LOGGING ON TO THE LORD
TODAY computers are the biggest source of information and entertainment for just about everyone. By the time children are two years old you will find them standing on chairs to reach the computer keyboard and accessing Cartoon Network. As the years go by they begin to use it to obtain in seconds the information they require for school homework. Adults utilize it for stock reports, weather, travel, health information, real estate and a multitude of things that in the past would take hours of research. E-Mail and computer faxing are now just a few strokes away.
ON THE business side, which ultimately affects us all, there is a frantic race going on in the Internet world to secure the most powerful and imaginative domain names in order to attract buying customers to companies. Modern business does not depend solely on newspaper, magazine, or television advertising as it once did but relies heavily on the catchy names you find on the Internet to garner their share of buyers. Big name companies in their quest for computer advertising and recognition have swallowed up all the simple names like burgers.com, clothes.com, movies.com, etc. Memorable names have all been bought and are unavailable. Internet firms thinking up those catchy domain names are selling them at enormously high prices and the purchase of such names can cost up to several million dollars. For instance the domain name loans.com was sold to Bank of America for a cool 3 million dollars. Business.com sold at the end of last November to a Santa Monica, California company for an astonishing 7 million dollars, and by contrast cinema.com sold for a paltry $750 thousand dollars. The name abridalshop.com is currently for sale at a bargain price of $55 thousand dollars. Whoever owns these memorable names gets the first bite customers. It is clear the computer is one of our most valued tools today and is a permanent fixture in businesses as well as homes across the world.
WHAT has this to do with Salvation and being a Christian? With all the wonderful worlds we can explore on the computer, we Catholic Christians sometimes forget to log on to our Heavenly Father. For some of us the tempting offerings on the Internet are consuming our waking moments and taking us past the God we claim to love and worship. We have become so totally involved with E-Mail, fascinating chat rooms, and other exciting adventures found on the Internet that are available 24 hours a day we dont take time to renew ourselves spiritually. We look instead to the computer to see what it has to say about our problems. We try to find the comfort there we once found in prayer. Once E-Mail reading and replies have been dealt with there is perhaps the feverish rush to get on-line in the chat rooms. There we can be anything we choose to be. Personas are assumed that are totally different from real life. Names are changed, and a whole new person emerges. Here everybody is willing to settle for the lets pretend chat game and we sometimes forget the reality of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. We go through the motions of being a Christian without being truly authentic, while trying to balance other interests that vie for and win our precious quality time.
."...Jag2000, I am a tall blonde beauty..."
WE ALL realize the importance of computers in our lives today. We know how exciting the Internet has become and how it quietly eats up the hours each day. And most of us studiously avoid the accessibility of objectionable material we find sent to us via E-Mail. But there is a more insidious problem we face . ridding ourselves of obsessive dependence on our computers and scheduling our time wisely to first include contact with God through prayer and quiet meditation. The anticipation of turning on our computers should take second place to the joyful privilege of spending time in the true friendship and sharing that God extends to us.
RATHER than feeling we have to give God an hour here and there out of a sense of obligation, we should look forward to that special time when we commune with the One who made everything we enjoy available to us. It is not a thing we grudgingly do under protest but with joy and thanksgiving. With anticipation and gratitude we can plan a time to read Gods word in peace and silence and listen with our hearts to whatever He chooses to tell us. This is a time to share with Him all the things happening in our lives and show Our Father that He is first in our lives with everything else in second place. A simple appeal or prayer to Him will do. It is the quality of that prayer that counts. God wants us to let Him know we have faith in Him, we have not forgotten Him, and that we are totally dependent on His mercy. This is the time to give thanks for all He has chosen to give to us. If God is foremost in our lives, He will put the things of this world into perspective and all things that were the main focus of our earthly existence will lose their major importance.
TODAY there are computers so efficient it makes our heads spin in wonderment when we compare them to what we had just a few years ago. Even with modern technology and all the hours of joy it brings, some of us still have that missing place within us. There is that vague and frightening conclusion that all is not well with our souls and we are aware the tentative link to our Heavenly Father is not as strong as it should be. We cannot hear His voice calling to us easily. Through our own fault we may have distanced ourselves from Christ. If we look closely we can see that all the great things we get from our computers cannot substitute for our connection to the Father. From a Christian point of view, we begin to see how we are being caught up in things that ultimately do not matter.
OUR LORD is infinitely faster to access than even the new 1,000 MHZ computers with AOL, DSL, or Cable service. It is a sad testimony that we catagorize our prayers to a swift few minutes because we are bleary eyed and tired after our forays on the Internet. Instead of the hours spent in idle chatter with fictitious people we should try logging on to God. Unlike the catchy domain names, the name of God still reigns supreme and is available to all who seek it. Instead of surfing the net for hours trying to fill some emotional space within us, we can log on to the One who knows us best. We know as Christians what He offers is far greater than anything we will find online. We tend to overlook this and seek solace from make believe people and the trivia that is offered to us. Sometimes when we feel low in spirit, prayer seems to be a one sided affair with no real feedback. If, however, we take the time to be quiet and listen, God will speak to our hearts in answer to our earnest pleas. Through prayer we will actually experience a true and valid relationship.
THE WONDERFUL thing about logging on to God is His great accessibility. No waiting for the AOL dial tone to make a connection. No cable or DSL lines faster than the lines to our Savior. They are always open and we never get a busy signal here. Best of all, no monthly bill to be concerned about because Christ Jesus paid it all by dying on the cross, which gives us unlimited free access to the Father.
COMPUTERS are wonderful things. They are the greatest multifaceted machine to come on the market for business, knowledge and pleasure since the invention of the television set and certainly more profitable, informative and interactive. It is hard to imagine life before they became so popular. If a household does not have a computer we are inclined to show our surprise for we have become entirely dependent on them. Like everything God has provided for us, He wants us to recognize that all these things ultimately come from Him, Who in His great love, gave us the talent to create these wonderful advances. He wants us to enjoy everything He has provided. There isnt anything wrong with enjoying the Internet. The key is moderation and being selective in what we do. Taking first things first we must show our love for God by our desire to spend time in His presence daily and most of all give top priority where it rightly belongs.
SPEND a few minutes logging on to the Lord to thank Him for all the wonderful blessings He has given to us!
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