KEYWORDS: lord, things, god, life, love, others

Shooting Straight, Part 7--Letter Links: See the Good!

October 4, 2004

(ML #3506, GN 1095)

FD/MM/FM August 2004

Beauty for Ashes

ML #114, DB 4


"He gives me joy in place of sorrow.

He gives me love that casts out fears.

He gives me sunshine for my shadow,

And beauty for ashes dear!"

2. IN ORDER TO BRING FORTH THE SWEETNESS, THERE HAS TO BE SOME SUFFERING. To bring about the beauty of the flame there must be ashes. Something must go to ashes!

3. BLESSINGS COME FROM SUFFERING—beauty for ashes!—As is borne out so well in Hebrews 12. Verse 11 says: "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." Praise is the voice of faith!

4. LIKE A GIANT HAND TAKING THE HONEY COMB ' SQUEEZING IT ’ OUT COMES THE HONEY! Like Moses smiting the rock—it hurt the rock‚ but out came the water! Like a beautiful flower pressed ' crushed, but out comes the perfume! Like the beautiful music that comes from the throat of the bird—almost as though in pain, yet it comes forth with song. Even though the bird's song is sad, it's so sweet. The groans are not murmurs, but songs of praise ' thanksgiving to God—a sad, sweet song! As Wordsworth said, "Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thoughts!" The heart of stone had to be broken before the water could flow out to refresh the people!

5. LORD, HELP US NOT TO FIGHT THY CRUSHING, Thy bruising, Thy smiting, which causes the water to gush forth. Help us not to quench that beautiful song‚ even if it's sad—to thank Thee in spite of the sorrow. Help us to be willing to be smitten ’ crushed, to be squeezed ' to be bruised, to be in agony, that we may give forth Thy sweetness, Thy fragrance, Thy beauty, Thy song, Thy refreshing waters. Out of what seems like defeat, come some of Thy greatest victories!

6. YOU COULD NEVER APPRECIATE THE LIGHT UNLESS YOU'VE BEEN IN DARKNESS! You can't appreciate health unless you've been sick! You'll never appreciate joy until you've known sorrow! You can't appreciate God's mercy until you've known the Devil's justice. "Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."

Healing in His Wings

ML #969:13-14, Vol.8

13. Always remember that WHATEVER GOD DOES, HE DOES IT IN LOVE.—AND "ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THEM THAT LOVE THE LORD." (Romans 8:28) God is not going to let anything happen to you, His child who loves Him, except what is for your good. You may say, "But a lot of things happen that don't seem good to me!"—Well I daresay you finally found out sooner or later that somehow or another it was good for you.—Or you will yet! This is why King David said in his Psalms,

14. "IT IS GOOD FOR ME THAT I HAVE BEEN AFFLICTED, that I might learn Thy statutes." "Before I was afflicted I went astray: But now (after he was afflicted) have I kept Thy Word." (Psalm 119:71,67) Hallelujah! So even troubles and tribulations are good for us.—Thank the Lord! God knows best! And even though it sometimes may take weeks, months or years before you know why, the time will come, and you'll know God was right and did the right thing!

Blessings from Battles

ML #2632:1-4,28, DB 10

1. (Mama:) Because "many are the afflictions of the righteous" (Psa.34:19), it's certainly comforting to know that "all these things work together for good to them that love the Lord‚ to them who are the called according to His purpose!"—Rom.8:28. In fact, in order to come through our many trials‚ difficulties, battles ' temptations victoriously, it is imperative that we make this promise in Romans 8:28 a vital part of our life.

2. WE NEED TO GET THIS PRINCIPLE SO DEEPLY INGRAINED WITHIN US THAT IT BECOMES IMPOSSIBLE FOR US TO FORGET, NEGLECT OR OVERLOOK IT! Romans 8:28 is something that should be as much a part of our conscious—’ even subconscious—thoughts ' way of looking at things as is our awareness ' consciousness of the Great Commission (Mk.16:15)‚ the necessity of prayer, the importance of the Word, the inevitability of tests ' trials, ' the certainty of God's Love.

3. IF WE FAIL TO SEND THE EVENTS OF OUR DAILY LIVES THROUGH THE FILTER OF ROMANS 8:28, if we fail to constantly view our disappointments, hurts‚ tests, illnesses, persecutions, battles, etc. through the perspective that Romans 8:28 gives us, we will tragically MISS many valuable lessons the Lord is trying to teach us.—And we will rob ourselves of the peace that comes from absolute trust in this precious promise ' principle.

4. If you learn the simple equation‚ "Trials equal good," your life will be richer, your lessons greater ' your mind more tranquil, ' you will more easily recognize the Lord's hand in the events of your life. It makes all the difference in the World whether you look at a flood of problems, trials, battles ' tribulations just waiting to see the worst happen‚ or if you look at them with the excitement ’ challenge that comes from waiting to discover all the good you know the Lord will bring out of them.

28. All things truly do work together for good for those of us who love the Lord!—And like Dad has always said, God gets some of His greatest victories out of seeming defeats! PTL! God bless ' help you to always hang on to His precious promise in Romans 8:28, ' to discover ' profit from the many blessings He has for you in the battles ' trials He allows you to go through! I love you!


"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."—Rom.8:28.

"Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna‚ which thy fathers knew not‚ that He might humble thee, and that He might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end."—Deut.8:16.

"It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes."—Psa.119:71.

"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."—Heb.12:11.

"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this‚ that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."—Jam.1:2-4.

"Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit, He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit."—Jn.15:2.

"If a man therefore purge himself from these‚ he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work."—2Tim.2:21.

"He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."—Job.23:10.

"And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."—2Cor.12:9‚10.

"Though He were a Son‚ yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered."—Heb.5:8.

"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."—Mat.5:4.

"Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."—2Cor.1:4.

"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."—2Cor.4:17.

"But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfectstablish, strengthen, settle you!"—1Pet.5:10.

(—Amen!—GBAKY!—WLY!—Jesus never fails!—Keep your eyes on Jesus!)


ML #2672:52–66, 100-132, DB 10


52. SELF-RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE ALWAYS BLAME GOD FOR THEIR PROBLEMS ' TROUBLES INSTEAD OF THEMSELVES, or instead of accepting the trials as something that God has sent their way for whatever reason. Some people are so self-righteous they wonder, "How could God ever do such a thing to ME? How could the Lord treat ME this way when I'M so good to HIM?" They RESENT God's dealings with them.

53. That is actually one of the worst sins of all, to even have the slightest idea that you're a little bit more righteous than God, that God shouldn't have done this or that to you! That kind of attitude is the very seed ' the very root of murmuring! When you question the Lord ' murmur like that, what you're really saying is that you're more righteous than God!—Or others!—That if you were boss, you wouldn't have let such a thing happen‚ ’ you would have done better ' you wouldn't have done this or you wouldn't have done that!

54. WHEN ANY OF US FACE ANY KIND OF A CRISIS OR DILEMMA‚ TEST, TRIAL‚ TRIBULATION, privation, persecution—WHATEVER the trouble or problem—what is the FIRST thing we should do?—Complain? Murmur? Get upset ' angry that things aren't going just the way we would like them to?—Of course not!

55. But when things seem to be going wrong, the first thing a lot of people do is pray ' say, "What's the matter, Lord?"—And when some people say that, what they really mean is‚ "What's the matter with You, God? How come You failed me?" Whereas what we should really pray is, "What's the matter with me, Lord? Is there something wrong with what I'm doing? Am I displeasing You in any way?—Am I failing or disobeying You in any way? Am I out of Your Will in any way? First of all, what's the matter with me, Lord, or my situation? What's wrong?—Or are You just testing me?"

56. Contrary to what a lot of people seem to think when they start having problems ' trials, there's nothing wrong with God! There's nothing the matter with Him, nor His Love, nor His dealings with His children! The problem is usually with us.—As He says in His Word, "Your iniquities have separated ' come between you ’ your God, ' your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear."—Isa.59:2.

57. HE SAYS, "I'M NOT DEAF THAT I CAN'T HEAR YOUR PRAYERS, I'M LISTENING!—And My arm isn't short or weak that it can't save ' help you. The trouble is not Up HERE, it's down there with YOU!"—With US, not GOD! So don't blame GOD ' get upset at HIM because of your troubles ’ your problems ’ your crises ' your difficulties! It's not GOD'S fault! There's nothing wrong with GOD! "Let every man be found a LIAR, but GOD be found TRUE!"—Rom.3:4.

58. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU HAVE TO DO DURING TRYING TIMES IS NOT WHINE ' COMPLAIN ' murmur ' gripe ' grumble ' bellyache ’ get bitter at GOD for HIS so-called failures ' mistreatment ' His neglect ' His abuse ' His cruelty ’ His deafness ’ His unconcern!—Because none of those things are true! You need to do the opposite of what the children of Israel did out in the wilderness, ' that is, you need to sit down ' think the situation over ' pray:

59. "God‚ what's wrong with me? What's wrong with what I'm doing or the way I'm doing it? What am I doing that's displeasing You so that You're withholding Your blessings? In what way am I disobeying—either deliberately, willfully, or unknowingly, unwittingly, or simply falling short, maybe just not doing enough? Or maybe I'm not listening enough, maybe I'm not following Your voice ' guidance enough.—Or are You simply testing my faith or humbling me ' trying to get me to draw closer to You?"


60. IT'S HUMAN NATURE TO LOOK AROUND FOR SOMEBODY ELSE TO BLAME OUR PROBLEMS ON. "Passing the buck" started in the Garden of Eden. It's sinful Man's first line of defense when he's in trouble.—To blame others.

61. JUST LOOK WHAT HAPPENED IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN: When they got caught in their sin‚ the first thing Adam said to God was‚ "It was my WIFE, SHE did it!" Then Eve said, "It was the SERPENT'S fault, HE did it!" And the Serpent as good as said, "It was GOD, it's all HIS fault!" (Gen.3:12-13.) To "pass the buck" ' try to blame things on others is an almost automatic reaction ' self-defense mechanism with most people.

62. PEOPLE WHO ARE BITTER ' HAVE A BITTER SPIRIT ARE ESPECIALLY PRONE TO THIS SORT OF THING. They're always blaming everybody ELSE for all of their mistakes ' all of their troubles ' failings. It's always somebody ELSE'S fault.

63. IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM OR WEAKNESS ALONG THESE LINES, YOU'D BE WISE TO REMEMBER THAT THE DEVIL IS THE "ACCUSER OF THE SAINTS" (Rev.12:10), ' that's his own tactic to always try to get you to blame your problems on everybody ELSE! "Why me‚ Lord? I didn't do it, THEY did it TO me! It wasn't MY fault‚ it's HIS fault, HER fault! THEY'RE the ones to blame! They're the ones who MADE me do it!" Some people find it so easy ' convenient to blame all their troubles on somebody ELSE!—"It's that awful Hell of a person I have to live with or that horrible leader I have to work under"—or this one or that one!

64. THIS IS SUCH A TYPICAL DEVICE OF THE DEVIL: He always accuses the Saints ' always EXAGGERATES to you what others are doing, ' will always try to take things that others have said or done ' TWIST them ' make things SOUND a lot WORSE to you than they really ARE.—He even does the same thing to GOD about YOU! He's an expert at picking on all the little flaws ' all the little faults that he can find‚ ’ constantly tries to accuse others ' get you to blame everything that goes wrong on someone else!

65. BUT IF YOU WON'T ACCEPT THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN PROBLEMS ’ YOU CONTINUALLY BLAME THEM ON OTHERS, you're just going to go through your entire life never getting the victory or making any PROGRESS! How can you ever GROW spiritually or learn any LESSONS from the Lord when you're self-righteously blaming other people for everything bad that ever happens to you?

