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Archive for January 2011

Is God Ugly?

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Is God Ugly?

I don’t mean for this question to sound like it borders on blasphemy. It is important for me not to be flippant or sacrilegious about things that are Divine. With that being said, I will ask the question one more time. Is God ugly?

The Prophet Isaiah makes an amazing prophecy about the coming of the Messiah. He describes him and portrays him in a very uncomplimentary manner.

Is. 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

Is. 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

When man makes a grand entry, he normally tries to ‘put his best foot forward’. Why then did Jehovah choose to wrap Himself up in human flesh that apparently wasn’t the best He could make?

The mind of man would think, ‘Why He could have gotten more followers if He’s had some ‘great’ looks. People will follow someone that’s easy to look at. That was not how God planned to present Himself.

When God came to earth in the flesh, there was nothing beautiful about Him. I want to talk about that very thing. Look first at the Old Testament.

1. Noah’s Ark – The wood was covered with pitch. It looked ugly on the outside. No one in Noah’s generation outside of his own family was able to get past the ‘Ugly’. They all perished.

2. The Tabernacle In The Wilderness – The outside of the Tabernacle was covered with dyed badger skins. To those that had been there, they KNEW the real beauty was on the INSIDE. It was on the INSIDE that the golden vessels were displayed. It was on the INSIDE that the beautiful Veil hung concealing the Holiest of Holies. INSIDE there was the Shekinah, the Glory of the Lord.

Once the Israelites got past the Ugly, they found the real beauty.

1Pet. 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

1Pet. 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

1Pet. 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

To those that take the time to Know Him and Believe, He is Precious.

  • If Living for God is Ugly to you, you just don’t know Him very well.
  • If Worship is Ugly to you, you just don’t know Him very well.
  • If Giving God the Tenth of your income is Ugly to you, you just don’t know Him very well.
  • If Holiness is Ugly to you, you just don’t know Him very well.
  • If the preaching of Doctrine is Ugly to you, you just don’t know Him very well.
  • If Long Hair on Women and Short Hair on Men are Ugly to you, you just don’t know Him very well.
  • If Standards are Ugly to you, you just don’t know Him very well.
  • If Separating yourself from the World is Ugly to you, you just don’t know Him very well.
  • If the Prayer Room is Ugly to you, you just don’t know Him very well.
  • If Winning Souls is Ugly to you, you just don’t know Him very well.

And the list goes on…

When living for God is longer attractive to you, you don’t really know Him very well. It tells me that you don’t really Believe. It tells me you are Disobedient. (1 Pet 2:7)

Can you get past the Ugly? If you can, He will become Precious to you!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 29, 2011 at 4:33 pm

She Doesn’t Want To Live With Him

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She Doesn’t Want To Live With Him

Is. 4:1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.

As a young man this scripture seemed unbelievable. I could not fathom a scenario where seven women would be desperate enough that they would fall all over themselves to have some man’s name.

I was thrilled to find one woman who wanted to take my name. But Isaiah speaks of a seven to one ratio. That’s a lot. I understand the literal interpretation of the scripture in it’s context. However, I see that verse in an additional light today.

The number Seven in Scripture may refer to more than just a number. It may also include in it’s meaning, things like perfection, completeness, and fullness.

In the Book of Revelation the number SEVEN is used throughout. There are SEVEN churches, SEVEN Spirits, SEVEN stars, SEVEN seals, SEVEN trumpets, SEVEN vials, SEVEN personages, SEVEN dooms, and SEVEN new things. SEVEN symbolizes Spiritual Perfection. All of life revolves around this number. SEVEN is used over 700 times in the Bible. It is used 54 times in the Book of Revelation.

All of that is impressive, but what about today? Christianity is demonstrating that verse in a very vivid manner. It’s quite easy to see it everywhere.

Many denominations believe in prayer and healing. They believe in miracles as well. They also pray invoking the name of Jesus to heal, to save, and to deliver. Some even believe in the Holy Ghost.

Most stop short of Holiness and the complete Acts 2:38 experience. Some have left the Acts 2:38 experience and turned their backs on Holiness and separation from the world.

