The phrase “What hath God wrought?” is first seen in history in the story told by Moses in Numbers 23. Here, at the close of their journey, we find the power of men and Satan combined to curse them. It was the very thing they deserved, if dealt with according to their sins. But Balaam continues by affirming that no divination is effective against Israel. The point is not what Israel can do, but “what God has done!”
This short phrase from the Book of Numbers was the first words transmitted by the newly invented marvel of the electric telegraph. Telegraph comes from the Greek tele (far) and grapho (write) and was first used by French inventor Claude Chappe to mean FAR WRITER. In 1844, time and distance were annihilated by the electric telegraph–the marvelous invention of Professor Samuel Morse. This miraculous invention later led to the telephone, radio, TV . . . and eventually the Internet!
So when the grandfather of the internet was invented people remarked that it was something that was created by God. They weren’t saying it fell from heaven but that God gave them the ability and the intellect to create this new invention for the good of mankind. You would have to wonder if these men would be happy or sad by what has come of this innovation.
Yesterday I attended the Getty Music Summit. I loved every minute. Many things that were taught helped grow my appreciation for Christian music, especially congregational singing. I was challenged by this statement: “Let’s take the technology that is hurting and pulling our families apart and redeem it! Fill the places you live with music that speaks about the great truths about our great God.” I sincerely do not believe he said this as someone who was trying to sell a CD but as a brother who cared for the fight for joy in my home!
The device on which you have been viewing this article is extremely powerful. I am not just talking about the processor. You do know that even if you are using a small phone, fifty years ago, it would have required a “computing device” the size of a room to do all that it does. Even if you had a library card to all the libraries of North America you wouldn’t have access to as much content as you do with a device connected to the internet.
There are plenty of things to be said about the dangers of this device. That is the reason you don’t see me jump up and down with excitement when you show me the new phone you got for Christmas. I think you often do not realize the power a device connected to the world can have on your life! I plan to outline some of the reasons that I fear for the generation that is always tethered to the world through the phones, but not today.
Five ways that your device could help you in your Christian walk.
Today I am going to give you some of the ways I believe these devices can be used for good. I have to admit I am typing this on a computer connected to the internet. For me to tell you it is evil and can’t be used for good would be confusing and hypocritical. So here we go!
1. It helps you keep good music about God near you! This is not the most important reason, but the one that is on my heart after yesterday. Today I encourage you to clean up your playlist. Look for songs with strong teaching about who God is. If you listen to mad people, you are going to become mad. Listen to people who are expressing their love for Jesus. I even offer you a “trade-in” program! If you know your play list doesn’t have any music that helps you think about the goodness of God come by my office. I’ll buy you some music in exchange for music that doesn’t do what music was designed to do.
2. It keeps a Bible with you at all times! I like the Bible apps that allow you hear an audio Bible. YouVersion is one of those. There are more. YouVersion also lets you choose different devotional series. It will remind you each day to read it. What a gift! Could you imagine having a person following you around who would be willing to read the Bible to you when you had a moment to listen! You do!
3. It can help you with accountability! I know this sounds odd because having a device causes you to need more accountability. We will talk about that later. Text messaging can be a great way to receive encouragement and questions that help you stay accountable.
Here is an example for you. During our Marriage Seminar last weekend a group of men created a texting ring. They share stories of kind things they have done for their wives (flowers, chores, messages). Why do they share this? It encourages their friends to be mindful of the importance of working on their marriage. I love this. This is not a good enough reason to get a phone, but if you have one, then you should use it in this way. Go to one of you mentors and permit them to ask you hard questions by text.
4. It is a great tool to encourage other people! This is related to the last point, but now it is about you writing other people. You can post Bible verses, share church events, and share good articles about God. You should be praying for your friends. Your phone, computer, or tablet could be used to manage these prayer requests and to let people know they are being remembered in prayer.
5. It can help you be honest about your struggles. The number of phones that are gifted to teenagers each Christmas concerns me. What concerns me more is how few of those phones are turned back in to their parents by January. What do you mean? I am saying that if you were to give me a phone at 15 years of age, I would have very likely been convicted by God to give that phone back to my mother because I knew I couldn’t handle the freedom. I almost never hear of this happening, and it grieves me — Yes. I know that is rough, but the Bible tells me I have a responsibility to help your parents as they raise you to honor God. Acts 20:28
I would love to hear from you! Let me know if you agree or disagree. I plan to continue this series even if I am not sure if anyone is reading. Why? Because just like you I have to be a good steward of the computer God has given me. This is one of the ways I use the internet for good.