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Archive for December 2009

I Am Your Brother!

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(Psa 133:1) Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

(An open letter dedicated to promoting better understanding among brethren in the local church. In the following list are some things that your “brother” has often, no doubt, wanted to tell you…. but was afraid!)

Dear Brother:

We really didn’t have any choice. God somehow in His wise providence, has chosen to put us together, for our mutual benefit. I am your brother. Here is a list of things that have been bothering me. I plead for your understanding.

1. I have problems within myself. I know it and I don’t like it either. Be patient please. I am your brother. I am still working on myself. Thanks for your tolerance.

2. In recognizing my own problems, and knowing how much I loathe them, I know they must bother you and others too. Please bear with me while I’m trying to get the victory over myself. Just like I am bearing with you.

3. It frustrates me too that I’m not perfect. I want to be. That’s my prayer.

4. Sometimes it frustrates me that you’re not perfect…. but that’s when I remember, I’m still your brother!

5. There are so many good qualities in you. I gain strength from them all. I just hope that some of my good qualities can also be seen.

6. I hate the fact that Satan tries to capitalize on our shortcomings and magnify them in the eyes of others. My hope is that you’ll be able to see the good in me and not just my faults.

7. Thank you for respecting my feelings even when you didn’t understand them. (Sometimes I don’t understand my own feelings either.) I wish to make every effort to respect yours too. I am your brother.

8. I guess I’ve wanted to put you into my mold and make you exactly like I wanted you to be. That just doesn’t work. Neither can I fit into your mold.

9. As my brother, I allow you the liberty to pick friends of your own choosing, and have good times with them, (even without me), and not be resentful or jealous.

10. Likewise, I may choose some friends and occasionally be with them. From time to time I’d like to have fun and fellowship with them and not worry about slighting you.

11. However, you are welcome wherever I am. Don’t ever feel you are ever intruding. And please don’t “hang back” if you weren’t personally invited by me to join the crowd. You belong also. You’re my brother. Your friendship is highly valued and enjoyed. There will always be room for you in my world.

12. Thank you for the security I feel between us. Even if we haven’t talked for a while, when we do, it is a comfortable conversation and picks right back up where we left off. I like that.

13. Those you love can hurt you the most. Let’s be careful in our treatment of each other, lest we do irreparable damage to ourselves. We must never grieve the Holy Ghost to the point that we’re both damaged, bitter or lost.

14. Let’s not have a “hot and cold” relationship that changes with the weather. We need to be able to count on each other. Brethren are supposed to have the next-to-the-closest relationship in the world. Only Jesus is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. I am going to stick by you. I am your brother.

15. I pledge to defend your name and honor during your absence. I am your brother.

16. Likewise, I know that I can depend on you to do the same for me.

17. As long as there are people, there will be rumors, criticisms, remarks, opinions and second-guessing. When my back is turned, you are my only defense. I need you to watch my back, as I will watch and guard yours. You can trust me. I am your brother.

18. I love you brother! Not just because I must love you, but I really want to love you!! (If I say I love God and don’t love you, I am called a liar) 1 John 4:20-21 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

19. Brother, if you see me and can tell that I have a problem, don’t go tell the world, help me. Don’t be afraid. God put you in my life to help me make it. Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness: considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Thanks!

20. Brother, I “prefer you”. I pray for your success and blessing. I pray that all your efforts receive due honor. (Without my harboring any jealousy or envy.) Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love: In honor preferring one another. Please!! Should I ever be blessed or promoted above my fellows, it would kill me to think my brother was jealous. I want to prefer you. I want to be happy at your successes. So please be happy at mine. I am your brother. We’re on the same team.

21. It is God’s will that the law of kindness guide us in our relationship. He wills that we be kind to each other. 2 Peter 1:5-8 And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to your virtue —brotherly kindness—for if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. I can’t thank you enough for your kindnesses, nor can I tell you how much I truly appreciate them.

22. Brother, God won’t hear my prayer if I’ve got something in my heart against you! If I ever need to ask forgiveness or apologize, please forgive me. And then don’t crucify me and alienate me because I was conscientious. Realize we’re both just two brothers trying to be saved.

