KEYWORDS: lord, years, god, things, life, money

Shooting Straight, Part 14--Letter Links: Retirement Plans

April 11, 2005

(ML #3538, GN 1129)

FD/MM/FM September 2004

Whose Slave Are You—God's or Mammon's?

ML #1332, DB 1

1. THE FINAL & CROWNING TEMPTATION THAT THE DEVIL OFFERED JESUS WAS "ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD, & THE GLORY OF THEM." That's the most riches anybody had ever been offered—the whole World! The Devil said, "All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down & worship me." Jesus answered, "Get thee hence, Satan: For it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord Thy God, & Him only shalt thou serve!"—The worship of the riches of this life is Devil-worship! (Mt.4:8-10)

2. MATTHEW CHAPTER 6:19-34: "LAY NOT UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURES UPON EARTH‚ where moth & rust doth corrupt, & where thieves break through & steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, & where thieves do not break through & steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." He says don't bury your heart in those treasures, because those treasures will vanish away or get stolen, rust‚ corrupt or rot—along with your heart.—They'll corrupt your heart!

3. "No man can serve two masters: For either he will hate the one‚ & love the other; or else he will hold to the one, & despise the other. YE CANNOT SERVE GOD & MAMMON!" (Mt.6:24) Now what is Mammon?—Money‚ pure & simple. Mammon was literally the god of wealth, & if you serve money then you're serving the Devil! But if you are just using a job as a means to an end, in order to serve the Lord, that's different!—Like one meat–packer in Chicago said, "Preaching the Gospel is my main business, but I pack pork to pay expenses!"

4. "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on."—Don't even worry about the necessities of life! "Is not the life more than meat, & the body than raiment?"

5. "Behold the fowls of the air: For they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are you not much better than they?" He says, "If I can feed the birds, don't you think I'm going to feed you?" "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin, & yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."—"Look at the lilies: God makes them, God clothes'm, & they don't even work for it! So certainly God's going to take care of you!"

6. "Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, & tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought."—That means fretting, anxious thought.—Don't worry about "What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek."

7. That's ALL the WORLDLY people live for‚ that's all they care for, that's all they work for! They're slaves of things! You can be a slave of things! They can own you, instead of you owning them! You can be working for them‚ instead of them working for you!

8. It's not that there's anything wrong with money, riches or wealth. It all depends on whether you own the money, or the money owns you! It's your attitude toward it. It all depends on how the money is used: Whether the money or the wealth is using you, or whether you're using the wealth!

9. "BUT SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD & HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS‚ & all these things shall be added unto you!" God's Kingdom is whatever the King reigns & rules over!—The Church!—It's souls, people, His people!—Not a building nor a denomination nor an organization!—It's the children of God.—They are His Kingdom!

10. So if you're going to seek first God's Kingdom‚ you're going to seek souls! You're going to witness!—Be a witness & a soul-winner yourself‚ or help others to witness & soul-win, right? You're going to help the Kingdom of God in some way.

11. "Seek FIRST"—means FOREMOST & ABOVE all!—Before everything else, above everything else, beyond everything else & more than anything else! It means working for God & others more than for yourself, more than for money, more than for riches, more than for pleasure, more than for health, more than for government, more than for anything else!

12. And what'll happen if you put Him & others first? He says, "All these things shall be added unto you!"—All these material things, which God's got plenty of! If you need it & have to have it, He'll give it to you! If you're putting His Kingdom first, then everything you want, everything you'd like to have & everything you need will be used for what?—To keep on putting His Kingdom first!—To keep on using it for His Kingdom!

13. BIBLE ECONOMICS IS UTTERLY CONTRARY TO THE ECONOMICS OF MAN. Man's economics says: Self–preservation is the first law of nature. The first law of man's carnal, evil‚ human, wicked nature is, "First, I'm going to take care of myself.—First, I'm going to get mine!"

14. What's GOD'S law of economics?—"He that would come after Me, let him deny himself, & take up his cross, & follow Me. For he that loseth his life for My sake & the Gospel's, shall save it; but he that saveth his life"—self-preservation—"the same shall lose it!" (Mk.8:34,35) If you spend your life trying to save your life, you're going to lose it & lose eternity too! Spend your life losing your life for others—that's the secret of saving it!

15. "Take therefore no thought"—no worrying, doubtful thought—"for the morrow: For the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself." Don't worry about tomorrow! Tomorrow isn't here yet! Why worry about it? You've got enough to worry about today! "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof!" PTL!

