Words are hard to find to tell of time spent over the sea – well, over the Bristol Channel. South Wales was foreign territory to Nina and me and so the trip was one of discovery.
It turned out to be to places where the power of prayer and worship are tangible. The first almost knocked me off my feet, the other figuratively shot me up into orbit. And what’s more, key points in my walk with the Lord were touched upon and He began to stir me deeply.
An unexpected hint
Only days beforehand, I came come across something I’d not noticed before in a Bible passage. In Matthew chapter 19, Jesus tells of something that became thematic to the holiday; and later reinforced by related material. My daily readings started from Jesus’ sermon to the multitude about blessings and continued with subsequent teachings, but I was pulled up short the day I got into this chapter.
Jesus had told a rich young man to give everything he had to the poor and to follow him. But his great wealth prevented him from doing so and Jesus explained to His disciples how hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Astonished they asked Jesus, “Who then can be saved?” and He replied,
“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” So Jesus said to them,
“Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Matt 19:26-30 NKJV)
[When previously reading this passage I’d connect it with what had been revealed in a very traumatic time when I’d decided to quit Christianity as it was useless and divisive. I threw my Bible down in disgust! BUT it fell open at Matthew 10 and verses 34 to 39 flew off the page; that is, all the text was blurred, except for these flashing like a neon light! They described the heart of the issue. Here was stark, unquestionable assurance that the Lord knew what was happening! So I had no choice but to hold on to Him.]
In Matthew 19, the underlined phrase “in the regeneration” struck me deeply. Although I’ve read these verses often, it was the first time this futuristic concept popped up and hit me between the eyes here. I’m well aware of it, especially from Peter’s explanation to onlookers who’d witnessed a crippled beggar being healed at the temple gate. He told them of their need to repent so their sins may be, “wiped out and that times of refreshing may come from the Lord and that He may send the messiah Jesus”…
…He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised long ago through His holy prophets.” (Acts 3:21 NIV Insight Bible)
Of the five Biblical meanings used for the Greek term, ‘palliggenesia’, one is as follows:
4. the signal and glorious change of all things (in heaven and earth) for the better, that restoration of the primal and perfect condition of things which existed before the fall of our first parents, which the Jews looked for in connection with the advent of the Messiah, and which Christians expected in connection with the visible return of Jesus from heaven. (Emphases added)
On our way
After leaving the Hampshire hills travel was fast along the M4 and over the Severn Bridge (photo courtesy WikiPedia), after which we had to stop to pay a toll fee. It reminded me of the border passport controls across Europe before implementation of the Maastricht Treaty. Thereafter, we saw all road signs are bilingual; English and Welsh. Beyond Swansea that order got reversed, and rightly so, as we headed along narrower roads into the beautiful hills of Pembrokeshire and its coastal national park between Fishguard and Cardigan.
At journey’s end we could put our feet up, chill out and explore the beach…
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