GETTING BACK ON TRACK FOR JESUS!--PART THREE (For JETTs) Maria #207a DO 2892a 1/94
Mama Maria's Letter to the Family in Europe, revised & condensed for JETTs
Required Reading for JETTs
1. SO FAR I've talked about many of the needs, questions & problems concerning the teens & the YAs. Thank the Lord, we've gotten a lot of good lessons out of this, & I hope I've answered some of your questions. Now what about you adults?--What role do you play in all this? What do you think went wrong in your shepherding & parenting? What do you think you could have done to avoid or minimise these problems? You probably have a lot of questions similar to these on your hearts & minds.
2. The past nine months must have been a terribly trying time for you. It must break your hearts to see your young people so dissatisfied, & the pain you feel when your loved ones leave the high calling of God in the Family to try out the System must be nearly unbearable, if it weren't for the Lord's supernatural grace. You've probably been battling discouragement, condemnation, frustration, fear of failure, & uncertainty & insecurity in your roles as Shepherds & parents. Dad & I have prayed for you, that the Lord would strengthen you through all this & help you to learn precious & needed lessons, & that He would cause even this time of trial & testing to be a testimony of His faithfulness & the never-failing truth of Romans 8:28.
3. I don't want to spank you real big & make you feel even more discouraged or condemned, but I must point out the failures in your shepherding & parenting, & the many wrong attitudes you've developed, which must be rectified & changed if we're really going to heal the wounds, mend the broken hearts, strengthen our loved ones, turn this field around, & get back on the wall for the Lord.
4. I hope that reading the explanations concerning mistakes that were made beginning all the way back at the time of the BTC Seminar has helped clear up some of the questions you have had. As your European Shepherds brought out, it was a mistake to give the teens such freedom & liberties without getting rid of the rotten apples, who only misused & took advantage of these freedoms. It was a mistake to keep the rotten apples on at the BTC, where they continued to spread their lies, scepticism, murmurs & complaints, which eventually spread all over the continent. The unbelief & dissension sown by these rotten apples was not cleared up, as not enough time was given to strengthening the young people through the Word, to dispel all the seeds of unbelief that had been implanted in their minds.
5. Even though the wrong attitudes of the young people were addressed & it was made clear that they needed to change, the teens drew the conclusion that the main responsibility of change was on the Shepherds. This put you adults on the defensive, not knowing how to shepherd the teens according to the guidelines of the PER, & still maintain order & obedience to the Family standard. In essence, you were stripped of your authority & power in the teens' eyes, so that you were impotent in your leadership. It was a mistake for the adults to not be more fully informed about what was covered in the teen open-forum discussions that were led by the European Shepherds, which resulted in the teens having the upper hand & "name dropping" & pulling the wool over your eyes.
6. Admittedly, there were some definite mistakes made that may have put you adults in a very awkward & difficult position. But there are also some fundamental problems in your shepherding & serious weaknesses in your own spiritual lives that can't be blamed on anyone else but yourselves.
Where Are Our Adults At?
7. As has been explained previously, much of what the European Shepherds tried to do at the BTC & the other Combos was somewhat of a forerunner to the PER. The sincere efforts of these Shepherds were "sabotaged" by the dirty deeds of a few rotten-apple teens who seriously abused the privileges that were being offered & carried things to such an extreme that it hit at the very foundation of our beliefs & lifestyle.
8. I don't blame the European Shepherds entirely for these problems, because they were sincerely trying to make things better for our young people. They were trying to hear them out in the open-forum discussions they held. They were trusting them to act maturely, a trust that they later realised was misplaced & undeserved by some. And they were trusting that you adults, at least the NASs & the Home Shepherds, would be able to carry the ball & shepherd your flocks!--Or at least have the wisdom & guts & conviction & discernment to call for help if you needed it, & to keep on calling until you got the counsel & guidance & support that you needed!
9. I'm afraid that one of the main questions now on my mind is, "Where in the world are our Shepherds & our parents & our adults at?" How could you have let the teens continue in such total, outright, blatant defiance & rebellion, which is as the sin of witchcraft!
10. I was concerned when I heard about what happened at the BTC months ago, but I stayed calm & trusted that the Shepherds & adults would take care of the situation. But now, having heard the grisly details of what has happened off & on over the last six or eight months in the Combo in Southern Europe & other Homes, I don't feel that I can be calm anymore. I feel stunned & shocked & disappointed & grieved & angry about this situation!
11. What ever happened to the Spirit of God? What has happened to the gift of discernment? What has happened to people's conviction? What has happened to the Word & to the Letters & to the standard which we've been clearly taught & brought up in for years now?
12. What have we become if we can allow our own teens to be blasting the house full of demonic hard rock music, around our precious, unpolluted, untainted little children?--And to have the teens sneaking out at night, getting drunk, cursing, fighting, rebelling, ignoring the Word & Godly spiritual principles, & leading their little brothers & sisters astray!
13. I know that teens naturally desire to do new & different things, & I know that we're learning lessons in how to relate to them, love them, raise them, teach them, train them, communicate with them & have mutual respect. That's what the PER is all about. But what I don't understand is how such absolute rebellion & total blatant violation of all the rules & rebellion against everything that is Godly can be tolerated or accepted or "put up with" by any self-respecting Family Members! If we're the Lord's people & we have His Spirit & the foundation of our life is His Word, then how can we tolerate an absolute rebellion against Him & His ways?--And how can our adults sit around & let the teens get totally tripped off in music which we know is absolutely of the Devil, & behaviour which we know is absolutely ungodly?!
You Cannot Abdicate Your Role as Shepherds!
14. We who have been given the role of Shepherds over our dear children & young people cannot abdicate* that role, no matter how strong the forces may seem to be that stand against us. We can't just stand back & let our young people run wild & just hope that somehow things will eventually work out. We can't just give up or hide from our responsibilities as Shepherds, hoping maybe someone else will come in to straighten things out, or revive or inspire the teens. (*abdicate: relinquish, surrender or give up)
15. Granted, many of your shepherding methods & attitudes do need to change. It's true that you, like many other adults, do need to change the way you relate to the teens & YAs. You do need to learn to give the mature ones the responsibilities they need & desire & can very capably handle. You do need to include them in on the plans & decision-making. You do need to respect them & listen to them & seek out their opinions. You do need to stop talking down to them & treating them like little children. But while you learn these lessons, you can't just quit shepherding altogether! "Am I my (teen) brother's keeper?" The answer is a definite yes! "As you that must give account, for you watch for their souls."--Heb.13:17. As long as these teens are with us, we are responsible to the Lord for their souls!
16. What has now happened in Europe is that instead of really trying to change & be the kind of Shepherds the Lord wants you to be, you adults have opted to just not shepherd the teens at all. It seems you've made so many mistakes & blown it so badly in the past, that you're afraid of making the same mistakes again, so you figure you'll just check out & let the kids go & let things just "fall into place" on their own, which of course won't happen. The Devil will make sure it doesn't happen!
17. Our young people look to you for loving guidance, help, instruction, & encouragement, & it's no wonder they've gone so far astray, when you've provided so little of that & have instead left them groping in the darkness, having to try to find their own way. "A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."--Pro. 29:15.
18. Some of you have undoubtedly been very frustrated through these months, as some of you tried to enforce discipline & control, but because the door was open to these unchecked "freedoms," the teens took advantage of them so much that the straight & narrow path became so broad & wide that you couldn't keep the teens on track. I'm very sorry that the way things happened has caused so many problems & such uncertainty in your minds & hearts, but to stop shepherding the teens is not the answer, & I don't believe that's what our sincere & dedicated young people want either.
19. Some of you have taken a "hands off" attitude because you haven't known what to do. You adults have virtually relinquished your responsibilities of shepherding & being your brother's keeper, hoping that the Teen Shepherds were handling the needs of the young people, & as a result you've completely tuned out or turned a blind eye to situations that you have known weren't right. You've closed your ears to the heartcries & needs of our young people. In many cases you have not even been aware of what the teens have been thinking, feeling & doing. And when you finally have had your eyes opened to what's going on, you've been shocked because you have been so out of touch for so long!
Fear of Losing More Teens Stifled Shepherding!
20. I understand that you fear more teens will leave, so consequently you don't want to rock the boat or demand too much from them or put your foot down to stop their shenanigans. We've read report after report from the adults in Europe that say you're so afraid of having more teens backslide that you're not correcting or shepherding them at all. In fact, you're continuing to give in to their demands & completely compromising the Word & your convictions in an effort to calm the teens down & make them happy. Obviously this compromising has not made the teens happy. And the end result is that those young people who were already rather weak in their convictions became even weaker & eventually left, as they were allowed to drift even further from the anchor of the Word & a close relationship with the Lord. And a few strong, loyal, dedicated teens & YAs also left, simply because they became so disillusioned, confused & disgusted with what was going on.
21. The Word & principles & standards which we believe & live by stand firm.--And the allowance of a few freedoms or the introduction of the PER should not in any way change our basic principles of living for Jesus, forsaking all, laying down our lives for others, loving one another, witnessing to the lost, obeying & respecting our elders, staying separate from the World, etc. You need a complete turnaround in your Homes, your shepherding, your communications with one another, your witnessing, your standard, your whole lifestyle & walk with the Lord!--Otherwise you'll end up losing not only this generation of teens, but the upcoming ones as well, because the sins & worldly pollution that are rampant in your Homes will continue to corrupt, confuse & destroy the JETTs & younger children also.
