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"Man Looketh on the Outward Appearance"--Part 1  Maria #384           DO 3124               2/97

By Maria

Table of Contents

                Be Understanding of Each Other!     5

                Our Differences Can Bring Us Closer!              7

                The Lord's Garden               8

                What's the Standard?          8

                Dedication Is a Primary Requirement                12

                Earrings on Men  13

                Earrings--Two Personal Testimonies                19

                Hairstyles              21

                Peter's Ponytail and Gary's Short Hair!             23

                1. Dear loved ones, I'm so proud of each of you for your faithfulness to the Lord and to the Family. It's wonderful to hear from you personally, as well as through the reports of your VSs and CROs, of all that the Lord is doing through each of you, and how He's leading and guiding you as you learn to look to Him more for the solutions to the challenges you face and the problems that come your way. Thank God we have our "Answer Man," Who has all the answers and is always ready to give them to us when we call on Him and seek His help.

                2.The Lord seems to emphasize over and over again how much we need to look to Him for the answers for each thing that comes up--not just the big things, but the little things, too. The Lord wants to be in on everything--every decision, every part of our lives! If we counsel with our teamworkers about things, or we counsel with our mates, or--in the case of you younger ones--counsel with your parents or shepherds, don't you think we should also counsel with the Lord?

                3.After all, He's our Husband, our Father, our Lover, our Shepherd, our best Teamworker! He has His side that He wants to present, too, if we'll only take time to listen and ask Him for His instruction and His guidance. Well, that's not exactly the topic of this GN, but in a way it is, because it very much ties in with the subjects that we're going to cover in the following pages.

                4.A question that regularly comes up in your letters, as well as from the VSs and CROs, is what should be the "standard" for our appearance and dress, particularly that of you young people. As you know, a lot of young people like to be different, and like to experiment with various styles of dress and hair and other things, such as boys wearing earrings, girls wearing lots of makeup, and both sexes even wearing tattoos and the like! It's pretty common that teens like to look and act in ways their parents don't, if for nothing else than the shock effect, ha! I've experienced that with David and Techi at different times, who have wanted to try some of these things out, too!

                5.How we should dress and how we should look is a big topic that is subject to a lot of controversy and varied opinions from Family members according to their own personal taste and experiences and what they feel the Word says on these matters. From what we've heard, there's been a fair measure of disagreement in some Homes as to whether some of the "different" and even "cool" ways their teens dress or look is acceptable or not, and exactly what the Family standard is on this issue.

                6.At different times Dad has given counsel in the Letters on our dress, outward appearance and sample, stressing that we should make an effort to become one with those we are ministering to, as well as present a good clean testimony so we won't be a reproach to the Lord's work. While the counsel on this topic in some of Dad's Letters was written for a specific situation or period, much of it generally applies today just as much as when he first wrote it.

                7.However, the subject of our teens' and young people's dress and appearance isn't so specifically covered in the Letters, so we found it necessary to go to the Lord to seek His counsel on each of these questions that have come up, such as earrings on guys, long hair, baggy clothes, etc. Each time the Lord responded wonderfully, and Dad gave a lot of counsel, too. I knew you would be very interested in what the Lord had to say on these issues, so in this GN and the next one I'll be publishing these prophecies for you. I think you'll find the Lord's counsel fascinating! These prophecies were received over the past year or so in response to questions from the field or from our young people in WS.

                8.Before getting into the specifics, I'd like to touch on the main overall message that the Lord gave on this subject, which is that each situation is different, and you need to go to the Lord and seek Him personally for what He wants you to do. This is a very important lesson that the Lord wants to impress upon us: While He gives overall general counsel on a subject, He wants us to seek Him as to how to apply it to our Home or to ourselves individually.

                9.In these prophecies you'll notice that the Lord and Dad repeatedly say that no situation can be judged dogmatically, or treated exactly like another. This is particularly true when it comes to something like the way you dress or look. For example, in some countries it might be perfectly acceptable for a guy to wear an earring, while in others it might be offensive or a bad testimony or send the wrong signal. In some circumstances it may enhance your ability to become one with the people you're ministering to and witnessing to; in other cases it might be a poor sample and turn people away or cause them to stumble, because they expect you, as a Christian missionary, to uphold what they consider a higher standard. So while all things may be lawful, they may not always be expedient or bear the right fruit. If something causes your brother, or someone you're witnessing to, to stumble, then it may be better to refrain from doing it even if you don't have a problem with it personally. (See 1Cor.10:23; Rom.14:21).

                10.As you'll read in the prophecies which follow, the Lord also brings out how a lot has to do with your attitude and motives behind wanting to dress differently or wear an earring or something else that might be out of the ordinary. The Lord loves us, and as His pets, He likes to be able to spoil us and give us what we want, within the boundaries of His will. However, at the same time He also wants us to choose those things that please Him and that are going to glorify Him and benefit Him and His work. It's a two-way street. The Lord likes to give us our desires as long as we're trying our best to follow Him as closely as we can, just like a parent likes to reward his child with things the child wants when the child is trying to be good and obedient.

                11.So you see, a lot depends on the situation, the circumstances, the heart of the individual, and the motives behind it. Please bear that in mind as you read each prophecy, and don't get legalistic and stuck on one point, and apply it across the board to everything and every person. Remember that the Lord wants you to seek Him for each question, each problem, each situation. You can't resolve these things in your own strength or in your own mind. If you want to come to the right conclusions, you've got to ask the Lord!

                12.In the first prophecy that I'm including, the Lord gives some general counsel as to what the adults' attitudes should be toward those young people who like to have some variety in the way that they dress, the way that they cut their hair, etc. Should we adults look at this as "lowering the standard," and therefore forbid it or frown on it? Or, should we look at it as just a part of them being teens and wanting to be different?--A stage which many of us went through when we were teens those many years ago!

                13.The Lord gives some wonderfully balanced counsel here, which I'm sure you'll find a great help in evaluating what to do in your Home. The Lord explains that each of us is an individual, and He wants us to be able to express our individuality. He's not trying to press us all into one mold, into the same block, to where we all look the same, act exactly the same, and do things exactly the same way.

                14.Each of us is unique in the Lord's eyes, and each of us is a little bit different and likes to do things differently. Teens often like to dress or look different than adults, but even among the adults and teens themselves there is a wide range of tastes and opinions. And that's not a problem!--As long as we're staying within the limits of the Lord's will, glorifying Him and not doing anything that would hurt others or hinder the Lord's work.

                15.You see, that's where the Lord draws the line. The boundaries are: If it's something that hurts others, or that hinders the Lord's work, or that is a bad sample to others, or that has a bad influence on others, then it's not of Him. While you may still go ahead with it regardless, the Lord may not be that pleased or bless you as much as He would otherwise if you tried to stay a bit closer to Him.

                16.For example, it might not be a problem for a certain YA to wear an earring and baggy clothes. It might not be a bad influence on him, and perhaps he's in a situation where it's not a bad sample to those he ministers to.So it may be just fine. But what if his younger brothers and sisters get off on it the wrong way, and it causes them to become more concerned with the affairs of this world and being with the "in" crowd of the System than following the Lord? Or what if it causes them to be more rebellious toward their parents and teachers? In that case, the YA may want to follow the Scriptural injunction to keep his faith to himself rather than stumble the younger ones (Rom.14:22a). In another case, maybe it's just fine and causes no one any problems. So there are a lot of different facets and factors to consider in each situation, and that's why the Lord asks us to seek Him for His instruction, because only He knows best.

                17.You may think that some of these things are too small or too minor to take to the Lord in prayer and to even hear from Him in prophecy about. But nothing is too small for the Lord, because each of these things, while they are just a very minor part of our lives, can have larger ramifications, as they influence others and are a sample--either good or bad. So it's important that we take them to the Lord and get His counsel on them.

                18.The Lord also talks about the importance of the younger and the older generations communicating on the issue of dress and appearance. From what we've heard, in a number of Homes outward appearance has been a very divisive issue, leading to a breakdown in communication between adults and young people; making them unable to calmly and openly discuss and reach agreements on much more important issues and decisions. However, if you listen to each other, try to accommodate each other, and counsel and decide together on what would be best, then this issue can actually bring you together and help unite you--as loving, open communication always does.

                19.You adults need to be tolerant and learn to accommodate our young people's individuality and desire to do things differently than you do. Let them be teens! What should be of primary concern is not how they look, but their attitude of heart.

                20.For your part, you teens need to be mindful of the sample that you are both to your younger brothers and sisters as well as to your outside friends and contacts and those that you witness to. You also need to be mindful of the influence that these things have on you, and your motives for wanting to do them.

