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When God Doesn’t Meet Your Expectations.

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When God Doesn’t Meet Your Expectations.

Luke 7:23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

  • What Happens When God Doesn’t Heal?
  • What Happens When God Doesn’t Deliver?
  • What Happens When God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayers Like You Wanted Him To?

It’s not uncommon to get a notion in our heads about how we think God should supply specific things that we need, or want. Some have gotten mad at the Lord, and even backslid because a loved one died or was not healed.

Since His ways are not our ways, there will always be times when God doesn’t move or work like we think he should. That can be a major test for our faith.

Sometimes, life doesn’t turn out like we expected. Why? I can’t tell you, because I don’t know for sure either. But this one thing I do know. God is still in control. He has never made a mistake. I must always trust Him.

 

Naaman – Almost Lost His Miracle When Things Didn’t Meet His Expectations.

2Ki 5:10 And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.

2Ki 5:11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.

Naaman was a man of high position and ranking in Syria. As Captain of the army, he was always given much respect.

Bottom line, I’m sure, was his disappointment that the Prophet did not personally come out to see him. He had imagined the moment of his healing, and it looked nothing like what had just happened to him. He left the prophet’s home in a huff.

His own servant showed more good sense than he did. Only after being reasoned with, did he finally submit. For Naaman, submission and obedience were the keys to his miracle.

 

 

Peter – Denied The Lord When Things Didn’t Meet His Expectations.

When accused by the maid of being a disciple of Christ, Peter replied, “I know not the man!” In a twisted way, Peter was telling the truth.

  • The Jesus he knew was a Jesus of miracles.
  • The Jesus he knew walked on water.
  • The Jesus he knew raised the dead.
  • The Jesus he knew turned water in to wine.
  • The Jesus he knew fed 5,000 with a few fishes and five loaves of bread.
  • The Jesus he knew healed the lepers and opened blinded eyes.

Peter Didn’t Know This Jesus.

  • He didn’t know a Jesus of defeat.
  • He didn’t know a Jesus of rejection.
  • He didn’t know a Jesus of disappointment.

What about the three and a half years he had followed Jesus around? Were those years spent for nothing? Evidently, Peter’s faith had momentarily wavered.

 

 

John The Baptist Questioned The Lord When Things Didn’t Meet His Expectations.

Of men born of women, there was none greater than John the Baptist. He was even born with the Holy Ghost. He was a fearless preacher and a chosen forerunner for the Messiah.

  • Yet, John finds himself in prison.
  • His hopes are dashed.
  • His future looks bleak.
  • His first cousin, Jesus, is nowhere around.
  • He becomes tormented by his worst fears.
  • His imagination runs wild.
  • He even questioned if Jesus was truly the Messiah.

Luke 7:19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?

 

 

The Three Hebrew Children – Said, “But If Not…” In Case Things Didn’t Meet Their Expectations.

Dan 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

Dan 3:17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

Dan 3:18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

They proudly stood in front of the pagan king and bragged on their God. They said that their God was able to deliver them. But if He didn’t, they still weren’t going to bow down to an idol.

If the Lord God didn’t deliver them, they were still going to be faithful to Him.

 

 

Job – Watched His Mouth When Things Didn’t Meet His Expectations.

Job 1:22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

None of us can imagine the horrible loss Job experienced.

  • His family was destroyed.
  • His children were dead.
  • His vast herds stolen.
  • His health was virtually destroyed.
  • His wife turned in to an unbelieving nag.
  • His friends did nothing but criticize and point fingers at him.

We Love To Quote Job’s Reaction To His Dilemma.

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

The second part of the verse stands out to me today. Job certified, that though things had not turned out like he wanted, he was going to maintain his ways. He was going to keep on doing what he had always done.

What Do You Do When Things Don’t Turn Out Like You Wanted? Do You Maintain Your Ways? If You Want Your Story To Turn Out Good, Then:

  • Keep on coming to church.
  • Keep on worshipping.
  • Keep on praying.
  • Keep on singing
  • Keep on loving
  • Keep involved in church.
  • Keep on shouting.
  • Keep on paying your tithes.
  • Keeping on testifying about how good God is.

 

 

Israel – Believed The Ten Spies When Things Didn’t Meet Their Expectations.

Did Israel want to go over into the Promised Land? Most certainly! The problem was, the majority of the spies saw the enemy and became frightened and faint hearted.

This didn’t look like an easy victory to them. No one paid much attention to Joshua and Caleb’s glowing report. They ignored the huge display of grapes.

