KEYWORDS: time, things, book, word, lord, spirit

Shooting Straight, Part 10--Letter Links: Novels

November 27, 2004

(ML #3514, GN 1102 )

FD/MM November 2004

Organisation 1

ML #54:24, 25, 29‚ DB 4


25. Books were my downfall! They nearly ruined me! I used to have a whole roomful of 'm, so many I couldn't even read'm all, until the Lord showed me I didn't have time to read books if I didn't have enough time to read the Bible!

29. MAYBE IF YOU WERE REALLY READING ' STUDYING ’ LEARNING OUR LETTERS ' our tapes ' living in your Bible, we wouldn't have so damn much trouble with you ' your always getting out of line!

You Are What You Read!—And Book Burning

ML #775–776:1-10, 18-19, 21-26, DB 1

1. SOMEBODY ONCE SAID, "YOU ARE WHAT YOU READ." It's like the old saying about health, "You are what you eat", physically. Well, you are what you read, mentally ' spiritually. If you like to read the Word of God best, then that shows you love the Word of God ' you would rather hear from the Lord than anybody.

2. WHATEVER you're reading is SPIRITUAL food‚ whether you believe it or not, ' if it's not the Word of God‚ written by a man of God, then it is the word of the Devil written by a man of Satan! And if you spend more time reading books like that than you do reading God's Word , something is wrong with you!—You have a perverted appetite spiritually, a perverted hunger.

3. You cannot dwell on THAT stuff ' make that your major source of inspiration, relaxation or recreation without it affecting you. It's hurting your spiritual life! It's hurting your relationship with God!

4. WHEN I WAS A NEWBORN BABE, NEWLY ANOINTED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD‚ I WAS SO HUNGRY FOR THE WORD OF GOD that for years I never read anything but the Bible! All I wanted to hear was the Bible, ’ I read it ' read it ' read it, ' studied ' studied ' studied it. I found the Bible was such an enormous study ' so fascinating ' so deep ' so broad that it was "waters to swim in"! I didn't have time to fiddle around with anything else.

5. THESE are your FORMATIVE years, your years of getting a foundation in Truth. This is the time when you ought to be studying your Bible ' MO Letters, the Word of God‚ ' not wasting your time on ridiculous words, lies‚ deceits ' distortions of man ' the Devil! How can you waste your time reading anything else when you have not even read the whole Bible yet? How could you neglect the Words of Life for words that I cannot but say are the words of death?

6. Some of these guys like FREUD ' NIETZSCHE as good as said "God is dead," ' are therefore of the Devil! What good can come out of them, even if part of what they say might be true? Part of what the Devil says is always true‚ because he couldn't get you to believe his lies unless he told you some truth mixed with it, which would deceive you into thinking his lies were true too!

7. "Whose words do eat like a canker" (cancer), God's Word says! (2Ti.2:17) They are false prophets ' their words do eat like a cancer, corrupting ' corroding your spirit without you even knowing it!

8. I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW ANYBODY COULD BE INTERESTED IN "cunningly devised fables", as the Bible calls it (2Pet.1:16), instead of the true Word of God. Oh, they're clever, very clever!—Written with the demonic Satanic wisdom of the Devil himself!—Cunningly devised to deceive you ' to lead you astray ' to pervert you ’ warp you ' twist you spiritually to where you don't know what is true!

9. The Devil always mixes in little fascinating absorbing TRUTHS like, "And ye shall be as gods". (Gen.3:5) That was a tremendous truth, fascinating, tempting, intriguing! So they just skipped over ’ ignored the lie when he said, "Ye shall not surely die", because they began dying from the first bite of his fiction!—And you will begin dying spiritually from the first bite of that trash!

10. The first temptation of man by the Devil was something to make you supposedly WISE!: Knowledge! When Eve looked at the tree in the Garden‚ she saw that it was good to look at, good for food ' would make you wise. (Gen.3:6) Well, reading that kind of books will not make you wise! It will make you dumber ' thicker ' more confused ' further from the Truth than ever ! They are foolishness to God! (1Cor.3:19)—Foolishness!

18. ONLY THE WORDS OF GOD HAVE LIVED ON! Only the Words of Jesus actually accomplish anything! All that stuff from the famous teachers ' ancient philosophers is shit!—Just plain sickening shit of man!

19. And you can't WADE through SHIT without getting it ON YOU! You can't wade through the garbage ’ the gutter without getting besmirched. And as far as I'm concerned, that stuff is worse than shit, it is more defiling! It doesn't bear good fruit.

21. Why go the way of the rest of the World? Why get all tangled up ’ confused ' misled by their false phony wisdom? Beloved, you either believe God's Words ' the Bible ' the Letters or you don't. And you believe them as much as you read them.

22. "Whatsoever things are TRUE, GOOD‚ PURE ' of GOOD REPORT, think on THESE things." (Phil.4:8)—Not these lies ' deceitstheories of man!

23. JESUS, HELP US! Help us to read what Your King David said, how he did find Thy Words ' he did eat them, ' all the things You said about Thy laws ’ Thy Word ' Thy precepts. He lived in them night ' day, as we did for years, Lord, ' still do in trying to teach them to others. (See Jer.15:16; Pr.3:3; Ps.119.)

24. Convict those‚ Lord, who are guilty. Convince them of the Truth of Thy Word ' of what we've said. Help us, Lord, to be properly armed against all the fiery darts of the Evil One ’ these filthy books that are full of these filthy dreamers! (Jude 8)

25. Deliver these, Lord‚ from this EVIL FASCINATION for the EVIL WISDOM of man, from these lying, cunningly devised fables of the Devil ' all his unprofitable‚ foolish, so-called wisdom: "The profane ’ vain babblings of science falsely so-called." (1Tim.6:20) It deceives their minds ' subtly twists their thinking ' poisons their souls, ' they can't feel it—it's almost indiscernible except by Thy Spirit.

26. Help them to have a healthy, normal, unperverted appetite for Thy WORD ' its TRUTH. … Help them to see it, Lord‚ to know it‚ admit it, confess it, recognize it ' get rid of it ' get back on the right track, in Jesus' name. Amen.—GBY!

Personal Letters!—Number 1

ML #2931:15, 21-24, 56-60‚ 70, 72-83, Lifelines 21

15. (Mama:) Thank you for having the faith to write your letter with questions on music, books, videos, etc.

21. On the subject of books, it depends upon what books you are talking about. Each book would have to be judged individually. Moreover, it would probably depend a great deal on the person themselves ’ what effect the book would have on them. Different books affect people differently; whereas one person might read a book ' be weakened by it, another would have no problem.

22. It seems like there is so much Word nowadays that our folks cannot even read it all. I'm quite surprised to think that our young people would have a lot of extra time to read, especially considering that there are thousands of pages of past Letters, ' hundreds of pages of new literature being printed each month on many different subjects. I know that other books have their appeal‚ but the MO Letters have the power to give us the strength for these Endtime battles. There are a lot of other books that are good ' interesting ' informative, but if they take away from our time in the Word‚ they can be detrimental to our spiritual—' even our practical—growth.

23. One important thing that I'd like to ask you to do, F.—you ' our other YAs—is to make a habit of going to the Word for the answers.—For you personally, as well as for the young people whom you shepherd.—Not only to dig out the answer yourself, but to help them to learn to do the same.

24. The Lord is repeatedly emphasizing the great importance of the Word in our young people's lives. If our Shepherds are not a sample of living in the Word, we will see the same weakness in their young people. So‚ F., I'm counting on you to give your young people the Word. It doesn't have to be boring—you can pray ' ask the Lord for exciting new ways to share it. Okay?

Letters from the Melbourne Teens About System Influences!

(3/94: The following are excerpts of responses to a message that Mama sent to the Melbourne Home about System influences‚ "A Caution Not to Compromise.")

From A., 15:

56. Thank you so much for writing us that Letter. I really needed it ' it made me feel special to have a Letter from you. It really convicted me, especially about the System novels.

57. Ever since I was little I've been into reading System books ' novels, usually to the neglect of the Lord ' the Word. I had stopped reading them about a year ago ' I didn't have a problem with this any more, but recently I again found myself hungering for System books.

58. Before, once I got ahold of a book, I would read it every spare moment to the neglect of my work ' others, ’ it made me quite introverted at times. So I'm going to forbear reading System novels as I can see how they are a hindrance. I'm so thankful that we have such a wonderful ’ loving Shepherdess like you ' that you are concerned ' care about each ' every one of us. I really love you.

From M., 14:

Dearest Mama‚

59. The thing that stood out to me most from your message to us was about reading System books. When I read System books it's really easy for me to get "sucked in," because once I start a book I want to finish it. I read it every spare minute, ' it can get in the way of my Word time ' other more important things I could be doing.

60. I was surprised at how many things there are in the Word under so many different topics, ' if I have a topic I'm interested in I can make a Word study on it ' it can be just as interesting, if not more so‚ than a novel, ' much more useful ' inspiring; after all, it's the Word that's going to keep me in the Family ' going for Jesus!

Mama's Reply to the Melbourne Teens, 5/94:

Dear Melbourne Teens,

70. I love you, ’ want to say how thankful I am for such wonderful young people who love the Lord ’ want to please ' serve Him with all their hearts, ' who are willing to stand up for the Truth. You all have been brave soldiers ’ warriors of the faith‚ God bless you!

