Ps. 32:1 Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. . .
“Covered by God, as the ark was covered by the mercy seat,
as Noah was covered from the flood,
as the Egyptians were covered by the depths of the sea.
What a cover must that be which hides asay forever
from the sight of an all-seeing God all the filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit!
He who has once seen sin in its horrible deformity will
appreciate the happiness of seeing it no more forever.” -Spurgeon
Rev. Paul Pruitt’s Article
It Is Finished
Rev. Paul Ritchie
Rev. Don Loss
Taking Up Your Cross
Nick Rabah, Volunteer Staff
Thank You Notes from Bethel graduates
Update on Women’s Ministry
Grace Building Remodel
New Ways to tell the Bethel Story
“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” John 19:30 (NKJV)
Much has been written about what Jesus said on the cross and every Word He gives deserves our attention and study. This short sentence, which is only found in John, is very powerful. “It is finished.” The Greek word translated is tetelestai, an accounting term that means “paid in full.” When Jesus spoke these words, He was declaring the debt owed to His Father was wiped away completely and forever. Not that Jesus owed the Father, but Jesus eliminated the debt owed by mankind—the debt of sin.
Two chapters before, Jesus prayed, asking the Father to glorify Him, just as Jesus had glorified the Father on earth, having “finished the work you have given me to do” (John 17:4). The Lord told us in Luke 19:10 that He was sent to “seek and save that which is lost.” He would be the atonement for the sins of all who would ever believe in Him, and would reconcile repentant sinners to a holy God.
2 Corinthians 5:18 & 19; “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
None other but God in the flesh could accomplish such a mission. Jesus fulfilled every Old Testament prophecy, from Genesis to Malachi. There are over 300 specific prophecies detailing the coming of the Messiah, all fulfilled by Jesus. From the “seed” who would crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15), to the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, and the prediction of John the Baptist who would “prepare the way” for the Messiah. All prophecies of Jesus’ life, ministry, and death were fulfilled and finished at the cross.
Oswald Chambers said “The death of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment in history of the very mind and intent of God. There is no place for seeing Jesus Christ as a martyr. His death was not something that happened to Him— something that might have been prevented. His death was the very reason He came.”
Redemption of mankind is the most important finished work that Jesus came to do. There are other things that were finished at the cross – The Lord suffered while on the earth, and especially in His last hours. His sufferings were at last over. The Father’s will for Jesus was accomplished in His perfect obedience to the Father. Praise the Lord, the power of sin and Satan was finished. No longer would mankind have to fall to the “flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16). We can raise the “shield of faith” because Jesus (Col. 2:15) “having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Because Jesus completed the work of redemption and salvation at the cross; we can, by faith, live as new creations in Christ. Jesus’ finished work on the cross was the beginning of new life for all who were once “dead in trespasses and sins” but who are now made “alive with Christ” (Ephesians 2:1, 5).
Jesus came to redeem us that we may live with Him forever. As we remember Good Friday and go to worship on Resurrection Sunday, hear the Good News that Jesus proclaimed in His dying breath; “It is finished!”
Pastor Paul & Stacy Pruitt
I have been given the opportunity to counsel those students who have been at Bethel previously. For some it may be their 3rd or 4th time and they are still struggling. I have found there are four major experiences that have made a deep impression on them when very young or in their youth. Family abuse, sexual abuse, divorce or harassment in school or deep embarrassment by a teacher. However, what I want to speak to in this article is often not recognized as abuse.
Family abuse comes in many forms but what we are speaking to is spoiling a child by letting them have their own way with what they want in a continual manner. They refuse to accept “No” and have learned how to get you to give in to their demands. They may be an only child or the youngest child that has been born much later than the other siblings. The reason is beside the point. The point is; when they reach the real world things will not always go the way they would like them to go. This is a new and unexpected experience and most are not willing to accept this as they are in the habit of being in control. Rather than learn to adjust to this fact, they will try to make it happen as they see it, which is not the way the world works. James 3:14-16 says; “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.” There are but 4 kinds of wisdom, the 4th being found in verses 17 – 18; “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” Only wisdom from above brings peace and stability. God is a god of harmony. All that He has created was designed to be in harmony and will not mix with the first 3 kinds of wisdom.
