Rev. Paul Pruitt’s Article
The Need Is Great
Rev. Paul Ritchie
Praying For The Lost
Rev. Don Loss
A Good Man Is Hard To Find
Marc Whitson, Office Manager
Matt Gruber, Kitchen Manager
Update on Women’s Ministry
2016-17 Operating Budget
I just finished teaching morning Bible class and a gentleman who just completed his program walked up the hill with me to thank Bethel and me for what he received here. He said, “People ask me what I like about being at Bethel.” He said, “I tell them “Everything, I like everything.” He began to share the different things that he liked at Bethel but what he emphasized was “I have been restored!” Joel 2: 25-26 says, “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,…You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And My people shall never be put to shame.” I saw him again before he left and he was showing his friends and family all over Bethel and wanted them to meet the people who helped him.
What a snapshot of what Jesus does in so many lives at Bethel!
During this past year, we were contacted by over 2000 applicants who showed interest in coming to Bethel. We had the privilege of ministering to 448 of them.
The need is great!
To give you a picture of the need: In 2015, of all the people serving time in Federal Prisons almost 50% were there for drug offenses ; 92,000 prisoners were serving time for drug offenses and 18% more Federal inmates admitted they did not get caught with drugs but committed their crimes to obtain money to buy drugs. In the State Prisons, 16% or 206,300, were serving sentences for drug-related offenses. Another 16% admitted the crimes they committed were to obtain money to purchase drugs.
According to the Bureau of Justice, 25% of probation’s in the US at the end of 2015, (approximately 947,450 people) had a drug charge as their most serious offense and 31% of paroles (approximately 269,855 people).
Remember that these numbers reflect only those who have been caught. SAMHSA reported that in 2013 over 24 million were using illicit drugs. Over 50,000 people died from overdose in 2015, that is 136 people a day.
The need is great!
Studies have proven that getting help in the community is one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent such crimes and costs approximately $20,000 less than incarceration per person per year. Even more so, and more effective is a Christian based program. A study by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy found that every dollar spent on drug treatment in the community yields over $18 in cost savings related to crime. In comparison, prisons only yield $0.37 in public safety benefit per dollar spent. Getting people to Jesus, the one who can make transformation happen is the most effective way of reducing problematic drug use, reducing crime associated with drug use and reducing the number of people in prison.
By His Grace,
Pastor Paul & Stacy Pruitt
I want to thank all of you who sent me Christmas cards. I confess I did not send any. Eldora always took care of that. I have a hard time getting into Christmas activities since she went to be with the Lord. I am glad for her and would not ask her to come back if she could.
For the last 30 years we always stayed at Bethel for Christmas. The men are away from home on Christmas and we thought it might help them if we were here. We would then have our family Christmas at a later date. Last year they all came to my home here at Bethel. This year between weather and finding a date that worked for most, it just did not happen. It is always a delight to have all the family. At present, my children and grandchildren are all adults with their own children. So, I just get gifts for my great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. I have a pair of twin girls who are great-great-grandchildren. I have 2 daughters and 1 grand-daughter, Stacy Pruitt, who is the daughter of my late son David, so I look at her as a stand-in for David. He was 26 when he was killed while working for Duke Power and Stacy was 4 ½ years old. I know he is with the Lord.
Do not get me wrong. I am doing okay. However, without Eldora it will never be the same. My family are very good to me, but the closest love relationship of any 2 human beings is between a husband and his wife. They become one. In our case for 63 years. I miss her but am doing okay. My home is not a lonely place. The presence of the Lord is in this place. The Heavenly Father and my Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit make for very good company.
Now, I want to talk about praying for the lost. The Bible teaches that no one comes to the Lord Jesus Christ unless the Father draws them and that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ – our High Priest. Acts 26:18 Satan has blinded the eyes of the lost so that the eyes of their hearts need to be open to turn from darkness to light through repentance from dead works unto salvation through the finished work of the cross and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Luke 4:18 lists 5 major hindrances to salvation and to a victorious Christian life – ignorance of the gospel, a broken-heart, captivity, blindness, and oppression.
