The Ballestero Blog

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

Archive for October 2011

Some Things, You Never Get Over

with 9 comments

Some Things, You Never Get Over

A well-meaning friend may speak a phrase that will hurt your heart for years. They may say something like, “You just need to just get over it.”

While there are many areas in life where that might be good advice, sometimes it goes off like a bomb. The loss of a loved one is something only time can process.

My Sister, Beverly Anne died at the age of seventeen. She was a sickly child that never got to skip a rope one day in her life. She never had a boyfriend or a date. She never got to go to school after the fourth grade. Her problems began at birth and steadily worsened.

My Mother was such a good caregiver and was very attentive to her needs. Beverly’s body produced no calcium. Her hair and finger nails would not grow, her eyes were bad, and her bones wouldn’t mend when broken.

She had the Holy Ghost, and early one Monday morning on June 4, 1962 she died speaking in tongues in her bed. We stood around the bed praying with her. Her pain had been intense, then it lifted and for a half an hour or so, she spoke in tongues and the Lord took her home. Beverly was 14 months younger than me.

I graduated from South Bend Central High School the day the buried my Sister. My Mom couldn’t come. Overwhelmed with emotions I cannot describe, my mother went to bed.

Especially for the next 25 years or so, whenever Beverly’s birth date of April 22nd or June 4th rolled around, my Mom would take advantage of a pause in the table conversation. She would say, from seemingly from out of nowhere, “Do you know what today is?” We all knew.

I’ve made numbers of trips to the cemetery over the years and visited her grave. I guess I was doing it for me. I’ve sat there on the grass and talked to her several times, even since I’ve been a grandpa.

Some Things, You Never Get Over

How can someone say, “You need to get over it,” and feel that one little blanket statement should work in every situation?

What about:

  • A wife whose world just got shattered by a stupid acting husband? Do you just say get over it to the wife?
  • When the loving spouse of 40 years dies suddenly? Do you just say get over it to the widow?
  • When you find out that your friend’s daughter is addicted to Meth? Do you just tell her father to get over it?
  • If disease puts your friend in a wheel chair. Do you just say get over it?
  • You get the point?

 

Some Things, You Never Get Over

This past February, I picked up my cell phone to call my Dad about something. Then I froze and sadly laid the phone back down. Daddy died in 9/11/1994. He has been gone many years now, but my inward need to talk to him is still present. It’s just something I’ve never gotten over.

No one else knows exactly how you feel in your grief. Someone else may have lost a child, a spouse or friend like you have, but they still don’t really know how you feel.

I cannot imagine dumping the harsh sounding words of “get over it” upon a grieving soul. That would be the ultimate indignity.

  • Tell them you love them.
  • Tell them you are praying for them.
  • Hug them.
  • Cry with them.
  • But please don’t ever say, “ You just need to get over it.”

The reason you never get over it is because you loved them. You cared for them. You needed them. They needed you. They enriched you. You gave them your heart. They gave you theirs. Your hearts were meshed together. Part of you is now missing. They left you with treasured memories that time will never take away.

Some Things, You Never Get Over.

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 31, 2011 at 12:11 am

Posted in Grief

Tagged with

How Do You Know If He’s Repented?

leave a comment »

How Do You Know If He’s Repented?

How can you tell if she’s really done with her wild lifestyle? Marriages are under attack constantly. The desires of carnal flesh often guide the weak and vulnerable to ruin and shame.

After the heartbreak what next? Can Humpty Dumpty be put back together again? Can trust ever be built again?

Some just say they are sorry and nothing changes. How will I know if this is the real deal? How will I know if they mean it this time? I’m tired of going through meaningless apologies. I don’t want to hear another half-hearted “I’m sorry” again.

I’ve pastored too many years to not know humans have problems and need to change. I mean, really change. They can change too. But before they change, sincere repentance must sweep their heart clean.

Several thousand years ago, God laid down a guideline for the repentant. It’s there so that He knows and everyone else that’s connected knows, that true repentance has taken place. It involves more than words. It involves actions. Actions that loudly proclaim “I’m Sorry.”

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

2 Corinthians 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

There are Seven Evidences here, (or Fruits, or Proofs, or Signs, or Steps) of Repentance in God’s eyes. This verse is NOT talking about something that happens AFTER the Holy Ghost. This is what happens when someone really repents. Here’s how you know!

 

Verse 10

The sorrow of the world? Some folks are just sorry they got caught.

Only Godly sorrow leads to true repentance.