22. A major, general call of repentance is needed throughout Europe. The Evil Sorcerer has entered the garden of this field, & has sown his wicked seeds, which have sprung up bountifully, & which are absolutely choking out the Lord's garden & the good fruits that He wants to bring forth! You have allowed the Enemy to come in, you have virtually opened the door of your garden to the Evil Sorcerer, & he's been having a field day, sowing his seeds & destroying your gardens throughout the European realm! And we now need to call a spade a spade*, & not continue to be ignorant of the Devil's devices. (*call a spade a spade: a slang expression meaning to tell the truth, or to tell it like it is)
23. We are beseeching every Home in Europe to call upon the Father to come into your garden with the Axe of His Word, to absolutely chop down & destroy & burn every evil remnant of the Enemy's seeds, & to desperately pray that the pure white lilies of the Lord's Love & the fruits of His Spirit will take their place! (See "Alice & the Magic Garden," ML#290.)
What About the Standard of the Word?
24. Such unloving, ungodly, rebellious, defiant behaviour should be unheard of in our Homes! There are such things as righteousness & truth & absolutes & discernment & conviction & a standard, which Dad has been teaching us for years. It doesn't take some kind of a spiritual giant or a great Shepherd or discerner of spirits to be able to tell that somebody's out of the Spirit if they're openly rebelling, if they're physically hitting & hurting & beating up on their peers or the younger kids, if they're disobeying nearly every rule in the book & making a mockery of God & a mockery of Jesus & a mockery of the Bible & a mockery of the Letters!
25. Surely most of you must have known that something was seriously wrong with your Homes & with the Shepherds & with the teens & with the entire situation if you continued to have such serious problems. Surely you must have realised that our Homes are not supposed to be full of disunity, strife, bickering, & demonic rock music! Surely you must have realised that if the adults & young people can't communicate with one another, if your teens are unhappy, rebellious & backsliding, that something must be seriously wrong! Surely you must have seen that the Enemy has been coming in & polluting & sifting & ripping off your own children!
26. So I can't help but wonder, what in the world is wrong with our adults & our Shepherds & our people in Europe? How can you just shrug your shoulders & give up on your own teens, & just turn a blind eye & accept or ignore the problems? Or in some cases, how could you have let yourselves get so out of tune with the teens' feelings & needs?
27. There is absolutely no excuse! You can't use the excuse that you didn't know it was wrong or you didn't know what to do. You have the Letters & you have the standard & you have the conviction of the Holy Spirit in your hearts. And when you saw that the problems were either growing worse, or that you were only gaining temporary victories & the problems were popping up again & again, this should have been a clear indication to you that you weren't getting to the root of the problem & finding a real lasting solution, & therefore something more needed to be done.
28. Surely many of you must have seen a very wide discrepancy between the way things were going in your Homes & what the Letters teach & what you've always known of the Family standard! Many of you have been in the Family for years & years & have read thousands upon thousands of pages of Letters, & have voiced your commitment to live by the Letters, yet you were much more influenced & moved by contrary input from the teens & their accounts of some open-forum discussions, than by years & years of being fed the Word! How sad!--And how weak your convictions must be when you are so easily swayed, even though in spirit you surely must have sensed that what was happening was contrary to the Word!
29. It makes me seriously question your discernment & knowledge of the Word & Family principles, when after years & years of the right sample in the Word & being daily flooded by the waters of the Word, you so lightly brush it aside in favour of a new "doctrine," just because it supposedly has come from one of your leaders or is some new "push" or new "revolution." The yardstick by which you should measure actions or attitudes is the written Word.
30. Is it because some of you adults have become so compromised, so lacking in conviction & so out of the Word for so long that you didn't even see what was happening?!--Or at least you didn't have the gumption & the conviction to keep working & trying & fighting until the problems were resolved, & unity & loving fellowship were restored! It's no wonder the teens wouldn't respect you & didn't receive your counsel & help!
31. You all should have been screaming for help, crying out about the problems, & proclaiming your desperate need for help over & over again, until you got the help you needed! I believe that most of you could see that what was happening in your Home was completely contrary to the Letters. How often have we pointed out in the Letters that if it isn't according to the Word it's not right, & if it's not right, it's a crime, & failure to report a crime is a crime!
Lack of Living the Word!
32. Can you honestly say that the Word & obedience to it have taken priority in your lives? Are you living the Word? Are you loving the Word & excited about the Word? Are you even reading the Word? Below is a reaction from Josiah during one of his visits to the Combo in Southern Europe that might be a bit shocking, but which hopefully will help you to see yourselves as others see you.
33. Josiah reports: "It turns out that even though this Home has read all the new wine that has come out in the last few months, none of the counsel therein seems to have been implemented. We asked them what they did about the changes & reductions in the Home Requirements, the 'going to the churches' vision, the PER, the Affection Revolution, etc., & it seems they've only read these Letters--none of it was put into motion! There's so much counsel in just the PER GN that if they had just tried it, they would never be in such bad shape as they are now.
34. "One thing that really breaks my heart is to know how so much goes into the preparation of the new wine--especially Letters like the PER--and then to see what people do (I should say don't do) with it. It's a real shame!
35. "The lessons the rest of the Family is learning about the Word & the importance of obeying it & following the counsel of the new Letters explicitly, & the importance of praying things through & not just going by yesterday's formula, & the need to reach out to the teens & to understand them & teach them & trust them are all noticeably lacking in every area we visited here in Europe.
36. "The more I look at things, the more I see that it's the adults who have lost the fire, & that's why the teens don't want to follow & obey. If the adults had gotten behind the PER & the spirit of it, the teens would have followed!--Because the PER is exactly what they want! All they long for is in the PER Letter & has already been addressed.
37. "Here's a reaction from an adult which I feel reflects the spiritual state of the flock here: 'The two meetings that we have had have been very convicting for me & I have been checking my heart to see what I need to learn. I see that the lack of Word is the main problem. I have been reading the Word, but I have not been living the Word. In a way, I lost faith & got lazy in the spirit. I'm praying that I can have more conviction & fight for the right standard.'" (End of report from Josiah.)
the Teens a Chance for a New Start!
38. As we begin to clean up & strengthen the Work in Europe, we may lose a few more teens. But by God's grace, we must pray that if we do, it will only be those teens whose hearts are honestly not with us, those who honestly don't want to serve the Lord & who don't belong with us, & it won't be our dear faithful teens who have simply become confused, disheartened, weakened, & gotten weary in well doing because of the many problems they've seen, the lack of action from the Shepherds, & the inside attacks they've had to fight for so long. God help us not to lose any more of our precious teens & YAs who are David's children! We need our teens & YAs!--Each one is precious & invaluable!
39. There is an important balance to be found between purging the ranks of those who honestly don't belong in the Family, & having the patience & faith to win & strengthen those who do belong in the Family, but who are very weak & who are going through a rough time right now. We do want to get rid of any other rotten apples. In fact, we must rid the ranks of any remaining rotters, & we'll certainly be better off without them. But in our efforts to "purge the ranks," we must not cut any young people off prematurely, without doing all we can to win them back to the Lord & give them all a chance to see the Family the way it should be.
40. After everything these teens & YAs have been through, we certainly don't want to come down on them so sternly at this time to where they feel they just can't make it, so they may as well quit. We need to trust the Lord & give Him time to work in their lives! In the Combos where D. & L. & Josiah have been, it has taken weeks for some of the teens to be won & to start showing fruits of repentance.
41. If we clamp down real hard on some of these teens right now, they might not make it. Whereas if we give them the love, encouragement, prayer, understanding & the explanations that they need, & show them some tangible proof that the Family in Europe is changing, then I have the faith that many of these wayward kids will turn into jewels before our very eyes.
42. In this case, it seems like these kids, or many of them, are not being rebellious because they hate the Family & don't love its policies & don't love their parents, & they want to go out in the System & have their own way & do their own thing. It seems more like most of these kids are misbehaving & being so recalcitrant* because they are very hurt & disappointed & disillusioned & they're crying for help. (*recalcitrant: disobedient, obstinately defying authority or discipline; hard to deal with or manage)
43. Maybe this sounds like a psychologist's way of looking at bad behaviour, but in this case I think it's true that a lot of these kids are definitely looking for help & have been horribly let down by the adults who they were looking to for training & for encouragement & for the right direction. If they hated the Family so much & thought everything was that bad, they would have left along with the others. But they stayed, & many of them admit that they don't want to go, they don't want to leave the Family. So what do they want? They want somebody to show them real true dedication, real love & loyalty for the Family, real honest-to-goodness discipleship. They want the excitement & challenge of seeing God do miracles, & falling in love with Jesus, & seeing God work in their lives & in the lives of others, & seeing the Word come alive!
