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Monday, April 29, 2019

Out of the mouth of babes... a surprising exhortation!

Dear Friends and Prayers:

A few weeks ago when I went on a men's retreat at Bardsey Island, Gladys spent the weekend with our friend Moira who lives on their farm to the south of us. On Sunday morning she offered to help out in the Sunday school and her offer was gladly received.

She said at first the kids kept looking at her as if she were from a different planet rather than just from another country and culture. But Gladys being her warm and friendly self, they warmed up to her soon enough and all wound up having a great time together. But here comes the best part.

Last week Moira called to share a report she heard the following Sunday. One of the children had gone home and was talking about his fun time in the class with a visitor. When the mom asked what her name was, he couldn't remember. When she asked where she was from, the reply was, "She was from heaven!"

You can be sure we all had a very good laugh about that. But as I've been reflecting on that over the last week, the Lord has really been speaking to me through this child's innocent response. How do we actually impact those around us in our day to day lives?

rapeseedfield.jpgIn Matthew 5:13 Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men." And then in verses 14-16 He makes the challenge more personal. "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

So it's time for a little introspection in this darkening world around us. Just how do we trim our lamps? Paul makes this practical suggestion in Philippians 2:14-15, "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world."

And Paul mentions another important key in Ephesians 5:25-27—our time in God's word. "...just as Christ also loved the gatewaysfriends.jpgchurch and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church ...that she should be holy and without blemish." So let's get our lamps in order!

We also recently enjoyed a 3-day visit from some wonderful folks from Spokane, Washington. Although we had never met, the mutual connection goes back to Shady Grove Church in Dallas, and once again we experienced the blessing of the Body of Christ—instant friends!

It was a joy to be able to host them and send them to some places of historical revival significance. We also had some precious times of prayer and fellowship, and so were enabled "...to comprehend [together] with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ..." as in Ephesians 3:18-19.

May God strengthen each one of us as we earnestly seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,

Dick & Gladys


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Jesus has conquered death and the grave, HALLELUJAH!


Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega!

Colossians 1:13-18 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

This 1970s Easter song by Second Chapter of Acts is as joyful and inspiring as ever! You can hear it at this link.

God bless you and your loved ones this Easter,
Dick & Gladys


Monday, April 08, 2019

Bardsey Island visit, and praying with the saints down the centuries...

bardseymonastery.jpgDear Praying Friends and Saints:

This weekend I went on a two-day men's retreat to Bardsey Island, just off the southwestern tip of the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales. The island had its beginnings as a place of solitude, prayer, and pilgrimage in the 6th-century when the Celtic monk Cadfan built a monastery with his fellow monks. These are remains of a 13th-century Augustinian abbey.

Almost as soon I set foot on the island, I was struck by a sense of God's presence and a reverence for the those who had sacrificially given themselves to a difficult life of simplicity and seeking God. It was a wonderful experience just to be in this place that has drawn my interest for years.

On Saturday afternoon I climbed up to the top of the 548 foot tall Mynydd Enlli, or Bardsey Mountain. As soon as I could see over the ridge towards the east, all of Wales stretched out before me from left to right. Although the view in the distance was obscured by the haze, I had the sensation that I could reach out with the arms of God and embrace the bardseyviewofwales.jpgwhole this beloved land in the same way Jesus said in Luke 13:34, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, ...how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing."

I sat down and found myself immediately overwhelmed. It seemed I was directly connected with the prayers of the saints of centuries gone by, and, spontaneously, I recorded my thoughts and prayers.

"As monks and solitaries spent their time seeking God and pouring out their hearts before Him for the spiritual livelihood of the warring tribes and factions of this land, such a beautiful land that was divided by pride, selfishness, and fear. Solomon said, 'There is nothing new under the sun.' There is definitely something here that speaks of bardseycrosssunset.jpgcenturies and centuries of prayer added upon prayer, added upon prayer. It speaks to the heart of this land saying, 'Arise oh sleeper from the dead, and Christ will give you light.'

"And Lord, our prayer, our cry oh God, is that these people would be brought out of the night into the dayspring of life. Jesus, that Your Holy Spirit would reach down through the generations of prayers and longings and desires for the only eternal destiny that has any merit. Lord, that you would tear off the veil that covers the nations, the veil of secularism, and blindness to the fact that we are more than just flesh and bone. Lord, as in Ezekiel 37 speaks out over the valley of dry bones, Lord would you let these dry bones live again.

"God our cry is for these bones, these living bones, to find real life. That they would not live in "shadowland" for generation upon generation as they've done for so many centuries now. And God we cry, we pour out our hearts, we join our hearts to the cries of the saints down the ages. Lord, that they would know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

"Jesus, we join our hearts with those from around the world, long since gone on to their heavenly reward, Lord, that their prayers resound around heaven as do ours. And we say, Come Lord Jesus. Pour out your mercy and your grace. Pour out revelation, pour out conviction of sin, pour out revelation of judgement, righteousness, and truth. Thank you Jesus."

May the Lord bless you as we continue to pray together for God's kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth in the world around us today,

Dick & Gladys


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