A Navy Veteran Rewrites Hallelujah Lyrics

Note from The Sister Christian:  Navy Vet Sailor Jerri rewrote one of the most iconic songs of all time, “Hallelujah,” in order to honor military Veterans across the country.

I always think of our soliders, especially during the holiday season.  You can Google the title of this blog and find her U-Tube Video as she sings this song with such passion and conviction that I encourage anyone that hasn’t hear this yet to check it out.

 

You packed your bags and shut the door,

You crossed the sea in a battle war,

You didn’t know  just what would happen to ya.

Stepped on the dirt, boots on the ground,

And gunfire was the only sound,

And to yourself you whispered Hallelujah.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah,  Hallelujah,

Every day and every night,

you walk the walk you fight the fight,

You never saw the end insight now did ya?

The days are washing a haze of red,

the blood, the mud, too many dead,

your weary soul was crying hallelujah.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah,  Hallelujah,

Too late to help,  you hear a shot,

You know you’re in a deadly spot,

You never thought the day would come now did ya?

Your brother falls down to the ground,

The enemy is all around,

And from your lips you scream a hallelujah. 

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah,  Hallelujah,

You fought the fight til it was done,

You have the strength to carry on,

You thought it’d be much better back home, did ya?

You try each day, keep pushin’ through,

But the battle is inside of you,

It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah,  

 

God Bless our soliders and Veterns who have served and protected our nation.     The Sister Christian wishes you and your family a safe holiday season.  Merry Christmas! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Younger Me

One of my favorite Christian songs is, “Dear Younger Me” by Mercy Me. For those of us over the age of 50, I’m confident enough to say that at least once in our life we’ve looked back and said, “If I knew then what I know now.”  Or, “I wish I’d  never done _____.” I bring this up because I was speaking with an 18-year-old co-worker this morning. This young woman already knows what she wants to do as a career and is focused on her goals and how she will get there.  Another co-worker is a beautiful 24-year old woman who is planning for her future, including retirement!  She tells me of her plans, and how she intends on how she will reach her goals and by what age. Looking back on my life,  from the age of 15-24, all I cared about was partying. I knew I wanted to be a special education teacher, but my self-esteem was so far down in the gutter that I didn’t believe in myself.   Unfortunately, I can’t go back and undo the past but what I genuinely pray I can do,  is reach young girls before they head down that path and may never return. There is something else that unfortunately is rather uncommon today.  Both my two co-workers  grew up in Christian homes with both parents that were educated and raised their daughters to be educated and independent thinkers. If I could go back and talk to my younger self, I would want to encourage me to seek out the Lord. Attend a church, ask questions, get involved in a youth group and make Christian friends that would be supportive.  I’m sad for children that have never attended a church or have learned about the Bible or our Lord Jesus Christ.  Though my mother never attended church with me, it was mandatory in our house that my sister and I attended until we were at least 16 years old. She believed that it was part of being educated. I am so grateful to her for making me go (even though I resented going ).  After my mother died I went through several years where I was so angry at God for taking her that I denied His existence (I never really doubted His presence but I was angry and  hurt.  He also had taken my dad when I was only a year old. I began to feel as though God didn’t care about me so I decided I didn’t need him anymore.  I would make it just fine on my own. I can honestly tell you, that didn’t turn out so well. Now, in my golden years, I feel so blessed to be a member of a church that emphasizes reaching children and teens through a sports program, youth groups, bible study classes, and community service programs.  As the population ages, it’s necessary to reach as many families as we possibly can.  As Christians, Christ has called upon his followers to be disciples. That is what I’m striving to become.    

Holidays Are Here Again

Is it politically incorrect to still be  Thankful? 

