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THE DANGERS OF SYSTEM INFLUENCE!       Maria #250       DO 2967       2/94
--By Maria

              1. THIS MAN our folks have been in contact with in the U.S. is someone who seems very readily available, willing to talk and very potential, but I think he needs someone to explain to him that, while we appreciate his efforts and suggestions on how to make us more presentable to the public, we can only go so far with this. We can't stop being radical and controversial, as he has advised.
       2. Dad's Letters, revolutions, radical moves, and willingness to follow the Lord, regardless of what anybody says, have been what has made us the Family. Without all of our "strange" doctrines, we never would have been any different than the churches. Without our radical sex doctrines, nobody would have even been interested in us! If we weren't preaching the Endtime and so militantly exposing the plan of the Antichrist, we would not be getting all this persecution, and therefore would not have been pushed into these battles which have brought us to the forefront and put us in the public eye.
       3. Dad is what has made the Family, and there is more strong meat to come! We are going to continue to move and change and revolute! But there are a lot of people who don't like revolutions. Revolutions are often hard to take, even for those who recognize the value of them.
       4. Even though we have won some wonderful victories, we can't get settled down and think that from now on everything is going to go smoothly. I don't believe the Lord wants us to, nor will He allow us to get too comfortable or approved by the System. Even if the churches or our enemies or society at large would endorse us today, I'm sure He would make the appropriate moves to keep us separated and called out to do His work more efficiently.
       5. I'm a bit concerned about the constant input some of our Family members are getting from this man. From what I've heard of him, I like the man and think he's got great ideas and is in tune in many respects, but until he understands what the Family is really all about and gets sold out on the Family's leadership, he is not going to be in tune enough, and he will be making serious errors in his judgment.--Either that, or he is going to fizzle out or sway our people in the wrong direction, or both.
       6. So if the Family is going to continue frequent contact with this man, they need to pour into him as much as he is pouring into them. I know it's a temptation to let these people talk more to us than we do to them, especially when they seem to have so much worldly experience, brilliant ideas and enthusiastic confidence in how they can help us. But no matter how many interesting things they have to say to us, we've got to remember that what we have to say to them is much more valuable, and they need our input much more than we need theirs. Also, I am even more concerned about our young people who accompany our adult members on their visits listening to this man than I am about the adults listening to him. Because of the inordinate desire of some of our young people for worldly knowledge and sophistication that can seem so appealing, it can be almost spellbinding to them.
       7. Our folks need to tell this man that our main objective is not to get the System to like us, but to give God's message for this day--which is not something that most people are going to like or accept! We should prepare our friends that associating with us is never going to be a very easy road, and if they are afraid of controversy and want to be part of an accepted cause, they are associating with the wrong people! If they don't like to buck the System and fight for unpopular causes, they'd better disassociate themselves from us now.
       8. This dear fellow suggested that we don't talk about our "Law of Love" doctrines because he thinks they get us into trouble. But somebody is going to have to tell him that talking about the "Law of Love" is part of the message that God wants us to give to the world, and we are not going to stop preaching the message just because it gets us in trouble. This man definitely has potential, but I have a feeling that our folks, God bless them, have been doing more listening than they have been talking, and thus are perhaps either getting swayed themselves, or not influencing this man in the right direction enough.
       9. We've got to help this man realize that our first and foremost need is not to be accepted by the System, but it's to give out God's message! No matter how radical the message may be, getting it out is our objective. That's what we're trying to do most of all!--Not trying to get the System to like us. We would, of course, like to at least be tolerated by the System, but the more they accept us, the less sensational we will be, and the less they may listen to us if we aren't stirring up the pot with our controversies any longer. When they begin completely accepting us, that will probably mean that we will be telling them things that they like to hear, which means we would be compromising our calling as God's Endtime prophets and refraining from telling them the things they do not like to hear, which of course we can't do.
       10. This doesn't mean that we are to go out of our way to purposely offend people, because Dad has often told us to be winsome. However, neither can we compromise by not preaching our message and our doctrines just to make or keep friends.
