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Can You Pass The Hurt Test?

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“Offences Will Come…”

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

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

 

Meet David…

Dave sat on the bar stool, drinking with some buddies from work. His head was feeling a little light. He drank enough beers to loosen up his tongue, and he began to talk. “If it wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t have a decent church building.

“I mowed the grass every week without ever being paid. I replaced all the broken window panes with money out of my own pocket. I never asked to be reimbursed. I hauled off all the trash, free of charge. I was the self-appointed janitor and maintenance man of the church. I did it for years, willingly and without pay.

“Every evening I would stop by the church when I got off work to see if I needed to fix anything. I’ve kept the church building repaired and I’ve kept it clean for years. No one has ever paid me a dime to do anything. Why, even last summer, instead of taking my family on a vacation, I used the money to buy shingles and I roofed the church by myself. I paid for every dime of it too!

“Then two weeks ago, they had a business meeting. They needed to choose another Trustee. My name never even came up. After all I’ve done, no one seemed to appreciate it enough to mention my name.

“What’s a man got to do to get recognized or be a Trustee over there? It must be politics or something. That’s why I’ve quit going to that church.”

Dave backslid because he couldn’t pass the Hurt Test!

 

Meet Lynn…

Lynn wrote the Pastor a check to purchase 20 beautiful white folding tables and 160 matching folding chairs for the church fellowship hall.

It brought Lynn much joy to be able to buy these. God had blessed her and she wanted to give something back. The pastor had recognized her gift from the pulpit and the congregation clapped their approval. Lynn smiled.

The tables and chairs were ordered and everyone at the church was excited. These were well made and expensive.

Just before they arrived, Lynn had to be out-of-town for three weeks. When she returned and stopped by the church, she didn’t like where the tables and chairs had been stacked. She especially didn’t like how they had been stacked. Her gift to the church was being treated with carelessness, she thought.

These tables and chairs were not cheap, and if the people of this church didn’t appreciate her sacrifice enough to treat it any better than this, then she just could go to another church.

Lynn moved on because she couldn’t pass the Hurt Test!

 

The Hurt Test, Part 1 – Insults

The Syrophenician woman stood in front of Jesus. She was breaking custom and protocol and she knew it. The Jews had nothing to do with the likes of her. But she had an emergency. Her daughter had an unclean spirit. Her desperation drove her to see this Jesus everyone talked about.

She crumbled and fell at His feet when she came near. With great urgency she begged Him to heal her daughter.

Jesus looked down upon the woman and said, “It is not proper to give the children’s portion to dogs.”

On other days, if a Jew talked to her like that, she might have had a little something to say back. Today was different. Her daughter’s very life was at stake. There was no one else to turn to. She refused to get upset. She chose not to be offended for being called a dog.

She simply said, “Of a truth Lord, but even the dogs get crumbs that fall from the children’s table.”

Jesus marveled at her and instructed her to go home, telling her that her request had been answered. She went home and found her miracle waiting for her there.

The Syrophenician woman easily passed the Hurt Test. She chose not to be offended because of insults and got her miracle!

 

The Hurt Test, Part 2 – Rejection

King David was a man after God’s own heart. As the King in Israel, he could build anything he wanted. When David told God that he was planning to build Him a house to worship in, God said, “No.”

God told David that he was a bloody man and that building Him a house of worship wouldn’t be appropriate. The Lord said, “I want your son Solomon to build it for me. Solomon hadn’t even thought of building a Temple. He had exhibited neither burden nor passion to do so up to that point. The desire had originally been only David’s.

Rather than pout or get offended because God had rejected his offer, David helped his son, by supplying him with most of the materials needed to build the Temple. If he couldn’t build the Temple, then he was going to help someone else build it.

David easily passed The Hurt Test. He chose not to be offended by God’s rejection of his service, and His choosing another.

 

Extra Credit Test Questions

  • If someone else is asked to sing a special. Can you still worship with them and help them sing?
  • If someone else is asked to preach. Can you still say amen and help them preach?
  • If someone else is asked to lead. Can you joyfully follow?

 

The Hurt Test, Part 3 – Loss

Job had everything any man could want. He had a relationship with God. He had a wife and wonderful children. He owned vast herds of cattle, camels and sheep. He was no doubt the wealthiest man in the world.

Then the dark day of disaster dawned upon him. In a matter of hours, he lost his children, his herds and all of his wealth.

The second attack upon him was his health. Boils covered his body. He scratched them with shards of broken pottery.

