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PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS!--Part 3      Maria #348           DO 3071               9/96

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

Please read parts one and two of this Letter (GNs 697 and 698) before reading this GN. Thanks!

Table of Contents

                Has the Family "Failed"?    2

                The Winds of Change!       2

                Success and Failure             3

                The Main Thing the Lord Wanted to Accomplish Has Been Accomplished!           5

                Comparing Ourselves to Worldly

                Governments        8

                Are Things Really Going Better Than Ever?   9

                Crossing the Jordan--Fighting a War on Two Fronts!  10

                Why Trials Equal Blessings               12

                Keep Moving with the Cycle of God!               14

                Make the Sacrifice: Stop and Take Time  for the Word!                17

                It Can Be Done!    22

                "Suffer Little Children ..."               23

To my precious Family,

                1.I love you! In part two of this Letter, we talked about two of the ways that the Enemy is trying to steal away your faith in the Word--by causing you to doubt and reject the prophecies in the new GNs, and by making you think that WS is out of touch, so therefore the Word in the new GNs doesn't relate to you. His all-out attack against the Word is not limited to just those ways, however; it's a multi-pronged attack, as first he'll hit you from this angle and then from that angle, trying to see what lies he can get you to swallow.

                2.In this GN, we'll be addressing the following other questions that may be causing you to doubt the Word:

                1) Hasn't the Family failed in many ways, and doesn't that mean the Word has failed?

                2) How can Mama say things are going better than ever, when from my perspective they look like they're going worse than ever? It seems like the Family is falling apart.

                3) There's no time for the Word, so why bother anyway?

Has the Family "Failed"?

                3.A source of discouragement for some of you, which may cause you to doubt the Word, is what you regard as the failures of the Family. We do have some long-term problems in the Family and in some ways they may seem to some of you to be getting worse!

                4.Perhaps you look around and see the same problems month after month, year after year, even after they have been addressed in the publications, and after there have been many pushes in your Home and area, and many resolutions have been made to turn over a new leaf and do better. But still, you see some of the same problems continue: Lack of finances and regular supporters; lack of care for the single mothers; lack of Spirit-led, loving shepherding; lack of loving interaction between brethren and Homes; young people feeling unsatisfied and unchallenged; lack of follow-up and lack of lasting fruit in the form of new disciples, catacombers, outside witnessers, etc.

                5. So some of you feel in your hearts that the Family has failed in some ways, and you wonder why. The Enemy uses these questions to try to sow doubt in your hearts and minds about our past, our future, our lifestyle, and especially the Word. You think the Word must not work, otherwise we wouldn't be having problems--at least not the same problems, and not for so long. Or some may think Peter and I don't know about the problems, or we don't care about the problems, or we don't have the answers, which also makes you doubt the Word and us, your appointed shepherds!

                6.As I said earlier, Peter and I aren't perfect. We are the first to admit that there are some changes needed in the Family, and we are working on them. Our Family has always been subject to constant change, because we're a revolution. We're not stagnant or self-satisfied. We see the need to improve things, and believe me, it weighs heavily on my heart, as well as on Peter's and the hearts of your CRO leadership! We spend a great deal of our time each day discussing, praying about, and hearing from the Lord concerning the problems the Family faces, and the changes that need to be made.

The Winds of Change!

                7.The Lord has spoken a lot about change recently. During a recent top-level WS leadership meeting, He gave the following message:

                8.(Jesus speaking:) The winds of change are blowing! I am blowing fresh, clean, cool air through the old to bring in the new. I am blowing fresh air through your pubs. I am blowing fresh air through your music. I am blowing the fresh air of the winds of change through My Family. My children will breathe deeply of this air and be refreshed and shall feel the coolness of it, and shall delight in it.

                9.These are the days of change, and there is much change now, and much change that will come ahead. I bring about this change for a purpose--to re-inspire, to reinvigorate, and to restrengthen My children. For many have become weary in well doing, and they seek a new thing. And so I give them a new thing. So be not afraid of changes and of new ways, new outlooks, new methods, new modes of operation, new people, new pubs and new music. Be not afraid of these things. (End of prophecy excerpt.)

                10. (Mama:) So you can be encouraged that we see the need to change, and we're continuing to seek the Lord for the changes that are needed to make our Family run more smoothly and bring greater happiness to each individual Family member.

                11. We all are aware that there are problems in the Family, and probably many of you think and pray about different solutions. If you've come up with any ideas of how things can be improved or any possible practical solutions to some of the problems of the Homes, please feel free to send them in. We want to hear from you! We need to hear from you!

                12.I admire those of you who, because you care about the future of the Family, are willing to speak up when you see something that you feel is wrong or that needs to be changed. It's easier, of course, to just take care of yourself, to walk away and ignore difficult situations. But to voice your feelings and ideas, you have to take a risk, you have to be willing to be wrong, and you have to put yourself out on a limb to a certain degree. Peter and I realize it's not easy to express these things, and we appreciate people who speak up out of genuine concern. It takes courage to try to expose problems and find Word-based, workable solutions!

                13.I believe there are quite a few of you who really are concerned about the problems our Homes face, and though you may be battling some doubts or have some questions yourself, you sincerely would like to do something constructive to be part of the solution. I want to channel your energy in a positive direction. I don't want you to feel squelched. However, it is important that you go about trying to improve things the right way, and in the right spirit--that of unity, working together and following the Lord, the Word and the Charter.

                14.If you're battling with some doubts or questions, you don't need to feel condemned, and you don't have to try to hold in all your thoughts, questions and concerns. Please seek counsel. Talk about how you're feeling, what you've seen and experienced, and what you believe needs to be done to change things for the better! But please talk to the right people! Don't just dump your battles or doubts on some poor brother or sister who may also be battling. By doing that, you won't find the answers you need, and you may end up burdening someone else with more than they can bear. Please talk with your shepherds, your VSs, or your CROs, or write to Peter and me! We need to have an open dialogue about the problems we as a Family are facing, so we can work together to find the possible solutions and make things better, so please do communicate! We need you!

                15. I would like to comment, however, that we have heard that there are some folks--both DO members, TRF Supporters and former members--who seem to feel that they are the only ones who really understand what's going on in the field Homes, or who have the burden to do anything about the problems you're facing. Some of these people are going from Home to Home, or person to person, sharing their ideas on how the Family needs to reform in order to rid ourselves of our ongoing problems, such as our financial difficulties, all the while implying that WS isn't doing anything to address or rectify the problems.

                16. Unfortunately, while these folks are sometimes able to accurately define the problems, their ideas and solutions are not always Word-based. Often they're leaning on their own strength, the ways of the world, the ways of Saul, and they're trying to pull as many people their direction as possible.

                17. The people that I'm talking about now generally don't like the New Wine, don't like the direction the Family is going, don't agree with Peter and me, don't agree with WS, think we're basically doing everything wrong and nothing right, but somehow conclude that they have all the answers! They're going around spreading their negative message to others, talking against Peter and me and WS, talking against the New Wine, and talking against what the Lord is doing in the Family.

                18.Remember, there's a big difference between recognizing problems and the need to change and offering helpful criticism and ideas, versus listening to and actively spreading the lies and doubts of the Enemy! As I've mentioned various times in this series, the Devil is trying to get you to doubt either the Word or the Word-givers, Peter and me. So if you or others are looking at the problems or failures of the Family, and you feel you have something to say, that's fine. We want to hear from you! But please be careful and prayerful to make sure you stay in a constructive, positive, full-of-faith attitude. Check your heart and your motives, and whether your spirit is one of unity and closely following the Lord and the direction He has given in the Letters. Otherwise, without realizing it, you may be listening to and even inadvertently broadcasting the lies of the Enemy, which is just what he wants you to do!

Success and Failure

                19. I'm not afraid to admit that the Family has failed in some ways. In fact, I discussed this briefly in my letter to former members which Peter read aloud at a recent TRF Supporter fellowship that he attended. (See GN 696.) We have fallen short of many of our goals. Let's talk further about this, and try to see it in proper perspective.

                20.Failure is a difficult subject to address, to talk about, or to admit, because whether or not the Family has failed depends so much on a person's perspective. How you perceive things depends on what you see, what you experience, and even your own personal accomplishments, failures and successes, as well as those of your field. Failure and success are relative, because whether you think you have failed or succeeded often depends on what your expectations are. What one person may perceive as failure, another person may perceive as success, because their expectations are different; one has set his sights higher than the other.

                21.Not too long ago, Francis, the SGA who works closely with Peter, Gary, Matthew and me, said that sometimes he battles with the feeling that as a Family we are not accomplishing enough, that we are not reaching our goal quickly enough, that of getting out the message to the whole world. He said he knows our Family missionaries are very dedicated, but he sometimes feels we don't seem to be getting all that much done, and he feels that in a lot of ways we have failed to do the job. We've had the right manpower, we've had some fairly good methods, we've certainly had the right message, so he wonders, why do our lasting fruits seem so small?

