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FSM 238 (FN 347) DO
Copyright Apr., 1993, by Family Services, Zurich, Switzerland.

Required reading for all teens, EAs & adults.

Overcoming Doubts!--"Hold that Fast which Thou Hast!"--Rev.3:11.
By Gary

       On the subject of the Enemy's attacks, 1992 was quite a year for the Family--as well as for many of us personally! And from all the Lord has indicated, 1993 could be even more intense! Not only have a number of bitter backsliders joined forces with anti-cult organisations & other AC forces to openly fight the Family, but behind the scenes as well, our "adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour!" (1Pet.5:8). This same Bible passage continues about the Devil's personal attacks, exhorting us to "resist [EDITED: "the Devil"] steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are [EDITED: "around"] the World" (1Pet.5:9). And it also promises, "but the God of all grace, Who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory & dominion forever & ever" (1Pet.5:10-11). So we know that although we may have to suffer some destabilising trials for awhile, the Lord will strengthen & establish us through these things. PTL!
       The Enemy of our souls has attempted to use persecution & the threat of more persecution to put fear into the hearts of our worldwide Family. As Dad has often said, fear is one of the Devil's most powerful devices. However, the more the Lord helps us to continue to win our various persecution battles around the World, & the more we cling to the promises He has given us, the less effective the Devil's weapon of fear of persecution becomes. PTL! But the forces coming against us are getting more vicious & aggressive.--Not only the persecution from outside forces, but also another type of the Enemy's persecution, personal attacks in the form of floods of lies & doubts!
       Nobody is completely immune to the attacks of the Devil, everyone gets attacked, because "if you do it the right way, the Devil will fight you!" It could well be that the attacks of the Devil's doubts will become more & more intense as the days grow darker & we approach the very End. "Woe to the inhabiters of the Earth & of the sea, for the Devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time" (Rev.12:12).

To Be Forewarned Is to Be Forearmed!
       This article is to prepare you & forewarn you about what appears to be one of the Devil's most powerful devices aimed at the Family, & that is intense bursts of doubt exploding on the landscape of our minds! We're not talking about just a few "birds flying over our heads", but huge flocks of devil-birds attempting to bombard our hearts & minds, a spiritual parallel of the recent Allied bombings of Iraq! The Devil is aiming his "smart-bombs*" of doubt at various Family Members already. Different ones, including a few leaders who have never had serious problems with doubts before, have recently testified of having such an uncontrollable wave of doubts hit them that it's been very difficult for them to even discern what has happened! These extreme attacks of doubt are more intense & overwhelming than most of us have ever experienced before. (*Smart bombs: highly sophisticated modern weapons that were used by the U.S. when they bombed Iraq.)
       Of course, all of us at one time or another have had a few birds fly over our heads, & perhaps on occasion some have even started to build a nest in our hair. Different ones of us have had to battle with various doubts over the years, some more than others. But what we're talking about here is an overwhelming, intense battle, perhaps more vicious than anything you have personally experienced up to this time. It is difficult to describe the degree with which such waves of doubt & despair may hit, so perhaps the following illustration may be of help.
       You may have seen on CNN sometime back a report about a flash flood. The film clips showed a large, multi-lane highway that dipped below ground level at an underpass. The underpass was packed with rush hour traffic when unexpectedly a flash flood hit so quickly that water was suddenly up to the windshields of hundreds of cars! You can imagine the shock a driver would feel who is driving along at 60 mph (90 kph) & who suddenly runs into a wall of water! This relates spiritually to how it feels when the Enemy comes into your mind like a flood with his vicious lies & doubts.
There is the attack of the Enemy through doubts that starts seeping in under the door & gradually works its way up. This attack is very subtle, & also very dangerous! But the Devil's device of a sudden flood of doubts we're talking about here (& which was recently exposed & discussed at length at the Summit Meeting) just bursts upon you without the slightest warning!
       Another way that this flood of doubts has been described is that it's as if you're suddenly & unexpectedly being pulled under by a real strong undercurrent or riptide when swimming in the ocean! And then you're being pulled further & further away from the shore & further & further down, to the point that you're desperately struggling & fearing for your life, regardless of how strong & qualified a swimmer you may be.

Attacks of Greater Magnitude & Intensity!
       Of course, it's nothing new that the Devil attempts to use doubts to weaken a Christian's faith, but what does seem to be new is the magnitude & intensity in some cases of these attacks of doubts! More & more he appears to be targeting our ranks in an attempt to get us to "depart from the faith" by "giving heed to doctrines of devils!" (See 1Tim.4:1.) While Christians of all ages have had to contend for their faith, as we get closer to the End, it seems the onslaughts of the Enemy grow more intense. The Devil obviously knows that his time is short! So just like the Lord is pouring out His Spirit upon all flesh in these Last Days (see Acts 2:17,18), so also is the great imitator, Satan, pouring out his spirit of fear & doubt in greater magnitude than ever before.
       Family Members who have suffered these floods of doubts & fears testified that they seem to be triggered by almost any issue. For example, the Devil might get you uncontrollably upset & doubtful over a new push or challenge put forth in a GN. Instead of being supportive of a new idea that the Lord is promoting, the Enemy strongly opposes your receptivity by giving you such confusion & fear & doubt that your reaction is, "How can I possibly get behind this? Doesn't everybody realise the negative ramifications of this?" And of course, once the Enemy finds that you begin to entertain or support his doubts, he then begins to make you feel separate from anyone else who is behind the new push. You even begin to feel separate from anyone who in any way reacts positively to the new push.

