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Archive for the ‘Loyality’ Category

If I Attend A Church That Preaches…

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Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 8, 2020 at 11:28 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

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.”

The Danger Of Being Too Friendly With The Evangelist.

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The Danger Of Being Too Friendly With The Evangelist.


On occasion, your Pastor will invite a guest speaker or an evangelist. He wants you to like them and enjoy their ministry. It’s a compliment to his good judgment of preachers and ministries if you do.

Where there becomes an issue that is uncomfortable for your Pastor and his friends are when you give the guest preachers nicer and more frequent compliments than you give to your own Pastor.

After all, he’s the one that worries over you, prays for you, counsels with you and answers to God for you. Not the others. They may like you, they may like you a lot, but there is a line that must be drawn between them and you.

Make sure you give better compliments to your own Pastor than you do to anyone else.

It’s kind of like a man giving another woman a compliment and he doesn’t even compliment his own wife. Something is very wrong in their relationship. Something is very wrong in your relationship with the Man of God if you are guilty concerning this.

A seasoned evangelist can often spot those who have a problem with their Pastor and then try to give the guest speaker the personal attention and honor that belongs to their Man of God.  That is just so wrong.


It even gets more complicated than this…


There are many Godly, precious people who dearly love their Pastor and would never knowingly do a thing to injure him. In innocence, they attempt to interact with another preacher they admire and sometimes feel put off or hurt because of the lack of warmth in his response to them. Actually, in good conscience, he can’t. So, don’t take it personal. He does like you and appreciates you, he’s just trying to be careful. His allegiance is to your pastor.

In the day of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Messenger, emails and text messaging, don’t try to personally interact with other preachers (unless they are family) no matter how much you like them. It easily becomes quite an uncomfortable position for ‘ethical minded’ preachers.

Don’t expect him to respond to your emails or private messages. His loyalty is to your pastor. Do you realize that if word got out that an evangelist was having conversations, exchanging emails, phone calls, private messages on Facebook, and text messages with saints, that his days as an evangelist are numbered? It’s not right for you or him. Don’t give him your information and don’t let him give you his.

Any contact with other preachers should be directed through your Pastor. If he sees fit to pass your message or request on, then fine. If he doesn’t, then trust his judgment. He knows what he’s doing and why. Your spiritual safety is his greatest concern. Work with him on that.

Guest preachers who ‘work the crowd’ by lingering long with each saint, buttering up them, and learning personal things about their world should raise everyone’s eyebrows. Why would he make comments on your Facebook posts all the time? What’s his motive? Ethical evangelists know to stay on the platform after service or near the Pastor to protect themselves and for proprietary’s sake.

If you don’t understand why, imagine you as a woman contacting, calling, writing or leaving messages for a male acquaintance of your husband.  Or maybe it’s him calling you. Your husband would have serious questions for you both, and rightly so.

If he didn’t run when you attempted to contact him, then if he has even part of a conscience, he would not be comfortable around your Pastor anymore because of guilt. He’d know he had crossed the line of ministerial ethics. His days would be over. It’s not worth it for him or you.

If you love your Pastor then protect him. Protect how he feels about you. Protect his relationship with other preachers. Protect yourself. He’ll love you all the more for it too.

Don’t try to private message other preachers. Don’t force them to cut you off, block you or ignore you. They want you to like them, sure! But they hate it when you push them into an uncomfortable situation.

Don’t walk up and hand them gifts, or even money. If you want to give an extra offering to the evangelist, then talk to your pastor and he will guide you through a process that is comfortable to him.

Any evangelist that would contact you and ask for money or any favor is unethical. They are to be ignored, blocked or unfriended. Their actions should be reported to your pastor immediately.

Your Pastor is to be loved, respected and honored. His office as Pastor is above all others, and I personally thank you for loving him. He’s God’s gift to you and your church. Love him. Show it by your loyalty, and your respect. Let no other preacher, family or not, come between you and your pastor. That is a sacred area that should never be defiled. It is a line that must not be crossed.


