March 17, 2004
For God's Sake Be the Best!
By MariaMaria #652 CM/FM 3458 5/03
1. We are an army and a revolution! We always have been and we always will be! The Lord has called us to a unique mission and job, and the stakes are high! We're not just church members, casual Christians, or live-for–yourself Systemites! We're disciples, destined to fulfill Jesus' commission to "go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature‚" to "make disciples of all nations," and to "come out from among the world and be separate!" That's our calling; that's our creed!
2. This GN is for those of you who are convinced it's your destiny to be not just Christians, but professional disciples, and those of you who believe that the Family is the best place for you to fulfill your calling and commission! I have some counsel from the Lord and Dad to share with you regarding keeping your spirits free from the Enemy's attacks and doubts. Please pray desperately right now, and claim the keys, to leave the realm of the flesh and the carnal mind behind and delve into the realm of the spirit‚ as that's the only way you'll be able to see things as the Lord does and grasp the important principles I'm going to share with you.
3. The Lord is going to challenge you, to put a fire under you, and this will be welcomed by those of you whose hearts are in the position of wanting to be cleansed and fortified against the Enemy's attacks. You who are willing to accept it, even if you have to take some of it by faith, will be strengthened. You'll be molded into more solid disciples that Jesus can count on, experience deeper and long-lasting happiness as a result, and go on to greater works for Him.
4. I believe that those of you who are sincerely seeking, who have open hearts and want to know the truth, will be fortified and strengthened. Others of you who already have your minds made up on some of these issues—you probably won't be convinced otherwise. But that's not my responsibility or burden. I'm commissioned by the Lord to publish the message‚ pass on what He gives‚ and then it's in your court to choose your path and make decisions according to your faith.
5. I'm sure you've noticed and experienced personally that the Enemy is fighting us, and fighting harder than ever. He's trying to weaken you, destabilize you, water down your convictions, and stop you from being a disciple! He hates the work you're doing for the Lord—that you're winning souls‚ that you're making disciples of all nations. You, dear Family, are a hindrance to him and his world plan—and not just a hindrance, but a deadly threat to his regime—and he's trying to defeat you in any way possible. This isn't just my imagination; it's the truth! And if you value your service to the Lord and your position as His disciple and a radical follower of His truth, then I beg you to listen with open ears and hearts to the counsel I'm going to pass on to you.
6. The Enemy isn't just sitting in the corner idly twiddling his thumbs. He's waging all-out war for the hearts and souls of men. He's fighting the Family, and he's fighting you! He wants to defeat you, because in defeating you, he chips away at the Family. You're each a vital part of the Family, and your commitment‚ faith and sample are the Family's commitment, faith and sample. He wants to steal your faith, and he's going to great lengths in order to do so—through overindulgence in System music‚ movies, the Internet, novels and magazines, lukewarm churchy books, the media, TV, worldly propaganda and entertainment, etc., to name just a few of his tactics. Sadly, he's even using some of those who were formerly a part of us, those who have left us and have now chosen to actively fight us and our faith.
7. If you want to stand strong, if you want to be a disciple, if you want to go on for the Lord and protect your faith, then you're going to have to make a decision and take a stand! Your faith, your discipleship‚ and how much you're willing to cherish it, is a personal decision, and no one can make that decision for you. I'm sorry to say that some of you don't seem to value it much, or don't see clearly the things that are weakening your faith. You're not raising a standard against the attacks of the Enemy and the avenues he's using in your life to eat away at your faith. You think you're strong enough to handle it. But I want to tell you again plainly that these things—these compromises‚ these inroads of the world, these things that bring doubt and disbelief—will weaken your faith and will pull you away from the Lord‚ because that's the Enemy's plan through them.
8. You've got to ask yourself, "Do I value my service to the Lord? Do I treasure my place as a disciple in the Family? How much? Am I convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'm in the right place, giving my life to the right cause‚ and serving the right Boss?" If you answered yes to those questions, then for Heaven's sake, act like it! Stop being half-hearted! Wake up! Stop fooling around and acting like you're on a playground rather than a battleground‚ and start being a soldier! Realize that the Enemy is out to put a stop to your life for the Lord‚ your spiritual life. Start protecting your spirit! Start feeding your faith! Start preserving your place in His ranks! If your faith, your life for the Lord, and your service to Him is important enough to you, you'll do whatever it takes to remain called out and to keep yourself from being weakened. If you value your place as His disciple, then you'll fight to preserve it no matter what the cost.
9. I wouldn't be surprised if some of you are tired of hearing me tell you to resist worldly influences, to fight the Enemy's doubts and inroads into your life, to be cleansed and strengthened. You may not like to hear what may sound to some of you like "the same old challenge" once more—the challenge to become better disciples. You probably wonder, "Is Mama ever going to stop talking about the same old thing?" Well‚ I would love to stop talking about "the same old thing." I'd like to go on to bigger and greater victories and challenges. There's a reason I keep harping on these things, and that's because many still haven't gotten the point.
10. Dear Family, if you'd do what the Lord has been asking and go on the attack against the Enemy and his devices, then we could go on to new and exciting things for Jesus. But because there are still those who aren't obeying and moving forward and being cleansed, some who are still sitting on the fence indecisively, the Lord in His mercy keeps giving more chances. It's in His love that He continues putting forth challenges, asking us to take up the cross of discipleship even if it's a difficult cross to bear, because that's the only way we'll be what He needs us to be. We should be thankful that He's giving us yet another chance, another call to arms, and realize that this could possibly be the last one. He won't always strive with us and lovingly lead us along.
11. You've got to make some decisions‚ dear Family! You must take a good hard look at your life and determine where you stand. If your place of service and your commission as a child of David and a part of the Revolution for Jesus is worth anything at all to you, and if that's the choice you have made, then it's worth sacrificing for, it's worth defending, it's worth nurturing, and it's worth protecting at all costs! Don't think that the Enemy is going to let you live this high calling without fighting to take it away from you! He knows what you are worth and how important your service to the Lord is, even if you don't see it so clearly. That's why he fights you so hard, and why you should be driven to fight him all the harder in return!
Don't Dabble in Doubts
12. In previous GNs, the Lord has given a lot of instruction and counsel regarding the avenues of weakening I mentioned above, such as, "You Are What You Watch!" (ML #3182‚ GN 787), "Don't Get Caught in the Web!" (ML #3174, GN 779), "New Music for a New Day!" (ML #3022, Lifelines 22), "Issues, Part 14: Novel Reading" (ML #3442, GN 1026)‚ etc. So if your weakening has been along those lines, I strongly suggest you go back and reread the Lord's counsel and apply it to your life today. But in this GN we're going to zero in more on a topic that was addressed some in the GN "Stay on the Wall" (ML #3303, GN 902)—which, by the way, would be good for you to reread if you haven't done so recently.
13. The contact that many of you have had, and some of you continue to have, with the Enemy's lies via antagonistic ex-members—either in person‚ by letter or e-mail, or going on their websites and chat groups on the Internet—has been a part of your weakening. It has caused a deterioration of your faith and convictions, and has contributed to pulling you away from the Word and causing you to doubt. It's one of the Enemy's inroads to bring about compromise and to ultimately destroy the Lord's work. Sad to say, some of you just don't see it. You think you're strong enough and can drink it all in without being affected. But you who think you know better or who don't heed the Lord's counsel will continue to be weakened to the point of eventually forsaking your place of service and your crown.
14. I realize that not everyone has been in contact with antagonistic ex-members, but there are a great many of you who have, either personally or via others who have and who have passed on to you what they are saying. So if the shoe fits, wear it! Or if it doesn't fit‚ ask the Lord what other areas of your life you need to "pull up your socks" in and how your commitment to discipleship needs strengthening.
15. You must make a personal decision to not keep dabbling in the doubts, but to slam the door and realize with conviction what these things are all about, and that they're designed by the Enemy to destroy your faith. You can't continually open the door of your heart to the Enemy's garbage, because it will weaken you. You can't allow yourselves to be so blown about by what antagonistic ex-members are saying—even if they're your loved ones or friends. And if you're not sure if an ex-member you're in contact with falls into the category of an "antagonistic ex-member‚" ask the Lord. He knows.
16. Some of you certainly aren't "trying the spirits" to see if they be of God or not (1Jn.4:1). You're not asking Him personally about the things you see and read. Even after all that the Lord has explained about how vicious and malicious the Vandari demons are (ML #3420‚ GN 1007), some of you are still wallowing in the stuff that those who are influenced by the Vandari are spewing out. So how do you think you're going to be strengthened? If you continue on down this path, you're on your way out of the Lord's will and out of His service. You can't help but be weakened.
17. And if you're tempted to believe the apostates' words and advice over God's Word and the things Peter and I have said over the last few years in many different GNs—such as "None of These Things Move Me" (ML #3307‚ GN 906), "The Way Things Really Are in WS" (ML #3309, GN 910-911)‚ and "Stay on the Wall" (ML #3303, GN 902)—then you'd be wise to ask the Lord why. If you are having a hard time believing His Word or certain specifics in His Word, then go to Him about it personally. If you're really serious about living for Jesus, then you've got to live His Word, because that's the basis of our faith. And how can you live His Word if you don't believe it? It's very important, folks!
