KEYWORDS: children, lord, kids, time, people, parents

Hold on to the Reins!

Karen Zerby

By Maria

Maria #485 CM/FM 3239 3/98

Dear Family‚

1. I love you and appreciate each of you very much! I think one of the things I appreciate most about you is your willingness to continue following the Lord. Though you may fall sometimes‚ your willingness to get up and try again, to keep going no matter what the cost, is what the Lord looks at! That is the key to victory! In our race of life for the Lord, falling down is not a serious handicap if we can get right back up again and ask Him to help us keep going! In fact, sometimes it helps to keep us even closer to Jesus‚ as we realize again how very desperately we need Him! Praise the Lord!

2. All that to say, I hope none of you are letting the Enemy get you under condemnation about your failings with your children, especially since we've started shining the spotlight more on this area in the GNs. Well, it's really the Lord Who's shining the spotlight, as He knows it's time that we really attack in this area and make some serious progress!

3. I know it seems overwhelming at times. If it seems that way to me, just putting myself in your shoes, knowing all that goes into the average day in one of our Homes and then thinking about the very great needs of the children and how much the Lord is asking us to put them first on our priority list—after our time with Him and His Word—I can imagine how much more overwhelming it must be to you at times. Please fight the discouragement of the Enemy. I know you will probably be tempted with it, and most likely fall into it sometimes, as the job is immense and the needs are very great, but you don't have to stay there! Get up and try again! Praise the Lord!

4. I really admire each of you—parents, shepherds, older brothers and sisters, and concerned Family members—who are doing all you can to help fill this urgent need that we have with our children. Even if the progress looks slow and you sometimes wonder if we're getting anywhere, I can assure you that the Lord's solutions never fail. As long as you're doing your best to follow Him‚ He will make up for the lacks and put the ground beneath your feet.

5. The reason the Lord is pointing out your weak areas is not to discourage you, but rather because He wants to help you do better! But in order to help you as He'd like to, He has to have your full cooperation, and that means your seeing that the need is desperate and that you're not capable of filling it! Then you're ready for His solutions, His answers, and are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to bring them to pass. Praise the Lord! Thanks for being willing to make the sacrifices and fight the good fight. The Lord is proud of you‚ I'm proud of you, and some day your children will thank you, with tears of joy in their eyes, for laying down your life to give them this heritage of faith and Godly foundation!

6. We've covered some of the Lord's major answers and solutions for the needs of our children in the messages He gave in "How–to's of Home Education," "Tapping In Together," and "Shepherding Our Children and Young People!—New Weapons for a New Day!" (GN 794-796), which you received a few months ago. One of these was about the importance and value of our home education, where the Lord even walks you through the day and shows you how to pour more into your times with the kids. Another was on the importance of learning to hear from Him with your children, how the foun­dation that that gives them is unparalleled, and how they are going to desperately need that link with Him in the days to come. He also talked about using the new weapons in your shepherding, and the wonderful difference they can make. I pray that each of these Letters has been a blessing to you, and that you're doing your best to apply them.

7. This GN covers the subject of Godly, ­loving, consistent discipline, which is the re­sponsi­­bility and right of every parent to exercise in the lives of their children, as they use their God-given authority to set rules of behavior and implement penalties for breaking those rules. This responsibility that you have before the Lord to set boundaries for your children and lovingly enforce them when they are trespassed is a subject not foreign to our Family‚ but an area that we've sadly fallen down in, and which we desperately need to do better in!

8. It goes hand in hand with the previous messages from the Lord regarding the care of our children and young people‚ for you can't do the one without the other. You must have good discipline in order to maintain a healthy environ­­ment for your kids which is conducive to learning; while at the same time you must be challenging them and providing them with new and exciting learning opportunities if you want good behavior from them. And, of course, to do both of these you need the Lord's help most of all!

9. We have received reports of situations in the Homes where the children are undisciplined to the point of people being hurt, property being damaged, the children not being able to learn what they need to learn because of lack of discipline and organization, and our sample to others being so affected that it causes them to stumble! This is very sad! I'm afraid it's to the point of crisis, and we need to do something about it now! Lord help us!

10. It is crucial that you take the time to prayerfully read this GN and discuss as a Home how you can apply it and make the necessary changes. Peter and I will be praying desperately for you. We know that as you seek the Lord for His solutions to your individual situation, He will come through and help you, not only by giving you the answers you need, but also by helping you implement them lovingly and wisely.

God's Gift Is God's Work!

11. Following is a message from Dad which explains why we discipline our children, and the need for it. Dad reviews the reasons why authority should be exercised in the lives of our children, in the form of rules of conduct and loving‚ firm correction if these rules are broken.

12. (Dad speaking: ) Children are a gift from the Lord, but His gift is also His work—not only physically, but also spiritually. Having children really teaches parents a lot of lessons. You learn lessons on giving, lessons on sacrificing, lessons on patience, lessons on love‚ lessons on finding the balance between being firm and being too permissive.