Revolutionary Discipleship

ML #1965:46-55, 57, DB 8

46. WHEN JESUS SAID, "SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD"‚ He didn't mean to seek first the things with which to serve God, nor the means to serve God, but to seek God first & His will & His Kingdom first, & then all these other things would be added afterwards—"all these things shall be added unto you." (Mat.6:33) But there are a lot of people trying to store up things, trying to store up money, trying to store up knowledge, trying to store up this & that, & saying, "Someday I'm going to serve God, when I have enough of this or that or the other."—When they ought to be serving God right now!

47. WHEN YOU GIVE EVERYTHING TO GOD, THEN HE'LL TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING FOR YOU. But as long as you've got anything that you're holding back, He's going to let you take care of that! If you straighten out your own heart & get right before the Lord & yield everything to Him, forsake all, then He will straighten out & take care of all the other things. But as long as you are double–minded & wavering, then things are never going to get straightened out! (Jam.1:8)

48. I'LL NEVER FORGET THE TIME, THIRTY YEARS AGO, WHEN WE'D RUN PRETTY LOW ON MONEY & I WOUND UP GETTING A TEMPORARY JOB WORKING FOR THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY on the twelfth floor of the courthouse in Miami‚ Florida. One day as I was looking out the window across that beautiful, sunny view of Miami, as clear as I ever heard the voice of the Lord, I heard Him say, "Look, the whole world lieth in darkness!" It was a nice bright sunny day‚ but He said, "Look, the whole world lieth in darkness while you're sitting up here pounding on a typewriter!"

49. I SAID, "BUT LORD, I'VE GOT TO SUPPORT A FAMILY!—Lord, I've got a wife & four children & I've got to take care of them! What am I supposed to do, just walk off the job & go out there, start going door-to-door or something & expect You to feed me?" And the Lord said, "Yes!" So I said, "But Lord, You know what my relatives will say!" My wife's father was a churchy Christian & was always giving me his favorite Scripture for me, that "he that fails to care for his own hath denied the faith & is worse than an infidel!" (1Tim.5:8)

50. SO THE LORD TURNED AROUND & USED THIS SAME VERSE ON HIMSELF & said, "Yes, & if I don't care for you, I'll be worse than an infidel! If you go out & do My work fulltime, if I don't pay you as good or better than a worldly employer‚ then I will be worse than an infidel!" So we launched out by faith into His fulltime service again, & He never let us down!

51. THROUGHOUT MANY YEARS OF SERVICE WE HAVE FOUND THAT THE MINUTE WE STARTED OBEYING & WORKING FOR GOD‚ HE HAS NEVER FAILED TO DO HIS PART‚ He has always blessed! God has never ever deserted us or left us without our needs. In fact‚ He has abundantly heaped more than our needs upon us as long as we faithfully serve Him & do His will & preach His Gospel & faithfully witness to others! His Word says, "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Phi.4:19, 1Cor.9:14)

52. JESUS EVEN SAID, "TAKE NO THOUGHT FOR YOUR LIFE, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on."—Don't worry about whether you're going to have anything to eat or enough to wear. He says that you're not even to worry about the necessities of life! "Is not the life more than meat, & the body than raiment?" (Mat.6:25)

53. "BEHOLD THE FOWLS OF THE AIR: FOR THEY SOW NOT, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them."—The birds don't reap & store up for the future! "Are you not much better than they?" (Mat.6:26)—"If I feed the birds‚ don't you think I'm going to feed you?" Don't you think He's more concerned about you?

54. "THEREFORE TAKE NO THOUGHT"—that means fretting, worried, anxious thought. Don't worry about, "What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles"—the world—"seek". (Mat.6:31) That's all the worldly people live for‚ that's all they work for!—To have something to eat‚ drink, wear & live in. They're slaves of things! "For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." (Mat.6:32)

55. BUT "SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD & HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS; & all these things shall be added unto you!" (Mat.6:33) Put God's Kingdom first! Just obey the Lord & He'll do all the rest! Drop your "nets", follow Jesus, do His work, witness, win souls, go into all the World & preach the Gospel to every creature! Take care of God's business & He'll take care of you!—Because that is His business, taking care of you!

57. "AND EVERY ONE THAT HATH FORSAKEN HOUSES, OR BRETHREN, OR SISTERS, OR FATHER, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My Name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold‚ & shall inherit everlasting life!" (Mat.19:29) If you give all to Him, He will give you back one hundredfold in this life!—And in the world to come life eternal!—All this & Heaven too! Give all & you're going to get back not a mere hundred percent, not just what you gave, but you're going to get back an hundredfold, a hundred times one hundred percent, or 10,000%! PTL!

