As always, everyone on this page has agreed to accept e-mail from anyone who wishes to write to them for advice or encouragement.
Many Christians feel that we, as the Church, are about to enter a very difficult and crucial time in the days ahead. If you could give just one piece of advice or encouragement to the Church as a whole, what would it be, and why?
Katie: This answer came from a prophecy that the Lord gave me:
"My Precious Ones, haven't I said in My Word that there is NOTHING that can hold you back from entering in to worship and praise but your unbelief? Allow My Spirit to lead you and guide you. Don't allow the enemy of your soul to steal the JOY that I have placed in you. My Coming is nigh at hand, and I will come as a thief in the night to those who follow NOT My Word. But to My Bride I say, 'Come and drink from the Fountain of Life freely, and let Me bless you as I am so longing to do, for you are My children, and I love you so.' My sheep hear My voice and will not follow the hireling because you do not know his voice. Humble yourself under the Father's mighty hand and HE will exalt you in due time. Share My Word with those around you for the harvest is ready and the fields are ripe. Keep your heart and mind fixed on Me, and I will show you GREAT and mighty things. Miracles and signs and wonders will follow you, and people will say of a surety, 'There is a God ,and we will worship and follow Him ONLY' Allow My love to penetrate your hearts and fill your spirit because the time is short," saith the Lord of Hosts.
Katie (35 years old)
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Dave: We need to get back to basics. The church as a whole has lost its focus on Jesus Christ and His message. We argue and fight over things like interpretation of Biblical prophecy or spiritual gifts, which serves no purpose other than to cause divisions within the church. For example: There are Christians who will not have anything to do with other Christians simply because of differences of opinion on the rapture, or the gift of tongues, or some other beliefs! We need to get our primary focus back on the basic message of salvation and redemption. When Paul came to the Corinthians he "determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." We MUST lay this foundation first. Anything built upon any other foundation will not stand.
We build huge multi-million dollar "megachurches" with elaborate decorations, wasting money on things that will pass away, instead of using it to spread the gospel message and to help those in need. We say these churches glorify God, but that's a lie. Buildings don't glorify God, they glorify those inside the buildings. PEOPLE glorify God. We have preachers and evangelists that say they need to have these ornate buildings to continue their ministry, when all they are doing in reality is building monuments to themselves.
I believe we are in the final days before Christ's return, and if we are indeed in the final days, all our efforts need to be on strengthening our relationship with Christ, refining and purifying ourselves, opening our hearts and minds to the teaching of the Holy Spirit, and spreading the gospel of Christ to others in the spirit of love. Or do we think that the Lord will say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant," to us for the buildings we have? The church with a plain exterior and wooden benches that, out of love, fed the hungry, clothed the poor, and proclaimed the message of Jesus Christ, will have more glory in that day than all the "Crystal Cathedrals" in the world put together, who wasted money on elaborate decorations that could have been used to help others in need, both physically and spiritually. This applies to each of us as individual Christians also.
"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast
left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and
repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly,
and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."
Dave (33 years old)
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Penny: This is an encouragement and prayer rolled in one. I choose this because I have been needing a lift, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. This is quoted from the Newboys CD "Take me to your Leader." I can't take credit for it, but it's been ministering to me lately.
"When all is said and all has come undone
Restore the promise I made when I was young
Now unto Him who can keep us from falling
And present us faultless before His glory
Breathe on me
Breathe, oh Breath of God
Breathe on me
'Til my heart is new
Breathe on me
Breathe, oh Breath of Life
Breathe on me
'Til I'm resting in you"
Penny (27 years old)
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Dana: If I could give the church one piece of advice, I'd like to encourage her to be an encouragement. The times ahead are going to be difficult for the church, and we must help each other out as much as possible, despite our differences. We must get past petty arguments over doctrines, and concentrate on the Great Commission. When we can love each other as Christ loved us, then the world will know we are Christians, and we will truly be able to minister to the unsaved.
Once we learn to love each other, not only will we be able to love and reach the unsaved, but we will be more able to meet Satan's onslaughts with faithfulness and grace. As we are faithful in the little things (loving one another) we will be made faithful over much.
So, my advice would be to love. Love the Lord, love Christians, love non-christians, love everyone with the same love that Christ loves you...unconditionally. They will know we are Christians by our love!!
Dana (37 years old)
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Shane: One piece of advice to the church as a whole? OK here it is:
RETURN TO ESSENTIAL CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE NOW!!!!!!
Far too many churches are striving for unity at the expense of Biblical accuracy. This "ecumenical" movement threatens to fracture the church more than unite it. If anything, it will only pull believers away from the truth of the gospel, and relegate believers who uphold the truth to a small minority.
What is the ESSENTIAL truth of the gospel? Well, it's threefold:
This is the source of many of our troubles in the church today, for many of our teachers regularly go beyond what is written, and formulate their own doctrines beyond what is essential, or even what the Bible says. It is these doctrines that divide Christianity. But the ESSENTIALS only unite believers. Those who reject these three ESSENTIALS are not really Christian to begin with.
For more information on these ESSENTIALS see this address: http://members.tripod.com/~schayne/Acf.html
There is another side to ESSENTIAL doctrine as well. It is the doctrine of love. First, love for God. And that means wanting to get our doctrine correct. Second, is love for our fellow man, starting with our brothers and sisters in Christ. And if you truly love a person who may be sincere, but is sincerely wrong in their doctrine, then you will correct them with respect, compassion, and patience.
One of the most dangerous threats to Christianity today is unity at the expense of accuracy. It will be this test that will decide the fate of the church. This is what I would tell the church as a whole, "You say you love God, but do you love Him enough to accept Him for who He truly is? Or do you just give Him lip service, so that you may reinvent God in your own image."
