As a child, I used to love watching
the neighboring farmers plow their fields. But I had never seen
these modern plows that have added an amazing new twist—they
turn the opposing set of plowshares so they can follow directly
back on the last furrow without having to drive halfway across
the field to plow to the other end.
As I looked on, the following scriptures came to mind one after
the other. Colossians 4:5-6, "Walk in
wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let
your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt..."
2 Timothy 4:2, "Preach the word! Be ready
in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort..."
1 Corinthians 9:22, "I have become all
things to all people so that by all possible means I might
Both of these precious and godly men had an admirably deep
relationship with the Lord and were some of those amazing seeds
that bore much good fruit throughout their lives. Each in their
own inimitable way profoundly touched the lives of hundreds and
thousands of people, and God's word and His presence of God
flowed out of them in abundance in every situation. They both
lived 1 Peter 3:15, "Always be prepared to
give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for
the hope that you have, but do this with gentleness and
respect..." They will be greatly missed by their
families and friends, so please keep them close in your prayers
during this difficult season.
The yearly planting of the field also
spoke to me about the successive generations of believers, and
Bob's and James' lifetime of seeding the world reaches into
eternity, where they now reside together in glory with all those
When the Lord gave me these words 20 years ago, I didn't know
what comfort they would become in recent times.
"How marvelous are Your works, oh Lord. And
how great it is to understand Your ways, to know that as life's
end points to sorrow and loss in the world's eyes, in You it
brings joy and riches forever! To know that our only real and
lasting treasures are friends and loved ones who are found in
You brings rest to the soul. What would be loss is gain, what
really dies is pain. In You we live and move and have our being.
The rest is passing fancy.
You said, "The Kingdom of God is within
you," for so it is. So to sit here in Your Kingdom is heaven on
earth. To dwell in Your presence is fullness of joy. To breathe
in each moment is to savor Your grace. To taste of Your goodness
is everlasting life. To behold You is love itself."
Since the spring we have wanted to go to visit friends in North
Wales and do a little sightseeing. A couple of weeks after the
arrival of all our earthly goods, and subsequent unending busyness,
we desperately needed a rest. So when a timely opportunity presented
itself, we jumped in the car and headed for the hills in the north.
We were only able to get away for five nights, but it was a huge
blessing to just unplug from everything and disappear. The icing
on the cake was this breathtaking view from our final evening,
although this photo falls way short of capturing even only one
moment of time in the creation of our loving heavenly Father.
We were graciously hosted by our
long-time friend Elinor in Llansannan. The first order of duty the
next morning was to properly get our bearings, so she took us to a
nearby hilltop with an expansive 360- degree view of the area. It
was wonderful to feast our eyes on the still lush green growth of
the beautifully tended farmland in every direction.
The dedication and hard work of many generations of farmers
have made this area as beautiful and productive as it is.
Countless winding lanes and steep valleys bear witness to this,
especially considering periods of harsh winter weather, and that
it was, for the most part, built up without the aid of motorized
vehicles or equipment.
Another highlight of our trip was a visit to the Bodnant Gardens
near Colwyn Bay. This 80-acre botanical garden is another example
of the fruit of perseverance and hard work—the product of five
generations is truly impressive. The maintenance of this huge place is very labor-intensive—there
are 26 full-time gardeners plus volunteers. We were blessed with
mostly dry weather and could have easily spent an entire day or
more admiring the enormous diversity of God's creation.
Speaking of admiring the beauty in the world around us, I'd like
to relate my experience related to seeing things. In late July I
had cataract surgery and lens replacement in my right eye, and the
change was remarkable but a bit unsettling. My left eye was still
corrected by my glasses and had always been my stronger eye. But
the brightness and colors through my new transparent lens in my
right eye were amazing!
I had to remove the right lens of my glasses because my vision
was so different with some correction in the new lens implant it
was like looking through the bottom of a coke bottle! So it was
like I was living in two worlds—one was fairly clear detail but
dull, the other was sparkly bright with vivid colors but out of
focus. After a while, my brain began to blend the right's colorful
image with the left's focused image, and I was able to find a sort
of balance and manage things satisfactorily. I was constantly
thrilled by how distinct and bright my world had become!
Through this experience, The Lord began to speak to me about how
we actually are living in two worlds. In John 17 when Jesus prays
for the disciples, he says in verse11, "Now
I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world,
and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those
whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are."
And then in verse 16-17 He says, "I do not
pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should
keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world,
just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your
word is truth."
As believers, then, we find ourselves "in the world" but not "of
the world". And for our walk with God to be fruitful for His
purposes we need to keep in the place where we can maintain the
balance between the two worlds. Of course, that is impossible on
our own, but Jesus prayed, "Holy Father,
keep through Your name those whom You have given Me."
So the end of the matter is that we are kept in that fruitful
place of balance by God's grace. And His word is the truth that
nurtures and sustains us far better than any earthly garden is
maintained. What a priceless gift! I like The Message translation
of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that says, "Every part
of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or
another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our
mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word we are
put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us."
Thank you for your prayers for His work in Wales and the nations.
May the Lord bless us all with His continual grace and new
Dick & Gladys