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The Deadliest Woman In Town.

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The Deadliest Woman In Town.

“That’s the eleventh patient, so far, that has been brought into the ER within the last 16 hours!” The Doctor said to the others in the room at the Morning Staff Meeting.

“Put up warning signs. Everyone entering their rooms must wear gloves, gowns and masks. Quarantine them all. This is highly contagious. Notify the Center for Disease Control that we have an outbreak.”

Several Nurses hurried out of the room to follow his orders.

“This strain of infectious disease is resistant to treatment of any kind. Most patients die Nurse gloveswith this infection, although I have heard that a few have been known to recover. My guess is that less than ten percent ever survive. It is a slow and agonizing death.”

Those in the room glanced from one to another. Most of them had already made contact of some sort with these patients. Fears begin to grip their thoughts as they worried about their own safety and survival.

“Doctor?” A Nurse called out from the back of the room. “What part of the body does this disease attack?”

The Doctor looked at the papers and handwritten notes in his lap, then he raised his head and said, “Autopsy reports clearly show major heart damage in every patient. The walls of the heart become irreversibly hardened. Also, some family members have reported the victims thinking became irrational.

“The first victim that came in last night was related to seven of the others. The other three were her close friends. She is the carrier. Right now, she’s the deadliest woman in town.

“She infected her husband, her three daughters, a grand daughter and two of her sisters. Now, they are all fighting for their life.”

The Doctor picked up his black Book and turned its pages until he found the citation he was looking for. He cleared his throat and read to his listeners the cause of this viral infection.

 

Hebrews 12:15

Looking diligently… lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 11, 2013 at 7:52 am

Posted in Bitterness

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The Anatomy Of A Spiritual Shutdown

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The Anatomy Of A Spiritual Shutdown

 

imagesWe read about government shutdowns. We all know of businesses that have shutdown.  Computer owners know about the shutdown button on their laptop.

Every child of God knows of a church member that appears to have shutdown. They no longer worship or pray as they did before. They’ve become unfaithful. A change has certainly taken place.

As a pastor and an evangelist, it has been my joy over the years to see people miraculously grow and develop in God. It has also been my heartache and frustration to see some self-destruct and lose their joy, their testimony, their good attitude and their hope of being used of God.

Watching the spiritual decline of a child of God is not an easy thing for one to see. Their choices of wrong friends become the first great influencing factor in their decline. The hearts and souls of their family, friends and the ministry, are made to ache.

“You can’t help those who don’t want help,” is a phrase quickly understood by friends, preachers and teachers. Parents are grieved, spouses are influenced, and children are almost always damaged as a result.

What is the cause? What happened to rob this person of their joy? What happened to rob this person of their respect for the things of God? What happened that would cause the flame of their spiritual fervor to go out?

I think the answer is found in the book of Psalms, Chapter One.

Ps 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

 

Please Notice This Persons Progression Toward A Spiritual Shutdown.

  1. Walking
  2. Standing
  3. Sitting

 

1. Walking

Most would refer to their spiritual life, as their ‘Walk With God.” Too often unassuming and impressionable souls have walked in the Counsel of the Ungodly.

  • Who we listen to, always affects what happens to us.
  • It’s not long before we become a product of who they are and what they say.
  • The counsel of the ungodly will never bring anyone closer to God. Their advice will only bring devastation to spiritual progress.
  • If we claim to be spiritually minded, why would we ever seek advice from the Ungodly?
  • We must watch whom we walk with and whom we listen to.

2. Standing Still

If we listen to the advice of the Ungodly, then we quickly become the stumbling block that prevents sinners from finding God.

What started out as a Walk, has changed into a Standing still.  We become a roadblock of sorts.

The Apostle Paul recognized the powerful influence of the wrong people in our lives. He confronted the issue directly in his letter to the Galatians.

Gal 3:1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

Gal 5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

Paul made it very clear that it is the Who and not the What that gives us the biggest problems in living for God. People, more than Things bring negative influences into our thinking.

3. Sitting (With A Bad Attitude)

I promise you by all that’s holy, that by allowing our Walk to include the Counsel of the Ungodly, our Walk with God is brought to a standstill. What happens next is so sad. We won’t standstill for very long. We’ll soon find a place to sit down. This is the most grievous of the three positions.