       11. Please remember that "a false balance is abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight" (Pro.11:1). The above counsel is not to tell you who are pursuing fruitful ministries with these types of people to stop ministering to them, but is simply a caution to stay on guard as you do so.--Love, Mama.

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       More on Ministering to Our Friends!
--From Peter Amsterdam
       12. (Peter:) I have the same concerns that you mentioned, Mama, about our people who are constantly dealing with our outside friends, the academics, lawyers and pastors, etc. These folks are all wonderful, well-meaning and helpful friends, who have given us valuable advice and counsel which has been very beneficial. Working with them in regard to our specific court cases and generally in the fight for religious freedom has produced great results. They are real friends, comrades in arms, and we're very thankful for their help and support.
       13. In the course of working with these people there is a lot of verbal exchange. They are experts in their fields, just as we are in ours, and they have strong opinions which they express very well and even forcefully. Some of their opinions we agree with, some we don't, but working with them on a regular basis and constantly hearing their opinions and counsel can't help but affect you in some way. On the one hand, you learn a lot and gain a perspective on certain matters that perhaps you didn't have before, which is good, but you also are subjected to derogatory or critical statements about the Family, our doctrines, the Word or the Worder.
       14. For our Family members who deal with these people, having to get immersed in the world of sociologists, psychologists and lawyers can be draining spiritually. They can't help but take in, absorb and even articulate these people's points of view, even when they're just writing a report on what happened in a meeting with them. All of that rational, logical and often carnal-minded type of input ultimately affects you and can weaken your convictions or at least be draining.
       15. Because so few Family members are in a position to deal with these kinds of people, the same ones end up working with them all the time--and it can ultimately have a negative effect on them. I've felt the effect on myself when I've had to do the same thing. When you're with these people, you're not only pouring out to them, but they're pouring out to you. It's like the parallel Dad gave in "Dirty Dishes" (ML #566), about how you get a little "dirty" saving the lost. In this case, you get a little "dirty" in order to benefit from the good they have to offer, and to be able to give them the message. You're bound to get affected and absorb some of their attitudes, and it can be unhealthy.
       16. Of course, the antidote is lots of Word, as well as witnessing, Family fellowship, and good counsel and communication with teamworkers and shepherds. Unfortunately, however, our Family members who are working in these ministries haven't been getting so much of that because there are so many of these people to minister to and there's so much going on and there are so few media spokespeople who are well-trained and available to work with lawyers, academics, etc. It's wartime and these Family members are on the front lines, and we have felt that we just couldn't pull them off, and they have been working and pouring out almost nonstop. Due to the press of their urgent responsibilities and the tight deadlines they must meet in their work, they usually feel it is impossible for them to take time to rest and get quality Word time.
       17. In most cases there needs to be some spiritual "cleanup" done, either on the run or afterwards, but I don't know when "afterwards" is going to be, if ever. There are many of these outsiders who are very interested in us and are trying to both help us and gather as much information about us as they can. They're trying to write their books and do all they can to help us, and they are being very helpful, God bless them. We need their help.--But there is a price to pay, especially if those who minister to them don't take regular time in the Word.
       18. (Note: Since writing this, I have become even more convinced that those Family members who have frequent and intense contact with outsiders {\ul \i must} take time in the Word to recoup their strength and keep their connection with the Lord strong. Our media spokespeople and front-line court case fighters can be greatly weakened spiritually if they do not take serious consistent measures to cleanse themselves from the negative input they are subjected to, especially if they are constantly being "witnessed to" by people who are very skeptical or extremely critical or downright evil.
       19. (Taking time in the Word is not the only thing needed to keep these dear brethren refreshed and strong and in tune with the Lord. They also need to work in {\ul \i teamwork}, so they have a partner who is not only {\ul \i capable} but also {\ul \i fully informed} of the situation and able to take over their duties when the other person takes time off. They also need to resist feeling self-confident, independent and indispensable, and one way to do this is for them to seek out and remain open to the fellowship, guidance and correction of their shepherds and co-workers.