                21.As you adults take your teens' needs and individual personalities into consideration, and you young people take your parents' and shepherds' concerns into consideration, you'll have a much better chance of reaching a solution that is agreeable to all. This issue is something that the Enemy will use to try to divide and conquer and drive a wedge between the generations. But the Lord can reverse that and use it to bring you closer together, if you strive to maintain unity and have a good channel of communication between yourselves, seeking the Lord together and being open and accepting of each other's differences of taste and opinion.

                22. When reading these prophecies, if you young people grab ahold of one point or one phrase and stick to that, and are unwilling to bend or give a little, then you aren't likely to reach an understanding with the adults. By the same token, if you adults are also inflexible, clinging to those phrases that you feel fit best with your personal feelings, and are unwilling to budge from that position, you'll find that it'll just drive your teens further away and create more problems.

                23.It's important to take the counsel given in this GN as a whole. You can't just stand on one paragraph or one prophecy and ignore the rest. You've got to take it all together, because what the Lord says in one prophecy may balance out what He says in another prophecy. In several of these prophecies the Lord is talking about specific situations, and because circumstances often vary, the counsel in each prophecy has to be balanced out with the other prophecies in this GN. So please bear that in mind and rightly divide the Word of truth by taking the whole counsel of God, not just the part of it which suits your opinions and interests best.

                24.Please also remember that what we wear or don't wear or what we look like is really only a very small part of our life for the Lord. While to some folks it may seem so important, it's actually a minor issue in the Lord's eyes. Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart (1Sam.16:7). What is of much more importance to Him is our "inward appearance"--our heart, our dedication, our love for Him, our love and concern for others, our willingness to lay down our lives for our brethren and to reach the lost, our willingness to sacrifice for others, our hunger for the Word, our yieldedness, our humility. These are the things that really count in the Lord's eyes, and these are the issues that we should major on in our Homes and in our personal lives.

                25.The Enemy likes to try to blow up some of these minor issues, such as dress and appearance, and make mountains out of them in order to drive a wedge between the older and the younger generations so that they aren't united on the much more important issues. Don't let the Enemy do that! Don't let these molehills turn into mountains! And the best way to do that is through seeking the Lord together, reading His Word and the counsel given in this GN unitedly, and then listening and being open to each other and communicating as to how best to apply it to your Home and individual situations.

                26.I love you, and I pray that this counsel from the Lord and Dad will be a help and a blessing to you, and that it will help you put some of these issues behind you, so that together, young and old, you can concentrate your efforts on the job that the Lord has given us to do--to love Him and others, and reach the world with His Word. God bless and keep you loving others!

Be Understanding of Each Other!

                27.The Lord gave the following message in response to the general question of how we should view the young people's desire to be different in their attire, hairstyles, etc. We asked Him questions like: Is it wrong and should it be discouraged? Or should the adults lighten up and maybe even try to be more youthful themselves? How should the shepherds handle it when the young people in their Home start trying out something different that they personally might not like that much?

                28.(Jesus speaking:) Each of you, My children, is precious unto Me, and I wish for you to have as much freedom as possible, so that you can be happy and feel My love and feel challenged and be able to flow with My Spirit as you feel led. Each of you, young and old, is special to Me. Each one is a unique creation that I have created for My pleasure, and I love you dearly as an individual. I want you to be able to feel your uniqueness before Me, just as you have your own personal intimate relationship with Me that is private, that is between you and Me, just as I love you for you, just you. I love you for who you are--as an individual, as one person, as My beloved creation.

                29.I want each of you to be able to exercise your freedom and your liberty in the Spirit as you feel led, as is your desire, and as you are led of Me according to your circumstances and your situation. The young ones should not criticize the older ones if they see things differently, or if they want to dress differently or act differently, or if they have different interests or they find pleasure in different things, or if they like to do different things when they relax and have fun. Neither should the older ones criticize or condemn or belittle the young ones for their differences--for their difference in outlook on life, or their preferences in style, or their preferences in free-time activities--because I have created you as individuals. I wish for you to learn to look at each other as individuals, and not put each other in boxes, and not have preconceived ideas, and not label each other negatively, but look at one another in love.

                30.Look at one another with understanding and appreciation and respect. For if you respect one another, it will bring about good communication and understanding, and you will be able to walk together and work together and live together in love. You will find that your Homes will be happier places. It will be a testimony to those who are watching to see the fruit of the Family, the proof of the pudding, to see how the two generations can work together, if they will learn to appreciate and love one another and see beyond the differences, and be able to build a bridge of love, unity and appreciation.

                31.Of course there are differences between the two generations, but this does not mean that there cannot be love and unity. In fact, these differences can bring variety and joy and excitement to your lives. They can spice up your lives with different opinions, with new ideas. If you will learn to look at each other through the eyes of love, if you will put on your glasses of faith and be able to see the best in one another, the good things, the good qualities, then the differences that bother you about one another will be minimized or will disappear altogether.

                32.I say unto you adults, parents, shepherds and caregivers: Be careful about your critical attitudes. Be careful that you're not opinionated, but be prayerful and judge loving judgment. Don't get your eyes so close to the trees of NWOs and bad habits and little idiosyncrasies that you can't see the forest--the dedication, the love, the willingness to please Me and serve Me. Look at the good things in the young ones and all their good attributes, their good qualities. These minor differences that bother you so much, that seem to be so important and so overwhelming and take so much of your time and cause so much discord and disunity, will fall into place. You will see that they really are not that big a deal; they really are not that important.

                33.The most important things are love, unity and understanding, and that you older ones and younger ones walk down the same road toward the same goal, which is serving Me and bringing My lost sheep into the Kingdom.

                34.I say unto you younger ones: Be not critical of your parents or your shepherds or your older caregivers, but try to be understanding of their needs and their way of looking at things, and see that they have a lot to offer. In their counsel you will find wisdom and understanding, and if you will open your heart and mind and communicate openly and honestly together, you will arrive at good decisions. Both sides will have to give and take on some issues, and yield to one another. But in so doing, you will find great unity and peace and happiness, and this will be a great testimony to many.

                35.When you get set in your ways and offended and sensitive, this not only hinders good communication, but good decision-making. When you're upset and angry and rebellious, this hinders the flow of My Spirit and I cannot get through to your heart with My still, small voice. When you dig your heels in and you are determined to have your own way, when you are convinced that your parents are wrong and you are right, and you refuse to counsel or pray or hear from Me, then you will be led astray and you will not find the satisfaction of heart that you seek nor the freedom that you desire. And even if you get your way, these so-called freedoms of the flesh will only be husks in your teeth.

                36.But if you stay open and humble and yielded before Me and before those who care for your soul, then you will see that I will bless you. You will find freedom, satisfaction and happiness. These things are found in being in the center of My will. They are not found through insignificant things of the flesh. They are not found through indulging your personal preferences and your whims, but they are found through yieldedness and obedience and openness to My voice. So if both of you, young and old alike, will take heed to these words of instruction, you will find that in understanding and communication and flexibility there is wisdom.

                37.Remember that everybody is different. Some of the young ones will want to be more daring, will want to look more different, more radical, more outside the mainstream. They will identify more with those who are dropped out, those who look strange in the eyes of society. There are other young ones who will prefer to be more conservative. Likewise there are older ones who will want to step out and try something different, something new. They like to look young and free, and even a little bit bottle-breaking. And there are other older ones who are more staid and conservative, who like to look a little bit more formal. But just because people are different doesn't mean that one is wrong and the other is right. It's just that people are different. They have different preferences, different likes and dislikes. Some people are more shy, others are more bold. Some people like to stand out in the crowd, and others like to be hidden and less seen.

                38.So try to understand these differences, and don't put each other in a box. Don't try to put a round peg into a square hole, and don't try to force everyone to be the same. Let people be who they are--the unique creations that I have fashioned them to be. For each one shines with My beauty and My glory in a different way, and each of these different looks and personalities is designed by Me to be able to reach different kinds of people. It's all a part of My plan, for I have created different tools for different jobs.

                39.So let each one shine with My Spirit and My beauty as he or she feels led. But make certain, through prayer and counsel, through the study of My Word and heeding My still small voice, that that which you do is according to My will. Make sure by its fruit that it glorifies Me and is good for My Kingdom. Then go forth by faith and walk hand in hand in love, and you shall find great success, happiness and unity. Many shall see this and it shall be a testimony that with My love, two generations can work together as one. (End of prophecy.)

Our Differences Can Bring Us Closer!