The result is to do what it takes to get your way. If that doesn’t work then it is time for complaining or having a pity party which is all downhill. The next step is often depression then back to the old way of dealing with the situation. The big problem is that this affects all those around you. Confusion and every evil thing creates a curse. (James 3:16) The word curse means to shut off the flow. It shuts off the flow of God’s will and blessing. God does not curse us. We curse ourselves by making ourselves ineligible to receive the favor of God.
The habit that has become a lifestyle of getting your way is hard to break because you don’t see that you are the problem. Even though many will admit that they were spoiled they don’t see it as a current problem. There are various methods of manipulating to get your way as you see it to be. Going back to dealing with hard situations… if you don’t have the fortitude to press through to do whatever it takes to stay under authority then the other alternative is to have a pity party or whatever you do at this point.
I have often seen a person do well until something comes along that causes a disappointment. They don’t have the fortitude to work through their problem when things don’t come easy. This may happen several times before they build up the fortitude to deal with tough situations and disappointments. Of course this causes family and loved ones to give up on the person because of their disappointment and thinking that this will never change.
Quite often they have a deep need to be in control. They feel secure when they are in control. This is not the only reason some people have to be in control when they are getting their way. It’s because they are now in control therefore they feel safe and secure and life has settled back down to what they considered to be normal.
Another problem that many self-centered people have is they’re used to getting their way if somebody will meet their needs. It’s as if it’s their right to have you do so. They often do well until something comes along that’s rather difficult and they don’t have the fortitude to press through. They may quit their job because it is no longer exciting as it was when they first started. Or some other difficulty has arisen.
They are not practicing good money management as they are expecting someone to help them out. Something happens that disappoints them and they become depressed again lacking the fortitude to press on. Some of these people are very talented but talent and fortitude are two different things. Disappointments lead to self-pity and then depression.
Of course, no two people are the same. These are things I have noticed over the years speaking in general. Some recognize their problem more quickly with more determination and make better progress. It’s hard to give up on these folks because given enough time and making the same mistake over again but going back to try again will build up their fortitude teaching them to take responsibility and press through to victory. Many men will get It but not until looking back later will we know who is who.
I want to make it clear that I am not saying we should not give our children some of the things they would like to have if you are able to do so. However they must also learn that NO is No and they need to be responsible and take care of what they have. If they won’t it needs to be taken away for a while which helps them learn that they have a responsibility and it is up to them to become an active participant in their own future.
The Lord bless you and may you prosper in the affairs of life.
Pastor Paul Ritchie
Taking Up Your Cross
There is a profundity in Jesus’ exhortation to His disciples in Matthew 16:24 to “take up our cross”. But, this is the call for all who have come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Upon being born-again, it is our nature to pursue the Word of God. “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word that you may grow thereby.” I Peter 2:2 And being a follower of Jesus, it is the heart’s desire to be a disciple of Jesus. At some level in our spiritual growth we will become young men and have a better understanding of the calling to “take up our cross”.
Look at the description of young men in I John 2:14. John writes to his disciples; “I have written to you young men because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one!” It’s interesting that when Jesus initially called Simon Peter and Andrew, his brother, Jesus did not mention the cross.
“…He said to them, ‘Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.’” Matthew 4:18 The disciples did not comprehend at that time what it fully meant to follow Him. They were in training. But, as Jesus nears the time for His crucifixion, He tells His disciples in Acts 16:24; “…If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” The follow Me now takes on a new understanding.
George McDonald (1824-1905), a Scottish preacher, writer and public figure, writes about a young vicar, Walton, in the introduction to his fictional story, A Quiet Neighbor. “I was thirty when I was made a vicar – an age at which man might be expected to grow wise – but even then I had much to learn. For then I only felt that a man had to take up his cross, whereas now I know that a man has to follow Him, and that makes an unspeakable difference.”