On his behalf, I thank you.




Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 20, 2017 at 4:46 pm


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Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 22, 2015 at 1:17 pm

Twenty Feet From Stardom

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Twenty Feet From Stardom












The news on the web reported this year about a documentary showcasing the mostly unknown background vocalists of famous singers which I have never seen, but am very impressed with the title.

  1. They all stood there and heard the words, “And the Oscar goes to…”
  2. They were the ones who made the lead vocalist more famous.
  3. They were the ones who created the harmony the leader basked in.
  4. They made the song sound better.
  5. Very few even know their name.
  6. They never got the limelight.
  7. They are not the ones looked at, the lead singer is.


Whether the lead singer was Ray Charles, or Elvis Presley, not many can tell you the names of their background vocalists. They stood just 20 feet from stardom and never got any for themselves.

Many if not most, lived the rest of their natural lives without receiving much recognition for their efforts.

  1. Could you live like that?
  2. Would you be content to let others always benefit from your efforts?
  3. Could you be content to stand 20 feet from stardom and never grasp it?


In The Church

God has blessed His work by giving us pastors according to His heart. He also placed into the church those who would stand just 20 feet away from the pastor and never receive much in the way of recognition.

The Bible called these people: ‘Helps.’

1 Corinthians 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

  1. They were not called to be the first man.
  2. Maybe they are a great Assistant Pastor.
  3. Maybe they don’t even have a title.
  4. Yet they stand twenty feet from ‘stardom’ and their contributions seldom receive honor.
  5. God planted them as helps in their church for a purpose.
  6. But some were too proud to stay in that position.
  7. They wanted recognition too.
  8. They got impatient, disruptive and messed up their lives and the church too.


On The Negative Side

Judas Stood Twenty Feet From Stardom

Absalom Stood Twenty Feet From Stardom

Lucifer Stood Twenty Feet From Stardom

Demas Stood Twenty Feet From Stardom


On The Positive Side:

Peter, James And John Stood Twenty Feet From Stardom.

Elisha Stood Twenty Feet From Stardom



Ezekiel 27:27 Thy riches, and thy fairs, thy merchandise, thy mariners, and thy pilots, thy calkers, and the occupiers of thy merchandise, and all thy men of war, that are in thee, and in all thy company which is in the midst of thee, shall fall into the midst of the seas in the day of thy ruin.

  • Calkers weren’t mariners.
  • Calkers couldn’t read a sextant.
  • Calkers weren’t allowed to pilot a ship.
  • Calkers weren’t men of war.
  • Calkers weren’t merchandisers.

All They Did All Day Was Work Below Deck

  • They never got to feel the breeze.
  • They seldom saw the sunshine.
  • They lived in the heat.
  • They were used to the foul odors below deck
  • They worked below the water line.
  • They had sticky hands covered in the pitch and tar they dipped the hemp in to plug leaks.
  • They were responsible for keeping the boat afloat.
  • The ship wouldn’t make it without them.
  • Yet no one praised them nor is there a mention of their name.
  • They did their dirty jobs without glory or fame.
  • They never got to hobnob with .the big shots

The Caption Got The Glory.

  • They plugged the leaks.
  • There may not even be a ship afloat if it wasn’t for their efforts.
  • The labored their lifetime 20 feet from stardom.

It is dangerous if the Kingdom of God to seek our own glory. God delights in those who choose the role of servant hood. Those who are willing to labor 20 feet from stardom and still smile. Labor and let God  receive the glory. Labor and let another receive the attention.

Remember This:

If God has chosen to place you in any capacity in His Church…

  1. Be humble and be grateful.
  2. Seek not your own glory.
  3. Decrease so that He may increase.
  4. Never overstep your authority or boundaries.
  5. Be content with your placement in His service.
  6. Support your Pastor and those in the limelight, and God will always bless you for your faithfulness.
  7. Elisha was first known as the man who poured water on the prophets hands.


