Monday, January 10, 2011



A fun new word in our Internet vocabulary.

Here’s the definition:

The practice of using fraudulent e-mails and copies of legitimate websites to extract financial data from computer users for purposes of identity theft – from fishing in the sense of catching the unwary by offering bait.

Do you have an inkling of where this is going?

Yup, earlier this year, I got caught by a phishing scam.

Fell for the bait – hook, line, and sinker.

These people are good.

Or else I’m just incredibly gullible – which would mean I’m bordering on "How could you be so dumb"– so, I’m picking that they’re just VERY good.

Here’s how it happened.

It was in July. We were planning for our tremendous trek down The Narrows in Zion National Park. 17 miles of rocky, slippery hiking – only one night allowed in the canyon. There was a LOT going on, trying to get everything all situated.

Did we have EVERYTHING we could possibly need?

First-aid kit, hiking poles, sleeping pads and bags, WATER…knee braces…stamina.

So, I was already harried and nervous.

The morning before we were supposed to leave, I was doing my LAST check on emails. And there it was – an email warning me that my PayPal account had shown fraudulent use of a credit card, and was being blocked for further usage. "Here’s the case number, please attend to this as soon as possible."

HOOK in place.

I freaked out – which is the first thing I think they count on.

Here we are, ready to go on a HUGE trip, and someone’s stolen our credit card information.

So, I click on the link to the website. Log in. And proceed with the instructions I’m given on the screen.

LINE being pulled in.

It asks me to verify who I am. Please insert a credit card number, expiration date, and security code. For a brief second, I think this is strange, but I am so anxious about this "terrible situation right before vacation" that I comply.


To my credit, as soon as I logged out, I had a bad feeling. So, I went into my PayPal account (the REAL one) and quickly saw that there was NO report, NO case number, NO problem…

Except for my "How could you be so dumb?!"

I spent half of that day contacting PayPal, closing my account with them, changing all my credit cards, updating all the accounts connected to those cards, changing passwords – the list goes on and on. A thousand little things that I hadn’t planned on doing, just because I had "bit" on an effective lure.

So what’s the lesson? (BESIDES "How could you be so dumb?")

The devil is out there phishing.

He’s trolling for you.

And he’s very good.

He is an expert at making his fraudulent website look just like the real thing. He takes the perfect truth of God, the absolute goodness of what He has created, and twists it just so.

Love becomes lust and immorality.
Joy becomes a hunt for happiness at any cost.
Peace becomes compromising the truth.
Patience becomes asserting your "rights."
Kindness becomes apathy and selfishness.
Goodness becomes a thousand little "bad-ish" things.
Faithfulness becomes "Sunday"worship.
Gentleness becomes political correctness and meek acceptance of sin.
Self-control becomes pious pride and righteous rules.

He makes the perfect lure tailor-made just for you. He baits it with what is most tempting. And then he casts it out there, and waits…

…for you to bite.

He’s got all the time in the world.

We must not get caught up in his scam!

He’s subtle – oh you bet! He’s deceptive – for sure! He’s successful – all too often!

But we have a better weapon. We have the Truthboth through the Spirit living inside of us, and in God’s Word.

Wise people know when to fight, and when to run. Knowing when to run is as important in spiritual battle as knowing when and how to fight!

"And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so you can endure."
(1 Corinthians 10:13)

We must be smart!

The devil lies, he attacks, he deceives, he discourages, he entices, and he makes us doubt.

He goes "phishing" – but just hit the "delete" button.

After all, he’s really just "SPAM!"

BLOG = “Blessedly Leaning On God!”


  1. Hi Sharon

    Great post, thank you for sharing, love the corinthians scripture. We sure must be on our guard a all times so we do not fall for any of these phishing scams on here or in our everyday lives. God Bless - Nita

  2. Ooh Sharon, Such a horrible ordeal for anyone to go through.

    While reading your story, I immediately thought of the Scripture "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour"
    1 Peter 5:8 ESV

    Although you were caught out, I give thanks and praise to the Lord! You listened to Him, you were watchful, you had that uneasy feeling afterward and went back to check. Yay!

