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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Light and dark, change, and an old soldier's story

baretreesrainbow1.jpgDear Friends and Prayers:

Just moments after watching this beautiful rainbow over our valley this afternoon, it started pouring down rain. That brought a quick end to my work outside and gave pause for some reflection. And so it is with our lives many times. Change happens.

How often do things seem to be going along smoothly, and then suddenly something interrupts the flow. It might be small or great, lasting only hours, or changing our circumstances for longer periods. And some events even change our lives forever.

What an enormous blessing we have in the knowledge that the love of God for his children is constant throughout whatever challenges life brings our way. Jeremiah's words in Lamentations 3:22-23 say it all. "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness."

Throughout the scriptures are promise upon promise, life-giving words that strengthen and uphold us through times of trial or need. And when things are going well with us, they give us further cause to rejoice. Jesus had a simple exhortation for his disciples about circumstances in Luke 10:20 when he says," ...but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven."

baretreesrainbow.jpgSo when things look a little bleak for us at times, and perhaps our life seems a bit lifeless, it is good and important to remember the underlying hope in God's unending steadfast love. His unchanging word is our lifeline. Exactly as it says in 2 Peter 1:19, "And so we have the prophetic word confirmed [the whole word of God], which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;"

It certainly was an amazing lifeline for one Colonel Samuel Harris, born of Welsh parents in Virginia in 1724. He had everything going for him1730coloneluniform.jpg, until "he first became serious and melancholy without knowing why. By reading and conversation he discovered that he was a helpless sinner, and that a sense of his guilt was the true cause of his gloom of mind. One day he called at a small house, where he understood there was Baptist preaching. His convictions now sunk so deep, that he was no longer able to conceal them. The arrows of the Almighty stuck fast in him, nor could he shake them off until some time after. At the meeting, when the congregation rose from prayer, Colonel Harris was observed still on his knees, with his head and hands hanging over the bench. Some of the people went to his relief, and found him senseless. When he came to himself, he smiled; and in an ecstasy of joy, exclaimed, "Glory! glory! glory!, etc." This probably took place some time in the year 1758. He did not confer with flesh and blood, but immediately began his ministerial labors; which afterwards proved so effectual as to acquire him the name of the Virginia Apostle. (Cited from History of the Welsh Baptists, by J. Davis, 1835, p.109)

So whatever changes or circumstances we find ourselves in, let us be diligent "...to heed as [God's] light ...shines in [our] dark places, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in [our] hearts.

Dick & Gladys


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Being ready in season and out with words of hope!

flowers-out-of-season.jpgDear Praying Friends:

The contrast of these flowers bursting into bloom against the background of bare trees across the valley really struck me yesterday. And immediately the scripture in 2 Timothy 4:2 came to mind. "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching."

And just as these bright yellow flowers seem to be "out of season" compared to the surroundings and the time of year, that is precisely what makes them stand out. And so it should be with us, that we shine with the light of Christ in our lives.

Colossians 3:16 says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs..." So as we strengthen our relationship with the Lord through time in his word, then He keeps our shine shiny and our countenance bright.

Like the old Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared!", the scriptures exhort us also to do the same. 1 Peter 3:15, says,"...and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;" And it is this glorious hope we have that should make us ready and willing to talk about it whenever an opportunity presents itself.

thanksgiving.jpgThis Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.A. This holiday was established as a national expression of gratitude to God for His protection and provision, and rightly so. And following close afterward is the Christmas season. Both of these times are such wonderful opportunities to share about our hope in Jesus and dickyandemilyengaged.jpgour eternal destiny. So let's make the most of them!

We have an additional reason to be thankful in this season as well. Yesterday we got the joyful news that our youngest son, Richard, or Dicky as we call him, proposed marriage to his sweetheart Emily, and she said "Yes!" So, of course, we are delighted, though surely not as much as they, which is evident in this great photo. Our family and hers are very happy that they taking this step. Your prayers for them will be greatly appreciated as they make plans for their future together.

To our many American friends we wish you every blessing as you celebrate God's goodness and mercy with your families and loved ones. And to all of our friends everywhere, we wish your every day be a day filled with thanksgiving for His goodness and grace in your lives. And remember also to "Be Prepared" with the reason for the hope that is in you!