Repentance is not forgiveness but leads to forgiveness. The Bible teaches that as a man thinks in his heart so is he. Otherwise, we are dealing beyond the thoughts of the head. The belly has some of the same receptors as the brain and our responses, under stress, come from the area of the belly as feelings. Repentance is a change of the mind of the heart which produces a change in direction, a change of purpose and a change of the future. There must be a change in the heart which acknowledges the need for forgiveness. See Psalm 51 as an example and I John 1:9. Repentance leads to confession and confession to agreement with God in regard to our sins which in turn is expressed in I John 1:9. II Timothy 2:25 & 26 says: “in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” In praying for the lost repentance is the first step. The New Testament teaches the necessity of repentance. If God perhaps will grant repentance so that we may know the truth. Indeed Satan blinds the hearts of the lost. He uses many devices to do this: blame God for our situation, a loved one died, God did it, the preacher did not do as expected, people in the church failed, and so forth. Any excuse will do. Then there are those whose heart is just full of darkness. I have run across those that I had to drive out the spirit of darkness before they could get saved. I did not always know to do this but experience has taught me to do this and see them get saved as soon as the darkness is gone and see them move from the back seat to the first row in Bible class. PTL! Luke 4:18 reveals those that are broken-hearted, those who are captives, those that are blind and those who are oppressed by their situations and the lies of the evil one. As the Father gives repentance, the truth is acknowledged and people are able to come to the light. Of course, Jesus is the truth, the light and the way.
Until II Timothy 2:25 & 26 is a reality in the life of the unbeliever he will remain in darkness. Therefore, the starting place is to pray that this darkness be removed whatever the cause may be. Then, when the need for salvation, the finished work of the cross of Jesus Christ is acknowledged, their getting saved is not that hard.
May this help you as you pray for your neighbors and loved ones. God’s blessing be on you. Thank you for your prayers and gifts,
Pastor Paul Ritchie
A Good Man Is Hard To Find
As a culture goes further down the road to depravity, a good man is hard to find. The more a nation drifts away from the Judeo-Christian values the more it will slide down the slippery slope of sin into corruption. “Righteousness makes a nation great but sin diminishes a people.” Proverbs 14:34 (ISV) We read of King Asa in II Chronicles 14:1-3 demonstrating the characteristics of a good man. “So Abijah rested with his fathers and they buried him in the city of David. Then Asa, his son, reigned in his place. In his days the land was quiet for ten years. And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord, for he removed the altars of the foreign gods, and the high places, and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images.”
A good man will experience QUIET in his home when he does what is good and right in the eyes of the Lord. If the home is quiet, there is good reason, there will be peace in the home. And a good man who fears the Lord is one who has the peace of the Lord in his own heart. His trust is in the Lord. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee.” Isaiah 26:3 He is in peace with a steadfast mind seeking first the kingdom of God. Matthew 6:33, Colossians 3:2
He is in peace because of an untainted, unpolluted walk. “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.” Psalm 119:1 He undoubtedly is a good man. One who is hard to find. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…” II Chronicles 16:9 We who are men are blessed if we have, by the grace of God, walked in such a way as to be called ‘a good man’.
A spirit-filled woman of God will always search for a spirit-filled man of God. She will settle for nothing less for she knows the peace of her home depends on this. She knows the difference between a form of godliness and the actual witness of a real man of God. Many men who have left the ways of God are filled with their lusts. “…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” II Timothy 3:4-5 Alas, many women have fallen into this trap. They have fallen for men who had the face of a Christian but ended up being wolves in sheep’s clothing. We see a flood of men pursuing everything but peace in the home. Abandoning virtue, morality and fidelity the home is a work of devastation. The bombing of the home with such foolishness leaves death and destruction. Morality is a pillar of the home. I recall G.K. Chesterton’s words; “Morality is a lot like art; you’ve got to draw a line somewhere.”
It is the flooding of a godless culture that has removed the lodestone of morality which attracts men to righteousness. Short story author and novelist, Flannery O’Connor, wrote of people who were corrupt and freakish in a terrible way. She does not speak of human depravity in the abstract. She writes of it in reality in her fiction works. She was asked once why she wrote about freaks. Her answer; “If Southern writers have a tendency to write about freaks it is because we are still able to recognize one.”
Sadly, many are living in freakish aberrations and no one is calling it what it is. Sin is out and therapy is in. There is little culpability for one’s behavior. Therefore, a good man is hard to find. A genuine spirit-filled man of God. “…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 If you are not a good man of God and your home is troubled, repent! Ask God to make you into a good man. Your family is longing for you to be one. The peace of the home is desperately needed.
