The Ballestero Blog

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Archive for February 2012

Repeating, But Not Obeying!

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Repeating, But Not Obeying!

There’s a difference between repeating a command, and obeying it. If the drill sergeant gave an order and the soldier simply repeated it back to him, something uncomfortable will surely happen to the soldier to improve his comprehension.

If a parent gave their child a command to ‘Eat your veggies,’ or ‘Pick up your clothes,’ and the child just looked at the parent, smiled and repeated the command back to them and didn’t obey. Things might get ugly.

What if the math teacher said, “Turn to page 73 in you textbook.” And all the students said, “Turn to page 73 in you textbooks.” And then they just sat there and did nothing else?

Imagine the pastor saying, “You may be seated.” And the crowd answered him back, “You may be seated.” And they all just stood there and looked at the preacher and never thought that something might wrong with their response.

  • This type of thinking is not really far-fetched all.
  • This kind of twisted response happens around the world.
  • This lack of understanding is resident in most churches in America.
  • Repeating and not obeying, places the souls in jeopardy every day.

Jesus looked at His disciples and gave them instructions for evangelism and baptism. He said:

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

That’s what He said. So, on the day of Pentecost, Peter didn’t repeat the command, he obeyed the command.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Philip obeyed the command. He didn’t just repeat it.

Acts 8:16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

At the household of Cornelius, Peter made sure the command was obeyed, not just repeated.

Acts 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Even the Apostle Paul understood the difference between repeating and obeying.

Acts 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

If, when the preacher baptized you he said, “I now baptize you In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,” he did not obey the command. He just repeated it, because he didn’t say what the name was.

To be obedient to the command of Jesus, you must be baptized in the NAME (singular) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. That NAME, is Jesus.

  • Only those baptized in Jesus name have obeyed Matthew 28:19.
  • All others just repeated the command without obeying it.

What did your preacher do? Did he obey, or did he just repeat? You’ve got make sure!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 29, 2012 at 1:33 am

The Night The Devil Got Scared!

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The Night The Devil Got Scared!

The Devil stood behind the old man’s desk chair. He looked over his shoulder as the man wrote.  The notes may not have been clearly understood to the average reader, but the Devil had no problem understanding their meaning.

A smirk of disdain came over Lucifer’s face. He knew what those notes were about. They spelled nothing but trouble for him. He knew what would happen if the words on these notes were ever spoken aloud and certain people heard them. Something had to be done immediately to keep that from happening!

The old man kept writing. The more he wrote, the more serious the Devil’s face became. This was an emergency! He had to intervene and defuse the situation. He had to do something, and do something now!

The old man suddenly bent over and laid his head on his desk. His shoulders shook slightly as he silently cried. His passion and fervor caused his heart much pain as he thought about the present danger to some of those he loved.

But then another thought crossed the man’s mind and he quickly wrote it down. The Devil read what he had written, and panicked.

Turning aside, he called to his Imps standing idly by. He bellowed out orders in a tone that they knew signaled a Red Alert.

“You,” he said, “make sure David has to work late tonight.

“And you,” he said point to another Imp, “make sure that Mary’s kids get sick immediately.”

“Go, create a plumbing problem at Bob’s house NOW!” He said to another.

“Oh, and while we’re at it,” he said looking at the fourth Imp, “give Sandra plenty of homework tonight. And if you’ve got time, give old Charlie a headache.”

The Imps howled their fiendish delight at the prospect of carrying out their orders. They all immediately vanished to complete their duties.

The frown on the Devil’s face relaxed somewhat. The smirk of confidence came back to him. He crossed his arms and turned his attention elsewhere for the moment.

The phone on the desk rang.

“First Pentecostal Church,” the old man said, “Pastor Jones speaking.”

“Pastor, this is David. I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. The boss just came by and said we will all have to work overtime tonight. So, I won’t be able to be in church tonight. I am very sorry.”

“I am too, Brother David. I felt like the Lord had a special word for you tonight.” Pastor Jones said. “But, thanks for calling.”

The pastor leaned back in his chair and shook his head.  He looked at his notes again and made a small addition.

Within minutes, the phone jangled again.

The caller was Mary. “Pastor, I’m calling for prayer. My two little ones have come down with something. They are running fevers. I am going to have to keep them in tonight. I know I need to be in church. I was certainly planning on being there tonight. Lately it seems it’s always something that keeps us out. If it’s not one thing, it seems to be another. Please keep us in your prayers.”

“I will, Sister Mary. I was hoping you could be there tonight. Missing church always takes an expensive toll on our soul. Thank you for calling.