Christ died for us that He might impart to us His life so that He will make an unspeakable difference in us. The metaphor of taking up our cross is our willingness to live for Christ no matter what we may face. We are all in His perfect plan as to how He will use us. I believe this particular text gives us a picture of cross walking. “But what things were gain to me, these I counted loss for Christ. Yet, indeed, I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord for whom I have suffered loss of all things and count them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…” Philippians 3:7-10
Before we can be equipped for this taking up of our cross, there must be a preparative work in the heart to deny one’s self. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself…” Matthew 16:24 According to Watchman Nee; “Attempting to follow Him without dying to self is the root of all failure.”
Are there crosses in your life that are bearing down upon your shoulders? We have all experienced them. If we are to rise above these crosses, we must follow Him. Cast your care upon Jesus. The cross is a place to follow Jesus. Experience His grace, His love, His fellowship in suffering. Bear your cross by following Jesus. It may be painful, but it is a place where He will conform you to His image. Romans 8:29 Truly, we will understand what an unspeakable difference He’s working in us having experienced “taking up our cross and following Him”. Matthew 16:24
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
Nick with wife, Amber, (son) Grayson, and (daughter) Tiara
Growing up in South Brooklyn, I attended Catholic school in a primarily Italian neighborhood. My dad is a Palestinian-Muslim and my mom is a Puerto Rican-Catholic. Unfortunately, I was the object of a lot of jokes and bullying because of my mixed race. My identity was in shambles and I just wanted to fit in.
I started drinking at the age of ten and quickly graduated to marijuana as a means to hang out with the “cool kids”. When I turned fourteen my mom divorced my dad after an abusive relationship. We moved to a Hispanic neighborhood and I hated it. Most of the kids drank openly on the street corner and this is where I was introduced to cocaine. Cocaine made me feel like I belonged, that I could do anything.
My addiction progressed rapidly and I was spiraling by eighteen. I joined the Marine Corps as a means of escape, but my sobriety was short lived. I married shortly after that and then came my first child. Jalissa was my world. I would change everything so I could be a good dad. She was diagnosed with a heart defect and went to be with the Lord after two short months of life. I was devastated and dove into my addiction full force to blot out my pain. Why didn’t God help me?
After a short stint at rehab, my wife and I moved to New Jersey and began again. She was pregnant with twin boys. When she went into premature labor the twins were still-born. I went right back to my comfort drug with a vengeance. My wife left me, I was homeless, and I was eating out of garbage cans. My mom was praying for me and sent me to Times Square Church where I heard a man by the name of David Wilkerson.
I entered the Timothy House program and God, in His infinite mercy, came to me in a spectacular vision similar to the day of Pentecost in the book of Acts. I gave my life to Him and God blessed me rapidly. I became a staff member, long-term missionary to Israel, and Director of Timothy House. I remarried and had three beautiful children. I made plenty of mistakes along the way and eventually lost my second marriage, but God was gracious.
Later I became a director of Teen Challenge, went to Bible college, was ordained, and taught theology at the college level. Shortly after one of the greatest spiritual victories of my walk, I allowed a moral failure to rob me of the next decade of my life. Repeated attempts to stand were short lived and I was just floating through life in and out of my sin.
Then I married a beautiful woman of God and had another son. I would raise him differently this time. Since I never dealt with the sin that caused me to run in the first place I soon found myself back to old behaviors. I did not love my wife well, made work a priority over my home, and soon started using again. My devastation came quicker than ever. Soon I was homeless with a huge amount of Percocet in my hand. I swallowed them all and hid in the woods waiting to die. The police and EMS found me and I was committed to a psych ward. I had truly given up this time and death was all I desired.
