The Ballestero Blog

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The Unanswered Call

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The Unanswered Call

 

This was the third time in an hour that I heard the incessant ringing of the phone on the other side of the motel wall. There were people noises of talk and laughter, but no one seemed to want to answer the phone. Why not? Why would they just let it ring?

Did they think they knew who was calling and didn’t want to speak to them? Were they so content with the present situation in their life, they didn’t want any interruptions? I will never know.

 

As the guy in the room next door, I didn’t have any authority. I could not command them to answer the call. I could only be frustrated because they didn’t.

I have no idea what the call was about, nor do I need to know. It’s none of my business. Yet, the fact remains, they were called and they didn’t answer.

They were called, and they ignored. There even came a second attempt to get them to stop and answer the call but to no avail. As if that was not enough, the call came the third time and was again ignored.

Would the caller give up? Would the caller try again? How many callers even try past the first time? This one tried three times without any response.

 

My frustration was only that of a weary traveler. I didn’t know who the people in the other room were, nor do I know who called. It is just one of those moments travelers soon forget.

On the other hand, as a full-time minister of the Gospel for fifty-five years, I have seen precious people I know receive a Call from God and not respond. They kept on talking and laughing with friends and family like nothing had just happened.

The ringing noises in their heart went silent for a while, then after a time began anew.

 

Heads of family, friends, and ministry turn and look at them in wonderment. Why don’t they answer The Call?

  • Everyone else knows whom it’s from.
  • Everyone else knows what it’s about.
  • Everyone else knows what it entails.

 

Why can’t they realize how important and urgent it is to Answer The Call?

  • It’s not like everyone gets The Call.
  • But He chose to call you.
  • He makes no mistake when He calls.
  • He knows your number and called you, but you chose to make excuses and find a reason not to answer.
  • The day of that unanswered Call may be the day that causes you the most grief.

 

Fear not. If The Call is from Him, He will NOT let you fail.

  • If your phone is still ringing, PICK IT UP.
  • If it has gone silent, ask Him to forgive you, your fears, and lack of faith. Tell Him that if He ever calls your number again, you will ignore everything else and answer His Call, no matter what it is about.
  • When He Calls, He means business. And there is no greater or more important business in the world, than His!
  • Listen… do you hear anything?

Is that the phone again?

It’s time to answer The Call.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 26, 2018 at 11:30 am

Posted in The Call Of God

The Holy Ghost, Without Tongues, Isn’t!

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The Holy Ghost, Without Tongues, Isn’t!

 

 

 

Isn’t what?

It Isn’t THE Holy Ghost!

There Is Only One Kind Of Holy Ghost.

 

Everywhere in the Scriptures where the Holy Ghost was poured out or given unto men, there was a noise associated with its appearance. The use of the definite article, ‘the’ (meaning only one) is connected with the words Holy Ghost, 89 times.

There is no such thing a quiet-kind of Holy Ghost, or a non-speaking-in-tongues Holy Ghost. No one receives the Holy just by praying the sinner’s prayer and saying they believe Jesus is the Son of God.

 

1)  Speaking In Tongues Was Prophesied In Isaiah.

Speaking in tongues always accompanies the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Isaiah 28:11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

Isa 28:12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

 

2)  The Speaking In Tongues Was Prophesied By Jesus.

 Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

 

3)  When The Holy Ghost Was First Given On The Day Of Pentecost, They All Spoke In Tongues.

 Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

Acts 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

 Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

  • The evidence that they had received the Holy Ghost was that they spoke in tongues.

 

4)  Peter Said That The Holy Ghost Experience Was For Everyone, Just Not Those In The Upper Room Or For Those Present.

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

 Act 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

 

5)  The Proof That Cornelius And His Household Actually Received The Holy Ghost, Was That They All Spoke In Tongues Just Like Those In The Upper Room.

 Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

Acts 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

Acts 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

  • When the Gentiles spoke in Tongues, Peter was convinced that they had received the same experience he had.

 

6)  Just Because You Are A Believer Doesn’t Mean You Have Received The Holy Ghost.

Acts 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

Acts 19:2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

Acts 19:3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.

Acts 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

 

7)  Do NOT Confuse The Gift Of The Holy Ghost, With The Gift Of Tongues.

  • The Gift of the Holy Ghost is necessary for Salvation.
  • The Gift of Tongues is given to some who already have received the Gift of The Holy Ghost.