Verse 11

1. “What Carefulness it wrought in you.” Repentant people are careful.

  • They no longer have numbers in their cell phones that shouldn’t be there.
  • They have removed email addresses from their computer that shouldn’t be there.
  • Careful people don’t work on the same job with the other person anymore. They transfer if necessary.
  • Become accountable to their spouse and others if needed.
  • Drive home a different route if necessary.
  • They understand their flesh is weak. They become careful.
  • If there is no carefulness, there is no repentance.

2. “What Clearing of yourself.” Repentant people make things right.

  • If they stole something, they take it back.
  • If they said something, they go apologize.
  • If they did something, they make it right.
  • “I’m sorry” is not always enough. God even wants to see if they are making things right with the injured party.  Matt. 5:23-24
  • If there is no clearing, there is no repentance.

3. “What Indignation!” If they’ve truly repented, they get mad at the devil for destroying their:

  • Marriage
  • Home
  • Reputation
  • Finances
  • Family
  • If there is no Indignation, there is no repentance.

4. “Yea, what Fear.” Repentance makes them tread lightly.

  • The problem, no doubt, started because of the lack of the Fear of God.
  • Repentance makes the sinner wake up to the reality of God’s judgment.
  • That Fear keeps the repentant walking the straight and narrow.
  • If there is no Fear of God in their heart, there is no repentance.

5. “What Vehement desire.” Repentance brings an overwhelming desire to do right.

  • There is now a vehement desire to live right and do right.
  • No one has to beg them to come to church.
  • No one has to beg them to come home.
  • If there is no vehement desire to live right, there has been no repentance.

6. What Zeal. Their experience now is greater than even before.

  • If they’ve only gotten what they used to have, they will fall right back to where they are now.
  • True repentance brings zeal.
  • If zeal is absent in their life, there has been no repentance.

7. What Revenge. What better revenge than helping others escape from the same trap.

  • At this level, the repentant person has gone on the offensive.
  • The penitent has by now, gone to the level of helping others.
  • No revenge mode? No repentance.

Verse 11 concludes with:

“In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”

Notice the word Clear.

These seven things are evidences of repentance. Before the Holy Ghost was ever given, Jesus said to sinners, “Go thy way and sin no more.”

Sin is a choice. The sinner is not helpless. The sinner makes a choice to quit sinning. When they quit sinning, here’s how you will know.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 29, 2011 at 12:09 am

Posted in Repent

Tagged with

The Unwanted Girls

with 6 comments

The Unwanted Girls

The news story told of 285 young Indian girls that had chosen new names.

“Nakusa” or “Nakushi” (two variations of the Hindu word meaning “unwanted”) were among the names abandoned in an effort to promote their self-worth.

“Now in school, my classmates and friends will be calling me this new name, and that makes me very happy,” a 15-year-old girl told the AP after the ceremony. The teenager was formerly named Nakusa by her disappointed grandfather, but chose to be called “Ashmita,” which translates to “very tough” in Hindi.”

Girls hold certificates stating their new official names during a renaming ceremony in Satara, India, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011. Almost 300 Indian girls known officially as "Unwanted" have traded their birth names for a fresh start in life

http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/10/24/unwanted-indian-girls-get-new-start-in-naming-ceremony/

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

Reading this story made me very sad. Their culture devalues women. An unborn baby girl might well be aborted if the parents knew its gender. It’s heart breaking to me. The very thought, is unthinkable in my family.

I have been blessed more than most men to have been surrounded all my life by loving and amazing women.  Their lives are blessed of God. My life has been blessed to the highest level because of them.

In my family, the women and girls are cherished, and loved. They are also respected, listened to, and honored. I always want them to know that!

Each of the married women love and honor their husbands and treat them like kings. No wonder each husband finds it easy to treat his wife like a queen and cherish her.

The daughters love and honor their fathers. They treat him with great respect. They in turn are loved and doted on. They have never felt unwanted, but rather are treated as if they were a princess.

The same is true for all the grand daughters.

It would be a near impossibility to find a family that loves it’s women more than the Ballestero family loves theirs.

With all of the above in mind, today I wish to stop and honor the women in my world.

I want to tell all of you that I love you, I honor you, and I cherish you, and I am proud of you. You all have me forever wrapped around your little fingers. I have you wrapped around my heart.