72. Thanks for your words of love ' appreciation, ' especially for sharing your reactions to the pow-wow you had on System influences, books, music, videos, etc.

73. I am proud of you for your wise, cheerful reactions, ' for your being willing to make the sacrifices necessary for your spiritual growth ' to be what the Lord wants you to be. I know it is hard to give up or cut down on things that you've gotten used to doing or having, ’ that you like.

74. It's difficult to sacrifice present pleasures for future spiritual gain. But that's what the Lord loves about Christians who are willing to do so, ’ why we are special to His heart—because we are willing to forsake our own selfish desires in order to be strong soldiers to fight in His battles for the hearts ' minds of folks that desperately need Him, ' who need to see a sample of dedication ' conviction ' spiritual strength in us. (Heb.11:25-26.)

75. Really, when you think of it, such sacrifices are small compared with the rewards that God is going to give us for making them. "The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us!"—Rom.8:18. Jesus said‚ "He that forsaketh not all that he hath, cannot be My disciple."—Luk.14:33. But He also said, "To Him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne."—Rev.3:21.

76. I know it's a battle, ' it's so much simpler to do the things that make us feel good ' don't require such a spiritual effort or struggle. It's so much easier ' more fun to sit down with some System novel ' escape into the world of romance, mystery or adventure.—And once you get hooked‚ to keep doing it over ' over again. I understand that not doing so is a pretty big sacrifice.

77. However, you are the children of the Most High, you are the King's precious anointed ones to whom He has given a special honored commission, ’ because of this, He is asking a sacrifice of you. He is asking you not to stunt your growth with things of the World which will make you spiritually weak ’ lazy ' lost in the world of fantasy.

78. He is asking you to stay on guard, to be alert, ' to be ready to fight at a moment's notice. You are some of the few whom He has chosen. You in the Family are of all young people the most privileged ' honored, the only ones in the World who have the distinction of being born into His Endtime Army. He loves you ' cherishes you ' nurtures you ’ watches over you‚ ' wants to be proud of you, ' to be able to use you fully as His Endtime Ambassadors. He is challenging you to put away childish things ' the sins which do so easily beset you, to run the race that is set before you with patience, knowing that your reward will far surpass any sacrifices made here, ' will not be long in coming.

79. The Enemy has many ways of lulling us to sleep ' of getting us to waste God's precious time with activities that don't count towards Eternity. God needs us to be awake ’ alert‚ trying every minute to redeem the time, because the days are so evil ' time is so short.

80. So I was glad to hear your reactions ' to know that you're willing to make these sacrifices for Jesus, ' to give Him all your time ' attention, so He can make you into the kind of soldiers that He needs on the front lines. You're in a very key place with many eyes focused on you, ’ what you do or don't do is extremely important, much more important than you will ever realize.

81. The forces of good ' of evil are fighting a constant battle to try to affect your decisions, control your thoughts, ' influence how you invest your time. The Enemy would like to destabilize you, immobilize you, incapacitate you‚ ' knock out your effectiveness, because he fears you ' the power you have through Jesus. He trembles in fear of you when you stay close to the Source!

82. God fights for you because He knows what a formidable force you are against the Enemy ' his people, ' He needs you desperately in this war. You're some of the few soldiers He has for this battle. You're the ones that He has invested in ’ nurtured ' cared for‚ ' He has brought you to this point that you might fight in this war. So please don't disappoint Him. Please don't let Him down. He needs you ' we need you!

83. I love you ' am so thankful for each of you, ' that we can count on you to do your best for Jesus in this battle!

Loving Shepherding And Interaction—Charter Style

ML #3018:49‚ 51-52, Lifelines 22

49. (Mama: ) I'm not against people having some free time to relax and do the things they like to do. Nor am I against all television, System books or computer games.

51. Of course, I would not recommend spending precious time reading a lot of fiction, but there are many non-fiction books which could be edifying for your junior teens (and JETTs). If available in the country where you live and you feel your young people would benefit from them, you might consider obtaining books on a variety of subjects that would be both educational and enjoyable for your kids. Books on history, great lives, crafts, vocational topics, computer training, how–to's‚ etc., are very good and will help satisfy their desires to read and learn.

52. There's nothing wrong with allowing your kids to read good books according to the guidelines of the Charter, which say: "Members who wish to read books, or have their children read books other than educational textbooks, or those on the recommended book lists, must receive the agreement of a simple majority of their Home" (Home Life Rules, point M, page 133). However, I caution you to not spend so much time reading even good System books that it takes away from the time you need to be spending studying the Bible and the Letters.

The Shakeup 2000—the S2K

ML #3257:130, 133-134, 142, GN 857

130. (Jesus: ) You, My precious senior teens, are very dear to Me and very important in My Kingdom.

133. Though I see the need to give you some space so you can think, pray, experience, and even just wait on Me, I also know that you need boundaries. The Enemy seeks to destroy your usefulness and your future for Me, so I cannot leave you without clear guidelines as to what is expected of you at this time. I must still hedge you about with definite requirements for your behavior, even though you will be given time to firm up your beliefs and make your personal decisions of commitment to Me.

134. While you decide, while you ponder what you will do with your life‚ I still require that your behavior be that of a Christian. I require that you be a good sample to others, both inside and outside of your Home, and that you work in unity with those in your Home. I also require that you be open to counsel and shepherding, and that you fulfill the responsibilities of a Charter member to the best of your ability.

142. If you're not sure whether you want to commit to full-time discipleship, you can wait until you're 18 to decide. But while you're living in a Charter Home, you must abide by the regulations of that Home. Each CM Home is to agree together on such things as movies, computer games, novels, etc., and you must abide by those regulations while you are living in the Home.

Understanding Prophecy, Part 2

ML #3304:100-110‚ GN 905

Can System input clog your channel?

100. (Question:) What effect, if any, does it have on a person's channel if they're not minimizing unedifying and ungodly influences in their life, or they just started to seriously minimize‚ but before that had perverted appetites for the things of the world? Does contact with System music, bad computer games, reading System books, watching violent, senseless or time-wasting movies; surfing the Internet (including not just really bad stuff, but unnecessary general browsing) affect a person's ability to be a clear channel?

101. (Jesus:) Everything that you take into your mind and spirit affects you. There is no one who is not affected negatively in some way when they partake of System influence via movies‚ music, novels‚ worldly attitudes put forth in newspapers, magazines, or the Internet. All of that propaganda of the Enemy goes into your being and becomes part of you.

102. If you have a strong foundation of faith, you're less affected, and the propaganda doesn't gain a firm hold in your heart and mind‚ as long as you take the time to wash yourself regularly with the Word and My Spirit. But if you're weak in faith and you have bad Word and prayer habits‚ then the propaganda from the System has more effect. And it's a cumulative effect, growing more and more harmful with time. The more you take it in and the longer you allow it to remain in your heart and mind, the stronger the influence, especially if you don't wash it away with the Word. Don't just take things in and let them remain in your mind, but check out your input with Me. Ask Me about the information you are exposed to and hear from Me in prophecy about what My perspective is on the matter. I'll tell you what is true and what is false and what you should reject. Getting My viewpoint and My mind on the matter will help keep you cleansed of false information and wrong attitudes.

103. Those who have taken in much System influence over time subconsciously develop perverted reactions and thought patterns. That System influence can be in the form of such things as excessive movie watching, or the watching of bad movies‚ or listening to evil music, or playing violent computer games, or receiving the vain philosophies of man. Because of the System influence and their entertaining the wrong attitudes or ways of looking at things, even without their realizing it, they develop a mentality that is ungodly. That ungodly mentality wars against the spirit. It's in sharp contrast to the ways of My Kingdom, but the unsuspecting victim often doesn't realize that their first reactions and many of the conclusions they draw are not Word-based.

104. Because of this, the person is at a disadvantage when it comes to hearing from Me, because they're not in a position where they can easily discern the spirits and judge what voice is of Me and what is not. Their senses have become dulled because they've heard the voices of the Enemy's world for so long, so they don't recognize that it's wrong‚ and that those voices and attitudes and reactions have become a part of them.

105. When a person is in this state spiritually, their prophecies will likely be less pure. Therefore, until such a person gets cleaned up spiritually by taking in massive doses of My Word, having united prayer, and having his thought processes brought in line with My way of seeing things, then he will need to be very careful with his prophecies—careful to seek confirmations and counsel from those who are spiritually stronger.

106. As a person who has been contaminated by the world for a period of time seeks the cleansing power of My Word, prayer, and the spirit, they will become a more reliable channel, a clearer one. But it stands to reason that someone who has taken in from the System without limit, who has drunk deeply of the evil wells of the wisdom of man and his perversions, and who has built up a large "database" of stored System values and attitudes in their mind, will have to flush that out and be cleansed and strengthened in spirit.

107. I'm still able to speak to those who are contaminated by a long-term deep feeding of the System, but they must realize their handicap and be very desperate. They must also be aware that there could be some impurities from the Enemy and from their perverted mindsets that can slip into the prophecies because of their weak spiritual state. This can happen because they're not finely attuned to My voice and ways, so when they hear the voice of the Enemy‚ they don't recognize that it goes contrary to My Word and Spirit, and therefore they're not able to raise a standard against the Enemy's voice on the spot.