The Devil's Goal: To Get You to Leave the Family!
       The more separate the Devil makes you feel, the more you start getting hit with thoughts like, "This is the moment I never expected would happen! I don't believe in this Family & what's being preached anymore! I've got to leave!" And more & more you become convinced that you should leave. Then the next step the Enemy will try to get you to take is to plan how you should leave--that is, whether you should tell someone about your battles & feelings, or just split & not tell anyone at all. The Enemy will try to convince you that the best thing to do is not to confess the doubts & fears & trouble you're having, & that the easiest thing for everyone concerned would be for you to just quietly slip out, rather than expose the evils of your heart & spread any doubts about the Word or the Folks. At this point you're probably quite convinced that confessing is definitely the wrong thing to do.
       By the time you've reached this state of mind, you've probably snapped back to reality a few times & realised, "How could I ever think that? I don't feel that way at all! I believe in Dad & Mama, I believe in this Family!" But then, like 5,000-watt speakers, the Enemy's lies & doubts resume their diabolical blasts into your spiritual ears, filling your mind & heart with further debilitating doubts & reasons why you should leave the Family!       When you have a momentary reprieve in the battle & you come back to a calm & trusting spirit & a normal state of mind, & you hear the Lord's voice speaking to your heart about opening up about these battles & confessing these things to your Shepherd or Teamworkers, the Devil quickly jumps in with his opposing thoughts, such as, "Haven't you considered the consequences of sharing these evil doubts & terrible things you've been thinking?! Your leadership is going to hear about this, Dad & Mama are going to hear about this, & no one will ever trust you again! You're going to be out of the Family anyway! Whether you confess this or not, the end result is going to be the same, you'll be out of the Family!..."
The intensity builds, the exaggerations mount, the condemnation grows, the doubts continue to come until you are either convinced that leaving the Family is the only alternative--or just as bad, you conclude that you have now snapped & gone crazy! Intense trials of this nature can seem so hopeless, so despairing! You feel, "This is a no-win situation! I'm just getting bombarded with trials in the Family & it feels like Hell. But if I leave, that's going to be Hell too! What do I do?!" Of course, God's answer is: "Having done all, stand!" (Eph.6:13). Just hang on! Remember, the skies will eventually clear, & the Son will shine again! TTL!
       As we said earlier, the Enemy can get in through any situation or subject, & blow in his deadly gases of doubt, coupled with exaggeration & condemnation, to bring about his desired result, which is your leaving the Family & God's service. And once you begin doubting in one area, you open the door to start doubting in other areas.
       The Enemy, as we all know, can even use our NWOs, such as independence & pride, as a starting point or chink in our armour to get in & begin to interject his doubts into our spiritual lives. For example, if we greatly value our independence, a natural tactic that the Enemy will use will be to try to put questions or thoughts in our minds & hearts, such as: "Why are things so tight in the Family?" Or, "It seems like things are getting too controlled nowadays." Or, because some of us are getting a little older & changes therefore may be a little harder to adjust to, thoughts can begin to seep into our minds that are subtle doubts, such as: "Do we really need to always be changing? What about all this persecution? Where are things heading anyway?"