I Love You Man!!

(Now let’s have revival!)

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 30, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Posted in Christian Living

God Knows Where You’re At!

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I had been pastoring in South Bend about 17 years. My wife and I were experiencing the possibly the greatest heartache of our ministry. Sometimes, it seems those you love the most can hurt you the worst.

One Monday morning, my wife Marcia, who is not given to crying (just to get her way) but is very tenderhearted, was daubing her nose with a Kleenex. She said, “Baby I don’t even know if God knows where we’re at!”

That scared me. I pointed my finger at her and said, “Don’t you ever say that”!
She snubbed and bowed her head. The thought crossed my mind. “How do you know that God knows where you’re at?” I didn’t.

But before I could put my hand down, the phone rang. A voice said, “Is this Bro. Ballestero?” I said yes. He said, “You may not remember me, but I am Bro. Coleman Pylant from Atmore, AL. I have been at the church praying today, and for the last 3 hours, God would not let you off my mind. So I have been in travail for you.”

He said, “This may sound crazy to you, but I feel the Lord has told me to call you and tell you He Knows Where You’re At!!”

I cried and talked in tongues on the phone. Grateful that God knew where I was at.

I posted this today because I felt someone may NEED to be reminded that God KNOWS where you are at. Be strengthened and encouraged.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 29, 2009 at 8:50 am

Posted in Faith

Blowouts Come Before The Blessings!!

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The first Sunday after I resigned the church in South Bend, in 1999, I was to drive 700 miles and preach in Joplin, MO. for Bro. Bill Garrett.

In those days I didn’t have a Debit Card. I have never applied for a Gasoline Credit Card. My Visa was at the limit. I had put kids through Bible School, paid for my daughter’s wedding and was “Broker than the 10 Commandments”. All I had to my name was $150.00 cash.

I was driving to Joplin and about 150 miles from my destination, I blew the front left tire. The tread all came off, but the tire still had air in it. I went to Sam’s because I had a Road Hazard policy on my tires from them, and thought they might help me get another tire at a discounted price.

I don’t remember the town’s name, (I had never stopped there before) but the Manager at the Sam’s Tire Counter said, “I’ll tell you what I’ll do, I’ll give you 4 tires for the price of 2. When I inquired how much that would be, he said $102.00.

Doing quick mental math, I saw that I would only have $48.00 to finish getting there. I also had to leave Monday at 6 am before Banks opened, so if he gave me a check, I couldn’t cash it to have money to get home. To make matters worse, my wife and I were hungry and wanted something to eat.

I really did need the tires, all four of them, it would be a risk but…. I felt impressed to say “OK put ‘em on”, so I did, and the Manager turned around and hollered out the order for my car. While he was talking, something thumped me on my left hand. I turned and a gray haired man in about his 70’s laid a $100.00 bill in my hand, turned and without a word, walked out of the store. I couldn’t believe it!

I raised my hand at the counter and thanked the Lord. Tears ran down my face. It was like the Lord said, “I figured out how to get you 4 tires for $2.00. But before I could Bless you, I had to let you have a Blowout.

Sometimes in Life all we can see are the Blowouts, We can’t see how He is trying to Bless us!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 26, 2009 at 12:11 am

Posted in Faith

Rail, Railing, Railers

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These are bad sounding words. As a young man I some how pictured in my minds eye what a Railer would look like. Surely he would be some one with a red line across his forehead, a flushed face, and screaming in a very loud voice!

Yet when I read instances of Railing or Railers in the Bible, I get a different picture of altogether. It’s like they were just making a Snide remark, a Criticism, or a Passing Comment.

Is it possible to get so used to making cutting remarks that we are not aware of what Railing is in God’s Eyes?

Mark 15:29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days,

Luke 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

Good Godly fellowship is so important that it got put in the same breath as the Docrtine.

Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Likewise, fellowship that is harmful to the body is warned against severely!

1Cor. 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, (Strongs #3060) or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

There also is punishment against Railing.

1Cor. 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,

1Cor. 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, (Strongs #3060) nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

In these passages Railer and Reviler mean the same.

