By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    On a very different journey making very different discoveries.
    This isn't at all where I thought I'd be,
    But it's a beautiful place to me ...
    And I'm realizing God here.
    In the presence of lies is an absence of God that is utterly "hellish."
    In the presence of truth is the presence of God that is unspeakably divine.
    I have chosen the latter and I can once again sing with the saints,
    "It is Well With My soul."
    For every new life that lines the corridor of mine and loves beautifully, truthfully, and authentically ...
    Your presence blesses me and speaks to me forcibly;
    It speaks to the greatnes and the glory of God.
    We must forsake and renounce the "comforts" of old lies in order to realize the realities of new truths and forge our true identity in them.
    In the cleft of the Rock ... safety lies.
    Hide there and you will be kept there,
    By a hand secure.
    And the Lord said, "Behold, there is a place by Me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock. And it shall come to pass, while My glory passeth by, that I wll put thee in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover thee with My hand while I pass by."
    Exodus 33:21-22
    The December "31 Study" has started ... and your presence is desired.
    Join me and invite somebody along.
    *This study is private and personal and not being offered as a "group sharing" study.


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Like all country music singers, Kenny Rogers had a style all his own but his selection of song generally had the power to provoke strong imagery and convey a powerful message through the telling of a story.
    His first big hit, The Gambler, in 1978 speaks to this ability.
    But it's another song I keep hearing, keep listening to, that speaks even louder:
    The Coward of the County.
    It's sad and profound all in one but it strikes a chord in me so I've decided to share it.
    Read the words and select the lines you find most meaningful and consider "why" you chose them.
    Your selection will tell you a story about "you."
    The Coward of the County
    By: Roger Bowling and Billy Ed Wheeler
    Recorded by Kenny Rogers

    Everyone considered him the coward of the county
    He never stood one single time to prove the county wrong
    His mama named him Tommy but folks just called him yellow
    Something always told me they were reading Tommy wrong

    He was only ten years old when his daddy died in prison
    I looked after Tommy cuz he was my brother's son
    I still recall the final words my brother said to Tommy
    Son my life is over but yours is just begun

    Promise me son not to do the things I've done
    Walk away from trouble if you can
    Now it don't mean your weak if you turn the other cheek
    I hope you're old enough to understand
    Son you don't have to fight to be a man

    There's someone for everyone and Tommy's love was Becky
    In her arms he didn't have to prove he was a man
    One day while he was working the Gatlin boys came calling
    They took turns at Becky ... there was three of them

    Tommy opened up his door and saw his Becky crying
    The torn dress the shattered look was more than he could stand
    He reached above the fireplace and took down his daddy's picture
    As his tears fell on his daddy's face he heard these words again
    (Repeat chorus)

    The Gatlin boys just laughed at him when he walked into the barroom
    One of them got up and met him half way cross the floor
    Tommy turned around they said hey look ole Yellow's leaving
    You could've heard a pin drop ... Tommy stopped and locked the door

    Twenty years of crawling was bottled up inside him
    He wasn't holding nothing back he let 'em have it all
    When Tommy left the barroom not a Gatlin boy was standing
    He said this one's for Becky as he watched the last one fall

    And I heard him say
    I promised you Dad not to do the things you've done
    I'll walk away from trouble if I can
    Now please don't think I'm weak I couldn't turn the other cheek
    Papa I sure hope you understand
    Sometimes you gotta fight when you're a man
    Everyone considered him ... the coward of the county.

    I've picked my lines and I know why they matter to me.
    10 of them ... all for distinct and different reasons.
    First "trigger line" and the only one I'll share:
    Something always told me they were reading Tommy wrong
    Hmmm ...
    Our propensity to form opinions without knowledge is extremely great,
    but it must be acknowledged that rarely do we read people rightly and, generally and continually, we simply have it all "wrongly."
    It's not until we really "get inside someone" that we really know someone.
    And once we really know someone we act a little more human, a little more graceful, a little more forgiving ... a little more loving.
    The "20 years bottled up" generally amounts to something specific in each of us.
    If you have a few, even one or two in your life, who truly know "you," count yourself blessed.
    But if you feel bottled up, afraid, and alone, I just want to remind you that God knows the "whole" of you.
    He knows your hurts, heartaches, tears, and deepest fears ... and He loves you and whispers,
    You're not alone.
    Listen to the lines of the One who knows you and take time to read and reflect on Psalm 139:
    "O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thoughts afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue but lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before and laid Thine hand upon me ..."
    Psalm 139:1-5
    *Our DECEMBER DISCOVERIES "31 STUDY" begins today.
    Join me and invite someone along ...


