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PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS!--Part One of a Five-part Series--By Maria                           Maria #346            DO 30698/96

--What to Do About the Problems of the Family!

Table of Contents:

                Why There Are So Many Problems!

                                Reason Number 1

                                Reason Number 2

                                Reason Number 3

                                Reason Number 4

                                Reason Number 5

                                Reason Number 6--the Major Reason!

                Coming Changes!

                What's the Solution?

                The Word!

                Spiritual Warfare!

                It's Up to You Personally!

                Suggested Reading List

To my dearest Family,

                1.God bless you! I love you! On my birthday, Peter and I had a meeting with the members of our Home, which was a precious time of unity, fellowship and hearing from the Lord. The main subject we talked about was one that I believe is of interest to all of you, and that is the problems of the Family. In this series, which is printed in five parts, I'll not only share with you some of what we discussed the night of my birthday talk, but I'll also include other related points and messages from the Lord and Dad (in part or in full) that we received when asking the Lord for further information and clarifications, but which we did not cover in that meeting, due to limited time.

                2.As many, if not all of you, are aware, the Family is facing a number of problems right now. All of you could probably list a whole range of problems, such as: lack of finances, young people leaving the Family or feeling frustrated and unhappy, single moms not being cared for properly, disunity within and between the Homes, unloving behavior between some brethren, lack of inspiration and vision for witnessing, lack of desire for the Word, unruly OCs and JETTs who aren't getting the training they need, etc. Maybe you've seen these problems and others firsthand or maybe you've only heard about them, but regardless, I'd venture to say that most of you are pretty well aware that this is a difficult time for many in the Family.

                3.When you start talking about problems, it can be an endless subject! But that's part of the job for Peter and me and our teamworkers. One of our main responsibilities is to discuss and pray about problems and find the solutions. So you can say we're in the problem-solving business. And thank God we have the Lord and His help, as He is the Answer Man and the Problem Solver, and He has all the solutions we need.

Why There Are So Many Problems!

                4.When your life is burdened with many problems, it's natural to wonder why. Let's take a closer look at what may be the main reasons for the problems of the Family, and then find what might be the solutions to them.

Reason Number 1:

                5. One reason for problems is that life itself is a constant struggle, right? Wherever you are, whoever you are, whatever your job, whether you're in the Family or the System, life--living here on Earth as a human being--involves a lot of problems, period. And believe it or not, that's God's plan. It's not that something goofed and the whole world went wrong, or God got it wrong. It's His plan! Life on Earth is the testing ground, and that's just the way it's supposed to be. Tests, trials, struggles and difficulties are all part of life. So that's one of the main reasons why we have problems, and we're always going to have problems.

                6. But of course, people say, "Well, yes, we realize that life is a struggle, life has its problems, but we seem to be having more problems than we've ever had. Things are just going really bad right now." I can understand your feeling that way, and that brings me to the next main reason why we're having problems--because the Charter went into effect not too long ago.

Reason Number 2:

                7.When you're ushering in any revolution or major, monumental change, when you're going from one system to a better system, inevitably there are problems involved and sacrifices that have to be made. We know our new system (the Charter) is a better system. The Lord has said so, He has confirmed it, and we know without a shadow of a doubt that it is better. And most of you, from what we have heard, do prefer our new way of doing things under the Charter. The point, though, is that when you're making a major switchover and problems come up at first and many sacrifices are necessary, it seems like, "Wow, everything is a mess! Did we get it right after all?" So it takes patience, vision, conviction and real stick-to-itiveness!

                8. Peter explained the effect of the implementation of the Charter as follows: (Peter:) Before the Charter we had 230 DO Homes. They were mostly large Homes, with leadership that made most of the decisions and told everybody what to do. Now we have over 600 DO Homes, and individuals, families and Homes are having to make many more decisions on their own. Our DO Home size went from an average of 40 to only 15, and that alone has changed the make-up of virtually everything in our Homes.

                9.Before, there were big school groups, and most people had some kind of specialized ministry. Usually only a few people from each Home did outreach regularly and were responsible for raising funds. Now, as you very well know, that scenario is completely different. The Charter has changed the dynamics of every Family Home. It has directly affected every person in every Home--and that, for sure, has caused no small stir! We are still rockin' and reelin' from the effects of this huge change!

                10. Let's consider for a moment what happened when Russia went from the communist system to the capitalist system. Everybody was saying, "Whoa, whoa! Yes, we like freedom! But we still want bread at two cents a loaf, and we still want a lifetime guarantee of a job, and we still want rents and prices to be super low."

                11. There's a slight parallel there to what's recently happened in the Family. Everybody likes the freedom of the Charter, but they don't necessarily like the responsibilities and problems that are part of the package. Many seem to expect leadership to work out their problems for them. We sometimes hear, "Why isn't World Services telling us how to do this? Why aren't they telling us how to do that? Why aren't they telling us how to make money? Why aren't they telling us how to keep our kids happy? Why aren't they telling us what we can do with our single moms who can't find Homes to take them in?" The list goes on and on and on.

