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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

All He Ever Wanted, Was Someone To Love Him

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All He Ever Wanted, Was Someone To Love Him

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

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

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

He had it all.

Actually, He had everything.

Well, He had everything, except one thing.

He had no one to love Him.

He had Angels who praised Him continuously.

He had Angels who did His bidding without question.

But He had no one to love Him.

He had no one to dote on Him.

He had received honor before.

He had received praise before.

But He had never been loved before.

He had never seen love demonstrated.

He had never seen love displayed.

He had never seen love expressed or shown.

He had never seen romance before.

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

He understood emotions like rebellion, pride, and obedience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He wanted to find someone to love Him.

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

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

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

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

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

Then He stopped talking.

Adam And Eve

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

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

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

He watched them hold hands and kiss.

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

He tried to imagine a mere mortal loving Him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

Enoch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

Israel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

Hosea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jezreel, “God will disperse”

Lo-ruhamah, “Not pitied, or No Mercy”

Lo-ammi, “Not my people”

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

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

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

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

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

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

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

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

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

Calvary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

The Church

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

You

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

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 15, 2018 at 6:12 pm

The Cracker Barrel New Year’s Sermon

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The Cracker Barrel New Year’s Sermon

 

 

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

 

“Cheers to New Beginnings and Old Traditions”

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 New Beginnings:

 

 Has your Bible reading been almost nonexistent lately?

Begin again.

 

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

Begin again.

 

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

Begin again.

 

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

Begin again.

 

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

Begin again.

 

How long since you made it to midweek service?

Begin again.

 

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

Begin again.

 

Have you resigned or quit participating in your church?

Begin again.

 

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

Begin again.

 

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

Begin again.

 

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

Begin again.

 

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

 Begin again.

 

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

Begin again.

 

 

Begin again In God. Recover yourself.

 

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

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

 

 

Traditions

 

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

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

 

Hold fast to the old Apostolic Pentecostal Traditions.

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

 

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

“Cheers to New Beginnings and Old Traditions!”

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 30, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Don’t Forget To Feed That Calf

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“Don’t Forget To Feed That Calf”

 

The farmer looked closely at his cows and little calves. He felt blessed this year to have some good ones to choose from. He finally settled on the one he thought would be the best.  Pointing his finger at one, he yelled loud enough to be heard above the lowing cattle. He gave a command to his hired hand that would forever change the daily operation of his farm.

“Put that one in the main stall. Keep it separate from the others. And, feed it extra good feed every day. Do you hear me?”

“Yes sir,” came the reply as the man took a rope, then looped the calf’s little neck and began leading it toward the barn.

Every day after that the farmer went by the stall to check on his chosen calf. This calf would fare better than any of the others he had ever raised. He would fatten this one up on purpose. The amount of grain and hay given to it would be much more than the others received. Its stall was separate because the farmer knew if the other calves got in there, they would eat up all the feed.

Work on the farm started when the sun came up. The chickens were fed, and their eggs gathered. The donkeys were fed too. The cows got milked and were able to eat during the process. Nursing calves nudged their mothers seeking more milk. Even the dog was near his bowl waiting for his daily portion. The rooster officially started the morning’s business by announcing it was time to begin the day.

The smell of breakfast oozed from the kitchen into the rest of the house and yard. Everyone seemed busy doing something, but then one by one they washed up came inside and sat down to eat. The farmer prayed and gave thanks over the food, and then he, his son and the workers begin to eat and make small table talk. About the time they were finishing up, the farmer gave out his daily work orders to the crew. He finished by pointing to one of his men and said, “And, don’t forget to feed that calf.”

The man nodded and they all arose to finish the rest of their chores. In a couple of hours, the farmer went to the calf’s stall to check on things again. Yes, the calf had been fed and fed extra. The feed box still had grain in it. Several bats of hay lay on the ground as a backup supply. The little calf sure looked like it was thriving on the new diet.

The farmer leaned on the wooden gate and looked at the calf. His mind went back to the image of his baby boy carrying all his belongings and walking down the road away from the house not even looking back. Tears moistened his cheeks and ran down past his chin. His baby boy was gone! Oh, how he missed him! He had looked down the road every day hoping for a glimpse of him.

But something in his father’s gut told him that there would be a day when his boy would come back home. He didn’t know when, but he believed he eventually would. He knew his son would be very ashamed of what he had done when he did come home. He would never hold it over his son’s head and say, “I told you so!” Absolutely not! When he did return home, the father had no plans of going back to business as usual. No sir. He would do everything he could to let his boy know that he was loved and forgiven. He would throw a great big party for him. A party with lots of music, dancing, steaks, some barbecue, and festivities. Yes sir, he would make this calf get fat. Real fat.

  • This calf was dedicated to his son’s home-coming.
  • This calf represented the substance of things hoped for.
  • This calf was just waiting for the son’s day of restoration.
  • This calf was the party calf!

He wiped the tears from his face and turned around slowly, catching the eyes of some of his men, and said loudly for all of them to hear…

 

“Don’t Forget To Feed That Calf.”

 

 

___________________________________________________________________

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.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 14, 2017 at 3:08 pm

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

 

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My Name Is Leah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Rueben

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

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

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

 

Simeon

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

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

 

Levi

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

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

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

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

 

Judah

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

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

 

Issachar

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

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

 

The Stolen Idols

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Coming Of Esau

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Zebulun

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

 

Joseph

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

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

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

 

The Trip To Bethel

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

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

 

Benjamin

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

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

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

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

 

Epilogue

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

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

 

The Life Lesson Of Leah

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

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

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 8, 2016 at 11:15 am

Things You Won’t Fix

with 3 comments

Things You Won’t Fix

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

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

Things Like:

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

Never Fixed

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

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

 

King Solomon Marveled At Men Who Procrastinated During The Harvest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Need To Fix Your Back Tithe Problem?

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

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

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

There Are Things You Won’t Fix, Why?

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

Jesus Called The Scribes And Pharisees, Hypocrites.

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

 

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

 

Agrippa Almost Got Right With God.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

The Four Lepers Fixed It

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

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

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

The Prodigal Son

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

 

The History of Obligatory Archery Practice!

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

“For Want Of A Nail”

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe the horse was lost.

For want of a horse the rider was lost.

For want of a rider the battle was lost.

For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.

And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

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

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

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

Please fix it.

Yes, Fix It Now!