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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Between a rock and a hard place...

rootedintherock.jpgDear Friends and Prayers:

When at times we find ourselves a little unsteady or confronted with some adversity, the Psalms are a particularly good source of encouragement and strength. Psalm 62:5-7 says,
  "My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.
   He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.
   In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God."

When we ran across this tree making the best of a hard situation, lots of things came to mind. What a picture of determination and perseverance! It may not have a beautiful straight trunk, but it is not going anywhere even in the wildest of storms. And that is precisely what David was reminding himself about when he found himself in difficulties.

rockandsky.jpgWe read yesterday in Psalm 83:3, "They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones." "Sheltered" here also means protected ones, treasured ones, or hidden ones. How wonderful to consider His care for us!

Throughout the Psalms we find David talking about his enemies who are always plotting his destruction and death. Most of us don't have an actual physical enemy that wants us dead, but as 1 Peter 5:8 reminds us, there is an enemy. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." Many times, the battle rages inside our head, and the roaring of the enemy's lies threatens to steal our peace and stability.

And once again Psalms can point us in the right direction. Psalm 121:1-2 says, "I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth."

quietwaters.jpgAnd then of course Psalm 23;1-3 which reminds us, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not lack anything. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake."

So when from time to time we find ourselves in a struggle, we can always turn to the Psalms to learn how to hug the Rock of our salvation a little tighter. And another wonderful source of strength is just to spend time with other believers. Paul prays in Ephesians 3:16-17, "that He would grant you, threefriends.jpgaccording to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

Thank you for praying with us that the world would come to know this amazing love of Christ. We bless you in the precious name of Jesus,

Dick & Gladys


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New friends and old - a joyful foretaste of revival?

mownfield.jpgDear Praying Friends:

There has been a lot of mowing going on around here lately as farmers are taking the first cutting for silage. And after one of the wettest winters in recent history, both fields and hills are drying out in the warming sun and longer days. We haven't had any rain for about two weeks now and it will actually be very welcome when it comes.

And while reading and praying through the scriptures the other morning, this portion of Psalms 72:5-6 just filled me with joy and thankfulness!
"Let them fear You while the sun endures,
And as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
May he [or he will] come down like rain upon the mown grass,
Like showers that water the earth."

What really struck me about these verses was that God's faithfulness and goodness is always there for us in time. Over the years we've known many people, both in and out of full-time ministry, that have gone through periods where they felt they just didn't have anything more to give–they felt dried up, tired out and empty, just like this field looks. But God has a way of coming down like rain just when the time is right.

griffings-wilkes-bending.jpgHe sends down the rains when the going is good also. Yesterday we had a wonderful extra blessing of spending some time with some very long-time ministry friends. We've known Olen and Syble Griffing and Wayne and Bonnie Wilkes for over thirty years since our days in Guatemala. And the funny part was that their visit was arranged by our Singaporean friends from Cornerstone Church who had no idea we knew each other. They had simply asked me if I could meet two American pastors at the nearby Blaenannerch Chapel and share something about Evan Roberts and the beginnings 1904 Welsh revival.

They also didn't know that in January I had made arrangments to spend time that same morning with another group of intercessors from a different church in Singapore who were coming to spend time at the Ffald-y-Brenin Retreat Centre near here. And it turned out that they were all staying at the Bible College of Wales in Swansea the same nights. (It would make one think that the Lord seems to have a master plan in place well ahead of us!)singsistersatblaeanannerch.jpg

The end of my brief overview of the 1904 revival brought us to the point where Evan cried out, "Bend me, bend me, bend me." And those words then launched us into prayer. God brought us into an extraordinary time of crying out together for Him to bend and mold us, and to fulfill His plans for our own lives, for Wales, and for the nations of the world. It was one of those special times that you just don't want to come to an end, and the sweetness of His presence and the longing of His heart for the lost to turn to Him affected each one of us profoundly.

So meeting new friends and greeting old friends in such an atmosphere was just an amazing taste of heaven on earth for us. It brings to mind the verses in 1 John 1:3-4, "...what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete."

