The Ballestero Blog

"That's what I'm talking about!"

Archive for January 2011

Pardon Me!

with one comment

Pardon Me

Naaman stood before the Prophet Elisha a healed man. His dignity had been restored. He had a new lease on life. His death sentence had been lifted. He could now proceed in life with unlimited possibilities.

He was not an Israelite. His family had always been idolaters and heathens. Yet this man in front of him had come up with the magic formula for his healing. His leprosy was gone. Not only was the disease gone, but his skin now looked like baby skin. That was an additional miracle. This Prophet was truly a man of God.

Naaman felt a duty to be respectful of the God of Israel. He didn’t know what the response was going to be.

Naaman’s King, King Benhadad was a little feeble and getting up in years. The King had been very kind to him. He also depended on Naaman very much.  Not only was Naaman the King’s friend, he went with the King to worship in the House of Rimmon, because the king had a hard time kneeling and getting back up.

2Kings 5:18 In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing.

  • “I know that this is something I’m not supposed to do, but would it be OK ?”
  • “Could you make an exception for me?”
  • “I have some mitigating circumstances.”
  • “I’m grateful for my miracle, but I’m under a lot of pressure from my boss.”
  • “I believe what I have experienced was real, but I still want to go to my old church.”
  • “I’m going to need an indulgence.”

Conviction began to grip the heart of Naaman. He was talking to Jehovah’s Prophet. Naaman wanted to do right, but just had a hard time letting go of his old life style.

He couldn’t easily disconnect. The pressure to convert to Judaism was great. The pressure to not displease his King was great. He was torn. What do I do? How can I get through this? In his mind the only ‘out’ was to ask permission and that’s what he did. It looked like he had half-hearted faith.

Although this first happened thousands of years ago, it’s still happening in many churches around the world today.

Old and young alike that have been filled with the Holy Ghost and delivered from sin, have been known to ask for exceptions.

  • “Pastor, is it OK if I do this?
  • Pastor is it OK if I go over there?
  • I know what you preached, but let me explain my situation.

As a pastor, it often seemed that most people who came to my office and asked, “Is it OK if I do this or that,” were somehow asking how much they could get away with and still be saved.

That may have been an over-reach on my part, but the fact remains there will always be a struggle in the heart of flesh. A choice must be made in serving either God or Mammon. We can’t do both.

Fall in love with Jesus, and let go of the world. The most miserable people in church are those that are half in and half out.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 13, 2011 at 11:32 am

The Day The Devil Read My Palm

with 8 comments

The Day The Devil Read My Palm

On a cold winter’s evening, in the early 1960’s, I stood in the historic old Walgreens, downtown Chicago on State Street. I was killing time waiting for my parents to get their shopping done. Our Evangelist, Kenneth Phillips and his wife Wanda were with my folks in another store.

Post Card: Chicago Walgreens on State St.

I was the odd duck. I was still single and a teenager. The couples had managed to disappear leaving me to my own devises. We were to meet in an hour and a half for supper. I wandered around for a while looking at the items for sale.

Snow was on the ground. I wore a long trench coat, but no hat. My coat was buttoned to the top and my hands were jammed down into the pockets.

I turned off the main aisle near the back of the store. In front of me was a lady sitting behind a folding card table. Her hands were in her lap. The lady had shoulder length dark hair and wore dark slacks.  She appeared to be in her early thirties.

The handwritten sign taped to the card table said: “Palms Read For $1.00”

Although I knew Christians weren’t supposed to have their palms read, curiosity began to stir within me.

The lady looked harmless enough. The only thing on the table was a deck of playing cards. She smiled and nodded as if to reassure me.

A quick look around the busy old store confirmed that no Pentecostals were in sight to tell on me. My Parents and the Evangelist were nowhere to be seen.

My Father preached against Astrologers, Palm Readers, Spiritism, Séances and following Horoscopes and I knew it. Guilt was warning to turn away. But like a bug to the light bulb, I seemed drawn.

I finally pulled a dollar out of my pocket and laid it on the table. She picked up the deck of cards and said, “Cut it.”

I’d never cut a deck of cards before and I’m sure it showed. It was a black 10 that was turned face up. She looked but said nothing.

She reached out for my hand, and I extended it, palm up. She took it in both of hers and some traced lines across my palm.

When she was done, she dropped my hand and leaned back in her chair and spoke.

“You will marry an old-fashioned girl who will always wear dresses and will never cut her hair.”

A cold that was colder than a winter’s chill went all through me. I could ‘feel’ what I knew I shouldn’t be ‘feeling.’ Hair stood up on my arms.

I turned and ran from down the aisle of Walgreens out into the bitter cold night.