                22.Many of our Homes in some fields nowadays seem to be so busy with just existing, raising their support, raising their children, and keeping things running, that they don't have much time for real quality witnessing and preaching the Gospel. They want to do more "consider the poor" ministries too, but either don't have the time or the wherewithal or the stick-to-it-iveness to accomplish something real substantial in that area.

                23.Francis said he reads Letters like "Die Daily" and "New Bottles" and he knows that we have done a lot and worked hard, but he feels that, as a whole, the Family has still, after so many years, fallen short of these goals and the commission that the Lord through Dad gave us to fulfill.

                24.I realize that when you look at things in the natural it can certainly seem that way. In fact, you can read many of the Letters, even those from 20 years ago, and it looks like Dad could have written them today, because we are just starting out to work on those things that we were supposed to do years ago. It seems like in some ways we really have stood still or made only partial progress in some areas of our lives and ministries.

                25.So it's true that we have not fully accomplished nor lived up to the Words of David. But remember, Dad was a visionary and he set the standard high, as the Lord instructed him to and led him to, in order to light a fire in our hearts and cause us to redeem the time, to push forth to new fields and new projects and new ministries, to help us to constantly be pressing in and taking the initiative and trying to do all we possibly could for the Lord every day.

                26. The Lord and Dad knew that without a vision the people perish. It was of utmost importance to constantly have the vision before our eyes, the goal, to see the end of the road, because that's what gives us the faith and the courage to fight on! The vision was the constant reminder in our hearts and minds that we, the children of David, are the Lord's elite troops, His avant-garde, those who go where none other has gone!

                27.Years ago when Dad gave us the vision and set the goals, the Lord knew that we weren't going to be able to fully accomplish them; He knew we'd fall short in some ways. But He had to give us those goals to strive for. He had to give us a vision and something to work toward, or we wouldn't have accomplished as much as we have, which is quite a bit!

                28. It's a little like what happened with the Law of Love: The Lord said He knew we would make mistakes by not being as loving as we should have been, but He had to let us learn our lessons anyway, or we wouldn't have learned and grown and been able to set the markers for the following generation.

                29.Outwardly, in some aspects we could and probably should have more lasting fruit to show for our years as a Family, as far as reaching the world. Perhaps it does look like that, comparatively speaking, but we don't want to forget the great accomplishments of the Family!

                30.We have led 19.3 million souls to the Lord, or about 60,000 a month for the past 27 years! In comparison to other Christian groups worldwide, we have probably given out more literature over the years and more of the Endtime warning message than any other group, as well as won more souls through personal witnessing.

                31. It's also true that we have accomplished much more than we can even see through our secondary effect. Many of those who have lived in or been directly influenced by the Family still spread the message, because all that they learned and experienced with the Family and the powerful Word that they absorbed comes out through their words and their sample.

                32. Dad always said that your secondary effect on the world and on hearts, on events, on attitudes, is even greater than your primary effect. Your influence on others who get saved or changed after receiving our lit or witness, and who then tell their friends, family and acquaintances, reaches far beyond what you could ever imagine!The only thing is, you can't always see it or realize it. (See ML #539:1; #540:43-49; #2498:41-56.)

                33. We have forsaken all, put the Lord first, and lived by faith, apart from the System, like no other group has. We have gone into all the world. We've been willing to try to support ourselves in foreign fields where many of us didn't even speak the language, and we've faced many other obstacles as missionaries in difficult foreign fields. We've been willing to bear and care for our many children. We've been willing to learn all the lessons that He has for us, to prepare us for the next life.

                34. We've overcome international media smears and endured AC persecution, and survived! And while we were at it, we got out our message to millions, winning court case after court case, while literally millions of dollars have been invested by our enemies to try to bring an end to our work. We've fought Goliath and he has not defeated us, but we've used the attacks to win many new friends and supporters, and no doubt have made the AC forces, as well as the world, realize we're no pushovers!

                35. People write us, pointing out how such-and-such a church in just a few years has hundreds or even thousands of people in its congregation, how they are reaching their communities, how they are financially stable and seeming to receive so many blessings from the Lord, etc. Sure there are churches who are witnessing, doing good things for their communities, building schools and helping their people. That's true. But they are still embedded within the System, and their principles and message are often quite milky and watered-down in order to appease the status quo.

                36. Hats off to all their sincere efforts, but in contrast, the Lord has called us to be His Jeremiahs of today, His Endtime prophets who have a special message to proclaim, regardless of whether the world will hear it or reject it. If you compare Jeremiah's ministry with the religious orders of his day, his success story compared to theirs in terms of numbers and buildings and organization would appear to have been woefully lacking. He had no disciples, buildings, congregations, etc., but he delivered God's message to the people, and thus in God's eyes he was a success!

                37.And what about the men in God's "Hall of Fame" in Hebrews 11? Many of them even "died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the Earth" (Heb.11:13). They were often rejected by the world, suffered "cruel mockings and scourgings, bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented" (Heb.11:36, 37). So they weren't successful in the world's eyes, but God made them an eternal example in His Word!

The Main Thing the Lord Wanted to Accomplish Has Been Accomplished!

                38. All that to say, I don't think the Lord is nearly as disappointed in us as some of us are in ourselves. In fact, I think that besides fulfilling our Mark 16:15 commission, He is very happy that the main thing that He was trying to accomplish in us has been accomplished! Do you know what that was? It was to bring us to the point where we are now: Humble, because we realize there's more we could have done; desperate, because of all our problems; having nothing in our hands to bring, so we'll have only Him to cling to; open and desperately seeking His answers, because we know we've messed up in many areas. It took Him a long time to get us to this point, to get us humble, broken, willing to be yielded, willing to just be tools in His hands.

                39.Another thing to keep in mind: We couldn't concentrate on everything at once. It has taken us a long time, as a Family, to go through all the breakings that were necessary to bring us to the point where we are now. We've tried to learn our lessons and go through our breakings while at the same time raise our children, run our Homes, and reach the world with the Gospel. We've done something with all of these, but haven't really excelled in any of them, except in the "trials and tribulations" department! We've been sort of "jacks of all trades, but masters of none."

                40.But I'm convinced the Lord has allowed it so that we can't be very proud of our "accomplishments." We can't be highlighted for any particular great achievement, because our time has been divided amongst all these things. The Lord wanted us to do all these things, and all were needful, but we just haven't been able to do everything we would have liked, and we certainly haven't done things as well as we wanted to. But this has kept us from getting proud of ourselves, and I am firmly convinced that it was the Lord's plan that things have turned out the way they have.

                41.You see, the Lord knew what was most important during these years. He knew that our humblings and our breakings and our defeats were more important than our pride in our victories and our achievements. Of course He would have very much liked for us to have gotten out more Word and more message. We have gotten out a lot of meaty message, certainly when compared to the System or other churches, but compared to what we should have done, we've fallen short in that area. But I don't by any means think the Lord considers the Family's attempts to do so a failure!

                42.The important thing was for us to go through our breakings, our humblings, our defeats, and get to the point where we know we need Him, we know we can't do it without Him, we know we're nothing, and we're now willing to do whatever He wants in whatever way He wants it done, when He tells us to do it. He's been preparing us for this time, when it will be vitally important that we get out His message, and the message He wants, the "meat of the Word." He must have our help during these Last Days, because we are going to be some of the only ones with the particular messages and samples that He wants to give the world during this time.

                43.He has had to bring us through these years of struggle and lack of accomplishment to make us desperate to want the answers, desperate to want more of Him, being broken and ready to yield to His new revolutions--praising Him, loving Him, hearing from Him, accepting His will for our lives, having babies, living the Law of Love, living in small Homes, accepting the changeover in leadership, and so many more things. He had to do all these things to prepare us for the big jobs we will yet have to do!

                44.Now is going to begin the very crucial part of our ministry. This is what the Lord has been preparing us for--our unique ministry that others do not have--that of continuing to get out the Lord's meaty message that others are unwilling to give. This is the ministry that we have been prepared for all these years, and one which requires the yieldedness, the brokenness, the humility and the love that we have had to learn through great trials and breakings. These are the days of preparation, yes, but those past years have been the years of preparation, which brought us to the point where we can now prepare by learning to wear these new "garments" He has given us--those of humility, of understanding, of compassion, of praise, of prophecy, of intimacy with Him.

                45.The Lord is much more concerned that we not fail Him in the future than He has been concerned about us failing in the past. If we hadn't made mistakes as a Family and individually, and fallen short of our goals of reaching the whole world, of having all of our children grow up and choose to continue to serve the Lord in the Family, of being great Word warriors, etc., we'd be so self-righteous and self-confident and proud that the Lord wouldn't be able to use us in the way that He needs to use us now.