Because they responded in unbelief, God allowed all but the young to die in the wilderness. They needlessly spent 40 years of wandering because of how they reacted.

Things hadn’t turned out like they expected, so they said ‘no’ to God. God in return, said ‘no’ to their inheriting the promise and gave it to their children instead.

  • Never stop believing.
  • Never say ‘no’ to God.

 

 

Paul – Lived With A Thorn In His Flesh When Things Didn’t Meet His Expectations.

  • Paul prayed more than once for God to take his pain away. God didn’t.
  • Paul had just spoken the word, and a man had gone blind for a season.
  • A poisonous viper and taken hold of his hand once while he was carrying wood for a fire. He just shook it off, and though bitten, was not harmed.

Yet this thorn he spoke of, wouldn’t go away. God had answered his other prayers, why didn’t He answer this one?

Paul never knew, but he chose instead, to be content to live with his unanswered prayer request.

 

So, What Is My Life Lesson Here?

What Should I Do When Things Don’t Meet My Expectation?

  1. Like Naaman – I choose to humbly submit my self and obey the Word of the Lord given to me.
  2. Like The Three Hebrew Children – I will always believe God is able. But if He doesn’t deliver me… I’m still going to be faithful.
  3. Like Job – I want to keep my spirit right, and watch my mouth during my trial.
  4. Like Paul – If God doesn’t take away the pain in my life; I will learn to be content, and trust His will.

 

 

Remember God’s Words In The Old Testament When Things Don’t Meet Your Expectations.

KJV: Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

KJV: Isa 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

The Message Bible: I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work. For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.

Remember God’s Words In The New Testament When Things Don’t Meet Your Expectations.

KJV: Luke 7:23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

NIV: Luke 7:23 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.

ESV: Luke 7:23 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Meet Your Expectations?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm

How Long Is The Night?

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How Long Is The Night?

Nights seem shorter during the summer months, and a lot longer during the winter.

John 11:9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day?

Without getting too scientific, even at the geographical poles, where the earth’s rotation isn’t a factor, there is a six months night and a six months day.

And according to Yahoo, even “at the equinoxes, when the sun is exactly perpendicular to the equator, everywhere on earth, there is a day somewhere that has exactly 12 hours and a night of 12 hours.”

So… How Long Has The Been For Night For You?

tusleepn-1

 

In The Garden At Night

It was in the Garden of Gethsemane at night, that Jesus was forced to face his greatest battle. It was also a time when his own disciples slept. There was no one to help him during His night season.

The Night Jesus Was In The Tomb.

It was a very long night for the believers of Jesus, when they knew his body lay encased in a tomb. Their hopes were dashed. Their future dreams all dissolved before their eyes.

 

Peter’s Night After The Denial

How long was the night for Peter? He lived all night with the haunting reality of his denial of the Lord.

The Ten Virgins

For the ten virgins, the night was long enough to make them all fall asleep from weariness and exhaustion.

Daniel’s Night In The Lions Den

How long was the night for Daniel as he listened to the lions snore next to him? No one had ever survived an ordeal like this before! Would he?

paul_shipwreck_by_tazi_san-d38hbzyPaul’s Night Floating In The Mediterranean Sea

Paul said he spent all night floating in the open sea after his shipwreck. Sometimes, there is no rest all night long. Night seems to be a time in which men fight for survival.

The Night Of The First Passover

How could they sleep knowing that death lurked outside in the darkness? The blood of the lamb was their only defense! They had to keep their shoes on. In spite of the judgment that fell on the unbelievers, Deliverance came for them the same night.

Night Has Often Been A Time For Coming To Grips With Our Greatest Fears.

  • For some, it’s a time of loneliness.
  • Maybe, it could also be a time for tears.
  • For others, it’s in the night that fear reigns supreme.
  • Nightmares happen in the night.
  • Sounds are heard at night that no one seems to notice during the day.
  • Storms of devastation seem to come at night.

Nights Are Horrible For Anyone That Is Away From God.

  • It seems that the death angel comes more often at night.
  • Sick people gain hope, if they can just make it through the night.

We all have nights, and for most of our lives think nothing of them. There are times however, when situations and circumstances look bleak, and despair seems to show it’s ugly face.

  • Fear grips our hearts.
  • Our mind tells us how hopeless our situation is.

 

Your Night Of Trial And Testing!

I’m Sure It’s Painful! How Often We All Desire To Spare Those We Love From Their Night Terrors!

