Friends and Prayers:
Yesterday morning when we read this portion in 1st Samuel, I found
with grief for some reason, and could only weep and pray. And each it
came to mind throughout the day I found myself deeply affected by it
again. Although I don't understand it very clearly, I felt I should
share it with you as fuel for prayer.
King Saul disobeyed God's instructions to completely destroy the
their livestock, God sent Samuel to him with this message in 1 Samuel
15:22-23. "Behold, to obey is
better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams... Because you
have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being
In spite of Saul's plea for another chance, in verses 26-28 Samuel
told him, "I
will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord,
and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel. As Samuel
turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore.
So Samuel said to him, 'The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from
The chapter ends with verse 35, "And
Samuel went no more to see Saul until the day of his death.
Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul,
and the Lord regretted that He
had made Saul king over Israel."
And then the very next verse in chapter 16 says, "Now the Lord said to Samuel, 'How long will you mourn for Saul,
seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?'"
Again a few times today I have been touched deeply by this, and even
now writing about it. As I've thought and prayed about it, a few things
have come to mind. One is on a personal level - are there still any
areas in my own life that I have been holding out on the Lord and not
willing to surrender? Have I been diligently making room for godly
sorrow to produce the fruit He longs to see in my life? (2 Corinthians
historical sense, I have found this grief applies quite clearly to
Israel as a people in a similar way to to Saul as an individual. Time
and again throughout their history they turned their backs on God. For
the most part they ignored the prophets He sent to them. And when God
sent His own son, John 1:10-11 says of Jesus, "He was in the world, and the world
was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His
own, and His own did not receive Him."
And then on a broader scale I felt this grief and mourning as
concerning the body of Christ, both past and present. How many times
has the church left obedience to the clear mandates of Jesus and the
other New Testament teachings unfulfilled for the sake of personal
security or comfort? Not unlike Saul and people who spared "the best of
all that was good" rather than obey God, being a Christian has become a
matter of a few hours per week at
best rather than a lifestyle of surrender and living sacrifice.
Our impact on the world around us today is negligible. In the days
of the early church in Acts 17 we read of Christians "turning the world upside down".
But in today's "civilized" world we have backpedaled on God's
commandments and moral absolutes, kowtowed to the idol of "political
correctness", and have become flavorless salt and light that can't
manage to shine through the cloud cover like today's Welsh sun.
These are the main things that have been breaking my heart since
yesterday morning. But then God tells Samuel, "OK, enough is enough,
get on with it then, there is a future!" So my understanding is still
vague. There seems to be a place of divine tension - balance between
godly sorrow and the joy of the Lord;
carrying a burden to the cross and then laying it down; weeping that
lasts the nighttime and then joy that comes in the morning. This is
another room in the house of prayer.
On a lighter note, both Monday and yesterday were also filled with
the spontaneous and wonderful fellowship of the saints! First were
three visitors from Zimbabwe. We are prayer friends with the couple on
the right who live in nearby Fishguard and have been in the UK about 12
years. Their old friend was visiting them from Australia.
And then yesterday the couple on the left next to me were visiting
our mutual friend in Tenby from their home Northeast England. He is
American but has been in England as a missionary and pastor for about
30 years. So the international flavor of people that come to visit and
pray with us continues.
He brings so many others who long with their whole hearts for His
release of revival power here and in their own nations. It is such a
joy to experience how the Lord orchestrates the movements of His body
in such a way that we all, "...speaking
the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the
head - Christ - from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what
every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every
part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of
itself in love." (Ephesians 4:15-16)
Dick & Gladys
Praying Friends and Saints:
Today we visited Carmarthen, the largest
town near us, about 25 miles south of our home. While waiting for our
return bus, I noticed the Ebenezer Gospel Hall just across the street.
How refreshing to see a very clear Gospel message in such a public
place. The well known verse from John 3:16 is there for all to see. "For God so loved the world that He gave
His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish
but have everlasting life."
The name Ebenezer is a wonderful
declaration of God's faithfulness. After a victory over the Philistines
in 1 Samuel 7:12, we read that "Samuel
took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name
Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far the Lord has helped us.'"
And in each of our own lives we can see how day by day and year by year
He sustains us. As David says in Psalm 63:8, "My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me."
from there just off to the right is this sculpture of a Welsh dragon,
as if to remind us that as followers of Jesus we all will still have
battles and trials ahead of us. As long as we keep our hearts set on
going God's ways rather than our own, there will still be some
opposition and difficulties. But we can rest in the words of 1 John 4:4
that, "You are of God, little
children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater
than he who is in the world." And Jesus taught His disciples in
John 16:33, "These things I have
spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will
have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
Last weekend we enjoyed a short visit from
our friend Elitia from Singapore. We first met her at the inauguration
of the newly restored Pisgah Chapel last May and the Lord has blessed
us with a sweet relationship.
She has taken to us as a spiritual mother
and father, and honors us with her openness and trust. The Lord has led
her come to Wales next month for a masters program and to set up an
English language school for international university students. That
will provide many opportunities to share the Good News. Please help us
pray that God's guidance will be strong and clear for her in this big
step of faith, and next phase of her life as she comes into this nation
in God's service.
