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Thursday, July 23, 2020

A shocking re-discovery has changed our hearts and our prayer focus...

Dear Praying Friends and Saints:

Driving south through Pembrokeshire on Tuesday took us through a beautiful wide valley. This lovely view of Wales' green hills and fields of grazing sheep is a commonplace and timeless reminder of the simplicity of God's kingdom and our place in the great scheme of things.

These verses in Psalm 95:6-7 put everything into the summarily important and proper perspective.
 "Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
   Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

   For He is our God,
  And we are the people of His pasture,
  And the sheep of His hand.
"

Far above and beyond any temporal happenings around us, and there are more than enough to go around these days, this must remain our bedrock, foundation, and home turf. And to frame that in our day-to-day context, Acts 17:28 says, "...in Him we live and move and have our being..." And so these facts should compel us to abide in Him as well as make the necessary time and place available for His word to abide in us. (John 15:1-8) Imagine how different the world would be if more of her people were to actually worship and bow down!

Image source:
https://wellcomecollection.org/works/emybwv2e

I try to not immerse myself much in the news, but last week I checked up on the pandemic worldwide and found some statistics that rocked my soul to tears. As of today, we’ve lost more than 631,000 lives to the virus so far this year. That is heartbreaking, as is all unavoidable loss of life through any natural disaster. But, the same source also shows that the Net Population Growth this year is rapidly approaching 46 million, and nearly 24 million unborn babies have been aborted–that means more than one innocent child each and every second. (Source: https://www.worldometers.info)

This shocking fact has sat very heavily in my spirit since I first saw it in such a stark comparison. How is it possible that our "modern and enlightened" world can condone such a heinous crime against humanity? How did we drift so far away from decency and compassion? The Lord Himself gives this answer that I just read a few hours ago in Jeremiah 20:4, "Because they have forsaken Me and made this an alien place, because they have burned incense in it to other gods ...and have filled this place with the blood of the innocents."

A reading of this short chapter of Jeremiah makes it evident that God didn't just sit by as an impartial observer. Rather, His intervention brought about some very harsh consequences for the Hebrew nation. (Lesson learned? Sadly, not.) When we hear people ask if this virus is God's divine judgment for a far greater sin than that of the Hebrews, or proclaim it as fact, how can we respond? With great heartfelt sorrow, we can kneel before the Lord our maker and pray. Of course, we can pray for some relief of the suffering caused by the virus.Lamb
of God is the only solutionThe But I believe we need to grapple with the underlying causes of the world's desperate circumstances at every level.

I quickly gravitate towards David's words in Psalm 131:1-2, "Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things too profound for me. Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul …like a weaned child is my soul within me."

In the midst of all the wranglings about the virus—the mask-wearing, new "cures", the changes of "expert opinions"—and all the political strife, international tensions, etc, etc, there is just one lasting truth that matters. We are all just passing through this transitory world, and Jesus came to give us life, and life everlasting. This is the biggest picture of all, hands-down and forever. He is the Lamb of God that was sent in human form to take away the sins of the whole world.

I'm sure we all know these verses inside out and backward, but it is just good medicine for the soul and body to hear them again. "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 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." John 3:14-16

We can pray boldly together with simplicity of heart for every concern. But most of all we pray for acceptance of God's invincible remedy for sin, for His glory, and the salvation of millions of souls around the globe.

Dick & Gladys


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Tuesday, July 07, 2020

The “good old days” were just a foretaste of what's to come!!

team harvesting in PembrokeshireDear Friends and Prayers:

While we stopped to have a snack at one of our many favorite spots the other day, two tractors showed up and starting mowing the hay for silage. They worked together as a wonderfully orchestrated team and made short and neat work of the task at hand. It was great fun to watch, and perhaps the operators spiced up their performance a little bit because they had an audience.

The next day, my old friend Alex, from the early days in our discipleship community, sent me this video, saying how much it had blessed them. So I just want to share the blessing with you today and remind you of some of the glorious things God has done in all of our lives.

It is a great story of the beginnings and development of the Vineyard Churches in the Jesus Movement of the 1970s. John Wimber's wife, now remarried after his death, tells their story with another of the early couples that were together with them. I've included the video here in the email so you can watch the last few minutes where she responds to the question, "What do you see God doing now? (in 2018)"

Carol Wimber WongThis clip is so encouraging and shares some important points that will make you glad to be alive for such a time as this. She speaks of revival and says, "It’s coming, and it’s gonna be so big, and so huge, and wonderful but terrible too. And we need to be in our place so we can handle the influx of masses of people..."
(PS: You can watch the whole video here too, it's well worth the time!)

Recently we have discovered some new friends that God has put in place right here in Wales. And what is a special treat for us is that they are Spanish speakers! Roberto is from Mexico, and his wife Annie grew up here in Wales. Welsh Latino friends!She spent a few years in Latin America until they met and were married about ten years ago, and now they have been living in Pembrokeshire for about seven years with their two beautiful children, who speak Spanish, English, and Welsh! We met in person for the first time on Father's Day, and then they visited us for lunch and some time together and a visit to the chapel on Sunday. It was the first time we've had visitors join us there since the lockdown began in March.

There are also two other Spanish-speaking couples we've gotten to know recently. One is an Argentinian Welsh-speaking pastor, with his Welsh wife and two trilingual children, who came at shared at the chapel last year. The other is a missionary evangelist and his Spanish wife who we've not met face-to-face yet. But that will all change very soon.

None of the three couples have met before, and all of them are dedicated to serving the Lord, so we've arranged to meet together this Saturday for a meal and time to get acquainted and learn more about God's goodness, and how He has put each of us in the place He has us for a time such as this. We are looking forward to experiencing more of the reality of Psalm 133 that says, "Behold, how good it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity!"

We pray that you be blessed and empowered to fulfill your participation in the coming harvest and that where the Lord has placed you clearly becomes a place of blessing for you, and particularly those around you, because of "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27)

Dick & Gladys


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