Viewing the World through God's Word

Month: August 2015 (Page 1 of 2)

Planned Parenthood: Ordering Aborted Baby Body Parts

O Preacher 

This is the 8th video released by the Center for Medical Progress.  What can we do about this moral barbarism?  Be informed.  Pray.  Sign the petition at the appropriate link below. 

The following is from  It’s long.  But if we stick our head in the sand and ignore this atrocity, we’re like the folks who closed their ears to the concentration camps under Hitler.

* * * * *

While the videos have focused on the Planned Parenthood abortion business, the biotech firm StemExpress, which buys and resells aborted baby body parts from the abortion giant, has filed a lawsuit seeking to block some information the Center for Medical Progress obtained in its three year undercover operation. Just a short time after a judge issued a ruling that the biotech firm StemExpress can’t block the Center for Medical Progress from releasing videos, it put together a preview of its latest installment.

StemExpress is a for-profit biotech supply company that has been partnered with Planned Parenthood clinics across the country to purchase human fetal parts since its founding in 2010. StemExpress’ Medical Director, Dr. Ronald Berman, is an abortion doctor for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte in California.

In the video, Cate Dyer, the CEO of StemExpress, is shown in a lunch meeting with undercover operatives posing as representatives of a biotech firm. Dyer is laughing about how StemExpress purchases fully intact aborted babies from Planned Parenthood. She laughs about how shippers of the aborted babies would give a warning to lab workers to expect such a baby.

“Oh yeah, if you have intact cases — which we’ve done a lot — we sometimes ship those back to our lab in its entirety,” she says.

“Tell the lab its coming,” she laughs about the intact unborn babies. “You know, open the box and go ‘Oh my God,’” Dyer adds.

The eighth video in the ongoing controversy over Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted fetal body parts shows the CEO of StemExpress, a major buyer of fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood, admitting the company gets “a lot” of intact fetuses, suggesting “another 50 livers a week” would not be enough, and agreeing abortion clinics should profit from the sale.

In the video, actors posing as another human biologics company meet with StemExpress CEO Cate Dyer, plus Vice President of Corporate Development and Legal Affairs Kevin Cooksy, and Procurement Manager Megan Barr. StemExpress and the actors are discussing a potential partnership to supply extra fetal body parts to each other.

“So many physicians are like, ‘Oh I can totally procure tissue,’ and they can’t,” expresses Dyer, seeming to indicate that abortion doctors must do the procedure in a special way to obtain useable fetal parts. Federal law requires that no alteration in the timing or method of abortion be done for the purposes of fetal tissue collection (42 U.S.C. 289g-1).

“What about intact specimens?” asks one of the actors. “Oh yeah, I mean if you have intact cases, which we’ve done a lot, we sometimes ship those back to our lab in its entirety,” replies Dyer. “Case” is the clinical term for an abortion procedure. An “intact case” refers to an intact abortion with a whole fetus. “The entire case?” asks an actor. “Yeah, yeah,” says Dyer. “The procurement for us, I mean it can go really sideways, depending on the facility, and then our samples are destroyed,” she explains past botched fetal dissections, “so we started bringing them back even to manage it from a procurement expert standpoint.”

Feticidal chemicals like digoxin cannot be used to kill the fetus in a tissue procurement case, so a fetus delivered intact for organ harvesting is likely to be a born-alive infant.

“What would make your lab happy?” asks one of the actors. “Another 50 livers a week,” says Dyer. “We’re working with almost like triple digit number clinics,” Dyer explains, “and we still need more.” She later notes, “Planned Parenthood has volume, because they are a volume institution.”

Dyer also agrees that payments to abortion clinics for fetal body parts should be financially beneficial to them.

“Do you feel like there are clinics out there that have been burned, that feel like they’re doing all this work for research and it hasn’t been profitable for them?” she asks. “I haven’t seen that.” StemExpress publishes a flyer for Planned Parenthood clinics that promises “Financial Profits” and “fiscal rewards” for clinics that supply aborted fetal tissue. It is endorsed by Planned Parenthood Mar Monte Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dorothy Furgerson.

The sale or purchase of human fetal tissue is a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $500,000 (42 U.S.C. 289g-2). The Sacramento Business Journal reported in June that StemExpress has an annual revenue of $4.5 million.

David Daleiden, the head of CMP, commented on the newest video in a statement to LifeNews.

“StemExpress is the ‘weakest link’ that unravels Planned Parenthood’s baby parts chain–they readily admit the profit-motive that Planned Parenthood and their proxies have in supplying aborted baby parts,” he said. “Congress and law enforcement should immediately seize all fetal tissue files from StemExpress and all communications and contracts with Planned Parenthood. The evidence that Planned Parenthood profits from the sale of aborted baby parts is now overwhelming, and not one more dime of taxpayer money should go to their corrupt and fraudulent criminal enterprise.”

After the swarm of negative publicity surrounding Planned Parenthood selling aborted babies and their body parts, StemExpress was forced to cut ties with the abortion company.

