June 15, 2004
By MariaMaria #677 FD/MM/FM 3489 4/04
Cover quote: This renewal is for the rebuilding of the house of your soul and spirit, and is My golden opportunity for the beginning of a new life for you—a life built solidly on the rock Christ Jesus once again!
Note on page 2 above copyright:
1. We're about to enter the period of renewal, and when I think about all that our Husband has promised is awaiting us during these six months, as well as after—which I'm going to share with you in this GN—it thrills me. And it's my prayer that after reading this GN, you'll be excited too! Peter and I want, and it's the Lord's desire as well, for you to feel privileged to go through this period of renewal, not because it's going to be easy, but because of the tremendous rewards and blessings that will come with the territory of this move of His Spirit.
2. Jesus has called this time a gateway to greater things, a golden opportunity, a chance of a lifetime, a kick-start in our renewed commitments, a special privilege and honor. Obviously, He sees it in a positive light, because He knows the purpose of it; He knows the valuable end results. He's got the big plan, and He knows this time is going to be for our good—our personal good, the good of our families and children, and the good of the Family overall—and He desperately wants us to see it in the same positive light as He does: not as a punishment or a chastisement, but as the priceless gift of His love that it is for us all. It's our chance to receive a spiritual boost in our goals of becoming the winning disciples and Homes that the Lord has commissioned us to be.
3. Sometimes the most precious gifts in life come in the oddest packaging—and so it will be with this period of renewal. Some of the greatest things we ever learn in our lives are a result of difficult experiences‚ or when we follow the Lord up high mountains. When the honeycomb is squeezed, out comes the honey; when the olive is pressed, out comes the oil; when the flowers are crushed‚ out comes the perfume; when a mother goes through childbirth‚ out comes a beautiful new life; when a caterpillar is encased in a cocoon, out comes the butterfly; when gold goes through the fire, out comes the purified version. When you look at the wonderful end result of everything difficult, doesn't it make it worth it all? That's how the Lord wants us to look at this renewal period—not to focus on what we are forsaking, but to look at what we stand to gain!
4. In the spirit, the Lord wants to give us each a new lease on life. He wants to take the Family out of the world of our past—the ways of which were good for a time, but are no longer what He needs today—and bring us to a new place in the future where we will be able to reach previously unknown heights for Him, where we will be "new creatures," where old things will be passed away and all things will become new. He wants to make honey out of our honeycombs, oil out of our olives, perfume out of our flowers, and pure gold out of our marred metal. That's what this time of renewal is all about. It's not a senseless venture; it's not a pointless act of going through the motions to make us all feel good and holy; it's not just a test or a pointless exercise. It's a doorway to change and progress. It's a means to get us where the Lord needs us to be.
5. (Jesus:) This period is for the rebuilding of the soul and spirit of each Family member. The house of each Family member's spirit and heart has been torn down bit by bit over the years by compromise and disobedience. Your houses are shabby, worn, and in a state of disrepair. They don't stand as strong and stable on the Rock Christ Jesus as they once did. This period will help rebuild the houses of your spirits.
6. (Jesus:) I am taking the Family into the era of obedience‚ and this time of renewal is going to be one of your first great tests of obedience. I know it is a test, it is not easy, and it is going to mean sacrifices for each of you. But I also know it is necessary, because it is an important part of your training in obedience and yieldedness to My will. It is not, however, only a test or some kind of worthless exercise in sacrifice. It is going to bring about certain benefits in your spiritual lives and growth, affecting your future and fruitfulness, which nothing else would accomplish. It's going to be a lifesaver for your children and teens.
A Special Focus During the Renewal
7. (Mama:) Our Lover has poured out a lot of terrific counsel about the period of renewal, which I'm eager to share with you—why He's asking it of us, what we have to look forward to as a result‚ how things will change for the better after we have been cleansed and renewed‚ how He sees the future, and much more. This is the first in a series of seven or eight GNs explaining the renewal period. So it's not possible for me to give you all the details in this one GN, or all of the Lord's promises and instructions.
8. But I wanted to let you know right from the beginning that the Lord has given a very special focus for this period of renewal, and it's one that you might not be expecting: focusing on our children, JETTs, and teens—giving them quality time, love and care, helping them to find happiness and joy in serving the Lord, teaching them the Word, and making this time fun and meaningful for them. There are three GNs later in this series that explain in more detail the Lord's vision and plan for our kids and young people during this time, and I think you'll be thankful as you see Him unfold the solutions that we so desperately need. He called this renewal period His gift of love to the children.
9. So that will be a major focus, if not your primary one‚ during these next months. You might wonder how you're going to accomplish everything else that you were expecting to accomplish during the restructuring and renewal period—finding a new Home or team members, upping your standard of discipleship, making the personal changes the Lord has asked of you, and on and on the list might go. The picture won't be complete just in this one GN, but as you read through all the GNs in this series‚ I believe the Lord's plan will become clearer, and you'll see how it all fits together perfectly.
10. In this GN I want to first address some of the questions and concerns that you might have as adults, so that you can have a peace in your hearts about this coming time, and impart that spirit of faith and expectancy to the children and young people in your Home. Also, for those of you who are parents or teachers, you'll be encouraged to know that the Lord is going to ask everyone to focus on the children and young people during this time, not just those who are their parents and primary caregivers. So you're going to get lots of help! I believe your burdens will be lightened as everyone helps to pull the load, and the children will be happier than ever. We'll get into the details in GNs 1075-1077, coming soon.
The Nuts and Bolts of the Renewal Period
11. Before I continue with some of the Lord's promises and encouragement about this time we're going into and what we can expect from it, I thought you might appreciate a recap of the details of the renewal period, so that you know right from the start that there are no hidden "surprises." I didn't want you to be distracted, wondering and worrying about it as you're reading this GN, so the Lord told me it would be best to put the specifics here in point form.
12. Most of this is a review of what you've already read in "Forward, Always Forward!" (ML #3479‚ GN 1067), although there are a few more minor points that weren't included in that Letter, which we've since prayed more about. I'm also including further details and prophecy excerpts on a few of these topics in a separate GN of Q&As on the renewal period. But for now, here's a short summary of the "nuts and bolts" of the renewal period:
* The renewal period begins June 15, 2004‚ and ends November 30‚ 2004.
* All FD and MM Homes will participate in the renewal. It is optional for FM Homes.
* All FD and MM Homes will fast worldly input for the duration of the renewal period. This includes movie watching‚ TV/sports watching, System music, novel reading, computer games, or Internet browsing (except for business purposes).
* WS will be cutting back on the production of many of the monthly pubs, but there will still be some publications that you will receive that relate to the Family restructuring.
* You'll receive new GP tools, new books, and new GP music CDs that are scheduled to reach you during the renewal period.
* The board structure will continue to operate, although it may run at a slower pace, because board members will also need to focus on their personal lives, their children‚ changes within their Homes‚ etc.
* The CVC will continue to offer services to the Family during the renewal.
* Everyone will retain their right of mobility and you will not lose your status.
* Fellowships and parties are acceptable.
* Moderate consumption of alcohol is permitted.
* All FD and MM Homes and members must refrain from going on ex-member websites, and avoid fellowship either personally or via mail with those who talk against the Word, who tear down your faith and weaken you spiritually, whether they are former members, friends, antagonistic relatives, or others.
* All parents must explain the period of renewal to your children, as well as talk with your JETTs and junior teens to make sure they understand. (Note: Please see GNs 1075-1077 for further counsel on this.)
* Everyone must continue to live up to the requirements and guidelines of their Family membership category.
What's in It for Me?
13. As you know, last year the Family in Brazil went through a six-month period of punishment. Although this worldwide renewal period isn't a punishment, and some of the specific details are different, there are some similarities. It was a time of forsaking the things of the world, and through it the Lord brought about a cleansing of the Family in Brazil. He blessed them tremendously as a result, even though at first it looked like anything but a reward or a blessing. They may have felt much like you feel now, if you're wondering how on earth this renewal period is going to bear good fruit in your life and whether you'll truly be thankful for it in the end. I believe you will be‚ if you'll give God a chance to work.
14. You see, no matter how much good the Lord promises as a result‚ I realize that this period of renewal isn't going to be easy. I also know that it will probably be more difficult for some of you than for others (and I'll talk more about this in a bit). Some of you are probably dreading it, because of the things you're going to have to forsake—especially if you have become dependent on some form (or maybe many forms) of worldly input (and I'll talk more about this later as well). Others of you may feel like it's a pointless work of the flesh, just going through the motions for no reason at all, and you don't see how any good is going to come out of it for you.
15. But if you go into the renewal period kicking against the pricks in your heart, having made up your mind from the very beginning that you're not going to get anything good out of it, and it's just something you need to endure because you have to, how is the Lord going to be able to work in your life? He won't be able to. His hands will be tied, and you'll be unhappy or even miserable throughout. The mindset you go into the period of renewal with is going to play a big part in how much you're going to benefit from it. It will be a positive experience for those who give it their all, who yield to it. It will be as good, beneficial, life changing‚ and positive as you make it‚ according to your decisions.
16. So if you don't have a positive attitude or you can't see anything good about the renewal period, don't settle for that. Ask the Lord to change your mindset and ways of thinking, and He will. It's important. Neither I nor the Lord are expecting you to have the attitude of‚ "Oh, joy! I'm super looking forward to this time of renewal. It's going to be just great!" You don't have to be jumping for joy, but the Lord expects and needs each of you to be as positive as you can be. And you do that by asking the Lord how He wants to use it in your life, how He wants you to look at it, and how it's going to benefit you personally.
17. Focus on the positive, even if it seems a little selfish: "Jesus, I need to know what's in it for me." If the reasons He's given here or the blessings He's promised for the Family as a whole aren't inspiring to you, or you're still having battles even after reading this series of GNs that explain the renewal and the Lord's plan and purpose in it, then ask Him to tell you something personal that will help you to give this time your all. Don't be afraid or too proud to say, "Jesus‚ I really don't see how this period of renewal is going to do me any good. It looks like just plain misery to me, so I really need Your perspective. Tell me how this is going to benefit me. What am I going to get out of this?" I guarantee He'll tell you, if you're yielded enough to ask Him. Or if you don't have the faith to ask Him yourself, ask someone else to ask Him for you. Either way, get His perspective!
18. The Lord is like a salesman, and He's trying to get you sold on His "product"—the renewal period. He's telling you it's good, that it's worth the price‚ that it's going to benefit you‚ that everything in your life will improve as a result, and that you won't regret the "purchase." And because He loves you so much and wants to make it easy for you, He's not even going to ask you to just take His word for it. He's going to give you the benefit of being able to hear the reactions of "satisfied customers" who have experienced the blessings firsthand and "endorse" His product.
19. So at the end of this GN, I'm including some reactions from our dear brethren in Brazil. I pray that their experiences and testimonies will encourage you to know that the promises the Lord is giving you today—as well as what He will show you personally in prophecy—regarding what He means to accomplish through the renewal period and how He wants to bless you are not just pretty words. He promises real, living benefits that you will feel and know in your life as you obey. His blessings are not just going to be airy spiritual blessings either; He's going to bless you with the things that He knows will mean the most to you, and even physical rewards as well. As we all know, obedience comes before the blessings—not the other way around.