                12. It's like a lot of Family members still haven't broken out of the mentality of, "We want leaders to work out our problems for us." Interestingly enough, before the Charter many Family members complained that their leadership was too involved in their lives, and that they didn't have enough decision-making power themselves, or the freedom to operate according to their own faith and make decisions without having to check with their leadership on every point. Now that that has been changed through the Charter, people feel they aren't getting the answers they need from their leaders, or the help with their problems that they'd like. Many people feel unsettled and insecure now that they're left to make all the decisions on their own.

                13.The Lord, through the Charter, is trying to break that dependency on leadership, because He wants the Family to depend on Him. He doesn't want you to be looking to the CROs to tell you what to do, or even WS to tell you specifically what to do. It's not our job to figure out exactly what you're supposed to do in your particular situation; that's your job! You have to find out from the Lord what you're supposed to do. But unfortunately, a lot of Family members haven't gotten the point yet.

                14.So not only has the make-up and nature of every Home radically changed with the implementation of the Charter, but our whole infrastructure and each Family member is still trying to adjust to those changes.

                15. (Mama:) So the implementation of the Charter caused a major upheaval, and is still continuing to be a big deal. So of course with it comes new problems, because any kind of new system, any big change--especially one as big as this change, which completely changes everyone's perception of things and way of doing things in so many areas--definitely requires substantial adjustment. It's bound to take time, lots of time. It takes patience to trust the Lord till the dust settles and people get used to things, and they adjust to the new ways of doing things under the Charter.

                16.Also, it's good to understand that while the Homes on some fields may be experiencing more difficulties than in previous years, the Homes on other fields have found their lives to be much easier and more fulfilled since the Charter. And the fact that our witnessing stats are higher now than before the Charter shows that we're getting more of the job done and we're reaching more people than we did before. So the Charter is working, and we trust that it will continue to bear good fruit. But as I said, it will take time and adjustment--more in some fields than others.

Reason Number 3:

                17. Another reason why the Family has a lot of problems right now is because this is a time of spiritual testing from the Lord, a time of purging, to see if we've got what it takes to carry on, to make it to the next grade. We've had quite a few Letters along that line, explaining that we are "crossing the Jordan," and it's been a major test for a lot of people. The Lord is trying to make it as easy as He can by giving us the spiritual counsel and instruction we need through the Word, but it's still a difficult time. Everybody is having difficulties; everybody is being tested. Remember, Jesus said:

                18."It is with great compassion that I look upon you that cross the Jordan.--The Jordan of affliction, the Jordan of forsaking, the Jordan of discouragement, the Jordan of defeat. For I understand the depths of the Jordan. And I understand the trying of men's hearts, the depths of despair, of discouragement, of desperation. My heart breaks for you, to see you in your pain and in your struggle, and in the fire of testing, of trying, of purging.--When you feel so hopeless, so lost, so forsaken, when you grasp with all your might and yet you feel as if there is nothing to grasp any more. And now I say unto you, step into the water and walk through the depths, but know that I am there and that I will carry you through if your faith fail not.

                19."I cannot make this easier for you. I cannot make the depths of the Jordan more shallow, nor the current slower, for this would not be a true test. I know the hurt and I understand the pain, and I love you that you would even consider walking through this Jordan. Yea, My heart even breaks for you, and I cry fountains of tears for that which you go through. And as My Father was pained and wept to see the sacrifice that I had to make, yet could not stop it, neither can I change the course of things that are required of you, if you would make it through the Jordan and enter into the Promised Land of My rest and My peace, and into the glories that I have ahead.

                20."All My children must pass through the Jordan of faith and trust and belief. But when they reach the other side they shall be washed clean and shall know Me in a new and greater way. For there is much ahead, but it costs" ("Let Jesus Bear the Weight," ML #2987:64,68,73-75; GN 629).

                21. (Mama:) As a movement, God has promised that we're on the threshold of great things. We're being prepared for them, and we're just going to have to accept that we're going to have some difficulties and face some tests. Exams are always difficult. You just can't expect to get through such things very easily. Anything that is important or valuable costs something! As the Lord said:

                22."For behold, this time is a time of purging, and it is a time that I put stripes on My generals; it is a time that I put medals on their shoulders. Therefore, look not only at the trial, but look at the blessings, for trials equal blessings; and this is a time of promotion and a time when the metal is proven, tried in the fire seven times, without spot or blemish. For the trial of your faith is more precious than gold, and these things must needs be" ("Prophecies for Peter," paragraph 7, GN 632).

Reason Number 4:

                23. (Mama:) Another reason that we're having a lot of problems in the Family right now is because of the Devil's discouragement. This is a great big reason, because now, as we draw closer to the End, the Devil is being let loose to prey on God's creation more than ever before. The world at large is getting gobbled up by the Enemy because they are defenseless, because they don't have the Lord. People are being destroyed, and that's the Devil's ultimate goal--to destroy people. Of course, he can't destroy us, because we belong to the Lord, but he certainly is allowed to tempt us and try to discourage us. And you can be sure he tries everything he can to do just that!

