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The Silver Lining!--Trusting the Lord for Our Young People Who've Left the Family Maria #419 CM/FM 3166 10/97

By Maria

Dear Family,

1. I love you! I'm so proud of each of you for your dedication to the Lord's service and for following Him wherever He leads--whether it be through the flower-filled fields with cool streams, across the rushing rivers, over the high mountain passes, or even sometimes through the barren deserts! You certainly are heroes of the faith--even if you often don't feel like it! You may feel like you're struggling or just barely making it, and may not consider yourself much at all; but to the Lord, you're heroes, because you've held on through thick and thin!

2.There were many times when God's great men and women in the Bible or throughout the ages felt like giving up. But what made them great was that they persevered and kept on going, even when everything seemed to be going wrong in the natural, or even though they felt discouraged, tired and worn. (See 2Cor.4:8-18.) They had faith and trust that the Lord was going to pull them through, and that all things would work together for good--which they did! Of course, they couldn't always see it right away, and some even "died in faith, not having received the promises." But because they had the Heavenly vision, and had "seen them (the promises) afar off, they were persuaded of them and embraced them"--by faith! And that's why "God is not ashamed to be called their God"--or yours!

3.So Lord help us to keep the Heavenly vision, and not get our minds too focused on the little time we have here on Earth,and its problems, difficulties and hardships. That's not to say the problems don't exist or that we should just ignore them and pretend they're not there, but rather we should, like Moses, "endure as seeing Him Who is invisible," having "respect unto the recompense of our reward!" (Hebrews 11:13,16,27,26).

4.There's a topic somewhat related to the above verses that has been on my heart for some time, and which I know has been on many of your hearts as well, both adults and young people, but especially you parents. It's our young people--our sons and daughters--who have left the Family, and who, unlike Moses, have not esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.

5.Of course, in a religious movement with as many full-time missionaries as ours, and a lifestyle that requires great personal sacrifice, we shouldn't necessarily expect that every young person born into it will choose to continue serving the Lordfull-time as we do. If you compare the percentage of our teens and YAs who decide to be missionaries to that of the churches, it's obvious that we, the Family, are doing exceptionally well, thank the Lord!--And thanks to the wonderful dedication of our dear kids! I'm proud of each one of you young people who has made a commitment to serve the Lord!

6.For a variety of reasons, however, some young people do decide that life in the Family is not for them, and each time one of our dear teens, YAs or SGAs decides to pursue other interests, it is difficult, especially for you, their parents. I've received many letters over the past couple of years from parents who are very burdened about their children who've left the Family. In some cases, these parents are battling heavily with discouragement.

7.I know it's a huge weight. When I read your letters, I cry as I think about how discouraged you are, how condemned you feel, how worried you might be, and how bad you feel because in some cases you think other Family members are looking at you critically, like you've really blown it, you've been bad parents. I'm very sorry that it's so difficult for you! I wish I could take each of you in my arms and comfort you. I wish I could be with you right now to hold you and dry your tears and pray for you. I wish I could get specific Words of encouragement and instruction from our wonderful Husband for every one of you parents who has had to endure this battle.

8. I can understand how painful it is to see the one you love so much and have poured into so much choose a path that you know isn't the best for him or her. In fact, it can almost be like death! You feel your hopes for your child have been dashed, and after all that time and all those tears, prayers, sacrifices and laying down your life for them, they're tossing it aside--and that hurts.

9. You also hurt for them, because you know how difficult it's going to be for them out on their own in the System, like a lamb in the midst of wolves, not to mention the rewards and blessings that they're going to miss out on because they forsook their crown and service for the Lord.

10.I'm sure many of you parents really worry about your kids who have left the Family. You try to trust the Lord, but with world conditions being so bad these days, you probably still worry sometimes about whether they'll get AIDS from unsafe sex, or get involved with gangs, or get strung out on crack or some of those new "designer drugs," or fall in with bad kids and get hurt in some way. You hate to see your kids, who you love so much, struggling to get by in a cold and heartless world, suffering at the hands of ungodly employers, or wasting their lives away with idleness. You hate to see them miserable, lonely, or maybe even in danger.

11. So the strong heartache you feel is twofold--both your own personal pain and loss, as well as your child's loss and the pain and difficulties they will likely experience in the System. It's a very, very difficult situation, and just thinking about it and reading your letters telling of your experiences breaks my heart for you, and makes me pray desperately for your strength and encouragement.

12.On top of it all, many of you also battle severe condemnation, as the Enemy hits you hard with wave after wave of discouragement and despair, throwing all your faults and failures at you, and blaming you for your son or daughter's decision. You think, "If I only had done this, if I only had done that." Or you begin to ask yourself, "Where did we go wrong?" or even, "Where did the Family go wrong?"

13.Perhaps you partly blame others for your child's decision to leave, because of their lack of love and understanding, or their lack of proper shepherding. And the Enemy is eager to exploit that and try to sow the seeds of bitterness in your heart toward those people, or even toward the Family as a whole for the circumstances which contributed to your loved one's departure from our fold.

14.We have published some counsel on this subject in "What To Do When Teens Leave the Family" (ML #2942,GN 608 or Lifelines 21). But some of you dear parents are still plagued by battles, condemnation, and unanswered questions. And even if you have not had your own children leave the Family, you've probably watched others' children do so, in which case the Enemy can still get in and tell you that if many of our young people are unhappy or dissatisfied in the Family, then there must be something wrong with the Family or the way we're going about training our kids, or maybe there's even something wrong with the Word.

15.Maybe you experience a whirlwind of different emotions and feelings, and you don't know what to think or who to blame. You don't even know whether what you're feeling is right or wrong, and whether the whole situation was just "meant to be" or whether you could have avoided it somehow. You probably look back and feel that there were so many times when you could or should have done better, and the Enemy hits you with feelings of remorse about those times.

16.Dad experienced some of these same questions over his backslidden daughter, Deborah, so he knows how those of you whose children have left the Family feel and the burdens that you've carried. And while David and Techi have never left the Family, there have been times when they've perilously strayed from the Lord's will in their lives and started going down the wrong road. So although I haven't had the same experiences as some of you, I can also somewhat relate to how you feel and the burdens you carry.

17.My heart goes out to you, and I've wanted so much to help you in any way I can. Of course, the way I can help you the most is by giving you the Lord's Words to help you understand the way He sees things--His perspective, which is so often very different than ours--and to give you the comfort, strength and encouragement that you need to face these difficult and sometimes heartbreaking events.

18.In response to personal letters that some of you parents have written to Peter and me about your teens leaving the Family, the Lord has given beautiful messages of encouragement and counsel. The counsel in these messages is not just for you parents who have children who have left the Family, but for all you adults and young people, because you all know someone who has left and may have questions about it, or you might be going through battles that so many young people have left and be wondering what will happen to them, etc. So please take time to read and study what the Lord has given on this subject.

19.The Lord has also given much counsel for you young people, explaining the importance of sticking it out in the Family even when the going gets rough and times are tough--the blessings that He gives those who do stick it out, and the difficulties that face those who don't! He has a lot to say on the subject of "why stay in the Family?"--which I'm sure you'll be very interested in and which I hope will be a help to you--especially any of you who've been thinking of leaving the Family for one reason or another, which is a battle many folks get hit with from time to time. You should be receiving some of this counsel in a soon-coming GN titled "Hold On to Your Crown."

20.Actually, a concern of mine in publishing this GN with the Lord's encouragement for the parents and His promises regarding their teens who've left and how they're His and will be gathered to Him in His time was that you young people might get the impression--the wrong impression--that what the Lord is saying is that it doesn't really matter whether you serve the Lord in the Family or go out and live selfishly in the System; either way the Lord loves you and everything will be just fine in the end.

21.Well, yes, the Lord still loves you either way,and He promises that things will work out in the end, but that end--whether it's in this life or the next--could be a long time coming, and there are a lot of hard times in between! "The way of the transgressor is hard" (Pro.13:15). As the Bible tells us and Dad has often taught, some of those who are raptured or resurrected will be "raised to shame and everlasting contempt" (Dan.12:2). Dad has also taught us that "everlasting" often means "an age," so it does come to an end, but how long that shame and contempt will last only the Lord knows. It probably depends on each person, the choices they made, and what they did with their lives. But no matter how short or long it is, I'd much rather hear the Lord say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!" (Mat.25:21). Wouldn't you?

22.The Lord also clearly explains in other prophecies that by forsaking His service, you forfeit or lose many of the rewards and blessings that He wants to bestow upon you not only in Heaven, but here on Earth as well! So there are some pretty compelling reasons for sticking to your service for the Lord, not the least being that the world needs you, and if you won't help them, who will? So please bear that in mind when reading this GN. I love you! You're wonderful and I'm proud of you.

"Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go "

23.Back to you parents: One of the questions that you've probably battled with is why your child has decided not to follow in your footsteps of serving the Lord. What went wrong? Even those of you who don't have kids who have left may sometimes wonder how come so many of our young people have left the Family when the Lord promised that if we would "train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old, he would not depart from it" (Pro.22:6).

24.Of course, everyone makes mistakes, and I'm sure that each of us as parents can look back and see times and places when we could have done better at raising our children. But if you've tried to raise your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, why do some still leave?

25.The Lord gave a message that helps answer part of this question when one of our CRO offices prayed for a couple who had several children who had either left the Family or were thinking of doing so. I'm sure that this message will be an encouragement to you too. Thank the Lord for His answers that can help us clear up the muddle and confusion that the Enemy likes to put in our minds to get us discouraged, condemned, and even doubting Him and His Word.

26.(Jesus speaking:) You are like farmers passing through a difficult winter. Though the ground is hard and frozen, and though there are dark clouds looming overhead, you've been faithful farmers who have planted My seed. You've planted many seeds, and you've worked long and hard and made many sacrifices to pour into the hearts of your children. You've been faithful to follow Me. You've been faithful to obey Me and to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. I've given you the heart of a missionary, and you've proven to be My chosen ones. You've loved the lost and you've given your all these many years.

27.Even though it now looks as though the seed will not come forth as I have promised, and even though it's a long, hard winter you're enduring, you must continue to believe in the Word that I have given, and believe that My Word will not return void, but will accomplish the purpose whereunto I sent it into the hearts of your children.

28.Each one is an individual to Me, and I know their hearts and their needs even more than you do. Therefore, trust in Me and continue to commit each one to Me. Continue to feed them the Word. Continue to let My Word change your life, and as you do, I will bring forth fruit that will remain--everlasting fruit. Your children will rejoice, and they will know by your sample that I love them dearly and that I will never leave them nor forsake them.

29.Even though some may follow afar off at different times in life, don't be discouraged. Don't be disheartened or fall under the condemnation of the Devil, for this condemnation is too great a burden for you to bear. It's the Devil's trick to get your eyes off Me and My Word and My promises. Therefore, resist this condemnation! Rebuke it, and have no part in it!

30.You've been faithful, and you've been loyal to My Words. I know the motives and the desires of your hearts. I know that you love Me, and that you love My children. Therefore, continue to be faithful and trust wholly in Me. Depend totally on Me, and I will answer each of your desperate prayers for My children.

31.Have I not said, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it"? This is true; this is My Word. But that doesn't mean that when they're young, they will not try other things, and that they will not stray in some way from that course, from that narrow road that you've taught them to stay on. But because you've trained them right and you've led them along the straight and narrow, they will one day come back to it.

32.You're right, some people have to learn the hard way. The choices are theirs. Don't feel that the choices they're making are a reflection of the training that you've given them.

33.Trust Me that I do all things well, and that all things work together for good to them that love Me. Your children love Me, and this is what is most important. I'm in their heart and they're Mine forever. They're My children. Many parents try to take their children into their own hands and say that they're theirs, and that it's their fault if their children are going astray, or it's to their credit that they're doing well. But they're My children, and I love them more than you could ever possibly love them.

