The Ballestero Blog

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Archive for August 2011

Playing Out Of Bounds

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Playing Out Of Bounds

There have always been boundaries. Some of them God established and some of them common sense put in place. There are reasons for boundaries.

Boundaries in life are like guard rails. Every highway needs them at some point. Everyone’s flesh is weak. Quit arguing that yours isn’t. That in itself is a good reason for boundaries.

Boundaries are put in place to protect you and your good name. Your reputation is all that you have. Never let your good be evil spoken of.

A man does not have integrity because he made boundaries. He set those boundaries for himself because he has integrity.

Personal boundaries are what define your identity. Your family and friends know you well enough to know how you would respond to each situation. They count on you because they know you have set boundaries for yourself.

They’re like the property lines around a home. Yet, no one has had their property re-surveyed just because they have a 16-year-old in the house. Boundaries don’t change with the weather. They are like moral landmarks. They should never be changed or altered.

 

Every Nation Has Boundaries

  • Every nation defends its borders vigorously.
  • Ignoring the boundaries of any nation will lead to arrest and deportation.

 

Every Sport Has A Boundary

  • In sports, the referee blows a whistle and declares to everyone when you have gotten out-of-bounds.
  • Baseball calls it a foul ball.
  • Football and Basketball says a player was out-of-bounds.
  • If you want to stay in the game and not be penalized, stay within the boundaries.

 

God Set Natural Boundaries

The Sea

  • God set boundaries to the sea, saying thus far shall ye come and no more.
  • Prov 8:29 (NIV) When he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.

 

God Set Spiritual Boundaries

The Tree In The Garden

God set boundaries in the very beginning. He told Adam and Eve they could enjoy everything they could see and touch, except one thing; the tree of life. That tree was God’s. It was out-of-bounds to them.

The first thing Satan did was to question the boundaries. He asked, “Hath God said…?” That’s how Satan started out with man, and he’s never stopped.

He makes man ask himself, “How could it be wrong when it looks so good and feels so right?” The devil can’t wait for us to step out-of-bounds.

 

Boundaries In Relationships

Married – Married Boundaries

I asked that the men in the church I pastored to be careful. When they called the house of a brother and his wife answered. I asked them to say, “Praise the Lord” to her. That helps keep the conversation on a spiritual level.

Solomon instructed men to focus on their wife and not someone else’s. He said, “You’ve got your own cistern to refresh and nourish you. Don’t go to the neighbor’s house for a drink.”

Prov. 5:15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.

Job wouldn’t look at another woman. He set an important boundary for himself.

Job 31:1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?

 

Dating

When I showed romantic interest in my wife Marcia, her father, Pastor William R. Starr took me aside for a man-to-man talk. He said, “When a couple dates, it’s the man who should know when to draw the line. It’s the man who should know what boundaries not to cross.”

No one wants their daughter to be courted by a young man who has no boundaries or understands some areas are off-limits.

Neither does a parent wish for their son to be alone with a girl who has no lines she is afraid to cross.

Babies are being born out-of-wedlock because either no one set a boundary or no one paid attention to it. Disregarding boundaries always lead to pain and regret.

Those Without Boundaries Do Not Fear God!

 

Singles – Marrieds        

Facebook has become a worldwide communications phenomenon. Pentecostals have taken full advantage of its availability. In most part, it’s for the good.

All its interaction is enjoyable and fun until someone crosses the line. The bad news is that everyone on Facebook then sees him or her as they show the world how void their life is of boundaries.

  • Why would a single girl keep commenting on a married man’s page?
  • Why would a single guy make constant comments on a married woman’s page?
  • They refuse to recognize boundaries in their life. They also refuse to set them.
  • It’s dangerous.
  • It is hazardous to a marriage.
  • It’s explosive.
  • It’s wrong.

Things can get out of line quickly. I recommend against playing even innocent games like Words With Friends between members of the opposite sex. It causes way too much familiarity. Be very afraid.