                40.Thank the Lord for such beautiful counsel! If you don't mind, I'd like to take a couple of paragraphs to review some of the main things the Lord is bringing out here. The Lord tells us that we're each unique, specially designed that way by Him. Isn't it comforting to know that the Lord made you just the way you are, with your particular personality and character, because He wanted you that way? Thank the Lord we're not all exactly alike, or life would be pretty boring, wouldn't it? In fact, our differences in tastes and preferences are part of His plan to add variety to our lives and those of others, to make them more fun and exciting! And as the Lord says, those differences don't mean that there can't be love and unity. In fact, differences can be a strength and a blessing!

                41.But because we're all different, it's important that we look at one another with understanding, appreciation and respect. The Lord instructs that you "young ones should not criticize the older ones if they see things differently, ... neither should the older ones criticize or condemn or belittle the young ones for their differences." So we need to learn to accept each other the way we are, and accept the fact that when it comes to things like dress and appearance, music, extracurricular activities, etc., adults and teens are going to have differences of opinion--and neither should criticize the other, because that's how the Lord made us!

                42.The Lord says, "Just because people are different doesn't mean that one is wrong and the other is right." So if someone likes short hair and another likes long hair, it doesn't mean that one is more right than the other. Of course, one style may be more appropriate to your situation and the culture of the country you live in, so those things have to be taken into consideration, as brought out in other prophecies later in this GN. But it's not so much a matter of one being right and another wrong as it is a matter of what is appropriate and the Lord's will for that particular situation, as well as your own personal preference.

                43.I'd also like to bring to the attention of you younger ones the part where the Lord says, "If you stay open and humble and yielded before Me and before those who care for your soul, then you will see that I will bless you. You will find freedom, satisfaction and happiness. These things are found in being in the center of My will. They are not found through insignificant things of the flesh." The Lord is saying that while being able to wear your hair long or in a hundred braids, or wearing an earring, may be fun and a way to express your individuality, it's really neither here nor there when it comes down to satisfying your deeper needs for happiness and fulfillment.

                44.If you're in a Home where things are pretty strict as far as dress and appearance go, and you think, "Boy, if I could just get out from under these old-fogey adults and get someplace where I can wear multiple earrings and designer-ripped jean miniskirts (we're talking about girls here, in case there's any question, ha!), and be able to hang out a little more with the neighborhood kids, then I know I'd feel good," then you'd be in for a big surprise if you got someplace where you could have those "freedoms." You'd find out that while it's fun for a while, it wears off quickly and doesn't really make you happier in the long run. There are lots of kids in the System who can do whatever they want and dress however they please, but as many of you have found in your witnessing, they aren't very happy! So obviously it's pretty insignificant when compared to the deeper things of life. The same applies to fun activities, music, etc. These things are nice, but aren't going to make a big difference in your life as far as overall contentment and fulfillment go--at least not for long!

The Lord's Garden

                45.Following is another message from the Lord that beautifully illustrates how we're each unique creations of His hand, each playing a different part, but yet working in harmony with others to unitedly form the garden of His love.

                46.(Jesus speaking:) In a garden grand and fair, there are many types of flowers, bushes and trees. There are vines, there are grasses--such a diversity of living beauty. Yet each one is unique with its own beauty, and glorifies Me and shines with My beauty. It is known that they are created by Me with the purpose of showing My beauty, and being a testimony of My love, for I love for everyone to be happy.

                47.So it is with My children--each one is so unique, so beautiful in their own way. Let each one shine with their own beauty, and do not attempt to prune or to change or to alter their appearance according to how you look, or how you feel others should look. But let each one shine for Me according to how I have made them. If they are planted in My soil and are rooted in Me, they will shine as I have designed them to, and will be beautiful for Me and a testimony to My love.

                48.Each plant needs the other. Some provide shade. Others help protect the weaker ones from insects or rodents. Others are there to attract the bees in order to pollinate and be more fruitful. They all work together. So do My children work together. So learn to recognize My beauty in each other, and live and work together in harmony. Continue to be a beautiful garden unto Me. Continue to be a beautiful testimony in the window box of this world, that others may look upon you and be refreshed and be reminded of Me through the beauty that you allow to shine through you! (End of prophecy.)

What's the Standard?

                49.In these first two prophecies, the Lord mainly talks about the attitude that we should have toward those who might have differences in tastes and opinions in things like dress and appearance. In the next messages, the Lord and Dad give some general counsel as to what is or is not acceptable as far as general dress and outward appearance goes. This is mostly directed at you young people, since that was the original question, but of course it applies to you adults as well. So let's take a little trip to the crystal dome to listen to some Wonder Words from Above! Praise the Lord!

                50.(Jesus speaking:) The overall standard for hairstyles, dress styles, makeup and jewelry must be judged according to many factors. What is your motive? What is the purpose for the way you want to dress or look? Who are you witnessing to and how can you best become one? What kind of effect will it have on your younger brothers and sisters? What kind of testimony is it to those who see you? Is your dress a distraction to your witness and your testimony, or is it a help? Does it help you become one? Does it help others relate to you? Does it help others want to listen to you? Does it show people you're not part of the church system, that you're different, that you're not churchy Christians, lukewarm and conservative? Does it show that you're new bottles? Does it show that you're not stuck in a rut, but that you can change with the times, that you're adaptable?

                51.Different situations call for different dress codes. Witnessing to different people requires a different look, for different people are baited in different ways. As you have been instructed from the Words of David for years, you should become one, that you may win those to whom you're witnessing. But in your effort to become one, don't become entrenched in worldly ways or entrapped in the bondage that the poor victims of the System suffer. Strive continually to stay, above all, yielded to Me and free in the Spirit.

                52.Freedom of the Spirit is the ability to change, to adapt. Being truly revolutionary is being whatever you need to be, moment by moment, day by day. In a certain situation, you might feel led to dress in such a way that those you minister to can relate to you, be they gang members or the homeless or the poor people who walk the strips--the drug addicts and the prostitutes. They won't be drawn to you or willing to listen to your message if you look like you just walked out of the corner Baptist church.

                53.Likewise, if you are called to minister to your kings and contacts or the top in your city, or those who long to understand your work and who have a desire to help you, and those who respect what you're doing, you would not approach these people looking like a gang member or a homeless person, but you would look respectable. You would become one, that you might win them, that they might be able to relate to you, that you might be able to witness and give My message.

                54.This is the most important criterion: Does what you're doing help you to witness and get out the message, or does it distract and hinder? What is your motive? This is the question that I ask you, and that you must answer personally on a day-by-day basis. Are you truly seeking to please Me and to do your best to get out the message? Or by your actions and through your dress are you seeking to please yourself and those of the world who look upon you? Who do you love the most and who do you seek to please--Me or those of the world?

                55.I have given you freedom, for this is the day of choices. This is the day of personal decisions and personal conviction, and each person will be rewarded according to their choices and their conviction, and according to how they obey and yield to My still, small voice as I speak in their hearts.

                56.You will be able to tell if your dress is of Me by judging according to the fruit that it bears. If it turns off those you minister to or are in contact with and is a bad sample to them, this is not good fruit. If it confuses your younger brothers and sisters, this is not good fruit. If you don't have a good explanation as to why you dress the way you do that will be acceptable to your younger brothers and sisters, this is not good fruit. If you're not concerned about the people that you're witnessing to, the older folks, the contacts, the supporters, the kings and queens, and you don't care whether you blow them away or show disrespect, this is not good fruit. Likewise, if you cannot relate to the young people, if you cannot approach them and become one with them so that they feel comfortable with you and feel a kindred spirit with you, this is also not good fruit.

                57.So when seeking to judge the styles you choose in your dress or your hair or your makeup or any aspect of your outward appearance, you must ask yourself these questions and you must prayerfully and honestly consider the fruit that your decisions bear.

                58.The most important aspects of your appearance are your eyes and My Spirit in you--My Spirit of love flowing through your eyes, the windows of your soul! People will look into your eyes and they will know that you are different. They will be drawn. They will feel love and compassion and understanding, if you are yielded to Me and full of My Spirit. They will be drawn to you, and it will not be the style that you wear that draws them. It will not be your cool clothes or your cool haircuts that draw them, but it will be My Spirit of love that will draw those to whom you are witnessing.

                59.Your styles and becoming one only open the doors; they only get you close to the sheep. But the real thing that wins them is not the style and how you look, or how smart you are, or how cool you are, or anything about your outward appearance. It is My love and Spirit that they see in your eyes and that they feel in your words of truth.

                60.So if you seek to be truly revolutionary, seek to become all things to all men so that you might win them to Me. This is true revolution--being what you need to be to bring people to Me. How you look is only a means to an end; it is not the end in itself. The goal is bringing people to Me; that's the whole purpose in life. So check your motives. Check the fruit that your decisions bear. Check the explanation that you can give to your younger brothers and sisters, and check to see if you're being true revolutionaries by bringing people to Me.

