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Can You Pass The Hurt Test?

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“Offences Will Come…”

Luke 17:1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come:

  • So, what do you do when they come?
  • How do you respond? Be careful.
  • Your soul may be at stake!


Meet David…

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!


Meet Lynn…

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 and got her miracle!


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.


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.


Need Help 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 15, 2018 at 12:18 pm

“Grace Spoken Here”

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“Grace Spoken Here”


Click Here

Did you ever discover a gold mine? Well, someone told me where it was and I looked and found it to be even better than the glowing descriptions I’d heard. I was thrilled to find a young mother who is a natural writer and may not truly admit that to herself.

I am blown away by the easy ‘Grace’ with which she writes! It’s like you can hear her talking! It just oozes from her heart! For me, if a writer can write like she talks in a conversation, it doesn’t get any better or smoother than that!

Brittany Holt Morgan does just that and is sitting on a gold mine.

  • She is real.
  • She is honest.
  • She is transparent.

Her posts are lovable and helpful at the same time. She has experienced pain, but hasn’t wasted her pain, she has used it to help others! If I was her Grandpa, I would be stinking proud of her. I am smitten by what I read!

Her blog is brand new. With her permission, I am linking her new blog to mine and help introduce her to my readers!

“Grace Spoken Here” is the name of her blog. I started reading her first post and made the sweet journey with her as my guide. That is my suggestion for you too! She will help and bless all who read her words! I subscribed and I hope you do.


I Love how Brittany Holt Morgan writes and you will too!







Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 3, 2017 at 11:53 am

Puzzle Prayer Time

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Puzzle Prayer Time

The beautiful white-haired grandma sat silently beside me as our car rolled down the Interstate. Marcia Starr Ballestero, my devoted wife of fifty years, was letting her thoughts and heart focus on the needs of a family member.

Puzzle Prayer TimeSmall talk between us had died out when she picked up her iPad. From the corner of my eye I could see that she was doing it again. She does it at home too, almost every day.

She was going through her camera roll and albums looking for a specific photo. That’s her pattern. Today she chose one of our children and their spouse. Some times she chooses a picture of just one person, other times it may be a couple or even their whole family. Once in a while she chooses a picture of us.

The selected photo is then imported into her jigsaw puzzle app. Her gentle fingers begin to move over the hundreds of pieces. She moves them here and there trying to make them fit where she thinks they should go.

Her puzzles may last an hour or two, sometimes longer. The attraction she has for puzzles isn’t so much her love for games, but it actually is part of her family prayer time.

As she moves each piece of the puzzle into place, she is praying silently. She is praying for every aspect of their life. She prays for their soul, their marriage, their health, their finances and their home.

I do my best not to interrupt her puzzle prayer time. She methodically attempts to make pieces fit in place. Often she gets it right the first time. Other times not. When it becomes a trial and error project, it is like real-life to her. Her prayer focus is on the missing pieces in that person’s picture. Loving fingers slide over the face, sometimes the heart and then lingers a moment.

  • I wonder, is she praying for their heart?
  • Is she praying for them to make right decisions?
  • Is she praying for God to keep them safe?
  • I never ask.

When she is finished, she will hold the photo up for me to see. When I compliment her on the beautiful picture, she smiles. I know that there was a lot of love and prayer put into that puzzle. How much? Only God and her know.

No one else in our family knows about this. Our children and grandchildren do not even know. But heaven knows that there is a loving Mother and Grandmother who is trying to make the pictures of her family turn out right by asking for God’s help to find the missing pieces and put them in the right place.


Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 12, 2015 at 10:49 am

The Storm Painter

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The Storm Painter

The painter of the storm had a mission. He had painted many a dark sky with thunderclouds before, but from a distance. He had painted the storms from the shore in the shelter of his studio where he was safe from all the elements of destruction. Today would be different. Artist Joseph Turner chose to view this storm outside his comfort zone.

He wished to paint what a storm looked like to him from the inside. This wasn’t to be just any April Showers moment. This storm would be a major blizzard, a rogue storm. Yet not just a bad snowstorm, but a snowstorm at sea. He wanted to view the storm from a boat while the waves threatened to sink his ship.

The seas were tumultuous, the waves high and rolling hard. There was no way he could stand on the deck and not slide off. He had to make a choice. He chose to be lashed to the mast of the ship for hours in the blinding freezing snowstorm. He wanted to paint it so real that on the canvass it would be hard to tell the sea from the sky.

‘Modern Painter’ website paid a huge compliment to Turner’s painting which he simply called Snowstorm.


Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth exhibited 1842 Joseph Mallord William Turner

Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth exhibited 1842 Joseph Mallord William Turner




Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

Modern Painters described the Snowstorm, as “…one of the very grandest statements of sea-motion, mist, and light, that has ever been put on canvas.“


Maybe We All Are Painters

While almost none of us make our living as a professional painter, we still know a bit about the storms of life. Many know what it’s like to be tied to the mast and feel the snow, the sea spray, to be slapped in the face with freezing winds and have no defense from the storm. Imagine what it’s like to tied:

  • For hours with the snow beating your face.
  • For hours in the howling wind.
  • For hours with the ship struggling to survive the storm-tossed waves.
  • For hours seeing life-threatening skies and seas.
  • For hours in the bitter cold.
  • For hours of being wet and miserable.


Maybe We’ll Never Paint A Portrait Of Surviving The Storm…

Until We Too Have Been Tied To:

  • Heartache
  • Cancer
  • A Heart Attack
  • A Bad Marriage
  • Spousal Unfaithfulness
  • Financial Devastation
  • Rumor
  • Loneliness
  • Afflictions
  • Rejection
  • Depression
  • Lifelong Illness
  • Abuse


Maybe We’ll Never Be Able To Paint A Portrait Of Bearing One Another’s Burdens…

Until We Too Been Lashed To The Deck Of:

  • Stormy Seas
  • Tribulation
  • Shame
  • Embarrassment
  • Overwhelming Disappointment
  • Bitterness
  • Shattered dreams
  • Tears
  • Brokenness
  • The Death Of A Child
  • A Backslidden Spouse
  • An Addicted Love One


We cannot accurately paint the storm for others to see until we have lived through one our self. Naysayers may try to find fault with our story. But we have been there. We somehow survived. We felt the mast rub on our back. The rope burns will be there for a while. We suffered hypothermia. Our body shivered with the freezing snowstorm.

We thought of those we knew sitting at home in their warm little world. They could not help us now. It was no longer just a storm. It had become our storm. We chose not to waste our storm but share it with others in the hopes they would be helped or blessed.


Maybe We Will Never Truly Paint A Portrait Of Revival…

Until We Have Been Lashed To The Deck Of:

  • A Burden for souls
  • A Prayer Room
  • Travail
  • Tears
  • Vision
  • Compassion
  • Outreach


Maybe We Will Never Truly Paint A Portrait Of A Father’s Love…

Until We Have Been Lashed To The Deck Of:

  • A Wayward Child
  • Tearful Forgiveness
  • Showing Mercy
  • Patience
  • A Special Needs Child
  • Unconditional Love
  • Courage
  • Sacrifice


Maybe We Will Never Truly Paint A Portrait Of Deliverance From False Doctrine…

Until We Have Been Lashed To The Deck Of:

  • False Doctrine
  • Error
  • Tradition
  • Family Pressure


The Storms we survive should make us stronger.

The Storms we survive should be used to help others see.

The Storms we survive can later turn into a thing of beauty for us.

The Storms we survive are a gift from God.


(When we hear a testimony from someone who has survived a storm, it gives us all great hope!)

What Portrait Is Our Life Painting For Others To See?


Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 30, 2015 at 4:24 pm

The Day My World Wanted To Crash, But Couldn’t.

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The Day My World Wanted To Crash, But Couldn’t.

I sat on the side of my bed with our house phone against my left ear as I listened to my Dad’s voice. Tears were standing at ready in my eyes, just waiting for any reason to start flowing. It had been one of the worst days of my life.

I was already dressed for my Wednesday night Bible Study. The clock told me that I had only five minutes remaining before I needed to leave for church.

The sound of my Dad’s voice was the best medicine for my mind and soul at this moment. I didn’t tell him what the problem was, but he was very sharp and intuitive. He was a pastor in Sulphur, LA.

For the last eight hours or so I had sat in my pastor’s study at South Bend’s Christ Temple Apostolic Church trying to prepare for the service. Nothing seemed to make sense for me. Even with over 7,000 books in my library, I couldn’t seem to find anything that would prompt me. I read many chapters in the Bible and nothing stood out.

Well, to be honest, I focused primarily on me. I had felt like crying all day and I didn’t know why. I had the most wonderful wife and children a man could ever hope to have. I pastored a church full of people I loved and they were all so good to me.

the_world_crashes_down_by_friskeydomingo-d38ieg6Was I depressed? I didn’t want to think so. Was I dealing with condemnation? No. What was making me a basket case? Why was I on the verge of tears all day?

I tried praying and was grateful for a legitimate format for me to open up and cry in. What was the deal? What was wrong with me? Was I going through some mid-life crisis at 40 years old? I didn’t know.

Was I being overly hard and harsh on myself? Was I crying tears of disappointment because of un-achieved goals and dreams? I was afraid to think too long about that.

Who could I call and vent to? Who’s shoulder would be broad enough? I could think of no one that I wanted to burden down with my heavy load of negative feelings.

Was I out of the will of God? Was God dealing with me about something? Who knew? My self-pity was working overtime.

Even then as I sat on the side of the bed looking at the blank wall, things still weren’t making any sense. I have no memory of that ten-minute conversation of unimportant and mundane things until I said I had to go.