Meanwhile, two committees in the House of Representatives have already launched investigations of Planned Parenthood. One committee is looking into whether or not the abortion business is breaking federal law by altering abortion procedures to better obtain aborted baby body parts for sale. Another committee, among other things, is investigating the Obama administration and whether there is any connection between it and the abortion giant.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wants to know if the Obama administration, via the Department of Health and Human Services, provided any federal grants to Planned Parenthood that ultimately went to pay for the sales of aborted baby body parts and if they were used by Planned Parenthood to “support transactions involving fetal tissue.”

The expose’ videos catching Planned Parenthood officials selling the body parts of aborted babies have shocked the nation. Here is a list of all eight:

  • In the first video: Dr. Deborah Nucatola of Planned Parenthood commented on baby-crushing: “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”
  • In the second video: Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Mary Gatter joked, “I want a Lamborghini” as she negotiated the best price for baby parts.
  • In the third video: Holly O’Donnell, a former Stem Express employee who worked inside a Planned Parenthood clinic, detailed first-hand the unspeakable atrocities and how she fainted in horror over handling baby legs.
  • In the fourth video: Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Savita Ginde stated, “We don’t want to do just a flat-fee (per baby) of like, $200. A per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it.” She also laughed while looking at a plate of fetal kidneys that were “good to go.”
  • In the fifth video: Melissa Farrell of Planned Parenthood-Gulf Coast in Houston boasted of Planned Parenthood’s skill in obtaining “intact fetal cadavers” and how her “research” department “contributes so much to the bottom line of our organization here, you know we’re one of the largest affiliates, our Research Department is the largest in the United States.”
  • In the sixth video: Holly O’Donnell described technicians taking fetal parts without patient consent: “There were times when they would just take what they wanted. And these mothers don’t know. And there’s no way they would know.”
  • In the seventh and perhaps most disturbing video: Holly O’Donnell described the harvesting, or “procurement,” of organs from a nearly intact late-term fetus aborted at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte’s Alameda clinic in San Jose, CA. “‘You want to see something kind of cool,’” O’Donnell says her supervisor asked her. “And she just taps the heart, and it starts beating. And I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating, and I don’t know what to think.”

SIGN THE PETITION! Congress Must Investigate Planned Parenthood for Selling Aborted Baby Parts

So far, 12 states have responded to the Planned Parenthood videos and launched investigations into their abortion and organ harvesting business including South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Massachusetts, KansasMissouri, Arizona, Indiana, Ohio, Georgia, Texas and Louisiana. The district attorney in Houston Texas is also investigating after the Houston-based Planned Parenthood abortion facility was caught selling aborted babies.

Congress has expanded its investigation into the Planned Parenthood abortion business and five states have revoked taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood’s abortion business, including Utah, Arkansas, Alabama, New Hampshire and Louisiana and Iowa’s governor has ordered a review of Planned Parenthood funding.

The full, unedited videos have confirmed that revelations that some aborted baby remains sold by Planned Parenthood go to biotech companies for the purpose of creating “humanized” mice. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood has been exposed as having sold body parts from aborted babies for as much as 15 years.

The federal law that technically prohibits the sale of aborted babies and their body parts was written by a pro-abortion Congressman decades ago and essentially spells out a process by which sellers of aborted baby body parts can meet certain criteria that allows the sales to be legal. That’s why a Colorado congressman has introduced legislation to totally ban the sales of aborted baby body parts.



Fight for Last Place

P.AllanCoach (to his Little League players in the dugout}:  “Now, boys, this is the start of our season.  I’m counting on all of you to play your best so we can finish last!  Okay, everybody hit the field!”

* * * * *

Death Dominates.  After Peter acknowledges Jesus is Messiah (Mark 8:27-30), death dominates his teaching.  Mark reports it in 8:31-33 (Jesus will die), in 8:34-9:1 (disciples must be willing to die), in 9:9-13 (the Son of Man will rise from the dead); and 9:30-32 (Jesus will be betrayed, killed, then rise) . . .

They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were,  because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”  But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it (Mark 9:30-32).

Disciples Don’t Get It & Why.  Plain enough.  But the disciples don’t understand.  Why?  The Jews’ first-century messianic expectations explain.  Here’s what  Henri Daniel Rops wrote about that in his book Daily Life in the Time of Jesus . . .

[The Messiah] was one of the essential bases of Israel’s religion, as much part of it as its monotheism and the doctrine of the covenant . . . {The expectation of Messiah) was one of the most striking  characteristics which set it apart from all the other religions of antiquity.  The Jews, instead of setting their golden age in the remote night of the past, looked forward to its coming in the future . . . [This hope centered in] the imposing image of a heaven-sent being charged with making the hope a reality . . . This hope had never been so much alive, so vivid, nor its fulfillment so urgently awaited, as it was in this time of sadness and of deep, tormenting anxiety . . . How then could [the nation] fail to believe with all its strength, that the Almighty was to cause Israel to triumph, that He would revenge their enemies’ malignance, and that at the same time He would restore the Jews to their rights and their glory? . . . The Messiah, then, was the center of a vast mass of confused, involved and even contradictory notions, from which there arose a few certainties that were acknowledged by all:  the reign of the Messiah would begin a time of perfect happiness; the fullness of Israel’s glory would be restored; God’s justice would rule the world.

