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Hold on to Your Crown!       Maria #422       CM/FM 3168       12/97
By Maria

       1. In my Letter "The Silver Lining," I mainly addressed you parents who have a child or children who have left the Family, and who are battling with discouragement and burdened for your child's future. Of course, the counsel the Lord and Dad gave in that Letter applies to all of you, not just the parents, because you are all affected by the young people who choose to leave the Family--whether you're an adult or a young person yourself. I pray that Letter was a blessing to you in resisting the Enemy's attacks of condemnation, bitterness and despair, as you can rest assured that indeed "all things will work together for good," and our sons and daughters which were lost will again be found, either here or in the Kingdom to come!
       2. In this Letter I'd like to focus on some of the questions and battles that you young people might be having as a result of some of your peers leaving the Family. I know that seeing your friends or people you know leave the Family--or even people you don't know that you just heard about--can have a pretty big impact on you, and in some cases can make you wonder whether you should do the same. Maybe you figure--and the Devil is quick to agree: "There must have been some good reason why they left," especially if you were very close, or if they were someone you looked up to or respected. You may think, "Maybe that same reason applies to me too. After all, it's pretty tough being in the Family; maybe it's just too tough. Maybe I'd better go somewhere else where I can have a little more independence and so-called freedom."
       3. You hear from young people who've left the Family, or see them, and at least some of them seem to be doing okay and tell you that they're happy. On the other hand, others are obviously very unhappy and greatly miss the love, fellowship and purpose of life that they had in the Family; or, in some cases, while they may have thought they were unhappy in the Family, they're even more unhappy now that they've left. So maybe you start feeling a little torn between staying true to what you believe to be right--that is, giving your life for the Lord and others by staying in the Family--or trying out something else that you think might provide extra enjoyment with fewer problems or sacrifices.
       4. Or maybe you haven't really thought much about other young people who've left the Family, and you don't have any close friends who've backslidden. Maybe you're simply going through a rough time right now with a lot of battles--feeling unchallenged, unfulfilled, overloaded, unappreciated or "burned out" in your ministry--and you're beginning to feel that you're going to cave in under the pressure and the strain of the battles.
       5. The Enemy's trying hard to get you to quit and give up, attacking you with his fiery darts of doubt, discouragement and disillusionment. If he can convince you that you're not much use to the Lord and the Family and aren't doing much for Him anyway, it's much easier for the Enemy to then try to persuade you to leave altogether, because--he tells you--it won't make any difference. He tells you that things will be easier for you; you'll (supposedly) get to do things that Family policies and your responsibilities don't allow or give you time for; you'll (supposedly) be free from anyone telling you what to do (except your System boss and the government, of course); and that you'll generally have to make less sacrifices and give up less.
       6. It's true that life for the Lord, and especially living and working communally as the Lord has shown us to do, is a life of sacrifice. As Dad put it so well in "Mountain Men," it's hard work climbing mountains, and there are lots of scratches and bumps. It's sometimes cold and windy and a rough ascent. So I can understand why you'd sometimes be tempted with thoughts of giving up the climb and going back down to the comforts of the valley where you figure you'll have it easier--at least it looks that way on the surface.
       7. So the first thing that I'd like to tell those of you who've been hit at some time or other with the thought of leaving the Lord's service--which is probably most or even all of you--is: Don't get condemned about it! It's happened to everyone at some time or another, and it even happened to Jesus! The Devil tempted Him by offering Him all the kingdoms of the world if He would just give up His mission, surrender His crown, and quit His job for His Father, God.
       8. But Jesus socked the Devil back with the Scriptures and won the battle! And you can too if you resist the Enemy, hold on to the Lord for dear life, and call out for His help to keep holding on when you feel like you can't hold on anymore. If you commit your life to the Lord and take a stand that you're going to keep climbing that mountain come what may--rain or shine, bumps, scrapes and bruises included--the Lord will give you the strength to keep going and reach the top. And what a victory that will be! You may have been more comfortable in the valley, but the things you'll experience on the mountain, the valley people can only dream of!
       9. "What do you hear on the mountain? You hear things that are going to echo around the world! What do you hear in the stillness? Whispers that are going to change the course of history! On the mountain you're the first to see the sun rise and the last to see it set! You see the full circle of God's glorious creation. You see the world in its proper perspective with range after range to be conquered and a world beyond the horizon of normal men!--A world beyond their vision and their horizon.
       10. "You see distant peaks yet to be climbed! You see distant valleys yet to be crossed. You see things that the men in the valleys can never see.--Can't even comprehend because they can't see it! And you can see the 360-degree circumference of the total horizon--the entire scope! It's like seeing all of life from its beginning to its end and understanding. You feel like you're living in eternity; whereas, down below they're living in time" (ML #B:5,16).
       11. And that's not to mention the fact that in your service for the Lord you're doing your part to change the world and bring eternal life to others--the most precious gift you could ever give them! There're lots of other good reasons for serving the Lord which I won't get into here, but I will try to address in another Letter in this series, D.V. The main topic that I'd like to cover in this particular GN is "holding on to your crown," and we have some very feeding and strengthening messages from the Lord and Dad to share with you that I pray will help you to do just that.

Why Have So Many Left?
       12. Before we get into the Words of encouragement from the Lord, I'd like to answer--or better yet, let the Lord answer--a question that may be one of the first to come to mind when you think of the young people who have left the Family over the last couple of years: Why are so many leaving the Family? (I realize some older adults have left the Family too, but in this Letter we're mainly addressing the young people who've left, and their parents, brothers and sisters who've remained.)
       13. Actually, the Lord already answered that in part in a couple of prophecies I included in the "Silver Lining" GN, in which He told you parents that if you raised your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, then it wasn't your fault if they decided to leave when they were of age. So we know it's not the parents' fault--at least not in most cases--and we know it's not the Lord's fault. So what then? Perhaps you've wondered if it's the Family's fault--if it's due to some policies that we should change or something that we should be doing better.
       14. Well, read on, because the Lord answers that very clearly in the message included below. I'm including the prayer I prayed, followed by the Lord's response, in which He not only answers this question but also gives some very good instruction on what we should do about it.

              15. {\b \i (Prayer:)} You've given us all these beautiful Words for Your Family, which are changing them and helping them to want to be closer to You, Lord. You're helping them to see that there are answers for every situation in their lives and to see how they can hear from You too. They can find out through prophecy how You see each of their children and how to treat them, as well as each of their friends and contacts, and all of their personal relationships with others.
       16. For so many years Dad was constantly talking about hearing fresh from You every day, and it was there all the time! He kept saying it, but we didn't realize or get it for some reason. It probably just wasn't Your time. But now You're opening it up and giving us Your beautiful gifts. You're pouring them out and making them available. Thank You Jesus! It's so wonderful!
       17. It's so thrilling to be in Your Family, to live for You in these days! Everything is so electric with excitement about the new things that You're doing. It's a little rough and people struggle, but the excitement of knowing the wonderful, terrific things that You're doing makes it worth hanging on, worth holding on. Who would want to be anywhere else?
       18. But still, some of our young people apparently haven't caught the vision yet, and they've gotten so enticed by the world that they're a bit deluded. Their eyes aren't open to the truth and they're clouded and confused. Lord, we're losing quite a few of them, and some are living, if not all the way out of the Family, at least on the fringes. Some have chosen to live with one foot in the System and one foot in the Family. That's really sad, Lord, when they've got such potential and You meant for them to be sold out to You.
       19. When You delivered them into this Family as babies, You meant for them to be Your strong soldiers. They're among so few in all the world with such a special heritage, a special gift. And now it seems like some are so lightly throwing it overboard.
       20. These young people who were actually born into Your Family, the most wonderful family in the whole world, are the few young people in the whole world out of the millions and billions who have lived to have the privilege of being born and raised in Your Endtime Family. We of the first generation didn't even have that same privilege, Lord.
       21. But many of them are leaving, just sort of deciding that things are too hard and they don't want to work so hard for the Lord anymore, they don't want to fight, they don't want to struggle. They figure that things would be a lot easier somewhere else and they just want to try it out and see what it's like. It's so sad to see them go, because we know that it won't be easier somewhere else. In some ways it will be, but in many ways it won't be. In many ways it'll be more difficult, not to mention that their usefulness to You will be pretty much negated. In most cases they'll just be living for themselves.
       22. But maybe this has to happen. Maybe they just have to go out on their own into the System to find out what it's like and where it's not at. At this point we just don't really see what more we can do to help them--whether we're supposed to do anything, or just let them go and let them find out. We can't force them to stay anyway, so there's nothing we can do about it, once they make their decision to leave.
       23. Quite a few of them have gone, and others seem like they're about to go. They're living in a backslidden state within the Family, which can be just as bad, or worse, because of their negative effect on the Home, their brothers and sisters and friends, or even on those the Home is ministering to. So we need to know if there is anything we're supposed to do about them or say to them, or any warnings we're supposed to issue them, or what we're supposed to do with them.
       24. It must make You sad to see them go, even though You know that eventually they'll come back to You. But in this big battle right now where they're needed so much, where You've even taken some of our young people [EDITED: "the Austin teens"] to help to strengthen the ones that are left, we're sure You're trying to keep them. You're not passively wanting to just let them go without some kind of fight. We're sure in the spirit world there's a great fight going on to try to keep them. But, Lord, we just need to know if there is anything we should do here--anything more we can do to keep them.
       25. We know that System movies and videos have influenced the young people so detrimentally in many ways. Almost everything they see on TV or hear on the radio is a negative System influence coming into their minds and hearts. They've been pretty polluted by System influences through TV and through music, which are probably the two very biggest channels or vehicles that bring those terrible, ungodly influences into their lives.
       26. Please tell us whatever You want to tell us about our young people who are leaving and whether there's anything we can do. Many of them have left the Family and gone into the System, and others are living in such a backslidden state that they probably should be in the System. So help us to know what to do, or what not to do, Lord. You love them so much, and we simply need to see things the way You see things, so we can do whatever is necessary to try to help them.
       27. Thank You Jesus! Help us, Lord, with the solutions. Show us Your mind and what You want. Give Peter faith and a clear channel. We are really desperate to know Your will and Your Words and want to know the truth from Your mouth. So help and strengthen Peter and give him faith. Thank You for this quiet place. Continue to keep it quiet, Lord. Thank You Jesus! We're blessed above all people. (End of prayer.)

The Purging of the Branch!
       28. {\b \i (Jesus speaking:)} Every branch in Me that bears fruit I purge, so that it may bring forth more fruit. Behold the branch--the branch of My children. This branch, the precious branch of My Family, is a fruitful branch that bears much fruit for Me. So I do prune it and trim it, that it will bring forth more fruit.
       29. My branch is purged by allowing each one to move and to operate and to act and to live according to their faith. Having set them free, some now sink and some float. I have lifted the restraints and I allow them to expose the place in which their heart lies. They that love Me and desire to please Me and to do My will, it becomes known. They that seek after their own lusts, their own flesh, their own desires, this too is made known.
       30. I trim the branch [EDITED: "the Family"], removing the unfruitful ones, so that the fruitful ones may grow and bear more fruit. So don't look at those that leave as a defeat, but understand that I am purging. I am doing this thing so that they cannot blame you. I move them out one by one as I expose their hearts to themselves and to you.
       31. There are many reasons why they go: some because their heart is not with you; some because they battle and must learn lessons; some are rejecters and unbelievers; some are weak in faith; some must learn from their own experiences that I am worth living for, and that My chosen place for them--the Family--is the place where they belong. But because they will not receive this and understand it and believe it by faith, they must go taste of the husks. In due season they will return. They will return in faith, knowing that I have called them and chosen them. It is all My doing. (End of prophecy excerpt.)

       32. {\b \i (Mama:) }The Lord had more to say in this particular message, but I'll save it for the end of this Letter. So you have something to look forward to! I'd like to interject another short prophecy that the Lord gave on another occasion when Peter and I were praying about this same subject. Since the Lord confirms what He shared above, I thought it would be appropriate to include here:

       33. {\b \i (Jesus speaking:)} Don't worry about the state of all of these, your children, for many are in a state of flux. Many are making their decisions, and I'm working in their lives. I'm showing some young ones who have left that that which they have chosen to do is as husks between their teeth. But they must learn this so that they will know that the only place where My blessings fully lie is within My perfect will.
       34. I've infused great change into My Family, and as I said, it exposes the hearts of My children. It exposes their desires and that which they choose to do. Aren't you now beginning to see which ones are strong and faithful, those young ones who are dedicated, who have given their lives to Me? And does it not now become quite evident which ones are not with you with all of their hearts, who are not following closely?
       35. I purge, I prune, I trim. I shake the tree to see which fruit remains and which fruit falls. This is not your doing, but My doing. These cannot say, "I've been sent out," for they've chosen to go. Those that remain will be those who are strong and dedicated, who have chosen to serve Me with their hearts.
       36. So don't be afraid or discouraged, for it is My hand that is doing this. I'm working in the hearts of all. I'm testing and purging and proving, so that when I pour forth My blessings, they will be poured upon the worthy. In My day there were those who hungered for the loaves and the fishes, and there were those who hungered for the Spirit. But only those who hungered for the Spirit were willing to follow Me; the others dropped away.
       37. I am leading up the mountain, and only those that are most dedicated and willing, who will shed the things of this Earth and climb with Me, will receive the full blessings. So be not dismayed at the purging and the sifting, for I work in the hearts of all, old and young. Those that remain will be faithful and true, and they will receive the full blessings of My power.
       38. Be faithful to give out My Word, to give My instructions, so that My Word will purge their hearts. My Word will draw them in or drive them away. My Word is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and the marrow, and is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
       39. My Word, as I give it forth, exposes those who do not wish to follow. It draws those closer who want Me, and it pushes those away who do not want Me. So do I purge, and so do I sift, and so do I show the difference between the wheat and the tares, between the sheep and the goats, between the brides with oil and those without. But it is My doing and it will accomplish My purpose. (End of message from Jesus.)

       40. {\b \i (Mama:) }I think that answers the question pretty clearly, doesn't it? All through the Family's history, the Lord has used different events, revolutions, revelations, persecutions or hardships to purge the Family and keep it trimmed down to a pretty small Gideon's band. As Dad has always said, the Lord is not as interested in numbers as He is in quality and only having those who are really sold out for the cause, who are going to go forward through thick and thin.
       41. The Lord is the One Who is trimming and pruning our fruitful branch, and the reason is so that we can bear even more fruit. The way He's bringing about this purge is through the Charter, by allowing everyone to operate according to their own faith. Now that the Lord has allowed everyone to float to the level of their faith, each person's faith, desires, dedication, motives, and willingness to sacrifice and obey are becoming more obvious.
       42. Of course, there was a time of adjustment, a time when people went a little wild as they enjoyed their newfound freedom. So for a while things went a little haywire or off balance, and that was to be expected. But now that things are settling down, it's starting to become clear where people--both young and old--are at as individuals. We're all starting to see what each person has the faith for and wants to do.
       43. The Lord is also using the New Wine to test people's faith in the Word and how far they're willing to go in service for Him, and whether they're willing to flow with the new moves of the Spirit and learn to use the "new weapons" of the Spirit which the Lord knows we'll need in the darker days ahead. Such purging of the ranks through the New Wine is nothing new. Jesus Himself did it when He gave His "flesh and blood" sermon, after which, the Bible says, "many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him" (John 6:66). In other words, a lot of them backslid.
       44. Think of that! Even Jesus, Who was perfect--the best shepherd and leader that ever lived--had backsliders! In fact, it says that "many of His disciples" backslid. So it sounds like most of them, because He was only left with 12! So maybe we can take comfort in that when thinking about how a lot of Family young people have left, because it happened to Jesus too!--And Paul! (2Tim.4:10).
       45. But His closest disciples stayed--the 12 whom He had handpicked because He knew that they had what it took to stick with Him no matter what! Why did they stay?--Because they knew He had the truth! Like Peter said, "To whom shall we go? Thou alone hast the Words of eternal life" (John 6:68). They were new bottles! They were so sold out to their cause that it didn't matter what New Wine came along, they were going to flow with it! They trusted Jesus, even if they didn't always understand everything He said right away.
       46. So the Lord is allowing these departures from our ranks for many reasons, as He explains in the prophecies above: Their hearts are not with us, they need to learn lessons, they're rejecters and unbelievers, they're weak in faith, or they need to learn from their own experiences that the Lord is worth living for and the Family is where they belong.
       47. As the Lord said above, if people can't believe by faith that being in the Family is God's greatest desire and will for them, then He lets them learn in other ways, and often they have to learn by seeing where it's not at and by tasting the husks. This is not only true of the younger generation, but of the older folks as well. I'm just highlighting the young people who have left since that's a major question that's on people's minds, but this applies to adults who leave too.
       48. Of course, you may wonder, "Is it God's perfect will for each person born and raised in the Family to stay in the Family?" We asked the Lord this question, and here's the message we received from Dad in reply:

       49. {\b \i (Dad speaking:)} The simple answer is yes. The Lord's highest will, or His greatest desire, I should say, for each person born in the Family is that they will grow up to be missionaries for Him and serve Him in our fold. Now that doesn't always work out because of the choices that people make that they're not really cut out for service.
       50. For example, when you're recruited into the army, the army's highest will for you is for you to make it through training and become an officer, so you can fight their battles. But if you don't put your heart into it or you make the wrong choices, then you fail the basic training. And then the army doesn't want you anymore, because you don't have what it takes to fight the war. It's like that with some of the young people in the Family. The Lord wants them to make it and become soldiers, but if they make the wrong choices and they don't yield to the Lord and how He's trying to mold them and remake them, then they won't pass the basic training. They become unfit for the army, and in that case the Lord would prefer that they're on the outside. (End of message from Dad.)