It’s as if they are saying to the Lord:

We want your permission to use your Name in Prayer and in everyday life. But:

  • We want to set our own standards.
  • We want to workout our own life style.
  • We want to dress like we want to.
  • We want to make our own rules.
  • We want to live the way we are comfortable with. Without undo interference in our life from your Scriptures.
  • We don’t think all of your requirements are necessary.
  • We ONLY want your Name.
  • We don’t care to really LIVE with you.

And there, in my opinion is the sad story of this modern-day. They love the Lord and say His name. They wish to use it when they need it or get in trouble. They just don’t like ‘Living’ in His Word or in His world. They wish to continue in theirs.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 29, 2011 at 6:41 am

Bumpy Roads

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Bumpy Roads

Is. 40:3 A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.

Is. 40:4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.

The Old Testament saints understood the Prophet’s words. He referenced the custom of Kings requiring that their chariot rides were to be made on smooth roads. Servants of the King spent much time maintaining the roads for their master.

If the season’s rains had washed out the road, it was important that the potholes and washouts be filled and leveled. All bumps were to be removed also. The road was to become straight… or level.

John quoted Isaiah and warned his generation to prepare the way because the King of Kings was coming.

  • John 1:23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

We modern-day Pentecostals have an understanding of the words of the Prophet and of John the Baptist. The arrival of the Messiah was being announced. His servants were preparing the way.

There is one scripture that is often overlooked in the book of Proverbs, however. The same word is being used about man who is used about Kings. The word ‘straight’ is spoken concerning our personal life.

  • KJV Prov. 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
  • KJV Prov. 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
  • NIV Prov. 3:6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
  • GOD’S WORD® Translation Prov. 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths smooth.

The wisest man in the world understood that if we trust in the Lord:

  • Don’t allow our own intellect to solve our problems,
  • Allow God to take control.
  • He (The Lord) will make our paths straight.
  • He will smooth out our road.

Is your road a little bumpy right now? God is willing to make your life smooth.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 28, 2011 at 1:33 pm

The Night Shipment Of Tears

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The Night Shipment Of Tears

“The Night Shipment of Tears has arrived. We need to sort them first, according to the sender’s name, and then secondly by the fragrance of the prayer or tears. Make sure each golden bottle is properly sealed and labeled. They must be preserved and readily available for the 24 Elders when they bow before the Throne.

“Then, on this Leger here, I want you to enter today’s date, the sender’s name, and also the subject of their prayer, so we can sort these vials according to their specific odors.

“I don’t have to remind you to hurry, we’ve got more shipments on the way. A backlog is not acceptable.”

“The tears and the prayers of the saints have been captured on earth by our Angels and sealed into golden vials. They are Earth’s most prized possessions. There is nothing that the Lord counts more valuable than these.

“The tears of each prayer type have odors that only He can discern. It is the only earthly thing allowed to enter into this, the Holiest of all places.

“In a few more days, the Four and Twenty Elders will come and bow before His throne. They will bring their harps and they will bring these vials before the Lord.”

Michael the Archangel looked around at his fellow Angels. They all nodded their acceptance of the requests and turned to busy themselves.

They took each bottle and attached a small label that had this notation:

The vials were then stored in a large room of innumerable vessels holding the tears and the prayers of the saints. Their odors were a sweet-smelling fragrance that could only be enjoyed by the King of Kings.

(Your prayers and your tears are not unnoticed. They are not treated lightly. Heaven captures your tears and puts them into golden vials. Their fragrance will become the aroma around the throne of God.)

Psa. 56:8… put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?

Rev. 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 24, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Posted in Prayer, Tears

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He Fell A Lot, But The Bible Called Him Righteous

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He Fell A Lot, But The Bible Called Him Righteous

Can you imagine the Holy Bible calling an apparent failure, a righteous man? That surely is stretching it a bit far.

  • Everyone can see the man’s got a problem.
  • His behavior was so bad; folks began to count how many times he fell.
  • Look at him. He can’t stop apologizing.
  • It’s like the guy can’t go a day without falling down.
  • Some act like they don’t want to be around him. He’s got problems
  • Unbelievable! He’s fell down Seven times, and yet the Bible called him Righteous!

English Standard Version (©2001)

Prov. 24:16 for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.

KJV

Prov. 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

New International Version (©1984)

Prov. 24:16 for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.