Think Donald Trump.  Polls show him the lead Republican nomination contender for president.  Why?  His followers call him “a leader,” “decisive,” “a man who will get things done.”  He’s “strong”, “assertive”, a “takeover kind of guy who takes no nonsense from anybody.” Now imagine Trump out-of-the-blue  calmly predicts his enemies will reject and betray and kill him and then he’ll rise again.  At best, we’d be shocked and confused.  My analogy may be over-the-top, but I think this is why the disciples appear so ignorant about Jesus’ death-talk.  And it also explains the disciples’ crassness in what follows . . .

They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?”  But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest (9:33,34).

How could they bicker about which was the greatest when Jesus had just again told them his enemies would capture and kill him?  Sure their thinking and desires were sin-depraved.  But I think their primary problem was flawed expectations.  Messiah would avenge Israel’s enemies, restore her to glory and establish God’s justice over the earth.

Expectations Upside-Downed. 

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”  He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me” (9:35-37).

Aim for last place.  Be everybody’s servant.  That’s so radical we read right over it.  Think applying that in the church.  Every member should be nagging the pastor:  “What can I do?  Where’s there a need?  How can I serve?”  Instead we have 10% of the people doing 90% of the work.  Think how that might apply in the family.  If Dad and teenage daughter don’t get along, Dad humbly reaches out to restore that relationship instead of stubbornly saying, “She’s got to come to me!”

Jesus calls a little child and holds him in his arms.   By Jewish messianic expectations Jesus would have made King David in full battle gear the model.  Instead he points the disciples to a toddler-age boy.  “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me . . . ”  Messiah, you are like this little child?    We’re not to welcome Messiah Warrior but Messiah Child? 

What will a little child do when handed over to the authorities and condemned to die?  Die!  He can’t defend himself.  He can’t fight back.  He’s a small, defenseless, vulnerable boy.  He’ll be killed.  “The  Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him” (9:31)  

This is why those who welcome Messiah must become bottom-of-the order servants to everyone—because Messiah is.  This is where Messiah leads his followers—not to the place of power but of weakness, not to the place of winner in the world’s eyes but loser, not to the place of leisurely comfort for oneself but the place of costly sacrifice for others for Jesus’ sake.

February 26, 2014 / Ashleigh Davids


Why, God?

P.AllanOver the years I’ve heard Christians ask, “Why, God?”  A loved one’s death, a baby born deformed, cancer, an adulterous husband—suffering like that prompted the questions.

I used to think, “Why does she ask why? Knowing the reason won’t restore the loss!”

I don’t think like that anymore.  Now I’m asking why.

A year ago doctors diagnosed me with primary lateral sclerosis.  It’s a neurological disorder in the brain that weakens the legs and progresses upward to the arms and even the mouth and tongue—and, of course, affects their function.   PLS doesn’t treat everyone the same; the time and extent of progression differ.  This is the same, though:  no cure.  Doctors try to treat symptoms.  But they can’t treat weakness.  PLS drove me to retire from what I loved.  I can’t play with my grand kids.  Can’t carry my weight with household chores.  Can’t walk without a walker (or two canes).  I get in and out of my truck like a walrus.  I try to keep pushing myself; but when I feel like I just ran a marathon (I wish), it’s virtually impossible to write a sensible blog (explains a lot, doesn’t it!).

So now I’m asking, “Why, God?”  Trouble is, I already know the answers. (“Trouble”, because they’re not the answers I want.)

The Curse of Sin and Death.  After our first parents ate forbidden fruit, the LORD told Adam, ” . . . for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19c).  Centuries later the apostle Paul echoed:  “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned . . . ” (Romans 5:12).  Typically, dying is preceded by aging.  And aging brings aches and pains and disease and disability. 

Reliance Learning.  Paul suffered affliction in Asia.  ” For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death” (2 Corinthians 1:8,9a).  Why, God?  “But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (1:9b).  Why did Paul have to learn better to rely on God?  ” . . . so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (1:4b).  God designed life to be lived relying on him.  And God wants to use us to help others rely on him in their need.

Intimate Knowledge of Our Savior.  Later, Paul revealed his deep desire: ” . . . that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10).  In suffering we have opportunity to know more intimately the suffering Christ.  Frankly, I’d rather know him in the power of his resurrection.  But resurrection-knowing follows suffering-knowing.

The same thought lies behind 2 Corinthians 12:9,10.  After Paul repeatedly asked the Lord to take his “thorn” away, this is what he wrote:  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.  The arena for Christ’s sufficient grace is our insufficiency.   The stage for the display of the  Lord’s power is our weakness. 

Christ-like Maturity.  Christ sanctifies us (John 17:19).  God’s Word sanctifies us (John 17:17).  Our faith in Christ sanctifies us (Acts 26:18).  The Holy Spirit sanctifies us (Romans 15:16).  And suffering sanctifies us . . .

 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us (Romans 5:3-5) . . . Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).

Why ask why?  At least two reasons.  One, to endure easier.  Seeing the good God promised from this “bad” (Romans 8:28-30) would encourage us to press on. 

Two, to complain.  “Why?” is code for “I don’t deserve this!  Why are you doing this to me, God?”  

Two answers from God.  The first is long and majestic (Job 38:1-42:17).  The second from Paul (though in a different context) is in-your-face:  . . . who are you, O man, to answer back to God?  Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” (Romans 9:20). 

