Rev. Paul Pruitt’s Article
Enlarging our Borders
Rev. Paul Ritchie
A Plan for Mankind
Rev. Don Loss
Faith In the Fire
Testimony of a Bethel Graduate
Seven Ways to Make a Difference in the Lives of Addicted Men and Women
Update on Bethel’s Women’s Ministry
A Plan for Mankind
Nouthetic counseling (Greek – noutheteo, to admonish) is a form of evangelical protestant pastoral counseling based solely on the Bible and focused on Christ. Mainstream psychology is repudiated by nouthetic counseling as being humanistic, fundamentally opposed to Christianity and radically secular. In short, the Bible can point out the problem and lead you to the answer to that problem. II Timothy 3:16, 17 says; “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
All “Christian counseling” is not necessarily Biblical counseling. The principals plus the concepts of the Bible can, if due diligence is applied, meet every need in a person’s life. It has the advantage of the wisdom of God. I Corinthians 1:30 states that through God, Jesus Christ is our wisdom. In short, God’s truth, which sets us free and is the basis of our decisions, when applied, will lead to wise choices which in turn set us free.
When our choices are based on, and grow out of, principles and concepts of the Bible and are not mixed with other philosophies, we find we will make wise choices. Colossians 2:8; “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”
If you attempt to mix the Word of God with human philosophy and traditions, you will have disappointing results. The parable of the mustard seed is a good example. You cannot hybrid a mustard seed. The Bible stresses the power of the very small seed to the size of a mustard plant. But, the seed must also be pure, not mixed. So, the Word of God, if not mixed with the traditions of the world will produce large results.
The Plan !
I have often heard the old saying that a man without a plan is planning to fail. Therefore, I have a plan for my counselees. So, let’s make a plan based on Ephesians 4:22-24; “…that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
The plan, goal or mission, however you state it, is to put off the old man. Kick him out of your life because he is corrupt and full of deceitful lusts. Why is he corrupt? That is the way it has been since the fall in the garden. The deceitful lust is because he lies to you and never produces the desired results. So, kick him out.
How? Verse 23 says to repent or be renewed in the spirit of your mind. (Let God do a makeover in your mind.)
Then, put on the new man, created according to God in righteousness (as it should be) and in true holiness (pure, single).
Put off the old man and put on the new man. However, as with any transplant, it takes time and effort for the new man to become rooted in this new lifestyle. Study the Word to show yourself approved. Have fellowship with the God of this new man. Because, like the man of Psalm 1:
1. Delight yourself in the law of the Lord.
2. Meditate on it day and night.
3. Enjoy the source of life with your roots in the living water which is Jesus.
Nehemiah 8:10c; “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” In John 4: 23-24 The heavenly Father is seeking worshipers to worship in spirit and truth for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Start every day by worshipping Him. Exalt Him and give praise to God for all good gifts come down from the Fathr of Lights. He is seeking you to worship Him for He is worthy to be worshiped. Some examples are: Psalm 103: 1-5, Psalm 34, Psalm 145, The Lords’ Prayer, Romans 8:31-34. We are more than conquerors – Hebrews 13:5&6, and Joshua 1:6-8 – Be strong and of good courage!
If this article helps you, there is more to be said. Let me know by calling me at Bethel Colony at (828) 754-3781.
May the Lord bless you and keep you,
Pastor Paul Ritchie
Faith in the Fire
In looking at the dynamic of faith, it is probable that the saints of God will be tested by fire. It is a way of refining, purifying, and purging the saints. “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” I Peter 1:6-7
All of us who are in Christ Jesus will be grieved by various trials. It is the genuineness of one’s faith that is more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire. Faithful, the companion of Christian on their way to the Celestial City suffered persecution in the City of Vanity Fair. Condemned by Judge Hategood, he was taken to the center of the city and was burned at the stake for his allegiance to Christ. (John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress)
Persecution is only one of the various trials that the saints have endured. Trials of loss, pain, heartache, broken relationships, fear, rejection, etc. can plague the saint. Whether or not the saint will be able to bear under the trial is directly proportional to the genuineness of one’s faith. Genuineness suggests authenticity, efficacy, and validity. There is a faith that does not measure up to genuineness. A decision for Christ may have been genuine in the beginning but has failed to be faithful to the calling. Willful disobedience, double-mindedness, infidelity, spiritual adultery and the forsaking of the assembly of the local church will strip the authenticity of one’s witness. The faith once professed has drifted into worldliness. Faith which was once single-minded is now Mr. Facing Both Ways. When various trials come upon him and he is tested by fire, he will succumb to the fire rather than enduring it. His heart will fail him.