Pastor Jones leaned forward and placed his face in his hands. He prayed a prayer for the sick babies, but he prayed against the working of the enemy in Sister Mary’s family too.

Before the hour was up, Brother Bob called. Somehow the septic tank back-flushed into the house and over 200 gallons of sewage flooded the main floor. Plumbers, and insurance people were on their way over. He would have to move into a motel tonight.

The Devil had a relaxed smile on his face. His boys were doing good work. They sure knew how to keep people out of church.

Sandra was the last to call. “Pastor,” she said, “I have a major test tomorrow. It will determine 60% of my final grade. I really need to study and cram for this test. I need to be excused tonight.”

The blinking light on the machine told him that a message had come in while he was on the phone. It was from Charlie. He had come home from the mall with a headache and didn’t think he would feel good enough to come to church.

The Pastor saw the handiwork of the Devil. The very ones that needed the sermon he was preparing wouldn’t be there to hear it tonight. Why couldn’t some people recognize Satan’s handiwork when things kept coming up to keep them home from church?

The pastor knew that sometimes there were legitimate excuses for folks to miss church. Too often however, some that stayed home were still well enough to go to work, school or Wal-Mart. Yet they found it easy to miss church.

Why couldn’t people get a revelation of the importance of faithfulness to every service? Was he the only one that could see that? Why couldn’t they see patterns developing in their lives that kept them out of church? Didn’t they see that it was the Devil’s business to keep them out of church?

The Imps came back into the room and the Devil high-fived them all. There was minimal damage the preacher’s message could do tonight!

The pastor picked up his Bible and his sermon notes and headed to the prayer room. He prayed for a mighty move of the Holy Ghost in the service. The Devil was fighting against the church, but God was greater. Satan would not prevail. God was still on the throne! The way Satan was fighting the church was to him a sign to him that Revival was on the way!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 26, 2012 at 11:24 am

One Of The Most Wonderful Gifts A Man Can Give His Children!

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One Of The Most Wonderful Gifts A Man Can Give His Children!

It’s not money.

It’s not expensive gifts either.

It’s not giving them all the latest toys and gadgets.

It’s not even giving them a large allowance.

I am not talking about giving your children something that only rich dads can afford. I’m talking about giving your children a gift that every father can give to his children, if only he would.

  • The most wonderful gift a man can give his children?
  • The answer is simple!
  • It’s hanging right there in front of you like the nose on your face!
  • You want to know?
  • You really want to know?

Love Their Mother!

That’s It! Love Their Mother!

Let your children hear you say something like, “I love you Baby,” to their mom. Then watch them smile approvingly. Let them see you kiss her and hug her. Let them see you brag on her. Kids aren’t dumb. They can tell if you really love their mom.

Let your sons see you be tender with their Mama, and they’ll grow up being tender to their wives too. Let your daughters see how a woman is to be cherished and loved. There not much more you can do to bring peace and comfort to your children, than for them to know they grew up in a love-filled home.

Your house may have cost 100’s of thousands of dollars. But if love was not shown or felt, then all you really have is an expensive daycare center for your children.

Both of my parents have now gone on to be with the Lord. But my father left me many wonderful memories and examples of him openly expressing his love to my mom.

In my mind I can still hear him singing love songs to her that seemed to blurt out of nowhere. Songs like:

  • Let Me Call You Sweetheart.
  • Sugar In The Morning, Sugar In The Evening, Sugar At Supper Time.

You get the idea. Mom would always smile and walk into his open arms. All of us children would smile and nervously laugh our approval. Sometimes we turned our heads. Sometimes we watched.

Many times I’ve walked into the living room, kitchen or dining room and seen them in a tender embrace. Sure I walked back out, but I saw it! I saw that my dad truly loved my mom. For a little kid or even a big kid, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Do you forget things like that? Absolutely not! You remember it so well, that you do the same things when you get married. Then, you let your children see you be loving and tender to their mother.

If you will do that, you have just increased the odds that your children will grow up knowing the secret of a happy home life.  And your grandchildren will grow up in a loving home as well. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

≈≈≈

(Now sir, go tell you wife right now how much you love her, and let your children hear you say it! Wrap your arms around her and give her a big smooch! That’s your homework for tonight. Class dismissed.)

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 14, 2012 at 1:14 am

I Hope They Find Fault With You!

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I Hope They Find Fault With You.

No, really I do! Don’t get hasty and jump to conclusions though. I don’t hate you at all. I do not even dislike you even a little bit. I’m your good friend. But that being said, I hope they find fault with you.