You are so gifted and talented. You are:

  • Singers
  • Song Writers
  • Musicians
  • Music Teachers
  • Choir Leader
  • Speakers
  • Writers
  • Authors
  • School Teachers
  • Recording Artists
  • Artistic
  • Designers
  • Business Owners
  • Leaders
  • Beautiful
  • Loving
  • Nurturing
  • Tender
  • intelligent
  • The Best Cooks In The World.
  • The Best Mothers In The World.
  • The Best Wives In The World.
  • And… You really love the Lord.
  • (This list could go on awhile…)

You might often be embarrassed by me, but you will never be unwanted! I love you and pray God richest blessings on you in all you do! There will never be such a thing as an unwanted girl in my family!

Let me show my readers a picture or two of why I am such a blessed man!

My Mom, Mother-in-law, Wife, Daughter, Daughters-in-law, Grand Daughters, Sisters, Sisters-in-law and Nieces are shown below. Besides all these, there are my wonderful cousins, close friends  and “adopted” family members.

Every One Of These Ladies Are Wanted!!

It don’t get any better than this. I, my friend, am a blessed man!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 28, 2011 at 1:10 am

All He Ever Wanted, Was Someone To Love Him

with 12 comments

All He Ever Wanted, Was Someone To Love Him

Proverbs 30:18 There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:

Proverbs 30:19 The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.

 

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

He had it all.

Actually, He had everything.

Well, He had everything, except one thing.

He had no one to love Him.

 

He had Angels who praised Him continuously.

He had Angels who did His bidding without question.

But He had no one to love Him.

He had no one to dote on Him.

 

He had received honor before.

He had received praise before.

But He had never been loved before.

 

He had never seen love demonstrated.

He had never seen love displayed.

He had never seen love expressed or shown.

He had never seen romance before.

 

He understood things like physics, gravity, light, sound, space travel and how to make something out of nothing.

He understood emotions like rebellion, pride and obedience.

He just wanted to know more about this thing called love.

 

He had always heard over 10,000 Hallelujahs at any given moment of every day.

He heard multitudes cry “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty” every day.

What He’d never heard was some one say, “I love you!”

He knew the journey to finding love would be long.

 

He had seen twinkles in stars before, but never in an eye.

His plan already included man, Calvary and the Church.

He was prepared to do whatever it took to get a bride.

He wanted to find someone to love Him.

 

He spoke and the heavens and the earth came into existence.

By His own words, the sun, moon and stars were created and flung perfectly into space.

By His own voice, light was created, flowers and trees sprung up.

He said the words, and fish, birds and animals appeared.

He looked it all over and said. “That’s good.”

Then He stopped talking.

 

Adam And Eve

He knelt down on the ground and with His hands he began to form someone He could love. He called the man, Adam. The woman, was named Eve.

He loved them. He visited every day. They walked and talked together every day without distraction.

He watched Adam and Eve smile at one another. He saw how Adam responded to Eve’s touch and Eve to Adam’s.

He watched them hold hands and kiss.

He liked what He saw. He saw the twinkle in Adams eye. He saw romance in its purest form.

He tried to imagine a mere mortal loving Him.

His mind raced ahead thousands of years. He thought of Himself and the Church. He pondered about His bride-to-be. “So… this is what it’s going to be like to be in love!”

He’d never been in love before. He saw Adam and Eve enjoying each other’s company. He told Himself, “That’s the kind of love I want. That’s the kind of romance I want.”

He so enjoyed being with Adam and Eve, that He turned His attention from the sounds of “Hallelujah” and “Holy-Holy” for a few hours everyday just to come and see them.

He had no competition in the love department on earth. Maybe they would fall in love with Him.

Then came the heart-wrenching day when the evil serpent beguiled Eve. Sin, the enemy of the Most Holy One entered the picture. Paradise was no more.

Pain, sorrow, shame and regret now entered the picture. The hope of Adam and Eve continuing their relationship with Him was over. Sin did it’s best to destroy that relationship.

They chose to listen to the voice of His enemy rather than listen to His voice.

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

 

Enoch

Seven generations later, a man was born by the name of Enoch. He heard his father and grandfather talk about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He heard the stories about God walking with them in the cool of the day.

Enoch began to imagine what it would be like to have God for a friend. That seemed to be all he could think about.

He inquired often of his family, asking them many questions, hoping to hear more stories about those precious days. He even got to talk to Adam himself and listened intently. He dreamed of having a similar experience with God.

One day Enoch started calling on the Lord as he walked. He began talking to God as if He was beside him.  The Lord did appear beside him and they began walking together and talking together every day.