                24. The Lord said the Devil is on the attack more than ever before, to try to discourage the Lord's children, and especially to discourage the children of David--us! The Devil knows how needed we are, how important we are to the Lord's work and His battles in this Endtime, so he's trying everything he can think of to get us out of the race, out of the battle.

                25. I'm not just trying to encourage you by telling you that the Enemy is fighting you more now than ever through discouragement. He really is! If you thought you or others faced discouragement ten years ago, well I'll tell you, those battles are much more intense today! The Devil is on the attack more than ever before! He's going all out to try to discourage, and people are discouraged. Many, many people are discouraged. We hear all the time of the great trials with discouragement that people are having. But we can't lose sight of the fact that one of the reasons for this is because the Enemy is out to try to totally beat people down with discouragement, so they'll just give up and they won't try any more!--And sadly, a lot of people are falling for it. The Lord recently said:

                26.(Prophecy:) "There are many who are fed up, disgusted, at wit's end, who are not sure they can go on another day. They are so tired of their work, their jobs, the monotony, the lack of change, the endless problems. There are many who do not feel needed or used or fulfilled, who are tired and 'burned out,' and who wonder when the fulfillment of the Lord's promises will come for them.

                27."There are many who are buffeted by the Enemy. There are many who are on the verge of quitting, who are discouraged and without vision, because the Enemy goes about My Kingdom as a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour. He is furious and he is pacing back and forth from here to there seeking out those who will listen, those who will lay down their weapons, those who will look down, those who will admit defeat and surrender." (End of prophecy excerpt.)

                28. (Mama:) Also, along these same lines, recently the Lord was speaking to one of our dear CROs who was feeling very weary with her ministry. Not only did He comfort her, but He also put into words what a lot of you are feeling right now. I think you'll be comforted to see that He understands!

                29. (Prophecy, Jesus speaking, first to the CRO and then to us all:) "I know that you are willing, My dear, but I also know your inner struggle, that after many, many years of faithful service and diligently giving Me whatever I have asked for years and years, you are now tired and weary and feel you lack the inspiration and zeal and enthusiasm that you once had. You wonder, 'How can I go on? How can I continue to do this again and again, day after day?' You worry that you no longer feel that driving compassion or inspiration.

                30."You are not the only one, My sweet one, who faces this struggle and faces this battle. There are many who have served Me faithfully in the Family for 15, 20 and almost 30 years, and who are also beginning to feel that in spite of their deep love for Me and the work and Mama and Peter and their brethren and the lost sheep--in spite of it all, they too are beginning to feel that they just cannot go on one more step.

                31."My heart breaks for them, but in My wisdom I have foreseen their struggle and the difficulty they will face. Many of them know not where to turn or who to go to or what to do, for they feel that it is their fault. They feel that their weaknesses have at last brought them to the end of their road. They feel that there is no hope for them to continue in the Family, and the Enemy will use it to tempt them to leave. The Enemy will use many things against them to tempt them to leave their post and to leave their calling--their feelings of inadequacy, of weariness in well doing, of frustration in fighting their daily battles, of exhaustion after having fought on the mission field for years and years and years." (End of prophecy excerpt.)

                32.(Mama:) Does the Lord in this prophecy express your sentiments? The Lord said He loves you very dearly, you who have served Him loyally and faithfully for many, many years. He knows you're in need of reassuring love and words of encouragement and comfort. He knows you're feeling at the end of your rope, and you're questioning, "How can I go on? I have come this far, I have served the Lord faithfully, I have been very happy in my service to Jesus. I have given it my all, and I feel I have nothing left to give. I feel so spent, so empty, so depleted of energy, strength, patience and love. How can I possibly go on?"

                33.Are you feeling that way? I'm so sorry if you are, but at least I hope it encourages you to know that you're not the only one who is battling such discouragement. And even more importantly, I hope it lifts your spirits to know the Lord understands what you're going through.

                34.But the Lord's message didn't stop there. He didn't just show sympathy and understanding, and leave it at that! He went on to give some very precious counsel--the answer, the solution you need to pull you out of your discouragement! He said:

                35.(Prophecy, Jesus speaking:) "Continue to lean upon Me and My strength. Continue to spend time with Me, drinking of My Word and sucking My seeds, for in them is the strength, the power, the inspiration, the desired energy, the enthusiasm and the help that you desperately seek. For no matter what role you play, and no matter where My voice may call you today or tomorrow, you can do it with the power of My Word upholding and sustaining you.

                36."And when you feel you cannot walk one more step, turn to My Word. Hold it before your eyes, absorb it, think about it, meditate on it and let it fill your very being. For in the days to come, the dark days ahead, so shall it be for all of My children. It shall be My Word and My Spirit that sustains them.

                37."Fear not the days ahead. Fear not how you will make it, for I promise I will help and sustain you. This time is only for a short while, for you will not be tempted above what you are able to bear, and you will soon mount up with the wings of an eagle. You will soon run and not be weary. You will soon walk and not faint. For I the Lord your God am promising you this, and will not fail you." (End of prophecy excerpt.)