What is an apostate? Here's a brief excerpt from "None of These Things Move Me" where we explained how sociologists of religion define and use the term:
Several sociologists of religion have conducted studies of those who leave religious movements. These sociologists have pointed out that there are numerous reasons people choose to leave a religious group. The majority move on with their lives, adjust to life outside of the group, and in time adjust their belief system accordingly. These people have an outlook on their time in the movement ranging from remembering it as a happy time to a somewhat troubled time which they have moved on from.
There are some, however‚ who after some time, for various reasons, begin to see their time in the movement as extremely negative. This seems to occur more often when they hook up with someone negative or someone's writings that are negative about the movement, including those involved in the "anti-cult movement."
When this happens‚ the person who previously strongly adhered to the beliefs of the movement now begins to see it all as evil. Virtually all of their past involvement is now seen as destructive; those that they used to love, they now hate. They basically have nothing but bad to say about the group, its doctrines, and especially its leadership.
Much has been written by some foremost sociologists of religion regarding this state, referring to such former members as "apostates." Although the sociologists will accept that there is some truth to what the apostate says, studies have indicated that much of it is also slanted or distorted by their negative outlook and attitude‚ and therefore cannot be taken simply at face value. (ML #3307:58-61, GN 906).
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The Devil's Agenda
18. Some of you tend to think, "What's the big deal? Why all the fuss about protecting my spirit? I'm strong enough to read others' doubts and not be affected!" Well, I've got news for you—you're not strong enough! And if you want to remain strong, if you don't want to be weakened, if you want to be a professional disciple, you've got to raise a standard against the Enemy's attacks in this way. His ultimate goal is to pull you away from the Lord's service and then tear you completely away from the Lord. That's what he's done with the apostates who are fighting us. He's convinced them to give up their faith and place of service, and now he's trying to use them to convince you to do the same.
19. (Jesus: ) The agenda of the Enemy, and those who are following him most closely‚ is to stop My work. That has always been Satan's agenda. He has always been My arch-Enemy and will continue to be so, the opposite of everything I stand for‚ the opposer and destroyer of every work of My hand, of every plan I enact in the world, of every group of disciples on Earth that I have ever rallied together. He has fought Me since his fall, and because he cannot touch Me directly, he seeks to harm My work‚ My children, and foil My plans. This is his agenda. (End of message.)
20. (Mama:) The Enemy hates having his agenda and plans exposed, being stripped bare for all to see his true intentions, so I'm pretty sure he's going to fight this GN. I'm expecting to hear shouts of protest from some of the apostates, because they won't like what I'm saying—or what Jesus and Dad have to say. But though I know it will probably get torn to shreds by some of the apostates, it's worth the retaliation and counterattacks if it's going to help to save even just a few of your lives for the Lord, and help you to stand strong for Him.
21. This GN is not a verbal attack on the apostates. I'm not mad at them; I'm angry at the Devil, the one who's really behind it all. He deserves the blame, and I don't mind getting angry at him—and I do! It makes me boiling mad when I see him do his dirty work, and especially when it affects you in the Family, those I dearly love!
22. I also love the apostates, but unfortunately I can't show them that love now‚ except through my prayers. I'm so sorry for them—sorry that they've chosen the "husks" of the world, sorry because of what they're missing out on, both here and now on Earth and in the world to come. They'll never lose their salvation, of course, because their helmet is firmly attached, but they will miss out on much of the commendation, approval, blessings and rewards that would have been theirs had they held on and kept living full-time for Jesus.
23. So even though it's very sad what some are doing in fighting us‚ they're still a part of us, and they always will be—and of course they're going to get credit in Heaven for the many years of their lives they gave to Jesus and the fruit they bore for Him. They're still our brothers, sisters, friends, and "family." The truth is that any one of us could be where they are today, except for the Word and our connection with the Lord that keeps us and helps us to fight on.
The Enemy's Ultimate Goal
24. The Enemy fights furiously to divide and conquer‚ to bring division, to stir up trouble. That's a known fact. He is anti-God, and against anyone who serves God, and that includes you. So it shouldn't surprise you or be news to you that his goal is to destroy faith, to destroy the Family, and to stop every person in it‚ from the oldest to the youngest, from serving the Lord, with any and all tactics he can employ. That's been his goal since the Garden of Eden. He's been trying to draw people, and even angels, away from the Lord so that he can fulfill his plan of setting up his kingdom on Earth. That's his agenda, and he hasn't let up over the years. In fact, he's become increasingly vicious and ruthless in his attacks, and in the end he'll even "make war with the saints!"
25. Those who are actively serving the Lord are always his prime targets and those he wants to persuade to give up their service and forsake their crown. And then once they're away from the Lord's service‚ he continues to influence their hearts and minds, and if they'll yield to him‚ he'll solicit their active help in hindering‚ harming, or trying to stop the rest of the Lord's children. That's what's happening now with the apostates' actions and attacks against the Family. The Enemy's using whatever means possible, even landing some pretty low blows, in order to try to stop our work for the Lord—or more specifically, stop you from serving the Lord and being a revolutionary disciple.
26. But that's not the end of his goal. He doesn't want to just stop you from serving the Lord. He wants you to completely reject the Lord and turn away from Him entirely. He doesn't want to just stop you from being an active Christian, he wants to stop you from being any kind of a Christian at all.
27. (Jesus: ) The Enemy's goal is not just to destroy the Family, to stop you from serving Me and reaching the world. He doesn't just want to take you away from the Family; that's not his final goal. He will start there, but his ultimate goal is to destroy your faith‚ and he'll eat away at it bit by bit. He doesn't just want you to stop serving Me. His end goal is to get you to reject Me and even hate Me. He doesn't even want you to be a Christian. That's his ultimate goal, to get you serving him instead of Me, and he is relentless.
28. You've got to recognize his attacks for what they are. He doesn't just want you to stop active service, but he wants to draw you completely away from Me, sap all of your faith, and render you ineffective as any kind of Christian. He'll try to steal away from your heart anything of value, and if he's allowed entrance, if you entertain his doubts and lies, and you aren't strong in the Word, then it's the beginning of the end for you. (End of message.)
29. (Mama: ) I'm going to share with you a few examples of things that some of the apostates are saying so that you can see more clearly what the Lord just talked about in the above message. Now remember, I'm talking about apostates here—those who are actively fighting the Family. I'm not talking about every former member, as most former members don't fall into the category of apostates. Some of these apostates no longer even consider themselves Christians. They've lost all faith. They have become reprobate, vicious‚ hateful, bitter, and have even talked about violence against us in some cases. They're not just against the Family; they're anti-God and against all that He stands for, and the Enemy is trying to use them to attempt to destroy the Family, whose main and express mission is to win souls.
30. The results of a recent poll on a Web site for former Family members, tallying the votes of 135 participants, showed that only 29.63% still consider themselves Christians. 31.11% were agnostic, and 39.26% were atheist, Buddhist, pagan, undecided, or other.
(Excerpts from ex-members:)
I don't discard Christianity (and all religions for that matter) because of the Family. That would be too simplistic and irrational; truth and fact are not based on emotionalism. I reject religion because it is false, irrational and otiose. We've heard enough of this rubbish and don't care to hear anymore.
I don't personally believe in religion, and as far as God goes, I'm an agnostic.
I just wonder why do some people feel it's a bad thing to reject religion? Is it really that bad that people decide that they will no longer believe in fables and questionable ancient writings found in the Bible and other religious books?
I turned from Christianity, which triggered so many unpleasant memories, to a more holistic and mystical type of spirituality. Instead of cracking my Bible‚ I read tarot cards.
A lot of ex-members are no longer Christians of any kind. Some are all-out atheists. Others are still deciding, and some don't care, and yet there's also those who still wake up and cross themselves before they take a smoke. I don't care for or about religion of any sort and it's not in my train of thought. I'm not an atheist; I just couldn't care less for living a religious lifestyle my opinion is that it's totally normal to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Now when I see a Bible, I throw it away! All it brings me is bad memories!
Prepare yourselves [the Family] for a future of fighting for your very survival as an organization. The tidal wave will grow. You will be washed away.
If I could, I would rid the world of all those that started and had any part in [the Family].
The Family is heading towards a full-on confrontation with their victimized generation. And if we have our way, we will bring the Family to its knees. [Mama, Peter] and many others must (and hopefully will) be brought to task for their crimes.
31. (Mama:) That's just a small sampling of the words and attitudes of those who've drifted so far from the faith that they've discarded it in many cases, and have even turned to fight us in some cases. So when you hear things from folks like these‚ consider the source, and be sure to ask the Lord about it. Is it sowing love or hatred, peace or discontent, unity or division, reconciliation or bitterness? By their fruits you shall know them.
Protect Your Spirits!
32. Most of the apostates' complaints and accusations are about things that they themselves admit were only done in the past. (Of course, you also have to realize that some accusations aren't true, and never happened at all, or the facts have been embellished and distorted.) But the Enemy is still using them to try to annihilate the Family of today and the work we're doing that no other missionary group is doing as enthusiastically, willingly, and effectively as we are.
