Prayer

My journey of personal observations which I have made over the years to apply Bible reading in my life.
The Mystery of Prayer
It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover. So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭12:1-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬
http://bible.com/111/act.12.1-10.niv
…he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!” “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.” But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭12:12-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬
http://bible.com/111/act.12.12-16.niv
Observation
The angel exhibited 7 supernatural expressions while rescuing Peter.  1 appearing suddenly 2 providing light 3 loosing his chains 4 making Peter think it was a vision 5 passing the guards unnoticed 6 opening the gate 7 leaving suddenly.
Peter did not recognize the angel or the reality of what happened until it was over.
Later the people praying did not believe the report of the girl that their prayers were answered.
Application in my life
I am touched by the message in verse 15 that shows how the answer to prayer may not be accepted or believed because of the source of the answer.  The church did not know at the time that their prayers for Peter had been answered and they did not believe it had happened even though the answer had come and Peter had been freed. Here is my conclusion.  Even when I do not see that my prayers have been answered that still isn’t a good enough reason for me to believe or think that they haven’t been.
Peter was probably as close as a person could be to Jesus yet he did not recognize the presence of the angel or the reality of what was happening.  If Peter didn’t realize what God was doing, perhaps I would have even less of a chance to recognize God moving in my life when it happens.  My hope is that I will realize afterterwards that it was God, just as Peter did.
I have to firmly understand that complete prayer includes the act of believing, not waiting until I see results before believing.  This is an accurate example of faith.  Easier said than done.  Just as the people in the house did not believe – that did not make it any less true that Peter was free.  So it wouldn’t be any less true that prayers have been answered even when I haven’t seen it for myself.
My prayer
Lord I am amazed by how great a work you do for those you love despite how I might miss it sometimes.  I want to take this lessson to heart so that I will better appreciate how you respond to prayer and make a difference in our everyday lives, Amen.
hands people woman girl
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Scorecard: Jurassic World – 1 Avengers Infinity War – 0

My shameless plug for science fiction

 

Here’s the lesson. Stick the landing. I enjoyed Jurassic World from the beginning, the middle, and the end. We moviegoers know what we want, and we know what we like. Movie makers often appreciate that, meaning us. Infinity War didn’t deliver. If you doubt that just check any source of viewer responses.

I don’t care about the setup for your sequel. You can give an audience an enjoyable ending and still setup the sequel at the same time. Infinity War is a comic, so I guess it falls into the category of fantasy. And don’t assume I have anything against fantasy. Bilbo and Frodo are all that and a bag of chips. Jurassic World is science fiction. I think that matters.

By developing a taste for science fiction you are enabling yourself to contemplate important issues of the day. You can engage your curiosity. You can form ethical arguments. You begin to think and act in a way that determines your future, and you can do good things for someone following in your footsteps. Science fiction perpetually compares the now with the what if. It asks this question. What would happen if we had the ability to do such and such? History has taught us that the less prepared we are for advances in technology, the more bad decisions we suffer from. Remember DDT? Shouldn’t we commit the time to consider the harm of new abilities before we make ourselves too vulnerable? Science fiction has proven to be one of the most reliable tools we have to engage in the debate.

space technology research science
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The science in Jurassic World is cloning. Genetically modified organisms, otherwise know as dinosaurs, are brought to life by combining original ‘dino’ DNA with other animals’ filling in the missing pieces. In a fairly frightening manner, the movie weighs the possible outcomes of producing genetically modified animals for profit. I’ll borrow from one of my favorite 70’s sci-fi TV shows, the Six Million Dollar Man, which introduced us to the idea of the bionically enhanced human, who’s famous line is “We have the technology. We can make you stronger, faster, better than before.” The antagonists in the film decide to do just that when they investigate the possibility of turning a dinosaur into a military weapon.

Today we are faced with a number of staggering challenges from the technology we now, or very soon will possess. What are the right answers for whether or not we should clone animals, or humans? Who should police the internet? What are the worst consequences for us of the dark web? Can there be rules and punishments for cyber warfare and cyber espionage? Where will unchecked gene research lead us? More good than harm? Will that depend on how careful we are? Who will decide? These are a few of the necessary questions. Turn to your favorite science fiction book or movie to consider the answers.

If you have never appreciated the science fiction genre before, there are many places to go for recommendations. I will offer some suggestions. Here is my Mount Rushmore of authors.

 

reflection of cityscape in sea at night
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Suggested Science Fiction

Books by or films based on the writing of
Philip K. Dick
Michael Crichton
Ray Bradbury
Robert Heinlein
Isaac Asimov

Let me give an honorable mention to Neal Stephenson, whose novel Seveneves promises to offer some of the best in science fiction movies to date. Read the book now before the first movie comes out.