  • I also can find no occasion for chitchat texting between members of the opposite sex.
  • Why would a child of God have email addresses on their computer that they know are out of line and serve no spiritually productive purpose?
  • Surely there are no cell phone numbers of a single or married member of the opposite sex on your phone. Or of a single or married member of the opposite sex, if you are married.
  • Nothing good will come of it if you are guilty. You are playing with fire.

 

Dress

This is a day of no boundaries or limits in dress. Carnal people do not want standards.

Sadly, many beautiful young ‘Pentecostal’ ladies have been seen parading around camp meetings and conferences lately with their dresses several inches above their knees.

What happened at home? Where’s Mom? Where’s Dad? Where are the boundaries of dress? Why haven’t they let modesty set a boundary of dress for them?

With all of the above being said, I thank God for every person, young and old that has boundaries in their life. That let God’s Word order their steps. That realize Boundaries are not made to hurt anyone. They are put in place to keep everyone safe.

Boundaries… Don’t Leave Home Without Them!

Boundaries…Don’t Get On The Internet Without Them!

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 16, 2011 at 12:14 am

The God Of Seven Chances

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The God Of Seven Chances

Prov. 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:

Everything about God speaks of Mercy. That doesn’t mean he tolerates sin. It sure doesn’t mean He approves of our wrongdoings. Yet His Mercy is everlasting. It NEVER runs out.

Sin still requires judgment. That’s why we must judge ourselves guilty and repent now, so we won’t have to face our sins at The Great Judgment Day.

Nevertheless, even after we have been born again of the Water and the Spirit according to Acts 2:38, our walk with God may not be one that is perfect. Mistakes are sometimes made by the best of folks. Failures may be more common than some could imagine, even in good people.

In Biblical Typology, the number Seven represents perfection and completeness. It speaks of God’s complete provision in His dealings with men. The number Seven appears though out the Bible beginning in Genesis.

  • There were the 7 days of creation
  • Every 7th day was a Sabbath.
  • Every 7th year was a Sabbatical year.
  • After the 7th Sabbatical year was the year of Jubilee.
  • Every 7th month was holy and had 3 feasts.
  • The Passover feast lasted 7 days.
  • The feast of Tabernacles lasted 7 days.
  • The blood of the sin offering was sprinkled before and upon the Mercy Seat seven times on the Day of Atonement.

By the time wise old King Solomon got done observing men’s lives, he plainly declared that even the best of people have problems too.

Prov. 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:

If the just or righteous man would fall seven times, how many times would the unrighteous fall?

No one can even guess how many times the unrighteous man will sin and do wrong. That is not ours to worry about. I willingly leave that in God’s Hands.

If Seven is God’s number of completeness, then God is not limiting your mistakes to seven. He is not saying that a man only gets seven chances (literally) and then he will not be forgiven anymore! That’s not the truth nor is it what the Scripture was trying to convey.

Solomon is telling us that God’s mercy is complete. It’s perfect. And no matter how many times we mess up, there is still hope for us.

Lam. 3:22 It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

Lam. 3:23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

If Jesus asked all of us to forgive our brother 70 times 7 in one day, (that’s 490). The Lord will forgive us, even if we ask Him 490 times in one day. All He needs us to do is repent when we fall down and get back up when He forgives us.

That dirty devil will tell you that you have messed up too many times for God to forgive you. The devil will say there is no hope for you. He is still a liar. There is hope. God is in the forgiving business.

His Mercy is waiting for you. You haven’t used up all your chances.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 15, 2011 at 12:42 am

Posted in Mercy

Tagged with

Thank You For Keeping A Smile On My Face For 46 Years!

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I’ve been in love with Marcia June Starr Ballestero since November 29,1964. Although it was 17,060 days ago, I remember that day very well. It was the Sunday night after Thanksgiving. That was the day my heart decided there was no one else in the world for me, but her. My heart was right.

