KEYWORDS: time, games, things, children, computer, life

Shooting Straight, Part 11--Letter Links: Computer Games

January 2, 2005

(ML #3517)

FD/MM/FM November 2004

Loving Shepherding and Interaction—Charter Style

ML #3018:12, 47, 49, 53; Lifelines 22

12. (Mama: ) If you want to know the rights of junior teens, read the Charter. You'll see that there is nothing in there that gives junior teens (or JETTs) the right to watch unrecommended television, play hours and hours of unedifying computer games, refuse correction from their elders, call their parents old bottles, etc.

47. When we have so much to do for the Lord, how do your kids manage to have so much free time to just lounge around or watch TV or play computer games for hours?

49. Now don't get me wrong, 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.

53. Some Homes have found educational computer games to be very helpful. You might have to limit the amount of time spent playing them, so the kids don't go overboard. But if they're good educational games, or even some just for fun if they aren't violent‚ then it seems it would be fine to allow them, within limits. Of course‚ spending hours a day playing computer games would be too much. You have to find a good balance.

Don't Get Caught in the Web

ML #3174:16-19, GN 779

16. (Dad:) What do you kids think this army is? Do you think that just because I'm in Heaven now‚ you can do your own thing and water down your convictions?

17. Maybe you think that I can't see the traps some of you have fallen into, the lack of conviction you have and the ungodly System things you're allowing into your lives. I can see not only in the physical, but I can also see in the spiritual. I can see that some of you are getting weaker and weaker, and if you don't pull out of the downward spiral that the Enemy's gotten you trapped in, pretty soon you're not going to make it in this Gideon's band.

18. Get with the spirit of the Family! Get with the Spirit of the Lord! Get with the spirit of the Revolution! To Hell with what the System thinks! To Hell with their views on social issues! To Hell with the Whore and all her little whorelings! You've got to get stirred up and realize that we're fighting a war, and you don't have hours to waste doing your own thing, reading System publications‚ watching hours of TV, playing endless computer games, fiddling around with the vices of Hell, and certainly not wasting your time getting trapped in the tangled web that the Enemy's spun to catch you and destroy your usefulness for the Lord!

19. Whatever happened to our perfect hatred of the System and her ways? Have you forgotten about the verse that says‚ "Come out from among them and be ye separate"? The Lord didn't say, "Wallow in the mire, but you can still stay separate." No. If you're wallowing in the mire with everyone else, how are you going to be able to reach out a helping hand to save them? You're not going to do anyone any good by getting all dirty and tangled up yourself. You've got to come out from among them and be totally, completely and revolutionarily separate!

How-to's of Home Education

ML #3189:180, 188-191‚ 193; GN 794

180. (Jesus:) The time with the kids before bed—what a wonderful way to end the day. There's so much you can do‚ so much to educate them in, to feed them, to encourage them. This can be a time to thank them for their help throughout the day, to highlight the different things that they accomplished which will encourage them before sleep. A time to have that special little talk time, to let them pour out their hearts, to learn how to pray, to learn how to hear from Me.

188. There is so much that you can do during your times with them. Stop and pray, My parents, for this is a special time of day. Make good use of it.

189. Please, do not let the idleness of computer games fill your special parent times. Such a bad habit is developing in My Family, because most are tired at the end of the day. The parents are tired and it's easy for them to turn on the computer. It's easy for them to pull out a deck of cards. It's easy for them to turn on the television. But this is not My will for a constant diet.

190. Your children need you. They need your time, your communication, your cuddles, your play and your input. This is a time when you can bond with them, My parents.

191. You can have a little extra Word. You can do far-out Bible studies. You can do projects. You can do follow-up. You can meet with people. You can have people over. You can have heart-to-heart talk time. You can get spirit stories together. You can hear from Me together. You can play with the babies.

193. But whatever you do, My dear parents, please remember that you need your special time to do all of those extra little things that you've been wanting to do with the kids. When you're with them at bedtime, make the most out of this opportunity, so that as they fall asleep, whether they are older or younger, they'll fall asleep thinking about Me.

Dad's Challenge to Change

ML #3240:16-18‚ 33-34, GN 842

16. (Jesus: ) I'm sorry, kids, but it's time to rein in your spirits and start acting like the Heaven's boys and girls you were created to be! I've been very very upset when I've heard about or seen some of your behavior—ranging from your disrespect for your parents to foul language and ungodly behavior towards your brothers and sisters or peers. All of you kids are accountable before the Lord for your own actions. The Lord's given you a lot of Word and training, and it's time to quit blaming your problems on your parents or shepherds or brothers or sisters, or your situation. It's now time to straighten up.

17. I'm sick and tired of hearing your foul mouths, seeing you watch hours of television and movies, watching your time slip away as you drift into the world of time-wasting computer games and books, seeing your disrespect for your parents, your unwillingness to help around the Home‚ your rebellion to schooling and oversight, your lazy and lethargic spirits, your murmuring attitudes‚ your worldliness, your cruelty to animals …, your unloving and downright unchristian behavior towards your brothers and sisters, peers and friends in teasing, ridiculing, mocking or making fun of them, and even bullying them or exposing them to danger! All of this terrible behavior has got to stop!