If We Sit in The Seat Of The Scornful, We Will Soon Be:

  • Critical Of The Church,
  • Critical Of It’s Standards,
  • Critical Of It’s Preachers
  • Critical Of The Saints.
  • Uncooperative,
  • Uninvolved,
  • Joyless
  • A Hindrance To Revival.
  • Without The Blessings Of God.
  • Backslidden In Heart.
  • A Negative Influence On All Those Around Us.

 

The Change Is Subtle At First, Then Very Obvious At The End.

 

Remember the young man who helped the Apostle Paul for a while? He is first listed as a Fellow laborer, or some one who worked shoulder to shoulder with Paul. In the next mention, he is referred to as an also ran… ‘and Demas.’ Lastly, Paul announces the absence of Demas. Demas had a spiritual shutdown.

 1. Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers. (Philemon 1:24)

 

2. Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. (Colossians 4:14)

 

3. For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. (2 Timothy 4:10)

What Are The Chances Of Recovery From A Shutdown?

(How Many Do We Know That Have Changed From Sullen To Joyful?)

 

I Truly Pray That All Men And Women Will Be Able To Recover Themselves If They Want To!

Paul told Timothy how to deal with these people in the hope they would recognize and admit their wrong doings, and if they did, maybe, just maybe, God would give them repentance.

2 Timothy 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

God Promises Some Amazing Things Here:

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

 

1. If we will HUMBLE ourselves,

2. PRAY

3. SEEK GOD’S FACE – (Which includes WORSHIP)

4. TURN FROM OUR WICKED WAYS

THEN…

5. He will HEAR our prayer. (God will take us off ‘hold’ status and listen to us pray.)

6. He will FORGIVE OUR SINS

7. HEAL OUR LAND – (Bless our finances)

If You Have Experienced Spiritual Shutdown…

You Can Find Restoration And Once Again Experience The Joy Of The Lord!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 25, 2013 at 1:03 pm

The Most Dangerous Road Of All

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The Most Dangerous Road of All

My wife Marcia was raised about 100 miles from where I lived in South Bend, Indiana. After we married and would often visit her parents in Albion, Michigan. We sometimes took a shortcut that included a country road with a bad curve.

“That’s Dead Man’s Curve,” my wife would say every time we came to the turn.

I remembered, mainly, because she wouldn’t let me forget. So I always slowed down and tried to be extra cautious on that curve. I didn’t want to be the next dead man.

That Road Was Bad, But That’s Not The Most Dangerous Road Of All

 

The Tail Of The Dragon

One of the most challenging stretches of road for a motorcyclist to navigate in North America is a stretch of Hwy 129 between Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Cherokee, North Carolina. It’s called the ‘Tail Of The Dragon. The two-lane road boasts of 318 curves in eleven miles.

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During the tourist season, it seems like some cyclist is having an accident everyday. Many ignore the 15 mph warning signs on many of the curves and think it is great fun to take them faster.

At the end of Dragon Tail, there are trees with wrecked motorcycle parts as decoration and reminders that the road is unforgiving.

treeofshameDeals Gap, NC

I’ve ridden it four times, and I am grateful to still be alive.

That Road Was Bad, But That’s Not The Most Dangerous Road Of All

 

The Death Road

In Bolivia there is the infamous “North Yungas Road”, also known as “Death Road” It is a 43-mile road leading from La Paz to Coroico.

It is known for its extreme danger and in 1995 the Inter-American Development Bank named it the “world’s most dangerous road”.

boli3road-of-death2Bol.MDR.TruckCrossCrosses next to the road near the Cumbre pass near La Paz, Bolivia mark where people died when their vehicles went over the edge.

Approximately 200 to 300 travellers are killed yearly along the road. The road includes cross markings on many of the spots where vehicles have fallen.

But That’s Not The Most Dangerous Road Of All

 

 

The Most Dangerous Road In The World Is A Road Called, “Revenge.”

Bitterness will consume your very life. It will be the driving force that veers you off the road of Peace. Many will be defiled or injured, according to the Scripture.

If you are still trying to find happiness in the ‘Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth’ concept… then you are doomed to living an unfulfilled life. It is a road with no future for a Child of God.

hatfield-mccoy-feud-hatfields-1897

Have you never heard of the feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families? Learn from them too.

How long will you allow a war to go on in your world? It has to stop somewhere.