There’s Hope! Get Back Up!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 22, 2011 at 1:21 am

Posted in Recovery

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We Failed The Pentecostal Credit Report

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We Failed The Pentecostal Credit Report

(Imagine what it would be like if you had to pass a “Pentecostal Tithes Credit Report” to Join or Transfer to another church.)

“Harold! We’ve just been denied membership into the First Pentecostal Church,” Maggie said as she set her bags of groceries on the counter..

“Denied? How can they do that? Why would they do that?”

Maggie turned and faced her husband.

“Well, when we filled out the Application for Membership, we had to grant them permission to do a Credit Check on us and…”

“Oh, that still sticks in my craw that they would require us to do that. This is not how they use to do it!” exclaimed Harold.

“Anyway,” Maggie continued, we were denied membership. I asked the Church Secretary to give me a reason why. Maybe there are laws or something, you know, against them doing that.”

“What did she say?”

“The way she explained it was, if we bought a car, or bought a house, bought a cell phone, or even rented an apartment we would be subject to a credit check.

“She said people are turned down all the time because the seller or the landlord sees you have a poor or late record of payment. They become leery of selling or renting to you.”

“Well, what on earth does that have to do with us and the Church?” Harold wanted to know.

“Everything.” She said.

“Back in 2011 when we transferred to another Church, we didn’t have that problem, why now?”

“The Secretary said that lately, all Pentecostal Churches have been doing a Credit Check of a different sort. Every Monday, all Church Secretaries have to send in a report.  All those that pay tithes are given a good rating and those that don’t are given a bad rating. Those that miss giving their tithes regularly are viewed as unacceptable members. They are ‘non-contributors’ she said. They are not viewed as a desirable transfer.

“Now days Pastors review prospective transfers and they request a report on each one. That is part of what they base their decision on.

“We haven’t been faithful our tithes in the past, so they would prefer if we go somewhere else. We failed the Pentecostal Credit Report.”

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 21, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Posted in Tithes

Results of a Critical Spirit

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Results of a Critical Spirit

(Guest article by Pastor Mark McKinney, Indianapolis, Indiana.)

Pro. 21:23-24

23  Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

24 Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.

Tongue: law-shone; fig. (speech, an ingot, a fork of flame): — + babbler, bay, + evil speaker, language, talker.

Scorner: Mocker

  • Keepeth his mouth.
  • He who is without sin.*
  • You can’t whitewash yourself, by blackening others.

When a sinner is converted they enjoy:

  • Bible Study
  • Revivals
  • Prayer Meetings
  • Worship
  • Church in general
  • Thinks everybody loves one another
  • All seems to be wonderful

Then Critical Spirit Develops:

  • Pastor doesn’t seem capable anymore
  • His decisions not as sound as before
  • He stands smaller in esteem
  • Sermons don’t seem to have effect anymore
  • Saints are hypocrites
  • Bad feelings causes divisions

A Critical Spirit Denotes:

  • A deficient Prayer life. (Pro. 28:9)
  • A bitter spirit. (He. 12:15-17) *

Bitterness: Painful to the mind or body; Unpleasant to accept, hard to bear, distressful.  Harsh as cutting words, cruel, characterized by intense animosity

Results of Bitter Spirit:

  • God won’t bless over the mess
  • Feelings of others will get involved
  • Valuable ground has been lost, may never be regained.
  • Spirit like a virus (highly contagious)
  • Revival hindered (repentance and confession in order)

*Where it all Leads*

Pro. 6:16‑19

  • Rumors ‑ Tale bearing
  • Backbiting
  • False accusations (the devil is the accuser of the brethren)
  • Evil imagination (second guessing) *
  • Slander: A false tale or report maliciously uttered and tending to injure the reputation of another
  • Critical spirit will not accept council.
  • (Pr.9:8‑10, 15:32‑33, 19:20‑23)
  • Guilty of self‑justification
  • (f) Raising a generation of cursed children
  1. Cursed by their own parents spirit
  2. Faith in church gone
  3. Lack of confidence in Pastor’s life
  4. Ministry, and prayers
  5. Loss of love for Saints and church.

* Charity *

I Co. 13:1‑7

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

~ Bro M. S. McKinney

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 20, 2011 at 1:00 am

Posted in Critics

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