       20. (I realize that there {\ul \i is} a price to pay when ministering to outsiders and fighting these extremely taxing, long-term battles in court. We expect to get somewhat "dirty" in the process. But if we don't fully realize the dangers of it and if we don't take good care of our media spokespeople and guard their spiritual condition with great diligence, then the price will be too great, as we may lose some of them altogether!)
       21. I am also concerned, as you are, about having our young people spending a lot of time listening to these people. I know that YAs need to go out on some of these missions, and it's good that they do--we need young people who can minister like that, and they need the training--but like our adults, they definitely need quite a bit of Word and strengthening afterwards, and I think that needs to be taken into account. We can't let it slide with the adults, even though they've been in the witnessing business a long time and have had a lot of contact with outsiders over the years; so how much more so do our young people, who haven't had nearly as much contact with the System and are not as experienced, need faithful care and guidance and shepherding so that they won't be adversely affected by constant input from these friends.
       22. Another thing to watch out for is the inferior feeling one can get when working with some of these people. Most of them are very well educated, with Ph.Ds and other respected titles. It's easy to be put on the defensive and to start thinking that your education in the Family is deficient, and that you must, of course, be intellectually inferior. For the YAs especially, the argument that they should leave the Family to pursue formal System education can seem very convincing, as that would enable them to eventually help the Family with their expertise. Again, the antidote is the Word.
       23. We need to remember that the Lord has called us out, to be separate, to follow Him, to be His bride, to fulfill the mission He has for us in the Endtime. Although these friends greatly help us, we must remember the Lord has given us treasures of His Word that we need to share with them. What we have is priceless--the Lord, the Word, the Family and our lifestyle--and no matter how educated or intelligent these friends are, we have greater riches and wisdom through the Word.

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       Let's Give Our Friends a Good Foundation!
       24. ({\ul \i Later, from Mama:)} If our folks get on the right track and go on the attack, I think they can do much more toward winning this man than they have been. From recent reports we've heard, it seems like they finally got the point and got down to business with him. It was almost as though they had read what I had said--that they need to spend more time talking to him than letting him talk to them!--And that they needed to start feeding him instead of letting him feed them.
       25. I was rather surprised to hear that he wasn't saved yet, but glad that they finally told him about the Lord and Dad and started sharing the Word with him. They said he was so full of himself before that they hadn't been able to get through to him, but I wonder how hard they had tried, since when they made an effort, they found that he was respectful and listened.
       26. Often it's been the Family's own fault that some very potential people didn't make it, because instead of drawing them into the Family, the Family member has allowed himself or herself to be drawn out. The Lord may have wanted to make these outside folks into strong friends and supporters, but because of the weaknesses of our own people, they missed the opportunity to help these friends, and in fact, failed them.
       27. We can't blame our friends and contacts if they haven't been taught and given a good foundation, and if they've just been ministered to on a social level and not in the Spirit. He sounds like one of these kings that our Family never told much about Dad. Such outsiders often just hear the negative things about Dad, so they figure that the Family deserves someone better as a leader--and they figure, who better than them? Or else they feel we need more secular counsel and input, and because they're professionals in their field, they consider it their mission to "educate" us with opposing views.
       28. The best test for these people is for us to lay everything out in the open and tell them all about Dad, that the Family wouldn't be in existence if it weren't for Dad, and that we're never going to be completely approved of by the System. In fact, we are probably going to continue to come out with shocking revelations that most people won't like. So if this man wants to be accepted or be on the "winning team" with the System, he'd better quit now!
       29. We're not going to renounce our stand on the ACs' takeover of the world, or our friendship with controversial characters, or stop talking about the "Law of Love" and our sex doctrines. If he doesn't enjoy a challenging and exciting "ride," he should discontinue his contact with us. Of course, I feel sorry for the poor fellow, because apparently they haven't fed him much at all; he has been the one doing all the "feeding"!
