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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Womb - or tomb? (Part 4)

This final part of this mini-series is one for which a warning must be issued.  The following post contains information that some will find distressing.  In this post, I wish to look at the methods that are used by the abortion industry.

The pregnancy may be about one-third of the way through its course - it may, of course, be even further on!  The mother is probably lying on a gynaecological examination table.  The abortionist uses a syringe with a four-inch needle to extract about 60cc of the amniotic fluid from the womb. This is then replaced with 200cc of a strong saline solution.

Immediately, that little human being who already has all of the organs of any other human, and even has the fingerprints that make that child unique in the whole history of humankind, begins to suffer violent convulsions.  Instead of the pleasant, and beneficial, swallows of the amniotic fluid, the unborn child now experiences the bitter taste of a lethal poison.  Caustic salt burns that little throat; the delicate skin; the unopened eyes; the ears that will never hear.  Vainly the child tries to escape, throwing him/herself from side to side in violent contortions - an agony that may last for hours, and which the mother will follow by those pointless movements of self-defence.

When death does arrive, the tragic drama may still have several hours to play out - until the the child, looking like the victim of napalm bombing, is finally expelled from what should have been the safest of environments.

However, that is only one of the methods used in this murderous trade.  If the abortion takes place early enough in the pregnancy, the method used is more likely to be that of vacuum aspiration.  This involves the use of a vacuum machine that is almost thirty times more powerful than a domestic cleaner.  As an aside, I do wonder if the current decision of the European Union to ban the sale of all vacuum cleaners with motors stronger than 1600 watts will apply to abortion clinics!  I think that I know the answer!  Such powerful machines are necessary - as a special tube, inserted through the mother's vagina, sucks the baby from the womb; tearing it, violently, from the walls of the uterus. Death, at least, comes quickly, as the little unique individual is totally dismembered.

Depending on the stage of the pregnancy, another method may be used.  This is D&C (Dilation and Curettage).  This involves cutting the placenta, and slicing up the body of the unborn child within the uterus, using special surgical instruments called curettes, before finally sucking it out.  This is a method that requires very careful follow-up.  In order to ensure that no foetal part that could cause a life-threatening infection in the womb, the body of that helpless, unborn, child has to be carefully put together again - like some grotesque human jigsaw puzzle.  It is then disposed of in whatever way the clinic/hospital sees fit.

Of course, if the unborn child is more than three months old, the bones will already have calcified (hardened).  The procedure then available is D&E (Dilation and Evacuation).  In this case, tongs are used to separate the bones - first of the legs; then the arms; then the back.  Finally, the head must be crushed before all is sucked out.

Please note that, in all of these methods, the unborn child is not even anaesthetised!  In spite of overwhelming medical and scientific evidence, the abortion industry refuses to accept the sentience of the unborn child.  In other words, it refuses to accept that those little bodies are capable of feeling pain!

Just two other methods may be used, as far as I know, both for late abortions.  One involves the injection of a chemical that induces premature delivery; the other involves a hysterotomy - simply a Caesarean procedure that aims, not to save the child's life, but to destroy it.  In each of these cases, the infant dies outside the womb - and it is after such abortions that children have been discovered alive, in black bin-bags, ready to be thrown into the incinerator.

Abortion - the murder of a helpless human being, at a very early stage of its development, in the place in which it should be safest - its mother's womb.  It is a terrible indictment on humankind that, for so many, that womb becomes, temporarily, a tomb.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Womb - or tomb (Part 3)

Life never begins!  It is only transmitted.  Since the creation of the first man, when Almighty God "... breathed into his nostrils the breath of life ..." (Gen.2:7), living beings come only from other living beings.  This is a simple fact, recognised by eminent biologists, but ignored by the so-called 'pro-choice' brigade.

The formation of a new human being is contained in the male sperm, and the female egg, and is produced through the fusion of these two gametes (to use a medical, scientific, term!).  What happens is that when the egg is fertilised by the sperm, a new cell (zygote) is produced with a genetic code that is not only distinct from those of the gametes whose fusion brought it into being, but is also totally unique!

