The Ballestero Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Faith

Got Any Rivers?

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Got any Rivers you think are Uncrossable?

raging-river-image

 

Got any Mountains you can’t Tunnel through?

 

 gold-prospector

 

God Specializes in things called Impossible.

Jesus_Walking_on_Water

RH-MosesCrossesRedSea

Miracles_RaiseLazarus

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And He will do what no other Power can do!

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Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 26, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Posted in Faith, Trust

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He Knows Me

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He Knows Me

I saw this bumper sticker today. “Jesus knows me this I love” (It is a play on the Children’s Sunday School song, Jesus Loves Me.) When I thought upon the bumper sticker’s play on words, these passages came to my mind.

 Gal 4:9    But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

 

 He Knows I’m His

2Ti 2:19    Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

 

He knows My Struggles In Life

Deut 2:7    For the LORD thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand: he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the LORD thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing.

 

He Knows Where I’m At

Job 23:10    But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

 

He Knows My Weaknesses

Psa 103:14    For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

 

He Knows I Trust Him

Nah 1:7    The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

 

He Knows My Needs

Mat 6:8    Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

 

Mat 6:28    And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

Mat 6:29    And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Mat 6:30    Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Mat 6:31    Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

Mat 6:32    (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

Mat 6:33    But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Mat 6:34    Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

 

His Eye is On The Sparrow

Civilla D. Martin, 1905

 

  1. Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
    Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home,
    When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He:
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

 

Refrain:
I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

 

  1. “Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
    And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
    Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

 

  1. Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
    When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
    I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 14, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Posted in Comfort, Faith, Trust

Tagged with ,

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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He Threw His Miracle Away

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He Threw His Miracle Away

The Texas Evangelist forgot to bring his Bible to the Revival. He’d been at our church for two weeks already.  Every night, he’d have someone read his scripture for him. Some nights, he would have someone read a scripture of his or her choice and then he would preach a masterful message from that verse. His ability was unbelievable.

His singing was amazing. The people loved him. I sat on the front row and watched as he played my old Gibson J-45 box guitar. (We all knew he was a good singer because he had even ‘cut’ a record.)

He also had an incredible ministry of faith and a likeable personality. The church had not seen someone used in the ‘gifts’ like him before. Every night their faith was built up a little higher. Some of the saints testified of healings and blessings that had come their way during the revival.

After singing a few songs, one night, The Evangelist felt led to pray for the sick. The line formed and it was not short. Almost everyone could think of something they’d like prayer for, so they stood in line.

After 20 minutes or more, he raised his hands to stop the music and the praying. He got the microphone and said, ’How many here have never seen a miracle?”

Six men raised their hands. He said to them, “I want you to come up here by me. You are going to see a miracle tonight.”

He then bent over and asked the man he was getting ready to pray for, what his name was. When he found out, he continued talking in the microphone.

“Brother Marshall told me that he is a welder by trade. He said that several years ago, he was involved in a work related accident. A hot rivet fell out of a beam into his ear and it burnt out and destroyed his eardrum. The Doctors say it’s irreparable.

“Now, if God does not heal Brother Marshall completely tonight and restore his eardrum and his hearing, I will close my Bible and never preach another sermon.”

The saints and Pastor marveled at his faith and bold statements. Some cast furtive glances toward the Pastor in hopes of seeing his reaction. There was none.

“I want you six brethren to gather around Bro. Marshall.”

One at a time he had them place their hands on the man’s head, covering his ears. Finally all six pairs of hands covered Bro. Marshall’s ears.

The Evangelist prayed a prayer that didn’t seem to last 20 seconds.

With the hands still covering the ears, the Evangelist walked behind Bro. Marshall and stood about six feet away. He then turned his back to him and said in conversational tones, “Can you hear me now?”

“Yes,” was the reply.

He walked another 10 feet away and repeated the question and got the same answer.

The people rejoiced and faith was high.

The next day, Bro. Marshall went to see his Doctor. That night he came back to church with the Doctor’s report. The Doctor could find no evidence of an injury or scaring. He had a perfectly functioning eardrum.

There wasn’t any preaching that night as the saints rejoiced and many came forward to be prayed for. All of us were saddened when the Evangelist had to go to his next revival.

Less than a year later Brother Marshall had some problems that caused him to start missing church. After a month or so of hit and miss, he let it be known that he wasn’t going back to church anymore.

Almost immediately, he lost his hearing and never got it back. A hearing aid was of no help. He lived many more years and died in that condition.

He threw his miracle away!

(This sad story is true. The name has been changed.)

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 29, 2011 at 12:06 am

Posted in Backsliders, Faith

Tagged with , ,

Before I Could Stop Myself

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Before I Could Stop Myself

My 66-year-old father stood in his Carlyss, Louisiana bedroom by the chest of drawers. He held a small compact camera in his hands that was made in the 1960’s. It was the world’s smallest full framed 35mm. The German-made Rollie 35.

I had heard him describe the camera’s virtues a number of times. It had a fast Carl Zeiss lens, which was one of the best on the market at the time. The lens was also collapsible.

One unusual thing about the little 35mm camera was that it had a half-frame option. A 35mm roll of film, could take up to 72 pictures with the twist of a dial, instead of the normal 36.

Dad had travelled all around the world with this camera. It was small and fit easily in his suit pocket. Our family had hundreds of slides taken with this camera.

The slides were all sharp and the colors were very vivid. It even took great pictures in low light settings.

Daddy always seemed to enjoy buying small things. Things like tiny Bibles, little spy cameras, very small shortwave radios, mini-cassette recorders, little ballpoint pens, and tiny pocketknives.

I stood looking at my father and the camera in his hand. I knew he had paid a good price for it when he’d bought it new.

Daddy began explaining something to me that I have long since forgotten. Somehow my mind got fixated on the little Rollei 35.

I had an urge to say something I’d never allowed myself to say before. I knew that I liked everything about that little camera. My mind began to wander far afield considering all the things I could do with it. I wasn’t right to want it. It was Dad’s. I couldn’t believe it. My strong Ballestero pride would never let me ask for anything. I almost didn’t.

I looked into the kind and gentle face of my big-hearted Father. Before I could stop myself, the feelings of covetousness prompted me to do something I’d never done before.

As soon as Daddy paused, I changed both the subject and the moment. I said, “Daddy, I sure do like that camera. I’m not asking for it now, but someday, if it’s OK with you, I’d like to have that.”

There it was. I had just said the thing I never thought I would be brave enough to say. I had just asked for one of my Father’s prized possessions, and he was a long way from dead.

My father smiled, pressed the button, and began to rewind the film in the camera. He opened the back, and took the roll of film out. He picked up the leather case, the flash attachment, a mini tripod, lens filters, a lens hood, and a small camera bag. While still smiling, Dad placed them all in my hands and gave me a hug.

He said, “I want you to have it now. I am glad that you wanted it. Enjoy!”

Whew! It had happened in seconds. The desire, the asking, and the giving took place in less time than it does to tell about it. I was still somewhat amazed at my new boldness. I didn’t think I would be holding it for another 10-15 years. But there it was in my hands, now!

It was in my hands, because I had asked. I had asked because I couldn’t get that covet thing out of my mind.

I realized anew, that this is the same manner our Heavenly Father interacts with His children.

Can your mind even imagine all the things that He desires to give us. He’s just waiting for us to want what He has.

1Cor. 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts:

James 4:2 …ye have not, because ye ask not.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 26, 2011 at 2:14 am

Posted in Faith

Tagged with ,

“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 ,