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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Are You Wearing The Appropriate Attire? Part 1

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.”

1 Corinthians 12

Have you ever looked at Ephesians 6:11-17 and thought why we would have to go through all that before we step outside our homes and into the world outside?  I mean, that is a lot to have to go through just to go to the office.  Or get on the subway; or even go out to dinner!  Why would we need to put on a WHOLE SUIT of armor.  Why couldn’t we just take our sword and cut down everyone who got in our way?  Actually, that is what most people do.  Christians and the secular society alike.  I find it interesting that one of the reasons we are so thin-skinned in today’s society is because we DON”T wear our armor.  And the REASON we don’t wear our armor is because many of us don’t understand the purpose of the armor.  I was one of those people, then one day, it was picture perfect.  

Whether we know it or not, we are always in battle against our enemy, the devil.  It is important that we are always prepared so that he cannot catch us with a TKO (Technical Knock Out), or knock us out of the game all together.   None of us would go out into a battlefield without the proper gear, otherwise, with the utmost certainty, we would be killed, immediately, once we caught the attention of enemy.  If that were the case, I would not want any troops in my company that did not have the appropriate attire.   Yet, this is what happens EVERY SINGLE DAY in the spiritual realm.  So, what does the “Armor of God” do for us?  In this and the next four blogs, we are going to find out the purpose of each member of the Amor of God” and how it works.  

The BELT OF TRUTH is something that we carry what God’s Word says.  When I looked up the word “gird” I found it meant ‘secure” as with a garment or a sword; and encircle as with a person or body part.  We know in our gut what is true.  But sometimes the devil tries to throw us some curve balls.  They are lies, but they are believable.  However, having on the BELT OF TRUTH, we can draw quickly from what we know to be factual and deem the devil a liar.  Several years ago, the devil tried to snuff out my light by telling me a lie.  Unfortunately, I believed it, and thought I had gotten way too bad for the Lord to ever forgive me for what I had done.  I was about to commit suicide, but before I was able to actually do the deed, I was led to go and read in God’s Word what it actually says.  I found out I had not gone too far off God’s path after all!!  If I had known the truth (which is God’s Word), I could have drawn from the BELT OF TRUTH, quickly.  Thank the Lord, I was literally guided in the right direction before I had gone too far.  

What does God’s Word say about truth?  In John 8:31-32, it sets you free; Psalm 61:7, it preserves us; Psalm 86:11 it springs from the earth; Proverbs 12:19 & 29:14, it establishes forever; Ephesians 5:9, the fruit of light comes from it; and in 1 Timothy 2:4, God desires all men to come into the knowledge of it.  So, now we know why we need to ‘gird ourselves with the BELT OF TRUTH.  Or better yet, encircle ourselves with the God’s Word, so that it is AT OUR CENTER!  Then you can call the devil out, and be like Inigo Montoya, in the Princess Bride, and tell him, “Hello, my name is John/Jane Doe, you have lied to me, prepare to die! Or at the very least, “Go back to the pits of hell where you belong!”

Be Blessed,

Cindy Simpson~Hembree

P.S. Next time we will cover the BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

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Suddenly One Night He Was There!

We love Him, because He first loved us.

1 John 4:19

From the time I was nine years old until I left home, I was abused physically, mentally and emotionally.  A year after I moved out, I was in a relationship with a newly discharged U. S. Army soldier, which also turned abusive.  We were living together in the north central part of the United States, near some of my family members.  He was attending the local college.  He would go to school, then come home and want his dinner.  He was not happy in the relationship, because he did not feel I was good enough for him.  So if I did not have dinner ready or I wasn’t doing what he thought I should be doing we would wind up in a fight with fists flying.  Since we had been together, I had suffered several busted lips and black eyes, a broken nose, a sprained back and a dislocated jaw.  One evening, he did not come home.  This was very unusual.  I knew what was going on but I didn’t mind.  I really didn’t want him to come home.  This gave me a chance to have a nice long chat with God.

The clock was ticking away.  My boyfriend normally came home around 5:00 p.m., but it was already 7:30 p.m., then it was 10:00 and so on.  The television was turned off, and I reached for my Bible, if memory served me right, but I could not find anything in the scriptures that made sense or even soothed me.  Finally, at approximately 2:00 a.m., I began just speaking out to God and asking him questions.  “Why have I always been beaten up and beaten down, God?  “I was only nine years old when things started going bad for me, Lord, what did I do that was so bad?”  “Why was life so hard for me?”  “Why didn’t anybody love me, God?”  “Why wasn’t I worth anything to anybody, Lord?”

I wasn’t getting anything, I was just speaking and talking to an empty room.  Being raised, I had been taught about the Lord all my life. The household was run teaching the “laws of the Lord”, but the “love of the Lord” was omitted.  My parents may have beaten two or three times through the week, yet every Sunday they were in church crying and going forward at the altar call to re-dedicate themselves to the Lord.  An iron fist was constantly over my head at home.  I loved going to church, it was a nice respite for me.  I had a great regard for the God, but I didn’t know why.  I had never experienced any “manifestation” of God in our home, I just blindly loved God.