                61.(Dad speaking:)To win some, you must be winsome. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. It seems it's up to you and where you are and what you're doing that would determine your dress. But really, it doesn't matter what you wear. It's Jesus shining in you, shining through you, that people will see.

                62.Some of you young folks in the more westernized areas think it's cool to look like the rest of the teens. That in itself is not so bad. Some people may not agree with you, but it's not really so bad in itself. Again, it depends on exactly where you're witnessing. However, don't you think that restricts you a little bit? You're trying so hard to be free, but you really kind of put yourself in a box when you put yourself in a box of style. So if you really want to burn free, be natural! Let Jesus really shine through you and knock their socks off with your smiling, glowing, sparkling personalities!

                63. Now here's a thought for you: You want to dress like those around you so you can witness to them? That's a good thought. That's worth considering. But would you be willing to carry out that same thought if you had to dress like a monk or a nun to witness, or if you had to wear a suit and tie if you were witnessing to folks who looked like that? I'll let you think about that.

                64.Clothes and fashions are interesting and fun. They change with the times. But they can be quite a bondage, so don't let yourself get bound. Whatever you do, don't let yourself get bound. It's the spirit that matters, your attitude.

                65. It depends on where you are. It depends on what area of the world you're in. It's a sacrifice to be a missionary. It's a sacrifice to be a disciple. There were times I wanted to do many a thing that was thought too outlandish, that would have drawn a lot of attention to myself rather than to the Lord, or would have hindered my work for the Lord. So it's a sacrifice to be a disciple, to be a missionary. But it's a small sacrifice, because witnessing and helping turn a soul on to Jesus is far more exciting than turning someone on to you because of your dress or how you look.

                66.When I used to take my girls out FFing, they dressed for the occasion, because they were baiting the men with their looks. Some of them got a little bit tripped off. You can ask some of them about it. It was fun for a while, but then many of them matured into realizing what a responsibility the men were that they were attracting to themselves. They realized that their beauty and what they wore wasn't all that important any more, and to keep those men satisfied and happy they had to give them Jesus; they had to give them the Word.

                67.But as far as your dress, well, what can I say? I didn't always dress according to any certain code, and I managed all right. You should have seen Maria and some of my staff trying to get me to dress a little better. Ha, ha! For the sake of security, I succumbed to their wishes and I began to agree with them--that it was true, dressing more appropriately drew less attention to myself, which was better for security. Also, since the world so often tends to judge you by your looks, my way of dressing would kind of detract from any message I would give in my witness to them.

                68.So it's up to you how you want to dress. It's true, it is a new day and you do have a choice. But remember, it costs to be a disciple. It costs to be a missionary. It costs each individual in different ways. So it's up to you. You know your field, you know who you're ministering to, and you know what would be best and how to dress. So use wisdom and don't be too proud to change your ways. Just think about it, and do what you know is best.

                69.Heaven is fun! Just like I used to tell some of the girls on my staff, they'll have fun designing clothes, wearing different robes of light and making pretty things for Mama, and even wearing nothing, praise God! The things of this Earth really are so temporal. Thank God! So like I said, it's up to you! Use wisdom, and dress in love, preferring others' happiness above your own. Just shine brightly for Jesus, because that's all that counts. People will see Jesus in you. It doesn't matter what you wear or even what language you speak, people just notice that spark of difference, that glow in your eyes and on your face! I love you! (End of prophecies.)

                70.Here the Lord and Dad tell us again, as they have in other prophecies, that it's a day of choices, and the decision on these matters is up to you. However, they also present some very good questions that you should ask yourself when deciding whether or not your outward appearance is appropriate: "What is your motive? What is the purpose for the way you want to dress or look? Who are you witnessing to and how can you best become one? What kind of effect will it have on your younger brothers and sisters? What kind of testimony is it to those who see you? Is your dress a distraction to your witness and your testimony, or is it a help? Does it help you become one? Does it help others relate to you?" Take some time to ask yourself these questions, and carefully ponder the answers to evaluate what you should do in your situation.

                71.The Lord also asks, "By your actions and through your dress, are you seeking to please yourself and those of the world who look upon you? Who do you love the most and who do you seek to please--Me or those of the world?" If you're just trying to look cool because that's the in thing to do and you want to be more like your peers in the System and be accepted by them, then that's the wrong motive and you should rethink the way you look at it. The Lord warns that sometimes your efforts to become one can go too far, and instead of helping pull other people out of the System's materialistic and ungodly trap, you fall into it yourself. That's why He cautions that, "in your effort to become one, don't become entrenched in worldly ways or entrapped in the bondage that the poor victims of the System suffer."

                72.Bear in mind what your mission is, your goal--reaching the lost with the Lord's love. They're not going to see the Lord's love in your dress or appearance, but in your spirit. The Lord says, "It will not be the style that you wear that draws them. It will not be your cool clothes or your cool haircuts that draw them, but it will be My Spirit of love that will draw those to whom you are witnessing." Your outward appearance may help to relate, but your smile and the shine in your eyes are what are important, and the Lord can get through with those no matter what you're wearing or what you look like!

                73.Maybe after carefully pondering and praying about the above questions, you're still not sure whether a particular form of dress or style of appearance is right for your situation. So how do you know for sure? Well, the Lord gave the answer to that one, too, when He said, "You will be able to tell if your dress is of Me by judging according to the fruit that it bears." Please reread paragraph 56 to see the different ways in which you can evaluate the fruit that your actions and appearance are bearing.

                74.If you're in a situation where the local customs or culture, or the circle of people you minister to, don't allow for the type of style that you like to dress in, remember Dad's words: "It's a sacrifice to be a missionary. It's a sacrifice to be a disciple." Sometimes, as the saying goes, it just comes with the territory. But whatever sacrifices you have to make now are certainly worth it if they help you win more people to the Lord and give them a Heavenly life forever. If you're ever tempted to feel bad about it, just think of the reward the Lord will give you up There for being willing to forego your own personal desires and wishes--not only in dress but in many other things, too--in order to serve Him. "Whatsoever thou spendest, I will repay!" (Luke 10:35).

Dedication Is a Primary Requirement

                75.This reminds me of a message the Lord gave recently in response to a letter a YA had written, in which she expressed some disappointment at the lack of dedication of some of our young people. This ties in with the issue of outward appearance, because in order to make the right decisions about your appearance you must first be a true revolutionary at heart. The Lord said in the above prophecy that "being truly revolutionary is being whatever you need to be, moment by moment, day by day." In order to be that kind of revolutionary, you have to make the commitment to be dedicated. Then, it doesn't really matter what you wear or how you look, because your heart is in the right place and you're trying to please Him and dress and look the way He wants you to. Following are excerpts of the message the Lord gave on this subject:

                76.(Jesus speaking:) My dear youth, these born and raised in the Family, these who are given the golden opportunities of service to Me on a silver platter, who sometimes do not recognize and appreciate their place, must make decisions as to what they want to do with their life. They must make choices in every area.

                77.First of all, they must make a choice in their heart that they want to give their lives to Me 100%, and be fully dedicated, as the first generation did. Then, having made this decision, the other choices will be easier. Obedience will be easier; yieldedness will be easier. And all these other things, such as listening to hard rock music, the foul language, the taste for worldliness, the rebellious appearance and attitudes, will lose their grip. For once they make the decision that they want to serve Me and give their lives completely to Me, that they want to love Me and obey Me more than anything else, as did My first generation, they will not have the hunger for these other things.

                78.Although they have been raised in the Family, sometimes they act more like the children of the world, because they have not yet made the turning-point decision. For the first generation--those born in the System, who made a decision to forsake all and follow Me, who threw themselves at My feet, who abandoned their wills because they wanted Me more than anything--it was easy to leave behind the ways of the world. They wanted to serve Me of their own free will, of their own choice. But these who have been born into the Family--the second generation, who have grown up serving Me and learning My Word--serve Me because it is something they have learned they are supposed to do. It is something they should do, something they have been taught to do, but is not yet always from the heart.

                79.You cannot force anyone to love Me, to serve Me, to give their life for Me. Even if they are born in the Family, the time will come when they must also choose. Some of these who are born in the Family do make that decision to serve Me, and they continue on. Then there are others born in the Family who grow up with problems and rebelliousness, acting more like children of the System. But they come to an age, a turning point, where they decide in their hearts that serving Me is what they want to do, and they change, for they are converted and they become My 100%, sold-out second generation. Then they serve Me not just because they are born in the Family, or because there is no way out of the Family until they are older, or because they have no choice, but they serve Me because they have chosen in their heart to give their all to Me.

