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My Name Is Leah

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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

Old Grandfathers Are A Very Odd Breed.

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Old grandfathers are a very odd breed. They are, for the most part, more tolerant in their judgment of others because of their years. Yet, they are fixated with the age-old belief that, “They don’t make them like they used to.” Therefore, when an old dad looks a younger dad, he looks at him through the eyes of experience and with critical understanding. As a result, the old guys often shake their heads at the newer generation of dads.

But there are six younger dads that this old man doesn’t shake his head at. He only beams with grateful admiration as he observers the wonderful outpouring of love and guidance each of them in their own way provide for their families. He has to thank God everyday that his grandchildren have a loving father like them in their home.

I am talking about some men who deserve every honor a Father’s Day can provide. It would be an impossibility to show them too much thanks for the way they give of themselves and their time to their children. In a generation when many dads may be doing everything wrong, there are those who are doing everything right! They are loving, affectionate and take time for their children.

These men just happen to be related to me. My son (in-law): Brandon Hartzell, and my four sons: Anthony Ballestero, Bryan Ballestero, Martyn Ballestero II, and Andrew Ballestero. These men all make me so very proud and thankful to God. I fiercely love them all!

 

 

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Bryan Ballestero

 

 

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Anthony Ballestero

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Andrew Ballestero

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Martyn Ballestero II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brandon Hartzell

Brandon Hartzell

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Jeremy Branham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I must mention my wonderful nephew, (son of my sister Carlene.), Jeremy Branham who without a father in his life to guide him became everything a model father should be. He makes me proud too!)

Thank you my Sons, for fifteen wonderful grandchildren!! I wish you a very Happy Father’s Day!

 

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 17, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Posted in Family, Father's Day

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Things You Won’t Fix

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Things You Won’t Fix

Isn’t it amazing how we can allow ourselves to live with situations that are not normal? Not only do we live with it, but also we ignore it, saying that when we get the time we’ll fix it. Like remodel your home, if you want to remodel your garden you can click here to check the best metal parts.

There are always things to fix at home, you may need to remodel some part of the house like design planning, roof fixing, foundation problems, electrical or water issues that are the most common around the house, some people like to remodel or change the design, maybe repainting some walls, so they even go online to read paint reviews and find the best paint that work for their specific neeeds. This are more specific so you might need  professional help like this great company that works everything for you in  https://wholehousewaterfiltrationsystem.com/california where you can find advise and help to to fix your water system and they even apply water filtration and treatment systems to purify  and have more healthy water. Other important things are the plumbing, HVAC duct-work and structural carpentry.

Things Like:

  • A leaky faucet.
  • The cracked storm window.
  • Some partially finished remodeling job.
  • Your leaky roof.
  • The broken back doorstep.
  • Missing basement handrail.
  • A button missing from a sport coat.
  • That rotten tooth that needs pulled?
  • The broken HVAC, you should find the best heating repair contractor in http://performancebasedheatingandair.com/

Never Fixed

We Mention It, Say We Need To Do It, But Let It Go Another Year.

  • The things you don’t fix will fix you.
  • It WILL put you in a fix.
  • Is the cost of not fixing it cheaper than fixing it? No! Never.
  • Aren’t there some things your wife has asked you to fix six months ago and you still haven’t gotten around to it?
  • If you don’t fix your car, you’ll put it up on blocks and it will sit as an eyesore for years out in the front yard.  Everyone will know you by that landmark.
  • The leaky faucet will raise your water bill.
  • The leaky roof will cost you thousands to fix because you let it go.
  • The tooth will give you more pain than you could imagine.
  • When a house is not fixed we say they just let the place go.
  • There are just some things you won’t fix.

 

King Solomon Marveled At Men Who Procrastinated During The Harvest.

  • Prov. 24:30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;
  • Prov. 24:31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.
  • Prov. 24:32 Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.

Common Phrases Are Used In Regards To One’s Personal Appearance.

  • “She fixed herself up.”
  • “He let himself go”

When We Do Not Do Something Immediately, We Call It Procrastination.

The closest word to procrastination in the Bible is, sluggard. We are repulsed by even the thought of being called a sluggard.

The sluggard is a procrastinator. His motto is, “Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow.” Sluggards have developed the ability to put off starting a task as well as not completing those they have already begun.