His friends were sure that he had sinned and this was the judgment of God. His wife suggested he curse God and die.

Job told his wife that she was talking like one of the foolish women. He said that if God lets me die, I am going to die trusting Him. I am going to keep on living for Him like I always have.

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

Job passed The Hurt Test. He chose not to be offended at God because he had lost everything. In the end, God blessed him with double wealth and more children!

 

Extra Credit Test Questions

  • When you lost your job, house, or car, did you also lose your praise too?
  • When you were voted out of office or removed from a leadership role, did you show a bad attitude?

 

The Hurt Test – The Apostle Paul’s Summary

2 Corinthians 11:24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

2 Corinthians 11:25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

2 Corinthians 11:26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

2 Corinthians 11:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

Even with a permanent “thorn in his side,” Paul passed The Hurt Test! He ignored his problems and encouraged everyone around him to “Rejoice evermore.” He said it again in the same breath, “Rejoice!” He even had Silas rejoice with him in prison and the Lord delivered them and all the prisoners, too.

 

Need Help Getting Help Passing The Hurt Test?

Jesus stood and read from Isaiah 61 in the Synagogue. He sat down, looked at them all and said, “This day is the scripture fulfilled in your hearing.”

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

Besides bringing salvation and healing, the other ministry of our Lord is to heal all hurts and bind up the broken-hearted. He can help you pass The Hurt Test.

 

*Notice:  All Students Failing To Pass The Hurt Test Will Be Required To Retake The Exam.

*Remember, The Teacher Will Remain Silent During The Testing!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 15, 2018 at 12:18 pm

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.”

Death By Misadventure

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Death By Misadventure

 

The Coroner has only so many options to describe the cause of death on the certificate. They are as listed

  • Murder
  • Suicide
  • Self-Defense
  • Accidental Death
  • Lawful Killing
  • Unlawful Killing
  • Natural Causes
  • Still Birth
  • Self-Neglect
  • Lack Of Care
  • Death By Misadventure

 

The Death By Misadventure option has nagged at me for many years. Wikipedia gives this definition:

“A death by misadventure, as recorded by coroners and on death certificates and associated documents, is one that is primarily attributed to an accident that occurred due to a dangerous risk that was taken voluntarily.”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_by_misadventure

With that definition and description in mind, the old pastor part of me remembers precious people who once made what seemed like a harmless decision, but the end result was their spiritual demise. They didn’t mean to backslide; but they did.

For one young lady, it was just choosing a boyfriend who sat on the front row at church. He had good looks, a great personality, a good paying job and a nice car. He was a real charmer. He just wasn’t committed and fully in love with Jesus. She was desperate not to be an old maid. He lost out because he loved the world. She lost out because she chose to love him and be with him. He pulled her out of church. She didn’t mean to backslide; she just made a choice that she never dreamed would be fatal. It Was A Spiritual Death By Misadventure.

A young man desperately needing a job took one that kept him out of church. Not only did it make him miss being in service, there were negative influences from people at work that he was not strong enough to handle. When he did find time to come to church, he didn’t even try to make up for lost time. He just sat there and dried up in his soul. In time, he no longer came back. He didn’t mean to quit church. He just chose a job that paid well, but lost his soul in the process. He didn’t mean to backslide; he just made a choice that he never dreamed would be fatal. It Was A Spiritual Death By Misadventure.

A newlywed couple chose friends who they thought were fun to be around. They often visited each other’s homes and often dined together. They even took a vacation together once. The other couple influenced them to question authority and standards. Both couples quit church. The newlyweds only wanted to find friends to have fun with. They didn’t mean to walk away from God. They didn’t mean to backslide; they just made a choice that they never dreamed would be fatal. It Was A Spiritual Death By Misadventure.

A man got offended and disagreed when the pastor showed mercy to a person with a horrible past and allowed the backslider to come back to church. Like the elder brother in the Bible, he got angry. He also quit church. He had his own opinion about to whom God should and should not extend mercy. He wanted the pastor to send them to another church and not the one he attended. He refused to go to the same church with the man who had such a horrible past. So, he quit, stayed home and read his Bible, prayed and justified himself in so doing. He didn’t mean to backslide; he just made a choice that he never dreamed would be fatal. It Was A Spiritual Death By Misadventure.

He sat by his good friend in church. The friend never worshipped nor went up to the altar very much to pray. Sitting by him in church was intimidating in a way. It felt odd saying amen, clapping hands and standing up during the singing or preaching when your friend didn’t. So, in time, he joined his friend in being unresponsive. He was intimidated to not worship. He didn’t mean to backslide; he just made a choice that he never dreamed would be fatal. It Was A Spiritual Death By Misadventure.