God bless you as you seek to become a good man!
Where the grace blows,
Pastor Don Loss
Associate Director / Director of Counseling
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee;
because he trusteth in Thee. Isaiah 26:3
* 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
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1: 6 & 7
No matter who you are in this world it is inevitable that we all will experience some type of obstacle, trial or what we Christians call “Valleys” in our lives. These valleys are integral moments that define our moral character. The outcome of these moments are all based on what you believe in and how your attitude responds to them. I can say these things now because there was a period of my life that I didn’t respond to these trials in the manner which I should have. I knew of Jesus, but didn’t know Jesus. I knew He was capable of miracles, but I never thought anything or anyone would be able to move this mountain of bondage in my life. I am not here to go into detail or glorify my past. I am not here to sell you on sob stories about abandonment, homelessness, disparity, and immorality. All you really need to know is that while I was out there in the “wilderness” I found out that rock bottom does exist and it actually has a basement. As I began to become more independent during and after my high-school years I let go of a lot of strong Christian values that I was taught at an early age. This independence allowed sin to slowly creep into my life and it brought catastrophic circumstances with it. I lost my identity in who I was and was bound in self-destruction. It wasn’t until one night in the city of Winston-Salem I was simply facing life or death. Trust me, I thought about both options long and hard, but when I reached out my hand I cried out to my Savior and asked Him for help, He responded in the fashion that the Good Lord has, does and always will. My Redeemer spoke to me. He comforted me with a vision of helping others that were going through the same trials as I was. Christ told me that He was going to make me new again and that it was OK if I had nobody in this world to call family; that He Himself is the only family I need. From that point on I made a conscious effort to seek truth in my life. My prayers were answered when the spirit led me to Bethel Colony of Mercy.
Since I have entered Bethel Colony, Christ has allowed me to develop an enthusiasm for the one and only truth there is which is the word of God. I have been given a new heart and God has given me the grace to change my life. I have rededicated my life to Christ and I pray that I may continue to grow in Jesus’ image. As God continues to align my heart and thoughts with His, I am learning and seeing firsthand the impact of prayer, what defines true repentance, and who the real enemy is. Altogether, these things have increased my faith and are teaching me how to be the individual God intended me to be. Though I still have much knowledge to gain, I will strive to remain humble and display gratitude to all. There is not a word in any dictionary that can describe the peace and joy that I have now because I know I am no longer entangled in the shackles of bondage. I am Free. I am Justified. I am adopted. I am unfinished. I am secure. I am in Christ and that is now my identity.
With a sound mind and a softened heart, I truly believe my substance abuse and immoralities were not the results from a diseased mind, but rather the impure actions from a lost soul. Through Christ alone I can now live freely only to embrace the strength He has given me. I can leave my pains, worries and burdens at the cross now. I’ve learned to once again put my best foot forward and let go of the past.
Through this experience I have I gained a wonderful opportunity to become the Kitchen Manager at Bethel Colony. Jesus has honored the vision He once showed me. Now it is my turn to honor my service to Him. I choose to remain steadfast in God’s Word and work diligently to minister to the brethren who thirst for salvation. I will commit to serve as a guide for their victory. This new found path to salvation will not be easy. My armor will be checked often and my words and thoughts will be used against me. With every temptation I encounter and every valley I travel through I will call upon my Savior’s name because I now know my Heavenly Father does not only save and sustain us, but also protects us.
In closing, I have grasped the inescapable reality that everything including possessions and nature itself will one day fade into extinction. However, our Merciful Father, His unconditional love, and the Spirit of Truth will eternally remain rooted deep within my heart.
Matthew L. Gruber
Bethel’s Kitchen Manager
Bethel’s Office Manager Marc Whitson
and wife Whitney
Nestled in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains is the town of Green Mountain where I grew up as a preacher’s kid. As a child my “Higher Standards” and how I lived my life reflected not only me but my father’s household. I was sheltered, guarded and protected by those who only wanted the best for me in all situations. My mother was a K-5 teacher until I was 10 when she transitioned from the elementary school and became a middle school English teacher. My father, the backbone of the family, was principal at the other middle school in the county. I was stuck between school system life and being the preacher’s youngest kid. I am a firm believer that Satan’s targets on the preacher and his family are more conniving and slick in how he infiltrates the camp and gets those who are on fire for Jesus to stray away. That is my story.
