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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Please pray! We will need to move house soon. And while you're at it...

Trumpets of the spring over Teifi ValleyDear Praying Friends and Saints:

We are barreling into springtime now and, incredibly, April is nearly upon us! Flowers are pushing out into the fresh air at full pace and Hydrangeas leafing up and out!new leaves are eagerly unfolding all around us. This is most definitely a welcome change after a very wet winter.

Just as the daffodils in the photo are in focus but the view into the distance is blurred, such is our housing situation presently. Our landlady let us know last Friday that she has received an offer on our home of 14 years, so we are joyfully expectant of the Lord's provision in the very near future.

We are starting to make arrangements for moving, but don't know where to as yet. It feels kind of like when God told Abraham to pack his things and go but didn't tell him where. And this why we would ask for your earnest prayers on our behalf. Like the bright promise of spring flowers, we have the even brighter promise of Jesus' words in Matthew 6:33, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you."

Sheep looking expectly to the shepherd in hopes of ... In the middle of this "uncertainty", we can smile because we know that He knows exactly what we need. And just yesterday while reading through John 10 we found more fresh assurance. Our Good Shepherd says in verse 4, "And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice." So we don't need to fret and try to figure it all out, rather we can rest in knowing how trustworthy He is and follow His leading.

I like the quizzical look on this old ram's face as if to say, "Where to now, boss?" (Actually, he's probably really wondering if I've brought them anything to eat besides grass!) Of course, we are curious to see where we will wind up, but in due time the right place will turn up.

Meanwhile, all along the years, the Lord has shown us just where our place really is—in Him. I found this idea beautifully expressed in the Message Translation of John's gospel when the Lord is teaching the disciples about His being the Bread of Life and the need to partake of His flesh and blood. In John 6:56 Jesus says, "By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you." And this description of the mutual "entering into" each other with Him struck such a chord iAnother orange cupped daffodiln us. He is our dwelling place and will be forever. I've always liked the way that Paul puts it to the Greeks in Acts 17:28, "...for in Him we live and move and have our being..." There is no better place to be.

At the same time that we rejoice at having the certainty of our "forever place" to live and move, our temporary situation is a good reminder to pray for the millions of people of this world who don't have this assurance. Whether a person's home is a solidly-built mansion or a tent in a refugee camp somewhere, their earthly abode is only temporary. This motivates our prayers that people would hear the Gospel and say like Simon Peter in John 6:68, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

Thank you for your continued interest and your prayers. And we pray the Lord utilize your own circumstances as fuel for prayer for those near and far who are in need of the amazing love of God in Jesus Christ.

Dick & Gladys


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

First lambs from the fields and flowers in the desert are keys for intercession...

First lamb of the season for Parctwad FarmDear Friends and Prayers:

Yesterday we stopped by to see our friend Mark who farms nearby. On our way out, he was coming back towing a small trailer and stopped to show us this beautiful hours-old lamb, his first of the season! They will have some very busy weeks ahead of them as many hundreds of lambs will be arriving on the scene.

I couldn't help but see such delight in this example of God's miraculous involvement of every aspect of life. And these words of Jeremiah 31:10-14 came jumping to mind like a spring lamb.

  "Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
And declare it in the isles afar off, and say,
'He who scattered Israel will gather him,
And keep him as a shepherd does his flock.'
   For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
And ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he.
   Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion,
Streaming to the goodness of the Lord—
For wheat and new wine and oil,
For the young of the flock and the herd;
Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden,
And they shall sorrow no more at all.
    Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance,
And the young men and the old, together;
For I will turn their mourning to joy,
Will comfort them,
And make them rejoice rather than sorrow.
    I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance,
And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the Lord.

Flowers in the desert - (thanks, pixabay.com)Several times in the past week I've found myself just overwhelmed by the goodness of the Lord. Of course, I suppose the changing season may contribute to this. But it is so very much more! As we continue our voyage through the book of Job, God's questions to him in chapter 38:24-27 undid me once again.
   "Can you find your way to where lightning is launched,
       or to the place from which the wind blows?
   Who do you suppose carves canyons
       for the downpours of rain, and charts
       the route of thunderstorms
   That bring water to unvisited fields,
       deserts no one ever lays eyes on,
   Drenching the useless wastelands
       so they’re carpeted with wildflowers and grass?
" (The Message)

As we continue to open our spiritual eyes to the natural world around us, it is amazing to see the constant stream Camelias ready to bust open!!!of miracles that make our very existence possible! How can it be that people go through life with perhaps only a distance recognition that maybe there is something more than meets the eye "out there somewhere".  However, it has no more lasting influence on their lives than some obscure fact once learned in a 5th grade history lesson. So for us, we can turn every momentary appreciation of God's goodness into a prayer for those missing out on a relationship with the Living God.

Sun rises and the stars disappear in Beulah, 2006The challenge and the blessing when we cry the Lord of the harvest for the lost is wonderfully expressed in Isaiah 58:10-12. "If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In."

What a glorious time to remember 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)

Dick & Gladys


Tuesday, March 02, 2021

I know my redeemer lives! And further blessings from Job...

To be raised in glory!!Dear Praying Friends:

This portion from Job 19:25-27 is one of the most audacious declarations in the scriptures is.
"For I know that my Redeemer lives,
    And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
    That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
    And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
    How my heart yearns within me!

I've always been amazed by the fact that in the middle of his harsh and unwarranted suffering, Job has such a clear revelation from God. Although his very life is hanging by a thread he expresses his conviction that he will indeed see his Redeemer standing on the earth. He prophetically saw the hallowed hope of salvation that we embrace today.

The depth of Job's revelation seems to grow as he continues in the debate with his friends. Chapter 26 is one of my favorites as he proclaims the grandeur and power of our creator. Verses 7-8 say, "He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth (and the moon) on nothing. He On
a bright drive up to the chapelbinds up the water in His thick clouds, yet the clouds are not broken under it." And he finishes this section of his discourse in verses 13-14 with, "By His Spirit He adorned the heavens; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent. Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?"

Now here we see Job's understanding of the work of our Redeemer when he says, "His hand pierced the fleeing serpent." He foresaw the finished work of Christ long before the old testament prophets wrote clearly about the coming Messiah. And what to me is one of the most expansive pictures of God's inexpressible greatness are his words, "...these are the mere edges of His ways ...a small whisper!"

A curious destination - old roadroad lineSometimes our own circumstances find us in a place or situation where we don't see things with all the clarity we would like. Or perhaps we are dealing with physical challenges like Job. He didn't bother sugar-coating his words to God, but just told Him what he thought about things. And so too we can be real with the Lord, even in our prayers during disappointment or frustration.  What an immeasurable blessing that we can turn to our loving Father God!

Another thing that touched me was in the very next chapter. Job 27:8-18 "For what hope have the godless when they are cut off, when God takes away their life? ...Will they call on God?" How many people in the world around us who have never even prayed before may find themselves needing to call out to God? With so many things in a constant state of flux, I'm sure there will be many, even this very minute.On a bright drive up to the chapel

How wonderful are God's words in Isaiah 1:18-19. "'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. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;'"

In these troubling times let's be mindful of those around us, as well as countless others around the world, that are in need of God's grace and mercy. May they turn to God in their despair and find Jesus reaching out to them and saying, "Come unto me..." May God grant us the wisdom and sensitivity to be instant in prayer in season and out.

Proverbs 4:18 says, "The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.",

Dick & Gladys


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