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The New Battleground

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  • sossteve2001
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NOTES FROM THE VALLEY November 2, 2003 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 2, 2003
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      NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
      November 2, 2003

      "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
      death, I will fear no evil for you are with me." Psalm 23.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Computers are amazing tools and they offer us some tremendous
      capabilities. Good news or bad news; positives or negatives; sin or
      salvation - whatever the message, it can and is being spread through
      a communications network that literally spans the globe and reaches
      tens of thousands of people in a heartbeat. But are we enjoying the
      benefits of computers or being driven by them? Do we control the
      computers or are they starting to control us? If you've experienced
      the frustration of being caught at work or out shopping when
      the "computers are down," you've asked these questions yourself. As
      Christians, the computer question takes on an even deeper focus.
      Should Christians be using computers and the Internet to carry out
      God's calling or are they corrupted by evil and unfit for our use?

      Obviously, I believe that Christians need to be using the absolutely
      awesome capabilities of computers to spread the Gospel. Internet
      connections literally cover the globe like a gigantic spider's web
      waiting to be used. And I firmly believe everything has been created
      by and is under the control of the Father specifically for this time
      and His purposes. Each of us in this network has been prepared for
      our role in what God is doing. It's harvest time and we're part of
      the harvest workers. There are millions of computers in homes,
      businesses and power centers everywhere. There is virtually no place
      the message of the Gospel can't reach through links to those
      computers. And millions of believers are on those networks, using
      their computers to forward the message of God's love and grace to
      every corner of the world.

      But there are some very real dangers involved in this work. Many
      users have been made painfully aware that there are unscrupulous
      people using this powerful communication tool to pedal their filth
      and lies. Pornographers, cults followers and atheists spread their
      ideology of sin, hate and unbelief, often from sites co-located on
      the same public servers we use. And dedicated hackers use their
      viruses and other invasive tools to fulfill their singular goal of
      shutting our computers and websites down. The Internet has literally
      become the new battleground for people's hearts and souls.

      Computers are neither good nor evil. But they are powerful weapon
      for all those who use them. We serve (and are led by) a mighty God.
      Our enemies serve a liar and a worm. Even so, we must never
      underestimate the power of our enemy or the forces he commands. We
      must understand his weapons and tactics and how to defend ourselves
      against them. That includes his destructive use of computers. We
      must train in the proper use of the weapons we've been given to use
      against him. And we must understand and act upon the commands of the
      one we follow without doubts or hesitation. That's pretty much how
      it works in any army.

      What makes this army unique is that our leader is also our
      omnipresent and omnipotent Heavenly Father. And our Abba Father
      never wants any of us going into battle without Him. Like other wise
      Generals, He sees to our proper training and equipping for the
      battle. But this General goes one step further and takes up a
      protective position beside us for every battle. As I place my hands
      upon the keyboard and commit my time in service to Him, I feel the
      touch of His guiding hand upon my shoulder. Then and only then, do I
      know I'm ready.

      "No weapon formed against (me) shall prosper, and every tongue which
      rises against (me) in judgment (I) shall condemn. This is the
      heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from
      Me, says the LORD." Isaiah 54:17.

      I hate the filth that is infecting the Internet. My heart aches
      every time we receive a bit of hate mail from a lost soul or an
      unsolicited "pop-up" ad for some form of filth. I'd rather not be on
      a server that allows that kind of material to be distributed. But I
      believe we are called to spread God's light into every dark corner
      the devil attempts to occupy.

      I am reminded of the time in the Book of Matthew (Chapter 9) when
      Jesus sat down to dinner in Matthew's house and many sinners came to
      eat with Him. The Pharisees questioned why He would eat with them.
      On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a
      doctor, but the sick . . . For I have not come to call the righteous,
      but sinners." Verses 11 to 13.

      I don't believe God wants us to run away from confrontations with the
      devil, but calls us to expose him and his lies at every opportunity.
      We are called to offer the love and grace of our Lord, the light of
      His truth, to those lost in sin - wherever we can find them. Notes
      is distributed through some of the largest free server networks in
      the world with a potential audience of millions. Every form of sin
      you can imagine is peddled on those networks because of the size of
      the potential audience. It is an audience that also desperately
      needs to hear the "Good News" about our Lord and Savior, Jesus
      Christ. So we continue to use those servers. I pray that no one is
      offended by that decision.

      If anyone feels the need to leave one of our current sites because of
      offensive advertisements or "neighbors" on the server, we've set up
      new alternate sites for the distribution of "Notes." If you'd like
      to continue receiving them, but not through your current group,
      please let me know and I'll relocate you to the new site. Your
      prayers and understanding are needed and appreciated as always.

      I remain sheltered under His wings
      and overwhelmed by His love,

      Steve


      "NO MORE LEGAL MOVES"
      (Author Ellis Bush, Jr.)