108. This is another type of serious tainting of My messages that comes about as a result of the channel being dirtied through System influence, especially System influence that has been taken in over a long period of time. This type of tainted prophecy is often characterized by compromise and a general permissiveness that pushes the boundaries and guidelines of the Word and the Charter to the limit.

109. If someone wants to be a reliable channel, one who receives complete prophecies that are the result of great faith and yieldedness, then that person must seek to cleanse their mind and spirit of the ways of the world. If the influence of the world has been great, it will take more time and a conscientious effort to reprogram the channel's mind so that their first reactions and mindset are in line with My Word and the truth, rather than the perversions of the world, and so that they can recognize My voice and discern when the Enemy's voice tries to butt in. If someone has been contaminated by much input from the world, he should take more time in the Word and prayer, and even have a prayer of deliverance.

110. Even if people have good habits in the Word, if they have regular contact with the world through movies, the Internet‚ novels, etc., they must raise a standard against the influence of that contact through prayer and a plea to Me that I will wash them clean as they drink deeply of the things of the spirit. (End of message from Jesus)

The Way Things Really Are in WS

ML #3309:234-235‚ GN 910

People in WS read a lot of System novels, including Stephen King.

234. (Mama:) There are people in WS who read an occasional novel. I've heard of one instance where one person started to read a book by Stephen King, but quit because it was having a bad influence on her spirit. I would hope it hasn't happened other than that, but I don't know as I'm not aware of every personal detail about every person in WS. It's certainly not the standard we promote. If someone reads a novel, it's my understanding that they try to pick something good. In the WS unit that works closely with Peter and me, which Gabe and Amy shepherd, the policy on novel reading is that if someone wants to read something, it has to be approved and voted on, as per the Charter guidelines. In our Home we've made an exception to this rule, as some folks have to read material pertaining to their work or for research, and we simply don't have time to get involved with it all. If they want to read a novel‚ they are responsible to hear from the Lord about it and get His OK, and if they get off track, they receive shepherding.

235. The fact of the matter is that the people in our Home, and in WS as a whole, are too busy to spend much time reading novels. They're also very aware of the responsibility they have to take time in the Word‚ to feed their spirits, and keep their minds and hearts clean, so that they can hear clearly from the Lord and be led of Him and His Spirit in their work on the pubs or their other ministries to serve the Family. Like any other Family members, those in WS are expected to minimize ungodly influences and to accept shepherding regarding any worldly input they take in—whether from movies‚ novels, the Internet, or elsewhere.

Issues, Part 14

ML #3442:6-125, 160-162, GN 1026

6. (Mama:) In the Charter‚ there is a rule about book reading. It states that if you want to read a book, you must receive approval from the Home before doing so. This rule seems to often get overlooked or bypassed, so I asked the Lord for some solutions on how it can work. You might wonder why we have to have it as a rule at all. When I asked the Lord about that, here's what He said:


7. It's important to have a safeguard in this area. Book reading is a lot like movie watching or computer games. It's a form of relaxation and entertainment which can be fine in its place, but can easily become addicting and a distraction if not kept in check. I allow it for My children when they're keeping it in its place and abiding by the guidelines I give. But if it gets out of hand, it can quickly become a hindrance—not only to the spiritual life and health of that one person, but it also eats away at the unity, fruitfulness, and happiness of the body. Because when one member is being influenced negatively by ungodly influences, this affects their Home, whether directly or indirectly. That's why it's important for there to be a way to shepherd this form of entertainment, for the good of the body and the fruitfulness of My missionaries. (End of message from Jesus.)


8. The Lord brings out an important point in that short message. He said that it's "important for there to be a way to shepherd this form of entertainment for the good of the body and the fruitfulness of My missionaries." That's good to keep in mind as you read this counsel. Our number one reason for being here is to win others to Him. If there's something that He feels is hindering us in that mission—or has potential to hinder us—then we should be open to hearing about it and adjusting our habits, lifestyle, or mode of operation accordingly.

9. Keeping things in perspective also really helps. Even though something—such as novel reading—seems all-important and consuming at the time, our life here on Earth is relatively very short in comparison with eternity. These issues can seem large now‚ but in the overall picture, they're extremely minute. What is important are the souls we win to the Lord, who are going to last forever; the love that we share with others, which is what we're here to learn; and the love we give to the Lord‚ our Husband and King. Those are the important things in life.

10. Keeping that perspective, hearing the Lord's counsel about something like novel reading takes on a whole new light. It makes it clearer how wonderful and valued it should be to us that the Lord would be concerned about our spiritual lives and would take the time to share His thoughts with us and give us counsel to keep us on the right track so that the truly important things are the things which remain our priority. The Lord isn't trying to clip our wings or make us feel miserable or confined; He's just trying to coach us so that we're as fruitful as possible during this short time we have on Earth, so that the things we do are of lasting value.

11. Back to the Charter rule: In order to make it more workable, we're amending the Charter to include the possibility of the Home appointing a book–reading committee by a simple majority, who would then handle and have the authority to decide on any requests to read a book. It's recommended that at least one of your Home teamworkers be a member of this committee.

Here is the Charter amendment:

Text box:

Change in "Home Life Rules‚" 51.M:

Members who wish to read books or have their children read books, other than educational textbooks or those on the recommended book lists, must, after personally receiving a confirmation from the Lord to read the book, submit their request to their Home and receive the agreement of a simple majority of voting members.

If the Home wishes, in place of having the entire Home vote on the matter, they may appoint a committee of at least three members 18 or older to decide which books Home members can read. The Home member, after receiving a confirmation from the Lord, would submit their request to the committee and receive the agreement of a simple majority of the committee. It is recommended that, if possible, a member of the Home teamwork be on the book committee.

End of text box.

12. Here are some suggestions or ideas of how you could possibly make this rule work in your Home, but please feel free to ask the Lord for counsel about what would be best for your situation.

13. * You can bring up the topic in a Home council meeting and ask the Home to vote on whether you can read a certain book or not. (Most people might not feel comfortable doing it this way, but if everyone in your Home does, more power to you!)

14. * Print or write out your request to read a book, the message you received from the Lord about it, and some sort of idea of what the book is about (or put the book with the memo you pass around‚ if you have it on hand)‚ and let people vote on paper regarding your request.

15. * Make it your Home policy that if someone wants to read a book, they're responsible to pray about it and turn in the message they receive from the Lord‚ along with the book (if available), to a book-reading committee that has been appointed by the Home. If they don't hear otherwise within a reasonable amount of time (for example, three days or a week—you can agree on the time period together as a Home), then they can go ahead with it, either obtaining the book or getting it back from the book committee. In some cases, you might not have the book available, if English books are not widely available in your area, and so you might want to get approval before you go to the trouble of borrowing it from a library or purchasing it online‚ or whatever your plans are.

16. There are many more options along these lines, involving ways to either bring it up to the Home for a vote, or else decide (by a majority vote) as a Home to create a book-reading committee, and then set up guidelines within which they make the decisions about book-reading requests. It's up to you as a Home to set your policy in regards to how people can go about getting a book approved that they want to read. Please pray about it, discuss it, and decide what would be best in your situation. The main point is that everyone should be praying and hearing from the Lord about what they read, and there should be a check and balance system so that if shepherding is needed or someone is going overboard or getting off track, they can receive shepherding.

17. Following are some questions and the Lord's answers about book reading. Some of these questions were sent in from the field‚ and others were generated from our WS units, as some of our folks like to read books too. Like we covered in the GNs about life in WS, most of our folks don't have a lot of time to read and they're not into it excessively, but some people enjoy reading for recreation and have received good counsel from the Lord in their personal prayer and prophecy times, excerpts of which they've agreed to share with you in this GN. I pray it's a blessing to you.

Lesser of two evils?


18. Wouldn't it be less damaging for your spirit to read a book than to watch a movie?


19. The answer to this question is yes and no. It depends on the movie‚ it depends on the book, and it depends on the person. It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and in many cases that's true; but on the other hand, there are so many things that you can express or depict in writing that can't clearly be shown in a movie.

20. One short scene in a movie could take up quite a few pages in a book, and thus the book will be more detailed than the movie‚ which tells the same story. Most movies aren't longer than two hours, but if you sat down to read a book of the same story it would probably take you at least ten hours, and that's one of the main drawbacks of reading books: the time that it takes, the hours that are spent. I allow for some recreational hours‚ and I understand the need to relax and get away from thinking—and in some cases, for some people, they would prefer to do that by reading a book. But when the input is harmful to your spirit, or when you take in worldly input to the neglect of your spiritual input, or when you spend too much time taking in this worldly input, that is when I consider it a waste of time.

21. There's really no black-and-white answer to this question, because what may be bad for one person's spirit may not affect another person quite so much. Perhaps you're the kind of person that's more affected by the things that you see, and seeing something graphic or disturbing could affect your spirit negatively. In such cases, maybe it would be better for your spirit to read a book than to watch the movie with all of the sound effects and visual effects.

22. Then there are other people who are very attracted to reading. They read and their spirits are almost completely engulfed in the story, the plot, the characters, and the world depicted within its pages. It's almost like they become a character in the story, and everything is very real to them. This can be detrimental to such a reader, because they get sucked into the world of fantasy, and perhaps for them it would be less damaging for their spirit if they were to just watch a movie; it's shorter, less detailed, and wouldn't engulf them as completely.