                80.There are others born in the Family who also choose when it comes to the age of decision, but they choose not to follow in full-time discipleship, and they go their own way.

                81.My first generation volunteered to serve in My army, and the second generation, you might say, were drafted. Some are happy with it and some are not. But even though they are drafted, they must choose to want to be in the army. There comes a day of choice. Those who choose to serve Me are happy and fulfilled and obedient sheep. Those who choose not to, their heart is in a different place.

                82.You must let them all make their own decisions and their own choices and go their own ways. And in time, those who go their own way will eventually learn there is no place like the Father's house, no greater calling than doing the Father's service, and no greater happiness than full surrender to the Father's will. (End of prophecy.)

                83.The main question, folks, is not whether you're wearing the right clothes, or you have your hair in curls, or you like to wear ankle bracelets and rings on your toes. What's important and what you should be asking yourself is, "Am I a dedicated disciple? Am I doing my best to give my life for the Lord and trying to witness and help others, and serve the Lord the best I can? Am I 'fleeing youthful lusts' and standing up against the Enemy's attacks of worldliness, materialism and selfishness?" If the answer is yes, then these other things don't matter as much, because your heart's in the right place. On the other hand, if the answer is no, then the Enemy will use this emphasis on outward appearance as an open door to bring in worse problems, such as unyieldedness, criticism, carnal-mindedness, worldliness, etc. The clothes and dress aren't the problem, but if your heart and motives are not right, then the clothes and dress lead to wrong System attitudes, and that is a problem.

                84.If you're wholeheartedly trying to serve the Lord and love Him and be obedient to His will, then you could wear practically anything and the Lord's Spirit would still shine through! But if your attitude is one of, "Hey, man, back off. Don't give me no flak 'cause I've got my own trip going, okay?" then I would say you're treading on dangerous ground. In that case, wearing "cool" clothes or styles is just going to accentuate your wrong attitude and pull you away from the Lord and toward the godless System. Worst of all, it will influence your peers as well and hinder their walk with the Lord.

                85.Maybe you feel like, "What's the big deal? It's just a style!" You're right, the style isn't a big deal in itself. The big deal is your attitude and the spirit that you carry with that style. Are you exuding love, care, unselfishness, understanding and the gifts of the Spirit? If so, I don't care what you wear! But if the spirit you're carrying around is one of independence, laziness, shallowness, lack of hunger for the Word, lack of conviction or yieldedness, then I do care what you wear, because it'll probably make it worse! Get it?

Earrings on Men

                86.Okay, now we're going from preaching to meddling, and we're going to start to cover some more specifics! This next prophecy came as a result of asking the Lord for counsel concerning some freedoms that the teens at one of our WS units wanted to enjoy. The shepherds of the Home asked the Lord about it, and this is what Dad had to say to the shepherdess who had asked the question:

                87.(Dad speaking:) Come on, Honey, let'm live! Live and let live, and know that the Lord is in control. Don't be afraid of a little wildfire. But also be forewarned that this wildfire can burn down the whole house if it's left to its own devices. Put guidelines in place. You know how teens are--they need to know how far they can go, and they are going to push you to the limit, so be ready. Be firm and be strong, but be loving. Say yes when you can. You know what I told you before: If it's not going to hurt anybody and if there are not going to be any serious consequences, then why not? Let them have fun. They are young and young at heart, so don't quench the fire; let it burn, but make sure it's burning in the right direction.

                88.Make sure they stay close to the Lord and close to you, their shepherd. Love drew a circle that drew them in. Do what you can, and God will do what you can't. Stay close to the Lord and listen to Him, and He'll lead and guide you and direct your paths. (End of prophecy.)

                89.When the shepherds of the Home asked me about this, I thought it might be good to ask the Lord or Dad for some more counsel on the specific questions that the teens had. One was about guys wearing earrings, the other was about putting up posters of movie stars in their rooms (covered later in this series). In the above prophecy Dad's general counsel was to "cut the teens some slack," while at the same time giving it proper shepherding and guidelines and making sure it was in the right spirit. But I felt it was necessary--not only for the sake of the teens in that unit, but for our Family worldwide--to get more specific instruction or guidelines on guys wearing earrings, since Dad, in his answer, seemed to be talking more about teen activities in general.

                90.By the way, that's a good point about prophecy. Sometimes when you ask a question, if you feel the answer wasn't specific enough, or some aspects of the question remain unanswered, then ask the Lord again! He doesn't mind, and is happy when we come back to Him about something that we don't fully understand or need to know more about.

                91.So I asked the Lord if there was any standard we should set for the Family regarding earrings on men, and whether the above message from Dad applied to the Family at large or just the WS unit where it was given. Here's what the Lord had to say:

                92.(Jesus speaking:) This is a case where each situation will have to be judged on its own merits, according to the customs and mores and styles of the society in which you live. Ask yourself, and research, and find out what kind of impression this makes on those who see you. What kind of first impression, what kind of signal does it give to outsiders, to those you are witnessing to and ministering to?

                93.Pray and seek My confirmation, for this is a case where it would be acceptable in some situations and offensive in others. In order to know My will for your particular situation and for you as an individual, you must pray and ask Me, and I will give you clear instruction. But be open to My instruction and come before Me with no opinion of your own, only seeking to be led by My Spirit. Be yielded and willing to do whatever I show you to do. Then I will be able to speak to you clearly and specifically, and you will be able to stay within My perfect will. It is within My perfect will that you will be the greatest witness and greatest testimony.

                94.This is the day of choices, and I have put many choices before My young people, to test their maturity, to test their willingness to be led by My Spirit, to test their yieldedness to My instruction, and to test their open-mindedness and ability to hear from Me and be directed by Me, even in these personal decisions which seem to be small decisions. They seem to be inconsequential and not that important, but it is a way and an opportunity for the young people to pray and to hear from Me and to make their own decisions.

                95.But still they must be open to counsel, and they must be willing to do that which seems right unto all, and not operate independently or willfully. For if what they want to do is of Me, it will be confirmed in the mouths of two or three witnesses, and it will bring forth the good fruits of unity, contentment and peace of mind. Even if this style is not the personal preference of the older generation, if they too will pray and seek Me, I will lead and guide. I will give them the faith and the peace of mind that they too might be yielded and receptive and open.

                96.There are many cases where the use of earrings really wouldn't make much difference at all one way or the other. But there are other cases where the use of earrings would be a definite benefit in order to relate to the ones you're witnessing to, or to become one. And there are also other cases where the use of earrings would be a definite detriment, a bad testimony and a bad witness. So you must come before Me and seek Me for a confirmation, and I will not fail to lead and guide you. I will direct you with My specific Words if you will come to Me with openness and yieldedness.

                97.(Dad speaking:) To pierce or not to pierce, that is the question! What a question! Just as the Lord said, in some cases it won't really matter one way or the other. In other cases, it can mark you or label you as a certain type of person, and that will be offensive to some people or put them off. Or they'll look at you and automatically put you in a mold, in a box in their mind, and they will be distracted from hearing what you're trying to tell them. So, like the Lord said, judge each case according to each situation--where they're living, what they're doing and their attitude.

                98.In times past, an earring was a sign of being a love slave. In today's modern world, there are so many messages conveyed with the piercing of an ear--whether it's the left ear or the right ear, and how you're dressed along with how you wear your earring. So in some ways, it makes a statement. But in other places and other ways, depending on the person, it doesn't make any statement. The person simply likes it, so it doesn't matter. Just be prayerful and count the cost.

                99. One of the beauties of "to pierce or not to pierce" is that it's a good way to bring unity, to bring about communication, counsel and prayer time, asking the Lord what He thinks and getting His permission. It's a good way to humble yourself and ask for counsel. It's a sign of your admission that you need help or that you want help, or that you appreciate others' opinions and counsel. It's good. It's unifying. It's also good for the person being asked, to practice praying before they say, thinking and not being set in old opinions or their own ideas. It's just good. These kinds of questions are good because they bring about communication.

                100.Again, every case is different. What if you do pierce your ear and later you go to a field where it's not acceptable? Really, all you'd have to do is take your earring out. It's one of those things that's a personal decision between you and the Lord. He'll lead you and guide you if you'll just pray and you really want to do what He wants you to do.

                101.It's kind of interesting how the Lord uses these little things. They really are little things. It's just a hole in your ear, but it brings about such good results in good communication, and such good fruits in practice in yielding to the Lord and hearing from Him. Praise the Lord! (End of prophecy.)