33. In their bitterness they're trying to tear down God's work that's saving souls every day because something bad happened to them in the past, or they heard about something bad that happened to someone else. They keep repeating whatever happened to them or to others, and it grows and is enhanced and embellished each time, as the Enemy stokes the fire of their bitterness and they keep adding fuel to it. They spread their bitter tales, that are cleverly spun by the Enemy, and it doesn't matter to him what they say or what they spread—whether it's true or false—as long as it accomplishes his goal of hurting people's faith and making them doubt. The Enemy wants you in the Family to stop what you're doing, leave the Lord's work, quit winning souls, and ultimately turn your backs on Him completely.
34. I'd like to share with you a message from Dad about this very topic. He's earned his right to preach and shoot straight with us after his many years of faithful service to us on Earth, and now from Heaven, so please take it to heart, dear Family.
35. (Dad:) I don't understand why any of you would even desire to read the lies of those who are fighting against the Family. A very few of you have to‚ because it's your work‚ but I pray you are being faithful to clean your hearts and spirits through the Word.
36. Do you think the Lord gave the Devil the time of day? Do you think He sat down and listened to all the Devil's lies, accusations, and the like? No! Give no place to the Devil! Those negative postings‚ letters, and e-mails from apostates are designed by the Devil to destroy your faith. So for you to be reading them, you are giving place to the Devil. You are deciding to give place to the Devil, and it is disobeying God's Word to do so.
37. Once you find out where the antagonistic ex-members are at—even if they are your friends or relatives—why even bother to burden your spirits with such depression, if these communications are nothing but garbage? Maybe you think you have to read this stuff because it's your friend or your brother or your sister. Well, if doing so is bearing bad fruit, I'd suggest you pray and ask the Lord about not reading it, or sending such communications to your shepherds to read first, and get the summary without having to read all the doubts and trash they contain.
38. Maybe that sounds drastic to some‚ but we're in a war! Would soldiers in war want to read letters from their enemies that would demoralize them and tear down their faith in their commander and their cause? Of course not! The Word says you are to love your enemies and pray for them that persecute you and despitefully use you. You are to pray for them and love them as the Lord loves them. That doesn't mean that you're to love them so much that you wade through everything they have to say, and give them your time and attention by drinking in everything wholesale—including their trash and doubts.
39. Give no place to the Devil! That should be the motto of our Family. We fight the Enemy; we don't listen to him and reason with him and sympathize with him. We fight him! We hate the Enemy! We hate the God-damned Devil. And when he is working through the apostates, that means whatever tactics the Enemy is using through them to get to you must be fought, resisted and rebuked. Pray for the apostates, but don't give the Enemy any place in your heart. (End of message.)
What's Your Faith Based On?
40. (Mama:) Remember, we are living in the time of the End, whether you see it and believe it or not, and Jesus predicted many years ago that at this time in history the Enemy would try to deceive even the "very elect" (Mat.24:4‚ 24). He's willing to go to any length, to stoop to any depth, to use anyone in his employ, in order to do so—even those who were once our brethren, friends and co-workers.
41. The bottom line is that the Enemy is trying to use them to destroy your faith. But even if I tell you this a hundred times, it won't do you any good unless you choose to believe it yourself, unless you get down to business with the Lord and ask Him to open your eyes to see things as He does. If you do‚ then no matter what doubts the Enemy throws your way and no matter what avenue it comes from, you're going to have the faith to stand on the Word, take it to the Lord, and then say, "I know the Family isn't perfect. I know we've made mistakes, and we're still making mistakes. I know we're still not living up to all that the Lord needs us to be and we fall short in many ways, but at least we're serving Jesus, winning souls‚ and doing the job! I know where I stand, and I'm firmly grounded in the Word, and none of these things others say will sway me or destabilize me."
42. Some of the antagonistic ex-members are right about some things and some situations‚ and they do have some reasonable arguments about how bad situations were in certain instances in the past—and even today they could make some pretty convincing statements about how spiritually weak some people are‚ those who aren't living up to the standard‚ etc. There are some things they can say that are correct, but there's a whole lot more they're saying that isn't correct.
43. So how do you know what's correct and what isn't? Well, the goal is not to try to figure out what accusation is right or wrong, or what percentage of it has some element of truth in it, and then if something someone says is right, say, "I guess I won't be able to live for the Lord anymore because he's right in what he's saying‚ and the Family really does have problems." That's a very immature way to operate. Some of you are so weak in the Word that if you hear something some antagonistic ex-member says that seems to really shake your faith, you swallow it hook, line and sinker. So what if they're right about some things! Of course the Family makes mistakes, and we'll continue to make mistakes—which we're sorry about‚ apologize for, and do our best to rectify and keep from happening again—but why should that make you stop serving the Lord?
44. Why should some idea, or some doubt, or some new bit of information—perhaps true, perhaps not—make you lose your faith? Is your faith that weak? If you're not really grounded and founded in the Word and you're looking to man more than to God, then your faith can be very easily shaken. It makes me wonder what your faith was built on in the first place or whether you had any solid convictions to begin with, if you're blown about with every wind of doctrine or every apostate tale.
45. Boy, I'll tell you, if I were you and had been in the Family and believed in its doctrines and goals for 15 or 20 or more years, I'd want to be dead sure that I was doing the right thing in throwing it all down the drain just because of thoughts put into my mind by the Enemy. It would only be smart and sensible to hear the other side as well, to ask the Lord my questions, to think things through, and get the right take on things, instead of just listening to a few people's opinions and making my decision based on that. "Where no counsel is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Pro.11:14).
46. I've heard of some who have heard one thing from an ex-member and they've said, "That's it. When I heard that, I decided it was time to go." Well‚ obviously they'd already been weakened and thinking about leaving for a long time anyway, but still it's amazing how some of you can be so impulsive after hearing just one thing that totally shocks or destabilizes you. You don't think it out, you don't go to the Word, you don't ask the Lord, and you just think, "How could that bad thing have ever happened? And if it did happen, then I can't conscientiously stay in the Family."
47. If you're doing a work for the Lord and serving Him in a place that you believe is the most conducive to doing so, and if you have your convictions firm in that respect, then it behooves you to face the facts that you're probably just going to have to live with some of the mistakes or things that may have happened—or didn't happen, as the case may be—in the past. If you're doing the job you know the Lord has called you to, in the place you know is His will for you to do it, then you're just going to have to own up to the fact that nothing is ever going to be perfect!
48. You're going to stand before the Lord one day and give account for your life and service to Him, no matter what anyone else does or says. I don't think He's going to accept an excuse like, "Well, Lord, I know You led me to the best place on Earth to serve You (or I was born into it), and You gave me so much truth, but there were just too many problems and mistakes made by other people, and the organization wasn't perfect. I couldn't in all good conscience continue serving You, so I had to take a different road." I'm pretty sure that's not going to "cut the mustard" with the Lord or be a good enough excuse in His book!
49. Look at people in the world. There are millions who put up with problems and difficulties because they like their job or vocation and they feel called to it. And there are many more who put up with a whole slew of difficulties for no higher purpose or reason at all. You can't always have perfect working conditions or a perfect organization to work within. No organization is perfect—no church group‚ political group, commercial group, business, or what have you. And if you want to do the job of reaching the world and you know that's what you're supposed to do‚ then so what if the conditions aren't the greatest or if there are problems along the way! (2Tim.2:3). You endure problems and difficulties just by living on this Earth in the first place, because it's life no matter who you are! But thank the Lord that we in the Family have it a whole lot better than those in the world! And we're working to make the Family better all the time, solving the problems and overcoming the difficulties as they come up!
Contending for the Faith!
50. When we sent an advance copy of this Letter to some of our media spokespeople‚ Marc and Claire in the U.S.‚ they sent us a confirmation of this point:
51. (Marc and Claire: ) We were thankful for this line being drawn clearly for the Family. In our experience, many Family members seem to have a hard time discerning the difference between praying for and loving our apostates and reasoning with them when possible, while not allowing them to repeatedly unload their doubts, vindictiveness and hatred after their having received countless apologies for any hurts, real or imagined. We believe that line has to be drawn in the sand at some point, letting them know that we won't allow our beliefs to be denigrated or all that we hold dear to be attacked.
52. We often hear of situations where Family members take a defensive posture because of past mistakes or situations that maybe should have been stronger, better, more loving‚ etc., and once they take that stance, from that point on the apostate becomes "right" on every issue, and puts the Family member on the defensive. After reading this Letter we can see so clearly what an inroad of the Enemy that is, as the end of that road is the doctrine that unless the Family is perfect in all its ways and in every individual's life, it can't be a valid body of believers doing the Lord's work!
53. We have found that former members tend to set an incredibly high standard for the Family‚ basically impossible to attain, as much as we would like to, straining at gnats while they swallow the camel of the System and all of its injustice and corruption! Some expect nothing of the System or System churches, while setting an impossibly perfect utopian standard for the Family. Of course, this is the Enemy attempting to make Family members feel that unless we're perfect, our beliefs and way of life and uncompromising stance toward the System are not "valid" and are, in effect, wrong. Sure sounds like the Accuser of the Saints, with the same old bag of tricks—nothing new under the sun!