Here we go again.  Every year, immediately after Halloween, the Christmas decorations begin to decorate store windows, commercials showing high-end automobiles, expensive perfumes, alcohol, and Black Friday Sales. Thanksgiving seems to have taken a back seat and has almost become politically incorrect to even mention it.  When I was teaching in the public schools, teachers received an announcement asking us not to discuss Thanksgiving or introduce any form of Indian/Pilgrim stories or art projects. It had nothing to do with religious beliefs, it was about how the white man killed and robbed the Indians so therefore, we are no longer allowed to teach the traditional Thanksgiving Story. Of course, we can’t forget Christmas. Another holiday that has been removed from the schools in fear of offending other religions. What I really find hypocritical is on Thursday we bow our heads and offer thanks and talk about what we’re thankful for and Friday morning, 3am people are up and out pushing and shoving their way into the store the moment the doors unlock, run frantically to fight other people over sale items on Black Friday. 

My husband and I decided to do something different this year. Instead of spending a small fortune (that we can’t afford)  on an expensive dinner and weekend get away at a resort, we chose to spend last night volunteering to serve Thanksgiving dinner to our community.  Every year our church puts on a wonderful Free Thanksgiving feast.  It felt wonderful to greet the people, tell them about the evening and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving.  I sat with many different families and spoke with children for brief moments gave them a warm, sincere smile and told them how I enjoyed spending the evening serving them.  

What Ministry is God Leading You To?

God knitted us in our mother’s womb giving us unique personalities, gifts, and purposes in life. He also gave us free will to chose to follow Him or to take our own path and either lean on Him to help guide us in the direction He sees a need for, or, we can decide what our gifts and purposes are and take it from there.  The church has many opportunities and areas in which to serve. Many often have a card for people to fill out regarding volunteering with a list of ministries they need help with. If there is a particular ministry you are interested in, first ask yourself, “Is this where God is leading me or is this where I want to be? For whom am I serving?  Do I want to glorify God, or myself?  This was a tough lesson that I learned the hard way and feel compelled to open up and be honest about.  As a special education teacher, my gift has always been working with people with disabilities. I have been working with the disabled population for over 30 years.  As a teacher, you learn a lot of different skills that can benefit you in other areas of life.  Our church has a ministry for children with disabilities.  Seemed like an obvious fit for me. However, I honestly must admit, I didn’t give it much of a chance. I walked in thinking to myself, “Ok, I’m the professional here. Let me show you some ideas I have for this ministry.”  Of course, I never said that, but I’m sure my interaction with the others sounded boastful and proud. I wasn’t impressed with how they were running the program, so after only three visits, I decided I’d find something else to do.  I have little fear of public speaking and I love to be on stage. Since I was a young child, I was an entertainer of sorts. School plays, choirs, and later,  public professional presentations and training.  I wanted to serve on the Women’s ministry so I could teach/lead a bible study for women. I wanted to be a part of the Worship Team and sing for the Lord. However, I never got asked to serve on these ministries. For over a year I would make the requests and would wait for a response. The response never came. I finally gave up asking and became angry with the church.  How dare they not utilize my abilities and gifts.  I have great ideas, and I’m not afraid to stand up in front of people and sing or teach.  As time marched on, I became more belligerent about the church and their way of doing things.  I began spewing my discontentment to other members of the church, hoping that someone would get in touch with the “powers that be” and say, “Hey, we have a great member of our church that has some great talents and abilities. You should really give her an opportunity to serve where she feels best suited.”  However, that never happened.  Instead, I heard God speak to me one evening in the quiet of my room.  He simply asked me, “Are you wanting to glorify me, or yourself?”  OUCH!! Suddenly I felt shame and guilt. I knew just exactly what He was saying. He was right of course. I instantly recalled my attitude I displayed to other members of the church.  I wasn’t being called because that is not where God wanted me. I was reminded of what I enjoyed most when I was volunteering at the church our first year of retirement.  The Job Club and Benevolence were what I shocking loved the most. I was helping other people, adults that struggle with getting a job, writing a resume, paying their bills, dealing with life and everyday struggles.  I say “shockingly” because never in my wildest dreams could I see myself having any compassion in other people’s problems.  I was far too judgemental and believed that people created their own issues. However, I discovered that I did feel compassion when it came to people that were truly lost and struggling. It softened my heart and turned my thinking around. God needs me to serve those less fortunate. I have been blessed with much, and now it’s time to serve the Lord where He needs me. Maybe I can help others find the drive, self-esteem, and talents they haven’t recognized in themselves and inspire them to become an over-comer.  I thanked the Lord that evening for calling me out. The next small group meeting we had, I apologized to my brothers and sisters for my verbal disapproval of the church and shared with them what the Lord had said to me.  Redemption truly does feel good.  Amen. 