Enoch was perfect in God’s eyes. His love thrilled the Lord. This was true love. Here was someone who chose to love Him, who took time out of their day and focused only on Him.

They walked and talked together every day for years. Then one day while they were walking, the sun started going down.

The Lord noticed it too. He also knew it was a long way back to Enoch’s house. So He said, “Enoch, it’s closer to my house, than it is to yours. Why don’t you come on home with me?” Enoch said,  “Yes.”

“And Enoch was not, for the Lord took him.”

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

 

Israel

He looked the world over and His eyes fell upon her. He could really love her. Her father was a Hittite and her mother was an Amorite. But He didn’t hold that against her.

He stood there looking at her, watching her. She was beautiful to Him.

She had no family, no one to look after her. There was no one else that loved her.

She was unwanted and unloved by every one else in the world.  She was considered second class and discarded by those who knew her.

  • She wasn’t beautiful, but He loved her.
  • She wasn’t rich, but He loved her.
  • She wasn’t mighty, but He loved her.
  • She wasn’t even faithful, but He loved her.

 

He, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the First and the Last, The Lord God Almighty tried vainly to woo her. He did every thing He could to show her He could supply her every need.

He was the richest Man in the world and of all the people in the world; He chose her, the poorest of all. He alone could make her prosper. She wasn’t impressed for long.

He showed her things about Himself that no one else had ever known. He gave her some names she could call Him by that would reveal His protecting love for her.

  • Jehovah Jireh – The Lord will Provide.
  • Jehovah Rapha – The Lord our Healer.
  • Jehovah Nissi – The Lord our Banner
  • Jehovah Shalom – The Lord our Peace
  • Jehovah Raah – The Lord our Shepherd
  • Jehovah Tsidkenu – The Lord our Righteousness
  • Jehovah Shammah – The Lord is Present

 

When she got sick, He made sure she got well. When she was hungry, He provided food for her and took care of her every need.

He loved her, and yet she wasn’t happy with Him. Her heart easily turned aside. She often looked at others the way He wished she would look at Him. It grieved Him continually.

While still on their honeymoon, problems arose. They hadn’t been gone from Egypt a month and things turned ugly. Before He could even get her to the Promised Land and the home He had given her, she showed her unhappiness.

He talked with Moses about His plans for her and gave him detailed instructions.

But before Moses could talk to her she started looking at someone else. She began to dress to please them. She brazenly displayed her disdain for His wishes.

  • She murmured.
  • She complained.
  • She rebelled.
  • She flaunted herself in front of others.
  • She became brazen.
  • She couldn’t even blush.

 

It broke His heart. Yet He fought for her when everyone tried to kill her. He supplied her every need. He cared for her more than she cared for Him.

He still loved her. He sent her letters, but she ignored them. Even after she got settled in her new home, she started looking for other lovers.

She played the harlot and was unfaithful to Him. She only dressed to please Him if she was in the mood. She often saw others that attracted her and she dressed and displayed herself in a way to please them. She longed for their affections, not His.

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

 

Hosea

No one seemed to care how He felt. He had no one to share His pain and problems with.

In His Divine Heartache, He looked upon His prophet, Hosea. Hosea was unmarried.

He told Hosea to marry a woman who stood on the street corners at night. “Just go pick a prostitute, anyone will do.”

He wanted someone to feel like He felt, every day.

He wanted to see again how mere mortals handled rejection from those they loved.

Hosea found such a girl. Her name was Gomer. Everyone in town knew Hosea. They were shocked at his choice of a wife. In their minds she was trash.

  • She had dirtied herself.
  • She had lowered herself.
  • She had ruined her name.
  • She would destroy their marriage.
  • Of all the girls, why pick her?

The romance burned brightly and then quickly faded. The Lord watched how their love life went.

He watched Gomer sweeten his coffee with her kisses and then walk out the door disappearing for long periods of time.

Then came the babies. Their very names carried not only a prophecy to Israel, but also a wake up call to Hosea about his two-timing wife.

  • Jezreel, “God will disperse
  • Lo-ruhamah, “Not pitied, or No Mercy”
  • Lo-ammi, “Not my people”

Hosea could tell by the names he named his children that he was not their father.

Gomer eventually got so involved in her wild lifestyle that she was overpowered and put into slavery by one of her lovers. She later was placed on an auction block and sold like a farm animal.

Hosea got word that his wife was being sold. He knew what she was and what she had done. But he loved her in spite of it all.

Anyone can tell by what he paid for her, that he gave all the money he had and emptied out his meager panty besides. He gave his all to buy her back. He paid fifteen pieces of silver, and 1½ homers of barley.