Shane (26 years old)
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Betty: One piece of advice: "Love one another, even as Christ has loved you. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35.
As the world turns into an ugly place full of hard-to-love people, we must remember that this is Satan's last stab at taking prisoners forever, and that no matter how "unlovable" someone appears to be, they are someone who is in need of a Savior. As the song says: we are the example left here by THE LORD. How can someone come to know the love of GOD if they can't see it in His children? It is so easy to get caught up, to get angry at the "injustices" we suffer, the names, the bashing in the media, but didn't the Word tell us that these things would happen? YES!
So be strong, my brothers and sisters. Realize that for every ounce of anger that consumes you, the devil gains another inch. Respond with the word, not anger. Respond with patient endurance. Respond with prayer. Respond with the same love that you would have shown to your child if they were lost and alone. Would you have your own child treated poorly by a stranger? Would you have your own child ridiculed, and scoffed at? NO!!! These too, are GOD's children, and HE would have us treat these lost children as we ourselves would have our own lost children treated.
Betty (35 years old)
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Kathy: I would say "PRIORITIZE." Make sure you're putting Jesus and His soon return first. So much has happened/is happening to fulfill prophecy, and truly the Lord is pouring out His Spirit upon young and old. Don't take on anything new (be it starting a new career, buying a home, etc.) without seeking His direction on it. Our learning to hear from Him ourselves is of great importance. Seek His face and not His hand.
Kathy (36 years old)
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Michael: Well, here's my take on that: I do believe that Christians as a whole are heading for a bumpy ride, as it would say in Revelation. My advice to the churches is to quit being selfish, and quite quarrelling among each other. Like for example, on denomination saying that the other has false teachings and vive versa. Maybe it does, but let's face it....the only thing that should matter is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And it is time for the church to stand up. Jesus said that we are like sheep among the wolves, but he also said to be gentle but shrewd. This world probably thinks the church is dead....hasn't heard from it in awhile. But I guess my major point is that all of God's children need to unify and let's start working for Jesus!!
Love in Christ, Michael
Michael (20 years old)
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Leslie: Revelation 3:15-16, "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." There is much evangelism needed within the Body of Christ, to help us get where we need to be with our Saviour. Many are taking their salvation for granted. They will recieve a hard blow, when coming face to face with God, if they don't soon realize what compromises they have made. Many people have backslidden and walked away from the power of God. There are many Christians who are not letting God lead their lives. Salvation is free, but the cost of being a Christian can seem high. Are we willing to pay the cost? Isn't it time for Christians to re-evaluate where we are in Christ? God is calling for a spirit of boldness within the church. No more excuses!
Let us not forget Paul. He continuously meditated on God's word and took a bold stand for Christ. He welcomed every opportunity to share the Gospel, regardless of what it might cost him. I Thessalonians 2:2-4, "But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts."
The renewing of our minds will come, if we stay in God's word. "And
be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of
your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect,
will of God." Romans 12:2
"...we have the mind of Christ." I Corinthians 2:16
At least, The Word says that "we have the mind of Christ," but are we really "transformed"? Many people try to walk on both sides of the spiritual fence, with one foot in church and one foot in the world. This is not acceptable.We must decide whom it is that we are going to serve and get serious about it.
Revelation 3:15-16, "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth" In other words, some of us have not made the firm commitment to serve Him. We have not given our all to Him, even though He is the Lord God Almighty. It is time that we grew up spiritually and decided to make Jesus the Lord of our lives! The Bible says, "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways" James 1:8 and "let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord" James 1:7. Proverbs 28:1 says "The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion." It is time to take spiritual inventory. We are coming to the point where the rubber will meet the road! People will have to choose. There will be no more disciples who are lukewarm. They will be hot, or they will be cold. Satan will try to divide families because of this, and he will try to create much strife amongst the church. We must be on guard and be armed with the sword of truth! We must make up our minds and decide whom we are going to serve: the one true and living God, or the god of this world. Joshua 24:15, "choose you this day whom ye will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
Keep in mind that everything God asks of us is for our good. He has only our best interests at heart. If you are feeling that it is too hard to give up certain things, or a lifestyle that you are comfortable with, remember that there are no bad consequences from obeying God. I talk to people who say, "what does it hurt if I do these things? I'm not hurting anyone." But you are, my friend. You are hurting yourself, and you are hurting your relationship with the Holy God. Surround yourself with the things of God. If the company you keep doesn't support this, then it's time to clean house. We must never stop striving to be the best we can for Him. The key is to be willing to change. We must allow the precious Holy Spirit to create the changes that are needed within ourselves.
This scripture is a perfect prayer: "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me" Psalm 51:10. We must re-examine the life of Christ. He is our example to follow. He is THE ONE whom we must follow. How near are we to being like Him? Jesus always spoke in love and with compassion, but He NEVER compromised His message, even when the message He preached was unpopular.
Why do I speak this message? First and foremost, the Holy Spirit gave this message to me to spread throughout the body of Christ. Secondly, the "Lethargic Spirit" is attacking the body of Christ. This spirit must be confronted and cast out. It has no authority upon God's people, in Jesus name!
Take heed to this message and be warned that as the church begins to take a stand, satan will try to create strife amongst families and the body of Christ. Guard your hearts! Saturate your spirit with the Word of the One True Living God. Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Saints, we are in the final spiritual battle before the return of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Ephesians 6:11-13 "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day..."
"Choose this day whom you will serve!" Joshua 24:15
Leslie (35 years old)
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Leslie used this poem in her answer to February's question. I liked it so much that I decided to keep it posted here.
As children bring their broken toys
with tears for us to mend,
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