                46.What we've experienced and are experiencing now are stepping stones to a greater ministry, greater usefulness. He has had to let us fail so that we would be prepared for our future ministry. He has had to let us fail so that we would have more compassion on others and more understanding of what they go through, so we can come down to their level and help them up, not preach down to them.

                47.Therefore the Lord has accomplished more through our failures than He would have accomplished through our achievements. Even now, we need to keep our eyes on the goal and be able to see "the big picture." We need to see that what we are going through now is preparation for the future. For the last few years, as a group, we've been going through purges, breakings and hardships, which has slowed us down a bit, but now the Lord is calling us to break out into greater witnesses for Him, and we're going to see wonderful changes as time goes on.

                48.This really is a new day! Those who faithfully hold on are going to see the Lord come through for them and the Family in wonderful ways that they have not yet seen, and could not have imagined possible! So just know, my dear ones, that you are doing fine as far as the Lord is concerned--even if it looks like we are in pretty bad shape in our own eyes!

                49.One point about you young people: Right now you are having to go through a more concentrated time of testing than we adults, who had much more time to learn the things you are now having to learn. Now, because there is not much time left, you young people are having to go through the same amount of breakings in a shorter amount of time, which is pretty rough. However, the Lord knows you are strong, you've had the Word all your lives, and you can take it, if you'll just hold on to Him.

                50. We adults had to pave the way. He gave us adults our major breakings through the years in between all the other things we needed to do, like raising our children, running Homes, witnessing, etc. These breakings helped to form our character and build our foundation of faith, and now, hopefully, we can help you young people through yours.

                51.I realize there have been many trials, many tests, and many struggles for all of you, both young people and older adults. There have been disappointments. There have been setbacks, but through it all, you've kept the faith, you've continued to follow. Even in the face of difficulty or defeat, you've remained faithful. You've been more than conquerors through your difficulties, tests and trials, both as individuals and as the Lord's body of believers. Of course, we've failed in some ways, but the Lord overlooks it, because the short-term failures have given way to greater successes.

                52.I want to ask you: How do you measure defeat or victory? Simply through accomplishments, statistics or finances, or by any other means of outward appearance? No, I don't think outward appearance is a very reliable way. You should judge defeat or victory by the yardstick of faith, perseverance, dedication, loyalty, and sticking true to the cause and the Word and the message through thick and thin! You have remained faithful and true through these years of preparation. You have been tested and purged, and you have come through white and radiant, and now you're worthy of great reward and fruitfulness!

                53.Yes, these have been years of preparation. But your struggles, tests, trials, losses and disappointments have all worked together for good to teach you greater dependence on the Lord; greater love, understanding, and compassion for others; greater humility, to help you to recognize your need for prayer and for hearing from the Lord fresh every day, and for loving Him intimately above all things, through which you'll find the strength you need to carry on.

                54. You might not feel you have very much to show for your years of service. You might not feel you have been as fruitful as you would have liked. You might not have won as many disciples as you would have liked. You might not have as many regular supporters as you would like. Your "consider the poor" ministries and relations with city officials might not be as strong and fruitful as you would like. Your children might not be as well trained as you would like. In fact, you may not feel that you are as trained as you would like, or that you know the Word as well as you would like.

                55. But what you have learned is humility and dependence on the Lord. These are great and precious gifts that are difficult to recognize, because they are unseen gifts, and they are given only to those who have suffered the years of preparation. This is your greatest success--that you have been made into the vessels that the Lord wants you to be.

                56.In some ways, now we look at our past and we see that we have had our share of success and failure. But the success that we've enjoyed up until this time is nothing compared with the success that will be ours in the years to come, if we stay faithful, obedient and dependent on the Lord. The Words of David will be fulfilled, the vision will become reality, and great success will be the Lord's reward for you, His faithful, humble, desperate children!

Comparing Ourselves to Worldly Governments

                57.We, the Family, can be compared to a worldly government. Unlike conventional churches who have a rather limited scope of responsibilities to their members, we are a new nation. And like any nation, we are responsible to our "citizens" for an enormous range of services--churches, schools, health care, administration, etc.

                58. Of course we have a lot of problems, just like every government is riddled with problems, simply due to the magnitude of the job! Thank the Lord our problems aren't as bad as theirs.The governments of today don't know what to do with their single moms, their financial systems are failing, their political systems are corrupt, their education systems are in complete shambles, their numbers of homeless and jobless are climbing. Crime is on the increase, their jails are overflowing, there are increasing numbers of old people to look after.

                59. In many countries, government has fallen into the hands of very bad rulers who have plunged their nations into a nightmare of fear, death, destruction and chaos. Hundreds of thousands of people in nation after nation are being slaughtered by their own countrymen. Millions more have fled their homes and homelands in search of some place of safety away from the horrors of war and those in power. And even those nations that seem the most stable are often beset by a host of other plagues, pestilences and disasters: a strange outbreak of food poisoning; the epidemic spread of AIDS or some other new or old, but now drug-resistant, disease; widespread crop failures; floods and famines; earthquakes; hurricanes; or the need to clean up contaminated air or water supplies or dangerous nuclear waste.

                60. All the while, these worldly governments try to attend to all the many mundane matters relating to government and nationhood such as trying to collect taxes and manage the nation's income and expenditures, maintain a national defense force, care for the sick, keep law and order and do something about those that break the law, look after the nation's transportation and communication systems, and have some kind of general welfare system to care for those who cannot care for themselves. And worldly governments must continually try to stay in power either through the use of force or persuasion.

                61.When you consider the vast wealth and resources that some nations have use of to do their jobs, and yet see how poorly and ineffectively most worldly governments carry out their duties, the unprayerful decisions being made and the unwise handling of desperate situations, it makes you all the more thankful for the love, unity and good government we enjoy in the Family, flawed though it sometimes is or seems to be.

                62.As a nation we actually do double duty. We not only address and work out our nation's problems, but unlike most nations we exist to serve God and to be a help and blessing to others--which means tackling their problems too! Plus you can be sure that whatever big mistakes or problems other governments or nations make or are having, these will have an impact on our Family, for which we will also have to find His solutions.

                63.When you look at it that way, the success we've had is quite phenomenal. We not only manage to survive, but by the grace of God, in our weakness and dependence on Him, we learn to seek His solutions to problems--and that is the best ability any government can have. We don't have to be perfect or know all the answers ourselves, we just have to hear from the Lord. We may think we've failed, but when we look at what we've accomplished compared to others, we can see that we've been successful! And the Lord is merciful; He doesn't look at how far we have yet to go, He looks at how far we've come.

                64.You may not like the idea that I'm encouraging myself and you by comparing our problems or failures to those of other governments, and finding that ours are small by comparison. Maybe you think that is a cop-out. But I'll tell you, there's nothing wrong with comparing yourself favorably to someone else, because it helps you realize how much more you have or how much better off you have it than someone else. This makes you feel encouraged. It causes you to count your blessings. It's part of having a praiseful and positive attitude. If comparing yourself favorably to others bears good fruit, then it's good. There's nothing wrong with it, and plenty right!

                65.It's like the story that Dad used to tell about Grandmother. During World War II she was traveling by train and was so uncomfortable she couldn't sleep. She complained to the train attendant, who said, "Ma'am, you just think about those poor soldier boys over in those trenches, suffering in the cold and rain and mud, and you'll sleep like a baby!" And sure enough, it did the trick. She realized how good she had it, and then all of a sudden the cold train car and crying babies and uncomfortable seats didn't bother her! She fell asleep and slept soundly the rest of the trip! (ML #1717:29-30).

                66. Maybe you think comparing yourself favorably to others is useless, or some kind of escapism, and that it doesn't do any good because it doesn't change anything, it doesn't remedy any of your problems. Or maybe you don't like this kind of comparison because we're comparing ourselves to the world, rather than to God's ideal that He puts forth in the Word. Well, at least we're looking on the bright side! We're not giving up! And, thank the Lord, He doesn't expect us to be perfect. Of course, we have to have the ideal put forth in the Word so we can know and have a goal, but the Lord knows we can't always live up to it fully. Even though we often fall short of the goal, we need to try to do our best, and the Lord will be happy if we do as much as we can.

                67. The most important thing now is to set our sights on the future and to be faithful to the vision and instruction and plan for the future. The past is past, and nothing can be undone or changed, but the future is a blank sheet, and what will be written on that sheet still remains to be seen. So focus on the future! Concentrate on the future, where there's life and hope, where progress will be made, victories will be won, problems will be overcome and failures will be forgotten. Praise the Lord!

Are Things Really Going Better Than Ever?

                68. Now that I've spent so much time talking to you about the problems and failures of the Family, you might be tempted to conclude, "The Family is falling apart!" Well, Grandpa, who has the choice privilege of now being able to see what is going on in the Family worldwide from his vantage point in the Heavenlies, continues to assure us that the Family is doing well: Souls are being won and the Word is getting out. Just because people are fighting big battles and some young people are even leaving, that doesn't mean things are falling apart. The greater the battles, the greater the victories.

