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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Lighten up! - A Morning Lesson from 2011...

Dear Saints and Praying Friends:

While visiting friends many years ago, I discovered this cross-stitched embroidery in a frame on the wall. It made an instant impression on me - I laughed my head off! As I recall it was made by our friend's grandmother many years ago. And of course I had to take a picture of it for you to enjoy as well. :o)

But after the humorous element subsides, the message grows serious and is a good exhortation for us all. These words of Jesus from Matthew 22:14 were few, "For many are called, but few are chosen." But they are profoundly significant and challenging to us today.

Thankfully God's mercies are new every morning, and every new day He gives us presents new opportunities to grow in our knowledge of Him and to walk in His ways. They are not only are merely opportunities, but are also responsibilities.

Last week in the chapel my curiosity was piqued by the shadow from this ceiling lamp in the top of the arch of the window to the left. Why would it be higher than the lamp itself? The early morning sun was shining down, not up, so how could this be?

There could only be one explanation, the sunlight had to be bouncing off of something. So I marched outside with camera in hand to prove my 'theory' and explore what could have such a shiny surface. I couldn't imagine a gravestone having such a perfectly reflective surface.

To my surprise and delight, I found that the best of man's handiwork had been embellished by the One Who knows how to perfect things indeed! The rainfall during the night had pooled on the surface and had this brilliant effect and blinded my eyes with light. I don't think even a glass mirror could have produced such a dazzling result.

While I gazed in admiration of God's doings that so surpass our abilities, lots of things came to mind. First among them was the scripture in Ephesians 5:14 says, "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light." Now here is something worth getting up for. What an amazing promise!

And there are many many more. Jesus, the light of life, has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). And earlier in Ephesians.5, verse 8 says, "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light." Do a search on "darkness + light" and you will be greatly encouraged.

There is a price to be paid (read Romans 6 and 12:1-2) - but it is SO worth it!

And just at that out-of-place shadow caught my attention, so can our lives draw the attention of the people around us that still walk in the darkness of this world. That is what we're called to do. The words of Jesus in Matthew 5:16 say it best. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven"

People running to humble themselves at the foot of the cross of Christ is one of the best ways to glorify our Heavenly Father, wouldn't you agree?

Longing for more of His light in our own lives, and in the lives of all Christians everywhere,

Dick & Gladys

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Praise the Lord! He reigns forever!

ontherock.jpgDear Friends:

"Say among the nations, 'The Lord reigns.' The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity." These words of Psalm 96:10 are a good exhortation and encouragement in the times we are living in. As global events seem to make our world shake every which way, it is an amazing privilege that we get to stand on solid ground.

Like everyone else we were shocked and dismayed to learn of the horrific incident in Las Vegas. Such unprovoked and unthinkable aggression that devastated the lives of so many innocent people just seems too impossible to be real. But tragically it is all too real and intensely painful for every person directly affected. And it is painful for the rest of us as well.

And we cry out like David in Psalm 61:1-2, "Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

Sadly, this was just one more of countless tragic happenings around the world. And how about the many more that we never hear about? They make us ask ourselves, "fallfoxglove.jpgWhere is righteousness and justice? What is going on in this world?" And just as sadly, we must recognize the answer as stated in Isaiah 53:6. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way..." This is the simple and uncomfortable fact, both for individuals and for nations. And the Lord will judge each one with equity and truth.

And yet in this same placfallsweetwiliam.jpge we see the greatest of God's interventions made crystal clear. Isaiah says in the previous verse 5, "...He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." In sending Jesus, God provided the only solution.This is what people need to see, and this is why we need to faithfully pray for revival.

And this also is why we must continue to proclaim among the nations His invitation in Isaiah 45:22, "Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other." We are called as ambassadors to boldly speak out Jesus' own words in Matthew 11:28, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

Thank you for joining us as we pray and long for the nations to hear and recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd.

