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Archive for the ‘Recovery’ Category

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

with 11 comments

 

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!

 

They Built A Monument To Their Problem.

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They Built A Monument To Their Problem.

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The official website of Enterprise, AL ( http://www.enterpriseal.gov/#!history-of-enterprise/c6gw ) explains why there is a monument erected to what once was a problem.

Enterprise “was threatened in 1915 as the Mexican boll Weevil found its way into Alabama from Texas and wreaked havoc on the cotton crop. In Coffee County, almost 60 percent of the cotton production was destroyed. Farmers faced bankruptcy and the area economy was at stake. Farmers turned to peanuts and other crops to overcome the damage brought by the boll weevil.


“By 1917, Coffee County produced and harvested more peanuts than any other county in the nation. (In 1993, Coffee County ranked 4th in the state of Alabama with 128,000 acres planted in peanuts.) In gratitude for the lessons taught, residents erected the world’s only monument to an agricultural pest, the Boll Weevil.

“The monument, dedicated on December 11, 1919, stands in the center of the downtown district at the intersection of Main Street and College Street. The Boll Weevil Monument is a symbol of man’s willingness and ability to adjust to adversity. Citizens continue to remind visitors and newcomers to the city the lesson of the boll weevil. The base of the monument is inscribed:

“In profound appreciation of the boll weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity this monument was erected by the citizens of Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama.”

Today the City of Enterprise is a beautiful and still growing town of over 27,750. Stores seem to be everywhere. The restaurants are wonderful. The people are friendly. Business is booming where once it was failing.

(And most important of all, they have a wonderful Apostolic Church at the corner of Hwy 84E and Coffee County Road, called New Life Pentecostal Church. My friend, Brother John Padgett, is the pastor.)

The first time I drove through the downtown area I was amazed to see the Boll Weevil Monument. The woman in the sculpture is holding the problem pest above her head with both of her arms fully extended. It is as if she is showing it off to the world. She appears to be saying, this once was the problem here, but it’s not anymore.

The South was horribly devastated by the little boll weevil. Cotton crops failed, farmers went bankrupt, and their farms were foreclosed on when the economy flat lined.

The people in Enterprise turned their lives and their city around when they changed from growing cotton to growing peanuts. Peanuts became a great blessing to the whole area and to America as well. They had to be pushed into their miracle recovery. They later erected a monument to the thing that made them change.

  • The monument did not showcase the boll weevil as the reason why the people of Enterprise couldn’t succeed.
  • It wasn’t erected because they were displaying their excuse for failure for the world to see.
  • It was simple saying, “Here is what once was our problem. Here is the pest that pushed us to think different, to live different and as a result, to be successful.”

 

Building A Monument To A Problem Is Nothing New.

 

It Could Be Said The Lord Was The First One To Display A Such Monument.

He Put A Rainbow In The Sky

noah_ark_rainbow_2

Gen 9:13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

Gen 9:14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

Gen 9:15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

Gen 9:16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.

Gen 9:17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.

After the flood God made a monument to remind them of their storm. A reminder that from now on, things would be different.

 

God Instructed Israel To Build A Monument To Their Problem.

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They needed to cross over Jordan, into the Promised Land to inherit their promise, but there was a river in the way. No bridge, or any ferryboats were there to help them. This was a problem in need of a miracle. God always makes a way where there seems to be no way,

Joshua 4:2 Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man,

Joshua 4:3 And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.

  • Make your monument out of the middle of your problem.
  • Take the makings of the monument home with you.
  • Place it near where you sleep tonight.

Joshua 4:4 Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man:

Joshua 4:5 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:

 

Your Children Are Going To Ask You Later About Your Monument.

Joshua 4:6 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?

Joshua 4:7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

These stones declared, “There once was an obstacle in front of us that we couldn’t get over. But God made a way. We never want to forget.”

 

What About Your Problem?

  • Are you still living with it, never changing?
  • Are you still suffering because of it?

 

There Is A Lesson To Be Learned From The Humble People Of Enterprise.

