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Seeking His Treasures

Copyright August 1995, The Family, Zurich, Switzerland

       Changes in Devotions, Word and Prayer Time       1
       Excerpts from the Love Charter       2
       Photocopying DO Lit Now Possible!       3
       Mama on Connecting with the Lord       4
       Tips for Inspiring Devotions!       4
       Make Devotions Come Alive!       7
       YA Devotions!--We Wouldn't Miss It!       12
       Prayer Ideas!--For All Ages!       15
       Activated by the Word!       17
       Reading Full MLs!       18
       Devotions: Consider Your Options       19
       Word Time Poem       20
       God's Love Through His Word!       21

Dear Family,
       God bless you! We love you! As the Lord continues to pour out the new wine, and with so many changes taking place as a result of the Love Charter, our Word and prayer time--together and individually--are more important than ever.
       Hasn't it been wonderful to see all the promises the Lord has given us in recent prophecies? They make us want to greet this "new day" with all our hearts, to have the "new anointing" the Lord has promised, to enter the new promised land of the Spirit.--And we're seeing more than ever how we can't do this in our own strength, our own wisdom, or by following past experience. Rather it's a matter of paying close heed to all that the Lord is saying now, as well as not forgetting all He's taught us in the past.
       We need the Word more than ever, to be up to date on all the Lord's latest, and to have His instructions and wisdom for all the decisions and new situations we're faced with. In a recent prophecy session, Dad gave the following message: "You don't get those answers in the midst of the muddle, folks, but when you pull back and spend time together fellowshipping and loving the Lord, singing unto Him and praising Him and seeking Him. Folks, that's where the strength lies. That's where the power is. Don't forget it, because you just can't do it any other way" ("Let Jesus Bear the Weight," ML #2987:191, GN 629).
       Whether it's through united meetings, devotions, prayer and prophecy sessions, or in our personal Word and prayer time, we desperately need that contact and connection with the Lord!

Changes in Devotions, Word and Prayer Time
       In many of our Family Homes, it has been the custom to have an hour-long devotions each morning, and for many, this was their main feeding from the Word for the day. In some Homes, the JETTs and teens have been included in this daily morning meeting, so that they could have an hour of Word at the same time.       While some Homes have enjoyed this time together, and adults and young people alike benefited, for others, morning devotions has become a bit of a boring routine, and some of our young people even began to feel that the Word was dry and dull. This is not only a terrible shame, when the Word can be one of the most enjoyable and pleasurable parts of our life for the Lord, but it is a critical life-and-death problem if people are not receiving the life and spirit the Word gives. (See John 6:63.)
       Therefore, with this FSM we'd like to present some ideas and options which we pray will be helpful to you. Some of the following articles are about devotions, while others are about prayer times together. You'll also find points about your JETTs' and teens' Word classes, and personal Word and prayer time.
       The Love Charter has ushered in a number of changes which should encourage more flexibility, so you will feel free to adapt your Home's approach to Word and prayer time to your specific needs. For your reference, we are including excerpts from the Charter which refer to devotions and Word time. (See page 2 and page 11.) You will note that it is not mandatory that all members gather together every morning for one hour. It is also not required that each new GN be read unitedly. It is very important, however, that both united Word and prayer time and personal Word and prayer time are given the emphasis they require.


(The following is in a one-page box:)
Excerpts from the Love Charter on Devotions and Word Time


The DO Home:

       [EDITED: "13."] A. Provides for the spiritual, physical and material necessities of all of its members to the best of its ability by:
       [EDITED: "13.A."] 1. Allotting sufficient time on a regular basis (not less than four times per week), during which the greatest possible number of voting Home members can assemble, for united prayer and reading of God's Word and other World Service publications. "Sufficient time" is determined by a two-thirds majority.

       [EDITED: "13.A.1."] a) The assembly may be subdivided into groups.
       Our Homes must faithfully allot time for united reading, prayer and praise. Each Home should organise its schedule so the adults and teens can gather together and have a feeding meeting, based around prayer and reading the Word together. Time and length of these devotional meetings may be determined by the Home, but must occur at least four times per week. These meetings might be morning devotions, vespers, or evening united reading times in which new MLs are read. The time of day and the length of the period you are together is decided by a two-thirds majority.
       The Home may decide that it's better for different age groups to have all or some of their united Word time together. For example, if there are a number of teens in the Home, it may be decided that the teens should have a separate devotional time geared toward their needs. There may be times when devotional meetings might include almost everyone in the Home; others might just be for voting members. It is up to the Home and the Teamwork to decide on these matters. It is not mandatory that all new WS publications, including GNs, be read unitedly unless stated on the publication. The Teamworkers may decide that it would be beneficial for a new pub to be read unitedly, and in such a case the united reading should occur within three or four days of receipt of the mailing.
       Four times per week is not the recommended amount, it's only the minimum amount. If your Home gathers together less than this, you are violating the Charter and your Home is in jeopardy of being put on Probationary Notice.
       I believe the church of God needs a session together of assembly and fellowship and inspiration and studying God's Word and praising the Lord! So by all means please get together for a little fellowship and inspiration and prayer and a little feeding on the Word together--united devotions! Just keep everyone together, and before you let them go, read a MO Letter or Bible or Word of some kind.--If there's a new MO Letter out, you can read that. As Paul said, "Neglect not the assembling of yourselves together." We need to get our hearts together and our minds together and our spirits together and our bodies together--we need to get together! (ML #1384:10-12.)

       [EDITED: "13.A."] 2. Allotting private reading time, on a regular basis (preferably daily, but not less than four hours per week), for members to read God's Word and other WS publications.
       Beside the need for the Home's members to gather together for united reading, every member also needs personal Word time. The Home must allot time for its members to have this private reading time. Of course, it is up to the individual to use this Word time wisely. The four hours per week of personal Word time is not the recommended amount, it is the minimum.
       And this reminds me that you, my dear children, have an appointment with me every day, and you'd better not miss it, or you're going to be sorry! (ML #155:30.)
       In order to be able to teach His Word to others, we read and study it ourselves daily.... So in order to have the strength and stamina to do our important job, we have to spend time getting filled with His Word. As the old saying goes, "In order to do the Master's work, you need to have the Master's power, and to get it you must spend time with the Master (Jesus)" (Maria #76:13).

(End of box.)


Photocopying DO Lit Now Possible!
       Over the months WS has received requests for more copies of the new mailings, so that when pubs are read unitedly, more people can follow along and mark their own copies. Additional copies would also allow more private reading and study of the Word, according to individual need, burden, and leading. (Please pray that the Lord supplies more funds so that WS could be in position to print more copies of pubs for each Home.)
       In the meantime, one change brought about by the Charter is that DO Homes are now allowed to photocopy DO lit for their own eligible members, as needed. This also applies to new GNs.
However, please note that while you may now photocopy DO pubs for those in your own DO Home--provided they are eligible to receive these pubs--it is not permissible to photocopy them for outsiders; members of non-DO Homes; or members of DO Homes who are Babes (new disciples under six months), on Probationary Notice, or ineligible to be receiving those pubs for any other reason. Please only copy DO lit for Family members whom you know to be eligible to receive them. (See the Love Charter, "Fundamental Family Rules," points 2.F., and 2.F.1., page 119; point 19, page 161.)
       If you photocopy outside your Home, please remember that any copies left in a public place, either originals or even "spoiled" copies, could cause problems for yourselves, as well as the greater Family. In the Home Life Rules of the Charter, it states: "Members must endeavor to protect the safety and security of their Home and of other Homes" (Point D, page 131).--And we trust that you will do everything possible to uphold this rule. Please be prayerful and careful; along with the freedom to photocopy DO lit comes the responsibility of ensuring that security precautions are taken to prevent mishaps.
       Having more copies of our pubs could considerably affect your devotions and personal Word time. In the past, united readings were needed to ensure that everyone had an opportunity to drink in the new wine. However, now that more copies may be made available, Home members may have more opportunity for individual study. With this new option, your Home will need to decide whether devotions or group meetings is the best time to read new mailings. For some, individual reading or reading in pairs is a much more feeding method of study; they find that they can think about, mark, pray over, and absorb the Word better when reading at their own pace. Others prefer reading and studying in groups, such as in teens' and JETTs' Word classes, where there can be discussion and application of the Word.
       Whatever you choose is up to your Home, so please pray and counsel together about how to organize your private and united Word and prayer time. We pray that these changes will provide you with more Heavenly hours of communion with the Lord in His Word, either together or individually, or both!

