Daily Devotional for Thursday June 21, 2012
A Warning for Parents about Your Children and the Internet
(Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:7; 1 Timothy 3:4; 2 Chronicles 17:3)
***ASK BILL: Dear Brother Keller: My question is: Can a Christian lose their salvation? I would like to know how you feel about eternal security and predestination. I know we have Armenians and Calvanists on opposite sides of the fence and I value your opinion.
ANSWER: Eternal security is a great theological debate, and I would encourage people to get the teaching series on this subject by Dr. Charles Stanley. It is the best I have ever seen in breaking down this hotly debated issue. If you are truly saved by your faith, you are always saved. However, sin ruins your joy, peace, and abundance, but you don't lose your salvation since it is by your faith plus God's grace, period. Nowhere in the Bible does it say God withdraws His grace, which by definition is His unmerited favor. Of course the key which only God knows, was a person truly saved by faith to begin with. Predestination is the belief that it is already known who will be saved. While God is omniscient, meaning He does know, HE DOES NOT INTERFERE WITH OUR FREE WILL CHOICE! So in the end it is up to each person to accept or reject Christ. I have found in my personal study that the Bible teaches a blending of the Armenian and Calvinist positions, with both being correct on certain issues.
A hammer is a tool designed to perform a certain job. There is nothing evil about a hammer. However, some may choose to use a hammer in a perverted way. This does not mean that hammers are bad, or you should never own a hammer, it simply means that you should be aware of how this tool can be misused. The same is true about the Internet. It is a tool designed to perform a specific job. There is nothing evil about the Internet, though some have chosen to use it in an evil way. This does not mean you should not have the Internet, only that you need to be aware of its dangers, especially when it comes to your children.
The Internet is NOT a cyber babysitter and any parent who treats it as such might as well drop their children off at the local adult bookstore, the hangout of a local street gang, in the middle of a busy freeway at rush hour, a casino in Vegas, or the child sex offender unit at some prison. I am always amused at parents who will spend thousands to have the best locks and security systems in their homes to protect their children from the dangers of the world, yet through high-speed modems give their child access to the world with a few keystrokes, and worst of all, give ANYONE IN THE WORLD ON A COMPUTER access to their children!
For you moms and dads out there, it is IMPERATIVE that you not only monitor, but KNOW what your child is doing online. Forget filters, a 7-year-old can get around most filters. You need to invest $50-$60 in the monitoring software that currently exists which literally tracks every website, every email, every instant message, and every keystroke your child makes while online. You need to sit down with them and let them know that you have this software installed and why. This is about their protection and insuring they don't fall into the many traps and pitfalls of the Internet.
As a side, I wonder how many adults would be willing to have this software on their computer for their spouse to monitor? Not trying to start trouble, just asking a question. I have dealt in the past about the dangers of the Internet for adults and will continue to sound that trumpet of warning in the future.
Every single day, I get several thousand emails from parents about their children and the Internet. Teenage boys and girls and even children as young as 12 who are in bondage to Intent porn. Kids who steal their parents credit cards to gamble online. Children from 14 and up who meet adults in chatrooms or message boards and end up meeting them for real. Kids who are lured to websites that explore the darkest and most evil things you can imagine. Social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook where kids can create their own websites and blogs.
THE DAMAGED AND DESTROYED LIVES OF CHILDREN BY THE INTERNET IS NOT JUST A FEW ISOLATED CASES BUT AN EPIDEMIC THAT SOCIETY HAS REFUSED TO ACKNOWLEDGE OR ADDRESS! IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOUR CHILD!!!
Listen, at some point you do have to trust your child. When they leave home, at that point you need to trust that spiritual foundation you have laid in their life, pray for them, and commit them into the Lord's hands. However, as long as they live under your roof you have every right and responsibility to watch over them and protect them, and that includes monitoring their Internet use. By the way, if you have a 22-year-old son who doesn't like his mom and dad knowing everything he does on the Internet, maybe he should start thinking about growing up and getting out on his own.
*As a parent, you MUST not only protect your children as long as they are under your care, but insure your home is not being defiled with the filth and garbage that is available 24/7 on the Internet.
So what do you do? First, pray. Pray for God to protect your child from the dangers that exist on the Internet. Second, do some homework and purchase and install monitoring software that will allow you to monitor all of your child's activity on the computer. Third, sit down with your child and not only explain to them about the monitoring software you have installed, but why. This is the time to have a real, open and honest discussion with your child about the Internet and all of the dangers that exist.
THIS IS NOT PARANOIA! The dangers that exist are very real. Porn, gambling, and other destructive websites DO NOT CARE that it is your child they are trying to lure to their site. Internet predators are very sophisticated in how to gain your child's trust and confidence so they can exploit them for their own personal satisfaction. There are literally hundreds of thousands of websites that can be accessed with simple search commands which deal with every perversion the human mind has imagined. Chatrooms, message boards, and personals' sites like MySpace give your children access to other children and adults who can introduce your child to every evil and darkness that exists in this world.
THIS IS NOT PARANOIA! THE DANGERS THAT EXIST ON THE INTERNET ARE VERY REAL AND YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT AND THE GOD-GIVEN RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD!!!
I love you and care about you so much. The Internet is part of our world and is here to stay. It is a tool for children and adults to use to get information and used correctly can be a great resource. Every day for over 10 years now, Liveprayer has used the Internet to reach millions of people all over the world with the Truth and God's Word and the hope and love of Jesus Christ. Because of the Internet, we have seen over 400,000 souls we know of come to faith in the Lord. So it has many great and wonderful applications.
Like everything, it can also be used in a negative and destructive way. Parents simply need to be aware of the incredible dangers that exist on the Internet so they can take the steps necessary to insure their children are safe. The Internet is another opportunity for parents to talk to their children openly and honestly about many of the issues they will face in life. It is these opportunities a parent needs to take advantage of to teach their children what God says about these issues and why God's way works. This is all part of that building process so that when your child eventually does leave home and is making choices without you, they can make wise and Godly choices, not based on the momentary desires of their flesh, but on what God's Word says.
I will be praying for you today as God speaks to you about this issue. This is not something to put off for a few months, but an issue that needs to be addressed TODAY! Even as you read these words, you have no idea who your child is speaking to over the Internet, what types of personals' sites your child may have, or what websites your child frequents. I believe in my heart that this message is going to literally save the lives of many children. I tell you often that your children are the greatest ministry you will ever have.
I am praying for every mother and father as they take control over this potential danger in their home and child's life. May God give you wisdom and guide you in protecting your children from the dangers of the Internet. I also pray for those children who have already been damaged by the Internet. May the Lord bring healing to their lives. The Internet is a wonderful tool that can be a blessing or a curse. I pray today that for you and your family it is a blessing!
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,