                38.(Mama:) What wonderful words of encouragement that you can hold on to and claim. Praise the Lord!

Reason Number 5:

                39. There's another reason why the problems we face seem so big. Sometimes we're tempted to think, "How can we manage this? It's just too much!" Does that ever happen to you? Well, you can be comforted to know that the Lord is allowing it; it's His plan for us all to see how big a job we have to do. He wants us to see the mountain ahead of us. Why do you suppose He does that? So we'll just give up? In one sense, yes, He does want us to give up.--So we'll just give up trying to do it in our own strength, so we'll just come to the end of ourselves and say, "Lord, it's impossible! We know we can't do it. Please do it through us, Lord!"

                40. See, if the problems were any smaller, and we thought we might be able to handle them, then we'd be tempted to try to do it in our own strength. Aren't we all that way? It's just human nature! But if it gets so difficult and so big, then we think, "Look, I can't even begin this, I can't even start to do this! It's impossible!" That's where the Lord wants us to be. That's the point the Lord wants us to reach, so that we'll just give up and start letting Him do it.

                41. So that's another reason why the Lord is allowing so many of these difficulties in the Family, these problems to surge around people's heads, almost flooding them, because He's trying to get through to us all that we can't do it! We don't have the answers, we've just got to let God do it!

                42. So as you can see, there are some legitimate reasons why we are having so many problems right now. Let's review what we've listed so far:

                1) Life is a struggle.

                2) We're still adjusting to the Charter.

                3) It's a time of spiritual testing and purging.

                4) The Devil's on an all-out attack to discourage us.

                5) The Lord wants us to see that the job is too big for us so we'll call out to Him and not try to do it in the arm of the flesh.

All those reasons make sense, don't they?

Reason Number 6--the Major Reason!:

                43.But there is yet another reason that I haven't mentioned--and I think it may be the major reason! If you were to stop for a moment and really think about it, you'd probably guess what I'm about to say, because this isn't something new. It's something Dad has faithfully taught us since the beginning. I'll give you a hint: The Lord already touched on this point briefly in the excerpts of the message you read earlier in paragraphs 35 and 36.

                44. Yes, you got it! It's a lack of the Word--reading it, receiving it, absorbing it, living it! Some of you have a lot of problems personally or as a Home because you're not going to the Word, you're not going to the Lord for the answers you need.

                45.Now think about it for a minute: Honestly, have you desperately sought the answers to your problems in the Word? Have you been studying the Word, applying the Word, pointing others to the Word, and praying about how to put the Word into practice? Have you been receiving fresh new Word daily, direct from Heaven? Have you been obedient to the Word, following the Letters closely? I sincerely believe if you'd take a few minutes to truthfully assess how you and your Home have been doing in this respect, many of you would probably find that there's a correlation between your abundance of problems and your lack of obedience to the Word!

                46. This is a key point, because if you were going to the Lord and His Word for the answers and obeying the Word, your problems would be lessened. Now don't get me wrong, I don't mean that all your problems would disappear, but they would be easier to manage, because you would have a lot of the solutions that you need, and you would see that there are other solutions in sight. You would see the Lord work. You would have the faith that what the Lord isn't doing right now for you, He is going to do in the near future. Just the fact that you would have hope and you would see the Lord fulfilling some of His promises would give you hope that He's going to continue to do that. When you have hope, everything looks a lot better, a lot more positive (Rom.15:13). It's the spirit of a man that sustains him (Pro.18:14). That's what hope is--the spirit of a man sustaining him. Of course, it can sustain you because you hope in the Lord, because you get your help from Him.

Coming Changes!

                47. Peter and I have been aware of the many serious problems of the Family. We've done what we could to seek the Lord about the major difficulties we're facing and address many of them in the GNs.We also discussed many of the problems and prayed about possible solutions during the Summit meeting and in the meeting about GP pubs that was held earlier with representatives from the field.

                48. Recently we received letters from several Family members which outlined in detail their views on all the problems in the Family and the ways in which they feel WS leadership is failing. Peter and Gary also talked personally for many hours with many DO members and TRF Supporters during a recent visit to the U.S., listening to them tell of how things are going in their Homes, what obstacles they face and what their needs are. We also receive regular reports from the CROs and personal mail from many of you, which often contain comments and observations concerning the problems of the Family and possible solutions.

                49.Dear Family, we take your comments, reactions and personal letters very seriously, and we pray about how we as your shepherds can do a better job for you and the Lord. We realize we're not perfect by any means, and we're sincerely looking for ways to improve. I want to thank those of you who have taken your time to think and pray about the problems of the Family and to write us or your local leadership with your ideas, suggestions and comments. We appreciate it very much!

                50.We want to hear from you. In fact, we need to hear from you. I'm sure some of you have worried a little about what you've shared with us or with your CROs, as you don't want to sound like you're doubting, murmuring or complaining. But we appreciate the fact that you care enough about the Family to voice your opinions, and even if it's not easy for you, to share how you feel that we as a Family or we as your WS leadership can do things better. We're in this together, and only as we work together--you and us and the Lord--will we be able to find and implement the solutions He is wanting to give us!