23. Both books and movies can be hazardous to your spiritual life and walk with Me‚ and that's why I'm repeatedly emphasizing the need for you to minimize these worldly influences. It goes without saying that some movies and books are better than others, and that's why you have to be in tune with Me, constantly checking in with Me to make sure you're doing the right thing, watching the right thing, or reading the right thing‚ whatever the case may be. Only I know what's best for you personally, and I'm more than willing to reveal these secrets to you when you call upon Me with no will of your own. (End of message from Jesus.)

Using protection …


24. Why is it good to pray before reading every book?


25. I've been emphasizing the need to pray about everything. I've been teaching you the art of prayerfulness for years now, and slowly but surely you've been making it a habit in your life. I haven't emphasized greater prayerfulness just to make life more difficult or complicated for you; I've been emphasizing the habit of prayer because your obedience to do so ensures a greater measure of protection from the Enemy and his attacks.

26. You should definitely pray before deciding to read a book. You should sit down and officially ask Me if I want you to read that particular book. If I say no‚ then I will explain the reasons why. If I say yes, then continue to listen and I will give you further instruction and words of caution, as well as suggestions of how much time you should spend reading it, followed by a good reminder to have a refreshing bath in the water of My Word before and afterwards.

27. After hearing Me speak to you directly about the book, if I've given you My stamp of approval, you should then pray earnestly that I will keep and protect your spirit. Pray that I will help you to draw the positive and good things out of the book and cast aside and forget anything that is negative or unnecessary. And after you have received My approval and begun to read, if you are wise, you will want to periodically check in with Me to see how the book is affecting your spirit, and whether it would be wiser at any point to stop reading it, or to cut down on the time you are spending on it, or balance it out with more time with Me.

28. This is a sacrifice, for once you start a book‚ it's often intriguing and draws you in even more. But if you value the health of your spiritual life, you will continue to check in with Me to ensure that it's not poisoning your spirit or causing you spiritual ill health. Your hearing from Me and the specific prayer requests that you bring before Me work together to protect and keep your spirit. That's why it's vital that you pray before, and during, reading each and every book. (End of message from Jesus.)

Type and style … ?


29. Is there a type of book that we should stay away from, and why should we stay away from it?


30. The books you should stay away from are those which are unnecessarily or graphically violent‚ heady or promote a "mind trip," glorify the works of Satan, mock the things of My Spirit and My ways, or those that promote pride and other attitudes which are opposite to My Word. How will you know which ones would have this effect? You must ask Me and be open to shepherding.

31. I will be your Heavenly Librarian, and I'll tell you which books are worth your while and which are not, but you must be willing to take "no" for an answer. Sometimes I'll say that it would be fine for you to read something‚ but since most of the books around are of this world and glorify the world, I will often tell you to refrain from reading many of the books that you would initially like to read or feel an attraction to. There will also be times when maybe you feel a book is fine, but the book committee in your Home or your shepherds don't feel that it would do your spirit good. In those cases, you would be wise to listen, for it is very possibly My voice speaking to you through another means, telling you it would be better to wait or refrain completely.

32. It's practically impossible to know with your carnal mind whether a book that you haven't read is worthwhile or not. Sometimes the plot will seem interesting and intriguing, or something about the book will grab you, but within the pages you will stumble upon the snares and traps of the Enemy. While other books may look rather boring, maybe I know that you would enjoy or be edified and even surprised by what's contained therein.

33. Some books are obviously bad and evil, which you wouldn't read, but it's the ones that appear within the neutral category that you have to watch out for and be extremely prayerful about. There's no way that you'll know whether or not a book is worthwhile from looking at the cover or skimming through the pages. The only way you can be sure that you're feeding your spirit the right material is to let Me show you. And don't just give Me a sheet of paper with your wishes, expecting Me to sign it. You have to come with a blank sheet of paper, being willing to accept whatever answer I give you. (End of message from Jesus)

34. (Mama: ) You teens who are under 16 aren't yet voting members and haven't yet signed the Charter membership contract, so you're under slightly different rules when it comes to what you can and cannot read. In your case, you should counsel with your parents or guardians before you pray about whether or not you can read a book. Once you have received their permission to pray about it—or in some cases, they might want to pray about it themselves—then you can proceed accordingly with praying about it and receiving the permission of the book committee‚ or whoever makes the decision in your Home.

Willing to take no for an answer?


35. A key in being able to shepherd yourself and enjoy the recreational activities that you like to engage in‚ while still keeping your spiritual life healthy and clean, is to be willing to ask Me about all your activities and to accept the answers I have for you.

36. If you truly want to be trusted, if you want to be fruitful for Me, if you want to accomplish the most possible in the short time you have on Earth, you must be willing to put aside those weights which would slow you down and hinder you from the mission I have for you. How will you know what the weights are? You have to ask Me with an open and yielded heart.

37. I mean for you to enjoy life. I mean for you to enjoy and benefit from forms of relaxation‚ even ones that are produced by the world, if you're willing to let Me direct you to the ones that will not harm you, and if you let Me protect you from the ones that would be harmful. That's the key—to be open to My answers.

38. If you find that you don't want to ask Me about something because you're afraid I'll say no, or if you find that you always receive a yes and never a caution or a no‚ then you probably need some outside help in praying about your decisions. But if you're willing to hear from Me with an open channel, willing to accept whatever I want to tell you, even if it's a no—when you were really hoping to be able to read that book or engage in that activity—then you'll find that through My Words I'm able to keep you on track for the most part, and you'll make your shepherds' job—and My job—a lot easier.

39. It will be easier on you, too, because you'll be open and yielded and used to hearing from Me and even receiving correction from Me. So when the times come up that you need to receive it from your shepherds, you'll be used to it, and it will be easier to receive. And that is an important point: even if you think you're being open in your times of hearing from Me, you'll still need to be open to the counsel of your shepherds, and willing to let others pray and ask Me about things if a question comes up.

40. So keep that in mind as you pray and ask Me about things. It's crucial that you're willing to receive a no, if that's what I want to tell you. Otherwise‚ you're just going through the motions, you're not really protected, and the Enemy will see you as an open target to get you off track and harm your spiritual health and fruitfulness. He'll use the little things—little things that I could protect you from easily—if he knows that you're not really willing to receive My full counsel‚ and thus are somewhat "on your own" in trying to stay on track spiritually. So pray for openness.

41. And if you feel that you may be going through a time when you're not as open to My counsel, go on the attack and ask for prayer. When a question comes up, ask others to pray for you or with you about whatever issues you're struggling with, and get a well-rounded answer. If you do that, I am able to protect you fully and lead you to forms of recreation and entertainment that are not only fun and relaxing and enjoyable, but also won't harm your spirit or steer you away from My highest will for you. (End of message from Jesus.)

Double standard in regards to book reading?


42. Why are adults allowed to read books that they like to read, and then young people can't read the books that they like?


43. Everyone should use the same amount of caution and prayerfulness when determining whether or not to read a book. Even self-improvement or self-help books can be as damaging as some novels—in fact, maybe more so. No one should pick up a book of any kind without first asking Me whether it's good or bad‚ necessary or unnecessary, feeding and uplifting or damaging and depressing.

44. The point is‚ you have to watch what you feed your spirit. The standard is the same across the board, for young and older alike. There's no double standard; the same standard of checking with Me about everything goes for everyone. The standard for reading a book is the same for all. No one should read a System book of any kind unless you first have My approval, My instruction, and the protection of My Spirit surrounding you. (End of message from Jesus.)

What's the big deal?


45. Why do some people get so worked up about the fact that you're reading a novel? Is it because they don't know what the book entails, and therefore they just label it as being bad or negative, even if they don't know what the contents are?


46. If they don't know what the book is about, they wonder whether it's good for your spirit or not. They love you and they care for you and they want what's best for you. Sometimes it may seem like they're a little uptight or on your case, but it's because they watch for your soul and they're concerned about what you're feeding your spirit, as am I. There may be other reasons in some cases, but this is one of the most common.

47. To prevent this from happening, all you have to do is simply share with the shepherds the messages that I gave you in prophecy regarding the book you plan to read, and show yourself open to counsel—as there shouldn't be a time when you read a book without first officially getting My seal of approval and My counsel and instruction, and following the Charter rule about getting approval before you start reading. Your shepherds or the others in the Home will then feel at peace about you reading the book or novel, because through reading My messages to you they'll know that I'm shepherding you and you're looking to Me each step of the way. (End of message from Jesus)

The slow poisoning is the most dangerous …


48. I have led to put the clause in the Love Charter that one must counsel and receive permission from the Home in order to read a book or novel, because in the multitude of counselors there is safety. In the multitude of counsel, one is often spared from sin and many troubles.

49. You are what you read; the words that you read and take in are spiritual food for your soul. Among the many books in the world‚ those with obvious negative propaganda will pollute and tear down. Yet don't be ignorant of the Enemy's devices, for those that are strewn with subtle wrong attitudes are often the most dangerous. As you can't always judge a book by its cover, so you must not judge in carnal reasoning by the obvious content—the obvious subject matter—for it's the less obvious to carnal reason, it's the subtleties, it's the twisted wrong attitudes, that work to chip away and to tear down that you must be aware of.