       30. And since he can't figure out who's behind the government's dislike of us, nor behind CAN's persecution of us, someone needs to tell him! We should come right out and tell him who we think it is: It could be worthwhile to explain our whole stand on the Jews and that we're not anti-Semitic, that we have many Jewish friends, lawyers and Family members. ...
       31. These folks at the top have a number of reasons to try to destroy us: Number one, we're exposing their plans to set up their world government. Number two, we're working actively against their deChristianization of the world, being outspoken in almost every way. Number three, their young people join us and we teach them to love the Lord. And number four, we show others a way that they can live in opposition to the System, and we give people courage that they can stand up against evil also. There are probably other reasons, too, but these are enough to make the leadership of the world tremble and shake in their mansions and palaces!

       Concern About Our Young People!
       32. I am also concerned about one of our teen girls who is presently having daily contact with some of our lawyers in their offices, and obviously her shepherds are concerned about it too. All of the concerns that we've expressed about our adults who have a lot of contact with outsiders apply in this teen girl's case as well.
       33. Our teens are not so spiritually mature that this kind of contact would not affect them, as it affects even the strongest. That's why the Word says, "Come out from among them and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing" (2Cor.6:17). Of course, we have to have contact with outsiders because we are ministering to them, and in some cases we're working with them, but we must be mindful that it is going to be a case of "dirty dishes" and we are going to get somewhat "soiled" in the process. We just have to pray that the influence of His cleansing Word will counteract it.
       34. My concern with our teens in such a situation is that they are much more susceptible to these influences than our adults, and are going to have to have good shepherding and more Word to help balance the negative influences.
       35. In ministering to these folks, our young people need to get the vision that, although reaching them is a wonderful ministry, they obviously can't approach it in their usual manner of straightforwardly, bluntly presenting people with salvation upon first meeting them, and asking, "Will you pray with me, or won't you?" We have to explain to our young people that this kind of a ministry is a more long-term one, and thus their sample is extremely important.
       36. The little things they do and say, the comfort and encouragement they can inject into their conversations, and the counsel they can offer from their vast knowledge of the Word and in practical matters is very important. But it has to be Spirit-led, and they have to pray for the leadings of the Lord. They can't try to push or force the Word or godly principles upon these people.
       37. At the same time, they can't expect that their sample will be enough, but they will have to look for opportunities where they can give these folks the direct comfort and encouragement from the Word that they need. They will also have to be able to stand up for the Family and our godly ways of doing things and our scriptural beliefs with conviction, whenever situations relating to these issues come up.
       38. The temptation in working with the System is to be like the System, so that the System will approve of us and accept us. Teens are even more subject to this than adults, so teens in this type of situation or ministry will constantly need to keep in close counsel with their shepherds and in close communication with the Lord through prayer and His Word, so that they will not be pulled down to the carnal level of these folks who live so much in the material realm, but they will be able to pull these precious people up to the level of life in the Spirit where the supernatural is an everyday occurrence. They will constantly have to keep the vision of what they are there for--not just to be a help to these busy folks, but to win them to faith in the Lord and His Family; not just a short-term salvation, but a growth of faith in their lives. It will help them to constantly remind themselves that, "He that receiveth you, receiveth Me" (Mat.10:40).
       39. They are going to have to learn to be very prayerful each step of the way, and realize that not only is it a grave responsibility to have our friends' lives in their hands, but that their own lives are at stake as well because of the great spiritual battle they will be in, in which the Devil will try to destroy them at the same time that they are trying to rescue these friends from his clutches.
       40. The System's "goodies," commendation and approval can be dazzling and tempting to our teens, so we need to pray desperately for them. I've been quite burdened about this one teen in particular, ever since I first heard how much one of our women lawyers likes her, and the praise she was giving her. I'm happy that our lawyer likes her and that she is seeing that our teens are good examples of our excellent way of life, but this also has its downside.
       41. We need to do all we can to help our people who have to have this contact with the System by praying desperately for them. The immediate shepherds of our young people need to help them stay very much on guard by giving them the proper time, emphasis, counsel, Word and prayer that they need, as well as the vision for what they are doing, so that they stay on the attack with their responsibility and don't get sucked in by the seduction of the System.