18. And for those of you who aren't guilty of these very obvious crimes, there are other areas of your heart and of your life that I'm concerned about as well. You know who you are, and if there's something the Lord's been convicting you about lately, then you need to make it right with Him. Just because you don't get caught doesn't make it okay. Someday when you get to Heaven the Lord will ask you to account to Him for what you did with the checks He gave you, the little things He asked you to do, and whether or not you obeyed. It's up to you!

33. I know that you kids enjoy watching movies and playing computer games, and everyone needs some form of relaxation. However, it's important that we glorify the Lord in the things we do, even in our free time. Time is short‚ kids! There's no time to waste on unedifying, ungodly computer games or movies. Let's judge things by what sort of fruit they bear in your life. Let that be your standard, whether something yields good fruit or bad fruit. If you're being faithful with your Word time and you're doing your best to fulfill your responsibilities and be a blessing, recreational activities are a reward. You can then feel free to enjoy them with your parents' permission, as long as you don't spend too much time on them, to the point that you're putting them before the Lord.

34. But the problem comes in when they start to influence your attitudes, actions and words around the house. If you start picking up bad words, bad attitudes, and dragging your feet when it's time to fulfill your jobs for the Lord or get in the Word or go witnessing, I would officially classify that as bad fruit‚ and strongly suggest you check your heart and stop playing computer games or watching movies until you can get back on track and have your priorities straight. I give your parents permission to take those privileges away until you straighten up! I know that might sound hard and fast or unfair, but when you get to Heaven and see the results of these so-called "little things," you'll be thankful for these rules that helped to keep you on the straight and narrow.

The Shakeup 2000—the S2K

ML #3257:127-128, 142, 151-153, GN 857

127. (Mama:) You're undoubtedly wondering what, if anything, will be required of the senior teens.

128. When we sought the Lord about it, He made it clear that a commitment will be required of you. He is asking you to sign the Provisional Charter Membership contract.

142. (Jesus:) 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. If you are not sure that you want to commit 100% to being in the Family, you can still sign the Provisional Charter Membership contract. However, in signing you're agreeing to live by the CM standard as put forth in the contract, and by the regulations of whatever Home you reside in.

151. (Mama:) All who sign the Provisional Charter Membership contract will be expected to uphold, to the best of their ability, the standard presented therein. We understand that you senior teens are maturing and learning, and it takes time to grow spiritually. The Lord, Peter and I are willing to give you some space as you make your personal decisions regarding what you will believe or not believe. We understand that there are commitments that must be made just between you and the Lord, and we're not rushing you. You're not expected to be perfect‚ or to have a complete overnight change, but there must be a willingness to live in unity with others regarding your behavior. If you go overboard in something or get involved with things that hurt you or others spiritually, you will be shepherded. Mercy and grace will be shown‚ as long as you try to progress and to act in such a way that limits any negative influence you might have on others or your Home and the work.

152. The Home in which you live can and should decide by means of a vote regarding activities such as what movies will be watched, how much and which computer games will be played, how and when people can use the Internet, how people should conduct themselves when they're outside of the Home, how much System music can be played and under what circumstances, etc. … It's up to your Home—including you senior teens—to decide the details of these activities based on the guidelines of the Charter. You're just as responsible to try to uphold those Home regulations as are the members over 18 who signed the Charter Membership contract

153. If the regulations your Home agrees upon are too lenient and they end up weakening your Home to the point that your Home is not upholding the Charter standard, then your Home is in jeopardy of being put on Probationary Notice or being reclassified as an FM Home.

More on 'The Shakeup 2000

ML # 3262:15-21, 40-41, 43-45, 252, 254-261, 264‚ GN 863

15. (Mama:) Let's discuss more in depth what it means to "minimize and resist ungodly and unedifying influences in your life." The Charter membership contract and the Provisional Charter membership contract‚ which are based on the Love Charter‚ say that one of the responsibilities of those in the CM Family is the following:

16. A. Maintain a close connection with God through personal communion with Jesus, personal and united prayer and praise, personal and united reading of His Word (both the Bible and the Letters)‚ Scripture memorization, and the minimizing and resisting of ungodly and unedifying influences in my life; thus exhibiting the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are: "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance."

17. (From WS Leadership: Since it is not fully spelled out in the above point, we wish to make it clear here that failure to minimize and resist ungodly and unedifying influences includes consistently reading unedifying or ungodly material‚ including pornographic material, in books‚ magazines or on the Internet; watching unedifying videos, movies or TV; playing unedifying computer games; sending ungodly e-mail; listening to ungodly music; using foul language or engaging in other activities deemed by the Family's governing bodies to be a reproach to the cause of Christ.)

18. "If you are unsure about whether something is unedifying, go to the Word, go to the Lord‚ counsel with your shepherds and be open to what the Word, the Lord and your shepherds say" ("Charter Responsibilities," ML #3197:61). If you wish to keep your Charter membership, then you are required to minimize these ungodly influences in your life.

19. As with all other individual Charter responsibilities, we want to make it clear that discerning whether you are minimizing and resisting unedifying and ungodly influences in your life will be determined by the agreement of any two of the Family's governing bodies—your Home‚ your area office, and your continental office—and not by you.

20. After other forms of shepherding and Charter discipline have been exhausted, if your Home, your area office or your continental office feel you are consistently not minimizing these ungodly and unedifying influences, they will recommend you for Fellow Member status. If one of the other two bodies agrees with their recommendation, the procedure to move you to Fellow Member status will begin immediately, as outlined on pages 211-216 of the Charter.