Recognise the Voice of the Enemy!
       Now the point of this article is not to imply that we should no longer think for ourselves or make our own decisions or pray about matters or seek Godly counsel, etc. The point is that we need to use our knowledge of the Word to discern the thoughts & intents of our hearts & minds, in order to determine if it's the Lord inspiring us through those thoughts, or the Enemy of our souls, Satan! If you feel confused by some of the thoughts that enter your mind, you can be quite sure that it is the Devil speaking, as the Word clearly says that "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace" (1Cor.14:33). In other words, when you feel confused, Satan & his demons are the ones who are "writing the storyline" & feeding those thoughts into your mind. Also, if there's a difference between what you feel when you're in the midst of intense battles & what you feel when you're in your normal state of mind, believing what you've believed for all the many years that you've been serving the Lord, then you can be reasonably sure that the waves of doubt & despair & distorted thoughts are straight from the pits of Hell & are designed to get you out of the Family.
       It's crucially important to understand that your natural reaction is to think that such thoughts & doubts are your own, from yourself.--When in reality they are just the voice of Satan being broadcast to your mind. The more you listen to these broadcasts, the harder it becomes to discern that they are indeed the voice of Satan & not your own thoughts, since by this time they may be blasting you with boom-box speakers in each ear! If you accept that these distorted doubts are the way that you yourself feel, & you lose sight of the fact that these are just the thoughts of Satan being put into your mind from outside, then the logical progression is: "If I feel that way, it means I'm just a big doubter & I'm disloyal & a traitor to the cause! I'll do the Family & the World a whole lot more good if I just leave!" Again, that is the goal of the Devil, to get you to leave God's service, when the Lord has a marvellous reward awaiting you, if you'll just stay loyal & hold on!
       Even when you attempt to fight these doubts & negative thoughts, the Enemy will try to hit you with further thoughts of, "Look how disloyal I am, look how weak I am!" And the overriding condemnation you feel as a result can then greatly affect you & your usefulness for the Lord. Satan's logical progression of reasoning is then to get you thinking, "I don't even believe what the Family is all about anyway! And as weak as I am, what kind of disciple am I going to be in the Endtime? I'm never going to make it, so I might as well leave now." Again, the direction the Enemy is trying to get you to go is out of the Family.
Turn to the Word!
       At times like this when you're really getting buffeted about with these kinds of big battles, you may even feel it's difficult to find the strength & comfort & leading that you need from the Word. When you try to read, your heart is so overwhelmed, the Word doesn't seem to do much good. Well, in that case, you need to remember that reading the Word always does good, as "faith cometh by hearing" (Rom.10:17) & the Word will accomplish the purpose unto which it is sent. (See Isa.55:11.) So even if it doesn't feel like the Word is doing you any good, you can't go wrong by turning to it during such difficult times--no matter how you feel. Just take it by faith, although it may not have the instant effect you might desire, it is indeed working in your heart & you do need it. Don't allow yourself to be robbed of needed Word time during those especially trying times when you need it the most!
       Remember, the Devil is always trying to minimise or defeat the spiritual & play up the carnal. Whether he's trying to destroy our faith in the Word, or get us to reason in our carnal mind, which is "enmity against God" (Rom.8:7), it's all designed to overthrow our personal faith in God & His Word. In short, the Devil is trying to get us to not trust the Lord. And as we all know, when we're fretting & not keeping our minds stayed on the Lord, if we find ourselves in a difficult situation, we may be inclined to look at the circumstances from a carnal viewpoint & worry or doubt, rather than trust the Lord. But only by being "spiritually minded" will we find peace. (See Rom.8:6.) You've got to remember it's a battle of faith, a battle of the mind & spirit, & the Enemy is trying his best to get you to not trust the Lord, & to do this he'll bring out all of his big guns to try to overwhelm you. "For consider [EDITED: "Jesus Who"] endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied & faint in your minds" (Heb.12:3). (See also "The Spiritual Warfare Depends on Us!" DB7, ML#2327:15,16.)
       If the Enemy can't get you to actually leave the Family physically, he'll try to destroy your faith in the Family or your belief in the Words the Lord gives through Dad & Mama, because this will make you less enthusiastic about putting your heart into the Work.--And if you stay in this state of unbelief, you will eventually become a lot less enthusiastic! And not only will this begin to destroy your effectiveness for the Lord, but your lack of enthusiasm will obviously spill over onto others in your Home as well. "For none of us liveth to himself, & no man dieth to himself" (Rom.14:7).

