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Archive for April 2011

No Nutritional Value

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No Nutritional Value

The evening camp meeting service was over in Ontario. I stood there talking to three Outfitters and five Hunting Guides. The men were all from Ontario and New Brunswick, Canada. They were talking to me about the moose-hunting story that I had told in my sermon.

After a few minutes, one of the Outfitters said to me, “Brother Ballestero did you know that if you were stranded and had nothing to eat but moose meat, you would eventually starve to death? Even with your stomach full? It has basically, no nutritional value. It’s too lean, besides.”

“No!” I said. “That’s unbelievable! I didn’t know that,”

I stood there in unbelief. Just the thought of having a full stomach and yet not being fed caught me off guard.

While I knew that the old Outfitter was probably not a nutritional expert, there were years worth of practical and sound advice being dispensed here for my benefit. I chose to believe him. That’s what he did for a living. He organized and guided moose hunts. He was a woodsman.

My mind immediately went to the lunch conversation I’d had with Brother Wade Bass. He and I had eaten at the little roadside café in Henrietta, Oklahoma back in July. Because he was fighting cancer, his Doctor had him on a very strict diet. He ordered only a salad for his meal.

“Do you have any ‘Romaine’ lettuce?” He’d asked the waitress.

While she went back to the kitchen to ask, he explained to me that he had to eat a lot of salad on his diet. He said that Iceberg lettuce had basically no nutritional value in it, so that’s why he’d asked for the Romaine.

With these two incidents freeze-framed in my mind, I begin to think about spiritual foods and spiritual diets. Or maybe I should have said, “unspiritual” diets.

How many sit every week in church services and hear sermons, sing songs, and then go home pretty much unchanged?  Even though they felt like they were absolutely ‘full’? This type of pill is hard to swallow as a preacher, it is something we need to keep close to our hearts.

Is it possible to get ‘full’ on sermons that don’t say much and never seem to change any lives?

It’s possible, I think, to get full on ‘worship’ services that never touch the heart and are not much more than drum beats accompanied with powerless repetitive phrases.

I pretty much enjoy all kinds of Worship. But if I can’t feel God touching my heart, I know there is no nutritional value involved.

There is a big difference too, between being fed the “finest of the wheat” or having to live on a constant sermon diet of Faith, Blessing and Prosperity.

Am I against those sermon subjects? Not at all! Keep preaching them.  We need our faith built and we sure could use some prosperity. But there’s more to the Word than just that. Feed me some ‘doctrine’ and feed me some ‘practical living’ sermons while you’re at it. I need something to feed me, not just fill me.

Thank God if you are blessed to be in a good church where you are not only get full, you get fed!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 7, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Posted in Christian Living, Doctrine, Worship

Tagged with ,

I Sinned A Great Sin Today.

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I Sinned A Great Sin Today.

I am so ashamed of myself. I’m sure God is ashamed of me too. I can’t believe I fell for one of the oldest tricks in Satan’s Handbook. I knew better. I’ve even preached and written about it. I am without excuse.

I passed on some information that I’d gotten from an ‘Official’ source, and that ‘Accurate’ information was later determined to be untrue.

The ‘news’ of an acquaintance’ failure brought pain to my heart, and pain to the hearts of the three people I told.

One of the friends, that I’d told, did some calling around and then called me back to tell me the rumor was determined to be unfounded.

That was welcomed news! Thank you Jesus!

But now what?

How do I fix this mess I helped create? I didn’t mean to do wrong, but I did.

I called the other two friends I’d told to tell them the good news. I told them there was no truth to the story. I told them I had given them wrong information. But it was too late.

I wish that were the end of my story. But it’s not.

How do you ‘untell’ something? How do you stop the rumor once it takes wings?

Imagine cutting open a pillow on a windy day and letting all the feathers blow away. Then, after the pillow is empty, just think how hard it would be to go find every feather and put them all back in the pillowcase. Impossible to do.

Am I so sorry I said something that was not true? I’m sorry a thousand times over!

Even though I didn’t mean to be malicious or vicious, I was. Although I thought I was relaying something that was fact and common knowledge, I wasn’t. I was wrong no matter how you look at it.