Paul: 1Co 14:18  I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

 

 8)  The Holy Ghost Is Jesus Christ In You.

Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory

 

9)  The Lord Will Not Claim You As His Child Unless You Have Received The Holy Ghost.

Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

 

 10) Everyone Must Be Born Again Of The Water And Of The Spirit To Be Saved.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

  • Born Of Water = Baptism in the Name of Jesus
  • Born Of The Spirit = Holy Ghost, Speaking In Tongues

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

 

Don’t Stop Praying And Seeking God Until You Have Received All That He Has For You!

 

If It Is Real.

If it is From God.

If It Is For You.

You Want It!

You Need It!

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 23, 2018 at 11:47 am

Posted in Holy Ghost, Salvation

It’s Come As You Are, Not Stay As You Are!

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It’s Come As You Are, Not Stay As You Are!

 

Come As You Are? Yes.

Stay As You Are? No.

 

Most churches have promoted an open-door policy to every new visitor. They want everyone to feel welcome to attend. Although the Bible doesn’t actually say, “Come as you are,” churches reach for everyone. Apostolic Pentecostal Churches are no different. (But, it might be amazing to see what some actually are willing to wear to God’s House using the ‘come as you are’ umbrella as an excuse!)

 

That, however is not the real problem. Some folks not only come to church as they are, they have chosen to stay as they are. They are not willing to change. They ignore how the saints dress, worship and live. They have chosen not to change or to submit.

 

Living for God is all about change. Completely change. Change is necessary. Change is required. Change is the will of God for everyone. With salvation comes change. With deliverance comes change. Unchanged people have no hope of deliverance, no hope of being a testimony, no hope of being used of God, and no hope of heaven.

 

How Do We Become A “New Creature In Christ Jesus” If We Don’t Change?

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

 

How Do We Become “Transformed” If We Don’t Change?

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

How Do We Become “Born Again” If We Don’t Change?

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God

 

How Do We Become “Holy” If We Don’t Change?

1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

 

How Can We Come Out From Among Them And Be Separate, If We Don’t Change?

2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

 

How Can We Have Christ In Us And He Never Changes Us?

Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

 Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

 

Do You Mean To Tell Me That When We Repent We Really Don’t Have To Change Anything?

Do You Mean To Tell Me That When We Get Baptized In Jesus Name, We Don’t Change?

Do You Mean To Tell Me That We Can Be Filled With The Holy Ghost And Never Be Changed?

 

When Jacob Prepared To Go To Bethel, He Changed.

Genesis 35:1 And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.

Genesis 35:2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:

Genesis 35:3 And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.

Genesis 35:4 And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.

 

 When normal people come into the presence of the God, they quickly remember their sins. At that point, they must choose to keep them or confess and forsake them.

God might be merciful and forgiving, yet His word tells every confessor to forsake their sins.

If the God you serve lets you do whatever you want, and live like you want, then your god is you. You became your own god!

 

Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

 

 If We Want God’s Mercy, We Must Not Only Confess Our Sins But Forsake Them!

Mercy comes to those who confess and forsake. That is the change God looks for. Forsaking your old life is what living for God is all about.

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

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

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

  •  (And Such Were Some Of You!) That Is Change!

 

Repentance Must Bring Change. If It Doesn’t Bring Change It Wasn’t Real Repentance!

In The Old Testament, God Chose Not To Bless Israel Until They Changed.

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

  • Change Puts Us In The Direct Path Of God’s Blessings.

 

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

Romans 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

 

Let’s Get Real Plain…

If you see a sinner man and a Holy Ghost-filled man standing together talking, you should be able to tell which one is which.

If you see a sinner woman and a Holy Ghost-filled woman standing together talking, you should be able to see the difference.

When we obey Acts 2:38, (by repenting of our sins, getting baptized in Jesus name, and being filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues.) We are no longer the same. We are changed on the inside. What is changed on the inside quickly shows on the outside!

  • We don’t do the things we used to do
  • We don’t talk like we used to talk
  • We don’t go where we use to go
  • We don’t have the kind of friends we used to have
  • We don’t dress like we used to dress
  • We don’t drink what we used to drink

 

Why?

Because Now We’re A New Creature In Christ Jesus.

 

How Do We Lay Sin Aside And Not Change?

1 Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

  • (Growth is change, too)

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

  • Removing things from our life that will keep us from being saved, is change.

If we say we are saved, yet remain unchanged… We are not honest with our soul, with God, or with the truth.