       51. {\b \i (Mama:)} It's easy sometimes to get discouraged, thinking that things must be going pretty bad in the Family for so many young people to leave, thinking that maybe we're off track somehow. But it's encouraging to hear the Lord say that the reason is because the tree is being purged. Again, using the example of Jesus in John chapter 6: Did the fact that so many of Jesus' disciples leave Him mean that He was off track? Of course not!
       52. I'm convinced that we're not off track in our message, our policies, our methods or our goals, because we've just been following what the Lord gave through Dad while he was on Earth, and what He continues to give through prophecy. So I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we're where the Lord wants us to be and doing what He wants us to do.
       53. I'm not saying that we're perfect or have attained. There are a lot of things that we could do better in the Family and that need to change--both as a whole, and individually--in bad attitudes, lack of love and unity, etc. There are a lot of Homes that have room for improvement, some more than others. These things don't require a change in the Word or our policies, but rather a change in greater obedience to what the Lord has shown us. And by obedience I mean not only to the letter of the law, but especially the spirit of the law, which is, above all, the spirit of love. The problems we have are not a result of the Word or the Charter, but largely a result of people's failures or neglect to follow the Word and the spirit of the Charter as they should.
       54. Unfortunately, there are some young people who have left the Family because they were discouraged or disillusioned by the sample that they saw and the things that they experienced. They got weary in well doing because they were in a Home that wasn't really doing anything for the Lord, so they fainted in their minds and gave up. I'm really sorry when this happens, because if they'd been in a situation where the Home had had a little more vision and had been doing a little more for the Lord, and the people they were living with had been more enthusiastic about winning the world for Jesus and living the Word as best they could, then it's possible that those who left would still be with us today.
       55. However, I must say that while it's certainly sad when someone leaves the Family for those reasons, on the other hand, they didn't have to give up. Just because those that they lived with or other folks they knew weren't being a good sample or didn't have much vision, doesn't mean that they were justified in giving up. The Lord tells us to hold on to our crown. That to me doesn't mean just barely touching it, but instead grabbing onto it tightly and clutching it with all our might, no matter what might happen that tempts us to let it go!
       56. Just because others aren't serving the Lord with their whole hearts or being the kind of disciples they should, isn't a good enough excuse for you to stop serving the Lord altogether! To the contrary, it should spur you on to want to go to a Home or field where there are others who likewise have a vision and want to give their all for Jesus one hundred percent. If someone else isn't setting the sample for you, then maybe you should be setting the sample for them!
       57. So I'm sorry that some folks get discouraged and give up because they're in a dead-end Home, but when it comes down to it, that's not a good enough excuse. If you're in a dead-end Home, then you can do something to change it--Or at least you can try by bringing things up to the Home and discussing it together. Pray and ask the Lord to speak to you and show you how you can rekindle the fire and change things for the better. And if you find that it can't be changed, then you can go someplace where folks are on-fire for the Lord. I'm not saying that it's easy to change your Home or find another one, but where there is a will, there's a way. It's sure better than giving up and leaving the Lord's service.
       58. Another example of negative experiences that some young people have had, which they give as their reason for leaving the Family, is that they were in a Home or Combo that was too strict. Their shepherds were overbearing, legalistic and insensitive, or other people in the Home were unloving and didn't make it easy for them to be good. I'm very sorry that this has happened in some cases, and as the Lord and Dad pointed out in "The Silver Lining" (see paragraphs 78-86), those who have hurt others or been bad samples will have to account for what they've done and learn their lessons. By the same token, those who were a bad sample of halfheartedness, unenthusiastic service, and lack of vision and inspiration, will also have to give account before the Lord for their actions.
       59. However, as the Lord also made clear in that same message, those who decided to leave have to accept the responsibility for their decision, because it was theirs alone. If they didn't see a good sample in their peers or their shepherds, they still had the sample of the Word and the Letters, and the truth of what the Family stands for and believes. Also, and perhaps most important, they had the power of the Lord available to keep them, no matter how rough the going got--and He would have if they had wanted it desperately enough and had cried out to Him with all their hearts for His help.
       60. The Lord never allows it to be too hard for you to do something that He has asked you to do. Each of us has a responsibility to the Lord as individuals to follow Him and give our lives for Him and others. That commitment is between us and Him, regardless of what others do or don't do, and whether they make it easy for us to follow the Lord or not.

The "Trial of Your Faith"--A Personal Example
       61. In the message the Lord gave in "The Silver Lining," He mentioned how there are lots of folks who went through really rough times during the Chain days under leadership who were very unloving and operated completely contrary to the Letters, but yet they held on because they knew that what the Letters said was the truth, even though they couldn't always see a sample of it in their shepherds or others around them. On the other hand, others gave up and left the Family. Those Chain shepherds who were a bad sample or treated them unfairly will be held responsible for what they did, but those who left can't blame their decision on the Chain, because what about all the people who went through just as much or more and yet kept on serving the Lord?
       62. Since most of you young people were too young to recall the events of that time, I thought it would help to put some skin on this example, and make it easier for you to relate to the lessons that can be drawn from it, if I were to share with you the following note that Rebecca, an SGA in my Home, wrote me after a discussion she had with one of my secretaries when reading "The Silver Lining" GN. She wrote:

       63. (From Rebecca:) I love you! I just wanted to write a little reaction to something that was mentioned in "The Silver Lining." I have several brothers and sisters who are not in the Family. They each left for various reasons, and it has been a burden on my heart for some time.
       64. This GN was helpful in many ways, answering a lot of the questions I had, but at the same time there were some things in it that were a bit hard for me to receive. The reason is because a couple of my younger sisters left from a very difficult situation. They were sent out fundraising for hours a day, every day for months. They didn't have good shepherding, were very discouraged, and felt we were no longer the missionaries we claimed to be. They were living with some other "bad apples," and I tended to feel that all these outside circumstances hurt my sisters and that they couldn't be blamed for the choice they made to leave the Family. I knew, of course, that what the Lord and Dad were saying in the GN was true, but I had a hard time receiving some of the message, because I had felt that the burdens that were placed upon my sisters around the time they left the Family were too much for them to carry.
       65. I was telling Misty* that I felt some of the teens that left had been in such difficult circumstances, and I wondered if it was really right to place the responsibility on them for such a major decision. She shared with me her testimony of going through the pre-RNR days of the Chain, and the difficulties and abuses that she and many of our FG adults experienced. I realized when talking to her that the FG adults at that point in time were young people--in their early twenties--and unlike us (the second generation), they had only been in the Family for a short time. It helped bring things into focus for me, and it gave me a better understanding of the point that the Lord and Dad bring out in this Letter. *({\ul \i Editor}: Misty is one of Mama's secretaries.)
       66. Misty told me: "I can understand how difficult it must be for you to have had your sisters leave under those circumstances. If our friends or sisters or brothers leave the Family, it's natural to feel angry. You really want to blame someone else. I can easily see how you'd think that, if the circumstances had been better, maybe your sisters would have been able to hang on.
       67. "But just to bring up the other side a little more, it helps to remember that there are plenty of people in the Family who had it pretty bad but who stuck it out. I was just one of quite a few who went through some very difficult times in the pre-RNR days. I personally was really tested after the arrival of the first big Chain leaders in Latin America, in what was termed the 'Bloodless Coup' (see ML #329A)!
       68. "I was no angel, of course. I had made some mistakes, and I probably deserved to be reprimanded for it. But the correction was extreme. Not only that, it was super hypocritical. The leaders were cruel, unreasonable, and the whole affair was very scary. The worst of it was that I knew that they were actually trying to get rid of me. They were jealous and had it in for me, and I knew they wanted me to leave the Family. But I was determined that no matter what, I was going to make it. No matter how difficult the circumstances, no matter how discouraged I got, no matter how mean they were to me, no matter how ostracized I felt, I was going to hold on.
       69. "I had been banished to a very out-of-the-way Home from which my husband and I were told we were not to leave. We were blacklisted, with our every move being monitored and reported on.
       70. "Many times during these months and months of punishment that seemed unending, I felt completely in despair, and would cry out to the Lord, saying, 'I don't care what happens, as long as I can still read the Letters. Just don't let them take the Letters away from me!' I lived to read the Letters. I would wake at 4:30 in the morning, so I could read the Word!
       71. "That happened 23 years ago, and at that time we FGAs were very young, too. I'd only been in the Family for 3 and a half years. I didn't know that much Word, and had had relatively little spiritual input and training. Also, back in 1975 there was pretty much no such thing as personal shepherding. I didn't have anyone to talk to, and I didn't realize I could have the Lord shepherd me through prophecy. There was no address to write to if I wanted to appeal to a higher authority. There was no Charter outlining Family members' rights and responsibilities, and I couldn't leave and go to another situation that was better, because for a very long time we were not given clearance to go to another field. I knew that what was happening was wrong, but all I could do was trust the Lord that eventually, somehow, sometime, the Lord would show Dad, and things would get straightened out--which they did!
       72. "I decided that if I wanted the Word more than anything else, then I'd stick no matter what. I'm not the only one who made this personal commitment. Lots of us around that time said, 'To whom shall we go?' The Family alone has the Words of eternal life in the form of the living Words of the Lord, Dad and Mama!
       73. "A few years later, the Letter 'New Brooms' came out, and there was a quote in there that really helped me to understand what had been going on. Dad said: 'Some of you have done a good faithful job, you've worked hard and you've done well. You've been kicked around a lot and yet survived it!--When you were misused and abused when you weren't to blame; when men spoke evil of you, you still stood by your convictions. When you've been kicked around and still stayed true, still loved the Lord, still loved the kids, still loved the Letters, still believed in me and went on anyway, you've passed a good test! When your leaders fail you and then blame you for things that are really their fault, that's a good test!' (ML #675:1,2).
       74. "The key words for me in that passage were 'you've passed a good test.' When I read that, it was like a light went on in my heart! In later years I experienced other difficult times, but I always remembered this quote and this early experience, and reminded myself that the Lord allows these times as a test, and I determined, by God's grace, that I'd pass the test." (End of comment from Misty, and Rebecca's note.)

       75. {\b \i (Mama:) }God bless all of you, young or old, who have stuck it out through thick and thin, regardless of whether your shepherds were doing the job or not--great is your reward!
       76. Let me make clear that by saying you have a responsibility to follow the Lord and the Letters whether others do or not, or whether you have good shepherding or not, I am of course in no way excusing any bad behavior, bad samples, or unloving shepherding. We should make it as easy as possible for each other to serve the Lord, and we should lay down our lives for each other--and the Lord will reward us if we do and teach us our lessons if we don't.
       77. Also, in all this, please remember that the Lord often uses the difficulties, trials and tests that we experience in life--even those which come at the hands of our own brothers and sisters--to strengthen us and grow us up. It's just part of life that everyone in the world goes through. But thank the Lord that we have an advantage, because, unlike most worldly people, we know we can turn to the Lord in our times of distress and receive His strength to carry us through. We also know His promises that He will use the trials for our good, even though the chances of that happening seem so improbable at the time. "That the trial of your faith, which is much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (1Pet.1:7).
       78. Our service for the Lord is between each of us and the Lord, and should not be dependent or contingent on anyone else and their actions. It doesn't matter what other people may or may not be doing--what matters is what we are doing with our lives, because that's what we'll have to give account of when we stand before the Lord in the next life!

Hold On!
       79. Back to the topic of this GN: The main question we're addressing is what you can do when what you're going through is so bad that you just feel like giving up, or you're discouraged and really struggling, or you feel like the pull of the System is too strong and you're not really sure about your calling in the Family anyway.
       80. I think if I could sum it up in one phrase, it would be: Hold on! I know that sounds simplistic, but it's the truth! That's what Dad has taught us throughout the Letters, what he showed us by his example, and what the Lord has been saying for thousands of years!
       81. Take the Apostle Paul, for example, who really had to hold on through a lot! Talk about ups and downs, dear Paul really went through it!--From being looked upon with skepticism by his own brethren, to being booed out of cities where he tried to witness--persecuted, whipped, jailed, physically afflicted, nearly stoned to death!
       82. Now maybe you don't feel like it relates so much to you, since that was 2,000 years ago. After all, "It's the Nineties!" But just like you, there were times when Paul, as great a man of God as he was, was pretty discouraged and felt like giving up. On one occasion he wrote, "For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life" (2Cor.1:8). That sounds like he hit a pretty low ebb, doesn't it? Can you relate to that?
       83. There have probably been times when you've felt like you're being squeezed to the last drop, and you don't have an ounce of strength or willpower left. You're "despairing even of life," like Paul, to the point that you don't even want to get up in the morning because you don't want to have to face another day! Sound familiar? I'm sure that all of us have gone through those depths at one time or another, and maybe you're going through something like that right now, and have been for a long time. Well, you can console yourself with the thought that Paul and many other men and women of God--including Dad--did too, so you're in good company!
       84. But here's the important part: Despite Paul's trials and tribulations--both in the form of outward persecution and in the form of inward despair, discouragement and doubt--he held on, declaring that, "None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24).
       85. Now that's a good one for us to remember: "None of these things move me!" In other words, "I'm going to keep holding on no matter what happens! I'm not going to let it deter me from the high calling that the Lord has given me!" That's the kind of determination that kept Paul going, so that even though he was "perplexed," he was "not in despair" (2Cor.4:8).
       86. "Be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (1Cor.15:58). How can you be unmoveable? By holding on to the Rock--Jesus! (See Psa.62:6.) Everything else is unstable and can get washed away when the waves of life toss you to and fro. The only thing that'll stay right there and won't budge an inch is Jesus! So if you want to remain "steadfast and unmoveable," there's only one way: Hold on to the Lord! And if you do, your labors won't be in vain, as the Scripture promises.
       87. And don't worry if you're not strong enough to hold on, because you don't have to be! Your strength will come from the Lord! (See Psa.46:1; 18:1-2; 121:1, etc.) All you've gotta do is put your will on the Lord's side and want to hold on, and then He'll give you the strength to keep holding on even when you don't think you can anymore.
       88. But you do have to put forth the effort of determining in your heart that you're going to follow the Lord no matter what! Like Isaiah said, "For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed" (Isa.50:7). He must have been going through a pretty tough time, but he was determined to hold on to the Lord regardless; and if you do the same, you won't be ashamed either.
       89. Dad has had lots to say in the Letters about holding on. (See "But If Not," ML #313; "Fighters," ML #551; "Shtick," ML #703; "Keep On Believing," ML #1268; "Hold On," ML #1650, etc.) But I'd also like to share with you some recent messages that he gave along these lines that I believe you'll find strengthening and feeding.
       90. Maybe you think Paul in the Bible couldn't really understand what you personally go through and the battles that you experience, since he probably didn't have the exact same ones, and the conditions back then were completely different. Or maybe you feel that even Dad in his Letters of 10 or 20 years ago couldn't relate to what you're going through today, since the circumstances were different then too.
       91. Well, all that counsel from the Bible and Dad still applies to you just as much as it did to whoever it was originally written to. But in case you're still in doubt, the following messages were given for you, or young people in the Family just like you who have been going through really rough times and who may have been toying with the idea of leaving the Family as a result. So even if you're unsure whether those other verses or Letters I mentioned above really apply to you or not, you can be sure that this does! Here's the first one:

              92. {\b \i (Dad speaking:)} I'm sorry for the difficult times that you've been going through, Son. But I'm not really surprised, because it takes a lot of different experiences for the Lord to make a man and grow him up into manhood. So don't be too discouraged or too worried about it. Just know that it's all part of the Lord's plan, and these trials and questions and doubts that you're having will be cleared away if you don't give up.
       93. Just keep hanging on! You really have to cry out to the Lord for help! You really have to get desperate! And there's no other way to get desperate than just getting desperate! (And if you don't feel like getting desperate, but you know you need to, ask the Lord to make you desperate.) Often the Lord brings these tests and trials along to help you get desperate with Him, because that's going to give you the connection and the strong link with Jesus.--And that's a very precious thing to have, Son.
       94. So don't despise these battles and trials and afflictions, but just hang on so that you can win the reward--that special link, that firm connection of love with Jesus. It's something you'll never lose if, once you've got it, you just keep hanging on to the Lord. You'll have a precious gift.
       95. A lot of young people have been through the same thing, and they've come out on the other end as finer gold. They're going on to serve the Lord and are being greatly used by Him--real solid, strong young men and women. So I know you can make it, Son. We're praying for you and we've got faith in you. This is just a little rough period, but you'll make it if you don't give up. Just before the victory is often when things look the darkest and the hardest.
       96. The victory is just around the corner! It's just about in sight, and it's yours by faith. So just hold on! The Lord's gonna do it and you'll be glad you trusted Him. I love you, Son! God bless you! Love, Dad. (End of message from Dad.)