                51. After prayer and counsel with others, we concur that there are definitely some things in WS's mode of operation that need to be reevaluated, and Lord willing, we will be making some changes that will allow us to service the Family better. Some of the changes that we and others feel are needed, and which we hope to bring to pass as soon as possible, are: Reorganizing our pubs units and personnel, in order to place more emphasis on the production of GP tools and get out more Word for the training of our children; more up-to-date news getting to the Family quickly; more visitation from leadership and VSs, quicker response by the CRO offices to the questions and requests from their Homes; streamlining communications, clearance requests, and the procedures for TRF Supporters becoming DO members.

                52.Some of these changes had already been in the works for a while, such as Charter amendments, more streamlined procedures for clearances and TRF Supporters rejoining the DO Family, the appointment and training of VSs, and the establishment of a new WS unit to work exclusively on producing GP books and other GP publications, but such major changes take time. Other changes are much simpler and thus quicker, such as the production of the new pub, "The Grapevine," to process news and information more rapidly and efficiently.

What's the Solution?

                53.During these past weeks when praying about the state of the Family, we have heard from many Family members, both leaders and those at the grassroots level, which resulted in some of the above-mentioned changes. But along with hearing and considering others' opinions and ideas, we knew we also needed the Lord's perspective on all the long-term serious problems that the Family at large is struggling with, and without much improvement. It's these ongoing serious problems that all of us are most concerned about.

                54.It appears to us that many people in the Family have gotten so discouraged and confused that they're now blaming everything on the Family. They don't want to go as far as to say that the Lord has failed, but they come pretty close to it. They say that the Family has failed: "What is wrong with the Family? There is something really wrong with the Family, because look at all these problems! The teens are leaving, the single moms are not getting enough help, we don't have enough finances," and on and on the list of problems goes!

                55.We needed to hear from the Lord concerning these problems. What should our attitude be towards them? What can we do about them? When we desperately prayed and cried out to the Lord for direction, He had Dad give the following message:

                56.(Prophecy, Dad speaking:) Honey, we're in a war, and we need to realize that the Enemy has upped the ante! He knows his days are short, so he's bringing out his big guns. He's going to do everything he can to try to destroy and defeat the Family. He tried to do it through persecution and court cases, and now he's trying through internal discord and discouragement. He's trying to get people's hearts and minds off the Word and on to the problems, off the Word and on to the difficulties, off the Word and on to the defeats. Because if he can get their eyes off of the Word and the Lord's power and everything the Lord is doing, then he will have won a great victory.

                57. He tries to get people distracted with a little here or a little there, or bickering amongst themselves, or doubting and talking negatively, so they don't even see all the great things the Lord is doing. Of course, when people invest so much time in their complaining and murmuring and bickering and fighting and tearing down all that the Lord is trying to do, they don't have time or energy or attention to look to the Lord and His Word, and pray and counsel and do all the things they need to do.

                58.They should be investing every waking minute into the battle at hand! They should invest all of their strength and energy and power into something positive, because there's so much to do! There's so much the Lord wants to do! So many great victories He wants to win! Such tremendous, abundant supply He wants to provide! But He can't, because people are so distracted, their attention is on so many other things, and they're not looking to Him or His Word like they should or could.

                59.So no wonder He can't do the miraculous. No wonder He can't provide the breakthroughs and the open doors and the finances and the love that everybody needs. No wonder they feel that problems are tumbling about them and nothing is going right and everything is falling apart. It's because they're looking down at themselves, at the waves, at the problems, instead of up to the Lord and His promises and His solutions.

                60.Just like I've always said, you can't be positive and negative at the same time. You can't at the same time be talking about all your defeats and your bummers and your disappointments, and still talk about the Lord's promises and victories and His answers to prayer. You can't talk about all your doubts and the lies of the Enemy, and at the same time talk about the Lord's Word and the marvels of His spirit world.

                61.You're either positive or negative. You're either yielding to the Lord or you're yielding to the Enemy. You're either thinking the Lord's good, uplifting, encouraging, productive thoughts, or you're listening to the Enemy's doubts and lies, which just bring about death and destruction.

                62.A lot of people seem to have lost sight of the spiritual warfare. They blame a lot of their problems and disappointments on their brethren or their circumstances or their leaders, and they don't realize that of course there are going to be problems, there are always going to be problems, because life is a struggle and the Enemy is fighting. As long as you're doing anything for Jesus you're going to have problems, because the Enemy will fight you.

                63.The Enemy just jumps for joy and is thrilled when everybody gets their hearts and minds and eyes on the problems--discussing the problems, how great the problems are, how many the problems are, how hopeless the problems are. Because he knows that while they do that, they can't turn their heart and eyes and minds to the Lord's Word where there is true greatness, or to His solutions that are without end, that never fail.