21. "Since the Lord's counsel on these matters has been published in the Word, and since you as a Charter Member are expected to read and believe the Word, it is expected that you'll accept what the Lord and we have to say about these things. Whether you personally feel that these affect you negatively or not, God's Word says they do, and as a Charter Member you should avoid and minimize them in your life." ("Charter Responsibilities," ML #3197:66).

40. (Mama: ) It's clear that some of you in the CM Family have been weakened because of your not minimizing or resisting ungodly and unedifying influences. You've eaten the poisonous grass and drunk of the evil wells from the System, and now some of you are quite sick. Probably the most common of such negative influences are watching bad movies‚ videos or TV shows; visiting sites on the Internet that are not profitable or educational or helpful, but which promote ungodly views that are contrary to the Word; reading novels that are obviously full of very negative propaganda or subtle wrong attitudes that are spiritually detrimental, or that have not been approved by your Home; reading pornographic material; playing violent computer games; participating in ugly‚ divisive e-mail communications; failing to follow the counsel given in the MLs and Family publications regarding listening to System music; using foul language, and going overboard on drinking alcoholic beverages.

41. It is absolutely necessary that you make a definite effort to minimize and resist these influences in your life by applying the New Wine practically and spiritually to your life, and if you fail to do so consistently, you're contravening the Charter and the Charter membership contract and you will be asked to move to Fellow Member status.

43. Please understand that if someone in your Home is not upholding the CM standard because they're not minimizing and resisting ungodly and unedifying influences in these ways‚ it is the responsibility of you Home teamworks to help that person see the problem. You should counsel them, pray with them, and hear from the Lord with them. If they refuse to change, then you and your Home Council are responsible to discipline them according to the Charter. And if the person continues to be polluted through these ungodly and unedifying influences, especially if that person pollutes others, then they need to be recommended for Fellow Member status.

44. What each of you Charter Members need to realize is that the level of ungodly and unedifying influence in your life and Home that was tolerated before the publishing of "The Shakeup 2000!" will no longer be tolerated. It cannot be allowed if we are to strengthen the Family.

45. As a Home you are responsible to vote on Home regulations regarding things such as movies, novels, computer games, etc. … But when making these decisions, you must realize that you can't go by your previous mindset. You can't judge these matters by the standard of measurement that you've had for the last few years. You have to see things differently, by today's standards according to "The Shakeup 2000" and the Charter! In order to do that, you need to seek the Lord desperately, putting aside your own opinions and wanting His will. Ask Him to guide you through the Word and prophecy, and really get desperate to do the right thing.

252. (Jesus: ) I'm not asking that you go totally back to the beginning‚ totally back to the way things were in the beginning in every physical way.

254. It's a new day and things have changed very drastically in the physical, but what I'm talking about is the spiritual. You've got to have the same spirit of dedication and commitment that the first disciples did. I desire to see the same inspiration and enthusiasm about serving Me and living for Me that those in the early days possessed.

255. 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 or eating decent food or 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.

256. It's when these things that I've blessed you with begin to take My place, or when you put more of an emphasis on them than on Me‚ that you're headed for danger.

257. If you'd always rather play a computer game than spend time with Me‚ then that's a danger sign. If you worship your computer games more than you worship Me, then you'd better forsake them, at least for a time. That's getting back to the beginning for you.

258. 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. That's what I'm talking about.

259. I'm talking about that revolutionary spirit, that 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.

260. What do you spend your free time doing? When it's time to relax, what do you find relaxing?

261. I'm a jealous God and I will have no other gods before Me. So many things of this world have become idols in the eyes of many Family members. They put the god of the world, the god of entertainment, movies, money and fun before Me, their one true Love. This is an abomination unto Me. It grieves My heart.

264. 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. (End of message from Jesus.)

The Era of Action!—Part 3

ML #3290:32-43, GN 996

32. (Prayer:) I feel stuck, Jesus, bound by my own lacks, inhibitions, bad habits, and even personality traits. Can You help me to overcome those? What must I do to make myself ready?

33. (Jesus speaking:) Your desperation will be a key, and is already a key element to get you back to where you were supposed to be in the first place‚ in the position where I wish all My children would have been during this time.

34. Some have fallen behind and will not make it. Others will cast themselves wholly upon Me in their weakness, knowing that I alone am the force that will help them to make it. That's the secret. That's the key. Are you looking to yourself, or are you looking to Me?

35. Are you thinking that you have to do this thing, or are you trusting Me to do the work through you as you do your part in yielding to My Spirit?

36. You might think it seems much more complicated and involved than that, but it really is very simple, especially for you‚ the children of David, who have come to recognize My Spirit and know Me so much more intimately than anyone else in this world. To you I have unveiled the greatest secrets, told you My most intimate desires, given you My very bed to share with Me, and you have accepted.

37. I give you, My new church, My ardent, sexy, yielded‚ adoring‚ naked bride‚ the greatest treasures of Heaven in this new outpouring to prepare you for the days of evil that are coming upon all the world.

38. So what should you do? What is My desire? My desire is that you come out from among them—from among the world—and enter into My world, a world so much more real, with much greater thrills than anything you could see around you. You've been steadily losing the vision and losing touch with the things of the spirit as you've become more attuned to the things of the flesh.