 

Our Heart Must Change

Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation (our old lifestyle) the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

Ephesians 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

 

Our Speech Must Change

Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

 

Our Outward Appearance Must Change

1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

 

Change Requires Modesty For Men And Woman

1 Timothy2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

1 Timothy 2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

 

Hair Care Changes

1 Corinthians 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

1 Corinthians 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

 

Our Priorities Must Change

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

 

Even Our Furniture Must Change

Psalms 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.

 

The Things We Love Must Change

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

 

We Say We’re A Christian, (Christ-like) And Yet…

  • We’ve Never Changed On The Inside Or The Outside?
  • We Neither Look Like Nor Act Like An Apostolic Saint?

 

Who Are We Fooling? Only Ourselves.

James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

If we balk at Biblical correction and refuse to allow God’s Word to change our life… then we have shown to everyone that we are not a true child of God. We are of illegitimate birth in the Kingdom of God.

Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Hebrews 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

Hebrews 12:10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

 

What’s Missing In Our Lives That Would Keep Us From Allowing God To Change Us?

No Conviction of Sin?

No Fear of God?

No Respect?

No Obedience to His Word?

No Love for His House?

 

Are we just being Rebellious?

Are we just Clueless?

Are we not able to see that we don’t measure up to God’s Standards?

Are we just Insincere?

 

How can we come to church for months and even years… claiming to be Spirit-filled, and never change?

 

Ask Yourself…

If we had a beard and applied for a job at a company that had a ‘no beards’ policy, would we be willing to change?

If we worked for a fancy restaurant that had a no tattoo ‘visible’ policy for its employees, would we be willing to cover ours?

If we got hired by a good paying company but we had to work nights, would we change our sleeping habits?

If our job gave us a promotion, but we had to relocate, would we be willing to change towns?

If the doctor ordered us to change our diet because of cancer, would we?

If our heart doctor wanted us to change our lifestyle to live longer, would we?

If our homeowner’s association didn’t approve of our lawn display, would we take it down?

What if God reminded us in the Judgment of all the changes in our life that we made for man and for money, yet we chose not to make any changes for Him. What will our answer be then?

 

We Must Allow God To:

Change us like He changes Night into Day, Winter into Spring.

Change us like He changes a Caterpillar into a Butterfly.

 

“Just Stay On The Bus!”

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“This Bus Is Going To Chicago”

 

I often flew out of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport when I lived in South Bend, Indiana. It was about 120 miles away. Many times, it was cost-effective for me to take a shuttle bus from the South Bend Airport to the Chicago Airport rather than to drive to Chicago and pay to park.

My wife dropped me off at the Ground Transportation area in the South Bend terminal. I hurriedly picked up my reserved bus ticket.

The waiting area was large and comfortable. I sat where I could see the buses pull up. The bus line originally was called United Limo, and then it later merged with Tri-State Coach and Coach USA. Its company serves Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

I watched as buses with their destinations showing above their windshields began to arrive. I looked for the one that said ‘Chicago’. When it finally pulled up, it was in Lane 2.

I promptly stood up and waited for the announcement over the intercom that it was time to board.

When the bus departure was declared, I hustled outside and presented my suitcase to the Driver. His name tag said ‘Steve.’

“This bus is going to Chicago,” Steve said, verifying I was getting on the right bus.

“Yes sir,” I replied, “That’s where I’m going.

He stowed my suitcase underneath, punched my ticket and I climbed on board.

I settled down for the 2-hour ride to O’Hara. I saw a few others lay their seats back to relax. It looked like a good idea, so I joined them.

About 20 minutes later, I felt the bus swerve onto an off-ramp. I curiously looked around wondering what the deal was. They told me this was the Chicago bus and this wasn’t Chicago.

I sat up and waited. The driver looped around behind an old service station/café building and stopped in the front. The air brakes hissed as the Driver announced, “LaPorte”

We sat there a few moments and several more passengers got on board. No one got off. In five minutes we were back on the highway again.

Another twenty minutes or so later we again turned off the big four-lane highway and stopped in front of a motel. This time driver said, “Michigan City.” One got off, and one got on.

Once again, we were rolling down the road. This time we were on the I-94 west-bound. We did good for a while, then the driver stopped again. This time, the name he said on the bus intercom was, “Portage.” Four more got on board. No one got off.

I wondered, how many more stops before we get there? I was not surprised when the bus turned off the road again and stopped at Griffith. Three got off there, but seven or eight got on board. The bus was pretty full.