66. EVEN IF YOU FEEL THAT YOU HAVE BEEN GENUINELY MISTREATED OR MISJUDGED OR WHATEVER BY OTHERS, instead of sulking ’ pouting ' licking your wounds, you might find it's very profitable to look a little DEEPER ' see if the LORD is trying to get through to you on some other point or issue that's even more serious than whatever it is you feel so mistreated or misunderstood about! Don't be too quick to judge ' blame others when you might need to work on the BEAM in your OWN eye, ' not be so concerned about the MOTE in your BROTHER'S eye. Amen?


100. ONE OF THE GREATEST THINGS IN THE WORLD THAT ANYONE CAN LEARN IS TO BE CONTENT IN WHATSOEVER STATE YOU'RE IN, whether it's to be abounding or to be in want.—Phil.4:11,12. That's certainly something that we've learned throughout our many years of serving the Lord. We've lived as poor as Job's turkey sometimes, but it seems like in recent years we've really abounded compared to how little we had before. We just learn to take the bitter with the sweet, whatever the Lord gives. We don't let CIRCUMSTANCES cause us to become bitter!

101. WE ALL NEED TO LEARN TO COUNT OUR BLESSINGS! The Lord wants us to think on the POSITIVE things‚ ' refuse to set our minds on all the negative things ' trials ’ doubts ' fears ' woes ' troubles ' tribulations ' afflictions that the Devil tries to get us preoccupied with. You must get your mind off of all those negative things ' think about your many blessings!

102. IF YOU'D GET INTO THE HABIT OF THANKING GOD MORE FOR YOUR BLESSINGS, your many many BLESSINGS, instead of complaining about the few tiny little infinitesimal problems or trials you may have, maybe the Lord would deliver you from those too! But when we don't look at anything but the button off of Mutt's vest instead of all the nice fine clothes ' the bright red necktie, no wonder the Lord must get angry! (See ML#1492; Num.11:1; 1Cor.10:10!)

103. THE LORD TELLS US THAT WE SHOULDN'T THINK ABOUT THOSE NEGATIVE THINGS AT ALL! "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are TRUE, whatsoever things are HONEST, whatsoever things are JUST‚ whatsoever things are PURE, whatsoever things are LOVELY, whatsoever things are of GOOD report; if there be any VIRTUE, ’ if there be any PRAISE, think on THESE things!"—Phil.4:8. Whenever negative thoughts, criticisms or resentments come to your mind, you should right away rebuke the Enemy ' say, "I REBUKE you, Satan‚ in Jesus' name! I resist you, Accuser of the Saints, in Jesus' name! Jesus, help me not to think those thoughts!" Praise the Lord, quote Scripture, sing His praises, call on the Lord ' the Devil will flee!

104. WHEN JONAH FINALLY SHOUTED, "SALVATION IS OF THE LORD!" that old whale that had swallowed him just couldn't take it, ’ he spit him up! (Jon.2:9,10.) So even if God lets the Devil send along a whale-of–a-lot of trouble to swallow you up, you've just got to keep shouting ' praising the Lord! The Devil can't stand that‚ ' the trouble can't stand it, ' God will deliver you! But if you get all down in the dumps ' go around griping ' bellyaching ' murmuring ' complaining ' doubting ' everything else, you'll just sink deeper ' deeper to the bottom of the sea.

105. SO WHEN THE ENEMY TEMPTS YOU TO GET DOWN ' CRITICAL OR MURMURING ABOUT SOMETHING, fight back by praising the Lord ' counting your BLESSINGS! Ask the Lord to help you be CONTENT ' THANKFUL for your place in His Kingdom ' in His Family. And when the Devil comes along ' tries to get you to unfavorably compare yourself to others ' tries to belittle you ' what you're doing, just start praising the Lord ’ thanking Him for your blessings, ' the Enemy will turn tail ’ run!

106. THANK GOD ' PRAISE HIM FOR YOUR JOB ' YOUR PLACE IN HIS FAMILY, WHATEVER IT IS! If you're mopping floors or cleaning toilets or cooking food or running errands or doing maintenance work, whatever it is, thank God that you're in the house of the LORD ’ you're doing it for JESUS! "I would rather be a DOORKEEPER in the house of the Lord than to dwell in the tents of wickedness!"—Psa.84:10.

107. SO WHETHER ABOUNDING OR ABASING, WE SHOULD BE THANKFUL FOR WHATEVER WE'VE GOT‚ ' praise ' thank God for it, because there's nothing any better! The very "WORST" things in OUR life for the Lord are far better than the very BEST things the ungodly SYSTEM has to offer! We're blessed with the BEST LIFE in the World, the BEST WORK in the World, the BEST LOVE in the World, ' the BEST LORD in the World—Out-of-this-World! Nothing could be better than God's Love ' God's Word ’ God's Work ’ God's workers ’ their fellowship‚ ' to be able to live ' work together ' love together in God's Kingdom for Him ' for souls!—There's nothing better in this whole World, PTL! And if we're not happy enough NOW, when we see the eternal RESULTS of our labors Over THERE, we'll certainly be happy enough THEN!

108. EVEN WHEN YOU'RE FEELING GOOD, MAYBE YOU DON'T THANK THE LORD ENOUGH FOR IT ' PRAISE HIM ENOUGH FOR IT! "Let every thing that hath BREATH praise the Lord!"—Psa.150:6. We could all praise the Lord more ' be more positive! Thank Him for the health you DO have! Thank Him for how strong you ARE ' that you're not COMPLETELY incapacitated, injured or sick with some fatal disease or something like that. All kinds of things could be wrong with you, so thank the Lord for the blessings you DO have! PTL!—Stay positive, thankful ' full of praise to Jesus!


109. THE EASIEST WAY TO PREVENT SOMETHING FROM GROWING IN YOUR GARDEN IS TO NOT LET IT GET SOWN OR PLANTED THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE! And the best way to prevent any roots of bitterness from springing up in your life is to not let any bitter, critical or negative SEEDS find their way into the garden of your mind ' heart.—Which means you've got to GUARD your THOUGHTS ’ RESIST the Devil when he tries to sow his evil seeds ' thoughts in your mind!

110. WE ALL GO THROUGH EXPERIENCES SOMETIMES WHERE WE LISTEN TO THE ENEMY INSTEAD OF THE LORD. In fact, the Lord LETS us hear the Devil's voice ’ thoughts sometimes—even if it's only a TEST to see if we will receive or reject it.

111. NOT ALL VOICES ARE OF GOD, ' YOU MUST LEARN TO "TRY THE SPIRITS" (1JN.4:1) TO MAKE SURE THAT WHAT YOU'RE HEARING IS OF THE LORD. If it's not according to His WORD, or causes you to be DISCONTENT or BITTER, dissatisfied or unhappy or critical of yourself or others—these things are NOT of the Lord, ' you must rebuke the Enemy in Jesus' name when he tempts you with these kinds of negative thoughts.

112. YOU CAN'T KEEP THE DEVIL FROM SAYING THINGS TO YOU ' TEMPTING YOU to harbor negative thoughts or oughts against others, or even against the Lord. He will always try to speak to you ' try to get you to let him have his evil way. But even if you're unable to keep from hearing him SPEAK sometimes, you can always keep from DOING what he says.

113. A LOT OF PEOPLE FEEL BAD ' THINK THAT THEY MUST BE TERRIBLY WICKED BECAUSE THEY THINK AN UNLOVING OR SINFUL THOUGHT. But as my Mother used to say‚ "Even though you can't keep the birds from flying over your head‚ you CAN keep them from making a NEST in your hair!" You can't keep the Devil from TEMPTING you ' casting his "fiery darts" at you ' talking to you‚ but you don't have to talk BACK to him or open the door ' invite him ' all his little devils ' doubts in!

114. YOU CAN MILITANTLY FIGHT AGAINST EVEN THINKING ABOUT THE CRITICAL, HATEFUL, UNKIND, DOUBTFUL OR FEARFUL THOUGHTS THAT THE ENEMY MAY ATTACK OR TEMPT YOU WITH! RESIST all such thoughts ' think POSITIVELY! Think OUT LOUD by either QUOTING SCRIPTURES or SINGING HYMNS or good Gospel songs. You can't very well quote Scripture ' talk positively or sing out loud ' have those other negative thoughts going through your head at the same time!

115. WHEN A ROOM IS DARK, YOU DON'T GO AROUND TRYING TO CHASE THE DARKNESS OUT OF THE ROOM.—You just LET THE LIGHT IN ’ the LIGHT chases out the dark! So the way to get rid of temptations ' negative thoughts is to think of GOOD things‚ Godly things. Read your BIBLE, PRAY, think about JESUS, ' then you don't even have time to think the other thoughts.—Which is why Isaiah says, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is STAYED ON THEE, because he trusteth in Thee."—Isa.26:3. If you keep your mind on JESUS, you don't have time to think about these other things!—SING!

116. FILL YOUR MIND WITH THE WONDERFUL, POWERFUL WORD OF GOD ’ YOU WON'T HAVE ROOM FOR THAT DARKNESS! Fill your mind with the Light of God's Word ' the darkness will FLEE! Don't even listen to the Devil's lies!—Because if you do, the same thing that happened to EVE will happen to YOU! So don't listen to his doubts ' his fears ' his discouragement ' his temptations ' all the rest! Sock him with the Word of God!

117. WHEN YOU'RE TEMPTED TO THINK NEGATIVE OR RESENTFUL OR CRITICAL OR HATEFUL THOUGHTS AGAINST YOUR BROTHERS OR SISTERS, remember that the DEVIL is the "ACCUSER of the Saints," ' he will always try to accuse others ' EXAGGERATE their faults to you. He will even take innocent, unintentional remarks or acts ' TWIST them ' make them SOUND a lot worse than they really are. But once you can RECOGNISE that such negative ' critical thoughts are the ENEMY'S ATTACKS against you to separate ’ divide you from your brothers ' sisters in the Lord, then you can slam the door on all such thoughts ' take a definite positive stand against them.

118. WHEN YOU HAVE FAITH IN GOD ' HIS WORD, THEN YOU KNOW THAT THE DEVIL IS A LIAR, ' when those kinds of bad ’ bitter thoughts come into your mind, you know it's the DEVIL speaking. So just say "I RESIST you, Satan, in Jesus' name! I RESIST you!" Because God's Word says if we RESIST the Enemy, he'll FLEE from us!—Jam.4:7. Once you recognize such thoughts as the voice of Satan, you can just brush them aside. "I REFUSE to listen to you any more! I'm NOT going to listen to a liar, a deceiver ' a cheat! That's not true, those are LIES!" (or exaggerations, misinterpretations, half-truths‚ etc.)

119. JUST FIGHT THE DEVIL POSITIVELY WHEN HE TRIES TO MAKE YOU BITTER OR UPSET AT OTHERS OR AT THE LORD! Start singing a hymn or song to JESUS, PRAY ’ quote the WORD of God! Just let the Light in and the darkness flees every time! When you're being tempted or attacked with negative or critical thoughts, you just have to be POSITIVE and attack BACK! You have to make a CONSCIOUS EFFORT to REBUKE THE DEVIL and think positive GOOD thoughts instead. Amen?

120. IF YOU WATCH YOUR THOUGHTS ' WATCH YOUR WORDS ' FILL YOUR HEART ' MIND WITH THE LORD ' HIS WORD, you will be well–protected ’ fortified ' surrounded by God's Angels of protection‚ His Guardian Angels, ' you will be free from the Enemy's critical ’ confusing static ' negative accusations ' doubts. In all the things you do all day long, in whatever you may do, in EVERY activity of life ' everything you do or say or even THINK, ask the Lord to help you to be constantly on GUARD. You can MONITOR your THOUGHTS, monitor your WORDS ' monitor your ACTIONS just like we monitor VIDEOS!—Then you can always choose the good ' eschew the evil. (Rom.12:9.)