I absolutely fell head over heels in love with the girl. I love her ageless beauty. I am forever enamored  with the sound of her voice. I could listen to her chatter for hours. She is my favorite singer in the whole world. Her practical wisdom has benefited our marriage too many times to count. Her children call her blessed, her grandchildren adore her, and I can’t imagine my life without her being the center of it. She still makes me beam from ear to ear when she calls me Honey.

I am so very proud to show her off in public. I delight in her company. There’s still not enough hours in the day when we are together. Her loving and tender words continue to melt my heart and turn it into mush. I’m more in love with her today, even after 46 years. Her beauty and charm still turns my head!

Some have heard me call her Sister Honey, and others have heard me call her Sugar Booger. For Forty Six years, I’ve had the great honor of calling her my wife. I still call her Baby.

We said ‘I Do’ on August the 14th 1965. Besides the day I received the gift of the Holy Ghost, marrying her was by far, the greatest day of my life.

That’s 16,802 days of married bliss, or:

  • 1,451,692,800 seconds
  • 24,194,880 minutes
  • 403,248 hours
  • 2400 weeks (rounded down)

She has voluntarily made me the King of her world and treated me accordingly. I have made her the Queen of my life. No one is like her. No one comes close. She is altogether lovely. She’s the Best!

She has held my hand, and walked faithfully through life beside me. She has been my constant support and life’s greatest pleasure. She has never complained about the hardships of our life, and ‘made do’ when there wasn’t much money to ‘do’ with. I will always be in her debt.

She sacrificed her health and placed her life on the line to give us five wonderful children that have made us both grateful to God and proud.

Marcia! Thank you for all you have done for me and for our family over the years. Thank you for every sacrifice you made in raising our family and keeping our home. Thank you for never nagging or being critical. Thank you for being so loving! You are amazing indeed!

Martyn & Marcia Ballestero

 

Thank you too my Darling, for keeping a smile on my face for 46 years! I Love You With All My Heart!

Happy 46th Anniversary!

Marty

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 13, 2011 at 1:37 am

He’s Out Of Touch

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He’s Out Of Touch

This is the day of instant communication and social networking. Cell phones are so common now that even pre-teens are seen with them. Facebook and Twitter keeps friends in touch and provides them with up to the minute news of each other’s lives. Everyone has an email address today it seems. This generation prides itself in being connected and having the ability to stay in touch regardless.

For several months this summer, I have been in Camp Meetings located in rural areas around our nation. At least 4 of those campgrounds had very limited or no cellular phone service, or Internet connection either. My blog postings have taken a major hit recently because I have had very limited access to the outside world. I was out of touch.

The phrase, “Out of touch” is used several ways

Out of touch (with somebody)

  1. Not in communication

Out of touch (with something)

  1. Not informed about something
  2. Not reflecting what is true or actual

Politicians fling that phrase at their opponents. The public says that about some politicians.

The Brooks Brothers salesmen and the sharp dressing in-crowd look at me as though my clothes are from another planet. I can tell they feel I am out of touch with what’s cool. I’m a grandpa, and grand fathers are sometimes given a pass, along with a side-glance and a smirk. (I’ll keep buying from Goodwill if I want to, so there.)

I shouldn’t use the grandpa defense however. I’ve been a nerd all my life. I’ve never been considered cool or looked like I stepped out of a bandbox. What’s sad is, I’m OK with that.

Each generation accuses its elders of being out of touch, if only in their minds. Call it the generation gap, or by whatever term is more current, it still means the same thing. Young people think older people are out of touch with their world. Older folks think that the younger generation is clueless about the real world. Each accuses the other of being out of touch.

I make no effort to defend myself on that point. There are many things about this generation I do not understand. Further more, I have no desire to understand. Things like:

  • The Tattoo craze (I’ve never seen one that makes the person more beautiful or handsome. Why do they do it?)
  • The Bed-Head and Spiked hair look.
  • Living together and raising families without getting married.
  • Doing drugs.
  • Being part of Flash mob events.
  • Rioting and looting.