Saved at age 8 under conviction at a revival where my father was preaching, I felt God drawing my heart to Him. I submitted my life and devoted my time and efforts to follow Christ. After graduating high school, I attended Appalachian State University and got involved in Campus Crusade for Christ. As a sophomore I traveled to Panama City, FL during spring break. There, along with my fellow members in CRU, we walked the beach and witnessed to our peers who were drinking, doing drugs etc. What a humbling experience. God revealed many things to me through this and I really felt God wanted to use me in a mighty way. I also got involved with an acapella group and exposed myself to a lifestyle similar to those who I had witnessed too. I made smart choices up until my senior year when I decided to do those things I felt I had been robbed of as a “PK”. That’s where my addiction problems began. I still attended church but had no fellowship and no desire to be used although still feeling drawn to serve and be used.
At this point I was at an all-time low. Stealing money from my family and taking things from others, I was engulfed in a lifestyle of sin. When arrested, I had nowhere to turn but to God. I remember waiting on my folks at the jail and, thinking, “Oh God, if there was ever a time I need you, It’s now.” A detective pointed me toward Bethel Colony of Mercy. I was open for anything but had to get myself cleaned up before I could do anything. I was so low I told the detective I would kill myself if I went in that jail cell to detox. He took that as my cry and got me into a detox where I could be watched. God started doing what He does best. When I returned home, by the grace of God and His mercy, was released to the care of my family. With that came limitations on everything. I was cut off from the rest of the world until a bed was available at Bethel. I recall my mother and father telling me; “You are going to be treated like a child until we can get you help.” This tough love was part of the blessing of God in keeping me safe until my arrival at Bethel Colony in August of 2010.
When I came to Bethel I was ready to surrender. I had tried other ways many times thinking that “I” could fix my problems. When I got to Bethel I was broken and ready to let God do all the fixing. I knew His Word, but application had to take shape and He started strumming chords on my heart strings that would forever change my life. I recall how a Bethel graduate came and spoke at Bethel about what God had done in his life and how He had called him into missionary work. He spoke of the goodness of God when he fully submitted to God’s will and showed us the fruit and blessings that came from it. He was giving back and God started tugging on my heart to do the same. At this point, it freaked me out some. I questioned God how it would work out. I felt as if I was being pulled to stay and continue to seek God through this great neoclassical idea where He was the composer of all my direction. I had lots of dissonance happening and things seemed to not be in the cards to stay, but God, the great musician of all our souls, had other plans to make this testimony harmonious.
After graduation, I left Bethel but stayed connected while working in Georgia. There I met Whitney at a small Baptist church. I had been living right and was praying for a helpmate. God ordered my steps to align with meeting her. We dated and in the course of my duties and my work position in Georgia, I hurt my back. Knowing my struggles up front, I asked her to help keep me accountable fearing I would fight my past struggles if put on medication. I did not realize how bad that war would be. After getting addicted and back on medication, I returned to Bethel to refresh myself and gain the sobriety God had given me while at Bethel in 2010. In 2014, I returned and told God I was going to do HIS work from here on out and relinquish all rights of myself to Him. God opened doors for me to serve Him here through the Vocational Student Program (VSP) where I then sought God’s direction. God created an opportunity for me to serve as Office Manager. He revealed that the missionary work He was calling me to was right here at Bethel where I can help those who are broken just like I had been many times in my life and share the goodness of what God can do for someone who is fully submitted and yielded to the will of God.
I married my beautiful wife in April of 2014 at Bethel Colony where we now reside and work to continue to help those caught in the bondage of drugs and alcohol.
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not loose heart.”
Update on Bethel’s Women’s Ministry
Every week, three of Bethel’s board members meet to pray, discuss and move forward on the Women’s Ministry. As we meet and pray, 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 on the locationfor this ministry. We have looked at multiple sites and, for different reasons, they have not met the needs we have. So 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.
What the Lord has been doing since we made the announcement in October is amazing! 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 $18,000.00 in donations for the Women’s Ministry. Praise the Lord with us and please keep praying!