You may think that you are already loaded down with bad things. You may feel overwhelmed with the things you presently are enduring. Yet the good “Brother-in-Christ” that I am, I pray that your critics find fault with you every day.

My words may seem heartless to you right now. They may even cause you to wince and look the other way. However, I am most sincere.

  • Do I wish you pain? Absolutely not!
  • Do I wish you trials and heartache? You’re Not Even Close!
  • Do I wish more people disliked you? No Way!
  • Do I wish you to become alone and friendless? Oh my, no!
  • Do I wish you to become discouraged? Never!

Then Why Would I Hope That Others Find Fault In You?

When everyone finds fault with you, doesn’t that mean something is horribly wrong? Would your first response be to try to fix whatever the problem is? I don’t know for sure. Maybe.

But, in this case, my desire for you to be criticized and others find fault with you is meant as a good thing. What sounds even crazier to you right now is that I truly want everyone to find fault with me, the most.

Where did my twisted thinking come from? It came from the Bible, of course!

Daniel 6:3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

Daniel 6:4 Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.

Daniel 6:5 Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.

The only fault that the critics and enemies of Daniel could find was that he loved the law of his God!

Like They Did To Daniel, I Hope They Find Fault With You Too!

 

 

(So… Are we still friends, after me scaring you like that?)

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 13, 2012 at 12:47 am

Posted in God's Word

Tagged with ,

Do You Own A Copy Of The Jefferson Bible?

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Do You Own A Copy Of The Jefferson Bible?

Mr. Thomas Jefferson is rightly honored as one of the most brilliant minds in American history. He is remembered for many achievements in his public life and in his service to our nation.

  1. He served as Governor of Virginia.
  2. U.S. Minister to France.
  3. Secretary of State under President George Washington.
  4. Vice President in the administration of John Adams.
  5. President of The United States from 1801-1809.

His tombstone makes no mention of those accomplishments. It says rather, that he was the “author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia.”

What a man. What a mind. Yet, with all of his understanding, somehow Mr. Jefferson could not actually believe anything about the supernatural, or stories of miracles, as found in the Bible.

He loved the principles of life as taught by Jesus Christ. He approved of almost all of the Lord’s teachings. What he could not accept was anything supernatural. So, he did what he thought best. He made his own bible.

He calmly sat down with two exact Bibles, and began to cut out the parts that he liked. He would then paste all of the verses he liked into a scrapbook. Now, there would be nothing in his new bible that would make him uncomfortable.

Beliefnet Blog: Separating The ‘Diamonds’ From The ‘Dunghill’

“Done with his official work for the day, Thomas Jefferson sat in the new presidential mansion in Washington in 1804, and opened his Bible — not to pray, but to cut. He scoured the text for Jesus’ greatest teachings, sliced out his favorite portions and glued them into an empty volume. He called it “The Philosophy of Jesus.” In 1819, he started over and created a new version called “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth,” often referred to now as The Jefferson Bible. In Jefferson’s version, Jesus was not divine.”

The virgin birth – gone.
Christ’s bodily resurrection – gone.
The miracles of the loaves, walking on water, raising Lazarus – none of them made Jefferson’s book.

http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Faith-Tools/The-Founding-Faith-Archive/Separating-Diamonds-From-The-Dunghill.aspx

The bad news is that the story doesn’t end there. Although Thomas Jefferson did that 200 years ago, almost everyone is doing it now. It happens in personal lives, homes, churches and denominations. Folks are only taking from the Bible, the parts they like best and they are leaving the rest on the table.

Even some Apostolic Pentecostals have problems in this area. Listen to the audience when the preacher preaches next time. Do they say amen or do they remain quiet? To the preacher, it would be easy to judge the silence of the congregation as non-acceptance. Maybe it is.

The Preacher Can Expect A Good Response If He Preaches On:

  1. Love
  2. Mercy/Forgiveness
  3. Faith/Miracles/Healing
  4. Blessings/Prosperity
  5. Winning Souls
  6. Baptism In Jesus Name
  7. Receiving The Holy Ghost
  8. One God

However:

  • What happens if the same man preaches on Worldliness?
  • What happens if he preaches against the ungodly influence of Hollywood?
  • How loud is the sound of amen, when the pastor reads Bible passages about women Cutting their Hair?
  • If he reads scriptures about not Loving the World, does the crowd get silent?
  • Maybe, it’s when he reads the part about women not Wearing Men’s Apparel?
  • Does the crowd grow silent when scriptures warning about Ornamentation are read?
  • What about the subject of Tithes? Can they still say amen?
  • How about when the preacher reads verses about Modest Apparel?
  • What if he just reads verses about Doctrine, is anyone bored yet?