More on How to Fight These Attacks of the Enemy!
       So what do you do if you feel overwhelmed with such doubts & lies of the Enemy? Well, first of all, it's important to recognise that this is one of the Devil's devices that he's used on Christians for centuries, & obviously as the very End approaches, he's going to use it more & more intensely to try to cause us to fall away from the Lord & His service. What did King David do when he was overwhelmed with the Devil's doubts? He prayed, "Hear my cry, O God, attend unto my prayer. From the end of the Earth will I cry unto Thee. When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. For Thou hast been a shelter for me & a strong tower from the Enemy" (Psa.61:1-3). So you've got to cry out to the Lord for His deliverance, & ask Him to encourage your heart.
       In the midst of battle, you need to remember that what your mind supposedly may be "thinking" is not necessarily what your heart believes. For example, you know in your heart what you believe about Dad & Mama & the Family & the Lord & His Service. You know in your heart that you want to continue to give your life to serve the Lord. So if these attacks on your mind & the thoughts you think as a result contradict what you believe strongly in your heart, then you can be quite sure that the attacks are from the Enemy & you should go on the attack to resist them with all that is within you!
       What else can you do? Well, as we've already mentioned, the Devil's line is, "Don't tell anybody about this, nobody will understand!" But we also know from the Letters that "doubts are not just little nothings that you push aside as not very important! Doubts are monsters that devour & destroy you & the things around you!" (DB4, ML#71:19) So you don't want to unnecessarily spread the Devil's propaganda by talking to the wrong people about such trials. But when you need help, it is the time to openly confess these things to your Shepherds or Teamworkers in order to ask for prayer. This is God's solution as outlined in His Word, "Confess your faults one to another, & pray one for another, that ye may be healed" (Jam.5:16).
       In fact, it's imperative for your sake that you do communicate your trials to your Shepherds or Teamworkers, as many of these intense spiritual battles can only be won through united prayer & counsel with others. During such times we need to "bear one another's burdens, & so fulfil the law of Christ" (Gal.6:2). You may be pleasantly surprised to hear that some of your Shepherds have gone through much the same things themselves, so you're not "the only one", as the Devil tries to convince you. The Lord allows many of us to go through such tests & trials, not only to further strengthen our loyalties to Him, but also to give us the faith, experience, & conviction to be able to comfort others with the same comfort wherewith we ourselves have been comforted of God. (See 2Cor.1:4.)
       Do you remember years ago when we hardly even knew what self-righteousness was? Thank the Lord, & thanks to the good pubs on the subject, we started to talk about it & recognise it & have now been able to identify this particular spiritual problem, along with pride, jealousy & others. Years ago we hesitated to even talk about these problems, let alone share our most personal battles concerning them. We were afraid to share these with our Shepherds, as they seemed so "bad". But once we began to be open about these NWOs & get prayer for them & pray for one another & hear how others had overcome the same things, we not only got victories, but it also helped us overcome the fear of confessing or being exposed or humbled.
So now if someone is proud or self-righteous or jealous, it's not some startling, horrible stigma; in fact, we realise we all are to some extent. It doesn't bowl you over or completely shock you. Thank the Lord, we have more faith to speak up & ask for prayer for these things, because we realise that we've all gone through the same battles to some extent & we are men of like passions. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to Man, but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1Cor.10:13).
       We have found over the years that being honest & open about our problems & the Devil's devices has really been a vehicle for exposing the Devil & helping each of us get victories. So likewise, with this device of the Devil of attempting to use his "mind control" on us by flooding our hearts & minds with his doubts, we need to go on the attack & openly confess these things to our leaders & Teamworkers & ask for prayer, so that we will have the spiritual strength to overcome these doubts of the Devil, lest we be silent sufferers who are eventually overcome by him!
       As mentioned earlier, we've recently heard testimonies from different Family Members--top leadership included--that the Enemy has tried to overwhelm them with floods of doubts. This has even happened to people who generally have not had any problems along these lines at all before, & so such trials or experiences were particularly out of character for them. Different leaders have even confessed that they got to the point of thinking that they were just too weak to carry on; or they thought they were such a huge security risk to the Family, since they seemed so double-minded & weak, that they were more & more convinced by the Devil that perhaps their place was being a TRF Supporter, rather than a leader in the Family!
       Such attacks of the Enemy can temporarily be quite convincing about the "hopelessness" of your individual situation! Regardless of the extremity or intensity of the attack, or the feeling of futility it causes in your heart, when you're in the middle of such a battle is certainly not the time to make a hasty decision on your own.--You need to take some time to really check your feelings out with the Word & the Lord & your Shepherds.
Like Mama said in "False Accusers in the Last Days!" (HOPE 34):
"Tough times are coming; in fact, they're already here, but it's important that you realise that just because you might feel like maybe you're too weak to make it, and you have some fears about the Future, you can't let that sway you. Because no matter how weak you feel or how fearful you may feel about the Future, the Lord has promised to give you the grace you need when the time comes.--`As thy days, so shall thy strength be!'--Deuteronomy 33:25.
       "In a lot of our severest persecution worldwide, it's been some of the very weakest people who have had to go through it, and they have come through it with flying colours, and come out as shining witnesses for the Lord, God bless them! The Lord has worked and witnessed through them regardless of how weak they felt or how incapable and even weak in faith they were. The Lord has worked through them and His strength was made perfect in their weakness. So feeling that you're weak or fearful about the future or beset by occasional attacks of doubt is certainly no reason to quit!
       "If you have serious doubts about Dad and about the Letters and about our way of life, or you've harboured criticisms and lasting bitterness about things, or you've had a general lack of contentment and have just felt dissatisfied and unhappy, then it's time for you to get the help that you need to fight for lasting victories in your life.
       "As time goes on and conditions get rougher, there will probably be more things for you to criticise and more for you to doubt, because our enemies are coming on stronger than ever, and their accusations will probably add fuel to your fires of discontentment, resentment and doubt. It's going to be harder for you to have the faith if your faith is already weak, if you're not clinging to the Word, if your faith isn't in the Word."
       "Of course, if you've had trials along these lines, but you've come to the point of desperation where you're just so sick and fed up with those doubts and fears that you're willing to fight and do whatever it takes to overcome them, then praise God, let us help you fight these things! We'll be happy to do all we can to help you overcome your doubts and win the victories you need! We would hate to see all that the Lord has poured into you wasted, and we're willing to really fight for you to help you make it, providing you really want to make it.
       "{\ul I've got a lot of faith for people who have the attitude that, `This is the only place in the World for me, so I've just got to stick it out as long as I possibly can}!--Even though I know it's going to get tough, and even though I don't know how I'm going to do in the End, and I don't even know if I'll make it, I know of nowhere else to go, `Thou alone hast the Words of Eternal Life!'--This is what I've dedicated my whole life to and I know this is the best place to be, so I'm going to stick it out no matter what!' If that's your attitude, then this is the place for you, and the Lord will pull you through!" (HOPE 34:8-13)
       And just because there may be references in the Word about how "God Hates Murmurers" & "Grumblers Get Out!" etc., & various examples of ultimatums that were given to individuals with spiritual problems, this does not mean that the Lord is pushing you out of the Family just because you experience such battles! Dad & Mama & the Family's leaders are not deliberately trying to get rid of people! To the contrary, we & the Lord want to do all we can to keep people in the Lord's service, providing they are willing to be kept, & are willing to fight for the victory.
       The Letter "Different Strokes for Different Folks" (GN 484) makes the following distinction: "As long as someone isn't constantly contaminating others, & as long as they are sincerely trying to get the victory & work on their problems, I believe that the Lord allows a great deal of mercy to be shown to them. The problem occurs when this kind of intensive treatment doesn't happen only once, with the Shepherd spending hour after hour with the one sheep who's having problems. But when that sheep moves from pasture to pasture, & in every pasture the new Shepherd has to repeat the process all over again to keep that naughty sheep in line & in the Fold & not causing damage or harm or infection to the other sheep, that's when it becomes a major problem!--Particularly when that wayward individual is an adult or older teen who has already been talked to repeatedly about the same problems which they are making no sincere effort to get the victory over." (ML#2717:15,7)

