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I’m 67 years old, and I have a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. I have designed many electronic circuits, and written the software to make them function. In my career, I helped design CT scanners, I designed a custom integrated circuit, and I have two patents. I am currently assisting a company to develop a safe, green method to produce Hydrogen for energy production.

So why do I feel I’m just starting Kindergarten? As we have been investigating emotions, I was ready to write on emotion and reason. No one should argue that to live a balanced life, we need to consider both emotion and reason to make decisions.

But looking back on the recent poor decision-making that resulted in me being scammed, I realize I am NOT using reason adequately. And why is that? It is because my reasoning is not sufficient. I am doing the reasoning. I am deciding whether my emotion or reason takes precedence. My reasoning is faulty and my emotion is strong.

So where do I turn? How can I avoid more scams and poor decisions based on my insufficient reasoning power? “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD…” (Isa 1:18) I confess, I am using this verse out of context. Isaiah is speaking about obedience to God. But, maybe this applies.

There are two main topics in the Bible about life: eternal life with God (AKA salvation), and fruitful life on earth. We are told to trust Jesus for our eternal life, and we are told that a fruitful life also comes from Jesus.

When Jesus used the imagery of a shepherd and his sheep in John 10, he contrasts Himself with the thief who wants to steal the sheep. In verse 10 Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

When the Bible says we obtain life through Jesus, it is clearly saying our eternal life starts when we believe Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life”. But for some of us, a life of peace, harmony, and abundance does not seem to begin with our salvation. So, what are we supposed to do?

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Pro 3:5-6) This proverb contrasts our own understanding (emotion and reason) with God’s understanding (transcendent wisdom). Isaiah spoke of obedience. Acknowledging God’s ways as best for our life is an act of obedience. So how do we obey Jesus when we are struggling with emotion and reason?

You have heard it said, “Knowledge is knowing what to say. Wisdom is knowing when to say it.” [Link] Fundamentally, knowledge is knowing facts that come from our education, emotion, and reason. An emotion such as anger teaches us that an injustice we observe is wrong.

But anger can also result from coveting the bigger truck your friend just bought. Reason tells you that if you buy a bigger truck your budget will suffer. But we all know how strong emotion can be by the number of big, new trucks on the road.

“Wisdom involves a healthy dose of perspective and the ability to make sound judgments about a subject based on experience, evaluation, and lessons learned.” [Link] But the God that created us has the upper hand on experience, evaluation, and lessons learned.

So maybe I’m not in Kindergarten anymore but I’m a teenage boy whose pre-frontal cortex hasn’t fully developed. Until the age of 25 or 30, when the frontal lobe is fully developed, we guys may still be ruled by the amygdala, which controls emotion, impulsivity, and an inability to fully comprehend the consequences of our actions. [Link] (Women have a five-year advantage over us.)

In the way parents want to share their acquired wisdom with their teens, God asks us to trust His wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5)

So, as a spiritual teenager, I need to consistently go to Jesus and ask for wisdom. I can go to Him and say, “I am feeling ______ and I think I want to do ______, but You know what’s best. I am asking for Your wisdom before I make this decision.”

I sympathize with all who find this difficult. Even when we know our fallibility, it is a struggle to connect with God. Fortunately, He understands. He is ready to forgive our failures because His mercy is unmatched. Commit with me to keep trying, again, and again, and again. God is eagerly waiting to help.

The Power of Emotion

You’ve experienced it… you hear or watch a story and emotion wells up inside you. That emotion may be anger, or sadness, or joy. And there are times it is overwhelming.

The overwhelming nature of the story I shared last time is what prompted me to write and share the words. But a few hours later the rational part of my mind began to rethink the experience.

The story that was told spoke of an outcome that left the couple homeless and destitute. If you didn’t watch the video, they are literally hiding from federal marshalls. I can imagine myself in the same situation. Helping a friend, but in a way that violates laws. The friend is helped; no one was otherwise hurt or impacted; but the method used to help was illegal.


Then I also thought, this could be a hustle. What if this couple schemed this story and made the video with the intention of later asking for money. “Please send a donation to this Western Union destination.”

So I did some research and I am reasonably convinced this is not a scam. First of all, they have been making YouTube videos for over two years. Second, their Etsy site storefront is empty. Third, their last video was made seven months ago.