Let’s Talk Some More:

  • What does the crowd do when the man of God reads verses on Forgiving One Another and Bitterness?
  • Does is tense up when he reads about Gossip and Backbiters and Hatred?
  • What do they do when he finds a verse about Jealousy and Envy?
  • How about the verses on Submission and Pastoral Authority?
  • What about when he reads verses on Loving your Neighbor as yourself, while preaching against Racism? What is the response then?
  • What about the audience’s response when the pastor reads verses on Fornication and Adultery?
  • What is the reaction when the pastor reads verses about Rebellion?
  • How about the ones on Unity?
  • When he reads verses about being Faithful to God’s House, what is the reaction of the crowd?
  • Do they get uncomfortable when he reads the one about, “not setting any wicked thing before my eyes?’ How does that go over?

Pentecostals have openly talked about having their ‘candy sticks.’ As a rule, that’s a good thing. The downside is that some have taken only their candy sticks, and thrown most of the rest away. It’s kind of like swallowing a camel and straining a gnat.

  • All some want to see in their Bible, are verses on Love.
  • Others may only be in search of New Birth scriptures in their Bible.
  • Then there are those that are only interested in Holiness subjects
  • A few hang up on themes like: Faith, Healing, Miracles, Worship, Prophecy, Divorce, Pastoral Authority, and Prayer, to name a few.

Why not just take it all? Let no one be guilty of only taking the part of the Bible they like, and leaving the rest for others. I am convinced that the Jefferson Bible is alive and well in most Jesus Name Pentecostal churches today.

We easily break fellowship with those who have not cut out the same portions of the Bible that we have.

I submit to every gentle reader, that many are crippling their walk with God because they refuse to take the entire Bible. Do not treat God’s Word like a buffet line, and only choose what you like. Choose it all.

Do You Own A Copy Of The Jefferson Bible?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 11, 2012 at 2:04 am

Awaiting The Tide

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Awaiting The Tide

The little boat couldn’t move. It sat still in the shallow water. The tide was out. The captain of the little ship was not alarmed.

  • He did not fall to his knees in despair.
  • He did not cry about his plight.
  • There was nothing much he could do right now for his little boat.
  • He did not ask for help.
  • What could anyone else do to help him?
  • He did not feel defeated.
  • He did not feel like a failure as a captain.
  • He didn’t even think in those terms.
  • It was all just another day in the life of a sailor.
  • All he had to do was look around him and recognize what was happening.
  • The tide was out.

Because the tide was out, the world hadn’t stopped. This was only a temporary setback. This may even be a good time to see if something needed to be repaired or adjusted on the boat. It may also be a good time to just enjoy his family and friends. Downtime for a sailor, isn’t forever.

The tide will come back in. The little boat will happily sail again. It’s just a matter of time. Time and tide happens to every sailor.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Posted in Christian Living, Life

Can You Pass The Hurt Test?

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Can You Pass The Hurt Test?

Dave sat on the bar stool, drinking with some buddies from work. His head was feeling a little light. He drank enough beers to loosen up his tongue, and he began to talk. “If it wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t have a decent church building.

“I mowed the grass every week without ever being paid. I replaced all the broken window panes with money out of my own pocket. I never asked to be reimbursed. I hauled off all the trash, free of charge. I was the self-appointed janitor and maintenance man of the church. I did it for years, willingly and without pay.

“Every evening I would stop by the church when I got off work to see if I needed to fix anything. I’ve kept the church building repaired and I’ve kept it clean for years. No one has ever paid me a dime to do anything. Why, even last summer, instead of taking my family on a vacation, I used the money to buy shingles and I roofed the church by myself. I paid for every dime of it too!

“Then two weeks ago, they had a business meeting. They needed to choose another Trustee. My name never even came up. After all I’ve done, no one seemed to appreciate it enough to mention my name.

“What’s a man got to do to get recognized or be a Trustee over there? It must be politics or something. That’s why I’ve quit going to that church.”

Dave backslid because he couldn’t pass the Hurt Test!

 

Lynn wrote the Pastor a check to purchase 20 beautiful white folding tables and 160 matching folding chairs for the church fellowship hall.

It brought Lynn much joy to be able to buy these. God had blessed her and she wanted to give something back. The pastor had recognized her gift from the pulpit and the congregation clapped their approval. Lynn smiled.