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

The Lord watched as Hosea gave all he had to buy his unfaithful wife back.

He turned his attention again to Israel. She wasn’t on an auction block. She wasn’t held against her will. She was happy to be unfaithful.

So He wrote her a bill of divorcement and He didn’t talk to her for 400 years.

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

 

Calvary

One day, He finally stepped into His closet and clothed Himself in a robe of flesh. He was born in Bethlehem to a young virgin.

He chose not to arrive in splendor, so He came to earth in obscurity. He came as God manifested in the flesh. He walked almost unnoticed around her.

He didn’t make Himself handsome so that she would love Him for His good looks. He wanted her to love Him for who He was, not what He looked like.

But He came unto His own and His own received Him not. They didn’t believe Him.

He wept.

His love was everlasting. Her love was fickle.

She tried to find fault with Him. She only followed Him for what He could give them.

He wanted to talk.

She was too busy, too preoccupied.

He said to her, “You say you love Me, but you say that only with your lips. It’s just words. Your heart is far from Me. You don’t love Me with your heart.”

He saw her as she really was. A slave. She was in bondage and held fast by her own sins.

He knew He was the only One that could redeem her.

He willing offered Himself on Calvary for Her. He willingly gave His all to buy her back. He gave His blood to wash away her sins and He arose on the third day to give her hope of a new life.

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

 

The Church

Over 2,000 years have come and gone. He’s ready now to take His bride to a home He has prepared just for her.

He wanted someone who would love Him enough to heed all of His Word. After all, if she really loved Him, she would keep His commandments. Not pick and choose which ones she liked. He was in love, why wasn’t she?

Yet He sees her still looking at the world. Some times she tries harder to please her other lovers than she does Him.

  • She has started complaining again if she thinks He’s asking her to dress a certain way just for Him. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him. She says, “He doesn’t care how I dress. He doesn’t look on the outside. He only looks on the inside, on the heart.”
  • But when He looked in her heart, He saw nothing there that looked like love to Him. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • She dreads talking to Him on a daily basis. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • She doesn’t think about Him during the course of the day. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • Yet she talks freely to everyone else but Him. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • All she seems to want is a sugar daddy. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • She has to be begged to visit at His house. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • He blesses her with money and yet she is not faithful in her tithe to Him. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • He sends blessings her way and loads her down daily with benefits. She soon forgets. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • He sends healing to her every situation. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • He calms her storms of life. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • She has all the songs memorized and sings them without feeling. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • She hears His Word preached and chooses which parts she likes and doesn’t like. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • He says He’s coming to get her and she’s not even looking out the window for Him. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.
  • He says He is coming to get and to take her to heaven with Him; and she is not even making herself ready. She doesn’t act like she is in love with Him.

He knew it would happen this way.

A long time ago He said that she would love pleasure more than she loved Him.

He said that her love would wax cold.

He said she would leave her 1st love.

And He was right.

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

 

You

Do you love Him? I mean, do you really love Him? Do you love Him with all of your heart? He wants to know.

He wants to know if you love another. Do you?

He wants to know if your heart belongs only to Him or not. Does it?

He’s looking for a bride that will love Him with all of her heart, her soul her mind, and her strength.

Could that person be you? He’s looking your way right now. He wants it to be you.

All He Ever Wanted Was For Someone To Love Him.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 26, 2011 at 12:00 am

Posted in Christian Living, Love

Tagged with

The Joy The Jailers Couldn’t Junk

with 4 comments

The Joy The Jailers Couldn’t Junk

John was a happy man, a very happy man. He wore an easy smile on his wrinkled face, yet his life had not been without turmoil. His quick temper had earned him a nickname when he was very young. But that was all behind him now.

Several times men had tried to kill him. Every time he had been fortunate to have escaped a horrible death at their hands.

He had travelled around Europe and Asia a lot when he was a young man. He had made a few friends and a lot of enemies in those travels. Some that met him never forgot him. Others never forgave him. He had made quite a reputation for himself. Some loved him. Some wanted him dead.

He was finally captured and ordered to spend the rest of his life in captivity. Without the chance of parole. By now, he had spent years in solitary confinement. No one had ever come to see him. No one was allowed.

He was found guilty of crimes against the state. The High Court in Greece was brutal to him; he was given the maximum punishment.

The Greek authorities could now rest in peace. John the troublemaker was finally off the streets. Their jobs would now be much easier.