 

 

 

 

 

The Naked Truth

It comes as no surprise that our children are being indoctrinated these days.  I was a teacher for 30+ years.  Times have changed and so have our families, our children, our country, our world.  Is there an absolute moral truth anymore?  God made male and female. He created everything perfectly. If you take things out of God’s original intent there will be consequences. We need to get back to the original design and quit doing things our way.

So, what is truth? Whatever God says it is. PERIOD!  Males and females are different. They were to come together to bring about procreation.  Parents are to represent God to their children. Man and woman create a clearer picture of God. Marriage is a part of every culture, man and woman and a sense of permanance.

God’s design also has a purpose and rules. Jesus was given to us as a model and purpose. Our culture now identifies themselves as homosexuals, bi-sexuals, transgender, the list goes on.

As Christians, we need to remind ourselves that God is in control.  It can be frustrating but we must stand up for truth. It may not be popular, but that is what the Lord wants us to do.

When The Lord “Snitches” On You.

I now have proof that the Lord has a way of snitching on me. It’s true. He tries and tries to get my attention. If I don’t pay attention, He reverts to using my best friend to confront me.  I will explain, and you can decide if the Lord is snitching me out.

Sheryl and I have been friends for over 50 years. Nobody knows me as well as she does; not my family or my husband. We grew up together and have remained close friends even though we live six hours away. We see each other twice a year and text or email often. She has been a Christian all her life, me? Not so much.  We were about as opposite as two people can be, and yet we were best friends. When I accepted the Lord into my life and began living as a Christian, she was so excited, and our friendship has deepened through Christ.

Last spring, she came to visit me for the weekend. All seemed to be going well, but I honestly felt a bit uncomfortable. I couldn’t quite figure out why. She seemed to have changed. I shrugged it off and didn’t overthink it until I got an email from her a few days after she returned home.  She will never sugar coat things with me. She is very blunt and to the point.  She wrote, “After spending the weekend with you, I have to say I feel as though you have fallen from Christ. Your behavior was not as a Christian. You seemed to have reverted to your old self. God has put this on my heart to tell you that he misses you and wants you to talk to Him.”  I felt the anger weld up inside. How dare she. Who does she think she is anyway? Where on earth did she get the impression I had pulled away from Christ.  I knew something didn’t feel right while we were together, but it was her, not me.  I decided that maybe we just aren’t as good of friends as we once were. Perhaps, after 50+ years, we’ve grown too far apart, and the differences are too broad. I was angry at her, but I heard the Lord say, “You know she’s right. Talk to me.”

Instead of talking to the Lord, I decided to call Sheryl and ask her directly.  She pointed out that I was extremely negative and judgemental toward people. I was impatient and acting rude when we were waiting in line for a soda.  She then shared the fact that she didn’t see the Christian Karen I once was and wanted to know if there was something she could do to help. Still feeling defensive, I quickly excused myself making up some lame excuse.

I had to admit, she was right. I had pulled away from the Lord. Not intentionally, just got busy and hadn’t taken the time to focus on Him. I hadn’t been eating very well, and my diabetes was out of control. I was stressed out over money, my job and irritated with my husband too.  I went to my prayer closet and sobbed. I begged for the Lord’s forgiveness.  I openly told Him what was in my heart and asked Him to please lead me in the right direction. Satan had come between us, and it was time for him to go.

It’s now a year later, almost to the day and once again, the Lord snitched me out.  I called Sheryl one evening explaining how mad I was at God. No at God, more like angry that the world has gone crazy and I feel like He doesn’t care anymore. What is He waiting for?  I ranted for a while.  The next morning I woke to an email from her, “God wanted me to ask you this. Are you just talking AT him and not listening? You seem to be distancing yourself again. Satan is in your head.”   Dang, it!  She was right again. I wasted no time. I got down on my knees and told God how much I loved Him.  I asked for forgiveness and guidance.