                69. Just because you have a big battle doesn't necessarily mean anything is wrong; in fact, it usually means that there is so much right that the Devil is scared out of his wits. Although some of our young people are leaving, that doesn't mean you should just blame the Family. You need to remember that they're making certain choices right now, and the Lord is going to teach them through these choices, just like He is teaching everyone through their choices. (More coming, Lord willing, on the subject of our young people leaving the Family.)

                70.It's like Peter said recently in his introductory letter to The Grapevine: "Whether you know it or not, we are one of the biggest news-making religious groups on the face of the Earth! We cover the globe--winning souls, reaching the lost, helping the poor, singing, performing, risking our lives--all to preach the Gospel. We have miracles happening every day all around the world--miracles of supply, miracles of healing, miracles of Salvation, miracles of discipleship, and many, many more.

                71."The Family has problems, too. That's for sure. But we are on the move, growing, progressing, changing, and doing the main job that the Lord has commissioned us to do, and that is to preach the Gospel to every creature everywhere. We're doing it and we should be proud of it. We certainly could be doing more, and we can't rest on our laurels or feel like we've 'arrived,' but we should be proud of how much the Lord is able to do through us despite our weaknesses and failings, praise the Lord!

                72. "Our Family accomplishes incredible things every day! If you only knew how much is happening through each one of you around the world, you wouldn't be tempted to wonder that 'the Family is not doing much,' or is 'falling apart,' as we've heard some people say."

                73.(Mama:) The Family overall is doing very well, perhaps better than ever. But I think you still might wonder how I can keep saying that things are getting better, especially if in your Home things aren't getting better. Maybe from your perspective, many of the Homes or people's personal situations seem to be doing worse. You see young people leaving, you have to fight for finances, single moms are struggling, there's a lack of love and unity in the Homes, people are discouraged, etc., so according to your natural understanding, it doesn't look at all like things are going better.

                74. Maybe that's one of the reasons some of you think Peter and I are "out of touch," because we speak so positively of all the wonderful things the Lord is doing, but you don't see it. Or you see the many promises in the prophecies, but from your perspective you can't see them being fulfilled.

                75.I knew the Lord had an explanation for this seeming conflict, so I asked Him to please expound on this and give us more insight, so we could understand more fully. As always, He was eager to explain, giving the following message.

Crossing the Jordan--Fighting a War on Two Fronts!

                76.(Jesus speaking:) These are days of change. The winds of change are blowing. There is much turbulence, much testing. Some things have gotten worse before they can get better. So many ask, "How can the king and queen tell me that things are going better than ever when I look around me at my personal situation, my Home, the affairs in our city, and it seems worse than ever! It seems that we have more problems and more difficulties and more obstacles to overcome than ever. Things are not going better, they're going worse!"

                77.But I say that My Family, My children, are crossing the Jordan. They feel the waters swirling around their feet, and the current is strong and the waters are deep. They feel they are about to be swept away. They are caught up with the fight to survive. Their full attention is on the immediate dangers and their battle to make it to the other side. But in spite of the difficulties they endure, and the danger and the peril that is so apparent to them, from My vantage point I see that they have gained much more than they have lost.

                78. As they have ventured out to cross the Jordan they have made a great step forward. It is progress and victory that they have been willing to take that step and embark upon something new, to follow the king and queen into the unknown, to be willing to take risks, to lose sight of the shore while searching for something better, something greater, something that will be more effective and more fruitful.

                79.Before My children started to cross the Jordan they were busy with their service for Me, doing their best to obey Me and please Me, but they did not have to contend with the raging currents and the deep waters and the feeling of insecurity as they pass through uncharted waters. Now My children continue to do their best for Me--to serve Me and please Me and get out the message and train their young ones--but at the same time they are required to fight the deep, strong currents of the Jordan, brave the unknown, and walk in unsure paths.

                80.Because of the coldness of the water and the strength of the current, and because the path by which they must walk is deep and raging, this has consumed the attention of My children. They do not realize nor take note that they continue to do their work for Me, to do their best for Me, getting out the message, caring for their little ones, being faithful day by day. This is overlooked because they are in the midst of what seems to them a greater and more imminent battle, that of crossing the Jordan. All they can see are the dangers and the risks and the losses.

                81.But from My vantage point I see the picture as it truly is. I see that My children remain faithful and diligent in their service for Me, and yet at the same time they are courageous and daring in their willingness to cross the Jordan. It is a great feat and it is a great accomplishment, for they carry a double load--not only the load of their evangelism and the training of their young ones and the care of their Homes, but also the load of personal burdens and battles, as they struggle with the deep waters of the Jordan.

                82.I am well pleased with their willingness, with their faith, and with their yieldedness, in that they have been willing to lose sight of the shore and to take on a double load by faith, trusting in the words of the king and queen who call them from the other side, telling them it is worth it, that things will get better, things will be better as they go to a land of milk and honey and great promise and great blessing.

                83.I am well pleased with these, My faithful children, for each day that passes they hang on and they endure and they continue to fight and trust and struggle through the Jordan, and struggle with their daily responsibilities. It is as if they are fighting a war on two fronts and it seems to them that they are not making progress on either front. I can see that they are making great progress on both fronts, but the progress is hidden to them because their eyes and attention are fully on the battles at hand.

                84. The clanging of swords and shields fills their hearts and minds. They feel the waters rushing strongly about their ankles and their knees and their bodies and their necks, and they think that the deep waters might overtake them. But still they continue to progress step by step, and with each step they draw closer to the shore, closer to the Promised Land, closer to crossing the Jordan.

                85.The faith, endurance and fighting spirit of My children is a great thing. I rejoice to see their endurance, their perseverance, their willingness to cross the Jordan in spite of the difficulties, in spite of the temporary setbacks, in spite of the extra weight and burden and work. And when, in the midst of the battle, it seems it has not been worth it, that it has cost more than has been gained, I say this is not true. For I see all the victories that are being won now, all the lessons that are being learned, and all the blessings that are being poured forth--not only now, but those that are being prepared to be poured forth in the very near future.

                86. Things are going better than ever because you are closer to the goal, and the crown is descending and just about to be placed upon your heads--the crown of victory, the crown of faith, the crown of obedience. That which you have had to take by faith, you will soon be able to see and feel and hold. My promises which now seem so distant and abstract will soon become a reality, and you will have tangible, notable proof of My blessings in your lives. For once you have passed through the fire, through the floods, through the time of testing, then you will enter the land of milk and honey that will overflow with My blessings of fruitfulness and riches and abundance. Then you will be able to look back and understand that it is a great thing to follow, to walk the path of My will, to say "yes," to be willing to endure hardship and difficulty and loss for the sake of pleasing Me.

                87. I see where you are going, where you are headed and the glories that await you. With each passing day that you continue to follow, to yield and to obey, regardless of how difficult it seems or how little you understand what's happening round about you, you come closer to the blessing and closer to the fulfillment of My promise before you.

                88. Now, My dear precious ones, you are more than halfway through the Jordan! Now you are not going in to the Jordan, but you are coming out of the Jordan! So stand strong and hold fast to the promises and to the crown. Fight the current with all that is within you, and make your steps sure and steady. Look to Me and hold on to My hand, and I will keep you safe the rest of the way. (End of prophecy.)

                89. (Mama:) This is a time of change, testing, and turbulence. Jesus paints a very clear picture when He reminds you that you're crossing the Jordan. Crossing a river isn't easy! It takes strength, perseverance and courage! And sometimes it can be pretty scary! You often can't see the bottom, you don't know how deep the water will be where you take your next step; and the strong current, along with the slippery pebbles beneath your feet, makes it a very precarious trek!

                90. When you're in the midst of a raging river, with the water rushing furiously around you, sometimes all the way up to your neck, of course you're going to be preoccupied with the "troubles" at hand. You're going to be putting all your attention on surviving! That's what the Lord says you're doing now. You're afraid you're about to be swept away, so you're caught up primarily with the fight to survive. You're concentrating almost entirely on making it to the other side.

                91. You don't see anything but the dangers of this adventure. But the Lord, from His vantage point, can see that you've already gained much more than you've lost, because you've been willing to even try to cross the Jordan! Just the fact that you've been willing to take a risk and do something new and different is progress and a victory.

                92. Before you ventured into the Jordan, you were already busy trying to do your best for Jesus. You already had your hands full with your work for Him--witnessing, training your kids, raising support, doing "consider the poor" ministries, etc. But now, not only do you have to worry about all that, but you also have to try to keep your head above water, stay alive, and make it to the other side of the river! You're still being faithful with your work for the Lord, you're still doing the best you can, but you don't really notice that because your attention is completely caught up in the more imminent battle of crossing the Jordan.