John was lonely, and now in his advanced age, he was dying. There was no outwardly discernible reason for joy in his life, but he was still a very happy man. He felt that he had much to be happy about.

Yet one ever wrote to him much, if at all. He wrote letters that never got answers. He wrote quite a few of them actually. All he could do was hope that someone would read what he had written. He may finally die here, not knowing for sure if anyone ever did.

He was a brilliant man and a deep thinker. He wrote about love. He wrote about how families and friends should treat each other. He wrote about relationships, and then he wrote about love some more.

What he really loved was his children. He hoped his children would read the things that he had written. John had no regrets though. He would live his life over again just the same if he were given another chance.

He never wrote about his loneliness. He never wrote about his pain. He never wrote about his ailments. He never wrote about his separation from loved ones. He never wrote about his confinement or impending death.

But he did write about what made him a happy man. He wrote about what gave him joy even though things that would fill others with sorrow surrounded him. In his despair, he still had joy.

He wrote: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” 3 John 1:4

John’s greatest joy was knowing his children lived for God. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 25, 2011 at 1:24 am

Posted in Family, Love

Tagged with

The Shortest Sermon I Ever Preached

with 2 comments

The Shortest Sermon I Ever Preached

No one believes I have ever preached a real short sermon, but I have. Well, once anyway. I am sorry you were not there. We sure got out early!

I was still pastoring in South Bend, Indiana at the time. I walked to the pulpit on a Sunday night, and everyone stood while I made my pre-sermon announcements.

We all read together from the book of Psalms:

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

While the congregation still stood, I said, “Don’t say anything or do anything this week that would make Jesus unhappy with you.”

I paused for about 10 seconds while that sunk in. I then said, ‘You are dismissed.”

The Scripture reading, my whole sermon, and the dismissal took no more than 30 seconds. They were shocked. Happy to get out early, but still shocked. Nevertheless the people never forgot what scripture I read and what I had asked of them. That was, after all, the whole point.

When they retold the event to others, they would be asked, “What did he preach?” Then they would have to quote the verse in Psalms and repeat my admonition. That was the purpose of my 30 second sermon.

My advice is still the same to my readers today. Don’t say anything or do anything this week that would make Jesus unhappy with you!

Be Careful And Be Blessed.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 24, 2011 at 12:06 am

Posted in Christian Living

Professional Wine Connoisseurs Are In Your Church!

with one comment

Professional Wine Connoisseurs Are In Your Church!

They’re a snobbish lot. Some, if not most, may consider themselves a marked cut above the general population.

After all, their sensory gifts are able to determine the “great” from the “mundane” or even from the “good.”

Some are so good, that just by tasting they can tell you the name of the wine and the year it was bottled.

They also run in very elite circles and hobnob with the movers and shakers in town. Good wines cost a lot of money. So it they aren’t blessed with the green stuff, they hang out with those that are.

From time to time in the upper-crust circles, wine tastings are hosted. Often, it is even a black tie event.

The Sniff

The connoisseurs know their stuff. They all know that judging the color is the first step in tasting wine.

There are five basic steps in tasting wine I am told: These are sometimes known as the “Five S” steps: see, swirl, sniff, sip, savor.

 

The Sip

 

Then comes the scoring of the wine.

1. The appearance of the wine,

2. The nose or smell,

3. The palate or taste, and

4. Overall.

After watching the wine tasters swirl the wine in the goblet, sniff the bouquet, sip it and then hold it momentarily in their mouth… they spit it out. That’s right.

The Spit

There are even websites that boast that they can teach you how to spit wine like a pro.

Expectoration may have been the last thing some would have expected. But the connoisseur, the professional wine taster, chooses not to swallow. He is not here to drink. He has come to judge.

I suppose that in the secular world their logic makes sense. The problem is, that the same thing is being done in God’s House.

 


Who would have thought it? Of all the places wine tasters could have met, most of them seem to meet in our churches.

“What are they doing in our churches?”

“Why, they are wine tasting of course!”

“During the service?”

“Sure!”

“During the preaching?”

“Why, that’s when they do it the most!”

They sit there listening.

They can’t afford to get inebriated like others around them.

They look at the color as they swish it around in their glass.

They sniff at the thought process of the sermon.

They take a sip of it and hold it in their mouth.

They are so gifted; they can identify in their mind the very vineyard it came from and the year it was bottled.

  • Umm… that was “Worship 1977.”
  • I think that was “Holiness 1962.”
  • That was “Doctrine AD 34.”
  • “New Birth, Day of Pentecost!”