39. The time has come to devote yourself fully to the study of My Word, and the work that I have presented you with. The time has come to close the door on any inroads of Satan that are not of Me—computer games‚ music, television, etc.

40. How do you know whether it's of Me or not? Simply ask Me. Ask Me everything, and let Me tell you. Let Me show you what is of Me and what is not, and so will you be able to resist all the influences of Satan and of this world with which he has been trying to corrupt your heart and turn it away from Me. He has sought to confuse you, discourage you, and make you lose the vision and desire for My Word.

41. With this new anointing‚ this new outpouring of My Spirit‚ I promise to wipe away all traces of the spirits of the world from your being, which is now open, yielded, and desperate for this cleansing.

42. Look to Me and be lightened. Look to My Word and find the direction you've been lacking, the spiritual strength you've lost sight of and touch with, and I will restore these things to you; and restore to you the confidence that you can make it as you yield day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute to Me, saying yes no matter what I ask of you, and yielding no matter what I would have you do.

43. This is what I ask. This is what your life, your future service for Me, is going to depend on. This is what you need to make your commitment. This is the key to your victory. Take it, use it, and put it to work for you, and I will do all the rest. (End of message from Jesus.)

Coming Persecution?

ML #3361:161, 168‚ GN 957

161. (Jesus speaking:) [The] spirit of lethargy is manifested by:

168. • A lack of militancy in fighting against worldly/ungodly influences in the form of the media—TV, movies, books‚ Internet, computer games, System music, etc. This comes about when you let yourself be duped by the Enemy into thinking that this or that habit or trip that you or someone you know are "a little bit into" is not really that bad or harmful. You get comfortable with it, and then you don't want to forsake it or make someone else forsake it.

Are You a Delinquent Parent?

ML #3388:75, 77-82, GN 984

75. (Mama:) Another problem the Lord has highlighted, which contributes to the lack of discipline and the poor spiritual state of many of our children, is that they're not receiving a good grounding in the Word, and instead have an inordinate desire for movies, computer games, and the things of the world. Dad explains some of why this is and what you can do to counter it in the next message.

77. (Dad speaking: ) A revolution is needed in getting back to the Word and back to the basics with our children! The world has changed, and so what kids born in the last 10-15 years have come to expect is also different from what the SGAs expected when they were young. It's a world of multimedia, entertainment handed to you on a silver platter, and everywhere you look there are commercials and ads and symptoms of materialism. Even in the poor, third world countries there are signs of materialistic invasion and allure everywhere.

78. So it's understandable that the kids of today expect more, in a way. But with that comes the danger of dissatisfaction with the Word, with the simple things of life, with godly‚ unselfish, unmaterialistic living—and, sad to say, many of you parents haven't really sought the Lord as to how to counter that. You've been sucked in yourselves and have let your children get swept away‚ to the point where now it will require a real effort in the spirit to get things back to where they should be.

79. Whether you're with your kids full–time or they get much of their education and daily life instruction from teachers or others, you're still responsible for their training and grounding in the Word. What are the activities you do together with your children based around? Is your activity of choice for Family time or free day watching a movie or playing a computer game? Or is it doing something fun and inspirational together based around the spirit?—Such as reading through a Heaven's Library book together, playing a Word-based game, going witnessing or on follow-up, provisioning a meal out and witnessing to the manager, learning graphic design and using computer time to work on the mail ministry or a local publication for your sheep, or having an evening with one of your contacts and their children, where your children can witness and pour out to the children of your friend and give some of what they have received!

80. If your kids roll their eyes or whine at those sorts of ideas, then something's wrong! Because our children have a huge future in front of them, and if they're going to be prepared for it, they need a good, solid foundation in the Word, in the basics of witnessing and our life for the Lord, and in the ways of the spirit.

81. But this won't happen if you parents aren't hooked on the Word and ready to live it! Kids can sense hypocrisy, and they don't like it. You parents should be willing to make the sacrifices needed to live the Word, to make it a living testimony to your kids, and if you take time to ask the Lord and are willing to invest time in teaching your children the Word and all there is to know about feeding the sheep and shepherding others, the possibilities are endless as to the fun activities and ideas that you can do together, to replace the extensive System input and mindless activities that some of our children spend so much time on these days.

82. That's not to say that you can never watch a movie with your kids or play a computer game with them. But the point is that right now way too much of that is going on, and our kids are missing out on the fun and excitement of the spirit that could be happening. It takes a lot more work, more planning and preparation and effort in the spirit‚ to pull off an activity or a witnessing adventure as opposed to putting on a video, but the effect on their spirits is beyond price, because it's affecting their perspective on things, it's preparing them for the future‚ and it's going to stick with them for years to come. (End of message from Dad.)

Solutions for Shepherds, Parents and Everyone

ML #3389:136-152, GN 985

136. (Question:) In many cases‚ bringing children in line will require cutting way back on ungodly and unedifying influences in the kids' lives—such things as bad movies‚ excessive or bad computer games, novels, System music, too much free time, independence‚ hanging out with System friends, etc. The kids are not going to like this at all and will likely get rebellious. What can the parents do to make the transition easier? The parents have to give them something in return‚ but what?

