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Sunday, March 31, 2019

God's ways are not our ways, and... Keeping a sensitive heart

guidemylittleship.jpgDear Praying Friends:

After quite a busy week, Saturday morning we went up to the chapel with Gladys much later than normal. When we were finishing our readings, we heard the door open and wondered if somebody was coming to join us. It turned out to be two men out on a walk and they just wanted to have a look inside if that was alright with us.

We welcomed them in, but only one of them, Pete, ventured to the front. His friend went back outside but he came upstairs to see what we were up to. We told him we are here praying for revival and asked him if he knew what that meant. It turned out that he didn't really believe anything, but at this gray-haired stage of life he was beginning to wonder if there was "anything out there!"

When we offered to pray him, he smiled and said, "You'll never convert me", to which I replied, "That's not our job!" He did let us bless him and pray for him and we asked the Lord Jesus to reveal Himself to him. At the end of our brief encounter, both he and his friend Mike took along a copy of the classic scripture-packed gospel tract, Help from Above! (Available in 100s of languages for free, including worldwide shipping!)

walkingonthesea.jpgThe point about this little story is that God always has a plan for us. As we "sail along" with Him with the wind of the spirit, even if we miss the mark or don't do things perfectly, He is always happy to do things with and through us. Here we were, way too late for our morning prayer, and two men walked away with God's word in their pockets who would have missed it had we not "missed it!"

This is all part of God's care for us that I talked about in the last update. However, we find it is all too easy to take for granted. When I was a brand new Christian long years ago, I was astonished as I constantly saw God do things all around me on a daily basis. I don't think He ever stopped, but I just got used to them happening and gradually became desensitized.

We read this morning in Leviticus 40;38, "So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels." But somehow they managed to get themselves into all sorts of difficulties through their hardness of heart and resultant disobedience. And if that happened to them so easily, in spite of this glorious manifestation in front of their eyes day by day, how much more susceptible are we to miss His guidance and activity around us inNCEmlynbridge.jpg today's super-distracting world?

So how can we keep our own hearts from going astray but rather stay sensitive to the Lord? Paul says in Hebrews 3:12-15, "See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness."

Encouraging one another daily is just one more way that God cares for us. And we have a huge advantage over the early church through our easy access to His written word and its direct encouragement to our spirit. These are two good ways to help keep our hearts sensitive to Him and sharpen our awareness of His activity and direction in our lives.

When we also keep in mind that God's care for us comes with the intention of our reaching out to and caring for others, the picture becomes more complete. His ways come full circle and fill our hearts with gratitude when we see the simple ways He can use each one of us to fulfill Jesus words in John 21:17 to Simon Peter, "Do you love me? ... Feed my sheep."

Thank you, Lord, for keeping us sensitive to Your guidance of our little ships towards You.

Dick & Gladys


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Cared for beyond compare... with special treasures along the way!

springlambs2019.jpgDear Praying Friends:

Local sheep farmers spray numbers on the newborn lambs and their mothers so they can tell who belongs to whom. It is a very practical solution to help prevent mixups or separations when they're first born in crowded sheds or being moved from one place to another.

If earthly shepherds take this much care for their woolly flocks, how much more does Jesus, our Good Shepherd, care for us? He says in John 10:3, "... and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out." So he knows each one of us by name. It's a personal relationship.

And when it comes to numbers, He 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."

pansynextdoor.jpgAnd further along He shows the disciples more about this fatherly care in verses 22-32. "22 Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on... 27 Consider the flowers, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin... 29 And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind... 31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

These portions of scripture underscore God's care and tender mercies towards us, and it seems we have been more keenly aware of that lately. And the most amazing thing about it is that He doesn't favor some over any others, but is willing and able to extend this heart of divine love to all that will come to Him.

David's words put it all in perspective in 2 Chronicles 6:18-19, "But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built! Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O Lord my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You." So what are a few billion souls to look after for Him? And as to our prayers, He already knows our thoughts and petitions long before we even are aware of them or express them!

bcwstudents2019spring.jpgWe had to go to Swansea last Friday and so took advantage of it to stop by the Bible College of Wales. It is always a joy to meet the new students and catch hold of their love for Jesus and their hunger for more Him. This is now the eighth cohort of students coming for the intensive 12-week program, and their energy and dedication is inspiring.