The last hour of the ride was non-stop. We finally pulled up to the Bus Parking Area of the Airport’s lower level.

“Chicago,” Steve said. I stood up.  I had made it to my destination. It wasn’t anything I did. It’s what I didn’t do that got me there. I didn’t get off the bus. I just stayed on the bus, even when others got off.

I could have gotten off at any of the stops along the way, but I didn’t. That’s why I arrived at my destination. I just stayed on the bus.

I do not believe in individual predestination. I do believe in corporate predestination, however. The Word of God firmly declares, that His Church is predestined for Glory. All you have to do is stay on the bus and since the bus is predestined; you will go where it goes. Just don’t get off this bus.

Some may be tempted to get off the bus along life’s journey. You can if you want too, but you should know, this is the only bus going to Glory. Don’t get off.  Someone else will take your seat if you do.

I don’t care who else gets off, or what the attraction or distraction is, just stay on the bus!

“This Bus Is Going To Chicago!”

 

Just Stay On The Bus!

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 29, 2018 at 1:03 pm

The Kiss Of Death

with 7 comments

 

The Kiss Of Death

“Remember Elizabeth? She just got a hearing implant to see if that would cure her deafness,” my wife said. We were eating lunch in Georgia, at a National Country Club.

“They call that, The Kiss Of Death, in the deaf community,” offered the court certified Interpreter for the deaf who was seated at the table with us.

The Kiss Of Death?” I was in shock! “Why would they call being able to hear, The Kiss Of Death?

“Hearing would ruin their life, as they know it. Many deaf people are very happy in their own world,” she said. “It’s a very tight-knit society.  Lip reading is a coveted gift. Most deaf people don’t want to be healed. They are happy being deaf.”

She related an incident about signing to a client. The client signed back to her that she could read lips and only wanted to be spoken to, not signed to by a hearing person. Although the court had certified the Interpreter, she was still an outsider to the deaf.

The Interpreter began to describe some of her client’s anti-hearing sentiments. She served several expectant mothers who were deaf. These moms-to-be wanted their babies to be deaf as well.

As a hearing person, I’ve had very limited communication with the deaf. If they can read my lips, that’s wonderful. I cannot read theirs. We can only write notes back and forth to each other. I cannot imagine anyone not wanting to hear.

I also have no way of knowing how accurate the Interpreter’s opinion was. She was only relating her life experiences.

Although my interaction with the natural deaf is somewhat limited, I am however, very familiar with the attitudes of the spiritually deaf.

The spiritually deaf that I know, don’t want to be healed. They resist getting a spiritual implant to hear the Word of the Lord. To them, that would be The Kiss Of Death!

Forty-two times the Bible uses the phrase, “He that hath an ear to hear.” Evidently, not everyone can hear what the Spirit saith. Their Pastor/Interpreter is an intrusion into their world.

They too do not wish to be healed and want all of their children to be deaf as well. The preached Word of God is something that the spiritually deaf person cannot hear. They can’t hear sermons about:

  • Doctrine
  • Tithes
  • Holiness
  • Separation from the world

It is really futile to try to communicate with those that are deaf to God’s Word. The interference of hearing people into their life is resented.

Jesus healed the deaf. We read about it in the Gospels. He is still able to heal the spiritually deaf today who want to be healed.

My father had been the pastor at a church for three years. A brother came up to him after the Saturday night service and complimented his sermon. Dad thanked him. Sunday morning the same man gave him another compliment.

Sunday night, the same brother came up to Dad and with tears in his eyes said, “Bro. Ballestero, I thank you for that message! That was the best I’ve ever heard! You saved me tonight!”

My father invited the man into his office. When they sat down, my father began his inquiry.

“Brother, for the last three years you’ve fought me tooth and toenail. You have resisted me at every turn. Not one time have you said a nice thing to me since I’ve been here. You have never complimented any of my messages before. Now, for three sermons in a row, you’ve bragged on me. What’s your game?”

The brother broke down and cried. He apologized to my Father. He said, “I am so sorry I’ve been like that to you Pastor. The reason I’ve complimented your preaching, is because I just got my ears open!”

All a Pastor can pray for is that his hearers will get their ears opened! He knows that for those who are content not to hear preaching, it is truly, The Kiss of Death!

 

The Last Thing You Lose Is Your Hearing

Bro. Henry Baskins fell like he’d been shot. The sound of his head hitting the floor was enough to make those nearby sick and alarmed. His fellow workers called 911 and anxiously watched for the ambulance.

