Friends and Prayers:
Christmas Day here was the coldest in a century, only 7 degrees F. (-14C.) on my way up to the chapel in the morning. That capped off over a week of below-freezing tempuratures. And yet by this afternoon almost all the ice and snow has disappeared around where we live!
In an amazing turnaround, kinder temps, wind and rain have changed everything in only two days. I hadn't been able to drive down the lane to the chapel for fear of not getting out again, but today it was washed all clean again.
Although it is certainly not warm out there, Wales looks more like its beautiful green self again. It is easier to spot the sheep in the fields than a couple days ago too! We're certainly nowhere near done with winter, but this is a welcome respite.
I couldn't help but reflect on this sudden thaw that has come upon us, and look at it in terms of the spiritual conditions here. This "deep freeze" has been going on for a long time in Wales and the UK. Less than 4% of the population has any church involvement at all, and among those that do attend, many are "hearers only" and lack a vital relationship with Christ. Fewer still are those committed to a lifestyle of godliness and discipleship.
On our way home from the chapel this afternoon I suddenly realized that this very accelerated melting of ice and snow is a glorious reminder of what the Lord has prepared for Wales! When God pours out His Spirit on the people and floods this land with revival power of conviction of sin and salvation, the "deep freeze" will melt away!
So we take encouragement through this outward sign as we press on in prayer for a great inward thawing of hearts in this land. We are calling on God for the wind and rain of the Holy Spirit to come and fulfill His words in a powerful and unprecedented way.
Micah 7:18-19 says,
"Who is a God like You,
And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in mercy.
He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea."
What a joy to know that the power and the mercy and the love of God knows no bounds!
Dick & Gladys
Friends & Prayers:
While we were away our Korean friend Grace took care of our house and kept the home fires burning. We are so thankful to have had someone here to enjoy this peaceful place. And it was a blessing for her too - a quiet time to spend seeking the Lord after 3 years of Bible school in London. Tomorrow she flies back to Korea to discover what He has for her next! Recent heavy snows and severe cold have caused major upsets in air travel, so please pray that she get home without any difficulties.
We've been home ten days now, and it seems like we're getting back into the swing of things. Jet lag lasted longer for Gladys than for myself, but she is almost over it now, and has also recovered nicely from her dental surgery. It's nice to have those things behind us, and we are just glad to look forward to each day's blessings and activities.
Crunching over the ice and snow for my morning prayer time at the chapel is a source of simple joy for me. I love the snow, and how it paints the world all white and clean for a time. It is such a vivid reminder of God's amazing offer to us in Isaiah 1:16, " 'Come now, and let us reason together,' Says the LORD, 'Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow...' "
This morning was the coldest that I can remember since we've been in Wales. It was 16 degrees F., and it's great for waking up what a cup of strong coffee can't!
We've only had a few inches of snow here, but in North Wales they've had several feet in some places. We won't be able to drive up to Blaenau Ffestiniog for our monthly prayer meeting tomorrow, so we hope to connect via phone and/or internet from our respective homes. Meetings there have gone on in our absence and they have experienced some real blessing, and that is very good to hear.
As we rapidly approach the end of 2010 and enter another new year, we are looking forward towards the Lord with great expectancy of new things. I've spoken with several praying friends around Wales and there seems to be a general awareness of "something" stirring. It is somehow reminiscent of Jesus' words to Nicodemus in John 3:8, "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Many people are hearing the sound, and it is wonderful! I recently heard from someone in a church near London who said, "I'm in a church which encourages the gifts of the Spirit, and we have discerned that God seems to be planning an eruption here too, to melt our hearts and to go out and have glowing hearts for other people, so we live in exciting times."
I believe there is a challenge here for all of us seeking to truly be followers of the Lord Jesus. As we learn to trust Him more and become more and more dependent on His leading, we can be confident that we will find out just where this Wind is going. In fact, we will be going with It!
Glory to God in the Highest!
Dick & Gladys
Dear Friends and Prayers:
After saying our farewells to friends and loved ones here in Louisiana, we packed our bags and headed home yesterday. And this afternoon found us back in lovely and cold Wales. As we crested the last hill on the motorway that opens the view across the Severn River to the green hills of Wales, my spirit soared and my eyes welled up with joy of God's special love for this country. By the time we passed this sign by the road on the other side of the bridge, the Lord had already welcomed us home!
I confess we were spoiled by the wonderful warm weather almost the whole time we were in the U.S. Just the last four or five days the tempuratures sunk to more typically December levels, as if to give us a little conditioning for what awaited us back home.
This is really just a quick note to say thank you to all those that have prayed for us and blessed us and opened your doors to us while we were traveling in the States. Now we joyfully settle back into the task of prayer assigned to us.
We've just now come back to our warm house from a great evening spent with our intercessor friends from Singapore, and are very encouraged by things they shared with us. I feel I can hardly wait for the sun to come up so we can go up to the chapel and incorporate into our prayer some of the input we've received tonight.
I have included a link to a video that many of you may have already seen - a surprise performance of Handel's Messiah in a shopping mall food court. It is a wonderful scene, and provoked me to further thoughts. Wouldn't it be far better to find true and spontaneous worship beginning to break out in public places as the Spirit of the Lord stirs people in revival power and blessing? That's one thing that we'll be praying for - and not just a few special days during the year!
Wishing you every blessing through this Christmas and New Year season!
Wrapped up snug in His incomparable love,
Dick & Gladys