121. WHEN YOU BEGIN TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE LORD IN ALL YOUR WAYS ' TAKE HIM INTO ACCOUNT ON EVERYTHING, then no matter HOW bad or rough or trying a situation may seem, you know that HE is in control. You know that He LOVES you ' that He will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able! (1Cor.10:13.) And if you know that you're His child ' His hand is on your life, then how can you get bitter ' offended at Him? You know "He doeth all things well" (Mk.7:37), ' will never make a mistake in His dealings with you, His child whom He loves. EVERYTHING He does, He does in LOVE.

122. IF YOU THINK OF EVERYTHING IN RELATION TO THE LORD, then you get the RIGHT perspective, God's reasoning, Heavenly wisdom, "the wisdom that is from Above."—Jam.3:17. When you think of all of your circumstances in relation to the LORD, then you realize it all has a PURPOSE ' that God did it for a REASON.—A GOOD reason!

123. IF YOUR EYES ARE ON JESUS ' YOU'RE "WALKING BY FAITH ' NOT BY SIGHT" (2Cor.5:7)‚ then you're constantly aware that He—your great Shepherd—is with you ' has everything under His control.—And this‚ of course, makes it much easier to "take" whatever He happens to send your way.

124. HE PROMISES US, "ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THEM THAT LOVE GOD!"—Rom.8:28. When you really BELIEVE this verse, then you know that the Lord never lets seemingly bad things happen to you without any rhyme or reason whatsoever. He only allows such things to happen for a GOOD reason.—Sometimes we've been BAD ' we need correction, or we've been GOOD ' He just wants to make us BETTER through these tests. As I've often said‚ sometimes God lets things happen just to HUMBLE us‚ ' later on He may let things happen to us again to see if we're STILL humble.

125. NOTHING HAPPENS TO YOU WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF GOD.—OR, I MIGHT ADD, YOUR PERMISSION! In other words, sometimes you can get YOURSELF into trouble by your OWN disobedience or unyieldedness to the Lord‚ by somehow stepping out of His Will. When this happens, God LETS troubles befall us to teach us a lesson! So sometimes we get OURSELVES into fixes‚ ' it's our OWN fault that we suffer the consequences.

126. The Lord often allows ’ uses people as His instruments to test us ’ do things that cause us problems because He is testing us to see what we're made of ' how close we're going to stay to Him, how tightly we're going to cling to Him. He wants to see if any of these things will move us, ' if our house is built on the Rock, Jesus Christ, ' not on other people or leaders or circumstances. At the same time, He's trying to strengthen us.

127. WHEN SOMEONE HAS MISTREATED US, IF WE REALLY BELIEVE THAT THE LORD LOVES US ' is in control of our lives, can we say that God made a mistake, or even that He allowed a mistake to be made? In the final analysis, if you're going to BLAME someone for making a big mistake in your life, you've got to blame it on the LORD, right? If you really believe that the LORD is in control, then you've got to blame HIM, right? If we don't believe that the Lord is in control ' that the Lord is leading this outfit, then why are we even in the Family or serving the Lord at all?

128. IF PEOPLE REALLY LOVE THE LORD, THERE ARE A LOT OF GOOD LESSONS THAT HE CAN TEACH THEM, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS TO THEM.—Even if they're seemingly "unjustly" excommunicated!—Or if they're demoted to Babe's status or sent out of their mission field or whatever! If they really love the LORD ' are in this Family because they're trying to serve JESUS, ' their HEARTS are in the right place, they're NOT going to become all upset ' bitter ' backslide! The Lord will use the experience that was so difficult for them for their GOOD, ' not for bad, ' they will learn LESSONS, draw CLOSER to Him, ' come through VICTORIOUS in the end!

129. Your leadership may make a mistake with you, but the Lord doesn't, ' even if He allowed you to be excommunicated, He did it for a reason. If you really believe God's Word, that the Lord never allows anything in the lives of His children except that which is for their good, to teach them lessons that they need to learn‚ lessons that they perhaps couldn't learn any other way, then you know He doesn't make mistakes!

130. There are lots of reasons why the Lord allows things that look like they're bad to happen in our lives, but He always does it for our good! If we don't believe that‚ then we're in the wrong outfit! We might as well give up ' not even love the Lord or trust the Lord or serve the Lord at all if He is always making mistakes ' He doesn't even know what's best! Who wants to serve a God like that? You've got to see the Lord's hand in your life, ' you need to learn your lessons even from what may look like the "mistakes" or injustices of others, or whatever you're having a hard time accepting!—Then determine to serve the Lord in a much better, more dedicated ' sacrificial way than ever before!

131. IT'S SUCH A WONDERFUL LIBERATION WHEN YOU REALLY KNOW ’ ARE FULLY PERSUADED THAT EVERYTHING IS UNDER THE LORD'S CONTROL, HIS MARVELLOUS CONTROL! Nothing happens—not the things your leaders do‚ not even the things the Devil ' his demons do—without the permission ' the Will of God. The Enemy can't touch a hair of your head, he can't do a THING unless God ALLOWS it. This is why David could say, "ALL things come of THEE," both the good ’ the bad!—1Chr.29:14.

132. So‚ thank the Lord for His loving care ’ marvelous control! Because we have the Lord ' we have His Love ' we have life ’ we have faith, therefore we have hope for better things, for the best, ' we know that things are always going to turn out all right in the end. PTL!

Beware of Bitterness

ML #2840, DB 11

1. (Mama:) If we want to look around for someone to blame our problems on, there are always lots of candidates! We can blame things on our parents, our past experiences, our past leaders and our present leaders! But can we honestly blame our personal problems on our leadership and say that they're the ones who have kept us from growing, or they're the ones who have stumbled us‚ or they're the ones who have made things so hard for us that we became bitter and resentful and couldn't progress spiritually?—No‚ I don't think so!

2. Consider, for example, all those who had to work directly under the Chain—under leaders who turned out to be absolute hirelings, harsh, cruel taskmasters and false shepherds who represented all that is opposite of good leadership! Why didn't all of them end up in the same state and eventually all backslide?

3. If incompetent and inept leadership can be blamed for our problems, all those who worked under tyrants like Deb and Rachel and other Chain leaders should be in a terrible mess, and in fact, should have backslidden! Some did, yes, but how do you account for people like Silas and Endureth, Zadok, Paul Papers, Josiah‚ Marianne, Juan and many others who worked very closely with those people, yet are some of our top leaders today?

4. True, they were somewhat tainted and polluted by Deb and Rachel and the Chain's bad habits, some more than others. But that's as far as the blame could go. They could blame them for teaching them bad habits of mishandling people and for a general lack of good training in many areas. But even if they taught them bad habits, they couldn't make them backslide! Nor could they affect their basic relationship with Jesus and their love for Him and His Word and their dedication to His work. They certainly couldn't blame those former leaders for a lack of yieldedness on their part or selfishness or disobediences or self-righteousness!

5. Even if their growth had been slowed down temporarily, they had to see this as the hand of the Lord in teaching them many valuable lessons.—And they had to take the primary responsibility for their own personal spiritual walk with the Lord. As soon as they stopped blaming anyone else for their problems, the Lord was able to deal with them personally‚ and then under good training they were able to grow as much as they desired.

6. So although poor training may hold us back as leaders, it can't affect our basic love for Jesus and His Word and our desire to please Him. That's something between us and the Lord. And if we let bitterness and resentment grow in our hearts, they'll not only defile us, but many others, as the scripture says: "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled!" (Heb.12:15).

Who's to Blame for Bitterness?!

7. The Lord indicates that we are the ones to blame for our bitterness, not those who we may feel supposedly caused our problems! It's almost funny, but also sad that while we're blaming it on others‚ the Lord is blaming it on us! And He tells us that if we do have any bitterness or resentment, we should go and ask forgiveness.

8. If you are in a bitter and resentful state‚ it means you're not forgiving others. Obviously you have an ought in your heart that you're not forgiving them for. So that means you need to ask forgiveness of the person that you have that bitterness against‚ not expect them to ask you for forgiveness! That means that that bitterness and resentment is your fault! It's not their fault.

9. That's a very important point, because we often mistakenly get the idea that if we are bitter towards someone‚ it's their fault. But that's not what the Lord says. The Lord blames it on us! It's our fault!—Which is why Jesus said, "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought (bitterness) against any: that your Father also which is in Heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in Heaven forgive your trespasses!" (Mark 11:25,26).

10. The bitterness is your fault! The Lord blames it on you and tells you you're supposed to forgive! He's not so concerned about them forgiving you. Of course, if they were mean to you, they should repent too, but that's not the main point! The main point is you and your bitterness; that's what's wrong, and that is why you need to ask for forgiveness.

11. If you don't know where the person is whom you're bitter toward and you can't ask him or her to forgive you, at least you can ask the Lord.—And the Lord will forgive you, and He can get that root of bitterness out of your heart. In fact, He has to get it out of your heart! You have to get rid of that before the Lord will even forgive you for your sins, before you can get the answers to your prayers, and certainly before you can get the growth and the training and all the other things that you need. If you find you just can't bring yourself to tell someone you've been bitter against them and you're sorry and you want them to forgive you‚ then desperately pray for the Lord's forgiveness and ask Him to give you the love and humility you need to go to that person and make things right.

12. Whether the other person forgives you or reconciles with you or not is not even relevant. Even if you try and he doesn't accept it, that's irrelevant. The key is that you have to forgive him, and not allow any more of that horrible bitterness or resentfulness or lack of forgiveness in your heart!

13. There's a very powerful parable about the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18, verses 23-35‚ which you would be wise to study. It contains a very serious warning "if you forgive not others their trespasses!" If you have problems with blaming some of your leaders or others for things they've done to you, just ask yourself if you haven't done some of the same things to others, or at least things just as bad at some time in your leadership or your service for the Lord.

14. Another good passage to read along these lines is Matthew 7:1-5: "Judge not, that ye be not judged! For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, 'Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye'; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye!"

The Difference Between

Sincere Questions and Resentment!

15. Of course, sometimes you might have questions about things that have happened in the past, sincere questions about things that you really don't understand—why certain things were done or why they were said. Perhaps they affected you so much that it confused you and you still don't know what to think of it. In such a case, I would say of course you should ask. It's not wrong to ask for help in understanding such things, if your motive is really sincere and you're not just trying to bring up everybody else's faults or justify and vindicate yourself.

16. On the other hand, if the Lord has shown you by His Word or by good trained leaders or whatever, that some things from the past were wrong, and you've gotten those questions cleared up now, and you've learned and grown from past mistakes, then there's not really any need to bring up everything from the past again. "Forget those things which are behind!" (Phil.3:13).

17. If you do have bitternesses that you have to get out, or you feel like you just have to tell somebody, you could put them on paper and tell them to a strong leader who is not going to be affected by them. And of course, ask for prayer, and ask the Lord to forgive you. Get it over and done with! Let it go and forsake it! Then you won't have to talk about it any more. Then you can go on with the Lord and start afresh and anew and go on to new things and new growth and a new day! Amen? PTL!

Problems and Solutions, Part 3

ML #3071:98-109, Lifelines 23

98. (Mama: ) In part one of this Letter, I quoted from a prophecy in which the Lord said, "trials equal blessings." While that sounds good in theory‚ it's hard for a parent when their teen leaves the Family to believe that that's a blessing! Or when your Home doesn't have much money and you're really struggling, living hand-to-mouth, and you have been for a long time‚ how is that a blessing? Or if you're a single mother with lots of little children who require so much care and shepherding and training‚ but you can't seem to find the time or strength to give them what they need‚ that doesn't look like a blessing, does it? I figured you'd wonder how those kinds of trials can by any stretch of the imagination be looked upon as blessings.

99. I know it's true; trials do equal blessings‚ because the Lord said it. And this is not the first time He's said it; as we know, the trial of our faith is more precious than gold! (See 1 Peter 1:7.) Dad has also made this clear in the Letters. (For example, see "Beauty for Ashes," "Greater Victories," and "The Benefits of Backsliding," just to name a few.) However, I knew it would be a help to you for Him to explain further how these heartbreaks and hardships that you may be experiencing can actually be blessings. We could ask you to just take it by faith, but when you are in the midst of heavy battles which threaten to overwhelm you, I wanted the Lord to give you something further to increase your faith. Below is the message the Lord gave.

