Friends of Wales Awakening:
It seems hard to believe that suddenly Christmas is upon us once again,
but here we are already. And as the pace and pressure of the
secularized commercial holiday build up all around us, it's nice to
step back from it all and enjoy a historic viewpoint from a much
simpler time 2000 years ago.
There was nothing to distract from the pure adoration of God's
inconceivable gift of grace and salvation in the baby Lord Jesus. The
expressions of wonder in this painting are quite touching. And although
they couldn't grasp the massive impact this event would have on
humankind, they are totally entranced by the sublimity of the moment.
Mary's heart no doubt is overwhelmed with wonder and astonishment as
the words of the angel come flooding back to mind. "He
will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God
will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over
Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end." as we
read in Luke 1:32-33.
It is no surprise then, when after visiting her cousin Elizabeth
months later, from an overflowing heart Mary burst into her wonderful
song in verses 46 onwards. "My
soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior... for
the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name... His
mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation...
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who
are proud in their inmost thoughts... He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just
as he promised our ancestors."
just six weeks later Joseph and Mary take their son to the temple for
the rites of purification and sacrifice. And Mary's heart is once again
the words of Simeon in Luke 2:34-35, "This
child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of
many hearts will be revealed. And a
sword will pierce your own soul too."
Throughout the ensuing centuries, it has been far more than Mary's
heart and soul that have been pierced through. And so it will be until
the day of His coming again. As it says in the Revelation of John 1:7, "'Look,
he is coming with the clouds,'and 'every eye will see him, even those
who pierced him'; and all peoples on earth 'will mourn because of him.'
Our prayer for this Christmas time is that our own souls be pierced
by the magnitude of Christ's coming. And especially we pray for the
unsaved whose own sins also pierced the Savior. We pray that they will
be enabled to mourn through conviction as the thoughts of their hearts
are revealed, to rejoice in salvation, and to cry out with Mary, "My soul glorifies the Lord and
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior... for the Mighty One has done
great things for me—holy is his name.'"
May you have a blessed and deeply meaningful Christmas with your
families and loved ones,
Dick & Gladys
Friends and Prayers:
After a delightfully unexpected snowfall over the weekend, I went
out for a ramble yesterday morning before it melted off. My love for
winter's cold and snow from my long-ago younger years has never left
me. So when the rare opportunity presents itself for snowy adventure, I
just can't stay indoors.
In the middle of a hilltop field I watched breathtaken as the sun
slowly climbed upwards behind the heavy clouds to the east. I don't
recall ever having seen dome-shaped aurora like this before, and found
myself in teary-eyed worshipful wonder. How great is our God, and how
amazing that He lets Himself be found when we seek Him!
There is something so beautiful about the pure whiteness of freshly
fallen snow. It provides such a clear picture of the Lord's words
in Isaiah 1:18, "Come now, and
let us reason together,' Says the Lord, 'Though your sins are like scarlet, They
shall be as white as snow...'" Perhaps this
is what moved me to tears. This experience became a prayer for revival,
that people would be impacted by God's glory, be humbled by His
greatness, be brought to repentance from their godless ways and turn to
Him for salvation and cleansing.
There was such a clear sky, after chapel time and
breakfast, we the short drive to the coast near Cardigan to have a look
towards North Wales. They get some serious snow up there, and mountains
were just glowing in the sunshine. Although they are more than 60 miles
away, they were striking in their grandeur, even at that distance.
So once again we are amazed at the extraordinary privilege God has
given us to live in such a remarkably beautiful land, and pray for
these people who can't see beyond the natural beauty into the heart of
their Creator. It is this stark contrast between the physical evidence
of His goodness and the darkness of spiritual blindness which engulfs
the people that constantly affects our hearts.
Just the fact of living here, constantly aware of our calling, moves
us to a compassionate plea that they come to know the Good Shepherd and
be able to call out, "Abba, Father."
It is such a tragic and eternal waste of life when they could simply
look up and turn to God. Just as the word says in John 1:12, "But as many as received Him, to them
He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in
So are also so thankful for the many wonderful friends the Lord has
given us here over the years. We know of course that we are never
really alone, because the Lord is ever present with us. But having
like-minded saints is a constant source of strength and encouragement
is we press on towards the mark set out for us here. We highly value
and appreciate so many people who have taken on God's heart for Wales
and are also praying for revival in this precious land.