She found an old friend from high school on social media, and only wanted to say hello. She never dreamed that reconnecting with that person would lead her right out of church and back into sin and break up her marriage. She didn’t mean to backslide; she just made a choice that she never dreamed would be fatal. It Was A Spiritual Death By Misadventure.

 

The Scriptures Tell Of Others Who Suffered The Same Fate:

  • The Unknown Prophet didn’t mean to get eaten by a lion. He just chose to listen to a backslider.
  • Balaam didn’t mean to die with the Moabites on the battlefield. He just chose to make extra money.
  • Demas did mean to backslide and lose out. He just made a bad choice.
  • Samson didn’t mean to get his eyes put out and die. He chose the wrong woman.
  • The 200 Princes Who Stood By Korah didn’t mean to have the ground open up and swallow them. They just chose to stand by the wrong friend.

 

Today…

The least we can do, is ask for God to lead us and guide us in every decision we make. It is wisdom to ask the Lord to close every door that is not His will for our life.  Just because we like the idea doesn’t mean it will be a good choice for us. Never think that because it seems good to you that it is the will of God.

Why not include God’s man in your important decision making? It’s a major safety factor you surely need to include in your choosing. When God fearing kings in the Old Testament had to make a serious decision, they counseled with the man of God and asked his advice. They asked him to seek the Lord on their behalf. That action never lowered anyone’s respect for the king, but rather raised it higher. Likewise, you will be more respected by God fearing people when you become willing to include God in all of your choices.

 

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

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

 

Acknowledge Him. Recognize His Divine ability to guide you flawlessly through all life choices.

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 12, 2017 at 12:26 am

Where Is Your Pain Taking You?

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Where Is Your Pain Taking You?

 

I am not talking about the kind of pain that takes one to the Doctor’s office or the Emergency Room. There are some pains and hurts so bad that they cannot be medicated or cured by science. Those pains need our focus.

 

There’s A Kind Of Pain That Doesn’t Always Lead Its Companions To The ER.

  • This Pain will lead you in one of two directions.
  • This Pain may lead you to God.
  • This Pain may lead you away from God.

 

Pain will take you to countries you never knew existed.

Pain will give you citizenship in a foreign land that speaks a language known only to the locals.

Pain can pass itself off as a congenial tour guide while leading you down paths from which from which few ever return.

 

Pain will isolate you from family and friends.

Pain will tell you that you are alone and no one cares.

Pain will turn on you like a vampire and eat pieces of your heart out every day.

Pain will demand that you let it do your thinking for you.

 

Pain desires to control your actions and your feelings.

Pain plots to become your master.

Pain will dominate you.

Pain will control you for the rest of your life.

 

You Don’t Have To Go Looking For Pain. Pain Will Come Look For You!

 

Oh, Wounded Spirit!

Where Is Your Pain Taking You?

 

Don’t Let The Thorn (Pain) In Your Side Become A Thorn (Pain) In Your Spirit.

 

Pain will try to make you question God.

Pain will tell you God doesn’t know where you are at.

Pain will tell you that you are wasting your time at church.

Pain will tell you that you have more friends outside of church than you do inside.

Pain will tell you to turn your back on God because He let your family member die.

 

Pain will lead you to bitterness.

Pain will lead you to vengeance.

Pain will make you hateful.

Pain will make you unapproachable by God or man.

 

Pain will control your attitude.

Pain will control your reaction.

Pain will control your walk with God.

Pain will control your relationship with everyone.

Pain will control your attitude.

 

Pain will control your level of worship.

Pain will control your prayer life.

Pain will control your trust in people.

Pain will control your church attendance.

 

Pain is toxic.

Pain is demanding of your time.

Pain tends to take you away from God rather than to Him.

Pain will minimize your ability to function as a Person.

Pain will minimize your ability to function as a Saint.

 

Pain will minimize your ability to function as a Soul-winner

Pain will minimize your ability to function as a Spouse

Pain will minimize your ability to function as a Parent

Pain will minimize your ability to function as a Friend

Pain will minimize your ability to function as a Preacher

 

Where Is Your Pain Taking You?

To God, or away from God?

 

Pain Will Point At Your Cancer.

Pain Will Point At Your Divorce.

Pain Will Point At Your Lost Job.

Pain Will Point At Your Unfaithful Spouse.