A Mysterious Palace Full of Treasures
20. I don't think we're going to have to wait for the end of the renewal period to receive special blessings, either. It's going to be a lot like a treasure hunt, an adventure—and an exciting one. There's something about a treasure hunt that appeals to people; it's probably mainly the mystery and the rewards. Everything is hidden at first, and you start off with one tiny slip of paper with the first clue. Then you have to find the next‚ then the next, until you reach the end‚ the big prize. But in really good treasure hunts, especially if they're long, you find little prizes all along the way, and this helps you not to get discouraged. You know you're making progress and you're winning as you go, even before you get the grand prize.
21. That's similar to how the Lord works with us; He doesn't just hold out one big reward at the end of the road. He encourages us for our obedience with little spiritual and physical gifts and goodies all along the way. So during this six-month period, there are going to be lots of hidden treasures and jewels of the spirit for each of you along the way, if you keep your eyes open for them. The more you look‚ the more you seek, the more you'll find. If you're going for the maximum benefits‚ you'll come out of this time heavily laden with the gifts of the spirit.
22. (Jesus:) This time can change your life! You can come out of these six months a better, stronger, fresher, clearer, and more powerful disciple than ever! It won't happen automatically, though—you'll have to fight for it. You'll have to put your heart into making the time count. Just skipping all worldly input for six months is not in itself going to change you‚ renew you, and strengthen you. It'll help some‚ yes, because by simply not taking in all that input from the world, you'll have less of the Enemy's voice to fight and will by default be a bit stronger.
23. But don't be satisfied with just being a little bit stronger. Don't just take a little walk in the park and consider that you've had your exercise. Get into it and work out hard! Run those miles, lift those weights, work those muscles, and come out fit and sleek and toned spiritually! Come out looking different than you did before! That's the vision‚ that's the goal, and those who will put their hearts into fulfilling that will be the disciples who will create the Family of the future. Will you be one of them? You can be! Anyone can be.
24. I'm making it easy for everyone who wants to change and grow to do so, by giving you this time. I'm focusing on everyone at once, and on each of you individually, giving you the time, as well as the safeguards, that will make it more natural and easier to work on your spiritual lives. I'm giving you the key of time, a vital ingredient in your success to achieving your spiritual goals. Will you take it? Will you put the key in the lock‚ turn it, and discover what waits behind that door? There is so much for you there, and not just one little room of benefits, but a marvelous and mysterious palace full of treasures and pleasures of the spirit, and even of the flesh. I have a lot to give you during this time. Will you take it? Will you go for it? If you want to be a disciple, you will, and you will be greatly blessed and rewarded for it.
Why Do We Have to Fast Worldly Input?
25. (Mama:) I would venture to say that one of the most difficult things about this renewal period for many of you is going to be the fasting of worldly input. It's going to be a big forsaking, a big change, especially for those of you who have worldly addictions.* And if this time is to benefit you, it's important that you understand the reasons why the Lord is requiring it. The Lord isn't just taking away all of your "fun" for no reason; there is a very specific purpose for this fast.
*Addiction (n): "Addiction" has been around a long time—its first recorded use was in 1599, long before drugs were a problem. Although Encarta defines addiction primarily as "a state of physiological or psychological dependence on a drug liable to have a damaging effect," its secondary definition has been the most common use for hundreds of years, and continues to be used today: "great interest in something to which a lot of time is devoted."
The fact that such "great interest" often leads to negative effects is reflected in the words the thesaurus lists for addiction: habit, compulsion, dependence, need, obsession, craving, infatuation. Many dictionaries and encyclopedias mention the negative effects of such compulsions and habits.
26. (Mama: ) When we think of addictions, most people think of things like drugs or alcohol, maybe caffeine‚ things that you absolutely can't live without, or that are very painful or physically debilitating to abstain from. Many of you probably don't feel that extreme or intense about anything in your life, and therefore you would naturally conclude that you don't have any addictions. But when we asked the Lord to clarify what He considered an addiction, His answer was really interesting.
27. (Jesus:) Addictions can be very mild or extremely severe. In My eyes, an addiction can be anything from a habit or desire or interest that's just a little bit too important to you, to something that is seriously damaging your service to Me. An addiction could be anything that you sometimes, or often, put before one or many of the important things in life, such as your time with Me, your fellowship with others, or time spent investing in your Home and children and work for Me. An addiction doesn't have to be something huge that you can't physically live without. My definition is much broader. An addiction could be anything you do regularly or repeatedly that is just a little bit too important to you, or that hinders you in some way, or that wastes time, or that you have made a god of in your life, or that bears bad fruit‚ or that takes the place of the "better" things in your life.
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28. The idea of resisting and minimizing worldly influences is nothing new. It's in the Bible—"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (2Cor.6:17). "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him Who hath chosen him to be a soldier" (2Tim.2:4). "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes‚ and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (1Jn.2:15-16).
29. Our responsibility as Family members to minimize worldly influences is in the Charter: "Family members should [be] minimizing and resisting ungodly and unedifying influences in their lives." It's also in Letter after Letter! You could do a whole Word study on the dangers of the world and worldly input, and I strongly suggest you do‚ if you haven't done so recently. In "Introduction to the Family Feast 2004" (ML #3470, GN 1058) there was an excellent Word list on the topic of worldliness, which would be a good starting point. In fact, I'd like to include a short excerpt of one of those Letters‚ "Charter Responsibilities."
(Peter:) We tried to be realistic when writing the Charter, knowing that it's impossible to completely eliminate every ungodly influence in our life, and so we said we should minimize them. This means to cut back on them as much as possible: to usually avoid them.
Perhaps you could find a practical definition by using this example: If your shepherd said that you should minimize the amount of times you have to do dishes or some other job or activity that you don't like to do, how often would you do it? Probably not very often—maybe never. Well, that would be your definition of minimize. So if you would minimize something that you don't like to do by cutting back to almost never doing it, then you should apply the same interpretation of minimize when it comes to some ungodly influence and how often you should partake of it.
Of course, it's much harder to minimize something that you like or enjoy or have a hankering for. However, our responsibility as Christians is to minimize the influences of the world as much as possible, not as little as possible.
It is very clear from the Word, both old and new, that some things are unedifying, and a steady diet of them is an ungodly influence. Whether you realize it or not‚ regular intake of things of the world does have a detrimental effect on your spirit, and will affect your service for the Lord and loving interaction with others if it hasn't already.
Since the Lord's counsel on these matters has been published in the Word, and since you are expected to read and believe the Word, it is expected that you'll accept what the Lord and we have to say about these things. Whether you personally feel that these affect you negatively or not‚ God's Word says they do, and you should avoid and minimize them in your life. (ML #3197:62-66, GN 803).
30. (Mama:) That makes the standard clear, but obviously we haven't been obeying. The Family hasn't minimized worldly input as the Lord has instructed us to, and because of this we're not in a very healthy spiritual state. The Lord said:
31. (Jesus:) Toxins and poisons have built up in your spiritual systems through regular worldly input and other bad habits and addictions. Every Family member has these poisons and toxins within their system to some degree. These poisons have contributed to compromise, to a proclivity toward fleshly desires and carnality, to weakened convictions, and to disobedience. They have not brought spiritual growth, but rather decay.
32. These poisons and toxins must be completely cleansed from the body. This period of renewal will cleanse the body of My Family, so My Body will be swept and garnished and spiritually ready to be greatly used of Me in the coming days. Just as the act of physical fasting cleanses the body from toxins and poisons that have built up, so this spiritual fasting will cleanse your spirits from the toxins and poisons that have built up in your spiritual systems.
33. At present, My Family does not have the spiritual strength to rid the collective body of these toxins and poisons, so this fast is My love and My mercy to My Bride. While it will initially hurt, and the spiritual body will feel withdrawals—even hunger—I promise you that this will pass, and slowly but surely your spirits will once again hunger after the true riches and food of the spirit. Instead of the spirit and mind desiring that which is unhealthy, from this time period your spirits will once again develop the right appetites.
34. (Jesus: ) I have called you‚ as My Endtime Bride and New Church, to come out from the world and be separate. I have called you to put on My mind and to put off the carnal mind. I have called you to believe, live‚ and teach many radical doctrines and practices that are very different from the world's usual mode of operation. I have called you to a high level of conviction, and I have called you to root out compromise in your lives. These things cannot be accomplished to the degree I desire and need unless you take this time of renewal, this time of fasting the things of the world and other addictions.
35. Many of you are overly immersed in the things of the world, and many of you do not fully realize how much worldly input you take in and how much it affects you. During and after this renewal period, you will have a much clearer perspective on your discipleship overall, and specifically you will have a clearer perspective on how the things of the world influence you and why, and how you must fight to overcome and defeat these influences.
36. I have chosen to call you apart‚ to ask you to forsake all forms of worldly entertainment—and any other things I might ask you to personally forsake—for a time, so that I might renew your spiritual vision. You need a time when your mind and heart and spirit are completely free from these things, so that I can renew you, refill you, and adjust your spiritual "prescription" so that you will see things from My perspective once again.
37. Little by little, over the years, your mindsets and attitudes have become compromised—some to a greater degree than others, but all of you to some degree—and often you think that these attitudes and thoughts that you entertain are your own, but they have in fact been placed there by the Enemy and by the world.
38. In giving you this time free from these influences, you will be forced in a sense to realize and evaluate how you truly feel and how you truly think. If your heart and spirit are that of a disciple, it will become clear to you during this time, and you will come to appreciate it‚ to even enjoy it, because your spirit will be free, clear, and clean, and going places. Whereas, if the world has gotten into you to such a degree that you are entrenched in its ways and attitudes and compromises‚ and if during this time you find that you cannot live without those things, or that you do in fact think more like the world and less like Me than you had thought or hoped, even without your regular input from the world, then perhaps the life of a disciple is not the one for you and you should reevaluate where you stand with Me and your place of service.
39. It's not that by not taking in any worldly input or indulging in other addictions, you'll never be attacked by the Enemy in your thoughts and attitudes in any way. The Serpent talked to Adam and Eve in the Garden long before any forms of mass media were created. You will, however, be minimizing the amount of time and ways in which the Enemy can speak to you by fasting worldly input, or anything else in your life that you have grown overly dependent on, and you will minimize his inroads into your thoughts and spirit, making it easier to set your heart and thoughts on the things of My Spirit instead.
Breaking Chains of Addiction and Bad Habits
40. (Mama:) We are very spoiled sometimes, because the Lord blesses us with so much. Then when He asks something a little difficult‚ that requires a little bit of a sacrifice, we can make such a fuss. Consider other religious orders and groups who forsake a lot of physical things for the Lord, like the monks and nuns, for example. Many of them give up sex, marriage, relationships‚ material possessions, money, alcohol, independence, TV and movies, and much more—and that's not just for six months, but indefinitely! And they have much less understanding of the blessings to come or the rewards of the spirit world. If other religious people in the world are willing to give up so much for their faith and beliefs, how much more should we, the children of David who have been given so much truth and so many spiritual riches, be willing to sacrifice for our Husband and Lover!