                64.With everybody's eyes focused on the problems, how can they even see the solutions? How can they even find the solutions if all they can see are problems, problems, problems? The problems steal away their faith, because they blame the Word, or they blame the leaders, or they blame the Family--when really it's the Enemy who wants to blow the problems all out of perspective! It's the Enemy who wants to cause them to think about the problems, to lose faith because of the problems, and to lose courage to serve the Lord because of the problems.

                65.You have to raise a standard against the Enemy when he attacks you with doubt and discouragement and hopelessness. You have to keep the problems in perspective and see that they are minor compared to the Lord's great solutions and His promises, which never fail.

                66.The Lord knows about the problems. He's aware, He's burdened, He's concerned, and as long as you look to Him, He'll lead and guide you and give you the answers step by step. But you'll never ever be problem-free--not you folks nor the rest of the Family. And as long as you have to deal with the problems and think about the problems and hear about the problems and get burdened about the problems, you have to take time to look to the Lord and His Word and His promises, and feed on His promises and gain strength from His promises and renew your Heavenly vision. Otherwise, the problems will just weigh you down and drag you down and suck you dry of all your inspiration and faith and courage.

                67.When you feel overwhelmed with the problems and they loom before you and they seem hopeless and invincible, when everything about you is nothing but problems and you feel like you might as well quit, all of you need to realize and remember that that's the Enemy! You've got to take your eyes off the problems and fix them on the Lord and His Word and His promises, and remember and remind yourself constantly, and remind those 'round about you, that the Lord has the solutions and He knows and He cares and He loves!

                68.Those problems are His problems. You don't have to carry them. They're not your responsibility. They're the Lord's responsibility, and He is able to bring the solutions and solve the problems and He knows what's going on.

                69.All of you who have been so embroiled in these problems now need to take time to get your eyes off of the problems and onto the Lord, His Word, His solutions, and His promises. You have to look to God's good guarantees and remind yourself continually that He has never failed us, that in spite of our problems we have continued making progress, winning the world, getting out the Word, winning new disciples, and training our children. He has done it and He is going to continue to do it, because He's the One Who's in control, He's the One Who has the solutions, He's the One Who understands the problems best, and He's the One Who's going to bring the victory!

                70.So those of you who always have to be thinking about the problems, reading about the problems, discussing them, praying about them, writing about them, addressing them for the Family, you must take time to cleanse your mind and encourage your hearts and spirits with the Word. I know sometimes you don't think you have time, or sometimes you don't even want to. Maybe you don't even have the burden to, you don't even feel the need to or the hunger for it, but you have to do it anyway. It is a priority, it is an emergency! It is as necessary as your daily food or sleep or going to the bathroom or having sex or exercising--even more so! You must have the Word if you want to have the Lord's perspective, if you want to have faith and hope and courage to face the problems. How do you think you're going to get it unless you spend time with the Lord and let Him speak to your heart and mind?

                71.So you sure got it right, Honey! You heard the Lord's whispers when He's been speaking to you about the importance of the Word. We're always harping on the importance of the Word, always reminding everybody to go to the Word, to read the Word, memorize the Word, find strength in the Word. But you just have to keep repeating it. You just have to keep saying it over and over and over, because that's the most important thing--the Word!

                72.Even if you have to put off your appointments, your paperwork , all your other business, you have to take time for the Word.--Especially those of you who have had to pour out so much.

                73.You can't get cleansed and strengthened by just relaxing--by having time off, by having free days, by watching movies. Sure, that's needful and it has its place, but it's not going to bring you strength, renewal and faith, and cleanse your hearts and minds of the lies of the Enemy. The only thing that does that is the Word and hearing from the Lord and spending time with Him and loving Him and fucking Him and getting His seeds, becoming one with Him, and letting Him wash you to purify you of the lies of the Enemy.

                74.Everybody has the Word right there at their fingertips. They have endless strength, instruction, encouragement, and the answer to all their problems. Every person in the Family has it equally available to them. It just depends on how hungry they are, how willing they are to take the time to read and study and absorb and believe and put it into practice.

                75.I've said it time and time again. I don't know how many times I've preached this sermon on the need and the importance of the Word. The Word is where the power is, the Word is where the solutions are. The Word is the answer. The Word is the Lord! The Word is it!

                76.That's why, Honey, you can't neglect getting out the Word. I know there're a lot of problems and there're a lot of things to deal with, a lot of emergencies that have come up, but never neglect getting out the Word. That's what has the greatest, most long-lasting, most far-reaching effect--the Word that you put in the hands of every adult and young person and child. That's where the real power is!--Power to change, power to bring about solutions, power to increase faith. It's all in the Word! (End of prophecy.)

The Word!

                77.(Mama:) It couldn't be much clearer than that, could it? So what's the solution?--The Word! Dad is serious about this! And if the Word is a solution for us, your leadership, it should be no less the solution for each of you. People keep wanting new answers to new problems, but the Lord keeps giving the same answer over and over. He is constantly reminding all of us to go to Him, to His Word, to seek Him.