Recognise the Devil's Devices & Outside Attacks!
       This heinous barrage of the Devil's doubts that we've been discussing may not just hit once or twice over a few days, but in some cases, it could hit unexpectedly or regularly over a period of months! And after you've been bombarded with these attacks for an extended period of time, to the point that you're getting weary in well-doing, you could no doubt feel you now qualify as a "long-term doubter", & therefore your fate is to leave the Family. Well, this is where you need to realise how much you need help from your Shepherds to properly discern these thoughts & intents of your heart. "One [EDITED: "can"] chase a thousand, [EDITED: "but"] two can put ten thousand to flight" (Deut.32:30). Even if you feel like you've been a spiritual "dumping site" for the Devil's doubts for months on end, your Shepherds can fight with you in prayer & help direct you to the Word you need, which will sustain you & bring you through to victory. Dad & Mama have often brought out in the Letters that if you're murmuring & criticising over a long period of time, then that could be a sign that you'd be happier elsewhere. But these big floods & barrages of doubts, which seem to come out of nowhere & are not what you usually feel, are something entirely different!
       You dear Shepherds need to be as understanding as possible when approached by Family Members going through such battles. We need to help strengthen each other's faith & conviction in preparation for the tremendous ministry the Lord is now leading us into in these last years of the Endtime! An important point to keep in mind here is that in many cases, when Family Members who are normally loyal & faithful are hit with such doubts, they are probably outside attacks from the Enemy, & they should not feel condemned.--Nor should you Shepherds overreact.
If Family Members who are normally loyal & sweet open their hearts to you as their Shepherd about trials or problems of this nature, please offer them understanding & hope, like Mama did for Techi, as demonstrated in the Techi Letters. Please don't just react with a hard-line "out you go" ultimatum, as these brethren have probably already suffered a great deal of despair & agony through their trials, & on top of that, they've had to work up the courage to share their heart with you!
       So please pray, dear Shepherds, that you can judge righteous judgement when someone comes to talk with you about such battles, balancing Scripture with Scripture. And instead of thinking, "How can I get rid of this person?" you should pray, "Lord, how can we keep him? How can we help him? You've invested so much in training them in Your service, Lord, & they have so much to offer." Don't ever be too quick to get rid of people just because you think they're going to be problems for you or take a lot of time to counsel & help. We pray that this article will be a strength to you, & help you discern these things in your lives or in the lives of those whom you shepherd, so you can fight together!

Go on the Attack & Don't Quit!
       Remember, as Dad has taught us, the only way the Devil can get the victory is if he can persuade us to quit! It's the Devil's business to contradict the Lord & the Word, & also to blow things up as big as a mountain; but it's our job to call out to the Lord & to fight the good fight of faith to overcome these attacks of the Enemy. In "False Accusers in the Last Days", Mama explains that "feeling that you're weak or fearful about the future or beset by occasional attacks of doubt is certainly no reason to quit!" (HOPE 34:9)
       We often quote the verses from Ephesians 6 about putting on the whole spiritual armour of God, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, etc. There are other verses along this line which exhort us, saying, "Gird up the loins of your mind, lest ye faint in your mind" (1Pet.1:13; Heb.12:3). Our mind is really where a lot of these battles occur. The spiritual battle in your mind & heart is one of the toughest battles. And we know that in the Endtime the Bible even predicts that "some shall depart from the faith" (1Tim.4:1) & there shall be a great "falling away" (2Thes.2:3). So Lord help us all to do our best to stay close to Him & His Word & discern the Devil's devices, so this prophecy will not be fulfilled in our lives!
       When battles of this nature hit, we have to cling to the Lord & those absolutes that we know in our hearts to be true, such as: "I joined this Family because I believed in it, & I still believe in it. Dad's Words have changed my life, as well as thousands of others, & I'm going to continue to believe them. Lord, You've never let me down, & I believe if I just hang on, You'll bring me through this too!" "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith, without wavering, for He is faithful that promised!" (Heb.10:23).
       When barraged with doubts, we need to go on the attack against the Devil's lies, even if we feel too weak or disoriented to recall one Bible verse. When the Devil tells you that there's something wrong with the Family, hit him back with, "Look, Devil, even if the Family's not perfect, it's the best place there is to serve the Lord! There's no better place to serve the Lord. Show me one, Devil!" And he won't be able to, because there isn't any better place! The Christians in the World who love the Lord & are sincerely trying to serve Him don't accomplish a whole lot, because they lack vision, unity, a workable communal lifestyle, & the guidance of the Endtime Prophet. And not one of these backsliders & churchy enemies whose "ministry" is to lash out at the Family & pervert & twist the Truth can in any way compare statistically to the tremendous fruit that our Family Members continue to bear in winning souls for the Kingdom of God. While they tear down & preach their rot, we lift up Jesus, preach the Gospel & win eternal souls for Him! PTL!