God chooses to be the One that handles everything in the revenge department of life. One of the best decisions anyone can ever make is to turn the care of all of their injuries and injustices to the Lord.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 16, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Posted in Bitterness, Forgiveness

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Some Apostolics Are Happy Their Pastor Ignores A Few New Testament Scriptures.

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Are Apostolics Happy Their Pastors Ignore Some New Testament Scriptures?

Apostolics by nature should be firm believers in “coming out from among them” and being separated from the world, and unto Christ. Yet, Christian approved sins may number more than we might first think. There is also a crowd that would ignore Biblical cautions and warnings because in their mind, that was only a guideline, not an actual sin.

It is our understanding that Holiness in both inward and outward. I find it safe to also say that what is on the inside will soon show on the outside.

We sometimes hear the subject of modesty talked about behind the pulpit. We also have many new choruses about God being a holy God. Yet, if we made a list of things we are comfortable not hearing about, it just might include a few of these New Testament Scriptures. There just too many to post here.

 

Heb 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

  • Bitterness (Holding a Grudge)

 

Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

  • Wrath, Anger
  • Clamour (A Big Outcry)
  • Throwing Fits
  • Evil Speaking (Criticism)
  • Malice

 

Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

  • Be Tenderhearted
  • Forgiving one another

 

1 Tim 5:13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

  • Gossipers
  • Busybodies

 

1 Tim 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

  • Love of Money (Includes putting job before church?)
  • Coveting To Be Rich

 

1 Tim 6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

  • Envy (Jealousy)
  • Strife
  • Railings (Words of Criticism)
  • Evil Surmisings (Imagining the Worst about someone)

 

1 Tim 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

  • Getting Caught Up In Twisted Doctrines And Beliefs

 

1 Tim 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

  • Costly Array
  • Modest Clothing
  • Gold,
  • Pearls

 

Heb 13:17  Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

  • Obey (The Pastor)
  • Submit Yourselves (One may obey without submitting, but it is impossible to submit without obeying.)

 

1 Tim 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

  • High mindedness

 

2 Pet 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

2 Pet 2:11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.

2 Pet 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

  • Lust of Uncleanness
  • Despise Governments (Don’t want to be told what to do.)
  • Presumptous
  • Self-willed
  • Not Afraid to speak evil of dignitaries (Especially means your pastor)
  • Railing Accusations
  • Speaking evil of things they don’t understand.

 

Jude 1:16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.

  • Murmurers
  • Complainers
  • Walking after their own lust (Doing whatever they want)

 

1 Pet 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

  • Fleshly lusts

 

Matt 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

  • Emotional Adultery

 

2 Tim 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

  • Flee Youthful lusts (If it includes more than the sensual, could it also include sports?)

 

2 Tim 2:23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

  • Avoid Foolish and Stupid Questions (They just start fights)

 

1 Cor 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

1 Cor 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

  • Men – Get A Haircut.
  • Women – Don’t Ever Cut It

 

Matt 5:41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

  • Don’t Do The Minimum

 

Matt 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

  • Love The Neighbor (Neighboring Countries Too?)

 

Matt 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

  • Love Your Enemies
  • Bless Them That Curse You
  • Do Good Things To Them That Hate You
  • Pray For Them That Are Unkind To You

 

1 Jn 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

  • Love Not The World
  • Love Not The Things In The World
  • Lust of the Flesh
  • Lust of the Eyes
  • Pride Of Life

 

Jas 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

  • Humility

 

Jas 4:11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

  • Speaking Evil And Unkind Things Of One Another

 

1 Tim 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

  • At Least Two (or Three) Witnesses Needed Before Accusing An Elder.

 

1 Tim 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

  • Saints That Sin Should Be Rebuked In Church?

 

Jas 4:15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

  • Not Saying, “If The Lord Wills)

 

Jas 4:16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

  • Boasting

 

Jas 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

  • Ignoring The Word

 

Jas 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

  • Not Watching What You Say

 

Jas 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

  • Visit The Sick Orphans And Widows
  • Keep Yourself Unspotted (Unaffected by) The World

 

Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

Rom 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

Rom 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

Rom 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Rom 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

Rom 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

Rom 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

Rom 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

  • Surely This Doesn’t Need To Be Explained Further

 

2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2 Tim 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

  • There’s A Reason For Every Scripture In The Bible.
  • Don’t Ignore
  • Don’t Pick And Choose.