The Lord will use anyone or anything that will get our attention. I’m grateful that I have a friend that knows me so well and can be the Lord’s mouthpiece when she needs to be.

I am determined to keep my eyes on the Lord and to remember He’s in control. No matter how bad things seem to be, He does care, and it breaks His heart too. Nobody knows what He’s waiting for, but it isn’t something we need to question. It’s all in His timing, not what we think.  I will continue to study scripture and be aware that Satan is lurking around. I will continue to fight to keep the devil from taking up residence in my head.

Amen.

 

 

I

GOD BLESSED ME WITH A SPECIAL FRIEND

special-needs-342264                                       GOD BLESSED ME WITH A SPECIAL FRIEND

I want to tell you about my friend. We only met this past summer, but we instantly hit it off. Have you ever met someone that you are just drawn to immediately? They feel as though they are your kindred spirit. You have a connection that you don’t have with anyone else you’ve known over the years. That’s what this friend is to me. She is my sunshine, my laughter, my inspiration, my hope. Her name is Sami. She is a twelve-year-old with autism. I work with Sami five days a week as her private therapist/teacher. Every day I look forward to walking into her house to find her waiting for me at the kitchen table. She always greets me the same way, “Hi Miss Karen.”                            Having a “normal” conversation with Sami is rather difficult, yet she and I communicate with very little misunderstanding. She is a beautiful young lady. She has a jet black braid down the middle of her back, light brown skin and dark brown eyes. She is tall with a slender build and a smile that melts your heart. She loves her i-pads and watches the same young children’s programs repeatedly. She will converse with you in a scripted format from a particular show she has seen. In addition to her i-pads, Sami loves modeling clay. She has ten to fifteen pound of clay on her clay table at any given time. She loves to reproduce the characters she watches from her programs. Each one has its name and very intricate details of hands, fingers, feet, toes, clothes and facial features. I have often mistaken them for professionally made toys you would purchase from the store, but Sami makes them. As I look at these adorable figures, I can’t help but think of how God made man with such perfection, such love. As with Sami’s characters, each is different. In Sami’s world, each character she makes has a name, identity, and story. There is no mistaking as to whom they belong to, and she is very protective of all of them.  One day when she wasn’t at her table, I picked up one of the characters and hid   it in my hand. When she came over to her table, she carefully took inventory. I am not kidding when I say she has a good ten pounds of clay on her table with 20-30 people, animals and objects she’s made. I honestly didn’t believe she’d notice one little figure missing. However, just like Jesus, when one sheep wanders off, he leaves the flock in hopes to find the lost one. Immediately she asks, “Where’s Mel? Where’s Mel? Mel is gone.” I open my hand and ask, “Is this Mel?” Quickly without hesitation, she grabs Mel from my hand and scolds me, “Miss Karen no take my Mel.” I hug her and apologize for taking her Mel. She lovingly gives Mel a kiss and gently places him in the exact spot in which he originally had been taken. She then turns to me and says, “It’s OK miss Karen. I forgive you now.” Tears pool in my eyes as I realize just how quickly she is to forgive someone doing ‘her wrong’ just like Jesus.

Sami brings a smile to my face no matter how tough of a morning I had with another student. She loves to please those who love her and without even trying will win over any person she comes in contact. God brought the two of us together for a purpose. I was hired to be her teacher, but in all honesty, she has taught me far more than I can ever teach her. She is my special angel.

What Does It Mean To Be Rich?

a2c31f5d28a6c7a1c7a3afc3effccb5c--stacks-of-money-cash-money

Unless your definition of “rich” matches God’s, you will never have enough.  Material wealth is an endless ladder and chasing it will lead to destruction.  By being involved in the wrong things, we lose our ability to be involved in the right ones. Satan uses earthly wealth to follow on his path of self destruction.  Pursuing Godly riches has a real and enteral reward.  A question was posed at church on this particular topic, ‘What does rich look like to you?’ Omitting any material wealth, I realized that my mother was right so many years ago, if you have your health, you have everything.  At the time I was only 16 years old and my health was just fine, I wanted a car. Some forty years later, I understand what she meant.  If you are in good health,  almost anything is doable. If we could have perfect health with no pain, no disease, no form of illness,  that would give us ultimate freedom.

