KEYWORDS: lord, children, kids, parents, battle, family

Drawing the Line!

Karen Zerby

By MariaMaria #486 CM 3241 4/98

Dear Family,

1. God bless you! I've really been praying for you and your push to tune in to your children more since we've started sending out these GNs. I know the Enemy's probably really fighting, because he knows the wonderful victories that are going to be won—the many souls our children are going to go on to reach and win as a result, and the magnificent role they will play in God's plan! So God bless you for fighting through to victory! I love you and admire you‚ and am praying desperately for you! Don't give up!

2. The messages in this GN are very sobering. In this GN the Lord and Dad are laying down some guidelines for the discipline of our children. This GN is directed to those of you whose children are behaving so poorly that they are negatively influencing other children. Thankfully, many of our children are doing very well, and many of you parents have made tremendous progress and have worked very hard to give your children the loving‚ Godly, consistent discipline that they need, and I pray that you won't be discouraged when you read this—because if you're doing all you can, then the rest is up to the Lord! But there are some of you whose children are not being lovingly and consistently disciplined, and the fruits are showing and are negatively influencing others.

3. Granted, all children go through difficult stages, and at some time in their life, probably each one will have their times of "testing the waters," pushing the limits, and just plain being rebellious and difficult to handle. Although they need to overcome their bad attitudes and they need to learn they're not going to get away with it, as long as it doesn't last too long and they yield to the correction and straighten up, it's not a real problem.

4. While we're not condoning disrespectful or rebellious behavior, we've found that most children and young people go through such stages at one time or another. It simply has to be handled firmly and lovingly so that it doesn't pull down the good training that other kids have. Just because your child goes through some difficult stages doesn't mean that they're a problem case by any means.

5. The problem comes in when the children aren't taught from the very beginning that they're not going to get away with that kind of behavior. So the bad behavior grows and forms strong habits and attitudes which can be very hard for them to pull out of, even once they start being lovingly and consistently corrected and disciplined and not allowed to get away with that bad behavior. In the meantime, this often spreads to other children and starts a vicious and unpleasant cycle—which, if you don't desperately pray about it and take action on it, can very quickly tear down all the good habits and positive training you've tried to pour into your kids. That's what Dad is addressing in this GN.

6. Unfortunately‚ we've heard of a few cases where you parents have abdicated your God–given responsibility to lovingly and prayerfully discipline your kids, and thus you now have some real "rotten apples" on your hands. While there is no doubt that most of these kids will be able to turn around for the Lord, they're going to need some serious work and training before they can be a blessing to others instead of a burden.

7. We've heard some sad reports about situations that have become a reproach to the cause of Christ. While it hurts us to do this, as your parents in the Lord we're going to have to lay down the law and say that we're not going to tolerate that kind of destructive, rebellious, dis­respectful, dis­obedient behavior in our Homes any longer!—Neither from the children, nor from any of you young people, or from adults, for that matter!

8. While a lot of the responsibility rests on the parents‚ there is a fair amount of responsibility on you shepherds as well, and on each and every Home member to get desperate with the Lord and find some solutions to this problem. Lord help us! The situation is very serious and it demands your immediate attention.

9. I pray that since the Lord has been asking more of us as a Family, you've already been seeking the Lord as to what He wants you to do or what you can change to give your children the time, attention, training and care they need and deserve—which includes setting boundaries, admin­istering loving and consistent discipline, and following through with the Home rules which you've estab­lished. I know many of you have and the Lord is helping you to make pro­gress. However, for those of you who haven't, this is "the bark with the bite on it," as Dad used to say, and in the following messages Dad is saying that we're just not going to be able to stand for this type of behavior in our Homes anymore.

10. The bottom line is‚ if your children are out of control and you parents are not desperate with the Lord about it and doing all you can to help remedy the situation, including being open to shepherding and counsel and help with your chil­dren‚ then you're going to have to find another place of service outside the CM circle until you are able to. Again, it hurts us to say this‚ as we love each of you dearly, and in no way would we want to make things more difficult for you or take away the wonderful privilege of hearing some of the latest New Wine from Heaven. But we're going to have to lay down the rules and follow through with them ourselves, or we are guilty before the Lord of not doing our part to remedy the situation. If we don't lay down the rules, we are responsible for failing you and your children by not stressing these rules and making them of greater import­ance, and are responsible for the terrible sample along this line that some of our Homes are at present.