       42. One meeting or pow-wow is not enough. They need a regular course of Word, prayer and counseling if we are going to help these young people. It certainly would be tragic if we were to allow the Devil to use any of our well-meaning friends or lawyers, who are fighting so hard to preserve our way of life and the wonderful training that our young people get, to inadvertently undermine our teens' faith in the Family and even eventually lead them out of the Family. How tragic that would be, not only for the Family and our poor teens, but what a sad testimony and disillusionment this would be to our lawyers and other friends.
       43. They may even try to test our kids by trying to influence them to do things that we don't approve of; but in the long run, if they got their way, I think they would be very disappointed and sad that they accomplished their purpose. No matter how much the System may tempt you to do certain things, if they know they're against your convictions, and you do them, in their hearts they secretly are very disappointed that you compromised and that you didn't stand up for what you felt was the truth.
       44. So we might as well go into this knowing that the Devil's plan is to try to get our teens away from the Family, and he will use an opportunity like this, even though it's not the lawyers' intent. I'm not saying that we should not allow our teens to have this contact, but I am saying that we all need to be aware of the pitfalls, and put a lot of counsel and prayer into it.

Reactions to Mama's Counsel on the Dangers of System Influence!

       (From a WS Unit Family member:)
       It was interesting to read your comments concerning the negative effect which people we are ministering to can have on the folks who are doing the ministering. The thing that is particularly disturbing to me is these people's attitudes toward Dad. While many have expressed a very respectful attitude towards Dad, some do seem to take swipes at him now and again. I wish there was more we could do in this area to debunk the false image that is put out about Dad.
       I wonder if our folks on the field, when explaining to the curious about Dad, sometimes have the attitude of not wanting to come across as "cultish" or too "odd" to these people. For instance, I hear that we explain that Dad is a very loving person and we speak of him very reverently, and I think that is good. But at the same time, it should be emphasized that besides being very loving, Dad is also very intelligent and has a lot of insight into the world situation.
       I like Dad's Letters, they click with me, they inspire me. I find they portray people and events in a very logical, clear and understandable manner. They explain the Bible to me; they apply biblical principles and verses to different situations, and I love Dad because of his words. So when people are denigrating Dad and his Letters, they are insulting my intelligence as well.
       More importantly, I'm seeing that a lot of these doubts and criticisms or just questions from the curious concerning Dad can begin to drive a wedge between Family members and Dad. And especially of concern are our YAs who are involved in this type of ministry.
       I have waded through some very negative reports in messages from the field, and I know that they have been attacks on my faith, because they were full of criticism and doubts. (I'm not referring to what the Family members are saying themselves, but just what they are reporting outsiders have said.) As Peter pointed out, the very best cure for this--and we have all known this for a very long time--is the Word. Even reading fun Letters like Jewels Letters is really uplifting and faith-strengthening. Reading Dad's Letters shoots holes in all of these various doubts, lies and arguments of the Enemy.
       God bless all our new-found friends amongst the sociologists and psychologists. They really are precious and I love them a lot for standing up for us and fighting on our behalf. During the history of early Christianity there were many people like them who became famous as Christian apologists (defenders of the faith), men who stood up for the early Christians. A lot of their work turned the tables and helped Christianity become more accepted.
       Although these friends from these different fields of expertise are a real help, we have to realize that generally speaking these "sciences of the mind" such as psychology, and in some cases perhaps even sociology and theology, are often at enmity with true Christianity, because they are based on carnal "natural" reasoning. As you know, the Word says, "To be carnally minded is death ... because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Also, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (Rom.8:6,7; 1Cor.2:14). True Christianity, although very logical in many ways, is a life of faith, taking things by faith and living by faith, which is totally contrary to carnal logic.