41. Considering all that Jesus has done for us and the great sacrifices He has made, forsaking something for Him is minute by comparison, isn't it? And He's not even asking the Family to completely forsake worldly input indefinitely; He just wants to teach us to put it back in its rightful place, as the minor part of our lives that it should be. He wants to readjust our priorities, teach us to rule our own spirits, and get us all back on track. He has given us many freedoms of the spirit and the flesh, and this continues to be His plan for the future; He's just going to teach us what it means to use our freedoms wisely and keep them in perspective.
42. Through this renewal period, the Lord wants to change your spiritual appetites. He wants to replace your desire for the things of the world, or any other unhealthy addictions you may have, with a deeper and stronger desire for the things of His Spirit. He promises that your chains of addictions and bad habits will be broken. But since all bad habits—whether spiritual or physical—take time to be broken, and forming new habits doesn't happen overnight‚ He's giving us all this gift of time in which to break our bad habits, and form and cement new healthier ones.
43. (Jesus:) If you're addicted to anything of the world—computer games, novel reading, movies‚ System music, browsing the Internet, sports, etc.—then going into the Family renewal period is probably making you feel worried and unhappy. I understand, because addictions are powerful holds of the Enemy. Most people in the world have a very difficult time getting rid of their addictions and going on with a normal lifestyle. All they can think about is having it, doing it, getting into whatever their addiction is, and any restrictions are frustrating or aggravating. That's what it's like in the world‚ but you're not of the world. You belong to Me. You gave your life to Me the day you accepted salvation. I died to free you from anything that keeps you away from Me, including addictions of Bacchus.
44. You might be addicted to some worldly thing or ungodly attitude or habit, but don't underestimate My power to free you. The renewal period is a perfect time to get rid of those draining worldly activities or habits and addictions that are sapping your spiritual life. You might think I'm being a bit hard here and wonder how you can possibly give something up after years of being into it. Well, those years of worldly input‚ or years of thinking a certain way or indulging in certain things‚ have taken a toll on you, and right now you are addicted and you can't see any way out. But that's what the renewal period is for—to cleanse you and renew your spirit. Don't underestimate My power and the power of the keys to supernaturally break the addictions of the Enemy.
45. That's one of My goals for anyone who has been steeped in worldly input or wrong attitudes or unhealthy addictions—to wash you and give you a new addiction to My Spirit. I'm not saying you will find it easy to do‚ but you can do it through the power of the keys. And if you do find it a bit difficult, count your blessings anyway and thank Me for the opportunity being given you to be freed. This is your golden opportunity when the worldwide Family is praying and partaking of the same spiritual renewal. Do you want to miss the boat for the sake of some draining worldly habit? Sure, you will miss your addiction for a while, maybe for a few weeks or months, but what is that compared to what you will gain as you immerse yourself in My Spirit? Some of you have been hoping and praying for something like this to come along. "I just wished someone would force me to give this up." "I wished I could go to rehab and really get rid of this addiction." Well, now is your chance to do exactly that! This will be your spiritual rehab that will free you forever as you stay obedient to Me.
46. Don't worry and don't be fearful that you won't be able to do it. If people in the world can get rid of their addictions to gambling or pornography or alcohol or whatever—which are very strong addictions of the Enemy—you can certainly overcome any addictions you have in your life, especially with Me and the power of the keys and the entire Family behind you. Don't miss out on this lifesaver of your spiritual life. Don't underestimate the power of Heaven to bust those addictions to Hell, where they belong. Call on the keys and release the power and faith you need. Call on whatever key you need—the key of rehabilitation to break the bonds of addiction, the key of it-can-be-done. Be thankful you have the power of the keys to help you overcome. Trust My power to replace your yen for the world with something far better—Me.
47. I don't want you to enter the renewal period with a defeatist attitude. If I'm the God of the universe, then I don't need a lot of help to deliver you. Ask for My help and expect it. Even if it's not super easy for you, it's going to be worth it and something you will be thankful you fought for. If you commit to overcoming your addictions during the renewal period, you will come out a new person. You'll come out so much healthier spiritually, so much more inspired, with clear vision and strong faith. Once you allow Me to wash and cleanse you from the world, I will finally be able to give you the desires of your heart, the special anointing that I have for you.
48. (Mama: ) The Lord gives a lot of strong promises in this message! So‚ as He said a few times, don't underestimate Him and His powerful keys—their ability to free you from anything that keeps you away from Him, including the addictions of Bacchus; to supernaturally break the addictions of the Enemy, to bust them back to Hell, where they belong; to release the power and faith you need; to replace your yen for the world with something far better‚ His Spirit; to make you a new person; to inspire you and clear your vision; to give you the desires of your heart and the special anointing He has for you.
49. In another message the Lord promised: "Your spiritual appetites and desires will be changed! This period of renewal will cause the spiritual vacuum and hunger within each person to be renewed!"
As You Pour Out, He'll Pour In, and You Can Never Outpour Him!
50. The Lord has given us a big challenge of making this time special for our kids and teens, which you'll read about more in the GNs to come in this series. He wants our children and young people to be one of our main focuses during this time. You might not feel so excited hearing about that right now, especially as you're thinking about having to forsake some of these addictions and forms of worldly entertainment that are fun for you, and doing the hard work of pouring into the kids might not seem like a real enjoyable replacement.
51. But it's a spiritual principle that as you get out of yourself and into others, happiness finds you. And I believe you'll find that's a key during the renewal as well. Focusing on the very great need of our children and teens will not only give you something worthwhile to do with your time and bring a new sense of fulfillment and satisfaction into your life‚ but it will also bring about the cleansing in the best way possible, because you'll be motivated to do it for others.
52. The Lord said, "Focusing on the children and teens is going to bring about a healthy cleansing and renewing for everyone. They won't have to be digging deep into their own sins and get condemned or self-righteous. Instead they will be taking the quickest, clearest path to growth and progress, and that is getting into others, the kids and JETTs and teens in their Home, who are desperate for help.
53. "Through giving of their time, their love, and making those sacrifices for the sake of others, they will find fulfillment and happiness. Even the forms of worldly input that they're dreading doing without won't have the same appeal or hold on them, because they'll be replacing the time that they would have spent on those things with something that I will really bless. Those blessings will make up for what they're missing.
54. "At first it will be difficult. It will seem like more work‚ and there will be a lot of personal sacrifice involved as they strive to obey My counsel. But with time, they'll start to see progress in the lives of the young ones in their Home, and that will bring them encouragement and fulfillment. They'll start to be bonded together as one big family‚ each Home forming a strong and united team. As they get to know the kids and the JETTs and teens better, a special love will develop, and this love will make the sacrifices worth it. And all the while‚ they'll be being cleansed and renewed and refreshed."
It Gets Easier with Time
55. (Mama:) Whenever you have to forsake something that you've been accustomed to having for many years, or when you make a push in some area of your life that you've been lax in‚ it's never easy at first. If, for example, the Lord tells you to cut a certain type of food out of your diet for health reasons, that can be difficult to adjust to, especially if it's a food you really enjoy. Or if you start doing regular exercise after years of not doing it, that requires a lot of willpower and determination. It's hard at first, but then it gets easier. Even something like learning not to bite your fingernails is definitely challenging at first. But the longer you stick to your commitments, the easier it gets.
56. So please don't get discouraged and give up in the beginning when it's more difficult. It's a natural reaction to miss something you've been used to having for a long time, and to feel the loss. And of course the Enemy is going to exaggerate those natural feelings and make it very difficult for you to yield, or to be happy about yielding, specifically in the beginning. But remind yourself that it will get easier as you yield. Yieldedness is the key.
57. (Jesus:) It's going to be difficult at the beginning of the renewal for many of you, but an encouraging thought I want to remind you of is that it's not going to get worse with time; it's only going to get better. The things you depended on so heavily will no longer hold the same allure they once did. The things you thought you'd never be happy living without will be replaced by other things that will be just as satisfying for you—if not more so.
58. When you yield to My will even when it's difficult, I make it easier for you to yield with time. It's never as hard as it is when you first make the decision to yield. That's because the Enemy fights that first decision so hard, and makes you want to walk out the back door of your commitments. He knows once you've passed fully through the doorway of yieldedness that you're going to discover a whole new world of possibility, enjoyment, contentment, and happiness. That's obviously not what he wants for you, so he makes it downright difficult for you to get where I want you to be.
59. Give Me a chance! Give Me time! As each day passes, I will give you an extra portion of grace to yield. And with time you will hardly remember the initial trials anymore. Every trial will be replaced by benefits‚ and the memory of every difficulty will be washed away as a reward for your yieldedness to Me. Yield to Me, and I will give you the grace to make it—not just grace to survive, but grace to thrive and flourish as never before.
Everyone Is on the "Hot Seat"
60. (Mama:) We've talked about the fast of worldly input, and those who have more of a proclivity or hankering for the things of the world have been on the "hot seat," so to speak. But I realize that not everyone falls into this category. For some of you it's not going to be too difficult to forsake worldly input because you either don't desire it much or it doesn't have a big hold on you. But regardless of your worldly addictions—or lack of them—we're all in the boat of renewal and cleansing together.
61. Don't think that just because you may not be a particularly "worldly" person‚ or have an addiction to something real obvious like computer games, movies, System music, books, or the Internet, that you're not in need of cleansing. We all need cleansing! We all need this time of renewal and rededication!
62. There are many types of addictions, and some addictions don't necessarily fall into the category of "worldly input," but they can still be just as damaging to your spirit. There are specific addictions and things people have grown dependent on that aren't technically "forbidden" during the renewal, but some individuals will still want to forgo some of these things that aren't officially "disallowed." For example‚ alcohol is kosher according to the rules of the renewal, but some people in the Family are a little too addicted to it or have grown to depend on it to an unhealthy degree. So if you're one of these people, then you should pray about fasting alcohol. Just because it's allowed according to the guidelines of the renewal doesn't mean that it's necessarily going to be the best thing for you.
63. I'll list a few other examples‚ just to get you thinking and praying about what the Lord might want to focus on in your life. What about junk food? Are you addicted to junk food? Has your appetite for healthy food been stamped out? If so, maybe you should forsake junk food. Are you addicted to extreme exercise? Have you pushed your body beyond its healthy limits, to the point that now a good healthy vigorous get-out is no longer enough for you—you have to keep pushing yourself harder and harder? If this sounds like you, maybe you need to put some restrictions on your personal get-out and exercise regime, and seriously cut back.
64. What about fashion? Are you overly obsessed with the way you look and the clothes you wear? Are you materialistic, and do you have an addiction to acquiring things—technical gadgets‚ equipment, new worldly "toys"? What about work? Are you a workaholic who is addicted to working too hard in the arm of the flesh? Do you need to slow down and spend more time with the Lord? Are you addicted to independence and privacy, having your own little world that no one else can venture into? Have you closed your life off to others?
65. I'm highlighting a few examples of addictions that aren't labeled "worldly input." But this is far from a comprehensive list. These examples are simply food for thought, to get you thinking about your own life. I trust that the Lord will show you the areas He wants to highlight in your life. You're accountable to search your own heart and see what the Lord is shining a spotlight on‚ and then you're responsible to do something about it. The Lord is zeroing in on all of our lives; we all need to change and make progress, and that's what this time is for.