11. The reason that we have to lay down the law with this is because there are a few cases where kids are pulling down the good training that other parents are trying to give their kids. Anyone who's worked with children or has been a parent can testify that it can take weeks, months or even years to build good habits with the children, but then one little stinker comes along and tells the kids that their mommy or daddy doesn't make them do it, and boom—all the kids who have been happily obeying suddenly wonder why they have to do it when the other little rascal doesn't have to. And as they get older, the damage gets even greater, with the Enemy's seeds being planted about music, sex, attitudes toward the Word, doubts, etc. So, while this is a hard saying, it's needed.

12. The Lord is simply asking each of us—parents, teamworkers‚ Home members, all of us—to get desperate about the situation and do whatever we can to remedy it. The Lord's not going to punish anyone for what you can't do. All you can do is your best; all you can give is everything. And He's promised that if you're willing to give all you've got for your kids, He'll do the rest and will make your labors pay off. He'll see them through! But He needs your help!

13. Peter and I love you very much, and we're desperately praying for all of you‚ that you can take up the challenge and humbly go before the Lord to receive His answers, letting Him give you the strength and the love to put them into practice. Please don't get discouraged if things don't improve immediately. The Lord says that it's going to be a long and difficult battle, but He promises victory. The only thing we have to do is determine that we're not going to give up, and that we're going to keep coming back to Him for direction and keep putting it into practice with His help.

14. Please don't let the Enemy get you ­under condemnation for having let things get as bad as they are. If you can go on the attack now with obedience and determination to follow the Lord closely and give your children what He knows they need, the Lord has the power—and indeed has promised—to work all things together for your good! Praise the Lord! I love you! Following are excerpts of a message from Dad where he presents both the problem and the solution very clearly, spelling it out for us:

If You Can't Rule Your Own House,

How Can You Rule

The Church of God?

15. (Dad speaking:) Honey, as hard as this may seem, we've got to draw the line somewhere. If our parents can't control their own kids, if they're not gonna discipline them and make'm behave‚ we're not gonna be able to put up with that for long! We're the ones who have our hands tied, really; we have no choice, because we can't have the rotten apples spoiling the whole kit and caboodle, and that's that!

16. And as you've brought out, Honey, what kind of sample is this? Not only are these problem kids a horrible influence on the other kids around them, but it's a bad sample in every way. What kind of witness is it? What kind of sample is it‚ not only to our own folks, but to the world?

17. My goodness, I don't see how we can put up with it! One way or the other all this rotten behavior has got to stop! Our parents are just gonna have to learn to control their kids, or they've got no business here! God's Word is very clear when it says that he who cannot rule his own house cannot rule the church of God! (1Tim.3:5).

18. I don't expect our parents to be perfect. God only knows that we all make mistakes. So just because the kids are having problems doesn't always mean that the parents are way off track. But what you have to look at is the desperation and the attitudes of the parents themselves.

19. Some parents who may not have the knack of parenting down pat will need help in certain areas such as discipline or teaching their children. Some parents in the Family, because of their job and responsibilities and so on‚ do have to rely on the help of others with their kids. But even in those cases‚ we need to look at the position of their heart.

20. It's a matter of whether the parents are at least open and backing up the Family standard and policy when it comes to raising the kids—discipline and all the rest. This is what you need to look at. No matter what the reasons, if the parents themselves have fallen into such a state that they stand back and allow their kids to get into such a bad condition, well, I seriously wonder what on earth is wrong with those parents.

21. Some folks might be having a hard time with their kids for one reason or another, but you've got to look and see where their hearts are at. Are they asking for help from others? Are they backing our policies and our standard of discipline? Are they at least uniting in spirit and really wanting to do something about the problems? Are they open to help and to counsel? Or are they just making excuses while they continue on in a rebellious state them­selves, allowing the kids to do this, that, and the other?