       It's important for us to remember that we are never going to be accepted by the world, because we are not of the world. The world will not be able to deny our good works, our good fruits, etc., but they are never going to fully accept us because we are a testimony against them. That is one of our purposes in this world, to be a testimony against the ways of the world. So the Enemy is going to hate us and try to destroy us, and since he can't destroy us, he'll try to get us to compromise, which is something Dad has always warned us of. I think this is an important principle that all of our folks working in these areas, and especially the YAs, need to be aware of. I think we need to keep reminding ourselves of these points, because if we don't, we'll end up losing the essence of what the Family is all about.
* * *

       (From a North American Family spokeswoman:)
       Thank you so much for your timely counsel. I've been quite desperate this past week for some answers, and your and Peter's counsel was the answer to prayer. I feel badly that we failed to explain to this man about our convictions and our desire to get out our message come what may, as I think that's the duty of every disciple. Any of us should have the conviction to do that and not backpedal when faced with this type of situation.
       I heartily agree that this is what he needs, and I have been doing too much listening and not spending enough time making it very clear to him how we feel about different things. When he hit on Dad he finally went too far, and I let him know that the Family wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for Dad! At that point he backed down immediately and didn't touch on that subject again. In fact, since then he's been quite respectful of Dad and has acknowledged him in a positive way. We also went over Ezekiel 34 with him.
       I feel responsible for his not having the right attitude about some of our beliefs. He comes on like he really knows what he's talking about, but when I interrupt him and make a definite point, he'll seem to see it and that's that. I wonder if he's actually been testing us to see what we believe and what we are willing to stand up for.
       It's important to realize with these friends that, although they have their own ideas about things, we have a big responsibility to tell them the truth and to witness to them. Often in prayer we've received about different ones that it wasn't just that we needed what they had, but the main reason the Lord had brought them to us was so that they could have an opportunity to hear and receive the truth.
       Conviction and compromise: I've seen that when we start to compromise in one area, we lose our conviction in other areas as well. Since I got your message we've been on the attack, and it seemed like things started to tighten up right away in all the areas we were compromising in, praise the Lord!
       I needed to have the right vision and to see things the way the Lord does, and not be so worried about what others think. It's a victory and relief to operate that way, because then you know you're right and that the Lord has to take care of the rest. Our job is just to witness God's message.
       Once you start to compromise, there doesn't seem to be an end to it, and then the Enemy has an open door to attack you with questions about other things as well. So thank the Lord, it is really a victory to get back on track. I'm very sorry that I haven't been, but I'm thankful for the counsel that came out of it, as I was praying for direction.
       I agree wholeheartedly that it can cause our young people to doubt what we believe when they hear these arguments over and over again, presented in a very logical way, as some of our professional friends are able to do. On the other hand, I've been happily surprised at my YA partner, who has a lot of conviction, and these things don't seem to move him. Sometimes he's the first to get stirred up about them, point out the wrong attitudes or impressions, and at different times he has been a great safeguard. I don't think I could ask for a better partner. He is a good sample and people are impressed by the conviction and directness in his delivery.
       When one of our professional friends makes an issue of something contrary to our doctrines, I find it helpful to read up on that subject. Like when our friend was talking about the Law of Love, we read the "Prophecies on the Law of Love" (FSM 242), which helped us see how important it is to get out that message.
       The Word: I feel that the most important thing we can teach our young people is to follow God and hear from Him fresh every day. Although we might have a good idea of what we need to do each day, if we don't stop and read and listen to the Lord, without fail we will miss something. Our prayer time each morning helps us to get the Lord's mind on things and commit our work to the Lord. As we've started to do that more, it's been a testimony to my partner as well as to the Home how the big things that needed to happen did happen, and, for the most part, effortlessly through prayer.
       The desperation for the Word will be there if we truly believe that we need it for our direction, and have a sincere fear of the Lord of going ahead without it. It is a fallacy for us who are involved with meeting and following up on professionals to think that the Lord is giving us some special dispensation of grace to not need the Word and time alone with the Lord. Maybe He does for a little while, but as Peter said, although things seem to be going really well, I've often gotten the check that down the road I'll pay for my lacks in some way.