I had spent most of the time listening to my Father talk while I held the mouth piece of the old beige phone up high over my head in case I accidentally sniffled. I couldn’t let Dad hear me cry.

“ I gotta run Dad.” I finally said as I looked at the bedroom clock.

“I need to leave here in five minutes but I want you to know I love you and miss you.”

Then came the words that would turn my world around that night.

“I love you too son,” Dad said. “Remember this. Psa. 46:1 says that God is our refuge and strength. Don’t you ever forget that.”

I thanked him for that word, told him again that I loved him, said goodbye and picked up my Bible. As I walked out the backdoor, I looked up the Scripture passage and marked it with a ribbon.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

I visited the prayer room. No Biblical illustration came to mind that could even remotely connect that verse for me. My mind was blank. I really didn’t want to preach that night, and besides, I had nothing to preach. I was a mess.

I sat in my chair on the platform later listening to the prayers and praise of the good saints. I’m sure the worship was wonderful as usual, but I was just going through the motions. My mind was still searching for a character to illustrate the verse. What was I going to do? I didn’t know.

Finally, it was time for me to step to the pulpit. I made a few announcements and read Psa. 46:1 to the congregation while they still remained standing. When I finished, I invited them to be seated.

I announced my sermon title for the evening message. “God Is Our Refuge.” Then, I closed the Bible because there was nothing else there in the verse that could help me.

As soon as I said that God was our refuge, I was reminded of the fact that Job had a hedge around him that was placed there by God and Job didn’t even know it existed.

I pulled a folding chair up for me to sit in while I demonstrated the point. Then the word Hedge stood out to me. So I gathered several chairs around mine into a circle hoping to make a visible hedge.

I looked at the crowd and in a spirit of transparency said. “I don’t know if I am preaching tonight to you or to me. If I am just preaching tonight to me, you might as well go on home now, and I will do the same when I finish preaching this sermon.

My mind has no remembrance of what I said next or how it happened. In about three minutes, the saints began to worship and weep. I wept along with them. Then they began to shout and dance in the Holy Ghost. I shouted too. It became one of the most precious moves of the Holy Ghost we had enjoyed in many years. The service ended with victory in the camp and in our hearts.

There were no sermon notes for later reference, no recordings of the message. It was just a God moment. It was a gift from the Glory World.

I was privileged to understand more clearly what Paul meant when he said to Timothy that by preaching, he would save himself and them that heard him. It happened to me that night.

We all went home with Holy Ghost smiles on our faces. My heavy emotional load had been lifted. That verse came alive just for me, if for no one else. I willing claim it, quote it and stand upon it to this day.

That Was The Day The Day My World Wanted To Crash, But Couldn’t. Because God Truly Was My Refuge.

He’s Your Refuge Too! And In The Words Of My Late Father… “Don’t You Ever Forget It!”

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 23, 2014 at 7:58 pm

What Did Your Storm… Bring You?

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The motel window rattled and the floor seemed to reverberate at the deafening sound of thunder. Rain, driven by the harsh wind, sounded like BB’s were hitting the window and the outside door of my room.

Lightening flashes lit up my darkened room. My iPhone weather apps alerted me of the presence of hail and damaging winds, with possible flooding.

I can sleep through most storms, but not this one. The clock on the nightstand said 3:10am. I had only been asleep for little over an hour.

All the Motels were full for miles. I had to drive through the Southern Mississippi night into the wee hours of the morning to find a room. And now that I had found one, I couldn’t sleep because of the storm.

It was a loud storm too. It shook everything in it’s path and it robbed me of my sleep and sense of peace and safety.  After a couple of hours though, the storm moved on and the rain stopped .

When I walked outside after daylight with my luggage to continue my journey, I worried that the hail had damaged my rented car. It had not, but I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw what the storm had done to my car.

I looked at the hood, and I said out loud, “Look what my storm has brought me!”

IMG_0313 1IMG_0315 1

It is so easy, while in the middle of our storms to get so overwhelmed with it’s potential dangers, that we have no hope of a storm producing anything lovely or pretty.

Yet, it can happen.

Were the flowers on the hood beautiful? Absolutely!

I just wasn’t prepared for the concept of a storm providing me with beautiful and delicate flowers!

What Has Your Storm Brought You?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Posted in Comfort

Tagged with

We’re In A Fixed Fight!

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We’re In A Fixed Fight!


I sat in the audience tonight and heard my old friend Timothy Spell sing at the ARC Conference in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. As always, he did amazing.

Between songs tonight, he made some comments that gave much hope to those going through trials. He said this…

“We’re in a fixed fight!759123773

“The outcome of this fight has already been determined.

“Someone may say, if this is a fixed fight. How come I got knocked down?

He said, “To keep the crowd watching.”

“Stay encouraged, we know how the last round is going to turn out!”

Thanks Brother Spell!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 23, 2013 at 1:17 am

Posted in Comfort, Life, Peace

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