       97.{\b \i (Mama:) }Here Dad brings out a very encouraging point, and that is that not only can we hang on and make it through these battles and trials that sometimes seem to take us to the brink of our service for the Lord, but we can turn them around and use them to our advantage--or actually, let the Lord use them to His advantage!
       98. We can't always prevent the battles and difficult periods that we go through; sometimes that's just life, and the Lord even allows these things for various reasons. It could be a test of our faith; it could be to make us stronger and teach us to hold on to Him; it could be to get us desperate with the Lord so that we'll depend more on Him and less on ourselves; it could be to help us pray for others; or it could be to help us understand others better so that we can in turn comfort them when they go through it.
       99. There are all kinds of reasons the Lord allows it to happen. Sometimes He deliberately allows us to have trials because He wants to teach us something; other times it's an attack of the Devil which the Lord allows in order to get us to exercise our spiritual fighting skills; still other times it's brought on by the Enemy's inroads into our lives which we've allowed due to disobedience or not following the Lord as closely as we should.
       100. There are some difficult situations we can prevent by being more obedient to the Lord and more full of His Word, spending time with Him and hearing His voice. But others we can't prevent; they just happen. It's just part of life that the Lord allows us to experience. But even in those situations we can use it for good, and as Dad brings out above, it's a precious gift.
       101. You don't often think of a prolonged trial where you feel like you're walking through the valley of the shadow of death as a precious gift, do you? Well, it doesn't look like or seem to be a precious gift to start with, but if you get desperate, call out to the Lord, and hold on to Him, then you'll be blessed with a stronger link with Jesus and a deeper relationship with Him. You will have learned to trust because you will have "dwelt in the depths of the sea" and "descended into Hell" and found that the Lord's Spirit was still there with you (Psa.139:7-11). But it doesn't just happen automatically--you have to get desperate! And like Dad said, "The only way to get desperate is just by getting desperate!"

What If You're Tired of "Holding On"?
       102. Maybe you feel like, "I've been going through a dry spell for a long time, where I don't feel like I'm doing much for the Lord. I don't feel fulfilled. I'm not as happy as I want to be. I don't have a boyfriend or girlfriend, or feel special to anyone. And all everyone's been telling me for the longest time is to just 'hold on' and that 'the victory is just around the corner.' And now I pick up this GN hoping for some answers, and all I get is the same one: 'Hold on and the Lord will pull you through.' Well, I've been holding on and I'm still going through it, and I'm tired of holding on or being told to hold on!"
       103. A few months ago, I received a letter from a couple whose 17-year-old son was going through that exact same thing. He returned with his family to the States a couple of years ago, where he gradually got weaker spiritually. Then he went to Eastern Europe, hoping that that would bring about a change. But he still had a lot of problems, and after six months or so, decided to return to the States. His parents wrote:

       104. "Since arriving back here three weeks ago, he's been going through a lot of mental confusion. He's also having big trials about feeling unfulfilled and unchallenged and doesn't really feel like he's being that 'used' of the Lord. He believes that to be used of the Lord he should be doing something big in the way of accomplishments. That makes it hard for him to accept the humble little 'nobody' role of someone who is here in the Family because they love Jesus and want to be here to please Him and take His love to others, which the Lord seems to be trying to teach him.
       105. "We've been trying to address this in our numerous talks we've had with him, but since he has a strong, opinionated mind, we have a difficult time being able to help him see 'the light' of his trials and battles. We have also seen that the Lord has obviously taken away all the 'idols' and other obstacles that stand in his way with the Lord--from girls, to his being used in a musical ministry which he feels he needs to do, etc.
       106. "What's the most sad to us, his parents, is that the reason for his being 'on the fence' is not because he disagrees with the Family, Dad, Mama or Peter--because he really believes in them and the principles of the Family. But the reason he is 'on the fence' is simply because of his own stubborn unyieldedness to say 'uncle' to Jesus and fall into His arms and let the Lord carry him.
       107. "In a beautiful prophecy the Lord gave him a couple of nights ago, the Lord told him that this is his 'Jordan,' and he just needs to hang on a little longer and he'll soon be through it and on the other side, and will then understand what it's all been about.
       108. "He's also quite frustrated about that point of 'hanging on,' as he feels that he's been doing just that for a number of years now, and has become quite weary with hanging on, to the point that he doesn't like to hear it said anymore."

       109.{\b \i (Mama:) }I was very burdened for this dear young man, and I knew that the Lord had some answers for him. So we prayed, and the Lord gave a message for him through Dad. If you can relate to what this young man was feeling or you have experienced something similar--which I'm sure some of you have--then please consider this message personally for you, because it is! And even if you haven't been going through those same battles, there's still lots of good counsel in here that you might want to store up for future reference, either for yourself, or to help someone else.

              110. {\b \i (Dad speaking:) }First of all, I want to tell you that I really love you. Yes, that's right, I do. I know that you know this, but I wanted you to hear it straight from me. I know you, Son. I know about the yearnings in your heart and your longings to stand up and be heard. You want to be somebody great and to make a difference in the world. I understand that feeling, Son. I felt much the same way when I was your age. And you know what?--I still do!
       111. But the world can't be changed in a day. The world is changed one heart at a time, one life at a time--one lonely, small and seemingly insignificant life at a time. And in the overall picture, do you know who's doing the most to change the world? From up Here it's very easy to see. It's our wonderful Family, Son!
       112. Maybe down there you can't see this so clearly. You can only see the trees that are in front of you--the little insignificant tasks, the dishes, the children, the JJTs. So you wonder what in the world you're doing that's making any difference. And you have a good reason to wonder about these things, because you see so little fruit or effect of what you're doing.
       113. Well, Son, let me tell you something: You are making a difference! In your own humble and small way you're helping to change the world. Have you read what I've said in "What Did You Do Today to Save a Soul?" (ML #2089, Vol. 16) recently? That's what it's all about, Son. The Kingdom is really made up of little people like you, and of little jobs, little tasks and humble things. Yes, there are more glorious ministries and more showy jobs, but those don't change the world any more than the little inglorious and unseen ministries. What makes a difference is how much you put into it.
       114. Now come, Son. Let's talk together for a minute, and let's see what we can do to maybe put some spark back into your life! I know you love the Lord, but maybe you've just gotten a bit bored. You've allowed the Enemy to come in and tempt you with the thought that you have to be somewhere in the limelight to be making a difference. You've believed him when he told you that your life and all these years of training that you've gotten in the Family have been in vain: "Look at you! You're nowhere, you're nobody, you're not doing anything! You'll never accomplish anything this way. Look out there at the System. There are so many opportunities, so many good causes, so many things that you could dedicate your life to that are so much more exciting than anything the Family has to offer (or that you personally would have the chance to do in the Family)!"
       115. I know, Son. The Enemy used those very temptations on me, and I fell for them. I joined the army and got out of the Lord's will. And like I told you, it was really hell! It was no fun. As soon as I set foot inside that army camp, I knew I was in the wrong place--but it was too late. I'd made the wrong decision, and I had to suffer the consequences. And let me tell you, I suffered!
       116. So I'm trying to help you to see that you don't have to make the same mistake I did. I want to help you to see things from up Here, from this angle, from the Heavenly viewpoint. You have to keep your eyes on Heaven and on the Lord, Son, or else your life will become unfocused and you won't be able to see clearly where you're headed--and then you'll be easy prey for any of the dangerous tangents that the Enemy would tempt you with.
       117. He has many distractions to get you off the straight and narrow. And if your eyes aren't focused clearly so that you can see the vision of what's at the end of the straight and narrow (the Heavenly vision), it's easy to believe the Enemy when he tells you that there's something better out there in the System. But watch out, Son! He's the father of lies, and all these distractions and detours lead nowhere but to unhappiness, emptiness of heart, and a longing to return to the house and table of your Father.
       118. I know your life may not seem like much right now. My life didn't seem like much to me either for 49 years! But I was called to be a servant, and I tried to be content with that. It wasn't always easy, but somehow I made it--one day at a time. You can be thankful that you don't have that long, Son! Ha! Your time is coming soon enough, believe me! You just have to trust and hold on, okay?
       119. "Yes, yes," you're saying, "here we go again. Hold on, hold on, hold on! I've been holding on long enough!" No you haven't, Son. There are more tests to come. Yes, you've been strong, and you've held on so far, but now the Enemy's trying to make you weary of holding on, because he knows that if he can get you to let go, you'll be defeated.
       120. You've come this far, Son, and there's not much time left. You're running a spiritual obstacle course and you've come to the overhead bars. You started off great, and you moved ahead one bar at a time, holding on with your hands and moving forward. But now all of a sudden you've allowed the Enemy to convince you that you're tired. You've allowed him to convince you that there's no reason to hold on anymore. "Look, you've held on long enough. You should've reached the end by now, but you haven't. So why don't you just let yourself go and drop? Go ahead and splatter into the mud below. It's much more comfortable anyway. No one will blame you. Just let yourself fall."
       121. Well, let me tell you, you're closer to the end of these overhead bars than you think you are! Now what are you going to do? Are you going to give up, and let the Enemy tell you that you don't really have the guts to complete this obstacle course? Is this going to be where you quit? Having run so well, you've come to the point where you're holding on by sheer willpower, hanging between the bars and the mud, with the goal--the end of the obstacle course--in front of you!
       122. But then you come to a halt. You look up at the bars that you're holding on to. They're muddy from the hands of those who fell before you, but who got up to try again, and who made it. You look down at the mud, wondering if it would just be easier to let yourself go. Then you look ahead at the goal and wonder if you'll have the strength to make it.
       123. The Lord is on one side. He's strong, muscular, in uniform, and is yelling, "You can do it, kid! I know you can do it! I've trained you long and hard for this! Come on, have faith, take courage! Keep going! Keep holding on! Keep grabbing the next bar, and you can do it!"
       124. The Enemy's sitting there in the mud underneath you. He's fat, and he's puffing on a big cigar, saying, "Come on, why torture yourself? Get with life, kid. Look at me. Take the easy road, the comfortable way. You know, they say mud can even be good for you. So why don't you just let go and come have a nice, warm, comfy, cozy mud bath with me?"
       125. The choice is up to you, Son! You can decide to drop now and give up, and perhaps even try again later, like others before you have. But you may not have the time for that. The battle, the war, is just around the corner, and you will not be ready. Why give up, when down in your gut you know that these are the days that you've been training for? Why give up now when the victory is so close?
       126. You're the one who will decide the end to this scene. It can be courageous, or it can be disappointing. The choice is yours completely. This will be a defining moment of your life, Son. All of us up Here are praying for you and rooting for you, that you'll have the courage to keep hanging on and forging ahead. You've got it in you to become a part of the elite Heavenly Marine Corps of the Endtime, but you've got to complete your training.
       127. So take heart, Son! Take it from your general, who's right here next to your Commander in Chief--the greatest Chief of all! I know what it's like, but nobody that made a difference in this world ever got anywhere by giving up. This Family is the greatest thing to give your life to. I know you've heard that all your life, and you've become so familiar with it that it may be difficult to see, but that doesn't mean that it's not so. That's why the Enemy fights you so hard--because he knows that you're gonna make one great soldier in the Lord's army one of these days, and he doesn't like that one bit! So he tries to scare you out, to bluff you, to tell you that this really isn't the most important thing to be doing with your life. God damn him, Son!
       128. You were born to be a soldier in the Lord's army! And Heaven knows that there are battles ahead that will be lost if you make the wrong choice. You want to make a difference? Man, there's no better way to make a difference than to give your life to the Lord's army. And one of these days when the rewards are handed out, the whole world's going to see what a difference you made. All those boys who thought they were so cool when they joined one of man's puny armies are going to be so envious that they didn't have the chance or privilege of serving on God's Special Assault Force teams!
       129. These are the days of preparation--the real battle is still to come! So don't despise the day of small things. The time will come when you'll look back and be glad that you held on through it all.
       130. I love you, Son, and I know you have what it takes to be a soldier! That's why I can be tough on you--because I know that you've got what it takes! Come on, boy! Be a hero for the Lord! (End of message from Dad.)