  • That they had a problem, they well knew.
  • To quit and give up was not acceptable.
  • To move away was not the solution.
  • To change was their only answer.
  • They changed and then they flourished
  • What will you do with your problem?
  • Will you let it make you fail?
  • Will you let it make you change?

 

There Is A Lesson To Be Learned From Israel’s Twelve Stones

As long as there is life, there will be problems.

Before Israel went through the Jordan River into their New Life, God charged them ahead of time to gather twelve stones out of the riverbed to build their monument. He knew they would need their own monument as a reminder.

You Will Always Have To Face:

  • Hurts
  • Disappointments
  • Pain
  • Grief

But while in the middle of your passing through the problem, don’t forget to gather the materials you’ll need to build your monument when it’s all over.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 10, 2015 at 5:59 pm

The Saddest Sight Of All Is The Pacing Of The Caged Lion.

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The Saddest Sight Of All Is The Pacing Of The Caged Lion.

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The Lion The King Of The Jungle!

Lions, they are no doubt one of the most magnificent of creatures. Even the Lord referred to Himself as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. The lion is an animal so powerfully built, so capable, so beautiful, and awe-inspiring that it was chosen to be a type of the Messiah.

Some even travel on safari trips into the African jungle or veld to view this monarch of all animals in its natural environment. The photos such travelers bring home capture the heart of its viewers.

One of the saddest things to see is this noble creature pacing the floor inside of a steel cage. Back and forth, back and forth it goes looking for a way out. Occasionally it may stop to bite the bars and roar out of frustration.

  • It sees others free outside the cage and wants to be free too.
  • It wasn’t born to live on concrete.
  • It wasn’t created to live in a steel showcase.
  • It’s potential and strengths are forever confined.
  • Its power will never really be known.
  • It’s only a shadow of what could have been.
  • It’s a caged lion.
  • It’s a pacing caged lion wanting to be free.
  • It’s a pacing caged lion looking for a way out.
  • It’s a pacing caged lion.

 

The Caged Lion

No one has to go to the City Zoo to see the pacing of caged lions. They can be seen in many of our homes and most of our churches!

They are beautiful creatures of God with amazing potentials and abilities. Yet they live a life of meager existence. They watch others enjoy freedoms in God that they cannot. They are limited to what lengths they can even go because of their steel bars.

  • People come by and look at them.
  • Some point and make comments to their friends.
  • Some take pictures of what they see.
  • The similarities to the caged lion are there for all to see.
  • The spirit of unrest.
  • The pacing of the caged creature back and forth, back and forth.
  • The frustration.
  • The caged look.
  • The biting at the bars.
  • The occasional roars from the soul.

Every one is handicapped to help. Multitudes read the warning signs and keep their distance. They look and then they move on.

 

What Put The Lion In This Cage? Who Put The Lion In This Cage?

Were they captured in a snare or trap? Were they injured, found and then brought here? Did the lion walk inside willingly and let himself be lock in the cage? Is this cage real or imagined? What happened? No one really knows the whole story. All that is known is that something happened.

  • Was it Condemnation?
  • Was it a Personal Failure?
  • Was it an Addiction?
  • Was it an Attitude?
  • Was it Rebellion?
  • Was it a Rumor?
  • Was it an Indiscretion?
  • Was it Disobedience?
  • Was it Bitterness?
  • Was it a Past Injury?

 

Did Sin Make The Bars Or Were The Bars Man Made?

How Did This Happen?

Every day, everywhere, caged lions are seen. I watch them in churches. The potential for better things is obvious to all who see them. But their actions aren’t much different from the caged king of the jungle.

I watch them pace and hear them roar. They are still caged and confined by the events of the present and the past. They are held captive by things real and things imagined. They barely exist.

I watch them try to worship and they cannot. They try to pray and it sounds empty and hollow, but mostly just quiet. Occasionally they will roar out loud, but their roar does not threaten Hell.

They smile but they are not happy. They raise their hands, but never seem to touch Heaven. They keep their head down in despair while praying. They never feel worthy.

If they are called on to testify. It is a quick, low-voiced attempt that may last only ten seconds or so.

