Freedom Isn't Free
Freedom Isn’t Free!
In 1938 British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced they had achieved “peace for our time”. This was to be the result of meetings with Adolf Hitler in which England and France allowed Germany to conquer a portion of Czechoslovakia without opposition. This “appeasement” was very popular among the British citizens and even the Queen. Sadly, Hitler never intended to keep the peace. Within months he began his blitzkrieg and over 60 million people died in World War II. The world realized once again that evil is never “appeased” by giving in to it. Over 400,000 American soldiers gave their lives to protect our freedom from tyranny. No, freedom isn’t free!
Jesus said He would set Hs followers “free” (John 8:31-36). Free from what? Free from sin and its control over us. Free from eternal judgment and the wrath of God. But, this freedom didn’t come from “appeasement” with sin. It didn’t come by laying aside God’s word and giving approval to what God condemns. This freedom cost our Savior His very life. God’s love and justice came together as Jesus took our sin upon Himself and paid our death penalty with His own blood.
As we celebrate our nation’s freedom, let us also bow in humble adoration and worship to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for setting us free from the bondage and tyranny of sin! And let us never think that we can win over evil by trying to negotiate with it.
June blessings: During the first part of June Melva and I were busy in Gunnison teaching and preaching as well as holding memorial services for local families. (Because of our unpredictable weather during the winter months, many families delay services for loved ones until summer so that family may travel safely.) In mid-June we went on the road again, this time to Asheville, NC where we had the privilege of spending a week sharing with Christian firefighters and paramedics. This “Family Camp” was sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Firefighters (fellowshipofchristianfirefighters.org).
It was a week of many blessings starting with the opportunity to share with a young girl in the Denver airport. It was just after 6am. Melva and I were reading our Bibles when an 8 year old asked us what we were reading. We told her it was a Bible and she asked what a Bible was. Her sister, grandmother and others listened while we shared! This was a very bright young lady who had never seen or heard God’s word. She asked wonderful questions. We gave her a copy of our firefighter New Testament and encouraged her grandmother to read Bible stories to her.
Many other blessings happened with the firefighters. We were teaching the group about the Holy Spirit and how He gives us the power to be witnesses (Acts 1:8). As we ordered dinner the first evening we asked our waitress what we could pray about for her or her family. She opened up and the group saw the Lord work as we prayed for her. From then on, every meal began with someone asking the server what we could pray for. Several said they had never realized how God could use a simple thing like that to open the door for the gospel. We’ve been asked to attend the National Day of Prayer next year with the group as well as speak to their “Married Couples Conference” in 2018. Thank you for praying each day for us!
Leaving Asheville was an adventure with cancelled flights and van rides. Still, we made it safe and sound back to Denver. We stayed a day and attended Applewood Baptist Church. The pastor had just returned from a meeting where 1000 evangelical leaders met with Donald Trump. He was encouraged that Mr. Trump would appoint pro-life, pro-constitutional judges to the Supreme Court as well as listen to Christian concerns. Please pray for our upcoming elections! Late note: Mr. Trump selected Governor Mike Pence as his running mate. From everything I’ve read, Gov. Pence is a solid born-again Christian who is pro-life and conservative. Please pray for him and his family.
After a day in Denver we left for HI. We first went to Honolulu where were able to visit and pray with some of Melva’s relatives. (As we got off the plane I received a call asking me to go on a fire, I turned it downJ.) Now we’re on Kauai for two weeks of rest and family reunion. Our sons and their wives will join us soon. While we were in Hawaii we weren’t able to send out this newsletter. But our time went great! We had some much appreciated rest as well as conducted a chapel service for the family reunion and prayed with various relatives. Thank you for your prayers!
Upcoming: When we return from HI we hold our annual rodeo service in Gunnison followed by a BBQ and Christian concert (7/17). We had a great turnout for the rodeo service and our friend Barry Ward did a great concert for us in the afternoon. The next weekend we’ve been asked to speak and sing at a rodeo service in Norwood, CO (7/24). In early August we meet with several we served with in the 1970’s during a wonderful revival here in Gunnison that lasted several years. Then, Lord willing, I’ll have time to do a fire assignment or two. In November we return to Asheville, NC for a conference at the Billy Graham Center (11/4-6).
Prayer requests: We just received a call from “alumni” Frank and Steph Goetschel (Get-chell). They have been serving in Costa Rica working with local pastors and translating for visiting mission groups. Frank has been battling bone cancer for several years travelling back and forth to the states for treatments. The Mayo Clinic now tells him that his cancer is back and he has the option of major surgery, including the possible loss of a limb, or a new experimental drug with many potential side effects. They have asked for prayer and I assured them we have the best prayer team ever!
Please continue praying for “alumni” missionaries Cisco and Naomi Villasenor and their child Vanessa in Mexico. Vanessa is five months old and still only four pounds. She has been diagnosed with several serious medical conditions and is facing death. The ministry Cisco and Naomi started has seen over 2000 decisions for Christ and they are training many workers. It is no wonder the enemy is trying to defeat and discourage them. Your prayers will overcome!
Finances: A month ago we asked you to pray that the Lord would replenish the ministry finances. He has graciously done so! Thank you for standing with us. Because of your prayers and support, we are able to help others. May the Lord Jesus richly bless you in return! (Our policy has always been never to ask for money, only prayer. When finances are tight, we ask you to pray, when they’re good, we tell you as well.)
Aloha! Rick and Melva
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Rick Barton Ministires
PO Box 1155
Gunnison, CO 81230