  • stock-footage-full-moon-behind-clouds-at-nightOnly God has the answer!
  • Only God knows how much longer your night will last.
  • Only God knows how much you will have to bear.
  • Only God knows how He plans to be glorified by your trial of faith.
  • Only God knows where you are ‘at.’
  • Only God knows why you have been chosen to bear your load.
  • Only God knows why you had to hear the doctor’s bad report.
  • Only God knows why you suffered such loss.

 

But, There Is One Thing He Wants You To Know!

 Psa 30: 5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

I Am Praying For You, That Your ‘Night’ Not Last Much Longer!

For The Church Of Jesus Christ

This is a dark time. It is an hour of spiritual wickedness and the prince of darkness is having his last fling. This truly is the midnight hour.

  • But, Be Of Good Cheer. The Morning Cometh!
  • Jesus Is Coming Soon. The Night Is Almost Over!
  • Are You Ready For A New Day?

 

Are You Ready For The Morning?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 3, 2012 at 9:16 pm

The Journey To Wits End

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The Journey To Wits End

The Road to Nowhere was marked, sort of.  It was off to the side of the road and you to had to be looking for it to see it. Besides, weeds were growing up around its base.

David steered the car as if on autopilot. His mind was in a whirl. Everything was going wrong today. He felt like he had little control over the events of the day.

Last night, he had stopped in Despairville and got a room at The Anxiety Lodge.  The floors were not numbered 1,2, or 3. They were given names instead. His room was on Floor – Pacing.

A few others seemed to be heading in this direction also. Occasionally, he saw a car or two coming back from where he was heading.

Around the corner he went and then he saw a Fork in the road. He remembered that someone at the Lodge had recommended that when he came to Crucial Fork, to not take the Right Fork, so he didn’t.

The road climbed up Heartache Hill, and he entered the city limits of Panic Town. The Detour signs caused him to turn onto Frustration Avenue.  David drove down that road for quite a ways. He saw no streets to turn off on.

Ahead was a barricade across the road. He had to stop. The barricade had a big sign on it.

It said, “Welcome To Wits End!”

David couldn’t go forward, He had no desire to go back. There wasn’t a place to turn around that he could see.

He leaned his head forward and rested it on his hands as the gripped the steering wheel. Tears streamed down his cheeks. He cried aloud unto the Lord to help him. He lifted his head, and that’s when he saw Him!

  • That’s when he found the only One that could help him!
  • That’s when his help came!
  • That’s when his deliverance came!
  • That’s when Jesus took over!

 

That’s When The Sacred Psalm Came Alive For Him!

 

Psalm 107:23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;

Psalm 107:24 These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.

Psalm 107:25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.

Psalm 107:26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.

Psalm 107:27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end.

Psalm 107:28 Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.

Psalm 107:29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.

Psalm 107:30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.

Psalm 107:31 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 29, 2012 at 11:39 pm

The Drama Of The Waiting Room

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The Drama Of The Waiting Room

The Waiting Room was full of desperate people. Another shift change brought in a new face behind the desk, but that was the only thing different.

An older woman sat by herself in a corner, observing the actions of some of those around her. She even attempted to guess what had brought them to this place.

A few were in so much pain, that they couldn’t stop the tears from running down their cheeks. Her heart went out to them. She knew the only help she could give them was words, and they needed much more than that.

One of the newest additions to the Waiting Room was a young mom. She nervously paced back and forth. Her face seemed tortured and filled with anxiety. She showed no interest in sitting down. Her lips moved, as she prayed silently while pacing the floor.

Occasionally, she would walk by the clipboard that held the sign-in sheet, as if to see how close her name was from being called. She frowned ever time she looked at it.

When the Attendant occasionally opened the door and picked up the clipboard to call the next name on the list, all conversations stopped, and every ear listened for the sound of their name. The wait seemed like forever.

Some of the people in the room had dried blood on their clothes. A few had addictions, many were diseased, and a number of them had been in an accident of some kind. One or two had limped in with the help of others, but most came alone.

“What are you here for, my dear?”  The older lady asked the young mother.

“I have a sick baby that the doctors can’t find a cure for,” was her answer. Her face showed deep worry and pain.

“You poor dear, it hurts so bad to see our babies suffer,” the grandmother said as she shook her gray head, feeling the pain.

“What are you waiting for?” The younger woman asked.

“My husband,” she said, with a hopeful smile on her face.

The young mother looked around the room again at the huge cross-section of people. She could tell that most of them had been there awhile.

