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Friday, December 30, 2011

A Firm Trust for a New Year; and a child's prayer

Dear Friends and Prayers:

Do you ever get the feeling that each passing year goes by faster than the year before? Another one will be over tomorrow already, and Sunday kicks off 2012! It's hard to believe, but here we are. We wish you all the best of God's blessings for the New Year!

A new year usually brings high expectations and positive resolutions, but for many in today's world that is a tall order. Economic instability is evident at home and abroad, and political unrest and violence in many areas of the globe fill the news. For many people there is a growing apprehension about what the future holds.

What an immense blessing to know that we can totally trust the Lord in whatever circumstances we find ourselves! Psalm 4:8 says, "I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety." And in Psalm 118:8-9 we read, "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes."

Our friends' little dog showing such serenity and trust in her mistress is a great example of just how absolutely we can trust in the One who cares for us. Nahum 1:7 says, "The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him."

As we look towards the coming year here in Wales, we anticipate great things, and rest confidently in Him who has placed us here. We are still learning to trust in His grace and goodness every day, and know that He will never let us down.

There are many things that encourage and fuel our prayers for revival here. The scriptures are the principal source, but there are others. Here is an excerpt from "When God Came to North Wales", edited by Philip Eveson, which I mentioned earlier this month. This portion was taken from the Rhos Herald, the local newspaper on December 24, 1904. The paper carried a running account of events during the revival itself.

   In Capel Mawr on Monday night a great crowd gathered together for prayer. The usual order of the service was broken by a little girl, hardly twelve years old, rising to her feet in the middle the crowd and offering up one of the most striking prayers heard. It was, of course, a child's prayer, but in its simplicity it was overpowering.
   The crowd was shaken like leaves and their feelings were melted into liquid by pure, innocent eloquence. Strong men shook like bushes before the wind and many cheeks were wet with streams of tears-cheeks that had been dry in many a worse circumstance. For many this was the strongest impact the Revival and the one that affected them most deeply.

Scenes like these are more than enough to whet our appetite for more of Jesus in our own lives and the lives of those around us. It was the moving of the Holy Spirit in and through the people of God, mostly in times of prayer, that people's lives were transformed. Many times godly preachers such as Rev. R.B. Jones never got to deliver their sermons because the Lord was already at work in the hearts of the people.

So we welcome the challenge of a new year, and we invite you to join us in lifting our hearts and voices to heaven that His will be done in our own lives and in our communities and the nations of the world!

In the amazing love of Jesus our Savior,

Dick & Gladys


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Friday, December 16, 2011

God intervenes for broken-hearted prayers!

Dear Saints and Praying Friends:

Suddenly we find ourselves in winter now. There's not much freezing yet, but lots of hail and wind, and very short days. But by this time next week the days start growing longer again, and that is always nice to see. Gladys enjoying stoking the fire - the closest we get to sunshine on grey wintery days.

In my readings recently I have found some very encouraging portions of scripture that add some fuel for our prayers. This part of chapter 2 of Zephaniah says that,

"7 The coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah;
They shall feed their flocks there;
In the houses of Ashkelon they shall lie down at evening.
For the LORD their God will intervene for them,
And return their captives...
11 The LORD will be awesome to them,
For He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth;
People shall worship Him, Each one from his place,
Indeed all the shores of the nations."

As we dedicate ourselves to prayer and intercede according the Holy Spirit's promptings, then I believe the Lord will intervene for us as well. And the end of the matter, the culmination of the ages, is that people of all nations will worship Him. Now that is a glorious prospect, wouldn't you say?

Also Zephaniah 3:18-19 can teach us something about the tone of our prayer, and God's response. "I will gather those who sorrow over the appointed assembly [the condition of Israel and the church], who are among you, to whom its reproach is a burden... And gather those who were driven out; I will appoint them for praise and fame In every land where they were put to shame." If we allow our hearts to really be broken in prayer to the point of suffering, we know they are producing a real effect.

We want to wish each of you a Happy and Blessed Christmas. We heard this song for the first time last year, and have been deeply touched by the message, and still struggle to keep a dry eye... "Where's the Line to See Jesus?"

This world is so much adrift in emptiness, and the external trappings of the materialistic "celebration" emphasize that even more. We pray for the days when there will be lines to see Jesus outside the doors of our homes, our church buildings, and even our workplaces!