Within minutes, my phone rang and informed me that one of the most precious men in the Kingdom of God was in a coma and being taken from the ER to ICU. My heart sank. Bro. Baskins was near retirement age. No one had an answer why he had passed out on the job. He’d had no previous health concerns.

Henry Baskins

He was a church favorite. Even though he drove over 20 miles each way to church, he was always an hour or so early. He had been an usher as long as I could remember. His pockets always contained a bag of candy for the children. That made him a very popular man after church.

Sis. Baskins lived a pampered life. He waited on her hand and foot, did the grocery shopping, chauffeured her anywhere she wanted to go. What if he died? What would happen to her? She’d never even driven a car!

After calling the Prayer Chain in our church, I rushed to the Osteopathic Hospital. As I headed for ICU, I noticed family and saints were gathering too. There was a waiting room next to the ICU door.

No one, not even family was allowed to go in and see him yet. I told the folks in the waiting room to pray for Bro. Baskins. They prayed Pentecostal style.

I pushed the call button and announced myself. The nurse buzzed me in. She escorted me to Bro. Baskins’ room. My heart sank when I saw him. There were more tubes connected to him than I’d ever seen. There were tubes down his throat, up his nose, in his chest, his arms, his hands and his leg. It seemed like there were 10 monitors going. The pumping sounds of the machine doing the breathing for him were hard to ignore. He looked hopeless.

Even though he was unconscious, I announced myself to him. I said, “Bro. Baskins, this is Bro. Ballestero and I am here to pray for you.

My prayer was probably only a minute or so. I felt guilty being the only one allowed back in his room. I really didn’t want to leave even though my prayer was over.

My Dad had always said that the last thing we lose is our hearing, naturally and spiritually. I remembered that and began to talk.

I said, “Bro. Baskins, no one knows what happened at work today. Those close to you said you just fell over and hit your head. You have been in a coma ever since. The ambulance brought you to the Osteopathic Hospital.

“The doctors are trying to find out what the cause of the problem is. They don’t know. No one but me is allowed back here right now. So, don’t worry about your family not coming in, because the nurses are being very protective of you right now.

“Your wife is in the next room. All of her needs are being taken care of. Your children are here. The saints have filled up the ICU waiting room and I have the Prayer Chain praying for you.

“When they start letting family come in here, it will only be once every 4 hours and then, just for a few minutes. Now don’t worry about anything. You just focus on getting well, we’ll keep praying. I love you!”

Every time I went to see him, I prayed, and then I chattered. I told him of the news in the church. I talked about his family. Reassured him of his wife’s comfort. Every day for about 3 weeks I visited his room.

One Friday, he woke up. They checked him over and checked him out. When I heard the news that he was home and walking around. I rejoiced! This was awesome news.

Sunday morning when I stepped into the auditorium, there was Bro. Baskins standing at his usual ushering post. He hugged my neck and tears came into his eyes.

“Bro. Ballestero, when you came into my room and prayed for me and talked to me, I heard every word you said. Thank you, Thank you!” He said.

He could still hear! Unbelievable! Even when he was in such bad shape!

Dad’s words again echoed through my memory. “The last thing you lose is your hearing, naturally and spiritually.”

Can you still hear?

If You Can Hear, It’s Not The Kiss Of Death,  It’s The Kiss Of Life…  Spiritual Life!

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 22, 2018 at 7:33 pm

“Thanks, Dad! I got it for myself!”

with 4 comments

 

The Apostolic Tabernacle, located 905 S. Pike Street in Shelbyville, Indiana, was celebrating its anniversary. Bro. Carl Ballestero had just finished teaching the afternoon Bible Study. The service ended in prayer, and then the crowd was dismissed. Bro. Cavaness promised to feed his guests a BBQ feast and the crowd showed their excitement to go eat. Well, all except one teenager.

The dark-haired young man looked for a side room or a place to hide until the church emptied. He hoped that no one would miss him or come looking for him. He didn’t want to be seen by anyone right now. He couldn’t find a classroom.

Without anyone noticing, he slipped through a door that led him to the baptismal tank area. There, he bent over so as to remain unseen and moved to the side of the tank and laid down on the bare floor, flat on his back. He closed his eyes and waited. It seemed like forever before the sounds of conversations to died out and then he heard the front door close. He listened for any sounds of footsteps, but all was quiet. That’s when it started.