I have a nephew who makes a very comfortable income. He lives in a very wealthy part of California, drives the top of the line vehicles, owns a beautiful home on a hill and travels from one end of the country to the other on a whim.  He’s done well for himself and he’s in his early 40’s.  He has two beautiful daughters that are spoiled beyond spoiled and are given whatever they ask for.  To look at him from the outside, you’d say he has it all, but he lacks one major component.  He’s an atheist. He also is in a miserable marriage that seems to be beyond reconcilable, but he goes through the motions and keeps the family together for the children as well as for himself.  His wife makes just as much money, if not more than he does. To dissolve the marriage would mean they would both financially have to change their lifestyles.  So, while his bank account may say he’s rich, he lacks the true riches from God.  He has no understanding of biblical truth or what comes after he leaves this world. For now, he has it all, and to him, that’s all that matters.

My riches are in heaven. I truly believe God will take care of my needs because he always does. I believe in an earlier blog I wrote about my experience with the woman who was homeless. I asked her if she knew Jesus and she lit up with great enthusiasm and exclaimed yes, she loved Jesus.  My next question was an obvious one, “Do you wonder why Jesus would not provide for your needs?  A place to live, food, a job?”  Her response was most humble.  She gave glory to God and pointed to the shelter. “I have a place to stay and food in my belly. It isn’t Jesus’s fault that I am a drug addict.  I put myself in this situation, but with His help and my faith, I will better myself.”  Several weeks later I ran into her again and she was excited to tell me she’d been clean for 30 days and that she just got a voucher for a studio apartment.  God always provides for our needs. She doesn’t have the material wealth my nephew enjoys, but unfortunately he doesn’t have the spiritual wealth, happiness  and faith this woman has.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a God Thing!

Many Christians refer to, “It’s a God thing” to explain the obvious response from God. Non-Christians don’t understand, but Christians who have experienced it understand completely.

Over the years, I have kept a record of, “God things” that I have personally experienced. I find comfort in reading over His responses when I occasionally question if He hears me. I had such an obvious God thing happen just yesterday that I felt compelled to write about it.

Yesterday morning, my husband and I were having breakfast. A question had been in the back of my mind for several days. I boldly asked him, “When God created the garden of Eden, it was perfect. So why would God have allowed Satan even to enter the garden?” My husband looked thoughtful for a moment and commented that maybe because God gave us free will. The serpent had to be there to add contrast. As good of an answer as any, I reluctantly accepted that mindful response.

I woke at 1:15 am the next morning and decided to turn on the telecross_jesus_wood_216556vision and watch whatever might be on Trinity Broadcast Network. Pastor John Gray sermon was on dominion, a word I honestly wasn’t sure the meaning. The next question he posed was, “Have you ever wondered why God would have allowed the serpent into the garden of Eden?” I screamed out to the television, “YES!” God was going to answer my question from this morning’s previous conversation. I quickly grabbed my notepad and pen from my nightstand expecting to take some sophisticated and enlighten notes. Here is what Pastor John Gray said, “Satan had to be there because God gave us free will, dominion.” He then proceeded to read from Ezekiel 28:16-17

“Your rich commerce led you to violence, and you sinned. So I banished you in disgrace from the mountain of God. I expelled you. O mighty guardian, from your place among the stones of fire. Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor. So I threw you to the ground and exposed you to the curious gaze of kings.”

I sat on my bed in amazement that the great God Almighty, the king of kings and creator of everything would have taken the time to answer my question in such an obvious fashion. It’s a God thing. As I continue to grow my blog and set forth on my mission, I will have a special section entitled “It’s a God Thing” to record actual happenings that are recognizable God things. Thank you Lord for answering my question. It’s so reassuring to know that you’re always listening. Amen.