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    On a cold crisp day in 2016 my intense daily walk slows to a halt as I step aside to get a better look at an object that has caught my eye:
    The object is a rock ...
    so perfectly formed into a heart that it's really quite unbelievable.
    Filling up the entirety of my hand with fingers closed tightly over it,
    the presence of God meets me with clarity.
    An awareness of an intense spiritual battle being waged over my soul is distinctly afforded and revealed to me ... and I shall never forget it.
    The rock is being held this moment in my hands;
    A visible tangible memento and "rare gem" preserved by a loving and merciful heavenly Father reminding me of a difficult season He brought me through in my life.
    Again and again ... He has proven Himself faithful.
    And again and again ... He will continue to.
    I hold it, stroke it, and rub it softly against my cheek, grateful for the sovereign dominance of God's presence in, and preservation of, my life.
      Oswald Chamber's provoking words stir me:
    "There is only one relationship that matters, and that is your personal relationship to a personal Redeemer and Lord. Let everything else go, but maintain that at all costs, and God will fulfill His purpose through your life." 
    Yes and Amen.
    This morning on my way to work I will stop in a country field where hides a rock and sort of sacred altar. I will get out and kneel ... and I will remember and rehearse the promises of God, and I will give thanks one more time ... to my Redeemer.
    Seek the One who matters until He is all that matters.
    Give yourself over to Him,
    It's not too late.
    You have this moment.
    "A new heart also will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the corn and increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen ...
    And they shall say, 'This land that was desolate is become like a garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced and inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that which was desolate:
    I the Lord have spoken it and I will do it."
    Ezekiel 36:26-30;35-36


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Things you will need:
    -Vice Grip
    -Safety Glasses
    Traits of strength and endurance will also prove valuable.
    Today we will be tackling a 24 pack of BOOST.
    Blast, Bugger, and Jeepers (as my friend likes to say) are words that will be used with frequency throughout our task so I suggest you cover your ears if you don't like them.
    For those of you unfamiliar with BOOST;
    It is a high energy protein drink with consumers ranging in all ages and stages of life, but its primary audience is the elderly and those with a special dietary need of some kind.
    BOOST is a staple and a "main stay" in hospitals, nursing homes, and health care facilities.
    Personally, I think its primary audience should be athletes since it requires a Herculean effort to open even a single bottle.
    Gratefully, I come employed with a heavy dose of energized "Duracell" in my blood but I know many do not and cannot get the darn bottles open.
    While I'm sure the manufacturers of the BOOST bottles have reasons for their buggerish packaging, folks have to figure out in the meantime how to open them up in order to be supplied with the nutrients that help to sustain them.
    Hmmm ...
    Some of God's promises, similarly, are like opening up a bottle of BOOST;
    They don't all open up easy and sometimes they require the time, energy, and assistance of another.
    Praise God for the Holy Spirit who affords us help every step along the way and hears our frustrated whispers of bugger, blast, and jeepers.
    Even the disciples who walked closely with Jesus spent most of their earthly lives "scratching their heads" while partnering beside Him, recognizing their need for Him but acknowledging their steady inability to comprehend the provision marked out for them and the promises given them.
    Recognizing their impoverished state, they understood Him as the required solution to spiritual and internal sustainment but ... it was quite a process.
    It is for us too.
    God understood this thing about man;
    About our need for internal and ongoing sustainment.
    Implementing a plan for our lives, He sent His only begotten Son to be our "true" source of salvation.
    JESUS ... our needed "Boost" and ultimate drink.
    -He sent His Spirit to enfold, uphold, and instruct us throughout our lives on earth.
    -He gave us His written word and the Spirit's manifold superhuman, supernatural strength in its interpretation of it.
    He opens up the BOOST for us ... and in us, and in doing so, supplies us with all we need for life and godliness.
    But we must partake of it!
    Open up God's excellent word.
    Drink it even when you don't understand it.
    Take in the nutritional context necessary for growth and maturity of spirit because you must and because your soul requires it.
    God will honor, bless, and "open it up for you" by His Spirit at work in you at just the right time,
    In just the right moment,
    In just the right measure,
    In just the right way.
    Drink your BOOST ... and God will be faithful.
    "According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue."
    2 Peter 1:3