It Is The Calkers That Keep The Boat Afloat…

And They Work Just 20 Feet From Stardom!

Your Uncelebrated Service Helps Keep This Old Ship Of Zion Afloat.

Thank You!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 12, 2014 at 2:40 pm

If I Were Your Friend

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If I Were Your Friend


If I were your friend, I would love you regardless.

If I were your friend, I would stand by you when no one else was brave enough to.

If I were your friend, I might know negative things about you, but I’d still love you.

If I were your friend, I might not approve of all you do, but I would still love you.

If I were your friend, I would never stab you in the back.

If I were your friend, I’d never give up on you.

If I were your friend, I would love you even when it wasn’t popular to do so.

If I were your friend, I would defend you against rumors and lies.

If I were your friend, I would pray for you and with you when you needed help.

If I were your friend, I would celebrate your achievements.

If I were your friend, I wouldn’t try to make you just like me.

If I were your friend, I would only offer criticism or advice, if you asked.

If I were your friend, I might not agree with you, but I would always love you.

If I were your friend, I wouldn’t let you down.

If I were your friend, I would never walk away.

If I were your friend, I would accept you like you are.

If I were your friend, I would never say anything to hurt you.

If I were your friend, I wouldn’t let you choose my enemies.

If I were your friend, I would cry when you cried.

If I were your friend, I would laugh when you laughed.

If I were your friend, I would be loyal even if others weren’t.

If I were your friend, I would keep God in the center of our friendship.

If I were your friend, I would still be your friend when I died.

If I were your friend, I would consider it an honor.

If I were your friend, I’d never get in your way, unless you were going down.

If I were your friend, I would love you regardless.


One might ask, “Isn’t that going a little over the top with friendship?” Maybe so, but I don’t know how else to interpret what King Solomon said!

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.



Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 6, 2012 at 8:25 am

Posted in Friends, Loyality

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The Suicide Drink

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The Suicide Drink

I’m a senior citizen now, but I well remember some adventuresome moments of my youth. It was great fun, to make ‘suicide drinks’ from the soda fountain dispensers.

(It was also decades before anyone had ever heard the name, Jimmy Jones. It wasn’t that kind of suicide drink.)

To the uninformed, a ‘suicide drink’ consisted of a mixture of whatever was available at the fountain. Orange, Coke, Dr. Pepper, Sprite, Diet Coke or whatever.

We never quite knew what it was going to taste like and didn’t care, but we liked to show our bravery. Besides, the look of ‘ugh’ on people’s faces always made us laugh.

I don’t do ‘suicide drinks’ anymore. I actually don’t remember when I quit. But I was still very young. I just know that now as an old man, I like to stick with just one flavor. I’ll die happy if I never have a sip of another ‘suicide’.

There is no distinctive flavor to a ‘suicide drink.’ It is nothing but a mixture, a conglomeration.

Did you ever look at someone wearing multiple watches and wonder how they could tell the correct time? If they only had one watch, they could, no doubt, come a lot closer to knowing the real-time. Why would someone ever wear a wad of watches? Why?

I have recently observed several pastors and ministers answer doctrinal questions on Facebook from members of other Pentecostal churches.

Some of these men are encouraging precious saints to discard their holiness standards. They make light of our Apostolic lifestyle.

I am not sure how many are actually influenced by them, but these well-known voices spread their poison for all to read.

Since our local Pastor is the only one that is going to give an account for us in the Judgment, why not listen to him? Why are some so determined to get advice on Biblical subjects from every preacher they can? That is nothing short of spiritually hazardous! It is also very unethical on both parts. Any preacher worth his salt would refer them back to their Pastor. And any saint worth their salt would never ask another preacher a doctrinal question.

If we receive multiple doctrinal opinions from multiple ministers, there is no telling what we will believe in the end. It’s just another ‘suicide drink’ in my opinion.