Mama on the Importance of Connecting with the Lord
       After going over the articles we had gathered on devotions for this FSM, Mama shared the following in relation to our desperate need for the Word:
       "I believe we need to emphasize the benefits and results of good devotions and feeding Word time, whether united or individually. In `How to Have a Happy Home' (ML #2956), the Lord emphasizes over and over that our Word time is crucial. In other words, our communication with the Lord through the Word and of course our obedience to it are the things that are going to make the difference as to whether we are fruitful and happy or we're unfruitful and unhappy. This is what Dad taught us; it's all through the Letters.
       "Even in many of the prophecies received lately, the direction from the Lord has been that we are going to have to take time with Him in prayer and the Word, or we are not going to make it as a Family or individually. And of course devotions, prayer and personal Word time--all these give us that communication that the Lord is saying is so vital. So even though decisions have to be made as to the practical aspects of when to do it and how to do it, our Family members have got to do it. They've got to really get ahold of the Lord in a living, vibrant way, so that they really connect with the Lord, they seek Him and He speaks to them.--If they don't do this, nothing else is going to work.
       "It's very important to realize that devotions, united Word time, and personal Word time are not simply parts of the schedule or daily activities that we want to be inspiring just so people can enjoy them, but these are very very pivotal points upon which rests the success of the Home. Their times of seeking the Lord through His Word and prayer, either in united meetings or private devotions with Him, are of inestimable value.
       "{\ul We're not just talking about a little `devotions.' We're talking about their lifeblood--hearing from the Lord in the Word and prayer}--what is going to keep them alive and growing and moving. I have an idea that the Homes that are most enthusiastic about their united times in the Word and prayer together, as well as their personal times with the Lord in the Word and prayer, are the most fruitful, happy, fulfilled and challenged Homes in the Family."
       Lord help us all to be sure to make that vital connection with the Lord each day, so that we can be fruitful and happy in our work for Him! There's lots of room for innovation, variety, and new ideas; it's a new day! So let's ask the Lord for the needed inspiration and wisdom for how to use devotions, Word time and prayer time to the max--to get renewed, rejuvenated, revitalized, and refilled with the Heavenly vision each day.

Tips for Inspiring Devotions!
Compiled by North American Shepherds (with Contributions from South America)
       It is vitally important that you get adequately fed from your meeting time with Jesus and His Word each day, but we've noticed that many Homes are in need of learning how to make these times inspiring and feeding. In some cases devotions has unfortunately developed into a routine or a ritual, lacking inspiration and enthusiasm. Lord help us! So we'd like to share some tips and quotes with you to encourage you to make this a very special time of connecting with the Lord and receiving fresh input from Him through the Word and prayer. God bless you!
       "Get it together with daily devotions!--Amen? Read the Bible, MO Letters, and pray and discuss and so on. Discuss problems and pray for your needs every day! It's a good time for you to fellowship with the Lord and each other and discuss needs, plans, problems, and have prayer! Praise the Lord? Happy Devotions!" (ML #1384:13).

       It makes a big difference when the person responsible for leading devotions plans ahead. It's helpful if possible to prepare the night before for an hour-long devotions, as that gives time to pray and seek the Lord about what to read.
       As far as subject matter, it's good if it's pertinent, something that the Home is going through at the time. Please don't come to devotions and crack a Daily Bread or the Bible and read whatever comes up! Taking time to pray for the Lord's direction will make the devotions much more feeding and the Home will get much more out of it. Of course, if a new mailing has arrived, it would take precedence over other reading.
       "If you are reading these Epistles from me, studying them, sharing them, praying over them, and following the light of their Truth, you will be melted together in His Love, blended together in His Truth, joined together as one body, fitly joined together according to His Word" ("I Gotta Split," DB4, page 75).

       If the Home is going to sing songs, it's also good if the inspirationalist is well prepared and has the songs ready before coming to devotions. Ideally and if possible, have songs that go along with the theme of devotions. (Suggestion from South America: If there is no inspirationalist, Homes could use the tape recorder as their inspirationalist!)
       "You cannot even make a move until you first have found that place of rest and calm and sweet peace in the Lord, and have set down and played your pipe to the Lord ... to begin the day with sweet music--praise and fellowship" ("Morning Prayer," DB4, page 313).

       Have a set time to get together, and encourage everyone to be punctual. If your devotions time is part of your teens' and JETTs' Word time, then you need to make sure that it is inspired, full of life and full of the Spirit! If it is not lively and inspiring, please face the facts and make some other arrangement or scheduling adjustment for the sake of your young people's vitally important growth and training in the Word. ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Please see "Word Time Variations" on page 8, as well as "Devotions: Consider Your Options" on page 19.)
       "Jesus is the Word, He is the Spirit and the Life, and you have to have a dose of Him every day, have a good feeding and feasting and drinking. Just like you have to eat in order to have physical strength, you have to eat and drink of the Word, to have spiritual strength" (ML #1089:18).

Rotate Chairmen!
       We've found it works well to have a rotation of those chairing devotions. Assign different people to lead devotions, but assign in advance. Avoid coming in the morning and telling them it is their devotions day!
       Another tip is for you senior teens and YAs to chair devotions too, using your inspiration and new ideas! It's good shepherding training, as Dad pointed out in "Let'em Do It!" (See DB3, page 273.)
       "If you want to teach people to be leaders, and now we're talking about teaching teenagers to be leaders, the way you're going to have to do it is let them lead. They have to have experience at it. They have to gain confidence in it. They've got to suddenly discover that they can talk, that they can get up and talk in a meeting and lead a meeting and take the responsibility!" ("Let'm Do It!", DB3, pages 277-278).

Make It Exciting!
       Try to make your devotions fast moving, redeeming the time, without spaces where time is wasted with people moving around coming in and out of the room, or talking amongst themselves. Allow for audience participation; the readers can make sure that they are inspiring the audience to give their "amens" and "praise the Lords," or to speak up if they have questions. Encourage the audience to get involved!
       (A tip from South America: It's good to give opportunities for people to ask questions if they don't understand a subject.--And it's very helpful to ask yourselves, "How can this Word be applied directly to this situation?" Of course the chairman should not spend too much time explaining; let the Word do the preaching. However, when kept in proper balance we have found that applying the Word to our present local situation helps people to be more inspired and more challenged in devotions.)
       "This is how the Family started!--With lotsa music, excitement and fellowship.--And they loved it! Never a dull moment!--Never be cut and dried and formal or boring or proper--do the unexpected! Don't just read Letters!--Make'm exciting!--Get excited! No dead dry doctrinal Bible or Letter studies for Babes!--You need live wires for teachers!--Dry dead doctrine won't do it!" ("Make It Fun and Exciting!", DB9, page 194-195).
       "Performing doesn't necessarily mean that what you're doing is not true, or that you're just putting on an act. You can be performing and putting on an act of the Truth, but giving it drama and melodrama and force and fire and conviction to really get it across!...You're supposed to turn it on and set'm on fire! Light your fire! Light their fire, and turn on the light and let them see it! `Let your light so shine before men!'" (ML #960:19; ML #1002:71).

       Another tip is to have specific prayer for your reading before starting to read. Always pray for the Lord to give everyone understanding of what they are going to read, and also for the Lord to keep everyone's attention focused.
       When there is a prayer in the Letter being read, such as Dad or Mama praying, whoever is reading can really pray with them and not just read it like anything else, but instead join them in praying, with feeling.--Or if it says that you should pray for something, then immediately stop right there and pray together. This brings the devotions to life.
       For prayer time, use the different prayer ideas Mama shared in "Prayer Jewels" (ML #2623 and #2624). You can read through these Letters together as a Home and decide which ideas to try. Encourage people to come up with new prayer methods for variety! ({\ul \i Note}: Try not to over-explain new prayer ideas so that you lose your crowd and don't have much time left to pray. Keep things rolling!)
       "Bless our families around the world as they learn to see how much more time they can spend in prayer and how much greater blessings will come from it and how we'll benefit from it, how much we'll learn about You and Your Word and Your will and how it works best as we follow You, Jesus, look unto You and keep our eyes on You, because You know the way! Teach our Family to really unite in Thy Spirit as they unite in love and prayer and give more of their time to Thee, looking more to Thee, the Author and Finisher of our faith!" (ML #2757:17,25).

Stir Up the Gifts!
       As you feel led, encourage those attending the devotions to stir up the gifts that are within them.--Speak in tongues, really hear from the Lord and give what the Lord gives!
       "The Lord honors your coming into His presence with praise and thanksgiving. You can put it this way: Praise, Precepts, Prayer. And what could we have for answers?--Products or produce, the response it produces from the Lord, and that includes the Word of the Lord that you get after you pray. The Lord nearly always spoke to us with something!--A Scripture or a good thought or something! We usually got answers right away! Then we'd have another praise session and get out and produce! And the final product would be the end results! Thank You Lord!" ("Have Daily Devotions!", DB1, page 536).

More Solutions and Ideas to Make Devotions Come Alive!
By South American Shepherds (Tips Taken from an Advisory, August 1994)
       "Faith comes by hearing the Word of God" (see Rom.10:17), and below are some tips on having an inspiring and feeding time of united daily devotions--so that we can begin the day full of faith, and ready for all He has in store.