                93. You don't realize that you're now carrying a double load! You think you're barely making it, but actually you're doing wonderfully! Jesus sees your faithfulness and diligence in your first load, that of evangelism and the care of your Home and children; and He also sees your courage with your second load, that of battling with the deep waters of the Jordan.

                94.You're fighting a war on two fronts. It doesn't seem to you that you're making any progress at all, because all you see are the battles, but the Lord sees that you're making great progress on both fronts. You're already winning victories, learning lessons and benefiting from His blessings, but there are more to come in the near future!

                95.The Lord says, "Things are going better than ever because you are closer to the goal, and the crown is descending and just about to be placed upon your heads--the crown of victory, the crown of faith, the crown of obedience. That which you have had to take by faith, you will soon be able to see and feel and hold. My promises which now seem so distant and abstract will soon become a reality, and you will have tangible, notable proof of My blessings in your lives." Of course, exactly how soon these promises will be fulfilled, we don't know. But we do know that it's certainly worth it to hang on!

                96. You're more than halfway through the Jordan. Now you're not going in to the Jordan, you're coming out of it. Maybe you've crossed a river or lake some time, when you've been swimming for what seems like an eternity. You're so tired, and you don't know if you're going to make it, but when you turn around and look back, and see the great progress you've made, it gives you a boost to keep going. You know you can't stop, and if you've made it that far, you've got to make it the rest of the way! Praise the Lord!

Why Trials Equal Blessings

                97.It's wonderful to have the Lord's explanation of why things may seem to some of you to be going worse, when He knows they're going better. Still, I can see that this might be difficult for you to accept or apply to your life if you personally are facing major battles or setbacks.

                98. In part one of this Letter, I quoted from a prophecy in which the Lord said, "trials equal blessings." While that sounds good in theory, it's hard for a parent when their teen leaves the Family to believe that that's a blessing! Or when your Home doesn't have much money and you're really struggling, living hand-to-mouth, and you have been for a long time, how is that a blessing? Or if you're a single mother with lots of little children who require so much care and shepherding and training, but you can't seem to find the time or strength to give them what they need, that doesn't look like a blessing, does it? I figured you'd wonder how those kinds of trials can by any stretch of the imagination be looked upon as blessings.

                99. I know it's true; trials do equal blessings, because the Lord said it. And this is not the first time He's said it; as we know, the trial of our faith is more precious than gold! (See 1 Peter 1:7.) Dad has also made this clear in the Letters. (For example, see "Beauty for Ashes," "Greater Victories," and "The Benefits of Backsliding," just to name a few.) However, I knew it would be a help to you for Him to explain further how these heartbreaks and hardships that you may be experiencing can actually be blessings. We could ask you to just take it by faith, but when you are in the midst of heavy battles which threaten to overwhelm you, I wanted the Lord to give you something further to increase your faith. Below is the message the Lord gave.

                100. (Jesus speaking:) Man sees not as I see. For I see not only the moment, but I see the past and the future. I see not only what the person is suffering and enduring, but I see the work of My Spirit that is being performed on their hearts, and I see that they are being fitted for greater battles in the future. Those who are caught in the midst of hardship and sacrifice and heartbreak see only the losses of today. They do not see what will be gained on the morrow. But I live in the eternal now and I see the good fruits, the benefits, the strength, the understanding, the compassion, the faith, the trust, the love that will be borne through enduring such hardship.

                101.Those who suffer loss, whose circumstances are difficult, those who battle long and hard to make ends meet, those who weep over the choices of their children, those who are lonely and feel alone and feel the weight, the responsibility of their children and the affairs of their Homes without someone to lean on and care for them, have a short-sighted vision. They see and feel and understand only the pain, the difficulty, the suffering. It seems to them that My promises have failed, that I have not kept My Word, I have not cared for My Own. They feel that My Love is hidden, that I have gone away on a long trip and I have left them to fend for themselves. They feel that I do not care, I do not understand, for they feel that I have not provided the protection, the supply, the love, or the answers to prayer that they were expecting.

                102.But I say that these sufferings and these heartaches and these disappointments are not the result of My failures or My lack of love for you. They are not because I have left off from hearing your prayers or I have cut off My Love for you.

                103.There are many different reasons and causes for the tests and the trials: Some are due to the choices that people make, choices which are out of My hands and out of My control. Some are due to the lack of love of the people and their disobedience to My Word. Some are from the hand of the Enemy, but with My permission, to be a test and a trial. Some are the natural consequences of decisions that have been made, decisions that were not of Me, that were not in accordance with My Law of Love, decisions that were not loving and sacrificial and based upon the principles of My Word.

                104.Difficulties, tests, trials, heartbreaks, suffering and disappointments come from many causes and for many reasons, but regardless of why they have come or what the reason, you can rest assured that all things work together for good to them that love Me. Because you love Me I can take even these trials and turn them into blessings.

                105.If you could see as I can see--beyond today, beyond this moment, beyond the pain which you are feeling--then you would better be able to understand why trials equal blessings. You would better be able to understand why this loss, this ache in your heart, this time when you are being sorely tempted and tested, will with time become a blessing to you.

                106. The secret to understanding, the key to understanding, is in the phrase "with time." As you believe by faith that My hand is on your life and that all things work together for good, with time, that which you believe by faith you will understand and see, and it will become a reality in your life. (End of prophecy.)

                107.(Mama:) Jesus sees things so differently than we do. I understand that if your teen daughter or son has left the Family, or if you have a serious ongoing affliction, or if your Home is barely making ends meet, or if you're a single mother with many little children and you're so tired and lonely and about at wits' end, it's hard to look to the future and trust that good will come out of what you're suffering. But the Lord sees the future. He doesn't just see the battles, but He sees how the Spirit is working in your life and preparing you for greater victories ahead.

                108.The Lord is trying to get you to have a more far-sighted vision, to truly put all of these battles, tests and disappointments in His hands, and be willing to believe and trust that all things do work together for good, because you love the Lord, and He loves you! I know Romans 8:28 is a well-known verse that we quote often, but please don't allow yourself to lose the power of this promise by growing familiar with it. The Lord means what He says. All things do work together for good for you personally, and that is a promise that you can cling to and count on, as the loving words of a faithful Husband to His Bride!

                109. These trials and losses that nearly tear your heart out may not seem like much of a blessing now, but if you can trust the Lord and hang on, with time--emphasis on "with time"--they will be. The Lord will work in the lives of everyone involved, and eventually you will see His promises become a reality for you. Please hang on! Jesus loves you and He won't let you down!

Keep Moving with the Cycle of God!

                110.Just as I was about to finish this GN, one morning when Peter and I were having our daily prayer and prophecy time, the Lord gave a message that is very apropos. We didn't ask the Lord to speak on any particular subject; we just came before Him in prayer and asked Him to give whatever message He knew we needed.

                111.As I have explained before, sometimes we like to do that, rather than always coming to the Lord with our specific questions. Of course, when we ask the Lord to tell us whatever He wants us to do, we have to be willing to do it. We have to be yielded to obey. That's why we ask, because we want to do what the Lord wants.

                112.Sometimes we're a little scared at what He might tell us, but we shouldn't be that way and we don't want to be that way, because we know that He never tells us anything that will hurt us or be bad for us, and He always does it with great love and wanting the best for us. We know what He says might not be too easy, or some of it might be surprising, but that's why we ask, because we know He might have things for us that we were not already planning. We want to be willing to change and willing to go His direction and do things His way. Below is my prayer and the Lord's answer.

                113. (Mama prays:) Lord, we're so nothing! We don't know what we're doing. We haven't a clue without You. Jesus, we really, really desperately need You! We're just like little kids. We don't even know where we're going, and we would surely be stuck if we didn't have You, if we couldn't hold Your hand and let You lead us along. Please, Jesus, we have all these major decisions to make, all these important matters to attend to, and we in ourselves don't know what to do. Even the matters that seem small are also big, because those details are important to Your work and Your Family.

                114. We need You, Lord, and we love You, and we want to do Your will. We want to do what You want us to do. We want to show our love by our yieldedness and our obedience to You. We are yielded to You. We just want You to tell us whatever You want. Lord, whatever it is, we want to obey it. We want to sign that blank sheet of paper and do whatever is necessary. So help us, Lord. Whatever You know we need now, please tell us. Give us Your guidance and instruction so that we can stay close to it, and stay on track.

                115. Lord, help us all! Help the CROs, help the VSs, help Peter and Gary and me, help us all to take the time with You that we should--to rest in You, to hear from You, to hear Your Words, to meditate, to relax, to spend the time with You that You've told us You want us to take. Help us to take that time to be filled with You, which shows that we're not running this great work, but You are. You really do want to show that You are taking care of things, You're running things, and we don't have to go running around feverishly, frantically, trying to do it ourselves. That's such an important lesson that takes us so long to learn. We don't know if we'll ever quite learn it completely. But please keep telling us, keep teaching and training us, and help us to do it.