The Weakness Revolution, Part 1

ML #3218:198-200, GN 819

198. (Dad: ) Some church Christians just pick and choose what they want to believe from the Word, and what they don't like they choose not to receive and not to follow. They like their old comfortable church pews‚ their old comfortable routine and lifestyle. They like having services on certain days and on certain subjects—don't talk about anything too radical or new! They like listening to the same old sermons because it means they don't have to do much, they don't have to change their ways too much, but they can just continue on with the way things are going. They don't mind the same old preacher who isn't going to challenge them to progress. Life is comfortable with the old familiar ways. After all, they're getting older and have served the Lord for many years, and now it's time to retire.

199. Lord help you not to have the retirement spirit! Because the Lord is never going to retire, and He's going to keep pouring out the New Wine for today to all who will receive it and be willing to do it!

200. I haven't retired yet! I was faithful to pass on the Lord's messages to you while I was with you in the flesh, and you received them and believed them, and that's good. But don't stop there! You've got to keep receiving and keep believing what the Lord is giving for today! You can't just go by the things that He gave you yesterday, or last year‚ or 20 years ago. You've got to be open to the New Wine and the things He's pouring through His new anointed head of the Family. … Don't be an Old Testament Christian or a TSC Christian or even yesterday's Christian. Be today's Christian, moving and changing with the way the Lord is leading today! (End of message.)

Issues, Part 2

ML #3297:57-59, GN 894

57. (Jesus:) Besides your parents' willingness to pioneer and raise you, their kids, their greatest accomplishment is that they've stayed true to the Words of David. They've been willing to continue drinking them in and following. This is no small feat, as you of the second generation are now beginning to appreciate‚ as you see so many of your own peers choosing to go back and follow no more after the New Wine. The first generation's willingness to love the Words of David is their greatest accomplishment.

58. I'm not saying that you of the second generation haven't been willing to pioneer, raise children, or love the Words of David. I'm not making a comparison here, and My intent is not to make you of the second generation feel inferior. There are those of the second generation who have also done well in these areas. I'm simply answering the question of what the first generation adults have to show for their lives. They've pioneered the world by faith; they have national disciples of over 90 nationalities; they have children who they've raised in My Word and faith; and they've stuck and remained faithful to the Words of David.

59. With these great accomplishments, do you think I'll leave them destitute in their old age? Will I forsake them in their latter years‚ as they move toward the sunset of their work for Me in this life? Of course I won't. I'll be closer to them than ever‚ and I'll make a way for them in their old age. I will supply. I'll be all that they need, and they will not lack. They've trusted Me their whole lives since joining the Family, and I will not let them down. No good thing will I uphold from these who have walked uprightly. They are My servants, My brides‚ and I will not leave them destitute. I would be worse than an infidel if I failed to care for My Own.

Be Ye Separate

ML #3363:185-220, 225-232‚ GN 959

185. (Mama:) Now let's move on to another aspect of compromise for gain related to support and System jobs. Two of our COs commented:

186. I very much agree that there is a very strong move away from some of the Family's bedrock/fundamental beliefs. I think one of the things that has kind of affected everyone's decisions in the way of their leaning toward wanting to get "set up" and possibly get a "steady job" and "financially stable" has been that our Endtime vision is a little more "open-ended" as far as how soon things will happen. This kind of put a whole new spin on people's concept of the Endtime, which now very much affects their personal goals and plans.

187. This has not only affected the young people, but I've seen it have as much, if not more, of an effect on the FGAs who felt they would never have to worry about things like Social Security, retirement, etc., as those words were unheard of and totally unrevolutionary. But now, many are getting older and are thinking, "Wow, I never thought I'd reach this point on Earth‚" and they wonder how they're going to keep up, as they don't have the same drive, and some are not super charismatic types, which makes them worry about how much they're going to be able to do and for how long.

188. Then, the way the SGAs interpret the whole scenario that they see their parents facing is that they don't want to be in their parents' shoes if and when they get to be their age. If you talk honestly with most SGAs, they all feel bad for their folks and worry about them and how they are going to keep up and support themselves. Or in other cases they even think their parents should have done better for themselves by being more prepared. I'm not talking about the FGAs that are doing well, as there are many of these, too, but there is a large enough population of those who are starting to struggle that it really does affect the younger generation. The SGAs conclude that if they give their time and lives to the Lord without building a financial foundation as well and really planning and preparing for the worst-case scenario, then they may be in their parents' shoes some day.