Dick & Gladys


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Is anyone among you sick? By His stripes we are healed!

lion-bymilliecarter.jpegDear Friends of Wales Awakening:

Roughly 800 years before Jesus fulfilled this prophecy, Isaiah wrote of Him in chapter 53, verse 5,
"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities;
the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed."

Of all the chapters of the Old Testament, perhaps Isaiah 53 is one of the most powerful and profound. Because of what Christ Jesus did for us at Calvary, we have access through faith to God's eternal kingdom. And verse 11 says, "He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied..."

And again in 1 Peter 2:24 we read, "who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed."

A young friend of ours painted this last year, and I find it to be such a stunning picture of "By His stripes We Are Healed." It as if the Lord was making His promise known to her well before she would need the practical application of it for herself. She had no way of knowing that she would currently be receiving chemotherapy for Hodgkins Lymphoma.

I'm sharing this with her permission to make a request for prayers for healing, not only for her but for several others too. We know several other people that are going through serious health problems just now. A few of them have long-standing issues, and others are quite recent. Two weeks ago we received a call from someone we'd never met or heard, she is a Christian and asked for prayer for cancer.

So we would like to ask for your prayers for our friends. But more than that, we would like to encourage you to pray also for people that you know who are in need of a healing touch from heaven. I'm sure we all have had people ask us for prayer for healing, or we have offered to pray for someone when we have learned of their need. And perhaps we have prayed a few times for them but then forgotten, or other needs have pushed them into the background.

Our hope is that this painting will be an inspiration for you to remember the source of our healing. Each line of blood running down might represent people you are or could be praying for. The encouragement is to please stick with each of those prayers day in and day out. Make a small list if that helps you remember, and take a few minutes each day to pray specifically for them.


James 5:14-15 says, "Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up..." Your prayers will surely make a difference, and we never know when God may step in and heal miraculously because we prayed!

On another note, we somehow already find ourselves in the middle of November. We've had a few frosts, and it is definitely starting to feel like winter is coming on very soon. Most of the leaves are now on the ground, although some seem to have taken on a more ethereal nature and are showing up in patterns of the frost.

Now that the clock has gone back to standard time, it is dark by 5 pm and we only have about nine hours of sunlight. Being this far north really makes a big difference. To give you a better idea, we are at about the same latitude as the Hudson Bay in Canada.

We thank the Lord for a fairly warm house with a central heating system. And we have also gotten in a supply of firewood that little bit of extra warmth when we need it. And so now we are already looking forward to when the days start growing longer again in about six weeks!

Meanwhile, here's some extra encouragement for your prayers. "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

As always, thank you for your continued interest and prayers,

Dick & Gladys


Tuesday, November 07, 2017

The need to feed the seed...

snailbabyinsunshine.jpgDear Friends and Prayers: 

I was fascinated a few mornings ago when I discovered this baby snail basking in the sunshine on the door of the chapel vestry. The tip of our house key shows just how small this tiny creature really is. What precision and beauty!

Another study in the scale of things would be to compare the size a single human being to the great expanse our solar system, or the entire universe.And then we see that David says in Psalm 8:3-4, "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?"

And so, from our vantage point of in the midst of this breathtaking perspective, we find that God is mindful of each one of us! And now consider what Jesus says in Luke 12:6-7, "Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows."

stormysunset.jpgSo in spite of the fact that each of us is just one among billions on earth today, we see the Lord is intimately interested in the details of our lives. He actually loves each of us with such willing forgiveness and tenderness. A few moments before I took this picture I had just read in Hosea 11:4, "I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them." (NIV)

And this amazing process of God's feeding us continues day by day as we make time to just be with Him. He is the true bread, and His word imparts life to our souls. He longs to lift us to His cheek and nourish us with His presence. 1 Peter 1:23 says, "For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God."

And we each have a weighty but joyful responsibility. We need to feed the seed. We find this very clear exhortation in Hebrews 2:1-3, "We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For...  how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?"breadtoshare.jpg And this is not just for our own safety and benefit, but for those around us as well. This too is our awesome and privileged responsibility.

Once again, it is God's attention the details of every person alive that moves Him to use each one of us, that means you and me, to "...feed My sheep." He enables us to become part of the process of His tender care and be those cords of human kindness.

"Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God." 2 Corinthians 9:10-11

Dick & Gladys 


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