       I do think that some guidelines for us could be laid down; for example, that we have someone helping us to schedule our time each day and start off with the Word and prayer. It sure helps to read and counsel and pray with the person you are working with. I think, too, we should take a Word and Rest day every other week, at least. It could only bear good fruit, in that we'd get out of the forest a bit and probably be able to see things in a new and better light, and often time alone with the Lord helps the mountains melt away.
       Thank you, Mama, for having the conviction you do and for what you shared with me. I am always encouraged by your comments, how you choose to take a stand for what we believe rather than compromise when different questions and situations come up. We sure know that's what Dad is like, and I feel badly that I didn't take more of a stand with this man, as I've always admired Dad for his conviction. Lord help me, I really am thankful, like Dad brought out in the Letter "Breakdown," to "see it the way the Lord does." By the grace of God and the power of His Word, I don't want to fall into this again. I love you!
       Further Apology: The counsel about our friend has caused me to really check out how we were handling the situation and how we could have done things better. The point about compromise was a very good lesson. I also realized we weren't taking it seriously about the effect it could have on us, like asking for prayer after visits with different friends, and even before passing on counsel from them, stopping to pray about our visit and asking the Lord to let us see things the way He sees them, and not be influenced by the input we had just received. (Note: This is a very good point. Every one of us has influence--on other adults in our Homes, on the children, teens, YAs, and others in the area. Please be very prayerful, and do your best to get the mind of the Lord on the points which well-meaning friends and contacts have presented before sharing their counsel or views with others. It may help on some occasions to pray and discuss these things with your shepherds before passing them on to others.) When we prayed about it, we thought about how important it is to remain in the Word for the "washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost."
       The day we prayed about our friend, the Lord gave us verses about having His mind on things and a just balance, and about not leaning on the arm of man. We got the verse, "Thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand and pierce it" (2Kg.18:21). The Lord has been leading us to work more with these people, but He seems to be laying the groundwork in how to go about it and giving us a few warnings as well.
       The Letter we recently received when praying about our friend was "Burn Free" (ML #O).--The lesson being that the greatest danger was from the hands of concerned loved ones who wanted the flame to burn this way or that way, but the Lord pointed out that it had to burn God's way! I'm thankful for the lessons and for the cloud to be lifting, and to be able to just trust the Lord for His will in these different situations.
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       (From a Family spokesman in England:)
       I wanted to say a special thank you for your very good counsel regarding the inherent dangers of ministering to our sociologist and legal friends. I'd like to add a hearty "Amen!" to everything that you said, Mama and Peter, and I am personally very thankful to see these issues addressed in a frank, open manner. As you so rightly pointed out, it can be a very big drain to have to frequently interact with these people, and even articulate their views in reports. The seemingly constant urgent press of legal and media matters seems to force us to seek their counsel so much, and this is bound to have an effect on our spirits and way of looking at things.
       With all there is to do, we really need to stay very close to the Lord, and the only real solution I can see on the horizon, as you've already pointed out, is to just keep taking in the antidote of the Word. It's very helpful to have this need pointed out to us frequently, because it really is a big battle!
       On the other hand, having to wrestle with the media, courts, judges, lawyers, etc., makes me just hate the System all the more, and understand in a deeper way how and why Dad has blasted them in the Letters! The System is so corrupt, evil and hypocritical, accusing us of the very things they themselves are guilty of, and worse, and it is just so sickening!
       So while in one way it does have a negative influence on us, in other ways it makes us even more sick of the System than we ever were before, because we are dealing with the so-called "top" people, the legal system, etc., and it is so corrupt! The only reason the System can try and hit us so hard is certainly not because of their "goodness," it's only because they are bigger than we are!
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       (From a North American Family spokesman:)
       I wanted to send my reaction to the points regarding the cautions for those ministering to more opinionated System contacts. Thanks so much for your concern and counsel in pointing these things out. It was a big help in many ways!