34.Don't you think it pains Me to see them making these choices? It does. Yet I know that in the long run they'll come back to Me. They do love Me, and these things are a part of their training, a part of their growth. You can't appreciate the light unless you've known darkness, and you can't appreciate health unless you've known sickness. So these cannot appreciate the Family until they've known what it's like to not be a part of the Family, or to experience these other things that they're experiencing. They'll appreciate it, and will one day thank you for your training and the love that you poured into them.

35.Just keep loving them! Even though it doesn't seem to bear fruit now, it will one day. And like a seed planted in the garden, the more you water it, the more it will one day grow into a beautiful tree bearing fruit. (End of message from Jesus.)

36.(Mama:) The Lord says that "these cannot appreciate the Family until they've known what it's like to not be a part of the Family." I wondered what the Lord meant by that, since it could be taken to mean that every young person would have to backslide at some point or another in order to appreciate what they have in the Family. We know the Lord doesn't want all the young people in the Family to try out the System--in fact, He has made it very clear that He would much rather that they don't. So I asked Him for a clarification on this point, and here's what He said:

37.(Jesus speaking:) In this instance I was speaking to this particular family, not to the entire Family. A young person doesn't need to leave the fold in order to appreciate it, as I can instill in them the feeling of appreciation simply by their seeing the experiences of others and learning from them. As the saying goes, "A wiser man learns from the mistakes of others." The young people in the Family can do likewise. However, there are some who refuse to learn any other way, and it is necessary for them to leave the fold in order to understand how good they had it in the fold, and to appreciate what I had given them. But that is the hard way.

38.I would rather My children learn the easy way--and most do--but some must learn the hard way. It's difficult for them, but when they've learned their lesson they will be more convinced than ever that I am the way, the truth, and the life. (End of message from Jesus.)

The Burden of Responsibility

39.(Mama:) Back to the longer prophecy above: It's encouraging how the Lord confirms that His promise is true and will be fulfilled--that "if we train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not depart from it." But that doesn't mean that there won't be some detours along the way, as our children, once they're old enough, have to take responsibility for their own choices. Some have to learn through the school of hard knocks and by making the wrong choices before they can be fully persuaded in their heart what the right choice is.

40.Of course it's difficult and painful to see your child take that detour and make those choices, because you wanted the best for them. You had great plans for them. You wanted them to grow up into strong soldiers for the Lord who are sold out and dedicated to His service, and it hurts to see things turn out otherwise. But you have to trust the Lord for their lives, and that He's going to bring them around in the end, no matter what turns their road takes in the meantime. You can't hold on to the plans that you had for them, but you must realize that they have to take responsibility for themselves.

41.While it is your responsibility to teach and train them and be the best sample you can to them,and to help them all you can, once they've made a definite decision to forsake their service for the Lord, then the responsibility is no longer yours, but theirs. The Enemy will try to blame you and attack you with condemnation, or tell you that there must be something terribly wrong with you for things to have turned out that way. But once you've done what you could, you have to commit the situation to the Lord and trust that He will work things out.

42.Dad gave a very good message along these lines for a dear long-time Family member with many children, several of whom have left the Family, which caused him much heartache. To make matters worse, there was a lack of communication concerning his sons' decisions, and he was not notified of their leaving for quite some time. As a result, his sons, who he had always had a close relationship with, became bitter toward him and toward the Family, as they thought he no longer cared for them.

43.This is such a heartbreaking situation, and I could feel his sadness, the despair, the hopelessness, the disappointment and even the anger that he must have felt. I admire him for sticking it out, for holding on and remaining faithful in spite of the mistakes and problems, just as I admire all of you precious parents who have done likewise. After hearing his reaction, I wanted so much to comfort him. I knew it would be a tremendous boost to his spirit to hear from Dad, so we prayed for him, and Dad gave some wonderful words of encouragement and counsel, parts of which I'm including below, as they apply not only to this brother, but to you as well. In his message, Dad also shares some of his own testimony and battles, which I'm sure will encourage you who have experienced similar things:

44.(Dad speaking:) You've been a very fruitful tree and brought forth a lot of good fruit. The Lord chose you to bring forth all that fruit because He knew you were a good, strong tree, and you still have more fruit to come! That's what the tree is for--to bear fruit. The tree can't help the type of fruit that it bears. Though a strong and fruitful tree may have lots of good fruit, there's always some fruit that is weak or drops off before it has fully matured, or because there's some problem with it. The tree can't help that any more than you can help how all your children turn out. Even in nature, the best of trees don't yield 100% perfect fruit. Neither can the tree control what kind of storms may come its way.

45.Look at me! Here I was God's prophet and God's chosen, but I sometimes got discouraged about my own life and failures and children, thinking, "If the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, then what about my kids that seem to have problems? Does that mean I'm not a good tree? Is there something wrong with me?" But I learned that I couldn't have any set plans for my kids. I couldn't hold on tightly to any dreams of what I wanted them to be. I wanted them to be spiritual leaders, strong leaders of the flock, but that's not how they all turned out.

46.The tree can only feed the sap and nourishment to the fruit, and that's our job with our children when they're young and growing: to feed them the sap of the Word, to pour into them and to nourish them. But there comes a time when the fruit must take responsibility for itself and what it does with the sap, all that nourishment and food that has been poured into it.

47.When our kids come of age (usually around the age of mid-teens), then they stand before the Lord with their own personal choice, and they have to make their own decisions between good and evil. They stand before the Lord and the decision is theirs. The parents' greatest responsibility is being faithful to feed the young fruit in its developing stages. After that, although the tree can send more water and nourishment to the fruit, when it becomes full grown, the tree has done its job.

48.Son, you've done what you could. You've been faithful to feed your fruit. You've been faithful to love them, nurture them, guide them and counsel them. You've fulfilled your responsibility, and you've done that very well. The end purpose of the fruit is to find its place in the ground, and from the seed become a new sapling; then how it grows depends on it.

49.I know that your children leaving the Family is the cause for great sadness, because I went through it. I know the heartache it causes when your children don't give their whole lives to the Lord, because I've gone through that with some of my own children. Even God went through this with Lucifer and the other angels that refused to obey and follow. Everyone has to make their own decisions, and not even God, the perfect God, had one hundred percent total following. He did the best He could (and in fact what He did was perfect), but He knew each individual had to make his own choice. He doesn't expect that all our children will follow in our footsteps, just as all the angels didn't choose to follow Him and serve Him.

50.I love you, Son! You're one of David's mighty men!--A mighty man of valor, and faith, and children. Keep it up, and keep bearing fruit!--Love, Dad. (End of message from Dad.)

51.(Mama:) So parents, please don't continue to carry the burdens of discouragement and blame. A key quote from Dad's message, which I would like to repeat, is where he says, "The tree can only feed the sap and nourishment to the fruit, and that's our job with our children when they're young and growing: to feed them the sap of the Word, to pour into them and to nourish them. But there comes a time when the fruit must take responsibility for itself and what it does with the sap, all that nourishment and food that has been poured into it. The parents' greatest responsibility is being faithful to feed the young fruit in its developing stages. After that, although the tree can send more water and nourishment to the fruit, when the fruit becomes full grown, the tree has done its job."

52.Of course, even when they're older, you parents (and other adults and young people) should continue to feed them the Word and try to train them right, like Dad says, and most of all pray for them; but the choices are theirs, and the responsibility for the outcome of each choice is theirs.

53.In earlier Letters some of you might recall that Dad said quite strongly that delinquent children are the result of delinquent parents, and that if the children go astray, there must be something wrong with the parents. Especially some of you first generation adults probably remember such Letters as "Teen Terrors" or "Delinquent Parents" and you might be a bit confused upon hearing the above counsel from Dad, or it might even seem to you to contradict what he said before. Knowing that this might be a distraction to your being able to benefit fully from what Dad is saying in this GN, I had one of the channels in our Home ask him about this, and he gave the following explanation:

54.(Dad speaking:) Maybe I should have qualified my statements a little more in past Letters. But you know me, I just gave what came and let the chips fall where they may! Sometimes there wasn't a fully rounded explanation in every Letter, like the way sweet Mama likes to do it. God bless her, she anticipates your questions and likes to have them answered. I just gave what I was inspired to give at the moment, and later when the Lord would show me something else that would balance it out, then I would give that. Well, both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. And of course, the Lord knows what you need now, and He's the One Who has inspired Mama to work on the Words the way that she does--and she's doing a great job at it, praise the Lord!

55.In the case of what I've said in previous Letters about how the children are a result of the parents, and if the children are rotten there must be something wrong with the parents, I should have qualified that that's not always the case. I did mention that in other Letters (see "The Rod of God," ML #1527), but maybe the connection wasn't made.

56.Now it's true that you parents have a great deal of influence on your children, and that the training you give them, or don't give them, has a great impact on their lives. If you spare the rod and spoil the child, there's a lot more chance that that child will turn out to be a rotter. But just because the child makes the wrong decisions when he is of age, that doesn't necessarily mean it was because the upbringing was wrong. There are lots of kids who have had a very good upbringing, but who have backslidden or left the Lord's service later in life, because of wrong decisions they made.

57.By giving them good training, you're giving them the best opportunity to turn out well and give their lives to the Lord and His service, but they still have a choice, once they're older, as to whether to accept those opportunities you've given them or reject them. Jesus poured the best training possible into His disciples and gave them the best opportunity possible to become flaming evangelists. But some of them still went back. They had the freedom of choice, and Jesus couldn't make them turn out a certain way.

58.You can't control the outcome of their choices, because that's the majesty of free will. But you can give your child a better chance of making the right choice by how much you've poured into him throughout his life. In other words, if you've given your child lousy training and haven't poured much love or Word into him, there are more chances that he might make the wrong choices when he gets older. He can still make the right ones, with a lot of prayer and the Lord's help. But he's more likely to make the right choices if he has had a real strong upbringing in the Word, love, prayer and lots of tender care, communication and understanding, as well as a vision for what life in the Family is all about and seeing that sample in others.

59.So when I said that a good tree generally bears good fruit, but that the tree can't always help how all the fruit turns out, and that likewise the parents can't always determine the final outcome of their own children, what I mean is that while they can influence the outcome and can change the odds, so to speak, the final choice is still the child's, once he's old enough, which is usually in the mid-teens. You can't pin it down to a specific age as to when children are old enough to make their own decisions, because it's different for every child. Some mature much more quickly than others. But usually in the mid-teens they start to get a pretty good idea of what life in the Family is about and they start thinking about whether they personally want to serve the Lord or not.

60.If they reject the training, then at least you have done what you could. Then you have to commit them to the Lord and trust that He's going to take care of them, as well as continue to uphold them in your prayers, which is very important. (End of message from Dad.)

But What If You Didn't Do Your Best?

61."But," you may ask, "what if I didn't do everything I could for my child? What if I failed as a parent? What if I didn't spend enough time pouring into him or her because I was so busy with other pressing matters? What if I wasn't always the sample of the Lord's Spirit that I should have been?"

62.Probably many of you are asking yourselves these questions. Actually, there are very few parents that really feel that they've done everything they should have done for their children. They always feel that there is much more that they could, or should have, done. So you may figure, "This encouragement and these promises are all very nice for those who were really good parents and shepherds, but I don't feel like I've done so well myself. I love my children very much, but I've had a lot of faults and failings over the years, and have made many mistakes." As a result, you may feel like the encouragement doesn't apply to you, but rather that the responsibility for the decision the child made--and the blame--rests on your shoulders. The Enemy can then use this to get you further discouraged and condemned in an effort to weaken you spiritually and hinder your service for Him.

63.Or, perhaps you have the peace that you did do all you could, under the circumstances, but you know that your teen didn't get a very good sample from others in your Home, or in other Homes where he may have lived. You may feel that the teen shepherds weren't as loving as they should have been, or made mistakes in the care of your teen. So you may feel resentful toward them, and figure that they should bear the responsibility for your son or daughter leaving.