100. (Jesus speaking:) Man sees not as I see. For I see not only the moment, but I see the past and the future. I see not only what the person is suffering and enduring, but I see the work of My Spirit that is being performed on their hearts, and I see that they are being fitted for greater battles in the future. Those who are caught in the midst of hardship and sacrifice and heartbreak see only the losses of today. They do not see what will be gained on the morrow. But I live in the eternal now and I see the good fruits, the benefits, the strength, the understanding‚ the compassion, the faith‚ the trust, the love that will be borne through enduring such hardship.

101. Those who suffer loss, whose circumstances are difficult, those who battle long and hard to make ends meet, those who weep over the choices of their children, those who are lonely and feel alone and feel the weight, the responsibility of their children and the affairs of their Homes without someone to lean on and care for them, have a short-sighted vision. They see and feel and understand only the pain, the difficulty, the suffering. It seems to them that My promises have failed, that I have not kept My Word, I have not cared for My Own. They feel that My Love is hidden, that I have gone away on a long trip and I have left them to fend for themselves. They feel that I do not care‚ I do not understand, for they feel that I have not provided the protection‚ the supply, the love, or the answers to prayer that they were expecting.

102. But I say that these sufferings and these heartaches and these disappointments are not the result of My failures or My lack of love for you. They are not because I have left off from hearing your prayers or I have cut off My Love for you.

103. There are many different reasons and causes for the tests and the trials: Some are due to the choices that people make, choices which are out of My hands and out of My control. Some are due to the lack of love of the people and their disobedience to My Word. Some are from the hand of the Enemy, but with My permission, to be a test and a trial. Some are the natural consequences of decisions that have been made, decisions that were not of Me, that were not in accordance with My Law of Love‚ decisions that were not loving and sacrificial and based upon the principles of My Word.

104. Difficulties, tests, trials, heartbreaks, suffering and disappointments come from many causes and for many reasons, but regardless of why they have come or what the reason‚ you can rest assured that all things work together for good to them that love Me. Because you love Me I can take even these trials and turn them into blessings.

105. If you could see as I can see—beyond today, beyond this moment, beyond the pain which you are feeling—then you would better be able to understand why trials equal blessings. You would better be able to understand why this loss, this ache in your heart, this time when you are being sorely tempted and tested, will with time become a blessing to you.

106. The secret to understanding, the key to understanding, is in the phrase "with time." As you believe by faith that My hand is on your life and that all things work together for good, with time, that which you believe by faith you will understand and see, and it will become a reality in your life. (End of prophecy.)

107. (Mama: ) Jesus sees things so differently than we do. I understand that if your teen daughter or son has left the Family, or if you have a serious ongoing affliction, or if your Home is barely making ends meet, or if you're a single mother with many little children and you're so tired and lonely and about at wits' end, it's hard to look to the future and trust that good will come out of what you're suffering. But the Lord sees the future. He doesn't just see the battles, but He sees how the Spirit is working in your life and preparing you for greater victories ahead.

108. The Lord is trying to get you to have a more far–sighted vision, to truly put all of these battles, tests and disappointments in His hands, and be willing to believe and trust that all things do work together for good, because you love the Lord, and He loves you! I know Romans 8:28 is a well-known verse that we quote often‚ but please don't allow yourself to lose the power of this promise by growing familiar with it. The Lord means what He says. All things do work together for good for you personally, and that is a promise that you can cling to and count on, as the loving words of a faithful Husband to His Bride!

109. These trials and losses that nearly tear your heart out may not seem like much of a blessing now‚ but if you can trust the Lord and hang on, with time—emphasis on "with time"—they will be. The Lord will work in the lives of everyone involved, and eventually you will see His promises become a reality for you. Please hang on! Jesus loves you and He won't let you down!

How to Recognize and Get Rid of Bitterness

ML #3170:25-51, Lifelines 24

The Lord Uses Everyone's Mistakes in His Great Plan of Life!

25. (Mama:) Some of you have some complaints about the treatment you've received from leaders; you were hurt, mistreated, misunderstood, etc. Thank the Lord, most of these kinds of problems happened in the past. But still, the hurts are very real, and if you haven't been able to get over them, they're very debilitating. Here's an important message dealing specifically with leaders who have hurt others, but more generally with how the Lord uses everyone's mistakes in His great plan of life.

26. (Jesus speaking:) Yes, at times My leaders and shepherds have made mistakes. For no man, no matter how great or how close to My heart, is without fault. I have created all men to be weak, to make mistakes, to have faults and problems‚ and even to make wrong decisions, to fail. Yet even this is part of My plan, for through these things I teach and I strengthen.

27. But though men may make mistakes, though they may fail, and though they may even cause hurt and pain to others of My children‚ yet know that I make no mistake. Know that even the mistakes of those who love Me, even when they affect others, still work together for My good and My purpose and My plan. For through these things I work in the hearts of all —of those who are chastened, perhaps even harshly or unfairly‚ and of those who mete out the discipline.

28. In time‚ all will come to see the truth and understand all sides of the story, when they come to Me and meet Me in My Kingdom. For this life is only the beginning‚ only the start of the great learning process and the journey of life, the journey to complete spiritual maturity and understanding. You must look beyond this world and this life‚ and know that I have a greater plan, a more complete and full vision, which you could never even begin to conceive of nor understand. So you must not even try to fully comprehend and understand the workings of My Spirit and My hand. You must simply trust, believe, accept, receive, and go on in faith. You must believe My promise that I know, I care, I do all things in love, and I do all things for your good, because I love you and care for you. (End of message from Jesus.)

29. (Peter:) The Lord says everybody makes mistakes, which includes your shepherds, your parents, your friends, your mate, your children, your teamworkers, your Home members, even you! It doesn't matter who you are or how close you are to the Lord, you're going to make mistakes. We're basically flawed creations in the sense that we fail, we hurt others‚ we do things that we shouldn't do. And the things that we should do, we often don't do. Others hurt us and we hurt others, which is why we must forgive and seek forgiveness.

30. Of course, this does not by any stretch of the imagination mean that we should just blow all caution and prayerfulness to the wind, not caring about others or being concerned about how our actions will affect them. The Law of Love is the Scriptural principle that should govern all our actions, and that means we are to love the Lord above all else, and love our neighbor as ourselves. When we're loving our neighbor as ourselves‚ we won't want to hurt him or cause him pain. The Lord can take our hurts and pain and disappointments and bring good out of them, but it's not like we can foolishly or hatefully hurt others, thinking there will be no retribution for our sins or mistakes and it won't matter in the long run because the Lord will cause everything to work together for good. This is another side of Romans 8:28 that I will cover later in this Letter, but right now I want to draw your attention to another very important point.

31. In the prophecy you just read, the Lord is saying that on this Earth, in this life, you'll never be able to understand all the whys and wherefores of everything that's happened to you. You're not going to be able to figure out in your mind why so-and-so did this to you and how they could have done such a thing. You're never going to be able to reconcile it in your mind. You'll never be able to figure out what was going on in everybody's minds and hearts in the situation that allowed these things to happen.

32. But in the life to come, when you see the Lord, you'll come to a complete understanding of it all; perhaps when He reviews your life. Maybe then you can ask about those things you didn't understand, and you'll be able to find out all the whys and wherefores. Maybe He'll let you understand what was going on in the minds of others‚ or He'll help you to better realize what they were going through at that time which caused them to act in a certain way. But for now, you can't and won't fully understand, and you can't let that lack of understanding hold you back.

33. What you need to do now is to put your desire to know and understand all the details about these past hurts behind you, and just let go of them. The Lord says you need to trust, believe, accept, receive, and know that He loves you and cares for you. Even though bad things have happened to you, the Lord wants you to overcome them. He wants to comfort you in them and help you through them.

The Promise of Romans 8:28!

34. A lot of people have a question about the verse Romans 8:28: "All things work together for good to them that love the Lord‚ to them that are called according to His purpose." They feel like the Lord is saying that He wanted or planned all kinds of bad things to happen to them so good things will come from it. They interpret that as if to say, "It was the Lord's will, in fact His plan, for my shepherd to be so harsh with me in the past, or for this or that person to do those things that hurt me so deeply." When we asked the Lord about it‚ this is what He said:

35. (Jesus speaking: ) My precious children‚ how I love you! I have designed the mystery of life for you, My loves, and I have put within the majesty of choice this safeguard of protection for all My children. It's called the promise of Romans 8:28. It's My promise to you that no matter what happens in your life, no matter what the choices of those around you, I can and will perfect My plan in your life and turn all things for your good, as much as you'll let Me. As you love Me and trust Me in yieldedness‚ so am I able to take even bad situations and turn them to your good.

36. It's not that I "will" these bad situations—for I wish all men to learn to love and to live in love. But because man is not perfect, and because you have the majesty of choice and you often make selfish choices, I gave you, My children who love Me, that promise as your safeguard, to know that no matter what the choices of those around you, I am able to turn them into good for you.

37. As I said to My disciples while I was on Earth, "It must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh" (Mat.18:7). In this world there will be injustice, there will be selfishness, and there will be pain and difficulty inflicted on innocent people. But My promise to all My children is that I have the power to overrule the evil, and turn for good any circumstance that you find yourself in.

38. This is one of the mysteries of My Spirit‚ how I have a plan so perfect that it cannot fail, and yet I give to you the majesty of choice and the power to change things according to your choices. But no matter what the choices of those around you, I am able to give you what's best for you. Do you believe that? Do you believe that I know what's best for you? That even though those around you make choices which are not according to My will‚ not according to My laws of love and loving life, I am still able to use them in your life to bring about the best? I am able, and I will—so long as you love Me and trust Me with your life.

39. I will never cause the mistakes of others to deprive you of My best, My highest. It might be delayed, but I will have My way in your life regardless of the choices of others, if you keep the faith, fight, and don't give up. Sometimes what is "best" to Me is different than what you think of as "best." Sometimes My "best" means more brokenness, more compassion, more understanding of others, more humility. All of these qualities are part of My "best" in your life, and sometimes they come through breakings, and sometimes those breakings come through the wrongdoing of others.

40. My children, it is not that I desire you to be hurt, or that I engineer hurtful situations or circumstances, but sometimes through the attacks of the Enemy or the mistakes or sins or wrong decisions of others, you do suffer hurt. Nevertheless, I am able to turn it to good for you. And though I may have to correct others or even punish them for their actions, I am able to turn it to good for them too if they will let Me.

41. Trust in My love, that My plan is perfect‚ and that even when those around you act outside of the circle of My loving law‚ yet I am able to shield you and protect you, and only allow to touch you that which I am able to use for good in your life. Believe in this, My never-failing promise, and be set free! (End of message from Jesus.)

42. (Peter:) Did you notice that in the above message the Lord said, "It's My promise to you that no matter what happens in your life, no matter what the choices of those around you‚ I can and will perfect My plan in your life and turn all things for your good, as much as you'll let Me"? I thought the phrase "as much as you'll let Me" was very interesting. It seems to imply that there are some conditions to this promise‚ or there is something we have to do for Romans 8:28 to be consistently true in our life. The Lord goes on to explain it a bit more‚ saying, "As you love Me and trust Me in yieldedness‚ so am I able to take even bad situations and turn them to your good."

43. Mama and I were curious to have more information from the Lord on this subject. Also, we were eager to have the Lord speak about the Romans 8:28 aspect of problems or difficult situations that we cause or bring upon ourselves, which are different than the ones others cause us. We realize that a lot of anguish in people's lives is due to their remorse over their own bad choices or mistakes, things they alone are responsible for, rather than wrong things that were done to them or where they were the victim of another's wrong choices or unloving actions. Here is the Lord's excellent answer to both of these questions:

44. (Jesus speaking:) The extent to which I am able to use circumstances in your life, and even perfect My will, depends upon you and how much you let Me have full sway in your life. My promise is true and unfailing—that I do all things well, that I will perfect that which concerns you, that all things will work together for good to those who love Me and are called according to My purpose. But the extent to which I'm able to work is up to you.

