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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Keys for prayer . . .

Dear Friends & Prayers:

I couldn't resist taking this picture of a crowd of cowslips growing on a bank in the chapel cemetery. "According to legend, St. Peter dropped the keys to Heaven and where they landed Cowslips grew (the flowers were thought to resemble a set of keys)." So they are a good reminder for our prayers here. I think there are so many because each one represents a specific key for every person, just waiting to be picked up!

God's invitation for salvation is for everyone, and Jesus says in John 6:37, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." So our prayers are focused on this amazing hope for the multitudes of people who are seeking for meaning or something more in life, but don't yet understand that their real need and desire is for right relationship with Him!

Another aspect of prayer that has become prominent during the past week comes from the book of Judges. In chapter 10 the children of Israel are sorely oppressed by the Philistines and Ammonites, and acknowledging their sin in going after other gods, they cry out to God. He basically told them to get lost and that He would deliver them no more. But it says in verse 16, "So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD. And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel."

This phrase really caught my heart up! What does this really mean? Can we pray that once again His soul is so moved? Isn't there enough misery and oppression in modern day Israel to bring Him to action? Or if we apply it to the world around us, don't our current adversaries - poverty, wars, political corruption, gross immorality and perversion, abortion, broken homes, substance abuse, financial hardship - qualify us for some divine relief?

A closer look reveals two basic things. The children of Israel not only cried out to God, but they changed their actions - they put away their foreign gods, and served the Lord. And so for our world, and ourselves, what are these "foreign gods"? And what changes need we make in our activities and lifestyles? Here, I believe, is some serious food for thought and prayer. As you pray, please dwell on these matters and seek the Lord on how each of us can specifically pray and so move the heart of God to be merciful to this needy world.

Touched by His heart,

Dick & Gladys


Monday, April 21, 2008

Springtime forever!

Dear Friends & Prayers:

Days are getting longer now - it is just getting dark here at the chapel, and it's a quarter to nine! So it is of some comfort know that warmer days are not too far behind. Once again it is lambing season, birds are building their nests, and new life is bulging everywhere in the natural world around us. For example, check out this "WIDE LOAD!"

We can see the greening up of spring every day from our living room window, and spring is always such a joyful and inspiring time of year. New growth and new life abound, and not only show wonders of God's amazing earthly creation, but also reflect what is going on in His eternal kingdom.

There is one basic difference though. Spring comes every year in the cycle through each season. But the newness of life we have in Christ is ongoing! And the hope we look forward to, the "springtime of the Spirit", is one that doesn't fade away into an autumn and stark winter, but continues from glory to glory forever. Isn't that an amazing future?

In the eternal realm, things are growing and ripening for the harvest. Revelation 14:15 says, "And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” And as we open the eyes and ears of our spirit we know there is much growth taking place in the Kingdom of God around the world. We hear wonderful testimonies of the Holy Spirit moving in marvelous ways, and rejoice in the growing and ripening that is taking place.

While we continue our specific intercessory work in Wales, we are just one tiny part of what the Lord is doing. And keeping our eyes on the big picture is of great comfort and encouragement to us. The many precious promises in God's word are being fulfilled every day, and we partake of them with thankful expectation. While reading where Joshua reminded the children of Israel in chapter 21:45 "Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass", I was reminded again of how absolutely faithful He really is. And we know that we, His body, you and us, will see His goodness and glory fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.

Anticipating more of His goodness,

Dick & Gladys


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Praying for God's gladness in the nations

Dear Friends & Prayers:

The other morning I was reading Psalm 106 and was particularly touched by David's prayer in verses 4 and 5. His expression captures the essence of our intercession here in Wales.

"Remember me, O Lord, with the favor Your have toward Your people.
Oh, visit me with Your salvation.
That I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones,
That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation,
That I may glory with Your inheritance."

His cry "Visit me with Your salvation" shows a heart openly recognizing his constant need for the Lord's touch of grace and mercy. He also makes it clear that the direct result of God's salvation is the benefit and gladness of the nation with whom he identifies, and for whom he is praying. And I see "glorying with Your inheritance" as being able to rejoice iwht all the people in their acknowledgment of God and their dependence on and worshipful gratitude to Him.And as David continues his prayer in verse 6 he proceeds directly to his recognition of national sin, saying that they did understand or remember God's mercies.

On Saturday we went to a local "car boot market" (outdoor flea market), where Gladys bought several old newspapers from Toronto, Canada, dated May 7, 1945, the day that Germany surrendered in World War II . It was very interesting to read the accounts, etc. But what most impacted me was the large amount of advertisements, several full pages among them, quoting Psalms and prayers and expressions of gratitude to Almighty God for giving victory to the Allies over the Nazi threat. Most of them were paid for by corporations, some still in existance, and clearly showed the context of a society that was God-fearing. There was open remembrance of God's goodness in public life.

Wouldn't it be a welcome sight to find publications like this in today's press. We pray that it doesn't take such a tragic and horrendous series of events in the world to bring people back to their senses and recognize our debt to our creator andsource of life. And as David cried out, "That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation", please join us in the cry of our hearts for this small nation. We know that this is the desire in God's own heart too, and not just for Wales, but the nations of the entire earth! By His grace and mercy we can make a difference in today's world!

"Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me." Psalm 63:7-8

So thankful for His sustaining love,

Dick & Gladys


Sunday, April 06, 2008

A little snow just in time . .

Dear Friends & Prayers:

As of yesterday, spring had sprung, with a week of fine weather at last. We've been busy getting a new vegetable garden ready, digging up this plot and deciding what to plant. I got up early this morning to go out and do a few more runs with Alex's rototiller but found things getting covered in snow. It was the first, and hopefully the last for this season.

It was quite beautiful watching the clouds come up the river valley and dumping their cold cargo in a slow-building blanket of white. It came in a great variety - little white light balls like styrofoam, then great wet flakes and then small wispy featherlike ones. Staring out the window I reminisced about wonderful early morning radio announcements of schools closed, and entire days spent at play outside. So much for gardening for today!

As the daffodils have long since come and now are drying up and making way for more spring flowers, this late snow has really made most folks laugh at Wales' unpredictable weather, and every adult at least appreciates the fact that by this afternoon it was practically all melted away. Although tonight I can hear the occasional tap tapping of more icy precipitation on the window, we expect it won't amount to much.

Going to a worship service this evening, Gladys spied this otter looking for dinner in the Teifi River when we crossed the bridge on our way from the chapel to Cardigan. He didn't seem too worried about more snow, and was enjoying the afternoon sun like ourselves! Click the image to see the action.

Yesterday I received an email from a couple who are pastoring in Liverpool. It said, "I was reading up on the Welsh Revival as a man had a dream in our church about a Welsh man singing a hymn in a service, and then he went outside to our local park, and there were many thousands of people sitting on the grass with their hands lifted to the sky worshiping God." We continually are hearing encouraging things like this, and so thankful that the Lord keeps reminding us that there is more going on than meets the eye! In the spiritual sense, we may have occasional and untimely snowy days, but evidence that spring is upon us is everywhere and far outweigh s any momentary bleakness. What a lively hope sustains us and keeps us moving against the current of this world!

Thankfully in His hands,

Dick & Gladys


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