 

Acts 20:26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
Acts 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

  • Peter Wasn’t Afraid To Say What Needed To Be Said
  • May God Help Us All

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 6, 2012 at 12:03 am

A Private Company

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A Private Company

There exists a Private Company that specializes in secrecy, but is daily impacting lives and changing the world.

  1. This Company specializes in intense Membership training.
  2. Almost everyone in the Company eventually goes into some area of management.
  3. No unions are wanted or needed.
  4. Each local Company is autonomous. There is no Corporate Office.

 

At first, it is mandatory for every member of the Company to report in daily.

After tenure has been established, Members are encouraged to report in daily, but it is not mandatory.

From the first day in the Company, each Member’s position becomes secure.

Members might be ignored, laughed at, hated, loved, despised, or tolerated by other Team Members, but their position is locked in.

 

  • Each Member is encouraged to recruit a new Member into the Company.
  • Random cash bonuses may become available to all.
  • Each Team Member has the authority and ability to solve any Company problem of their choosing.
  • However, most Team Members create more problems than they ever solve.

 

Each One In The Company Chooses At What Level They Wish To Participate.

  • Yet, if they remain uninvolved, or uncommunicative, they still remain a part of the team.
  • Each Member has knowledge of a secret key to build up the Company or destroy it.

 

The Company is not allowed to go ‘public’ on Wall Street.

The Company never advertises on a billboard, radio, television or newspaper… Yet the growth rate is phenomenal.

Each Member, among their other duties, acts as an official Press Agent for the Company.

The public willingly believes whatever you, as the Company Press Agent, divulge.

 

  • Removal of a Member that has been recruited may take a court order, and is always traumatic.
  • Other Team Members may or may not help you on any given project. It’s their call.
  • Bankruptcy can’t even put the Company out of business.
  • There are never any dues

 

Occasionally there will be unannounced Staff Meetings, and it is important that all Members be there.

Seldom are these Meetings ever occasions for awards or commendations. They are always dreaded.

Any Member may call for a Staff Meeting.

Everyone knows who the Boss is.

 

  1. When the Boss dies, another takes that position without a vote or appointment. No election is ever held.
  2. Hurt feelings are a serious and common work hazard.
  3. Bitterness and Anger are the most common enemies of the Company’s existence and almost always brings disaster.
  4. Every Member has been known to support others on the Team in good times and bad.

 

Each Company Is Different. Some Are Involved In Activities Like:

  • Sports,
  • Politics,
  • Fitness,
  • Religion,
  • Food Preparation and Fine Dinning,
  • Money Management,
  • Travel,
  • Recreation,
  • Education,
  • Decorating,
  • Boating,
  • Big Game Hunting,
  • Child Care

 

Some welcome visitors, and provide a tour that almost always includes a free luncheon.

Others welcome the public by invitation only.

Security is highly prized in the Company.

Each local Company determines what benefits are desired, and when they should be dispersed.

 

  • The Company can survive and even thrive in capitalism or communism.
  • It matters not if it is in a country ruled by a King, a President, or a Dictator.
  • It matters not if it is located in an urban setting, rural or even in the ghetto.
  • It survives in spite of zoning laws, no parking signs, economic down turns, or holidays.

 

All Members retain their position for life.

There is no ‘30 and out’ requirement.

There is constant gossip at the water cooler.

Invasive Background Checks are not uncommon.

 

  1. Private calls are not frowned on, but rather encouraged.
  2. While dress codes differ, there are no uniforms or name tags.
  3. The Company will thrive without advertisement. Its name will never be seen on a billboard, in a commercial or a newspaper.
  4. The Company’s only means of public awareness is by word of mouth.

 

What Is This Company?

Where Can I Find One In My Area?

You’re Too Late.

You’ve Found It Already.

 

 

You Have Been A Working Member Of A Private Company For Years Already!

Thanks Right!

  • I’m talking about your Family.
  • Your Family!
  • Your Family is what you make it!
  • What are you making out of your Family?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 7, 2012 at 10:30 am

Posted in Anger, Bitterness, Family, Gossip, Life, Unity

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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

The Broken Finger Syndrome

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The Broken Finger Syndrome

A young brunette goes into the doctor’s office and says to the doctor that her body hurts wherever she touches it.

“That’s impossible,” the doctor says. “Show me.”

She takes her finger and pushes her on elbow and screams in pain. She pushes her knee and screams; she pushes her ankle and screams again. She touches her ear lobe and yells in pain.

