The Ballestero Blog

"That's what I'm talking about!"

Archive for the ‘Christian Living’ Category

They Read You Like A Book!

with 3 comments

 

They Read You Like A Book!

2 Corinthians 3:2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:

  • Our lives are read of all men.
  • Everyone can see what we really are.

 

Psalms 90:9 For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.

  • What story does your life tell?
  • Will your story have a happy ending?

 

God is The Writer And You Are His Poem!

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

  • Workmanship – poiēma – (poem) His “masterpiece” (NLT), His “handiwork” (NAB), His “work of art” (NJB),
  • We are His Poem! God is trying to write a masterpiece for the world to read using nothing but your life.
  • Will your poem be a disappointment or a blessing?
  • Does it have any rhyme or reason?
  • Is the meter in your life poem awkward and difficult to read aloud, especially in public?
  • Would God put your poem in His Book?
  • Or, would you be one of His non-published works?

 

So, If Your Life Is A Poem, What Kind Of Poem Are You?

  • There are many different types of poems.
  • The difference between each type is based on the format, rhyme scheme and subject matter.
  • A Poet attempts to express himself in his poem.
  • I wonder, is the Writer happy with how your poem turned out?
  • Did you take the pen from His hand and try to write your own verses?

 

A Poem Tells A Story. It Is Meant To Be A Thing Of Grace And Beauty.

  • Is yours a love poem?
  • Is it a sonnet of sorrow?
  • Maybe it’s an ode to a bitter regret?
  • Would it so wonderfully describe a place you’ve known in Christ, that every reader would desire to go there?
  • Or, would your poem be one of shipwreck?
  • Would it only tell of earthly pursuits and carnal fulfillments?
  • Would it be about a magnificent obsession for heaven and living for Jesus?
  • Does your poem condone compromise and mock the teachings of the Bible and your spiritual forefathers?
  • Does it make light of standards and holiness living?
  • Does it direct young people down a worldly path?
  • Does it tell everyone to question authority?
  • What kind of poem are you writing with your life?
  • Maybe your poem is about recovery, like the prodigal son’s?

Will yours be written the same way Judas, Balaam, Achan, Cain, Esau and Korah wrote theirs? (Remember, the beginning of your poem can’t be unwritten, but you can change the ending with God’s help.)

 

Do You Believe Your Poem Will Inspire Others?

  • Will it encourage?
  • Will it be a life example for someone?
  • Will it be a beacon of hope?
  • Will it describe the Joy and Grandeur you’ve found in serving the Lord?
  • Will your readers feel the desire to reach higher, draw closer and believe for more?
  • Could your poem be put to music and become a song glorifying Jesus Christ?
  • Will it be written in sweetness?
  • Will your poem be about self-denial and decreasing so that He may increase?
  • Will your poem make its readers want to live the same kind of life you did?
  • Will God smile approval as He peruses your pages?
  • Will God publish your poem?
  • Will He put yours on His bookshelf?

 

poems

They Read You Like A Book

 

 Have You Ever Read Any Of These Poems?

  • James Kilgore
  • G.T. Haywood
  • M. E. Burr
  • Ike Terry
  • Billy Cole
  • H. B. Morgan
  • Lonnie Marcus
  • Clyde Haney
  • David Gray

 

What Happened To Your Heart When You Read These Poems?

  • Content Faith Ballestero
  • June Starr Davis
  • Nona Freeman
  • Emilie O’Brien
  • Agnes Holmes
  • Willie Johnson
  • Lena Spillman

 

What Did You Feel When You Read These?

  • Dorcas
  • Hannah
  • Ruth
  • Rahab
  • Jochebed
  • Rizpah

 

Did You Fall In Love With Jesus Christ Anew When You Read Any Of These?

  • Carl J. Ballestero
  • W.R. Starr
  • Verbal Bean
  • A.D. Urshan
  • Wendell Gleason
  • J.B. Lambeth
  • G.A. Mangun
  • J.T. Pugh
  • Cleveland Becton
  • Bill Bowman
  • Robert Cavaness Sr
  • William Garrett
  • J. Frank Wilson
  • Patrick Wilson
  • Stanley R. Hanby
  • J.L. Pipkin
  • Charles Grisham
  • Juan Alvear
  • Don Johnson
  • A.O. Holmes
  • Hebert Starr
  • Paul Leaman
  • James Springer

 

(Warning! You Will Soon Become A Product Of What You Read! Choose Your Reading Material Carefully!)

 

When Your Children Read Your Life’s Poem…

  • Will they be enthralled with the sweetness of your story?
  • Will they hold their heads up high and say, “My dad wrote that!” or “My mom wrote that!”?
  • Will they be repulsed by church standards?
  • Will they hate church and preachers because of your poem?
  • Will they look at all Christians as hypocrites because of your poem?
  • Will they treasure the opportunity to live for God because they read your poem?
  • Will they rise up and call you blessed?