  • How did she know?
  • That wasn’t God!
  • I knew that wasn’t God beyond all doubt.
  • The devil knew about me!
  • The devil helped her read my palm!
  • That woman had a spirit of divination upon her.
  • Even the devil knew what kind of girl I would marry.

In fear I repented to God, and out of fear didn’t tell my parents of my foolish deed.

Years have past now, and I find myself of late, listening to stories of modern-day ‘Prophets’ who tell people things about their lives.

In my young Christian experience, men such as Bro. Verbal Bean and Bro. Joe Duke discerned the sins and called out the sinful in our church in South Bend, Indiana. Their walk with God and their spiritual accuracy brought repentance and revival.

Today, the modern ‘Prophets’ don’t do that anymore, all they seem to prophesy about is Blessings, Healings and Prosperity. Crowds flock to hear them. People will give wonderful offerings to these men. (There is no money to be made in discerning sin.)

I’ve known men who try to discern people’s names or tell them what their phone number or street address is. The onlookers are overwhelmed, thinking, this must be God.

There is NO Bible precedent for that. There is no example of that in the Book. Yet today’s church crowd will drive 100 miles to hear some one get called out and prophesied over. But these same folks won’t drive 2 miles to hear an old-fashioned ‘Word’ preacher. It’s boring!

Has God Changed? Or do we have itching ears? Are we the generation that only wants to hear smooth things preached?

Sure, I believe in the ‘Gifts’ of the Spirit. I just have a problem with those that sound like they need a chair, and a folding card table with a sign.

Yes, we all need healings and blessings. But if the truth was spoken, we need some fearless men of God that aren’t afraid to preach the word today, a whole lot more.

Let God use you in Prophesy if He has given you the ‘Gift.’ Just don’t cheapen your ‘ministry’ and sound like you work part-time at Walgreens.

Make sure it’s the Holy Ghost and NOT the spirit of divination.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 9, 2011 at 12:23 am

The Devil Made Me Say It

with 4 comments

The Devil Made Me Say It

Years ago an old friend and I talked as we rode in my van. In time, the conversation included some unkind remarks that a mutual acquaintance had said concerning me.

“Why, he’s awful nice to my face,” I said, trying to defend the critic in my mind.

“I know he is, but I just wanted you to know what he has said about you to me and to a half a dozen other guys.”

For the life of me, I couldn’t see what would make this mutual acquaintance say unkind things about me. I was caught off guard.

Searching my memory, I could find nothing that would justify such unkindness. We weren’t close friends, but we had never been enemies. Why would he be two-faced like that?

When we arrived, I entered the building and immediately was informed that the mutual acquaintance was there in the hallway ‘holding court’.

“He’s talking about you right now,” someone informed me.

As I turned the corner in the hall, there he stood with about eight others. The conversation stopped and all eyes looked on me. Guilt was on their faces. I walked into the group and shook hands all the way around. I saved shaking the mutual acquaintance’s hand for last.

“How you doing, ‘John’? I asked.

“So, you do remember my face, don’t you?” He said with a smirk.

“John,” I replied, “I never forget a face, and I’ll always remember both of yours.”

I smiled innocently and then continued on down the hall.

(The devil made me say it. “Get behind me devil!”)

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Posted in Gossip, Humor

The Power Of Babble

with 10 comments

The Power Of Babble

Prov. 10:19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

  • If you talk long enough, sin will enter the picture.
  • God’s word warns us about what we say.

Notice These Three Different Words.

(1.) Talebearer

Prov. 18:8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly

  • Words hurt. True or not, they hurt. The hurt will last for a long time.
  • We don’t white wash ourselves by blackening others.

Some people are clearinghouses for rumors. They know all the gossip. They have no desire or intention of verifying the story. The gossip will not be checked out. (It seems they want to believe the worst.) They just pass it along, oblivious of the damage and destruction their words cause.

Remember, you’ll reap what you sow.

God’s Bookkeeper never makes a mistake. Someday there will be a Divine accounting. You cannot injure one of His ‘Little’ ones and get away with it. It would be better that there was a milestone tied around your neck. God monitors your words.

(2.) Prating

Diotrephes loved the preeminence, or in plainer words, he loved being in charge. The appearance of the Apostle John was a threat to him. His reaction was to talk about John to the local church people and try to destroy his reputation with malicious gossip. The Apostle exposed Diotrephes for what he was.

3John 9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

3 John 10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.

It is human nature to shoot arrows at folks that our carnal flesh perceives to be higher up or in leadership. We want to bring them down to our level… or lower.

Some people think themselves superior spiritually, doctrinally, or maybe even intellectually. They see the sin in every one but themselves.

