So, what is there to be thankful for this year? With all the problems surrounding health, government, and weather, can we really be thankful? YES! King David had his share of problems in life. His wife ridiculed him, his father-in-law tried to kill him, and one of his sons led a rebellion against him. He was forced to live in caves, put down rebellion in his own army, and face God’s discipline for his sins. Yet, in Psalm 103, David puts things into perspective. I can easily imagine David grabbing his “feelings” by the scruff of the neck and telling himself to “Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name”! To give Him thanks for pardoning our sins, healing our diseases, giving us favor and compassion, and soooo much more!
The apostle Paul had good reason not to give thanks as well. He was treated with suspicion by his new Christian family, rejected and betrayed by his fellow Jews, left to languish in prison by the Romans, and ultimately put to death for crimes he didn’t commit. But what did he say? “In everything give thanks” and “rejoice in the Lord always.” In fact, while imprisoned in a Philippian jail, he and Barnabas held a prayer and praise meeting. Why? He too remembered the things David had said but added the assurance that God was still in control and would work all things out for his good and God’s glory (Romans 8:28).
If we are forgiven of our sins, assured of God’s sovereignty in our lives, and filled with the Holy Spirit who gives us favor and compassion, shouldn’t we give thanks continually? What a witness that is to a world that is filled with anxiety and looking for hope!
October happenings: Last month we asked you to pray for the Holy Spirit to fall upon our meetings. Well, your prayers are working! As I write this, we are finishing 8 days of revival services in Delta, CO and wonderful things are happening. Each night people are coming to the altar at 1st Baptist Church seeking the Lord’s blessing; some for salvation and others for recommitment. On Tuesday, we hosted a luncheon for 25 local pastors and their wives from several nearby communities. They prayed for each other’s families, ministries, communities, and our country. We patterned this after our annual pastors and wives dinner in Gunnison and believe it was a blessing for each of them. Our goal is to build unity among godly church leaders. Pastor James and wife Vicki have led the church for 27 years and are doing a great work!
We conducted 3 funerals during October and ministered to folks on the front range as well as our normal Saturday Evening Worship services.
Upcoming: Lord willing, after finishing the Delta services on Sunday, October 31, we will head home for 3 days. On Thursday, November 4 we start driving to Oklahoma where we hold an 8 day Bible Conference at Abell Community Church north of Guthrie. Thank you for your daily prayers! They protect us as we drive, give us strength when we are tired, and open doors for the gospel message to be proclaimed!
Family: It looks like Stephen, Joy, Hannah and Bethan are headed to London where Stephen will serve as pastor of a small church. This will be his first pastorate and would really appreciate your prayers! Rebekah, Nick, and Kailani are headed to Kauai for a break after a busy season with their restaurant. Steve, Annie, Samuel and Abigail are busy in Los Angeles, Steve doing TV shows, Annie teaching school, and the kids growing every day! Tim, Sara, Elizabeth and Sydney are going strong in Los Angeles as well, Tim working in a wholesale distributing company, Sara as an accounting supervisor, and growing into a wonderful family.
Finances: “Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce; Then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Proverbs 3:9-10). When Melva and I set out on the seas of ministry, the waves seemed pretty high. We lived in a tent the first three months of our marriage (in a campground where I held Sunday services), ministered primarily to college students, took no offerings and worked seasonally for the Forest Service and ski area. Yet, we determined to trust the Lord and give back to Him the first of all our income. He has fulfilled His promise in every way!
We have tried to apply that same principle to our ministry finances. In October you helped us send much needed support to 24 “alumni” missionaries, pastors, and widows. As the apostle Paul said, “I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:18-19). Thank you for being His instruments in helping us share God’s love and grace!
Prayer requests: Please pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to be upon us as we share in the Bible Conference, video services and our Saturday Night Worship services. Please pray for Tony and Shane as they teach in my absence. Please pray the Lord will continue to work in a wonderful way in 1st Baptist in Delta and Austin CO. Please pray for our hearts to be filled with Jesus’ joy as we love and serve Him!
Thank You! You are each a blessing and an integral part of everything the Lord does through us!
By His grace and to His glory, Rick and Melva
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Rick Barton Ministires