189. [The CO went on to explain an example of an SGA couple that feels led to spend five years getting set up financially. Their idea is to devote the next years to making money, possibly buying a property that they could then rent out and use as a support base for when they go back to a field, and thus they wouldn't always have to depend on people. Even though it might take five years, this couple feels they'd still have a number of good years left to do missionary work. The CO went on to say:]

190. I think this typifies what so many of our young people are presently facing. I think they want to plan it out right and "learn from the experiences of others" so that they have what they need to do the job further down the road.

191. Then there are countless examples of FGAs who feel like maybe if they had done things slightly differently, they could possibly be a little better off now. As far as our young people are concerned, I think many of them are preparing for an extended time till Jesus returns, and feel that even if it takes an initial investment of time, in the long run they feel they'll not only be better off, but also will be able to do more for the Lord if they have a financial base to work from and do missionary work from.


192. It's not uncommon for some young people to feel sorry for their parents, feeling that they should have it easier now going into their later years, and feeling that they must have done something wrong to not have some sort of retirement plan. This is a sad outlook, because it strikes at some of the very foundations of basic discipleship. The underlying conclusion of this thought process is that forsaking all to follow Jesus must be a lie, that it doesn't work. It seems to strike at some very basic precepts of what being a real Christian is all about. It seems like a direct assault on the Word.

193. I don't think our first generation got it wrong! Through Dad's leading and encouragement, we got it exactly right! We went into all the world, preached the Gospel, won disciples, and many are still going strong. Of course‚ there are those older members with health problems, but if they had to do it again, how many would trade their life of service for a better financial situation now? I think there is probably a higher number of older Family members in the States right now that might say they wish they had a better financial setup, but I'm guessing that it's not the predominant view of those who are still active missionaries on the field. (End of comments from COs.)

Living for the Lord and Doing His Work Is a Sure Thing!

194. (Mama: ) Here are Dad's comments on this predicament, which I pray is a help to you who are wondering about this same thing.

195. (Dad:) It can be hard being a missionary sometimes—in fact, a lot of the time! The Lord supplies as you do His work, but often in the life of faith you're not sure what the next meal will be and who the Lord will use to provide it. You know it'll come, but you're just not sure how it'll arrive! That's one of the things that keeps you desperate with the Lord, fervent in prayer, and active in His work, because it's as you're obedient and reach out to others with His message that He supplies.

196. So I know how you feel, because I felt the same way sometimes when I was younger. You face a constant struggle for support, and your faith is tested to see whether you'll keep going for God and looking to Him or whether you'll turn to man and Mammon instead. That's a battle I often faced in my younger years, especially when I was first married and had four little children to support. Oh, I served the Lord; don't get me wrong. My mother and father had given me a great heritage of faith, and my greatest desire was to witness and win souls, but it took me a while to find my calling‚ before the birth of the Family.

197. In those years when I and my family were searching for the best way to serve the Lord, there were times of both abasing and abounding. Sometimes we lived in old mansions; other times we lived in old houses that we had to fix up a bit. Sometimes we lived on the road in a station wagon and tent or in little trailers; other times we lived in the Ark, our 26–foot-long Dodge motor home. My aunt used to call us "Gospel gypsies‚" although when she was feeling less charitable she'd call us "Gospel bums‚" ha! So I know what it's like to live by faith and I know it can be a tough life sometimes. Don't forget, I didn't start the Family till I was nearly 50 years old!

198. During all that time many people in the U.S.‚ at least, wouldn't have considered us rich, but we always had sufficient because we were doing what the Lord wanted us to and being faithful witnesses for Him, the best we knew how. So He kept us and provided for us and we won multitudes of souls while we were at it, one by one. I didn't know what the future held, but I was determined to do my best for the Lord every day, to be faithful to the Lord and to lost souls every day, and He never let me down. He always provided our needs and took care of us, and as He saw I was faithful to witness and win others, He gave me more of a ministry, more support and provision, and more friends and supporters‚ and finally He gave me you, the Family!

199. It's only when I tried to take matters into my own hands and provide for my own needs instead of trusting the Lord and letting Him supply that I had trouble. I've told you some of these stories before, I know, but bear with me for a minute, okay? I want to remind you of some of my experiences raising my own support and trying to get set up with a steady income to take care of my family. I want you to realize that I went through the same things and to know that I can understand and sympathize.

200. I once thought the Lord wanted me to be a preacher‚ but after I got kicked out of Valley Farms, Arizona, and the church I built there, I'd had my fill of churchianity for a while! I was in my 30s then, and Eve and I and the kids moved to Los Angeles, where I got a job as a teacher at a Christian school, and I wound up doing that off and on for years.