54. With this kind of mistaken perspective, every lack of love, every mistake, every wrongdoing is magnified 100–fold under a magnifying glass, while no mention is made of all the good, all that the Lord accomplishes and all the wonderful blessings we each partake of in giving our lives to Him. You can't help but wonder what "atrocity tales" apostates had to tell in the days of the early Christians when people were being thrown to the lions, literally dying for what they believed. We can't even begin to imagine how that level of discipleship today would be painted by detractors, how they would paint the believers as abusive extremists who were endangering the very lives of their children and converts by not compromising with the System of their day and being "just like everyone else."
55. We believe this counsel will be important and needed in differentiating between apologizing for any past hurts, expressing our love for our former members‚ but then requiring the same level of respect from them that they expect from us—that is, of not verbally attacking our beliefs or pushing any System-worshipping theology on our members, and particularly on our kids and young people. We respect their choices, so if we are to have a loving interaction‚ it has to be based on them respecting ours as well, which is really the foundation of any true friendship—mutual respect.
56. In our opinion, we shouldn't allow people to just walk all over everything we hold dear and say nothing, meanwhile only pouring out unconditional love, acceptance, forgiveness and kindness to them! Our calling is to "speak the truth in love," to "in meekness instruct those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the Devil, who are taken captive by him at his will" (2Timothy 2:25-26). We don't see how allowing people to rail on our beliefs without contending for the faith and speaking the truth in love can bear good fruit! It may keep them as our "friends" in the short term, but what kind of friends? (End of comments from Marc and Claire.)
The Enemy Fears the Future
Even More Than the Present!
57. (Mama:) Have conviction, and keep things in perspective. Ask yourself, "What am I doing with my life? What am I accomplishing? What's my job? What has the Lord called me to?" Get your convictions solid about those basics, and if this is the place you want to be to serve the Lord, the place that is most conducive to doing your best for Him and living your faith, then do it regardless of what people say or what went on in the past or how bad things are around you. Let's do the job for the Lord that He needs us to do! And if things are a bit rough, let's have a little patience to wait and give the Lord time to work things out. Don't throw everything away just because of the conditions around you‚ or things that others are saying from the outside, or even from the inside, or doubts that the Enemy is putting in your mind. These things are for the sole purpose of tearing you down and destroying your life of service for the Lord.
58. You see, you're not just winning souls, but you're winning people to the Lord's service—that means more people who are going to be a threat to the Enemy's plans. You're doing a great work for the Lord, and if you weren't doing it‚ many, many souls would not be won‚ and multitudes would not be fed—and, for the future, there are thousands who would not be led, instructed and helped to go on for the Lord in the midst of trial and tribulation.
59. You are doing an important job for the Lord that hardly anybody else is doing—at least not with the same intensity and with the amount of truth you've been given. While you don't see or consider yourselves that important, it's amazing what the Lord is doing with the Family all over the world. You may feel like it's just you in one little Home and think you're not accomplishing that much‚ but together all of our Homes make up a phenomenal force for the Lord, a great moving of His Spirit. When you read the testimonies in the FSMs, the Grapevines, the FARs‚ and the year-end report GNs, for example, it puts things in perspective and it's clear to see how the Lord is using you in monumental ways, even if you don't realize it most of the time.
60. Not only are you witnessing, but you have the power of the Lord. He's put His blessing on you because you are obeying Him, you have forsaken all to serve Him, and you are using the new weapons He's given you for the job. You've been yielded to accepting His new revelations and you have multiplied power as a result. All of this makes you a very effective force for the Lord throughout the world. You do tremendous things in the spirit for people, such as healing hearts and minds and spirits, that sometimes you don't even realize because you've become familiar with the Lord's miracles.
61. You often fail to realize the power and authority in the spirit that the Lord has given to you, but other people see it, and the Devil sure sees it and hates it. When it's multiplied thousands of times over by the work you're doing for Jesus all around the world and the souls you're winning for His Kingdom‚ it's very powerful—and it's going to grow more powerful all the time. The Enemy is even more scared about what's going to happen in the future than he is about what's happening now. It's not just your present work that he is so angry about, but your work for the future that he is trying to eradicate and wipe out. What you will be in the days to come is what he fears the most.
62. (Jesus:) The Enemy doesn't just hate your service to Me today. He hates your future service to Me. He knows what you will become‚ the Endtime powerhouses you will be in the days to come as you continue yielding and growing stronger in Me and in My Word today! It's not just the souls you're winning today and lives you're reaching today that sends him screaming, but his knowledge of the great defeat you will bring to his kingdom in the future, the great ruin to his plans‚ the thorn in his side that you will be to him in the days to come. That's why he wants to stop your service to Me today, so that you won't be an even greater threat to him in the future.
63. All of the things you go through today--all of your training, all of the battles, all of the instruction and insight and counsel and guidance I give—is not just for today, but it's for the future as well. It's not just to help you to be better witnesses and samples and soul winners today, but also My Endtime witnesses and samples and the reapers of the last great harvest.
64. The Enemy fears the future more than he fears the present. He knows that as you draw closer to Me, as you become more obedient to Me, as you live more in My Word and let My Word live in you, you grow more powerful in spirit, and thus I'm able to use you more. And in the End, when My disciples are highly trained and have been through much preparation of heart, mind and spirit‚ and are highly proficient in using the new weapons, you will be a strong and overwhelming threat to him.
65. You are a bother and annoyance to him today, because you're snatching souls out of his clutches and you're doing wonderful things all over the world for Me. But he knows that in the future his losses will be even greater and far surpass his losses today. Your power through Me and the new weapons will be stronger—stronger for the purpose of defeating him‚ setting the captives free, and winning the final battle.
66. Even in the near future, before the End comes‚ the Family of today will grow stronger and be a greater threat to him, simply through your greater obedience and dedication. As I purify and strengthen you, I will be able to use you even more mightily in the days to come. (End of message.)
The "Spiritual Warfare" Factor
67. (Mama:) I know some of you don't like to look at situations as attacks of the Enemy, or blame problems on the Devil. After all‚ it's easy to think that if these active disgruntled former members, even if only a handful, are so determined to put a stop to the Family, then there must be something wrong with us or what we're doing. You wonder, "Can it really just be that the Enemy's using them?" You'd rather have some kind of logical, reasonable explanation. It's odd how sometimes the simplest answers are the hardest for you to accept, possibly because you've allowed your faith to weaken so drastically and no longer have the "faith of a little child" you once had (Mk.10:15).
68. I'm in the business of telling the truth, and the truth is that there is a spiritual warfare raging‚ and you're a part of it whether you like it or not. The spiritual affects the physical, and the physical affects the spiritual. There are forces for good and bad in both realms, and if you can't believe that—one of the most basic spiritual principles—then you'd better get serious with the Lord and ask Him to open your eyes and help you to see things in the spirit, as they really are, because in the physical, carnal realm, the Enemy is always right there to make things look very different, to convince you to see things from his perspective.
69. To have faith is a conscious choice, a vital one, but no one can make it for you‚ dear ones. You've got to choose the road of faith, keep the heavenly vision, stay connected to the Word, and fight to keep your spiritual eyes open so that you're aware of the supernatural realm and the battle that's raging. That's how you'll see things through the Lord's eyes, and remain strong and steadfast in Him!
70. (Jesus:) Faith is a gift of the spirit that many of you, sad to say, have all but lost. You've lost your childlike faith to believe, to receive, to grow, and to see things through My eyes. Many of you have chosen the logical‚ analytical, carnal, fleshly road‚ and you've been walking that path for so long that it's now very difficult for you to see things in the spirit. Many of you have become dull and familiar with the spiritual realm after hearing about it for many years, and now there is a great wave of those of you who have turned toward the road of your carnal mind, choosing the road of skepticism over faith.
71. Yes, you do believe in angels and demons, but you take it only so far and no further. You have a hard time believing the realm of the spirit actually affects the physical realm so powerfully. So because you don't believe that, you have a hard time accepting the revelations of demons‚ spirit helpers, and the like. Most of you are content to just look at the demons and angels as far–off beings who don't really affect life on Earth. It's sad‚ but true. This isn't the case with everyone, but it's quite a widespread mentality—the rejection of hearing things explained in spiritual terms and instead wanting to sort out in your own mind how it all makes sense. This lack of faith is prevalent in many areas of your lives, not just the rejection of the spiritual warfare.
72. It's precisely because the Enemy is fighting so hard, and you haven't raised a standard against him by strengthening your spirits with the Word‚ that you are lacking in faith, and because you don't really realize it, you are becoming prey to his devices. The spiritual warfare has intensified and the ante has been upped, and My Words and truth do need to be explained more clearly now than ever before‚ because the Enemy fights it harder than ever. But oh, how I wish that you, My children, would return to the simplicity of My Spirit, to the faith of little babes sucking to receive My Words!
73. Many of you have faith that goes only so far and no further. Your faith is conditional. That's why so many of you are swayed and stumbled by the lies of the Enemy—your faith is weak. You have conditional faith that believes what it wants to believe and rejects what it doesn't understand or doesn't want to accept.