       The strength and fruitfulness of our Homes, our witness, our work, our unity--our everything--is directly related to the quality time we have in the Word. Home members being absent or late to devotions too often sets a bad example for our younger generation, as they see many of the adults not giving the Word due place and importance in our lives. This can be key time with the Lord, getting good spiritual nourishment together to start the day, so let's emphasize punctuality and good attendance to devotions.
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Your united devotions does not have to be long; it can be as long or short as you decide, especially if some people need to go on to other duties. Some have found that a 15- or 20-minute devotions meets their needs for united prayer and praise and Word. If you have a short devotions such as this, you could then have the rest of the needed Word time in separate classes, groups, or privately according to the need and the situation. See the article "Devotions: Consider Your Options," on page 19, and pray and counsel about what's best for your Home.)

A Plan of Study for Devotions
       One way to organize your devotions is to plan ahead what you'd like to study for each different day of the week. For example, Monday could be reading and prayer on childcare, teaching and education. Another day could be on witnessing and the vision for souls and/or media preparation, since we have so many beautiful pubs on this subject. Maybe Saturday could be "other"--and the Home could pow-wow what theme or what pub they would like to study on that particular day. This could include going through sections of books like "Bible in Pictures," a review of favorite Letters, Christian Digests, Power and Protection, etc.--Or even just catching up on the new wine that the Home would like to read together.

A Reading Chart!
       nother idea is to make it clear in your Home each time new pubs come in the mailings, which ones you would like to read unitedly as a Home and which ones people can read in their own private reading. If you like, you can make a chart and call it your "Home Pubs Checklist." Down the left side you list the name of the pubs, and across the top of the chart the Home members' initials or symbols. In the column under their name, they then check off each pub when they've read it.
       This chart serves two purposes. First, it's a checklist so everyone can be sure that they are not missing any of the new wine that comes in. Secondly, it can be used to show which pubs will be read unitedly and which ones privately. This helps so that you don't, for example, spend your W&R reading certain parts of a new mailing, only to come to devotions the next week and be reading the same thing again.
       ne idea is that the titles on the left could be highlighted by the teamwork or those in charge of devotions if they are going to be read unitedly in devotions. That way all the unhighlighted titles from the mailings are for people to read in their private Word time. This also helps to promote private Word time and makes your reading inspiring.
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: This chart sounds like a very good idea! Of course, each Home should still post their NPC mailing slip, but if you choose to use a chart like this, it could help ensure that none of the Lord's counsel is overlooked, and that each important pub is absorbed and digested. You may find a chart helpful for your Home, however you choose to set it up, to help everyone keep track of what is being read unitedly and what they need to read privately.)

Helps for Concentration!
       To help keep people more closely attuned, with their minds focused on what is being read, supply them with copies so they can read along whenever possible. (This is especially helpful for those in Homes where two or three languages are spoken. There may be a united reading in a language other than some members' mother tongue, and so they may wish to follow along with a copy in their native language.) Following along with the written Word helps most of us to be more attentive, and able to ask questions if something needs clarification. Having their own copies to read especially helps our JETTs and teens to concentrate better, as well as contribute and participate more in their Word studies.
       ({\ul \i Note from Mama}: When funds allow and Lord willing, we hope to be able to print and send out more copies of each pub, so more people can follow along and mark their copies.)
       Please try to pick your best readers for group readings, even if they're not part of the Home teamwork. LNF 147, "Tips for Public Reading," explains Mama's concern that the people who read the Letters publicly read them clearly and with conviction, in order to spiritually feed those who are listening. "The most important consideration is that people get fed from the reading, and for that to happen, the material needs to be read well so people can understand it and get the point. You can even have a reading from a very Spirit-filled teamworker who is a poor reader, and the reading will fall flat and people won't get what they need from the Word. So look for good readers, no matter who they are. You could poll your Home to see who everyone is most comfortable with as far as a main reader." For more detailed counsel, please review LNF 147 in its entirety, in GN 492.
       Sometimes private reading for devotions can be better accomplished in reading circles or with partners. For example, sometimes Homes plan private devotions on busy mornings if, for example, there are lots of trips out, and not many people would be present for united devotions. One drawback with this is that "private devotions" can turn into a sleep-in morning! So another solution you could try if you all decide to would be for people to go ahead and come to devotions and the devotions monitors can help them divide into small groups or pair up two by two to go to quiet places to read the Word in little teams.--Or all can read together quietly in a study hall. This way no one misses out on feeding Word time. ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Of course, if lots is happening in your Home, and people seem to be overly tired, maybe they need a little extra rest. If that is the case, why not give everyone an extra sleep-in for an hour or two? It may require some scheduling adjustments, but the Lord will bless our being faithful to take care of each other, and we all do better in every way if we've had enough rest.)

Word Time Variations!
       Some have asked whether it's more fruitful for teen Word studies to be held separately from adult readings. There is no blanket rule for this, but generally having teen Word class separate from adults' Word time can allow for the teens to have the Word more clearly explained, dictionary words looked up, scholastics blended into their Word studies and the Word more closely applied to their particular group.
       Separating the two may also help in the flow and organization of the Home as a whole. For example, the adults, at least a few days of the week, could have their Word time first, while the teens wake up the children and take care of them. The adults could then take the children while the teens have their Word class.
       Having teen Word classes separate from the adults also allows different new and fun alternatives. Why not go outside and have class in the back yard one day? Or pile in the van and go to the woods or the beach and have your Word study out in God's beautiful creation, etc. Try something new and inspiring!

Get Everyone Involved!
       Having plenty of variety and breaking out of ruts will help keep devotions in your Home exciting and people will look forward to coming. Pioneer something new by praying and asking the Lord for new ideas, something different or innovative each day, like sometimes having a skit team do a surprise skit. This is a good way to get across an important message without having to preach at people. But remember, NWOs should be presented in a positive and constructive way. Giving everyone in the Home some way to participate in devotions will help them be more inclined to enter in with their whole heart.
       Maybe your Home could use a Devotions Deacon--someone who plans the devotions schedule, helps plan what is read, etc. Posting a schedule of the week's devotions teams can help those leading devotions to plan prayerfully ahead of time. One of the chief ingredients for innovative Spirit-led devotions is prayerful preparation!
({\ul \i Editor's note}: By giving various ones the responsibility of overseeing devotions, or letting people take turns leading devotions, you may uncover some hidden talent! You may find some real "Word men" or "Word women" among your Home members--folks who have a real talent and gift for sharing the Word and inspiring others with it! Give people a chance to let their light shine! Often all it takes is for one or two or three people to get really excited about the Word and others will catch on.)
       Giving everybody in the Home some way to participate in devotions makes it more fun and helps people look forward to devotions. For example, one JETT and one teen can have the responsibility of being in charge of the inspiration part of devotions. Another team who is not leading devotions could be scheduled to be in charge of different prayer ideas for the day. Another idea is to serve a fun little snack at devotions to "encourage and inspire" people, ha! ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Mama Maria has suggested that some of you JETTs, teens and/or YAs form a subcommittee to come up with ideas for making your Home's devotions more exciting, alive and feeding!)
       Some of the main obstacles to united devotions are the following: people being too tired, not getting enough sleep and thus having a hard time waking up, such as nursing mothers with babies that are up in the night; witnessing, provisioning and business teams having to leave early in the morning and thus missing their united Word time. Those overseeing waking the kids in the morning, or teachers with their groups may also miss devotions. Be sure that those who miss the morning meeting definitely have enough time set aside for the Word at some other time in the day to make up what they missed, as well as to do their normal private reading.


(The following is in a text box:)
Have Fun with the Word!
       "Oh, the Lord's given me such funny things! Nearly all these poems were free and light, like `Spirit Tree' & `Don Quixote,' really childish little things. (See ML #194 & #198.) Even the little kids enjoy them. Do they ever read those little poems any more? If they want to have fun, they should read those poems! Read something light if your appetite isn't for something heavy. The Lord gives you a great wide variety. You don't always have to delve into the deeps. Play around in the shallows! Have fun, like little children wading, being thrilled over every little discovery right on the surface. Play! Have fun! Keep it simple! Don't try to be too deep, or you may drown!" ("It's All So Simple", ML#2848:18,21).
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"Directional" Letters
       When we receive "directional" Letters (that is, Letters that indicate specific measures to take or new directions in our ministries, as opposed to the "devotional" Letters that deal more with our spiritual walk with the Lord), it's very important to take the needed time to pray and discuss together how to apply this new direction to your Home.
       To ensure that your Home is studying and applying the new wine as it comes in, the Home teamwork can prayerfully look over new pubs and decide which are the devotional type and which are directional, and then read and pow-wow them with the rest of your Home accordingly.
       This practice can also be used as needed with CRO or MOM advisories, many LNFs and FUNs--those pubs which contain timely guidance and fine-tuning for the Family or requests and appeals that the whole Home needs to consider and act on! ({\ul \i Editor's note}: You could announce ahead of time what Letters will be discussed so people could reread or skim them, if it's been a while since they were read.)
       "If you faithfully read and study these MO Letters--God's latest news--you'll be well informed and know exactly how to proceed, with His plans made plain by His pleasure!" (ML #161:42).
       You'll want to close your devotions with good heartfelt prayer before starting your day. In some cases, in a well-intentioned attempt to have lots of variety, prayer time can become a little bit too much like a game, with more emphasis on having fun than on connecting in the Spirit. We need to have in-tune, Spirit-led prayer time during devotions.