50. If you should read the obvious propaganda, then the blatancy, the forthrightness, and the outright lies are easily seen, and because of that, they are in many ways more easily fought. I don't recommend that you read the obvious propaganda, because taking in lies is not good for your spirit‚ even if you think you're resisting them. But it's the more subtle attacks, the subtle wrong attitudes, that linger and slowly poison and harm. It's the subtleties that go right to work on the spirit and then, little by little, step by step, drop by drop, they chip away and tear down.

51. Oftentimes it's the slow poison that poses the greatest threat. For when the poison seeps in slowly, it's apt to go unnoticed for the longest time, until finally, when detected, it's much more difficult and sometimes too late to ward off its deadly threats to your spiritual health and well-being. (End of message from Jesus.)

See it in the spirit …


52. This next message was given for a young person in one of our WS units. I'm sharing with you the Lord's counsel about him because it brings out a very important lesson: No one is immune to being affected by the influences of the world. The only protection is to stay very close to the Lord and obedient to the guidelines He gives about minimizing these worldly influences in our lives.


53. This dear one is a good boy, and because of that‚ has a propensity to self-righteousness. He has a genuine desire to do good and accomplish good things for Me and the Family. He also feels he's good enough to be able to be impervious to the bad effects of System influences. In a way he's right; they don't outwardly affect him that much, so he has "evidence" of his feelings. He is outwardly able to stay positive.

54. However, what he doesn't realize is that there is a spiritual toll on his life caused by these influences that is subtly undermining his spiritual walls. It's somewhat like a siege of a castle in old times where they dug under the walls. Even though the walls remained looking strong and secure‚ the bedrock that was underpinning them had been removed and replaced by supports that could be yanked out quickly so that the whole wall could come tumbling down. That castle that seemed to be standing so strong one day‚ suddenly comes crashing down, to the total shock and consternation of the occupants.

55. The bedrock, of course, is the Word. If those principles have been removed and replaced by other things, then everything on the outside may still look pretty hunky-dory, until those other things suddenly give way‚ and then in one moment, everything is turned into a pile of rubble.

56. The bedrock principles are Me—that is Jesus‚ the Cornerstone—faith, love, trust. If any principle of the world, whether it's worldly wisdom, philosophy or the like, eats away at the bedrock and takes its place as a false or flimsy or temporary support, then the whole tower will fall when this support crumbles or is yanked out.

57. There are a lot of interesting and at least partially truth-based principles among the things that he reads. What is insidious about these things is that they can be attractive to think and dwell on and even to espouse. But they're a foundation of sand and they cannot be relied on to uphold you in a crisis.

58. A lot of novels have characters in them that seem wise. Often they are the author, or their alter egos, projected into the book as a character, portraying the author's thoughts and philosophy. Authors have usually had quite a bit of education, studying subjects such as psychology or philosophy, so they're full of the world's wisdom and they regurgitate a lot of that in their works. So even though the reader is not necessarily consciously filling their head full of man's wisdom, by reading the heavy tomes connected with these sciences or disciplines‚ they can still be imbibing the principles through this secondary means. And the wisdom of the world can be appealing; otherwise, why would so many people be into it?

59. Often the reader identifies with one or more of the characters, and without even realizing it, puts himself in their position and is influenced by their experiences. He will sometimes start mimicking the character in his thoughts, speech, or mannerisms. This is also true for movies; but usually in a movie there's not enough time to fully develop a character's personality. But a book can really get the reader into the mind of the protagonists [main characters]. Then the character gets into the reader's mind and it almost becomes like a possession. For some weak individuals who don't have the Lord, it can become a complete possession. In those cases, the Enemy can move in fully and rule their minds, and it all began through something they were reading and threw their thoughts and imaginations into.

60. Some characters are good and some are blatantly bad, but the majority are somewhere in between. That's why I enjoin you to dwell in the Word and let My good character possess you. By getting into novels, you're opening your mind to let another person or spirit manipulate you. It might seem far-fetched‚ but anyone honestly assessing themselves would come to the conclusion that they have been influenced by the novels they've read—some to altruistic purposes, but most to other purposes that are irrelevant, meaningless‚ or even negative.

61. So all that to say that this dear one is opening his heart and mind to lots of influences, many of them wrong influences, in reading so many of these books. A novel once in a while, if prayed over and approved by Me, may be all right to read, but a steady diet will undermine faith and be a drain on one's spiritual resources. It would be better for him right now to put those novels aside and concentrate on shoring up the bedrock. (End of message from Jesus)

Putting skin on it …


62. Following is a potpourri of excerpts of personal messages that some of our dear folks in WS units have received on the topic of their personal System input, including reading, as well as movies, etc. Not every message can be applied across the board, but there are some good lessons in here that I think will benefit you and help you to see more clearly how the Lord views these things.

63. In some messages, the Lord is strongly urging the person to lay aside novel reading—or whatever form of System entertainment they're asking about—completely. Just because I'm publishing them for you, that doesn't mean that I or the Lord are asking you to give up everything. There's a time and a place for everything, as you'll see in some of the other messages where the Lord gives His permission for the person to read a book, or gives counsel on what types to read or guidelines on when. It's not that the Lord is against all these forms of recreation. But He does want our cooperation to minimize the ungodly influences in our lives, so that we can be as fruitful for Him as possible.

64. The key is to ask the Lord and be open to whatever counsel He wants to give you at the time. There will probably be times when He knows that you're not strong enough to engage in a certain activity without being affected or weakened by it. At those times, it's very important that you're yielded and open enough to receive that message and obey it. At other times, He'll give His permission, probably with some guidelines to follow, which also grants you His protection as you obey.

65. The most important lesson you could get from this GN is to ask the Lord for His counsel and stay open to the counsel of others, especially your shepherds. That's not to make things more difficult for you or restrict your life or personal freedom. It's to make things easier for you so that you don't have to spend time cleaning up or getting back on track later; or worse yet, failing the Lord because you were weakened and thus could not fulfill the plan He had for you. It's not worth it‚ folks! Stay yielded; stay open. That's the easy way!

Keeping first things first

66. (Staff member prays:) When rereading "The Shakeup" and "More on the Shakeup‚" I was convicted that I should pray further about my own life, about worldly influences and nonessential pursuits, and ask You, Lord, how I'm doing and if there are areas I need to pull up my socks in. I've decided to start asking You before watching movies, and in general not watching them as religiously as I always have; also, to discontinue reading novels, at least for now; and pray about the other recreational activities I enjoy, such as card playing, and ask You if that's the best thing to be doing at the time.

67. Those are the obvious types of things, and even in them‚ it's not like I'm always so faithful and prayerful yet. I'm sure there are other attitudes and things that I need to improve in. I'm sure You'll continue to show me more as time goes on‚ and just being stirred up in the spirit and trying to keep the right attitudes and priorities is going to help. Yet I know You must have something to say to me personally about all this and about ways I could do better. In general, how's my attitude? What's right and wrong about it? Is there anything that I should forsake that I'm not aware of?

Text box:

From "More on the Shakeup":

(Jesus:) I don't mean for you to give up everything that I've supplied for you. I don't mean for you to forsake watching movies, eating decent food, having showers, or listening to music. But the question you have to ask yourself is, "Would I be willing to give all of that up if the Lord asked me to?" If your answer is yes‚ if you would drop everything if I asked it of you, then that's a safe attitude to have, a godly attitude.

If you put anything in first place before Me and My Word‚ if you consistently—in fact, almost all the time—enjoy other things more than you enjoy Me, then that's a danger sign. You need to get back to the basics, back to the beginning, back to the beauties of loving Me and being on-fire for Me.

I'm talking about that revolutionary, do–or-die spirit! I'm talking about being drunk on the Spirit! Yes, I can allow you to watch movies or do whatever it is that you enjoy, but if you put that before Me or you always like it more than you like spending time with Me, then that's the time to forsake it‚ at least for a while, and get back to your First Love.

If there comes a time when you realize that something in your life is more important to you than Me, then you should right away, without delay, forsake it. Only by putting Me first and keeping Me in first place above everything else—your desires, your ambitions, your work, your relationships, your fun and entertainment—will you keep that revolutionary spirit, that "I-could-lose-the-whole-world-cause-I-have–Jesus" heart, soul‚ and spirit (ML #3262:255,258,259,264, GN 863).

End of text box.


68. I'm very happy, My darling, that you're willing to take a serious and earnest look at each little corner of your life and yield anything that's not fully yielded to Me. I know that some of these forms of entertainment that come from the world are very special to you in a way. They haven't gotten out of hand in your life to the point that you spend more time with them than with Me, or that you give them more priority than the work you have for Me. Your loyalty and dedication are sound, and you're a good, faithful worker‚ and diligent to take time with Me every day. Nevertheless, even if these things are not way out of place‚ the way to keep them that way is by acknowledging that I am most important to you, and that you want to get anything that would keep you from Me, or from receiving all that I have for you, out of the way.

69. The ideal would be if all My children were so tuned in to the realm of the spirit and so high on Me that you didn't need so many carnal forms of entertainment. Yet, just the same‚ I am the One Who made your mortal frames weak and only able to contain so much spiritually, and I know that you need times to wind down, to relax, to get your mind off your work. Not that you should just zonk out and go into neutral and totally get off a spiritual wavelength‚ but you can and need to turn down the level of intensity to some degree at times; otherwise your mortal mind and body would not be able to withstand the constant charges of spiritual and mental energy that come through when you're totally tuned in to Me and focused on your work, or even on being fed through My Word.