                102.On another occasion, while giving a message about our Family young people, Dad said the following about earrings:

                103.(Dad speaking:) Sometimes the young folks ask these things or want these things just to test the older generation, just to see if they're going to say yes or no, if they're going to let them enjoy the freedom or if they're going to clamp down on them and say, "No, no, no!" Sometimes it's just a test.

                104.Like the earrings for the boys: Maybe they're not even that interested in the earrings, but they just want to be able to have the freedom. They just want to be able to do it because it's something different, something new. It's what the other kids are doing, it's the new style. So why not? It's not really going to affect their lives very much. If it's safe and it's clean and not too expensive, if it has a good effect on them, if it doesn't minister to their pride or they don't get lifted up in some rebellious spirit of the System, then what difference does a little earring make?

                105.So they should be allowed these freedoms, as long as it has a good effect on them, and as long as their younger brothers and sisters understand why the older ones are allowed to and the younger ones aren't. They [the shepherds] can just explain that you've got to draw the line somewhere, and the younger ones are still children. But when the older ones become teens, then they need to start exercising their freedom a little bit more, so they can learn to make decisions.

                106.Especially in that situation, Honey, you need to give the kids some freedom, or you're going to have a backlash. They're going to be resisting the close shepherding, and they're going to want to break free. So to be wise shepherds, they need to give those kids some freedom. They need to give'm a little rope and free the reins a little bit, so they can grow up and they can feel that they're not being controlled by too many restrictions and given too little outlet for their desires and their new ideas.

                107.I don't really have a problem with this earring idea, although it's not my preference. It seems a little strange to me, but if that's what they want to do, I don't really see that it would harm anything or be a problem, as long as, like I said, they don't get proud or lifted up or rebellious. (End of prophecy.)

                108.How's that! I bet some of you young folks were probably thinking that Dad was going to say that wearing an earring was "out of it" and shouldn't be allowed. Well, Dad was pretty revolutionary about things, and even if it wasn't his personal preference, if other people wanted it and it was harmless and even helped them become one with those they witnessed to, then he wasn't too bothered by these things.

                109.But before you young men start going out and getting your ears pierced, or telling your shepherds that "it's okay with Dad" and that they should "live and let live," let me remind you that the Lord also says that you "must be open to counsel, and [you] must be willing to do that which seems right unto all, and not operate independently or willfully. For if what [you] want to do is of Me, it will be confirmed in the mouths of two or three witnesses, and it will bring forth the good fruits of unity, contentment and peace of mind." The Lord and Dad want to be able to give you the freedoms that you want, and let you make your own choices, but within the guidelines they set down, and one of those is that it doesn't have a bad effect on you or your younger brothers and sisters. So please remember that, and as I mentioned in the introduction to this GN, take the full counsel the Lord and Dad are giving, and don't just cling to a certain phrase and misuse it as a carte blanche to do whatever you want.

                110.Dad says that the Lord "will lead you and guide you if you'll just pray and you really want to do what He wants you to do." So in addition to seeking Godly counsel, be sure to also pray and hear from the Lord about it and ask Him what He wants you to do. You should even pray with others in your Home, so that, as the prophecy indicated, it can be confirmed in the mouth of two or three witnesses.

                111.As concerns you adults, some of you may find you need to lighten up a little on the teens in your Home in some respects, and allow the teens more freedom and room to express their individuality. On the other hand, others of you may be allowing many of these freedoms without the shepherding that the Lord and Dad emphasize here, and in your case, maybe you need to tighten up and pull in the reins a bit so things don't get out of hand to where your young people start drifting off in the spirit and losing their vision and inspiration for the Lord, the Word, witnessing and serving Him--and being a bad influence on their younger brothers and sisters on top of it! These prophecies are not a green light for whatever freedoms the teens want to have regardless of their motives and attitudes, but a balance has to be maintained and things kept in the right spirit.

                112.Again, a lot has to do with the situation as well as the attitude. Consider the following comments from a report some months back from one of our North American CROs:

                113. (From a CRO:) In a fair amount of situations, wearing an earring could render a young person ineffective in his witness, and he might be unable to provision a meal out when witnessing because of his appearance and manner. In those cases, it might not be advisable for him to wear the earring. Or if he can no longer go on provisioning pickups because of an earring and the dress which accompanies the earring, then in the Lord's work, where availability, adaptability and being able to relate to the public are crucial to the success of the Home, it might be best to forsake the earring.

                114. To give you an example, a senior teen went to the produce market wearing an earring. When his adult partner asked him to give a tract to one of the contacts, he presented the tract to him and said, "This is for you, dude!" The contact, a black Christian, took the tract and did his best to be gracious, but we're afraid we may have offended him. You might ask, "Well, why send a teen to the market who wears an earring? Couldn't he do something else?" Yes, possibly he could help with babies or cook a meal, but pretty soon the choices get a little thin and the earring and appearance begin to eliminate certain choices of what the teen can do. It can get to where a Home can hardly find someone to go on the milk pickup because there's no one whose appearance is up to meeting the contact.

                115. Of course, it could be argued that the earring might help our young men to relate to their "cool" counterparts in the System. I would say that wearing an earring today is more acceptable than it was three years ago, at least in the States. While this may be a valid reason for our teens and YAs to wear an earring in some circumstances, the field becomes rather narrow. (End of report from a CRO.)

                116.There are two points I'd like to focus on from the above report. The first is attitude. In the account of the teen at the market, the main problem may not have been the fact that the teen was wearing an earring, but rather his laid-back "cool" attitude that could come across as offensive to a contact, who expects you to uphold a certain standard as a Christian missionary. In the above scenario I agree that it probably would have been better to go without the earring, but just dropping the earring isn't going to help much if you don't have a change of attitude and realize that you have to adapt to each situation.

                117.People in some countries or cities or of certain social standing, such as the typical middle-aged, middle-class, red, white and blue American Christian, have pretty conservative views about things like earrings on men, and consider them "unchristian." Even though they can understand teens being a little different, still, when it seems to them to get way out there, it makes it hard for these people to consider the teens Christians, or even the parents. Or, at least they wonder how the parents can allow the kids to look that way. Of course, to other people it doesn't matter and they don't have a problem with it.

                118.We can't change people's opinions and what they think about things like that, so if we want to relate to them while witnessing or provisioning or get close to them as fellow parents or friends, we have to try to have as much in common as possible. In this case the outward appearance is very important, because as Jesus said, that's what people judge us by. So the fact of the matter is, it stumbles some people. Even if we think it shouldn't, it does, and we can't change that. So we have to be the adaptable ones and do what we can to make it easy for them to be good.

                119.The "hey, dude" approach may work when witnessing to some youths on the strip, but it's not going to gain you respect with a businessman who expects something else. I'd again like to bring your attention to what the Lord said in a prophecy included earlier in this GN: "Being truly revolutionary is being whatever you need to be, moment by moment, day by day." You want to be truly "cool" in the Lord's eyes? You want to be revolutionary? Then be adaptable!

                120.The second point is that just because you have an earring doesn't mean you have to wear it all the time! Again, be adaptable! If you're going down to the park to witness to some kids, then leave it in; but if you're on your way to do pickups at the market and you know some of your contacts might be stumbled by it, then take it out! Don't be too proud to change according to the need in order to be winsome. That's what Saint Paul did! Consider what he had to say about it:

                121."For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law ... that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the Gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you" (1Cor.9:19-23).

Earrings--Two Personal Testimonies

                122.Last year, one of our newly appointed VSs in the States, Miguel (22, of Cherish), was thinking about getting an earring. Besides just being something that he personally liked or thought would be nice, he also thought it might help him "become one" more, both with the people he was witnessing to in the States, as well as perhaps even the young teens in the Family, some of whom had this idea that Family leadership is generally staid and conservative. (That was probably before they saw the Summit videos with King Peter wearing a ponytail, ha!) In Miguel's case it wasn't something that was going to have a bad effect on him personally, or that had come as a result of trying to be "cool" and worldly, but just a personal preference. God bless Miguel, rather than just going ahead with what seemed like maybe a good idea or at least not a bad idea, he decided that it would be best to ask the Lord about it. Following are excerpts of a note he wrote Gary about it, explaining what happened and what the Lord had to say:

                123. (From Miguel:) I wanted to let you know the conclusion that I came to when praying about getting an earring. I told you that I would let you know about the decision that I came to after praying and hearing from the Lord on the matter.