44. I don't doubt that if Techi & David were in some of these situations without shepherding & guidance that they too would be having similar problems. Teens, our children, & young people just have to have direction. They have to see the sample in us, & if they don't, of course they're going to go their own way. Of course they're going to go down the wrong path. Of course they're going to misbehave. Even the best of them, even the ones who have had the best training, if suddenly their hopes are shattered & their dreams are dashed & their hearts are disillusioned, what can we expect of them?
45. Their behaviour has been horrible, deplorable, rotten, terrible!--You just can't say enough about how bad it has been! But the time to make a decision about sending out these kids who have misbehaved is not now! It's after we've given them the chance that they deserve by showing them the right kind of sample, by giving them the right direction, by giving them the strong, loving supervision, & the just, fair care that they need. And then, whoever does not respond to that, we can ask those young people to leave.
46. I don't believe we can attempt a dividing of the sheep & goats right now, as we'd probably get rid of almost all of them, thinking they were all "goats." We'll have to first give them a chance to make a decision based on what they see as a true loving sample, which includes firm but fair discipline, as well as Word-based behaviour by adults who show their strong love for Jesus by their obedience & by their enthusiasm & their prayerfulness & their love for the Word, etc.
47. Ask the Lord to help you be the sample & the Shepherds you need to be, & to give you a good balance between patience & conviction. And with time, the Lord will make it clear who is His & who is not, like the parable of the wheat & the tares. (See Matthew 13:24-30.)
Don't Revert to Your Old Style of Shepherding!
48. The need for greater shepherding & direction & guidance is not a go-ahead for you adults to resort to an unloving, legalistic, harsh style of shepherding. I don't want to see a backlash now to where you overreact & get overbearing, bossy, legalistic, condescending, demanding, & pushy, & go to the other extreme of harsh discipline, heavy restrictions, etc. You can't try to make up for lost time by everyone now "ganging up on the teens" & socking it to them every time they turn around or step out of line at all.
49. Harsh discipline is not the Family way or the Lord's way! It may be a natural reaction for some of you after getting a spanking for being too lax, to overreact & overcompensate for past failures by getting "heavy" & "laying down the law," since you would not want to make the same mistakes again. But this is not God's way nor how He wants you to react. You are in His Family of Love, & He wants to teach you how you can be loving, yet still be firm. You can be loving, yet still mete out discipline.--So that whatever you do, it will be in love, & your young people will know you love them, even when you have to correct them. And you will lovingly correct them because you love them.
50. I am not in agreement with isolation or silence restriction when it is practiced in an extreme manner. A few hours in a caravan studying the Word because it is a place to get alone & be quiet could be perfectly okay under certain circumstances. Sometimes there just aren't any other free, quiet places for someone to go to for quiet time. And in some ways, it should be looked upon as a privilege to be able to get away from the hubbub of activity in a busy Home to have a few uninterrupted hours in a nice quiet caravan to concentrate on the Word.
51. Or in some cases, a teen may need to be separated from his peers for a few days of prayer & Word & personal shepherding, if he agrees to it, & if he's doing so poorly that he's infecting others with his problems & affecting everyone else very negatively. If a teen is in such poor spiritual condition that he's bringing down his whole group & causing absolute havoc & requiring almost all the attention of the Teen Shepherd, to the neglect of the rest of the teen group, then to temporarily separate that teen from his peers may be the best solution. But such separation should be the last resort & should be for very limited periods of time.
52. The use of the word "isolation" for such a disciplinary method is a bit misleading, because "isolation" implies that the person is completely alone, as if in solitary confinement. But in actuality, when problem people need to have some time apart from their peers, it is not with the intention that they be separated somewhere completely alone for long periods of time, without the warmth, support & encouragement of others. The whole point of such separation is so that the problem person can have a private time of prayer & reading the Word with the help & counsel of a Shepherd or someone who is spiritually strong enough to help pull the person through his problems. Such times of separation can bear good fruit if they're handled lovingly & wisely & not overused. Temporarily separating a very serious problem case also has the very big advantage that the other teens do not have to endure the strong negative influence that is present when someone with very serious spiritual problems is in their midst.
53. A few minutes of silence restriction can be a positive thing if used wisely, especially for younger groups of children who can get so rowdy sometimes that about the only way you can bring order is to have everybody be completely silent for a few moments. Or somewhat longer periods of silence restriction can occasionally be beneficial for JETTs or teens, as long as it's not taken to the extreme. But because people have not employed such disciplinary measures with wisdom & love, the use of silence restriction & having people go to quiet places for Word time has caused hurt feelings, resentment, confusion, & discouragement, instead of being a blessing & a help.
54. The practice of restricting or separating troublemakers or uncooperative people is not unique to the Family. It is fairly standard procedure in most organisations, functions, gatherings or activities to have all kinds of guidelines for people so they can't get so unruly that they seriously interfere with what is going on. If someone is disruptive or uncooperative, & especially if someone is disturbing others or making it hard for them to do their work or participate in whatever activity they are engaged in, that problem person is usually restricted in some manner, or asked to leave, or even escorted out by the bouncer or security guards.
55. In most situations it is understood that if you don't keep the rules, out you go. For example, if you're very rowdy & unmanageable in System school, the teachers won't hesitate to send you to the principal, or suspend or expel you. They certainly don't let you just continue disrupting & distracting the whole class & making it nearly impossible for the other students to study or for the teacher to teach. If you decide to light up a cigarette in a restaurant or public building where smoking is not permitted, you'll be asked to either put out the cigarette or leave. If you stand up in church & start saying something contrary to what the pastor is talking about, or if you start chatting & laughing & making a big fuss that disturbs others in the congregation, you'll likewise be asked to leave. The same is true when you're in a library or cinema or concert or lecture hall.--If you continue to disturb others by talking above a whisper, you are considered to be infringing upon the rights of others to study or watch the movie or listen to the concert or lecture in peace, & you will usually be asked to leave.
56. In society at large, it is understood that people can't get away with shooting off their mouth about anything they want regardless of what is going on, or carrying on activities that disrupt & distract & interrupt a whole group of people who are intent on a particular purpose or trying to listen or study or work. In any kind of group activity, whether it be a class, a church, a business, a club, a sport, a recreational activity or whatever, there is a general standard of behaviour laid down, which is usually typified in written or unwritten rules, & people are expected to keep those rules. If someone refuses to follow the rules, especially repeatedly, it would be absurd for the directors of the activity to let that one person's behaviour hinder the entire group. Even in the System, a problem person who is intent on causing trouble is not allowed to disrupt the peace, comfort, happiness & productivity of others. So it's good to remember that the Family is not the only place where silence restriction & the separation of troublemakers are practiced.
Teens, Please Don't Get Bitter or Resentful!
57. Some of you teens may feel you have experienced unnecessary restrictions or harsh discipline or the extreme practice of silence restriction or isolation. You may feel you haven't been handled so lovingly. I'm sorry if you teens have been hurt or if you have not experienced loving, mature shepherding. But please try to understand that the adults in the Family aren't perfect, they're learning lessons & growing, just as you are.
58. I'm asking you teens to please not get bitter. Getting bitter won't help, it will only make matters worse. It will inhibit your spiritual progress & cause a wall of resentment to grow between you & others. Being bitter will squelch your happiness & quench the freedom of the Spirit. The Lord won't be able to bless you as fully as He'd like if you harbour bitterness. So please try to trust the Lord & forgive those adults whom you feel have treated you harshly or unjustly or unlovingly or in a manner that was too extreme. Try to look at any unpleasant experiences you may have had from the perspective of Romans 8:28, & ask the Lord to help you forgive & forget & start anew.
59. Did you know that some of the adults in the Family experienced very harsh, unloving, severe treatment at the hands of the Chain leaders during the period of time before the RNR?--Of course, those were difficult days & there were many people who were stumbled & hurt & offended. But many of the adults who are still with us today hung on to the Lord in spite of the difficulties they faced at that time. They fought the temptation to get bitter or blame others. And believe it or not, they even learned good lessons from those tough experiences.--At least they learned what not to do, and the Lord blessed them for having passed the test.
60. Listen to what Grandpa said to the adults who suffered apparent injustices at the hands of the Chain leaders: "Some of you have done a good faithful job, you've worked hard & you've done well. You've been treated badly & yet you survived it! When you've been treated badly & still stayed true, still loved the Lord, still loved the kids, still loved the Letters, still believed in me & continued on anyway, you've passed a good test! If you love the Lord, the Letters & the little ones & you have stood the test of good & evil, success & failure, & especially the test of a lot of these wrong leaders, it looks to me like you've come out on top!" (ML#675:1,2,5)
61. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that your Shepherds of today are nearly as bad as the Chain leaders of the past. The point I'm making is that in spite of what might look to you like "bad treatment," there's really no excuse for getting bitter & blaming others. You should look at it as a test from the Lord, & like Grandpa says, if you can endure those "bad experiences" & come through them still loving the Lord & the Word & the Family & your Shepherds, then you'll come out on top, & you'll be a better person & a better disciple as a result.
62. If people have truly wronged you or hurt you or were unloving to you, the Lord will hold those people responsible for their actions. They will have to answer to the Lord for what they have done, & if it was unloving, if it was unkind, if it was wrong, they will be responsible before the Lord. They will need to get right with the Lord, by asking Him for forgiveness, asking forgiveness of those they've wronged, & trying to remedy the situation.