13. One of the God-given responsibilities of parents is to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. When the Lord gives you a child, He's also giving you the responsibility to mold that life into a vessel for Him. You're His hands, His feet, His eyes, His love, His care, and even His firm hand of correction.

14. All throughout history men have admitted the need for discipline. King Solomon said that "He that spareth the rod, hateth his son. But he that loveth him, chasteneth him promptly." He also said‚ "The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." And echoing these words of wisdom from King Solomon is the old ­English saying that if you spare the rod, you spoil the child. There's also another verse that says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."

15. Well, in order to train a child, there has to be some form of parental authority exerted in the form of a disciplinary standard. The parents are supposed to rule the house of God, but all too often it seems like the children are ruling the house through their disrespectfulness, their rowdy behavior, and their wild, unruly spirits.

Children Are a Lot Like Horses!

16. Some of our kids are getting to be like wild horses. You parents just can't seem to keep them under control! You're letting them get away with all kinds of atrocious behavior in some cases. Kids have a lot of energy and they will run wild and create havoc if you don't firmly hold on to the reins and steer them in the right direction.

17. Children are a lot like horses. They can be stubborn, but at the same time‚ if they're gentled with a lot of love and care they will become obedient to your slightest bidding. You've got to train children‚ just like horses, from a very young age. If you start lovingly and gently teaching and training them, just like a horse, it won't be necessary to apply the bit.

18. Just like a horse that has been gentled‚ you'll be able to ride that creature with only a bridle and you won't have to apply the bit. With a horse that is yielded and obedient‚ you just have to use the reins to tug slightly on the bridle to the right or to the left, and then they'll go in that direction.

19. With an obedient horse, you barely have to touch their sides with your feet and they'll begin moving; you barely have to pull the reins and they'll come to an abrupt halt.

20. Whereas with a horse that is unruly and hasn't been trained from the beginning, just like a child that hasn't been trained or disciplined, you have to put the bit in and often have to use a lot more force to get them to obey and do what you ask. You have to pull pretty hard on the reins to one side to get them to go where you want. You have to really dig your heels into their sides and kick them in order to make them go. You have to pull real hard when you want them to stop.

21. As you're walking along with this unruly horse, they often decide to do their own thing, or turn to eat grass or bushes on the side of the road. These horses that haven't been trained as well are much more difficult to harness and control. So as you can see, horses are a lot like children.

Start Training Early with

Good Discipline and Boundaries!

22. If you start training children from the very beginning, then they'll grow to love and respect you, and during their young formative years they will rarely stray from the straight and narrow, and it will usually only require a slight tug on the reins of the bridle to get them back in line. However, once they start making their own choices, and the Lord starts holding them partially accountable for those choices‚ it's a whole different ballgame.

23. The foundation of good discipline and boundaries you've given them certainly helps‚ but they also have to make the choices for good and for the Lord. Often when they're in the process of that, they can give you a pretty hard time‚ but all through that time you have to remain firm and loving, steady, and very prayerful as to how the Lord would have you handle things.

24. In any case, training children right from the very beginning saves a whole lot of heartache later on, and even if and when you do encounter difficulties, you've given them a solid foundation of fear of the Lord, and a healthy respect for the ways of living and the laws of life, which will help both them and you and make things a whole lot easier. Whereas some of our Family kids nowadays are like wild, unruly, untamed horses that are just running wild‚ because they're not being trained and held in as they should be! You parents have just got to take control of the reins and pull them in and teach and train them!

25. Some of our kids are so unruly, you wouldn't know the difference between Family children and those who aren't in the Family! Some of our children are like miniature Rambos, and they sound like walking televisions. Beloved, these things ought not so to be!

26. If you parents can't rule your own spirits, your own children, then how are you ever going to be able to control your own house, much less rule anyone else? Having loving discipline and taking control of your kids is not impossible. It is possible to lovingly teach and train your children‚ yet at the same time remain firm and solid in your convictions.

Standards and Consequences!

27. The worst thing for kids is not knowing what the standard is and not knowing what's expected of them. If they know that they'll be punished for breaking a certain rule, then you can be sure they'll try to avoid breaking it. Of course‚ sometimes temptation will get the most of them and they will break that rule you've set down anyway. That's where the punishment comes in, and that acts as a deterrent to keep them from breaking the rule again. They're a lot less likely to ever break that rule again than they are to break one which has no consequences or punishment.

28. However, if there are never any conse­quences, the wildness of the children comes out. They try to test you and see how much they can get away with. Kids hate to be nagged, just like you hate to be nagged, and pretty soon they don't even listen to you anymore. If you want to keep your kids under control, then you'd better set down some guidelines and rules and also some punishments for breaking the laws of your Home and family.

