Monthly Archives: November 2014

Penalty of Sin

” ‘For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies ,’ says the Lord God.  ‘Therefore turn and live!’ ” Ezekiel 18:32

Physical death is not the penalty for sin for we are all appointed a time to die. “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” Hebrews 9:27.  It is eternal death that is the penalty for sin.  Some who die physically will be saved and others will be lost.  Every soul belongs to God and He does not wish for a single one to go to hell.   The Lord gives us a choice.

All of my life I heard “Jesus loves you” but it wasn’t until I slowed down to feel His love that I realized the depth of His love.  Sometimes He has to force us to slow down so we will realize.  Furthermore, the way He forces us to slow down we may not always like and at the time we may not realize it is God who is slowing us down.  Just like many people, I was busy.  I was busy trying to make a living, busy with life….just busy, busy.  What was me making a living became my living making me.  Then God slowed me down.  I realized my living that defined me was actually quick sand beginning to devour me.

So once I slowed down, albeit forcefully, I began grasping for something to hold on to; something that would help pull me out of the quick sand that life had become.  This vacuum that was sucking the life out of me called “making a living” was really making me a death sentence.  Don’t get me wrong, I realize we all have to work to pay our bills but its the motive that is the vacuum of quick sand.  The motive to have it all but by self will and not God’s will.

A friend once told me religion was the last result of the desperate.  Religion can give us structure when we are running in circles, but then again, so can the military.  It wasn’t until I slowed down that I began to “see” God’s love.  I would feel the love of Jesus through people.  Not only did they “tell” me God loves me but they “showed” me.  They showed me they cared by praying for me when I didn’t even know them.  They saw a lost soul and they knew who that soul belonged to.  Through their love for the Lord, they wanted me to turn to Him.  They wanted me to dedicate the life the Lord had given me to Him.  They covered me and stood in the gap for me while I was teetering on the edge of eternal life or eternal death.

Their are many people today who are teetering on the edge of eternal life or death.  When it comes to ourselves, we tend to think “we can handle” eternal death and worry more about our loved ones not having to face that reality.  We try to soften the reality of death for our loved ones by planning our funerals, paying for our caskets, so on and so forth.  Truth be known, there is only one way to soften the reality of physical death and that is by choosing eternal life.  There is only one way to choose eternal life and that is through Jesus Christ.

The devil did not win the battle for this soul.  He did not keep me too busy to feel the love of God.  My soul belongs to God and with Him I will live eternally.  The enemy tried his best to keep me too busy to invest in my future, he almost had me convinced I could do it on my own.  But praise God, the Lord is my Shepherd!  The Lord lifted His Hand of mercy and grace just enough for me to see it was Him all along who was blessing me with this wonderful life.  He lifted His Hand to let me see the deceit of the enemy.  My soul belongs to God and I choose to live for Him.  Your soul belongs to God.  Who will you choose?  Choose life.  Truly soften your physical death for your loved ones.  Be the one God uses to bring your circle of friends and family to Him.  Slow down and not only listen but feel the love of God.  Start at the Cross of Jesus.   – Donna Warren

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Child Like Faith

“Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:4

Child like faith is not knowing anything different other that knowing.  When you see a child running to you, smiling from ear to ear and jumps in your arms, they know you are going to catch them.  They can’t even imagine you not catching them.  Sometimes you may turn and run a little ways to get them to chase you…but they know you are going to turn around and catch them at any moment.  Then sometimes you run toward them and catch them sooner than they expected.  No matter the circumstances they know you are going to catch them.

Jesus said in Matthew 13:13 “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.”  A parable is a story that teaches a lesson.  Jesus wants us to know Him in our hearts not by what we see or hear.  When we read the parables of Jesus without Jesus in our hearts our spiritual eyes are closed and our spiritual ears are hard of hearing.  This is why we start with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and accepting Him in our hearts as our Saviour.  It is impossible to receive the spiritual knowledge of Jesus without Jesus; anything else is carnal knowledge.

