posted 9/4/01
   In this internet society there is great potential for good and ill. The ease with which we can share the gospel world wide is amazing. Of course there are also dangers represented in being "connected". There are those who are able to get inside your computer and extract information, change information and insert information, we call them hackers. This not so short take is about the master hackers. These hidden individuals get connected and do something called "sniffing ports" which is randomly checking internet addresses for open ports through which they gain access to your hard drive and thus the "brains" of your computer.  
  Not having experience in this i can only speculate but i imagine they check a lot of ports before they find one they can exploit and a computer they want to manipulate. i am told they have programs that do this for them and probably allow them to do it 24/7 if they wish. There are even programs that allow them to use the computer of unsuspecting users to do their mischievous deeds. One of the main things they do in this manner is to overload the server of a targeted company, individual, or governmental office. This is called a "denial of service" attack. If they are good at it you will never know they were there until something goes wrong.  
  There are another group of individuals that do much the same thing. These individuals are constantly sniffing the ports of every Christian that is "connected". They are constantly sniffing your "ports" which are your ears, your eyes, your emotions, your dreams, etc. to find a way inside in order to extract, change, or implant information on your brain. We call this temptation. Additionally they use other people, most of the time without their knowledge, to overload you with stuff that really doesn't matter in the eternal scheme. This could just as well be called a "denial of service" attack.
   These individuals cannot be seen or heard with the natural eyes and ears but in both cases there is a solution. In the case of your computer there is a thing called a firewall which allows you to control what comes in and goes out. While it is not perfect, you can still get a virus or download something nasty, but the control is in your hands, and it lets you know what is coming in and going out, you decide what to allow and what to deny.
  In the case of your life there is the word and the Spirit. If you study the word and listen to the Spirit, they will also let you know what is coming and going and much more but the decision is still yours whether to allow it or not. Also if you fix your eyes on Jesus and the eternal you will not fall prey to the denial of service attacks that we all go through every day.  Stay "connected" to the world just remember that you are in the world not of the world and don't fall to the temptation to create a holy huddle. Jesus had the following to say about it;

Matthew 5:17 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Mark 16:15-18
   And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Luke 12:29-31 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

John 17:14-23   I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.  As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

God Bless