29. What ever happened to good old–fashioned discipline? The parents are the head of the family, and the children are supposed to obey those that have the rule over them and submit themselves to their parents.

30. But there is a catch; you parents have to watch for their souls. You've got to watch out for their souls and make sure they're growing and progressing in the right direction, because you're going to have to give account before the Lord one of these days. When you come before the Lord on that day, will you be able to do it with joy? Or will you be covered in grief, knowing that you didn't teach and train your children and rule your house with loving discipline?

31. If children know what's expected of them, they'll usually keep within those bounds. But if there are no bounds, then the wildfire just spreads. The longer you leave the forest fire of your children's behavior unattended, the further it will grow and spread and the more it will destroy!

32. If you don't put out the fires of unruly behavior, disrespect‚ disobedience, and unloving behavior as soon as they start creeping in, then you're going to have quite a brush fire to fight one of these days! You may not be able to salvage all of the trees; you may not be able to salvage your children's lives for the Lord.

33. I believe in giving children a lot of love, but I also believe in laying down the law and making it easy for them to be good. By having rules and guidelines and putting a bit of a bite with your bark, you'll be making things easier for your children. You'll be ensuring their future happiness and, most importantly, you'll be ­making their life and future service for the Lord ­simpler and more problem–free. There is so much in the Word about discipline, but it seems that some of you parents are overlooking most of that good counsel about the care of your children.

34. It may be a fight to help your kids get back on track and steer them in the right direction if they've been used to ruling the house and doing as they please. But the sooner you pull in the reins and help them to stay on the right track, the better. The longer you put it off, the harder it will become, and the greater the personal loss will be to you and your family!

Check Your Own Heart First!

35. If your kids are in a sad state‚ then I'd suggest you ask the Lord what you, as their parents, can do to rectify the situation. When your children have problems‚ you need to look at your own heart and see what areas you need to work on and improve in. You need to see what areas of their care and discipline you're slacking off in. You need to see what areas in your personal life you aren't following closely in.

36. Usually when people excuse others, it's because they want others to excuse them. This can often be the case when the discipline of the children is left to disintegrate in the wind. Perhaps the parents aren't obeying in a certain area of their lives, and so they excuse their children and don't feel that they can crack down on them and their bad behavior.

37. The first step to having the faith and conviction to bring your children back to the standard of the Word is to check your own hearts and see whether you're following the Word as closely as you should be. Once you've determined that you're following closely and doing your best for the Lord, loving Him with all of your heart and hearing from Him in prophecy about your lives and the lives of your children, then you can go about helping your children and drawing them closer to the standard of the Word.

38. It can be done, folks! Having well-mannered, well-behaved‚ sweet, respectful, dedi­cated kids can be achieved. If you're staying close to the Lord and hearing from Him each step of the way and for each of your children, if you're following the Word closely, if you're keeping a uniform standard, if you're showing your kids lots of love and care, then you're bound to succeed. It all boils down to taking your responsibility as a parent seriously.

Are You a Faithful

Keeper of the Jewels?

39. Just think, the Lord's entrusted some precious jewels into your care! Maybe you have one, maybe you have 14. It doesn't really matter how many. Are you being a faithful keeper of the jewels? Are you shining them and buffing them and cleaning them and keeping them safe in your care? Or are you allowing them to get dirty, chipped, broken or cloudy?

40. The jewels are your responsibility because the Master Jeweler has given them into your care. Are you going to keep them safely under the shadow of your care? Are you going to shine them and make them even more beautiful? Or are you going to shirk your responsi­bility, cast your jewels before the swine, and allow them to get dirty and lose their worth?

41. I know that as faithful caretakers of the jewels‚ you will want to do all you can to keep the children that the Lord has given you with all diligence. You will want to do all you can to keep them happy, inspired, close to Jesus and full of His love. Then when you get to Heaven, you'll be able to present your showcase before the Master Jeweler‚ and He'll say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant! You have been faithful to keep these jewels with all diligence! Enter thou into the joy of the Lord."

42. When you get to Heaven‚ you'll be able to present your children before their Heavenly Father and He'll say‚ "Well done, My good and faithful parents! You have been faithful to care for and love these, My children, that I have placed in your care. You were faithful to ­lovingly keep them on the straight and narrow way, and you raised them up as stars that will shine forever and ever. Each of your children will be as a star in your crown forever and ever. Enter thou into the joy of your Lord!"

43. Won't that be well worth it, to hear those words "well done" when you get to Heaven? Hearing that "well done" will make it worth it all! Every sacrifice will vanish into oblivion! Every trial will diminish and be forgotten! Every burden you had to carry in the care of your children will disappear with the joy that you'll feel on that day!

44. So keep your children diligently. Know the state of your flock and look well to your herds. Hold their reins securely, and lovingly lead them in the right direction. It won't be long now, and each of your children will be greatly used in the years to come—on this Earth and in Heaven and the world Beyond.