  3. Ahh, I almost forgot. We are mad beagles lovers. Sadly, we lost our dog Jak, it was the day Brisbane was hit with a huge red dust storm. Someone has him, we still hope he is safe and will come back to us. Jaiden heart aches a lot for him. The little muddy and wet girl in the photo is Rachel Grace, she's a Multi-poo - Maltese cross Poodle. She'll be two in a few months. We also have Rosie, she is a Stafford-shire cross, somebody just dumped her and left her. There she was waiting at our front door on a Sunday evening when we arrived home after church. She was badly hurt and had been mistreated. I wasn't sure if we were going to keep her, then right out of the blue, Jaiden said "I know, let's call her Rosie." I have no idea how he chose such a lovely name in an instant. We call her God's Girl. We hadn't her very long, when she got very sick. It was from a twisted stomach. We were able to get her to the vets in time and she had a whole team of vets and vet nurses and of course us cheering for her. Me, I was mostly crying and praying to God, there was no way we were giving up. She made it through, by God's grace, love and healing powers. She is God's Girl. The vets didn't really think she was going to make it - and in the end they too were praising God. Rosie is an outside dog, she doesn't like to be indoors. She is a great guard-dog! But not so nice to other dogs. I think that may have something to do with what ever happened to her before she came to us. Rachel is an indoor dog, but has to go everywhere with me, to school, to the shops, from one end of the house to the other. We have two beautiful and very special girls - they both think they are human. They are to us and we love them deeply!!!

  4. Hi Sharon -

    Thank you for sharing wrapped it up quite well.

    To the Devil and his cohorts:

    Sow becomes reap
    Lust becomes sin
    Sin becomes death
    Death becomes destruction
    in the lake of fire.

    From the Holy Bible - KJV:

    Galatians 6:7
    Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

    Psalm 105:15
    Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

    Genesis 12:3
    And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee:...

    Now SPAM that, Satan, AND know that - in the reverse, SPAM spells MAPS.

    Almighty GOD has MAPS for his saints and we are on His course. You messed with Sharon's map. The Lord rebuke you!...

  5. Yes, My friend! Loved it!
    Reminded me of what we talked about on Thursday-
    Put on the Helmet of Salvation, the shield of Righteousness...

    Thank you for the reminder!
    Love you!

  6. I sound like a broken record, but I really DO think that this is one of my favorites so far. It's at the very least in the top ten.

    I did a big OH NOOOO as I read how they hooked you in and how you fell for it. Isn't it amazing how easily it's done when we're busy, anxious, excited or distracted? That's exactly when Satan gets me.

    I love how you mention that it is always so expertly done and such a good counterfeit of the real thing.

    Great post.

    I'll be much for vigilant when something smells "phishy" around here...

  7. That's much MORE vigilant. I'll much for it too, but that's not what I was trying to say. I am under a brain freeze warning.

  8. Well sweetie - you are human - but yes, don't we have to be ever vigilent? Sometimes we get tired. Sometimes we are so harried.

    We have to see the mistake - fix it - then hop back on the right track.

    Sorry about that for you.


  9. Great post!! What a great analogy! Yes...let's hit the delete button and ALWAYS get rid of the spam! "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7

    Living for Him, Joan

  10. Great post, Sharon! So true and I think your list of "fraudulents" is inspiring a new post for me.....the one about Faithful becoming Sunday only spirit did flip flops when I read that. I've been thinking a lot lately on real, pure religion vs. unpure, defiled, legalistic religion....having coming out of that myself years ago. Sooo...we'll see! :) Thanks always for sharing and for your encouraging words on my blog :) Blessings!

  11. Blessings Sharon, What a wonderfully written PHISH post... I'm so sorry that you got caught but also glad that you were wise to follow your feeling/ prompting of the Holy Spirit within you to respond and thank God before more had to be dealt with... I try to stay away from that stuff and hardly trust any online pay accounts for fear of something like this happening. But fear is of satan as well. 2 Timothy 1:7

    My favorite part was when you made the analogy to satan and the list of how he masquerades truth to us! Each one was excellent! Great ending in how to handle him. I pray that never happens again and never to me either.

    I'd also like to thank you and tell you more of a reply to all your answers on Breaking Free. But I'm sure my comment is already too long. Just let me tell you your thoughts really helped me so I'm so glad that you took the time to answer because that is not easy. I assume that you don't have Beth's book but answered from what you know of Isaiah and these 4 kings. Once more I applaud you! All of this including the questions come from Beth Moore's book so I can't take any credit, except if I had answered before you as well as you did. Bless you for doing this. I wished I had put the questions in the comments to make it more accessible and easier.