22. The Lord allows the kids to have problems for all sorts of reasons: to teach them lessons, to let their own faith be tested, to teach the parents—and others—lessons. But it's how the parents react to the problems that we're looking at here.

23. As we've seen, even in the best of cases there will be kids in the Family that are going to want to go the way of no good for a time. So we're not gonna be able to stop this altogether‚ and you can't always judge by looking at the kids who have problems and saying that it's all the parents' fault. You can't necessarily blame the parents for every single thing‚ just because the kids go awry and get into things that are not good.

24. But the important thing and what we can hold the parents responsible for is how they handle it, what they do about it, how desperate about the situation they themselves get. We need to look at their willingness to go to the nth degree to do something about it, and to not just sit back‚ letting things pass, while the kids get further and further and further off track.

25. I'm not expecting overnight miracles with our kids in every case‚ but I think you can expect overnight yieldedness on the part of the parents to want to do something about it! At least you can expect them to make a decision that they want to do something about it. It might take time to carry out that decision, but at least they need to put their will on God's side and want to make the needed changes for their children's sakes.

26. You can at least expect the desire to be there on the part of the parents to want to do something about it. The parents have got to be willing to see the problem and want help. And they've got to be taking steps towards that goal.

27. The Lord has the solutions to all these problems, and He won't fail the parents or the kids. We've just got to pray, keep praying, expect miracles, and look to the Lord each step of the way. If the parents have done all that they can possibly do, and they sincerely are right with God and wanting to serve Him, if they're looking to the Lord for their kids and are desperate with Him, God will not fail to help them rule their own house, to rule those kids. He'll always have a solution.

28. Even in cases where there's a child who insists on rebelling and doesn't want to turn around‚ if the kids still insist on continuing on in their rotten ways, yet the parents are doing all they can, they can keep praying for a solution. If the parents are seeking the Lord and their hearts are right, He won't fail'm! He'll show them what to do. If the parents aren't willing to do it, that's where it starts to cross the line. But as long as they're following the Lord step by step and are desperate with Him‚ He'll contain the damage and work everything out for good.

29. No matter what the circumstances, the Lord has the solutions. But the important thing is that the parents want those solutions, that they're doing all they can to seek those solutions, and taking action to the best of their ability to follow what the Lord shows! (End of mess­age from Dad.)

30. (Mama:) Following is another message along the same lines, where Dad gives more counsel about where we're going to have to draw the line with the kids' behavior. Thank the Lord, we know that no matter how difficult a time our kids seem to be having at the moment, the Lord can help them to turn around and change. We must do our part and pray desperately for them to do theirs, and then trust the Lord for the mir­acle. And while we're trusting the Lord‚ we need to keep doing what the Lord has told us to do, and keep seeking Him for the keys to victory.

31. I think sometimes some people misun­der­­­stand the phrase, "leave it in the Lord's hands." Yes, sometimes there is nothing we can do about a situation, and in that case, maybe the Lord doesn't expect us to do anything. But really, we can always pray. So even in cases when it seems there's nothing that we can do, we can always be praying and interceding on the behalf of those who need our help. And with our kids, there's often a whole lot more than praying or interceding which we can do—not only that we can do‚ but that the Lord expects us to do!

32. So while you must commit them to Him and trust Him for the miracle in their lives, in the meantime keep busy seeking Him for what you should be doing to help. And for God's sake‚ don't just let them run wild and corrupt others while you're waiting for the Lord to work in their lives! Desperately ask the Lord what the keys are‚ and what He would have you to do. And if He tells you to just wait, well, then just wait—and you can continue to pray! Jesus never fails, and He's eventually going to bring our kids through victorious—and wiser for it! He's promised it! Praise the Lord!

Where to Draw the Line!

33. (Dad speaking:) This is really a hot topic of discussion: Where do we draw the line with our kids' behavior? When is it no longer okay for them to remain in the CM Family? How and on what do we judge our children who are under their parents' care, and what are the guidelines and the rules?

34. Well, the parents are ultimately respon­sible for the care of their kids until they are of age, until they are on their own. Sometimes behavior­al problems come as a result of a slackness in their discipline as they're growing up. Sometimes these types of problems—in fact, this is very often the case—are a result of negative out­side influences.

