The Ballestero Blog

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Archive for June 2011

Streams In The Desert

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Streams In The Desert

The weary traveler was hot and thirsty. His mouth was dry and his sunburned lips had not had water for more than a day. Hot wind seared his skin. His eyes were reddened from the sun and wind.

He could not see any shade in which to sit down and rest. There seemed to be no protection from the cruel elements. He was afraid. He had fallen twice already. If he fell again, he feared he would not have the strength to get up and go on. He could not stop. He had to get to the other side. The buzzards circled slowly over head watching his every step. They knew from experience, it was just a matter of time.

Crossing the desert in the summer was extremely dangerous. He knew that. Many men had died over the years trying to make it across in this heat. Skeletons by the trail was a harsh reminder.

His water was gone. His feet burned from the hot sand. The late afternoon sun was unmerciful. It was dangerously hot.

His eyes and mind had been playing tricks on him since mid-morning. The illusion of a shimmering water hole ahead had raised his hopes a few times. When he had gotten closer, he knew it was just a mirage. With dashed hopes, he still trudged on.

Although unsteady in his steps, he refused to stop. The strength he’d had yesterday was gone. He had walked through the night. He was tired. He was dehydrated. He knew that he was staring death in the face. But he kept walking. He had to make it.

With gritted teeth, he slowly climbed the small hill in his path. It took most of his remaining strength. He made it to the top, just barely.

Then he saw it. Unbelievable! A few trees, and some brush not far below. It looked like a stream of water too!

Surely it was just another mirage. There couldn’t be water flowing out here. Not here! Then by chance he saw a bee flying in that direction. Bees fly in a straight line towards water. He followed.

His hopes were raised. New vigor propelled him forward. He saw it! There it was, a stream a real stream.

The stream wasn’t noisy or loud. It was clear, it was cool, but most of all it was refreshing. The exhausted traveler fell to his knees and refreshed himself from the stream in the desert.

Is. 35:6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.

All travelers in this life know the blessing of finding a “God provided stream” in their desert. If you will stop, drink and be refreshed. You can make it!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 11, 2011 at 12:32 pm

It’s Called Filth

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It’s Called Filth

My mother was an expert on pigsties. She came into my bedroom one day when I was in the 7th grade and told me that my room looked like a pigsty. She ordered me to clean it up, in no uncertain terms. I did. Mama had zero tolerance for filth.

I recently went with a pastor to visit some sick people in the hospital.  A small boy had contracted Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. He was 4 years old and refused to wear shoes indoors or out. His constant hand contact with his feet and then his mouth was a major issue.

His feet were covered with blisters, as well as his hands.  His mouth was full of them besides. The youngster was in a coma.

As I left the Hospital, I looked for the hand Sanitizer dispenser in the lobby by the front door. I used two dozes just in case one application didn’t catch all of the germs.

I shake dozens of hands before and after church. It’s important to me to be able to wash the fellowship off of my hands before sitting down to eat after service. I don’t want the germs from their unwashed hands in my mouth.

It doesn’t take much for germs to spread. I do not which to get germs nor do I wish to spread them.

There are times when I wish I could wash my mind and my thoughts because of what I heard or what I saw that day. We may call the influence of the world in our lives by nicer names, but I’m afraid that most of it falls under the classification of filth.

Sometimes I wish I could pull my heart out and put it on the scrub board of God’s Mercy and scrub it clean. I wish I could scrub it clean of all impurities and filth. I am not talking about immorality, I’m just talking about the filth of this generation that swirls around us everyday. It’s called Life.

David even spoke of the same desire to be clean in Psalms. He also wanted to scrub away the filth of life and be clean so that he might be acceptable in the presence of the Lord.

Psa. 51:2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

Psa. 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Peter warned us all that there would be a constant need to protect ourselves for the present evils of the age.

Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

This indecent, unbecoming, uncomely, unseemly world of ours freely spreads it’s filth around every day. It infiltrates our ears, our eyes, our minds, and most of all our hearts. We must work constantly to keep ourselves pure.

1John 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

We have to do some washing ourselves. That is the reason why daily devotions and our prayer closet times are so important to keeping ‘disease free’ in a filthy and sick world.

Thank God for the altars in our churches. Thank God for a place where hearts can be scrubbed clean.

No Levite or Priest could enter into the Holy Place of God without first washing the filth off in the Laver, and neither can we. Every one of us needs to be washed on a daily basis.

Saints of old sang songs about being washed and being clean. I wish they still did.

 

Search Me, O God

James E. Orr, 1936

Copyright: Public Domain

  1. Search me, O God, and know my heart today,
    Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray;
    See if there be some wicked way in me;
    Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.
  2. I praise Thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin;
    Fulfill Thy word and make me pure within;
    Fill me with fire, where once I burned with shame;
    Grant my desire to magnify Thy name.
  3. Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine;
    Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine;
    Take all my will, my passion, self and pride;
    I now surrender, Lord, in me abide.
  4. O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee;
    Send a revival, start the work in me;
    Thy Word declares Thou wilt supply our need;
    For blessings now, O Lord, I humbly plead.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 9, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Preach Me The Gospel

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Preach Me The Gospel

Rom. 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Ours is a day of dilution of sacred truths. The importance of our basic tenets of faith is being challenged. Compromise is seen in every too many areas. Some sermons are not much more than an exercise in Pop-Psychology. Word preaching is non-existent in too many places. Doctrine is scorned by some and called ‘old school.’

It may be ‘old school’ to the compromiser, but doctrinal preachers, believers and practitioners are still here and doing well.

  • They are still living ‘the life.’
  • They haven’t caved in to compromise and worldliness.
  • They were blessed to have heard some old-time Doctrinal messages on the New Birth. They got it in their heart.
  • They heard teaching and preaching about Holiness, Separation from the World, Church Government, and Standards. They loved it.
  • They were taught why the New Birth was important.
  • They were taught why separation from the world was important.
  • They were taught why it is important to live holy.
  • They were taught why they should worship.
  • They were taught why they should be faithful.
  • They were taught why they should honor God with their tithes.
  • They were taught why they should honor God with their modest apparel.
  • They said Amen to the preacher.
  • They believed it.
  • They received it.
  • They got in the Word and the Word got in them.

Some churches, organizations and fellowships have neglected the Word and turned to gimmicks and programs to distract from the obvious void and lack of a move of God.

The lack of Word preaching is evident by what is seen in the lives of many at conferences, camps and rallies. If preachers ‘get what they preach,’ someone must not be preaching very much.

There will always be a constant need to preach on worship. Please do not stop. I fear however, that our heavy emphasis on worship demonstration promotes the belief that our best services are always runaways.

Thank God for a runaway. But to me there is no measure of the lasting blessings the Word has on our lives. A shout can be forgotten. But the engrafted Word can be hidden in the heart until we die.

It is easy for some to jump up and down and run the aisle. Yet these same folks seem lost and uncomfortable in a deep move of God. Why?

Every pastor has seen folks shout in church, and then heard of them sinning before the night was over. They had the ‘physical exercise’ part down. They just didn’t get much on the inside. No root.

Luke 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

Some pastors only want to teach doctrine (or anything that isn’t evangelistic) in ‘closed door settings’. They must be afraid to stand up and preach it to their whole congregation. The shallowness of church membership today is alarming.

Psa. 119:161 …but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.

Psa. 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells a story of two houses. One house was built on the rock. The other was built on the sand. All was well until the storm came. Only the house on the rock remained standing.

Without a solid foundation, we too will fall apart when the storms of worldliness come against the church.

2Chr. 15:3 Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law.

God give us a season of the teaching priest. Give us a season of loving thy law.

Paul’s Gospel was the New Birth. The Death, Burial and the Resurrection.

Thank God for preachers who just stand up and preach the Word. Thank God for saints who want to hear preaching. Singing doesn’t save us, preaching does.

The Apostle Paul didn’t say to Timothy, “Discern someone’s phone number, their name or medical condition.” He just said to preach the Word.

Carloads will drive miles to hear a preacher call out folks and pray over them. (I can tell you ahead of time what he will say. He will prophesy blessings, healing and prosperity over those he prays for. He will never discern the sinfulness they are living in.)

The same folks that go gaga over that type of ministry get easily bored listening to a ‘Word’ preacher.  Some wouldn’t drive across town to hear him.

Take some advice from an old man. If you are a preacher and have a choice between being a feeder or an exhorter, be a feeder. Because a feeder will build a church.

2Tim. 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

Don’t stop the worship, but at the same time, preach the Word. Keep preaching about Worship, but let Doctrine showcase your ministry.

Preacher, there are still plenty of saints out there that bring their Bibles to church.

There are still plenty of saints that bring a notebook and pen to Church just waiting.

There are still plenty of saints that will readily say, “Preach Me The Gospel.”

The Book Of Deception

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The Book Of Deception

23:17-36

Today’s Devotional For The Uncommitted


V. 17   It shall not matter what a man believes as long as he is sincere.

V. 18   Thou shalt not criticize other religions because they shall all lead you to the same place.

V. 19   Let thy conscience be thy guide and all things will work out right.

V. 20   I am no respecter of persons saith the Lord, if any man have the Holy Ghost, he shall need no other teacher. I alone will instruct him in the ways of righteousness.

V. 21   If any man hast not received the Holy Ghost, he shall be saved by accepting me as his personal Savior, saith the Lord.  Only believe.

V. 22 Forasmuch as customs and standards change, each generation shall not be required to live or dress in any manner that is considered old fashioned.  The Lord God is not concerned how his people look on the outside, but on the inside only. Thou shalt win more people if thou lookest more like them.

V.23 In the last days, business and pleasure shall increase.  Many shall not be able to attend church services faithfully.  Come when thou art able, saith the Lord.

V. 24 If thine church seemeth too far away, of if thy ministers offendeth thee in anywise, thou shalt be permitted to attend another church of thy choice.  Fear not, once saved always saved.

V. 25 The Lord thy God is too good to let any of His children suffer in eternity.  There is no hell.  I know not any.  Yet if there is, thou shalt be burnt up and feel no pain.

V. 26 If thou feelest good about a thing in thine heart, then know that it is My will for thee.  Let not any man tell thee other wise, saith the Lord.

V. 27 If thou hast been given a gift and thou art not used as you wouldst desire to be, then thou shalt be freed from the bondage of thine pastor and mayest go whithersoever thou wouldst.

V. 28 The tithe belongeth unto me saith the Lord, but if thou needest to use it, thou mayest.

V. 29 Whatsoever thou doest in the days of thy youth shall be excused, for there is one requirement for the young and another for the old.

V. 30 If thine pastor settest thee down because of thine transgression, it is better that thou goest to another assembly where they knowest thee not, so that thou mightest prosper more abundantly.

V. 31 Thy sin shall not be required of thee except thou art caught in it.  Thou mayest sin a little bit every day for I know that thy flesh is weak and that thou art not perfect.  For if thou still hast addictions, thy weaknesses art overlooked for I am not able to deliver thee fully.

V. 32 Worship is of the heart.  Thou shalt not do that which is unseemingly to make me happy.  Keep thine seat saith the Lord and praise me in thine heart. Demonstration is for the weak and unschooled.

V. 33. The altar is a place for the ungodly and unclean.  If thou art a believer, thou mayest stay in thine pew while others pray.  Bowest thine head though and movest thine lips, so I mayest know thou art awake.

V. 34 Though many say that I am coming quickly.  I have many more things yet to do.  Thou hast plenty of time.

           

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 6, 2011 at 9:48 am

Posted in Compromise, Deception

Tagged with ,

The Mourners At The Old Man’s Funeral

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The Mourners At The Old Man’s Funeral

The casket was closed. That alone made everything seem final. There was not even a picture of the deceased anywhere to be seen. He was only still alive in the memories of those that had known him.

Family members, fellow employees, acquaintances, and friends both old and new were in attendance. Some of them mourned and consoled each another with knowing looks and tear-stained faces. Their great sense of loss was clearly evident as they continually wiped the tears away.

In the same room, others were smiling oblivious to the tearful around them. They hugged each other for joy. They seemed very happy that the old man had finally died. He had been a real source of irritation to them for a long time. They seemed to be sighing with great relief that he was finally out of the way.

Even the preacher actually seemed happy that the old man was dead too. This was unusual. Preachers normally don’t get happy at funerals, but this one did.

The sniffles and the sobs attracted everyone’s attention again. The old man would be sorely missed. For them, it was unthinkable that he was dead.

They had comforted themselves with stories of his exploits. They struggled with their losses. He’d meant something special and important to them. They were greatly irritated by the smiling faces in the room. What was wrong with those other people? How could anyone smile like that at a funeral?

Passion looked at the casket where “the old man” lay and sobbed. His best friend was dead.

Lust wept at the loss of a child.

Habit greatly mourned the slave who had broken free from it’s chains.

Guilt shook with disbelief. They had travelled many miles together.

Heartache was crying and refused to be comforted.

Selfishness and Pleasure wailed for their departed friend and comrade.

Pride hung it’s head in grief. It had evidently failed at keeping him alive.

Satan himself was the chief mourner.

The funeral procession was mixed with tears of sorrow and smiles. It’s sounds were those of weeping and shouts of joy. The two crowds kept separate from each other. Tension was strong between the two camps.

The shouters wanted to make sure “the old man” was buried. They wanted to make sure that some green grass was growing on top of him. The mourners were hoping for a miracle of resurrection.

The preacher made the final pronouncement of burial and the sound of rejoicing was overwhelming loud and raucous. There was so much joy in the camp, that the mourners all made a hasty retreat.

Rom. 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

Rom. 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Rom. 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Is Your “Old Man” Yet Alive, Or Has He Died Out To Sin?

If He Is Still Alive, You Need To Make Funeral Arrangements Today!

You Can Find Out How To Make Them By Reading Acts 2:38.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 4, 2011 at 11:54 am

Young Person, Is That The Best Deal You Could Make?

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Young Person, Is That The Best Deal You Could Make?

 

  • Some People are just awful in Business.
  • It’s just not their nature to bargain, barter, or make a good deal.
  • They always seem to get cheated.
  • They always lose money when they sell things.
  • Others easily take advantage of them.

 

Imagine Then:

  • Selling an heirloom at a yard sale for $1.00.
  • Being happy to unload a treasure, at a give-a-way price, then get pressured to take $.50 and do.
  • Later, you find out the real value and you are ashamed of your own stupidity!
  • You realize you acted like you were an Idiot!
  • You sold it too cheap!
  • You’ll spend your life with that regret.
  • You didn’t make the Best Deal You Could Make!
  • Did you think you would never find another buyer?  (Was it Seller’s Panic?)
  • Basically, it looks like you were willing to give it away, or you didn’t care.
  • To YOU it had no value, because you placed none upon it.
  • Was it because you don’t know the value or worth of your possessions?
  • How can you possess something for years and be clueless of its value?
  • If you inherited something, you may or may not be sure of its value.
  • That’s why you could always get an appraisal, or even a second opinion.
  • You take what you have to a knowledgeable party and say: 
  1. Tell me what it’s worth?  
  2. Is this junk or real. 
  3. An Heirloom or Trash?
  4. Then you believe what they said and never settle for less.
  5. Treat yourself the same way

 

What Am I Talking About? The Value Of You!!

  • You.
  • The Value Of You.
  • The Business of You on the Open Market.
  • And what worries me is that You may be settling for give-a-way price.
  • If so, YOU must not have any respect for yourself. 
  • Or any hopes you have of ever doing much for God.
  • Because you were willing to place an Heirloom in the same basket as the Trash.
  • Too blinded by the flesh, to see the value of God’s gift (call) in your life.

 

I’m Always Amazed At Good Boys And Girls Settling For Spouses With:

  • No spirituality.
  • No personality.
  • No signs of the Holy Ghost.
  • No common ground but fleshly desire.

 

And I Say To Myself.  “Was That The Best Deal You Could Make?”

  • “Why didn’t you go to your Pastor and get an appraisal?”
  • “ And then, believed him?”
  • “Why didn’t you go to your Parents and get an appraisal?”
  • “And then believed them?”

 

The Body’s Skin Is Only The Wrapping Of The Present.

  • Only an idiot would so fall in love with the wrapping, that they never want to open the gift and see what is on the inside.
  • It’s what’s on the inside that is of value.
  • Shallow people fall in love with the wrapping and not what’s inside.

 

You Look In The Mirror, And…

  • All you see of yourself is a nose you don’t like.
  • Ears that somehow are all wrong to you.
  • Zits that you just know will turn off the world.
  • A Shape or Build that’s far from pleasing in your eyes.
  • So you feel that because you are, for the moment unhappy with the wrapping, you think the inside must not be worth much either.
  • So you De-value yourself.
  • That’s the first step towards making a bad Business Deal in life.
  • Settling for some Carnal Companion for a Marriage Partner.
  • Settling for someone who is very wrong for you.
  • I ask again, Was That The Best Deal You Could Make?
  • I wish I could get you to believe that: “You are someone very special!”

 

Hey guys, if all you are interested in is a girls dress size, then that may be all you ever get. If you marry just for the wrapping, you might be disappointed with the present. But if you look deeper and marry what’s inside, you’ll not be sorry.

  • What makes a person of Value & Worth settle for someone who is shallow and empty?  (You are deceived if you think you will help them grow in God.  Let them mature and grow in God first and then consider marriage.)
  • What makes a person of Value marry some sorry outfit that won’t work and just sits at home plays his Sony Play Station or Xbox 360 all day and night?
  • What makes a person of Value marry someone who is half Psycho? Was that the Best Deal they could make?  Surely not.
  • What makes a person of Value marry someone who would rather do drugs than live for God?

Maybe you’re in a small home missions church and you love God. But there are just not many boys in your church.  You get desperate and feel like you are running out of chances to get married, so you grab the first person who smiles at you. Regardless if they are in church or out. Regardless if they are on fire for God or not. Don’t think you will marry them and then fix them or get them saved. The odds are against you.

What makes a person of Value meet some carnal Quail-head at a Conference or Camp, and fall for them. Then marry and leave a Great church to go to some dried up excuse for one. Their soul will not doubt dry up too, just because they thought this is the best they could do.

In my opinion, it’s better to be an old maid wishing you could get married, than to be a married woman wishing you were an old maid. It would be better to be a bachelor on fire for God, than to marry someone who will drag you out of church. Why would anyone want to spend the rest of his or her life saying, “Come on honey, go to church with me tonight. Pleeeeeze?”

God’s plan for your life involves great things for you and for His Kingdom. Don’t go hormonal stupid and mess up what Heaven has in store for you!

 

Let Me Talk About The Parents For A Minute!

Isaac and Rebecca set helplessly by as their son threw away his future and married women that brought grief to their hearts. Sadly, it still is happening today.

 (Gen 26:34)  And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:

(Gen 26:3V)  Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.

They were grieved because they knew Esau could have made a better deal and didn’t. But then again, this is the same man who made a bad deal in trading his birthright for a bowl of beans. Some people never seem to catch on.

I just happen to be the proud father of the most beautiful daughter in the world who is just as beautiful on the inside.  She is married to a great pastor that makes my heart proud as well. They are a wonderful couple that brings great joy to our family and me.

When my daughter Marisa was still single and living at home, it was not uncommon for young men to travel long distances just to come and see her. Pretty girls are worth seeing. They all hoped for a chance to win her affection. She did a good job filtering out the bad ones. (She got that gift and her good looks from her Mama.)

One time though, I didn’t give my daughter a chance to say no to a potential suitor. As the father, I became the filter and her personal defender.

She was about eighteen when a knock came on our front door one day. I opened the door and was very surprised. I did not know the young man, nor had I seen him before.  Neither had I ever heard him mentioned.

It looked like someone had set a bowl on top of his head and mowed around it leaving a black thick thatch of hair on top. He had a pierced lip, nose and an earring. His tongue was pierced too. His clothes looked soiled.

I nodded and said hello.

He gamely smiled and said, “Is Marisa Home.”

I looked him up and down real slow letting the smile leave me face. Then I looked him in the eye and with my no-nonsense voice I said, “Not to you, she’s not.)

The look of shock was still on is face when I closed the door.

Don’t even think about telling me I was rude or impolite. I am a Father. A Father’s job is to protect his family.

You don’t raise a daughter up to the age of eighteen and then throw her away to the first pair of britches that comes by. Neither do you raise up a son and throw him to the first skirt that rustles in his direction. Furthermore, you don’t let them throw themselves away either.

If all they hear from mom and dad is criticism and negativity about themselves, they may not value themselves very much either. You may have just set up your own child to make a bad deal in life.

Be thankful to God if your child is a good son or daughter. Brag on them, encourage them, guide them without nagging or harshness. Love them into making the right choices. Validate their achievements and right choices with praise.

Young Person. God did something special when He made you. Believe it, and never settle for anyone that would keep you from being what God meant you to be. His hand is on your life. Don’t take it off.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 2, 2011 at 6:35 pm