I condemn such actions and thereby am considered to be out of touch.

Society locks people up in padded rooms when they are considered to be out of touch with reality. Delusional patients are kept separate from society because they are no longer living in the real world. They are out of touch with reality.

Out Of Touch With God

Good Saints come to church early to pray before service. They want to stay in touch God.

Godly thinking people have personal devotions and a family altar time in their home because they choose to stay in touch with the Lord.

Some deluded Pentecostals feel that Mainstream Apostolics are out of touch in this generation. They distance themselves from the Holiness crowd. They cut their hair, put on makeup, women wear slacks and skimpy apparel, and they adorn themselves with jewelry. They use terms like, Emergent and Relevant. They on the other hand are no longer Apostolic nor do they look or act Apostolic. They are out of touch with God’s Holiness.

Most of them mock those of us that continue to live a life of modesty in dress and still believe in separation from the world, declaring that we are out of touch. In reality, they are the ones that are out of touch.

God is Holy. Why do you want the Holy Ghost if you don’t want to be Holy like Him? Anytime you make a mockery of Holiness, you are hell-bent and out of touch. Being out of touch with God and His Holiness, is always fatal.

The Old Testament admonition is still relevant today.

2Chr. 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.

God gave those that were out of touch, the key to getting back in touch with Him.

  • Humble yourself
  • Pray
  • Seek His face
  • Turn away from your sinful life

Now For The Bad News

It’s one thing when man gets out of touch, but the subject gets taken to the ultimate level, when God choses to be out of touch. He was out of touch with Israel for 400 years.

Why would God want to be out of touch with us? I’ll let Him explain that in His own words.

Isa. 59:1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

Isa. 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

  • God chose not to listen to the prayers of some because of their willful sinning.
  • He also chose to ignore those that needed help for the same reason.
  • In addition, He also said He wouldn’t even look in their direction.
  • Those people chose the life of iniquity.
  • They refused the ways of Godliness.
  • So God refused them.

They wanted to disconnect from God, so God disconnected from them. God does what you do. Repentance is wayward man’s ONLY hope of getting back in touch with God.

Are You Out Of Touch With God?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 12, 2011 at 11:48 am

Surviving The Delay

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Surviving The Delay

I hate delays. There seems to be very little humor in sitting dead still in traffic waiting for an hour or two. Accidents, Construction, and Gaper’s Delays always happen at a bad time for me, and everyone else for that matter. I keep checking for turn-a-rounds and exit ramps, but without much success.

As a frequent flier, I have sat in a hot plane on the tarmac, away from the gate, during the summertime. With no air conditioning working, the plane soon heated up to over 100 degrees and several passengers panicked in their desperation. I feared that in their claustrophobia the person next to me might try to open the plane’s door and thereby risk prison time. I reasoned with them for many minutes to stay calm. The delay caused desperation. They wept uncontrollably in their panic.

Survivors of natural disasters have been known to perish waiting for help to arrive. Food and water was needed, but didn’t get there soon enough. It was the delay that killed them, not the storm.

Too many stories have been told of sick people dying while waiting for an ambulance. Some have died because the doctor was busy elsewhere. They didn’t survive the delay.

Daniel once prayed an important prayer but no answer came. It may have seemed like it was an eternity for him although it was only about three weeks. Finally, an angel appeared with some news of the behind-the-scenes Spiritual Warfare that had been going on in his behalf. It was the cause of his prayer’s answer being delayed.

Dan. 10:12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.

Dan. 10:13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

The great news is, Daniel Survived The Delay!

Moses spent 40 days on a mountain receiving the Commandments and instructions from Jehovah. The whole nation of Israel threw all of their Judaic customs aside in one month. The made a golden calf. They sacrificed unto Baal. They took off their clothes and while dancing lewdly claimed that it was Baal that had delivered them from Egypt.

