Illustration results for corruption
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The most important figure of the Reformation was a monk by the name of Martin Luther (1483-1546). Luther was a man full of self-doubt, guilt, and worry. In his early 20s, Martin Luther was nearly struck by lightning while crossing an open field during a storm, which led to his vow to become a monk. As a young monk, the corruption of the church, the debauchery of priests, and the power of the Pope disturbed him, disgusted him, and depressed him.
He did everything possible to appease his anguished soul: from climbing the 28 stairs of the famous Scala Sancta to going to regular confession, but for all the vigils and fasts and penances, he still felt empty, accursed, and worse.
Why did he not experience the assurance of salvation? Why did he still feel so rotten in spite of all efforts to please God? Why was his soul at war and peace so illusive?
The dramatic turning-point of Luther¡¦s life occurred when he was sitting alone in his study at Wittenberg. His eyes fell on a passage from the first chapter of Paul¡¦s letter to the Romans. It says: "the just shall live by his faith." He couldn¡¦t believe his eyes, he couldn¡¦t contain himself, or keep to himself the simplicity of God¡¦s ageless path of salvation: faith in God.
That discovery changed the course of the church, the course of Western civilization, and the course of history. So on October 31, 1517 Luther nailed his famous Ninety-five Theses onto the door of the castle church at Wittenberg, 60 miles from Berlin that resulted in his excommunication from the church, the start of the Reformation, and the division between the Protestant and the Catholic church.
When I was about 27 years old I developed an abscess in a rather embarrassing area of the body. Consequently I tried to keep quiet about it hoping it would go away by natural means.
Eventually the abscess got to such a size that the pain was intense and I was finding it difficult to walk. So I went to the Doctor, who took one look and immediately called the hospital to get me admitted. So One hour later I was an in-patient. Now I can tell you that at this stage I was IMPATIENT to get some relief from the agonising pain. Later that day I had an operation to cut out the abscess.
After the operation I was told that I had to daily wash the abscess in a bath to which salt would be added. Now I can tell you that the abscess itself was extremely painful, but placing the wound into a salt bath was sheer agony.
In fact on the first occasion I tried to do this I passed out in the bath and the nurses had to drag me out and return me to my bed. And yet the infected area of the body had to be cleansed if it was ever to be made whole again.
We as Christians must act like this cleansing salt bath. We must be prepared to be a presence that defeats corruption and makes it easier for others to become saved so they can know that Jesus is the way to Salvation.
Oh yes, it may hurt, and there may be much resistance and agonising by the individual whose life needs to be changed, after all Satan won’t give up one of his charges without a fight. But unless that person is willing to suffer in the process of change then their new life can’t begin.
1. To prevent rot – My Grandmother, Grinny, would take the rock ice from ice cream churn after churning ice cream and pour it around her mailbox post to keep the grass from growing there. A North American once asked a South American why they couldn’t seem to get their governments in order down there? He asked why there seemed to be so much corruption. The South American answered, “Think of why the two continents were first explored. Those who went to South America went looking for gold. Those who went to North America went looking for God.
From Gene Gregory’s Sermon: Our Call to Take a Stand
Robert E. Coleman writes that he once “heard a missionary tell about a boy who appeared at a mission hospital in Kenya with a gaping wound in his foot. He had been accidentally injured while cutting grass far out in the jungle. Part of his heel was cut off. Without waiting to inform anyone of the mishap, he set out across country to find the mission station where he had heard medical help was available. Every time the little foot touched the sandy earth it left a faint trace of blood. The journey was long and difficult, but at last he arrived.
A little while later the boy’s mother appeared. The doctors were surprised that she found the way. There were no well-defined trails, and she had never made the trip before.
"How did you do it?" she was asked. The dear woman, overjoyed to be with her child, replied, "Oh, it was easy. I just followed the blood!" (Robert E. Coleman is Distinguished Professor of Evangelism and Discipleship, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary).
If will will just follow the blood through the pages of Scripture it will lead us to Freedom! Because by the power of the Blood of Jesus Christ:
We are free from being victims...
Many years ago, a Scottish Jesuit priest expressed to John Knox, his great frustration and confusion over the inconsistencies of his life. The following was Knox's suggested prayer:
Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, and put an end at Thy good pleasure to this my miserable life; for justice and truth are not to be found among the sons of men--Be merciful unto me, O Lord--Now after many battles, I find nothing in me but vanity and corruption. For in quietness I am negligent, in trouble impatient, tending to desperation--pride and ambition assault me on the one part, covetousness and malice trouble me on the other, briefly, Oh Lord, the affections of the flesh do almost suppress the operation of Thy Spirit--In none of the aforesaid I do delight; but I am troubled, and that sore against the desire of my inward man which sobs for my corruption, and would repose in Thy mercy alone; to which I claim, and that in the promise that Thou hast made to all penitent sinners of whose number I profess myself to be one.
From Donnie Martin's Sermon "Longing For the Likeness of the Lord"
CRACKING DOWN MORE?