    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    -24 Hour Hotline
    -Life Skills Classes
    -Earn While You Learn
    -Mentor Program for Both Men and Women
    -Free Lab Testing
    -Ultrasound Testing
    -Abortion Information
    -STD Testing
    -Post Abortion Recovery Counseling
    The Alpha Center is an active extension of what it means to love Christ.
    If it came with a steeple, my soul should love it, for I believe it to be one of the most active and truthful agents of the living "Gospel" one can hope to find.
    Offering an education to the fearful and a suggestion of hope to the "tearful," it stretches out its welcoming arms and opens up its doors without judgement to those who step inside.
    With immediacy, without judgment, and without question it promotes the living Gospel that I read about in the Bible.
    The goal of the Alpha Center is to promote life and to save lives ...
    And it has found an effective and practical way to do it.
    God be praised for this wondrous merciful ministry.
    The great Apostle Paul was saved from a life of dead religion in order to bring hope to a dying world. His Damascus experience, beginning in Acts 8, should be studied carefully in order to discover that his conversion moved him out of "Religion about God" and into "Relationship with God" and not until that happened did anything really happen at all.
    "Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law a Pharisee. Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
    But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord ..."
    Philippians 3:5-8
    Saul (his name prior to conversion,) was a man of highest religious pedigree who believed himself to be a superior authority unequalled in religiousity.
    But then Christ met him, turned the apple cart over, and granted sight to Paul's cataract-impaired Pharisaical vision enabling him to truly see.
    Christ turned "Saul" into a "Paul" by breaking him of his religion and saving him for a "relationship" through the redemptive work of His blood on the cross.
    And "Saul turned Paul" became someone beautiful ... and his life forever changed.
    O God,
     Let there be name and heart change so visible in me.
    Remove me from the stranglehold of religiosity and translate me into the life-giving power of a redemptive relationship that empowers me to live with the hope of the Gospel activated  in me ...and drawing other men to Thee.
    The blood of Christ is to spill out of our lives in visible ways that speak to redemption, restoration, and true life.
    Redemption is a "Pro-life" activity.
    Don't confuse a life of religion with a life of relationship;
    Only one will save you.
    "Not everyone that saith unto me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, 'I never knew you, depart from Me, ye that work iniquity."
    Matthew 7:21-23



    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    How many cells were there in the Alcatraz federal prison?
    In years, how old was Ben Franklin when he signed the U.S. Constitution?
    How many countries are in Africa?
    The answers may or may not be provided for you at the end of this devotional.
    I haven't decided yet.
    Hmmm ....
    You're being given a sampling of the delightful and interesting game called "Wits and Wagers." The game is garnering a well deserved name for inciting thought and conversation with folks who sit around your table.
    Evening after evening this past week we played this game with family members and chose our spouses as designated partners.
    It was a blast!
    The goal is to place wagers wisely on the most "probable and likely" answer suggested by each set of partners. The "gatherers" of the greatest amount of chips after 7 questions have been asked and answered are tallied up and the winners are touted as somewhat intelligent. (Smile.)
    One of the chief likeability traits of this game is the broad arena of subjects touched on and the "level" playing field it seems to afford to the diverse group of people seated around the table. No one really has an advantage in this game and the obscurity of the questions being asked lends itself to answers that involve a wee bit of strategic thinking between partners.
    Exact answers are rare and the "most close" answers prevail.
    Hmmm ...
    The game introduces, perhaps, the thought of how many of us in the church "utilize" the Bible:
    We pose little questions and answers about irrelevant matters and congregate around "like minded" answers that pertain to little more than trivia questions at the end of the day ... but do nothing to satisfy the heart's true quest after God.
    The personalness and power of God is exchanged for a touting of knowledge "about" God  without any activity or meaningful display of witnessing His power at work.
    We sit around the table and discuss shallow opinions and mindsets instead of getting on our knees and imploring God for a depth of redemptive discoveries we have never before imagined, conceived, or realized.
    We keep God seated at our little table and never "live out" and realize the power of our well touted answers ... and it all feels so meaningless and empty in the end.
    I'm ashamed to announce that my presence has sat too long at such tables.
    The experience of God's power has gotten lost and exchanged, too often, with a tidy verbalized swept up head knowledge void of redemptive power and personalness.
    In this confession my soul experiences a "release from the caged religion" I have known and a steady solace of "empowered" relief is granted me ... called redemptive grace.
    Christ's power at work within man is so much more than a table of trivia, and not until He moves us to "see more" is it possible to become more, in Him.
    The precious words of Paul strike a chord:
    "For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."
    1 Corinthians 2:2-5
    When our hearts begin to pump with a redemptive "realized" blood coursing through them we become empowered men on our knees instead of "talking men" at the table.
    Bring us to that place where Thy power is experienced, realized, and made known.
    Let our "Wager" be on Thy power alone and cause man's "Wit" to be revealed and rendered powerless.
    Give us eyes to see,
    Knees that bend,
    And lives that display Thy great power.

