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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hearts opened to know the Lord...

Dear Friends:

Our amazing summer weather is just going on and on, thank you Jesus! So today we took a break from working in the garden and went to the Cardigan Show in a farmer's field just a few miles from home. We hadn't been for several years and it was fun to check out just a part of it all.

We always enjoy seeing such a variety of creatures that share this planet with us, and marvel at God's creativity. Besides all the normal livestock there were lots of special breeds of poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs and goats. Add to that the horses and ponies for show and competitions, and one could easily spend an entire day there!

cardishow2014-3.jpgMy reading Monday morning included Jeremiah's vision of the two baskets of figs in chapter 24, and verses 6-7 stood out to me particularly. "6 For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. 7 Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart."

Just like in those times, there are two sorts of people on this earth today: those who reverence God for who he is, and those who do not. And it seems in our times that the contrast between them is getting greater. Although here in wholesome rural Wales everyone seems warm and polite, how does God, who knows their hearts, see them?

Every one of the people on this earth, no matter what their circumstances, need to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. It doesn't matter how "nice" they may be or act, or how terrible for that matter,cardishow2014-4.jpg without Jesus they are all without an eternal hope. And it seems clearer and clearer that unless the Lord gives them this heart to know Him, they are just as doomed as Jeremiah's bad figs.

Acts 16:14 describes how "a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul." And from there she made the right choices.

And so may our prayer be that God will do that work of opening the hearts of the people around us and around the nations, and that they hear His invitation and choose to ride in the right direction.

Trusting in the abundance of God's mercy,

Dick & Gladys


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Treasures in the Word and the countryside too!

morningjewels.jpgDear Friends and Prayers:

It is always a delight to discover the jewels in God's word, and this morning was no exception. While reading through the story of Peter's visit to Cornelius in Acts chapter 10, we were both moved by the events and the ending of this awesome account.

It says in verses 44-45, "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God."

This became the focus our prayer for the community of members and believers in so many churches and chapels throughout this land. They know the elements of the gospel just like "those of the circumcision", but many lack the personal experience of the power of the Holy Spirit. Only He can transform our (years of) acquired head-knowledge into a revelatory, life-changing, new-every-morning experience that impacts not only ourselves but others around us. Like the hundreds of tiny dewdrops on this spiderweb, His mercies and kindnesses towards us are infinite! (Click the image for a bigger picture)

parcymarlcamp-1.jpgGladys and I were treated by friends to a week's get-away in their travel trailer which they set up for us in another friend's field in the middle of Pembrokeshire. We had perfect weather most of the time, and the few rainy days in the middle of our stay we came home and slept very well in our own full-length beds.

This kind of "camping" is a whole different experience than when our kids were little and we slept in tents on the ground. (Not so kind on aging bones!) And hot and cold running water, shower and even small stove and fridge sure beat the old times smoke-in-your-eyes cooking and washing in an ice-cold mountain stream!

It was a good time to just relax and rest up a little bit after what somehow parcymarlcamp-2.jpghad become a busy time for us. Taking walks, time for reading, and doing a little more in-depth exploring around this area only 20 miles from our home was a real delight. It also served as a reminder of just how much of our beautiful adopted homeland is dedicated to farming, and how great is the need for these hard working people to not only know about Jesus, but to know Him first hand.

parcymarlcamp-3.jpgIt's amazing how we so easily grow adapted to a place and then just live there and carry on with our own lives and busyness. But when we take the time to dig a little deeper into an area, there can be so many fascinating things and places to discover, history to uncover and people to meet.

It is not unlike our walk with Jesus. We know what we know, and can easily just "make ourselves at home and busy" and not continue explore beyond the necessary. One of my favorite verses is in Acts 17:27-28, "so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being..."

May we all be moved daily to seek Him diligently, and discover the treasures of the amazing breadth and depth and width of His love for us and all humanity!

Dick & Gladys


Wednesday, July 09, 2014

An envigorating visit - "Bend us, oh Lord!"

youngsingsaints.jpgDear Praying Friends and Saints:

Another week has sped past and here we are already in mid-summer. We have enjoyed a special visit of three young friends from Singapore who stayed with us from Sunday until this morning. More good weather has been a real blessing for them, although it's quite chilly for them by comparison!

It is always interesting to hear people's impressions of Wales when they visit from other places. The three of them agreed that they could sense a much greater spiritual freedom and openness here than their own country, and it was even more noticeable when they crossed the Severn Bridge into Wales.

