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Saturday, December 23, 2023

A Christmas Bonus — Jesus our intercessor, both for us and through us!

Sydney Opera House, Orchestra & ChoirsDear Friends:

One of the greatest gifts besides Jesus Himself—our redeemer and giver of eternal life—is His intercession. It has been said that His very life was an intercession for us all. Not only for us His children, but for all those who will be coming into His family.

Hebrews 7:25 says, "Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them." Romans 8:26 elaborates further, "...the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." And then we see in Revelation

Reading Revelations 11 one morning at the chapel, I came to where the New King James Version says in verse 15, "Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”

It dawned on me that this was part of Handel's Messiah, and so I looked for the complete lyrics. I was led to this article by Charles Morris written in November 2023, on the HavenToday(.org) website, and I was blown away by what I read. I think you'll find it fascinating.

George Handel's house in London"Back in 2015, I visited Handel’s home in London to see the rooms where he composed. While I was there I spoke with Dr. Ruth Smith, a Cambridge scholar on Handel. She explained that the lyrics (the libretto) were not written by Handel himself, but that they were simply Scripture texts arranged by Handel’s friend, Charles Jennens.

"In a time of rising secularism and humanism in England, Jennens was a member of the “Society for the Propagation of the Gospel” and a passionate evangelical believer. He believed that putting the gospel to music would communicate its truth, not just intellectually, but at a deep heart level.

"This libretto was made up entirely of Old and New Testament texts combined to present the entire Christian message in a single piece. When it was finished he took it to his friend, the great composer, George Handel.

"For 18 months the libretto sat on Handel’s shelf gathering dust until one day he took it down, dusted it off, and in three intense weeks, shut up in his flat on Brook Street, composed the oratorio that made the words come alive. He barely ate or slept; he was completely engulfed in the creation of this music—and he wasn’t alone. When he got to the Hallelujah chorus, his assistant found him in tears, saying, “I think I did see heaven open, and the very face of God.”"

Tents at 2007 CFTNAs I read these words, I was immediately transported back to a remarkable experience I had in 2007 at the first Celebration For The Nations that took place in Llanelli, South Wales. At a particular point during one of the prolonged worship sessions, I was over to one side of the huge tent kneeling with my face to the ground between two rows of empty chairs. The presence of God was tangibly thick and I was weeping profusely.

Suddenly I found myself in front of an enormous, thick curtain but my position was the same. I was aware of a golden light coming through the crack at the very bottom of the curtain, and as I shifted my position ever so slightly I was able to gaze upon two glowing feet, like coals of fire. I knew that this was the Lord himself as John described in Revelations 1.

I wept even more deeply, so hard it felt like my heart was going to come out of my mouth, because of the glory of His love, and the majesty and purity of His presence.Together with the great sobs that wrenched my whole being was a profound longing for all the world to see the glory and the love of God, who came into our world and gave His life for us. A marvellous choir and orchestra let God's glory sound
out!Our glorious Savior is seated on the throne in the heaven of heavens, loving and longing, calling His children home.

Even describing this experience here now takes me back to that very same place. "Oh, the glory! Oh, Lord Jesus, have mercy on this world, rend the heavens, and come down. Amen."

Here are the scriptures for the final portion of Part Two, famously known as the Hallelujah Chorus.
44. Chorus – “Hallelujah: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” (Revelation 19, v.6); “The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11, v.15); “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.” (Revelation 19, v.16) “Hallelujah!”

You can watch a brilliant rendition by 600 singers from the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs with the Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra to perform Handel's jubilant "Hallelujah!" chorus at this link. Here are the scripture references for the complete libretto.

During this festive season, we can keep our prayers centered on why Jesus came into the world—to save sinners. Let's cry out to the Lord of the harvest that multitudes will come wholeheartedly to join in the heavenly worship to our "King of kings and Lord of lords." May we all be quickened and empowered to talk of His saving grace to as many as we can with love and joy!

God bless you and your loved ones,

Dick & Gladys


Monday, December 18, 2023

Jesus said, "Let nothing be wasted." — A timely message for the season!

Our prayer tent from a few years ago

Dear Friends:

Saturday morning brought me great joy and tears of gratitude to be sitting inside our winter "prayer tabernacle" on the balcony of Cilfowyr Chapel again. After a few days of pushing through my physical limitations, I was able to install it well enough to be functional once again.

After not being here for what seems a very long time, it was wonderful just to feel like I was "home" again. This is the place where our hearts have been since we first settled here in 2005, and even before then during our many visits to pray here before actually moving.