201. Every morning I drove a school bus and picked up rowdy kids, taught them all day long‚ and then drove them home afterwards. The job paid good money for those days, and we were able to get set up in a house and even get another house nearby that I finished building. I filled both houses with furniture, bought a trailer, and we were doing better than we'd done for a long time.

202. But it was hard work and there were many times I felt I just couldn't go on. If you think living for the Lord is tough, try living just to make a living, even if you are doing something for the Lord in the meantime! It was during this time that I looked in the mirror one morning and told the Lord I just couldn't take it another day, that it was too hard. But He told me that I needed to "endure hardness as a good soldier‚" so I kept at it. He wasn't through with me there yet, and He wanted to make sure I learned my lesson.

203. But one day He was through with me there, and He told me to quit my job, to forsake all‚ and to hit the road and go witnessing and He'd take care of me! Here I was making more money than I'd ever had before, had a respectable job, two houses full of furniture and belongings, a wife and a bunch of little kids dependent on me, and the Lord told me to give it all up! He told me, "Go, sell all that thou hast and give to the poor‚ and come follow Me!" It came as quite a shock—especially to Mother Eve—but we did it, and the Lord kept us and provided for us. We no longer had any "visible means of support," as they used to say back then, but we had a great big invisible means of support—the Lord! So we went out and witnessed and the Lord did take care of us, thank the Lord!

204. But then a few years later we hit kind of a low spot in Miami and I got a job again‚ this time with the District Attorney's office. I worked there and did well, got along well with the office people and even the DA, and I could have probably wound up running the office in a few years. I was making a steady income again and we could have saved up a lot of money for evangelistic work, which I still wanted to do. But one day as I was looking out over beautiful sunny Miami from the window of this big building where the DA had his office, the Lord as good as told me to forsake all again. Even though Miami was sunny, He told me that the whole world was lost in darkness while I was just shuffling papers to feed my family! So I gave the DA notice and I was soon living and working full-time for the Lord again.

205. The Lord provided our needs, day after day‚ week after week, month after month, year after year, but it was still a struggle. It was the life of faith, and that's what we lived for 10 or 15 more years till we moved out to California and started the Family. But I had finally gotten the point that the Lord was more interested in me living and working full–time for Him right then‚ every day‚ than He was in me having a steady income and maybe saving up to work for Him later.

206. If I'd said "later" to the Lord, telling Him that I'd serve Him more and better once I had a steady income of some sort and a little money saved up, there wouldn't be a Family today. The SGAs wouldn't even be asking this question because their parents wouldn't have joined, gotten married and had their kids, and gone into all the world to preach the Gospel to every creature by faith, trusting the Lord to supply as they traveled from place to place and had child after child.

207. Was all that a mistake? When the Family began, should I have told all those hippies and dropouts to drop back in to the System and raise money so they could support themselves better? No! We just trusted the Lord and He provided, and He's done so for more than 30 years now! You can read the story in "God's Guarantees" and other Letters if you want the history of His supply as we've changed ministries, methods, countries and cultures!

208. Now I know the life of faith isn't easy, but it works! Forsaking all and trusting the Lord to supply your every need isn't always easy street. You abase and you abound. But through it all, the Lord keeps you and He provides for you. You're His servant working for Him‚ so He takes care of you. And if He's cared for you in the past, do you think He's going to forsake you in the future? Do you think the Lord would toss you out as an unprofitable servant just because you grow old or get sick or can't keep up the same pace you used to? Let me tell you, He won't! That's not the kind of God He is!

209. Having lived by faith for so many years, should we now go back to the beggarly elements of the System for our support to have some sort of cushion for our old age or whatever? To put it simply, no. We've always put the Lord first and He's always supplied what we've needed for the future, and He will continue to do so. You may not know exactly how He'll do it and you may have all kinds of questions about it‚ but the Lord just expects you to trust Him.

210. He didn't say we'd walk by sight; He said we'd walk by faith. He didn't say we'd understand with our carnal minds; He said that His thoughts are not our thoughts, and that His ways are as high above ours as the heavens are above the Earth. In fact, He instructed us to trust in Him with all our heart and not to lean to our own understanding. That's not me speaking—that's God's Word, and it's as true now as it ever was! And you can trust it now just as much as you ever did.

211. There's no need to take matters into your own hands and to fret and worry so much about your own support, much less your old age. I can understand your concerns. Like I said, I've had many of them myself. But what you need to understand is that it's not gain but loss to give up the Lord's work to raise money for later years, even if it's for a good cause, the Lord's cause. During that time, you could have helped countless people, won thousands of souls, and had a tremendous impact on the world, because each of the people you minister to and help touches the lives of many others.