How the Lord Will Deliver You!
       And if the Devil tempts you to just quit & leave the Family, throw back in his face, "What else can I do with my life? Where else will I go? I'd sooner stay here & suffer these present trials, than leave in a weak moment & be spiritually sucked into this hellish World!" In other words, you've got to cling to the fundamental beliefs that are rooted deep in your heart, even in the midst of a flood of the Devil's lies. The Devil is trying to get you to surrender! The only way you can be defeated is if you surrender!
       The Lord promises that He "will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able" (1Cor.10:13), & with your Shepherds' help, He'll help you discern the Devil's lies & see that it's not you thinking those things, it's just the voice of Satan. Even if you just have to repeat to yourself, "I believe in Jesus! I believe in Dad & Mama! I believe in this Family," & you just have to hold on to that as firmly as you possibly can in the midst of spiritual & emotional battles & turmoil--if you hold on, the Lord will deliver you!
       Remember, the Lord called us to His Army to "fight the good fight of faith" (1Tim.6:12). Many times in recent prophecies, the Lord has given the illustration of us being knights in armour; & in the past when knights fought with lances*, swords & battleaxes**, it was virtually impossible for them to fight those battles without getting wounded. They got cut & bashed & slashed, but they had to keep fighting. And even if a stab from the enemy seemed fatal, by fighting on, the knight would often not only defeat his enemy, but usually lived to tell about it. Likewise we have to keep fighting, even if we're wounded! We can't just lie down after a few stabs from the Enemy & say, "Stop! I surrender! Don't kill me!" Because the Enemy's goal is to kill us spiritually, so we must fight on! We cannot quit, & "there's no discharge in this war!" (Ecc.8:8) (*Lance: a long wooden spear with a sharp iron or wooden head. **Battleaxe: an axe with a broad blade.)
       Another illustration is that of being on a ship in a storm. A hurricane can come out of nowhere, & if you're steering the ship or on board the ship as part of the crew, all you can possibly do at that time is just try to steer the ship the best you can, but meanwhile, you're going to get totally buffeted & tossed around. There's really not much you can do except pray, hang on, do your best to not get swept overboard, & trust the Lord that He's going to bring you through. Eventually the storm will pass. (See Psalm 107:23-30; Psalm 42:7-11.)
       Although experiencing these intense storms or battles of the Spirit is not something that we naturally desire, the Lord knows that it's necessary to make us into the kind of fighters He needs in His Endtime Army. One leader recently testified: "The victory that came out of this intense spiritual battle with doubts is that I got inoculated against the lies that the Devil used to try to defeat me. Although at first it seemed that I was being weakened, now I've overcome & can testify that I feel much stronger as a result of this experience. Things that may have bothered me a year ago now just quickly pass over me like water off a duck's back, & I've realised that this was all part of a necessary process the Lord had to put me through. I've gained faith & trust that tells me that the Lord has pulled me through so far, & He'll do so next time as well! PTL!"
       If we look back on our years of serving the Lord in this Family, we can all probably testify that we've had a lot of fun serving Jesus. Many of us have lived in diverse cultures & countries around the World, the Lord has marvellously provided for us, & the joys, insights & accomplishments that we've partaken of far outweigh any sacrifice we've ever had to make. In some ways, compared to the rest of the Christians of all ages, we've probably been spoiled, as the Lord has given us so much so easily, relatively speaking.