                116. Now please speak to us, Lord, on whatever subject you know is best. Please help Peter to be a clear channel, to focus and concentrate. Thank You Jesus!

                117. (Jesus speaking:) I have kept you through all things--through the trying times, the testing times, the purging times. And there are cycles--cycles in which things go well, and then they go bad, and then I bring forth victories and they go well again. You must hold on to Me, seek Me and follow Me through each phase of the cycles. For I lead you, and I guide you, and I bring you through these things. I allow problems so that you will face the challenges, and so that you will seek Me and you will find My answers and give them forth for My children.

                118. I test and I purge even you, to make you white, to make you ready, to make you desperate, to make you cling to Me. So think it not strange concerning the fiery trials which test you and try you. For I allow these things--to move you, to change you, to test you, to purge you, to cause you to seek Me, to make you face the challenges, to make you pull out the sword of the Spirit of My Word, to make you hold up the shield of faith and to make you fight!

                119. But do not let these things discourage you, for they are cycles, and I always bring you through them. But in order to go through them, you must stand strong, you must seek Me, you must fight, you must take up the challenge, you must work. And then, through all of this, I bring forth the victory.

                120. So when you are faced with these obstacles, these tests, these trials, do not let them discourage you. Do not be downcast about them, or worried that they will not be solved, or that victories will not be won; for I say to you, they will, for it is part of the cycle. But you must go through this portion of the cycle to come out at the other end with victory.

                121. Look back upon the past and think of the times of testing, the times when it looked like you were defeated, the times when you felt like giving up, the times when the problems swirled about you. But because you hung on, you went through the cycle, you sought Me, you fought, you received My answers and you implemented them, victory was brought about. Remember this; always remember this.

                122. Remember that there are cycles that you pass through. But when you are in the lowest part of the cycle, that is when you must cry out to Me and hang on to Me and trust Me the most, because all about you looks like tests and trials, like defeat and discouragement. That is when you must look to Me, and I will guide you and direct you to bring you out of that portion of the cycle, and into the victorious portion.

                123. When all is dark and you cannot see, when all seems to be defeat, or when there are problems that you are facing that you do not see the answers to, just seek Me and trust Me, for I will show you. I promise you this: If you call out to Me, I will answer, and I will show you great and mighty things that you know not!

                124. So do not look at these setbacks, these tests, these difficulties as defeat; look at them as stepping stones to the victory, stepping stones to progress. If you did not have some of these tests, these trials, these criticisms, people speaking against you and fighting against you, if you did not have these things, you would become complacent, you would not strive to move forward, you would not try to solve the problems, you would not desperately seek Me for the solutions, for the answers. But I have allowed things to happen around you to move you.

                125. So do not be fearful or worried, but rather be challenged, and know beyond the shadow of a doubt that My answers are there, and that as you seek Me, I will pull you out of that portion of the cycle and into the other. But if you seek Me not, if you do not take up the challenge, if you do not cry out to Me, if you do not look to Me for the answer, if you do not desperately cry out to Me, then I cannot bring you through the cycle. Because this is the dynamics of the cycle--that you must cry out and call out and seek Me and face the challenge, so that it brings forth the victory.

                126. That's the purpose of the cycle: that when the problems and the difficulties arise, you rise up to meet them in faith. You fight and you win, and that brings forth the next portion of the cycle: the victory, the progress, the forward movement. And then you are faced with new challenges, new fights and new tests, and you must once again fight and take up the challenge and seek Me, cry out to Me, that you may overcome these tests and trials, and that you may then move out of that portion of the cycle, and again into the victory. And again, there come more tests, more trials, more challenges, and again, you seek Me, obey Me, and that brings forth the victory.

                127. Like a wheel, the top goes down to the bottom and comes up to the top again, and that is motion, and that moves the vehicle forward. And that's what these cycles do--they move you forward. So do not look at them as defeats or weights, but as challenges, as a way to make forward motion. And yes, I know it is difficult to fight your way through. I know it is difficult to face the problems, to face the challenges, to seek Me for solutions and to implement them, but as you do, it brings you out of the decline of the cycle, the low point of the cycle, upward to the victory, the high point of the cycle. And so you move round and round and round. As a wheel that turns and makes forward motion, so do My Family, My children, move forward.

                128. But if at any time you do not seek Me for the solutions, you do not take up the challenges, and do not fight the fight and overcome, then it is as stopping the cycle, as in putting the brakes on, so that you remain at the low point of the cycle, and there is no forward motion, and the vehicle just sits, going nowhere. So must you take up these challenges and these fights, and so must you seek Me, and so must you win the victories, so that the cycle can be ever turning, ever revoluting, ever moving forward.--So that you as a person, you as a Home, you as an area, you as the complete Family, will constantly be moving forward, growing, going on, ever upward, ever forward and on to victory!

                129. So take up the challenge! Stand and fight! Seek Me! Love Me! Stand strong in faith and in My Word! Implement it! Live it and do it, so that you will be ever moving with the cycle of God, the cycle of victory, the cycle of progress, the forward motion that I wish for every one of My children to make. Keep moving forward, keep overcoming, keep standing up to the challenges, fighting through to victory! Keep seeking Me, keep obeying Me, and keep moving forward, onward and upward, until you arrive at your final destination, which is in My arms, together forever with Me! (End of prophecy.)

                130. (Mama:) As the Lord says above, our lives for Him progress in cycles, like a wheel, turning round and round. Sometimes we're "up," when things are going well and we're winning victories, and sometimes we're "down," when things aren't going well and we're battling. The Lord allows the different phases of the cycle, and if we meet the difficulties in faith, we can ride out the cycle and continue moving forward, making progress.

                131. He has many purposes in the tests and problems we face: to move us, change us, test us, purge us, and to make us fight and get desperate and cling to Him. He uses these things to help us to not get complacent, so we'll continue to face the challenges, and try to solve problems and move forward, by seeking Him for answers.

                132. In the above message, the Lord gives abundant instruction about what to do when you're in the midst of the trying times: Don't yield to discouragement; trust the Lord; stand strong; seek the Lord; fight; take up the challenge; work. He reminds you that when you're at the lowest point, that is when you have to cry out to Him all the more desperately, and hang on and trust Him the most.

                133.One of the keys to overcoming is to remember the times in the past when you battled and the Lord brought you through. The Lord says, "Look back upon the past and think of the times of testing, the times when it looked like you were defeated, the times when you felt like giving up, the times when the problems swirled about you. But because you hung on, you went through the cycle, you sought Me, you fought, you received My answers and you implemented them, then victory was brought about. Remember this; always remember this."

                134.I imagine you can all look back and remember times when you were really on the bottom. You were discouraged, bummed out, frustrated, and things looked pretty hopeless. But much more importantly, you can also see how the Lord pulled you through those times, because you trusted Him and sought His help. If you're going through a low ebb now, if you're on the bottom of the wheel's cycle, don't worry; just hang on. The Lord has the answers, and as you seek Him, He'll pull you out of that lower portion of the cycle and up to the upper one, the victorious one.

                135.But the Lord warns that when you're down, if you don't take up the challenge and cry out to Him, then He can't bring you through the cycle. That's the dynamics of the cycle, that's how it works. If you don't seek the Lord and fight to overcome, then the cycle stops. When you quit fighting, it's like putting on the brakes. Then you remain at the low point; you don't move forward or go anywhere. So please, my dear ones, do all you can to keep moving with the cycle of God, the cycle of victory, the cycle of progress. Keep spinning, moving forward, overcoming, standing up to the challenges, fighting through to victory, seeking the Lord, obeying Him, and moving forward, onward and upward! Praise the Lord!

Make the Sacrifice: Stop and Take Time for the Word!

                136.So far in this series, I've addressed several ways that the Enemy attacks your faith in the Word, which causes you to either not look to the Word as you should, or not believe it, or not have the conviction to obey it. These attacks include:

                 Trying to get you to doubt and therefore reject the New Wine (especially the prophecies in the new GNs).

                 Tempting you to think that Peter and I and those in WS are so "out of touch" that we couldn't possibly know enough about what's going on to write Letters that would relate or actually answer your questions.

                 Making you think the Family has failed in many ways, which implies that the Word has failed.

                 Telling you the Family is falling apart and things are going worse than ever, which also indicates that the Word doesn't work.

                137.Those are some pretty strong attacks of the Enemy. But there's another way he steals away your faith that's a little more practical or logistical, and that is your thinking you don't have time or can't take the time to read or study the Word!

                138.Remember, in the first part of this series Dad reminded us in no uncertain terms that the Word is the answer! He said: "You must have the Word if you want to have the Lord's perspective, if you want to have faith, 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?

                139. "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!

                140. "The only thing [that brings you strength and renewal and faith, and cleanses your hearts and minds of the lies of the Enemy] 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. Everybody has the Word right 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.

                141. "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!"