 What’s wiser than asking “Why?”  Praying this prayer from Romans 8 . . .

O God, I know that for those who love you all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to your purpose.
You foreknew me and predestined me to be conformed to the image of your Son,
so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
You predestined me, called me, justified me and glorified me . . .
You did not spare your own Son but gave him up for me.
How will you not also with him graciously give me all things? . . .
Who shall separate me from Christ’s love?
Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
No, in all these things I am more than a conqueror through you who loved me.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers,
nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate me from your love, O God, in Christ Jesus my Lord.

*Note:  For me this prayer isn’t a victory chant in the end zone.  It’s fuel for the fight of faith that’s still going on!

Everybody Knows It: They’re Killing CHILDREN!

O PreacherJust found a John Piper article from January 22, 2013—ten proofs that we all know abortionists are killing children.  The article is convincing and convicting.  I pass it along praying it will meet Piper’s three-fold aim in writing it.


We Know They Are Killing Children—All of Us Know

One biblical principle of justice is that the more knowledge we have that our action is wrong, the more guilty we are, and the more deserving of punishment (Luke 12:47–48). The point of this blog post is that we know what we are doing — all America knows. We are killing children. Pro-choice and Pro-life people both know this.

But before I show that, let’s clarify what the Supreme Court did forty years ago today. In Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court in effect made abortion on demand untouchable by law. The way this was done was with two steps.

One step was to say, laws may not prevent abortion, even during the full nine months, if the abortion is “to preserve the life or health of the mother.” The other step was to define “health” as “all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman’s age — relevant to the well-being of the patient.”

For forty years this has meant that any perceived stress is a legal ground for eliminating the child. We have killed fifty million babies. And what increases our guilt as a nation is that we know what we are doing. Here’s the evidence that we know we are killing children.

1. Anecdotally, abortionists will admit they are killing children.

Many simply say it is the lesser of two evils. I took an abortionist out to lunch once, prepared to give him ten reasons why the unborn are human beings. He stopped me, and said, “I know that. We are killing children.” I was stunned. He said, “It’s simply a matter of justice for women. It would be a greater evil to deny women the equal right of reproductive freedom.” Which means women should be no more encumbered by the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy than men. That equal freedom from the burden of bearing unwanted children is the basis for abortion that President Obama refers to again and again when he talks about equal rights for women. We know we are killing children.

2. States treat the killing of the unborn as a homicide.

We know what we are doing because 38 States (including Minnesota) treat the killing of an unborn child as a form of homicide. They have what are called “fetal homicide laws.”

It is illegal to take the life of the unborn if the mother wants the baby, but it is legal to take the life of the unborn if she doesn’t. In the first case the law treats the fetus as a human with rights; in the second case the law treats the fetus as non-human with no rights.

Humanness is defined by the desire of the strong. Might makes right. We reject this right to define personhood in the case of Nazi anti-Semitism, Confederate race-based slavery, and Soviet Gulags. When we define the humanness of the unborn by the will of the powerful we know what we are doing.

3. Fetal surgery treats the unborn as children and patients.

High risk pregnancy specialist, Dr. Steve Calvin, in a letter some years ago to the Arizona Daily Star, wrote, “There is inescapable schizophrenia in aborting a perfectly normal 22 week fetus while at the same hospital, performing intra-uterine surgery on its cousin.” When the unborn are wanted, they are treated as children and patients. When they are not wanted, they are not children. We know what we are doing.

4. Being small does not disqualify personhood.

The five-foot-eight frame of a teenage son guarantees him no more right to life than the 23-inch frame of his little sister in her mother’s arms. Size is morally irrelevant. One inch, 23 inches, 68 inches — does not matter. It is morally irrelevant in deciding who should be protected. We know what we are doing in killing the smallest.

5. Not having developed reasoning does not disqualify personhood.

A one-month-old infant, nursing at his mother’s breast, does not have reasoning powers. But only a few dare argue that infanticide is therefore acceptable. Most know better. Outside and inside the womb the infant cannot yet reason, but is a human person. We know what we are doing.

6. Being in the womb does not disqualify human personhood.

Location or environment does not determine a right to life. Scott Klusendorf asks, “How does a simple journey of seven inches down the birth canal suddenly transform the essential nature of the fetus from non-person to person?” We know what we are doing.

7. Being dependent on mommy does not disqualify personhood.

We consider persons on respirators or dialysis to be human beings. The unborn cannot be disqualified from human personhood because they are dependent on their mother for food and oxygen. In fact, we operate on the exact opposite principle: The more dependent a little one is on us, the more responsibility we feel to protect him, not the less. We know what we are doing.

(Those last four observations, #4-7, were summed up by Scott Klusendorf under the acronym SLED: Size, Level of development, Environment, Degree of dependence — none is morally relevant for the definition of human life.)

8. The genetic make up of humans is unique.

The genetic make up of a human is different from all other creatures from the moment of conception. The human code is complete and unique from the start. Once that was not known. Now we know. 