I believe this couple’s story is legitimate. But, that’s not the purpose of this post. I hope you consider the power of emotion and the fact that scammers use the power of emotion to hook you. That’s what happened to me. (Link) It was pure emotion (and some greed) that hooked me.

Any time you feel emotion welling up within you, put your brain into Rational Reasoning mode. It is the only way to balance emotions with facts. I admit it is really hard to do, but it is an essential skill to learn.

I hope this has been a helpful wake-up call for someone.

Carving a Path

I ran across a YouTube video channel entitled Carving a Path. It shows the homestead life of a small family in Arkansas. As a wood and metalworking wannabe, I enjoy watching videos demonstrating such skills.

As I watched the episodes from the beginning, I thought it odd that no names were used. When I viewed the latest (and perhaps last) video I understood why. Rather than retell their story, I encourage you to watch it yourself.

When watching the video, your heart may break and you may get angry. Isn’t it odd that people on two sides of a dispute all think they are doing the right thing?

You each know the political state of our country and of the world. Rest assured, what we are experiencing now is nothing new and has not taken God by surprise. Strife within and among families, communities, and nations has existed since the beginning of time.

As I listened to the story, I recognized that while the family was performing a great community service out of love and concern, they were legally wrong. Again, I will let you watch the video for yourself to understand the two sides.

Please understand there is a great war between good and evil. The problem is, the good is often imperfect. The Bible tells us that our best human efforts are as filthy rags compared to God’s loving nature and desires. Without Him, we can do nothing. With Him, we can do more than we can imagine.

My heart goes out to the families involved. But I must recognize that for each story we hear, there are countless more that are unheard. No one can help everyone, but each of us can help someone in our local community. At the very least we can be kind, accepting of differences, and understanding. Beyond that, any help we can provide will be appreciated and will reflect God’s love and mercy.

Pray for this family whether you agree with their actions or not. Always pray for those around you. Your prayers may bring them into your path and allow you to show them God’s love. Then they may become part of God’s family and can pass the kindness forward.

Blue Letter Bible

Per my last post, I want to share some online tools you can easily use to dig deeper into Bible verses to help your understanding. A couple preliminaries first.

In the last post, I took the position that Jesus was minimizing any derogatory comments to the Canaanite woman by referring to her as a household pet and not a stray dog. I believe that to be true, as do some commentators, but others think Jesus was derogatory.

When comparing the thoughts of others and researching as best you can into the language, culture, geography, etc. it is important to do so from a position of humility. When I share my opinion with you, it is based on my best understanding of what I have studied. When anyone forms an opinion, a fundamental assumption must be that the position is wrong.

I will leave it there. Let’s get on with the Blue Letter Bible.

In your browser, navigate to (If you are using a tablet or phone, you can download the BLB app. Navigation within the app is different. The “interlinear” and other tabs we will look at below can be found by tapping on the righthand side of the verse you are interested in.) First of all, you may be familiar with the Red Letter Bibles where the words of Jesus are printed in red letters. According to a search by Bing’s AI Chat:

The Blue Letter Bible is so called because of the blue color of the hyperlinks. The name “Blue Letter Bible” also contrasts with the term “red letter Bible”, which is a common form of printed Bible with key words, such as the words of Jesus, highlighted in red1.

According to the Blue Letter Bible website, the name Blue Letter Bible was chosen because of the blue color of the hyperlinks. With hundreds of thousands of links that were all blue, they decided to call it the Blue Letter Bible as a play on the more commonly referenced red-letter editions of Scripture2.

(I will be discussing the use of AI in an upcoming post. Spoiler alert… I am finding it most useful.)

The Blue Letter Bible site offers many useful tools for your Bible studies. The top banner provides detailed information on the many sections and tools within the Blue Letter Bible (BLB) site.

Click on SEARCH in the top banner. The drop-down provides a quick method of locating a verse. Let’s go to Matt 15:21 where we studied in the last post. Input the information into the search bar as shown below. I selected the ESV Bible translation from the grid. (There will be a quick tutorial to demonstrate how the grid works when you access it the first time.) Then click the arrow.

You are taken to verse 21 in chapter 15, but if you scroll up, you will see that the entire chapter is provided. As you scroll up, notice the section header The Faith of a Canaanite Woman, and the verses Mar 7:24-30 referenced beneath. Hover over the verse reference and the verse will pop up. Click on the reference and you will be taken there. Use the browser’s back arrow to return to Matthew.

