News Articles:

Rev. Paul Pruitt’s Article
Reap Everlasting Life

A Woman’s Perspective
Mrs. Donna McCall
Can We Overcome?

Paul’s Pen
Rev. Paul Ritchie
God’s Metamorphosis

Counseling Corner
Rev. Don Loss
Fleshly Lusts

Testimonies:

Testimony of a Bethel Men’s Campus Graduate
Testimony of a Bethel Women’s Campus Graduate


Other News:

2019-2020 Proposed Budget
Bethel Lawn Care

Reap Everlasting Life

 

This morning I preached out of the text Gal. 6: 7-9. Can I encourage you as Paul said in verse 9; “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not loose heart.”

We know the evil one is running rampant in our world to kill, steal, and destroy. But that doesn’t mean we give up. We can’t grow weary. Let me remind you of the rest of John 10:10; “Jesus said, ‘but I come to give life and give it more abundantly’”.  In 2020, we must keep our focus on Him. In a time of our country’s prosperity it becomes easy to lose focus and to forget those who are still struggling. It is always easy when things are going well to try to remove the negative things from around us. We have to be reminded where the blessings come from; not who is in Washington, but the King of Kings. We must remember that in His blessings He wants us to build His Kingdom that many souls may be saved.

In the last few years we have heard of the rise of the opioid crisis. According to a recent update from NIH (The National Institutes of Health) as of January 2019 – Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.

Specifically, to North Carolina: March 2019 – Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths in 2017, there were 1,953 overdose deaths involving opioids in North Carolina—above the nation’s average. The greatest rise occurred among deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (mainly fentanyl), from 116 in 2013 to 1,285 deaths in 2017. In the same four-year period, heroin-involved deaths rose from 189 to 537 cases. Prescription opioid-involved deaths have not statistically changed in the past several years with 659 reported deaths in 2017.

I am not sure if you have heard the most recent report in Aug 2019 according to US News & NCDHHS (North Carolina Health and Human Services). For the first time in 5 years, North Carolina experienced a drop in unintentional opioid overdose deaths, preliminary state health data for 2018 shows. NCDHHS has confirmed more than 1,600 opioid overdose deaths last year so far and estimated 1,785 residents died from an opioid overdose overall in 2018, marking a 5% drop from the 1,884 associated deaths in 2017. The decrease in opioid-involved overdose deaths mirrors a decline in related emergency department visits, which dropped nearly 10% between 2017 and 2018.

There is much to be thankful for.  There are people alive today that could have been dead. But I think there is something that we may need to watch for as our nation is following a scary trend in Europe. This is what the leadership in Geneva said, “The goal was not to fight drugs anymore. It’s completely ridiculous to fight drugs,” said Jean-Félix Savary, secretary general of the Romand Group of Addiction Studies in Geneva. “We came to this conclusion and decided to change.”

Our country is starting to adopt the changes they made. Here are what the declines are attributed to; the declines parallel other progress documented at the state’s Opioid Summit in June, where officials shared a 24% decline in opioid dispensing, a 15% increase in “prescriptions for drugs used to treat opioid use disorders” and a 20% increase in opioid use disorder treatment for uninsured and Medicaid recipients. (US News & www.ncdhhs.gov Aug 2019).  Let me sum that up for you. The 24% decline is good news. That means doctors, emergency rooms, and pharmacies are handing out less prescriptions. But if you look at the last 2 numbers 15% increase is in handing out for those insured and 20% increase for those uninsured in handing out Methadone, Suboxone, Subutex and other synthetic forms of opioid to have managed treatments. That means there is 35% increase in prescribed drug treatments. So it isn’t a reduction.  It is an increase – just switching hands to a different department. I met with one of these clinics this past year to learn more about them. Here is the one big question that I asked; “What are your goals?”.  Their response, “We have no goals.  Our goal is the patient’s goals”. And then I was reminded of why these agencies came into existence; it was for the sole purpose of cleaning up the street – not helping to bring change to people or teaching them to overcome or resist temptation or even be productive, but to clean up the street. Remove them from public view so they will no longer be seen or be a problem.  Our country has grown weary in the pursuit of the war on drugs. That is going to end up costing more lives. Yes, up front some will avoid the overdoses but they will remain in a government controlled drug maintenance program for the next 30 years where they will eventually find the same result but will be numb to their need of salvation. So the cost will be greater in view of eternity.