The doctor sat there a minute observing his patients behavior and says, “Are you a natural blonde?”

“Why yes, she says, “I just recently died my hair brown.”

“I thought so,” the doctor says. “You have a broken finger.”

My good friend, Brother Kenneth Bow shared that joke with me. We both had a good laugh. He shared the fact with me too, that there are a lot of people with broken fingers. With apologies to him, let me explore this line of thinking a bit more.

Most Politicians Have “The Broken Finger Syndrome”

It seems that every administration blames the previous administration for all of its woes.

  • High taxes
  • The poor economy
  • Unemployment

The “Broken Finger Syndrome” Is Found In Every Community And Also In Every Church.

Those with this affliction find pain everywhere. Everything they touch seems to hurt them. They find pain in all of their relationships. They are easily recognized by their constant exclamations of pain.

We all have met those that stay upset about things in their local church. They constantly yell in pain about the leadership in the church.

 

The Pastor Hurts Me!

  • He’s always preaching right at me.
  • He doesn’t like me.
  • He offended me.
  • He corrected my child.
  • He hurt me.
  • I’m not being fed
  • I’m not being used here.
  • I’m leaving.
  •  (They constantly yell in pain about the pastor.)

 

The Worship Leader Hurts Me!

  • The music style offends me.
  • I can’t worship to the songs they use.
  • It’s not my style
  • I plug my ears because of the sound.
  • (They constantly yell in pain about the worship leader.)

 

The Church Members Hurt Me!

  • I don’t belong here!
  • You’ll never believe what they did to me!
  • I’m hurt because of them!
  • They offended me!
  • They’re bringing people into our church from the “Projects”.
  • I don’t fit in!
  • I have no friends here.
  • I have more friends in the world than I do in church.
  • They all hate me!
  • They are all so critical.
  • They are all so self righteous.
  • Someone always keeps sitting in my pew.
  • There is nothing here but cliques in this church.
  • My children don’t get invited to the young people’s parties.
  • I’m changing churches and getting away from all these hypocrites.
  • (They constantly yell in pain about the members of their church.)

My In-laws Hurt Me!

  • They never have loved me.
  • They’re trying to control my life.
  • They’re nosey.
  • I can’t stand them.
  • (They constantly yell in pain about their in-laws.)

 

My “Ex” Hurts Me!

  • My “Ex” destroyed my life.
  • My “Ex” tore down my self-esteem.
  • My “Ex” is a psychopathic.
  • He’s hiding money from me.
  • (The constantly yell in pain about their “Ex”.)

 

My Parents Hurt Me!

  • They physically abused me.
  • They emotionally abused me.
  • They were very controlling.
  • (They constantly yell in pain about their parents.)

 

My Children Hurt Me

  • My children drive me up a wall.
  • I can’t stand them.
  • (They constantly yell in pain about their children.)

The List Goes On And On…

If You Thought There Was A Problem Before…

Just Wait Till You Tell That Person They Have A Broken Finger!

 ___________________________________________________

As Sunday School children in the 1950’s ,we sang a little song that went like this:

 

It’s Me Oh Lord Standing In The Need Of Prayer

Author Unknown

1. Not my father, not my mother, but it’s me, O Lord,

Standing in the need of prayer.

Not my sister, not my brother, but it’s me, O Lord,

Standing in the need of prayer.

2. Not the people that are shouting, but it’s me, O Lord,

Standing in the need of prayer.

Not the members I’ve been doubting, but it’s me, O Lord,

Standing in the need of prayer.

3. Not the preacher, not the sinner, but it’s me, O Lord,

Standing in the need of prayer.

Not the deacon, not the teacher, but it’s me, O Lord,

Standing in the need of prayer.

Chorus:

It’s me, it’s me, it’s me, O Lord,

Standing in the need of prayer.

It’s me, it’s me, it’s me, O Lord,

Standing in the need of prayer.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 30, 2011 at 12:18 am

Posted in Bitterness, Critics, God's House

Tagged with

When Men Forgive

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When Men Forgive

Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

Matthew 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

My dear uncle was once asked to dismiss a Sunday morning service in prayer. He was momentarily caught off guard. During his prayer, a few of his words got tangled up and didn’t come out right. Someone behind him snickered. It was funny!

He was mortified however, that anyone would find humor in his attempt at prayer. My uncle didn’t come back to church that night. He didn’t come back that week, or that month. He didn’t come back that year. Actually, he didn’t come back for the next 54 years because he was offended.