I disparaged a man’s reputation, I did harm to myself in the process as well. Even if he is totally vindicated in the long run, my believability now is severely damaged. I’m sure I deserve it.

My friend’s that I told had to make calls to the ones they told. They then those people have to call the ones that they told. How many calls will be made? Not enough I’m sure.

I can’t completely undo what I did. I am ashamed. I was wrong. That’s part of the pain of passing along a rumor. Not to mention the graver damage that I did to an innocent child of God.

Pardon me now while I go pray now. I got a call I gotta make too.

Lev. 19:16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.

Prov. 26:22 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 6, 2011 at 1:54 am

Posted in Gossip, Rumor, Talebearer

Tagged with

The Sin Of Arrogance

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The Sin Of Arrogance

We don’t hear arrogance preached about very often, do we? I wonder why. Could it be that the subject may come a little too close to home?

Some familiar Bible characters had problems with arrogance.

Belshazzar Was Arrogant And Defiant.

Dan 5:22  And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;

Dan 5:23  But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:

Dan 5:25  And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

Dan 5:26  This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.

Dan 5:27  TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

He was cursed because, although he knew to do right, he wouldn’t change. He not only became arrogant, but also defiant.

Pharaoh Was Arrogant And Proud.

Ex. 5:2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.

Exo 10:3  And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me.

Saul Was Arrogant and Stubborn.

1 Sam 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king

He said – I have sinned, nevertheless bless me.

1Sam. 15:30 Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee,

New Testament Church Members That Were Arrogant And Presumptuous.

2 Pet 2:10  But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

Likewise, Some Today:

  • Won’t listen
  • Won’t apologize
  • Are never wrong
  • Don’t want help
  • Know it all
  • Won’t hear
  • Won’t change
  • Ignore help
  • Won’t repent
  • Aren’t convicted

Arrogance Will Cause you to:

  • Ignore God’s word
  • Backslide
  • Rebel
  • Ignore help
  • Feel superior
  • Feel invincible
  • Become Unteachable

Nabal Was So Arrogant, A Man Couldn’t Reason With Him.

1 Sam 25:17  Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him.

Arrogance Cursed By God.

  • Saul lost his kingdom and God wouldn’t talk to him anymore

  • Belshazzar lost his kingdom and his life

God’s Condemnation Of Arrogance.

Prov 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

Adjective: forward,

Usage: archaic

1. Habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition

  • headstrong, self-willed, willful
  • See also: disobedient

The Spirit Of Arrogance Is Not A Teachable Spirit.

James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

1 Sam 2:3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.

  • Don’t Become UNTEACHABLE

God’s Cure for Arrogance

2 Chr 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.

  • He’ll forgive the sin of arrogance.  (It is a sin.)
  • Humility is the cure!
  • Humble your selves!

James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

  • Nabal wouldn’t listen, will you?
  • Belshazzar wouldn’t listen, will you?
  • Saul wouldn’t listen, will you?
  • Pharaoh wouldn’t listen, will you?
  • Naaman finally listened, got humble and obeyed, will you?

Arrogance almost robbed Naaman of his miracle! Don’t let that happen to you.

May we always walk humbly before God and our fellow-man.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 5, 2011 at 8:18 am

Posted in Arrogance, Pride

Tagged with ,

The Church In The Torture Chamber

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The Church In The Torture Chamber

Eight years before Nero sat upon his throne, Paul started a church in Philippi. It was the first Christian church in all of Europe.

In Philippi, Paul met Lydia. It was here too that he and Silas were beaten and thrown in jail.

Ruins of Philippi City Center. Foreground: Philippi's Forum. Background: Ruins of market and basilica. Photo by Marsyas

The little congregation of believers in Philippi had no idea what painful days were ahead of them. No one had ever heard the name ‘Nero’ but they were about to.

Nero became an absolute tyrant soon after he attained the throne. He was a monster with authority to do whatever he wanted. Those that knew him believed him to be heartless and without natural feeling. Historical writer Josephus called him a Mad Man. He was totally given to sensuality.