  • They delight in half-truths if it will help further their cause.
  • They are willing to believe the worst.
  • They will not return phone calls that would have answered their questions. Nor answer emails so that the problem can be corrected. They want to believe what they believe.
  • Their mind is made up.
  • God is not happy with these self-righteous assassins.

(3.) Accusations

1Tim. 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

I know the Bible says not to even listen to an accusation against a man of God unless you can produce two people who were there and witnessed it themselves. Why not take that a step further and not receive an accusation about anyone unless you have two witnesses?

Why Are We Mortals So Quick To Believe A Story, Even If It Is A Lie?

A number of years ago, I was in a room with four other men. The host announced that a ‘Brother’ had a serious problem.

“What kind of problem,” I asked.

“Moral problems.”

“That’s not good,” I said.

I heard a noise behind me and I saw Bro. Steve Pixler sliding slowly down the wall on the stairsteps. It was like he’d been shot and the strength to stand was no longer in him. He crumpled.

I turned to Bro. Pixler and said, “I don’t know this Brother we’re talking about. I’ve never met him. I couldn’t pull him out of a police line up. But I like how your body language defends him and is hurt just thinking a bad thought about him. Like Louis L’Amour would say, ‘You’ll do to ride the river with.”

Turning back to the host I asked, “Who is making the allegation?

“His Wife.”

That’s not good.”

“Who else?”

“No one.”

“Then let the record show right here that this conversation is over. I cannot receive an accusation against him unless there are two witnesses. As far as I’m concerned this conversation never took place.”

The next day, it was proven to be a false charge. The wife’s over medication had created a psychotic reaction.

Another man thanked me for defending this man I didn’t know.

My response was, “Don’t thank me, it’s like paying my tithes, that’s what I’m supposed to do.”

How many rumors could we stop, if we just refused to hear it out?

God Hates These Six Things

  1. A proud look,
  2. 2. A lying tongue,
  3. Hands that shed innocent blood,
  4. An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations,
  5. Feet that be swift in running to mischief,
  6. 6. A false witness that speaketh lies,

This Seventh One, Is An Abomination In God’s Eyes…

7. He that soweth discord among brethren.

Prov. 6:16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

Prov. 6:17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

Prov. 6:18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

Prov. 6:19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Are you saying or repeating things that might bring injury to one of God children? If you wish to be saved, repent, make it right and never do it again!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 7, 2011 at 1:33 am

Don’t Come Out Of The Closet!

with 5 comments

Don’t Come Out Of The Closet!

That’s my advice.

My opinion is that it’s safer to be “In” the Closet, than “Out.”

People will talk about you more when you “Come Out” of the Closet, than if you had stayed “In”.

You will be more respected by the world and even by the church if you don’t “Come Out”.

Your friends and especially your spouse will love you more if you stay “In” the Closet.

More negative things happen to those that “Come Out” of the Closet, than to those that stay “In”.

Those that stay “In” the Closet are a bigger blessing during the Worship and are a better witness to the lost.

God will bless you more if you stay “In” the Closet.

  • Matt. 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
  • 1Th. 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

Stay In The Closet!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Posted in Prayer

They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To!

with 5 comments

They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To!

I can still see the teasing smirk on my Dad’s face and hear the humor in his voice, as he commented on my youthful ineptness. “Aw, they don’t make them like they used to!”

That was a joke for years. We would both laugh at its accuracy. Some things a kid just can’t quite do like his Dad, yet.

When my oldest son was about 7, one day I remarked to him in my Father’s tone of voice, “Aw, they don’t make them like they used to.” We laughed.

It dawned on me at that moment that maybe my Grandpa used to say that to my Dad. It looks like each generation thinks that of the generations that follow.

Building The New Temple

Younger generations of worshippers seem to get upset with their father’s attachment to older things. That very emotion was illustrated in the building of the new Temple after Solomon’s was destroyed.

The younger men rejoiced and the old men wept. They fathers had seen the first Temple. There was no comparison in their eyes. They wept.

The young men had never seen the old Temple and were just happy that there was any kind of Temple. The sound of rejoicing was mingled with the sound of weeping.

The old school always looks at the new and thinks: “They don’t make them like they used to.” Because they remember.

Pastor Ben Pemperton

Brother Ben Pemperton pastored a fairly large church in Saint Louis, after World War II. He was a bachelor until he died.

The following story was told at his funeral. He was out in the aisle preaching on a Sunday night, when a first time visitor walked in. She sat down in an aisle seat next to one of the women in the church.

Bro. Pemperton stopped his sermon and spoke to the new lady.

“We’re glad to have you here tonight.”