63. So that's the adults' part in all this. But whether or not you get bitter about whatever wrongs you feel you've suffered is your decision; & if you get bitter, the Lord will hold you responsible for your bitterness, since you alone have to make the decision to become bitter or not. You will be the one who will suffer the most if you get bitter & resentful. (Please see "Misinterpretations & Misunderstandings" ML#2839; "Beware of Bitterness!" ML#2840 [EDITED: "GN 544"]; "Bitterness!--The Deadly Root that Devours & Destroys!" ML#2672 [EDITED: "GN 461"]; & "Overcoming the Past!" ML #2877 [EDITED: "GN 562"].)
64. It might help you teens to realise that even the strongest disciplinary measures that some Family Members might employ to try to help our problem case teens are very mild compared to the tactics the System uses with their wayward teens. Our accusers are quick to jump up & down & point the finger & claim we "abuse our children with extremely harsh discipline," when all the while they are actually the guilty ones. They are the ones who use extremely harsh discipline! The System's rehabilitation programs are much stricter & more severe than our Victor Programs were. Their methods are even cruel, & they are much less effective! As I commented years ago about the Victor Program in Japan:
65. What the System does with their uncontrollable kids is so much worse than anything we would ever think of doing with ours! They put them in mental institutions if they don't know what to do with them. They put them in drug or shock therapy treatment centers. They put them in reformatories where they go through things like Paul Papers went through. (See Paul Papers' Traumatic Testimony in HOPE #10.) The parents literally throw their teens away, because they don't know what to do with them. The kids embarrass them & they expose their parents' shortcomings, so they just get the kids out of sight!
66. So if anyone points the finger at us for the way we rehabilitate our problem kids, we don't have to cower & tremble in fright. We can say, "Look, are you kidding?! What we do with our uncontrollable problem kids is almost like Heaven compared to the Hell you put yours through! And we get results in what we do! How about your rehabilitation programs? What's your success rate?!" We could really sock it to them & show them how out of line their System is & how horrible it is & what a failure it is & what a wreck it is, how destitute it is of love & affection & even manners or morals or education or anything! It's rotten, it stinks & it's dead!--Or at least it's dying & almost dead! (Excerpts from FSM 182.)
67. So while our teen rehabilitation programs may not be perfect, in fact they might be quite imperfect, they're a Heaven of a lot better than what you'd find in the System. Now this isn't to excuse any possible mistakes that the adults might have made or their lack of being prayerful & Spirit-led, but at least this reminder might help you teens keep things in proper perspective & resist the temptation to get bitter or resentful.
All Parents Make Mistakes, Because No One Is Perfect!
68. Almost all of us can look back on our childhood & our teen years & see situations or periods of time when we weren't handled the way we think we should have been by our parents or teachers. And maybe we're right. Maybe they did make a lot of mistakes, because most parents & teachers do. They often have to experiment & see what works best, especially with their first children. Parents are naturally going to fail in some things because nobody is perfect & it's just hard raising kids!--And no matter how good the parents are, no matter how Christian they are, how strong in the Lord they are, they're still going to make mistakes with their kids. Parents are human, & all parents make mistakes, & lots of them, but so do the kids. (When I say "parents" I'm not necessarily just referring to your flesh parents. These principles also apply to guardians & teachers & Shepherds.)
69. Almost everybody has something that they could complain about, & some people have quite a lot. I can see many different ways how my parents could have handled me better & could have done things differently. My parents let me eat a lot of white sugar & never taught me that it was not good for me; as a result I got terrible acne, which was one of the major factors in making me feel inferior & shy & lacking in confidence as I was growing up in my teen years. My acne wasn't as bad as that of some kids I've seen, but it was definitely not a light case, & it caused me a lot of distress.
70. My parents could have helped me avoid this very painful time during these sensitive teen years by just being wise enough to realise that all the candy that they allowed me to eat & the rich desserts I ate after every meal were probably the cause of this terrible problem with acne. Not only did all those sweets contribute to a very bad case of acne, but also to a mouthful of cavities!--And they certainly didn't help my general health either. I was always getting colds & flus, & my weaker physical state throughout my adult life has probably been in some ways a result of the poor foundation that I had to build upon.
71. I could also be bitter because some of my school teachers didn't make things clear to me, or didn't make subjects fun for me, or didn't understand the subjects well themselves & therefore couldn't really teach them to me. Or some of us could be bitter over teachers who singled us out for attack, or who didn't like us & didn't encourage us to learn, but instead discouraged us by their attitude. Or some of us could be bitter about pastors & Sunday school teachers who didn't lovingly & wisely present the Gospel. Maybe they didn't present the Gospel at all, the very people who were commissioned to do the job. The list could go on & on & on, if we wanted to enumerate all of the things we could have gotten bitter about, & that maybe some of us did get bitter about, until we realised that it was just hurting ourselves & it was no good to get bitter.
72. If I, who had very good Christian parents who loved me and cared about me, could be bitter about those things if I wanted to, how much more could many of our other adults, who have had a lot worse things happen to them, be bitter if they chose to be? Look at all of our folks who grew up not knowing the Lord, which is the worst problem you can grow up with. They could certainly be bitter at their parents for that, & for not being good enough parents to know that they needed spiritual & moral training & they needed to be brought up in the fear & admonition of the Lord. We could all probably collectively come up with tons of things we could be bitter about.
73. The point is, no matter what parents are like, no matter how good they are or how Godly they may be, they are still going to make lots of mistakes & there are still going to be a lot of things they do that their teens don't like & that their teens are hurt by, or that even result in problems later on in their adult lives. Everybody could be bitter about something, if they chose to be. So you dear teens & YAs need to really look at things in perspective & not go off the deep end & think that the few little ways that you feel you've been mishandled or mistreated or not handled wisely or lovingly make up some extreme circumstances that only you have been exposed to, or that are much worse than what most people have to endure.
74. Today's teens in the System have much greater reasons to get bitter than you have, since their parents & teachers & pastors & counsellors are much less qualified spiritually & morally than yours are. If you think that your teachers & parents have failed you, think of how today's teens in the World must feel about their parents, teachers, pastors, etc. A great number of adults in the System couldn't care less & aren't even trying to do a good job with their teens. They don't even care about them, or have just given up & decided they can't do anything anyway, so let them go their own way.
75. I think you teens need to be reminded of these comparisons. You may not like these reminders; it seems we're always telling you how bad the System is & how good you have it, but it's the truth!--And if we don't remind you, your little problems in the Family can get blown up out of all proportion in your eyes.
Respecting Authority Is Still In Vogue
76. Teens, you shouldn't get such a chip on your shoulder that every time an adult counsels you about something, or has to deny you something you want to do, or restricts your independence in some way or curtails some of the freedoms you might like--that you get extremely offended & categorize any "no" that comes from an adult as heavy-handedness, old-bottlism, lack of understanding or dictatorial tyranny. Lately we have put so much emphasis on the adults learning to understand you teens better, to respect you more, to give you more leeway in decision-making, that there is the danger that you will interpret any authority exercised over you as wrong or out of line.
77. If this is your attitude, teens, you are the ones who are wrong & "out of it." God has given the responsibility of your shepherding to your parents & teachers, & if they fail to correct you or tell you "no" sometimes, they're going to get it from Him, & you wouldn't want to be responsible for their failing in their job, would you? They've got a very difficult job--because they have to train you in the way you should go, which means exercising some authority over you & meting out some discipline to you, but they have to try to do it lovingly. But you're probably not going to look at any correction or discipline or denial of your desires as loving, no matter how sweetly it is done. So what do the poor adults do?
78. Let me tell you, it hurts to deny your teens things that they really want & desire because you know that it wouldn't be good for them. David asks me if he can do things sometimes that I have to deny, & no matter how sweetly I do it & no matter how much explanation I give him, I still know that he is sometimes going to be hurt by it & feel slighted & like I don't understand & I don't realise that he's old enough to make his own decisions.
79. There is always going to be a tug of war between you teens who are wanting to have as much independence as you can get & the adults who are trying to help you not get independent too soon or be hurt by that independence. Sometimes the adults are right, sometimes you teens are right. They're not always right & you're not always right. Maybe they do sometimes restrict you too much. Obviously they do or we wouldn't have had to have the PER. But not all of the restrictions they place upon you are wrong, & you are going to have to realise that just because they are wrong sometimes, you can't stop listening to them & obeying them, which is what happened in Europe. In some situations in Europe the adults got corrected, & then the teens belittled them & looked down on them & pooh-poohed anything they said thereafter. The teens didn't respect the adults & didn't think they had to listen to anything the adults said. The teens made the adults feel that if they said anything to correct them or restrict them in any way they were being dictators & old bottles.
80. Authority in the Family is still very in vogue, whether you teens like the way it is administered or not. We adults, your Shepherds, are trying to be loving & understanding, but sometimes we have to lovingly but firmly say "no," & when this happens, it is your responsibility to accept it & not get so sensitive & offended & in a huff about it. If you teens are right & the adults are wrong, there is something you can do about it, you know. Remember the quotes, "Prayer changes things" & "if you pray, things will happen & things will be different." How much praying have you done?--Or have you just been complaining?