66. (Jesus: ) Everyone has addictions. Everyone has things that they put before Me, that they sometimes put before My work, or that they have made gods of. The purpose of this renewal period is to remove from your life anything that comes between Me, as your Husband, and you as My bride. For many people it is a worldly influence that comes between us, or that takes away some time that I wish to have, or that supersedes the important things in life like spending time with Me, witnessing, or reaching out to others in love. So this period of renewal, this time of setting aside worldly influences‚ is to make it easier for you to be good, easier for you to forsake your addictions or crutches, or to help you minimize them to a healthy level in your lives.
67. There are some people in the Family who will have other things in their lives that are holding them back, or that are addictions or timewasters. The regular and most predominant things—like movies, computer games, novels, sports, or other similar worldly forms of entertainment—are not the only things; they're not the only addictions. Each person has something that they can forsake, something they can minimize, something they can yield to Me, and that's what this time of renewal is all about. It's about seeing what you have in your life that holds you back from Me, or what you're putting before Me‚ or what you're giving most of your time to‚ or what has gotten bigger and more important to you than is spiritually healthy, and then working to change and build new habits.
68. Maybe you don't play computer games, watch movies, view sports or TV, or listen to System music. So what is this renewal period going to mean for you? Don't just look on the surface at the most logical or obvious things that might need changing in your life. I may wish to cleanse you of any number of things during this period of renewal—wrong mindsets, bad habits, ties with certain System relatives that are having a detrimental effect on you or your loved ones, addictions to food‚ alcohol‚ bodybuilding or extreme exercise, perverted appetites in sex or a desire for ungodly sex, the spirits of seduction, eating disorders, a materialistic spirit, an addiction to acquiring the latest and greatest worldly gadgets, to name a few. Some of these things aren't as clear-cut or obvious addictions or habits as movies, novels, System music and the like, but they can be just as dangerous to your spiritual life, if not more so.
69. The cleansing of this renewal period is going to touch everyone—ALL. No one will escape being changed and cleansed in some way.
Personal P&P Question
70. (Mama:) Now that you know the Lord wants to cleanse you and change you, and He wants you to forsake the addictions, bad habits and wrong attitudes you have in your life, please ask the Lord specifically about this. As soon as you can, please bring the following question to the Lord and receive His counsel for you.
71. (Question: ) Dearest Husband, You know me better than anyone in this world. You know me even better than I know myself. So I ask You to clearly show me right now what You want to change in my life. What addictions—whether obvious or hidden—do I have that I need to forsake? You said that everyone has addictions, everyone has things in their life that they put before You or Your work, things we've made gods out of—so that means me, Jesus. Please show me specifically how You want to cleanse me.
Don't Hold Your Breath
72. (Mama: ) It's clear that the Lord intends for the renewal period to help each of us—and all of our Homes—to make long-term, permanent changes in our lives. It would be pointless to go through the renewal and cleansing if the changes we make in our lives are superficial ones that aren't going to last. If we're not going to make durable lifestyle adjustments and changes‚ then we might as well not even go through all the trouble. What's the point, if not to have a total revolution and to break away from our old ways?
73. (Jesus:) Don't hold your breath during this time‚ waiting to exhale when it's all over. That's not the goal or the plan. That's not what I have in mind. I wish for this time to bring a complete and lasting change in each person's heart, life, and spirit, and in every Home. I want this time to cleanse the Family. I want those things that have such a strong hold on the Family today to never have the same power over them again. I desire mindset changes, priority readjustments, and for each person to have a clearer perspective on their goals for Me and how they can best achieve their goals, and clearly know what things hinder them from achieving their goals.
74. I don't want the Family to welcome the worldly influences, or other things they have forsaken, back into their lives in full force after the six-month period is over. That's not to say that you're never going to see another movie, read another book, play another computer game, or ever watch sports again. But I do wish for the importance of these worldly things to fade, for them to be kept in their proper place, and for the things of My Spirit and the challenges of lives lived for Me, and anything that aids you in your job of reaching the world with My love, to come to the fore‚ to be what is most important to you.
75. It's not about you saying‚ "Okay, I can live without movies and the Internet for six months, and then I'll just go back to the way things were before." It's all about changing your lifestyle and asking Me to rewire your mind and help you establish new and different habits that are more in line with what I need in My disciples for this time, for this era of history. Ask Me to help you make progress, not to make one step forward during the renewal and one step backward afterwards, as you exhale and return to all the things you've been longing for. Right now you may not feel it's possible to be changed and rewired, but give Me a chance! Remember, I can change your very nature and personality if you're willing to yield them to Me—if you're willing to be made willing, even if you don't feel that way at the moment.
76. This renewal is a time of cleansing for those who want to be cleansed—and if you're My disciple, if you're a Family member at any level, you should want to be cleansed, because it's good for you. Everything needs a deep cleaning every so often. Your teeth need to be deep cleaned, your cars need to be deep cleaned, and even your house needs to be deep cleaned. So My disciples need a good deep cleaning and scrubbing up every so often too, and that's what this time is for. The goal is that once you've been through the deep cleaning, you strive to stay clean.
77. I'll wash the mud and dirt and grime off of you. But going through the cleansing isn't going to do you any good if you just go straight back to the mud of your previous habits or mindsets or ways of doing things. Why go through the washing machine of renewal and cleansing if you intend to get back in the same dirt you came from?
78. (Mama:) The Lord is cleansing the whole Family, at every membership level. He wants us all to start living up to the standard of Family membership we've committed to, or that we're working toward. That means that if you're a Missionary member, you need to make changes in your life and Home that take deep root, changes that will help you to fulfill your responsibilities as outlined in the "Missionary Member Statutes" on the long term.
79. For you whose goal it is to be full-time disciples in Family discipleship Homes, this is a time when you need to focus on the quality of your discipleship. By being in a Family discipleship Home, you have the greatest responsibility to preserve the sample of full–time discipleship and live the totality of the Word. So during the renewal you should be making the changes necessary for you and your Home to portray a sample to the world that is much more in line with what the Lord needs in His full–time disciples—changes that you can't afford to let fade with time.
What's at Stake?
80. It's permanent lifestyle changes we're talking about here, and it's important that you understand this before you even enter the renewal period. The changes the Lord wants to make in your life need to take root, so that the Family as a whole doesn't sink back into its sad state prior to the renewal. If we do, He'll raise up others to take our place. Our future is not guaranteed; our destiny is only going to play out if we make the right decisions, if the cleansing and restructuring of the Family takes hold, if our children and young people are also strengthened. That's why it's so important that the progress we make in these next six months isn't torpedoed by decisions to sink back into our bad habits of the past.
81. (Jesus:) You now have the chance—the last chance in many ways—to prove whether or not the Family as you know it will still be the body of believers that will march into the Endtime as My brides, as My miracle workers of the End, as My called and chosen radical revolutionaries. If this cleansing fails and does not accomplish all that I mean for it to accomplish, then the Family will forfeit this place in world history and it will be given to another. I've told you this so many times, but now you're standing at the threshold of that very thing happening. The decisions being made now are the decisions that will make or break the Family's future.
82. (Mama:) This is a pretty strong statement, but it's not an entirely new concept. The Lord talked about the fact that our destiny isn't guaranteed in 1999‚ during the S2K, when He said:
"The Family is not what it should be, not what it was. This must change if the Family is to fulfill its destiny. All is not guaranteed. It's not that you are destined to be My avant-garde Endtime army and there's nothing that could ever change that. Even that promise is conditional, contingent on your obedience and faith" (ML #3257:50-51, GN 857).
83. The Lord also reminded us of this in the "Conviction vs. Compromise" series in 2001. Here's a quote to refresh your memory:
"The place of the Family in the Endtime is not guaranteed. It's not like we can do whatever we want and everything that is promised us will just come to us on a silver platter. We have to be worthy of the calling by continued obedience. We have to stay in the fear of the Lord. We have to be doers of the Word‚ not just hearers" (ML #3361:32, GN 957).
84. But I still wanted to hear a little bit more about this, specifically in relation to the renewal. It's a very sobering prospect that we could lose our crown and forsake the future that the Lord has destined us for through wrong decisions. I was also wondering what the Lord meant when He said, "You now have the chance—the last chance in many ways " I wanted to know if this renewal was a "make or break" situation, if it was bigger than any of the other things that will play a part in the restructuring and strengthening of the Family. The Lord's answer was very interesting.
85. (Jesus: ) The renewal in itself and on its own will not be the determining factor as to whether or not the Family as you know it will fulfill its destiny. It's going to take a combination of many important things within the restructuring to bring the Family into the future that I intend for it—such as the choices of each individual, the choices of the leadership, the Word that gets out to the Family, the obedience of individuals and Homes to the Word‚ the changes of mindsets and attitudes, and much more. None of these things on their own make or break the future. All of these things work together and need to be in place.
86. The future is determined by many things; no one thing is the deciding factor. The Family getting to where it needs to be is going to be the result of many right choices, many right changes, many right moves and initiatives, and many individuals being a part of it all. The renewal is important because it's a vehicle to help the Family be strengthened and cleansed, which is a key factor in getting them where I need them to go. The renewal is a gift of My love.
87. What I'm teaching the Family now is that every decision is important, and the decisions that need to be made now are decisions that will make the Family's future what I need it to be. Decisions that individuals make now need to be decisions that will mold them into the disciples I need them to be. It's not that one choice today is going to automatically change the tide of My will, but many choices—whether good or bad—accumulate and do have the power to change My plan. You never know what decision is going to be the "last one," the "make or break" one, the deciding factor, because only I know that. But the point is that everyone needs to get serious about their decisions for Me. I'm not going to be forever patient‚ merciful, forgiving, and understanding. There will come a time when I'll have to move on with or without the Family, or with or without the majority of the Family.
88. I wish for as many as possible to make it‚ and that is why I have not given up on the Family yet, and why I will remain patient throughout these times of restructuring and cleansing. But at a certain point I will have to make a decision, and that decision will be whether I will continue to use the Family as you know it today, or pull a small percentage of the Family and use them in a completely different way. There is no telling now which way things will go, because no matter how much something is My will and desire, it is dependent on the choices of My Family.
89. (Mama:) The Lord is making it as easy as possible for us to be good. That's why He's cleansing and restructuring the Family. That's why He's bringing about change. That's why He's giving us and our children this gift of the renewal. But still, no matter how easy He makes it for us and no matter how effective the physical changes are, the cleansing that will make the Family of today into the Family we need to be in the future has to take place in our hearts. We each make the decision to be cleansed or not. We each make the decision to be a disciple or not. The Lord does His part‚ but then it's our responsibility to do ours.
90. What you have to realize is that even if the Lord didn't go to all of this trouble—and if Peter and I and your leadership didn't invest all of this time—to restructure the Family‚ you would still be responsible for the decisions you make. You have the Word; you know what the Lord expects of you. The restructuring, and this time of renewal, is to make it easier for you to do the right thing, to make the right decisions. Peter and I, and your leadership, are also desperate to do our part. But even with all of this help, in the final analysis you stand before the Lord individually, and you are personally accountable. It doesn't matter if the restructuring of the Family is conducted perfectly or not; what matters more than anything is the personal choices each person makes.
A Peek Into the Future
91. Jesus has promised great things for our future—some of which I'm going to share with you now. He has promised that after the renewal and the restructuring of the Family‚ our "ship" will be the sleekest, fastest sailing vessel around. But all His promises are contingent on our obedience. We have to do our part‚ then He will do His. It's clearly an "if/then" situation. If we do what He has asked‚ then He will bring about what He has promised.