Don't Bury Your Talent!
       131.{\b \i (Mama:) }Thank God for Dad--he really knows how to tell it like it is! So if you're tired of hanging on and you feel like you can't make it another inch or another step, just picture the Lord and Dad and your Heavenly helpers rooting for you and encouraging you to keep hanging on to those bars above you!
       132. I know you don't feel like you have the strength for it, but the good news is that you don't have to have the strength for it!--Because if you call out to the Lord, He will hold you. All you have to do is put your will on His side. All you have to do is to say, "No, I'm not going to let go of these bars and sink into the mud"--and the Lord will do the rest! He will come through for you!
       133. A key quote in the above prophecy which we should all remember is where Dad said: "Nobody that made a difference in this world ever got anywhere by giving up!" So if you want to get somewhere in your life and for the Lord, then don't give up!
       134. I know it's tough sometimes, and you just don't see how you can make it one more minute. I really sympathize, and Dad does too, and Peter also! You may sometimes think, "It's easy to keep saying 'hold on' when you don't have to endure the same kind of things I do." You're right--I'm not in exactly the same circumstances. But like I've shared recently, I do have my battles as well, which helps me to understand yours.
       135. My battles are just as difficult for me as yours are for you, so I know what it is to have difficult battles too. In addition to that, the Lord has given me some teen spirit helpers from the Family who help me to understand more clearly how you feel, and the battles and tests that you teens in the Family go through.
       136. But most important of all, the Lord can understand your battles because He knows exactly what's in your heart and exactly what you're going through. And Dad understands as well, because He can see a lot of what's going on from his Heavenly vantage point. And since he's been through a lot of the same things in his own life--including backsliding, feeling like giving up, wanting to go back on the Lord and let go of his crown, feeling like a failure and that he wasn't accomplishing anything for the Lord--he can really relate to what you're going through. So take a tip from what he learned, because it can help you too!
       137. Just think, you worry or are discouraged because you're 15 or 17 or 19 or 23 and you don't feel like you've found your calling in life yet and something that you can really sink your teeth into and get a prolonged feeling of accomplishment from. I'm not belittling or minimizing that trial, because I know it's very real and it can be pretty discouraging. But when you're hit with that, think of Dad, who felt that way much of the time until he found his life's calling at 49!
       138. It was rough, and he felt like giving up sometimes, but he kept on going and doing what the Lord was showing him to do, and being faithful with what the Lord had given him. And because of his faithfulness, the Lord was able to bless him with great and mighty works! The Lord will do the same for you if He finds that you're faithful with the "little" that you may have now--which actually isn't that "little," because it's fulfilling the greatest commission in the world--that of preaching the Gospel to every creature!
       139. Look at Moses! He had to wait until he was 80, including 40 years tending sheep in the wilderness, until he was ready for his life's calling and what God had for him. The Lord had to wait until the time was right, and He needed to teach Moses trust, patience and endurance, which certainly came in handy when he had to lead the Jews out of Egypt and shepherd them around the wilderness for 40 years until they reached the Promised Land! No wonder God said that Moses was one of the great men of God of all time! But look what it took!
       140. Jesus Himself didn't start His ministry until He was 30! We don't know exactly what He did before then, because it's not recorded, but we do know He was a carpenter. (See Mark 6:3.) Now that doesn't sound like a very glorious job or ministry for the Son of God, does it? No miracles, no great works--just humbly hewing wood. That must have taken a lot of grace and humility, and I'm sure that it tried Jesus' patience at times. But He endured until God knew it was the right time and He was ready to begin His ministry.
       141. Of course, I'm pretty sure you won't have to wait until you're 80 or 49 or even 30 to find your life's calling, thank the Lord! The Lord is moving much more rapidly these days since we're in the Endtime, and He's said repeatedly that He's growing us all up much more quickly--especially you of the younger generation, because He wants to use you now! And actually, that's one reason why He's putting so many of you through some pretty big tests, because He needs to test you to find out what you're made of, and strengthen and mature you for the job at hand.
       142. In fact, you've already found your calling in life--serving the Lord in the Family! That's more than you can say for most people in the world your age, who haven't a clue as to what they want to do with their lives! Ask the first generation adults you know. Very few of them had a concrete idea of what they wanted to do with their lives when they were teens or young adults. That's why so many kids in college change their major area of study several times, because they can't make up their mind what they want to do or to be! It's all pretty much of a "green door" ending anyway.
       143. I understand, of course, that "serving the Lord" is pretty general, and you would like something more specific. You're already "serving the Lord" now, but maybe in your particular situation it's not very inspiring or exciting, and maybe it hasn't been for the last few months or even the last couple of years. I know that the Lord does have a ministry or field or job that is really going to challenge you and give you the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that you desire. But it may take some time before you're ready or the conditions are right.
       144. In the meantime, the Lord wants to see what you're going to do with what you have. Are you going to be like the man with the one talent, who figured it was so little that he might as well just bury it? You could relate that to someone who isn't in a very exciting situation, and who isn't doing much (in their eyes) except "doing some witnessing" or "taking care of kids" or "helping around the Home," which while very important to the Lord, doesn't seem to be so important to him. Did you ever consider that maybe that's the "one talent" that the Lord has given you, and He wants to see what you're going to do with it before He entrusts you with more?
       145. But you look at the fellow who has five talents, and you figure, "I'm not doing anything! I don't have an exciting or important ministry like he does, so why bother with this one talent anyway? I might as well quit and go to the System. I'm not doing much for the Lord anyway since He's only given me this one little job to do. It doesn't make much difference whether I use this talent or not, and if I just throw it away, it won't be missed."
       146. Well, if you'll recall in the story, when the Lord came back, He rewarded those who used their talents--whether it was two or five--and gave them great blessings. But He wasn't too happy with the fellow who despised his talent and threw it away. You can read for yourself what happened to him. (See Mat.25:14-30.)

The Key to Fulfillment!
       147. I understand that it can be pretty difficult, though, when you don't feel real challenged and life in your Home is pretty ho-hum, without the excitement and moving of the Spirit that it should have. Maybe you feel like you're mostly just surviving--taking care of the Home, raising funds, maybe doing a little CTP work once in a while, but not that much real witnessing. I'm really sorry if your situation is like that, and if that's the case, I'm praying your Home will have a change--or that you will have a change and be able to find a calling or situation where you will find the inspiration and excitement that you long for. The Lord does want to give it to you!
       148. Sometimes He may allow you to walk through what seems to be "the valley of the shadow of death" for a little while, for the reasons already covered above, but His intention is not to leave you there. He has a place for you on the mountain trails and alongside the refreshing streams where you'll find the contentment and fulfillment you want.
       149. When Peter was on his trip to Europe and Russia, he met a precious and talented young lady who was very discouraged and unchallenged. She'd mostly been doing childcare for the last few years and was "burned out on it," although she'd also had the opportunity to help a bit in other ministries that most teens don't get a chance to. A number of her friends had left the Family, and she was seriously considering doing the same.
       150. Peter was burdened for her, and so asked the Lord if He had anything to say about her situation. Here's the message the Lord gave. I'm sure some of you, or perhaps many of you, can relate to how she felt. So please remember as you read this that the Lord's promises and beautiful Words of comfort and encouragement for her apply to you as well. (You'll be happy to know that after Peter gave her this message from the Lord, this young woman took up the challenge to stay in the Family and is still using her talents for the Lord's glory! God bless her!)

       151.{\b \i (Jesus speaking:) }She is one of many of the young children of David who find themselves dissatisfied and unhappy in their situation. They long for challenge and fulfillment and find it not. They desire for their gifts and talents to be used, but somehow the usefulness they desire escapes them and cannot be found. They look and they search and they desire and yearn for something more, for something else.
       152. There are many among the young ones who no longer find satisfaction or fulfillment taking care of the children, keeping the kitchen, or provisioning the goods. They long and they search for more. Such a one is this girl. She longs for true happiness and fulfillment. She looks beyond the borders of her Home, beyond the borders of her present country. She even looks beyond the borders of the Family. She looks at the System. She sees the temptations and is allured by them.
       153. Yet deep within her heart she knows that the answers to her longings do not lie within the System and its images and glitter. She's a smart girl and she knows that that's not where it's at. But still, she searches, and at the bottom of all of this, in the depth of her heart, is her love for Me. She is Mine. I am her Lover and her Husband. Deep down within her spirit, she longs for Me--yet she follows from a distance. She's not yet fully committed. She's torn. She longs for her desires to be fulfilled. She yearns to be happy. She knows that she's not happy, and that so far her longings have only brought her sadness and discontentment.
       154. But now I call to her, saying, I have in My hand all the desires of your heart, My little one, My love. All these things will I give to you if you will but love Me with all your heart. I love you and I long to be loved in return. I long for you to be My dedicated, loving, committed bride. I come to you gently with My many blessings in one hand, and the desires of your heart in the other. All these things will I give to you if you will but give your heart to Me.
       155. The road to fulfillment, to life, to love, to happiness and satisfaction, is the road to commitment. You must give your heart to Me, My little one. Give Me your life. Commit all your longings and desires to Me. Bring them all to Me and lay them at My feet. Forsake them, My love, and see if I will not return to you every one of them multiplied many times over with blessings and the fulfillment of your every wish, your every desire, and the longings of your heart.
       156. I know that you love Me, and it gives Me great pleasure to give those that love Me the very wants and desires of their hearts. And so it is with you, My little one, My little love whom I so cherish. How I also long to make you happy! How I wish to use the gifts and talents which I have given you! How I desire to hear you sing to Me with all your heart! How I wish to give to you new songs from My Spirit! How I long to make of your young life, which is now frustrated and broken, a new life of joy and fulfillment in Me! But you must do your part, My sweet one. You must come to Me and give Me your heart. You must give Me your all. You must give Me your full and complete commitment, your love and your dedication.
       157. Prove Me now and see if I am not the Lover of your soul. See if I will not open the windows of My love and pour out My blessings upon your life. See if I will not use your many gifts, the talent that you have for giving to others and loving them. Give Me your life and see if I will not cause happiness, joy, and fulfillment to overtake you. I will overwhelm you with My love! I will pour out My blessings so that you will not have room enough to hold them all! For I am the God of all these things. I am your Maker and the Lover of your soul.
       158. I know how to please those who please Me. I know how to please you, My little love. Now is the time to give Me your all. Now is the day of decision. This is the hour of dedication. Don't wait until tomorrow or say, "I will give You my life in a few months." Why let another day pass without giving Me your all, your very life, in complete and full commitment and dedication to Me? You say, "Oh, the cost is so great." But I say to you, what is your life? Did I not give it to you in the first place? Is it not Mine?
       159. I give you the choice; it's up to you. I ask that you give Me your life--the life that I have given to you. I ask because I need it. I need your love, and I need your life, that I might give My love to others through you. I need you, My darling. But I can only ask; it is for you to give. The choice is yours.
       160. Let's make a deal, you and I. You give me your life, your all, your everything, and I in return will bless you in greater ways than you ever thought possible! For starters, I'll cause you to taste of the ecstasies of the Spirit which you've not known before. I'll cause you to know joy and happiness such as you've not yet known. I'll cause you to know satisfaction and fulfillment such as you've not yet experienced. And, yes, I'll use your gifts and talents along the way. I'm the One Who gave them to you. I am the Lord of your talents, and I, more than anyone, desire to see them used.
       161. And now I wait to see. I'm waiting for you. I must see your love. You must show Me your love. You must commit first, and then the blessings will come. You must first do your part, and then will I do Mine. Don't think for a moment that if you do your part and commit wholly to Me, that I will go back on My part; for I am not a man that I should lie! What I have spoken, I will perform. I will do that which I've said I will do. I will fulfill My promises to you. You do your part, you keep your part of the bargain, My little love, and I will surely keep Mine. (End of message from Jesus.)

       162. {\b \i (Mama:) }The Lord is extending the same invitation to any of you who are struggling with the decision of whether to keep serving the Lord or not: Commit your life to Him, and He will bless you with the things that you desire, and will use you to the fullest! It may not happen immediately, but God's delays are not denials. And as He promises, "Don't think for a moment that if you do your part and commit wholly to Me, that I will go back on My part; for I am not a man that I should lie!" Trust Him! He'll come through!
       163. Are you looking for more fulfillment, more satisfaction, more happiness? The Lord says above that "the road to fulfillment, to life, to love, to happiness and satisfaction, is the road to commitment." Some people want to receive the Lord's blessings first and then they'll commit themselves. But it doesn't work that way. The Lord says, "You must commit first, and then the blessings will come." As Dad has taught, "Blessings don't precede obedience."
       164. Sometimes people are a little too impatient because they expect immediate answers or rewards. They say, "Okay, Lord, I'll commit myself to You and follow You." But then if something doesn't happen right away and their situation is pretty much the same after a few weeks or months, and they're not being greatly used like they think they should be, they figure the Lord hasn't fulfilled His part of the bargain, so they might as well not fulfill theirs and just quit.
       165. But the Lord doesn't always do things right away, because He wants to test our faith. Or maybe He knows that the situation that you're in is going to teach you some important lessons--like trust, patience, and continued obedience, even when you don't see the answer yet. Or maybe the balls aren't quite in place yet for things to happen, like Dad explained in "Prayer Power!" (ML #302). If that's the case, keep trusting the Lord, because if there's one thing you can count on for sure, it's that what He has promised, He is able--and willing--to perform! (Rom.4:21).

Finding Fulfillment in Your Calling
       166. On a slightly different topic, when reading the above prophecy, you may have had a question about the part where the Lord talked about "the young ones who no longer find satisfaction or fulfillment taking care of the children, keeping the kitchen, or provisioning the goods." Perhaps you wondered whether this means that you as a young person can't find satisfaction or true happiness doing those types of ministries, and whether you need something more exciting to make you happy. I asked the Lord what He meant, and He was happy to clarify.

       167.{\b \i (Jesus speaking:)} Young ones could find true happiness, fulfillment and satisfaction from the jobs that they've been doing for years, like taking care of the children, but some find it not, because they've lost the vision. They're bored and wish to move on to something new and different. They feel that they've been "burned out" on this ministry and that it holds no future for them.
       168. If they were to catch the vision and see the possibilities, then it would give them the satisfaction and fulfillment that they seek, but they see it not. I don't hold this entirely to their charge, because part of it is due to the situation that they're in, the sample that they see in their parents or shepherds, and how much others try to help them catch the vision and show them ways their ministries can be fun and exciting. Also, they're young and restless, and in need of change and excitement. This is normal, and how I have created them, because I wish for them to have a wide range of experience, and to try different things until they find My special calling for them.
       169. Some may make a full circle and return to that which they'd been doing before. Having tried other things, they realize that the ministry that they'd been doing for so long, which they'd felt bored with, is indeed My calling for them, that which will give them the most fulfillment and which they have the greatest anointing for. But it will only give them that fulfillment when they recognize that it can, and that it is My calling for them.
       170. For others, what they'd been doing for so long and didn't find satisfaction in is not My calling for them. I used it for a time to teach them many things--lessons of patience, endurance and sacrifice--but I have something else in store for them. So they get restless and have an urge to move on. And this is part of My plan, so that they may find that which I have for them.
       171. Some don't find the fulfillment in what they're presently doing because it's My will that they do something else. For others, they are where I wish them to be, but they haven't realized it yet. They could come to recognize it simply by seeking Me, listening to Me, and trusting Me; this is the quickest way. But some must experiment with other callings and ministries, and I use each of those experiences to their benefit as well. (End of message from Jesus.)

              172. {\b \i (Mama:)} If you're feeling unfulfilled or burned out in your present ministry, ask the Lord what you should do about it. He may have something else in mind for you, or He may want to show you how to make your present ministry more satisfying and enjoyable! Like He said, the quickest way to find out is to ask Him.