9. All the organs are present at eight weeks of gestation.

At eight weeks of gestation all the organs are present. The brain is functioning, the heart pumping, the liver making blood cells, the kidney cleaning the fluids, the finger has a print. Yet almost all abortions happen later than this date. We know what we are doing.

10. We have seen the photographs.

The marvel of ultrasound has given a stunning window into the womb that shows the unborn, for example, at 8 weeks sucking his thumb, recoiling from pricking, responding to sound. Watch this four-minute video of the developing unborn child. We know that they are children.

11. When two rights conflict, the higher value should be protected.

We know the principle of justice that when two legitimate rights conflict, the right that protects the higher value should prevail. We deny the right to drive at 100 miles per hour because the value of life is greater than the value of being on time or getting thrills. The right of the unborn not to be killed and the right of a woman not to be pregnant may be at odds. But they are not equal rights. Staying alive is more precious and more basic than not being pregnant. We know what we are doing when we kill a child.

For Christians who believe the Bible, we could add at least ten more reasons why we know what is happening in abortion, and why it is wrong. But the aim here is threefold.

  1. To make clear that we will not be able to defend ourselves with the claim of ignorance. We knew. All of us.
  2. To solidify our conviction to resist this horrific evil.
  3. To intensify our prayer and our preaching toward gospel-based soul-renovation in our land, because hardness of heart, not ignorance, is at the root of this carnage.

Help My Unbelief!

 P.Allan“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  A wise prayer—because unbelief often pollutes faith.

* * * * *

A contentious crowd had gathered.  When they saw Jesus—Peter, James and John following—they hurried to him.  “What are you arguing about with them?” Jesus asked the other nine disciples  (Mark 9:16).

A man from the crowd spoke up:  “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute.  And whenever it seizes him it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid.  So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able” (9:17,18).  Nine disciples, to whom Jesus had earlier given authority to cast out demons (3:15; 6:7), had no power over this spirit.

“O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you?  How long am I to bear with you?  (9:19a).  Hear Jesus sigh in frustration?  “Bring him to me” (9:19b).

That command stirred up a bees’ nest.  And when the spirit saw [Jesus], immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth.  “How long has this been happening to him?” Jesus wanted to know (9:20,21a).

“From childhood,” the father replied (9:21b).  “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us” (9:22b).

“If you can!” Jesus replied.  “All things are possible for the one who believes.” (9:23).

Now the father’s “prayer”.  “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!” 

By  bringing  his son to Jesus, the father evidenced his belief in Jesus’ ability.  But it was shown to be mixed with unbelief, when he told Jesus, “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”  A few weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency, inadvertently released some sort of sludge from an old abandoned Colorado mine turning the state’s sparking clear rivers into a mustard-like mess.  Unbelief pollutes faith.  But for the one whose faith is like the see-to-the-bottom river all things are possible.  Ah, but when the need is suddenly at hand, how do we attain a clear Colorado-river-like faith?  By praying this prayer.

It seems Jesus did help the father overcome his unbelief—because Jesus rebuked the unclean the spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”  And it came out (9:25-27).  Jesus did the impossible for the one who believed.

Mark ends his report by recording a most important question and answer. Question from the disciples:   “Why could we not cast it out?”  Answer from Jesus:   “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer” (9:28,29), 

I infer that the nine disciples approached the boy and commanded the evil spirit out—but without first praying.  Since they had authority before, maybe they presumed they could make the spirit jump.  But not “this kind” of spirit.  “This kind” required prayer.  I think Jesus meant, “Before you go around commanding demons, understand the limitations of your faith (as the father did his) and pray for help to overcome your unbelief.”

* * * * *

Faith is “funny”.  How much faith is necessary?  How do we measure it?  What precisely is the “interaction” between faith and the answer?  Mysterious!  Yet, simple.  The word “faith” makes me think of a warrior aggressively encountering an enemy.  The word “trust” (a synonym for faith and belief) implies an almost passive reliance or resting. What is most mysterious, however—-and amazingly gracious—is the fact that when, in the heat of the battle, we confess, “I do believe!” and we humbly ask, “Help me overcome my unbelief!, the Lord answers!  He gives the very virtue he requires!

Result?  Against all odds. we are enabled to believe that Jesus can do the impossible that confronts us.













Planned Parenthood: Beating Heart

O Preacher“Do you want to see something kind of cool?”  O’Donnell (a Planned Parenthood technician) describes what her supervisor showed her:  “And she just taps the heart (of the intact aborted baby), and it starts beating.”  O’Donnell claims her supervisor then told her to cut through the face to get the brain.

This 7th video from the Center for Medical Progress is graphic, barbaric and sickening.  Frankly, I don’t care if what Planned Parenthood is doing is illegal or not.  Nor do I care to debate when human life begins.  The debate itself a deceitful diversion from the obvious.  At conception, what other kind of life can that “fetus” be but human?  Intact human babies—outside the womb— being cut up for parts!

Defenders drag out every self-justifying rationale in the book.  With straight faces our political leaders assure us tax dollars are not used for abortions.  So, if you have $5 and I add to your money by giving you $5 more, but insist you not use my $5 to buy cigarettes, and you use your $5 for cigarettes, have you obeyed my instructions? 

We care for women, Planned Parenthood chants.  But none of them blink an eye when females are aborted!  Hypocrites! 