Finally, as I lay in the dark on the bed around 3:00 a.m., I got mad!  I, sarcastically, called out, “Alright GOD, IF you are there and IF you’re real, then you take me, and make me,  mold me and fold me into what You want me to be.”  No sooner had I gotten the words out of my mouth, I  SUDDENLY and literally felt Jesus enter into my body!!  It took my breath away!  If I had not already been laying down, I would have been knocked off my feet!  The weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders and I was so overtaken with joy I could not contain myself!!  I kept praising and thanking the Lord!!  Then, once I calmed down, something TRULY AMAZING happened!!

Everything went quiet, a tremendous peace came over me and a WONDERFUL presence entered the room.  Then, in a deep, sweet, calm, LOVING and audible voice I heard Him speak to me.  I will NEVER forget it!  He told me that He loved me.  He told me that sometimes He has to allow us to hit our lowest point so that we will reach out to Him.  He also told me His grace was sufficient for me.  And He was right.  He let me know He would always be with me no matter how many others would come and go in my life,  He would ALWAYS be there with me, no matter what the circumstance (Deut. 31:6).  Then, after all my questions were addressed, I was comforted.  With much peace in my heart and joy in my spirit, it was 4:00 a.m. and I finally was able to fall asleep.   When my boyfriend arrived home an hour later, he woke me and we had come to grips with our relationship being over.  I couldn’t allow this man to ruin the joy I had experienced that night.  The decision was made that we needed to go our separate ways.  A few days later, I left and made a new life for myself.

You see, it was the Lord’s LOVE that pulled me into believing in Him.  It’s HIS LOVE that makes me want to know HIM more and grow in that relationship.   He HAS always been there with me, in good or bad times.  He has been my friend, even when no other could be found.   Do you know the Jesus or the LOVE only He can offer?  Have you asked Him to forgive your sins and come into your heart?  If not, I know He is waiting for you to do so(2 Peter 3:9).  If you don’t know how, you can go to your local ministry or church;  if that is not an option, you can always call us and we will be happy to take you through the steps.  Don’t be shy.  I wasn’t, I was very agitated.  He will meet you where you are..  But one thing I can assure you, He will meet you with His LOVE.

Be Blessed,

Cindy Simpson~Hembree

 

 

 

 

 

Above All Easter!

You, Lord, art high above all the earth: You art exalted far above all gods.

Psalm 97:9

What do you celebrate on Easter Sunday?  Looking at the secular side, for many families, it is all about the fun of having the children hunt for colored eggs, chocolate candies, stuffed bunnies and other small gifts hidden around the yard or house.  It’s not the dead of winter, so Santa Claus is nowhere in the minds of toddlers and tykes.  But since it is Spring, it’s the Easter Bunny they like.  At first morning light, they start scurrying about, while the parents sit watching though they’re totally wiped out.  And, like Christmas or Thanksgiving, the family gathers around the table for a nice big breakfast or afternoon feast.  The youngsters show off their magnificent finds and treasures in their new baskets.  Then they scamper away to fill up on their sugary snacks.

For Christian families, we look at the core of Easter.  This is a three-day event.  Friday is the celebration of Christ’s crucifixion.  I know some may cringe at the thought of celebrating someone being crucified, but when you think about it, this was the reason, Christ was sent to the earth.  If it were not for Christ dying on the cross, we would still have to lay up blood sacrifices on the altar (Hebrews 7:26-28); Nor would we be set free from all of our earthly bondages (John 8:36); Or be able to stand spotless before the Lord (1 Peter 1:18-20).  You know, Jesus did not want to die.  Remember, Jesus cried out to His dad, saying, “You can do anything, PLEASE take this assignment from Me, but if it is Your will, then so be it.”  Obviously this was a paraphrase, but the heart-wrenching plea was made by our beautiful and wonderful Savior (Mark 14:36).  Of course our hearts ache for how Jesus felt at that moment, but I know, we are all very grateful for HIs sacrifice.  Although, we have to remember He was human.  Maybe, He had plans.  After all, He could see that there was plenty of work to be done, and lots of people to “get on the right track,” so to speak.  He was, possibly, in love.  He could have been scared, because He knew what He was facing.