Giving Correction & Telling Your Kids "No"!
81. It's very hard for us adults to say "no" to our kids when we know they want to do something. We don't want to do anything that would keep them from being happy or inhibit their independence. Sometimes we feel bad & sometimes a bit guilty for doing so. And how much more so would an adult feel that way if he'd had a problem in the past with going overboard in the direction of heavy restrictions, & now was wanting to find the right balance.
82. I can sure feel for you poor adults in Europe, some of you who have been so heavy-handed & squelched the kids so much.--For you to now have to impose any rules or restrictions on the young people must be extremely difficult. I realise how hard it must be for you because I have a hard time saying "no" to David, even though I believe in the past we have always handled him quite gently & been quite reasonable with him.
83. I was again reminded of this difficulty that parents often face when having to say "no" to their kids because just the other day David asked if he could do a couple of things. It wouldn't have been the end of the world if he had done either of these two things, but there were just some different reasons why I thought it would be better that he not do them. But I felt very bad in denying him his request, as I think we adults always do when our kids are eager to do something & we have to tell them no. So I told him as gently as I could & I tried to explain all of the reasons why, but I knew he would still be hurt & sensitive about it, & I had the feeling that he would feel I didn't trust him & I was treating him like a child, etc.
84. I think the Lord had David ask me those things that I had to say "no" to recently in order to remind me of what a lot of you adults may now be going through. Even though he graciously yielded to my wishes, the feelings I had when having to deny him his wishes caused my heart to go out to you & reminded me that this could be a pretty big problem for you adults right now. You may have quite a difficult time saying "no" or laying down restrictions, especially if the teens are having quite a heyday & being quite manipulative & continually bringing up your past mistakes & failures for the purpose of getting you to water down your convictions in the present. I can certainly understand how teens who freely express their disagreement with any adults who are trying to keep them in line can be quite "intimidating," or at the least distressing, as some adults have indicated.
85. You still have to impose the rules, & often this will be viewed by the teens as part & parcel of the same heavy-handedness or dictatorialness that you had fallen prey to in the past. Every time you say "no" they'll hold it over your head that you're falling back into your old ways. This certainly does present a problem for you poor adults who are trying to get out of your bad habits of too much restrictiveness, & who are trying to find the right balance.
86. So there's a lot to overcome in telling your kids "no," but you have to do it if you're going to be true to the Lord & give your first allegiance to Him & what you know is right, & not to your children whom you want to please. And of course it's difficult, especially if you know that they are going to feel you don't understand & you're just telling them no because you enjoy exercising your authority, or you have the bad habit of saying "no," or you're trying to spoil their fun, or lots of other reasons.
87. I think it is very very important, especially since some of you adults may have these problems, to "explain explain" & try to get your answers from the principles of the Word & even your own prayerfulness & common sense, to show the teens why certain things need to be done or not done. It takes a long time to give good explanations, & that's one of the problems, but it's also one of the best solutions with teens, & one of the best ways to not only satisfy them that you know what you're talking about, but to train them so that they can in turn pass on the same things to others.
88. It seems that many of you adults are quite behind the times & immature in your shepherding methods & your knowledge & genuine understanding of the Word. A lack of knowing & being able to apply the Word may be one of your major problems. From here on out, you're not going to be able to depend on your own ideas or your past training or the sample you saw at some Training Centre. You need to get down to some serious study of the Word, so you will have more love, understanding, & patience, & you'll be more Spirit-led, rather than either getting too lax or leaning to the arm of the flesh & legalism & rules & harsh discipline. In order to successfully implement the PER, you also need to grasp the spirit & principles put forth in the DTR Letters, the Techi series, & the many many Letters on the subjects of shepherding, training new disciples, giving correction, teamworking, etc. So studying the Word is essential!
89. I ask that all adults, YAs & teens reread the PER GN (GN 553). In your efforts to get back on the ball & raise the standard in your Homes, I can see that it could be a natural reaction for you adults to either not give the needed direction or counsel or correction at all, as I explained above, or else to slip back into your old habits of being legalistic, demanding, pushy, & inconsiderate of the teens' feelings & opinions, either of which would be extremely discouraging for our young people. So please reread the PER Letter, & just start over from square one. Pray about how to put the principles of the PER into practice & ask the Lord to help you to change, so that our young people will get the quality of shepherding & guidance they need & desire. It's time to wipe the slate clean & let the Lord remold & remake you through the Word.
Reevaluating Your Time & Priorities
90. I know you are very very busy. This is a dilemma that we all face in our service for the Lord. There is so much to do & so many urgent needs, projects, & problems. You have children to care for, bills to pay, contacts & sheep to minister to, reports to write, classes to teach, schedules to work out, young people to counsel & train, protests & demonstrations to organise, mail ministries to take care of, provisioning pickups to make, business & legal affairs to attend to, sickness to cope with, preparation of your media spokespeople, & the list goes on & on. Some Homes' situations become tremendously more intense, complicated & stressful almost overnight due to unexpected persecution or media battles.
91. Life in our Homes is very busy, & you hardly have a moment free to rest or relax or even have a little quiet prayer time. There are emergencies & urgent problems that demand your time & attention almost nonstop, & I understand that sometimes you just can't get to everything. It's just not possible. You can only do so much in a day!
92. Understanding how busy you all are makes it more difficult for me to have to correct you, because I know that many of you are working day & night & doing as much as you possibly can. I certainly don't want this Letter to be the straw that breaks the camel's back & causes you to just sit down & give up in despair. But I also know that the Lord has a solution, & it could be that maybe you need to pray & reconsider your priorities & see if maybe there are some things that are taking your time & strength that aren't absolutely necessary, which you could let go of, in order to be able to attend to the daily pressing issues that come up, & yet still have some time left over for the Word, prayer, shepherding, & even rest. There are only so many hours in the day & it's come to the point where you may have to let some things slide a bit, in order to take care of the most important & necessary things.--And then just trust the Lord to somehow take care of what you can't get to.
Our Family's Accomplishments in Eastern Europe
93. Let's turn our eyes from the problems for a moment & think about an area of service where our European Family has done very well. The Family in Europe has done a phenomenal job in reaching & winning the dear people of Eastern Europe! Dad & I applaud your success & rejoice with you in your wonderful accomplishments there, & we know the Lord will reward each one of you greatly for every sacrifice you've made!
94. We recognise that the marvellous success of the Work in Eastern Europe has not only been the fruit of our faithful, hard-working Eastern European pioneers & witnessers, but it can be equally attributed to the unselfish giving of the brethren in Western Europe--those who have sacrificed their finances, personnel, mates, leadership, & strong YA bellwethers. You've also laboured in prayer & given your support in whatever way you've been called upon. We know the verse will be fulfilled in you that "they that have stayed by the stuff will receive equally with those who went forth to battle." (See 1Sam.30:24.)
95. The time has come to scale down our efforts in Eastern Europe, in order to concentrate on the major battles that we're facing in Western Europe, where we are not only facing major media & persecution battles, but where the Enemy is waging a relentless inside attack that must be stopped! We now must withdraw some of our troops from Eastern Europe so that we can strengthen our Homes, fight for our teens & young people, & help in the media & outreach war in Western Europe!
96. We pray that the scaling down of the work in Eastern Europe in order to strengthen & renew the Work in Western Europe will be an encouragement to you & will lighten your loads & provide you with some of the help & leadership that you need. (For more on this subject, please read "The Next Phase in the Endtime Battle for Europe," coming soon in an FSM.)
You Need Help!--Receive Your Brethren with Open Arms & Hearts!
97. When these brethren come back from Eastern Europe, we pray you adults will receive them wholeheartedly & make room for their talents. If you don't, you'll sadly miss the wonderful help, strength & inspiration they'll be able to give your Home; & worse yet, these dear YAs & Eastern pioneers will be very disappointed & frustrated.
98. Also, I hope you teens & YAs who have been in Western Europe will not be resentful of your peers coming back from the EE to help strengthen you & your Homes. I pray you won't let pride, resentment, or bitterness destroy your unity & the love & camaraderie* the Lord wants to give you! (*camaraderie: good fellowship, friendship or companionship)
99. We want to caution you adults that when you receive the YAs from Eastern Europe, you will need to be extra careful that you don't stifle them & frustrate them by putting them in a place of service & responsibility that does not allow them to exercise their gifts, training & leadership qualities. They have gained much valuable experience, & we don't want to see them stifled or frustrated by coming back to big blobs & working under domineering adults who won't let them shine or carry the responsibility that they're used to carrying.
100. D. has already reported that some of the YAs who have returned from Russia are a bit disappointed. She says it's not because they love Eastern Europe so much & can't stand the West, although of course they do love Eastern Europe, but it's because in Russia they were adults. They had their ministries & areas of responsibility, were trusted, carried the load, made decisions, etc. But now that they're back in the West, they're finding that the responsibilities they once held & the decisions they made are all being handled by adults. They are given much less responsibility & are waiting for decisions to be made by the adults for them. So please do all you can to make it easy for them by using them to the full!
Change in Northern Europe!