 

Holiday Blues

It’s that time again. The holidays are upon us. We are beinfamily dinnerg bombarded with commercials to buy new cars, perfume, alcohol, the list goes on.  Advertisers are also guilty of showing happy families sitting down for the holiday meal, each nicely dressed and chatting politely.  You can almost smell the heavenly food as they politely pass around each dish. I have lived through 57 Thanksgivings and Christmases.  Through the years I have spent them with my immediate family, friend’s family, boyfriend’s family, husband’s family, my sister’s family, total strangers on a cruise ship, and completely alone. As we age, the families grow and begin to divide. For those who never had children, holidays become more difficult once our parents pass on and other family members move away or become more distant.  Lively neighborhoods bustle with the sounds of family and friends gathering across the street for the celebration we long for with our loved ones.

It has been a myth that suicide rates tend to increase during the holiday season. Yet, according to the National Institute of Health, Christmas is the time of year that people experience a high incidence of depression. High expectations, money woes, and other holiday hazards can spell trouble for those prone to depression.  every where  you turn, you’re being told  how much you should be enjoying this time of year.  You know you should be happy and having fun, but it just isn’t happening.

I remember the first Christmas after my mother had passed away. I was only 24 years old, single and no children.  I had an older sister that had three boys living in the same town. That fall, I enrolled in a college class that dealt with holiday depression. I knew it was going to be difficult so I was trying to be pro-active in planning.  One of the many things suggested was to plan a vacation.  Go some place different.  Being as how I lived in the pacific northwest, Christmas season was always cold, wet and dreary. I opted for a cruise to the Bahamas.  I worked a second job for eight months just so I could pay for it.  I had a wonderful time.  It didn’t feel like Christmas day as I laid on the warm white sand with the sound of the ocean  and gulls flying above.  For four days I was able to escape the traditional holiday and enjoy my first Christmas without family and minimal depression.

As a Christian and an older adult, Christmas means something totally different to me than it once did.  I no longer get caught up with all the reckless spending. My husband and I usually splurge and go to a nice restaurant for dinner and then enjoy a quiet evening watching holiday movies.  We appreciate the fact we don’t have to deal with family bickering and their Olympics, annoying discussions and tired, unruly children.  We celebrate the birth of our Lord and give thanks to Him. What is truly delightful is that when January rolls around,  our budget still looks the same as the month before.

The Moon and God

What was the first liquid and food consumed on the moon? I’m betting that most are unaware of this story.Forty-five years ago, two human beings changed history by walking on the surface of the moon. But, what happened before Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong exited the Lunar Module is perhaps even more amazing, if only because so few people know about it. I’m talking about the fact that Buzz Aldrin took communion on the surface of the moon. Some months after his return, he wrote about it in Guideposts magazine.  The background to the story is that Aldrin was an elder at his Presbyterian Church in Texas during this period in his life;  and, knowing that he would soon be doing something unprecedented in human history,  he felt that he should mark the occasion somehow.  He asked his minister to help him and so the minister consecrated a communion wafer and a small vial of communion wine.  Buzz Aldrin took them with him out of the Earth’s orbit and onto the surface of the moon.  He and Armstrong had only been on the lunar surface for a few minutes when Aldrin made the following public statement:  This is the LM (Lunar Module) pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in,  whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way. He then ended radio communication, and there, on the silent surface of the moon, 250,000 miles from home, he read a verse from the Gospel of John, and he took communion. Here is his own account of what happened:     “In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine.  I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup.  Then I read the scripture:   ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit … Apart from me you can do nothing.” I had intended to read my communion passage back to Earth, but at the last minute [they] had requested that I not do this.  NASA was already embroiled in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O’Hare, the celebrated opponent of religion, over the Apollo 8 crew’s reading from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas. I agreed reluctantly.”

“I ate the tiny toast and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon and the very first food eaten there were the communion elements.”