With great joy I can tell you that as an old man, he walked back down the aisle and prayed back through. He died at 90 years of age, fully in love with Jesus, His church, and it’s people. But he wasted 54 years because he had gotten offended.

How long are you willing to let a war go on? When men forgive, it releases the forgiveness of God upon their lives. It’s not an accident; it’s how God planned it from the beginning.

Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

An old pastor I know kept his prized gaited horses in a large stable. Outside his horse barn was an expensive horse trailer with living quarters and a one-ton pickup truck.

A drugged-up teenager set fire one night to the stables and burnt it down. The horse trailer and truck were destroyed too. Thankfully most of the horses were saved. It was a huge financial loss for the pastor.

The fire took place during a time when there was a 3-day lapse of insurance coverage. The culprit was arrested, tried and found guilty. The prosecutor asked the court for a minimum sentence of 40 years for the teen.

At the sentencing, the pastor stood up in court and asked permission to speak on behalf of the defendant. The judge raised his eyebrows and said; “You understand that the state is prosecuting him on your behalf?”

“Yes, your honor, I understand, and I thank you. But the state has not suffered any loss. I am the only one that has, so if anyone has a right to speak, I think I should.”

The judge nodded his permission.

“Your Honor, I beg you not to sent this young man to prison for 40 years. If you do, he may never get to hear about Acts 2:38, the only message of salvation. No one in prison may ever tell him that he needs to repent of his sins, be baptized in Jesus name and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost to be saved.

“Your Honor, this young man may never get to hear that God is able to deliver him from all of his addictions in one night. Don’t send him to prison, put him on probation for at least 3 years, order him to come to my church and sit on the front row every service.  Allow me to try to reach him with the love of God.”

With tears welling up in his eyes, the judge brought the gavel down and said, “It is so ordered.”

Two years later, the pastor’s youngest son stood in the same courtroom with the same judge and prosecutor. The son was on trial for possession of drugs again. The prosecutor was asking for a minimum sentence of 25 years.

When the State finally rested it’s case, the defense attorney and the pastor’s son both stood up. The defense attorney never attempted to present a defense. He simply said, “Your Honor, we throw ourselves upon the mercies of this Court.”

The judge looked at the defendant and then at his attorney. He said, “Would you like to settle this today once and for all?”

“Yes your Honor, we would,” was the reply.

At that, the prosecutor got up and walked out of the courtroom. The judge with impassioned tones looked at the pastor’s son and then began.

“I hate everything about you. You are despicable. You are without any social redeeming value.  You are a blight on this community. You are an embarrassment to the church your father pastor’s and you are a shame to him as well.

“If I had my way, I’d put you in prison for the rest of your life, throw the key away and sleep good every night. DO YOU HEAR ME?” He shouted!

“Yes you Honor,” said the son with tears streaming down his face.

“Two years ago, another young man stood in this courtroom and was found guilty. Your father begged for mercy for him, even though he didn’t deserve mercy. Because of that I am going to give you mercy.” He paused for effect.

“That will be $50.00, and don’t you ever come back to my court again!” The sound of the gavel concluded the trial.

The old pastor and his son stopped by the church on their way home from court. The backslidden son prayed back through to a renewing of the Holy Ghost. Today, he is an Assistant Pastor!

It pays to forgive!

Matthew 18:23-35 tells a story of a King who checked his records and found that a certain servant owed him a large sum of money. (Approximately $3 billion dollars at today’s values.)

When the servant could not pay the King back, he was sentenced to prison and all his possessions to be sold. He begged for mercy, and forgiveness was granted. The debt completely wiped out.

The forgiven servant walked away from his own session of mercy and soon found a man who owed him the modern equivalent of $15.00 dollars. He grabbed the man around the neck and ordered him to pay. When he couldn’t, he had him thrown into the debtor’s prison.

The King heard about this and called the servant before him again. In anger, the king took back the forgiveness of the debt. He does to the servant, exactly what the servant had done to his fellow-man. He threw him into prison until he could repay the debt.

This story explains to us that King Jesus has forgiven us a debt of sin that we could never repay. Yet we get enraged over the $15 dollars someone ‘owes’ us, and we won’t forgive them of that small debt.