“What is wrong with this place? Why does it take so long to get help here?”

The grandma just smiled faintly and slightly shrugged her shoulders. Then she turned and looked into the eyes of the young mom, and asked, “How long have you been waiting?”

“Eighteen months, two days and eleven hours,” she said glancing at her watch. “What about you?’ She continued.

“I’ve been here thirty-six years, this November,” the grandma said still smiling.

“Oh my word,” the young mom said as she sat down. “You’ve been waiting in here for more years than I am old. That’s an unbelievable long time. Are you able to talk to the Physician at all? Does he ever say anything to you?“

“I talk to him everyday. He is the best there is, and he tells me he’ll let me know as soon as he’s finished.”

“What’s wrong with your husband?”

“He backslid thirty-six ago. God is working on him, so I’m just sitting in this Waiting Room till my husband can pray back through.”

Tears ran down both of their faces.

“My dear,” the grandma said as she observed that no one was monitoring the check-in list, “please bring me that clipboard over there, I want to show you something.”

The young woman obediently brought the clipboard over to the grandmother and sat down beside her. They both looked at the list of names.

The older woman began to flip the pages back. She flipped them all the way back to the first page, and then began to call out random names, with dates and times.

“Here on Page One, it shows that Abraham was promised a son, and he waited here in this room for twenty-five years before Isaac was born.

“On Page Two, it shows that Joseph had to wait twenty years before his dreams came true and he got to sit on the throne of Egypt.

“Umm, on Page Three, Moses spent forty years in the Wilderness part of the Waiting Room, just killing time before God could use him.

Page Twelve shows that David waited almost fifteen years after he was anointed king, before he was allowed to ascend the throne.

Page Twenty shows there was some guy that waited thirty-eight years in the Pool of Siloam Section of the Waiting Room before he got his miracle.”

The younger woman took the clipboard in her hands and leaned back into her chair while she read down the long list of names.

“According to this log,” she said, “not very many get discharged the same day they come. The good news that I see here, is that the Doctor has an amazing success rate. I am not really in love with the idea of waiting, but I don’t plan to leave here until my baby gets well.”

The grandma slipped her arm around the young woman to comfort her. At about the same time they both looked up at two of the signs on the wall.

Their faces were filled with hope anew, as they bravely faced their future in the God’s Waiting Room!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Did God Let You Down?

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Did God Let You Down?

God let you down? So, you’ve decided not go back to church because you are disappointed in Him?

First of all, I am very sorry for the pain you’ve had to live through. I’m sure I haven’t lived through the disappointment and pain you have. You certainly have my prayers.

It makes me nervous though and it kind of frightens me, to hear people make comments made about having their faith shaken. What do they mean, shaken? Shaken, as in not believing in God anymore?

I am not so certain that I am comfortable using that phrase or term. If you do, that’s your business.

  • I know of people that no longer go to church because a loved one died despite much fasting and prayer.
  • Their disappointment because of unanswered prayers brought disillusionment to their soul.
  • Why? How could this happen?
  • How can there be a God?
  • How could God let this happen?
  • They backslid because their ‘faith’ was shaken.
  • They quit church because they got mad at God.

The bottom line is that WHATEVER He does, or allows to happen, He’s is STILL a good God! He didn’t let you down. You are most surely saddened by the loss of your loved one. But God has never let anyone down, especially you.

I am not a Bible scholar. I really don’t have all of life’s answers. But I am a fellow traveller in this Christian Journey with you and I would like to share some precious truths about the Lord. Please indulge me.

 

Abraham – The Father Of The Faithful

Even though he earned and was given the highest title of faith among believers, “The Father Of The Faithful,” he died without ever receiving the promise.

Romans 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

  • He staggered not.
  • He didn’t waver or doubt.
  • He never faltered.

Yet he never got to see what he had hoped to see. Did that mean God didn’t love Abraham? Did that mean God let him down? You be the judge.

Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

We all have lived long enough to see the faith of friends tested because of unanswered prayers. Does unanswered prayer mean that God doesn’t love them? Did God let them down? Absolutely not!

Somehow we have it in our minds that Jesus must heal everyone, because He is a healer. Can He heal everyone? Sure. Does He? No.

 

Remember The Man At The Pool Of Bethesda?

John 5:5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.

John 5:6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?

John 5:8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.

John 5:9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.

Get the picture? Scores of people lay around the pool waiting for the waters to be troubled by an angel so they can get their miracle. Jesus enters unannounced and seeks out just one man, heals him, and then leaves.