64.It's understandable that you would feel disappointed or upset if things that weren't right happened in Homes where your teen was, or if others weren't loving shepherds or the good sample of the Word that they should have been. However, it's the Enemy who's trying to feed you this resentfulness and bitterness, as in the end you wind up blaming God. It becomes a deadly root that can choke out your usefulness for the Lord.

65.So who is to blame for a young person leaving the Familywhen their parents failed in their responsibilities?--Or when the teen was in a Home that wasn't doing well spiritually, or where some folks were a bad sample, or where the shepherds weren't so loving, or where there was no enthusiasm for witnessing and things were dead in the spirit, etc.? Are the parents responsible? The Home? The shepherds? The teen? I brought this question before the Lord, and He gave the following reply:

66.(Jesus speaking:) There are many factors involved that determine the decisions that a person makes in life. One factor is their own link and closeness with Me, which determines how open they will be to the checks of My Spirit and the voices of My Heavenly helpers who are speaking in their ears and trying to get them to make the right choices.

67.Another factor is the training that they have received in My Word and the foundation that they have. In the case of children, this training and foundation is instilled in them by their parents and teachers, and the abundance of it, or the lack of it, will be a factor in whether the child will make the right decisions or the wrong decisions when he is older.

68.Another factor is the sample that the person sees in others, and how much he is influenced by them. Each of these factors affect the other, because if a person is weak in his connection with Me, or weak in the Word, then he will be much more likely to be influenced by others who are making the wrong decision, and therefore more likely to make that wrong decision himself.

69.Yet, despite all the factors, when it comes down to the ultimate moment of choice, the person who makes the decision makes that decision alone. He is fully responsible for the decision he has made. He may have been influenced and affected by other factors, but the decision was one of his choice, not another's.

70.Therefore he cannot blame others for the decision that he made. Others may be responsible for not giving him the best training and thus contributing to his being weak in the Word and weak spiritually, but yet, even if one is weak, he is still able to make the right decision. He knows the truth, and he cannot say that it is another who has caused him to make that decision.

71.Everyone has influence, for good or for bad. And this influence plays an important role in your lives. But yet, despite the influences, each person is responsible for the decisions that he makes in life.

72.This is so in all aspects of life, not just in the decision of whether to stay in the Family or not. The same applies to the decision a person makes as to whether or not he will be loving and giving. If he has not seen a good sample in others, he is influenced accordingly; but yet he himself knows the truth in the Word, and he is responsible for the decision of whether or not he loves and gives. He cannot blame the person who was a bad sample for his own decision, because he himself knew the truth. The person who was a bad sample and who was not loving or giving will have to give account before Me for his misdeeds, but that is a separate matter, between them and Me.

73.I give parents and shepherds certain responsibilities--the responsibility to care for their flock. If they do so lovingly, I reward them accordingly, and My flock is strengthened. If they do not care for the flock wisely, then the flock is weakened, and the shepherds must give account of this. Yet this is between Me and them. The sheep who decide to leave the fold cannot blame the shepherds, since they know what is right and true, even if they do not see that sample in others.

74.You might wonder, if the parents or shepherds' influence over the flock or children is important and weakens the flock, making it more likely that they will make the wrong decisions later on in life, how is it that so many of My children survived the days of the Chain, despite the poor sample of shepherding that they witnessed? I tell you that those who remained did so because they clung to the truth and what they knew to be right, because they had read it in the Words that I gave through My servant David. While many were weakened by the bad sample of their immediate shepherds, others remained strong because they had their eyes fixed on their top shepherd on earth, David, and his words, and the greatest Shepherd of them all, Me, and My Words. So the effect of their immediate shepherds was not as great, because they were determined to follow the truth, even if no one else did.

75.So it is with some of My young people who have not had good samples in the past. They stuck because they were determined to follow the truth that I gave through My servant David and Queen Maria, regardless of other circumstances or influences. But those who got their eyes too much on their immediate circumstances were more influenced by those, and therefore more weakened as a result.

76.So in conclusion, there are many factors that influence each person in life, and these influences are greater or lesser depending on the importance that each person gives them. However, the final decisions that people make are theirs, and theirs alone. They cannot blame others for those decisions.

77.Others do bear the responsibility for their sample or influence and for causing their brother or sister to stumble, which is an abomination in My sight. They are responsible for the factors which weakened their brother or sister. But the decision to follow the truth is the person's only, and they must accept the responsibility for that. (End of message from Jesus.)

78. (Dad added:) Remember, the final decision of whether to stay in the Family or leave is squarely in the hands of each individual, regardless or what other influences or factors may be involved. Of course, like the Lord said, if others did things that caused that young person to stumble, they will be held responsible for those actions and have to give an account for them. The Lord didn't let Adam off the hook for eating the forbidden fruit, even though his wife had tempted him to. But neither did He let Eve off the hook for her part in getting Adam to eat it. Adam was still responsible for the decision that he made, but Eve had to give account for her sin as well.

79.So if there are mistakes that you've made and that you're responsible for, then ask the Lord and those you've wronged for forgiveness, and try to learn from them and change. The Lord is a merciful God, and when we confess our sins and ask for His forgiveness, He remembers them against us no more. They're forgiven and forgotten. We may sometimes still have to suffer the consequences of our actions in the lives of others, but the Lord doesn't hold them against us. And don't dwell on them or feel condemned over them, because that will only hurt instead of help. The Lord will give you other opportunities and bring the bus around again so that you can put what you've learned into practice and not repeat the same mistakes again.

80.And no matter what your lacks as a parent or shepherd may have been, the Lord's plan for His children will not be defeated. He will still gather them to Him again in His time, just as He promised. It may be a little more difficult for some because of the mistakes made, but the Lord will work it together for good and bring beauty out of ashes in the end. He's even more concerned about them than we are, and even if we have sometimes failed, He will never fail.

81.So don't let the Enemy throw that burden of condemnation on you, even if you didn't do the best you could. That's a device of the Enemy to hinder your service for the Lord by getting you so down that you can't help anyone anymore. Just try to learn from your mistakes and do better, okay? I love you! (End of message from Dad.)

82.(Mama:) When reading what the Lord and Dad said above, I know that some of you may think, "Wait a minute! Are you telling me that when my child--or my brother or sister, if you're a young person--left the Family after being in an uninspiring dead-end Home with poor shepherding, it's their fault? How can you blame them?" But it's important to carefully look at what the Lord has said in order to come to the right conclusion.

83.Dad's not saying that the Lord blames the young person who left for everything that ever happened to them. What they do bear responsibility for is the decision that they made, because after all, it was theirs. However, the Lord's not absolving people who were unloving or bad samples or poor shepherds from things that they may have done that hurt others or caused them to stumble. But it's also important to remember that the person who left--and this applies to both young people and adults--is responsible for their decision, because they could have held on.

84.I know this is a very sensitive subject, because your heart really goes out to those who went through some tough times or were in dead-end Homes, and later decided to leave. I really feel for them too, and I wish with all my heart that others would have helped them and loved them more! And I pray that those who were unloving will learn from their mistakes, if they haven't already. But blaming the parents, or the shepherds or the Home or whatever, isn't the solution. Each one is responsible for what he did or didn't do, including the person who left being responsible for their final decision.

85.Also, please remember that most people leave the Family not because they were treated unfairly or were stumbled by others' bad samples, but because they themselves made the wrong choices, or weakened themselves through a lack of Word or following the Lord closely. Like the Lord said, they have the majesty of choice, and even if they have received good upbringing, which most of them have, some still choose to yield to System influences and eventually forsake the life of sacrifice for the Lord and others to instead live for themselves and material gain. They may even know in their hearts that the Family is right, but they don't want to yield to the Lord anymore, and would rather do their own thing. But here in this Letter, I'm only addressing the question of those who were stumbled by others and who is to blame for their departure, as this can be a bone of contention not only for those who leave, but for those in the Family who have loved ones who have left and who perhaps blame others for "making them leave."

86.So parents, if you feel like you didn't do the best you could for your children, please don't keep being discouraged or keep blaming yourself for their decision to leave. And please don't keep blaming others either, or bitterness will come between you and the Lord. Just cast your burden on the Lord, accept His forgiveness, learn from your errors and pray that others learn from theirs, and trust that the Lord's going to work things out for your child. He promises that He will.

You Will Reap the Fruit of Your Labors!

87.Reading all this may make you wonder, "Why pour into my children and put so much into them if they may end up not serving the Lord in the long run?" Or, if you've done all you can for your child and he or she leaves anyway, you may wonder, "My child has backslidden, so does that mean that after all I've put into him for so many years, I'm not going to reap the rewards of my labors because he's left and is not serving the Lord?"

88.The Lord and Dad have repeatedly said that investing in your children and their upbringing is one of the wisest investments you can make. But when some of them don't turn out as you'd hoped, you may be tempted to wonder how you could have been a wise investor if the child or children you invested in aren't yielding any dividends, but rather seem to have thrown it all away.

89.Even some of you who aren't parents, or who don't have kids who have left, or who have sacrificed and done your best to lovingly shepherd and help some young person who later left the Family, might also be tempted to think, "Was it a waste to pour so much into those young people who left, since in the end it seems to have gone nowhere?" I thought that would be a question you might have, so I brought it before the Lord. He sent Dad with the following reply:

90.(Dad speaking:) That's a good question. I can see how some people would have that question, but you can be sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that your children are a good investment! You can be sure that our dear parents will reap dividends from their children, if not in this life, then in the life to come. Every bit of love and time and prayer and energy and sacrifice that has been invested in the lives of the dear children will bring forth great reward to the parents!

91.Because you see, time on Earth is just a moment when compared with eternity. And while the decisions that the young people make will affect their fruitfulness and their training, these young people will never be lost to God's Kingdom! They will always be His children. Even though they be wayward for a time, they're still His children. The time, love and training that was invested in them before their decision to leave the Family will not be wasted; it will eventually bring forth fruit.

92.Those faithful parents will eventually be able to see the reward of their investment--if not in this life, if not immediately, then eventually in the Heavenly realm, in the eternal Kingdom of God. These young people who choose to leave for whatever reason, eventually when they come back to the Family to serve the Lord once again, or when they see the Lord face to face, will continue their training. So all that was invested in them will not be wasted and will never be lost.

93.Those who leave and turn their back on their calling and leave their plow unattended in the fieldwill lose some of their reward. They will lose some of the honor that the Lord would have liked to have bestowed upon them had they continued faithful to the end. But they will never lose their place as God's children. They will never lose their place as children of David.

94.His plan will not be thwarted or defeated. If they don't see the error of their ways in this life, and repent and change and come back to His service, they will see the error of their ways when they're taken to His Heavenly Kingdom. Then they will understand, and then they'll have a desire to once again receive the training, receive the Word, and grow in the Spirit.

95.So if the parents of these children who've left feel that they're not seeing any dividends or benefits for all that they've invested, it's because their vision is shortsighted. They need to trust the Lord that "He which has begun a good work will perfect it" eventually. That which He has begun will not be defeated, will not be lost, and will not turn into a sour investment, but it will bear fruit.

96.As the Lord told you, some investments bring forth their dividends quickly and you see the rewards of your investments before your eyes, but others take more time. So the parents who feel that they're not seeing rewards, or even that their investment has been lost, have only to wait and have faith, for in time they will see the fruits of their labors.

97.You have all eternity before you, and the decisions that the young people make there on Earth are only for a moment. Some may have lessons to learn and may have to endure the way of the transgressor, which is hard. Yet they will still eventually come back to the Lord and pick up where they left off, and receive the necessary training to become what they need to be for all eternity.So the investments will come; the dividends will come.

98.Don't lose faith! Don't lose heart! Don't feel that you've failed or that the Lord has failed, because He's given the majesty of choice to all His children. As they exercise this ability to choose, some choose the way of light and some choose the way of darkness. Some choose the way of righteousness and some choose the way of unrighteousness--the way of love or the way of the System.