Can I plead with you to partner with us as we see God’s hand every single day at the Men’s & Women’s Campuses? Men and women are literally and spiritually being saved from the destruction of this world. They are being given the hope of the eternal promise of a relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ. We are seeing them come completely off those meds on which the government and the doctors said they would always be dependent. I understand why they give up, because they don’t have an answer. But we do!  The answer is JESUS!!! He is the Savior, Deliverer and the One who makes all things new! Yes, the work never stops, it is hard, but the reward is wonderfully out of this world! When you see families restored and men and women becoming who God called them to be!

Let us not grow weary but keep fighting the good fight of faith and keep planting seeds.  As Paul said, “but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (Gal. 6:8b)

Pastor Paul & Stacy Pruitt
Executive Director

Woman’s Perspective

Can We Overcome?

 

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”   John 16:33

Jesus had just explained His departure and all the hardships the disciples would have to endure. He let them know they could reflect back to this time and know the One who overcame is still in charge. But, what if the things we must endure, the hardships in life, are from choices we made or circumstances we walked into? What do we have to comfort us during times when it seems we are ready to give up? Or, even at the point we think things will never change or get any better?

 “Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”   Isaiah 1:18

We cannot undo our past choices, but God can wash away the sin brought on by the choices we made. He says while we were still sinning and choosing wrong Christ died on our behalf. Simply put, God will see our sins no more. In His eyes we are spotless like Jesus. What was stained with sin becomes white and pure by the blood of the spotless Lamb, Jesus.

Once we have accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as the payment for our sins we should make better choices. As we choose to follow Jesus we will see things differently. Not that everything or everyone will change but we can rest assured the One who can change us is on our side. He is working to restore us in every way. First, in our relationship with Him and then, in our relationships with others. This is where that peace comes in. If I know I am

right with God and have tried to do right by my fellow men and women then I have that peace. Not that all is going my way but knowing God is on my side to help me in every way. How do I know this? Because I am following the greatest commands. Love God first and love others as I love myself next. He told me to seek Him first and all I need will be added to me. (Matt. 6:33)

How then can we overcome? We can and will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. (Rev. 12:11) Jesus paid the price for our complete restoration. When we talk like He talks and say what He says about us that is our testimony. We are who He says we are and we have to say so. We can have what He says we can have and we have to talk like it. Bad choices may have brought me to this point in life but good choices can turn my direction. God has given us all hope. Our hope is in knowing the God who created me did so with purpose. I may not have fulfilled that purpose until this point but I can from this point on. I can rise above what has been defeating me through the help of the One who rose above death.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”   Philippians 4:13

Don’t allow any voices to tell you there is no hope. Redirect your focus to the One who left His peace with us. He gave you life for a reason so live for that reason. God wants to show each of us just how much love and mercy He has. Don’t focus on the trouble or the trouble-maker more than peace and the Peace-Speaker. Keep relying on what God has done for you and what He says about you. We WILL overcome if we stay close to Him through prayer and His word.

Where mercy flows,

Donna McCall,
Director of Women’s Campus

 



Paul's Pen

God’s Metamorphosis for the human race; knowing who you are through Jesus Christ and the cross!

Proverbs 23:7; “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. ’Eat and drink’ he says to you, but his heart is not with you.”  If a man or woman is going to change their life, there must be a healing of the heart and true repentance which means to change your mind (the mind of your heart) about your sin. God and you now come into agreement which brings about a transformation of the heart. This removes the barrier between you and God.  First John 1:6-9; “If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  

This must happen in the heart not in the mind.  But if your heart does not accept that truth it will not change you but will just make you feel guilty because you cannot live up to that truth under pressure. The King James version refers to it as your belly and your bowels. You may refer to it as your gut, (strength, weakness, passions or I just knew in my gut it was right and etc.).  Most translations refer to it as your heart which involves the cavity of your organs; something that happens on the inside of a person. If it is something stressful you will most likely feel it in your gut where we are the most sensitive to stressful situations, however; if it’s a loving and kind situation you may feel it more often in your chest.

