Welcome to Wales Awakening
Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Remembering where home is in trying times...

You, O God, are my king from ages past, bringing salvation
to the earth.Dear Friends and Prayers:

This verse in Psalm 74 immediately brought a melody to mind from many years ago. It touched me so deeply that I just had to find out what it was. That led me to discover all the original words of this amazing old hymn by Isaac Watts based on Psalm 90, and I want to share it with you here. I hope you take the time to reflect on the significance of each verse.

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

Image source: https://images.app.goo.gl/4usLjWn7rby9dvnMA

Thy Word commands our flesh to dust,
“Return, ye sons of men”:
All nations rose from earth at first,
And turn to earth again.

A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
With all their lives and cares,
Are carried downwards by the flood,
And lost in foll’wing years.

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the op’ning day.

Like flow’ry fields the nations stand
Pleased with the morning light;
The flow’rs beneath the mower’s hand
Lie with’ring ere ’tis night.

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.
             (Isaac Watts, Published 1719)

We pray This great photo taken recently from the International Space Station of the United Kingdom adds some context and dimension to the words of this hymn and all the scriptures. Psalm 73:28 says, "But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do."

So as we draw close to God during this season, let's remember to share with those around us who our source of strength and hope is.

Dick & Gladys

Monday, May 11, 2020

A special anniversary in the shadow of His wings!

Dear Friends and Prayers:

As incredible as it seems, on this morning fifteen years ago we found ourselves standing with half of our worldly possessions outside Heathrow Airport in London! Our Welsh adventure had begun and here we were—full of expectation and wonder at how the Lord had sovereignly moved us here lock, stock and barrel. After twenty-nine years of ministry among Latin Americans, this radical change had all the markings of foolishness.

Now, looking back over our time here, we are always amazed at how the Lord has continually upheld us in so many ways. We have had challenges in many areas, but God has faithfully seen us through them all. We are so thankful that His ways are not our ways.

Yesterday morning we read the story of Ruth. When Boaz first speaks with her on the first day she goes to glean in his fields, he says in chapter 2:12, "'...The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.'" As I read those words, I was overwhelmed once again with gratitude for how secure a refuge He has been for us.

Landing in Beulah On that same day, on the drive into Wales, I stopped to take this picture as we neared our destination. The bright flowers and the name of the town for "some reason" just grabbed our attention. What we could never have known at the time was that this was the town where we would live for our first years in Wales. And even more surprising, the white entrance just ahead on the right would be where we made our home after five months of very temporary housing situations while we looked to rent a place of our own.

Isaiah 62:4 says, "You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; For the Lord delights in you, And your land shall be married." After moving so many times, nine, in fact, we did feel a bit "forsaken". And then to find ourselves in such a lovely place was yet again more heartwarming evidence of God's care for us. And that has continued unbroken for all these fifteen years.

We also took this scripture to heart as it applied to this land of Wales. Like any other nation in this world, until its people come into a right relationship with their Creator, they will indeed be desolate. As it says in Ephesians 2:12-13, "...at that time you were without Christ, ...strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ."

And so this is our ongoing prayer, that this land shall be married—joined to the Body of Christ—through God's saving grace. Thank you so much for your continued interest and prayer support prayer for Wales and the nations, especially in these difficult times,

Dick & Gladys

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Confronted by a strong man's weakness...

thanks to: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/675047431627232673/Dear Praying Friends:

While reading the story about Samson and Delilah this morning in Judges 16, my attention was arrested by verse 20. "And she said, 'The Philistines are upon you, Samson!' So he awoke from his sleep, and said, 'I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!' But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him."

This has always struck me as one of the greatest tragedies among many in the Old Testament, and I began to consider how this could have happened. Had Samson just grown used to his extraordinary strength, and forgotten its source? I think not, because he didn't want to reveal it to Delilah. But his active awareness of God's extraordinary anointing on his life had been dulled by the things of this world. Apparently, his chief interests lay elsewhere.

To my understanding, in Old Testament times, the spirit of God would usually "come upon" people for specific messages, tasks, or periods of time. But now, through God's amazing grace, we live in the times and promises of the New Testament. Jesus has told us in John 14:16-18, "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you." This means that He doesn't just come and go from time to time, rather He takes up permanent residence!

Old plaque from late 1800sThis brought me to take a closer look at our own condition. Not unlike Sampson, who didn’t realize the Lord had left him, we too can so easily get caught up in the process of our day-to-day living that we find ourselves oblivious to His presence in every aspect of our lives. That fact that we could even forget such an overwhelming truth is, in itself, very sobering. This old framed quote is a good reminder of that. 