May God bless you and your loved ones this Christmastime with His presence,

Dick & Gladys


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Thursday, December 08, 2011

Fuel for God's fire...

Dear Praying Friends:

We have just been reading about the 1904 revival in North Wales. It is fascinating to discover how the Holy Spirit began to work there the very same day as in South Wales without any contact between God's people. The next morning the preacher in the North telegraphed the news to his wife in the South, and soon both places knew they were sharing in a sovereign move God.

There is something about the spontaneity of God's intervention in human affairs that captivates our hearts with longing. How we desperately need Him! And yet there seems to be nothing tangible that we can do hurry Him along.

This ancient castle reminds us of what great things can be accomplished when people are dedicated to a clear purpose. And yet the passage of time brings all to naught - all except what is built in the Kingdom of God. We are the work of His hands!

As the church we can do wonderful things, and I'm sure many of us have shared in them. We can start great mission projects, have amazing worship groups and follow church growth programs, and there is usually some fruit from them. But I think more and more believers these days long for something far greater. There is a yearning for revival!

In a recent meeting we were praying for a specific project. During the worship I saw a vision. I found myself in a large open area or moorland, and it was nighttime. In the middle there was fire burning brightly. It wasn't particularly large, but it was burning along very well.

After a moment I began to notice that there were pieces of wood being added to the fire. Some were large and heavy, others were smaller with some branches still attached. They came slowly towards the fire from all directions around, and were added to the blaze one after the other. The curious part was that the pieces of wood were not being carried by someone and placed on the fire. But rather each piece somehow came by itself.

What the Lord impressed on me was that this is how He is building His church today. Those that He is calling to be involved are not adding something that they have, but rather they are putting themselves on the fire - His altar. Each one is saying to the Lord, "Here am I! Send me" like in Isaiah 6:8. In other words, "Here I am Lord, let my life be fuel for Your fire, myself, my life, my goals and dreams, my hours and days, consumed for Your purposes. Let me be the fuel."

The move of God that we long for is going to have a stiff price. It is not about people giving of their substance to bring this thing to pass, but people literally offering their lives as a living sacrifice to see this through. There is a growing sense of excitement and expectation in the Body of Christ as we discover more and more of God's family who are paying the price and standing in the gap through prayer and lifestyle.

Like the faithful ones of Hebrews chapter 11, we are waiting for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. There is of course the heavenly country that He has prepared for us. But we believe He is ever closer to moving upon our world with great power and glory!

Trusting in His grace alone,

Dick & Gladys


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Thursday, December 01, 2011

We are ALL called to pray...

Dear Friends and Praying Saints:

This amazing brightness of nature stands out in vivid contrast to our shorter and darker days. It is just such a great reminder of what living in Jesus really means for us!

We find ourselves surrounded these days by the human race "braining" its way through serious difficulties on so many fronts. How it rejoices the heart to know that "... your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory."   Colossians. 3:3

Jesus' poured out His life for us to give us this position. This is our place of "permanent residence" - the here and now is just temporary housing. And it is from this "place of peace" we can pray in confidence for the many needs we see around us, from personal needs to local and even international concerns, of which there are plenty.
Philippians 4:6 says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;"

There are so many things going on around the world that really need our prayers. Why not ask the Lord to show you if there is any specific area He would have you commit to pray for regularly besides the things for which you are currently praying? If we all take on one more "prayer target", it will make a difference. There is an old song from scripture that has been going through my mind a lot recently. I believe this verse not only outlines God's conditions for wholesome Christian character, but also helps to establish a good heart attitude for our prayers. It comes from Micah 6:8.

"He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
"

Speaking of the importance of prayer and the difference it can make, here is an exciting piece of news. Do you recall several weeks ago I asked you to pray about a prospective minister and his family for Blaenau Ffestiniog? Well the Lord has confirmed all that now, and announcement was made last Sunday that they will be moving there in the coming spring. So please keep them in your prayers during this transition time.

As I said, there are so very many things that need prayer in the world around us. It is wonderful to continually hear of more people who God is actively drawing into places of significant directed prayer.

We have so many things to be thankful for, and rejoice in God's wonderful faithfulness!

May the Holy Spirit guide us all,

Dick & Gladys


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