“And, of course, it’s interesting to think that some of the first words spoken on the moon were the words of Jesus Christ,who made the Earth and the moon – and who, in the immortal words of Dante, is Himself the “Love that moves the Sun and other stars.” How many of you knew this? Too bad this type of news doesn’t travel as fast as the bad does. 

Share with others you know . . . . . . .

The nicest place to be is in someone’s thoughts, the safest place to be is in someone’s prayers, and the very best place to be is in the hands of God. Amen.

 

The Devil Can Open Doors Too

devil-1562786_1280As Christians,  it’s often easy to spot Satan in the world. Anytime we hear of a shooting, domestic abuse, sex trafficking, kidnapping corruption and a host of other events we know the evil in the world is Satan doing what Satan does best. Whether you call him Satan, Lucifer, or the devil, he’s a beast with even more faces than he has names.  You may have on your armor of God, but be aware that Satan can masquerade as anyone or anything just to lure you in to his trap.

A personal example of just how Satan works was years ago when I was wanting to make more money. I wanted to work for myself and be my own boss.  I prayed and prayed about it, asking the Lord to give me a sign. Shortly there after,  my husband was unable to continue operating his business for personal and health related reasons.  I saw this as a sign from God. I stepped into the position and began making changes.  I was assertive, friendly, honest, enthusiastic and ready to make a difference in my community, our household income and grow professionally.  It was an answer to a prayer, and each night I gave thanks to the Lord for assisting me in this endeavor. As time marched on, I found myself giving more and more to the business. My husband and I were spending 10-14 hours a day at the office. I was periodically traveling out of town for business meetings, trainings, and conferences. I was going places I’d always wanted to go to and making more money than I had ever made in my life. For several years, life was good. I had reached the point in my company that I could afford to hire employees to help carry the load. The business was growing and I was so proud that I was able to help my husband take his business and take it to a whole new level. This was truly God’s blessing, or so it seemed. I found myself apologizing to God regularly for not attending church any longer. But I was certain He understood just how busy I’d become with the business. After all, He was the one that made this possible. He wanted me to be successful and enjoy the fruits of my labor.  This was a God thing, right?
I never thought I could fall victim to unethical business practices, but I did. Of course, I was able to rationalize my behavior, but I knew some of the things I was doing were wrong.  In the business world, in order to stay on top, you can be lured and tricked. I was changing, and I knew it.  I was beginning to hate myself and what I was doing. How did this happen? My employees were beginning to turn on me and participate in destroying my company.  I felt like I was in a free fall and didn’t know what to do.  I cried out to God. I openly confessed to Him my wrong doings and my love of materialistic things. I was so stressed living under the pressure of having to keep the business going. I was in way over my head and I wanted out.  I begged and pleaded for the Lord to help me. I was willing to do anything if I could just get out of this mess, out of the business and start a new life. The Lord heard my pleas and asked me, “Are you sure you are willing to give up everything and follow me, making me first in your life?”  Yes, I was.  The next few months were pure hell. I was now under investigation and had a client suing me.  I was scared, but I knew this was part of God’s plan, so I stood strong and allowed the chips to fall. My husband and I knew we would be unable to stay in our town and find work.  We prayed and asked God to help deliver us. The stress was getting to the both of us so we decided it was time to just pack up and take a vacation allowing the dust to settle.  We decided to look for a new place to build our lives, but it had to meet one criteria.  It had to be a strong Christian community and preferably in a conservative Christian state.  We found ourselves traveling through Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.  We attended a church in a town in Idaho on Sunday morning and both felt the calling. We were certain this was where God wanted us. Again, we prayed and asked God for a sign. Once we got back home, we put our house on the market and began looking at property in Idaho. We closed the business down and tied up lose ends.  The investigation ended, we settled with the client and things were beginning to fall into place. We found the perfect home in Idaho, put the earnest money down and within six weeks, our house sold, leaving us with what we needed to relocate to our new home and our new life.  We are now active members of our church and have more friends in the four years we’ve been in Idaho than the entire time we lived in Oregon.  We now live on a very modest income and have just what we need. God does provide, but he isn’t the only one who can open doors.  I learned to listen for God’s voice before assuming that something is a sign from God.