212. If you choose to instead desert your plow and come back to it a few years down the line when you have more income and figure you can plow better, I guarantee you it won't be easy. For one thing‚ how much income is enough? How much money are you going to raise, and when are you going to stop? And when you do‚ will you still have the burden and initiative to go back to plowing again, the love for lost souls that you once had? Or will you feel that you're better off just as a supporter—if you even have enough vision left for that? You'll start cooling off and you won't see things the way you used to because you're not living the life you used to, and you may not want to go back to it, or even to support it. Even if you go into making money with the best of intentions, it may not work out like you think it will.

213. Besides all that, what are you going to do if there's a disaster or recession and your business or investment is wiped out? Or what if hard times hit and, instead of making money as you expected, you wind up in debt? Millions of people around the world do, you know, even those who are a lot more knowledgeable about their jobs than you will be! And what will you do if the Crash hits, as it inevitably will, and all your income goes down the drain, and you really have nothing to fall back on; you're not used to living and working for the Lord anymore and have no friends, supporters and contacts to turn to for help?

214. Working for the System and raising money is not a "sure thing‚" even if it may seem to be, whereas living for the Lord and doing His work is a sure thing, even if it may not seem to be! If you have faith and obedience and trust Him, He will take care of you. Read Hebrews 11. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the title deed. You must believe that the Lord is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, a provider of their needs, because He is!

215. Well, you can read all this in your Bible and in the Letters, and you should. I think if some of you really studied our past Letters and the plan we've always followed, and the plan that the Lord laid down in His Word for His Church thousands of years ago, you'd have fewer questions along this line. I know you've read these past Letters, not to mention the Bible, but maybe you've gotten familiar with them and lost track of how applicable they still are today. Just like the Lord is still the same yesterday, today and forever, so is His Word, His promises to provide your every need, and His plan to keep you even in your old age. As dear King David said, "I have been young and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."

216. So SGAs, don't worry about your parents‚ or yourselves. And FGAs, don't worry about your children, or yourselves. The Lord is fully able to keep and to provide and to make you fruitful well into your old age. Goodness, my mother traveled all over the U.S. with us in the Ark, our motor home‚ when she was nearly 80 years old, witnessing and winning souls in that "7,000 miles of miracles" I told you about! And she was instrumental in getting the Family started even after that, when she was well into her 80s‚ because of her love for souls. She'd make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and take them down to the hippies at Huntington Beach and feed them, and she convinced me to come out to California and feed them spiritually—and we did, and the Family was born!

217. I was middle-aged then, and the Lord kept me and helped me for another 25 years, despite my many afflictions, and I kept bringing forth fruit in old age. So don't worry about old age, much less about getting reclassified because you can't keep up or something. Goodness, some of our young folks couldn't keep up with me, and I was more than 30 years older than them! Just keep loving the Lord and others every day, doing your best for Him and for the lost and the needy, and then trust Him for the rest. He loves you and He cares for you—I know!

218. Following Jesus works, and there are great rewards! Though you may be poor on Earth at times, you're making many rich, and you're laying up great rewards here in Heaven! You have no idea what the Lord has in store for you, and it'll last for eternity! So as you take up your cross and follow Him, take heart, and keep your eyes on Heaven‚ where you'll shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever! Hallelujah! You may not be rollin' in the dough now, but you'll be wealthy forever! Love, Dad. (End of message.)

219. (Mama: ) What Dad is saying is not new. You who know the Letters well know Dad's history, as well as the history of the Family. But many of you have somehow fallen into the mentality that the circumstances have changed, that what we have believed and how we have lived for years, since the beginning, isn't for you or isn't good enough anymore.

220. The Lord can supply today, just as abundantly as in the past‚ if not more so. Granted, every missionary who lives by faith has difficult times every now and then; that's how the Lord strengthens our faith and puts us in situations where He can do miracles. It's thrilling to see Him come through with our needs and supply in miraculous ways‚ and if we never got into tight spots‚ you can be sure we'd see fewer obvious miracles, because we wouldn't need them, we wouldn't pray for them, or expect them.

A "Retirement Plan" for FGAs

225. Peter and I firmly believe that you FGAs who are worried about your future and how you'll make ends meet as you get older haven't yet discovered the "retirement plan" the Lord is offering you. It's not exactly that you'll retire, ever, as there's no discharge in this war, and the Lord expects each of us to keep fighting to the end, no matter what difficulties we encounter. It is true that you will slow down somewhat physically, and you probably won't be able to take the strain of being out on the streets like you can today. But instead of turning to the System for some kind of security or just complaining and accepting the Enemy's lies that we've failed, open your eyes to the financial plan that we and the Lord have made available to you; it's there for the taking.