They corrupted themselves. In a very short time a whole nation backslid because it took Moses longer to return from the mountain than they had expected. The conduct of Israel is symbolic of the spirit of today.

Ex. 32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

Ex. 32:2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.

Ex. 32:3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.

Ex. 32:4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

Ex. 32:5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.

Ex. 32:6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

Ex. 32:7 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:

Ex. 32:8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

Ex. 32:9 And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:

Since childhood, I have heard many sermons about the coming of the Lord. He hasn’t come yet. Do I still believe? ABSOLUTELY!

My mother never dreamed I would start Kindergarten in 1949.  She was sure the Lord would come first.

As a teenager in Muncie, Indiana in 1960, I heard an older boy say that he didn’t believe that Jesus would come for at least another 25 years.

He was right. The problem was however, that because he thought that, he also began to live like Jesus wasn’t coming for another 25 years. He died a tragic death in a backslidden state.

My beloved wife and I originally planned to marry on August 28,1965. But we heard several sermons on the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ, so we moved our wedding date up to the 14th just to beat the Rapture.

That was 46 years ago and Jesus still hasn’t come yet, but I’m still believing and still preaching about His coming.

Because He hasn’t come, many are living a dangerous life. The delay in His coming seems to have given many in this generation an imagined license to sin and play around with the world. Unfortunately, some are fulfilling New Testament prophesy before our eyes.

Matt. 24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;

Matt. 24:49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;

Matt. 24:50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,

Matt. 24:51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Evidently because the Lord has delayed His coming, some of His servants are mistreating others and getting drunk on the things of life and not those things of God.

  • They just couldn’t survive the delay.
  • Jesus is still coming.
  • Some appear to still be in church, yet they are no doubt guilty of mistreating others.
  • Some have left the Holiness pathways and have gotten drunken on life and worldliness.
  • Others have given up altogether.
  • They couldn’t survive the delay.

The Good News Is, There Are Many That Still Say, “Even So, Come Quickly Lord Jesus.”

  • I still want to live like today could be the day.
  • I plan to survive the delay with His help.

 

How are you holding up? You’re not playing around with the world, this close to His coming are you?

Make Up Your Mind To Survive The Delay, Whatever The Cost.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 5, 2011 at 8:38 am

Posted in Christian Living

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Testimonies Aren’t Cheap!

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Testimonies Aren’t Cheap!

Testimonies are not for sale in the Dollar Store. No one has ever found them at a Yard Sale or on Craigslist either. Testimonies aren’t cheap or even discounted. They have never been free either.

Pentecostals over the years have enjoyed listening to the testimonies of the overcoming and beloved saints of old.

As a young person hearing their words of testimony, I took it at face value. Because of my limited and lack of understanding about life, I only heard their words and saw their body language. I was clueless of the depth behind their words. It is amazing how time and problems educate us all.

When Sister Maria stood, everyone knew they would hear something wonderful. Within the first 60 seconds or so of her testimony, many hands in the church would be lifted in the air as she glorified the Lord.

No one knew that at home, she went through the worst of treatment from her husband. She survived under horrible domestic adversities. She never complained or got bitter. She was always in the prayer room before church. Her smile and sweet spirit made her beloved among all the saints.

Her Testimony Wasn’t Cheap.

Bro. Terry was an old man. His major health problems were ongoing. He couldn’t work a regular job. Nor did he ever marry. His life was very lonely. He never missed a service and he was always on time. Bro. Terry was beloved by all in the church.

For his testimony, Bro. Terry usually sang a chorus. Every time Bro. Terry testified by singing a song, the audience responded with deep worship and praise. Most of the time, someone ran the aisles before Bro. Terry was done.

His Testimony Wasn’t Cheap.

Sis. Regina had four teenage children. Her husband had mistreated them for years before finally abandoning them. Through it all she was the biggest help in the church. She witnessed, brought visitors. She prayed people through to the Holy Ghost. She testified and all could hear and feel her sincere love of God.

