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All He Ever Wanted, Was Someone To Love Him

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All He Ever Wanted, Was Someone To Love Him

Proverbs 30:18 There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:

Proverbs 30:19 The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

He had it all.

Actually, He had everything.

Well, He had everything, except one thing.

He had no one to love Him.

He had Angels who praised Him continuously.

He had Angels who did His bidding without question.

But He had no one to love Him.

He had no one to dote on Him.

He had received honor before.

He had received praise before.

But He had never been loved before.

He had never seen love demonstrated.

He had never seen love displayed.

He had never seen love expressed or shown.

He had never seen romance before.

He understood things like physics, gravity, light, sound, space travel and how to make something out of nothing.

He understood emotions like rebellion, pride, and obedience.

He just wanted to know more about this thing called love.

He had always heard over 10,000 Hallelujahs at any given moment of every day.

He heard multitudes cry “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty” every day.

What He’d never heard was someone say, “I love you!”

He knew the journey to finding love would be very long.

He had seen twinkles in stars before, but never in an eye.

His plan already included man, Calvary, and the Church.

He was prepared to do whatever it took to get a bride.

He wanted to find someone to love Him.

He spoke and the heavens and the earth came into existence.

By His own words, the sun, moon, and stars were created and flung perfectly into space.

By His own voice, the light was created, flowers and trees sprung up.

He said the words, and fish, birds, and animals appeared.

He looked it all over and said. “That’s good.”

Then He stopped talking.

Adam And Eve

He knelt down on the ground and with His hands, he began to form someone He could love. He called the man, Adam. The woman was named Eve.

He loved them. He visited every day. They walked and talked together every day without distraction.

He watched Adam and Eve smile at one another. He saw how Adam responded to Eve’s touch and Eve to Adam’s.

He watched them hold hands and kiss.

He liked what He saw. He saw the twinkle in Adam’s eye. He saw romance in its purest form.

He tried to imagine a mere mortal loving Him.

His mind raced ahead thousands of years. He thought of Himself and the Church. He pondered about His bride-to-be. “So… this is what it’s going to be like to be in love!”

He’d never been in love before. He saw Adam and Eve enjoying each other’s company. He told Himself, “That’s the kind of love I want. That’s the kind of romance I want.”

He so enjoyed being with Adam and Eve, that He turned His attention from the sounds of “Hallelujah” and “Holy-Holy” for a few hours every day just to come and see them.

He had no competition in the love department on earth. Maybe they would fall in love with Him.

Then came the heart-wrenching day when the evil serpent beguiled Eve. Sin, the enemy of the Most Holy One entered the picture. Paradise was no more.

Pain, sorrow, shame, and regret now entered the picture. The hope of Adam and Eve continuing their relationship with Him was over. Sin did it’s best to destroy that relationship.

They chose to listen to the voice of His enemy rather than listen to His voice.

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

Enoch

Seven generations later, a man was born by the name of Enoch. He heard his father and grandfather talk about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He heard the stories about God walking with them in the cool of the day.

Enoch began to imagine what it would be like to have God for a friend. That seemed to be all he could think about.

He inquired often of his family, asking them many questions, hoping to hear more stories about those precious days. He even got to talk to Adam himself and listened intently. He dreamed of having a similar experience with God.

One day Enoch started calling on the Lord as he walked. He began talking to God as if He was beside him.  The Lord did appear beside him and they began walking together and talking together every day.

Enoch was perfect in God’s eyes. His love thrilled the Lord. This was true love. Here was someone who chose to love Him, who took time out of their day and focused only on Him.

They walked and talked together every day for years. Then one day while they were walking, the sun started going down.

The Lord noticed it too. He also knew it was a long way back to Enoch’s house. So He said, “Enoch, it’s closer to my house than it is to yours. Why don’t you come on home with me?” Enoch said, “Yes.”

“And Enoch was not, for the Lord took him.”

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

Israel

He looked the world over and His eyes fell upon her. He could really love her. Her father was a Hittite and her mother was an Amorite. But He didn’t hold that against her.

He stood there looking at her, watching her. She was beautiful to Him.

She had no family, no one to look after her. There was no one else that loved her.

She was unwanted and unloved by everyone else in the world.  She was considered second class and discarded by those who knew her.

  • She wasn’t beautiful, but He loved her.
  • She wasn’t rich, but He loved her.
  • She wasn’t mighty, but He loved her.
  • She wasn’t even faithful, but He loved her.

He, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the First and the Last, The Lord God Almighty tried vainly to woo her. He did everything He could to show her He could supply her every need.

He was the richest Man in the world and of all the people in the world; He chose her, the poorest of all. He alone could make her prosper. She wasn’t impressed for long.