The tables and chairs were ordered and everyone at the church was excited. These were well made and expensive.

Just before they arrived, Lynn had to be out-of-town for three weeks. When she returned and stopped by the church, she didn’t like where the tables and chairs had been stacked. She especially didn’t like how they had been stacked. Her gift to the church was being treated with carelessness, she thought.

These tables and chairs were not cheap, and if the people of this church didn’t appreciate her sacrifice enough to treat it any better than this, then she just could go to another church.

Lynn moved on because she couldn’t pass the Hurt Test!

 

The Hurt Test, Part 1 – Insults

The Syrophenician woman stood in front of Jesus. She was breaking custom and protocol and she knew it. The Jews had nothing to do with the likes of her. But she had an emergency. Her daughter had an unclean spirit. Her desperation drove her to see this Jesus everyone talked about.

She crumbled and fell at His feet when she came near. With great urgency she begged Him to heal her daughter.

Jesus looked down upon the woman and said, “It is not proper to give the children’s portion to dogs.”

On other days, if a Jew talked to her like that, she might have had a little something to say back. Today was different. Her daughter’s very life was at stake. There was no one else to turn to. She refused to get upset. She chose not to be offended for being called a dog.

She simply said, “Of a truth Lord, but even the dogs get crumbs that fall from the children’s table.”

Jesus marveled at her and instructed her to go home, telling her that her request had been answered. She went home and found her miracle waiting for her there.

The Syrophenician woman easily passed the Hurt Test. She chose not to be offended because of insults!

 

The Hurt Test, Part 2 – Rejection

King David was a man after God’s own heart. As the King in Israel, he could build anything he wanted. When David told God that he was planning to build Him a house to worship in, God said, “No.”

God told David that he was a bloody man and that building Him a house of worship wouldn’t be appropriate. The Lord said, “I want your son Solomon to build it for me. Solomon hadn’t even thought of building a Temple. He had exhibited neither burden nor passion to do so up to that point. The desire had originally been only David’s.

Rather than pout or get offended because God had rejected his offer, David helped his son, by supplying him with most of the materials needed to build the Temple. If he couldn’t build the Temple, then he was going to help someone else build it.

David easily passed The Hurt Test. He chose not to be offended by God’s rejection of his service, and His choosing another’s.

 

Extra Credit Test Questions

  • If someone else is asked to sing a special. Can you still worship with them and help them sing?
  • If someone else is asked to preach. Can you still say amen and help them preach?
  • If someone else is asked to lead. Can you joyfully follow?

The Hurt Test, Part 3 – Loss

Job had everything any man could want. He had a relationship with God. He had a wife and wonderful children. He owned vast herds of cattle, camels and sheep. He was no doubt the wealthiest man in the world.

Then the dark day of disaster dawned upon him. In a matter of hours, he lost his children, his herds and all of his wealth.

The second attack upon him was his health. Boils covered his body. He scratched them with shards of broken pottery.

His friends were sure that he had sinned and this was the judgment of God. His wife suggested he curse God and die.

Job told his wife that she was talking like one of the foolish women. He said that if God lets me die, I am going to die trusting Him. I am going to keep on living for Him like I always have.

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

Job passed The Hurt Test. He chose not to be offended at God because he had lost everything. In the end, God blessed him with double wealth and more children!

 

Extra Credit Test Questions

  • When you lost your job, house, or car, did you also lose your praise too?
  • When you were voted out of office or removed from a leadership role, did you show a bad attitude?

 

The Hurt Test – The Apostle Paul’s Summary

2 Corinthians 11:24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

2 Corinthians 11:25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

2 Corinthians 11:26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

2 Corinthians 11:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

Even with a permanent “thorn in his side,” Paul passed The Hurt Test! He ignored his problems and encouraged everyone around him to “Rejoice evermore.” He said it again in the same breath, “Rejoice!” He even had Silas rejoice with him in prison and the Lord delivered them and all the prisoners, too.

 

Getting Help Passing The Hurt Test

Jesus stood and read from Isaiah 61 in the Synagogue. He sat down, looked at them all and said, “This day is the scripture fulfilled in your hearing.”

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

Besides bringing salvation and healing, the other ministry of our Lord is to heal all hurts and bind up the broken-hearted. He can help you pass The Hurt Test.

 

*Notice:  All Students Failing To Pass The Hurt Test Will Be Required To Retake The Exam.

*Remember, The Teacher Will Remain Silent During The Testing!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 2, 2012 at 12:19 am