  • They watch others worship and shout, but they don’t.
  • They watch others sing from the soul, but they are still in a cage.
  • They watch others pray with liberty and freedom, but their prayers are caged.
  • They see their friends be used of God, while they pace back and forth.
  • The bars keep them from doing what they really want to do.
  • The bars keep them from being what they really want to be.

 

If I Could Talk To The Spiritually Caged And Pacing Lion…

I Would Share Four Passages Of Scripture To Give Them Hope.

God NEVER meant for His children to live a cage. He never meant for us to exist just pacing behind bars, a spectacle for all to see. A could-have-been. No matter who made the bars, or how the lion got inside, there is a way out for all.

 

1. Every One Has A Past. Understand That God Doesn’t Want Your Past To Be Your Future Or Hold You Captive. No Matter What You Have Done Or What You Have Been, There Is Hope.

1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

1Co 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

1Co 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

 

2. Paul Even Felt Caged By His Past.

(Roman law allowed the dead victim to be tied to the back of the murderer. In it’s decaying state, the worms slowly ate into and killed the killer. Paul felt his past tied to his back, eating away at him. Condemnation is a killer. So he wrote:

Rom 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

But Something Happened To Paul Between Chapter Seven And Chapter Eight. When He Broke Free He Wrote Anew…

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

 

3. Jesus Came Down To Earth To Unlock Your Cage

Isa 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;

 

Dear Child Of God!

Do not allow your self, your sin, or your past to keep you in a cage. Believe in God’s Mercy, His Grace, and His Forgiveness. Accept It.

 

  • The Door Is Unlocked And Open.
  • The Cage No Longer Can Hold You Unless You Let It.
  • Freedom Is God’s Gift To You.

 

4. The Door Is Open. God Didn’t Save You To Keep You In A Cage.

Rev 3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it:

 

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Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 25, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Inside Mercy’s House

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It’s Here!

Download Your Free E-Book Now

(Just click on the picture)

Mercy's House2

A Short Story for Young People

By

Martyn Ballestero Sr.

Edited By

Nila Marxer

© 2014 Martyn Ballestero Sr.

All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission. Contact martyn238@aol.com

 

Dedication

I dedicate this story to my precious Grandchildren.
They all make me proud!

Kalyx Ballestero, Carlton Ballestero, Braden Ballestero,
Huntley Ballestero, Christyana Ballestero, Christian Ballestero, Caison Ballestero, Gentson Ballestero
Jeron Ballestero, Chloe Ballestero, Zion Ballestero
Garrison Hartzell, Cadence Hartzell, & Ainsley Hartzell

 

The First Paragraph:

“Shame stood there quietly in woods while the afternoon sun lazily highlighted his disheveled hair. His head hung down from sheer exhaustion. He didn’t feel like he could run another step. The birds had stopped singing momentarily to watch this unwelcome intruder as he looked for a place to sit down out of view of the path.”

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

 

This free e-book is available in three formats. Click on the picture or the link to access and download the book from Dropbox. No registration or account is needed. Here’s the Dropbox link:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/h70uly3f9x5u75s/AAAg1mMKav0CCgAa6stWVyV7a?dl=0

 

There are three file types available.

If you read books on a Kindle, select the Mobi file or PDF
If you read books on an iPad or iPhone, choose the Epub file (or PDF if you have the pdf app.)
If you read books on a Andoid choose the Mobi file and use with the  Kindle app.
If you read books on your Computer, and have Adobe Reader try the PDF

 

If you are having trouble, maybe these “how-to” links will help:

http://osxdaily.com/2012/03/25/transfer-mobi-epub-ebook-files-to-ipad/

http://askleo.com/how_do_i_download_and_read_a_pdf_ebook/

http://www.ehow.com/how_8230718_open-ebook-email-iphone.html

 

(If you need help or the link does not work, let me know. Blessings to all. – MJB)

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 24, 2014 at 2:34 am

Finding God In Your Failures

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Finding God In Your Failures

  1. 24:16 for a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:
  • Life is not over after the falling down; life is all about the getting back up.
  • We all need help, just need it in different areas.
  • We all can come from a setback to a comeback.
  • There is life after “death.”