It is almost equivalent to Jesus walking into a hospital, healing one man and then leaving. How did He choose him? Why him? What about all the other sick folks? Did they get healed too? The Bible makes no mention if they did.

 

The Other Side Of Faith  – Hebrews 11

In our minds, everyone who has faith gets healed and or delivered. Actually, according to these verses, that is not so.

Did they have faith? Absolutely. Did they die without being healed or delivered? Sadly, (from man’s point of view.) yes.

For thirty-four verses in this chapter the beloved patriarchs are honored and heralded as role models. They were people of faith.

Then the writer of Hebrews takes a deeper look at the faithful and shows that not everyone that believed got their name mentioned. Not everyone had a glorious testimony of healing or deliverance. Not everyone got to live to a ripe old age. Some endured unspeakable pain and discomfort. Some were mistreated and abused. Some lived in dire circumstances.

Yet they all died in faith holding fast to their confidence that God was still God and still in charge.

Hebrews 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

Hebrews 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

Hebrews 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

Hebrews 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

Hebrews 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

There is no fairy tale ending here that our flesh can see, but the last chapter has not been written for them or us. That chapter will be glorious.

 

Paul The Apostle To The Gentiles.

Even with Paul’s miraculous ministry and gifts of healing, he was not able to see everyone he prayed for get well. Trophimus remained sick even though he had been prayed for. Paul even had a thorn in his own flesh that God chose not to remove.

2 Timothy 4:20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.

When reality sets in, we see that, we can’t make God heal us or someone else. We can only pray. But if our prayers are not answered, we should never put our soul in jeopardy by making rash statement about God. Nor should we ever withdraw ourselves from His house.

 

Job Never Made Stupid Statements About God During His Trial.

Even though Job went through the horrible nightmare of losing his beloved children, all his wealth and then his health. He never let that sway him from his confidence in God. He never blamed the Lord foolishly.

Job 1:22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

Remember this. Job was God’s favorite person in the whole world. He even bragged on him to Lucifer, twice. Yet Job endured the greatest losses any man could endure.

  • Did God hate him? No.
  • Had God rejected him? No.
  • Was God punishing him? No.
  • Was Job’s life still in God’s hands? Yes.
  • Was God mindful of where Job “was at”? Yes.

The Devil Might Try To Tell You That:

  • God hates you,
  • This is God’s punishment,
  • You have sinned, that’s why you are sick.
  • God couldn’t love you, letting you go through all of this.

God has never let any of us down. I fear that the enemy of your soul would attempt to paint that picture for you. But it is just not true.

No matter how difficult your days may be. Remember, “Deuteronomy 33:25 … and as thy days, so shall thy strength be”. God will give you enough strength to make it through the day.

 

My Dad, Carl Ballestero

I stood in the Ontario Mills Mall in Ontario, CA with my Dad on my arm. Alzheimer’s had ravished his health and his mind. He was hanging on to me for support as we took a short walk down a hall. Dad was in his last year of that horrible disease. He tottered slowly beside me.

I observed a man who appeared to be 10 years older than my Father’s 74. The older man was wearing a muscle shirt, a speedo, and was smoking a big cigar. He had a young 30 something dishwater blond honey on his arm. He also was cussing a blue streak.

I got mad. I got upset enough that I talked out loud to God. I said, “God, how come you are letting that old buzzard live with good health? He hates you. He is using your name in vain.

“If my Father had that old man’s strength, just think what a blessing he could still be to the work of God.

“You let my Dad, who loves You get sick and that old buzzard that hates You, enjoy good health. It’s not fair.”

I knew I was out of line immediately. I knew I would have to repent. I also knew better than to question God. I was pastor. I knew better. Yet the son in me was trying to defend my dying Father.

That’s when the Lord reminded me of John Chapter 21.

 

Simon Peter Versus John The Beloved

Here’s The Heart Of The Matter.

John 21:18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.

John 21:19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

How could a miserable death glorify God? Jesus prepares Peter, telling him that his future would not be pretty. He then concluded with two words. “Follow Me.”

Knowing that Peter would not be thrilled, Jesus announced His only request. He was saying to Peter, “No matter what happens in the future, just be faithful to Me.”

Peter couldn’t deal with his bad news. He turned and looked at John. He asked, “What about John?”

Peter began comparing his situation with his friend. It didn’t seem fair that he got a bad deal and John didn’t.