“Thank you”

“Do you want to go to Heaven?”

“Yes.”

“Do you want to be saved?”

“Yes”

“Then, whatever you do, don’t sit beside the lady on your right. She’s the biggest long-tongued gossip in this church. Sit anywhere else in this church but next her and you’ll be alright.”

The visitor got up and moved across the aisle and sat beside someone else.

At the funeral, some 30 years later, the “visiting lady” paid tribute to her pastor. She thanked God that her pastor was brave enough to tell people the truth. Because of him, she said, “She was saved today.”

Some of my Gentle Readers, may have cringed at the reading of such boldness by the former friend of my father.

Pastors in this generation have been presented with a lawsuit for saying less. Some congregations would not welcome Pastor Pemberton’s candor.

It sometimes seems this generation wishes to be more politically correct than Biblically correct.

We Soon Forget Bible Examples Of:

  • Peter confronting Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-10.
  • Paul’s correction of the Corinthian church and the adulterer in 1 Cor. 5:1-5.
  • Paul telling a man that he was going to be blind for a season. Acts 13:11.

Paul Wrote To Timothy:

  • 1 Tim. 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

Many in the pulpit today are namby pamby politicians, and too many in the audience would resent a pastor that spoke with plainness of speech like Paul did.

They don’t make them like they used to!

With that being said, one can only imagine how refreshing it is for “old school” saints to visit an old-time Apostolic Church.

I’m not fusing about the new music, because the Bible says to sing s new song. (But, it didn’t say to throw all the old ones away.)

I’m just saying, “They don’t make them like they used to.”

  • You don’t want a pastor that tells you if you are wrong or sinning?
  • You don’t want anyone correcting you or your family?
  • Then there is already Bible about your generation.

2 Tim. 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

That time is already here.

They don’t make them like they used to!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 4, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Posted in Old-Time Pentecost

Saying ‘Good-Bye’ To Friends

with 3 comments

Saying ‘Good-Bye’ To Friends

Saying Good-Bye to friends is not easy. In my experience, tears have been involved from time to time. It’s hard to say Good-Bye to those you love and those who mean so much to you.

Saying Good-Bye To Supposed Friends:

Friendships can be transient. Some people come and go in your life. They just move on without warning. Maybe they outgrow you or they focus on other things. I don’t have that answer. But it doesn’t feel good.

Some Friends have even been known to turn on their old friends. It uncomfortable to see someone who used to be a Friend and now they avoid even making eye contact with you. Or, if they do speak, it’s cool and not warm like it used to be. The emptiness in your heart is deep when you walk away. The sense of loss is almost overwhelming. New friends are a medicine and a replenishment of the soul.

Saying Good-Bye To A Former Friend:

Looking back over a lifetime, I had friends in school whose names I can’t even remember now. A couple of my friends were so important to me at the time, that I included them in my wedding. Today I don’t know their phone number, their address or how many grandchildren they have. We haven’t talked in several decades. Back then I thought we were friends.

Saying Good-Bye to some friends is gradual. With others, it’s a much quicker process.

Saying Good-Bye To Dear Friends:

The last several weeks have been horrible for a number of Pentecostal families, for several churches and for many of my ministering friends.

The recent news of the passing of beloved men of God or their family members has brought tears to many of our eyes. Some men so impact your heart that you’re never quite the same. Their death leaves a major void in your life. Their family’s tears rip your heart out.

Funerals are hard for us. We call them ‘Home Goings” and do our best to rejoice that the departed has kept the Faith and finished their course and are now are now resting in Jesus. Yet tears still flow freely because we feel the loss so deeply.

Maybe they didn’t call us on the phone everyday, but when they saw you, the fellowship picked right back up from where you left off. They treated you warmly and hugged you like they meant it. They made you feel like you were their very dear friend.

The past week and this coming week find me already missing my recently departed friends. May they rest in Peace, and may the Prince of Peace comfort the hearts of the families and friends left behind.

Some day we will all say Good-Bye to this old world. We look forward to going to a place where none of us shall ever have to say Good-bye again.

Biblical Promise: No More Separation

Rev. 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

  • The sea separates. There will be no more sea over there.

Biblical Promise: No More Tears

Rev. 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

_____________________________________________________

What A Day That Will Be

Words & Music by Jim Hill

There is coming a day,
When no heart aches shall come,
No more clouds in the sky,
No more tears to dim the eye,
All is peace forever more,
On that happy golden shore,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

Chorus:

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

There’ll be no sorrow there,
No more burdens to bear,
No more sickness, no pain,
No more parting over there;
And forever I will be,
With the One who died for me,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

Chorus:

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 2, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Posted in Comfort, Death, Friends