 

Here’s Some Advice From Me, An Old Man, Whose Poem Is About Finished.

If we are to be His poem (or handiwork) then we should let Him do all the writing. Why not put the pen back in His hands? You will never regret letting Him order your life. If you let Him be the Author and the Finisher of your poem, everyone will love reading it. Never let anyone, not used of God, make changes or edit your poem!

 

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

God wrote a poem

Just using you!

 

 

 

Remember, The World Can Read You Like A Book!

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 15, 2017 at 2:07 am

Posted in Christian Living

Tagged with ,

Will People Who Miss Church Go To Hell?

with 5 comments

Will People Who Miss Church Go To Hell?

 

Schools Take A Student’s Chronic Absenteeism Seriously!

For example:

  • In Georgia makes the parent accountable and takes them to court.
  • In Pennsylvania students who miss 18 cumulative days will be retained at their current grade level.

Sign on a billboard near where I live in Michigan says, “2 absences per month = less likely to graduate”

 

adc_chr_graduation_eng_4c_400x840

 

It’s no secret. A student who finds a way to miss a couple of days a month during the school year, may never receive a diploma.

If you as good students and parents can grasp the value and importance of faithful school attendance, then you are beginning to see the light.

 

What If The Billboard Sign Said:

“2 absences from church per month = less likely to be saved”?

 

Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

 

Faithful church attendance is a Bible requirement!

Every church has those members who are hit-and-miss. They work a job that keeps them out of church. They live on the spiritual fringe. Most never seem to make up for lost time once the do get back in service.

Why gamble with your soul? Make this the year you choose to put your faithful attendance to the House of God at the very top of your New Years resolution list! You won’t be sorry!

 

Will People Who Miss Church Go To Hell?

My answer… Why would you even take the risk of missing church to find out?

 

 

(See you at church.)

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 2, 2017 at 3:02 pm

The Spirit Of Offense

with 6 comments

 

The Spirit Of Offense

 

Everyone in the world has had times when they have been hurt or could have chosen to be offended.

Being Offended Is A Choice.

  • Please don’t choose it!
  • How you respond or react to an offense tells everyone what spirit you have.
  • One of the most dangerous spirits to posses is the spirit of offense.
  • It will keep you from receiving correction or direction.
  • It will hinder your relationship with the ministry.
  • Matt. 13:21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
  • Remember that offenses will come.

 

Being Habitually Offended Will Make You A Bitter Person.

Bitterness will use YOU to defile many others.

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;

 

Warning Pastor!

Mark the church member who tells you that he or she is offended by you in some manner. It won’t be long before they leave. It just may be that the Spirit of Offense overwhelms them.

Proverbs 18:19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

 

Why Are Some People Habitually Offended? 

It can be the worst personality trait of all! The spirit of offense is very hard to be delivered from. It will never happen accidentally. It’s not something one will just grow out of, either.

If someone you know has the spirit of offense, be aware that they just might tell you off or cut you off next.

 

Nabal Was So Belligerent And Easily Offended, That No One Could Talk To Him.

1Sam. 25:17 Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him.

  • It seemed that Nabal was mad at the world and everyone in it.
  • He had the most wonderful wife, he had wealth and everything he could desire, but what he had most, was a bad attitude.
  • God killed him.

 

Here Are Some Questions For Those Who Are Easily Offended:

  1. Is there continual drama in your world?
  2. What is it that makes you the one who is continually being persecuted or attacked by others?
  3. Why is it always you who gets hurt?
  4. Why is it that you are always the victim?
  5. Why is it that you have to keep cutting off people because they have hurt you?
  6. Why is it that you have a list of people you no longer talk to?
  7. How come there is always some kind problem going on between you and your family, or one of your friends?
  8. Why is it that you get your feelings hurt easily?
  9. How often do you hear yourself say, “That makes me so mad!”?
  10. How early did being offend start in you?
  11. Is jealousy part of the issue?
  12. Did you get ignored by those you wanted to be with?
  13. How many of your old friends are now your enemy?
  14. How often do you feel that you are the object of an attack?
  15. Do you battle with these hurts often?
  16. Do you find it hard to forgive?
  17. Are you continually in a feud?
  18. How’s your blood pressure?
  19. Do you think of ways to get back at the people who offended you?
  20. Do you unfriend them on Facebook?
  21. Do you block them?
  22. Do you talk online about how you have been mistreated, hoping to gather support, while not telling all the facts correctly?
  23. Do you pray louder, longer and harder than others to prove you have the right spirit?
  24. Do you worship expressively to show that you are the more spiritual one and thereby justify yourself?
  25. What kind of friends do you attract?

 

Being Habitually Offended Is Evidence Of The Spirit Of Offense.

  1. The Multitude Following Jesus Turned Away Because They Got Offended.
  • Offended people distance themselves, from those they once admired. Causing many to leave the truth.

 

  1. Cain Got Offended And Then Killed His Brother.
  • Offended people can be very jealous.
  • Offended people are dramatic.
  • Offended people become hateful and dangerous.