Tools for Devotional Studies
       Have you discovered the little index in the front of the Good Thots books? This index gives topics with various pubs listed under each one and is a very good way to choose a topic for study in devotions! It's more recent than the Pubdex and is broken down into many more subjects.--A wonderful tool! Select any one of the topics and you'll find Bible stories, MO quotes, as well as related GT categories. At the end there is also an "Other Pubs" section, which leads you to a listing of the MLs on that subject up to about Letter #2300! (See page 13 in Good Thots 1, and page 935 in Good Thots 2 for "How to Use the Index." Also on page 15 of GT1, and page 937 of GT2 there is a helpful article entitled "Bonus: Researching Related Pubs," which is an explanation and guide on how to use the "Other Pub" listing in the Good Thots books.)
       The Daily-Dex is another helpful study tool which lists all of the Letters contained in DBs 1-8, in alphabetical and numerical order, and also has good theme studies. Sometimes the Lord quickens to you a Letter, and if you just glance through the Daily-Dex index, you may very likely find that that ML is in condo form. You can also use the topical index in the Daily-Dex to do a Word study on a theme you'd like to study. By using these tools, you'll discover how easy it is to feed yourself, and most of all, to feed the flock of God.
       Devotions is a very important part of the Home, of course, and it's a shame if it dwindles down to a chore and a bore. It could even be that the Enemy is trying to hinder your fellowship together around the Word, by making it uninspiring so that it doesn't bear fruit in the hearts of every member of the Home. If your devotions is dull, perhaps everyone just needs good prayer for an extra dose of the Holy Spirit--and God's Spirit will help them to be excited about coming together for the Word, prayer and praise! God bless you!

Making the Word the "In Thing"!
From YA G., South America (Full name not sent in.)
       One of the major desperate needs I've seen in some Homes is for more inspiration and enthusiasm. This is manifested in all areas of our Family life, but is especially noticeable when it comes to Word-related activities. This is sad, because it seems it would be self-evident that a lack of Spirit is due to this same lack of a connection with the Word. The Word is not alive in many of our young people's hearts and minds and the result is apathy and lethargy. (Note from South American shepherds: We'll include the adults here too!)
       I feel we need to improve the quality of Word time with our youth and not get into the mere formality of the quantity. If we would just stimulate their hunger and desire for the Word, the time they spend in the Word would automatically increase.
       (Note from South American shepherds: For a pulse check, see how much of your daily conversation is related in some way to the Word! For an inspiring way to infuse more Word into your daily interactions, see how many situations you can find an applicable MO quote or Bible verse for!)

Get a Word Push Going!
From YA P., South America (Full name not sent in.)
       What I feel needs improvement most of all in many Homes is the lack of interest in really learning the Letters, as well as in the Bible and memorization. I've seen what a key it was to increase the teens' interest in the Word when we started to pump them for applications from the Letters or the Bible for the different things we discussed. Doing this helped everyone to see the reasons why we do different things, as there is a Letter and/or Scriptural backing for everything we do. So now, whenever there is a question about a policy, we go to the Letters or the Bible and see why we have the policy, or why we need it. This has really turned everyone on! You should see the teens walking around with their Word books or Bibles, quizzing each other! "In the Bible or the MO Letters there's an answer to practically everything you need to know and every answer on every subject!" (ML #712:9).
       We are provoking one another to Godly jealousy (Heb.10:24; 2Cor.11:2), by creating positive peer pressure to share the Word we've been fed all our lives. The teens are participating more in Word class, as we ask them to give a verse to back up the point made. This gets them involved and helps them learn to "rightly divide the Word of truth" (2Tim.2:15).
       The teens have begun to be more motivated to dig into the Word themselves. If we can get a Word push going in every Home, we will have nipped a lot of problems in the bud, as we will be helping the teens and adults to have a respect for the Word, to learn to feed and see where they need to grow themselves! It will get them really digging for treasures, and they'll see the Word come to life in their own lives. It will also make them excellent witnessers! Thank the Lord! It's so much easier for all of us to take correction when we have that respect for the Word, as then we'll know why we need to walk a straighter path and where the standard is coming from. This also gives the Lord the credit for anything that is done, as it was the Word that spoke and not us. (See 1Cor.2:4,5 and 2Cor.4:5.)
       "You're supposed to enjoy reading the Bible, enjoy reading the MLs, enjoy fellowship together, even enjoy praying together for each other, right?... Don't just sit there in the sun admiring the water or barely dipping your toes along the shallow shore. Dive in! Swim! Revel in the deeps that God has given! Enjoy yourself in the depths of the deep crystal lake of His Word.... We are sent to free them through the Word! `And ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free!' (Jn.8:32). But this only comes through living in the Word, knowing the Word and following the Lord and the Letters" (ML #950:149; ML #365:42; ML #1209:67).
       "Every day should be a new day, a new experience, a new listening to the voice of the Lord! Why just live on yesterday's food? Why not have some fresh inspiration every day?
       "Help us, Lord, not to be so pressured that we put off our time with Thee. Help us, even as we go out this morning to bask in Thy sunshine for a little while and to breathe deeply the refreshment of Thy wonderful clean air, to put Thee first each day, spiritually to bask in Thy sunshine, rest in Thy arms, drink deeply of Thy Word and inhale of Thy Spirit!" (GT, Enthusiasm and Inspiration:28, 27).
       What can you do to inspire better Word time in your Home? We love you! Have a happy fulfilling time with Him in His Word!


(The following was in a text box:)

The Importance of Our Word Time -- An Excerpt from the Love Charter

       DO Family members should:
       [EDITED: "1."] A. Maintain a close connection with God through personal communion with Jesus, personal and united prayer and praise, personal and united reading of His Word (both the Bible and the Letters), Scripture memorisation, and the minimising and resisting of ungodly and unedifying influences in their lives; thus exhibiting the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are: "Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance" (Galatians 5:22,23).
       As DO members, each of us should strive to have a deep relationship with Jesus through the communion of prayer, praise and His Word. As disciples we should pray, both individually and with others, and we should strengthen our spirits by spiritually feasting upon God's Word, privately and unitedly.
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YA Devotions!--We Wouldn't Miss It!
From Ahlai, U.S.
       I don't think I've ever had such an exciting and alive devotions time with the Lord as in the YA-led devotions we've had in our Home lately! I wouldn't miss them for the world! The teens and YAs put so much into the time we have together, and nearly every day devotions includes some activity and/or short game or a very innovative prayer.
       I thought some of their ideas and enthusiasm would be a blessing to others in the important job of planning our daily devotions. It really takes a lot of prayer and energy to keep things alive and moving, and we all usually like all the input we can get! Here are some of their ideas in brief:

Impromptu Skits, Taped Songs, "Guess a Letter," Word Studies, Review
       While we were reading an Endtime class, a few of the YAs came out in sackcloth robes, with ashes on their faces, holding scrolls. Another time we were startled when a song began and three dancers twirled out of the side door.--That really got our attention! When we haven't had an inspirationalist, using taped songs has been just as inspiring as live music. Appropriate music helps get our hearts tuned in to the topic at hand as we listen to the words of the songs.
       We've had Word studies out of the Daily-Dex. Also the YAs play "Guess What Letter?" by reading a quote for us to identify.--That keeps us on our toes! Sometimes, towards the end of devotions we squeeze in review of a memory set. As we've been a bit rusty in reviewing, it's been renewing, as well as a good time to tank up in preparation for answering questions from the media or from our witnessing encounters.

Statement Quizzes and Activity Books
       In preparation for speaking with the media, Statement quizzes are sometimes put in devotions. Also, with the wealth of reading material on court cases, the YAs have kept us praying for our brethren involved in legal battles. Sometimes they have had us visualize Pearl in our minds while having a round of prayer for her. Or we have alphabetical prayer requests (you think of something she and our BI team need that starts with the letter "A", then "B", and so on, such as anointing, boldness, courage, etc.!)
       After 45 minutes of Word, we sometimes play a little spin game (such as the Space City board game in the Activity Book), where you spin the dial and either get a promise, blessing or the Green Door! It's fun for all to see everyone get down on the floor to flick the spinner in one of these games, and it's great for our old bottles! You can see the YAs have been digging into the wonderful Activity Books, and the games and activities have been very unifying, as they bring adults, YAs, and little kids together on the same level.
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: We really enjoy all these exciting lively ideas, don't you? If you do have a game or other interesting activity in your Word class, just be sure that your Word-related activities don't squeeze out the meat of the Word. Have fun, but keep your {\ul \i main Word study} first and foremost!)
       Some of the prayer ideas and special "hits" have been to go around and pray in rhyme, or games involving slips of paper given to each person. I noticed quickly that successful devotions in our Home often seemed to include some surprise piece of paper being handed out, ha!--So I always try to insert that into my devotions somehow!