A friend of mine, a dear pastor in the Lord, brought me to Bethel Colony. I tried to sabotage even that, but praise God my friend was determined. I was hurt, angry, alone, and shattered into a million small pieces. God met me where I was at and little by little He loved me back to a place of health. I recommitted my life to Him and determined to do what I was told. All I wanted was to know and operate in the grace of God that would allow me to serve Him again. My family is slowly being restored. I do not have all the answers yet, but I know the One who does. I finished Bethel’s program in October and then applied for their Vocational Student Program. I spent 4 months serving Bethel and the Lord in that program while continuing to get Biblical counsel, training and encouragement and on February 2, 2017, I became a part of Bethel’s volunteer staff. I am grateful to God for using Bethel to bring me back home and I look forward to the wonderful things He has in store for me.
Surprised by a visit from his wife,
son and daughter!
Thank you notes received from a couple of recent Bethel graduates:
I want to express my gratitude to Pastor Pruitt and the staff at Bethel Colony. My stay here has been nothing short of a miracle. I can honestly say that I am a new creation in Jesus Christ.
Thank you for allowing me to work in the office while here. It was very rewarding and made my stay here even more special. It was a real gift to be able to contribute a little something while going through my own transformation.
I’m looking forward to doing God’s work as I head home to Maryland. Thank you again for the gift of Bethel!
I just want to thank you for the job your program has done to change the life of T.M. I had suggested Bethel as a place that dedicates themselves to turning poor souls around from addiction. We sent our step-son up there years ago but he has yet to turn the corner sadly. We struggle with him still today. Anyway, T.M. has so far been a prime example of your work and dedication paying off. He works for the company I work for and is a new man. He came into my office just today to thank me for suggesting Bethel and explained how his life is back on track after years of addiction. It is still a day to day struggle but I believe he will come through.
I am a recovering alcoholic myself and occasionally send money to help out. T.M. is just one of the reasons why I know my donations are going to a good cause. Keep up the good work.
Update on 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. Because of that, three of Bethel’s board members continue to meet every week to pray and discuss moving forward on the Women’s Ministry. As we meet, we pray with a burden on our hearts for the women that God wants to restore through the ministry of Bethel Colony. We are diligently asking, seeking, and knocking for God’s will concerning the location for this ministry. We have looked at multiple sites and, for different reasons, they have not met the needs we have. 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.
The Lord has been doing some amazing things since we made the announcement in October! He has been bringing new support from people who believe in what is already going on at Bethel and who are looking for the same kind of faith-based program for women. Bethel has already gained new prayer warriors, potential volunteers, potential staff and over $19,000.00 in donations for the Women’s Ministry.
Praise the Lord with us and please keep praying!
If God is leading you to support Bethel’s Women’s Ministry, please make sure you mark your donation for the women’s ministry.
We are launching new ways to tell the Bethel story!
“Because You Asked!” is a weekly 8-10 minute audio program answering common questions
frequently asked by those dealing with addictions as well as their families .
Listen every week on Bethel’s Facebook site for hard-hitting answers from our Executive Director Paul Pruitt to hard questions asked by folks like you.
And, in the weeks ahead, also look for “What Others Are Saying!” which offers testimonials from pastors, business people and others who have had their lives touched by Bethel.
Finally, we are close to completing plans for two more communications tools including “Around The Hill!” a quarterly report from the Executive Director and “Bethel Taking It To The Streets!” which will be interviews with people about America’s drug crisis and the answers only Jesus can give.
Remodel on the Grace building has begun!
The Grace building has multiple uses: 10 bedrooms, one staff room, storage space, a staff meeting room, and a canteen. This building not only provides rooms for 20 more students and one staff person, it also serves as a place for all 82 (soon to be 102) of Bethel’s students to exercise and enjoy some recreation like; a weight room, a full court gym, a movie
room, ping-pong, air hockey, and corn hole. Because of its’ service for so many functions for the men, we need to make more bathroom space and more storage space as well as to upgrade the existing bathroom to accommodate the men that live in this building and everyone else that it serves. The bedrooms have long needed an upgrade that would include air conditioning.
Please pray for our progress, for the materials needed, and for the funds to accomplish this remodel.