45. All of the training that you pour into them will not be wasted. Each and every talk time‚ each and every time of prayer‚ each and every time in the Word will count unto you as righteousness and will count unto them as valuable training for the future.

46. Children are our future. They are my vision of the future, my hope—and most of all, they're the Lord's children. He's counting on you to train them so that He can use them for His glory. Please don't fail Him or shirk your God-given responsibility to care for, love and discipline these, the jewels of the future! (End of message from Dad)

47. (Mama:) Thank the Lord! Lord help us to be faithful keepers of the jewels! But what if some of our young folks have gone astray from the straight and narrow way, despite our best efforts to keep them on the right track? What about the rebellious ones who leave the Lord's service and go so far back as to get involved in drugs or crime? Will parents get any reward or "well done" for them, when it seems like they've failed?

48. If you're wondering about this, you might want to review "The Silver Lining" (ML #3166, GN 762), especially the message in paragraphs 87-113. Dad says, "Every bit of love and time and prayer and energy and sacrifice that has been invested in the lives of the dear children will bring forth great reward to the parents! … These young people will never be lost to God's Kingdom! They will always be His children … and all that the parents have given will eventually come back to them in the form of rewards, satisfaction, happiness and great joy at sooner or later seeing their children serve the Lord!" (ML #3166:90,91,106).

Continue Fighting to

Hold the Standard High!

49. Here's a message from the Lord on how to uphold the standard in a loving way with our young people and not be weary in well doing. To get both the love and conviction we need‚ we have to go to Him, of course! He can show you just what the proper balance is as you seek Him in desperate prayer, and can help you to help your young people over the hurdles and obstacles of the Enemy in their lives.

50. This message, as well as some of those which follow, applies to JETTs and teens as well as children.

51. (Jesus speaking:) Spare the rod and spoil the child. Spare the standard and weaken the child. Spare the Word and the ways of My Spirit and the standard of the Family, and watch the child stray from the path of My will and go his own way.

52. The children of the children of David are under siege by the Enemy who is trying to destroy their faith and their usefulness to Me‚ and to affect the service of others through their bad sample. Although it's a great battle for their spiritual lives and service and happiness in Me‚ you must fight for them. Most of all, you must fight to uphold the standard and to be an encouragement to those who are willing to uphold the standard—your fellow laborers. These are they who try to help you with the upholding of the standard, by guiding and correcting your children or the sheep of your fold. Otherwise‚ if you give resistance and the children give resist­ance, your fellow laborers will soon be discouraged and give up.

53. It's difficult to direct the path of a JETT or teen, especially a rebellious, disrespectful young person or group of young people who don't want to follow the standard, and who even mock you for trying to uphold the standard. It's very difficult for My veteran soldiers who have been raised with the standard of My Word and who know what's right and what's wrong, when they see blatant disrespect for the standard of My Word and My Spirit from some young people. It's a great test of their patience. It hurts them deeply to see such treasures of My Spirit being spoiled through rebellion and lack of love.

54. But I say unto you‚ My precious vet­erans of the standard, that even though it's a struggle to uphold the standard in the face of some young people who don't want to follow it today, be not weary in well doing! For even if you receive not the appreciation and credit from those young people, you do it unto Me, and I will be your strong reward, and you will shine brightly in My Kingdom one day for all to see.

55. If you find yourself in a situation where the good you do is evil spoken of, and if your attempts to guide the young people to do the right thing and to forsake their wayward ways are met with resistance and scoffs, I say unto you, hold on and press on. For I will hold each man accountable for his actions. I will hold each young person accountable, for they are of the age of accountability. If they receive not the gentle instructions of their elders, then they will have to receive the stronger instruction of My hand in their lives.

56. So I say unto you, be not weary in holding high the standard of My Word. Continue to be a sample of praising Me, of prayer, and of loving My Word. For if the young people see that you falter and stop holding high the standard, then they will think that there was no truth in it, that even their elders fail in their faith to follow My standard.

57. So you must continue to fight the battle, even though you be weary, as a sample of faith and trust and love for Me, and your sample will influence those who are yet moldable and able to be salvaged. Those who are still flexible and not totally hardened to the ways of My Spirit will eventually fall upon the rock of My will and allow themselves to be broken and used of Me more fully, and it will be because you have stood strong in the face of great difficulty and were willing to be the light that they so desperately needed.

58. The children of the children of David must pass great tests of the spirit, and they must be persuaded in their own mind that what I have spoken in My Word and the standard of My Word is true and right. They are now being purged and whitened and made to examine their own convictions and faith, and some will fall by the wayside because of unbelief, and because they're not prepared to make the sacrifices needed. But others who are being tested will pass the tests, and much of this will be because those they see around them are living My Words and are happy and fulfilled and greatly used of Me.