35. I'm sorry that this may sound pretty hard and maybe a little unmerciful. My heart goes out to you parents and kids, but I simply think we've got to cut out this rot or it's going to pollute all of our other children who could otherwise grow up to be sweet kids who love the Lord and want to serve Him. And not only that, but it's a dandy bad example to out­siders and those we're witnessing to! As I've always said, our kids are the proof of the pudding; but what kind of proof are they if they're acting like this?

36. There are other options for parents of children with pretty serious problems. You don't have to resign yourself to the fact that it's going to be like that. The first thing they should do is get desperate with the Lord for His solutions and where to start or what to do. If the kids aren't used to being disciplined, then suddenly laying down a bunch of rules without explanation is likely to get a very negative and re­bellious reaction. So praying and asking the Lord how to go about implementing these changes, and which ones are the most import­ant to start with, is the first thing they should do.

37. They can also ask for prayer from the Home and their fellow teamworkers and parents. Humbling themselves and detailing the changes the Lord has shown them to make will help others to support them in it. If they need help from the Home, they should ask humbly, and then be willing to accept the suggestions and counsel of others.

38. There will be times the Lord will show them to change their ministry or their work habits so as to give more time and attention to their kids. If my kids were going down the wrong track and I knew that I might be asked to leave God's highest will for me if I didn't get them under control‚ I would be willing to change my entire lifestyle for as long as necessary‚ if that was what the Lord asked. In some cases, that's going to be what's needed.

39. In other cases, because the kids are so familiar with the parents, others will have to be willing to step in and help. The whole Home is responsible, in a way, and so each person should pray and ask the Lord what they personally can do. In some cases, the Lord might lead a Home to open new ministries that their children and young people can be more involved in and thus have a greater sense of fulfillment or challenge from.

40. Another major option is perhaps deciding to move your family to a more Godly country or area. Most of these cases of underage children getting into stealing, shoplifting, smoking, drinking and swearing are in the Western countries, the affluent countries with a lot of worldly influence like the U.S., Europe, Japan, and Australia.

41. Parents ought to think about what kind of an effect the country and the outsiders around them are having on their children. If they ­really want to save their children for the Lord, it wouldn't be a bad idea to consider taking them to a place where they can really burn free for Him. Or perhaps they're just bored stiff and don't have anything to do with themselves, so they turn to other sources of enter­tainment‚ other thrills and highs.

42. It's pretty sad that some of our children are in such sorry states, but like I said, there's a lot that can be done to turn the situation around. Making it known that their family could be in danger of losing their CM status could also make people take notice and get on the ball with their children's care and discipline. If the kids don't change, what good is it to have them around‚ anyway? Do we just want to pollute more of our kids? That's what the Enemy wants to do. Are we gonna let him get away with that?

43. It's really sad when a situation has gotten so extreme that you have to take such drastic measures. It's extremely sad when you know that the parents really love the Lord and want to serve Him in the Family and want to remain on CM status. But I really believe that if they want to remain that bad, they'll do all that is physically and spiritually within their power to help change their child or children and make them into David's mighty men again.

44. It's very hard to legalistically say where to draw the line, as every case may be slightly different. However, if their children are addicted shoplifters‚ hooked on smoking, swear constantly, pooh-pooh the Word and the Family‚ are constantly disrespectful to adults and sass back‚ carry guns or take drugs, I think it's time to sit up and take notice and do something about it! If they've been warned a few times and continue on in the path of disobedience, then it's time to lower the rod and put a bit of a bite with the bark! All in love‚ of course, but we're going to have to be firm.

45. Now there is an addition to the amended Charter which makes provision for teens who have chosen to leave the Family to remain in a CM Home with their parents, either for a ­period of adjustment while they get established in the System or until they become of age. However, there are guidelines and rules which they must agree to keep if they are to be allowed to remain, and the Home has the right to vote them out at any time (if they are over 16) or to vote the entire family out (if the kids are underage). So, as you can see, the door being left open for non-Family teens to remain in a Family Home on a temporary basis is also subject to conditions—those being that they abide by the rules which you agree upon together, as well as those set forth in the Charter for that situation.