137. (Jesus:) You quote the saying often that "God never takes anything away without giving you something better." As you are examples of Me to your children‚ this should be a part of your motto as parents, too. You cannot ask for sacrifices to be made unless those sacrifices are somehow rewarded. You can't always give kids just what they want or think they want most—just like I don't always reward you in the way you think you should be rewarded, or answer your prayers exactly as you think they should be answered. You know better what's good for your children, just like I know better what's good for you. Although the reward or replacement of what is lost may not be exactly what you hoped for, at least you're grateful for My love and care in rewarding you, and in time you see the wisdom of My choices.

138. That's how it will be with your children and teens as well. Even if you make wise choices and wise replacements, they may balk at your decisions and at what they're given, but you have to have the conviction that you know better than they what's good for them. And if you're praying and seeking Me and getting My guidance, then you can know for a fact that you've made the right choice and are giving them the right thing.

139. Children and teens will usually claim to prefer computer games and movies to almost anything, and there's not a specific "thing" that's on that same level that they would consider equivalent, at least not right off. Something that they do all long for, though, and need, is quality time with quality people.

140. They also need action, motion! There are many ways you can provide that. There are as many ways as there are parents, for each of you has your strong points, the areas you naturally excel in or that I have gifted you in, and within these gifts are things you can impart to your children and fun times you can share with them.

141. I'll list here many things that you can do to keep your children occupied and having fun. Some of these may not sound like that much "fun" right off, but in the long run, they will prove to be both beneficial and enjoyable for you and your young ones.

142. 4 Arrange for your children, JETTs and teens to be able to fellowship with other Family children and young people. If there are other Homes in your city or immediate area‚ try to organize regular fellowships and fun activities. If you live far away from other Homes, make trips or move if you have to, if it's going to make the difference for your kids! If they're hanging out with System friends, they probably don't have enough friends that share their beliefs, so do what you can to find them some and give them opportunities to have fun together with their Family friends.

143. 4 Become better friends with your own children. Do things together. Even things like computer games, movies, and novels can be used for good, if chosen wisely. These things can be channeled, they can be done as a united activity with parents or teachers, rather than being a time for kids to be on their own, shooting the breeze and killing time, and making their own choices in movies, games, and books—which are probably going to be bad choices if they've had unbridled access.

144. Of course, even if you provide good books, good movies, and good games, if the children have been used to certain bad ones and really like them, it's going to be a sacrifice for them. But the enthusiasm that you have for the things in better taste and with a more godly standard, and the fact that they can share these experiences with you and still be doing things that are entertaining and interesting, will in time more than make up for it. It may take a little time‚ because their tastes have become perverted‚ but you can help them little by little to develop a taste for what is good.

145. I'm trying to make it clear here that you don't necessarily have to just take away a certain activity completely because they've abused it; for example, computer games. You can make it a united activity, a time of togetherness, and make joint decisions on the types of movies, games, and books and the amount of time and the conditions under which they will be viewed, played or read. You, of course, have the ultimate say as a parent‚ but you should still try to discuss these issues with your kids and get their agreement as much as you can. Be open to a little negotiation, and at least hear them out and let them express their reasons for wanting a certain thing.

146. 4 Take your kids places! Every city has some interesting spots or activities that can be enjoyed by families and people of all ages—whether it's the beach, the mountains, a zoo‚ or amusement parks. Kids love doing and moving. Though you can't do these kinds of major events every day, you can do them as regularly as you can, and you can offer them as rewards or incentives for the kids behaving themselves, or for giving up a certain bad activity that they've gotten used to having.

147. 4 Get your children or teens involved with your witnessing ministries. Whether it's tool distribution, singing and performing, follow-up, mail ministry, or whatever type of witnessing you specialize in, help them become a part of it. Singing and performing are not embraced by all children‚ but some can really get into it and just love it, and will be happy to devote their evening hours to learning new choreography or practicing playing an instrument. Or the computer-inclined might completely enjoy learning graphic design and layout, and can use those skills for your mail ministry, for advertising and promoting your show group‚ your distribution tools, etc. Whatever you have the opportunity to teach or let your child learn on their own, with approval and assistance, that could somehow help your witnessing ministry should be what you encourage them in most.

148. 4 They might also have other hobbies or skills they'd like to develop. Maybe those things aren't something you can teach‚ or something that directly relates to witnessing, but maybe it's something a whole lot more profitable than the time-wasting junk they're filling themselves with now! Ask them what they're interested in learning, what skill they'd like to develop‚ or what specialty they'd like to learn about, and do what you can to assist them. Maybe it's something that requires money, and their helping to raise the funds for such a venture is also a worthwhile endeavor as it teaches them responsibility and can even be quite fun, as well as a witnessing opportunity. Maybe it's something that they can learn from one of your friends or sheep.

149. Don't try to push them into what you think is best, but don't just let them push to get their way either, if what they want to learn or do is obviously off track. Find a balance, be wise, and remember that the goal is for them to become responsible, to develop their skills and talents to be able to be used in My service somehow.—Or even if they leave the Family, to be able to fend for themselves and make wise choices and use their talents for the good of themselves and others.

150. Within these ideas and activities there are, of course, yet more options to be explored, and beyond this there are more as well. Yet most of the things you can do with or for your children will likely fall into one of these major categories. The key is to be looking out for things that are fun that are also uplifting, and it can be work to find them. It's worth it, though.

151. The other key is doing things together, taking more time with your kids to have fun together. Doing things together, even if they aren't their favorite activity, is something that they'll look back on with affection in their later years. Whereas hours and hours of gaming or movies all blend into one another in time and become truly boring and a drudgery, even though at the time the kids may think it's all they want and enjoy.