As you most likely know there can be many causes from the outside that bring pressure on the inside. There may be a chain of events or it could be a single event.  It could be a word or words that broke through the darkness that brought pressure on the inside of that person. We know that the Word of God can divide the soul and spirit and pierce the very marrow of the bone which is where the blood is made without which we cannot live, the source of life. Hebrews 4:12; “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” This can be a great influence to the heart of mankind. These influences from the outside can cause people to open their heart to welcome what God is trying to bring into their life.  It may be a new birth or to bring one out of a back-sliding condition or maybe they are resisting a call God has on their life. It could be someone is praying for that person and God is dealing with their heart in a way in which they have never before been dealt with. The person may be in darkness and people around them who are Christians might wonder why they don’t see the light.  Only God’s truth is true light which can break through the darkness which comes from the evil one. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”  It is not God’s will that any should perish.

It is our privilege at Bethel Colony to lead many out of the darkness and into His marvelous light.  So many come to us with their understanding darkened to the truth of the gospel.  As we share God’s truth with them, we get to share in God’s mercy and grace as we watch their eyes become opened to the truth and enable them to choose to trust Christ as their Savior.  Once that transformation takes place in their life, they are interested in learning what God’s Word says.  They are more attentive in class.  They are hungry to learn and grow.  His light has shone in their hearts and minds and illuminated His truth so that they can receive His truth and grow in His likeness.

God is light, there is no darkness in Him. Then the demonic would be darkness. Light and darkness are as opposite as you can get although they try to present themselves as angels of light. The deceiver, as an adversary, accuses you. Satan goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. The lion roars to send the herd into a panic and then enjoys stragglers which he singles out for dinner. Do not let Satan’s accusations panic you and cause you to make wrong decision. Impulsive decisions are usually wrong and expensive. Yield your faith to God.  Let Him help you with decisions for He is our wisdom through Jesus Christ. Wisdom is simply proper understanding applied to your situation.

God bless you and your loved ones, and may you understand who you are biblically. God loves you. His thoughts are not evil toward you, but of hope and a future.

Till next time,

Pastor Paul Ritchie

Senior Pastor

 

Counseling  Corner

Reverend Don Loss

Fleshly Lusts

The drifting of society from a moral code to relativism has plunged society into a land of no restraint. The atmosphere reeks with darkness all around. The author, Flannery O’Connor, wrote to an anonymous friend, “You breathe in nihilism. In or out of the church, it is the gas you breathe.” Nihilism is the rejection of all religious and moral principles, and the belief that life has no purpose. Fleshly lusts abound in this atmosphere of nihilism. The Apostle Peter wrote to his audience of believers who had been redeemed from the spirit of this world; “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.” I Peter 2:11

The land we live in is full of souls with no self-control. Self-control is no longer in vogue. Self indulgence has run rampant in the hearts of men. Consequently, fleshly lusts have manifested in an abundance of mental and emotional crises. Paul writes to the church at Rome; “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells.” Romans 7:18. Paul himself experienced fleshly lust warring against his soul. The commandment; “’You shall not covet’ produced in me all manner of evil desire.” Romans 7:7-8.

The souls who have neglected to resist the negative actions, thoughts, and moods are in for a spiraling of abnormal and aberrant behaviors. The unregenerate souls have no spiritual ability to resist fleshly lusts. In fact, they are wired to self indulgence which will consequently end in what the scriptures refer to as works of the flesh. “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outburst of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like of which I tell you beforehand, just as also I told you in times past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-20. Anyone who has the role of counseling will be addressing those who have indulged fleshly lusts and have accumulated the list of the works of the flesh. The conditions listed above are not diseases. They are things that are practiced. Consider the relationships, families, careers, employment, etc. that have suffered because of living in the atmosphere of darkness. There are degrees of the depravity by which the souls are affected. Remarkably, some can live in the vilest of ways and still function. Others have not fared as well. The sowing of evil will be the reaping of evil. The sowing of lust will take the soul captive to the bondage to fleshly lusts. “In the last times there shall be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts, these are sensual persons —not having the Spirit.”  Jude 18-19