 

  1. The Elder Brother Of The Prodigal Son Got Offended And Mouthed Off To His Father.
  • Offended people often show those around them who actually has the bad heart.
  • Offended people are willing to hurt back.
  • Even though the father forgave the son, his brother would not.

 

How Do People Act Around You If You Are Plagued By The Spirit Of Offense.

  • Why would they want to include you in their groups? You are a bomb waiting to go off!
  • Do they shun you because all you want to do is talk about the other people who have hurt you?
  • Do they tiptoe around you by being civil but not warm when they talk to you?
  • Are they afraid that they may be your next victim?
  • Be aware that offended people are highly toxic and contagious.

 

The Enemy Of Your Soul Will Make Sure That You Become Offended.

  • It will damage your walk with God.
  • It will damage your every relationship.
  • It will damage your church.
  • It will damage your home life.
  • It will damage your marriage.
  • It with damage your relationship with your siblings, your parents, your in-laws, your children, and your spouse.
  • It will make you leave your church.

 

If You Know You Have The Spirit Of Offense, What Are You Doing To Get Rid Of It?

  • Yes you can be helped and delivered!
  • Remember though, once you become offended at God, you will distance yourself from Him for an eternity.

Luke 7:23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

 

It’s The Spirit Of The Last Days

Matthew 24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

 

 

What Is The Key To Your Deliverance From The Spirit Of Offense?

  • If you know love is a key…
  • If you know forgiving seventy times seven in one day is a key…
  • If you know a soft answer is a key…
  • If you know keeping your tongue is a key…
  • If you know being easy to be entreated is a key…
  • If you know kindness is a key…
  • If you know praying all the way through is a key…
  • If you know having your man of God lay hands on you and pray a prayer of deliverance for you is a key…
  • If you know preferring your brother is a key…
  • If you know not letting the sun go down on your wrath is a key…
  • If you know prayer and fasting is a key…
  • If you know dying daily is a key…
  • If you know repentance to God is a key…
  • If you know repentance to others is a key…
  • If you know you know your brother has aught against you and you are to go to him is a key…
  • If you know realizing you have a bad spirit is a key…
  • If you know seeing how you are damaging those you love is a key…
  • If you know you are hindering others in their walk with God is a key…
  • If you know hell is using you to hinder God’s church is a key…
  • If you know that your spirit may keep you out of heaven is a key…

 

Then, What Are You Waiting For?

Why Not Use Even One, If Not All These Keys, And Enjoy A New Life With Peace, Love And Contentment?

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 19, 2016 at 2:18 pm

Posted in Christian Living

Tagged with

How To Say, “I Don’t Love You!” To God With Your Mouth Closed!

with 2 comments

 

How To Say, “I Don’t Love You!” To God With Your Mouth Closed!

 

There are many ways to say that you do not love God, even without opening your mouth!

For Starters, Here Is A Short List:

  1. Refusing To Obey His Commandments.

(John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.)

  1. Not Following Him.

(John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

  1. Following Him For The Loaves and Fishes.

(John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.)

  1. Refusing Him.

(Mat 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!)

  1. Hardening Your Heart.

(Heb. 3:15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.)

  1. Hating Your Brother.

(1 John 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.)

  1. Loving The World.

(1 John 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. Being Friends With The World.

(James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.)

 

*Let’s look at the last two scriptures a bit closer…

1 John 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.

Jas 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

The Message Bible says it this way: James 4:4 You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way.

  • Look again at the word – ‘enmity’.
  • Definition: Enmity – the state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.
  • G2189   (Strong) Echthra (ekh’-thrah)
  • Feminine of G2190; hostility; by implication a reason for opposition: – enmity,

 

If you are a friend of the world, your mouth won’t ever have to say a thing. Your heart is talking louder than your lips. You are actively opposing God if you are friends with the world. You are personally fighting Him. He takes it as though you declared war on Him and His church. Your every worldly action is hostile towards Him, so He counts you as the enemy,

You won’t ever have to say one word. He looks at your heart, sees that you are friends with the world, and that’s when He knows you don’t love Him. No one can love the world and God at the same time. To Him, you have become the enemy.

Matt. 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

God hates the world so much He won’t even like you if you like the world. You must make the choice between God and mammon. If you are even just friends with the world, His love is not in you. You also must love him more than houses, lands, mother, father, sister, or brother, or things.

God Looks At Your Heart Not Your Mouth

So all those who proclaim, ‘God only looks on the inside,’ need to pay close attention to this scripture. Right here is where it gets real dangerous for them. Your love of the world or even friendship with the world is an open sign of hatred of God. Because you chose to not denounce the world and turn your back on it, His love is not in you.

 

What You Love You Will Imitate!