America, wake up!  Repent in tears!  We are killing millions of babies!  The holy God, in whose image these sacred lives have been created, will not hold back his wrath forever!

Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image (Genesis 9:6).



Jesus Exposed

P.AllanThis must make skeptics crack up.  Jesus climbs a mountain with three disciples.  Suddenly he’s transformed.  His clothes become brighter than the best detergent could get them.  Dead-for-centuries Moses and Elijah appear chatting with him.  Fog drifts in and envelops them.  A surround-sound voice booms:  “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”  Then, instantly it’s all gone.  Jesus is alone with three terrified followers.   Right.

It’s widely held that Peter served as Mark’s source for writing his Gospel.  And, since Peter’s been known to suffer from foot-in-mouth disease, maybe the high altitude dizzied Peter’s powers.  But, if it happened, what’s the point?

Here’s Mark’s report . . .

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.  And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.  Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters– one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”  (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”  Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus (Mark 9:2-8).

Let’s investigate.  First, we recall that the “star” of Mark’s Gospel is Jesus who came “proclaiming the gospel of God”, saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (1:14,15).  We’ve already seen Jesus do some pretty mind-boggling things, like driving controlling unclean spirits from men, making leprosy disappear from a man’s skin, setting a paralytic walking, restoring a man’s withered hand, calming a storm at sea with a command, raising a dead girl to life, feeding 5000 with a few loaves and fish, and walking on water.  This is what the new normal will be when God’s kingdom fully comes.  Wonder-ful!

Second, in view of Jesus’ signs and wonders, transformation into eye-squinting brightness from the inside out doesn’t seem that big a deal.  That’s especially true because of our familiarity with computer-generated “miracles”.  It does, however, reveal something about the person of Jesus.  Not what he can do (walk on water) but what or who he is. More about that later. 

Third, while the appearance of Moses and Elijah is kind of strange, at the very least it shows Jesus has some kind of connection with them.  It’s also interesting to note that Moses died on Mount Nebo, having been banned from the Promised Land by the LORD.  Yet here he is chatting with the One who’s announcing the greater Promised Land, the kingdom of God.  And Elijah never died.  He got a fiery-chariot ride into the heavenly presence of God.  Moses’ presence with Jesus brings to mind the word “mercy”, and Elijah’s the word “power”.  Do those words connect with God’s kingdom Jesus is bringing?  Do they connect with Jesus himself?  Might their presence imply Jesus is the continuation of—even the fulfillment of—what God revealed through the Law (Moses) and through the prophets (Elijah)?

Fourth, think about Peter’s comment.  If I were reporting this event to Mark, I would have conveniently forgotten the part where my terror made me sound like a babbling fool.  “Man, Jesus, this is neat!  How ’bout we set up some tents and hang here awhile?”  ( . . . he did not know what to say, for they were terrified.)  That he included his outburst seems a strong argument for believing the event really happened.

Fifth, the Father’s voice from the cloud is not without precedent.  Remember Jesus’ baptism?  “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased”–1:11).  Then the words were directed to Jesus, probably to encourage him for what lay ahead.  Here they’re directed to the three disciples to admonish them to pay careful attention to Jesus in light of what lay ahead for them all.

So what’s the point of this strange event?  It’s as if Clark Kent got caught with his Superman clothes showing.  Jesus exposed.  Exposed as what?  The full of glory God the Son.  He’s not just a miracle-worker.  Not just an announcer for God’s Kingdom.  He’s God’s Son full of the glory of God.

Here’s what John and Peter themselves wrote later about this day . . .

 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
and we have seen his glory,
glory as of the only Son from the Father . . . (John 1:14).

. . . we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
For when he received honor and glory from God the Father,
and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory,
“This is my beloved Son with whom I am well please,”
we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven,
for we were with him on the holy mountain.
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed,
to which you will do well to pay attention,
as to a lamp shining in a dark place,
until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts (2 Peter 1:16b-19).

“Jesus exposed” was meant to draw our attention to Jesus.  To  properly fear him as “his majesty”.  And to listen to him.  In our world of incessant noise, to “climb a mountain” to a quiet place above it all, open his book and listen to him!




Christian Purge Begins

O PreacherSounds like sensationalism.  An attempt to fuel anger against the government.  Have Christians actually been abruptly removed from an organization for preaching Christianity? 

According to the Baptist Press, “David Wells, a 13-year volunteer prison minister from McQuady, Ky., was informed in July by the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice that he would no longer be permitted to serve at the Warren County Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Bowling Green because he refused to sign a document, per state policy, promising not to ‘imply or tell LGBTQI juveniles that they are abnormal, deviant, sinful, or that they can or should change their sexual orientation or gender identity.'”

Todd Starnes, radio host of Fox News and Commentary, writes, “The Kentucky regulation clearly states that volunteers working with juveniles ‘shall not refer to juveniles by using derogatory language in a manner that conveys bias towards or hatred of the LGBTQI community. DJJ staff, volunteers, interns and contractors shall not imply or tell LGBTQI juveniles that they are abnormal, deviant, sinful or that they can or should change their sexual orientation or gender identity.’” 