As you explore the banner at the top of the page you will find navigation buttons, copy, format, and even a Red Letter button so Jesus’s words are highlighted. You can explore as desired but for now, scroll down to verse 26.

Please notice the copy icon between TOOLS and the verse reference. When you click on it, a checkmark appears. Use this to select verses you wish to copy. Then use the COPY and COPY OPTIONS buttons in the top banner to copy these verses onto your clipboard. Copy options will pre-format the look of the quote.

Now click on the verse reference (or the Tools button). A popup with colored tabs (and an X to close it) will appear below the verse. The first tab is INTERLINEAR. This is where we can dig into the original language.

Notice first that the verse is shown in Greek at the top. This is from the source manuscript used in the translation of this (ESV) Bible. (Don’t fret, there are only two primary texts translators use. Lord willing we will cover this in a future post.)

There are two ways to look at the Greek in the section below: Forward and Reverse. Forward takes the Greek as written and provides the translation. Reverse takes the English translation and provides the Greek. Usually, the Reverse method will work best for you IMHO.

You may also notice that the translation down the left is not 100% as you expect. To find out why, click on the [?] next to “English (NASB)” above the column. It gets technical.

Working left to right, if you click on the word (such as “dogs”) or the “PHRASE” button, you will get a list of everywhere the word or phrase is used in the translation you started in (such as the ESV here) in the Old and New Testaments. This is a great tool to look for similar word usage in a “word study”.

The next column is labeled “Strong’s”. In 1890, James Strong published a book containing a list of every word in the King James Version Bible (KJV). He referenced the translated word to the original Hebrew or Greek word and assigned a number to each original word. Making this a bit confusing, only root words have numbers assigned. So if a Greek word has a prefix that renders it a negative, only the root is given.

Look at each of the words in the “Inflected, Root & Transliteration” column. You will see in each of these three cases that the Inflected (as written in the manuscript) word is different than the Root word. If you know a foreign language it is common for a word to be modified. For example, verbs are commonly modified to represent past and future tense. In English, the verb walk uses the suffix “ed” to indicate past tense. If James Strong was citing the word “walked”, he would reference it under the root “walk”.

Finally, Hebrew words are cited as H… and Greek words are cited as G… In each case, a reference number is given.

Click on G2952. The resulting page has more information than you will initially need. Looking at the highlights, we have a Transliteration that is essential if you are taking notes or sharing with a friend. You also have the Pronunciation so you can say the word with reasonable accuracy. Audio of the pronunciation is available just to the right of this.

The next line tells us this is a neuter noun. (Language still only provides three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter.) Then, to the right, is the word root. Most words come from a root that helps us understand the fundamental concept. It is helpful, especially in this study, to click on the G2965.

But first… let’s finish this entry. If you are deep into Greek grammar, the next line shows you variations of the word. Clicking on each word shows you in which verses they appear.

Each section of this page can take you deeper down the rabbit hole. But what we primarily want is a definition. Just a little further down we find definitions from several sources. Here we find “a little dog” and “puppy”. In the Strong’s Definitions box, we see G2965 again and can click here to get to that page also.

The same sections appear and after reviewing them we can draw the following conclusions. Notice first, this is a masculine noun where G2952 was neuter. This alone helps me envision the difference between a wild and aggressive animal versus a household pet.

In the definition section, there are no qualifiers that might soften the meaning. This is a dog (“hound”).

Note also that in come usage, the word is used in a very derogatory manner. Using this information and the information derived from Matt 15, I hope you can clearly see how I formed my conclusion that Jesus was not demeaning the woman but referring to her as part of the family.

There are so many paths I can take you down. Do you have a specific area of interest? What types of questions do you have about the Bible and how to understand it more clearly? Please leave a comment below or e-mail me confidentially at

Words are Important

I have no doubt you have written a text and the auto-correct changed a word. The unfortunate part is that you sent the text before realizing the error. It may have resulted in a hurried correction before your friend thought you had lost your mind.

Have you wondered if some writers of the Bible chose the wrong words? Some verses just don’t make sense. Or the verse may challenge our moral values. But this is the Bible! Isn’t every word supposed to be divinely inspired?

