Welcome to Wales Awakening
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Welcoming spring, and the Lord's coming visitation...

snowdrops2017.jpgDear Friends of Wales Awakening:

With March now just a week away, we see signs of the coming spring all around us. Snowdrops are always a welcome sight, and although they don't guarantee an end to cold weather, they certainly brighten the heart as well as this hedgerow outside the chapel yard.

Everywhere one looks now, telltale signs are evident that the seasons are shifting. Some things are more obvious than others, especially the flowers. And the order of things seems to vary each year. Last year the daffodils were out well before the snowdrops. But spring is definitely getting into gear.

Beside this walkway through the garden below our house, the daffodils are up quite high. This one has gotten a jump on the rest as if to daffodilbud.jpgsay, not unlike John the baptist, "Come on guys, prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight!"

Just as so many people here do look forward to springtime with its warmer weather and longer days, we look forward to far brighter things. We are looking for the coming of the Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring souls into His kingdom and change their lives and eternities.

Yesterday's readings included Exodus chapter 4. After Moses and Aaron spoke to the Hebrew leaders and performed the miraculous signs, verse 31 says, "So the people bewelcomespring.jpglieved; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped."

This verse struck me profoundly in three areas. First is that He still visits people, and not only those of us that are His, in the sense of our believing in Him and His word. But He also visits those that don't yet believe. Many testimonies of salvation, if not most, contain these incidents of some sort of visitation, be it an experience or a revelation. (I like the biblical examples of Moses who was just being a curious shepherd, and Paul who was intent on his dastardly mission.)

Secondly, God is aware of our difficulties. As we look around in our world today, there is still plenty of affliction in the human heart. Whether we live in relative comfort in a secure nation or in a desperate situation in a turbulent land, we all, and minidaffodils.jpgespecially non-believers, are all subject to suffering and adversity of one kind of another. And far more than just being aware of our condition, in His amazing grace He sent His own Son to come and not only address our affliction but to resolve it. Hebrews 2:15-16 says "...that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."

The third and perhaps most pertinent point was that the believing Hebrew's immediate reaction was to "bow their heads and worship." I think that as Christians it is our most powerful privilege and joy to recognize all that God has done for us, and to then employ that power in prayer for the lost and worship in response to the fact that He wants to use us as instruments of His love and purposes. How amazing is that?

Then reading on from there in Exodus 5 we see where Moses' first visit to Pharaoh totally backfires, and the Hebrews' workload is increased. So in desperation he asks God in verse 22-23, "...Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? ...you have not rescued your people at all." And then the Lord's brilliant response in the very next verse, Exodus 6:1 , is "...'Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.'"

Now I must admit that for a moment I had to stop and contemplate Moses' question here. I found myself asking the Lord again, "Why have you sent us here?" And of course His answer to Moses was more than sufficient for me as well. His plan is to release this world's captives frcrocuses.jpgom their bondage to fear, to sin and to the second death and hell. This is the amazing hope we have in Jesus. He is the only hope for this world, and the desire of ages.

We are entering into our twelfth springtime in here Wales, but there are countless others who have been praying for revival both here and abroad for many more years than that, and who persist with an ever renewed faith and hope. And so we are in good company, and are constantly encouraged, like Abraham of whom Romans 4:20-21 says,"He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform."

In unbounded admiration for Him who gave His all for us,

Dick & Gladys

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A timely reminder from 100 years ago by Seth Joshua

sethjoshua-quote1926.jpgDear Friends:

Last Friday a friend showed me this quote from Seth Joshua, whose preaching had a tremendous impact on Evan Roberts in 1904. It was Seth's prayer, "Lord, bend us", that had a life-changing effect on Evan, and on Wales, and the world.

sethjoshua.jpgThis is a portion from a letter he wrote in the early 1900's to one of his sons who was away at school. It is striking at how well his words seem to fit our present day. We see plenty of mud still flying everywhere these days, and there's more every day.

As to the Christian life, his emphasis is very clear. It is centrally about a relationship with Jesus, and not a systematic belief system or just customary church attendance.
When the Jewish leaders confronted Peter and John after the man lame from birth was healed, they recognized this fact in Acts 4:13. "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus."

And Jesus himself was always at odds with the "tapestries of religion." In Mark 12:38-39, "He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts..."

pruningoldapples.jpgI've been pruning these very old apple trees in our garden the last couple days. Almost every year since we've been here I've trimmed the new growth and tried to thin it out, but they grew untended for too many years. So this year I am cutting back some of the large old branches without mercy, and it almost hurts.