The sluggard rationalizes everything and his mind works much faster than his body. He will always quickly find an excuse not to.

  • I don’t have the time
  • I don’t have the tools
  • I don’t have the know-how
  • I don’t have the desire
  • I don’t feel in the mood
  • I got a lot of irons in the fire
  • I have a headache

There Are Those Who Never Fix Themselves Spiritually. They Just Let Themselves Go.

 

Are There Some Things In Our Hearts That We Won’t Fix?

  • A bad attitude?
  • A bad habit?
  • No prayer life?
  • No worship?
  • Not honoring God with our tithes?
  • Broken family relationships?
  • Bridges we need to build?
  • Restoring an offended brother?
  • Not saying I’m sorry, forgive me?

Be Reconciled To Your Brother Before To Expect God To Hear You.

  • Matt 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
  • Matt 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Need To Fix Your Back Tithe Problem?

  • It will cost you heavily if you do not fix the problem areas of your soul.
  • It will cost you 20% additional if you do not stay current with your tithing. The longer you wait the more it will cost you.
  • Lev 27:31 And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.

When You Don’t Fix It, Then It’s Becomes Sin!

  • Jas 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
  • We like to use the word procrastinate, but that word is not in the Bible. A sluggard is what the Scripture calls us.
  • In the natural, your procrastination qualifies you as a sluggard.
  • In the spiritual, the Bible just calls you a sinner.
  • Spiritually, our pride keeps us from fixing some things.

There Are Things You Won’t Fix, Why?

  • You know you need the Holy Ghost speaking in tongues.
  • You know you need to be baptized in Jesus name to be saved.
  • You know you need to be faithful to church.
  • You know you need to worship.
  • You know you need to pay tithes.
  • You know you need to live a holy and separated life.
  • You know you need to be reconciled to your brother.

Jesus Called The Scribes And Pharisees, Hypocrites.

  • Mat 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
  • They only fixed the part men could see.
  • Hypocrites won’t fix what really needs to be fixed.

 

There Are Men In The Bible Who Never Fixed What Was Wrong In Their Life.

 

Agrippa Almost Got Right With God.

  • Acts 26:28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
  • He never fixed it.

Felix Knew What He Needed To Do, But The Timing Wasn’t Right.

  • Acts 24:25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
  • He never fixed it.

 

The Rich Young Ruler Thought It Cost Too Much To Follow Jesus.

  • Matt. 19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
  • He never fixed it.

When It Comes To Fixing, Some Things God Has Put A Time Limit On.

  • Eph 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
  • God’s curfew for anger is sunset. Fix your disagreements before the sun goes down. That’s God’s requirement.
  • Fix it.

 

The Four Lepers Fixed It

  • 2Ki 7:3 And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die?
  • They fixed it!

Jacob Had A Problem But He Fixed It When He Wrestled With The Angel

  • Gen 32:24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
  • He fixed it!

The Prodigal Son

  • Luke 15:18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
  • Luke 15:19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
  • He fixed it!

 

The History of Obligatory Archery Practice!

The references to horses, riders, kingdoms and battles in “For want of a nail” indicate the English origins of the rhyme. One of the English Kings did not leave anything to chance! In 1363, to ensure the continued safety of the realm, King Edward III commanded the obligatory practice of archery on Sundays and holidays! The earliest known written version of the rhyme is in John Gower’s “Confesio Amantis” dated approximately 1390.

“For Want Of A Nail”

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe the horse was lost.

For want of a horse the rider was lost.

For want of a rider the battle was lost.

For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.

And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Are there are things God has asked you to fix and you still haven’t gotten around to it?

Why would you expect God to fix things for you that you’re not willing to fix for yourself?

Have you got a loose or lost nail in your life?

Please fix it.

Yes, Fix It Now!

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

You Are A Committee Of One

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You Are A Committee Of One.

Webster’s Definition: Committee Of One

Noun

  1. An individual person designated to function alone as a committee.

 

Society teaches us that we are a committee of one and that each one of us must do the right thing.

 

The US Army

The Army recently scrapped its memorable advertising slogan, ”Be all you can be,” and replaced it with one intended to appeal to the individualism and independence of today’s youth: ”An Army of one.”

 

Smokey Bear

For many years public service announcements on the radio have showcased Smokey Bear saying, “Only You can prevent forest fires.” The meaning is clear. Everyone venturing into the forest is expected to handle fire responsibly.

