By: Darrelyn L. Tutt
    The grace of God enfolds me,
    And the love of God upholds me,
    And none can thwart the purpose of His hand;
    His arm is strong and able,
    He is might to enable
    Me to follow and accomplish what He’s planned.

    The Word of God’s unfailing,
    His truth always prevailing,
    Demolishing the strongholds in our lives;
    A sword that cuts in two,
    My mighty shield that I run to,
    He is my God, His word sustains and satisfies.

    The hope of God’s unending,
    Comes in glory yet defending;
    My Redeemer … gave and sacrificed His Son.
    His precious blood erasing,
    All my sin and then embracing,
    Who I am in spite of all that I have done.

    The peace of God’s transcending,
    Flowing out and never ending,
    Like a river coursing power through my soul;
    It’s flow is so refining,
    For its aim is redefining,
    My pursuits to seek a higher worthy goal.

    The name of God’s enduring,
    He gives strength and reassuring,
    Lifting up the lowly, bowed before His throne;
    A Savior to the seeker,
    He’s inclined to aid the weaker,
    He empowers those He calls to be His own.

    The praise of God it stirs me,
    For I know that I’m unworthy,
    I will lift my voice and praise my mighty King.
    There is so much that I owe Him,
    I’m so thankful that I know Him;
    He’s my shelter, I’m the shadow 'neath His wing.

    “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me; and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I show the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:23

    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt
    Written in the inside cover of my Bible are a few notable and inspirational quotes and Scriptures. Here is one of them:
    “I am not what I ought to be,
    I am not what I want to be,
    I am not what I hope to be;
    But still, I am not what I used to be.
    By the grace of God I am what I am.”
    -John Newton

    This powerful quote was penned by a former slave trader who participated in more atrocious acts as a slave captain aboard notorious slave ships than could be recorded. John Newton lived a life of a thousand regrets and yet lived to write the most beloved hymn ever written:
    "Amazing Grace."
    One of the interesting realities of John Newton’s life, that few people recognize, is that his conversion did not mark the turning-point in his slavery mentality; rather it was a near-death experience related to physical issues that prompted the timing and change of his heart, long after his conversion.
    This reality is significant to me.
    It’s easy to assume and suppose that when an individual comes to a knowledge of Jesus Christ there is an instant and dramatic conversion in every area of one’s life.
    Sometimes this happens.
    But sometimes it doesn’t.
    Sometimes God works in very mysterious, slow ways in an individual’s heart and the process looks unbecoming and even questionable at times.
    No matter.
    God keeps applying the compress of grace on the swollen results of sin and in the sin stained lives of those who have need of it and He loves us through the ugly and unbecoming stages and somewhere in it all …
    the caterpillar becomes a butterfly 
    and we are markedly changed in that remarkable conversion process called grace.

    Amazing grace how sweet the sound,
    That saved a wretch like me;
    I once was lost but now am found,
    Twas blind but now I see.
    -John Newton
    "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven;
    whose sin is covered."
    Psalm 32:1

    O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
    Jeremiah 10:23

    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    The Spirit moves as the Spirit's led,
    And the man who will obey,
    What the Spirit wills is a man of God,
    And a man who knows his way.

    The course of God is a course unseen,
    And the Word of God his guide;
    Where the Spirit speaks is the open Book,
    To the man who looks inside.

    To the traveled man of a certain chart,
    And a mapped out path before,
    May the way of God be the way you walk,
    And the old way be no more.

    It is not for man to direct his steps,
    And a man won't move ahead;
    'Til the Spirit moves and the Spirit leads,
    And the man be Spirit led.

