Today was one of those days you prefer would pass you by! I went online to pay the amenities and security company accounts, and what followed was frightening.
I received two SMSs straight after each other. The first one was the normal SMS when one logs onto the Internet Banking Platform. The other SMS said that I had just changed my internet profile with the bank. I knew I did not, so I called the bank. Fortunately I got through to a consultant quickly. He checked the profile, and according to him I ought to talk to their fraud department. He put the call through.
The lady who answered took me through the normal security questions and then said, “You can cancel the cards and internet login and get new cards and reregister for online banking.”
My response was surprise. On the 21 of December … what do I do without cards during the holiday period? I said I could not do that, so she said the bank would then not be responsible for any missing funds should that happen. This got me going, as I did not change my profile. I called internet banking and they put me through to the fraud division. I was very disappointed with the lady’s attitude and the way she spoke to me as a bank client.
After all of this, I logged into internet banking again to make the payment only to discover one of the accounts was no longer on my “dashboard”. Again I called internet banking, and after a very long wait a lady took my call. After explaining the problem, she asked me to do a few things on my profile and suddenly I have two “dashboards” in place of one. Somehow, either through a technical hitch or through human error or through criminal activity, my profile was changed without my knowledge or consent.
The good thing is we found out what happened. The bad thing is we don’t know how this happened. At the time of writing this note, my accounts look fine, but for safety’s sake I’ll call the bank again tomorrow and see if we can prevent any fraud, should this be a possibility.
Whether you have a large balance or a small balance, it’s frightening to consider the possibility of being scammed, especially if your credit card and access bond accounts are healthy and unused. Think if a fraudster gets into a bond or credit card account and maxes it out to the limit … especially when your bank’s fraud department tells you the bank will not be liable for any losses! On the radio, TV and via emails and SMSs, banks are asking their clients to be on high alert for scammers. There is a WhatsApp doing the rounds in our country where a man speaks of people posing as bank officials calling bank clients to scam them. We have to be extra diligent and very careful at this time. Criminals are on the prowl seeking to devour your banks account’s credit line! As crime is their business … they too believe they need bonuses at Christmas time. Be on your guard!
Scammers don’t only operate in the financial world. They are as rife in the spiritual world, and have been since the Early Church in the Book of Acts. As one example:
Ac 20:25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.”
Preach the Kingdom of God (v25)
The work of Christian workers is to preach the Kingdom of God, not their personal kingdom or their church (or denomination). It’s God’s Gospel which is about God’s Kingdom over which Jesus Christ is King.
The true undiluted Gospel message … the Good News which includes the bad news must be proclaimed. If this is not done, we will continue to have scammers preaching their “Gospel” that might contain certain key “true Gospel” elements but leads people away from God’s Kingdom into Cultism.
Preach with Gospel Integrity (v26)
When the “True Gospel” is proclaimed, Christian workers can rest assured that they have fulfilled their duty and need not be ashamed or guilty of leading people astray … of scamming people. Being “innocent of the blood of all men” means that Paul cannot be accused of being the cause of people going to hell because he preached the Kingdom’s Gospel and not a personal gospel.
Preach the Whole Counsel of God (v27)
The example he sets for all Christian workers is to teach the whole Bible. Often preachers leave out bits and pieces here and there that might “offend” hearers. Often preachers do not speak about hell, punishment, damnation and sin because they think this might offend hearers. Jesus preached it and so did the Apostles. Souls are scammed of their soul’s salvation because of an inadequate gospel.
Preachers are Spirit made (v28)
The most important mark of a true Christian worker is the Holy Spirit’s call and appointment. Too often, men and women use the pulpit as a platform to enrich themselves. No Spirit call–no genuine Kingdom worker.
Preachers are Blood Bought Souls (v28)
It’s extremely important to understand that God bought the Church with His blood. Jesus is God! He owns the Body of Believers. The preacher, pastor or Christian worker does not own the Church! They are servants of the Church of God!
Preaching to the Flock Starts with Preaching to Yourself (v28)
Where the Christian worker is called to protect and care for the Flock of Christ … he can only do this when he first preaches the message to himself!
Preaching means Protecting God’s Sheep (v29)
A huge part of Christian ministry is to protect the Sheep from Scammers. This is why the whole Counsel of God (all the Bible) must be taught … and taught consistently.
Preachers can be Scammed (v30)
Christian workers are called to love … and this is the platform for all Gospel work. So it is possible that one could love someone and perhaps overlook certain trends when they stretch the Truth “a little”. Eventually they will preach undiluted error!
Be on your Guard (v31)
Know the Word sufficiently to be able to protect yourself and the Kingdom of God. Only preach and only accept the True Kingdom Gospel … and nothing else!
Protect me, God, from spiritual scammers. Amen.