I can't help but see the similarity in our Christian walk. How many things have just been growing alongside our faith in Jesus over the years that don't really contribute to our growth or fruitfulness? I can see there are still things that occupy my time and energy that could be better used in other ways. But do I make significant changes, or just do a superficial pruning?

Our response to Jesus' call to discipleship was not a one time surrender that we made one day long ago. His invitation is an ongoing challenge to our lifestyle. He said in Luke 9:23, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."

So maybe it's time to put away the pruning shears and take out the lopper and the tree saw and do some serious work. The condition of the world around us demands that we start to bear some serious fruit. And that means people around us have to be able to see that we have not just been to church, but that we too have been with Jesus. He is "...the way, the truth, and the life." That is prayer, and that changes things, and us!

This is our prayer for ourselves, for you, and for His church  around the world.

Dick & Gladys

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere...

wherewebelong.jpgDear Friends and Prayers:

Getting back into the rhythm here at home is easier now that jet lag is behind us. And seeing the days start to get longer is always encouraging as well. But it is our daily times of prayer at the chapel that are really bedrock for us, and it's out of this that everything else seems to happen.

This scripture in Isaiah 62:6-7 has long been a source of inspiration for us.
"I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;They shall never hold their peace day or night.You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent,And give Him no rest till He establishesAnd till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth."

As we continue to pray for revival, the deep desire of our hearts is to see Christ Jesus enthroned in hearts and families, churches and towns, and peoples and nations around the world. He is the true and only Prince of Peace that this world needs.

timessquareprayers.jpgWhat we constantly become aware of is that in more and more places around the world people are praying. When we were in New York recently we took a few hours one afternoon to go and visit the recently established Radiance International House of Prayer at Times Square. We met with these two awesome young people that were instrumental in setting up this ministry and got to spend some precious time together.

Torrey comes in from New Jersey, and Anel comes in from the Bronx, where she moved with her family from the Dominican Republic years ago. She's a fluent Spanish speaker so that made things especially nice for us. As they, together with other young people, respond in faith to God's calling to establish  a center for ongoing prayer in this strategic place, we know some marvelous are in store for them, and the city around them. Is was a huge blessing for us to be able to pray for and encourage them in their endeavor, and testify of God's faithfulness uphold and sustain those whom He calls into prayer ministry.

fybprayerday-feb16.jpgYesterday we had the welcome opportunity to attend the Ffald-y-Brenin monthly prayer day for for the first time in a while, and it was wonderful to see many old friends and faithful people of prayer, as well as meet some new ones. There were close to 80 people present, which was a great turnout in a month when attendance is typically less. This once again goes to show there is a building momentum of people being drawn into that place of prayer. The obvious needs in the unstable world around us are provoking God's people to a more conscientious focus on intercession.

During yesterday's worship we sang this song by Kari Jobe.
Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord...

I find that this song expresses one very important element of intercessory prayer. Of course we all love to be made intensely aware of God's incomparable presence, but what this longing should really be all about is that the lost, the helpless and the hopeless in this dying world would also come to be overcome by God's love and His presence in the person of Jesus and the working of the Holy Spirit in power.

moreflags-moreprayers.jpgThis is the deepest appeal of our hearts, that not only the land of Wales, but all the nations of the earth would come to know the power and the grace of the Gospel. It is seeing people ushered in to the eternal Kingdom of God through simple faith in Jesus' atoning blood that is the all important aspect of life. There is no lasting answer in all that things that seem to matter in this world's eyes.

Health, wealth, fame, power or politics are all just passing fancy and meaningless if this first and foremost matter is left unattended. Jesus said very clearly in Mark 8:36. "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" And it is this very revelation by the Holy Spirit directly to the heart of man that must take up a central part in intercessory prayer. Many times it is more powerfully practiced with groanings and tears, hezekiahprays.jpgthrough the same Spirit, than with even the most sincere and heartfelt words. And it is God's response to these prayers that are at the heart of revival.

This starting collection of flags from the nations of people that have come and prayed with us here for revival in Wales, and their own countries of course, are a good visual reminder to pray for "all the world" that Jesus came to redeem for His kingdom.
>>>If you have prayed here with us and don't see your nation's flag and would like to send us one, would you please email us for details? Thank you!

May the Lord inspire and teach each one of us individually how "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." (James 5:16b)  And may His power be the power in our prayers,

Dick & Gladys

Monday, January 30, 2017

We're so glad to be back home!

marshfishing.jpgDear Praying Friends and Saints:

Last Wednesday evening we arrived home again tired and happy after a wonderful two weeks in New York and an extremely full 20 days in Louisiana. We are indeed alive and well, in spite of the very long silence! I think this is the longest time between updates since we've been in Wales. Besides spending almost every waking hour with family and friends, I also had 9 very long sessions with two amazing dentist friends David and Kirk that very generously donated their professional services in support of our wellbeing here. It wasn't particularly fun, I'd much rather have gone fishing like the old days, but we are both extremely grateful for their care and help in such necessary matters. (Don't forget to floss!!!)