If you have a Biblical question, don’t ask around on the Internet. Go ask the man who God gave you for a Pastor. After all, he’s the one that loves you, prays for you, counsels you, sits up with you in the hospital and truly cares for you. Sheep don’t expect guidance from multiple shepherds. Neither should we.

Oh, and as for finding the right time? Your cell phone is pretty accurate, but then you already knew that too.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 9, 2011 at 12:35 am

Do You Love Your Doctor More Than You Love Your Pastor?

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Do You Love Your Doctor More Than You Love Your Pastor?

It seems like people love their doctor more than they love their pastor. There is a great disparity of respect in the hearts of society between the two. This is openly demonstrated in the way their advice is treated.

That was a sentiment shared with me in a recent conversation with my friend, Pastor Jerry Rowley Jr. I have taken great liberties attempting to expound on his comment.


The role of a doctor is greatly honored by our society. A doctor’s diagnosis and his orders are so respected that state laws support him. In extreme cases some states have been known to incarcerate individuals for their non-compliance to the doctor’s orders.

A pastor is greatly honored as well. The members of the congregation can choose to heed his advice. His words are sometimes received with suspicion or outright rejection. The following fictional scenarios may help describe the difference:


The new patient sat anxiously in the examination room while the doctor looked over the file holding all the test results. He made notations every now and then. Without a word, he picked up a thick book and thumbed back to the index. He located the reference he was looking for and made a few notations on the chart.

The doctor then asked a few pertinent questions, and checked the patient’s vital signs. He then turned and began to write several prescriptions.

The doctor folded the top cover back over the chart and in his best bedside manner broke the news to the patient and his spouse.

“As you know, your blood work came back and I didn’t like what I saw. So, that’s why I ordered the MRI. The bad news is, you have a mass that concerns me, it’s still contained, but if it is cancer and left untreated, it will be fatal.”

The patient then willingly goes through several months of chemo treatments. They endure more moments of pain and nausea than they wish to remember. They change their eating habits and strictly adhere to the diet the doctor gave them.

They also go back every week or so to the doctor’s office for checkups. The journey to recovery may be years. They will pay the cost and tolerate every inconvenience just to survive. They brag on their doctor and sing his praises when they go into remission.

The cost of the treatment: It varies, but sometimes runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The weekly office visits aren’t cheap either.

Patient 2

The Holistic Doctor looked at her patient. She told him that the cancer had spread. Her prescription was not written on paper, but she advised her patient to drink nothing but a mixture of carrot and asparagus juice. Eat no solid food, and drink only water and the carrot juice cocktail.

She then sells the patient an expensive juicing machine. The patient goes home and ingests nothing into his body but water and the prescribed juice for one year. Friends shake their heads at the patient’s willingness to follow through with the strict regimen.

Visits are made to the office to monitor his progress. After a year, the results are in. The patient is cancer free. He testifies openly and brags on the results. The diet worked.

The costs of the doctor’s visits weren’t cheap either. Even though the health insurance wouldn’t pay, he happily refinanced his house to pay for his recovery.

In both scenarios, the patient did whatever was asked of them, and willing paid for their costly treatment. They had no problem doing weekly or monthly follow-up visits. They love their doctors. They are healed.

Church Scene 1

The pastor sits in the office with a crying young man. He tells the pastor what has happened. He is ashamed.

The pastor had great hopes for him. He had shown so much potential. Now there’s much damage and others will be affected.

When the crying ends, the pastor prays with the man and then says, “I’m afraid I’m going to have to take you off the platform and set you down for a while. I want to help you recover yourself”

“How long will I be set down?”

“We’ll see. It depends on how you do. I want to see you in the prayer room before every service. I don’t want you having anything to do with the people we just talked about. I want to see some evidence of your repentance. You can recover. I will be here for you. Call me anytime if you need me or feel yourself getting weak again. I love you.