Jesus said, “If I let him live 2,000 years, what is that to you? All I am asking of you is to be faithful to Me.

John 21:20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?

John 21:21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?

John 21:22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.

No matter what happens in this life, just keep being faithful.

Dear Reader

Now, go back to church. That’s where you need to be. Turn your heartache over to Him and put it all on the altar. Nothing ever gets worked out when you stay away from His presence. You won’t solve any of your problems staying home. He loves you. Let Him comfort you.

I remember the last song I ever saw my father touched by before he died. Bro. Charles Adkins was singing an old song. Daddy came out of the Alzheimer fog long enough for tears to run down his cheek. I saw that as I stood beside him. I cried too. Bro. Adkins sang:

 

“I Know Who Holds Tomorrow”

By Ira Forest Stamphill

 

I don’t know about tomorrow,

I just live from day to day.

I don’t borrow from it’s sunshine,

For it’s skies may turn to gray.

I don’t worry o’er the future,

For I know what Jesus said,

And today I’ll walk beside Him,

For He knows what is ahead.

 

 

Many things about tomorrow,

I don’t seem to understand;

But I know Who holds tomorrow,

And I know Who holds my hand.

 

 

Ev’ry step is getting brighter,

As the golden stairs I climb;

Ev’ry burden’s getting lighter;

Ev’ry cloud is silver lined.

There the sun is always shining,

There no tear will dim the eyes,

At the ending of the rainbow,

Where the mountains touch the sky.

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 13, 2011 at 11:15 am

Posted in Faith, Trust

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“If I Can Just Make It Through Today…”

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“If I Can Just Make It Through Today…”

How often have we met someone who was at their wit’s end? Their pain and problems maybe obvious to their family and friends. Yet there is always that unspoken deeper pain that they don’t freely share, that drives that last nail in their coffin.

With much anguish, and often with tear rimmed eyes, we have heard someone make the remark… “If I can just make it through today.”

Every day life and every day people can be overwhelming even on good days. Yet no one can truly know how much heartache their friend or family member feels when their world crashes around them.

We may have sympathy and maybe even empathy for their situation. Most of the time however, we just stand helplessly on the sidelines and watch.

Sometimes we offer words, sometimes we formulate a plan of action to help them, but too many times, we just say we’ll pray. God knows some of our praying for others is sadly without much sincerity or desperation.

Yet, to those who face things that are so overwhelming that they feel hopeless. To those that feel the unbearable pressure of life’s worst problems crushing the very life from them, I have a good word for you today.

Deut. 33:25 …and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.

God WILL give you enough strength for today. Trust Him. Tomorrow? He’ll give you enough strength for tomorrow too. God ALWAYS comes through.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 2, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Posted in Faith, Trust

Tagged with ,

No Son, You Can’t Have A Pony!

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No Son, You Can’t Have A Pony

I love riding gaited horses. I have ridden thousands of miles over a lifetime on fast racking horses. Although I am not a horseman, I still love them. A man on a good horse can cover a lot of ground in a day.

I’ve enjoyed many week-long trail rides with my friends over the years. Opportunities to ride have been scarce of late, however.

Horse riding is something many of the world’s children long to do. It’s almost like the desire is born into little children. But the Lord told Israel that he didn’t want them to have any horses. Why?

It sounds harsh I suppose to the twenty-first century mind. Why would God say ‘NO’ to owning a horse?

  • His mother rode a donkey to the stable where He was born.
  • He rode on a young ass that had never been ridden when the cried Hosanna.
  • When He comes back to Judge, He will be riding on a white horse.

So, what’s the deal? Why did God tell Israel when they came out of Egypt that He did not want them to own a horse? Why did God prefer that they walk and not ride?

  • Was He being insensitive?
  • Was He being cruel?
  • Was He just being harsh?
  • Was He treating them like the slaves they had been?

Actually, Jehovah was doing all of Israel a favor. In his mercy, he cared for them. He provided food and water. He guided them safely. He even parted the seas for them.

He wanted to take His people out of bondage and lead them to a glorious place. A place we call the Promised Land.

The problem with God’s plan was that he had to get Egypt out of Israel. The journey would be stressful and wearisome. It would cause the people to criticize both Moses and Him many times.

With much ado, He finally got His children across the Red Sea and into the Wilderness and away from Egypt. So, what’s that have to do with the horses?

Deut. 17:16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.

God didn’t want His people to go back into Egypt. He had delivered them and He wanted them to stay delivered. The Lord also knew the weakness of their flesh.

