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Posts Tagged ‘Playing With Sin

Not Even Once

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Not Even Once

Example One

The giant billboard alongside the Interstate blared the drug prevention message: “Not Even Once!”

I stared at the message with great fascination. To me the message was clear. While drug users may both concur or debate the point, there is truth in the message.

A few years ago, I preached in a church on the subject of God’s Mercy, His Forgiveness and Recovery.

The prayer warriors soon surrounded a middle-aged man who was crying out to God desperately.

Several nights in a row I watched as this man prayed. I often prayed with him myself.

I finally asked the pastor about the man one day, and what he said put me in a state of shock.

He said that the man in the altar used to pastor a fairly large church about 30 miles away. The former pastor claims that one Friday night he drove to another city and saw a man loitering on the street corner.

He pulled up and told the man he wanted to try crack or meth and would he help him make a connection. The man said he would, but only he bought some for both of them. The deal was made.

The former pastor claims that the very first time he tried the drug, he got addicted.

He lost his church, his ministerial license, the respect of his family and friends, his reputation, and he almost lost his marriage.

By the time I preached to him, he had already been through drug rehab programs two times and he still couldn’t be trusted with a ten-dollar bill.

For What Happened Once, Became A Fight For Survival.



Example Two

While preaching a Sunday night church anniversary service, I spoke on the importance of honoring and respecting their pastor. When I gave an invitation to pray around the altar, tearful family and saints surrounded an older gentleman at the altar. He sobbed uncontrollably.

The prior Sunday night, the man had stood up in the church service and railed on the pastor and the church.

While he spoke, his throat started hurting him, so he sat down. The next day he went to the doctor and was diagnosed with throat cancer in the last stages.

He Railed On God’s Man Just Once.


Example Three

After service one night, a middle-aged man walked up to me and said, “I am going to divorce my wife and leave the church. I know it’s not the right thing to do, but I don’t know what else to do.

“Do me a favor pastor, tell everyone you talk to, to never commit adultery the first time because it gets easier after that.”

With that comment he walked out of the church and out of my life.


 James Said It Best!

James 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

  • Just don’t mess up the first time!
  • Don’t play with sin.
  • You can’t take fire into your bosom and not be burned.

God has always hated sin. Why play with the things God hates?

Too many are taking great risks with their souls. They feel more comfortable around sin than they ought.

Maybe they think themselves superior and stronger than the pull of sin. The Bible already tells us our flesh is weak, believe it!


Do Not Err My Brethren!

Do Not Sin My Brother, Not Even Once!

Do Not Backslide My Brother, Not Even Once!



Once – was all Eve had to disobey… and she was cursed forever.

Once – was all Saul had to disobey and disrespect God… and he was cut off.

Once – was all Moses had to smite the rock… and he was kept from the Promised Land.

Once – was all Achan had to disobey… and he and his family were stoned.

Once – was all Ananias and Sapphira had to rob God of their tithes… and God killed them both.

Once – was all Miriam had to talk against her brother Moses… and she became leprous.

Once – was all Gehazi had to disobey… and he was smitten with leprosy.

Once – was all Korah had to rebel and stand up to Moses… and the ground opened up and swallowed him and his friends.

Once – was all Cain had to get jealous and lose his temper… and God marked him forever.

Once – was all the Unknown Prophet had to disobey God… and God let a wild beast kill him.

Once – was all Israel had to refuse to enter into the Promised Land… and God made them wander in the wilderness for forty years.

Once – was all the Rich Young Ruler had to walk away… and never be heard of again.

Once – was all the Five Foolish Virgins had to be unprepared… and they got locked out for good.

Once – was all Balaam had to compromise and chase after money… and he died along side of the enemy.

Once – was all Nebuchadnezzar had to refuse to give God the Glory… and he was made to crawl on his hands and knees like a cow for seven years.

Once – was all Herod had to exalt himself higher than God… and God let worms eat him alive.

Once – was all Belshazzar had to desecrate the Holy things of the Temple… and God’s handwriting appeared on the wall.

Once – was all Esau had to despise the value of his birthright… and God never stopped hating him.

Once – was all Israel had to build a golden calf… and multitudes died.

Once – was all David had to commit adultery… and a whole nation was punished with death.


Be Very Grateful That God Has Allowed You To Enjoy His Grace And Mercy!

If You Have Sinned, Be Grateful For His Forgiveness!

But, Do Not Trample On His Mercy, Not Even Once!

Think Twice Before You Even Sin Once!

It’s Not Worth The Risk!

Don’t Do It!

Not Even Once!



Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 3, 2013 at 8:56 am

Posted in Sin

Tagged with

The Case Of The Dead Bullfighter

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The Case Of The Dead Bullfighter


I stood mesmerized in Makielski’s Art Store. This was my second trip in as many days. The high price tags on many of the paintings told me I could only look, but I enjoyed looking.

The first trip I had purchased some art supplies and paints for my air-brush. I then ventured into the room where hundreds of paintings hung on the walls from floor to ceiling. The works of the masters and others hung there. Some paintings I recognized from photographs in books. Most, I did not.

The picture I was fascinated with was very macabre. What was wrong with me? Why was I drawn to this one? It was such a horrible picture of death. Was something wrong with my personality? I didn’t know for sure, so I worried a bit.

Manet ~ Dead Matador, 1865

The picture was of a dead bullfighter. There was no crowd showing in the picture. There was no bull looking down on him victoriously. The only other thing of prominence was a bullfighter’s cape, which was still clutched in the victim’s hand.

This was the second day in a row I had stared for long minutes at this dead man’s picture. Why? Was there a story here? Finally, it came to me like a bolt of lightning!

I put myself into the picture. I felt I could almost feel a bit of the moment captured by the artist. It was like I could see the screaming crowd as they went silent. Mother’s gasped and clutched their babies while trying to cover their tender eyes. Little girls couldn’t look at all. Young boys were mesmerized by the horror. Trained men herded the bull out of the ring and into an open chute, which led it back to a holding pen.

The wife and family of the bullfighter just sat there momentarily stunned. Then, overwhelmed with grief, they convulsed in tears. Their worst nightmare had just come true.

For years he had seemed so invincible. Now this! His death would bring his family pain, on every level, for years to come. Their life as they knew it, was now over.

  • He had lived for the crowd’s approval.
  • He loved the danger.
  • He thrilled at the excitement of a bull’s near misses.
  • He always felt he was in control.
  • He had bested many bulls over the years.
  • He was a professional.
  • He loved the prestige.
  • His name was on posters and signs.
  • His name was well-known.
  • He didn’t like his wife and others asking him to quit.
  • He’d said he would know when to quit.
  • But now he was dead.
  • His blood was starting to pool on the ground.
  • Death had triumphed.

There he was, a spectacle for all to see.

My mind snapped back to reality. I knew why I was drawn to the picture. I told the clerk I wished to purchase the print. I quickly paid the $42.95 marked on the price tag.  The salesman wrapped it carefully in brown paper. I took the print directly to my office at the church and hung it in a place of prominence.

A few weeks later, I had an occasion to counsel with a young man who was struggling living for God. We sat in my office and I listened to his story of worldly involvement.

When he finished, I invited him to look at the dead bullfighter. I said, “Do you know what happened to him?”

I paused for just a moment as his head turned and he looked, not knowing what to say. I really didn’t give him time to answer the question.

“He played with it, until it finally killed him.” I said.

I let that sink in as I watched his face. Then, I finished my thought.

“And, if you keep playing around with sin, it will finally kill you.”

The young man cried.

So did I.


Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 21, 2012 at 12:06 am