                124. I asked one of the YAs here in the DC Home who I knew had the gift of prophecy to pray for me, which she did. The Lord gave some very interesting counsel for me. I was quite turned on about this answer, so I wanted to share it with you. I also thought that it might help others who might be wondering about doing something like I wanted to do for the sake of "becoming one." All situations are different, but maybe this prophecy could be a blessing to someone in the future. (Note from Mama: The prophecy was quite long, so we have only included pertinent excerpts.)

                125.(Prophecy:) I have chosen you to be a sample and a witness to the young ones, so they can also grow in My Words and they can be inspired about Me.... Think not that your sample will not affect them, for they will look to you and watch every move and see if there be any "wicked" way in you.

                126.My ways are not your ways, for this is not but a little thing. It can be used either way--for Me, for My sample of becoming one and understanding; or against Me, against My leaders, as coming across in some minds as being misled. These are things you must weigh in the balances, and I am glad you come before Me to ask Me of this.

                127.It is true you can have these earthly things on you and it will not affect you, because you have the right spirit. You are strong in My Spirit. But the little ones are weak, and will take it differently and will think of it as, "Aha, we have been given leeway to do our own thing, just as we please." They can take it to the extreme. While it is seen as just a little thing, to them it would be a big thing. They would all ooh and ah over it and want to do it themselves. Don't worry; you are already more radical than they. You already have the radical gypsy spirit of David, the wild spirit, more wild than their "cool" spirit, for you are free.

                128.They wish to be free, but are caught up with all the worldly things that they think they need to have to be "different" and look "different," so they can try to impress their peers. They look at you and see you dressed as normal, but still wild and free--different without any of the hang-ups, different without any of the System fads and System "in things," but just wild with the Family spirit. They will be amazed and want it. They try to have the freedom with their hairstyles and the rings and the earrings and some even with the tattoos. They try to be different, but this is a physical thing.

                129.The real thing is the spiritual thing, being wild and free spiritually. Show that side of you, and that will be more of a testimony to them than if you start to look like them. For then they will respect and admire you. They will admire you for staying strong. It [an earring] is not a bad thing. There are some who want to try it, but I do not recommend it for all. There are some I wish to stay simple in My Spirit, for this is how I can use them more, without any images.

                130.It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom, for you just want to please Me, you want to do what is best in My will.... But I am an all-loving Father, Lover and Friend, and it is as a wife who says to her husband, "I would prefer you without the beard, without the hairdo, without this or that ... but I still love you any way you are." So am I with you, the Husband who would prefer if you were without some of these things, but still loves you with what you choose and lets you have leeway in what you like to try, in what you like to experiment with, and still loves you for how you are, no matter what. I am like that with you, My lover and friend. I love you whichever way you choose. Though I have preferences, I don't mind if you experiment with these different things to see what it brings about. (End of prophecy excerpts.)

                131. (Miguel continues:) After reading these prophecies, it seemed pretty clear to me that I was not supposed to get an earring, which I am fine with. Obviously the Lord wants me to become one in a different fashion! (End of note from Miguel.)

                132.As Miguel explains, in his case the Lord was suggesting he not wear an earring as it might not bear the right fruit. If someone else were to ask the same question, the Lord might say that it was okay. But the point is that you need to ask the Lord to be sure, and Miguel was a very good sample of doing that and following through with what the Lord showed him!

                133.Of course, if your situation and circumstances change, sometimes the Lord's will can change, too, and He can show you He wants to do things differently. The Lord could indicate that it's all right for you to get an earring at one time, but then at another time say you shouldn't wear it. Or He may show you not to get one now, but indicate later that it's all right. Just check with Him if you're not sure!

                134. As an example of howthe Lord sometimes says yes to requests about wearing earrings, following is a prophecy we received from Jeremy at the BAS on the subject of him wearing an earring or not. Here's how it came about:

                135. (From the BAS Home:) We had a party recently in our Home, and Jeremy and his mate dressed up as '90s runners with a homemade medallion saying "Go for the Gold!" Jeremy wore someone's earring. (He had gotten his left ear pierced when he backslid for a time way back in the '70s.) A few people mentioned how much they liked it, so we asked the Lord whether he could wear it on a more permanent basis. The Lord indicated it was all right for him to wear it, so he is, although at different times he has taken it off. Following is the prophecy that was received.

                136. (Jesus speaking:) The wind bloweth where it listeth, and to one I say yes and to another I say no. To this one I say yes. It is his beauty upon him. It is the sign of My love upon him, and not only My love upon him, but My love through him to the younger generation. For he is one that stands in front of them as a success, and what so many of them admire. This earring shall shine My love upon them. It shall be a symbol of Me reaching out to the younger generation.

                137. As it sparkles, and as this little twinkle in his ear is seen, it will be a twinkle in the hearts of the younger generation. It will be Me saying, "See, I love you. I love you after all. I do love you, and I accept you. And see, I have made one of Mine, yours. I have made him [Jeremy] one of you. He is one of Mine, and he loves Me, and yet I give him to you. So love him, and follow his example of faithfulness and dedication. Follow his example of not getting tripped off in worldliness, and yet being able to have this thing of the world, and some things that the world has, such as musical talents, such as an earring, and yet not putting them before Me. Behold how he puts Me first. Look how he wears it not for his own glory, but as a symbol of My love for you."

                138. This thing I will bless. It shall be a sign, in him, of the marriage of the younger generation to the older generation. For he is carrying a symbol of the young, and yet he is old. It is a sign of his marriage to them, and their marriage to him; of the marriage of the older generation to the younger, and the younger generation to the older, and of My marriage to them.

                139. So yes, have it, do it. Wear it when you want. Remember what it means: It is a symbol of My marriage to the younger generation, and of your marriage to the younger; of My love for the younger, and your love and conciliation towards the younger; of your yielding to the younger generation, of your saying to them that they've got what it takes, too!--Yes, they can make it too.

                140. I use it in a twofold manner: as a sign to them, to attract them to you, and then I use you as an example to them of putting Me first. (End of message from Jesus.)

                141. (Mama:) Isn't it beautiful how the Lord pours out so much counsel and gives everything meaning if we just take time to stop and ask Him about it? He could just simply say, "Yes, you can wear an earring," but if you stop and listen with faith and expectancy, you'll get the full explanation that He wants to give you as to why He's allowing you to do such and such, or why He would rather you not do it. You'll never find out unless you ask! Even if you feel it's right, having heard from the Lord about it gives you full faith that what you're doing is of Him, and that there's a reason and purpose for it.


                142.Another big controversial question in some Homes is that of hairstyles. We've heard of teens and YAs getting all kind of haircuts (or lack of haircuts, in some cases), from military-style shaves to wedge cuts to ponytails, to what have you! So I thought it would be good to ask the Lord about that, too, and He sent Dad with some counsel for us all. Praise the Lord! In this prophecy, we were asking the Lord specifically about boys' hairstyles, since that seems to be more of an issue, but the general counsel could also apply to you girls and the different hairstyles that you like to have that some may consider a bit out of the ordinary.

                143.(Dad speaking:) Well, praise the Lord! This hairstyle question is quite a controversy, isn't it? People are really up in the air about hair--long hair, short hair, and those funny new styles that the young men are wearing! It's all very interesting to me. But you know me, I was always willing to change through the years. In the early days, I quite liked the boys' long hair. It looked revolutionary. It looked dropped-out. I loved for our boys to look different from church Christians, and their long hair certainly set them apart. At just a glance, people could tell that these weren't your average church Christians!

                144.That's why I liked the girls to look revolutionary and beautiful with their long hair and their long dresses and their braless breasts, looking beautiful and free like Gypsy women!

                145.I liked to see our folks looking free and different and dropped out from the System. It was a constant reminder to me and everybody else that we were a revolution. We were dropped out; we were not part of the church system. We were not born from the church system. We were not part of the church system, and we would never be part of the church system! That's why I didn't mind at all that some of our boys looked so wild with their long hair and big beards.

                146.But there were times when we had to become one. There were times when they all had to let it go, and we had to take the scissors to that hair and those long beards in order to become one for a certain purpose or for a certain witness or for a certain time. The Lord had His times; the Lord had His reasons. There were times when we needed to clean up, trim up, straighten up and shape up. You've read my message in the Letters. There were times when we needed to look clean-cut. We needed to look respectable, as missionaries on foreign fields, families with young children. We were expected to look clean-cut, and we needed to look clean-cut for security and to be well received.

                147.But times change and situations change, and as I've always said, you need to be flexible. You need to be willing to change with the times. I don't mind if some of our men have long hair. I quite like your long hair, Peter. I think it looks very kingly, very prophetlike, very stately. It makes quite an impression! It's a picture of who you are in the Spirit--a king, a prophet. I quite like it!