Dick & Gladys

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Can we really please God? How do we go about it?

ceibwrbay.jpgDear Friends and Prayers:

Yesterday morning I read in 2 Samuel 22:20, "He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me." I stopped for a while to consider this amazing statement of David's, and how through Jesus finished work at Calvary, we too can actually delight the Lord. And then soon afterwards, spontaneously we found ourselves admiring this beautiful scenery quite close to home!

As I pondered on this concept of actually pleasing the Lord, it was immediately obvious that there is nothing in us that could ever qualify us. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." So it is all God's doing - His reaching out in mercy and bringing us into fellowship with Himself.

The predominant trend of this world is always to put ourselves first. "What can I get that will make me happy? What can I do so I can have greater security and satisfaction in life?" But for us as believers, what an incredible privilege that we can actually please Him that created us. So the question that follows is, "What can we do to please God?" Surely this must become our life's greatest quest!

autumn2017.jpgIt's not about pleasing Him to get something in return, rather it's simply about our desiring to please Him because of His goodness and lovingkindness towards us. It's about our loving Him because He first loved us. And then, when we wisely invest this priceless gift of faith in actively believing Him, and incorporating obedience to His word into our daily lives, then we bring joy to His heart. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 4:1, " Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God..."

Most of us can remember our own children as they were growing up. What did they do that brought joy to our lives? Perhaps their telling us stories of their discoveries, or making some small gift especially for us. Or everyday things like simply doing what was asked of them, or even just coming when they were called, was sure to please us. Or their just wanting to spend time with us, asking us questions, wanting to hear a story, or just needing a cuddle was almost always a delight.

Likewise, each one of us have unique ways in which we can bring delight to our loving Faceibwrcoastalpath.jpgther's heart. He loves to have us come and spend time with Him! Jesus says in Mark 10:14, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." In essence, the Lord is inviting us to run to Him anytime. And we read in James 4:5, "Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the [His] spirit he has caused to dwell in us?"

And like in any relationship, it comes down time spent together, quality time. That can be worship, study, prayer, or many other ways as individual as you are. And as we come to Him, He is faithful to meet with us and teach us His ways. And as we follow those ways, Psalm 37:23 says, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way."

Is there any greater delight for us than to be a delight to Him?

Dick & Gladys 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hurricanes and floods and the basics of life...

llechrydflood.jpgDear Praying Friends and Saints:

After several days of heavy rains last week the Teifi River overflowed its banks. This is a picture of the bridge in Llechryd about one and a half miles upstream from our house. To give you an idea of how deep the water is, the inset photo shows us standing by the bridge on the far side when the river is at its normal height.

Of course this is no comparison to the disastrous flooding in different countries from hurricanes and monsoon rains recently. Our hearts and prayers go out to the thousands who have lost their loved ones, and the hundreds of thousands who have lost homes, possessions and even their livelihoods in some parts the world.

Thankfully there are wonderful humanitarian aid efforts underway in most of those places, but the damage and hardship are still great. And yet more storms are on the way. May the Lord extend His grace and mercy in this time of need.

While walking across the bridge we noticed some other people looking down over llechrydfloodvictim.jpga spillway section of the wall. On the ledge just below there was a tiny field mouse scurrying back and forth looking for something to eat. Another one was carefully making its way along the debris floating on the water's surface also hunting for food. In their suddenly upturned and miniaturized world, they were just getting on with the basics of living.

It is events such as these that should point all of us towards the real basics of life also. David certainly recognized his place in the great scheme of things when he said in Psalm 39:5, "Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor." And we read in James 1:11, "For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits."

In light of this fact, any humanitarian aid is, at best, just temporary. Jesus  addresses the only lasting "basics of life" when He says in John 17:3, "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." God provides the way to have our "lives of vapor" transformed into "lives for eternity" in Christ. And His promise in John 6:37 is that "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." Now that Good News is God's "aid package", and lasts forever!