Besides many who are native to Wales, there are many who have come
here from other countries - some as close as England and others from as
far away as Korea or South Africa. The section titled, "Restoration of
Israel's Remnant" beginning with Zephaniah 3:9 says, "Then I will purify the lips of the
peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve
him shoulder to shoulder." And this is the joy we know, that we
serve the King of Kings shoulder to shoulder with many awesome saints.
Each in their assigned place and sphere, but together in the army that
God is raising up.
No matter what part of the world we are in, although we may feel
like just a remnant at times, we know God's promises are for a mighty
incoming harvest for His kingdom. And so, "May our Lord Jesus Christ
himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us
eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and
strengthen you in every good deed and word." 2 Thessalonians
Dick & Gladys
Praying Friends and Saints:
While driving over the ridge from Newport towards the Gwaun Valley
this morning, this view just demanded to be captured. The variety of
colors over the sea in the distance were far more than the little lens
of my phone could
do justice to, but perhaps you get the idea.
It seems the same thing happens when we are trying to capture the
goodness and the glory of God with our limited human abilities. We can
catch a far-off glimpse, but not much more. I love the portion in Job
26 when, after describing the majesty of the universe and God's
almighty power, he says in verse 14, "Indeed these are the mere edges of
His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of
His power who can understand?"
But then in Christ, we receive this awesome super-duper telephoto
lens that enables us to see beyond what the natural eye beholds. Paul
prays in Ephesians 1:17-18, "that
the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in
the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened;
that you may know what is the hope of His calling..."
So there is this invitation from the Lord to know ever more of His
glory and grace. And this too is our prayer for revival, that the eyes
of the unsaved be opened to behold His glory and embrace God's offer of
forgiveness and salvation through Jesus.
Last week we had the privilege of attending a small gathering at the
Bible College of Wales to pray for Israel and celebrate all that God
has done for the
Jews. Wednesday the 29th of November marked exactly 70 years ago to the
day that the United Nations passed the resolution to create the State
of Israel. And much of our prayer had to do with this same desire for
revelation and revival for God's chosen people, that they come to know
Him as Messiah and Lord of all.
There were displays set up to help stimulate prayer in four specific
areas, complete with some scripture references, and I'd like to share
them here. This one was Pray for
salvation of the twelve tribes of Israel. All ages, from all
nations, including secular, religious, orthodox, holocaust survivors
and military. Genesis 22:17, "blessing I will bless you, and
multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven
and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall
possess the gate of their enemies." Genesis 49:28, "All these are the
twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father spoke to them.
And he blessed them; he blessed each one according to his own
blessing." Exodus 28:21, "And the stones shall have the names of the
sons of Israel, twelve according to their names, like the engravings of
a signet, each one with its own name; they shall be according to the
twelve tribes." Acts 15:31 "When they had read it, they rejoiced over
its encouragement." 1 Timothy 2:4, "who desires all men to be saved and
to come to the knowledge of the truth." Revelation 21:12, "Also she had
a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on
them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of
The next station was Pray for
assimilated Jewish people in the nations. A rediscovery of their
Jewish roots, and for Cyrus-like people to help them get back to
Israel. Isaiah 45:3, "I will give you the treasures of darkness and
hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, Who
call you by your name, am the God of Israel."
Another area was to Pray for Aliyah.
God's promise to bring the Jewish people back to Israel and make them
clean. Isaiah 35:10, "And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and
come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They
shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
Isaiah 43:5-6, "Fear not, for I am
with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you
from the west; I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' And to the
south, 'Do not keep them back!' Bring My sons from afar, and My
daughters from the ends of the earth." Ezekiel 36:24-27, "For I will
take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and
bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you,
and you shall be clean..." Ezekiel 37:12-14, "Therefore prophesy and
say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Behold, O My people, I will open
your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you
into the land of Israel... I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall
live, and I will place you in your own land..."
What beautiful promises God has made to His people. And so as we
continue to pray for revival, let's keep in mind the importance of
praying for Israel as an integral part of our prayers. A key for
empowering our prayers are God's words to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, "I
will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you;
and in you all the families of the
earth shall be blessed."
What a blessing is ours to be enabled to bless others in Jesus'
Dick & Gladys