He showed her things about Himself that no one else had ever known. He gave her some names she could call Him by that would reveal His protecting love for her.

  • Jehovah Jireh – The Lord will Provide.
  • Jehovah Rapha – The Lord our Healer.
  • Jehovah Nissi – The Lord our Banner
  • Jehovah Shalom – The Lord our Peace
  • Jehovah Raah – The Lord our Shepherd
  • Jehovah Tsidkenu – The Lord our Righteousness
  • Jehovah Shammah – The Lord is Present

When she got sick, He made sure she got well. When she was hungry, He provided food for her and took care of her every need.

He loved her, and yet she wasn’t happy with Him. Her heart easily turned aside. She often looked at others the way He wished she would look at Him. It grieved Him continually.

While still on their honeymoon, problems arose. They hadn’t been gone from Egypt a month and things turned ugly. Before He could even get her to the Promised Land and the home He had given her, she showed her unhappiness.

He talked with Moses about His plans for her and gave him detailed instructions.

But before Moses could talk to her she started looking at someone else. She began to dress to please them. She brazenly displayed her disdain for His wishes.

  • She murmured.
  • She complained.
  • She rebelled.
  • She flaunted herself in front of others.
  • She became brazen.
  • She couldn’t even blush.

It broke His heart. Yet He fought for her when everyone tried to kill her. He supplied her every need. He cared for her more than she cared for Him.

He still loved her. He sent her letters, but she ignored them. Even after she got settled in her new home, she started looking for other lovers.

She played the harlot and was unfaithful to Him. She only dressed to please Him if she was in the mood. She often saw others that attracted her and she dressed and displayed herself in a way to please them. She longed for their affections, not His.

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

Hosea

No one seemed to care how He felt. He had no one to share His pain and problems with.

In His Divine Heartache, He looked upon His prophet, Hosea. Hosea was unmarried.

He told Hosea to marry a woman who stood on the street corners at night. “Just go pick a prostitute, anyone will do.”

He wanted someone to feel like He felt, every day.

He wanted to see again how mere mortals handled rejection from those they loved.

Hosea found such a girl. Her name was Gomer. Everyone in town knew Hosea. They were shocked at his choice of a wife. In their minds she was trash.

  • She had dirtied herself.
  • She had lowered herself.
  • She had ruined her name.
  • She would destroy their marriage.
  • Of all the girls, why pick her?

The romance burned brightly and then quickly faded. The Lord watched how their love life went.

He watched Gomer sweeten his coffee with her kisses and then walk out the door disappearing for long periods of time.

Then came the babies. Their very names carried not only a prophecy to Israel but also a wake-up call to Hosea about his two-timing wife.

Jezreel, “God will disperse”

Lo-ruhamah, “Not pitied, or No Mercy”

Lo-ammi, “Not my people”

Hosea could tell by the names he named his children that he was not their father.

Gomer eventually got so involved in her wild lifestyle that she was overpowered and put into slavery by one of her lovers. She later was placed on an auction block and sold like a farm animal.

Hosea got word that his wife was being sold. He knew what she was and what she had done. But he loved her in spite of it all.

Anyone can tell by what he paid for her, that he gave all the money he had and emptied out his meager pantry besides. He gave his all to buy her back. He paid fifteen pieces of silver, and 1½ homers of barley.

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

The Lord watched as Hosea gave all he had to buy his unfaithful wife back.

He turned his attention again to Israel. She wasn’t on an auction block. She wasn’t held against her will. She was happy to be unfaithful.

So He wrote her a bill of divorcement and He didn’t talk to her for 400 years.

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

Calvary

One day, He finally stepped into His closet and clothed Himself in a robe of flesh. He was born in Bethlehem to a young virgin.

He chose not to arrive in splendor, so He came to earth in obscurity. He came as God manifested in the flesh. He walked almost unnoticed around her.

He didn’t make Himself handsome so that she would love Him for His good looks. He wanted her to love Him for who He was, not what He looked like.

But He came unto His own and His own received Him not. They didn’t believe Him.

  • He wept.
  • His love was everlasting. Her love was fickle.
  • She tried to find fault with Him. She only followed Him for what He could give them.
  • He wanted to talk.
  • She was too busy, too preoccupied.

He said to her, “You say you love Me, but you say that only with your lips. It’s just words. Your heart is far from Me. You don’t love Me with your heart.”

He saw her as she really was. A slave. She was in bondage and held fast by her own sins.

He knew He was the only One who could redeem her.

He willingly offered Himself on Calvary for Her. He willingly gave His all to buy her back. He gave His blood to wash away her sins and He arose on the third day to give her hope of a new life.

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

The Church

Over 2,000 years have come and gone. He’s ready now to take His bride to a home He has prepared just for her.