70. There are many ways to meet this need for diversion and relaxation, and the most edifying and uplifting ones are those that involve My Word, or loving Me, or songs of love to Me; or that involve fellowship and interaction with your brethren, getting to know and understand them better. This could mean dates‚ walks, just talking, or even relaxing and chatting together, bantering and playing.

71. Sure, you occasionally get a little silly, and I know you might wonder how that could be more edifying than a good movie. Basically it's because it's human interaction, and in a way a form of affection and communication. Of course your times with your friends should be balanced, with times for deeper communication, loving Me together, and enjoying the things of the spirit, and should not all be light or frivolous. Just remember, though, that fellowship with others of any kind—with the exception of sharing your doubts or negativity with each other and not bringing out the lesson or positive side—is generally the most productive way to spend your free time.

72. I'm glad that you've decided to set aside novel reading. There are some edifying ones, like the last one you read‚ that had a good message. I understand that reading is a special form of entertainment for you, because you find it fascinating as well as educational, and I won't say that there will never be times when it won't be appropriate to read a good book. But the emphasis should be on good book—and not just good because it's gripping or fascinating, but good because it's not going to pollute your spirit or impart bad attitudes or pictures.

73. As for movie viewing, while you haven't cut down drastically in the amount you watch, there's been some degree of de-emphasizing the importance you place on it. I'm happy with that, and would encourage you to continue in that direction. You haven't been so quick to make up a missed movie, and have considered or done other things, like having a date or fellowship instead.

74. It's not that movies are bad; it's just that they, being one of your "hobbies," can tend to take on too much importance if you get too into it. Whereas by distancing yourself a little bit—and especially by praying and asking Me before viewing—you'll keep it in a better perspective.

75. Here are the cardinal rules for you to keep:

  1. Put Me and My Word first, and don't even consider these other things unless you've had good Word time.
  2. Keep My work as your priority and don't get into recreation or entertainment to the neglect of something important at hand.
  3. Ask Me everything. Check in with Me, asking Me to help you to be open and willing to receive whatever I want to tell you, and you can't go wrong. (End of message from Jesus)

More guidelines

[Note: As mentioned earlier‚ these guidelines were given to an individual in one of our units. While the principles are good, the Lord also tailored them to that particular person to meet their specific needs at a specific time. So for your own personal guidelines, be sure to seek the Lord personally!]


76. It is okay that you read from time to time for entertainment, but you should be keeping to some guidelines.

  1. Reading a novel is not an option unless you've already had your hour and a half to two hours of Word time that day, and your prayer vigil.
  2. It should be something that replaces other System input, such as video viewing, and not additional System input.
  3. If there is an option at that time to fellowship with someone else or do a united activity, that should be the priority.
  4. Pray and get My confirmation on each book that you plan to read.
  5. Don't advertise or promote reading novels to others, telling them about this or that "great book." If someone asks your opinion or advice on a certain book‚ you can tell them what you think, but the main thing is to advise them to hear from Me about whether it's good for them. (End of message from Jesus.)

An example of your end of the bargain


77. Lord, is it okay for me to read a book? I've been in the Word a lot during this time I've been sick‚ as I haven't been able to work, and so have had many hours of Word time. It's difficult for me to stay in bed so much, because I get bored, yet I don't have the strength to be up and around for more than about a half hour at a time. I found a book by a good author, and they made a rated movie out of it. Is it okay for me to read? Please help me to be a clear channel. Please override my own ideas or preferences and help me to receive Your full counsel‚ whatever You want to tell me, sweet Lord.


78. Yes, My love‚ this book is fine for you to read. It's interesting, although not entirely gripping or fast-moving. But you will find it interesting, and it will help you to pass the hours while you rest. Only make sure that you balance your reading of it with the Word.

79. You've been getting good Word time, so I give you My permission to read this book as well. But if it starts to take the place of your Word time, or your times of prayer and intercession for others, or times of communing with Me, or times of fellowship with others‚ then you must heed My checks and put it away. I trust you to do this; that's why I give you My permission. If you keep your end of the bargain, I will bless and make it an enjoyable recreational activity, and will not allow it to do you harm. (End of message from Jesus.)

Sifting …


80. Another time, one of our staff members, who happened to be receiving a long spirit story at the time, asked the Lord about reading a book related to the history of the spirit story she was receiving, and the Lord said:


81. There's a very tricky balance to keep. Normally I would tell you that you're right, that reading this book is going to hinder your channel, because you'll either compare with this writer or you'll get tangled up because things I give you in your story don't quite jibe with the things in this book. Or simply because reading a book like this will take away from your Word time, which is essential to your channel in receiving this long story, among other things.

82. Another thing to remember is that though this is a wonderful story and I used the writer to get this message out in his day‚ he was a church Christian, and as a result, his perspectives were tainted by his churchy upbringing. He knows better now the freedoms of My love and My sexy, wild spirit‚ and has embraced these freedoms wholeheartedly. He's helping you with the story too‚ as are other writers.

83. However, I will make a concession, because this next week you have some time off. I will say that you can read the book, but only during this time. Whether or not you finish it by the end, I would ask that you put it aside so that you are able to concentrate fully on the task at hand. Also‚ the book can't take away from the time that you would have spent with Me. In other words, during this break why not make it a goal that from the time you wake up in the morning until the middle of your day you won't touch the book, but will only take time with Me in the Word. Then‚ if you've had that time with Me, you can feel free to take the book on whatever outing you go on and read it to your heart's content.

84. Does that sound like a good arrangement or plan? I know you've been looking forward to reading that book and had prayed for it. I'm grateful that you acknowledged Me as to when to read it. Pray, too, that I will help you to sift out those things that are not of My Spirit.

85. Be on guard and be vigilant. Don't just drink things in without judging and discerning according to the standard of My Word and according to My Spirit, which is always present with you. (End of message from Jesus.)

Becoming more selective …

(Excerpt of a note from a young person in WS to Mama: )

86. One thing that was convicting for me was about novel reading. You probably already know this about me‚ but I love reading. I love the input, I love learning new words, I love the English language. Of course, I give the Word first priority. I make sure I get my hour–and-a-half or two hours a day, I keep up with all of the pubs, have my daily prayer and prophecy time‚ etc. But I do read novels too. I've only read pretty good ones, I think.

87. I don't feel it's necessary at this point for me to make a decision to never read another novel, though of course if you and the Lord were to tell me to, I would. But I will certainly be more prayerful about it now and try to keep it to a once-in-a–while thing, and watch out about it becoming a steady diet. I prayed about it‚ to ask the Lord if it was something I needed to cut back on, and here's what He said:


88. Regarding your novel reading and other System input, you did need a check at this time in your life to keep it in balance. You enjoy relaxation and entertainment, and in particular‚ both movies and books hold a special place in your heart. It's okay for you to enjoy both of these in moderation‚ but moderation is where it must be kept.

89. You should still be praying about the movies that show in the Home and check with Me whether you should personally watch them. This is one thing you haven't done much, except with a few very heavy movies. You should do it more. I know you fear doing it because you don't want to miss out on movies since you enjoy them so much; but in the long run you'll be thankful. There have been a few movies here and there you've regretted seeing; or others that you wish you would have been forewarned about some particular aspect that affected you badly. You've just got to be more careful with your System input, and that's what I'm asking of you now.

90. As for your reading, I will not ask that you never read another novel, but I would ask that you become more selective and only do it at certain times. It would be okay to finish the one you're reading now, which I said you could read and which is an interesting and in some ways even uplifting and faith-building story. Reading books of rated movies is generally the safest, but even that isn't a sure bet. Please do continue to pray and ask Me about each one that you read.

91. Also, it would be better for you to stick to reading them only on free days, or at times like when you're out and have to wait for someone. In the evenings when you're lying down to sleep, it would be more edifying and strengthening if you would instead stick to reading My Word or other Family pubs like the Grapevine, Eve, etc. You battle sometimes at night with your thoughts and even in your dreams‚ so you need all the protection you can get, and part of that protection comes through giving yourself only pure input at that time.

92. You could take something to read during your upcoming break‚ but make sure that your primary focus and priority while away during that time is getting tanked up on My Word and enjoying intimate and special times of communing with Me, loving Me, and listening to Me. If you always keep this as your priority, you'll have the key to staying on track and making sure you're not wandering away from My highest will in your work or in your personal life. (End of message from Jesus.)

The lures of distraction

(Received by a young staff member who had just finished playing a rather lengthy and involved computer game and was praying about the nature of input he was exposing himself to during his free-time activities:)


93. You have to set your eyes even more on the operations of the spirit and pull away from the pitiful imaginations of man, whether in books, computer games‚ movies, or whatever else so easily fascinates you.

94. The imagination of man is prolific. There are many writings, many imaginations, many pictures, some painted better than others, but all stemming from the same imagination of man, which is limited, and which is rooted in unbelief and ignorance of the truth, serving only to starve the soul of man.

95. Why do you think books like the Chicken Soup series get so popular so quickly? Because when people read them, they are being fed spiritually, even if in a small and limited way. It satisfies, even if in a very limited way, a spiritual yearning for inspiration, faith and hope, so they cling to the book. They cling to whatever morsels of truth and goodness they can find.