I had just been reading in John 6 when Jesus has just fed the multitude of five thousand. Verse 12 reads, "So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, 'Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.'" Jesus' words just jumped into my spirit because we have had His words, God's words of eternal life, with us for thousands of years. And yet they have tragically been wasted. We live in a world falling apart because His words have not only been ignored but are being methodically and viciously attacked and Feeding of the 5000, courtesy of
https://themeetingtent.com/jesus-feeding-the-5000-multitude-meaning-bible/expunged from our cultures by the forces of darkness. The Christmas celebration still exists in its ridiculous commercialized form—the love of money—even in places where the name or the true story of Jesus is not even known. And sadder still, that is the case in our own once-Christian nations.

However, the wonderful part of John's story is that the disciples picked up more fragments than they had at the beginning! The amazing fact is that what seems to have been drained out of Jesus' nativity and wasted has actually brought eternal life to MILLIONS OF SOULS down through the centuries! His disciples and followers have taken his words to heart and "Let nothing be wasted."

This is our responsibility and privilege today, especially in this Christmas and holiday season. Just as Simon Peter responded to Jesus when He asked the disciples if they wanted to leave also because of His hard words, he said in John 6:68-69, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God." And so it is with us as we redeem the time. I recorded a 4-minute video Saturday morning explaining these thoughts in a little more detail. You're welcome to watch it here now or at this link.

One of the greatest treasures that God has given us is His word. Jesus IS the Word made flesh, and dwells among us whom He made. So another glorious privilege we have is described by David in Psalm 27:4, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple."

sunrise on a glorious morning, the heavens reveal the
glory...When John describes the glory of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:22 he says,   "But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple." So when we, through the Holy Spirit, enquire in the Temple, we are immersing ourselves in Him. Does it get any better than this?

So we would like to encourage you to make all the inquiries you can at every moment possible, not just during this busy time of year but always! And finally, may you and your loved ones have a very blessed and Presence-filled Christmas and a blessed and glory-filled New Year,

Dick & Gladys


Monday, December 04, 2023

Goodbye November already?? Opportunities and challenges ahead!

Goodbye November already??Dear Friends and Praying Saints:

An overnight trip to Swansea late last week gave us the opportunity to visit the nearby Gower Peninsula. This became one of our favorite places to visit when we stayed a month at the Bible College while waiting to move into our new home in Betws Ifan, incredibly now over two years ago.

The difference in temperature from July to December, however, was quite the contrast. Rather than the sweltering summer humidity was the welcome cold and clear of an early winter's day.  Afternoon sun reflected on puddles still frozen hard and the landscape took on a whole new set of colors and hues. From this vantage point, one can look south towards England or north into the heart of Wales. It has been classified as an "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty" for good reason.

Thanksgiving meal at it's best!After the past two Thanksgiving Days with family, which were a real gift from the Lord, this year's fare was very non-traditional as you can see. But that did nothing to dampen our sense of thankfulness for God's goodness and faithfulness throughout this year. We remembered all of our travels and the many loved ones we visited in so many places and were quite overwhelmed by it all. It even still seems hard to believe that we've enjoyed such adventures, along with a few accompanying challenges as well.

College of Wales students at Blaenannerch ChapelThese words from Lamentations 3:22-24 are a source of strength and fuel for gratitude. "Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.'" Then add this portion from Micah 6:8, "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"

One recent highlight for us was the privilege of spending some time with the students from Bible College of Wales. They came to visit the Blaenannerch Chapel where Evan Roberts was empowered by the Holy Spirit and used by God to initiate the 1904/05 Welsh Revival, which I wrote about in my last update. Extra blessings for us were a couple of students from Guatemala, one of whose father had been a student when I was director of the Verbo Christian School over 40 years ago!

The time of worship and prayer with them was amazing, marked by many tears and a profound longing for the revelation of who Jesus is to the nations. As many of the students prayed one by one, there was a remarkable and deep crying out for people in this world to know the love and the mercy of God. It was a very special and precious time for us that will stay with us.

Sadly we weren't able to attend the graduation, but heard wonderful reports. We'd like to encourage anyone of any age, yourselves or someone you know, to consider investing three months into this extraordinary Bible College experience. Complete information is available at this link.

Newport - Nevern River EstuaryAs we head into this last month of the year, we are all aware of the times we are living in—there seems to be an increasing and unprecedented level of turmoil on almost every front. English-born Thomas Paine, one of the American founding fathers, once wrote in 1776, "These are the times that try men's souls..." With clear and obvious reasons for his own days, how much more is going now in ours?

In such a time as this, how then should we live? Ephesians 5:15-16 makes it very clear. “See that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” One of the best ways, if not the best way, to redeem the time is through prayer. We can join the millions of other believers  around the world who are actively crying out for the people of this world to know the love and the mercy of God in the person of Jesus Christ. This is what the Lord also desires as we read in 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is... not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."

May the Lord bless and keep you as we press in together for His coming harvest,

Dick & Gladys


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