92. So when you read the following message, let it motivate, inspire and encourage your heart. But also remember that the fulfillment of these promises is dependent on the Family's choices—and to bring it home to you and make it personal, it depends on your choices. These rewards and benefits aren't free; they come with the price tag of obedience.
93. Here's a little peek at what our future will look like as we obey‚ as we change, as we yield and grow. Here's a listing of some of the things that will change for the better, some of the benefits of the renewal period and the restructuring of the Family—not just way far in the future benefits, but ones that we can expect to experience soon, by God's grace.
94. (Jesus:) During this period of renewal, I will reactivate many of the gifts of My Spirit that have lain dormant in your lives and hearts and Homes. I will blow upon your fading fires with the breath of My Spirit, and the fires of dedication to Me will begin to grow stronger. As you put aside the things of this world, as you forsake the distractions of this earth, as you give your all to helping your children and JETTs and teens to discover the true meaning of service to Me and happiness in My Spirit, you will find renewal and newness in many areas of your life that have been left to ruin.
95. You will experience new joy in serving Me, because your perspectives will begin to change. What holds priority and importance in your heart and life today will no longer be the same. Old goals and desires will be replaced with new goals and desires. The sense of duty to do My will will begin to be replaced with joy to do My will. The fires of witnessing will be ignited in the hearts of My children everywhere, and a greater love for the lost will compel you to reach out to the wayward and destitute like never before.
96. Obedience will come easier. This is one of the greatest fruits of this period of renewal, but a vital key to the future effectiveness of the Family. Submitting to this period of renewal is a step of humility and obedience on your part—submitting to what I know is best for you spiritually. It is an act of yieldedness on the part of My brides—forgoing what is unnecessary and even harmful in order to gain the best and that which is incorruptible. But from this step of yieldedness and submission I will cause a great desire toward obedience to be kindled in the hearts of My children‚ and great aid from the spiritual realm will be released to My brides to strengthen and help them in the important realm of obedience.
97. Battles will no longer "flatten," incapacitate, or derail you so easily. Your spiritual eyes and ears will be more aware of the Enemy's avenues of attack‚ and you'll find yourself more on guard in spirit, and better equipped spiritually to fight in times of battle. From this time My brides will gain the spiritual momentum to continue the tougher uphill climb that will be required of all My true disciples in the coming days. This period will again put My Family back on the cutting edge, and back on the frontlines ready to do battle with the Enemy!
98. Bonds of unity will become stronger in Family Homes and areas, because more time will be invested in loving others, in taking time for others, in interacting with others. The interaction with the world, or worldly pastimes and pleasures, will be replaced with interactions and communications and times of fellowship with your loved ones in the Family, thus joining hearts and Homes together in unity as never before.
99. You'll find a renewed appreciation for your brothers and sisters, and a greater desire for fellowship with each other. You will gain a renewed appreciation for the great support, spiritual strength and inspiration found in the fellowship of the saints. This change will bring satisfaction and fulfillment to many. Those who suffer loneliness will be less lonely and will feel My love more strongly. Those who are shy will learn to reach out more, to give more. Those who are proud will exercise their gifts of humility and love and thus become more like Me.
100. The lives of your children, JETTs and teens will radically change. They will receive better care and training, their love cups will be full, and they will be receiving the quality time that they need and deserve. Many of those who didn't have time for the children before will find a renewed interest in pouring into them, in teaching them, and taking an interest in their lives. They will become witnesses alongside you, an integral part of your Home and focus, indispensable partners in your ministries, the true blessings that I have ordained them to be in your lives and Homes.
101. There will be more time for meditation, reflection and prayer on a regular basis. There will be more time to love‚ to reach out to others‚ to build friendships and bonds—children with children, adults with children, husbands with wives, boyfriends with girlfriends, friends with friends, those of the older generation with those of the younger generation. There will be more time to reach out and love those within your midst as well as those in the world through witnessing and follow-up, and this will in turn bring more joy‚ happiness‚ fulfillment, and satisfaction to the hearts of My children everywhere.
102. New gifts and talents will be honed and developed as you turn those "spare moments" into times of teaching and helping your young ones find their calling. Those who have let cobwebs grow on their guitars or other musical instruments will have the time to pull them out and exercise their gifts and talents. Old desires and interests will be rekindled, and much more variety in hobbies and talents and know-how will be seen—which can be used for witnessing‚ or teaching the young people or children, or for the edification of "the body." By removing the things of the world from your lives for a season I have created a whole new pool of time that can be invested in your future—your children and young people—as well as whatever other good ways I show you to.
103. The One Wife vision will begin to become a reality once again. The Law of Love will be lived more fully. The uniting of the generations will come into play more than it has in the last few years. Loving Jesus times will become more of a regular occurrence. The integration of the new weapons into everyday life will become more the norm, and the Word will begin flowing in interactions and communications like never before. You will fall in love with Me and the Word all over again. You'll build up more reserves of Me and My Word within your heart and spirit‚ and you'll gain more of a positive and praiseful spirit and attitude. You'll discover what a treasure you have in the children and JETTs and teens in your Home, as you get to know them and fall in love with them, and help them realize their full potential.
104. Your spiritual senses will be enhanced, your sense of priorities refocused, and your spiritual eyes and ears revitalized. You'll find yourselves more spiritually attuned in every way, more aware and sensitive to the spirit world. Your spiritual senses won't be dulled or desensitized from regular carnal and worldly input. Because your extracurricular activities and recreation will be more Christ- and Word-centered, as well as more giving and unselfish, during the period of renewal, you'll have more of Me shining through you. You'll have more of My love for others, because there will be more of Me within you.
105. Focuses and goals will change. The things in life that really count will come to the fore, and the things that are trivial or inconsequential will fade into the background. Each one's personal goals for their life and how they use their time will become more meaningful and challenging, because some of the prior goals will then seem unimportant. There will be a greater striving for progress and a greater desire to reach goals in every sphere of Family life‚ which means that more goals will be reached. The days of coasting and gliding will be over, and the days of forward progress and action will begin.
106. This period of renewal is the beginning of a new life. You must step out of the old way of doing things and walk into the new‚ and as you do, the benefits will follow. The blessings will start out small and barely noticeable, but with time they will snowball and grow. At the end of this period of renewal, you won't want to go back to your old life. Things will change so much for the better that you will never want to lose what you have gained.
107. (Mama:) Wow! Talk about some hefty promises! Peter and I sure want to be a part of this exciting future, this "new life," and the "days of forward progress and action." Don't you?
108. These promises aren't just for the FD Family, either. The Lord is going to bless each of you in proportion to your obedience‚ no matter what your status. If you're obeying Him, if you're in His highest will‚ if you're doing your best for Him according to your level of membership, if you're living the Word to the best of your ability, then you will feel His personalized benefits in your life too. Give Jesus as much of your life, heart, and spirit as you can—in whatever membership category is His will for you—and He will pour out His blessings upon you in equal measure.
The Gift of Greater Unity
109. In the preceding message, one of the renewal benefits the Lord mentioned was increased unity. This is a very important part of the strengthening of the Family, because we can't build successful winning team Homes without strong camaraderie and bonds of love and unity.
110. I know you're all busy people‚ and as much as you want to be in unity with others, most of you don't dedicate the time and attention you need to in order for it to truly flourish. But during the renewal the Lord is giving you this gift of time. Some of you have the idea that having unity is just not being in disunity. That's good, and that's a start. If at least you're not fighting, arguing‚ and being divisive within your Home or area, you'll have a lot more blessings than if you were, that's for sure. But that's by no means "reaching for the stars" when it comes to unity and discipleship! The Lord doesn't want us to settle for just not being in disunity; He wants us to actively build unity and fight for it.
111. For our Homes to become the winning teams we need to become, we have to work together. And in order to work together‚ we need love and unity in much greater proportions than at present. Unity is not just a nice thing to have when possible; it's part of the power of God that we desperately need, and we need it now.
112. (Jesus: ) Unity is so key, so crucial, so vital to your success as the Family of the future! The Family of the future will not be possible without great, tight, all-encompassing unity between Family members. Unity is the key to so many of the major needs, plans, and blessings for the Family of the future.
113. In giving you this time free from the things of the world and other distractions, I am giving you the key of time to work on your unity and strengthen your brotherhood. It is very important to Me that each Family member makes an effort during this time to get closer to others, to pour into the children, JETTs and teens in your Home and area, and to spend more time with others in prayer, fellowship‚ and togetherness. This includes togetherness that is focused on meaningful things, including the Word and prayer, and also enjoyable personal fellowship and simply getting to know one another, relaxing together and enjoying each other.
114. So often in your daily lives, your "default" forms of entertainment are those that are relaxing but not unifying. You watch a movie, you play a computer game, or you bury your nose in reading something interesting—and these things, in the everyday realm of normal life, have their time and place—but they have closed many of you off to the fellowship and unity that I want you to have. To some degree you might feel a little "lost" at first and not able to even relate to filling your nonwork times with activities centered around the children, around fellowship, and not around worldly entertainment. But you will learn, you will adjust‚ and you will derive many wonderful blessings from it if you will follow what I ask.
115. I ask that you focus on unity during this time. Spending quality time interacting with your brothers and sisters, with the children and JETTs and teens in your Home, and getting to know and love one another more, is just as much of a goal during this time of renewal as is your spending quality time with Me—which goes without saying is one of the purposes of this time. The simple act of taking a little more time with Me, above the minimum, will in itself cause great spiritual strides of progress, and will shine the light of My Word into your heart and soul and help you to see, evaluate‚ and grow in those areas of your faith and discipleship that are weak and need strengthening.
116. In most cases‚ if you will use the time that you would normally spend in taking in entertainment or input from the world, and devote part of that to taking extra time with Me, and an equal part to spending time with others, including the children and JETTs and teens, you'll hit the mark and accomplish that which I desire during this time.
How to Divide the Extra Time
117. (Mama:) Spending time with the Lord should of course always come first. As He says in the preceding message‚ it should go without saying that one of the purposes of the renewal is to spend extra, quality time with our Husband—in intercessory prayer‚ time loving Him intimately, hearing from Him in prophecy‚ praising Him, further solidifying our Word revolution habits, etc. Because of the things we're going to be forsaking, we're going to have a whole new reservoir of time, and the Lord has given us instructions regarding how He wants us to use that time. A very important emphasis during the renewal period is going to be on our children and JETTs and teens—helping them to feel the Lord's love through our time and attention and care. Besides giving more time to the Lord, and focusing on the children and JETTs and teens, He also wants us to spend more time with our co–workers and loved ones and build bonds of love and trust and unity.
118. I thought it was interesting and helpful that the Lord gave these guidelines of using part of our extra newfound time to devote to Him and part to devote to the children, and part to others. When I asked Him for more information about why this was so important, He said:
119. (Jesus:) There needs to be a just balance, and that is why I have given this counsel. The time you spend with others plays a very important role. Aside from building unity, another benefit is that it's going to safeguard you from getting self-righteous and holier-than-thou. If I asked you to spend all of your extra newfound time in prayer, reading My Word‚ and prophecy, then you would become self-righteous and proud and too high and mighty. So I want you to have a good balance—not neglecting to spend more time with Me, but also focusing your time and attention on the children and JETTs and teens, as well as being humble and loving enough to spend time with others.
