I have had 2 scams come at me in the past month, both came on my cell phone.
One took me by surprise and I almost reacted until I realized it could not be one of my boys at such as weird phone number! Here is what the text message said:
“Hi mom I’m so mad my phone fell in the toilet can you What’s App me on 18158240863 now please”
What was your response when you read this?
I looked at the area code and could not figure out literally “where in the world” my kids would be…. So I skipped it.
The next one came from the CRA – you know Income Tax time.
“Deposit your return via Interact e-Transfer
Amount: 467.11 CAD
Almost seems legit doesn’t it? Until you think, why would the Income Tax folks start e-Transfering me when they have been direct depositing my return all these years? So, I skipped this one too, never mind the fact that I was not actually getting a refund this year. Turns out that Brian also got a text message from the CRA with a return of over $500.00. He deleted it.
Those scammers are getting creative you have to give them that.
It is not simply text messages or emails, scamming is big business everywhere.
Go figure, while writing this, literally a minute ago I got a phone call from a blocked Alberta number saying they were Amazon and that I was to give them authorization for a purchase just made by me for $1002.00. I hung up.
Apparently when you click on a text, or an email or push a button on your phone to get more information you are placed on a “sucker” list – a person who might possibly fall for a scam and they get in gear to try to get you. Do NOT open or click on anything if you suspect a scam.
I read this CTV news article from W5 about the Ontario grandma who is in jail in Hong Kong this month after an online dating encounter went bad, really bad. She never even got to meet the guy, he flew her over to Ethiopia where they were to meet, unfortunately he had to go on to the next place immediately and could she please bring his friends presents and his clothes with her and meet him over in Hong Kong. He bought the ticket for her. Well, you might have guessed, the luggage had drugs in them and she was arrested for drug smuggling. Turns out the buttons of the clothes had cocaine in them. She is sitting in prison. The heart is not the safest thing to rule our lives, at times it often cannot filter “truth”.
Another Ontario woman was drained of over 2 million dollars by online romance scammers, it is reported to be Canada’s costliest romance scam. (story at W5 CTB news)
I do not even want to tell you how many lonely ladies of all ages I know that have been scammed into giving some “guy” or “person” into hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars because he really cared for them or he found himself in some desperate times, promising to pay them back. It is a sick, sick business to pray on the broken hearts of lonely people.
I myself had to intervene once at the prayer room when someone was perhaps giving me too much information and showed me a picture of her friends grandchildren. The friends online romance had asked for a picture of the kids. Horrified when I saw the picture – I knew the kids and I knew those parents did not want some stranger around the world having a picture of their children!
How do we know who and what is actually truthful these days? Such a huge question!
We cannot trust our hearts, we cannot trust strangers, we cannot trust ….who? This has made us into a suspicious group of people that have stopped caring in the wake of “scammers” for our fellow man. But are all people bad?.....
Brian and I were driving to Dawson Creek on the weekend and we saw going the other way a hitchhiker. A young fellow walking with his thumb out. We did our business in town, it took a while and then proceeded to head back to our house. About 20 minutes out we saw this young man still walking, but no longer putting his thumb out. I was driving and I slowed, Brian, who knows me, asked me if we were picking him up.
I said, “I am not sure yet but I have a check in with God before I go any further,” I pulled over and prayed. Talking to God is absolutely the best way to get truth, to rely on myself is the easiest way to mess it up.
I understood that we were to go and pick up this young fellow. I got in the back seat, sharing it with the dogs and Brian took over the drivers seat, we turned around and went back. We pulled up, and I asked him, if he still needed a ride. He said he was going to Gr. Prairie and yes that would be awesome.
Turns out our young friend, early 20’s was hoping an east coaster would pick him up (Brian is an east coaster). He was from Nova Scotia and has only been in the area 2 weeks – a newbie! His ride got him to Dawson but for some reason had to leave and left this guy there. He needed to get back to GP. He is trying to make it on the rigs. My heart went out to him because he reminded me of my boys when they first came to GP and went to the patch.
I told this fellow that God had told us to turn around and pick him up, it was not really Brian that volunteered, rather God was looking out for him. Nearing the end of the trip, this young fellow said to me, “I am a believer. I guess I have not done much with it lately.” I handed him a New Testament and said, "read it – if God cares enough about you to send you a ride, He wants you to get to know Him better."
At the Prayer Room one day, I had a fellow looking at a table to buy and he wondered if I worked at the store, I said “no I didn’t but he could go to the front counter and ask, as I am with the Prayer Room.”
“Prayer room?” he asked. “Like you could pray for me?”
“Certainly, I will. Let me finish with this lady first.”
When she left, this fellow came over, shook my hand and said, “You will pray for me?” he asked incredulously.
“What kind of religion are you? Are you a Jehovah’s Witness?”