      When you buy any version of the Windows operating system software, it
      comes with several games installed, one of which is a card game
      called FreeCell. FreeCell could best be described as an advanced
      Solitaire. You must move cards around like Solitaire (Red seven on
      Black eight, etc.) but this game requires you to plan the moves you
      will make. You need to strategize and think through your next few
      moves. You plot and plan and play mental "what if" games before you
      start moving cards. Even with the best planning, you can reach a
      point where there are no more opportunities to move. When this
      happens, a very frustrating message appears: "You Have No More Legal
      Moves!" It is almost as if the computer is laughing at you! "You
      tried your best and you couldn't figure this one out! You have a
      Master's Degree and you can't even figure out how to stack cards in
      sequence! You can plan and plot and strategize all you want, but you
      still end up with 'No More Legal Moves!' Ha! Got you again!"

      "All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is
      written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything
      written in the Book of the Law. . . So the law was put in charge to
      lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith." Galatians
      3:10 and 24

      You probably cannot remember the first time you heard of the Bible's
      Ten Commandments. Maybe it was in Sunday school, or in a history
      class, or at the movies with Charlton Heston. These Commandments were
      just ten of many laws that God established to govern the relationship
      between man and God. But humans proved unable to keep these laws and
      there came a point in history where God simply said: "You have no
      more legal moves. Something else must be done. You need a Savior."
      And He replaced this legal system with a relationship. A personal,
      individual relationship with His Son, Jesus. But it seems we humans,
      even we Christians, are more comfortable with Laws than Relationships:

      God calls us to prayer, so we set up a prayer guide with an outline,
      workbook and rotation schedule then become frustrated when not enough
      people sign up.

      God calls us to represent Him in the world, so we hire consultants to
      teach training seminars and plan strategies to "reach the lost"
      (which we'll refer to as "heathens" or "pagans" until further
      notice).

      God calls us to enter into His presence and we schedule this into a
      one-hour time slot with meetings before and after. Meanwhile, God
      quietly whispers to us: "There are still no more legal moves. There
      is no sign-up sheet, time schedule or strategy that can replace a
      relationship with Me."

      Are you still chasing Laws? Are you tied up in duties, schedules, and
      systems?

      Christ is calling you into a relationship. A relationship that is
      not limited by the time schedules and sign-up sheets that we put in
      place. But a relationship that is unlimited by the love and grace
      and mercy that He wants to share with us. Set aside the Legal
      Moves. Rest in the relationship.


      THE COMPETITION
      (Author Unknown)

      Jesus and the Devil had an argument one day about who was the better
      computer programmer. The argument went on for a number of hours
      until finally they both agreed to a contest with God as the final
      judge (how appropriate).

      They met at the appointed time and place for the contest, set
      themselves before their computers, and on signal they began. Each of
      them typed furiously, lines of computer code streaming up their
      monitors. Just seconds before the competition was to end, a bolt of
      lightening strikes, taking out the electricity. Their screens go
      blank. Moments later, the power is restored and God announces that
      the contest is officially over. He asks the Devil to show Him what
      he has come up with in his program.

      The Devil, visibly upset cries, "Nothing, absolutely nothing! I lost
      it all when the power went out."

      "Very well then." says God, and He turns to Jesus. "Did you fare any
      better than the Devil?" He asks.

      Jesus enters a command and His screen comes alive with vivid displays
      of color moving in harmony with the stereo sound of glorious angelic
      choruses streaming forth from His computer's surround sound
      speakers.

      The Devil is astonished and stutters, "But how? I lost everything
      and His program is still in tact. How could He do that?"

      God chuckles and says, "You should know Devil. Jesus saves!"


      A CLOSING THOUGHT
      (Richard L. McCandless in Leadership)

      The first great communications revolution followed the invention of
      the printing press. The first thing they printed was the Bible. The
      second communications revolution was due to the computer, and the
      first things computed were missile trajectories. Is this that
      progress?

      ______________________________________________________________________
      ________

      Copyright © 1998 - 2003 by Stephen J. Hall - Letters of
      encouragement to Christians written by Stephen J. Hall unless
      otherwise indicated. Notes from the Valley and Humor from the Valley
      are meant to brighten your day and encourage you along the way. Most
      of "Notes" and "Humor" are a collection of items provided by
      subscribers and friends. Credit is given to both the contributor and
      to the true author, where known. If you are blessed by them, please
      feel free to make copies and pass them along to others. If you
      have something you'd like to contribute to a future edition, would
      like to ask a question or make a comment, please contact us at:

      sossteve@...
      ______________________________________________________________________
      ________

      "Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling
      everyone how faithful you are. I'll never quit telling the story of
      your love . . . " (Psalm 89:1-3 The Message)
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