  • You will imitate it in your speech
  • You will imitate it in your Dress
  • You will imitate it in your Actions
  • You will imitate it in your Lifestyle
  • You will imitate it in your Fellowship choices

 

If You Are Not Friend With, Or In Love With The World:

  • Why then would you go where the world goes?
  • Why then would you do what the world does?
  • Why then would you dress like the world dresses?
  • Why then would you act like the world acts?
  • Why then would you talk like the world talks?
  • Why then would you accept the thinking the world accepts?
  • Why then would you make people of the world your best friends?
  • Why then would you be interested in their books, their magazines or movies?
  • Why then would you seek their entertainment?
  • Why then would you get wrapped up in their sports world?
  • Why then would you defend anything about the world?
  • Why then would you have a problem with preaching about separation from the world?
  • Why then would you post pictures of yourself looking like the world on social media?
  • Why then would you change churches and go where they are more ‘friendly’ with the world?
  • Why then would you challenge standards?
  • Why then would you keep asking if something is a sin or not?
  • Why then would you have a problem with your pastor saying, “NO”?

 

You are not required to explain your feelings to me, only to God. But He already knows how you feel about the world.

You may claim you do not love the world, but He has a problem with you being a friend of the world.

  • We defend our friends.
  • We support our friends.
  • We make allowances for our friends.
  • We communicate with our friends.
  • We take sides with our friends.

 

Visual clues usually tell us if someone likes us or is interested in us. We look at their body language, and facial expressions. We listen to every word they speak to us and read into their meanings. Even a dog can tell if we like it or not.

We consider ourselves fairly adept at reading people by what we see on the outside. But God pays attention to the very thoughts and intents of our heart.

We all know about juvenile antics, like sticking your tongue out at someone you don’t like. When it comes to God, you don’t have to stick your tongue out to let Him know you are not interested, or even make a mean face. You won’t have to turn your physical back on Him to show Him you are not interested. He already knows.

 

He Told The Pharisees That Their Hearts Didn’t Love Him.

Matt 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

They were religious and devout, yet they didn’t love Him. God examines everyone’s heart to see if they truly love Him or just say that they do.

 

Loving The World Is:

  • Telling God you don’t love Him.
  • Declaring War on God
  • Defined by God as Spiritual Adultery

 

Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Your love for the things of the world, your desire for it, your conformity to it, and compliance with its sinfulness, are declarations of war with God, and acts of hostility upon Him.

It shows the enmity of your mindset against him, and it is displeasing to Him. He accuses everyone who loves the world of spiritual adultery. Friendliness with the world is spiritual unfaithfulness. It dissolves the spiritual marriage between God and the soul.

Living for God is not a game. This life is serious. Not everyone who says, ‘Lord, Lord,” is going to heaven.

Live for Him with all your heart. Quit trying to see how close to the edge you can get and still be considered Pentecostal.

Ask yourself.

  • Am I Apostolic or not?
  • Am I Holiness minded or not?
  • Am I pleasing God with the things I do, place I go, and things I enjoy?
  • Do I really love Him MORE than anything?
  • Am I a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God?
  • Does God respect me?

 

If you are friends with or even fond of the world, then you are telling God, without opening your mouth that you don’t love Him.

  • To God, then, you are as an unfaithful spouse.
  • To Him, it is an act of war.
  • Remember, even with your mouth closed, your heart is still talking.

 

Deut 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

Deut 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Deut 6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

Deut 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Deut 6:8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

Deut 6:9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Deut 6:10 And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,

Deut 6:11 And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;

Deut 6:12 Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

Deut 6:13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

Deut 6:14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;

Deut 6:15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

Deut 6:16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.

Deut 6:17 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.

Deut 6:18 And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers,

Deut 6:19 To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the LORD hath spoken.

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 22, 2016 at 12:56 pm

Posted in Christian Living

Tagged with

World’s Largest Trading Post

with 2 comments

 

 

World’s Largest Trading Post

Old Jim and me was a standing on the corner of Broadway and Straight Street one afternoon some years back. We seen this old man wearing sandals, and he had big sign hung around his neck for everyone to see. A curious crowd stood in front of him. They were reading every word of the sign on his chest.

The big words at the top of the sign seemed to say it all. The World’s Largest Trading Post!

People were reading out loud with amazement and near unbelief. It was hard for us to hear all the comments, but from time to time we heard things like:

“How can this be?”

“How can they stay in business tradin’ good stuff for junk?”

“There’s gotta be catch somewheres!”

“This is hard to believe!”

 

Not every passerby took time to read the long list of the day’s specials. Yet there always seemed to be a cluster of potential customers reading every word of the sign.

In answer to someone’s question about the location of the trading post, the old man tried to hold his sign steady with one hand so others could still read as he pointed with his other hand showing the direction. Looking where he pointed, I could see a large crowd moving that way. Almost all of them were carrying bags that sure looked awful heavy.

We waited our turn to get close enough to see the small print. I started reading from the top down, and I read every word.

 

The World’s Largest Trading Post

Specializing In Even Swaps! No Money Needed!