    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt
    One week ago we sat through the graduation ceremony of two special individuals from Lake Area Tech; our daughter Jessica and her special guy Clate.
    It was a lengthy ceremony honoring 630 graduates.
    Names were read, graduates received their diplomas, and time slowly elapsed.
    One graduate stood out from the rest; I can still see him.
    “Steve” had earned a welding degree with no additional honors;
    pretty ordinary unless you saw him.
    Steve didn’t glide across the stage like all the others did,
    he labored across the stage.
    With his walker guiding him, he took one difficult step at a time;
    each step appeared to take a concerted effort, fortitude, and courage.
    I admired him as did everybody else.
    I’m guessing that the diploma meant more to Steve than to all the 650 individuals combined. 
    Steve had achieved the notable despite apparent obstacles.
    While I have not had to endure the same obstacles that Steve has endured; I am able to see a piece of Steve in me. 
    I think that sometimes I walk just like Steve but …. in different areas of my life.
    I think we all do.
    We are slow, awkward, and handicapped in hidden places.
    Obstacles aren’t something we run about looking for; 
    they are placed before us, imposed upon us,
    and regarded as necessary faith-building agents in our lives.
    We don’t have to like them but we do have to learn to walk with them.
    They are designed to make us needy; they are designed to draw us into dependence upon God.
    I’m not crazy about the plan but I think it’s highly effective.
    I’m not always sure about the plan but I know it's right and worth praising Him for.
    God knows what He’s doing.
    He never gives an obstacle without a walker.
    The "walker" He provides you and me with is called the word of God and as long as we keep it in front of ourselves we can continue to take one step at a time.
    Keep walking. Keep rehearsing. 
    He'll meet you on the other side.
    And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
    2 Corinthians 12:9

    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    “When programs, methods, and money produce impressive results, there is an inclination to confuse human success with divine blessing.”
    - John MacArthur

    Nothing replaces intimacy with Christ.
    A program can never match the power of a sturdy prayer life.
    A method cannot overtake a meaningful relationship or replace time with Christ.
    Money doesn’t have the power to obtain righteousness, holiness, or intimacy with Christ.
    Programs, methods, and money are facets that may be utilized in our walk with Christ but they are secondary and must never be mistaken for achieving a walk with Christ.
    It is Christ within us and our time with Him that results in divine blessing, favor, and lasting fruit.
    Assess your life at present and consider your “reliance” factors:
    How much time are you giving to prayer?
    How much intimacy is being built through your time in the word?
    How much are you giving to advance the Gospel?
    Resist the urge to rely on the temporal and rely on Christ alone; He's the only life-changing way.
    “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.
    I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing.”
    John 15:4-5


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    I flounder around,
    In the shadow of sin;
    I run and I hide,
    But it finds me again.

    For I cannot escape,
    The enticement and snare,
    That promises something,
    Though nothing is there.

    I know it, I blow it,
    I falter, I fall;
    I stumble and fumble,
    And doubt through it all.

    And yet there’s a longing,
    And yearning within,
    To reach for the grace,
    That will cover the sin.

    To cover, discover,
    The ugly in me;
    To face it, replace it,
    With God’s remedy.

    The cross of redemption,
    The blood that can free;
    Yes, this is the promise,
    There’s pardon for me!

    As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.
    Psalm 103:12

    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt
    At the end of all regrets is a sea of grace ready to swallow us up with a hope we cannot understand.
    God’s mysterious ways; submerging us simultaneously in truth and grace:
    Sealing the soul with the Supernatural.
    We are not made new through our own efforts;
    But through empty souls extended.
    This is the place we receive.

    “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
    Titus 3:5

    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Esther Helmke was one of God’s elect and chosen earthly saints. Displaying a rare maturity of the Christian faith in word and conduct; her life bore out a visual testimony of God’s grace through servanthood in remarkable ways. Her knowledge and love for the word of God was edifying and stimulating and her communion with God was one of deliberate, daily fervency.
    I was privileged to know Esther only for a short time, although her testimony had earned her my respect before our relationship began. With this brief overview of Esther’s life, I’d like to share an excerpt out of one of her earlier chapters:
    Esther walked into a teaching vocation upon her completion of school. Her responsible, dependable, and loving demeanor made her a “shoe-in” for such a position. One might say she was made for it, although she believed it was given her for another reason:
    Somewhere in those early years, Esther felt called into the foreign mission field. An inner war raged within her as she contemplated all she would have to give up in order to go. She prayed earnestly; the call remained the same. Ultimately, her reason won out; she was a young single woman and her singleness, alone, would translate into many obstacles and unforeseen problems. Fears and doubts assailed and prevailed until she finally said “no.”