Excerpts from "Endure Hardness as a Good Soldier!"
       As Mama recently said in "Endure Hardness as a Good Soldier!" (ML#2786, GN 515): "We can just be very thankful to the Lord that we have not had to endure the many years of suffering & tribulation & sorrow & heartbreak that many other missionaries have experienced. We've had it easy, we've almost lived in luxury, we've lived charmed lives, with ourselves & our little ones protected miraculously so that we could accomplish the special job that the Lord has called us to.
"Most of the things in our lives have been quick & simple. Many Christians who aren't in the Family struggle for years to win just one soul to the Lord, or to get delivered from their afflictions. Some of them are persecuted for years by antagonistic members of their families. Some of them struggle for years under cruel & demonic taskmasters in their System jobs. Many who testify of their faith are ridiculed & criticised & rejected by friends & colleagues. Stuck in the rut of the System, they have to learn to endure; & victories often do not come quickly, they're often alone & without the support of others, with little inspiration & few victories to keep them inspired & to keep them fighting.
       "On the other hand, it seems like we can accomplish anything we want to.--There is nothing too difficult! There is no limit! If we decide the Lord wants us to do something, we're usually able to do it! We may have a lot of battles & a lot of problems, but in spite of them we get a lot of things done quickly! Things come a lot more easily to us in many ways than they do to the rest of the World because of our faith, & because the Lord has blessed us with many victories & quick results, since He knows there is so much to do & so few of us to do it.
       "However, as we now come closer to the End & begin a new phase in the war, one that will be of much greater intensity & vehemence & ferocity, with all the forces of Hell throwing everything they have into their efforts to defeat us, we are going to have to learn more patience. We are going to have to learn how to endure! We are going to have to get used to fighting more long-term battles. We are going to have to learn what it means to really hold on, not just for one day or one week or one month, but perhaps for many months at a time. We are going to have to learn to truly cling to God's Word & `endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ!' (2Tim.2:3).
       "We are going to be involved in long drawn-out court battles, longer & more intense fights for housing, & more protracted battles with afflictions & illnesses. We'll be beset by more vicious longstanding personal trials & testings, & we'll have to fight longer & harder for our children's progress in their weak areas. The Devil won't give up so easily, as he knows his time is short.--And because we have come out full force against him, he is going to respond in like manner.
       "Comparatively speaking, most of us have not had to learn such heavy lessons of patience & endurance. We have learned many other lessons, but now may be the time that the Lord wants us to work on these new ones. `For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the Will of God, ye might receive the promise. In your patience possess ye your souls' (Heb.10:36; Luke 21:19).
       "{\ul The Lord tells us, `Blessed is the man that endureth temptation}' (Jam.1:12). `Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, & have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, & of tender mercy' (Jam.5:11). `So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience & faith in all your persecutions & tribulations that ye endure' (2Thes.1:4). `But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry' (2Tim.4:5). `We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; & patience, experience; & experience, hope' (Rom.5:3,4).
       "In our personal battles & trials in the past, if we didn't bounce back full force & come out from under our clouds of discouragement, depression & heaviness within a few hours, or at the most, a day or two, we'd be worried that we were never going to. If we couldn't feel inspired or loved or anointed for a few days or a few weeks, we'd worry that something was dreadfully wrong & we became almost persuaded to give up the fight.
       "For the future, you may have to make up your mind that you may have extended periods of not feeling much at all, times when, if you in fact feel anything, you may be feeling pretty rotten!--When you'll not be able to go on your feelings at all, but will have to cling to the Fact of His Word, that God still loves you & God still cares, & is expecting you to go on for Him, no matter what you feel like, & no matter how long you feel or don't feel like it! You're going to have to learn to keep going even if you feel like a zombie or a robot just going through the motions, just doing what you're supposed to do because God says to do it! You may have to keep going even when absolutely everything seems to have turned against you, just believing that Truth will triumph in the end, & Jesus will be victorious!" (ML#2786:26,11-20)

Hold On!--By Faith!
       So if we have to battle some of these personal trials more & "hang in there by faith" more, maybe the Lord is allowing us to experience what many other Christians have had to experience throughout the ages. A lot of Christian service is just remaining faithful to the Lord, by faith, in spite of trials, battles or afflictions. Our hanging in there by faith seems to be a great thing to the Lord. He says, "Without faith, it is impossible to please Him" (Heb.11:6). So when we carry on purely by faith during times of testing, this must be very pleasing to the Lord! Look at Dad & Mama & all that they've had to go through & how they've hung on in times of personal affliction. GBT! They know that we & the Lord are depending on them, & they've stayed faithful & have borne tremendous fruit!
       A good verse to cling to in times of trial is: "Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown" (Rev.3:11). Although many times we may be tempted to "throw in the towel" & throw in our crown as well, deep in our hearts we need to be resolved to hold on! When praying for a Family Member who was really going through it, someone had a vision of that person holding on to their crown so desperately & so tightly that the sharp points of the crown were digging into their hand & piercing it, to the point that blood was running down their hand & arm!--Sometimes that's the degree of holding on that the Lord requires.
       Another illustration of what it means to hold on is this: Imagine yourself on the back of a galloping steed. Even if you aren't an experienced rider & are nearly scared to death, the best thing you can possibly do is to just hold on to the reins of that horse with all the strength that's within you, until the horse stops. "Hold that fast which thou hast" (Rev.3:11).
       Even Jesus' early disciples had to battle personal afflictions, trials & tests, but because they stuck it out to the end, they're truly outstanding members of God's Hall of Fame--a crown which is reserved for you too, if you'll only be faithful unto the End! Remember when Jesus gave His "flesh & blood" talk? The Bible says, "Many therefore of His disciples when they heard this said, `This is an hard saying, who can hear it?'" (Jn.6:60). So obviously the Lord's disciples had a rough time with some of the things He said. In fact, it says of some of the early followers, "From that time, many of His disciples went back & walked no more with Him" (Jn.6:66). So obviously the Lord had backsliders too. But then He turned to His twelve & asked them, "Will ye also go away?" (Jn.6:67). Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou alone hast the Words of Eternal Life!" (Jn.6:68). In other words, he was saying, "We know this is the Truth, so we're going to stick no matter what!"
       So remember, the only way the Devil can win is if you quit!--So don't quit, no matter what! Here's a beautiful promise that was given to the Church of Philadelphia in Revelation 3: "Behold, I have set before thee an open door & no man can shut it. For thou hast a little strength, & hast kept My Word & hast not denied My Name. Because thou hast kept the Word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the World, to try them that dwell upon the Earth. Behold, I come quickly, hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, & he shall go no more out: And I will write upon him the Name of My God & the name of the city of My God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of Heaven from My God: And I will write upon him My new name" (Rev.3:8,10-12). PTL!