45. Even as I've promised that I answer prayer—the power of the prayer, and thus the power of the answer—depends upon you. My promise of Romans 8:28—that I will work all things together for your good—is dependent upon the condition of Romans 8:28, that you love Me, and that you're called according to My purpose. If you're not heeding My call and thus not obeying My will, giving your life to Me and letting Me work, then I'm not only unable to turn bad situations for your good, but I'm also unable to bless and reward you, for you're out of My will.

46. But the beauty of the promise is that the moment you come to Me, the moment you fulfill your part of the conditions—loving Me and yielding to Me—I begin to work, and use not only the present circumstances, but also all those of the past for your good. I am able to bring good out of all that has gone before‚ and all that happens presently, and all that will happen in the future, as long as you continue to fulfill the conditions of the promise.

47. Thus is the beauty and mystery of My promise fulfilled, that no matter what mess you find yourself in, no matter what wrongs you've committed or what wrongs have been committed against you, when you're loving Me and yielded to My will‚ My purpose in your life, I am able to turn all things for your good.

48. This doesn't mean that whenever something bad happens it's because you're out of My will. There are many times when I allow something specifically for the purpose of teaching a lesson, or to bring about a greater good, and it's through no fault of your own. But there are other times when you bring the difficulty upon yourself through your own foolishness or unyieldedness, or by straying from the path of My will. Other times it's through the wrong choices of those around you, or through your own wrong choices.

49. But in any case, no matter what the cause of the wrong, as you love Me and yield to My will, My plan, and trust Me for the victory, I am able to use any and all circumstances to perfect My will in your life, and to bring about the victory. The only conditions to this promise are there in the promise—"to those who love Me, and are called according to My purpose." What does that mean, "to be called according to My purpose?" It means simply being in My will, fulfilling My purpose for you.

50. It is not for you to judge My purpose, for sometimes My plan is simply waiting, simply trusting, simply yielding in patience and faith to what's coming next. Sometimes it's passing through the "Valley of Baca" (Psa.84:6) and learning there the lessons I have for you. Sometimes it's heeding My call to a great mission. Other times it's forsaking what's dear to you in order to fulfill My greater plan. Yet other times it's humbly serving in the small place I've given you. But no matter what the circumstance‚ as you fulfill My purpose for you‚ I will turn all things—even seemingly bad, difficult, wrongful circumstances—for your good! This is My promise to you, and it will never fail!

51. If you feel that things have happened in your life that you've not yet seen good come out of, check your heart to see if you're fulfilling My purpose. If you are, then simply wait, and you'll see My promise fulfilled in My time. This is part of being called to My purpose—fulfilling the part I've given you to play in My great plan. Some things you'll not see fulfilled immediately, but the reward of the promise will come. It will come, I say. (End of message from Jesus.)

So You Want to Be a Disciple?

ML #3458:109-115, GN 1043

109. (Mama:) There are many of you in the Family today who went through just as difficult times, trials, and battles as the folks who are out of the Family now and complaining so vocally about their past‚ broadcasting that things they went through in the Family ruined their lives and they should receive compensation for it, etc., and are extremely bitter. But you who are still in the Family are happy, well-adjusted‚ loving individuals who are going on for the Lord and are thankful for the things you went through, because they helped to make you what you are today. It wasn't easy, but because of your attitudes, because you saw the Lord's hand in the battles and problems, the Romans 8:28 in tough times, you've pulled through.

110. Even though people have gone through things that weren't right, things that shouldn't have happened in the first place and weren't good, the Lord has the amazing ability to take things that are bad and shouldn't have even happened and turn them around and actually make something so good out of them that we can say‚ "Thank You, Jesus, that they did happen, because it taught me, trained me, strengthened me, and gave me greater understanding and more compassion on others." That's the miracle of Romans 8:28! It is a miracle‚ a very big miracle. But it transforms you when you accept things that come into your life and you say, "Lord, I know that You allowed these things in my life. You care about me so much that You wouldn't allow anything in my life that wouldn't be good for me in some way in the end, and that You can help me turn into something good for my growth and my blessing."

111. It boils down to your attitude and your faith. It's how you take things and what you make of them. Everybody in the world, whether in or out of the Family, is going to have tough things happen to them, and even bad things, or things other people shouldn't have done to them, but it's an individual choice whether you allow those difficulties to make you better or bitter. The Lord can use those things in your life, if you let Him! And many of you have, because you're still fighting and living for Jesus!

112. You've got to remember that problems aren't caused by being in the Family. Problems happen simply because you're alive. That's what happens in life; there are problems. That's what happens to everyone, whether you're a child or an adult, a male or a female, a Christian or an atheist; there are battles in life. In everyone's life there are going to be battles‚ trials, and difficult things‚ or else we wouldn't build any strength of character. The Lord makes sure that in everybody's life there are rough patches; you can't expect to go through life without having difficulties and battles and trials.

113. The brass-tacks truth is that it's not the circumstances that determine your state; it's your attitude toward them. You become bitter and resentful when you leave the Lord and the Word out of your life, when you fail to see the Romans 8:28 in a situation. Many of you in the Family have gone through super difficult trials and battles, and you've risen above, and the Lord has made you better instead of bitter. That's the difference.

114. It's easy to wish that we as a Family would be perfect in every way, that our whole structure would be ideal with no glitches or mistakes, that we wouldn't have problems in Homes and areas, and we'd have the solution to every problem. Aside from the fact that it's unrealistic to expect such a problem-free life, where's the challenge in that? We'd then become a movement, a church, a group that would not only be stagnant and unmotivated to change, but also a group of people who wouldn't have what it takes to understand others and to help them through their problems and difficulties, thus bringing them salvation—which, after all, is the whole purpose of our existence.

115. We should be thankful for the changes the Lord has brought us through and the faith–testing eras of our history, even though some have been difficult. Such experiences are the things that mature, strengthen and help us—both as individuals and as a missionary movement. I pray desperately that we'll continue to have that spirit of change‚ improvement, progression, and strengthening our foundation through the battles.


#187, 353, 385‚ 393

FJWL 1:187

My ways are as high as the heavens above, higher than the ways of man. Many things that you interpret as punishment are Me granting your heart's desires! What you often call punishment, I call a gift! Be not as a blind man who cannot see when I pour out My gifts. When you ask for bread I will not give you a stone, and I do pour out many gifts in answer to your prayers.

When you ask for more love and I put that difficult personality in your path‚ that one person who needs more care and greater understanding—this is from My hand‚ that I may shower you with My gift of love. I give you gifts of patience in many forms as you pass through the trials and tests that are set before you. And My gift of humility is your great reward only as you walk the humble road.

When you feel weak and incapable and insufficient in yourself, as you lie stripped of all earthly strength, this is My gift of weakness, that you may find My strength. When you say you want to love Me above all else and you desire Me as your most intimate spouse, think it not strange that I grant you the gift of loneliness, for with this gift you become My intimate bride, with all other distractions aside.

When you find yourself in seemingly impossible situations and the tasks before you appear too big, too hard for your human hands‚ this is when I give you My gift of faith, and My gift of divine power. To some I give the gift of affliction, that you may come to know My healing power.

When you feel lost and misunderstood, I am able to pour out My gift of understanding to you. When you feel down and discouraged, I am able to grant you the gift of encouragement. I pour My gift of praise on those who feel at wits' end corner. Gifts of mercy do I bestow on those who stumble and fall.

So many gifts I give to you—and in all these, I pour out the gift of greater closeness to Me, of coming to My arms, of greater intimacy and hearing My voice, of greater enlightenment and love. Therefore, My love, do not question My gifts of love to you. And although at times you only see through a glass darkly, know that as you continue to walk, as you continue to trust, all things will become clearer.

FJWL 1:353

Remember that there are cycles that you pass through. When you are in the lowest part of the cycle‚ that is when you must cry out to Me and hang on to Me and trust Me the most‚ because all around you looks like tests and trials, like defeat and discouragement. That is when you must look to Me, and I will guide you and direct you to bring you out of that portion of the cycle, and into the victorious portion.

When all is dark and you cannot see, when all seems to be defeat, or when there are problems that you are facing that you do not see the answers to, just seek Me and trust Me, for I will show you. I promise you this: If you call out to Me, I will answer, and I will show you great and mighty things that you know not!

So do not look at these setbacks, these tests, these difficulties as defeat; look at them as stepping stones to victory, stepping stones to progress. If you didn't have some of these tests and trials, you would become complacent, you would not strive to move forward, you would not try to solve the problems, you would not desperately seek Me for the solutions, for the answers. But I have allowed things to happen around you to move you.

So don't be fearful or worried, but rather be challenged, and know beyond the shadow of a doubt that My answers are there, and that as you seek Me, I will pull you out of that portion of the cycle and into the other. But if you seek Me not‚ if you do not take up the challenge‚ if you do not cry out to Me, if you do not look to Me for the answer, if you do not desperately cry out to Me, then I cannot bring you through the cycle. Because this is the dynamics of the cycle—that you must cry out and call out and seek Me and face the challenge, so that it brings forth the victory (ML #3071).

FJWL 1:385

I know it looks to you like it's really been a hard time, and it has. It looks to you like things have really messed up—you messed up, others messed up, and you ended up in a messed-up situation.

But you know what? I don't see it that way. I see it differently than you see it, and I have a plan. There is a reason why I have allowed all of this to happen. Do you want to know the reason? It's because it's another step in your growth. Every day I'm teaching you and helping you to learn more, to depend on Me more, and to grow you up into a strong disciple of God.

I know you've been discouraged and you've made mistakes, but that's okay; that's how you learn! You're learning patience, you're learning perseverance, you're learning how to make decisions. You're seeing how much it means to serve Me, how much you want to serve Me, and how much you are willing to do anything for it. I am very pleased with this.

This time is just to strengthen you and to make you into the strong disciple I know you can be. I know it's hard‚ and you look around you and it just doesn't seem like the greatest situation‚ or like it's working out very well. But you don't have to worry, because I'm right there. You can talk to Me about it any time, every day, and if you listen, I'll talk back to you. We can talk together and I'll help you solve your problems. I'll give you the faith and the perseverance that you need for this time.

FJWL 1:393

(Dad: ) Any of you who feel left out or misunderstood, or you haven't been able to find your place, or you don't have anyone to pour out to, you must believe in the Lord's love for you, and do not doubt, thinking you have been passed by. You must have faith and trust that the Lord is in control of your life no matter what happens. Everyone has their share of blessings‚ heartaches and hardships; that's part of the Lord's training for you. The Lord doesn't make life harder for some than others just to be mean or cruel or to punish people! You must trust in His love. Do you think that the Lord blesses some people more than others out of favoritism, or to give some more training than others and leave others out? This would be to say that the Lord is partial and selective in His love, and He is not.

Great planning, detail, and care goes into each of your lives. There's nothing about you that is not known to Him. There's no detail in your life that is not seen by Him. There's no thought that is not heard, no action that goes unsurveyed. Nothing happens to you by accident. So you must trust and believe that the Lord is watching over you and that He loves you (ML #3052).


#63, 163, 276, 332, 344, 407‚ 440, 570, 583

FJWL 2:63

(Dad: ) Don't worry, sweet ones, about the battles that you face—these times of testing and these times of weakness. It's only the Lord's tender hand upon you. It's only the making of a man and the making of a woman, that He might use you more greatly. As hard as it is, it is inevitable that you must go through these breakings if you want to be truly great in His Kingdom. He must make you weak. He must make you desperate. He must humble you before Him and before the people before He can make you truly great. Then you will know that your greatness is only from Him, from His Spirit, from His wisdom, and from His love.