    The ship sailed without her.
    Esther kept teaching but she now struggled with a deep gnawing in her spirit. All was not well in her soul and she knew why; she had refused God’s call on her life and was suffering the internal consequence of unrest. Attempts to justify her decisions and assurance from others proved useless. The matter was between her and the Lord and communion had been severed through disobedience. Her sensitive spirit was clearly instructed on what she needed to do; in humility and deep remorse she went before the Lord and repented of her sin. God freely forgave her and peace and communion were fully restored. She emerged with a greater spiritual fervor and a deeper spiritual maturity. She prayed for a second opportunity on the mission field, now certain that her response would be immediate and positive and she waited, even attempting to manipulate circumstances that might bridge her with foreign soil. In that time she learned that "another" had taken her place and her space had been filled. She prayed in earnest over the situation and then one morning the Lord spoke to her with clarity:
    “Esther, I called and you refused but you repented and I forgave freely and fully. The ship sailed out months ago and your work will now be here.” She submitted to God’s will and God opened up a door in the education field and used her in the public school system to touch hundreds of boys and girls with the love and Gospel of Christ.

    To think that someone as godly as “an Esther” had endured such a profound spiritual regret impressed me deeply. Perhaps “you” are reading this and it is relating to a situation in your life.
    I'd like to highlight 3 significant lessons:
    1) Disobedience can have long-term effects and, still, God will be faithful to His nature and His promise.
    “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

    2) Some ships sail away and we need to respond obediently in our current harbor instead of lingering over an ocean of regret over past decisions. The insights learned in such seasons transpire into godly insights and lessons that need not be repeated and can be used in testimony to credit God’s faithfulness. God will use these lessons and bring them to our remembrance to guide future steps.
    “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:11

    3) God will fully restore the individual that humbly comes to Him in repentance.
    “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 2:1-2a

    I have missed a few ships of my own, through disobedience and lack of surrender, and learned that God is indeed rich in mercy, grace, and lovingkindness. The truths of His righteous nature are independent of my fickle nature and He is simply good because He is simply God. Like Esther, I strain with a renewed inward intensity to move with the Spirit and respond obediently to today’s instruction, trusting that God will, in His sovereignty, orchestrate yesterday’s responses for a future glory that I cannot comprehend in my present harbor. In this acceptance I find that I live in a defined way that says, “It is well with my soul.”

    May you be strengthened and challenged to walk obediently with the Lord in whatever He calls you to.

    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Helen Keller went from an untamed, wild, angry child to a bright, articulate, and highly intelligent adult. The affliction of blindness which permeated every area of her life and the lives of those around her proved nothing but destructive until a certain woman by the name of Miss Sullivan made her entrance.

    Miss Sullivan made all the difference. Her method of training and instruction was vastly different than that of Helen’s parents; she commanded an unswerving discipline over her unchaste angry pupil by requesting a new environment for Helen to learn in. This new environment consisted of a small little place outside the influence of doting parents and accommodating factors that rewarded ill behavior. This new environment was simply called the cottage.

    The cottage began as a combat zone. Helen furiously fought against her environment and her teacher; she physically and literally destroyed everything in her path, striking even Miss Sullivan, who remained adamant and consistent in her training. It paid off. Within two weeks the angry, wild child began to change and demonstrate signs of temperance and discipline. Helen Keller had begun the process of becoming a promising young woman of unlimited potential whose voice would eventually be heard around the world. 

    I note three significant growth factors in Helen’s life:
    - The affliction of blindness.
    - The teacher Miss Sullivan.
    - The uncomfortable cottage.

    Some of us have an untamed, wild, and destructive child living within. We are angry and forced to live within the confines of an affliction or trial that God has ordained and imposed upon our lives. We throw tantrums and reward ourselves with fleshly cookies and doting friends who encourage ill behavior.
    God has a different plan.
    He gives us a teacher named the Holy Spirit who has one primary objective; to conform us to His Son’s image. With this in mind, He appoints us a new environment with a certain little cottage where He begins to teach us something about ourselves, and even greater, something about Himself. He listens to furniture being strewn about and the desire for old accommodations to be afforded and He provides none of the above …. and over time we emerge from the cottage of affliction with a precious new reality:
    “Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”   2 Corinthians 5:17


    “If there is a problem somewhere this is what happens. Three people will try to do something concrete to settle the issue. Ten people will give a lecture analyzing what the three are doing. One hundred people will comment or condemn the ten for their lecture. One thousand people will argue about the problem. And one person – only one – will involve himself so deeply in the true solution that he is too busy to listen to any of it.
    Which person are you?”
    -Father Longere
    Excerpt taken from Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour.
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