96. But to you and to all My children is entrusted the task of leading man to the abundance of truth and spiritual feeding that I have placed within your hands. That is your heritage, the foundation that your Father David left you with. It is not for you to pollute your heart and mind with the imaginations of man. It is for you to use your mind and heart, and all your might, all your soul, all your strength, to seek to serve Me and do My will.

97. In order to be the pure, clean channel that you need to be‚ you're going to have to lay aside these youthful and sinful lusts. I know you like to get away from thinking every now and then. But what you must learn is to guard your time and heart from those influences that dull you to the voice of My Spirit, to the reality of My constant presence.

98. Haven't you found that as long as you're engaged in such activities, whether it's reading a book that comes from this world‚ playing a computer game designed by the world‚ or watching videos made by this world, that it's more difficult to think of Me, to acknowledge Me, even to tune in to My Spirit? And if these things distance you from Me, how can you then receive My words of feeding, direction, and guidance without problems?

99. As times wax worse and worse, it will be even more dangerous to lose even a fraction of your connection with Me and My voice and the things of the Spirit. And this is what you must guard against. The loss of connection, the loss of interest, the loss of desire and appetite for the things of the Spirit is unacceptable. In order to put these things first, you're going to have to seek Me all the more earnestly before indulging in something that could potentially cause these losses.

100. So will you let Me help you? Will you let Me tell you what things are and are not good for you? Will you accept and even actively seek My counsel and advice to you on how you can make the most out of your life? Or will you seek your own way‚ following the abundant temptations of your desires, the myriad little lures of Satan with which he seeks to distract you from your main purpose‚ from making of your life, of your days, what they're meant to be?

101. You know the answer. Let Me help you make that answer a reality in your life. This will happen through your coming to Me, depending on Me‚ your acknowledging Me in all your ways and asking Me everything, as I have asked of you.

102. Let this be your goal. Let this be what you strive for in this new year, in this new era. Don't let it go by filled with distractions and a little here and a little there. Seek to make the most of it. Strive to fill each minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run, and strive to stay away from the entrapping and ensnaring distractions and lures of Satan, of the world.

103. You are My chosen one, but like My chosen people‚ you must still choose to serve Me. Only then can I pour out the blessings and promises that I have spoken concerning you and your future.

104. The choices, like your life‚ are in your hands. What are you making of them? (End of message from Jesus.)



105. It never hurts to practice moderation. In your case, you can easily become absorbed in a hobby, particularly if it's a pleasant distraction, to where it starts taking up more time than it should—and of all things, your time is something you should guard most carefully.

106. If you were to guard your time more carefully and apportion it out more conscientiously‚ the effect of System influences would automatically be minimized—simply by the fact that you wouldn't spend as much time exposing yourself to things like computer games, books, comics and movies.

107. These are not all bad, and in many cases can be used for good. But it's the time you spend doing these things versus the time that you spend with Me, seeking Me, and giving your all to your ministry and calling, that makes all the difference. (End of message from Jesus.)

Laying aside the weights …


108. It's no longer the day of imagination, but a day for reality —a day to prepare for the time and events that will surpass even your imaginations in the power of My Spirit.

109. Yes, you have some physical baggage—your knickknacks and little things that you still hang on to. And yet these mean nothing to Me so long as they don't stand between us. It's the spiritual weights I would have you shed. These are much more subtle and difficult to see, but they inflict infinitely more damage than these little physical weights ever could, because they keep you from following Me all the way. These are much more difficult for you to put away.

110. I know you would obey Me if I asked you to cast away your special little physical belongings, or even your books and book reading. Though you would feel it was a sacrifice, I know in your love for Me you would obey.

111. Yet what I ask will be even more difficult—to forsake your pride; the mind that stops you from receiving in the flesh what has been spoken in the Spirit; the thoughts that keep you from following My Word and obeying it with all your heart, without reservation, without compunction. (End of message from Jesus)

Seeking first the Kingdom


112. Lift up your eyes to those things that are unseen and eternal. They are the true treasures of life, and the things you will be glad you invested in when you come back here.

113. In the case of books‚ they take your time from other things, as is the case with many of the Enemy's devices. They may not be bad in themselves, but the fact that they take time that could be better invested in the eternal things of the spirit is what makes them bad. They can be fine in moderation, but I recommend against trying to read them during this time when greater and more important things are happening in the Spirit. You can't afford the time.

114. There are other things to be read‚ truths to be learned, and even stories to be gotten. But most of all, you must let go of your own desires and impulses. You must learn what it means to seek first My Kingdom and My righteousness, and then these other things will be added to you. It doesn't work the other way around. If you put Me and My work first—in your time, your schedule‚ and in your heart, your mind, your thoughts—then these other things won't matter so much. You can use them in perspective. But your focus will remain on Me and what I want you to do, how I want you to be, what I want you to be, and how you can become that. (End of message from Jesus.)

Making wise choices


115. The things that are seen are temporal. Learn to see them as such; to see them for what they really are—nothing! They are as dust, as the grass of the field that withers, that today is, but tomorrow is cast into the oven.

116. But the things that are not seen, these you must open your eyes to, and learn to see them as though they were real—for they are. They are true reality. These are the things that are eternal. These are the things of value. These are the things you should be striving for, living for, dying for.

117. Bringing it down to brass tacks, this means you seek to shed the things of this world that encumber your spirit. You must take care. There are many choices ahead of you, and only a few lead the way down that straight and narrow path. Many others, the majority of choices, are designed by the Enemy to lead you into a trap, and these traps are becoming more and more deadly, more and more vicious the further you go along.

118. The Enemy knows that this consecration, and the path I'm calling My children to follow, will make them vastly more powerful, and he fears this. So he musters all his forces, all his lures, any temptation he can think of to get you to take one of his paths—and he springs the trap much sooner than he might have before. This is what I mean when I say that the battles are becoming more intense.

119. You must take care to follow the choices of My will, and often the only way to find that choice in that moment is to look to Me. There are many options‚ even many good and acceptable things that can be done. But there's usually only one thing that is best‚ My highest will for that particular moment, and that's what you should strive to find and follow.

120. Yes, it will be a sacrifice; at least it will seem that way at first. But as you shed the choices of the flesh and become attuned to the choices of the spirit, you'll begin to realize that the rewards‚ the joy, the fulfillment and satisfaction of the spirit is so much greater than what those little worldly enticements promise but never give.

121. Your choices determine who and what you are. You can choose to be strong, just as you can choose to be weak in these areas. They're choices that are made one decision at a time. So look to Me, and with My help and the strength and resources of a full larder of Word time, prayer time, praise time, love time, and prophecy time behind you, you'll know just what to do, no matter what the Enemy might try to use to convince you otherwise. (End of message from Jesus)

See the difference …


122. You've seen that while System books can be enjoyable, they're not always uplifting. But I've allowed you to see this so that you can see the difference between the stories I give My children and the stories the Enemy gives his children. Some novels contain a little light, yes—some good morals, love, honor, bravery, and sometimes even touch on commitment to Me. But the Enemy doesn't promote the light.

123. But they can never equal the true knowledge of light that I have revealed to you, My brides, My children of David. To you have I given the greatest secrets!—Not so that you could keep them to yourself‚ but so that you could seek after a greater understanding of them, and then bring this understanding to many others through your labors‚ your works, and the ministry I've given you. (End of message from Jesus.)

Follow the Light


124. Let My Word be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path. If it doesn't shine where you plan to walk, then don't walk there. Follow where the light of My Word leads or you'll stumble and fall into the dark pits of temptation. And every time you do, you become weakened and more susceptible to the next one.

125. You don't have to try that computer game, read that book, or listen to that music. What you do have to do is minimize and eradicate the many ungodly influences you've allowed into your life. Minimize those that are not too bad‚ and eradicate those that I've forbidden you to indulge in. Only once those steps have been taken, once those victories have been won‚ will you have the strength, both of will and of the spirit, to tackle the next battles and go on to greater victories, greater yieldings, greater rewards, greater power, and a more powerful connection with Me. (End of message from Jesus.)


160. The Lord is so sweet. He doesn't forbid us from doing these things that are enjoyable, but He gives us plenty of good counsel and guidelines so that if we abide by them, we won't hurt ourselves or the work by being weakened and drawn away spiritually.

161. The bottom line about reading books is: Ask the Lord, and be open to what He wants to tell you. As you can see in the preceding messages, there's a lot of variety in what He might say. Sometimes it's "yes," with guidelines and conditions; sometimes it's "wait," now is not the time for whatever reason; and sometimes it's "no"—that this would be harmful for you, so please don't do it.

162. Especially these days, with the gift of Heavenly thought power and all that the Lord has promised us if we put on His mind and learn to use the keys‚ I really don't want anything to stand in the way of my ability to hone those spiritual gifts the Lord has given us, and you probably don't either! And as our Husband has asked us to give Him our prime time and put the Word first, we all have to make sacrifices in order to do so, but receiving His blessings as a result is something I sure don't want to miss! Lord bless and keep us all close to Him, willing to do His will, even sacrificing our own desires if necessary, so that He can use us to the full extent possible in the time we have left to win the world for Him!