“They told us we could not preach that homosexuality is a sin – period,” Wells said. “We would not have even been able to read Bible verses that dealt with LGBT issues.”

Wells said they’ve never used hateful or derogatory comments when dealing with the young inmates.  Starnes calls the dismissal of Wells the beginning of a “purge.”

Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal organization, is representing Wells. He said the state’s ban on Biblical counseling is unconstitutional religious discrimination.  “There is no question there is a purging underway.  The dissenters in the recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage warned us this would happen.”  Staver is demanding the state immediately reinstate Wells as well as the other volunteer ministers.

“By restricting speech which volunteers are allowed to use while ministering to youth detainees, the State of Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice have violated the protections given to private speech through the First Amendment and the Kentucky Constitution,” Staver wrote in his letter to state officials.

The Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice demanded Wells sign a state-mandate document promising to never tell inmates that homosexuality is “sinful” or else DJJ would revoke his credentials .  Wells said, “We could not sign that paper.  It broke my heart.”

I’m not telling a shocking story at the expense of accuracy to provoke excitement.  “Purge” may sound over-the-top.  But this is the abrupt removal of volunteer chaplains for preaching Christianity—in this case, stating that the Bible calls homosexual practice a sin.

Time we’ll tell what happens in the courtroom.  But how can the Kentucky regulations, grounded in the Supreme Court decision, not uphold the KDJJ’s decision?   The writing’s on the wall:  Christians who stand with God’s Word regarding sexuality are, at best, frowned-upon and, at worst, removed from official government positions.  And, of course, the “hate speech” charge lurks everywhere.
Nor, according to Lonnie Wilkey, editor of the Tennessee Baptist Convention “Baptist and Reflector” news journal, should we presume such action will be limited to the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice.  He is certain this “represents a trend of religious liberty infringement.”  Wilkey warns, “If you think this won’t happen again and again, you are sadly mistaken . . . it will eventually find its way to Tennessee — probably much sooner than later. Two freedoms that Americans hold dear — speech and religion — are under attack. We have to be diligent and pray more fervently than ever. And we all need to be able to answer this question: Will we stand boldly for Christ?”
Whatever we think of the “Father Knows Best” and “Ozzie and Harriet” era in America, those days are long gone.  And the days when the Judeo-Christian ethic informed this nation’s laws are fast disappearing.  Not because immigrants with other religions are flooding the country.  But because worldviews and practices the Bible calls sinful are making deep inroads into America’s universities, media, entertainment and public schools.  Inevitably, we Christians will increasingly clash with culture.
God forbids hate speech and derogatory language.  He commands us to love our neighbor and our enemy.  But the first step toward rescue from the power of sin is knowing what sin is.  We must “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).  It may very well cost us to do that, as the State, once friendly to Christianity, progressively becomes its opponent.
Time for the church in America to wake up!  Not to fight the government.  Nor to retreat behind the walls of our sanctuaries.  But to stop thinking of our faith as a comfortable, inspirational and personal help-source.  And to start realizing we are in a spiritual war for our soul and the soul of this nation—and war costs.

Planned Parenthood: Without Consent

O PreacherSome women didn’t consent to their aborted baby’s parts being sold to researchers.  But they were sold anyway.  That’s what this sixth video from the Center for Medical Progress reveals. 

Abortion, though legal, is the moral depravity here.  Not allowing women to consent to the sale of their aborted baby’s parts is illegal.  Yet, as this video alleges, Planned Parenthood commonly disregards the law.  And all the time, we are helping fund the moral and legal crime by paying taxes.

I’ll say it flat out:  Christians should never elect a President or Congressman who is not openly and without question pro-life.  Since Roe v. Wade, over 58 million babies have been aborted.  Since 1970 almost 7 million have been aborted by Planned Parenthood.  (Your taxes and mine have helped fund those murders.)

If you’re a Donald Trump fan, please note the following facts:

1. Even though [Trump] recently called for defunding Planned Parenthood, he is now saying that he’s open to funding those parts of Planned Parenthood that do not involve abortion. But this is not a good argument. He’s a businessman, so I assume he understands that money is fungible [mutually interchangeable]. And that is why we cannot tolerate a single dime of federal money going to Planned Parenthood. But Trump argued otherwise yesterday. His remarks led the The Daily Beast to declare that “Donald Trump is Planned Parenthood’s Favorite Republican.” His openness to support Planned Parenthood in any measure is not a pro-life position.

2. Trump claims to be pro-life, but the position he laid out yesterday on CNN follows pro-abortion logic. In his own words:

“I am pro-life and I am strongly about pro-life, but I also feel that you go with the exceptions… I’m for the exceptions and the health of the mother and the life of the mother and so is Ronald Reagan for the exceptions, by the way.”

Did you catch that? He said that he not only favors exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother but also for the “health” of the mother. Anyone who knows anything about the legal situation on abortion understands that the Supreme Court has interpreted “health” so broadly that it allows abortion for any reason at any stage of pregnancy. Does Trump realize that he not only just made the case for funding Planned Parenthood but also for the continuation of Roe v. Wade? This is unacceptable. I suppose it is possible that he didn’t realize what he was saying, but ignorance on abortion politics is equally unacceptable.

