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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

How do a circus and holiness go together?

The circus comes to Cardigan every now and then!Dear Friends and Praying Saints:

As I came around this turn on my way into Cardigan the weekend before last, this scene made an interesting impression on me. It was a hazy day and the bright colors of the circus tent made a strong contrast against the dull and humdrum life of the villages and surrounding farmland—the somberness of day-to-day life set against the gaiety and good times of a real circus.

We all know that sometimes the reality of life in the world around us can be harsh and tiring. We also know that much of the fun and entertainment of a circus is contrived and artificial. Many of the happy-looking members of those employed there are far from being really happy inside.

Then it came to me that this actually makes a good picture of our lives in God's family and members of the Kingdom of God. The real picture is what God's word says in Psalm 16:11, "You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." And Jesus says in John 11:25-26, "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?'"

Many people that haven't yet had a personal encounter with the living God consider us Christians as if we live in our own "circus" of man-made collective fantasy. However, the sobering reality is accurately summed up by Jesus' stunning response to Nicodemus' statement in John 3:2-3, "This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, 'Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.' Jesus answered and said to him, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.'"

It is precisely this reality of today's sin-torn world that comes weighing in on me frequently. The other day I fell apart while reading through Psalm 119 when I got to verse 53, "Indignation has taken hold of me because of the wicked, who forsake Your law." The vast majority of the latest bad news stories are the product of people"... who forsake Your law." I found Charles Spurgeon's comment on this verse to be particularly relevant and challenging.

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem (taken from
https://achristianpilgrim.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/jesus-weeps-over-jerusalem-luke-1941-44/)My soul, do you feel this holy shuddering at the sins
of others? For otherwise you lack inward holiness.
David's cheeks were wet with rivers of waters
because of prevailing unholiness; Jeremiah desired
eyes like fountains that he might lament the iniquities
of Israel, and Lot was vexed with the conversation of the men of Sodom. Those upon whom the mark was set in Ezekiel's vision were those who sighed and cried for the abominations of Jerusalem. It cannot but grieve gracious souls to see what pains men take to go to hell. Sin makes the righteous shudder because it violates a holy law which is in every man's highest interest to keep; it pulls down the pillars of the commonwealth...
Sin to a believer is horrible because it crucified the Savior; he sees in every iniquity the nails and spear....
It is an awful thing to insult God to His face. The good God deserves better treatment, the great God claims it, and the just God will have it, or repay His adversary to his face. An awakened heart trembles at the audacity of sin, and stands alarmed at the contemplation of its punishment.
How monstrous a thing is rebellion! My soul, never laugh at sin's fooleries, lest it comes to smile at sin itself. It is your enemy and your Lord's enemy--view it with detestation, for so only can you evidence the possession of holiness, without which no man can see the Lord.

TearsSpending precious worship and prayer time at Blaenannerch
Chapel flowed freely the week before last when we met with a group at the chapel in Blaenannerch where Evan Roberts had his life-changing encounter with God that became the catalyst for the Welsh Revival of 1904. There was ample evidence of the workings of God's holiness in powerful intercessory prayer for revival in Wales and the nations.

It was such a joy and privilege to receive these folks from Youth With A Mission who came from Longview, Washington, as part of their training outreach. This was the first time we've had a group visit since before the pandemic forced the world into lockdown in March of 2020. They wanted to visit some of the main revival sites in our area and asked if I could share a bit about what took place here.

Washington State YWAM team at Blaenannerch ChapelIt was wonderful for us to take part in spirit-led prayers and worship with this many people again after more than two years. Their hunger for the Lord and their disposition to serve Him with their lives, and especially in missions, were like vitamins to our souls and great encouragement to our spirits. As we meet more and more of the family of God, once again experience the truth of Psalm 16:3, "As for the saints who are on the earth, 'They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.'"

The icing on the cake was having this on-fire group come and spend time with us in our own home chapel. After telling about our calling and some of our experiences here, they prayed for us for our further work. We are still overflowing with the tremendous blessing it was for us and are extremely thankful to the Lord for such a precious time.

We pray and trust that this update blesses and encourages you and fires us all up to press into the coming of the Kingdom together,

Dick & Gladys


Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Lessons in surrounding nature can help our hearts for effective prayer...

Looking across the Teifi Valley towards Cilfowyr ChapelDear Praying Saints and Intercessors:

These words from Psalm 104:13-15 have taken on a real life of their own as the growing and mowing season is in full swing everywhere around us.

He waters the hills from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works.
He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the service of man,
That he may bring forth food from the earth,
And wine that makes glad the heart of man,
Oil to make his face shine,
And bread which strengthens man’s heart.

Non-stop activity fills the countryside with reminders that the Lord is our provider and without His activity there would be no life whatsoever on this planet we call home. The smell this morning of the hay they are mowing in the fields across the road is wonderful—I wish I could send some along as an attachment! Delicate scents of Some of the first foxgloves of the season!wildflowers and vines and flowering trees along the lanes are lovely indeed. And... there are other farmland fragrances best left unmentioned. (Oops!)

Amazing skies in late springWe have had some amazing weather in recent weeks with stunning skies and clouds, making it nearly impossible to stay at home when free moments present themselves. Temperatures are still a bit chilly for this season, but that doesn't hold us back. We are truly blessed to have so much beauty close by us.

Anywhere we walk or drive, our admiration for God's handiwork carries with it the longing in our hearts for people to acknowledge Him as creator and saviour, and embrace the gift of eternal life in Jesus. The constant theme is stated clearly in in 2 Peter 3:9 that God "... is not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." That is one of the layers of the bedrock and foundation of our prayers for revival.

In part by our sharing about the baptism at the members meeting a few weeks ago, once again I've found myself motivated to start cleaning up the baptistry. It has been nearly three years since I did it the last time, and everything was wildly overgrown. Add to that the several seasons' worth of fallen leaves and dead branches, and moreso as a result of recent wind storms and ash dieback disease that is wreaking havoc Baptistry spring cleaning, with evicted froglet!among the U.K.'s native ash species, there is plenty to do.

Having grown up in Maryland farmland with our springhouse on the hillside across Winters Run that needed cleaning out every few years, I am quite enjoying myself. The inch or two of debris and mud had become home to a few frogs that I've put into the little stream flowing beside the baptistry, and the centuries-old cast iron fence hasn't been painted for a few decades so that seems to be on the list as well.

Another thing that has "spoken" to me is the source of the water here. It comes through underground channels from the fields above the chapel, and mostly comes from the ivy-covered stone wall at the back of the little glen. But now some of it has shifted around to the left where I've cut down the tall weeds, so I will have do something to steer it back around towards the collecting tank at the foot of the wall which feeds the baptistry.

It makes a good picture of how we invest our time with the Lord. It is obviously important to have a daily routine established, but we can't just do the same thing year in and year out or it easily becomes just a habit but doesn't really touch our heart and nourish our spirit. We have to dig and explore a little to find that newness of His presence that awaits us morning by morning. God is the author of creativity and is not static in His relationship with us. I love the words of Solomon in Proverbs 25:2, "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search it out." I think He delights in our searching and His being "found!"

And there is even more delight in His heart when a non-believer "comes to repentance" and is found by Him! May the Lord bless you as we press in together for the coming harvest,

Dick & Gladys


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