74. You must see things in the spirit! You've got to choose to see things with the eyes of faith, because there's so much that can never be explained in carnal or fleshly terms. There's so much about the dynamics of the spirit, My spiritual gifts, and the workings of the world of the spirit that you will never understand with your human mind, and which will never make sense to the scoffer, the doubter, or the unbeliever. But that's where faith comes in—faith of a little child, faith as a grain of mustard seed, faith that can move mountains‚ faith that transforms you and gives you understanding.
75. To choose the road of faith is a choice you have to make! It's a choice no one else can make for you! But it's a vital choice, because when you lose your faith, then you have lost everything, and you're in danger of becoming alienated from My Spirit. (End of message.)
The Word Is Your Only Salvation!
76. (Mama: ) As we all know so well, or should know, faith comes by reading the Word (Rom.10:17)! Faith is a byproduct of the Word, and something we have to feed by faithful study of it.
77. That's one of the reasons why the Lord said in the Feast 2003 Letter "What Is Jesus Worth to You": "Those who don't live in the Word will suffer more outstanding consequences and the results of their disobedience will be more shocking. And those who appear to want the Word, yet carelessly allow it to be crowded out of their daily lives, will also suffer greater consequences than in the past. The effects of their neglect will be seen; it will be more obvious" (ML #3433:60, GN 1016).
78. He's saying that in the future it will become clearer who is obeying His Word and living it and who isn't‚ and the effects will be more obvious. And one of the results of neglecting the Word is that those who aren't receiving and living the Word will fall away, and those who are strong in the Word will remain. Which will you be? Where do you stand?
79. (Jesus:) No matter how grand your intentions, no matter how enthusiastic you are about serving Me and doing great works in My Name, no matter how much you want to remain strong and unswayed by the attacks of the Enemy in your life, this will never be enough if you're not connected to Me and strong in My Word!
80. Faith—the faith that keeps your spirit strong, the faith that helps you to see things through My eyes, the faith that keeps you forging on for Me—is only found through faithful study of My Word. You've got to read it, absorb it, drink it in, and let it change you and strengthen you. Otherwise you'll continue to weaken, and the Enemy will continue fighting you until he's rendered you totally useless and you'll fizzle out and fade into oblivion.
81. No one is strong enough to stand on their own without the Word. Without that strong standard in your life‚ without the ballast that keeps you stable, you will be blown about with every wind of doctrine and your faith will crumble. That's a fact! Faith is built by faithful study of My Word, and that's the truth! Faith is not automatic; it must be fed and nurtured through the Word.
82. If you know you're weak in the Word, don't take that as a defeat. Look at it as a challenge‚ because it's not too late to make a renewed commitment to strengthen your faith. It's your life and your service to Me at stake here and that you're in jeopardy of losing, if you don't decide to reestablish your connection with the Word. You need it desperately, and you can be strengthened if you desire it with all of your heart.
83. Cry out to Me in desperation of heart and humility! Tell Me that you crave and need a renewed hunger for My Word in order to survive. Do whatever it takes to strengthen your lifeline to the Word: Reread the Feast Letters‚ use the keys to claim a renewed hunger for the Word, ask for united prayer, hear from Me in prophecy, pray a "whatever it takes" prayer‚ rebuke Obstacon and any other demons that are hindering you, and delve deep into the wells of My Spirit and be fed from My hand.
84. And don't go by your feelings either, because if you are obeying, even if you don't feel the results immediately, then you will be blessed—and some of the direct blessings will come in the form of strength to your spirit and a stronger force field to protect you from the Enemy's attacks, even if you don't feel it in the physical.
85. The Enemy will do all within his power to cause you to feel like the Word isn't doing you any good‚ and to tell you you're too weakened and that a decision to be strengthened at this point would be a waste of time and energy. But don't listen to him! Rebuke him in the power of the keys, and his wiles and lies and doubts and fears will be obliterated.
86. Now is the time! It is possible to be strengthened, even if you are severely weakened in spirit, and you will be strengthened if you choose to be. (End of message.)
It's Not Your Circumstances;
It's Your Attitude!
87. (Mama:) A lot of the apostates' accusations are related to things in the past—bad things that happened, restrictive guidelines, etc. They say, "Such-and-such happened to me while I was in the Family, and that's why I had to leave." While Peter and I are the first to admit that there were mistakes made in the past, and we're very sorry for those who were hurt or affected negatively, and we've made this abundantly clear in many past publications, there comes a time when we each have to personally make the decision to go on for the Lord, to choose to serve Him‚ and to not get caught up in bitterness about the past.
88. The Family is a growing, changing movement, and as such it has gone through many phases, revolutions, and even difficulties. That's because we're a movement in the making, disciples in training, and our Husband is preparing us for what lies ahead. The Family of today is a very different Family than that of yesterday‚ and that's because we continue to change, progress, adapt, and follow where the Lord leads us. He's got to bring us through experiences, periods, times, and even battles, to test us, mature us, and strengthen us. We should focus on the good things from the past and not forever dwell on what went wrong or what mistakes were made. The good far outweighed the bad‚ even in the cases of those who did suffer from mistakes or problems. We've grown as a result of difficulties and have changed things that needed changing, and we'll continue to do so.
89. The antagonistic ex-members go on and on about all the things about their past that were wrong or the ways they were mistreated, but there are many in the Family today who went through the same kind of rough experiences, but they held on and they're still fighting. The point is, folks, that it's not your circumstances that determine your happiness; it's your state of mind.
90. Look at the Devil—Lucifer. He was once God's right-hand man, the light bearer. He lived in the most perfect place in the universe, was next to Jesus Himself, and had everything that he could have ever wanted—a perfect environment, a perfect place to grow and learn and create‚ much acclaim, responsibility, authority, and everything he could have ever wanted. He had the most ideal circumstances you could ever imagine, but despite all this perfection, he still turned his back on it all. He left Heaven because of pride and independence, because he wanted to be the most powerful, he wanted things his way, and he wanted to be the boss.
91. And ever since, he's lied about the One Who was the most perfect Man ever to walk the Earth, our loving Husband and Savior Who made the ultimate sacrifice in dying to save us. Satan has lied about Him, fought Him, put millions and millions of doubts in people's minds about Him and His Home in Heaven and His world and the way He does things. But why did he do that? Was it that he was mistreated, misused, put down‚ talked badly about, or dealt with unlovingly? No. There was no basis for him to have any complaints whatsoever, but he still did.
92. It was because pride and bitterness entered into his heart and he no longer looked back on his life in Heaven as the beautiful gift it was‚ the rich heritage it was, the Home of Love it was, with the greatest King of Love. Even with the perfect conditions he was blessed to live with, he still threw it all away, and through pride and bitterness could no longer see any good in his past, and ever since his whole purpose for existence has been to try to tear down what he once cherished and loved.
93. He had the best life anyone could hope to have, but he threw it all away because of pride. And now for centuries and centuries he has been trying to discredit his former life and make it look like something very horrible—questioning God's motives and ways of doing things, trying to convince people that there is no Heaven or spiritual realm, fighting the Word, etc. And that's what some of our ex–members are doing as well. When they look back on the good and happy times, all they can see is the bad and the negative. It's a change in perspective.
94. (Jesus:) Lucifer is a clear example of the spiritual principle that pride, bitterness, doubt and other sins are not automatic byproducts of a bad situation, of negative things happening in your life, or of rough circumstances. Even rejection of My Spirit is not something that is caused by circumstances. It's the result of choices—choosing not to yield, choosing your own way over My way, choosing to disobey a little here and a little there until you've drifted farther and farther away from My Spirit.
95. That's what Lucifer did: He chose the wrong way—the way of pride, the way of self‚ the way of independence, the way of glory, the way of destruction. No one made that choice for him, and there were no reasons that compelled him to rebel. In fact, there was no excuse. His circumstances gave him cause to praise and thank Me, because he was highly honored in Heaven, as My right-hand assistant and light bearer. But pride overcame him, and he forsook his place at My side and instead chose the road of opposition to Me, My truth, My Word, and My world.
96. He has chosen to walk the anti-God, anti-Heaven, anti-love road. He is the opposite of everything I stand for and promote. He attacks My Word. He fights My principles, and he hinders My children. He disdains everything that I have created—from the smallest creation of My hand in nature to the intricacies of the human souls I breathe life into. He is pro-war and anti–life. He promotes doubt when I embody faith. He brings grief and heartache where I bring joy and happiness. He is proud, when I am humble. Anything that is from My hand, that is a part of My Spirit, he is against and actively fights.
97. He has chosen to turn his back on all that was good, on his perfect living conditions and his privileged job by My side, and has instead chosen the road that leads to destruction, wanting to bring along with him as many as he possibly can. He doesn't care for the hearts and souls of those he has in his clutches; he uses them only to his end, toward his crafty and wicked plans—and it's all to get back at Me and his once-beloved Home. He has rejected the truth and is in strong delusion, as strongly deluded as a man or spirit could ever be.