                78.The Word is the answer. And no matter what new problems we come up with, no matter what new day it is or new year, when we ask what the solutions are, He always says the same thing--the Word! No matter how much we want some different answer, when we keep asking, thinking that maybe the Lord has something else to offer, something more to tell us, what it always comes down to is the Word! Of course, within the Word the Lord gives us specifics when we ask Him, but the point I'm making is that it's the wisdom, direction, and solutions we find in His Word that are going to do it, not our own arm, not our own solutions, not the things we think up or decide to try on our own.

                79.I understand that we are struggling with many problems, and those problems, as I pointed out earlier, have various causes. However, regardless of the cause, the solution is always the same. The solution is the Word and going to the Lord to ask Him for His answers, both in the already published Word and the fresh Word that He gives daily in prophecy when you take time to listen to Him. I hope and pray that if we say this enough, if we keep saying it, then it will reinforce this important truth. And you'll see that just because this is a new day, it certainly doesn't decrease our need for the Word! In fact, it makes it even greater!

                80.What does it mean when you depend on something? That means you rely on it, you need it, you miss it when you don't have it, you can't live without it. For example, in the flesh, we depend on food, water, and oxygen. Dad says the Word is even more necessary than our daily food or sleep or going to the bathroom or having sex or exercising. If we tried to go without those things, we wouldn't last long, would we? Well, that's how foolish it is to try to go without the Word!

                81.Of course, you not only have to read the Word and believe it and absorb it, but then you have to put it into practice in your lives and your Home as well. If you just store it up and don't do anything about it, it is not going to do you a whole lot of good. It takes faith, determination and dedication to the Lord to follow what He says, but that's why the Lord gave it, and that's what He expects us to do with it. Just as the Scripture says, "Be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22).

Spiritual Warfare!

                82.Dad explains in the above message that the Enemy is trying to destroy the Family, and because he couldn't do it through persecution and court cases, he's now trying internal discord and discouragement. It's a spiritual warfare, folks, and the Devil is playing for keeps. He's desperately trying anything he can to weaken, distract or divide the Family. He knows if he can get your eyes off the Word, if he can get you talking defeat and murmuring and complaining, then he will have won a great victory! Please don't lose sight of the fact that any present state of discouragement and frustration can be directly linked to the attacks of the Enemy! Let's keep our eyes open to the spiritual warfare. (See Rev.12:12b.)

                83.Ask yourself: Who are you listening to--the Lord, or the Enemy? Whose words do you spend your time thinking about? What do you talk about when you're with your mate, your friends, and your co-workers? How many times lately have some of you perhaps even sat around talking negatively about other Family members, or the recent GNs, or your leadership? How many hours have you spent bickering with others, or complaining about how bad things are going?

                84.When you're so burdened with problems that you feel hopeless and you're tempted to quit, remember, that's the Enemy! He wants you to lose hope! He wants you to quit! That's his goal! So when you're tempted to feel like that, you've got to do all you can to focus your eyes and mind on the Lord and the Word. Remind yourself that the Lord knows about all the problems, but even more importantly, He has the solutions! No matter how dark or hopeless or complicated things seem to be, Jesus knows and loves and cares! He sees what's going on. This is His work and they're His problems! So have faith in Jesus! He's your Husband and Lover and Shepherd and Guide, and He's not going to abandon you or the Family!

It's Up to You Personally!

                85.Dad tells us that there's so much the Lord wants to do, but He can't. He wants to do miracles, open doors, bring in the finances, and supply the love you all need, but in some cases you've tied His hands because you're distracted, your attention is elsewhere, and you're not looking to Him or His Word like you should be. The Lord has limited Himself to work within certain boundaries, so if you're not praying or obeying as you should be, then the Lord can't work or pour down the blessings He would like.

                86. The reason there are so many problems right now in the Family is not because God is failing! That's the point I want to make clear to you!--The problems exist not because God is failing and not because there's something inherently wrong with the Family, but because of the reasons listed above. So you shouldn't blame all your problems on the Family or on WS, or on Peter and me, and certainly not on the Lord!

                87.But even if you do think the Family or Peter and I have failed, even if you personally think major changes are needed in the Family or WS, that still doesn't nullify or limit God's power to do miracles for you personally! God is God!--And if you go to His Word and hear from Him and do what He shows you to do, He'll bless you and supply for you, regardless of what you think might be wrong with WS or your leaders or the rest of the Family! Whether you have God's blessing in your life depends on you and how much you personally and as a Home seek the Lord, depend on Him, and follow the leading of His Word!

                88. You all have the Word. It is available to all of you equally. You have the answers, the solutions, right at your fingertips in the new GNs, as well as in your Daily Breads and Home libraries. And if that's not enough, you can also seek the Lord for personal specific instruction by hearing from Him in prophecy. The Lord says each one of you has access to "endless strength, instruction, encouragement, and the answers to all your problems." It just depends on how hungry you are personally, and how willing you are to take the time to read, study, absorb, believe and put it into practice.

                89.The Lord won't fail you! Even if you think someone else is the cause of your problems, He will come through for you regardless of whatever failures may occur on the part of others, if you'll prayerfully look to His Word and live it! He loves you personally, and He wants to fulfill His promises for you as an individual and for your Home!

                90.There already exists in the printed Word very specific spiritual and practical counsel concerning most of the major problems the Family is facing. So it's not that the issues that concern you have not been addressed, nor that Peter and I are oblivious to them. As I've already stated in this Letter, we realize that problems still exist with many of the situations that have been covered in the pubs. To give a few examples: We know there's still a serious problem with our single mothers not having their needs fully met; you still have financial problems; and you still aren't as united in your Homes as you'd like to be, etc. And while we have given counsel and the Word from the Lord on these and other problem areas, perhaps there is more that we can try to do on a practical level to establish some means in the infrastructure of the Family that would make it easier for you to practice the spiritual counsel given in the Letters. Maybe there is more we could have done, or have yet to do, in order to remedy these and other complex problems. We're always looking for ways to change and improve things or meet new challenges, and we're sorry if at times we've fallen short of responding to the immediate needs as quickly as you would have liked. With so many different facets of the Family, and so many irons in the fire, it's just not possible to concentrate on everything all at once!

                91.But all that aside, in light of the counsel we received from Dad, which you read above, I know that part of the problem--in fact, a very large part of the problem--is that you're not going to the Word that is already published to find the spiritual and practical solutions that are available there, or you're not putting those solutions into practice! You're not living and obeying the instructions the Lord has already given!

                92.We can't make you read the Word, absorb it or obey it. All we can do is get it to you--the rest is up to you! It's up to you to "tap into the power"--of the Word!

                93. Following is a brief list of some of the main Letters that address some of the most serious ongoing problems that you and we are concerned about. I challenge you to read these Letters with an open mind and ask yourself whether you are obeying the Lord's Word, and if not, how you and your Home can apply it more fully and consistently. The answers are there! The Lord has already given you much of what you need, if you'll only avail yourselves of it. And there is more to come!

                94.Please continue reading the rest of this series as soon as possible, because in the next parts I'll do my best to answer some of the questions that I believe are stealing away your faith in the Word. If you really want to recapture your faith and defeat the Enemy, read on! The Lord has the answers for you! He loves you! And so do Peter and I. God bless and strengthen you and help you to resist the attacks of the Enemy!

                Love, Mama

                P.S. While reading the following Letters and pubs, which address problem areas of the Family, if you have any further ideas or suggestions as to what we can do, please communicate with your CROs and Peter and me. We're open to your comments and would very much appreciate hearing from you! Thanks!

Suggested reading list for those who are looking for answers to the most pressing problems in the Family today:

A. Lack of finances:

                "God's Financial Blessings!" ML #2813, GN 527

                "More on George Mueller" ML #2814, GN 527

                "Ask and It Shall Be Given!" ML #2893, GN 578

                "From Poverty to Plenty!" ML #2929, GN 598

                "Dream About Finances!" ML #2937, GN 604

                "How to Have a Happy Home!" ML #2956:124-136, GN 616

                "Finances and Fund Raising!--Part 1," FSM 261

                "Finances and Fund Raising!--Part 2," FSM 262

                "Finances and Fund Raising!--Part 3," FSM 264

                "Finances and Fund Raising!--Part 4," FSM 265

                "Finances and Fund Raising!--Part 5," FSM 271

                (See GN 598, pg.14, for a reading list on finances containing older Letters.)

B. Single Moms:

                "Single Moms--Love Is the Answer!" ML #2953, GN 611

                "Go for the Gold!" ML #2961, GN 657

                "Personal Letters No.5--Comfort to a Single Mom," ML #2979, GN 624

                "Mama's News and Views, Part 1" ML #3046:9-20, GN 675

                "Help From Heaven!" ML #3056:43-89, GN 686

                "Finding God's Loving Solution for Our Single Mothers through Prayer!" FSM 184

C. Dissatisfied young people or young people leaving the Family:

                "Getting Back on Track for Jesus!--Part 1!" ML #2890, GN 575

                "Getting Back on Track for Jesus!--Part 2!" ML #2891, GN 576

                "Getting Back on Track for Jesus!--Part 3!" ML #2892, GN 577

                "When Teens Leave the Family!" ML #2942, GN 608

                "Reassurance and Unconditional Love for Our Teens," ML #2980, GN 625

                "Braving the Winds of Change!--Helping Our Teens to Face the Future!" ML #2981, GN 625

                "A Caution Not to Compromise!" ML #2968, GN 626

                "Personal Letters No.6--Trusting Brings Triumph!" ML #3004, GN 644

D. Discouragement:

                "Dumps!" ML #33, Vol.1

                "The Halloween Wheel," ML #363:51-53,57-58,60-61, Vol.3

                "How to Overcome Discouragement!" ML #2750, GN 500

                "Endure Hardness as a Good Soldier!" ML #2786, GN 515

                "Praise and Sing Your Way to Victory!" ML #2833, GN 542

                "Let Jesus Bear the Weight!" ML #2987, GN 629

                "Be Encouraged!" ML #3047, GN 677

                "Prophecies on Leadership!" ML #3052:127-143, GN 681

(End of Part One--to be continued.)

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family