99.But eventually even those who go down the road of the transgressor will see the error of their ways, and they will repent and will return to a place of softheartedness and receptivity. Though these young people will lose some of their reward, the Lord in His love and mercy will allow them to eventually catch up and be restored to their full place of service and honor. But it'll take time and training, either in this life or in the life to come.

100.So you see, Honey, the answer to this question is just a matter of faith--having faith in the Lord that what He says is true, that His promises never fail, and that in His love He will have mercy even upon His wayward children. Though He will not be able to honor them and bless them as quickly or as fully as His faithful ones, He will still bring them to a place of repentance and to a place where they will once again be able to receive the training, love and attention that they need, so that they will bring forth the fruit and dividends that He has promised to their faithful parents.

101.When these parents have done all that they could, given all that they could give, prayed all that they can pray, and loved as much as they can love, then they just need to trust the Lord! Trust Him that He does all things well, that none of His children will be lost, and that none of His promises will go unfulfilled. He will never fail. His love will never fail. His children are in His hands, and no one will be able to pluck them out of their place which He has ordained for eternity.

102.So if the parents or shepherds are tempted to doubt or be discouragedor feel that they've failed in some way, or that the Lord has failed, they just need to look a little farther into the future. They need to look to the Heavenly realm and to eternity, and it will help them to see that what they're experiencing now is only a moment in time! It's only one small piece of a very, very big puzzle. It's only one step in a huge staircase that leads ever closer to Jesus.

103.Some people climb the staircase more quickly than others. Some people climb the staircase, and then they turn around and go back down a few steps, or a lot of steps. But they're still on the staircase, and eventually they'll again continue their climb up the staircase that leads ever closer to Jesus.

104.So when you wonder about the promises of God and how and when He fulfills them, realize that the things that happen on Earth are not the end, but are only one part of a long journey; they're only a small moment in time when compared with all eternity. The immediate dividends that you see from your children there on Earth are nothing compared to the dividends that you will see as your children continue to serve the Lord for all eternity.

105.The dividends will continue to grow and grow as your children continue to be faithful--not just on Earth, but for all time! For they'll continue to be beacons of light, servants of the Lord. They'll continue to be rewarded according to their labors. And the parents will continue to be rewarded according to their labors as well.

106.So I just can't say it enough that raising children is a good investment, a wise investment! You never lose by investing in your children--even those who look like black sheep, and who look like they might go astray. It's still a wise investment, and all that the parents have given will eventually come back to them in the form of rewards, satisfaction, happiness, and great joy at sooner or later seeing their children serve the Lord!

107.So trust the Lord even when momentary setbacks come. When your children make decisions that break your heart, you have to trust that the Lord still has them in His hands. He still has a plan for them, and He will eventually get through to them. Please resist the Enemy's fears and worries! Don't worry! Just keep trusting the Lord and doing the best you can to pour into all your children, and all the children that are round about you. Give as much as you can give, because your sacrifice and your giving will be rewarded far beyond anything that you can imagine!

108.It's a wise investment. It's the best investment! So give and give and give! Keep on giving to your own children and to the other children round about you, and you won't be disappointed! Even your momentary disappointments and heartbreaks will be swept away when you see the Lord's plan fulfilled, and you'll know that He does all things well.

109.So keep giving, keep praying, and don't lose hope, don't lose faith! Keep trusting the Lord, and keep raising those beautiful big families for Jesus! (End of message from Dad.)

110.(Mama:) I pray that these precious Words from Dad will help lift a load off the shoulders of those of you who've been worried or burdened, or who are battling with discouragement and doubting the Lord's plan for our young ones. Wasn't that analogy of the staircase interesting? Even though your child may seem to be climbing down, or even running down, they're still on the staircase and they can't get off. The helmet is firmly attached, and sooner or later they're going to turn around and then the Lord is going to help them start going up again. They may have a lot of a catching up to do then, and a steep climb to get back to where they started going down, but they'll get there, and eventually go far beyond!

111.Dad says here that no matter what happens, the Lord's plan will not be defeated! Isn't that encouraging? We just have to have faith in the Lord and His promises, and that His Word is solid and will not fail--and it won't! While its fulfillment may be delayed according to individual choices that people make, and some will yield their dividends much slower than others, in the end the Lord will bring them all to full fruition. Of course, for those who don't choose the Lord's will in their lives, the road can be pretty difficult and they'll have a lot to catch up on, either in this life or in the next. But the Lord promises that in the end, they will catch up and fully blossom for Him.

112.Sometimes we look at things so narrowly, or as Dad put it, our vision is shortsighted. But if we can just trust the Lord and not get in such a hurry and flurry about things, then it'll be easier for us to see how the Lord is going to fulfill each of His promises eventually. And "eventually" is the key word here, one which Dad uses repeatedly in the above message. Look at all the different times he says "eventually" and tries to remind us that everything doesn't have to happen immediately. We've got all eternity for the Lord to work in our kids' lives! I'll list for you here the different circumstances where Dad uses the word "eventually." It's so encouraging!

1) The time, love and training invested in your children won't be lost; it will eventually bring forth fruit.

2) You parents will see the reward of your investment eventually; if not in this life, then in the Heavenly realm.

3) All the kids who leave the Lord's will and service will eventually come back to Him and pick up their training right where they left off.

4) He who has begun a good work in your kids will perfect it eventually.

5) If your kids have lessons to learn and if they must endure the way of the transgressor, they'll eventually come back to the Lord and pick up where they left off, to receive the necessary training to become what they need to be for all eternity.

6) Even though they lose some of their immediate reward, the Lord will eventually allow the ones who leave His will to catch up and be restored to their full place of service and honor.

7) Even if some kids turn around and go back down the staircase a few steps, or a lot of steps, they're still on the staircase and eventually they'll again begin their climb up the staircase that leads ever closer to Jesus.

8) Even for those kids who look like black sheep, who look like they're going astray, all that you parents have given will eventually come back to you in the form of rewards, satisfaction, happiness and great joy at seeing your children serve the Lord.

9) Don't worry when your children make decisions that break your heart, because the Lord still has them in His hands; He still has a plan for them, and He'll eventually get through to them.

113.It's so comforting to be reminded that what happens on Earth is only a moment in time! It's only a tiny part of the big picture, a small piece of an enormous puzzle. We and the Lord have all eternity! Thank You Jesus!

More Promises of Departed Teen Returning to the Fold

114.To further emphasize this point, I'd like to include parts of two other messages from Dad that he gave on different occasions when we asked him for a message for families with children who had left the Family. While he originally gave these messages for these particular parents, they apply to all--so please take them to heart as if they were given for you! In fact, in the second prophecy, he addresses not only the mother in question, but all of you Family parents.

115. (Dad speaking:) Your daughter is a real jewel, even though she's disillusioned now and she wants to go out and try something else because she's tired of being in the Family. She just wants to be able to be on her own and have her own lifestyle. The Lord won't leave her, and He'll be with her each step of the way. Her special guardian angel is going to be right there with her, trying to help her make the right decisions. Even outside of the Family, the Lord still tries to help us just as much. He still tries to help us make the right choices in our lives so that we can help and love others.

116. The Lord will bring her back in His time, whether it's here on Earth in this life or in the next life. It's important to remember that this life is very short compared to eternity. Even compared to the Millennium this time right now is very short. It's just a drop in the bucket compared to the thousand years of the Millennium, not to mention the whole New Heaven and New Earth and eternity beyond that! So even if some of our young ones decide to go their own way there on Earth, when they get to Heaven they'll realize what went wrong and the Lord will bring them back. By then they'll have had their fill of life on their own, and they'll want to come back and serve the Lord full-time and help us rule the world during the Millennium.

117.So you see, the Lord's plan isn't going to be defeated, even if some of our young people leave, because He'll bring them back--if not now, then in the next life. So don't worry about it. Give her the unconditional love that she really needs right now. She needs your support and your love, even if she seems to be going astray and not following in the footsteps that you had hoped she would and that the Lord would like her to.

118. The Lord is merciful and patient, and sometimes we have to learn the hard way. Sometimes He lets us learn by experience. So just hold on to the Lord by faith.

119.I know it's a tough time for you. It's hard to see one of your children leave and follow a different path, and then your other children be restless and unsure about remaining in the Family. But don't let the Enemy condemn you and tell you that it was your fault and that you were bad parents. It's just that everybody's got to make their own choices. Some folks have to learn in different ways, but the Lord's in control of each of their lives and He'll pull them through.

120. The love, concern, understanding and help that you give her now is really going to make a big difference in her attitude toward you, the Lord, and the Family. So do all you can to help her now, because it's going to pay off in the long run. She needs to know that you really love her, even though she may be acting rebellious or stubborn in wanting to follow her own way. (End of message from Dad.)

121.(Dad speaking:) I'm sorry about your battles with discouragement, Honey. I'm sorry that it's so overwhelming sometimes. But please understand that that's just the Enemy trying to defeat you because he knows what a faithful witness you are and what a good mother you are to your children. Sure, you're not perfect--nobody is! So he tries to get in and discourage and defeat you. He tries to make you feel like, "What's the use? Why even try if this is the end result? If after all that I tried to teach and train my son--in the Word, in witnessing, in the ways of our New Nation--if after all that he decides to leave it all just like that, well, is it even worth it?"

122.Of course it's worth it, Honey! Don't listen to the Enemy. Don't believe those lies. Rebuke and resist them! Of course it's worth it! God's Word never returns void; that's a promise. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." And what have I taught you? He might depart from it for a little while, but if he's been trained in the way he should go, sooner or later he'll come back!

123.All our parents who are struggling so much over their kids leaving the Family and becoming so discouraged and depressed over it, feeling like failures, feeling like they've failed as parents and missionaries if they can't even keep their own children--well, that's just the Enemy trying to get in and not only stop their children's work for the Lord, but hinder the parents to the point where they won't be as effective as the Lord wants them to be because of this heavy burden they're carrying around, feeling like it's their fault that [their children have] failed!

124.They need to stand on the Lord's promises. They need to just claim and believe that they're His children, that He's going to take care of them, and that He's going to work in their lives. No matter what it seems like in the physical, and no matter what things they get into here on this Earth, they're His forever. Their souls belong to Him, and He's going to bring about that which He knows is going to bear the greatest fruit in their lives and help them to get back on the right track eventually.

125.Something that would really help a lot of our folks battling with that kind of situation is to be more Heavenly minded, to turn their eyes toward Heaven and the eternal goal that we have before us, the promise of the Lord's very soon return, and the hereafter, when everything is going to be clear and plain and simple. Yes, now we do see through a glass darkly, and part of that is that there are things we don't understand, that we battle about, that we feel discouraged about. But soon we'll see face to face and we'll understand! The burdens will be lifted--the burdens of condemnation, feeling like you failed. But you know, it's not necessary to carry those around even now. You can let them go.

126.All our parents who have children that have left the Family just need to pray and ask the Lord to help them to hang on to His promises, to stand on them and not let go--His promise that He's going to care for them, His promise that He loves them as His Own, His promise that "all things work together for good to them that love God." Your children are His. They have the helmet on. And even if they try to take it off and try to run so far and so fast that [they think] the Lord can't keep up with them, it's impossible for them to get away from Him! It's impossible for them to get so far away that they're no longer His, because they're His forever!

127.So don't worry about your son, Honey. I know it's heartbreaking to see them leave their plow in the field. It's heartbreaking to see them turn their back on everything you've poured into them over the years. And it's even more heartbreaking to see them get into all kinds of terrible and dangerous things, sometimes into a lot of trouble, and throw their life away for things that you've tried to teach them are worth nothing and don't satisfy.

128.But some people just have to learn the hard way,and in some cases the Lord knows that's the best way He'll be able to get through to them. If they get it all out of their system and come to the end of their rope and are desperate and unhappy, then they'll turn to Him like never before and it will be their decision. They'll be convinced in their own heart that this is what they want, this is what they need, and this is all that satisfies--the Lord, His love, and His Word!