Some Practical Tips
       173. After reading this far, you may be telling yourself now, "Okay, great; I'm supposed to hold on, and I'm really trying, and I appreciate the counsel about changing my Home--which happens to be a bit dead in the spirit and lacking in excitement and inspiration--or going to another one if that doesn't work out." (On the other hand, maybe the Home is doing just fine, and you're the one who's lacking in inspiration.) "But it's not so easy to change the folks in my Home. And as far as going somewhere else, due to the circumstances it won't happen so quickly. I'll be working on it, but you know, it takes time, it takes money, and it's not so easy to find another good Home just like that." (Or maybe you're not old enough to take off on your own to another Home.) "So what do I do in the meantime?"
       174. I understand that these are very realistic and important concerns and questions on the hearts of some of you. Maybe you're not in a situation where you can so easily find another Home that is all out for the Lord, witnessing up a storm, etc., and where you'll be inspired. So what do you do in the meantime, while you're "holding on"? I asked Dad about this, and whether he had any practical tips or steps that you could take in order to help boost your spirits and keep you motivated despite the circumstances around you. Here's what he had to say:

       175. {\b \i (Dad speaking:)} Of course the most important things, if you find yourself in that situation, are to hold on to the Lord and seek His Word. No matter what steps you take in the physical, you won't get very far without the spiritual strength and inspiration that comes from seeking the Lord and getting filled up on His Word. Those will pull you through no matter what your circumstances are, because they have power which is far beyond the power of the flesh and fleshly things.
       176. But there are also some practical things that you can do to stay inspired in your service for the Lord, even if your present circumstances are a bit dull, or the Home you are in has lost its fire. You may feel that bringing about a change in your Home may be like moving a mountain, but you can first try to change your own personal life and work habits, and what you do with your time, and then your sample will speak louder than anything else. As other people see you inspired and on-fire for the Lord in what you're doing, they'll eventually catch on as well. Enthusiasm is contagious!
       177. Of course it's not immediately contagious, and you have to be patient. Just because you're enthusiastic and inspired in your service for the Lord doesn't mean that everyone else in your Home is going to follow suit immediately. So please be patient and don't expect overnight changes. Keep plugging along, because if you don't give up, you will have some results! And even if others in the Home refuse to change, at least you've done what you could. At least you're inspired, even if they aren't or don't want to be!
       178. On to some practical things you can do: The things that will give you the most inspiration all center around helping others and witnessing to them. Because when you see someone's life change, or you see the joy that you're bringing them when you give them the Lord or help them in some way, that inspires you and lifts your spirit. There is no greater motivation than that, because you see the fruit of your labors, and on top of it, you know that you're fulfilling the commission that the Lord has for you! So whatever steps you can take toward witnessing more, in whatever ways you can, will pay off in added inspiration and enthusiasm when you see the results.
       179. For example, in your free time, if your circumstances permit it, start a ministry of witnessing to your neighbors, and even offer to give Bible classes to those who you find are hungry and want to know more about the Lord. You have so much to offer in the way of knowledge about the Word, on the Endtime and so many other interesting topics! Use the Word Basics, or the Word Topics and Treasures to put together some neat Bible classes.
       180. Or set yourself challenges by preparing to go to the mission field--if you're not already on one--by learning the language of that country! You'll make a much more effective witness and missionary and have it much easier if you already know some of the language when you get there. Of course, that takes some study and hard work, but it can be fun because you see your progress, and you know you're spending time on something that's going to come in handy. Also, study up on the culture, history and people of the country you're going to, which will give you a much better understanding of them, and come in real handy when you're witnessing to them. They'll be impressed as they see that you've cared enough about them to get to know their country and people, what they're like and what they've been through.
       181. Or take up a new hobby that you know you can use as a witness or supporter or to help the Home. For example, if you have a sewing machine, you might want to learn how to make clothes--singing outfits or costumes, etc. Provision the patterns and material, and go to it! It might even provide opportunities to witness or be a supporter in some way. Or you could learn how to make puppets.
       182. Or if your Home has a garden, turn it into your "work area" and don't just take care of it, but make it into a place of beauty by provisioning different beautiful flowers and plants, and learn how to take care of them and what kind of care each of them needs (you can learn from books at the library). Teach yourself organic gardening and plant a vegetable patch so you can grow food for the Home or certain specialty items which you don't normally get in your food purchasing or provisioning.
       183. If you have a tendency toward computers, teach yourself enough to be able to set up a program to help the Home keep track of all their friends and contacts, with a record of who got what, automatic reminders of sending thank-you notes, birthday cards on their birthdays, the next installment of Living Waters, etc. Or set up a program to help the finance man keep track of his finances, or the kids to keep track of their schooling records.
       184. If you like writing, start a mail ministry in which you correspond with the various sheep that you meet in the course of your outreach or CTP ministries. You'd be surprised how much it means to people to receive a personal letter from someone they hardly know. And you'll be inspired and warmed by the responses you get in return! Keep them fed with the Word, encourage them to ask their questions, and then study up for the answers, or get others to help you find them in the Word (use the HomeARC if you have a computer), to help you formulate the replies!
       185. Try to find something that you like to do, an area or skill that you would like to learn about, and then look for a way in which you can use that either to help your Home or to be a witness of some kind. The Lord can use just about any kind of ministry or skill, so I know that if you ask the Lord and pray, He'll show you what you can do and how it can work. Of course, it takes time to learn things, and you'll need some patience, but it can sure pay off in renewed inspiration and enthusiasm that will influence the rest of your work and ministries for the Lord!
       186. Of course I realize that you don't have a lot of time for things like these, because you're pretty busy with your regular outreach and Home ministries. But I know that you do have some free time, or you have times when you're bored and don't know what to do and don't feel so inspired. So during those times throw yourself into something that you can have fun doing and that will benefit the Lord and others in some way--and He'll bless you and give you the inspiration and joy that you're seeking.
       187. Just remember to be sure to ask the Lord first and make sure that that's what He wants you to do. Don't go running off half-brained at the first whim that comes to your mind! Ask the Lord, and counsel with others too, as the Lord may show you something else that He wants you to do that will be even better and bear more fruit in the long run, and give you more fulfillment and inspiration. So stay in tune with Him, and keep close to the big Boss, okay? God bless you guys! You're a terrific bunch, and I love you! And if you need some extra counsel, just call and I'll try to come over and see what I can do to lend you a hand in the spirit. Okay? I love you! (End of message from Dad.)

       188. {\b \i (Mama:)} Praise the Lord! Isn't that inspiring? I hope that it opens your eyes to new vistas and exciting undertakings that are there for you, if you have the vision and initiative to do them. Dad just gave a few ideas to get you thinking. One good place that I recommend you look for other good ideas is the CVC, where you can find a whole curriculum of how to go about learning and practicing your skill, and even get official recognition for your efforts! Here are a few other skills or projects of interest that I thought of while working on this GN, some of which you'll find details on in the CVC:

       189. Spirit stories: If you have the gift of prophecy, you could try asking the Lord to give you a spirit story. As those who have received them have testified, it can be pretty exciting! Plus, if it gets printed for all, there's a lot of satisfaction in knowing that you're helping to give the whole Family something that will both edify and entertain them.
       190. Art: Maybe you feel you have some artistic talent. If so, take the time to develop it further, so that you can use it both in your witnessing (designing props, cards, etc.), as well as possibly help with illustrating the Heaven's Library series!
       191. Typing: With the advent of the computer age, secretarial and computer skills are becoming more and more essential, even in an everyday Home. Teach yourself to touch-type, and practice it by transcribing prophecies from your Home or other projects. The more you practice, the better you'll get.
       192. Computer literacy: Learn the basics, or advanced features, of the office-related computer programs that your Home has, so that you can not only type, but also know how to format, do basic layout, print, send e-mail, set up and install a modem, run the TeleTRF program, use the HomeARC, etc. Those are important skills that will be useful not only in your Home, but which other Homes will want or need to learn, and which you can teach them.
       193. Speed reading and memory enhancement: Speed reading is something you can learn on your own as well as through outside courses or a computer program. It's very useful in the Family, especially when you have a lot to read. The ability to read quickly and yet have a good comprehension is always helpful. If you have trouble reading, a remedial reading course is also something worth looking into, if available where you are. Memory enhancement classes teach you how to memorize and retain information more easily by using association techniques, and come in handy not only for Scripture memorization, but for remembering many other things as well. (You can find information on this in How To Get Things Done.)
       194. Sign language: Be a missionary to the deaf! A fun challenge to learn, and a wonderful witnessing tool.
       195. First-aid and nursing: This is a skill that can often come in handy, not only in the Family, but in your CTP ministries as well. You can teach yourself through books, as well as take outside courses which are sometimes offered for free--or could be provisioned--by fire departments or hospitals.
       196. Photography: If you can provision or purchase a camera, this is something that you could develop into a real art, which could be used for your Home's PR albums and other purposes. (Lots on this in Heavenly Helpers #4.)
       197. Teaching: Besides learning to be a good teacher (for the kids in your own Home), you could go beyond that and develop good children's learning materials, which can be used not only by your Home, but other Homes in your area. Making good educational materials takes a lot of skill and effort, and can be quite a challenge, not to mention very useful. You can get lots of ideas on this from our childcare pubs, and then research other educational sources as well.
       198. Food management: If your main ministry in the Home is cooking, or even if you are scheduled to cook a meal once every week or two, you can turn it into an art by experimenting with different meals and compiling your own cookbook of "tried and proven" recipes which others can use as well. You can also come up with ways to save money by developing tasty and healthy meals from cheap or easily provisioned ingredients. Come up with a good plan for your Home's survival food and its rotation and use (which can be quite a challenge).
       199. Arts and crafts: This sounds pretty basic, but actually there are a lot of advanced skills and techniques you can learn to create beautiful items not only to decorate your own Home, but as gifts for contacts, neighbors, etc. Learn macramé, woodcrafting, crocheting, interior decorating, build props for CTP shows, etc.
       200. Music and performing: This is probably something you're already doing, but besides just learning basic guitar playing, you can put a lot more into it and learn other instruments that can be a blessing in your outreach and performing--and lots of fun too.
       201. Hairdressing: Always needed! Anyone can put a bowl on someone's head and give them a "Franciscan" trim, but cutting and styling hair nicely is not easy. Provision the items you need and go beyond the basics.
       202. Massage: Also sounds pretty basic, but actually there's a lot you can learn that can make the difference between a truly relaxing and healing massage, or just someone rubbing their hands over your body. And it will be very much in demand by all those with sore backs and muscles from being out all day! (See Heavenly Helpers #4 for a basic how-to on massage.)
       203. Auto Mechanics: If you can learn to diagnose car problems and fix them, you become a valuable asset to any Home! Besides learning from books and trying it out, you could provision mechanics courses, as well as get experienced adults to show you what they know.
       204. Electronics: Learning how to repair common household appliances like tape recorders, VCRs, sewing machines, washing machines, etc., is another skill that would get a lot of use. You won't be able to learn everything or never have to send anything in for repair again, but you'd be surprised how many problems of this sort can be fixed at home by someone with the know-how.

       205. With most of the above skills, there are a number of ways you can find the training and information you need: in Family pubs (see the CVC for listings), books at public or university libraries, outside courses or classes, the Internet, computer programs, videos, etc. And I'm sure as you pray and seek the Lord, He can show you many more ideas of things that would be feasible in your situation.
       206. And remember, while you're undertaking some new ministry or project, you can take one of the JETTs or OCs under your wing and let them help you, or teach them as you go, so that they can feel inspired as well. Then you're not only helping others through your ministry, but fulfilling the "Call to the Rescue" vision at the same time!
       207. Of course, none of this is easy. It all takes some initiative and hard work, but everything that results in something worthwhile requires some hard work. That's just life! But it's also part of what makes life a challenge and exciting. And as you overcome those challenges, you'll find renewed inspiration and zest in your life, and extra motivation in your service for the Lord.

Encouragement for a Struggling Teen
       208.{\b \i (Mama:)} Here's a message that Dad gave for another teen girl who was also struggling in her service for the Lord and thinking of leaving the Family. I hope it will encourage you to hear how Dad can understand what you who face such battles go through, and how concerned he is for you, as are Peter and I. We know it's tough and we pray for you often. It's especially difficult when you have friends or those close to you leave, as was the case with this girl, and Dad has some good counsel on that. He also talks about the temptations of the System and its pull on you young people. That's a related topic that I'll be covering at greater length in another Letter, but I'll leave in what Dad said about it here.

              209. {\b \i (Dad speaking:)} I know how hard it is to be a teen. It was even hard when I was young, but not near as difficult as it is nowadays. I'm so glad you decided to write Mama. That was such a good idea, and it probably helped you, too, to get your feelings out on paper. I hope it relieved at least a little of the pressure you feel. It can sure build up, can't it?--Till you feel like you could almost explode!
       210. This may not be such encouraging news--but it does get easier as the years go by! You're in a pretty tough time of life, and that's why I always said that I wouldn't really want to be young again. There's so much to learn, so much to go through, and it can be pretty rough sometimes. As you get a little older, you learn from experience that somehow, some way, the Lord always pulls you through, and slowly your faith grows enough to believe He'll do it for you again if hard times come.
       211. But that probably doesn't help you too much now, does it? Well, I hope it encourages you to know that you're not alone in your battles. There are a lot of young folks that go through it, not just in the Family, but in the System too. So many young people run away from home, they turn to drugs, they just throw everything to the wind and decide to live their lives their way. It's a real testing time. So you can see that it's not unusual that you're in such a whirlwind right now. Some of your friends have gone through it too, as you testified. Some got caught in the winds and blown aside, and now they're off the path for a while.
       212. It's pretty difficult to see those you love leave the Lord's work, leave the days of Heaven you remember having with them, and go off into the pits. I bet you worry about them and wish you could do something to help, and it makes you feel so frustrated that the picture looks so bleak. I sure felt that way when I saw Deborah go astray, and others I loved. When they left me, and left the Lord's service, and left the Family, my heart just broke and I felt like dying. I really did. I got so discouraged and down. But I just had to go on, if not for my own sake, for the sake of you, my other children.
       213. Oh, I wish I could just reach down, Honey, and comfort your aching heart, warm it, and make things all better for you! But please do be comforted with the fact--yes, I said fact--that all these things are in the Lord's hands and under His control, not the Enemy's control. The Lord is still watching over your friends. He's still got His mark on them. They're still His kids, so He's going to keep them somehow. It shows a lot of love for you to care so much about them and want to somehow hold on to them, even if all you can do is pray. That's a funny one, isn't it?--"All you can do!"--Because it's actually a whole lot!
       214. Believe me, when I got over Here and saw how much prayer can do, I wished I'd prayed more! It's powerful and it changes things; that's another fact. So, Honey, hold on to them in your prayers. Lie down at night, cuddle up on your bed, lay your head on your pillow, picture them in your mind's eye, and give them, each one, to the Lord. Place them in His arms. Watch Him put His loving arms around them and claim His love and Spirit to watch over them. One day, over Here, they're going to really thank you, Honey, so keep holding on to them in prayer.
       215. You don't have to feel bad about longing to see your friends, or missing them, or having some of those thoughts that have come your way. Turn those thoughts into prayers for them. Of course, as you said, if these thoughts are interfering with your connection with the Lord or your concentration on the job at hand, then you would do well to see what you can do to stop any hindrance. It's not that the thoughts themselves are all wrong--it's just a matter of what type of fruit they bear. If they cause you to get down and discouraged, well, then just take them to the Lord in prayer and pray against the discouragement. If it doesn't lift soon, then don't be too proud to ask someone to pray with you.
       216. If the thoughts you get turn you to the Lord to pray for those you miss and love, then go ahead and pour out your heart for them and let the Lord bring forth the fruits of your prayers. I guess this is good advice for all of your friends and loved ones that you're not with, both the ones still in the Family and those who have left.

The Pull of the World
       217. {\b \i (Dad continues:) }The world will always be a pull--the things of this Earth. Even in Bible times they had the same temptations. Why do you think Jesus said, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures on Earth?" They were into material things then too. It's always been a pull, a temptation. The Devil even tempted Jesus with all the riches of this world. Moses was tempted to have all the riches Pharaoh had. There have always been temptations. But they chose to look up and ahead to the world to come. They let go of the things of this world and looked ahead to things of a better world to come--the eternal world!
       218. Now wouldn't you rather have those wonderful, beautiful Heavenly gowns instead of just the fashions of this world? Wouldn't you rather hold in your hand the treasures and gems and jewels galore of the world to come, rather than a few puny gems and gold of this world? Sure you would! But that doesn't always make it any less of a temptation, does it? Sorry about that, Honey.
       219. Especially if you're living in real tough conditions, it's easy to think that if you just had a little more, it would be easier to serve the Lord. Well, I think sometimes you're right; it is easier if your physical setup is better, and if you're well-fed and well-clothed. I'm not against people having their needs met. The Lord is sure good to us and even gives us things we like, and He doesn't mind if we have a little extra.
       220. The only time the problem comes in is when we start wanting too much and get our eyes on the needs rather than the One Who gives them to us. But if you're tempted in this direction, just don't let it get to you. It really isn't that big of a thing (wanting things), because if you keep it in its place, it just isn't a problem. Do your best to stay simple and balanced, and if you feel it's a problem for you, then again, just take it to the Lord. Ask Him to help you let the things of this Earth fade into the background so that your mind can be stayed more on the Heavenly things. He'll help you, Honey.
       221. The main thing is to just do your best to stay close to the Lord. Let Him speak to your heart, let Him work in your life. And remember that the situations that come up in your life are part of His loving plan and are doled out from His loving hand. Whatever He does, He does it in love. That's a bit hard to always feel, but try to take it by faith--and your eyes will get brighter, things will look lighter, and the load will be easier. Remember to cast your burdens on Him. He will keep you, hold you, and help you in every way! (End of message from Dad.)