59. So hold on‚ and continue to hold the standard high of loving Me, of prayer, of praising Me, of living My Law of Love‚ of living My Words, of all the ways of My Spirit, so that others can see and know the way to follow.

60. This is also a test for you, My veteran soldiers. These are the days of preparation of which I have spoken. For you fight even now, feeling at times that you fight alone in the battle to hold the banner high, and it is a test for you. But you will be victorious if you faint not.

61. You say, "What can I do as an individual to try and hold the standard high when I'm met with resistance‚ and even labeled by some young people? If I can't win their confidence and am met with resistance, what can I do?" You can be a sample of "love suffereth long," and part of that love is to continue to do the things which you know are needed and will help these young people to get back on track.

62. Love isn't only patience and meekness and quietness. Sometimes it means reporting on bad behavior and counseling and desperately praying about what to do. Sometimes it means speaking up about wrong behavior and wrong attitudes and the things that are happening that are weakening others' faith and spiritual well-being. This is part of love, and sometimes this part is necessary to help these young people stay on the right track and see the light to follow.

63. It takes much continual desperate prayer on the part of all the Home members, the team­work, and the adults involved in order to know which way to go and what to do to help their young people over the hurdles and obstacles of the Enemy in their lives. If you find you're one of the adults who is fighting this battle, you must continue to stand up for the truth and do your best to hold the standard high, no matter what the cost—and to get the strength and the wisdom to do it‚ you must come to Me for My instruction.

64. You can't just ignore bad behavior in an attempt to win their confidence. You must strive for a good balance in working with young people. You've got to be a friend and win their confidence and not just come across as a strict, self-righteous rule-bearer, but you've also got to love and respect them enough to speak up against their waywardness and bad behavior. The reason you speak up, either to them or to their shepherds, is because you love them enough to try to help them; you love the Family and what it stands for, and you love My Word and My standard and what it stands for.

65. So if you see outright bad behavior that you know is going to be to their hurt or the hurt of others, such as a critical spirit‚ being violent, using foul language‚ gossip, mocking My Word or the standard, excessive movie watching or listening to poisonous music, manifestations of ungodly, worldly attitudes, or allowing the pollutants of the world into the Home—all of these are inroads of the Enemy to destroy the faith of My children, and My veteran soldiers are responsible to uphold the standard and fight against the pollutions of the ­Enemy in their lives. (End of message from Jesus.)

66. (Mama: ) Thank You‚ Jesus, for Your wonderful answers! Even if Your Words are not easy to receive, because we know it's going to be a fight and it's not going to be easy to implement them, still, we thank You for them and we know we need them! Please help us, Jesus. Give us the strength to put them into practice. Help us to be loving, to do what we do out of the pure motives of love for You and love for the children we're with. We know if we do that, You will bless it and help us. Help us not to be self–righteous, or react in our own spirit, or out of anger or frustration. If we do feel angry and frustrated, help us to take it to You first, and ask You to create a clean heart in us, and show us exactly how to put this counsel into practice. Jesus, You are merciful and loving and patient with us. Even when You chastise us‚ You do it out of such love, and with such understanding. You don't com­promise; You give us what You know is best, but You do it tenderly. Help us to follow that example, Lord. In Your name we ask.

Finding the Balance

Between Freedom and Discipline

67. Following is another very inter­esting message from Dad, which brings out the need for a good balance between letting the kids have fun and tightening things up sufficiently. You might find that some of the messages which follow apply to your older children as well—your OCs, JETTs‚ etc. Please do pray specifically about the needs of your children and young people, and the Lord will help you apply this counsel rightly and will help fill you in on the special needs that your kids have.

68. As I'm sure you're aware, young people have an inborn need for variety, excitement, action, and in many cases a completely different type of fun than we as adults need. Sometimes, due to a lack of experience or maturity, it's easy for some young people to get carried away in what to them is only "fun‚" but what appears to be bad behavior to others.

69. Dad brings out that while young people have this need, and the Lord wants to fill it, they must learn to handle it wisely. And you as adults need to learn to accept the young people as they are, without trying to make them fit into your mold. It's really a fine balance.

70. Hearing this, some of you might worry, as you wonder how you're going to find that balance and what is going to transpire in the meantime. Dad also gives the solution on how to find the balance in this message, and makes it very clear that you're going to have to ask the Lord for His help and discernment—not just once, but every time!

71. This is a real key‚ folks, and a very important part of our young people's training! If you tighten things up too much, to the point where they feel stifled, they won't be very receptive to the training and correction they need, because they won't be having their other needs met. At the same time, you can't be avoiding confrontations and failing to administer the necessary and Godly discipline that they need just because you're unsure of yourself and wondering whether this is expected and acceptable behavior for children and teens, or whether it's time to pull in the reins. You need to be getting your instructions from the Lord and working together with the young people to find a good balance which will be pleasing to the Lord.