98. So you see, My children, even Lucifer, who had everything he could have ever wanted and lived in sheer perfection, threw it all away in his pride. And the life he had once lived, a blessed existence that was once beautiful and lovely and wonderful, morphed in his mind into something horrible, evil, and worthy of being destroyed. It wasn't that he had a bad life or that he had reason to turn on Me and his former life in Heaven. It was simply that he chose the low road. He chose rejection of truth and embraced the darkness, and ever since has been trying to convince men to love that same darkness rather than the beautiful light and love of My Spirit, truth, Word‚ and all of My fruits and blessings.
99. Because Lucifer was very elevated in the hierarchy of Heaven, he had a lot of influence. Spirits and angels looked up to him and respected him. He represented Me and My Father to the hosts of Heaven, and thus it caused quite a stumbling when he, in his pride, rejected the truth. It's much like it is for you in the Family as well, when those who were leaders, or very respected, turn away from the faith, and it causes a stumbling for the sheep. This is how it was in Heaven when Lucifer made his wrong choices; it was a big time of decision, and he influenced many with his doubts and lies.
100. He was able to use the most subtle and deadly, yet also most believable, lies—things about Me and My Father and the inner workings of the leadership of the spirit world. He said things to the spirits and angels such as, "You think you know Jesus, but I have seen things that you never saw." He used the trick of telling them that he had the inside scoop on the workings of the running of Heaven and Earth, and that if the angels and those in Heaven really knew how things were, if they really knew the "truth," then they wouldn't want to be a part of it.
101. Unfortunately‚ many chose his way and believed his lies—a third of My angels. But I allowed it, however, to test and try them, and it purged and strengthened the heavenly hosts. Those who have remained have been strengthened as a result, and continue to grow stronger all the time.
102. Sadly, some of My children in the Family—both the first and the second generations—who have lived near-ideal lives with so many blessings from My hand, have chosen to walk away and forsake the life they once lived close by My side. Their lives were never perfect, but I cared for them and protected them and nurtured them in the way that I knew was best, and those who loved them did the same. I shielded them from many of the problems of the world, and they led what many would call a "charmed life"—filled with love, joy‚ care‚ sincerity‚ trust, and truth.
103. But many have gone away and now look back on what was once a happy life—not a perfect one, but a happy one—and see everything so differently. Their perspective is warped and their view is tainted. In the place of many happy memories, there's only sadness and bitterness. In the place of the good, the bad is now all that is visible. But it's not that everything was bad or evil, or that their lives were filled with horrible memories. It arises from their perspective, the way their views have changed, and how they now see things differently as a result of the choices they have made.
104. The way they see things today is not determined and judged by the reality as they once knew it, but by the yardstick of their feelings today‚ which are so different due to the choices they have made and how their perspective has changed drastically as a result of the path they have chosen. (End of message.)
105. (Mama:) Some of our ex-members did suffer. It's true. When I hear some of the things that happened to some people in the past, and how some were treated without respect, dignity, love and understanding, and how some shepherds abused their power and misunderstood people and did things contrary to the Lord's way, it's very sad, and Peter and I are very sorry these things happened. But on the other hand, you have to look at both sides of the picture and realize that most of our ex-members did have good lives, and were treated with love, respect and understanding. It's just that now some have chosen to see things very differently.
106. I recently heard of an ex-member who was complaining that she grew up learning to trust people in the Family‚ and that now she's disadvantaged because she can't trust anyone out in the System. Living in an atmosphere where there's love and trust is a beautiful thing, but now she looks back on her upbringing in the Family and feels it was negligent that she wasn't taught to be skeptical and suspicious of others! That would almost be comical if it wasn't so sad.
107. Our children in the Family had an awful lot of love lavished upon them when growing up. Sure, they had a lot of problems and trials, just as all children do, whether in or out of the Family. There's no child that doesn't have problems and battles. That's because that's the way the Lord has ordained it, and that's life. But many, many of the children in the Family had a very wonderful heritage and upbringing, and love-filled lives—not problem–free, of course‚ but if they'd been in the System their problems would have been a lot worse.
108. So it's very sad to see some of our ex-members who, while still in the Family would have admitted that they were very happy, are now so antagonistic and bitter. Their story has changed about their life as a whole, to the point that they're not able to be happy about anything anymore and they complain about everything. For some of them‚ there's not one good thing left for them to talk about that has to do with the Family. That's not even realistic or logical. Even people who have had horrible lives in the System have at least some happy memories and sweet times to remember. So when folks don't have anything good to say about that long a period of time in their lives, then it's time to look at it again and see what they're missing and how true their accounts are.
Academic perspectives regarding ways people can perceive their past—"private mythologies?"
There are things about memory you should know. There is ample evidence that memories are often inaccurate parts are forgotten, parts are added, memory segments from different times are all mixed up, memories are simply distorted to meet our own emotional needs, parts are often changed to make us look good and innocent, and so on. In short, memories can't be entirely trusted, at least not to the extent that we should allow them, without questioning and/or confirmation‚ to be used to make our lives miserable. Memories may not reflect what actually happened and certainly our assumptions about other people's motives and intentions in our memories are often wrong.
Of course, human memories are an amazing phenomena. But, at the same time‚ careful study should convince us that memories are seldom if ever the total truth—there are idiosyncratic distortions and omissions. Our memories may be our most available and direct view of the past, but it could be healthy to recognize that we are seeing our past through a murky‚ dark, wavy glass. The total picture is almost never available to us.
It might be helpful to find out if others who were there have the same memories. These efforts to corroborate our memories often leads to discovering that others familiar with your history have somewhat different interpretations or impressions—different opinions. Sometimes the memories of others are quite different from ours. In many situations, the consideration of other views could be realistic and healthy. Even the reduction of our certainty of what happened and why it happened might be useful in our search for insight and understanding.—From the book Psychological Self-Help (Mental Health Net, 1996), by Dr. Clay Tucker–Ladd, chair of the Psychology Department at Eastern Illinois University from 1974 to 1980.
Apostate accounts are essentially autobiographies, and autobiographies are never perfect works of nonfiction. While we may recoil from the sentiment so starkly expressed by George Bernard Shaw in his own autobiography—"All autobiographies are lies. I do not mean unconscious, unintentional lies: I mean deliberate lies" (1969, p.1)—there is no denying the fact that autobiographies consist of highly selective, idealized accounts of the lives of the people who write them. For the narrative theorist, it could be no other way: "When someone tells you his life it is always a cognitive achievement rather than a through-the–clear-crystal recital of something univocally given. In the end, it is a narrative achievement." (Bruner 1987, p.13).
This characterization applies doubly to apostate narratives, which are shaped by something more than just authorial vanity or constructionist endeavors. Beyond the authors' basic concerns that the tales told of them coincide with what Adams (1990) calls their "private mythologies," the autobiographical elements of apostate narratives are further shaped by a concern that the targeted religious groups be painted in the worst possible light. In this respect, every apostate account—even the tamest among them—strives to slacken the lines that tie it to its moorings in "real" biographical history. The only question is, just how much slack can they give themselves?—From the book The Politics of Religious Apostasy—The Apostates Who Never Were, p.118, by Daniel Carter Johnson, Praeger Publishers, Connecticut; 1998.
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109. There are many of you in the Family today who went through just as difficult times, trials, and battles as the folks who are out of the Family now and complaining so vocally about their past‚ broadcasting that things they went through in the Family ruined their lives and they should receive compensation for it, etc.‚ and are extremely bitter. But you who are still in the Family are happy, well-adjusted‚ loving individuals who are going on for the Lord and are thankful for the things you went through, because they helped to make you what you are today. It wasn't easy, but because of your attitudes, because you saw the Lord's hand in the battles and problems, the Romans 8:28 in tough times, you've pulled through.
110. Even though people have gone through things that weren't right, things that shouldn't have happened in the first place and weren't good, the Lord has the amazing ability to take things that are bad and shouldn't have even happened and turn them around and actually make something so good out of them that we can say, "Thank You, Jesus, that they did happen, because it taught me‚ trained me, strengthened me‚ and gave me greater understanding and more compassion on others." That's the miracle of Romans 8:28! It is a miracle, a very big miracle. But it transforms you when you accept things that come into your life and you say, "Lord‚ I know that You allowed these things in my life. You care about me so much that You wouldn't allow anything in my life that wouldn't be good for me in some way in the end, and that You can help me turn into something good for my growth and my blessing."
111. It boils down to your attitude and your faith. It's how you take things and what you make of them. Everybody in the world, whether in or out of the Family, is going to have tough things happen to them, and even bad things, or things other people shouldn't have done to them, but it's an individual choice whether you allow those difficulties to make you better or bitter. The Lord can use those things in your life, if you let Him! And many of you have, because you're still fighting and living for Jesus!
112. You've got to remember that problems aren't caused by being in the Family. Problems happen simply because you're alive. That's what happens in life; there are problems. That's what happens to everyone, whether you're a child or an adult‚ a male or a female, a Christian or an atheist; there are battles in life. In everyone's life there are going to be battles, trials, and difficult things, or else we wouldn't build any strength of character. The Lord makes sure that in everybody's life there are rough patches; you can't expect to go through life without having difficulties and battles and trials.