129.So, Honey, in answer to your question: No, you haven't failed. You've done all that you can do, so now just commit it to the Lord. God bless you for staying in touch [with him], trying to be supportive, and showing unconditional love. Even if he doesn't show it, it means a lot to him, and when it's time for him to come back, he'll remember that and it'll help him to make the right decision. (End of message from Dad.)

Hope Even for the Worst Cases!

130.(Mama:) These promises of the Lord's love and desire to help those who have left the Family don't just apply to those who seem to be getting by okay in the System--at least on the surface--but they apply just as much to those who seem to have really gone downhill and ended up in pretty bad shape.

131.Recently I received a letter from a young man who used to be in the Family, who is now serving a two-year prison term for committing a crime. After reading his heart-rending letter about the very sad state that he'd gotten himself into, I asked one of my helpers to petition the Lord for some words of counsel for this young man in answer to the questions that he had and the great discouragement that he felt.

132.What the Lord gave was very encouraging, and again shows that even in the worst situations, the Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither is His ear heavy that it cannot hear. There is hope even for those who seem to have gone the furthest astray, as this young man did, if they just turn toward the Lord again. They're still the Lord's children, and He will not fail to gather them again into His bosom at the appointed time. Of course, how soon that happens depends a lot on the choices that they make, but the Lord promises that sooner or later it will come to pass. Here's part of what He said to this young man:

133.(Jesus speaking:) Though you are backslidden, you are still My beloved son. You are Mine, and no matter what the Enemy may do to try to take you away from Me, he will never be able to, for you have the helmet of My salvation on.

134.No matter how far you stray or how dark the way may seem, or if you feel that because you've made so many wrong choices there's no way you'll ever be able to come back to Me, or that you've messed things up so much that I'll never be able to fix them again--these are all lies from the Enemy. He tries to discourage you. He tries to make you think, "What's the use in living? Why not just give up?" But I tell you, the whole purpose for living is living for Me, and this is where you will find true happiness and joy.

135.Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth. You can't be rewarded for doing something wrong, but you can think of this chastening as a proof of My love for you. If I didn't let these things happen to you, you would keep going down the wrong pathway. But I allow these things as a wake-up call so that you will take a good look at where you are and where you stand with Me.

136.You wonder where you stand with Me, and how I see you? You are as the prodigal son who has left the Father's house and spent your life doing those things which you wanted to do, thinking that they would make you happy. When the prodigal son ran out of money, he was forced into poverty. This in a way was a prison for him; it seemed like there was no way out. In his despair, thinking there was no way out, he began to wallow in the mire and become one with the swine.

137.It's not easy to throw yourself into a swine pit like that, because just looking at it is so repulsive. You have to close your eyes, your spiritual eyes, that sense of being able to discern right from wrong. Until finally you come to your senses and begin to wonder, "What have I done?" Even the prodigal son thought that he had gone too far to be accepted again by his father. But remember that you can never be too bad for Me. Your place in My house is still there for you! I'm waiting with open arms to receive you back into My love.

138.I know all that you've been through, and I have allowed it that it may serve My purpose. You wonder what this is? It is to bring you close to Me again. When a child is disobedient and then he is reproved, he can either be sorry or become bitter. Many people become bitter, thinking that I don't love them because these [bad] things happen to them, so they continue on in the way that they're going. Don't allow this to happen to you. Don't allow the Evil One to have control of your life. Remember, you are Mine, and the only way he can gain control is if you allow him to.

139.No matter how far gone you feel you are, as you turn to the light, the darkness will lose its grasp and its hold. And as you are drawn to the light, the darkness will leave. But remember, once you make this decision to take a definite stand to fight against the evil, the Enemy will wage an all-out war against you. But if he sees that you're determined not to quit, then he'll eventually give up. Hold on to your crown--the crown of your salvation and of My love. You can never lose it, but you can lose faith in it and doubt that you still have it.

140.Remember that no matter how you may feel, whether you feel discouraged or whatever, I still love you. And I mean that personally to you, just you. I love you as you are. You can never be too bad for Me. I'll love you no matter what! (End of message from Jesus.)

Words of Comfort for Those with Backslidden Children

141.(Mama:) Of course, even if you know that your child will come around in the long run, it can still be pretty disheartening to see them throw away all the Lord has given them and all that you've poured into them for so long to wallow in something that you know will leave them empty and unsatisfied. Like Dad himself experienced, it can be a pretty heart-wrenching and turbulent time. Maybe you don't even feel like you have the strength to trust in the Lord's Words and promises that everything will work out in the long run. Maybe you feel incapable of keeping the Heavenly vision and looking into the future with eyes of faith because of the heartache that you feel.

142.But if you call out to the Lord for help, He promises to bring comfort and peace to your heart and soul, and give you the strength that you lack. He's always present, ready and able to soothe our worried spirits and calm the troubled seas. Listen to the beautiful Words of comfort that He gave for some parents who were battling over some of their children having left the Family. Please remember that these promises are for you too!

143.(Jesus speaking:) Trust in Me, for I will bring you through the storm. I will steer your vessel through the raging winds and the high tempests. I will set you upon a rock. Though all about you seems stormy and confusing, there is a course which I have charted just for you. You see no plan, no charts ahead of you, and cannot tell which way the wind is blowing you about. But fear not, for I am the Captain, the great Master of the sea, and I know the way in which I take you.

144.I have seen your faithfulness and rejoiced in your steadfastness. For there has been many a day, many an hour, when you could have thrown your hands up in despair and resolved to not continue on, for the obstacles that surrounded you on every side were much too daunting; yet you did not. You clung to Me and to the faith and the trust that you have held in Me all these years, and you said, "I will go on! I will not doubt though all my ships come home with broken sails!"

145.You have entrusted your family and the lives of each of your children into My care by continuing on in My service, though there have been tests and difficulties. You've been concerned for your young ones, and for your children who've made choices which were not right, yet you trusted. You've placed them in My hands, and I say to you, though with broken sails they may return, yet they will return to you. Such is My promise to you.

146.They desire to go out on their own, to seek for themselves a new thing. Yet they will come back to the house of their Father, for they will find that what they sought after was not to be found in the world. They will learn that they have grown familiar with My blessings and with the happiness that I shower freely upon My children. They will see that they've been spoiled by My love and goodness, and they will long to return and to find forgiveness in My arms, and in the arms of you, their loving parents.

147.So take heart and trust, for these days will not be long. The storms will always cease, and the calm will always come. The waves will always settle, and the sea will once again glisten and sparkle as the rays of the sun shine down and smile upon it. So it is in your life. These things will come to pass, and then will a new day come upon you--one of joy and happiness and contentment and great supply.

148.I long for the day and the moment when I will gather you up into My arms. I will thank you and reward you for the love that you've given to others, the faithfulness with which you've served Me, and the hardships you've endured for Me. Though you were tired, you continued to run the race. And know this, that there is laid up for you a crown of righteousness. There is a treasure and a crown of many stars that awaits your coming before My throne. (End of message from Jesus.)

149.(Mama:) Aren't these beautiful promises? The Lord knows your heartache and your pain, and He's proud of you for continuing on despite the hardships. He's proud of you for not throwing in the towel when you felt like giving up, for continuing to pour into others and to give your life for them, even when you felt like you could give no longer and that you were the one in need. You kept pressing forward toward the mark of the high calling of God. The Lord sees that, beloved. He knows, and He will reward you greatly both in this life and in the life to come.

150. Here's another comforting message along the same lines, given for a single mother:

151.(Dad speaking:) Thank you for your love for me and Mama, and your love for the Lord. Thank you for how you've kept going for the Lord in spite of the difficulties of being a single mom, and the difficulty of having your daughter leave. Honey, believe me, I know how it feels when your children turn around and decide to quit after all you've poured into them. I know how that hurts, and I sympathize. It makes me all the more proud of you for how you're hanging in there, how you keep serving the Lord and keep witnessing--even when you don't feel rewarded for it.

152.Honey, I know it's hard, but you've gotta trust that the Lord knows what He's doing. It's sad when sometimes these things are the fault of others and their mistakes and lack of love. But that doesn't make the Lord's promise that "all things work together for good" any less true! It's just as true as ever, and even if you don't always understand it at the time, you will eventually. But I know it's hard when you don't understand and when you don't feel it's right.

153.You've given them the Lord. You've given them the Family. You've given them a place of service in the most wonderful fellowship of Christians that there is in the world at this time. That's a privilege and a birthright that they wouldn't have had if it weren't for you and for your yieldedness and willingness and love for the Lord. I'm sure you haven't done everything for them that you could, but what parent has? Nobody's perfect, and whether you're a single parent or a mated parent, it's almost impossible to give the kids everything they need, and to be everything they need. But you've done a lot, Honey. Like the Lord said about that woman in the Bible, "She hath done what she could" (Mk.14:8).

154.One thing for sure about being in a situation like yours is that you don't get complacent and self-satisfied, and therefore you don't stagnate. You keep growing, you keep progressing, you keep learning. All these battles keep you desperate. They keep you searching for answers. They keep you desperately seeking the Lord, and that's good, because He hears every one of those prayers. Every one of those desperate prayers moves His heart and His hand, and He's working. Every one of those prayers has an effect. You don't always see it at the time, but you will.

155.The Lord will answer your prayers. He'll help you to give your children what they need. He'll give you the strength, even though you feel weak. He'll give you the grace to bear with your oldest daughter's departure and to be able to see the lessons that you can learn from your experiences with her, yet at the same time not be condemned or feel you've failed because of your lacks.

156.Even if it weren't for your lacks, she might very well have made the same decision. There are a lot of factors that enter in, and the biggest one is her own choice. You had as many difficulties as she did, but you stuck; so if she really wanted to, she could have too. Or if she wants to in the future, she can come back, even if things are hard.

157.Like you said, the hardships here in the Family are really small when you consider what it might be like for you out in the world. Honey, it's so good that you can see things in that way--that you can see through the Lord's eyes, through the positive, through looking on the bright side. That's what's kept you going, and that's what will continue to keep you going. There's a dark side and a bright side to every situation, and it always helps to look at the good. But it's also good that you can see the problems so that you can pray, so that you can ask the Lord and go to the Word for the answers, because they're there.

158.I know it's hard to imagine how going to the Word can help you solve the problems you have or make things different for you or your kids, but it's true! It is a complex problem, and your battles are sure complex and not something about which you can just snap your fingers and make everything okay. But the Lord will show you little solutions, the little keys, and give you little boosts along the way as you tap into His power and His Word.

159.The Lord's looking out for you, and He's not gonna give you anything more than you're able to bear, and He will make a way of escape. It's in His Word and He's promised it, and He's not going to fail. So hold on to that promise! (End of message from Dad.)

160.(Mama:) As Dad brings out in the message above, getting into the Word is one of the keys to having the strength that you need to carry on for the Lord, even when you feel discouraged and like giving up. As you tap into the power of the Word, the Lord will give you answers and jewels that will boost your spirit and help you to see things through the Lord's eyes instead of with the carnal mind. "As high as the heavens are above the Earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isa.55:9). And this is talking not only about the written Word, but the Lord's Words of encouragement for you personally which He can give you in prophecy. Or, if you don't have the gift of prophecy, ask someone who does to hear from Him for you. Hearing from the Lord for your personal situation will be a great help and encouragement. As you take time with the Lord, you can see the bright side, the Lord's perspective, the silver lining in the clouds, the light at the end of the tunnel, and the assurance and promise of ultimate victory.

Encouragement from One of David's Mighty Men!

161.And for extra help, you can even call on the Lord to send you special spirit helpers who will assist you during this difficult time, as the Lord brought out in the following prophecy given for a parent after he received the news of his son's decision to leave the Family:

162.(Spirit helper speaking:) I am one of the mighty men of King David of old, sent to encourage you--you, who are one of David's present-day mighty men who fights in spirit to conquer the foe!