 

Today’s Trade Specials

  • Beauty – for your ashes.
  • Oil of Joy – for your mourning.
  • Garment of Praise – for your spirit of heaviness.
  • Crown – for your cross.
  • New life – for your old life.
  • Hope – for your despair.
  • Eternal Life – for your sins.
  • Peace – for your turmoil.
  • Healing – for your sickness.
  • Strength – for your weakness.

 

Please Take Advantage Of Our Free Gifts And Services!

  • Broken Hearts Bound Up.
  • Sins Forgiven.
  • Sins Washed Away in Jesus Name Baptism.
  • Free Gift of The Holy Ghost.
  • Free Robe of Righteousness.
  • Free Garment of Salvation.
  • Free Services of the Great Physician.
  • Free Services of World’s Greatest Defense Attorney – (He’s never lost a case.)
  • Free Services of The Counselor.
  • Free Private Audience with the Prince of Peace.

 

Whatever Your Need, Just Ask!

  • Joy Unspeakable – Our shelves are loaded!
  • Peace that passeth understanding is always in stock!
  • Healing for every broken heart!
  • Liberty for all who are bound!

 

Our Motto: “You Have Not Because You Ask Not!”

We Specialize In Good Tidings for All People!

 

“What’s your name old man?” Jim asked when he finished reading the sign.

The old man turned his attention to Jim and his weathered and wrinkled face seemed to have an inner shine. With a slight smile on his lips and a bit of a twinkle in his eye he said, “Isaiah”.

I caught Jim’s eye and gave him the nod. We both turned and started in the direction of The World’s Largest Trading Post.

There was this large group of folks just a singing near the entrance. They sang with smiles on their faces and joy seemed to fill their voices as they motioned for us to come inside.

They sang:

The windows of heaven are open.

God’s blessings are falling tonight.

There’s joy, joy, joy in my heart,

Since Jesus made everything right.

I gave Him my old tattered garment.

He gave me a robe of pure white.

I’m feasting on manna from heaven.

And that’s why I’m happy tonight.

 

Old Jim and me? Well, he looked at me and nodded and I nodded back as he shifted the weight of his bag to the other shoulder. I picked mine own bag up and we both went inside!

 

 

 

References:

Isaiah 61:1-3, 10

Isaiah 9:6

Acts 2:38

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 14, 2016 at 2:08 pm

My Name Is Leah

with 11 comments

 

leah-wface

My Name Is Leah

My name is Leah and I am the oldest daughter of Laban. My sister, Rachel, is younger than I and everyone says she is very beautiful. She was the village favorite. (Gen 29:17) When visitors first meet us, they seem to be smitten by her beauty and repulsed when they look at me. I’m not beautiful and I’ve had to live with that all my life.

The lives of our whole family changed however, when Jacob arrived in our village. He looked travel worn and he was penniless. My father told us that his family was originally from our village and was well respected.

I saw immediately that Jacob was smitten by the looks of Rachel. I had expected that. Everyone noticed how he looked in her direction and tried to catch her eye if he could. He immediately asked my dad for a job and worked tending to our cattle.

I was crushed when I realized he wanted to marry my sister. I cried sometimes when I could be alone. It seemed like romance was for everyone but me. Jacob bargained with dad to work seven years for Rachel to be his bride. Jacob courted her and I tried to mind my own business and stay out of their way. They were so much in love. Love for me was always a one-way street. No one loved me back.

The wedding was a big celebration! All our relatives and the whole village came. My father sat Rachel and me down for a very private talk prior to the wedding. He informed Rachel that he had a plan. He said that adhering to the village custom of marrying off the oldest daughter first was a custom to be honored, and that rightly I should be the bride. (Gen 29:26) Dad said that he didn’t think Jacob would leave anyway and that he felt he would hang around long enough to marry the both of us. Rachel was crestfallen. I was surprised and happy. We were all unsure of Jacob’s reaction to me when he found out the truth, but planned to go ahead with the switch.

We pulled it off too. At the wedding, I was ecstatic and scared at the same time and afraid to look at Rachel because I felt her disappointment. It was evident to me that my sister truly began to hate and despise me. I stole her man. Although she was beautiful, she was bitter, and envious. I felt the full force of her hatred. Our bond of sisterhood stood on rocky ground.

The next morning Jacob woke up and looked at my face for the first time in the light of day. I cannot describe the shock and utter disappointment in his eyes. Maybe it was more akin to disgust. I can never fully explain the feeling of being married to a man who doesn’t love you. All you can think about is him and all he can think about is another woman.

Jacob made a covenant with my father to work seven more years for Rachel. He intended to marry us both.

I named my children according to the conditions of my marital status at the times of their births.

 

Rueben

I named my first son, Reuben. His name means, “Behold a son. The Lord has seen (in Hebrew ra’ah) my affliction” and “now my husband will love me (ye’ehabani)”(Genesis 29:32). I praised God for showing me this favor. I could hold my head up in the village. All would know that I had given my husband a son. I was now considered a worthy wife. It was as though God had seen that I was unloved and He opened my womb.