152. Remember, children—and even many teens—don't really know what they want; they don't really know what's best, because often they don't know or haven't experienced much else. So it's up to you as parents to help broaden their horizons, to introduce new activities and experiences, to constantly remind them that there's a great big world out there full of things to do that are of value, and to help them as they find their way through it all, to find the things that they enjoy and excel at, and which benefit them and others. (End of message from Jesus.)

The Professionals

ML #3399:110–111, 273-277, GN 993

110. (Peter:) Do you know anyone who is addicted to some Internet activity? I do. I know of people who've gotten hooked on certain websites and activities‚ and have spent an inordinate amount of time at these sites. They've stayed up until the wee hours of the morning playing computer games, surfing, or hitting porno sites. They've done it night after night, even though it meant they could barely pry their eyes open for devotions and could hardly function throughout the day because they were so tired. Yet the next night they were back at it.

111. Do I think that's good? Nope. Do I feel it helps them be a better disciple or that it's good for their service to the Lord? I sure don't. See, the Internet itself isn't the problem; it's the misuse of it that causes problems. It's the time wasting, the negative input, the addiction, the unedifying sites that are wrong. It's wrong when it draws you away from being a disciple, from fellowshipping sufficiently with others, from keeping a close relationship with the Lord, by either taking large amounts of your time or by filling you with things of the world.

273. The Lord does want us to have fun. He does want us to enjoy ourselves and to have times of relaxation, but that's not our calling, that's not what we have committed ourselves to. We're disciples. We're professional Christians who take our work for God seriously. We've devoted our lives to His service, to reaching the world with His message, to living His Word, to being a sample of full-time discipleship, to preaching the meaty Endtime message of the Words of David‚ to loving Him with all of our heart, soul, mind‚ body, and strength. That's what being a disciple in the Family is about—not movies, music, sex, drinking, Internet use, computer games, food, entertainment, fashion, free time‚ money‚ hanging out, etc. As disciples we get to partake of those things, but that's not supposed to be the most important aspect of Family life.

274. My profession, like that of thousands and thousands of other Family members, is discipleship. That's what I do, that's what I am, that's what I live for‚ that's what I'll die for. If tomorrow the Lord sends me to a place where there's no videos, no Internet, no music, no pleasures of this life‚ then I'll still serve Him, because I love Him and because that's what I'm committed to.

275. Discipleship is a tough profession. It requires a high standard in spirit and behavior. It requires forsaking all, obedience, yieldedness, and willingness to do the job even if everything isn't to your liking—even if nothing is to your liking! As a disciple, sometimes you have to carry on when everything and everyone seems to be against you, when you feel so down you don't see how you can last one more minute. On top of it, you have the Devil and his minions such as Lethargy, Pan, Bacchus, Selvegion and Apotheon (see ML #3400:169-187, GN 992) trying with all their might to convince you to give up, and if they can't get you to do that‚ then to compromise.

276. Discipleship is a hard profession. Not many take it up, and many of those who do, eventually give it up. Why? Because it's a difficult life. It's extremely rewarding, but at times extremely difficult. Even in Jesus' day‚ when the going got tough and the message got strong, "many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him" (John 6:66). When Jesus asked the 12 if they'd go too, Peter answered succinctly, with a powerful message as to why we are disciples, why we serve God every day, why we have chosen such a difficult profession: "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God" (John 6:68-69).

277. That's what we believe. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He has called us to serve Him unconditionally as disciples at whatever price He asks. That's the commitment, that's the job, that's the profession.—And we're proud to do it because Jesus, Who is our King, Savior‚ Best Friend, and Husband, has asked it of us.

Exposing Bacchus

ML #3402:52–54, Post-it GN #4

52. (Jesus:) Bacchus has sought to entangle you in his tentacles through computer games. So what you do now is up to you, My love. If you want to preempt any attack he might make in the future‚ you could choose to remove this distraction from your life completely.

53. There are plenty of other things that you could do that are more worthwhile and that engender more unity and love. You could do things with others‚ fellowshipping, and loving them instead. Or you could spend time with Me, really swimming deeply in My Word.

54. I will not tell you that you must forsake computer games completely, but I think that's probably what you'll choose to do‚ since I know you want to do your very best for Me and stay clean and unpolluted from the world, worldly addictions, or possible worldly addictions.

Gems and Jewels, Part 1

ML #3416:66-74, GN 1003

66. (Question: ) The Lord is requiring a greater level of commitment and dedication from our Homes and from each individual. How is that manifested, and what should be expected from each individual?

67. (Jesus speaking:) I lead each one down the path of My will, and along this path are pleasures which I have put there for their enjoyment, their recreation. Also along the path are distractions which prevent them from moving forward along the path of My will. It's part of My will for each to stop and enjoy the pleasures which I've put there, but it's not My will for them to be distracted.

68. The distractions are steps in reverse rather than steps forward‚ but these distractions are different for each individual. If they have trouble or difficulty deciphering whether it's a pleasure or a distraction, they should ask Me, and also counsel with their shepherds, so that they might have conviction, faith and peace, knowing that what they're doing is according to My will and done in counsel with their shepherds. In the multitude of counselors there is safety and My will is established.