163.We fought many physical battles and made many physical sacrifices. We left our loved ones. We gave our lives for our King David, for our faith, for our Lord, for our cause. We went on to battle. Our friends and relatives thought we were crazy. They mocked us and ridiculed us. But within our army we had a spirit of unity. We knew our cause was just and we had faith in our Lord and in King David. So we fought valiantly, defeating the foe! Many of us gave our lives. In every battle we fought, we knew that the chance of losing our lives was great. But we were so dedicated to our cause, to our king, to our Lord, that we gave our lives.

164.Now you have been given a special anointing to be one of David's loyal mighty men of faith!--One who has endured heartache and hardships, who has forsaken all, who has laid down his life and his loved ones that he might be counted worthy to receive the title and the roleof one of David's mighty men, one of his loyal, dedicated soldiers who is willing to fight and lay down his life for the cause. And as we, David's mighty men of old, went on to our reward, even so you have a great reward in store for your willingness to fight on and hold on to the crown!

165.And so, my fellow laborer, my fellow soldier, my fellow fighter for the faith, keep your eyes on the battle! Keep wielding the weapon of the Word that He's given you. Keep going forward in faith, fighting for the cause--for great is your reward! You have helpers in the spirit that assist you and give you anointing and wisdom and the help you need to continue to fight on.

166.So be not discouraged! Though you may feel wounded or weakened, fight on with the strength you have. Receive the help in the spirit that the Lord has for you, for you are one of the valiant fighters of David in the Endtime. Belittle not your role nor your calling, for they are great.

167.As you hear the news of the one you love, the one you have prayed for through the years, the one you have been concerned about, and his desire to lay down his sword and to forsake his shield, be not dismayed. For he is in the Lord's hands and the Lord will take care of him. As you continue to fight on in your service, in faithfulness and dedication to your call, even so the Lord will care for this one that you love, because of your loyalty to the King of kings.

168.So, my fellow fighter of the faith, fight on! Though you may feel battle-weary, fight on! Though you feel weak, fight on! Though sometimes you feel you don't have the strength, fight on! For as you continue to fight, the strength will be provided because of your faith. (End of message.)

The Lord's Present Help for Our Teens Who've Left the Family

169.(Mama:) Thank the Lord for His comfort and encouragement! But even with the many promises that your child will be restored to the fold in the future--either in this life or the next--you can still be tempted to worry about their welfare in the present, while they're out in a world that is cruel and hard.

170.I can understand how this can be a very big concern. Some of our teens who have left the Family have gone through some pretty rough times because of the choices they made. Some have fallen in with bad company or are struggling to get by, while others have continued their studies or gotten good jobs, but still feel unhappy and unfulfilled. They're like little lost sheep in the midst of wolves, and your heart goes out to them as you wonder whether they'll be okay away from the safety and protection of the fold and the other sheep.

171.The Lord has given some precious promises that affirm without a shadow of a doubt that He is with our children who leave, and that He will continue to place His arms around them and protect them. Of course, He has bound Himself to a certain degree by their freedom of choice, and He often allows them to experience the sad results of their choices in order to teach them the lessons they need to learn. But we can draw comfort from the fact that all things will work together for good, and even the difficulties that they experience and the hard times they fall on will result in good, as these things will teach them lessons that they will never forget.

172.While experience is the hardest teacher, it is a teacher nonetheless. So the Lord will use even the bad things that happen for eventual good. He has also promised that He won't allow more to befall them than what is within His will, and that He will always be by their side, ready to help them whenever they call out to Him. Here are excerpts from a message along these lines that the Lord gave for parents of a teen who had left the Family:

173.(Jesus speaking:) They which [the Father has] committed unto Me, although they are straying, are still under My constant care. Though some of My children stray and they leave Me, yet I remain close to them. Though they may stray from My will, yet My presence is always there with them. Though they may leave their plow, yet I have not deserted them. For whether they are close to Me or they have strayed, I am always the same distance from them, which is right there, holding them, loving them. So do not fear for your daughter, for I have not left her side. Even if she would try to escape, there is no fleeing My presence.

174.For these who seemingly are throwing away their lives, though they have strayed, I will use all their experiences in the future. They've had a hunger for excitement and adventure, a craving for independence, a streak of rebellion, and they've left home to seek that which they thought would satisfy them. But the days are coming when I will use even these experiences of being in the world. In the days to come when they begin to see My Word being fulfilled, they will again become desperate and seek the [Family] Homes they have left.

175.I will use many of them where they are when the hard times come, for they've been raised on the Word and it's been ingrained in their hearts. They've learned the principles of seeking Me. They'll know that it's the Endtime, and they know what future events will happen. Therefore I will use them where they are as bellwethers to the lost around them. I will use these who have left My Family and strayed, whether they are studying, have jobs, wherever they are wandering, even on the streets.

176.When the trouble comes and they see that My Word is being fulfilled, they will turn again to Me and I will use them to lead the lost sheep that are around them--to comfort them, to instruct them, to inform them--and they will lead many to Me.

177.But I would not that other young ones use this straying as an excuse for them to leave and seek adventure in the System, for it has been a hard road for these, with many heartbreaks and breakings and dangers. I would that My sheep stay in My fold, where they are protected and nourished. These who stray will learn the hard way to appreciate the fold and home and loved ones. But don't be discouraged, for all will come home eventually. All will return to the Father, and all those that are Mine will never be lost. That which is Mine will never perish, but will always remain in My hand. (End of message from Jesus.)

178.(Mama:) One very encouraging point from this last prophecy is how the Lord says that in the final days of the Endtime He's going to bring back some of our young people who've strayed.When things get really rough out in the System and the final signs of the End become evident, the Word that has been planted in our children's hearts will come alive, and they will know and understand that it was true. This will cause many of them to realize the futility of their life in the System, and give them the impetus they need to forsake all for the Lord again.

179.Even those who do not forsake all and return to the Lord's service, the Lord promises that He will use them where they are as bellwethers to those around them. They'll know the truth because of all that they've been taught, and they'll be able to share that truth with others.

180.Of course, they won't be nearly as strong in the faith and as able to help others as those who remained faithful to the Lord and who continued to feed on His Word--who will be "instructing many" and will "be strong and do exploits"--but the Lord will use those who've left to some degree or another. The Word that was planted in them will not return void, just as He promised. Isn't that encouraging?

181. Here are some more promises of the Lord's care for our backslidden young people while they're out in the System:

182. (Jesus speaking:) You say to Me, "I gave my children to You, Lord, to take care of them, and now they're gone! They're no longer here with me! What happened? Why did they go? Why didn't You take care of them? Why did You let them go?" You want to know what is wrong. You look at My Word and you feel that perhaps My Word has failed because your children have departed.

183.But these children have not departed from My sight. These children have not departed from My hand and from My Spirit and from My life within their heart. Yes, they may have departed physically from your presence, but they have not departed from My presence and never will. I am taking care of them.

184. They've chosen to put their lives in the System, and to test life. I allow them to make their choice. I want them to choose as they will. For those that serve Me must serve Me with a full, yielded and willing heart. They must serve Me out of deep gratitude and love for Me, and for the sacrifice that I've made for them. So their service to Me is not yet complete. They are now in the stage of learning to have a deeper gratitude. Just because your children are not with you does not mean that My Word is failing, for My Word fails not and cannot fail. Though Heaven and Earth pass away, yet My Word shall not pass away.

185. Some people in this life choose to serve Me to different degrees, and to love Me to different degrees. There are those who love Me fully with a whole heart, and yield every part of their life to Me--their mind, their soul, their body, their spirit. Therefore I can bestow upon them happiness, peace of mind, joy and satisfaction in return.

186. Others of lesser faith choose to serve Me according to their faith. They cannot trust completely that I will provide their needs physically and spiritually, that I will take care of them, and that they will not lose by giving. Some are fearful, so they hold back in part and they give in part. Such are some of My children, and I reward them accordingly.

187. There are others whose faith is still a tiny seed and so small that they have nothing to give to Me. They feel they must keep everything to themselves, and that they must take care of their life. Such are some of My children who have wandered away from Me and gone into the System, where they feel they can take care of themselves and control their lives, because they cannot trust Me to do so. They don't trust Me yet. But many will learn to trust Me through their experiences in the System.

188.To these, My children who have departed, I do give My listening ear. I listen for their voice, and when I hear their voice, I give them that which they ask, so that their faith may grow. (Mama: Later, when we asked the Lord what He meant by this last sentence, He replied: "To those who are turned toward Me and who call unto Me, I will help them and answer them, so that they can see that I still love them and care for them. Even as the father who, when the prodigal son called to him and turned toward home, came running out to greet him. Even so, if these will begin to turn toward Me and call upon Me, I will answer them to strengthen their faith. This does not mean that I fulfill every wish of theirs, even as I do not fulfill every wish for My children within My fold. But I give to each one that which is good for them, within My will.")

189. I give great attention to My children who have departed from their physical parents and from the faith-giving atmosphere of the Family. When they cry, I hear, and I give to them. I attend to them very carefully. I watch over them. They have ministering spirits who are there to protect them, to speak to their hearts and minds and spirits, and to teach them and guide them. Their teachers and caretakers were there [when they were in the Family] to nurture them and guide them and train them in My ways, and now My ministering spirits attend to them and guide and train them in the spirit.

190. But I have bound Myself by their decisions and choices. I must wait for their call. I must wait for them to decide to come to Me, just as you have. You know I am your God and that the Word stands firm and sure. Even when you feel so weak and incapable in yourself, you believe in Me. So I must wait for these children to come to Me, to cast themselves into My arms, to throw themselves before My feet in utter abandonment and surrender before I can use them further.

191.But fear not and fret not for their future, or their lives, or their well-being. Continue to trust as you have always done, that they're in My hand and in My care, for I can assure you that they are. We will all be together soon in My Heavenly Kingdom. (End of message from Jesus.)

192.(Mama:) It's encouraging how the Lord brings out here that for those who leave the Family, He can even use what is a very sad situation for some good by turning the experience into another stage in their growth. Of course, He makes it clear in other prophecies and throughout His Word that it's much better that they stay in the Family where they'll make much more progress and they'll grow so much quicker and be much more used of Him, as well as much more greatly rewarded both here and in Heaven. But for those who do forsake their plow, He can even use that experience to teach them the important lesson of deeper gratitude, among other things.

193.Some of our young people don't realize just how blessed they are to be amongst those chosen to love and serve the Lord in the Family,because they've never experienced anything else. For some of them, the only way they'll ever learn this important lesson is to spend some time trying out the System, wasting their riches in a far country and then eating the husks in the swine pits, so that in time they can be fully convinced in their hearts that that's not where it's at. This in turn will give them the conviction and faith they need to follow the Lord wherever He leads in their lives from then on.

Their Times Are In the Lord's Hands

194.As parents, we would like this change and turnaround to happen as quickly as possible, as it's painful to see the ones we love seem to drift further away, or not return when we hoped they would. That's when we have to trust the Lord that their times are in His hands. We can't understand the future and the Lord's plan, but that's okay--we don't have to understand, because the Lord understands and He knows. Though He's bound in part by the choices that these young people make, He has an overall master plan that will go forward and that will not be defeated.

195.So please lay aside your worries and trust that the Lord is in control and He will care for His Own. Following is part of a message the Lord gave for a parent that clearly brings out this point:

196.(Jesus speaking:) I take your children in My hands, and I will care for them. Worry not and fear not the future, for your young ones are in My sight, and I do work in their lives according to the choices they make. In time, I bring all My sheep back into My fold, and these will also return to My arms. If I would that they do a certain thing, don't you think I could force it upon them, or put it within their hearts to do so? Yes, I could; yet I have not. My wisdom and purpose cannot be understood by mortal men and by the carnal mind. Therefore fret not in your reasoning.

197.The time or place of the return of My children is not for your knowledge. Your concern is but to love and to care and to nurture, to the best of your ability, the lives that I have placed in your care while you are on Earth. The spirits, the souls, the hearts and the minds belong to Me, and I work as I will.