The journey of this zygote takes it down the Fallopian tubes of the still-unaware mother, towards the uterus.  Already, the process of cell multiplication (mitosis) is well under way.  However, after that first instant of conception, when the egg was fertilised, there is no stage at all at which this embryonic human being receives any new, or essential, genetic contribution in order for it to be what it is!  There can be no doubt about it, from a scientific, biological, perspective - from the moment of fertilisation, we already have a new human life.  This is most definitely not merely a part of the body of the mother.  It is most certainly not some kind of alien parasite.  As Dr Jerome Lejeune, the renowned French geneticist, and the discoverer of the cause of Down's Syndrome (which condition, according to Richard Dawkins, ought to lead to an abortion!) summarised the situation succinctly when he wrote: "As soon as he has been conceived, a man is a man."

Again, I would emphasise that this new human being is distinct from its mother.  In biological, and genetic, terms, it is not the mother who transforms her cells into the cells of a new being.  It is the embryo itself that undertakes, in a veritable explosion of vitality, this 'self-construction' within the habitat of the womb.

How regretful that, for so many millions, that very womb has become, and becomes, a temporary tomb!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Womb - or tomb? (Part 2).

For a number of years I gave the opportunity, to my senior pupils, to choose a major topic for discussion.  One of the most popular was that of abortion!   However, one day I was summoned to the office of the head teacher.  He had received a telephone call from a parent, complaining about my having told his 16-year-old daughter what happened at an abortion (almost as if he thought that the rest of the class had not been present!).  I cannot now recall his exact words - as related to me by the head teacher - but the gist of them was that he didn't want his daughter, already able to legally engage in sexual intercourse, to know what happened, "in case she ever needed to have an abortion"!

That, I believe, is a major part of the problem about the procedure.  So many do not know - and do not wish to know - what actually happens.  They are content to believe that all that is removed from the female is a homogenous bundle of cells, no more 'human' than an appendix or than tonsils.  That is why, I suspect, so many talk of the woman's body, as if that was all that was involved.

I'll explain a little about procedure in a subsequent post but, for now, let's determine exactly what it is that is being aborted.

It is safe to say that the female - girl or woman - does not know, for certain, that she is indeed pregnant until approximately seven to eight weeks after conception.  By that time, the embryonic heart is already beating!  I would suggest that it is also safe to say that, by the time a decision is made to seek an abortion, and arrangements made for the procedure to take place, another four to six weeks will have passed.  This means that the earliest stage at which an abortion would normally be carried out would about twelve to fourteen weeks after conception or, to put in another way, approximately one-third of the way through the pregnancy.

With the benefit of scans, we now have a clear picture of what the unborn child is like at that stage in its pre-natal life.  At twelve weeks, the foetus measures about 60 mm from crown to rump and weighs between 9 and 14 grams. It is fully formed, from tooth buds to toenails, and the baby's job now is simply to continue getting larger and stronger for the rest of the pregnancy. With the most critical development behind the foetus, the chance of miscarriage drops considerably after this week.  However, it is only at this stage that the possibility of an abortion becomes a reality!  This, it must be clear to any normal person, is no 'lump of cells'.  This is, unmistakeably, a baby - a human being at an early stage of its development, but a human being nevertheless.

This little life is, of course, dependent upon its mother - but it is a totally separate being.   A unique individual, just waiting to be born.

Next time, we'll look at some of the methods used to kill this little life - and to turn the womb into, temporarily, a tomb.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Answers!

Almost forgot to provide the correct answers to the latest quiz!  So, here they are.  Hope you all did well.

1.   Andrew
2.   Isaac
3.   Ananias
4.   Aaron
5.   Elizabeth
6.   Elijah
7.   Uzziah
8.   Esther
9.   Obadiah
10. Agrippa

I hope to have another quiz - before too long!!  :-)

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Womb - or tomb?

In a speech yesterday - that is in no way connected to the forthcoming General Election!! - Mr David Cameron set out new measures to help families, and made a fresh commitment to put family life at the heart of Conservative policy. Among other things, he said: "For me, nothing matters more than family. It's at the centre of my life and the heart of my politics. It's family that brings up children, teaches values, passes on knowledge, instils in us all the responsibility to be good citizens and to live in harmony with others."

I liked that bit about "It's family that brings up children" because, of course, the children must be there to bring up.  Unfortunately, too many don't make it that far - and the government could do something about it!

Earlier today, I was reading about Moloch - a god of the ancient Canaanites or Phoenicians - mentioned by the Old Testament prophet, Amos (5:26).  As part of the 'worship' of this pagan deity, that was represented by a large bronze statue with a cavernous mouth that contained a furnace, mothers would throw their own live children into that mouth, where they were devoured by the flames.  In such a way, tens of thousands of innocent victims were used to placate this 'god'.  Drums were even beaten loudly in order to drown the screams of these little children.