226. If you're sincerely concerned about your future and how you're going to support yourself or your mate and kids, think about what Activated has to offer. Most preachers of the world are supported by their congregations. They hustle their support every week as they feed their flocks from the pulpit. They win those congregations; those people depend on their pastors to minister to them spiritually, and they're willing to support and tithe as a result. It's a Scriptural principle, and many of the congregation feel it's their duty.

227. You can do the same! If you start today, it might take a few years‚ but eventually you can have your own "congregation" of faithful converts and Active members who are supporting you and your Home through their tithes! And not only supporting you, but doing a lot of the hard work for you—running the CTP ministries, teaching Bible studies, picking up provisioning, organizing meetings and seminars, etc.

228. It will take a considerable amount of time to cultivate this following, and you'll have to make a commitment to stay in the same area and really minister to your flock, for years! You can't be gallivanting all around and changing fields every few years. You need to find where the Lord wants you to be and stick to it! (See ML #3308:45-46, GN 908.) But if you want some "security" for the future, if you want some income you can count on, if you want to know you won't be having to hoof it out on the streets when you're much older, then get with Activated and follow-up now and win yourself a flock! Do it now while you have the strength and stamina to devote the time to it that it will require!

229. Quit complaining about things and get busy! You have everything you need to make your own "retirement plan" while serving the Lord full-time. We in WS have literally spent years to provide you with everything you need to do the job. You can't possibly complain that you don't have the materials. All you have to do is use them. Just do it! You are without excuse!

230. You don't have to compromise your convictions. You don't have to be a burden on others or your kids as you grow older. Use the strength and time you have now to build a following, win converts and Active members, teach and train them, and then their tithes will support you! That will be your "retirement plan," your "social security."

231. You can become a teacher, a shepherd, a counselor, a prayer warrior, a presenter of the Words that you have been so blessed to receive‚ a channel for the Lord's messages for those who need them. These ministries don't take as much physical strength and energy, but they take faith and love and conviction to step into the role that the Lord's trained you for all along. Hold on to your calling and crown till the end of your days by continuing to use the strength you have to do the Lord's work! The ministries of prayer and counseling, of healing, of hearing from Heaven for others, of teaching and grounding others in the Word, aren't limited to youth. In fact, they're ideal callings for you who are older, for you who have given the majority of your lives in the Lord's service, as you have so very much to give and are so experienced in giving it! If you find your energy and strength diminishing‚ then do what you can do, and invest your spiritual riches where they'll really count!

232. Quit listening to the damn Devil when he tells you you've failed, or that somehow you're going to suffer because you've given your life to the Lord instead of selfishly saving up money to live on when you're old! Open your eyes to the insecurity of the System! You don't honestly think all those poor people in the System have security and everything will be fine for them, do you? You have the only security that truly exists on Earth—trusting the Lord and having faith in His promises. But He does expect you to do something with that trust and faith. He expects you to work. So get out there and build your church, find your congregation; invest the time in winning those who have the money or means to support you. You're still young enough, and if you start now and really work at it, you'll have what you need, without your kids having to feel they have to leave the field to raise money for you! It doesn't have to be that way. "I have been young, and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread" (Psalm 37:25).

The George Mueller Story

the section "Later Years," Hope 31

When [his wife] Mary died, Mueller was almost sixty-five years old. This is the age at which most men retire, but George Mueller's most active years were yet to come. He continued rising every morning at half past six, & at a quarter to eight, after his usual period of Bible study & prayer, he began going through his correspondence. Then, at ten o'clock‚ he was helped by nine assistants, to whom he gave instructions. (Until the 1850's he had conducted a correspondence of about 3,000 letters a year without a secretary.)

At the age of 65, when his orphanages were firmly established & flourishing, [George Mueller] began traveling from land to land, testifying of God's mercy & faithfulness to him. Mueller traveled two hundred thousand miles, through forty-two different countries. He preached to three million people in Europe (including Russia), the Mideast‚ India, Japan‚ Singapore‚ Indonesia‚ Australia, etc., & America, distributing Gospel books & tracts wherever he went. His audiences included the President of the United States (who invited him to the White House), princesses & nobles in Russia, & people of all classes around the world. The common folk always "received him gladly." He had an enormous impact upon other evangelists of the time, too. When D. L. Moody went to England to hold an evangelistic tour, he went to Bristol to "imbibe a heady draught (gulp or swallow) of Mueller's faith," he said. Spurgeon, a London evangelist, opened orphanages similar to Mueller's.