Consider in the work by Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Lord Henry and his close friend Dorian Gray are both living by the pleasure principle. They are seeking for external pleasures. Lord Henry asks Dorian whether he is happy or not. While smoking a cigarette, Lord Henry says; “A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?” Dorian Gray is living by the motto of Lord Henry which is that nothing can cure the soul but senses. How true this is for those seeking pleasures that will never satisfy the soul. Fleshly lusts can only end up in emptiness. “My people — have gone far from Me, have followed emptiness, and have become empty.”  Jeremiah 2:5.

The sad thing is that many who know Christ are living in such a way that they are producing the works of the flesh rather than the fruit of the Spirit.  They have gone the way of Demas. Paul writes of Demas; “for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world.”    On the other hand, note the fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.” Galatians 5:22-23. Can we not imagine what families would be like if the head of the family was instituting the fruit of the Spirit in the family?  How is he to do this? He is to “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary to one another; so that you do not do the things that you wish.” Galatians 5:16-17.

If you are having mental and emotional crises, is it possibly because you are out of the will of God by indulging in fleshly lusts? Start by confessing the big three sins in I John 2:16. “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.”  Add presumptuous sins, idle words, and unholy thoughts and behaviors. Get in the battle against fleshly lusts. Peter tells us fleshly lusts war against the soul. Start fighting the good fight. Get back in the church. Surrender to God anew. Be Faithful. Love one another. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (daily) Ephesians 6:11 Pray the Lord’s prayer daily. Ask forgiveness for those you have sinned against. Be a blessing. Pursue edification. “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”  Romans 14:19.   Subsequently, it will be well with your soul.

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

Testimonies of recent Bethel Graduates

(Please pray for these and all of Bethel’s graduates)

Ryan Mims, 2019 Graduate – Bethel Men’s Campus

At 24 years old, I was dead in my trespasses and sin, listening to the devil’s lies, falling into his traps. He had me fooled into thinking there was no God, and that, if there was a God, He didn’t love me. I struggled with drug addiction, sexual immorality, a life of crime, and doing evil.

I wasn’t raised in church. When I was very young my parents got a divorce. I really didn’t understand how that affected me until later. Satan will do anything to get you down and try to take you out.

For many years, I had a spirit of suicide in my head telling me I wasn’t good enough, that I should just end it. I tried many times with hands full of pills, Russian Roulette, and many other countless attempts but God had other plans for me. At the age of 13 I started smoking weed to try and feel better about myself – and when people say that weed isn’t a gate-way drug that is so far from the truth because once weed stopped working to help me cope with the life I was living, I moved on to pills and cocaine. Finally, my dad found out about one suicide attempt and put me in counseling. Then my counselor drug tested me and off to my first rehab I went at the age of 15. But, once I got home all I did was manipulate my dad into trying it when he was in really bad pain and in bed. I saw that he was hurting so being the devil’s advocate, I was like I know something that will help. Because I was addicted and lost in sin, I didn’t care who I hurt or took down with me. We both spun out of control into full-blown cocaine and pill addiction. This time we both had to be sent off. I thought I was cured from my addiction by using Suboxone, but that was only a lie. A few years went by, after a DUI, I lost my license, all from Suboxone and Xanax, which was prescribed by a doctor.

One of the lowest points in my life was when I was homeless and ended up in Jacksonville Beach begging for money and not wanting to live another day. I wound up in jail for six months and said I was going to live right when I got out. When I finally got out nothing changed, I went right back to the sin and the darkness. The only difference was I was back in Alma around my family and had a job so I tried to hide the things I was doing. That never works. The people closest to you always know it. Actually your lying to yourself when you think you’re hiding it. Two felony charges and then back to jail. Thinking my life was in shambles and never going anywhere, I had hit rock bottom this time. I was sick of the life I was living – jails, institutions and death.