              222. {\b \i (Mama:) }It's encouraging what Dad said about how it gets easier as you get older. Of course, no matter what age you are, you still have lots of battles and difficulties, but when you're a teen or a young adult, it's an especially difficult time and the obstacles seem much larger. One reason, as Dad points out, is because you haven't yet acquired the experience that teaches you that the Lord always works things out in the long run; that although the tunnel may seem pretty long and dark, there's always a light at the end of it.
       223. As life progresses and the Lord pulls you through difficult times, you come to realize through personal experience that He's always there, just as He promised, and He can work miracles, both in your life and in the lives of others, or in the situation that you're in. Also, as you get older, you become more sure of your calling and you discover what your talents are and what the Lord wants you to do, and that's a big help.
       224. So those teen years are some of the toughest, and I admire all of you who hang on through them and don't give up. I think you'll find if you talk to our older SGAs who went through a rough teenhood that as they grew into their early or mid-twenties, they found that some of the things that seemed so major to them when they were teens weren't so significant to them anymore. Your views change, and you're better able to put things that once seemed larger than life into their proper perspective.
       225. Another important point that I'd like to highlight from Dad's message above is the importance of prayer. If there's anyone I know who was faithful to pray and believed in the power of prayer and practiced it, it was Dad! Yet he himself says here that had he realized just how much prayer can do, he would have prayed more while here on Earth. So if Dad could have prayed more, then certainly we should be praying more, because most of us don't pray nearly as much as Dad did as it is! I think we're doing a lot better in general, and the Lord has really been emphasizing it during the last couple of years, but we still have a ways to go.
       226. Specifically, Dad talks about praying for your loved ones or relatives who may have left the Family. Your heart goes out to them, of course, and you want to help them in some way--and the best way you can help them is by praying for them. Turn your thoughts about them into prayers, and you'll be doing them a world of good.
       227. Whenever you're tempted to get discouraged about their leaving, or start wondering whether you should follow suit, turn it around into a prayer for their safekeeping and a prayer that they'll learn what the Lord wants to teach them so that they can return to His service in His time. Also, pray for yourself, that you will be strengthened in the faith and not be swayed by what others may or may not decide to do. If you find it too difficult to pray for your loved ones or friends for some reason, you can always ask someone else to pray for them on a regular basis.

"What Is That to Thee?"
       228. Probably the time when you're hit the hardest with thoughts of backsliding is when someone close to you leaves. As I mentioned earlier, the Enemy tells you that they must have had some good reason for leaving--or maybe you already know their reasons and maybe you feel they have an element of truth to them--and that maybe the same reason applies to you. Or you wonder if perhaps they'll be happier out there (like they say they'll be), and if so, maybe you would be happier too.
       229. It's heartbreaking when a close friend or member of your family decides to leave. But I think we should remember what Jesus told Peter just before His ascension: "What is that to thee? Follow thou Me!" (Jn.21:22).
       230. You can't base your life on what someone else does; you've got to base it on your own convictions and what you know to be true and right. If your heart is not with the Family and you don't want to serve the Lord, and you've been looking for an excuse or a way to leave for a long time, then I can see that when a friend leaves it's an ideal opportunity for you to do so as well. If that's the case, and you've made a definite decision in your heart that you don't want to follow the Lord, then maybe you should leave rather than halfheartedly hang around, officially staying in the Family but not doing anything for the Lord.
       231. But if you believe that you are called to a life of love and service for others, and that Jesus is worth living and dying for, and that in the Family we're trying the best we can--though we have our faults--to reach that goal, then stick to your guns no matter what anybody else does! If they leave, it's between them and the Lord, and they'll have to give account of themselves when they face the Lord in Heaven. But it's going to be a pretty lame excuse if when you get to Heaven you say, "Well, so-and-so left, so I got discouraged and decided that I'd go as well."
       232. It's sort of like when Adam said, "The woman which Thou gavest me to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." As you'll recall, the Lord didn't let him off the hook. The Lord said, "Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life" (Gen.3:12,17). So the Lord didn't consider it a very good excuse.
       233. I can understand how difficult it is, though, and I commend you all the more for having decided to stick it out, even when those you were close to, or admired and looked up to, forsook their crowns. I really admire you for that, and the Lord does as well. It shows a lot of strength of character, and most of all, a lot of strength in the Lord and holding on to Him so you won't get swept away by the Enemy's doubts and temptations.
       234. Some time ago one of our dear teens expressed some of the battles that come when your friends leave the Family in a letter she wrote me, part of which I'd like to share with you, as you can probably relate to it. God bless this dear girl, who displayed a very good attitude in the face of such difficulties. She let it draw her closer to the Lord and the Word, and as a result, despite the battles, she held on and is still going for the Lord today. She wrote:

       235. "This last year has been a time of real testing and trial for me, which in a way I'm thankful for as it has been strengthening me and drawing me close to the Lord and the Word. It has been very difficult, though. One of the biggest battles for me has been that in the last year, ten of my very good friends, even some of my 'best friends,' have left the Family; many of them asking me to go with them or writing me all their doubts about the Family, which was quite taxing.
       236. "I began to start having the same doubts and questioning everything, and I came to the point where I was wondering if I really belonged in the Family. So a couple of months ago I had to finally make the decision of what I wanted to do with my life. It was a very difficult choice, as I do love and miss my friends, but I realized that I really want to do something with my life--not just stay in the Family because someone wants me to or expects me to and I don't want to let them down, but because I love Jesus and I want to do something for Him by making this world better and serving Him.
       237. "When I finally made that decision, it was great! I felt like I'd joined the Family for the first time. I know many times when I was younger we would say 'I'm not going to just be here because my parents are here,' but it didn't really mean much as I didn't realize there was anything else I could do in this world. But now the choice was so clear and it would've been so easy just to give up and quit and go live for myself.
       238. "What really helped me to refute all the doubts I was having about the Family was to see how silly it is to stop serving the Lord completely just because I don't understand one of the Family's doctrines or don't agree with a few policies. It helped me just to keep things really simple, because I know for a fact that the Bible is true and that Jesus is real, and that the easiest place for me to serve the Lord is in the Family. So I know that those other things aren't so important, and if I have to make a few sacrifices, it's worth it!
       239. "As I said, it has been very difficult to keep going through thick and thin, but I'm so happy I have, and Jesus has been very real to me. After I made my decision, I was able to go with a group of young people to another mission field; it was really perfect timing and I had the time of my life! I got a burden for the lost and saw what we're here for.
       240. "Sad to say, since I've come back to my Home I've really been going through so much, and every day is really a fight. I guess after coming back from an exciting field it's difficult to just go back to your old job. I've been in childcare since I was old enough to care for kids. I have no complaints, though, as I love kids and teaching, and have always felt it was my calling.
       241. "But I've been losing the vision, and it's quite discouraging, because I'm not good at anything else, as I've done it all my life. In a way, I want a change, but I feel I would be leaving my calling and I don't want to disappoint the Lord. I honestly feel very confused and uncertain about His will in my life. Although I really want to stay in the Family, I don't know what I should do in it.
       242. "Often I have a hard time believing that Jesus could actually love me because of all the things I go through and because I'm such a sinner. But I have to try to think of all the blessings He does give me, and it gives me hope that maybe He does love me."

       243. {\b \i (Mama:) }I was so proud of this girl for having made the right choice under difficult conditions, and my heart really went out to her for the battles that she was still experiencing. Of course, it's not surprising that there are still battles even after you decide to commit yourself to the Lord. It's not like the decision to stick it out is going to take all your battles away, because if we never had any battles, we'd never grow or learn many of the things that we learn as a result of them. But the Lord will not suffer us to be tempted above that which we are able, and He will pull us through. As long as we're in His will and trying to follow Him the best we can, then He only holds us over the fire of the trying of our faith as long as is necessary to purge us and make us better gold--not a minute longer!
       244. I asked the Lord if He had anything to say to this dear girl, and He gave the following message of encouragement via Dad, with good counsel for everyone on what to do when your friends leave the Family.

              245. ({\b \i Dad speaking}:) God bless you, Sweetheart! You made the right choice. We're it, Honey! We're the best! We may not be perfect, but we're definitely the best! You may not like everything or understand everything, but who does? And we're still the best! We may have a few problems and there may be a few snags, but who doesn't? We're still the best! So don't let that confuse you.
       246. Don't let a few circumstances pull you down from the wall, because we're still the best! We're a revolution! We're still a revolution! We're going places! We're doing things that nobody else is doing! There's no other place on Earth where you can do as much good as in the Family. It's the highest calling!
       247. So you're right! When you weigh up the pros and the cons, even if you don't agree with every doctrine or every policy, what is that compared to serving the Lord as full-time, one hundred percent, called and chosen disciples of Jesus Christ in full-time service! Who else follows the Lord as closely as we do? Who else gives as much as we do? Who else in the whole world wins as many souls as the Family does? And who else will even have the rewards that you will get in Heaven? Well, I think you know the answer to these questions.
       248. Don't be surprised if a few of your friends go back. "What is that to thee? Follow thou Me!" Where else and who else has the truth like we have? It all comes down to that: Do you really want the truth? How badly do you want to live the truth? How much are you willing to sacrifice for the truth--the truth of Jesus Christ, the truth of giving Him to others, the truth of telling the world that Jesus died for them?
       249. Are you willing to give all, even if everyone around you backslides? Even if everyone around you forsakes the Lord, are you willing to go on, you and you alone? Even if the whole world would forsake the Lord, are you still willing to confess Him?
       250. This is the question that everyone--every teen and every adult--must ask themselves. And not only when you're a teen, but throughout your life you must make the decision again and again to give all, to forsake all in your heart for Jesus. You must give your life to Him every day, not just once. You must forsake all every day. So, Sweetheart, keep your eyes on Jesus.
       251. What is it that you want the most? Do you want less than the best? Do you want to give Jesus only a part of your heart, or do you want to give Him all? Do you want to give Him everything? Don't be shaken in your faith, but go to Jesus. He's calling you to be His, so don't turn Him away, Sweetheart. Come to Jesus and give Him your heart. Lay your life on the altar day by day, moment by moment, and He'll carry you through.
       252. Without Jesus, it's only husks! Like in the parable of the sower, be that seed that fell on the good ground, rooted in the Lord. Honey, there will always be those who turn back, who can't make it for one reason or another, because they're planted in shallow ground, or they're not watered with enough water of the Word. Not everybody is going to be able to serve the Lord full-time. But He has called and chosen you.
       253. So give Him your life--don't turn Him away! Give Him your best. And if you don't know what your best is or you don't know where you fit in, but you do know that you want to serve the Lord, then seek and find your calling. Step out and see what the Lord has for you. If you feel called to witness, make your request known. Ask the Lord what He wants you to do. Get together with some people and ask them to pray for you and to hear from the Lord.
       254. He says to make your calling and election sure, but to do that, you might have to try out a few things. See what you have the burden to do. Ask Him to lead you and guide you, and He will. He has a place and a calling for each person, and He has one for you--just you!
       255. Seek Him today! He loves you, He wants you, and He will not fail you. Though Heaven and Earth and all your friends may pass away, Jesus will never fail. Jesus is there for you. Jesus is calling you. Jesus wants you! Jesus is yours. Take Him, love Him, give yourself to Him--and He will give you everything! (End of message from Dad.)

              256. {\b \i (Mama:) }The question that each of us, whether we're young or old, needs to ask ourselves, as Dad points out, is, "Am I willing to give all, even if everyone around me backslides? If everyone around me forsakes the Lord, am I willing to go on alone? Even if the whole world would forsake the Lord, am I still willing to confess Him?" That's a pretty big question, isn't it?
       257. Jesus died for you, as if you were the only one. Will you do the same for Him, even if you're the only one? It's a daunting question, a scary commitment, but if you make it, the Lord promises that He will never fail you, and that He'll give you everything that you desire. If you delight yourself in Him, He'll give you the desires of your heart--not just in these few short years that we have here on Earth, but forever!

Keeping the Heavenly Vision--And Rewards!
       258. Sometimes we get too focused on our little time on Earth and the battles and difficulties we go through now. We figure that if we're not overflowing with everything our hearts desire, that the Lord isn't answering our prayers or fulfilling His promises. We need to look at the big picture, that even when just compared to the Millennium, our present life on Earth is like childhood!
       259. If a six- or seven-year-old were to come up to you and start talking about how they were so discouraged because they didn't feel so fulfilled right now, or that they hadn't accomplished a whole lot with their lives, or that they hadn't gotten all the desires of their heart yet, you'd probably smile and say, "Don't worry, you've got your whole life ahead of you! It's just beginning, and all those things are yet to come!"
       260. So if you compare our short life span on Earth, even if you were to live to be 60 or 70--which is highly unlikely with Jesus' soon return--to the thousand-year Millennium, that would be like having only lived six or seven years of a 70-year lifetime! And that's not even counting eternity after that! So Lord help us to keep the Heavenly vision and not be so shortsighted that we despise the Lord's blessings and all that He has in store for us just because we don't happen to see them right before our eyes at the moment!
       261. Don't get me wrong--I'm not saying that you'll have to wait until the Millennium to get the Lord's blessings and fulfillment and the desires of your heart. The Lord will give you much of that here in this life. He promises, "There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake, and the Gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life" (Mark 10:29-30).
       262. So we can expect part of those rewards here and now. But we may not get everything now, and there are some things that we'll have to wait for Heaven or the Millennium for--but it's certainly worth the wait!
       263. We also need to remember that the Lord's blessings and rewards don't always come in the form that we expect. In fact, sometimes to our shortsightedness they can look like weights and burdens. For example, you may be serving the Lord the best you can and yet still be experiencing loneliness. Your heart is just bursting with the desire for someone to be close to and share your heart or your life or your bed with, and yet it's just not happening. It's easy to get discouraged and start thinking that the Lord isn't blessing or rewarding you with the desires of your heart when you're really trying to delight yourself in Him.
       264. This is especially true when you see someone else who has that very thing that you want, and maybe they're not even putting as much into their service for the Lord as you are! In fact, maybe they're sacrificing very little and just barely doing anything for the Lord, and yet they have the kind of nice relationship which you long for. I'm just using relationships as an example, but it could be anything tangible or material along those lines. Maybe even a friend of yours who's left the Family has a handsome boyfriend who takes good care of her; and you, who are dying daily for the Lord, don't!
       265. It's pretty easy to compare under those circumstances and even wonder whether it's really worth it--or whether you should follow in your friend's footsteps so you can get a nice boyfriend (or girlfriend, if you're a guy) too!
       266. Someone recently had a similar question, so we asked the Lord: "Why is it that some people who don't seem to be as dedicated or serious about the Lord appear to have more rewards; while others who are doing their best to love the Lord and are real dedicated seem to be less rewarded?" Dad came with the following answer, with a very interesting point about what kinds of rewards are the best. He again uses relationships as an example, but it could be some other kind of blessing too.

              267. {\b \i (Dad speaking:)} The Lord loves His children and He blesses them and rewards them. People shouldn't feel discouraged or condemned just because they're going through a battle or a lesson-learning time, and feel that it means the Lord suddenly doesn't love them as much anymore or He's withdrawing His blessing or rewards from their life. In the long run, even the battles and times of testing and lessons are God's rewards, because they teach the lessons He wants you to learn, and they bring forth the beautiful fruits of righteousness.
       268. For example, if you happen to be lonely and don't feel you have the same fun sexual fellowship that your brother or sister has, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're doing something wrong and that the Lord is not blessing or rewarding you. If you're doing your best to love and serve Jesus, the Lord is taking care of you and He's giving you what He knows is best for you at the time.
       269. Some people look at rewards in a sort of materialistic way. They look at the outward appearance and the things, activities and fun, and they think those are the best kinds of rewards to have--the fellowship, the relationships, the attention, the sex, the fun. This kind of comparing may be more of a temptation amongst the young people. But those things are not necessarily the best rewards. It all depends on how you look at it, what the Lord knows is best for you, and how He's trying to train you and use you.
       270. You can have someone who is involved in one relationship after another, who has plenty of enjoyable fun sex and fellowship and attention, yet they lack depth of spirit, spiritual maturity, and that deep, intimate personal relationship with Jesus. Whereas another person, who might appear to you to be lacking in those types of blessings in their life at the moment, is being rewarded in a very beautiful way through their deep, personal relationship with Jesus and the spirit world. They have other rewards which the Lord knows they deserve and will really appreciate--a satisfying, fulfilling ministry, the respect and appreciation and admiration of those around them, the reward of spiritual maturity, depth of spirit, and learning responsibility, dependability and prayerfulness.
       271. They may not feel that they have a closer relationship with the Lord or deep spiritual gifts, but they have to take it by faith that because they are obeying, He is rewarding them in unseen ways, as well as preparing a reward for them beyond. Some people get more of their reward here, while others get more of it in the life to come. So you can't always look at a situation from just your point of view or from one angle.
       272. Many rewards come in ways that are not seen or even necessarily felt by the individual. The Lord may bless you with deeper faith or wisdom or experience, but you yourself may not feel that you are that much stronger in those areas. Maybe if you did feel you were, then it would minister to your pride. Plus, oftentimes we have a hard time seeing our own progress. But the Lord knows and He sees, and that's what is important, and those unseen gifts that the Lord is blessing you with will come in handy when difficulties arise and you're tested. Those with the showy rewards may not fare as well as you did when tests come, and you'll be thankful for what the Lord has given you.
       273. So just because you might not have something that the other guy has--in terms of what you consider a good reward--it doesn't mean you're failing or doing something wrong, and you shouldn't feel under condemnation or worried that you're not doing your best for Jesus. As long as you're sincerely serving Him and loving Him, and you're faithful and dedicated, He will bless and reward you according to what He knows is best.
       274. The Lord has His time for everything. Just because you don't have a certain blessing or reward today doesn't mean you will never have it. Maybe it's just not His time for you right now, and He will give you that particular blessing or reward later on down the line when He knows it's the right time for you.
       275. If there's one thing you can count on, it's the Lord's fairness and justice, and that He keeps to His Word. If you're obeying Him the best you can, then you can be sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He is rewarding you accordingly. You don't have to see it or feel it, but you can know it because He's promised it, and He will fulfill it. (End of message from Dad.)