I cannot imagine any normal human being, including Mr Cameron - our new champion of the family! -  not being appalled at such atrocities.  However, if we look at the society and culture in which we live in this 21st century, we discover that we are no better!

The modern equivalent of Moloch is, I would argue, much more implacable than the Canaanite 'god'.  Indeed, if we compare the tens of millions of victims today, then those human sacrifices of antiquity pale into numerical insignificance.

Today, and for many decades, we do not throw these children into a fire. Rather, their lives are snatched away in the cold, sterile, silence of the abortionist's operating room.  Not even given the opportunity to breathe, these little human beings are sacrificed on the altar of the 'personal convenience' of the mother.  In the womb - where they should be most protected - their little lives are snuffed out, and their little bodies are discarded.  The human sacrifices becomes, until it is emptied, a tomb!  Such is the wonder of 'modern civilisation'!

Now, in order to pre-empt some anticipated comments, let me say that there are some - very rare - situations in which abortion is the least worst thing to do.  But these are, indeed, very rare.

I expect to continue this theme for a couple of posts, so do ensure that you return to the blog!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Hamas (finally!) caught fudging the numbers in Gaza.

Belatedly, a number of major media players are calling into question the veracity of the figures provided by the Hamas Ministry of Health and the UN’s presentation thereof, during the recent conflict.

An analysis by The New York Times revealed what Israeli bloggers had been pointing out for weeks: that a disproportionate percentage of the casualties were men of fighting age.

According to the article:

“The Times analysis, looking at 1,431 names, shows that the population most likely to be militants, men ages 20 to 29, is also the most overrepresented in the death toll: They are 9 percent of Gaza’s 1.7 million residents, but 34 percent of those killed whose ages were provided. At the same time, women and children under 15, the least likely to be legitimate targets, were the most underrepresented, making up 71 percent of the population and 33 percent of the known-age casualties.”

Why were only 1,431 names examined? Didn’t over 2,000 die in Gaza? Well, maybe.  Hamas was also caught duplicating names on the list of casualties provided to the media and the UN, which themselves didn’t bother to check for such inconsistencies.

Not wanting to be left looking the fool, the BBC also quickly changed its tune, admitting that “if the Israeli attacks have been ‘indiscriminate’, as the UN Human Rights Council says, it is hard to work out why they have killed so many more civilian men than women….In conclusion, we do not yet know for sure how many of the dead in Gaza are civilians and how many were fighters.”

The Washington Post had already noticed that something was awry much earlier, with one of its lead bloggers lamenting that “the media has engaged in journalistic malpractice by reporting casualty figures for civilians coming from Gaza as gospel.”

Much closer to reality is a detailed analysis by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Information Center, which found that there was a rough 1:1 ration of combatants to civilian casualties in Gaza. If accurate, such a ratio would be unprecedented for modern urban warfare, and would speak highly of Israel’s efforts to avoid civilian casualties.

This video is also interesting - and relevant!  It is, allegedly, of a Hamas mass funeral.  However, even having worked, at one time, for an undertaker, I have never seen such lively corpses!!   Don't laugh - but remember this on any future occasion on which Israel is seen as 'the bad guy'!


Friday, 15 August 2014

A master potter.

Another video clip - but this one doesn't star 'yours truly'!  It takes me back to the days before 24/7, multi-channel, technicolour, television.  When I was a child, and my parents purchased their first television set, we had one channel (we didn't even use the word - it was just 'T.V.'!) that was broadcast only between certain hours of the day, and evening.  However, during the frequent interludes between some programmes, there were a number of film clips broadcast.  These included a great series (I wish I could find it on YouTube!) entitled 'Stranger than fiction' and, strangest of all, a tank of tropical fish - in monochrome (that's black and white!).  However, another favourite was the potter at his wheel.  Quite amazing - as you can see in this clip!



There is, of course, a clear spiritual message. 

"The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:  'Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear My words.'  So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: 'O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? says the Lord.  Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.  If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will repent of the evil that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in My sight, not listening to My voice, then I will repent of the good which I had intended to do to it. Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: 'Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.'
" (Jer.18:1-11).

Those words may be applied to not only the contemporary nations, but to every nation throughout all of time.  It may also be applied to each one of us as an individual.   There are many, today, who need to hear, and heed, those words!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Ice Challenge!

video

If you would like to support the Macmillan Nurses in their inestimable work, you may do so by going to:

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Thank you.  :-)

Monday, 11 August 2014

It's Quiz-time, again!