120. There are those of you who are independent and who have tendencies toward self-righteousness, who would prefer to spend all of your free time by yourself and with Me. So that's why I'm stressing that it should be just as much of a goal for you to spend time pouring into the children and relaxing with others as it is to spend time with Me. Time with the children and others is how you learn to implement the Word and be a doer of the Word—and that's an extremely important aspect of your discipleship training.
Another Worthwhile Investment of Time
121. (Mama: ) As you'll read in GN 1077, the Lord wants all our JETTs and teens to have a goal for the renewal period, something that they can work on learning during their free time. Many of you have skills that you could help to teach them, and passing on those skills would be a very worthwhile investment of your time as well.
122. If you have extra time yourself—maybe you don't have many children in your Home, or the way things work out, you have some extra free time—you could also work on learning a new skill that would help you in your service for the Lord or your relationship with Him. Maybe you want to learn to play guitar better, or learn a musical instrument, or hone your art skills. Of course, you'd first want to look around and see if any of the children or JETTs or teens would want to join you in your learning, so that you could learn it together and encourage each other. But if that's not possible, and you have extra time, please pray about investing some of it in learning something that will make you a better witness or disciple.
123. The point is that during this time of renewal, we will be giving this time to the Lord in one way or the other. In order to fill the time that you would usually spend relaxing with System entertainment, you will instead be giving part of the time to fuller study of His Word and your intimate love relationship with Him, a good part of the time to pouring into the children and JETTs and teens, and also time to more fellowship and bonding with your teammates, which will give a foundation of unity to your lives as disciples. All of these are needed, and are important parts of the renewal period.
124. (Note: We understand that some of you very busy parents probably haven't been so involved in various forms of worldly entertainment that we are forgoing during the renewal period, so you probably won't have tons of extra time all of a sudden. But some people will, and the Lord has given this counsel for them.)
125. Since we've been learning more about the weapon of praise this year, I didn't think this GN would be complete without employing some praise power. Since it's a weapon that defeats the Enemy in every battle—and certainly the Enemy is going to fight us during our period of renewal and cleansing, and perhaps even before we get started—the Lord inspired me with the idea that we'd better set him back with some praise offensives. No matter what the Enemy may attack with, we can defeat him with the weapon of praise!
126. We all need a positive attitude and a praiseful spirit as we embark on these next six months; it's so vital. And since we all want to praise, but sometimes need ideas to know how to praise, our Idea Man gave us a few suggestions to get started‚ which specifically relate to looking positively on the renewal period. You can try these after you've read this GN, or at the next available opportunity. They could spice up your united devotions, be the basis for a united Home praise meeting with songs and more‚ or be used on June 15 when your Home kicks off the renewal period (a GN with more ideas and activities for the first day of the renewal will be reaching you soon, Lord willing). The sky's the limit!
127. Praise idea #1: Praise the Lord for a specific benefit of the renewal period mentioned in paragraphs 94-106 of this GN.
128. Praise idea #2: Focus on the positive by thanking the Lord for something that will be a forsake-all during the renewal period, and thanking Him for not asking you to forsake something bigger. For example, "I thank You, dearest Love, that You're only asking me to forsake System music and not forsake music completely‚" or, "Thank You, sweet Husband, that You're only asking me to forgo movies, and I don't have to abstain from sex."
129. Praise idea #3: Praise the Lord for something specific that you know is going to help you make it through the renewal, such as the Word‚ loving Jesus intimately, being positive and using the weapon of praise, etc.
130. Praise idea #4: Take the letters from the word RENEWAL and praise the Lord for something regarding these six months that starts with each letter. For example: R—Revolution; E—Extra time to pour into the children; N—New goals and visions; E—Earthly things falling into perspective; W—Witnessing explosions; A—All things new; L—Love and unity.
131. Praise idea #5: Praise our wonderful Husband for the innumerable blessings He has given you, and then tell Him how it makes every sacrifice or forsake-all He's asking of you seem so small and insignificant by comparison.
132. Praise idea #6: Thank the Lord, by faith‚ for a specific way in which you personally want to grow and change during the renewal period.
133. Praise idea #7: Think about the advantages of being a Christian, of knowing Jesus and accepting Him into your life. Focus on the blessings you have in your life that everyday Systemites don't, and then praise the Lord for the benefits.
134. Praise idea #8: Praise the Lord for the benefits of being in the Family, things that even Christians in the world aren't blessed with. You can either do this from memory‚ or you can refer to "The Benefits of the Family" (ML #3172, GN 777), and use that as a springboard.
135. Praise idea #9: Use the praises Natalia has given us over the years, many of which expound on the benefits of being revolutionary children of David, the wealth of truth we are privileged to receive, etc. (Note: A compiled file of all of the Natalia praises will be posted on the MO site soon, for your benefit.)
136. Praise idea #10: Go around the room and praise the Lord for each other. Thank the Lord specifically for the good choices each person has made to yield to Him, to make it through past revolutions and changes and come out the better for it.
Basic Plan for the Renewal
137. We don't want to bog you down with to-dos during the renewal period, as we know you're all going to be very busy, but the Lord said it was a good idea to have some structure to the next six months. He said that it wouldn't work so effectively to require that everyone focus on strengthening the same areas of their lives, or read about the same things in the Word‚ or do exactly the same things, because every individual, Home‚ and field is different. However, He gave a simple plan that I think you'll agree is doable.
138. Here are the things He would like everyone in the Family to do:
139. * Every Family member should hear from the Lord in prophecy before the renewal period, or as close to the beginning of the renewal period as possible, about the P&P question in this GN (see paragraphs 70-71). (There will also be a few P&P questions in the GNs which follow on the renewal.)
140. * Each Home should set aside June 15 as a day to kick off the renewal together. The Lord has given a special message and prayer for that day, as well as some activity ideas. When we asked the Lord how flexible this timing was, if some Homes preferred to hold this "official" start to the renewal a few days earlier or later, the Lord said:
141. "It would be best if everyone was at home for this special day, or at least spent the day with a Home or united team, if for some reason it's not possible for them to be with their own Home. Just as I ask the Family to be united at the Feast, this is a similar milestone time, and will be a great battle in the spirit that is important to win right at the beginning. So rather than make leeway for Homes to adjust this according to their own personal preferences, I'd rather they adjust to Mine and set aside this time as a day to unite together and rout the Enemy, right at the beginning of this very special and milestone time." (End of message.)
142. * At the halfway mark of the renewal period (roughly the end of August), each person should hear from the Lord about how you're doing, and if you're making the most of the renewal. This would be a time in which you could ask the Lord if you're doing the things He showed you to do at the beginning of the renewal‚ and if you're making sufficient progress in the changes He's asked of you, or if He has any new goals or steps for you to begin taking at the midway point.
143. * There will be a plan for the closing of the renewal. We don't have all of the details to share with you in this GN, but we wanted to let you know in advance that you can expect some kind of meaningful closure to the renewal at the end of November, so that you can prepare accordingly.
Making Things Right
144. Another benefit of the renewal will be the opportunity to make things right with your co-workers and loved ones. As you pray about your life and your ministries and attitudes and effectiveness for the Lord, you will undoubtedly find areas that need improvement. Some of those will be areas that have affected other people, and there will probably be some things that you'll need to apologize for or confess and make right. Please take the opportunity of this time during the renewal to do that.
145. (Jesus:) As I shine the spotlight of My white–hot love and the uncompromising standard of My Word into all areas of your heart and life, you will find areas that need cleansing. Part of that cleansing comes through confessing and apologizing when your actions or attitudes have affected others. Don't be too proud to do that! It's part of the cleansing process, and will help you feel much better, happier, lighter‚ and more free in the spirit.
146. Taking the step to make things right in the way that I show you also helps to set safeguards around you‚ because, while you can be very sorry when you realize that you've fallen short in some area, it's easy for the conviction to pass if you don't do anything about it. So when there are practical steps you can take—such as asking for united prayer‚ asking for help from your Home members or shepherds, confessing‚ apologizing, changing your habits and lifestyle in some way—it's important to take them, to let the conviction of My Spirit actually change you.
147. Otherwise, you can go on your way and remain not only the same person you were before, but even become a little more hardened to the Spirit and My voice of conviction. You don't want to let that happen. That step of actually apologizing or confessing or asking for the help of others to make a change in your habits will make these changes more permanent and complete. They will really become a part of your life. They will help you walk more in humility and My Spirit, instead of just being good in theory.
148. If I show you things from the past that you need to make right, please be very prayerful in the way you bring them up to others. Apologizing and confessing your sins is an important step, but it's important to do it prayerfully and in the spirit so that it doesn't hurt others. Ask Me for My humility, grace and wisdom.
149. Through your obedience I will use this time to make whole many of the breaches of hurt or disunity or unconfessed sin that have threatened to destroy the Family. You will be mending the walls of your city, and the cleansing rains of My Spirit will be pouring down on you. Then this time of renewal will truly be complete, and you will be more prepared, individually and as a Family, for the battles that are ahead.
Prayer Themes and Word Study Topics
150. (Mama:) The Lord also suggested that we have united prayer initiatives every month, a different theme to focus on each month. These are topics that He'd like each Home and every Family member to devote extra time to praying for—throughout the days during the specified month, as well as on your prayer days.
151. Here are the prayer themes that He gave for each month:
152. June: Focus on praying for the restructuring, cleansing, and strengthening of the Family and for the smooth and effective implementation of all the changes the Lord is bringing about. Pray that the Family as a whole—and every individual—will make the right choices to yield, grow, and progress. Pray for our switch to "renewal mode," especially our emphasis on the children and JETTs and teens in our Homes. That we will all find a good balance in managing our time, and that we can put priority on the things the Lord has asked of us. Pray for a renewed dedication to our children and JETTs and teens—the hope of the future—and that we will change and grow in the ways the Lord wants us to, in order to be the biggest blessing to them. Pray for our children and JETTs and teens to be encouraged and happy as they see the benefits of the renewal‚ that this time will truly be a blessing for them, the Lord's gift of love to them that He intends it to be.
153. July: Focus on praying for the children and their needs—physical, educational‚ emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and otherwise. Pray for their strengthening and good progress in every area of their lives. Pray also for our Family parents and teachers and their continued anointing and strength with the big job they have to do. Pray for our pregnant mothers, for their strength and health, strong, healthy babies, and problem-free deliveries.
154. August: Focus on praying for the second generation of the Family (SGAs, YAs, and teens), for them to continue to fight the good fight‚ to be challenged within the Family, and to fulfill the roles the Lord has for them. Pray especially for our JETTs and junior teens, that they will grow into their calling, and find something worthwhile and challenging that really "turns their key" and helps them to be happy and fulfilled serving the Lord. Pray as well for our former–member young people, for their happiness, connection with the Lord, and for Him to work in their lives as He knows best.
155. September: Focus on praying for the FGAs, for them to continue to fight the good fight, to be fulfilled and happy in their service to Jesus, and that they can grow and change as the Lord needs them to. Against afflictions, for the fountain of youth to flow freely into their lives, and great grace for the challenges they face.