 

Pain Will Point At Your Rejection.

Pain Will Point At Your Abuse.

Pain Will Point At Your Disappointments.

Pain Will Point At Your Failures.

 

Pain Will Point At Your Discouragements.

Pain Will Point At Your Sickness.

Pain Will Point At Your Neglect.

Pain Will Point At Your Injuries.

 

Pain Will Point At Your Loneliness.

Pain Will Point At Your Shame.

Pain Will Point At Your Addiction.

Pain Will Point At Your Condemnation.

 

Pain Will Point At Your Scars.

Pain Will Point At Your Enemy’s Success.

Pain Will Point At Your Abused Past.

Pain Will Point At Your Fear.

 

Don’t let Pain determine your eternity.

Don’t let Pain choose your eternity.

Don’t let Pain control your destiny.

 

Pain makes injured animals go into hiding to recover or die.

Pain makes injured lambs go to the shepherd for help.

 

Pain made David seek comfort in the Cave of Adullam.

Pain made Elijah hide in a cave too.

Pain made the Woman with the issue of blood touch Jesus.

Pain made the Syrophoenician mother ask Jesus for a miracle.

 

Where Is Your Pain Taking You?

Has It Taken You Into Hiding From God And Man?

 

How Will You Respond To Pain?

What will you do now?

What will be your reaction?

 

Job’s Attitude Refused To Let Pain Lead Him Away From God!

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

 

When The Prodigal Came To Himself, He Came Home To The Father And Was Restored!

 

Where Is Your Pain Taking You?

To God, or away from God?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 24, 2017 at 6:46 am

My Name Is Leah

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leah-wface

My Name Is Leah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Rueben

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

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

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

 

Simeon

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

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

 

Levi

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

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

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

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

 

Judah

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

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

 

Issachar

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

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

 

The Stolen Idols

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Coming Of Esau

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Zebulun

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

 

Joseph

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

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

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

 

The Trip To Bethel

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

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

 

Benjamin

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

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

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

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

 

Epilogue

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

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

 

The Life Lesson Of Leah

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

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

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 8, 2016 at 11:15 am

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.

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?

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!

 

The Devil’s Got A Plan For You That Just Might Work …If You Let It.

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The Devil’s Got A Plan

The Devil’s Got A Plan For You That Just Might Work …If You Let It.

 

Jesus Told Peter That Satan Desired To Sift Him As Wheat.

Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

  • Satan desires to do the same to you.

 

He Plans To Intimidate You And Ravage You Just Like A Roaring Lion Does.

1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

 

Surely You Are Aware Of His Plan.

2Cor. 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

 

God’s Got A Plan To Help You Resist The Devil.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

  • First, submit yourself to God, then resist the devil and he will flee.

 

The Devil Can’t Do Anything To You That You Don’t Allow Him To Because Greater Is He That Is Within You Than He That Is In The World.

1John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

 

My Father, Carl Ballestero Used To Say:

“The Devil’s Got A Plan To Get You To Backslide!

He has a One Day Plan to make you backslide. If that doesn’t work…

He has a One Week Plan to make you backslide. If that doesn’t work…

He has a One Month Plan to make you backslide. If that doesn’t work…

He has a One Year Plan to make you backslide. If that doesn’t work…

He has a Five Year Plan to make you backslide. If that doesn’t work…

He has a Ten Year Plan to make you backslide. If that doesn’t work…

He has a Twenty Year Plan to make you backslide. If that doesn’t work…

He has a Life Time Plan to make you backslide.”

                                                      

To Every Teenager.

Young Man? He’s got a plan to find you a sinner girlfriend.

Young Lady? He’s got a plan to find you a sinner boyfriend.

He’s got a plan to find you a spouse that will destroy you spiritually.

He’s got a plan to make you dress like the world.

 

He’s got a plan to make you live like the world.

He’s got a plan to involve you in worldly sports and amusements.

He’s got a plan to surround you with improper music.

He’s got a plan to find you a job that will keep you out of church.

 

He’s got a plan to make you sink lower than you ever dreamed you would.

He’s got a plan to get you addicted to drugs, nicotine and alcohol.

He’s got a plan to load you down with condemnation.

He’s got a plan to overwhelm you with shame.

 

He’s got a plan to connect you to sinful people.

He’s got a plan to introduce you to porn.

He’s got a plan to make you lose your purity.

He’s got a plan to make you think your best friends are in the world, and not in the church.

 

The Devil’s Got A Plan For You That Just Might Work …If You Let It.

