In 2014, Sainsbury's, a chain of supermarkets here in the United
Kingdom, released their Christmas advertisement on national television.
They made a powerful three-minute video of the Christmas Truce of the
First World War that was being fought one hundred years ago.
I don't remember ever having heard of this. But in the one of the
most brutal wars in all of history, there were unauthorized spontaneous
ceasefires along some areas of the trenches. Some of the soldiers from
opposing sides exchanged Christmas greetings and even sang hymns
Jesus, the Prince of Peace, came to give us peace with God through
His atoning blood, and eternal life. The recognition of this wonderful
fact by both sides was enough to stop the aggression for at least a few
then the overriding influence of the "powers that were" obliged them to
continue on their senseless course. The current of this world swept
away those moments of peace and it was back to "business as usual."
This short production is very well made, and I have found myself
profoundly touched each time I've watched it, and driven to a place of
prayer, longing for God's Kingdom rather than the fleeting kingdoms of
men. There is such a stark contrast between the two.
Towards the end of the video the background music is that great old
hymn, "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms."
What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
It seems to represent the
Lord's invitation to come to Him, all who are heavy laden. He is still
the Prince of Peace in the midst of a world wracked by sin and sorrow.
this link to watch the video. Hopefully it will energize your
appreciation for this greatest of all gifts, that "Christ Jesus came into the world to
save sinners." And may it also stir you to pray with renewed
vigor for the world around us.
We wish you and your loved ones a very blessed Christmas, and that
the true and extraordinary "reason for the season" become more deeply
real and meaningful to you each day,
Dick & Gladys
Praying Friends and Saints:
The hands-down greatest gift throughout all of human history was the
coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh as an infant. The real joy of
is all about salvation from SIN and death! Through Jesus' perfect life,
undeserved death, and his glorious resurrection, if we simply believe,
God gives us access to the remission of our sins and eternal life.
These facts are treasured in these amazing verses:
"For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of
Peace." Isaiah 9:6
"Now there were in the same
country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their
flock by night.
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of
the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you
good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'"
"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."
"'Come now, and let us reason
together,' Says the Lord, 'Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white
as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as
wool.'" Isaiah 1:18
This is the amazing exchange: we give Him our sin, and our hearts,
and He gives us forgiveness, acceptance as children of the Living God,
and a new and eternal life!
In the words of one of our favorite
Christian artists, Bryan Duncan, "A priceless, for the worthless trade.
Trade for the medicine..." (enjoy listening to Strong Medicine, 1989)
This amazing good news of the birth of Christ has two
parts. The first is the spontaneous wonderment, joy, and gratitude at
beauty of this His greatest gift. The second part is a bittersweet
longing for the multitudes that don't know the Lord. Our hearts cry out
that they might be able to see past the natural and know of His love
and sacrifice for them, and that they might also find forgiveness of
sin and eternal life in Jesus Christ. So let's take every opportunity
we have at this festive time of year to "...sanctify the Lord
God in your hearts, 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..." 1 Peter 3:15
"Now may the God of
hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound
in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
Dick & Gladys
A old friend posted these thoughts from his even older friend called
Pastor Bob. I thought it presents a very good perspective not only just
for this season Christmas season but all the year long. And so I just
want to share the blessing with you here.
"From our human, earthly perspective we speak of 'Advent' - the
coming of the Son of God to us. "Emmanuel" is the word of celebration
sung by all of us who once 'sat in darkness longing to see the great
Light' of Eternal Life coming down to us.
"But from the heavenly perspective, in the Holy Spirit we may ponder
the 'goings of God.' What is 'Advent' for us, is a season in time in
which, to our human understanding of heavenly realities, 'the Beloved
Son is away from home.' The Angels, giving 'Glory to God in the
Highest,' followed their Lord in His 'descent' to the edges of our
human experience, as His infant form was held in the hands of a humble
carpenter and his virgin spouse.