Last week a young couple from the Netherlands spent a few days with us. We first met them as part of a prayer mission team to Wales a couple of years ago. Annetherlandsflag.jpgd then last year they came to serve for a few months at the Bible College in Swansea.

It was a real delight to have some dedicated time with them in our home. Their heart for the Lord is so genuine, and their simplicity and engagement in prayer were a great stimulus for us. We also now have a flag from the Netherlands, which we have wanted after having had two other groups from there over the years.

Before they left on Saturday morning we hung the flag in the chapel and prayed over their nation. And that same morning they got news from home that a statement had just been released declaring that the Netherlands no longer a Christian nation. So that made our prayers all the more significant.

Please join us in prayer for nations, as people there also pray for Wales. Pray that through the inevitable storms of life that people will recognize their need for God's  eternal "aid package", Jesus His own Son.

Dick & Gladys

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The world's smallest museum? What is that all about?

teifivalleyrainbow.jpgDear Praying Friends:

The ever changing beauty of Wales is a constant reminder of God's gift of life to each of us. And like the changing world of nature around us, so are His love and mercies towards us. As we walk through each day in our relationship with Him, He is ever with us and enables us to grow as we go.

Against the backdrop of this bright rainbow we saw on Saturday, there are telltale traces in the leaves as autumn begins to make its entrance. The deep greens of summer are giving way to changes now too. The morning air is cooler and crisp, and brings with it the fragrance of early fall. How did that happen so quickly?

Last weekend we had a brief visit with friends from Singapore. We first met Moses and Angela in December 2008 when they came with two other couples to visit the nearby Ffald-y-Brenin retreat center. He has visited a few times since then, and we had a chance to meet their family when we were in Singapore a few years ago.

They came this time on combined business trip and mini-holiday, and it was good to spend some quality moses-angela-st.govans.jpgtime with them. They had a couple of prayer assignments that they needed to accomplish - certain places and specific prayers for each one. We were glad that one of them was at St. Govan's Chapel on the south coast of Pembrokeshire, a favorite spot of ours in our own county. It was a blessing to accompany them, and blend our hearts in prayer together.

On our way to the chapel this morning, I parked the car by the little bridge about a mile from home and went back to meet Gladys who frequently walks there from the house. Just before the bridge is a traditional olminimuseum.jpgd British "telephone box."  But this is no ordinary phone box. This one is actually a tiny museum, and I'm sure it must be the smallest museum in the UK, if not the whole world.

As I approached it, I considered how ridiculously tiny this is compared to any other museum. There are museums in small towns all around the world. There are massive and famous museums with every sort of collection imaginable. And there are specialized museums of technology, transportation, etc, etc.

oldbible.jpgSuddenly the Lord began to impress on my heart that this tiny museum is like the Bible among the world of books. One estimate says there are nearly 130 million books in the world, and about 1500 new ones are published every day. That is a lot of books. But there is none like the Bible. It is the Word of the Living God!

It is this Book alone, far above all others, that has the power of God to change lives. Throughout history, this amazing book has changed the eternal destiny of untold millions. When Jesus asked the disciples if they also wanted to abandon Him when others turned away in John 6:68, "But Simon Peter answered Him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'"

carriageladies.jpgIn 1 Corinthians 1:18 the apostle Paul tells us, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

We know that heaven and earth will pass away, along with all of its millions of books. But 1 Peter 1:23 says, "...having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,"

As we give our hearts to study the lives of the men and women of old throughout the God-inspired words of the Bible, we find invaluable lessons for life, and spiritual growth and strength. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 we read, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for fancydudes.jpgdoctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Obviously I'm not saying anything new here, but I just wanted to pass my morning revery along to you as a reminder and encouragement. We have free access to the hands-down greatest treasure in the whole world. Let's keep it busy renewing our minds and changing lives, both our and those of others. And please remember to pray for believers that don't have this treasure of God's Word available to them.

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

Dick & Gladys


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