So don't kick against the pricks and be angry or bitter at the Lord for these testings‚ for they are only for a time. You will rejoice and be grateful when you see the precious lessons that He has taught you. When you begin to pour out these lessons and teach others‚ then you will see the value of these times of testing. Then you will be able to say, "Yes, I know what you feel. Yes, I know what you mean. Yes, I have been there myself." You will be able to point people to the Lord. You will be able to lift up and encourage others as you have been lifted up and encouraged by the Lord.

So know that this is all for a purpose and it is all part of a plan. You're in His hands and He will perfect that which concerns you. Keep fighting! Keep loving! Keep being a testimony of trusting the Lord. I love you! I'm proud of you! You're children to be proud of!

FJWL 2:163

Open your hearts and receive My will. Accept that what I do is for the best, and is out of My love for you. Then you will look back and see My hand, and know that in wisdom I did these things. In great wisdom I planned them and brought them to pass so that you would be drawn closer to Me and strengthened, and that you might grow.

For you have need of Me. You need to be closer to Me, to love Me more; therefore I do these things. For I am nigh to you when your heart is broken. I love a broken heart. I am a Friend of the brokenhearted. I break the hearts and I do mend them‚ and when I mend them they are stronger and better fit for the purpose for which they were created. In breaking them I can remake them. I can fill them with compassion, love, understanding and concern for the needs of others.

I need you to be carriers of My love‚ but you must carry this love in your hearts, not in your minds. I must know that you are willing to let Me pour love through you, and that you're willing to let My love flow through you freely. Therefore in breaking your hearts, I remake them. I create them to be channels through which My love flows freely, unhindered, and bears much fruit, quenches thirst, fills the hungry‚ binds up the wounds, mends the broken hearts, and sets the captives free.

FJWL 2:276

It makes Me so sad to see you when you do not have your face turned up toward Me, and the clouds of gloom and problems gather over your head. There are clouds of frustration and anger‚ of uncertainty, of anxiety, and different problems. Sometimes there are clouds of contention, and they rain down upon you big drops of anger and frustration and unloving words. This is when I see a very unhappy, resentful, angry and frustrated little flower, who thinks of plucking herself up by the roots and removing herself from the garden where I have placed her.

You don't yet understand that I have allowed the stormy clouds and the big drops of rain to fall on you—not to beat you down, not to discourage you and break your stem, not to frustrate you to the point of making you want to leave the garden, but to strengthen you, My strong, beautiful little plant; to cause your roots to grow down deeper into the soil to take hold of it and to be able to receive nourishment; to make your stem grow strong and tall with new leaves so that it will be able to stand strong in the greater storms that are yet to come; to teach you to keep your face turned toward Me expectantly in faith and with trust‚ even during the times you cannot see and feel My sunshine because it is obscured by the passing clouds and rain and storm.

These heavy clouds and seemingly relentless rains that trouble you so are what I am using to teach you and to grow you into a tall, strong‚ fine plant—a beautiful, brilliant flower that blossoms, and continues to blossom and brings forth more beauty, and that will fill its very important place in the garden of My Kingdom.

So, My dear little flower, when the thick clouds roll in overhead, and drops of dark rain begin falling upon your bright and cheery head, turn your face up toward Me in faith! Look past those dark clouds and those big drops falling on your face, and expect to receive the warm light and sunshine. Open your mouth to receive and feed on the golden drops of sunshine of My Words, and you will grow strong and tall and full and bright and happy!

FJWL 2:332

(Dad:) I know that you've really gone through a lot. You've walked some rocky roads, especially for your young years. But believe me, the Lord knows your every hardship, every difficulty you've passed through, every time you've stumbled and fallen, and He's going to reward you for it. He's going to make it up to you, above and beyond your wildest dreams! He'll do that because you've been faithful‚ you've stuck, you've held on and you've persevered, even under very trying circumstances.

I'm sorry for all that you've been through. I'm sorry for the hurt that you've had to endure. I'm sorry for the things you didn't understand when you were a kid growing up, for how things didn't always go the right way, and the people around you weren't always loving or kind, and sometimes you were treated harshly or unfairly. Consequently you were hurt or disillusioned. It breaks my heart to see all that you've gone through and to see the obstacles that you had to hurdle to get where you are now.

But it's all the more credit to you! If your life had been a piece of cake and a breeze and problem–free, then you would never have attained to any victory! There would never have been any race to run, and no chance of winning a medal! God allowed it for your benefit, so that He could teach you, strengthen you and be close to you, from when you were little. He allowed it so you could feel His presence, so you could feel His love, so you could know beyond the shadow of a doubt that He was there, right with you.

It all comes down to preparation! The Lord is preparing you for the job He has for you. You're special to Him, and that's why He's invested so much time in you—working in your life‚ speaking to your heart, preparing you for the days to come.

Sometimes you feel like the things you've learned or the hard knocks that you've been through are things that aren't going to benefit anyone. You feel they're not going to be of use to anyone, and they're not going to help you in any of your future service for the Lord. Well, that's just not true! You can't see ahead. You don't know what the Lord has in store!

It's like the Letter "Hold On!" You've just had to hold on step by step, day by day‚ through your trials, tests, purgings, breakings, and the things you didn't understand. God's pretty smart! He doesn't let us know what's around the corner, what's just around the bend in the road. Otherwise it wouldn't be a valid test. It wouldn't be a real struggle.

If you knew what reward awaited you‚ you'd be more than willing to persevere‚ you'd be happy to suffer afflictions. I've talked about this in my Letters! It's the same principle! But you've just gotta keep your eyes on the goal, on the Heavenly vision, on the greater things that are to come! Believe me, they're there!

FJWL 2:344

Did you not ask for more faith? Be not alarmed therefore at My answer. Fear not that I allow Satan to put on the pressure, for otherwise, how would your faith be tested? If the pressure were not there, you would not be able to avail yourself of the faith that I am able to give. If the tests did not come, your faith would not grow. If the trials were not there, the great grace that I have put within you would go undiscovered. If not for the squeezing and the crushing of the flower, the sweet perfume would not be brought forth. It is through the fierce storms and raging gales that I am able to root the mighty oak firmly in the soil.

Did you not ask for more power in your life? How would I be able to produce My full power through you if the pressure were not applied? It is in the turning and the grinding of the wheels of trial that friction is produced, so I am able to release My power in greatest force. It is through this turning, this pressure, this rubbing, this friction in your life that the electrical current of My power is ignited and comes through in its strongest force.

It is through these tests that I will show My hand strong to pull you up. Only as Satan fields his strongest forces against you are you able to know the strongest grip of My right hand as I pull you up out of the pit which he is trying to cast you into. It is only through strong opposition that you are able to avail yourself of My greatest show of force and power in your life.

Look to the Heavens. Are not My planets and celestial bodies kept in orbit through opposing forces? So am I able to keep you in the orbit of My will even through these forces that would seek to oppose you.

My strongest display of power is wrought through this opposition in your life. For as you lean on Me to bring you through these very tests that try you, wings are born out of weights.

You must not try to escape the pressure. I am able to help you harness the pressure. I am able to channel the pressure so that it will produce My power through you. This you do through the power of prayer. Through prayer and claiming My promises and leaning on and upholding each other you are able to rise above it all. Therefore channel the pressure! Through your prayer power, I am able to harness the pressure as I generate the electrical current of My power in you.

When you ask for more power, fear not the pressure that must be applied to produce such power! Only channel the pressure and continue on in faith. Be glad and rejoice for the surge of power that will come as a result of such pressure.

FJWL 2:407

Be not troubled at the seeming trials and tribulations, the rough spots and ragged trails that are before the brethren. All things are of Me, and all things come of My hand to accomplish that which I have sent them to do. In this, learn the secret. Have I not promised that I would give My children faith to remove mountains, that they may call down fire from Heaven in that great and terrible day? How would so great a faith come if there were no trials to test it and prove it?

Have I not said that in the patience of My beloved children they would possess their souls? How would so great a treasure of patience come without burdens to bear, causing patience to grow and have her perfect work? Am I not a faithful guide Who is preparing My children that they might stand head and shoulders amongst their brethren in the world? Am I not preparing them with My loving hand in the form of valued experience? How would experience come without tribulations?

If you are willing to pass these tests of shepherding and bearing the burdens of others, these tests of standing strong in the face of discouragement and frustration, these tests of love and giving and sharing and putting your own personal desires aside to love another, these tests of standing up to peer pressure and worldliness, these tests of willingness and yieldedness and utter obedience to My will—if you are willing to pass all these tests, you will be ready to fulfill all I have prepared for you. For through these trials and tribulations, tests and breakings, you, My special anointed ones, are able to grow into the ministry I have set before you.

Fear not the testings, for they are to make you stronger. With each test and trial there is a victory. It is My promise and My plan, that the power of God may be manifested in you.

FJWL 2:440

There are many different reasons and causes for tests and trials: Some are due to the choices that people make, choices which are out of My hands and out of My control. Some are due to people's lack of love and their disobedience to My Word. Some are from the hand of the Enemy, but with My permission, as a test and a trial. Some are the natural consequences of decisions that have been made, decisions that were not of Me, that were not in accordance with My Law of Love, decisions that were not loving and sacrificial and based upon the principles of My Word.

Difficulties, tests, trials, heartbreaks, suffering and disappointments come from many causes and for many reasons, but regardless of why they have come or what the reason, you can rest assured that all things work together for good to them that love Me. Because you love Me I can take even these trials and turn them into blessings.

If you could see as I can see—beyond today, beyond this moment‚ beyond the pain which you are feeling—then you would better be able to understand why trials equal blessings. You would better be able to understand why this loss‚ this ache in your heart, this time when you are being sorely tempted and tested, will with time become a blessing to you.

The secret to understanding, the key to understanding, is in the phrase "with time." As you believe by faith that My hand is on your life and that all things work together for good, with time, that which you believe by faith you will understand and see, and it will become a reality in your life. (ML #3071)

FJWL 2:570

I wish that you would give thanks to Me in all things. For I do not allow anything to happen by accident to you, My children‚ who know Me and love Me. I would that you give Me thanks in all things so that My power may be manifest in you.

The sufferings‚ trials, distresses or tribulations that I send from My hand, I allow as catalysts that they might move you into greater awareness of My mighty power, that you may grow into intimate closeness with Me. Many times you miss the blessing because you do not give Me thanks in all things. This causes you to look away from Me, and your eyes become clouded. For when you are able to see My hand in all things, then you are able to have clear vision.

Therefore you must take this first and all-important step of giving Me thanks in all things, acknowledging that all things come of Me, and all things are in My hand. Know in your heart that all things work together for good to My children who love Me, and in this you do well. As you put on the glasses of faith and the voice of praise, then I am able to move you into a greater understanding. Have I not promised that I would reveal the secrets of hidden treasures to you? Know therefore that all things come from My hand to you, who love Me. All power, all glory and majesty are Mine in the Heavens and in the Earth. I, Who have numbered even the very hairs of your head‚ do all things well concerning you, My children.

FJWL 2:583

Do not confuse My purpose in allowing disappointments with the results that come about by your own free will and choice. It is often the results of such problems and disappointments that I get the blame for, but the results are determined by your own decisions and choices. Satan lies as he points with accusing finger and says‚ "Look at these results. Look at that loved one who is bitter, or at him who is grieved and cannot find relief. How can so great a God allow such torment?" Be not confused in this. For those who turn to Me and see My purpose, who give thanks to Me in all things and look to Me to carry them through, I give relief and bring about a greater purpose in life. But those who refuse to glorify Me in all things cut themselves off from My grace and strength to carry them through.