113. The brass-tacks truth is that it's not the circumstances that determine your state; it's your attitude toward them. You become bitter and resentful when you leave the Lord and the Word out of your life‚ when you fail to see the Romans 8:28 in a situation. Many of you in the Family have gone through super difficult trials and battles, and you've risen above, and the Lord has made you better instead of bitter. That's the difference.
114. It's easy to wish that we as a Family would be perfect in every way, that our whole structure would be ideal with no glitches or mistakes, that we wouldn't have problems in Homes and areas, and we'd have the solution to every problem. Aside from the fact that it's unrealistic to expect such a problem-free life, where's the challenge in that? We'd then become a movement, a church‚ a group that would not only be stagnant and unmotivated to change, but also a group of people who wouldn't have what it takes to understand others and to help them through their problems and difficulties, thus bringing them salvation—which, after all, is the whole purpose of our existence.
115. We should be thankful for the changes the Lord has brought us through and the faith-testing eras of our history, even though some have been difficult. Such experiences are the things that mature, strengthen and help us—both as individuals and as a missionary movement. I pray desperately that we'll continue to have that spirit of change, improvement, progression‚ and strengthening our foundation through the battles.
You Can Go Forward and Far
116. Peter and I are committed to serving the Lord no matter what, as well as continuing to improve the Family and make it a better place for all of us to serve Him, through whatever means the Lord shows us to. But as we've said before, any changes or improvements are never going to equal compromise for popularity, fame, acceptance‚ financial power, plenty, or expansion. By God's grace, we will stay true to the radical doctrines that are what set us apart from the world and define our faith! We are and always will be a revolution! That will never change!
117. We're not afraid of the Family becoming small, and we're not fearful of being persecuted. I honestly believe that even if there were only a handful of people in the Family, who all believed and spoke the same thing, who were obedient, who loved the revolutionary life, and who used the new weapons and remained separate from the System, then the Lord would have His Endtime church. The Lord's not stuck on numbers, and I don't necessarily feel the Family is more effective with greater numbers—greater numbers who are all here 100%, yes. But if not‚ then a smaller handful who are united and fighting the same battles and living the Word would be more than sufficient for the Lord to work through and use for His glory—both today and in the days to come.
118. Peter's and my faith‚ discipleship, and decisions won't be influenced by how many others believe as we do and want to serve the Lord alongside us‚ believing and obeying the full meat of the Word. We put all of our time and effort and prayer every day toward serving you, and we are here because we are convinced of our place of service to you and our faith, and by God's grace we won't let any of the Enemy's attacks—directly or indirectly through antagonistic ex-members—dissuade us. I pray that you each have the same commitment‚ know where you stand, and have your feet firmly grounded in the Word, the stabilizing force of our faith and the only trustworthy support. Those are the kind of people who make the Family strong and able to withstand whatever storms come our way.
119. If you're tempted to think you're too weak and wonder if you should just give up, if you feel like there's no hope‚ please give the Lord another chance. Realize how much you'd be giving away if you just gave up, and fight for change and renewal. Remember that, "What you weren't able to do before is now possible through the power of the keys!" That's what the keys are for: To help you to fight and make it!
120. The Lord puts all His power on your side and He's willing to do anything at all—whatever it takes to help you make it—so it's just up to you and your will, and the decision is yours. Anybody who wants to badly enough can make it! You don't have to throw away everything the Lord's invested in you and go back to the beggarly elements of the world. You can go forward and far with Jesus and be one of His miracle workers in the End!
121. No matter how weak you feel, dear Family, there is great hope, as our loving Husband explains in this next message.
122. (Jesus:) If you feel weak, if you feel like you've been a lousy soldier and disciple, don't give up! Don't throw in the towel! Don't let all you've been through up until now trickle down the drain. There is hope, and you can make it if you want to badly enough. If you're willing to give Me everything—your whole heart‚ your desires, wants, plans, sins, treasures, loved ones, and all that you possess—you will be strengthened.
123. Even if you've just been drifting along, not really getting anywhere‚ or even if you've been drifting backward in your commitments to Me, you're not too far gone to be helped by My power. The keys of change are available to you. Please don't look at yourself and your failings and say, "Well, maybe I was never meant to be a soldier after all. Maybe I'm not discipleship material. Maybe I'm a square peg in a round hole and I just can't make it."
124. There's a place for you in My ranks, a place for you in My army, and a treasured anointing and crown of glory for you, if you'll reach out for it with all your heart, might, soul‚ strength and willpower. It's not going to flutter into your lap like a feather; it's going to take real guts and determination to fight for—and you're going to have to fight hard and with every ounce of strength you possess. But if you desire to move forward with Me, if you desire My Words and truth, and if you want to be strengthened so that you can be the man or woman I need you to be, then you will be. It's guaranteed.
125. The keys of change and newness of life are powerful enough to reach into the heart of anyone, no matter how far you have strayed, no matter how weak you feel, no matter how many weaknesses of the flesh or worldly ways are holding you back. Change will come and the strengthening of your spirit will become a reality if you're willing to give Me your all, if you want the treasures of My Spirit and your privileged place of service badly enough.
126. There's nothing in Heaven, Earth or Hell stopping you, not even the Enemy's dirty tricks‚ or his voice when he tells you it can't be done. He can't defeat you unless you believe him, entertain his doubts and lies, and give in to his false reality. The keys will conquer all impossibilities and empower you with forward movement, if you cling to them tightly enough.
127. That's what the keys of the Kingdom are for—to bring change and victories. They're not just pretty ornaments or cool spiritual weapons to talk about. They're real, alive, vibrant, and ready to show their full power on your behalf if you will put your faith in them.
128. Even if you don't know what to do or how to change, just say, "Lord, I'm a mess. I can't do anything without You. I'm weak and not even fit to be Your soldier or disciple, but I want to serve You with all my heart and I'm willing to pay any price. Even if I have to forsake some things that are very dear to me, or things I think I need in order to be happy, or things I don't fully understand the need to give up, I'm willing to do it because You are asking it of me‚ because You know what's best, and my place in Your service and my life for You is worth paying any price for.
129. "I don't understand everything right now, Jesus‚ because I'm weak in the Word and lacking in faith, but I do know I want to take a stand and make my calling and election sure. So I claim the keys of change that You have promised will work miracles for me. I need a miracle, Lord—a miracle of deliverance, change, newness, and strength to rededicate myself to You. I know I can't do it on my own‚ so I'm trusting You to help me make it. I want this badly, Jesus. I want this so badly that I'm willing to pay any price."
130. If you can pray this and are willing to take the steps I show you, then you will see miracles and forward progress. There is no doubt about it. No matter how lost you are, no matter how far you've strayed, no matter how wayward you've been or how you've allowed your faith to be weakened, you can make it, and you will make it if your heart, mind, soul, body and will is on My side. I specialize in replacing the old with the new, transforming the weak into the strong‚ and bringing change and renewal to every heart that cries out to Me! (End of message.)
131. (Mama:) As I was in the process of finalizing this GN, one of the young women in WS received the following—what she termed as "bite-size ballast quotes." She asked the Lord for something she could stand on regarding her faith in serving Him in the Family, something she could cling to during times when her personal faith was tested in the face of doubts or attacks of the Enemy via apostates. The Lord gave her these quotes, which He said would be a strong ballast in her heart, a stabilizing factor in the midst of stormy seas, in addition to continuing to be strengthened through the GNs, Letters, and other Word that has been published over the years. The Word is the greatest ballast, protection‚ and strength of all, and when clung to, will keep us through even the fiercest of storms!
132. I felt these might be encouraging for you too, and she agreed to let me share them with you in this GN. You can even ask the Lord for something similar that is tailored to you and your needs‚ some specialized quotes or promises that you can claim whenever the Enemy attempts to attack your faith or derail you! Our wonderful Husband wants to make it as easy as possible for you, and will give you all of the personalized help you need—in any way‚ shape or form—to aid you in standing strong for Him!
133. * My relationship with Jesus is the most important thing in the world to me. I won't let anything take that away from me, including the attempts at character assassination of Family leaders, which it's plain is a tactic of the Enemy to cause me to doubt my place of service, all the beautiful spiritual gifts I've received‚ and the personal link with Jesus that those very same leaders led each of us to establish.
134. * Every question that comes up—in the past‚ the present, or the future—is either already answered or is answerable.
135. * Satisfying answers are the reward to those who ask in sincerity and with an open heart and mind.
136. * My decision to serve the Lord comes from a very personal faith in His love for me, and in the knowledge that if I'm willing to live it‚ He does have a plan for me.
137. * My personal decision to serve the Lord stems from a desire to please Him Who has given everything to me—including life and love, a spiritual relationship with Him, and a fulfilling life of service on Earth.
138. * Serving the Lord is not rocket science. It's just answering a very personal call in my own heart to walk a certain path of service to the Lord and others, wherever that path might lead me.
139. * Rather than trying to grasp and assimilate all the twisted insinuations of apostates, I need to continually remind myself that the things of the spirit are bizarre and unacceptable to those who've deliberately decided to take on a flatlander's point of view.
140. * It's almost impossible to see eye–to-eye with someone who has forsaken the most basic tenets of Christian faith, including the sovereignty of our great Creator, the sending to Earth of His Son, and the message of separation from the world that His Son gave.