Rachel showed her true self again. I thought surely now Jacob will love me. But no, it didn’t change a thing. Rachel’s love toward me seemed to be gone. Jacob saved all his sweet words for her. They were lost in each other’s worlds.

All I did was cook, clean, take care of the baby and look after my husbands needs. I certainly never felt loved or cherished. I was only there for the needs of the man. My own needs were not to be considered. Ever.

 

Simeon

When my second child was born, it was a boy. I named him, Simeon because “the Lord heard (shama) that I was unloved”(Genesis 29:33). It was no secret that my husband didn’t love me. I guess my only purpose was to provide him with sons.

God knew my sorrow and tried to comfort me. I cried much and kept to myself. There was little benefit for me to make myself available to Jacob in social settings. I was not his trophy wife. I was treated as a second-class wife. He would not walk me around the village and show me off. I felt like a second-class wife because I wasn’t beautiful. Jacob was evidently too foolish to see beyond the face. I stayed in the tent and cared for the babies.

 

Levi

In the process of time I realized I was to have another child. My third baby was also a boy. I named him Levi thinking “this time my husband will become attached (yillaweh) to me”(Genesis 29:34).

All I ever wanted was for him to love me and to show it by saying something sweet or doing something nice. It never happened.

I knew that feeling sorry for myself was not doing me any good. I started thinking and realized that God had been gracious to me through it all. Was my world perfect? No. Not that I could see or feel, yet I believed God was good. He had blessed me and given me sons. I may not have the beauty of my sister, but I made up my mind to be a good wife and a good mother of our children and to be beautiful on the inside.

I learned to turn my face toward Jehovah and thank Him for what I did have instead of focusing on what I didn’t.

 

Judah

My fourth son’s name had nothing to do with my relationship with my husband. I named him Judah because I had made up my mind, “this time I will praise (odeh) the Lord”(Genesis 29:35).

After I had our four children, Jacob’s next two sons were born to Rachel’s maid Bilhah. She had given her handmaid to Jacob out of desperation. I felt sorry for her, so I then gave Jacob my own maid, Zilpah, as a concubine. Zilpah gave him two sons, Gad and Asher.

 

Issachar

One time, during a harvest, Reuben brought me some mandrakes. Rachel wanted them and said that if I gave them to her she would let me have her night to sleep with Jacob in exchange. After that, my fifth son was born. I named him Issachar. It means, “He will bring a reward.” (Genesis 30:14-18)

As a mother I can tell that although Jacob is kind to my children, he doesn’t dote on them. It makes my heart hurt. Maybe when he looks on them, they remind him of me. If he can’t love me, then my prayer is that he would love our sons.

 

The Stolen Idols

The relationship between my husband and my father turned really sour. Jacob told me that the last time he looked at my dad, he could tell that things between them had drastically changed by the expression on his face, (Gen 31:2) and that the Lord had spoken to him and told him we must leave here immediately.

When Rachel heard the news, and knowing that father just left with the sheep, she went into his tent and stole his gods. We left in the middle of the night and we were gone three days before my dad found out. But when he found out he was very angry and chased hard after us. It took him almost week to finally catch up.

He hollered and yelled loud at Jacob accusing him of everything he could think of. He wanted to know why we had left and when he found out that it was because we didn’t trust him and that he was dishonest, he really got mad.

Jacob told dad, “Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times.” (Gen 31:41)

Dad said we had stolen his gods. Jacob didn’t know that Rachel had hidden them in her tent. He gave dad permission to search everyone’s tent and all their possessions and look for his gods. He never found them because his little pet, the baby of the family was sly. Rachel sat on a pile of carpets that hid the idols and told Dad she couldn’t get up because she was “after the manner of women.” She just batted her big brown eyes at him and he smiled back and never made her move.

The idols were not found, so my father and my husband piled up a heap of stones and made a covenant of friendship, and then he kissed us girls and the grandchildren a final goodbye and departed, leaving us to live in peace.

 

The Coming Of Esau

Jacob shared many stories about his boyhood. Evidently, he and his brother, Esau were total opposites. He told us about his father becoming old and going blind. Custom was that the oldest son inherited two thirds of the father’s goods and the rest of the children equally divided up the remaining third.

Jacob said that one day he caught Esau at a weak moment and bartered with him for his birthright. The problem was in getting the birthright blessing from the father. His father doted on Esau because of his prowess as a hunter and outdoorsman. But, Jacob was his mother’s pet. When it was time to receive the blessing, she helped him deceive his father and obtain the birthright blessing prayer.

He had to leave home immediately because when Esau found out that his birthright had been stolen, Esau wanted to kill Jacob. Now, word just arrived after all these years that Esau was indeed coming for him with a mighty army of soldiers threatening to kill him.

