Dear Praying Friends and
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 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."
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 in
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
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
Dear 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
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
And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the
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,
the route of thunderstorms
That bring water to unvisited fields,
deserts no one ever lays
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 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.
The 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
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
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 binds 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
Sometimes 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.
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
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