He wanted someone who would love Him enough to heed all of His Word. After all, if she really loved Him, she would keep His commandments. Not pick and choose which ones she liked. He was in love, why wasn’t she?

Yet He sees her still looking at the world. Sometimes she tries harder to please her other lovers than she does Him.

She has started complaining again if she thinks He’s asking her to dress a certain way just for Him. She doesn’t always act like she is in love with Him.

She says, “He doesn’t care how I dress. He doesn’t look on the outside. He only looks on the inside, on the heart.”

But when He looked in her heart, He saw nothing there that looked like love to Him. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.

  • She dreads talking to Him on a daily basis. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • She doesn’t think about Him during the course of the day. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • Yet she talks freely to everyone else but Him. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • All she seems to want is a sugar daddy. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • She has to be begged to visit His house. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • He blesses her with money and yet she is not faithful to give her tithe to Him. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • He sends blessings her way and loads her down daily with benefits. She soon forgets. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • He sends healing to her every situation. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • He calms her storms of life. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • She has all the songs memorized and sings them without feeling. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • She hears His Word preached and chooses which parts she likes and doesn’t like. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • He says He’s coming to get her and she’s not even looking out the window for Him. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • He says He is coming to get and to take her to heaven with Him, and she is not even making herself ready. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • He knew it would happen this way.
  • A long time ago He said that she would love pleasure more than she loved Him.
  • He said that her love would wax cold.
  • He said she would leave her 1st love.
  • And He was right.

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

You

  • Do you love Him? I mean, do you really love Him? Do you love Him with all of your heart? He wants to know.
  • He wants to know if you love another. Do you?
  • He wants to know if your heart belongs only to Him or not. Does it?
  • He’s looking for a bride that will love Him with all of her heart, her soul her mind, and her strength.
  • Could that person be you? He’s looking your way right now. He wants it to be you.

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 15, 2018 at 6:12 pm

The Heartache Church

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The Heartache Church

Pastor Miller hung the phone up and slumped into the chair. This was unbelievable! It was sickening. He sensed the pending devastation.

The voice mail on his cell phone announced that the 3rd couple in two months wanted to move their membership across town to the big church.

Only a handful of families were left here now. Would the nightmare ever stop? It was like a hemorrhage that was unending. The families that had left weren’t content to just go, they pulled on the remaining ones with reports of how wonderful things were at the new church. Their family and friends wavered in their loyalties. Who knew where it would stop. His church wasn’t growing. It was shrinking and he couldn’t stop the process.

No letter of transfer was ever asked for, and the other pastor had never called when someone moved in. He didn’t want to accuse the pastor across town of trying to proselyte, but the members there didn’t hesitate to do it for him.

The big church had quite a few people with money. They could afford to hire a full-time music director. They had also imported a youth pastor that was given full reign and a handsome expense account to attract and entertain young people. He did his job well, evidently. He personally encouraged all the young people in town to be a part of his youth group.

The bigger church had concerts, dramas, guitar-driven worship, newer songs, fog machines, strobe lights, multimedia presentations, Power-Points and many well-known guest speakers. A Starbucks type coffee shop was just down the hall from the entrance. The aroma always drew a crowd. Their church always had something going on there.

It was impossible for pastor Miller’s small church to compete with the big boys. He had neither the resources nor the staff. He worked a secular job just to keep the wolf away from the door.

He had nearly broken his health trying to dig a church out of nothing. He had been ethical to a fault. He had never taken anyone from another church.

He personally had won most of the people in his church. He had taught almost everyone there a Home Bible Study. He had prayed them through. He had baptized them. So, this is the thanks he gets? How does he stop the migration? He didn’t want to feel jealous or harbor bad thoughts, but it still didn’t feel good. His wife was devastated. Now, there was little chance the church would be self-supporting anytime soon.

He knew the Pentecostals in town considered him “old school”.  He still had testimony service. His church even sang out of the songbook. They sang many choruses that were sung by previous generations.

A piano and a box guitar provided the music. They used to have a drummer, but he had moved across town to the big church.

Bro. Miller had never been invited to preach a special meeting in his life. He knew he never would be asked.

Two special needs adults in his church always caused distractions to visitors. One often spoke out loud at the wrong time and had to be treated like a child.

The $41.43 in the Sunday night offering last week didn’t pay much on the utilities or church payment. His people were poor. He had to help most of them survive. He had paid utilities for many of his people, helped a few times with their house payments. He’d even co-signed for a car, once or twice.

The girls in the big church called the young girls in his church ‘grandmas’. Their modest apparel was scorned as unnecessary. At the big church, not much was said about standards evidently. (That was an unkind thought he knew, but he was not impressed by what he’d seen of them in the mall.)