Jacob said that we were all to cross over the ford Jabbok and wait while he stayed there to pray. He fervently prayed and an Angel came and began to wrestle with him. They wrestled all night long. Finally the Angel begged to be let go but Jacob said that he wouldn’t let him go until he got a blessing from him.

The angel said that he was changing his name. He would now be called, Israel, because he would now have power with God and with men. (Gen. 32:28)

The Angel smote Jacob on the thigh to break his hold. It forever affected how he walked from then on. He limped for the rest of his life.

In the morning when we arose, we saw Jacob hurriedly limping towards us. He said that Esau was coming and there would no doubt be bloodshed. He divided up the children putting the animals, the servants and their children first.

He then put my children and me next, because we too were more expendable. But, he kept Rachel and her son at the back with him. He may lose the rest of us but he wanted to keep her alive. It was very plain where I stood with him even after all these years. (Gen 33:2)

When Esau came and confronted us, Jacob humbled himself and sent him large gifts. Before long the two ran towards each other, fell on each other’s necks and kissed. I took my children toward Esau and we bowed down before him in respect. All ended peaceable. We were certainly relieved and after the meeting and we all gave thanks unto God.

 

Zebulun

My next son, I named Zebulun. He was to be my last boy. His name means to dwell. He was Jacob’s tenth son and my sixth. I later had a daughter, whom I named Dinah, before Rachel gave birth to her first child.

 

Joseph

When Rachel gave birth to her little Joseph, Jacob was beside himself with joy. He showed that baby more attention than he ever had to all of the others. The children could all tell that Joseph was his favorite.

All we heard around the tent from Jacob was news about Joseph. He doted on him. The other children watched wistfully knowing that they were not loved like that. He made special clothes for him and gave him gifts that were better than he gave to my sons.

Rachel seemed to feel like nothing was wrong with Jacob giving so much attention to her son and very little to his other ten sons.

 

The Trip To Bethel

Jacob said that God had told him that we were all to return to the Bethel. Jacob said that we were to wash and be clean, change our clothes, and put away our idols. So, all of our family and our servants did as he asked. We knew the worship of our gods required the wearing of earrings, so we gave them to Jacob along with our gods. (Gen 35:1-4; Hosea 2:13) He took what we gave him and buried all of it under the big oak tree in Shechem.

We traveled on to Bethel, the place where God first met with our husband. The first thing Jacob did was to build an altar and offer up a sacrifice of repentance. God accepted his prayers and blessed him. It was there that his mother’s nurse, Deborah, died. She was buried at Bethel. Jacob grieved hard because she was his last living connection with his mother and father.

 

Benjamin

When we left Bethel, Rachel went into labor. She died giving birth to her second son. It was so tragic. We were in shock. Before she died, Rachel named her son Benoni (“son of my mourning”), but Jacob called him Benjamin. (Gen. 35:18)

Rachel had passionately said, Give me children, or else I die; and now that she had children, she died!

Jacob made no attempt to bury Rachel with his family like I thought he would do since he loved her so much. He just buried her beside the highway and placed a marker on her lonely grave. If he would bury his favorite wife beside the road at the first available spot, where would he bury me? Would I too be given a roadside burial?

After Rachel died, Jacob replaced her bed, which was beside his, with her handmaiden Bilhah’s bed. It so infuriated my son Rueben that he overturned Bilhah’s bed and rebuked his father. Jacob never forgot that moment and mentioned it on the day he pronounced blessings and prayers upon his sons. (Gen. 49:3-4)

 

Epilogue

Leah’s outward appearance may have been unattractive to others, but God was attracted to her because of her inward beauty. He chose her. It was Leah, not Rachel, who bore Judah, and it was through his bloodline that the Savior was born.

After Rachel’s death, Leah carried on as the wife of Jacob, and the mother of his many children, living in Canaan. The Bible does not say when she died, but Leah is buried in the family burial tomb of Machpelah, beside her husband Jacob with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah. (Genesis 49:29-31). Leah was loved too late. Her real beauty unnoticed most of her life. Yet, in her death and burial she was shown great honor and respect.

 

The Life Lesson Of Leah

Sometimes in life we wake up to the very thing we don’t want. Life doesn’t always give you a Rachel. Although you find it difficult to love the “Ugly Leah Situation” that is forever connected to you, it just may wind up being your greatest life blessing. Surprisingly, you may find yourself saying the words, “I love you” to the very thing you once hated.

The Leah in your life never changed, you did. Her beauty wasn’t on the outside, so no one took the time to see what God could see all along. Leah was beautiful where it counted the most. She was beautiful on the inside. Don’t hate your “Leah”; she is God’s gift to you. Do not despise the ugly thing in life that you suddenly have to wake up to. Your “Leah” may be a bad Doctor’s Report, a Financial Disaster, a Broken Marriage, a Physical Disability or even Heartache. Embrace it. It just may be a gift from God to you!