You may think your problem with a brother or a sister is a major injustice to your world. Your bitterness will overwhelm you to the point that you are eaten up with your hurt and have no peace in your spirit.

What was done to you may be a mountain so big you can’t get over it. But according to this parable, in heaven’s estimations it’s just a $15 dollar problem. Don’t die bitter and unforgiving. Forgive your brother fully and completely, just like Jesus forgave you of your sins. You do not want Him to take back his forgiveness of your sins, just because you wouldn’t forgive your brother.

Matthew 18:35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Hell would like nothing better than to see God’s people destroyed because of unforgiveness. Some folks say they’ve buried the hatchet. They may have, but they must have forgotten to bury the handle too.

Deer hunters know that a sure way to get a trophy deer is to use camouflage. Give the deer what it wants, by putting out bait. It won’t be long then before the deer is hung on the wall. The hunter then brags on his trophy for the rest of his life.

Even non-hunters understand the principle. Why can’t we see that is also how Satan kills us with bitterness? He camouflages a situation, puts out the bait. He then shoots us down, and hangs our hide on his wall. He will brag on what he did to us forever.

Being offended is a choice. We choose to be offended. We can also choose not to be offended. Now, go forgive your brother. Don’t let Satan brag on you.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 17, 2011 at 12:04 am

Posted in Bitterness, Forgiveness, Mercy

Tagged with ,

When You Go To War, You Take Your Family With You.

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When You Go To War, You Take Your Family With You.

Today I saw a picture in Yahoo News taken of a family during the civil war.  It’s meaning was powerful then, it still is today.

MJB

Rare Civil War photos document life between battles

By Laura E. Davis Mon Apr 11, 10:09 pm ET

America’s Civil War, whose 150th anniversary is marked on Tuesday, is so often described in battles — the Battle of Gettysburg, the Battle of Bull Run, the Battle of Fort Sumter — that it may be easy to forget that the soldiers who fought in the four-year war had a lot of time between fighting. The rare photos seen below document just that — the time soldiers spent waiting, preparing, recovering or just living.

Click image to view rare Civil War photos

Apic — Getty Images

 

“We wanted to show more of the daily life of these people and remind people that they were living their lives in the middle of this horrible war and there was a lot of daily living going on,” says Kelly Knauer, editor of “TIME The Civil War: An Illustrated History.”

He points out that because of where camera technology was at the time, the in-between was much of what was photographed during the Civil War, since battle scene photos would often come out too blurry. The war marks one of the first times dead bodies were photographed. Another thing that comes out of some of the photos is a time truly left in the past, when family members and nearly entire towns would travel with the men to their battlegrounds.

As Knauer notes: “When they went to war, they took their whole families with them.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_newsroom/20110412/us_yblog_newsroom/rare-civil-war-photos-document-life-between-battles

†††††††

May we as Christian parents always remember, when we go to war against another brother or sister, we take our whole family with us!


Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 12, 2011 at 10:40 am

Bad Water

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Bad Water

Ben laid the shovel down. He was glad to see his neighbor John. He was also glad for a break. He had been digging in this hole for over two days now. It was hot; he was dirty and he was very thirsty.

John gave him a hand to climb up out of the hole. Ben’s wife offered her tired husband a drink of water from her bucket. He sipped from the dipper. It’s coolness was instant refreshment.

“What are you digging the hole for Ben?” John asked.

“I’m digging me another cistern.”

“Another cistern? Sorry to hear that you’re having problems. What went wrong with the other two?”

Ben shook his head. “I don’t know. Either the soil is bad here, or I didn’t get it sealed right or something. The first two cisterns wouldn’t hold water very long. I spent all my time carrying water to them, trying to fill them up.

“Then the next thing I knew, most of the water would seep out and I had to go fill them back up again. It like to wore me out. I finally got tired of messing with the first two cisterns and decided to try it again in another spot. That’s why I’m digging this one. Maybe I’ll get it right this time.

John looked down by the tree line. He mentally measured the distance, trying to understand what would be harder, walking a few more yards to get water from the fountain or digging a bunch of holes in the ground. To John, it was a no brainer.

“It’s not that far to the spring inside the tree line, Ben. You sure could save yourself a lot of work. The spring water there is pure, it’s cold, there’s plenty of it and it’s free.” And it’s just bubbling up out of the ground like a fountain.

“Don’t you go to nagging on me too John! Sarah preaches to me almost every day. She says, you’ve dug a hole, and then you carry water and pour it into the hole and then hope it rains a lot to fill up rest of the hole.