101. Change is possible! As I mentioned earlier, recently D. has spent time with the very discouraged & disheartened teens in the Combo in Northern Europe. From what she reports, each teen there loves the Lord & wants to live for Him. You have accepted the challenge to make the changes in your lives that you need; & things are looking brighter there by the day. Some of you voluntarily destroyed your System music tape collection, in addition to other forsake-alls of attitudes & familiarities you'd built up amongst yourselves! God bless you! PTL!
102. The situation in this Combo shows that it usually takes a while for things to change, but they can change no matter how desperate the situation has been.
103. D. reported: "These teens have really been through a lot--a lot of changes of Shepherds, different rotters coming through which have left their mark & ungodly attitudes--& it seems like they've been on a roller coaster of training & pushes & tightness & laxness. They've had attempts at witnessing which have petered out or been spoiled by the rotters, to where they were pretty much totally defeated. When I arrived they were bored, discouraged, unchallenged & uninspired. But they all wanted to remain in the Family. TTL!
104. "First I got together with the Shepherds & the NASs. After they read the report from Josiah & Solomon, & the message from you, Mama, we had desperate prayer together & really cried out to the Lord for help & forgiveness. Everyone put their whole heart into it. People really blasted out with tongues & desperation, rebuking the Enemy & weeping.
105. "Over the next days I had meetings with teens & Personal Talk Time with each one. I told them we were going to change their circumstances & surroundings & inspiration & witnessing & all, but that they'd have to sober up too & make changes at the same time or it wouldn't work. I told them that this time it was going to be different, the changes were going to take, & it was up to each of them if they wanted to be a part of it or not. Gradually the teens started responding to the challenge. Some jumped in right away, others took a while longer.
106. "When talking with the adults & teens, it became obvious that there are always two sides to every story, & some of the problems are pretty difficult to untangle. I told them I can't fix all the past, but we're starting over now & closing the book on what happened before, & they'd better get on the right side now.
107. "The teens have now put together a show group & are flipped about it. Most of them are involved in the singing or dancing. They have 'The Search' down pretty pat, 'New Worlds to Discover' style. It's brought about real unity, helped them get out of themselves, given them a challenge, been lots of fun & burned off their excess energy. Plus I believe it'll really be used. They already have a very important booking to perform in a big hall during a presentation of different New Religious Movements, & everyone is flipped!
108. "One night we had songs around the campfire & gypsy dancing. The teens said it had been a long time since they had an all-Family song night, just real simple & basic. The positive peer pressure has started to take over & most are just loving it.
109. "Four YAs came from Amsterdam to help. At first the teens & YAs here were a bit resentful of their coming, but before long they received them well. As far as witnessing, we've been scouting out the city with new eyes to see what can be done, trying out some new-bottle witnessing methods, etc.
110. "We continue to have pow-wows & meetings with the teens. A 'Law of Love debate' really turned them on, where they fired questions at each other about our sex beliefs & went to the Bible for the answers. They were all turned on & marking their Bibles. I believe they need this kind of witnessing-related Word studies to get back their enthusiasm for the Word.
111. "In a meeting one night just about everyone, including the teens & YAs, prayed beautiful prayers of repentance, asking the Lord for help, & the Lord gave a whole class on dedication & commitment afterwards through the prophecies & verses that were given. I believe this will make a change in the spirit of the Home & will help make the changes that need to come easier, with everyone really knowing in their heart the reasons for them & pulling together. There's still so much to do." (End of excerpts from D.'s reports.)
Progress in Southern Europe!
112. Similar positive & encouraging testimonies have come in from the Combo in Southern Europe recently, where L. & Josiah tried to sort out the mess that Combo had gotten themselves into. L. reported:
113. "We had a meeting with the teens & they spontaneously started praying. Each teen prayed a few times, getting deeper & more honest & specific with each prayer. As they cried out to the Lord for forgiveness & help, the Spirit fell & they started prophesying. It was just streaming out. The Lord called them to come & follow Him & become fishers of men, to forsake all, & to straightway leave their nets to do so. He challenged them to be separate in their ways & to get rid of their idols & trips, & to turn to the Light. On & on the Lord went.
114. "The teens were so on fire & took up the challenge. Right away they wanted to go out & burn their System music tapes. (Again!) They enthusiastically went to get their tapes to burn them right away. When the JETTs caught on to what was happening, they went to get their tapes as well, & threw them all on the fire in the back yard. They also decided to forsake & get rid of any clothing or personal possessions that they felt would be an idol or distraction for them.
115. "The adults then went out to join the teens & JETTs in their praise & song celebration around the fire. The teens started testifying about what happened & apologising to the Home. One after the other they said they were sorry for having brought the Home down, making the adults feel like all their training had been to no avail, being a bad sample to the JETTs & children, & being so off track as to think that darkness was light. Many were moved to tears.
116. "One of the ringleaders, T., shared how he had not made a 100% commitment until that night, when the Lord 'bopped him over the bean' in prophecy, & now he knows He is real & means business! This boy was leading the singing, including the song, 'We've got a lot to be thankful for,' & one of the verses was 'We've got Family music to be thankful for.'--Praise the Lord! (Please continue to pray for T. He's got a long ways to go, but he's determined to make it, & I believe he's a fighter! GBH!)
117. "The adults apologised too & shared how they felt they were much to blame, as they too had been so off track & were so thankful for the Lord's correction. The JETTs spoke up as well; many of them were so happy & relieved they were crying & hugging us so tightly. It was a precious experience. The MCs & OCs were watching from the balcony. They joined in the apologies & said they wanted a new start. That really choked us all up, as they were so sincere & sweet.
118. "We finished the night with more songs & praises. The teens proclaimed how they were so happy & proud to be in the Family, & how they had the best parents in the World, & they now wanted to put their country on the map & set it on fire for Jesus! They then went inside the house to wipe the computer game programs that were not recommended that they had been asked to get rid of previously, but were holding on to. They were real idol smashers, being moved by a fear of the Lord!
119. "The next day there was a noticeable change in the atmosphere of the Home. It was a loving Home of hearts again, & the teens were going out of their way to give hugs & be loving. Now everything is being done with much greater drive & conviction & enthusiasm. It was all Jesus, as He personally broke through & spoke to them!
120. "The next morning the teens were all buried in their MO Letters after wake-up & they had a hard time stopping to begin the day. They were sharing verses that spoke to them, PTL! Some teens confessed that they feel a little wobbly & asked if we could do a Jericho march of the house & grounds to make sure the whole place is cleansed from any past influences. The teens themselves have put together a reading list of Letters they want to go through. Many of them are the Letters the Lord gave specifically through the prophecies last night. And we'll counsel further with them about the areas they see they need to be strengthened in & pray about how to best go about it. They are really taking initiative now & are going for it!
121. "The teens asked if they could go & testify to the teens in the other Homes that they have influenced badly, to help turn the tide there. The NASs will bring them in teams of three to each of the Homes, when they start on their follow-up tour soon. PTL!" (End of comments from L.)
God Can Do Miracles!
122. So the good news in all this is that God can do miracles, as He apparently has at these European Combos by reaching down & touching you teens with His power & giving you a real sense of His presence & His Spirit in your lives, to show you that things can be different, things can be exciting, & things can change. It's tremendous to see what the Lord can do with you teens, & how He can turn you around by His Spirit & give you such a new start so quickly.
123. Of course, it's going to take a lot of work on your parts, because you have bad habits & wrong attitudes that need to be rewired, but you've gotten over the biggest hurdle by just yielding to His Spirit & what He wants for you, & making definite decisions to be true disciples! And now you've been touched by His fire & power, you've been given a sign from Him to hold onto & to help you know that this whole move closer to the standard is of Him. Having heard & seen it & been touched by it yourselves, you'll probably be a lot more willing to follow through.
124. It's just wonderful what the Lord can do by His Spirit when all of our works in the flesh fall so short. Of course it's because we're fighting & we're praying & we're doing all we can, that the Lord can do His part, thank the Lord!
A Point of Decision!
125. We've come to a point of decision. I am determined to see things change!--And this change is going to have to encompass & involve each adult, YA & teen, which will in turn affect all the others, JETTs on down. Are you all with me?
126. Some of you reading this may be thinking, "We've had so many pushes, pulls, seminars, & programmes, & I don't know if I can handle another one. It probably won't do any good anyway." Well, this isn't a push or a programme. What we're talking about here isn't just the need to re-inspire you teens, nor the need to make your witnessing more fruitful, nor the need for you adults to get more on the ball in your shepherding, although that's all a part of it. But we're talking about something much more serious here: We're talking about whether you are going to be part of the Family or not.
127. The question you'll each have to ask yourself is: Do you love Jesus & do you want to serve Him? If so, the conditions are laid out very clearly in the Word. Jesus said: "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, & take up his cross daily & follow Me. No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, & love the other; or else he will hold to the one, & despise the other. Ye cannot serve God & mammon. Come out from among them & be ye separate, saith the Lord, & touch not the unclean thing; & I will receive you. Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another. If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed; & ye shall know the Truth, & the Truth shall make you free." (Luke 9:23; Mat.6:24; 2Cor.6:17; Eph.5:11; John 13:35; 8:31,32)
128. This is a call to arms for all of you, dear European Family! This is a call to forsake all & join the fight wholeheartedly, to recognise the evil influences & attitudes that have crept in amongst you that have been hindering & buffeting you. This is a call to cast them off, rebuke & refuse them, & ask the Lord & each other for help to become rewired in heart & mind as His true disciples, to become 110% in your dedication to the Lord & the principles & ideals that we stand for.