The boy began to cry, when I say cry, I don’t mean that there was a tear or two. I mean he began to sob. He wanted the same experience with God that his parents had. He felt shallow, empty, and unfulfilled. He wanted more of God. The sobs turned into groans and heartfelt travail. Time wasn’t important, food wasn’t important, getting something from God at that moment was all that mattered now.

Most of the afternoon the young prayed. His eyes were almost swollen shut. Some hours later, as folks gathered in for the evening service, he slipped out of the baptistery and into the Men’s room to comb his hair and wash his face. No one seemed to notice his earlier absence. His parents never mentioned it.

The young man became a pastor and many years later he invited Bro. Roger Evens to preach for him. One day, Bro. Evens said, “Do you remember the day at Shelbyville that you prayed behind the baptistery and didn’t go eat with everyone else?

The young pastor’s mouth dropped open. “How do you know about that?” he asked.

“I was there,” Bro. Evens said. “I came back into the church with your dad looking for you and making sure you had a way to go eat. That’s when we heard you crying out to God. I told you dad to go pray with you because I couldn’t go eat knowing you were crying like that.”

“Your dad said, ‘No, I can’t go pray for him.”

“Why not?” I said.

“Like a baby chick getting out of its shell, it has to do that by its self! If he doesn’t get this for himself he will never amount to a hill of beans.”

“With tears in your dad’s eyes and in mine, we walked out of the church that day.”

 

 

Fifty-five years later, all I can say now is, “Thanks, Dad! I got it for myself!”

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 19, 2018 at 1:55 pm

“I Used To Go To Sunday School There!”

with 6 comments

 

“I Used To Go To Sunday School There!”

It was cold! The outside temperature in South Bend, Indiana showed three degrees above zero. The snow was falling in big gentle flakes. There was already about eight inches of new and un-plowed snow on the street.

It was after two o’clock in the morning as I walked to my van from Bro. Victor Simon’s house. His wife, Sis. Helen Simon had called after midnight and said that her husband was in severe pain with a kidney stone. He wanted me to come and pray for him, and so I did.

The Simons were not just members of the church; they were pillars of the church as well. In their senior years, they were still very active. It pained us all to watch Bro. Simon suffer from this horrible condition.

I unlocked my custom-sized van as I came out of their house and stepped up onto the running board kicking the snow off of my shoes before getting in. The wiper blades removed the snow enough for me to see, as the engine started. I was only ten blocks or so from home, so the heater wouldn’t be of much help tonight.

There were no tire tracks in the new snow, so no one had been down this road in a long while. I pulled up to the first intersection, which was only about a half block away to make a left turn. That’s when I saw a hood-covered man walking under the street light with his head down.

It was miserably cold out. Not windy, just cold. I felt bad though, for anyone having to walk in deep snow. Besides, it was two in the morning and did I mention that it was cold outside?

I swung my van close to the curb, rolled my window down and asked him if he’d like a ride. He nodded and got in.

As I put the van in motion, I asked him where he needed to go, and he said, “just keep driving.”

His response and word choices just sounded wrong. I could tell that things were going to go bad very quickly. I smiled and said nothing. One block later he announced in gruff tones, “I’ve got a knife!”

The knife he brandished threateningly at me had a blade about eight inches long. It looked like a hunting knife at first.

After my initial glance at the knife, I looked back through the front windshield. And, as if nothing had just happened, I started talking.

“I’ve just come from the house of an old man who is a member of the church that I pastor. He’s in a lot of pain with kidney stones right now. He wanted me to pray for him because he believes God will heal him. That’s why I’m out here this time of night.” (By now, He had been in the van for about two blocks.)

“What church do you pastor?” The hood-covered figures asked.

“I pastor Christ Temple Apostolic Church on the corner of Elwood Avenue and Elmer Street.”

He paused a brief moment in thought and then said, “Pull over right here!”

I pulled the van to the curb. His hand was on the door handle as he half turned his hooded face toward me.

He began to speak in an apologetic tone. “When I was a little boy, I used to attend Sunday School there. That’s a good church, and those are some good people. Keep up the good work.”

With that, the mystery man got out of the van and closed the door. He was unwilling to talk anymore. Condemned by his own attempt to do wrong, and no doubt realizing how far from Sunday School truths he had fallen, he slipped into the night.

I drove on through the un-plowed snow, thanking God for his mercy, and for every Sunday School Teacher in our Church!

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 11, 2018 at 6:56 am