Yes… but…

In the Western world, we read a translation of the Bible in our native language. For English readers, there are numerous translations, each with a particular twist. These slight differences can be helpful in our understanding of the Bible text.

The Bible was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. These three languages have been studied at length by scholars. I am NOT one of these scholars! But fortunately, we have easy access to their studies.

In the next few posts, I will help you learn to use free online (and play store apps) that will help you access this knowledge. I will show you in a couple examples why looking up the words in their original language is important.


If you are brand new to reading the Bible, no worries. Here is a quick way to find your way through the hundreds of pages.

First, the Bible is divided into two main sections commonly referred to as the Old and New Testaments. For the word Testament, think testimony, a written record. The Old Testament is the collection of writings used today by Jews and the New Testament is the collection of writings used by Christians. Having said that, most Christians accept the Old Testament as essential to our understanding of God. And, many Jews by ancestry believe in Jesus as Messiah.

Every Bible has a Table of Contents. Use this page at the front of the Bible to find the page number where a book begins. Within each book, you will find Chapter and Verse numbers. These were added to the text in the 1500s to assist readers in searching for specific passages.

The common way to reference a specific Book, Chapter, and Verse is this way: Mark 4:7 refers to the book of Mark, chapter 4 and verse 7. As seen below, a passage may be shown as Mark 7:1-13.

Book names are often abbreviated. For example, you may see Matthew abbreviated Matt or even Mt. Your Bible may show a list of abbreviations in the Table of Contents. An easy-to-read list of abbreviations can be found here.

Of the many English translations available, I choose to use the English Standard Version (ESV) because I find it to be quite readable and it is a recent translation. If you are looking for a first-time Bible, may I suggest the New Living Translation? It is very readable and conveys the meaning of the original text.

The primary tradeoff in translating into English is readability versus word-for-word translation accuracy. In my opinion, most English translations are acceptable to read and provide a good understanding. I will provide more details about the differences in a future post.

The Controversy

Let’s start with a passage that by today’s standards can be seen as very demeaning. This passage is found in Matthew (Matt) chapter 15 verses 21-28 and in Mark 7:1-13.

And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.

And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.”

But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.”

He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.”

And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
(Mat 15:21-28)

I expect the controversial statement jumped out at you. Jesus referred to the woman as a dog. If you know first-century Jewish history, you know that the Jews referred to non-Jews in a derogatory manner just as the Romans referred to the Jews in a similar way. Jews were dogs to the Romans and non-Jews (gentiles) were dogs to the Jews.

But there are dogs, and there are dogs. When I moved to South Carolina in 2010, there was a major problem with stray dogs in my area. (Fear not, dogs weren’t roaming the streets of major cities. I moved into a very rural area.) These dogs survived by finding scraps and killing small animals. Therefore, you didn’t want your Teacup Poodle sitting outside unprotected.

The same was true when Jesus spoke to the Canaanite woman. He and his disciples had traveled northwest from their homes on the Sea of Galilee to a region of gentile people closer to the Mediterranean Sea. The woman is clearly referred to as a gentile in both Matthew and Mark.

I give this woman a lot of credit. Though she was gentile, she knew Jewish history. She called Jesus the Son of David. She believed that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, the one who would save the world. Undoubtedly, she had heard the stories of the miraculous healings Jesus had performed. Yes, even before modern communication, word got around.

And, she was persistent! She stayed engaged despite the efforts of the disciples to send her away. There is so much wonderful truth we can get from this short passage, but in this post, I want to focus on the word dog.

Just as we may refer to a wild dog as a mongrel or feral and our Fluffy as a pet, the Jews and the Greeks had two words for dogs. The first is the word, kuon. This refers to any and all dogs. In Matt 7:6, Jesus uses this Greek word when he said, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” during the Sermon on the Mount. In Thayer’s Greek Definitions, a second definition is added, “metaphorically a man of impure mind, an impudent man”. This word was used in a derogatory manner.

But Jesus doesn’t use this word with the woman. He uses the word kunarion. This is defined as “a little dog”, or “a puppy”. It was commonly used to refer to the family pet, AKA Fluffy. So, Jesus has actually used a term of endearment, at least sort of, maybe. But he didn’t call her a mongrel.

This is why words are important. In my next post, I will show you how to find this information in a simple Bible app that is available online or as a download.