He came into the royal bloodline by adoption. Being two years older than his new stepbrother, he became the heir apparent. At 14, he addressed the Senate and by the age of 17, he had attained the throne.

Nero was an atheist. His life was lived without morals, without restraint and without regard for human life.

He was given Octavia his stepsister in marriage and later forced her to commit suicide. Three times he tried to kill his own mother. He finally succeeded by clubbing her to death publicly.

He seduced his best friend’s wife, Poppea and married her. She was put in charge of arranging his sensual parties. Although he already had a palace, he built a playhouse for his sex parties that had over 300 rooms. He called it the Golden House.

He hated Christians deeply. He really hated them. They were against everything he loved and did.

When he felt Britannicus, his stepbrother, was becoming a threat to him, he decided to kill him with poison. Nero made a poisonous laxative and gave it to a goat. It took the goat five hours to die. He increased the dosage and gave it to a pig. The pig died immediately. He then served it to Britannicus with the same results.

Poppea died because Nero kicked her in the stomach when she was with child. Undaunted, Nero found a young boy named Sporus who closely resembled Poppea. He castrated him, married him in a formal ceremony and Sporus became his wife.

Nero loved chariot racing. He wanted to have chariot races even at night. He ordered Christians to be gathered at random and crucified. Their bodies, dead or alive, were covered with pitch and set ablaze so there would be enough light to race by.

Christians were thrown to the lions for his amusement. He delighted in watching them being eaten alive.

He ordered the Christians to be covered with the bloody skins of slain animals and then tied. When they were securely tied, he turned wild dogs loose to kill them.

Roman soldiers were given permission to behead Christians at their own discretion.

Many Christians were killed to appease the people who disliked them.

The Christian were robbed often.

The women were often assaulted and horribly mistreated on a regular basis.

Many Christians were sold into slavery to help pay the debt of the rebuilding of Rome after it burned.

In the midst of all these unimaginable horrors, the Apostle Paul sat down his prison cell and wrote a letter to these precious people. Paul no doubt felt a strong attachment to them and they to him as well.

He concludes his beautiful letter to theses battered saints with:

Phil. 4:22 “All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.”

In spite of their brothers and sisters in Christ being killed and abused, they were living for God right under Nero’s nose. They were saints in Nero’s own household.

They no doubt cooked, cleaned, served, preformed their required duties, and still kept their testimonies intact. Each day that they awoke, they knew there was a chance that they would be killed for what they believed. That didn’t stop them.

They proved 2,000 years ago that it is possible to live for God anywhere. Even under the worst conditions imaginable.

Nero committed suicide at the age of 31. He may have died, but the Anti-Christ spirit that drove him is alive and well today.

Today, I honor every brother and sister in Christ who is trying to survive in their own personal ‘hell on earth’ situation. May the comfort of the Holy Ghost especially be yours today and may you feel his hand upon you, guiding your every step. I pray the peace and protection of the Lord upon you, in Jesus Name. God knows where you are at and what you are going through.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 3, 2011 at 12:45 am

Posted in Christian Living

She’s A Lady!

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She’s A Lady!

(From an old man’s point of view, with help from the two Beautiful Ladies in my life; my wife Marcia Starr Ballestero and my daughter Marisa Hartzell.)

MJB

÷÷÷

Marcia June Starr Ballestero

If you are a Lady, it is no accident. A lot of caring people got involved in the training process.

  • A Lady is not born a Lady; she’s made into one.
  • Someone had to help her.
  • Her parents, her family, or someone close, participated in her education.
  • If she is a Lady, it’s not an accident.
  • A Lady conducts herself as a Lady.
  • She expects to be treated like a Lady and she won’t settle for less.
  • There are some things a Lady always does and some things a Lady would never do.

For Example:

1. A Lady Is Never Loud

  • She uses her ‘inside’ voice when speaking.
  • A Lady does everything to keep from being known as a loud mouth.
  • She doesn’t scream and yell unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  • She doesn’t rant and rave to get her way.
  • She always strives to keep her composure and show calmness.