Tree by the pond...David takes it a step further in Psalm 19:14. "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer." Now, this gets way closer to home, and frankly, could even make us downright uncomfortable when we take an honest look at our thought life. (It sounds vaguely like the "thought police" of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four!)

However, the truth runs gloriously in the opposite direction. How can it be that the Creator of the universe humbles Himself enough to live within us, with all our foibles and imperfections? And yet this is exactly what He has done. He redeems us, renews our ways of thinking and living, and makes us His earthly home. How incredibly marvelous is that?

And here once again, David provides the proper context in Psalm 16:11, "You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." So rather than feeling "monitored" in big-brotherly fashion, our hearts can boldly rejoice in the fact He is there in the center of our being and His new law written in our hearts is transforming us day by day.

And what's even more, Isaiah 61:3 says that He has given us His spirit "...that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." Ours is the joyous privilege of pointing others towards His forgiveness and mercy. Now there is something so sizzling bright that it should be unforgettable!

Therefore, as Hebrews 13:5-6 says, "'...because God Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we may boldly say: 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?'"

Dick & Gladys

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Keeping our perspective in a near-sighted world

Bethel Chapel baptistry, Mynachlog-dduDear Friends of Wales Awakening:

We have enjoyed incredibly beautiful weather during recent weeks, and so it was almost impossible not to take an alternative route home from our nearby butcher shop last Friday. The road we chose took us by this old baptistry, and of course we stopped to have a look.

Although the baptistry itself is still filled with last autumn's leaves and winter's fallen twigs, the surrounding area is kept immaculate. There was a quiet sense of peace and purpose there, and during our short time there, I began to connect the dots. Remembering the events around our baptistry at Cilfowyr Chapel last year, which you can read about here, this is just another piece of God's intricate plans for this tiny nation.

Which in turn brings us around to the bigger picture—revival is coming to Wales. God's plans have not changed. And as His word says in 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." Accordingly, all the interest in, and prayers for Wales from around the world during the years we've been here are still very much on target.

View towards Llanboidy from near BaenwaunSo while the world around us, including all the news and social media, are fixated on the coronavirus, it is of utmost importance that we maintain the right perspective, not only for our own wellbeing but for especially for those around us. The earth still grows green, the sun does still shine, although there are clouds and storms, and The King of Heaven is still firmly on His throne.

Time and time again throughout the scriptures we see this truth clearly stated as here in Psalm 29:10-11,
  "The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood,
   And the Lord sits as King forever.
   The Lord will give strength to His people;
   The Lord will bless His people with peace.

It can be difficult to not be dragged into all of the disconcerting daily news about the virus, or the economy, or whatever else is clamoring for, and receiving, the world's attention. But the core of our being can be safely established in Jesus' words in Luke 12:32, "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/71/The_Lord_is_my_Good_Shepherd.jpg/343px-The_Lord_is_my_Good_Shepherd.jpgThis season will surely pass, as have so many other difficult times throughout history. But while we are going through this now, let's keep our eyes and hearts centered on God's perspective. And let's remember to be faithful to our job description, as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:20, "Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God." We won't know many people around us are ready to become part of His flock until we extend the invitation.

And that brings us back to the theme of revival. This is not just our desire, it is God's plan! One of our recent readings spoke to us both very clearly. Joshua 21:45 says, "Not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true." In like manner, He has spoken of this coming revival to literally thousands around the globe. So many people have heard His promises through words and visions, and there are countless testimonies of this, including our own.

During these unexpected and troubling troubling times, our prayers are that people by the tens of thousands turn to the only solid foundation—that they might come to know Him as "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus…" (James 6:19-20)

May God bless, empower, and use you to help reach out to others with the love of Christ,

Dick & Gladys

Monday, April 20, 2020

A few words for the church in Pembrokeshire, and beyond...

Pembrokeshire folksDear Praying Saints:

Some friends recently organized a Facebook group called The Church across Pembrokeshire to help people stay in touch during the Coronavirus lockdown affecting Wales and the UK, as well as so many other nations around the world. They have organized different people to give a brief meditation and prayer each morning.

I was asked to share a few thoughts, but also to introduce ourselves briefly and tell people that don't know us about our calling to pray for revival here. More Pembrokeshire folksSo I thought I'd pass along this link to the video for those of you who are not on Facebook or haven't seen this if you are.

You do not need to have a Facebook account to watch it, so to check it out just click on this link.

We pray that you and your loved ones are all well, and that during this very unusual season your fellowship with the Lord is growing richer day by day. In such times this promise in John 14:23 takes on a special significance. "Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.'"

Dick & Gladys


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