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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fuel for prayer in turbulent times...

opendoors.jpgDear Friends:

This morning as soon as I walked inside the chapel, this phrase from an old song sprung out of my mouth,
   "... opens prison doors, sets the captives free, I've got a river of life flowing out of me."
What a great and fresh way to start the day! Thank you Lord for reminding us time and again of your wonderful truths that continually set us free!

When Moses begins his dealings with Pharaoh and things start going wrong, God gives him these instructions in Exodus 6:6. "Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, 'I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.'" The Israelites needed to hold on to God's promise through some tough times - their first breakthrough came when they finally crossed over the Red Sea and saw the Egyptian army engulfed by the water behind them. But that was just the beginning.


In recent days I've found myself taking notice of political events taking place in the USA and growing concerned about what I see. The election process is never a pretty sight, and the battle is just beginning. On top of that, the untimely loss of Justice Scalia is disconcerting as he provided a very important conservative balance to the Supreme Court.

And here in Great Britain we are starting to hear much more now about the upcoming referendum on its membership of the European Union now that a date has been set for the nation to vote this coming June 23rd. This is a very important matter and will have a huge effect on all four nations in UK. Many people are deeply concerned and sides are being taken. It will become more and more publicized as time goes on, and campaigning on both sides will intensify as well.

Then I noticed I was starting to let my attention get drawn into these things more than I should, and decided to get it all back in perspective. All the many issues are important and will indeed affect our lives, but the decisions of mere men don't hold any lasting solutions. The Lord alone has the answer to our plight.

As these momentous choices draw closer to both nations, people easily get more concerned about them. Take a look at this example in 2 Peter 2:7-8. "But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day."

sheepatthepatch.jpgAs we watch the rising currents of ungodliness and turmoil, we can constantly refresh ourselves and our hopes with the most wonderful recourse of all. Jesus is the Prince of Peace! The Lord is our shepherd! And we can ask Him to help us turn what can easily become "torment in our soul" into powerful fuel for prayer.

I am convinced that the most important key for the times we're living in right now is stated very clearly in 1 Timothy 2:1-4. "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

May the Lord Jesus bless us with His peace and power and grace towards all men,

Dick & Gladys


Monday, February 15, 2016

When hearts stand still...

springbow2016.jpgDear Friends and Prayers:

Towards the end of Genesis is one of my all-time favorite stories about Joseph and his "adventures" in Egypt. This time I found myself strongly affected by what happened to Jacob when his brothers returned from their second trip to Egypt for grain and have discovered that the Joseph governs the whole country.

Genesis 45:25-26 says, "Then they went up out of Egypt, and came to the land of Canaan to Jacob their father. And they told him, saying, 'Joseph is still alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt.' And Jacob's heart stood still, because he did not believe them."

Other versions say, "he was stunned", "he went numb" and "his heart fainted." But then verse 27 continues, "But when they told him all the words which Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived."

By most accounts Joseph was 17 years old when he was sold into slavery, and Jacob had been convinced he was dead for more than 23 years. And now this news was just too much for him. Then at last after hearing the story from his sons, and seeing the carts and supplies that Joseph had sent to bring him to Egypt, he finally accepts the fact and says in the next verse, "And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die."

firstdaffodils2016.jpgI think what affects me so deeply was that Jacob simply could not believe the news. It was just too good to be true! For several days after reading this I kept getting drawn back to this portion again and again. There is something about Jacob's inability to accept the wonderful but "impossible" truth that Joseph was still alive that strikes a chord of profound sorrow somewhere deep within me. And perhaps I am not the only one.

As I agonized about this and prayed about it, I began to understand that this place of unbelief is a common part of the Christian experience. How many times have I had to deal with my own bouts of unbelief? Or taking it a step further in terms of the church at large and throughout history, how many times have individuals and families and whole congregations gone through prolonged times of doubt?

Knowing the fullness and beauty of God's promises, have God's people seen them come to fruition in and around them throughout the ages? Have the lives of most Christians been mostly filled with joy and hope and strength, or have clouds of sorrow, hardships and unbelief been their portion, with occasional seasons of faith and joy and victory? What "fragrance" do we, as the church, show to those around us?

In Matthew 9:23-24, "Jesus said to him, 'If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.' Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, 'Lord, I believe; help my unbelief." His was not an uncommon experience. And in the same manner, it is our portion to continually cry out to the Lord to help us in our moments of unbelievings and weaknesses.

We don't know how long Jacob's moments of unbelief lasted, but at the end he said, " It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive..." Now in our case, how much greater a hope have we been given? And on top of that, we have been given the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. And Galatians 5:22-23 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." He is more than enough for us! So we can hang on to hope and keep praying with solid confidence. And let's pray for people's hearts to be constantly revived by God's amazing grace!

Dick & Gladys


Thursday, February 04, 2016

For Wales, a call to intercession. NOW is the time...

jabez-cwmgwaun.jpgDear Praying Friends:

The first Tuesday of each month is the Ffald-y-Brenin prayer day at the Jabez Chapel vestry in the Gwaun Valley. After a stirring time of worship, the director Roy Godwin shared some of the wonderful things that the Lord is doing both here in Wales and other nations.

Among the things he shared was that there is a sound or a song that is present here in this nation and is somehow rooted to the land itself. This "sound" has been noted by many people in several places over the years, and is connected to the deep wells of revival here. And Roy said there have been words to the effect that "this year is the year for Wales."

In the afternoon session we heard briefly from an old friend Steve, who was asked to share a impression he received with those of us present. He said that once or twice while praying when they lived here in Wales, he had felt that song and felt very much connected to the land.

"In my mind's eye I saw the land of Wales being broken open. It was coming from the coast and it was coming across from walesfromspace.jpgwest to east, and the land was breaking open. And as I saw this picture, it was like I saw through when Roy said earlier, "this is the year for Wales."

And what I saw was a very big angel blowing like a trumpet. He was blowing a small ram’s horn with sharp blasts, with short blasts. And also what happened is I saw this word, the word was "intercession". And what I felt was simply that God was saying, that there is an imminent move of God going to break out in Wales. It was just so real that God is going to release something this year, but He needs intercession.

"I don't know what intercession is, I used to think I knew what intercession meant, like I used know what I thought revival was. Actually I don't know, but the word is revival in Wales. I believe it is connected to the land, and there is the song that’s being released.

"But God is requiring people in intercession. And I know that there are people here who have been brought here to Wales. We know some people... But it's like now is the time. And when Roy shared that this morning I just thought, "Wow, wow, wow!" It's so exciting. God is going to do something!"

What an awesome encouragement. And what an awesome challenge and responsibility too. I think that as more and more of us come to grips with the seriousness of the call to intercessory prayer, whatever particular area the Lord has assigned us to, we will see fruit because of God's amazing faithfulness. If you are not sure what your area is, just ask Him!

"Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, 'What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?'" Matthew 26:39

How will we answer this call? As members of the Body of Christ, each of us have been granted power through the Holy Spirit. So then, yes, we can watch and pray and intercede with Him!

Dick and Gladys


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