Dishonest Gain

(Meditating on Psalm 52)

I hear news of this little town in the faraway province and its always depressing. The ones in power continue to enrich themselves while the poor continue to be so. The helpless townsfolk can do nothing but gawk, minds full of questions and hearts heavy with great  disappointments, and maybe silent rage (?), as new houses are being built and new cars are being driven. More money is being milked out of an already bleeding treasury to be splurged in worldly ways, while there’s not a single hospital, or a town library or a children’s park. And how about infrastructure? Roads that connect the farmers to the market?

Such are the prevalent ills this country has: corruption is never completely eradicated and the poor continue to increase and suffer. Progress is slow and can hardly be felt because the demons of dishonesty and covetousness are at frenzied work.

For the man that doesn’t fear God will trust and boast in material wealth.

But these are the words of the Lord:

Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man?…

God shall likewise destroy you forever;
He shall take you away, and pluck you out of your dwelling place,
And uproot you from the land of the living. 
(Ps. 52: 1,5)

The Lord our God is the hope of all nations. That’s why we, by the grace and power of God, shall continue to bring the Gospel to everyone, rich and poor. For only the glorious light of the Gospel and the enduring mercy of God could penetrate the darkest heart.

I had written a more detailed discussion about this subject in Incorruptible. I invite you to click the link if you had missed it before ~ thank you!

Endnote: Photo courtesy of my cousin Bill Raras (Brampton, Canada)

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Incorruptible

Merriam-Webster defines corruption as: a) impairment of integrity, virtue, or moral principle: depravity; c) inducement to wrong by improper or unlawful means (as bribery).

When I put these definitions side by side with the practice of corruption itself – where widespread corruption in a government leaves the country mostly in poverty, where children in rural areas die of malnutrition and diseases caused by poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water – they pale in comparison. Plainly put, corruption is as dark a sin as stealing. Stealing, not only money, but a citizen’s life and a country’s future. That is, its consequences produce more sin and multiply more acts of injustice.

For when a child dies because of hunger, that hunger which is a painful fruit of deep poverty, and that deep poverty which is the fruit of the evils of corruption, and the resulting poverty begets more sins like drug pushing, robbery, child prostitution, to name a few – don’t these make corruption a grave sin multiplied a thousand times?

It can never be put more plainly

For the LOVE of money is the root of all evil(1 Tim. 6:10, emphasis added)  

The commission of corruption is driven by the love of money. That is, by GREED.

Corruption is like a multi-tentacled demon that reaches out to every nook and cranny of an institution, with the devil himself at the helm. These demons’ victims are so powerless in its vice-like grip, sucking out their souls dry, and what’s left of their moral principles.

A corrupt person, though living and working freely, is none better than an incarcerated criminal, for his shackles cannot be seen, but his soul is bound and suffering.

A corrupt person knows he commits sin, but is completely POWERLESS against the work of evil in his life. If he isn’t helped or freed, he ends up in destruction.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

There is a power that is ABOVE ALL powers. A power that liberates and a great MERCY that restores. That power is in Jesus Christ. When will people (and governments) realize that the ONLY HOPE and HELP of a nation is the Lord Jesus Christ?

The only hope and real help for those in the tight grip of the multi-tentacled evil that is corruption, is Jesus Christ. HE IS MIGHTY TO SAVE. The only way to fight this evil is to render him powerless until he slackens his grip to his victims and CANNOT TOUCH THEM ANYMORE.

For if we receive that power, that is, the Holy Spirit, we are born of God, we become children of God, and we are liberated, and the evil one cannot touch us (1 John 5:18). We can overcome the work of evil in our lives “because greater is he that is in [us], than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).”

 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:36)

The devil will not have power over us. This is how we become INCORRUPTIBLE. The Lord Jesus promised to give us incorruptible bodies at the resurrection. But the virtue of being incorruptible in mind, heart, spirit, and deed can be obtained now, here, on earth.

Incorruptible is defined as INCAPABLE  of being bribed or morally corrupted*. If every one of us repents and receives Jesus Christ and be born of the Spirit, we become incorruptible people, and we can build an incorruptible government, hence, a strong and incorruptible nation. 

*Merriam-Webster dictionary

Photo credit: photo #1: picture of Filipino street children from myspacelayz.com; photo #3: picture of happy Filipino children from yourstatlover.blogspot.com

Linking to Spiritual Sundays

Saul’s Mistake

(Bible reading: 1 Samuel 15)

King Saul, through the Prophet Samuel, was commissioned by God to wipe out all the Amalekites, man and beast, leaving nothing alive. But he failed to obey the voice of the Lord, for he and his men took the best of the sheep and oxen, and spared the life of Agag, king of the Amalekites. It was a huge mistake that he made, for it cost him his kingship. It was the start of his downfall as king of Israel.

You see, Saul’s mistake could easily be ours, if we are not careful in our own walk before God. What did He say to Abraham?

…walk before me, and be thou perfect. (Gen. 17:1)

What are the valuable lessons we could learn from Saul’s mistake?

  • Saul’s sin was disobeying God. We must have learned by now that OBEDIENCE is one of the most important things to keep in our relationship with God. (Likewise, DISOBEDIENCE is one of the things that we should avoid the most). It determines what we will receive of the Lord – whether a blessing, or a curse.

A blessing if ye OBEY the commandments of the Lord your God… And a curse, if ye will NOT OBEY the commandments of the Lord your God… (Deut. 11:27, 28) 

We must put it to heart, then, to learn to obey the voice of the Lord every step of the way.

… Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice… (1 Sam. 15:22)

What were the reasons of Saul’s disobedience?

  • It could be that his heart was lifted up against the Lord. It could be that he has forgotten how the Lord has lifted him up to be king, his family being the smallest of his tribe’s families, and his tribe being the smallest of all the tribes of Israel, for Samuel reminded him of this (v. 17).

In our own lives, there are times that our hearts are tempted to not heed the voice of the Lord. Maybe, our hearts are lifted up because of our successes and achievements, and forget how the Lord has lifted us up from the pit, from the miry clay, or from our sickbeds. When PRIDE enters our hearts, we fall short in humbling ourselves before God. Pride causes us to disobey the Lord.

He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to WALK HUMBLY with your God? (Micah 6:8)

  • Saul and his men took the best of the spoil (v. 9, 19), and although their reason was to sacrifice these to the Lord, they may also have been tempted to have them. In this material world we live in, greed and covetousness can easily enter the unguarded heart. When we let these enter our hearts, we can easily trade our obedience to God with our own selfish desires. The pull of worldly lusts becomes stronger than our desire to obey the Lord.

For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world… (2 Tim. 4:10)

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in Him. (1 John 2:15)

  • Saul compromised God’s commandment because he feared the people and obeyed their voice instead of the Lord’s (v. 24). Isn’t COMPROMISE a common snare to Christians? We compromise God’s commandments in many different ways for many different reasons. Most common reasons are fear and our own fleshly desires. For example, we fear being separated from our nonbelieving friends and what they may say about how we clothe ourselves modestly, and so, we try to dress up like them. But –

Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. (Isaiah 8:13)

Pride, greed, and compromise cause us to disobey the Word of the Lord. Let us therefore guard our hearts and watch.

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation… (Mat. 26:41)

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. (1 Sam. 15:23)