72. I can't emphasize enough the import­ance of learning to go to the Lord about these things. And in many cases‚ the Lord might want you to go to Him together—with your young people or children, so that you can both listen and receive His instruction.

73. Dad recently said the following when referring to learning how to judge between when a situation needs correction and when we can let our children and teens burn free and expend the energy they have so much of:

74. (Dad speaking:) The only thing that's really going to help our parents and shepherds apply this correctly is getting down to business with the Lord and making a good solid habit of coming to Him more than they have been—whether to ask specific questions about things that their teens are doing or want to do, or just taking times of quiet and listening so the Lord can check them about things that they haven't even thought of, or give them some needed encourage­ment and direction in their shep­herding of the kids. It's something our parents desperately need to learn‚ and they're just going to have to get down to business with the Lord about it if they expect to make this grade!

75. The Lord is asking just as much of them as He is of the kids. It's going to be just as big a battle for the parents as it will be for the kids. Because the Lord's not going to let the parents go back to the way they disciplined in the past, or rely on their past experience in shepherding. It's a new day‚ the kids have new needs, the Lord is giving new counsel, and it's a whole new grade for our parents to make. But the Lord knows they can do it! Praise the Lord!

76. The quicker they learn to tap into Him for counsel, the better off they'll be, and the easier it will be for them. So encourage them all you can that the way to learn and apply it is to "tap into the power"—the One Who knows it all and can answer every question, solve every problem, and even prevent problems that would normally arise. What a wonderful gift the Lord has given the Family through this direct communication! What a privilege! (End of message from Dad)

77. (Dad speaking: ) It's the nature of youth to want to enjoy life, to experience life. They want to see things, go places, have adventure and fun, and the Lord has made them that way! It's just part of life, folks! They feel the need to get some of those things out of their system, and the reason the Lord made it that way is so that they can then settle down a bit more and get hitched up and get on with serving the Lord. Of course, the Lord expects them to serve the Lord in their youth as well, but there's a lot involved in being young!

78. Youth are naturally rambunctious, ­active, lively, spirited‚ and they're looking for similar qualities in their entertainment and diversion. That's only nature. They also haven't learned all the lessons that the older adults have learned, therefore they aren't as prayerful, ­careful, sober, studious, cautious, deliberate, thought­ful or oriented to planning. Those are things that come with age, responsibility and maturity, for the most part.

79. That's why young people make some of the choices they do about movies‚ music, their friends and even their life—it comes from their nature. That doesn't mean that those choices are right or even wise, of course! If they make an un­prayerful or unwise choice, then it can and often does contribute to increased foolishness, shallow­ness or lack of depth and maturity. But it's difficult, as you know, to legislate righteousness—or to legislate teens! The Word is the antidote to all of that, so your best bet is to pray desperately to find inspiring and alive ways to feed them the Word, as that is their greatest protection.

80. There is a cycle of adolescence that they're all going to go through. You just have to live through it and the quirks and oddities that come along with it and praise the Lord for the teens, because you were once one too!

81. I've told you before how the Enemy is fighting them so hard because they're the hope of the future‚ so that's yet another reason why they're having more of the Enemy's junk thrown at them. Consequently, they're bound to fall and make the wrong choices from time to time, and some do so fairly often until they commit themselves or have a few sobering experiences themselves. If they're not willing to learn from the mistakes and experiences of others—which oftentimes young people are not particularly keen on—then they have to go through the school of hard knocks them­selves‚ or at least a grade or two. Some get the point quicker than others.

82. Please have patience with them, though! Some just take longer than others to come around. Ask the Lord for a look inside their heart, to see if their heart is generally in the right place or not. If so, then pray and love them through. It's your responsibility as parents and shepherds to know the state of your flock. You don't want to be entertaining the Enemy in your midst‚ so you have to be able to discern the difference—whether it's simply the Enemy attacking‚ or a teenage phase your son or daughter or another young person is going through, or whether they're purposely making wrong choices and are headed out, and are just contaminating and polluting others in the process.

83. How can you know the state of your flocks? By asking the Lord, of course! What may look to you like a rotten apple could just be a desperately needy young person who's hoping for some shepherding and help. With a little love, prayer and determination‚ they could have a turnaround and you could find yourself with a solid and committed disciple on your hands. It's happened before, folks! Don't fail any of these young people by neglecting to hear the Lord's voice and receive His instruction for them personally. Amen? (End of message from Dad.)

How Is All This Possible?

84. (Mama: ) You might be wondering how you are going to be able to add more to your schedule, or give more to your kids, when your days are so busy. You might wonder, "How is it possible? I want to do that, but something's gotta give. We've got to eat, survive, take time with the Lord, wash the babies' diapers and feed them, and a thousand other things each day‚ so how can we do all of this?" When we brought this question before the Lord, He sent Dad with a very encouraging answer, which I think will lighten the load considerably. I won't give it away—I'll let Dad tell you himself!