    Peace and JOY and a big hug with thanks!

  12. Nita - Yes, be on the alert - that's the key! I like this verse from Corinthians, too. Sometimes I think I "can't" take it anymore - but this verse gives me the sure promise that God knows what I can do, IN HIS POWER!

    Kerrie - Yes, I was lucky. God did keep me from anything worse than just a little embarrassment and some hassle. Great Scripture you shared - BE WATCHFUL. That's good advice for everything, don't you think? And especially in our battle against the enemy. His biggest weapon, I think, is that we often don't recognize when he's attacking us - we think it's just our own "thoughts."
    And - LOVE that you love dogs! Such a wonderful story about Rosie! So precious. Rachel Grace is a doll. And Jak - I'm praying for a miracle, that you will see him again someday. I thank God for the gift of His animals (especially dogs) - they teach me about His love!!

    Sandra - You make me smile so BIG!! I really loved your "trash talk" against the enemy! Take that, Mr. Spam. Rebuke - that's a great word, don't you think? Not used nearly enough. I looked it up - "to turn back or keep down." Exactly what we should do, in the name of Jesus, who gives us authority against the enemy. Great Scriptures you shared, too. Thanks.

    Janet - Yes, it reminded me of that, too. Especially the helmet. Been thinking about that a lot. Especially since most of my "battle" seems to happen between my ears - know what I mean?! Maybe I don't put on my armor often enough. Gotta change that...

    Debbie - Thanks, dear friend, for the thoughtful comments. Yes, the devil is an EXPERT at counterfeiting. And you're right - he is at his very best when we're busy, excited, anxious, or distracted. You know, it occurs to me, I'll bet our troops fighting right now do not get distracted too much - they KNOW that they're in a fight. That's what I need to do - recognize the FIGHT. I need to be much for vigilant (sorry - couldn't resist!)

    Sandie - Thanks for not saying, "How could you be SO dumb???" You hit on a really good point, too. IF we fall for one of the devil's schemes, we need to recognize and admit the mistake (confess) and then hurry to get back on the right path (repent). God will be there - with understanding and forgiveness.

    Joan - Another of my favorite "battle" verses! I'm noticing the order of the verse. First, you must submit to God. Give Him your everything - your thoughts and feelings, your choices and decisions, your heart. Then, properly aligned with Him, you will have the power to resist the devil. And he, seeing God's presence and power within you, will have no choice but to flee!! (p.s. Thanks for joining me on my journey!)

    Shelly - I think that would make a great post. Our church just finished a series right before Christmas called, "Why Jesus Hates Religion." It was really great. Basically, Jesus hated religion because it was all about man's attempt to reach God - it came with all sorts of rules and religious pride. Jesus is not a religion - He's a PERSON, with whom we enter into a relationship. Pure "religion" is summed up for me in loving the Lord with all my heart, all my mind, all my strength, and all my soul. You might be interested in a post I wrote about this issue - November 29th, "Walking with Jesus."

    GOD BLESS - hope you all had a great Monday!

  13. Peggy - It was my pleasure to answer the questions. I enjoyed the challenge of thinking!! I really like Beth Moore - she has such a way of looking at Scripture, and bringing out the most practical lessons from it. I really liked your idea of posting questions like this - it's like having a mini-Bible Study lesson "blog-style!" I applaud you for this innovative idea!

    As for my "phishing" - no worries, I learned a good lesson. As far as the devil, I think we can make two mistakes with him. One, is giving him too much power - fearing him too much. We must remember, "Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world." The second mistake, is not giving him enough power - not recognizing that we are in a battle with him and his army, not being vigilant for his attacks. I'm praying for more awareness of his "phisy" ways, and for the strength to fight against them!


  14. LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! Not the part about you getting hooked but the analogy and the twisted references on the fruits of the Spirit. Great one.
    I'll have to copy that list and make reference to it often. After all, I don't want to take the bait.

    I love the idea that he is just SPAM!! Hit the delete button.


  15. Janis - DON'T BITE!! Glad you liked this one. It was interesting what God revealed to me about how the enemy "twists" the fruit of the Spirit. He's so insidious, so wrongly clever - he's just plain evil SPAM...



"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)