"Because God transcends the categorical borders of time and space of
the human mind, there was no sadness in heaven at the event of our
Lord's 'coming' to us. That coming was a glorious manifestation of the
'going' of God - reaching out to bring His wandering creation back into
the Eternal Purpose of Unfailing Love.
"At the season, let us 'fix our thoughts' upon Jesus, and behold His
coming as 'The One Sent from the Father.' In receiving the Son who is
sent to us, we are embraced by the Father in His 'going forth.' For,
though, to our view, the Son of God left heaven to come to us, all
heaven eternally beholds their Lord, manifest in mortal flesh as the
'Son of Man' who is always in Heaven [cf, Jn. 3:13 margin] The Son is
always with the Father, and in Him we see the Father! Ponder the
mystery of our caroling confession: 'Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see,
hail the incarnate Deity!'
"Let us prayerfully stand by faith with the Angels and 'Saints in
the Kingdom of Light' and join the praise of heaven for 'the goings of
God.' This is the fullness of 'Advent.' "
Written by Pastor Bob Y.
We pray the Lord bless you and your loved ones this Christmas, and
also may the number of those loved ones grow because of 'the goings of
God' through you!
Last Sunday we said goodbye to our daughter Grace, and then on
Tuesday picked up another young friend, Magdaly and her husband Sergio,
from Quetzaltenango in highlands of Guatemala. We lived there for five
years helping to establish a Verbo church, and her parents part of our
group and special friends from the early days. Grace knew her older
sister and her from the Sunday school and visits to play, so it would
have been nice for them to see each other after 30 years!
What a special blessing for us to get to know both her and her
husband now as grown professionals and, more importantly, followers of
Jesus! It was such a joy to experience, in person and real time, the
truth of 1 Corinthians 15:58 that says, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be
steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing
that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
Little could we have imagined so many years ago in Guatemala that we
would ever be missionaries in Wales. And less would it have occurred to
us that one day, in the then distant future, someone from there would
come to visit us all the way over here. And even less likely still
would we have imagined that one the precious children of our
congregation would even remember us or come for a visit.
of course, God is true to his word and always has unexpected ways of
surprising and blessing us as we follow his leadings. This photo was
taken in 1989 of the school that we started in Xela, the indigenous
name for Quetzaltenango. Magdaly is on the far right, perhaps
distracted by thoughts of future and faraway places. So you can imagine
the delight of having her and her husband with us for a few days at the
end of their tour to Paris and London.
It was wonderful to take them up to the chapel and spend some time
in prayer there. It was then that the fruit of God's faithfulness from
one generation to the next came into such a sweet focus as we blended
hearts and voices to call on heaven's mercies to pour down on this land
We also had the privilege of showing them around some of the
extremely beautiful places in our area. They even got to see a few
hours of sunshine in the midst of a typical wet Welsh winter! One place
that was particularly impressive was the Strumble Head Lighthouse near
Fishguard. The wild winds shook the car and the great waves crashed
time and time again into the cliffs, sending masses of white splash and
spray skywards in stark contrast to the black rocks and dark grey
clouds. It made a great picture of our prayers for God's kingdom to
wash over this nation with His light and power.
Sergio and Magdaly's third and last night, we were invited to our
friends Stan and Sue's house for a delicious supper, with worship and
prayer following. With two other couples who we've become friends with
over the years, there was a fair bit of translation going on, but we
had a fabulous evening together. And an extra surprise for our dear
visitors from Guatemala was a powerful time of prayer and prophecy over
them that blessed and touched them deeply.
It is such an amazing gift that we so frequently find ourselves
enjoying the company of God's saints. And to have this special taste of
old times and new blended together into the fold of the moment was
heartwarming and glorious. And it is precisely this kind of
experiencing the Body of Christ in action as "family" that demonstrates
God's love and can welcome the lost and lonely into the newness and
fullness of life we have in Jesus.
As the world grows darker around us in our times, we can clearly see
God preparing the nets across nations and generations to draw people
into the eternal welcome of His grace and salvation.
May God bless you in your fellowship and your prayers as we seek Him
together for the coming visitation and revival both in Wales and the
Dick & Gladys
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