85. (Dad speaking:) When reading these messages‚ you're probably thinking, "Well, Dad, this is all well and good. What you and the Lord are saying is all true and we don't deny the counsel you both are giving us. We agree with what you've shared, but how does this translate into practical terms?

86. "How is this good counsel brought down to reality? I'm going flat-out as it is. I drag myself out of bed every morning and take care of my kids from seven in the morning until midnight. Along with teaching and training my children, giving them schooling, giving them Word time, I've also got to cook the meals‚ take care of the laundry, and keep the house clean.

87. "We as a Home have so much to do. There's fundraising, witnessing, follow-up, and we have to do these things in order to survive! Then there are other emergencies that come up—fixing the car‚ fixing the washing machine, fixing the plumbing, taking the kids to the dentist or doctor, business appointments, etc.

88. "Dad, there's just so much to do, so how are we going to be able to give our children even more attention and care? I don't see how it's possible with all of the many burdens we already have!"

89. I understand how easy it is to feel this way. I know that you parents really deserve medals of honor for all of your sacrifices and dedication to the Lord, the Family and your children. It's like you're running a three–ring circus. You take care of so many things all at once and accomplish a great deal for the Lord.

90. With this message, I'm not implying that you have to spend more time with your kids, although this may be the case in some situations. I'm basically trying to renew your vision and help you to see what an important ministry you have and how you can help your children to become better soldiers for Jesus. Perhaps what's needed in your case is making your time with your kids more quality‚ not necessarily increasing the quantity.

91. The main point I'm trying to bring out here is that kids need discipline, guidelines, and standards. Having a tighter standard for your kids doesn't necessarily have to take more time. At the beginning, when you're establishing the rules and when you're counseling with the Lord about your situation, and when you're sharing your ideas with the kids‚ it may take a bit of extra time and sacrifice, but in the end it will be well worth it. You'll reap the rewards of happier, more loving, more obedient and more respectful kids.

92. It's not really a matter of putting more hours into the care of your children—unless that's what the Lord shows you personally to do. It's more the frame of mind‚ the attitude, the desire to expect more of your kids and to lovingly put guidelines in place and reclaim your God-given authority over the kids that some of you have abdicated.

93. I'm not getting down on you for what you do or don't do. I think you're all super moms and dads and you really take the prize when it comes to dedication and sacrifice and being real fathers and mothers. I know that you're trying to work on the schooling of your children, and you really love them and care for them. But one of the things that's the most lacking and that I've seen needs to be worked on is the control of the kids—the discipline.

94. You parents can't afford to let the children rule your house, or control you! In some cases the kids are doing just that. I know that you have lots of work to do and so much stuff to take care of. You're trying to juggle so many things‚ so I know you can't afford to have children who aren't disciplined.

95. Just think about it in a different light: If your children are disciplined and well-behaved, in the long run your workload will be considerably lighter and the burdens will not be nearly as weighty. It may take a little extra effort in the beginning, but I really don't think you can afford to not put your foot down. You need to lay down the law for the good of yourselves and your children.

96. You think you're barely surviving now and barely have enough time to cook the meals, wash the clothes, take care of the children, do the business, raise support, go out witnessing, do the provisioning, get Word time and time with the Lord. But if you don't harness your kids, then things are only going to get more difficult as time goes on.

97. This may take a bit of an initial effort, if your kids have been used to getting away with things in their lives. But in the end, taking control of your kids and lovingly leading them in the right direction will save your time‚ energy, and strength and will make you all a whole lot happier. Do you get the point? Do you see why this is so important?

98. See, I'm not giving you this counsel to make things more difficult for you, or to place unnecessary burdens upon your shoulders. I know how busy you parents are and I know how your heart aches because you're not able to accomplish all you'd like to. I know how your heart aches when you think about the condition of your children, and so we've brought this solution.

99. When you look at this solution from afar off it looks like an added weight and burden. But if you have faith and try to put some of this advice into practice in your Home and family, then you'll find that slowly but surely things will get easier. The kids will become more controllable and happy; your burdens and worries will be condensed and will grow smaller and smaller.

100. I'm sorry if this looks like a big mountain to climb. Maybe to many of you this counsel looks like a rock in the road that you'd prefer to just pass by, rather than move and do something about.

101. But won't you please be like the shepherd who had a whole herd of sheep, and yet still took the time to move the stone, correct the problem, and make the pathway more passable? It took some effort for the old shepherd. He had to really heave and push with all of his strength, but the obstacle was finally out of the way. He then received a box of gold and the letter from the king.

102. This is what it's going to be like in your spiritual life. Perhaps you've come to this rock in the road—this rock of how to care for your children, how to lovingly discipline them and control their spirits. You've got a whole herd of children and you have to stop and take the time to move the rock. You're going to have to push with all of your might and really make an effort, but underneath you'll find the box of the golden promises of God! The letter will read: "To the parents who cared enough for their children to move this obstacle out of the way, these golden rewards of happiness and unity are for you. Love, Jesus."

