I first began in the ministry there was an individual who tried to destroy our good name.  When I prayed about it, I was quickly directed to the scripture of Isaiah 54:17, and was comforted by the Holy Spirit.  Finally, I was not raised in a loving home, so when I needed a blessing from my father, my heavenly FATHER stepped in through Deuteronomy 28 and gave me a blessing.   I could go on and on, but I think you are getting the picture.  The Sword of the Spirit is a special piece of the armor, indeed.  It pays off to learn how to use it.

Be Blessed,

Cindy Simpson~Hembree

ancient antique armor armour
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Are You Wearing The Appropriate Attire – Part 4

           “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?                  but we have the mind of Christ.”

1 Corinthians 2:16

Have you ever come upon an unexpected and frantic situation and it demanded that you make a snap decision, but you were in total confusion and had no idea what to do?  Of course you have.  How did you feel when it happened?  Were you frazzled?  Did you make a wrong judgement call?  Just by happenstance did you do the right thing?  Like most of us, the first thought is to go seek or call for help.  However, there have been times, for some of us who have been in circumstances, when there was no way or no one to call or seek. Here’s a great example of this type of dilemma – In 2009, I worked for a newspaper.  My title was staff writer and editor assistant.  My secretary was acting kind of funny on Friday before she left work.  The following Monday when I arrived at work early as I usually did.  No one was at work yet, the telephone was ringing. Upon answering, my editor was telling me no one was coming into work.  They were tired of the owners, and they were starting their own newspaper.  He told me to leave the keys on the desk and come and join them.  My husband was set to have surgery in two days.  I did not have a peace about what they were doing.  I tried to call the main office, but no one was there to answer the phone.  What was I to do?  It took me a few minutes to collect my thoughts.  Then the answer came to me.  DO YOUR JOB!  

I went out to find the stories; I answered the telephone; I type set the articles.  I held the office together; and when I was done, I went to the main office and took care of the business there, too.  The days were long and the pay was not that great but I did my best.  I was able to keep it together, plus take care of my husband’s needs in between my trips in and out, back and forth, around and bout.  Many people wondered how I was able to hold my pace and still keep my sanity.  It was nothing but God and I had on my Helmet of Salvation.  It helped me to think clearly; organize my schedule; rationalize the truth from the lies; not slip into a total mental breakdown.  Remember, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 tells us that the WEAPONS of our Warfare are not carnal but mighty through God. They cast down VAIN imaginations.  Because I was able to hold on to that, I was able to keep my mind focused on the Lord and know that He was going me to pull through the turbulent time.  I kept seeking the Lord when there were conflicts of time slots or the owners were not available for consultation.  There were some nights I would not get to come home until midnight and have to get up at 5:00 the next morning and go again.  I knew in my heart, mind and spirit this trial would pass. Three months later, we had a new editor, and I was set free from the chaos.

So, if you are going through a big trial and your head is spinning, make sure you wear the Helmet of Salvation.  It will totally help you keep your sanity.  As you just read, I know this from a first hand basis.

Be blessed,

Cindy Simpson~Hembree

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Are You Wearing The Appropriate Attire – Part 3

“How can people tell the Good News if no one sends them? As Scripture says, “How beautiful are the feet of the messengers who announce the Good News.”

Romans 10:15

As you know, we are exploring the importance and the purpose of each item of the Armor of God.  It was mentioned in earlier blogs that the reason many Christians do not don the valuable armor is due to the fact they do not have understanding of the “why” the scriptures encourage us to wear the armor.  We have previously covered the Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness.   Now we are “stepping” into being shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace.

These spiritual shoes are important for two reasons.  We have to think what happens when we put on our shoes.  What do shoes do?  1) As everyone knows, shoes PROTECT our feet.  2) Shoes give us TRACTION.  3) One thing that most people DO NOT realize that shoes do is give us a FIRM FOUNDATION.  They give us a wider and more SOLID stand.  The reason we would need to have our feet protected in the spiritual sense is many times we never know what circumstances we are going to be stepping into. Being shod with the peace of the gospel of Christ will – keep us from stepping into unsavory places; provide traction when we get caught in a slippery situation; present assurance to get out of sticky circumstances; offer comfort when we are under the gun; contribute necessary boldness, courage and authority when confronted with contention These are the places and times we need to be standing in a solid place and be firm in our confidence.

Now we come to the reason that PEACE was the choice for our spiritual feet.  Jesus says in John 14:27 that before He leaves He was imparting to us HIS peace, which is much different from the peace the world offers us.  When a soldier is walking through the enemy’s territory, he has to be calm and collected.  If he were to be in total fear, it could cause him to act irrationally at the slightest disturbance (i.e. a snapping twig; a bird flying to a new location; a scampering squirrel), and alert the enemy of his location.  Not his could also endanger all the other members of his platoon.  Plus, many times we get caught up in longer battles than we sometimes anticipate.   When we have our feet planted in peace, it grants us the determination and stamina so we can withstand the  long haul.

Be Blessed,

Cindy Simpson~Hembree

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Are You Wearing The Appropriate Attire – Part 2

“Above everything else, guard your heart. Everything you do comes from it.

Proverbs 4:23

 It is important to stress how badly we need to wear the “armor of God” wherever we are..  However, one of the reasons that Christians do not don the attire is because they don do not understand the purpose of it.  So, this post is all about the “Breastplate of Righteousness” which protects our core.  What is so important about our core that we have to have it protected with the righteousness of Christ?

We go to battle nearly every day.  Back in the mid-evil days the warriors would wear a breastplate so they could protect their vital organs.  This is the same thing that the “breastplate of righteousness” does.  But instead of the vital organs of the body, it protects the vital in a spiritual sense.  It protects your heart, spirit and soul.  It helps to guard your heart (or feelings) from getting hurt; it helps your soul rationalize so not to return evil for evil; and finally it keeps your spirit from getting wounded and keep your focus on the Lord.

Spiritual wounds are really ugly and go much deeper than mortal injuries.  Not to mention the spiritual offenses can take much longer to heal.  Each person is different.  I have seen some wounds of the heart and spirit take as little as a few months; some can take a lifetime.  I have seen some painful wounds on some people have NEVER overcome.  Proverbs 11:4 says that “righteousness delivers us from death”, therefore it is imperative to wear the breastplate God has given us for spiritual warfare.

 

Be Blessed,

Cindy Simpson~Hembree

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