I giggled and said, “No I am not. I am actually not any religion. I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, He and I have been best friends for 40 years. I take my orders from Him.”
This seemed to satisfy him. He began to tell me some stories and I immediately got a huge check in my spirit to listen well. He works on fishing boats, big ones. His stories had a constant theme – the boats he was to be on or was on, were always going down. 42 people he knew had died.
His eyes pleaded with me to know what was going on in his life.
I said, “Something is chasing you. I do not know how or when it came into your life but it has been chasing you since you were a child.” God had already filled me in.
He bowed his head and cried, he knew it was truth and kept repeating, “something is chasing me….” This is a big strong, strapping fisherman. I was not scamming him and he knew the truth when he heard it.
At this point people kept trying to interrupt us about this table he wanted to buy. I let him get up once and said, “you come right back after.” He nodded.
He came back and someone tried to interrupt us again and I said, “NO”. With the urgency I felt in my spirit, there was no way this man was leaving the Prayer Room until we had prayed. His very life depended on it and by the sound of his story and the 42 people, so did others.
“I need 5 minutes with this man alone. You can wait 5 minutes.” I was being adamant, stubborn and very hard to get along with and everyone knew it. I chased them all away.
He looked into my eyes and said, “what is chasing me?”
I asked him if indeed he was ready to hear it. He swallowed and nodded.
“The spirit of death,” I replied. “God filled me in as soon as you sat down and I knew we needed to do some business.”
We bowed our heads and I took the authority and power that Jesus Christ has given me and in no uncertain terms we took back control of this man’s life and gave it to God. God sent that thing packing!
The man was free! He grabbed my hand and had to go as many people were still clamouring for him to go with them. He said, “I will try to come back.”
I knew I would never see him again, and I knew that had I waited and not insisted that he stay and get prayer, nothing would have changed for him. I needed that 5 minutes to lift him up to His Father who could take control of that crazy situation. That my friends was truth, no scam.
Truth is found in the person of Jesus Christ. He says, “I am truth.”
“Jesus said to him, ‘I Am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
How can we tell a scammer from a truth teller? Our hearts won’t steer us correctly. There is only one place I know of where I can go for 100% total truth. God.
God tells us it is impossible for Him to lie, He can only tell the truth.
“So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie.” Hebrews 6:18
I want someone like that in my life, on my side. I have heard all the lines, I have seen people make promise after promise, people always let us down at some point, I let other people down too. You see the problem is, we are just people, flawed, hurt, broken and looking for truth as well. No one is able to live up to the promise of always being there for you. It is an impossible promise.
Scammers promise you the moon or a too good to be true scenario. God offers us Himself.
God found me over 40 years ago when the spirit of death was chasing me down. It too had been chasing me for a very long time, since before I was born actually. I knew that my birth mom had sought to get an abortion when she found out she was pregnant. God spared my life.
This is the week of Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
It is the week we commemorate the laying down of a life, not just any life, but the life of Jesus Christ, the God man who decided we were worth dying for: you and me.
When His physical body died after torture, beatings and a crucifixion, the people thought it was over. They had thought that Jesus was going to come riding in on a white horse and push back the Roman oppressors. They thought that Jesus would conquer the world, be the champion that they had dreamed about. They now knew they had been scammed, not one ounce of truth was in the man. Instead this humble man from Nazareth got Himself killed and their dreams died on a Friday on a hill over looking Jerusalem.
But you see it IS impossible for God to lie and what happened? The tomb where they buried Jesus was found empty on Sunday morning. In fact, a couple of angels were sitting where Jesus had been buried and they said to the ones looking in the tomb, “Jesus told you He would rise again, do not go looking for the living among the dead.” Luke 24:5-7 He was no longer “dead”, He was not there!
Jesus said – He would rise again, He said they would see Him again, and He did exactly as He said. He broke out of the tomb, He visited the disciples, He walked around for 40 days and was seen by over 500 witnesses.
The last sighting of Jesus was as He was heading up to heaven, the people watched Him go up. More angels appeared and said, “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.” Luke 1:11 He is coming back.
We do not loose heart even when the world around us seems crazy! We have the truth from the God man Jesus, the man who cannot lie, the man who died a death He did not deserve, the man who died for my sake and yours. This man, this God man, Jesus – cannot lie and He said, “I will come back.”
Oh friends, as you remember Jesus this weekend, and you think about His death on Friday – the death He willingly laid His life down for you and me, as you contemplate Him walking around on Sunday fresh out of the tomb, know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this Jesus – is Alive and Well, Sitting and interceding for you in heaven. Get to know Him and all His Words. Take Him at His word, stake your claim on His words and remember, “I Will Come Back” – this is not a scam, this is not a lie, Jesus is the truth.
“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
He is Risen – Hallelujah!