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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Through a glass darkly . . .

Dear Friends & Prayers:

When I got in my car this morning to go up to the chapel, this is the view that greeted me from the inside. These beautiful designs were formed by the first freeze of approaching winter, and look like they could have been made by angels' wings brushing their feathers a little too close in the early hours of the dawn.

I was reminded of the verse in 1 Corinthians 13:12 that says, "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." Of course I know that these dark forms are the banks and trees of our driveway. However I saw this as a picture in relation to the purpose and goal of our prayers here. We have a sense of things to come, but any details are still beyond our view. Like in this photo, the lower segment is too dark to make out anything. And so it is also many times in the earthly and practical level.

But when we lift our eyes higher to "look towards Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith," we do see the beauty of the Lord's workings around us - in our relationships with other saints, in a growing openness and hunger among church leaders for more of God's agenda, and many other ways as well.

Unlike in the car where I could clear the windshield and get moving, we can't hasten the Lord's timing and see around the next corner. But with patience and persistence we will see clearly when the time comes. We know that He will complete the work that He has started, and will fulfill the plans for which He brought us this far. We are always encouraged by His goodness, and so very thankful that His tender mercies are new every morning!

In His wonderful care,

Dick & Gladys

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Restore, oh Lord . . .

Dear Friends & Prayers:

Once again the fields are plowed and made ready to plant winter wheat. And in like manner we continue planting through prayer and look to God with joy for the coming harvest. Speaking of which, we recently joined a small choir at one of the local fellowships and Saturday night sang at Mt. Zion's Harvest Thanksgiving Dinner near Cardigan. One of the songs we sang was "Restore, O Lord" by Graham Kendrick, which we have been practicing during the past month.

I had never heard this powerful song before, and have been deeply touched by the lyrics. The words express some of the many aspects of our prayers, and the longing that the Lord has put in our hearts for this land. So I've been actually praying through the words lately in the chapel, and found it to be a wonderful platform for our intercession here. So I am including the lyrics as an encouragement and stimulus for your own prayers.

Restore, O Lord
The honour of Your name
In works of sovereign power
Come shake the earth again
That men may see
And come with reverent fear
To the living God
Whose kingdom shall outlast the years

Restore, O Lord
In all the earth Your fame
And in our time revive
The church that bears Your name
And in Your anger
Lord, remember mercy
O living God
Whose mercy shall outlast the years

Bend us, O Lord
Where we are hard and cold
In Your refiner's fire
Come purify the gold
Though suffering comes
And evil crouches near
Still our living God
Is reigning, He is reigning here

We know that He is indeed reigning here, and we see the evidence gradually mounting of His moving throughout the land. As we get to know and share with more and more people we discover collectively there is a definite stirring and working of the Holy Spirit on individual hearts and lives. Yesterday we enjoyed a visit from our friends Qday and Bridget with their son Noah, whom we have known for a couple of years. I took them to see the chapel and we spent some time worshiping and praying.

At the end of our time there Qday told me he had seen in the spirit that there was a crack that had formed in the wall, and that water was beginning to seep through it, and there was evidence that the crack was growing as well as the amount of water coming inside. It was apparent that this was Living Water gradually making its way into the structure of the chapel!

Of course we were overjoyed to hear this, and know things are moving forward in God's perfect timing. I did, however, think within myself momentarily, "Are we going to be ready when God's Spirit comes pouring out in sovereign power?" And I take this not only as significant for our particular situation in the chapel and this area, but in the greater Body throughout Wales and beyond.

As I write this, I remember late last week I had a dream that we were in an old building with many people sharing supper around tables, and suddenly the presence of the Lord began to move on a few people at one table. And I found myself in the dream asking the same question about if we were ready, if this was really the time?

So we are constantly encouraged and challenged by these things, and are looking forward with great hope and anticipation of what God has in store for those of us that love Him, and the countless thousands that will learn to love Him in the times ahead. As we all press on in the pathway where the Lord has each of us strategically placed, remember the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

Keeping our hands on the plow and our eyes on Jesus,

Dick & Gladys


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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Update about Gladys - Thank you for your prayers!

Dear Friends & Prayers:

We just got home from the barium x-ray exam and they could see NOTHING ABNORMAL in Gladys's colon and abdominal area, so we bless the Lord for that!

They will do a detailed study of the x-rays, and then figure out what step to take next as far as trying to find the cause of her difficulties. But for the moment we can lay to rest any momentary concerns about any potentially serious problem.

We appreciate your continued prayers, and will let you know what progress is made. Meanwhile, we're believing the Lord for her to be totally restored to great health in short order!

With love and thanks,

Dick & Gladys


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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hoping for Healing in Him!

Dear Praying Saints:

This is the last cucumber of the year from our greenhouse, unless "global warming" really kicks into high gear! I've been cutting a bit of firewood on dry days, and the smell of autumn is in the air. Tomorrow is the Harvest Thanksgiving service in the chapel and the pastor has asked me to do the opening prayer and read Psalm 100 which I consider an honor. I'm wondering if I dare try it in Welsh!

We have a special request for prayer concerning Gladys' health situation. In early August we had asked you to pray for a few incidents of shortness of breath. Well, that has mostly disappeared, thank God, but at the same time she was dealing with a stomach virus which still has not cleared up. After a round of antibiotics, she continued with difficulties, and the problem seems to have centered mostly in her colon.

She saw a specialist a few weeks ago and on examination he couldn't see anything noticeably wrong, and has scheduled her for a barium X-ray examination of the digestive tract this coming Tuesday. We hope they find nothing wrong of course, but also think it would be a blessing if they found a situation that can be easily remedied, and at the same time eliminate the possiblity of anything "sinister" as the doctor here mentioned. She has also lost enough weight to make her clothes be very loose. She has been going through pain and bloating for over two months now, and at times loses sleep because of it. And the resulting tiredness has been giving her a bit of dizziness recently now also. Lying in bed at night awake, her mind is having to deal with questions and doubts. We are planning to travel to the States to see our children in December, and she wonders if she'll be able to travel at all. So it really has been very difficult for her, and we would highly value your earnest prayers on her behalf.

We know that while there is breath, there is hope, and so are learning to trust the Lord through these times of physical adversity. Seven or eight years ago Gladys struggled with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and at times it was very severe and debilitating. And then without any particular "event", God touched her and healed her completely! And so by the time we got the call to come to Wales, that old condition never even came to mind!

So we know, and Gladys knows first-hand, that God can and does heal. But when and how is still the mystery. But it seems that since our trip to Crete in May, she has been hit with one thing after another, and we are both learning to be strengthened by it rather than getting worn down.

Romans 5 says, "3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

And with our friend Tony's recent healing from cancer, we are indeed hopeful, and praying and trusting Him for grace and health and strength for Gladys. We deeply appreciate your support and prayers for her during this time, and will keep you abreast of the situation.

So glad our hope is in Him,

Dick & Gladys


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