The pufferfish looks about as threatening as a pet goldfish but it carries deadly toxins that can kill a person after just a few bites of puffer sashimi. Every year several people in Japan die from eating this unique fish delicacy and many others get sick. The danger is so great that Japanese chefs must receive years of training to learn the intricate skills of removing the lethal toxin before they can be certified to serve puffer. Flirting with sin is not only foolish, it can be fatal.
Edwin Cooper was famous across America, yet almost no one knew his real name. Coming from a family of circus clowns, Cooper began performing before audiences when he was just nine years old. After a stint with the Barnum and Bailey Circus, he became a fixture on television in the 1950s as Bozo the Clown. In addition to entertaining both young and old, Cooper had a message for his “buddies and partners” every week: get checked for cancer. Yet Cooper was so busy working that he neglected to follow his own advice.
In the 1950s a psychologist, Stanton Samenow, and a psychiatrist, Samuel Yochelson, sharing the conventional wisdom that crime is caused by environment, set out to prove their point. They began a 17-year study involving thousands of hours of clinical testing of 250 inmates here in the District of Columbia. To their astonishment, they discovered that the cause of crime cannot be traced to environment, poverty, or oppression. Instead, crime is the result of individuals making, as they put it, wrong moral choices.
The story is told of an atheistic barber who was talking to a pastor. The barber asked the pastor, “If there is a loving God, how can He allow poverty, war, and suffering?”
Just at that moment a disheveled man crossed the street. The pastor said, “You are a barber and claim to be a good one. How can you allow that man to go unkept and unshaven?”
“He never gave me a chance!” the barber replied.
To which the pastor said, “Exactly, men are what they are because they reject God!”
When Diana Valencia was arrested in Texas on drug charges in September of 2008, there was little doubt regarding her guilt. Anyone caught with two kilos of cocaine is going to have difficulty explaining that away as an innocent mistake. However she came up with a novel attempt at getting off—she and her sister decided to bribe the judge who would be hearing her case to make sure she got off. The plan might have worked, since the judge was willing to take the money—except the FBI got involved.
In August of 2012, vacationers at the beach in Terracina, Italy were shocked when a car pulled up next to a man who had just left the water and shot him at least seven times. The man was Gaetano Marino, leader of the Camorra crime family. He was known as “Stumpy” because his hands had been blown off nearly twenty years previous when a bomb he was attempting to set for someone else went off prematurely. Police said they believed the killing was part of a struggle for control of the cocaine business between rival mob factions.
In May of 1948 three men robbed a bank in Hoyt, Kansas, getting away with $1,000. Shortly thereafter two men were killed in a car wreck, and police thought they were the robbers and the case was closed. Four years later, however, something unusual happened. On a Sunday morning at the Seward Avenue Baptist Church a young man named Al Johnson stepped to the pulpit and revealed to the congregation that the day before he had gone to the district attorney and confessed his role in the crime.
One of the largest freshwater turtles is the alligator snapping turtle. Found primarily in the southeastern United States, these massive turtles have been known to weigh close to 250 pounds. They are carnivorous, and while their diet is primarily fish, they have been known to eat almost anything else they can find in the water—even in a few cases small alligators! The alligator snapping turtle relies on a uniquely deceitful method of foraging for fish.
The final eruption of Mount St. Helens in May of 1980 was not a sudden event. For two months prior to the massive blast—the most deadly and destructive in American history—earthquakes and volcanic activity signaled a major event was underway. Authorities had plenty of time to sound the alarm and warn those living nearby of the looming danger. Yet despite the seriousness of the threat, some people chose to disregard the warnings.
In his book Anecdotes and Illustrations R. A Torrey relates the following incident:
A sailor was once left in charge of the helm, with directions from the captain to keep his eye on a certain star, and steer the vessel directly towards it, which he promised faithfully to do. The captain went below, and fell asleep. After awhile he awoke, went on deck, and found the vessel sailing in a course exactly opposite to that in which he had directed the helmsman to steer. “What does all this mean, Patrick?”
The sailor replied, “Captain, ye must pick me out another star, for I've sailed clear by that one!”
A little boy and his father were driving down a country road on a beautiful spring afternoon. Suddenly out of nowhere a bumblebee flew in the car window. Since the little boy was deathly allergic to bee stings he became petrified. His father quickly reached out, grabbed the bee, squeezed it in his hand, and then released it. But as soon as he let it go, the young son became frantic once again as it buzzed by the little boy.
Selma Elmore’s conscience must have been bothering her. In October 2010, The 44-year-old woman flagged down a police car in Lockland, Ohio to ask if there was a warrant out for her arrest. After the officer informed her that there was, she ran away. Her previous warrant was for failing to pay a fine, but her new problem, resisting arrest, was much more serious.
Sometimes we try to pretend as if we have not sinned and run away from the consequences, but we always end up getting in worse trouble than before.
Source: CBSNEWS.com, October 12, 2010
Have you heard the story of Waylon Prendergast? The man from Tampa, Florida, had been out drinking when he decided to rob a house on his way home. The drunken man forced his way into a house, filled a suitcase he found there with the valuables he discovered, and made his way to the living room. In his stupor he decided it would be a good idea to set a fire to cover his tracks, so he ignited a blaze before making his way out the back door.
Mel Trotter, the famous rescue mission worker, was the son of a bartender who “drank as much as he served.” Trotter followed in his father’s footsteps, losing job after job because of his addiction to drinking and gambling. Each time he lost a job, he promised to reform and start doing better, but each time he failed. After the death of his baby son, Trotter made his way to Chicago where he intended to drown himself in Lake Michigan.
French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, after visiting America in 1831, said “I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boundless forests—and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public school system, and in her institutions of higher learning— and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution—and it was not there.
A man was praying with his pastor at the altar. He prayed a prayer the pastor had heard many times before. “Lord, take the cobwebs out of my life.” Just as he said this the pastor interrupted, “Kill the spider, Lord.”
Many times we ask the Lord to forgive us of some sin, yet we leave the source of temptation in our life.
Judge Horace Gray of Boston who would later go on to serve as a Justice on the Supreme Court once said to the man who escaped conviction on a technicality: “I know that you are guilty and you know it, and I wish you to remember that one day you will stand before a better and wiser Judge, and that there you will be dealt with according to justice and not according to law.”
President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. The moment it went into effect on January 1, 1863, every slave living in the Confederacy was legally free. But until they knew of their freedom, the legal fact had no impact on their lives. In fact, Union soldiers carried hundreds of thousands of copies of the proclamation and passed them out as they made their way through the South during the war.
Christ has set us free from power of sin. We must recognize that fact and live like it.