"Pass It Around" Reading --Or "Preach to Thousands"
       For reading the Word, the teens and YAs will sometimes have us go around and read a paragraph or a column each, or a few people are chosen to read, but what's wonderful is that the adults do not monopolize the reading in any way. One boy had us all stand up when it came our time to read and walk around the room as though we were preaching to thousands.
       These ideas have been very renewing for me! When we have had visitors from another area, they commented, "Boy, those devotions are thrilling! These YAs here really mean business for the Lord!"

Our "Children" Are Truly Leading Us!
       YAs constitute the majority of our Home and make up the entire teamwork here.--And this is by far the most exciting Home I've ever been in! I can't even remember all the new ideas that I've learned from them! It's a very thrilling fulfillment of our children leading us.
       Following are some ideas from the teens' and YAs' "Devotions Log," which other Homes may want to try as well:

       ** Dress up as travelers and read on the topic of pilgrims and strangers!
       ** Play the Space City game or other games from the Activity Book at the end of a devotions!
       ** Read all about Heaven from the BOF, or other Letters or Rev. 22.
       ** Dress up like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza and read about witnessing, crazy faith, etc. People can get up and "preach."
       ** Dress up in sackcloth, ashes, and carry scrolls. Fix the room up with scrolls, etc., and read about the Endtime.
       ** Dress up like hippies and read about the early days of the Family.
       ** As a series, read some Statements and have a "court case" with a prosecuting attorney, defense attorney, and have them call up witnesses to be asked questions about our beliefs.
       ** Listen to Meditation Moments tapes and read along with them.
       ** Praise Devotions: Sing songs the whole time, and every few songs read a DM or a short Letter or quotes on praise and prayer.
       ** Read on a topic you're interested in from the BEST.
       ** Memory and Review Bee. End a devotions with a review game. Learn a chapter all together.

From Regina and Alyssa, U.S.
       (Some of these ideas are taken from past FSMs, but we're listing them as fun reminders.)
       ** Conference prayers! (You share your thoughts or discuss with the Lord a situation, a problem or a decision that needs to be made. Everyone takes a turn expressing his feelings, opinions and thoughts to the Lord.)
       ** Reading prayers! (Reading a prayer from the Letters or Psalms or prayers from the Rhyme Book, MOP, etc.)
       ** Number the prayer requests and roll dice. If the dice show number 4, you would pray for prayer request #4, etc.
       ** Spin a bottle to choose who prays next!
       ** Pray by alphabetical order of names.
       ** Pray by seating arrangements! (Each part of the rooms prays for a different subject, each team choosing a way to pray!)
       ** Pray by sun sign.
       ** A-B-C prayers!
       ** Hot Potato/Musical Hat! With music playing in the background, pass a basket with prayer requests. At the same time pass around the verse box. (We had Mama's Fighting Chorus playing.) When the music stops suddenly, the person with the basket picks a prayer request and prays it, and the person with the verse box picks a verse and claims it for that prayer.
       **Pray for somebody! (Each person prays for the person next to him or her.)
Back-and-forth! (Divide into two groups. Someone from one group says a one sentence prayer and someone from the other group responds with a fitting verse.)
       ** Rhyme prayer! (Pray in a chain, making simple rhymes.)
** Winking prayer! (Pass the prayer to another person by winking at them after you finish your prayer and open your eyes.)
       ** One-word Chain Prayer! (The first person starts with one word, the next person adds the next word, etc., until a full prayer is made.)
** Prayer Bingo! (Everyone gets five or six verses from the Promise Box and then the person leading devotions reads out the prayer requests one by one. Whoever has a verse that directly applies to the prayer requests raises their hand or stands up, and calls out, "I've got one!" The first one who stands up is the one who gets to claim their verse.)
       ** Listen to a tape of Grandpa praying and singing.
       ** Sing a prayer! (Sing songs like: "Evening Prayer," "I Surrender All," "Make Me a Blessing.")
       ** Make up a song that you can insert different prayer requests into: For example, take the song "Amen." Everyone sings "Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen," while we go around and everyone says their prayer request on the other lines. Here's an idea of how it would go, to the tune of "Amen":
       Bless our witnessing! (Amen!)
       Keep our little ones safe! (Amen!)
       And keep us close to You, Lord! (Amen, amen, amen!)
       ** "Let's Talk about Jesus": Here's a prayer that Arrow and I made up for our devotions one day, to be sung to the tune of that song!
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: This is the song that goes: "Let's talk about Jesus, the King of kings is He..." If you don't know the tune to the songs mentioned here, at least you can get an idea of a fun way to pray--in song!)
       Bless the provisioning
       And every outreach team!
       Be with our friends and kings
       And our DF ministry.
       Bless Mama and Peter,
       And keep their health, uh huh!
       Let's keep on praying more and more!

       We pray for the show group team
       And all our safekeeping.
       We thank You for good health;
       And for our spiritual wealth!
       Thank You for the victory
       That persecution brings!
       Let's keep on praying more and more!

       Be with the children,
       And those that work with them.
       Please bless our shepherds too;
       Show them just what to do
       Help it to be sunny;
       Supply some money!
       Let's keep on praying more and more!

       Thank You for our boys,
       And all the little joys
       You give us day to day
       We're blessed in every way!
       Help us to look to You,
       In everything we do.
       Let's keep on praying more and more!

Prayer Ideas!--For All Ages!
Contributed by our Worldwide Family. (Compiled by Family Care)
       Dear Family, God bless you! Following are many varied prayer suggestions which have been sent in by you! Please feel free to try those which you feel would be helpful in your situation. You may have found other ideas for prayer and group meetings which you could send in for everyone to try! God bless you with meaningful and exciting prayer times together.

Prayer Ideas for Meetings
       ** Make a "Thankfulness Box" using a nice box with a verse or quote on the outside. Throughout the month, whenever the Lord does something special and there is a miracle or answer to prayer, write a one- or two-sentence testimony on a slip of paper and put it in the box. Then at your Monthly Prayer Day meeting, pass the box around and have each person read the testimony of one of the special things the Lord did. Then you can all praise the Lord together! (Perhaps the person leading the meeting can read over the slips of paper beforehand to eliminate any repetitions, etc.)
       ** For various prayer requests, reading from Daily Mights can be very inspiring, for example, DMs on healing as you pray for healing requests. Keep the reading between prayer points alive and moving, and maybe just read one paragraph of a Daily Might at a time. (Use the Daily-Dex or the Daily Might Index to look up pages for the specific topics you will have prayer for.)
       ** Two-team Prayer: Divide up the groups into two teams. Someone on team #1 reads the prayer requests out loud and then pauses, then team #2 gives verses at random that they receive for the prayer request. You could put a time limit on the verse-sharing, such as 30 seconds.
       Then someone from team #2 reads a prayer request, pauses and anyone from team #1 can give verses they get at random, during the time allotted. The team leader can tap after 30 seconds (or whatever time limit is decided upon) so that each team knows when to stop giving the verses they receive.
       ** "{\ul \i MOP}" and Pray: Read parts of a MOP section that applies to a specific topic, for example, Maria, Supply, Witnessing, etc. (each person reading one quote), then pray for all the requests under that topic. Or claim a MOP quote in prayer for a specific request. The Bible verses at the end of each section are a good source of promises to claim.
       ** "RPS" Prayer: Read, pray and sing! Before the meeting, write down your prayer requests on little slips of paper, and put them in a bowl. Then as each person's turn comes to pray, they can choose one short pertinent quote or verse from the Memory Book, Key Bible Verses, Promise Boxes or other verse lists. Each person then takes a turn doing "RPS"--first reading their assigned quote or verse, then choosing a prayer request from the bowl and leading a short united prayer for their request (they could pick the type of prayer: for example, tongues, silent prayer, spontaneous prayer, one-word prayer, etc.) Then they choose a song for all to sing together.
       ** Having each person do an "RPS" prayer works well in smaller Homes or in children's groups, although it might take too long in large Homes. Maybe in a large Home this method can be used by small groups or teams instead of by each individual.
       ** Divide the prayer requests into three main categories: "local, national and international." Then three people or three groups pray whatever the Lord puts on their heart about the specific requests in those three categories.
       ** Topical Prayer: Choose a topic to pray for (continents, projects, etc.) and pray spontaneously or conversationally for different aspects of it.
       ** Take turns reading through part of the section on Prayer in the {\ul \i MOP} and then stop when you come to a promise that speaks especially to you and pray for a specific prayer request.
       ** Each person takes a verse from a Promise Box and chooses one of the many ways to pray using the verses. For example, one person chooses a promise, and claims it, and then says a one word prayer, the next person chooses a promise, reads it, and prays in tongues, and so on down the line.
       ** United Personal Prayer: Each person lays hands on the one next to them and prays aloud in turn or silently at the same time for that person's specific request. Or you could pray your prayers all at the same time, but keep your voices to a whisper (especially if you're a large Home.)
       ** Conversational Praise Prayers: Read the answered prayers from the Prayer List or those from your Home and follow the reading with conversational prayer of thanks to the Lord for answering our petitions.
       ** Share local testimonies of answered prayer before praying.
       ** Pray a general prayer for friends and contacts and then have everyone call out specific people to apply the prayer to. You can also claim verses for them, if time permits. Or do it the other way around, naming friends and then praying a general prayer.
       ** Read a prayer request and then listen to the Lord for a while to get something from Him on it. (Be sure to record what the Lord gives!)
       ** World Prayer: Use a world map or globe; and pinpoint specific areas to pray for (spin the globe or use a spinner to choose an area).