At the 1st sign of trouble, disappointment or delusion, there would, no doubt, be some that would get on their horses and ride away.

Does it ever cross your mind, that there may be things that God has not placed in your life as a safe guard? Something He did not put there for your own good?

God eliminated the prospect of Israel making a hasty retreat in times of frustration. He did it because He loved them. He did it for their own good.  In love the Father said, “No, my son, you can’t have a pony.”

Maybe the Lord didn’t answer that prayer request of yours because He saw that it just might be the horse that would carry you back to Egypt. You don’t actually think that God would equip you to leave Him, do you?

Israel later had horses. But permission was not given in the Wilderness. Timing was everything. It still is.

He really is a good God! He will even keep you from messing up if you’ll let Him.

Jude 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 24, 2011 at 9:00 pm

What Would It Take To Encourage You Today?

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What Would It Take To Encourage You Today?

  • A word spoken in faith?
  • A pat on the back?
  • A smile?
  • A money gift?
  • A present?
  • A word of affirmation?
  • A friend’s visit?
  • A helping hand?

What makes you tick? What puts a smile back on your face that makes your eyes smile too? What would it take to make your heart feel uplifted?

If you are one of those people who has everything and is still not happy, I don’t think I can offer any help here.

I’m just asking those who have had some bad days lately, or maybe some bumps in your road. Maybe there has been a major disaster in your home, your health or your finances. What would it take to encourage you today?

I really wish I could offer everyone encouraging words that I have thought up on my own, but I cannot. The good news however, is that God’s Word always offers encouragement.

The Bible mentions that David even encouraged himself in the Lord. In your case, that might be easier said than done. My refuge and help most often comes from God’s Word.

I am one of those simple guys that from my youth visited the little box on our mantle that had God’s promises printed on little cards. I would draw one out and read it, claiming it as mine for the day. Did you ever do that?

Here, let me draw some out for you and I’ll look to see if I can see a smile of hope on your face again.

Isa. 40:29-31 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Psa. 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

Psa. 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Psa. 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

Rom. 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Phil. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Phil. 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

2 Cor. 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Psa. 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.

Psa. 37:23,24 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

Psa. 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Psa. 9:9,10 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

2 Cor. 4:8,9 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Prov. 18:24 …and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Deut. 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

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

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

1 Pet. 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Ex. 15:26 …for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

Heb. 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Thank God For His Promises!

Oh, And There All Yours Too, You Can Have Them All!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 15, 2011 at 4:25 pm

He Had No One To Help Him

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He Had No One To Help Him.

The clouds drifted over the moon and made the street even darker.  A feeling of fear and trepidation made him look furtively on both sides of the street. This was a bad part of town. Empty houses with broken windows and partially boarded up doors were scattered here and there.

Somewhere in the dark came the sound of a hiss and then a spat. A black cat streaked across the street in front of him and ran on off into the night. What had spooked the cat? Something was out there.

No cars were to be seen on this street. All his senses screamed that something was terribly wrong. The feeling of unseen danger nagged at him.

His footsteps seemed loud on the sidewalk. He could feel eyes looking at him. He quickly glanced over his shoulder again. They were still following him. He’d noticed them earlier.

The two matched his pace and his speed, always staying about the same distance away. What were they up to? Why had they been following him? Were they detectives? Were they thugs? He couldn’t think of anything he’d done to make anyone mad at him. Why were they there?

He stared ahead in the distance at the street light a block away. A couple of guys stood under it’s light. One leaned up against the light pole. They had their heads turned in his direction. They were waiting.

The two behind him seemed to be gaining on him. There was no way out of this. He had no weapons. He was not even a good runner. He was trapped. He didn’t have much to steal. He had no phone to call for help. He had no one to help him.

Would he be robbed? Were they planning to kill him? Did they just want to beat him up? His heart was pounding. His mind was numb with anxiety.

He could hear the footsteps of the two behind. They were closer, much closer. The two under the street light stared hard at him. Their bodies blocked the sidewalk in a threatening manner.

They looked at him and then they looked past him at his followers. A look of recognition came over their faces. They glanced at each other and without speaking, turned and disappeared into the dark.

Wonder made his eyes follow their departure. Had the two behind him given a signal or something? What had just happened?

Glancing over his shoulders, he saw that his two followers were very close. The street light revealed their faces and their identity. Relief flooded him and a smile stretched across his face. They smiled back at him. He knew why they were there. He knew who had sent them. He did have someone to help him. He would be safe. Yes, he would be very safe tonight.