This is a time for visionary prolife leadership, not for dithering and weakness in the face of Planned Parenthood’s mounting body count. We need to watch the videos, and we need to watch our politicians. There is much at stake. (the previous two points cited from Denny Burke

Amen! And Amen!

Selfie (Too)

 P.AllanThe sound of glass shattering woke me.  I bolted up in bed.  The clock on my dresser read 2:43 a.m.  Lying beside me, Lois woke.  “What’s that?” she whispered.  “Sounds like the front door glass breaking,” I answered, crawling  out of bed. I grabbed my walker and reached for my baseball bat.  If somebody was breaking into our house, I hoped he would be intimated by a 71-year-old leaning on a walker panting to lift a bat into a killer stance.

But before I reached the bedroom doorway, a huge flashlight blinded me.  I could barely make out the man who held it.  He towered over me and seemed wrapped in black, just a slit for his eyes.  That’s when I noticed what I feared—a gleam of light reflecting from a long knife held in his left hand. 

“You are infidels!” he screamed.  “You have three minutes to deny your despicable faith, bow down, and confess “There is no god but Allah. Otherwise, death to the infidels!”

The story is fiction.  (though  I do keep a baseball bat handy.  If you break into my house I figure you’ll fall over laughing enough so I can crack you on the head.)  Of course, for many people, while the details differ, the story is true.  So let’s suppose this question:  what would I do if faced with a choice to deny Christ or die?”

In Mark’s Gospel it’s not a Muslim terrorist, but Jesus who makes a death-demand . . .

“If anyone would come after me,
he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
(Mark 8:34)

That is what this demand means.  (See my “Selfie” post  Though all of his disciples won’t be martyred, Jesus demands that anyone who would come after him be willing to be.

Why would Jesus demand a potential disciple be willing to die?  Jesus explains: 

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it” (8:35).

“For” introduces the reason.  Jesus identifies two groups of people.  First, “whoever wants to save his life.”  As the contrast with “whoever loses his life” shows, “to save his life” means “to protect his life from death”.  Jesus says such a person who makes saving or protecting his life from death will actually “lose” it.  “Lose” here means “bringing his life to ruin and destruction.”  The Greek verb tenses provide a more-detailed look, which we might translate this way:  “whoever decides he wants to protect his life from death will progressively bring his life to ruin and ultimate destruction.”  In other words, when Jesus calls and you decide  to save your life from death instead, your decision will lead to a life of progressive ruin and final destruction.”

The second group consists of “whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel”.  The same meanings attach to the same words.  To lose one’s life for Jesus  and the gospel means to die for Jesus and the gospel.  But that person actually will save his life from death.  See the slight alteration in this clause.  Whereas in 8:35a, Jesus said “whoever wants to save his life . . . “, in 8:35b, Jesus said “whoever loses his life.  Does Jesus mean  martyrs-for-him will actually save themselves?   That would contradict the whole of the Gospel!  Jesus is most likely implying that when we hear his call and choose to follow, at that very moment we die to living life to save ourselves and at that moment choose to “die” for Jesus and the gospel.  If martyrdom comes, it comes as the logical and ultimate outcome of that decision we previously made.

But why is this save-life/lose-life, lose-life/save life necessary?  Again, “for” introduces the reason.

“For what good is it for a man to gain the whole world,
yet forfeit his soul? 
Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (8:36,37)

“Good” refers to what is profitable, valuable or beneficial.  “Gain” means “to profit or acquire an advantage”.  “Soul ” is the “inner essence of who and what we are before God (as opposed to our “flesh” or body).  So we might translate like this:  “What’s the profit if a man acquires the whole world yet suffers the loss of his very inner essence?”  King Solomon is a case in point.  Asking and receiving great wisdom from God, he nevertheless gained a “world” of wives who soon led  him into idolatry. 

Jesus’ question in 8:37 is rhetorical.  He expects no answer because there is nothing a man can trade for his soul and come out the winner.  So save-life/lose-life, etc., is necessary because the world inherently hates Jesus.  Jesus and this world order are mutually exclusive. 

But why is our soul so important?  For the third time, “for” introduces the reason–and also reveals what Jesus meant earlier about losing our life for his sake and for the gospel.

“For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation,
of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed,
when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (8:39).

Here Jesus seems to refer specifically to people of his generation.  However, Paul’s use of the same word in Philippians 2:15 where he speaks of “this crooked and depraved generation” may imply that any generation can be so-described.  “Ashamed” refers to a fear of embarrassment or fear that one’s expectations may prove false.  So we might translate, “For whoever is embarrassed about me or afraid that what I’ve said won’t prove true, of him the Son of Man will be embarrassed . . . ” 

Finally then, “soul” is significant because the Son of Man is coming in his Father’s glory with the holy angels to judge.  Therefore, “losing the essence of who and what we are” is more than a metaphysical consideration for the present.  The condition of our soul ultimately determines our eternal destiny.

* * * * *

Back to the bedroom.  Holding flashlight and knife, the terrorist is screaming, “You are infidels!  You have three minutes to deny your despicable faith, bow down, and  confess “There is no god but Allah. Otherwise, death to the infidels!”

What will we say?


We find these words of Jesus in all three of the Synopic Gospels ...














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