Ways to Keep It Lively!
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: While it's exciting to have innovative prayer ideas, it's also good to remember that there's a time and place for everything, and we should use wisdom in how we direct our prayer activities. Some of the ideas in the following section may not be so useful for times when desperate prayer is needed for emergency or life-and-death situations. These ideas may be especially helpful with children, though grown-ups may enjoy them too!)
       ** Foreign Language Prayers: With our Family being so international, see how many languages those in your Home know by praying in different languages!
       ** "Mama" Prayer: The girls take turns dressing up as Mama (use wrap, glasses, dictaphone.--The same costume can be used for each girl) and pray for something you think Mama would be praying for the Family. Pow-wow ideas of what Mama might pray for, for example, for the Lord to supply for our Homes, victorious court cases, health and safety, teens, children's schooling, etc.
       ** Tongues: Choose a prayer request and then all pray together in tongues for the requests, or in large Homes pray in tongues by smaller groups--for example, all the YAs, all the teachers, etc.
       ** At random, each person calls out a topic or person they wish to pray for, and everyone prays aloud for that request, either in tongues, or praising the Lord, while directing their thoughts toward the request.
       ** Pray the Lord's Prayer together, or go around in a circle, each saying a phrase. It can also be prayed in different languages.
       ** Pray, praise, or sing in tongues together, or individually.

General Tips for Prayer Times
       ** Keep a copy (or several copies) of the various pubs about prayer handy for prayer times. You could set up a Prayer Vigil folder with your Prayer Lists and requests and the corresponding pubs such as: "Power Prayers", "Prayer Against Our Vicious Enemies" (ML #2641, GN 451), "A Prayer of Praise to God", "Prayer Against Our Enemies" (ML #2477), "Victory over Affliction" (ML #2483), etc.
       ** When you want to cover a list of prayer requests, have each person pray the request as they read it. This keeps things simpler than first reading all the requests and distributing them, then praying for them afterwards.
       ** Take a little break time in the middle of longer prayer meetings for everyone to have a little time to move around, stretch their legs, go to the toilet, drink some water, etc.
       ** When collecting prayer requests from the Home at times such as Communion, for example, have slips of paper on hand for someone to jot down the requests as they are presented. Pass the request slips around and each in turn draws one and prays for it. Or to save time you could set out paper, pen and a basket or bowl for Home members to jot down their prayer requests before the prayer meeting.

       Prayer Ideas for Devotions
       ** When asking for prayer requests at the end of devotions, have the person who has a specific request other than healing pray for the request without explaining it to everyone first, as they usually have a genuine burden to pray for the request the Lord has laid on their heart.
       ** Save time in devotions prayer time by having the different long-term prayer topics written on separate pieces of paper or index cards which can be kept in a Prayer Box. These topics can be changed and added to as needed. It's time-saving, as you don't have to stop to ask "What do we need to pray for?" and decide who prays for what. Everyone picks one or two cards to pray for. If you have a new long-term topic to add, it simply goes onto a card and into the box.

Ways to Stay in Prayer Throughout the Day
       ** Prayer Board: Put up a board in the kitchen or in some general area of the Home with different prayer requests and update it regularly. Use pictures in a collage form, or just write the requests out. Teachers can take the board of prayer requests to the classrooms for the kids' prayer times (but please bring it back immediately afterwards).
       ** "Zero In" Prayer: Every day write up a different prayer request on the white board, or post it on your Home Bulletin Board, so that everyone knows the prayer request to "zero in on" throughout the day.
       ** Keep a prayer list and promise box in the bathroom, next to the "throne," and pray when there.
       ** Prayer Day Team Prayers: On Monthly Prayer Day give prayer topics to different teams or groups. They can divide the different aspects of that one topic between them. Throughout the month each team can pray for those topics and monitor the progress of that particular point, and at the end of the month testify of the victories in the answered prayers.

Activated by the Word!
From Juan, South America
       I would like to share a testimony in hopes that it may be a help to others. One area in which the young people as well as the adults in some countries of South America have done very well has been in their witnessing and their faithfulness to follow up and win souls for Jesus. However, it seemed that for all the effort put into it, our friends weren't growing as much as we'd hoped, and the fruits were not as great as expected, in view of all the Lord's promises.
       So this led me to pray: "Lord, what is it that we're not doing right? Where are we falling short of the mark? You said to go out and do it and that You would bless. However, we are going out and although we are receiving some blessings, it seems like somehow the blessings are not as much as they should be."
       All of a sudden, the Lord very clearly reminded me of the Letter "Hearts Aflame!" (ML #2703, GN 474). I don't know if this is the case with others, but I haven't read that Letter that often and actually probably hadn't read it in about two years. So I went back to that Letter and the Lord through it seemed to very clearly indicate what part of the problem was--that we were trying so hard in our own strength, but without the real power of the Holy Spirit. This, as this Letter so clearly points out, should be the force behind us in our witnessing, to give us the power the Lord has promised in His Word we would receive when the Holy Spirit takes full control. Also, it seemed to indicate that our younger generation needs some of that "wild fire" once in awhile in their witnessing, to get them moving--more overflowing enthusiasm and inspiration. So we decided we were going to have a "revival in our churches"!
       We have received report after report about some of the devotions in our Homes, where the young people don't feel that inspired or motivated by the devotions, and people have said that the devotions are sort of dead and not on fire. This is totally the opposite of what the Spirit of the Lord through Dad has portrayed, and what the Lord gave him through this Letter.
       So we had a devotions in which we read excerpts on the Holy Spirit, such as "On Fire for God!" from Treasures, and other Word on enthusiasm. We then read "Hearts Aflame!"--which ended with a prayer for the Holy Spirit and for Her anointing. We also sang some beautiful songs together on the subject.
       All of a sudden, a change took place in many ways! Our witnessing became much more fruitful. Finances have begun to pour in (also, of course, in response to Mama's plea in "From Poverty to Plenty!"). In just one week's time we heard of some solid Catacombers making the decision to serve the Lord full time, the JETTs got super inspired, and their JETT shepherds started taking them out witnessing more. The whole Home geared up towards witnessing, people became more loving and affectionate, and the Home responsibilities of schooling and Home care were still taken care of as well.
       It just seemed that the Holy Spirit really transformed everyone. There was a revolution of the Holy Spirit once again, similar to what happened two years ago when the Letter "Hearts Aflame" was first published. Lord help us, with so much to do, I feel sometimes we get so busy with a little here and there that we forget some of the most important things.
       After seeing the effect on this one Home, we took this concept to every single Home that we have visited, and the effects have been wonderful. The teens and JETTs get more on fire and seem much happier. Even the devotions have become more inspired! Now, of course, we need to keep it up and not let the momentum die, but I think that the way to keep it up is to be constantly aware that we need a renewal of the Holy Spirit every so often--to keep that fire going and to keep ourselves full of the Spirit of God, which is what motivates us in everything we do. We do have problems, there are many difficulties, but nevertheless, thank the Lord, step by step we're overcoming and winning, by God's grace!
       "The forces of God cannot be defeated and the plan of God cannot be frustrated! We're bound to win! We can't lose! So praise the Lord! God's going to take care of us and use us like never before!" (ML #1679:34).
Much love, Juan


From a YA:
       Reading the Letter "Hearts Aflame!" was just perfect, and exactly what I needed! I've read it several times since then. One morning we had a far-out Home devotions reading that Letter along with some other "fire starters" that get you burning to not only witness but be filled with the Holy Spirit constantly! It was so much fun, as we even started a little dancing and the Lord's Spirit fell, making it exceptionally inspiring Word time! Praise the Lord!
       I've been so glad lately, as I feel there's more Holy Spirit power and joy of the Lord in our daily lives, in the Home, etc., and especially in our witnessing. Between the witnessing and the Word I feel we're being set on fire more each day in spite of the problems, battles, and all the challenges we face.