Issues, Part 15: Timothy's Testimony

ML #3444:32-34, 65-66, 70–75, 79-80, GN 1029

32. (Timothy:) It was the subtlety of these pleasures that was my demise. I wasn't blatantly indulging in what I considered to be unfruitful or ungodly input. I liked going to museums, seeing the beautiful sights of Italy, being among the jet set and conversing with them, reading System books and so on. Now, none of these things on their own‚ and in moderation and with the approval of the Lord, will lead you astray. It's when it becomes what you hunger after, what you desire, what you look forward to and what you start doing on a regular basis that leads you into difficulty.

33. Some of what I was doing was going against Scripture, against the admonition to "come out from among them and be separate and touch not the unclean thing." Only I didn't see these things as "unclean." They seemed pretty harmless to me. It's the subtlety of the Enemy's devices that work on you—the little here and the little there, mixed with little or no connection with the Lord's Word and prayer, which proved spiritually unfruitful and eventually fatal in my case.

34. You can't do what I did and pursue and satisfy the Lord's interests. When you're called to serve the Lord as a fulltime disciple, it's a spiritual principle that whatever you choose to spend your time doing the most, that's what you will become. The amount of time you devote to reading, viewing, or pleasure affects you. So if you're not devoting that time to the Lord that is His due, you won't have the strength, conviction or faith you need to do the Lord's work.

65. Dad talked to me about my inordinate respect for System wisdom, books, supposed great masters, etc. You might have read that in "Teaching Great Masters" (ML #996, Vol.8). It's not that those things are evil in themselves, but I had too much of them in my life if I was to be a disciple. You can't be a true man of God‚ powerful in the spirit and focused on your calling, if you're wasting time sucking up to the System, as if the System has all the answers.

66. I enjoyed reading books. The Word was fine, yes, but I resented the fact that Dad and Mama were so "narrow-minded," in my opinion. I had read many enlightening books, at least I found them so at the time. It really rubbed me the wrong way that Dad and Mama were so "simple." Dad was an extremely intelligent man, and I related to him quite well along that line, but he never went out of his way to impress people or to do things that would minister to his pride or image or reputation, and because he was so unpretentious, it made me embarrassed to be with him in public. His main interest was witnessing and being true to the message.

70. I thought I was being open-minded. I wanted to know both sides of the story. And I studied both sides of the story. Words, words, words. Are they powerful! You'll never quite grasp their power until you're on this side and you behold with your eyes the spiritual power behind "words," both written and spoken.

71. If you could see how words appear in the spirit and the spiritual forces behind them, you'd be shocked! I've been given permission to give you a glimpse of both sides of the spiritual spectrum when it comes to words. I won't be able to adequately explain it, but I will convey it to the best of my ability.

72. If you could "see" the spiritual force behind the words you take in when you read God's Word, you would see light so bright and powerful it would blind you, with power so great not a single earthly force could measure up to it! When you receive the Word of God‚ it comes in with such peace‚ flowing, and filling your spirit and bringing warmth. You become one with this light and power, yet you don't necessarily "feel" anything like this when you read the Word. You do sometimes experience a measure of this light and power when the word "speaks" to your heart, or something "jumps" off the page that you read, or all of a sudden you experience an answer to a question of your heart. These are just infinitesimally minuscule manifestations of what is taking place in your heart and spirit and in the spirit world.

73. You are also often affected by opposing forces of the Enemy that do all they can to negate this process of empowerment and stop this spiritual enlightenment from taking place. Thus you sometimes feel tired when you read the Word, bored, or disinterested. Your mind tends to wander, you think of other things‚ and there are a multitude of other distractions that can minimize the full force of the Lord's Word in your spirit.

74. When you read anything other than the Lord's Word, either because you desire to or for work purposes, in the spirit you are in a blanket of darkness. Some of what you read may have a measure of light in it. Some of the words you read seep off the printed page or computer screen or whatever avenue you are reading from, and it's like a vapor that twists and turns and rises‚ going up, up, up to your eyes, and then disappears into your spirit. It travels to your heart, where it is discerned by your spirit. You either absorb the good and eschew the evil‚ or you see the evil and do not eschew it‚ but allow it to enter. That's when the light that is within you starts to become darkness. And as Jesus said, if the light within you be darkness, how great is that darkness!

75. I deliberately chose to let those vaporous words of worldly knowledge in to "improve" myself. I didn't believe what Dad said in the Letter, "You Are What You Read." The principles were fine, but in my mind I thought, "That's not the case all the time." That little thought got me off the track. It was logical to me. I compromised and I paid the price.

79. It doesn't take long to be confused in heart and spirit when you're disconnected from the truth, from the Word. That's the scary part that some people don't seem to realize. They think‚ "Oh, I have the Word in my heart. I've memorized all these verses." If you don't keep the Word alive, if you don't use the Word and live the Word, you'll lose it, especially if you're taking in all the pleasures of the world.

80. I hope this is helpful to drive home the need for the Word Revolution. The Endtime will be a test for many. There will be those who fall, not having obeyed. There will be a great dearth of Word in the land, and all those who have obeyed in asking the Lord everything, exercising their gift of prophecy; those who were faithful to review and memorize‚ to read the written Word, to study to show themselves approved before God, will be thankful in that day. They will be as the wise virgins, but it will still be rough and even they will miss not having the abundance of  Word that is so readily available today.

So You Want to Be a Disciple?

ML #3458:6-11, GN 1043

6. (Mama:) The Enemy isn't just sitting in the corner idly twiddling his thumbs. He's waging all-out war for the hearts and souls of men. He's fighting the Family, and he's fighting you! He wants to defeat you, because in defeating you, he chips away at the Family. You're each a vital part of the Family, and your commitment‚ faith and sample are the Family's commitment‚ faith and sample. He wants to steal your faith, and he's going to great lengths in order to do so—through overindulgence in System music, movies, the Internet, novels and magazines, lukewarm churchy books, the media‚ TV‚ worldly propaganda and entertainment, etc., to name just a few of his tactics.

7. If you want to stand strong, if you want to be a disciple, if you want to go on for the Lord and protect your faith, then you're going to have to make a decision and take a stand! Your faith, your discipleship, and how much you're willing to cherish it, is a personal decision, and no one can make that decision for you. I'm sorry to say that some of you don't seem to value it much, or don't see clearly the things that are weakening your faith. You're not raising a standard against the attacks of the Enemy and the avenues he's using in your life to eat away at your faith. You think you're strong enough to handle it. But I want to tell you again plainly that these things—these compromises, these inroads of the world, these things that bring doubt and disbelief—will weaken your faith and will pull you away from the Lord, because that's the Enemy's plan through them.

8. You've got to ask yourself‚ "Do I value my service to the Lord? Do I treasure my place as a disciple in the Family? How much? Am I convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'm in the right place, giving my life to the right cause, and serving the right Boss?" If you answered yes to those questions‚ then for Heaven's sake, act like it! Stop being half-hearted! Wake up! Stop fooling around and acting like you're on a playground rather than a battleground, and start being a soldier! Realize that the Enemy is out to put a stop to your life for the Lord, your spiritual life. Start protecting your spirit! Start feeding your faith! Start preserving your place in His ranks! If your faith, your life for the Lord, and your service to Him is important enough to you‚ you'll do whatever it takes to remain called out and to keep yourself from being weakened. If you value your place as His disciple, then you'll fight to preserve it no matter what the cost.

9. I wouldn't be surprised if some of you are tired of hearing me tell you to resist worldly influences, to fight the Enemy's doubts and inroads into your life, to be cleansed and strengthened. You may not like to hear what may sound to some of you like "the same old challenge" once more—the challenge to become better disciples. You probably wonder, "Is Mama ever going to stop talking about the same old thing?" Well, I would love to stop talking about "the same old thing." I'd like to go on to bigger and greater victories and challenges. There's a reason I keep harping on these things, and that's because many still haven't gotten the point.

10. Dear Family, if you'd do what the Lord has been asking and go on the attack against the Enemy and his devices, then we could go on to new and exciting things for Jesus. But because there are still those who aren't obeying and moving forward and being cleansed, some who are still sitting on the fence indecisively, the Lord in His mercy keeps giving more chances. It's in His love that He continues putting forth challenges, asking us to take up the cross of discipleship even if it's a difficult cross to bear, because that's the only way we'll be what He needs us to be. We should be thankful that He's giving us yet another chance, another call to arms, and realize that this could possibly be the last one. He won't always strive with us and lovingly lead us along.

11. You've got to make some decisions, dear Family! You must take a good hard look at your life and determine where you stand. If your place of service and your commission as a child of David and a part of the Revolution for Jesus is worth anything at all to you, and if that's the choice you have made, then it's worth sacrificing for, it's worth defending, it's worth nurturing, and it's worth protecting at all costs! Don't think that the Enemy is going to let you live this high calling without fighting to take it away from you! He knows what you are worth and how important your service to the Lord is, even if you don't see it so clearly. That's why he fights you so hard, and why you should be driven to fight him all the harder in return!

Reading And Viewing

1, 11-14, 18, MOP 2

Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? (Pro.6:27).

1. Be as careful of the books you read as of the company you keep, for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former as the latter.

11. You can develop a perverted appetite by reading or over-reading the wrong things.

12. You are what you read, and what you're hungry for!

13. Whatever you're reading is spiritual food!—Spiritually good or spiritually bad!

14. How could you neglect the Words of life for what are only the words of death?

18. I never read any worldly man's writings in my life that weren't dumber than the Bible.

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