Dear Praying Friends:
This verse in Psalm 119 grabbed my attention a couple of mornings
ago. "May all who fear you find in me a
cause for joy..." What a great prayer in times like
these—that we might become a source of joy for others! Of course,
that is nothing that we can make happen on our own, but it is
something that God actually delights in doing.
Here's the whole section in Psalm 119 (NLT) for your reference.
"73 You made me; you created me. Now give me
the sense to follow your commands.
74 May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy, for I have
put my hope in your word.
75 I know, O LORD, that your regulations are fair; you
disciplined me because I needed it.
76 Now let your unfailing love comfort me, just as you promised
me, your servant.
77 Surround me with your tender mercies so I may live, for your
instructions are my delight.
78 Bring disgrace upon the arrogant people who lied about me;
meanwhile, I will concentrate on your commandments.
79 Let me be united with all who fear you, with those who know
80 May I be blameless in keeping your decrees; then I will never
In Jesus' key teachings to
the disciples before departing this world, He said in John 15:11,
"These things I have spoken to you, that My
joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." So
it seems that the element of joy is more than just a fringe
benefit of our faith. It is actually high up on the list of
priorities. In the list of fruits of the spirit in Galatians
5:22-23, it comes in second only to love. "But
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,
This unprecedented time of social restriction has opened a door
for many people to spend more time in the word of God than ever
before. That in itself is a huge benefit. Reading through all of
Psalm 119 provides a wonderful perspective on that subject. And
another benefit that we've seen a renewed appreciation for
fellowship with other believers. Again, verse 79 makes that clear,
"Let me be united with all who fear you,
with those who know your laws." And that is more fuel for joy! And
as Psalm 16:3 adds to that, "As for the
saints who are on the earth, 'they are the excellent ones, in
whom is all my delight.'"
We've been enjoying more wonderful summery weather here, although
there was a week of cold and rain to remind us of just how things
can be here. We had a chance to fly Gladys' May birthday kite at a
nearby beach, and were made thankful yet again for where the Lord
has given us the privilege to live!
I just want to finish with
a quick testimony of God's amazing faithfulness. Six weeks ago I
found out our car would not pass inspection and we would need to
find a replacement. Just a couple of days later we were coming
back to the house from the chapel and thanking God for an answer
to prayer that we had just learned of from a friend. And
spontaneously I said, "thank you Lord for the new car you know
that we need." That was all there was to it.
When we got to our kitchen porch just minutes later, there were
two letters that the postman had left. One was a greeting card and
the other was an ominous-looking envelope from the US treasury
department. I opened that one first and to my great surprise it
was a check for US$2400, and the other was a gift card from
friends who we haven't seen for ages with a check for UK£100!
Those two together checks provided us with a great low-mileage car
that we picked up last week and even covered the cost our travel
to go pick it up in England.
What a delight that we can still be amazed at God's goodness and
faithfulness in all situations. Our prayer is that you also may
enjoy His goodness and be a source of joy to others around you. "Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the
glory of the Lord is risen upon you." Isaiah 60:1
Dick & Gladys
Friends of Wales Awakening:
During the last several weeks there has been a persistent theme
in my spirit that just keeps coming back over and over again as we
read through the Scriptures. It seems almost to hang on every
portion, so I am going to try to encapsulate what God has placed
on my heart.
Yesterday we read 2 Samuel 5:1-3. And again just this morning we
read the very same words in 1 Chronicles 11:1–3, as if the Lord
were emphasizing this key passage. "Then all
the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and spoke, saying,
'Indeed we are your bone and your flesh. Also, in time past,
when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out
and brought them in; and the LORD said to you, You shall
shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over Israel.' Therefore
all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King
David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD. And
they anointed David king over Israel." This whole portion
finishes with David firmly established as king in 1 Chronicles
12:40 where it says, "… there was great joy
throughout the land of Israel."
What has moved me so profoundly both times is in verse two where
it says, "...even when Saul was king, you
were the one who really led the forces of Israel in the Lord God
told you you will be the shepherd of my people Israel."
If we look at David as representing the Lord, and Israel
representing a nation, we have a picture of how God intended the
nations to operate under His authority and blessings. How far from
this design have we drifted over the centuries.
recent events in the United States that started just over two
weeks ago, and have since motivated demonstrations, riots, and
violence, have shown all too clearly the results of people adrift
with no fear of the Lord or any absolute moral compass. When I
first heard the news, I was immediately taken back to the
shootings of 13 unarmed students at a peaceful demonstration that
took place at the Kent State University in Ohio in 1970. That was
the unprecedented incident that launched me into a desperate
search for God and his mercy.
The sad and tragic truth is that events like these, past and
present, and the reaction that they cause, are as old as life
itself. I clearly remember years ago being stunned by the
realization that when Cain killed his brother Abel, they were the
very first natural generation of all humankind. Their very own
mother and father had walked and talked with God in the garden of
Eden, and surely they had heard all of the stories first-hand
since their childhood. And yet in what would have been the
relatively early years of a first natural lifetime, the fear of
God was already gone from Cain's heart. It should be no surprise,
then, in this distant future from those days, that human nature
has remained so degenerate. Oh, how we need the Savior.
Another scripture that impacted my heart and underlined this
theme were these words in Psalm 78:7-8.
"That they may set their hope in God, and
not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments;
and may not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious
generation, a generation that did not set its heart aright, and
whose spirit was not faithful to God." What a powerful
prayer this is, and so pertinent to the times we are living in
just now. Despite our scientific and technological advances, our
flawed human nature remains unruly and blatantly opposes God's
Time and time again throughout the scriptures we see this truth
clearly stated as here in Isaiah 42:23, "Who
among you will give ear to this?
Who will listen and hear for the time to come?" And in
verse 25 he shows man's response to the flame of God's
chastisement, "It has set him on fire all
around, yet he did not know; and it burned him, yet he did not
take it to heart." German philosopher Friedrich Hegel
paraphrased this well enough 200 years ago when he said, "The only
thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from
HOWEVER, putting aside
this bleak outlook, we have a spectacularly bright hope.
Mark 10:27 says, "But Jesus looked at them
and said, 'With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.'"
So the darker things appear, the brighter the eternal hope shines
through. We are more consistently encouraged by God's promises of
a brilliant future throughout the scriptures than we are
confronted with His correcting judgments.
This amazing portion in Isaiah 25:7-9 sets the scene that we are
all praying for.
"And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is
spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and
the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the
reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for
the LORD has spoken.
It will be said on that day, 'Behold, this
is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This
is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice
in his salvation.'"
May we also be encouraged by these words of Paul from 1
Thessalonians 5:9-11. "For God chose to save
us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on
us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive
when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each
other and build each other up, just as you are already doing."
Blessings and grace in Jesus' name,
Dick & Gladys