198.Precious lessons, hard-earned victories, understandings, acceptances and beliefs will come as a result of the fires through which your children--and many others also--will pass. But you are not appointed to judge whether this path is the one that I have laid out for them or not. I am the Judge, and only I and My Father judge righteously.

199.So believe this, and believe in My love, and you will find rest. You will find the peace and the comfort needed to let go of that which you have stored in your heart. (End of message from Jesus.)

Trusting Against All Odds!

200.(Mama:) I'd like to share with you another message the Lord gave, this time for a dear mother whose daughter, since leaving the Family, has been working as a stripper, which has led to drinking heavily and mingling with other young people who live an unhealthy and dangerous lifestyle. Needless to say, this has been a source of grave concern to the mother and resulted in many trials and battles, which at times almost seemed overwhelming. Perhaps you've experienced the same or something similar, in which case I pray that the Lord's beautiful Words of encouragement below will be a strength and help to you as well. In His message, the Lord reassures us that He is able--and more than willing--to take care of our backslidden children even under the worst circumstances, when they seem to have made all the wrong choices and are living pretty wretched lives.

201.It seems easier to trust the Lord for a young person who has left the Family if they have a good job or are getting a good education, if they're "clean" and making good money. But it's harder to have faith that "all things will work together for good" when the young person who leaves the Family ends up living an undesirable lifestyle, or one that is hurtful to himself or others in some way, like drugs or heavy drinking. But even despite the most dismal circumstances and conditions, the Lord has His hand on their lives, and He will redeem them in the end. As He points out below, we just have to trust that He is in control, even if it takes some time before we see the tangible results.

202. (Jesus speaking:) You say, "How can I trust? This exceeds trust! This exceeds faith! For it is so close to my heart! It is so monumental! It is such a disaster, such a calamity, such a tragedy! My pure and lovely child, my precious darling girl, has cast off her flowing white robes and has taken leave of running through the fields of golden grain, of splashing in the pure, sparkling waters, and of laughing and dancing and rejoicing with her friends of light and life. She has gone into a far country to riot in revelry and to cast herself upon men, to parade vainly about, with no regard for her former life or upbringing. How can I trust? For my child does all things as they should not be done, and yet is not ashamed."

203.Mother, tender mother of many worries, of many fears--yes, I understand why you feel this way. But trust and faith will cover and suffice for this also. When the burdens grow greater, My grace is given more abundantly. I say to you, rejoice! For your daughter was dead and is alive again. She was lost, but is now found!

204.You say, "How can this be? For even now she continues in her ways and only walks further down the path of ungodliness and of destruction." Yes, My dear one, if you look at this moment, this vain earthly measure which you call time, it is so. But can't you see? The answer to your prayers and your cries of longing and desperate help for your beloved child and daughter have set in motion the wheels of My power, the workings of My Spirit. I have begun the working process--that which will recover her, heal her, comfort, love, warm, nourish and nurture her once again back to full health.

205.You may not see this with your eyes for some time, yet it is a wonderful work which I begin to perform in My darling child's life. For one who has strayed so far, so quickly, yes, the more precious and beautiful will this one be in her return to Me. Her love will be perfected, and for all the cuts which she has endured, this gem of Mine shall shine and sparkle more exquisitely and marvelously than ever before!

206.This one will not only have gone through the fire and through the waters, but she will have been through the desert, through the jungle, through the dark and desolate places, through the palaces and the ivory towers of this world. She has tasted and experimented with what the Evil One has to offer. When My work is perfected in her and she returns to Me, never again will any attraction be held in her heart for the things of this life or of this world.

207.Therefore, rejoice that I have begun the work! Rest in peace, for My love for this child is infinitely greater than yours. Don't you think that I wish to save her? Don't you think that I desire to rescue her, to bring her back into My arms? Oh, how I do and how I will, and I have begun to work in her heart. I've sent forth the message; I've issued the call.

208.So relax, sweet mother, in faith and trust. Let My comfort surround you. For our child shall return to Me. I love you, My sweet, faithful, precious mother! Rest now in Me, for it is now in My hands, and I do all things well. (End of message from Jesus.)

The Importance of Prayer

209.(Mama:) Something that stands out in the above prophecy besides the promises of eventual redemption for this dear girl, one of our precious children who is caught in the brambles of the vices of the System, is how the Lord explains, "Your cries of longing and desperate help for your beloved child and daughter have set in motion the wheels of My power, the workings of My Spirit. I have begun the working process--that which will recover her." In other words, this dear mother's prayers are what will bring an eventual victory, by setting in motion the Lord's power. It may take a while to be completely fulfilled, but the redemption process has begun as a result of this mother's fervent petitions before the throne of grace--and, I might add, as a result of the prayers of all of us for our dear Family young people.

210.Probably the most important factor in the care and safekeeping of your children who are out in the System is your prayers. Dad tells us in one of the prophecies I included above that our children who've strayed and left "keep you desperately seeking the Lord, and that's good, because He hears every one of those prayers. Every one of those desperate prayers moves His heart and His hand, and He is working. Every one of those prayers has an effect. You don't always see it at the time, but you will."

211.You may feel like there's not that much that you can do for your children once they've decided to go their own way and reject the help and care that you, their parents, brothers and sisters, friends and Family, want to give them. But that's not so. There's a lot that you can do for them through your continued sample of love for them--manifested in your loving communications and contact with them--and especially through your prayers.

212.Your prayers for them are so important. It's not the least you can do but the most, as through your prayers the Lord can work in their hearts and the hearts of those around them, and do miracles that would be impossible for you to accomplish in the flesh.

213.A hopeless situation can be turned around. Beauty can spring up where there were flames and ashes, because your prayers move the hand of the One Who moves the world. He takes each prayer and amplifies it with mighty power, causing it to work miracles in His perfect time.

214.Following are two prophecies of promise the Lord gave on separate occasions, emphasizing the importance and effectiveness of our prayersfor our backsliddenyoung people. Remember, the Lord isn't just speaking to the parents here. It's not just their responsibility to pray for those who have left the Family, but it is the responsibility of all of us--because they're all our children in the spirit. Or, if you're a young person yourself, they're your brothers and sisters in the spirit, and you should pray for them as fervently as you would for your own flesh and blood.

215.(Jesus speaking:) Many cries and prayers have ascended and reached Me in the halls of Heaven. There be many that have fervently prayed and sought Me on behalf of this one who is in the midst of turmoil, in the midst of despair, and is experiencing such depression of spirit. Many love him and care for him, and their prayers have come to Me, and My heart has ached with theirs. I know what it is to sorrow. I know what it is to grieve over a child who has journeyed into a far country, who has gone away for a time.

216.(Mama:) Later, we asked the Lord what He meant by this and whether this is something He had personally experienced. He replied, "Each of you who are born into My service is My child. I love My children dearly, as if they were My very Own flesh and blood. I love them more than any parent could ever love them. So when one of your children leaves My service, leaves My house, it's as if My very Own child had left My house, for they are indeed Mine.

217. "I am as the Father in the story of the prodigal son. When one of your children leaves, it is as if My Own son has left, and I feel the heartache along with you. But I also see the future and know that all will be redeemed and I will make it work out for good. Yet, still I understand the pain you feel of losing your child to My service, as I also feel that way, as that child is My Own as well."

218.(Message from Jesus continues:) In My love and in answer to these prayers and petitions, I have sent forth protectors and guardians for this one--special protection, special care and guidance. It is all available to him, as much as he will take, as much as he will acknowledge it and accept it. For I do answer your prayers. Every cry, every heartache, every prayer is heard and answered. But I answer in the best way.

219.Your prayers are answered, but they must be answered without interfering with the majesty of choice that I have given to each individual. For while it is in My power to do so, I have limited Myself to not block off the path that one has chosen to take. I have to work with them, work around them, work in their heart, work in their life. When your prayers come up to Me, they go back down to him, and I work in his life, I work in his heart, I care for him and protect him.

220.My feelings of love and care and concern and compassion for him are much, much greater than even yours are for him. Therefore you can rest assured that I will continue to care and work in his life, to bring him around, to bring him back, to bring him to where he sees clearly what I would have him to do, and then he must make his decision.

221.But in this time of confusion when things are so unclear, so distressing, and look so dark, it is during this time that he needs your prayers the most, for they will help to clear the way. He will know that he has loved ones praying for him, and this will encourage his faith. This will strengthen him, and will help him in the right direction.

222.Even if your children don't show it, or act like they don't need or want your prayers, and that they're not helping at all, deep inside they know that they do need them, because they know that My power is real. They are running away from it, but they cannot deny that it exists. Secretly they still want it, but they are often afraid to admit it.

223.None of My children are ever lost. Some go away for a little while, some choose an alternative path or route for a time, but they all return. They all come back--with a heart that is broken, eager to serve Me, eager to please Me, and desirous of My Words. So even in this My plan is perfected, and in the end it will all work together for good.

224.Together we'll help him. Your prayers move My hand and heart to act on his behalf. Cease not to pray for this one, and I will cease not to care for him. (End of message from Jesus.)

225.(Mama:) It's encouraging how the Lord confirms what He said in previous prophecies, that none of His children are ever lost, but that in due course all will be restored to Him again. But how long that takes, and the degree of hardship and difficulties that our young people experience while out in the "far country," away from the Father's house, besides being dependent on the choices that they themselves make, is also dependent on the intensity and fervency of our prayers for them.

226.In fact, as you'll see below, the Lord tells us we should "pray, pray, and continue to pray," because Satan is seeking to sift these who are weakened through their lack of faith and lack of Word and lack of fellowship with the Lord, in an attempt to completely destroy them. Because of their lack of connection with the Word, they don't have the spiritual strength to fight the Enemy themselves, so we must fight for them in the spirit, so that the Lord can continue to protect them and shield them from the Enemy's devices.

227.Of course, bad things still happen sometimes to our backslidden kids, so I asked Dad whether when those things happen it's because the parents or we as a Family hadn't prayed enough for them. Dad replied:

228."Sometimes bad things happen to them because the Lord allows it to teach them a lesson or even as a punishment for their sins and their rebellion against Him. Other times the bad could have been prevented had the parents and brothers and sisters and those who know him prayed for him more. Other times, even when you pray all you can, the Lord is still limited by their choices. If they refuse to heed the checks and push away all the warning signs that the Lord and His ministering spirits try to put in their way in answer to your prayers for them, and they just keep going headlong into danger, they still have their freedom of choice and the Lord has purposely tied His hands not to interfere with that.

229."The Lord can speak to their heart and make things happen in their lives as a result of your prayers, so your prayers are very very important. It is your responsibility to pray for them, because if you don't, there's much more chance that things can go wrong, since not as much of the Lord's power will have been released to help them. But if they refuse all the help that the Lord tries to give them as a result of your prayers, then sometimes bad things happen to them anyway, because of their wrong choices. But at least you have done what you could." (End of message from Dad.)

230.In this next message, besides reiterating the importance of our prayers, the Lord also repeats what He said in a prophecy included earlier about how the Tribulation will be a time when many who have left will be awakened from their spiritual slumber and turn again to the Lord and His will, praise the Lord!

231.(Jesus speaking:) These are they whom I have wept over and poured into. These are they who have received My heritage, yet they see not the value at this moment. Their eyes have been clouded. They do not strive to walk on with the eyes of faith, but have become weak and weary and go off seeking a new thing. They have sought after frolic and fun in the tents of wickedness. They go awhoring after other gods. They wallow in the mire and in swine pits. Yet I still love them, for they are still My Own.

232.Fear not for them, but pray. They are tied to Me with strong cords that cannot be broken. As you uphold these in desperate prayer, sooner or later each one, according to My plan, will be awakened. For My cords are stronger than the muck and the mire that seeks to pull them down.