Depending on the Lord's Strength
       276. {\b \i (Mama:) }Back to the main topic of this Letter, which is holding on to your crown. I'd like to share a couple of messages that the Lord and Dad gave for an SGA man who was seriously considering leaving the Family. He had broken the Charter rules about sex with outsiders and was partially excommed for it, and while partially excommunicated, he again made the same mistake. He was quite discouraged with himself and felt like giving up altogether, since he felt he didn't have what it took to be in the Family. He wrote me a letter as sort of a "last resort," and when we prayed for him, the Lord and Dad gave the following messages. In this first prophecy, the Lord explains what it takes to stick it out in the Family, and that service for Him has to be freely given from the heart and desired--it can't be forced.
       277. The Lord also encourages this young man--and all of us--that if we want to give Him our lives but just don't have the strength or the qualities that it takes, all we have to do is cast ourselves on Him and He will have the strength for us. We may not feel we have what it takes to be an Endtime soldier for the Lord, but by yielding ourselves to the Lord, His strength can be made perfect in us despite our weaknesses. In other words, you can never be too bad or too weak for Jesus or the Family; the only requirement is to yield to Him and to want to follow Him with your whole heart.

              278. {\b \i (Jesus speaking:)} I've heard each of your prayers and I've seen each tear that you've shed, and I'm right here by your side. Would I ever fail to come to you when you call Me? I am faithful to My Words. I promised to be a very present help in time of need, and that I would never leave you nor forsake you. I have promised that I will always care for you. I've told you how very important you are to Me and how much I love you.
       279. I wish for you to be a true and devoted, dedicated and loyal bride to Me. It is My desire that you would love Me completely and wholly of your own free will. It is My desire that you would give to Me of your loving care and service out of the gratefulness of your heart, and not that I would have to force you, or beg you, or plead with you to do My will and to obey My voice.
       280. I can't force you to love Me; that's your freedom of choice. I can't make you do the right thing or behave in a loving manner. I can't demand your love. I can only show you how to love Me. I can explain to you the best way to show Me your love--how I desire it and want it and need it--and the rest is up to you. For I've given you a free mind, a free will, and the freedom of choice.
       281. Those who love Me most are willing to follow Me very closely wherever I go. Even if it means sacrificing their own personal ideas and plans and desires and wishes, they're willing to give it all up in order to show their love for Me and for My children.
       282. The Family is a life of sacrifice. It's a life of dedication and unselfishness and loyalty to Me and to My message, and to the cause. The Family has been created and ordained and anointed by My Spirit for a job. Those in the Family are not free to do their own thing and what they think is best, but are devoted and dedicated to hearing My voice and My message and doing what I say is best. They've made that choice of their own free will, and are committed to following Me wherever I go.
       283. It takes real dedicated, yielded, moldable, receptive men and women of God to live the life of faith in the Family. It takes coming to the end of yourself and knowing that you're nothing and no one without the touch of My Spirit and My anointing. You can do nothing of yourself; it takes real dependence on Me and desperation. You must seek Me and depend on Me--on My strength, My anointing, and My Spirit--to carry you through and to help you over each difficulty and hurdle.
       284. This is a time of testing for you, a time of decision. It's a crossroads in your life--a time when you must decide if you're going to walk into the future with Me and the Family, or if you're going to go your own way. I know it's a difficult time for you, My son, and a real test. I know that you struggle and you battle and are in turmoil and are trying to see your way through to the victory. I know that you're desperate and wanting the answer and the solution to your problem. I know you feel that you've tried and tried and tried, and you can't understand why you can't resist this temptation, and why it is that you keep falling into the pit and the trap of the Enemy. I know you want to resist and you want to go on in obedience to Me.
       285. The answers are simple, My son: You'll never do it in your own strength--you have to call on Me and ask Me to help you! This is the point which I've wanted you to come to, and this is the lesson that I've been striving to teach you and show you--that you must lean on Me and draw your true strength from Me.
       286. I've allowed you to have a temptation and weakness, one that will bring you to the point where you have to be dependent upon Me and desperate for My anointing, in order to be able to learn the lesson and win the victory. As you learn to yield to Me and humbly bow at My feet for the strength and the grace that you need to fight this battle, I will give you the strength and the grace and the anointing--not only to win this battle, but for other battles in the future.
       287. This is My desire--that you learn to come to Me and cling to Me and draw on My power for each time of testing and each battle. For the days ahead grow darker and dimmer, and you need to learn to sharpen your weapons of war and to draw on My strength.
       288. As I have promised, I will never fail you; I'm always here for you. My power is unlimited. The strength of My Spirit is immeasurable, and it is all available to you personally. You just have to have the faith to reach out and grab it, take it, and claim it for yourself. Exercise your faith! Be desperate for My Spirit and My anointing and My strength to fall upon you! Yield to Me, give to Me, become Mine, and I will never fail you! (End of message from Jesus.)

              289. {\b \i (Mama:) }Please remember that what the Lord says here about this brother's weakness applies not just to the specific weakness or temptations he had, but to any temptations that we are subject to, or weaknesses that we struggle with. Here's a message from Dad for this same boy.

The Battles Are Necessary to Make Us What We Need to Be!
       290. {\b \i (Dad speaking:)} Son, I'm sorry to hear about your battles and tests and temptations, but you can be sure that this temptation is common to man. You're not the only one; there have been many others who've been tested before you, and there probably will continue to be others who will also be tested. That's what the Lord has to do with all of us. He has to continue to keep us humble and yielded so that He can continue to use us to the fullest.
       291. It takes real desperation, yieldedness, humility, love and conviction to continue to be a disciple in the Lord's Family. You have to have the conviction that the Family with all of its blessings--including its rules of [EDITED: "Charter"] membership--is worth living and dying for. You have to have conviction and know in your heart that even though there are things that you don't personally like, you're willing to make those sacrifices in order to remain a part of the Lord's Endtime army in the Family.
       292. It is a battle! It's a fight! The Lord has to keep us fighting, and He has to keep us desperate with Him. Life can't just be ease and pleasure, otherwise people have a tendency to just lie back and coast along and turn into big fat blobs! They start leaning on the arm of the flesh, straying from His Word, and lose their fear of the Lord. The Lord knows that we need things to keep us desperate, stirred up and shaken up enough to be desperate with Him for His help, His anointing, and His Spirit.
       293. The Lord knows what's best for each one of us, and all you have to do is yield to the lessons He's teaching you. Be desperate to learn them and yield to them. Cry out to Him for His help, for His anointing, and for the grace to stick to it until you've learned it. Don't give up! Don't walk out the door, throw in the towel, or give up in discouragement. The test may be hard, but that's the case with all true leaders.
       294. There isn't one single leader in the Family today that the Lord is greatly using and who has His special anointing, that hasn't been through the fire. They've all been tested. They've all had to go through personal battles, trials, and make great personal sacrifices. They've all had to surrender and yield their lives, their personal desires and plans, their pride, and many times their loved ones on the altar of sacrifice and give them all up to the Lord. That's why they're such beautiful, yielded vessels which the Lord can use. It takes real humbling and breaking and remaking by the Lord's Spirit for you to become the leader He needs and wants you to be.
       295. You just have to keep hanging on by faith, Son. Even if you're only hanging on by your fingertips, just keep hanging on. And know that the Lord sees and He knows. He knows exactly what you need and He's not going to let you fall. He's not going to suffer you to be tempted above that which you're able. He has His eye on you, even though you might not think He does. You may wonder why you can't feel His presence, but you can rest assured and know for sure that God is right beside you. He's watching every move you make, every decision you make, and He's testing you to see what your decisions are going to be.
       296. I know that God has a lot in store for you. He has a wonderful, beautiful future ahead, and He wants to give it to you. He wants to bless you with the great future that He has in mind for you. So just hang on so that you don't miss out on the blessings! Things might seem difficult or impossible today, but one day you'll look back and you'll be so glad that you didn't give up, but you endured the testing and the trial. (End of message from Dad.)

              297. {\b \i (Mama:) }So if you're going through the mill and you feel like throwing in the towel, remember that the Lord may just be testing you and trying you in order to make you better gold! You've probably often heard the quote, "God only uses broken men and women--no others will do" (ML #48:41). You really want to be used of the Lord, but when the breakings come, it's hard to recognize them as being part of God's plan to make you what you need to be in order for the Lord to use you. So when they do come, take it as part of the Lord's polishing process.
       298. Don't let the Enemy lie to you and tell you that it's too difficult, or that you're not made of the right stuff, or that it's not worth it, and that you're better off quitting and living an "easier" life out in the System. You win the victory by not giving up!

Why Do So Many Young
Leave the Family?
       299. One question you might have wondered about when thinking about the young people who've left the Family is why so many young men seem to leave compared to the number of young women. I don't have any statistics on how many young males have left compared to young females, but from the letters and reports I've read, it does seem that there are more boys leaving than girls. Even in the case of couples, when one mate leaves and the other stays, it's often the man who leaves and the woman who stays--though not always, and there are some cases where it's the other way around. But in general, that does seem to be the trend.
       300. Maybe it's something that you've wondered about, especially you young women who've had a hard time finding a mate because there often don't seem to be that many boys around (besides those already married), and it's a source of discouragement because you feel the chances of finding the "right guy" to marry are slim.
       301. We asked the Lord if He had anything to say about it, and although it's a little off the main subject of this GN, I decided to include it here, as I'm sure it will interest you women in particular. But first, here are some comments I received from a 22-year-old woman in North America that might echo your sentiments on the matter.

       302. "I think one of the biggest trials for a lot of us [EDITED: "young women"] is loneliness and the need for male companionship--and I'm not talking about just sex, either. It seems that some of our young men haven't really grown up yet and are more interested in having fun, playing computer games, and fooling around than they are serious about the Lord, the Word, and the Family. They don't seem to be interested in just being sweet and loving.
       303. "Personally, my greatest desire in life is to get married and have children, but I really haven't found the right person yet. Every relationship I've had since I was 17 didn't turn out for one reason or another, and recently the biggest problem has been that the older [EDITED: "SGA"] guys are either leaving the Family or the ones who are sold out to the Lord and the Family are already married.
       304. "I've seen quite a few guys come to the States from foreign mission fields, and when they're first here they're super on the ball with getting in the Word, memorizing and witnessing; but after a few short months they're into all the latest fads, System music, computer games, and they're generally going downhill.
       305. "I know that 'everybody' isn't leaving, but it does seem like a lot of the older boys are flunking out, which is quite discouraging for some of us girls. It really seems like a 'day of women' in the sense that there aren't many men our age around (especially in the 22 and up bracket, or even 20 and up).
       306. "Sometimes I worry about this and wonder if we're going to run out of men and most of us will just end up as old maids for the rest of our lives, which doesn't seem like a very inspiring prospect; but neither does the alternative of marrying the wrong guy or someone who's going to eventually leave the Family. It seems that a lot of young couples are really going through it, with the husband getting burnt out and wanting to leave the Family, and the cycle of single mothers continues.
       307. "It seems to me (I may be wrong) that the girls stick it out a lot longer, and the guys just get discouraged and give up. I guess the thing I'm most worried about, Lord help me, is that there aren't many guys our age, and it seems they're the ones who are leaving! What are we going to do about it?"

              308. {\b \i (Mama:) }Here's what Dad had to say when we asked the Lord about this girl's questions. Please read it carefully, as he not only answers the question and explains some of the male/female differences, but also gives some very important counsel for all of you young men, as well as for you teens/YAs/SGAs in North America and other Western countries.

              309. {\b \i (Dad speaking:)} We'll probably have more women than men in the Family who stick it out, for different reasons. The men are more like drifters. They're a lot like the sea--they roll in and they roll out. Whereas the women are more like the stones that sink to the bottom and just stay put. Despite the currents and the waves, they just stay right there, imbedded in the sand.
       310. The men, because of their nature of being more self-assured and self-confident, thinking they can stand on their own, have more of a tendency to go their own way and think they're sufficient in themselves. This very strength that they think they have is actually a weakness, because they are more dependent on themselves than on the Lord, making them more unstable and causing them to be tossed about by every wind, like the waves of the sea. And because their minds are more analytical, with a tendency to try to figure things out rather than to accept them by faith, it gets them into trouble, and opens a way for the Enemy to come in with doubts and skepticism, which leads them to go their own way.
       311. Whereas with women, this seeming weakness of feeling insufficient in themselves and incapable and unable to fend for themselves, of thinking that they can't make it or support themselves, that they need help and others to lean on and to provide for them and to protect them, actually gives them a greater stability in the Lord, because they look to Him. Therefore they're not tossed about by every wave or billow that comes their way.
       312. If the men will become more like women in the spirit, and weak, casting themselves on the Lord, submitted to their Lover, Jesus, and open to Him, confessing that they're weak in themselves, that they know nothing, and leave behind their carnal minds and their wanting to figure things out, and just accept things by faith as a submitted bride, they'll be more anchored, more secure in the Lord, and more steadfast.
       313. This is one of the ways that the "Loving Jesus" revelation will help the men, as they learn more and more to become brides and women in spirit, to become more attached to Jesus, to become married and bonded, to become so close to Him that they can't stray and drift apart. This will help them over some of their shallowness and weaknesses for the things of this world--materialism, System music, coolness, peer pressure, and these other temptations.
       314. The spiritual warfare is great, and the Whore is trying to seduce the young people in all parts of the world. Just as the Lord's Spirit is trying to woo them and win them, the Enemy is also trying to seduce them, like it says in Revelations about Babylon the Whore, and in Proverbs about the whore on the street corner trying to seduce the young men. Although this spirit is worldwide, it is less on the mission field, where the Family is less tempted by the delicacies of the Whore.
       315. That's why the young people do better on the mission field, because the spirit of seduction is not as strong there, and the pull is not as great. But in the States, the Whore has free rein and the pull is very great, especially on the young ones, and even on the older people. It's not a field for the weak. The Lord's children are like virgins, and if they're weak and unprotected, the Whore is just able to strip them and leave them bleeding in the streets!
       316. But our young people who have grown up there and resisted the temptations of the Enemy and the seductions, and passed the tests, and gone through many siftings, have become some of the strongest young people. They haven't yielded to the Whore, and have stayed the Lord's young brides and virgins.
       317. Like I said many years ago to those in the States: America is the Whore! Go to the mission field where the people are more needy for the Gospel. Go out into the harvest field, to the world that is waiting, and leave the glutted West behind, unless you know that it is your calling and where the Lord has called you to be.
       318. And I would advise you to stay on the field unless you are absolutely sure that the Lord is calling you back to the States--especially you young people. Because like Proverbs says, the Whore is a deep pit, and a lot of people who've gone back there have fallen into it! (Pro.23:27,28). They've been lost and sucked into it, and caught in the trap--even some of our older and more experienced adults. So I would advise that you remain on your mission field unless you've prayed desperately whether it's His will for you to return to the States, and heard from the Lord specifically and gotten His approval.
       319. If you're in the States, or if you're a young person who has grown up in the States, I suggest that you seriously pray and ask the Lord whether He wants you to stay there or go to the mission field. Because that's the Lord's calling, His commandment and His commission--to "go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature!"
       320. That's what the Family's all about! That's what it was about in the beginning and it still is! We're still a missionary Family, and we'll keep more of you young folks, both girls and boys, if you stay on the mission field, or go to the mission field, in obedience to the Lord's commandment. There He can strengthen you, and there's less temptation and pull from the Whore and the things and the cares of this life.
       321. Go out! Take off to the mission field where the Lord can keep you and you can grow to be strong witnesses!--And where we can keep more of you, and lose less of our precious youth to the pull and the temptations of the System. For the spirit of antichrist grows stronger and more seductive, especially in the U.S. and the more technically advanced and materialistic countries. (End of message from Dad.)