Getting Turned On by Reading Full MLs!
From Marianne, Pacific
       One of the YAs commented that they had never actually read the full Letter, "The Meekness Dream." Somebody else said that they have gotten more out of our united reading since we've used more full Letters from the Volumes. Sometimes it's easier to go to the condos of old Letters, but it seems that there's a real need to point people to the "whole counsel of God" by pulling out the full Letters--with all the juicy tidbits and extras that are not included in the DBs.
       We've discussed the need to turn our younger generation on more to the Words of David. Mama's mentioned that in almost all the prophecies the Lord is giving us in every situation, He points us to the Words of David, to the kisses of our father. We see our young people especially go to their Good Thots or the DBs a lot more than pulling out the old Volumes and digging in there to find something to read. The "Power and Protection" and "Power in Persecution" have been a tremendous inspiration, because they provide so many faith-building testimonies, and of course our young people love those. The Christian Digests also have been a big blessing and inspiration, but on the other hand, there's nothing like the full impact of the Words of David!
       One morning we read "Golden Seeds" in our devotions and there it stresses how every word and every sentence is important. There's so much meat and so many tidbits and precious lessons that you can get by reading the full Letter.--And of course when you pick up a Volume, you see so many Letters that you've forgotten about, that the Lord gives you a burden to read.
       So we decided to do a study on the power of the Words of David and all that the Lord has said about them. We also redistributed the Home libraries so that they are now placed throughout the property and not all in one central location. The fact that the Volumes are not as easily accessible might be part of the reason why people do not read the full Letters more. ({\ul \i Editor's note}: If you have extra Volumes in storage, you may want to pull them out to have more copies in your Home! Be sure someone is in charge of keeping the library neat and the Volumes protected, so the precious Word in them is preserved.)
       It seems we have treasures to swim in that need to be rediscovered, and we need to try to encourage our people not to just go for the "easy" food alone, but help them discover how much power there is in the full counsel of God, the way the Lord originally gave it to Dad.


Points to Ponder by WS
Dear Family teens, YAs and adults,
       God bless you! We realize that you are faced with a big responsibility in inspiring your Home each day with devotions. Please remember that while it is very important to get together as a Home, it is not a requirement to have an hour-long devotions each morning.
       If your united readings are dull and uninspiring and people are not being fed by them, you may want to try radical changes in your scheduling! For example, you could have a short united devotions, and then schedule a study hall, where everyone reads whatever they have a burden for, individually but together in the same room. Or you could just have a short devotions, and then schedule various times during the day where people can take copies of the Letters to read privately. You could make sure naptime and/or time in the evening is free for people to have their personal Word time. Or you could have a short united devotions of 15 or 20 minutes, then split up and let the adults have their reading in one meeting, while the JETTs and teens have their Word class in a separate meeting.
       Regarding the needs of our young people, one shepherd commented, "Usually adult devotions are straight reading of the Word, but I'd like to suggest that teens' devotions and/or Word class should be different--with taking time to ask questions to see what they are getting out of the Word, using a dictionary for new words, marking, memorizing together, etc."
       Some Home members find it's easier to absorb the Word in individual reading than in a group, because you can read portions over and over if they are particularly meaningful to you, copy down quotes, pray over certain portions, and generally study the Word!--So they much prefer private reading over group reading. Other times a group reading is important for discussing implementation or application. Sometimes JETTs and teens get more out of the Word if they study it with teachers in their own class separate from the adults. All these are possibilities for you to pray about; what you do depends on your situation and need.

The Effect of Dull Devotions on Young People
       Generally, we'd just like to encourage you to try different options to find what works best for you, as it's so important for each person in the Home to be fed by the Word. In gathering material for this FSM on devotions, we found, unfortunately, that boring and dull devotions is a problem in many Homes. We're sure you agree that this ought not so to be!
       The problem of uninspiring devotions is multiplied if these devotions are used to double as a Word class for our JETTs and teens. On this problem, Mama recently commented, "No wonder some of our kids aren't learning anything from the Word and are bored to death with it, if they have to sit in dull devotions day after day! What a shame!" As you can see, the problem becomes quite serious if it causes our teens and JETTs to have the wrong view of the Word--if it causes them to think that the Word is boring, uninteresting and has nothing to do with their own lives.
       So it's vital that somehow, some way, we are doing all we can to present the Word to our young people in an alive, interesting, and attention-getting way.--Like Dad did with his Bible classes, crawling around on the floor, jumping up and down, or even just discussing it in a relaxed and personal way, such as he did with David and Techi in the "Psalms for Kids" series or others. A teacher doesn't have to do gymnastics or theatrics if that's not his style or if it doesn't communicate the spirit of what is being taught. In his classes Dad just made sure that what he said would relate. It connected; it spoke to those whom he was teaching.
       However you do it, the classes which the teens and JETTs are in have to be alive and interesting. If they are sitting in dull devotions, something needs to be done or changed! Otherwise our kids will grow up thinking the Word is a "drag," which it isn't! It's exciting and alive and life-changing and satisfying. Not just our young people, but each one of us needs to have that input every day--some kind of feeding, some kind of inspiration from the Lord and His Word, either privately, unitedly, or in groups.

Discussion Questions for a Home Council Meeting
       Although we are presenting lots of ideas in this FSM, which we hope are a help to you, the solution to dull devotions probably won't be found simply from reading about lots of ideas. But if your Home is weak in this area, the Lord will give the victory as you attack the problem together. Take it to the Lord, ask Him for solutions, and then ask Him to help you implement what He shows you to do. Make it a united effort! Mama said, "It may be that the whole problem with devotions throughout the Family is that they don't take it seriously enough. It's just become part of the schedule and they don't realize the great value of it and the importance the Lord places upon it."
       Place priority and importance on the Word time that everyone in your Home receives, counsel about it together, and ask the Lord's help! Get together and pump people power and see what everyone thinks or what they suggest or would like to do. If things are not going well, change them! You may need to try radically different approaches until you find what does work, and what your Home likes the best and is fed from the most. Get everyone involved and contributing, and see how the Lord blesses you with exciting times in His Word.
       Then once you start implementing new ideas, everyone--shepherds, teachers, and all--need to keep the quality of your Home's Word time in mind as an important ongoing concern. Coming up with inspiring changes may get you out of your rut, but then those same changes can become another ho-hum routine in time, if you don't ask the Lord to keep you alive and changing and responding to the needs of your Home. Variety is the spice of life! It takes effort to make Word time exciting, but it's worth it!
       As this is an area that's important to work on together, we suggest that you take time in a Home Council meeting (with both the adults and teens) to discuss the following questions:

       1. Are our Home devotions interesting, fruitful and feeding?
       2. If devotions counts as teens' or JETTs' Word class, are our young people being fed and challenged by them?
       3. Are our adults having adequate personal Word time, in addition to devotions or group meetings?
       4. If the answer to one or more of these questions is "no," what changes should we try out in our Home to rectify the situation?
       We will be praying for you as you pray and counsel together about these questions! God bless you with wonderful times with the Lord in His Word and prayer.
       Love, WS


(The following poem is in a box.)
       Cleansing and flowing,
       Refreshing and glowing,
       Renewing, delighting,
       Restoring and brightening!

       Peace to the spirit,
       Love to the heart,
       Abundant in mercies,
       Never to depart!

       Open my eyes, Lord,
       To wonders within!
       Such joyful new vision
       To let Your light in!
       --Connie, WS
       (end of box)

God's Love through His Word!
       As Mama mentioned in the introduction to this mag (see page 4), the Lord has recently been emphasizing the vital importance of our Word and prayer time together. We thought it would be inspiring for you to read the following collection of prophecies and comments on this subject.

From "How to Have a Happy Home," (ML #2956, GN 616, 10/94)
       (Mama:) Personally, I think we are on our last chance in more ways than one, and if we as a Family don't start looking to the Lord and the Word for His answers, He is going to pass us by and go to someone else to do His job. He has pled and He has begged and He has called, and we haven't been listening. Recently He has gotten even more insistent that we must take time with Him. We must stop and search His Word and hear from Him or we are not going to make it; things are getting too difficult. The Enemy's forces are gaining strength, and if we don't avail ourselves of God's great spiritual forces we are going to fail, because we cannot do it in the arm of the flesh.


       (Prophecy:) "Ye have but to lift Me up! Lean not to your own understanding, lean not to the arm of the flesh, but lift Me up. Seek Me every day in prayer, for it is all there before you in My Word. If ye will but abide in that Word and let it abide in you, it will bring forth fruit, and that fruit shall remain, that fruit that ye desire, the fruit of your children that will never leave you, brought up in the nurture and the admonition of My Word. (I had a vision with this prophecy of a Home gathering together in the morning, seeking the Lord's guidance.--Signifying that that is how we can get help in finding the solutions, by seeking His face daily.)


       (Comment from Peter:) The Lord repeated a number of times, "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto Me. Show'm Jesus." How do you show'm Jesus?--You give them the Word. But it's also having the life of the Spirit within your Home. If you seek the Lord every day in prayer through communion with Him and time in His Word, then you'll have real excitement of the Spirit--of hearing from the Lord and being on the move with the Lord in the direction and place that He wants you to go.
The Homes that do seek and follow are exciting--you see miracles! And your kids are excited, too, because you're praying and talking about the Word, and they're seeing answers to prayer.