                142. Do you think that message is sinking in? Are we getting it? Are we understanding and grasping the importance of the Word? Are we reading the Word faithfully, diligently and with open, hungry hearts? Are we putting it into practice daily in our lives and Homes? I certainly hope so, because realizing our need for the Word is one of the most important lessons we need to learn! The Word is the foundation of our spiritual lives, and knowing and depending on the Word is absolutely crucial if we want to be successful for the Lord!

                143. Now you may be saying, "But Mama, you don't understand. You can take the time, and you can get in the Word, but boy, when you have 20 kids all yelling at the same time, and wanting to be fed, some wanting to be diapered, wanting to be taught, and you're getting witnessing teams ready to get out the door, and people are in disagreement about where they should go and what they should do, and you're trying to decide on who you can call to provision some bread, it's chaos!--How can we possibly take time for the Word under those circumstances?--And even more so, how could we even think about getting alone in a place that is quiet enough to have some prayer time and to hear anything fresh from the Lord in prophecy? That's an impossibility! So, sure, you're giving us the Word, you're telling us what to do, but how can we do it?"

                144. Well, how can we do it? Looks like a pretty impossible situation, doesn't it? But are those circumstances a legitimate excuse? You always have time for something if you make time for it, and making time for the Word, prayer and hearing from the Lord can save you time in the long run.One example happens to come to mind. Katie, a new SGA in our Home, shared the following testimony:

                145. (Katie says:) "We had 32 people in our Home, most of them teens and young people, including two YA single moms. One day we got a phone call from our king at 7:00 A.M., letting us know that due to some of the New Wine that he had heard about, he could no longer support us in any way, and that we needed to be out of his house in only 11 days.

                146. "At first it was a real shock. We weren't even awake yet, ha! Another SGA and I got the Home together and explained the situation. It was heavy, as we were really on our own, and everyone was pretty shook up and ruffled, to say the least. But then we all heard from the Lord together. He spoke so beautifully, and it right away gave us a different perspective on things.

                147. "He explained that it was part of His plan--that He was proud of us for being willing to be strangers and pilgrims, that He had prepared a place for us, that we should be honored to be suffering persecution for the Word, etc. He even sent a few of the great fathers of faith, like Abraham, to tell us their testimonies. It was thrilling! Of course, that helped put everyone's heart at peace, and it calmed our spirits, especially those of our dear mommies who were a bit worried about where we would be going, etc.

                148. "After that, we were able to make a basic battle plan of how to proceed with the packing, etc. We had daily prayer and prophecy meetings as a Home and teamwork on where to go and all the details. I guess the moral of the story is that we heard from the Lord in prophecy, and through following step by step what He showed us we were able to be completely out of the house, with all bases covered, make the repairs and do the legal work, and find new Homes for all our Home members, etc., in just eight days. What a miracle!"

                149. (Mama:) Even under extreme circumstances, the Lord can do it, if you stop and hear from Him and do what He shows you to do! Well, on a daily basis, when you've got little kids running around and you parents are completely involved with your kids and you've got to tend to them, those are pretty pressing obligations. Or, if the rent is due in a few days, or you've got utility bills coming up, and you have to get out and raise the money you need, those are pretty pressing obligations too. And of course, the overwhelming temptation is to think, "We've got to do something, and do it immediately!"

                150. But when that happens, the Lord has said over and over that we need to stop and pray desperately. We need to stop everything, no matter what, and seek Him, read the Word, and pray! Even if you have to fast because you don't have food to put on your table for a day. Well, you certainly need to give the kids something, but you adults can fast, pray, and get desperate with the Lord!

                151. Forget running around like a chicken with your head cut off! Forget all that! Get down to business with the Lord, and see what's wrong! See what He wants to do! Ask Him to supply for you! Ask Him where He wants you to go! You don't have to take all day or even half a day to hear from the Lord! Even if you just spend an hour or two, and stop and pray and get your direction from Him, you'll be surprised at what a difference it will make! In a recent prophecy the Lord said:

                152. (Jesus speaking:) Look to My Own sample. For when I was faced with the crowds and the multitudes, I knew I could not solve the problems. How was I ever going to come up with enough food to feed 5,000 people from a mere five loaves and two fishes. That was an impossible task! But I did not worry about it! I could not worry about it. I only had to accept by saying, "Yes, Father, You are right, I cannot do this. I cannot, but You can." And My Father did! He did what I, in My human strength, could not do.

                153. And you know, I did not feed those 5,000 by organizing fishing boats and sending My disciples out to catch fish first thing. I fed the 5,000 by quiet trust and full assurance, knowing that what My Father had promised, He was also able to perform. All I did was look up and cast My burden on My Father. He sustained Me, and He sustained the crowds, and 5,000 ate that day.

                154. But I had to truly trust first. I had to take the stand of faith first for My Father to do the miracle. Then afterward came the organization and distribution of the goods, but the quiet trust and the stand of faith came first. (End of prophecy excerpt.) (See the Martin Luther prophecy in part five of this series for the full story from Jesus!)

                155. (Mama:) So many of our Homes are still just going from day to day, simply because you figure you can never stop! There's too much going on, it's an impossibility to stop and hear from the Lord and study the Word. There's just too much to do! "What are we going to do with the kids? How are we going to make ends meet? We have to provision every day. We have to get out and raise support every day." But the Lord is trying to get you to stop and pray and lean on Him!

                156. Make the sacrifice. Put the Lord on the spot to see if He won't come through with His promises. But how can you test Him, how can you prove Him, if you don't put Him on the spot, if you don't get down to business and read the Word and pray desperately, claiming His Word, and asking the Lord for His fresh instruction for you and your Home? If you're not willing to make that sacrifice--in other words, to have the faith to stop everything and to do what the Lord has said to do, take Him at His Word, put Him on the spot--then how are you ever going to break that cycle?

                157. The Lord said that is the answer--the Word and desperate prayer! But you say, "Lord, we can't do it, because You haven't allowed us the time. We've got too many kids, we've got too much going on." Well, the Lord will never tell you to do anything that is impossible for you to do! So if the Lord says to do it, if He says that His Word is the answer and hearing from Him and doing what He says is the answer, then it must be the answer! And you've got to make time for it, regardless.

                158. Just put the Lord on the spot, and see if He won't answer! You can't just keep giving excuses, "There's too much to do. My kids are running wild. I don't have time to get desperate and pray!" Well, somebody in your Home can find the time. There are at least a couple of people in the Home who could stop and pray. Somebody's got to do it, and there's no excuse for not doing it!

                159. The Lord doesn't ask us to do things that are impossible. He doesn't ask us over and over and over to get in the Word if we can't do it! He repeatedly tells us that this is for everyone. He says, "The solution that I have given is the same for everyone. I've given you a master key." But how can you use this master key if you don't even look at it, you don't even know what it goes to, you don't know anything about it! You're too busy to even pay attention to it!

                160. There's got to be a stopping place somewhere, a sacrifice, a step of faith to break that cycle and get a vision from the Lord, get direction from Him, so you can do what He tells you to do, instead of being so busy, running and running and running, trying to catch up, trying to make ends meet, and trying to keep ahead of things, while you fall further and further behind. Somehow you've just got to make the commitment to stop and take those hours, or those days, or whatever it takes to get ahold of the Lord and get your instructions from Him!

                161. We have to do that too. Peter says, "I've got to take time to just stop and pray and think about these matters." I have to do the same. We too have to stop in our cycle, in our race to get all these things done that need to get done. We just have to stop and take that time with the Lord. Because unless we do, He isn't going to bless and He won't give the answers. He can't.

                162. That's the principle: We've got to stop, look and listen, and we've got to put other things aside. That's just the way it is. That's what the Lord demands. That's part of His requirement for getting the answers and getting the reward. We have to honor Him by stopping and making the time to hear from Him. We have to show Him that we're honoring Him by obeying Him, doing what He asks. Then He can honor us by doing what we ask.

                163. It's not good enough to just say, "We can't, Lord! We don't have time for the Word!" The Lord keeps telling Peter and me, "Pour out the Word!" We keep saying, "Lord, aren't we giving these poor people too much? How can they possibly read it?" Practically everybody in WS at some time or other says, "Lord, how in the world can the Family on the field do it? We hardly have time to work on all these pubs, so how in the world can these poor people on the field even read them?"

                164. We feel bad that you have so much to read, and we think, "Lord, isn't this too much? How can they do it?" But the Lord keeps saying, "Pour it out! Keep pouring it out! They need it!"

                165. Now, is the Lord just being foolish? Is He being an unwise investor, just investing all this Word and pouring out all this material that's going to be wasted, that He knows isn't necessary? Does He know that nobody is going to look at it anyway, and you don't need it, but He just keeps giving it because He has all this to say, and He just wants someone to receive it and publish it? Or does He really expect people to be able to read it, do it and obey it? You know, if He thought people weren't going to be able to read the Word we're pouring out and use it, the Lord is wise enough that He'd tell us, "Slow down, they don't need so much! They can't absorb it!"