My Failure Shows Me…

  1. My failure shows me that no one is exempt, not even me.
  2. My failure warns me there are things I need to immediately change in my life.
  3. My failure reminds me that my flesh is my biggest enemy.
  4. My failure can help me see what I need to fix to find God’s favor again.
  5. My failure is not my final chapter.

Why Do People Fail?   (Sometimes It’s A Combination Of Things.)

  1. A limited obedience of God’s word?
  2. A carless attitude toward temptation?
  3. eraser and word mistakesA pursuit of personal fleshly gratification?
  4. A failure to put God first?
  5. Blatant disobedience?

The Phases Of Failure

  1. The Reaction Phase
  • Shock – I can’t believe I did it.
  • Denial – Won’t admit full guilt. Blames others.
  • Blame Others – Like Adam blamed Eve.
  • Withdrawal – Hide in the bushes of shame, like Adam and Eve.
  • Fear – Of more failure
  • Anger – Mad at self, mad at own weaknesses.
  • Shame – Can’t face anyone.
  • Depression – I’m hopeless, I’ll never amount to anything.
  • Despair – I guess I’ll just give up. No use. It’s over!
  1. The Response Phase
  • Flight Response – Leave church, move away. (Quit church)
  • Faith Response – Have a desire and determination to be restored.

 Repentance – Restoration

  • God will give you a space to repent
  • God will give you an opportunity to repent (Spirit drawn)
  • If God has given up on you – He wouldn’t be reaching for you with a message even right now.

 

Don’t Give Up On Yourself!

Luke Chapter 15

  • The Good Shepherd – Type of Christ. He never gave up. He sought until He found the one lost sheep.
  • Lost Coin – Type of the Church – never gave up – swept until she found the lost coin.
  • Prodigal Son. Never gave up on the Father or himself. Came home.

 

What God Knows About My Failure

  1. God knows we’ll all fail.
  2. He knows we are flesh.
  3. He is ready to forgive a repentant sinner.
  4. His blood is ready to cover all of our transgressions.
  5. The Holy Ghost is prepared to renew and transform us.
  6. He sees beyond our failure.

Lessons I Should Learn From My Failure

  • There are no little sins.
  • Prayers of repentance change everything.
  • When we fail, God will forgive if we repent.
  • If we do sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.
  • God can bring good out of the bad.

 

Failure Focus

  • Looks at the problem as a hopeless one.
  • Looks at the future with great fear.
  • Sees the only obstacles.
  • Assumes the worst.
  • Limits God’s ability to restore them fully.

Faith focus

  • Looks for a solution
  • Looks past the fear, never loses hope.
  • Sees the opportunity to recover and grasps it.
  • Assumes the best.
  • Believes God will.

 

Getting Past Your Failures

2 Timothy 2:25 in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if god peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

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

  • Really pray through.
  • Ask God to help you and deliver you.
  • Recognize the desire and spirit that caused your error.
  • Admit your sin.
  • Humble yourself.
  • Clear yourself with others.
  • Clear yourself with God.
  • Submit yourself to the Word of God.
  • Submit to the man of God.
  • Learn from your mistakes.
  • Be faithful.
  • Accept God’s forgiveness
  • Ask God for guidance.
  • Get back up.

 

Why Does God Go Through The Trouble To Restore You?

  1. There Is A Reason God Has Dealt This Long With You.
  2. There Is A Reason – He Has Put Up With Your Failures.
  3. There Is A Reason – He Sends Conviction And Sermons.
  4. He’s Not Done With You!

 

Some Biblical Heroes Weren’t Perfect. We’re Not Either.

(Saying this doesn’t excuse our sin or give us permission to sin.)

  1. Abraham Lied
  2. Moses Got Mad
  3. David Was Immoral
  4. Peter Denied Jesus

It Was In Failure These People Found God.

  • The Woman Taken In Adultery
  • Thief On The Cross
  1. I’m Not Interested In What You Did, But…
  2. I Am Interested In What You Are Going To Do Now.
  3. So Get Up, Get Restored And Go On. You Can Do It.
  4. There Is Hope For You!

 

Life Is Not Over After The Falling Down; Life Is All About The Getting Back Up.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 11, 2014 at 10:57 am