Her Testimony Wasn’t Cheap.

Bro. Murrell Cornwell told of a young man who wanted a soul-winning gift of ministry like his. Bro. Cornwell has taught tens of thousands of Home Bible Studies and is an amazing soul winner. He also pastors a Mega Church that he started and built with Home Bible Studies.

The young man asked Bro. Cornwell to lay hands on him and pray that God would give him the same ministry of soul winning.

Bro. Cornwell laid his hands on the young man and said, “God let this young man go bankrupt twice, let him lose everything he owns, let him get sick and nearly die, let his friends forsake him, let his…

“Wait a minute. No! No! Don’t pray that! I just wanted your gift of ministry!” The young man exclaimed.

“That’s how I got it,” said Bro. Cornwell. “Do you want what I have or not?”

His Ministry Wasn’t Cheap.

The Apostle Paul’s ministry didn’t come cheap either.

2Cor. 11:25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

2Cor. 11:26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

2Cor. 11:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

2Cor. 11:28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

2Cor. 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?

2Cor. 11:30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

His Testimony Wasn’t Cheap.

Job’s Testimony wasn’t cheap either.

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

He lost everything and still didn’t charge God foolishly. He maintained his manner of life. He kept on trusting and serving the Lord.

His Testimony Wasn’t Cheap.

The next time you hear a precious saint of God testify, and it has that ‘New Jerusalem” ring to it, then know assuredly, that their testimony wasn’t cheap.

Everyone wants a glorious testimony. Not many are willing to pay the price.

Do You Have A Testimony?

Testimonies Aren’t Cheap!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 4, 2011 at 10:16 am

Posted in Testifying

Tagged with

The Night The Blind Lady Ran The Aisles

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The Night The Blind Lady Ran The Aisles

The grandfather’s clock struck 12:30am as the CB radio crackled with static and mundane conversation. A female voice called, “Pastor Ballestero?”

I picked up the microphone and responded. The caller was Mary Swift, a blind lady. With a voice choked with tears Mary said, “I really need God. I want to repent. Tell me how to be saved.”

I was ready for bed and completely caught off guard by her interest in God and her request for guidance. I sat down in my Lazy Boy chair and began to answer her questions.

Mary was someone who I mainly knew from Amateur and CB radio. I had heard her voice for several years. None of her family was in church, nor did they seem interested. Mary’s midnight call was a major event in her family.

I carefully explained to Mary about the need for repentance, baptism in Jesus Name and the Holy Ghost speaking with other tongues. I knew that many were listening to our on-the-air Home Bible Study. I read several verses from the book of Acts chapters 2, 8, 10 and 19.

Every time Mary responded, I could detect sniffles and hear the tears in her voice. When I finished, it was about 1 am.

Mary asked, “Can I be baptized tonight?”

“You sure can,” I said, “I’ll meet you at the church at 1:30!”

My wife Marcia and I met Mary and her husband John at the side door. I baptized Mary in Jesus Name and she received the Holy Ghost while still in the water.

That was Wednesday night; it was also our Bible Study night. At church, I stood at the pulpit and announced the wonderful news of our new baby ‘sister’ in Christ.

I looked at Mary. With unseeing eyes, she was beaming with joy. Mary was sitting beside one of the most precious older women in the church who immediately had taken the new blind lady under her wing.

When the church heard the news of Mary’s hunger and midnight conversion, they yelled with excitement and began to run the aisles.

Mary, new to Pentecostal worship and demonstration, asked the older woman beside her, “What are they doing?”

“They are running the aisles,” was the reply.

“Why?” Mary wanted to know.

“Because you got the Holy Ghost.”

“I want to run the aisles too.” Mary said, “Here, take my hand and lead me.”

The older sister beside Mary was always responsive in worship, but was not one to run the aisles. Tonight however, she had no choice. She took Mary by the hand, and together they ran several laps around the church.