Oh yes. They know it when they hear it.

Then they spit it out.

They hear the Word, but they refuse to apply it to themselves. They feel they are superior in doctrine, and quite possible in intelligence, to almost every one in the church. Including the pastor.

They’ve heard it all before. They know it all forwards and backwards. But if you think they are going to swallow what they hear in church today, “you got another think a coming.”

They’ve been spitting it out for years! They will keep spitting it out too, until they die. To change and start swallowing would draw too much attention. They would lose their place in the church as a ‘deep’ saint of God. they would also lose face.

Actually they are not deep at all. Anyone can spit. That doesn’t require a gift or ability. They are not connoisseurs of the preached Word of God. They are only critics.

The reason they spit it out is because they are truth rejecters. (While I am on the subject, it seems like God mentioned spewing some folks out of His mouth too.)

The greatest danger you can do to yourself is to hear the Word and not apply it to your own life. Receive it and prosper. Receive it and live. Reject it and die.

They didn’t spit it out when Peter preached to them on the Day of Pentecost!

 Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

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.

Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

 

The only way to grow in God is to be a doer and not just a hearer.

James 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

James 1:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

So…     What are you going to do the next time you hear preaching?

Spit it out, or receive it?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 23, 2011 at 12:42 am

There’s Members And Then There’s Attenders

with 4 comments

There’s Members And Then There’s Attenders

Every church has some of both. Dedicated people carry the load of the church while too many others enjoy a free ride all their life. Some live for God with all their heart while others live on the fringes.

Solid church members are the ones faithful to prayer meetings. They are the worshipers, the participators, and the tithe payers,

  • They say amen.
  • They are always at church.
  • They are faithful in their living and their giving.
  • The standards of the church are not “grievous” to them.
  • They love holiness.
  • They love the pastor.
  • They love God.
  • The love the lost and they love one another.
  • They are always willing to do what they are asked to do for the Lord.

Those are the Members.

Then there are the Attenders.

They may never become Members because for them the price is too great. Their reason is similar to “…Don’t buy the cow if you can get the milk for free.” They really do not wish to be pastored.

  • The come to church when they feel like it.
  • They won’t pay the price of faithfulness.
  • Their life is all about them.
  • They are only willing to participate at their own comfort level.
  • Attenders never fully cooperate.
  • They will never get on board.
  • They never buy the whole package.
  • Most of them struggle with authority.
  • They like the worship and the people.
  • But they struggle with the standards.
  • Or maybe it’s baptism in Jesus Name that holds them back.
  • Maybe it’s the necessity of the Holy Ghost speaking in tongues that bothers them.
  • Some are Attenders because they are God robbers and will not give Him the tenth of their increase.
  • Others just have a problem with any kind of authority and do not wish to be pastored.
  • They just follow for the loaves and the fishes.

Jude explained these kind of people. He wrote pointedly about those that didn’t want a pastor. Over 2,000 years ago there were those that tried to pastor themselves.

Jude 11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

Jude 12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;

Jude 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

“feeding themselves”  literally means “pastoring themselves”….

Attenders aren’t in the same class as Members. Attenders may be “Added” in some fashion to the God’s Tree of Righteousness, but they are certainly not “Joined.”

Are You Joined To The Body Of Christ, Or Ar You Just Added To The Congregation?

Are You A Member Or An Attender?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Do You Have enough, Or Do You Have Enough?

with 7 comments

Do You Have enough, Or Do You Have Enough?

The Showdown

The two men stood facing each other. One man was armed the other was not. The armed man had vowed to kill the other. Behind the armed man were about four hundred warriors. The two enemies were close enough to see each other, and the gap could close fast.

Today was the showdown. A life-long grudge was about to be settled. The fight was certainly going to be one-sided and it wouldn’t take long.

The unarmed man was known for his underhanded dealings. He had a shady past. Today was the day for his comeuppance.

The armed man stood still as the unarmed man walked toward him. They hadn’t seen each other in many years. Then the unarmed man did something very unexpected. He dropped to his knees and bowed his head to the ground. Then he got up and walked a bit closer and dropped to his knees again and bowed his head to the ground. He did the same thing over and over for seven times.

The armed man started running towards the other. The two men hugged each other and cried like boys. The flood of tears washed decades of hate away. There would be no blood shed here today.

At length the unarmed man presented the other with a great herd of cattle and sheep.

The armed man modestly declined and said, “Thank you, but I already have plenty.”