2. A Lady Watches Her Language

  • She doesn’t use swear words.
  • She lives so that if someone did swear around her, they would apologize.
  • She doesn’t tell off color jokes.
  • She avoids being around those that do.

3. A Lady Is Private About Her Personal Life

  • She does not cheapen her life or others by passing along private information.
  • She would never ask anyone else about their private life.

4. She Would Include The Pastor (And God) In Her Courtship

  • She would ask the Pastor’s opinion of the guy she’s interested in.
  • She would ask him if he would approve of you two ‘seeing each other.’
  • She would invite him to pray with you about him.
  • A relationship with a wrong person may destroy her.
  • Someone worth marrying is most often found worshipping or around an altar, not hanging around the foyer.
  • She would break up with him if her Pastor advised her to and be thankful that he was watching for her soul.
  • She would be very worried if her friends didn’t like him.
  • She would be very worried if her parents didn’t like him.
  • She would honor her parent’s wishes and requests.

5. A Lady Always Tries To Be On Time

  • There will always be occasions when things run late. She tries to make that the exception.
  • A Lady has much more personal preparation than a man. That’s a given. She doesn’t abuse the privilege.

6. A Lady Pays Attention To Her Personal Hygiene

  • She takes a shower or bath faithfully.
  • She finds a deodorant that works for her.
  • She brushes her teeth and uses mouthwash if necessary.
  • She Keeps a supply of Q-tips .
  • She knows Cologne can be smelled from afar and that it can be overwhelming. She is uses it with moderation.
  • She knows that it’s not a substitute for soap.
  • She shampoos her hair and keeps her scalp free of sweat and dandruff.
  • She knows that just the word ‘Lady’ conjures up a picture of cleanliness and beauty in a man’s mind.

7. She Is Careful About Her Nose

  • She excuses herself to blow her nose.
  • She leaves the table to do it if possible.
  • She turns her back to the table guests if she can’t leave to take care of her business and then places handkerchief in her purse or out of sight.
  • She is aware that a wet nose is only tolerated on dogs.
  • She keeps her finger out of her nose in public.

8. A Lady Pays Attention To Her Clothes

  • She keeps her shoes polished.
  • She cleans and trims her fingernails.
  • She dresses with class.
  • She does not wear revealing and formfitting clothes.
  • She does not show cleavage.
  • She does not dress so as to leave nothing to the imagination.
  • She wears dresses that cover her knees even when sitting.
  • She knows that she will not attract a Godly Husband by dressing like the world.
  • She knows that if she doesn’t dress like the ‘world’ she won’t attract as many undesirables.

9. A Lady Is Gracious

  • She says thank you when doors are opened for her.
  • She says thank you when he pulls the chair out for you at the table.
  • She says thank you when a Gentleman assists her with her coat. (On or off.)
  • She says thank you when a Gentleman gives up his chair for her.
  • She says thank you when a Gentleman picks up something she dropped.

10. A Lady Has Dining Manners

  • She always chews with her mouth closed.
  • She doesn’t talk with her mouth full.
  • She takes modest sized bites
  • She avoids ordering food with garlic if she is going to spend time with ‘him’.
  • She never uses her finger to shove food onto her fork. She may use a knife or bread.
  • She doesn’t place her elbows on the table.
  • She places her napkin in her lap and not in her collar.
  • She does not eat as if she were condemned.
  • She knows a Gentleman is grossed out immediately by a Lady’s bad table manners.
  • She does not burp, pass gas or spit in public.

11. A Lady Is Careful With Her Dating Conversation:

  • She never mentions former boyfriends.
  • She asks him questions about himself. (Maybe he’ll catch on and ask her.)
  • She doesn’t yap on and on about herself.
  • She will open up and talk if she cares about him.
  • She doesn’t get too serious too quick.

12. A Lady Makes The Wedding Plans: (When you arrive at that decision.)

  • She knows a Wedding is the ultimate social event in a woman’s life.
  • She knows a Lady should have all the free reign she needs in it’s planning.
  • She knows that He should follow her lead and if He does, He won’t be sorry.