Louisiana does not have a good track record when it comes to corruption. Based on numbers from a Justice Department report in 2009, Louisiana is the most corrupt state, with 7.67 convictions per 100,000 residents over nine years. U.S. Rep. William Jefferson was busted in a 2005 influence-peddling scheme with, according to an affidavit, "$90,000...in the freezer, in $10,000 increments wrapped in aluminum foil and stuffed inside frozen-food containers." In November of last year, he received a 13-year prison sentence, the longest ever handed to a congressman for bribery. Edwin Edwards served four terms as governor of Louisiana over the period of 1972 to 1996. He beat two dozen corruption investigations. In 2000, the good times stopped rolling; Edwards received a 10-year federal prison sentence for extorting money from casino boat owners seeking licenses.
But did you every think that maybe Louisiana is just cracking down on corruption more than other states?
LOT AND CORRUPTION
Her father gently tries to persuade her with promises of a better life. She cries and shudders but does not move. As tears stream down her face He becomes angry and manhandles her out the door. She becomes hysterical. A sharp slap across her faces shocks her into silence and she shakes uncontrollably as the only security she has known is being BARGAINED AWAY in American dollars.
She is coerced into submission to face her visitor. There is an anxious twinge of emotional pain in the pit of her stomach as her resolve is battered by her father's CALLOUS TRANSACTION.
After she is SOLD for a pitiful $45 dollars, she is never seen again by her family, and ushered into the world of PROSTITUTION. In high demand, she is sexually exploited by Western Tourists in Cambodia. She is only 12 years old.
WHAT FATHER WOULD ALLOW THEIR DAUGHTERS TO BE USED LIKE THIS?
We meet another man such as this in Genesis 19. I find him SITTING AT THE GATE of the city. Lot was a rich man with many servants when he came to Sodom. WITH WEALTH COMES POWER, especially in a corrupt city such as this. Is it his wealth that enabled him to sit at the gate as a city judge? Big businessman, judge and city leader. A GREAT MAN IN A CITY DESTINED FOR DESTRUCTION. When he came to Sodom, he certainly received a better reception than the TWO MEN who became his guests that evening!
HOPE IN THE STORM
Fresh out of Oxford, John Wesley was perplexed over England's complicated social problems: slavery, economic uncertainties, corruption, drunkenness, gambling, and prostitution. This deeply religious, sensitive soul became a parish minister and, subsequently, a missionary to American Indians along the coast of Georgia. His ministries were far from successful. Disappointed and discouraged, he returned to Britain.
During the voyage, his ship was raked by a raging storm. Wesley was unashamedly frightened. In fact, the only calm persons aboard were Moravian missionaries. Noticing their behavior, Wesley asked if they were not afraid. "Why should I be afraid," one answered, "I know Christ." Then, with disarming directness, he asked, "Do you know Christ?" Wesley was...
James Clavell, King Rat: about a Japanese POW camp in which one prisoner, a pathetic loser before the war, who became the most powerful man in the camp by trading with the enemy and exploiting the misery of his fellows. He used to try to pressure the other prisoners to join him, calling them fools for holding onto their ideals in the midst of the corruption which had become the way of life for the surrounding peoples.
When the Japanese surrendered and the American troops liberated the camps, the prisoners streamed out into the first freedom and safety they had known for years, a freedom and safety that they had feared was gone forever, a freedom and safety which many had died without seeing. and even as they rejoiced, this man - the King Rat - sat alone in the center of the deserted camp and wept, because his power and influence were gone forever.
SIN: PRISON WITHOUT BARS
It's easy to live in denial--to live in sin and think everything is going our way. So sooner or later God gets our attention.
In 1989, Pete Rose, baseball's all-time hit leader, was banished from baseball by Major League Commissioner. [Bart Giamatti].
The commissioner had hired John M. Dowd to investigate Rose's gambling. After Dowd gathered evidence against Rose and before Rose was banished from baseball, The Commissioner told Dowd to offer Rose a generous deal: (1) admit to gambling on baseball, (2)accept temporary dismissal from the game, (3) undergo a rigorously supervised rehabilitation and eventually be reinstated.
And that wasn't all: Dowd said he got the U.S. attorney in Cincinnati to agree not to prosecute Rose on tax evasion charges if he accepted baseball's offer and paid his taxes with interest and penalties.
Remarkably, Rose rejected the offer, sued the commissioner and lost. He was later convicted of tax evasion and served five months in prison.
In his book, "My Prison Without Bars", Rose says "I felt banishment was too severe a sentence. Right or wrong, the punishment didn't fit the crime--so I denied the crime."
When the magazine "Sports Illustrated" asked Rose why he wagered, he replied, "I didn't think I'd get caught."
He also denied he even had a gambling problem, though during one, three-week period, Rose wrote 11 checks for $8,000 to a bookmaker in New York. But he never felt he had a gambling problem.
He rationalized, "I knew that I'd broken the letter of the law. But I didn't think I'd broken the spirit of the law, which was designed to prevent corruption. During the times I gambled as a manager, I never took an unfair advantage. I never bet more or less based on injuries or inside information. I never allowed my wagers to influence my baseball decisions. So in my mind, I wasn't corrupt."
The carnal Christian, is like that, he is in a "Prison without bars" - a spiritual prison.
We can easily rationalize and excuses our sin, thinking that it's not that big of deal. After all, are we not under grace?