Child like faith only comes with spiritual knowledge.  Spiritual knowledge only comes through the Word of God with Jesus in our heart .  The Holy Spirit is our teacher.  He guides us to the Truth of God’s heart.  When God begins to unveil His heart to us, child like faith is the side effect.  The knowing that He will be there to catch us.  The knowing that He may make us chase Him a little ways in order to stretch us to a new and even greater measure of faith but He will always turn around and catch us before we give out.  Even if we stumble while we’re running, He will come pick us up to try again.

Don’t be afraid of stumbling.  We’re not perfect, only Jesus is perfect.  If and when we do stumble, look up to the unseen Hand of God with child like faith.  Don’t limit the Lord with the carnal limits of your imagination.  Believe in Him for the big things.  Allow the Word of God to define you with spiritual wisdom and don’t try to define His Word with carnal knowledge.  When “life happens” remember the God in Whom we as Christians have dedicated our life to serve; remember your child like faith. – Donna Warren

Obedient Patient

“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? ” Romans 6:16

Obedience – another word that quite honestly kept me from going to church for a long time.  Obedience meant yet “another” authority over me.  While I’m confessing, I must admit I was always a little rebellious over any authority.  I was a “good person” so didn’t really see any need for authority.  Whether I was right or wrong, I was right – this is not something I’m proud about but it’s the truth.

Obedience requires submission which leads to humility.  This sounds absolutely dreadful to the proud, rebellious sort.  Being submissive requires trusting in who or what you are going to submit.  None of us want to submit to something that points to our failures.  Therein lies my point – submitting to something that points to our failures.  The enemy had me convinced that condemnation was part of being a Christian.  The devil doesn’t tell you the part about Jesus hates the sin not the sinner.  Just like when a loved one has a terminal illness, we hate the illness but we love the person.   If we had the cure for that illness, wouldn’t we want that person to come to us for the cure?  But that person’s friend is telling them don’t go there, you will have to get rid of that illness before you see them.  Doesn’t make sense at all does it?

Jesus IS the cure to our sin nature which is the terminal illness we are all born with.  It isn’t until we come to Him that we realize how terminal we were, not only that but we are spreading the disease to those we love until we are healed.  Once we are healed, the illness may try to come back in a different form.  What do you do then?  Go back to the Healer or submit to the illness?  Will you go back to the Cross of Jesus to be healed?

The Lord will meet you at the Cross as many times as you need Him.  He is long suffering and patient and wants to see you healed.  Condemnation is not part of the healing but part of the disease.  Obedience of submitting ourselves to Jesus is a blessing because of His grace.  How many of us submit daily to the lies of the devil because we worry about what others may think?  Others who may be spreading the same disease.  Maybe it’s you the Healer, the Lord Jesus Christ, wants to heal so you can show the others how they too can be healed of their sin nature.  We don’t walk into the doctor’s office healed, we don’t walk into the doctor’s office telling the doctor how to cure us.  We walk into the doctor’s office wanting to be healed.  We are gladly submitting to the doctors orders to be healed.

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ ” John 8:31-32.

Jesus paid the price for our salvation.  The Lord paid the price for our healing.  We don’t go to Him healed, we come to Him broken.  Broken from the constant condemnation of satan.  Broken because our sin nature has caused us to be obedient  to the god of the world and not the God of Heaven.  Our cure is at the Cross of Jesus.  We have the prescription for eternal life and it starts here:

Dear Lord Jesus,

I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your Name.
Amen.

Meet Jesus at the Cross.

-Donna Warren

Rejoicing in Repentance

“Then he said to them, ‘Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ ” Nehemiah 8:10.

We either repent or relish in our sins.  The word repent can sound very legalistic unless you realize the true meaning.  To repent is to have a sincere regret.  Sincere regret cannot be accomplished through discipline or self will.   However, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, repentance turns to rejoicing.