13. A Lady Doesn’t Want To Sound Like A Control Freak To Him.

  • She doesn’t try to change the music he’s listening to, even if it’s not what she likes.
  • She knows there will be time to play hers.
  • She doesn’t try to ‘change’ him as soon as he becomes hers either.

14. A Lady Keeps Her Ego In Check

  • She never acts like the world revolves around her.
  • She never pouts or throws a fit to get her way.
  • She keeps her emotions in check in public.
  • She will not participate in a ‘Cat Fight’.

15. A Lady Does Not Pursue The Man

  • A Lady does not openly pursue the man
  • She waits for him to make the initial call.
  • She waits for the man to come to her.
  • She does not cheapen herself to get his attention.
  • She will not throw herself at a man.

16. A Lady Allows The Man To Pay

  • She expects Gentleman pays for all the expenses.
  • She also understands that just because he bought her a hamburger, it doesn’t mean she OWES him anything!

17. A Lady Has  Phone Manners

  • She takes time to speak to his parents or siblings when they answer the phone if she has to call.
  • She will never just blurt just out, “Is _____ There?”
  • She knows taking time to talk to the Mother or Father will go a long way in helping her future with the family.
  • She will not spend her time texting other people when she is with Him.
  • She will focus on who she is with.
  • She shows those she is with how important they are to her by not texting or calling other people at the table.
  • She wouldn’t think of texting in church.
  • She would never be part of sending or receiving inappropriate photos and texts.
  • She knows that if a guy is willing to send her an inappropriate photo or text, she has just been warned as to his lack of morals, consecration and his intentions.

18. The Lady Knows When And Where To Draw The Line

  • She draws the line.
  • She demands respect of her purity and honor.
  • She would never make improper advances or say suggestive things.
  • She would never allow herself to be touched in an inappropriate manner or place.
  • She would never think of having to ‘Prove Her Love”
  • She would respect his parents, her parents and their pastor’s guidelines for courtship.
  • She means ‘NO’, when she says ‘NO”.
  • She understands that after she says goodnight, if she has to repent before she goes to bed, then something is wrong with her relationship.

20. A Lady Doesn’t Stay Out All Night?

  • She always honors her parent’s and the pastor’s curfew.
  • She knows that she should be home before midnight even if there is no curfew. Just to protect her good name.
  • She will protect herself and protect him, by not spending a lot of time alone together.
  • She will inform her parents about where she plans to go and what she plans to do.
  • She will make sure her parents have her cell number and invite them to call her if the need arises.
  • She knows the Bible already said that flesh is weak. It is weak. She will not  knowingly put herself or him in a position to be tempted. There is no guy worth going to hell over.

21. A Lady Will Never Let The Romance Die After Marriage.

  • She will keep the courtship alive until her last breath.
  • A Lady will always be loved.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 2, 2011 at 12:49 am

Posted in Life, Love, Marriage, Romance

Tagged with

Mine Is Better Than Yours!

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Mine Is Better Than Yours!

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Man tries to “make peace” but God “gives peace.” He is the Prince of Peace.

Man’s peace is flawed. It’s temporary. It’s conditional. So Jesus said, “my peace I give unto you.” He knew our peace wouldn’t last, He knew our peace would fail. He knew His was better than ours. Because His ‘peace’ is better than ours, he freely offers His to us today.

Everything He does, He does better than us. His is always better than ours.

God’s hope – A ‘blessed hope’, a ‘better hope’.

Man’s hope – Is in this world only – ‘most miserable’.

  • (His is better!)

God’s joy – ‘Fullness of joy’.

Man’s joy – Partial and temporary.

  • (His is better!)

God’s pleasure – ‘Forever more’.

Man’s pleasure – ‘For a season’.

  • (His is better!)

God’s water – You will never thirst again

Man’s water – You will get thirsty again

  • (His is better!)

Is. 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

Is. 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God’s Thoughts – Are higher than man’s thoughts

God’ Ways – Are higher than man’s ways

  • (His is better!)

His Name – Is above every other name.

Deut. 32:31 For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.

There’s no god like our God.

There’s no rock like our Rock.

There’s No God Like Jehovah!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 1, 2011 at 12:10 am

Posted in Christian Living