We frequently take people to visit the nearby chapel in Blaenannerch where Evan Roberts received his "baptism of fire" in 1904. One by one they spent time in what I like to call "the hot seat" where he was empowered and commissioned. The plaque says,

"In this bench Evan Roberts was seated on Thursday, September 29, 1904, when he cried out, 'Bend me, oh Lord' while the Reverend Seth Joshua was praying, and through that came to be the central figure of the 1904 Revival."

youngsingsaints-kp.jpgIt was so refreshing to spend time with these young people and delight in their enthusiasm, energy and a similar disposition of asking the Lord to bend them to His will. They are serious about their commitment, they are all lawyers and understand such things well, and their prayers were profound and moving. At the same time their youthful joyfulness was contagious, and not even a few turns at washing dishes seemed able to dampen their spirits!

Wsingkorintlsaints.jpge had a wonderful time yesterday when we went to the Tuesday prayer meeting at the Bible College of Wales in Swansea. There we met our friend Manique from near Zurich, Switzerland for the first time. She got in touch with us last year when the Holy Spirit visited Cwmbran in South Wales, and was there for her second visit for a ladies conference. So we made arrangements to meet with the help of other friends, regulars at the BCW meetings, that live in that direction.

From there we went to Moriah Chapel, and were joined by still other friends from South Korea, so wound up with quite an international group. We had an amazing time of prayer in the old school room where the 1904 revival broke out and the presence of God was just awesome. Our friend Huw Priday sang and Aija Kim played the piano and when they were done we all just sat there bathed in His love, and so it was hard to leave such a precious time.

sunsetovercastle-june2014.jpgWe finished our day after supper at home with a spectacular sunset over the Teifi Valley. It was like God's way of finishing off such a marvelous day with an extra touch of glory! I found it reminding me of the times we are living in. As the darkness grows more rampant in the world around us - the latest being Israel being plunged into a new flareup with Hamas in Gaza - we believe that the glory of God is going to get brighter and brighter according to His promises.

Isaiah 60:1-3 says, "Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising." If we, His people, will also cry out from the heart "Bend us, oh Lord" and place ourselves totally under His headship and guidance, there is no telling what God will do next, or when. May it be soon!

May the Lord make us like soft clay in His hands,

Dick & Gladys


Thursday, July 03, 2014

Staying on track - eyes fixed on the target...

snowdonfromsouth.jpgDear Friends of Wales Awakening:

"What's that we see in the distance, a cloud on the horizon, like doves darkening the sky?  ...It's ships from the distant islands, the famous Tarshish ships, returning your children from faraway places, loaded with riches, with silver and gold, and backed by the name of your God, The Holy One of Israel, showering you with splendor." Isaiah 60:8-9

My own interpretive paraphrased version says, " ..It's the waves of revival, the longed-for and sought-after revival, bringing home the lost children of God from faraway places, filled with His Spirit and brimming over with His gifts and Words of Salvation, showing forth the Kingdom of God in the power of Jesus' name."

There's something about the hills around here on these awesome clear days that draws us out and up from the river valley where we live just below here. Sunday was so clear that we could plainly see Mt. Snowdon in North Wales, over one hundred miles away! It is not often that we get such a clear view into the distance like this, and it is a great and clear reminder of what we are doing here in the first place.

foxgloveintrees.jpgIn the middle of the regular activities of our day-to-day living, it is so important to remember just where we are heading. And when we don't consciously remember, the Lord graciously reminds us in ways that only He can. And how we need that sometimes!

It is so important to keep our focus on the target, to stay on track and not get distracted or discouraged by the details. The Big Picture is the goal we're heading towards. Take a few moments, or more if you can invest them, and give a read to the whole of Isaiah 60 to refresh your memory! We could ask the Lord to imprint that on the back of our eyelids so every time we blink we are reminded!

Paul exhorts us in Philipians 3:13-14, "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

The word of God is such a precious gift and resource for us. This shaft of a foxglove tucked away among these hedgerow trees is a picture of it - each colorful blossom like a little trumpet proclaiming His truth. Every part of the Word is a road marker for us, pointing us along the way.

We are also reminded in Hebrews 12:1-2, "...and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

By God's grace, what amazing joy we have set before us also! So as we run on ahead, through thick and thin, remember where we're going. And remember that we run together in good company with the Body of Christ. For many of our brothers and sisters in these days the going is pretty tough, so please let us remember and strengthen each other with our prayers.

Dick & Gladys


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