Some things in life depend on just us. We are the bottom line. There is no one else to blame. We then must strive to be responsible.

 

“The Buck Stops Here”

Last year during a visit to President Harry Truman’s Library, I took note of his signature desktop motto. “The Buck Stops Here.” Seeing that one plaque was one of the more memorial highlights of the tour. The President made it plain, he wasn’t passing the buck, but will to stand up and face the challenge.

 

We Have Biblical Examples

  • Ester Was A Committee Of One When She Went Before The King.
  • Elijah On Mt. Carmel Was A Committee Of One.
  • David Was A Committee Of One Fighting Goliath’s.

 Staying In Church And Being Saved Is Up To You!

Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

 

“Save Thyself,” Is Still The Message!!

  • Each one must want to be saved enough to make the effort.
  • The fact is most preachers want to see some folks saved more than they do.
  • If you are no longer saved today, you have no one to blame but yourself.

 You Are A Committee Of One When It Comes To Staying Saved.

 

Protecting Yourself From False Doctrine is Up To You.

1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Paul’s advice warned Timothy to:

  • Watch yourself
  • Be careful
  • Pay attention to your personal life
  • Pay attention to your doctrine
  • Your life depends on it
  • Others are looking at you to follow your steps
  • It’s up to you Timothy.

You Are A Committee Of One When It Comes To Spiritual Carefulness.

 

Holding On To This Apostolic Message, Is Your Responsibility.

The Apostles spoke to the church warning them to protect themselves from false doctrine.

Col 2:8  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

2 Pe 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

2 Tim 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

  • Be careful what holiness and doctrinal arguments you listen to.
  • Smooth talkers will lead you astray from truth if you let them beguile you.
  • Some try to reason the Acts 2:38 truth and holiness standards away.
  • You cannot let them lead you into delusion.
  • False doctrine is just an “amen” away.
  • If you don’t know the truth, your soul is on the line.
  • You are an army of one in protecting your soul.

You Are A Committee Of One When It Comes To Resisting Error.

 

Being Ready For The Coming Of the Lord Is Up To You.

Matt. 24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

  • The ‘watch ye’ is understood. It’s your job to watch.
  • Watch, Jesus is coming.
  • Watch, you have to get yourself ready, and be ready.
  • Watch, it’s up to you.
  • ‘Preppers’ prepare for potential national and end time disaster.
  • They believe survival is up to them individually.
  • Some are preparing more for government failure and stockpiling for the tribulation than they are preparing their hearts for the coming of the Lord.

You Are A Committee Of One When It Comes To Being Ready For The Lord’s Return.

 

Getting Past Grudges And Hurts Is Up To You.

James 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

  • How long will you let this battle go one?
  • You hold the key to the door of Peace.
  • If you don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive you.
  • It’s your call.

You Are A Committee Of One When It Comes To Forgiving Others.

 

Restoration Is Your Duty.

Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

  • Don’t be foolish and act too holy to love and restore the fallen.
  • Restoration is your duty.

You Are A Committee Of One When It Comes To Restoration

 

Worship Is Your Job

Psalms 150:6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

  • Worship Is Everybody’s Business
  • How can anyone be so spiritual clueless as to feel comfortable letting others do the praising for them?
  • Don’t let worship leader or praise team do the worshipping for you. It’s your job to praise the Lord.
  • Worship is everybody’s business
  • Don’t let the same old six or seven lead out in worship. You do it.
  • Let everything that has breath… It’s up to you.

You Are A Committee Of One When It Comes To Worship.

 

You Are A Committee Of One In The Prayer Room.

James 5:16 … The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

  • Your prayer is powerful.
  • Your prayer can flip the switch the kills the power of the enemy.
  • Your prayer is the bottom line of spiritual defense.
  • We fight the evil on our knees.
  • The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man

You Are A Committee Of One When It Comes To Prayer.

 

Being A Witness Is Your Job Too.

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

You Are A Committee Of One When It Comes To Soul Winning.

 

Dad, I Remember… (Today would have been his birthday.)

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Dad, I Remember…

(This is a portion of a letter I wrote to Dad when I was in my early 40’s. I left out the personal part at the beginning, but wanted to share the memories with you.)

