“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” — James 4:7 (NIV)

Growing up, my brother and I both had the reputation of being clumsy. Unfortunately for both of us, this carried over into our adult years as well.

I was a young married adult when I made the decision to wash my van one day. I could not reach the top, so I got a bar stool to stand on and fell off and sprained my wrist. To this day if I try to put weight on that wrist, I can tell that it is not perfectly normal.

Years later I was attending Salem United Methodist Church one Sunday to fill in for their piano player, and as I led the choir into the sanctuary, I tripped on the step going in and fell flat in front of the congregation. I sprained my ankle that time but managed to hide it and make it through church. I called my husband when I got outside, and we went to the emergency room, didn’t have to have a cast but had to stay off my ankle for a while to give it time to heal. I was so ashamed that everyone saw me fall and made sure that no one knew I was really hurt.

When I worked at the News-Argus, I always made sure everyone in the office knew that they couldn’t leave boxes out on the floor because I would surely trip over them. I tripped a few times, but luckily I never fell.

Later when I moved in with my husband, the steps out the back door are steep, and I fell out them pretty quick after moving in. I was blessed that I didn’t get seriously hurt. Another morning as I went to get in the car, my shoe threw me on the ground, and again, other than struggling to get myself up with all my stuff that flew on the ground, I didn’t get a severe injury.

The list goes on, and I am sure you get the point.

My brother was also accident-prone, and his continued into adulthood as well. He is a machinist, and one day on his job his arm got caught in a machine (can’t remember the name of the machine), and he almost lost fingers. To this day that hand and arm give him a fit. It was a bad accident, and he is lucky he didn’t lose a hand or arm.

The funniest accident he had was when he was little and he threw a steering wheel from his tractor up and it hit him on the head. He had to have clamps on top of his head. Mama asked him what happened, and he said that “I threw up the steering wheel of my tractor, and I didn’t run fast enough.”

Mama used this accident in one of her earlier devotions and made the reference that sometimes when the devil is after us, we just don’t run fast enough. He is always around trying to tempt us in one way or another; therefore, we need to be careful all the time not to fall into his traps.

That is where God comes into the picture. If we put our trust in Him, He will help us to stay out of the devil’s clutches. Jesus promised to be with us always, and I am so aware of His presence all the time. I just wish everyone could feel that presence. They could if they would just give Him their heart and trust Him. The devil cannot beat God.

Prayer: Lord, give me the strength to always stay ahead of the devil. Thank you for your protection and for being by our side through every battle. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Thought for the day: With God by your side, you can outrun the devil.

Prayer focus: Accident-prone people

SHEET-PAN JAMBALAYA

Ingredients, for 4 servings

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced

1 green bell pepper, sliced

2 cups chicken sausage, sliced into coins

Olive oil, to taste

1 ¼ tablespoons creole seasoning, divided

1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

½ teaspoon paprika

1 ½ cups tomato, diced

4 cups rice, cooked, we used brown rice

Scallion, sliced, for garnish

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

On a large baking sheet, arrange the onion, bell peppers, and chicken sausage. Drizzle with olive oil and season with 1 tablespoon creole seasoning, or to taste. Using your hands, mix everything together well. Bake for 8 minutes, or until chicken sausage begins to brown.

While the vegetables and chicken sausage are cooking, place the shrimp in a small bowl. Season with 1 teaspoon creole seasoning and ½ teaspoon paprika. Stir to coat.

Remove the vegetables and sausage from the oven and add the seasoned shrimp and diced tomatoes. Mix everything together. Return everything to the oven for 6 minutes, or until the shrimp is just done.

Remove from the oven and add the cooked rice, mixing everything together well.

Garnish with sliced scallions, and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Janice Sasser is the daughter of Ruby Hicks, who wrote weekly columns for the Mount Olive Messenger for six years. She is from Goldsboro and writes weekly columns out of an interest in continuing her mother’s tradition in the paper.