And all this was just one day of God's blessings. It seems of late that every morning's new mercies fill each day with a greater appreciation of just how marvelous He really is. It's as if we are already getting a foretaste of the firstfruits of the coming revival. And these are just the small parts that we get to see. How much more is unseen, like the sprouting seeds still under the surface?

So please join us as we pray together God's own words from Isaiah 45:8, "Rain down, you heavens, from above,
And let the skies pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation,
And let righteousness spring up together.
I, the Lord, have created it."

Dick & Gladys


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Perseverence and purity in prayer...

readytogrow.jpgDear Friends of Wales Awakening:

"Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand." When I read this portion from James 5:7-8 a couple of days ago, it underscored yet again an ongoing theme. If we just carry on and don't faint, the harvest is coming!

Just like farmers everywhere, we labor to prepare the soil and plant seeds. And that is all we can really do. All the rest depends on God's sending sun and rain. The farmer plants a natural seed for an earthly harvest. But we, with prayer and yearning, plant seeds of faith, "...not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever." (1 Peter 1:23)

dewdropsilver.jpgAnother scripture that tugged hard on my heart this morning is in Numbers 25:11. "Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel in that he was jealous [zealous] with My jealousy [zeal] among them, so that I did not destroy the sons of Israel in My jealousy." How amazing to consider that we can actually be moved by the Holy Spirit to experience God's jealousy in prayer. We can not generate it on our own any more than the farmer can generate growth in his fields. But when we are willing to hand over our time and our hearts to the Lord, He is ready and willing to fill us with His love for a dying world.

There is another aspect of God's jealousy that I would be remiss not to mention in James 4:3-5. It's a little heavy hitting but is really important. "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, 'The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously'?"

I'm sure we don't ask for frivolous things in our prayers, but, frankly, I find the concept of "friendship with the world" a little challenging. If we want our prayers to make more of a difference, it seems we need to continually ask God's grace to purge our lives of things that steer us in the wrong direction. A simple example that I struggle with is "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God."


When I wake up in the mornings, my desire is to get into God's thoughts rather than my own. But... but my alarm clock is my phone. And when I open it to see the time any messages are right in my face, or there is always the temptation to check my email first. I can so easily tell myself, "It may be something important!"

And that is just one area I can almost painlessly mention. What other's are there that reduce our efficacy in prayer? Anyway, you get the idea. I just wanted to put this out there, because our prayers do make a difference. And the more Holy Spirit unction we can get behind our prayers, the better the fruit will be for His name's sake.

May the Lord help us keep our prayer pastures green and weed free!

Dick & Gladys


Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Lifting the fog... "How long, Lord?"

chapelinfog.jpgDear Friends and Prayers:

We have had some very dense fog over the weekend and still on Monday. I had to wait quite a while for this photo before the chapel became visible, and after a minute it was swallowed up again. Eventually, it subsided down into the river valley and out toward the sea, but remained lying heavily around the coastal areas.

Just as the chapel was obscured from view, it seemed to paint a clear picture of how the great truths of God are obscured from the people of this world. The amazing grace-filled, eternity-changing power of the Gospel is covered over by constantly thickening web of lies and deception. The enemy of God and man is working overtime to keep people from knowing the best news about Jesus.

I read this morning in Isaiah 6:10-11,
"Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed. Then I said, 'Lord, how long?'"

cowsandfog.jpgAnd we too can so easily cry out, "How long, Lord? How much longer will the cloud and fog of spiritual darkness keep mankind in the grip of sin and death?" In spite of a supposed "age of enlightenment", decency and reason, humanity continues its headlong downward spiral, one individual at a time, into an eternity without Christ and without hope.

It is precisely this downward spiral that we read or hear about every day that keeps believers around the globe praying for the coming revival. Even the natural world around us seems to say, "How long?" Romans 8:19-21 says, "For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God... because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God."

It might seem justifiable for us to say, "How much longer, Lord, until we see your outpouring here?", after praying in Wales for 13 years now. But we know that many more people than us have been praying far longer than we have,tulips2017.jpg and they have more of a right be asking that question.