After a number of posts that have dealt with serious, and sombre, subjects it is maybe time for a little 'light relief'!  So here, for your delectation and edification, is another wee quiz.

This one is on Bible Characters (well, you didn't really expect one from me to be on BGT, Big Brother, or even Corrie, did you?!).  The only clue is that each answer begins with a vowel.  The correct solution will, as usual, be posted in a few days' time (DV).

1.  He introduced his brother, Peter, to Jesus.

2.  This man was tricked by one of his twin sons.

3.  He, and his wife after him, lied about the money raised form the sale of some land.

4.  He was appointed as the spokesman for his brother, when they were sent to free his people from slavery.

5.  The husband of this woman was struck dumb until their baby was born.

6.  This prophet had to hide from an angry queen.

7.  In the year that this king died, a famous prophet had an amazing vision.

8.  This young woman was chosen at a beauty pageant, and eventually became queen.

9.  The shortest book in the Old Testament is named after this person.

10. This king was almost persuaded to become a disciple of Jesus, by Paul's testimony.

Okay!  Ten people.  How many of their names can you discover?

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Knowing God.

A good morning with the friends in Coatbridge Baptist Church.  I always enjoy my visits there, as they are such an encouraging group of people and, over the years during which I have been privileged to assist, so many have become personal friends.

This morning, we looked at the difference between knowing about God, and knowing God!  And it's a big difference!  There are many who know a great deal about God, but who have no personal relationship with Him.  And even among those who do have that relationship, many have not worked at deepening, and improving it.

I used, as my illustration this morning, my own marriage, and showed four ways in which I know my wife, and by which we may know God better.  The first of these is that my wife and I entered into a covenant relationship.  Almost 44 years ago, we stood in front of the Rev George B. Duncan and made that special commitment, for life, to one another.  We didn't know each other particularly well at that stage, but we knew enough about one another to be prepared to take that step.  If we wish to know God, we must do the same thing.  Based on what we do know about His love, and grace, and mercy; about His desire that all people be saved; about His wisdom and power; we take the step of commitment that leads us into a covenant relationship with Him.

However, I pointed out that my wife and I also spend time together.  And not just time, but 'quality time'!  If we wish to know God, then we need to do the same.  Not just a rushed 'Quiet Time', with one eye on our Bible, and the other on the clock!  We need to fit our schedules around His, not vice/versa!

We also need to communicate - and to realise that true communication is a two-way affair!  It's not enough or me to do all of the talking, I need to learn to listen to my wife as well and, when I fail to do so, it is usually to my own detriment.  So with God.  If I wish to know Him, I must communicate with Him - reading my Bible; coming before Him in prayer; listening to what He would say to me.  That's something that I can't achieve in a five-minute slot!

Finally, I pointed out that I have borne fruit with my wife.  We have two (now adult) daughters, both of whom we love dearly.  They are the result of the most intimate knowledge of one another that a couple may enjoy.  In my relationship with Father God, I may also bear fruit.  Not the fruit of physical children, of course, but what Paul refers to as "... the fruit of the Spirit [which] is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;" (Gal 5:22-23).

So, the question is - do you know God; or do you merely know a great deal about Him?  Early in the message, I quoted from J.L.Packer: "A little knowledge of God is worth more than a great deal of knowledge about Him".   It's a thought worth holding.

Do you know Him?!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

And this is justice?!

Sometimes, I become a little confused!  I have to hear, and read, a news item a number of times to assure myself that I am understanding the situation correctly.  One of last evening's news items, also in most of the newspapers, left me in that state.

It would appear that Mr Bernie Ecclestone, multi-billionaire (sterling) and F1 racing Chief Executive, was charged in Germany with bribery concerning allegations that he had paid Gerhard Gribkowsky, ­formerly the chief risk officer of German bank BayernLB, a £26 million bribe to steer the sale of F1 from the Bavarian bank to CVC ( the sport’s majority shareholder, CVC Capital Partners), Ecclestone’s preferred buyer, in 2006.

However, in spite of facing a potential 10-year custodial sentence, Mr Ecclestone is now a free man, having successfully negotiated a deal with prosecutors in Munich whereby he will hand over $100 million (£60 million) in the next few days!

Understandably, there has been a furious reaction from some quarters in Germany, after prosecutors spent years preparing the legal case against ­Ecclestone.  A former justice minister described the situation as “galling”, calling for the closure of the legal loophole that enabled Ecclestone to settle.