There was no one for pastor Miller to complain to, confide in, or cry with. He privately wished that the Prophet Nathan would go across town and preach the story of the ‘one ewe lamb’ again. It seemed fitting.

When he heard reports about ‘revival’ and church growth across town, he knew where some of the growth had come from.

Life didn’t seem fair. He made up his mind that he would paste a smile on his face, keep doing his best to have good church, preach like there was a house full, not talk about those who left and encourage the rest. His job, he knew, was to pray blessings on the big church and their pastor.

Pastor Miller knew that not all big churches were like the one across town from him. God would sort it all out somehow and Heaven’s Bookkeepers never made any mistakes. He was trying to help build God’s Kingdom, not his own. For him, this had been a long heartache. But, he would not allow there to be a war in God’s Kingdom.

This Too Is Home Missions!

A re-post from

The Home Missions Chronicles Blog
by Martyn Ballestero

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 8, 2018 at 4:32 pm

It’ll Happen Every Time!

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It’ll Happen Every Time!

 

A Revival will always cause a Flu epidemic in the church.

The Sister with the biggest hairdo will sit down right in front of you.

The people, who needed the sermon the most, will be absent.

The visitor’s baby will be good and not fussy all service until the preacher is ready to give the altar call.

 

People, who normally won’t come to church, will always show up at the picnic.

If you visit a new church and sit in the front, you will be called to the nursery because your toddler threw up.

Your cell phone will only ring during one of the quiet moments of the service.

Saying, “Let us pray,” is the signal for some to go to the restroom.

 

Disruptive and rowdy children will always sit in front of the visitors.

Parents with the noisiest and disruptive children will appear to be deaf.

People are always available to help with the work that is finished.

If you experience restroom emergency, both stalls will be in use.

 

When you bring a guest, and the offering plate is passed, you’ll not have any cash.

The passing freight train will always blow its whistle and be louder than the person with the microphone.

Someone will always attempt to shake your hand as they exit the church restroom. Of course, their hand will still be damp.

When you need your privacy the most, some church member will recognize you by looking at your shoes under the restroom stall door, and try to start a conversation with you.

 

The lady that gets asked to come to the platform and sing will always have to put her shoes on first.

Shouters will get their wildest only when first-time visitors are present.

The song that is sung for altar call will have nothing in common with the sermon.

When the pastor says, “In closing,” there is still time for you to read the entire 119th Psalm.

 

Every child over three can worship or shout like any one of the saints, upon request.

The noise made by opening the candy wrapper will sound louder in church than anywhere else.

Church members that cheer and yell for their favorite ball team will be among the quietest during the worship service.

The night the pastor would like to impress the visiting minister with his congregation size, will also be the night the crowd is the smallest.

 

The first that come to the altar to pray after a sobering message will be the ones that probably needed it the least. The ones that should have come first won’t come at all.

The loudest voice in the choir will belong the one who cannot carry a tune.

The older a church member gets, the louder the public-address system sounds.

The battery in the cordless microphone will go out during the best part of the sermon.

 

The only restaurants open after a long service are the ones no one wants to go to.

The preacher that’s the longest-winded in your church will preach on the night you can barely stay awake.

The bat flying in the church auditorium will come closest to the person who is the most afraid of bats, and who also has the loudest voice.

The last person you want to testify when there are visitors is the first one up!

 

It’ll Happen Every Time!

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 6, 2018 at 10:42 am

Posted in God's House

The Town’s Only Hooker Just Got Saved!

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The Town’s Only Hooker Just Got Saved!

 

For many years, I preached revivals in a little West Texas town. The town was so small that after church it was not uncommon for the pastor or saints to drive an hour and a half to Odessa or Midland just to get something to eat.

The pastor was a dear family friend. The church was one that really worshipped and was so easy to preach in. They loved the Word and the loved their Man of God.

The church had not grown significantly in many years. But, the little group prayed for revival and worked hard to bring visitors to the revival.

A seventeen-year-old Foster child sought for the Holy Ghost for over an hour every night. He prayed fervently and with tears every night of the four-week revival.

The last Saturday of the revival, the pastor and I talked about Home Bible Studies. He said, “When I came up in church, we’d never heard of them. I’ve been here for 30 years or so and we’ve never taught any Home Bible Studies. Not only do we not have any material, if we had some, we wouldn’t know how to go about teaching them. Could you teach our people how to teach a Home Bible Study?”

Although I said that I could and would, there wasn’t any material within 100 miles. There also wasn’t any Internet connection to download anything.

I was relieved to find a copy of Bishop Gerald Adam’s ‘Deeper Life’ Home Bible Study in my briefcase. Bro. Adam’s was kind when I called and granted permission for me to make copies of his Bible Study for the occasion.