46. So your child leaving the Family and yet being allowed to remain with you is not a loophole that can free you from having to maintain control and a Godly standard in your Home.

47. Of course, all children have problems, and I'm not just talking about adolescent or preteen battles, mistakes and problems. I'm talking about damaging, infectious problems that are going to affect others. If a child is poisoning others with his attitudes and bad behavior, then it's time to take some action and do something about it!

48. Some sweet parents work hard to help their children overcome their battles‚ get them turned on to the Word and on fire about witnessing and loving and serving the Lord! But then if they get mixed up with one of these off-the-track kids, all of the parents' hard work and good training goes down the drain! Anyone can demolish a building, but it takes a lot of per­severance, faith‚ patience and vision to build it up again. So don't tolerate these kids that are knocking down buildings by their bad sample and negative influences!

49. Be loving but firm, and stand your ground. You may lose some who aren't willing to change, but you'll keep more than if you let these kids run wild, unchecked, destroying ­others' faith and lives for the Lord. You won't be able to save them all, but you can do what you can and the Lord will do what you can't. (End of message from Dad.)

50. (Mama: ) You might be feeling a bit over­whelmed after hearing these strong messages‚ and realizing that you have some serious work to do with your kids. Following is a beautiful and very encouraging message from Jesus, prom­ising the victory! Praise the Lord! Even if you can't see it now, you can hang on to it by faith, because the Lord has promised it! Please take this message from Jesus and hide it deep within your heart. Allow it to comfort and strengthen you, and when the battles rage, get it out again and claim the promises therein.

51. The Lord also explains part of the reason that this battle for our kids is so important. Far beyond the influence of their lives on each other, they are destined to rule the world, and must be preparing now! Thank you for taking up this challenge. I know the Lord will help you. Peter and I will be with you through our prayers. Remember, prayer changes things! If you've done all you can and you feel that you can't do anything else‚ you can pray desperately, and the Lord will use your prayers to accomplish great things! Praise the Lord!

Your Children Are Destined

To Rule and Reign with Me!

52. (Jesus speaking:) You are the precious parents of My Endtime generation. You are they whom I have called to train My special and unique children—those who will serve Me in the very Last Days. I've trained you these many years—through experience, through the Words of David, through My voice and leading in your hearts‚ and through the miracles which I have done in your lives that prove over and over again how I never fail, and that living for Me, though difficult‚ is worth the sacrifice! Your children are reaching the time when I have great need of them. They're entering the days when they will be called upon to testify as My witnesses. Indeed, they were born for these days which are coming!

53. Don't think that it was in vain that you bore so many children, for it was part of My perfect plan—not only part of My plan for your lives, to keep you soft, loving, desperate and giving, but part of My plan for the entire world! For these babes which you have borne have been raised with a very special heritage, and it will not be long before I call on them to give to others in great measure.

54. So think it not strange that these fiery trials try you—your children's battles, their straying from the path, or the machinations of the Evil One with which he tries to snuff out their service. Do not wonder why the battle has gotten so intense in recent years, thinking that it's because the Family has failed or strayed from the path of My perfect will. No! Though you might have made mistakes, and at times you personally have missed My highest will, the Family overall has maintained the course which I set through the Word which I have poured out to you through My queen.

55. You now have a chance to get back on board with the moves of My Spirit, and thus be empowered to fight the battles! The battles are intensifying because Satan knows that his time is short! He's trying all he can to stop our children, for he knows that through them will come his greatest defeat!

56. So be not discouraged through looking at the waves, but be thrilled with the promises I have given you that your children are destined to be used of Me! You must only do your part. If your children are causing problems in your Home or you've not been able to get them under control‚ don't accept it! See it for the all-out spiritual warfare that it is, and go on the attack!

57. Yes, the Enemy is trying to stop you! Yes, he is trying to get your children! Are you going to let him? Determine in your hearts that it will not be without a fight! And if you fight and you use the new weapons that I've given you, I will come to your aid and send the forces of Heaven to intercede for you in the battle! If you fight, you will win! But you mustn't give up! You mustn't sink down in despair, for that will lose you the battle! Valuable time is ticking away! You must come before Me and receive your personalized battle plan, and then determine in your hearts that you will fight to the death—and win you shall!