When the office visit is over, the pastor/saint relationship is over too. Rather than submit to the pastor’s prescription for recovery, and be set down for a while, the man changes churches.

The cost was nothing to the church member. The pastor gave of himself to no avail. The church lost money, a member and quite possibly, a soul.

Church Scene 2

The pastor stood behind the pulpit, his sermon had been impressed upon him in prayer. The Lord stirred his heart to preach against the things of the world that were in the church.

Signs of worldliness had shown itself here and there in the congregation. He preached the essentiality of Acts 2:38. He said when you get this Holy Ghost experience, your life changes. Your friends change. You dress holy. You don’t do the things you used to do.  You no longer go to the places you used to go.

The lack of response from the audience loudly stated their reaction to the sermon. A few members looked sideways at their friends and family to catch their reaction. They mostly just looked at the preacher without visible reaction.

After service a few phone calls were made. A private meeting was set up. Then a formal meeting was arranged. The pastor was voted out.

The cost? Whatever it was, the people refused to pay it.


I am not talking about bad doctors or bad pastors. I am addressing how even good doctors and good pastors sometimes get treated differently.

There are many people alive today because they followed the good doctor’s advice. There are many people spiritually alive today because they followed the advice of their good man of God.

Thank God for every saint that loves his or her pastor enough to obey him.

You follow the advice of those you love.

Jesus said: John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Do You Love Your Doctor More Than You Love Your Pastor?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

May 27, 2011 at 12:29 am

Posted in Love, Loyality, Ministry, Pastors, Respect

Tagged with , ,

Once The Seal Is Broken

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Once The Seal Is Broken

Jams and jellies are a necessity in my home. I love them. I like jam on toast, and a big gob on each half of my biscuit. I even have been known to spread jam on my pancakes. I have many memories of my mother making dozens of jars of preserves and jellies each year. My daughter, Marisa Hartzell carries on the family tradition and her jams and jellies taste every bit as wonderful as my Mother’s. I am blessed.

One common practice in my Mom’s canning was the use of paraffin. Once the jam in the jar was ready, she poured melted paraffin on top of the jam. The paraffin would make a seal about a quarter of an inch thick or more.  When the wax was cool and the jar sealed, a lid was tightly screwed into place.

Later, when we needed jam, the paraffin seal was broken.  The contents of the jar immediately became subject to spoiling if not treated refrigerated properly. The seal was broken and could not be put back into place.

Kerr came out with a special two-part lid for the home-canner. When the contents of the jars are still hot, the rims were wiped clean, and flat Kerr lids were put into place.

As the jar cools, a vacuum is created and the lid is sucked tight onto the rim. The center of the lid is sunken; showing that the seal was successful. Tapping on the lid strikes a musical note only if sealed correctly.

Once the lid is pried off, safe food measures must be immediately taken because the seal cannot be put back into place. Food spoilage is a danger.

Eighteen wheel big rigs are often seen pulling a trailer with a metal seal or seals in the door latch. Something very important and valuable is inside. The owner is worried, that’s why he placed a seal upon the door. Every trucker knows that if that seal is broken, foul play is suspected. It can’t be restored. The seal is broken. Answers will be demanded. Explanations are in order and the contents of the whole trailer are subject to inventory.

What about the seal between the saint and their pastor?

Charlie was a sinner. He came to church, repented, got baptized and was filled with the Holy Ghost. Bro. Charlie did wonderful for 18 years. Then one day his son Josh rebelled and sinned. It caused quite a stir in the church. Several young people were involved. It became an issue that couldn’t be ignored or allow to continue. The pastor had to respond.

Bro. Charlie wasn’t happy with the pastor’s response to his son’s sinning in his preaching or in the counseling sessions. He got offended. He protected his son from the pulpit and eventually told his friends he wasn’t coming back. He didn’t, he changed churches.