For years some had depended on excuses to exempt them from running the aisles. Tonight saw a blind Sister Mary running. They knew they didn’t have any excuses now. They all got up and ran with her.

That was the night every body ran the aisles. The blind led them in praise and rejoicing.

That makes me ask the question, “What are we waiting for?”

Why do we hold our praise and demonstration in reserve?

Are we waiting to feel condemnation before we worship too?

Worship is everybody’s business.

There are no excuses not to praise the Lord.

Mary continued to worship every service and never tired of running the aisles assisted by her friend.

When she told me they were moving south, I shed tears. Her husband wanted to buy a farm down in Arkansas and she had little choice in the matter. John has never gotten in church to my knowledge.

Thank you Sister Mary Swift. Your desire to lead in worship lingers heavy on mind after all these years. What an example you were to us all. Bless you!

Worshippers are the ones you miss the most.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 3, 2011 at 1:31 pm

“If I Can Just Make It Through Today…”

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“If I Can Just Make It Through Today…”

How often have we met someone who was at their wit’s end? Their pain and problems maybe obvious to their family and friends. Yet there is always that unspoken deeper pain that they don’t freely share, that drives that last nail in their coffin.

With much anguish, and often with tear rimmed eyes, we have heard someone make the remark… “If I can just make it through today.”

Every day life and every day people can be overwhelming even on good days. Yet no one can truly know how much heartache their friend or family member feels when their world crashes around them.

We may have sympathy and maybe even empathy for their situation. Most of the time however, we just stand helplessly on the sidelines and watch.

Sometimes we offer words, sometimes we formulate a plan of action to help them, but too many times, we just say we’ll pray. God knows some of our praying for others is sadly without much sincerity or desperation.

Yet, to those who face things that are so overwhelming that they feel hopeless. To those that feel the unbearable pressure of life’s worst problems crushing the very life from them, I have a good word for you today.

Deut. 33:25 …and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.

God WILL give you enough strength for today. Trust Him. Tomorrow? He’ll give you enough strength for tomorrow too. God ALWAYS comes through.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 2, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Posted in Faith, Trust

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Why Would You Live Your Life Without Benefits?

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Why Would You Live Your Life Without Benefits?

Imagine working all your life for a company that gave you a paycheck and nothing else. I mean, nothing else.

  • No Vacation,
  • No Insurance
  • No 401k
  • No Sick Days
  • No Retirement
  • No Continuing Education Courses.

There is not much there to attract a worker of quality. A company that doesn’t care much for it’s employees, is doomed.

No one is thrilled to spend their life working and living without benefits.

Psa. 68:19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

David said that God loaded us down with benefits every day. Has anyone been noticing what God has been doing for you? He doesn’t let you live for him without benefits.

There are no benefits like the ones God gives His children. Why is anyone willing to live without them in their life?

Benefits Like:

  • Forgiveness
  • Healing
  • Guidance
  • Protection
  • Provision
  • Comfort
  • Defense
  • Blessings
  • Strength
  • Daily Needs Met
  • Answered Prayers
  • Loving Kindness

There is no future in living for the Devil. He pays no benefits. Everyone loses. His pleasure is known to be very temporary, and afterwards very painful.

Psa. 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

There were so many benefits coming his way that David tried to figure out how to thank the Lord for them. He asked the rhetorical question that we must all answer.

Psa. 116:12 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?

How do I thank God for His benefits? Just saying thank you doesn’t seem like it is enough.

I Thank Him With My:

  • Obedience. Keeping His Commandments
  • Submission
  • Love
  • Separation from the World
  • Living A Holy Life Pleasing Unto Him
  • Tithe And Offerings
  • Praise
  • Worship That Is Whole Hearted

What would your life be without the daily blessing and benefits of God? Never stop thanking Him. Never stop looking for ways to let Him know how grateful you are.

Rom. 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 1, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Posted in Christian Living, Worship

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