The important thing is that we keep on praying, and intensifying our prayers as the time gets closer, day by day. And we also know that God's desire for this is far greater than our own.

2 Peter 3:9 says, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." And so we carry on in joyful hope, and are constantly strengthened as we discover that others are also moving in the same direction by His sovereign design.

As we spend time in God's word and His presence, we can boldly pray with full assurance, because of He will fulfill every promise. Isaiah 61:11 states very clearly,  "For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations."

Thank you for your continued interest and prayers. Even every single prayerful thought or meditation are contributing to the coming release of God's glory in the earth in our times.

Dick & Gladys 


Thursday, May 03, 2018

Praying for Israel, the ark, and the nations...

teifimarsh-april2018.jpgDear Praying Friends and Saints:

Last week while reading the scriptures, I found myself deeply touched by Numbers 4:5. "When the camp sets out, Aaron and his sons shall go in and they shall take down the veil of the screen and cover the ark of the testimony with it; and they shall lay a covering of porpoise skin on it, and shall spread over it a cloth of pure blue, and shall insert its poles."

What hit me so hard was this graphic description of the ark, the presence of God, being wrapped up, and then wrapped again in two more layers! It was such a clear representation of modern Israel—the truth of their glorious heritage is totally hidden to the vast majority of them, and it is heartbreaking.

As they moved from place to place, the ark and tabernacle would accompany them. When they finally settled in the promised land, Solomon prayed at the dedication of the temple in 2 Chronicles 6:41, "Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. Let Your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation, and let Your saints rejoice in goodness."

With the coming of Jesus the Messiah, there has been an amazing door opened up to Jew and Gentile alike. All who come to Him in simple faith become His dwelling place, and are clothed in salvation. This is Israel's birthright that has been sold off for a bowl of lentil stew when they could one day be sitting down to the marriage feast of the Lamb! This indeed should make us northwelshprayers.jpgyearn and pray for the coming outpouring.

And it has a parallel in the church today as well. How many Christians are living the fullness of our "birthright" in such a way the people around us take notice. Remember Moses had to wear a veil because of the glory. And Isaiah 60:1-3 says, "Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you... But the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light..." Are they coming? What veil might we be unconsciously wearing? We really need to pray.

We have had a very busy week and had some amazing times. These two ladies who stayed with us for two nights last week are from a Welsh-speaking church and prayer group in North Wales. It was a huge privilege to share fellowship and times of prayer in the chapel, and especially their prayers in the Welsh language.

Then on Saturday, we drove in to London where we met our long-time friend Lidia, whom we've known since she was about three. Her parents have been part of the londonwithlidiaglz.jpgVerbo churches that we helped establish and worked with before coming to Wales. She has been working in Spain for a few years, and visited us in 2016 when her job sent her to Llanelli, just over an hour south of us. She had never been in London and so we met her there to be tourists together.

You can imagine our pleasant surprise to discover that a friend of hers working in London was from Guatemala, and was a member of our church there for many years and knew several of our old friends. Another special joy was how the Lord connected us with a wonderful woman of prayer and intercession who opened her home to us for a few nights. We had such an instant connection and some marvellous fellowship and prayer times.

chary-annshutlwrth.jpgThen we drove back home Tuesday, and yesterday were introduced to a young pastor from The Philippines by a dear old friend who lives in our area. He starting pastoring a church when he was only 14 years old, and now, at 35, covers 400 churches. He shared with us some of the amazing things he has seen God do with simple humility, and His love for God's people was a joy to behold. He told us with excitement how the Lord had shown him that the "sound of revival" is embedded in the land here. So we had a powerful time of prayer with him in the chapel, and sent him off again loaded with Welsh revival anointing, and joy at our brief but very rich time together.

We are continually amazed by all that seems to be happening just in our circle of connections, and it is so encouraging to that the Lord is moving in wonderful ways in so many other places as well.

We pray that you too be encouraged and activated daily by the Spirit of God in wonderful ways. And we thank you for your continued prayers for Wales and the beloveds of the Lord everywhere that still don't know His great love for them. "Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place..."

Dick & Gladys


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