From the outside of Christianity looking in, hearing words like repent and obedience sounds like a lot of work.  On the other hand, grace and mercy we all seek without realizing His grace and mercy is upon us with every breath we take.  His grace and mercy sounds easy but it came at a cost.  A very high cost.  Not wanting to lose a single soul to satan, God came to the world in the form of man, Jesus Christ.  Jesus suffered every temptation and was obedient.  The Lord suffered in the flesh for us to believe He was and is for us, not against us.  The Lord suffered for us to be reconciled with our Father.  As the representative of flesh and blood, the Lord became flesh and blood so He could die in our place, destroy satan, annul the power of death and is now resurrected, sitting at the Right Hand of God as our advocate.

“For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,  saying: ‘I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.’  And again: ‘I will put My trust in Him.’ And again: ‘Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.’ ” Hebrews 2:11-13.

The Cross of Jesus is what causes true repentance, not self will.  It is impossible to both repent and relish in our sin.  We may fail daily but Jesus will always meet us at the Cross.  Until we accept Jesus as our Saviour we won’t understand repentance.

Repentance then leads to rejoicing.  Rejoicing of His faithfulness to us even as sinners.  Rejoicing in the fact He knows what He’s getting when He got us.  Rejoicing in the fact He has already made a plan for us.  He has made a provision for every stumble we make as long as we meet Him back at the Cross.  We rejoice in understanding He is not ashamed to call us His brethren.  We are in fact rejoicing with the Lord.  He is our Lord and we are His children.  Repenting is not a hard when we realize it leads to rejoicing.  Rejoice in the Lord! – Donna Warren

 

The Two Beggars

The parable in Luke 16:19-31 of the rich man and Lazarus is the story of two beggars.  Many of us know this story of Lazarus begging daily at the gate of the rich man “desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table…” Luke 16:21.  Their contrasted lives after death is where the story is told.  For after their deaths, the rich man begged for mercy and asked to “…send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.  but Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your life time your received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.” Luke 16:24-25.

The story doesn’t end their though.   The rest of the story is where I want to focus.  There is more meat on this plate that we must also swallow, although it may be tough.  The rest of the story tells of the rich man’s disillusioned and deceived brothers.  The brothers the rich man loved dearly were on their way to join him in eternal torment if someone didn’t warn them.  “Then he said (the rich man), ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him (Lazarus) to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.” Luke 16:27-28.  The rich man believed if only someone from the dead would go back and warn his brothers they would believe.

Regret of not hearing the warnings.  Regret of not seeing what is plainly taught in scripture.  Regret of not believing the Gospel of Jesus of Christ  is what the rich man was feeling.  Regret of being a bad example in life that caused his friends and loved ones to be damned.   Regret of not spending his time, talent and money to propagate and spread the Word of God so others could escape eternal torment.  Besides being tormented by the eternal flame, the rich man was tormented with regret.

Abraham responded to the rich man “…They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them.” Luke 16:29.

When we reject God’s written Word, do not listen to His preachers and teachers,  do not appreciate His mercy and grace we are rebelling.  We are wanting the Gospel of Jesus Christ our way and on our terms. We stumble over His warnings.   God sends judgment on us for us to repent and turn to Him; not rebel against Him.  It is not until we realize God’s worthiness in our life, that our unworthiness is revealed.

Today Jesus is our Saviour.  Jesus died on the Cross for our sins.  He is alive today.  While the enemy is at the Throne of Grace accusing us, the Lord is on the Throne of Grace petitioning for us.  Jesus went through death on the Cross and was resurrected so we would not have any regrets.  Why would we rebel?  Why would we not believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  Was it not enough?  How could we blame Him for being indignant at those who reject His Work on the Cross?

No one likes regret.  Is there someone in hell today crying out for the Lord to send someone to cross your path so you will listen His Word?  Will you listen?

This meat may be tough but if we chew on it a little longer it becomes a little easier to swallow. Don’t have any regrets. – Donna Warren