In the next 15 years, Bro. Charlie went to at least eight different churches in almost that many states. He still feels saved, so does his son. His boy is now married to a Charismatic woman who cut her hair, wears slacks, and has lots of jewelry.  She also talks in tongues.

Charlie wouldn’t take correction. He wouldn’t allow Josh to be corrected. He allowed the seal to be broken between himself and the man of God. Consequently, he has spent many years taking his soul in his own hands, and drifting from church to church. If he doesn’t like the pastor’s stand, on an issue, he moves on. The seal of a Pastor-Saint relationship is permanently missing in his heart.. He broke the seal. Not only him, but also his son has experienced the spoilage that only comes with broken seals.

Don’t ever allow the seal to be broken between you and your man of God. It may never be restored.

Jude 13 referred to those with broken seals as: ‘wandering stars.’

Never let the old flesh bring separation between your pastor and yourself. It is impossible to go back to a life of innocence. It’s impossible to replace that seal. Once you learn how to take your soul in your own hands and make your own life decisions, you can’t be pastored anymore.

Is your seal in place?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 23, 2010 at 12:01 am

Larry, The Confused Lamb

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Larry, The Confused Lamb

Larry the lamb enjoyed the flock. What a wonderful day it was. The sun was shining, the birds were singing. The grass was green and lush.  The brook was clear and flowed slowly.  He happily pranced and played with the other lambs. Life in the flock was great.

He explored the meadow where they were and even listened to the older sheep tell stories. They told about the times that wolves had come close to the flock and their shepherd had protected them. He’d never seen a wolf but he’d heard them howl. It was scary. Mama told him not to worry because the Shepherd heard the wolf too and everything would be OK.

The older sheep bragged on their Shepherd. They all said that he was the best one in the world. They were all safe because of him. He had taken good care of them for many years.

Larry loved his Shepherd too. Shepherd Smith had always taken the flock to safe and comfortable places. There was always plenty to eat and drink in this flock. Shepherd Smith had seen to that.

One day Larry and his friend Simon were standing by the edge of the flock. They looked way across the meadow and saw another flock of sheep in the distance. They noticed that there were lots of lambs in that sheep fold. There were more lambs there than there were in their flock. Some cute ewe lambs were over there too.

One evening Larry and Simon decided they wanted to go visit the other flock. They were afraid to ask for permission because they’d heard that their Shepherd was reluctant to let his lambs go visit other flocks. Shepherd Smith had said he was required by his master to watch carefully over all the lambs and sheep. He didn’t want to be overbearing, but he had to be careful for their sakes.

When Shepherd Smith was looking the other way, Larry and Simon scampered to the other side of the meadow.  They were warmly welcomed. Shepherd Johnson stood and announced to the whole flock that they were visiting and wanted the flock to make them feel at home.

All the lambs in Shepherd Johnson’s flock were very friendly. Larry and Simon had so much fun. They laughed and romped with the other lambs. This was a wonderful day. This was a great Lamb Group.

Later, Shepherd Johnson came over and bragged on them personally and told them that they were welcome and very needed in his flock. He didn’t try to send them back to their own flock. But he did offer Larry a job as Lamb Leader in his flock.

During the visit, Shepherd Johnson led his flock into places Larry and Simon had never been before. The curfew for bedding down here was different from Shepherd Smith’s too.

Shepherd Johnson wasn’t quite as restrictive as their Shepherd was either. He let his lambs wander a little bit closer to the edge of the meadow. Larry and Simon got closer to the Big Woods than they’d ever been before. There were more liberties here than they had ever experienced.

These lambs got to go see things the lambs in their flock had never seen. Oh this was exciting.

Simon said, “Larry, I like Shepherd Johnson, and I like Shepherd Smith. I just wish that our flock was as big as Shepherd Johnson’s and that our Lamb Group was as much fun as theirs too.”

“Me too,” was all Larry could say as they began to scamper back toward the home flock. The sun was starting to go down and Larry knew that Shepherd Smith would be concerned and miss them.