                148.And I don't mind if the other men, older men or young men in the Family, would like to have long hair, as long as it looks nice and as long as it looks relatively neat, and as long as it's a good, acceptable testimony in their circumstances. Of course, I guess that depends on how the other people dress in the land where they live. If all the other grown men have short hair, then you'd look out of place if you were the only one with long hair. But if lots of the other men and fathers and businessmen have long hair, then I think it's perfectly fine for some of our older men to have long hair, and certainly some of our younger men, if those of their generation like to wear their hair that way.

                149.In fact, even if those of their generation don't like to wear their hair long, I don't see anything wrong with our young men wearing their hair long, as long as it looks relatively neat and they can manage to keep it from looking too wild and woolly. You can get away with a lot when you're a young person, just because you're young! People give you the benefit of the doubt because they know you want to be different. And if the other kids aren't doing it and you're the only one doing it, they're probably going to think it's a new style that they just haven't seen yet! So don't worry about it too much or get uptight if the young men want to wear their hair long.

                150.Now these new hairstyles, well, I'm not very used to those. They look a little strange to me. I'm just not used to it. I haven't seen it much, and that strange cut, short on the side and long on the top, is not very representative of how we are Here in Heaven. The men Here in Heaven, even Jesus, have rather long, flowing, beautiful hair. It looks masculine and it's very attractive. So those new styles are not very Heavenly, but I wouldn't rule them out. But for me personally, they're not my favorite. I guess it would depend on where you live and who you're witnessing to. It's going to have to be one of those personal decisions. I won't say no, but I can't say that I like it very much personally. But then again, that's me! That's my likes, my taste, and I won't force you to go according to what I like.

                151.It's a new day! There are new styles for the new generation. Just be sure you're Spirit-led. Just be sure you really pray about it, that it's really the Lord's will, that that's the look He wants you to have. Really seek Him about it. Ask Him and He'll tell you. He'll give you a specific answer if you ask Him a specific question. Be Spirit-led and do what Jesus wants you to do, and that'll make you happy, and that'll make me happy, and that'll really make Jesus happy. I love you! XXX! (End of prophecy.)

                152.So as with the earrings, the answer is that these different hairstyles are not forbidden or even necessarily frowned on, but the criteria should be, as Dad put it, "as long as it looks nice and as long as it looks relatively neat, and as long as it's a good, acceptable testimony in [your] circumstances." Please remember that. You may like having a near-shaven head, but if it makes you look like a skinhead, thug, or what some folks would call a "punk" instead of a missionary when you go out witnessing or provisioning, maybe you should reconsider. Or you may think a ponytail would be real groovy, but if you're in a culture where it stumbles those you minister to and makes them wonder how you could be a disciple of Jesus, maybe you should re-evaluate your thinking, and most of all, pray and hear directly from the Lord about it. And this applies not only to boys, but also to girls and the different hairstyles that they might want to wear.

                153.It's nice to be able to wear your hair the way you like it, but remember that your sample and testimony are more important than your personal preferences. And if you don't know whether you should or shouldn't have a certain hairstyle, follow Dad's advice to ask the Lord about it, okay? Even if you're pretty sure what you should do, it's still a good thing to ask the Lord for a confirmation.

                154.One comment on long hair on boys: While Dad says that it's fine to wear long hair in some situations, that doesn't mean that it's okay to be slovenly or dirty in appearance. For some people, the long hair is part of some sort of "style" of being generally unkempt and dirty. Sorry, but that style is not "in," nor the kind of sample that you should be as a Family member or even a Christian. Cleanliness is still Godliness, and that hasn't changed. While times are different in some respects, and some of Dad's specific rules regarding long hair and beards in Letters like "The Ugly Americans" and "Face Up, Dress Up" have changed, his general counsel in those Letters about presenting a nice-looking, decent sample very much applies, no matter what style of hair or dress you have!

Peter's Ponytail and Gary's Short Hair!

                155.Since we're on the subject of hair, I guess all of you who watched the Summit videos noticed that Peter had a ponytail! Many of you have commented in your letters to Peter and me how pleasantly surprised you were. Doesn't it suit him well? Before the Summit meetings, Peter and I were wondering whether he should cut his hair before going, as we wondered whether it was going to send a signal that all of our men should wear a ponytail now! So we prayed about it and asked the Lord, and I thought you'd be interested in hearing what He had to say about it, so I'm including it here. The Lord gives some very good insight into the reasons why Peter kept his hair long, explaining that the freedom of the flesh only comes with the freedom of the Spirit. There's also some very good counsel on shepherding young people which I hope will be a help to you shepherds as well.

                156.At the same time we also asked the Lord whether Gary, who had long hair at the time, should cut his hair before going to the Summit. I'm also including that prophecy, as it gives the balance on the "long hair issue," and shows that just because Peter has long hair doesn't mean that that's the new "Family standard."

                157.(Jesus speaking about Peter:) Let My people go! For, yes, these will look to their king and they will revel in the freedom of My Spirit, knowing that I can go wherever I wish in the Spirit and I can take My king wherever I please. For the wind bloweth where it listeth and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell from whence it cometh or whither it goeth. My Spirit is freedom; My Spirit is liberty. And My sheep will follow, if you will lead them aright, if you will lead them with love and understanding and patience and care, encouraging them and passing on the vision that has been given to you these many years. This is what is important. This is what will have an effect.

                158.So wear your hair long to show them that there is freedom in the flesh, but this freedom only comes through freedom in the Spirit. For if a man is not free in the Spirit, trying to be free in the flesh will not free him, but will only put him into further bondage. These young ones test you and push you to the limit to see if you are really going to let them operate according to their faith and burn the way they feel led to burn. But once they know that you trust them, they, like Aries the ram*, desperately want your shepherding and your help, your direction, your guidance, your fatherly advice, your chidings, your corrections, and your instructions. For they have learned during these many years of growing up in My Family that reproofs and instruction are a way of life, and they feel secure with these things. *(See ML #302B.)

                159.But first they must know that you love them and you trust them, and that you're not looking down on them for their long hair or even their dress, but you're looking at their hearts to see if they really love My sheep, and if they really mean business about going out and strengthening the brethren, and going out to reach My lost and needy sheep. So show them that it is okay, that they can have their independence and their freedom, but that it will only bear fruit if it is done in My Spirit and in love, and if it is not done for rebellion, or to hurt, or to cause division or dissension, or to be a bad sample to the younger ones.

                160.Wear your hair long, for in seeing this they will cling tighter to your words and to your spirit and to the love that I have given you to pass on to them, the love for Me and the love for My Words, the love for My queen, the love for My Family and the love for My sheep that I have implanted in your heart which has made you My king on the Earth. So open your arms to them and accept them as they are, and they will love you for it, and they will be good samples when they go back to help lead their peers to victory and over the rugged mountains. But they must have this freedom. They must have this opportunity and this outlet to express their individuality, their independence, their difference from the older generation. So let them burn free, but guide them in spirit and guide them in love and they will bear much fruit for Me.

                161.(Jesus speaking about Gary:) An ambassador must be willing to become all things to all men, that he might win some, and be winsome. He must be willing to give up his own desires, his own likes, even his own personality at times to be what I need him to be for any given situation. So that this matter of wearing the hair long or short does not give a wrong picture or an improper balance to the sheep, it would be best for this one to cut his hair. This will then send a signal that it is up to the individual how he desires to wear his hair, the way that he feels comfortable, the way he likes it, the way he feels that I want him to wear his hair. For this is really the important matter, that he is doing My will in his life.

                162.My sheep are funny, and if they see their shepherds doing one thing, they have a tendency to follow blindly and to not really pray and hear from Me. But if you represent both sides in this matter to show that you're willing to do whatever I ask you to do, whether it be to have your hair long or whether it be to shave your head, or whether it be to walk naked [like Isaiah] or to eat dung [like Ezekiel], you will do what I ask you to do. This is the lesson that I wish for you to teach these shepherds and these young ones that will be there looking to you, looking to your sample, looking to the way you handle things in the Spirit, the way you get your signals from Me. They need to see that you don't do things just on a whim or even because you like to do certain things, but that you seek My face and seriously call out to Me to help you to be an ensample to My flock, just as I said that you should be in the Word.

                163.This will then make each of them have to seek Me and ask Me what My will is for them. I will surely tell them, and they will listen and they will follow. This will be a good lesson to many--a lesson of faith, a lesson of trust, a lesson on yieldedness and obedience and submission. For My principles revolve on little things. I am proud of you for asking. I am proud of you for not wanting to do even the littlest things without My counsel, without My advice, without My wisdom. (End of prophecy.) q

(To be continued!)

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family