Thank you for your continued prayers for us and for Wales. We pray
you be strengthened day by day, and may His right hand uphold you.
Dick & Gladys
We've had another blessing this past week with a group of students
from Iris Ministries Harvest School of Missions. After about 2 months
in Mozambique with several hundred students, they break into small
groups and go all over the world. This group came with their team
leader, Jackie, for a final week here in Wales.
They stayed in our friends Stan and Sue's house next door, and it
was a real blessing to see this beautiful property engaged directly in
housing God's people for worship, training and prayer. We were
privileged to spend a few awesome times of prayer with them in the
midst of their very full schedule.
As with the group from Singapore ten days ago, we took them to the
"bend me" chapel at Blaenannerch. I shared about the early history of
the 1904/05 Welsh revival, and then we spent some time to pray, and
just soak in the presence of God. Then after lunch we came to Cilfowyr
for another very moving time of intercession there. And now we have
three more flags from Australia, Burundi and Scotland added to our
collection. So we remember to pray for these nations, and we know
people from there are now praying for Wales too.
It is always a blessing to pray together with other people. There
are so many areas of need to pray for, and large general prayers are
important. But when we pray with others, the Lord always gives
different ones a specific point that then we can all focus our prayers
on, and it is powerful indeed. These reinforcements from time to time
are a great blessing and encouragement for us.
On Friday we accompanied them to Swansea for a weekly group that
meets to pray specifically for Israel. After an initial time of
worship, led by Claude from Burundi, our friend Elaine Price who leads
the group gave an overview of the importance of prayer for Israel for
the Harvest students. We then we a marvelous time praying for and
blessing Israel. Joining in with a group of very dedicated intercessors
who have been praying earnestly for The Holy Land for years was a great
experience for us all.
Then in my reading and prayer on Saturday morning this section from
Jeremiah 24:6-7 really stirred my heart. "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. 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."
We see God's wonderful promise fulfilled in part, but how we long to
see all of Israel have "a heart
to know Me, that I am the
Lord." This is
also our prayer for Wales, for the churches here, and the body of
Christ throughout the world.
May this also our own prayer for our lives and yours, to have
our hearts refreshed daily with hunger to know more of His amazing love
and grace to share with those around us.
Dick & Gladys
The hills and valleys at this time of year in mid-Wales are
impossibily beautiful. It is a constant reminder of God's goodness and
provision, for by His hand we all are fed. We are blessed beyond
measure to be able to live in such glorious surroundings, and are
continually thankful for this provilege
we have to pray in and for this land.
Another thing that never ceases to amaze and encourage us is the
number of people that come from other lands to pray here in Wales, and
to seek the Lord for revival in their own nations. Our friend Reg
Buxton has been coming here during the summer months for about six
years now. He helps with one of the local churches in a Christian kids
camp, and this year he brought us a flag from his homeland, South
We are delighted because we had a visit from a group of
ladies from South Africa several years ago. You can read about our very
special time with them in
the March 24th entry at this link. We have wanted a flag from there
to add to our slowly growing collection since we started it last year.
On Saturday morning we had another opportunity to share with a large
group of saints from Singapore. They came on a revival tour organized
by our friends at Cornerstone Community Church there, who also acquired
the property and re-opened the
Bible College of Wales here in Swansea.
We met at the well known chapel in the tiny village of Blaenannerch
close to Cardigan. It was here that Evan Roberts of the 1904 Welsh
Revival fame cried out in anguish, "Bend me, bend me..." It is always
exciting to share this story how God can use an ordinary person
for extraordinary things when the heart is fully surrendered. It seemed
like we were able to tap into the essence of not only Evan Robert's
cry, but the thousands that have come to this special place to seek God
for a fresh outpouring of revival fires.
on Sunday we drove north to a small chapel at Soar-y-Mynydd nestled in
an isolated valley in mid-Wales. It was a nice surprise for us as well
because it turned out that our
friend Carwyn Arthur was preaching there that day. His wife is from
Argentina, and she came with another friend from there who has been
with YWAM in Northern Ireland for many years. So we had a good time
with "las latinas" speaking in mostly Spanish, but Welsh and English
also. It was funny to find such an international group in such an
unlikely spot! We've had other
international adventures here before as well.
This place is important landmark. It was here "in April 1779 a
revival broke out in the remote mountainous area of Soar-y-Mynydd,
Cardiganshire. .. and 'numbers who had been so far hearers only became
deeply concerned for their everlasting safety.' Revival spread like a
brush fire out from
here until it reached many and far-distant localities in South and
North Wales, and thousands were brought to seek everlasting life."
So please pray with us and countless others, like in Isaiah 64:1-2,
"Oh, that You would rend the
That You would come down!
That the mountains might shake at Your presence—
As fire burns brushwood,
As fire causes water to boil—
To make Your name known to Your adversaries,
That the nations may tremble at Your presence!"
May the Lord bless and empower you in your endeavors for His name's
Dick & Gladys