129. This is a call to each of you: Who among you will stand up for Jesus? Who will stand up & be counted for Jesus & help raise the standard that's lagged so low?
130. I know that many of you adults & teens are discouraged & battle-weary right now, but I truly believe that if each of you will rededicate yourself to the Lord & will have a metanoia in the areas where you've backslidden in heart, the Lord will revive & restore you to real victory in your life. We are a Gideon's band, & with the Lord's help, those of you who choose to fight with us will come out of this stronger than ever, more aware of the Enemy's devices, & more able to stand firm against them in the future.
131. I'm not trying to convince you to stay in the Family if you don't want to serve the Lord wholeheartedly, if you don't believe that the Family is the best place to be, if you don't believe that Dad is the Endtime Prophet, if you don't believe this life is worth living & dying for. But if you do want to serve Jesus as part of His special Endtime Army, then open your eyes to the spiritual battle & see that it's the Devil who is trying to destroy you! But Jesus is greater, & He loves you more than anyone you could ever know or find!
132. Jesus is enough to make you really happy & satisfy your every need & fulfil the desires of your heart, if you'll put Him first. He can make you happy regardless of your circumstances. Jesus loves you, & if you love Him, no matter what difficulties you encounter, if you want to badly enough, you can hold on & yield to Him & be obedient, & He will bless you & take care of you. Even if you feel weak & incapable, if you'll just make a commitment to change & get back to loving Jesus & wanting to serve Him, He won't fail you. And we will stand behind you all the way! We will fight for you, pray for you & help you all we can.
133. Of course, it will take time for you to be strengthened & cleansed, but once you've committed yourself to serving the Lord & you know you want to be His disciple no matter what the cost, then you're well on your way to recovery. PTL! But you'll have to do your part--& that means yielding, getting back to the Word & prayer, forgetting yourself & your own desires, & thinking of others!
It's Time for a Complete Turnaround!
134. I'm coming to the close of this Letter, & you adults & teens might be wondering, "My goodness! What do I do now?" The need to change is clear, & I pray the Lord has been speaking to your heart, but you might not quite know what to do now. Well, you can't wait for some leader to come & hold your hand & lead the way & straighten out your mess! You need to look to God & the Word & get right with the Lord! Cry out to the Lord for forgiveness & ask Him to cleanse you & give you the grace & strength & conviction to get out of the mess you're in & get on with serving & obeying Him!
135. Get desperate & cry out to the Lord & ask Him to forgive you, & mean it! This is the first big hurdle--to yield to the Lord & what He wants. A real turnaround in these areas will require that you all recognise & acknowledge that things have gone too far & that they have not borne good fruit. Then you need to repent, rebuke the Enemy & any effects your backsliding has had on you individually & as a group, & ask the Lord to renew His pure Holy Spirit in you, so you can get back on fire for the Truth. "If we confess our sins He is faithful & just to forgive us our sins, & to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."--1Jn.1:9.
136. The Lord has promised, "Let the wicked forsake his way, & the unrighteous man his thoughts, & let him return unto the Lord, & He will have mercy upon him, & to our God, for He will abundantly pardon."--Isa.55:7.
137. This type of initial prayer of repentance is a good start, but I don't believe you'll really be able to make the progress the Lord wants unless you can restore the unity in your Home & clear away any confusion & bitterness you feel. The Lord's Spirit won't be able to flow freely to cleanse & strengthen & rejuvenate you if you adults hold on to your feelings of resentment towards the teens, or you young people continue to distrust & dislike & rebel against the adults. Unless you get rid of all that hurt, distrust, resentment, bitterness, etc., then it's likely you'll eventually fall back into the same problems. You've got to root out, pull down & destroy the old, so you can plant & build the new!
138. To do this, please take some time, however much time is needed over the next few days, to have heart-to-heart talks with anyone you need to talk to--whether it be your peers, your parents, your children, your mates, your teamworkers or co-workers, whoever. Take the time to talk, to confess your faults one to another & to pray for one another so that ye may be healed.
139. When making things right with one another, please don't neglect the need, teens & YAs, for you to apologise to the JETTs & children. It's really pitiful to hear that in many cases your younger brothers & sisters have been hurt & confused & affected very negatively by your bad samples. The JETTs & children look up to you, they practically adore you! You're their heroes & their role models. They're copycats, & what you do, they want to do! So it's now your responsibility to fully apologise to the JETTs & children & set the record straight!
140. Maybe you can pray & counsel together with your Shepherds & then arrange some kind of personal fellowship time with the JETTs & children, like a little pow-wow or inspiration. You could make this a real special time together. You could sing for them & really let your lights shine, & then give whatever explanation is needed & share your heartfelt, sincere apologies. After you share your testimonies, lessons, apologies & declarations of loyalty, you could then really pray for the JETTs & children. You might want to even take some time right then to hear from the Lord together.
141. I believe this time of personal communication & apologies & setting the record straight will have an enormous positive effect upon the JETTs & children, & will go a long way in restoring their faith, renewing their vision, encouraging their hearts, & bringing the needed cleansing. You owe it to them, so really give it your best shot! (In some cases, it may also be necessary for the JETTs to apologise to the younger children.)
142. It's not necessary that you adults & young people go way back in your history & try to retrace your steps & unravel the whole mess. I don't mean that you have to try to determine exactly what every person did wrong & whose fault it all was. This is not the time to figure out who is to blame--you're all responsible to some degree! There has got to be a lot of repentance & change on all sides. Rather than you adults blaming the teens, or you teens blaming the adults, let's pin the blame where it really belongs, on the Enemy of our souls!--And let's go on the attack unitedly against him! God damn him, & Lord help us all to close up the breach in the wall & set the standard high again!
143. After you've talked it out, renewed your communication together, confessed your faults, forgiven those who have offended you, & sought the forgiveness of those you've wronged, then would be a wonderful time to have a communion & a time of desperate prayer. Some prayer requests you can consider including are:
--A prayer of forgiveness, that the Lord will forgive your sins, mistakes, shortcomings, wrong attitudes, etc. Please refer to the compilation of Bible verses entitled, "Prayer for Forgiveness," at the end of this GN, which you may want to read & pray unitedly, as you seek the Lord for forgiveness as a group.
--That each person can get back to loving Jesus & serving Him.
--That each adult, teen & JETT will make a renewed commitment to the Biblical requirements of discipleship.
--Against resentment & bitterness--on both the side of the adults & the young people. (If you wish, when praying this prayer request, please refer to "A Prayer for Deliverance from Bitterness!" which is after the Letter, "Overcoming the Past," ML #2877, in GN 562.)
--Against pride, selfishness & worldliness.
--Against the desire for System music in either the young people or the adults. (Please be sure to read the reactions to System music in upcoming Hope mags.)
--For a deliverance from the evil influences of System music--such as confusion, depression, hopelessness, thoughts of suicide, violence & foul language, etc.
--For anyone who may have been negatively influenced by demonically inspired computer games, books, movies, etc.
--Against negative peer pressure.
--Against gossiping & the grapevine that has become so strong in Europe & other areas.
--For more love for the Lord & a renewed desire to read the Word, pray & witness.
--For love, unity & sweet open communication between the adults & the young people.
--That the Lord will wipe the slate clean of past hurts, resentment, lack of trust, etc.
--That the Lord will strengthen all the YAs, teens & JETTs, & help them to grow to be strong witnesses for the Lord.
--That the Lord will help the adults be the Shepherds they need to be, according to the guidelines in the Word, specifically the PER GN.
--That the JETTs & younger children will be quickly cleansed & healed of the negative effects of this rebellion, through apologies, prayer, & the Word.
--That the "Personal Encouragement Revolution" will become a reality in Europe.
(You may think of other needed prayer requests as well.)
144. The closing of this communion should be a happy time, a time of rejoicing & new beginnings!--A real celebration, a time of singing, dancing, praising the Lord. Let Him set you free & turn you on! Praise the Lord! Maybe you can even ask the Lord to give you some new songs that you could share during this time--songs of dedication, commitment, & love for the Lord & the Lost!
145. If you truly take these changes to heart & go to the Word for the confirmation, you'll become strong witnesses who will be able to speak with conviction. You won't be ignorant of the Enemy's devices; you'll be able to withstand them & fight together to raise a standard against them. You'll be happier & more inspired, you'll have sweeter & more loving interactions amongst yourselves, you'll be learning & growing & bearing fruit.
146. Dear young people & adults, I guarantee that this will be your future, & much more, if you'll take up this challenge & accept the Lord's call in your life. Dad & I love you so very much, each of you, & we are praying desperately that you'll make the right choice.
147. I wish I could hug each one of you, & tell you how much I love & admire you for shticking, & thank you for your stand of faith & faithfulness, love & loyalty for the Lord & the Family. God bless & strengthen you! We need each one of you! Keep fighting!