 

To Every Child Of God.

The devil plans to make you feel offended and hurt.

The devil plans to make you jealous.

The devil plans to stop your prayer life.

The devil plans to defeat you.

 

The devil plans to make you fail.

The devil plans to make you sell your birthright.

The devil plans to make you feel there is no hope for you.

The devil plans to make you throw this Holy Ghost experience away.

 

The devil plans to make you want to quit church.

The devil plans to put you at odds with the pastor.

The devil plans to make you bitter.

The devil plans to take you as low as you will let him.

 

The devil plans to make you waste every talent God has given you.

The devil plans to curse your life.

The devil plans to make you swallow a camel and strain a gnat.

The devil plans to make you find the mote in others eyes and ignore the beam in your own.

 

The devil plans to make you look for hypocrites in the church.

The devil plans to let you be disappointed by men’s failures.

The devil plans to make you quit paying tithes.

The devil plans to make you offended.

 

The devil plans to make you miss church.

The devil plans to make you withdraw from godly fellowship.

The devil plans to make you a bitter person.

The devil plans to make you hate holiness.

 

The devil plans to make you mess up your marriage.

The devil plans to make you stop worshiping.

The devil plans to make you dislike preachers who tell you the truth.

The devil plans to make you resist all Holiness preaching.

 

The devil plans to make you consider doctrine a boring subject.

The devil plans to make Hollywood more attractive to you than the church.

The devil plans to make you immoral.

The devil plans to make you justify your wrong living.

 

The devil plans to make you love making money more than you love church.

The devil plans to make you love pleasure, more than you love God.

The devil plans to make you question God.

The devil plans to make you mad when the preacher says anything that challenges what your family or friends are doing.

 

The devil plans to make you lukewarm.

The devil plans to make you happy with dead worship services.

The devil plans to let you feel comfortable in quiet prayer rooms.

The devil plans to make you talk against the pastor in front of your children.

 

The devil plans to make you question every standard.

The devil plans to make you comfortable trying to get by just doing the minimum.

The devil plans to make you part of the spirit of Laodicea.

The devil plans to make you feel uncomfortable with other cultures in your congregation.

 

The devil plans to make you prejudiced.

The devil plans to make you only knock on doors in certain areas of town during outreach.

The devil plans to make you feel your culture is superior to all others.

The devil plans to destroy unity in your church.

 

The Devil’s Got A Plan For You That Just Might Work …If You Let It.

 

To Every Preacher.

He plans to mess you up with false doctrine.

He plans to destroy your ministry with women.

He plans to ruin you with improper use of money.

He plans to sidetrack your ministry in search of popularity.

 

He plans to make you preach that the new ways are better than the old paths.

He plans to make to you compromise.

He plans to make you quiet about sin.

He plans to make you afraid to preach holiness and separation from the world.

 

He plans to make you a hireling.

He plans to make you preach only pop-psychology sermons.

He plans to make you think you are right and everyone else is wrong.

He plans to make you focus on pleasing men and not God.

 

The Devil’s Got A Plan For You That Just Might Work …If You Let It.

 

To Every Seeker.

The devil plans to blind your eyes and keep you from recognizing truth.

The devil plans to make you think all churches lead to heaven.

The devil plans to make you think the day of Pentecost experience is not for you.

The devil plans to make you resist baptism in Jesus name.

 

The devil plans to make you justify your lifestyle.

The devil plans to make you think that God’s love accepts of your lifestyle.

The devil plans to make you believe false doctrines rather than the truth.

The devil plans to make you believe there is a trinity rather than just one God.

 

The devil plans to try to make you rebel against truth.

The devil plans to make you believe that God is only a God of mercy.

The devil plans to make you think God only looks on the heart and completely ignores the outside.

The devil plans to let you see what he thinks is the worst in every good church you attend.

 

The Devil’s Got A Plan For You That Just Might Work …If You Let It.

 

To Every Backslider

Are you even looking at what the devil is doing to your life?

The prodigal son did.

That’s when he came to himself.

 

That’s when he got up and walked away from sin’s pigpen.

That’s when he came back home and repented to his father.

That’s when the father ran to meet him and forgave him.

He’s your father too and He’s waiting for you to come to yourself!

 

So, What Are You Waiting For?

 

Luke 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

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.

Luke 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

Luke 15:21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

Luke 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

Luke 15:23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

Luke 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

 

The Devil’s Got A Plan For You That Just Might Work …If You Let It.

Don’t Let It!

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 18, 2015 at 12:29 am