I send disappointments and trials with a purpose, that out of ashes you may come to know My beauties and glory. In these distresses I bring you to the point of decision. Each person through each suffering or disappointment is brought to the line of decision.—That is‚ to look to Me and give Me thanks in all things, that through the voice of praise and thanksgiving you may continue on over the bridge into the light of a brighter and more glorious day; or to fall to the lies and trickery of Satan and place the blame on Me or on others‚ and thereby stunt your growth and progress.

My desired results are many times delayed according to your own decisions, through a lack of acknowledging Me, praising Me and thanking Me in all things, a lack of seeing all things as from My hand, a lack of looking to Me and seeing through My perspective. This is when the ugly results of hardness of heart and roots of bitterness spring up. This is a dangerous position to take. For in failing to praise Me‚ acknowledge Me and give Me thanks in all things, those who make this choice must search for someone else to blame for sorrows‚ trials and tests. If not others, then Me. This is the deception of Satan.

To you, My children, who know Me and love Me, all things work together for good. Nothing happens by accident. Fall not for the temptations of Satan when he tempts you to question your Maker. Be not as the clay that says to the potter, "Why have you fashioned me thus?" Question not My ways that are higher than your ways, for I do all things well concerning My children.

All Things Work Together for Your Good

pages 93-101, Treasures

1. One of the most encouraging and comforting things that a Christian needs to realize and constantly remember—particularly when he's going through times of trouble, trials and tribulations—is that our Heavenly Father LOVES us, and is in absolute and total control of our lives!—And that NOTHING can happen to us without HIS will or HIS permission! So even if WE don't always understand exactly why we're going through such trials, GOD knows what He's doing! He knows all the purposes and reasons behind every test, trial, affliction etc.

2. He promises us in His Word, "ALL THINGS work together for GOOD to them that love God."—Romans 8:28. A-L-L‚ ALL! He will never let anything happen to you, His child‚ except that which is for your GOOD! Of course, you may be tempted to feel like, "Goodness gracious!—A LOT of things have happened that don't look very good to me!" Well, I dare say that you finally found out sooner or later that somehow or another they WERE good for you.—Or you will YET!

3. The following true story beautifully illustrates this principle:

One chilly winter morning, a fishing fleet launched out from a small harbor on the east coast of Newfoundland. In the afternoon there arose a great storm. When night settled, not a single vessel of all the fleet had found its way back into port.

4. All night long, wives, mothers‚ children ' sweethearts paced up ' down the windswept beach‚ wringing their hands ’ calling on God to save their lost loved ones. To add to the horror of the situation, one of their cottages caught fire. Since the men were away‚ it was impossible to put out the blaze ' save it.

5. When morning broke, to the joy of all, the entire fleet had returned safely to harbor in the bay. But there was one face which was a picture of despair—the wife of the man whose home had been destroyed in the fire.

6. Meeting her husband as he landed, she cried, "Oh, Honey, we are RUINED! Our home ' everything in it was destroyed by fire!" But the man exclaimed to her surprise, "THANK GOD for that fire! It was the light of our burning cottage that safely guided the whole fleet into port!"

7. Jesus has told us, "I am with you ALWAYS, even unto the END of the World."—Matthew 28:20. He also promises, "I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you!"—Hebrews 13:5. Even through the DARKEST and most trying times, the Lord is always "a Friend that sticks closer than a brother!"—Proverbs 18:24. "Yea, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of DEATH, I will fear no evil, for THOU art WITH me!"—Psalm 23:4. No matter WHAT hard turns your road may take, Jesus is WITH you‚ He CARES and He will somehow work even the seemingly darkest and most discouraging circumstances and conditions together for your good.—He's PROMISED to!

8. Sometimes we stand at life's crossroad‚

And view what we think is the END,

But GOD has a much BIGGER vision

And He tells us it's only a BEND.

—For the road goes on ' is smoother,

And the pause in the song is a rest,

And the part that's unsung ' unfinished

Is the sweetest ' richest ' best!

So rest ' relax ' grow stronger,

Let go ’ let God share your load,

Your work is not finished or ended,

You've just come to a BEND in the road!

9. We know that the Lord loves us and that He is always willing to do His best to help us if we are doing our best to obey Him. Therefore‚ when things aren't going quite right, we know it's not God's fault, but that He is probably trying to teach us some thing; or perhaps we are missing the mark somehow, failing in some area or mistaken in some way about the way we're doing things.

10. So the first thing to do when things begin going wrong is to look to the Lord and PRAY, ask Him what we could be doing wrong, or how we could do things BETTER, or if we're making some kind of mistake or in some way actually DISOBEYING Him.

11. God's Word tells us that "the curse undeserved shall not come" (Proverbs 26:2), which means that troubles‚ accidents‚ problems etc. don't just "happen" to Christians!—A Christian doesn't HAVE accidents! If seemingly bad things befall us, God allows them for a PURPOSE‚ a REASON, although it may not always be revealed or understood by us immediately!

12. Things don't just happen to Children of God,

They're part of a wonderful PLAN;

The troubles, reverses, the sorrows‚ the rod

Are strokes of the Great Sculptor's hand

Things don't just happen to Children of God,

The blueprint was made by HIS hand;

He designed all the details to conform to His Son;

So all things that happen are PLANNED.

No matter what happens to those called "His Own",

Events that are awful or grand;

Every trial of your life He sends from His throne;

Things don't just happen, they're PLANNED!

13. The Lord often allows seemingly "bad" things to happen to us to draw us CLOSER to Him, to keep us HUMBLE ' more DEPENDENT on HIM, such as what the Bible calls "CHASTENINGS", or spankings from the Lord. Like any good father, it hurts Him to see His children disobey and go astray‚ because He loves us, and He knows that our disobedience and wrong-doings hurt US. So He tries in love to correct us.

14. If a sheep insists on wandering away from the Shepherd and away from the fold‚ away from the right path, a loving whack from the shepherd's rod is often what it takes to cause that sheep to return to where it belongs.

15. Of course, most of us don't usually feel that a spanking is very GOOD news, but the Lord says, "Whom the Lord LOVES, He chastens, and punishes every son whom He receives. And though no chastening AT THE TIME seems PLEASANT, but PAINFUL, nevertheless AFTERWARDS it produces a harvest of RIGHTEOUSNESS and PEACE for those who have been trained by it!"—Hebrews 12:6,11.

16. So even though a spanking or chastening from the Lord certainly doesn't feel like a good thing when you GET it, it's good FOR you!—Especially if it causes you to repent of your erring ways and return to the Lord. The Lord uses chastisements because He LOVES us and He knows that they are needed to keep us in line, to keep us in shape and to keep us close to Him. And though they are hard for us to take sometimes, they are a token of His LOVE‚ His "intolerable compliment"‚ and are a necessary part of our training that definitely works together for our good!

17. Sometimes God has to let things happen to us just to get our ATTENTION!—Particularly if we are too distracted and thinking about too many other things, "the cares, the riches and the pleasures of this life."—Luke 8:14. When we're too concerned or worried about this, that and the other, and our minds are off of the Lord, He often allows things to happen to sort of JOLT and wake us up to the real ETERNAL values: HIM and His WORD and His WORK!

18. The great Psalmist, King David‚ realized this when HE was chastened and afflicted, and he wrote‚ "BEFORE I was AFFLICTED‚ I went ASTRAY; but NOW have I kept Thy WORD!—It is GOOD for me that I have been afflicted, that I might LEARN Thy STATUTES!"—Psalm 119:67‚71.

19. Of course, sometimes the Lord allows things to happen that disappoint or look bad to us, not as a chastisement, but because He mercifully wants to SPARE us from serious danger or trouble that we would get ourselves into were things to go OUR way. Often he does not answer our prayers the way we want Him to because He sees AHEAD, and knows that our desires would hurt and harm us were we to get them.

20. The Lord's answers to our prayers are infinitely perfect, and they will show that often when we were asking for a stone that looked to us like bread, He was giving us bread that to our shortsightedness looked like a stone! (See Matthew 7:7-11.) The following story illustrates this perfectly:

21. One stormy winter night in 1910, a group of traveling Christian musicians arrived at the city of Riga, on the Baltic Sea, to fulfill a concert engagement.

22. The weather was so bad, however, and the concert hall so far out of town‚ that the conductor of the orchestra tried to persuade the manager of the music hall to cancel the concert. He felt that no one would venture out on such a terribly stormy and wild night.

23. The manager refused to cancel, but he agreed that if no one turned up, the orchestra could leave early in order to catch the night boat for Helsinki, Finland.

24. When the musicians arrived at the concert hall, they found only ONE person sitting in the audience, a stout old gentleman who seemed to smile at everyone.

25. Because of this old music-lover, the musicians were forced to play the entire concert. They were, therefore, unable to leave early and catch the boat.

26. After the concert was over, the old man continued to keep his seat. Thinking he was asleep, an usher nudged his shoulder. Only then was it discovered that the old man was not alive. The musicians had played an entire concert for a DEAD man!

27. But in doing this, they also had saved their lives. For the boat they would have taken to Helsinki went down that stormy night, ' all crew members were drowned.

28. So although His children in that orchestra had earnestly hoped to avoid playing in that concert so they could catch the boat‚ the Lord knew better than they did, ' used these seemingly disappointing circumstances to spare them from disaster!

29. Another reason that the Lord sometimes allows seemingly bad things to happen to us is simply to HUMBLE us and BREAK us so He can REMAKE us into what HE wants us to be.

30. Many times the Bible likens the Lord unto a POTTER, and us unto the CLAY in His hands.—Isaiah 45:9; 64:8; Romans 9:20,21.—Clay which He desires to form into a vessel that is "fit for the Master's use!"—2Timothy 2:21. But often when a potter is working with clay, when he is forming a vessel and discovers an imperfection or a mistake, a lump or a mar, he will take that same clay and CRUSH it, then add water to soften it again so he can knead it, rework it and remake it. He mashes it‚ crushes it and squeezes it until it's nice soft moldable clay again.—Then he can remake it into a NEW and a BETTER vessel since the first one didn't turn out quite right.

31. "And the vessel that the potter made of clay was MARRED in the hand of the potter: So he made it again into ANOTHER vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make it.—'O My people‚ can I not do with YOU as the POTTER does with his clay? Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are YOU in MY hand!'"—Jeremiah 18:4,6.

32. At first, it probably doesn't seem like a very good thing to that vessel, when its maker suddenly starts mashing and smashing and crushing and remaking it, but in the long run it becomes a BETTER vessel for it.—It "works together for its good"!

33. The Lord often allows some things to happen to us to TEST us and TRY us‚ to PURGE us and to make us BETTER vessels, so we will be more useful for His service‚ more humble and more loving. He puts us through FIERY trials to burn out the DROSS‚ and through the STORMS of testing to blow away the CHAFF, and through DEEP WATERS so we can learn to SWIM! The Lord uses such tests to give us great victories‚ even out of seeming defeats, because the trials cause us to draw closer to Him and to cry out to Him and really seek Him with ALL of our hearts.—Otherwise we have a tendency to sort of rock along with business as usual.

34. So the storms and the fires and the trials and tribulations of this life are all GOOD for us because they test our strength and determination, and give us a chance to FIGHT the Devil!—To see if we'll give up and lose faith, or if we'll keep on "FIGHTING the fight of faith" and trusting the Lord in spite of it all!—1Timothy 6:12. He often allows us to have our faith and our patience tested to see how much we will really "STIR ourselves up" to CALL upon HIM for HIS help and HIS strength.—Isaiah 64:7.

35. Of course, when the Lord allows us to go through a big trial or trouble, it's a real TEST, and sad to say, it often ends in COMPLAINING and MURMURING‚ and people sometimes hold it against God! Instead of really LEARNING the LESSONS that He wants to teach them from their troubles or sicknesses or whatever He has allowed, they murmur and ask, "God‚ WHY did You do this to ME?", instead of, "Lord, why did I DESERVE this?—Why did I NEED it?" They're almost OFFENDED at God for letting things happen to them, instead of realizing that God is DEALING with them and trying to SHOW them something.