Gleason Reunion (64)

Dad,

Please allow me the privilege of thinking back… with my pen helping me… to a few of the times that you took me by the hand and walked with me, your only son, down “Memory’s Lane”. I’ll not attempt to display all of memory’s treasured trophies; maybe I’ll even forget to point at the biggest and best. It’s not that the unmentioned aren’t important – to the contrary! It just proves, one more time, that no child could ever fully tell how much his parent(s) mean to him!! What is important is that we share memories with those we love.

I remember…

  • When Mom made that wire recording we sent to you while you were gone evangelizing. Mom told me to talk to you and then sing. I told you I loved you, I missed you and that I was praying for you. I then sang two songs, mixed up both up into one somehow! Ha! (Portland – age 4)
  • The time you took me “out” to whip me because I’d misbehaved in church. But I talked you out of it by saying, “Daddy, I love you!”
  • The day you stopped the car in the “middle of nowhere”, and with a knowing look to mom said, “I’m going to see a man about a dog”. I, in innocent eagerness, called to you out the window … “Daddy, I want a St. Bernard!”
  • My first “Bike”! You brought it home in a big box, took it into the back yard of our home in Riverside and put it together. It was red and I still consider it to be one of the best mountain bikes! I sure was proud!
  • When you’d call me over to you, and you sat in a comfortable chair, and then have me hold up your leg. Sometimes in my hands. (But when they got too heavy, sometimes the shoulders always were the right height!)
  • Riding in that Old Auburn antique car!
  • Mom riding around and around the house on your motorcycle.(She didn’t know how to stop it!) And you and Uncle Stan laughing and trying to tell her how to stop.) Mom just said Uncle Stan showed her how to make it go… but she never waited to finish the lesson. She wound up running into a fence to stop it!
  • My first motorcycle ride. I rode behind you on the luggage rack. You had folded up your sweater to make it more comfortable. I sure enjoyed the ride, but did I ever have a sore bottom!
  • Your coming back to 711 Polk, Oregon City. (from Yakima?) Seems like it was near Christmas, or some holiday. Anyway, I recall you opening the car door and carrying in bunches of apples – with everybody excited, talking and helping you carry them in.
  • Packing the back seat level in the old blue Nash, so all of us kids could sleep while we drove.
  • Walking with you through Anaheim High School as you made the rounds as  a night watchman. You even let me punch the clock. In one room, you let me sit in a desk – my feet never touched the floor. I couldn’t imagine ever being big enough to go to high school.
  • You working on the Plymouth in front of the house in Baytown, Texas and me hanging over the side, watching you. Then, our several trips, afoot, to buy more parts at the Western Auto. You told folks your car was a 1941 Western Auto.
  • The first house we lived in, in Columbus, Indiana. It was an apartment. You told us that the landlord counted how many times we flushed the toilet. We were to flush only when necessary!
  • In Anaheim, the night Eisenhower was voted in. You sat by the radio, with pen and paper and added up the votes. That was before computers. Seems like you stayed up till 2 or 3 am.
  • The day you bought your first new car, a Hudson, and took us all for a ride. (Riverside)
  • The day you gave me my first gun – a .22! –Brother! – was I ever happy and proud!
  • Going fishing with you and Brother Bennett…(we lived in Hope, IN) at a catfish pond. I caught my first fish on Brother Bennett’s spinning he just had got at www.reelchase.com/best-baitcasting-reels/, while he was at the concession stand!
  • When I’d been sick and you made me a big kite – 6’x 4’ – made out of a light crepe paper, with real heavy fishing line for string. When we took it out to fly it, the wind really picked me up on my tip-toes. Boy! that was the biggest kite a kid could have. I don’t recall ever again, seeing one that big! “They don’t make ‘em like they used to!”
  • In Columbus, one Christmas you asked me if I’d give my bicycle to my sister. (You bought me a new 3-speed). We went to the basement, and sawed off the top cross bar, lowered it, and painted it red.
  • In Richmond – getting a train for Christmas. You played with it for the longest. (To make sure it was working right!)
  • Also in Richmond, after a return from a trip, giving me a book, and censoring it page by page – scribbling out any slang words with a black crayon.
  • During Columbus days- Shooting your gun (.250-3000 was it?) or 300 savage? – anyway, I leaned up against a tree. The gun butt and my little shoulder got acquainted in a hurry.
  • The time in Albany, Oregon when I went up with Turney on my first piper cub ride. You looked at us in the plane, and then said to Uncle Orion, “Well, he was a good boy”.
  • The drunk in the Yakima church.
  • Picking apples together, all day one day on a ‘Migrant Farm Workers’ farm.
  • Bringing me an apple home from Libby’s cannery that was as big as a grapefruit.
  • The time in Yakima, when you hugged mom real big in front of us kids, and held her while you sang to her the popular song of the year, “Sugar Time”. (Sugar in the mornin’, sugar in the evenin’, sugar at supper time…)
