Melvin Newland in a message on the promises of God tells the true story a missionary told while visiting his home church…

"While serving at a small field hospital in Africa, every 2 weeks I traveled by bicycle through the jungle to the nearest large city for supplies. This was a journey of 2 days and required camping overnight at the halfway point in the jungle.

On one of these trips, just as I arrived in the city I saw two men fighting, one of whom had been injured. As a missionary doctor I intervened and treated his injuries. And at the same time I talked to him about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Afterwards I went about my planned tasks--collecting money from a bank, purchasing medicine and supplies--then began my 2-day journey back to the field hospital. Halfway back, I camped overnight as usual, then arrived home without incident.

Two weeks later I repeated my trip. Upon arriving in the city, I was met by the young man I had treated. He told me that it was known that I regularly carried money and medicines. He said, ‘Two weeks ago several of us followed you back into the jungle, knowing that you would camp overnight. We planned to kill you and take everything. But just as we were about to come into your camp, we saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards. So we left.'

At this I laughed to myself & said that I was certainly all alone out in that jungle campsite. The young man wouldn't accept my word, though. He said, 'No sir. I was not the only one to see the guards. There were 6 of us who saw them, and we all counted them. It was because of those 26 guards that we were afraid and left you alone.' As the missionary was telling this story in his home church in Michigan, one of the men of the congregation jumped to his feet & asked if the missionary could tell him the exact date this had happened. The missionary told him, and the man then told him this story:

‘On the night of your incident in Africa, it was morning here and I was preparing to go play golf. But for some reason I felt a very strong urge to pray for you. In fact, the urging was so strong that I called men in this church to meet with me here in the sanctuary to pray for you. Would all of those men who met with me on that day please stand up?’ The men who had met together to pray that day stood up. As the missionary looked around the room at those who were standing, he wasn't so concerned with who they were -- he was too busy counting how many they were. There were 26 men standing!”

As believers there are many things we must stand for and on… we stand in prayer for the work of God as in this story. But there are also times we must stand for righteousness and truth.

This coming Thursday (January 25th), Ridgecrest will host a meeting regarding our public library that has chosen to place and keep on its shelves several books that are sexually graphic and disturbing, advancing homosexuality and directed toward young people (classified as 12yrs old and up). So far, the Library Director and the library board (with the exception of one brave member) have essentially dismissed the concerns of a large number of citizens in our area by labeling them as “book burners” and “book banners”. I am asking you to join me at this meeting with others from our community on January 25th at 6:30 PM in the worship center. A panel (of which I will be apart) will be addressing and clarifying these matters. It is vital that you attend! Please make this a priority. Let’s take a stand!

And remember, God is always trying to take us someplace new. I love being your Pastor!

For God’s Glory Alone,

Pastor Ray

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