But, not so of those who have kept the faith. Their faith is genuine and they will be able to withstand the fiery trial. “Whom have I in heaven but You? And, there is none upon the earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25-26 The faithful will be able to go through the fire, for God is the strength of their heart.
Consider Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego who were cast into a burning fiery furnace. “The King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke saying to his counselors; ‘Did we not cast three men bound in the midst of the fire?’ They answered and said to the King; ‘True, O King.’ ‘Look’ he answsered, ‘I see four men in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt and the fourth is like the Son of God.’” Daniel 3:12-25
It is the genuineness of our faith that girds us for any tribulation. The tribulation may have come from a past experience and it is still on-going. It may be fire that is burning, so intense that you cry that you can’t take it any longer.
This excerpt from a children’s story by George McDonald may help:
She (a young, unkempt girl named Tangle who was looking for a Golden Key in FairyLand) was led by the Old Man of the Earth to a cave. The Old Man asked her to lay her ear against the wall of the cave. Tangle lay her ear against the wall of the cave. She heard the sound of a great running water inside the rock. The river was the only way to The Oldest Man of the Fire for whom Tangle was searching. The Old Man of the Earth stooped over the cave and raised a huge stone from it. It disclosed a great hole that went plumb down. It was the only way and it had no stairs. The Old Man of the Earth said to Tangle; “You must throw yourself in. There is no other way.” Tangle threw herself into the hole. She found herself gliding down fast and deep under water. When she lifted her head up a sudden fierce heat struck her, and she sank again and went sweeping on. When the subsiding water could carry her no farther she rose from the channel and went step for step down the burning descent. The heat was terrible. She felt scorched at the bone. It did not touch her strength. It grew hotter and hotter. She said; “I can bear it no longer”, yet she went on. At last she ended up in a cool mossy cave. from The Golden Key
There are many saints who are being tested by fire. They can relate to “I can bear it no longer”. But, even in their weakness, they move on, trusting God through it all. They are participating in the suffering of Christ. “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you. But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” I Peter 4:12-13
May God bless us with the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus to face whatever comes upon us. The Son of Man will be with us in the fiery furnace just as He was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.
Where the grace blows,
Pastor Don Loss
Associate Director / Director of Counseling
* If you would like to read previous Counseling Corners we are now archiving by topic/title for your future reference.Click on link: Counseling Corner Archives
Testimony of a Bethel Graduate
We’ve heard many powerful, painful, and precious stories through the years Bethel Colony has been ministering to men in addictions. While the people and places are different, the common denominator through it all is the sinful choices leading to horrible places with damage done to addicted men and those around them who suffer through loving commitments.
One such story stands out and was retold in a letter. While the details are far reaching, here are some of the ones that I took from a five-page handwritten letter that made its way across a desk that has seen notes and cards of both the encouraging and devastating kind. This Bethel graduate was brought up in a church setting with dysfunctional parents who were on their own spiritual journey offering little to their son. Tragically, he was molested by a youth pastor. While excelling in sports and with many school friends and rising popularity, experimenting with drugs and alcohol became a beachhead for what would become unthinkable addictions.
By 18 he was selling drugs. He was married at 22 and nine months later became a father. Living a double-life, a hardcore addiction became a $3,000 per month financial liability with a primary drug supplier being sentenced to 30 years in prison for attempted murder of a police officer. While going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings to get help he stayed sober for 360 days but the truth of a sexual affair came out and divorce followed. The pain that a slowly dying life brought about led to a 100% commitment to reckless living resulting in brutal fights, severe staph infections, car & motorcycle wrecks and a DUI after a nine mile high-speed police chase.
President of a motorcycle club, a prodigal son found community and a family he had always longed for. Liquor, meth, pills, pot and other destructive substances didn’t seem to keep him from excelling at work. But a co-worker told management of his severe addictions and they gave him a single choice. “Get help or you are terminated.” Angry at the man who he felt betrayed him, he asked his motorcycle gang to break both that man’s legs. Not long after that, a lost, lonely and broken man found his way to Bethel Colony of Mercy. After 14 days and in a night of desperation here is what he said:
“I told God if he would take my anger and hatred away I’d serve Him until the day I died. I felt the presence of Jesus more than any dope I’d ever taken. Over the coming weeks the Holy Spirit prompted me to call the “hit” off the man who’d turned me in and after 65 days I left Bethel a new man, burned a $3,000 porn collection and married my live-in girlfriend of six years. I bought a minivan to take people to church! I can say that every relationship in my life is better. I’m a Godly husband, better father and as a whole, a better person!”