58. My dear ones, I did not bring you thus far to have you be defeated in this battle! It's yours to win, for these, your children, are destined to rule and reign with Me! So hang on to them! Hang on to the crown of life that I have given you—the crown of seeing your children used in mighty ways! That crown is yours—I hold it out to you!

59. If you feel you're losing the fight‚ remem­ber that the darkest hour is just before dawn. Even if you have to separate yourselves physically from the body because of some of your children, and thus leave full–time fellowship because you're not able to control them, don't sink down in defeat and despair! Remem­ber that you are permanently joined in spirit and heart, and that soon this race will be won if you don't give up! Keep fighting, and you'll win! Keep coming to Me for the answers, and then keep putting them into practice, no matter what the cost! Keep praising Me in spite of the battle, in spite of the seeming loss, in spite of your wounds! Determine in your hearts that you will never, never give in to the lies of the Enemy, and after you've done all—stand firm! You'll be helped by the forces of Heaven, and the Enemy will be defeated in the end!

60. You must determine in your hearts that you will not give in to lying vanities, that you will not be scared by the Enemy's "boo," that you will not take no for an answer! I have said yes! I have promised the victory, so hold on to My Words through the fight‚ and I will fulfill My promise!

61. My dear loves, remember that your battle is on the spiritual plane‚ not just the physical. You're fighting the Enemy and his evil spirits and influences, not your children. At times the battle can be confusing, when you feel frustrated or over­whelmed. You can feel that your children are not yielding to Me or to your correction, and it's easy to get frustrated or feel that you're losing the battle because of their wrong choices. It's true, they must decide for Me in order to be used of Me. But your part is the patience, the conviction, the loving firmness, and the coming back to Me again and again for further instruction on how to proceed.

62. Trying to legislate righteousness will not work! Trying to force them to obey and change will not work. This battle will not be won overnight, and it will not be an easy victory. That's why I instruct you to set your face as a flint and determine now in your heart before Me that you will never give up! And part of that never giving up is continuing to seek Me for the love, the patience, the wisdom, the temperance, the understanding, and the other gifts of My Spirit that you need to win the battle.

63. It's not a battle of flesh or of force—it's a battle of love! It's a battle of conviction! And the battle will be won as you lay down your life, your pride‚ your preconceived ideas, and seek Me for how to best overcome. Then I will come to you and be your Teamworker‚ your Helper, your Instructor. I'll give you of the riches of Heaven—Heavenly wisdom, Heavenly under­standing, new ideas, faith which comes from My Word, and love that knows no boundaries, that you might have the strength and means wherewith to win this war.

64. So don't feel alone or forsaken—you have the most powerful might of Heaven engaged in battle for you! For these‚ your children‚ My children, are the hope of the future and I have great need of them. Are you willing to fight to win them for Me? Are you willing to make the sacrifices necessary? I'm not telling you that it will be easy or that the victory will be swift. But I do tell you that it will be worth the fight, and we will rejoice together at the sight of our precious children sitting at My hand, and ruling with love the kingdoms of the world!

65. In the coming days they will be mighty in spirit and will gain understanding and strength through the days of tribulation. They will be mighty witnesses for Me, and will gladly give their lives for the cause of love in My Name. Then in the days of My Kingdom on Earth, they will fulfill the royal destiny that I have given to them—that of being kings and queens to Me!

66. My precious parents and shepherds, it will be worth it all! But I need each of you! Every one of you has a role to fill in this great battle, so seek Me for how and what you should do. And above all, desperately pray for My love, My patience, My mercy, My conviction, and the strength and will to continue fighting until the victory is won!

67. I love you and will be with you in the fight! Your queen is fighting courageously by your side in spirit‚ as is your King Peter. Your Father David is fully dedicated to working behind the scenes‚ and will help you at any moment you need him. All the power of Heaven is at your command, so be not dismayed, but fight! (End of message from Jesus.)