(The Deeper Life Home Bible Study is now digitized and can be found on the Life Tabernacle Church, Hopkinsville, KY website.)

 

http://www.lifetabernaclechurch.org/Life_Tabernacle_Church/Bible_Study.html

 

I asked the pastor what he thought about me putting a table in front of the pulpit Sunday morning and teaching a Home Bible Study to someone while everyone else watched and followed along with their copy. He agreed and said he would have the table and chairs set up right after the preliminaries.

Standing on the platform Sunday morning during the worship service, I noticed two new visitors. A teenage boy stood on the right side and a 20 something young woman on the left.

For a few minutes after the song service, the church family went around, shook hands, and personally welcomed the visitors and greeted each other.

I noticed the boy seemed very sincere and responsive during the singing, so I went over and welcomed him. The young man smiled warmly when I introduced myself. He told me his name was Billy.

I said, “I’m a visitor here too, Billy. They’ve asked me to teach what they call a ‘Home Bible Study’ this morning. It’s a thing where two people sit at a table and basically just read scriptures from the Bible.

“I really don’t know who to choose to help me out today. But whoever does, doesn’t have to say a word. All they have to do is just act like they are reading the material. Do you think maybe you can help me out today?”

“Sure,” he said.

Later when they introduced me to speak, I explained to the church that I had asked Billy to help me and invited them to make him welcome. They gave him a good round of applause.

Billy and I sat at the small table in front of the pulpit. Each person there was given a copy of the Home Bible Study. I saw the look of sincerity and interest in the young man’s face.

He nodded as I spoke to him. I looked only at him and not at the crowd. We took less than an hour to go through the study.

The organ player began to play softly as we all stood. The table and chairs were removed. I looked to my left where Billy had stood and then I looked down. He was kneeling at the altar. All the others came forward too. Billy received the Holy Ghost in just a few minutes.

I heard shouts go up at the other end of the altar and saw that the young woman was praying and the ladies were rejoicing. She also received the Holy Ghost and excitedly begin thanking the Lord.

The pastor whispered in my ear, that someone had just told him, this new girl was the town hooker. The town’s only hooker and her name was Sarah.

The saints were ecstatic about what God had done in the service that morning!

Sunday night’s service was ready to start.  The front doors burst open as the 17-year-old Foster kid entered the church crying and speaking in tongues. He had prayed during the day, and while taking his shower before church had received the Holy Ghost in the shower. He was still talking in tongues when he got to church. He couldn’t stop and he was so excited! The saints rejoiced. I mean, really rejoiced!

Billy and Sarah came back too. The church shouted and ran the aisles. Joy was in the camp.

Then the front door again opened and a very unhappy-faced man walked in and sat on the back row. Sarah was too lost in worship to notice that her pimp was there. He watched the worship for a while. Several were uneasy not knowing what would happen.

Testimony service took on new life that night. Sarah got up to testify, and when she finished testifying and thanking the Lord, the guy on the back row got up and walked out shaking his head.

He was officially out of business. Sarah never even noticed.  She started to dance before the Lord. She had been delivered and was too happy for words!

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 4, 2018 at 9:45 pm

The Cracker Barrel New Year’s Sermon

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The Cracker Barrel New Year’s Sermon

 

 

Near the Savannah, Georgia exit 102 on I-95, sits a Cracker Barrel next to our motel. The chalk-written New Year’s message is plain for all to see. It says:

 

“Cheers to New Beginnings and Old Traditions”

 

May this New Year be a time for all of us to start afresh. Regardless of past failures or yesterday’s disappointments.

We need to leave our paradigm of failure-thinking and begin again. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve had to begin again. What you have been through was neither your final chapter nor your epitaph.

 

Proverbs 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:

 

It’s not abnormal for good people to make mistakes and have to start over or begin again. Even Paul said he died daily. He started over every day.

 

 New Beginnings:

 

 Has your Bible reading been almost nonexistent lately?

Begin again.

 

How about your prayer life? Been busy? Hard to get to pre-service prayer for some reason or another?

Begin again.

 

Got out of the habit of responding during the worship service?

Begin again.

 

Has there been an absence of you saying amen to the preaching lately?

Begin again.

 

You haven’t taught a Home Bible Study in a long time?

Begin again.

 

How long since you made it to midweek service?

Begin again.

 

How about your tithes? If you’ve quit giving tithes and offerings…

Begin again.

 

Have you resigned or quit participating in your church?

Begin again.

 

Have you stopped kissing your spouse good morning, good night, and good-bye?

Begin again.

 

Been awhile since you said, “I love you” to your spouse?

Begin again.

 

Been awhile since you said I love you to your parents?