69. There are many things which can, on the one hand, be a pleasure, which I have given for enjoyment and recreation if used properly, but on the other hand can be a distraction if abused, or put before Me, or done out of My Spirit, or out of the counsel and guidelines I've laid down. For some it might be alcohol. For some it might be movies. For some it might be computer games. For some it might be relationships. Then there are other things that are simply distractions and not of Me: a craving for System music or input; ungodly attitudes and desires regarding sex; the desire for independence and rebellion against godly fellowship; misguided pursuits of individuality.

70. The manifestation of greater commitment is in doing what I ask, even if it includes saying yes when usually you would say no; reaching out at times when you would rather be by yourself; spending time with Me or alone when you'd rather be with other people; spending time with the children when you'd rather be with the adults; spending time with the adults when you'd rather be with the young people; giving to someone in need when you would prefer to receive.

71. As you continue down the path of My will and as you ask Me about the desires‚ dreams, and ambitions of your heart, I will make it clear to you which steps I want you to take, which will lead you to greater commitment and dedication. Although at times the steps will be difficult steps—sacrifice, giving and sharing—you will see My blessings as a result of being willing to go in the direction of My choosing.

72. Don't fear that I will ask you to give up all the things you enjoy simply because I want to make you more committed. That's not how I work. The more I see you want to please Me, the more I give you the things you like and work out special opportunities for you that you wouldn't have had otherwise. I love to see you happy! But I also know that the happiest you'll ever be is when you're fully committed to Me and fulfilling My highest will for you, without wasting time on distractions which don't satisfy and which delay you from fulfilling your destiny.

73. How is a greater degree of commitment and dedication manifested? Ask Me, and I'll show you how I wish for it to be manifested in your life. You will see the manifestations of it in your life as you choose to do and perform My will according to My plan and the instructions I give you. If you run into a situation where you question, "Is this a pleasure or is this an obstacle, a distraction?" counsel with wise counselors so that they can help you to decipher which it is. But most of all‚ counsel with Me, and I will make it clear to you what My will is.

74. Thank you‚ My children, for choosing Me. I delight in giving you pleasures as you perform My will. I will give the very best to those who wholeheartedly and cheerfully leave the choices up to Me. That's a promise! (End of message from Jesus.)

Issues, Part 14

ML #3442:93, 97-107, GN 1026

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. (Jesus:) 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.

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. (Jesus: ) 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)

Renewal: The Big Picture

ML #3489:43-46, GN 1073

43. (Jesus:) If you're addicted to anything of the world—computer games, novel reading‚ movies, System music, browsing the Internet, sports, etc.—then going into the Family renewal period is probably making you feel worried and unhappy. I understand, because addictions are powerful holds of the Enemy. Most people in the world have a very difficult time getting rid of their addictions and going on with a normal lifestyle. … That's what it's like in the world, but you're not of the world. You belong to Me. You gave your life to Me the day you accepted salvation. I died to free you from anything that keeps you away from Me, including addictions of Bacchus.

44. You might be addicted to some worldly thing or ungodly attitude or habit, but don't underestimate My power to free you. The renewal period is a perfect time to get rid of those draining worldly activities or habits and addictions that are sapping your spiritual life. You might think I'm being a bit hard here and wonder how you can possibly give something up after years of being into it. Well, those years of worldly input, or years of thinking a certain way or indulging in certain things, have taken a toll on you, and right now you are addicted and you can't see any way out. But that's what the renewal period is for—to cleanse you and renew your spirit. Don't underestimate My power and the power of the keys to supernaturally break the addictions of the Enemy.

45. That's one of My goals for anyone who has been steeped in worldly input or wrong attitudes or unhealthy addictions—to wash you and give you a new addiction to My Spirit. I'm not saying you will find it easy to do‚ but you can do it through the power of the keys.

46. Don't worry and don't be fearful that you won't be able to do it. If people in the world can get rid of their addictions to gambling or pornography or alcohol or whatever—which are very strong addictions of the Enemy—you can certainly overcome any addictions you have in your life‚ especially with Me and the power of the keys and the entire Family behind you. Don't miss out on this lifesaver of your spiritual life. Don't underestimate the power of Heaven to bust those addictions to Hell, where they belong. Call on the keys and release the power and faith you need. Call on whatever key you need—the key of rehabilitation to break the bonds of addiction, the key of it-can-be-done. Be thankful you have the power of the keys to help you overcome. Trust My power to replace your yen for the world with something far better—Me.

Deadly parallels in video games

END 10

(Sally Loane) Video games that teach children to "shoot" people on screen replicate U.S. military training programs designed to break a person's natural inhibition to kill, according to a US child protection expert visiting Australia. Dr. James Garbarino, a professor at Cornell University, told the NSW Child Protection Council conference that US defense services found only one in five soldiers in World War II was physically able to point his gun at the enemy and shoot. "The army changed their training from practicing shooting at bulls-eyes to shooting at targets with a human form," Dr. Garbarino said. "This led to an almost total breakdown of humans' inhibition to kill other humans. The 'point-and-shoot' video games for children exactly mimic the army training."

Dr. Garbarino said that just as the physical environment was becoming increasingly polluted, so the social environment was also becoming toxic, particularly for children. "Those children who soak up the toxicity of a deprived and dangerous background are like psychological asthmatics. In the last 20 years in America there has been a doubling of serious mental health problems in children. This is like the cancer rate going up as a result of physical pollution. This is social toxicity at work. Video games and violence on TV are especially damaging for psychological asthmatics."