“What water doesn’t seep out becomes a pool for the water bugs to swim in and Sarah said it’s dirty water and she has to skim the film off of top of the water every morning before she can get a drink. She hates the cistern’s water. She says it’s polluted. The woman just likes to nag.

“But you’re right, the spring has good water. I just got tired of walking over there to fetch water several times a day. I want my own water beside my own house. I don’t like being beholden to anyone.”

John looked at his neighbor and his heart sank. He remembered the words of the Prophet Jeremiah as he had stood and prophesied in their village recently.

Jer. 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

Ben had stood beside John that day as Jeremiah had preached. He had heard what John had heard, but somehow, Ben couldn’t see the big picture. He couldn’t see past himself. For that matter, Ben couldn’t even see himself in the sermon Jeremiah preached.

Ben was one of those independent souls that liked to do things his own way. He was only interested in what pleased him. He was one of those people who always had to learn the hard way. This exercise was just a case in point.

“Benjamin, do you remember the day we heard Jeremiah in the village?

“Yes.”

“I know it was a long sermon, but he talked about two evils that Israel had committed. The first one was that we had forsaken God. We have left Him who is THE Fountain of Living Waters and the second one was that we had dug our own cisterns. We had tried life on our own. We had dug our own cisterns in life and ignored THE Fountain.

“Then he prophesied that our self-dug cisterns would never hold water. Notice he said ‘cisterns’. He was trying to tell us that no matter how hard we tried on our own, we would never get it perfect. There’s always going to be failed attempts in any life that is away from THE Fountain!

“You and I both know that water don’t get any better than the cold clear water of the fountain that we’ve got here.

“Every time I’ve seen you carry buckets of water from the fountain and then empty them this dirt hole, I think of what the prophet said.

“It’s a lot more work to dig holes and carry water to pour in them than it is to just kneel and drink from the fountain.”

“And if you get too proud to go fetch water to pour in here you’ll have wait awhile for the rain to help you out. You will be a very thirsty man before long.”

“You’re probably right John, but there are several reasons I don’t want to go into, but a big one is, I can’t go and drink at that fountain anymore because of old man Naphtali. I hate what he’s done and how he’s treated me and my family, so I decided I’d dig my own cistern so I won’t have to look at him or drink from the same fountain he does. I think he’s a hypocrite.

“To me, my water is just as good. I got most of it from the fountain. Besides, it’s mine and if I never drink water beside Naphtali at the fountain again, I’ll die a happy man. I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m not hurting anyone and I don’t plan on being hurt again.

“Ben, we’ve been neighbors and friends all of our lives. Our fathers were friends before us. As your friend I’m sorry for your hurts and the pain others have caused you. But before you ever had a problem with Naphtali, you were always doing things your own way. Now you’ve let some rogue person be the reason you won’t drink at the fountain anymore.

“We both know that you are working harder trying to distance yourself from the fountain than if you just went ahead and had a drink at the fountain. In your mind, you are still drinking the water from the fountain, but in reality, you first pour the water into the dirt down there in that hole.  Then come back and drink it later and tell yourself it’s as good as always. It’s not the same and you know it. Your water is no longer pure.

“Your cisterns will never hold water. Your work will always come to naught digging cisterns.  When you get done with all your hard work, at best, all you will ever have is bad water. Everyone sees it but you. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone, except to God.

“Come on man, put down that old shovel down once and for all and quit trying to do things your own way. Come on back and drink with me at the fountain. Don’t worry about Naphtali or anyone else. There’s just no water like fountain water and you know it!”

Old Ben looked at his neighbor and felt no urge to smile. How dare John criticize his hard work, his motives and all of his efforts. That’s not what friends did. Friends were supposed to support you no matter what you did. Friends were supposed to love at all times. This didn’t feel like love.

“I’ll say this as nice as I can John. You’ve spoken your mind. I thank you for your concern. But I would appreciate you never trying to preach to me again. I don’t need it, I don’t want it and I don’t like it.

“If all you have is criticism of me, then it might be better if you just stay quiet, stay away and leave me alone. Let me do things my own way. I’ve never been happier than I am now. I’m freer now than I’ve ever been. Your preaching just angers me. I’ll never go back to your beloved fountain.”

John nodded, shook Ben’s hand, then turned and walked away.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm