The Ballestero Blog

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Archive for April 2011

When You Go To War, You Take Your Family With You.

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When You Go To War, You Take Your Family With You.

Today I saw a picture in Yahoo News taken of a family during the civil war.  It’s meaning was powerful then, it still is today.


Rare Civil War photos document life between battles

By Laura E. Davis Mon Apr 11, 10:09 pm ET

America’s Civil War, whose 150th anniversary is marked on Tuesday, is so often described in battles — the Battle of Gettysburg, the Battle of Bull Run, the Battle of Fort Sumter — that it may be easy to forget that the soldiers who fought in the four-year war had a lot of time between fighting. The rare photos seen below document just that — the time soldiers spent waiting, preparing, recovering or just living.

Click image to view rare Civil War photos

Apic — Getty Images


“We wanted to show more of the daily life of these people and remind people that they were living their lives in the middle of this horrible war and there was a lot of daily living going on,” says Kelly Knauer, editor of “TIME The Civil War: An Illustrated History.”

He points out that because of where camera technology was at the time, the in-between was much of what was photographed during the Civil War, since battle scene photos would often come out too blurry. The war marks one of the first times dead bodies were photographed. Another thing that comes out of some of the photos is a time truly left in the past, when family members and nearly entire towns would travel with the men to their battlegrounds.

As Knauer notes: “When they went to war, they took their whole families with them.”


May we as Christian parents always remember, when we go to war against another brother or sister, we take our whole family with us!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 12, 2011 at 10:40 am

You Don’t Fall Down In One Town And Get Up In Another

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You Don’t Fall Down In One Town And Get Up In Another

In the Kingdom of God, we sometimes hear stories of someone quitting church, or “backsliding”. Our hearts are deeply saddened by their disappearance from the church family.

Quite often then, news comes that the missing person has ‘prayed through’ over at Brother So & So’s church.

The person in question seldom comes back home. They just continue at their new place of worship. They expect everyone to rejoice that they are back in the fold.

It almost seems like they wanted to change churches and knew their reason was inappropriate.  So what did they do?  They figured if they backslid, then they could pray through anywhere they wanted to. (I wonder if they shopped a few churches to find one that was less restrictive?) By so doing, they would then be free of their old church and move on.

Too many make a horrible mistake in assuming that they can freely move around in the Kingdom of God like they were in a game of checkers, going from church to church without consequence.

To pacify their conscience, they just make sure that the sign at the new church has the magic name or initials painted on it, and then it’s OK. They are still in the body.

The church jump is made in such a way that the man of God’s opinion and influence gets bypassed. They choose to bypass it too. It’s a very dangerous and cowardly move.

My Mother-in-Law, Sister June Davis is a wise woman. She has a very practical saying that is time-tested. “You Don’t Fall Down In One Town And Get Up In Another.”

Church members that devise means to escape in such a way from the pastor under which God has placed them, will surely bring great damage to themselves and their families.

I am talking here about people leaving good pastors and good churches. They just don’t want to live it like they used to, so they leave.

If they just had a personal problem and quit, why didn’t they come back home and pray through?

Backslider! If you’ve really prayed through, you will come back home. The Prodigal Son did. You should too!

I’m not so sure folks have really prayed through if they don’t come back home. More often than not, the reason they don’t want to come back home is that they know they would have to repent and that’s always a problem for the proud, for the rebellious and for the cowardly.

Oh, and the other pastor that welcomes you to his church instead of sending you back home isn’t ethical either!

“You Don’t Fall Down In One Town And Get Up In Another.”

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 12, 2011 at 2:42 am

It’s Time To Say Thank You.

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It’s Time To Say Thank You.

The old gentleman was a little unsteady on his feet. He had every right to be. He was no longer young. He was in his early 90’s and with the help of his faithful cane; he came over and asked permission to sit by me. I was in Atlanta, seated near gate 16. I welcomed the company during my long layover. I glanced again at him and this time saw that his cap said World War II Veteran.

Thank you for serving our country.” I said smiling at him. The old guy favored his arthritis as he eased into the seat.

“You’re so very welcome,” he said as he found a place to rest his cane. “It was the greatest honor of my life. Some of my buddies didn’t make it back.” He said as he shook his white hair.

I saw his tired looking eyes get a little wet, and then he held me spellbound for the next 40 minutes with stories of his life during the war. His mind was sharp. His voice strong and animated. I was mesmerized.

As he talked, the wrinkles in his weathered face seem to enhance his looks. He had a distinguished air about him as he named events and recalled names. Although I forgot to ask his name I will never forget his stories, his love for America.

Over the years, some members of my own immediate family have proudly served in the armed forces of the United States of America.

  • My brother-in-law, Eric Marxer – Marines.
  • My father, Carl Ballestero – Army.
  • My father-in-law, William Starr – Army Air Force.
  • My step father-in-law, Howard Davis – Navy.

Each of them has my deepest respect and appreciation for putting their life on the line… for me. I owe my freedom to them and others who served with them. I cannot take that lightly; I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

I’ve had thanked hundreds of uniformed men and women. Every veteran that wears a cap or jacket announcing his past service gets my thanks as well.

After the airplane landed at my final destination this week, the flight attendant announced the fact that a young uniformed soldier was on board. The entire crew, as well as the passengers, applauded their thanks to him, as well we should have.

I have seen many others thank our servicemen and women over the years. I too am thankful for those that serve.

What about those soldiers in the greatest war of all? You know, those that help fight the battle for the souls of men and women? What about those other warriors, like the Missionaries, and even our own Pastor? How come they seldom receive our thanks?

When’s the last time you ever saw someone walk up to a Missionary and say, “Thank you for serving the Lord”, or “Thank you for giving your life to the work of God”?

When is the last time you walked up to your Pastor and said something like, “Thank you for your service to God” or “Thank you for giving your life and your time to the ministry”?

Aren’t we to give honor to whom honor is due?

There are unsung heroes among us who have faithfully labored for years in the service of the King. Maybe they’ve never seemed to be well-known outside of their immediate area. Or maybe they’ve never preached a conference.

They might not even have famous relatives. They’ve sure never gotten a hand clap or maybe even much of a thank you. They have just silently preformed their duties. They have been faithful and heaven could not have required anymore.

Most have spent their life doing without. One thing shouldn’t have to do without is our thanks and appreciation.

Of all people, those who are fighting for the souls of men and women in this wicked generation, they need our thanks and our prayers.

Now, go say something nice to one of them.


Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 8, 2011 at 2:04 am

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