Looking at all these possibilities why Jesus DID NOT want to be crucified gets pushed aside by why He submitted to God’s Will and carried out His assignment.  He willfully and obediently subjected Himself to BE crucified.  Why did He do that?   He did it because ABOVE ALL other matters, He loved His Father, so He obeyed His Father’s will.  Oh, and let’s not overlook His Father. His Father LOVED His Son.  I know it was HORRIFYING to see His son up on the cross, taking on ALL of the illnesses and diseases; ALL of the sufferings and sorrows; ALL of the curses and infirmities; and ALL of the sins and transgressions of the ENTIRE WORLD, laid upon His Son before He died.  But, ABOVE ALL of these issues and the trials and torment each of them suffered through, they went on and carried out the task.  Why did they do that?  Because Their love abounded.  They pushed EVERYTHING aside that could have hindered the process, and ABOVE ALL things placed their love for you and me first (John 3:16).  We were more important to them ABOVE ALL other matters.  Whatsmore, Their love was not just for Their present followers but for ALL of mankind (2 Peter 3:9).   That is why, when Jesus arose three days later, He arose a VICTOR, and so did we!  We are more than conquerors – Now, we can arise as champions! (Romans 8:38)

!! HAPPY EASTER !!

Be Blessed,

Cindy Simpson~Hembree

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Spring Is Here, Don’t Go Out Unarmed!

“He who hides in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  And I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge, and my fortress, my God in Him will I trust. “

Psalm 91:1-2

Spring is the perfect time to exercise your faith.  The entire season is all about faith.  I’m sure at this point you’re wondering what I am basing this statement on.  Some of you may even think the whole idea is absurd, but by the time I am finished with this paragraph you will understand where I am coming from.  Springtime is when many people begin planning and planting a garden.  When seeds are planted in the ground, we believe or have faith that in a few days there will be something popping up through the soil.  One has to have faith that all the environmental elements will be just right in order to have a harvest.  When a sparrow lays an eggs in the Spring, she has the hope that she is going to be a mother soon.  When caterpillars build their cocoons, they have faith in a few days they will emerge a beautiful butterfly.  When a bee is sent out scouting, the entire colony has faith it will return with evidence of pollen on its legs.   Soon after green grass appears, the prospect of blooms and dandelions popping up in our yards comes into play.  It is all based on faith.

Spring is also when unexpected dangers come to our attention.  When spring arrives, more people are out and about and traveling on the road.  There are intimidating plants, insects, life-threatening wildlife, allergies, and of course, the menacing weather systems.  And the threats are not just on the outside.  This is the time when people are in their homes doing Spring cleaning and finding unsuspected risks and perils.  Since the weather is nicer and warmer, lots of people use this time to renovate their home interior, so accidents can happen at any time.  During the torrential rains that come for many, or while doing the Spring cleaning, it is not uncommon to find spiders in the house.  It is at this time of the year the Emergency Rooms find their waiting rooms filled more than any other time of the year.   Poison Ivy, baneful bug bites, bee stings and aggravating allergies plague the doctors offices all across the country.  There are so many matters that need to be considered when this time of the year comes around.  Matters that many of us take for granted, for others can be life threatening.  There are other issues that can pose real and very serious harm to all of our health and homes.  But when we go out, we can know that we are armed with a weapon that will protect us from any and all of these looming dangers.

In the Spring of 2003, our local news stations were putting out the alarm about the mosquitos carrying the West Nile virus and everyone was at risk.  I became extremely concerned about this and began seeking the Lord with this problem.  I knew how to go up against people and the devil, but I didn’t know how to fight off insects.  I know this sounds kind of funny, but to me, the threat was very real.  The next morning, I got up and opened my Bible to Psalm 91 and began reading.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  It tells how we are protected from pestilence!  It talks about we have no need to fear “terrors of the night, arrows that fly during the day (mosquitos), plagues that roam in the dark and epidemics that strike at noon.  They will not come near you.”  I used to be a magnet to mosquitos but since I read and stood on that scripture, I can count one hand the times I’ve been bitten.   In verse 10, it says “No harm will come to you.  No sickness will come near your home.  He will put His angels in charge over you.”  How wonderful!  Five years ago, my husband and I went out for an evening walk with our dogs on our property.  Several Copperhead snakes, which are very aggressive and highly poisonous had been seen around our property, in previous days.  While we were walking down our driveway, my husband spotted a copperhead, he told me not to take another step and don’t move.  Our dogs were walking all around it, acting like it wasn’t even there!  I was so afraid they were going to get struck or bitten.  The snake kept moving as if it was out for an uninterrupted evening stroll of its own.  It passed right by my feet and kept moving, toward the wooded area.  My husband had no weapons on him to kill the creature.  However, we were armed with the best weapon possible.  We had God’s word that stated that no harm would come to us.  No harm did come near us!  At no time did we feel threatened.  God’s angels were all around us, just as the scripture in Psalm 91 promised us they would be.  Our animals acted as if the snake was not even there, so they never felt endangered either!

I can tell you time and time again of how the promises found in Psalm 91 have protected and kept us from true harm and illnesses.  However, for you they would be just stories at this present time.  So now, it is time for you to check out this scripture.  Then you can see God has a hedge of protection that covers you and your household.  Or maybe you have already, through faith in God’s Word, experienced the shield that Psalm 91 offers.  If you have or when you do, I would LOVE to hear from you!  I WANT to hear YOUR stories.

Spring is here!  Don’t go out UNARMED!

Be Blessed,

Cindy Simpson~Hembree

 

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