Begin again.

 

Been awhile since you said, “I am proud of you,” and “I love you,” to your children?

 Begin again.

 

Have you stopped saying, “I love you” to your in-laws?

Begin again.

 

 

Begin again In God. Recover yourself.

 

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

2 Tim. 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

 

 

Traditions

 

Traditions make homes and churches special. When our large family gets together, there are always certain meals everyone can count on.  You just know that there will be gumbo one day and enchiladas and tacos on another. And the morning we all have to leave, there’s s special breakfast restaurant we go to. It’s our custom. It’s just how it is in our family.

Churches have customs and traditions too. It’s a huge disappointment to go back to your ‘home’ church and find out how different it is or that they have changed.

 

Hold fast to the old Apostolic Pentecostal Traditions.

When backsliders and those who have had to move away, come back to visit… Let them that see your church is still holding on to the old-time ways!

 

And, as Cracker Barrel would say if it was preaching this sermon,

“Cheers to New Beginnings and Old Traditions!”

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 30, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Hey, You Know That Brother You Don’t Like?

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Hey, You Know That Brother You Don’t Like?

 

A brother, in the Bible, is not necessarily someone who is connected to you by earthly DNA. He may not even like you, or you like him. At first glance, you may not even think you have that much in common. Imagine having a brother you don’t know, don’t want to know, don’t want to like and sure don’t want anything to do with him. What if he’s a jerk? What if he’s irritating? What if he’s too odd for you to feel comfortable around. What if he has strange convictions and non-biblical standards?

 

Part One:

 

Rom 14:15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.

The Apostle Paul forces us to focus on the first and last portions of this verse. He wanted us to remember that though we may differ with our brother on some things, that Christ died for him too, just like He did for you.

Yes, some folks are harder to like than others. Many adults have acquired a bias or some prejudice over the years. Some put people in categories. They even have names for people they don’t like.

  • Redneck
  • Yankee
  • Trailer Trash
  • Stupid
  • Liberal
  • Ultra-Con
  • Democrat
  • Republican

Sometimes it’s hard to believe Jesus would actually die for someone like that. But, if Jesus died for him, how then can we hate him and say we love Jesus? 

 

We say, “But Lord:”

  • He’s a grumbler.
  • He’s a complainer.
  • He’s a fault finder.
  • He’s rebellious.
  • He’s irritating.

 

  • He has an attitude.
  • He’s a Pharisee.
  • He’s carnal.
  • He’s bitter.

 

  • He’s annoying.
  • He’s mean.
  • He’s proud.
  • He’s unthankful.
  • He’s halfhearted.

 

  • He’s lukewarm.
  • He lays out of church.
  • He’s hit and miss.
  • He runs hot and cold.

 

  • He’s undependable.
  • He’s got a personal agenda.
  • He’s working against me.
  • He doesn’t like me.

 

  • He’s not right.
  • He’s really weird.
  • He’s crazy.
  • He’s messed up.

 

 That May Be True… But He’s Still “Thy Brother… For Whom Christ Died.”

It’s hard to believe that the Lord would die for someone like that. We can’t imagine dying for them. Our heart experiences dark emotions and horrible opinions in dealing with some people. We sometimes experience dislike, racism, bias, prejudices, name-calling, and avoidance. But He’s Still, “Thy Brother… For Whom Christ Died.”

 We may struggle with the idea of including him into our fellowship, our inner circle, our church, and especially our home. But He’s Still “Thy Brother… For Whom Christ Died.”

The Apostle Paul wrote this charge to the church in Rome.

He, like the all the Disciples, had to get past to his Gentile prejudices.

Paul even had problems with Demas and John Mark. He also had to deal with the saints who sinned and all those with moral and spiritual problems in the churches in Asia. What gave him a center of balance in his handling these difficult people was that he understood… they too were people for whom Christ died. He couldn’t hate them and be saved. Neither can we.

 

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

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

Matt. 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Matt. 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

You know that person who you wouldn’t think of inviting to your church? The one who is not like you? Christ died for them too. Open your heart’s door to them, and the doors of your church, too. Jesus is watching because he’s still “Thy Brother… For Whom Christ Died.”

 

Part Two

 

I Am Your Brother

Psa. 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

 

(Here are some things that your “brother” has often wanted to tell you… but was afraid!)

 

Dear Brother:

We really didn’t have any choice.  God somehow in His wise providence, has chosen to put us together, for our mutual benefit.  I am your brother.  Here is a list of things that have been bothering me.  I plead for your understanding.

  1. I have problems with myself. I know it and I don’t like it either. Be patient, please.  I am your brother.  I am still working on myself.  Thanks for your tolerance.