    Trivia answers:
    1) 336 cells in Alcatraz.
    2) Benjamin Franklin was 81 years old when he signed the Constitution.
    3) There are 54 countries in Africa.
    *Wits and Wagers would make a great Christmas gift.



    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Spectacular, Beautiful, Memorable.
    Friday night was an unusually beautiful November night.
    We capped off a memorable week with loved ones by a visit to the Falls Park where we were met by a winter wonderland that instantly bypassed even the most descriptive of reviews.
    A beautiful blaze of 26 miles of stringed lights, lit up trees as far as the eye could see, enhanced by the accoustical sound of Christmas music in the air met and intoxicated us in a moment.
    The "Falls" themselves provided an iridescent backdrop entirely breathtaking ... and a view from the observation deck was glorious.
    All around me ... was light.
    The night was lit up with "breathtaking beautiful."
    Garnering a notch in my "Top 10" list of places to see, and a Niagara to compare it with, it retains a secluded special place in my memory box and will be revisited.
    First times, first places, first "unforgettables" lodge themselves in the heart in ways that cannot be properly defined ... and many times the realization and appreciation of them grows and becomes more illumined with time.
    His presence,
    His voice,
    His whisper,
    His words ...
    His light alive in our darkness.
    And the landscape of the soul's human darkness only seems to "show up and show off" the glorious radiant splendor of the endless miles of well-lit truth adorning the paths of those He dearly loves.
    The exploration of truth and all of its luminous discoveries lies before each of us and He desires for us to enjoy it with Him in all of its splendor.
    Go where you must but don't miss out on the true "Light show" He has provided for you:
    -Ascend the steps of the observation deck and take a look around and be amazed, awe-struck, and astounded and tell Him what you see of Him.
    -Walk the paths that wind the falls and admire and exclaim over the mirrored waters, the canopied star-studded skies, and the perfect calm of ordered serenity that His holy hands fashioned and put in place.
    -And then pinch yourself and remind yourself that He did it ... for "you."
    You were made for more.
    Breathe Him in, open His word, and explore His beautiful presence.
    "This then is the message which we have heard of Him and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all."
    1 John 1:5


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

     We must trust the providence of God in all earthly matters.
    Where we have been disobedient, we must make honest confession, renounce our sinful ways, and return with reassurance to our walk with God … and the resuming of all that is in keeping with His desires for our lives.
    To shudder and shake over past sins, grievances, and old hurts is a precious waste of time and energy that will get you nowhere but frustration and a growing lack of faith.
    Don’t do it.
    Satan will whisper vile and repeated lies to try and undermine the sovereign truths and realities that Christ has promised you … but God will remain adamantly and ardently faithful to you.
    Invoke and employ the ear of God on all that gnaws on your heart and mind this moment, my friend, and immerse yourself in the strength and stability of God’s precious and most holy word and prayer.
    In doing so you will realize new realities of grace, truth, and compassion that were not formerly known or understood by you, and in doing so, you will touch other lives with a deeper level of compassion not formerly experienced.
    Who knows but that your “fall” will result in the salvation of many others ... in the end.
    God has all resources for faith-building at His command for you.
    Be assured, that even now, He is employing them to make you what He determines you to be.
    Walk confidently … His hand is on you.
    He will lead you, guide you, and use you.
    “Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me under the shadow of Thy wings."
    Psalm 17:8


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    For things I would have wanted not,
    Yet things I would not change;
    For much that’s come into my life,
    And much that’s rearranged.

    For lessons learned and trials sent,
    For heartache and for pain;
    For mountains hard to navigate,
    For new and straight terrain.

    For holy hands that hold my own,
    And One who knows my way;
    For transformation taking place,
    And mercy every day.

    For pure and undefiled love,
    And nothing left to chance;
    For sifting every detail of my life,
    Through holy hands.

     For things I would have wanted not,
    Yet things I would not change;
    I’m thankful, simply thankful,
    For the much … that’s rearranged.

    “Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!”
    Psalm 107:1


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

     We never really know what Christ has up His holy sleeve;
    He’s full of sovereign surprise and extravagant grace.
    He works in contrast and to the contrary;
    He works in spite of and out of the ordinary …
    All the time.
    When we think we have it most together,
    Perhaps we have it least together,
    And not a lot happens.
    When we think we have it least together,
    Perhaps we have it most together,
    And so very much happens.
    Because it’s God in us
    and never really about us ... at all.
    The whole thing is a marvelous mystery;
    This uncontrollable,
    Unstoppable God.
    Maybe when we get to the end of ourselves,
    We begin to discover the beginning of God.

    And the end is just the beginning …
    And the beautiful mystery called grace begins to unfold.
    “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
    Isaiah 55:9

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