During the time in the New Orleans area we stayed with our old friends Pablo and Jaime Cruz, their son Sebastian and baby-bump Raphael. We first met Pablo in the 1990's when he came with his family from Honduras pablojaimecruzfam.jpgand joined our church. He eventually took over my work with the local church and Verbo Ministries, and has since and very happily become a family man. They were wonderful hosts for us in our comings and goings in Kenner.

It was real treat to visit our old home church and greet many old friends as well as meet many new folks that have started coming over the years. It's hard to believe we've been gone for nearly 12 years now, but all the new faces and young people now married and settled down make it undeniable. We are becoming genuine old-timers!

cowboyprayers.jpgWe also took the opportunity to visit our friends at the Cowboy Outreach Church near Shreveport in Northern Louisiana. As always the Lord had our schedule pre-arranged, and we were gladly able to join them for the weekly intercessory prayer meeting and share and spur them on in their pursuit of seeking God's answers to prayer. These saints have been a great encouragement and support to us over the years, and it was a joy to be able to spend time together. We look forward to some of them coming over to spend some time praying with us for the coming Welsh Revival.

Evidence continues to build as we learn of more focus on God's plans for Wales from around the world. On January 20th out of the blue I got this email from a man in Australia that said, "Before I left [for Wales in October] the Holy Spirit came on me and I had to pull over. The Lord said 'strong winds of revival are about to sweep across this nation. These winds  will be stronger than ever before.They will shake the nation to its foundations.'  I felt like I had been given the baton to pass the story to other generations. Every time I click into or think of Wales I begin drinking in the Spirit!"

We spent most of our last week visiting with our son Mike and his wife Lauren when she was available. It was a real delight to just have the freedom to spend relaxed time together and visit between visits to the dentist. Thanks to our friends Luis and Janet Soto who once again gave us the use of their lovely house on the North Shore, mikenglad.jpgwe had the perfect place to just make ourselves at home, play some music together and just enjoy being family again. Of course it's always hard to say our goodbyes, but we have gotten accustomed to it at this stage of the game.

So what seemed like would be a very long time away from home went by all too fast. And although we would have wanted to stay more time to see more people we knew and loved during our 16 years ministering in New Orleans, we were at the same time very glad to be heading back again. Like the old saying goes, "Home is where the heart is."

And we know for sure that our hearts are so very much tied up in this amazing land of revivals. The continual newness of hope for God's movings in this land continues growing apace. We are just glad to be home again and we look forward with excitement to what He has next for us here.

We are infinitely thankful to the Lord for His amazing provision for our every need, and want to thank each of you for your prayers for us, and moreso, for your continued prayers for Wales.

Wishing you every blessing and grace in the Holy Spirit,

Dick and Gladys

Monday, January 02, 2017

Some clear thoughts for the New Year...

With kids in New York CityDear Friends of Wales Awakening:

Welcome to 2017! Traveling from the farms and fields of West Wales to the heart of Brooklyn, New York has been quite a change of scenery! But we have been having a wonderful time with our daughter Grace and son Richard here, exploring a very different world. Last night we watched a fabulous fireworks display in Prospect Park to usher in the new year!

I have been re-reading the last sermon preached in Welsh by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a well loved and respected Welsh pastor and teacher, that a friend gave me several years ago. He is addressing the need for every believer to have direct personal encounter with God. Among the examples he gives is that of Blaise Pascal, a 17th century French mathematician, physicist, inventor and Christian philosopher.

Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662At one point in his life he had an extraordinary encounter with God, and kept a written description of it sewn into a piece of clothing he always wore, as if to constantly remind himself of this all-important event. I thought it was brilliant, and that it could be a good focal point for our own lives as we look ahead to this new year and the inevitable ebb and flow of current events.

Pascal found himself for about two hours surrounded by "the fire of the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. Not the God of philosophers and scholars. Certainty, certainty, feeling joy, peace. The God of Jesus Christ, forgetting the world and everything except God. It can only be received in the way it is taught in the gospel. The greatness of the human soul. O Holy Father, the world does not know you, but I know you. Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy…. He concluded by quoting Psalm 119:16: 'I will not forget thy word. Amen.'"

As we look forward to the many changes and challenges this year will surely bring, let us keep in mind this wonderful truth that, "... in Him we live and move and have our being..." Acts 17:28

Dick & Gladys


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