 

  1. In recognizing my own problems, and knowing how much I loathe them, I know they must bother you and others too. Please bear with me while I’m trying to get the victory over myself. Just like I am bearing with you.

 

  1. It frustrates me too that I’m not perfect. I want to be. That’s my prayer.

 

  1. Sometimes it frustrates me that you’re not perfect…. but that’s when I remember, I’m still your brother!

 

  1. There are so many good qualities in you. I gain strength from them all. I just hope that some of my good qualities can also be seen.

 

  1. I hate the fact that Satan tries to capitalize on our shortcomings and magnify them in the eyes of others. My hope is that you’ll be able to see the good in me and not just my faults.

 

  1. Thank you for respecting my feelings even when you didn’t understand them. (Sometimes I don’t understand my own feelings either.) I wish to make every effort to respect yours too.  I am your brother.

 

  1. I guess I’ve wanted to put you into my mold and make you exactly like I wanted you to be. That just doesn’t work. Neither can I fit into your mold.

 

  1. As my brother, I allow you the liberty to pick friends of your own choosing, and have good times with them, (even without me), and not be resentful or jealous.

 

  1. Likewise, I may choose some friends and occasionally be with them. From time to time I’d like to have fun and fellowship with them and not worry about slighting you.

 

  1. However, you are welcome wherever I am. Don’t ever feel you are ever intruding. And please don’t “hang back” if you weren’t personally invited by me to join the crowd.  You also belong.  You’re my brother.  Your friendship is highly valued and enjoyed.  There will always be room for you in my world.

 

  1. Thank you for the security I feel between us. Even if we haven’t talked for a while, when we do, it is a comfortable conversation and picks right back up where we left off. I like that.

 

  1. Those you love can hurt you the most. Let’s be careful in our treatment of each other, lest we do irreparable damage to ourselves. We must never grieve the Holy Ghost to the point that we’re both damaged, bitter, or lost.

 

  1. Let’s not have a “hot and cold” relationship that changes with the weather. We need to be able to count on each other. Brethren are supposed to have the next-to-the-closest relationship in the world.  Only Jesus is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.  I am going to stick by you.  I am your brother.

 

  1. I pledge to defend your name and honor during your absence. I am your brother.

 

  1. Likewise, I know that I can depend on you to do the same for me.

 

  1. As long as there are people, there will be rumors, criticisms, remarks, opinions and second-guessing. When my back is turned, you are my only defense. I need you to watch my back, as I will watch and guard yours.  You can trust me.  I am your brother.

 

  1. I love you, brother! Not just because I must love you, but I really want to love you!! (If I say I love God and don’t love you, I am called a liar)

 

1 John 4:20-21 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

 

  1. Brother, if you see me and can tell that I have a problem, don’t go tell the world, help me. Don’t be afraid. God put you in my life to help me make it.

 

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.

 

  1. Brother, I “prefer you”. I pray for your success and blessing. I pray that all your efforts receive their due honor.  (Without my harboring any jealousy or envy.)

 

Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love:  In honor preferring one another. 

 

Please!!  Should I ever be blessed or promoted above my fellows, it would kill me to think my brother was jealous.  I want to ‘prefer’ you.  I want to be happy with your successes.  So please be happy with mine.  I am your brother.  We’re on the same team.

 

  1. It is God’s will that the law of kindness guides us in our relationship. He wills that we be kind to each other.

 

2 Peter 1:5-8 And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to your virtue… brotherly kindness… for if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

I can’t thank you enough for your kindnesses to me, nor can I tell you how much I truly appreciate them.

 

  1. Brother, God won’t hear my prayer if I’ve got something in my heart against you! If I ever need to ask forgiveness or apologize, please forgive me. Then, don’t crucify me and alienate me because I was trying to be conscientious.  Realize we’re both just two brothers trying to be saved.

 

Here’s what we are supposed to do if you have a problem with me, or I have a problem with 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.

 

  1. Too often, lines are drawn in our minds between ourselves and our brother. We choose not to fellowship him because he is UPCI, WPF, ALJC, or Independent. (What if God is in fellowship with those you choose not to be in fellowship with. Will you have to explain to God on the Day of Judgment why you were too good or too holy to fellowship a brother whom Christ died for?)

 

More than ever, I appreciate you.  I thank God for allowing us to lean on each other.  I need you like you won’t believe.  Don’t fail me.  I will not fail you.  I am your brother!

 

I Love You Brother!!

 

Part Three

 

Now, Let’s Have Revival!

 

Revival only happens when there is unity. Something wonderful happens when God’s people are gathered together for one purpose. Being in one mind and in one accord was the major ingredient on the Day of Pentecost. It is still the key to continual revival today.