Much love, Mama
\qr OPEN-FORUM DISCUSSION TOPICS FOR "GETTING BACK ON TRACK FOR JESUS!" \qr 1/94
1. If you'd like to have a sweet time of communication & heart-sharing, we have a suggestion. During a time of fellowship, such as communion or inspiration or star gazing or sitting around a campfire or whatever evening activity you'd like to plan, you could go around in a circle & have everyone share: a) What spoke to you & convicted you the most in Mama's Letter, "Getting Back on Track for Jesus!"? b) What encouraged you most in Mama's Letter? c) What is your personal prayer after reading Mama's Letter?
Here are a few tips for this type of heart-sharing meeting: It's good to have everyone keep their comments brief--you may want to have a time limit of one or two minutes per person. Otherwise such a meeting can get so long that it gets a little boring. When people share their prayer request, instead of speaking it, they can just close their eyes & pray it. Or if they're a little shy to do this, they can have a little prayer written out that they just read aloud. It's good to give people a chance to prepare in advance for this type of heart-sharing. Don't just spring it on people unexpectedly. That not only makes some people very nervous, but they may not be able to think of their answers to the questions on the spot.
2. You have read about the problems that have seriously weakened the Family in Europe. It's easy when reading these kinds of reports to think, "Boy, those people in Europe really got tripped off! They have a lot to learn! They're so out of it!" But do you know what? Since this Letter was written, it has been reported that there are similar problems occurring in some other areas to varying degrees. So we would like you young people to discuss the specific ways in which you think you've also gotten off the track, like the European teens, & why. Also please discuss what you think you can do to remedy or correct these problems in your personal situation.
God bless you with wonderful heart-sharing & communication. We love you & are praying for you!
(This Prayer for Forgiveness may be photocopied.)
PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS
--Bible Verses Compiled & Edited by Maria
(This prayer can be prayed privately or as a group. If you choose to pray it as a group, we recommend you read it aloud in unison, in which case you could either read it in its present form, using the "I" & "me" pronouns, or you could substitute "we" & "us." If you prefer not to read the entire prayer aloud unitedly, you could also take turns reading one verse each.)
1. How many are mine iniquities & sins? Make me to know my transgression & my sin.
2. Thou hast said, Lord, that he who covereth his sins shall not prosper: But whoso confesseth & forsaketh them shall have mercy.
3. So I acknowledge my sin unto Thee, & my iniquities will I not hide from Thee. I confess my transgression to Thee, O Lord, & trust in Thy promise to forgive my iniquity.
4. Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my bones are troubled.
5. For Thy Name's sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great. Wherefore I abhor myself, & repent in dust & ashes.
6. Look upon mine affliction & my pain; & forgive all my sins.
7. Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto Thee, when I lift up my hands toward Thy holy oracle.
8. Thou art nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; & Thou wilt save such as be of a contrite spirit.
9. My tears have been my meat day & night, while they continually say unto me, "Where is thy God?"
10. Therefore, redeem the soul of Thy servant; I trust in Thee, let me not be desolate.
11. Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee.
12. Hear my voice: Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
13. I wait for Thee, my soul doth wait, & in Thy Word do I hope.
14. Remember not my sins against me.
15. Lord, my wicked ways have I forsaken & I have returned unto Thee. Have mercy upon me therefore & abundantly pardon me.
16. I wait patiently for Thee, incline Thine ear unto me, & hear my cry.
17. Bring me up also out of the horrible pit, out of the miry clay. Set my feet upon a rock, & establish my goings.
18. Put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto Thee, O Lord: So that many shall see it, & fear, & trust in Thee.
19. Withhold not Thou Thy tender mercies from me, O Lord: Let Thy lovingkindness & Thy Truth continually preserve me.
20. For innumerable evils have compassed me about: Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: Therefore my heart faileth me.
21. There is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared.
22. Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me: Make haste to help me.
23. Forgive my transgression & cover my sin.
24. I am poor & needy, Lord, yet Thou thinkest upon me: Thou art my help & my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.
25. Be merciful unto me, Lord, heal my soul; for I have sinned against Thee.
26. As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God.
27. My soul thirsteth for Thee, O living God.
28. With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not wander again from Thy commandments.
29. I am overcome with sorrow: Strengthen Thou me according unto the promises of Thy Word.
30. Remove from me the false way, & in Thy goodness teach me Thy law.
31. Let, I pray Thee, Thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to Thy Word unto Thy servant.
32. I am Thine, save me; for I have sought Thy precepts.
33. Hold Thou me up, & I shall be safe: And I will have respect unto Thy statutes continually.
34. I cry with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord: I will keep Thy statutes.
35. I cry unto Thee; save me, & I shall keep Thy testimonies.
36. I rise before dawn & cry for help, I have put my hope in Thy Word.
37. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate upon Thy promises.
38. Plead my cause, & deliver me: Revive me & give me life according to Thy Word.
39. Let my supplication come before Thee. Deliver me according to Thy Word.
40. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Thy servant, Lord, for I do not forget Thy commandments.
41. Save me, O God, for the waters are come in unto my soul.
42. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
43. I am weary of my crying: My throat is dried: My eyes fail while I wait for Thee, O God.
44. O God, Thou knowest my foolishness; & my sins are not hid from Thee.
45. Thou keepest me awake all the night: I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
46. Wilt Thou cast off for ever? Wilt Thou be favourable no more?
47. Is Thy mercy clean gone for ever? Doth Thy promise fail for evermore?
48. Hast Thou forgotten to be gracious? Hast Thou in anger shut up Thy tender mercies?
49. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness: According unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
50. O Lord, Thou hast searched me, & known me. Thou knowest my downsitting & mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off.
51. Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?
52. If I ascend up into Heaven, Thou art there: If I make my bed in Hell, behold, Thou art there.
53. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
54. Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day: The darkness & the light are both alike to Thee.
55. Search me, O God, & know my heart: Try me & know my thoughts:
56. And show me all my wicked ways that I may be healed, & lead me in the way everlasting.
57. Cause me to hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in Thee do I trust: Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto Thee.
58. Teach me to do Thy Will; for Thou art my God: Thy Spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
59. Rescue me, O Lord, for Thy Name's sake: For Thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble.
60. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, & cleanse me from my sin.
61. I acknowledge my transgressions: And my sins are ever before me.
62. Thou requirest Truth in my inmost being: Fill my heart with Thy wisdom.
63. Remove my sin, & I shall be clean: Wash me, & I shall be whiter than snow.
64. Make me to hear joy & gladness; that, though You have crushed me & broken me, I will be happy once again.
65. Hide Thy face from my sins, & blot out all mine iniquities.
66. Create in me a clean heart, O God; & renew a right spirit within me.
67. Cast me not away from Thy presence; & take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
68. Restore unto me the joy of Thy Salvation; & uphold me with Thy free Spirit.
69. Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways; & sinners shall be converted unto Thee.
70. Deliver me from my sins, O God, Thou God of my Salvation: And my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness.
71. O Lord, open Thou my lips; & my mouth shall shew forth Thy praise.
72. For Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: Thou delightest not in burnt offering.
73. The sacrifices that Thou requirest, Lord, are a broken spirit: A broken & a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
74. My soul doth bless Thee, O Lord, & all that is within me doth bless Thy holy name.
75. My soul doth bless Thee, O Lord. Let me not forget all Thy benefits:
76. Thou forgivest all mine iniquities; & healest all my diseases;
77. Thou redeemest my life from destruction; & crownest me with lovingkindness & tender mercies;
78. Thou art merciful & gracious, slow to anger, & plenteous in mercy.
79. Thou hast not dealt with me after my sins; nor rewarded me according to my iniquities.
80. For as the heaven is high above the Earth, so great is Thy mercy toward me.
81. As far as the east is from the west, so far hast Thou removed my transgressions from me.
82. Like as a father pitieth his children, so Thou dost pity them that fear Thee.
83. For Thou knowest my frame; Thou rememberest that I am dust.
84. Thy mercy, O Lord, is from everlasting to everlasting upon me, & Thy righteousness unto children's children;
85. To such as keep Thy covenant, & to those who remember Thy commandments to do them.
86. In the day when I cried, Thou hast answered me, & hast strengthened me with strength in my soul.
87. Thou wilt perfect that which concerneth me: Thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: Forsake not the works of Thine Own hands.
88. In Thy great potter's hand remake my vessel as seemeth good unto Thee.
89. Give unto me a new heart, I pray Thee, & put a new spirit within me: Take away the stony heart, & give me an heart of flesh.
90. I forsake my sins. Be Thou faithful & just to forgive me my sins, O Lord, do cleanse me from all unrighteousness.
91. Bow down Thine ear, O Lord, hear me: For I am poor & needy.
92. Preserve my soul, O Thou my God; save Thy servant that trusteth in Thee.
93. Be merciful unto me, for I cry unto Thee daily.
94. Rejoice the soul of Thy servant: For unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
95. For Thou, Lord, art good, & ready to forgive; & plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee.
96. O Lord, I will praise Thee: Though Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away, & Thou comfortedst me.
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family