Words of Encouragement from Mama
       Recently, one of the Folks' staff went through a very rough period, being afflicted with a bombardment of terrible doubts, which went on for months on end. Each victory was followed by another series of attacks. This staff member asked for united prayer a number of times during this period, & was very patiently & lovingly "heard out" & prayed with, as well as shown a great deal of understanding & tolerance, while continuing on in their ministry for the Lord. Of course, it should be pointed out that this staff member was not spilling doubts all over to everyone else, but rather only communicating these to leadership for the purpose of seeking counsel & prayer. These waves of doubts were judged quite out of character for this individual, especially when compared to the attitude that had been displayed the majority of the time this person has been in the Family. Therefore, the distinction was made early on that this was definitely an outside attack from the Enemy!
       Thank the Lord, these trials did finally cease. Following is a beautiful note which Mama then wrote to this staff member:
       "Perhaps now you can see some of the reasons why you had to go through such heavy battles--so you can comfort others with the comfort wherewith you have been comforted, & let them know that if they hang on, they will always survive. Jesus is always there & He's not going away. It's only if you let go that you'll be in trouble, but as long as you cling to Him, He doesn't move & He doesn't leave. He's our Rock, & we won't drift away as long as we're anchored to Him. Others need to hear such experiences so they can be encouraged that if they'll just hang on, He'll pull them through.
"Just hang on, in spite of what the Devil says, in spite of the very worst he can say, in spite of how condemned you feel, in spite of how discouraged you feel, in spite of how horrible he makes you feel, in spite of how mentally & emotionally confused you feel. No matter how tired or weary or sick you feel, just hang on, even if it takes months, just stay put. Even when you might feel too weak or weary to fight any more, just believe that someday this too will pass.--Even if you have to be carried along by someone else's faith & trust them that they're telling you the truth--that you will survive if you'll just hang on & stay in the place where God has put you & wait for Him to pull you through.
       "The Enemy can almost make you lose your mind sometimes!--But he can never make you lose Jesus! And when the storm is over, Jesus will heal, soothe, restore & repair. TYJ! `But the God of all grace, Who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you' & `He that shall endure to the End, the same shall be saved' (1Pet.5:10; Mat.24:13). What does endure mean? It means to outlast, to hold on, to stick with it & not give up. Like Dad has said so many times, `The Devil can't win--unless you give in!' It may look like he's winning, it may look like he's won, but it's not the end of the race yet, & if you'll just hang in there, a seeming defeat will turn into victory, & the glorious victory will be yours. Then you will have overcome the Devil & you will be more than a conqueror!" PTL!
       We certainly pray that you don't experience trials with doubts of this magnitude! However, if the Lord does see fit to test & strengthen you in this way, "think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy!" (1Pet.4:12,13).

       What to do (or not do) if the Enemy hits you with his doubts.
--Recognise that this is a deadly device of the Enemy.
       --Watch out about thoughts that contradict what you strongly believe in your heart.
       --Discern your thoughts--remembering that "God is not the author of confusion!" (1Cor.14:33).
       --Use your knowledge of the Word to determine if the Lord or the Enemy is inspiring your thoughts.
       --Share what you're going through with a person who is spiritually strong, such as your Shepherd or teacher, your mom or dad, etc. (See Jam.5:16.)
       --Ask for prayer.
       --Don't listen to the Enemy when he tells you, "Don't tell anyone!"
       --Don't listen to the Enemy when he says, "If you confess these doubts, you'll never be trusted again!"
       --Don't spread the Enemy's propaganda by talking to the wrong people.
       --Read the Word, even if it doesn't feel like it's doing any good.
       --Hold on!
       --Don't just "slip out quietly" & leave the Family!
       --Don't listen to the Enemy when he tries to tell you how disloyal & weak you are.
       --Don't make any hasty decisions on your own or get tricked by the Enemy into thinking, "I'm so weak, I'm never going to make it in the Endtime anyway, I might as well leave, or become a TRF Supporter."
       --Realise that the goal of the Devil is to get you to leave the Family & God's service.
       --Resist the condemnation you may feel about having doubts.
       --Cling to the Lord, & the absolutes & the fundamental beliefs that you know in your heart to be true.
       --Keep fighting, even if you're wounded.
       --Don't go by your feelings, cling to the fact of the Word!
       --Don't quit, no matter what!
       --Hang on!--No matter how bad, condemned, discouraged, horrible, tired or weary you feel! Stay in the place where God has put you & wait for Him to pull you through.
       --Remember Mama's words of encouragement: "Jesus is always there & He's not going away. He's our Rock, & we won't drift away as long as we're anchored to Him. And when the storm is over, Jesus will heal, soothe, restore & repair. A seeming defeat will turn into a victory, & the glorious victory will be yours. Then you will have overcome the Devil & you will be more than a conqueror!" PTL!

       How to help people through battles with doubts.
--Be understanding, prayerful, Spirit-led, & wisely discern between those who are suffering outside attacks of the Enemy & long-term problem cases.
--Don't overreact or give "out-you-go" ultimatums when brethren who are normally loyal & sweet confess that they're battling doubts.
       If you are experiencing any big battles with doubts or if you have any questions that you'd like to discuss with your Shepherds, please write about it on your next OHR or ask to speak with your Shepherds. God bless you! We love you!

       [EDITED: "end"]

Copyright 1996 The Family