103. I know it seems hard! I know it seems impossible‚ but getting down to business with the Lord about it for your personal situation will help to lift the huge burden it could be. The Lord will give you specific counsel one step at a time‚ which will really help. Determining in your heart to fight through to victory will loose the forces of Heaven to help you, and from then on life will become smoother as the days go by. It's going to be a constant battle, just as it always has been‚ but if you follow the counsel I've given about taking control of your own children and household, then things will get easier and the burdens will become lighter. And as you continue coming back, the Lord will continue giving you the next step on the road to victory.

104. You'll find your children more willing to help out in the Home‚ more excited about accompany­ing you out witnessing, more tolerant of their school time, and more receptive to your counsel and Godly instruction. All of this makes for happier kids, a happier Home, and happier parents. Then subsequently the burdens, worries, and cares that weigh heavily upon you as parents will be so much lighter.

105. I know the burdens of caring for your children are heavy, and that's why you have to be constantly casting them on the Lord, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Keep taking your problems and questions to Him and He'll give you the solutions.

106. Get together with your children and teach them to hear from the Lord and receive solutions to their problems and questions. "A little child shall lead them" (Isa.11:6b). Yes, your children have simple, childlike faith and they too can hear from Heaven. Solve your problems together‚ but whatever you do and whichever way you decide to do it, make sure that you're lovingly ruling the house of God and keeping your children on the straight and narrow path.

107. You can do it! The Lord wouldn't have required it of you if He didn't think you were able! He has a lot of faith in you, and so do I. Please don't worry or get discouraged. Changes won't happen overnight, but they will happen!

108. Trust me, and trust the Lord most of all. He's not going to let you fail, as long as you're holding His hand and obeying His voice. He's more concerned about your children than you are, and He's going to help you raise them up as stars in your crown that will shine forever and ever. Praise the Lord? He won't fail! (End of message from Dad)

Laying Down Your Life

For Your Children!

109. (Mama:) Lastly, here is a beautiful message from Jesus, with His promise to give the victories and the solutions as you begin to obey—the price of which is laying down your life for your children. The Lord acknowledges that the problems are many and they are complex‚ but yet He has the solutions and He will give them as we continue to look to Him!

110. Dear Family, I love you very much and will be praying for you. I wish I could step into each of your Homes, help you with the kids, counsel with you about each one, and pray with you for them. I wish I could take the baby so you could have a good night of sleep; that I could teach a class to the kids so you could have some free time to plan for the next week of school. I cannot do these things in the physical, but believe me when I say I am right there with you in the spirit, and I'm praying desperately for our sweet Husband to lighten your loads and give you strength. I know He is there with you—and will fulfill every promise and bring you through victorious!

Much love always, Mama

111. (Jesus speaking:) These, My Words, were given for this moment. They were given for today, and though they seem simple or even overly simplistic, yet are they My solutions.

112. In a way‚ it is true that the victory in overcoming these problems is going to take a lot. It will come from many sources, and the sol­utions will be many-faceted. Many factors will have to work together to bring about the desired results. This is because each victory is the victory of one more life won for Me and for My service.

113. All are Mine; all My children are in My hand and under My control, but they must be won for service for Me. They must be won, and so for each one to decide to give Me their all, there is a constant battle and struggle until the moment of decision.

114. Then even after that‚ there are more battles, for the Enemy seeks to quench their service and fruitfulness for Me‚ so this battle will never end until you join with Me in Heaven. But I can give you the weapons and tools to fight effectively, that you might win on the behalf of all My little ones!

115. While I tell you that the solutions are many and complex, yet at the same time are they very simple. It involves desperation for My hand to work. It involves a fighting spirit and determination to lay down your life for My children.

116. It involves the love of one willing to give his life for another—My love, and seeing through My eyes. It involves humility—being willing to be made of no reputation, to follow Me explicitly, and do anything and everything needed to rescue even one of My children.

117. This is all! It only requires your life, given in sacrifice for theirs. Does the price seem high? It is. But that is the price I paid for you. I gave My life to rescue yours. I gave My life as if there were only one of you—you, My ­precious little lost sheep.

118. I gave My life to give you happiness, and this is the solution for My children of ­today. Someone must give their life. Then will the love flow freely; humility will abound. The desperation of knowing you have nothing will keep you close by My side‚ listening attentively, and thus effective and victorious.

119. So although the problems are great, and you are in desperate need of answers, many–faceted answers for complicated situations, begin with this—laying down your life, as I laid down Mine. A simple, yet costly solution. As you obey and give all, I will lead you and give you the answers. Come to Me, and as you die to self, I will live in you. Together we will rescue our little ones! (End of message from Jesus)