Of course, many interesting things happened to him even during these years of his life, but there is only room here for a few of them.

On one of his voyages to America, Mueller's ship was off Newfoundland, Canada, when a very thick fog came down. The captain ordered speed to be reduced. The ship went more & more slowly, till it hardly moved at all.

The captain was worried; he remained on the bridge himself for twenty-two hours straight. Suddenly he was startled by a tap on the shoulder. He turned around to see George Mueller of Bristol.

"Captain," he said, I have come to tell you that I must be in Quebec on Saturday afternoon." This was Wednesday.

"It's impossible."

"Very well, if your ship cannot take me‚ God will find some other means of locomotion to take me. I have never broken an engagement in 52 years."

The Captain protested that it was beyond his power to be of any assistance—what could be done?

"Let us go down to the chart room & pray," Mueller suggested.

The Captain looked at the stranger on the bridge & wondered if he were mad.

"Do you know how dense this fog is?"

"No," said Mueller, "my eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God, Who controls every circumstance of my life." Mueller then acted on what he had just said, going on his knees to offer a simple prayer. In his prayer he asked that, if it were God's will, He would take the fog away in five minutes.

The Captain thought to himself‚ "That prayer sounds like something from the children's class, where the children are not more than eight or nine years of age."

Then his visitor was standing again, & the Captain thought he had better begin a prayer himself. But Mueller stopped him.

"First, you do not believe God will do it. Second, I believe He has done it, & there is no need whatever for you to pray about it. Get up‚ Captain, & open the door‚ & you will find the fog is gone."

The Captain got up & opened the door. The fog was gone, & Mueller was in Quebec that Saturday as he had said.

Sometime in 1897‚ an old man took up his pen & began to compile his yearly report. He had written many before, but this was to be his last. At the age of ninety-two‚ Mueller allowed his lively mind to roam back over the sixty-three years since the work had begun.

He had felt so sorry for the children of those Bristol slums. It had been difficult, but he had been determined to provide them with schools. By 1897, he had given 122,683 pupils a Christian education.

Over a quarter of a million Bibles‚ & almost a million & a half New Testaments had been distributed at home & abroad. Mueller was especially glad to recall how the Word of God had been distributed to the needy in Ireland, Spain & Italy.

For sixty-three years he had been praying for missionaries in many a dark corner of the globe. He had sent them money, too—over a quarter of a million Pounds. And it had not been in vain. He felt sure that, through these missionaries, thousands of souls had been brought to know the Lord Jesus. He was one of the chief backers of Hudson Taylor as he established the China Inland Mission, a pioneer venture that opened up mainland China & its teeming millions to the Gospel for the first time.

Of course, these & other aspects of his work had required a constant & increasing supply of money. Where did it all come from? Who was to receive the credit for it all? Mueller, in looking back, gave no credit to Man. When he had faced his many trials & difficulties, he had not looked to Man for support. Should he not now give the glory to Whom alone it was due, as he reviewed the support he had received?

How much had the Lord given him? One million, four hundred & twenty-four thousand, six hundred & forty-six Pounds, six shillings & ninepence. (Roughly $2.5 million Dollars today, a sum worth well over $25 million Dollars then!) Of money given him for his own use, he also gave away over 80,000 Pounds.

And how his mind lingered over the orphans! Many thousands he had cared for, but there was something more important to Mueller than the total figure. One thousand, eight hundred & thirteen children had left his orphanages declaring their trust to be in Christ alone. Some became preachers themselves, & one youth later became New Zealand's most popular preacher.

To impressionable teenagers, the experience of living under the care of people with a deep personal faith in Christ together with the exhilaration produced when many of their peers came to share this faith was never to be forgotten.

George Mueller's son-in-law, Jim Wright‚ was to succeed him in his work. By 1898, the younger man was afraid that Mueller was not fit for the amount of work he was doing. On the evening of March 9th, he pleaded with the lively old man to rest more‚ to stay longer in bed. In fact, he asked him to take a longer rest beginning the very next morning. Mueller's reply was typical: "We will say nothing about tomorrow."

The next morning a maid knocked on his bedroom door around seven o'clock & got no reply. Opening the door, she took in his usual cup of tea. But he was gone: George Mueller was Home in Heaven.

The last time he had preached to his own congregation the text had been: For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (2Cor.5:1). Now Mueller knew more about that than he had ever known before.

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