In the next several days, Simon and Larry went visiting the neighboring flock. From time to time they would invite other lambs from their flock to go with them.

One day while visiting Shepherd Johnson’s flock, they heard some of the lambs talking about another flock in the big meadow that was led by a Shepherd named Jones. Larry and Simon caught each other’s eye. Maybe they should go check out Shepherd Jones flock too. They did.

Shepherd Jones was very nice. Larry and Simon liked the flock very much. All the sheep and lambs were kind and made them feel welcome. They were all well fed in this flock.

Shepherd Jones noticed Larry and Simon. He came over and introduced himself. He asked the lambs if their Shepherd knew that they were here?

Larry said that he didn’t ask but he didn’t think there was a problem with them visiting other flocks.

‘I’m going to have to let your Shepherd know that you were visiting over here.” Said Shepherd Jones.

“You are?”

“Yes. It’s what I always do when lambs from another flock wander over into mine.” Some Shepherds don’t always return the favor though.

“You’ve got a wonderful Shepherd, Larry. Don’t ever go visiting other flocks unless your Shepherd approves.”

“Thank you, I won’t” said Larry as he and Simon left to go back home.

They had enjoyed their visit. Shepherd Jones seemed like a wise and careful Shepherd. He didn’t let his lambs wander close to the Big Woods like Shepherd Johnson did. He seemed cautious and protective. He guided them all in places of safety.

Larry talked with Simon on the way home. He said, “Simon, I’ve noticed that all flocks are different. The Shepherds all have different rules and lead the lambs in different directions. I’m starting to get confused about which flock is the best. About which Shepherd is the best. I’m really confused.

The next day, Shepherd Smith asked to talk with Larry and Simon.

He said, “I’ve heard from some of the sheep that you’ve been visiting other flocks in the meadow and I’m becoming concerned about you. I’m concerned about what happens to you when you allow different Shepherds to lead you. It confuses you very quickly.”

Larry and Simon nodded their heads in agreement.

“The Shepherds in our meadow are good men, I’m sure, but you are only to have one Shepherd in your life to guide you. It’s his voice and his voice alone that you are to obey. Especially when you are a young lamb, it’s important that you stay close to your Shepherd.

“Before you were ever born, I told this flock, that for their own safety, I don’t want you all to make a habit of visiting other flocks. You may not understand why right now, but when you get older you will understand.

“It’s kind of like a Mother Ewe having a little lamb and after it’s born letting other Mama Ewes that wanted too, help raise it. That would be very confusing to the lamb. Each mother is different, so she parents differently.

“Or it would be like you taking a framed blank canvas around to everyone that calls themselves an artist and let them paint on it whatever they want. When they got done it would be all messed up. It wouldn’t be beautiful at all. That’s what would happen to you. Each Shepherd, with his teaching, paints on the canvass of your heart. If the painting is done by a group of different artists, it can wind up looking jumbled and confusing.

“There may be times when I announce that our flock is going to go over to another flock and visit. In the future, just wait for me to make an announcement about that.  When I do , then it’s OK to go.

“If I don’t announce it when the other flocks are having something special, then it’s probably a good thing for you not to go. I may have a good reason that I can’t tell you.”

Larry said, “Thank you for talking to me Shepherd Smith. I love you and I love my flock. I don’t like being confused.

“I think you should know that Shepherd Johnson offered me a job as Lamb Leader in his flock.  My father said that other Shepherds shouldn’t do that.  He said that it wasn’t right and he should have talked to you first and then if you felt good about it, you would have come to me and told me what to do.”

“Your father is right Larry. He is one of the finest sheep in our flock.

“In the future,” said Larry “I won’t even go visit other flocks unless you tell us we are all to go. I don’t want to ever get confused like that again.” Said Larry.

“Me either,” said Simon.

“Thank you,” said Shepherd Smith. “If you’ll do that, you’ll never be confused again!”

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 8, 2010 at 2:05 am