              322. {\b \i (Mama:) }There are so many promises attached to the "Loving Jesus" revelation that it doesn't surprise me that Dad brought up loving the Lord intimately as one of the keys to having the strength, yieldedness, humility and dependence on the Lord necessary to overcome the temptations of the Enemy and the System.
       323. Generally speaking, men have a tendency to be more self-assured and self-confident, which makes it more difficult for them to depend as much on the Lord as they should, or to feel the need for the Lord constantly. This also contributes to their sometimes being more analytical. That's why Dad explains that if they will become "more like women in the spirit, and weak, casting themselves on the Lord, submitted to their Lover, Jesus, and open to Him, confessing that they're weak in themselves, that they know nothing, and leave behind their carnal minds and their wanting to figure things out, and just accept things by faith as a submitted bride, they'll be more anchored, more secure in the Lord, and more steadfast."
       324. I realize that learning to be a woman in the spirit is a difficult adjustment for men, and it still might not come so naturally for you. But I think it would help you to remember that this has nothing to do with setting aside your natural manliness. The Lord has said, "For I know you are men, stout-hearted men, strong soldiers, fighters, diligent in business! I have made you muscular men in the Spirit, men of great strength, warriors of David, My soldiers, My valiant ones! But with all this strength and all this power and all this valiantness, you have need of more. You have need of great humility, great meekness and great weakness. So I ask you to lay down the armament of war and to play the role that I have asked you to play, of the meek and the weak, of the woman, of the bride, of My darling. This humbles you, but it also empowers you. For it is this that will make you the strong soldiers that you need to be for the days ahead" (ML #3029:95).
       325. It looks like Dad got a lot of mileage out of this one--as usual--and not only answered the question about why so many young men leave the Family, but also reiterated what he and the Lord have said in other messages about going to the mission field in order to get away from the heavy materialistic pull of the U.S. and other Western countries, and to reap the fields that are white and ready to harvest!
       326. I've heard of quite a few young people who've left the mission field to return to the States. Sometimes it's just been for a temporary visit, but then they end up staying longer. It's serious business to decide to leave your mission field and return to the States. As the dear young woman explained in the above letter, many people have been very weakened by returning to the U.S. from the mission field. They've left fairly fruitful works to go to the States, and once there have gone downhill fast, deteriorating in their walk with the Lord to the point that they ended up leaving the Family! It's very sad!
       327. So please, dear ones, pray desperately to find your calling. Don't leave your mission field to go to the States unless you're absolutely sure it's the Lord's will. Seek Him. Hear from Him in prophecy. Look to the seven ways to find the Lord's will.
       328. And you young people who are now in the States need to pray about leaving there to go to the mission field where you can escape the Whore and her temptations! If you want to stay strong, go to the mission field where you can grow to be strong witnesses. The spirit of antichrist grows stronger and more seductive, especially in the U.S. and other "advanced" countries like Western Europe, Australia, Canada and Japan. It's no laughing matter. It's not a light thing. For the sake of your future service for the Lord, please find and stay in the Lord's will where you will have the strength to resist the pull and the temptations of the System!
       329. If you're in the States or Canada or Western Europe or Australia or Japan, and you're finding yourself wavering in your service for the Lord and thinking a lot about leaving the Family, one of the best things that you can do to salvage your service for the Lord, besides filling up on the Word and calling out to the Lord for help, is to leave the lush lowlands for the mission field.
       330. Just going to the mission field won't make all the battles go away and everything be better overnight. But it will get you out of that overly materialistic environment where the pull of the Enemy in the form of easy money, easy life, and easy things is so strong. When you're struggling to survive and get out every day to witness and win souls in places like India or Russia, you're not as tempted to go out and get a job, or hang out in the mall, or get the latest System CDs, or watch TV--because they don't have all that stuff so readily available, and you're too busy doing things that really count!
       331. So one of the best pieces of advice I can give you if you're thinking about backsliding is: Get out witnessing! And if you're not on a mission field or someplace where people are hungry for the message and you have good witnessing opportunities, then get to where there are some before you lose the vision entirely and forget what we're in the Family for.
       332. That's not to say that you can't have good witnessing opportunities in Western countries--you can. And if you've prayed about it and the Lord has indicated that that's where you should be, and you have a fruitful ministry where you're winning souls and really reaching people with the Gospel, then that's great. But if not, then I suggest you find one soon, or you may run out of inspiration because you'll lose the vision.
       333. Dad talked about this in "Old Bottles!" I suggest you reread the entire Letter, but here are a couple of paragraphs that talk about how a lack of vision, witnessing (pioneering) and connection with the Lord will often lead to backsliding:

       334. "The reason some of these people sit down and quit, and begin to sit back and fall out, is simply because they've lost their vision. And when they lose the vision, they lose faith. And when they lose faith, they no longer have any initiative to do anything. Backsliding is the reverse of pioneering, and when you stop pioneering you start backsliding.
       335. "When you stop pioneering it shows you have lost the initiative. Any army (or individual) which ceases to attack loses the initiative, and attacking initiative is what wins a war. The minute an army stops attacking and just settles down, it will be defeated, because the Enemy will then launch a counterattack. Or the army's very immobility and its very lack of vision and progress and initiative will cause it to have a loss of faith in its own cause, and to quit and give up without even losing! This is one of the Devil's favorite tactics.
       336. "The Devil can never win. The only way he can get the victory is to persuade you to quit, that you have a hopeless cause, so you might as well give up and quit and surrender and leave the field to him. Anyone in our ranks with this attitude is already licked, because he has lost the battle of the spirit! He's given up and fainted in his mind, and his body will soon faint with it, and he'll quit and backslide. You'll go back down the chain reaction in reverse from what makes a pioneer, and you'll stop pioneering because you have lost the initiative, the spirit and courage, because you have lost faith; and you've lost faith because you've lost the vision!
       337. "How do you lose the vision?--Somewhere there's been a break in the contact with the source of Power. Somehow these backsliders have lost touch with God, direct personal contact, intimate contact with God, that direct personal hotline to God! They've gotten out of touch with it somewhere.
       338. "When you quit moving, you die! If you quit drinking, eating, cleansing and moving you're soon dead! And that's exactly what's wrong with some of our disciples! They've quit drinking the Water of Life--the new water that's always fresh, poured out constantly--and they've quit eating the spiritual food, and quit eliminating their daily besetting sins, and therefore they've quit moving and they've died on the vine! Then they wonder why they feel like going back into the System! 'Oh, what a terrible thought!--I'm dreaming of having a house of my own!--My own wife and children, my own car and TV set! Oh, I'll still want to witness a little and win souls and still get the MO Letters--but I'll never go back all the way!'
       339. "But they'll wind up just like the majority of church people who have quit witnessing and winning and are living selfishly!--Because there's no in-between! There's either a positive pole that goes forward or a negative pole that goes backward! There's no neutral pole!
       340. "If we don't keep on doing more and more every day and progressing, or if we can't sit down at the end of the day and sum things up and keep books with our soul and weigh up the accounts and say, 'Now what did I do today that I won't have to do tomorrow?'--If you come to the point where you're just going through the motions by habit, and you're just coasting along on former momentum, once you've gone to sleep and left your engine going, you'll soon run out of gas, and even the engine will go dead for lack of new fuel, and you'll soon coast to a stop and lack of motion!" (ML #242:5,8,9,11,25,26).

              341. {\b \i (Mama:) }That's pretty convicting, isn't it? And it doesn't apply only if you're on a Home field. You're more likely to lose the vision if you're trying to labor in an unreceptive field, but even on the mission field you can lose the vision and coast to a stop if you lose your connection with the Lord. So that's the most important thing. Keep the connection strong through the Word and hearing from the Lord personally yourself. Stay plugged into the Source so your set won't go dead and your engine won't stop!
       342. And if you feel your motor stalling and your vehicle starting to slide, then call out for help quick! Get desperate with the Lord to give you some gas to get it going again, and a helpful push or two from your brothers and sisters--and the Lord will pull you through! I'm praying for you, and those who live with you and love you are praying for you too.

Emphasizing the Positive!
       343. In this Letter and the others in this GN series on the general topic of backsliding, we've talked a lot about those who have left the Family. In a way, I hate to dwell on the negative so much, because it can be a bit discouraging. If all you think of is that so-and-so is leaving, and so-and-so left, and half your former friends are now in the System, it can get you down, even if you don't intend it to.
       344. We need to talk about these things because they're important issues, and I need to pass on to you what the Lord has said about it for your encouragement and instruction. But I hope that in giving it the necessary space, it doesn't become a major source of thought and concern in your mind. If it does, I suggest that you reread some of what the Lord has said in this GN and in "The Silver Lining" about trusting the Lord and putting matters into His hands. Then you can have peace of mind and heart because you know that He's going to take care of things much better than you can.
       345. I hope that the subject of young people leaving the Family--or anyone leaving the Family--doesn't become a major topic of discussion or something that everyone is dwelling on all the time. Because the problem that occurs is that it can then tend to get blown out of proportion and out of focus, and you can forget the big picture of all of those who aren't leaving, but who are holding on to their crown and doing great things for the Lord, God bless'm!
       346. True, there are young people who are leaving, and in some countries quite a few have left. But there are a lot more who have stuck it out and stayed true to their calling. As the Lord said in the prophecy I included at the beginning of this Letter, there has been--and continues to be--a purging or pruning of the tree. It's not something that we've orchestrated or planned, but it's just been the Lord's doing through the New Wine and other circumstances, battles, and tests. As a result, some of the weaker branches are falling off. But at the same time, the branches that remain are strengthened by it, and able to produce even more fruit. It's sad that many do leave, but if some of them were only in the Family halfheartedly, then the ones who remain are able to do more for the Lord without them.
       347. It's the Enemy who engineers the speedy traveling of this bad news, because he wants to make you think, "Everyone is leaving. The cool ones are leaving. I should leave too." Of course, the Devil is going to be right there whispering in your ear that all your friends are leaving, all the smart kids, the "with it" kids are leaving, so you're just being a jerk, an idiot, a mindless robot if you stick around. But remember, that's the Devil's attack, and it's just not true!
       348. While some have left, there are many more who are happy, dedicated and bearing good fruit for the Lord! And you've read in the Grapevine, the Free Zine, and GNs of all that the Lord is doing and continues to do through you young people throughout the Family. As Peter reported in "Where We're Headed" (ML #3136, GN 746), half of our VSs and CRO office staff are now young people, including 25% of our CROs, and a third of WS personnel are also second-generationers. Teens, YAs and SGAs make up the bulk of the workforce in many other important ministries as well, like our audio and video studios, and are helping to pioneer new Homes, exotic fields, witnessing more than ever, and doing great things for the Lord!
       349. Of course, I don't mean to minimize what you adults are doing, and it's just as great and wonderful, but I'm just mentioning the young people because it helps to review these things in order to counter the myth that the Devil likes to perpetrate that "everyone's leaving" or "the young people aren't really doing that much in the Family." So sock it to the Devil with the truth and rebuke his lies!

Commendation for Holding On!
       350. In closing, following are some beautiful Words of commendation from the Lord for all of you who have stuck it out in the Family and continue to "die daily" for the Lord. I know that it's rough going sometimes, and the mountain can seem pretty steep, and I'm all the more proud of you for keeping up the climb even during the most trying times. You're doing a wonderful job for the Lord, and He's going to greatly reward you for it--not only in the life to come, but here and now as well. "And to him that overcometh, I will grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with My Father in His throne" (Rev.3:21). God bless and keep you overcoming and holding on to your crown!

              351. (Jesus speaking:) My dear children, pay no heed to the voice of those who have gone to experience the "pleasures of the world." They will soon find that these experiences are but ashes between their teeth. For though they're somewhat tempting and appear to be shiny and bright in their eyes, the glitter and the tinsel and the false images will soon fade away and fall into corruption, to rust and to ruin. The things of this world will pass away, but My love will never pass away.
       352. I'm so proud of you who have stuck, and who have sacrificed, and have given your lives to reach the lost; you who have remained faithful to abide in your calling; you who have remained true and solid and stood firm on the Word. You have believed and have done your best to obey the Words of your Father David and your Queen Maria, and for this you will receive great reward.
       353. Already you find peace and contentment and a sense of worth in fulfilling your mission on such needy fields. Look how greatly you're being used! Look at the souls that are being won, the lives that are being changed! I say to you, there is much heartbreak, much sorrow, and much agony of spirit that you've been spared because you've remained faithful. You've denied yourself that you might live for Me and for others, and not for yourselves.
       354. Please pray for these who have gone astray, who have gone off to sample the world and the pleasures thereof. They're somewhat like the prodigal son who went off to a faraway land, thinking to enjoy life; yet he returned to the Father's house realizing that the riches of this world and the things that it has to offer were just ashes between his teeth. He longed for the comfort, love, security, simplicity and harmony that he found in his father's house.
       355. You, My children, have been as the older brother who has stayed faithful to the Father and to the Kingdom. And I say unto you, all that I have is yours! So rejoice in that you possess the Kingdom; you possess true joy, true happiness, true peace of mind, true fulfillment of the plan for your life. (Mama: Of course, we're not supposed to follow the older brother's example of self-righteously looking down on those who stray. However, we should follow the older brother's sample of faithfulness and stick-to-itiveness, for which he received great reward, and inherited his father's estate!)
       356. {\b \i (Message from Jesus continues:)} This doesn't mean that you don't experience trials and battles, difficulties and hardships. You certainly do. That's part of your life. But it's the way that you face them, the way you react to them, the way that you handle them, that brings joy, happiness, peace and contentment. When you face those trials and battles and difficulties with the sword of the Word, and you fight back and you resist the temptation to feel down and discouraged or left out and left behind, then the Enemy has to flee. As I have said in My Word, if you resist the Devil, he will flee from you.
       357. In place of those temptations to want to experience the things of the world, to have those so-called "freedoms," you'll find true satisfaction in yielding your hearts and minds and bodies to Me and to My will. You'll find true satisfaction in following close and being a sample to those around you of a true Christian missionary--one who is filled with My love, who has forsaken all to follow Me, and who has denied himself that he might win the world for Me.
       358. I love you, My dear children! Please take heart and know that your faithful labors have not gone unnoticed. You will be rewarded for your diligent works, and most of all, for your yielded hearts and spirit.
       359. Please remember that Godliness with contentment is great gain. The simple pleasures of this life of loving one another, serving one another, sacrificing for one another, and giving love to one another, are the road to true happiness. Though this road has trials, battles and obstacles to overcome, it also avoids many deep pitfalls, sidetracks and dangerous territories, full of trouble and difficulties. So rejoice that you're on the right road, and let no man take away your joy and happiness and service to Me.
       360. I'm well pleased that you've chosen to exercise your rights: the right to love, the right to give, the right to sacrifice, the right to be a good sample, and the right to pour out your hearts to the lost, the hungry, and the needy. You have truly chosen that good part, and the fruits of your labors shall never be taken from you! (End of message from Jesus.)

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family