  • The times you used to ask me if I wanted to hear a funny noise. (If the answer was yes, a playful pinch or knuckle squeezin’ warranted a good loud “funny noise”.)
  • Hearing you (and mom) pray for God to save your boy!
  • National City! When we had no money for gas, nor anything to eat but beans. When we walked several miles to that P.A.W. church, only to find no service that night. On the way back, stopping by that bakery’s exhaust fan and inhaling that wonderful smell. We just grinned at each other until our eyes watered. You said, “I believe I could gain 5 pounds just standing here!”
  • Your remarks and expressions of happiness when I told you I had just received the Holy Ghost.
  • When we were pulling that 35’ trailer with a 66 Ford, 6 cycle, no electric brakes, going down the Rocky  Mountains. You had me hold the car in 2nd gear, so it wouldn’t jump out into neutral!
  • Overhauling that Nash Metropolitan. We had a whole bunch of bolts and nuts left over, in a coffee can!
  • You taking me to get my California’s “Permit”, and me actually driving home – in that Metro- with you beside me.
  • The night in Vista I got my thumb stuck in that drum you’d bought me. You put liquid soap on my thumb. It never came loose until the choir sang, when I stood up in the back row, after about a minute or two. then it fell off and rolled down off the platform!
  • Our last night in Vista, building the sides on the utility trailer, and painting it silver.
  • The last time we had a foot race, and you beat me?
  • Our last arm wrestling match, when you “retired” undefeated!
  • The day you gave me my first set of shaving needs- safety razor, blades, and shaving cream- Boy!- was I ever “growed” up!
  • The way you beamed proudly at me on my graduation day – even though you’d braved the emotion packed day – Beverly’s funeral, mom sick in bed, and a special church service in progress at our church, you still came. Thank-you!
  • The time I called you and told you that I was in jail in Nebraska! You later said that you didn’t know if you should laugh, cry, or horse-whip me!
  • The day you put X’s and O’s on the back of a girl friend’s letter… as a practical joke (and, to find out my reaction- ha!)
  • You gave me my first camera – an Argos C-3.
  • When I called from Louisiana, broke and spending part of my last $5.00 in a phone booth, and you said if I starved to death and died, you’d build me a monument bigger than George Washington’s… because I’d be the first man that God ever let down!
  • Oh, yah! The day when you asked me if I felt the call to preach. When I said, “Yes”, you took me to the church, had me get up behind the pulpit, open my Bible (without looking) point to a passage, read, then you said, “Okay, now preach”. When I couldn’t, you had me sit down, then you showed me “how” – ha!
  • In Fort Worth, when we talked about Marcia. I’d asked you to talk to me, not only as my father, but as my best friend. I wanted to know your opinion of my marrying her. We prayed together, hugged each other’s necks, then I made a long telephone call and a long drive to see her!
  • My wedding day! The Father and Son talks. The look in your eye as you pronounced us man and wife!
  • Laughing at mom trying to walk (purple coat and all) on our U.P. hunting trip. Mom said she had a scarf on her head, a long purple coat, an orange hunting vest, brown boots, rangefinders and gloves! She said you guys laughed so hard at her, that you fell on your knees in the snow!
  • The time we got lost for 2 hours in the snow storm and couldn’t find mom on her mountain deer stand– and promised each other not to tell her. (and didn’t for several years)
  • Your letting me drive for you to your speaking engagements. Was I ever proud!
  • The way you put your arm around me and with a beam of pride, we looked together at your first grandchild, (grandson), and your name sake.
  • Our hunting trips – Wyoming and Canada.
  • The night of the bear attack!
  • My first antelope, shot with your gun!
  • The times you told me you were proud of me!
  • The first time you “slipped” and called me “Doc” – I realized you no longer subconsciously regarded me as a boy, but as a fellow laborer!
  • Going down the road in the car, and you asked my advice about an important church problem. That you had asked me, overwhelmed me. And then I thought you probably already knew what you’d do, but you wanted to know how I would react!
  • The night you ordained me and gave me Your Bible!
  • The famous hunting trip with you, mom, Cavaness, Jordan, Buie and me. What a time!
  • The times of correction, and later the hugs of love and forgiveness.
  • Your way of talking to me when I needed it, had a way of melting me, even when I was filled with polite stubbornness, and didn’t want to cry. It was no use, the tears came anyway. Thank-you for being able to reach ‘thru’ to me!!
  • Your washing my feet during “Communion and Foot-washing”.
  • Your telling me that you loved me.
  • In Utah, when you were throwing away some books, and I picked them up. You told mom, “Marty’s a Junker!” ha!
  • Your taking your son to Disney World for a thrill of his young life (ha!) – age 30
  • The Bahamas voyage!
  • The first time I preached in your new church in Sulphur, LA.
  • Visiting your new home there.
  • Our first Christmas together as a family, since I had been married.
  • The…..