       When reading your comments I could identify with each point that was made and the different battles and experiences that we go through in dealing with outsiders day in and day out--in some ways, living and thinking and breathing with them in this type of ministry. It is a drain spiritually, and at the end of the day you feel that not only has "virtue gone out of you," but a lot of the System has gone "in" or at least "through" you. Without a real good cleansing from the Word at the end of the day or in the morning before you begin the day, it can turn into a very draining experience.
       Recently I've been making more of an effort to make time for the Word, because with so much to do, if I don't make the time, it just doesn't happen. Peter mentioned that media people often don't get that much time in the Word, which is true, and it's a struggle to find every minute that we take. It doesn't always work out, but I've found that the days when I do determine to find the time, at least I get more than if I don't fight for it. I've also found that reading the Letters which closely pertain to the ministry I'm now in has been a big help in keeping the vision clear as to what is true and what is false.
       For us here, we've not only been dealing with sociologists and lawyers, but with different political organizations as well, and keeping up with the ongoing political climate, all of which doesn't only entail meeting with people, but includes quite a volume of reading as well. At times I've felt the picture getting quite fuzzy and I've begun to feel as if I'm losing sight of the shore and reality. As Dad said in "Temple Time," "Sometimes you wonder what is the truth out there in the wings, you get so far out of touch." But then there's the answer: "You have to come back into the rotunda where you get your batteries recharged" (ML #191). PTL!
       Over the last several months I've realized that no matter how "right on" some people may be as far as their points of view--for example, the different AAC organizations who are exposing the AC conspiracy, or the counsel from our lawyers, etc.--none of them have "the big picture" that the Lord has given through dear Dad. So I've found it very beneficial to dig into the Letters that help to give me a clear picture of what is really happening around me, which helps me in assessing and discerning the counsel and perspective that the outsiders we deal with are giving.
       One ML volume that I've found very helpful is Lifelines #18. It's full of World Currents, Endtime, political and economic Letters, as well as Dad's beautiful classes on the Psalms, which have been a real source of inspiration. One of the beautiful things about the Letters is that even if you read a political or Endtime Letter, they're so full of prayer and inspiration you can't help but be lifted into the heavenlies!
       I feel one solution for this problem may be in setting up safeguards for those of us who are involved in this type of ministry and asking our teamworkers around us to help remind us about our Word time, Word and Rest days, etc., to ensure that we take the time.
       Your point about our young people was very sobering. I believe that the YAs on our team need more Word time, closer shepherding and personal time to talk about the meetings we have with outsiders to make sure that any questions they have are addressed. Although the YAs love to get out personal witnessing and do very well in that type of outside witnessing ministry, such as getting out the tools, personal witnessing at the universities, etc., much of what we do in this ministry is not witnessing per se, but is more a ministry of exchanging information, taking in as well as pouring out. It's much different, and you take in much more from the outside in this legal, academic type of ministry than you do in the normal day-to-day witnessing. So I think this plays a big part in regard to the concerns about the YAs.
       Thank you once again for the much needed counsel! ILY!
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       (From another North American spokeswoman:)
       Yesterday I read the wonderful message from Mama, which was then enlarged upon by Peter, about how those of us involved with the professionals and meeting the System need time away for cleansing, as it is very much a "dirty dishes" job. I thought that was a beautiful message of love and consideration and insight, and it's very true.
       Sometimes the supposedly "scholarly" opinions of our friends seem so "flatlander" to me. They present a challenge to me to enlighten our new-found friends with the truth from the Word. I know that even if I feel their "off" opinions roll off my back, after a while it'll take its toll. "Can a man take fire into his bosom and not be burned?" (Pro.6:27). I am not above it. I found that out this past year when I was pretty seriously down and discouraged.
       My strong temptation and weakness is to get caught up in the sheer workload and the fast pace. I really need help in taking more time for the Word--just the sincere milk of the Word instead of my current preference of media-related reading, volumes of Family statements and messages, etc. I know I need help to be more balanced. I was very thankful for your counsel and look forward to a tune-up!

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family