As I provide these posts, I hope you will help me out and give me some feedback. What helped you, and what else would help? If you have trouble finding the Comment box, keep scrolling down. Click the Like button and SHARE! Let others know I’m here.

Thanks a lot!

The Book of Remembrance

If you are a Christian, you likely have heard of the Book of Life. This is not another book of the Bible, but rather a book where God has recorded the names of each individual who received salvation through their belief in Jesus. It is promised that these people will abide with God forever on a newly created earth.

References to the Book of Life are found six times in the book of Revelation and once in Philippians 4:3. The Bible puts great importance on having your name written in the Book of Life. The book will be used at the time of judgement to distinguish between those sentenced to eternal punishment in hell versus those who will live with God forever.

As it turns out, God keeps records in a great many books. These records will be used to rightly judge each human that ever lived. “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne [to be judged], and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” [Revelation 20:12]

The books

As the verse says, the books contain the record of every act a person has done. The idea that we will one day stand before God and He will judge us according the good and bad of our life is true. But there is a caveat that isn’t talked about.

In the Old Testament (Tanakh) we are told to be holy in the same way God is holy. “I am the LORD who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be hole, for I am holy.” This is God’s command to all people, “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.” [Leviticus 11:45 & 19:2]

But, you say, that is for Israel. It says so clearly in the text. True, but this command is in the New Testament too. “[God] chose us in [Jesus] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.” [Ephesians 1:4]

So, if we are to be holy as God is holy, if we are to be blameless before Him, that is 100%, all the time. We can’t be holy as God is holy.

So when we stand before this Holy God and the books are opened, will God see His holy perfection? God’s view of perfection is such that “all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” [Isaiah 64.6] The term polluted garment represents clothing that has been soiled by an undesired bodily discharge.

In other words, to God, our best efforts to please Him are disgustingly inadequate. That doesn’t sound like a loving God, does it? This is the problem with Christianity when humans try to understand God. Our perspective is so very different from God’s that we can’t comprehend how our best efforts are viewed by God as insufficient.

The Book of Life

But there is one other book. This book doesn’t contain deeds, it only contains names. The names are those who recognize they are incapable of being holy as God is holy and trust God alone to save them from eternal destruction. God knew that His creation would fail. But He also knew that each individual who recognized their failure and relied solely on God would have a genuine love relationship with God.

The love of God is manifested in His commitment to save His people. This commitment was manifested through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Anyone who believes in what Jesus proclaimed will have their names found in the Book of Life.

Book of Remembrance

RCCG Amazing Grace Huntingdon

The question often arises, “What about the people who lived before Jesus? How are they saved from eternal destruction?” Four hundred years before Jesus was born, the prophet Malachi wrote these words, “Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name.” [Malachi 3:16]

The Book of Remembrance is Volume 1 of a two-volume set. The Book of Life is Volume 2. God did not change when Jesus was born. Jesus clarified and enhanced what had always been true. Those who feared the LORD in the days of Malachi recognized their insufficiency before the Holy God. The fear was the manifestation. God could justifiably condemn them. This reverence of God’s holiness is what saved them from destruction.

Questions about God and what He means to us are to be expected. How can we truly and fully understand an absolutely perfect, loving, and judgmental being? How can we understand a being with the power to speak us into existence?

God doesn’t ask us to understand. He only asks us to believe and trust.

What’s Next?

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My thanks to those of you who stuck with me while I put Mirror Mirror on the site. And my apology to those who couldn’t care less about Young Adult Christian Romance.

Starting with the “couldn’t care less” group, I will be covering more topics in the future. Mirror Mirror was a labor of love, partially to prove I could stick with it to the end.

To those who enjoyed Mirror Mirror, fear not for John. As one of our heroes, he will pull through. The real question is what happens to his desire to play College Basketball? Enough said, I am working on Broken Mirror and will update you as time goes by this summer.

To all of you, I will release large works (like the books) so you can browse through them and binge read. This will give space to normal blog posts.

Finally, I would greatly appreciate your participation through Survey Monkey. It’s my first use of a survey, ever! Only 10 questions and I turned on the “anonymous” switch. There should be no personal information coming my way.

About half the question deal with Mirror Mirror while the remainder will help me focus content on your interests. Sorry, no free-form comment boxes. That requires an upgrade.

So please, help me out at Survey Monkey.

