The Trickster

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. That’s a picture of a shirt hanging in a garden. My dad’s shirt in his garden, to be exact. I actually took this shot on a visit in July, but as long as anything is left growing in the garden, the shirt will stand guard.

We never know what project Dad might be at work on or what problem he may be solving when we arrive for a visit. Kelli will never forget the year she and I pulled in the drive and caught Grandpa on the tail-end of a squirrel skinning. He was stretching the hide on some kind of contraption out by the wood pile. The shirt in the garden is tame by comparison but still a sight that made me take a second look and start asking questions.

As some of you may have already guessed, this is Dad’s version of a scarecrow. He’s been trying to trick some pesky garden-eating deer into thinking someone is standing there — and it’s working. Not just the sight of a potential enemy keeps them away, but the scent as well.

I didn’t realize scent was part of Dad’s scheme until I heard one of the grandkids announce one morning, “Grandpa’s stripping down outside!” Come to find out, it was just his shirt (thank goodness!). He was replacing the one that had been hanging in the garden for a few days with the sweaty one he had been working in. Tricky, tricky Grandpa :) The result? So far, my dad has outwitted the deer (except for the night the shirt got blown away when the remnants of Ike swept through Missouri. Some of his green beans were missing the next morning!).

Too bad deer aren’t the only ones susceptible to trickery. The Bible teaches we have an enemy, an enemy to our souls, who is doing all he can to scheme against us — to keep us from knowing God, to keep us from living for Him. Ephesians 6:11 speaks specifically of the devil’s schemes, and 1 Peter 5:8 instructs us to stay alert because “[our] enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Sometimes he’s hard to recognize, though. The apostle Paul taught that “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

Are we wise to Satan’s schemes in our lives? Or is he managing to outwit us with his tricks and his masquerades? What are you doing to stay alert to the tactics of the enemy? How do you take your stand against him? What has God taught you about dealing with Satan? Share with a comment, please. Maybe what you say will be just the word someone needs to hear.

*My photo


  1. Cheryl, I was just talking to Mom about the green bean eating deer this afternoon. They have to can some of the beans tomorrow but the deer did make off with some of them. She told me about the scarecrow, too, so it was great to see the picture. :) You will need to print this off and send them. Great analogy.

  2. It is so easy to let our guard down for just a moment whether it by watching a crummy television show, listening to gossip, spending a bit too much. It can seem so small and so harmless, but we know it’s not.

    This post is a wonderful reminder, we need to be on guard, the evil one is out there prowling like a lion waiting to devour us.

  3. Cheryl,
    I just love the picture of your garden. This was my first year with a garden and we didn’t have as much success as you did.

    Thanks for the reminder that Satan is ever-present. We must never let our guard down.

  4. Kelli, I can’t take credit for this garden — it’s my dad’s. Sorry to say, I didn’t inherit his green thumb :)

    Debbie, I figured you’d enjoy seeing the picture of how Dad is dealing with the deer :)

    And Annette, thanks for pointing out how easy it is to let our guards down.

  5. Cheryl,
    Thank you for your kind support of the “Surrendering the Secret” Blog contest at Traveling the Road Home!
    You are a blessing and a sweet encourager!

  6. I heard a teaching from Beth Moore once, about how important it was to “walk your fence line” everyday. Just like ranchers walk their fence line to check for a downed post or a loose wire, we need to be checking our own to see if there are places where we are vulnerable. If a fence is weak, predators are sure to come in and attack live stock; if our own is weak, a much more formidable enemy swoops in before we know it.

    Awesome post!


  7. Yes ma’am! I’m onto him and because of that, his strategy seems to constantly change. Instead of a sweaty shirt, we can hang God’s Word out as our witness and our God. Keeping to Jesus and to our growth therein requires constant vigilance along these lines.

    How I thank him for the treasure of his Word and presence in my life.

    Great analogy.


  8. Cheryl,
    I forgot to mention I have just finished reading a book called “Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss which deals with all the different lies Satan traps us in. #1 lie is “I don’t have time to do everything I’m supposed to do”. The truth is we don’t need to be doing what we or others thinks we are supposed to be doing but what God would have us do and that’s really only one thing – bringing him glory.

    Were you inspired to write this blog after taking the picture of the garden or did you get inspired when you saw the garden and then took the picture? :)

  9. I keep Phil 4:8 in the forefront of my mind.

    “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”

    When my mind begins to drift from these godly attributes, I know the enemy is gaining a foothold. I stop and ask God to rebalance me and help me regain a focus on Him. He is always faithful to bring me His peace.

  10. To all of you who have shared ideas for being alert to and standing firm against our enemy, thanks so much! Such helpful insight!

    Debbie, when I saw the garden, I knew I needed a picture of it — knew it would provide some sort of good material for a blog post. Things are usually too busy when we’re at Mom & Dad’s to have much more than a fleeting thought :)

  11. Listening to the Holy Spirit is an important weapon. Allowing God to refine me is another. As I grow in Him through His word, I begin to see more areas where I’ve been tricked, and I’m well equipped to then defeat the enemy.

  12. Great spiritual analogy!!

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