156. October: Focus on praying for Mama and Peter and their leadership of the Family. For their clear channels to the Lord, and His clear guidance as they lead the Family and pass on the Lord's Words. Also pray for the COs, VSs, and the boards.
157. November: Focus on praying that the Family will preserve the truth that the Lord has given us through our obedience and getting the Word out to the world like never before. Pray that the Christmas outreach and witnessing season will be our best year ever in terms of long-lasting fruit and souls and disciples.
158. And last but not least‚ the Lord suggested we include a list of reading topics for you. He said, "Every Home will be different in what they need to focus on. Each Home should prayerfully choose a new Word study project for each month of the six-month renewal period."
159. These would be in addition to any Word study projects or topics the Lord leads each of you to work on individually in your private reading times, based on your own personal needs. When praying about your Word and study projects, please keep in mind that you will probably have quite a bit more time for reading and studying His Word and reviewing His principles, since you will be refraining from worldly entertainment for the six months of the renewal period. Think of the treasures of His Word that you will be that much richer in, that much more steeped in—and taking the time to pray and ask the Lord for His goals and priorities for both yourself personally and your Home will be the best way to make sure you're hitting the mark.
160. Some Word study ideas (and the Lord might show you more) are:
161. * Reread and study the "Show Me the Money" GNs. We have heard from the COs that many areas weren't able to devote the time to doing the P&Ps and assignments in this Letter, since it sort of fell through the cracks because of the Christmas witnessing season. So I'd like to ask that you restudy these important GNs and do the assignments sometime during the renewal if you haven't already done so as a Home, or if you didn't finish them or aren't implementing them as you should. This would be especially important for you to do once you have decided to stay together as a Home, or after you've gotten together with the team you're going to be with. These Letters aren't just a course on fundraising but on discipleship.
162. * Lord willing, there will be a GN (or a few GNs) coming out during the renewal about certain bad attitudes that have crept into the Family. This will bring with it a lot of food for thought, and various study topics.
163. * Reread and study the "Pray, Obey, and Prepare" Letters (see the list in ML #3470‚ GN 1058).
164. * Word studies on the keys‚ praise, prayer‚ pride/humility, disobedience/obedience, division/unity, compromise, churchianity, lack of fear of the Lord, bitterness, doubt, worldliness, self-righteousness, complacency/lethargy, selfishness. (Note: These lists are in GN 1058, available in the pubs section of the MO site. We hope to compile reading lists on other Word topics and post them on the MO site during the renewal, and will add a notice on the site when we do so.)
165. * Word studies on childcare, parenting, and discipline for various age groups. There's a list of Letters at the end of "Are You a Delinquent Parent," ML #3388, GN 984‚ and other recent Letters include:
* "Solutions for Shepherds, Parents and Everyone," ML #3389, GN 985.
* "Where to Now?" ML #3398‚ GN 991.
* "Reach the Rich," ML #3400:69-99, GN 992.
* "Raising Junior Teen Disciples," ML #3419, GN 1006.
* "Jewels on Junior Teens, Part 1," ML #3439, GN 1025.
* "Jewels on Junior Teens, Part 2," ML #3440, GN 1027.
* "Jewels on Junior Teens, Part 3," ML #3441‚ GN 1028.
* "What Is Full–time Discipleship, Part 2," ML #3469:431-471, GN 1056.
166. * If you're working with a young person to learn a new skill, or you're teaching them one, you might want to consider doing the reading course from the CVC together on that topic—either working through it separately and touching base together, or even reading some of the material together.
A Worthwhile Investment
167. In closing, I wanted to reiterate that you are going to get out of the renewal period as much as you put into it. Your level of commitment and obedience will determine whether the benefits are meager or overflowing! And collectively, each of our choices will add up to determining the future of the Family! That's a pretty sobering thought‚ isn't it?
168. For just a minute, picture Jesus as your Banker. He's asking you to make an investment right now. This investment is your sacrifice, your forsakings‚ and your commitment to give your all to Him for the next six months. He's asking you to put your "money"—in the form of your will‚ your desires, your independence, your own ways, and the things of this earth—into His "bank‚" through yielding your all to Him. Will you?
169. The more you invest in God's "bank" during these six months, the more "interest" you will earn in the form of spiritual blessings and rewards. If you invest a lot of spiritual money by jumping into this renewal with both feet, you'll get a lot of spiritual interest in return—gains that will really be worth something to you personally and will make a difference in your life. If you invest less, your gains will of course be less. The more you deposit into the heavenly bank, the more you'll be able to withdraw. It's that simple.
170. (Jesus:) You have a lot of power in your hands right now, according to your decisions. You are the one who's going to call the shots when it comes to your spiritual life, because you have the majesty of choice. You're the one who decides if you're going to float through this renewal period and come out the other end hardly changed, or whether you're going to allow your walk with Me to be shaken down to its very roots‚ and let Me escort you out at the end as a new man or woman before Me and before your Family.
171. Don't settle for choosing the bare minimum. Go for the maximum in every way, in every area of your life—maximum yielding‚ maximum obedience, and maximum change. Let that be your goal for this renewal period. Kneel before Me in spirit right now and tell Me that you're committed to allowing Me to do whatever it takes in your life to cleanse you, renew you, and prepare you for your future service to Me. Pray a "whatever it takes" prayer, giving Me leave to work in your life as I know best.
172. If you're a Family discipleship member, or if this is your goal, ask Me to unleash the waters of cleansing that you need in order to be My full-time disciple. If you're a Missionary member, ask Me to use this time to fit you for this role, so that you can be the best Missionary member possible. If you're a Fellow member, and you've chosen of your own accord to go through this renewal period, then ask Me to use it in your life in whatever way I know you need—to strengthen you, to better equip you for your place of service to Me.
173. The maximum benefits of the renewal period are available to those who want them. Those who want all, give all. So be zealous about your decisions to yield, to commit, to change, to grow, to progress, to be cleansed, to pour into the children and young people in your Home‚ and I will pour out My blessings upon you in kind, with equal fervor and intensity. Wring out every last drop of the blessings of My Spirit that I wish to give you through this time of cleansing by giving Me your all. Don't let this golden opportunity, this mine full of jewels, this treasure chest of benefits, pass you by without even realizing what you're missing.
174. I guarantee you will want to be around when the blessings start to cascade down. And if you have to take it by faith, so be it!—But have the kind of faith that believes and keeps believing, even if it takes a while for you to receive the promise. Don't allow your ignorance, or your lack of understanding of the ways of My Spirit, or your carnal mindedness to hold you back from giving your all to this great move of My Spirit, because the only person who will lose out will be you.
175. You determine your present and your future, according to your choices. Your future life and service to Me will be as blessed, as fulfilled‚ as happy, and as satisfying as you want it to be—according to your decisions to yield and obey My will for you. Your life can be used for My glory in a way that you have not yet experienced, if channeled My way and if yielded to Me. Now is your chance to give your all to Me once more, to prove My promises to you. Trust Me, once again, as your wise Potter Who has not once failed you, and let Me remake you into a better vessel.
176. (Mama:) Please do what the Lord asks, dear Family. Take some time to hear from Him personally after reading this GN—regarding what I mentioned in paragraphs 17 and 71, and anything else that is on your heart. Then kneel before our dearest Love and tell Him that you want Him to do whatever it takes to cleanse you, renew you, and prepare you for your future service to Him. Then go for it with the power of the keys and the weapons of the spirit at your side, with zealous fervor‚ with determination that the Enemy won't be able to shake‚ and an unbreakable will to obey and yield your all!
177. We're all in this together, going for the maximum benefits together! Peter and I love you! We're proud of you, and thankful for the privilege of fighting for the future of the Family with you!
Much love always,
Reactions from the Family in Brazil
178. (Jesus:) These reactions are representative of many of My Brazilian Family who have been changed, revived‚ and renewed. The focus of these reactions is to highlight the work I have done in the lives of many‚ not just the individuals who shared them.
179. I wish to honor everyone in Brazil who has made the right decisions for Me, who has gone through the fire and come out as pure gold. These reactions are indicative of what each cleansed disciple in Brazil feels. There are slight differences in the benefits each one received, but it's a united victory—a glorious victory!
End of text box.
"Compared to the way I was before, it's a miracle!"
180. About two months before the six-month punishment period, I was your general non-disciple—into all the wrong stuff, ODing on System music, into higher knowledge and head trips, and had very wrong attitudes and mindsets toward the Family. I had basically stopped reading the Word, had all but lost my faith in Jesus and the spirit world, and had been reading quite a bit of anti-Family material. Sad to say, I was also dragging down some of my friends and others who looked up to me.
181. It was around this time that I was faced with the decision to move with most of my family to another country and leave the Family, or stay. I made the decision to give my life to the Lord. I asked Him if He really wanted me in the Family, to change my life and restore my faith in Him. But I still hadn't really given up a lot of the System influences that were dragging me down. I was listening to System music and reading System books‚ which weren't doing me any good. So when I heard about the punishment‚ I knew it was just what I needed and a gift of the Lord to put me on the right track.
182. I began to see things differently, to value correction and shepherding, to get along with people I didn't before, and I've learned a lot about humility. The Lord has really strengthened my faith as I asked Him to. I'm still learning lessons about prophecy and hearing from the Lord more, but compared to the way I was before, it's a miracle. The Lord has also taught me a lot about making sacrifices. Not only me, but we as a Home have had to make quite a few sacrifices and changes in our lives, but the Lord has paid us back so much more. It's incredible!
"I'm so thankful for the changes in my life!"
183. Before the punishment period I would usually spend most of my free time on the Internet or playing computer games till really late, but I began learning guitar instead. The Lord has really blessed it, and is using it to win people to Him already.
184. Just a few months ago the Lord led us to hold Holy Ghost samples. It wasn't easy at first, but the Lord gave us faith, and after a few Holy Ghost samples we began to have fruit. I met a searching 17-year-old. He saw the Lord in us, came to our house the next day for a Bible class, and the very next week he was right alongside us in the next Holy Ghost sample. He now reads the Word every day, witnesses along with us, and even does JJT. He is dying to join—by faith, our first new disciple! It's so encouraging to see how the Lord has blessed our tiny efforts.
185. I'm pretty far from your ideal disciple and feel pretty unworthy to be in this Family, but I'm glad the Lord has helped me this far. I'm so thankful for the changes He's brought about in my life, and hope I can keep on moving forward, giving Him my all.
"I finally feel like I'm doing something important with my life!"
186. Although I had a good foundation in the Word through my childhood‚ with time I started ignoring the Word and getting into a lot of worldly things such as System music and excessive TV watching—especially soccer games and sports news. I started doubting the Word and being rebellious. I thought that the Family was a drag, and having to witness and win souls was just too boring. I started drinking and smoking; I didn't respect the rules, and had sex with outsiders.
187. I was on my way out of the Family. But I finally found a Home with a good discipleship standard and realized that it was actually cool to live like that. It really surprised me to see teens that were dedicated‚ loved the Lord and the Family a lot, and were happy about it. I decided to give it a try, and took it as a challenge. I really wanted to restructure my spiritual life, go back to the basics of the Word, and forsake my worldly attitudes, influences, and carnal ways of thinking. Peter and Mama's videos came during that time of decision-making and helped to wake me up out of my spiritual lethargy and gave me the impetus I needed to change.