36. Some people are so self-righteous, they wonder, "How could God do such a thing to ME? How could the Lord treat ME this way when I'M so GOOD to HIM?" They actually RESENT it, just like JOB did when the Lord first started dealing with him. (See "THE IMPATIENCE OF JOB!") Look what the Lord had to put Job through before he was finally humbled and confessed that he wasn't more righteous than God!

37. SELF-RIGHTEOUS people always blame GOD for all their problems instead of themselves, or instead of accepting it for whatever reason God is allowing it and thereby learning their lessons. Some people with problems or troubles are always going around saying, "Why? Why?—WHY has God done this to me? WHY does God let me suffer like this?—I've tried to be good ' do this and that for God, but I'm STILL suffering! He STILL hasn't delivered me! Why NOT?" Well‚ when people start asking God why in THAT kind of spirit, it is pure SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS!

38. God HATES such murmuring‚ complaining and self-righteousness, and He destroyed a whole generation of MILLIONS of Jews in the Sinaitic desert because of their murmuring and pretending to be more righteous than God! "WE wouldn't have done this, God. Why did YOU do this to us, God? WE would have been GOODER than YOU are‚ God!"

39. It's the DEVIL'S business to use such tests and trials to try to convince you that God doesn't love you and that He doesn't answer prayer! The Lord ALLOWS the Enemy to do it in order to test your faith and to see how much you really love the Lord and what PRICE you're willing to PAY to serve Him!—To see if you will "CURSE God and DIE", as Job's doubting wife told him to do, or if you will love the Lord ANYWAY and proclaim‚ "Even though He SLAYS me‚ yet I will still TRUST Him!", like Job did!—DESPITE the trials!—Job 2:9; 13:15.

40. Trials and tests will either make you HARDENED and BITTER, or HUMBLED and BETTER!—One or the other! So when faced with tests, trials and tribulations‚ watch out that you don't harden your heart, that you don't get bitter and resentful against the Lord. His Word says, "Look diligently, lest any man fail the grace of God, lest any ROOT OF BITTERNESS spring up and TROUBLE you, and through it, MANY be DEFILED!"—Hebrews 12:15.

41. HARDENING your heart is NOT the solution! He says, "Harden NOT your hearts!"—Hebrews 3:15. But rather, "Cast your burdens upon the LORD, and HE shall sustain you! SEEK the LORD while He may be found, CALL upon HIM while He is near! For the Lord is CLOSE to them that are of a BROKEN heart, and SAVES such as be of a BROKEN and HUMBLE spirit!"—Psalm 55:22;34:18; Isaiah 55:6.

42. WHATEVER God does, He always does it in LOVE.—And as we said earlier, He will never allow ANYTHING to happen to you that is not for your GOOD, for truly, "ALL things do work together for good to them that love God!"—Romans 8:28.

43. So when things look DARKEST, DON'T look DOWN.—Look UP! Don't murmur and complain! But start PRAISING the Lord, and you can often praise your way right out of the pit of doubt, defeat and discouragement into which the Devil is trying to cast you! The Lord LOVES praise and thanksgiving. His Word says that He DWELLS in the PRAISES of His people!—Psalm 22:3.

44. Doubt, fear, discouragement and murmuring KILL! But faith, trust, courage and praising the Lord brings LIFE! So let's try to TAKE our testings and our temptations graciously, and even gratefully! The Lord promises that He will NEVER give you more than you are able to BEAR‚ and that He will always make a way of ESCAPE.—Somehow He will always make it easier for you or at least help you to bear it if you call on Him for help. He says, "There has no temptation come upon you except what is COMMON to man. But GOD is FAITHFUL‚ Who will NOT allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to ESCAPE, that you may be able to BEAR it!"—1Corinthians 10:13.

45. "But oh!" you may say, "I don't see how I can possibly bear THIS trial, THIS chastening, THIS test, it's TOO BIG for me to handle!" Well, look at the trial the Lord let His Prophet, JONAH, go through after he refused to obey the Lord and go and warn the wicked city of Nineveh as God had commanded him. A gigantic WHALE swallowed him up, and he thought that he was FINISHED!—But that same whale that gobbled him up was the means whereby God brought him safely to land!—It was a BLESSING in disguise! For three long days and nights Jonah was in the belly of that whale, but when he finally quit complaining‚ yielded to the Lord and began to THANK and PRAISE God, the Lord commanded the whale to spit Jonah out on dry land‚ and he was DELIVERED! (See Jonah 1 and 2.)

46. So always remember, the Lord LOVES you, and life's DARKEST hour is often just before DAWN! WHATEVER trials may befall you, don't despair, don't give up, don't lose hope!—But look to JESUS in your time of trial, claim and cling to His promises and believe His Word—that whatever it is you're going through, He will truly work it together for your GOOD—and He WILL! He HAS to, it's His PROMISE! He NEVER fails! Amen? GOD BLESS YOU!

Makings by Breakings

pages 723–726, Treasures

1. For those of us who know and love Jesus, our whole experience in this life is like a great SCHOOLING. The LORD is our Teacher Who wants to teach each of us all we need to know about Him and His Love, salvation and service, and to help us to be yielded to Him and obedient to His Word.

2. God knows that none of us will ever be able to really accomplish anything for Him and His Heavenly Kingdom in our OWN strength. In fact, Jesus said, "Without ME you can do NOTHING." (John 15:5) But the Bible says that we "CAN do ALL things through CHRIST!" (Philippians 4:13) If we will simply YIELD to the Lord and be truly WILLING to be whatever God may want us to be—not what we are, but what GOD wants us to be—THEN He can mightily use us!

3. Of course, to become willing‚ yielded and submitted to the Lord is not something that we learn overnight. It takes time, it takes breakings‚ it takes suffering. And it takes lessons and experiences that make us desperate and cause us to draw closer to Him.

4. The list is almost endless of all the men in the Bible whom God had to humble BEFORE He could use them, of all the leaders God had to bring down to the depths before they could stand to be exalted—lest they would have taken credit to themselves and not given God the glory!

5. Look at JOSEPH!—Of Jacob's 12 sons‚ he was his father's favorite. His elder brothers finally became so jealous of him that they nearly killed him, threw him into a pit, and then sold him into slavery!—But that's what the Lord USED to humble him. Joseph had to be made a slave and a prisoner and be condemned as a criminal before God was able to exalt him to become the savior of His people! (Genesis 37,39-41)

6. And look at MOSES!—For 40 years he was groomed in the very courts of Pharaoh, and rose to become the second most powerful man in all of the mighty world empire of ancient Egypt. The Bible says he was "educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22), but God could not yet use him to lead His people to freedom, for he was full of the ways of the WORLD and not the ways of GOD. Moses had to be BROKEN first, and God allowed him to become a FUGITIVE from Pharaoh, and he had to spend 40 YEARS in the wilderness doing nothing but tending sheep, before he was finally broken and humble enough for God to use him for the task He had designed him for! (Exodus Chapters 2 ' 3)

7. And consider King DAVID, the greatest king that Israel ever had: When he fell in love with Bathsheba, purposely had her husband killed in battle, and then tried to lie and cover up the entire crime, God had to completely EXPOSE him, HUMBLE him and severely JUDGE him!—And he soon was driven from the throne by his own traitorous son‚ Absalom. (2Samuel Chapters 11,12, ’ 15)

8. But was David's fall really a fall DOWNWARD, or a fall UPWARD? God's way up is sometimes down—USUALLY in fact!—Just the opposite of what we think! And David was humbled, and the whole kingdom was humbled, and they were all reminded that it was only the LORD Who made them great! And from that squeezing and twisting of David's life came forth the sweet honey of the PSALMS, and the fragrance of His praises to the Lord for His mercy!

9. The great, brave and mighty prophet, ELIJAH, was able to call down fire from Heaven to confound the false prophets of Baal and to prove that he was right! (1Kings 18) But after slaying hundreds of false prophets, he panicked and ran away from one little woman, the wicked Queen Jezebel! Hiding out in the wilderness, he became so discouraged that he wished that he might die! But there in his time of desperation, this prophet of fire and thunder became a meek little man who learned to listen to the still, small voice of God! And he became a much better‚ humbler instrument in the hands of the Lord.—A prophet who fearlessly returned to face not only the queen‚ but the king and all of their soldiers!

10. And look at the Apostle PETER!—He swore to Jesus, "Though all others forsake You, I am ready to go with you both to PRISON and to DEATH!" (John 13:37; Luke 22:33) But just a few hours later, when Jesus was seized by the Temple guards and hauled before the Jews' religious court, some people outside of the building recognized Peter and pointed him out as a friend of Jesus. Peter vehemently denied that he even KNEW the Lord, cursing and swearing that he had no idea what they were talking about! (Mark 14:66-71)

11. As he was denying the Lord the THIRD time, Jesus, Who was being led by His captors to another part of the building, turned and gazed upon Peter, and Peter remembered how he had sworn that he would never deny Him. The Bible tells us that Peter then "went out and WEPT BITTERLY". (Luke 22:62) Was this the END of Peter's service for the Lord?—NO!—It was shortly after this humiliating defeat‚ this great failure, that the Lord used Peter to become the leader of the Early Church!

12. Or consider the great Apostle PAUL: He was a prominent Jewish leader, known as Rabbi Saul, and had personally taken it upon himself to put an end to the fast-growing sect of the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. Journeying by horseback to Damascus, where he intended on capturing, imprisoning and executing as many Christians as he could find, God had to literally knock him off of his horse and BLIND him with the brilliant light of His presence! Trembling, helpless and blind, the great Rabbi Saul had to be led by the hand into the city where he was so astonished that he was unable to eat or drink for three days! A disciple of the Lord then came to give him God's message and pray for his eyes‚ and Rabbi Saul was converted and became the great Apostle PAUL! But God had to humble and break him first, and make him a NEW MAN before He was able to use him! (Acts 9)

13. So even if you don't always understand WHY you're going through tests, trials‚ hardships and breakings, remember, GOD knows what He's doing! He knows all the purposes and reasons behind each test‚ trial or trouble.

14. He promises, "ALL things work together for GOOD to them that love the Lord!" (Romans 8:28) He is not going to allow ANYTHING to happen to you, His child, except what is for your GOOD! Of course, we often feel like, "My goodness! A LOT of things happen that don't look very good to ME!" But sooner or later you will find out that somehow or another they WERE good for you!

15. You will find that God gets some of His GREATEST VICTORIES out of SEEMING DEFEATS.—Victories of yieldedness, brokenness, humility and utter dependence on HIM, which you MUST have if you're going to be what GOD wants you to be! So take heart from these examples from the Bible and don't be discouraged when things seem to go all wrong and your hopes are disappointed.

16. EVERYONE who has ever been of any real use to the Lord, had to first be broken, humbled and brought virtually to the END of THEMSELVES. Otherwise, they would be too proud and self-confident in their own fleshly talents and natural abilities, and would take the glory to THEMSELVES if God were to use them. This is why He chooses to use the WEAK things and the FOOLISH things, "that NO FLESH should glory in His presence!" (1Corinthians 1:25-29)

17. GOD does not always see things as WE see them‚ "For HIS thoughts are not OUR thoughts, neither are HIS ways OUR ways" (Isaiah 55:8‚9), and He does not judge or reward us according to our success or failures, but according to our FAITHFULNESS. In Heaven one day He'll say to those who are true to Him, "Well done, My good and FAITHFUL servant!" (Matthew 25:21) He won't say My "failure servant", or My "successful servant", but He'll say, My "FAITHFUL servant"!

18. So above all‚ stay FAITHFUL to Jesus! And remember, your SEEMING DEFEATS can become great VICTORIES for the Lord if you will humble yourself and learn the lessons He is trying to teach you‚ like these men in the Bible did.

19. "For all these things happened unto THEM as EXAMPLES, and were written down as instructions to US, on whom the ends of the world are come!" (1Corinthians 10:11)

End of File