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 8, 2016 at 11:15 am

Death By Misadventure

with 3 comments

Death By Misadventure

 

Amy Jade Winehouse

“Amy Winehouse’s death was the result of the singer drinking too much alcohol, a coroner has said. A verdict of misadventure was recorded into the 27-year-old’s death after an inquest heard she was more than five times the drink-drive limit.

Winehouse was found dead at her home in Camden, north London, on 23 July. St Pancras coroner Suzanne Greenway said the “unintended consequence” of Winehouse drinking so much alcohol was her “sudden and unexpected death”.

Three empty vodka bottles, two large and one small, were found at her flat, St Pancras Coroners Court heard.

‘No pulse found’

The inquest heard the singer, who won five Grammy awards in 2008, had 416mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The legal drink-drive limit is 80mg.

The pathologist who conducted her post-mortem examination said 350mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood was considered a fatal level.”

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-15453517

 

Brian Jones

“Brian Jones was a founding member of the Rolling Stones, and contributed heavily to their early success. But, as time went on, he felt pushed aside by the songwriting team of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and his growing drug problem also helped alienate him from his bandmates, who fired him in June of 1969.

Jones was discovered dead in his swimming pool on July 3, 1969. Coroners ruled his death an accident. Noting his alcohol and substance abuse played a role, they called it “death by misadventure.” Theories and rumors have swirled for decades that Jones was murdered, though despite a new investigation in 2008, nothing has ever been proven.”

Read More: Brian Jones – Death by Misadventure | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/brian-jones-strange-rock-deaths/?trackback=tsmclip

 

Death by Misadventure – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“A death by misadventure, as recorded by coroners and on death certificates and associated documents, is one that is primarily attributed to an accident which occurred due to a dangerous risk which was taken voluntarily.

In contrast, when a cause of death is listed as an accident rather than a misadventure, this implies no unreasonable willful risk. [1] Misadventure is a legally-defined manner of death: a way by which an actual cause of death (trauma, exposure, etc.) was allowed to occur. For example, a death caused by an illicit drug overdose may be ruled a death by misadventure as the user ignored the risks of the drugs. Misadventure is a form of unnatural death like accident, suicide, or homicide.”

 

Death By GPS

“People are renting vehicles with GPS and they have no idea how it works — and they are willing to trust the GPS to lead them into the middle of nowhere.” – Fox News

Over the past 15 years, at least a dozen people have died in Death Valley from heat-related illnesses.

 

Rita Chretien

“Rita Chretien was found Friday by a trio of hunters after spending seven weeks in the couple’s van stuck in mud, surviving off trail mix, hard candy and water from a nearby stream. Her husband set out on foot to find help, hoping to make it to Mountain City. He hasn’t been seen since.

The B.C. woman who survived seven weeks alone in the Nevada mountains told her pastor that her new global positioning device caused her and her husband to become lost.”

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/b-c-woman-blames-gps-for-getting-couple-lost-1.1007231

 

Most Backsliders Are Victims Of “Death By Misadventure.”

Every death by misadventure is tragic. It is an avoidable death. The victim didn’t mean to die. Their poor judgment at the moment or the misinformation (faulty GPS directions) led to their demise. Sadly the same thing can happen spiritually.

  • They got a job that kept them out of church. They didn’t mean to backslide.
  • They moved from their church out of the will of God. They didn’t mean to backslide.
  • They married the wrong person. They didn’t mean to backslide.
  • They chose friends who led them down wrong paths. They didn’t mean to backslide.
  • They compromised and argued over standards. They didn’t mean to backslide.
  • They didn’t feel convicted about some holiness issues. They didn’t mean to backslide.
  • They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. They didn’t mean to backslide.
  • They had marriage problems that caused many to go astray from God. They didn’t mean to backslide.
  • They accepted false teachings, which led them astray. They didn’t mean to backslide.
  • They got offended or hurt, so they stayed home and sulked. They didn’t mean to backslide.
  • They wanted their gift to be used of God, but they took matters into their own hands. They didn’t mean to backslide.

 

Abner

It could be said that Abner died by misadventure. He found safety in a City of Refuge, but came outside to talk. It was there that he was killed, just outside safety. He didn’t mean to die. King David grieved over Abner’s foolish thinking.

2Sam. 3:33 And the king lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool dieth?

 

Samson

Thought to be invincible, yet he laid his head in a woman’s lap, not knowing he had opened the door to death by misadventure. He didn’t mean to die.

 

Reader: What About You?

There are decisions you must make in everyday life that influence your direction towards eternity. Wrong choices and carnal influences constantly make themselves available to us all.

I pray that you make righteous decisions and surround yourself with godly influence. Make sure you obey God’s Word and submit yourself totally to Him. Stay connected to your Apostolic pastor. All it takes is for you to make one bad mistake.

 

If We Look To Him For Guidance, He Will Never Let Us Make A Bad Decision.

Prov. 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Prov. 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Prov. 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

Prov. 3:8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

Prov. 3:9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:

Prov. 3:10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

 

May God Help Us All!