                166. The Lord is very smart, He is very wise. He doesn't do things for nothing. He doesn't tell us to get out the Word just to give us at WS a job and to keep us busy. We're already so busy, we don't need any more projects or pubs. We've got so many things to do already, we can hardly even scratch the surface. But the Lord keeps saying, "Get the Word out there! They need it!"

                167. Well, if you need it, then you must be able to read it somehow, and He must want you to. And if He wants you to, then He's going to supply the time, and there's a way for you to be able to; and neither you nor we should say that you can't do it! You can do it and the Lord wants you to do it, just like He wants us to do it. We all can do it, because what we want to do bad enough, and what we know the Lord wants us to do, if we really want to please Him, we're going to do.

                168. I'm sorry; I know the difficulties, and I feel the same way a lot of times, but that's no excuse. If the Lord says this is what we all should do, and this is His solution to all of our problems, then that's the solution! If we follow the Lord's direction, if we follow His road map and His guidance, then we're going to have success, and sooner or later we're going to get the answers that we need, some sooner and some later.

                169. So I feel for you dear ones and what you're going through; my heart really goes out to you. But it's very obvious, certainly from what the Lord says over and over, that many of your problems are brought on by your own lack of obedience, your unwillingness to make the sacrifices to obey and go to His Word and follow through with what it says to do. But see, if you would make the sacrifices to obey, then the Lord would more than come through for you. But you have to take that step first. Instead of saying, "It's impossible, Lord!" you need to step out on the water and trust God for the impossible--and then He'll meet you, and He'll more than do it for you!

                170. Here's an example of what the Lord can do for you when you take time to hear from Him and then do what He says to do. This is a testimony sent in by Juan in South America.

                171. (Juan says:) "In a Home that we recently visited, which was going through some financial difficulties, we all witnessed a real miracle of His supply due to our obedience to the Word. This shows how it does pay to pray and obey.

                172. "We had just finished reading the Letter about the beautiful tract the Lord had given in prophecy, 'To You with Love,' and Mama's challenge to tithe our time to help mass distribute this beautiful message. When we asked the Home if they had been doing that, they said 'no.' After some discussion and prayer, the Home decided to obey Mama's suggestion, and instead of sending an 'attack team' to raise funds that were desperately needed, all available members of the Home went out that day distributing the tracts. By the way, that included the VS and CROs.

                173. "That same day a friend of the Home offered to pay for the weekly food shopping, which came to $720. Actually, we were able to buy the food needed for two weeks. TYJ! So all this to say that the Lord's economic plan still works, and all those Homes who are reading the Word, seeking the Lord's instruction and obeying are not only having their needs met, but are happier and more fulfilled."

                174. (Mama:) I think there would be quite a few testimonies like this if we heard them, if people would write them, because you know that there are many Homes on the field who are obeying and are doing what they should, and the Lord is coming through for them. For example, here is a very inspiring testimony from a Home in San Antonio that Jenna, a new SGA in our Home, shared on the night of my birthday talk:

                175. (Jenna:) "This team prayed and heard from the Lord each step of the way when they were pioneering a new ministry, JETT camps. The Lord promised that He would supply if they would obey, and He did! For example, across the street from the Home there is a lady who owns a car parts shop. The Home has been ministering to her faithfully over the years, and she's helped them with the repair of their vehicles. A few months back, several of her workers were involved in a very serious auto accident. Her main worker and some of his family were seriously injured. So the brethren took a fair bit of time going to the hospital to minister to them, singing and reading to them. The Home even sent people from the Home to help the lady with her business occasionally.

                176. "They had very few adults in the Home at this time. It was mainly just two single moms and one couple and lots of kids, so it really was a sacrifice to take that time. But it paid off in many ways, including financially, because recently one of the men to whom they had been ministering as a result of the accident came over and gave them $1,000 for no reason, just to help. There's also other testimonies that were very similar in that Home. For example, another man who they had faithfully ministered to came over and gave them $1,000 at a time when they really needed it."

                177. (Mama:) The Lord led them, since they were praying, and they were faithful to minister and to obey, with no idea of financial remuneration. They were faithful to do what they knew they should and to obey the Lord, and to reach out to others. Then in their time of need, when they prayed and were desperate, the Lord supplied for them.

                178. I'm sure there are lots of testimonies like that; we just don't hear them very much, because unfortunately, people are so busy, they don't write. But there are many people who are obeying and are finding that the Lord is supplying. What you hear most about, of course, is all the negative and all the problems, which go from mouth to mouth and Home to Home much faster and get much more blown up than the good positive testimonies. But nonetheless, the Lord does supply, and He has example after example of the blessings that He gives when people obey and go to the Word and go to Him, and ask for His guidance. Take, for example, the following testimony.

                179.The Home in Atlanta lived in a big house. The landlord said something like, "Look, if you'll move out of your house during the Olympics, I'll rent the house out at sky-high prices, and I'll give you guys eight to ten thousand dollars. At the end of the Olympics you come back, the house is yours and everything is the same, except you'll be about $10,000 dollars richer." So the brethren thought, "Wow! This is great!" But they prayed about it, and the Lord said to them, "Prepare as if you have to pay the rent for those months."

                180. That's a key factor--they prayed, and the Lord showed them to do that. So they did. They saved up their money for the rent for that time even though they thought they weren't going to have to pay rent because they were going to be out of the house themselves, and making an income through renting it temporarily to others. And it turns out that the landlord couldn't rent the house after all.

                181. So if they would have just taken the word of man and decided not to raise the rent money for that time, then when it didn't work out, they would have been in a bad situation. But instead, they prayed, the Lord told them to do something, and they did it. So because they heard from the Lord and obeyed, they were all able to go on a SWIFT. They all went on a road trip for a month, and they had the rent paid, and everything worked out fine. They prayed, they heard from the Lord, they did what He said, and it worked!

It Can Be Done!

                182. Peter and I have done all we can concerning many of the problems you're facing. Some Homes still say, "Why isn't WS telling us what to do?" Well, we have told you what to do, generally, but it's up to you to find out specifically what the Lord wants you to do in your Home. We can't tell you what to do in your Home. That's why the Lord inspired the Charter--to give you the responsibility of deciding what your Home does, according to your faith and what the Lord shows you.

                183. The Lord and Dad have said to Peter and me, "Give the Word, and you've discharged your responsibility. Then it's up to them to do it. If you're faithful to give what the Lord gives you, that's your responsibility, and you should not get involved in all the details. You stick with just giving the Word, and let them implement it. Let them have the faith for it."

                184. So, we've done it! And Dad has given us pages and pages of practical advice for years! We have given as much practical advice as we can on many subjects, from shepherding, to home care, to raising finances, to children's education! I don't see how much more specific we could be with you without going back to our old pre-Charter way of just telling you what to do. But it's not God's will to operate that way, because the Lord has something specific for each one of you that He wants you to find out by yourselves, by desperately praying and seeking Him. We can't do that for you because that's up to you. It's your responsibility to find out what the Lord wants in your particular situation. Recently the Lord said in prophecy:

                185. (Jesus speaking:) My people carry great burdens these days, but some of these burdens I lay on their shoulders to strengthen them. They are burdens of responsibilities, they are burdens of choices, they are burdens of decisions, and you must not take these burdens from their shoulders. But teach them how to carry them, teach them how to seek Me, teach them to find Me for the grace and the strength for every burden. Take not those burdens upon your shoulders, for in doing so you take those burdens from off the shoulders where I wish it to be, and you put it on your shoulders where it is not meant to be." (End of prophecy excerpt.)

                186.So praise the Lord, it can be done! Don't give up! You shouldn't say "it can't be done"! No matter what you want to blame the problems on, the solution is still the same! If you go to the Word, and if you go to the Lord, He has the solutions.

                187. Please don't get so bogged down in the problems! Like Dad says, if you're looking at the waves, looking at the problems, and you're not looking up at the Lord, then you're going to sink further and further down in the spiral of discouragement and discord and division; and it's very sad, because hope and help is right there! It's within your grasp, right there in your Home, coming to your mail box regularly, and giving you the instruction and the guidance you need. Besides, even if you never got your mailings, you've got a hotline to Heaven yourselves, and you can ask the Lord what to do for your particular situation. Praise the Lord!

                188. God bless you! Keep fighting and going to the Word and looking to the Lord. He never fails! I love you!

                Love, Mama

                189. P.S. At the end of the meeting on the night of my birthday, we asked the Lord to speak. He had told us ahead of time that it would be good to give Him the last word in our united meetings, because not only does it give Him a chance to say whatever He wants to say, it also gives Him honor. I've printed the wonderful Words of love, encouragement, confirmation and instruction that the Lord gave both publicly and privately for my birthday in Part 5 of this series.

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family