Many of these awesome people, some young and some not so young, have come with open hearts and are saying, "OK, Lord, here's the rest of my life, what would You have me to do?" Some will be going into foreign missions, and perhaps others back to the mission at their doorstep and service in their home churches... for now.

As these bold disciples step out into the specific callings that God has for each one, it is wonderful to know that our same Good Shepherd will take such perfect care for each one. What the future holds for each one is a path of discovery. When I left California for the mission field in Guatemala 43 years ago, little did I know where He would lead me, and then us. And His care has been relentless!

cilfowyrconnection.jpgWe drove back home to a very rich time of fellowship with our special friends and neighbors the Kirbys and our mutual friends John and Janet Phillips from Virginia. We first met Janet about nine years ago, and her husband when they visited four years ago, and have developed a wonderful friendship. I still remember hearing from a very excited Janet when she discovered, to all of our amazement, that John's direct ancestor was the very first pastor of our Cilfowyr Chapel over 300 years ago! The six of us had an exceptional time of prayer in the chapel on Saturday morning, but I wasn't quick enough with my camera!

Deuteronomy 7:6 says, "For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth."  One of the most beautiful things about this is that as we press on into God's plans for our lives, we discover more and more that our own "special treasures" are the family of God around the world, and it just keeps on growing!

As we go on with our lives and callings, we can pray with great assurance because of Jesus' great promise, "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

Dick & Gladys


Thursday, March 07, 2019

A 13-year-old's striking vision of Wales in 1998

st.nicholaschurch.jpgDear Friends of Wales Awakening: A 13-year-old's striking vision of Wales in 1998

We love getting emails from strangers, and this one that came last Sunday is amazing. It was from a young man who went to Wales in 1998 with his father during his 13th birthday. His father had been reading Rees Howells Intercessor and the Lord began telling him that he needed to go to Wales and take his son with him. This is his story.

"We traveled some in both the south and north of Wales. On one trip we traveled onto the peninsula in North Wales to meet with a pastor. I do not remember the exact town that we were in, just that it was in the vicinity of Pwllheli. While at his house drinking tea, all of a sudden I had an open eye vision, the first vision I ever had. I even know the exact date that I had the vision because I was keeping a journal of the trip.  It was July 8, 1998, just a few days after my 13th birthday. The following is something I wrote out recently describing the vision."

caerphillycastle.jpg"I saw a giant wall like a mix between a castle wall and a dam wall all around the country of Wales. And Wales itself was filled with water up to the top of the wall. Walking around on the wall were demons guarding the wall and checking it for leaks, making sure that none of the water got out. Then I saw a hole form into a crack in the wall, and then water began seeping out."

"The demons guarding on the top of the wall began to go into a panic as the water began running out through the wall, making the hole bigger and bigger at a very fast rate. Then I was up above the continent of Europe looking down on it like a map, and I saw from the nation of Wales a giant wave of water that rushed across the entire continent of Europe like a flood."

"I do not know why God showed me this vision, and as a child, I did not understand fully what it all meant, other than it had something to do with revival. Through the years I have watched and hoped there would be another revival in Wales, though I did not think of the vision much or focus on any of it for quite a while. And of course, now I understand that the vision is all about Wales playing a key role in a revival that spreads across the entire continent of Europe."

What's really interesting is that it coincides with the vision what moningtonhills.jpgGod showed me during our first visited here in 1999. The light of God's glory once again was bursting upon the sleeping villages and farms, bringing the knowledge and the fear of the Lord. As my view extended, I could see this coming revival spilling over into England, the rest of the U.K. and even into the stone cold heart of Europe itself.

What made this even more fascinating is that about a week before I got the email, I had received a prophetic word from someone in North Wales who was talking about breaking the dams holding back the church. So it is a real encouragement and a strong incentive to keep gearing up our prayers for this little nation of Wales.

I've posted both of these on the page Words About Wales linked here. You can see them as well as many others that I have put there over the past several years. There are still others I've not yet posted but they all point towards exciting things that are happening here.

I'm just passing this along as a little more fuel for the fires of prayer and intercession. May you be greatly encouraged as together we cry out to God that his mercy and grace continue to empower and direct us for such a time as this!

Dick & Gladys


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