God help us not to be either!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 26, 2009 at 12:10 am

Posted in Christian Living

Blowing Off Steam

with 11 comments

I do not wish to be judgmental about how my friends have church. It’s their church. I am just a passerby.

I’ve just left Starks, LA and the wonderful church pastored by my dear friend. Bro. Jeremy Shields. But the memories of the sweet worship and Old-Time Pentecostal songs still resonate in my ears. Going to Starks was like going back in a time machine. It was like going back to when I got the Holy Ghost in 1958. I loved the worship!! (Thank you Pastor Shields for keeping the Old Songs alive.)

Calvary Apostolic Church, Starks, LA

A few churches today still have songbooks, most don’t, and many use the overhead projectors. I am not going to argue that here. I guess you use what works for you.

(My step-father-in-law, Bro. Howard Davis, says,” If you want to keep from going Charismatic, just use the old song books.”)

Here is the heart of my complaint. The Bible does say, “sing a NEW song” unto the Lord. Great, SING IT! IT”S BIBLE SAYS TO SING IT.

But just because we obey THAT scripture doesn’t mean we have to throw away all the OLD songs. Please don’t stop singing the Old Songs.

Old Songs.
Songs that made you weep with conviction,
Songs that made your heart rip right out.
Songs that drew you closer to God.
Songs that melted your spirit.
Songs written by someone wanting to know God better.
Songs not written by someone just to get enough money to make a bus payment.

I love songs that make me shout too. I am very demonstrative. But rhythm for the sake of rhythm is very shallow, at best. Some songs that a little more than a drum beat, make my legs tired, but my heart is still empty.

I have gone to District Camp Meetings and General Conferences and watched a new generation lift their hands and worship and talk about what a awesome move of God.
The 7-11 songs blessed them to no end. (7 words, sung 11 times) Like at the new Temple. Young folks Shouted, Old Folks Cried.

The problem was, I DID NOT feel what they were feeling. Many of Today’s songs are about Him being HOLY or WORTHY.

Well, He absolutely is!! I love it. Yet it strikes me funny that most I see singing these NEW songs about Him being HOLY can’t see the importance of being holy themselves.

I preached this year in a church where the pastor asked his frilly little music director to sing a certain old song during the service. The music director said “oooh, that’s OLD School.” He would not play it and the pastor didn’t sing it. I was ANGRY.

That little idiot would have been off the keyboard and had his pink suitcase packed before morning, if I was his pastor. That’s the problem, neighbor! Too many churches have their entire worship service guided and directed by a leader who, although gifted, does not have an ounce of consecration, or sensitivity to the Holy Ghost, or submission to his pastor. Come on pastor, YOU are the pastor of the church. Thank God if you have good help in the music department. But you are the Pastor. You call the shots.

In reality, some pastors are not pastoring (leading) the church. The Music Dude is… Don’t let him!!!!

While you are at it, don’t give me this mess about it being a NEW DAY. EVERY generation since Adam has had that excuse at their hands if they so chose.

(Lord, that felt good!)

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 26, 2009 at 12:08 am

Posted in Worship

Oats and Brandy

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I found this in an old email the other day. Life lessons are everywhere…
“At 4:10 am, on April 29, 1903, seventy to eighty million tonnes of rock slid off the face of Turtle Mountain, killing approximately 75 people and trapping many in the little town of Frank, Alberta. Amongst those trapped by the Frank slide were 17 miners who took 12 hours to dig out of their entombment. The elation of reaching daylight was short lived as their eyes adjusted and the panorama of their devastated town came into focus. These men were the last of the survivors to be found – that is until Charlie was discovered.
About a month after that fateful day, and at the end of efforts to reopen the main entrance to the Frank mine, Charlie the mine horse was found alive. Dwelling in complete darkness, he had endured by drinking seepage water, eating the bark off of mine timbers, and by breathing air from the vertical escape shaft the 17 trapped miners had dug to escape that first day. If horses can experience elation, Charlie must have experienced it then – that is until he died the same day from an overdose of oats and brandy given to him by his rescuers. What testing could not take, celebration robbed from Charlie.”

When darkness ends and deliverance arrives, go easy on the oats and brandy!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 26, 2009 at 12:06 am

Posted in Christian Living