188. The Lord also inspired me to go out witnessing on my own with other teens—to speak for myself, instead of just being a companion to an adult, to present the tools myself and pray with people and follow up on them—and the Lord really blessed this step of faith. I also cook, do gardening‚ maintenance, take care of kids, do CTPs, and a little bit of everything. I finally feel like I'm doing something important with my life, and for the Lord and the Family.
189. Thanks, Peter and Mama, for never giving up on us. And thanks to my mother's prayers for me; she has been praying for this miracle for a long time.
"Now I want to be a professional disciple!"
190. The six months of punishment was a precious time for me. I was dying spiritually and I didn't know it. I was able to reevaluate my true discipleship level and see more clearly where I was wrong and the reasons why. Now I can be a better disciple. I still have to fight, but at least now I know the standard—and if I don't make it, it will only be my fault. I can't blame anyone else.
191. I gained more spiritual insight‚ especially concerning the warfare that is going on in the spirit. It's heavy, it's real, and it's happening. We have spiritual foes that are not playing around. Thank the Lord we also have spiritual helpers that are very strong and powerful. We need to fight side by side with them; we have to get to know them better.
192. The big difference for me now is that I'm taking things more seriously. I'm serious about my standard as a disciple and my vow to the Lord. I'm in the fear of the Lord—the good kind of fear. Before‚ I just wanted to be in the Family. Now I want to be a professional disciple‚ the best I can be, to please my Master, Jesus.
"I am not the same person today that I was six months ago!"
193. Recently someone asked me, "What did these six months mean to you? Practically speaking, what changed?" I thought for a moment, and mumbled a reply. But I found myself "haunted" by that question. What did it really mean to me? The more I think of it, the more I thank the Lord for these six months and all they brought about.
194. One thing is certain, I am not the same person today that I was six months ago. I don't have the same goals or mindsets or vision. Yes, I still have a long way to go in order to reach the goal of total 100% discipleship. But one major change is that that is now my goal, whereas before I was content to simply be grading on the curve and looking to others as a judge of my personal standard and convictions, rather than the Word.
195. During these six months I discovered the total happiness and joy that can come from abandonment and yieldedness to Jesus—focusing on His Word and work rather than what I was going to do that weekend, or what movie we were going to watch, and the myriad of other things that come up. Before, I spent a lot of time and energy investing in myself and my comfort, or entertainment, whereas during the six months I realized that if you just love the Lord and concentrate on Him, He makes you truly happy. You don't have to try a million things to be happy and fulfilled, and some of the things that seemed so routine or even difficult and definitely not on the "fun list," suddenly became enjoyable. You're happy and feel fulfilled just because He made it so—regardless of whether or not you live in your "dream Home‚" or the circumstances are ideal.
"I never realized before how lucky I was to be in the Family!"
196. I suddenly realized, "This is the Family‚ these are the rules, and if I want to be in the Family, I've got to give it all I've got!" No longer is anyone trying to make the Family nice and comfortable, or convince you to stay. The onus is on you!
197. Once one decides in their heart that the Family and full-time discipleship is what they want, that the Family is worth sacrificing whatever it takes, that to be a professional disciple is the goal, then you fight for it. It no longer depends on "that really cool activity" or that "awesome ministry"—it's the end goal that matters.
198. I never realized before how lucky I was to be in the Family, what a privilege and honor it is. Never before had I had the experience of being happy just because I'm in the Family. It's a tremendous thrill!
"We are a Family without a generation gap!"
199. The Brazil chastisement wasn't a punishment, but a wonderful blessing for me and my children. I'm an FGA, and was a single mother of three before the punishment period. Just the thought of having some kind of relationship with SGAs would make me go through trials. I thought I was destined to be a single mother for the rest of my life in the Family, but I opened my eyes to the fact that we are a Family without a generation gap, and those who want to live up to what the Lord expects of us will unite more and more as one body.
200. That's what happened to me and my SGA fiancé. We've been together since the second half of the punishment, and the Lord has done great things for us; He has strengthened us and given us wonderful fruit. My children are happier, and I've seen how much the joining of both generations can do for the Lord and the Family.
"The best thing!"
201. Today I have everything I've ever wanted, and even more. All this happened in only six months. I look back and I see I haven't really grasped yet how much my life has changed for the better in such a short while. When I think about it, I'm reminded of something I learned when yet a child: "Let go and let God." That's what I did, and not a day goes by in which I'm not grateful for that! Now I see that "chastisement" isn't really the best word for what happened here; instead, it's the best thing that has happened in my life!
"This has made a big difference in my life!"
202. Self-righteousness is one of my biggest NWOs, and in the past I always used to feel like, "These people need to change or else I'm going to move on." In other words, the brethren I was living with weren't good enough for me. I thought that maybe someday I'd have to actually leave Brazil, where I have been for over 20 years, because I didn't want to live with anybody here anymore! I had put myself into that box because of my own sins of self–righteousness.
203. But now I feel more like, "I hope these precious brethren have the grace and patience for me to continue changing so that I can stay living with them!" This has made a big difference in my life and outlook on my service to the Lord and discipleship‚ and has given me more faith and hope for the future.
"We now look at the things that are truly important!"
204. The immediate fruit that we reaped from this punishment period was love. After being crushed, we are all much closer to one another. As Dad has said, humility is synonymous with love. Today our team, which has been broken and transformed by the Lord‚ doesn't seem to care about our differences anymore; we now look at the things that are truly important!
"We took on the responsibility to fight to be 110% disciples!"
205. My Home consists of 21 people‚ and more than half of us are young people. After Peter's videos we took on the responsibility to fight to be 110% disciples for Jesus.
206. During the fast, instead of video nights we did activities together as a group. This brought a greater feeling of closeness among the members of the Home—especially for me, as a new disciple (in the Family a little over a year). It made me feel like part of a large family made up of every person in the Home. The unity that was borne through this time of testing has been a blessing from the Lord.
207. We have also had "Loving Jesus" once a week, and united praise time every day. These activities did occur before the punishment‚ but they gained so much more importance‚ brilliance, and meaning. It really is something magical when you wake up in the morning and find all of the young people sitting in the living room, before devotions begins, reading the Word.
208. A lot happened in these six months: We drank non-alcoholic beer, watched all of the recommended Bible movies, loved Jesus, laughed a lot together—and most importantly, we grew spiritually. Thank You Jesus for this purification (I don't like to call it a punishment) and for the young people in my Home, and in all of Brazil, who have dedicated themselves, not only during the six months, but who continue to dedicate themselves every day!
"All the worldliness that we were into before is just not that important!"
209. Everyone in the Home agrees that the six–month punishment period was one of the best things that have happened in any of our lives for the Lord. Our awesome Husband knew so much better what we needed than we could have possibly imagined.
210. Some of the main things that had been tremendous distractions to us were worldly influences such as an overdose of movies, System music‚ soccer, the Internet, System jobs, along with a lack of getting really fed from the Word. We were also battling with disunity. We had some incidents with sexual contact with outsiders and there was a lack of shepherding. That is not to speak of some of our more deep-rooted spiritual sins of self-righteousness, spiritual pride, and the list goes on and on.
211. Ever so slowly the Lord began to wash us of our sins. Most of all, we began to realize just how nothing we truly were without the Lord! The Enemy had lulled us to sleep ever so slowly, ever so gently, to where we were completely blinded to how far gone we were, and it was a slow process to even realize this. Lord help us! It was like we were in an intensive care unit getting fed intravenously, because we had allowed ourselves to become so weakened. The Lord told us, though, that we just had to take in His Word, have a desperate attitude, and go witnessing‚ namely pushing Activated. He told us clearly that only He could perform the miracle of bringing us back to life spiritually.
212. On the Activated front, we went on an all–out attack in every way, and got really turned on to this tool. We caught the fever! We began eating, breathing, and dreaming Activated, ha! And miraculously we made it into the top 10 Homes for selling subscriptions in Brazil and have climbed from there.
213. Besides getting in the Word a whole lot more, we had lots of time for guitar practice‚ and far-out types of fellowships with other Homes. We started doing Holy Ghost samples regularly. It has also grown into some heavy-duty Bible classes for ourselves, as studying the Word takes on a whole new meaning when you're out face-to-face personal witnessing and people ask you questions about their lives, our lifestyle, the Endtime, economics‚ etc. It really makes you want to dig in and find out for yourself so you have "an answer for him that asketh thee." In short, witnessing became a major focal point, and since it is very fun‚ exciting, and challenging‚ laying other distractions aside has become more matter of fact. They're just not that important anymore.
214. Now, even after the six-month punishment period is over, all the worldliness that we were into before is just not that important. We get tempted sometimes, but we have learned—the hard way—that we become weak and useless to the Lord when we don't take enough time with Him. Word and prayer time have become a matter of survival, not just something that "would be nice when we have time." Each of us was so desperate for the Lord's love and to experience it in a personal way that prayer and prophecy time became a daily necessity—or shall we say we became aware of how much of a daily necessity it really is. We fell back in love with Jesus in our very humbled and humiliated state.
215. Another thing we learned in no uncertain terms is that the keys work wonders. During our six months we were much more concentrated on heavenly things than before. Some of us also discovered a few hidden gifts that we had, such as the gift of healing, discernment, etc.
"The fast of worldly input isn't as bad as it seems in the beginning."
216. One thing that improved in my Home since the fast of worldly input was the unity factor. Since we couldn't watch movies or do any of the other recreational activities we were used to doing, we started doing more Home activities on weekends, and you could really see the contrast in our unity from before and after. And, hey, the fast of worldly influences isn't as bad as it seems in the beginning. I honestly didn't know how on earth I would make it without movies for six whole months, but you find yourself enjoying the fellowship and company of others so much more. Eventually it just doesn't become that big an issue anymore.
"It's done me loads of good."
217. I'm very thankful for the six-month punishment for Brazil. No other way would have helped me break my computer game and System music habits. It's done me loads of good‚ even though there were certain Saturday nights when I looked at the computer and tears fell from my eyes. Now it's not a big deal, and I've gotten into more useful things.
"I've been there, done that, and love the results!"
218. The fast has benefited me in so many ways. It helped me to change and have more of an appetite for the things of the spirit rather than the "pleasures" of the world; it helped to create in me a greater hunger and desire for the Word, and a deeper, stronger love for and link with the Lord. I felt myself being cleansed and purged from the things of the System, which caused me to have less and less desire or need for it. It was one wonderful feeling!
219. It was just so wonderful to see everyone getting desperate with the Lord, wanting to rid themselves of their old ways, and sincerely desiring radical changes in their lives. It was cool to see younger and older fighting together, all for the same goal! A heavenly atmosphere was created here in our Home and everyone was taking steps to change and give it their best shot!
220. I can honestly say that the six-month worldly fast experience was not a bad one at all; quite to the contrary, it was a blessing and only brought about good in our Home and personal lives! It's something that I look back at and thank the Lord‚ Mama, and Peter for, as it helped bring about change in our lives and brought us closer to the Lord! Brazil will definitely never be the same again!
221. And now that we (and the whole Family) have another six months of fasting worldly entertainment coming up again, as much as it's not something that we all jump up and down with joy for, I am convinced that it's only going to be good for the Family once again. I know that for a fact! I've been there, done that, and love the results!
Copyright © 2004 by The Family
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