Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I'm in the middle of a study on Prayer by Pastor Henry Hastings of Atlantic Bible Church:

It has literally revolutionized my spiritual life. Prior to this, I had no real idea how to pray or even WHY to pray. I just figured that God knew everything anyway, and He'd do whatever He wanted anyway - so why bother? Now I see things totally differently.

Prayer is what God wants us to do. He wants us to ask Him for what we need (even though yes - He knows already) - and here's the important part - for what we need to fulfill His will. Not just for what WE think we need. What we need to glorify Him and to do what He wants us to do in this life.

I cannot emphasize enough how this has changed the way I look at prayer. I swear I could never even understand the purpose for it. So, needless to say, I've not done much praying.

But I've had a hunch for a long time - and this is the first time I've had it corroborated.

From reading the Bible, I've seen where people like David, for instance, have quoted God's own contract to Him (you SAID you'd do this....) - which is the Bible, His Word - and so the Lord, by His own will is bound by the agreement He has made.

I don't understand all the ramifications of this....just that He wants us to know Him, know His Word and hold Him accountable to that Word.

Once I can remember praying according to what I had learned of Him. A friend's father was dying of stomach cancer. He could not eat and he wasn't that far gone yet. This was very bad, and my friend was agonizing over her father's situation. I was imagining what it must be like to BE him, and so I went to prayer. I prayed that, since God has given us all - the evil AND the good - the power to eat and swallow.....that he restore it to this man if it was His will to do so. My reasoning was that eating and swallowing are meaningless body functions - they don't make someone right or wrong. As such, they are kind of a gratis function. If Hitler had it, then I was praying that this man could have it until it was his time to go.....

Within a few days, he was able to eat. Not just eat, but eat steak and watch movies with his family. He did not survive, but the time he spent being utterly miserable was very short, in contrast to what it appeared it might have been.

That's when I got the impression that God likes to be quoted His own promises, He likes to be reminded of His own attributes in prayer. I don't understand the whole of it - or how attractive a trait this may be in a God.......but He is the Creator of the Universe, and who am I to say one way or the other. If this is His plan, then I am eager to follow it.....and I am VERY grateful for His bringing to me someone (Pastor Hastings) who could finally illuminate my mind on this subject.......

Are We A Clause In A Book?

I've done a lot of reading in my 50 years. I've read all kinds of books, but I favor non-fiction. In the past few years, I've read "Flu: The Story of The Great Influenza Pandemic" by Gina Kolata and "Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883" by Simon Winchester. One of the interesting things about reading books like these is that you know what is coming, you dread it, you don't want to continue reading - but you can, because you are just a reader. You are not the story. That's long past. Some lived and some died. But the action covered in a short sentence in a book may have taken a year or more to occur in the real life of a participant. And they didn't know what was coming. So they went from day to day thinking, "Is the worst over?" "Boy, I sure got sick, but I'll be real careful from now on to stay away from sick people...." - or whatever. And then boom. Disaster overtakes them running. In the short space of one sentence in a book, several months or more of a person's day to day life is covered.

And the reader just heaves a big sigh, thinks how tragic it all must have been, and closes the book to do something else.

Having lived through two hurricanes last year and watched 4 hurricanes rake other parts of Florida the year before that I have to wonder. Are we here in South Florida a paragraph in a book? Something like this:

In April of 1918 there was a mild flu that erupted in Western Europe and then ran it's course. However, it was just in hibernation. During the summer it was morphing into a killer. By October of 1918 it was ready to burst onto the scene of history as a deadly virus with symptoms similar to today's Ebola. (These are my own words - not a quote from a book, but the facts are true).

Are we the sentence "however it was just in hibernation"? When the hurricane season strikes this year are we going to get hit with a Big One? So many roofs are still covered with blue plastic. So many fences are still not fixed. The trees look like spindley sticks with pom poms of leaves here and there - at least the ones that didn't keel over and get chopped up and made into mulch. There are still concrete (yes, concrete) poles that are leaning at a Hitchcock angle. And June first is only three months away. The beginning of hurricane season. So many days have gone by since October 22, when Wilma hit here - and so many more days to come.....all in the short space of a sentence in a book.

I wish I could close this book and get up and get a drink or something. I sure wish I wasn't in this particular story, and to say that I'd like to leave Florida before the next hurricane season is an understatement of monumental proportions.

Oh - and let's not even get started on the bird flu - the touted H5N1 virus just like the 1918 flu that is poised to pass from birds to people in the space of a there a deserted island I can get to quick - out of the hurricane zone???