(Dad:) Satan wants a world of killers and horrors! How better to do this than with something that all enjoy—computer games. I am not saying that all these games are bad‚ but if you're one who has gotten hooked on evil, violent, morbid games of this sort, you'd better beware. It's not wholesome and it will destroy your spiritual life. Like the Bible says, you can't take fire into your bosom and not be burned. So you can't take this violent play into your life and not suffer the spiritual consequences. Beware!

When life imitates video

END 19

Compiled from articles by John Leo, US News & World Report, and David Grossman‚ Christianity Today

Was it real life or an acted-out video game? Marching through a large building using various bombs and guns to pick off victims is a conventional video-game scenario. In the Colorado massacre, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris used pistol-grip shotguns, as in some video-arcade games. The pools of blood‚ screams of agony, and pleas for mercy must have been familiar—they are featured in some of the newer and more realistic kill-for-kicks games. "With each kill," the Los Angeles Times reported, "the teens cackled and shouted as though playing one of the morbid video games they loved." And they ended their spree by shooting themselves in the head‚ the final act in the game Postal, and, in fact, the only way to end it.

We are now a society in which the chief form of play for millions of youngsters is making large numbers of people die. Hurting and maiming others is the central fun activity in video games played so addictively by the young. A widely cited survey of 900 fourth-through-eighth-grade students found that almost half of the children said their favorite electronic games involve violence. Can it be that all this constant training in make-believe killing has no social effects?

The conventional argument is that this is a harmless activity among children who know the difference between fantasy and reality. But the games are often played by unstable youngsters unsure about the difference. Many of these have been maltreated or rejected and left alone most of the time (a precondition for playing the games obsessively). Adolescent feelings of resentment‚ powerlessness, and revenge pour into the killing games. In these children‚ the games can become a dress rehearsal for the real thing.

Psychologist David Grossman of Arkansas State University, a retired Army officer, thinks "point and shoot" video games have the same effect as military strategies used to break down a soldier's aversion to killing. During World War II only 15 to 20 percent of all American soldiers fired their weapon in battle. Shooting games in which the target is a man-shaped outline, the Army found‚ made recruits more willing to "make killing a reflex action."

Video games are much more powerful versions of the military's primitive discovery about overcoming the reluctance to shoot. The Marine Corps is adapting a version of Doom, the hyperviolent game played by one of the Littleton killers‚ for its own training purposes.

Some newer games seem intent on erasing children's empathy and concern for others. Once the intended victims of video slaughter were mostly gangsters or aliens. Now some games invite players to blow away ordinary people who have done nothing wrong—pedestrians, marching bands, an elderly woman with a walker. One ad for a Sony game says: "Get in touch with your gun-toting, testosterone-pumping, cold-blooded murdering side."

These killings are supposed to be taken as harmless jokes. But the bottom line is that the young are being invited to enjoy the killing of vulnerable people picked at random. This looks like the final lesson in a course to eliminate any lingering resistance to killing.

"We have to start worrying about what we are putting into the minds of our young," says Grossman. "Pilots train on flight simulators, drivers on driving simulators, and now we have our children on murder simulators."

TV plays a part as well. "We have introduced forms and amounts of media violence beyond anything achieved in other countries," says Harvard scholar Sissela Bok in her 1998 book Mayhem. According to the American Psychological Association, the average child will witness at least 8,000 murders on TV by the time he or she leaves elementary school‚ along with more than 100,000 assorted other acts of violence.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published the definitive study on the impact of TV violence. The research demonstrated what happened in numerous nations after television made its appearance. In every nation, region, or city with television, there is an immediate explosion of violence on the playground, and within 15 years there is a doubling of the murder rate. Why 15 years? That is how long it takes for the brutalization of a three– to five-year-old to reach the "prime crime age." That is how long it takes for you to reap what you have sown when you brutalize and desensitize a three-year-old.

Today the data linking violence in the media to violence in society are superior to those linking cancer and tobacco. Hundreds of sound scientific studies demonstrate the social impact of brutalization by the media. The Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that "the introduction of television in the 1950's caused a subsequent doubling of the homicide rate; i.e., long-term childhood exposure to television is a causal factor behind approximately one half of the homicides committed in the U.S., or approximately 10,000 homicides annually." The article went on to say that "...if‚ hypothetically, television technology had never been developed, there would today be 10,000 fewer homicides each year in the United States, 70‚000 fewer rapes, and 700,000 fewer injurious assaults" (June 10‚ 1992).

(Dad:) They've reaped what they sowed. In fact, they've reaped above and beyond what they sowed; they sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind, a virtual tornado of destruction!

They started by removing the Lord from the schools, from society, from government. And of course without the Lord, there are no definite standards of right and wrong‚ so their young people grew up confused. Then, too often their parents weren't home to talk to them and help them out of their confusion. So the young people attended secular schools and returned to empty homes where they overcame boredom by watching violent TV shows or playing violent games, or hanging out with ungodly friends or gangs, getting into trouble.

No God, no standards and no parents or supervision combined with secular education and shooting on TV or video—not to mention drugs and drinking—equals lots of problems for young people. Throw in the easy availability of guns‚ and you've got a sure-fire recipe for some death and destruction!

End of File