Mirror Mirror: Chapter 25

How often has a good plan gone bad in your life? I know we all have memories of disappointment or failure. I hope you have never experienced a plan that became a tragedy. We know this can happen. But who would ever expect this to happen?

Mirror Mirror: Chapter 24

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When you were in school, was summer vacation a good time for you? Did you have a summer job during high school or were you able to do whatever? Our friends are at the end of their freshman year and are thinking of what they will do next.

I was SCAM’ed – Twice

I’m mad; I’m embarrassed; I’ve had it! Deep breath… I will keep this brief but praemonitus, praemunitus (to be forewarned is to be forearmed).

I received two packages in the mail today. One I expected; one was a mystery package.

I’ll start with the mystery package. At the end of March, I saw a Facebook video ad about a woodworking tool. I do enough hobby stuff that it looked like a useful tool. The ad said, “Last Day of Promotion” [Red flag #1]; “49% OFF” [Red flag #2]; “Ultra-precision…” [Red flag #3].

I fell for it. For the reduced price of $72.93, I purchased a set of three sizes. For the record, I remember the ad showing (what appeared to be) a metal tool for measuring angles and scribing lines. As with much of what I buy, I forgot I had ordered it.

The package arrived today and was wrapped in a black bag with a LOT of tape. It was from a strange NY address. I couldn’t imagine what it might be but I have received odd packages from the orient that were never ordered. I did an quick internet search on the address and found a bunch of scam complaints about the company.

After much fiddling and feeling, one corner broke through the bag. I decided that more of the bag could now “break open”. As I fished it out I realized what it was. It was not in any way “Ultra-precision”. It is just a little better than “cheap s#!t”. Thank you Hongkong Ruifu Network Technology Co., Ltd.

SCAM number two: “Yuppie CBD”. I agree everything about the name screams scam. BTW, the definition I found for scam from Oxford is: a dishonest scheme; a fraud. The Yuppie CBD was certainly a dishonest scheme, but maybe legally on the legitimate fringe of fraud.

In a weak moment while checking my Twitter feed, I say an ad for this product. I followed the link to the web site and while reading through the benefits of “their” formulation, I saw the words “grandmother” and “arthritis” in the same sentence. My heart strings were tugged as I have arthritis in my hands.

I took the next step to see what a sample would cost. I thought it would be under $50. I filled in the form and clicked a CONTINUE button until I got to a page that said, $242. Your order has been processed. This was the first I had seen a total price.

I found several customer service numbers, all of which failed to connect. There was no-one to talk with to cancel the order. Within 24 hours I received an e-mail saying my order had been shipped. I finally contacted someone through a web contact page but was told they would only refund 50% of what I paid. (BTW, the customer service number on the contact page also failed to connect.)

The charge is now in dispute with my credit card company and I have a new card number. They told me to not open the package and refuse receipt from the post office.

My friends, we are in a war. I took some losses in the fight. But I have found four important warnings that you must beware of:

  • Don’t follow ads on social media. I will even say to be careful of platforms like Facebook Marketplace. I had a GOOD experience with Facebook Marketplace, but I’ve seen plenty of ads that couldn’t possibly be true. If you do agree to pick up an item, take a friend and meet in a public parking lot.
  • Ads or e-mails that appear to be from companies you do business with. If you see a clearance of window air conditioners from Walmart for $10 each, be very afraid. At the very least, the scam will get your personal information.
  • Texts or e-mails with invoices. Some can look very official with known company letter heads. Unless you have an open account with a commercial product distributer, you won’t be sent an invoice. Certainly not from a known company.
  • Texts or e-mails (or phone calls) saying your order is on hold and certain information needs to be confirmed. No, no, no!!!! They want personal information to steal your money or your identity.

Fortunately, my wife and I are pretty good at asking each other whether something looks like a scam. (As I was typing, she showed me an invoice for some crypto currency purchase.) But if you truly have a doubt about what you owe, contact the company directly. A Walmart or Lowes or Ace Hardware will check into a possible scam at the store.

Don’t assume you forgot to pay a bill or provide information. Rather, assume someone is out to steal your money and/or identity. It’s a war. We are all in the midst of great evil. Fight the battle with common sense and with prayer.

I would love to hear your scam stories. If you think our readers will benefit from your story, add a comment below. Thank you so much, and stay safe.