233.As you pray, you break the chains that would hold them down. As you call out to Me with strong prayers and intercession for these, My cords will continue to grow stronger. Therefore you must not be weary in prayer, but only believe. Believe and intercede for these, your children, these, your brothers and sisters, these who are buffeted about by the winds of confusion. They are of the live ones whom Satan does seek after that he may sift them as wheat. Therefore pray, and pray, and continue to pray.

234.Let not your hearts be discouraged. Turn every thought of them away from thoughts of discouragement, away from thoughts of mourning over a child or a friend that has been lost, but rather turn these thoughts into earnest, fervent prayers--prayers that will reclaim the hearts and the minds of these, My children.

235.They feel your prayers in the secret places,in the terror by night that they pass through. In the early morning hours, and in the middle of the struggles of their days, they feel your prayers. Your prayers will accomplish My purpose.

236.As you pray, I cause these children to have flashbacks and to recall their days of Heaven in the peaceful haven of the tents of David. They recall and reflect as did the prodigal, and they wonder and ponder and long for the days of restful peace once again. But their hearts are weary and worn and they see not how they can return to the place of peace. Therefore, you must uphold them in prayer.

237.As the lamb whose leg must be broken so that he will not stray again from My side, so will I perfect that which concerns these, for My plan will not be defeated. And My little lambs whose legs I find necessary to break that they stray not again will always have this reminder, this weaker spot of injury to remind them of their waywardness. It will serve My purpose as an ever present reminder of their days of tribulation, that they may know from whence they came and rejoice from whence they have been delivered.

238.As they pass through the rivers, I am with them. And though the waves rise and rage fiercely on each side, they will not utterly overtake them. They walk through the fires of affliction, the fires of chastisement, and the torment and the pain brought on by their own willfulness, by their own straying and curiosity for the pleasures of sin. Yet though I allow them to walk through these fires, and though they be singed, they will not utterly be destroyed. For as they call out to Me, I will send My refreshing waters, My cool rains and winds to put out the fires.

239.They are passing through the days of rude awakenings. Even those who seem to succeed, as they run and experiment in the ways of the world, are not satisfied. They're eating of the husks and they cry out inside as they long for their days of Heaven again. I'm working in each life, in each heart; therefore you must pray.

240.The day is at hand when there will be a mighty widening of the eyes! Great tribulation will cover the Earth--days of darkness and great tribulation that will drive My children back to Me. And in these days, these whom you have poured into and labored over, these whom you have nurtured and cared for, will wake up to the seriousness and soberness and the reality of what has been poured out to them all these years.

241.In these days, My Word that has been firmly implanted in their hearts will awaken and revive them. The days of tribulation will cause them to leave the foolishness and the mire and the wantonness, as they call out in desperation to Me. And when they call, I will answer. I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy.

242.For many, these days have already come upon them. There be many even now who are in their days of tribulation--their days of rude awakenings. For they've gone out, and they're realizing that they've forsaken their days of Heaven for a mess of pottage. These are passing through the days of their tribulation even now--tribulations of confusion, loneliness, doubts and despair, as they see and feel and experience the horrors that lie without; as they live in a world where the love of many has waxed cold; as they feel the frigidity and the deadness and the desolation without.

243.They're passing through their tribulation. They're passing through the tumultuous times of reality as they experience the coldness, the harshness, the anxiety and the despair of a desperate and dying world. They're passing through their tribulation as they come to realize that all that glitters is not gold. They run to and fro from jaunt to jaunt and haunt to haunt, seeking and trying new things, only to find themselves wanting at the end of each road, at every turn that they would try.

244.And even in their very worst of states, these cannot hide that they have been with Me, for they are marked. Just as My Peter, though he did try to deny My Name, could not hide that he had been with Me, neither can these. For as the maid did answer, "Yea, your speech does betray you," so do the actions and the upbringing of these, My children, betray them. No matter how hard they try, they won't fit into the mold of the System, for I have not created them thus; neither will they find any satisfaction. Particularly in the very end, when things start happening, they'll know a lot more than the others around them, even in their backslidden state, and they'll stand out as being different. So sooner or later their speech and their actions and their very spirits will betray them, even in their very worst of states.

245.I see how this weighs heavy on your hearts. I too was heavy-hearted as My disciples turned from Me. Therefore comfort yourselves through prayer, and know that this is the very most you can do. Comfort yourselves by committing each one to Me, as I have committed you to My Father, and I will perform miracles. I will never leave them nor forsake them.

246.Form a chain of prayer that cannot be broken. Zoom in on them in a concentrated effort of power prayers. Love them unconditionally through your prayers and forsake them not. They are Mine, and My heart pains for them. Love them back into My arms with your prayers.

247.They are weak and sick and in need of intercession. Call down the forces of Heaven and rebuke Satan! You must fight for them, launch an attack for them, free them! Don't take this sitting down, but stand up and fight! Be militant for them as mighty warriors of David, valiant in fight, reclaiming your prisoners of war. Pour out your hearts for them in strong prayers and crying and reclaim them for Me. Then stand back and see Me fight, and each one will come around in My time, according to My purpose. But you must pray! (End of message from Jesus.)

248.(Mama:) I know that you're very concerned about those who have left the Family, whether they're your own children, or your friends, or maybe someone you don't even know. I know that it weighs on your heart and mind. But the Lord tells us that we should take those burdens and thoughts and turn them into prayers for them. So every time you think of them, or every time you're tempted to be a little discouraged about the situation, turn it into a prayer. Fight for them in the spirit, and you'll be doing the most that you can for them.

249.The Lord says that we can love them back into His arms with our prayers, and that in addition to helping them, our prayers will comfort us as well. So in praying we're helping both them and ourselves!

Encouragement and Commendation!

250. In closing, I'd like to include another message of understanding and encouragement that Dad gave for one of our leaders who has two children who have left the Family. Here, Dad repeats some of what he and the Lord have already said in previous prophecies. But since this is a subject that I'm sure some of you could use a lot of encouragement about, I thought you wouldn't mind hearing it again from a different angle.

251.Even though Dad may be basically saying the same thing in one message as in another, the way he says it in one message--or the specific wording that he uses, or the examples or word pictures that he gives--might hit home with one person much more than the other message did, even though they both basically make the same point. Whereas in someone else's case, another message will stand out to them more, or leave more of an impression on them personally. So that's why I sometimes like to include more than one message from the Lord or Dad on a specific subject, even if they're pretty similar.

252. Thank the Lord that we do have such a great abundance of Word! Sometimes it's hard to know what to include in these GNs, as we don't have room for it all, and it's all so feeding and strengthening! I trust that what we do include is what the Lord knows you need the most and will speak most directly and clearly to your heart.

253.So on that note, I now turn you over to Dad with a final message for this Letter. Remember as you read this that Dad is not just speaking to the dear one who he gave this original talk to, but that it applies to you as well!

254. (Dad speaking:) You are a woman to be proud of!--And I am proud of you, Sweetheart. I know the Lord is proud of you, too, for being such a sacrificial, giving woman. I know that your tenderness and brokenness has cost you. It's come through some suffering in your life. I'm sorry that you've had to go through some heartbreak and suffering, that your sons have broken your heart. I'm sorry. I know what it's like, Honey. It's tough, it's really tough.

255. Like me, the heartbreak has given you deeper compassion and love. That's something that you really need to be a good leader. Don't despise your broken heart and the sorrow that you've felt. The Lord has required great sacrifices of many throughout history, which they were willing to give to Him. They too gave with heartbreak, but they gave nonetheless. The Lord doesn't say that you have to be happy about it, but just that you have to trust Him.

256.I know that you are trusting Him, Honey. You've always trusted Him. You've always yielded to Him, whatever He's asked of you. You have real faith and trust in Him, Sweetheart, so don't let the Enemy rob you of that trust and faith.

257. He isn't failing you, and He isn't failing your children. He's promised to keep them and care for His Own. God is not failing in His promises to you. He can't force anyone to love Him, obey Him, and do His will. That's our choice, and that's the choice of every man, woman, and child. As our children grow up in the Family, I believe they're given the best of everything humanly possible. Sure, no one is perfect.

258.No parent is perfect, and we all wish that we would have done something at some time a little better. Parents are not perfect. But your kids know that you're concerned about them, that you love them, that you pray for them, and that you do what you can for them. I think they respect you and your service to the Lord, your dedication as a missionary, and your unfailing obedience and love for the Lord in fulfilling the ministry He's called you to. Even when it's to your own hurt, you still follow faithfully and have given your children to the Lord, which I believe they respect. That sample remains in their hearts, Sweetheart.

259. So don't feel that you're failing them. You haven't failed them. There are things that no parent can do for their child. There are things that only the Lord can teach us--deep and great lessons of life that only He can teach us. Sometimes it seems to take a very long time for even the Lord to get through to some people. Look at my own daughter [Deb]. She had one of the best upbringings that I could have given her. She was raised with a strong Godly background, with Scripture memorization, Bible input and witnessing, a solid faith life, positive influences on every side, with my desperate prayers and those of Mother Eve as well.

260. Sometimes there are situations that we personally cannot understand. Because we didn't wish it, and we tried to prevent it, to us it seems like a defeat and a failure. But I still firmly believe that God never fails those who trust Him. Your children just have to learn some lessons that only the Lord can teach them. I believe they know that. I believe they're also seeking for those lessons. They're putting Him to the test and challenging Him, and He isn't going to fail them.

261. We have eternity ahead of us! You don't have this earthly life only. There's a lot ahead and a lot in store--eternity, and a whole wealth of living! This time now is just a speck in the lives of your children, and what they're learning now is of great importance for the future. The Lord doesn't forsake them or give up on them or pass them by when they're learning lessons. He's very close to them and is guiding and teaching them, because He wants to use them in the future. Oh, there's a lot up ahead! And the lessons and struggles that you have now are preparing you for what's up ahead.

262. So don't worry, Honey, and don't give up. It's not a failure. You're not a failure! You haven't failed, and it's not a defeat. All things work together for good. Although you may not see all those answers in this life right now, I can guarantee you that His plan will be accomplished. I know it's hard to see things that way when you're in the middle of it and you want to understand everything. You want your children to be in the Family and serving the Lord because you know it's the truth, and you know it's a priceless privilege. You don't want to see your children suffering and taking the hard road and having to learn through the school of hard knocks. You want to make things easy for them and help them not to have to learn some things the hard way.

263.That's the way of all true mothers! They want to be able to protect their children from heartbreak. You don't want to feel that you have failed them and that the Family has failed them. Well, you haven't failed them, Honey, and neither has the Family, because life isn't over--and it never will be over.

264. We're going to live forever and your children are going to live forever--and that means a future with us Here on the other side! That means a future with Jesus in the Heavenly City--a future with jobs, ministries, and work in the world of the spirit! Honey, the future is as bright as the promises of God! There are more worlds to come, there's more work to do, there are more people to minister to, and God is going to use your children!--And all of our children who have been raised and trained in the Lord.

265. Well, Sweetheart, I just wanted to tell you not to worry about it, and not to condemn yourself. You're not to blame, Sweetheart. I just want to reassure you that the Lord doesn't feel you're to blame, and I don't feel you're to blame either. So you can stop blaming yourself. No one's to blame, Sweetheart. That's a choice your children have made, and I believe they made it with a pretty good understanding and knowledge of what they were doing. So don't worry about them. Just trust the Lord that they're going to be all right and everything's going to turn out the way the Lord wants it to.

266. Don't let the Enemy rob you of your faith and trust in God! Don't let the Enemy instill his fear and worry and doubts in your mind. God won't fail you, Sweetheart. He loves your children. They're very precious to Him. The lives and souls that He creates are of great importance to Him. When you, as a parent, give them to the Lord, He takes care of them. (End of message from Dad.)

267.(Mama:) I love you and am proud of each of you for your perseverance,your stick-to-itiveness, your determination to brave the winds and storms and keep going for the Lord no matter what! You're great men and women of God because you've kept on fighting, climbing, winning, and you haven't given up! God bless you!

Love, Mama

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family