2014 Bethel graduate
Not every story is this dramatic. But they are all real, raw and threaded with God’s righteousness when rebellious souls yield to the healing balm of God’s enduring love.
An Opportunity for you to help support Bethel’s Women’s Ministry
Please Continue to pray for
Bethel’s Women’s Ministry
• We continue to receive numerous requests for a ministry like Bethel that women can go to and receive Biblical counsel, teaching and deliverance from their addictions.
• Three of Bethel’s board members continue to meet every week to pray and discuss moving forward on the Women’s Ministry.
• Please keep praying for the property and facilities to accommodate the immediate need and the potential growth for us to reach as many women as we can. There is a property on the table that we are seriously interested in so please make that a matter of prayer.
• Bethel has already gained new prayer warriors, potential volunteers, potential staff and over $24,000.00 in donations for the Women’s Ministry.
• We hope to soon announce the Women’s Ministry Campus Director!! Please be praying for her and her husband.
• Please pray for the finances needed to purchase the property and for the first year’s operating expenses.
Praise the Lord with us and please keep praying!
SEVEN WAYS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
IN THE LIVES OF ADDICTED MEN & WOMEN
For almost seventy years, Bethel Colony of Mercy has been led by faith in Jesus Christ along with a strong conviction that there can be health, hope and healing for America’s addicted men and women. The timeless truths in Scripture are unshakable. Freedom awaits those who are pursuing deliverance from bondage. No situation is beyond the saving-grace of our Savior.
As Executive Director, I am sometimes asked, “What can I do to help?” Reflecting on that question, here are seven simple ways you can make an eternal difference in the lives of broken people:
1. Pray for our 24/7 and 365 days per year engagement with more than 550 men over the course of a year during their 65 day program. The bedrock to everything we do is prayer, and spiritual partners make a lasting difference daily.
2. Share the work of Bethel with those in your church, circle of friends, or business. We know from recent news stories America is embroiled in an opioid epidemic along with other often life-threatening addictions. This crisis affects men, women and children and respects no racial, socioeconomic, religious, or age boundaries. Help is very needed. Now.
3. Regularly visit Bethel’s Facebook site for new inspiring content each week. This empowers you to help those you know and love who are on the downward spiral of any addict’s life. We are here to serve you. Lives are hanging in the balance.
4. If you have been a student at Bethel, consider reporting back to us what God continues to do in your life! Faith is fortified in other searching souls when they hear the great things Jesus did for you. Share with us—often!
5. Consider making a financial contribution to Bethel. Each week we must believe in faith for more than $14,000.00. God always moves on the hearts of people in His timing as they hear stories of life change. We do not go into debt. We receive no government funds. We stretch each penny to the fullest ministry impact and have full accountability through a board of directors with annual independent financial audits. If you want to be a “missionary to addicted men and women”, stand with us. Your investment can help reshape the legacy of a life.
6. Consider making a designated gift to help us launch a women’s program in 2018. I receive calls often asking for help and God has made it clear we are to move in faith in this direction. This was recently shared, “ During the 6 years of my daughter’s addiction , I searched for programs that she would actually agree too. Bethel was the only one she ever said “I wish they had Bethel for women” She would say; ” I would go Mama “… Lisa lost her battle July 31 2017…Bethel helping women lost to addiction is an almighty answered prayer for this mother.”
7. Review the Bethel web page to see our list of monthly needs in the kitchen, auto shop, construction projects and daily requirements for what will soon be 100 students on “The Hill” here in Lenoir.
Your partnership is deeply valued and never taken for granted. We look forward to the coming days and seeing again the faithfulness of God of whom it is said “He will never leave us nor forsake us.” On behalf of so many changed lives and their grateful families—thank you! Only in eternity will you know the ways you paved a path for those who had lost hope.
Bethel Colony of Mercy’s
70th Homecoming Celebration
will be Sunday, October 7, 2018
Make plans now to attend this wonderful celebration of God’s faithfulness
to set the captives free through the ministry of Bethel Colony since 1948.