       (Prophecy:) "As the wind bloweth where it listeth, so is My Spirit. As you so well know, each situation is different, but look to My Spirit and it will guide you into all Truth. In each situation, look to My Spirit. Stop, look and listen. I will give you the specific solution to each situation if you will stop and look and hear from Me. For My Spirit will bless you and lead and guide you and will melt your problems away."
       (Comment from Peter:) This is a major point: You can't apply every word of every Letter to every situation. You can take the principles and guidelines and the Truth from the Word, but each situation is different and you've got to pray. Dad brought this out clearly from the very beginning when he wrote "For God's Sake Follow God!" (ML #4). I would venture to say that many Homes are a little weak in the area of praying over each situation--looking to the Lord for what to do each day, what to do about this sheep or that contact or that child.
We would hope that in smaller Homes it would be easier to follow through on what the Lord shows, and easier to change your plans for His plans at a moment's notice. But small Homes alone will not assure success; it is only through seeking the Lord and being dependent upon Him for His direction that we can be guaranteed the needed victories. The key is that dependence upon the Lord and seeking Him for the answers through the Word, and not expecting others to tell us all the answers. This is where our attitudes are going to have to change. The Lord says He will give them the specific solutions if they will ask Him and look to His Word.


       (Comment from Peter:) The Lord says the task is so big that it is driving us to our knees. He said that He brought this crisis and emergency to force us to realize--and here's the key--"that with what measure you seek Me and look to Me, with the same measure I shall pour forth solutions and finances and all that you need." A measly prayer gets a measly answer. I think right now the responsibility of seeking the Lord is resting on only a few people. But the Lord now wants to spread out that responsibility.


       (Comment from CRO:) It's the cares of this world that choke out the Word. If you have a trial, the solution is to go to the Word and prayer until you find the peace of God. And even if you don't have the rent or you don't have the solution to every problem, you can have a peace in your heart because you have taken time in the Word and prayer. But I know a lot of our people aren't walking in faith right now, they're walking in worry.


       (Prophecy:) "Are ye drinking from the Word? Are ye daily partaking of My Spirit, delving into My Words and drinking and finding Me? Are ye doing this? Are ye living in the Spirit? Cry out to Me and I shall bring these wonderful solutions! Cry out to Me and I shall open the riches of My Spirit, the riches of My Word, and this world I will lay at your feet. Ye have not because ye ask not.
       "Ye have not the direction of My Word that ye need to bring the solutions to these problems because ye seek Me not. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and My righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Seeking Me first means pouring out your heart to Me in prayer and supplication, carrying your little ones to Me in prayer, carrying the needs of this world to Me in prayer.


       (Comment from Peter:) The importance of prayer and supplication is being made quite evident in this prophecy. The Lord is trying to get across to us with a 2x4 that we're supposed to pray. But as someone was saying earlier, we're so busy we can't even stop to pray. We're so busy taking care of kids, getting the Home organized, doing our phone messages, and so on and so forth--all of us! At every level of Family life--everybody's just too busy! And because of that, we postpone prayer and the Word. It's so basic, "Stop, Look and Listen"--the story of Melancthon and Luther--if we have so much to do, we need to spend even more time in prayer.


       (Comment from Peter:) The Lord says, "This Revolution was built in the Spirit!--Not on schedules, not on rules, but the Spirit. Are you burdened to see the joy sparkle in your children's hearts?"--Not just the children, either, but the whole Family, everybody! "Are you burdened to see them carry on the Revolution?--Then you must give them the Spirit!"... And it's not enough just to give them the Word. If they don't see the Word alive in you, and if you're not giving them the Spirit, then the Word will just become dead to the kids.--And not just to the kids, the Lord is speaking to all of us!
       Our kids and adults--our Homes--have got to have the Spirit! They've got to see the Spirit burning in their shepherds' hearts, and the kids have got to see it burning in the adults of the Home. Otherwise, as one child said, "Does God really answer prayer?--We pray, but nothing ever happens!" If you don't have faith and you're not obeying, you're not going to get answers to your prayers. And if you're not, then the kids are going to think, "What are you doing? Why are you praying? What a waste of time!" I wonder how much the Homes involve their kids in their prayers?--Hopefully a lot! The kids have got to see it happen!
       (Mama:) He says it's important that they see you pour out your hearts for them.--Not only that you do it, but that sometimes you do it with them, so they can see and hear you do it and so they can learn to do it themselves, so that when they see the answers, they will know it is because you prayed. He says it is a high and mighty calling for you to daily seek Him in His Word and prayer, and that "ye have not because ye ask not and you seek not."


       (Prophecy:) "You need to spend more time with the Master, to sit at My feet and learn of Me, that I may teach you the doors to go through. For in your own efforts, you shall fail. You shall knock, but it shall not be opened; you shall ask, but you shall not receive if you ask at the wrong doors and knock at the wrong doors. You must spend more time with Me."


       The Lord gave me the quote, "You cannot do the Master's work without the Master's power." I saw a vision of someone in the early morning studying and reading the pubs and getting in the Word. It seems that each person and each Home has so much to do that they really need the time to study and to prepare for the many different responsibilities and burdens ahead of them, and when they do that, things go much smoother.
       (ML #2956:17, 37, 41, 42, 44, 45, 47, 69, 71, 85, 86, 90, 94, 95, 99, 163, 183.)

From "Let Jesus Bear the Weight" (ML #2987, GN 629, 3/95)
       (Prophecy:) "{\ul You say, `How can I do this? How can this be}?' I say that I have given unto you the strength of weakness, and the strength and the power of My Word, and the strength and the power of My voice. If you will spend time with Me, together, and will seek Me diligently about these things and will hear My voice, I will guide and direct you and I will give you the answers that you so desperately need. For you know that the weight of the job is too much for you, and you fear to step under the weight, for it may crush you, and you are right.
       "But I will carry the weight if you will stop and take time with Me, for these are the things that I have been teaching. These are the things that I so clearly said unto you when you were all together: that you must take time with Me, that you must find new strength to do these tasks. And this new strength is in Me, in My Words and in My voice.


       (Prophecy:) "For I work in many ways, and if you will seek Me and cry out to Me, and if you will love Me and praise Me, and if you will grasp all that I am saying, My power and My Spirit will work in even greater and stronger ways than it did for the children of Israel in their Promised Land.


       (Prophecy, Dad speaking:) "Stop thinking that you've got to do everything, and you've got to help every single one and comfort them and nurse them and feed them and figure things out for them. They've got the Word, they've got the Lord. They've got His Spirit. Teach them to pray. Teach them to hear from the Lord. Teach them to have faith. Lead them to the Lord and let them work together and find the way that seems right to them. You know, they do really love the Lord. They might not always do the right thing, but they love Jesus and they are trying to serve Him the best that they can.
"But you don't get those answers in the midst of the muddle, folks, but when you pull back and spend time together fellowshipping and loving the Lord, singing unto Him and praising Him and seeking Him. Folks, that's where the strength lies. That's where the power is. Don't forget it, because you just can't do it any other way."
(ML #2987:38, 39, 138, 185, 191.)

From "I Love You--Just You!" (ML #2985, GN 627, 4/95)
       (Prophecy:) "Listen not unto the Wicked One who would draw you away from Me, for I do love you. Come, abide with Me in My Word and I shall manifest My Love toward you. If ye abide in Me and I abide in you, then shall My Love be manifested, and as ye give out, then shall ye also receive. For if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto Me. Fill your heart with My Love through My Word, and see the miracles that I will do for you and the joys that I have for you, the joys that I would give unto you, the Love unsearchable that I love you with."


       "And how I long to pour My Love upon thee! How I long to draw thee to My bosom! If thou wouldst take this time with Me in prayer, and listen to My voice in thy heart, and through My Word, I would show thee of My great, great Love for thee.--Love which is greater than the ocean, which stretches further than the horizon, which the whole universe with all its stars and galaxies cannot contain, which reaches out of understanding into infinity and eternity. This Love thou wouldst know if thou wouldst draw close to Me."


       "If thou seekest Me with all thy heart, thou wilt find Me, for I would be found of thee, and I would draw thee unto Me. And as thou dost seek Me in the Word, thou wilt find Me, for I will be found of thee."


       "Every time you feel the need and you go to My Word and you find strength and inspiration to go on, this is My Love for you."
       (ML #2985:28,37,40,48.)


(The following is in a box:)
       (Mama:) "We want more of You, Lord, so we'll give {\ul \i You} more of {\ul \i us}. Please help us to know how to do that. We need You! We really really need You! Like You said, we are little children without any wisdom, and the only way we have any is to get it from You. Thank You, Lord, that You have asked us to seek You and come before You with thanksgiving and with praise, seeking to hear what You have for us, seeking for Your Words, for Your treasures" (ML #2987:120).
       (end of box)


Copyright 1996 The Family