The unarmed man nodded and still persisted that his gift be received. He said, “I have all!”

33:8 And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord.

33:9 And Esau said, I have enough my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself.

Esau’s enough – (Strong’s #7227 “rab” = Much, Plenty),

33:10 And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.

33:11 Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.

Jacob’s Enough – (Strong’s # 3605 “kole” = All).

The difference between the two men’s possessions is explained in their own descriptions. Esau had plenty as far as the carnal mind could evaluate wealth. Jacob on the other hand, realized that since he had the blessings of Jehovah, he in fact had ‘All’.

As far as earthly possessions go, many wealthy people today may feel that they have enough.

But while those that have received the Holy Ghost may be poor by this world’s standards, they are actually rich.

  • They have Jesus Christ in their hearts.
  • They have His blessings.
  • They have Enough.
  • They have ‘All’.

Esau had enough. Jacob had more. He had Enough!

Do you have enough? Or do you have Enough?

You will never have Enough in this life until you have received the Holy Ghost!

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 20, 2011 at 12:42 am

Is God Ugly?

with 4 comments

Is God Ugly?

I ask the question out of sincerity. Is He ugly? With respect, I wish to point out that the Lord did not use Madison Avenue type marketing ploys to present His message to mankind. He always hid the beauty. Everyone has to get past the ugly if they want to know more about God.

Ark

Imagine an Ark made of Gopher wood and smeared all over on the outside with dark pitch. There is absolutely not attractive about that mental picture in my mind. The only beauty I can see was on the inside. The beauty of the inside was that it provided safety from the storm.

 

Tabernacle in the Wilderness

Dyed Badger skins covered the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. This tent housed the dwelling place for the Shekinah survived over 400 years in the Wilderness. The attraction of the Tabernacle was not the beauty of its architecture or its appearance. The beauty was on the inside. The workmanship of all the holy things was beautiful and awe-inspiring. But the real beauty was God’s Mercy and Forgiveness.

The Gentiles never got to enjoy what was on the inside. They could only see the shape and outline from a distance.

Jesus Christ

Isa 53: 2 …he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

1 Peter 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious:

From the writings of Isaiah, it appears that the prophecies concerning the Messiah do not describe Him as handsome. The Prophet said that it would not be his physical features that drew the crowds to Him.

In other words, the Messiah was not going to be favored with striking good looks. But to them that believed, (or to them that knew Him,) He was found to be precious! He is all of the definitions of precious and some more besides.

 

Is God Ugly To You?

Then Evidently You Don’t Know Him Very Well!

  • If living for Him is not something very “precious” to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If obedience to His Word is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If loving your neighbor as yourself is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If forgiving one another is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If you criticize your pastor and your church, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If holy living is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If being faithful to church is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If giving God your tithes is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If supporting Missions is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If living separate from the world is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If worship is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If demonstration in praise is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If clapping your hands is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If leaping for joy is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If praising Him in a dance is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If praising Him with a loud voice is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If the music is always too loud for you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If prayer time is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If fasting is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If travailing for souls is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If saying ‘Amen’ in church is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If modesty is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If witnessing to the lost is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If a Godly commitment is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If trusting Him is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If preferring one another is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If striving for unity in the church is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If revival time is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If humbling yourself before the Lord is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If you love pleasure more than you love God, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If you think your sacrifice is better than your obedience, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If you have to be begged to come to church, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If repentance is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If baptism in Jesus Name is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If receiving the Holy Ghost evidenced by speaking in other tongues is ugly to you, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If you are not afraid to tell Him NO, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If you only believe He is a God of love and will never punish your sin, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If you don’t believe there’s a “Judgment Day” coming, you don’t know Him very well.
  • If you don’t believe He is coming again, you don’t know Him very well.

 

There is one question that bottom-lines this for us all. The answer will tell you much about your walk with Him. Here’s the question:

“Is He Precious To YOU?”

I don’t mean, can you say you love Him. I mean… is he really precious to you?

My mother’s older sister Elnora Gleason Smith wrote the following song, whose chorus I wish to share. She recorded this when I was a very young boy. She also sang and played the steel guitar on the record.

 

“He’s Sweeter, More Precious”

He’s sweeter, more precious than silver or gold.

His great love for me has never been told.

What a comfort to go to Him daily in prayer,

He’s sweeter, more precious, than tongue can declare.

Thank you, Aunt Nori. I certainly agree!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 15, 2011 at 1:36 am

Posted in Christian Living

Tagged with