If we look in the right direction, Dad, there’s no end to Memory’s Lane!

I may not have always been good company, but I’ve sure enjoyed the walk!!!

Love, your son,

Marty

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 6, 2014 at 7:51 am

Posted in Family

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At What Level Do You Wish To Play?

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At What Level Do You Wish To Play?

In the 1980’s electronic chess games became the rage in certain cerebral circles. One particular model would ask its user, as soon as the power button was switched on, “At what level do you wish to play?”

Everyone knew it was just a game. The unit was a cheap handheld device that anyone could play. The user could play in the beginner mode, or even play at the expert level. No one would criticize the level he or she played. It was just a game, and it was only played for fun.

But The Question It Asked Is Still Valid In Real Life Today. At What Level Do You Wish To Play (Or Participate)?

‘Live Like You Were Dying’ is the title of a popular song made somewhat famous a few years ago. The message from just the title of the song is enough to make one think about prioritizing their life.

Like the electronic chess game, some things are just for entertainment, and some things are mainly used to pass the time. Then there are other things that have life and death importance attached. Our souls get intertwined in the process. You have to know which ones are which.

 

Your Friendships

Your God-fearing friends tell the world the level at which you wish to play.

Your worldly friendships probably display the level you really wish to play. If that is the level you wish to play, so be it.

Friends are more than just pals. Your friends matter to God.

  • They Influence you.
  • They generate peer pressure that will change you.
  • They can take you away from God.
  • They can bring you closer to God.
  • Chose your friends carefully. You will soon become what they are.
  • What do your friendships today say about the level you have chosen to play?
  • In Your Friendships, At What Level Do You Wish To Play?

 

Your Marriage

The way you cherish your spouse and give yourself to your marriage tells your family, friends and the whole wide world the level you have chosen to play.

  1. God becomes deeply interested and involved in your relationship with your spouse.
  2. His Word even directs you how to love and express your love to each other.
  • Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
  • Ephesians 5:28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
  1. He pays attention to your mistreatment and neglect.
  • 1 Corinthians 7:3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
  • 1 Corinthians 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
  1. Those who have trouble at home soon have trouble in church. The Lord knows that, you should too.

In Your Marriage, At What Level Do You Wish To Play?

 

At Church

Your Response And Involvement:

  • In the Worship service says volumes about the level you wish to play.
  • In the Prayer room shows the level you are playing.
  • In the Altar service shows the level you are playing.
  • In Outreach shows the level you are playing.
  • In Giving To Missions shows the level you are playing.
  • In Giving Your Tithes shows the level you are playing.
  • In the way you argue about Standards shows the level you are playing.
  • In Obeying God’s Word shows the level you are playing.

Your Reaction to the Preaching even when it corrects you makes clear the level you wish to play.

Saying Amen to the Word tells God, the devil, the Pastor and the Church family the level you wish to play.

Pictures and Posts on Social media sites tell everyone the level at which you are probably really playing.

Old timers used the phrase, Playing Church. Never let that be said about you.

Living For God Is Not A Game.

At Church, What Level Do You Wish To Play?

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 28, 2014 at 9:53 pm