That’s when the Holy Spirit started working in me. I knew I needed to change. Since none of the other rehabs or 12 step programs worked, I knew Jesus was the only solution. I got in touch with my jail chaplain, R.B. Gaskins, and he told me about a place named Bethel Colony of Mercy, where if I truly wanted to change Jesus would meet me there. Jesus met me! He left the 99 to come and find me, and saved me from my sins and my trespasses. On December 30, 2018 at 12:30 p.m. I became a new creation in Christ Jesus, redeemed from my sins and my name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, with my spot in Heaven reserved.

The joy and the peace I had at that very moment was unlike anything I had ever felt before. A couple of weeks into the program I had been praying about what I should do with my life. He revealed to me His plan through His word. After that night of prayer, I found a Bible on a corner table. I opened it and it said Luke 4:18 on the front cover, so I turned there, and this is what it said; “The spirit of the Lord is on me because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, and to set free the oppressed.” This is why I feel I’m called to ministry. On the back cover it said, “stay here and get wisdom and understanding, do not move until I tell you to move.”

My father died of a massive heart attack on March 7, 2019. I had a choice to make when I left Bethel. Turn back to drugs and sin, or lean on God and get through this the way God intended. I chose to live by His Scriptures and His word of life so that I may receive His promises of joy, peace, love, and happiness in my life. A peace that surpasses all understanding. I felt like this was God’s way of telling me that it was time to come home, make a stand, change my life, and live by His words. The power of Jesus is so amazing – it’s indescribable.  Jesus did a work in my dad three weeks before he passed away when he came to visit me at Bethel because he was able to see the man Jesus had transformed me into. My dad died clean and sober. When my dad was there with me he got saved, so I have to believe he is waiting on me. I returned home and my mother and I now have the best relationship we have ever had. Never put limitations on what God can do and the relationships he can put back together. While being home, I’ve had some difficulties, but nothing I can’t overcome through the power of Jesus. Once Jesus changes you, you have to stay around like-minded people and find a good church family to keep feeding your spirit, or you will fall back in to sin. If you do live by His Scriptures, and are willing and obedient there is no need for worry or lack of confidence in your future. As Christians, God will never leave us or forsake us. There’s no need in worrying about death either because we don’t die, we just graduate.

Jeremiah 29:11 says; “I know the thoughts I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a hope and a future.” 


Amanda Lee, 2019 Graduate – Bethel Women’s Campus

My life has been upside down over the years and even knowing that all I needed to do was surrender I couldn’t fully do it this year! I kept on telling myself that when I get to Bethel then I would make things back right with God. God hit me hard on Easter Sunday morning service. While sitting behind my family and looking at them, God spoke to me. “How will you ever help them or anyone else if you will not let Me help you?” I finally did what I needed to do. I gave my life back to God. On May 13th, I came to Bethel Colony. That first week I wanted to go home. But God!!! He got me through and is continuing to help me. He is changing me into the woman of God He has called me to be.

To God be the glory! I know that by coming to Bethel and being there with Mrs.Donna and all the other women there that God pulled me up out of a pit. He put exactly the right people in my life to turn me around and for me to use this testimony for His Glory! He’s still reaching down farther than we can lift up.

God is doing some amazing things at Bethel Colony Women’s Campus and He’s restoring lives there. This is a good seed to sow into. If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction then please talk with them about looking into Bethel. I personally know there is someone there wanting to talk to them, pray with them, and help them!

Amanda asked forgiveness for her actions and started seeking God again while she was at Bethel. She was baptized on July 4th to symbolize the old life was gone and her new life had begun. Praise God for all He did for Amanda while she was with us. She is coming back to help in October. She wants the presence of God that impacted her to impact others so she is coming to Bethel Colony Women’s Campus as a volunteer this time.
Donna McCall, Bethel Women’s Campus Director

17 Men and Women Baptized in December 2019


2019 – 2020 Proposed Budget


Bethel Lawn Care!!!

 

Call Jeff Hollar at Bethel

 

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or
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