  • Unity only happens when men choose to overlook each other’s differences and choose not to be offended.
  • Unity happens to those who forgive their brothers and prays for them.
  • Unity happens when brethren unite for one purpose or goal. Even if there are only two or three who are gathered in His name, God chooses to be in their midst.
  • Pray for unity and God will give you revival.
  • Unity is no accident.
  • Unity brings peace.
  • Unity creates an atmosphere for Worship and The Word.
  • Unity opens the door for a major move of God.

 

Just like parents who are happy when their children love one another and get along. Our Heavenly Father is well pleased when His children love each other, too.

 

Hey, You Know That Brother You Don’t Like?

Never Forget, He’s “Thy Brother… For Whom Christ Died.”

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 29, 2017 at 6:43 pm

Your Performance Interview With God Is Coming!

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Your Performance Interview With God Is Coming

What if God called you on the carpet? What if He asked you some personal questions about your conduct… spiritual and otherwise?

Employees of many companies are given performance interviews on a scheduled basis. Some of the questions asked by the interviewer are similar to some of those I once found at www.jobinterviewquestions.org.

Performance Interview Questions

  • Tell me about your last position and what you did.
  • Tell me about the last time you made a mistake and how you corrected it.
  • If you don’t leave your current job, what will happen there? How far can you advance?
  • Of all the work you have done, where have you been most successful?
  • I see you were unemployed for a period of time. Tell me about it.
  • Give me an example of when you’ve demonstrated your customer service skills.
  • How do you define continuous improvement? What is the last new procedure you integrated into your job?
  • What makes you stand out among your peers?
  • What have you done to reduce your department’s operational costs or to save time?
  • What would your current supervisors say makes you most valuable to them?
  • If I asked your boss to evaluate your performance, what would he or she say?
  • Have you held positions similar to this one? If so, tell me about them.
  • What is the most important thing you learned at a previous job?
  • What did/do you enjoy most/least about your last/present job?
  • If there were two things you could have changed about that job, what would they be?
  • How did your job change while you held it?
  • What qualifications do you have that make you successful in this field?
  • What have you learned from previous jobs?
  • Describe a typical day at work.
  • How have your previous positions prepared you for this one?
  • What parts of your job do you consider most important?
  • What job tasks do you feel most successful doing?
  • What special skills or knowledge have you gained to help in this job?
  • Describe an important project you worked on.
  • You have a lot of experience. Why would you want this job?
  • What do you consider your greatest strength?
  • What is your most significant professional accomplishment?
  • What was the last job-related book you read?
  • What was your favorite job? Why?

As 2017 comes to a close, so does another year of living for the Lord. If He were to ask us about our performance in His Kingdom this year, how would we do? Could we answer His questions easily? Would our heads have to drop after the Lord asked us a direct question? Here is a list of possible questions He might ask:

The Lord’s 2017 Performance Interview Questions

  • What if He asked about the Spirit and Attitude we manifested this year?
  • What if the Lord asked us about our obedience or our Submission?
  • If the question of Soul-Winning came up, how would we score?
  • If questions about our involvement in Worship were asked, what would the answer be?
  • What would happen if the Lord asked us about our Prayer Life in 2017?
  • Would the answer be favorable to you if there were questions about paying your Tithes
  • and giving in Offerings?
  • Faithfulness in church attendance is sure to be asked. How would you do on that one?
  • Surely, a question about any unwillingness to Forgive will be asked.
  • Would He ask about the display of the Lusts of our Flesh?
  • Would Jealousy or Envy be mentioned?
  • A lack of Brotherly Love, or not Preferring One Another, will not sit well with Him.
  • What if the Lord asked us about our lack of Sacrifice in service, or in giving?
  • Would any questions about our involvement in Gossip put us in a bad light?
  • What if the subject of Tale Bearing came up?
  • If we were asked about Criticizing our Pastor, what would the answer be?
  • Surely the Lord will act questions about our showing any signs of Loving Pleasure More
  • Than The Things Of God.
  • What is He asked us about our Love of the World?
  • Do you think He might ask us why we had a problem with Holiness?
  • Would there be any questions about Loving Our Neighbor?
  • What if He asked us if we Love Him with All Of Our Heart, Our Soul, And Our Might, And
  • Our Strength?

I pray that you do well in your Interview with the Lord. (He already knows the answers, before He asks.)

If you’ll pardon me, for a while… I think I’ll have a talk with Him right now. I need to before He talks to me later!

There is coming a Day when we shall all stand before Him, as we are judged. That Interview will be both an Entrance Interview for some, and an Exit Interview for others!

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

(May your Performance Interview of 2017 end with Joy, and not with Grief!)

Join me in pledging to do better and do more for Him in 2018! May we all hear Him say in that day, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”