141. * When someone has ceased to see Mark 16:15 as a personal duty, it's no wonder they fail to see the value of others answering that personal call in their lives, or that they try to dissuade others from doing so.
142. * I believe that while there are many callings and legitimate paths in life, the highest and best one for me is serving the Lord in the Family. Believing this doesn't make me a narrow-minded bigot, but it does establish my heart so that I can actually get somewhere in my service for the Lord.
143. * Christians lived on Earth long before the Family. They were separating themselves from the world‚ living and dying as a testament to the Name of Jesus, and setting us an example, upon whom the ends of the world are come. We may be a bit different and peculiar if compared to the wrong people, but if compared to the right ones, those who should be our role models, we find that the similarities of devotion and love for Jesus, commitment to the personal call of the Lord in one's life, and love and honor of the Word, are all qualities that bind us in the brotherhood of Christianity. People who want to tear down and disband the Family are simply being tools in the hand of one who wants to destroy that brotherhood and that testimony of our lives in the modern world.
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A Revolutionary Challenge from Dad
144. (Mama:) I'd like to end this GN with a tremendous, inspiring and vision-increasing message from Dad, which was given specifically for you young people. Many of you may have heard it‚ as we sent it to some of the recent young people meetings that have taken place in different parts of the world, but I wanted to include it here for those who didn't get a chance to hear it, and as a reminder and refresher to those of you who did. And you FGAs‚ please don't pass over this message as "just for the young people," because I guarantee you'll find jewels aplenty that will apply to you as well. It's about what we're all here for: To serve Jesus, to take a stand for Him, and to not let the Devil or anyone else dissuade us from the privileged place we have been called to as His revolutionary disciples!
Determined always to fight by your side for the truth and pass on the Lord's fresh Words for today,
145. (Dad:) You are it! You are the chosen ones for this millennium‚ and this is my millennial cry of revolution! It's time to take a stand! It's a time of decision. The revolution continues, and I need you to be a part of it. I need you to choose to break away from the System. I need you to choose revolution above popularity. I need you to choose discipleship over fame and glory. I need you to choose to be despised by the world in order to fulfill your destiny.
146. The Family's future is at stake, because if you young people don't take up the challenge, don't choose to hold high the torch of revolution, don't allow the shocking truths of the spirit to burn brightly in your hearts, then who will carry on? I need you to be proud of the truths you hold in your hearts. I need you to be proud of your heritage and upbringing. I need you to be proud of being a dropout, an iconoclast, a new-millennium revolutionary.
147. Just as I called your parents of the first generation to forsake all and drop out many years ago‚ I'm calling you to do the same now. I can't promise you fame‚ popularity, riches, honor or glory. But I do promise you challenge, fulfillment, joy, deep happiness, and thrills of the spirit that will be more than enough to sustain you. I can't promise you a comfortable life of pleasure and peace‚ because the life of a disciple is uncomfortable, difficult, and a spiritual battle. But I can promise that you'll never regret a life lived for Jesus!
148. I want to tell you young people that it's okay if you don't want to be a disciple. You can still love Jesus, and even if you don't choose to remain in the Family, you'll still get credit for all the years you've given to Him, the souls you've led to Him, and the lives you've helped to touch with His love. You'll still receive rewards in Heaven, because everything you've given to the Lord is remembered and rewarded. But for those who want to fight on, who are willing to brave opposition and remain called out, there are even greater things in store.
149. I need those who are willing to carry on the Revolution, not just those who are willing to live the life. I need those who are willing to steer the Family in new directions‚ pioneer new works, and change the course of history. I need you young people who are willing to be pillars in the Family‚ not just members. I need you young people who are committed to carrying the Revolution for Jesus into the future. I need you who are willing to be despised by the world in order to be recognized and honored by Jesus for all eternity.
150. I don't care what anyone else is doing or the choices that anyone else has made. I'm talking to you. Life is hard, I know. It's difficult when others leave and you feel like you're fighting the war on your own. The Enemy's fighting, and fighting hard. But are you willing to fight back, even if no one else is willing? Are you dedicated enough to the cause, to the Revolution, that you'll carry on with or without your loved ones, with or without the moral support you used to lean on? Are you so sure of your place in the Family that you're willing to die for it?
151. Those of you who are still in the Family today, you're heroes! You've held on through battles while others chose different paths. Many of you have sacrificed things that were dear to your hearts in order to be where you are today. It's not easy to have your friends, or those you used to be close to, tell you that you're crazy, that you could be living a better life and making a name for yourself, that you could be so much happier if you choose the path they did. It's not easy to be ridiculed for your beliefs, doctrines‚ and way of life. So I'm proud of you who are still here, still fighting, still disciples. You have made me proud!
152. But I have to tell you that the battles aren't going to get any easier; the Enemy will keep fighting viciously through whatever means possible. So you've got to make a decision. You've got to make a commitment. You've got to decide in your heart that you're a revolutionary and you're never going to be a part of this world and its ways—that you want the riches of Heaven, the power of the future, and the anointing and destiny promised you. You've got to decide that you're in the Family with no strings attached, no conditions, and that you will fight to be a disciple with everything within you.
153. I need you! The Revolution needs you! I need those with crazy faith, who don't give a damn what the System or anyone else thinks, as long as they're obeying the Lord. I need those who are proud of the truth‚ the new weapons, the new revelations, and who aren't afraid to live them. I need you young people who want to be iconoclasts, dropouts‚ idol-smashers, fifth-dimensioners, loving Jesus brides, key–power wielders, prophets of the End‚ and those who are going to usher in the Kingdom of God on Earth!
154. You've got to give your all, everything you possess—your dreams, your hopes, your desires, your secret wants, your lives, your hearts, your all—to Jesus. No matter what anyone around you is doing, no matter who else has forsaken their plow and calling‚ and no matter what odds you face or what sacrifices are required, you've got to fight on! You are the hope of the future! You're destined for greatness‚ to be the spiritual leaders and prophets of the End. But who will choose this life? It's not a glorious life or one that will be honored by the world, but it's a life worth giving your all to.
155. I know you're tired. I know you're weary of the fight. I know the battles you face. I know how the Enemy fights you. But I'm calling you today to choose the mountain, not the valley; to choose to be revolutionaries, not flatlanders. You, the youth of the Family‚ need to rally together and hold high the Words of truth. Face Hell, the Devil, and all his demons, as a united wall of fire. You are a mighty force to be reckoned with, and united as one, determined and resolute in your calling, there will be no stopping you!
156. Many of you have already made the choice and your actions have followed. Others of you have made a choice in your heart, but you have yet to speak loudly of your convictions and decisions and to take action. Yet others of you are still hanging in the balance, not sure if you want to burn your life out on the altar of God's service, not sure if it's really worth it. So my call to you, the hope of the future, is to choose to burn—and burn brightly. So what if you don't have anything to say for your life in worldly terms! God will have a whole lot to say about you in His world that lasts forever!
157. Burn like a bonfire out of control! And that fire will grow and spread, until it's a raging forest fire that will sweep the nations. Burn with the white-hot fire of the spirit! Burn with the truth! Burn with conviction! Burn with a dedication in your heart that no waters of the world could ever put out! Let your life burn with the fires of revolution, and the world will see the blaze. Don't be ashamed of being called-out, chosen, a revolutionary, a disciple, a bride of Christ, a prophet, a child of God! You are it! You have the spirit, the anointing, the power‚ and the tools for the job. You've just got to reach the point of no return and decide you'll never turn back.
158. The future of the Revolution is in your hands. What will you do with it? Will you cherish it, invest in it, love it, and fight for it? Do you think the first generation can carry the Revolution on their own? No, they need you. And it doesn't matter how many or how few of you young people there are. Little is much if God is in it! So don't let the Enemy convince you that there aren't enough of you to make a difference. If you put your will on God's side, if you give your all, holding nothing back, even if you're a Gideon's band, you're more than enough!
159. Never before has it been of such great importance that you young people raise the banner of revolution high and unite as one and take your stand as dropouts. The Enemy is fighting you hard, so you've got to fight back even harder—with your spiritual weapons, with personal decisions and commitments that the Enemy can't shake, and with determination to give your all and live the truth as never before.
160. I love you! I commend and honor you for making it this far. You've scaled rough and rugged mountains‚ swum through raging currents, and made it through many difficulties. What you have accomplished so far is tremendous and worthy of praise—but what will be said of you tomorrow? Will you hold true to your calling? Will you cling to your faith? Will you boldly proclaim the truth? Will you receive with open arms your commission for the future? Will you live, breathe, and speak the Revolution? Will you carry on for me? Your future is in your hands!
161. These are the days of strengthening your faith, of proclaiming your convictions! It's the year of the resolute and determined, the bold and the brave‚ the year when those who stand strong on the rock of the Word and truth will be raised above the storms, and those who stand on earthly soil will be washed away. It's not the naturally strong or charismatic who will stand, but those who live the Word, proclaim the truth, and dwell in the Spirit. It's the year when the children of the children of David must take a stand! Will you? (End of message.)
Copyright © 2003 by The Family
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