Psa. 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 13, 2011 at 10:26 am

Posted in Comfort, Mercy, Trust

Tagged with ,

Surviving Your Nightmare

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Surviving Your Nightmare

Sometimes life doesn’t seem fair. Worse than that, events happen that knock your feet out from under you. The pain is like a nightmare that won’t stop. Thank God we have the Holy Ghost, a church, a pastor, a Bible, family and friends to help us through. Job didn’t.

What happened in the book of Job is hard for human minds to fathom. The book starts out with a special meeting. The sons of God came before the Lord. Satan came also.

The Lord asked Satan where he’d been and what he’d been doing, then the next question He asked was, “What do you think about my servant Job?

Unbeknown to Job, he was God’s favorite person in the whole world. Being God’s favorite has the greatest of benefits. God loved him so much He put a hedge around him.

Satan was sure that Job only served God for the financial blessings. God gave Satan permission to find out for sure.

Satan’s First Day Of Trying To Destroy Job.

Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.

Job 1:7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

Job 1:8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

Job 1:9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?

Job 1:10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

Job 1:11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

Job 1:12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

Satan took Job’s most prized possessions in one day.

  • His Beloved Children
  • His Herds
  • His Wealth
  • All Gone in One Day

Satan’s Second Day Of Trying To Destroy Job.

Job 2:1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.

Job 2:2 And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

Job 2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

Job 2:4 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.

Job 2:5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.

Job 2:6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.

 Job 2:7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.

Job 2:8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.

Satan Attacked Job physically. He couldn’t make him curse God by destroying his possessions and his family. He was still reeling from the loss of his children and his financial empire. But Satan wasn’t done. His second attack on Job was physically and emotionally. Physically with the boils, and emotionally with critical ‘friends.’

  • Boils
  • Critical And Fault Finding Friends

By this time, Job is feeling pain in every part of his body and soul. His own wife pushes him to reject God. She has had it with living for God. Job was not a weak man and would not budge.

He kept trusting God and said, Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.”

 Job vowed to maintain his ways. He promised God he would keep on doing what he’s always been doing… serving the Lord.

In the end, God blessed Job with double what he had before, yes and double the number of children too.

There may be days in your walk with God that you feel what you are going through is an attack from Satan. You may be very well right.

I can only imagine how devastating it is to feel the cold icy hands of Satan trying to destroy you in your labor for the Lord. I am sure it is very easy to focus on the pain he has inflicted upon your life. Pain comes in many forms, such as the loss of finances, the loss of health, the loss of friendships, and the loss of life. It is a very personal nightmare to watch him tear down everything you have built.

On top of all the pain that Satan brings, he will talk trash to your mind as well. He will tell you that you are, “Out of the will of God. God hates you. You have sinned in the past and this is God’s judgment upon you. You are not qualified to be in the work of the Lord. Get out now.”

He will push you to resign whatever office or position you have in the Kingdom of God. He will tell you to withdraw and lick your wounds. He will tell you that you are not loved or appreciated either.

Satan plays dirty. He is not a gentleman. He will kick you when you are down. He did it to Job, and Job didn’t even have the Holy Ghost.

I am not sure that Job even knew he was God’s favorite man in the whole world. I don’t think that he even knew God had his picture hanging on heaven’s wall. Job didn’t know he was heaven most prized earthly possession. All Job knew about was the pain. He hurt so bad, that pain was all he could see.

To those of us today who feel the harshness of Satan’s handiwork in our lives, I wish to remind you of these things:

  1. Don’t believe Satan’s Lies.
  2. God does not hate you. In fact He loves you dearly.
  3. If pain and problems mean you are out of the will of God, then the Apostle Paul never was in the will of God.
  4. Job was God’s favorite and he still went through this and God brought him out victorious.
  5. God’s loves you. You enjoy a better relationship with Him than just being on in His list of Favorites, You are His Child.
  6. He will bring you out victorious, just like He did Job.
  7. God knows what you are going through. He has not forgotten where you are.
  8. He will bring you out
  9. He will give you back all that the enemy has taken from you… and more!

You Are God’s Favorite Child, In Spite Of What Satan Does.

God Has A Hedge Built All Around You.

It’s God Who Is In Control Of Your Situation.

Be Faithful Like Job, And He Will Bring You Through Your Nightmare.

You Will Survive, In Jesus Name!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

May 17, 2011 at 7:58 am