When Melva and I accepted Christ in college, we were fortunate to have fellow believers encourage us to memorize scriptures. One of the first passages we memorized was Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” For 48 years of ministry those verses have encouraged and guided us!
A perfect example was this August 4th. As you know I was praying about going on a fire assignment and this was the first 16 day opening I had all summer. But, I only had a two-day “window” to get an assignment and still be back in time for more ministry commitments. Normally, I’m dispatched within a few hours of becoming available. This time there were no calls for a day and a half. Finally, I reached the point where I needed to either be dispatched within a half-hour or take my name off the list. Melva and I had a time of specific prayer, surrendering our will to His, and asking Him to give clear direction.
With four minutes left in the half-hour, I was deployed to Oregon. It was a Spirit-led assignment from the very beginning! When I went to the dispatch office to pick up my travel orders, the dispatcher pulled me aside and I was able to minister and pray with him for an hour. (The center was closed and we were the only ones there, and off the clock.) Upon arriving on the first fire my Fellowship of Christian Firefighters shirt attracted the attention of two members of the Overhead Team and I was able to give them firefighter New Testaments and devotionals. The next morning I was sent across state to another fire where I was able to pray with firefighters and give out more testaments. Coming back, my scheduled flight was going to be too late for teaching on Saturday night. The Lord allowed me to catch a 5am flight instead and everything worked out perfectly.
The lesson I continue to learn is that the Lord wants to lead us in specific directions, not just general ones. Along with Proverbs 3, verses such as Isaiah 30:21 and James 1:5-7 reinforce this to me. The reason I don’t hear His voice more often is that I tend to “lean unto my own understanding” rather than seek Him. Please pray that I am more sensitive to His voice.
Another example of this occurred last week. On Sunday morning I received a call from a hospice nurseasking me to visit a woman in Crested Butte. I had sung for her wedding in the 70’s and taught skiing with her for a season. She was dying and wanted to talk with me. Melva and I had a funeral that afternoon near her home and went to see her afterward. We shared the plan of salvation and prayed with her. Three days later I felt led to drive back to her home and share again with her and her family. Two days later she passed into the Lord’s hands!
Finances: Thank you for your prayers and faithful support! Just when the funds get tight, the Lord brings in exactly what is needed. Philippians 4:19
Speaking of firefighter New Testaments and devotionals: While in Oregon, a fire official asked for a case of 50 copies to give out to his department. Then we received a request for 200 firefighter New Testaments to go to Zambia. Another request came from a firefighter’s 89 year-old widow for over 100 copies to give out in Texas. Still another request came from a retired firefighter couple in North Carolina for several hundred fire and police New Testaments and devotionals to be distributed in NC, KY and New Mexico! We have 2000 out of 12,400 left! Your support allows us to give these out free of charge. Thank You!
More August happenings: During the rest of August I had the privilege of preaching in both the Pitkin and Tin Cup churches, conducted two funerals where I was able to share the gospel with several hundred people, perform a wedding and share with two of our Saturday Evening Worship services. I’m very grateful for three men who assist me in teaching on Saturday nights while I’m out of town, Tony Cecere, Scott Brickert and Roger Lambert are real blessings and I would ask your prayers for them as well!
September opportunities: As I write this I’m preparing for two more funerals this week. Both are for long-time families in our community. Please pray that I am able to share God’s love and the importance of knowing Jesus. On Sunday night, September 10th,Melva and I will host a dinner for any of you in Northern Colorado. I apologize for the last minute notice but please come if you can. We’ll be at Mimi’s restaurant in Loveland, CO at 5pm. Mimi’s is located at the intersection of I25 and Hwy 34. Call us at (970) 209-8006 if you can join us.
After the dinner we head to Colorado Springs for three days off and then on to Waynesville, MO for revival services at Faith Baptist Church September 17-20. Please pray the Holy Spirit to anointing as we share God’s word with this great church family!
Family: Stephen, Joy, Hannah and Bethan continue to prosper in Scotland with Stephen preaching almost every weekend. Please pray for Hannah’s foot which may need surgery. Nick and Rebekah are going strong in Edward’s, CO (Vail area) working in their restaurant (Zino). Stop in if you’re in the area! Steve and Annie are experiencing new blessings with Samuel (3 months old) every day. Melva plans to go to Los Angeles to help as Annie has to return to teaching in Oct. Tim and Sara are doing well in Los Angeles as well. Thank you for praying for each of us!
Prayer requests: Please pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to be upon us as we share! Please pray for health and safety during these busy times. This is by far the busiest summer we’ve had! Please pray for our family’s health and spiritual growth.
Thank You! May the Lord Jesus richly bless you and hold you close!
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Rick Barton Ministires