It certainly appears to me that what has happened here is that a man accused of bribery has bribed his way out of the court case that would have decided his guilt, or innocence.  And this is justice?   How many of us could afford to offer £60 million?  How many of us can even envisage £60 million?   Is this, yet again, one law for the 'rich and famous', and another law for the rest of us?

The Bible, unsurprisingly, has a lot to say about bribery.  For example, in Ex 23:8, we read these words of YHWH: "... you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the officials, and subverts the cause of those who are in the right."   In words of condemnation, YHWH states, through the prophet Isaiah, that: "Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves.  Every one loves a bribe and runs after gifts." (Isa 1:23).

In the New Testament also, bribery is condemned.  After the discovery of the empty tomb, the Chief Priests "... assembled with the elders and ... gave a sum of money to the soldiers and said, "Tell people, 'His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.'  And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." So they took the money and did as they were directed; and this story has been spread among the Jews to this day." (Matt 28:12-15).  An ambitious magician even tried to bribe the apostles.  "Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, [a bribe] saying, 'Give me also this power, that any one on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.'  But Peter said to him, 'Your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!  You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.  Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.  For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.'  And Simon answered, 'Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.'" (Acts 8:18-24).

Obviously, I do not know any more about the Bernie Ecclestone story than what I have read and heard, in and through the media.  However, if the facts are as reported, then Mr Ecclestone may have escaped human justice, but he must still appear before the Judgement Seat of the Creator God, Who has stated that "... the company of the godless is barren, and fire consumes the tents of bribery." (Job 15:34).  There, justice will truly be done, and be seen to have been done.  That final judgment will be  certain (Eccl 11:9), universal (II Cor 5:10), righteous (Rom 2:5), decisive (I Cor 15:52), and eternal as to its consequences (Heb 6:2).  We will not have to have bribed with tens of millions of pounds sterling to be found guilty.  We will only have to have broken God's laws - and none of us is innocent in that respect (Rom.3:23).  Only those who have the perfect and sinless Christ as their Advocate will escape the penalty of their sins (and, indeed, have already been accounted as justified in the sight of Father God - Rom.8:1).  Have you responded, positively, to His offer of full salvation?  If not, please do not delay.  If I may be of any assistance, please feel free to contact me, privately, using the e-mail address at the top of the blog.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Celebration of carnage?

Today, as we have all been reminded, is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Great War - later known as World War 1.  However, I find a few things confusing.  First of all, if one wishes to commemorate the first shot of the War, then a valid case may be made for observing this on June 28th, the date on which Gavrilo Princip fired his fatal shots at the Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife Sophie. 

The first declaration of war was one month later, when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and, on the following day, commenced a series of unsuccessful attempts to invade it.

Today's date is the anniversary of the German invasion of neutral Belgium, leading to the Battle of Liege which ran for twelve days from 5-16 August 1914, and resulted in surprisingly heavy losses upon the German invasion force by the numerically heavily outnumbered Belgians.  It is also the anniversary of the British declaration of war against Germany, because of its violation of the Belgians' neutrality.

So, if one must commemorate the beginning of a war, there are actually a number of possible dates for this particular conflict.

However, I suppose that my main concern is to do with why we are commemorating the beginning of a period of such destruction and carnage.  By all means let us have a quiet reminder - as we probably ought to have every year - but not lavish ceremonies for the so-called élite of society, many of whom, as far as I could make out, have never seen active service!   Surely it is the end of such a terrible episode in the recent history of mankind that we should remember - as we do every year on Nov.11th!

I am unaware of any of my own family members who died in the "war to end all wars", so perhaps that does colour my perspective.  However, I still fear that the anniversary - and the next four years - has been, and will be, hijacked by some for political ends.  That would be dishonouring to the memory of those who died seeking to protect their loved ones, and their countries.  It is, after all, the political and ruling classes who cause war.  The 'ordinary soldier' is the one who suffers!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

An honest voice!

I don't really want this blog to become nothing more than a pro-Israel mouthpiece.  However, there is so much anti-Israel propaganda doing the rounds (courtesy of the main media outlets!), that those of us who remember that we are but "... branches from a wild olive tree [that] have been grafted in." (Rom.11:17) must surely do as much as we can to counteract such propaganda.

It's always useful to listen to someone who is (a) speaking from personal experience and, (b) unafraid to 'tell it as it really is'. This video clip is only about five minutes long - but they are five minutes that will, I hope, open the eyes of some!